So how many of you have gone on Medicare the first of the month only to break your hip on the 27th? Yeah, baby, right here.

Ivy only had three supervised therapy dog visits to do to become certified to make people smile. I had her in agility class for something else to do. She is really good at it.

So, she had gone over the large upside down v shaped thing, and went to the tunnel. I went outside along side of her shouting, “Tunnel, Ivy, good girl!” when I tripped on the holder of the tunnel, fell on my L knee and landed hard on my left hip. Oy. I only have one untouched large bone left.

Fast forward to the next morning scheduled for surgery. I had talked to my world-famous joint replacement surgeon who had looked at the films on his cell phones. He said the Doctor on call could put 3 parallel pins across the femoral neck. Deja vu from 2004?

So, I get down to pre-op. The chaplain there was a friend of mine, and stayed with me the whole time.

Dr. Doogie Howser shows up. Standing at my back so I had to crane my neck over, he said, “Hi! I’m Dr. Howser. I’m here to replace your hip.” WHAT? When was that ever mentioned? I told him to go call Dr. Famous, who had replaced my R hip in ’05. In the meantime, Young Skippy comes up to me and says, “Hi! I’m your nurse anesthetist. I’m going to be doing your anesthesia today.” “No you are not, I requested an MD anesthesiologist.” Adele, the chaplain, told him to read the notes. He backed up and said to Doogie, “She won’t let me do the anesthesia, wa, wa, wa!”

Dr. Doogie had gotten ahold of Dr. Famous, and Dr. Famous had told him what to do, and that if the hip failed like the other one did, he’d replace it. Mission accomplished. I had an anesthesiologist with a sense of humor, whom I asked if he was a graduate of the Denver School of Nursing. Humor is the way I roll, not interacting with idiots who can’t read.

So now I have three pins in my L hip which will stay. I now have broken three of the 4 largest bones in the body. I saw Dr. Famous today, whom I thanked profusely for having my back before surgery with Doogie. We discussed going back on osteoporosis meds, just not the one that made me feel bad one day of the week. Twelve days after the accident, today, he said I could now put 15# of weight on my hip using my crutches. I will see him next month, and probably ditch the crutches. No PT for hips, just walking. Ivy will soon be able to have her three supervised therapy visits.

Last thought: A freshman med student can nail a hip. I’ve put a pin in the wing of a roadrunner. It’s not rocket science. I think most ortho docs think they are Jesus just because they are really good carpenters.

Confusion: Today is Friday!!!!

Boy am I confused. Perhaps my brain is on freeze mode due to the upcoming Cubs v. Nats games for the NL East championship.

My friend, Colleen and I went to the movies noonish, and saw Stray. Ok, it was a memoir of a dog, true story. Can’t help thinking that if this was such a good story and movie-OK, not great, then my book should do well.

On the way home, saw school busses, and was really confused. It’s Friday, Friday, Friday.

Another thing that has me in idiot mode is that the Cubs, my beloveds, start their 5 game run for the NL East championship. The Rockies, by the way, blew it to the Dodgers in the Wild Card. So the Cubs are at the Nats today and Saturday. If they win both or just one, they have a chance of victory at home! Remember, the World Series was won in Cleveland. So Tuesday and Wednesday are home games. Then Wednesday off, and the final game if necessary in Washington.

Two years in a row to be in the playoffs. Wow. I have our pizza ordered to pick up at Papa Murphy’s, and am taking Ivy to Diane and Darell’s house. Better TV and some company. I took Ivy to the dog park to blow off some steam, and wouldn’t let her lie down in the mud and put her face in the water bowl. One bowl was set up on a bench. Good dog. I always brush her with a slicker and a comb in the parking lot before she hops into her car crate.

The Broncos have their bye week Sunday, and the Cubs have a travel day. My date book is wide open to look at it.

The weather is turning bad, and my 65th birthday, Tuesday, is supposed to be the worst day of the week. Oh well.

I hope my Monday afternoon volunteer spot from 3-6 is up in the air. The Cubs play at 2pm. Choices must be made.

The Ghost Dog

I’ve been training Ivy to get on the bed in a way that will be OK when she’s certified as a therapy dog.

She sleeps in her crate, but awakens around 6am. I put her out, and go back to sleep until she barks, once, to come in. Then it’s time for training to be on the bed. Instead of just leaping up, she has to sit, wait for me to get back to bed, and the command, “up!” She is very dainty, goes to the foot of the bed. I say “head down” and she does it.

So, I got up to use the bathroom with Ivy at the foot of the bed. I turned around after washing my  hands, and wouldn’t you know, she’s up against the pillows. She did the same thing on the couch. Silent as a mouse.

