More Than Meh

A blog about the good things of life.

Trip to Buffalo to See Baby Polar Bears August 8, 2013

Filed under: Life,Polar Bears,Travel — dwhren @ 10:20 am

If you know me in real life at all or even if you’ve read some of the past entries in this blog you know that I love polar bears. This year my birthday present from my husband was a trip to the Buffalo zoo to see the two polar bear cubs they have there right now. For good or ill, he always seems to get me presents I have to work for. This was minimal in that I only had to pick a date for our trip. Though he totally could have surprised me and taken me up on my birthday if he had just canceled the lunch plans I had made with friends for that day. The bears would have been even cuter then since they would have been even smaller. Since the end of June and all of July were already really busy, we didn’t wind up getting to go until yesterday.

We literally just flew up for the day. We left Baltimore at 9:40 am and returned at 7:45 pm. I must say it’s kind of nice traveling with no luggage. I’ll probably never have occasion to do it again. We hopped a cab at the airport and took it to the zoo. I’m guessing we are the first people to have ever done that before.

 

The smallest polar bears I had seen previous to yesterday were a number of years ago at the Pittsburgh zoo. The twin brothers were about 18 months old. The polar bears at the Buffalo zoo are much younger than that currently. Luna is 8 and half months old and was born at the Buffalo zoo, though her parents have since been moved to other zoos. Her mother rejected her as a baby and she was initially raised for the first few months by one of the zookeepers at her house. Kali is 7 and half months old and was rescued in Alaska after his mother was shot and killed. They moved him from the Anchorage zoo to the Buffalo zoo so the two cubs could grow up together and teach each other how to be bears.

They are working on raising money for a new polar bear enclosure, but right now the space where they live is pretty sad especially compared to the enclosures I’ve seen for the polar bears at the Maryland Zoo and the Pittsburgh Zoo. The Pittsburgh Zoo is especially cool in that you can stand underneath their water pool and watch them swim from below.

Based on their website and signs up at the zoo the polar bears were supposed to be out on view daily from 11:30-2. I suspect all this information is out of date as they actually only reference Luna and not Kali and when we arrived a little after 11 they were already out. They did go back inside for about 10 minutes prior to 11:30 presumably to be fed, but then they were out at least until a little after 2 when we left. They did not get called back in right at 2, so I don’t know if they were left out longer or if they were just not prompt with bringing them inside. By that point I was hungry though and also looking forward to sitting down after essentially standing in one spot for two and half hours.

Most people spent about an average of 5-10 minutes looking at the polar bears before moving on. We were pretty much just there to see them, so we spent two and half hours watching them, then zoomed through part of the zoo on the way to the exit and left. I really don’t like zoos that much, but they’re my only chance to see polar bears (at least until I can convince Paul to take me on a polar bear tour in Manitoba).

The polar bear cubs were of course super adorable. You can see some of the pictures and videos I took yesterday below.

This is when they first came back out after being called inside for a few minutes. Watch until the end to see some super cuteness.

Kali playing in the water. They spent a lot of time in there and would wrestle with each to gain control over the water hole.

Speaking of wrestling

I will destroy you cat litter bucket says Kali

 

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After we left the zoo we grabbed a late lunch/early dinner at a pub that we could walk to from the zoo. Of course I had to have Beef on Weck while I was there. Delicious!

2013-08-07 15.22.41

 

Barenaked Ladies with Guster and Ben Folds Five at Merriweather Post Pavilion July 16, 2013

Filed under: Concerts,Music,Polar Bears,Pop Culture — dwhren @ 12:49 pm

Last night I went with my friends Tracie, Kevin, and Alison to see the Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, and Guster in concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion for Tracie’s birthday. I’m actually not a huge fan of any of these bands, but there is nothing I like better during the summer than sitting outside and listening to some live music, so when Tracie suggested doing this for her birthday I was in. I feel like I should love these bands. I was totally with my people last night, i.e. the middle aged. I’m pretty sure most of the people there had to hire a baby sitter to go to the concert. Most concerts I go to I feel like I’m way older than everyone or way younger than anyone there, probably because even though based on my age 90s music should be my jam it wasn’t and isn’t. 70s music absolutely, 80s music yes please, 90s music no thank you. This evidenced by the fact that instead of seeing current bands when I was in high school these are the bands I went to see in concert 10,000 Maniacs, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Van Halen. All great bands and all touring with new music at the time, but still not really of the 90s.

Despite my general disinterest in their music, I have in fact seen all three of these bands live in the past and they all put on a great show. Even if I’m not a big fan of the music if I find it tolerable, which I do for all of these bands, then a fantastic live show will outweigh my feelings on the music. Even though I am not likely to sit around and listen to most of the songs by these bands, and know only their radio hits, I still find them greatly enjoyable live. It was a good time despite the oppressive heat, which all 3 bands improvised songs about. I was hoping it would get better once the sun went down, but instead it just got more humid and with no breeze it was kind of stifling even then.

The concert actually started with a short 15-20 minute set by British comedian-singer Boothby Graffoe. I’m pretty sure my husband must have commissioned this song to be written for me.

