The trees are changing and getting more bare. A family we know is moving this week across the country. As my husband and I have moved several times over many years, we know that when people move, they’re gone forever.

My father changes places several times per year. We try to keep in touch by email but mostly he re-sends jokes from old buddies.

My husband’s family is in place, on a ranch in Texas. Two, actually, for now. His grandmother hosts Thanksgiving for up to 60 folks every year. This is our annual family event. I started with two but think I’m up to 5-6 dishes every year. My mother-in-law and I have a cook-fest for 2-3 days and it is a joy for me to spend time with her. Lately she’s been concerned that our dog is not coming along, because she helps with floor clean-up!

It’s good to have a family that stays in the same place for decades as I’ve never had that, all my life. Nanny “adopted” me 12 years ago as my grandmothers died before I was a year old.

We only had the family, six of us, for Thanksgiving and my mother was resentful that my soon-to-be husband joined us for dinner. She placed our luggage in the hallway and told us to find a hotel. She’s gone now, no matter whether she didn’t want me ever to be born, she’s gone. I’ve a Dad and another family who actually like me.

This year I have to do boursin and spiced nuts for the kitchen table, mincemeat tarts for dessert, and I’ll try a corn custard for the main table. Yes, I may be flying in with M’s new/old sewing machine but I have a family.

Very few women have a father-in-law who says “I have to try this dish, because I know who made it.” It’s the same guy that after an hour in my presence took his son aside and said “When are you going to ask her? It’s OK with me.” It took his mother another four days but we’re OK now. Fall in love, even if your love is across the country and you only speak 15 minutes a day. Pay your cell phone bill and hope things will work out. Dee


are things we give to people we love, and Thanksgiving is the best time as that’s when Nanny has her family fest for 60 folks. A couple of years ago we got the kids an outdoor game I don’t know how to play – I was just a cheerleader, for both sides, of course.

We don’t usually do holiday gifts. A few years ago we got our nieces and nephew three old-school games: Tinker Toys; Jenga; and Scrabble. We always liked encouraging them to think.

Jim’s MIA this year working in the land of fruits and nuts so I’m doing my own thing. Right now I’m focusing on the three kids and Grandma M. No, I can’t tell you or they’ll know! Tell you later once I figure out if something will fit in my car. Cheers, Dee

Scent Memories

I’ve written about taste memories but just remembered some scent memories.

The small tobacco shop my father brought me to every few weeks was remarkable. He smoked a pipe back then and we’d go get him tobacco to place in his leather pouch. I don’t know that there are places like that now but I would love to step inside and sniff one as it would make me remember my childhood, holding Dad’s hand as we walked into the shop.

Mom’s prime rib, potatoes and my sides, usually three root vegetables. The smell of bacon, especially the ones we’re getting these days with cinnamon, or a savory one all hand-smoked.

Coffee. I don’t drink it, but I love the smell of coffee. The beans, the grounds, not so much the brewed beverage. I don’t have a moral imperative against it, It’s just not my cup of tea (which doesn’t really have a scent).

BBQ. Uncle B brought up his smoking rig one year and babysat his brisket for 13 hours, his ribs for five. He might’ve brought up some sausages that year, but I was into the brisket. Scent wafting over the house, that was a Texas treasure. And that one I got to taste. Amazing.

Whenever you want to feel like a kid again, load those taste and scent memories. Close your eyes and remember. Cheers and good eating! Dee


It’s the most powerful emotion, be it parent, spouse or friend. Then there is trust. If you’ve both you’ve hit the million dollar lottery.

Being apart for a long time can lead to mistrust and bad feelings. Hang in there. Know that everything will be OK. That’s what I’m doing.

As one who’s done performances as a kid and speeches as an adult I have butterflies for him today teaching a four-hour seminar. I even wanted him to get snacks (of course I would have done so but he’s 2,500 miles away) and he did not do so.

I know he’ll do great, and I did my bit but when microphones and television are in play I freeze a bit. I’m so proud of him. I hope to hear good news later tonight. Cheers! Dee


There may be a volunteer center or group in your city that allows people, perhaps with the family, to volunteer for a few hours on a weekend. Consider it time to bond with your family or reach out to others.

I ran such programs years ago and created 14 projects per month (most leaders had 2-3) for the organization. I created Animal Projects and we “turned out” rescued Greyhounds on Sundays, socialized abandoned cats on Saturdays, helped with animals in domestic violence situations, and I helped spay/neuter over 2,000 feral cats.

