Remember the Titans

Yes, I do. You may remember them from the Denzel Washington movie of the same name. I remember them because I moved in as a student the year after the Titans took the State Championship in a game against my new school, G.C. Marshall.

Ironically the first person and friend I met on campus was a Black man, the first Black person I’d ever met, who was funny and smart. I didn’t understand the racial tensions until The Titans (T.C. Williams) came to our school to play football, with multiple SWAT teams, police cars and a heavy police presence. To this day I do not know who was being protected by such a force, perhaps the police did not either.

I did meet one neighborhood titan, a smart, very nice gal, sassy and an oboe player in the school band. Turns out we were born on the same time on the same day and year. We were just in touch last week after…. forty years. I haven’t seen J in 30 years but she’s just helped us narrow down neighborhoods. The first thing I’ll do is have her family over for dinner!

Her mother, Elsa, used to host great parties. She introduced me to eggplant, a fruit one could not readily obtain at the local grocery store back in the Johnson administration. I just scanned and emailed J two of her mother’s eggplant recipes on cards from the 70’s.

These are sacred memories, that last a lifetime. Some people I know never leave the small town in which they were born, never go off to college or get a job out of state. That’s all well and good. My family, and J’s moved all over the place, for different reasons (her dad was military) and while it was difficult to get to know new people every few years a few have stuck.

I’ve a good friend from grade school, some from high school, college and many beyond. It’s great to be able to contact an old friend and say, hey, I may be living in your town soon, any ideas?

To old friends, Dee

18 Karat

At a young age every girl my age had their ears pierced. My mother made me wait until I was 16 to make my decision and we went to a jeweler who pierced my ears with the bullets. Yes, a spike in a 10K gold “bullet.”

Not only were my ears infected for 18 months, I had to use one earring to pass my riflery exam. Over the years I realized I could not use 10K gold, silver, surgical steel, even 12 or 14 K gold.

Years ago my husband bought me two small hoop earrings with a clasp. They are 18 carat gold. I have worn them for over 12 years, day and night. We did our wedding bands in 18K gold.

I came from a wanna be to a Dee to a me to a thee and Dee. I don’t have jewelry. I’ve a gold wedding band from the man I love, and earrings as a dear gift from my husband, one and the same, and I will wear both forever. Cheers, Dee

Dog-Naciousness

Our 11 year-old hip-less wonder dog is not spoiled at all. She has only one toy. It is an open rubber sphere that contains a latex toy with a squeaker. The sphere lasts ten years then we need another. For a year it’s been a latex gorilla with squeaker that I laced into the toy. She loves it.

If we gave Zoe the latex toy with squeaker she’d have decimated the toy and squeaker in about thirty seconds. It’s the same with stuffed animals. Get the squeaker, tear it apart, leave batting all around and “mom” gets to clean up.

Aside from vets et al we are pretty self-sufficient on the dog front. Our dog has been with us for 11 years, adopted at just six weeks of age and we had to have her hips excised at six and nine months of age because she had the worst x-rays any vet had ever seen. She grew her own and has been happy and healthy ever since, even acing her first senior blood panel last year.

Our guest bath has a garden sprayer, 10′ garden hose and fixture that allows shower water to be put into the hose and not the spigot, but does not inhibit water flow for human showers when turned off. I place a mat in the tub. Zoe wants to be clean so goes right in. Ok, I have to lift her but she wants this.

I have already lined the floors with dog towels and have extra after she shakes off water and I have to dry her. I believe the entire mechanism cost under $40. Zoe is an Aussie mutt and doesn’t need breed-specific grooming, just wash and wear. My husband is allergic to her dander, however, so I have to do this every two weeks. I dry her off, take her out, clean the bathroom and wash her towels.

She eats frozen raw food and I keep her with some of the same brand for dry in case of a road trip, to make sure her tummy is OK with it. It was the only thing she would eat as a pup after I tried everything in a specialty store so, we stuck with it and there are still caretakers who will not abide by my wishes in regard to frozen raw food. I will not change my dog’s routine so a caretaker can impose his/her will on her for a weekend and make her sick on trash food. That’s why we now have sleep-over caretakers and don’t take her to other places.

She loves her in-home caretakers. Once she dragged me down the street after this guy, who turned out to be a live-in caretaker from a year before. I didn’t recognize him 100′ ahead of us walking away, but she surely did and he greeted her warmly and does so today.

We’ll lead a quiet life until the squirrels come out from their apartments in the trees. Don’t worry, she is on a leash and will never get one. She sleeps like I would wish, to dream. When awake, she is happy all the time. She is a presence, perhaps sent to me by fate or other means, and when she took that tortilla last night my husband accidentally dropped on the floor all we could do was laugh.

Similar to the mustache incident years ago. Brunch, guests. Puff pastry. She got a croissant and passed us at the dinner table in order to get to her sacred place to eat it. She had it in her mouth like a mustache. We were all laughing so hard there was no way to reprimand her. She showed she’d grown her own hips and could now get up to the stove. Here’s to bravery, silliness and strength. And a favorite dog. Dee

 

Worth

I’m not talking net worth, money or number of people at my funeral, but worthiness as a person.

