Our new gorilla girl at the Dallas zoo is three weeks old and her name is Saambili.
(sam-BEE-lee) I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything cuter!
Dad, Shelly, I’m quite sure no one will ever see this because it is text to your phone and who knows where someone who dies phone goes? Those are the questions I’m haunted with in the last few days. I didn’t know how else to send you a message except this way; telling of our times, trying to process, get it off my heart, I guess it could have been prayer but you know, technology…..blogs…..I did prayer too, just FYI, hehe.
You died Wednesday morning and it is now Saturday evening. I feel the need to tell you, even if you never see this, and even if no one else sees this how much you did for me, how much you meant to me, how amazingly there you were for me first as a mentor in the business world 30 years ago and later as a surrogate father. I know why I wasn’t invited to your wedding to Myra and I know why I have not been informed about the funeral. It’s okay. I was and am a weird threat to a couple of your five biological kids and I get that.
Your soul has moved on and I don’t need the formalities. Our relationship was one of the most beautiful things in my life. You helped me in ways that could never be understood by others. In fact, our innocent father/daughter platonic relationship has of course been misunderstood. I don’t care. You were amazing to me and THEN you set me up on a blind date in the old days before internet dating with my husband of 20 years now and my soulmate, Steve. I love you so much, Dad, and I will NOT say rest
DON’T! Don’t rest! Continue to do the amazing work you do to help people learn and grow like you did in this life. l say continue on your journey with joy and I’ll SEE you when I get there! All my deepest love. Andy
My Dad’s name was Shelly Dobkins. He and my now husband Steve worked together for World Savings way back when my husband Steve was a young up and comer and before I knew him. Shelly always saw something in Steve and admired his intelligence, integrity and class.
I met Shelly when I was young and green in the corporate world after I graduated with a minor in psychology and a major in business management. At 24 years my senior, he became a friend and mentor to me for business and corporate advice. Then as we talked more deeply over the years he learned that I was (mostly verbally, but sometimes a little more) abused by my biological father and my step father. He then started taking on more of a personal role in my life paternally.
I finally asked him 20 or so years ago if I could call him Dad. He was thrilled. He came when I got a new apartment to check the security, he checked the tires on my car, he made sure the gas stove was working properly, he did all the things no one had ever done for me and that I never even knew needed to be done.
Steve had married young to an Asian American woman and they never had kids. I think he was married to her for about 7 years. In the course of their divorce, Shelly being the jewish Dad started harping Steve about meeting me. It pissed Steve off and he told Shelly that he and his wife were not even living separately yet, how would he dare try to set him up on a date so soon! He was harping me too and I thought why would this very good looking man going through a divorce want a woman 3 years older? Shelly, my Jewish Dad, of course was trying to get me settled with a good man. So sweet.
Shelly finally invited us to a “huge BBQ” at his and Myra’s house in Newport Beach. It was four of us. They left the two of us alone on the patio overlooking the bay with wine. The rest is history. I’m married and living with my soul mate. Shelly found him for me.
So, this man, my Dad, not only tremendously in so many ways helped me as a young, vulnerable woman in the corporate world, he gave me the gift of my life, which is my husband.
I grieve my Father’s death tonight.
“I’m impressed by people who use vocabulary in a way that is interesting but not pretentious,” my husband said to me tonight. I was happy to hear that, he deals with lots of A players but some B players in many markets around the country.
Steve is President of a huge mortgage lending company, and was in Portland, Oregon to visit with his regional manager out there. He wants to debrief all of his trips and actually his entire work life with me. I love it and I help him a lot and always have.
“What more detail about his communication skills impressed you?” I asked.
“He chose the right words at the right time and tempered the entire conversation so there was truth and honestly but no drama.”
“Wow,” I replied, “that is something. So many people are dramatic, manipulative and misdirected so it’s great you have that guy in Portland.”
“Yes,” he said, “he’s one of the good ones. I might promote him soon.” We then talked in depth about how and where he could be promoted and when that might happen, who he would replace, who would replace him, etc.
“Steve,” I said, “do you think you have impressive and excellent communication skills?”
“No,” he said, “I think mine are adequate and they get the job done, but yours are impressive, excellent and exceptional.”
I have a dog named Haley. She’s an “English Cream” golden retriever. We also have Troy who is a regular golden retriever although huge at 100 pounds. So maybe not so regular. Troy and I are bonded at the hip, thank god. I paid a fortune for Haley as she is supposedly “ring trained and pure bred” both of which mean nothing to me. I was, at the time, frantic to try and replace a female dog named Rosie. Rosie was a Catahoula, a breed that is not recognized by AKC, maybe because it’s in their DNA to be very aggressive. It’s been YEARS and this is the first time I’ve had the strength to write about Rosie. I’m crying as I write.
