Emergency Preparedness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 4, 2014 by eileenmagill

April is Earthquake Awareness Month in California, which is rather fitting – if chilling – considering the devastation that Chile is experiencing right now with multiple massive quakes hitting their county.  Going back years before the Loma Prieta Quake of 1989, I’d kept a complete earthquake preparedness kit.  I have been asked by family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors to share the list of things that I keep in my kit. (And after the 89 quake, I was asked to share the actual contents because I was the only one in my entire apartment complex that had any sort of preparation at all.)  Please note that my kit is very extensive and is probably more inclusive than most people need.  However, look over the list and think about how each of these items could be used for more than one purpose.

 

I have two types of kits:  my “go bag” and the main stay-at-home kit.  The “go bag” is a backpack with basic supplies such as nuts, a couple bottles of water, a first aid kit, an old pair of walking shoes, and a sweater.  This type of bag is kept either in my car or my work office and is only designed to get me home if I’m away.

 

For my main kit, the bulk of my supplies are kept in a large green garbage bin that is on wheels.  It is kept in a lean-to in the backyard where it protected from the elements but can be accessed even if there is a structural collapse.  Other items, such as cases of water, are kept separate (also in the lean-to), but they are on wheeled dollies.  Keeping your supplies on wheels is an important aspect of safety so that your kit can be mobile should your home become unsafe.

 

The items can be broken up into several categories:

  • First Aid & Medications
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Tools & Search/Rescue
  • Food & Sundries
  • Comfort
  • Miscellaneous
  • Pet supplies

 

First Aid & Medications

In the event of a large-scale emergency, such as an earthquake, citizens must be prepared to be on their own for several days, perhaps a week or more.  Because of this, it is imperative that the first aid kit be well-stocked for significant injuries like broken bones.

            Multiple pairs of gloves (preferably non-latex)

            Biohazard bag

            Hand wipes

            Antibiotic and/or antiseptic (Bactine, etc.)

            Various sizes/types of adhesive bandages (fingertip, knuckle, standard 1″ etc)

            First aid tape or “paper tape” medical tape (non-latex)

            Absorbent compresses (note: feminine menstrual pads are excellent for this)

            Gauze pads

            Gauze rolls

            Rolled wire splints Image

            Triangular bandage and/or sling

            Self-adherent bandage Image

            Scissors

            Tweezers

 

            Pain killers

            Prescription medications

            Comfort medications like Gas-X and antacid

            Glasses (got an old pair of glasses? don’t toss them, put them in your kit in case your new ones get damaged or lost – it happens during disasters!!)

 

 

Personal Protective Equipment

If there is widespread damage – or even just serious damage within your own home – you may need to go into places that are somewhat unsafe.  Protect yourself!

            Hardhats

            Safety glasses

            Safety vests (reflective)

            Work gloves, preferably puncture/cut resistant

            Knee pads

            Dust masks

            Coveralls

            Work boots

 

Toolbox & Search and Rescue

This group of items is highly customizable.  In my case, I expect to do search and rescue, but others may not have that training.  However, many of the items – like tarps and plastic sheeting – may be critical to making your home weather-resistant or setting up a temporary shelter.

            Fire Axe

            Crow bar

            Hammer

            Nails/screws/masonry nails

            Screwdrivers

            Wrenches

            Utility knife with extra blades

            Scissors

            Tarps

            Bungee cords (sooooo many uses for these!!)

            Plastic sheeting

            Rope

            Chalk (marking buildings that have been searched)

            Flashlights (plus batteries – do not install the batteries!)

            Flashers for signaling

            Duct Tape

            Shovel

            Waterproof matches

           

 

Food & Sundries

Most people think about putting food in their kits, but what should you use?  Look for foods that have long shelf-life, minimal cooking needs (macaroni and cheese might be yummy, but do you have milk?), and no extra ingredients.  Remember that you will need to clean everything up, too.  Do you have a BBQ?  Enough propane or charcoal?  Matches, if needed?

            Eating utensils, plates, cups

            Purel or other waterless cleaning agent

            Pots & pans – this depends on the type of food you have in your kit.  Also useful for collecting rainwater

            Nuts – fantastic source of protein

            Canned food or other packaged food with long shelf-life

            Can opener!

            Candy, bubblegum, or other comfort food

            Water, water, water

 

Comfort

            Blankets

            Toothbrushes, paste, floss, mouthwash

            Hairbrush

            Deodorant (for goodness sake, do not forget to put deodorant in your kit!)

