Oh, Dear! I think Little Lucy is gravid (about to lay eggs)!
She is exhibiting all the signs of a gravid dragon.
Some female dragons who are not bred will lay eggs.
Just my luck!
Little Lucy began to develop a huge belly some time ago.
I asked the breeder, who sells Dubia roaches, if a dragon could be too fat.
He assured me that it was harmless as long as she pooped.
Well, that’s easy enough to observe… (Believe me!)
She was not only really wide.
She was so fat that her back was round.
However, every animal who lives anywhere near me is fat!
She started glass dancing.
That was a new behavior for her, and I suspected something had changed.
She started scratching the paper toweling as if she were digging a tunnel,
And hiding under the towels.
She wasn’t going into the old cave which had a small opening,
So I changed her cave to a bigger one with a larger opening.
Then she started hiding in it for a good portion of the day.
She is losing weight (her foot pads are almost gone!)
I am fearful that she is egg-bound.
Irma called while we were in Galveston on our little holiday.
She was panicked because Little Lucy wouldn’t eat her roaches.
The tank temperatures were correct.
But, she was eating only her greens.
Since LL is such a piglet, I thought it strange, too.
When I got home and held her for a bit, she gobbled up all of her roaches!
And, I thought she just missed me…
However, she stopped eating them again yesterday.
When I contacted Joan, the reptile expert, she agreed that LL is probably gravid.
A fifty-gallon Rubbermaid tub (with wheels, preferably)
Sixty pounds of foundation sand
A clamp on light with a 100-watt basking bulb
Cut off about half the lid.
Wet the sand and pack it on one end of the tub.
Clamp on the light.
Drag up a wet nurse stool.
(To be continued…)
Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas
Mom wanted to take the paddle boat ride around the island.
We got there just in time to see it leave the dock.
Mom wanted to go back later, but we didn’t want to go.
After the weekend, you and I talked about how bad we felt that we didn’t go with her.
Mom always makes everything absolutely perfect for everybody.
Mom was sitting at the dock in the wheelchair.
This is my very favorite photograph of you and Mom.
Well, since you grew up, I guess.
I’m almost glad we didn’t get there in time for the boat ride
Since I have this wonderful memory of my two loves!
While we were at Moody Gardens,
We saw a fascinating 3-D film about the formation of the Galapagos
Islands and the strange creatures who inhabit them.
We had a nice lunch at the restaurant, and
You and Mom morphed into Mama Frog and Baby Frog.
Then we wandered around in a gift shop
Where I bought that goofy, twelve-dollar, straw hat.
I liked the glamorous floppy one, but you guys said it didn’t look good!
Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas
Charlie, you were pushing my wheelchair when I photographed the diver, I think.
I had no idea that Mom was standing behind me until I saw the photo!
It was so dark in there that I could hardly see through the camera viewfinder.
There were some fairly long sharks who swam by this diver.
I was particularly interested in the group of pregnant seahorses.
The photos aren’t very good since I was twisting around in that cussed chair!
I should have been walking!
Remember, Mom pushed you in the wheelchair when we left the water park.
By that time, I had discovered my legs and pushed the wheelchair myself.
I laughed about that wheelchair silliness!
The Pyramid Rainforest at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas
There are many levels of exotic plants and animals and birds on the walk
through the pyramid.
Charlie, do you remember the butterfly enclosure? You were walking behind me when you kept telling
me to touch one. I didn’t think you were serious since I never saw a tame butterfly.
When I looked back, you really were touching them!
I never paid much attention to butterflies.
They remind me too much of the ugly, dusty gray moths that I thought were creepy as a child.
I don’t remember whether you were with me when I saw these monkeys.
The keeper was trying to get them to go back in the building.
They were running around among the guests and causing a bit of a stir.
Some people were frightened of them.
I was fascinated by their incredible faces and hands.
Now they are the ultimate exotic animal, but I think they could be aggressive,
and they may be endangered as are many of the animals in the exhibits.
I asked the keeper about the species, but I am so deaf that I couldn’t hear what she said!
I did not linger long at the Dragon exhibit.
I noticed that the dragons were behind glass and wire.
Ugh! These guys are scary.
When that curious big Komodo started checking out the lunch menu,
my own lizard brain kicked in, and I moved right along!
The Scarlet Ibis and the Macaws were the only birds that I saw in the Rainforest Pyramid.
The two sitting together are said to hold hands!
