I hate to admit this, but I get squeamish at the sight of blood.  While this happens to a lot of people, it is particularly embarrassing when one is in the healthcare profession.  Thankfully, I overcame this phobia early in my journey towards becoming a veterinarian, after becoming weak-kneed during my first exposure to surgery.  At least I overcame it with animals—human blood still freaks me out.  I don’t really know why, as all blood looks the same.  It doesn’t even have to be my personal blood.  The sight of other people’s blood can make me just as light-headed.

I remember my older son falling out of a tree and splitting his chin open when he was about five.  I took one look at it and said, “Go tell your father, I’ve got to lie down.”  I barely made it inside the house.

I’ve learned the hard way not to try to tough these things out.  Once in college, I had blood drawn for something or other.  As I waited at the check out desk to pay my bill, the “feeling” came over me.  First I became extremely hot, then I got tingly all over and my stomach seemed to sink to my knees.  At this point I knew I had to get out of there fast, but the blasted woman behind the desk was in no hurry.  Plus there was no place to sit. “Maybe I can hang on just another minute,” I tried to convince myself, as my vision started to blur, a rushing noise in my ears blocked out all sound, and finally everything went black.  It’s quite weird, actually, as I was still standing and carrying on a conversation with the woman, even though I literally couldn’t see or hear.  The next thing I knew I was waking up on the floor.

I wish I could say that was the only time I’ve passed out at the sight of blood, but unfortunately, there have been more times than I care to think about.  For some inexplicable reason, I view it as a character flaw, so I try to fake my way through, until I can escape somewhere to sit—preferably on the floor, as I’m likely to end up there anyway.

Not only do I faint at the sight of blood, I can faint at the thought of blood.  If I’m reading a book which details a gory scene, I literally have to stop reading.  Once I was in a movie theater watching the first in the series of the Twilight sagas (which, by the way, is the only one I managed to sit through), when there was a scene with a lot of blood.  I suppose that was to be expected as the Twilight stories are about vampires and werewolves.  I could feel myself fading fast, so I made up the excuse I had to go to the ladies’ room right that second.  My wobbly legs carried me down the steps as I clung to the handrail for dear life.  But I only made it to the hallway which led to the exit door before everything went black.  I don’t know how long I was out, but I woke up on the floor, feeling rather embarrassed.  Thankfully, no one saw me—at least I don’t think any one saw me.  Maybe they did and just stepped over my unconscious body.

There is a medical term for this condition—vasovagal syncope.  It occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood.  This causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly.  On one hand, it makes me feel better that there is a bonafide medical name for my problem.  On the other hand I don’t much care for having a body that overreacts.  I don’t overreact. I am generally a calm and level headed person when everyone around me is going to pieces.  How dare my body do so?  It’s just a bunch of bloody nonsense.







My house has gone to the dogs…the cats…and the birds.

I don’t know how anyone manages to function in a home without pets.  My two dogs, three cats, and two birds earn their kibble and seed by performing endless tasks around the house.

My macaw, Rhett, is not only decorative, he is a watch bird.  Whenever a car pulls into the driveway he screams to alert us someone is there.  His screaming also ensures we don’t waste too much time talking on the phone or visiting with people who drop by.  Elvis, the cockatiel, brightens up every television show by performing an ear-splitting whistling marathon.

My wardrobe is not complete without the requisite number of pet hairs.  And since I have three cats and two dogs of various colors, it really doesn’t matter what I wear as something will show the hair.  This just goes with the territory in our house.  If I sit on any piece of furniture, I get up with pet hair on my behind.  If I lie on the bed, pet hair will cling to whatever body part was touching the comforter.  And if simply sitting around the house isn’t sufficient in depositing enough fur on my clothes, one or more of the animals often lies across my chest or lap, shedding even more.  There is usually enough extra pet hair on the floors to assemble a small dog—ten minutes after vacuuming.  One would think that with all the shedding, our pets would be bald, but there is always plenty of hair to go around.

