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My Life Is A Zoo

This is where I will post interesting (or not so interesting) things that happen in my life. The subject matter will include any random things that I decide to put in (including animals, my work, my hobbies and my family).

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

Starring Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci, Adrian Grenier, Simon Baker and many many others.

I LOVED this movie. The Devil Wears Prada has excellent actors and an ending that I loved. I'm a big fan of Meryl Streep anyways and I like Anne Hathaway as well. The acting was great, there were several good looking guys (and girls) and the outfits were INCREDIBLE. Like I could ever afford to dress like that! Classy, outrageous, beautiful. And it had the right mix of drama, laughs, betrayal to make me like it. :) Plus, it was only 1 hour 46 minutes - short considering some of the films I've seen recently (like The DaVinci Code, for instance, at over 2 hours).

Down home girl gets a job in a top of line fashion magazine - a job that a million other girls would kill for but that she's doing because she hasn't been able to get a job in the field she really want (journalist at a newspaper). She gets sucked in and becomes a part of the industry. At the end, she realizes that this isn't what she wants and she does have a choice.

It sucked me right into the plot and I forgot pretty much everything else. :) Now, I want to read the book! If I liked the movie, I'm bound to love the book even more! So, if you have a free moment and are looking for a good movie to see, I reccommend The Devil Wears Prada.

New Logo

I don't think I shared RRUS's new logo with you all. RRUS is the rescue group I am a member of. It stands for Ridgeback Rescue of the US and is one of two national rescue groups for Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Several months ago we had a design contest for our official logo. We are a fairly new organization (just turned 2 years old) and were still in need of an official logo. Well, here is the winner:

It was designed (and donated) by Sandra Fikes of Kalahari Rhodesian Ridgebacks. She is a wonderful artist (and breeder) and I highly reccommend everybody visit her website. :)

Also, I have just accepted the position of State Contact for Texas for RRUS. Our State Director recently resigned (she felt she needed to concentrate on her own Rescue (Etosha Rescue and Adoption Center) which noone can argue with). The call went out for a new State Director. Well, no one offered to take it and I don't feel qualified or knowledgeable enough to take on that position yet - which is what I told our National Director. Well she asked if I would take on State Contact. That's a little less scary sounding and has fewer responsibilities. I agreed. I feel that Texas is way too big a state to not be represented by RRUS. Plus, if Texas doesn't have a contact person then a State Director from another state would have to cover it. Again, Texas is too big a state to have someone do in addition to their own. This way, Texas has someone who can be point person for intakes, adoptions and volunteers but I'm not expected to do it all by myself. I will be doing a lot of consulting and discussing with other State Directors and with the RRUS Board of Directors while I'm figuring things out. So, if anyone hears of a Ridgeback in need in Texas I'm the sucker...er...I mean, person (yeah, person)...that you would call or email about it. :)

Reina and Tuco are One Year Old

The title says it all! Our jaguar cubs, Reina and Tuco, turned one year old on June 14th 2006. (Yes, I realize I'm a little late with this...) We celebrated their birthday, it true jaguar style, on June 10th. (We decided more people would be able to attend the party if it was on a Saturday! :)) We decorated the exhibit with streamers (we had lots of fun with that). They recieved cardboard animals (a pig, a nene goose and an alligator), a cake and wrapped gifts.

The animals were made from cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls and tempera paint. The staff and the volunteers all had fun making them! It took us a few days to make them. However, it only took a few minutes for the jags to destroy them! We did help them along a little though - we stuffed the animals with meatballs, bones, and eggs. ;)

The cake was made specially for them by CMB. She took their diet (raw meat) and shaped it into a round cake. She then frosted it with meat flavored baby food, added tuna fish sprinkles and, to top it off, stuck a thin bone in it for a candle. :)

Needless to say, they LOVED it!

Their gifts were bones wrapped up in boxes and birthday wrapping paper. All three jags (Reina, Tuco and Cocoy (mom)) share in the gifts and the animals. We put just the cubs out for the cake - Mom didn't need any more food that day. :)

If your interested in seeing one person's take on the party, check out this video.

Bobby and his fiance came out to the zoo (on behalf of Jonathon Walton - a KHOU TV personality) to celebrate the cubs birthday. I think he and Liz did a nice job on the video. He got some very nice action shots.

*sniff* Our babies are growing up. Soon they'll be headed off to zoo's of their own and sharing the joys of a wild cat with other guests. We'll miss them when they're gone but we'll rest happy knowing that we gave them a great cubhood. And we'll enjoy their antics and smarts for as long as we have them!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How cool is this!?

