Friday, November 30, 2007

Amber & Treasure Hunts

Jimmy has obtained a Jones Christmas Pack featuring the Sugar Plum Stella bottle!
Finding more Sugar Plum Stellas is going to be challenging; there are multiple labels on the Sugar Plum flavor, so not every set has a Jimmy label. So, if you're in a Target, be sure to check the shelves for Jimmy's label. As a bonus, Jimmy noticed that the Ham flavor soda only has 35 calories. What an excellent holiday gift!

An even better holiday gift is that Jimmy and Alisa are coming to visit this evening. We have a zoo-fun packed weekend ahead!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Amber & Environments

As previously documented, kitties love Environments. Sometimes, environments can be Official-- items designed specifically to house kitty bodies.
But sometimes kitties will choose to lay next to those environments on a soft surface where they can take the breeze on their bellies.
Kitties love couches. They especially love blankets or pillows on couches. I once tested this and discovered that there exists a rule of Infinite Ons in the kitty environment universe; that is, a comforter is good, but a washcloth on a pillowcase on a towel on a comforter is three times better.
And, for Woody, a person on a pillow on a couch is one of the best environments ever.
I love kitties' love of environments.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Amber & Guest Blogging

For the next ten days, I will be guest blogging over at Internals Plural while CRD is Down Under on a Business Trip.I have some pretty big shoes to fill (size 13, to be exact) but CRD has left me some guidelines for topics.

* Interesting Things About Australia
* Interesting Things About New Zealand
* Television Programs CRD and ALH Have Enjoyed
* Some Great ALH-CRD Controversies (The time the beer spilled on CRD's head and the futon, How CRD fell asleep during that Bill Murray movie)
* Sheen Brothers

I plan to follow those suggestions religiously. I'm especially excited to tell the story about the beer! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Amber & Scented Pants

On Sunday at the zoo, Keeper Becky created a really interesting enrichment activity for the gorillas. We took donated clothing (Dockers, polo shirts, a baby fleece hat) and put different extract scents on them (spearmint oil, orange extract, almond extract, and anise oil). Gorillas like different fabrics; they use them for their bedding and also wrap them on their heads or shoulders and "wear" them. Adding scent made the clothing that much more enriching!

Baraka didn't really seem interested in any of the scents, but Kojo seemed quite enamored of the almond scented pants. He wrapped them around his shoulders and walked around sniffing the cuffs.

I like to give my kitties enrichment, too. Usually, their enrichment comes in the form of a box with a sheet in it, or a game of tent on the couch, or exploration of the high-up shelves in the closet. But, maybe kitties would like scented pants?

+ +

= ?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Amber & Sun Salutations

I haven't done yoga in months. I wouldn't do it because I was so stressed and in such a rush to get to work, but, of course, that was the moment when my yoga need was the greatest. So, this morning, Shiva Rea and I did a short series of sun salutations. My calves are incredibly stiff, but it feels good to be back on the yoga wagon.

This is the segment I may do tonight. And all day, I will remember to stay connected to my flame.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Amber & BLTs

When CRD was visiting for Awesome Club, we bought bacon to go on top of our mac & cheese. We didn't end up using it since our amuse bouche was so amusing, so I've been enjoying bacon bits on my various meals all week. Today, I'm bringing a BLT to the zoo.

I'm not sure why it's sideways there, but it sure looks yummy. That's fresh farm share lettuce and a Whole Food vine ripened tomato. I sure hope Lucy doesn't try to steal it!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Amber & Surprise Pies

Yesterday, I got a homemade sweet potato pie in the mail from Nick. He had packed it really well in a box, surrounded by foam. It arrived in almost perfect shape and tasting absolutely delicious.
I am thankful for Nick, his cooking abilities and the United States Postal Service.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Amber & Laundry

On the day after Thanksgiving, I have house chores to do.  Laundry is at the top of the list, but there are so many obstacles.

Two obstacles, precisely.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Amber & Thankfulness

Five Very Specific Things For Which I Am Thankful Today
1.  Pretty Autumnal Flower Arrangements
2.  Gas Stove Tops
3.  Netflix

4.  Video Chat
5.  Blogging

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Amber & Pickle Present

Last night, I got a pickle surprise in the mail from Kevin & Diana! And not just pickle-- pickles from The Pickle Guys which are the best pickles in the world. With the beautiful farm share greens I got yesterday, my fridge is super happy.

From left to right, there are pickled grape tomatoes, mixed veggie pickles (cauliflower, carrots, peppers, celery), hot half sours (spicy!), and full sours (which you'll notice are already opened). Diana sent me a Ganesha card, her favorite diety who she explains is "the remover of obstacles; the one who cheerily opens the door to new beginnings."

I'm so thankful to have friends like Kevin and Diana. And to have such an abundance of pickles!