Not only do my pets help with my clothes, they also help with my grooming.  While I’m in the shower, my cat, Faith, lies across my towels, keeping them warm for me.  She does, however, get a little miffed when I try to remove a towel from underneath her in order to dry off.  My cat, Jerry, likes to help me with my makeup.  Invariably when I am holding an eyeliner pencil or mascara brush, he hops up on the vanity and head butts my hand.  It’s a wonder I haven’t poked my eye out yet.  While I get dressed, Jerry and his brother, Tom (yeah, I know Tom is probably the least original name for a male cat, but I wanted names that would go together as a pair and my husband wouldn’t let me call them “Chip” and “Dale” as he said it conjured up images of male strippers; while I personally had no problem with that, I was, in fact thinking of cartoon chipmunks) help out by batting at my shoelaces.  Yes, I do know the last sentence is a run-on.

Tom also likes to assist me while I practice the piano by parading back and forth in front of my music.  This teaches me good memorization skills, as well as one-handed technique while I swat him away.  Faith, for her part, sashays in front of the computer screen while I am working.  She forces me to self-edit, as I frequently end up typing gibberish.  Crossword puzzles are made more challenging by Tom lounging on my chest while I try to fill in blanks at arm’s length.  My deteriorating near-sightedness benefits from his attention.

My two dogs, Franny, at five pounds, and Fritz, weighing in at eight, do their part by keeping the yard free of squirrels and scaring away the garbage men who come to steal our trash. The mailman is also on their list of intruders to run off. They help with bed making, as they rearrange the pillows, scratch up the covers, and burrow underneath the blankets until they’re satisfied the bed is perfect.  It is also their job to keep the cats in their places by barking and chasing them when the cats do something foolish like walk into a room.  Any food that falls from the table is immediately vacuumed by my hoover dogs.  In fact we never realized what messy eaters we were until we ate out and surveyed the floor under our chairs.  Fritz will also pre-wash the dishes as I load the dishwasher.  This is okay when I’m loading, but not so much when I’m unloading.  Both Fritz and Franny tend to have difficulty holding their licker, and left up to them, our faces and hands would always be spotless. I would tell you they are the perfect scapegoats for offensive flatulent odors and how they help clean the litter boxes, but that’s too disgusting to bring up in a nice blog like mine—especially when my face has just been licked.


Happy Mother’s Day

There is a commercial on television for an in-home exercise bike complete with your own personal computerized trainer who encourages you to keep going when you’re trying to die.   On one of these commercials, a young woman is just finishing up her workout as her virtual coach cheers her on to the finish line.  As she pedals those last few rotations, bubbles float toward her.  She turns, all sweaty and glowing with vigorous exercise, to see her adorable tot standing in the doorway blowing bubbles.  Her face breaks into a huge smile as she dismounts the bike and chases her giggling child through the house.

Okay, I just want to say, a scene like this would never happen in real life.  Here is a much more likely scenario, especially in my case:

I get up early thinking to get in my workout before the rest of the family wakes up.  Unfortunately I don’t have an entire room surrounded by glass offering a magnificent view in which to store the exercise bike, so I trip over the roomful of junk left out by the kids in order to get to my bike in the corner.  After unloading several items of clothing, toys, and food wrappers, I hop aboard.  I am pedaling along toward my quarter mile mark when my toddler, who isn’t so adorable, is standing in the doorway informing me he pooped in his pants.  I dismount, take care of the situation, and hop back on the bike, when he demands juice—now!  After pouring juice into a sippy cup and settling him in front of the one-eyed baby-sitter (yeah, guilty), I make another attempt.

“Honey?” I hear my husband calling.  “Where are you?”

“In here,” I gasp out.

We play “Marco Polo” for a few rounds until he locates me.  “Have you seen my blue dress shirt?  I can’t find it anywhere.”

