Cheetah’s and and Gorillas!!

Somebody asked me about Cheetah’s lately.  I can’t remember who.  But I cannot post without showing you Hope and her baby Saambili!!  How amazing are they?!!

Cheetah’s are very interesting animals.  They are the fastest land animal on the planet going from zero to 70 miles an hour in 3 seconds! They can only maintain that pace for a short time.  Their claws are like cleats on soccer shoes to allow traction and speed.  The only thing faster is an air animal which is a breed of hawk.  Cheetah’s are relatively small when it comes to cats in the wild so they run very fast, catch their prey and eat as quickly as they can because inevitably bigger cats (lions and tigers) smell the kill and chase the cheetah away so they can eat the rest.  Then the cheetah rests, and tomorrow she/he repeats.  Cheetahs eat ONLY meat which is so interesting since Gorillas are strictly vegetarian and wouldn’t eat a piece of meat if you handed it to them!!!

As a side note, all cats in the wild are solitary ie they live their lives alone and solitary except when they come around to mate which happens quickly and then they go their own ways again solitarily.  The strange exception is Lions who live in family groups called Prides.  We have a pride at the Dallas zoo with baby cub, mommy, daddy and auntie!  It’s amazing!  The animal thing is all so amazing!

Watching Hope and baby Saambili has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It reduces me to weakness by its amazingness!


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!


Big Boy Troy

When Troy, our 100 pound golden retriever was young, we would bring him new toys and then watch while he ripped them to threads and found the “squeaky mechanism” which a dog could choke on.  My husband Steve would then gently take it from him.

Now, when we give Troy a toy, he rips it to shreds, finds the squeaky mechanism and gently lays it in front of his daddy’s feet.  He thinks it’s what Steve wants.

Two weeks ago Steve put shredded cedar bark on a plant bed in the back yard where the dogs spend a lot of time.  The dogs were thrilled and immediately took to chewing on pieces of it.  Troy got horrible diarrhea and I began monitoring their time in the backyard to keep them away from it.

Tonight when Steve and I got back from dinner there was a small pile of cedar bark in the living room.  I’m a positive reinforcement kinda gal so I rarely reprimand my dogs.  Today, however, I took the pile, showed it to them and said “No! No you guys, this is not okay!!”  They both cowered.  A few minutes went by and I got busy taking off my make-up.  When I came out, Haley, our little girl golden was hiding in a closet but Troy brought a stash of cedar bark they must have had hidden somewhere in the house and laid it at my feet.

(We never told him he wasn’t a lap dog…..)

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Where Ya At??

“You have amazing diction and enunciation,” my new neighbor and friend Ann said to me. “You should be a public speaker!”

“Well, thanks. And for the record, I was a public speaker for years and taught public speaking one on one to senior executives,” I said.

“Yes!” Ann said, “I knew it!!  We kinda destroy the language here in Texas, don’t we?”

“Well, yeah, in some ways, you do,” I replied.

Ann is highly educated and was an educator herself for years and years.  And, she is a Texan through and through.

I will never say “ya’ll”, “fixin’ ta leave”, or “jus’ sayin’” no matter how long I have to live in Texas! I mentioned in a post a while back that I have been complimented here in Texas on my accent. “It’s an intelligent accent,” one Texan told me. However, I’ve also been reprimanded.

“Ma’am,” a bartender once admonished me when I complained to him about inconsistencies, “don’t ever try to apply correct English grammar to Texas slang.”

I’m from Southern California and my mother was a stickler for the spoken language and corrected my siblings and me constantly as we were growing up. That has been a blessing. We’re all well spoken and the language section of entrance exams were always a walk in the park for us.

Dangling participles are my mother’s worst enemy; I adopted that enemy and my friend Debbie suffers for it. Or, at least she used to. (If you don’t know what a dangling participle is, shame on you. At in the horrid sentence Where are you at? is a dangling participle. The correct sentence would be simply Where are you? There is nothing dangling in that beautiful and concise sentence.  I can think of a few things that are very nice dangling, participles are not one of them.

After I knew Deb for nine or so years, I finally felt comfortable correcting her when those danglers resonated in my body like an electric shock. I explained to her why she might want to stop it and for about eight months she made a heroic effort. One day however, she simply stopped. I called her on it and while I won’t repeat her response here, (I just remember it had an “F” in it) I knew it was time let Debbie be Debbie. Debbie will probably be Debbie in the comments section of this post.

