Sam, I am!

Sam is a baby Veiled Chameleon.

His body is about 3.5 inches long.

He is perhaps two months old.

I have had Sam for four days.

And, I am still trying to figure out what he likes best.

In the gallery below, the first photo reveals his displeasure.

I was arranging his vegetation, and he didn’t like my hand in his cage.

Chameleons are shy creatures who should be housed alone and rarely handled.

Sam looks very thin to me, so I took a fecal sample for analysis.  No parasites.

I suppose he simply needs to eat LOTS.

That poses a problem of sorts since I can never know precisely what he eats!

I laughed aloud at his expression when he checked out his feeding cup.

I think he was saying, “You really expect me to eat from that?

I thought it was a clever, on the spot, solution to the problem.

Food-Cup

I thought learning about Bearded Dragons was difficult.

Holy Moley!  I hadn’t met Sam yet!

Chuckle…

Chameleons are fascinating creatures who move in slow-motion.

Their most delightful characteristic is their expressive faces.

They move their eyes independently making sneaking up on them impossible.

Silk-Flower-hiding

Sam is a fragile baby.

He is sitting on the leaf of a silk plant (from Kelli’s garage box of discarded stuff).

I couldn’t weigh him because he climbed up my arm when I put him on the scale!

But, I can tell you that he is as light as a feather.

And difficult to photograph because he hides among the leaves.

Or climbs to the very top of his cage under the basking light.

top-of-enclosure

Why did I buy him knowing that I won’t live long enough for him to grow up?

The simple answer is that I always wanted a Chameleon.

I will be able to see him into adolescence at the minimum,

And, a friend will take care of him for the remainder of his life.

They live approximately five years, maybe a bit longer.

Gargoyle

He looks remarkably like a gargoyle sometimes, as the Coastal Crone observed.

Wish us luck!

:-)

Oct-20-after-vet

Well, Little Lucy is not gravid.

After a weekend of hand-wringing,

She was able to see the vet.

The good news is that her bone density is superb.

She is not egg-bound.

 x-ray-1

The bad news is that she has calcium deposits in her kidney.

As you can see on the radiograph, there is a large area of calcification in her right kidney.

When Dr. Beck evacuated the vent, there was a solid piece in the urate.

It was similar to a kidney stone.

I suppose she thought it was an “egg”.

x-ray-II-web

I immediately suggested that I had given her too much calcium.

Dr. Beck agreed.

It is very rare to find too much calcium in a female dragon.

Usually, they suffer from calcium deficiency diseases such as MBD (metabolic bone disease).

And other awful conditions like mouth rot.

Well, I overdid the prevention.

Dr. Beck thinks the kidney deposits will break up and resolve.

If they don’t, she still has one good kidney.

And I have learned how to slay a dragon without trying!

Chuckle…

Little Lucy is feeling fine.

Thanks to all of you!

I appreciate every expression of interest and concern.

I haven’t replied to any of your comments since I was waiting for answers, too.

Please know that while I am trying to cram my remaining months full of things

that I must do, I am forever grateful and warmed by your constant reassurances.

Blessings to all of you!

:-)

Is She Gravid?

Cave-Oct-14

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!

October-fat

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!)

Chuckle…

October-fat-II

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!

October-Gravid

But, then…

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.

Galveston-Trip

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.

So…  I follow her directions to make a lay box.

The materials:

A fifty-gallon Rubbermaid tub (with wheels, preferably)

Sixty pounds of foundation sand

A clamp on light with a 100-watt basking bulb

Assembly:

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.

Add Dragon…

WORRY

(To be continued…)

We Missed the Boat!

Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas

 October, 2014

Colonel-Paddle-Boat

 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.

Kelli-and-Charlie-portrait

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!

Chuckle…

Moody Gardens, Galveston, Texas

October, 2014

Diver-_Kelli-reflection

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.

EEEK!

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!

Chuckle…

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!

:-)

Expiration Date

River-white-water-me

I have a terminal illness.  I am neither afraid of it nor unhappy about it.

I am seventy-two years old.

I have finished my work here.

I will spend my remaining months doing whatever suits me.

Tube-Kelli-and-Me

I have said pretty much what I thought in all of my posts here.

So, I felt pretty silly titling the posts Last Hurrah #1, #2, etc.

Why would anybody do that?

It sounds coy to me.

And, I am not a private person, anyway.

River_charlie--&-me

I decided to write about the last months of my life

because there is such a cultural taboo against talking about death.

I am fortunate to know that there is an expiration date for me

And to know approximately when that will be.

The last of life should be a celebration of life.

And, I intend to celebrate!

White-water-II-me

I’m headed for the rapids!

You’re welcome to grab yourself a tube

and follow me.

It’s gonna‘ be one helluva‘ ride!

:-)

I have added a Hospice Page for updates, questions, comments, etc.

The link is at the top of each page.

Please visit the page for updates.

Thanks, Friends!

Rainforest-pyramid

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 Last Hurrah #I

Coffee

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!

 

Sunrise I

This is the first real sunrise I’ve seen in a very long time.

I think you were still sleeping, Charlie!

Couple-at-sunrise

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.

Fisherman-at-sunrise

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.

Pier-sunrise

And, there were a few early birds on the pier, too.

Pool-Kelli-and-Charlie

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!

Moon

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.

First Haircut

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!

:-)

Adaptation for Survival

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!

BeardBig Lucy

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)

Palm-Pad

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.

Leg-right-back

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.

Sept-4-basking-on-log

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.

Nails-Dry

(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…

:-)

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