Platypuses & More...

What drew us to the park today was the recent arrival of two platypuses—a 15-year-old named Eve and an 8-year-old named Birra. The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is honored to be entrusted with the care of these incredible animals in their new home at Walkabout Australia.

Eve and Birra are currently the only two platypuses outside of Australia. Prior to arriving at the Safari Park, they lived at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. These unique animals are semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammals that live in freshwater habitats. Our new platypuses will serve as conservation ambassadors for their species, as we share the importance of freshwater conservation for both humans and wildlife.

Platypuses are most active during dusk and nighttime hours, and they generally sleep during the day. To give us the best possible viewing opportunities while also providing optimum care for the platypuses, the lighting cycle in their habitat has been reversed: it mimics nighttime during daylight hours and daytime during nighttime hours. Platypuses can be difficult to see, both in the wild and in a zoo setting, so getting a glimpse of these elusive and rare animals is a special experience.

We 🤎 Roos!

It was extra special to see the Tree Kangaroo with a joey in her pouch. I love baby anythings.

Our day even allowed us to catch a couple of Up Close & Personal critter talks.

We never tire of the Tigers. Today, they really put on a show for us (meaning they were awake).

Besides the full-time residents in the park, I delight in the visitors. What a spectacular place to spend the morning. It was good to be outing & abouting.

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Friends & The Valley Winds...

Our friends, Ted & Marianne, invited us out for an evening of Holiday Merriment. After a delicious dinner at their home, we strolled to the Temeku Clubhouse for this year's Valley Winds Christmas Extravaganza.

An added delight was the fact that our friend, Max, is a clarinetist for the band. I guess we're now his groupies! So fun.

A personal highlight was seeing Santa. I 💗 Santa. This was an amazing evening out with friends. There is truly something magical about the holidays that fixes whatever may ail you! I felt glee tonight. Glee is a very good thing!
 ♪ It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas 𝅘𝅥𝅯 Thank you Ted & Marianne and the talented musicians of the Valley Winds. You made our night unforgettable.

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Even More Temecula Nature...

The last time we lived in Temecula, a decade ago, our lives were incredibly busy. We never took the time to slow down and admire the beauty around us.

 "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
-George Eliot

There exists treasures if one only seeks to discover them.

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Holiday Cards for a Cause...

Since my cards have all been sent and because I believe in the magical power of mail, I embraced the call for greetings sent out by The Mighty.

Two years ago when they asked the Mighty community (a safe, supportive place for people facing health challenges and the people who care for them) to come together to send cards to those in the hospital for the holidays, they weren’t sure what would happen. They surpassed their goal of 300 cards, receiving more than 10,000. Cards came in from around the world, from Puerto Rico to France, sharing messages of love and light.
Now in its third year, they are again sending handwritten and handmade cards to people in hospitals around the country. There are multiple ways to get involved, from sending a card to hosting a card-making party. Next year I'd like to do more, but for now, I've written out 30 cards and am sending them on their way. I've chosen two local hospitals to support: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  and Gateways Hospital which provides inpatient mental health care to kids, teens and adults in Los Angeles regardless of their ability to pay. Holiday happiness, indeed!

"To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere
without moving anything but your heart."
~Phyllis Theroux

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Flashback Friday: Japan 2004...

My girlfriend, Lynne, and I led a group of middle schoolers on a ten day adventure to Japan. It was an exchange with Temecula's Sister City Daisen-Nakayama. What an adventure indeed. 

Our guides were our brave friends, Kozo and Yuko.
We began the trip staying with host families and touring the City. This is a photo with the Mayor at the time, and yes, he is standing up. My high schooler was a head taller than anyone we met. He was definitely visible when in a crowd.
We had hosted many exchange students over the years, but this was our first opportunity to visit them, at their school. Everyone came for an amazing welcoming.
After several days of experiencing life living with a Japanese family, we moved into our hotel in Osaka and spent our remaining time, touring various highlights, and utilizing various means of transportation. The Bullet Train was certainly the coolest.

We even went to the film studio where they had recently filmed The Last Samurai which happened to be shown on our flight home. It was one of those trips whose memories filled two large photo albums, so this is merely a glimpse.
I bring it up now because this week, a delegation from our Sister City is here in Temecula to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the relationship. We were suppose to host and since we can't,  I am beyond touched that Yuko and Lynne found the time in their über busy itinerary to visit me. We reminisced and for a brief time, I felt a part of the celebration. Next year!

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