Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Last NaBloPoMo for the Thankful Month

This is our Thanksgiving Tree from last Thursday.  Anna made the construction paper leaves, and Colin got the branch from the tree in our back yard.  Everyone, young and old, took a leaf or two and wrote something they were thankful for.

The good health of my husband

My mom and dad.  I miss them.

For my dogs, Ruby and Gus

I am thankful for living, talking, and friends.

My wonderful family

For Life: God, Family, Friends

All my nieces and nephews - Anna, Colin, Paige, Graham, & Evelyn

For my Niece and Bro who saved me

I am thankful for the wind

For the whole world

I'm thankful for NM in July and August!

I am thankful for friends who are more like family!

I am thankful for fun!


having a great family

all our pets!

I am thankful for my family and friends

My five grandchildren

The Food

I am thankful for Harry Potter

My family's love and support

All the good food

I am happy for the rain

For a job I love

For everyone here today

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is November over yet?

I'm single this week: Anthony is in Ohio.  I need to iron 12 ruffled collars for Sugarplum ballerinas.  And catch up on some Glee.

I'll be on the couch.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mystery SOLVED

Anthony told me he heard the rooster crow over the Thanksgiving holiday.  It was a good news/bad news kinda thing: it confirmed I wasn't crazy, but also confirmed that someone is crowing.

He said, "You're right, it was definitely a rooster crow, but it was soft and far off sounding."  Yes, that's it! "Anna heard it, too!"  More witnesses!  "Then she told me, Daddy, that's my phone."

She has the "rooster crow" as her text tone.  If it's in the living room and you're in the kitchen, and the windows are open, it sounds just like its coming from the coop.

Put away the hatchet!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I did today

1. Slept in!

2.  Sang with the choir

3.  Did grocery shopping for the week

4.  Made individual pizzas for everyone

5.  Helped the children practice piano

6.  Cut Anthony and Colin's hair

7.  Taught Bollywood aerobics

8.  Made chef salads with smoked turkey (yum!)

9.  Tested Anna and Anthony's chocolate chip cookies.  So sweet how he showed her all his secrets to making perfect, moist, chewy  cookies.  She was very enthusiastic.  The results were good.  I tasted at least 4 oven-fresh cookies...

Saturday, November 26, 2011


We ate dinner tonight at an Indian restaurant.  There was some fish on the buffet, so I made sure to get some for Colin since he's a fish lover.  He ate a few bites then stopped.

"Did you like it?"  we asked him.

"Yes," he said, "But it became spicy."

Friday, November 25, 2011


So often, I call owners with bloodwork results and get to say, "Everything's normal: kidneys and liver, electrolytes and glucose, thyroid level, blood count,  heart worm test..." and they say thank you, and I say, "Hey, I love giving good news!" It's so great to be the bearer of good news, the reassurer of good health.  Fortunately, that is the case more often than not.

Other times, it's not good news.  Like when I had to call a client and tell her the lump I took off her dog was not a lipoma (a benign fatty mass) but instead something sinister, so we'd better send it off for pathology.  Then the pathology came back neurofibrosarcoma, a tumor very locally invasive (so it will probably regrow) and only 5% of cases metastasize.   But we'd better take chest X-rays before I refer her for radiation therapy.  Then on today's X-rays, there are little dots all through the chest.

I'll have a radiologist review the films next week, but meanwhile, no referral is indicated.  And this brave woman, who runs marathons and hikes the Appalachian trail, hangs her head and cries.  Then says, "This is a really bad design, these dogs that live lives so short, when there are all these ugly, evil people who live 80 years."  I can't argue with that.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Menu:

Greenburg Turkey
Herb Gravy
Mushroom Dressing
Creamed Greens
Roasted Winter Vegetables
Homegrown Tomato and Arugula Salad
Marinated Homegrown Peppers
Wild Rice
Aunt Sudie's Potatoes
Roasted Acorn Squash
Brown-N-Serve Rolls
Steamed Asparagus

Dessert selections:

Pecan Pielettes
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Buttermilk Pie
Cranberry Muffins


Piano by Anna and Colin
Walking the dogs

(Colin suggests we do it all again next week)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Sadly I had to work today, even though all I wanted to do was stay home and cook and prepare for tomorrow's big feast.  We are looking at 15 guests this year - both our parents, despite recent health crises on each side.  My kids are pretty excited, too, and helped me chop vegetables and make pie after dinner.  Everything is done except for making the stuffing/dressing, and setting the table.