This is the latest thing that my department has started doing. Management agreed to replace a lexan window in our tiger and lion exhibits with mesh...Very Strong Mesh...for on exhibit training demos. In exchange, we agreed to do one training demo each weekday and two on weekends (though that may change to two and three eventually). We've been playing around with it a little and getting the cats used to coming up and doing some behaviors at the mesh. Eventually, we will have an outline of things to say during the chat to get it a little more structured but still allow for flexibility. We've discovered that a general outline works best. Sometimes the crowd just isn't interested in certain things and we can keep their attention longer if we just touch on certain subjects. Besides, we want to keep these demos interesting to us, the cats and all guests (including those that return to see us again and again). I, of course, have included several pictures! After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Here's a picture of CMB and I are working with our two Indochinese tiger boys. They are 7 years old, litter mates, and have been at the zoo since they were 6 months old.

At the end of the training session, CMB gave them both some goat's milk. Most of the training at the windows is done with stew meat but the cats really like goat's milk so we try to give them some at the end of the session. All they have to do is lie there and look handsome. Something they're both pretty good at!

Here they are after the goat's milk. They both appear to really like hanging out by the windows!

This is a picture of me and Celesto. Celesto is 15 years old and was born at the zoo. Her parents were Kili and Bruno (both of whom have passed on at 16 and 18 years of age, respectively.) She can be a bit aggressive but has calmed down quite a bit. :)

Here's a picture of RET and I training Celesto and Lindi. Lindi is Celesto's aunt (and Bruno's sister) and is also 18 years old. While both lions are older, they are still healthy and active.

I should also mention that the platform we are standing on lifts up to cover the mesh window. We are not allowed to leave any of the mesh windows unattended while the platform is down. It's just too tempting for the some of guests. Someone would decide to cross the barrier fence and try to pet the cat - not realizing that, while the cats act like they are "tame" they are not. They are still very much wild animals and would have no problem biting somebody. Hence the reason we work in protected contact and have lots of protocals that we have to follow. None of us want to be injured or killed by one of our animals.

My B4 Bag is almost done!

I am so excited!! I am almost done with my first B4 Bag!

I started it last Thursday (June 22, 2006) and got pretty far. Here's what it looked like after I was done with the second bump row.

And here's how it looked later that day (or the next day...I can't remember now!)

And a close up of the beads:

I haven't gotten any further on it. I hope to finish it and felt it tomorrow or Friday. I'm so close I can taste it! :)

Ivan's at White Oak

We said a sad goodbye to Ivan on Tuesday. Ivan was the rescue tiger that we were temporarily housing after he was confiscated from a private home. To read more about him go to the May Archives on my blog and scroll down to "Ivan's First Day".

There was a little confusion on the day - we thought he was leaving on Wednesday, the 28th. We found out on Monday evening (the 26th) that the driver wanted to be in Florida on Wednesday. Therefore, he had to leave on Tuesday. So, we just moved everything up a day. :) Luckily, the crate was already set up. We just hadn't tested it with Ivan yet - to see if he would go in it again (same crate he had been tranported in from his previous home to us). And, of course, he was acting all spooked and nervous about it every time he shifted in on Sunday and Monday. But we decided to give it a try. It never hurts to try, right?

Well, it took me and KH about 30 minutes to convince him to come inside Tuesday morning. And by convince, I mean lots of pleading, calling, bribing with food, etc. He's not stupid. He knew something was up. I mean, really, how often are we actually over that at 7am shifting him inside? (not very...our work day doesn't usually start until 7am). I have to say this though, once he decided to come inside, he came right in. He then shifted over to the holding unit with the crate and walked right on in like he'd been doing it his whole life (which, actually, he probably had been. His former owner used to take the tigers out and about to Renn Fairs too.)

KH shut the door behind him, I fed him part of his diet and we sat and waited for the transport guy to show up. It took a few hours. Ivan, meanwhile, was happily hanging out in his crate. That is, he was happy except whenever KH showed up. Poor KH...he always ends up being the bad guy. Ivan would chuff (a greeting) to me or anyone who wasn't KH. But when KH showed up Ivan roared (an expression of anger) at him. He knew who shut the door to the crate. And he wasn't happy about it. He was calm while he was loaded up (had to use a fork lift) into the refrigerator truck though.

