Saturday, September 28, 2013


After six months of physical therapy, I had an MRI on my left shoulder to see exactly what’s going on in there. The procedure included dye injected into my shoulder joint. OMG! Being needle phobic sent me into a major panic. I know it’s irrational and it’s always the anticipation that gets me. Still, the last few days before the procedure were kind of hellish. I was anxious, wasn’t sleeping well, and let me just say that fear is a great laxative. As with most of my needle encounters, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Even though the nurse and doctor were understanding and said not to beat myself up, I felt like a giant boob. There is one more upsetting thing about this MRI that I can’t explain. I supposedly had this same procedure on my right shoulder in 2008. I don’t remember it... at all. I can remember conversations from third grade, 1963. Why wouldn’t I remember a medical procedure with dye, a needle, and an MRI machine? Seems like I’d remember the needle thing. If nothing else, you’d think the sound of jackhammers right under my head would have left a lasting impression. I felt like I’d been zapped into that movie “Gaslight”. I was Ingrid Bergman and the entire medical community was Charles Boyer. Both my nurse and doctor greeted me by saying “Hey, I remember you from last time!”. Crap! I’ve had a few knee MRIs and I remember all of them. I don’t remember having my shoulder in a vice, with sandbags on my arm - to help me “remember not to move”. Whether this previous MRI was a mundane or bad experience, it seems like I would remember it. Makes me wonder what else I’ve forgotten. Could I have another child out there I don’t remember giving birth to? Was I once third runner up in the Miss America Pageant? Did I rob a bank, get away with it, and now don’t know where I buried the money? So, to summarize... I am glad I had the procedure, am way glad it’s over, and am totally embarrassed I blew it up into such a traumatic event. As to the not remembering part... there are only two explanations. I am either insane, or Ingrid Bergman. And damn you, Charles Boyer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stella, Land Pirhana

My six pound Yorkshire Terrier, Stella, is a mean girl. She tolerates my son and husband, likes my daughter, and hates the hell out of the rest of the world. And me? She worships the ground I walk on. I’m her boo. When we go for walkies, Stella warns the world of her presence by barking incessantly for the first minute. Then she settles down, until she spies a person, another dog, a bird, a cigarette butt on the sidewalk. You name it, she’ll bark at it, or try to eat it. Her most-hated human seems to be any type of delivery person. She detests our postal carrier. When he puts mail in the slot, Stella is on the other side of the front door going ballistic. She actually tries to bite the door, then runs around the corner to where the mail comes in and barks some more. On our walks we sometimes encounter the mailman. He is a real sweetie, and just smiles as Stella loses her mind. I have no idea how she knows it’s him, but she does. She’s seen him from her vantage point on the couch, but I’m surprised that image transfers over to walks several streets away. Yesterday, we walked past a UPS delivery man. Turns out he’s the one person on the planet Stella hates more than the mailman. I’m pretty sure she has something against the color brown. Nothing else explains her dislike of UPS people. She rarely sees them at our house. Maybe she’s ticked off because she never gets packages or mail. I wouldn’t put it past her to order stuff on the Shopping Network (I really should scrutinize the credit card bill more often). I’ve been told that Stella is very busy during the day. While my other two dogs spend their time doing what dogs do... sleeping... Stella roams around the house. More than once I’ve arrived in the front doorway, greeted by underpants on the rug. A gift? Some sort of message? A threat? I’m not sure, but I’m quite certain Stella is behind it. She’s a shady girl. She also bites. I cringe when we have company because I know they are in mortal danger from an attack by the Land Piranha. Pretty embarrassing. It’s a good thing Stella is so damn cute. Barky, bitey, but damn cute.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


My kids, like all kids, wanted a pet. They bugged me at the end of each school year, to be able to take the class hamster home for the summer. I played the allergy card to get out of it, but finally got worn down. In 1999, we decided to get the kids a pet for Christmas. I thought a hamster or guinea pig was too ordinary, and you can’t snuggle with a fish or turtle, so I shopped around for something special. That’s how I found Basil, a hedgehog. I should have asked why he was on sale, but just thought I was in luck. The first week we had Basil, we noticed his quills were falling out. I found a vet who treated exotic animals and was told Basil had mites and would have to be bathed with medicated shampoo for a week. This was the beginning of our sick animal curse, as well as a financial boon for the vet. The kids totally enjoyed Basil. He was supposed to be a nocturnal animal, but Molly would drag him out of his cage as soon as she got home from school. She regularly put Basil in her pink Barbie car and sent him cruising down the hall at super speed. Ben filmed his first video about a killer hedgehog, starring Basil. Hedgehogs are basically poop machines, and don’t groom themselves. Basil would run on his exercise wheel, all the while pooping. Kinda gross, but we loved him anyway. Molly noticed one day that one of Basil’s hind feet was red and swollen. The vet thought he had an infection and we had to give him antibiotics. This involved a syringe and meal worms. Ick! I had to fill the syringe with the medicine, stab a worm and inject it. Then I'd feed it to Basil, who'd gobble it up. Slurp! Worms and needles - The whole process became a benchmark for me of what I can do when I have to. Unfortunately, the medicine didn’t do any good. We eventually had to have Basil’s leg amputated. He lasted a little while, and seemed to be holding out until his replacement arrived - Lucy, our first dog. His passing was sad, and we tried another hedgehog but it wasn’t the same. Ethel was an exercise maniac and not very nice. She bit me and Molly. We eventually talked a girl at the vet into adopting her. Basil was a great little guy and I miss him. But not the worms.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Benny Boy