Anyway, back to my new friend Ann. My friend Tim and I were returning from the vet when we let my two dogs out of the car off leash just as a woman I had not yet met in my new neighborhood was walking by my house with a small dog. For some reason, my 100 pound golden retriever Troy, hates small dogs. He raced over barking, growling and crouching like he was going to take that dogs head off. I was screaming, Tim was balancing a huge box of light bulbs we bought on the way home in his arms and the woman was trying to coordinate the confusion, her dog and the leash, which was becoming dangerously wrapped around her legs. I’m no spring chicken and I knew she wasn’t either but I later learned Ann is 87 years old.

To my horror, she went down. Onto the rough pavement. I raced over and grabbed Troy by the collar and dragged him into the house while Tim did what he could to tend to the woman on the ground and a very frightened little dog. I ran back out apologizing profusely wondering if she broke a hip or worse.

“I’m fine!” she said, “I love dogs and I understand dogs; I just want to go home,” and off she went up the street. Tim and I were both shaken but relieved to see she seemed to be walking well.

Tim went to visit her immediately to be sure she was okay while I went in, got online and sent a huge bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates to be delivered that same day to Ann’s house. Another lovely concept I learned from my mother. The next day I received a beautifully handwritten note from Ann and we have become fast friends visiting each other often.

So jus’ sayin’, ya’ll. Since I’m not fixin’ to leave Texas anytime soon, i’m so grateful to have my beautiful friend Debbie waiting for my eventual return to Scottsdale, Arizona, my wonderful friend Tim who helps me with so many things here in Texas, my new friend Ann in my new neighborhood and my amazing mother’s influence in the person I am today.

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Soul Sisters

“Her credentials are stellar and she’s super smart! She’s volunteered in hospice for years, which is rough stuff and at other facilities for the downtrodden. She is gentle but also tough! Her stepdaughter went to school with our cousin’s granddaughter so she is like family to us.” 

That makes you family? That’s a stretch, I was thinking. This guy is lucky I didn’t yet know I share a birthday with Dr. Christy. I would have been all over him about who is family.

“That’s wonderful,” I said trying not to be rude but nevertheless multitasking half listening to him while trying to get forms filled out the receptionist had given me, “yeah, I think she’s pretty amazing, too.”

“Well, that’s not all!” the old portly guy with a cane, swollen ankles and skin issues went on. “The first time I ever met her she put her stethoscope to my heart and went around once, went around twice but didn’t stop there which is normal operating procedure! I should know; I’ve had my share of heart issues! Twice around is when they stop!” I was still trying to get that damn paperwork done. “She went around a third time and by the fourth time around she was dialing a cardiologist and three days later I was in open heart surgery! That lady doc saved my life the first day I met her!!”

As I was just about to say he didn’t need to have the word lady in front of the word doc, Dr. Christy’s PA came out and said loudly, “Thompson!” The man’s wife jumped up while he started rocking in an attempt to achieve some momentum to hopefully get up off the couch.

Confused, I Iooked at the woman and said, “Is your name Thompson?”

“Tomlin,” she said.

I have noticed over the years that physician’s assistants are generally all business and take their jobs very seriously and Angel is no exception and she didn’t even bother addressing the confusion which she clearly noticed. “THOMPSON!!” is all she said, just louder this time and there were only three of us in the room. It made me chuckle.

I stood up. “Sorry,” I said to Tomlin, “I’ll be fast, I just need her to check a couple things.” I really wasn’t sorry and I didn’t intend on rushing the good doctor or myself. I was relieved to be away from that man so when Angel was done with the dreaded clothes-on weigh-in (NEVER wear boots!!) and my white coat syndrome blood pressure reading which is always traumatizing, I might be alone for a few minutes to finish that stupid paperwork.

I did finish it and in addition to the glamorous photo of Dr. Christy on her wedding day, (the only day in her life she ever wore make-up), I noticed a first place prize plaque she and her husband won in a sailing contest. Wow, I thought, not only is she a doctor, she’s a sailor who wins first prizes in contests, with her husband no less!! I cannot partner with my husband in anything competitive. It’s a complete disaster. I will play mixed doubles but he must be partnered with the wife of the other couple and I must be partnered with her husband.

Then I heard the file being taken out of that file holder thing on the outside of doctors examining rooms. Now, normally when you hear this sound you know you have 3 to 4 more minutes to un-sterilize tongue sticks and see what’s in all those drawers because most doctors do not review a patient’s chart until the 3 or 4 minutes before they enter the examination room. Dr. Christy on the other hand, reviews the charts of the people she is going to see that day in the morning. What a concept! So with her, I have to have my hands off those sticks and the drawers closed as soon as I hear the sound.

