Monday, October 27, 2014

halloweek 2014: days 1 & 2

My tradition of Halloweek has stuck for the past few years! That's really saying something considering I change up what I do all the time, but not in regards to TRADITION!

Sorry, you don't actually have to watch all seven minutes of that. So far this October, though not fall-like AT ALL considering I live real close to Mexico and I went to the beach on October 1st, has been FANTASTIC. I am surprised at how much I miss Utah, what with the beautiful change of colors in the mountains and the Rocky Horror Picture Show being played at the Tower, BUT I've still been forcing my Halloweenie ideals onto the people of Texas.

On the night of September 30th, I decorated our apartment after Elise went to bed like some sort of morbid Halloween fairy, including placing streamers in ill-conceived places where they could constantly fling themselves out the door. I also spent an embarrassing amount of money on Halloween decorations at Target (curse you, Target!) Combining the new decorations with my usual Nightmare Before Christmas decor I have up in my room ANYWAYS and my apartment was totally Halloween-afied! Yes, it's a word. No, don't try to look it up.

So far this October I've been watching spooky movies like The Addams Family (thank you, Netflix!), Blood Glacier (a fantastically terrible horror movie about mutations evolving from a blood-like substance leaking from a glacier due to climate change, IT'S REAL, PEOPLE), Phantom of the Opera (my teenaged guilty pleasure), the new Carrie (meh, the old one is def better), and am looking forward to watching A LOT MORE! I still need to, of course, watch Nightmare Before Christmas as well before October 31st is gone (I don't know if I'll be watching it on Halloween considering I have a hoppin' party to go to!).

I spent the first day of Halloweek compiling a Halloween Photo Scavenger Hunt, based on one that I found from another blogger and based on what I wanted to take photos of because I'm a cheater. I went for a walk with my roommate and her dog and took some photos of the neighborhood, where I luckily found some of the photos I was looking for! We'll see if I can complete it by the time Halloween is over!

On day 2 of Halloweek, I had a pumpkin carving party! I love pumpkin carving parties! I threw myself in the car after changing into a holiday appropriate zombie-referencing shirt following work and went on an epic journey for decent pumpkins. I've had some issues in the past finding some good ones close enough to Halloween to ensure they don't rot and shrivel on the porch before the main event, but luckily the local grocery store had some nice ones with beautiful curly stems. I still look forward to the day when I can go to a real pumpkin patch, but for now store-bought pumpkins will work. My mam genes also shone through and she possessed me to purchase chips and candy for my guests, despite my invite reading "BYOP. AND BYOB. OR BYOV (vodka)." Sooo I caved and got snacks because inside my heart I am a hostess, even though I rarely act like it. Halloween brings it out in me. So I bought some pumpkins, my favorite $1 disposable tablecloths for easy cleanup, and picked up some sandwiches before heading home to set-up. I put on my playlist of spooky tunes (my favorite) so we could jam out while carving (here is a song I'm really loving right now) and we got to work. I ended up carving a SURPRISE owl. I wanted to try employing the shaving technique again, since I did that last year with my turkey vultures, and I did end up doing it...but it didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned it. Still, it looks awesome lit up.

(mine is on the far left)

More pictures to come of Halloweek! For now this is my Friday so I'm off to watch a scary movie with Raphael, possibly drink some more, and write some letters to BFFs!! Love!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Big Day

If you've never seen Big Year with Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Steven Martin, then YOU ARE MISSING OUT. It's a movie that made known a traditional informal contest that has occurred every year in the US since 1934. In a Big Year you try to find as many bird species as you can in the span of a year; sometimes winners can get actual prizes but it's mostly for the honor of knowing you saw that many birds in a single year.

Corpus Christi is known as the birdiest city in the entire US, so it makes total sense that the local Audubon Society chapter hosted a Big Day competition. We composed a team called Bird is the Word featuring myself, the ecstatic and overly peppy bird lover, Lauren, the down to earth "mom" and driver, Roxie, the sassy snack provider, and Raf, the birding and photography hobbyist. Together we made a pretty good team, though the entirety of Big Day was an absolute shit show. Let me start from the beginning.

