Generosity

was the word on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The first federal holiday I headed out with lawyers and legislative buddies and drove to D.C. where we went to the AME church and heard Coretta Scott King speak. We did other King-related activities but this was the epitome of King-dom. When we visited Memphis the Lorraine Motel was closed for renovation.

This Monday we stopped for lunch at a place that isn’t usually open on Sundays. We walked in not knowing what was going on. Police were all over the place and at the front desk all the signs were blocked by people.

It was a free lunch of a pulled pork sandwich, fries, applesauce and a soda. Ordered to cops, delivered by cops. Every nickel goes to Special Olympics. We were seated by a young woman with half an arm. She was special in every way, very kind.

In the end you run your card to “tip a cop” and ours was not in uniform so he’s high up on the food chain, cop-wise. We thanked the area police for this activity state-wide, as we were en route home though an ice storm our officer gave us his personal weather report and directed us to the highway without using local, unsalted roads.

Needless to say, we gave a very generous tip. I love that Eunice Kennedy Shriver created Special Olympics. Years ago I was a day volunteer for a Special Olympics bowling tournament out in California. My job was “cheerleader.” I was overwhelmed at the diligence and heart that went into the bowlers’ job.

Thank you, local police for doing this five years in a row on MLK Day, and thanks to the Texas Roadhouse for hosting. The food was good and the service, exceptional! Cheers, Dee

 

Challenged

By everything, everyone. All the time. It’s exhausting. My husband just challenged me to go to another city in 12 hours with no notice, no time to pack, just let the dog off and go. No information on transit or where we would stay.

Why? It’s not a romantic getaway, it’s a way for him to chill out by seeing a science museum. I’ll take art, any day.

Our dog will be 13 this month. An Asian man touched her this evening on her “last chance” time outside and said she has a problem with her right shoulder. He was correct, it is very warm. Zoe already has no hips, so if she was to have cancer in the front and have a limb excised we would have to think of her future with us and what we can do for her. Dad died last month so I’m hoping it’s not serious. Don’t worry, I can deal with the decision and holding my family member at the last stage. I don’t know that my husband can or would join me in that endeavor.

I am weighing this against a trip my husband created without my input an hour ago so he can see a science museum. My husband is my best friend and the most important person in my life. Our dog is very special to us and I will have her see the vet and perhaps lose a day of our weekend. He always sleeps the first day, anyway! Cheers, Dee

 

 

 

 

When Pigs Fly

That is nearly what my parents said when, at age 16, I asked if I could train for my learners’ permit. Said permit was for supervised driving of a passenger car only, not for matters of the heart.

Same age I was asked out on a first date. “When he!! freezes over!” I went on that date and they picked the movie and I was only to be gone until 10:00. The guy dumped me for a cheerleader who was more into what he was into at the time.

He came back when I was 18 and we were engaged at 21. I broke it off after three weeks. Too controlling. My female vibes kicked in when he told me we had to sit on the right in church so God would know he’s a conservative. I countered with “what if God is standing in the front of the church and thinks you’re liberal?”

The second largest Great Lake is freezing over. It’s not photo-worthy at the moment. It was a few weeks ago with the warmer water steaming through ice that tried to form. I was busy back then so I didn’t get to capture it for you. I think the ice fishers may have a few weeks with their augurs, tents,poles and coolers.

I like taking one random ice fisher under my wing for one morning, breakfast and bring coffee or hot chocolate, muffins or pastries and always a six-pack of a local brew for later. Last time they landed a big fish as I arrived and they made me stay as good luck until I became too cold to do so. They only had a bit of ice last year.

So as long as the lake freezes, I should be free to do what I wish to do, as I no longer have parents to ask permission. Only a husband. He doesn’t ask, I don’t ask. It’s worked well for over 15 years. He’s not controlling, he’s methodical, as his mother would say. And he doesn’t make me go to church, much less tell me where to sit. Amen.

Cheers from an icy cold outdoors and warm, inviting indoors. Dee

Trust

Bailey’s been through a lot this year. We met his folks several years ago, then less than a year ago they moved next door, and had their first child.

