Whose bed is this anyway?

Ivy has grown up to be quite the polite young lady. When sleeping in her crate next to the bed, she scrabbles on the floor of the crate if she needs to go out. I’m a light sleeper, so I hear this, and let her out. If nice outside, she will want to sleep on a mat on the patio. One bark tells me she wants in.

This morning, she rattled her tags to go out. Why? Because she no longer sleeps in the monster-sized crate. How did this happen? I’ve never slept with a dog. Huskies shed all over.

Ivy has a routine for bedtime. My lovely goldendoodle goes unconscious on the couch upstairs at the same time every night, and doesn’t move. I say, “Time to go to bed! C’mon boys; c’mon Ivy!” That’s part one. The cats only get part one. Part two of the bedtime routine is going outside. If it is not too frigid, I go out with her, taking a flashlight to see what she does. Right now, it is zero, and she can go out and come back with lightning speed. Part three is “Go to bed” i.e, get in the crate, and part four is a biscuit inside the crate (take it nice).  She settles down and the five of us go to sleep. If I’m not ready for bed, and leave the bedroom, she barks, once. I have learned to tell her I’ll be right out here in the kitchen working. Then she goes to sleep.

But things have changed. When Keli was with us, born in 1982, there was no crate training. Tipper was born in 1996, and crate training was the real deal. Since huskies shed like yetis, they were only allowed in the family room and kitchen. Huskies are more solitary than doodles, so they were quite content.

Fast forward to about three months ago. Ivy would lie down in her crate, I’d get in bed, then she would sit up. What? I told her, “down.” OK, but two minutes later, she was up again. My slow brain figured out that she no longer wanted to sleep in the crate. As a confirmed couch potato, she wanted up on the bed. How wonderful! A fuzzy dog to pet, hug and move out of the way when I wake up at the edge of the bed. Cuddling all night. Sometimes I didn’t see her; she blended into the quilt.

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, Earl and I were married twenty seven years. We had a king-sized bed. I did not like to cuddle when sleeping, had to tell Earl to turn over when he snored lightly, which he did without waking. And I could not sleep in a bed with E less than a queen-sized. Since our king bed was two twins put together with king sheets, there was a line between the mattresses. It was our joke to tell each other to get on your side of the line.

My bed now is a double (full-size). I sleep on it as do the three old cats and Ivy. Five of us. I cuddle with Ivy, and while we don’t do “spoons,” she arranges herself to be back to back. I don’t sleep through the night, but I like to listen to the radio or Dave Ramsey on my phone, so it’s all good.

Ivy wakes me in the morning to go outside either briefly, or to lie on the mat. I’m well trained now so she only barks once so she doesn’t disturb the neighbors. I hate dogs that bark non-stop. Ivy is a lady, well-trained and loving.

“I’ve got meat”!

Today I finally got my mixed pack of Omaha Steaks (and some pork which will go to friends) that had been advertised on the radio as a huge discount. I rarely eat red meat, but on a recent blood test, I was borderline low on iron.

My dad and stepmother once sent me and Earl four filet mignons with bacon wrapped around the sides (OK, I like bacon, pepperoni too) from Omaha. We kept those steaks frozen forever, kind of worshiping them in the freezer. On Dad and Joan’s last ever visit to us in 1994, we had a family dinner-yep, the four filets. They never knew they were eating their gift to us.

So after I ordered the meat package, I started worrying that it wouldn’t fit in my freezer. Omaha Steaks said they couldn’t cancel the order. One of my phobias is food poisoning, so I worried also that the dry ice the meat was packed in would disappear. I looked for days out the front door. No food.

Today, it was there, a really nice styrofoam crate to keep. But no one rang the doorbell. One of the Fed Ex guys is scared to death of sweet little Ivy and her raging bark, and won’t even ring the bell. She lets me know he’s coming when he drives into the neighborhood. Nine dog bites on the legs from vicious mutts will make one a little hesitant, I guess.

Would the meat still be rock-hard frozen? Would it fit in my freezer? Yes to both. I had to move some things around, and I won’t be having ice anytime soon, but all was well.

The Omaha Steaks Saga brought back some memories in my quirky old brain. One of my fellow teachers, my friend “Z”, lived on a ranch north of town and raised cattle and horses. Z asked me one day if he could borrow our old horse trailer to bring back a horse from Scottsbluff. Sure, no problem. Use it as long as you like.

A couple of weeks later, Z dropped by with a large packet of steaks from one of his steers. Wow! We didn’t expect anything, we never did when doing a favor for a friend. This was great, and we lit up our barbecue to enjoy the meat of Bos taurus.

