Friday, October 10, 2014

How My Dog Acts Like a Human Baby


[Edit:  I hate this new Soundcloud thingamijig! It's so visually intrusive on the blog post.  But I do love this song and it's perfect for a Friday.]

Pet lovers pour all of their familial and (if you're a woman) maternal energy into their furbabies.  Apple is the first dog that I'm raising all on my own. I previously raised two dogs with a guy who I'm no longer with but who I still think of very highly (he was the best dad to our babies, was the best boyfriend to me and would have been a great husband & father)...I often think back with very fond memories of our little family, awww...

Back to the present.  Being the sole caregiver for a dog has not only changed my life, but made me realize, more than ever, how emotionally intelligent and feeling dogs are.  Check out this New York Times article commenting on how recent studies show that dogs have the same emotional intelligence as a 2-year-old child.  Seriously.  All the feelings that a 2-year-old can have, our dogs experience as well in a similar part of the brain.  That includes affection, security, happiness, bonding, fright, anxiety, fear of abandonment, longing. Pretty amazing stuff, but we dog-lovers already knew this, right?

And of course dogs are much smarter than toddlers because they have an in-born instinct that humans do not have and cognitively, they are advanced. 

Apple and I are approaching our 5-month mark together.  And every day she surprises me with the depth of her intelligence, her memory and emotions.  

But what's really cute and funny is how similarly she acts like a baby/toddler.  Here are some examples:

1.  PETULANCE!! She gets cranky and pouts when her sleeping schedule is disrupted. 

Dogs need lots of sleep and Apple in particular likes to stick to a schedule.  For the second time in a row, this morning, I had to get her up super early to meet the painters at our new house.  She was so unhappy and immediately started acting up.

Here is the sequence of events from just this morning:

She refused to get out of bed.
Cranky Face.  Wouldn't budge. Tried to drag her...dead weight, she was not having it. 
She merely licked the top of her delicious and non-reusable breakfast (it's raw, can't keep it after a few hours) and refused to eat it.

She stayed like a rock in the corridor, refusing to go to the elevator.  I had to drag her then eventually lift her upon which she slowly started walking with much annoyance. 

She refused to jump in the car.  

When we're driving, she's usually parked near the center console with her face looking forward right next to mine, like this:

Good Mood Apple = Mommy's Co-Pilot
Petulant Apple = I Don't Even Know You
(she seriously had her back to me the entire drive to our new house)
When we finally arrived at our new house, I opened the trunk like I always do to get her out but she ducked me, made a flying leap and ran after a cat.  

And of course, you can't scream or vent frustration, it's like screaming at a baby, it doesn't help the situation but instead hurts the relationship.  She finally snapped out of her bad mood after a long nap and a play session at a dogpark. 

I'm learning so much patience as a mommy.  So. Much. Patience.  And patience does not come naturally to Koreans!!

2.  She thinks all toys were made just for her.

Went to World Market yesterday.  She immediately seized a shower sponge as her toy, jumped into a papasan chair and started happily gnawing on it
(I'm getting her a papasan chair because she loves it so much!!
I think the bowl shape makes her feel safe and happy)
3.  She has a huge sense of play.  

When she's not being Petulant Apple she loves to play with mommy.  During one of our favorite walks in Santa Monica, she decided to, all of a sudden, play hide-and-seek with me amongst some tree trunks.



I've played hide-and-seek with her in the past which is how she learned the game, but this was the first time she started the game on her own and my brain exploded with cuteness overload.
I'm sure your dog also does little baby things that are so adorable you just want to die! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Adopting Pets is About THEM Not YOU - Don't Give Up!

I have to keep reminding myself of this:  stop being selfish! Stop focusing on my own feelings and focus instead on Apple's well-being.  This is what being a good parent is about.

I had a breakdown of sorts over the weekend.

***

The situation is this:  I have put my life on hold for the past 4 months so that Apple can adapt.  This is my life right now -
  • I now work from home. If I have to go to meetings or to the office for a few hours, I put Apple in a doggy day-care at a facility with people and dogs she loves (she was boarded there by Karma Rescue before being adopted by me).  
  • I've spent literally thousands of dollars addressing her low immune system.  Because she was bred too early by an evil backyard breeder and because of her trauma in her life before me, her anxiety level is high and her immune system is extremely low.  This manifests primarily in a nasty skin situation which appears at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason, like this:


  • Her low immune system has meant thousands in medical visits and in supplements per our holistic vet.  Did I mention it's cost thousands so far with a cure still far away?? I had definitely not anticipated these costs when I considered adoption...but unexpected medical expenses are a reality of having pets. This is the stash of [natural] supplements she takes at every meal, twice a day, in order to build her immune system and to treat her skin:
At every single meal, twice a day.
Things like:  Australian Emu Oil and Siberian Chaga.

