Saturday, June 27, 2015

Colleague's Call, Spring's Return

One of my friends from the time when I was still a police officer called me this week. We had not talked to each other in at least two years. He often said that we always started right where we left off the last time we spoke together, and sure enough we did. We talked a very long time. Our friendship has been through a lot through the years!

It’s spring! The flowers are coming up, and some are already in bloom. The grass is growing, which means I spend a lot of time mowing. Most of the wildlife have had their young and are parading them around. My nightly raccoon, which I see out of my bedroom window, brought her one baby up to visit last night. It made me smile. The circle continues.

I spent a day this week with sweet Susie. She had to have some tests and treatments done for the cancer that she is fighting. If I had had a daughter, I could only pray for her to be Susie. I am in awe of how she has handled the fight of her life, and I am very proud of her. She has worked so hard at her career and at being a wife and mother of three boys. I had to laugh at myself: after Susie was through with her appointments, we went to lunch and then went off to do what I most hate to do, shopping. As I was driving home that day, I realized that if I had to go shopping, it would only be with Susie!

When I married Alan, his mother was a big shopper. She wanted me to go shopping with her. I told her that I don’t do shopping in stores if possible, only out of catalogs. If I could buy food that way, I would. She told me we never would be friends unless I went shopping with her. She was right. No shopping!

My son and my three granddaughters came to visit me for Mother’s Day this week. My son knows that if you really want to give me a gift, you should make it something for wildlife. I would rather get a bag of bird seed than anything personal. They brought me a birdhouse, which made me very happy. I miss seeing them since they have moved. The girls are all teenagers now and are beautiful.

My son has a lot on his plate. He drives an hour and a half to work each day, most of it over long back-roads. He is taking care of his grandmother and was just elected to be the mayor of the town he lives in. And, of course, he has his family to take care of. I worry about him a lot. Most of his family on his father’s side had heart problems. My son does not take the time to take care of himself properly.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Medical Matters, from KIDNAPPED TWICE

In early 2012, my diabetes caught up with me. My doctor put me through different tests, and she told me that my kidneys are working at approximately only 48% of capacity. I had many more tests and two more doctors to deal with. I love my doctor for many reasons, one of which is that she is a woman. She and I know each other very well, so when she told me the news, I could tell that she was worried.

I have always taken pretty good care of myself, but not good enough, I guess. I am finding it hard to follow what I must do medically while trying to keep up with the farmgrass mowing and caring for our animals. God forbid if it should rain, which it is doing right now, as it messes up my schedule and my writing.

My son will be upset when he finds out that I did not tell him about my health problems. He has a full plate of responsibilities. There is nothing he can do about my health, so why give him more to worry about?

A series of medical visits has begun. A few days ago, I had an ultrasound examination of my kidneys and bladder. I write this as I am in the waiting room of a kidney specialist. I am not sure what the outcome will be. The next doctor I’m going to see after this is one who specializes in diabetes. I am guessing that I am in trouble. I know I have to cope with this, but I don’t feel strong enough right now to deal with another problem in my life.

Still, I have overcome other major problems before.

Yesterday I had my last appointment with my doctor of over 20 years. She truly has kept me going many times during those years. She knew right from the start that I was not going to be an easy patient to work with, as I do not like most doctors.

I had not been to a doctor for many years, so when I decided to get a check-up, all hell broke loose. It turned out that I had a tumor that had to be taken out. I went for the normal pre-operation tests, after which the nurse sent me home to pack my bag, as I had to be admitted that day to begin what would be my life-long battle with diabetes. Within five days they had my diabetes under control, and I was operated on.

How I found my current doctor shortly after this I don’t recall exactly. She has been my doctor ever since then. We’ve had our ups and downs, but eventually I started not only to like her but to respect her knowledge. As with most cases of diabetes, other things started going wrong. She took care of each problem, and there have been many.

My latest problem has to do with my kidney. My doctor knew I would not be happy going to another doctor for this problem, but I also trust her judgment. When I asked her over and over why she could not treat me, she talked to me as the trusted friend she had become and told me that I had to go to a kidney specialist, because she could not treat this problem.

Years ago, when Alan had a physical for the fire company at a local hospital, the nurse told him that he needed to go to see his doctor immediately, as she heard a problem with his heart function. He went to his doctor at the time, and that doctor told him there was no problem and for him to come back in a year. I did not feel comfortable with that diagnosis, so I took him to my own doctor. Within 10 minutes she told him he needed to go to the Heart Center and get examined. It turned out that he had two faulty heart valves. He now has two stainless steel heart valves working in his heart, and he is still breathing, which I feel is due to my doctor, my friend.

When I had my finger accident at the apple-packing machine, which took a major part of my finger off, she somehow managed to show up in the emergency room, leaving her practice to come to comfort me. I did not expect her to do that! When Alan was having a stroke in the middle of the night, I called her at home. She walked me through it all as I took Alan to the hospital.

When they found Alan’s brain tumor during the scans for his stroke, that neurosurgeon had many long conversations with my doctor and made the statement to Alan and me that he was very impressed with her knowledge. Alan went on to have brain surgery, and by then I trusted my doctor for anything and everything. That is something I can’t say has been true very often in my life.

