Category Archives: Furry Friends

I miss my blog.

I know few, if any, still read this, but it has always been a great outlet for me to get things off my chest, ramble, whine, etc.  I haven’t been doing that regularly and boy can I tell!  I must think, at least once or twice per day, I need to blog about this.  But I just haven’t been making the time for it.  Along with all of the other things I haven’t been making time for.  I’ve crawled back into my proverbial shell and, whether I want to or not, I need to force myself out of it again.  Retreat is fine so long as it doesn’t become the norm.  And it has definitely become the norm.  Enough of the funk.  It’s a new year, right?

So, what has been happening lately?  I got a new puppy!  Almost 2 years after I lost Mazzy, I finally decided I was ready to share my home with another furry friend.  A friend of mine forwarded me an email from a lady who fosters dogs.  At the time, she had just rescued a pregnant dog from the pound that was scheduled to be euthanized.  I had no idea they would do that to a pregnant animal!!  The dog had had her puppies and they were now looking for homes.  One adorable little furball jumped right out of the picture at me, so I had to go meet him and his siblings.

 I mean, just look at him.  He’s sooooo cute!!  And of course, I’m a sucker for blue eyes!  There were two other puppies that looked like Rottweiler and beagle mix, one that was all black, and one that all tan.  And then there was Loki, with his blue merle coat and pretty blue eyes.  Definitely the odd man out in the litter.  The mom was a hound mix, but no clue about the daddies.  Later on, I would learn that he, most likely, is an Australian Shepherd, or Aussie, mix.

I went, on a Sunday morning to meet them and, while I was predispositioned to love Loki (or Spot as they had been calling him), I also was drawn to one of the other little cuties.  I spent about 30 minutes in this woman’s backyard, cuddling with the two puppies and trying to decide if I should take one, and if so, WHICH?  Not wanting to make a rash decision, I told her I needed to think about it and would get back with her by that evening.  I knew she had others coming to see the puppies the next day, so I wanted to make up my mind while I still had options.

I ended up going back that night.  Previously, “Spot” was a bit of a concern to me because he just kept biting and chewing everything.  I know he’s a puppy, but he was doing it faaaar more than the other puppies.  So when I went back that night, having decided I was going to take one of them, and having narrowed it down between Loki and one other, I spent more time with those two specifically.   I noticed that one of Loki’s eyes was more blue than the other.  One had started turning brown.  We played, we cuddled, they peed, etc.   And in my heart, I still just knew it had to be Loki.  It helped my decision greatly when the other started biting and chewing just as much.  So, I chose Loki.  I went back two days later to bring him home.  He was almost 7 weeks old and weighed about 9 pounds.

Fast forward to today.  He just went to the vet on Friday for his last puppy booster shots and his rabies vaccination.  At 14 weeks, he now weighs 24.8 pounds.  He’s gained 11 pounds in the past month!!  Did I mention he is going to be a BIG BOY?!  Best estimates from the vet is that he will be between 50 and 70 pounds when full grown.  Mazzy was only about 48 pounds, and what I considered to be a pretty average sized dog.  I knew Loki would be big when I got him.  I mean, his paws are HUGE! 

He’s been going to puppy school for 3 weeks now and is really smart and a quick learner, but stubborn!  He cracks me up on a daily basis though.  I have really missed Mazzy and am so happy to have a dog in my home again.

Oh, and now he only has a half-blue eye.  The other is completely black.  I really hope the blue stays!  His black patches on his back have started…expanding.  He has a long black, mixed with grey, stripe down his back now.  But still has little spots on his legs and head.  It will be interesting to see what kind of patchwork pattern he ends up with!

P.S.  Loki is the Norse god of mischief, and he is certainly living up to his name!

Stinky Pants

I’ve been dog-sitting my sis-in-law’s little furball and I have yet another reason why I don’t want a long-haired pet.After going outside to do his business, Duffy had some poop clinging to his butt fur, which of course I didn’t see until he carried it back into the house with him. Of course, when I yell, he proceeds to SIT. And then drag his butt across the floor. Yeah, it wasn’t a pretty sight.