I saw the odd bird’s nest, but I have to ask Rob Ainslie of The Photographic Journey of Bulldog.
If you haven’t visited his blog, you are missing some of the very best wildlife photography
and informed, humorous narrative on South Africa to be found anywhere!
This Blue and Gold Macaw does not live in the Rainforest Pyramid.
He is displayed in the biggest dome cage I ever saw
in the San Luis hotel.
I encountered him on my search for a bar.
I was in desperate need of a fountain coke, but I stopped to visit with him.
The view from the eleventh floor balcony of the San Luis Resort Hotel, Galveston, Texas
Iced coffee courtesy of Jose Garcis, Mickey D’s, Victoria, Texas
(Isn’t that the way the travel blogs do it?)
Jose gave Kelli enough iced coffee for the weekend only after he demanded to know
precisely where she was taking Granny!
This is the first real sunrise I’ve seen in a very long time.
I think you were still sleeping, Charlie!
This couple had the beach all to themselves.
I’m sure they had no idea they were being photographed.
What a delight to share in their youthful exuberance.
And, there was the lone fisherman
sitting on the little jetty.
I never saw him catch anything.
I think he was simply enjoying the morning.
And, there were a few early birds on the pier, too.
You and mom tossing a water ball back and forth
while I watched from the balcony.
I decided to join you, but I found a little nap nook instead!
You and Mom woke me up on your way from the pool.
I never did get around to that swim!
Whoever said the last of life is the sweetest
was sipping his favorite drink and smoking his favorite pipe
on a quiet balcony somewhere overlooking the ocean in the stillness of the night.
You have no idea what a production an adoring mother and a doting grandmother
can make of a baby’s first haircut!
Here, you are meeting Jessica Rodriguez for the first time.
You must have been about eighteen months old.
And, you were highly dubious about this “haircut business”.
Mom is telling Jess how to cut your hair, and Jess is ignoring her.
Jess has children of her own. Two boys. Lots of little boy haircuts.
She is great with kids too. Here she is talking to distract you.
The gallery below includes some of the many shots that I took that day.
Mom was crouched next to your chair.
There is no way you would have allowed your hair to be cut
without Mom’s cheerleading!
You are finally securely in Mom’s arms again.
She had come in from a job installation to go with us.
There wasn’t a chance that she wouldn’t be there to “protect” her baby!
After the haircut, you and Jess became best buddies.
She cut your hair for years until you decided to go with Dad to the barber.
You and I would go from the shop in the afternoon after school
to get our hair cut. We teased each other about who would “go first”!
I always lost and had to be first, of course!
Charlie, you never liked the Bearded Dragons.
I remember when we bought the terrarium for Mr. Frog.
I suggested that you could use it for a Bearded Dragon when you tired of Mr. Frog.
You said, “I wouldn’t touch one of those things!”
And you were as good as your word!
But, I want to share some simple facts that I’ve learned about Dragons.
They have spines on the undersides of their jaws and along their sides.
The spines cover the loose skin under their chins.
The baggy skin is called a guttural pouch that they inflate to appear larger
when they are threatened. Big Lucy is practicing in this photograph.
The guttural pouch turns dark, almost black, during mating season.
Dragons have scales and large pads on their feet to protect them from hot surfaces like rocks and sand.
Their strong nails allow them to grasp tree bark for climbing
and to burrow underground to escape the heat.
The females burrow underground to lay their eggs, too.
(Big Lucy’s nails have been clipped in this photo)
The Dragons’ scales also protect them from radiant heat.
The ability to raise their bodies off the surface helps them to regulate heat absorption
and also allows air to circulate underneath their bodies to cool them.
They also have short, powerful legs that allow them to climb to escape predators
and to find good basking spots on trees and logs.
Dragons open their mouths when they are too warm.
This behavior is called gaping.
The water from their saliva evaporates and helps to cool them.
Basking (baking in the sun) provides absorption of heat that activates cells and enzymes
That is necessary for activity and food digestion.
In the photo above, Little Lucy is happy and comfortable and doesn’t want to move,
but she is getting too hot, so she starts to gape in order to cool herself a bit.
Often, I brought exotic animals home with me simply because I liked them.
Usually, I was armed with only minimal information about their care.
However, I never assumed responsibility for an animal
unless I was certain that I had the ability to learn how to care of him
And the time and the resources to do it.
Exotic animals are not domesticated like dogs and cats.
