Predators

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.

OMG

 


Worry

As a young person I was unconsciously self-conscious, in denial that I cared about what people thought of my stuff and me. I worried so much about my hair. It was either utterly gorgeous or horribly frizzy and I was obsessed with which it was going to be on any given day. I feared that my cooking, although I knew it was good, wasn’t quite brilliant enough. I worried about my beautiful area rugs being perfectly straight without any rug pad showing.

Over the years, I’ve worried about hot water heaters, air conditioners, automatic awnings, stoves that stopped working, stains on carpets, Pebble Tec spontaneously falling off the walls of a pool, those damn pool vacs that go around the pool supposedly cleaning it that break constantly, mold in showers, strange noises in the house, etc. And then next thing I know, I don’t even own that house anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I fix stuff in my houses but it’s so weird to sit here and think of all the stuff I worried so bad about for weeks on end about a house I owned 5 houses ago!

My sibling, Orlando has on the signature of email this quote:

”Could things get any worse? Why yes, little one, be patient”. – Morrissey

Well, some things have gotten worse. I guess maybe it comes with time and stuff you have to deal with as you age like surgeries and illnesses. In general we are hanging in there but the stuff I worry about now is in a very different category than anything I mentioned above. In fact, I blow off the stuff above, it’s relatively meaningless. (And, in Dallas, it’s so humid so much of the time that if our hair is curly, it’s frizzy as hell and if it’s straight, it’s flat, so we use hairpieces! Big business here! Ha!)

I just found out today that my Jenn-Air range cannot be repaired because it’s 12 years old and they don’t make the parts anymore. And, there are two of them side by side that must match or it would look ridiculous in a house like mine. They are very expensive. My attitude is “Bummer, but it’s not cancer.”

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Do We Really Do This?

A chair and a whip in front of an innocent lion who was born in captivity and has never known anything else?? One time that animal was a sweet, innocent cub with eyes barely open looking for mommy. Now she’s being abused on a daily basis and has no choice in the matter and no one is speaking out for her.

A social animal like a chimp in a cage alone only let out when he is required to perform? This is a chimp who is suffering every day of his life. He desperately needs other chimps to be with and without them his life is gut retching. I won’t even get into chimps in labs because I couldn’t finish this.

THANK GOD BARNUM AND BAILY CIRCUS IS GONE FOREVER!!!   F#@*& them!!  They were animal abusers. Cirque De Solei is the replacement!  No animals!

Animals love their babies. They kiss them. I saw a mother chimp kiss her baby the other day.  Here’s a baboon mommy kissing her baby.

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We as the human race are acting like idiots if we don’t take this more seriously. Elephants are being poached at a rate that will make them extinct in 20 years. And it’s for their tusks which are nothing more than our own teeth!! Somehow, somewhere, some human decided these tusk/teeth were worth something. They are worth nothing more than the 25 cents you get from the tooth fairy when your tooth falls out!   Please, DO NOT buy ivory. You would be killing elephants.

Great apes have a different challenge and of course it is human related. The Great Apes are the gorilla, the orangutan, the chimpanzee, the bonobo and the human being. Yes, we are one of the great apes. Except for us, every great ape is HIGHLY endangered because of US! Their territory is being encroached upon for a mineral called Coltan which is used in all our devices; our cell phones, tablets, cordless phones, computers, etc. PLEASE recycle your electronics. If you don’t know how, figure it out!! In Texas, Staples will do it for you, check it out in your own state. Coltan can be taken out of recycled electronics and used again. HUGE for the great apes!

We are working hard to be sure the captive population of endangered animals is bio-diverse which means if and when these animals go extinct in the wild, at least our grandkids can see them in captivity. Bio-Diverse means we will not be mating sisters and brothers, etc.  If things continue the way they are, in 20 to 30 years  there will be no such thing as “wild animals”.  How horrible is that? Please figure out a way you can help. Recycling your electronics is a tiny start but what else can you do?

-Minimize your use of plastic in any way, plastic ends up in waterways and in the ocean and animals eat it.  Little tiny sea turtles will eat anything and so many of them die from eating plastic.

-If you can afford it, buy “sustainable” products like toilet paper and paper towels.  There is a sustaianble logo on the products.

