What’s Next?

I’m stuck with paying bills, doing taxes, an old dog who needs blood work and a home without my husband. Of course we’re still together, it’s just that the jobs got divvied up.

My husband flies home every weekend, usually the plane is late, sometimes a few hours late. He wants a frozen thin-crust pizza and a 2-liter Dr. Pepper. He sleeps ’til noon Saturday, we have lunch and he takes a nap later.

What I don’t know is that if we go where he is, or make his commute shorter, will he still just sleep away the weekend? I’m getting bored with TV and computer while he snores. There’s only one way to know. Visit.

It’s all thunder and lightning and rain here, supposed to be snow. The wind is fierce. Oh, the rain is coming down now, I can hear it. Zoe (the dog) is not going to like that in the morning. I’ll have to find her rain coat. It’s not like she wears clothes or I dress her up. This is for -6 degree weather and snow. It is weather-proof. No, she will not allow any kind of “hat.” Or boots for the excess salt that is placed on sidewalks and streets so the City does not have to plow snow.

Dog towels have a place in this world, I think she has more towels than us. I just dry her off. The storm seems to be moving away, that was a quick one, oh, another has hit. Hard. I’ve always liked thunderstorms but our dogs have not. This old gal is OK with this and fireworks. After all, Pyro Paula was her good friend, creator of the largest land-based fireworks in the USA. Zoe has cataracts now so perhaps she has to depend more on hearing than sight.

Zoe is very smart but not with traffic. If her vision is diminished (we just found out) I hope her hearing is good and that she behaves on the end of my martingale collar and braided leather leash. I’ve arthritis for 30 years, mis-diagnosed for 20. Even though she is 32 lbs. and old, she can pull me over on ice.

I love my husband, our families and our dog. My family moved a lot. It’s an incredible amount of work to move again but I’ll need help this time. Zoe just hid under my desk at my feet. I think it’s time to lift her back up to the bed and say goodnight and good thoughts. Dee

Life and Trinkets

We have lovely things given us over the years by family members. As look around there is art, most done by my father after he took it up at age 80. There is food, travel, Italy and Greece, photography (mine and others). There are flowers. Historic quilts, paintings and memories hang on our walls. And writing doesn’t fit but I’m doing it now.

On a tree or wreath each holiday season I try to capture where we are, and were, at the time. There are hand-made paper ornaments from a theater event I envisioned and executed years ago, a few from my parents who made this a tradition. I try to get us two ornaments for each year in the spirit of what we have experienced. Living in Scotland, the mountains or lakes.

The big things like Italian Majolica serving platters from Dad for our wedding, or my mother’s china service for ten, become smaller when one thinks of the bigger things.

Dad got me a Hi, Dee, drawing of a chef and signature from Andre Soltner. He’s a pre-eminent chef, owner of Lutece in NYC. Dad sent me pashmina scarves and an evil eye bracelet from Turkey, candles from the Netherlands, and a replica of a Medici necklace, not to mention two Ferragamo scarves I’ve yet to find. One was really cool, tied one couldn’t tell what it was, looked like chrysanthemums. Opened, it was a dog. He knew me so well.

My aunts taught me how to cook, entertain, and clean up after myself.  While visiting, as my husband is tall and big, he brushed by a wall upstairs and knocked off and broke a cherished piece. They sent it to us, glued back together, a while later. They have taken us on adventures, actual and literary, to last a lifetime and have always been kind. If I’ve young visitors I’ll need to get a copy of the OED and place it on top of the loo. Said child will need to open the dictionary, find a word he or she does not know. Then go out to the living room and spell it, say whether it is is a noun, verb or adjective, and use it in a sentence. Those attributes and their letting me correct their English exams (only multiple choice with a guide and a red pen) but I read them, Romeo and Juliet…. made me smarter.

My husband’s family, as I now have no parents, have given me the greatest gift of being my family. They have given me perspective (The War of Northern Aggression), conversation, a delightful cook-mate in my mother-in-law, entertainment, adventure (wild hogs, not motorcycles), and much love. First night there meeting the parents my father-in-law met us at the airport with two dozen roses. M gave me a small picture frame into which I placed our favorite wedding photo.

We have her quilts, my husband’s baby book to look through and frame. I must thank them for a really big gift, my husband. Together over fifteen years, married and we’ve a dog to prove it.  Dear old Zoe. Now that’s a gift from the local shelter we gave ourselves. It took a lot of work (me) but she’s a great old dog.

