Holy "NO MORE" Moley!

Yup, that’s right, I finally got rid of THE mole. You know, the one on the bridge of my nose between my eyes. The one that was growing its own personality. The one that was going to start talking out loud any day. It has been a long time coming, let me tell you – people kept asking me, “when are you going to get rid of that thing?” And I kept putting it off – it’s a part of me, of my face. I didn’t even really notice it on a daily basis, looking in the mirror. BUT, when I saw photographs of myself, my eye would be immediately drawn to IT…so I knew it was time for me and my mole to part ways.It was pretty easy, really – it didn’t hurt at all, and the wound isn’t *that* noticeable (or at least, not as noticeable as an organism the approximate size of an eight-week-old fetus nestled between my eyes would be). And the wound is temporary…AND, my coworkers have been kind enough not to say anything about it.

Whatever…I’m just saying.

Here are pictures of me and Nicole at the Wild Animal Park at Lorikeet Landing last weekend (pre-mole-D-Day). By the way – not too many single guys will attend “A Taste of CRES”, so you can cross that off your list of ways to meet eligible single guys. Again, I’m just saying.

See that mole??? It’s no longer there!!!

Look at how cute Nicole is…

Dad and Mom’s Visit to San Diego, Day 3

Now I LOVE the Wild Animal Park, located right here in Escondido. I even worked there for a summer as a guide. But I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so much of the park at one time as I did on this day. We went everywhere! The weather was great, and I had free admission tickets for everyone. It was the perfect time of year to go, too, because flowers were blooming and the butterflies and orchids exhibit, which shows only a few weeks of the year, was on display. We walked around Mombasa Lagoon, checked out the gorillas (which kind of freak me out – I’m not a big fan of primates), then saw the butterfly exhibit in the Hidden Jungle. Butterflies were everywhere! We were swarmed by rainbow lorikeets when we fed them nectar, and I got some really great pictures. We then hoofed it over to Lion Camp, where I got to see my old lion friends. It’s the best exhibit in the park, I think. That day, both moms (Mina and Oshana) and Dad (Izu), and all seven cubs were out. They were initially just snoozing (trying to make sure they fulfilled that 20 hours of sleep per day quota), but as we were waiting in line for the safari tram, Mina caught a duck that had decided to fly into the lion’s enclosure. So, I took about fifty pictures of the lions running around with the duck – it was really fun to watch (although I’m sure the duck didn’t enjoy it).

After the safari tram thing, we ate lunch and walked back up through the Heart of Africa, then walked out to the tiger and elephant exhibits. We made it up to Condor Ridge, which shows some of North America’s most interesting critters (although the burrowing owls were no longer on display – boo hoo), and even walked through the Baja botanical garden and Bonsai house. By then we were pretty beat! But we managed to drag ourselves over to the Petting Kraal and through the gift shop. When we got home, Dad grilled up some salmon on the miniature BBQ that they bought for me on Saturday – it was delicious. Mmmmmm.

Click HERE to see all the pictures from the Wild Animal Park, including the lions having fun with the duck (which won the 2008 waterfowl division Darwin Award).

Festival of Lights

Can you believe I haven’t been to the Wild Animal Park in over a year? It’s true. But that all changed when Janet (from work) invited me and a few other girls to go see the park at dark, a.k.a. the Festival of Lights. Apparently, the wildfires of October destroyed a trailer that contained most of the lights, but they were able to cobble together a fairly decent display. It was really cool to see the lions and tigers I regularly visited while I was guiding for Roar and Snore in 2005; I got to see Delta’s three Sumatran tiger cubs, Izu at Lion Camp – all grown up, and Mbari in the big lion exhibit. I can’t believe how huge those lions have gotten!

A cool day at the Wild Animal Park!

Yes, it does actually get cool at the Wild Animal Park. I went there today with Mark, where we visited Lion Camp and saw two of the lion cubs (cute!), saw a tiger, walked around Mombasa Lagoon, visited the deer in the petting kraal, and fed the rainbow lorikeets. Here are some of the pictures!


Make that a torrential downpour…

P.S. – The Wild Animal Park called today for an interview for the Educator Guide position. And, I’ve also applied for the Education Specialist opening they have at the park / CRES facility. I think that job will be my preference, but we’ll see what happens. Woo hoo!!!

Oooooopss! Here are some pictures I forgot to post!