She’s going to be a great therapy dog because “doodles make you smile every day.”

Linked Essays and Home Depot

When I read the email cover letter to send in the sample of my manuscript for Drinking Out of the Trough, I read that it was referred to as a collection of “linked essays.” Huh? What is that?

Linked essays are those that relate to each other by subject and through a timeline.

While all essays weren’t in perfect order, I could see that they had a natural progression with regard to a timeline. That was the reason for going to Judy’s house with her crazy long dining room table, and sorting out the essays. As it turned out, the essays were mostly in chronological order. Had I known what linked essays were, it probably would have confused me more that the simple directions of adding photos to this blog. I have an IT person, who is quite brilliant, but darned if I can follow the directions. I will work on this today while it is hot today.

My submission to the publisher I want is done. I only have to wait. Judy says this publisher has a pretty fast turnaround, so I’m not going to send more entries to other publishers until I hear the outcome of my submission.

So today, before going to the dog park, I decided to have Ivy practice for her next lesson in her Canine Good Citizenship class, which is meeting this week at Lowe’s. We went to Home Depot. What a great little dog! Ivy, who loves everybody, started jumping up and down on her hind legs to meet the nice employees who thought she was the cutest thing they’d ever seen (she is). I asked the to let her sit first like a lady, then love on her all they wanted. Ivy was in doggie heaven.

Next, we started shopping. We looked at granite countertops, light fixtures, and other hardware items. I had to call her back to heel a few times, but she did this right away. We practiced sit stays, and down stays with me circling her while she remained in her stay. When people just wanted to walk by, I told her to “Leave it,” and she complied. It helped that I had treats in her treat bag hanging from my shorts. Good distraction technique if you ask me.

What I was most proud of was when she saw a woman running a huge machine to clean the floor. Ivy didn’t even react to it.

All in all, it was a successful trip.

The dog park was crowded. All her friends were there. Boy, can that 34-pound puppy run! Fast. Ivy is fast enough to catch up to a black poodle she likes. Ivy is mostly poodle, so it makes sense that she is as fast as one. But she’s only nine months old. We spent about an hour and a half there, and it was time to come home so she could drop down into a deep sleep. She is out in her dog pen now, sleeping like she’s dead. I’ll hold a mirror up to her nose in a minute.

Have a great Father’s Day.



Hail to the Doodle!

The motto for Colorado weather is if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. I was in the TV loft yesterday vegging, when the room started getting dark. I looked out the window, and there were gentle snowflakes falling. I looked again, and it was pouring rain. Remembering that Ivy was out (don’t worry, she has a covered porch also), I went to get her. Hailstones on the ground.

Now imagine a curly Doodle with hailstones just the right size to fit into the middle of her curls, and you have a new breed-the Hailstone Golden Doodle!

The Barrier Has Been Breached!

Ivy the Golden doodle puppy has managed only to go into the basement once-she has a barrier. That’s where the cat food and kitty litter boxes are. I gave her a new Bully Stick, which she chewed, and left the loft. Too quiet. I went looking for her, and there she was, on the other side of the baby gate which has the door to the basement keeping the door wide enough for the cats to get in.

Ivy ate all the cat food-that’s dinner for tonight, and diarrhea for tomorrow, but left the kitty logs alone. Ick.

My book only has one chapter to finish editing. Ivy isn’t in the book. She’s only 6 months old, and I think now a teenager. With a walk this morning, and the dog park this afternoon, she should crash shortly for the night.

What a Day in Colorado. Wait ’til Tomorrow!

So, it was 75 degrees today in Fort Fun. I took Ivy to the dog park, where she got filthy. Glad I paid all that $$$ for a bath and puppy cut.

Ran a couple errands before we went home. Then, PT for the broken humerus. It’s doing pretty well.

I asked Ivy’s breeder if I could drop off the pen I used for 5 months after PT. If I didn’t hear from her, I’d take my roadster, which is easier to drive than the Outback (yes, everyone in CO drives one), which had the pen in it. I literally was walking out the door with the Benz keys in my hand when Cathie texted me that 3pm would be good to drop off the pen.

Of course, she had the cutest litter of pups. I got to see her favorite retired mama dog, Lilly, and Ivy’s mom is there. She is in heat, and ready to be bred with the one remaining straw of Ivy’s father. So, all the new litter will be Ivy’s biological siblings! How cool.

At Cathie’s, the clouds came in, and on went my sweatshirt (Cubs World Series Champs hoodie). This evening, it was pouring rain. Even Ivy didn’t want to sleep under the covered patio. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be a blizzard. But who knows?