These supplements cost around $600 a month.  Mine cost $100 maybe.   
  • It also means she's on a diet of special raw food which I have to buy fresh every 3-4 days. 
  • It also means I have to carry all 55 pounds of her into the bathtub and wash her feet with baby shampoo every time we go for a walk because of all the contaminants in grass which irritate her skin.  I also wash her lady parts each time she goes as well...I have to!  She's on my bed constantly!!
  • I have had basically no social life since I got her.  I can't leave her alone at my place and the doggy daycare facility closes at 7 p.m. so I have not gone out in the evening for the past 4 months.  I am not even kidding you on this one.  Has this meant a huge dent in my professional and social lives?  Of course it has.   
  • My life revolves around her schedule.  This is her walking schedule:  as soon as we get up, she gets a 15-minute walk to relieve herself; mid-morning, she gets a long walk or we go to the dogpark or dogbeach where she can socialize for at least half and hour (she gets lonely just her and I...that's another problem in and of itself); mid-afternoon she gets another long walk or a long activity that stimulates her mentally such as a session at the ZoomRoom doing agility activities; early evening she gets a long powerwalk for about an hour that mixes a looong walk with socializing such as at the park; late evening, she gets one more 15-minute walk to relieve herself for the night.  I got a FitBit to measure how much we walk together - we walk between 4-5 miles a day. And I make sure to rotate where we go for our walks so she doesn't get bored. 
  • Apple is sensitive and needs lots of reassurance so every day for at least 10-15 minutes, I make it a point to hold her and talk to her with lots of optimism and love and exuberance.  This is in addition to the million kisses I plant on her all day every day and the endless positive affirmations I praise her with!  
  • I try not to express anger or anxiety or frustration when I am around her, even when I'm talking on the phone to other people.  This has meant I have cut out certain people in my life who elicit these feelings in me. 
  • We are moving to a house from my apartment so that she can have a yard and room to run around.  
And all this I have happily done because when you *truly love* animals or children or whatever else it is, you realize that it's about THEM, not about how YOU FEEL or the inconvenience YOU experience.  Selfish people *say* they love animals and will make a big show of petting them, kissing  them and getting all self-righteous about it - but when push comes to shove and the pet creates an inconvenience for them, they dump the animal or kid right back.  That's not true love.  That's selfishness.  Who doesn't love the way a cute dog or kitten makes *you* feel?? But that's all about YOU.  That's not someone who loves animals.  True love is sticking it through thick and thin.

I'm on a tirade about this because I keep witnessing people who adopt dogs claiming they love animals but as soon as they create an inconvenience for them, they bring them back...I despise such selfish and delusional people, they have no idea how much damage they have caused...don't do that and call yourself an animal lover!! What's even worse is the poor excuses they make: oh, I have to travel a lot for work, oh, the animal is better off somewhere else...reality is that the animal is better off anywhere but the shelter.  9,000 animals DIE every single day in the shelters! They are never walked or taken out of their tiny cages.  Don't give me "better off"!

Single People! Don't ever date or marry someone who dumps their pet!  It is a huge character flaw. They will do the same thing in the relationship or in the future with your kiddos! They will self-indulgently want a relationship or to have babies and once the fantasy wears off and it gets hard - as it will - they will be completely useless.  

***

So I have gone through this routine for the past months...until it was made abundantly clear to me this past weekend that it still was not enough for my baby girl.  Maybe for other dogs it might be, but not for her.

After a long walk, we came back to my place and I was trying to get some work done.  She was lying down by herself on one of her many dogbeds and seemed...incredibly depressed, wouldn't play with her toys, nibble on her treats.  And her skin erupted again - see the photos above - necessitating yet another trip to the vet's and treatment.

Animals do get depressed, especially dogs and cats:



What is the best solution?  Another animal for comfort and socialization that I cannot provide for her, no matter how much time and resources I devote.  This is the solution I have found through research and also per my vet - he's treated a lot of animals in his career, and he has found the best cure for anxious and depressed pets is another pet.  

