Posted by: JulieAloha | June 2, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 153: National Doughnut Day

June 2, 2017

I’m grateful for silly Recognition Days – evidently the first Friday in June has been designated National Doughnut Day so Thursday evening Aliya and I tripped out to Aurora Donuts to get some treats for the office. 

Aurora Donuts is a combination doughnut and ice-cream shop and is family run – I love this family – mom always finishes your order with “Thank you! See you next week!” They believe in the practice of the baker’s dozen here and will add a little to large orders – my 2.5 dozen turned into about 34 assorted doughnuts plus a handful of doughnut holes to “fill the box.” The customer service is amazing and the doughnuts are delicious – my favorites are the French crullers!

The treats were well received in the Admissions department this morning – best reaction goes to Jason: “…yeah, we’ll have to get the OH MY GOD, DOUGHNUTS!!” 🍩

Posted by: JulieAloha | June 1, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 152: Paco & Pluma

June 1, 2017

As I was walking around grounds I chanced to meet these two fine feathered fellows on their morning walk. This is Paco (he’s the taller bloke) and Pluma, two of our Chilean Flamingoes. 

They’re almost a year old now and have lost their baby fluff, you can see their adult plumage beginning to show on their wings. Their eggs were abandoned and they hatched out in an incubator; they’ve been hand raised by keepers and are trained to be Animal Ambassadors in the Alvord Broadleaf Theater. We love to see them walking about grounds with their Keepers. Paco took a brief interest in me – I was wearing my greens and he may have hoped for a treat from another staffer – but he was gently called back to continue his jaunt and I, smiling fondly, went back to my own, better for the encounter. 

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 31, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 151: Red Panda Keeper Talk

May 31, 2017

Meet Carson. He’s an almost 3 year old Red Panda at Woodland Park Zoo and I got to hang with him and Keeper Jamie during a Keeper Talk – part of our Summer Programming. 

We currently have four red pandas at WPZ, males Carson and Yukiko and females Stellar and our newest little girl, Hazel. Red pandas primarily eat bamboo leaves and shoots, fruit and vegetation, though they are considered carnivores due to their digestive system and teeth. They are not closely related to the giant panda, in fact they are the only living species of the genus Ailurus, and are more closely related to the raccoon, skunk and weasel as part of the superfamily Musteloidea. They live in Asia, ranging across several countries, and though they range over a wide area their status has recently been reduced from vulnerable to endangered mainly due to loss of habitat, habitat fragmentation and poaching.

You can help these and other endangered species by educating yourself about them and sharing what you’ve learned with others, by being conscientious shoppers and not supporting industries or countries which allow deforestation and destruction of habitat or illegal trade in exotics or banned products, and by supporting conservation efforts locally and globally – in that way you can share Woodland Park Zoo’s mission to Learn, Care and Act.

You can learn more about Carson by visiting the Zoo or our website The Red Panda Keeper Talk is every Wednesday at 1:30 throughout the Summer season. 

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 30, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 150: Snow Kitty

May 30, 2017

Last year at this time I had the sweetest little visitor: Snow. Early one morning I woke and heard this squeaking and scratching at my bedroom window and I lifted the shade and peered out to see this gorgeous white kitty sitting there, staring back at me. She squeaked at me again and pawed at the window, so I opened it and she jumped in, purring, and made herself right at home. 

She had no collar and her paws were a little worn; I wondered if she had traveled far, I’d never seen her in the neighborhood. So I let her hang out with me until I had to go to work, then set her outside and closed the window. I didn’t expect to see her again, but she was there squeaking at the window when I got home. I let her in and let her stay – she was such a love, wanting to be next to me all the time, following me everywhere, always squeaking a hoarse little meow, answering when I spoke to her. I walked around the neighborhood, up and down the street, she accompanied me but gave no indication of where she might belong and no one I met recognized her. When I headed home she followed and settled on the sofa as if she’d always been there. At night I left the window open in case she needed to go out, she always returned. She seemed determined to stay, so I picked up cat food, some toys, a litter box and litter, and a scratch pad. 