            Toilet paper

            Paper towels

            Bucket and toilet seat (yes, you can make your own throne!)

            Plastic bags for the homemade toilet

            Games – board games, cards, etc.  No TV or computers…may be rather boring.

            Bug spray

            Bandanas, hats, extra clothes

            Inflatable pillows

 

 

Miscellaneous

            Marking pen & paper 

            Radio (and batteries – do not install the batteries!)

            Pup tent

            Cash – without power and/or cell phones, the only way to pay for supplies may be cash

            Alcohol (may be useful as a comfort item – or, in my case, as a bartering tool)

            Disposable camera (insurance claims, anyone?)

 

Pet Supplies

Do not forget your pets!  They will be highly agitated and confused.  By having toys and their special food, you can help them calm down and be an asset.

            Pet food

            Collars / leashes

            Toys

            Treats

            Water, water, water

 

Many items on this list are perishable: batteries, food, medications.  On the outside of my main kit, I have an inventory of perishable items, including expiration dates.  The list is in a zip lock bag that is taped to the side of the kit so I can see at a glance when dates are coming due.  We also have a schedule of when we go through the kit to replace perishable items and check the stock.

 

For those with fluctuating weight and/or children, it is important to remember that clothing sizes may have changed and spare clothes should be adjusted.

 

To prevent bugs from getting into the kit – and to be able to tell if anyone has taken any supplies out – I use duct tape to seal the entire circumference of the lid to the bin (like an evidence seal, lol).

 

Even if you feel that you do not need a large earthquake/disaster preparedness kit, please consider the concept of a “go bag.”  I am fortunate to work only a few miles from my home, but if roads (over and underpasses) collapsed, it could be a very difficult trip home wearing a dress and heels.  (Having a pair of walking shoes would be important.)  Even a short a distance could take hours.  Think about the route you take to and from work/school.  Look at the number of bridges you cross.  Consider what buildings might collapse and block the road.  Vehicles may get stuck and roads become impassible.  How would you walk home?

 

Think about it…and then do something about it.  Your family’s well-being might depend on you taking a few minutes to be prepared.

Crawl Space Creepers

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2014 by eileenmagill

Do you have a crawl space or basement under your house?  How can it be accessed?  How easily can it be accessed?  Do you know who has been down there?  Could someone be down there right now without you knowing?  Can they get into your house from there?

 

Most people don’t even think about their crawl space until they have a need to go under the house because there’s a plumbing or electrical problem.  They may see the crawl space entrance every day, but not really notice it – and not consider the ramifications of such an easy access point to the inner workings of the house.  Take a look at these two recent incidents in the Bay Area where someone has used a crawl space to avoid police capture…one suspect found under his own home, the other under someone else’s house!

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_25162657/san-leandro-police-dog-sniffs-out-suspect-hiding?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

 

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23907751/vallejo-man-evading-police-hides-crawl-space-5?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

 

One of the things I did shortly after moving into my house was to seal off the exterior entrance to the crawl space under my house.  I also created a new entrance inside the house, but I specifically selected the location so that even if someone did manage to get under the house from the outside, they would not be able to get into the house. 

 

While out walking my dogs in my neighborhood, I have seen at least five houses where their crawl space is easily accessible by anyone walking by.  What things could someone do under the house?  Do you have copper pipes?  Those could be stolen while you’re away on vacation.  Or maybe they can set up their own little home there, trying to stay warm, like in this real life situation:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/velma-kellen-73-woman-stranger-living-crawl-space-marijuana_n_2441091.html

 

Do you have a teenager who might want a convenient place to stash something?  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be your own kid… 

 

So you don’t live in a house and think this doesn’t apply to you?  It still might.  Some apartments, condos, and townhouses have crawl spaces or basements as well.  I once lived in an apartment complex that had a basement that spanned the multiple buildings with entrances into each downstairs apartment.  Think about that for a moment… a person in that situation could exit their apartment into the crawl space and enter their neighbor’s apartment, all without ever stepping outside.  Creepy!

