Posts Tagged With: elephants


DSC07440 (Copy)The first thing to great me at my daughter-in-law’s house, was the table full of sweets and a savory cheese cake. It seemed full until others arrived and added even more good things to the table. Laurie collects elephants- you may have noticed her elephant table cloth.

DSC07441 (Copy)I once did an inventory of her elephant collection and I counted about 700 elephant items, from ashtrays, jewelry to swizzle sticks.  Collecting is fun and appealing and I zeroed in on elephant ornaments that never made it into her inventory.

DSC07442 (Copy)The elephant is barely visible in this photo,but no matter, I was having fun.

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DSC07444 (Copy)I would have given this elephant a bigger eye.

DSC07447 (Copy)Laurie is the youngest of two sisters. Michele on the right with her daugher-in-law is her middle sister. Her oldest sister lives in North CarolinaDSC07493 (Copy)Laurie’s brother, Mike and sister-in-law Ramona. At the last minute, we decided to have a wine exchange. Ramona kept everyone in stitches as she examined each person’s choice with two pairs of glasses and a magnifying glass, before she decided which bottle to steal.

DSC07495 (Copy)My oldest and youngest brothers, Bill at 78 and Clark at 60. Michele in the background with her husband Wayne who smoked the lamb roast. Clark was the other clown of the wine exchange, threatening to open and try them out. He got stolen from four times. I guess the threat worked.

DSC07449 (Copy)A good game of liar’s dice was entertaining most of the “kids” the youngest two age 13.

DSC07496 (Copy)My oldest, Ken and youngest Virginia.  I guess men like to grow beards when they have vacation. They vacation from shaving.

DSC07498 (Copy)But the Greek feast was on. Roast lamb, tzatziki, a famous Greek yoghurt dip, with condiments. Greek meatballs with rice, feta and mint, with zucchini feta pancakes and lemon sauce.

DSC07499 (Copy)Roasted potatoes with a Greek dressing…a spicy lasagna with special cheeses…seasoned chicken kababs. DSC07500 (Copy)Spinach filled spanakopitas, a Greek fruit salad and a Greek rice salad. The food, with a bunch of good cooks in the house?  Stellar. Everyone agreed that enough turkey and ham at Thanksgiving should be bypassed for ethnic foods at Christmas. The only thing missing was the famous Greek circle dance and music.

We decided on Mexican food next year, because Virginia just learned how to make home-made tamales, heavy on the filling and light on the masa. Cha, cha, cha.





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In December, I donated to PAWS, a wonderful organization that rescues performing animals, wild animals, often used in circuses or zoos or from private commercial ventures. They are often mistreated or not treated well enough and they become ill  or unmanageable. PAWS has three wildlife sanctuaries like this one in Calaveras County. I’ve visited before and it is heartbreaking to see elephants with infected feet, or listen to the trumpet of a new arrival getting acquainted with an old friend. It is an amazing program, just as animals are amazingly intelligent and wonderful creatures.

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When I sent my check, I didn’t know I was going to be adopting Iringa and African Elephant. I knew I was going to get two tickets to their next open house and since my daughter-in-law Laurie moved to the county and is an elephant collector, I thought it would be something we could do together.

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They even sent me a short biography of Iringa. I’m sure I’m not the only one to adopt Iringa, because it is very expensive to feed and house these animals, not to mention the vet care.  If you are of like mind, go to the web site,, find out when they have an open house, and come see the many animals they care for yourself. Your tickets help support, of course.


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In Ivoryton, Connecticut, the Ivoryton Playhouse was the first summer theatre in Connecticut and is a distinguished and significant contribution to the arts in the area, attracting theatre buffs from New York and Massachusetts, and elsewhere.

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They’ve also attracted top name talent, like Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Mercedes McCambridge, Marlon Brando, Betty Grable, Art Carney, Groucho Marx,  to mention a few of the notables.

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The playhouse itself is charming and intimate with only about 120 seats and then there are elephants. This is a sculpture in the front yard of the playhouse. An elephant with toes resembling piano keys. You have to know a bit about Ivoryton to understand the significance.

