I Like Turtles

As your average animal lover, there are few species that I don’t like.  I’m not a fan of bugs and when I was 2 years old a cat bit me in the face.  I’ve come around a lot but still have some trust issues with felines.  Also – I love going fishing, but really like to throw them back so they can reunite with their families.  I love cheese too much to be a viable PETA candidate and if the pet owner humane societies knew how much I liked to dress up my dog they would probably take her away from me.

When I was little we ran the gamut of random pets.  Goldfish, chicks, hamsters, a butterfly, hermit crabs – when we lived in Philadelphia we would dig for worms and keep them in the garage lovingly until they dried up.  When we lived in New Orleans we would catch frogs – many of whom met the same fate as the worms.  I would pretend the stray dogs who loitered around our house were mine.  That explains a lot, I know…  I had a bunny that I loved dearly who was killed by our exterminator.  I can’t count the number of therapy sessions which resulted from that one.

But you know what were really fun pets?  Turtles!  The experiences never ended well.  I think we had two and if my memory serves me correctly, they both escaped.  But I always thought they were fun to watch.  The way they could shoot back into their shell before you could blink an eye.  How slow they seemed but how fast they could go.  They couldn’t bite me in the face, they didn’t make much noise, so they were great listeners – the solid American turtle is underrated as every little girl’s best friend.

Yesterday, while on a beach walk with my mom, we took a detour down towards a bird sanctuary.  In the middle of the path there was a turtle in a hole.  My immediate reaction was to yell “of course you can call me Mommy! You’ll love your new sister Darcy!”  But I resisted so we could creep up and investigate what was happening.  The turtle was laying eggs!  It was so neat!  It was like watching a science experiment in real life.  And I never liked science – I just wanted to try and save the fetal pigs or bring the chicks from the incubator home with me.

I named her Bethany

I named her Beverly

We walked on to give her some birthing privacy.  I know if I was having babies I wouldn’t want two over curious women watching the process.  When we came back, she was covering up the hole.  Just with her feet.  Animal instinct is an amazing thing.  I do a lot better when people tell me how or when to do something – there was no one there with positive words of encouragement or providing direction.  She just knew.

Once we got home we Googled how long it would be until they hatched.  She left them in a hole right in the middle of the trail down the center of a bird sanctuary, so their chances of survival are questionable.  But my mom and I debated setting out beach chairs and getting some books or learning to knit with some vodka tonics while we were on turtle baby watch – if they can do it for the Princess, we can do it for a turtle.

Word to the wise – for the future – keep your eyes open.  Science is happening around us all the time!

And in closing – remember this kid?  I always felt like we had a connection, but I feel even closer to him now:

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The Smells of the Shore

I do my best thinking in the two places where it is most difficult to pen my thoughts: my shower and my car.  It’s unfortunate and typical but maybe explains why my entirely alone and uninterrupted thoughts are the best ones.  The problem, though is that as a result of my late in life ADD diagnosis and my outrageous imagination, I forget 90% of my best material.

The good news today is that the idea for this post followed me around all weekend.  Everywhere I went,  I was reminded about how much I love the smells of the shore.  Your sense of smell brings back some of your strongest memories as it is likely the first sense developed by the human body.  I’m not going to put together a bibliography for my research but you should be able to find my resources by typing in “smell and memories” and reviewing the initial headlines that pop up on Google. What I’m trying to say is if you were taken to the beach as a baby, it’s likely you will always have fond memories that flood your heart and soul the minute you walk into a beach house these days…

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My favorite smell of all time is sun screen.  Particularly Coppertone.  I still picture the pink bottle with the little girl in a bathing suite being chased by a dog behind her.  It was very much for babies and very much 80’s.  But I love the idea of it.  I remember the torture of having to put sunscreen on your face when you were little.  And the horrific idea that it might not have been perfectly rubbed in.  And then your teenage years when you’re far too good for sunscreen – you won’t burn – in fact, you want to burn.  And then eventually you become a real adult and realize it’s good to wear sunscreen because you really don’t want wrinkles or skin cancer and it is really a bother to be burned. I love sunscreen.  And I could smell it all day long.

The smell of the beach is incredible.  Particularly when you’re driving towards it with the windows down and you’re tired and have been sitting in traffic and all of the sudden you realize for the first time you’re within smelling distance of the bay and ocean.  And everything is okay again because you’re at the shore.  Work isn’t there – your messy room isn’t there – the drama with your ex isn’t there… It’s you, it’s a Corona and it’s the sounds and smell of the sand and the ocean and nothing can ruin that.

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The smell of beach houses.  Especially the showers.  I feel like beach houses just smell like happiness.  Save for the area where my brother and his friends are camped out, beach houses usually smell like a mix of sunshine and relaxation.  I wish Febreze would bottle a “Shore House” scent that I could spray on my couch in the city.  Or for others to spray in their cubical or cars for commuting.  When stepping into the shower at the beach the first thing you smell is sand that has been washed away and Happy Hour calling.  And the feeling of getting into the shower after a long day in the sun and washing off the sunscreen and beach breeze is just amazing.

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The shore is amazing to all senses.  I could listen to the crash of the ocean until it dried up.  I love to people watch on the beach.  The feeling of the sand between your toes or warm ocean water on your knees is magical.  I don’t really like to taste either of those… But being down the shore always seems to justify ice cream or cocktails – whichever suits you at that time.  I hope that for all of  you this is the beginning of a fabulous summer time that spikes joy out of all of your senses.