Rainy Days and Mondays

I like rainy days, especially since we continue to have a little "issue" around water to our courtyard. As previously mentioned our water supply is controlled by an irksome neighbor and after pushing us to file with the insurance company they found that we were in no way liable for his damages when the valve in his unit failed. Hello? So now he’s mad with his and our insurance companies and doesn’t want to let the pipe be repaired. Condos, with fine lines between what’s owned and what’s common space, are complicated affairs that I’m only now in life learning about. Stick with single family housing if you possibly can. As long as it’s raining and keeping every thing lush, I’m going la-de-da on that one.

Mondays are zoo days and when it rains the zoo stays fairly quiet. I have been very busy working my way through the testing process on the various houses and exhibits and education carts and making good progress. But the effort reminds me that a forty hour a week paid position is probably not the right choice for me right now. Also, I heard back from the hospital (which was very nice considering they say right up front on the application that they are too busy to respond unless they are interested in you) and there were two problems: one, I am "over qualified." They don’t want to pay a salary commiserate with 35 years of experience. (Hey! I work for lunch!) AND I don’t speak Spanish. Bi-lingual was, in fact, one of the qualifications and I just sort of checked no and skipped on.

You know, that dates me too. Back when I was in college it wasn’t necessary to be fluent in anything but English and then barely so. We were so egocentric that English was the language of choice and the rest of the world could damn well learn to speak to us if they wanted to. So I took my two years of college French reading little bits of French literature and never conversing at all. I’m glad that has changed. First of all, it’s just too presumptuous. Secondly, the world is more fun if you can get to know people where they live. Abby knows ancient and modern Greek, she’s a nationally recognized Latin scholar, she speaks Spanish and Russian (and has a Russian e-mail account) and I suspect she’s learning Bulgarian. This is because she’s been dating some person named Ivan. I need to take a little trip to Florida in the near future. Just sort of drop in, ya know? I also need to hop around the corner to St. Vincent de Pauls and peddle my volunteer wares; perhaps I can learn Spanish on the job.

Mondays, when I arrive at the zoo, Adelar is usually standing tall and advertising his status with a series of mighty roars. The comical thing is that he always sort of tapers off into a conversational tone and continues on for any number of minutes before flopping down on his big rock. So it goes something like this: ROAR! RROOOAARRR! RRRRR-OOOOOOR! Roar! roar. roar. rah! ra. ra. ra- ra. Flop.
You really have to be there, but this is Adelar, going ra. ra.



Then I pass Molly, who sometimes does that thing that cats are want to do: she forgets to pull in her tongue.


This morning I did my test on penguins and seabirds and this afternoon I went on to a two hour one on one test in the McCormick Bird House and the Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit with the resident bird expert. Sixty seven species, top to bottom, up and down. I like the free flight room of the bird house with 14 species flying and waddling here and there in amongst the trees, bushes and rocks. This Nicobar Pigeon is a darn sight better looking than the ones that are fowling/fouling up the city streets and this Golden-breasted Starling is quite stunning, yes?



There’s also a bit of a mystery in the bird house. Over the weekend nine Mandarin ducklings hatched and they are darling balls of fluff- but eight look like Mandarin ducklings and one looks like a barnyard chick. Hmmmm…I’ll post pictures next Monday but in the meantime, here’s papa. And wish me luck- I’ll be doing a one-on-one in the big cat house. Who is felis and who is panthera? What is a melanistic leopard? And how many school children can simultaneously go potty in the downstairs bathroom of the Lion House? I’ll also be giving the operant conditioning talk in the great ape exhibit and then I think I’m more than two-thirds done. I got measured for my Steve Irwin jacket today.


My sweetie (the human trash compactor, soul mate and best friend) and I are going Sideways for a few days later this week, to visit friends in Napa, California. Toni was a friend from BCMA and our sons played the North Seas Jazz Festival in Den Hague together when they were fifteen- so we go back a ways. They moved from Ann Arbor the year before we did and we haven’t seen them since so this will be fun. Time with Rich, good friends and winery tours. What could be better? Rich says golf in Napa Valley so he’s taking his clubs. I’ll take my camera and post pictures.

21 responses to “Rainy Days and Mondays

  1. Awesome. May I recommend Learning Spanish Like Crazy (http://www.learningspanishlikecrazy.com/)? I bought their basic $99 download version in 2005. I am teaching summer school this summer in Watsonville — a nearby Spanish-speaking community. I am going to listen to the lessons as I commute an hour each way and will get to practice some of what I learn with my students. I find their lessons easy to learn from and their customer service is excellent. When I did the lessons in 2005, I didn’t have anyone to practice with so I didn’t get very far and then I entered my teaching credential program and extra time for spanish lessons was not an option.