“In the laundry room,” I wheeze.

“I looked in there but I didn’t see it.”

I dismount again, head to the laundry room, pluck his shirt from the hanging bar, and hand it to him.

“Do you have time to iron it for me?  It looks a little wrinkled.”

I give him the “stink eye” and head back to the bike.

“Mom!” yells the pre-teen.  “I forgot to tell you I told the teacher you’d make cupcakes for our class party today.”

I resist the urge to beat my head against the handle bars of the bike, as my coach crows, “You’re doing great!  Keep it up!”

“Mommy, I’m hungry,” says the toddler, who has returned to the room.

“Honey, what setting should I use on the iron?” Hubby calls.

“Mom,  you need to fill out all these papers.”  Pre-teen is now in the doorway waving a fistful of dead trees at me.  “They’re due today.”

“Honey?  Do I need to add water to the iron?”  Hubby has now joined the other two.

All three of them are standing there watching me, expectantly.  I haven’t even biked a half mile and my personal trainer is urging me not to give up.  Easy for him to say.  He’s probably single.  I turn him off and go take care of my family.

This is why I will never have personal exercise equipment in my house.  If I want an uninterrupted workup, I will turn off my cell phone and go to the gym.  They can’t get to me there!

May you have a peaceful and blessed Mother’s Day.  Even if you have to send the family to the movies to get that peace!


In Jeopardy

Has anyone been watching Jeopardy for the last three weeks?  As I am writing this, a contestant named James Holzhauer just finished his 22nd straight victory, with an accumulated winning of $1,691,008. In addition to the long run on the show, he’s broken several records previously held by other “Jeopardy!” champions.  His total winnings make him the third-highest earner in the history of the game, after Brad Rutter’s $4.6 million and Ken Jennings’ $3.2 million. Rutter and Jennings, though, both played in tournaments and special matches outside of regular season play.

As great as this winning streak is for TV ratings, I have to admit that I’ve had enough of James.  For the past week I have been actively rooting against him.  Earlier this week I thought he had met his match, but he managed to pull out victory by $18.00.  Every other night his conquests have been runaways.  Nobody should be that smart.  The guy knows everything about everything and rarely misses an answer.  And he’s become annoyingly cocky.  (Of course I suppose I might be somewhat cocky, too, if I had accomplished what he has).  Nevertheless, I’m ready for him to lose.  Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so.  According to the internet, despite seeing historic, record-breaking scores, Jeopardy fans are getting bored with its newest star.  Here are some of their comments:

“I’m starting to think #Jeopardy is rigged. Day 15 of the James Show. 😐 #boring.”

“I refuse to watch #jeopardy. There’s no competition.”

“Jeopardy needs to bring back the 5 game limit for champions! This is boring.”

“This is boring #Jeopardy #jeopardyjames.”

“This guy on #Jeopardy makes the show boring to watch. No personality whatsoever.”

On CNN, former Jeopardy champion Tom Nichols says James Holzhauer’s mastery of controlling the buzzer is making the game unfair for his competitors and unenjoyable to watch for viewers.

Opinion writer for The Washington Post, Charles Lane, says “James Holzhauer is a menace to Jeopardy.  Holzhauer’s streak reflects the same grim, data-driven approach to competition that has spoiled (among other sports) baseball.  He does not so much play the game as beat the system.  What’s entertaining about that?  And beyond a certain point, what’s admirable?” 

(Wow, although I think he’s cocky, I’d not call him a menace).

 Stephanie Stein, who competed against Holzhauer says, “ Most of James’s strategies aren’t new to the show — starting from the high-value clues at the bottom of the board, jumping from category to category, hunting for Daily Doubles. What makes him a “Jeopardy!” machine is all of that and his impeccable timing on the buzzer. It’s unreal.”