-Recycle everything that you can.

– Try hard not to use Styrofoam in any way.  Its the absolute worst thing for the environment and wildlife.


Hair Drama

Let me try to explain this to you. I’ve been trying to explain this my entire life. My hair is really curly. I mean really curly. It dries naturally in frizzy ringlets. I have tried EVERYTHING under the sun to love my curls. My bathroom cabinet looks like a beauty supply store with so many lotions and potions to try to love curly hair. One called “Be Curly” made my mom laugh when she saw it.

I’ve been to curly hair “specialists” to cut my hair in strategic ways and sell me products that were supposed to change my life and make me love my curly hair. Never worked and took as long to do the friggin’ process of putting all the goop on the hair, hanging forward to squish the hair as it air dried as it does to blow dry the damn stuff straight!

Once a year something weird happens and I don’t know what it is and my hair dries naturally and it looks phenomenal. That’s the photo you see on my blog….It only happens once a year so I CANNOT depend on it.

Okay, anyway, I know I have new followers and BY THE WAY THANKS TO YOU NEW FOLLOWERS! But you don’t know that I am a Pickle Ball player! Yes sirree! I’m 58 years old, I was a tennis player for 25 or 30 years and then my husband found pickle ball for me after I had back surgery because he was scared I wouldn’t be able to play tennis again. My mom calls my husband a “peach” and he is. I’ve been married 20 years and I’m madly in love. But I digress.

Pickle ball is a combo of tennis and badminton, and some say ping pong. I said in an earlier post I don’t get the ping pong connection except that we are playing with a paddle instead of a racquet. We play in a gym on a badminton size court and it is a fast, aggressive game that gets us sweating in minutes. It is so fun and so addicting. I play 4 to 5 times a week for two to three hours a day. I’m blessed I have that kind of time for recreation. I’m also really good at it, an advanced player.

Oh, has anyone ever told you about Dallas weather? Air conditioner one day, heater the next. Humid usually then suddenly dry. Ice storm then heat wave. I’m not kidding, it’s the weirdest weather I’ve ever seen in my life. Luckily my sport is played in a gym!

But, back to my hair. Women in Dallas use hairpieces. This has never occurred to me. I was intrigued and bought a thing that plops on a high short ponytail I create on top of my head. It’s the EXACT same color of my highlighted hair. I just pull my own hair up, rubber band it, stick the hairpiece on, pin it secure with bobby pins and I’m looking good and set to go. No humidity worries (it’s synthetic hair so it doesn’t frizz) It changed my life in terms of how long I spend on my hair and I’ve since bought a couple other styles of hair pieces!

I was at pickle ball one day playing hard and confidently. I made a great shot and turned to go retrieve the ball because I was the server. As I stepped to the baseline to serve the ball, my friend who was on the opposing team bowed her head toward something. There is the middle of the court was my hairpiece. I had forgotten to pin it in!

“Scary, Andie!” someone from the stands yelled.

“Rug rat!” someone else shouted.

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The Bike

 

I’ve always been generous and sort of acted affluent, even when I had close to nothing!! So weird. My stepfather put a roof over our head and gave mom a menial amount of money to feed us and that was about it. I’m grateful to both of them. They were doing the best they could. But if I wanted hair conditioner, chapstick, skin lotion or anything other than the utter basics, I was on my own. I started babysitting at 12 so that I could buy myself those things. I had major experience and credentials because I had a baby brother and sister born 8 and 12 years after I was who I helped raise so I was a successful babysitter from the start.

REALITY CHECK: In those days, I babysat for 50 cents an hour!! If a mother was gone for two hours, she would give me four quarters! And then I’d go buy my hair conditioner from Gemco!

When my brother Sean was 12, I was 21 waitressing making pretty good money for a young girl and it occurred to me that no one had ever bought him a bike. I paid my rent, my bills, my college tuition and my books by myself but I thought every young boy needs a bike. And if his parents aren’t doing it for him, I will! I thought.

So, I did. I went to Gemco, bought a gorgeous bike perfect for a young boy, the right size the right color and it cost me about $175. Big bucks in those days. I snuck it in on Christmas eve after the “kids” had gone to bed, put a huge bow on it with a card that said “Merry Christmas Sean!”