We can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Hour Colinism

I came home today and Anthony and the Manny were enjoying a cocktail together.  Yeah, really.

Then Colin said, "Daddy, why don't you open a shop called 'Big Bellied Bagels for Big Bellied People?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

It rained AGAIN today, and we are still riveted by it.  Anna went out to feel the rain on her face this morning.  I noticed lots of birds taking baths in puddles.  Then, driving home from Zumba, I was struck by this:
 A large buzzard sitting atop the old Lutheran church from the 1800s.  So Texas Gothic.    Here's his close-up:

Sunday, November 20, 2011


We really love Ikea, and went again today to get towel racks for the bathroom, handles for the cabinets, and another set of drinking glasses.  Emily came with us, and I think she may have gotten more than she bargained for -- we were there for 3 hours!  Of course, we first had lunch in the cafe, then walked the maze.  Then over the intercom we heard them paging "Shane and Nancy" to the Smaland, and Emily rightfully said, how many Shane and Nancys can there be?  (the last name matched, too).  We were close to Smaland, so I peeked in an saw their 7 year-old daughter, who I recognized from Facebook.

They live in Ft Worth and we rarely see them, but we all were at college together.  Anthony and Shane were roommates for a while, and he was in our wedding.  Before that, Emily dated Shane when she was finishing high school.

Their daughter was shy until she saw my kids, then they were immediately playing chase and whispering secrets.  Extra bonus at Ikea to see friends we haven't seen face-to-face for at least 5 years!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Hey, it's less than a week until Thanksgiving!  We are planning on having another big feast, with lots of extended family from both sides.  Today we are getting things ready - tidying up the larder, emptying out the fridge, trying to finish the bathroom remodel project.

Anybody need an extra set of gently used towels?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yay! Anthony's home

I was gone last weekend for the Dental Forum, came home late on Sunday, then Anthony left early Monday morning.  We spent about 9 hours together, most of them sleeping.  He finally came home tonight.  We are all glad.

I'm gonna go hang with him on the couch.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Hen Talk

Three of the chickens were out when the kids and I got home this afternoon, which means it's time for another wing trim. (BTW, no more cock-a-doodle-doos heard.)  We trim our chickens' wings so they don't fly out of their little enclosed yard behind the shed, because otherwise they invariably ruin the garden with their raking feet.

Colin really loves the chickens, and volunteered to help me catch them because he's "the best chicken catcher."  He also claims they understand him.  Colin also feeds the chickens for me everyday.  It's the one chore he doesn't complain about (now that we moved the feed onto the porch and out of the shed where we rarely find snakes.  Colin is afraid of snakes.)

He is really fast at catching those chickens, who very much do not want to be caught.  He holds them lovingly like a baby as we take them to the picnic table, then holds their body while I extend a wing and trim the long feathers.  He has a name for each of them (Goldy, Big Blacky, Copper, Reddy).  He looks like such a farm boy with his flock.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I saw two dogs today with very advanced periodontal disease -- caked on tartar, receding gums, mobile teeth, death breath -- all the things that make a normal human pull back with horror.  It gives me itchy fingers, because I can't wait to get in there and CURE that disease.  Teeth will be lost, but domesticated dogs don't need teeth to live, and besides, teeth that abscessed aren't being used to chew anyway.

For both cases, I sat down with the dog's owner, listing the reasons its important to restore good oral health (for pain relief, for heart health, for longevity), and going over an itemized estimate - preanesthetic bloodwork, IV fluids, anesthesia, X-rays, local dental blocks, extractions.  Bone grafts to preserve jaw strength after the teeth and infected bone is removed.  Suturing the extraction sites so that they heal with a simple incision instead of a big hole that has to fill in.  Antibiotics and pain meds to go home.

It's not easy to do it well, nor is it cheap.  It is going to take several hours of my time, and technical support, and a lot of good equipment.  It will make a huge difference in their quality of life.  Sometimes I want to help these dogs so badly, I wish I could do it for free.  I said that to one of the owners who said, "No!  I want you to stay in business so you can take care of my dogs!"  I so appreciated this, especially since I know the estimate was much higher than he anticipated, and he'll have to do some "juggling" to get it done.     And I was so pleased that both procedures got scheduled.   Good oral health, here we come!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keep falling on my head

One thing I don't like about the clinic where I work is the lack of windows in the back where I spend all my time.  Today it rained, solidly from about 10 am until noon.  A group of us when up front to gaze out at the soggy scene.  Raindrops and and puddles and dark skies.  It was a great sight.