 

Raise your hand if you might be checking out the security of your crawl space this weekend.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2014 by eileenmagill

 

Friday, January 31, was one of the most emotional days I can remember having.  My heart was ripped open and a large part of my soul spilled out.  It started several months ago…

I knew that Mulder, my beloved chow/shepherd mix had hip dysplasia along with other problems in his shoulders, spine, and even his jaw.  Yet he never complained.  Our first hint of the pain he was experiencing was a couple years ago when he started chewing at his wrist – a sign that pain was radiating down his legs from his shoulders.   Then I saw his gait slowly change with stiffness in his back legs.   I had to watch him carefully to see it; X-rays confirmed the problems.  A couple months ago, I asked the vet for a refill on his pain meds, and she said that he needed to come in for a geriatric workup (he would be 13 in a couple months).  It was then that we found a terrible thing: he had a mass on his liver and was nearing the end stage of liver failure.

Mulder SunI spent the next few weeks continually on the brink of tears, but we made sure that he spent every minute knowing that he was cherished.  Then on Thursday evening (January 30), I could see in his eyes that the pain had reached the point where the medications weren’t stopping it.   The time had come to help end the pain.  Euthanasia.  I’m sure there are people who think that this was premature, and that I was playing God, but I couldn’t watch him suffer.   I felt in my heart – that deep connection that we had – that he was ready, too.  He’d been panting continually, and when he rested his head on my lap, his eyes begged me to stop the pain.

On Friday morning, the deed was done.  My only regret was that we were not allowed to hold him as he passed.  I felt a massive emptiness as I watched him walk away into the clinic’s back room.   The heaving sobs overcame me as my best friend left my life.  He had been my protector – both from the home invasion (see My Dogs, My Heroes, My Heart for that story) and from the other-worldly invasion (see the Unseen Resident series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

There are those who would look askance at me for rushing right out and getting another puppy, but time alone is not going to heal the gaping hole left by Mulder’s passing.   Not just in my heart, but in Bailey’s, too.  Janice and I could see that that our corgi was grieving for her companion.  I searched the internet for puppy rescues and shelters, foster homes, and private owners.  There are a lot of dogs out there who need homes.   While there were a few possibilities, none hit me as “must be part of our family!”   On Saturday morning, we found a Siberian husky who stole my heart.  Yet I was still unsure that this was the right dog.  We took him home, but after a few days, we realized that he was not a good fit for our family, and Bailey, especially, was having trouble with him.  We brought him back to the Humane Society and continued our search.

Our search for the right companion took us all over the bay area, from north of the Golden Gate to Gilroy and Capitola, and eventually to Lathrop.  At Pets N Pals in Lathrop, we found an adorable and very loving Brittany Spaniel mix named Flynn.  I was immediately smitten; this time, even Bailey seemed to fall in love.

Flynn will never replace Mulder – no one ever could.  I’m sure it’s going to be a very long time before I can think about Mulder and not cry, but Flynn is helping me manage my grief and hasn’t complained about the tears I shed when I hug him.

Unseen Resident – Part 6: Clearing

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2014 by eileenmagill

This blog picks up where Part 5 left off.  If you’re just joining, I’d recommend checking out the previous posts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The group arrived and met out in front of the house; I noticed that something was wrong.  There should have been five people: Gail, Kathleen, Terry, Corky, and Elizabeth.  But there were only four.  When Elizabeth came into the house, she gave us the bad news.  Corky, the demonologist, had become violently ill just as she was leaving her home to come here.  She wouldn’t be coming.  My heart sank.  I hadn’t realized just how much I was counting on her abilities to rid the house of this evil entity.  Elizabeth did, however, give me some good news.  Both Corky and another medium would be adding their energies remotely.  I don’t understand how remote viewing and help works, but… well, I don’t understand how any of this works.

We started the evening with a protection prayer.  I took Gail, Kathleen, and Terry around the house while Janice stayed in the family room with Elizabeth.  The idea was for the mediums to sense the atmosphere of the house with and without Janice nearby.  This idea was based on the concept that Janice was the draw for the spirits and that paranormal activity decreases significantly when she’s not around.  I watched the mediums closely, but their faces were inscrutable.  Until, that is, we approached the old entrance to the crawl space.  Several years ago, I had sealed the exterior entrance – I can’t for the life of me figure out why access to the crawl space
is often from the outside of a house…seems like a very bad security issue to me.  But as we got closer to the old entrance, Terry’s attitude changed from one of curiosity to one of anxiety – not quite fear, but something close.  I could see his hands shaking, and perspiration beaded on his face.  He had found where the gargoyle was hiding.

