Yesterday we got to take a donor's tour on exhibit at the zoo. The donations liaison selected the Galapagos Turtle exhibit for us.
At eleven we met at the flamingos, and rode in a little golf cart to where the turtles live.
Twenty eight of the turtles are from the original group which was brought to the zoo in 1930.
Yes, 1930, as in eighty-six years ago.
Some of these turtles are over one hundred years old!
Turtles are silent. They are huge! And very sneaky. So the keeper told us to always be on the alert or else we might trip and fall over a turtle that wasn't there last time we looked.
They think slow.
And they ARE slow! Their pulse is only six heartbeats per minute! (they listen for it near the neck and chest when they examine them.)
There are subtypes for each Galapagos Island. They look just a little different from one another. They are careful to breed them to keep each kind alive. The females just walk away from the eggs. They have no input to the young. It is all instinct and since birth they are on their own.
Only one is known in age exactly. His name is Jaws. He was taken from the island and fit in a shirt pocket in 1967. He had to be under one year to be that size. He was in one private collection, and then another, but the children who inherited him didn't want him. So he went to the zoo. He is forty nine, and is the biggest at over five hundred pounds. (The others have more classical names, such as Oscar, Grandpa, Grandma, and Madeleine).
If they get too cold, they get a pneumonia, and it never goes away. They treat it with medication, but the animal has it for its whole life.
They also keep the females separated from the males, as the keeper said, 'to give the ladies a break'.
Something unusual about the Galapagos turtle is they go into a trance state. It started because the Galapagos Finches would clean their skin and take out any parasites. When touched on the base of the neck, they go up on all fours, and do not react to ANYTHING. They don't see, they don't react to sound, and the more you try to get them out of their trance, the further they go INTO the trance state. It lasts about ten to fifteen minutes, this trance.
It's very good for animal husbandry--the medical care for the turtles.
We got to experience them in trance too. It's amazing.
The reason the liaison chose the turtles is because there is a new parking structure for the workers. She walks by them every day, and really enjoys them.
I was most happy to see the turtle 'house'. It was spotless. There is a barn with ten foot high ceilings. There is heat up above, radiant heat, as well as heated concrete with warm water under it. They have the plastic lining used for truck beds as 'wainscoting' --waist high--so the turtles won't hurt themselves on the cement blocks. The windows permit UV lighting to go in. This is important for the vitamin D for the turtles--they get their calcium balance right because of it. It's very hard to find such glass, but the zoo did it to help the turtles be the healthiest they can be.
It's funny. The liaison loves the big cats. I didn't. She didn't know. She drove us around to see them. I oohed and aaahhed to be polite.
She also fished around to see where else I donate. (only one other place--the Pacific Marine Mammal Center).
That's HER work. Keeping the donations coming in.
I realized that they have advance planning for the zoo grounds itself, and everything pretty much has been replaced since I was a kid, all except the children's zoo, which is 'on deck' after the 'Africa Rocks' exhibit is 'updated'.
She was surprised I hardly go to the zoo, and still support it.
I told her 'I work all the time'.
Which is true.
Anthony was pretty excited to see a rabbit on one of the exhibits. It had sneaked in.
I was pretty excited to have the memories of when he was very small. There was a patch of grass where I took him out of the stroller and he just ran around, delighted to climb on logs. It was where he had his first 'chair massage' in the little animal colored machines that jiggle your feet for fifty cents.
I used to work part-time, real part-time, only sixty-percent. I had every Tuesday and Friday off. And I used to take him places. We ate at the same place we used to always eat lunch. I used to buy him the children's meal in a bucket.
I shared with him over lunch yesterday that people used to ask me why I took the time to take him so many places when he 'wouldn't remember' them? I told them, 'He remembers now, and he enjoys himself.' Anthony wisely added, 'And YOU remember them mom. That's important too.'
From age four to eleven, my professional life has been a nightmare for me as a mom. I'm serious. I worked full time, with many overnights. I used to do mostly OB, and on top of that, nocturnist work at the ICU in the VA.
Add onto that, learning Reiki and taking classes on weekends and at night.
And blogging too.
No wonder why I needed to take so much vacation!
Here I am in a beautiful hotel (with a kitchenette) and a full view of the Mission Bay. I have a totally free day with no plans. I have all I need.
I am grateful for the work, and the ability to help so many people, to make new friends, and to be treated well--especially now I don't do OB. I sense a change is in the distance. It's fuzzy and intuitive as I am, I can't see it. I checked and Divine Father says it's for me and it's good. It's real. Ross is very quiet.
I am only now starting to appreciate his gifts--the really important people and lessons in my life--and how they pave the path for the joy I have in my heart.
As I was washing the breakfast dishes, I realized for all my time in San Diego, for my training, I never had 'days off' like I have now, today.
I'm going to soak it all in. And to give thanks for all of my many gifts. It's been twenty years since I graduated from medical school. It feels like yesterday. What a marvelous journey this has been!
Carla loves animals.
Carla loves all animals.
She enjoys them more than she does people.
Animals do not lie.
Animals do not trick--except possibly a primate or a parrot--both are highly intelligent and most times good-natured.
Animals remain true to themselves (he touches his heart center--ed).
Animals are simple, straightforward, and never question themselves or who they are.
Animals exist on a higher dimension, even snakes! I know some people may not like them, and think they and the many mosquitoes and pests are 'the lowest of the low'. (one finger up--ed) But THOSE creatures, lowly as they are for they walk upon the ground and slide on their bellies (raises hand up above his head as if to say 'this tall'--ed) are much HIGHER in the consciousness and are willing to submit themselves to evolve in this life form in order to help YOU learn.
They are not aware of having made this choice! (one finger up--ed)
And yet they are your most powerful teachers. The little things that bug you and annoy you and give you the creeps.
It is your pets--the things you enjoy--the dogs and cats and gerbils--and the things you adore--the fairies and the unicorns--that bring you comfort in the grand scheme of things!
But they are not your primary lessons.
Your lessons are what make you grow in spirit, and force you to adapt and meet the challenges your whole life. And it does not quit!
It is the working together, the coach, teacher, friend, and foe alike, that make this Earth Experience what it is.
And it's getting better!
I want you to get ready for Earth 2.0! (he laughs at his own joke, his 'I understand technology' joke--ed)
Aloha and Mahalos,
Ross and Carla
The Reiki Doc Couple