This realization frustrated me incredibly at first...it wasn't good enough that I had devoted my whole life to her.  Despite my resolve to not show negative emotions around Apple, I cried off-and-on for a few days.  I had been doing *all this* and it was still not enough for my girl.  All this love.  And she needed more.  

I had to remind myself that it was not about how *I* was feeling...that's the deal I made when I first adopted her.  Yes she was cute, yes cuddling her made me feel good, but at the end of the day, it wasn't about me, it was about her.  But I keep thinking about how much hard work it is to have ONE dog, let alone TWO.  Hard work and expensive.  Can I afford it?  Can I do it?  It's exhausting to even think about it.  

Anyway, that's where we are right now.  

Here is a video I took of Apple at dogbeach this weekend.  When I see her like this, it  makes all the pain and turmoil worthwhile...look how happy she is!  



Some more cute pics...isn't she a doll?
She sits like a human.  Hysterical.  

A lot of people mistake her for a pitbull puppy, and she does look awfully puppy-ish, right?  Babyface! She is an American Staffordshire, and they are a lot smaller than pitbull terriers. 
She is fancy and likes to sleep under Steinways.  Haha!
She likes it when I play Chopin Ballades & Etudes; 
she doesn't like Bach or Rachmaninoff or Scriabin.  Go figure. 
Anyway, if you have recently adopted a dog...give it 6 months to a year for you to feel things are "right."  Be compassionate to your dog, he or she has been through a lot, don't have too many expectations of it yet in terms of training and obedience and even devotion.  Apple is sometimes still stand-offish to me no matter how much affection and love I give her.  But again, focus on the animal's well-being instead of your own feelings.  You will be rewarded down the line with an unbreakable love and gratitude.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How This Pitbull (American Staffordshire) Came Into My Life


This is how it all came about that all of a sudden single swinging me became single mom in workout clothes all the time (because I am walking my dog literally at least 5-6 times a day). 

Almost every single person has, at one time or another, pondered getting a pet.  Who doesn't want a furbaby welcoming you home at night, cuddling and kissing you and generally killing you with cuteness??  And they don't care what you look like, if your hair looks like you were electrocuted, if you've showered or are in a foul mood = magic! Each time I saw cute memes with amazing dogs or Buzzfeed articles featuring to-die-for puppies, I automatically went to view Karma Rescue's Available Dogs and I would daydream about getting one...but daydreamed only because there is so much work to having a dog, especially if you live alone and have nobody with whom to share responsibilities!  #singleproblems

But my hankering for a dog was becoming especially acute and it all came to a head when I volunteered with Karma Rescue to help pull dogs to rescue from South Los Angeles Animal Shelter.  This is it.  

Where thousands of dogs and other animals are dumped to die.
It's not the city's fault but the fault of irresponsible owners who give up their animals or don't get their pets spayed/neutered.
It is seriously so sad.
The people who work there deserve a million trophies for not buckling under the sadness. 
A part of the kennels inside the compound.  
We were temperament testing some candidates and all of a sudden someone brought in the most gorgeous gray-and-white Staffy.  

Okay everyone, when you go visit the shelter and check out dogs, DON'T judge the dog's temperament by how excited they are when they came out to visit you.  These poor dogs are cooped up all day in tiny cages with no attention or love.  All of a sudden a kind person comes and gives them a little bit of freedom...the dog is going to be over-excited no matter how chill and mellow they usually are.  So please, do not get alarmed when you meet a dog for the first time from the shelter and they're all over the place.  

This little one was so happy to be out.  Karma Rescue had known for a while that I was thinking about getting a dog...crafty Karma Rescue director asked me, "oooh, would you like her? Her name is Apple."  Apple =  random name given by shelter.  I looked at her and I did not feel ready.  

I did not feel ready!!!  I lived in an apartment, I worked a lot, I ideally wanted to have a significant other with whom to share responsibilities.  I had so much fear that I would not be able to properly take care of a dog!  They need so much attention and love, it's not fair to adopt one and not give it to them.  And I'd rather die than take the dog back, I could never live with myself. 

I don't have any photos from that day I first met Apple - I never thought I'd be picking up my future baby that day.  Here is one photo that another volunteer took of Apple at the shelter that day:

The advert Karma Rescue put together for Apple. 
She is gorgeous.  I knew that she would go quickly. I played with her for a bit in the yard, but poor girl was very confused.  Who can blame her?  She had clearly had several litters *whisper: she's got saggy boobies poor girl*, most likely at the hands of a backyard breeder (this color for Staffies is popular right now), and then once her puppies were sold, she was unceremoniously dumped at the shelter.  Poor poor baby why do people suck so much!!

