Category Archives: loving life

Babied

Today I had a “date” with a gal pal to go shopping with her four month-old son, G. We followed her in the stroller through the shop. I figure she hasn’t been out in the cold weather to get more than groceries these days.

We came back to our place and I played the guitar for G and he was fascinated. Then we went to their place and I held G and Mommy was amazed that she got a break and that G liked me! He even placed his head on my shoulder for a couple of minutes and slept. He is very bright and vivacious, and very strong, was standing and jumping on my legs, and dancing to music when Mom was holding him while I played guitar and sang Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

I came home and an hour later after I fed and took out our dog Zoe I sat back on the sofa and crashed. I don’t know how Mommy does this all day! Just know I’m too old for it. G’s 13 lbs. and a healthy, growing infant.

I do believe he needs to be exposed to music, and I’d like to talk to Mom about sign language. I’ve a friend who did that with her kids. Simple things like change my diaper, feed me, pick me up. Then she taught “I love you.” and when they came to visit when she was six years old she still signed Mom I love you when she went off to play with the dogs.

Before they can vocalize they can do sign language to let parents know if they’re feeling ill, need to be fed or need a diaper change. I think it’s amazing! No, I fear they’ll never ask to be put down for a nap to give Mommy a break! Cheers, Dee

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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

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

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

 

Language, Thought, Wisdom

I was always told I’d be a teacher.  No, I’ve never been a school teacher but have many educators that have taught me language, thought and wisdom. Yes, I am a teacher in other ways.

When I was a little kid I had to look at a dictionary when I used the “loo” and say and spell a word, say it was a noun and use it in a sentence.

My dear neighbor G, a genius, taught me psychoses and other words. My favorite has always been fear of the number thirteen. Look it up.

Between my family and neighbors I was blessed with an education my school could never provide. The good Fathers blessed me with rounding out that education with art and history.

I read The Diary of Anne Frank and Death Be Not Proud when I was seven and taught my little sister how to read. Reading is not all of it, when put together by mentors, mine are mostly gone now, you learn how to think.

Thinking, learning, pasting things together in one’s mind may lead to a body of knowledge. That may lead to wisdom and perhaps, vision. My father is a visionary. He is an optimist, as is his eldest daughter. Dee

Home Improvement

My husband buys expensive dress shoes. I have folded “dog towels” in the entry-way for shoes.

Years ago I told a property owner that people in northern climates have no closet space. They need room for coats, boots, hats, gloves, scarves and there is nothing.

I just made our own space. It cost less than 10% of one pair of his dress shoes. For years I’ve been using folded “dog towels” and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I’ve no option but for guests to see shoes and boots on a rack but anything looks better than dog towels, which even dog Zoe doesn’t use. She has her own towels, perfectly hotel-rolled in a basket next to her/my shower and bath. They’re nicer than our towels.

In the end I may use one clean towel under the shoe showcase in case of rain, ice, snow or mud. Getting rid of stuff and boxes and paper et al is an inspiration. My husband is appreciative and apprehensive, the dog thinks we’re moving so is at my heels every moment. That’s a herder! Dee

Is He OK?

That is what I ask myself all the time. I finally got a shower at eight p.m. tonight and when I got out, he and the dog were sound asleep.

He flies in late at night, and out 6:30 tomorrow morning. I’ve asked him for a list of ten dishes he loves and cannot get at restaurants. Last week he bought me an old-fashioned pastry bag, I have the tips, and we made cannelloni yesterday.

I am a worrier and do check, as he says, “on the plane, number, love you” and I check it out a couple of hours later. He gets in between nine p.m. and 1:00 a.m. and we’re getting up at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow to send him off again. I’ll take out the dog, feed her and make him breakfast. Then he leaves. Zoe (dog) and I like to walk him to the car and I take her for a real walk.

Texting is not my forte but he does text that he’s landed at the correct site. Until that time my heart beats double-time and as his wife of nearly 14 years, I’m allowed to worry. Other people, pilots, car rental companies, hotel managers, restaurants have him. Not me. I prefer us being together. He and Zoe are back asleep. Cheers from Dee