A Photo a Week: Happiness Is…

Happiness is an attitude more than anything else. You can choose happiness, or not…

Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination. - Imgur

…which is why I find happiness in many things!

For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge, the theme is happiness is… so here are some things that happiness is to me.

Flowers…

…especially the ones I grow myself.

Fresh tomatoes in the summer (again, especially those I grow myself, although these aren’t mine).

Animals, especially cats…

my sweet tortie Hazel

…and my grandcats…

…but also dogs – we have one granddog!

Lydia, our new granddog

…and dogs I see everyday on campus.

One of my dog friends, “Iffi” (short for Iphigenia)

Happiness is animal families, near…

…and far.

Elephant family group, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Cheetah mom & cub, Serengeti, Tanzania

Happiness is traveling to fascinating lands…

Karnak, Egypt

…with my (crazy) husband!

“King” Dale in Abu Simbel, Egypt
In front of the kissing statue, Scharding, Austria

Happiness is our new home!

In back of our house – we now have a small garden here and we love to read and have our meals on our screened porch!

Life Captured: Animal Support

Basil Rene has introduced a new photo challenge called Life Captured Photo Prompt, which debuted last Saturday. Each week there will be a new prompt and the challenge runs from Saturday to Friday of the next week.  This week’s challenge is Giving Support.

Like humans, many animals are social animals. The first one that comes to mind is the elephant. Elephants are highly intelligent and live in extended family groups consisting of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and their offspring. Male elephants stay with the group until old enough to find a mate.

There are many ways elephants give support to each other. Living in groups is one way – they care for one another and mourn when one of their members dies.

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Living in family groups gives elephants the security of supporting each other.

Often there are several generations living together.
SONY DSCMothers support their offspring, including nursing their young calves.
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A mother or aunt helps a calf trying to get up as it lies on the bank of a river.
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Other animals stay in groups of siblings until they establish a family unit. This is particularly true with big cats.

A cheetah cub feels secure with its mother. He imitates his mother’s hunting techniques and they engage in play.
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Lions hang out with their same sex siblings until they go off to mate. Meanwhile, brothers or sisters help each other hunt and defend their territory, and often show affection to each other.

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Two young males, probably brothers, hang out together.

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Sisters nuzzle and groom each other.

A female baboon carries her baby on her back.
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Zebras accompany wildebeests on their annual great migration, because the zebras know the way and the wildebeests can smell water. They mutually support each other.
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All photos taken in Tanzania in February 2018.

Tuesday Photo Challenge & CFFC: Eye Candy

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week begins a series exploring the five senses. This week is sight. She says: As the saying goes, a picture worth a thousand words. Think of photos you can take or have already taken that remind you of a fabulous sight. I like to call it “Eye Candy”. Several of the photos I picked out are of animals, which is conveniently the topic of Dutch Goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge.

A romantic couple: Swans make a “heart” after mating, in one of our community ponds.
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Cheetah mom and cub frolic in Tanzania:
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After watching these two gamboling for about half an hour, I decided the cheetah is now my favorite wild animal!SONY DSC
In a close second place are these adorable genets, who reside at Ndutu Safari Lodge.  They looked down at us with such curious faces, and sat up there so quietly observing the humans down below.
2-10 genets at Ndutu Safari Lodge
My youngest “grandcat” Freddie – how can I help falling in love with this guy??
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Here is my own beautiful cat, Hazel! This is an early photo of her, but it has always been my favorite.
This is a beautiful picture of Hazel!
This is a more recent photo of her, taken in our new house.
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I guess it’s clear that I just love cats in general! (Genets are not cats, but they sort of look like cats.)

More eye candy is to be found in the beauty of nature.

A sunset in Tanzania
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Cathedral Rock as seen from the campus of Verde Valley School, Sedona, Arizona DSCF2997
Flowers: at Chicago Botanic Gardens
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Dahlia at Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WADSC02442
I love to look at beautiful works of humankind as well.

In St. Matthias Church, Budapest
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If I had to lose either my sight or my hearing, I think I would choose being deaf than missing out on the beauties of our world.

