Categories
Animals Blogging Nature Photography Travel

Zoo Miami

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. A couple of weeks ago on the Friday leading-in to Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S.A. I visited the Miami-Dade Zoological Park And Gardens – also known as Zoo Miami. It’s about 18 miles from my home.

This was my 6TH visit over the past 11 years – but first in over 5 years. I usually like to visit once every 2 or 3 years on a cool day during the wintertime (dry season). On this occasion I visited on a sunny and hot day at the end of May (rainy season). I actually took advantage of free admission for all military and veterans during the holiday weekend.

Zoo Miami is huge. It sits on about 750 acres of land – of which less than half is actually developed for animals, employees, and visitors. Over 3,000 animals and 500 species call Zoo Miami home.

This place holds a very special place in my heart, as it’s the first zoo that I ever visited in my life – as a 20 or 21-year-old in 1988. (I never got the zoo experience as a kid.) So I consider it my “childhood” zoo that I’ve now been visiting every few years for the past 34 years. I usually spend a little over 3 hours with each visit. I also don’t see everything during those 3 hours, so I try to visit the exhibits that are new, or that I didn’t get to experience on my previous visit.

On this Friday before the Memorial Day holiday the zoo was absolutely packed with hundreds (maybe over a thousand) elementary, middle, and high school students – roaming in packs large and small – counterclockwise around the park (4 miles around). So I followed the few adults and families that traversed the park clockwise – to mostly avoid the packs of school kids.

That would’ve been nice to visit the National Zoo in Washington D.C. as a school kid in the area back in the late-1970s and early-1980s.

I took 40 photos during my 3-hour trip around the zoo. Here are a few:

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit my future retirement area of Highlands County Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Animals Bible Christian God Home Ministry Scripture

My Little Buddy Boots

Boots On Guest Bed

This was my little feline buddy ‘Boots’. I met him in 1994, and we officially became housemates on New Year’s Day 1995. Over the years Boots developed my personality in a cat’s body. He was the smartest cat I’ve ever met. I talked to him, and he understood me, and he responded to me.

Boots’ favorite hobbies included greeting me at the front door all the time, following me everywhere I went, watching my every move, eating with me, sleeping with me, and (for fun) pushing geckos off the back porch screen in order to “save my life”. If Boots saw a gecko climbing on the outside of the screen it would only take him mere seconds to jump up and push that gecko off the screen and tumbling 15 feet to the ground below. Once he did that he’d look back at me for my instant approval (which I always granted).

Boots was with me for 12½ years – the toughest 12½ years of my adult life. Exactly 15 years ago this week on May 16TH 2007 was a horrible night for Boots and I. He was in agonizing pain (due to the effects of various diseases), and he could no longer hide it. He was screaming all night long. He could no longer walk. He lost the ability to purr. I knew that was his last night of life.

The next morning I made the ultimate decision to put him to sleep to end his terminal pain and suffering that he was enduring. I was with him at the very end at the animal hospital, and he meowed at me one last time as if to thank me for loving him for all of those years. His eyes slowly closed after that, and I cried.

His doctor said it was my final good deed for him, and that he probably lived much longer than he should have – due to the love that I provided to him over the years.

Boots On The Couch
Psalm 34-18

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
Animals Blogging Driving Food Music Nature Photography Shopping Travel

My Spring Break Vacation 2022

And now – Week 2 of my 4-week series on my 6-day / 626-mile road-trip adventure here in South Florida and also up in Central Florida.

I blogged about The Beach Boys concert in Fort Lauderdale last #TravelThursday. Original members Mike Love and Brian Johnston fronted the band backed-up by talented touring musicians who looked and sounded great together – bringing back that unique Southern California surf pop and rock sound of the 1960s.

Brian Wilson and Al Jardine co-founded The Beach Boys (along with Mike Love) 61 years ago. Brian (80 this June) and Al (80 this September) are also touring together alongside another Beach Boy from the early-1970s – Blondie Chaplin. They are co-headlining (without The Beach Boys name) with Chicago for 25 dates this June and July. I may see them in Tampa (not sure yet). I checked tickets, and good seats were running between $206 and $436 (not including fees) with not that many of those seats left. I don’t really wish to spend that much money on that concert – as much as I really want to go to it.

OK it’s now Friday March 04TH 2022, and I’m spending the morning at Flamingo Gardens – one of Broward County’s top tourist attractions that’s not a MASSIVE shopping mall or a beach. Flamingo Gardens is a longtime botanical gardens and now Everglades wildlife sanctuary and aviary in Davie Florida (a South Florida suburb near Fort Lauderdale). I’ve been visiting this fun place since 2012, and this was my 5TH visit – and 1ST since December 2017. This is the type of place that I would work at after I retire if I were to move to that local area, but there’s no chance in that occurring. Broward County is a fun place to visit for the day or for a vacation, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

That night I saw The Bee Gees – LIVE in concert. Well – sort of.

Instead of me trying to capture the experience of this concert in my own words – allow me to share this promo with you:

Some tribute bands sound good. Some look good. Some move and dance like the originals. Every once in a while you get this powerhouse combination of sounds GREAT, looks GREAT, stage presence is GREAT, show is GREAT, light show is GREAT !