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Ivoryton was the home of two piano companies. Those were the days when the keys were made of ivory. Thus, you see elephant motifs at the playhouse and all about town. Once radio, television and mass entertainment took over the standard parlor piano for entertainment, the piano business began to wane and the old buildings that once housed piano making are now closed. It is said 90% of the ivory imported to the United States passed through Ivoryton. Smaller companies also made ivory combs, dice, jewelry, sculptures and other sundries.

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No theatre allows pictures of a play in progress, but we were free to photograph the inside of the building. On the side walls are many pictures of the stars that played here, and they were many.

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The pictures behind glass are hard to photograph with any success. The glare is impossible. DSC08105

I enjoyed viewing them, even if they don’t photograph well. So many old familiar faces.

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The Dream Girls, the play we saw was a preview where the playhouse invites criticism. Technically, we could detect no glitch. It was done perfectly. The voices of the men and women who eventually made it big at Motown were big, wonderful voices. The whole play was done musically and music was the theme. But, for us, the playwright chose to tell the entire story in song instead of having the plot spoken in interludes, the struggles, the girls and guys taken advantage of by unscrupulous agents, etc. they sang their lines and it was difficult to follow the plot.  Sometimes the music was so loud you couldn’t hear the lines well enough. But, the theme is certainly worthy and Motown music would have made it sooo much better.

Others loved it, so who are we to criticize?

After the theatre, we poked around a little antique store across from the theatre and I always find stuff I like, but luckily I can’t buy much when we live in a motor home.

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This scientist once approved the killing of 40,000 elephants to cure overgrazing in Africa. He knows now he got it terribly wrong.

In this astounding video presentation, his mistake made him careful and he answered a question that puzzled scientists for many years. It has great portent for all of us sharing a finite planet and may be the most important solution to reversing climate change. Don’t miss this video.


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Ark 2000, the beautiful gate into the PAWS sanctuary, is a fitting icon for a place that is rescuing animals. This non-profit sanctuary has 100’s of acres of freedom for “discarded” circus animals to retire to the peace and serenity of the land.  Good food, no more tortuous routines at the whip or pick. Restful and good.
There are fences, to be sure, but nothing like the cages of their past. These three Bengal tigers, though hard to photograph through the fencing, play and growl at each other in a friendly way while we watch  from a safe distance.

This old female Bengal yawned on the warm sunny hillside as though to affirm, life here is good.

Richly colored coats of tigers in Calaveras County are so out of place, and beautiful. The lion habitat, nearby, has a huge maned male who couldn’t keep his eyes off the females. They are separated since PAWS is not a zoo. They don’t encourage offspring. The lions and bears managed to  keep clear of the fencing and were not interested in photographers

And at each area, the food and wine are plentiful and delicious. Here Jan Hovey pours Hovey Wine. Steve Hovey has been making wine for over 20 years and is now proudly presenting his expertise under his own name.

This female  Asian elephant has a missing toe on one hind leg and a deformed ankle from long years on a chain. She seemed so happy and comfortable. And it is a cheering sight to see her free at last.

Man’s inhumanity to man is nothing compared to what humans do to animals. This, of course, is not the worst of it. She happily nudges and scratches her trunk on the fencing. Some trees in the sanctuary have steel posts around them to protect them from being pushed over by the pachyderms.

At first the sanctuary did not take in bull elephants. They can be dangerous and are unbelievably strong. They had to increase the fence strength for bulls and now they have two.

At the final buffet and auction area, near the African and Asian elephant barns, we visitors enjoyed dozens of different wines. A wine glass comes with your ticket and you carry it from kiosk to kiosk. Here Margot Osborn pours Chatom wines.

Irish has  Pog Mo Thoin, which is Irish for a mixture of whatever is left over. Well, sort of. It has three varietals and was quite tasty at that.

This marvelous dish of pesto flavored broiled tomatoes with mozarella was stellar, but the caterers, Jeff Newland and ll Fornaio,  prepared pumpkin ravioli to die for.  Of course, the whole luncheon is vegetarian. I keep promising myself to commit to becoming a vegetarian. Living on the road as much as Jim and I do makes it a harder fit.

At the parking lot, is a recycled old derelict put to good use. It reminds us not to stay over long. PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Sanctuary has a program where families can visit. This event was adults only. They are very protective of their charges and the employees know them by their names and can identify one from another. They have pictures of the animals with their names and can tell you stories of their muddled past. A great project that we in Calaveras County enjoy along with out of town visitors.

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