Oliver Moorman, Age 4, with Palo Verde Tree in Background
I just returned today from the Coachella Valley where I attended a family reunion on the occasion of several birthdays appearing close together. Plus I had the chance to spend more time with the youngest members of the family, my niece Hilary’s two sons. Oliver and Ely. As she lives in the Seattle area, I don’t have too many occasions to see her, her husband Joe, and their two boys.
Yesterday, we spent several hours at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, where my brother Dan lives. You will see several pictures taken there over the next week or so. According to Condé Nast Traveler, it is one of the ten best zoos in the United States. In my opinion, it is the very best. At present, it concentrates on the desert animals on two continents: North America and Africa. Under construction is a small enclave dedicated to the plants and animals of Australia.
My Niece Hilary with Youngest Son Ely, Aged 1½, at the Living Desert Petting Zoo
One of the most fun things about visiting a place like the Living Desert is to see its effect on young children. Ollie and Ely were as if in a magical realm, in which awe predominates. Even the goats in the Petting Kraal were a revelation to the two boys. Then there was the feeding of the giraffes, with their long tongues wrapping around the Romaine Lettuce the boys held out to them. Even the carousel, featuring endangered species worldwide, caught Ollie’s attention, as he rode on a giant hummingbird.
Ollie with My Brother Dan on Carousel
Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind spending more time at the Living Desert. I am not immune to being overawed.
My Niece’s Little Son, Ollie
Meet Oliver Moorman, the youngest member of the family. For now, anyway, since his mother Hilary (my brother’s daughter) has another one on the way. Ollie is two years old, likes ice cream, swimming, playing outdoors (not always possible in Seattle, where he lives), and is a highly concentrated bundle of energy.
I enjoyed our little family reunion. The culminating moment was Sunday night, when my brother Dan prepared one of his famous Meatapaloozas: a selection of beautifully prepared meats with roasted vegetables. Although I fancy myself a good, cook, I cannot hold a candle to my brother when it comes to food preparation.
It was great to see Hilary and Joe again, and her half-sister Jennifer. Young Danny was unable to make it from Colorado, having just embarked on a new job. And it was great to see my brother Dan and sister-in-law Lori.
Hilary, Ollie, and Joe at the Hot Tub
With luck, I might see my brother next month in L.A. I promised to introduce him to Korean Barbecue, which is one of the culinary jewels of Los Angeles—along with Mexican, Armenian, and Iranian.
It was a delightful weekend. In addition, I got to visit some interesting museums, about which I willo write in the coming days.
Hilary Paris at her Graduation from Cal State Long Beach in 2008
Time passes quickly. Just five years ago, I was attending her graduation from California State University at Long Beach. Today, I find she is engaged to be married. Hilary Paris has always done her father and me proud. She is a yoga instructor in the Seattle area, speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese (that was her college major), and is in general an attractive young woman with more poise and good judgment than most of her peers. You can find out more about her from her Yoga Blaze website.