Six pounds of lean hamburger, two roasted chickens stripped to the bone, two pounds of green beans, a large steamed pot of brown rice, a couple of pounds of hard grated cheddar cheese and I am ready to go. You might think that I am laying in provisions for a trip to the wilds of Alaska, but no, I am going to Boston for a meeting. They have restaurants there. The food that I have carefully prepared is for my dogs and cat. I will be gone for six days, and even though my husband assures me that he can take care of the four dogs, one cat and two horses still at home, it is important to me that it be done right. You may translate that to “it must be done MY way.”
I don’t know when it happened that I stopped feeding cheap store bought kibble and started to actually cook for the dogs. It may have been gradual—a sprinkling of cheese and a bit of hamburger here or there for a dog gone off its feed due to illness or injury. I suspect that this little guilty pleasure surfaced at about the same time that my kids grew up and left the house and we all know that a mother needs to feed her children. I measure out tablespoons of flax seed (keeps ‘em regular!) like I am doling out cod liver oil and vitamin E as my mother used to do when I was a competitive swimmer. My husband gets into the act too—he tops off their dinners with Nilla vanilla wafers for dessert—a treat that the “laird” administers. Guests who are not dog people stare in wonder at the evening ritual, and no one more so than my houseguest from Kenya, a physician who absolutely REFUSED to believe that the creature I was carving up was a chicken—apparently they do not grow chickens that big in Africa. Nor do they feed their dogs better than they feed their children. I had the decency to be slightly ashamed, but not enough to go back to the cheap kibble.
Tomorrow I head out on JetBlue for ASTRO, the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting. Apparently I am heading right into the “Perfect Storm”, although I thought they already made that movie. Hurricane Sandy is due to make landfall soon, and I may be floating down Newbury Street and the Boston Common on my way to the convention center. I don’t mind as long as I can get reservations at No.9 Park for dinner. I will see old friends, do a little shopping, and maybe attend just a few of the educational sessions. If there is anything really new in the world of cancer treatment, I promise to write all about it.
In the meantime, my animals will be well fed, and my husband will survive—he always does. But my writing may be a bit sparse for the next week. Here is an open invitation to you all: Please send your guest blogs to firstname.lastname@example.org I know that my readers are nurses, doctors, front and back office staff, psychologists, veterinarians, dog people, horse people and of course my best friends and family. Please write your own stories and share them with the rest of us. I want to hear your voices, NOW!