I woke up at 4:30 AM hating my life. I stupidly agreed to watch my friend's kinkajous, aka bear squirrels, and had to take care of them before I could meet up with the rest of Bird is the Word at six. Roxie helpfully texted me "WAKE UP" at 5:30 when I was actually attempting to keep the kinks occupied while I cleaned their enclosures, THANKS ROXIE. I ended up being the second person there exactly on time, much to my own surprise. We gathered our resources, stocked up on coffee and car snacks aka junk food at the gas station, and headed out to Hazel Bazemore Park. Hazel Bazemore is where we went to release those Barn Owls, thus a great riparian, woody habitat to see MANY BIRDS. However, before we were to embark on our birdy adventure, we were pulled over by a cop. Of course. We were the only car on the road that early, the cop innocuously pulled off to the side. Our speedometer read an innocent "68" mph, yet his lights clicked on immediately as we passed him and our car was filled with neon light. He asked us how fast we thought we were going and we told him "68". "Really? Because I clocked you back there at 86 mph". Our first thought was, "Are you dyslexic?" We were very close to saying it out loud, as lack of sleep does distort your perception of what is okay and what is definitely NOT OKAY. We were let go with a warning and a speech about how we shouldn't be putting other people's lives at risk. YEAH LAUREN! Once he left, we all side-eyed each other and then slowly made our way to Hazel Bazemore.

Unfortunately, it was still pitch black when we arrived at the gate whose sign read in big, bold letters, "PARK OPENS AT 9:00". Yeeeah right, this is BIG DAY, BITCH. So we snuck through and headed deep into the foliage, where we constantly wondered if we were going to be murdered or not. As I said semi-confidently, though, "No horror movie ever started with birders." I have it hard-wired into me to arrive at my birding location before dawn breaks so I can be present for the morning chorus, or whenever the sun rises and touches the tops of the trees. Birds go absolutely nutters for this and it's one of the best times to go birding. However, we were a little too early for this. We stumbled around in the dark, going off of silhouettes of birds and searching via cell phone flashlights. We did get a couple of nightjar species and then an obnoxious Northern Mockingbird. The mockingbird was the first of many to be seen that day; soon we would be cursing its name.

I hate you (picture by Raf)

Finally, the sun rose and we started seeing different species: an irate male kestrel who kee-kee-kee called at us, a pair of Crested Caracaras (my first to be seen in the wild!), a female Cooper's Hawk, and a Northern Waterthrush! The latter was super exciting because it's the first bird that I've had to ID from the very basics in a looong time; I had to first place it in a family and then ID it from there based on the coloration (which was still difficult to see at that point). It looked like a thrush, so I started there and when I saw the streaking on the belly I was sold! So exciting, but maybe actually boring...

We made it up to the Hawkwatch platform where volunteers were starting to count the daily migrating species. They were AWESOME and helped us with our counts when we told them we were doing a Big Day! They would use their spotting scopes to find birds a mile away (well, it seemed like it) and would ask us if we had seen a shrike yet, or a reddish egret, and if not we gazed at it through the scope and then marked it down. We saw Green Jays, another exciting find, Northern Cardinals, Lincoln Sparrows, Broad-Winged Hawks, Great-Crested Flycatchers, and many others I'm forgetting because we ended up seeing forty species there and it was awesome. I am looking forward to going back with my camera next time!!!

We headed to Polliwog Pond next for a long hike through tall, itchy grasses that didn't yield very much. We did see a large Rat Snake wrapped around a tree branch hanging low over the water, some species of warblers, a Red-Tailed Hawk, a Swainson's Hawk, and a Northern Parula. A funny story about the Parula is a had said aloud just half an hour before, "I want to see a Parula" sort of as a joke, but also not really. My dad has always said I have a magic that allows me to see what I want; while scuba diving I had fantasies of seeing octopi and sea turtles come true and one rainy day while birding in Patagonia, AZ with my mom, we saw a Vermillion Flycatcher despite her insistence that we wouldn't see one. I have faith.

