Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Today is the first anniversary of my Favorite Thing I Have Ever Done: purchasing my home. Having moved from place to place more times than I can remember, I am indescribably relieved to finally have a place where I can put down some serious roots. (And after having spent most of this sunny March afternoon out in the garden, I can say with confidence that the roots are coming along just fine.)

A year has passed and I find myself marveling at the newfound feeling of not having to wonder whether or not I will be in the same place for another season. In honor of the epic year behind us, and the many years and adventures to come, I’d like to share some of my favorite domestic scenes from our first year in our forever home. Here’s to flowers and sunny windows and snowy scenery and foster babies and beautiful sunsets and stacks of books and a house full of love. My Castle, my Fortress of Solitude, my Bliss Station: I hope I get to haunt you forever.


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I took my four older opossum babies back to the rehab center this afternoon to stay. They had tripled in size since I had taken them on just two weeks ago, and were already outgrowing the larger cage I had kept them in this past week. At the center, I carefully set up a large cage made of 2x2s and chicken wire. They got such luxuries as a big wheel, a hammock for everyone to sleep in, a full-size latrine, a shelf with little t-shirt nests, and a big plate of watermelon chunks for everyone. I also left a little note on the front of their cage saying, *Take Good Care of My Babies*

They loved it.

Even though it wasn’t quite their usual time yet for getting up and starting their evening activities, they spent at least an hour climbing all over the cage, sniffing out every corner, and of course chowing down on the most fruit they have ever seen in their little lives. Whenever I peeked in on them they would be up to some hilarious antic. They were already beginning to make good use of their big wheel, which could fit three of them at a time! Only problem was, if one opossum stopped running, she’d have to hang on for dear life because the other two would charge ahead and send her head over heels right around the top of the wheel, until she met up with them at the bottom. They also seemed very interested in checking out their new neighbors, which included a couple of older opossum litters on either side.

My little dude, however, is still with us. He has gained a mere 14 grams since the day he was rescued, but he has made remarkable progress nevertheless. To think that on that first day I was afraid he might not last the night, but now he is a bright eyed little lad who also enjoyed noming on some juicy watermelon this evening, and delighted me to no end by showing me how well he can use the tiny wheel that I hung inside his little cage.

That’s the memory I focus on at the end of this rather long day. Thanks, Small Fry.

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One fine day last summer, we were roaming around downtown Cincinnati on a trip to visit Jeff’s sister, looking for something to entertain us. Downtown Cincy isn’t always the most happening place, you know. While passing by some store fronts, a display of brightly designed skateboards caught Jeff’s eye, and he beckoned us back for a look. We were pleasantly surprised, and looked for the name of the store: Harper Studios. Hmmm. We tentatively ventured indoors, and were greeted by a small gallery space packed with art that instantly won us over.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was that everything was animals. Then, I noticed the incredibly unique minimalist style and the vivid colors. Things just kept getting better and better. These weren’t just paintings of animals, they were works dripping with personality and insight, full of charm. It was impossible not to smile as I recognized the quirky little habits of all the wildlife I love personified in these flat, two-dimensional images. Geometry and nature were fused into one medium which was guaranteed to win me over. We left with a catalogue of Charley Harper’s works, and kept coming back to enjoy the fun images time and time again that weekend.

Last Christmas, I had the great fortune of receiving not one, but three Charley Harper prints! They seem to blend in naturally with my decor and color scheme, and I never get tired of admiring them. Thank you Ang, Trese, and Jeff!

So who is this Charley Harper guy, and what is his studio doing hiding out in downtown Cincinnati?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Charley Harper was born and raised on the family farm in West Virginia, where he no doubt developed his keen perception of the quirks of nature. He left home to attend the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his wife and fellow artist Edie, and where he stayed on for years as a teacher. Eventually he worked in the commercial art world before opening his very own studio. He became immensely popular before he died in 2007, and his works can be seen in books, posters, and displays across the country. Since I fell in love with Harper’s gallery last summer, I’ve been more aware of his works popping up in random places. Walking through the education building at the Indianapolis Zoo, a Charley Harper print would catch my eye. Perusing photos of interior design spaces, I get excited when I notice a Charley Harper book artfully placed on a coffee table. And of course, at the Cincinnati Zoo there is a wealth of Charley Harper waiting to be noticed by the zoo-goer in the know.

What is so appealing about Charley’s works? Well, it has something to do with the way he takes an impossibly dense natural situation, and breaks it down with mathematical simplicity into a scene that instantly reflects the complex beauty of nature. Each image tells a story. As Charley used to explain it: “I don’t try to put everything in, I try to leave everything out.”

You’ll just have to see for yourself what we mean…

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Saturdays are exhausting days for me. But not in a bad way, because I get to work with animals all day long.

Starting at 9:30 in the morning, I’m loving my way through my work shift with all the furry faces. Sometimes I feel sad when they get adopted, and I worry about them and whether they are comfortable in their new home and whether they have a quiet place to sleep away from children and dogs. I refrain from heckling the adoption counselors with questions about who they went home with and what their family is like.

