Friday, July 30, 2010

Our day at the ZOO!

I’ve wanted to go to the Langley Zoo (better known as the Greater Vancouver Zoo) for years. They’ve had some bad press here and there and I resisted going for a long time because of it, but then I thought I should see for myself what I think of it before I judge. I obviously can’t know from one visit how ‘happy’ the animals are, but I can definitely say my first instinct is that it really is a great place for them. They seemed content, and had big wide open spaces, seem well fed, etc.

Anyway. I wanted to go to this zoo for a long time since I love love LOVE animals SO MUCH, it’s just that it’s ALL THE WAY OUT in Langley and you can’t even get there by bus, that’s how ‘out there’ it is. We don’t usually have access to a car but my mom offered for us to borrow hers for the week since my bro and s-i-l could take it back to the island this weekend so we were finally given the chance to go to the zoo.
The most exciting thing of all was knowing Andrew was going to see all these animals that he looks at in books or on videos and knows some of the names of but had never seen ‘in person’ before. Imagine, you’ve seen monkeys a million times IN BOOKS and then there they are RIGHT BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES!

I was so excited to be at the zoo that I was talking in a sing-song voice all morning, and for part of the afternoon, too, as it happens. I was just so GIDDY because we were going to the ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
It was a very long drive out and Andrew had his moments of getting antsy (he isn’t one of those babes who loves car rides) but he did really well all considered. I just kept singing Raffi’s song ‘Momma’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow’ although I had my own variation with ‘Dada’s taking us to the zoo because Momma insisted!’

We got there, got our tickets, went inside, and lo and behold, there he was.
My favourite animal in the whole wide world, the ostrich! I was in heaven and I had only just entered the gates.
After checking out the ostriches we went and said hello to the giraffes and had a quick boo at the lion’s den before heading to our 12:00 train ride. It goes all around the zoo and although some of the animals were hiding or in other areas of their enclosures, it allowed us to see the zoo from a different perspective and we saw some of the animals that we otherwise might not have. I sort of think a train ride should be included in the price of the ticket, but on the other hand I can’t complain since because we have aquarium memberships we got 20% off our admission anyway.
After the train ride we went and had lunch, which was decent but not the greatest ‘restaurant’ ever. Well it’s more like a canteen, which is fine, although they seemed to be out of a lot of things and the staff weren’t the friendliest. In fact, I would say throughout the zoo the staff weren’t very friendly or should I say weren’t even really around for the most part. I guess I’m used to the aquarium where the staff seem to be in every corner and seem approachable if you had a question, so I was a bit surprised that in a lot of areas of the zoo there didn’t seem to be anyone working there at all. Which is not to say they weren’t there, just that they weren’t making themselves available to the public.
But that (and the lameness of the gift shop) are my only complaints, I otherwise loved the place!
After lunch we saw the giraffe’s eating and I was able to get some good close-ups of them. I love giraffes, they seem so dinosaur-like to me. Did you know that giraffes eat for 20 hours a day and only sleep for half an hour a day?! I told James I am coming back as a giraffe. They also weigh close to 1500lbs I think it was, but you’d never know it!! Then again, the weight is dispersed pretty well given they are also 19 feet tall. I really took in all the giraffe stats (and it helps that the giraffe shirt I got Andrew has the stats on it, lol!)
James wanted to check out the lion/tiger feeding, which I was a bit apprehensive about but went anyway. I had this horrible vision of the lions ripping some poor animal apart and eating it like it was their last supper (like you’d see on the nature channel). But I should have realized that 1. obviously they’re not given a live animal to kill and devour because it’s not humane to put a small animal in a cage with the lions when it doesn’t have a chance to even try to escape and 2. the lion’s are in a routine and KNOW they get fed at certain times each day so if they’re given a slab of meat they’ll just take it and eat it but not make a huge angry-seeming production out of it. So it was a lot tamer than I’d built it up to be, thank goodness!
It was cool seeing the lion’s and the tiger (named Sweetie!) up fairly close (we didn't get great pictures though), although by that time it was sooooo hot and Andrew was getting a bit on the fussy side. He needed a nap but it’s so hard for him to go for a sleep when he knows there’s so much going on around him. We started wandering further into the zoo and eventually he did fall asleep and he slept the entire rest of the time we were there. He saw a lot of animals though, including the ostriches, lions, tiger, giraffes, hippos, monkeys, baboons, zebras, camels, bison, parrots, and quite a few others. I think his favourites were the monkeys and the giraffes.
We walked all through the zoo, except for one area where I think they might have had snakes and whatnot but it was deemed a ‘quiet zone’ and even once Andrew was napping I didn’t want to take any chances with him in a quiet zone! We’d get in there and that would be when he’d decide to be the loudest. But we saw everything we wanted, including even an eagle rescue area, and the grizzly bear, wolves. There were so many animals, I can’t even remember everything we saw!
Oh, I also really took to this camel for some reason. Maybe because his humps reminded me off my saggy breasts. LOL Apparently he is a smart camel - his hump is sagging because he knows he'll get fed so he doesn't bother storing extra fat in there to live off of. Interesting little tidbit, that camels don't actually store WATER but rather excessive FAT in their humps. You learn something new every day!
It was a VERY hot day and I think it might be smarter to go in the spring or early fall rather than the hot part of summer. We started to get a bit burnt out and I especially was so thirsty, so we went and got some water and an ice cream sandwich and then headed on our way home. Andrew woke up for a few minutes, then dozed back to sleep and slept nearly all the way back home, even accounting for a car stalled on the highway which caused our trip to be far longer than what it should have been.
All in all it was such a fun and memorable day. They rent these cool bike things there so if you don’t want to walk around the entire place you can scoot around on these things and strap kids and babes in them as well. We were going to do that but at Andrew’s age it could go either way – he could either be content with it or totally freak out and throw a tantrum till we let him out, so we didn’t want to take the risk of things going badly. But when he’s a bit older I want to take him back and we’ll do the bike rental. I kind of think it would add another element to the adventure of it all.
It was a smaller zoo than the others I’ve been to (Woodlands Zoo in Seattle, the San Diego Zoo, the zoo in Hawaii…) and I missed seeing elephants and larger monkeys and gorillas, but beyond that I do give the place a thumbs up, and look forward to going back again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Not again!

