Posted by: JulieAloha | March 31, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 90: Early Spring Flowers

March 31, 2017

After the cold gray of Winter I’m grateful for those first bursts of color in Spring which presage warmer, brighter days. I’m not so grateful for the accompanying pollen, but I do love the new greens and vibrant blooms popping out of the earth and decorating the trees and shrubs.

My eyes seek out the splashes of color, resting on them with contentment, a slow smile spreading all unawares across my face. Simple joys. 🌱🌷🌿

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 28, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 87: Reflection

March 28, 2017

A day of extremes. Very productive morning: started planning for the summer program at the Lab, brainstormed and researched ideas for tech related projects and activities, designed a survey for the kids, put some thought into the hiring of a Summer Program staffer; had a good meeting with director and grant writer re: a new tech grant, the wants and needs for the Lab and the reasons behind them; began drafting Lab calendars for the next few months, again looking to summer, communicated with home office to coordinate youth programming; worked on newly upgraded computer unit to work out bugs and customize to our needs, designed a background screen to serve as image for each unit when we update next week. All accomplished by 1:00pm. And then I sat for the next five hours, very few participants came in for the afternoon shift and only two kids for Kids’ Club. I spent an hour cleaning up my email, I put Welcome packets together, though we already had a good supply, and I half watched/listened to NCIS on NetFlix as I puttered about trying to find something more productive to do. It’s a small office and, other than the beginning of the month when there are month-end reports to do, it doesn’t require too much tending or housekeeping, but there still has to be someone there on site to keep the Lab open. It gave me too much time to think – it was a bit of a sad anniversary and I’d tried avoiding thinking about it, to not remember and grieve last year’s loss, but perhaps it is needful to acknowledge the past in moments such as this and allow yourself to view it through the lens of time and distance. Painful, sad, but how can you heal and move forward if you don’t observe and acknowledge the hard times, to learn from them and find solace. So I suppose I’m grateful to have these moments of inactivity for reflection, for accountability and healing.

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 27, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 86: Early Dismissal

March 27, 2017

Sometimes, when it’s slow at the Zoo and there’s more than enough people to cover the gates, they’ll ask us if anyone would like to leave a little early. It’s the policy that they only ask for volunteers as we are scheduled for a certain number of hours and they won’t infringe on our right to work the hours we’ve been given, though I know plenty of other employers who are not so considerate. It’s not something that’s offered every day or something we expect or abuse, in fact we often defer to other coworkers if they aren’t feeling well or have evening plans or just have a bigger need. By agreeing to voluntarily cut your hours short you also benefit the department budget, and those of us who are full-time employees are always aware that cost savings can translate to upgrades or increases in equipment or materials or even to the ability to bring on more full-time staffers.

I was grateful today to get to leave a little early, have time to run to the store, time to finish listening to an audiobook, and time to go through some things at home, which I’ve been putting off for awhile. A rare privilege I truly appreciate.

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 26, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 85: Jan Karon

March 26, 2017

Last winter we started a reading contest at work, which brought me back to a favorite pastime and reunited me with some authors I hadn’t read in years. I’m grateful to have rediscovered Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series, the story of Father Tim, an episcopal parish priest in a small town and the wonderful characters who people it.

The stories are funny and insightful, entertaining and educating, but greatest of all, this series feeds my soul. There are simple moments of inner reflection as well as great shining rays of light and epiphany. I’ve experienced my own joys and sorrows as I read about Father Tim and his daily challenges and accomplishments and I find a personal therapy in the pages of these books, teaching me more about myself, giving me introspection into my life and bringing me into a closer walk with my faith. What a gift!

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 25, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 84: Weather

March 25, 2017

I’m grateful for the weather and all her changes of dress, but today ran the gamut from gray skies to blue, downpours to shirt-sleeve warm, stormy clouds to white puffy ones, and the progressions between each stage were rapid and repeated. It made for an interesting day at the Zoo.

As the weather would clear and brighten the crowds would increase, lines would form and the grounds filled with families and visitors. Then it would rapidly cloud over with chill winds and rain spatters and things would begin to slow down, the numbers thin and jackets and umbrellas would appear. A sudden cloudburst would trigger a mass exodus as people ran for their cars, huddling children together and hugging the buildings to stay dry. Then a quick falling off of rain, increase of light and warmth, a rainbow in the sky and you’d hardly know it had rained at all. Quite a show!

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 23, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 82: Eagles

March 23, 2017

I’m grateful to have been privileged today to see one of the wild Bald Eagles who nest in the Elk yard at Woodland Park Zoo. The nest is very visible just now as the maple tree in which it is built is still leafless and doesn’t hide its massive bulk of sticks from view. I could just barely see and hear one of the eagles sitting in the nest, though it’s very hard to see the bird in the short video I took below.

I watched as the mate flew in to take its turn in the nest – they may already have eggs brooding. A wild pair has been returning to Woodland Park Zoo to raise their family since 2002, though the current occupants may not be the original pair. There was an article in the Seattle PI on them the first year.

WPZ Wild Bald Eagles, Photo: Melina Mara/Seattle PI

It’s thrilling to see them return each year, they only stay long enough to raise one or two chicks; once the chicks fledge the family disappears until the next Spring.

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 22, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 81: Girl’s Day Out

March 22, 2017

Had a lovely day with my mom today; I’m grateful for every day I have with her – she’s my first friend and biggest fan and she means the world to me. We had a double date with the dentist this morning – no cavities, but I have a tooth which needs to be pulled, so I’ll be back next week for a little excavation. Then we went to see the new live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

Oh. My. Beautifully done, respect paid both to the animated film and the stage musical, and Emma Watson is Belle. Belle has always been my favorite Disney princess because of her strength, her intelligence and her compassion – Emma’s Belle is all that and more – sweet, courageous, kind, and genuine. We loved it!

Followed the movie with a late lunch at Red Robin. We appreciate the lengths RR takes to meet people’s dietary needs; mom doesn’t like big servings so she got a mini burger and I’m avoiding bread so I got a California chicken burger in a lettuce wrap and we both substituted slaw instead of fries – tasty! We ended with a quick stop at Barnes & Noble and the bank, then she dropped me off at home and headed back home herself. Very satisfying day.

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 20, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 79: Equinox 

March 20, 2017

It’s the first day of Spring! The sun was out, the birds were singing, the trees were blooming – I’m grateful that Spring has sprung.

If only this did not presage the beginning of the season of pollen hell…sigh

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 19, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 78: 9,430!

March 19, 2017

Wow! The sun comes out in Seattle and 9,430 people think to themselves, “We should go to the Zoo today!” We were busy, busy, busy all day- it felt like Summer on this day before Spring. I’m grateful we had a great crew working hard and quickly, everyone pitched in; one of our newer staff volunteered to help double team at the West Entry for most of the day in order to keep up with all the folks streaming through the gate – that’s a long time on your feet, what a trouper! Well done, team! Well done, indeed!

Posted by: JulieAloha | March 18, 2017

365 Gratitude Project – Day 77: Relief

March 18, 2017

Migraines suck, but I’m grateful this was a relatively short one.

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