Sunday, June 26, 2011


On a beautiful April day I drove up to San Francisco where I picked up Ashley and Alyssa.  We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Santa Rosa to celebrate Ash's birthday.

We had decided to go to SafariWest, an authentic wild animal preserve described as "the spirit of Africa in the heart of wine country."  We weren't sure what to expect, but were bowled over with the number of African wild life we got to see.  We boarded our safari jeep and our two guides quickly told us to hang on tight so as not to drop backpacks or purses, and with good reason.  We began our trek over bumpy dirt roads that meandered through lush green hills, with occasional dips and hills that lifted you off your seat.

Here are just a few of the animals we got to see:
 Ever since feeding and petting gentle giraffes in Kenya, I've been in love with these creatures - awkward and elegant at the same time.

At one point we went through a gate and were told very sternly that if we dropped anything to consider it gone forever as they would not be getting out of the jeep for any reason.  We rounded a bend and saw what they were talking about -- a herd of cape buffalo stood in front of us, sniffing the wind.
Suddenly, without warning, something spooked the herd and they began stampeding.  Every one held their breath as they flew past our jeep, turned a corner and came pounding back toward our jeep again.

With those horns and their well-known unpredictable nature, they are considered highly dangerous to humans so you don't want to mess with them!  After a few minutes of all of us sitting quietly in the jeep, they wandered off and we were able to move forward.

After the jeep tour, we went on a walking tour through an aviary, past the flamingo pond, and past the cheetahs and lemurs.  I don't know if you can see it, but there is a bird laying on her eggs in that huge bird's nest!

 The lemurs were quick and fun to watch...

This was a great way to spend Ash's birthday together.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sum-sum-summer time!

Summer has arrived at last.  After an exceptionally busy April and May the end of the school year couldn't come soon enough.  Dozens of student referrals papered by work desk, my calendar began to whimper every time I touched pen to date, and my days were filled to the brim with have-to-do-by-tomorrow's!

Topping it off, this spring our nonprofit organization took back all of the sponsorship programs for the schools in Kenya we help support -- an unplanned undertaking, but one that is rewarding -- especially now that we are finally able to look up from our spreadsheets and emails and truly appreciate what we are doing for the impoverished kids there.

June 10th the school bell rang for the last time and like a kid, I ran for the door (at least mentally).  Once again I am moving to a new school in the fall.  The district had to replace a couple of therapists and like a domino affect, some of us got shifted to new assignments.  Next year I'll be back in an elementary school (from preschool level) which I'm very happy about as that is my favorite age group to work with.  It meant packing my boxes of therapy materials once again and hauling them home to the garage for the summer.

Summer projects await so better get busy with them soon.  Lys has been house sitting for a family here in my neighborhood since Friday so we've gotten together daily to have lunch and get out.  Yesterday it was pedicures, Sunday it was antiquing in Carmel and Moss Landing.  Ash will be home for a few days this coming weekend -- love spending time with my daughters!

So many springtime pictures to upload to my blog here -- I will get caught up and back to schedule here soon.