Archive for the 'Animals' Category

This Baby Penguin Will Make Your Day

I have always had a fondness for penguins.  I love how they are all awkward and clumsy on land but total ballerinas in the water.  Whenever I go to the zoo I literally have to plan at least 45 minutes to hang out at the penguin enclosure (you usually need that amount of time just to elbow your way up to the front past all the little kids).

There is also the interesting story of “The Penguin” from my high school days.  When I was in high school, my group of friends and I were completely ignored by the opposite sex.  That was fine with us because that mean we could spend most of our time checking them out (in other words, low level stalking).  Each of us had at least a couple guys that we were crushing on, but there was always one that stood out above the rest.  We had nicknames for all of them so that we could talk about them when other people were around.  Allison and I even had little magnets in our locker with their nicknames on it so we could leave messages to each other about who was looking especially fine that day.

Some of the nicknames that I can remember are The Gorilla, The Fish, Pretty Boy, and Underwater Sex (he was a swimmer).  My guy was The Penguin.  He got that nickname because I love penguins and he also kind of walked like one (we discovered this after following him around the Chicago aquarium all day during a band trip).  So for every birthday and special occasion that came up, my friends always gave me penguin stuff.  That’s how I came to have a million penguin beanie babies and a giant road sign that says “penguin crossing.”

So, long story short, I have always had a soft spot for penguins.  So when I saw this video on the internet, it melted my little heart.

I have watched it over and over again this week.  Not only because it is cute, but also because it drives my cats bananas.  🙂


P.S.  I watched a longer version of this video that points out the penguin is wearing a bandage on his foot.  Apparently he suffers from bumblefoot.  Everybody all at once now……aaaaaaaawwwwwwwwww.

Two Bat Dances

1. Bat Dance by Prince

2. Bat Dance that I considered one of the greatest songs ever written, and thus I co-created a dance to it and performed it for my 3rd Grade class after recess the following day. I think we wore matching turtlenecks and black strechy-pants…

Click here to listen. You won’t regret it.

Dracula Wallpaper by Edward Gorey! I took this picture at his house--maybe I will post on that later 🙂

Bats are takin’ over, that’s a fact.


Attack of the Plastic Spider

Take a look at this picture.

Looks really terrifying, doesn’t it?  This is what I see every day when I wake up in the morning.

This is what it really is.  Just a little plastic spider that found its way home amidst all the Harry Potter stuff I brought back from the library display.  I know it is a fake spider, but every time I see it I freak out and scream like a little girl.  It doesn’t help that I usually see it first thing in the morning when I am still groggy and not wearing my contacts.

The reason why I always freak out is because it is never in the same place.  It keeps moving all over my apartment when I’m not looking.  I know who the culprit is.  It is………………..Miss Hermione!!!

Here she is trying to look all innocent and pretend like she’s never seen the spider before.  I don’t buy it for a second.

So if you are somewhere in Iowa and you hear a bloodcurdling scream around 8:00 in the morning, it is probably just me coming across the spider.  Why don’t I just get rid of it?  Because it makes her so darn happy  🙂


P.S.  Here is a video of me trying to get Hermione to play with the spider.  She only seems to do it when I am not looking.

I Totally Want To Buy Some Elephant Art

Whilst planning my elementary storytimes for the summer reading program (oh yeah, I have everything done but the crafts!  I am so on top of things!!  Ahem, sorry, that’s just a little librarian bragging.) I came across one of my favorite nonfiction kids books ever.  It’s called Elephants Can Paint Too by Katya Arnold and it is Ah-Ma-Zing!!!

It’s describes a program that Arnold created as a way to help Asian elephants in Thailand.  Since the country has cut back on logging operations to preserve trees, a lot of domesticated elephants were left with nothing to do and no one to support them.  The Asian Art and Elephant Conservation Project was created as a way to raise funds for these wonderful creatures.

The elephants are taught to paint by holding the brushes with their trunks and then they paint just like you and me!  The paintings are then sold as a way to raise money to help the elephants.

The book is awesome because it shows how Arnold has some students who are children and some students that are elephants.  She includes lots of great pictures and fun facts (did you know young elephants suck their trunks like we suck our thumbs?) so it is not only informative, but entertaining.