(Diana and Kevin photos by James Felder)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amber & Holiday Gifts

Today is the official first day of the holiday gift season for me. CVS and Starbucks got a jump on the season the day after Halloween, but I held out until this morning when I made my list over breakfast. It's going to be a crafty Christmas this year with some long-promised novelty pillows and some knitwear. Add in some novelty shirts and some zoo-themed stocking stuffers and my list is complete. Now, I just have to do the sewing and knitting and iron-on-ing. Bring on the snow and Santas!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Amber & Unreasonable Deadlines

On Wednesday, I was told that there was meeting on Thursday to go over the five-year circulation strategy. For that meeting, I prepped a single sheet summarizing the plan. But, the meeting got moved to Monday (today) at 11:00 AM and, on Thursday, I found out that there was actually something more specific-- a whole other scenario-- to be looked at in prep for the meeting. I was then out on Thursday afternoon for doctor appointments and zoo class and then out Friday morning for more doctor. I worked on Friday during the afternoon but didn't put in any time this weekend because of visitors and zoo obligations and fatigue. Over the weekend, my boss e-mailed me three times for a status update. I'm scrambling to get a big amount of work done by 11 AM and there were no sesame bagels this morning. I am displeased.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amber & Awesome Club

CRD flew into town yesterday for Awesome Club. I wore my smoking bird shirt in his honor. We went out to brunch at Tonic and had bloody marys with bacon. CRD loves bacon!

CRD drew an alligator on the tabletop. He sure loves alligators!

I drew this abstract art which represented how I felt at the time.

Then, we went to the zoo and saw lions, tigers, orang utans, gorillas and a host of small mammals and reptiles. Then, we watched programs and ate chips and salsa, rocky road ice cream and mac & cheese. CRD topped off his night with an apple cider, but I prefer not to eat so close to bedtime.

This morning, I got up and went to apprentice at the zoo, and, about two hours later, CRD left to fly back to NYC. It was Awesome and a Club. I love Awesome Club.

And now I am going to bed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Amber & Hoof Stock

Thursday was the last class in my "Wild Africa" program at the zoo. We learned about what the earlier instructors had jokingly called "cheetah food." Although there is plenty of sand in the Sahara, it's also the home of abundant wildlife, including addaxes, dama gazelles, dorcas gazelles, my buddies the oryxes (pictured here) and lots of others, including a possible sub-species of cheetahs.

It was a great class, and I'm excited for the next one. Rumor is that it's going to be on coral.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Amber & Scoopy Soda

Jimmy's photography has been featured on Jones Soda labels often over the past few years, but they also did his shots on black & white labels-- which always seemed like an odd choice to those of us who had seen the original color photos.

Says Jimmy:
One of my goals was to get picked for a color label, which is slightly rarer. As they say on TV, I was shocked and amazed today to discover they had picked me not only for a color label, but one of the Christmas 2007 Limited Edition assortment.That's Jimmy's photo of his friend Stella over there on the left. This is the original image.

This handsome Jimmy gift set is available for purchase directly from Jones or at a Target near you. (CRD loooooves Target-- and soda!)

Jimmy says: Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amber & Moving

I hate moving. I hate being able to quantify exactly how much stuff I own in a box number of a number of pounds. I don't mind unpacking but packing is the worst.

In May of 2004 I moved from Avenue B to LaSalle Street. And then, in October of that same year, I moved to Madison, Wisconsin. I had another two move year in 2006 with a move from South Hanock in Madison to West Wilson in August, and then to DC in December.

But, my current apartment is a little too luxe for my budget. So, I'm thinking of moving from the Lyon one bedroom...

to the Le Mans studio.

I'm going to try to go today to see the Le Mans in person, but it sure looks pretty on the illustration. But then again, I have never seen the two very handsome young gentlemen, also featured on the website, in The Argonne's "wireless lounge."  And, to my knowledge, we have no "wireless lounge."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Amber & Danger! in the Kitchen

I nearly burned down the house last night, but Tiggy saved us all. I had put the kettle on for tea, but, unbeknownst to me, the whistler part had stopped working. Without the tell-tale whistle, I completely forgot about my tea making. Luckily, Tiggy found the two foot high flames and the smell of the burning plastic handle unpleasant and stood in the hallway outside the kitchen howling. I got up to see what she wanted and ended up swatting out flames with a hand towel. It would have made for better blogging if I had grabbed the camera first.

Only minutes earlier, it sat next to a happy pan of mac & cheese.
Sad little melted teapot.