Okay, I said nervously, I'll most likely take her...I was hedging, I won't lie!  

Apple was pulled by Karma Rescue and first put in quarantine at the WONDERFUL clinic of Dr. Pasternak in Santa Monica.  More on him later, he is a holistic vet who mixes Western medicinal treatments with Eastern holistic methods, he is brilliant and won't stuff your pet full of poisonous medicinal treatments. 

I visited Apple there every day.  The clinic said she was extremely anxious being in the kennel at the clinic during her quarantine period.  Again, who can blame her?  Cooped up in a kennel all day.  She was incessantly barking and chewing at her bars, crying non-stop.  They eventually put her on anti-anxiety meds.  

Each time I would pick up Apple, we would go for a long walk and then to the park to just hang out.  She was sweet, docile, eager to please.  She was so docile, Karma took her to a local school for an education program.  Here is my model baby:

There's my baby at school woot! Look at that precious face, chubby butt 
CUTIE PIE I WANT TO EAT YOU UP!  
I finally took her for an entire afternoon at my apartment.  The moment she came in, she jumped onto my chaise and promptly fell asleep.  Just make yourself at home lady! 

Yeah, I'd have to have a heart of stone to not take her.  She was hating her kennel.  Whenever I would take her back to the clinic, she would refuse to go into the back area where the kennel was.  She would eventually be dragged to the back by the vet's staff, looking piteously over her shoulder at me the whole way.  It was heart-beaking.  

As soon as quarantine was over, I took her leash and collar, she jumped into my car, and we drove...home.  

And that is the beginning of our story together.  I had no idea what would happen with my apartment situation (no dogs allowed).  I had no idea what I would do about work (she had separation anxiety and I couldn't leave her at my apartment).  I had no idea what I would do about not having a yard (peepee pads? doggy diapers? a million walks every 3-4 hours??!).*  She desperately needed a place to stay and I had one. That's it.  

* Note: I fixed all these issues!  Please do not adopt a dog on a whim when you can't have one at your apartment building!!! You will end up taking the dog back and that is a million times worse! 

Now the direction of this blog as changed because my life has changed.  It can no longer be about magnificent travels - I no longer have the freedom to take off to foreign lands at the drop of a hat. But I hope the spirit of adventure never leaves me...that me and Apple and I are now co-adventurers in life.  You too, no matter what your circumstance, can always have that expansiveness of spirit and wonder and curiosity of life.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

About A Dog & The Lesson She's Teaching Me

Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac on Grooveshark

I've always been a vociferous animal lover and advocate and I finally decided to put my money where my mouth is and adopt a shelter dog.  Forget about exactly the right time and place to do it, I told myself, there never will be the perfect set of circumstances to take the plunge to do anything.

Well, it's been 3 months.  And the greatest lesson I've learned so far:  selflessness.  Yes, this Generation X-er (or Millennial depending on whose social critique you subscribe to) who so far has pretty much lived for herself - because that's what Gen Xers and Millennials do best, for better or for worse, which is also why our generation is having more babies than ever...diatribe for another day - and for her own fulfillment, is learning what it means to live for someone else.

For now, take a look at my love, don't you just want to eat her up in all her scrumptiousness???!!!

Look at that face...full of love and happiness!!  I wish I could say she was looking at me with those love-eyes.  Unfortunately, she was looking up at a squirrel she was chasing.  Water under the bridge, girl! When I look at her, I literally can feel the seratonin and other pleasure chemicals spewing out of my brain.  
The indefatigable squirrel chaser.  She chases them to the base of the tree and then stares up at them longingly.  She has never actually caught a lizard or squirrel to date, but she LOVES the chase.  Haha, sounds like everyone else I know.  
Sleepy time.  Dang, I wish I looked that cute in bed.  
Cafe living.  Not a word about matching her collar with my blouse!  A girl's got to have some vices.  
She is the sweetest girl and gets along famously with all other dogs and people.   In fact, I am going to put her in training to be a hospice/therapy dog, she is that sweet-natured.  
Oh, I have plans for her and I, we were brought together for a reason.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Whereupon She Buys a Hybrid

Never Be The Same Again (Markus Schulz Coldharbour Club Mix) by Markus Schulz on Grooveshark

Having a car is an unfortunate necessity in California unless you are sequestered in the mountains with a shotgun, hoarding freeze-dried food and staying "off the grid."  In my former BigLaw life, I drove pretty luxury cars but I'd like to think I've grown beyond those superficial markers of "achievement."  Don't get me wrong, I like beautiful cars, I grew up with a dad and brother who really loved cars and I can appreciate a work of art but as far as a functional everyday car...well...I really, really wanted to buy an energy efficient car.

