am I smarter than a first grader?…part two

So, I had heard for quite a while that we were getting flamingos at work – which, by the way, is an okay-normal type thing when you work at a zoo. Finally, a couple of months ago, the word that they were on their way…21 lesser flamingos coming from the San Antonio Zoo, which was phasing out their exhibit.

Now, first, before I get to the flamingos, let me say that I have definitely gained a new appreciation for birds since working at the zoo. There are so many really special, gorgeous birds out there. Many of them, in Oregon – not the least of which is the always amazing and majestic bald eagle. What a treat when we were in Klamath Falls last summer to see so many of them there in the wild! Perhaps I digress…

Despite my newfound bird appreciation, I didn’t initially think all that much about the flamingos – except that sitting in the marketing department and all – there was a lot of thinking about flamingos. First came the brainstorm. Then the photos. Then the billboard designs. Then the billboards on the freeways, complete with plastic flamingos on top. Then, this week, the culmination leading up to the new exhibit opening with the surprise #flockupy popping up all over town. Plus, the local news reporting about it. And let’s not forget the cool pink flamingo necklaces my colleague Krista got us all to wear around the office all week long. I mean, this flamingo thing is kind of fun.

On Monday of this week, after I had met a big deadline the day before, I took a sadly, somewhat rare break and walked into the zoo to go visit these new members of the family. They were/are cute. And kind of funny little guys and gals. They all hang out right together. Like, I’m thinking they aren’t really American because they don’t seem all that concerned about personal space. The closer, the merrier, as far as I could tell. And they are definitely into the standing on one leg thing. And amazingly flexible. All in all, super good at yoga, I would guess.

Also, when you get past their devil-red eyes, they are just gorgeous birds. The light pink color is just amazing, and I love the accents of darker pink that highlight the ends of their wings. Really, so pretty, I think.

So, by now perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with first graders? Well, on Tuesday morning I was out with my neighbor/walking partner, talking about how cool the new flamingos are when she says that her daughter, a first grader – but not in Ian’s class – told her that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp! Hee hee, yeah right…sounds a little “fishy” to me!

Then, Wednesday morning I’m volunteering in Ian’s first grade class, getting ready to take a group of kids off for reading group and one of the girls asks about my (totally awesome) flamingo necklace. She says she loves flamingos! Then, “Did you know that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp?” Wha??! Alrighty, now I’m suspicious. Could these first graders know something I don’t know?? (Wait, don’t answer that.)

A couple of hours later I’m back at work at the end of a staff meeting when there’s a call for any last questions/comments before we wrap. I can’t help myself. I must know the truth. My hand goes up…”So, I’ve heard via two first graders that flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp! True, or false??” Instead of the chuckles I half expected, I get a (half) collective…”It’s true!”

So I guess the final answer is that no, apparently I am not smarter than one or more first graders. At least when it comes to flamingo trivia.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Except, flamingos will be officially available to greet their adoring public starting tomorrow, March 23 so…

Flock This Way!

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summer’s last gasp

It’s pouring outside. I can hear it as I type. It’s the kind of rainstorm that blows in from the Pacific and makes you want to stay inside curled up by the fire. Friday was the same way…one of those wet, cold, gray, just plain nasty days. It is, of course, not a surprise given that like clockwork, sometime right around Halloween the glory that is summer in Portland disappears as Mother Nature casts her wet spell over the region for the next several months.

Jeff recalls that he took the transition hard last year, but I’m the one who is having the hard time this year. It was around last weekend that the local weather guys and gals began sounding the warning sirens: For the first time in some crazy string of time, rain was headed our way; a storm was coming in Thursday night. The buzz began that the end of summer was imminent.

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strawberry jam

It’s Oregon strawberry season!

While I could spend at least a paragraph – maybe even two – talking about how truly special Oregon strawberries are and why they are different (translated: better) than strawberries grown anywhere else, I figure – why waste my precious typing fingers when my friend Krista really said it best in one of her recent blog posts? Check it out here.

The season is so short that if you blink, you’ll miss it. And since more often than not, half the season consists of the crummiest of crummy (Wait, did I just make that up…crummiest of crummy? Why yes, I did!) weather, we usually miss the opportunity to go out and pick our own strawberries on Sauvie Island.

Not this year! Mother Nature served up a lovely u-pick opportunity just in time for Kruger Farm’s annual Father’s Day weekend “Berry Jam.” So, off we went for a couple of hours of working the fields with the sun beating down and Mount Hood watching over us as we labored.

It was ‘berry’ hard work, but hey, someone’s gotta do it.

a burpo original

About the time I first noticed increasing talk of terrariums, they started showing up in my world at work. First a cute little one on a coworker’s desk. Then, another at another desk. “Where’d you get that little thing?” I asked. “I made it!” “What? How’d you do that?” “Oh, there’s this little shop by my house called Artemisia. They specialize in terrariums.” Of course they do…we’re in Portland so why wouldn’t there already be a boutique in existence that specializes in terrariums? And yes, it’s on the east side. Along with all the best restaurants. I digress.

The next week my friend who sits next to me brought one for her desk. Again, me: “Where’d you get that?” (Apparently I’m very nosy.) “A girlfriend made it for me!” “Oh, it’s super cute.” A couple of weeks later a woman who had been temping as our receptionist/assistant was leaving and one of my other east-side coworkers hands her a little gift. It’s – yep, you guessed it – the goodies to make her own terrarium. Sheesh. These things are all over the place! The other day, I walked into my boss’ office and suddenly she had one on the corner of her desk. Well, that does it! No cute trends is allowed to exist in this world without me being a part of it.

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labors of love

Wow, what an action-packed and lovely Labor Day weekend we had. Last Wednesday, Ian and Elena’s Nana came to visit for a few days, in part so she could help us fill a childcare gap on Thursday and Friday while we were in-between schools, on daycare break, etc. Besides having the help, we were excited to have someone actually visit us when it wasn’t pouring rain and cold out. I mean, this was our opportunity to show someone that we weren’t totally crazy for moving to Oregon and we planned to take full advantage!

Enjoying the Portland Farmer's Market

Of course, the first night she was here we sprung it on her that we also happened to have a goodbye party to attend for Jeff’s boss, so not only would be gone all day, but until late that evening as well.┬áBut by Friday afternoon, Jeff was able to wrap up a bit early and the whole crew headed out on a little zoo adventure and guess who they happened to run into there? (Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a total coincidence.)

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