Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Hello All, It's been quite a while since I've been on here blogging. Ok, so it's been seven months. Haha Since I last blogged, Paul and I are still together. Yay!! We have been dating 10 months as of tomorrow! In fact, I moved to Bismarck, North Dakota to be with him. I was offered a position at the Dakota Zoo here as a zookeeper. My job in Sioux Falls ended at the end of October. It was hard to leave all of my coworkers and animals, who had all become my friends. I'm happy to be here with Paul, working with animals still and making new animal friends. Even so, I do miss my human and animal friends from Sioux Falls. I have several good friends who lived up here before I got here too. By now, I should be a pro at starting over in a new city I feel like. I have been at this zoo for two months now. The cold is an adjustment here with the frigid North Dakota can't-feel-my-fingers cold. lol Since getting special gloves and boots, I'm good to go for what's ahead. We've already had the twenty below days where I work outside all day long. You may wonder what animals I'm working with here... In Sioux Falls, I was working with reticulated giraffes, black rhinos, grevy zebras, eastern bongos, ostrich, African crowned cranes, meerkats and a hedgehog. Here, I go in with all sorts of canines: gray wolves, Mexican gray wolves, artic foxes, red foxes, swift foxes, and coyotes. I also work with cougars, bobcats, lynx, tigers, snow leopards as well as badgers, porcupines, raccoons and a ton of raptors. There's even a bald eagle that flies around the zoo that hangs out near the eagle exhibit chatting with them from a nearby fence. I also hand feed a Gold eagle who had been shot three times in the head and neck area. For her the hand feeding means to hold her dish for her. Today, as I fed her in the early morning hours, we listened to the church bells go off in the distance for Christmas day. It was beautiful. Even Goldie (the bird), tilted her head to listen. In addition to all of these animals, everyone gets to work with camels, horses, bison, elk, deer, reindeer, goats, cows, donkeys, and moose. Since beginning here, I have been privileged enough to start up an enrichment program for the animals. This is huge for me. All of my work up to this point has paid off. Enrichment is adding or taking away something from an animal's exhibit to make their day different. We also had a training consultant come to the zoo. I am now the primary trainer of the servals and secondary trainer of the tigers, snow leopards, mountain lions and bobcats. Primary means that I am the one training new behaviors. Secondary trainer means I am maintaining their behaviors that they already know. As of now, I am just working with the serval, Serena, on name recognition and target. My main goal is to have her be calm and voluntarily accept an injection. In other news, Marty is sure enjoying running all over the ranch near the house. He runs and plays with Paul's dog, Bull, constantly. He sleeps inside at night and comes inside frequently on the super cold days. I had to increase his food since he has lost weight from running so much. Paul has had a good year. He and his dad just got back from a conference in Springfield, Illinois for ACRES. The conference was centered around soil health. He just finished up his 4th year of teaching as a professor at Bismarck State College last week. And he is adjusting to having a Christmas tree up for the first time for him and rugs down in the bathroom and kitchen. Hahaha These are big adjustments. lol He's a good sport about it all :) What can I say? It's the best time of year! haha Today, Christmas, we celebrated with Paul's dad's side. They are all such nice people and so inviting. It is hard to be away from my family especially on Christmas but celebrating with his family makes it so much better. Yesterday, we celebrated with his mom's side. It was so much fun with playing bingo for presents! haha I cannot wait to go home in just over two weeks to celebrate with my family. Paul will come home with me. My brother will have Mia and Vinnie, so it'll be a special time! I'm so excited! Tomorrow night, we will celebrate Christmas with Paul's immediate family. It will be fun! I will have to update how it goes I suppose that's all for now, Miss you all, Talk often, Love, Nessa

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's Finally Spring!

