Progress

So, Mike learned yesterday from his agent in New York that he has an offer from a major publisher to publish his book, The Twelve Step Pathway: A Heroic Journey of Recovery. Woot! Woot! We are excited here in the Gordon household. Mike is gratified that his agent refers to it as an important book. Hopefully, it will be influential in the lives of troubled people who will benefit from seeing themselves as being involved on a Heroic Journey leading to recovery and self-love (instead of thinking of themselves as hopeless losers and drunks). Maybe the enhanced spirituality of people’s lives can overcome so much fear and hatred of self and others that we have in today’s world. We have yet to learn when the book will become available. Stay tuned.

Thank goodness Halloween is over. Nothing makes a black cat like myself more nervous than Halloween. It seems to me that people around here have gone over the top with their yard decor celebrating death and ghoulishness. It must be a way of acting out all the stress people are under: fears about the cost of living, (un)employment, the threat to our democracy, rising ethnic hatred and antisemitism. What am I leaving out? Anyway, I suppose it is a harmless display except for those of us who are black cats. There is quite a history of persecution of witches who have been associated with black cats. People used to think that witches could turn themselves into black cats and torment people in various nefarious ways. I have blogged about this previously. It is fascinating how the subliminal paranoia in our society can erupt into overt insanity, all triggered by fear. The fear of witches is pretty much a thing of the past, except that the phenomenon of craziness has emerged in the Q-anon nonsense. It would be easy just to laugh these people off as nut-jobs, except that popular politicians seem to be appealing to these people and gaining their support; and some of them actually seem to believe this idiocy, hard as this is to imagine. And these politicians are associated with the Republican Party, one of the two parties that have the power to control the government. In the last century we saw how frightened and angry people who were suffering financially because of runaway inflation after WWI allowed the National Socialist Party to gain control of the government in Germany, and we all know where that led. People who think that malignant dangerous people couldn’t gain control of the government of the USA are, in my opinion, kidding themselves. We have an election coming up next week. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Mike says that today is the 36th anniversary of the death of his father, Moses Gordon. His spirit lives on in our hearts. Mike says he was a smart, funny, loveable, hard-working man who was devoted to his family, and with whom Mike had a wonderful relationship. Mike feels blessed to have had Moe Gordon as his dad.

So, not much else is happening in our lives, typically a good thing according to the “no news is good news” philosophy. I will say the fall weather has been spectacular. Autumn is my favorite season of the year. For those of you who don’t live in the South and don’t know what tea olive smells like, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you. I wish to all of you peace, good health, and much love in all of your relationships, and until next time, so long from Happy Meadows!

Mike is Giving a Talk This Sunday, Y’all

So, hey there from Happy Meadows. Sorry for my infrequent posting, but it is so beautiful outside that I stay out most of the time. I need to be careful though, as Halloween approaches, being a black cat and all.

This is just a brief note to let you know that Mike is delivering a talk Sunday morning at the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Marietta. If you are interested you can attend in person or on line. I will be there in person, so if you come we can hang out together. You may need to use your imagination a little, though. All the information about the talk is on the church website. Services start at 9:45 and last about an hour. There will be a get-together afterwards for the in-person crowd for further discussion of his topic, The Twelve Step Pathway as a guide to the Heroic Journey. Until then, enjoy!

And So It Goes

So, for now, relative sanity prevails in Happy Meadows, the little enclave where I live with Mike, Judy, and four other cats. Not that crazy things don’t happen here. Now that Mike’s hair is long, there is loose hair everywhere, despite the frequent running of the vacuum cleaning monster. Somehow, Jackson manages to ingest a hair now and then, and on the hair’s way out—well, let’s just say that he has been known to drag certain items in his wake, much to the consternation of Mike and Judy. I will say no more.

But the rest of the world has lost its mind. Mike subscribes to a news feed on line from the Forward, a Jewish news agency. Originally, the Forward was a Yiddish newspaper, but times have changed. As proof that mental illness is sweeping the nation, check out the paragraph below, which I have copied from today’s story.