I don’t know why, but it seems like the contestants whom I dislike always do the best.  But at least on Wheel of Fortune, I only have to endure an obnoxious contestant for one show.  Who knows how long we’ll have to put up with James? But I can’t not watch Jeopardy on the chance that he’ll finally be defeated.  This stress may just push me over the edge to the point of binge watching The Gong Show.









There is TOO a doctor in the house

My younger son has always been somewhat of a drama king whenever it comes to some minor little ailment.  When he was little, a scratch small enough to require a magnifying glass to see was a major ordeal, requiring a band-aid and lots of “poor babies.”  A bump or bruise could give him reason to whine for sympathy for days on end.  When he was about three, he went around saying his trachea hurt.  I’ve heard a lot of people complain about pains in various body parts, but never one in the trachea.  I sincerely doubt he even knew where his trachea was.

For some reason, when he was about eight, he escalated into “attacks.”  He would deliberately act as if he couldn’t catch his breath, hyperventilating and making dying moose noises.  His father and I would just tell him to knock it off, which generally stopped the “episodes.”  If he still persisted, I would tell him the way to stabilize his breathing was to run as fast as he could for as long as he could until he was better.  Back then he believed everything that came out of my mouth, so this usually worked.  Then his third grade teacher emailed us saying he had done this at school and frightened her to death.  I wrote back, assuring her he was not dying, and suggested ways to “deal” with his attention-seeking drama.  She was immensely relieved and amused at the same time.  He also put on a “performance” at his piano lesson, which had nothing to do with his music.

Finally, I had had it.  As he complained about all his physical maladies, I told him, “Honey, you have hypochondria.”  He was thrilled to have a real medical term for his vast ailments.  For at least two years after that, whenever people would get irritated by his dramatics, he would rise to his own defense by declaring, “I can’t help it!  I have hypochondria!”  He had no idea why this was so amusing to other people.  When he finally found out what the word “hypochondria” meant, he was not happy with me, to say the least.

It was my older son, however, who put me in my place where his healthcare was concerned.  He, too, was a bit of a drama king when he was little.  When he was about three, he got a little boo-boo of some kind.

“I need to go see Dr. Rigby,” he told me. Dr. Rigby was his beloved pediatrician who made chirping bird noises when he looked in his patients’ ears.

I replied, “Oh, honey, I don’t think that’s serious enough to bother Dr. Rigby about.  Besides, Mommy is a doctor.  I can take care of it.”

“You’re not a doctor,” he shot back.  “You’re a veterinarian!”

Ouch!  Out of the mouths of babes!






Our youngest son recently turned thirteen and my husband and I have undergone “The Transformation” yet again.  If you don’t know what “The Transformation” is, you obviously have never had teenagers.  It’s when parents who were previously the most beloved, trusted, and smartest people in the child’s life suddenly morph into the most embarrassing, ignorant, clueless, and boring people on the planet.  The sad thing is we don’t even realize we’ve changed.

I honestly don’t know how we went from knowing everything to knowing nothing.  We used to be omnipotent; now we’re useless. Everything we used to say was taken for gospel; now if we make an innocuous comment such as, “Good morning,” we get an argument. Nor do I understand why the mere fact that we breathe in the vicinity of our son causes him such humiliation.  We have ruined his life simply by existing.

In his mind, merely asking him politely to pick his clothes up off the floor or return dirty dishes to the kitchen is merciless nagging.  And requesting he go above and beyond by setting the table, taking out the trash, or emptying the dishwasher is tantamount to child enslavement.  Taking away privileges such as TV or Wii because he hasn’t completed the unreasonable demand of doing his homework subjects him to full-fledged child abuse.  I won’t even go into the injustice of not getting him his own cell phone when everyone else has one.  Dropping him off and picking him up from school is mortifying for him, even when his friends don’t see us.  Speaking of his friends, they are all infinitely wiser than we are—what do we know, after all, when there are young teens to dispense sage advice?