Hello There, It has been too long. I honestly don't know where the last four months have gone! I've definitely had a rollercoaster of a year! In late January, I hurt my back again. Freshman year of college, I hurt my back, but the pain subsided after what felt like forever (2 months or so). That was painful then! I never wanted that pain again of course, but I surely found a way to bring it back. I was at the dance studio and did a move just right to accidentally bring the pain back with a vengance. It took 2 meetings and 12 appointments with the chiropractor to fix it! Turns out that when they took x-rays as a freshman at the hospital, they missed the fact my bottom 6 vertebrae weren't aligned with the rest of my vertebrae! So because of this, my pelvis has been sitting uneven for 6 years. This also could explain why when I was swimming that one leg lagged behind the other while kicking. But yay for having it fixed! Not dancing for those two months and not doing my whole work on my own was very tough! After being fixed up, I ended up getting the flu really bad. I always try to stay at work to work through it, but I couldn't do it. The smell of the barns were too much, and I went home to get better. I will say that living by myself with a pup and being sick is hard! Oh and after all of this my computer hard drive crashed. ha. Enough of the downs.. I have had some ups too! The biggest up is I began dating my best guy friend! :D His name is Paul, and he is amazing. It's awesome that he knows the good and the bad and still treats me like a princess. I'm in love! Another up is that I began working with black rhinos in addition to the giraffes and hoofstock. They are so cool! Their names are Jubba and Imara. We are hoping they breed this year since their last baby was transported to Des Moines last fall. It's time for him to be with his girlfriend, so they can make babies soon. Another up is that I got to see B.B. King and JOHNNY LANG!!!! with my parents this year. OMG AMAZING!!! I actually got to meet B.B.'s drummer, which was really cool. I convinced him to try Kinky and Lemonade at the bar after the show. haha My parents and I went to the bar, and he was there. Johnny Lang was incredible. I have been listening to him for most of my life. He is from Fargo and an amazing performer! I went home last "weekend," tues/wed, and was so lucky to see Amelia. I picked her up from school and surprised her. She yelled, "NESSA!!!" and ran and jumped into my arms. Not gonna lie, that was so cool to have her be so excited to see me :) I'm sure there are so many more things I could say that just aren't coming to mind right now. I am doing great, honestly. Miss you all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Here I Come!

Happy New Year! Hope you had a great holiday season! My new years was a lot of fun with getting to see my friends from home. I'm so happy that we are all still close friends. The best part was that we all hung out playing games, drinking and just talking. Just being us! But what kind of a finish to the year would it be without a major change in my life? 2012 definitely had its downs while definitely had its ups. The ups included: moving out of Minot, ND, Meeting Nate, Moving to Sioux Falls, SD, and getting a job at the zoo here in Sioux Falls(!!)just to name a few. Like I mentioned, there were definitely some downs too... such as my first permanent zoo position being washed away in a flood. But without the downs, I guess we cannot appreciate the ups fully. 2013 is a new start and I hope it has many more ups than downs for once! But to update you on the ending of 2012... October was good with Nate's birthday and housewarming party. It was a blast! Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. I got to go home and enjoy being with my parents. Christmas was good. I got to see my parents, brother and Vinnie. I had to work the morning of Christmas, but right after, I headed home. My parents gave me a whole new look to my bedroom with a pillow and shams and a new quilt. Vinnie is getting so big! He is talking up a storm and full of personality!! 2012 was also full of personal changes. It took so much of my courage, but I began playing soccer and basketball. I have experienced myself getting better and better, so it's very rewarding! I have joined a dance center. I am hip hop dancing there and go to zumba there. Oh and as if that isn't enough, I began swimming weekly. I have a swimming instructor, Jill, who is helping me become a better swimmer! My goal is to be able to pass swim tests. I've learned a lot about my kicking and endurance. I also learned that even after a year, I can still dive.. boo ya! lol I can honestly say that I am proud of myself for becoming so active. I have lost about 23 pounds this year and hope to lose a few more! On another note... Unfortunately, Marty and I moved into an apartment. He is adjusting well, and this is definitely the nicest apartment I've lived in yet! Trying to look on the bright side. I'm hoping to make it to North Dakota this February. I'm so grateful to be so close to home and many of my friends! I am always so grateful for all of my friends! Where would I be without all of you? So all in all, I'm ready for 2013. Here's to an awesome new year. I'm afraid to make resolutions cause I have so many goals already!! haha Go figure right? Missing all of my friends and family, Nessa