Category Archives: Editorial

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Food and Flowers

Flowers are more interesting. For fifteen years my husband has bought me gorgeous flowers. Then he went away every week for work and showed up Friday at midnight and wanted his frozen pizza before he left very early Monday morning. Every Friday I started making up small arrangements for him. There is one for us in the kitchen, one for our family (us and the dog) in tiny milk bottles on the “nun desk” by the window, and one in the office as an homage to my Dad.

This week he and dog Zoe came with me to the florist. He kept to himself, thinking Zoe would break things. All the gals called out her name when she walked in! I got yellow mums and one exotic sprig for Dad, three purple spider mums for the three milk bottles, and more purple mums and alstroemeria (same we had at our wedding nearly 15 years ago) for the kitchen bar.

As to food, I’ve cooked for him for over 16 years. Of late I’ve been thinking of family basics. Talked to my brother the other day and mentioned stuffed peppers. I was using ground turkey, fresh cherry tomatoes, rice, panko crumbs and parmesan on top. He’s going to try it, halfway across the country.

Yesterday I made my husband a quesadilla with leftover chicken, some cheddar cheese, and I made my own guacamole and salsa. We bought a small container of sour cream.

We made pancakes the other day (hand-made, I whip egg whites) and I did French toast the next day with my mother’s favorite, Lyles Golden Syrup from London. He loved it!

The reason he loved his frozen Friday midnight pizza was because I always made my own pizza from scratch every Friday he was home. Not at midnight. Friday is pizza night in our home.

Interesting. Two kids were outside our door whispering our dog Zoe’s name today, like they did five years ago. Finally their whispers got loud enough to rouse old Zoe’s radar and she jumped up and said “I’ve a date with C & A!!! They only visit their grandparents a couple of times a year and always come to see Zoe.

Our new neighbor thought the kids were ours. Nope, their grandparents live right there and they just love Zoe. She said she thought Zoe’s name was being called outside our door! Kids. Gotta love them. I hope Z’s not around when they lose interest. They’re into competitive soccer and other sports now so don’t come around here much. Sweet kids. Cheers! Dee

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The Body Electric

No, I’m not Walt Whitman. When I was a kid my parents had electric blankets to keep them warm in the cold winters.

Growing up, I knew I preferred down comforters, duvet covers, nice beds and mattress pads, and quality damask sheets. No, they never spoiled me….. I came up with much of it on my own. My own money and care.

That changed last year when my husband got me an electric jacket for winter. All I had to do was place extra batteries on the base after I took out our old dog Zoe. Aside from the sleeves it keeps my core and even hands (gloves are needed) warm in high winds and freezing weather. It goes along with my two Cossack hats, yes it’s cold so they are fur, one rabbit and the other lamb.

Yesterday a package arrived with something he said I wouldn’t want but would learn to like. It’s a simple electric heating pad, $8. I used it twice last night and fell into a deep sleep on the sofa. Usually I use his mother’s sewn 2# corn pad and it is hotter and great on the neck but too big for lower back pain, plus it cools quickly.

I never will have an electric blanket, love my down and just got everything cleaned. I will still use M’s hand-made corn bag from the grain bin, but will use the electric heating pad and jacket as needed. Cheers! Dee

 

Greece

The nation likes me today. I like the country for some of the best times I’ve had in my life. I went with my sister for my 25th birthday, and again for my father’s 70th.

We traced the trail of Odysseus. While we were not greeted at the end by Penelope and Argos, we did it in style for Dad’s 70th birthday. Thank you for being so kind to us.

Ephkaristo, Dee

Dancers and Musicians

My third “Musketeer” the morning my father died was an art aficionado with eye problems. He spent an hour looking at art works and couldn’t believe that my father took up art at age 80. His wife was in the hospital recovering from hip surgery at the time and is fine now.

I brought in a charcoal sketch of dancers to my framer. My best guide, K was off that day. T made me choose everything myself and threw a Hail Mary at the last second.

When I called the next day K answered. I told her I awakened in the middle of of the night thinking I had created and paid for a disaster. Dad gave me that dancer drawing 27 years ago. I wanted him to have a photo of it before he died. It was not finished until two days after his funeral.

It is gorgeous and I look at it every day. He knows that he gave it to me eons ago but would be proud of me for making the Velveteen Rabbit real, in a real frame that honors his commitment to art, music, dance and education. That’s what he taught me. I’ve a plan that will at least bring it back to his gravesite, which I’ve not seen since the day he was lowered. They drove us all over the place so I had no idea where we were.

As for the Third Musketeer and his wife, they’re coming over for Brunch later this month. I’ve new works for him to peruse and his wife has never been here. Here’s to neighbors! Dee

Learning

Curveballs. I’ve never hit one. I learned that my college sisters were all lefties so our team was Lefties, Inc. No-one who mattered ever showed up to challenge us so we ended up in the finals without ever playing. Yes, we lost. I was the pitcher and a switch-hitter. Ambidextrous is the word.

While my husband thrived on mechanics, how things worked, science and math I looked at people. Soc/psy was my bailiwick. Perhaps that’s why we get along so well, we’re different, smart thus somewhat similar.

Let’s just say that I choose art museums and he chooses others for planes or motorcycles. We both learn when we go together but getting him into an art museum is a chore.

