Happy Birthday To Me!

The month of October is super exciting for me for many reasons.  I am going to see Green Day on the 23rd, my cat won a photo contest and gets to have a photo session on the 16th, it is the 10th birthday of my company that I love, it is my 40th birthday (on the 10th) and I got to go to the zoo and get a behind the scenes tour and that is what this blog is about.

At the buttcrack of dawn on Sunday, my dad and I drove to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  My mom and brother and sister in law bought a tour for us that started at 9:30am.  We thought the parking lot would be empty, because the zoo doesn’t open till noon, but there was a Breast Cancer event there, so, as my dad put it, there were “tens of millions of cars”.  We parked “at least 20 miles away”.  I caught a ton of Pokemon because there are a lot of Pokestops at the zoo and lots of Pokemon.

We went to the building and had to fill out forms saying it was ok if we were mauled and killed by animals, and that we would not sue the zoo.  Then it asked us essay questions, which my dad refused to answer, and I wrote a lot of answers to.  One of the questions was about things humans do to endanger wildlife – I had a field day with that one.

Our tour guide came and got us and we were the only two people so that was pretty awesome.  We started out by meeting Crikey, the wallaby.  His mom died when he was a baby, so he was raised by the zoo people and he is an ambassador.  We fed him and we were allowed to pet him and he hopped and it was really cute.

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We also met a raven named Kilimanjaro.  We were not allowed to pet him, but he was very smart and could do a lot of tricks.

We went through the building to get to the golf cart thingy, and in the building we saw giant frogs and a turtle and a smaller frog.

THEN WE SAW GRIZZLY BEARS!  I am not allowed to post the pictures I took because see, the way it works is this:  they have a ginormous, really nice habitat area, but they also have a background area where they get vet care and things like that.  And basically it’s a place they can chill if they do not want to go out in the big enclosure.  But this area has bars, and they do not want you to take pictures of animals behind bars because it looks cruel, even though they are not actually in a cage.  It looks like they are, and you know, internet people can do bad things with pictures.  Anyway, the bears can sit, stand, shake – all kinds of things!  But only if they want to.  If they do not feel like it, that is fine.  If they feel like doing it, they get extra treats.  They are not forced to do anything.  They were over 500 pounds each and like, 8 feet tall.  We had to stand behind a railing but we were about three feet away from them!

Then we went to see Tom and Terry the tortoises and they are both 100 freaking years old!  Terry was not social, but Tom was.  I got to pet his arm and I think he liked it because he closed his eyes when I did.  Here is a picture of Terry with his head pulled into his shell, Tom with his head sticking out of his shell, and me and my dad with Tom. Terry used to be Mary but then they found out he is a boy and not a girl, and they got made fun of on Saturday Night Live.

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Then….WE WENT TO THE KOALA ENCLOSURE.  Omg.  First, do not get excited, they did not let me pet them.  BUT…three of them were backstage and one was out in the exhibit and I got some good pictures!  And we went out into the exhibit!  Like, people were looking at us on display!  The koala that was out there was asleep in a tree and I could not see him even though I was so close to him.  Here is what it looks like to be on exhibit at the zoo.

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THEN – guess what?!  My friend Jen asked her friend who isan RVT at the zoo if he could let me meet an owl AND HE DID!  I got to see a Great Barred Owl in his house and he blinked a lot and it was very cute.  Then they took the Barn Owl (a smaller owl) out and I got to get SUPER close to her AND THEY LET HER FLY!  She flew from one person to the other, about ten feet apart.  Kevin, the RVT, was very nice and also he likes Harry Potter, so he is extra cool.

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The night before I took my nieces and their friend (ages 13, 10 and 10) to a thing about nocturnal animals and we saw these owls.

