As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras

Last week was the unofficial beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere.  We were on staycation so we had to go to the zoo.

Had to, I tell you.

On the day we went to the zoo the weather was hazy and humid, drizzly, so most of my zoo photos weren’t amazeballs.  As I’d hoped they’d be.

In fact this photo of the zebras is the only one I kept from our visit. I kept it because it’s not half bad, from an artsy point of view, and because it lends itself to a good question of the day: how many zebras do you see in this photo?

I ask because I snapped the picture not realizing that there were three zebras standing together.  All I saw were two black and white zebra rumps.

That photographed beautifully.

Especially, I suppose, because the animals, known collectively as a dazzle, were standing still having a little nosh.

[Unlike the flamingoes who weren’t at their best, having been dipped in Pepto-Bismol then rolled in dirt, looking drab and confused by the weather.  Or the totally uncooperative gorilla who was a lovely shade of bricky orange, but wouldn’t stop moving for me to get a pic.]

Whatever.

Anyhoo, getting to a point here– I’m back from our staycation.

We had a nice time. We went to the zoo, and we went to an art festival, and we went to an English pub, and we did some much-needed pruning + weeding in the flower beds, and we read books.

Nothing too exciting happened.  Nothing too dull happened.  It was a staycation that was, to quote Goldilocks, just right.

And I do believe, if I might be paradoxical and pithy here, a perfect way to gear up for the summer… by slowing down. 😎

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

96 thoughts on “As Our Summer Begins, A Dazzle Of Zebras”

  1. It was an ideal set of days, to be sure. Happy Summer, Madame Bean. Perhaps I’ll try to be more exciting, but I make no promises as my track record for being exciting is pretty dismal.

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  2. Great picture! I do have a question, though… how does one take a staycation when they are retired? Isn’t every day we are home (not traveling) a staycation? I don’t know about you, but just about every day not working feels like a treat.

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    1. Janis, we’re not both retired! One of us still works the daily grind, while the other one of us gave up on employment years ago. I’ll let you decide who is who. 🤔

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    1. Thank, John. We did have fun in our own way, from silly childlike [the zoo] to boring middle aged [reading books]. Go with your strengths, eh?

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  3. Lovely photo Ally Bean! Amazing that they look identical yet their stripes are unique to each! Definitely 3 there showing off their flanks. I’m not familiar with the word staycation-is it vacation while staying at home venturing out into the surrounds? I suspect so. Enjoy your summer while we freeze our flanks off in our winter-

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    1. Susan, I was surprised when I looked at the zebra photo and realized that there were three of them standing there. They blend with each other, quite well.

      Yes, staycation is exactly what you think it is. It must be an American term, but a popular one considering how often I hear it said. It’s a good way to recharge your batteries without racking up the costs of a “real” vacation.

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  4. A Goldilocks staycation sounds like the perfect way to start summer – way to go, er, stay! Love your dazzle of zebras. Zebras deserve an amazing collective noun. I’m always on the lookout for delightful ones, and my current favorite is a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

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    1. Deborah, nice word play there! Yes, we stayed quite happily as we vacated for the week. 🤨

      I didn’t know about a kaleidoscope of butterflies but now that I do, I’m charmed. Not quite as dazzling as zebras, but hey… butterflies are cool, too.

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  5. Flying past other comments so I can guess the number of zebras. I saw three. Now, about their posteriors facing you — they merely were expressing their opinion about humidity, etc.

    Slowing down is good. Glad you had a nice staycation!

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    1. Tara, there are three zebras in this photo. Surprised me. I think that they were more interested in eating their lunch than posing for my camera, hence the rump shot. Although the humidity was oppressive when I snapped this pic, so who know?

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    1. L. Marie, you make me smile. I suspect that zebra rumps sporting black or white stripes could lend themselves to any number of metaphors. Have at it world!

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  6. This did not show up inn my reader! I had to track you down. When I worked, I loved staycations and always took at least one a year, sometimes just really long weekends. My home is comfy as is yours so I don’t always feel the need to get away. Having said that, I sure would like some better weather this year. It’s been up and down. I try to catch the ups for all they are worth! PS: Love your EU privacy policy.

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    1. Kate, thank you for finding me. No explanation about why this post went awol. I dunno…

      When we had this house built we were intentional about making sure that it’d feel relaxing here. That there’d be a feeling of being on vacay when we were at home. I like to travel, but I also like to chill out at home so this works for us.