At this point, it was 11:30 and we were STARVING. We decided to go down a marshy corridor leading back to downtown where we were going to eat lunch. This is where we slightly wanted to kill Raf because he would bark, "PULL OVER" in the middle of the freeway, forcing Lauren to stop, reverse, then do illegal U-turns to get back to the side of the road so we could get out and see the creatures. The cool part is we saw a flock of Wood Storks, another life species for me!! However, since both Roxie and I had severe food aggression, we basically attacked Raf...verbally. Oh well, it's like that saying...


We then had a fight about where we were going for lunch and whether or not we should double back for more birds or take a straight shot but in the end I screeched, "IT DOESN'T MATTER" and we ended up trying to go to Chilis, though this was a bust since it was Saturday at noon. So McAllisters it was! Mmmm sandwiches!

After our lunch break, we headed out to Sunset Lake and Indian Point Park, where it started drizzling. Car birding became a much more popular method of travel, after this point. This was the point where our amazing record of finding new species sort of dwindled; now it was time to focus on identifying shorebirds. Ugh, the worst. Some are easy to pick out from a crowd, but others are only distinguished from essentially their TWIN by like, two lines above their eyes or slight differences in the barring pattern on their wings. NOPE. Both places were beautiful, however, one of the best parts of Biggest Day was hiking around places I hadn't been to yet. I miss hiking and exploring the wilderness; it's an important part of my soul.

(photo by Roxie)

After fighting over whether a sandpiper was something we hadn't seen yet or a common species, we decided to head to Blutcher Park, a woody area downtown that I had no idea existed. It's a quiet, shady palace for warblers in the middle of a noisy, highly populated city and a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, upon arriving and sinking into the foliage, we heard the racuous cries of what sounded like a meth-head. It ended up being an old shirtless man and Out for a walk. At this point, Raf said, "We should probably stick together..." Good point, well made. I was proud of myself because I was the first person to see a bird at Blutcher and correctly identified it immediately, an American Redstart. This is where my success ended, however, because it was so thick with brush and leaves that it was almost impossible to distinguish colors or markings from the cocaine-filled warblers flitting from branch to branch. INFURIATING. While squinting at a branch with binoculars glued to my eye socket, dedicated to my endeavor, Raf approached me from a small ravine with his camera and asked, "Does this look like a Painted Bunting to you?" A Painted Bunting. One of the birds I most DESPERATELY want to see! They are basically the parrot equivalent of a songbird, and Raf's grainy, Bigfoot-esque photo was DEFINITELY of a Painted Bunting. I was so jealous, I immediately careened into the ravine and sat in it for the next ten minutes, diligently staring at the trees and waiting for the Painted Bunting to come back. Raf eventually gently told me he didn't think it was coming back and I had to accept it. I believe my magic was used up on the Parula, but next time I will save some for my bunting.

After Blutcher, it started to RAIN. We ran to the car (Lauren's mercedes that we were slightly worried about parking on the street in the neighborhood surrounding Blutcher Park) and headed to our last spot on the list: Hans Suter Wildlife Reserve. This is the area I explored a couple of months earlier and is also abundant with smaller bird species. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain. Raf was a trooper and made his way into the abyss while Lauren, Roxie, and I all waited in the car for it to let up. It did, slightly, but started to deluge again shortly after the "eye of the storm". I eventually said to hell with it and went to search for birds with Raf.

We saw a total of 85 species and heard 2, a total of 87 for team Bird is the Word! We arrived at the reception dinner soaking wet, covered in mud, and strangely alone. I was under the assumption that Biggest Day worked on America's Next Top Model Go-See rules; if you didn't make it back in time, you were eliminated. That was not the case, however. We were on time and by far the earliest people. Other people started to file in, showered with hair done and nice clothes on while we stood in the corner like a couple of reject forest children. That's a little dramatic, but it seemed that way. The best part of getting there first was filling out our species list before anyone else.

