Recovering From A Bad Day

What do you do when you are having a bad day?

Me? Normally I would resort to death by chocolate, but in the spirit of 52-new-things, today I decided to try a different approach.  I jumped in my car and headed out to the Toronto Zoo.

Just to be clear, I don’t like zoos.  In my entire life, I’ve been to a zoo twice … neither were memorable experiences … but I was having a bad day and I needed something new to clear my head.  The zoo seemed to fit the bill – besides, this gave me an opportunity to visit the 1 year-old polar bear, Humphrey, who is scheduled to be transferred to another zoo in 10 days.

Since it is still frigidly cold outside – in the -10C/14F range – the zoo was deserted. This was great for visiting the animals, but considering I got lost twice trying to find Humphrey, having no one around was rather inconvenient – not be mention a little bit scary.

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I did eventually find Humphrey.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a polar bear.  My home town has a habitat to foster old, neglected, or abandoned polar bears – but it was a treat to see the big furry youngster before he leaves the city.  Rumour has it, Humphrey is going to join his brother in Winnipeg (still in Canada, for those who are wondering).

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Humphrey – on the right.

Next on my list was visiting the panda enclosure.  There are 2 pandas at the Toronto Zoo on loan from China and they have the same mesmerizing quality as watching koala bears. They don’t do much … sit, eat, change position … but they are so damn cute.  This was the first time I had ever seen a panda.  I want one.

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Lastly – half frozen by this point – I wondered whether I really wanted to search for the African penquins.  Of course I did.

Like the pandas, the penquins were sequestered indoors behind glass enclosures … and like the pandas, they weren’t particularly active. They mostly looked at each other – I imagine wondering what on earth they were doing in frozen Canada instead of the warmer climes of Southern Africa.

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At this point, I was feeling considerably colder – although more relaxed – than when I arrived. As I drove to the parking exit, I discovered something I was not expecting – a parking lot full of Canada Geese.  I guess these guys missed the memo about flying south for the winter.

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This interaction with nature was exactly the therapy I needed to turn around my mood on this cold, but sunny, Friday afternoon.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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76 Responses to Recovering From A Bad Day

  1. Mama Cormier says:

    I haven’t been to the zoo in years. Living in southern Etobicoke I’m about as far away as you can get and still live in this city. I should get out there soon if I want to see those pandas.

    Like

  2. terryb says:

    Awesome way to turn a day around!

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  3. beeblu says:

    Nature is the tonic. I hate zoos as well, but it is lovely to be close up to the animals.

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  4. jannatwrites says:

    Wow, you are much more motivated than I am. I would have found every excuse to stay inside with those temperatures. It looks like you had a great time, though. I like the geese in the parking lot 🙂

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  5. stvrsnbrgr says:

    Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat! Your 52-new-things plan is already paying dividends, Joanne. Like you, my love of animals got in the way of my love of zoos… but the childhood magic of these places persists. (Unlike the marine mammal prisons, which are heinous and immoral.) Your piece triggered two memories. A bazillion years ago, I moved to Washington DC and rented a studio apartment on Connecticut Avenue, just a few blocks away from the National Zoo. When the weather allowed sleeping with windows open, I would lie in bed early in the morning and listen to the lions roar! Which, at first, was a little disconcerting for a city kid. But I grew to appreciate it as the world’s coolest alarm clock. Also, the penguins… I spent an afternoon at Boulders Beach south of Cape Town frolicking with a colony of these African penguins. Well, I was frolicking (and posing for pictures) — but they were basically scowling and barely tolerating our presence. What is it about these creatures in their feathered tuxedos? They never fail to put a smile on our faces. I’m glad your zoological tour changed the color of your mood ring that day!

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  6. I remember the polar bears at the Melbourne Zoo when I was a kid. In summer, they put huge blocks of ice in the pool. Fortunately, the zoos have become more sensitive to the appropriateness of certain animals and we no longer have them. I’m glad the zoo amended your day. 🙂

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  7. lumar1298 says:

    Must have been cold, but took your mind off the mood… I love the zoo… I just like to observe their mood…

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  8. Heyjude says:

    Now actually that scene with the polar bears is just right. I always associate seeing them in miserable concrete surroundings, pacing up and down. Not right. They require snow. Glad you got out to show us these lovely images Jo, not glad that it took a shitty day to force you into it. Keep your pecker up girl, it.is.nearly,spring. 😕

    Like

  9. NancyTex says:

    Sorry about your bad day. If it makes you feel any better, I was in a middle seat for my 5 hour flight home. 🙂

    Like

  10. Going to the zoo in winter an inspired idea! Avoiding crowds definitely the best way to go and have an experience to get yourself out of the doldrums….a great post that I really enjoyed, but most enjoyed that you didn’t let the experience end the moment you walked out the front gate……you were still the vessel waiting to be filled when you honed in on those geese! Much better than being the vessel filled with chocolate! 🙂

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    • joannesisco says:

      I admit I had a huge smile on my face when I saw all those dumb geese huddled in the parking lot. I wouldn’t have noticed them at all if I hadn’t stopped to take photos of the snow banks.

      In the end, we really are responsible for our own happiness. We can chose to re-frame a situation – or not. I chose to do something different and had fun along the way – in spite of the frigid day! 🙂

      … and seriously, the zoo was DESERTED!! I could ignore all the one-way / exit only signs I wanted … and no line-up for the washroom 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reading the words “recovery” and “Bad day” in close proximity gives me a start. Overall the sentiment is positive, which is great, but I’m sorry to hear things have been “challenging.” Glad you found your field trip therapeutic!