I still have my zoo post to write, my anniversary day post to write, and my nostalgic trip out to the ‘burbs post to write. Busy busy! But I’m getting there!

Instead of writing those fun posts at the moment, since I just wrote a few fun ones, I thought I’d mix things up with a bit of a venting post…

It’s the m-i-l saga volume one million.

I was going to say there’s been a lot in between since the last time I vented about her and the ongoing issues. But I don’t even think that there has been. How can there be when I sent my last email to her almost 2 months ago and have yet to get a reply???

James went to visit her for a week at the beginning of this month, which led me to believe that we wouldn’t have to ‘worry’ about a visit from her for some time, since they’d have just seen each other. Not to mention that I didn’t think it would make much sense for her to visit us here until she at least replied to my email and was working toward making things a little better between us. Instead, she continues to ‘blame’ me for everything, seemingly refusing to take any accountability for her actions. My last email outlined exactly what I need from her and why, and yet she still refuses to apologize or even so much as acknowledge how her behaviour affects people.

About a week ago, she told James that she wanted to come out here for a visit very soon but that it had to be under our terms, we had to tell her when would work for us and where she should stay etc. We had to do all the planning. When James told her that it would do wonders if she first apologized to me re: recent issues, she was having none of that and just got upset. Maybe 2 days later, if that, she sends him an email saying that she’s bought her ticket and she’ll be here on the 18th for a week.

Whhaaaaaat?????!!!

She’s not staying with us. That’s 100%. She apparently has someone to stay with, although the information on that has been very vague, and of course I’m getting all my information second hand because she and I aren’t actually speaking.

She wouldn’t be staying with us if we had 100 acres and several houses within that property. That’s just the way it is at this point in time.

Anyway…

I have some major concerns regarding her visit.

First of all, she has yet to have contact with me after my last email, which as I said already CLEARLY stated how I feel, why I feel that way, and what I need from her in order to move forward. She asked me for that information and I gave it.

Yet about a week ago when she was deciding to come out here, she was talking to James and told him apparently that my email was very vague and she didn’t see how she could reply to it, that she wasn’t clear on what I was asking of her.

So I read James the email out loud, and he was able to verify that it in fact WAS clear and it was very OBVIOUS what I was asking of her.

He even told her to apologize to me, even though I didn’t really want him to because ultimately I don’t want her apologize when she’s TOLD to do it, I want her to apologize of her own accord. Although even if I lived to be 200 years old, I am pretty sure I would die before I’d get a real, genuine apology from her for anything.

She has yet to reply, even though James has talked to her about some of the things that have upset me and why I need her to acknowledge why things are the way they are between us. Which is a very obvious sign to me (and I’m not surprised, I was expecting as much) that she is never going to change her ways, that she is never going to take responsibility for herself.

Which, for myself, is going to mean not having a relationship. I would prefer if it didn’t have to be that way, but at this point I don’t see how else it can be.

It’s very complicated. And obviously with James having a relationship with her, and wanting Andrew to have a relationship with her, it would make sense if she could have one with me also. But I just don’t know if it’s going to be feasible this trip.

It’s too soon.

