The A To Z of the Zoo – A Retrospective

2016-05-09 A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

As is the custom after the A to Z Blogging Challenge, participants prepare reflections posts that discuss what they learned from the challenge, what worked, and what didn’t.

Plus, I have zebras.

First, the Lonely Zebra That Wasn’t

The last week or so of April, I cause the nasty cold virus that’s going around and it horse-kicked me into the barn.  I don’t often get sick, but when I do…  Yeah, yeah.  Thank you, Dos Equis man.  But seriously, this cold stinks.  So I was frantically trying to keep up with my daily challenge posts, which I usually forward-posted on the weekend so I’d have time to visit my fellow challengers each day.  But as it got down to the wire, and I got sicker and sicker, it got harder and harder to do.

And then the last day came.

I was a day behind!  Oh noes!  But never fear, I’ve got at least three challenge prep trips to the zoo under my belt, plus all my other zoo trips if needed, to make my final challenge post of Z Is For Zebra.

Only… there were NO zebras!  Not in my March zoo trip.  Not in either December zoo trips.  Not in my last couple zoo trips.  Not in my phone.  By the time a half hour had gone by, and I was dragging and needed to go to bed, I had to face facts.

My last post of the challenge would be sans animal.

Never fear.  I am nothing if not resourceful in the face of danger!  And, there are plenty of peacock pics.  I lurve me some peacocks!  So not to be deterred on that, the last day of the challenge, my zebra post featured a peacock, a meme, and my fattest cat.

See?  And who said challenges were for the faint of heart?

But today, Dear Reader, the day of my Reflections post, I have Zebra!  Will post!  Read on, MacDuff…

2016-05-09 Pic 1

So we went to the zoo on Mother’s Day, which also happened to be my birthday.  I told my family, we must find zebras!  No worries, there are plenty of zebras.  They are always wandering around their enclosure, nibbling at hay, and being cute.

We arrived, and all we saw were butts.  Three butts.  Zebra butts.  But butts they were, and butts they remained – despite calling, and cooing, and clicking, and “Hey, you!”

We gave up, our sad intrepid little band, and made it to the okapi enclosure when it happened.

The most loud, awful, non-donkey donkey racket we’ve ever heard in our lives.  It sounded like a cross between an angry emu and a mule arguing politics.  (You think I’m kidding?)  So we trekked back to try and find what made the noise and found this lovely fellow.

2016-05-09 Pic 2

For those of you adults in the audience, even though you can’t quite see it in the shadows, it became immediately apparent why he’d been making such a god awful racket and why there was a large fence between him and the other, probably female, zebras.

It is, after all, Spring.


As for reflections, I have these:

I like challenges, I’ve decided.  This has been a year for them.  I participated in a gym challenge in December, where I attended the gym 25 days in a row.  I participated in the A to Z Challenge on three blogs by myself, as well as two team blogs.  I did something differently this year, though; I decided to actually pick a theme that required research and collecting photographs.  I have links to my other “Reflections” posts below, but here’s a recap of what I did on this blog:

This year, I decided to do the “A to Z of the Zoo,” which I like simply because of the alliteration.  I limited myself to Brookfield Zoo, for no other reason than to give the challenge some, well, challenge.  I have lots of photographs of animals in zoos because we love to visit zoos.  In the past year, we’ve been to the zoo in Tacoma, St. Louis, and here in Chicago; plus there’s the Lincoln Park Zoo here which, while we haven’t been recently, has different animals from Brookfield.  I figured it would make it more challenging to actually find animals at Brookfield.

We had to resort to Latin binomials for some of the animals, (a “Latin binomial” is the two word name scientists give to a specific animal that tells its identification and membership in specific animal sub-groups.  This practice is known as taxonomy; not to be confused with taxidermy, the practice of stuffing dead animals.  But I digress).  We had a heck of a time finding several of the letters; for example, “J” gave us particular fits.  If we’d allowed ourselves another zoo, such as Lincoln Park, it would have been an easy matter to choose a jaguar.  But we limited ourselves specifically to Brookfield and so, on a chilly day in March, my husband and I went to the zoo with little yellow cards on which I’d printed the animals I already had, and we brainstormed the rest.

This turned out to be a ton of fun.  I’m not sure what I’ll do next year, but I think I might try something like it again because I had a ball wandering around and photographing things.  I got a lot of photographs that I didn’t use in the challenge but liked a lot; I’ll probably have those in later blog posts throughout the year.

I highly recommend the challenge to anyone who likes to blog, and even for those of us bloggers who are intermittent or unsure how to begin.  I got a lot of ideas when I visited other bloggers on the list, and look forward to my Road Trip between now and next April where I plan to visit other challengers and see what they’re doing with their blogs.

Happy blogging!

And, for your reading pleasure, here’s a list of the posts for the A to Z Challenge, The A To Z of the Zoo:

Amur Leopard – For A!

Bears Napping, Bears Pacing, Bears, Bears, Bears! B Is For Bears!

Wray-Wray’s Namesake – When You Find Your Name on a Camel

Dogs – Of the African Wild Variety

Stephen Colbert Ain’t Got Nuthin’ On Him! Or, E Is For Eagle

Too Foxy!

Number One Goose, And Giraffe Have Long Tongues

It Came From The Ocean – The Dogs of the Sea – Harbor Seals

Gettin’ Beaky With It – The Ibis In The Pond

The Bird That Wasn’t: Jambu Fruit Dove – And A Party #Giveaway

Lookit Them Feet!

The King Of The Jungle

Mexican Grey Wolves Are Sneaky

North American River Otters… Were Busy?

The Secret Forest-Dweller

So Many P’s, So Little Time

The Q Files

Six Inch Thick Skin

Been Waiting ALL Month For This!

The Trouble With Tigers

What Izzit!? – Today It’s Uromastyx!

Varanids, Varanids Everywhere!

Water Dragon!

Xtreme Birds

Yes, It’s Snow Leopards!

Zebras Aren’t For Riding

Thank you for joining me for the A-Z Blog Challenge.  If you’re blogging in the challenge, please leave me a link so I can come visit you too.  If you have a moment, please check out these other fine blogs:

My theme on my Knoontime Knitting craft blog is Letterforms In Nature and the Built Environment.  I’ll be exploring my daily round, looking for shapes in the natural world and build environment.

The theme at Noon & Wilder is The A To Z of Chicago.  Since I live here in the city and we have our Chicagoland Shifters based here, I figured I’d share a window into the city, Noon & Wilder style.

The Nice Girls Writing Naughty have a new home, and we’re blogging in the challenge again this year.  Throughout the month you’ll be hearing from each of the Nice Girls, and during the RT Booklovers Convention from April 12th to the 17th, you’ll be getting live convention reports.  Join the conversation!

The Writer Zen Garden’s brand new website is up and running, and we’re bringing you posts from me, Noony; my partner in crime, Rachel Wilder (the Wilder half of Noon & Wilder); the talented Darla M. Sands – a blogger in her own right, see below; as well as Grace Kahlo, Evey Brown, and author Tina Holland.  Check it out!

My friends who are participating in the challenge:

Write on, and Happy Blogging!

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