It Came Out in the Ice Cream

Greetings from Happy Meadows! Mike had coffee with his friend Rev. Larry yesterday. There really is nothing like friendship. So, Rev. Larry mentioned that he had not seen one of my posts for a long time, and Mike told me that my fans are longing to hear from me—mostly about how I am doing, but also about what else is going on in Happy Meadows. I am doing just fine, thank you very much. Same for the people in the family. Mike remains in remission, I do believe. He had blood work this past week. I looked at the numbers, and they all looked good, but why should you trust my judgment? He has an appointment with the PA next week. He will ask her about traveling. He and Judy are planning to go to Texas for a convention in July. I hope they get to go. Michelle will cat-sit while they are gone. He and Judy are getting out more, masked as appropriate. In fact they are going out to a fancy restaurant tonight to celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary. This sounds like a long time to me, even from the perspective of having nine lives. Michelle came over yesterday to help with the celebration. She always has a little treat for me, such a sweet person. We all went to the Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, not too far from Happy Meadows. They let me run around on the grounds, but there is a butterfly house that I was wrongly barred from. That’s okay. I will jump at butterflies in my own yard!

On the way home we stopped at the DQ for a treat. As Mike was eating his soft ice cream cone he felt something hard in his mouth. Maybe I am telling this part of the story out of order. So—A tooth that had a root canal filling done at least 10 years ago developed an infection a couple of months ago and had to be removed. Mike then went to an oral surgeon who installed a post in his jaw for the placement of a crown. This was accomplished about 4 weeks ago. Mike is supposed to wait 3 months to let the bone grow around the post, and then have the crown made. So, the hard thing that was in his mouth was—you guessed it—the post. Dental emergencies usually occur on Friday afternoon, late, but sometimes not until Saturday. This waited until Saturday, but to be fair, it isn’t an emergency because there is no pain. Mike will call tomorrow and see what the next step is. He already has a major financial investment in this project, and I hope it doesn’t mean the cats are all going to be condemned to Brand X kibble for the next year or more.

Speaking of the other cats, Shayna’s fluid administration is not going that well, and Mike is ready to take her to the Extreme Vet once a week to get it done there. Magi continues to be aggressive towards the other cats at times, and Mike and Judy may have to give him some medication to calm him down. He also has hissed and scratched at Judy, which is totally unacceptable. He has better sense than to mess with me, and for that matter, he never messes with Mike either. He is two years old now, so he should be calming down and out of his adolescent playful stage soon. We all hope so, anyway. There are times when he is very sweet.

Mike’s book project creeps forward, but I think this is par for the course in publishing. If the book is supposed to come out, it will come out. At least the process has not ground to a halt. Progress is progress.

We have some nice new neighbors across the street, but they don’t seem to have any pets. They do have an adorable baby that they take on walks at least twice per day. Come to think of it, that is a lot like having a dog.

The yard is nice again this year. We are now enjoying the day lilies, lantana, and butterfly bushes. The hosta are also in bloom. On the down side, for the first time we are afflicted with boxwood blight. Mike has been spraying a few places every week. For the most part , the boxwood still looks good. It is the original planting from almost 40 years ago when Mike and all bought the house.

Before I go I should say more about the weather, because isn’t that what people talk about? People Mike’s age also talk a lot about their bowel movements, but happily, Mike hasn’t gotten into that rut yet. Oh yes, the weather. Hot and miserable. And, politics. I am banned from making strong political statements on this blog, so what I will say, in the most non-political way possible, is that our democratic system is under the greatest threat since the Civil War, and I couldn’t be more upset about it.

Well, that’s all the news from Happy Meadows for now. I will try to be more regular in my pronouncements from now on. Be well, be at peace, and be nice to your cats and dogs. I love you all!

We Just Lost an Hour

Greetings from Happy Meadows. We had a mild winter and I got to go out every day until yesterday when it was so cold and windy that only my black nose made it past the threshold of the front door. Neither Mike nor Judy walked to the end of the driveway to get the mail, not that much worthwhile comes anyway. Mostly advertising. Mike’s late wife, Gena, still gets mail. She just was offered an opportunity for free hearing testing. She also gets emails, the latest offering her a supposedly good rate to refi the house. It’s a crazy world where a person can be deceased for 30 years and still be seen as a prospective customer.

