Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Wild Animals and Senior Bus Trips


You’re going to be jealous when you find out what I did this week. I touched a crocodile! Yes, a live, living crocodile who was born at a wild animal park. Did I forget to mention he was a baby, only three feet long and both ends were being held by a park guy? Still, I wasn’t going to do it at first---it was a crocodile, for crying out loud and I’m rather smitten with my fingers---but then I remembered that I’m a blogger and what better material to use than an encounter with a creature who, as it turned out, had a baby-smooth underbelly and surprisingly soft, pliable skin on his back and tail. He didn’t feel anything like the pair of sexy, spike heeled alligator shoes I wore back in the ‘60s and are still in the back of my closet, waiting for a-line dresses and my skinny-Minnie figure to come back. Okay, I’ll admit I never had an Audrey Hepburn-like figure but there were a few years when I worked out at a gym every night on the way home from work and they owned a magic mirror that lied to me. I was five foot seven and a half, weighed 125 pounds---a cow by today’s standards. And I’d do anything but diet and exercise to get that body back. But I digress. 

Let’s backtrack: Thursday I hopped on the senior hall bus to go to an 80 acre wild animal park. It was one of four buses that went and because someone screwed up---not me---I got scheduled to go early in the morning instead of on an afternoon bus. I don’t do mornings well. I’m stuck in my ways and so is the dog. He never gets up before ten even though I usually make it up by eight for my coffee and computer time. But Thursday we both rolled out of bed when the alarm went off at 6:00 and ten minutes later we were walking around the neighborhood before the dew was off the grass and before the chilly night air had lifted. I get why people like that time of the day. Its quiet beauty promises something the afternoon heat and hustle of the working class can’t deliver.

I also got to pet a Red Kangaroo, a 5-6 pound baby that the park guy was carrying around in a denim pouch with a draw string closing her in. It had been rejected by its mother and they have to bottle feed it. Its fur was so soft and its eyes were curious, expressive and milk chocolate brown with bright yellow cat-eye like pupils. They start out the size of a cherry at birth but these kangaroos grow to six foot tall, 200 pounds and are known for their kick boxing. The park guy who did all the animal encounter demonstrations was quite the character. Probably gay, had a thick Spanish accent, told corny jokes and was a trained falconer who had exotic birds flying over our heads “hunting” grapes or bits of meat in the case of an Asian owl that was so close above my head I could have touched him. That owl was only six months old but will grow up to have a six feet wing spread! The park has 800 birds---70 different species, with 18 species that are threaten species in a breeding program. 

Part of our time at the park we rode around in a tram looking at their 460 mammals representing 64 species that were grazing in large fields and on foot we sawed their birds and 36 species of reptiles and amphibians---a third of the animals in the park I’ve never seen or heard about before. They did have a few more common stuff like camels, zebras and buffalo and we got to feed the Reticulated Giraffes. God, are they big! For the little kids they had a pen full of African Pygmy Goats who loved carrot sticks. They were every bit as much fun to watch as that video going around the internet of baby goats wearing pajamas. The park actually started out as an exotic animal and bird breeding farm and opening it up for tourists came much later. It was a great day trip for only $23.00 including transportation, the entrance fee, muffins and bottled water. I spent another $2.00 for a buffalo tooth. Don’t ask me why. It was in the gift shop and I had an overwhelming desire to buy something. It was a choice between an ice cream bar or the tooth and at the time I was remembering those great alligator shoes in the closet that can only be worn with a skinny body.

It was a fun day with only one sour notes in the form of a couple of bus mates wearing “choose life” and MAGA hats. When you get on a bus headed for fun leave your politics at home, people! In this tinderbox climate we’re living in wearing your politics on your clothing---like Melania did with the “I don’t care, do u?” jacket---is trolling for blow-back and debate. I was on my best behavior. I didn’t give them any snide remarks or dirty looks. But coming on the heels of Trump's manufactured border crisis and the fact that our next Supreme Court justice will have to pass a pro-life Litmus Test I would have liked to have shoved those trollers in with the adult Red Kangaroos for a good kick boxing match. ©

The baby red kangaroo

the Asian owl
 and for fun, the pajama party video


32 comments:

  1. I always enjoy animals. I don’t always enjoy senior citizens in groups or alone, and alnost never on a bus. But remember, I do enjoy animals.