Bailey is an older, completely blind, dog. I took care of him when they moved in next door, and when they are moving out this weekend. He spent much of his time watching the door. He wouldn’t eat, or drink water except for a few treats and my burger.

Before his folks picked him up for a last night in their old home, he started goosing me, following me around even all the way to our master bedroom. Then he asked if he could jump up on the sofa with me, judged the height with his paw, and laid down.

I moved five feet to pick up my phone to call my husband (in the bedroom on his laptop) to say he was sleeping on the sofa and he started barking as if I left him. He came back twice more. Mom came to pick him up late afternoon and he went home and came back and made himself at home. It’s a good situation.

Last time they moved, I took care of him and sat there on the floor telling him his parents were coming back. I did the same today, no floor. Imagine a brain that tests the sofa’s height before asking to be allowed up. Trajectory. Now do 1,000% more by moving everything out, including furniture, today. He’ll be OK by tomorrow and I made Spaghetti Bolognese for his folks for tonight. We’re off to an annual dinner and I have to make trifle. Limoncello Pannettone with whipped cream, lemon curd and a ton of berries in a decorative bowl.

The founder of a certain major software/hardware company had a large home in Silicon Valley. He replicated the entire home for a summer retreat, down to every piece of furniture, placed exactly as in his primary home. He was blind.

Bailey wouldn’t eat today, until I crumbled up half my hamburger and fed it to him by hand. His home is being torn apart to go to a new one. In the end, he trusted me again. He is able to reconnoiter our home in five minutes, but as he ages and with the confusion of moving, he tends to bump into things, lightly.

I’ve an idea for a new invention! Happy New Year! Dee

Hi, Dad!

You used to always say “Hi, Dee”on the phone in a Cary Grant kind of voice that I haven’t heard for a few weeks. Christmas came and went, there was no call and I didn’t even get to send you mincemeat for tarts.

You made magic wherever you went. You were not Santa, except for your kids in olden days with “some assembly required.” But for others and us you always made us believe that if we worked at it, anything was possible. It is a gift that makes the lives you’ve touched better, that people you’ve met can believe in themselves and make the world a better place with education and love.

The neighbors used to call on him every night to come out and play. Everyone on the street got to play. I’d carry a baby to base and back and the outfielders would purposely flounder to get her to home. YEA!

Now our home is filled with floral arrangements and trees from people who never knew your name, heritage, accomplishments except that I lost my Dad.

It is sad that it took your passing to bring together your “kids” after years apart after Mom died. As the eldest and working with your best bud we will try to keep this together in your memory.

There’s something you did not get to see, the Dancers charcoal sketch from a student art winner you gave me 25 years ago. I finally got it framed, beautifully, shortly before your death. I’m having others done of your life and works.

You always said you were proud of me and that I could be anything, an astronaut or president. I am proud of you, Dad, for inspiring everyone you knew to be all that we could be.

There is a photo of me at six months of age and you under 30 years old. We were at a picnic in the mountains. A strange dog came up. You held me close to keep me safe but reached out to let me know how and when to pet a dog, and all I wanted to do in my little mind was say, “Dad, let me pet the dog!”

I’ve been my father’s daughter all my life. That will not change. Challenging authority was what he did to save organizations and create change. He taught us to think outside the box and create solutions to complex problems.

I didn’t hear “hi, Dee” yesterday as I did see his body go into the ground. I still talk to him, however, no replies, but I can grieve this way. I would rather think of him as inspiration. He was, and is and will always be so.

In memory of my father, Dee

 

Men and Menus

It’s my husband’s birthday, well, yesterday. He was flying in and it started snowing and I heard of dire weather conditions. His plane was delayed an hour but then there were other issues with the car.Let’s just say he was two hours late, maybe more.

Every Friday he asks me to go to the gas station up the way and get a certain frozen pizza and a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. He had to get food at the airport, a burger, so oh, no! His pizza is still in the freezer!

It’s his birthday so I reciprocated in kind. He says, dear, I don’t know what kind of jewelry you like so I go to airport gift shops and get you a refrigerator magnet. Aw, shucks.

I get him his gas station pizza every week, with the DP so decided to get him a birthday gift. Hi dear, I don’t know what kind of jewelry you like so decided to get you some organic beef jerky. He liked that, then crashed.