(photo by Raf)

We waited in the lobby, still cold and wet, checking out the silent auction items and chatting with a few friendly Audubon society peeps before dinner started an hour later. At this point, we were once again QUITE HUNGRY so we filed in and waited patiently for dinner while the (coughotcouh) Audubon speaker congratulated us, etc. etc. No one else wanted to sit at our table with us, which was cool because we got more dessert. At one point someone wandered over and I enthusiastically exclaimed, "HI!" He smiled politely, took some silverware, and walked away to which I audibly said, "Okay." It was like we were in high school again. I'm totally exaggerating, since my high school wasn't even like that, but it was funny to watch the people who worked for the institute eventually sit down with us because they felt bad for our ostracization (new word! Make it a thing!). The raffle was a funny experience because the end gift was free passes to the aquarium and we just knew that if we were going to win something, it was going to be those passes. Luckily, we won nothing at all, so that was A-OK with us. As a grand finale to the dinner, they left our team name off of the roster and were never called. Thus, we had to speak up and tell them they left out Bird is the Word, who ended up getting FOURTH in the competition due to our determination. Many other people went home as soon as it started raining, hence their nice clothing. I'm proud of our team, we did super well and even though we didn't break 100 species, we got SUPER close!!

We left as soon as the places were determined in the competition so we could get home as soon as possible. Turns out, it was raining like the end of the world outside, lightning flashing every 2-3 seconds with thunder rumbling primitively beneath our feet in the asphalt. Getting home was HELL. There was a flash flood warning, and despite being pulled over for not doing anything illegal earlier that morning, Lauren now was attempting to save us all in the rising tides and pulled more illegal U-turns, ceased stopping at red lights in the middle of puddles, and even took us the wrong way for 20 minutes just so we could get to higher ground. At one point she screamed for Roxie and I to close our eyes because we were freaking out so much. Luckily, we eventually reached the aquarium and went our separate ways. I had to go feed the kinkajous, much later than originally anticipated, and made it back home around 10 PM. The plan was to go dancing after my Big Day excursion, but I COULD. NOT. RALLY. I am usually the first to rally in situations where dancing is imminent, but this time I couldn't do it. The day had been too full, deliciously so, and hilariously so, but I couldn't go dancing. Instead, I took a shower and went to bed. And that was good, too.

Turns out it was Bikerfest and thousands of motorcycles were absolutely destroyed in the flash floods, since the drainage in Corpus Christi is pretty much the worst and our streets basically immediately flood. They were up to their spokes and handlebars in muddy water and people were still trying to get in and out of downtown into the wee hours of the morning. Thank goodness we all decided to stay in.

I'm super happy I participated in Big Day, but I look forward to not having to get up that early in a long time :)

  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Golden-Fronted Woodpecker
  • Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (got a BVD)
  • Long-Billed Thrasher
  • Green Jay
  • Greater Yellowleg
  • Great Kiskadee (LOVE THIS BIRD)
  • White Tailed Hawk
  • Bronzed Cowbird
  • Woodstork
  • Northern Parula
  • Black Skimmer
  • Marbled Godwit
  • Magnolia Warbler

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The beginnings of fall are upon us!

...or at least they should be. Here in Corpus, it's actually fairly similar to summer AKA still an above 100 degree heat index every day and muggy as hell. The only difference is that it has been raining quite a bit, which while pleasant is not so fun when you are unsuspectingly cleaning outside and suddenly the heavens split open and all the water that ever existed drenches you for half an hour straight. Then, when you finally get inside away from the thunder and lightning, it clears up and the day is absolutely beautiful. But not beautiful enough to actually dry any of your clothes. Also the mosquitoes come out in droves after rainstorms. BUT nothing is as terrible as the Minnesota north woods in the middle of summer, so at least I don't have to worry about losing 50% of my blood on a daily basis.

Enough banter, time to discuss important things such as this "weekly" blog feature that I have definitely been keeping up with...

10 Things I'm Loving


1) New training goals

Our department is undergoing some new, really exciting changes! We are now all on different training teams for different animals; primary trainers for some and secondary trainers on others. I'm the lead trainer for Kogi, my favorite baby Military Macaw, and Cleo, the semi-angry Swainson's Hawk. I'm excited by the potential both of these animals have, as well as learning how to work and train the other animals that I have the pleasure of teaming up with. Basically, I'm excited to go to work now and play with animals all day; it's truly a wonderful experience to love what you do for a living.