After nearly a year of drought, we are stopped in our tracks by precipitation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Harvest

I know we're having an Indian Summer, but I'm a little embarrassed by this haul I got from our garden today.  Please note, this does not include the prolific basil or any jalepenos.  This is just the bell peppers, tomatoes, and anchos/poblanos that were easily reached.  That's what 82 degrees will get ya!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Musing in Maryland

Right now I'm in the Baltimore airport on a layover. I'm eating some crab and shrimp at a local restaurant. It's reminding me of the time when I worked at Ft Hood. I met people from all over the country then, including a big huge army guy who had a cat that he loved. He was asking me what cats could eat. Specifically, could they eat some human food?

"That depends," I said. "They shouldn't eat a lot of things like butter, or bacon fat."

"What about crab?" he said.

"Crab?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm from Maryland," he said, "and I love crab. Sometimes after I go home I bring some crab back and I share it with my cat."

Suddenly I got a vision of this big, huge guy sitting at the table sharing his crab with his cat. And I thought, crab is mostly protein, a little bit of fat. Perfect food for a cat. Plus the thought of him sharing this delicacy with his cat, who is also from Maryland, was too much to bear.

"Yeah, there's no problem with that," I said.

And I stand by that statement.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

While I've been at the Dental Conference, I've been keeping in touch with my family with Face Time every night. The kids respond so much better with video, and it's great to see their gorgeous faces.

That's all I've got for now. Been in lectures all morning, all afternoon, and this evening. Starts again tomorrow at 7 am. Damn Nablopomo.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I had a great day today at the dental conference. In my lab I learned how to make an incline plate-- its an orthodontic appliance to move out canine teeth that are erupting too close together so they hit the hard palate and cause trauma and pain. Then after some lectures I went to dinner with two other ladies who are also vets from Austin. We all left our kids with our husbands and were enjoying a night out. After we even went to a restaurant that just serves desserts, called Finale!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Here in Boston!

I am here, in the lobby of my hotel because this is where the free wifi is. I don't understand why the most expensive hotels also charge for Internet. If I'm paying this much they should throw Internet in, too. Can I get an amen? There was a large and delicious selection of hor doevres at the opening reception, enough to fill me up for dinner. I said hi to some friends, had some FaceTime with the family. Time for bed -- orthodontics lab in the morning!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Tomorrow I'm going to Boston for the Dental Conference.  It's my one big business trip of the year.  Unfortunately, Anthony can't go with me, so I'm traveling alone.  I enjoy traveling on planes alone; I just get immersed in my book.  Three full days and evenings alone will be different.  I always have a good time, though, learn something new, and get enthusiastic about my special quirky interest.

Next post will be from the road...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Simon & Martin

Paul Simon was great, btw.  ( But since nobody commented here or on Facebook I guess none of you care!)  His band large and talented, and they all had great voices.  Paul played lots of old 70s stuff, lots from Graceland, and all my new favorites from the new album.

I loved the big, complicated, jamming pieces, but was most impressed when Paul Simon took the stage and sang "The Sound Of Silence,"  just his voice and his beautiful guitar.  Anthony recorded it on the iPhone (isn't it amazing how now that everyone has this ability no one seems to care if you record these events?), and hearing it later I realized how much Anthony and I were singing along.  I think I sang "backup" on all his songs, but I couldn't hear myself.  It was loud.  But I guess my neighbors could hear.  Anthony said the grumpy old guys next to him groused, "You'd think they could just listen and not sing along!"  Sorry, neighbors, we sang, and danced, too.

***Watch this space for future video upload.***

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eye of the Beholder

I'm still teaching my Bollywood class on Sunday evenings, and still really enjoying the music and the exercise.  I have a group of regular students that I look forward to seeing, and I also love seeing new students of Indian descent smile when we dance to a tune that's familiar to them.

But now I follow that class with Zumba on Monday mornings, taught at our local rec center by my long-time friend Regina.  Our lives have moved in parallel paths for decades now:  first college choir, then vet school, then moving to the Austin area, having babies -- now teaching ethnic workout classes in our 40s!  She has a terrific class on Mondays with women of all sizes and ages, and there are some good dancers in there.

A few times Regina has let me jump in to lead a song or two.  That's when I notice that the lights in there are really awful.  My skin looks so ghastly white, with blotches, then I notice the permanent wrinkle in my brow, and my pot belly...  Blech!