We returned to the front room, and Janice and I switched places.  Interestingly, the mediums didn’t feel a difference around the house with Janice in the group as opposed to me showing them around.  I expected to see some emotions on their faces, but Gail and Kathleen especially looked like nothing special was going on.  I was surprised when we gathered in the family room again to hear about what they saw.  In Janice’s room, they found a high EMF reading in one of the upper corners.  They encouraged the entity to make the numbers go up…and the numbers on the detector went up to just shy of 10.0.  This made me rather uncomfortable.  I really don’t like enticing the entities to flex their powers.

To me, one of the scariest things in movies is when the person looks in a mirror and sees someone standing behind them, or they get a glimpse of movement in the reflection.  Then they told me about something they each saw that is a fear of mine.  The mediums all saw the same thing, similar to my fears – a face peering around the mirrors.  The spirits were using the mirrors throughout the house to jump from room to room.  The truth of this hit me hard.  The two areas where we typically get high and fluctuating EMF readings in my bedroom are right by the mirrors.  The EMF spikes we get in the bathroom are directly under the mirror.  And the hallway…I was assaulted when I was smudging that mirror.  The mediums also agreed that the gargoyle thing – we still couldn’t come up with a consensus for a name for it – was hiding under the house in the crawl space.  (The coincidence that the crawl space is used as a lurking place in my novel, House of Homicide, did not escape me… or is it truly a coincidence?  That aspect was written into the story because it’s a thought that especially creeps me out…is this entity playing on my fears?)

We situated ourselves into a circle – which Mulder seemed to feel certain was arranged so that all six people could pet him at the same time.  Doggy bliss until we all had to hold hands.   Not being a medium myself, what happened next was out of my realm of understanding, but I’ll try to explain as best I can.

I mentioned in a previous post that my sensei had taught me to harness and manipulate my internal energy.  That ability and the fact that I am the rightful owner of the property allowed me to be in the circle, but I was definitely the weak point.  Each medium sought out the entity, and as a full group, we used our energy to build a barrier surrounding it.  We visualized that barrier tightening around the entity until it was completely trapped.  Then, with Elizabeth leading the charge, we pushed the group’s collective energy around the circle; with each rotation, the energy became more powerful.  It was an amazing and scary feeling.  It wasn’t like in the movies where a wind blows through the house and lightning crackles, but the energy was absolutely palpable.  It was the most mind-blowing feeling I can remember.  As the energy increased, Elizabeth directed us to squeeze the entity, to force it to implode.

Yes!  It worked.  I will never forget the feeling as the entity was crushed and dissipated.  It was like a massive pressure that had been on my shoulders disappeared.  There was a lightness in my heart, and for the first time in a long time, I felt hope.  I kept thinking that if I felt that, what must the mediums be feeling?  I was overcome by a mixture of jubilation and exhaustion, and a soul-felt knowledge that this being was gone.  For now.

The discussion continued about what each person had felt in the house, including that there were spirit guides for both Janice and me.  For me?!  They all said that the guide who was watching over me was a tall man with round glasses wearing a long tan leather coat.  They explained that spirit guides come and go.  Some will stay for a long time, while others are just in transit.  I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my guide.  The poor dear must be totally frustrated with me.

While this discussion was going on, I noticed that Kathleen had a far-away expression on her face.  At times I would see her hands flutter and her lips move like she was in a private discussion with someone I couldn’t see.  When I asked, she told me that she was helping some souls pass over.  I asked how many she’d helped, and she gave me a small smile and simply said, “A few.”  Several weeks later I found out that there were close to a hundred souls that had been trapped by this soul-stealing gargoyle, and Kathleen helped them cross.  I was to learn (and experience) a lot more about “vampiric” entities over the next few months.  They sometimes feed on the lost souls or on the energy of the living.

Things definitely settled down for the next few weeks, and November was a peaceful month.  I started to believe that the ordeal was over.  Janice went on a cruise after Thanksgiving, and the house was quiet.  Until she returned.  And so did the activity…with a vengeance.

Unseen Resident Part 5

Posted in Hauntings, Paranormal, Stories, True Story with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by eileenmagill

This is part 5 of the series of true blogs about the hauntings in my house.  If you’re just starting to read these or if it’s been a while since you checked in, I’d recommend reading the previous entries:

Unseen Resident

Unseen Resident Part 2

Unseen Resident Part 3

Unseen Resident Part 4 

After I was attacked (see Part 4), there was no denying that there was an entity in the house bent on hurting us.  I walked away from that experience with a new attitude: may God have mercy on that entity’s soul, because it would get none from me.  But we soon discovered that this wasn’t the only negative thing in the house.

