Readers, when you visit the zoo on the hottest day of the year so far and have to deal with swarms of people, be sure that you leave with everything that you arrived with. Do not, as I did, leave the zoo, arrive at your next destination, and then realize that you left your phone at the penguin exhibit. You will have to drive back to the zoo, explain what happened to the gatekeeper, visit the lost and found at Guest Services, and then walk all the way back to the penguin exhibit in 95°F heat when you’re already flustered, dehydrated, and half-panicking about replacing an expensive device that has all the contact information you stopped bothering to memorize ten years ago.
Fortunately for me, one of the attendants at the penguin exhibit had found my phone. Panic averted. I should probably see about memorizing my most important contact numbers in case I actually lose it.
That said, I had a great time. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo is consistently rated as one of the best zoos in the US. It comprises 160 acres (and growing) of exhibits, research and conservation facilities, and educational spaces with animals and plants from around the world. The Desert Dome and the Lied Jungle are the most popular exhibits, but the African Grasslands and the newly opened Himalayan Highlands are sure to be future favorites. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen, and be prepared for large crowds (and soooo many strollers…) during the late spring and summer months.
I prefer to go to the zoo during the fall and winter when there are fewer people, but I didn’t go at all last year, and I needed to get out of town for a day. The zoo seemed like the perfect place to get away for a little while, watch otters play, and cool off while watching penguins swim around in their frosty enclosure. Except for almost losing my phone, it was a fantastic trip.
After leaving the zoo for the second time, I headed downtown (a quick drive down 13th street) and stopped into a coffee shop to rehydrate and cool off. An iced latte and a bit of air conditioning worked wonders, and so I wandered over to Jackson Street Booksellers to browse for an hour before meeting a friend for dinner.
Jackson Street Booksellers is one of the best kinds of used book shops, where you can find a book on just about every subject and from every genre, no matter how high or low it’s considered to be. I could have spent all afternoon looking at all the books, but I only had an hour. I bought a Dutch-English dictionary, Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson, Confusion by Stefan Zweig, and Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene.
After leaving Jackson Street Booksellers, I got to the restaurant before my friend. As the place was packed, I reserved a couple of seats at the bar and struck up a conversation with the man next to me. He was from Arizona and was in town on business. He’d asked the hotel clerk where he should eat, and the clerk said, without hesitation, “M’s Pub“. He was surprised that the clerk had not suggested a steakhouse, as he had assumed that Nebraskans were all “steak! steak! steak!”. He loved the food, even if it wasn’t steak.
Thanks to a weird work schedule that only got stranger as the week progressed, I feel like I didn’t get a lot of reading done, even though I did. I got fed up with Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel halfway through and declared it a DNF. After that I downloaded a little book of Japanese haiku, and after nearly two months of minimal progress, I made a concerted effort to finish the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s excellent The Conference of the Birds. I also finished Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird. It’s a great biography with much of its research taken from Victoria’s own diaries, along with observations of writers, politicians, and other notable people of the era. It’s definitely eye-opening. One of the things I didn’t know was that the prudishness we associate with Queen Victoria was actually her husband, Prince Albert’s, notion. Victoria herself was from a family of sexually liberal people (for the times), and apparently enjoyed sex.
I guess that was Victoria’s secret. The lingerie store isn’t all that far off the mark, apparently.
Books I finished this week:
- The Four Seasons: Japanese Haiku Series Two by Matsuo Basho, Kobayahi Issa, Shiki
- The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar
- Victoria the Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird
This week’s posts:
My current reads include:
- Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence
- Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Redemption in Indigo and Every Heart a Doorway are relatively short, so I anticipate finishing them fairly quickly. I need to finish Grey Sister, since it will be due back at the library soon.
I’m just planning to stick with these three books for the moment. I’m sure something else will pop up, I just don’t know what right now. I feel like I should tone down the number of books I read at once, because then it’s hard to finish anything at all. If only there weren’t so many books I want to read!
I’ll be out of town again over the weekend so I won’t be able to go to the farmer’s market this week. Last week was great! It was cool and cloudy, but not rainy. There were plenty of early vegetables, mostly asparagus, lettuce, spinach, and rhubarb. I bought a container of orange-vanilla cookies and another jar of strawberry jam, and enjoyed lunch from the Persian restaurant that always has a food truck at this particular market.
I’m not sure what we’re going to do this weekend. I’m heading to my sister’s, and we’re going hiking in a nearby state park on Sunday morning. But after that, we’ll probably just hide from the heat. This Memorial weekend, it’s supposed to reach nearly 100°F! Hello summer!