Zoe gives us gifts every day. I’m not talking about the outside ones. The ones that line your heart with love and joy. She is kind and everyone knows her, she’s a mascot around here. With all the things I do, everyone remembers Zoe and calls out for her. If we can pick and train a dog like her for us, that’s a life challenge and it’s OK with me. Dee

Attention

My husband drags himself in the door every weekend, from nine at night to one in the morning depending on airline mishaps and goes to bed.

He bought me flowers for fifteen years. We’ve been together for over that time, and married 14 years so I don’t want him to spend time buying me flowers over the weekend.

When he slogs in from plane and car he doesn’t see any of the arrangements I’ve made for him. Late Saturday morning he may notice something.

He is a physicist. I have bought him several vintage chemistry vessels that he recognizes before ever seeing the flowers. Oh, is that an Erlenmeyer flask? I got a couple more today. Even a pipette.

He didn’t go on with physics because the lab time was too lonely and he had no-one to come home to. He has me and Zoe now. I love for him to recognize things he was used to, and to always look forward to vessels that point toward our future. He’s a scientist. Why not use antique (1950’s – 1970’s) glassware to get him to enjoy a Gerbera daisy while he eats his over medium egg with bacon and toast with local peach jam?

I love his brain and his heart. Zoe, the dog, loves his playfulness more than my role as disciplinarian, vet-taker and food wench. They are my family. If I have to buy antique chemistry flasks for him to appreciate his life and flowers, I’ll do it. I think it’s cool, even my florist finds it interesting but they’ll sell me fewer vases! I now use mason jars and they’ve taught me basics of arranging, which means they see me more but make a bit less money because I’m learning to do it myself.

Same with cooking. My mother never wanted me in her kitchen, but I learned through her, my aunts and school I spent my life savings to attend. And thank you, Gourmet Magazine. Right after Mom read it, I did as well. Now I get attention for being a good cook, and mother of the most famous dog in the neighborhood. We do regularly water the favorite tree of Zoe’s deceased friends Jake and Wurli. Cheers! Dee

Nom de Plume

Facebook or a company trying to pretend to be it, has been texting me for months to tell me that people I may know or have never heard of want me to be in touch.

I am on Facebook. I do not make use of it. The first person who asked to be my friend was an HR person at a former employer who sent us across the country for a couple of months then refused to pay the bills. She told me what she ate every day, when she eliminated, visited her cousin, everything I never wanted to hear. She would not stop so I quit Facebook. I got back on a while later then quit again. It’s difficult to quit Facebook, they make it so.

Now, I get twice-weekly or even more often texts on my phone (I do not text) saying to text this number so this stranger or former friend can be in touch. No. I do not respond. I do not use Facebook. It is intrusive.

The funny thing is that I’ve a nom de plume, a pseudonym that they started using in their text today. Apparently they’ve run out of fake friends (even dead people) they’ve chosen for me so have started texting a fake person. Serves them right. Sometimes I make good decisions for the right reasons.

No-one takes control of my privacy or my life. Hear that, Facebook? Cheers from Dee and hug your loved ones. Play ball in the yard or a board game instead of being on the computer all day. Dee

Poseurs and Egg, Olympics

No, I’ve never cooked that or made a sandwich with it. There was a poser who used to buy clothing and gear for a sport, try the sport for two days, probably looking for someone. Then he’d give it up and choose a new outfit, new sport.

I was taught that one tries tennis or cycling or XC skiing before buying a wardrobe for a sport one will never do.

Telling that story about The Great Pretender at breakfast on the slopes at  Snowbird, years ago, I saw the back of a man at the buffet table dressed in this closely fitted neon yellow ski suit. It was too perfect.

I said to my family,”who does this guy think he is, Jean-Claude Killy?” Neighboring tables all remarked that Jean-Claude Killy was in the house. Egg, on my face. He certainly was not a poseur, and deserved the uniform he spent a lifetime achieving during the Olympics and otherwise, and I only wished to get off the bunny hill and see him ski. No, I did not dress for the occasion, sadly as jeans didn’t make it in that kind of weather. Plus lack of oxygen.

