Wishes

The seals at the beach, called the Children’s Pool, are safe for now. This is something I’ve wished for, many years. Aside from the airport, this has probably been the most divisive issue in the city.

People say that Mrs. Scripps, the donor would turn in her grave if there were seals, rather than children, in that pool. Truth is they closed the sluice gates decades ago and this cove is no longer fit for kids.

Seals have their babies up there and are now granted five months per year for pupping season.

I worked for six years to get other things done as a volunteer on a similar issue before the city council. All I can say is that kudos are due to everyone involved. Bravo. You are an ispiration to our city, nation and world. Cheers! Dee

Good Will

For all of the differences between my husband and me, whether it be science and math vs. social sciences and art, we love each other. We also know that good will is a tenet to any relationship. We’re on point there.

We always extend good will until the point that we can not do so anymore. Sometimes it is not extended in return and we must back off the relationship.

In the HRC Church the Sacraments include baptism, atoning for one’s sins, communion, confirmation, marriage, priesthood (optional), and last rites. Well, I never made confirmation because our churches changed rites every year and I missed both because we moved. I am not a priest because I’m female. Luckily neither of us has needed last rites but I have been through that ceremony with my mother nearly six years ago. It was a good experience. My husband actually told Mom “I’ll take care of her.”

With thousands of hours of volunteering and taking care of animals (St. Francis) and my family I’d think our good will would go a long way. We trust in others until they betray us.

People don’t trust people any more. I live in a town where no-one wants to get a new friend because they have their own from high school. Luckily everyone in our neighborhood loves our dog and knows her name and sometimes gives treats. I’m used to living where no-one locked their car or door. Yeah, I was a kid but why has everything changed?

Trust, good will. Help the confused lady get home. Find the lost dog. I don’t know if God has an account balance but as you age and become more wise, you may try to do well for others as well as yourself. Dee

 

Classroom

I believe that in order to teach, one has to learn every day. The doctor may say an apple a day, I say an idea a day.

Yesterday I came up with an amazing concept for my husband. He’s not sold on it yet but give it some time to percolate.

As to teaching and learning, I never had a grandmother. I really never had a mother, RIP. My husband’s grandmother adopted me 13 years ago and I was way over the date for adoption. She is in hospital now and still as sassy a TX gal can be. She’ll joke with the nurses but make sure her hairdresser comes before she ever has a visitor. I know you, Nanny, and love you to sweet tea in the garden!

Teaching is not only in the school room. My husband has a degree in physics and it started with his Nanny reading A-Z through the dictionary, after school. He made her a crude wooden center for papers and pens. Then he he created a micro-switch for the grain bin and was sent a letter from a place called MIT. He didn’t know what that stood for so kept up in AP classes and milked cows and got a degree in Physics.

Learning doesn’t always come from the classroom. It comes from the people you meet. It makes sense when knowledge turns to wisdom. I always try to learn something from the people I interact with every day. Some folks I turn around, because of wisdom. Some I learn from, every day.

I bought our dog an educational toy a couple of months ago and she can now do it in 45 seconds. We’re all growing and learning, every day. Dee

 

Thinking

That was against my religion, at least the one I was brought up in. My sister said it best when declining the 52 envelopes for contributions, telling Sister we went to the church down the street.

I ended up going to a Franciscan college not knowing so, but am better for it as I had two great profs, both priests, one dead and another dying who wants me to fly in to have lunch.

In the end I’ve no love for the Church, only those in it. The HRC Church told me not to think. That was against MY religion. Just follow and Jesus will show you the way. I’m not a follower of those who tell me I’m not smart, cannot have any influence in the Church in which I was baptised and am told not to think for myself.

God, I do not believe in organized religion. I’ve had enough time on earth to know you are here and that I do other things besides church to know that I care for others. For a priest in philosophy to say don’t think, just repeat my answers was the first step in my journey and it has been a long and bumpy ride.

Today I believe in redemption, being an honest and good person and in serving people and animals (Franciscan). Let us hope that is enough for me an my small family, Dee

p.s. Yesterday James Garner died. God rest his soul. Years ago I knew his daughter Gigi from a small park on the left coast. She’s done well and her father will be remembered from Maverick to Rockford to Tank in Space Cowboys, thanks for the memories. Perhaps someday I’ll tell the Space Cowboys story from his daughter…….. d

 

 

 

Trust

It is something I’ve believed in my entire life. I thought the founding fathers trusted each other and the people and the fact that we could become a nation.

I will always believe (unless the story is ridiculous) before I am betrayed. Let’s just say I won’t give in to the Nigerian Spam Scam Scam, a wonderful two-person play but playwright Dean Cameron hit the mark on this one. A charity should send old, lonely folks waiting for the phone to ring to see this. With other old, lonely folks so they can laugh and get together for coffee and become friends who no longer wait for the phone to ring.