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I also saw (and pet) these dogs:

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Then we went on a hike with a naturalist and it consisted of about 5 kids and 5 adults, and the naturalist lady was teaching stuff and asking questions and she said “Have humans adapted to live at night?” and the entire group said “no” at the same time that I SHOUTED enthusiastically “YES”.  They laughed because they thought I made a joke, but I had to ask my niece “What is she talking about?  I do plenty of stuff at night.  We drive at night, some people work at night…I don’t get it” and the 13 year old had to explain that the lady meant are we nocturnal and can we naturally see in the dark.  So that was special.

I caught a lot of Pokemon there, too.

That Is Not A Dog.

I posted this on Facebook, but I am posting it here because there is a trend to my animal interactions.

I saw a stray dog, so I pulled over in a parking lot to save him and I was standing by my car talking to him (he was far away) when a lady said “Honey, you know that’s a coyote, right?” and my response was “I thought it was a doggy”.

That is not the first time I, Darcy the Friend to All Animals, thought an animal was the wrong species.

One time I was talking to my mom on the phone while driving, which in and of itself is a rare event, and I said “Oh!  An otter just crossed the street!” when what I actually saw was a possum.

When we were Amish hunting, I shouted “Look at all the little white dogs!” at a herd of sheeps.

I saw a fox for the first time a few years ago and thought it was a weird looking cat.

The bottom line is, for as much time as I spend looking at cute pictures of animals and trying to save them and pet them, I really should be better at identifying them.  I might make some flash cards, and my nieces can make fun of me as they quiz me.  I mean, and also I am 38 and should really be able to name them at this point.

Also, I went to Noah’s Lost Ark (go give them money) with my dad and saw “a baby horsie” (i.e. a donkey), sheeps, lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, a bison, a blind horse who had a seeing eye horse, goats, a Coyote Dog hybrid (please do not hybrid coyotes and dogs), deers, and a kitty that somehow was hybrided with a lion or something, and it made a kitty who had no idea what he was and he was scared and rescues would not take him and so Noah’s Lost Ark did.  They are a great place.  They take animals that idiots tried to keep as pets (because black bears make great house pets), and they cannot be returned to the wild, so they are in this sanctuary.  Oh and I saw an Emu.  And you cannot pet these animals (except the goats and sheeps and donkeys), and you cannot be loud and you cannot yell at the animals and they take very good care of them.  I do not like zoos, but I like this place.

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The first two pictures – are those the same kind of animal?  I do not know.

 

Sometimes I Require Attention.

For the most part, I hang out by myself and I am ok with that.  I do not always like talking out loud, so that means I am not a big fan of being social.  I really spend quite a lot of time by myself with no human interaction.

I like my friend Sabrina the Human because when I am with her she just talks and talks and talks, so I do not have to say anything.  I like her for a lot of other reasons, too, but I said that to her the other day and it was funny.  Normally I do not actually get to see Sabrina the Human that much but because I am currently obsessed with the Beck Center production of American Idiot, and she lives right down the street, I get to see her a lot.  Here is a picture of us laying on the cement in the parking lot because it was a nice night and it felt like the right thing to do.

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Some of the people that I sometimes require attention from include:  All Of The Animals, my brother, Dan Folino, Billie Joe Armstrong, Robert Downey Jr., Dave from Half Price Books and Amiee Collier.  Two of those people are local actors who I really like, one is related to me, two are super famous and will not actually ever pay attention to me and the rest are All Of The Animals.  There are a lot of people who will happily pay attention to me whenever I want and this is not to say that this list of people is somehow better or more interesting – possibly more elusive.  For once I do not know how to explain something.

But anyway, my brother is busy and he does not like to text, so we go weeks without even saying hi to each other.  I sometimes text him a lot of things and then he tells me I text too much.  Then sometimes he will text back “Hi” or I will say “Hi this is your sister remember me?” and he will say “What?  Who is this?” and I think that is very funny and then that is how I know he loves me.

Animals really tend to pay a lot of attention to me because I carry treats with me at all times, but not all of them like to be grabbed and squished, which is what I prefer.  I take what I can get.