“Hello!” she said brightly as she entered the room before we even made eye contact.

“Hi!” I said, and we hugged a comfortable, real hug. “Your ears must be ringing,” I said, “that man out there is singing your praises!”

“Oh yeah,” she laughed, “he’s a geek that way.”

We sat down and that’s when I do the emoting and she does the typing, question asking and laughing. We have so much fun together. I got it all out and she asked me to sit on the examination table so she could check a few things. She walked over to me and I was jealous that she looked so thin, and I’m not fat. Jealously at my age of 56 when you are at least a partially evolved human being is nothing like jealous at 13, 27 or 36. At this age you are sincerely happy that your friend or doctor/friend is looking great, you just wish you looked as great. And you might; we are our own worst critics. Maybe the word isn’t even jealous.

As she approached to take my reflexes with that little stick with a rubber pointy thing that reminds me of a primitive tool, I brushed my hand on her stomach and I said, “God, you are so skinny!”

“Really?” She sort of squeaked, “no!”

“Yeah,” I said, “your stomach is so flat!”

“No it’s not! It’s these pants. They are too big for me so they make me look skinny.” She pulled the waistband of the pants to show me how big they were. “And, these scrunchy tops hide a multitude of sins.” She must have been getting what she wanted with the tomahawk because she gently smiled as my feet popped involuntarily toward her.

“Okay,” she said, “I’m going to give you a topical ointment for that little thing on your skin but that’s it. I’ll go get it for you now.” I followed her out of the room.

“No,” she said, “stay here, go back in there,” and she pointed to the exam room. She tries to avoid crowds at the PA’s desk because there are two other doctors and their PA’s in her offices. I saluted and dutifully returned to the exam room.

A minute of two later she burst into the room and excitedly exclaimed, “Now I know why I like you so much! We are soul sisters! I just saw your birthdate and we have the same birthday!!” She held her arms wide and we fell into a hug.

“That is so awesome,” I said, “we are both Scorpios and do you know how I found you?” She shook her head. I rolled my eyes around, held a finger in the air and twirled it around and then slammed my finger onto a framed photo on her wall to indicate how random it was.

“Don’t break my picture.” she said with a giggle.

“God, I can’t believe you and your husband won first place in the sailing contest,” I said.

“Yes,” she smiled proudly, “d’ya’ll sail?”

“No,” I said, “and we don’t say “ya’ll” either.”

“I do both!” she exclaimed.

We parted with a “love you”, “love you, too” and I headed down the hall at my normal determined pace to tackle the rest of my day.

“Andrea?” Dr. Christy called.

“Yeah?” I said.

“You are going the wrong way! The exit is this way.”

I did a 180 and I passed her as she took a chart off the wall of a door, made eye contact with me and said quietly, “Okay, in with Thomlin now.” I put my hand on her shoulder. “Good luck!” I whispered and then exited out the correct exit. ___________________________________________________________ *Reminder: My posts are based on true stories.  A few facts might not be completely accurate either because I couldn’t remember or I liked it better a slightly different way.  Names in most of my posts have been changed to protect the innocent.


Sparkling Celebrities

OMG! Leonard Nimoy aka Dr. Spock just died. I was never a fan of Star Trek, in fact, I’m not sure I saw one episode. I’m not a TV watcher. I only watch SNL and tennis and they must be taped.  I hate complicated, computerized, bionic remotes and I hate commercials. I have my vices; TV is just not one of them, which is weird because my father was in TV.

I was raised in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California, my mom was a gorgeous model, my father, Robert “Bob” Miles was the stunt man for Michael Landon on Bonanza all those years and he continued working the few stunts necessary for “Little House on the Prairie.” Michael Landon and my father loved each other. Then sadly as we all know, Michael died of cancer.

My Father no the set of Bonanza

My Father on the set of Bonanza

My parents divorced when I was very young and I never got to know my father well. He had an exciting life with Hoss, Little Joe, Ben and Adam Cartwright and was into partying heavily with those guys when they got off set. They must have gone on benders because days would go by when we wouldn’t see my dad at all. He apparently had an IQ off the charts but wasn’t smart enough (or in control enough) to treat us well and his behavior when he did come home was scary and totally unpredictable. He slapped me around several times as a very young child, was drunk a lot of the time and was angry.