I grabbed a few photos today of some of my favorites. Okay, they’re all my favorites. Also, these adorable kids are all up for adoption to a good (very good, comfortable, quiet, and loving) home. 😉

Sorry for the crappy resolution. I still have a Stupid Phone.

After work, I immediately run home and grab Jeff, and we drive down to Bloomington to hang out with the wildlife. This part of my day involves seeing and interacting with fawns, opossums, raccoons, turtles, a crow, owls and hawks, tadpoles, songbirds, squirrels, bats, and sometimes even a skunk or two. It’s awesome. Just so exhausting.

Goodnight, sweet sweet sweet animals!

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I wanted to make a visual index of all the animals I got to help with while I completed my internship at the zoo this winter. Not only will this help me to remember what specific animals I handled and fed and cleaned up after, but it will serve as a visual memory jog so that ten years down the road I will be able to look back and say, “Oh yeah!”

These photos are not my own—I shamelessly stole them off the internets (hey, if you don’t want em stolen, don’t post em). But they do give a very accurate representation of all the furry, spiky, scaly, warty, hairy, fuzzy, feathered, slimy and lovable creatures that I’ve had the immense privilege of getting up close and personal with. It was certainly the experience of a lifetime! (And if I inadvertently left anyone out, please forgive me. It was a long 13 weeks.)

p.s. Scrolling over each image will tell you the name of the animal. 😉

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Here’s a quick little Saturday post to show off some of my favorite friends I made while working at the zoo this spring—Siri and Piper. They were both a pleasure to take care of, along with their respective male counterparts. And they shared one important (feminine?) trait—they absolutely loathed having their pictures taken.

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Christmas Photos

Here are just a few of the many reasons why my summer was simply amazing…


Under flowers…

And tiny marsupials…

Shiny things..

Mi amor..

Animals, animals..

More amor (+ animals)..

Cool trees in fave places..


And, of course, more kitties..

The End.

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Although I was not successful in my attempt to curb my Facebook usage last month, April turned out to be pretty astounding in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I did manage to accomplish a few of the things on my list, but the real joy came in unexpected packages.

April started off with a wonderful surprise gift. Jeff gave me a very special Marie-sized guitar, which he had carefully restrung so that I can play left-handed. I consider this to be perhaps the most thoughtful and generous gift I have ever received, as it includes not only the physical object (which is quite beautiful), but comes complete with a committment of the time and effort and patience that will doubtless be needed to teach me to play. School and work and life in general has prevented me from having the time to do any more than learn a few chords, though I did manage to learn my first melody, which is the intro to Tom Petty’s “Honeybee.” Needless to say I am very much looking forward to spending the summer aqcuiring my new musical skill.

So, one thoughtful turn deserves another, right? I decided to forego my studies for a night (an ENTIRE night!) and give my creative muscles a good flexing. Early one morning I stopped by Jeff’s to leave a special message. That message started with a splash of hearts..

…which climbed up the furniture..

..swarmed the windows..

..passed the friendly paper squid..

..and finally rested in the doorway, ready to greet as cheerfully as possible.

Though quite exhausting for 12 solid hours’ worth of cutting and taping, I think the results were well worth the effort!

My other unplanned April adventure came with a pretty epic road trip. Angela, Theresa and I drove to San Francisco, California, making the trip in just two days, with another two days to spend sightseeing and helping Ang get settled as well as she could in her new apartment there. Though the photos taken were numerous, I will post just one here which I think does a pretty good job of summing up the grandeur and beauty and adventure contained in those four short days that we were lucky enough to get to spend together.

Even with the coming of May and the end of the spring semester, my life has not become any less eventful. This week has been my very first working as an intern for WildCare clinic in Bloomington. The experience has been both overwhelming and wonderful so far. I wouldn’t even be able to recount all the different species I have seen in the past few days alone. And throughout it all the staff at the clinic have been amazingly patient and eager to let each of the interns gain the fullest experience possible. Several times I have had a baby raccoon or an opossum joey suddenly placed in my unexpecting hands, much to my utter delight.

I’ve learned so much about wildlife in the past two weeks that I can’t believe I ever thought I knew anything before now! I feel extremely privileged to be soaking it all up firsthand. On Monday I learned that opossum joeys are very fond of climbing on my braided hair, and that they have tiny, alligator-like mouths too big for their bodies, that can clamp down relentlessly on said braid, rendering me quite helpless. I’ve also learned that baby raccoon urine has a very distinct smell, especially when it is dropping in copious amounts onto the top of my shoe. Just today I learned how to sex a turtle, and how to get a starving nuthatch fledgling to eat. (How? you ask. Simple. Take a waxworm, cut it in half, heat in the microwave for a couple of seconds, soak in warm water, and serve. Num num.)

Unless you know me well I don’t think I can adequately relate just how delightful it is for me to be able to recount the past week and remember all the animals: the noisy starling fledglings, the robin, the box turtle, the coyote pup, the baby opossums and baby skunk and baby raccoons, the beautiful fawn, the clever crows, the tiny helpless hummingbird, the countless baby bunnies and the owls and the crazy squirrels. –it is going to take me most of the summer just to get used to the novelty of it all, though I never expect to stop being delighted with each and every new patient I have the good fortune to encounter.

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