Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's still Christmas at our House

Anna's going through the house, singing with phony 6-year-old vibrato:

"The first noel, the angels did say,
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the Ki-ing of Ih-Ihs-rael!"

She only knows the first and last verses, so she sings them over and over, pitch perfect, arms extended, with the breathy vibrato.

Colin wrinkles his nose and says, "Why do they say, 'No Elves?' "

I could eat that lovely boy up with a spoon!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hardly anyone's posting this week

So, did all of North America get sick this holiday season? I was not alone - my brother-in-law, my dad, my cousin/babysitter, my coworkers, all my bloggy friends flung far and wide. Everyone's spreading viruses and their Christmas cheer.

It's been feast or famine at the vet clinic. One day the schedule's overly full, then today I have 3 appointments, conveniently spaced so that there is no checking out early. However, I love being one of the poor sods who has to work this week for one reason - the traffic is non-existent. Zip-zoom! I don't even get to hear the end of my NPR stories!

I worked the Saturday before Christmas, and it seemed like all the clients who came in were ornery and grumpy. The worst were the owner with the old golden retriever with a raging ear infection who did not want an appointment, she just wanted a blood draw for thyroid level. We finally convinced her that her dog with the bright red stinking itchy ear was SUFFERING and needed medical care. That and the new guy with the puppy who, when I tried to recommend getting started with a fecal and heartworm prevention said, "Yeah, when is Dr. W. (my boss) coming back? I just want the exam today because the breeder requires it within 24 hours. I'll talk to Dr. W. about all this when he gets back." Sheesh, you'd think I was trying to sell these people a thighmaster or a food dehydrater instead of basic medical care for their pets. Hey, people, we're giving up our Saturday morning with our families to take care of your pets here! Show some love!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Noel





Scenes from Christmas eve -- reading the classics with Auntie Emily, and Fratello jumping into Santa's sack!








Christmas was perfect, for the kids. I got Anthony's stomach bug, and sat on the couch wishing I could just enjoy the reaction to Santa's gifts and not feel nauseated and achey. After the gift frenzy, Emily and Anthony allowed me to take a 3-hour nap, which helped a lot. I was able to cook the Christmas dinner I'd been looking forward to making for weeks, and even ate some of it. Unfortunately, I didn't get to drink nearly as much wine as I wanted. Anthony was very enthusiastic and complimentary about the meal, saying it was better than any restaurant. I think he just really likes tenderloin with wild rice.




More on the beef here.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Early English Christmas Dinner


We had our big extended family feast today, full of English foods. Anthony does not relish them like the rest of us, but he is good with the wines and the coffee! I truly feel that English food has been unfairly maligned in its general reputation. We feasted on scones for breakfast, and had leg o' lamb and roasted potatoes for dinner. The dessert course featured mini shortbread tarts with lemon curd, jam thumbprint cookies, and fudge.

We were all merry and bright in our paper hats that came out of our Christmas Crackers!




Friday, December 21, 2007

It's the most accelerated time of the year.

I really don't know why there are only 2 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. It has all just passed me by in a big blur, but the final pieces seem to be clicking into place. Emily arrived yesterday ("No, her name is Auntie Emily," Colin would say), and the cards are in the mail (thanks to Anthony and his new Mac). I work tomorrow morning, then we can settle in and bake cookies and wrap presents and go caroling.

Tis the season...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I was there and not here

It's poor Anthony's turn with the wicked virus (fitting, after he read in yesterday's paper there's a viral bronchitis going around). Since I had a light surgery schedule, I let him sleep in and took the kids to school myself.

Colin usually starts every day by asking me, "You taking me to school?" On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when I say, "No, it's Daddy's turn," the wailing usually ensues. I don't know why; I know Anthony doesn't beat them on the way to school or anything. At least not anymore! (just kidding).

So, this morning I told Colin, surprise! I'll be taking you! He said, yea! And, will you pick me up?

No. Wailing ensues.

I tried to explain I had to work, taking care of the sick animals, but he was not consoled. Oh, well.

