Where Am I?

Have you heard about Texas weather? When we told people we were moving here they said, “Well, clearly you aren’t moving for the weather, so why are you moving?!” It’s 8:30 pm, I have a sinus infection, Steve is on a plane hoping to get into Dallas/Fort Worth tonight from a biz trip. It is thundering, lightening and what I cannot reconcile is that it’s 92 degrees and HAILING! How is that even possible? How can it hail when it’s 92 degrees! Could it be 32 degrees High in the sky when it’s 92 down here?? (Notice I unconsciously capitalized high as if something supernatural is going on.)

I can hear the hail smashing against the the skylight in my kitchen. This is also tornado weather, something brand new to me. Tornados are a “warm weather event” I’ve been taught. Lovely. So I stay awake with my sinus infection, two dogs freaking out about thunder, my husband on a plane circling around, still trying to get my arms around what the hell is Texas….


They Are Wild!

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Shauna in His Pool
A keeper at a Florida zoo who was the senior “big cat” keeper and was known as the “cat whisperer” was mauled and killed by her favorite tiger a day or two ago.  This happens way too often.  She was in the friggin’ cage with him.  Wrong!
There are zoos that are “protected contact” and then zoos that are not.  Protected contact means that you only interact with a potentially “killer” animal through some kind of protection.  For example, at the Dallas zoo, the keepers are very intimate with the gorillas and chimps but always through heavy mesh fencing.  Because of that, there is no way the keepers could be harmed by the animals.  The Dallas zoo also adheres to protected contact with lions, tigers, mountain lions, etc.  We are a protected contact zoo.
Gorillas are not “killers,” they are very gentle by nature, but because of their size and strength they could crush a keeper with an affectionate hug.  Chimps on the other hand can be very aggressive and as cute as they can be, especially the babies, they are very dangerous. I am a huge believer in protected contact because our keepers at the Dallas zoo don’t get killed and never have and keepers at non-protected contact zoos have.
I get it.  I know what happens.  Keepers in non-protective become somehow immune to the fact that the animals they love and the animals they believe love them are wild animals.  They begin to believe that their bond with the animals is something very special and different.  They think the animals love them.  And they might be right!  But they are WILD!  They turn on a dime.
I think keepers who love their  animals might lose sight of this.  These animals hear or see something out of the corner of their eye and they attack whatever is in front of them.  I’ve seen chimps do this.  Thats what happened in the recent killing of the keeper.  Everything was fine until she turned her head and the tiger heard or saw something that was upsetting and attacked the first thing she saw, and someone she probably otherwise loved.
All I can say is “Siegfried and Roy.”

Youthful Advice

I’ve got my younger self reminding me of a few things I’ve forgotten over the years which is kinda obnoxious.  I finally decided it’s time to go through VERY old cards, letters, documents  and my own writing and get rid of some stuff.  As a young woman I was incredibly ambitious and driven and I wrote a lot.

I wrote and conducted workshops, seminars and training programs for corporations but I also wrote for myself.  Unlike today, I was very analytical back then, trying (and in many cases succeeding, hehe) to figure everything out.

I’m WAY more laid back now looking for fun, funny and how I can help animals and other people.  In fact, going through all this stuff made me feel exhausted.  I read one document from the early 1980’s about my goals for the following year and it had an entry that said “Rest from time to time.”  Which was VERY unlike me!  It should have been a SMART goal!!  Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely!  “Rest from time to time” is simply not good enough for my old self!!

Now, as my friend Tim will tell you, I wallow with coffee and the paper until 9:00 or 9:30 in the morning.  It’s heaven!  But in many ways, that other life was heaven, too.  Just so demanding.

Why am I telling you all this?!  Well, it’s because as I hold all these tattered and yellowed pages with old fashioned computer fonts in my hands, I can’t just throw them away.  I have to capture them somewhere and my blog will be the victim.  Some of the upcoming posts of writings from years gone by will be longer than my normal short stories.  As usual with any post on any blog, read what you want and move along when you are over it.  I am going to post this stuff in smallish doses and will continue to write about the zoo and other stuff also.

BTW, it’s called The Accidental Texan and my earliest posts were about how much I hate it here.  I don’t hate it anymore.  I have a full life now and there are things here I love.  Lots of things, but mostly my gorillas.

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The buddies laughing and playing.



Bubbles

The other night my husband Steve was stressed and achy so I drew him a bath. I lovingly put in Epsom salt for the aches and a nice smelling bubble bath product for the scent and the bubbles. Bubbles when you are in the bath over age 50 are a really nice idea. His bath was ready and he got in. I hung around in the bathroom with him. We’ve only lived in this house about 8 months and we haven’t taken a lot of baths.

“This bath has a Jacuzzi function, did you know that?” Steve asked me.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Have you ever used it?” he asked.

“No,” I said, “I don’t like chaos and Jacuzzi’s seem chaotic to me.”

“I’d like to try it,” he said.

“Okay,” I replied, “Let’s see if we can figure this out.”

Steve laid his head back while I fiddled around with the controls on the touch screen. Nothing was happening and then suddenly the jets sputtered and sprung into action. And I mean action. The bathwater and bubbles suddenly looked like a gigantic vat of boiling water on steroids.

Then the bubbles began to grow.

And grow.

“Before we knew it, bubbles were rising up from his waist to his chest and then threatening to envelope his face.

“How do you turn this damn thing off!” he shouted over the rising bubbles and the noise from the jets.

“I don’t know!” I yelled back as I was bailing bubbles with my arms and throwing them into the shower.  I had to keep bailing bubbles because they had begun to spill over onto the floor while I had visions of them filling up the entire bathroom.  This was a race against time.

“Try anything and everything!” I yelled, “Before those bubbles cover your face!”  I frantically kept bailing bubbles into the shower.

It seemed like and eternity but he finally did something that worked and the jets stopped. We stood there staring at each other. Bubbles everywhere! In his eyebrows, his hair, my arms and everywhere else.

“Relaxing bath, honey?” I asked. We burst into hysterics. “Steve, I’m going to go get my phone! I need a picture of this for my blog.”

“No, you’re not,” he replied.

Sorry, no photo!


Anti-Social

“It’s a lot easier being older,” my husband said the other day.

“Why?” I asked him.

“It’s easier making decisions. I put more value on my time and what I spent it on so that expedites my decision-making. I don’t spend time with people I don’t want to spend time with or do things I don’t want to do.

I had to laugh. Indeed, he and I are not the most social people. He said that humans are hard wired to be in tribes and groups and that we somehow missed that wiring. We have an inner circle of people we like spending time with, even in Dallas now, but we generally have no interest in meeting new people. Steve works long hours and we also love to spend time alone together.

Shortly before Christmas we were standing on our driveway at our new house in a gated community and a neighbor whom we had not met walked by and said, “Oh, hi! Are you the new neighbors?”

“Yes we are,” I said.

“Oh great! Then we’ll see you at the annual Christmas party up the street!” she exclaimed.

“Well,” I hesitated, “I’m not going to say we are anti-social….”

I heard Steve chuckle behind me. He loves that I’m the more vocal of the two of us and handle these types of things.

“…..but we just aren’t the type of people who like to meet new people,” I finished.

Her demeanor changed slightly and then she blurted “Oh, I totally get that! There is hardly enough time to see the people we already know!”

“Exactly!” I said, “Nice talking to you and have a great evening!”

After that exchange, I didn’t want to say nice to meet you.


Mr. Perfect

I wish I did, but I didn’t write this and I don’t know who did so I can’t give them the credit.  My sister sent it to me and I love it.

I recently picked a new primary care doctor.  After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing fairly well for my age.

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking him, “Do you think I’ll live to be 80?”  He asked, “Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?”

“Oh no,” I replied.  “I don’t do drugs either.”

Then he asked, “Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?”

“Not much….my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!”

“Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking or bicycling?”

“No, no I don’t,” I replied

“Well then,” he said, “do you gamble, drive motorcycles, drive fast cars or have lots of sex?”

“No,” I said.

He looked at me and said, “Then why do you even give a shit?”