“I want to get better so you can go to law school”

I just finished my four-week jump start program for law school. It was exciting and fun. I looked forward to each and every day. I liked all the people. I even enjoyed taking tests. In the realm of law students however, I believe I am the proverbial village idiot. Every village needs one after all. Talking about grades is a no-no so let’s just say that out of ten students, I seriously doubt I am #1. We don’t even know two of our scores for another week, and I really don’t care what I got. I learned what I needed to learn from this program, and to me it was not making grades.

My main problem is shifting how I have learned during the last almost 58 years to a learning style so alien it’s no wonder there are so many jokes about lawyers. “What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?   A good start.” Okay……so that brings me back to the rule of C=DVM. It’s no different in law school. C=JD. My goal in vet school was not to get any Ds. Goal met. My other goal is to shoot a hole in one. Pending.

I did learn that you teach yourself the law. You learn the ‘black letter law,’ and with hypothetical examples given (hypos) you are given a test question with a fact pattern that you have learned from a different hypo, and apply the law to it. I get it. I can’t do it yet, but I get it. I had memory problems. In the past, memorization was my best thing when learning. It doesn’t serve one well to just memorize the law, but you do have to get some things down cold, word for word. I wonder if it was from lack of any cerebral activity since my retirement from teaching four years ago, the hip fracture drama six years ago with a year, more or less, on some of the most powerful narcotics on the planet, or the grief that is still very strong from Earl’s death 14 months ago, and maybe the fact that I had mercury toxicity. That in itself can nuke your brain. How many law school wannabes have had MRIs done? I’ve had 3, one with the, oh yeah, heavy metal IV dye for contrast.

Living here in West Texas has been lovely. The weather is gorgeous, as is the countryside. No mountains, so I am disoriented with regard to direction because there are no mountains on the west, but it is very pretty here. I love my new home, one totally mine that I chose, bought and fixed up for myself and the cats with the mindset that I was ‘flipping’ it to sell when I get a horse property wherever I end up. No more being a ‘renter’ to a family who told me the instant Earl died that I lived free for 27 years, after I went into my marriage with a house of my own, paid for even. My neighbors are kind, the neighborhood is safe, and we look out for each other. I think this climate plus the lack of toxins in my previous home have made me feel better physically. I’m no longer allergic to anything but mesquite, and no longer require allergy shots. I do think the old house and my JHS classroom were toxic.

I’ve taken a few road trips to see parts of Texas. I went to San Antonio for a vet conference antiquing my way down in the little towns along the way. I found an Eastlake table with a marble top. I am fond of Eastlake furniture. When I came back, I had a stunning new marble top made for it. During the coming week before orientation begins, I will drive around the area looking at towns like Idalou and Floydada-gotta love those names! I was going to go to Tucson to ride Scoot and the Baby, but the weather there is monsoon season. My sister told me how to simulate it: Put some wet towels into the dryer. Turn on. Wait. Turn off the dryer and stick your head in.

I am staying here and going to the Hispanic Law Association’s Boot Camp. It’s supposed to be wonderful. I also have some things yet to get in order, like the evil Intent to Practice Law in Texas. I don’t know if I’m going to practice in Texas, but I will take the bar. Last summer, I was getting together a packet for my Texas vet license. Same hoops. I asked the Dean of Students if I could just transfer some materials over. Of course not-the departments don’t communicate. Duh, that would be too easy.

I had some 3 meltdowns during the four weeks of class; not due to stress but frustration of not knowing how to do something. Luckily, it clicked for me the Thursday of the third week, and I was able to do some work. The ‘grief monster’ that triggers the meltdowns is always paralyzing, but when it passes, I can get some serious work done. It doesn’t take much to set off the monster, and at least it only happens at home. The last week, I didn’t have the monster visit, but my computer was doing some weird gymnastics when I had a memo due at 10pm. I took a pillow, so as not to scare the boys, and screamed into it. Then I got back to work, sending my memo in with two hours to spare.

I think about Earl all the time. He was so ill from April to his death in June last year. In his misery he told me, “I want to get better so you can go to law school.” I tried three times to get in. I even was wait listed one year at Wyoming, my first choice, only to be rejected at the speed of light the next cycle. The first time I applied to my school I was admitted via the summer program. Earl was so very ill I had to defer. I was committed to taking care of him to the point that I would forego school entirely, because had he recovered, he couldn’t have his wife in another state.

