Category Archives: photos


So there’s a saying. Shell-shocked. Which I think is a precursor for the more modern PTSD.

Is there a saying, “snow-shocked?” If there isn’t, can there be? Can it be a thing we institute? Because when I woke up this morning and saw that it was snowing again, I think “snow-shocked” might be the definition of how I felt. Not happy or sad or mad. Just cold and dead inside like a robot. “More snow. Yes. Shovel. Yes. Cold. Yes.”

I was warned (and I knew) when I moved here there would be snow. We’re right next to a lake, so we get lake-effect snow. But I don’t think I was prepared for this MUCH snow. I mean, I don’t know if you CAN be.

So far this year (this YEAR, which we are TWELVE DAYS INTO, mind you, so that’s not counting the two storms of over a foot each we got in November and December), this town has received a total of 49″ of snow.

That’s over four feet of snow in 12 days. Most of it arrived between Tuesday and Saturday this week. There is nowhere to PUT all this snow. Here. Look.

This is the view from my front porch. There's a road there. I think. Somewhere.

This is the view from my front porch. There’s a road there. I think. Somewhere.

I have snow removal people. They've stopped having anwhere to PUT the snow, so I've had to be creative with where to park. I'm kind of on the lawn here. Not that you can SEE the lawn.

I have snow removal people. They’ve stopped having anwhere to PUT the snow, so I’ve had to be creative with where to park. I’m kind of on the lawn here. Not that you can SEE the lawn.

Now, I grew up in a town where there was a lot of snow, and it was very cold. I’m a native New Yorker. This isn’t new to me. But, just for comparison, let’s look at the average snowfall for some of the places I’ve lived in my life.

Albany 59″ – OK, this is manageable. That’s about 5′ a year. And it’s not like it falls all at once, or anything. The roads are crappy and everyone forgets how to drive, but that’s fine.

The town where I grew up gets, on average, 74″ a year. OK, that’s a bit more. Plus it’s super-cold there. Lots of negative temperatures. It’s the frozen tundra up there. I was a kid when I lived there, though. I let my parents worry about the cold.

Binghamton 83″- Yeah, I’m not super-surprised about this. I went to college here, and it would start getting gray about October and last through May, and it would snow and snow and SNOW. I didn’t have a car, so I’d have to slog to the bus stops in all that snow and my feet would be FREEZING and I’d be one of those sad people you’d see waiting for the bus all bundled up and shivering and snow-covered. But I was, again, young. And I used to drink a lot then. Probably I was too tipsy to realize how much snow there was, who knows.

Flagstaff 100″ – So, funny story, when I moved to Arizona, I thought Flagstaff would be warm, because I didn’t do any research? But it was NOT always warm. It was pretty damn cold, actually. And it was in the mountains and it snowed. A LOT. Once I was at work and elk walked right up to the door. Because they thought it was their world and not human-world. BECAUSE ALL THAT SNOW. (It was pretty damn cool, though. Elk!)

Watertown – ok, what do you think the average snowfall is in Watertown? It kind of varies site by site, but here’s what I found, and I think it’s probably right. Ready?

112″. ONE HUNDRED TWELVE INCHES. This sounds like it might be right, considering it’s not even mid-January and we’ve already had approximately 73″. 112″ is over 9 feet a year. NINE FEET. I’m not even SIX feet.

I’m quite sure I moved to some sort of alternate snow planet, where this is ALL THAT HAPPENS. Everyone here keeps laughing that it won’t end until May. THEY ARE NOT KIDDING. We all have this hundred-yard stare going on.

All we write about at work lately seems to be snow. Coworker R. and I came up with the latest Syfy movie title: “SNOWQUADO!” Part snowstorm, part earthquake, part tornado. Since these movies have to star an 80s star, it will star both Milli AND Vanilli* (two’s better than one, right? And it’s not like they’re doing anything these days) and be QUITE a hit.

Want to swing on my porch swing? Just wear your snowpants.

Want to swing on my porch swing? Just wear your snowpants.

In good news, I work about 3 minutes from my house, so the drive isn’t that bad. And when I get out, it’s about 1am, so I can drive really slow in the middle of the street and no one much cares.

The snowbanks are as tall as I am. Today the garbage man put my garbage can on top of one and how the hell was I supposed to get that down? I mean, I DID, but not without it falling on me. Gross.