If you knew how many times we had the conversation “I want a polar bear for a pet”/”No you don’t he would eat you” you would probably be astounded.

Guster was the real first act of the night. I kind of followed them a bit back when I was in college when I feel like they were really big in the college music scene. Most of the music I know of theirs is from that time period back in the late 90s. They played a lot of it last night as well as when Alison and I saw them a few summers ago, so I guess they themselves consider that stuff their biggest hits.

Last night was the third time I’ve seen Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five live. I saw Ben Folds solo with Tori Amos on their Lotta Pianos tour, then saw Ben Folds Five as part of the Virgin Mobile FreeFestival last October. Tracie was pointing out that the crowd at that concert didn’t really care about Ben Folds Five at all. I pointed out that of course they didn’t because most of the people at that concert were like half our age. She was then horrified to figure out that yes kids in their latter years of high school are in fact half our age. I appreciate Ben’s sense of humor and the way he messes around and makes stuff up during live shows. Between the ridiculous humidity and his playing he managed to break 2 piano strings during the show. One was during the first song, but I guess he knows how to work around those missing notes since I didn’t notice anything amiss during the rest of the show. I also finally put my finger on something regarding Ben Folds/Ben Folds Five. I like their jauntier songs, but don’t really care for the slow ones. I kind of figured this out by watching Ben and realizing that he stands up while he’s playing during the faster songs and realized that he was standing during all the songs I really like. So there you go.

Here’s Ben goofing around some last night.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Barenaked Ladies in concert. The first and only time was way back in the day in 1998 when they were just breaking big in the U.S. I saw them as part of the H.O.R.D.E festival, which Wikipedia informs me was in its 8th and final year that summer. I remember them putting on a good show, and have always heard that they are great live but in the 15 years since then I’ve always thought eh I don’t really like their music that much when I’ve seen them tour near me. After last night’s show I’m kind of sad that I have missed out on some really fantastic live shows in those years. The Barenaked Ladies are everything I like in a concert. They do a good mix of their hits and new stuff (which I actually kind of liked so I should probably go listen to the free digital copy of their new album I got free with my ticket but wrote off and never listened to based on my feelings for the rest of their music I know), they do covers, they improvise, they tell stories, they dance around. There is nothing not to love about their show. There’s also nothing better than being in a big crowd of people singing along to a hit song, which of course happened several times last night. I would definitely go see them again in the future.

This was my favorite thing they did last night. Cover medley!

 

Polar Bears and Babies March 3, 2013

Filed under: Friends,Polar Bears — dwhren @ 7:45 pm

I’ve previously mentioned on this blog how much I love polar bears. As such I have wanted for years to go on a trip to Churchill, Manitoba where you can go see polar bears in their wild habitat. Last night we were out with a bunch of friends for a friend’s birthday, and I started talking about going to Utah this spring to finish off my quest to get to all 50 states. Then offhandedly said after that I need to convince Paul to take me on my polar bear vacation. At the time I was talking to my friend Alison and the guy she has been dating. Little did I know that he in fact had just taken that very trip this past November. He regaled me with its wonders and furthered my desire to go. Now I just need to get my husband on board with this plan. My husband’s comment was that he’ll just take me on a trip to whatever European country winds up with a polar bear cub at their zoo next, since there seems to have been a number of those over the past few years. Though my pleas to take a trip to go see one of them never panned out. Then last night after we got home we turned on the news and lo and behold one of the stories was about this polar bear cub born at the Buffalo zoo. Now my husband says he’ll just take me to Buffalo. I say we do both!

AHH! He’s so cute!

 

Today was less about baby polar bears and more about human babies. We met our friends Kevin and Tracie and their 2.5 month old baby Abby for brunch today. We haven’t seen them much since she was born so it was great to catch up with them and to get some baby snuggles from a cutie pie baby.

And in other happy baby news my friends Jenny gave birth to a son today. It’s been a long, heartbreaking, and hard fought road for this day to happen and I am just so very happy for her and her husband. I know they’re going to be amazing parents. I can’t wait to meet the new little man in their life.

 

Polar Bears February 9, 2012

Filed under: Polar Bears,Simple Pleasures — dwhren @ 8:58 am

I love polar bears! I think they are the cutest animals in the world, and baby polar bear cubs are beyond words adorable. A lot of other people jumped on my baby polar bear bandwagon with the whole Knut and Flocke polar bear cub craze a few years ago, but I had thing for polar bears long before that. I also didn’t think Knut was ugly after he became a dirty looking adult polar bear like so many other people. I keep hoping the polar bears at the  Maryland Zoo in Baltimore will have a cub, but so far no dice. For now I will get my cute polar bear cub fix with Siku the polar bear cub at the Scandanavian Wildlife Park of Djursland in Denmark. I tried to convince my husband that we should take a vacation to Denmark this summer when it would be warmer but Siku would still be a baby. I’ve never been to any of the Scandinavian countries, and what better reason is there to go than to visit a polar bear. My husband for some reason did not share my enthusiasm for this plan.

Here’s a picture of Siku’s first trip out into the snow. If you’re heart doesn’t melt at that cute little face it must be made of stone. Enjoy some more super cute pictures of Siku playing in the snow here.