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.

Mike’s New Project

So, here we are again. Mike and Judy took off for a few days to the mountains of North Carolina, leaving me and the other cats in the care of Michelle. She’s a great Big Sister, and a super good sport, as she is allergic to cats. I guess they had a relaxing time while away. It was the first vacation they have taken since 2018. Between Mike’s chemo, and the COVID mess, normal life has been on hold. We are hoping for a prolonged stretch of normal.

I may have mentioned that Mike has taken advantage of his enforced isolation by working on a book. He has made good progress, and is moving into a new stage, that of trying to get it published. Getting a book published by a traditional publisher is challenging. When Mike wrote his first book, Autobiography of a Georgia Cat, he talked with a lady who had been in the business. She told him the it was almost impossible to get a book published without an agent—and that it was even harder to get an agent. This proved to be the case, and Mike eventually went the self-publishing route. Since that time (1999) much has changed, most especially the world of social media. Mike has learned that in order to get published an author has to have already established a reputation and a following. He has to build what is referred to a a platform. This involves building a social media presence. At a minimum this must include activity on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites, and an author’s blog. Mike has not only committed to establish a platform, but also to not complain about it. He is already on Facebook and Linked-in, and just opened a Twitter account. He has contacted a publicist to assist him with navigating the journey through the blogosphere, twittersphere, etc. All of which is leading up to saying that he will start a new blog that will be written by him, not by me. He has promised me that he will continue to help me with my blog. Once the new blog is up I will give you all the details and put up a link to it from my blog. I promised to give Mike all the support that I can.

So, the world is still a crazy place, but we need to make the best of it as it is the only world we get to live in. And don’t forget, Cats Rule and Dogs Drool! Until next time, be safe, be well, give someone a hug, and pray for peace.

Great News

So, Mike had a meeting with Dr. B., his lymphoma oncologist. She said his recent scan looked good (no evidence of recurrence), and that she wants another scan in 6 months. In his most recent meeting with Dr. K., his multiple myeloma oncologist, he also received a report of no evidence of recurrence. Mike gets periodic blood tests to follow this, and will have another bone marrow biopsy in December. So, this is great news. Even better, Mike feels fine and is enjoying his life. We hope you all are as well.

Happy day after Mother’s Day to everyone. Mike and Judy went out with Michelle to celebrate Judy and her place in our little family. I include a picture from the event. Are they not adorable?

Mike continues to work on his book, and feels as though he is making good progress. I will keep you posted.

Life gradually moves back towards normal. Don’t think, however, that things will return entirely to the way they were pre-COVID. That cannot and will not happen. Most industries have been affected by the pandemic. As one example, the health care industry is down over 500,000 jobs since February of 2020. A great many people have either died or contracted chronic illness from COVID. It will be interesting to see what a post-COVID world looks like. I hope you all will make a positive adjustment. Mike always talks about the importance of learning to deal with both uncertainty and change as critical life skills. Good luck to all of you with the new world.

And speaking of the new world, the sides are lining up and gathering ammunition to face each other in what Mike thinks will be the Great Battle of the next 20 years or longer. On the one side we have the people who want justice and equality for all people, and the other side we have the people who want to maintain the status quo, white privilege. Mike says it has become clear that the real danger to our nation comes from within, outside threats (China, Russia, cyberthreats, and viruses) notwithstanding. I have held forth before in this blog how, as a black cat, I am sensitive to mindless prejudice and discrimination based on differences in race, social status, color, national origin, gender or sexual orientation, etc.  I expect that our country will become a much better version of itself in due time. It will take determination, hard work, fearlessness, cooperation, and prayer, all readily available commodities. Let’s do it!

Mike took a new picture of my annoying little brother, Magi.

If you check your Encyclopedia of Cats you will find that he strongly resembles a Bombay cat. All of us are rescues, and none of us are pure-bred cats. I can’t say that being a mixed-breed cat is preferable because that would be saying that cats of a certain origin are better than cats of other origins.  This is not any more true than saying that people of one origin are better than people of other origins.  And I doubt if there is a person in the world that isn’t racially mixed in some way. People still carry Neanderthal genes, for heaven’s sake. As the line from the spiritual song goes, “We’re in the same boat brother, we’re in the same boat brother; and if you shake one end you gonna rock the other, we’re in the same boat brother.”

Well, it’s time for lunch and a nap. I hope you are all doing very well. Let’s all love one another, right now. I know, a line from another song. I can’t seem to help myself. Unlike most cats, I have learned to appreciate music and poetry. I will talk to you soon.

I’m Back!

Hey y’all! I did not expect to be gone for so long. It has been 8 months since I have posted. Mike muzzled me as I was getting too outspoken about the political situation. He is not doing a very good job of remembering how to put this together, and we have already lost what I just wrote a few minutes ago. Try, try again.

I am committed to say nothing about the former president, with the understanding, of course, that he will have nothing to say about me.

Mike’s health seems to be good. He goes for a scan in 2 weeks. It’s a routine follow-up to his chemo. I expect that he will prove to be in full remission. I will let you know, and not wait 8 months, either.

Our other cats are fine. Magi is all grown up. He is a year old this month. Lady Bug still doesn’t like him. Mike and Judy has somewhat pacified her by telling her that she is the Only Cat. I have some pictures, but not a recent one of her. Later. Mike got his first haircut in over a year a few weeks ago. His friend Chris says he looks like a hippie and sent him a tie-dyed shirt to complement the appearance. Picture included below.

Two of Mike’s elderly friends have died of COVID. I imagine everyone has been affected by this pandemic in many hurtful ways. Better times ahead.

Mike has made good progress on his book about the Twelve Steps as a heroic journey. I will let you know if he gets it published. You would think I would have a lot to say after 8 months of silence, but if I think of anything I will add it to the next post. In the meantime, stay well, and be safe. And remember, love is the answer.

An old hippie

The Twins

I honestly can’t say which one is Shayna Maidel and which one is Jackson.

Magi holding down his blanket

Shayna Maidel and her bear

 

Bye, bye!