Last week a very nice person contacted me to see if I was interested in attending an event in exchange for writing about it on this weblog. I've been getting more and more of these kinds of emails lately and in general, I ignore them. Even the ones that don't seem really sketchy make my head hurt when I think about the big ol' can 'o worms that could open up. My husband still thinks that one day I'll run enough ads on this site for him to quit his job and live in the manner he's become accustomed to (hint: that ain't much) but I hate to break it to him that a person who is too lazy to even run a Google search to figure out the process for adding ads to a website is probably not going to have him living in much more than a van down by the river. So maybe he should concentrate on me not getting fired from my job due to spending too much time on-line.

Speaking of time on-line, I've been trying to spend much less time there recently. I feel like Codex in The Guild, who keeps a post it note on her computer that says, "Limit time online: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 hours per day." Reference too esoteric? I rest my case.

Anyway, we got the tickets and then headed out to see:


For those who don't live in Washington and are not intimately familiar with this FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo - why can't my work have a cool acronym like that?) event, here's the run down:

Have family coming in for the holidays? Looking for a fun winter break activity? Children and grandparent alike will enjoy ZooLights, the National Zoo’s 3rd annual winter celebration, December 4-13 (Friday through Sunday nights) and December 18-January 2 (every night except Dec. 24, 25, and 31) from 6-8:30 p.m. ZooLights features dazzling light sculptures, keeper talks, strolling musicians, costumed characters, and performances by Flumpa® and Friends Live (Dec. 26-29) and Blue Sky Puppet Theater (all other nights). Special activities and giveaways are planned for Dec. 12 (Giant “Zootrition” Night), Dec. 18 (Date Night), Dec. 19 (SunTrust Night), and Dec. 26 (Hair Cuttery Night). Bring a canned good and receive discounts at the gift shop. Tickets are only $5 for Friends of the National Zoo members and $8 for nonmembers. On select Military Nights, tickets are free for military families. Proceeds support the National Zoo. Visit for tickets and details.

I've lived here a long time and so far, we've never had the chance to go see ZooLights at the National Zoo. So it was a real treat to get the chance to attend.

That's us... well the "us" that consists of The KingofHearts, The Dormouse, The Caterpillar and me behind the camera. A few days ago, The KoH picked up a camera while we were decorating the tree and started obsessively taking pictures of me. When I asked what he was doing, he said, "I recently realized that if you ever died, I would probably forget what you looked like because we own no pictures of you; you're always the one taking the pictures." And then he proceeded to take about forty of the worst photos of me I've ever seen in my life. They may or may not have been 'accidentally' deleted.

But I digress.

ZooLights has some of the traditional Christmas wrap-the-lights-around-all-the-trees-and-buildings-lightingness that you can expect from any Christmas light display, but throws in a bit of education as well, which is pretty impressive because who in their right mind would arrange Christmas lights in the form of a Naked Mole Rat? Not me, that's who. And before you ask, no, I did not get a picture of the Naked Mole Rat lights... believe me, I've been kicking myself about it since I got home. I did, however, get a picture of some of the other members of the animal kingdom.

The butterfly kingdom, for example:

Because in this scene butterflies bigger than all the flowers SHOULD have a kingdom, right?

Later the girls enjoyed trying to float like a butterfly.

Then we saw the cheetah triplets (maybe this how that Disney show got started):

In real life, this looks like a cheetah jumping, but you know, a three second exposure is as good as a carbon copy when you're dealing with moving light displays.

Off near the Ape House, a herd of elephants could be found. (Wait... is it herd? A quick Google check reveals you can, in fact, say herd of elephants, but also acceptable is memory of elephants, and parade of elephants. I'm liking memory best.)

Off near the Ape House, a memory of elephants could be found.

We tried to warn them that they were being stalked by tigers, but they moved rather slowly:

This chameleon seems to have a blue tree growing out of his head... but at least he still manages to get some dinner.

The flamingos, apparently, had gotten lost somewhere between Florida and the North Pole (wait, aren't flamingos not from either place?):

The octopus wore glasses. All the better to see you with, my dear:

Wait... wrong story. Here's the right one:

The manta rays swam around the trees... looking for Steve Irwin, no doubt.

Yes, I know that joke was in poor taste.

Komodo dragons roamed around looking for something to eat - somebody should have told them about the chameleons.

While the panda bear prepared to say goodbye:

But the best thing at ZooLights wasn't the lights at all.

It was this:

A giant snow globe with a human in a panda suit inside. Could this night get any better?

It could, if the panda suited human dances and lets your children high five him/her through the "glass."

Seriously, this is someone's JOB!

So that's it folks. ZooLights! Get there before it goes away.