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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).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

There's a KAL too!

So, I dicovered not only do the Mason Dixon Knitting authors have a webpage and a blog....They also are hosting a KAL and a Swap! Two Swaps, actually. One for the Euro Towels and one for the dishcloths. Like I need another project! But, really, dishcloths and towels should knit up fairly quickly, right? And I would be making it for someone and not for myself....and I would be getting one in exchange....hmmmm....I'm going to have to think about this....

I can already see uses for these towels and washcloths as gifts, silent auction items, etc...I can already tell that I'm going to have go stock up on some cotton yarn so that I can make Christmas gifts...Like I need another project! So many projects, so little time.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I REALLY want this yarn!

It's Euroflax Originals 100% Linen yarn (sportweight). Any color is fine (though I really really like the grape, crabapple blossom, navy, french blue, eggplant and sage)! The yarn, however, is about $16.00 per 100g skein. I may have to buy one skein here, one skein there....

I'm wanting to do the handtowels in the Mason Dixon Knitting Book. Here's their blog/website.

So, if any of you are out surfing the 'net or wandering through the local yarn shop and decide you want to get me something, this is it! :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Arrrh! There be pirates!

Can you tell I just got back from seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? I loved it!! Of course, I love Johnny Depp, too. I think he plays Captain Jack Sparrow extremely well. I can't wait until Pirates 3 comes out (yep, there's another one!). If you didn't like the first one, you're probably not going to like the second. And there's probably people who liked the first one but won't like this one. I, however, am not one of those people (see statement above).

The special effects are awesome! Truly magnificent. Davy Jones is just phenomenal. There's not a lot of story line. It's pretty much the same as the first one. Finding treasure, not getting killed and the two lovebirds are still trying to get married. Which is a little irritating but, hey, they have to have something for Pirates 3, right? So, if you interested in a good action flick with amazing special effects then go to the theater and see this movie!

Will you take me home?

Yep...I'm fostering a mom and her kittens for BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care in Houston). I couldn't resist helping them (no, I'm not keeping them...Zoey would kill me). I received an email from Kathy, with Saving Animals Across Borders, with a plea for foster homes. Well, I didn't think I could handle a dog right now so I offered to foster a mom and litter. This helps in several ways. It helps the animals that are being fostered. They are now in a home, eating a good diet, not surrounded by lots of other animals or people who may or may not care about them, and not exposed to all the illnesses that appear in an overcrowded facility. It also helps other animals. By my fostering these cats, it frees up a cage in the shelter. This means that they now have a place to put an animal without euthanizing another one. BARC is trying to do the best they can - and Saving Animals is helping them. The kids do have a slight upper respiratory, which we're working on (it's basically a cold...just trying to keep/build up their immune system so that they can fight it off. They should be available for adoption in a few weeks. Pretty cute, huh?

If anyone's interested, drop me a line. The kittens are 2 boys (pictured above) and 1 girl (at the top and the bottom). Mom is about 1 year old and the kittens are 2-3 months. They're really enjoying the extra space they have now (they're in my spare bedroom). They've been running and jumping and dive bombing each other. Mom's a love. She just wants to hang out with you and be petted. The kittens are all friendly too. All four of them are going to make nice companions for some lucky families. :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Barbaro Update

'We're in a Marathon,' Says Barbaro's Vet
by The Associated Press
Date Posted: 7/20/2006 8:05:19 AM
Last Updated: 7/25/2006 12:49:36 PM

AP Sports Writer
Day to day, for six straight days now, the reports on Barbaro have been good.

Good vitals, good attitude, stable.

Dr. Dean Richardson is looking way beyond those daily updates, however.

"His condition is not likely to change really fast any time soon," said Richardson, the chief surgeon attending the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner at the New Bolton Center. "We're in a marathon at this point.

"The issue is months, not days," he said Wednesday. "He has a long, long way to go."

As most racing fans know, the 3-year-old colt is recovering from a shattered right hind leg, which broke in three places shortly after the start of the Preakness (gr. I) on May 20, and severe laminitis in his left hind leg.

During a press conference last week, Richardson said the horse's prognosis for recovery was "poor," especially since most of the left rear hoof was cut away because of the often-fatal disease.

That hasn't changed.

"I'd be laughed out of the profession if I said this horse's prognosis is anything but poor," he said during a brief telephone interview from the center.

Richardson said Barbaro's condition shouldn't take any sudden turns -- for better or worse -- because it takes a long time to recover from laminitis.