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  2. You are a senior citizen. Good luck finding a bunch of younger people to pal around with. All kidding aside, I'd have no social life at all if not for the senior hall and I'm grateful they plan such a wide variety of things to do. And I think it's a common feeling when you first contemplate hanging out with other seniors that they're 'too old' for you. But when you get to know them you find they are just like younger people only with gray hair. You're not going to like everyone in any group but that's what gives life its color and spice and bloggers something to write about.

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  3. Congratulations Jean. That was quite a trip. I agree with you. People should leave their politics at home but they always have to prove how powerful they are. Did you notice after those 5 people died in the newspaper gazette that the most wonderful president who always attacked the newspaper as fake decides to say somethings positive. Wow, unfortunately these people were always dead.
    I'm surprised that you touched that crocodile. The kangaroo looked very cute but yes, when they get large, they can really kick and hurt you. That Asian owl was interesting. The eyes were shocking.
    Well, if I'm going to be in the 90's for the week, so will you. Keep cool and drink a lot of water. Don't dehydrate. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Oh, I noticed. Yesterday Trump claimed to have great respect for journalists after months of calling them "the enemy of the people." His hateful rhetoric emboldens the crazies.

      I was surprised I touched the crocodile, too. The park guy said that owl, full grown will have eye sockets the size of our fists. He'd throw a piece of meat a few feet in the air and that owl would swoop off its a 10 foot high tree-perch and have it before it could the meat could it the ground. He said their speed protects them from predators. I have owls where I live. I hear them every night but I've never seen one in the 17 years I've been at this house.

      The cool, Paul!

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  4. Now that is my kind of day, even the early start. Animals properly cared for just give us warm fuzzies.

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    1. From what I saw I believe these animals are well cared for and they are regulated and registered with international breeding programs to protect the threatened species they have. I only saw one animal who looked the least bit stressed and not knowing it's normal behavior, it could have just been it's normal behavior. I won't got to our local zoo anymore because many of their animals don't have the space they deserve.

      It was a fun day and I'd go again but take my real camera. I can't take decent picture with a phone.

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  5. What a great trip! I'm sure I'd thrown some pointed glances, though, had it been me. Evil Silver, evil! :)

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    1. I know those people from interacting with them for six years now and while I try not to let their political leanings effect how I do interact, a part of me holds back knowing they could never be friends if they knew how much I oppose their world view. They aren't evil, but they live in a black and white world with no room for the greys.

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  6. Hi Jean,

    Loved reading about your Alligator shoes and your trip to the animal park. I don't know what I'd do if I saw someone walking around in a MAGA hat. Go home and grab my home-knit pussy hat and put it on, I guess, in retaliation. Now there's a project for your group!!! I can just see the MAGA people climbing onto a bus filled with white heads sporting pink pussy hats. Who'd be uncomfortable then, I wonder?
    Thanks for another thoughtful post...Deb

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    1. That's a funny thought. I love the image in my head of pussy hats and MAGA hats on the same bus. It makes me laugh. I've already made 6 or 7 of those hot pink pussy hats for various younger women who wanted them and for myself, of course.

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  7. Your senior club is excellent! That said, you are also good at taking up the offers and getting out and about. I admire that get-up-and-go attitude. ~ Libby

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    1. Sometimes it feels like a part time job to have a social life. LOL

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  8. That's a trip I might have taken, although bus rides bother me for a variety of reasons.

    (Not the least of which is being cooped up with people like you described at the end of your narrative and nowhere to go to escape them. U-G-H.)

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    1. This bus ride was only an hour going and coming. I don't do the longer trips anymore because my old bones can't take them like they could just a couple of years ago. Politics are rarely discussed at the senior hall and this is the first time I've seen the political clothing. I found it irritating the morning after FOX was crowing about Trump getting another Supreme Court justice. They didn't say or do anything out of line besides the silent support and I let it get to my head, if you know what I mean.

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  9. Except for getting up so early, sounds like a short and fun trip. We have a similar place in Winston, Oregon ... about 2.5 hours away. We might just have to plan a trip with the boys!

    It would be "interesting" to be cooped up on a bus full of people you don't know. I'd like America to be great ... but don't thing that person is up to the task. How CAN he have such approval ratings?

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    1. The kids at the park were having a grand time. Your grandson would be a good age to go, but I'd pick a cooler month so the animal would be more active.