We did receive a call from White Oak Wednesday morning to tell us that he had arrived safely. He was a little nervous though and they were going to leave him alone for awhile and let him get used to them. He'll be fine once he realizes that they're all nice people too. We would loved to have kept him but the building/exhibit he was housed in is scheduled to be demolished soon and we had no other place to put him. Besides, he gets to hang out in an awesome looking exhibit (with trees, hills, etc - much bigger than ours, I think) and be a companion to a 19 year old female tiger. He's a sweetheart though and we're going to miss him.

Here's a picture of the stripes on Ivan's head. The stripe pattern on each tiger is unique to that tiger (like a human fingerprint).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I just realized that I had made it that only people registered with Blogger could post comments. Sorry about that everyone! It has now been changed. I still have word verification on but anyone can post comments whether they are a user of Blogger or not!

I'm Baaacccckkkk!!!!

Whew! My 16 days of housesitting are over and I am now back in my own home. I thought you all might like to see some pictures of where I've been hiding for the last couple of weeks. My friend and her family actually decided they wanted a vacation...together! What a thought! :)

For those of you who don't know - I was housesitting for a friend of mine who lives in a rural area south of Houston (her address is a county road...if this gives you an idea on how rural the area is). She and her husband own several acres of land that has on it a house (helpful...) a barn (with stalls), an arena, a couple of corrals and a pond. There are also three fenced pastures and some fenced land behind the house that serves as a "backyard" and keeps the dogs contained. Here's a picture of their backyard with the pond (top) and their driveway (bottom)

Also, their neighbor has cows (several neighbors, actually, have cows) :)

They also own several animals (not really a surprise, right? I mean, they do own several acres of property...we're talking 15+. :)). Here's a list of what she has: 5 horses (2 mares, a colt, a yearling male and 3-4 year old male), 60+ chickens (Java Black's - 2 pens), 4 dogs, 1 cat, several doves, a guinea pig and 2 goldfish.

This was one of the most interesting/eventful times I've had housesitting for her. I had the smoke alarm start beeping at 1 a.m. (not going off, just needed a battery change); that same night one of the dogs decided to pee in the house (he's geriatric and apparently I wasn't listening to him close enough); Duchess (one of the dogs - she spends the night outside) chewed/clawed through a chainlink gate and ended up in the horse pasture with 2 of the horses overnight; Lady (her nervous, small dog) decided I was someone you had to stay far far away from and it took forever to get her in the first several days; I got kicked in the arm one morning by her yearling colt, Fog (apparently I wasn't feeding him fast enough); the chickens in one pen kept getting out; the chickens in the barn didn't want to crate overnight (to keep any predators from getting them); Angel ( one of her other dogs) killed two of her chickens; and I don't remember what all else.

Some good things did happen though: two Java Black chicks hatched and were thriving while I was there; a dove chick hatched and was doing well; Lady decided that I was not evil incarnate and she really did like me; Duchess and I came to an agreement - I would put her inside in a bedroom when a thunderstorm came up and she wouldn't claw through any more gates; I successfully blocked the hole Duchess had created in the chainlink gate; the colt, Lightning, is absolutely adorable and loved me scratching him; and the barn cat, Stripes, would let me carry her around as long as I wanted to. :) Plus, all the animals (except the two chickens Angel killed) survived the 2 weeks that Kim was gone. :)

Here are some photos of the kids I was allowed to take care of:

This is Duchess. She looks so innocent doesn't she? She says that she would never scare me....Poor girl. Sometime during the night (the same night the smoke alarm needed a battery change) a thunderstorm hit. I didn't realize that Duchess was terrified of storms. I figured she would go under the deck and be fine. Well, this time she broke through a chainlink gate and, somehow, ended up in the pasture with Fog (yearling) and Enzo (3-4 year old gelding). I let my dogs out into the front yarn the next morning at 5 a.m. and Angel (from the backyard) joined us. Luckily she went right back through the hole in the gate into the back yard. I then realized that I couldn't see Duchess (it's dark, remember?) I went looking for her, couldn't find her and decided I would have better luck once the sun came up (about 6 a.m.). I was certain that she had ended up on the county road and was gone...as in gone gone... I decided I would feed the horses and then start looking for her. That was when I found her. I went out to feed the "boys" (Fog and Enzo) and couldn't figure out why they weren't waiting for me at their food bowls. Yup...they were very curious that there was a dog in their pasture with them...Luckily they didn't hurt her. I separated them from her, fed them and then started the 20 or so minute walk with Duchess through the pasture, the arena and back into the back yard. She was so tired and sore. I felt so bad....She recovered great and was fine the rest of the time. Here's what the gate looked like and what I used to block the hole. It worked really well. This happened the first or second night and none of the dogs got out through it the rest of the time.