There is a friendly woman who usually takes a spot next to me.  She is older, and doesn't jump around or grind her hips, but she is moving (slowly) the whole time.  "How are you?" she asked me between sets.  "You just look so perfect, with your blonde hair, and your smooth skin, and your cute figure.  You know what you look like?  You look just like Barbie.  That's what I'm going to call you: Barbie.  'Cause you just look so perfect." And she does, every week.

What?!?  I am no Barbie doll.  My boobs sag, my waist is not narrow, I'm getting jowly, and my skin is not smooth or perfect.  My hair is a sweaty, frizzy, blonde mess.  But I realize I look in the mirror and see my imperfections and loss of youthfulness (especially under those lights) -- but to her perspective, I am still  youthful, and jumping around with enthusiasm even if I can't roll my hips and shake my booty at the same time (like Regina).

When we're 13 we wish we were 17, and when we're 40 we wish we were 25, and when we're 70 we wish we were 40...  So today I tried to be happy to be fit at 41, injury-free and able to dance with abandon.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


My kids are "into" Manga, a Japanese animation.  They watch a lot of the cartoons on YouTube - most are in Japanese with subtitles.  I love them being interested in another culture.  Anna has even learned some basic Japanese words, and she can sing the entire theme song to one of the shows with a dead-on accent.

However, a lot of the characters have high-pitched syrupy baby voices.  And now my kids are talking to me in baby talk.  And I cannot abide baby talk!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Going to Graceland

I'm going to the Paul Simon concert tonight with Anthony and a work friend.  She is a serious Paul Simon fan - she's seen him live at least 6 times before!

I grew up with the harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel.  I just about wore out my cassette tape of Graceland in high school - it was in constant rotation in my Jeep as I drove around Midland.  His new album released this year sounds good, too - there's even an Indian influenced song!  Should be a good time.

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Ranking

Anna and Colin are at the age where they love to go to work with me.  Before they were too little to keep themselves occupied.  Later, they may be too disdainful of the whole thing.  But now they love it, they love holding court with all the people I work with, seeing the cute animals, snacking in the break room.

Colin went with me a few Saturdays ago, and wandered up front, petting dogs and chatting with one of my clients.  "My Mom works here," he said.

"Oh, really?" she said.

"Yeah, she's the second best vet here," he confirmed.

Apparently, since my name is listed second on the door, he decided I was second best.

At least I'm not the fourth best.

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Ah, the weather is glorious at last, and all the windows are open, letting the fresh air in.  But today I heard a sound from the back yard that chilled me.

The sound of a "cock-a-doodle-doo!"

People who are long-time readers of this blog or know me in person know we have a small backyard flock.  Hens are allowed in our little burg, but not roosters.  We have a lot of old hens, and added two chicks this spring, hoping that by the fall they would start laying.  After a long, hot, dreadful summer without eggs, the days are now cooler but shorter, so we still have no eggs.

But maybe we now have a rooster.

I inspected the flock, and the pullets (nearly grown hens) don't look like roosters, except one has a raised tail.  We can't have a rooster.  Even if he is gentle (since Colin has been lovingly carting them around for months) the noise would be intolerable to us, never mind the neighbors.

A friend of mine recently raised a passel of hen chicks, and one turned out to be a rooster.  She slaughtered him, believing in knowing and raising your own meat, but cried the entire time.  She did say he was good eating.  I don't know if I'm strong enough to kill my own chick, not if my children aren't starving.  Plus, the two chicks we got in the spring are very attatched to each other.

My hope is that, in the absence of any male presence, one of the old hens has gotten butch.  Apparently this does happen.  It could still be noisy, though.  So far, it wasn't very loud and it was just once, in the afternoon....

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Here's another Halloween post

This is my Grandmother, Dulce Maria.  She's in her 90s but has the spirit of a 6 year old girl.  She is a 5'2" dynamo of energy, the life of every party.  She put this on and prowled around the senior center where she lives and WON the costume contest.

Everyone who lives this long should live life with so much zest.  Thanks to my mom for sending this excellent photo.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Corpse Reviver

Here we are, Saturday night at a neighbor's Halloween party.  We partied all weekend - neighborhood kiddie parade Sunday afternoon, kid Halloween party Sunday evening, trick-or-treating last night.

So, the title is in regards to this blog.  Can someone who only posted once in October post every day in November?

NaBloPoMo.  We shall see.