Saturday, December 3, 2016

Penn & Teller, A Lion Habitat

 We did the 'Las Vegas Thing' and took in a show--the magicians, Penn & Teller.


I love card tricks and we had to select four cards from a big barrel before entering the theatre.


During the show Penn (Teller doesn't talk) took the audience through a whole series of maneuvers with those cards and at the end were able to tell 90% of the audience the configuration of the cards in their hands. (?!!)  The other 10% of us just weren't paying attention to the instructions.


And I got a picture with Penn Jillette!  


Before driving away from Vegas I wanted to see what this was all about.  Located on the outskirts of town, it is a sanctuary for lions.


The Lion Habitat Ranch started with the lions from the MGM Grand and this became their home after the Resort closed in 2012.  For $100 I could feed a lion; for $800 I could bathe one....


I decided the $25 entrance fee was enough.  Besides, I remember how hard it was to bathe Sigh Me and was pretty sure this guy would not be any easier.


The ranch is 6.5 acres with about 30 lions--many descendants of the MGM lions.

Visitors are able to stand pretty close.  There are signs posted on the cages warning not to stand directly behind the animals so as not to get sprayed.  (Hmm, not such a pleasant thought.)
  

The Ranch rescued a baby giraffe named Ozzie that can be hand-fed as well, for $20.  


I wish I had asked where they rescued him from--He was sure cute and friendly but I can't imagine anyone thinking they could keep him for a pet.


I decided to stand back and let someone else feed him.  I was sure there would be some good photos...


...and I was right.


I only wish I could have captured the squeal from that little guy when the giraffe took the lettuce from his hand.


Ozzie pays for his food and also food for some of the lions, by painting and selling pictures.


I've seen worse.


The list of food costs was pretty staggering.  Ozzie better keep those paintings coming.


In addition to the lions and the giraffe, the ranch has rescued three ostriches, two emus, some macaws, cockatoos and guinea hens.



"Not now, Dear.  I have a headache."


Is there any bird homelier than an ostrich or an emu?


 Nope.


 It took 2 1/2 days in a really strong wind for me to get back to Tucson and I had a terrible cold by the time I arrived. 
But I enjoyed the week--without losing a dime in the slot machines.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Las Vegas, Nv

Son, Ron and his wife, Loretta, were planning to be in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving so it was a good excuse to take a small trip.  


Boy, there is not much between Tucson and Las Vegas except for rocks and tumbleweed.


The wind blew to 40 MPH over most of the trip and I was royally beat up by the time I got to Vegas.  


The towns along the way have hardly changed at all in the 30 years since I last took this trip.

Once again I decided to try out the organization, Boondockers, for a place to park.  I think it is now my favorite go-to place--the people I have met have made it a real treat.

I found this Boondocker right in the heart of the city.  I was able to park on the quiet street in front of her house. 


Her name is Leslie Doyle but she is better known as 'The Tomato Lady'.  Leslie teaches classes in gardening and has developed some tomato seeds that grow really well in the desert.


But she grows lots of things--lemons


all kinds of vegetables, 


and 24 chickens who produce some truly wonderful eggs.


Her yard is not overly large but she sure gets the most use from it.  She also has a small Class C RV and is 'another single woman' out there traversing the country byways.  Needless to say, we found a lot to talk about. 


Ron, Loretta and Albert (Loretta's father) arrived a few hours after I did.  They stayed at one of the resorts (M) and picked me up each day to do the tourist thing.


We had Thanksgiving Dinner at an Italian restaurant and it was surprisingly good turkey and dressing.  There was also no wait where many of the buffets had 2 hour long lines--UGH!  I don't think most people expect a good turkey dinner in an Italian eatery.


The city was crowded, the traffic was a bit frustrating, the weather was cold and the casinos were too smokey for comfort--but I had fun anyway.


I love the ceilings in the hotels and casinos....


once you start looking up you can't stop.


Bellagio's glass ceiling by the artist Chihuly will always be my favorite.


It was just fun to be there with them.


I am even thinking of driving over to San Diego for the holidays--maybe we can find an Italian restaurant serving Christmas dinner.


Waiting for the fountain show but it was so cold we gave up before it started.



I really like this picture.  I took it from the car window.  Modern art photography.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Clouds and Rocks

One of the differences I found in the east as opposed to the west is the sky...


The sky in the west is part of the landscape, huge, often spectacular and seldom ominous.  In the east it is unusual to see the sky unless you are looking out over the ocean and when there are clouds it usually means there will be a rainy weekend.