In the morning, Sean’s father (my step father) was very excited about this and took a little credit for it. This was a long time ago and memory is a weird thing but I remember Russ giving me credit but also taking some himself which struck me as soooo strange.

Sean never rode that bike once. He wasn’t a bike kid. I saw it rot on the side of the house. Maybe my Mom and stepdad knew something about Sean that I obviously didn’t. He wasn’t a bike guy!

Years went by but one time Sean said to me, “Yeah, but I remember when you bought that young kid that bike and wow, what that meant to that young kid!”

Even though he never rode it, the gesture made him happy and he never forgot it and that makes it all worthwhile.


Kona Died

“This was the hardest one,” an ape keeper named Tara at the Dallas zoo told me today, “the hardest one ever.”

Anyone who works in any capacity with the apes had sunglasses on today and were carrying much needed tissue.

Last night as I sat at dinner with my husband I kept hearing my phone tones for email and text.  I don’t work (I volunteer) so I don’t get as much activity on my phone as most people and the rate at which these sounds were coming in alarmed me a little.  “Excuse me please, let me check that,” I said to my husband.

I am an amateur expert on the Western Lowland Gorilla and the Chimpanzee and I volunteer at the Dallas zoo two days a week speaking about behaviors and personalities of the apes.  I have come to know each ape intimately and some know and recognize me.  I love them deeply.

Andrea, it’s Julie at the zoo.  I know this is going to hit you hard and I’m so sorry.  I sent you several emails and I think Tracy did, too.  We lost Kona today, I read on text.  I burst into tears.  My husband was frantically asking what happened of course and I told him we lost Kona.

“Oh, the one who got his toe bit off by Juba?” my husband asked anxiously.

“NO!” I said, “those are the gorillas, Kona was the 7 year old Chimp!” I said as I sobbed.  I cried myself to sleep.

Driving to the zoo today was horrible.  I was so scared to see the keepers but even more scared to see the Chimpanzee troupe.  Cindy did a good job faking it at the Chimp Keeper Talk and then I saw Annie.  We embraced and I started to cry and she hugged me even harder.  Sweet thing, she’s only 28.

I am good friends with Kona’s main keeper whose name is Will.  Will is an emergency medical technician and is in Vietnam right now on a doctors without borders type mission with his father who is a surgeon.  I was so shaken up that I texted Will and just said OMFG and he responded and was an absolute wreck. Annie is his girlfriend and he asked me to take care of her until he could get back.  I told Will she’s a lot stronger than either of us, which is true.  Annie is not unemotional, she just controls it well.  When I told Annie Will texted me to take care of her she chuckled with tears in her eyes.

Later in the day I saw many other ape keepers and it was emotional.  Kona was one of a kind.  He was a rebel, a clown, a strategizer, a risk taker and his two and a half year old little brother Mshindi loved him to pieces.  In fact, at the zoo when an ape dies, they let the other apes in the troupe see the deceased body so they can process what has happened.  Little Mshindi was slapping Kona’s dead body trying to wake him up.  Gut wrenching.

No one knows exactly what killed Kona.  He had been a little lethargic and not eating well for a week.  When they brought him in and put him under anesthesia to try and figure out what was wrong, he just died.  Blood work and autopsy in progress but who cares, it won’t bring him back.

This morning when the keepers got to work there was poop spread on every wall, floor and ceiling of the indoor Chimp bedrooms.  Last night, the chimps protested.  It was the only way they knew how.  Today the Chimps were despondent and little Mshindi was trying to play the games on the ropes and climbing structures all by himself that he used to play 0n with Kona.  Gut wrenching.

konaresized

Sweet Kona

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Mshindi is going to miss Kona

So am I


Are You My Mother?

Just heard from my Mom. To me, she is the funniest person on the planet.  From the time I was one and a half years old and could understand what she was saying she has always made me laugh.  This is classic Mom:

I went in yesterday for a flu shot. They were giving them in the lobby of Kaiser which is big. I registered, waited my turn and was ushered to table number 3.
The pretty nurse said “how old are you?”
“I’m 80,” my mom said.