In that regard I fall short each day and hope the next is better. I had a client, gone to rest now, who used to do a list of goods and betters the morning after a non-profit educational event. Not good and bad, good and better.

All the staff and consultant (me) would gather ’round and be very open about what went well, and what we would do better next time. Some things were as simple as the name tags were in a box under the wrong table so had to be moved.

Perhaps I should do that regularly with me, before I need a name tag and have to find them in office supplies in our spare room. As I grow certainly older and hopefully wiser I realize mistakes I’ve made in my life. I’ve also spent a great deal of volunteer hours over 25 years to help people and shelter/feral animals. What am I worth as a person? I don’t know as I am a work in progress. I think that value may go up day to day. Keep on! Dee

TripAdvisor

I’ve written over 200 reviews for you. This is one of you from a Top Contributor.

Your transition to total money site has shocked me. I enjoyed sharing information on places I visited and looked toward seeing other sites with reviews from actual guests.

You did a really bad job of changing your site. As a Top Contributor I have to pay to log in a review. I can only assume that all the information you stole from your volunteer reviewers is being used for money. I had over 77,000 hits. You used me. You used many volunteer reviewers then tell us we have to pay to put in a review?

I am asking that travelers do not use your service because you lied to thousands of reviewers to promote a business then threw us all in the trash. I believed in you, and you really let me down.

No. I don’t want part of the business. I’m so upset with you right now I can’t believe you want me to pay to write a review after I’ve given you over 200 reviews and over 77,000 hits.

I’m going to have to take all those reviews back from your site. Other reviewers should do so as well, a class action suit may be viable. One of your most visited reviews is one of mine. I will take it from you, from Hell or high water, and your former reviewers will come to me because this site will not be monetized. Dee

Dee’s Chicken Fajitas

Yes, my dear husband is home this weekend so I’m cooking. He’s been eating in restaurants way too long. This recipe is for two.

1 chicken breast or two “cutlets”, sliced, marinate with freshly squeezed lime juice (1 to 1 1/2 depending upon juiciness), salt, pepper and I usually use about a tsp of Ancho chile powder. It would be great if you could leave that covered for an hour, stirring as you see fit.

One red or yellow pepper, sliced. One medium onion, sliced. In a pan with salt and pepper for about 20 minutes to caramelize. Add the chicken without the marinade and saute until it’s done. Toss the marinade, it’s worked enough.

I usually use an 8″ flour tortilla. Soften it in a hot dry pan and place them between two plates to steam.

Place in bowls some shredded Monterey Jack cheese, make or buy salsa or Pico de Gallo which I prefer, and a touch of sour cream and lime slices. Serve yourselves. Enjoy! Dee

***

It’s strange having my husband home after months on the road. All I want to do is to keep him well and cook his favorite things. He’s been eating at a cafeteria every morning and restaurants the remainder of the day. Perhaps I can get in a pot roast with noodles tomorrow, plus some sauteed kale. I’ll work on it.

 

 

TripAdvisor Travesty

Woody Allen would say it’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham. More of a scam.

I’ve been awarded Top Contributor status with over 200 reviews and now I tried to write something about a restaurant and was told my reviews would be free for a time if I signed up. I liked their concept but had no idea they were just using me. Now I have to sign up for an account?

I’ve done this for five years knowing that I travel and if I give information on somewhere I’ve been, I can read someone’s post on where I plan to visit and know that they’ve really been there. They used regular people for free research then turned on all of us.

TripUsurper has stolen all of our work and there will be a class action suit. Just wait and see. Please don’t book any travel from them. Just use their site for research and go to Orbitz, Kayak, Expedia, Priceline and others and deny them for the fees that belong to their reviewers.  Dee

 

 

 

Cloudy. Meatballs Anyone?

It is cloudy and the sun is still perfuming the clouds with its light. Planes are flying by to land about 20 miles south and at night I love to see the lights. The sound is fine from a couple of miles away. Every year I look forward to the Air Show where we have cheap seats from the balcony. Our balcony.

Our Swedish neighbor has taught me Kottsbullar, Swedish Meatballs. I’m preparing for my final exam (I get to teach him true Texas Chili and test him as well) I’m working out new versions.

I made turkey meatballs for my husband last night. No, you can’t have any, as he finished them off. OK, I gave the dog two, only because she stayed out of the kitchen while I was preparing them and they went directly into her dinner bowl with less dinner.

Dee’s Turkey Meatballs

1 # ground turkey, I prefer dark meat for this for flavor

Fresh ground bread crumbs in milk or Panko in milk to soak and soften (with Panko you’ll have to check and add more milk to make a paste, not a soup)

One large egg, lightly beaten

One scallion, chopped with 1T flat Italian parsley

Dash of Worcestershire

1/4 cup freshly ground Parmigiano Reggiano

Salt and pepper, perhaps a pinch of chili of your choice, perhaps 1/2 tsp basil or oregano, whatever seasoning you prefer.

Break up the meat lightly with a fork, I like to combine ingredients so they get into the meat mixture. Add everything. I like to use a fork to start as to not compress the meat. Then it’s hands on. Add more bread crumbs if it’s too wet to roll but leave it wet because it’s turkey and needs the fat.

