Panda Bears, Bloggers, and Poolside Wisdom

Three unrelated things…

1) Sorting through some photos on my computer I came across this picture I had taken of an article in a newspaper a while back which had given me a good laugh, so I thought you might like to laugh too. I think I shared it on Facebook at the time. It says:

“A Sanctuary worker dresses up as a panda – even smearing himself in real bear poo and wee for authenticity. The unusual uniform is an attempt to stop the pandas seeing a human so they can be released into the wild.”

Now I’m no panda bear, but if I was, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be fooled into thinking that some guy in a cheap, and frankly terrible, panda costume was actually another panda, smeared in bear poo and wee or not. What makes me laugh the most though is the expression on the face of the real panda looking in, he’s clearly thinking “What the…?”


2)  A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting two fellow bloggers, Mayumi from Even More Bonus Parts, and Beth, who used to run the Limebird Writers site I wrote for, and now does Beauty in Beta, and  The Olive Fox. Mayumi was a regular follower and commenter on Limebird, so it made sense for her to meet myself and Beth at the same time when she took a trip to the UK last month. We had such a lovely afternoon chatting and laughing, well Beth and I did most of the chatting while Mayumi sat sweetly and listened, and then later when I commented that we hadn’t really let her get a word in, she very graciously said that it’s fine because she likes to listen. Phew!

Mayumi, Vanessa and Beth

3)  You may recall back in December I wrote about a conversation I overheard in the swimming pool showers, where a man was talking about how he had taken a decision to give everything 10 minutes more. Remember that? How much we all liked it and said we would think about taking that approach ourselves? Well I’ve recently gleaned more wisdom at the pool. I go three times a week, and on several occasions, I had noticed a woman on the benches, just watching the swimmers. Last week I overheard her talking to someone in the lobby. She said that she had recently had surgery and wasn’t allowed to swim for a couple of months, but she still comes to the pool at the same times as she would have swum, and just watches, so as to keep the habit of coming. I thought that was great, it’s all too easy to break a good habit, and it can be really hard to get back into it again. I decided I would remember that because I’m sure there might be other contexts where I can apply that approach in the future.

Who knew the swimming pool would be such a rich source of wisdom? I shall continue eavesdropping on everyone’s conversations, and report back if I glean anything more worth sharing…

Vanessa in swimming pool

Yes, this is me in the pool, not looking my best!

What unexpected place have you gleaned wisdom from? Have you met any other bloggers recently? Do you think the guy in the panda suit was actually a new, young and naïve, employee, and the others said “Well you’re going to have to dress in a panda suit and smear yourself with bear poo and wee. It’s all about helping reintegrate the pandas into the wild, and not just because we all want a good laugh at your expense”?


49 responses to “Panda Bears, Bloggers, and Poolside Wisdom

  1. Oh if only the real panda could speak! Although his look likely covers the general gist of thought. So fun that you met others in the blogging community! I recently had a lunch in Toronto with two bloggers and we had such fun. Now you must excuse me as I need to head to the swimming pool to find out the meaning of life. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, his look says it all! It’s so lovely to meet other bloggers isn’t it, I’m hopeful that I will get to meet you guys one day, either in Canada or here, or both, who knows! Maybe there’s a whole book’s worth of swimming pool wisdom to be had if we all pay attention when we’re there.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i love unrelated things – they become a collage when combined.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, the panda costume. Let’s just hope he showers before going home to the wife. Let’s hope even more that he has a wife already because after this job stint, his chances may be questionable.
    Love the eavesdropping on swimmers. That woman really is quite smart.
    I’ve tried to meet Carrie Rubin, but she refuses to answer the door when I ring it. (Just kidding, I’ve never rung her bell, only threatened which gave her shivers and cracked me up.) Because I wasn’t able to go to one of her book signings since I’m across the country, I sent my mum in my stead. It was deliciously wicked and did the trick. If I ever make it to England, however, we will definitely have to get a pint together.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes; the Panda’s have their smeared clone but they don’t have “Vaseline Man.” Only Broome County in upstate NY has superhero “VM.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. TermiteWriter

    Well, what he’s doing makes some sense – condors are being raised in California by a man’s hand in a bird puppet, whooping cranes are taught to fly by a man in a crane suit flapping madly across the ground, and sea otters are prevented from bonding to humans by keepers wearing masks. But this panda costume is way too skinny! Did you ever see a skinny panda? LOL

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The panda story is hilarious! I recently went for a coffee with hubby in a tiny Spanish village. Outside the coffee shop a charity rummage sale was happening so we had a look around. I went to pay for a small item and the woman behind the counter said, “Is that Darlene?” She was a blogging friend I had only met on line!! Who would have thought. We hugged and took pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really funny about your blogging encounter. I had something kind of similar once – I had a part in a short film, and the day after the filming, one of the crew left a message on the about page of my blog here saying that he knew I had seemed familiar but wasn’t sure, why and then realised later it was because he was one of my blog followers!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. That actual panda is looking at him like a black person would view a minstrel show with black-face.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That panda story is so bizarre. They must think pandas have brains the size of peanuts to fall for that. On second thought, maybe it’s the person who thought of the idea who has a peanut-sized brain. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my, do people think animals are that dumb? haha!