“Are you allergic to eggs?” she was asked

“No,” my mother replied.

“Have you ever had dizziness or disorientation?” pretty girl asked.

“No,” mom said.  “I mean maybe four times in my life when I drank too much champagne!”

“Normal,” pretty girl said.

“Do you have allergic reactions?” 

“To certain people,” my Mom replied.  (To those of you who know me, if you think I’m a rebel, you should meet my mom!!)

“Have you had any incidences lately with pests that felt disturbing in your life or left you feeling anything less than healthy?” pretty girl asked.

“Yes!” Mom said a little too loudly.  “There were deer on my redwood forest property in the last several days and they ate the flowers I JUST planted! SOOOOO frustrating!!”

“We’re almost done here.  Do you feel safe at home?”  

“Uh, I live in the middle of a redwood forest that is very isolated.  Are you referring to the person I live with or anxiety in general.  Are you a therapist or a person who gives a flu shot?  This is getting a little wierd….”

“Okay, final answer before I give you your flu shot. Are you or do you plan on getting pregnant in the near future?”

“Yes, as soon as I can.


Amazing Sacrifices For Those We Love

I didn’t write this, looks like it’s from People Magazine but wow!

After eight-year-old Gabriel Marshall underwent surgery to remove a tumor in his brain, the large scar left in its place “made him feel like a monster,” Gabriel’s dad, Josh, tells PEOPLE.

“He was very embarrassed about the scar – he wouldn’t even leave the house without something covering his head.”

“He said that he felt like everybody was staring at him and it made him feel like a monster, which broke my heart because to me he’s the most beautiful thing,” says Josh, 28.

Dad Gets Scar Tattoo to Match His Son's Brain Cancer Surgery Scar: 'I Wanted to Take Away Some of the Stares'| Cancer, Health, Bodywatch

Josh and Gabriel Marshall

Josh wanted to make his son feel better about the procedure, especially once Gabriel’s tumor – an anaplastic astrocytoma that had metastasized to his spine – was showing no signs of regrowth. So Josh decided to get a tattoo to match Gabriel’s scar.

“I asked him if it would be okay if I went and got his scar tattooed on my head if that would make him feel better, and he agreed that yes it would,” Josh says. “[I wanted] to take away some of the stares or attention from him.”

“He was very excited when I came home and showed him that I’d gotten it done. He said, ‘Wow that looks so realistic.’ ”

With his dad by his side, Gabriel learned to appreciate his scar.

“He’s now very proud of his scar because he knows that that it means that he was tougher than [the tumor] that tried to hurt him,” Josh says. “He calls it his battle scar.”

It’s been 15 months since Gabriel’s tumor was removed but doctors are monitoring him closely before officially saying he’s in remission.

“There is still some tumor in there, but his last sets of scans have shown that there is no new tumor growth,” Josh says. “The tumors are stable, so right now he’s just on watch with MRIs every 6 to 12 weeks.”

And on June 13, Josh, Gabriel and their matching scars made the news after Josh entered the annual Best Bald Dad contest, put on by St. Baldrick’s, a childhood cancer charity.


Scary

“You have to be strong,” the woman in the waiting room at the oncology radiology facility said. “My husband has lymphoma everywhere in its final stages and we are cheerful and optimistic. It’s what you have to do to be with cancer.” Her husband will probably die. He is completely hunched over by what I suppose is osteoporosis in addition to the lymphoma his lovely wife told me has taken over his entire body.

That first day we went for Steve’s radiation treatment, I noticed a bell on the counter with a ribbon tied to it. On the ribbon it said I made it the whole way! I was so new to this idea of my youngish husband having to go through radiation that I didn’t quite get what that was. Then, when Steve was in treatment, someone walked out, picked up the bell and rang it. Everyone in the waiting room applauded and some jumped up to hug the person who had just completed the grueling months long, daily treatment of radiation. I suddenly got it and of course, was one of the jump-up huggers. But I was also in tears.

A couple weeks ago was Steve’s last radiation treatment for a mild recurrence of prostate cancer. MILD? Can you really even say that if its cancer? You really can’t. It’s cancer. In his case even though his numbers are low and very encouraging, you get only one shot at radiation. One. You can’t do it again because radiation causes cancer. What? We are trying to solve cancer with a cancer-causing agent? Yep. OMG.

