Franklin, mine son.

Oy Frank. Mine son. You have been through the ringer; but you still come up purring.

On April 27, I took you to the clinic for euthanasia. You are fifteen years old. You have a Grade III heart murmur, a BUN off the charts indicating your kidneys are on the way out, and you have to breathe extra hard. I initially took you in to Earl’s old clinic because you used to be eighteen pounds, and now you looked like normal weight. You looked horrible.

Yet, when I took you out of the carrier, you looked like the healthiest cat on the planet. Dr. Gaffney looked at me like I was nuts! I could hear her thinking: “Why are you here to put this happy cat to sleep?” So was I! He came out of the carrier  to purr at and bump all the staff, eating snacks, leaving me scratching my head in puzzlement.  She did hear the Grade III murmur where the other vet had called it a Grade II.

We decided then to take a chest film. With a Grade III mitral murmur and dyspnea (difficult breathing), surely we would find something. That film was of the healthiest looking heart and lungs I ever saw. Dr. Gaffney laughed when I told you, “Well, Frank, I guess you aren’t going to die today.” We went home and you ate some kitty fud.

Fast forward to July. We-you three elderly cats and the puppy with their mother were watching TV in the loft upstairs. I had put an empty bowl of ice cream on the flat top of the loft banister to remember to take it downstairs. You do have a bad habit of checking out my feeding dishes, er, bowls. My eye just glanced over to the flat top just in time to see your paws on the top and nothing else. The paws went off, and in a microsecond, I heard a body hit the stairs. I screamed and ran down to find a dead cat. But there you were, alive and crouched on the floor and still. I touched you, and you cried. OMG!

I called the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and told the woman on the phone I was coming in pronto, and would stay with my cat.

After all the struggles over the years I’ve had with you, Franklin, about getting into a carrier, you walked right in.

I broke all speed records to get you to the hospital.

CSU now has a Patient Liaison. She is wonderful with crazy people, when the resident introduced herself to me as did the new senior student. They only took you away from me to do an exam. You were fine, but I wanted to see a film of your chest and spine. Totally normal.

I took all the paperwork home with  you, now in the pouring rain. Thanks for the hundreds of dollars I spent. All the stuff on the balcony is off, but I can’t keep you off. Has this happened before? How would I know?

Still good ‘ol Charlie Brown, er, Franklin. Charlie Brown was my very first cat. Now, you sleep next to my head, purring and  cuddling all the time. You are an old cat, so is your brother, and so is Matthew, who is seventeen.

I remember when I told Dr. Kainer, my anatomy professor, that I decided to go into feline practice. His comment? “That’s good. It’s hard to kill a cat.”

Just when you think you knew everything

I went to a funeral of one of my vet professors the other day, an activity that unfortunately is getting too frequent. I said hello to one of the visitors in front of me. He said, “Who are you?!” I thought he was serious, so I said, “Mary Carlson.” Then I remembered how he always liked to jerk my chain, like the time on his service he gave me a grade of 11.96 out of twelve. After the service, one of my favorite profs of all time, who always teases me about giving law school a try, left before the funeral directors go up row by row to let people go to the reception. This professor, Dr. Jim Ingram, jerker of chains, leader of the student “duck patrol” was helped out by his wife and another professor, who had driven them to the church. I thought that in spite of oxygen lines, he looked pretty good. I learned today that he had a fall right before leaving home. Speaking of falls, he still owes me a bucking bronco belt buckle for breaking my hip in ’04. Now that I’ve broken both, well…. On the other hand, how many of your professors visit you two days out of a three day hospital stay for a hip replacement?

The funeral was for Dr. Bob Pierson, my neighbor before marriage, and painter of my horse art watercolors. Bob painted the original portrait for a birthday present Earl commissioned. I had it downsized for my business cards and this blog. Visit “Portrait of the Horses” to see it.

I thought about Dr. Ingram, the oxygen, the fact that he is 93, and that my book isn’t coming out until August. I still had one relatively untouched ARC, so before leaving for Ivy’s job today, I called and talked to Peggy, his wife. Would Dr. Ingram, classmate of my father-in-law, class of ’52, and one of my best profs who is prominently featured in the book, like a copy of the next to final book? Would he be able to read it? Peggy said absolutely, and it was fine to bring it over after the care home visit. She was OK about Ivy coming too, it was really hot today, and no way could she stay in the car. She was a good dog who fell in love with the best horse neurologist I ever knew.