With the aid of an old towel, some scissors, and a booty-rub in grass wet from the rain, I managed to get him cleaned up enough to allow him back in the house.

We were not friends for awhile.

You’re in my heart.

 

I can’t begin to describe my feelings when I saw this picture.

I have been carrying around a couple of Lomolitos disposable cameras for a (long) while and finally finished off a roll. I took it, along with several others to be developed last week.

I was beside myself when I saw this picture when I picked up my prints. I had completely forgotten about it! I was leaving Mazzy with my parents in Beaumont after Thanksgiving last year since I would be travelling the first two weeks of December. The plan was I would get her back when I went down again for Christmas.

Mazzy had a tumor removed earlier in the summer and, while she did well initially after the surgery, she was becoming less and less mobile. So I was concerned with leaving her, but knew she was in good hands with my parents. That didn’t stop me from crying my eyes out when I had to head back to Dallas. We played and cuddled and hugged and I took two pictures of us before I left.

It was the last time I saw her. The cancer had returned and had spread. She had to be put to sleep a week later while I was in Tucson.

Miss you, baby girl.

Good game, good friends, sad news.

I got to go to another Stars game tonight, only my 2nd of the regular season, which is just sad and another story all-together. I got to see my boys beat the despicable Avs, which is always a good thing. And I got to catchup a bit and have a few drinks with Flirt & Mr. Red during and afterwards, which was a great and much-needed thing. And I got to visit briefly with some other friends, who are both going through a difficult time, which is not so much of a good thing.

It’s a mix of happiness and sadness all rolled into one. I have so many thoughts about what has happened, but nothing I want to blog about right now. Just know that I am concerned and wish I’d been a better friend lately, although I know that wouldn’t change anything.

It’s difficult to talk generically about this, so I’ll just move on.

I’m heading to Sam Rayburn later this week to spend time with my family for Thanksgiving. My oldest brother, Dilbert, from San Diego, and his family flew in and are there at his lake house so we will be celebrating the holiday there this year. Middle brother, Red Baron, will be flying so it doesn’t sound like we’ll get to see him or his family, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the rest of my family. Duckie even gets to bring his daughter this year and she will get to meet her San Diego cousins for the first time!

As it stands right now, I’ll be leaving Mazzy with my parents and not getting her back until I’m in Beaumont for Christmas. I’m having major panic and concerns over that but don’t want to get into that particular topic right now either. There’s a slight chance that my work travel in December may be cancelled, so I’m hoping I can get confirmation on that one way or the other before I give up my dog for a month.

Oh. And you people go ahead thinking I can’t keep a secret! The ones I’ve told are just the tip of the iceberg. Otherwise, I’m a vault, so you shut your filthy mouth!

More long days ahead

Today was the first full day of the conference. So far, the sessions I’ve attended have been pretty informative. And the conversations with others that are here have been good, too. It’s always interesting to hear what your counterparts in other companies are doing, what challenges they’ve faced, what successes they’ve had….

It was another loooooooong day, and I keep making them longer because I can’t just go to sleep when I finally get back to my room. While it’s nice to meet and learn from others, my social interaction tolerance is nearing its breaking point. So I have to have my quiet time before I can go to bed and get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

Bonus: I got forwarded an email from Mazzy tonight! Sounds like she’s having a grand ol’ time!

Walking after midnight

This trip may very well kill me. By the time I get to my “vacation” days, all I’m going to want to do is sleep! My flight got in at 3:20pm on Saturday. I was checked into the hotel by 4:45pm or so. This place is soooo much bigger than I thought. The walk from my room to the convention area of the hotel is a good 10 minutes. I’m beginning to think I will be wearing tennis shoes with my work clothes. And technically, it’s a motel. But anyway…About an hour later, I was meeting up with the boss and coworker to go do early check-in for the conference and then head to Downtown Disney for dinner.

After a very colorful night on which I will not elaborate right now, we finally arrived back at the hotel a little after 2am.