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  12. I’m glad you took the bull by the horns and got yourself out of the house and off to discover things. Next time, why not take the chocolate with you?

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  13. Loved this! Our zoo is too far, but I do believe I will go see what’s kicking around the harbour on Sunday.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I’m embarrassed to say that the zoo is only about 15 minutes away from where I live … and I never go there. After this trip however, my impression of the zoo has changed and I’m sure I’ll go back again!

      … and nothing beats a trip to the waterfront for blowing out the mental cobwebs and soaking up a bit of nature!

      Like

  14. I hope you are feeling perkier now, Joanne. I am after seeing your pics! And btw, I already knew where Winnipeg is. Is that unusual?

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    • joannesisco says:

      I’m not surprised you know where Winnipeg is 🙂 … I didn’t want to take it for granted that everyone would though. I’m appalled however when some Canadians don’t know their own geography.

      Glad you enjoyed my trip to the zoo. Surprisingly, I did too. I suspect it won’t be another 25 years before I go back again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne I had a season’s pass for the kids and I for years. I still love going. Glad it helped change your mood.
    We recently have seen geese here too. We think the warm weather earlier confused them.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I hadn’t thought about the impact of the mild weather we were having earlier in the season. It has to be pretty brutal for the geese right now. Not only is it REALLY cold, but where would they get food?

      I have to say this visit opened my eyes a bit. I enjoyed my walk around the zoo … I had a great big park with interesting things to look at – all to myself 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Mrs. P says:

    The geese would make a great thermometer. I’ve never seen them hunkered down like that…it must be cold.

    If I get in a bad mood I go to the beach or to one of the harbors and take pictures of pelicans. They are my instant mood changer.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’ve never seen pelicans … I can imagine they would be an instant mood booster 🙂
      Like you, I have a natural attraction to the water and was tempted to drive down there for a walk … but the zoo was closer 🙂
      In the end, just being outside reminds me that there is a lot of beauty and interesting things around us … if we chose to look. Then my problems seem petty and insignificant!

      Like

      • Mrs. P says:

        There is a lesson there, Joanne. You have discovered one of the secrets of this universe. When you are angry, upset or even sad…your thoughts go inward. But when you go out to the zoo, or the shore or even walk around your neighborhood you often start observing things outside of you and in doing so…you feel better. I dare to say that you can’t hold on to an unwanted emotion while your attention is on other things. Of course, if you see something bad or tragic…all bets are off.

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  17. Delightful, Joanne ! – although I’m bound to take issue with you about the koalas … Sorry, mate ! 🙂
    Do you mean to tell me that there are people who don’t know Winnipeg is in Canada ? – words fail.

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  18. Some great photos – especially of Humphrey who must be feeling right at home with the cold weather. So glad you found an interesting way to deal with your bad day – February is a tough month and it’s all uphill from there…let’s hope😳

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  19. Good for you, for choosing the zoo! It all worked out for you in the end. I love to see a polar bear and penguins. If these are your pictures, is there a zoom on your camera? I’m interested in how close you were to the Panda, especially. After all the miles I traveled I had to look down at them and they were f.a.r. away. I should have gone to Toronto zoo. 😀 😀 😀 Hope you had a good hot drink after the zoo. ❤

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    • joannesisco says:

      The pandas were inside because of the cold so I was very close … maybe a couple of meters at most.
      The polar bears have a huge outdoor enclosure and obviously were ok with the weather. They were quite far away and I had to zoom quite a bit to get this photo.

      Like

  20. LB says:

    I’m very much enjoying your 52 new things! The zoo, the interaction with nature, the fresh – great recipe for mood improvement!

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  21. Nice turning a bad day around. I’m not a huge zoo fan either but my daughter loves it so it’s nice seeing it through her eyes. Those pandas sure are cute!

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  22. ChristineR says:

    I love zoos. Wonderful photos, Joanne. Funny, I wouldn’t have associated penguins with Africa at all. They look a bit surprised to see you. 😀

    Like

  23. Phil Taylor says:

    I love zoos. Yes, I know it’s sad that these poor animals aren’t free, bit it’s just amazing to see those animals up close. Canadian geese? They’re still hanging around my neighborhood too.

    Like

  24. There’s a zoo down the road which I’ve never visited because Option A, the chocolate, is so much more appealing. At least until I saw that panda bear of yours. Oh believe me, there are a billion Canada Geese hanging out at nearby lake, these guys you saw must just be the slackers. Glad you’re feeling better, Joanne, it must be this darn cold that’s getting to everybody.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      It’s that time of year when cabin fever starts to set in. The older I get, the more it seems to bother me.
      I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the few hours I spent at the zoo – in spite of the cold. Not having to fight with any crowds certainly added to experience 🙂

      I literally had 3 geese buzz me this afternoon. They flew by so closely, I could have reached out and touched them. Where’s a camera when I need one?!!!!!

      Like

  25. Joe says:

    I’m glad that going to the zoo got you out of your funk Joanne 🙂 I haven’t be to the zoo in years also so a trip might be in the works for this spring. The closest one to me is The Bronx Zoo. I love polar bears they are such wonderful creatures.

    Like

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