nycmermaid: (scubagirl)
(c/o Monterey Bay Aquarium)

The gray whales are migrating south past Monterey now, and the humpback whales are wintering in the Hawaiian islands, where I'm going in 2 weeks! I've wanted to go to Hawaii to see the whales ever since I got involved with the Sierra Club because they run service trips every February to see them. I hope to go on a whale watch while I'm there, or, even cooler, somehow encounter them while diving. I'm not holding my breath for the latter (ha ha) but even hearing a whale while I'm underwater would be too amazing for words. I still don't know if I'm going to do my advanced open water there or not...I change my mind every other day! I'll decide one way or the other by tomorrow, I don't want to put it off anymore.

I've been pretty obsessed with scuba diving lately. Last week I went to one scuba meetup (NY Sea Gypsies), where I met some divers who got me started on Scuba Board, and this week I went to a different scuba meetup, Oceanblue Divers. Oceanblue seemed to have more young people, but people were very friendly at both events. I even ran into my friend Andrea from the zoo at the one this week, as well as a guy Marsha and I hung out with this summer.

Last week I posted to SB looking for information about the NY Aquarium volunteer dive team. Not too many people knew much about it. Well, a guy who was at Sea Gypsies last week remembered me, saw my post, and then came up to me at Oceanblue and introduced me to a guy who is on the team. This guy, Avra, has been diving at the aquarium for 6 years and loves it. In fact, it seems everyone on the dive team loves it. He said it's a great way to get involved at the aquarium, practice diving, learn about marine environment issues, and meet other people passionate about marine life. They do expect you to have your own equipment, but apparently they do have extra things they can lend you until you get all your own stuff (scuba equipment is not cheap!). According to Avra, they ask you to commit 2 weekend days a month, just like at the Central Park Zoo.

Now, there are many things in the way of me just joining this dive team. One is the commute (over an hour each way by public transit); one is the cost of gear; and one is the time commitment. I'm already committed to volunteering at the zoo for another year since I got this animal handling gig. But the more I learn about the aquarium dive team, the more it feels like something I need to get involved with. Definitely something to consider for next year if not this one!

Good news!

Jan. 15th, 2010 02:17 pm
nycmermaid: (Default)
I just learned I was picked to be trained as a volunteer animal handler at the zoo! It's a new program that we had to apply for, and 2-4 volunteers per day were chosen. I wasn't sure I was going to get it because I have little hands-on experience with animals, but I did, and so did my friend Karina! This is so exciting, you will have to all come by and pet the chinchilla, and the Madagascar hissing cockroach! :D

This week has been so dull at work, I have been doing little but researching my trip to Oahu, which I can't believe is coming up in less than 4 weeks now. I went to my first SCUBA meet-up and met some fellow divers who introduced me to so now I have another website with which to occupy myself while at work :p. Right now I'm trying to decide if I want to do my advanced open water training when I'm in Oahu, or just dive for fun. I also booked a certain activity for the morning of my birthday, and I've been having dreams about it almost every night. I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...Jessie Spano. ;)
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. )
nycmermaid: (Default)
New lamb! Half Jacob sheep, half impatient* baby doll sheep. It's one week old. It's the size of a cat. I just want to pick it up!

Yay spring!

*The male baby doll is mature enough to mate; the female isn't yet.
nycmermaid: (Default)
Today was a really lovely day. It was my zoo day, but very unlike a usual zoo day in that it is the last day we will be seeing Jane as our volunteer coordinator. To send her off we had a bagel breakfast and spent most of the morning in often raucous conversation in the break room. It was snowy and cold outside and there weren't that many visitors, so no one seemed to mind that we were really shirking our duties as volunteers. After awhile we tried to go out and be good volunteers for awhile. That was when Catherine, one of our day captains, approached me about taking her place as co-captain for our shift. It's something I have thought about doing, but figured I'd do it next year or something. But I said yes! So now I'm actually one of the volunteers in charge of my Saturday shift. :) I took a walk over to the children's zoo, where I haven't been in months, and looked at the cutey patooty hognosed turtle (I never really have before), stuck my face up close to the glass to watch the pacu (they're BIG fish!), and fed the sheep and alpacas (who were woefully lacking attention and food pellets due to the lack of visitors). In the afternoon, Emily, Brian, and Rose came and watched me do the 2 pm sea lion feeding talk and the 2:30 penguin feeding. Then we went to see the bats, which were much appreciated by Brian. The plan was to kill time until dinner and then have fondue, but they were so hungry we ended up getting pizza. Lots of pizza. Then Emily and Rose and I went for massages at a nail salon, which was really nice (I should really do that more often, they're really good and cheap). Went to a couple of stores, and ended the evening with red wine and chocolate/dulce de leche fondue.