I was sorry when I called at 7 pm, my usual get-home-from-work-time, and said, "Guess what? I'm just now leaving." Anthony sighed, weary from kid wrangling and virus fighting, and said, "I'll get the kids inside. They are waiting for you on the front porch."

Oh, man. It is difficult to explain why you are gone from your loved ones, taking care of sick animals. That sounds so trivial in a way, unless you realize I stayed to diagnose a tough case and help someone come to terms with the fact that the most constant companion of their life for the past 10 years is dying, is suffering in pain, and it is time to stop. You cannot rush a conversation like that, especially if you're quite fond of the little guy yourself, after treating him for 2+ years.

And how do I explain to my family I was the lucky one, the first of three doctors to leave. We all had terminal patients to diagnose in the final hours of our shifts and bad news to deliver after closing. One of the other doctors was supposed to leave at 1 pm, had afternoon family plans, and was still there when I left. The other very pregnant doctor had the bad news, an emergency with a puppy, and an irrationally irate client to deal with! I got off easy (relatively).

Still, it's a great job, and one that I know we all love, even when it delays us from our family members. We are grateful when they understand.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Feeling bettah, thank you

Today was much better than the previous 6. Let's celebrate with a cheeky ditty to help you remember to be green. How many video archetypes can you spot?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The weekend was a blur...

I've been fighting a bad virus for the past 5 days. Now that I am prone to migraines, it keeps setting off horrible headaches. The weekend was pretty much a waste for me - I didn't get any of the Christmas projects done that I had planned, and I don't know how I'm going to get caught up. I didn't even go to the Farmers' Market, and it was the last chance I had to do so before Christmas.

Saturday was all about Anna anyway, and her big Christmas ballet recital. It was wonderful, and all her hard work paid off. There were two shows - one we all watched with my parents at 2pm, and another at 7 pm. I had volunteered to help backstage for the second show, and it was fun helping the little and big ballerinas with their costume changes, and to see the funny backstage antics. I was completely tapped out by the end of the show, though, and slinked out of there without helping with the set breakdown.

In the show there were mice making cookies. They added two raisins and an egg into the batter:Sadly, one of the raisins fell doing her cartwheel in the first show, and fractured her radius and ulna! Anna was overwhelmed with sympathy for her. The injured dancer did return to at least watch the second show.

Anna also had parts as a "bead" and a "China doll."
I felt pretty rotten today but managed to help the kids make one small batch of cookies, as Colin needs to bring some to his class party on Tuesday.
Is there anything better than licking the bowl?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lemon curd

Rainbow over our cul-de-sac this weekend.

Today I made lemon curd, an English treat to be spread on toast and scones like jam. I know, the name "curd" does not make it sound delicious, but it is so wonderful, perfectly tart and sweet and creamy, all at the same time.

It was very special to me for two reasons: first, I made it with Meyer Lemons from our own tree, and eggs from our hens. If you've never had a Meyer Lemon before, they are special - they are crossed with an orange, so they are not so acidic, and they are HUGE. I heard a chef at the Farmers' Market describe them as having a piney flavor, and that is true, but mostly to me they have an incredible floral note.

The second reason is that the recipe came from my Auntie Olive. She wrote it down for me herself on that thin, thin paper people used to use, back when you had to write "Air Mail" on all your international letters. She taught me so much about cooking in season, going to farms and buying directly from the farmers the produce they had to offer, putting up loads of blanched veggies and peeled fruits that we had picked that day, even though we could have easily gone and bought it prefrozen at Sainsbury's.

Auntie Olive is gone, but I think of her a lot when I am cooking, especially in the summer when I make a fruit salad, and today when I make her delicious Lemon Curd. I still marvel at the way she would read a recipe: she would read it slowly from the top of the page to the bottom, her finger skimming every ingredient and the directions. Then she would turn and make the dish, never returning to the recipe again to refresh her memory. She was one smart cookie!

Recipe and photos here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Graceful Anna

My daughter has been practicing, practicing, practicing for this weekend's big ballet recital, but that is not the reason for today's title.

Mondays are a big "chore" day for me, and with the holiday season, I had a full agenda today. This morning I woke up, full of mental lists, starting the first load of laundry before breakfast, scooting everyone out the door in plenty of time while thinking two or three steps ahead.