I could have kept her, but she was such a sweet little kitty I was sure someone was missing her. As a last effort to discover her owner I borrowed a crate and took her to a vet to see if she were chipped – by this time I was hoping she was not – but she was. Her chip was unregistered, but when I called the company to inquire they told me the chip had been part of a lot given to the Seattle Humane Society. I could have let things lie there, she’d been with me for almost two weeks by this time, but no, that’s just not me. I called the Humane Society and they checked their records – they had a listing for the family who’d adopted her; as it turned out, they lived about a block and a half away. The Humane Society called them and the family contacted me and my Snow, their Hazel, was reunited…

…and I never saw her again. 

But for two happy weeks I had Snow in May and I am grateful. 

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 29, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 149: Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

Today I’m grateful for many things. I began the day listening to Memorial Day tributes on NPR while I put my lunch together and got ready for work. The roads were clear, not surprising on a Holiday, but welcome. I had plans to continue work on my goals, reorganizing and updating the Admission’s Binders and was picking up the Binders in preparation for that task when one of my Supervisors pulled me aside to thank me for my recent flexibility in scheduling and for my willingness to always help out when needed. I was so pleased – I do work hard because I believe in work ethic, but mostly because I love my job, and it’s so gratifying to be recognized for doing good work. I’ve had other jobs in which criticism was heard far more often than praise or exemplary work was rewarded with the expectation of more and better. Now I’ve also had jobs in which credit was given where it was due and both personal and professional growth was encouraged (thank you, Linda), but I’ve never expected to receive praise and I’m always grateful when given it.

I did accomplish part of my goals and had a fun day with Sandy at South Guest Services again, and I was able to give another coworker a ride home, saving her a long, hot bus ride in the process.

Once home I thought about the meaning of Memorial Day. Its intention is to remember the fallen heroes of war and conflict, to remember their actions and sacrifice and acknowledge the role they played in our freedoms and liberties today. But I also thought about my Supervisor’s words of thanks this morning and I realized that it’s not just heroes who answer the call to action and go beyond the call of duty. When we do what needs to be done, when we get up and go to work and do our job to the best of our ability we honor the memory of those fallen just as much as is done by the grand speeches and flag waving and trumpet fanfares and it’s not just one day of celebration but a daily tribute to those who went before. I will remember their service by continuing my own, and I am thankful, grateful that I live in a place and time in which I am able to do so.

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 28, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 148: Summer Flora

May 28, 2017

I’m grateful for the warm weather bringing forth the sweet scented summer blooms, wisteria, hibiscus, old roses and more – strolling around the Zoo grounds is an exercise in honeyed breezes, floral, spicy, lovely 🌺


Today I also completed one of my goals and am nearly half finished with another, Yay!

May 27, 2017

 I’m grateful to have attended the opening day of our Butterfly Garden and the brand new Pollinator Garden. This is the second year for the Butterfly Garden and this year the seasonal building has a new outer skin which allows more heat and light inside to keep the butterflies and the plants they need happy and healthy. 


The butterflies are free-flight, so you do need to be careful where you step and you need to check to see if you have any hitchhikers before you leave. 

New this year is the Microsoft Pollinator Garden behind the Butterfly Garden. There’s lots of great information about plants and flowers which promote the visitation of butterflies, moths, bees and hummingbirds. They also had several designs for mason bee houses using a variety of natural materials such as wood and paper straws.  

You Butter not Bee a stranger, come visit!

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 26, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 146: Penguin Feeding

May 26, 2017

I’m grateful I had first Access this morning, meaning I manned the entrance gate from opening to 11:00am, which meant I was able to attend the Live Trout feeding of the Humboldt Penguins (every Friday morning during the Summer season). From the moment the fish hit the water to their unfortunate demise takes only about five minutes – those penguins are mega fast! There are always a few fish who elude capture for a short time, but their reprieve is decidedly short-lived, poor fishies. 