Rosie and I were soul mates. I know animals well and I know the really intelligent ones domestic or in captivity need what is called “enrichment”. It is creating things the animals can do to use their innate skills, intelligence, ingenuity and natural tendencies. Just like the Chimps and gorillas at the zoo, of whom I’m an amatuer expert and volunteer to speak about their intelligence, relationships, behaviors, etc., very smart domestic animals need it, too. Rosie was so darn smart, I knew she needed it. When I took her to agility training for the first time the trainer was astounded.
“Oh, so you are very experienced working together in agility.” I said, “No, this is the first time we’ve ever done agility but we are soul mates and we get each other.” She couldn’t believe it.
I had so many close calls with Rosie in aggressive situations. She would over power me even when I had her on leash. She just wanted to attack everything! (She adored me and was protective and completely loving toward me.) And she was capable of it and seemed to be looking for it. I was filled with anxiety constantly and knowing there was a legal liability if she ever did anyone harm. But also knowing I couldn’t keep her if she continued this aggression! It was torture. Finally, at a lunch I had at my house for some women friends, she attacked and bit a woman. I knew that was the end.
The next morning, my husband and I cried together knowing that we had we had to put her down. Thank god we had the support of our friend Debbie Hartel who is an RN to help us through that. It was one of the most painful times in my entire life. I ADORED that dog and she adored me. I can’t wait to see her again at the rainbow bridge.
I asked my husband a year or so ago if he remembered how I sat on the chaise lounge in the bedroom where I used to be with Rosie in the evenings and cried for 3 months each night after she died. He said, “Andrea, you did that for a YEAR!”
Back to Haley. I never bonded with her. I think I resented her for not being Rosie. I have faked it for her sake. She is very loyal to me. Tonight, I looked in her innocent eyes and realized I need to just love her. So that’s what I’m going to do.
There’s Rosie in front of gorgeous Ryder.
One day, years ago, I was taking a walk with my mother and my beloved Golden Retriever. I always carry around a fear about how long my dogs are going to live and I asked my mother, “How long do you think Brandy will live?”
“Oh, 11 or 12, how old is she now?” my mother asked.
“She’s 14,” I replied.
That dog lived until 17 years old and those were the days before I knew what designer dog food was and her entire life I fed her “Skippy” from the grocery store.
OMG. OMG. I naively thought the “casting couch” was a thing of the past. Harvey Weinstein obviously proved me wrong. He has lost his job, his company, his wife, his kids, his reputation and his dignity, if there ever was any dignity. He joins the ranks with amazingly talented men who f*&^K up their lives by neurotically thinking they are above and beyond the norm and are entitled to things most everyone else are not. He joins Tiger Woods, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby and so many others. Many of these men lost everything, some end up in jail and it’s just a matter of time for the psychopath Trump. He is unraveling fast, making very poor decisions and alienating himself from his people in the White House. Today or yesterday he said “I hate everyone in the White House”. And we all know he is a predator of women and has spoken of them in ways that is unbelievably insulting if you are a woman, are in a partnership with a woman or have daughters. It’s unacceptable.
I entered the business world in the 80’s. I was smart, perceptive, educated and politically savvy. I was shocked at what I had to deal with in terms of sexual harassment. I dealt with it assertively but it was scary and I think I lost one job because of it. I hope this coming out about some of these guys changes things for women. I’ll end this post as I started it.
I bought this new Camelbak water bottle that you turn upside down, put in your mouth, squeeze and the water comes out. It’s pretty cool because unless you squeeze it you can turn it upside down and the water doesn’t come out. Apparently, it takes a little getting used to.
The other day at pickle ball my friend Cooper was sitting on the bleachers waiting to play. I looked at him as I was walking by, turned the bottle upside down in my mouth and squeezed. Something went awry. I’m not sure if water squirted from my mouth or dribbled out but something less than elegant happened. Cooper probably knows.
“You alright?” Cooper sort of mumbled. I laughed and sat down next to him.
“What?” he said, “You look at me and forget how to drink?”
“Something like that….” I replied. We laughed until we almost cried.
The water bottle
I manage our household finances and while I’m very good at it, my husband Steve is better and I need help from time to time. Today Steve was promoted to President of Prime lending. I’m so proud. Here is the link to the press release if anyone is interested.
Steve is very humble. When we were dating seriously 20 some odd years ago he said, “You are so much smarter than me, I better get an MBA.” And he did, while he was working full time I might add.
He got home a little early today and in the late afternoon I was working on some stuff in my home office and needed to ask him a question.
“Can you please step into my office for a moment, Mr. President?” I called.
“Yes ma’am, CEO! We all know who is in charge here!” he replied