Dan Folino is very accepting of my chronic need for attention, and I told him this even though I was told I should not inflate his ego more than necessary, but I consider writing to Dan Folino via Facebook message to be like writing to God – sometimes he grants you a reply and you live in his glory, and sometimes you just talk and know in your heart of hearts that he is listening and just does not have the time to respond.  For the past year, since it was announced that Beck would be doing American Idiot and that Dan Folino would be in it, I have been very needy in my attention.  I have offered All Of The Advice since I am clearly the expert on Green Day and how Dan Folino should best be showcased.  I even insulted Dan Folino twice by accident and he granted me his forgiveness because he knows I am basically a social moron and that I did not mean to insult him.  One time I said he looked like a predator though, and I felt really bad about that one.  He does not look like a predator.

Amiee Collier is extremely nice and she has a dog named Buckley who is excessively cute, so she sort of falls into both categories – the need for attention from All Of The Animals and the Amiee Collier fandom.  She puts up with me, too.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Robert Downey Jr. are not my BFFs yet, but I am not giving up hope.

Dave from Half Price Books only sometimes pays attention to me, but again, I take what I can get.

I also like when I get attention at work, if I do something particularly good or smart.  That is always good attention.

And recently, my obsession was highlighted because – bear with me on this – I really believe I am invisible.  Not invisible like magic, but I do not believe people notice me or see me despite the fact that my hair is currently bright red and has, in the past, been purple, blue and pink.  I still think people do not notice me so I thought nothing of the fact that I was in the audience of American Idiot for basically 5 or 6 out of the 7 shows they have done so far.  The cast is very young, so I will be referring to them as “kids”.  By this I mean I am legitimately old enough to be their mother.  One of the kids, Kyle Burnett, came up to me after one of the shows and said he thought I might be a figment of his imagination because he kept seeing me and no one believed I was real.  He was sweet as all get out and I wanted to adopt him to become the twin brother of my already adopted work daughter, Xena.  Anyway, he has been doing a vlog for the Cleveland production of American Idiot, and it is really cute – he interviews the cast members and shows some behind the scenes stuff.  So you should go check out his videos here.  Start with the first one and go in order.

If you are in Cleveland, go see American Idiot.  And if you happen to know Billie Joe Armstrong or Robert Downey Jr., please let them know that I would like some attention.

I Have Some Concerns.

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That is me at the White House.  I called upon President Obama to present to him the ideas of Dartopia, and he agreed it is a fantastic idea and said for me to go ahead with it.

What happens to the animals in NY where 7 feet of snow was dumped?  Are they all buried in the snow?  Were they able to dig themselves out?  Did they suffocate under the weight of the snow?  Are raccoon and squirrel and bunny nests and dens filled in with snow and they cannot get out?  Are kitties frozen under the piles of snow?  What about animals at zoos?  When the snow melts are they going to find millions of dead animal bodies, or were the animals all able to save themselves?

That is one of my concerns.  Here is another.

Sinkholes.  My friend Jewel says not to worry about sinkholes, but oh, I do worry.  They happen with no warning, just all of a sudden your entire house is 60 feet underground.  Is there a way to tell if a sinkhole is going to happen in my area?  Are there sinkhole free locations?  I do not want to get sucked into the earth and buried alive.  One of my biggest fears is being buried alive.  I hyperventilated at the Broadway show Aida because the two main people get buried alive at the end.  I could not breathe.  What if I die but I am not really dead and I get put in the People Burner to get cremated and I wake up and I am on fire?  That is a legitimate possibility.  Oh wait, I went from sinkholes to cremation, those are not related.  Do you know why they are not related?  Because when you get sucked into a sinkhole THEY CANNOT FIND YOUR BODY SO IT CANNOT BE CREMATED.