Here's Bandit. He's an old boy - about 15 years, I think. He's still pretty active and doing well - despite his arthritis and his tumor. He's the one who decided that I just wasn't listening and peed in the house. He's really sweet though and I'm definitely going to miss him when he does pass on.

And, of course, here is Angel (top) and Lady (bottom):

So that takes care of the dogs...Here are the horses:

The "Boyz"

Fog (the one who kicked me...the little pill! He's lucky he's so darn cute!) at the top and Enzo on the bottom. He's not actually owned by my friend. He's owned by one of her other friends. She did foal him though (she owns his mom).

The "Girlz" + one

Tara and her colt Lightning at the top and Rosa at the bottom (she's Fog's mom):

Waiting for Dinner: The girls can't figure out why I'm standing there taking a picture instead of feeding them their grain! :)

Lightning couldn't figure it out either - he was really curious about the camera!

And now, onto the chickens!

And, last but certainly not least, Stripes - the barn cat!

Sorry, I don't have pictures of the doves, guinea pig or fish...They did not wish to be photographed this time around. :)

So...Did you miss me?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Barbaro news and Belmont Winner

Sorry I've been so lax in getting these up. I've been housesitting (pictures and journal coming soon!) and haven't had much internet time (plus it's dial up so...)

Here are some links to some recent news articles on him:

Barbaro Doing Great a Month after breakdown

But he's making such steady improvement even surgeon Dean Richardson can't help but smile when discussing the world's most famous equine patient.

"This horse has had a remarkably smooth progression of events, he's just done everything right so far," Richardson said. "He's a lively, bright, happy horse. If you asked me a month ago, I would have gladly accepted where we are today."...

...Today, Richardson is guardedly optimistic. He says the odds are "going up," and adds: "Until he actually walks out of the hospital with no cast on, the radiographs look normal and he's bearing full weight, it won't even jump to 75 percent.

"If and when that happens, it will probably creep up ... and when I decide it's time to leave the hospital, maybe I'll finally admit that something worked," he said.

And, as always, check out Tim Woolley Horseracing website for (almost) daily updates on Barbaro's condition.

AND - It just dawned on me that I never posted who won the Belmont Stakes - run on June 10th - so...better late than never:

The winner was Jazil. He was ridden by 18 year old jockey Fernando Jara and is owned by Shadwell Stable. Here's an article written about the race.

And I'm a catalyst!

What fun! And so true....

Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

My number is 3!

Your Life Path Number is 3

Your purpose in life is to express your unique self.

You are a creative and artistic person with an interesting view on life.
Witty and outgoing, you enjoy sharing your crazy ideas with anyone who will listen.
A total social butterfly, you're the life of any party.

In love, you inspire and enchant your partner. You are often an object of fantasy and desire.

While you are very talented, you sometimes lack the ambition to put your talents in play.
And while your wit carries you a long way, you occasionally use it to mask your true feelings.
Your natural abilities can bring you all the success in the world ... if you let them

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Secret Pal Knitty Swap

This is a swap that I joined earlier this month. My not-so-secret buddy (I joined a little late and the hostess graciously said that I could swap with her) Kris sent me a wonderful package! I recieved a ball of Paton's Classic Wool Merino, 2 balls of Wild Child Eyelash Yarn, some purse handles, decorative buttons and the pattern to the Wild Child Felted Purse! I'm so excited!!! Not sure when I'm going to make it but I'm sure I will find the time soon! Thank you Kris!

Got my yarn!

Woohoo!! I got my yarn today for my B4 Bag! I can't wait to start!

The Lamb's Pride is the one at the very top - in the cone. It is a charcoal heather and, while it's hard to tell in the photo, I think it's really pretty and will show off the buttons and beads of the B4 bag really well! The 3 balls of yarn are Paton's that I ordered to make sheep and the one on the bottom is a Lamb's Pride 2nd mill that I also thought would make a good sheep color. Well, I'm off to go knit soon!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

First named storm of the season...

Yup...that's right. Tropical Storm Alberto dumped a bunch of rain over Florida. Luckily, he did not increase in strength and become a hurricane. So far, no reported injuried or deaths. There was some flooding along Florida's Gulf Coast. He hit land near Adams Beach around noon today. His wind speed was down to 40 mph from 65 mph. He served as an excellent practice run for evacuation procedures. Personally, I'm hoping that all of our storms serve as practice. I'm really not ready to evacuate again. I didn't like it last year and I seriously doubt I'll like it any better this year. :) For a full article on Alberto, go to this page of the Houston Chronicle.

