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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).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

So, how many of you dressed up in costume for Halloween? Be brave. Admit it. There is nothing wrong with it. I did. :)

My supervisor said that we could wear a costume at work today - with the understanding that we needed to wear something that we could work in. In other words, no flimsy, not much cloth costume. I chose to dress as a black cat. I already had the ears and the tail and I was able to find an inexpensive pair of black pants and a black shirt (which I already had, actually.) I had hoped to find an inexpensived (aka cheap) black tshirt but was unsuccessful. All the shirts I saw had some sort of logo on 'em and I didn't think that would work so well.

My coworker went as a witch - complete with green hair, red & white striped stockings, a hat and a broom. (FYI - that spray in green hair dye comes off on everything. Her shirt had a nice dusting of green on it. So did the microphone headset she used when she did her keeper chat. :))

What was so fun to watch were the reactions we got. There were three reactions we got, for the most part. 1) The person commented on the costumes (all positive, by the way), 2) The person smiled or laughed or in some other way acknowledged that we had on costumes (again, all positive) and 3) The person attempted to ignore the fact that there were two 30 something year old women walking around in costume (with zoo staff name tags, pepper spray and radios - hey, I might not have had my uniform on but I had on the other stuff that identified me as zoo staff.)

All of the zoo staff who saw us thought it was great - including several of the management team.

Just wait until next year. It will be even better. :) (Sorry, we don't have any pictures of us. I'm pretty sure several zoo guests took pictures of us but, alas, I don't have access to those. ;))

Monday, October 16, 2006

I really need to build an Ark....

Yup....Remember that rain storm that Houston had way back in June or July? The one where it took me an hour to get to work? Yeah, that one. We had more of that type yesterday and today. Yesterday wasn't so bad. No flooding. No deaths. No major road closures. Today was hideous. Four people died due to flooding - at least two of those were due to someone trying to drive through water that was way to deep to drive through. Even if you are in a SUV.

Once again, I discovered that the Hwy 288 and I610 interchange are a major low point and all the water feels that it must go there. It was impassable. As in, there was no way you were making it through. So, I had to take a few back roads to get in to work today. Took me an hour. But I made it and I was on time. :) The rain then decided to take a break for a while until the end of lunch. Then it decided to pour down again, off and on, until I left for home. That's when it decided to just let loose. Yea. I'm thrilled. We're talking 2-4" of rain per hour. So, for the second time in one day, Hwy 288 was closed at the I610 interchange. I took backroads home. It took me over an hour. However, that is a lot better than my friend's drive home. She left at 350 and got hom at 650. That's a three hour commute that should have taken 30 minutes. She doesn't live that far from me...

So, I just keep telling myself that it could be worse. At least it only took me an hour to get home today. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jonathan came from....

The Wild Animal Sanctuary at the Rocky Mountan Wildlife Conservation Center in Keenesburg, CO. We are so thankful that they allowed us to have to Jonathan. We are thrilled that he is here and can't wait to start working with him. He's a sweet, wonderful boy!

The sanctuary, unfortunately, is closing. And what a loss it will be. The owner of this sanctuary is someone who truly cares. He is very knowledgeable and is trying to do all he can to help animals in need.

(Yes, I've talked to him. He and his son drove Jonathan to us. He was able to walk Jonathan into a crate and was able to unload him when he got here. This meant that we did not have to anesthetize him simply to move him. He did this to reduce the stress on Jonathan. Goodness knows he doesn't have the time to just drive to Houston for the heck of it...He did it for Jonathan.)

Please check out the website and help if you can.

Ahhhhh.....Now how cute is this?

These are pictures of Bruiser, our Asiatic Black Bear (aka a Moon Bear). Isn't he cute?

And I can't forget Willie, our male Spectacled Bear. He's pretty cute too...when he wants to be....

All three photos were taken by my friend, Beth.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Baby Set Complete

Here's a picture of the baby set I knitted for one of the vet techs at the zoo. She didn't want to know the sex of the baby so I had to find unisex colors. Luckily it wasn't too hard. :)

The three items are the Baby Bib O'Love, the Heartbreakingly Cute Kimono and the Baby Burp Cloth. I had a lot of fun making them and I really really really hope she likes them!

All three items are found in the Mason Dixon Knitting book. (Have I mentioned how much I love this book?

What on earth is THAT?!