I also have concerns, as usual, about crazy terrorist people.  I am scared of them and I do not know why they have to keep beheading people.  That is horrible.  Why do people keep going to them to get beheaded?  What are they doing there?

I am also concerned because of the last 8 or so showers I have taken, 6 of those times there has been a really big spider waiting for me.  It is a different spider every time because I kill them with various implements each time.  This last time it was my razor.

This is a concern that I have had for a long time but I have never mentioned it.  I am concerned that I am going to die alone.  Not just die alone, but grow old alone.  Not that I want to get married, I just mean alone that I do not want kids, so I will not have kids to take care of me when I have Alzheimer’s and I am blind and possibly missing all my limbs, and I do not have a husband to do that, nor do I want one.  In theory my parents will die before me, which will leave me all alone in my house which means I could drop over dead and it might be days before anyone would know and what would my cat do?  And I am concerned because long term use of Klonopin increases the chance for Alzheimer’s by 50%.  But without Klonopin, these concerns are magnified by 8 million.

I am also concerned that I will run out of money when I am very old.  What happens then?  What do people who run out of money do?  It is highly unlikely I could get a job at age 80, and of course, I will be living by myself so no one will be able to give me any money, and then I will not be able to buy my various medications and then I will die.

Those are my concerns.  If you have any solutions, please tell me.  Thank you.

 

I Went Out Of Doors Again.

Instead of going to bed because my Benedryl is kicking in and I am finally getting sleepy, I am going to write a blog about two things.  The first is about something that made me angry and the second is that I went Out of Doors again.

The ice bucket challenge.  What was the goal?  Raise awareness and money for ALS.  Did it accomplish the goal?  Why, yes it did!  I am so sick of hearing people say it is stupid to dump ice on your head because that is not going to cure anything.  OF COURSE IT WILL NOT CURE ANYTHING.  Neither does putting yourself through hell for a 3 day Breast Cancer walk and neither does a 5K for Diabetes.  The point is to get people talking about it, and MOST people who are not jerks make the video and donate money anyway.  This is proven by the fact that ALS donations have increased very significantly from last year to this year.  Criticize it all you want, it worked and did exactly what it was supposed to.  Very few people are actually saying “I choose ice over donating”.  The ice water videos are funny and fun, and so we laugh and we get to see celebrities (and who doesn’t love celebrities?) and we get to pick on friends AND we are suddenly saying the name ALS a lot more AND we are donating money to them AND we suddenly find out “Hey, my high school classmate’s dad died of this, I didn’t know that” AND this is what we call a win.  Naysayers can shove it.  I have never done a Diabetes walk because I know that I can sit on my ass right here and donate the exact same amount of money, but if someone is going to go for a walk to benefit me, more power to them.

Also, I would like to take this moment to publicly apologize to my friend Mary, whose point is that it is stupid if you choose to do the ice bucket INSTEAD of donating.  I absolutely agree with that.  I just think most of the videos are from people who donate AND do the video.  This picture is for Mary.

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Dogs for Mary.

On a happier note, I unexpectedly went Out of Doors tonight when AJ and I decided to walk in the Metroparks after dinner.  We went into the woods.  It was lovely.  I was attacked by a buzzing insect.  It buzzed at me and crawled on me and AJ did not believe me, but it did that twice.  Here are a series of pictures from the attack.  That is right, there is photographic evidence.  That is because I was taking a picture of the trees before I was attacked, and while I was attacked, I was swinging my phone at the bug, and it ended up taking a bunch of pictures.

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Before the attack.

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In the midst of the attack.

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The height of the attack.

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The end of the attack.

We heard an owl hoot, and we saw two cardinals, and then I saw a deer and that made me really happy.  I talked to the deer and he came towards me and AJ ran and said I was making him cranky.  Then the deer had a friend, but they did not come near me anymore.

But look, we went into the actual woods.  REAL WOODS.  Sort of.  Mostly.

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Real woods.

Here I am in the Real Woods.

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This is not a selfie.