The snowbanks are as tall as I am. Today the garbage man put my garbage can on top of one and how the hell was I supposed to get that down? I mean, I DID, but not without it falling on me. Gross.

The cat’s loving this. This is weather meant for cuddling and sleeping in and purring all night long. Sadly, one of us has to go to work to pay for cat food and Pringles, so I can’t stay home and purr all day, as much as I’d like to.

My car's there. I can't get to the garage. (I can't park in there anyway; that's where the landlady keeps the lawnmowers. Don't ask.)

My car’s there. I can’t get to the garage. (I can’t park in there anyway; that’s where the landlady keeps the lawnmowers. Don’t ask.)

I keep expecting there to be penguins. So far, there have been no penguins. What good is this kind of weather without penguins?

One hundred and twelve inches. Heaven help me.

And I'm pretty sure these icicles are trying to kill me.

And I’m pretty sure these icicles are trying to kill me.

*I have been informed by a very kind reader that Rob Pilatus from Milli Vanilli killed himself in 1998, a fact about which I had no idea. So, that joke fizzled. Not in the least bit meant as an offense toward Mr. Pilatus or a slight on mental health issues, which you all know are very near and dear to my heart. My apologies, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention if you are struggling with mental health issues and feel like you’re going to do something final to yourself, please call someone for help – you matter too much and owe it to yourself to do this. Trust me, ok? If you’re not comfortable talking to someone you know, there are plenty of wonderful groups that are happy to talk to you anonymously, and are WAITING to talk to you, which you can find a list of here. Thank you for letting me know about this, B., and much love to you all.

A new year post on the actual day. Go me.

Happy new year, people of the interwebs! OK, so I missed New Year’s day for some of you. I know. I’m the worst at thinking in a timely fashion for other time zones. Please forgive me, other time zones. Here is a photo of Dumbcat looking pensive to make up for my transgression.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire and get soceel securtee so Momee can stay homee and pet my furrs all the dayys.

A couple weeks ago at work, one of my most favorite coworkers (there are a lot of them…I kind of work with the best people in all the land) and I were talking about blogging. Here, I’ll give you our conversation. If he happens to read this (and I suppose he might, the internet’s a very small place sometimes), apologies in advance for stealing your words and putting them on the internets for all to read, one of my most favorite coworkers whose name I will not put on the blog because I’m about 99% sure it would embarrass the pants right off of you and I enjoy you so much I would never want to do that to you. Plus, also, workplace harassment, yo, I can’t be taking work-people’s pants off. I think there’s a seminar or something about that.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick's face. It's like she's oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she's looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don't even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick’s face. It’s like she’s oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she’s looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don’t even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

Impressive Reporter Coworker: So I noticed the other day you’re a tweetaholic. You have over 20,000 tweets!
Me: Oh. Yeah. I used to tweet a lot. I don’t do that anymore.
IRC: Why?
Me: Oh, kind of a long story. I used to blog? And then tweet a lot, kind of in relation to that? I kind of fell out of practice.
IRC: You had a blog?
Me: Yeah. I kind of still do, I guess, but it just sits there.
IRC: What was it about?
Me: Um. Mostly me ranting about some things and making fun of other things? Also I talked about zoos a lot.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-Proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

IRC: And people would read it?
Me: Heh. Yeah. Lots of people would read it. I won some awards. And I met amazing people. And I went to Finland last year. Got to stay with people I met through blogging, actually. It was fantastic.
IRC: So…what happened?

And I didn’t have an answer for him. Not really.

What happened? Oh, I don’t know. Life, I guess. Andreas and I have spent copious amounts of time discussing that. Priorities change. Things change. People come in and out of your life. Moods rise and fall. Jobs come and go. I can most sincerely say that the person I was three and a half years ago when I started blogging isn’t the person I am now. I think back on that person and she seems like a complete stranger to me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of her; it’s that I don’t know her at all, and I don’t know how I ever was her. I have a record that I was, I can look back on old posts and I know I wrote them, but as for remembering it, it’s kind of fuzzy. Too much water under the bridge.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking…and I realize there’s this itchy little part of me that wants to start writing again, and writing more. Otherwise I’m going to probably self-destruct.