    Love the animal pictures. That sticky-outie-tongued-kitty is adorable. Have fun in Napa — drink some GOOD wine! It should be lovely weather!

  2. Your photos are simply magnificent!

    The lion talk is almost audible, reading your version of it.

    I love tigers, and Molly is beautiful. My cats always have their tongues hanging out too.

    Could a melanistic leopard be a black one?

    That hospital could hire you AND an interpreter and do very well! Over-qualified indeed. Pooh on them.

  3. I love your photos of the animals. Your head is going to be so full that you’ll be spewing forth knowledge all over the place. The cats are great. I can just hear that lion now.

    A trip to California to visit old friends. How wonderful. Enjoy your time together. We’ll look forward to the photos.

  4. “I suspect she’s learning Bulgarian.” You may it sound like a sinister plot!

    I love your photos. The golden breasted starling is spectacular.

  5. I do love your tales of the zoo. And Napa Valley is a beautiful area; I wish I liked wine.

  6. The picture of Molly is my favorite.

    I need to learn Spanish. My little students try and teach me phrases and words and are very generous with their praise AND their giggles. I may check out that link that Lizalee left.

  7. Thanks for the great photos. I second the vote on the goldenbreasted starling. W O W ! Sorry about the job thing. As my husband says about stuff we miss out on, it wasn’t meant to be for some reason. Huumph. Have a great time in my former stomping grounds, the Napa Valley i.e. Calistoga and St. Helena.
    Bothe Napa Valley State Park has some neat nature trails and a visitor center…
    Do you have room in your fabulous garden for a rain barrel? Phooey on your neighbor.

  8. Just read over at Mamacita’s that you are also going to BlogHer, this year – YAY – hope to see you there!

  9. Magnificent animal photos. Now, how could any friend of mine flunk a test on penguins?!

    I did the same thing with foreign language study. I took French in high school and then in college, too.

    My husband learned Mandarin Chinese in the USAF during his time in the Vietnam War. It’s come in handy with his travels around the world.

    Our son is fluent in French now after 4 years of it. He took Spanish in elementary school. He wants to learn Asian languages.

    It’s all good.

  10. Your photo’s are always so spectacular – any chance you’d share the details on what camera/lens you’ve been using? (If you say Kodak Easyshare I will die a little bit because I’m not getting anything like that)
    Have fun in Napa!

  11. Something tells me it’s all happening at the zoo. Such wonderful photographic opportunities, along with all that knowledge. Fantastic stuff.

    I’ve got three years of high school and two years of college french. As much as I love the language, I wish I had learned spanish.

    Ah, Napa. Enjoy the fine wine and the golden rolling hills of California.

  12. Golly, what would you do for b**gs if you didn’t have a zoo?

    Napa is plenty good. Please provide pix of hubby’s hole-in-one.

  13. We watch movies with subtitles in Spanish.
    It is fun fun fun.

  14. Vicki. How long will you be in Napa? E-mail me. It just happens I am away this weekend, heading east believe it or not….but..

    Just e-mail me and let me know what your schedule is.

  15. Those are some beautiful zoo folk. If that is a starling, I wish the locals here would mate with one of those! It would pretty up the place.

  16. It looks like Adelar is singing an aria….. but Molly is not impressed. Too bad! I think my brother would say his problem is jet lag… just fading away after a few roars.

    Have a great trip! Perhaps we will have a decision here when you get back… actually we might have a decision by this evening.

  17. I always love your pictures! Great one of Molly just being a cat! The Starling reminded me of a 1940’s Hollywood Glam Queen!

    I have family in St. Helena and as I don’t live too far away, we go quite often. Golf at the Chardonnay Club is very nice! Enjoy your trip!!!

  18. My parents learned Spanish in their late 40’s early 50’s and now live in a Spanish speaking country where most of the communication is in Spanish. It can be done. 😀

    Have fun in Napa. This is the best time of year to be there, I think. When you’re there, face north and look over the mountain tops–I grew up in the county (Lake) just north of Napa on the other side of the Mountains you will see. Home of Kendal Jackson and Konocti and the Lakeness Monster. 😀

  19. guess what guess what…i’m coming your way!!!! email me 🙂

  20. Enjoy your trip. Wow, you were in one spot for what… almost a month?

  21. The photo of Molly really sends me :o) All of your photos are so sharp, Vicki!

    Maybe it is time to re-think a 40-hour/week job. You have so much to do, so how will you have time to work?

    Everyone should know a second language – it’s so enriching. But it still pisses me off when I get a phone menu, “For Espanole, press “1”, for English, press “2”. WHAAAAAT?

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