I must've been a little distracted... anyway, I ended up driving nearly all the way to Colin's school (starts at 8 am) instead of dropping Anna off first - her school begins at 7:45 am! I was sitting a LONG time at a red light before I realized my mistake and then was making a tricky U-turn on the busy main street of our little burg.

"I am so sorry, Anna! I don't know what I was thinking! I certainly hope you don't get a tardy - it is all my fault!" I shouted to her over my shoulder.

Anna simply smiled at me and said, "That's OK, Mommy. You just made a mistake."

Wow, now I felt an avalanche of guilt in addition to my tardy worry. Anna certainly makes many mistakes, often the same ones I did at her age (forgetfulness, clumsiness, and especially the tendency to hoard everything and just shove it all in a drawer!). I see myself in her, and though I start out each day with good intentions about patiently teaching her how to focus and be more organized, I am afraid I am usually short-tempered. I don't often show her the kindness she was now giving to me. I still need to help her with her short-comings, but I can do it with more respect for her as a person.

Fortunately, she squeaked in before the tardy bell, and apparently had a good day.

Later I picked her up from school to go to ballet, and on our way out one of her classmates from last year ran up and gave her a big hug. "I miss you, Anna!" she said.

"Hi, K.," I said, "How is your mom doing?" Her mom had a brain tumor, and brought K. to Anna's birthday party last March. By May she was in a wheelchair.

"Oh, she died." K. said casually, in that kid-coping kind of way.

"Oh honey, I am so sorry! I didn't know!" I told her. Anna just looked at her friend, then gave her another big hug.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December in Texas

Here is what kids do in TX on Dec 8th:




Here is what they did on Dec 9th, with leftover Halloween candy:






Here are vet clinic party pictures:






A good time was had by all!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A SH!TTY Day

Today at work it was a poop-fest. There were dogs with diarrhea, cats pooping from stress, all over the place. All the poop was immediately cleaned up and bagged outside, but something was lingering in the air. At one point we had 3 scented candles burning on the counter. However, as my coworker Luke said, "I'd much rather clean up animal poop than human poop."

Just ask Anthony. While he was on a business call this afternoon, Anna pooped and didn't flush. Francesca managed to eat all the toilet paper out of the pot, THEN vomit it up for him.

Lucky me, he cleaned it all up before I got home, and was drinking a nice large Cosmopolitan!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Tea

Anna did get better, and we went to the Tea. More details later - too tired tonight.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I did it! (Hooray if you did, too)



Also, Anna has a monster virus that has taken her out all weekend. She missed the special ballet rehearsal and the Play Day where she and Colin were supposed to be dropped off so we could go shopping with out them and, uh, do other adult things. We were all disappointed, and I will try to be mature about the whole situation if we can't go to Houston for the big shindig aka Stephanie's Christmas Tea. Anna has a new dress and shoes and everything! Please, Santa, please...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Posting and I don't even hafta!


I am not addicted to blogging, but it is a habit. My other habit - farmers' market every Saturday morning that I'm not working. Even the kids groaned at the breakfast table, "You always go there!!!" Colin was happy to go with me, though, because as he said, "They have food!" Specifically, scones. Anna was too feverish to go, but we brought one home to her.

And look at the colorful meal I made tonight, all local! English Bangers from Peach Creek Farms, salads with my homegrown Juliet tomatoes, tender green and purple haricot verts (picked this morning, so tender and flavorful that they don't even need COOKING! just a splash of olive oil and salt), and a pepper and radish salad. Ah, the rewards of surviving a long hot summer...

Friday, November 30, 2007

El Fin

Ah, I hope you didn't think I didn't make it with my last post for 'PoMo (or BloMe, as Lisa says!)

Here I am, posting just under the wire. It was a full day, 5 surgeries in 4 hours, big monthly clinic meeting, full work day until 6pm, long drive home, then kiss the kids quick and get ready for a 40th birthday party. It was a great party with a full big band, playing classics from the 40s and R&B.