2) Finding pieces of nature in the city

(from my IG)

It's incredibly important for my being, my soul, to find the wild wherever I am and allow myself to be one with it. I used to wander the mountains at midnight (to my mother's chagrin), take afternoon walks through my Minnesota woods to watch dappled sunlight and juvenile wood frogs cross my path, and now I miss it. I miss it desperately. I used to be a ten minute drive from rural mountain paths, I used to live deep within the woods next to a lake inhabited with loons and osprey, and now I live in a city desolate of wilderness. There is the ocean, and for that I am grateful, but this ocean is filled with people and, tragically, their garbage. People do not respect or care for the environment very much here, which saddens me, so I try to help when I can. I need wild places sans people, places to be with the birds and then insects and the water and my thoughts. Luckily, I've been able to find some portions of wilderness to give my heart hope (as Laura and I joked). We went to Hazel Bazemore park, a large section of woods and water half an hour north of Corpus, to release some Barn Owls (as seen in the previous post) and were astounded that such a large natural reserve can exist somewhere like Corpus Christi. I look forward to picnics, bike rides, and book reading dates at Hazel Bazemore.

3) Homemade french fries


I make some pretty damn good french fries, if I do say so myself. I slice up some golden russet potatoes from my birthland of Idaho, slather them with olive oil, shake generous portions of garlic salt and chili powder on top, and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Delish.

4) Halloween items making their way into stores


Of course, any mention of Halloween makes me absolutely GLOW with joy! I went grocery shopping yesterday and saw the store setting up for Halloween. I perused aisles of sparkly pumpkins and bloodied skulls and sighed with contentment. I love Halloween.

5) Costume shopping


My friend is having a Murder Mystery party for her birthday and I am stoked. So stoked that Murder Mystery is capitalized. The theme is old west poker tournament, and I'm a saloon girl (yessss all my dreams are coming true). At first dressing up was just a suggestion, but now it seems as if those who don't choose to dress up will be in the minority, so I am definitely ordering a costume. I think I know what base I'll work with, I just need to see how much it is and get to working on it! My name is Sally Starr :D

6) Mental Health Days


Sometimes, you wake up not feeling 100% and you decide you need to sleep until noon and then sit around in pajamas while you watch Grey's Anatomy. This happens to basically be me every weekend, but this weekend two days were not enough. Since everyone else had a labor day weekend, I made my own and watched a lot of reality television, talked with my BFFL, and skyped with my Oma. It was emotionally challenging but still a good physical break.

7) Skyping


Skype is a wonderful invention, even though my father says 75% of the time you're on Skype is spent trying to figure out why so and so's camera turned off, or why there's suddenly no sound. However, without it I wouldn't be able to see my parents as much considering they live in Spain now and I unfortunately can't call up my mom whenever I want :( The good news is SKYPE exists and I can call her with some careful pre-planning on our parts and talk to her for hours about the animals I play with, the feathers I collect, the things that made us smile, and Onion articles.

8) Fall colors


I absolutely adore Autumn (it is my namesake), and with that everything that comes with it (even the eventual winter, for a time). This includes the magnificent colors that burst like wildfire in the mountains of my home in the west, or the woods of my home in the north. Here in the south, where muggy heat reigns, there will be no fall colors. So I will have to gaze at past photos and sigh while I dip my toes in the atlantic ocean.

9) IBC root beer


They were an impulse buy at the grocery store, but one I never regret. Bottled root beer is always a treat.

10) Copperhead Road

One of the things I know how to do that makes me truly feel like I live in Texas is a good country line dance. We frequent a country dance bar called Whiskey River, which proudly displayed taxidermied raccoons in little canoes and a fog machine. Every night at midnight, they play the song Copperhead Road, and the entire club piles onto the dance floor to dance in tandem to this song. It's so fun. I never get sick of it, and stomping in boots on the dance floor in time with one hundred other people is a thrill.

I spent the day compiling my costume for the murder mystery party, procuring an awesome Star Wars shirt, eating too much bad food for me, going on Sarah Dessen-esque adventures with Laura to the gas station for slushies, watching Grey's Anatomy, and, of course, blogging. A very good, relaxing day! Now to either late night clean my bathroom or watch My Cat from Hell...hmmmm...

Nighty night

Thursday, September 4, 2014

owl release












There were three young owlets in the crate. Two females with toasted marshmallow bellies and a glowing white male. Their calls sounded like air slowly being released from a tire with undertones of a ringwraith, unearthly screams in a pint sized package. We reached their release point, Hazel Bazemore Park - an important migration route for the thousands of raptors skirting the edge of the gulf coast. We unloaded their crate, propping it up on a wooden bannister that overlooked a thick swath of forest. It was dusk, the golden hour, and the sky was filled with the hues of butternut squash, viridian, and candlelight. It was a perfect night for three owlets to return home.

The crate door was opened and the owlets hushed, clustered together at the back and unsure as to what trickery their human captors were playing on them. Was it safe? Was the greenery beyond the open crate door limitless? The first to leave was the largest female; a feisty carmel colored lady who was darker than her sister. She took us all by surprise, shooting out of the crate with silent fury. We fumbled for our cameras and I was lucky enough to get a snapshot of her rocketing into the undergrowth. The next female we were ready for. Her talons scrabbled against the plastic of the crate and she too flew with a quiet intensity into the trees. Last but not least, the male left the sanctity of the crate. He was the most distinct, his coloration standing out immediately against the sky, now muted to pastel colors. I followed his brilliant white and tawny flight into the trees with my camera until he sunk below the foliage.

To release a wild animal back into its native habitat after proper rehabilitation is invigorating. There are three new owlets in the woods of Hazel Bazemore, using their natural adaptations and apex predator instincts to hunt mice to their hearts' content. No more thawed white mice, no more confined spaces. They will be the epitome of free.

Monday, July 7, 2014


  • A Texas (aka alcoholic) Cherry Limeade at a beach bar after work
  • The happiest cemetery I've ever seen
  • Up close and personal nature
  • Exploring in my princess cape
  • Tiny flowers with big hearts
  • J.J. Abrams was here
  • My love for cacti knows no bounds
  • Someone worked hard on their home
  • Birdwatching is my crack
  • A Great Blue Heron flying overhead
  • One of my exploration buddies (he was cray)
  • My very first Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher I saw in Texas!
  • Argos playing in the water on an evening walk
  • A glimpse of Houston

I was productive tonight and actually did real things like laundry and uploaded 80% of my 2000 photos to my computer! So here are some snapshots of Texan life. I will attempt to post about my Houston road-trip I took two months ago to see Bruce Springsteen and go to the downtown aquarium at some point, as well as other photos I've taken from my wilderness wanderings around Corpus Christi!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

10 Things I Love

I love to write. Writing is a cathartic and natural process for me, which is why I started a blog in the first place. Unfortunately, I have not exactly been blogging, as of late. I really want to get back into the groove of it, and not only to write, but to also post my photographs. I have not taken many photographs with my DSLR in the past few months; another habit that I have grown out of. The good news is that I'm not blogging because there is an overabundance of things that I'm doing in my life, vs. not having anything to talk about. There's just so much to experience in South Texas, some good and some pretty trashy. But maybe that's just Texas.

Anyways, here's ten things that I'm loving in life right now!


Orange is the New Black

BAHAHAHA this show is absolute GOLD. From every facet of my life I heard people discussing season 2 with such fervor that I decided I had to give it a chance. I love it. It's complicated, powerful, funny, and sad. Everything you could want from a TV show.


Polaroid Cameras

I impulse bought an Instax mini polaroid camera the day I got a 98% on my physics test. My parents, who I lived with at the time, told me it was impulsive and silly and that film was expensive, etc. etc. WHATEVER, I DO WHAT I WANT. I love using it, though to be fair I hadn't used it in a while UNTIL I decided I was going to do a summer project with it. I am taking a polaroid every single day of the summer (June 1-August 31, in my mind) and posting it in my journal so I can remember the memories I have of my crazy life here. Beach bonfires, country dancing, free shots, pool days, Game of Thrones parties, bar crawls, and everything else life has to offer.


Peach vodka and iced tea

Jess taught me this fantastic combination! Seriously, try it. It tastes even better when you combine the alcohol with a lemonade/iced-tea mixture. For best results, pour over ice in a tumblr and take to the pool or beach. You'll thank yourself for it.


Little baby totems of some animals that I work with! Danielle's shop is a treasure trove of adorableness.