350 oven, for about 25 minutes. I use a cookie pan lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick stuff on which to place the meatballs. Roll them and bake them and then take them off and place in a pan with your tomato sauce of choice, homemade or otherwise, simmer gently for about 20 minutes while you’re cooking your pasta, serve in bowls with more grated Parm. Voila, dinner!  Cheers from Dee

ps My husband is home for an entire week! Never mind that most of the time I was his nurse, trying to get him over a nasty flu and to eat again. I started bland then moved on and now he’s eating steak and spaghetti and meatballs and perhaps pot roast tonight. What a great idea! Thanks for that.

Regeneration

My old MacBook smells. Over Thanksgiving I realized it only had about two minutes of power off electrical juice, making it OK at my desk but not on the road. My husband got a new battery for me that we charged overnight. I’ve got it on a silicone mat on a glass desk. That battery is hot. I’m emptying it now off power.

Now there are three days of tech instructions I need to go through to baby a $20 battery. I’m going out on the street with a sign that says “Will Work For Batteries.” Let’s guess how many homeless people will sign up. I also use a hand-me-down iPhone 3 that only lasts 20 minutes off the juice so now keep it hooked up in the car on any trip longer than 15 minutes because if we need to move two cars cross-country we’ll need to keep in touch. Methinks it may be time to regenerate by switching to new products I love, that work.

As the sun is red and peeking through clouds this morning I think that our entire world regenerates every day with sun and moon. I’ve a small flowering plant in a 4″ pot that I moved and forgot to water for a day. The leaves and flowers wilted. Yesterday I gave it about a tablespoon of water and overnight it came back to life.

That’s what we do. Get sucker-punched, use your brain to beat it. Learn never to go through that again. The “fool me once” principle. We are regenerists. We survive. Darwin is still here, he’s just at my desk and very warm. I need to take out the dog. Cheers and have a great day! Dee

Castle, Art and Food

And good friends, with whom we could not do without. I showed up in Scotland for a few months with my husband with nothing to do but for me to pay bills, check on the dog who was with a friend (and put on 13 lbs and she’s back to 35 now) and call relatives and friends at home on Skype.

My girlfriend from Texas and I saw every castle around, Linlithgow where Mary Queen of Scots was born to Castle Doune which is most known for all but one castle in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

We traveled by train and saw many wonderful places, art galleries et al. I was blessed to have a “local” to pair up with to tour during the week.

We loved our lunches, whether it would be a great pub on the corner with soup across from a famous church or castle, or a great restaurant. We once had scones and tea in the downstairs kitchen of Pollok House where I saw a painting behind a door and said “that’s El Greco!” It was. There are Goyas as well. Part of the site are the gardens, it’s in a wonderful setting with sheep and fields, and the Burrell Collection. That’s a lot of art. A worthwhile day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow.

There were so many treats there such as the Glasgow Cathedral, Gallery of Modern Art where I visited my first day for an incredible exhibit of what I believed was expiating sins of selling people into slavery. Fifteen minutes into the exhibit the London Times asked if they could interview me for a front page story in the weekend magazine about the Exhibit. Overwhelmed and jet lagged I said I didn’t want to d it. They took a couple of shots of the White Girl with the painting of a slave ship.

I was scared and alone on my first morning in a new city. They chose someone else for the shot.

My husband and I were in Scotland and London for several months for his work and of course found our neighborhood haunts and they served great food. Pizza right next door. Beautiful, thin crust pizza as the owner was former Carabiniere from Italy.

Mussels at Mussel Inn in Glasgow. Can’t beat it. Order how many mussels you want and the sauce you want. Creamy or garlicky.

There was a lovely lunch place in Edinburgh K and I would frequent in warmer weather, outside on a lovely patio. I don’t remember the name but I think we frequently had salads.

Then there was 88. We planned to walk there, a long way. It was owned by two wonderful ladies, one of which has left us. They had a television show years ago called Two Fat Ladies. They drove a motorcycle with sidecar and cooked a meal for girls’ schools and military guys, not at the same time……..

They created a restaurant at an address at 88, two fat ladies. After our long walk with small backpacks we had not dressed for lunch but were treated well and had a sublime meal. We were inspired by these women who were great in front of a camera and had a lot for us to learn. K enjoyed them on the telly in Scotland and I did in the US. They were joyful about their cooking, meals, the people they prepared meals for and served.

Many chefs now think they just need to be Chef and not cook or fix issues or even grace a restaurant with their mere presence so just have their name on a number of restaurants. Back in the day, I hope the BBC gave 88 gas for the motorbike and ingredients and a cameraman or two but that was it. That is why they are so special. And I got to go to their restaurant. I believe I had a seafood bisque to start. Fish is where to go, so I probably added salmon and we split a dessert.

I didn’t send it to you but I found their current luncheon menu and it must be placed in pdf. Pretty much anything on it would be my choice. Scratch that, pretty much everything on it would be my choice. I started to pick one, then I could not do so and imagined a few other diners at my table so we all try a bit of everything.