Take a Stand: Bluefin Tuna Edition

In the Harry Potter series, Dumbledore explains to Harry that there comes a time when you must choose between what is right, and what is easy.  For me, the choice is most difficult when I must either publicly take a stand or keep my convictions to myself.  Even when I know I’m right, it’s not easy.  Far too often I worry about embarrassing myself, or my friends and family, or getting my facts twisted around and not making my point clear.  Sometimes when I am definitely in the minority, I fear maybe I’m NOT right. Continue reading Take a Stand: Bluefin Tuna Edition

Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

One of my favorite phrases is “Once upon a time”.  It’s probably the most ideal phrase to begin any statement in which you need my undivided attention.  Those words are what propelled me to be the person I am today.

The first time I heard those words, “once upon a time”, was not from a Disney film.  I was maybe three or four, and my grandfather would re-enact the tales of Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel at bedtime.  Poppi had a terrific voice for the Big Bad Wolf.Little-Red-Riding-Hood-Wolf-4

With all the stories of evil predatory creatures of the woods that wanted to devour small children, one would assume that I grew up with an unhealthy fear of the forests.  Instead, I saw the fantastical interaction between fairy tale characters to be intriguing. Continue reading Once Upon a Time: The Beginning to My Love for Animals and Nature

Letter to Animal Rights

I recognize that debating with the animal rights agenda is incredibly frustrating, for both sides. I often wish I could wave a magic wand and instantly have the anti-zoo folks see things from my point of view, and that I could see things from theirs.

It does seem to me that emotions run rampant in discussions about the validity of having zoos.  I would like to share some of my thoughts on zoos but I would like to try to focus more on the science, if it’s possible.  My emotions often get the better of me, especially in these circumstances, but there is a lot of information out in the universe that can help people come to a much more informed decision. Continue reading Letter to Animal Rights

100 Ways of Fitness Day 25 Part Two

“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”
I’m watching an interesting documentary about conservation while I write this so I hope I don’t get too distracted (oh, that’s ADORABLE!).
I just finished listening to one of my favorite books, a truly inspiring book called “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver.
It’s about the author’s project of living an entire year from food grown or raised themselves or from local sources. They raised chickens and turkeys for eggs and meat and grew, well, just about everything. She made her own cheese and pizza dough from items purchased at farmers markets or her neighboring farms. She even canned and froze her produce so they could survive on the fruits of their labor throughout winter.
It’s inspiring to say the least. She really did her part to reduce her carbon footprint and eat sustainably. She supported local farmers and encouraged others to do their part as well.
However you have to keep in mind that the author did this project knowing full well she was expected to write a book from her experience. So she was a little more than motivated to make it work. In fact, that was her JOB for the year. It’s like an actor saying it’s easy to stay in shape- of course if it’s your JOB!
For the rest of us that live in areas that can’t grow everything we need all year round and work and have tons of other obligations, it’s a little more difficult.
But it did inspire me to look at my habits and make some changes for a better world.
I’ve already started Meatless Mondays, which as I understand, can help save about a million barrels of oil a year or something like that. Which is insane. But Meatless Monday doesn’t guarantee that my food is not traveling a great distance to feed me. Are there other ways Chris and I can inspire folks to eat local, sustainable, and green?
Enter my new challenge idea-
Washington Wednesdays and Farm Fresh Fridays.
Washington Wednesday will be the day out of the week where everything we eat comes from Washington. So as local as we can get. I like the idea of finding new and exciting entrees right in our own backyard, so this seems like it’ll be almost enjoyable. Salmon is almost a given, but I look forward to exploring my vegetable options too and even some special treats (Theo’s chocolate anyone?). The true challenge will lie in ensuring not only in eating clean and local, but healthy as well (did I say Theo’s, I meant Growing Washington CSA).
Farm Fresh Friday- well I don’t think we’ll have an issue with healthy or clean eating but the true challenge is to ensure its FRESH, so again, locally sourced. I feel this will take a bit of detective work to ensure our meat is as sustainable, organic, and local but I’m definitely up for this challenge as well!
I need to do some more preparing, which is fine bc even Ms. Kingsolver took three or four months before starting her project. I hope to be ready to start in late March or early April. Only question is, who’s with me?