This is the way 'PoMo ends, not with a bang but a whimper. Good night!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lo siento

About a year and a half ago, I met this very interesting client. She was a little defensive, since her previous vet had apparently seriously insulted her, suggesting she was stupid. She's also from Spain, and I think the cultural difference was too much for them.

She had a beautiful older golden retriever and an old husky who had canine cognitive dysfunction (doggie alzheimer's). I noticed a black mass in the corner of the retriever's lip and recommended removal. It came back melanoma.

There are two really bad places for dogs to get melanoma. By the toenail, or in the mouth.

A couple of months later, the melanoma was in the submandibular lymph node. She let me remove that last December, joking that she was going to send a picture of the dog to all her relatives for Christmas, since she spent all her present money on the dog. In February we found another deeper lump, and she told me to remove it, too. "What am I gonna do, watch it grow?" she asked.

After February, things got quiet for this dog. On several rechecks and chest Xrays, everything looked clear.

In September, I had to euthanize her old husky. He was a shell of his former self, and had lost nearly half his body weight because he spent all his time pacing, pacing, pacing. Losing that dog took a huge emotional toll on my client.

Today, she brought the retriever in. He had another lump in his neck. "Just tell me it's nothing," she pleaded. The mass was firm, and this time it was DEEP. An aspirate of the mass confirmed it was melanoma again. I gave her the bad news, then sent the dog to get chest Xrays to look for metastasis (spreading tumors).

I sat in front of the computer and was looking for a time to do his surgery when the films came up. I nearly fell of my stool, and I cussed fiercely. There were at least 6 big mets in his lungs.

My staff knows this flamboyant lady who loves her dogs so much. They were all upset to see the films, too. They did not envy me having to deliver the grave prognosis.

I've really gotten attatched to my funny Spanish client. I took a deep breath, and told her plainly and honestly that it was bad, that I wouldn't do surgery on the neck if it were my dog since I couldn't get the tumors out of the lungs. Also, I had been worried that a I couldn't even remove the neck mass anyway, it was so deep.

Her emotions were all over the place. First she was asking me to do the surgery anyway, then asking me if she should just have me euthanize him now. That way she wouldn't have to see him, a "dead man walking," dreading what was to come. She cried some more. "Of course I can't do that," she said, and picked up his leash to go home.

I would much rather have spent the afternoon, cramming in his surgery...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UTI

When I woke Anna up this morning, she told me, "Mommy, I got up to pee last night and it burned!" Uh oh. Then she stumbled into the bathroom, and it burned again. I knew what this meant, and called the doctor.

My pediatrician came into the exam room laughing, because she recently sent in some of her dog's urine to my clinic. "You look at my dog's pee, and I look at your kid's!" she said. Sure enough, there were red and white blood cells in Anna's urine. Fortunately, she had no fever or abdominal pain, so all she got was a prescription for antibiotics and a lesson on how to wipe. Oh yeah, and the flu shot I snuck in on her.

After school, Anna asked me to go into the bathroom with her every time she had to pee. "I really have to go, but I don't want to; it will hurt!!!" she said, squeezing my hands and moaning before she even started peeing. Oh man, every woman in the world knows how awful this feeling is. On the third pee, there was all the anticipation and howling, then afterwards she said, "Actually, that was better. It didn't hurt at all!" Guess the drugs and the cranberry juice were finally working.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He'll eat you for breakfast

Today one of my surgery patients was a feral cat - a wild beast caught on a farm where his owners feed him, but don't do much else. I don't think they've actually ever touched him, and they had no idea if he was male or female. They put some canned cat food in a have-a-heart trap (the kind that slams shut when the cat walks in to get the food) and brought him in to me.

This guy was a bad-ass. There was no touching him to give him an anesthetic injection. In situations like this, we open the trap door, drop the hellion into the "box" - a modified aquarium, slide the lid in place, then gas them down with isoflurane. When they are out, we can reach in and pick up the nice kitty and have our way with him.

Interestingly, the fleas become anesthetized, too. You can easily catch them laying in the fur, instead of scrambling away from your fingers.

