Friday, June 21, 2013

My LifeScouts Badges, Part 2

A few months ago I wrote a post about Alex Day's LifeScouts badges and displayed the ones I'd earned in January. My original intent was to make a post each month showing new ones I'd earned but I got busy and fell behind. I plan to remedy that today, and in later posts. (Note: The numbering will be continuous throughout all posts, so this one starts at #9.)

Here are my badges from February, animal month:

#9 Zoo

I've visited many zoos in my life. The earliest one I can remember is the San Antonio Zoo. My father grew up in San Antonio and we spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. We also went to the Fort Worth Zoo (still one of my favorites) a lot because my parents had connections in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well. (We even lived in Denton for a year an a half when I was a toddler.)

I don't remember ever going to an actual zoo in West Virginia, but we did go regularly to the French Creek Game Farm (now evidently called the West Virginia State Wildlife Center), and it was great! They have all sorts of different animals, both exotic and familiar. I mainly remember the otters (because otters are awesome!) and the rabbits (because one once bit me on the finger while I was petting it and to this day my mother is convinced that I cut my finger on the chain link fence) but I remember spending whole days there so I know there was much more to see.

Several years ago I took my Australian friend to the San Diego Zoo as part of a cross country trip that also included the Grand Canyon, Tijuana, and Las Vegas, among other things. The zoo definitely lived up to its fantastic reputation and I highly recommend it.

Where I live now is roughly equidistant from the San Antonio Zoo, the El Paso Zoo, and the Abilene Zoo, but I rarely visit any of them because they're all several hours away by car. The only zoo I visit semi-regularly now is the Fort Worth Zoo, where I often take my students as part of an end-of-year field trip, but I'll always be a big zoo fan.

#10 Horse Riding

Horse riding hasn't been a major component of my life, but I've done it a few times. When I was little we spent a lot of time on the farm of some family friends and they had a horse. Their kids and I would sometimes ride it around the area bareback. It was a lot of fun, except for the day it stepped on my foot. I remember it with fondness nevertheless.

Other than that, all of my horse riding has consisted of guided trail rides at a touristy (but fun) place called Prude Ranch. It's kind of frustrating because all the horses will do -- all they're allowed to do -- is follow the trail strictly at no more than a walk, but it's pretty cool for people who have no other exposure to such things.

#11 Snake Holding

Not only have I held a snake, but I've owned a snake. I had a ball python named Chuck Norris for about 4 years. I had to let him go due to situations beyond my control, but he was great and I loved him.

That's him when he was maybe six months old. I got him when he was only a couple months old (about a foot long and as big around as a quarter) and watched him grow to full size (about 3 feet or so in length and as big around as an average woman's wrist). I guess it seems dumb to miss a snake, but I miss him anyway.

#12 Pet Owning

I haven't owned a lot of pets but there is the aforementioned Chuck Norris, as well as a random assortment of cats and dogs while I was growing up. They include:
  • my paternal grandparents' mutt named Candy*
  • my aunt's basset hounds named Clarence and Bridget*
  • a German shepherd named Sam
  • a cocker spaniel named Taffy
  • a Siamese cat named D.C.
  • a chow named Mei Ling
  • a Doberman pinscher named Tequila (but pronounced like Tequilla, or "teh-key-yah" because her previous owners weren't very bright)
  • and another Doberman named Caretaker
* It may not seem like these would be "my" pets, but we spent so much time at their houses that they felt like mine.

I know there were other pets along the way, including not only other cats and dogs but also the occasional hamster, bird, fish, turtle, frog, etc, but I've forgotten the specifics. It's been a long, loooooong time since I lived with my parents.

I don't own a pet at the moment but I'm trying to get a kitten. I want a baby so I can have it as long as possible and I hope to get one from a shelter, but none of the shelters ever seem to have babies. I am working on it though and I hope I'll be able to get one soon.

And that's about it for February. Coming up soon (I hope): March, which was nerd month, and April, music month, from which I get exactly one badge. And that only barely. Oh, the shame!

Seriously, though, it's a lot of fun going through these, and even more fun telling you about them. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Until next time~ <3

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