Earl, in his job as Animal Welfare Veterinarian for Colorado, knew a lot of people in the racing industry. Earl being Earl, he made some good friends from people he was checking to see if their animals were being treated humanely. His favorite couple lived out on the Eastern Plains. In addition to racing animals, they raised beef cattle. Earl would visit occasionally, and come home chattering about what a great time he had. These folks, Mary Ann and Gary, owned the ranch. They were among the people Earl had to keep track of, but he made good friends with them, and would visit the ranch.

Mary Ann and Gary had a gigantic, black Angus bull, named Bubba-their best breeder. He was so huge that he scared the pants off of people. Yet, Earl was mad for Bubba, and talked about him all the time. I asked him when he would take me to meet Bubba.

He finally took me out to the ranch to see Bubba. I still had the willies from my job right after vet school in the anesthesia section of the  hospital when I had to anesthetize a 2400-pound Santa Gertrudis bull. But Bubba, instead of being a testosterone-crazed two thousand pound  harbinger of death at the strange vet hospital, this gentle giant was the sweetest, cutest breeding male food animal I have ever met. He loved to have his head scratched, and would crawl in your lap if he wouldn’t crush you to death. I was seriously in love with Bubba.

Mary Ann and Gary kept some of Bubba’s sons around as  bulls for breeding, and steers to sell for meat. One evening, Earl, my sweet, gentle husband, came in the house carrying a styrofoam cooler not unlike Omaha’s. With a caveman face and voice, he said, “I’ve got meat”! Fortunately, Z’s meat was eaten. Earl filled the freezer, leaving some steaks in the other side of the fridge.

Wow! I had never tasted such awesome beef ever. Flavorful, juicy, and tender, this meat was first class. As we were chewing and chatting, I asked who the bull was that engendered this delicious steer. As it turns out,  we were eating Bubba Junior! After my initial shock wore off, I finished my steak thanking Bubba Junior for his sacrifice for my gastronomic pleasure.

The butt goes up

Well now I’ve seen everything. I came in the house after mailing Betty White a letter asking her to please write a back cover blurb for my book. We are both involved with Morris Animal Foundation, but at 96, I think she is focusing more on the Los Angeles Zoo and saving sea otters.

Ivy was on the stairs, with her front paws on the lower step, and sitting one step up. She knew I wanted to get by, so instead of turning around and going up, or going down by me, she put her weight on the front paws and hitched her butt up the stairs. She did this until she got to the top.

I think I’ve seen it all now.

Save the date, my friends, I just don’t know what it will be!

I will be sending nice email invitations to friends, relatives, and colleagues of mine. You can’t save the date, because I don’t know it yet. The book publication date is August 28, 2018. I don’t know how many you are supposed to invite, and you have to have enough books on hand to sell and sign, but I want a big party. I’m one of those people who worries that she invites people to a party but no one comes. They will, and I think I do a reading. I’m used to speaking, as I had a full career in teaching, a business, and multiple volunteer positions. I broke my piggy bank and chose a publicity package. My VISA is now a limp noodle. Tax deductible. I bet I get a refund.

My book, Drinking From the Trough, A Veterinarian’s Memoir, is in publication right now. I can’t believe how fast She Writes Press, the publisher, moves the production. SWP promotes the works of women authors and puts together the book with their ace designers, while their partner in publication, Spark Point, does the men’s side, as well as all the publicity packages. I hope I got that right, I’m still a rookie. Spark Point also has webinars. I did one on the SWP side, and it was very informative. I’m just an idiot as to how to set the whole thing up, and whether you can listen to it later, not in real time. Need to get my head out of my *&(, because there is a publicity one coming up end of January.

I’ve chosen a cover with Judy, my writing coach, which will be done soon, then the cover designer does her thing. It is going to be spectacular! After that, another designer chooses what the book will look like inside. We don’t think of what it takes to be a readable book, but it is a big deal. Being as ignorant as I am, I just shut up and nod my head yes. The book is finished, has yet to be proofread, and I am so excited I often send Judy several emails at a time. Then she knows intuitively that I am excited.

With my risk of getting a bite wound (going to the total hip and trashing it) while practicing vet med, I no longer practice. I do keep all my profession memberships,licenses and malpractice up to date, read journals, and am available for charity work, and to be an extra pair of hands if needed.

Last week, I got an LLC, just to make my taxes extra work for my CPA, John, nicest man and fastest tax guy I know.

It is said that people have several careers during their working lifetimes, so I have a new career-full time author.

I think there is a reason for everyone, and perhaps fracturing both my hips, 13 years apart, has given me time to work at home, take care of the pets, and live in quiet companionship with the three senior cats and Ivy, my Golden doodle, who is now 15 months old.

Oh nooooooooooo!

Flash back to the summer of 1975 or 76. My sister was home visiting, and I was in graduate school at Northwestern and living with Mom. The way our rooms were situated was that mine was over the garage, and hers up the landing and to the right. But our windows were very close by. It was hot and humid,  so our windows were wide open.

