Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I'm torn about this post. My opposition specifically has to do with the discussing of myself.  I enjoy other blogs where personal information is shared since it gives me an insight into that individual, along with fodder to tease them with. But why the frickty frack do I have such a hard time coming to terms with creating a post about myself?  I need convincing that I'm neither vain nor self-important if I choose to discuss myself.  Please bear with me.  In the mean time, I'm going to (hopefully, maybe, we'll see) promise that this will be my last apology about the fact that an up-coming post is all about me.

Continuing on.

We had the pleasure of attending Tasha's birthday party at the zoo. When we stopped to eat lunch, all of the children began to play by the lake at the water's edge.  Asher was getting dangerously close to the water's edge while trying to get a better look at the sun bathing turtles.  I picked up a turtle and brought it back a few feet for the kids to see at a safer distance. That sucker ran lickety split back into the water. The kids thought it was a riot, so I did the same to all the other unsuspecting turtles who were sunning their cold-blooded bodies. We cheered for each turtle as it ran back towards the water and yelled with jubilee as it plunked back into the lake.

This experience was pleasurable for me because it reminded me of fond memories I have as a child. When I was around 6 years old, my mother was dating a man who belonged to the Arizona Herpetological Society, which meant that her and I also became due paying members. The society met at the Phoenix zoo monthly, and it's primary goal was to see to the well being of all things reptile. George the boyfriend was a reptile freak, which, alas, meant that we also became reptile freaks (my mother was already an animal freak, so it wasn't a hard jump to make).

We had a menagerie of reptilian personages in our tiny house.  I'm flooded with memories if I'm visiting a house that contains a reptile, and not because of the cute, spiny, scaly animal, but because of the smell. If you've never smelled a reptile in captivity living in an 800 sq foot house, you're missing out. It STINKS! I quickly became used to the smell, but I'm curious to know what my friends thought when they visited. All of our available wall space was covered with glass aquariums. During the only time I bothered to count, we had 15 snakes and 21 turtles.  Here are a few for your viewing pleasure...

Map Turtle
named so because of it shell markings

Map Turtle

Soft Shelled Turtle
They spent most of their time buried underneath the sand. I handled them very carefully because their shells are basically just thickened skin.

Soft Shell

Musk Turtle
Kinda fugly looking

Musk Turtle

Red Eared Slider
This is the primary species found at the zoo. In fact, I think that's where we caught most of our turtles. We would hunt after hours.

Red Eared Slider

Mata Mata Turtle
A bit frighting to look at, but it was one of my favorites.

Mata Mata

Boring Old Spotted Turtle


Burmese Python 
Ours was named Kenny. He was over 12 feet long and ate everything from rats to baby rabbits and ducks. LIVE baby rabbits and ducks. He also managed to escape from his cage several times. If he wanted to, he could have killed me in my sleep.

Burmese Python

Reticulated Python 
 Dolores was about 10 feet long and also escaped from her cage several times.  The morning after one of her escapades, we noticed one of our Nanday Conure parrots was missing.  Several days later, guess who had green feathers in her poo.

Reticulated Python

Golden Tegu Lizard 
Blanche had a foul temper and frequently bit our hands. 

Golden Tegu Lizard

 Desert Tortoise
Beloved Frank. Illegal Frank. I LOVED Frank. He ate lettuce from my hand.

Desert Tortoise

Below is a picture that could have landed my mother and George in jail. It's illegal to have a snapping turtle in captivity. This is George and his brother holding Ned our Snapping Turtle.

Large Snapping Turtle

Just kidding. 

Here is an actual picture of Ned. It's the only real picture I have of one of our pets. His jaws could have bit a finger off.  He ate goldfish and catfood.

Ned's  face

Ned's  mouth

Our last featured pet was the only warm blooded animal we owned.  


Conveniently, her name was Violet.  We gave her baths like we would a dog. She was de-scented, but she still smelled of ferret. When she ate, like any well mannered skunk, she would sit upright on her bum with her legs in front of her and nibble on pieces of cat food (a re-occuring theme in our house) that her tiny paws held up to her mouth.

So there you have it. I hope you home schoolers can use this post as a biology lesson. One more bit of interesting news - the Herpetological Society was also responsible for going to people's houses who had unwanted vermin on their property. There were several occasions where my mom and George brought home unwanted rattlesnakes, which we in turn played hostess too for several days.


Heather said...

well, you'll be an even better mom for Asher because you can understand/appreciate/like reptiles.

I however, do not care for much beyond the turtle. I am WAY too freaked out by snakes to EVER have one as a pet. I'm totally down with cute little white mice though.

April said...

I'm so glad your getting over your fear of writing about yourself. I never would have known this about you had you not written it. I think you and I do a good job at asking each other questions about our lives, but I would never had thought to ask, "So, did you have skunk growing up?" I'm very interested in your life and am excited to learn more. I also find it interesting that you don't want to use the dirty word diarrhea but you'll pick up a wild turtle with your bare hands and no purell in sight. Too funny!

H said...

I'm wondering why you have a hard time talking about yourself. Maybe you don't like compliments?! You are a great writer and I REALLY enjoyed this post! Like April, I think a trek back to your 6 year old days was a great peek into your life that I never would have known. What a riot it must have been to be your friend and wonder "what's at Jaylee's house today." I have a great picture of you picking up a turtle for the amusement of the children that I might now have to post, since I know you won't.

Keep 'em coming Jaylee, this was great!

Monique said...

Enjoyed the post. Learn something new every blog. I also grew up with lots of animals, reptiles, etc. But sadly, no skunks and rattlesnakes...you get all the fun.

P.S. It's your blog, of course you can talk about yourself. :)

Darla said...

This could be the one and only blog that I ever view (so far it is). I'm really enjoying it.

cheryljaye said...

My favorite blog too . . . You are really a good writer Jaylee . . . I had no idea you loved Frank that much; I really loved him too. I think I miss him most of all except maybe the skunk; she was so cute with her fat bottom and playful ways. I'm so proud of your willingness to catch a turtle at the Zoo like we used to do; it's fun being the only person in a group who isn't afraid of reptiles, isn't it?
(Just so you know, I had reptiles long before I met George; I had garter snakes, frogs, toads, amphibians, and lizards while I was a teenager in Conneticut; just ask Darla: how fun was that for HER!)xkedavo

Heather Weir said...

I can't believe you had a skunk. was it soft? And I'm very glad you talk about your self. seems you are a very interesting person. We had a red eared slider for a while. WE bought one off the side of the road. Which I found out later is illegal. Its about 6 inches around now. WE just gave it back to my niece. It started to smell and it took to long to change the water. My Brother in law says its creepy. needs a scarier name then Cosmo...

The Turley Times said...

As I was reading this at the dinner table, I almost did turn it around and say, "Look kids!" Then I turned it off instead, which was probably more appropriate. ;-)

So, you were all non-chalante when I told you about the box turtles in our neighbors yard. If you were really vain you would have spewed all this information to me then and there!

Ed and Bel said...

This explains why you were not afraid to pick up the grass snake at that the singles party back in the day. Do you remember that? I do because all the girly girls wanted to be us. We had managed to draw the attention of every young single man that was at that party. The next couple of weeks my weekends were booked. Tell George and your Mother THANKS! =)