Our holiday and menus are simple. A roast chicken for Christmas Eve with mashed potato and green beans. Perhaps cereal and fruit for breakfast and and a burger at lunch at home, cooked on the grill.

Christmas Day will be a late festive breakfast, no lunch, then dinner a deux with filet mignon, baked potatoes (loaded, a fillip to the beef jerky birthday treat), roasted heirloom carrots and, sautéed Brussels sprouts with pearl onions and bacon. Dessert is planned and may be made and not eaten. Limoncello panettone as either a trifle or bread pudding. Yes, the panettone is purchased, not hand-made.

The funny thing is that my husband likes to do scientific things in the kitchen. Over the past year or so we’ve hand-cranked fresh pasta, made fluffy pancakes with whipped egg whites, (he reads the recipe and I do the work) so hopefully we’ll redo some  of these and perhaps try another suspect, like the ricer? Root vegetable puree, no rutabagas. We’ve an entire week together! Imagine that! The dog is so happy to be up snoring on the bed together with him, too loud for me until they calm down a bit.

The rest of the week is a potential list of menus he likes, things he is unable to get in restaurants. They’re mostly family favorites. My side of the family, not that there are sides. Time is so precious with his mother around Thanksgiving that I don’t learn the food he loves on a regular day.

M, it’s chicken enchiladas, and your fantastic egg rolls. He’s the birthday boy today, getting in very late, and I’d love to be able to surprise him next week if you give me recipes or hints.

Thank you, family. He really wants egg rolls! The weekend is taken care of but one day next week….. your secrets will be safe with me. Cheers! D

 

 

3 Amigos + Life Coach

Equal what, exactly? I returned home the day after Dad’s funeral to a room full of flowers. These folks had never met him or knew of his life or career, they just thought he raised a pretty good kid, though I’m no longer a child by any means. I can tell you that he had 58 years of practice and that is how one gets to play at Carnegie Hall.

He played the capitals of Europe leading the 7th Army Symphony. When he was switched to hospice care he only received oxygen and morphine. He was able to sleep, finally. My brother called to say he was waving his arms about, trying to tell him something, and I replied “hon, he’s conducting!” He was, what we will never know.

So of my three amigos two are happily married. One gave me roses and a note. The other stopped by for an hour and marveled at the paintings and photographs on our walls. His eyes are not good and he had to find his way home to get a magnifying glass to see the number on our door.

The third is my tough case. He “allowed me” to make him breakfast. They all knew my husband would not be back from work for another 30 hours so they tag-teamed to give me company during my grief.

Then he showed me his domestic environment. He’s divorced and dating. I said if I was a younger gal (late 30’s, 40) and visited his home I’d be scared to death. It’s too neat. He’s never used the kitchen sink, oven, stove or washer/dryer.

As a friend I offered a few suggestions. Toss an empty pizza box on the kitchen counter. Pour out half a beer (I gave him an expensive dark ale I was going to use for a French stew) and mangle the cap and leave both on the coffee table.

I made good on those. Third is to find the handprint kindergarten ash tray I know his son made, buy a cigar, let it burn a bit to leave some ash, and leave it out. Now he needs saving by a good woman.

Today he’s reading the paper in a public place, watching the snow fall. He says he has a date and he’s going to get everything pre-made at our local grocery. What??? I can teach you how to make a roast chicken, mashed potatoes and roasted heirloom carrots in ten minutes!

I brought him the pizza box and a beer. Now he’s going to order dinner. He says he can’t cook, but I think he doesn’t want to mess up his sink, oven, stove or laundry to actually make a meal for someone he wishes to impress. I asked him to say “You are my life coach” and he replied that he would help me with any advice I needed.

No, sir, that is not what I meant. It’s one thing for me to take the dog out early in the morning, another for him to be sitting there reading the paper, alone. I am d’Artagnan to my aging Musketeers. Cheers! Dee

ps The flower arrangement I love most is whimsical. My florist said keeping a florist means you have someone who knows you and what you like. The “roses” are baby flowering kale. For my Scottish pursuits there are heather and thistles.

pps My husband must be awake by five. Oh, DogMa is going to hate that. It’s snowy and dark. D