Mike continues to work part time and seems to enjoy it. He sees a few patients every week on zoom. I think it helps keep his mind active. Oh, and he just bought a new car, a hybrid SUV (Hyundai Tucson). It is by far the nicest car he has ever owned. Drive it in good health, Mike!

I may have mentioned that Mike has been restricted in his activities because he has no COVID antibodies. This is because of his chemo. His doctor at Emory told him that there is a new product called Evusheld which is a combination of 2 monoclonal antibodies against the COVID virus which is available on an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. However, Emory didn’t get enough product for Mike to get immunized. However, a friend from his Men’s group called to let him know that Wellstar was well-stocked, and another friend from the group helped him to get in to see a doctor there. A third friend called Mike to tell him he read about the product in the New York Times. Happily, Mike was immunized 2 days ago, and he should be good to go for 6 months. However, he will continue to mask and use good judgment about where he goes. He gets by with a little help from his friends.

Mike is also still working on his book proposal. Michelle came over yesterday to help Mike celebrate his recent birthday (79). She teaches English and excels at teaching writing. She was a big help to Mike yesterday. Thank you Michelle!

We just lost an hour and missed out on our weekly family zoom with the family in Israel, who didn’t lose the hour. Speaking for the cats of the world, this makes no sense.

Shayna Maidel has been found to be in the early stages of renal failure. The Extreme Vet has her on a special diet, which creates a whole new order of feeding in the house. She can no longer have access to the kibble which used to be available 24/7. We are all getting used to this. She also gets subcutaneous fluids. At first it was twice per week, but now just once. Mike and Judy are working out a method to do this with a minimum of trauma to all concerned, and I am optimistic. Maybe eventually this can be managed by diet alone. I hope so, and so does everyone else.

I will continue to post the news from Happy Meadows when we have such. I do think it is worth mentioning that it was so warm that a few days ago that the frogs started singing their love songs. Remarkably, after temperatures 2 nights ago around 19 degrees F, I heard them singing again today now that it has thawed. The tendency for life to persist is remarkable. May all of you persist joyfully in your lives as well as do our amphibious friends. Until next time, be nice to your cats, dogs, and kids, and So Long from Happy Meadows!

Great news!

So, Mike’s results have come back, and he remains in remission from cancer. He will continue on the same chemo regimen for another year until he is rechecked. But his last infusion for lymphoma will be in June. This is the drug that suppresses his immune system, and it won’t be out of his system until early next year. Thus, unless something changes, he will remain isolated until next February. But…there is a new product coming out, monoclonal antibody infusions, from Astra-Zenica, which will give the recipient immunity if they can’t take the vaccine or respond to the vaccine. The product will be in short supply, so he may well not get a chance to take it. If he gets it you may see him out to eat or having coffee with friends.

The holidays are over, and were celebrated quietly but effectively at our house. The cats always love to play with the dangling cat toys that Mike and Judy put on the tree, until we get chased out of the room. We hope you all had a blessed holiday season, and that none of you got too sick. One of Mike’s friends lost his wife after a miserable battle with cancer. And, it has been quite a time for many notable personages to move on to the next stage: Sidney Poitier, Betty White, Bob Dole, Peter Bogdanovich, and others who I am forgetting right now. May all who are grieved be comforted.

I posted it last time, but in case you missed it, my book website is michaelcowlgordon.com. So far no news about the progress or lack thereof on publication of Mike’s book about the 12 steps and the Heroic Journey.

It was ridiculously cold here today, which restricted my outdoor activities. I hear that people father north got bitterly cold weather and lots of snow. Bundle up, y’all! Stay warm and well. I hope to write again soon. Until then, so long from Happy Meadows.

It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

So, life trudges along, and November is about to be gone for another year. Thanksgiving here was very nice, with Mike, Judy, Michelle, the four actual cats, and one virtual cat (me, of course). We send you blessings and hope you all have much to be thankful for. Our extended family has seen two nieces recently diagnosed with breast cancer, hopefully in early stages. Prayers will be welcomed and much appreciated.

Mike’s scan came back negative. He meets with his lymphoma doctor in a couple of weeks for more information. I will keep you posted.

Mike’s author’s website went live today. You can find it at michaelcowlgordon.com/ I welcome you to check it out. Thus far nothing else new to report on the prospects of getting Mike’s Heroic Journey/Twelve Step book published.

Getting ready for Christmas is low key around here, as no travel or visiting is in store because of the COVID business. But when we are by ourselves (including Michelle) we are in very good company. And we take walks, and Mike and Judy are communicating with their friends every day by phone or on-line.