B4 Bag KAL

My posting will be a bit more sporadic for the next few weeks...I'm currently housesitting for a friend (she's in Yellowstone...I'm very jealous!) and she has dial up internet. That isn't necessarily a problem except that I have highspeed internet (cable modem) at my house. This means that, to me, things are going incredibly slow. And, when you have a short attention span like I do, you just lose patience with it.

However, I did want everyone to know that I have created a blog for the B4 Bag KAL that the felted_bag_kal email list (yahoogroups) is doing. It is B4 Bag KAL 2006. If anyone is interested in joining just email me and I'll send you an invite. The KAL started this week (for most of us) but don't let that stop you from joining if you're interested. I will keep the blog up as long as people are using it.

I'll post more (including pictures of all the animals I'm currently housesitting for and the jaguar birthday) on Thursday - I'll be at my house for a few hours that day and can use my highspeed internet. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Yarn Buying Spree

This morning I went over to Ebay and found (and bought) the yarn I want to use on my B4 bag. I decided to use Lamb's Pride Bulky, color Charcoal Heather. Since I need 400 or so yards of this I decided to buy it in a 1# cone from Oregon Trail Yarn. Prices looked good and she combines shipping. I also proceeded to purchase the needles I'll need (size 13) in two lengths (16" and 24"). You can never have too many needles. :) Since I was already there - I decided to buy the yarn for the felted sheep I want make. I decided to use Patons - color's black (for the face) and Taupe and Stone Marl for the body. I also bought some Lamb's Pride Worsted Mill 2nds. The color is a nice brown and I decided it would look good for a sheep. While I was at PatternWorks buying the Felted Sheep pattern, I also picked up the Shelby Turtle Kit. How could I resist? He is way too cute and looks like he would be a fun felting project. Now, I just have to purchase the Rowan Calmer yarn for my Tempting II KAL and I'll be set for the KAL's I've joined. I'm having some trouble deciding which color to purchase though. It's between these three: Lucky, Blush and Turquoise. Which do all of you like better? Let me know!

Along with the Tempting II yarn, I also need to finish filling my box for my Other Secret Pal pal. :) I've already found some things, but I need to get a few more items to round it out. I figure I'll stop by Michaels or my LYS and see what other fun things I can find. :) I can't wait to send it!

What Sesame Street Character Am I?

You Are Cookie Monster

Misunderstood as a primal monster, you're a true hedonist with a huge sweet tooth.

You are usually feeling: Hungry. Cookies are preferred, but you'll eat anything if cookies aren't around.

You are famous for: Your slightly crazy eyes and unusual way of speaking

How you like your life: In the moment. "Me want COOKIE!"

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Prayer for Barbaro

If you are a fan of Barbaro, you have to watch this video that Debra Lopez put together. Go to this webpage and click on Our Prayer for Barbaro. Debra Lopez is a fan of Barbaro who lives in Wisconsin. She put together this short (2:21) video to show her (and all of Barbaro's Wisconsin fans) support of the injured race horse. Be prepared to cry.

Also check out the other things on Tim Woolley Horseracing website. He is posting updates on Barbaro as he gets them, plus he has some other interesting things there.

In other Barbaro news, Ed Rendell, the Governor of Pennsylvania, stopped by for a visit today. He brought with him a $13.5 million check. The money is to be used for new medical facilities at the New Bolton Center. This is "the first time public money has been used to improve the New Bolton Center, and the first major expansion since it was founded in 1964." Click here for the full article.

While Barbaro still remains in intensive care he continues to show improvement

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

49% Dixie. Barely in Yankeedom.

My mom sent me the following test: Are you a Yankee or a Rebel?

Well, it turns out that I'm just barely a Yankee...Apparently the 3 ish years I spent in Kansas and the 3+ years I've spent in Texas have almost overrun my West Coast upbringing (I spent about 12 years in S. California and 10 years in Washington State, with one year in Oregon and one year in Oklahoma). Huh...who'd've thunk it. :)

Monday, June 05, 2006


I've just joined to KAL's (Knit-A-Long's) - one for the B4 Bag (this month sometime) and Tempting II (July 1st). The first one is an informal type kal that formed on my felted bag list and the second one is with the Sexy Knitter's Club that I just recently joined. I'm now trying to decide what type of yarn and colors I want to use for both. I think I may use Reynolds Lopi (bulky) for the B4 bag (in variegated gray and sage heather) and I'll probably use Rowan Calmer (which is what the designer used) for Tempting II (in Chiffon (mediumish purple) or Slosh (a navyish type blue) .

