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Reading full prescribing information, eating giant peach.
nycmermaid: (aggis)
Today was a long, fun, exciting day at the zoo. I gave my second tour, to a group of Cuban diplomats and their kids. The sheeps and alpacas at the Children's Zoo were sheared (I asked if I could have some of the wool, but they save it all for the other animals to play with). I witnessed a violent nature documentary-style standoff between the snow monkeys and the black-necked swans (not sure who won, but the swans totally started it). Oh and Ricky Gervais was there again, and pointed out to one of the other guides that one of the monkeys had apparently gotten hold of a Sharpie. Yeah...I don't know either. I took a few pictures. )


Apr. 22nd, 2009 09:48 am
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My tree is budding! Yay!

nycmermaid: (HK)
I spent this beautiful sunny day on the beach. Okay, so it was below freezing temperatures. It was lovely. I went on an excursion with a hiking group to see seals in the "wild" (ie, not the zoo). We went to a beach in Westhampton and heard a lecture by a professor who is studying the seals. He is the president of an organization called CRESLI, Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island. His is the kind of job that wish I could do. I have never wanted to be a teacher, but you know, if I could be the kind of teacher that shows their kids amazing stuff like this, maybe I could do it. I still mean to track down my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Nieves, and thank her for taking us beach camping. It takes a pretty awesome lady to take a bunch of 11-year-olds camping.

Speaking of topics that make me quiver with an internal "I am supposed to be doing *this*" feeling, CRESLI also runs an annual overnight whale watching cruise in the summer, which I would be all over if not for the fact that it's during the week! Argh! Argh for having no more vacation days because I'm using them all to go to Australia. I want ALL THE CAKE DAMMIT. So.awesome!!! Oh well, I will be going whale watching in California, and that will just have to be good enough.

Anyway, the beach was beautiful. I wasn't even that cold. Patagonia thermals + legwarmers = rock.


Yes, this is about as close as we were able to get. I had binoculars, but not a telephoto lens.

More pics )
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Early Sunday morning I left the warmth of my nice cozy apartment and went for a walk in the cold and the wet. Am I insane? Maybe. Truth is my friend Karina and I signed up for the hike a week earlier, when we didn't know the weather. Well, it turns out we were the only people who signed up at all. The trip leader, Eugene, would have let us back out and go on another hike another time. But we decided that since we had already trekked to the Upper West Side (Karina all the way from Bay Ridge too), and we had a van, and we had a willing (and cute) leader, what the heck. I would have considered it a success if we had hiked for 2 hours. Somehow we hiked for 4 hours. It was a true test of our love of the outdoors, and of our gear. Pictures under the cut. )

We turned back after the lake after realizing it would be dark in only a couple of hours. Just as well because by then we were officially drenched. It was a true test of our gear -- raincoats, wool hats, hiking pants, longjohns. Everything held up pretty well for the first 3 hours except for my wool convertible mittens, which are not made to withstand 4 hours of rain. But Eugene nicely lent us his alpaca-lined vinyl gloves and a couple of hand warmers. Afterwards we went to a diner where I had some hot tea and pancakes. :) I have to admit I was not excited about this hike at all. But I'm really glad I went. Definitely a great end to the weekend.
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I have a great view of the sky from my apartment. In the winter, when the leaves are gone from the tree outside my window, I see some amazing sunsets over downtown Manhattan in the distance. It's more beautiful in person, but here are a few photos: Late autumn sunset )
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Look at me rock scramble! Woohoo! In all my fancy knitwear, too. Next to me is Lucy, who was on the Peru trip with me as well.

View from the top. This picture's from my cameraphone, it's not very good. I took one or two regular camera shots and my friend Karina did too, but I was too eager to post this to wait till I had them.
nycmermaid: (HK)
Just to close the loop, yes I made it to the top of Mt Marcy and back. I posted pics to Facebook but since I posted about it here before I left, here are a couple:

I hiked a total of 15 miles in just under 9 hours. Whew! It was rough, and the downhill was brutal for me, as usual. But I had a great time. Even though there were sections of the hike where I was vowing never to hike down a mountain again and never wanted to see another rock. But I look forward to my next 8-mile day hike. Should be a piece of cake!
nycmermaid: (aggis)
On Sunday I went to the Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadow Park. I hadn't been there since I was a kid and now that I am a member of the WCS I get free admission to all the NYC zoos, so I've been meaning to check it out for awhile now. Most of the animals there are from North America, the one exception (I think) being the spectacled bear, which is native to the Andes in South America.

My favorite part of the Queens Zoo though are the farm animals. They have 5 or 6 highland cows -- 'airy coos! Under the cut. )
nycmermaid: (aggis)
I don't know about you, but I never seem to tire of watching baby monkeys. I was totally ignoring the zoo guests in my possessed photo-snapping frenzy of the baby colobus monkey, which was posing perfectly with its mommy today.

This baby colobus was born in April. )

Oh, and Tiny Trapeze Truly Chocolate Marshmallows. OMG. It's like fudge and marshmallow fell into a vat together and had beautiful intercandial babies. You want to try them. Like, right now.
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I have hundreds of pictures from Peru, way too many to post here. They're all up on Snapfish, and I've uploaded many of them to Facebook. If you're interested in seeing them, send me your e-mail address and I'll forward you the link.

