Monthly Archives: December 2018

Snowball

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  Click here to see me in a comedy, cable TV performance from a few years ago as a granny rapper who gets shot during a drive-by shooting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwkMrO6tJLE

Now, on to my blog:

LG & Monitor Lizard II 6-10-12

I met Snowball some years ago at an EcoFest held on the lawn of the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California where I was a docent.  Snowball was part of the attractions at the booth of the Los Angeles chapter of the Southwestern Herpetologists Society.

Snowball’s owner, Jarron, adored him/her, just as you or I might adore our child, dog, cat, parrot, monkey, or lemur.  He was full of information about Snowball and couldn’t wait to share it with me after I expressed interest.  However, he failed to tell me how his pet got its name.  I like to imagine Snowball was born or adopted during the winter holiday season.

Jarred explained that monitor lizards are usually aggressive and dangerous in the wild, but that Snowball had been bred in captivity and gentled by humans from the time of wee lizardhood.  So, he/she was docile and not dangerous.  Jarred encouraged me to pet Snowball and insisted on taking this photo.  Snowball’s skin was dry and bumpy.

FYI (courtesy of Jarred and the Internet):  Crocodile monitor lizards, a relative of the Komodo dragon, are native to the jungles of New Guinea.  They are thought to be the longest known lizard species in the world, usually growing to five to seven feet in length, but sometimes reaching over ten feet long.  Two-thirds of their length is in their slender tails which they whip around like a weapon. They have sharp, curved claws to aid in climbing trees.  In captivity, they can live eight to twelve years.

I saw other reptile owners cradling and cuddling their pet snakes, lizards, and assorted others of the reptilian persuasion.  One guy was walking around with his own large lizard clinging vertically to the front of his sweater like an armor breastplate.

Later, a herpetology club member approached me while I was manning the La Brea Tar Pits Museum booth.  She was extremely distraught and crying.

“Do you know anyone in the museum who would like a dead snake,” she wanted to know.

I had never been asked such a question before nor anything remotely similar.  It seems that when she had taken her pet snake out of its cage, it was dead.  She had owned and adored it for over twenty-five years.  She wanted to donate it to a good cause.  Amazingly, after a few inquiries, I was able to find a potential recipient of her prize.  He was a young, part-time employee of the museum.  He planned to use the snake in practicing to build scaffolds for disarticulated, ancient animal bones to display in natural history museums, a pursuit he hoped to make his career.  Snake giver and snake receiver conversed and struck a deal.

Beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder.  We each see beauty in our love objects regardless if they are ugly, strange, weird, or off-putting to others.  Be grateful for those who love you.  You may seem ugly, strange, weird, or off-putting to some, too.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness

A Tandakoan’s Reflection on an Obituary

Final Book CoverThis blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, retirees, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled: “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking here Amazon.com. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com

CHITCHAT:  Check out my interview on November 20, 2018 (top few paragraphs) in an article in Moneyish.com, a Dow Jones Media Group Publication: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-nearly-3-in-4-women-say-70-is-the-new-50—-but-far-fewer-men-do-2018-11-20  (Correction:  I was a probation officer in Los Angeles, not San Francisco.)

Now, on to my blog:

TandakoanI opened an email from my longtime, high school  girlfriend, Sheila.  Part of it read, “this was surprising in today’s newspaper.”  There was an attachment, so I clicked on it to find an obituary with a photograph of a woman I didn’t recognize.

As I read further, I realized she had been a classmate of ours, and we had all graduated high school together.  This is the patch from my class sweater of the emblem from our senior class: the Tandakoans, which I’ve saved for fifty-nine years.

Why do we keep such trivial objects?  Probably because they are symbols of passage.  Passages are events that mark major turning points in our lives.  Among all the minutiae of our existence that are quickly forgotten, these are the happenings that we remember year after year. We might celebrate or bemoan them in a ceremonial manner on special anniversaries.

I remember when I turned fifty, Sheila organized a Brownie Troop reunion.  Those attending showed up with photographs of our troop members, Brownie and Girl Scout badges, and other nostalgic items they had kept for decades. Our lives are filled with passages.  An obituary marks the final one.

I hadn’t seen Judy since graduation, but I remember her as a bouncy girl with a quick smile and a ponytail.  The obituary said she had died following a long battle with ovarian cancer.  One by one, our ranks are thinning.  Reading about Judy, I couldn’t stave off thoughts of: when will it be my turn?

Does that frighten me; does that concern me?  Yes and no.  I’m frightened of the unknown, but not of the finality of it, maybe because I don’t even understand what that means.

Can I choose how to make my final passage?  I certainly don’t want the path that Judy took or anything like it.  Living my life to the fullest and going suddenly in my sleep is my preferred choice.  But, all I can do is hope for that and do the living-my-life-to-the-fullest part in the meantime.

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Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at:  gowergulch@yahoo.com. If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

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Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, senior citizens, seniors, successful aging, wellness