I think they'll both challenge me is slightly different ways. The B4 bag involves knitting with beads and doing bobbles, neither of which I've ever done. Tempting II requires me to learn how to join sleeves to the body of the top. I think I'll like both of them. I figured if I did two of them at the same time I could do whichever challenge I felt up to at that moment. :)

I can't wait!

More Barbaro Photos

For those of you, like me, who want to see more Barbaro photos - click here. This will take you to a site that has several photos of him. I think he's looking pretty good! He's obviously loved very much by his owners, trainers and jockey! (Not to mention all the vet staff and all of us!). With this many people rooting for him, he has to get better! :)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Barbaro still going strong!

This article, posted to bloodhorse.com, had this to say about Barbaro:

"Richardson said May 30 that the first nine days have gone incredibly well. "He's actually done far better than we could have ever hoped, so far," Richardson said. "He's perfectly comfortable and all his vital signs are normal. His blood work is good, and basically, at this moment, he could not look any better in terms of his medical condition. His prognosis is much better than it was, but he still has a long way to go."


In an attempt to reduce the risk of laminitis developing in the opposite foot, a special supportive horseshoe designed and patented by the Farrier Service at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, was applied to Barbaro's hoof immediately after the surgery.

New Bolton Center farrier Rob Sigafoos explained that the shoe is designed to reduce the risk of laminitis by supporting the sole of the left hind foot, containing materials that minimize weakening and possible infection of the sole, and extending the length of the left hind foot, compensating for the additional length of the right hind limb created by the cast.

As for Barbaro's mental condition, Richardson said the colt "couldn't look a whole lot better in that regard. He's very active in his stall, and when a horse walks by the outside window, he's peeking out there trying to see who it is. If you were to look at this horse, I believe an objective person would not believe that this horse looks depressed. Michael Matz and (owners) Roy and Gretchen Jackson have been here every day and have looked the horse over, and I think they'd agree that he's bright and happy."


"It is possible for his bones to heal to the point where they're very, very strong. What won't function on him is that he won't have normal mobility. He will never be able to do a dressage test, and he won't be able to gallop strongly or jump. At the very best, he'll have a hitch in his giddy-up. He will not be quite right, but there are lots of horses who can walk, trot, canter, gallop, spin around, and somewhat importantly, mount a mare; those things that you use your hind legs for. Yes, it is possible he'll can be active enough to do all that, but we're not even close to being at that point yet."

Richardson also states that Barbaro's chances of recovery are "now officially 51%."

Note: These are only excerpts of the article. To read the full story (which had lots of other interesting things to say, click on the link at the top.)

And this article, How we failed Barbaro, calls for the sport of Horseracing to take a look at what it can do to reduce the chances of injuries. Can anything be done? I don't know...but it's still an interesting article to read.

And here is an FAQ about Barbaro.

And this article discusses Dr Richardson, the veterinarian who treated Barbaro. He doesn't appear to have been affected by the instant fame he's gained. If I had an injured horse, I would definitely be trying to see Dr Richardson.

Here's what one surgeon had to say about him (in the article):

"He always wonders if he's made the right decision. He comes across as totally confident, but in fact I know that he worries a lot. He struggles. Anybody who doesn't appreciate that about him doesn't get it." ---Surgeon Midge Leitch (she supervised his first internship and has kept in contact with him since.)

Hurricane Season is officially open

(I meant to post this a couple of days ago but was busy with my dog)

(Both of the pictures in this post are copyrighted to NOAA. If you wish to use them, please credit NOAA. Just click on the link above the picture to go to the page I found them on. Thank you!)

Does this mean I get to go hunting hurricanes? I wish...if it means that there would be less of them...

Photo credit: NOAA
According to the National Hurricane Center "a very active hurricane season is looming, and encouraged individuals to make preparations to better protect their lives and livelihoods. May 21-27 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week." ....

"For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become 'major' hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," added retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator." ....

On average, the north Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes, including two major hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic hurricane season contained a record 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes. Seven of these hurricanes were considered "major," of which a record four hit the United States. "Although NOAA is not forecasting a repeat of last year's season, the potential for hurricanes striking the U.S. is high," added Lautenbacher."

For the full story click here.

Now, remember, in 2005 the NHC only predicted 13-15 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes. We ended up with 28 named storms, 15 hurricans and 5 major hurricanes (4 of which hit the US). 1 out of three predictions ain't too bad. And we've had above normal hurricane activity during 9 of the last 11 seasons.

