Category Archives: loving life

Mom Was Right

My husband is a sweetheart. A messy one. He is not called the “human tornado” for nothing. I named him that 15 years ago.

At first it was OK for him to get water above the shower and around both sinks. He’s been home for a bit writing a book, so he wants spaghetti and meat all the time and the sauce goes all over the walls.

Then he wants to do dishes, which means water all over the counters and floors. I’m a trained chef. Mise en place and clean up whatever you mess up, right away. I have to follow him like Ratatouille cleaning walls, counters, bathroom mirrors, floors.

I helped fellow graduates cook graduation dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan. Yet to meet my love, my family was the largest to attend so got the best table in the House.

It was James Beards’ bedroom, with mirrors on the ceiling. If I’d have known my husband way back then, he would have gotten tomato sauce on the ceiling. That is my human tornado. I hope the book is done soon so he can be out of my hair a few hours a day.

Even our old dog Zoe doesn’t want to be up on our bed any more. Talk, turn on a re-run or touch her fur with your toe and she goes UBD. Thats Under Bed Dog. She crawls under on my side where I can’t miss her and leave without walking or feeding her. Smart dog. Herder. Whenever she misbehaves, my dear one says “we should have adopted the dumb one.” I disagree. I occasionally tell her we can take her back to the animal shelter. Well, I can’t yell at her or touch her! Nearing age 14, or ever in past or future, would we ever take her in for return. We’re in it for the long haul. Here’s to being a dog parent and spouse of the human tornado. Dee

 

Missing

I should have called it “tortured.” Old dog Zoe does not mind my husband, “the fun guy” being away for a week or weeks at a time on business. She apparently stands by the front door waiting for me when I go out for groceries or flowers.

Months ago I asked our personal assistant if it was OK to leave her as it was too warm to leave her in my car. She said no problem, she doesn’t bother me, just sits at the door waiting for you.

My husband says he is the fun one who plays with her on occasion, but I am the important one. He is home for a few weeks writing a book and I set him up a gorgeous desk in our bedroom with en suite bath. He only comes out for a walk or water or Dr. Pepper while in work mode.

Zoe doesn’t know where to go. If I take her to the prime work zone, she wants to be with me, especially near feeding time. But she lays in front of the bedroom door wanting to see him. I lift her (no hips) up to the bed and 20 minutes later she is at the door wanting to see me again and it’s five on a Sunday morning and he gets up to let her out and goes back to bed. Then she lays on the floor by the master bedroom door awaiting him.

Once the book is finished my husband has opportunities that may separate us for a day at a time or weeks at a time. I’m enjoying cooking for him right now as I rarely do so for myself when he is out of town. Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

I think so, as my husband has started to cook spaghetti and meatballs, and wash some dishes. There’s tomato sauce all over the walls and water splattered over the counters. I can’t follow him and clean everything magically but do it when he leaves the room. For over 15 years I would not let him into my kitchen except for water and Dr. P.

He didn’t even know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Now he wants to use my KitchenAid mixer to make fluffy pancakes with whipped egg whites, rich pasta with lots of egg and my hand-cranked pasta machine. I remember from cooking school 1,1,3,1,2,3,4,5. Then change to the cutter and there’s fettucini.

Today, for lunch I will make baby back ribs with a great rub from a wonderful book, Alton Brown style, and a bbq sauce that I love at the very end. Roasted or mashed potatoes and grape tomatoes.

Dinner will be chicken for him I made the other day, cold cucumber soup for me. German cuke salad for him, he loves it. Have a wonderful Sunday and July 4th weekend. Dee

Joseph

and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat. He has a robe of many colors, his favorite in the world. He has gotten tomato sauce and other food on it, I’ve washed it many times including today.

I washed it cold and hung it up to dry. It will take me two days to decide next steps on stain removal. I washed it with a shirt of mine that was blood-stained by a teething pup. Now, every time she sees me she does the “happy pee” always on the floor but usually also on my pants and socks and shoes. Our laundry room has been busy.

I think of what thought M gave to that robe my husband loves so much. His mother hand-designed and made it big enough, with long sleeves and a vent in the back so he could move his arms to learn to make pancakes (he did) and it is a beautiful robe. It is his favorite thing, when it is cool, to wear around the house. When it’s hot he just wears underwear and a tee-shirt. Then when someone knocks on the door, the robe comes on.