The Bonanza Cast

The Bonanza Cast

My oldest sister, Lisa kept tabs years later on him, bless her heart. She sent me documentation that my father is the one who taught pretty boy Landon how to fight. Really fight. Not just for the cameras. I’m not sure why my father thought Michael needed to know this but from what little I know of my father, he probably thought everyone needed to know how to fight. There had to be a reason for that and I suspect it stems back to his own parents, whom I know almost nothing about except that they were both stunt people in the very early stages of the industry. That takes tough, especially in those days. Like them, my father, an only child, was tough, rugged and one time punched the man hard right in the face he thought was stealing his family. I was probably 4 years old and I remember it like it was yesterday.

10 years ago by complete coincidence because of my husband’s job, we lived in Studio City, California for a short time like I did in my childhood. It brought back so many weird memories. It’s called Studio City because it’s where all the TV studios are (Duh to anyone from California but not Duh to people who aren’t) and so all the TV celebrities live there. We ran into Dr. Spock’s cohort William Shatner (among other TV celebs) rather regularly at restaurants and shopping malls. Shatner must have lived very near us. On one occasion my husband was out of town and I was dining alone at a restaurant near our house and I saw Shatner with a woman and a bald child and I heard the encouraging words Shatner was saying to them both. I’m pretty sure it was a “Make a Wish” Foundation meeting, which is utterly lovely.

To keep the yin and yang of life in perspective however, too often we would see him around town in a Jack LaLanne leisure suit. (See photo of LaLanne and note the belt! Look what he was telling people not to eat 50 years ago!!  He misspelled “Pastries”!  And even if he knew it, he probably didn’t care!  Look at at the motivational technique of his body language!  Talk about a guy ahead of his time!!)

The Amazing Jack LaLanne

The Amazing Jack LaLanne 50 Years Ago

Shatner would be drunk, belligerent, cruelly degrading service personnel, yelling at restaurant managers and just being an all around AH.  He was fat, red faced and hostile and he was a disgrace to himself. At this stage of my life, I am not one to judge people but he was SO mean to people.  A year or so later when I moved back to Scottsdale, I couldn’t figure out how they made him look as good as he did for the travel company commercials he was doing.

How He Looked in Person

How He Looks in Person

How They Make Him Look in Commercials

How They Make Him Look in Commercials

Leonard Nimoy was the opposite and may he rest in peace and have fun on the next journey.  I suppose William Shatner is doing the best he can like the rest of us but are certain celebrities exempt from behaving decently? Or do their accomplishments in one narrow field allow them to be the exception to decency?  Or do we reinforce the behavior by “letting them off the hook” more than we would others?

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Alternative New Year’s Eve Festivites

Okay, what I’ve learned is that the abdominal wall right near the belly button is fragile tissue because the umbilical cord was there. So umbilical hernias are not that rare. They are usually caused by one of three things:

  1. Many pregnancies, not me, never had a kid.
  1. Overweight, I wish I was 10 pounds thinner but I am not overweight. The good Dr. Christy even called me skinny the last time I saw her. It’s no wonder I like her so much. It’s probably because she is so used to looking at fat people that I look skinny to her. In my opinion, I’d be skinny if I were 10 pounds thinner.
  1. Coughing, that would be me. When I first moved to the dreaded Dallas I had allergies so bad and was coughing so intensely all day every day that I thought I had lung cancer. I was coughing until I either sneezed or almost threw up. (TMI, I know.) I finally googled “internist Dallas,” closed my eyes and picked one and by an incredible stroke of luck, or divine intervention I ended up in Dr. Christy’s office. So anyway, one of my gifts from Texas is Dr. Christy and another one is a hernia. Jus’ sayin’.

Dr. Christy was able to simply push my hernia back in for a while. The last time I saw her however, she couldn’t do it so she referred me to a surgeon and I’ll be ringing in the New Year with surgery on New Years Eve! I hope each and every one of you has something just as fun and festive to do to ring in yours! I’ll be recovering from anesthesia and drinking chicken broth while all you guys are drinking expensive champagne, swinging from the chandeliers and kissing each other.

On Monday I got the call from the admissions person at the hospital for the typical pre-surgery health and lifestyle interview. She started by quizzing me to be sure I wasn’t a complete idiot.

“Do you know why you are having surgery on Wednesday?” Peggy asked.

“Yes,” I said, “I have an umbilical hernia that the surgeon and my PCP Dr. Christy thought should be repaired,” I said.

“Do you know what your surgeon’s name is?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, “Dr. Komen.”

“Do you remember what time they asked you to stop eating foods and beverages the day before your surgery?” she asked.

“Yes, midnight.” I said.

“Who will be driving you here on the day of your surgery”?

“My beautiful husband,” I said.

“What time is your surgery?” she asked.

“10:00 am.” I said.

“What time do you need to be here?” she asked.

