Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Life's a Zoo...

Life’s a bit hairy in the Heartland. As I blogged last week, areas of my state have been hit with a record five hundred year flood. The Capitol City barely escaped wide scale devastation and downtown Cedar Rapids became ‘Water World’ in a matter of hours. Everywhere you go you see the effects of the flood waters: roads closed, fields that have become lakes, pumps pumping away, and wet, ruined carpets and furniture being hauled to the curb. After a winter that lasted nearly six months and included near record snowfall many Midwesterners were craving a nice, quiet, uneventful spring.

So didn’t happen.

Yesterday I decided that we needed a break from the zoo that life had become. So, naturally we went to the zoo.

I gotta confess up front that going to the zoo--any zoo--is not a particular hardship for me. In fact, I have very fond memories of the zoo. The zoo was a place I often took my four children when they were young. They were as intrigued and captivated by the extraordinary animals that hailed from places we’d never visit as I was. And anything that kept four young kids occupied, well, I was all over that.

Now, our little zoo in Des Moines can’t compare to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha or the St. Louis Zoo but it has a certain charm that is appealing. Like the fact you can walk just two measly miles and see the entire zoo and say a ‘howdy do’ to each of its inhabitants and not be moaning about how sore your feet are or how pitted out you are. Bigger is not always better. (And yes, that observation comes from a romance author.)

I handed my camera off to my daughter so we would have pictures that weren’t off center or blurred and that didn’t include a portion of a thumb or finger in the left hand corner. Yeah. I suck at photography. I’m told I have no patience. I’m basically a ‘point and shoot’ kind of gal. You can imagine how well that worked for me out on the firing line at the firearms range during the Public Safety Academy and subsequent recertifications. Let’s just say my fellow officers drew straws to find out who had to flank me on either side at the range.

Anyway, I’ve selected a few pictures, courtesy of my oldest (by 90 seconds) triplet, Katie, to share today.

Mama (Rosie) & J.P.
Here's looking at You 'Kid'
(Sorry! Couldn't resist!)
Rosie and J.P. are not regular zoo residents but are ‘on loan’ to our zoo for the remainder of the month. J.P. was adorable!

And now for my zoo finale--and for your viewing pleasure--the first (and last, I’m guessing!) documented case of Bullet Hole Bacus practicing her milking technique on one very accommodating bovine. Just so you know---it was an ‘udder’ disaster. Hehe!

Anybody have a favorite place the family all enjoys visiting together? Or someplace you go alone to recharge the batteries so you can feel human again? Any activity (knitting, cycling, walking, chess, solitaire, Guitar Man) you engage in when you need a ‘time out’?

Oh, and a head’s up! I’ll be blogging over at the Seekerville blog ( ) next Wednesday about my ‘yellow brick road’ to publication so stop by and say ‘hey’.

‘Til next week,

~Bullet Hole~


Christie Craig said...


You made me want to go to the zoo. Thanks for the photos.

Crime Scene Christie

Terri Osburn said...

Those pictures came out great. I took my kiddo to the zoo about a month ago and ours seems to be just like yours. Not very big which meant we saw the entire thing in two hours and still had energy to enjoy the rest of the day.

When I want to relax, I go shopping. Though that doesn't actually mean buying anything. Just looking seems to make me feel better. Old flea markets and antique stores are the best, but the mall will do in a pinch.

Anonymous said...

When I want to relax and destress I go to Barnes & Noble. I wander the shelves for an hour or so and then find a armchair and plunk myself down for a while. It gets me away from the house and is one of my favorite places.

Anonymous said...

"Just so you know---it was an ‘udder’ disaster. Hehe!"
Has anybody ever accused you of milking a line before?

As I think I've mentioned before I like to go whale watching out of Gloucester, MA. Usually with a niece or nephew. The logistics of the trip out to the area whales hang out means an hour out and back with nothing to do but enjoy the trip. And then you usually get to see the nieces, nephews and whales enjoying themselves.

Kathy Bacus said...

I guess I'm really a kid at heart, Christie, 'cuz I still love the zoo.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I'm not much of a shopper, Terrio, and that's probably because I prefer being outdoors. I'm a history nut so I love anything relating to history.

Sounds like your zoo is along the same lines as ours. There's a lot to be said for a zoo that you can walk through in two hours. I get such a kick out of watching the bonobos and their antics.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Oooh, I'm with you, Kristie. Give me a B&N, a good book, and a cup of coffee (which I learned can actually be good for me, after all!) and I'm set to go.

I also enjoy taking my laptop to a quaint coffee shop with wifi and writing away!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Has anybody ever accused you of milking a line before?

Rather frequently, as it happens, bookmobiler!

Having only seen the ocean from Honolulu and Maui beaches, I can't imagine how awesome whale watching would be. I love the opportunity to observe nature at her best through the species and organisms that inhabit our world. Your nieces and nephews are fortunate to have an uncle who spends such wonderfully worthwhile time with them.

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

Ooooo... zoo, now going on my list of fun things to do this summer.

Glad the rain has let up! We were wondering if we were going to have to build you an ark.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I haven't been to the zoo in years! I wanna go now!

Love your pictures!!!

Kathy Bacus said...

I was wondering myself whether I'd better invest in a houseboat, Gemma! It's been glorious here the last four days! Mild temperatures and NO RAIN! Perfect days for walking and biking--and for those trying to recover from the flooding.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Katie will be tickled that you liked her pictures, Tori!

Hope your zoo visit is as fun as mine!

~Bullet Hole~

Heather said...

Kathy~ It is nice to have a few days sans torrential downpours, isn't it? The cap city up here (Wis) may have been spared, but being built on an isthmus we are literally surrounded by water - very high water at the moment, with the lakes at record highs.

You don't have to go far outside the city limits to see evidence of the rains. Between the endless winter and June weather, some farmers never even got crops in the ground, and many who did have lost all or some of them to flooding. As you said, there are lakes where cornfields should be. Simply breaks the heart!

I live close to the zoo here and, like you, enjoy the benefits of a smaller park. While I enjoyed visiting the Milw and Brookfield zoos, they are all-day, wear-you-out events - nowhere near as relaxing as a smaller zoo. I also enjoy leisurely walks through a local cemetery steeped in history and stories. For indoor pursuits, I find it easy to get lost in cross-stitch or stamping my own greeting cards.

Kathy Bacus said...

I had to smile at your comment, Heather. My favorite place to walk is a nearby cemetery. I also love to examine the older headstones and I tuck a small notebook in my pocket to jot down intriguing names for possible future books.

The crop outlook is bleak indeed. Not only did we have a late planting due to cold, wet weather like your state, but tens of thousands of acres of planted croplands have also been destroyed. There's also a concern that we may not get the sunshine and hot temperatures necessary for the remaining corn crops to take off.

It's been wonderful to have a respite from the rain. Unfortunately, our forecast calls for more heavy rain Monday night and Tuesday of next week. We sure as heck don't need any more gully washers. I know folks up your way feel the same way.

Summer begins in a few days. I hope this means warm and dry!

~Bullet Hole~

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Going to the zoo is high on my list of things to do with the children in the US this summer. I tend to avoid zoos in the countries we've lived in abroad because I find them sad - generally speaking the animals aren't housed or treated very well.

My other "escape" is quilting - I love to put the music on loud and start up my sewing machine. The hours fly :)

Kathy Bacus said...

I totally wish I had some kind of seamstress skill, Jenyfer. Quilting, crocheting, knitting, embroidery. Anything. Unfortunately, I have zero sewing ability.

I used to spend quiet time drawing but find most of this time going towards writing nowadays.

~Bullet Hole~