I’m not juvenile enough to think resolutions ever stick. The first day of the year always seems so shiny and new, doesn’t it? Like you can accomplish anything. Like you have 365 days of newness (ooh, 366 this year, yeah?) to tackle and make your own. But I don’t know about you…but every resolution I’ve ever made has fizzled around February once you realize “oh, look, this shiny new year is very much like last year, what are the odds, yo.”

Instead, I’m going to be kind to myself, and promise myself I’ll do things that are good for me – and writing’s good for me. So writing here? Good for me. Writing poetry, essays, maybe even some short fiction? Good for me. And it’s good for my mind, because I need it to stop being so itchy. An itchy mind never did anyone any good.

(Side note: I have an amazing job, and every now and then I get to write. I got to write part of an article – FOR THE ACTUAL PAPER! – a couple months ago, and then got asked to write a LONG article for one of our related publications. A three-page article about traveling to Albany and all the things you can do there. It’s not online yet – will be eventually, and then you can read it, if you’re so inclined – but long story short, I get to write for work. I also get to do our social media, copyedit, proofread, and sometimes there’s totally a STOP THE PRESSES! moment with late-breaking news which makes me jump around in my chair because I feel like I’m in a 40s film with very impressive fedoras. My coworkers are fantastic, because they’ve totally accepted me even though I’m the biggest goofball. And I can say, with 100% certainty, I’ve never had a job where I can be more myself, and where I’ve felt more immediately at home with the people, than this one. Ever. When you can completely dork out about something three days in and no one even bats an eye? You have won employment.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I'm in "His Girl Friday" only there's a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m in “His Girl Friday” only there’s a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

I’m kind of rambling, here.

Anyway: I have a couple of people I’m going to encourage to blog, and they’re going to, in turn, encourage ME to blog, this year, so we’re responsible to one another as well as being cheerleady. And this will, hopefully, stop the brain-itching and get me back writing and being creative.

Happy New Year, internets. I hope your 2014s weren’t as fraught with weirdness as mine was (and most people I know had a TERRIBLE 2014, what’s going on, 2014, why were you so cursed?) and your 2015 looks like 366 (or 365, sorry, people of other time zones, I really meant to do this earlier in the day but I was too busy painting a unicorn head to go over my new fireplace…YES THAT IS REALLY A THING I DID TODAY, WHY ARE YOU ASKING) new and shiny days of awesome that you can tackle and wrestle into submission and make yours, all yours.

This is my unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don't have a name for him yet, but I'm leaning toward Reginald von Sparklenstein.

This is my new unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don’t have a name for him yet, but I’m leaning toward Baron Reginald von Sparklenstein.

Much love to your shiny little new-year faces. *smooch*

Who knows what evil lurks in the depths of your morning brew?

This isn’t a real post. Well, I suppose it IS, but it’s not. I have half an hour before I have an appointment (day off today, baby! LADY OF LEISURE!) and when I get home will be working on the real post which will go up tomorrow unless I am kidnapped by a Yeti. But you deserve something. It’s a beautiful Friday. Sunshiney and all.

So a couple weeks ago, I was shopping for sj‘s birthday present (Think Geek really is the best for all things awesome, and no, they’re not paying me to say that, but if they WANTED to pay me in, oh, I don’t know, gift cards, I’d take ’em) and saw a present I knew would be perfect for Andreas. Sometimes that happens. I can’t help myself. I see a thing and think of one of my loved ones and it just pops into my cart. I might have a problem. Some people have a problem with impulse-buys; I have a problem with impulse-buys for my friends. (And lately, shoes. What the hell? I’m almost middle-aged, have never cared about shoes in my life, and suddenly have discovered the joy that is well-made, nicely-fitting shoes. AND I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM. I apologize that I always scoffed at you people and your love of shoes.)

So I bought sj’s presents, but also the present for Andreas, all on-the-sly-like, and mailed it off to the land of Finns without telling him. It was supposed to take two weeks to get there. The lady at the post office was VERY STRICT about this.

It took four days. What the hell, USPS? It took my dad, who is about four hours away, three days to get his Father’s Day present; it took Andreas four days to get his present, and he is on A WHOLE OTHER CONTINENT. I find this suspicious.

Anyway, once he opened it, I was treated to the following on Instagram, which I thought you would all enjoy.

“Enjoying a perfectly innocent-looking cup of cappuccino.”

Enjoying a perfectly innocent-looking cup of cappuccino. @lucysfootball

“But what’s this? Something is poking out of the coffee!”