Some people say that Friday the 13th is unlucky. They are wrong. Today is Friday the 13th, as well as my son Ben’s birthday. It’s totally a lucky day! I can’t believe it’s been 28th years since my first brush with childbirth. Ben came out with a pointy head, but I loved him anyway. I told him he was born with a pencil in his hand, and boy did it hurt. Ok, I lied about the pencil but he was born with some crazy drawing skills. When my dad passed away, Ben was six. He drew a picture of a lady angel so my dad wouldn’t be lonely in Heaven. Touching, sweet, thoughtful, and the angel even had lady lips. We were best buds for 2 1/2 years. Then, Ben got a sister. For the first 4 months of Molly’s life, Ben refused to speak to me. He was pissed! Finally, one day, he asked if we couldn’t please send her back where she came from.  I said nope, she was here to stay. After that, Ben started speaking to me again. I guess he was resigned to having The Interloper around for good. Ben was a pretty easy-going child. He had agility and great balance as a toddler, but that didn’t transfer over into sports. His few brushes with athletics in school ended up with Ben getting beaned or knocked down by a ball. His interest wasn’t in sports anyway. His creative mind took him to more interesting places than a stinky old ball field. I remember watching Ben in the outfield of a tee ball game. Kids rarely hit the ball at all, and for sure not out to where Ben was. He wasn’t even paying attention though. I’m pretty sure he was making a movie, or perhaps a music video in his head. It was more fun watching him just being him. Today, Ben and Molly are friends. I’m pretty sure he no longer wishes her to the cornfield. His drawing skills have taken him to cartoon school and back, making some wonderful friendships along the way. He is on the road to becoming a comic book legend... I’m sure of it. He’s got talent from the bottom of his size 13 feet to the tippy top of his formerly pointy head. Happy Birthday, Benny!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Driving Miss Kimmy

I had dinner with my daughter last night. On the way back to her apartment, we encountered a bunch of construction and detours. Molly guided me back to her place using side streets that I’m unfamiliar with. For some reason, being out of my comfort zone sends me into near panic. Rationally, I know I’m not going to drive off the edge of the world, or burst into flames. It sure feels like Impending Doom is right around the corner, though. It didn’t make any difference that Molly was with me. The apprehension was overwhelming. When I get like that, it shakes me to my core. I feel tingly down to my tippy toes, and not in a fun way. I seriously fear that I am turning into an old person... totally inflexible and afraid. I wonder if each generation has its own old age standards. What might be typical for my parent’s generation, hopefully isn’t the same for mine. At some point in the future, will I start having my hair “done” once a week at the beauty salon? A tight little perm with a ton of hairspray to make it last a week? Just shoot me now. When will I decide to turn in my beloved Mini Cooper for a giant boat of a Cadillac? Will Rick and I shrink to where all you can see above the steering wheel are knuckles? Nobody enjoys getting old. I’ve been told by more than one elderly person that it sucks. Not much you can do about it, except die. I really, really don’t want to be pushing a walker with tennis balls shoved on the legs anytime soon. I’m not ready to give up jeans for polyester pants. Don’t get me started on catheters and adult diapers. That couple on the Swiffer TV commercial, Morty and Lee Kaufmann, give me hope. They are adorable and seem pretty happy with their life. I know... it’s TV. Still, they provide a glimmer of an existence that might not be too horrendous. I’ve always thought being a planner was just how I control chaos in my life. Now I wonder if it’s just the old fart in me trying to get out. Gotta go... must be some kids on my lawn that need yelling at.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Guy Stuff

I love my car, Nigel. He’s a fun-to-drive Mini Cooper. I’ve had him for six months, and it’s been a treat to have a car that doesn’t break down on me. In the last two weeks, however, I have had low air pressure in two of my tires. The first time, my husband filled the tire. Last night I decided I needed to know how to put air in my tires, so went with Rick to find an air pump. At the first gas station, there was a man using the air pump. Or perhaps I should say he was maybe intending to use it, at some point in his life. His big old car was parked in front of the pump, and he was standing there eating an ice cream cone. When he saw us waiting, the man started moving like he was eventually going to use the pump...maybe, after his ice cream was gone. I got mad, and we were on the search for the next air pump. At gas station #2, a man was parked next to the air pump at a wonky angle. I motioned that I wanted to use the pump, and he just looked at me. I got mad again, and was on the hunt for pump #3. This time we hit pay dirt! Oh joy... OK not joy, but my annoyance abated a bit. This is why I don’t understand boys and their toys. It seems to me that many guys totally lose site of their surroundings (and other humans) when they are focused on their cars. I want a car to get me from point A to point B. I don’t want to hang with my car, lick its tires clean. Years ago when we lived in San Francisco, we drove a little yellow Toyota truck. One Sunday morning, we took the truck to a car wash. There was a man hogging the car wash. He had all his floor mats out, hanging them on the fence to dry. He was lovingly washing every inch of his car. He probably used his own toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies. I believe we asked how long he was going to be. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was snarky. He was a total jerk. We ended up leaving the car wash unsatisfied. Thirty years later I’m still a bit steamed. Maybe ice cream cone guy is related to San Francisco car wash guy. Stranger things have happened.