Game of Thrones Sunday Fundays

I have been LOVING this season of Game of Thrones (though everyone trying to teach Khaleesi "lessons" like "it's okay, you're learning but through pain and death, yeah okay...). Every sunday, me, Elise, and Laura all get together for Sunday Funday and watch Game of Thrones, eat food, and generally wreak havoc. This past Sunday, we all gathered at our friend Kevin's house for macaroni and cheese pie, smashed red potatoes, and cinnamon braised peached with vanilla ice-cream. Also the finale was fucking INSANEEEEE!!! Happy Father's Day, indeed, Tywin Lannister MWAHAHAHAHA


Piano Bars

(I use the word "bar" FAR TOO OFTEN in this paragraph because I didn't proof-read this before I posted it and I thought I had a concussion today so BEAR WITH IT YOU GUYS)

When I first started going to bars, I was truly uncomfortable. For some reason, I constantly felt like I was on display and that people were judging me for not knowing what to order at the bar. One of the only places I felt comfortable was a dueling piano bar we happened upon during my 21st birthday bar crawl. We sat down, a cocktail waitress took our drink orders (no standing awkwardly at a crowded bar), and cheered and sang to songs played by the two men competing against one another onstage. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that bars are literally just another play to hang out, just with a full bar alcohol nearby and sometimes pool and darts. Now I'm as bar pro (if I do say so myself), and shove myself into the fray surrounding the bar, obnoxiously waving my card and demanding shots of tequila (just kidding, that only happened once). I still LOVE dueling piano bars though. Even though this particular instance was not "dueling pianos", but just a piano singalong, it was still super fun, and it had the same set-up as dueling piano bars. You write your request on a napkin complete with a "donation" (aka tip) and the highest donations win a song on the piano. We went to Brewster's Ice House, a cool bar with a giant open patio right on the train tracks. Unfortunately, I forgot my ID so I was outfitted with a minor's wristlet, complete with neon orange smiley-faces. I had to hide it conspicuously beneath the table every time I drank one of the beers someone else had to purchase for me (I have great friends). It was a great time complete with 80s rock ballads, purchasing the piano player a shot so he would play our song, and screaming, "YOU BITCH, YOU SLUT, YOU WHORE" (a piano bar favorite).


A teeny tiny laptop for my birds!

Natal sent me (aka Manny and Maeby) a tiny apple laptop so my birds can browse tumblr with me! Bonding activities! She understands my love of birds pretending to do people things, so this gift is on par with my weird hobbies.


The Last Halloween

I have recently got into reading web comics that have an actual storyline, vs. Toothpaste for Dinner. My stipulations are that a) they have to be interesting to me (obvi), b) they only started a little while ago so I have time to catch up before I get real-time updates, or c) they can be long, but they also must be over so I can just read the whole thing like a book (things that have been going on forever and are still CONTINUING TO BE A THING really intimidate me, for instance DOCTOR WHO, how does anybody even know what's going on anymore??). The moral of this story is that The Last Halloween is fantastic and I LOVE IT. Especially since it has the whole spooky/cute thing going on, which I'm really into. Which is why I adore bats. Check it out and also Abby Howard's other stuff, because she is dupes funny! DO IT.


Beach bonfires

I just want to have beach bonfires ALL THE DAYS. I can't get enough of them. My favorite thus far involved crisp white-wine sangria, playing in the bioluminescence at midnight, and then attempting to get mozzarella sticks at 4 AM. That part didn't work very well...


Memories of cool mountain nights, drinking out of aluminum, blue-speckled cups filled with powdered apple cider complete with a slight metallic tang, crowding around a small, crackling campfire popping with sparks. Basically just having a place to escape the heat in general, as everywhere here is swathed in a 103 degree heat index. I miss the mountains :( Though beach camping is an experience I still look forward to.

I really want to try posting photos again, as well as taking photos. I haven't touched my DSLR in months (part of the reason is my favorite lens broke, waaah), so I need to get started with it again! Photography is one of my passions and I need to remember that!

I'm having a sick day today because I hit my head really hard THREE TIMES in one of our exhibits yesterday during morning husbandry and I feel like I might have a concussion :/ So hopefully I feel better soon!

(all the photos not from my instagram are from