Good little safety Tiggy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Amber & Action

I'll be in the office sitting at my desk all day, doing circulation stuff and trying to figure out what to do about forgetting to leave my Farm Share basket in the lobby for today's drop off. Nick will be in Boston Common putting American folks on the phone with Iranian citizens. It's what Nick is calling "people to people diplomacy." Says Nick:

"This is a campaign to bring the voices of Iranians and Americans into a discussion that is being dominated by extremists on both sides and bringing us closer to the unthinkable: nuclear war. Our leaders continue to rattle their sabers and spread fear, but we're ready to talk, and if they won't take that first step, we will take it for them. We've had enough. Enough posturing. Enough threats. Enough fear."

It's a rainy day in DC but it's supposed to get up into the mid-sixties. (Good thing I wore long johns!) I hope the weather is good, the phone lines cooperate, and there's alot of good communication and maybe some understanding. Good job, Nick!

Follow Up:
Nick says the action was a success! Early press coverage here and here and here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Amber & Multibaby

Kevin collects postcards, a hobby known as deltiology. At a recent show, he learned first-hand about the importance of card classification. There are two general categories of cards: views and topical cards. Kevin discovered that cards featuring the Lower East Side might be categorized either as a view (Manhattan, or even as specific as Hester Street) or a topic (Judaica: Stores), and cards with apes might be found under "animals," or "gorillas," or even "monkeys" depending on the size of that vendor's collection.

If I collected postcards, I might collect the topic known as "multibaby."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Amber & Keeper Humor

Yesterday, Amaya the other Saturday volunteer, shared some funny videos about zoo keeping. This one was the funniest of all.

It's fun having trade humor. Circulation? Not so funny. Except "calculating zoo conversion average remits."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Amber & Cheek Pads

I learned alot about Kiko the orang utan's cheek pads today at the Ape House from Keeper Brian. Kiko is almost 20 years old. His mother is Bonnie, who also lives at the National Zoo. He has over a six foot reach, making it important to know where your rake is at all times when cleaning. His sizable throat pouch (or "waddle") helps enunciate his calls. He also has a handsome beard and, as the dominant male, poochie cheek pads called flanges. Kiko seems to like to rest his cheek pads on the mesh like a pillow. But, Brian explained that the cheek pads are actually rubbery. They are much denser and stretchier than I had thought-- not at all like Ms. Tiggy Winkle's belly.
Also, unlike Tiggy, orang utans are critically endangered and like bubble gum.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Amber & Zoo Lights

I love: animals, holiday lights, holiday lights shaped like animals, nighttime, winter, roasted marshmallows and novelty cookies. How could I not love Zoo Lights? I'm going to be working the registration table for the first four weekends in December and am really excited about this event. I'll have to wear my volunteer shirt over my puff jacket, but a chance to hang out in the zoo at night is really exciting. I also get to go to a special lighting ceremony for volunteers on the first night at Lemur Island on November 26th. Scoopy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Amber & Leaf Mold

Today is a landmark in my DC experience: the day of the most allergic symptoms ever. I have puffy, gooey eyes, a stuffy nose, a tickly throat, and my ears are so blocked off that I can hear myself breathing inside my head-- not that I can really breathe very well.

The culprit is leaf mold. The lack of trees in NYC is suddenly a health benefit.

I'm just not a nature girl, like Ms. Tiggy Winkle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Amber & CSA

Yesterday was Farm Share Tuesday, when Karl's Farm brings me my weekly basket of harvest. This week's basket featured...

radicchio and mesclun mix...

baby beets...

tatsoi (shown here chopped to be cooked with tofu and rice)...

..and carrots and white hakurei turnips.

and a leek (not pictured). The carrots and turnips went into the crock pot with some stock to make a nice smooth rooty soup and I roasted the beets for use on a salad with the mesclun later in the week. That leaves the radicchio which will get cooked up with some sausage and pasta tonight. A delicious week of meals in a half bushel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Amber & Soap

This was a very exciting morning. I used up the last remaining scrap of soap in the shower. I had been using a delightful lavender, rose geranium and ylang ylang bar from John Masters Organics for a very, very long time. Finally, the last suds of it washed down the drain.

Tonight, at the end of my work day, I can stop off at Whole Foods and buy a new bar.

I think I might get the same exact flavor. I really like the Weleda calendula soap but my Whole Foods doesn't seem to be actively stocking Weleda at present.

Still: lavender, rose geranium and ylang ylang?

Cleansing for both mind and body.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Amber & The Dude

Tiggy and I watched The Big Lebowski for the first time this weekend, and I was really impressed. It's definitely the best Coen brothers film I've seen. (Tiggy slept through most of it.)

Jimmy pointed out that the film is a retelling of The Big Sleep, which is both a favorite detective novel and noir film. It's a brilliant observation and a really imaginative retelling. With bowling.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Amber & Falling Behind

Kitties don't understand or appreciate the end of Daylight Savings Time. At 5 AM this morning, I woke up to the sounds of Woody's needs.

How do I explain to this buddy that sink hands starts an hour later now?