My Grandmother’s Legs

jeans, legs, fashion, grandmother jeansLately, I’ve been thinking a lot about genes. Yes, genes, not jeans, although denims get into the picture too.

For instance, my mom (not allowed to say her age or she’ll never talk to me again – let’s just say the first number starts with a ‘9’), wears the cutest jeans. I hope I have her genes, but so far I haven’t found one genome we share. She’s tiny and cute and flirty. I’m tall and not-as-cute and serious. See? Continue reading

Guiding our Genes

artists born or madeA writer once said, “Journeys, like artists, are born and not made.” (Lawrence Durrell)genes

Really? Are we born into who we are? I know we contain these things called genes, which help us become who we are – the tall gene or the short one; blue-eyed or the brown-eyed gene; the one for a dimple in the cheek or high cheekbones; a gene tendency to grow up lean, or fat.

But are we also comprised of a gene to be an artist or a stockbroker, a train conductor or an engineer?

And then I remember Tory.Guide Dog for the Blind, genes

Tory was my family’s first dog – a golden retriever bred by the Guide Dogs to be a perfect animal to guide and protect the blind. The right height, weight, disposition: sweet, docile, loving, yet with a streak of strength and stubbornness.

In fact, Tory was so perfect, the Guide Dogs organization used her as a breeder (of other perfect dogs), and we became her adopted parents, taking care of her until time to do her duty and produce offspring. Once her litter was born and nursed, Tory came back home with us.

For us, Tory was a perfect family dog. She never met a human she didn’t love.

However, she disliked just about every dog or cat who crossed her path. People oohed and ahh’d when Tory and I walked the lovely Bay path, but if another leashed dog came along, my sweet dog would snarl tightly and lead me firmly away from the unsavory beast.

A mere inconvenience for us as dog owners.

But when it came time for her to breed a third litter, the Guide Dogs rejected her!

Yes, they fired Tory.


Because every single one of her puppies – 8 in her first litter and 9 in her second – disliked dogs and cats. And a Guide Dog who snarls at other dogs cannot be used as a loving companion to a blind person, because that loving dog could lead her person the wrong way, just to avoid a four-legged creature.

So, then, are we only how we arrive, genes intact? Are we born as artist or preacher, as anthropologist or philanthropist?

Are we born mean or nice?

apple pie, genesDo we snarl at strangers because our great-grandfather did, and do we bake the best apple pie this side of the Mississippi because of our great great great-aunt?

What do you think – can we guide our genes, or do they just guide us into who we are?

genes, dogs, Guide Dogs

Smart Tory learned new tricks every day…
thanks to my guy, or good genes?