Today's cat lunged and spit at the glass, convincingly enough to make us all jump back. He was as tough as the Russian mafia, but even he succumbed to the gas. I neutered him, tested for FIV/Feline Leukemia, vaccinated him, and gave him a flea/earmite/deworming treatment. I also notched his left ear, so that you can tell from a distance without touching that he's been "altered."

Inside his trap was the remains of the irresistable treat that got him caught - Fancy Feast. Check out the treatment he gave these cans with his canines:



Don't mess with this m. f.er without drugs....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving, recycled

Today, the kids went back to school (so tired! already used to sleeping in after just 4 days off!), Anthony was working, and I was doing my usual Monday chores - laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, jogging, tidying up.

I made 2 big batches of turkey broth from the oh-so-smokey Greenburg turkey. We look forward to the broth as much as the bird itself, to flavor our soups and wild rice for months to come.

Sunday, we ate the last of the ham for breakfast, and we've been dining on turkey sandwiches (so good on the rosemary ciabbata from the Farmers' Market!). I polished off the last of the stuffing and gravy with some sliced turkey for lunch.

The flower arrangements (from a client and Steph/Evelyn's baptism) were droopy and dropping petals, so sadly were dispatched to the compost pile.

The cute pineapple turkey centerpiece was carved up. The kids got a container each in their lunchboxes.

The edamame succotash, which the kids and I have been eating on for 3 days, I could not face any longer. I tossed it into the chicken yard, and watched the hens gratefully devour it. They picked out the corn first then the soybeans. I watched them for a while in the warm sunshine, the first we've had in days, and thought about how they would turn our leftover veggies into wonderful orange-yolked eggs.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More Funny Colinisms

Sung yesterday, to the tune of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer:

"Today it's cold outside,
Really really cold outside,
You have to wear a jacket,
And a puffy vest!"




Today, after I read his fortune cookie (You have an appreciation for things of beauty) and asked him, "What do you think is beautiful?"

"Turkey, and ham."

What else?

"Dancing."

What else?

"A Train ride."




More T-day pictures and Videos at my dad's place.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chilled produce

The cats have been super snuggly, angling for laps and huddling up together since this cold snap came. I realized that, since they are May babies, this is the first time they've ever experienced cold weather.

This morning the weather was downright wintry (for Texas). Cold drizzle was coming down and the temp hovered around 40 all day. Still, I wanted to go to the Farmers' Market. I knew that many of the growers would be out there, despite the lousy weather and recent holiday. Really, what was driving me was the desire for good local greens. We only have arugula growing so far, and I was craving some more butter lettuce.


The kids went with me, since there were likely to be scones involved, and Anthony came to, because he loves me (what a great feeling)! We did score some butter and red leaf lettuce, as well as radishes and end of the season eggplant. The English Baker herself was there with excellent fresh pear scones. She commented on Anna's nice Icelandic sweater, which my MIL knitted herself 30 years ago when they actually were in Iceland. She looks fetching in her winter outfit, don't you think?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gratitude and Generosity

We made a gratitude tree (an idea I got from Melissa). This was a great project, especially for Anna - she cut out leaves of various shapes, punched holes in them with Henley, and we put little strings on them to hang on the "Charlie Brown" tree (as Anth called it) - a twiggy stick I brought home from the woods. Each Thanksgiving guest got 1-3 leaves and wrote something they were grateful for on it. It turned out really nice.

Before the meal, Emily told me that she has "adopted" some needy children in the NYC area. She started out with a couple from her volunteer group, then got a few more at her work, and then another at her church. She is now buying gifts for 5 needy children. She showed me their letters, and their requests were simple and humble - barbie dolls, scooters, etc. One 17-year-old boy didn't ask for an IPod or XBox, he only wants shoes and pants. Just decent clothes.

The combination of thinking about these poor children, hoping for just a few gifts from a kind stranger, and of my sister's expanding generosity soon had me overwhelmed with emotion and tears. Being surrounded by so many people that I love may have spurred my out of proportion reaction. Still, it was surprisingly touching. It seemed an appropriate way to start the holiday season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day!

