Category Archives: Family

Hey There Delilah

I am taking up guitar again and had mine reconditioned and just got my music from storage. Homage to the Plain White T’s for the only song I have that is of this century. Dad was a musician so I’ll take it up for him. His life was more important than me giving up violin after seven years to go to the mall with my gal pals.

Delilah is my computer, my savior ten years ago when we moved overseas. I could get access to bill pay, Skype and talk to home. She was a peach but I’m three OS’s behind and software is blocking me now.  I’ll save you ICE (in case of emergency) but yesterday my husband made me get a new laptop, it’s charging right now. I’m sorry. It’s half your weight and 1/3 the thickness, more oomph for memory, storage and battery life. And my husband is getting me a newer, bigger monitor. I just have to find a new “skin” for my cord-free keyboard.

Sorry for “cheating” on you. You’ve been a stalwart friend who has helped me write, pay bills and taxes, and answer emails. Thank you for your service. It is much appreciated. Thanks, D, from Dee and thank you, reader! Tonight it’s NY Strip and loaded baked potato. I have to figure out how to hide kale. Hmmmm, Dee

Euthanasia

Yes, it means death. It is allowed for pets but not for people. Only secretly for people.

For a cherished pet a proper parent should make the decision when there is no other alternative, hold that pet and be there.

For pets I would ask that there is a special room with a panic button. My old dog got up five times after the anesthesia and I couldn’t call on anyone. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew it was the last time I would see her alive and I didn’t want her to suffer. Because of what I went through, they’ve a “death wing” with a separate checkout and back door for payment, and the rooms have panic buttons to summon assistance.

I know that this is to prevent grieving pet owners from paying the death bill in front of others at the front desk. Two friends arrived at the hospital and visited my Chani before she died. In the end, Chani had bled out and had no hope of survival.

When I got home I called a dear friend and her husband answered the phone. Are you sitting down? Yes. I lost Chani. I’ll be right there to help you find her. This is an Army Ranger, yes, the Army Ranger.

No, she’s gone. What do you need? Companionship and a good glass of Pinot. He ran for me with a precious glass. I jumped the wall 200 feet away and we missed each other. He’d called his wife to come home, and when I arrived he arranged to have Chani’s remains given to me, not fodder for a pet cemetery.

I had spent six years trying to gain legal leash-free areas in our city. The entire neighborhood donated money to the city for a tree in her memory. The city decided the type, location and size of tree and the money and we paid  it. Then there was a big fight with neighbors who didn’t like dogs in “their” park.

Time was spent with both of my parents, who are gone now. They both had onsets of debilitating diseases that were accelerated by either medical mistakes or diseases of just being in a hospital. Mom died. Dad just died weeks ago. I can’t even find his grave. They both went through torture just to decide to die. My pets had a better death.

We scattered Chani’s ashes, at night, everywhere. But I’ve the last thing she brought to the park, a large teddy bear I bought at a garage sale for fifty cents, from a woman who hated me for trying to allow dogs in the park. A milliner friend, dear friend, placed ashes in the bear and sewed on a heart with lace and beading and everything.

I spoke with said other mother this evening. My new old dog, 13 years, would eat Chani’s bear so I keep it up high, always remembering the family that called me their daughter and still do so. She’s getting older. We had a good talk this evening and I promised a visit.

As to trees, there are so many now I can’t even see Chani’s on Google Earth. I heard the Wicked Witch of the West is no longer controlling “her” park so will visit, place flowers and water on her tree, and meet the people who made me, me. Thanks from your only daughter, Dee

 

 

Dictionary Game

My aunts came up with this. Fifteen of us on an extended vacation. “halfway” in cars. We never know if we’d be stuck in rain or snow so my two favorite English teachers came up with a game.

They brought a dictionary and as kids, we had to open a page and look at a word we’d never heard of and learn and make up a meaning. “This is how lemmings fall off cliffs.” We could make up the verbiage, all write it down on a slip of paper and someone who was not playing would read out the papers and the contestants would vote for the most plausible definition.

It taught me a lot about our family, education, and made me want to learn. Oh, I was always one to turn to funny so never “won.” Lemmings. It wasn’t about that for me, just being with family.

There may be a family reunion for the first time in many years. We’ve gained a few in marriages and children, but lost a few along the way. If our Aunts cannot bring board games to the table, I’ve a possible solution as a gift for the M’s or us, after we play the Dictionary Game. Winner gets it. We have to see who shows up, first! This is not halfway!

We have to fly from 1500 to 3000 miles away so we’ll see when it is and how it goes. That was not a proper sentence. I always think about my aunts when I write. I purposely break rules and they know it, but I like to cook, and they taught me that as well. I break rules there and everywhere.

I never got to be a rebel. Perhaps those few years on the hill during my childhood let me do so rappelling off cliffs, swinging, foraging, dealing with snakes and crayfish (crawdads) et al  but that was just being a kid with boy neighbors.

Rebel didn’t start until my thirties. I met some of the best people and worst people I’ve ever known.

Cheers! Dee

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

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

The Dictionary Game

My father hated “room picnics” but my aunts devised them for inexpensive lunches between swims at a place “halfway” between our cousins, grandfather, and us.

They’re retired English teachers so brought a dictionary. We did not have Monopoly or Scrabble, we had the Dictionary Game.

Open a dictionary to any random page. Find a word you’ve never seen. Then spell it, define it and use it in a sentence. Write it down on a scrap of paper. Give it to the person who is not playing to read to the group. The vote goes to the person who gave the best answer, right or not.

I always went for funny so always lost. Tibia, one of the sirens near Scylla and Charybdis on the Greek Isles. The name means “between a rock and a hard place.” I was left between Scylla and Charybdis when I visited Greece and had to choose a cigar, with a language barrier, to bring home to Dad.

We did sail by and say farewell to Odysseus one year. The tibia is a bone in your lower leg (calf) next to the fibula. I told you I always lost the game. There was fun in swimming all day, eating lunch in and dinner out, and playing games. I just let my imagination go, and loved losing to my cousins and siblings. Here’s to happy times! Dee