Today, I had tickets for Disney before the conference started this evening. So boss and coworker decided they’d get a 1-day pass and we’d all go to MGM. Up at 7:30am and starting out already exhausted, we had a quick breakfast and caught the bus to MGM and made a mad dash through the park before the boss had to return for a meeting at 2pm.

We did the Star Wars flight simulator thing, saw the extreme stunt show, and rode the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller Coaster. That’s about all I saw of MGM. I will say this, that coaster KICKED ASS! It’s indoors, dark, goes upside down, and FAST! It was so funny…on the little mid-ride photo things they have available to purchase, there’s the 3 of us. Boss looks like he’s enjoying himself. Coworker looks half asleep. And I am nothing but a big huge grin on the screen. What the picture (which we did not purchase) does not show is that my legs were pushed against the seat with every ounce of power I had, trying to make sure my gigantic purse, housing dear Samuel L, did not go flying out of the car.

Orlando 055

I was worried about having to wander around the parks by myself later this week, but after today, I’m looking forward to it. So I can set my own pace, stop and see everything I want to see, and not have to take pictures while walking to keep up with others. It was nice to have the company, but I like to take everything in.

This afternoon, after uploading some photos and discovering that Mazzy had made a new friend, I managed to squeeze in about a 30 minute nap before the opening session and am just now getting back to my hotel room, at 12:15 am Orlando time. And I have to be up in 6 hours. An all day session tomorrow and there is already talk of heading back downtown with old boss, boss, and coworker, as well as a friend of theirs that we met tonight. Rumor has it that, “that girl can drink!” A partner in crime does not bode well for me and being up again early Tuesday morning. Plus that’s money I don’t need to spend.

Ok, off to bed…

A quick update

Work is about to become insanely busy, between testing the new version of our LMS to be installed in October, creating training materials for the entire system, and an internal customer project I’ve been “hired” to manage, the rest of 2006 promises to keep me on my toes.  I’ll try not to let this affect my blogging time too much.

Mazzy is doing well.  She had her drain tube removed on Friday and, today, I took her back to the vet to have her bandages removed.  Now I can see the stitches from both her spaying and tumor removal.  Poor thing looks like Frankenstein.  I haven’t seen the vet since before her surgery last Wednesday, but I am assuming that Mazzy must be healing as expected because the tech told me today I could go ahead and schedule an appointment to have her stitches removed next week. 

I wonder how long it will take her tummy fur to grow back.  Although, in this heat, she may prefer the shaved look. 

This weekend I’ll be holed up in my house trying to get the programs done for our charity hockey game on the 24th.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  Hopefully the team coordinators will have all the bios to me by then. 

I’m not sure what the deal is.  This is the 3rd year we’ve held this event and I’m not sure if people just don’t care anymore or what.  No one seems to be hyping it up.  No one wants to do anything to help (not entirely true, there’s a few, but I’m whining and it’s more dramatic if I say NO ONE).  Everyone just wants to show up and have fun.  But there is soooo much that has to go on behind the scenes for that to happen.  What good does it do to meet and come up with all these great ideas of how to bring in more money if there is no follow through?  And I don’t have the energy to pick up the extra tasks.  There’s no time now anyway. 

I have a meeting with my design team tomorrow morning  that I am just barely prepared for.  And I’m afraid to go to sleep now because I suck at waking up with the alarm.  I hate when I do this. 

Welcome home, Mazzy!

We picked Mazzy up from the vet around 5pm yesterday.  When they brought her around the corner, all bandaged up and wobbly-walking, I was crying all over again.  I was soooo happy to see her up and moving, even if it was with much effort.  After our (my) emotional reunion, she couldn’t wait to get out of there.  So much so that she, against my trying to guide her the other way, walked into the glass window next to the door. 

