Kathy Coomer–Advice for Volunteer EMTs

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Katherine no-middle-name Coomer. Kathy, Kat, Kashka, or Kiki. I answer to them all.

What is your occupation?
I’ve worked as everything from a talent agent in Los Angeles to a Schwan’s truck driver with lots of things in between. Mostly, I’ve been an Executive Assistant to movers and shakers. Currently, I’m a shut-in caregiver to my disabled husband and our 15 year old son. This is by far the most challenging and rewarding “job” of them all.

What was the most enjoyable part of being a talent agent? The most frustrating part?
What I really loved most about being a talent agent was finding the right person for a given job (whether it be acting, writing, directing or producing). I enjoyed combining these efforts with casting agents and production staff. I worked for one of the top three talent agencies in the world and our “pool” of talent was amazing. So I was like a kid in a candy store when it came time to help find a good fit.

I think the most frustrating part of the job was dealing with the egos. You might be surprised to hear that I’m NOT speaking of the talent here but, rather, of other industry professionals. It’s why I left the business. Lack of kindness.

How old are you?
There aren’t enough numbers.

I’m 16 + 32 – 5 ÷ 2 X 4 – 30 if you must know.

I tried to figure that out, but gave up. Where do you live?
Hendersonville, North Carolina, ya’ll.

Do you have a blog or anything where people can learn more about you?
Nope. I’m a mystery, even to me.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Rome, Italy. Soooooo much history (good and bad) there!

Someone has one day to spend in Rome. How would you suggest they use their time?
Eat. The food is AMAZING! And no, it isn’t just pasta and pizzas. They KNOW how to cook fish, for example (my participation in the consumption of said fish was before I stopped eating anything with eyes). And it probably goes without saying that anybody who visits Rome MUST see as many ancient ruins as possible. Talk about history! WOW! The Coliseum is a given. Just to stand there and contemplate the things that happened there… Yeah, that.

What would be your favorite meal?
Tomato pie with a side of sautéed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Hands down!

Pet peeve?
Only one? Oh my… Let me narrow it down….

Okay, narrowing down more…

Dishonesty. That would top the list.

Favorite book?
The Bible

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Greater patience. I know that that can open up a can of worms God-wise. Who knows what He’ll give me in order for me to have that but I really am willing to do whatever it takes to know it. I’m pretty restless.

Tell us about your family?
Married, one human son, one dog son and two dog daughters.

My husband, Roger, has a severe traumatic brain injury. He is a quadriplegic and he can’t talk or eat. He is still and always will be the love of my life and it is an honor and blessing to care for him. Our son, Timothy, is 15 years old (you wouldn’t believe how much he’s grown, Henry!). He has autism and he has worked so hard and made so much progress to overcome many negative behaviors associated with that. I’m very proud of him. He’s still a work in progress but aren’t we all? We have an old Beagle, a younger Pekingese, and a younger still German Shepherd who all sleep with me (but don’t tell anybody).

They are all imperfectly perfect and I love them.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I’m right-handed but play darts best left-handed.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it. It’s been years since I’ve had it. A cruise to the Greek islands sure sounds nice!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I’m a former volunteer EMT (I really miss that work!!!). I studied improv at The Groundlings Theatre in LA and am a former model. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran. Ummmm…. I love to paint and write and would spend days working in the garden if I were able. I’m a vegetarian/borderline vegan. I suffer from insomnia. I like Brussels sprouts.

Can I show my readers this picture you’ve painted?

Thanks much, Kathy. Can I ask you to offer some advice for volunteer EMTs?
My advice for volunteer EMTs? Sometimes, when people are confronted with “the worst” in life, the best care they can receive is that of a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

What did you do in the Navy?
I was a Radioman in the Navy. I worked in satellite signal propagation, cryptography and other things that I’d have to kill you if I told you about. I had my basic training in Orlando, my technical training in San Diego, and then was stationed for two years in Naples, Italy, two years in Thurso, Scotland, then six months in Norfolk, Virginia before I was discharged. Honorably. LOL!

Kathy, thank you for sharing with us some of your story. May God watch over and bless you and your family.

Les Brown–Advice for Wildlife Painters

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Leslie Morris Brown (aka, Les). Shortened to Les because I kept getting my mail addressed to “Miss,” “Mrs.”, “Ms.” I was once nominated for “Who’s Who among American (something or other) Women.”

What is your occupation? If retired, can you tell us from what?
Retired biology/geology professor, Gardner-Webb University. Now with the “you are over the hill” title of Professor Emeritus.

How old are you?
I’m proud to say I have lived 76 and 5/12 years. People say I don’t look that old, which I take to mean 39.

Where do you live?
I live with my beloved wife, Joyce, in the metropolitan one stop-light city of Troutman, NC, near Lake Norman and NASCAR stuff.

Do you have a website or a blog or a Twitter account or anything where people can learn more about you?
Only the seldom viewed: lesbrownsart.com

I’m very much impressed with your art, and thanks for permission to show this example.  Can you give us some advice for wildlife painters?
First and foremost, don’t try to paint “plein air,” that is, from life in the field. The critters run or fly away. Audubon shot his birds and stuffed them. Please don’t do that. I like birds. Loose sketching in the field is okay to then take to the studio for further work. However, if one is an abstract artist, go for it, in the field, with pen and ink in boring meetings, anywhere except while driving. Henry or I may be on the road.