Janice was in her room one weekend afternoon in mid October, working on her laptop on her bed.  She got up from her bed, and as she approached her bedroom door, something caught her eye near the ceiling in the corner.  It was something out of a horror movie, come to life in her own room.  It took her breath away.  It was a demon-like being, dark brown with scaly-type skin.  Its eyes were closed, and it was curled up into a crouching position, like it was sleeping.  She was shaking and was afraid that her thundering heart would be loud enough to get the being’s attention.  Not daring to make a sound, she backed out of the room, quietly, slowly, without taking her eyes off of it.  This entity gave off a dark and sinister feeling, far more evil than the ceiling dwellers we had found throughout the house and had attacked me.

She stayed in the front room, emotions warring within her.  Even though I was in my room doing homework, she was too afraid to get me or to speak of it.  The self-doubt that we’ve both felt about the stuff happening was in full force.  Had she really seen it?  Was it truly there?  Was she going crazy?  If she told me about it and I looked in her room, would I see it?  If I didn’t, would I believe her?  And if I did see it…would I anger it?  What would happen then?  She mustered up her courage and silently slipped down the hall to her room, carefully avoiding the creaky boards in the hardwood floor.  She inched open the door, being sure to make no sounds.

It was gone.

It took Janice several days to work up the nerve up to tell me about it.  I was horrified, but I believed her.  She either missed her calling as an actress, or her fear was genuine.  We contacted Elizabeth who offered to bring a team out to do a “clearing” to get rid of the entity.  Janice did her best to describe the beast, and the best name we could come up with for it was a gargoyle.  (The term gremlin was suggested, but frankly that just made me laugh – whatever you do, don’t feed it after midnight and don’t let it get wet.)  One of the people Elizabeth suggested bringing was Corky, a local demonologist.  We set the date for the clearing and waited.  It was only a couple weeks away, but it seemed like forever.  Would the entity and other spirits get riled up like they had before other investigations?  Would they get aggressive like they had during the smudging?  We were prepared for an increase in activity, but not for what we got.

Janice and I were both feeling anxious and drained of energy as the day drew nearer.  It was about this time that we started to see a pattern emerge.  Janice and I are both the kind of people that if we have a job to do, we don’t procrastinate, we just do it.  When I have a goal, I’m driven to do it immediately.  Yet whenever we have things to do that are related to the goings-on here, we both have difficulty completing them.  (It’s January, and I’m just writing about what happened right before Halloween.)  It feels like something is trying to stop us.  I get a feeling of dread whenever I think about doing the things we are supposed to be doing – even writing about this makes me anxious to find something else to do.  We were both given assignments to complete prior to the group coming out for the clearing, but I had to continually be prodded to get them done.  I was supposed to draw a layout of the house and property and send it to the group so that they could meditate on it and use pendulums.  My dad was a draftsman and an artist, but I got none of his abilities.  I still snicker when I see my drawing…looks like a kindergartner did it.  I was also supposed to get copper pipes that would be used to redirect the ley line’s energy around the house instead of directly through it.  Even though I pass the hardware store going to and from work, I kept forgetting or just deciding not to go get the pipes until the day before the team arrived.

When I woke up on the morning of the day of the clearing, I was counting down the hours until help would finally be here.  I was anxious all day and couldn’t concentrate on my work.  I was worried that Janice would be attacked at home or that something else would happen.  Elizabeth had sent us and the team an email warning us that “they know we’re coming.”  From her remote viewings, she had seen the evil entity, the gargoyle.  Its red eyes stared back at her, knowing, threatening.  Finally around lunch I couldn’t stand it anymore and went home.  I was surprised to find Janice laughing.  She showed me the EMF readings from all over the house.  Nothing.  Even the normal “hot spots” were reading 0.3 or less.  Seems like good news, right?  Not really.  It actually might be worse.  A clearing might be unsuccessful if the entities were hiding.  Rather than my anxiety being relieved, it was heightened.  There was another side to the anxiety: embarrassment.  Would we look like idiots if the team didn’t find anything?  We’d made a big deal over the aggressiveness of  the ceiling dweller, the gargoyle-like thing, and the amount of spirits we had coming and going on a continual basis.