My crummy French professor down south would have called this Dee-ville. Yes it is, the world where we can take care of the Dream Coat, the Mom who made it and the man who wears it. Cheers! Dee

 

Coincidence?

I think not. My husband spent 100,000 miles to send me on a weekend trip, first class, to Park City, UT. The weather did not cooperate but we stayed in a lovely resort hotel and took a long drive and walked Main Street and ate at our favorite haunts. Then we hung out as after living there we’d seen all the monuments, as an old D.C. roommate had said. We weren’t under pressure to do anything in bad weather or if we just wanted to watch Netflix by one of our three fireplaces. Yeah, one bedroom, three fireplaces.

We only had two days, then he headed west and I, east for the week. From Chicago I was taking a short hop. There were no crews, so flights were delayed indeterminately. I was stuck in Chicago for three hours and changed flights because a blessed soul at the desk booked me another gate pass for another plane, nodding when I said I didn’t want to spend the night on the floor at the airport.

At that moment, Dr. Dau was physically taken out of his seat in favor of United Airlines personnel, because the plane had four passengers without a seat. I was in the airport.

I had no clue, got a boarding pass for the earlier flight that would be leaving way earlier than the later one because my original crew had never left Kentucky. The earlier 5:30 flight was delayed until 7:30 because of lack of crew.

At the new destination, we were so frustrated by the lack of information and no-one was even at the desk while we were there for hours. We had already planned a revolt because no-one would tell us anything. We had no idea of the United Airlines debacle. People had been there for hours and there were no crews. Then one showed up in uniform. Yea! We had originally wanted them to put us up for the night or charter transportation for the lot of us to Milwaukee and had a gang of eight.

Then another crew showed up in plain clothes, unbeknownst to most passengers, to take seats on our plane. I did not know the significance of this action until I showed up having changed my ticket hours ago with a new boarding pass with seat 17C. A woman was seated there. Yes, she was non-uniform crew for the next morning back to ORD.

I looked at my seat number, now knowing that paying travelers were being denied boarding for overbooking but nothing of the “big story” and just thought that as long as I was onboard, I wanted my seat. I looked at her, showed her my boarding pass and said nicely that I thought this was my seat. I only thought that she would go to the empty one by the window.

Her compatriots were in riotous laughter. All I asked for was my seat. She moved back with her friend but it was clear that they wanted space and got it and when I showed up, she was the butt of all their jokes. I felt bad that they were laughing so hard, and at her. She was angry with me so I gave her a frig magnet from Utah and all was forgiven.

Ending, I believe their policies are bad. No airline should place people who paid for a ticket and are in their seat in danger, especially to call in police to drag them out bloody to make room for their own personnel. Given a background in legislation and law and a lifetime of common sense, I think there was a “strike” of some sort by the unions after the videos went viral so there were no crews, no flights.

Unfortunately, it upset me because I was right there watching over a fellow passenger I’d never met before who’d already been at the airport three hours before our final two and was very ill. We have been in touch today, have common business interests and he is doing well. He calls me his “airport angel.” All I did was watch over him, and bring him some warm ginger ale to sip. They sat him in first class. It didn’t help that the jetway broke at our destination and we had to stay on the plane another hour for it to be fixed.

Passengers took care of each other. No-one, administration, unions, took care of us. We took the brunt of it that day. I had a wonderful vacation with my husband in the mountains. It took me many hours and travails to get home. I’d changed flights and knew my luggage would not be there. It was there, the last of four bags as they closed the carousel. My friend Joe was there to pick me up and dropped me home where I slept, then picked up my dog from great people who took care of her. There are bright lights. I saw them in the mountains. Snow-Kitties, my husband and our dog.

That’s how I’d like to remember the weekend. Sno-Cats grooming the mountain trails, sitting beside the fire. Gorgeous mountains, even one mortar went off for avalanche control. When we lived there they were my lullabies. Yes, it took a while to get used to the lights and sounds but they actually help to put me back to sleep. Back to normal life… if there is one. Dee

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

I

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