Training and supervising volunteers and keeping the project alive were my goals. One of the gods of pet-dom is the SFSPCA and they even taped my training in a video with Snowflake the Wonder Cat (a bean bag cat so the volunteers knew how much muscle control an anesthetized cat has).

Plant trees. Clean up a park. Read books to kids at the local library. Show what you know about math and science at a local school. Teach an adult how to read. Build a home for a needy family. It’ll make you feel better about you.

It’s not just about writing a check. It’s getting your hands dirty and feeling you and your family have accomplished something at the end of the day. Start out, then become a volunteer leader and multiply your results. You’ll still be on the job but have a willing and eager team as well. Try it. Dee

Chris @

Forty hours in, I was finally allowed access to the free email account. Now my husband can help me get back into pop.mail. 953 emails missed over this saga.

Chris helped me after another hour on hold. He was fantastic and grew up in my neighborhood. Well after me, I’m sure, and I only went to my junior and senior year of high school there. He lives near the college where my father worked back in the day. By the zoo where we made Dad take us on Fathers’ Day. We missed him so much at work that we made him work that day, being our Dad. Of course he got a tie or cufflinks for it, plus a day with his girls.

THANK YOU, CHRIS!!!!! He is also moving up the food chain customer concerns about one phone number and 40 hours of wait time, yea! It’s going to be a good day. The winds are coming from the east and Mary Poppins is here. Now, she’s me and I’ll always save Mr. Banks, both in my father and husband. Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring…….Cheers! Dee

Hello Jeff Bonforte

I’ve been on hold another hour, that makes 39. I’ve noticed that right before you cut off the phone and muzak you play Wylie Gustafson’s yahoooooooooooo yodel. I know Wylie and have asked him to sue you again for using his yodel right before you piss off a customer and cut off the call before ever accessing a human being. Hopefully he’ll have more success than I have had so far.

As for customer service, you say at the outset that I may be cut off and no-one may ever answer. I’ve my old iPhone hooked up to power and have the volume up so I’m awaiting the yahoooooooooooooo and hang up. Going on 40 hours now. Time to get a lawyer and sue your a**es. Dee

ps you can use the same prefix but I’m at gmail right now and prefer my paid yahoo pop.mail account I pay for.

Jeff Bonforte Yahoo

You’re in charge of my service that has been interrupted for weeks. I’ve now spent 38 hours trying to get it restored.

I’ve free Yahoo plus paid pop.mail service. Please help me. You only have one phone number and hang up before I can be connected. There is something in the world called customer service. I would recommend you look it up. Perhaps an online dictionary.

With hope you’ll receive this request as you won’t answer the phone and I’ve had to log on to another service to email you. No response for days, of course. Dee

ps I’ve 72,000 readers and will keep this up.


Yes, you know the Yahoo-oo-oo yodel so famous for Yahoo. Well they tried not to pay dear Wylie Gustafson for that yodel and he sued them and got $1 million.

They’ve locked me out of my free and paid accounts. I’ve spent over 30 hours getting them to talk to me and before someone answers the phone they play Wylie’s “Yahoo” then cut off the phone.

I think he should sue them for using his voice because they use it right before they cut off a customer after 1 hour on hold on the phone. They have one phone number. None of the execs have phone numbers and I’ve been cut off from my yahoo mail and pop.mail for weeks.

I had to create a new account with another service just to email them, but they never answer. How can one call this customer service? What’s interesting is that my husband is on yahoo with a different email address but the same pop.mail paid account and he’s just fine.

Yahoo, Ms. President, please listen to your customers and provide customer service. No-one should have to spend 36 hours online and on the phone to get access to an account. That’s fraud, pure and simple and unless you fix this I’ll report you to the feds. We pay for pop.mail and deserve to receive it. Cheers, Dee

I Don’t Know

`It’s a phrase one may never utter but as long as I now have light and glasses I’ll tell you why I believe it’s important.

Saying I don’t know does not make one impotent, it is merely a challenge to learn something new. I have the greatest luck to live a door away from a Swede who is coming over to teach me his meatball recipe with his old girlfriend who is visiting from the homeland.

I can say aloud that I do not know how to make his sweet, silky Swedish meatballs (Kottbullar, he brought me some frozen ones from Sweden) but he is willing to teach me something I do not know.

In turn, I will teach him real Texas chili. LBJ, actually his wife in 1962 with JFK and 5,000 on the Ranch at Pedernales. Texans call it perdenales. Texas chili has no beans. Here’s to good eatin’ Dee