Thursday Thoughts: November 6

On Sunday, I made chicken noodle soup for the first time this “soup season.”  I packaged up left overs for James and I to take to work Monday, and smiled when I saw this tweet Monday.  It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.
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Jasper has been so rambunctious lately.  He’s been playful, running around the house, and flopping over for his belly to be rubbed.  He’s never really sat up on top of the couch like this, he’s certainly loved living here in KC so far.  I also blame his kitten-like behavior on the cooler weather.

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Tuesday was Election Day! I went before work, and for the first time in my voting life, I had to stand in line for 20-25 minutes to vote.  In Hays, I never had to wait to vote, so it was a different experience, but it certainly won’t stop me from voting in the future.  After I voted, I noticed my scarf had a special note on the tag that I never noticed before.  Happy little discovery.

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Tuesday night, I wore the brightest running clothing I have, and clipped my flashing green light on my belt and went for a run.  I hate the time change in the fall, because it is dark when I get home, so my choices are to run outside in the dark, or run on the treadmill at the apartment clubhouse.  I prefer not to run on the treadmill, it makes the time pass by so slowly, but this winter I’m sure I will have my fair share of running with my treadmill buddy.

As far as running after dark, I’m sure to run on sidewalks, against traffic, after dark or when there is heavy traffic.  I also have a few clip on lights that flash, and I’m looking into buying a headlamp to assist my after-dark running.

On a side note, I started on a training plan Monday for my 3rd half marathon, next April.  This week has been one of the best weeks of training I’ve had in a very long time.  I think I need the structured nature of a training plan, even if my race isn’t for 5-6 months.  My plan keeps me accountable and motivates me to keep to my workouts.  Over the summer, my training suffered, and my goal of not walking during the KC Half Marathon was not realized.  I’m very happy to be back on track, and to have a solid training plan. My legs, lungs, heart, and mind feel great!

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Yesterday, I read some sad news, Cinda the Elephant who I met in Wichita with James and aunt Debi, died today.  Very sad news, I hope Cinda’s friend Stephanie will cope okay, she had been with Cinda for their entire lives.

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This weekend, Kristen and Thayne are flying in, and we are driving to Hays to visit Grandpa.  He’s not doing well, and has been in the hospital the whole week.  It’s very sad that his cancer and complications have escalated so quickly.

James is heading to California today for BlizzCon, and he is super excited for it!! He has been trying to get tickets to the convention for 7 or 8 years, and he finally got a ticket this year! I’m really happy for him, and can’t wait to hear all about his trip.

Do you run outside after dark or run on the treadmill? What kind of headlamp or lighting do you use?

Sweet Girl Cinda

Today I read that Cinda, one of the African Elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita KS, died. She was 43 years old, and lived in Wichita since 1972.

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Over the summer, James and I had the privilege to meet Cinda. James bought me a print of her trunk on canvas, called an “elephant kiss” and gave it to me for Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

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In reading the many comments on the news article and on the zoo’s facebook page about her passing, it is clear how much she meant to so many people through the years, including James and me.

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RIP Cinda.

Cinda the Elephant

A week ago, James and I were very lucky, and were able to feed, pet, and get up close and personal with an elephant.

First, let me back up and explain what’s going on.  For Valentine’s Day this year, James gifted me an “Elephant Kiss” from the Sedgwick County Zoo, which means the elephants had paint on the end of their trunks, and “kissed” the canvas, leaving a gorgeous and totally unique art piece.  My aunt, Debi, volunteers at the zoo, and was able to set it up for us to meet the artist herself.

My “Elephant Kiss” print was done by the elephant Cinda.  Cinda is about 42 years old, and has lived at the Sedgwick County Zoo for most of her life.  She and her elephant buddy Stephanie are about the same age, and were both brought from Africa to reside at the zoo.  The zoo-keepers told us that Stephanie is the smaller elephant, but she is the boss, and though Cinda is larger, she is pretty timid.

We got to pet, feel, and feed Stephanie, as Cinda was being weighed (monthly weigh-ins to ensure the elephants aren’t gaining/losing too much!).  Then we got to pose with our “Elephant Kiss” artist, Cinda.  It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I cannot express how excited I was to meet both of the elephants!

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It was amazing to see and feel first hand how gentle and intelligent these great animals were.  We watched their training, which is done daily, to keep their minds sharp and to keep them active.  The keepers said they know about 80 “tricks,” including “dance,” “march,” “sit,” and “salute.”  We only saw a few minutes of training, but the elephants are very smart.

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James feeding Stephanie. Both elephants ate a mixture of potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples.

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Selfie with James, Debi, and me, photo bombed by Cinda the elephant!

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The Artist herself, Cinda the elephant!

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Cinda and me!

The zoo-keepers surprised us and also offered for us to meet and feed BiBi the Rhino! I was nervous at first… a few years ago I was partially sprayed by a rhino at a different zoo (not a fun experience!)  Turns out BiBi was super nice, and gentle, and we fed her a bucket of bananas.

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The entire day was just amazing.  After we fed and met the elephants and rhino, we saw the penguins get fed (it was World Penguin Day), and we saw the orangutans and chimpanzees that Debi volunteers with every week.

I have always loved the zoo, and it was such a unique experience to do something that not everyone can do.  It is a memory I will cherish, and I look forward to taking our children to the zoo someday and hopefully they will share the same love of animals that I do!

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James even bought me a stuffed elephant, and I named her Cinda, of course.

If you ever get a chance to meet an elephant, TAKE IT!! It was a fantastic experience, and I’m so happy I was able to do it with James and Debi.

Have you ever gotten to feed or meet a rare animal?