Lions and Tiger and Bear (and Hyena and Serval and Leopard)

The Denver Zoo has reopened, with extra precautions in place for Covid. Tickets have to be purchased online in advance, you have to choose from available timeframes, and you can’t wander the zoo willy-nilly. Barricades and painted arrows keep visitors moving through the zoo on a one-way path from entry to exit.

We were there on a chilly morning, so some of the animals were more active in their enclosures and some were keeping warm in their shelters out of sight. This adorable hyena just wanted to play!

The bear looked very cozy and sleepy.

I wasn’t able to get a good photo of the tiger, but I feel obliged to include him anyway.

I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the serval either, but he is too cute to leave out.

I think this a clouded leopard? He was snug in his box.

The cold made the lions lively and frolicky. There are two or three separate lion enclosures, so the different age groups were all enjoying themselves in different ways.

This guy was not about sharing his ball.


I took a gazillion pics, so there are probably more zoo posts to come.

Categories: A Plethora of Parks, Animals, Cats, Covid-19, Dogs, environment, Family, Life, Weather, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Nepal VIII: Annapurna Natural History Museum

Good morning, Parljorling Camp!

Good morning, picturesque sheep!

I mistakenly posted bad info earlier about the recipients of the cameras and photography lessons. One of them is a Tibetan student, the other is a Nepali student. My apologies for the error.

The fourth and final class took place at the Annapurna Natural History Museum at Pokhara’s Prithivi Narayan Campus.

Ominous foreshadowing: this was January 21, the day the first case of Covid-19 was announced in the US. At that time the virus had made its way into the daily news cycles, but it was still mostly viewed as a China issue rather than a global problem. We thought we would see a handful of cases in other countries and then it would be contained and eliminated.

Anyway, Emma and Elizabeth collected the students and off they went.

Pretty view from the college campus.

Pretty sweet front door!

Elizabeth says the museums in Nepal are light on taxidermy and heavy on sculptures and painted images.

Lots and lots of birds and insects, though.

Their “lifelike” taxidermy displays are kind of terrifying/hilarious.

After the museum, back to town for lunch.

To be continued!

Categories: Animals, Artwork, Cats, Covid-19, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Nepal, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Where the Wildish Things Are

Yesterday I got a rare Saturday off, so the kids and I spent it at the Fort Worth Zoo.






We had been to this zoo once before, on our road trip in 2007, but that first time we had gone late in the day for the Halloween Boo at the Zoo event and the kids were there for the candy more than for the animals. By coincidence we happened to visit during the 2014 Boo at the Zoo weekend, but this time we came for the animals.

[FUN FACT EDIT: Elizabeth just pointed out that we came on the exact same day, October 25, seven years later. What are the odds?]

It was a fun day, although we were surprised by how small the habitats are compared to the San Diego Zoo and how many of the animals are housed alone or just in pairs instead of in natural groups. The meerkats, for example…in San Diego, their enclosure is a large, fully-populated colony where you can watch them engaging in natural lookout and social behaviors. At the Fort Worth Zoo we only saw two listless meerkats in a small pen; no colony, no natural behaviors, no fun to watch. Same with the gorillas — only two of them, and they looked incredibly bored and dejected.

A few of the habitats are really nice though, especially the aquariums and some of the reptile enclosures.









The rock-climbing wall is pretty cool. It’s more of a challenge than we expected, but making it to the top and ringing the bell was a nice feeling.




We watched a fun Halloween-themed marionette show…




…and enjoyed close-up encounters with a few tame animals.




It was a nice way to spend a Saturday, and the weather was perfect. We probably won’t be going back, though, at least until they upgrade the habitats a little. The San Diego Zoo has spoiled us, apparently.

Categories: Animals, Cats, Family, kids, Life, Wildlife | Tags: | Leave a comment


The list of things I’m thankful for is a mile long this year. Rather than trying to include everything, I’ll just dedicate this year’s Thanksgiving post to the people I’m thankful for.

(There are folks who apparently have nothing better to do than to cause trouble for people I mention by name on my blog, so I won’t do that, but my friends know who they are.)

So to begin: I’m thankful for the friends who supported and encouraged me during last year’s legal ordeal and put in a good word for me to the custody evaluator. They helped keep me grounded and functional.

I’m thankful for the Texas friends who offered the kids and me a place in their home when we made the decision to leave California. They made it possible for us to make a fresh start in a much better place, and have given us a wonderful “acclimation buffer.” This move would have been a vastly different experience without their generosity.

I’m thankful for the friends who agreed to store some belongings that we didn’t want to let go of but couldn’t take with us right away. The relocation would have been so much harder, especially for Luke and Elizabeth, if we had been forced to leave those sentimental treasures behind forever.

I’m thankful for the then-strangers, now-friends who adopted Gericault and Brodie and gave them a happy and loving home. We could not bring the dogs with us to DFW and no one else could take them. The fact that strangers were willing to take in two large, active, middle-aged dogs with unknown breeding and a penchant for infighting seems like nothing short of a miracle to me. You guys rock.

I’m thankful for the friend who took good care of Mahogany for me until I could find a place for her here. It was very hard for me to drive away from my horse and trust that she would make it safely through the complicated procedures involved in transporting a horse across state lines. I can’t say it was a smooth process, but it was all handled beautifully by my friend and by the vet who did the Coggins test and health cert. This same friend also took in three kittens who were orphaned by their mostly-feral mother shortly before we moved. We found them under our porch and bottle-fed them, but we couldn’t bring them with us. Now they have a wonderful home.

I’m thankful for the relative who came and helped us pack, and rented, loaded and drove a U-Haul truck from California to Texas. There are no words for what that meant to us.

Thank you, every one of you. You make the world a better place with your good works.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Categories: Animals, Cats, Dogs, Family, Friends, Horses, kids, Life, Love, Travel | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Bobcats and Stuff

Today the kids and I continued our hike-every-mile-of-the-Trinity-River-between-Ft-Worth-and-Dallas project by hiking this stretch of trail:

Trinity hike 2

We haven’t figured out our pick-up and drop-off arrangements yet, so our distances are still limited by the fact that we have to backtrack every mile of trail that we cover. Still working on a solution for that.

Perfect weather for a hike, with just a touch of fall coolness in the air.


We met a guy on the trail, a retiree who volunteers his time to the parks and helps keep track of the local wildlife. He is so tuned into the bobcat population that he knows all of the individual bobcats who live in the area and is concerned that six of them have gone missing in the past few months. We ran into him twice, in different places on the trail, once on our way out and once on our way back, and each time there was a different young bobcat hanging out with him. First this pretty girl…



…and then this gorgeous boy:



We also saw a couple of armadillos. They are cuter in real life than I expected. They look like fat squirrels wearing armor.



Other wildlife sightings included a great blue heron…


…lots of pretty butterflies and about a gazillion grasshoppers everywhere.

It’s kind of amazing, the abundance of wildlife that thrives here in the middle of the Metroplex. When we first decided to move here I worried that the kids and I would miss the “great outdoors,” but that definitely hasn’t been an issue. City people really seem to appreciate their green spaces. Probably for the same reason the kids and I do — no matter how much you love all the benefits of civilization, sometimes you just need to walk in the woods and relax.

Categories: Animals, Cats, environment, Family, kids, Life, Trinity River Project, Wildlife | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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