Christmas at the Zoo

While scrolling Facebook, I saw a Fowl Language comic that depicted "the two stages of winter." The comic described December as a "magical wonderland of lights," and the rest of the season as "a cold, gray, bucket of suck."

Said bucket of suck is currently dumping snow, ice, and hatred upon the streets of Indianapolis, and has been since yesterday. Last night, while carrying the Christmas tree back out to the garageand nearly dropping an ovary in the processI slipped on the ice. By desperately flailing my arms in a windmill-like fashion, I managed to stay upright untilWham! My feet flew up and my back hit the ground. I lay there for several moments, regaining my breath and cursing the snow, ice, and hatred that bled through my coat and jeans. My fall was similar to those seen in Home Alone, except in my version of the beloved classic, there are less tarantulas and plenty of toothbrushes approved by the American Dental Association.

Okay, so, January has been a little unpleasant so far. We've had, I believe, just two days of clear skies since the month started. (Because nothing says "Happy New Year" like gloom, doom, and seasonal affective disorder.) But December? I'll have to agree with the comic; it was pretty magical.

A few days after Christmas, I invited friends Lizzy and Raina to "Christmas at the Zoo," an annual event held at the Indianapolis Zoo. According to the zoo's website, the Indianapolis Zoo was the first zoo in the United States to feature a holiday lights event. (The zoo started the event in 1967, just three years after it opened.) Since I had acquired a few free passes, I thought it would be fun to head across the river and admire the twinkling glow of lights.

It was cold that night, too, and windy. Fourteen degrees, tops. We were bundled in hats, scarves, and gloves, and, beneath our jeans, we wore leggings and two pairs of socks. Oh, it was cold. It was cold and crisp and my nose ran and my fingertips went numb and I didn't care because the zoo was beautiful. It twinkled and sparkled and flashed, and we laughed at the playfulness of the penguins and sea lions. We spied on sleeping orangutans. We paused at a light display that resembled a hot dog stand and wondered, "Why? Why a hot dog stand?" ("Why not a hot dog stand?") We allowed our frozen toes to thaw in the conservatory and said, repeatedly, "It's so stunning! Everything is so amazing!" And we reveled, childlike, in the magic of it all.

2014 Ornament Swap Showcase

Fa la la la la la la la la. This year, more than eighty individuals (including my mom) participated in the ornament swap. Swappers from six countries--Australia, Canada, Romania, Spain, the U.K., and the States--participated, and twenty-two of the fifty U.S. states (including Alaska) were represented! I wish to extend an enormous thank you to everyone who traded ornaments. Thank you for taking part in something that encourages networking and holiday joy. I hope that everyone enjoyed the experience, and I hope to "see you" in a future swap! 

Merry holidays, and the happiest of new years! 

from Sarah to Megan

from Megan to Sarah

 from Cassy to Charlotte

from Charlotte to Cassy

from Shona to Tegan

 from Emily to Juj

from Juj to Emily

 from Sarah to Jackie

from Jackie to Sarah

 from Rose to Courtney

from Courtney to Rose

from Lisa to Brandi

 from Amy to Raina

from Anabel to Meagan

from Meagan to Anabel

from Lynette to Anca

 from Anca to Lynette

 from Arielle to Wendy

from Wendy to Arielle

from Bridget to Blaire

 from Chloe to Jenn

 from Connie to Cassandra

 from Corey to Sacha

from Sacha to Corey

from Lisette to Deborah

from Deborah to Lisette

 from Haley to Abby

from Ioana to Danielle

 from Danielle to Ioana

 from Joanne to Nicole

from Nicole to Joanne

 from Karm to Alexandria

 from Keri to Chris

from Lori to Faisal

 from Megan to Rachel

from Megan to Melissa

from Melissa to Megan

 from Megan to Sharon

from Sharon to Megan

from Meghan to Shannah 

from Michelle to Neltje

from Neltje to Michelle

 from Rachael to Margherita

from Margherita to Rachael

from Rachel to Megan

from Lucy to Rhianne

 from Rhianne to Lucy

from Shannah to Meghan

 from Shary to Terri

 from Terri to Shary

 from Tia to Heidi

 from Victoria to Ayla

from Ayla to Victoria

 from Zoë to Heidi

from Heidi to Zoë

 from Jo to Lindsey

from Lindsey to Jo

from Elissa to Michelle

from Michelle to Elissa

from Blaire to Dawn

from Dawn to Blaire

 from Jessica to Dawn

 from Dawn to Jessica

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