The paintings themselves are unbelievably cool.  I can’t believe some of the self portraits these guys do!  And the flower paintings are gorgeous too.  I have decided that I really want to buy this one.  I adore the colors and even though I don’t have the money, it would be great to contribute to such a worthy cause.  And it is painted on elephant dung paper!!!  You really can’t find a more interesting conversation starter than a painting made by an elephant on paper created from poop.  I will make sure to update everyone on whether or not I decide to purchase it.


My (hopefully) future painting

So please, if you don’t feel like picking up the book, at least visit their website where you can look at the elephant art or even watch a video of them painting. I also love that they have a little bio of each elephant, even though they are usually sad.



P.S.  I am totally reading this book to the kids this summer and showing them the website.  Maybe if I buy a painting I can write it off on my taxes because I could show it at the storytime??  Something to think about.

A Morning with Lester Dog

so last night I wrote a blog post instead of doing the dishes (it is my turn). and tonight I also am too tired to do the dishes, so according to my husband I should also be too tired to blog. Urg, but I HAVE to blog! I can do the dishes tomorrow… 🙂 and of course that thinking has led to our entire counter space being covered with dirty smelly dishes. But seriously. I WILL do the dishes tomorrow. I will also do our TAXES tomorrow. yup.

Anyway, so quick post–here are some pictures of Lester Dog that we took on Sunday morning while we were all hanging out in bed watching The Parent Trap starring Lindsay aka the actress formerly known as Lindsay Lohan:

Lester LURVES to sleep like a humanoid with his little dog head on the pillow.

Hey! Raccoon Toy found his way onto the bed!

I call this one: "Portrait of a Young Lester Dog and his Raccoon Toy."


Picture Books featuring Lester Dog

image from the picture book Snook Alone

I have decided that I want to start collecting books that remind me of Lester Dog! I haven’t actually bought any yet…but here are a few I am considering 🙂

by Nick Abadzis

Wonderful graphic novel about sweet Laika, the Russian space dog. But as you may know, there is no happy ending–for the last few pages, I grabbed Lester and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My face was still puffy the next day from all the crying.

Snook Alone
by Marilyn Nelson & Timothy Basil Ering

This is my little Lester Dog! If he lived on an island with a Hermit Monk! The story is very poetic and spiritual, and yes I cried in this one, too, especially when Snook kept hearing the monk’s voice in the ocean–but there is a happy ending so half the tears were tears of joy! One of those books that just hovers around me for awhile and makes me want to live simpler and take more adventures.

Dog in Boots
by Greg Gormley & Roberta Angaramo

Adorable story about a Lester Dog trying to find the right pair of shoes for all his scratching and playing needs. And paws play an important role in this book, and I heart puppy paws!

When Jack Goes Out
by Pat Schories

Seriously, how cute is Jack?!! I love wordless stories–I kinda feel like reading one is akin to meditating somehow. This is the only Jack book I have read thus far, so I am not sure if all are sans-words.

10 Little Hot Dogs
by John Himmelman

This is a story about dachshunds, not Lester Dogs, but the wiggling and yawning and ear-flapping is so spot-on! I love this book, so don’t listen to the weird, bad review on Amazon for it–that reviewer must have written that on opposite day. (that was the nicest way I could say that the reviewer must have HORRIBLE TASTE because this book is SO CUTE)

–Amber *BEDA 1

P.S. Did you see that they finally cast Peeta for the Hunger Games movie?! Check it out HERE 🙂

My First Cat Video!!

I currently live in a very old building.  And when I say old, I mean OLD.  It is an awesome place that is really large and has a lot of “character” but there are some not-so-great things about it.  One of the worst is that there are no doors separating the rooms (except the bathroom, thankfully).  This has not really been a problem in the past, but now that I have four cats who HATE each other, it is sometimes necessary to separate them.

I thought it would be easy to just go get a door somewhere, but apparently that is next to impossible with a funny shaped door frame from the 1800s.  So here is what I have devised as a solution:

It is two baby gates on top of each other, the top one being upside down (this is so the bar doesn’t hit me in the tummy all the time).  It is the most hideous thing in the world, but it appears to be working so far.  The reason for the blankets and bubble wrap is that Hermione got stuck in the bars after it was up for only 10 minutes.  I worked really hard to make the bottom gate look nice (rock on, Miss Shortcake!!) but by the time I got to the top one I was feeling pretty lazy.

So, now that you know the story, here is a video of what happened the other day when Addie and Hermione were in the bedroom being punished for attacking poor Pippi and Penelope.

That was my first attempt at iMovie since library school, so I need a lot more practice, but I think it turned out okay-ish.