I had written words inside of the book for the good doctor, but said if he wanted, I would give him a final copy. I know the book launch wouldn’t be good for him, but I will invite them anyway.

We all got talking about WWII, and how he got to go on an Honor Flight last year to see the monuments in DC, particularly the breathtaking WWII monument. He showed me his hat with the pins on it. I quickly spotted the Purple Heart pin. Turns out the smily doctor known as Grim Jim (a moniker he never liked,) is a Purple Heart WWII hero.

I stayed about an hour. Ivy was a good dog. Peggy asked me if I would like a picture of Dr. Ingram from the honor flight. Absolutely! It’s magnificent. A head shot with the WWII ball cap on his head, and a priceless expression. The expression on his face is pure Jim Ingram. The picture is going into a frame ASAP.

I hope I’ll get to see him more. Seems I see some people only at funerals now. I’m happy to go over to the Ingrams for awhile so Peggy can run some errands. All she has to do is call, and I’ll be there.

What an unexpectedly special day!

Fighting for freedom 50 years apart

Veteran and former CSU prof donates rare WWII glider uniform to Avenir Museum
“Please take care of this.” That’s what 93-year-old Jim Ingram told staff of CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising on May 23 as he donated the complete, pristine uniform he wore during his World War II service in the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment.

 

 

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.

Great Turkey Day

What a great day for Thanksgiving in Colorado. 70 degrees and sunny. Ivy and I went to the dog park, as her dog walker had other commitments. Not such a wise idea with me on crutches, but only minor mishaps.

Had dinner at my cousin’s house. It is nice to have a relative in town. Michael and Shari picked the Fort to retire and brew beer.

I’ve been so housebound and healing, it was nice to be out in the sunshine in the morning, a nap watching inane TV, and then out to dinner. I even brought home some turkey leftovers. Looking forward to a turkey sandwich tomorrow.

Michael and my grandmothers were sisters. I really didn’t know him, due to age, and the ravages of divorce. Kids of divorce never really go anywhere. This was my mother’s side of the family, and I know my sister will agree with me, that I sure wish I had had more family contact.

But the day was great, hip feels good, two more weeks only on crutches. Pretty good. The icing on the cake is my restarting PT on the arm I broke last winter. No pain while using crutches, but murder moving after. Maud Monnet, ace physical therapist, skier and Pilates student will get me feeling a whole lot better starting Monday.

Hope you all had as nice a day as I had.

Travel plans and publishing deadlines

I woke up early this morning to use the fire hydrant, and totally forgot I must use crutches right now. I got out of bed and started walking to the bathroom. WRONG! OW! Didn’t work. I know now why I have the crutches. I didn’t fall, but I grabbed the crutches and finished what I started to do.

Speaking of starting to do things, I got a spreadsheet from one of my team members at She Writes Press yesterday of twenty three things to do before publication date-August 28. Whew! Judy, my coach, and I have our (my) parts to do, and SWP has theirs. But their work has to be approved by me.

I usually am in Arizona during April, but it’s not going to happen again this year. Last year, I had a fractured humerus, which is giving me total grief right now because I have to use my arms more, and can’t exercise. Swimming is good for the arm. So, I got a prescription for physical therapy on the arm. My surgeon doesn’t order PT for hips, just walking when off crutches. I see him in three weeks. I can ride three months after the accident, so April would be a good time to try. Hannah, my baby girl, eighteen next year, stands like a rock for mounting. Heck, she’s the horse I fell off that lead to my first hip soap opera. My sister is going to get a couple of step stools for mounting horses. We are small women, and time is marching on in our bodies. She has been climbing up on her truck’s tailgate to get on her mare Chulita, a truly gorgeous Appaloosa, and soon, her beautiful palomino rescue horse Bamboo. When I fractured my first hip, I found that I lost a lot of range of motion, and kept a stool in the horse trailer just for mounting my noble steeds.