This is an enrichment exercise for the penguins, a chance to employ their natural hunting skills, and they LOVE to chase those fish! They zip through the water snapping up trout left and right, turning on a dime and porpoising out of the water. It’s pretty cool to watch – if you get the chance to visit on a Friday morning this summer, I suggest you stand by the window with the deepest water view at the south end of the exhibit. 

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 25, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 145: Roaming Guest Service

May 25, 2017

Today was my first Roaming Guest Service Day! A few times a week during the summer months we send one of the Guest Services attendants to walk around grounds looking for ways to help make Guest’s visits easier and more engaged. We carry a backpack with zoo and animal information, maps, a first aid kit, stickers, birthday buttons and carousel tokens, and a radio should someone need help. I had Route 1, from Banyan Wilds to the Wildlife Theater, to Northern Trail, Australasia and the Carousel. Along the way I gave people directions and handed out maps, I offered information about animals and exhibits and gave out one band-aid. About half-way through my route, I was just coming out of the Grizzly Bear and River Otter exhibit when I heard a call for medical aid go out to Security (who are also EMT’s), one of the volunteers was having a dizzy spell at Stellar Sea Eagles. My location was close to the person needing assistance, closer than any of the Security team, so I responded as well. I found the volunteer and just sat with her, keeping her calm and asking general questions until Security arrived and released me to continue my route. I’d made it all the way back to Tigers when I was called back to West Guest Services to help as we had another medical call in progress there. For a first session, I had a great time and felt very accomplished!

I also attended our monthly All-Staff Meeting and took notes (sorry, no spoilers!) to report out at our Admissions team morning meeting the next day.

Whew! Busy day!

Posted by: JulieAloha | May 24, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 144: Health Update

May 24, 2017

Well, I’m glad to report my blood pressure is down and my blood sugar is lower, but still not where we’d like it to be. I can’t test my A-1C or cholesterol for a few months – both were extremely high and very worrisome – but I’m taking metformin and lisinopril and doctor just switched me from Simvastatin to Atorvastatin (Lipitor) to more aggressively attack my cholesterol levels. I’m trying really hard to eat well – especially when I was on vacation – but I’m also fighting depression, to which I usually react by eating the wrong things. I have a couple of Diabetes Education Classes scheduled for later in June, that should help inform me on making good health decisions. Since I’ve been home I haven’t walked as much as I did over vacation and sleep has been somewhat elusive as well – I keep having vivid dreams and nightmares, many of them about my ex-, and they’re taking a toll – so my blood sugar levels have been fairly inconsistent. It’s a day by day thing.

I suppose it’s normal to have a bit of a letdown when you return from vacation, to feel a little blue – I think one of my main problems is that I’m so lonely – except for when I’m at work I spend most of my time alone. I don’t drink and I don’t have a lot of money to go out anyway. I don’t have many connections outside of work – I used to spend all of my extracurricular time hanging out with my ex- and the woman who’s his new girlfriend, but that was before they started seeing each other and cut me out of their lives entirely. Now I’m all by myself and I just don’t have the confidence or social skills to go out looking for someone to hang with. I do spend the occasional evening with friends from work or with my Mom, but nothing on a regular basis – I don’t even play online games anymore because I started playing them with my ex- and I cut myself off from everyone on League of Legends and World of Warcraft last winter when I was so sad and depressed – those games aren’t as fun anymore without him.

I need to stop whining, I want to stop being so sad, I wish I felt as if I hadn’t wasted my life waiting for love, for a family, for a life I thought would be very different – I know I’m not alone in these feelings, but I’m alone in my head, in my life and right now very alone in my heart.

It’s hard to feel grateful today. See yesterday’s entry. 


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