"It is possible he could have a bad night, but it could be just a bad hour and we wouldn't go crazy about that," Richardson said.

He also said the shattered right hind leg, reconstructed with pins and plates, is "going in the right direction."

"Every day I'm encouraged," Richardson said. "No one wants to quit on this horse. No one wants him to suffer."

Casts on the horse's hind legs were changed Monday, and Richardson said the left one will be changed often so the laminitis can be treated. So far, he likes the way the hoof is healing.

"It looked as healthy as you could have expected it to look. I was very pleased," he said. "If you're not used to looking at that sort of thing, it might not look healthy."

Barbaro needs to regrow that hoof if he is to have any shot of walking -- albeit with a hitch in his gait. That might not happen until early next year, if at all.

"We're still talking months, many, many months," Richardson said. "We're talking about six-plus months, as far as how long to go if he grows one. The next few weeks, that's very important."

I am...

You Are Mint Green

Balanced and calm, you have mastered the philosophy of living well.
Your friends seek you out for support, and you are able to bring stability to chaotic situations.
You're very open and cheerful - and you feel like you have a lot of freedom in life.
Your future may hold any number of exciting things, and you're ready for all of them!

Thanks to Natalie, I now know what color green I am!

My Monster Name is....

Your Monster Profile

Shadow Strangler

You Feast On: Fried Chicken

You Lurk Around In: The Empire State Building

You Especially Like to Torment: Hippies

Monday, July 24, 2006

Other SP

For those of you who don't remember, I'm part of an Secret Pal exchange. Well, I decided to make my SP's package a Kool Aid Dyeing and Felting one. I bought some yarn and dyed it with Kool Aid (my first and second attempts at it!). I made sure to buy enough yarn to include some undyed yarn for my SP. I threw in the directions and some Kool Aid (along with the yarn I had dyed and put it in the box. I then purchased a pattern for a felted bowl (and the yarn to go with it) and threw it in the box too. I also tossed in some unrelated yarn that I also thought she would like. So, here's a picture of what my SP is getting!! I have had soooo much fun with this exchange. It has allowed me to try a new technique and to spoil someone. I hope she as much fun with the items as I did picking them out for her. :)

First attempt at Kool Aid Dyeing

Here's my first attempt at dyeing yarn with Kool Aid. Actually, it's my first attempt ever. I can guarantee, however, it won't be my last! I think it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself! :)

I had a lot of fun doing it and can't wait to explore more colors!

A Mob of Meerkats

And we were definitely mobbed by Meerkats!

My dad came down for a quick visit this weekend (arrived Friday night, left Sunday night). This was the first time he's been down to visit since he helped move me down to Texas. (It's not because he hasn't wanted to, it's just work and other obligations kept interfering.) He's working in Dallas last week and this week so decided the time was right for a visit to his daughter. This was also the first time he's seen my house, my workplace, my younger dog and cat and my bird. :)

I decided a visit to the zoo was in order (of course!). Since he loves meerkats I arranged with Sara, the Natural Encounters supervisor (which is the department that houses the meerkats) to have my dad go behind the scenes with them. We were able to get right in the enclosure with them (with ground rules of course) and he was able to feed them crickets (frozen).

Here are some pictures of the adventure:

He was also able to touch a Mouse opossum, a hedgehog tenrec, give a mealworm to a slow loris, give an elderly Mexican Porcupine a peanut, meet the Fennec Fox, touch a Tamandua and give the lion girls some goat's milk. I did not get pictures of all of that but I did get some of him and the tamandua:

And of him and the lion girls:

We then walked around and I showed him most of the animals I work with. He was able to see Bruiser, our Asiatic Black Bear and all three of our jaguars. I think the only one he didn't see was the snow leopard. You always need something to come back for!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Some News sites

This website (News Brief) shows headlines from newspapers around the world. It's very interesting to see what other countries are reporting. And to read their perspectives on world events.

Another interesting website/blog to look at, if you're interested in the current conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, is Anderson Cooper 360*. This blog doesn't just report the news. It also tells you what's happening to the people affected by the war.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fun Bear Enrichment

My department received two street sweeper brushes the other day. We gave one of them to the bears. Here's what they did with them:

Patty actually went to it first but Willie bulldozed his way in and chased her off. He doesn't share well. He's telling her to stay away in the bottom picture.