We wish all of you a spectacular holiday season. For our Jewish friends, Chanukah is here already, for goodness sake! Light a candle! Have a latke! Go crazy! So, from our little family in Happy Meadows to you all, wherever you are, be well, be safe, be compassionate, and have lots of fun. You will hear from me again soon.

Happy November

So for those who still don’t take COVID-19 seriously, in the USA we have surpassed 750,000 deaths thus far during the pandemic. In Georgia, we have lost 25,000 people. Remember, these are actual people, not just numbers. If you have not been vaccinated please do so immediately. You may save your own life, and will cut down on the spread of the virus to others.

Mike and the rest of us are all well. Magi is getting his claws trimmed. Yesterday, Mike and Judy doped him up with something the Extreme Vet gave them for him, and got one paw done before he threatened violence. The other paw will get done today. He already got his medicine. I think they are planning to wrap him up with one paw protruding. I plan to watch the whole show. It should be entertaining.

How ’bout them Braves? World Champions! The mood in the ATL is positive right now. In fact, the parade is underway as I write this. None of us are going. Next championship, the DAWGS!

The war on drugs is not going well. The meth on the streets now is being manufactured by the ton, cheaply, and is much more harmful than the “old meth.” Likewise, heroin has been supplanted by the much more potent and deadly fentanyl. Lives are being destroyed. The homeless population is exploding. Oy!

And another thing. Statistics show that less than 15% of US adolescents who need psychiatric services received them last year. This includes young people with both substance abuse and mental health disorders. There are an estimated 15 million in need of services and about 8,300 child and adolescent psychiatrists in practice in the USA.

People are shooting each other like there is no tomorrow, and of course, for many of the shooting victims there is no tomorrow. Too many angry people, too many people who think they have nothing to lose, and too many guns. It’s hard to see how this is going to get any better until we have substantive social changes. It seems to me that we are on the brink of cultural warfare. I hope people learn to work it out much as we cats and dogs have done. The expression, “fighting like cats and dogs,” that’s a laugh. Fighting like people is more like it.

Mike has completed his book proposal and sent it to his agent. He should hear something in a few weeks. Also, his author’s website will be active soon. I will let you know.

Cool weather is finally here. We got cheated out of fall colors this year. Too much heat, both day and night. So far the chill has not discouraged me from roaming the neighborhood.

I guess that’s it for now. Life is good. if you are a fluffy black cat! Take care, y’all, and pray for love and peace.

Progress on Mike’s Book

So, I’m back, once again here from Happy Meadows, where it has rained every day for a long while. Mike has been reading on his medical news feed that the pandemic has caused an increase in the incidence of obesity in children. Send your kids out to play, and give them healthy snacks, please! Another casualty of the pandemic is health care provider stress, including suicide. September 17 was National Physician Suicide Awareness Day—it’s a shame we have to have such a day. Everyone can do their part by getting vaccinated and masking up to prevent the spread of the disease and slow the emergence of new, more deadly strains. Come on, y’all, be a good citizen!

Michelle just called Mike to tell him about an amusing encounter. She had called for tech support at Emory, and when the fellow was done she thanked him. He replied, “You betcha.” Michelle said, “Oh, you’re from the Midwest,” and he was surprised that she could tell. He was from Iowa.

So, It is now 2 weeks later. Somehow I got distracted and didn’t finish. Noteworthy events have occurred in the interim. Most importantly, and sadly, the ivory billed woodpecker has been officially declared extinct. We still have a large crested woodpecker that I see occasionally, the pileated woodpecker, but the ivory billed woodpecker was spectacular. Mike in his cynical moments points out that animals and plants have been going extinct for millions of years, and maybe it isn’t such an unnatural or tragic occurrence. But, he also agrees that it is man’s responsibility to take care of the earth, and not to simply exploit it. He and I both agree that long after people and cats are gone the earth will still be populated by cockroaches.

It is now 2 years since Mike closed his office, and he still hears from patients occasionally who want to let him know that they are doing well, and to thank him for his part in their well-being. Mike asked me to thank everyone on his behalf for the good wishes, and for the privilege of being let into their lives.