We dutifully attend all his extracurricular activities, but we’d better not cheer for him, or for that matter, acknowledge him in any way.  Nevertheless, we are expected to be there.  I’m convinced, however, that our required presence to watch him perform as the water boy at Rocky’s Bayou Christian School football games is for the sole purpose of sending us to the snack bar to fetch him refreshments.  This is the only time he deems to speak to us.

We always know when he wants something because his snarly, combative attitude changes to almost civil, catching us completely off-guard.  Not to worry, however, as if his demands are not met, the attitude returns with a vengeance.  We are the worst parents on Earth and he wishes he could go live with someone else.  If we respond with, “Go with our blessings,” he stubbornly refuses to leave.  He truly needs to go out into the world while he knows everything.  Unfortunately, he is still attached to us by our purse strings, so he is hopelessly trapped in our house of horrors.

I realize in about fifteen or twenty years, we will morph back into the people we were before our son turned thirteen.  The problem is we may not live that long to survive another teenager.  However, the flip side is that maybe we will manage to hang in there, but by that time we will have become old and crotchety.  Then he’ll have to put up with us!  You know what they say about Karma!

(I know he’s not reading this, but, I love you Darion, my little chocolate doodlebug)!

Anyone Game?

One of the items on my bucket list is to be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.  I have always loved game shows, although the only three I watch are Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and Wheel of Fortune.  There is no way I could ever be on Jeopardy.  The only categories I’m good at are the Bible or medical related questions, and the chances of getting both those categories on the same show are slim to none.  It amazes me that people even know the answers to some of the obscure categories, like libraries in the ancient world or rivers in Lithuania.  Questions about art/artists, Shakespeare, and geography—things I know little about— are frequently featured.  Sports, forget it.  Rappers, no way.  Even a lot of the literature questions are about books and authors I’ve never heard of.  Plus if I actually knew the answer, I would still have to ring in before the other two contestants, and I’m sure my brain would freeze up under the pressure.  Besides, at the end of the show, the only contestant who gets to keep his/her money is the winner.  The second and third place contestants get a lousy $2000 and $1000 even if they end up with $20,000. That’s a lot of work and a lot of stress for such a little bit of money which probably doesn’t even cover the costs of transportation and lodging for the contestant to get to the studio.  So Jeopardy is out.

Millionaire is fun to watch, but the problem is you have to take the questions in order.  There are a lot of times when I know the answer to the $10,000 and $20,000 questions, but not the $7000 question.  Sure, I know that’s why the lifelines are there, but they aren’t always that helpful.  I can guarantee the 50:50 will take away the easiest answers to eliminate, leaving the two most difficult choices.  Of course a lot of contestants sabotage themselves by announcing which answers they’re debating between, so naturally those will be the two answers left.  The audience is generally good for anything having to do with pop culture, but not so good at other information. The plus one is a toss up depending on the category.  But I’d probably get stuck on an easy question or give a wrong answer to something that everyone in the world except me knows, so Millionaire is out, too.  Besides, I’m a terrible gambler.

That brings me to Wheel of Fortune.  I have to say as a couch contestant, I rock at solving the puzzles.  This is why I need to get on that show.  I’m a lot smarter than those dummies who stand there clueless when the answer is so obvious!  I even shout the answer at the television, but they don’t get it. Of course if I actually do make it as a contestant, I will probably spin nothing but “bankrupt” or “lose a turn.”  Or I will know the answer when it isn’t my turn.  Or my brain will go into stage fright mode, rendering me a blathering idiot unable to remember the alphabet.  Or—and this is the worst scenario of all—I will actually make it to the bonus round with the million dollar wedge, get the million dollar card in the spin, and blow the answer.  Of course if I did get the correct answer and win a million dollars, I would be so shocked I would likely have a heart attack and keel over right there on national television, leaving my winnings to my greedy and wasteful heirs.

Nope, it’s not worth the risk.  I may as well just stay on my couch and solve all the puzzles.  This way I can’t possibly lose.