Poor baby was still all groggy from the anesthesia and couldn’t really see yet.  I think the only reason she knew me at first was from my voice.  Her eyes were all bugged out and she just had this dazed look.   We managed to get her up into the van and then Mom joined me in crying.  Said I ought to go in there and kiss that vet!!  I would have if he’d come out with her, but as it was, I just wanted to get her home and comfortable.

I have to bring her back tomorrow afternoon to have the drain removed.  Getting her into my car is going to be a challenge.  She has a hard time anyway because of arthritis in her back right leg.  And right now, both her little legs are having a hard time supporting her.  She has some pain medicine that I’m giving her right now, but after reading the info on it, it seems to be more for arthritis than anything. 

She mostly slept last night after we got her home, which was to be expected.  She was still drugged and pretty much out of it.  Around 11pm, she got up and walked around a little so I took her outside to see if she needed to pee.  She didn’t, and walked back to the door so I let her back in and she laid back on her rug.  She wasn’t drinking any water, which they also said she might not want.  But I kept putting a little on my finger and running it around her mouth just in case she got a “taste” for it.  I gave her a few spoonfuls of canned dog food on a plate and she cleaned it off in seconds, so at least she had an appetite.  Considering she hadn’t eaten since 8pm the previous night, I wasn’t surprised by that.  😛 

She didn’t seem up for the walk back to my room.   So I figured I’d sleep on the couch.  Around 1am she sat up and was looking around.  I could tell she was still having a hard time focusing and getting her bearings, so I moved over to the chaise and pulled it parallel to her rug so I could keep an eye on her.  And so she could see that she wasn’t alone.  She finally laid back down and slept for awhile.

This morning she got up, with some encouragement, and went outside to go potty.  That made me feel better.  Then I gave her some food and her medicine and she cleaned her bowl.  Again, makes me feel better.  :)  About an hour later she finally drank some water.

Mom & Dad left around 10am.  I am so grateful they were here with me during all of this.  I don’t think I could’ve handled it on my own.  It’s been a rough few days. 

Mazzy has been resting mostly this afternoon, but I’ve gotten her up and walking around every once in awhile just so she won’t get too stiff and to see how she’s doing.  She’s looking much perkier today.  Even been wagging her tail a little bit.  That makes my heart smile.

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This is my trying to remain calm.

I took Mazzy to the vet this morning.  The verdict?  She has a mammory tumor.  And the size, odd shape, hardness, and speed with which it appeared made the vet think there is a good chance it is cancerous.  Either way, it has to be removed.  If not, he said it would ulcerize (sp?) and could potentially spread.  He said typically this type of tumor likes to spread to the lungs.  She hasn’t been coughing or lethargic (any more so than normal atleast…lol), so those were good signs.

Because of her age, the surgery is pretty risky.  He did a chest xray to make sure her lungs looked clear, otherwise it was probably too late.  Thankfully it all looked good.  He didn’t see any signs of potentially cancerous areas….except one tiny spot that was a MAYBE, but the fact that it was the only one made him think not.  He also did bloodwork on her to make sure all her counts were normal.  If not, again, might not be good to do the surgery at this point. 

He also said I should consider whether or not I want them to spay her while she is under.  Explained the increased risk of uterus cancer and infection at her age.  Also explained the negative aspects as well.

The one thing he said that is stuck in my mind is that one of two things will happen after surgery.  “She’ll either wake up or she won’t.” 

Luckily my parents are here visiting right now so Mom went with me.  Her being the nurse, she could ask the right questions and better understand some of what the vet was saying.  Me, all I could do was cry.

Apparently the vet just lost his dog to a very similar lump that had spread.  And his dog was only 7 years old.  Mazzy is 12.  And the average lifespan for dogs is 12-14 years.  So he says I should be happy that she has lived a long life.  But that doesn’t make me feel any better about the situation. 

About 40 minutes after we got home, the vet called to say that Mazzy’s bloodwork looked good.  So we’re bringing her in between 7:30 and 8:30 tomorrow morning.  He said they should be all done by around noon and that, if everything goes well, she’d be able to come home afterwards.

Please let my baby girl make it through this. 

And you failed to mention this…why?!?!