Work on Mike’s book proceeds apace. He hopes to get the book proposal to his agent next week. The author’s website should be activated soon. I will let you know. Next Sunday Mike is delivering a sermon, or at least that is what the church is calling it. It is really a talk about the topic of his book, the Twelve Steps as a Heroic Journey of Recovery. I hope he doesn’t tell too many bad jokes.

Y’all take care of yourselves and be safe. Until next time, so long from Happy Meadows!

5782

So, after two months of steamy Georgia summer weather which has restricted my outdoor prowlings, even at night, I am back with more news. The best news is that we are all well. Magi has developed into a sleek, muscular fellow. He weighed 11 pounds when Mike and Judy took him to the Extreme Vet recently for his first of hopefully many annual check-ups. He looks like a Bengal cat. I would show a picture if I could get Mike to figure out how to do it. Word Press has revised (improved no doubt) the format of how this page looks, and we don’t see where to go to add pictures. And, Mike is too impatient with the process to spend much time figuring it out. So you will have to look up Bengal cats on line if you want to see what Magi looks like now. Please do, for he is quite smart-looking.

Mike recently found out that he does not have COVID antibodies after his first two immunizations in February. He had his booster two weeks ago, so maybe this will kick something in. He says he will get tested again in October. In the meantime, he is restricting his activities again. He will be doing the Berman Center work entirely online until he has immunity. Things wouldn’t be so bad if not for the people who are still not vaccinated. They have put themselves and everyone else at risk, and they seem not to care. It is hard to understand or accept how ignorant and selfish people can be. Mike didn’t want me to say that, but I have overruled him.

Oh, we made some progress. There is now a dimmed out picture of Magi below with a little pinwheel of doom going round and round just below his left eye. Maybe this means it is still loading. Maybe there is a deeper and more nefarious meaning. Maybe it means Mike still has no idea what he is doing. Time will tell, and time seems to be what I have a lot of these days.

Magi, my Bengal Brother

There has been an interesting development in the sports world—awareness and concern about the mental health of the athletes. We hear about ACLs, tendon transfers, concussions, and fractures of all kinds, but if a player gets depressed it is hidden from view. Athletes train to be tough and competitive, and hate to show any sign of weakness. Mental health issues have been thought of as signs of weakness in the sports world until recently, but that is changing. In sports from tennis to football to gymnastics top athletes are admitting to their difficulties and seeking help. There is absolutely a mental side to every game. If an athlete loses self-confidence their performance is likely to suffer. ESPN has done a story about Drew Robinson, a baseball player who made an unsuccessful suicide attempt last year. The Atlanta newspaper ran a good story about him in the July 25 Sports Insider section. He tried to make a comeback playing after he recovered from his injuries, but suffered somewhat of a set-back in his depressive disorder. Wisely, he decided to let baseball go. But his team, the San Francisco Giants, has hired him as a mental health advocate for the team. Likely he will also serve as an advocate to the community at large. Mike has spent his professional career treating patients with addictive and mental health disorders. He says they are painful to live with and carry a stigma which makes such conditions hard to bear. It is a good thing, and about time that this is changing. Athletes with mental health disorders can seek treatment and recover instead of suffer in silence. So can anyone else who has troubling issues with anxiety, depression, addiction, or other mental health symptoms. Help is available, y’all, so do talk with someone about what is troubling you.

Mike has had a positive development in his effort to get his book published—he has a literary agent. The agent seems to be experienced and successful in his field, and we are hopeful. He gave Mike the assignment of writing a book proposal which, it seems, is a big hairy deal. I guess publishers don’t want to read the book, just the book proposal. So, it had better be good. Mike is just about ready to finish Book Proposal 1.0 to send to his agent. He hopes it is close to what the agent needs and is hoping for. Maybe in another year or so The Twelve Step Pathway – A Heroic Journey of Recovery, will be jumping off the shelves, so to speak. Mike has also hired a website designer, and his author’s website will hopefully be active by the end of September. He will be blogging on the website, but I will continue to blog as well from right here at Georgia Cat Speaks. I suppose there will be a link between the two.

From our home to yours we wish you a happy and healthy new year, 5782. Let’s hope it is a year when people stop being so angry and start being nicer to each other again. Oh, and by the way, for you optimists I am happy to report that people are still having babies. The lovely people next door just had their second little girl. She is precious! I guess this means that they hope for a good world for their children to live in. I believe this will be so if everyone works for it–or most people at least. We cats will survive regardless, but it will be the kind of world I want to live in if love prevails and xenophobia is the big loser. Until next time, so long from Happy Meadows.