Actually, bird paintings are an easy place to start. Unlike painting people who all look different, birds of each species look pretty much alike. If you can paint one male cardinal, you can paint all male cardinals. I try to find some interesting background for my wildlife paintings. I have lately been enamored with trying to paint water for my shorebirds. This is a true challenge.

I paint with acrylic, mostly for convenience. They don’t have the mineral spirit, maybe lung-rotting, odor and they clean up with water. The downside is that acrylics dry fast. There is a learning curve to dealing with the fast drying.

Don’t expect to earn a living painting. Everybody and all of their neighbors are painting and writing. Do expect to accumulate a large number of paintings, each of which you think is brilliant, but others may be harder to convince. Expect the question, “What am I going to do with all of these?” Your children will not want them and likely will have no interest in your soulful efforts. One solution is to paint over them again and again. You will still have all of your paintings in thin layers on your canvases.

Painting, drawing, writing or any other creative effort is a great stress reliever and time waster for anyone, especially retirees like me. And, who knows, you may become the next Jackson Pollock.

Thank you, Les! Can you tell us the most interesting place you’ve visited?
Long ago, we had the great privilege of going to Kenya and Tanzania. I thought it would be the Mecca for a biologist, and it was. But, the greatest part of it was interacting with the people, including the Masai. Also, the gentleman who led the trip was Dr. Jack Partain of the Religion Department of Gardner-Webb University who had lived in Kenya for many years as a Baptist missionary. He was venerated by the people we met as a great compassionate man. His mission was to bring Christianity to the people within their own culture, without trying to intimidate them with “hellfire and damnation” rhetoric. He believed in compassionate, Christ-like, assistance and love for the incredibly poor people of those nations. He was the embodiment of what I believe missions should be about.

Your favorite meal?
No contest; a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. For a little more up-scale, I would go for grilled salmon with appropriate trimmings.

Pet peeve?
Mean people

Favorite television show?
Big Bang Theory for comedy and Chicago PD for drama, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for what-ever category it falls into.

Favorite book?
Whatever I’m reading when asked!

What would that be at the moment?
“Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told,” by Tom Phelan. I just finished it. It is a little totally Irish gem, character driven with humor and a mystery background.
“A Sand County Almanac,” by Aldo Leopold is among my all-time favorites because of its wonderful environmental message and lyrical passages. It, along with “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, made enormous impact on fueling the great environmental movement and national environmental consciousness that is now under attack.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
I would prefer that people pray for those in greater need than I, and for the healing of our nation divided. I can always use prayers for helping me to be a decent person.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids? Grandkids?
Married to my beloved poet, Joyce Compton Brown. I give her credit for any success I have had in life. I was pretty much of a goof-off in high school and my first year in college. Then I met Joyce. I changed quickly and never looked back. We have two grown-and-gone daughters, Melissa and Michelle. And we have one granddaughter, Anna.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I can turn my tongue over and roll it into a tube. Does that count? I play harmonica and fiddle so badly that the sound (not music) never leaves our house.

The world is the poorer for the loss of your music, sir. If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
All of my time now is spare. I keep up my weedy lawn, fix household things that are within my limited skill set, doctor my cats. I would like to take more art courses and travel more.

Can you tell us something about your cats?
We have two cats, but likely not for long. Our little rescue tabby, appropriately named Lovey, with one cauliflower ear and abbreviated tail from a previously hard life, now, after living the good life for about twelve years, is suffering from kidney failure. She was supposed to pass to kitty heaven about a month ago, but she is now on her fourteenth life. We were poised to have her euthanized, but on the way to the vet, she was on my lap, looking out the car window. Our hearts broken, we turned back. We hydrate her every other day, poke pills in her mouth and give her lots of love that she returns. She is holding her own, doing normal cat things. I found the little emaciated kitty with a skink hanging out of her mouth a couple of days ago. She didn’t want to give it up.

Our younger fur-baby weighs about fifteen pounds, eats like a pig and leaves a carpet of fur all over the house. She is also a rescue, likely part Maine Coon gray and white, named Gracie. Our cats are prone to attach themselves to me. I’m a cat magnet, but I’m trying to encourage Gracie to adopt Joyce. When Lovey is gone, we will have a problem. Gracie did not get the cover-it-up gene for litter box etiquette. Thus Lovey, the extremely tidy kitty, covers Gracie’s “gifts.”

Something to look forward to, I suppose. Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
I enjoy writing. I have had a few short stories and poems published. I had my DNA test done and found that I have absolutely no Cherokee genes (a family belief), but I’m one third British, one third Irish and about twenty some percent Viking (Scandinavian) and traces of other European. Somewhere along the line, I lost the urge to pillage. I am also a relative of the great American author, Thomas Wolfe.

On behalf of civilized society, we’re grateful that the pillaging urge has dissipated. Thanks much for letting us get to know you a little bit, and may the Lord guide your adventures. Take care!