Meanwhile in Pennsylvania’s closely watched race for governor, Trump stumped for the GOP nominee, State Sen, Doug Mastriano, on Saturday, praising him as a “fearless warrior” with a “base that is so powerful and so strong.” Mastriano also received the backing of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who last week compared Biden to Hitler, and touted an endorsement from an Orthodox rabbi, Joseph Kolakowski, who defended the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and believes Hitler was part lizard. 

Oy!

In other news, Mike is going to Emory this morning to get his Evusheld shot. This is a COVID immunization for people who don’t develop antibodies in response to the vaccine. While there he and Judy plan to have lunch with Michelle and see her newly remodeled office. Also, Mike’s literary agent says he will submit the book proposal to a publisher this month. It’s okay to cross your fingers, but I don’t recommend holding your breath on this.

I will keep it short today, but only because there isn’t much else to say (or time right now to say it). Except, that we love you all, and hope and pray for the well-being of our friends, family, neighbors, everyone’s pets, and the whole world. Until next time, so long from Happy Meadows.

A Present from a Neighbor’s Dog

Greetings from Happy Meadows! We went through several weeks of hot and humid weather, but it has moderated slightly. Thanks for asking. I think the next door neighbors are getting ready to move, and to take their big dog with them. They have been good neighbors, and Mike and Judy will be sorry to see them go, taking their 2 adorable little girls off to a new neighborhood. The dog is big and has a deep loud bark, but fortunately is fenced in, so he has been no threat to me. Mike and Judy have taken to walking in the morning because of the afternoon heat, which is better for me as well. Of course, I get out at other times also.

Magi, our big black 2 year old cat had his wellness exam at the Extreme Vet’s office, and he is now taking Prozac. He seems to be calmer and less aggressive, not that he ever bothered me—that is, not after the first time. I will say this for him—he is a quick learner. All of our cats seem to be doing very well. Shayna Maidel now goes to the Extreme Vet every week for fluids to help flush out her kidneys. I always ride along to keep her company and try to help her relax. She gets sick on the five minute car ride home every time. I think this is just an expression of disgust, if you know what I mean.

Last time I wrote that Mike found a brass fitting in his soft ice cream about a month after he had a post implanted in his jaw preparatory to having a dental implant. Mike thought it was the post, but it was instead a device that was supposed to aid in the healing of the implant site. Anyway, the oral surgeon said he would autoclave it and put it back in when he checks the post for suitability to go ahead with the crown placement. Mike goes back in about 3 weeks. I hope all is sound in his mouth.

The reports on Mike’s health are all good. It is now almost 3 and 1/2 years since he was diagnosed, and he remains in remission. He had his last infusion in June, but still takes 2 oral chemo meds. He and Judy are starting to get out more. They went to Dallas for a medical meeting, and just got back from Highlands, North Carolina where they go every year for Judy’s birthday. Michelle came over and stayed with all of us 4-leggeds while they were gone. She is a great big sister, and we love her.

So, what is this about a present? As I have mentioned we have many neighbors who walk their dogs. They carry little bags with them to pick up the dog poop. Typically, they tie off the open end of the bag, and deposit it in their trash can in the garage when they get home. Every once in a while I run across such a bag left at the edge of someone’s yard. I suppose this is better than not bagging the poop at all, but it is grossly inconsiderate. I have blogged about this before. Shame, shame, you bad neighbor, whomever you are! I found such a bag deposited next to our driveway by the boxwood shrub this morning. I suppose Mike will have to get rid of it, unless the miscreant who left it there is overcome by guilt and comes back to retrieve it.

School has started back in Happy Meadows as I imagine it has almost everywhere. Michelle resumes her teaching at Emory next week. So, despite minor complaints and imperfections, all is well in Happy Meadows. I hope the same is true for all of you, wherever you live. Until next time, be well, be at peace, and so long from Happy Meadows!

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!