Well, folks, THAT is a Fossa (pronounced foosa or foosh). Pretty cool, huh? :)

We just received one last week from the Cleveland Zoo. He's a couple of years old and is named Hansel. No, the picture isn't of him. I haven't been able to get a good picture of him yet so I stole one from here. However, Hansel looks a lot like this guy to the left.

We're pretty excited to get him in. He's currently in quarantine but will be coming down to the building sometime next month. We're allowed to go hang out with him and Jonathan (the new lion, see previous post) on our way home. I got to feed him his rat tonight! :) He was very gentle when he took it too! (BTW - we work protected contact with the carnivores in the department, so I wasn't actually in with him! :))

Darcy Lou update

I know, I never really introduced her to y'all but here's an update anyways!

For those of you who don't know, Darcy Lou is a 12 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback that was dropped off at a shelter/rescue center in Texas. With the help of three different rescue groups (New Beginnings Animal Rescue League, Etosha All Hound Rescue and Ridgeback Rescue of the US) she is now safely in my house and a member of RRUS. For those of you who think that rescues don't work together, think again. This dog is proof that we do! RRUS would not have been able to get Darcy to me without the help of the other two rescue groups.

Since she was in desperate need of a dental and had two lumps on her neck that needed to be removed she went in last Friday for surgery. I'm glad to say that she came through with flying colors! She looks like Frankendog now but she's healing nicely. She will be available for adoption shortly. Her paperwork states that she is 12 years old but I don't think Darcy believes it. She acts much younger. She is extremely well mannered, housebroken, loves to go on walks, is now crate trained and excellent with other dogs, people and cats. What more can you ask for?

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Lion has Landed!

Whew! It's been a crazy day! When I showed up at work this morning there was a truck/trailer backed up to the clinic. On the side were various things referring to exotic animal rescue and I saw it was from Colorado. I had to go check it out. Why, you may ask? Because we were expecting our new lion today! And he's coming from a sanctuary in Colorado. (I apologize profusely because I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the sanctuary. I will post it as soon as I look it up!)

Jonathan is now hanging out in quarantine. He'll probably be there for about a month and then we'll introduce him to our two girls. :) He's six years old and had been at the sanctuary for 3 years. When Bruno died we started searching for another male lion. It took several months but we finally found one that we all liked and wanted. Better yet, he's laid back and doesn't appear to have any behavioral problems. He started off as someone's pet in Washington State. He was housed with a female tiger in a not so safe/secure quarters in the backyard. The woman was finally told that she could not keep them and the authorities contacted the sanctuary and asked if they would take them. They said yes and he moved to Colorado. Now, he's acclimating to Texas. Luckily we're entering our "cold" season so he shouldn't pass out from heat stroke. ;) We'll be going up to the quarantine area every day we can on our way home from work. Due to quarantine restrictions we cannot go visit Jonathan (or any other animal in quarantine) and then go back to our areas. We have to go home afterwards.

Isn't he handsome?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Secret Pal 9

Okay secret pal...Here's my questionnaire: :)

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love natural fiber yarns and natural fiber blends. I've used linen, cotton, wool and alpaca and have enjoyed knitting with all of them. I have not knitted with silk yet, though I will some
day! I have also enjoyed some of the ribbon yarns. In general, I don't like acrylics.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A drawer. I don't have anything specific to put them in yet. (I know, I know...)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting since January 2005. I consider myself to be either advanced beginner or intermediate. I have done some complicated things but there is still a lot out there that I don't understand (like cables, for instance...or Intarsia and Fair Isle.... :)

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No...though I should probably start one...hmmmm (I may be changing this answer in the near future...)

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
Hmmm...Let's see... Well, I love vanilla and honeysuckle. I'm not really fond of the heavy, floral scents. I tend to like the lighter ones. Cinnamon apple is another favorite, as is pumpkin spice. I also like lavendar, eucalyptus, spearmint, peppermint, and lemon.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Uhhh...Yes! :) I love chocolate - especially milk chocolate. Dove chocolate, Hershey chocolate, Ghiradelli chocolate, they're all good! :) I do not like coffee flavors, though so please, no mocha cappucino flavored chocolate! :)