So it’s books and horses. I will try to get a week or two in in April. I can board Ivy, and have a cat sitter come in to take care of the boys, and fly down instead of making  the long drive. We’ll see. I want the book construction zone to be as stress free as possible.

She Writes Press is such a wonderful publisher. I really feel like part of the SWP family. I am now one of their authors. That makes me feel good. Judy has given me homework to do including reading as much as possible. What a great assignment! I am currently reading Joe Biden’s book, Promise Me, Dad. It’s a good read.

Brooke Warner, my publisher

I was pleasantly surprised to get a book delivered to the door. It was from She Writes Press. The title is Green Light Your Book by Brooke Warner. Brook is the publisher.

There is inside a book mark that reads, “I wrote this  book in response to the She Writes Press authors excellent questions. May it be a support to you on your publishing journey. Congratulations on green-lighting your book and welcome to She Writes Press.” It is signed, “Your publisher, Brooke Warner.”

What a family feel! everyone is so nice, even though I am a rookie at book publishing. The people are very patient me, and I have Judy, my writing coach to back me up. I had no idea there was so much to do after the book is accepted for publishing. They might even change the title. That would make me sad, as it goes along with a portrait of my horses commissioned by  Earl for my birthday. But, these women know how the industry works, so I will keep an open mind.

Publication date is 8/28. Invites will go out, and I hope to have a large audience for this casual get-together.

Trash Day

Well, Ivy the Golden doodle went out earlier at 5 this morning to pee. Usually, I go outside to watch her at night, then she sleeps in. I can’t do that right now, as I am on crutches. I assume she has peed.

So, an hour later, after sleeping outside until 6am, Ivy barked once to come in. She is a good dog about this, and my new neighbors are pleased. Ivy knows that when she comes in in the morning, it is time for snoozing on the bed with me and the cats. She loves Matthew, my tough guy, 16, and he really likes her kisses. He will jump on the bed if Ivy is there. I adore sleeping with Ivy on the bed, but I don’t trust her for all night because she chomps up pens and pencils. She sleeps in her crate. Besides, the bed is for the cats at night.

The rest of the day, no animals are allowed in the master. One time, Matt woofed up such a potent hairball as to take the finish off one of my mother’s old dressers. Because the cats also leave prodigious vomit on the bedspread and sheets, that the door is closed all day.

I was awake, the earliest since my accident at dog school on the 27th, so we all got up. I let Ivy out, and stumped around getting my breakkie. I never appreciated having an island before. I can just push stuff around. The best kitchen I had in the best house I had was in Lubbock, Texas, and it was a galley kitchen with tons of storage space.

I’m trying to do the “homework” my editor, Judy, gave me. She is out of town, so we won’t have our weekly meeting this week. She said to read my publisher’s book, Green-light Your Book by Brooke Warner of She Writes Press. Very good and informational book.

I started to get tired and snoozed a little. What do you know, Ivy went ballistic. Lovely little dog, big bark; still pees submissively when people come whom she doesn’t know. Waiting for her to outgrow that. Today is trash day, and also recycle day. I heard the recycle truck, which comes in the morning, and stumped downstairs thanks to Ivy’s keen watchfulness for trash trucks.

First, I put the little trash can out. On crutches, this is problematic. You take the bad leg’s foot, and make fit it so the container can roll. Hang on because it’s downhill, and try to advance the crutches without killing yourself. Next, do the large recycle can. My neighbor next door did this for me last week, but now that I can put a little (15%) weight on my surgicated hip, I tried it. Phyllis saw me fumbling around and asked if this was all my trash. I said all but what is in the kitchen trash can. She took care of it, and I was so proud of myself-I put in a new trash bag.

Phillis and Sharon are going to Trader Joe’s, and I gave them a list for me. Mostly comfort food. Sharon went to Safeway for me yesterday, and I gave her a check made out to Safeway with my signature. A blank check. Also gave her my Safeway card. Safeway didn’t like it, so this time, I’ll just pay her back. I did drive to my dr. appt. last Thursday, because I hadn’t used any pain medicine. But hauling groceries is whole another thing.

 

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.