While I have the angst everyone has about starting law school, I have had four exciting weeks that gave me a taste of what it will be like. I uprooted my entire life, shipped my beloved horses to Margo, and became a Texan (Coloradans supposedly don’t like Texans.) I’m going to give it the “old college try.” If the law school says I’m too stupid, I’ll go quietly (by the way, all the deans and staff I’ve talked to say the same thing, “hang in there”) If it’s not my cup of tea, it’s no shame to browse on. I am, after all, retired with an income, and  an active veterinarian in two states. I am committed to learning some very interesting material that will apply to my other careers, teaching and vet med. I owe it all to Earl, who always gave me confidence and who did get better so I could go to law school. He died. G-d bless my best friend and life partner. I know he is riding Marcie with Keli and Tipper running alongside. I will always love you, Dear. I hope to make you proud.

Tough times lead to less blogging

The Widow Carlson is fed up. Friends have been kind. So have neighbors, even strangers. But things turn really weird when a death happens.

The nightly robocalls from credit card companies- can they let the body cool? These companies get more people into trouble than any other financial institution. Earl and I never kept a dime in common which made for a fight-free marriage. An Illinois attorney friend said, “I just LOVE to hose credit card companies.” Right on!

One medical creditor with a bill of seventeen dollars went immediately to collection to pay corporate law firms hundreds of dollars for a few bucks.

Junk mail abounds. The hospital sent Earl a post mortem letter asking if he would like to honor staff by contributing to the Foundation. The following day, a huge bill came to “The Estate of.” I just finished my best friend’s estate. Her mail was forwarded here, and the same institution sent her a “Welcome to your new home!” letter soliciting donations from the dead.

Even the funeral home has a mailing list. A survey came for a free funeral estimate. At the bottom of the page it read, “Please accept our apologies if this questionnaire arrived at a difficult time.” It did. The owner said an outside firm does these, and people like these tasteless reminders of their own demise. I’d rather call Pakistan for computer advice.

It took his family four hours after Earl’s last breath to turn on me. They piled his junk from the hospital into my car. They asked if I would be OK getting home, then went out to dinner.

A church service was organized that he never wanted. These straight-laced “believers” were going without me to meet a pastor who is known for his eccentricities. I called him to ask what he was planning. It sounded fine. In a restaurant after, they let me have it because they thought I had changed the service. Worse, I had invited one of Earl’s good friends. She was actually called and told not to come. They could have held a service in the state where they live. No one has called me since they left the next day except his mother, who wanted Earl’s sports car, which now belonged to me.

I knew what would happen when we married, that our life together would be cut short due to Earl’s lifetime medical issues. We did not have children because he was so afraid of having a sick child. I no longer feel part of his family.

Earl was the most magnificent man in the world. We had a wonderful marriage in an age where many marriages don’t last. I have precious memories. The best one after his death is scattering his ashes on the football field at Wyoming with his buddies, reserving some to place around his beloved father’s memorial bench at UW. My comfort is that Earl is at peace, free of suffering and pain, running free and laughing in Heaven.

Things happen when cars are washed

I hate euphemisms. I’ve been hearing them constantly since my husband passed away eleven days ago. That, plus people’s own medical histories. But the saying, “When it rains, it pours” works for me this morning.

This spring, there has been so much rain and hail (with tornado warnings,) that our usual June hot, dry weather is now such that our nine-year drought is officially gone.

We had our corral graded last fall to hold rain runoff in a pond until it evaporated. Usually there is nothing in the depression that our buddy, Bru, created. The new pond has been an ongoing fixture all spring. The horses have to walk around it. The corral is a sloppy mess. I posted earlier about Scooter’s private swimming pool, and how the horses had to be shod at the vet hospital when our farrier was there. Over the last three months, I’ve watched that corral pond evaporate, return, turn bright green, dull green, yellowish, then return again.

Last night we had a storm that made the front page of the paper.

I took visiting cousins upstairs to watch the storm. They are from Arizona, so they don’t know what water looks like. We watched cloud-to-ground lightning, cloud-to-cloud lightning, pouring rain, and flooded streets. We covered our ears for the huge claps of thunder.

This time, I got to the barn in time to close the window so the spare hay on the floor did not get wet. The horses are delightfully soaked again, and I will brush them later before our open house in memory of Earl.

Upon returning from my morning walk, made a little lonelier because the Wonder Husky is in Heaven, I noticed that the corral pond was back, no longer green, and had a mallard duck happily swimming in it.

Euphemisms? Clichés? Murphy’s Law? Yep. I had the cars washed yesterday. It makes me feel better to have clean cars. The daily driver has seen a lot of use with all the company, so it went through the automatic car wash. My beloved classic Mercedes was just released to me after weeks at the shop. It had minor repairs and service, but I didn’t have time to pick it up with all the hospital and arrangements. The car wash does hand washing at a very reasonable rate, and my classic beauty was pristine. I even uncovered Earl’s sports car for the gathering today.

Okay, so things happen when cars are washed. But ducks swimming in the corral is a little much, don’t you think?