They appear to have enjoyed it and they'll probably have it for a day or two. Then we'll give it to another animal in the department. We bought these new and, let me tell you, they are heavy! It's eye opening to see a bear or a rhino or an elephant moving it out of the way with no apparent effort at all!

Ahh, to think like a cat!

So...Apparently, if you're in your cube toy you really aren't on the table?! Interesting. I love the logic of cats. :) Zoey's always been one to test the rules. Probably comes from being a dilute calico siamese mix.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I hate it when I run out of yarn for a project...I'm so close to being done with my B4 Bag but, yep, I ran out of yarn. I decided to make the I-cords a little longer for the handle and just didn't have enough yarn. I'm now off to find more of the yarn so that I can finish 1 1/2 I-cords...

All I want to do right now is felt it and show it off! I had hoped to have it finished by Friday so I could take it to the dog show with me but, alas, that is not to be...Oh well...It's not like I don't have other things I can be knitting. I mean, I do have two other projects (actually, I think 3 other projects...) on the needles and several waiting in the wings. I just wanted to be done with this one. Oh well. It's still appears to be turning out nicely and I can't wait to do another one!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

6" down, 9" to go

Yep...that's for my Tempting II. I've done 6" of ribbing. Now I only have 9" left. I'm almost halfway! :) I think it's turning out pretty good, if I do say so myself. :) Though I will definitely be adding a lifeline when I get to the collar. I would hate to mess up the collar and rip back to far! This project is perfect for taking places. I took it to a lecture the other day (The zoo hosts lectures throughout the year on various subjects. This last one was on Madagascar and was presented by our Conservation Director, Bill Konstant. Very nice guy, very knowledgeable on Lemurs.)

Anyways...I took it there and spent a very relaxing hour learning about Madagascar (it's wildlife, plant life, people, etc) and knitting away on my Tempting II. :) The ribbing is perfect for this because I don't have to pay a lot of attention to a pattern. I think next I'll take it to a movie (still need to see Pirates of the Carribbean 2!). Here's a couple of pictures of it so far:

It's almost done!

My B4 Bag is almost done!!!! All I have left is to sew up the bottom and make/attach the handles. I'm waiting for my DPN's to arrive (should be tomorrow or the next day) and then I can make the I-cord handles, attach them and throw it in the washer! I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out (and, of course, to taking it out and showing it off to people!!).

This isn't the greatest of pictures but it will do for now. After it's all felted and dry I'll take it outside and see if I can get a good shot. I still have to determine what buttons I'm going to use. I've seen several that I like...it's just a matter of actually deciding.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

More Barbaro

Barbaro Saturday Update: In Stable Condition With Good Appetite

by The Associated Press
Date Posted: 7/15/2006 11:30:09 AM
Last Updated: 7/15/2006 7:10:07 PM

By Richard Rosenblatt
AP Racing Writer

Barbaro had another "very good night" and remained in stable condition Saturday, a second day of positive news for the Classic winner being treated for an often fatal condition in his left hind leg.

"His heart rate and pulse are normal, and his appetite is good," Dr. Dean Richardson said in a statement issued by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

"He continues to respond well, looks good and has a positive attitude."

Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner who shattered his right hind leg a few yards out of the starting gate in the Preakness (gr. I) on May 20, has a severe case of laminitis in his "good" left hind leg and his chances of survival were called "poor" by Richardson on Thursday.

"We continue to monitor him very closely, and we are keeping him as comfortable as possible," Richardson said.

Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the George D. Widener Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Keep up with the good thoughts!!

Barbaro is showing some improvement!! I found this article on Bloodhorse.com. For more information about laminitis, follow the links at the bottom of this page.

Barbaro 'Doing Much Better' Friday Morning
by The Associated Press
Date Posted: 7/14/2006 8:29:40 AM
Last Updated: 7/14/2006 11:04:00 AM

Barbaro was doing "much better" Friday morning, a day after his veterinarian said the classic winner was a "long shot" to survive a potentially fatal hoof disease.

"He had a good night last night, and even slept on his side," Dr. Dean Richardson said Friday at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals. "He's doing much better."

"Barbaro was out of his sling for more than 12 hours yesterday, and he had a calm, restful night, sleeping on his side for more than four hours," Richardson said in statement issued later in the morning by the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. "While his condition is stable, it remains extremely serious."

Richardson appeared a bit more upbeat than he was Thursday, when he told a packed news conference that Barbaro has a severe case of the disease laminitis in his left hind leg, and termed his condition "poor."

Impressive winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Barbaro shattered three bones in his right hind leg just a few yards after the start of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) on May 20.