Photo credit: NOAA
The names of the 5 major (ie most devastating) hurricanes that occurred in 2005 (Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan and Wilma) have all been retired. There will not be another hurricane with these names (the list of names is usually recycled every 6 years). These 5 have been replaced with Don, Katia, Rina, Sean and Whitney. 2005 now has the record for the most retired names in a season. If you need to refresh your memory on these 5 storms, click here.

The names for the 2006 season are:

Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Eernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, Tony, Valerie and William.

Let's all hope that we don't have to go into the Greek Alphabet again...

Okay everybody...On your mark....Get set....Go!!!

(Hurricane season runs from June 1st through Nov 30th.)

Jack's Vet Visit

Jack went in to see the vet on Thursday. This was with a friend's vet (who also happens to be the husband of a zoo vet). My regular vet was unable to get me in until next week (which I thought was too long). Jack's been whining a lot (usually after exercise) and has been looking very stiff. He's also been having trouble getting up and, while he still wants to go for his walks, he's lagging behind after we've passed only a few houses. So...off to the vet he goes.

The vet we saw was Dr Humphrey at Beechnut Animal Hospital in Houston, TX. He listened to all I had to say, did a thorough physical exam on Jack, took some blood and then discussed our options. He diagnosed Jack with arthritis - which I knew he had. I simply wanted it confirmed that that was all it was. I asked him about Metacam (we've seen such good results with it at the zoo that I was wanting to try it on Jack...I've never been fond of Rimadyl or Deramaxx. Actually, I've never been fond of Pfizer (the company that makes Rimadyl) and the Deramaxx doesn't seem to be working. And, while I know Metacam is a NSAID (just like the other two), I've heard better things about it). He said that he saw no reason to try it but to be aware of the side effects of it. He also said to give him Prilosec to help protect his stomach from the effects of the NSAID.

We did the bloodwork to get a baseline and to make sure he could handle the drug. I found out last night his bloodwork looks normal (remember, he's 9 1/2 years old!!) and we could start the Metacam when we get it. His clinic doesn't stock it so he'd have to order it. Well, Metacam costs ~$117 for a 100 ml bottle - which would last Jack about 2 months. I looked on the internet and found it at Entirely Pets for $68.99 (regular price $116.85). I left a message for Dr Humphrey about getting a prescription so that I can order it online. Normally I would have no problem purchasing it from the clinic. However, that's an almost $50 difference in price and I probably wouldn't get it any sooner. If I could pick it up today, I would gladly pay $50 more, but I can't...so I'd much rather spend that $50 on some treats or other supplements for Jack. :)

My goal is to get him as pain free as possible. And I'll do whatever I can to get him there - he's already on several supplements to help with arthritis and his joints (turmeric, bromelain, fish oil, vit c, vit e, glucosamine/msm/chondroitin - and I'm going to be starting him on Green Blend and Bertes Zyme and Young at Heart from Animal Naturals (which includes most of what he's currently taking but in one dose, instead of several)). I just think it's time to add in a NSAID. The supplements only do so much...

At some point we may have to discuss adding a pain killer into the mix...but I'll cross that road when I come to it.

What cute animal are you?

As I was wandering the internet last night I came across this quiz. I found it on Pink Tiff's blog.

Here's what I came up as:

You Are A: Frog!

froggyIndependent yet still part of a large community, frogs are unique creatures known for their distinctive sound and ability to hop. As a frog, you spend your days sitting on lily pads or climbing trees, searching for delicious insects to eat. While there are some frogs that aren't exactly cute, you are certainly not one of those!

You were almost a: Monkey or a Squirrel
You are least like a: Bunny or a ParakeetCute Animal Test!

Now, while I have no problem with frogs (they're kinda cute actually) I would much rather be:

You Are A: Bear Cub!

bear cubBears are strong and independent creatures who roam in the forest in search of food. Bears are usually gentle, but anger one and be prepared for their full fury! You won't back down from a fight, you have a bit of a temper -- classic attributes of a bear. Intelligent and resourceful, though lazy at times, you are a fascinating creature of the wild.

You were almost a: Monkey or a Frog
You are least like a: Bunny or a GroundhogWhat Cute Animal Are You?

And it only took changing a couple of answers to get there. Plus, I really think the description fits me better. :)

So, which one are you?


Thought it was time I posted some pictures of Dusty, my parents dog. She was adopted from the local prison (they have a service dog training program...all dogs that don't become service dogs are adopted out as pets). We think she's pretty cute - she's a weim/lab mix. These were taken in Gig Harbor, WA - near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. They have a viewing area that lets you get down onto the beach (or what passes for a beach in Washington!)