      My EU privacy policy is on advice of counsel who tells me it need not be fancy, or grammatically correct, to be legal. I’m not even sure that we, as personal bloggers, need one. But there it is. 🤷‍♀️

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  7. Yay for relaxing staycations and a dazzle of zebras. There is a wonderful zoo about 2 hours from here and I try and take my kids at least once each summer. It’s just a really good way to spend a day!

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    1. Katie, there’s something relaxing about wandering around zoos. Well, good ones, I guess. We both agreed that we’d like to get in the habit of going to this one in the fall, too. Just to see how differently the animals behave.

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  8. Yay to staycation! I have those kinds of things planned for us as well since we still have one worker bee in this house too. Our next door neighbor works for the SF Zoo and I am ashamed that we don’t go more often. She even has told me to come specifically to go play with the koala bears! We just went to the beach the other night to watch the sunset, another thing that is so easy for us but we never do. As far as dazzles, I use them all the time in my craft work, but they are a bit different than yours 🙂

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    1. Janet, I had to make a list for us to do during this staycation because, like you, we’d just stay at home, doing chores. But once I got in mind that we were going to have some fun *dammit* we got into the groove. I always liked going to the beach, but none around here. As for dazzles, to each her own!

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    1. Margaret, I figured out that there were 3 zebras in the photo by counting the backsides… when I really looked at the photo. I read Lab Girl, a memoir, by Hope Jahren– and am now into The Blood of an Englishman, a cozy mystery, by M.C. Beaton.

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    1. Betsy, I wonder who picks these names, too. Maybe when the people who name nail polishes get promoted they go to the animal collective noun naming department? It could happen.

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  9. I too liked the term dazzle. I read once that the reason zebras have stripes is to confuse predators–who are usually trying to single out a single zebra before giving chase. Your picture demonstrates how difficult that can become with all those stripes.
    That is a nice picture. At first I thought it was black and white! (Which it sort of was.)
    My son informs me that when retired, one doesn’t take vacations, but trips. So, you are either taking a trip, or staying home and “watching your stories” on the TV.

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    1. Roy, I can understand the logic behind the zebra stripes. The way you described it makes sense, blend in and don’t get killed. Good zebra thinking!

      I didn’t know that there was a difference between vacations and trips. Now that I know this, when the time comes that we’re both retired, I’ll plan our trips– when I’m not watching my stories, of course. [Are soaps still on TV? I don’t even know.]

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  10. I thought you were trying to trick me with your zebra question and tried unsuccessfully to find a 4th. It is a lovely picture, however, and makes me want to visit the zoo even if I have mixed feelings about them. The Kansas City Zoo used to be open free (at least one some days) during the winter. The zoo covered in snow was an interesting place to visit. Glad you had fun on your staycation. As your retirementally challenged friend noted, I’m not sure how to do a staycation – perhaps it would just involve visiting some places I don’t go often like the zoo or the new aquarium. That’d be fun.

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    1. Zazzy, sorry! I wasn’t trying to trick anyone. The joke was on me because I thought there were 2 zebras, but turns out there were 3. I know what you mean about zoos in general. They seem wrong and right at the same time. No conclusion from me on that issue. I think if you pretend to be a tourist in your town you can say you’re on staycation. Why not?

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    1. The Cozy Pages, I like knowing that a group of zebras is a dazzle. Now all I have to do is find a way to use it in everyday conversation… which rarely involves talking about zebras.

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  11. I collect zebras ~> paintings and miniature statuary (NOT live animals with big b&w rumps). Anyhow . . . I used to know that my collection was a “dazzle” but I had misplaced that info over time. Thanks for the reminder. 😀

    Glad that you and Z-D (does it really stand for Zen-Den . . . or is it Zebra-Dazzle?) enjoyed your Stay-Cation!

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    1. nancy, when you refer to your collection of zebras as a dazzle, you’ll dazzle your friends and family with your cleverness. I like your new meaning for Z-D. I’ll run it by him and see what he thinks of it!

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  12. Your stay-cation sounds wonderful! A just right amount of outings and relaxing! And going to the zoo is always a great choice. I just renewed our membership to the zoo here. Having a grandson is the perfect excuse to go and I love it! Your picture is so cool! Love all the stripes.

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    1. Beth, we did enough to not be bored, but not so much as to be exhausted. The zoo was fun, even if the weather wasn’t all that great. I liked these zebras, but was amazed when I realized that there were three of them. I thought I saw two.

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    1. Jan, this particular gorilla was so pretty, but quite the show-off, moving and grooving all over the place. I agree about the heat. It’s too much for me, too.