Said friend of a friend was too enervating for me to take me, as a friend, into his fake world. I said farewell to the friend of a friend, but still love Jean-Claude Killy and his compatriots on the slopes. I can try to be an artist at writing and cooking and work, but I cannot touch their world. Dee

Finished

Yes, I know the term. We’d spend weeks packing then everything would go into a moving truck and we’d drive all day to a new location. Dad would be so excited to start his new job he’d leave us with The Rule, back out of the driveway and go to work.

The Rule was that every box had to be unpacked before we went to bed. Bedrooms set up, sheets, clothing, books. I have boxes here for nearly five years. It drives my husband nuts. Luckily I’ve recently run into a guy who works at a place that destroys old documents…. for the Pentagon.

I do have some sensitive work documents that must be destroyed. Years ago this company hired a complete idiot to run the place. He immediately fired me. Then he asked me to come in the next day, after I’d given him my key to the office (no fobs or badges back then) and demanded every document I’d ever worked on in past years. I said he should have thought of that while I was being paid.

Then I called and drove to the chairman of the board and told him the story. The new boss wanted confidential information about Board members I had sworn to never reveal, so I told faux boss that unless I was in attendance and the Board voted to do so (they then elected me to the Board) said release would not happen. I still have said information and have never disclosed it. The Chairman laughed and fake boss-man was fired weeks later. To finish this chapter I have to watch these documents be burned and now know how to do so. Finished?

What gets my husband is that our home still has 10-15 boxes. For me, I’d like my Ferragamo scarves, which I’ve yet to find. He wants to get rid of everything. I need to go through it.

I’ve been forced to move about 40 times in my life. I take care of a husband (and him, me), and an old dog. Dad is finished, died over the holidays. I don’t abide by his rules anymore. Yes, I’d like to finish the boxes and completely clean the oven and frig. And get my keyboard out of storage. I’m having a set-up for my guitar and plan to take up music again because that was Dad’s love. I see music in my head all the time and I’m wearing a wooden guitar pick with a Celtic knot design on a leather cord around my neck for his memory.

As Bob Dylan would say: Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free? Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind. I love and will badly paraphrase the Arlo Guthrie story that says writing music is like fishing. Just don’t set up downstream from Bob Dylan.

I’m not finished. My health suffers but I’ve things to do and people and animals to care for. My time has never been my own, but I’m not finished, yet.

After I took dear old Zoe to the vet to check out a growth and get her nails trimmed and new heartworm meds, I went to an excellent pharmacy for a “sock consultation.” Yes, my current compression socks are impeding, not enhancing, circulation. Zoe stayed in the shade, in my car, windows cracked appropriately. She now has cataracts. So do I. She’s over 90 in “people years,” happy and healthy and I hope to be so as well. I’m not finished yet.

There are things to do, meals to plan and cook, people to see, pets to love. Dad is gone, not forgotten, ever. A wonderful piece was just written about him the other day. It was not a press release. Someone actually put thought into it and even mentioned two of my mentors my freshman year in college. I watched his coffin go down into a grave and the cemetery says they don’t know his name or of his existence there or anywhere. I do. I’m not finished. Neither is he. His life will be recognized.

Happy Hallmark holiday! We don’t celebrate it as I buy my husband flowers every week after 15 years of him doing so for me, and asked 15 years ago to not have a diamond engagement ring. I did get a sterling silver claddagh ring for a belated birthday one year because I’ve always wanted one and wear it every day. I can say they’re the quirkiest gifts I’ve ever received, “golf bracelets” with magnets that have quelled my wrist arthritis for over a decade. God bless him. Dee

Harley Flowers

Yes, I had an arrangement made yesterday for my barber, Mr. B. My husband has his hair done by female stylists who only work for men. They won’t cut my hair but will allow my female dog to be there all day.

I know his gals and one (and her boyfriend) takes care of our dog when we’re out of town, but I can usually drop him off and go to the market while he’s being groomed. Oh, they love our dog, too. She hangs out with the patrons and other dogs.

My florist chose orange and we chose spiky things like thistles to make a manly bouquet for my annual gift to my Harley biker barber. I served it up in a local brewery’s pint glass, a vase of sorts for him to keep.

I’ll not go back to my favorite florist before Valentines’ Day as we do not celebrate Hallmark holidays. I’ve flowers around and secrets, too. One is that I don’t like crowds, he knows that. I do not wish to be in a crowd of men buying flowers like crazy for a Hallmark holiday. I’m not in the market for men, so bought just a few flowers this week to replenish what we have. My secret, OK it’ll remain that. Happy Valentines’ Day! Dee