I was watching a new show, Saturday Night Live. They had a sketch that was so funny, I was laughing so hard tears flowed down my face, and I rolled around in bed. I couldn’t be silent, even though everyone was asleep. I screamed in laughter. Really.

Margo came into my room and asked what was so funny. All I could do was point at the TV. It was a new character made of clay,  with a high pitched voice dressed in one outfit. It was Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill always talked in the falsetto voice to an unseen Mr. Hands. Bad things always happened to Mr. Bill. If he had a sprained wrist, a drunken orthopedic surgeon would cut off his arm. An O shaped mouth would scream, “Oh no……..” Every time Mr. Bill was on, something sadistic happened to him and his clay body.

I became obsessed with Mr. Bill. He had a dog made of yellow clay who suffered similar fates. When I was a first year vet student, we had a Halloween party in costume. My classmate, Anna, and I put on “Mr. Bill goes to Anatomy Lab.” He said he was a dog lover, and had a wonderful dog. A voice would always sing “Here comes Mr. Bill’s dog.” In our sketch, Anna sang it to perfection. When Mr. Bill told the audience it was a racing greyhound, the dogs we used to use for dissection, the whole room cracked up.  They knew what would transpire. “Oh noooooo!”

When I first starting using Chewy.com, they had a perfect Mr. Bill dog toy. Instead of squeaking, it screamed, “Oh no………….” I kept the toy for me, and ordered another for Ivy. She soon became obsessed with Mr. Bill. I can be far away in the house and hear a muffled “Oh noooooooooo” Ivy knows the toy by name, and will go look for him when asked. She tries to take him outside, which I won’t let her do, so when I open the door, she lets me take his white hand, and goes out.

When I mention that Ivy’s favorite toy is Mr. Bill, Millennials look at me with blank stares. They have no idea who he is. Go to YouTube, kids, and laugh your guts out.

Oh no……………..

 

Slapstick on the couch

I had a great day today (All things considered, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?). I had a lot of errands, got the Mercedes exercised, Jiffy Lubed, and tires filled with the green stuff. I was surprised it ran. I hadn’t driven it much because the Subaru is the dog mobile. After I had the Benz serviced, I drove up into the foothills east of Horsetooth Reservoir. That short drive in a really fast car always makes me happy.

I started PT on the arm I broke last Feb. After using crutches for the day, it is killer. My fabulous physical therapist, Maud, knocked the pain out of the park. She ended the session by putting kinesiology tape on my shoulder. What is wrong, and was during fracture recovery was the head of the biceps tendon. Oy. I have to remember when I shower before our next appointment that the tape has to come off when you are soaking wet, or you skin comes off with the tape.

I got home to a sleepy Ivy. I wondered where her dog walker was. It was getting dark. Duh, Mary, read your email. Lee from Rover.com, had been there while I was gone, fed Ivy and the cats, and changed the litter boxes.

Ivy is so chill, she loves the couch, especially that I put one of those ten buck blankets on it to protect last year’s new upholstery. What the hell about a no shed dog sleeping on the couch. That wonderful couch, inherited from my Uncle Tom, is sixty years old. Jeez, I’ll be dead when that couch falls apart.

So Ivy was dead to the world, stretched out on the couch and blanket, smiling in her deep sleep. She got up into sternal position, and turned around to face the back of the couch. As I was typing something else, I noticed her back was hanging over the edge. I went back to typing when I heard a wump! Yep, she had fallen to the floor. She looked so embarrassed, I started laughing. She is now sleeping on the floor.

Doodles make you smile every day.

CUBS WIN!! CUBS WIN!!

For the second year in a row, the Cubs won a playoff series. Now, to win the Pennant, now called the National League Championship Series, they have to beat the Dodgers. Oy.

Well, they killed the Dodgers quite handily this season, perhaps they can win the NL championship.

I watched all games with my friends Diane and Darell. We call it dog baseball, because we have three dogs between us. Ivy loves to run on their lawn like a nutcase. We had been to the dog park earlier in the day, but she loves to slide around on the lawn. I don’t have a back yard, I have a patio home, which is her dog pen complete with covered patio and regular professional pooper scooping.

Back to the Cubs. You have to understand how the Cubs have influenced the personalities of all its fans. We are tough, unstoppable, resilient, and diehard fans. Heck, how do you think Ivy got her name? The Cubs won the 2016 World Series on Nov. 2, and it was time to bring Ivy home on the 8th. In case you don’t know, the outfield brick walls do not have protective mats, they are covered in Ivy, planted by baseball legend Bill Veeck.

I’ve written about the Cubs before, and how the Cubs have molded my life, but for them to get where they have a second year in a row, I thought it would at least be worth a mention.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. President. I’m sorry to hear you talk to yourself. Sad. You told us you had talked to the president of the US Virgin Islands. Well, dumbass, YOU are the president of the VI.

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.”