So...while back in Arizona I have started taking more cloud pictures and I really like them--modern art on a blue canvas.


A Jellyfish?  An elephant with a bad cold? Arnold Schwartzeneggar's left arm? 


Last week I went with my friend Suzie to Nogales to check out a dentist there.  She received a root canal for $400 versus the $1400 quoted by her  U.S. dentist  Besides that,  the Nogales dentist was very nice and she thought he was quite capable.  I am looking at some dental work also and therefore, contemplating another trip to Mexico after Thanksgiving. I'm still thinking about it.


Next to clouds, I like rocks.  This is from a rest stop in eastern Arizona.  I always wonder about the turmoil of millions of years ago that spread such boulders, willy-nilly, amidst the otherwise predictable  desert-scape.


Thanksgiving is this coming week and I plan to drive to Las Vegas to celebrate it with son, Ron, and his wife, Loretta and her father who is visiting from Australia.  A Las Vegas Thanksgiving is hardly the 'normal tradition' but nothing is in my life.  
Notes:  It is now one year since I received a heart valve replacement--and a new life.  My annual checkup last week was very good.   I give thanks to my heart doctor, my good friends and family that held my hand through it all, and to Babe (my pig valve). 
To all my friends, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and take time to look at the clouds.

Finally,  a sad note.  I have been told  the tiny dog that was so badly mauled last week, did not survive.  It is so sad.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

An RV Tragedy.

It is very early in the morning here in Tucson and my hands are shaking so much I can hardly type.  I will pour myself another cup of tea and try to calm down.
I just learned for the umpteenth time why I do not like RV parks.  There are lots of silly reasons, starting with the fact that one may not open one's blinds without becoming the evening entertainment for the neighbors next door.  My daily exercise program is probably better than any TV comedy show.



 Parks are too crowded.  On a very warm night in one rv park I fell asleep serenaded by the snoring from my neighbor next door. The views are seldom worth a second glance and I am never tempted to break out my rocking lawn chair for an afternoon fresh air read.  Shade does not exist in these parks and the dustiness and noise are not conducive to relaxation.

(State park in Maine)
State parks, BLM parks, national parks and even rest stops offer better ambiance.

So, back to this morning.  While having my first cup of tea in this small but crowded rv park in the heart of Tucson, I suddenly heard the noise of snarling dogs, children screaming, and a man's voice shouting, repeatedly,  "No! Stop! No!"  Raising my blind I saw four or five dogs of varying sizes in a group, all following a larger yellow pit bull type dog that held something in his mouth.  The large yellow dog was shaking his head vigorously from side to side and that something looked like a small rag doll.  The doll turned out to be a miniature terrier type dog that I had witnessed playing with the children the night before.  The outcome of this grim event--with the children screaming while  onlooking neighbors stood passively in the doorways of their trailers and RVs--was not going to be good. The shouting man caught up with the pack, jumped on the back of the pit bull and, with great determination, pried the dog's jaws open.  At this point I had waded into the melee to grab the leash of a second small dog that I feared would be lunch for some of the other, out-of-control dogs, in the pack.  I am well-aware now that it was hardly a smart move on my part but I did not even think--I only reacted.  Moving away from the scene I turned to see the man angrily leading his dog away by the collar.  The children with (I assume) the small terrier disappeared around one of the large trailers.  In a few minutes a neighbor arrived to take the leash I had been holding, from my hand and lead her dog away.  In minutes the man appeared again in his pickup truck. He climbed out of the truck holding a small basket,  disappeared in the direction the children had taken, then reappeared to carefully lift the basket into the front seat of his pickup.  And he drove away.
The park is quiet now, the children are not around, the doors of the RVs and trailers are closed, the other dogs have dispersed back to their individual homes.  And I feel like crying.


I could expound further on the dangers of a pit bull in a small crowded area, about the negatives of RV parks, about the neighbors that let their dogs run free then 'choose not to get involved', about the fact that Thanksgiving is almost here and the temperature is still in the 80s, about the absurd election, and more.  But I won't.
That is not why I live in an RV!


(my dear friend, Bailey)

Until this morning my return to Tucson has been only positive.  I parked at friends, Suzie and Bill's house, so I could dog-sit their wonderful Bailey while they went to Colorado.  





I spent a blissful night at Cracker Barrel then drove, in the morning, to my favorite parking place on the edge of the desert and watched the hot air balloons skirt along the mountains.


 There have been lunches with good friends and more to come.  And best of all, a visit to the cardiologist affirmed that Babe (my new heart valve) is performing as she should and  I am in good health.  I only wish the same for that tiny terrier.