I talked to Dr H last night and told him about my freak-out-worry situation over my (12-yr old) dog.  To which he responds, “Oh, but that’s been there.”

Excuse me?  WHAT?!

Apparently he noticed it when he was here a couple of weeks ago.  And he assumed I already knew about it.  Yeah, because I’m the type of person who is perfectly ok with the fact that my baby girl has a fooking tennis ball growing out of her chest.  Growl. 

I feel horrible that it has been there this long and I am just now finding it.  I’m not a belly-rubber.  And when she is laying around the house, it’s not really visible unless you are looking for it.  When she stands, her rib cage bows out anyway so between that and her fur, it’s not that obvious either.  But run your hand down her belly and you’ll encounter this gigantic THING hanging down.

I just don’t understand how he could NOT say ANY thing about it.  Even if he thought I knew, I’d think he would’ve been like, “Wow!  What IS that?”  Something. 

I don’t know if I’m being irrational or not but I am PISSED OFF that he didn’t say anything. 

What the hell is that?!

I was giving my dog a bath earlier today when I felt an ENORMOUS lump on her chest.  Bigger than a golfball.  Hanging off her chest.  I screamed and cussed and basically freaked out.  Finished washing all of the soap off of her and then cried my eyes out as I ran in the house to find the number for the vet.

When I called, of course they were already gone for the day.  I got the number for an emergency animal hospital and was about to call them.  Instead, I ended up dialing my parents’ number.  Dad answered and I was blubbering all over again.  After explaining it to him, he convinced me it would be ok to wait until Monday to get her in to see the vet.  It doesn’t seem to be bothering her, hasn’t affected her mood or behavior, and she doesn’t mind me touching it (although I mind!  I think it hurts me more than it hurts her).

So I’m just keeping my eye on her and trying not to worry myself sick between now and Monday.

Catching up with DrH & time to go home

Dr H was actually in San Diego the 4th and 5th for a training class, so we had agreed, if our schedules allowed for it, to try and meet up for dinner while we were both there.  Tuesday evening, we decided, based on the suggestion of my brother and a friend of mine, to meet up in the Gas Lamp Quarter.   My sis-in-law was going to drop me off in that area around 4, so she could avoid most of the traffic heading back to her house.  And Dr H was going to give me a call and meet me somewhere after his class, around 5:30.

After looking at the website, I figured this was a good plan because there would be plenty of places for me to walk around and see and take pictures of while waiting on Dr H.  What I did NOT plan on was the downpour that started about 5 minutes after my sis-in-law dropped me off.  Ugh.  I managed to find a store that sold umbrellas atleast, but it was not the carefree downtown wandering I had envisioned.

Dr H’s class ended early, so he was in the area a little before 5pm.  After a few phone calls and miscalculated intersections, we found each other.  Poor thing was pretty soaked by then.  I tried to share my umbrella, but he was having little to none of that.  Men.  Hmmpph.

I was actually pretty excited about seeing him.  None of that first meeting pressure or worries about how to pass the time.  We wandered down to one of the historic houses that supposedly gives tours until 6pm only to find that they had closed early that day.  Dr H got a kick out of that.  His experiences with my “planning” have not been that great so far.  So we made our way back up 5th street and spotted Martini Ranch and decided to go in and have a drink (and get out of the rain). 

We chatted for awhile there and I was genuinely happy to be with him.  Of course, I’m thinking to myself, could I be attracted to this guy?  Did I misjudge things based on the other stuff that was going on?  I don’t know.  He’s cute.  Am I letting his size keep me away?  Does that make me shallow if I am?  Anyway, we had a good time visiting there then decided to go in search of dinner.  I was definitely more “touchy-feely” with him this time. 

The bartender had recommended a place, but when we walked down there (still raining) it looked a little too fancy.  I was in a tshirt, jeans, and tennis shoes.  So we decided to walk some more.  Then we saw Croce’s and the sign for live jazz music got my attention so we stopped to ask when that started.  It was about an hour away, so we looked over a (pricey) menu and decided we’d have dinner there.