An energy efficient car is not only easier on the environment - and smog, carbon emissions are creating immense problems for our ecosystem and our health - but it's easier on my wallet.  I'm trying to be a conscious consumer, conscious of where my money is going.  I'll be damned if I'm giving any more money than I have to to the board of directors of Chevron, Mobil, Shell.  When I had a luxury sports convertible, I had to fill it with gas every 4 days and it cost ~$90 each time.  NO MORE.

After lots of research and input from lots of people - every person had his/her two cents about this! - I narrowed it down to 3 cars:

(1) The King of Hybrids: Toyota Prius


 (2) Lexus CT or ES Hybrid


CT200H
ES350
 (3) Ford Fusion Hybrid



I was primarily looking for a car that:

- got at least 40 miles per gallon (otherwise why even advertise yourself as an energy efficient car?? For example, the Infiniti M Hybrid only gets 27 MPG and the BMW 5 series hybrid a sad 25 MPG.  Energy efficiency FAIL).

- is reliable for long-distance driving.  I can't be looking around for a battery charger after 100 miles.  So long Ford EV.  I was terribly excited about your 110 mpg but I will be driving a lot between Los Angeles and San Diego.

- is rated highly for safety, durability and great construction.  I'm a girl who can't fix cars.  I long to be Angelina Jolie in Gone in 60 Seconds but I forget to put the gas cap back on after pumping fuel.  I can't have a temperamental car.

- is fairly small.  Ever since my small convertible, I've loved having a small car.  One of these days when I have kidlets I may resign myself to a larger car but for now, I'm enjoying being able to squeeze myself into compact parking spots and easy driving without worrying about a large bumper.  My own caboose is big enough.  Haha!

So I dragged one of my girlfriends test-driving with me.

Overarching comment:  why aren't there any sexy hybrids?  Heavens bless the Prius and Lexus Hybrids, but they are ugly as h**.  I'll just say it.  Yes, yuppies can drive around feeling self-righteous in them but nobody can deny that they are UGLY.  Why??!  Is there a rule in the Toyota's designer manual that hybrids must be marked by their ugliness??  Both the Prius and the CT look like the ugly stepchild of a hatchback and station wagon.

I swallowed my revulsion, smiled politely at the Toyota salesmen and proceeded on my test drive of the  Prius V (and not the lower models because I'll be damned if I'm having a car with cloth seats).  It drove like a ninja, neither the driver nor anyone on the street can hear the engine, and it has AMAZING features and upgrades - bluetooth, GPS, iPhone integration, good speakers (I like tunes when I drive).  It's a rad car, it really is.


And it's gone through so many iterations, it's probably the most reliable and best-designed hybrid car out there.  It consistently wins top awards in its category year after year, you can't go wrong with a Prius.  If I ever buy a "beautiful work of art car," I will probably also have a Prius for everyday driving, it's GREAT. I loved my test drive and I noticed that other people at the dealership were signing contracts to purchase Priuses, the cars were flying out the door like hotcakes.  The salesperson is a friend of a friend, and he told me that the sales team do not get hardly any commissions on the Prius as a matter of company policy because Toyota believes they just sell themselves, they are that popular.

On to Lexus.  I was excited about testing the Lexus Hybrid after the awesomeness of the Prius; Toyota owns Lexus so the benefits of the learning curve from the Prius were passed onto the new Lexus Hybrids.  The interior of the Lexuses were similar to the Prius but with upgraded finishes as should be expected for the price point increase.


And it drove like a dream; there are no gears with hybrids, you turn the car on or off, and there's maybe 2-3 settings when you want more or less power, but no gears.  Super simple, perfect for me! After I drove the Lexus hybrids, I quickly forgot my infatuation with the Prius.  But we marched on to the Ford dealership.

The Ford Fusion is a great car as well.  Sorry for the generalities, but I'm not Car & Motor.  It also has similar amenities as the Prius but...in my consumer's mind, a Japanese car is generally a better built car than American.  Don't get me wrong, if I were shopping for a hot rod or a muscle car, okay, American all the way.  But it's just little 'ole me driving to Whole Foods and the office in this car.  The Fusion was out.