100 Ways of Fitness Day 12

Day 12:
Meatless Monday
I’m doing a little experiment. How can I incorporate “Meatless Monday” into my routine to be healthy, sustainable, and conserving.
The main idea behind Meatless Mondays is to eat less red meat, which is one of America’s leading contributions to climate change. The only meat that we Americans consume that doesn’t contribute to the mass amount of greenhouse gases being released are native animals- venison, elk, bison. Salmon and seafood are great but that’s a whole other can of worms to open with me about sustainable seafood and how we are depleting the oceans. So I’m not great with statistics, but they say if you give up meat one day a week, you’ll be healthier and take a great stride in combatting climate change. Like eliminating processed foods, this is definitely a win-win for me.
While this topic isn’t as dear to my heart as palm oil, it is important enough for me to learn more about. I do tend to focus on environmental factors, but replacing your carnivorous ways once a week also has tons of health benefits for us too. By going to Meatless Mondays, you could lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Pretty nifty!
So I’ve been experimenting. Today was fairly successful. But I was way low on my protein intake. So I need to prepare better for next week and make sure I have cottage cheese, tofu, edamame, beans, and my greek yogurt readily available. I also want to work on not just “not eating meat” but look at where my vegetables and meatless food is coming from. Try to get as local as I can, because veggies can have as harsh of a carbon footprint as beef if you aren’t careful.
But for today I had my favorite greek plain yogurt with a tiny teaspoon of honey and a banana for breakfast. Yummy opal apple and tea for snack. Morningstar farms pizza for lunch, shakeology for afternoon, and I made butternut squash soup for dinner. Tasty, yes. Protein packed? Not so much! But this is a process, and I’m learning just as much as the next guy!
If you are interested in learning more about the Meatless Monday movement, or want to try it out yourself, here is the link to their website.
I hope everyone has a fun and productively healthy week!!!

100 Ways of Fitness Day 11: Palm Oil Talk

Today I did our Keeper Chat at the zoo.  I had asked to do this talk because I felt for one of the first times, I had an angle that could hook folks into listening and acting.

Here was my spiel:

Blah blah blah about the elephants.  They receive phenomenal care, they get tons of enrichment.  Yada yada yada.

Continue reading 100 Ways of Fitness Day 11: Palm Oil Talk

Bucket List 2014

2014 Bucket List: Couples Edition

Last week, Chris and I sat down and with calendars on hand, wrote up our list of things we wanted to do this year.  Rather than simply write it down, I figured you’d love to see pictures….


Art Museums

Art Institute of ChicagoDSC_0424


Bellevue Art Museumfocus


Bainbridge Museum of Art00-00-06-67-82-91-6678291_2075482


Victoria, BCRoyal_Museum_Front


Portland Art MuseumPortland-Art-Museum




Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, ILBrookfieldZoo

Point Defiance, Tacoma, WAPoint Defiance

Oregon Zoo, Portland, OROregon Zoo

Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, ILShedd Beluga Birth

Toledo Zoo, OHtoledo_zoo

Disney Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FLAnimal Kingdom 01

Busch Gardens, Tampa, FLbusch_gardens_lion

Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FLLowry_Park_Zoo_Sign_in_Tampa

Brevard Zoo, Melbourne, FLbrevard_zoo_1

Central Florida Zoo, Sanford, FLCentral Florida Zoo Entrance

Honolulu Zoo, Honolulu, HIhonolulu-zoo

Sea Life Park, Honolulu, HIsea_life_park_lg

Nordic Heritage MuseumNordic-Heritage-Museum-550x348


Natural History Museum in Victoria, BCTotems on display in the Royal British Columbia Museum


Field Museum, Chicago, ILChicago_Illinois_-_Elephants_-_Field_Museum



Horseback RidingHorseback-Maui



KayakingHawaii, Kauai, Na Pali Coast, Couple kayaking along coastline, Beautiful mountain ridges in background. Editorial Use Only.


Tillicum Village428-Tillicum-Village-750p





San Juan Islandssanjuan


Whale watching22101_19377_Olympic_Peninsula_Whale_Watching_md

Whidbey IslandWhidbey-Island-Beachfront-home-A4


SCUBA ExperienceScubadiving


Highland GamesPipers-review


Camlann-Medieval Villagecamalan


North Cascades Institute- Diablo LakeArt Retreat 2009

Mount Saint HelensMSH82_st_helens_spirit_lake_reflection_05-19-82


Leavenworth at ChristmasLeavenworth-Washington-at-Christmas1
Like I said- busy year!  But what memories!!

Better Year, Better Me

Better Me for a Better Year

If you know me well, you know 2013 wasn’t my best. The end got a little better, as I joined a gym and started doing better in my fitness. And I started seeing a chiropractor, which has helped my back and knee tremendously. But 2013 is never going down in the history books as a great year. So 2014 is GOING to be better! I have a huge, ambitious list, but honestly? I think it’s doable.

Continue reading Better Year, Better Me