Barbaro looked every bit the champion Thursday, but it's how he acts in the next few days that will determine how much longer he lives.

Laminitis, Richardson said, is an "exquisitely painful" condition, and Barbaro has a case so bad that 80 percent of the Derby winner's left hoof wall was removed Wednesday. It could take as long as six months for the hoof to grow back. The disease is often caused by uneven weight distribution to a limb, usually because of serious injury to another.

While the news was good Friday, Barbaro's condition could change at any time.

"If he starts acting like he doesn't want to stand on the leg, that's it - that will be when we call it quits," a blunt Richardson said Thursday at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

"It could happen within 24 hours," he added.

The vet, who has been treating Barbaro since the colt's breakdown, said Thursday that Barbaro looks fine - "his ears are up, he's bright, he's looking around." But that doesn't reflect the true nature of his condition.

"I'd be lying if I said anything other than poor," he said. "As long as the horse is not suffering, we are going to continue to try to save him. If we can keep him comfortable, we think it's worth the effort."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Knitting update

I thought I would post an update on my knitting projects. I currently have three that I am trying to finish. I've decided that I have to finish at least one before I'll let myself start another project...

So, I've got my B4 Bag, Tempting II and Kitty Pi. I did have the Americana afghan but I think I need to change needle size. I was working a very bulky yarn on size 8's and it was killing my hands. I'll redo the swatch and math for a larger needle size.

My B4 Bag is doing great!!! I'm almost done. I just did the last bobble row and am almost to the last bump row. I realized that I did not have size 13 DPN's so I got on ebay two nights ago and found someone selling 14 sets of dpn's (size 1 - 15) for 19.99 plus shipping. I decided that that was a pretty good deal and bought them. They should be here about the time I'm ready to use them too which will be nice. :)

My Tempting II is going along well. The ribbing is a bit boring but not too bad. It's great for at the movie or a lecture or anyplace where you're attention is also on something else. It's pretty mindless and just knits itself. :) I love the yarn too! The Rowan Calmer is knitting up soooonicely!

The Kitty Pi is going well also. I'm done with the increases and am now on the even knitting part. We'll see how it turns out. I'm not sure it's going to be big enough (once felted) for either of my cats but we'll see. It was a great project to use up some leftover yarn.

That's about all right now. I'll post pictures soon!


After posting the news about Barbaro I was looking for something to cheer me up. Here's what I found (thanks to Tricotine who found it on Beatrix's site). It is a Cyborg Name Decoder.

Here's mine:

Synthetic Unit Skilled in Assassination and Nullification

I would never have guessed that. Though I do feel like assassinating and nullifying people on occasion.

Barbaro's in trouble

Barbaro is in serious need of prayers, white light, good thoughts, and/or zen. He has developed "acute severe" laminitis in is uninjured left hind foot. His chances at recovery are now considered poor.

"Speaking at a press conference Thursday morning, Dr. Richardson stated that Barbaro's laminitis is "as bad a case as you can get." In a resection procedure done a few nights earlier, a large portion of Barbaro's hoof wall was removed, and just 20% of the wall is still attached to the coffin bone, according to Richardson. His left hind leg is in a foam cast presently as they try to re-grow the hoof wall...."

"For now, Barbaro appears comfortable enough. "He nickers, he's eating well, he has excellent G.I. function, his temperature is normal, his heart rate is good, and he is capable of walking around his stall," said Dr. Richardson. "His owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, and his trainer, Michael Matz, visit him daily, and the Jacksons' absolute concern--their only concern--is for the comfort of the horse on a daily basis. We will go on as long as the horse acts normally."....

For the full article, click here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Barbaro has developed complications

Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later but I had really hoped it wouldn't. Barbaro, the winner of the Kentucky Derby who broke his hind leg in the Preakness, developed an infection in the injured leg. He had a consistently high temperature and showed signs of discomfort. As of today, the hardware holding the injured leg has been replaced once and the cast has been replaced 6 times. They initially placed a longer cast on the leg (to provide more support) but it appeared to bother him so it was replaced with a shorter cast. He continues to receive visits from his owners and his trainer at least twice daily. He is also being treated for a couple of small abscess in his left hind hoof.

Here are links to relevant articles:

Barbaro's Cast Replaced for Sixth Time

Another cast change for Barbaro

Barbaro's Owners Hopeful Setbacks Are Minor

Barbaro has developed "potentially serious" complications

And, of course, make sure you check out the Barbaro Update page of the Tim Woolley Horseracing website.