We ordered a bottle of wine and some calamari for starters.  Then opted to split an entree (yummy halibut with asparagus and potatoes).  By then the band had started to play.  I don’t know if it was a combination of the live jazz (which doesn’t have quite the overpowering effect on me that blues music does, but still…) and the wine and the rain or what, but it was soooo undeniably “date-like” and I didn’t mind at all.  I went outside to smoke and called my brother to see what the plans were for the next day (I was heading home).  I mentioned that Dr H offered to bring me to the airport and wanted to see what Dilbert thought about that.  His reply was, do you want to do that?  Basically, my call.

Dr H comes out about that time and gives me a nice hug from behind.  We stood there for a few minutes enjoying the music while I finished my smoke.  Then we went back inside and there, sitting on the table, is a cd of the band that’s playing that Dr H had, very sneakily, purchased for me.  Awwww! 

We shared a dessert while I polished off another glass of wine (we’d emptied the bottle by then).  Then we headed to my brother’s.  I was still undecided about Dr H taking me to the airport the next day.  I wasn’t sure if my brother was really ok with it or just saying so.  So we got there and he got to meet Dr H, we looked at some video of the lake house he just bought near Sam Rayburn in Texas, talked a little, then I could tell Dr H needed to get back (he had class again the next morning). 

So Dilbert explains that if he takes me to the airport, he’d be dropping me off way early (around 7:30 for a 10:30 flight) because he has a meeting.  Dr H says he can take me around 8:30 or 9.  I feel bad because I didn’t even get to tell my sis-in-law or nephews bye (they were already asleep….it was almost midnight afterall) but I guess the alcohol made my manners questionable and I gathered up my stuff and headed back towards San Diego with Dr H to his hotel.

And…um…yeah.  I think we got to sleep around 3am. 

So anyway, we got up the next morning and headed to the airport.  It was about 8:20 when he dropped me off.  I ended up getting on an even earlier flight (headed to Albequerque at 9:20) with the idea that I could catch the connecting flight to Dallas there and be home a little earlier.  Oh the joy of flying standby.  Yes, it’s free, but it’s not without a downside.  The downside being creative travel plans.  I made it to Albq with no problem at around noon.  The flight from there to Dallas was supposed to leave around 2, so I wandered the airport and found a smoking lounge, ordered a drink, and took advantage of their free wireless for a bit.

Then that flight ended up being delayed and was pushed back to 3:20.  I was finally able to check in for that one and the odds of me getting on it weren’t looking too good.  Around 3pm, they sent me and another red pass passenger to another gate to catch a flight to Lubbock (WTF?!).  Then from there, we’d definitely be able to get on the “wide open” flight to Dallas.  So that’s what we did.  I got back into Dallas around 7:45pm and then had to wait another 30 minutes for the damn shuttle I reserved to show up.

Home finally a little before 9pm last night.  Yay!  Picked up Mazzy from the PetsHotel today and she’s finally speaking to me again.  She was happy to see me, happy to leave, and then suddenly seemed to remember she was mad at me.  She’s good now though.  The “Pawgress Report” they gave me is cute.  Cheesey, but cute.  Seems like they took good care of my baby atleast.

I hate packing.

I dropped my dog off at the PetsHotel earlier.  That was an adventure.  She is sooo not good around other dogs.  And of course, there’s about a dozen dogs hanging around with their owners, either being picked up or dropped off, when I show up.  They finally came and got Mazzy and took her back to her “room” while I waited to fill out the paperwork.  I feel like such a bad mother.  They marked her as “aggressive towards other animals.”  She hasn’t been “socialized.”  Her only canine friend was a horny little pekinese my parents rescued off the side of the road.  He thought he was her boyfriend.  It was cute (mostly because he couldn’t reach her no matter how hard he tried…lol). 

Anyway.  She’ll have individual play time and a treat each day.  That sounds like a bad thing, but I know it’ll be good for her.  It better be.  It’s costing me more to board her for a week than it costs to take 5 people to 2 hockey games.  I was in tears most of the evening before dropping her off.  Even more so afterwards.  I miss my baby already.  She’s never been boarded for more than a weekend.  And this is the first night I’ve been in my house without her.  :(

So for the past 2 hours I’ve been trying to get my stuff together to leave for my trip tomorrow.  I’ve checked all the weather forecasts, done laundry, figured out how many clean pairs of underwear I’ll need (and then threw in a few more, just to be safe). 

I’m trying to limit myself to 2 pairs of shoes.  Tennis shoes being the obvious first choice considering the 2 hockey games I’ll be going to.  No, I’m not one of those puckbunnies who gets all dolled up for a game in the hopes that hot hockey player speeding down the ice is suddenly going to look up (way up in this case) and spot me and fall in love and want to make babies.

So anyway, the 2nd pair of shoes is causing problems.  I’d normally bring a brown or black pair.  Then make sure most of my clothes matched with that.  The problem is, of the 100 or so pairs of shoes I have (I’m a freak, I know), I don’t have any comfy cute black sandals or the like.  I need versatile.  Practical.  But still able to be dressed up a little.  I have some brown ones that would work, but because it might get chilly there (and most of my shirts are summery by now) I wanted to bring a light sweater or cardigan or something.  And of course, I only have black ones that fit the bill.

So do I bring the less than practical clunky black sandals and have black sweater, belt, etc to match?  Or do I bring the brown ones and clash?  Black and brown can go together, right?

Sometimes I’m such a girl it makes me sick.

Dallas World Aquarium

A little bus picked us up from the office today and drove us to the aquarium.  Yes, go ahead and get all of your “you ride the short bus” jokes out of the way.

We got there around 11am and were taken to one of the event rooms and served an incredibly good lunch.  No, we did not have sushi.  The food was excellent though.  I had no idea their catering was so fantastic. 

After lunch, we were allowed an hour and a half to roam the aquarium before we had to be back in the room for our “activity.”  I had not been to this place since almost 6 years ago.  Calling it an “aqaurium is really misleading because, while it does have quite a few of those, it also has a big rainforest type place with all kinds of other animals.  The first time I went, I thought it was nice, but nothing fancy.  And certainly not worth the cost of admission to go again. 

Since that time, they have apparently made quite a few changes and additions.  And the hour and a half to explore was nowhere near enough time, IMO.  I had gone in armed with both my digital and 35mm cameras.  I made it a point this morning to clean my lenses, make sure I had plenty of film, grabbed my polarizing filter to help with the glass glare, and put fresh batteries in the flash.  What I failed to do was realize that the actual camera battery in the 35mm had not been changed in some time.  I got there, loaded it up with film, threw it and my digital on my shoulders and went off to take buttloads of pictures. 

But…you guessed it.  Shortly after turning the 35mm on, the battery died.  And people were making fun of me for bringing TWO cameras.  Now I don’t look so silly, do I?  😛

My little midrange digital still manages to impress me (or I impress myself sometimes.  Little bit of both, perhaps).   It was my step up camera from the last one.  The plan was to use it for a year or two and then step up again to a full digital SLR.  I’m itching to get one, but have to save up the money first (not to mention pay off some debts). 

Anyway, back to the zoo/rainforest/aqaurium place.    I had to rush my way through to get back to our department thing so didn’t really get to spend as much time in each area as I wanted.  They had the obvious:  fish and sharks other sea creatures.  But they also had birds and snakes and flamingos and storks and jaguars and spiders and monkeys…It was a really cool place and I plan to go again soon.

Back at our department thing, I ended up winning one round of the trivia ($25 Visa card) and getting second place in the “Guess How Many POUNDS of Candy Garfield* Has Distributed Over the Last 3 Years” contest.  I guessed 1200.  The correct answer was 1500 I think.  Either way, another $25 Visa for me.  YAY!

*Garfield is a coworker who has a little table outside of his office, constantly filled with all kinds of yummy treats.