Here's the menu, a la Anna

Translation:
1. Pumpkin Pie
2. Pecan Pie
3. Turkey and Gravy
4. Dressing
5. Edamame Succotash
6. Green Beans
7. No #7!
8. Roasted veg.s
9. Whipped cream
10. Pumpkin seeds
11. No #11!
12. Pumpkin
13. Ham
14. Pumpkin soup

I like how whipped cream is its own category. Also how she notates that there is no #7 or #11. The pumpkin soup I ditched at the last minute, since we had plenty to eat and I had plenty to do.


Here are some table photos and the food (after it was decimated).







We had a great day. More later - Turkey day leftovers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Central

In an unlikely turn of events, we have visitors coming from both sides of our family this year for the feast. I know (from talking to several coworkers) that not everyone relishes a big family Thanksgiving. It's loads of work, feeding everyone, cleaning up after everyone, never mind all the prep work! But I can't help it, I love a big, extended gathering.

At the Farmers' Market last weekend, Anna begged me to buy this ENORMOUS sweet potato. Previously I've declined, but this week is the one time I thought we could actually consume this much sweet potato.




It was SO unseasonably hot today, just miserable at 90 degrees. Finally this afternoon a beautiful cool front came through, dropping the temperature 40 degrees. This is a very good thing, so that we can use the "outdoor refrigerator."

While my MIL and I chopped and prepped, the cousins watched the very culinary "Ratatouille."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lame video post

This is what my family did today, while I was working hard at work, doing 5 surgeries in 5 hours, and discussing Thanksgiving menu plans in detail with coworkers. Veterinary medicine is serious stuff!

Tomorrow I plan on spending lots of time in the kitchen, preparing for the feast. Sorry for another boring post; I have not been feeling the 'PoMo much lately.


video

Monday, November 19, 2007

A matter of perspective

Anna is a precocious reader, but Colin-O is starting to sound out words, too. He loves "Frog and Toad," stories, especially the pint-sized ghost story, Shivers. (Anna is still afraid of it, and waits in the other room until it's over.)

Tonight he saw the word NO in the text and told me, "That's ON." I explained that it was "Nuh-Oh, we always read this letter first, then the next one."

He picked up the book, turned it upside down, and said, "Now it's ON."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Playing with the Mac

The photo features are really awesome. Anthony downloaded these random photos from my cell phone from across the room!


One day I took Francesca for a walk and found these. Can you guess what they are?

It's the skeletal remains of a snake. Very CSI.


Here's the Oregon wine country. (sigh)



This next one was from a night at Anna's school. Sometimes cell phone images alter the true colors of things. Not this one - check out the relish.

It was freakishly minty green. Grossed everyone out. Too much green dye #5.


Anna, after going to see the Austin Ballet.

She looks a little afraid of the fierce Angelina Eberly. She is the woman who, upon hearing the state archives were to be moved from Austin to Houston, shot a cannon down Congress Avenue to protect them. "I am woman, hear me roar!"

And that is day 18 of 'PoMo, over and out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Farmer's Market

We had a very successful pre-Thanksgiving trip to the Farmer's Market today - buying lots of green beans, pork and chiles to make stew, tons of sweet potatoes (only $1 per pound), butter lettuce, tangerines, zucchini... The kids were so happy the English baker was back so they could eat her scones!

We didn't buy any eggs or tomatoes, since we have bags of them, but sometimes vendors hand cute kids freebies...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Who?!?

My Mac returned today. Anthony ordered me one but the sound didn't work. He's updating the new one, and noticed I had all the email addresses I've ever used. He's blowing away the defunct ones.

"Who's Eric L.?" We were in college choir with him. "Who's Parker F?" Our neighbor when we were first married. "Who's Mike M?" Worked with at Ft. Hood. "Who is Susan R?" She cuts my hair. "Who's Brenda Smith?" No idea.

I wonder if people run across my name in their address books. "Who is Jennifer D? I wonder what she is doing?" Living in Austin, married to Anthony, working as a vet, raising kids, trying to think of something to blog about for 'PoMo!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pet Priorities

What does your pet mean to you? I recently had a new client tell me, "This dog is the most important thing in my life!" He lives in San Antonio but travels to Austin on sales business and stays with his girlfriend here. Notice he did not say the girlfriend was number one in his life!

