To Every Thing


As the glowing yellow orb of warmth and joy starts hanging around less and less each day and a crisp coolness creeps into the air, I am amazed yet again with the realization that summer is over.


My neighborhood

There is frost on the ground one morning.

Then another.

And another.


Pretty fall colors on the golf course

The leaves that were green become red, yellow, and orange and each year I am struck by how short the summer seemed and how I didn’t get to do all of things I wanted to do.

We didn’t get out on the boat once this summer.

We didn’t take the canoe out to lounge on a peaceful lake while one of us reads and the other “fishes”.


Hard at work on the canoe

We haven’t hiked with the dogs because of Casey’s laryngeal paralysis and Alistair’s torn medial meniscus.

We haven’t explored the mountains surrounding us on horseback with Alistair’s knee and just the timing of things.

But, my goodness…

The things we did do.

There’s the book I completed and published and am now promoting.

I am in literary Heaven because people are enjoying the book.

books 2

My first book signing at the beautiful Holland Lake Lodge (photo by Gary Kyrouac)

I hear so many different things in peoples’ voices when they share their thoughts on the book.

Surprise, from friends and colleagues who have only known me as a veterinarian.

Warm, happy relief from friends who have known I’ve wanted to write for years.

Shock, at times, that a self-published author can actually string words together with correct grammar and punctuation. Words that can create emotions as they are read. Words that can take you places.

I am so freaking happy its not even funny.

Tan Stairs 1

Me. Freaking happy. (Photo by Gary Kyrouac)

I got to re-embrace the little community I live in this summer as so many people have thrown their support behind me even though I closed my veterinary clinic one full year ago. I removed a trustworthy place to have your concerns listened to, your animals cared for and your hands held and yet they continue to support me.


The old clinic days with a good buddy, Moses

From the folks on the golf course, the gang at the Double Arrow Lodge who let me and Gary have a PR photo session, to my friend at Good Times who helped dress me, the community of Ovando gearing up for a book event, staff at the Grizzly Claw for organizing their upcoming event and to Christian at Holland Lake Lodge for agreeing to host my very first book signing ever… the friendship and encouragement is overwhelming.

Portrait 5

Holland Lake Lodge’s beautiful main seating area… perfect for my first book signing.

This summer I have been able to share laughter and smiles with people who have read my book.

Or are going to read my book.

Or want me to sign their book.

Sign 1

Signing an as-yet-unread book for friends and former clients

I love hearing their thoughts about the future of the characters, their enjoyment of the relationships within and the particular moment they meet the character, Tabitha.

I won’t say any more about that, though. Its yours to explore.

Cindy, Lollie, Jessi, Lynn, Marty, Jackson, Merielle, Jill, Jill’s postman… what an adventure!


Alistair on the 16th tee

We got out to golf a lot this summer.

A lot.

It was easier on Alistair’s knee than hiking or riding horses and its just been so enjoyable watching our games change and slowly improve.


At Missoula’s Ranch Club golf course in the late summer sun

And I have bonded with our animal companions more than I could have imagined by having the time to be at home with them.


Cleopatra… bonding with Mummy

Amazingly, Casey is still with us.

The goofy, jumpy, wiggly, ridiculous, clumsy black Labrador with the unilateral floppy laryngeal fold had a couple of scares on really hot days where he wouldn’t settle down and everything was getting swollen and I could hear the fold flopping as he panted and he started turning blue.



Its not a color that makes veterinarians or Mummy’s very happy, I can assure you.


Casey… our good old boy enjoying a peaceful moment in the sun


The cooler weather is a welcome relief for our old goofy boy.

Maybe not if he slams into you or me or blind Loki with her bad eye but it is amazing that Casey is still here to be such a pain in the ass.

And Loki right now, with her really bad corneal ulcer.

I’ve been able to spend the time to help her.


Loki… SO not a fan of The Cone

I’m still not sure we’re going to save the eye but we’ve come this far and I’m going to keep trying.

Another special treat is that little Boomer is still with us.

Doing very well, in fact.


Got grass?

She is tolerating her twice-daily methimazole and has even put some of her weight back on.

Not a lot, but enough to make Mummy, Daddy and Boom Boom happy.

This summer took me back to Bismarck to help with the hay and get my dental crowns taken care of.

While the latter isn’t something to focus on, the hay-making was great.

Even with New Neighbor nearly dying from the effort.


Ahhh… those bales of summer

And now its time to talk about fall and the chilly mornings and the wood that needs to be cut and more book signings and starting a new book and keeping Loki’s eye and getting out to ride the horses and changing my golf attire just a tad.


Adaptable and still fashionable, making par on the 14th hole at the Double Arrow golf course!

We’ve got a little propane heater rigged up in Norman and we’re toasty warm on a golf course that seems abandoned now that the summer people have left.

One more bonus to the end of summer.

The weather changes bring some outstanding scenery both in Montana and North Dakota. As I’ve said before, I am a lucky woman to know both places.


North Dakota morning

So, goodbye Dear Summer and hello, Autumn.

An exciting month ahead where I will turn 42 and Alistair will turn a bit older than that and the golf course will be empty.

And some overdue Aloha.

Stay tuned for that one and think happy thoughts for Loki’s eyeball.

We think of her and Casey all of the time now with the addition of our golf buddies….


Loki-Head and Casey-Head, keeping Mummy’s clubs protected and happy


There’s always next summer.


Canoe-view of Lake Upsata

So I’ve Written This Book…


My first novel!!!

I’ve been busy this past winter and spring.

I wrote and published a book.