As one gets older and hopefully wiser, politicians are just guys asking for a paycheck and health insurance for life. I could have gone that route but chose not to do so.

Everyone is in sales, whether you’re a lawyer, plumber, doctor or CEO. Yet our elected officials sometimes get lower trust ratings than used car salesmen.

We have abandoned trust. We think my family only wants my money, my lawyer only wants the fee on the settlement. My assistant will be let go for incompetence and she’ll sue me for harassment.

High rise buildings, neighbors hear your key in the lock and close the elevator door anyway. Dog owners who pick up their 15 lb dog because they think my 30 lb dog will kill it. Perhaps sniff the dog’s butt and nose, nothing more, tails wagging all the time would work a lot better.

Faith. I have faith that people are good. Some of that is instilled by my parents but some is pure instinct. It helps to try to sort out a good situation from a bad one and act accordingly.

My husband sleeps soundly. So soundly he and the dog slept through a Cat. 5 hurricane for ten hours. If I had to take out the dog in the middle of the night if she was ill, he wants me to be safe because sure as heck he’s not going to wake up. The dog slept through a storm I watched last night right by windows. As long as I stayed on the bed, she was safe and could sleep. That is trust. Dee

Decadence

I’ve got all the winter gear to weather any storm. Sad to say, the only time I’ve ever been pampered in a store was at Madova, which hand-makes gloves in Florence, Italy.

As a kid my mother and my aunt used to knit me mittens, you know the ones with the string that goes through you coat so you don’t lose them.

I don’t know why, perhaps because the female members of my family were always so impeccably dressed (my mother vacuumed in a dress with stockings and heels) I started going to department stores for leather gloves as I was in college and couldn’t wear mittens to grab a steering wheel. The fingers were always too long in regular leather gloves.

Madova has been around since 1919. It does have online ordering but its shop is about 2-3 times the size of my closet and as in the old days, everything is behind the counter in little wooden boxes.

When I arrived I was immediately taken care of and saw the shock of color in all the gloves, reds, oranges and yellows and greens. My hands needed protecting in our foul weather so I asked for one pair of Navy and one pair Black to go with my coats, all above the wrist for snow, one silk-lined for Fall, and one wool-lined for winter.

There were a few orange silk pillows on the counter. I was asked to place my elbow on the pillow and they would fit a glove. Of course they guessed my weird size, and both pair worked perfectly and the fingers were just the right length. They’re probably in storage somewhere now but if still usable I’ll fix them up with saddle soap and be ready to go.

Perhaps I’m naive or still a partial farm girl but I’ve never been treated so well in a store. I just thought of this today because I’ve been writing of Italy and aside from family, museums, churches and food I’ve forgotten this indulgent adventure. They do sell online. Perhaps they’ll have you mail an outline of your hand and ask you colors et al, I don’t know. No, they don’t pay me. It’s just a memory I wished to share. My gloves, when I find them, must be at least 15 years old, probably with my Ferragamo scarves…….. Dee

Missing Pieces

Weeks ago we got dog Zoe an educational game consisting of a round MDF base with nine wood pieces, six pegs and three sliders. Basically the humans place a treat in each hole and add the pegs and sliders. Zoe’s now got the game down to 45 seconds and loses pieces under living room furniture. Then it’s our turn to get down there and find them and put them all away for the next time.

We’ve a huge missing piece of the Dee/Zoe game now. My husband. He has been gone across the country for nearly two weeks now trying out what may become a new job. He’s very busy and it would take 12 hours for him to get to our airport lobby on a Saturday and perhaps go out to the car (on a cool day) to say hello to Zoe, then turn around another 12 hours and go back to work. That doesn’t make any sense time wise or monetarily.

This is the longest we’ve been away from each other in our 13 years and with the time difference we rarely get more than a few minutes to speak on the phone. Zoe always knows it’s him when he calls, must know by my voice and key words, and lays by the door expecting him to come home from work in 20 minutes. We’ve only had 30 second calls from work in the past when he was in or near the neighborhood: I’m coming home dear, do you need anything? No, we’re fine. Just come home. My lasagne is in the oven.

[Change that to there's pot roast in the oven, or I'm marinating skirt steak and working on Chimichurri and everything else and need you to to man the grill.]

Just come home, dear, and we can figure out where our new home might be. I miss you. Dee

p.s. He won’t come home for anything with eggplant in it, thus my stellar Moussaka is a bust here but I could always make it as a gift. Always live on on the bright side of the street. d

 

Locks

Years ago we had levered front doors and our dog Zoe got out of a neighbors’ place who was taking care of her and ran across the street. She also got out in her hallway and went door to door seeking treats.

One day I took in another dog, Kat, and we had two locks on our doors, one for inside/outside and an upper lock only accessible from the inside. After I took out Zoe and Kat, twice Zoe’s size, I turned the key and took the Hurricane Katrina rescue dog next door out for a quick walk.