But what's this? Something is poking out of the coffee! @lucysfootball

“Mein Gott im Himmel! Eine kleine Tintenfisch!”

Mein Gott im Himmel! Eine kleine Tintenfisch! @lucysfootball

Hee! WIN! I bought Andreas this:

It’s an Octopus Surprise Mug! Because he loves octopuses. And also I love surprises.

Time to get my oil changed. I assure you that’s not a euphemism. (Side note: I was up until 2:30am last night because I had to drive to Massachusetts, watch a play, come home, and review that play. I woke up at 9:30 but wasn’t happy about it. Maintenance came to fix my wonky air conditioner at 10-ish. I was in pajamas and my hair looked like I’d slept with a bunch of wolves last night who spent the night playing hairdresser with their paws. And he’s apparently a new maintenance man I didn’t know existed. AND HE IS SUPER-HOT. So the whole time I tried to hide behind the entertainment center and smooth my hair down surreptitiously. AND HE WAS EVEN NICE TO DUMBCAT AND COMPLIMENTED HIM ON HIS STUB TAIL! Oh, good grief, life, why are you trying to kill me.)

Oh, and SIDE NOTE TO THE SIDE NOTE: he didn’t even fix my air conditioner, because randomly last night, it started working again. SIGH. He said to call him again when it’s not working. I will, sir. I WILL. I will call you and you can bet I won’t be wearing ripped jogging shorts and a stretched-out teeshirt NEXT time. Rawr. (I’m exaggerating. I don’t even own anything that’s more dressy than that.)

Happy Friday, all. And hey, Andreas? You’re the best. Most sincerely. Don’t know what I’d do without you. So stick around, you. OK? Good. Glad we’ve settled that.

Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Four

OK, I’m super-sick, but I am determined to soldier on. I AM A BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER. I went to a play tonight and now I am home and feel like utter crap but at least I feel like crap on my couch. That’s the best place to feel like crap, probably. Or your bed. Your bed is also a good place to feel like crap. Preferably with a Dumbcat curled up purring next to you because Dumbcats make you feel better when you are coughing and feverish. Or at least they try to.

And, before I get started, happiest of all happy Mother’s Days to all the mothers who are reading. This is all-inclusive and includes everyone who does mothering, even those who haven’t birthed an actual child through their actual birth canal in an ouchy-ouchy way. So, all mothers of all things, and people who adopt, and same-sex couples, and dads who single-parent, and moms who have lost children, and anyone else I might be forgetting  – you are all wished the happiest of days from me and I celebrate every one of you. All the love to all of you. Amy’s Mom received so many roses this year and was so surprised because I could never afford that before, and they are in many places in her house and I got a “YOU ARE THE BEST DAUGHTER!” so that was a total Mother’s Day win in Amy-land.

So, now we are on to our last day in Baltimore, which was Sunday. We decided to not do a billion things on the last day, mostly because we were very tired. Well, at least I was. And R. and A. were nice enough to agree they were as well, whether or not they REALLY were. We did so many things! It was time for a little calmness.

Our trip Sunday was to something MERKAN! And NATIONAL! And PATRIOTIC! Any guesses?

Fort McHenry!

Now maybe you don’t know about Fort McHenry. I didn’t know about it. Other than it was something Merkan. Here are some bullet-points about Fort McHenry if, like me, your school was sadly lacking in good American History classes (or perhaps you kind of had a little crush on your American History teacher so you spent time daydreaming about him and not paying as much attention as you should have, I don’t know your life):

  • It is three things: a National Park, a National monument, and a historic shrine
  • It was an actual fort in the war of 1812
  • It defended against a British attack in Baltimore harbor in 1814 (were you aware the war of 1812 was so LONG? I wasn’t)
  • While watching the battle, a Washington lawyer was so impressed by the fact that the men at the fort held off the British and that the American flag stayed flying the whole night through, he was inspired to write a song. What do you think the lawyer’s name was? Well, it was Mr. Francis Scott Key. And that song was the “Star Spangled Banner.” BAM, MOFOS!

Yes! This is the actual place that inspired our NATIONAL ANTHEM! MERKAN HISTORY, YOU GUYS!