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    1. Eilene, your plan sounds good to me. The best part of a staycation is that you get all the vacay fun without the vacay expense. I like the bowling idea. I don’t even know where there’s a place to go bowling anymore…

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    1. Donna, it was fun to stay home and do all those things that we say we’re going to do someday. Plus you can’t beat the price of room and board when you vacation at home. May your shift to summer slowness be a good one!

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  13. What a fantastic collective noun. Very fitting.

    I did see the three, but I probably wouldn’t have if you didn’t ask the question (those test-taking skills never leave!)

    Sounds like you had a lovely staycation!

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    1. Isa-Lee, I thought this particular collective noun was delightful. I looked it up when I realized that I had snapped a pic of more than two zebras, so I no longer had a couple. The things I learn along the way– and naturally, need to share with all my bloggy friends.

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  14. It sounded like a perfect unofficial start to summer – the zoo, pubbing, reading time, but then you got to weeding and gardening. UGH! I’ve been in weeding and gardening hell for the past couple of weeks. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s just not my thing. Give me more zebras instead. I’ll never tire of zebras 🙂

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    1. Joanne, doing what we wanted to do at home for a week turned out to be what we needed. Oddly invigorating. It’s a shame that you can’t rent a dazzle of zebras to come to your property to do all the weeding and gardening for you– like people who rent a herd of goats to maintain their lawns. Why not zebras? 😉

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      1. I’m at the point where I’m seriously considering a gardening service. It has to be worth not having to fuss about yard work. I’ll add ‘do you use zebras?’ to my list of questions 😉

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        1. Laughing here. By all means ask about zebras…

          [I hear ‘ya. We hire a service to do a spring clean-up + spread mulch. The rest of the year we take care of everything by ourselves. This makes gardening more fun for us.]

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  15. Pruning & weeding aside, that sounds pretty darn perfect! I like an ordinary, shilly-shallying type of break as it allows me to recharge. Not saying I don’t see the fun to be had in visiting some new & exciting place and racing round with the camera, but …

    Artsy backsides is indeed a perfect term, and an excellent description of your photographic depiction of the dazzle 🙂

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    1. deb, I understand what you mean. I like going on vacation, seeing the sites, eating the foods– but this year we both didn’t feel like spending the $$$ or the energy to do that, so we staycated. I’m rather surprised by how much fun it was to be a tourist in my own city.

      Yes, Artsy Backsides seems like a term that needs to be in our daily lexicon. So many rude words and phrases are everywhere anymore, why not something more tame & creative, eh?

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  16. Oh, I do love zebras! I haven’t been to our zoo–The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo–in a long time, but we have a set of triplet snow leopard cubs that will make it vastly more worthwhile. (As if I need more of a reason than the red pandas and the koalas–how cute are they!?)

    It sounds like your staycation was rewarding. And in several ways!

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    1. nance, a set of triplet snow leopard cubs would be cuteness. Add on the koalas and you’re good to go! Just go on a clear day if you want to take some worthwhile photos. Said from experience.

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  17. Lovely! Nothing wrong with a nice slow start to summer and a restful staycation. It’s 12°C here today. Looks like summer happened during the last couple of weeks while I was sick with a cold and couldn’t thoroughly enjoy it. Oh well…

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    1. Deb, I’m glad that we did this at-home vacation instead of racing around somewhere, tiring ourselves out in the process. Perhaps it’s a sign of aging? I’m sorry that you missed the first glimpses of summer. If it’s not one thing it’s another. But you feel better now, right?

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  18. Niiice! Glad you made the most of it, Ally Bean 🙂
    I do like a nice staycation!
    I saw three zebras, which is more than I see in a typical day, or at our Indy zoo for that matter.

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  19. I love picture like that, that look like one thing and turn out to be something else/different. I only saw two zebras at first, too. Sounds like a good staycation! I need to plan to take my kiddos to the zoo this summer.

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    1. Erika, this photo made me smile once I realized that I had 3 zebras going on. They’re cool animals. Hope you and your kids get to the zoo this summer. It was a fun visit, even if the weather wasn’t on our side.

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  20. Love that zebra photo. I did see 3 immediately, but I can see how only 2 might be picked out. Your staycation sounds wonderful! I wish I had been able to get out to my garden before the weeds started coming in, but soccer soccer and more soccer prevented me from getting any meaningful yardwork done. Now I’ll have to suffer through the hot summer to deal with pruning and weeding. Ah well!

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    1. Kate, I didn’t catch on to the three zebras until I got home and looked at my photo. Surprise! Soccer fills the hours, and the thing about gardening is that it’s always there… when… if… you want to get to it. Kind of reassuring, kind of a threat!

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