When I returned, I was locked out. Really locked out. Kat had turned the upper lock from the inside. It took maintenance three hours to drill through the door while I took lock measurements from the dog next door. Everything was OK.

Today I offered to help a woman, who left as soon as she made the request, get a dog running loose in her hallway. Management knew I did so. It took 20 minutes sitting down with eyes averted to calm down the dog and get her to trust me. I took her home via her nice collar and put our Zoe’s collar and leash on her.

I stopped by the front desk and left the dog’s collar with ID et al and took her out. When I got back staff was researching her and she jumped up on the couch and then laid in my lap. Then I was told I couldn’t take her upstairs because of “liability issues.” Too many kind folks had stopped by the lobby to see her and she started trembling again. Forget liability issues. I’ve a job to do.

My dog knows to maneuver levered doors, ones that have the only lock available. She is old and chooses not to do so. She is a herder and never wants to be away from her pack. Not so this what I’d like to call Catahoula mix can do, or Kat. When a levered door automatically springs the lock it’s time for another lock.

I saved a dog today and everyone is angry at me for doing so. I don’t care. I’ve worked with shelter animals and feral cats for over 20 years and did nothing wrong, just helped a dog get back to her family. That’s part of my job. I called her “Sweetheart” and she was sweet but I love my rescued hip-less wonder dog Zoe the best and am always glad to help out. Dee

Sidelined

It’s been a difficult few weeks. I’ve been ill, my husband has been away for longer than ever, and the dog, while I am keeping to her schedule, has been sick but is OK even though she sleeps by the door either waiting for him to come home or to keep me from leaving too.

But I’ve a job to do and a two week trial period.

This is what I’d like to do if I had all the time and money in the world:

Make a perfect Simca Beck cassoulet for my father;

make a sublime beef bourgionon for my husband a la Julia Child;

give my aunts a smoker and make some killer ribs and brisket together;

help my in-laws finish their new place and finally get the recipe for M’s potato rolls.

find my mother’s Viennese Chocolate Pecan Torte recipe and share it with my siblings;

have every copy of James Beard’s Theory and Practice of Good Cooking, because I love his method and think most cooking instructors are frauds, of course you know I give TPGC as wedding gifts and they’re out of print; and

know that I stopped this blog at 1,000 posts and now have over 2,000 and I need to keep cooking. Tonight as J is away I get to make a vegetarian pizza.

Dough is 1.5 c Italian 00 flour with 1/2 cup warm water, you know the drill. It’s on the blog. I’m going to roast some garlic and saute some spinach and add a bit of goat cheese and artichoke hearts. There’s no guy here so no need for pepperoni on the pizza! I’m eating fish and veg. Cheers, Dee

 

New Tastes

Experience and creativity have created the following to learn from taste memories and make my own.

I’ve a beef carbonnade I make on the fly, that’s seared bacon, seared beef cubes, caramelized onions (once you take the beef out) then add some thyme, salt and pepper and 1.5 bottles of beer. Even though this is a French dish I get an English Brown Ale. So sue me. But not ’til after you simmer it on the stove for a minimum of 1.5 hours or place it in the oven at 325. Purchase or make your own egg noodles, I prefer pappardelle, and serve. I like something fresh and green on the side.

You can get my Chicken Saltimbocca recipe on this site.

Lady Bird Johnson was a lady and I hope to do justice to her chili recipe from 1962 when the Vice President and Lady Bird served Texas chili to 5,000 guests including President JFK. The recipe was the most sought White House document for a year.

I had to re-do this recipe as it is comfort food and the recipe is vague so I have to add my own meats and spices and grind the meat Texas-style. Yes, I choose my own cuts and break them down and grind them myself. Perhaps I’ll have to write a book about it and then give you a recipe. There is no recipe. If you look at the original, available to download at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin TX you’ll see it calls for “chili meat” and “chili powder.” I’ve my own mix and serve it with lime, sour cream, cheddar cheese for individual tastes add homemade cornbread and a salad. While I never had this as comfort food as a child, I did live in Texas for years and created my own.

There’s a Swedish neighbor who wants to teach me how to make meatballs and his special sauce which my husband and I were lucky to eat at his place next door. Since we’ve had dinner here and there, he will teach me meatballs and I will teach him Texas chili. We’ve an agreement. No, there are no beans in Texas chili. Don’t bother to argue.

As part of my family came from Montreal I would like to try to make poutine, which I never wanted to taste but is french fries with beef gravy and cheese curds. One of my first AHA moments was eating a smoked meat sandwich on rye at Ben’s in Montreal. Thank you David Sax for Save the Deli, sorry you took me off your blogroll. I bought another copy after a waiter stole the first copy from me as they grossly insulted pastrami and bread with what they served.

Perhaps the local holier than thou market will agree to make a poutine. They have potatoes, beef and cheese curds. What better marketing ploy can I grant? Dee