Now, I feel the need to give you a disclaimer. I know I kind of bag on Merka. Mostly by calling it Merka. And shaking my head at things that happen here in Merka, like Truck Nutz and Fox News. But here’s a huge secret, that, ironically, will not be a huge secret once I tell you: I love Merka. So much. I am so jazzed by the history of my country. It makes me have goosebumps. It makes my whole heart thrill. I love the thought of my scrappy forefathers who believed so strongly in our country holding off against the British. I love the national anthem. I love history and battles and monuments and things that made our country great. I think our country could still be great. I believe a great deal in our country, and it makes me sad, what it’s become. Dad finds this fierce patriotism of mine funny. “For someone who’s part of the enemy’s team, you really do love our country,” he says. (The enemy’s team = Democrats.) “You might be the only Dumb-o-crat who actually loves America. So that means you’re not really a Dumb-o-crat and you’re just confused. Any day now you’ll come over to the right side.”

First we walked all around the fort. Guess what I stood on? NO, GUESS!

THE RAMPARTS! The ACTUAL “o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!” I WAS ON THE RAMPARTS!

There were many cannons. This whole place was surrounded by cannons. ALL THE CANNONS. I wanted to ride on a cannon because that seemed very Merkan, and we even found one cannon that didn’t say “Don’t climb on this, Amy” but it was kind of rusty and I was afraid I’d get my pants dirty.

This is the view when you’re walking around the Fort. It’s beautiful. The bay is right there and you can see all the boats. It was a little chilly and windy, but that’s what happens when there’s water.

I kind of forgot to take enough photos. Luckily, A. took some photos and he’s GOOD, you guys. Like, artistic-good. He said I could steal. I’m giving credit, so it’s not as much STEALING as it is kind of borrowing, I suppose.

Look, he has this awesome setting on his camera where he can take a bunch of photos and make them into ONE LONG PHOTO!  Isn’t this so pretty?

So we walked all around, then we went INTO the fort, and you could go into some of the rooms. One of them had teeny-tiny cells in it where TRAITORS were kept. Traitors, you guys! Here is an interesting historical tidbit. During the Civil War, one of the traitors kept there was Francis Scott Key’s grandson. He was an editor of the Baltimore Sun, and he wrote an editorial that said although he didn’t approve of the South’s decision to secede from the Union, he didn’t think we should use military force to get them back, and he also criticized the Lincoln administration. WELL! That did not sit well with the powers that be, and they not only locked him up, they shut down the whole paper. SHUT DOWN THE WHOLE PAPER! See, civil liberties were limited during the Civil War. Anyone could be jailed if they were accused of disloyalty or treason, without a trial; martial law was put in place; censorship of journalists and papers was the norm. Doesn’t this scare the shit out of you? It does me. I had no idea about any of this.

Look, I was making history today by visiting the fort! MERKAN HISTORY!!!

There were things in the different rooms like exhibits and tableaus and various things. There was a big flag that was a recreation of the actual flag that inspired the national anthem. It was all very historic and I liked it all very much.

Then we had a picnic! With baby CeeVee!

It was her first picnic. As you can see, she enjoyed it a great deal. That’s A. in the background. I think this is the only photo of A. I got the whole time I was there. But look, he does exist!

CeeVee and I played a game called “Grass is the best!” in which she would pull up all the grass and then hand it to me, and I would say, “Oh! Thank you!” and she would laugh and laugh and give me MORE grass. Grass is her favorite. Even better than grass? Dandelions. She LOVED dandelions. R. told her not to eat the dandelions, and then she picked another one and almost ate it, and then looked at it very sternly and said, “NO” to it, which made ME laugh and laugh.

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn't he?)

Dandelions are the BEST! (And A. is the best photographer, isn’t he?)

Seriously, she's the best thing. Look at that smile.

Seriously, she’s the best thing. Look at that smile.

Then she decided to go adventuring and did an homage to a famous painting.

Wyeth’s version…

…and the Baby CeeVee version…

I like CeeVee’s version better, but I’m biased.

Then we went to the gift shop, where you could buy things like weaponry and muskets and swords (I didn’t buy those things, I mean, would they even let me bring them on the train?) and then we went on a long long looooong tour of Baltimore and A. and R. showed me a lot of beautiful buildings that I hadn’t seen yet. Dear Baltimore, I am very much in love with you. You are just the most beautiful city full of endless wonder. I am looking forward to returning.

Oh, a thing I noticed in Baltimore that made R. laugh because I kept noticing it was very brightly colored pants. Like, RED! or GREEN! and I think they were jeans. Is that a thing? I don’t know that that’s a thing around here. Whenever I saw them I would stop what I was doing and say “MORE BRIGHTLY COLORED PANTS!” and R. would laugh. The first time I did it, R. said, “You are the most random person I know, Amy.” And yes. Yes, I sometimes am that. But in my defense, those pants were VERY brightly colored.

Then we spent the rest of the day relaxing and I did some internetting and we ate some delicious Chinese delivery and talked and laughed and R.’s friend stopped over to visit for a little while, and that was nice, and then we watched a little television and then it was bedtime, because the next morning was early early early departure for the train.

Then the next morning it was goodbye to R. and Baby CeeVee so R. could get to work and CeeVee could get to daycare! (And since I left? CeeVee is WALKING now! I knew while I was there she was so, so close! SHE IS WALKING HOORAY!) And then A. brought me to the train station, and it was time to make my way back home to my very lonely Dumbcat who thought I was dead and was SO pleased I was not.

The trip home was mostly uneventful. At one point I fell asleep and I think I might have snored, as I do, because when I woke up I had post-snore sore throat and people were looking at me like I was a crazy-person. Sheesh, calm down, it’s not like I was in the SILENT car. It was just the NORMAL car. And in the New York waiting area (which is in Penn Station, and Dad calls that “Grand Central Penn Station”, as in “Don’t go getting murdered in Grand Central Penn Station, Amy, people get murdered in that Grand Central Penn Station all the time!”) some sort of cop was hitting on me until I pretended I was furiously reading so he stopped talking to me. Explain, please, why it is that no one in the history of my whole life has ever randomly hit on me that I’ve been in the least bit attracted to?

Thank you for sticking around for Adventures in Baltimore! It was the best time and I’m so glad I got to go and see some of my most beloved people. Thank you so much, R. and A., for being the best hosts! Now it is time for this sickie sickerson to go to bed and sleep like the dead. Or at least like a person with a weird feverish sickness. Happy weekend, everyone!

Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea: Adventures in Baltimore, Part Three

OK, here we are with part three. On the THIRD day, we did SO MANY THINGS.

First, let me tell you a story about A. Did you know A. is a championship bike-rider person? YES! IT IS TRUE! He runs a whole bike TEAM! And rides in RACES! And has all kinds of MEDALS! That clink pleasingly when you walk past them! I’m being a little facetious, but it’s totally all true. Here’s what’s the best about this: A. is so passionate about this. It is so much fun to listen to him talk about it. I am all about people having passion about things. I think passion is what makes life interesting. And people WITH passion about something – and I don’t care what it is, as long as it’s not scary and hurtful, like murder – make me happier than happy. Do I know anything about bike racing? Nope. Have I even been ON a bike in like, twenty years? Nope. Was I totally happy to listen to A. talk about HIS love for it? Absolutely. Could have listened to it all day. Because it made his whole face light up. And that made me overjoyed. People with passion are AWESOME.

So on Saturday, A. had a big race, and when I told him “YOU WIN THAT RACE!” he could NOT win, he was in the race to make sure that another guy on his team won, and to knock other people out of the competition. “By throwing gravel at them?” I asked. “No. No gravel-throwing,” said A.

His big race meant it was me, R., and Baby CeeVee for the day! And where were we going?


Luckily, R. is a member of the zoo, so we got to go through a special MEMBERS-ONLY gate! There was no champagne. I thought there should be. Membership has its privileges, you see. But apparently, the only privilege was going through the good gate quickly for free. That’s pretty cool. I’ll take it.

You take a shuttle to get to the zoo, or you walk. It’s a long walk. We had a stroller. We took the shuttle. It was so vibratey I’m pretty sure people could use it in place of a washing machine to get afternoon giggles, seriously.

When we first walked in, immediately, there was…

A red-foot tortoise! He was very active and crawled all around. I liked that. Tortoises make me happy. As do turtles. All happy shelled animals are my favorites.

First, something for Jim!

The ravens that are the ACTUAL RAVENS that are the mascots for the Baltimore Ravens! Aw, Jim, you LOVE the Ravens! What? What’s that? You actually HATE the Ravens? Oh, sorry. Sorry about that.

Ravens are very cool and larger than you would think and they have really sharp beaks. One was eating a chick. No, really. A baby chicken. There were feet dangling out of the raven’s mouth.

Here’s the other raven. I liked the ravens. I would like one as a pet. I would set him against mine enemies.

This was an arctic fox. He was taking a little napper. He also smelled like a skunk, but I don’t think that means he was a skunk in disguise. I think it’s just a thing, like how bearcats smell like popcorn.

There was a children’s area where you could do children’s things. Also if you were an adult who has the heart of a child, I suppose. So, in honor of that…

…I of course had to conquer a giant turtle and point at him menacingly as if he’d been naughty.

Mostly I was going to take a photo of this sign and say something snarky like “Don’t you tell me what to do, SIGN,” but then I realized this rock is kind of totally a euphemistic rock, right in the middle of the children’s area. Someone’s totally aware of this, right? Like, this is totally a man-made structure. SOMEONE DID THIS ON PURPOSE.

This is a regular fox. He was also sleepy. All foxes must have gotten the memo to take a nap at the same time. FOX MEMOS! I like foxes. They seem both debonair and also crafty.

It’s kind of hard to tell, but these are INTERSPECIES FRIEND SNAKES! There are two snakes all curled up together here. One’s the redder one, and one’s the brown/cream one. They were the best of friends and possibly in love. These snakes were in a cave that was kind of scary and dark and also there were bats in there and R. did not like the bats, even though I told her that they were actually very good for us and would not really get tangled in our hair like on television and ate all the insects. I learned this from Andreas at the Central Park Zoo. That’s why it’s nice to have a sciency friend.


(SIDE NOTE: I actually couldn’t, because in order to be a turtle, you had to get into a very small turtle shell on the ground and put your arms and legs out the arm and leg holes, and I’m a grownup lady and would never fit in that turtle shell. “I think calling A. and asking him to help get me out of a child’s turtle shell would be a bad move, right?” I asked R. “Yes, probably,” R. said. We were both sad. Think of the photo op, right? Sigh.)

So instead, I did the next best thing. The sign told me to be a turtle, so be a turtle I would, dammit!

A zoo’s not a zoo without a cut-out thing to put your face in and pretend to be an animal that’s really for children but you do it anyway because you’re Amy. Nice job, Maryland Zoo!

These are itty-bitty baby pygmy goats. They were a little over a month old and SO WEE. Look how little! I said I wanted to pop one in my purse and bring it home and I don’t think the zookeeper approved.

Then R. and Baby CeeVee went into the petting zoo area. All that was in there was goats. Why not sheep? Confusing.

Baby CeeVee was highly interested in these goats.

SO interested! She didn’t even look at the camera! She was watching the goats instead! I think she thought they were large kitty-cats. Because she has a cat at home and that’s her reference point for furry things. Also, isn’t R. beautiful? She’s just as beautiful as she was the day I met her. I think she has a portrait of Dorian Gray in her attic.

GOATS GOATS EVERYWHERE GOATS! You could not feed the goats. Probably if you did, there would be a feeding frenzy and the goats would swarm you.

Out of the children’s area, into the Africa area. Where there was…


These things were the worst, seriously.

There was supposed to be a tortoise exhibit, but instead, we had this.

TEMPORARILY CLOSED! This is worrisome. I’m really going to hope this means they’re either updating the exhibit or the tortoises are somewhere breeding, not that the tortoises died.

As I was taking this photo, a man dropped his phone into the rhino enclosure and was going to go over the wall to get it but he was convinced to ask for help instead so two zoo employees went over the wall for it. I kind of wanted to see a rhino cellphone stampede that resulted in the rhino taking selfies with the phone he won fair and square in one-on-one combat, but was denied.

Also, the rhino couldn’t be bothered. He was too busy eating all the things and showing us his bum.

Then there was an awesome bird sanctuary thing in the middle of the Africa area. It was cool in there and so pretty and the birds made awesome sounds and it was all shadowy and they’d just been fed so they were nomming on all the fish.

I tried a million times to get a photo of the spoonbill, who was ridiculously funny. He’s the one at the bottom of the photo looking at us. He was very funny scooping up fish from the water with his big old spoon of a bill.

This was a pretty African duck. I am a sucker for ducks even though when we were in New York Andreas told me that ducks were actually kind of evil. But look at his pretty red head!