CFFC: Circles Everywhere

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Circles, Curves and Arches, and for this post I am focusing only on circles, which are abundant!

Circles are everywhere – in nature, in art, in architecture, in daily life. I find circles in modern sculpture,

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Sculpture in front of Northlight Theater, Skokie, IL

art museums,

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Glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

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Glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

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Dale Chihuly, glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

light fixtures,

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Bamberg Cathedral, Bamberg, Germany

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Wedding venue, Woodbury, MN

in decorative displays,

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Wedding venue, Woodbury, MN

floor patterns,

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Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

and buildings.

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Downtown Tacoma, WA

Circles are also common in nature, such as the sphere of the setting sun,

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Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

or a flower,

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Dahlia, Point Defiance Park gardens, Tacoma, WA

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Sunflower, The Moorings, Arlington Heights, IL

and even on animals.

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Hyena, southern Serengeti, Tanzania

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Cheetahs, southern Serengeti, Tanzania

In nature and human-made structures, circles, both 3D and two-dimensional, are everywhere,  in all sizes, patterns and colors.

 

 

 

CFFC: Because I’m Happy…

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge theme this week is happy.

This Maasai man is happy he got the fire started.
831 (2)My grand-niece Sylvia is happy eating ice cream!20170708_190555
The baby elephant is happy nursing.
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This mother cheetah and her cub are happy playing.
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Video: HAPPY by Pharrell Williams

 

Mother and Cub on Serengeti Plain

Feb. 8, 2018

At long last (or so it seems!) we have seen our second species of big cats – cheetahs!  We came upon a mother cheetah and her cub and watched them for quite awhile.

Imitation2-8 cheetah mother & cub1

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Mom stretches.SONY DSC

A little cleaning and then…SONY DSC

…rest.Amterdam-Tanzaia 965

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RelaxingSONY DSC

C’mon, Mom, let’s play!2-8 cheetah mother & yawning cubMom’s reluctant – she wants a nap! – but Cub is persistent.
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Mom’s had enough and gives chase!SONY DSC

 

After that little romp, Mom lies down again, but Cub is restless. SONY DSCThey play fight!SONY DSC

Mom gives chase again.SONY DSC

When she tries to lie down again, Cub jumps on her!SONY DSC

Wrestling.SONY DSC

Chasing – don’t cubs ever get tired of doing the same thing over and over??SONY DSC

Apparently not!SONY DSC

But now it’s time to go.SONY DSC

 

 

 

Tanzanian Pairs

Paula at Lost In Translation has a weekly challenge “Thursday Special.” This week’s topic is pairs.

Elephants (mother and offspring) in Arusha National Park after a mud bath!SONY DSC

A pair of Bare-Faced Go Away Birds up in a tree
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Curious mongooses check out what’s going on from the safety of their hole in a termite mound in Tarangire National Park.
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The smallest antelope, the dik dik, is very elusive. They always travel in pairs.
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Another animal that you always find in pairs is the jackal. The pair works together to hunt or claim their prey. This pair lives in Ngorongoro Crater.
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Impalas are a common and beautiful antelope. Here are a mother and her fawn.DSC03719.JPG

Shy boys at a Maasai Village near Ngorongoro.
2-7 Maasai boys

This is a mating pair of lions that live in Ngorongoro Crater. The male and female will stay together for about four days, then go their separate ways.
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Hippos in a pond at Serengeti National Park
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These are weavers’ nests! Weavers are small, bright yellow birds. The male makes the nest using grass and other materials, then awaits approval from the female.
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Another large and ubiquitous animal is the long and lanky giraffe. One way to tell the male and female apart is by noticing the stubs on their heads. The female giraffe’s have tufts of hair, while the male’s are flat.
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A furry little resident of the Serengeti lives in the rocky kopjes (an Afrikaans word pronounced like “copies”). These are hyraxes, which, strangely, are related to the largest animal of the Serengeti, the elephant! Can you see the resemblance??
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And finally, one of my favorites – a pair (actually mother and cub) of cheetahs in the Serengeti.  We watched these two for a long time.
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