      I know about six Trump supporters and with four of them it's all about the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life issue and Gay Rights. They are willing to look the other way to anything Trump does so long as he keeps his promise to overturn these things that they believe is against the word of God. With the other two, it's all about the promised wall and stopping any kind of gun control laws.

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  10. That sounds like a real fun outing. We used to regularly visit the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park after it opened. Baby animals and creatures are all so lovable.

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    1. Who doesn't love baby animals, but I couldn't call the baby snakes and crocodiles lovable. I truly wouldn't have touched it if not for this blog.

      I went to the San Diego Zoo years ago and thought it was the most amazing place. You were lucky to have it nearby.

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  11. You touched a crocodile...yikes! Do so agree with you about people shouting out their politics to others who really don't want to know. Live and let live and have respect for other people's point of view has always been my motto.

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    1. If my memory services me well this is your first time commenting. Welcome. I took a peak at your blog and found I really need that anti-aging cream. Love your sense of humor.

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  12. What a great day out. I'd be interested to know what a crocodile feels like, as long as someone was holding both ends of his body. I would be a little upset if I lost my fingers too. :D

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    1. It really was a great day! If you ever get the chance to get that personal to a baby crocodile, I'd recommend touching it in a couple of places.

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  13. What a fun trip! But those MAGA folk...ugh! You get a gold star for showing great restraint. I generally just ignore those things too but my BP soars; they are a health risk. LOL

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    1. They've got to know they are making others uncomfortable even if nothing is said.

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  14. I think I would havae been a little freaked with the croc but I love the pix and the park sounds like a great idea.

    I would kill myself in those shoes!

    And thanks for coming by! Love your visits!

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    1. I was mostly afraid of the crocodile giving me Salmonella poisoning. I was careful to only touch it with one finger that I washed a dozen time. LOL

      Those shoes are killers! No one should wear them. :)

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  15. You know, last night I was sitting at a board meeting between someone wearing a Beto O'Rourke button and a woman whose notebook was plastered with stickers from an old Romney campaign. I wouldn't vote for either one of those guys, but it didn't bother me a bit that their supporters were showing their support, wearing their politics on their tee-shirt and notebook, respectively. People have reasons for supporting the causes or politicians they do -- figuring those reasons out is a first step toward overcoming some divides. Or so I think -- even though certain politicians' followers seem as odd to me as a goat kid in pajamas!

    There's a wildlife park about fifteen miles from me that started out as a hobby for a couple. Now, it's grown into a big enterprise, and is open for tours. I know that lots of people go there, but I never have. Now that you've inspired me with the great description of your trip, I'm going to go. In fact, I just called a friend who's muttered about going there in the past, and we've made plans to do it together. I hope they have a kangaroo.

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    1. I hope your experience at the wildlife park is as good as mine was. Isn't it funny how we can have things like that right in our own back yards and not go but will drive half way across the country to go.

      Political buttons, signs, tee shirts and hats usually don't annoy me like those on the bus did that day. 1) it was the morning after we found out Trump would get to appoint another Supreme Court judge, 2) I've never seen those particular people wear political stuff before, and 3) it felt like a celebration for them. "Look Trump is going to get Roe vs Wade overturned."

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    2. That makes sense. But the good news is the Supreme Court runs on legal precedent, not the popularity of particular views, so I don't anticipate any overturning of Roe v. Wade. Sometimes button wearers aren't as well informed as they could be.

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    3. The list of judges Trump is using have been vetted by the Heritage Foundation and are known to have anti-gay and anti-abortion leanings. There are cases threading their way up to the high court to try to over-turn Roe vs Wade at the federal level and send it back to the states. Six states in anticipation of that happening have written laws outlawing abortion that will trigger into effect the day the federal court makes a ruling like that. Other states are working on similar laws. The threat that it will be over-turned is very real.

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  16. One year during my childhood, I developed a friendship with a kangaroo at the local park. The park had one of those awful 1950s-style zoos, with one of these and one of those, so that the animals lived sad, isolated lives. The kangaroo lived alone in a large fenced area. I remember spending long hours running back and forth along the outside of the fence while the kangaroo bounded back and forth beside me. It was probably good for both of us. -Jean P.

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    1. Poor kangaroo! So sad but you were right that he bonded with you like you bonded with him. The eyes on the little one we saw were incredible.

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