Remember that when you see a cute exotic animal and are tempted to buy him.
All of the exotic animals with whom I have lived have brought
endless pleasure and joy into my life.
(Good grief! I’m surprised she didn’t blab about that embarrassing case of worms I had!)
But, enough about me!
I’ll get back to you when my nails dry…
When you are no longer required by civility to answer the phone or the door,
When you are no longer required to go out into the world of work,
When you can sit and contemplate absolutely nothing,
Life is a holiday.
A holiday often filled with surprises.
A white blur appears in the pergola.
A Mother’s Day orchid has blossomed in the early morning light.
I race for the camera chuckling to myself that I had forgotten her.
I am excited to tell Kelli.
I am happy to uncover the cages and greet all of my beloved creatures!
Cheeky, who insists on hanging onto me somewhere for as long as he can every day.
He especially likes sitting with me on the porch.
He plays and sits against my head under my ear to listen to me talk to him.
And sits on my knee to preen.
He is a happy boy who chirps quietly in long, sweet monologues.
And makes me laugh.
Miss Rita plays on her Java Tree and sometimes waddles over to climb on my chair if I leave.
When I find her there, I pick her up and we sit together.
She always listens intently as I tell her what I plan for the day.
Then, there is the fun of baths on the tree. She is so very funny with her “shower conversation”.
And her antics. She loves her showers.
She has been my constant companion for thirteen years, at least.
Through thick and thin.
I love her.
Sweet Little Lucy loves hanging out with me.
She likes my voice and always wants to touch my skin.
My human body temperature makes for the perfect lounging place.
Rowdy Big Lucy doesn’t like being held, but he likes to watch me and listen to me.
I reach into his tank to pat him often.
He is Little Lucy’s not-so-secret admirer.
Watching him prance and dance for Little Lucy makes me laugh.
Of course, she totally ignores him!
Always, there is dear old Anabelle. She follows me from her bed at my desk
to the porch chair beside me or to her mat on the floor.
She is Mistress of the House and Chief of Security.
She appears to be sleeping, but don’t be fooled.
She is awake and sounding the alarm if anything moves.
Since I don’t hear well, I am totally dependent on her.
And my shadow, Maxwell. What a sweetheart he is.
He spends the day with me and goes home at night.
One of the highlights of my day comes at the end.
Che’s condo stands in the hallway from where he can see the entire house.
He snoozes during the day, but he wakes up if I speak to him.
He is the last creature to be fed and scratched and cared for at night.
I love my time with Che. He is nocturnal so he is ready to play late at night.
When I open the full-length doors and lean into his house,
he tugs on my hair or my arms and hands and scampers about ready for his treat.
When he sees the bag, he sits on his wooden ledge at the door and holds out his hands
frantic for me to let him hold onto the bag and get his treat!
When Che is fed and petted and happy, I turn off the last light and head for bed.
Anabelle is waiting. I lift her up and settle her in the pillows on her side of the bed.
Another good day is done.
Tomorrow, I may finish reading that novel or writing that post.
Or I might not.
The familiar sound of Che running on his wheel sends me off to sleep.
Linear time is an abstraction that no longer concerns me.
Every day is a sweet holiday.
Charlie, I know you will remember Irma Padilla, our housekeeper since you were a little thing.
I wanted to remind you that she was a good friend, as well.
She took care of me and helped me with the animals.
She was a professional in every way.
And, she was a fine and talented decorator, too.
She used to surprise me by moving things around in the house to really good effect.
She treated my house as if it was her house, and simply did what she thought needed to be done.
And, she loved Cheeky!
(Irma took the pictures in the Fishing Gallery below.)
Irma used to take you and her grandson, Tres Padilla, fishing at one of the neighborhood lakes.
You loved it, and you caught catfish, too.
On this day, you caught the first fish.
You had a great time and learned from the little expert fisherman!
You were about eight years old.
There is a post here about it: http://tinyurl.com/nx3b
In the photo below, Irma is helping you clean the fish for supper.
Irma is attempting to organize the toys in your playroom at the Sherwood house.
She was feigning horror at the prospect for your benefit!
She was fun, and she made you laugh.
You were about three years old, I think.
This is a photo of Irma and Ruben (Listo) Padilla.
I took it at an old bar on the Goliad Highway one night.
The community held a barbeque benefit for them when their house burned.
You remember Listo. He worked for us for years at the plant.
They were good people.
I loved Irma. We had fun, and she was a good friend.