Thursday, June 08, 2006

We're Off to Canada

We leave Saturday for our trip to Canada with Andy's mom and sister, Carol. Can't wait! After that I'll be in Oregon for a few days with my girlfriends from Ocean City, MD. So you might not hear again from me til the end of June/early July.

The Masked Ones

Tuesday was my lucky extra volunteer showed up at the nursery so I got to help with the baby raccoons. Oh, it's not a glamorous job. Their leftover food dishes (from overnight) are stinky and the job requires scooping poop...but I loved it anyway. This is exactly what I wanted - exposure to the different animals.

I learned a few things very quickly:
1. When you reach in the cage with 4 rambunctious and hungry critters, don't let your fingers and thumbs stick out. One thought my thumb was a baby bottle and latched on. He didn't break skin, but I wasn't sure how long he was going to keep my thumb before realizing it wasn't going to produce any milk!
2. Raccoons growl. And they hiss. Wow, one angry little (or not so little, actually) gave me a scare when I tried to get his dishes. So, I graciously refused to clean his cage! Ha! I figured Nick was better trained to handle this newcomer. But he even made Nick worried.
3. Their little hands with opposable thumbs are very ape- or human-like. And they'll reach thru the bars and grab at your shirt or your mask. With the cages stacked three high and your focused on one level its hard to remember not to put your face too close to another row of cages.
4. They will walk out of the cages. Intelligence level: unknown at this time. It's a big drop out of the 2nd or 3rd row for these little guys, so I was surprised to find that they'll walk straight out of the cage into thin air when they're excited and hungry. I wonder if they fall out of trees often at this age?
5. They love to climb. Up and down the cage doors.
6. They talk to each other constantly. Little noises and squeals. But that cute little chitter chatter turns to a toothy-screeching when they get hungry.
7. They love being together. They lay on top of each other. When they come in alone, they get a stuffed animal or two to snuggle with. So sweet.

To reduce "imprinting", there are strict rules in the raccoon nursery. We have to wear camouflage masks, gloves, and we are to keep talking down to minimal necessity. This way the raccoons don't associate humans with food, or lose their fear of humans, so they can be released back into the wild.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Chihuly at Fairchild Gardens

I had been talking for months about going to Miami to tour Fairchild Gardens' Chihuly exhibit. I knew it would be incredible. Well we finally drove down there last Wednesday, May 31st - the last day of the exhibit. Nothing like waiting to the last minute! I had originally hoped to do the evening show when they lit up his glasswork, but agreed that the last evening of the exhibit would've probably been too crowded for my crowd-aphobia. So we went during the day...mid afternoon...heat & humidity...we have forgotten how hot our summers can be. But it was worth it. The gardens themselves are beautiful and worth the trip, but the Chihuly glassworks were woven into the scenery creating a treasure-hunt atmosphere to try and find them all. The were hidden in bushes, floating on the lakes, hanging from trees, poking up out of the desert-scenes like cacti themselves. Very fun.

There were others that couldn't be hidden...they were almost two stories tall!

Here are just a few of the pictures from our day:

But I still think this one is my favorite:

Friday, June 02, 2006

Cool Clouds

We are so happy with our decision to buy on the westside of the building. Not only do we get to watch sunsets from our balconies, but we can also watch the summer storms roll in from the Everglades.

We think it's the clouds that really make our sunsets spectacular.

What do you think?

We're Recycling!

I know all of our guests who have visited in the past will be excited to hear: our condo building is now RECYCLING! We're all so used to recycling and it was such a shock to not have a recycling program in our new home. We felt so guilty every time we threw away a soda can or beer bottle. But we persisted, and the new recycling bins are here. They arrived yesterday. Now Andy and I will continue with our "mission" by educating our neighbors. It's a little more inconvenient in a condo - less space in our units and a further walk to get to the recycling bins, but we're hoping for a positive response.