Many other people in my group also took some great photos. Here are a few: Read more... )
nycmermaid: (HK)
I just figured out how to use Bluetooth to transfer files from my phone to my computer! So now I can post photos from yesterday's hike. It was supposed to be a hike to Breakneck Ridge, but the hike leader never showed, and so everyone who was waiting decided to hike the Washburn trail on Mt. Taurus instead. Even though the weather forecast in NYC wasn't for rain, when I got up to Cold Spring it was alternately misting/drizzling. I'm a bit glad we decided against climbing the face of Breakneck because the rocks might have been slippery and, well..! It was a great day for hiking though. All morning it was like hiking in a cloud forest.
Pics )

It was a good hike, but it was hard, especially the uphill parts. I am worried that I have not trained enough. I really should have gone hiking more this past month. Three times a week on the stairmaster at the gym is nothing like the full-body exertion that is hiking.
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Today has been one of those days that makes me believe all the more that New York City is indeed the greatest city in the world. Not that I don't love other cities, but New York just has so much going on, and is so accessible and random and fun and fantastic.

Today was my last day of volunteer training at the Central Park Zoo.
This post is getting a bit long and contains pictures, so here's a cut. )
nycmermaid: (HK)
Today was a beautiful day, and a great day to be at the zoo. Next week is our "graduation"! After that I'll be a full-fledged volunteer zoo guide.

The polar bear exhibit has windows so you can see the bear when it's in the water. Gus was up in the window today. It's spectacular to be walking along in the zoo and see a polar bear straight in your line of sight. Gus the polar bear... )

Here are some pics that I took of the snow monkeys a couple weeks ago. The baby's name is Zeppelin, and his mom is Inez. The zoo keeps the snow monkeys on birth control to control their breeding, but he was a surprise! More pics )
nycmermaid: (HK)
Wow, nothing makes you post on LJ like procrastination. Now that I have freelance work to do, I'd even rather do dishes than do work. And I hate doing dishes. It's my least favorite chore.

Instead, here is a photo post with some animals from the Central Park Zoo that I photographed last Saturday. Read more... )

I am having a blast so far with my zoo volunteer training. I'm so glad I discovered this. It really fills a hole I feel like I had in my life. I know that sounds cheesey but I love learning all this stuff about the different animals, and about conservation, and I can't wait to lead tours and chats and regale people with my knowledge. It's like it takes care of the love of performance and public speaking that I used to have when I was on the speech team in school, as well as the part of me that wishes I had majored in ecology or biology.
nycmermaid: (HK)
I decided I was going to get out and get some exercise this weekend, so on Saturday I went rock scrambling in the Palisades with Dynamic Outdoors. I've never been rock scrambling before and always avoided it because it sounded, well, hard. And it was. At least it was for me. There were only 9 of us and I was by far the slowest, hugging each rock like Gollum while everyone seemed to be skipping along easily. The trip leaders were both very patient with me and tried to be helpful, though I still am not very confident. It's one of those situations where I want to say "I'll never do that again!" but know that doing it again and again is the only way to get better at it.

And as if the rock scrambling/boulder climbing/walking sideways on a steep cliff covered with slush and slippery leaves wasn't enough, the hike ended with a steep climb up a path with steps set into the side of the cliff. Which of course everyone else made it up without much effort. I, on the other hand, huffed and puffed up each step, angry all the way at myself for being so out of shape, wondering how everyone else could be in so much better shape, and trying to decide if I should (a) collapse on the ground dramatically upon reaching the top or (b) act like it was nothing. I chose b. :b I don't think anybody was fooled but a positive attitude and sense of humor is always appreciated.

I took pictures. )

I'm glad I went, even though each of these hikes tends to be an exercise in humiliation for me. I have to get in better shape if I want my trip to Machu Picchu to be anything but miserable. A girl on the hike on Saturday told me that when she went to Machu Picchu, the altitude gave her the worst headache of her life and made her nauseous. And this girl barely seemed to break a sweat on our hike. So, lovely. I will have to prep myself with Pepto, painkillers, and drink lots of coca tea. I hope I don't get too sick. But hey, it's all an adventure, right? You gotta take chances.

My whole body aches today but that's no surprise. I wish I could say I was going to make myself go hiking more this winter but it's just so damn slippery out there...I'm going to have to join a gym if I want to get in shape.
nycmermaid: (yummy)
Today was the first in a series of three seafood cooking classes I'm taking at the Institute of Culinary Education (this is where I took the pie class as well). I forgot my camera so camera phone pics have to suffice. It was unlike the pie class as in that class we all paired up and each pair made 2 pies. This time we split into 3 groups and each group made 2 things, but I ended up only making one: red snapper baked en papillot with lime beurre blanc. I enjoyed it though and hope I remember some of what I learned, particularly the stuff about filleting and cutting whole fish. See some pics. )
nycmermaid: (bowling for nipples)
Today has been a good day for finishing up knitting projects. I finished my attempt at a Kate, though I think mine looks more like a peanut with bat ears and no pants. He has a date with Denise's dog, so no worries. :)

Second thing I finished was a hat inspired by one worn by the hike leader on the first Dynamic Outdoors trip I went on. It was basically 2 squares sewn together with cords coming out the top corners. I made mine up based on that. I LOVE IT.

I know I look sort of maniacal in this photo, but it was really hard to get a good one that showed the hat properly!

Best. Hat. Evarrr.

Then I continued to take goofy pictures of myself. Have some. )
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Crawling out of my ditch to post some pictures. Watch Hill at Fire Island was so beautiful. I didn't know beaches like this existed in New York. Despite the mosquitos, we had a fantastic time. Photos )

Will post more in a bit perhaps. Now I have to work. Blahworkblah!
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