Now my doctor is going on to another chapter of her life, which will be at a Veterans Administration hospital, one having no outpatient service, so she will not be able to treat me. I tried not to let her know how devastated I am, but I surely will miss her more than I can say! We promised each other that we will keep in touch, and I truly hope that we do. My only solace in all of this is that she gave me the name of her own doctor, which comforts me a bit.

We are serializing the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself, which tells of her harsh childhood and the partial recovery she has made in the following half-century. Published by Outskirts Press, it is available in ebook and paperback formats from Outskirts, as well as,, and other on-line booksellers.

My writing-editing-coaching site is

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

7 Questions Answered about Writing and Publishing Your Book with Me

Q: What if you don’t have the time?

A: You will make the time: you and I will meet weekly in person or by telephone for an hour, and you will do a few hours of work on your book between meetings. In another context, when you want to achieve a fitness goal and you hire a personal trainer, you get to the gym on schedule! Think of me as your personal writing/publishing trainer, without push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups..

Q: What if your grammar and spelling are imperfect?

A: You will have my professional help: as your co-author or editor, I will write some and edit some. I have published over 100 technical articles and several books, and my college scores in English were…well, impressive. I’ll be your safety net.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: You should be able to afford it: my charge is $25/week, and we typically need about 40 weeks, thus about $1000. The publisher will require $500-1000 for setting up the paperback book [$150 for the ebook] and typically $5-10 for each book you want printed. You can print as few as 6 or as many as you wish. You will receive any royalties that come from selling the book.

Q: How will your book be sold?

A: The book will be sold on-line through the publisher and through and [Barnes & Noble]. It can be sold as an electronic book [ebook] through similar channels. You can also buy copies at a reduced price and sell them yourself.

Q. Don’t you need an agent to get published?

A: That once was pretty much the case. No longer true. We work with a subsidy publisher [Outskirts Press] that will not reject books submitted by me. With them, I published Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion. Subsequently, I finished and published five more books with first-time authors: The Shield of Gold, Ava Gardner’s Daughter?, High Shoes and Bloomers, But…at What Cost, and Kidnapped Twice . Several more are in preparation.

Q: What about your rights to the book and anything that comes from the book?

A: The publisher we use and I will assure that you retain ALL rights.

Q: How do you get started?

A: Get more information at and contact me through the contact page. Even more information is available right here on this blog site under May at: “Why Would a Former Harvard Professor…?”

Our first on-on-one session is free, and it will clarify the goals, methods, and potential outcomes of your book project.

Let’s do it!

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Being "Grandma"

When my first granddaughter was born, my son asked me what I wanted to be called. I wanted to be called “Grandma,” and I told him so. I’m not sure what my son thought I wanted to be called, and I never asked him why he asked.

As I talk or write about each of my granddaughters, I am reminded they are the lights of my life. Each one has grown in her own way. Each granddaughter has the inner grace and understanding that takes most of us many, many years to obtain, if we get it at all.

Claire, the first-born, showed an understanding of a tragedy that was being shown on television when she was very young, about four years of age. The television was on when she walked into the house. It was showing a terrible plane crash. Claire stopped and stared at the screen and just started saying, “Oh no! Oh no!” over and over. She had deep compassion even at that young age. She has grown into a beautiful young woman. She stands up for what she believes is right, even if it will affect her in a negative way. She has musical and sports talent. Claire works hard on summer vacations to help pay her expenses. She started attending college in the fall of 2013.

Jane, the second-born, is the “fairest” of the threetall, thin, with long, blond curly hair and beautiful blue eyes. She also is very talented in sports and music. She writes poems that touch me, showing her love of life. Jane, too, has that inner grace that usually takes years to form in most people. She is very smart, but all three are. I sometimes wonder how we were so blessed with the three of them. No one could ask for anything more in their children or grandchildren.

When my granddaughter Jane was about ten years old, she wrote the following poem. I often read it, and it comforts me.

I can see
The Moon and stars,
Lilies and roses.

I can taste
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,
Pudding and ice cream.

I can hear
Sea gulls singing, the gentle waves,
And the rhythm of the piano.

I can smell
The magnolia tree,
The scent of a candle,
And a chocolate-covered pastry.

I can touch
Wool and petals of a flower
And the sand slipping through my fingers.

What a wonderful
World I’m in.

By Jane Markonic

Caroline, the youngest, is the animal-lover, which she knows touches me, as I am one also. Caroline cares about all animal life and wants to do something in her life with animals. Again, she, too, has that inner grace that makes me smile. Like Claire and Jane, Caroline is both musical and involved with sports.

I have no fear of failure for any of my grandchildren. If a problem occurs in any form, they will work through it with their own strengths and understanding of life.

I am sure any reader of this can tell the love and happiness my granddaughters have brought to their parents and to myself. My proudest feelings are that there has been no psychological or physical or alcohol abuse in my side of the family. All that is over, hopefully never to return.

We are serializing the memoir KIDNAPPED TWICE: Then Betrayed and Abused, by Mary E. Seaman and myself, which tells of her harsh childhood and the partial recovery she has made in the following half-century. Published by Outskirts Press, it is available in ebook and paperback formats from Outskirts, as well as,, and other on-line booksellers.

My writing-editing-coaching site is