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Mostly I knit. But I also like to do counted cross stitch. I do not spin, yet. I would love to learn though.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD).
Country music is what I listen to the most but I also have several cd's of pop, jazz, classical and even goth. I especially love Christmas music and have been known to play it year round. :) And yes, I can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
My absolute favorite color is green. I also like blues, purples, crimsons and greys. I prefer the darker colors but I do like some of the brighter ones. I really don't like the pastels or neon colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have several pets - 2 dogs (a dobe/lab mix and a rhodesian ridgeback), 2 cats, a macaw and New Guinea Blue Tongue Skink (he's a lizard :)) . I am also currently sharing my home with a foster cat and a foster dog (rhodesian ridgeback). I am not married and own my own home.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I love scarves but, unfortunately Texas is usually too warm to wear them. Same with the hats and mittens. We do get down to thirties or forties during our winter but it's not for very long (maybe a month or so, if we're lucky! :(). I do like ponchos alot. They're perfect for when it's a little cool in the morning or evening but warms up during the day! :)

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Let's see....I enjoy knitting (and felting) bags, dishcloths/towels, baby blankets and knitted tops (if they're simple! :)). I've almost completed Tempting II and want to start Sizzle (as soon as I get the pattern).

13. What are you knitting right now?
Right now? You mean I have to actually admit to how many projects I'm doing?! Okay -
I have a B4 Bag (just need to finish the handles and felt it) a Tempting II (joining the collar now), a Heartbreakingly cute Kimono (from the Mason Dixon Knitting book), a Flag Afghan for my dog rescue group (still on the blue field) and a pair of socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
YES! Who doesn't?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer circular. Usually bamboo or addi turbos.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
No, not yet.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Over a year. (It's the socks...) I think I'll be frogging them shortly and starting over.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas, though I really like Halloween too! (Yes, I realize it's an odd pairing. :))

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn? Does that count? :) Nothing specific. I have a lot of animal statues (especially bear stuff...I love Bears! The more realistic the better! :)) I also have a lot of stuffed animals and I read a lot. :)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Any of Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee's books, Knitting Nature, Knit Fix (Lisa Kartus)...I'm sure there are other books, I just can't think of them. I do not currently have a subscription to any knitting magazines. I would love to knit something with a silk or silk blend yarn and something using a hemp yarn. Those are two fibers I've definitely not knitted with yet. :) For patterns: The Shapely Tee and The Krista Tee by White Lies Desings and Sizzle (by knitandtonic).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Cables. I would really like to learn cables. And entrelac. And someday I want to learn how to do intarsia and fair isle.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Sort of. I like knitting socks, just haven't done many of them recently. Too many other things I'm wanting to do. ;) My foot is 8 3/4 inches long from toe to heel.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
April 21st


I apologize for not having a face shot but he just wasn't cooperating when I was trying to taking his picture...

This is Bruiser. He is an Asiatic Black Bear (aka - Himalayn Black Bear, Moon Bear) and was part of a large exotic animal confiscation that occured back in April of this year. This is the same confiscation that Ivan came from (who is now happily enjoying life at White Oak in Florida.) Bruiser is 31 years old and has severe arthritis. He is on medication for it and moves around well.

He is a wonderful, easy going bear who loves to hang out with us (especially with Richard. He can be sound asleep but if Richard shows up he's awake within seconds and looking for him!). He is also the favorite of many zoo staff. Luckily for Bruiser we had an empty exhibit that was perfect for a bear. In fact, it used to house sun bears. It's been empty for several years as we were planning on demolishing it. We still plan to demolish it, just after Bruiser passes over the Rainbow Bridge.

Asiatic Black Bears were, at one point, found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India, Southern/Northeastern China, Korea, Japan, Northern Indochina and the former Soviet Union. However, their range is now greatly reduced and fragmented. They also, unfortunately, are the favored animal for the trade in bear parts. Needless to say, they are extremely endangered.

For more info on Asiatic Black Bears, click here. For information about bears in general, click here. To learn more about the trade in bear parts and what one group is doing to stop it, check out the Animals Asia's China Bear Rescue website.

It's A Boy!

Yup. Our elephant has finally had her baby!

He was born on Sunday, October 1st at 445 am (yes, a.m.!) He also weighs a whopping 384 pounds! He is nursing and doing great. This is Shanti's second calf. Her first one died after a few months. Shanti is taking exceptional care of the baby and he's extremely precocious. If you would like to read about all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making this a successful birth go to this website. There are also some wonderful pictures on Mom and baby. The calf is, as yet, unnamed. Just like with the baby giraffe, we are allowing the public to vote on which name they like best. Keep checking the zoo's website and vote for your favorite name!

(photo is from the zoo's Elephant blog.)