This duck was separated from all of his friends so he was making the best peeping call and then a duck from all the way across the enclosure was returning it and when I made the call back at him he looked at me like we were besties. I ALSO wanted to pop this duck in my purse. I feel like that’s an internal struggle I deal with every time I’m at the zoo. I want to bring everyone home with me.

These were the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil ducks, all in a row. One was on one leg and all balancey. Hee!

ZEBRAS! Aw, hi, zebras! They did not want to be photographed. They hated the paparazzi.

Then one came out for his photo op! Hi, little guy, you’re all famous now!

SCARY OSTRICH! Ostriches scare the crap out of me. Because they’re so huge and also because one pecked my dad’s BFF at the drive-through zoo in Canada when I was little and we all kind of shrieked.

I couldn’t get a good photo of this thing. It had a scary beak, and like a dent in the front of his beak like he got in a car wreck? He looked like a mistake of nature, and therefore I loved him.


Do you think Dumbcat would like a cheetah-friend?

Especially one as sleepy-purry as this one?

This was the sleepy cheetah’s girlfriend. She was also sleepy, but she was on the lookout for prowlers.

She could only stay alert for so long. Then she nodded off, too. It was sleepytime at the zoo.

Next was the monkey house. You know how sometimes people say things smell like a monkey house? Um. Yeah. There’s a reason they say that. WHOO!

I am not a fan of monkeys, especially ones that look like creepy old men. These were kind of cool because they’d just had a baby so every once and a while, a baby monkey would pop its head up and it was very small and almost (I SAID ALMOST!) cute. I couldn’t get a photo of it. Too small.

Tiny yellow frog! The tank was all, “THESE ARE TOTALLY ALMOST EXTINCT!” but there were like fifteen of them in the tank. Maybe they’re almost extinct because you guys have them ALL!

Happy fast lemur-things! This is the best photo I could get because they were zipping all over the place. There was ALSO a lemur-thing baby! It was TOTALLY adorable and was riding its mom’s back and we were so scared it would fall off because its mom was leaping around all fast, but it was clingy!

This is not the best photo, but it’s the mom and the baby lemur-thing. As you can see, I’m VERY scientific with the names of things.

We saved my favorite things for last.


I was totally the giraffe whisperer. This one watched me the whole time. It TOTALLY wanted me to take it home. There were three giraffes and I gave them all names. I think this one was Raoul.

I love giraffes. I totally bought a giraffe necklace at the gift shop and have already worn it and I love it.

Elephants! They were far away but so pretty. One was getting a bath and most were just standing around doing elephant-things.

Elephant butt!

Prairie dogs! They made us laugh. They freaked out about EVERYTHING and then would all disappear into their holes and then slowly peep at each other and pop their heads back up. They were cheerful.

Finally…what’s last? Any guesses?


The penguins were just hanging out. Some were swimming. Some were waiting for fish at the little fish-door. They were very laid-back penguins. And they were OUTDOOR penguins! Not behind glass! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen outdoor penguins!

This penguin was way high up on the rocks and didn’t seem to know how to get down. I made a penguin-voice for him. “Guys? Hey, guys? A little help? Guys? Can anyone even HEAR me?”

Swimming penguins!

Waiting at the food-door penguin!

Just hanging-out penguin!

We might have spent an inordinate amount of time with the penguins.

Then it was time to go home! We had more plans that evening, and we had to see how A. did in his race, and also, did he throw gravel at the competition? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!

I was PLANNING on telling you about the rest of the day here, but it’s already half an hour past bedtime and I’m kind of exhausted, so soft-core porn will have to wait until tomorrow. Oh, whoops. Spoiler-alert, I guess.

OH! Also, there was a squished-penny machine at the gift shop, but the selections weren’t stellar. It was all, “check out other squished penny machines around the zoo!” but I had not seen any! So I got an eagle. Which wasn’t even a thing that was AT the zoo. BUT, on the way to the car, there was a squished penny in the parking lot! And it was a LION! Which WAS a thing at the zoo, only they were hiding (R. is convinced the lions are an urban legend; she has never once seen them out when she’s been there, and she’s been there a LOT.) So it was like it fell from the sky! Just for me! Aw, providence smiled on me!

Happy Thursday, people of the blog. Tomorrow: soft-core porn and more literary adventures, this time with FOOD!

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