So...which car do you think I bought?


Scroll down...


...the Lexus CT 200h! The E350 was too big for me (and in my mind, resembled the Toyota Camry too much), the CT is compact, has amazing gas mileage (42 mpg) and I upgraded to the best sound package ever as consolation for the general ugliness of the car.  What?  No no no car, you are pretty, and you are mine.  I am very happy and grateful with the purchase.


And now, Alexandra has wheels.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Inspiration for New Shores


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Museum of Natural History and Not Taking Yourself Too Seriously

What Am I Doing Here Pt. II (Ft. Lemar) by Chicane on Grooveshark
I was getting really stressed out.  Moving has got to be the biggest hassle in the world.  And I don't even have that much stuff to move this time, I've only been in NYC for 6 months and yet I was overwhelmed with hassle.  Closing the loop on utilities, moving boxes, packing, throwing out what I can and being appalled that I accumulated so much superfluous stuff when I promised myself I wouldn't...argh.

I took a break from moving shenanigans and decided to treat myself to a museum I've never been to:  the American Museum of Natural History.  It's one of the most celebrated museums in the world and I really was impressed, I highly recommend it to anyone.  Talk about exploration of this earth and beyond.  It really impressed upon me how everything is related...did you know that every single human being on this planet has at least a teaspoon of matter comprised of ex-star material from billions of years ago?  The physics of the universe, the galaxy and how it relates to each and every individual human being on this planet blew my mind.  See the space show at the new planetarium, which incorporates high-resolution full-dome film to create space shows, it felt like I was flying through outer space, it was awesome.

Main entrance.  The entire museum is comprised of 27 connected buildings including 45 permanent exhibition halls and a planetarium. 


You walk into the main lobby and bam, Jurassic Park baby! It's a Baurosaurus rearing up to protect its young.  The tallest free-standing dinosaur mount in the world, composed of replica bones cast from real fossils (the real bones would be too heavy to mount in this fashion).  

The planetarium theatre was probably the best part of the museum.  It's a new exhibit narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and I learned so much...space really is the final frontier and I finally get why Richard Branson and Justin Timberlake want to go there. 


Outside of the planetarium.  Designed by James Stewart Polshek, he called it his "cosmic cathedral." 
The interior of the full-dome theatre.
During the film, I learned about the life cycle of stars, galaxies, universes...and auroras:


Auroras are collisions of electrically charged particles from the sun that are pulled into earth's atmosphere.  Magic!!



Auroras as seen from outer space
Incredible, right?  I totally get astronomy geeks now.
Who wants to go star-gazing with me in California?
On to my next favorite part of the museum:  dinosaurs.  The museum has the world's best collection of complete dinosaur fossils, you can't see these exhibits anywhere else.

Totally reminded me of Jurassic Park where they talked about how birds evolved from dinosaurs.  Apparently that is a widely accepted but still hotly contested by some theory.      
T-Rex!  Look at those chompers.  Almost as large as mine.  I may have big teeth. 
The only T-Rex fossil mount composed entirely of real fossils.  Breathtaking!
Aptosaurus. 
An Allosaurus scavenging from an Aptosaurus' corpse.  Can you imagine the thought process of the paleontologist who thought of this setup?  He was probably like, let's see what would grab the attention of people who don't know anything about dinosaurs except what they've seen on Jurassic Park, yeah, it has to be something gory and menacing. 
Comparing the skeleton of a late, birdlike dinosaur to a penguin's.  
There were also many exhibition rooms dedicated to conservation issues.  I loved this museum, it's different from a typical art gallery...it's the history of the world and beyond.  It kind of makes us feel small, right, when you think that there's billions of galaxies out there.  Our own Milky Way galaxy has something like 200 billion stars in it and is 100,000 light years across...mind boggling.  All stars have a lifespan, including our sun's, in a few billion years, it will run out of hydrogen, enter the giant red phase and slowly die...

I walked out with a huge sense of humility.  And an awareness of the miniscule amount of time that we are all on this planet; our time here on earth is so short!  It reminded me of two things:  (1) don't stress over stuff like work, moving, things.  In the end, it all doesn't matter.  Don't take yourself so seriously...we're all dust.  (2) don't waste a single precious day of my life not doing things I love.  I really wish I had left my job many years ago but what's done is in the past.  Going forward, if I don't love it, I'm out.  Life is short.

I came home, took a bath and was happy.