“8:00 am.” I said confidently. I was kicking butt on my interview!

After determining that I had at least a couple of operative brain cells, she went on to the more complex questions.

“Do you live in a house, a condo, an apartment or a trailer?” she asked cheerfully as if each of these were an equally delightful situation. Why do they need to know that? I thought.

“Who else lives with you in the house other than your beautiful husband?” she laughed.

I laughed too, “beautiful doggies,” I said.

After she did all the family medical history stuff, who’s dead and who’s alive, what kind of shape everyone is in, the surgeries I’ve had, whether I smoked, drank, took illegal drugs (who would say yes to that!?), she moved on to more esoteric stuff.

“Do you like to ingest information from written material and figure it out by yourself OR do you prefer someone explain it to you and walk you through it OR both?” she asked.

“Probably both,” I said, “but what a weird question.”

“I know,” she said, “but we have patients who can’t read and they don’t want to admit it which is understandable.” I loved her for her sensitivity. “This question is a great way to let them off the hook so they don’t go home with instructions they can’t read but rather with a visual and explanation they can adhere to.”

“That makes perfect sense.” I said.

“Okay,” she said, “last question. Do you and your beautiful husband know where the hospital is?”

“Uh, yeah….” I said.

I’m nervous about two things; going under anesthesia and not drinking water for so many hours. Going under has always made me a little nervous. I’m envious because my sister Lisa and my friend Michelle love going under! They see it as a mini escape from life!

I snuck some water in tiny amounts the morning of my hip surgery and I planned on doing that again. I am a rebel and I think some rules like that are for the convenience of whoever made the rule and really have nothing to do with me. But my husband told me today if you are under anesthesia and 1 teaspoon of water gets in your lungs, you could drown. Sounds a little dramatic to me and I’m not sure I buy it but it was kind-a motivating and my husband does not make stuff up.

Today is Tuesday and I think I’ll stay up until midnight drinking water.

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Technology Resistance

I’m not that scared of blogging, but learning how was hard for me. While I’ve never been formally diagnosed with Dyslexia, I know I have it. For years I wondered why a chicken place would call itself Chic-A-Fil. I finally asked my husband, “What the heck does Chic-A-Fil mean? Why would a fast food place call itself that? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

“Sweetheart,” he said, knowing well this little disorder in my brain, “it’s Chic-Fil-A, and it’s a word play on chicken filet.”

I was unwillingly dragged to Texas, had serious culture shock and as an outlet started writing about my observations. I thought my stories were funny so I emailed them to friends and family.
“This needs to be a blog,” I heard back from a couple professional writers in the group, so here we are.

When my grandmother was 10 years older than I am now, the new cutting edge, technological breakthrough was the telephone message machine. After buying my grandmother a new radio with a digital station display, which she rejected in favor of her old-fashioned dial station display, I knew she wasn’t exactly keeping up with the times. However, I was tired of calling repeatedly trying to catch her at home, so I bought her the new technology.

“Nana, I bought you a present and here it is.” I said.

“What is that?” she said less than eagerly. She loved presents and this one apparently didn’t look like too much fun.

“It’s a message machine for your telephone!” I said excitedly. I was way too enthusiastic as a young person. I see it now in young people, enthusiasm to mask inexperience.

“What does that mean?” She frowned as she looked at it.

“When you’re not home, this will record messages from people who call you and you can listen to them when you get home!” I exclaimed.

“Why would I want to do that?” she looked perplexed. “All these years I’ve been fine without something like this, why would I want it now?”

“It’s the new thing Nana; everyone has one and you have to keep up!” I cautioned her.

“Well, I don’t know about this, Annie, how does it work?” She was annoyed probably because this was not the present she wanted.

“The phone rings when you’re not home and the message machine picks it up and the caller hears your voice and they leave a message!” I explained, “and then you listen to that message when you get home!”

“It picks it up? What do you mean, it picks it up?” she asked incredulously. “How can this thing pick up a phone?”

I caught her eye and could clearly see she was trying to figure out how the machine would reach out and pick up a telephone receiver. I adored my grandmother and she may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer.

While I was standing in line to return the message machine, I made a commitment that when I was “old”, I would keep up with the times. So, here I am, 30 years later facing Blogging, Tweeting, Facebook, Instagram, ad nauseam. Most of it seems narcissist and unnecessary and surely that’s how Nana felt about message machines. So, to honor my commitment, I’ve started this blog and I just got on the dreaded Facebook today.

So, like me or follow me or whatever you’re supposed to do on these things. God, it’s so annoying!!
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