I focused. I researched. I researched some more.

And more.

I drank coffee and tea and corrected and edited and shared with only a handful of people but I sat down and wrote a book.


The dogs during a snowy driveway walk last winter

It helped that the snow never stopped coming down for weeks.

The walls of snow lining the driveway were taller than all of the dogs.

I would plow and shovel in the mornings and write in the afternoons.

It wasn’t like I could play golf.

Or do much of anything outside, really.

Then it got super cold and the big tractor gelled up and the batteries died in the trucks and Loki wouldn’t go outside to piddle and my eyes hurt in the wind and it was painful to breathe and I wasn’t loving the snow as much for a few days but it eventually passed.


Hey, Winter, you’re number one!

I actually loved having the time to write.

To create characters and their families and places in time.

To allow these individuals to learn and react and create a world reacting along with them.

I have always loved writing.

I have kept a journal since I was 8 years old.

I don’t write in it every day and there are gaps over the years where maybe I didn’t have a blank journal to write in or I forgot to bring one along on a trip but for the most part, the last 34 years of my life are pretty well recorded.


The Collection

Complete with the odd plane ticket or concert ticket stub or something special to remember.

My journal has been my best friend many times over the years.

I tell it anything. And everything.

It doesn’t judge me and it doesn’t ask questions.

It doesn’t offer any advice or tell me my thoughts are inappropriate or wrong.

It also doesn’t tell me I’m correct about things or that I’m doing something the right way.


my current journal…love the aloha theme

It just offers me space to share what is going on in my head and in my mind whenever I need to.

Alistair has instructions to burn or publish the collection if I die before him.


What is left of my Dana, Paula and May series

I started writing books when I was 8 years old, as well.

My “Dana, Paula and May” series followed 3 young women around as they solved crimes and wore fancy dresses.

I illustrated these books and my third grade teacher allowed me to put them alongside the real books in the library area of our classroom.

I was lucky to have a teacher who nurtured me and my creativity like that.

The same teacher encouraged me to get the whole class involved in a play I wrote. Something about a prince being granted three wishes.

I cast the play and we practiced it and then we performed it on stage for the rest of the school.

My mom even came in and taught us all how to do The Hustle for the dance-party section of the play.

Man, I wish we had digital cameras back then.

I kept writing.

Not just the journal but some poems and monologues.

My high school drama teacher was also our librarian and she would suggest literature for me to read and we would discuss stories together.

She let me put a monologue on stage for people to watch.

I was lucky to have another teacher believe in me and my zany ideas and fantasies and dreams.

I know my imagination and creation of characters has driven some people nuts.

Like the whole Rhonda thing…


Rhonda Alyssa Koftinoff Fyfe… in my purse

(Rest assured, I will tell Rhonda’s story here but that’s for another time…)

And the singing ferrets and dancing cats and know-it-all Spaniels and the mixed breed, UB who has to comment about every Subaru on the road.

My imagination knows no bounds but I do know when to reign it in.

Or, I mostly have that figured out.

Its just that there is so much going on in my mind that I have to write it down or create it or video it.

This is probably why I don’t sleep much.

I always slept walked and talked as a kid but the insomnia didn’t start until I was 8 years old.

That was a huge year for me.

Our family moved from Vancouver where I was in love with school and ballet.

I was ready for toe shoes and the fast track to being a professional dancer. I still miss it.

For some reason when we moved to the small town of Grand Forks my brain tweaked and I stopped sleeping and my parents worried and my creativity took off.

I embrace it now and know how to sort of manage the sleep thing. Sort of. When I started sleep walking again last year and woke up outside of our cabin in the middle of a campground I realized stress from the clinic was taking over and my creative side was MIA.

So I closed the clinic.

And I wrote a book.


The first one…

I’m so freaking excited its not even funny.

Lost and Found in Missing Lake is a teen/young adult fictional story about a 15 year-old and his dad and stepmom and their small town in Montana.

Luke and his dad want to get serious about running their sled dogs.

Jackie, the stepmom, is a disillusioned veterinarian (a bit on the nose, I’ll admit); Luke helps her out a lot and together they meet some amazing individuals. This is where a bit of fun fantasy kicks in but I won’t spoil it for you.

Luke deals with a new school, having to make new friends, acne, driving and all of the emotional issues of adolescence and he shares it with the reader.

I miss him and his friends and I honestly can’t wait to write more about them. And Tabitha.


I self published because I got bored waiting for agents to respond to my queries.

Every book on writing suggests  you should submit to no less than 50 and more likely 250 agents before one will accept your work.

I submitted to 10.

I waited week after week to hear back and finally spent some serious time researching and editing and re-editing and editing some more and getting my friends and hubby to edit and found a great website to help me publish my book.

I’m pumped!

I’m setting up book signings.

I’m getting copies to good friends and people who I want to read my story.

Its a bit scary at times because this is from my imagination… its very personal.

And now its very real and in print and available through all Amazon outlets.

So now its all about the marketing, which is also why I’m writing about it here.

If you read it and you like it, please say so.

Or, get on Amazon and comment on it there. That’s how the book will get more promotion and more people will get to read about Luke and his cool dogs and his hippie English teacher and their sharing sessions and learn a bit of veterinary medicine and discover some amazing creatures as well.

Alistair, Dona, Gary, Whitney, Julie, Joshua, Lindsay and Andrea were my test audiences and sources of encouragement and laughter. Thanks, Gang.

And thanks, Mr.Tournemille and Ms.Cooke for letting me be me… as crazy as ‘me’ is.