That night was something that I will never forget…

Malki Museum

Posted in Uncategorized on January 19, 2014 by eileenmagill

A sign on the freeway for a Native American museum caught my eye, and Janice and I made a snap decision to check it out. I felt pulled – compelled – to stop, and I am forever thankful that we did. We found treasure there.

The Malki Museum sits on the Morongo Indian Reservation in Banning, California, west of Palm Springs, just off of I-10. We toured the small museum with Rich showing us around. (Thank you, Rich. Your knowledge and willingness to share it was very special to us and enhanced our experience!) Amongst the art and artifacts, he showed us a rack of books published by the Malki-Ballena Press, a publishing company founded by the Malki Museum in 1965. If you are interested in Native American history, you should check out their website: www.MalkiMuseum.org. I was especially interested in the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology. What a great publication!

Rich then directed us to the Temalpakh Garden. Temalpakh means “from the earth” in the Cahuilla language. This peaceful garden has only those plants used by the Cahuilla people for food, medicine, clothing, housing, tools, and arts. It was in this garden that we found the greatest treasure of all: Aaron. Aaron is the grandson of one of the Malki Museum’s founders, Dr. Katherine Siva-Saubel, who was an amazing linguist and historian. She passed on her love of the elusive Cahuilla culture to her grandson. Aaron sang a wake song for us, and it touched me deeply. I couldn’t get his voice out of my mind for the remainder of our vacation.

On the way back from Arizona, I knew I had to stop to see Aaron again (it had nothing to do with the fact that he’s a handsome man – I swear it!). I was granted permission to record his singing the bird songs of days past. His singing transported me to a different time and place, and I could feel it reverberating throughout my being.  I separated the songs into four videos (the recordings plus pictures that we took at the museum, pictures from the Malki website, and others):

http://youtu.be/nRbhaeJ4zcg

http://youtu.be/Tc-esPB4bAQ

http://youtu.be/27gdkE_aLR8

http://youtu.be/taWUwDNMgIs

Every year the museum holds a special event on the Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend. I can’t wait for it! Please check out their website: http://www.MalkiMuseum.orgfor details.

Tigers and Hyenas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 12, 2014 by eileenmagill

The tiger crouches at the edge of the enclosure.  The only movement is a slight flick of the tip of his tail.  His eyes are focused on his prey, and his body is taut, ready to pounce.  His prey has just entered through the gate and looks like he is oblivious to the predator’s scrutiny.  The prey is relaxed, as if this is just another day.  But it isn’t.

 I stand on the other side of the fence holding my breath, unable to cry out.  My heart is pounding in my chest in anticipation and fear of what I am about to witness.  The prey turns back to the gate and locks it.  He stands about six feet tall, a handsome man. 

 The cat erupts in movement, a fluid blur of orange and black.

 This was a moment in an incredible day at Out of Africa, a wildlife park in Camp Verde, Arizona.  My sisters, aunt and I had discovered this park a few years ago when papa passed and we needed an outing to lift our spirits.  The experience was exactly what we needed, swelling our hearts with love and awe of these magnificent creatures.  I was overwhelmed by the variety of animals at the park, but I was completely enamored with Chalet, a majestic white tiger.  She commanded my attention, and throughout the day, I kept making my way back to her habitat to take in her beauty.Image

 

 In the several years since that day, I’ve been yearning to go back to the park.  So when my sister Janice and I got the chance over the holiday break, we made the trek back out to Arizona.  This time we went with one of my sisters that hadn’t been able to go last time.  You may remember her from one of my previous Unseen Resident blogs – Judy. 

 One of the greatest things in the park is the Tiger Splash show.  It is absolutely unbelievable.  http://youtu.be/1omAfM4YVPs  Please watch the video.  It is definitely worth your time! 

 While last time I was there I fell in love with Chalet, this time I was mesmerized by the hyenas.  Yes, hyenas.  I’d always thought of them as vile creatures, since that’s the way they tend to be portrayed in movies (like Lion King).  They are truly amazing and smart animals, and OMG so darned cute!  Here’s a video of our guide interacting with them.  http://youtu.be/sRofWeTpVp0

Even though the hyenas look soft and cuddly, and the guide and trainers will pet them through the fence, the hyenas have enough strength in their jaws to break a giraffe’s femur!  Definitely not a good prognosis for your arm if a hyena gets a hold of it.  I’ll stay on this side of the fence, thank you very much.

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