Know how to meet and greet your neighbors. Who is best at that task? Old dog Zoe. Everybody knows her and pets her. Years ago when an old elected official tried to hit on me I asked how daughter Sally was doing in art school, and how is his wife Judy? It was so good to finally meet her. If you want to nip something in the bud without saying anything about it, I found it was the way to go. Learning about life. And politics.

Life and consulting can be different. Often there are different factions, the Board that hired you and the administration who has to deal with you. My new car was keyed, then when the miscreant was named executive director he fired me and took my key to the office. The next day he called me and demanded everything I had on the organization including confidential data I promised the Board I would never disclose without their approval and me in the room. I said “I’m fired. I don’t owe you anything.”

A few moments later I was at the Chairman’s office and we laughed. The guy was gone at the next Board meeting. That’s learning. Both of us learned. The Chairman played everything and everyone and I ended up on the Board, working hard for free. That was probably part of the plan. He got canned and I got “knocked up” to supervise the enterprise that is thriving today. It is difficult changing from consultant to Trustee. But I’m a proven multi-tasker. Ask my husband, who is not.

Another story. I told my park woes to a confidante so he made me a VP of another board, one where the chairman spent meetings reading mail. Snore-fest, indeed. It was over lunch-time so everyone had to bring their own and there were some sodas and iced tea. My hips are getting better but I don’t know if or when I’ll be back. Pass it around the room, spend ten minutes of my day. Let’s get to an agenda. Let’s do SOMETHING.

I learned to formulate off-the-cuff motions and order them. Second. All in favor. Passed. For years the Minutes show that I made all motions when ripe. My favorites, J, K and S agreed and seconded. Unanimous votes followed. I re-wrote their by-laws, spent months of “free time” and they were passed after significant opposition by an opponent. That is how I spent my single life. With a dog and two cats. Now I’ve a husband and an old dog and things will change once again after 16 years.

Before I went to those park meetings I would de-compress in a free museum nearby, upon which my recruiter and fellow VP friend was on the Board. I sat in a room with my favorite Italian altarpieces and just breathed for 15 minutes before the Board meeting. Then I could be gracious to those who denigrated me.

My husband always says that my life was easy. He has to deal with profitable organizations. He doesn’t know the half of it. Non-profits can be really good, or snake pits. They keyed my car. Dee

 

 

Vision and Wisdom

I think they go together. I’ve a vision of life, but my physical vision is going as I age. My husband told me a story of his childhood. His parents always loved him and took care of his health. His teacher asked them to take him to the eye doctor. He was fitted for serious glasses at an early age so that he could later correct a math teacher and ask questions she could not answer.

When he walked out on the street with his new glasses he could actually see cars and the business names across the street. He thought being half-blind was normal, as kids do. I thought all grandpas had one leg. It was normal. He doesn’t tell that story, except to me and immediate family. I cry when I hear it because he couldn’t see the blackboard but still knew more than anyone else. He had to try harder, and milk cows in the morning and after school on the dairy. He can see, has vision and another vision and purpose as to life.

If one is reading every interviewer answer as a potential consultant from books that give vision and wisdom 101, they may be hired because Daddy said so. We never worked that way.

My husband and I know the answers to our respective professions. Why? One cannot teach wisdom from a book, it comes from age and experience. As is vision. Mission, vision you have to be able to sit there in a client interview and answer questions from expertise and maturity. And wisdom. For that there is no shortcut. Dee

Getting To Know You

Getting to know all about you. I was in The King and I, a high school musical, when I was a very young violinist. I was so shy then I refrained from leading the pack, for which I was chosen, to be one of the twins.

Getting to know you is something one needs to know to succeed in life. Note that I did not say business, life will lead to that. We moved around a lot for Dad’s jobs and I had to make new friends everywhere.

Opening oneself up is difficult, especially if you’ve been taunted or spurned by fellow kids. So you just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. Learn to know bullies from good people. Character assessment. Guys always talk of handshakes. They’re correct.

We rafted a really fast river years ago with a guide. I was wearing two wrist braces to protect me from doing too much. The expert guide would have given me a great handshake but he saw the braces so just touched the tips of my fingers. NO! They’re for support, I am not ill, I use them for packing boxes and moving! We did a five hour raft trip in two hours. That is what the Army Corps of Engineers gave us that day, Cat 4 rapids. Yes, we looked for it.

I digress. In life, you want to get to know the people you wish to know. I kissed a few frogs before I met my husband of nearly 15 years. He had all the traits I wanted and a few enervating habits. As a physicist, software engineer, leader, consultant he is very methodical. I got to know his family over the years and love them.

As to me, I’m getting better, due to him, about being less emotional about slights to each of us, mostly job-related. I was a consultant and always a leader as well, in a very different line of work. When he tells me of a consulting issue I try to tell him how to solve it, because I’ve more years of experience in that field, and he hates that.

We got married and we wanted to have a kid but I advised that we had to get a dog first. She’s nearly 14 years old, sleeping more, limping a little. Between us we chose the best dog in the world. She’s a mascot around the neighborhood. Everybody knows her name. It wasn’t until my husband took her out for a walk a few weeks ago that two ladies behind them said “that’s Dee’s dog.” Fourteen years and someone knows my name.

Open up, choose wisely. Yesterday a new friend was flying home. I saw an SUV with four hands waving. Last week she made me a pot of delicious butternut squash soup. They stopped the car. She said thank you for everything and held my hand. I thanked her and said safe travels. Meeting new friends is an adventure. Always embrace it. Dee