Happy 4th

So, happy birthday USA! It’s a beautiful day here in Georgia, and mostly things are well.

Mike finished the book of cat stories he bought when he and Judy went to Highlands a few weeks ago. There is a used bookstore there, Shakespeare’s, which they can’t stay out of. The book he bought there is Great Cat Tales edited by Lesley O’Mara, copyright 1991 by Castle Books. Famous authors included in the collection are Damon Runyan, Mark Twain, Colette, P. G. Wodehouse, Emile Zola, and Rudyard Kipling. It is a great read if you can get your hands on a copy. Two of the stories are about a cat caught up in a love triangle between a loving mistress and a jealous boyfriend. In both of the stories the boyfriend tries without success to drown the cat. Justice prevails, of course, and one of the cats even manages to kill the bad boyfriend. I thought that was a little excessive. Besides, once dead the bad boyfriend can’t ruminate about being bested by a cat. This story, Ming’s Biggest Prey is by Patricia Highsmith. Mike didn’t think it was as well-written as most of the others. For one thing, the word “Ming” was used at the start of 72 sentences in the story. What kind of a person would count the number of sentences that start with the word “Ming”? I don’t know about you, Mike. This reminds me that in the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written by Gertrude Stein, the name Gertrude Stein supposedly appears over 600 times.

This was the week that Mike submitted his book for publication. He has decided to call it The Twelve Step Pathway – A Heroic Journey of Recovery. He is mostly satisfied with it although it still needs some work. Most of the 8 submissions he made got immediate responses. One was somewhat encouraging, one was a “thanks, but no thanks” and the others simply acknowledged receipt of the submission. He has a lot of work to do in establishing a greater social media presence. Wish him luck.

Mike is getting over the first cold he has had since March of last year. He finally got rid of it by giving it to Judy who has been coughing up a storm. She is now getting better as well.

Magi will have been with us one year on July 14. He is pretty nice and gets along with the twins and me just fine. Lady Bug is another story. She simply does not like him, a fact that seems to distress him not at all. He is not quite as annoying as he used to be, his previous primary amusements being chase the other cat, jump on the other cat, and bite the other cat. Lady Bug warns him off with whines and growls which usually discourage him. He still starts his games around 4 in the morning which gets him thrown out of the bedroom with the door shut behind him. This doesn’t seem to bother him that much either.

The world remains a troubled place. Pray for it. Thank you. Stay safe, be well, have some fun, and if I might suggest it, try brats for your picnic. And share with your cat (or at least let him lick your fingers). Bye-bye.

First Day of Summer

So, greetings from the world of the Georgia Cat on the first day of summer. It is a beautiful day and not too hot. So, what is new?

Mike has signed the Charter for Compassion. He thinks it is the right note to strike in these disturbing times. He is an admirer of Karen Armstrong, and has been ever since he read her book entitled The History of God. He says it is really about the history of the ideas about God, but you have to admit, the title is catchy. A few years ago she started the Charter for Compassion. There is a great TED talk of hers about it. You might want to check it out.

How about them Hawks?

Mike’s book project is moving forward. Most of what he has to do now is establish a social media presence. In that regard he will be writing his own blog. I will let you know when it starts.

Emory University is stepping up and owning their inglorious racist past. They used to have a policy in which they did not accept people of African descent into their medical school. They have just issued a public apology to Dr. Marion Hood who was denied admission to the medical school there around 60 years ago. At least they returned his $5 application fee at the time. When Mike’s father was in college at the University of Minnesota there were quotas for the number of Jews they would accept—at a state school–not a private school. Moses Gordon wanted to get into their engineering school, and actually was admitted as one of the few Jewish students because of his strong academic performance. Mike says he thinks there were less than 10 black students in his medical school class at the University of Illinois back in the sixties. And, one of them was from Nigeria. Furthermore, there were less than 20 female students, in a class of 200. He is just now wondering for the first time if he would have made it into medical school if the competition for the slots was fair. We shall never know.

So, Juneteenth is now a national holiday. Speaking as a black cat, I couldn’t be more pleased (or surprised.) Since I am committed now to be totally non-political in my blog, I can’t say why I am surprised—just that I am—and pleased.

I hope all of you have a delightful summer. It is certainly my plan to do the same. I will write again when more needs to be reported. Be well, be safe, and remember, love is the answer. Bye, bye.