    I love your pool pic! I haven’t been in a pool since I was a kid and even then it was infrequent as we had Lake Michigan and other lakes.

    I have yet to meet a blogger in person. I would love to meet you, Vanessa if I was ever in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love swimming, it’s quite a recent thing that though that I’ve started going regularly. I’m not a particularly strong or fast swimmer, most people overtake me in the pool, but that’s ok, I always feel my legs and arm muscles aching the next day, so I figure I must be doing some good! One of the main reasons I like it over other forms of exercise is because it’s gentle on the joints, my knees sometimes hurt when I do other exercise, but I never get that problem with swimming.

      I would love to meet you too Jackie, you never know!


  10. Whether it was a prank on a new employee or not, that person in the panda suit is one underpaid employee!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t think I have any wisdom to offer that’s as deep as what you’ve given us here. I’ll go back to my cave now without covering myself in any animal poo or chlorine. Nice photo, BTW. You appear to be a natural in the water.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maybe the panda had extraordinarily bad eyesight. Good to know that his olfactory system is in order.

    I love blog meet-ups they always go well. Like-minded individuals, we are (for the most part). I haven’t had one in quite a while but I’m always game.

    Don’t you open your eyes in the water? Who took that photo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I come to New York I’ll definitely be knocking on your door! (Maybe not literally).

      No I don’t open my eyes in the water, I don’t really swim underwater I just went under for the photo, which one of my kids took while we were away last year, because they wanted to test the underwater photography capability of their device, I can’t even remember which device it was now. So I was deliberately pulling a face like that for effect!


      • No! No! No! If you come to New York you should ABSOLUTELY knock on my door! And make sure you do it unannounced. Oh, God, that would be so funny. Wouldn’t it? Can you imagine the look on my wife’s face? Have a camera ready, please.


  13. Oh my god! The look on that panda’s face just made my morning. I like the idea of keeping up with a habit just by showing up. I do that all the time for exercise. I go outside to watch the kids run around while I sit in a chair and sip wine. It’s the thought that counts!

    I’ve had several blogger meet-ups. Let’s see, I’ve met five so far. One blogger I see once a year, Jules from Go Jules Go. I think she comes here for the lobster mainly, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey you’ve got it sorted with the habit of showing up for exercise!

      I don’t blamer her coming for the lobster, I would too…in fact, I would love to meet your lobsters…er…you, I would love to meet you! When can I come and visit the lobste…visit you?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I understand the impetus behind the panda suit, but it still sounds disgusting! That real panda looks pretty surprised, too. Or, perhaps just savvy to the fact that skinny black-and-white holding the broom is not a real brother-in-fur!

    I’m so glad we got to meet, Vanessa! And, I genuinely did enjoy listening. I’m actually quite terrible at speaking up in any social situation; it usually takes me several times of getting together with even my friends to speak freely. Even when people ask me about my writing – which I can babble on about for hours around my family – I usually just brush them off. “Oh, you don’t really want to hear about that.”

    Swimming is great! I do prefer it when the pool is mostly empty, though, because being around our Olympic hopefuls here on campus is intimidating. 🙂 There is something serene and powerful about water, though, especially free water, like the ocean.

    Keeping to a personal schedule is a solid practice. Getting out of the habit of exercising, whether it’s body or mind, is a dangerous step. It’s when we stop thinking about doing and just *do* that we really start to make progress in our goals. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I get the point of the suit, but really I think they’ve missed the point if you know what I mean!

      I can be terrible at speaking up in social situations too, it depends, if there are very strong personalities, I can shrink back and not be sure if I can hold my own.

      I’m not a very strong or fast swimmer, but when I go to the pool there is a mixture, with faster people and slower people, so I feel ok! It’s definitely better when it’s emptier though, just for not having to be careful of bashing into other people!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I haven’t met any bloggers recently — it is the only 2015 New Year’s Resolution I failed to accomplish. I better get to work on this. So! Are you visiting New Jersey anytime soon?

    As for the panda thing, that costume is nightmare fuel.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree that the panda costume could use some cutening-up. It’s scary, as in clown-scary. Most of the wisdom I’ve been getting lately is from watching stand-up comedians. My new favorite is Gary Gulman. He’s clever and doesn’t need to curse to be hilarious. Example: “If you are 26 years old and you’re waking up under Star Wars sheets… the Force is not with you.” Hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I wonder what would happen if they left that red broom with the real panda. Would it imitate the imitation? I wish I could know what was going through its mind when that skinny weird (and scary!) looking thing comes around!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If I am to apply the lady on the bench’s philosophy, I should go out and look at my bicycle every day…even when I haven’t ridden in several weeks. Does that work with thinking about riding?

    I love swimming but don’t have a pool convenient to do swimming on a regular basis. I do like it as my preferred exercise for all the reasons you list…also yoga for stretching. I like the easy stuff.

    As far as meeting bloggers. I have met up with three this year. One of them was for a second meet up while visiting my daughter in California, on the same trip I met Jillanne for a drive by lunch. She is great! I liked her more in person than on the blogs. And the last blogger friend happened to travel to my state so we made a connection while they were visiting. Lunch seems to be the thing that works best but Rick and I did spend a day with Peter and Peg in St. Augustine after my initial lunch date near where they were staying. I have never been disappointed in my meet ups with other bloggers.


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