Linked Essays and Home Depot

June 18, 2017

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.



Hey Lady! It’s a DOG Park

May 16, 2017

I am wary about dog parks. They are great business for veterinarians. This mean that dogs can get hurt at a dog park. Yet I serve on the Parks and Recreation board (16 years total so far,) and when we build a new community or large park, we include a dog park. That’s what the people ask for in a park.

I cringe whenever I see a dog off leash. I live next to a dedicated prairie, the Cathy Fromme Prairie, dog laws strictly enforced. But still, every time I walk Ivy on the paved trail, some yahoo has his or her dog off leash.

One dude on a bike was running his mutt off leash while he pedaled in comfort. I asked him to please leash his dog. His reply, “Oh get over it.” Oh well, there are only so many park rangers, and they are usually elsewhere.

On the prairie, there are an uncountable number of rattlesnakes in the grass. Want to see one in the heat of the day? Surprise one. It doesn’t want to eat you, you are too big. So is your dog. However, the coil and strike maneuver is the snake’s defense mechanism. I’m teaching Ivy the word, “sidewalk,” so she knows not to yaw off the trail. If you want to go and look at a snake, go in the early morning, when they are basking in the warmth of the pavement after a cool night. When it warms up, the snakes retreat to the cooler underbrush.

The dumbest thing I’ve seen on the prairie was a grown woman with a black Lab, and a tennis ball launcher. She actually was going to have her dog chase balls through snake-infested grass. Oy.

In my old neighborhood made up largely of college students, I asked dog walkers to please put Fido on a leash. Their retort: “This dog is on voice command.” Sorry, dudes and dudettes, there is no such thing. Sure, your dog may come with you and be good for regular  or boring things, but if it sees something exciting like a racing bunny rabbit, pause for mental image of a racing bunny, voice command is no more.

So today I took Ivy to the dog park. It’s on the east side of town. I live on the west side. I go to this park because it is not frequented by students and their largely untrained dogs, who prefer the west side dog park at the very end of Horsetooth Road. We people know each other, and our dogs know each other as well. A lady came in with her doodle-it’s fun to see an adult version of my Ivy-and promptly yelled at a man with what she called an aggressive dog. He wasn’t aggressive. He met dogs with a bark, and maybe a chest bump. Then he settles in to play. She took her dog to the end of the park. She stayed there. Her “dood” came back to the other dogs to play.

Just as there is no voice command, at the dog park, there is not much obedience. The dogs are there to run and play. If we leave them alone, they work it out. Once, I was there with just a few people. Two women came in with a truly aggressive dog, the women oblivious to the sign prohibiting them. The dog went after our little cadre of mutts. We nicely said that her dog was aggressive and should be removed. Totally different behavior than the man’s dog who settled down. This dog didn’t, and attacked again. The ladies got the message and left.

Ivy loves the dog park, and she is a popular figure to see. It’s kind of like the TV show, “Cheers” where everyone shouts, “NORM” when he enters the bar. She knows how to play appropriately and socialize, which will serve her well.

Go to the dog park, don’t go to the dog park. It’s entirely up to you. But before you go, read up a little on canine behavior, OK?

Hail to the Doodle!

April 5, 2017

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!

March 30, 2017

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!

March 24, 2017

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”

August 9, 2010

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

August 28, 2009

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.