Our prayers are still with you Barbaro.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Death to Stuffy

This morning I caught Emma with one of my stuffed animals. (Yes, I have stuffed animals. :)). I removed it from her cute little mouth and replaced it with one of the dogs, a stuffed Booda lion.

Well...this is what I found when I walked into my bedroom a few minutes later. She had help though. There were two culprits on the dog bed in the bedroom. And one of them was NOT Jack. I'm sure you can figure out who the second shredder was. :) At least it was one of their stuffed animals and not one of mine. (They did that last night! :( At least it wasn't a favorite one....It was my own fault, though. I'll admit it. It was on the floor and they seem to have the idea that if the stuffed animal is on the floor (or anywhere within reach) that it belongs to them...sigh...)

Yesterday I also made the mistake of throwing the ball for Emma. She's a lab. She loves to chase the ball. And what's even better is she'll actually bring it back to me. Well...now she thinks I am her bestest friend in the whole world and keeps bringing me the ball or the rope toy for me to throw. :) How can I resist? Of course, it's a little hard to type, knit or fold laundry while having to toss a ball or toy ever few seconds! :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tempting II

I casted on my other KAL project - Tempting II. I'm using Rowan Calmer, the yarn called for in the pattern. I really like this yarn! It's soft and has a lot of give to it. The color I chose is a nice turquoise color. It's been discontinued - which is one reason I chose to get this color instead of one of the others. I can always make the shirt again in another color if I want. But I wouldn't be able to use this color.

Here's my progress so far:

Not too bad considering I started it a couple of days ago. :)

Tori's playmate

Tori has a playmate visiting this week. Emma, EC's 2is year old chocolate lab puppy, is here visiting while EC is on vacation. I met EC at Tom Bass Regional Park and picked up Emma last Friday. EC'll come pick her up from my house this coming Sunday, before I go to work.

She and Tori have been playing pretty much non-stop. And it's not quiet play either. It sounds like I have a huge dog fight happening in my house when those two start roughhousing. And, to add to the noise, Jack decides he has to bark at them. I'm not sure if he's just trying to join in or if he really thinks Tori is in trouble. Either way, it's really really really loud! And, to make it even more fun, they've been doing it in the house because of the rain. :) (I'd prefer they roughhouse outside, actually...) Here are some pictures of them playing. Tori really is very excited to have Emma over. Now, whether my house will survive Emma's trip has yet to be seen! :)

Tori start's off as the prey but then recovers and tries to take Emma down. Then, they decide to work together and take down the green spider (a favorite prey item here!). Then, they moved to the couch and Tori was once again the prey!

The other favorites are the bones. The ones that have stuff in them. I have four of them floating around the house (they've been here for months). What's neat about the bones is once the initial filling is gone, you can refill it with other things (peanut butter, cheese, yogurt, etc), freeze it and it becomes a whole new toy! And it keeps them busy for a (relatively) long time. :)

She's been a pretty good houseguest. As good as a 2is year old lab puppy can be! She's fascinated by the bird (who could care less) and the cats (who would rather she wasn't). The cats can't wait for her to leave. :) I keep telling them it's good for them. It's enrichment! :)

I think I need to build an Ark...

It has been raining here off and on since Sunday. And I'm not talking a nice drizzle of rain. I'm talking about RAIN. And Thunderstorms. And when it's not raining, it's cloudy and overcast. It reminds me of when I lived in the PNW. :) Unfortunately, I don't actually like being out in the rain. I'll do it if I have to but rainy weather is not something that encourages me to be outside doing a project. Plus, the dogs don't like it. I've been having a heck of a time getting them to go outside. They all think they're going to melt. Jack has the added fear of storms so he's been getting quite a bit of melatonin to help him relax. And it's supposed to continue into next week. The percentage is lower but it's still there.

On a good note - the rainy, stormy weather canceled the fireworks show that was scheduled for a park near my house. While it is disappointing that we couldn't see the fireworks, it meant Jack didn't have to deal with those along with the storms.

So much for me going out and about this morning. I think I'll get my inside stuff done today and, if the weather clears up for a little while this afternoon or sometime tomorrow, I'll do my outside stuff. (I'm not a fan of mowing my lawn in the rain...) I also need to go to the bank and the library but both of those can wait as well. During my work week I haveto go outside when it rains. I'm going to avoid it if I can on my weekend! :)