She did the same thing last November when she came to visit. She had shut me out for nearly a year after Andrew was born, then about 2 weeks before she was coming out she surprised us with the info of her pending visit and then suddenly expected all would be well between us. Obviously I had some things to say about it, and did – including letting her know that time would still be needed to heal, that one visit wasn’t going to be the be all and end all of everything that had happened. But we had a good visit (she drove me crazy in her usual ways but we were able to keep things light). Then she was supposed to come out in May and threw a tantrum over that because I wasn’t willing to go away with her for nearly a week ON MY OWN with Andrew, which just wasn’t even a realistic thing to suggest…and we pretty much haven’t been speaking much, aside from a few emails back and forth – one in which she threatened legal action to see Andrew once he was weaned (interesting she’s choosing to come out just a few weeks after I’ve weaned him), and in another telling me I needed to ‘get over myself’ and take a ‘clean slate approach.’

I let her know how totally uncool it was of her to suggest these things to me and I have yet to receive a response.

I just don’t get her at all. And at this point, I don’t even think I want to. She’s ultimately ruining this for herself, because she’s not going to get to maximize the amount of time she gets to see Andrew. If she has nothing to do with me, she’s not going to be able to see him at all when James is at work, because I’m not going to see her to hand Andrew over. It’s not about me controlling Andrew or whether or not she gets to have a relationship with him. It’s the logistics of it. If we’re not speaking or seeing each other, how can you see Andrew? I’m going to be with him, obviously. When James is home from work, they can work out a place to meet up and spend time together, I don’t have a problem with that. But during the work days? Not gonna happen. If she’d IN ADVANCE worked on things with me to get us to a bit of a better place, things would very likely be different but I’m just not willing to budge on this at the moment.

For the most part because of the HIGH ANXIETY I am feeling at the mere thought of getting together with her AT ALL, most especially if I was on my own. I can’t do it. Nor should I be expected to. She is warped if she truly believes that we should just be able to wipe the slate clean and start anew. In a perfect world, of which this one is not even close!!!!! (And not to mention that she might SAY let's take a 'clean slate approach' but the minute she didn't get her way on something again in the future, she'd be the first one to drudge up the past!)

The thing is, we’ve been through TOO MUCH in the past. And also, forgive me here, but it’s FUCKING RIDICULOUS to expect everyone else to always just sweep everything you say and do under the rug even though your actions and words are extremely rude and hurtful oftentimes, yet everyone else is expected to kiss your feet and apologize tenfold, even if they haven’t done anything wrong.

I’m tired of her shenanigans and I’m not letting her walk all over me. Never again. I’ve been hurt and upset and angered and TOTALLY STRESSED OUT by her TOO MANY TIMES. And I’m not standing for it anymore.

How is it that she’s a grown woman, and yet doesn’t seem to understand the concept that ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES? Any bad actions on her part are always turned around to somehow be someone else’s fault. Usually mine, as it happens. Well, not anymore!

You made your bed, so lie in it. I don’t feel guilty for having to take this approach because I’m at the point where I have to protect myself. I still do feel that it would be great if we could all get along because I especially would love it for Andrew if we could just have some semblance of normalcy and not have the dynamic be so complicated for him. But you know what? I am beginning to realize that sheltering him from the truth probably isn’t going to work here. I wish he could think all was well between us all, but it’s not, and even if we’re able to make small steps in the right direction, at this point in time I don’t see how the past can become soooo different in the future as to make everything good between us. It would take a miracle at this point. So he’s just going to have to learn the truth when he’s old enough and starts asking questions. He’s going to figure it out eventually!

Ahhhhh. I’m trying to keep my cool here, but it isn’t easy. I’ve got that looming m-i-l visit hanging over my head and it weighs about a trillion pounds.

Our 2nd annual Rathtrevor Beach day

I thought it would be fun to do a 'then' and 'now' post about our adventures at Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville, BC.

It was mid August when we took Andrew last year, his very first time at one of my very favourite beaches in the world.

Last year after exploring all that the beach had to offer, Andrew fell asleep on the picnic table:
This year he fell asleep before we even got there, didn't wake up when I transfered him from the car to the picnic area, and continued to snooze on the picnic blanket for some time before we even hit the beach!
Last year he was small, pudgy, and arguably bald.
This year he's a big boy but without so much pudge, and has beautiful blond hair that's starting to look white against his tanned skin!
Here he is last year, basking in the sunshine, his first real beach experience.
He couldn't walk yet so he had to just play wherever we plopped him down.
This year he knew what to do with his bucket and shovel!
Last year I took a picture of a giant, rather disgusting washed-up jellyfish.
This year I nabbed this shot of a pretty sand dollar!
On his first beach adventure, Andy wasn't too sure about getting dipped into the ocean.
He wasn't entirely keen this year, either, but ventured in up to his ankles and had a bit of fun splish-splashing around!
Last year's family portrait with our little baby:
And this year's family portrait with our little man!
It was a fun afternoon. Andrew's still not entirely sure about Rathtrevor...He's used to the dry sand in Vancouver that doesn't seem quite as messy as the more muddy sand you find on the beach there. But I know in years to come, when he gets over his issues with being the least bit dirty (hopefully he'll get over that to some degree?!) he'll love building sandcastles and checking out all the sea life you can find there!


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