Tomorrow I have to go to work. Which is kind of annoying, but I can't be too annoyed as I didn't have to stay late Friday or come in at all today. I hope it won't take long as I have cooking to do, and presents to wrap. Oy, presents. I feel like what I have for my family isn't really enough. :/ Luckily there are several days left to Hanukkah and hopefully I'll think of something else.

*An aye aye is a type of prosimian, which is sort of a primitive precursor to monkeys. Lemurs are another type of prosimian. The new lemur exhibit at the zoo will be up within a few weeks. Another type of prosimian is a tarsier, which is the funkiest looking little cross between a monkey and a space alien. Look them up, seriously.
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.
nycmermaid: (Default)
Cookies. )

Cure. )

Zoo. )

Andy. )

Kayaking. )

And I still managed to get home before sunset. I love these long days. Happy summer! Happy Solstice!
nycmermaid: (Default)
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)
In the wake of the things I've been learning in my zoo class about polar bears, penguins, and seals, these articles are quite relavant. Just last week I was telling everyone why baby seals need to get fat!

This too. People may feel bad for our zoo polar bears, but they're actually in a very comfortable place, especially these days when it's getting harder and harder to be a polar bear. It's not easy to catch food when the ice they stand on keeps melting and never refreezing.
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: (aggis)
Just got back from the gym, where I ran on the treadmill for longer than I ever have before! Not really fast, but I think I beat my own personal record. And I didn't feel like dying. My hip twinged a little, not that much, and it doesn't hurt at all right now. Maybe it's the anti-inflammatory meds the doctor has put me on. They're like super Aleve. My hip has been hurting less, I think, though it hasn't completely gone away. The doctor said I should let him know how I feel mid-week. He's hesitant to subject me to an X-ray unless it's really necessary. I just want to stop worrying about it.

Saturday was my first training day at the CP Zoo. It was fun! The Zoo is a really nice place. Small, everything close together, but really nice exhibits and lots of animals to see. I'm really looking forward to learning about the animals and learning the "chats" we'll be giving to visitors. Volunteers are the ones who stand there and tell you facts about the animals while you're watching the zookeepers feed the animals, and they lead tours. There were lots of cute little kids at the zoo too. There's something really special about watching a child encounter a real polar bear for the first time, or come face to face with a bird bigger than its head. :) I suspect the place is especially pleasant in the winter, when it isn't that crowded. And I got to feed a sheep. The children's zoo has pot-bellied pigs! Next week I think I'll take some pictures.

Speaking of next week, only 4 more days till Nathan's here! I will feel a little bad having to wake up early Saturday morning to go to the zoo, and I will probably be leaving him to sleep in. He can meet me for lunch. I am really looking forward to that!

Last night my whole family went to Denise's for her Super Bowl Party. We missed the turn for the Palisades Parkway and what should have been no more than a 45-minute trip ended up taking 2 hours. Sheesh. Luckily, we didn't kill each other, and we left early enough that all we missed was the anthem. There were lots of snacks and lots of little Cowface Flutie and Tom Petty sang "I Won't Back Down" and one football guy through the ball a loooooong way to another football guy, and that guy caught the ball and didn't drop it even when people jumped on him. Even I could tell that was an exciting thing. And the score went back and forth just enough to keep the game exciting, and the New York Giants won, and everyone (well, everyone I care about) was happy and it was good. :)


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