He brought his dog in for a nonspecific lameness, and asked me my opinion on an anal tumor his dog had. "My previous vet checked it and said it was benign, so we should wait until it is a problem, then remove it." Dogs get a lot of anal tumors; most are benign, but some are dangerous. "Is it growing?" I asked him. "You know, it is getting bigger," he said. I recommended removing it immediately. Even benign tumors can have grave effects, and I'd much rather remove it marble sized than lemon sized. I gave him an estimate for the surgery, plus taking care of a broken tooth I noticed. He immediately scheduled the surgery, and transfered all his dog's records to our office. OK, he's a little intense. But he saw the procedure as an investment in his highest priority.

Tonight a woman brought in her cat for nonspecific pain, and told me, "She is my best friend. I work nights and I cannot leave her without getting her checked out." The formerly howling feline pranced around the exam room, purring loudly. I did a thorough exam but found nothing. The owner was puzzled but happy for the peace of mind.

I love owners like that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Did I ever tell you about the time I did surgery with a papoose?

When Anna was a babe, Anthony spearheaded a project putting a sprinkler system in our neighborhood park. A trencher dug tracks for the pipes, which were placed and glued, all in one weekend.

I went back later in the week to cover the trenches. I put Anna in the backpack, and shovel in hand, covered the ditches. A parks maintanence worker waved to me from a huge riding lawnmower.

A few moments later, the peaceful breezy afternoon was pierced with eerie screams. The maintenance man was off his mower and crouched under a pine tree. His mower had inadvertantly hit a bunny. If you've ever heard a bunny scream you know how unearthly it is. I don't know who looked more terrified, the man or the rabbit. He didn't speak eloquent English, but he did say repeatedly, "I didn't mean to! Accident!"

The rabbit's skin was flayed open in several places, but he had no other major injuries. I suspected it looked worse than it was. I took him from the horrified man and walked home with the injured bunny. I had a friend that worked at a local animal hospital, and called to ask if I could take him there. I took baby Anna out of the backpack and put her into the car seat.

My friend was happy to see me, but she and all her colleagues were very busy. Soon I was heading back home to get the backpack again. One of her technicians gassed the bunny down, and I sutured his many lacerations, with my baby in my backpack. Rabbit skin is thin as tissue paper, but I got all the edges in approximation. Anna stood on her tippytoes and watched the whole thing over my shoulder.

The bunny recovered for a few days at the clinic, then we had a local rescue group pick him up. He was probably released in a far different part of Austin. Hopefully he added something new to the gene pool there.

Thanks for reminding me of this great tale, Lisa. I wish I had photos.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What goes down, must come up.

My patients often vomit after we give them their preanesthetic medication. Since they are supposed to be fasted, usually nothing comes up.

But the sweet girl scheduled for a spay today threw something up. "She got breakfast!" my tech said. "I don't think so; it looks like cloth," I said, and went to investigate.














They were from Victoria's Secret. Embarrassing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Beverly

My sweet cousin Beverly is turning 18. Sheesh. I remember Bev's original birthday; she was the first baby I'd ever held on the day it was born. The next one was Anna.

Beverly is loved by everyone, young and old. At the drop-in luncheon today at her house, there were no peers, just youngsters and older ladies like myself who admire her.












Colin and Graham were thrilled to find her papasan chair. They curled up together and read Skippyjon Jones. (thanks, Auntie Emily!)














Stephanie, with her typical generosity, brought a basket of loot any teenager would love (new hairdryer, make up, Venus shaving kit, fuzzy personal blanket). The basket was so big, Paige curled up in it, imitating a kitten.








We ate lots of home cooked carbs. The kids ran outside in the beautiful Indian Summer sunshine, fed the horses next door, and checked out a cool spider in the blackberry bush.







A very nice day, indeed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Eyes Have It

Lisa recently posted about goats, and Mr Man begged me to talk about their weird eyes.








Goats' eyes are creepy because they have a horizontal pupil. So do horses and cattle.
























Dogs and birds have a round pupil like ours.
Cats and reptiles have a vertical pupil.



















Day 11 of 'PoMo and this is what you get: a biology lesson.