You’ll have a night like this with this Bee Gees tribute band – “Stayin Alive”. The vocal match of Tony Mattina, Todd Sharman, and Joseph Janisse to the Gibb Brothers – Barry, Robin, and Maurice – creates an eerie sense of seeing The Bee Gees LIVE in concert. The performance captures a full history of The Bee Gees music beginning with the 1967 breakout album “Bee Gees First”.

Stayin Alive offers songs and sights of a full Bee Gees playlist – singing blockbuster hits such as “Night Fever”, “Jive Talkin’”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “You Should Be Dancing”, “Nights On Broadway”, and “Stayin’ Alive”.  In addition – they perform softer poetic ballads – “I Started a Joke”, “Massachusetts”, “Fanny Be Tender”, and “To Love Somebody” – among other great hits.

Close your eyes, and The Bee Gees are THERE in the theater. The band and their show bring back an unforgettable era of great music !  If you’re looking for a concert that will take you back in time this is it ! You might want to break out the white bell-bottoms, low-neck shirt (for the guys) with the 8-inch collars, or perhaps a leisure suit. Then again – maybe just jeans or shorts and a ’70s-looking’ tee-shirt. Oh – and maybe watch “Saturday Night Fever” before you come – just to set the mood.

I fully concur with that description of the concert. I never got to see the real Bee Gees in concert, but this was definitely the next best thing.

One final note: They performed an unknown song to me early in the show that I immediately loved and started singing along to with the 1,400+ in attendance. “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” was actually their first Top 10 hit here in the U.S. in 1968, but I had never heard it before. It rocked the Coral Springs Center For The Arts. #HOLDON #HOLDON

Next #TravelThursday I’ll share my fun adventures with my family (and extended family) in Fort Lauderdale – and 3½ hours away up in Central Florida at a popular theme park that’s not near Orlando.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Categories
1980s Animals Blogging Holidays Home Life Weather

The Legend Of Fluffy The Manx Cat

Merry Christmas to all of my friends all around the world. I wish you God’s abundant love and everlasting peace on this day and on every day.

Today it’s the return of a Christmas classic that’s been featured on my blog before in various forms. It’s the story of the greatest Christmas gift ever – the arrival of a cat.

It started out as a morning like any other, but just a few hours later it would become a morning that forever changed the lives of me and my little brother, and our Mom and Dad.

Exactly 38 years ago tomorrow morning on Friday December 23RD 1983 me (age 16½) and my little brother (age 8½) looked out our living room window at the snow and the ice on the ground of our backyard. It was a bitter cold morning in McLean Virginia 2 days before Christmas, and we were happy to be warm and comfortable inside.

But there was a creature stirring outside that was not warm and comfortable. It was a lonely young cat with no tail that was wandering around aimlessly on our ice-covered backyard patio deck, and it was shivering in misery. Me and my brother decided rather quickly that it did not belong in the harsh elements of the outside at that moment, so we opened the door and she walked right in to our more sheltered screened-in ‘Florida Room’.

We gave her some milk to drink. She loved us for it. We gave her some love. We heard a strange sound coming from her that we hadn’t heard before. It was the friendly and inviting sound of her purring. We let her in to our warm and comfortable home. She never looked back. In fact she refused to leave after that. We pretty much named her ‘Fluffy’ that day, and she instantly became an important part of our family – the missing link if you will.

That’s a young me in 1985 holding a young Fluffy. I was about 60 pounds lighter than I am today.

She was the 5TH member of our family, and she was the start of nearly 30 years of felines in our family. Fluffy loved us all, but she clearly adored me the most. During her younger years she anxiously awaited me to open the basement / laundry room door for her first thing in the morning so that she could run (and beat me) to my bedroom upstairs for a long round of petting and purring. During her later years in Jacksonville Florida when she was slowly dying she literally came back to life over and over again and jumped and loved on me and ran upstairs to my parents’ guest room whenever I arrived for a short visit. She lived a long, happy, and healthy life (until April of 2001), and she provided lots of love to our family starting with that very first Christmas of 1983.

There have been other cats and dogs within our family over the years since then. Fluffy eventually gained a feline roommate with Barney (also known as “the cat that never liked me”). After Fluffy’s death Barney eventually gained his own feline roommate with Pumpkin. Boots was my own loving cat and housemate for 12½ years here in Homestead Florida until his (expected) death on May 17TH 2007. He was the coolest cat that ever lived.

But it all started with “Fluffy The Manx Cat”. She was the Matriarch of all of our family pets (to this day). She was the Queen of her castle. She was the stability of our family. She was our family’s common denominator. She was the center of attention. She was the most lovable cat that ever lived.

Fun Fact: This WordPress blog is a spinoff of my former hit music based massivesmash.com web site that I created in 1995. That web site grew out of a previous web site known as “MANx On The Net”. That first web site was a spinoff of “MANx Cat BBS” (1993-1997) – a dial-up bulletin board system run via MS-DOS typical of its time that was inspired by and named after Fluffy.

All rights reserved (c) 2021 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries