Judgment Day

Hi. I know. It’s been awhile. I’ve been busy with discs. A big herniated one in my case. I couldn’t even sit on my desk chair to write for the longest time and I was too preoccupied with pain to try.

Dr. Christy referred me to a spine guy who was so cute I had trouble staying focused on my own disc and not various discs, or things along those lines that might be on his body.

Dr. Christy said, “Isn’t he….”

“Yowza!” I interrupted. Of course she laughed and typed.

At 38 to 40 years old compared to my 56, I am technically old enough to be his mother, if I had started young, which I didn’t, but if I had, I could be. But he’s fun to look at nevertheless.

This is supposed to be a funny blog about living in Texas not a medical journal or a journal about the zoo. But medical stuff and the zoo have dominated my life lately. While I’ve have had 3 surgeries in under 3 years, the Dallas zoo has had two baby giraffes in under 7 months! Kapono is our 6 month old baby boy and Kipenzi is our one month old baby girl. Here she is out of the barn and in her habitat for the first time.

Kipenzi with her Mama

Kipenzi with her Mama

Pretty Baby Girl

Pretty Baby Girl

I remember, years ago, judging people whom I decided were having too much surgery. They should take better care of themselves, I would think. They need to figure out what they can do other than surgery. Too much surgery is terribly invasive and wears on the body!

Well, yeah, and then next thing I knew it was me and I honestly don’t feel like I had any choice about my surgeries. I would have ended up in far worse shape had I not had them than I am now. In fact, once I recover from this latest one, I might actually be relatively pain free which would be incredible! I thought my chronic pain was from botched hip surgery just under 3 years ago. Little did I know I had a herniated disk that Dr. Christy described as “huge” and that the cutey pie Dr. Canella said I might have had for a year and a half or more. Maybe my hip surgery wasn’t botched after all! Yay!

I don’t judge people anymore. I haven’t walked a mile in anyone’s moccasins except my own and my journey has made it very clear that this is not easy for me or anyone else. It didn’t take self-control, meditation or discipline to stop judging. It took the hard knocks of life.

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Wow. That Was Weird.

Life is so bizarre the way time marches on and next thing you know, you are not young anymore and things so foreign like not being able to eat onions, an occasional slight limp because of hip surgery, wanting to sit down and rest a little in the afternoon, avoiding crowds and noisy restaurants, the push up bra gathering dust, living in Texas and desiring sleep more than desiring dancing just somehow creep in.

Today is, of course, Valentines Day.  It is also my 17th wedding anniversary.  I cannot believe it’s been 17 years! While I have all the years of memories, in many ways my wedding day seems like a year ago.  I am blessed with a wonderful man who adores me and whom I adore and for the most part an amazing marriage.

The perspective of the young and that of the not so young couldn’t be more different.  I remember being young thinking I would never have a wrinkle and that somehow I was immortal.  That youthful attitude may be by divine design because young people have to stay very motivated to keep things moving as older people slow down and begin to realize the truth about living and dying.  I can’t remember who came up with the idea of Social Security, was it Franklin D. Roosevelt? Whichever president it was, he was thinking along those lines.   Once a few people you love die or survive something dire like the terrifying diagnosis of cancer and its treatment, your bad hair days suddenly don’t seem so tragic and your values and priorities shift tremendously.  Things that used to freak you out and that you were a control freak about like red wine on the rug, algae in the pool, a door ding on the car, a stain on your favorite sweater, a burnt Turkey at Thanksgiving or a broken fingernail are close to meaningless.

It is such a complete switch from what it felt to be young, that when people my age say, “I feel exactly the way I did at 29!” I have no idea what they are talking about.  I say, “Really? God, I feel the opposite of the way I did at 29.”  And for me, aging is not all bad.  I like slowing down, at the risk of sounding cliche, to take notice of a breathtaking sunset, to behold wildlife, to truly listen to someone I love, to watch the brilliance of ants at work, to write just for fun, to take that little rest in the afternoon and to tell my complete truth without fear.  I am also so comfortable in my own skin now that I don’t take notice of someone judging me because I am so clear that that judgment is not about me.  I no longer judge others and that is so freeing.  I naturally try to connect with people instead of compete with them.

Surely there is a method to this folly and I do believe in a higher power orchestrating this to some degree.  I think there are some people who are very clear on why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing.  I am not one of them.  I do the best I can but I’m bewildered a lot of the time.

My mom has a friend and somehow they got talking about what might be on their tombstones.  He knew exactly what would be on his.  Wow. That Was Weird.


Tom Thumb (Aging Sucks)

I was minding my own business on a glorified version of a stationery bike at the YMCA while I played Words With Friends on my iPhone. Suddenly, a very old man approached me and in a raspy voice said, “I’d like to introduce myself! I’m Tom Thumb.” That’s weird, I thought, we have a grocery store chain here in Texas called Tom Thumb and isn’t that also a character in some kind of fable or fairytale?

eduardo-teixeira-coelho-tom-thumb-upside-down-1957_i-G-53-5397-AMOJG00Z                       IMG_1191

“I’m Andrea Thompson.” I said, and put out my hand.

“You’re always in black!” he growled.

“No, that’s not accurate,” I replied, “I’m often in black but I also wear my very bright tennis tops.”

“Once!” he almost shouted, “I’ve only seen you in blinding neon pink once!” Now, I knew something peculiar was going on and while I have my allotment of fears, people don’t scare me and I try to roll with them so I just hung in there.

“Wow, sounds like you’ve been keeping a pretty close eye on me, Tom Thumb.” I said.

“Well, you’re an attractive gal; are you married?” Yeah, he is 30 some odd years older than my 56 years so to his aging eyes I probably looked ravishing even though I was wearing black.

“That’s a very nice thing to say, Tom, and yes, I am very married.” I said. He suddenly looked distant, muttered something I didn’t hear and wandered away. I went back to my Words With Friends.

A couple weeks later I was working out with my trainer Karen and Tom Thumb walked by and blurted something incoherent to her.

“That’s Tom,” she said, “he had a stroke and he doesn’t have boundaries.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” I said quietly. I felt sad for Tom Thumb.

old_man