On Steve’s last day I was in the waiting room, waiting. My husband is a very subtle and humble person. He is not a person who has a need to bring attention to himself so I wasn’t expecting him to ring a little funny bell. I just assumed he would want to get out of there and put it all behind him while we wait and wait for results of radiation.   He walked out, made eye contact with me, picked up that bell and rang it loudly with a huge smile on his face. I burst into quiet tears; I try not to be a spectacle either. People applauded, jumped up to hug him and it was a demonstration of how beautiful people can be when we realize we are all in the same damn boat. Cancer levels the playing field.

 

 


Pacemaker

 

“I tried to get through your text without crying but it didn’t work,” George’s daughter Melissa texted me.

Pickle ball has changed my life. After back surgery for a herniated disk, my husband was worried I’d not be able to play tennis again and he found this new sport for me. Pickle ball is played in a gym on a badminton size court with a whiffle ball and a paddle and it’s a game of mixed doubles. Men and women of all shapes, sizes and ages all play together. It is a fast, aggressive game combining tennis with badminton and some people say Ping-Pong. I don’t see the Ping-Pong part of it. It’s an incredible work out but also an amazingly fun and addictive sport. I now play between 5 and 6 days a week for between 2 to 3 hours. It’s like my job, that and speaking about Gorillas and Chimps at the Dallas zoo 2 days a week. Lucky me. My recovery from the surgery was so excellent, I could easily play tennis, but I have no desire! My new love is Pickle ball.

I have met so many people and I have many very close friends in Texas as a result of Pickle ball. I am in awe at the support and camaraderie this PB community provides.

Not long ago, several of our Dallas police officers were shot and killed in a race relation issue. The next day at Pickle ball, one of the players called us all together and asked that we bow our heads in a minute of silence for the men who died. You could have heard a pin drop in that gym. It was powerful.

A couple months later right before we began play, a woman asked us to gather as she had a sad announcement. One of our dear Pickle ball friends Sarah, we were told, just lost her 48-year old daughter a day or two before. Again, we gathered, bowed our heads in silence and surely a lot of prayer for one of our own. Then the coach, Dave, went to get a bereavement card, which we all signed and he sent it. Sarah is not back yet but our community is there for her when she is.

Recently, one of our wonderful friends, George found out his heart rate was way too low. George is very athletic and otherwise a very healthy 72 year old, but his doctor was insistent on a pacemaker. He was going back and forth, stressing out about the decision because he felt so good and was playing Pickle ball several days a week aggressively. He was finally convinced it was what he needed to do.

George had the surgery to install the pacemaker on a Monday morning. Most everyone in our Pickle ball community knew. Shockingly, on Tuesday afternoon George sauntered in to the gym. He didn’t have his paddle with him and he didn’t intend on playing but he felt great and wanted to see us. Here is what I texted his daughter later, of whom I am very fond even though I don’t know her well.

Hi Melissa!  I wish you could have seen the scene when your father walked into the gym today.  The only word I can think of, and I don’t think I have ever used this word before, is “Fellowship”.  Several women jumped up to embrace him.  Our coach then went over to give him a hug and handshake and brought him a cushioned chair so he wouldn’t have to sit on the hard bleachers.  Then as games ended, men began walking up putting their hands on his shoulder or shaking his hand asking about his procedure and how he was doing.  He was the prince of the ball and everyone was quietly rejoicing in how well things went and how fabulous he looked.  Then a much older man than George took the padded seat and your father, of course, didn’t say a word and sat on the hard bleachers. He’s a special man and I know losing his wife was devastating as it was for you losing your mother.  But as a family, you have each other, and now know you can take comfort in that your father is a beloved member of a huge Fellowship of Pickle ball people.  Love, Andie

Here is Melissa’s response:

I tried to get through your text without crying but it didn’t work. What a wonderful thing to read. Thank you. Thank you again and the Fellowship of PB’s for caring about him so much. I’m so glad you’ve all gotten to know the awesome man I’m lucky to call “Dad”.

I’m kinda starting to like Texas….