Ok, so last in the beginning of November Miranda and her friend Aron came with me to the Wild Animal Park for a little bit of fun. While I’m working, there are a lot of parts of the park I don’t get to see, so I caught up on all the goings-on that I couldn’t check out while I was on the clock. We went on the 3D simulator ride, the carousel, spent some time in the petting kraal, and then went up on the hot-air balloon that takes you 400 feet up above the park. Here’s a picture I took of the campsite from above (it looks better at ground level, I tell you):

Here’s a frisky Desert Bighorn Sheep, and me with a little (actually quite fat) gazelle named socks.

Tail-End of the Camping Season

Saturday night was the last night of the Roar and Snore camping season at the Wild Animal Park. And because it was so close to Halloween, we all decided to wear cat ears and tails (that’s my tail in the middle). And, to end things with a bang, we had probably the rowdiest group of kids of the entire season! Worse than girl scouts, and dare I say it, even cub scouts! It was bittersweet – after an entire summer of giving the same tours over and over again, I think everyone was ready to move on. But, it was sad saying goodbye to my new friends (really, my only friends here in CA) and my employment at the park. I’ll be able to hang onto my employee ID for a little while so that I can continue to visit the park for free, and enjoy the new balloon ride and the Glacier Run simulator and get down to the zoo.

I really hope that we can all stay in touch. My friendships with the people on the night crew are so important to me, and whether or not they realize it, they’ve given me a lot during a rough time in my life. I’ll probably always look back on this job as one of the funnest I’ll ever have; it has given me some great ideas of what I’d like to do with my life, shown me some of my strengths, and given me a boost in confidence. I’m so fortunate to have had this opportunity!

Always an adventure…

I just returned home from my first night covering security at the back gate at the Wild Animal Park. The good news is that I managed not to curse over the radio. The bad news is that they didn’t give me a gun. I suppose this was good thinking on their part, but with a gun I might’ve actually had something to do. Let me tell you, not a whole lot goes on at the back gate between five and eleven pm. I think I saw a bunny cross the road, but it was pretty dark out, so it was hard to tell.

On the way home, as I was about to cross a very busy intersection, I saw a rather large dog bounding confusedly down the road. I pulled over my car and called the dog over, and lucky for me, he was pretty friendly and very cute. I then noticed another large black dog that was with him, but no owner in sight. I managed to get Pete (the first dog) into the trunk of my car so that I could read his tag – luckily, there was a number on it, and Pete’s owner answered right away. They’d been looking for the two dogs frantically for the past hour and said they’d be right over to pick him up (the black dog had headed down the road, across the intersection, and I couldn’t go after her). Unluckily for me, as I was securing Pete in my car, I slammed my trunk hatch down on the bridge of my nose, which proceeded to spill blood from the cut. Good thing I’m so prepared and had a first aid kit! Well, the owners drove up right fast, and the guy was an EMT so he checked me out to see if my nose was broken; alas, it’s just ugly. The woman took my name, address, and phone number, and I didn’t even ask her why as my head was still spinning from eight hours of mind-numbing boredom followed by a swift crack to the ol’ noggin. Anyway, they loaded up Pete and I hope they were able to track down the other dog. They were very friendly and very thankful that I called – they both seemed quite distressed, but relieved, too. So I’m glad I could help.

What do you think? Should I tell everyone at work tomorrow that I got cut in a fight at the back gate when I single-handedly stopped lion thieves from getting into the park, or should I just tell them the sad, sad truth? Hard-core, huh?

Stumpy the Traveling Sock Monkey Visits Escondido!

Stumpy the Traveling Sock Monkey arrived at my doorstep last week for his visit to the San Diego area. He has been vacationing around the country, staying with families and enjoying outings with them. Stumpy is actually part of a postal letterbox, and each of his host families has to take him to some place interesting, snap a picture of him at said location with a disposable camera (which he brings with him everywhere he goes), and then mail him off to his next destination. Stumpy has already been to a ton of places, including Colorado Springs, Houston and Dallas, Illinois, a renaissance faire in South Dakota, Georgia and South Carolina, and toured many of the historical sites of the East Coast. He really gets around, for a creature made out of socks!

I took Stumpy with me to work at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. My co-workers were able to confirm their suspicions that I am in fact a lunatic (carrying around a sock monkey with me and asking for people to take our picture didn’t help much). But Stumpy had a good time – he saw lots of wild animals and even visited his cousins in the gorilla exhibit. After that, I took him to the carousel where he really proved his bravery by riding the lion.

I was hoping that Stumpy would arrive while Bob was here, but he just missed him. Oh well! Maybe on his next vacation circuit he’ll visit Miami. Anyway, I’m still waiting to see where Stumpy will be sent next – he’s already squished into his cardboard box, along with his camera and a suitcase that carries punk-costume accessories. Until I find out his next stop, Stumpy’s saga will be continued at a future date….