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, Part VI: Paljorling Camp

Emma and Elizabeth stayed with Sabita and Bee Striit from January 15th to the 18th, and then stayed with friends at the Tibetan refugee camp from the 19th to the 28th.

Paljorling camp has a beautiful monastery.

After the girls had settled in, they went into town to get some lunch.

Adorable Emma is adorable.

Apparently the reason why the power lines are such a clusterfuck in Nepal is because when one stops working, they just string a new one up to bypass it instead of searching out the old one and repairing it. Crazy.

This handsome fellow is decorated for a local festival. We can’t find any info on what festival it was, but our best guess is that it was a local version of Kukur Tihar, the Day of the Dog.

Or, as Emma said, “It coulda been a temple dog that had a birthday, for all I know.”

To be continued!

Categories: Animals, Celebrations, Dogs, Family, food, Friends, Holidays, kids, Life, Nepal, Travel | 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


Fall is in full swing now.


The resident stable dog has started accompanying Mahogany and me on our rides, at least when we stick to the river trail instead of exploring the paved roads.


When the kids and I were first planning our move to DFW I had a vague idea, based mostly on Google maps of the area and my own SoCal experiences, that Bedford was a sea of cookie cutter housing tracts, apartment buildings and shopping centers. I knew there were lots of good things here too, parks and libraries and museums and great schools, that’s why we chose DFW. But I would study the satellite images and trace the greenbelt along the Trinity River and think to myself, “At least we can go for hikes along the Trinity whenever suburban life feels too crowded.”

Yeah, it’s not like that at all. We’ve come to enjoy exploring the suburbs more than the river trails. There’s nothing cookie cutter about the neighborhoods here. I feel weird about taking pictures of peoples’ houses and putting them on the Internet, but even the streets and sidewalks themselves have character.






The city (suburb, whatever) is crisscrossed with canals and runoff creeks that you can follow sometimes for miles.



Sometimes, in the spaces between one neighborhood and the next, I find wooded trails that feel like wilderness.


I have discovered three community gardens so far within walking distance of where we’re living, plus a handful of “guerrilla garden” patches tucked alongside creeks and canals. And parks. Holy crap, so many parks. According to Google Maps there are 58 public parks within a 10-mile radius of our house. Can confirm, they are everywhere. We have even found a stretch of walking and bike paths that includes a series of six “workout stations,” spaced a few minutes apart, with gym-quality equipment for strength and flexibilty training. I’ve been giving those a lot of use on my afternoon walks.

I’ve also started taking picures of the water tower that looms into view at odd moments on my walks.


But I think that’s a subject for another post.

Categories: Animals, Dogs, environment, Family, Gardening, Horses, kids, Life, trail rides, Weather | 1 Comment

This Is…Really Gross.

Seriously, don’t read this if you’re eating.

We have two dogs, Gericault and Brodie. We got them as tiny puppies, brothers from the same litter, and they are wonderful in almost every way. They keep the rabbit and squirrel population down, guard the house, protect the family, live to please, and love to snuggle. With us, not with each other. For some reason they barely tolerate each other, and a lot of they time they don’t even do that. When they were still waddling infants they were already trying with earnest ferocity to tear each other’s throats out, and five years later they still haven’t managed to settle their differences. I’m not talking about the normal play-fighting that dogs do. These two seriously put their best efforts into killing one another, when they’re not working together like a well-oiled machine to eradicate the rodent population. It’s a thing of beauty to see Gericault chasing a rabbit across the orchard, straight into Brodie’s waiting jaws. The cooperation and teamwork are flawless. And then someone will try to pet Brodie, and the neurotically jealous Gericault will leap snarling at his brother’s throat, and there’s nothing the would-be petter can do but get out of the way.

I suspect that they have the same mother but different fathers, of genetically incompatible breeds. Their appearance tends to support this theory: they both have their mother’s coloring but completely different body shapes and personalities.

This is high-strung Gericault:

And this is laid-back Brodie:

I mention all of this to explain why, when I first noticed Brodie nursing some kind of injury on his ribcage, I didn’t even bother to look at it. It’s not uncommon to see one of them limping around or to see blood on them from some minor bite wound. All four of their ears are more scar tissue than cartilage these days. We’ve all gotten used to this.

But a week or two went by, and Brodie was still licking the same spot over his ribs. So I chose a time when Gericault was outside, and took a close look at Brodie’s owie. I saw a small round puncture wound, but beneath it was a lump, just under the skin. Since most people have guns up here, and my dogs tend to wander despite all of my efforts to keep them contained, the first thing that came to mind was that Brodie had finally caught a slug. The other possibility was that he had some sort of tumor. Neither of these ideas was appealing. Sentiment aside, I wasn’t sure where I’d come up with the money for Brodie to see a vet.

I fretted about it for a while, and then I decided that, if it WAS a slug from someone’s gun, maybe I could squeeze it back out through its entry hole.

So I squeezed the bottom of the lump, and some pus and serum came out, and then THIS oozed out:

It was freaking huge. It looked like aliens were gestating in my dog. Like one of those brainworms from The Wrath Of Khan.

The Googles assure me that was only a botfly larva, and nothing to be alarmed about now that it’s been removed and squished. The wound appears to be healing quickly.

But, can I just say EEEWWW?

I hope so, because I’ve been saying it a lot.


Categories: Animals, Dogs, Life | 8 Comments

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