Here she is running back with her tennis ball (she LOVES her tennis ball!). It must be nice to have a dog that will chase and retrieve tennis balls. Makes it a little easier to wear them out!

And here she is getting dried off after a swim. She also really likes to swim!

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Belief -O -Matic

Thanks to Peg, I found, and took, the Belief-O-Matic quiz. Here are my results:


1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (89%)
3. Orthodox Quaker (86%)
4. Unitarian Universalism (80%)
5. Reform Judaism (71%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (70%)
7. Bahá'í Faith (69%)
8. New Age (69%)
9. Neo-Pagan (68%)
10. Theravada Buddhism (64%)
11. Secular Humanism (57%)
12. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (57%)
13. Seventh Day Adventist (55%)
14. Taoism (53%)
15. Hinduism (51%)
16. Sikhism (51%)
17. Jainism (50%)
18. Orthodox Judaism (48%)
19. Eastern Orthodox (47%)
20. Roman Catholic (47%)
21. Scientology (46%)
22. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (45%)
23. Islam (44%)
24. New Thought (42%)
25. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (34%)
26. Nontheist (31%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (25%)

Well, since I am an Episcopalian, I'm not horribly surprised that the Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants was 100%. Now if only I could figure out which one of my answers made them think that I was 34% compatible with the Mormon faith.....


Well, the agility play day and CGC test that was scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled. The rainy weather we've had the last few days made the agility field a pond and, unfortunately, not enough people had signed up for the CGC test to make it profitable. I'm hoping they'll reschedule it...

Oh well, Tori has done really well with her training and definitely had a chance to pass so I'm pretty proud of her. And, it proved to me that I really could train her to (possibly) pass the test in just over a week. Now, I'm thinking of entering her into an obedience trial at the Houston All Breed Dog Show in July. Will she earn a leg? I doubt it...But I bet she'd have fun doing it. Plus, it would force me to continue to work with her on a daily basis and would maintain and/or improve the skills we've already gained.

Time will tell...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I finally got the hint (I think)....

For the past few months I would come home from work and find that somebody (not sure who) had opened the yarn drawer, dug out a ball of yarn, and spread it around the living room. Not every day, just every now and then. And, while I don't know for sure who it is, I'm pretty sure who it is not - Tori and Boomer. This is one of the few times she is not on the suspect list. Why, you may ask? Because Tori is in her crate whenever I am not home - we won't discuss what she does when she's out while I'm gone. Suffice it to say that it was never spreading yarn around the room - she's much more destructive than that. :) And Boomer is in his cage. And if he weren't in his cage, he, also, would not be spreading yarn around the room.

So, process of elimination (and knowing the personalities of the remaining suspects), I figured Zoey, my almost 3 year old cat, was the culprit. I have no idea how she's managing to open the drawer but I'm pretty certain it's her. And it's only the natural fiber yarn (mostly wool, one time cotton) that she's pulling out. And it's only one ball of yarn (though not the same one) each time. I figured she was attracted by the smell of the yarn and resolved to put something heavy in front of that drawer. Well, every now and then, I would still come in and find a ball of yarn had managed to jump out of the drawer and spread itself around the room. At this point I'm starting to think she may be getting some help...She's not that big and doesn't weigh that much.

So, I just resolved to be more careful about making sure the heavy item was directly in front of the drawer and left it at that...

Until....One evening I was making dinner and saw this:

Now, how sad is that. She only has a cardboard box to sit in...no bed of her own (we won't discuss the dog beds scattered around the house, the double bed in the guest room, the queen size bed in the bedroom or the couch. )

So, I decided to knit her a bed. I'm using the Kitty Pi pattern and using some Knit Picks Sierra (gray and pink) that I had in my stash (no, not the yarn she kept removing....I don't have enough of that yarn to make the bed...). Since I don't have any DPN's larger than 10.5, I'm starting with those and will switch to a larger size when I change to circulars. I'm going to add some fun fur to the top, too, though I'm not sure which one yet.

Here's what I've done so far....

Who knew...Apparently she's been trying to tell me to knit her a bed and I was just too dense to pick up on it until she was seen sitting in a cardboard box...Now watch, she'll tell me I didn't use the yarn she wanted so she's not going to use it...:) You just gotta love cats, don't ya! :)

No, she's not spoiled at all...and yes, I will be making a second one for Tom, my other cat. :)