Category Archives: Zoe

The Handoff

I’ve had many. Touch football on the dead-end street as a kid. Kids turned over to me to babysit. Then I married my husband and we take care of each other.

His book is nearly done. Several copies were printed for editing purposes. We can each do that and have professionals read the document (have two local docs who wish to read said tome). It’ll not be anything you can find at Barnes & Noble, but perhaps Amazon under tech literature in a few months.

Every time he leaves town for a week or more, he tosses me the football in terms of an old dog and our home. My freedom is that if he’s coming back Friday night I get to buy him a frozen local thin-crust pizza and heat the oven (better than airplane food) and cook fish, to which he is deathly allergic, until Wednesday then let our home air out so his allergies are not triggered.

While home, I get up early. The dog awakens him. He comes to check on me. I just say “I’ll take her. Go back to sleep.” She wants to see me to make sure I don’t go anywhere without her knowing. Not that I’ve ever done so in nearly 14 years with her! She just wants to know I’ll take her out and feed her “dinner” first thing in the morning and let her get more beauty sleep. It’s why at nearly 100 in people years, she looks much better than I feel.

I believe that presidents once carried a case with nuclear missile codes called The Football. My football is just a way to a silk collar/leash and a key to our front door. It’s 5:15 a.m. and she is sleeping on a wood floor just outside our bedroom door. She wants to be back on the bed, but doesn’t want me to head for the hills before seven. She is conflicted as the door is shut for noise and she needs to choose. She chooses me, but if I take her out before seven and my husband is in bed, after she eats she wants to be back in our bed, my spot. I lift her there as she has no hips.

Ah, well, what is one to do? We try to make everybody in our small family happy. Cheers and a Happy Thanksgiving! Dee

Advertisements

Talking About…

Food. Yes, food.I was eight. All my younger siblings and cousins were doing cannonballs off the diving board at mid-point, to be determined, between our residences.

I was with the adult ladies discussing what to do for the next meal and who would prepare what dish.

Years later, Dad said “all you wanted to talk about was food.” “Dad, all you wanted to talk about was work.”

Why food? I met a lady this morning who grew up along the Mississippi River and ate whole hog, shrimp & grits, corn and potatoes and she has kin up north who keep up the hog fest up to this day in the yard.

Food brings people together. It solidifies families and makes new friends. Yes, if someone purposely treats me badly, I can have an acid tongue for a moment but that passes. I would rather bring folks together than tear them apart. Many years ago I and my boss were voted last to be by the punch bowl at the end of an office party. It was my punch bowl! Of 62 people on staff I was the only one with a punch bowl and ladle.

I had to dispense of the punch in the restroom sink, rinse the bowl and trek it home to wash. Why? because it made my extended work family feel like family. When not planning or doing, I feel like a geek at these events because I’m new and don’t know anyone in the room. Having a family atmosphere makes everyone feel comfortable.

Our living complex includes a revolving door. It is, for residents. Someone you met last week may be gone this week. We have pro athletes, doctors, et al. They have parties to reward us for being residents. Staff wear name pins. I’ve asked for cheap name tags for first names because I can’t remember the lady I met once while picking up a package.

Better yet, if you’ve a dog, add that as well. I’m more than likely to remember the dog’s name. “Sandra/Buddy” would work for me.  Dee/Zoe says “Oh, Zoe loves Buddy!”

Dad never understood my preoccupation with food, thought it foolish. I never did. In later years he did learn to cook Italian food and took pleasure in it. I did other things with my life, used my brain to help others instead of brain and hands. My husband was quite thin when I met and married him. His grandmother was worried about him in the hands of another woman. A year later, she saw him and said “I see you’re being fed well.” He can make spaghetti and meatballs but still not a grilled cheese sandwich “Oh, so that’s how you do it!” Really? Cheers! Dee

Halloween

It’s a weekend so we all did our own thing for the non-holiday. There were only about fifteen little kids around our neighborhood mid-afternoon. Over half visited us. Mostly, they know us for our dog. They all want to pet her and give her a few treats, and if they’re old enough to understand they can ask her do a trick for her treat (appropriate for Halloween).

My husband insisted we make chocolate chip cookies this morning. I hate baking. Amazon Prime now has a service called Amazon Now. He called in his order for more baking supplies at six last night and they were delivered in two hours. Of course I’ve no place to put them!

I’m a good cook (not chef) and he can make jarred spaghetti sauce with boxed pasta and perhaps some sauteed beef or Italian sausage. We have made fresh pasta together, once on my ancient hand-cranked machine because he wanted to know how it worked. He needs to know how every machine works.

He has learned to make lovely pancakes once in a while and I whip the egg whites to make them light and foamy and don’t even ask him to place a tad of cinnamon in, and a teensy bit of vanilla to the wet mix, also honey.  I do it anyway and he loves it. That’s my idea. Real maple syrup or Lyle’s Golden Syrup from Britain, on top, are different ways to go. Fresh fruit or a berry compote are always great ideas as well.

Dad made the cheater pancake version with a packaged mix when we were in grade school. We loved coming home from church for that and either two sausages or two slices of bacon. God may had not have loved us much that day (we were good kids) but Dad always did.

Problem is, my husband hits the stove and walls with speckles of sauce, also counters and when he cooks I try to do the dishes and he doesn’t want to let me in,  probably because I’m always two steps behind with no, not the  sponge . Never mind that I will not be able to find any dish, pot or pan that he washed the next meal while I’m feeding us or Zoe.

Today, he guided me through making a recipe for make his Mother’s favorite (yes, he called and spent twenty minutes for the recipe the evening before, for chocolate chip cookies). I left cookies et al at age 10 to do savory foods as all three other gals in our family baked. So his mother gave him her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe yesterday. He did the next batch. I was cleaning pots and pans and bowls and spatulas behind him. He hated my “intrusion” into “his” kitchen I’ve had for over 16 years and insisted on doing two more batches without me and it was really for the kids and for a physics experience. He could make the cookies better by tweaking measurements on his own mother’s riff on a recipe. Not my riffs. This for eight of 15 kids invited on the weekend to make it easy and safe for tricking and treating.

Do you know how many cookies we have? We’ve been giving them away like crazy. All the work was worth seeing the young children in their costumes. There were two kids, brother and sister, that were in homemade costumes. They were the coolest costumes of the day. A green bug with big green eyes sticking above her head. The elder wore something black with an impressive black cape with a large gold disc of gold sprinkles and color. I think he was a king and knight with sword and armor. Perhaps from Camelot.

I’ll tell you about hosting parties sometime, as a grade school student. It was so good to see kids today in their costumes and being more interested in our dog than they were in our cookies. Zoe likes that. She was so excited to hear a knock on our door. We put out a sign on our door to let them know they were invited. Sorry most of the grandparents didn’t have families here visiting, they missed some good cookies.

They did love my M-I-L’s cookies but were so happy to see and pet her that they just walked right in and made themselves at home. Can I hug Zoe? Give her a treat?

Boxed little raisins. Never get those for kids as it is the last candy on the grocery shelf. Kids think you’re cheating them. I did that for years in case they came to visit so I’d run out at the last minute and the only thing was left was raisins. I bought a bunch and while they liked and respected me, they were 7-12 at that time so no more costumes. I agree!

I should have used the leftover raisins to plump and to make stuffing for a pork loin. Cheers! Dee

 

 

Security

We live in a place where my husband can be away on business all week. He wants to make sure that I am safe, as is dog Zoe. Perhaps once a year she gets something dead and ugly from the park (only when she’s on a 16′ leash and he’s on his cell) and has to vomit at 2:00 in the morning.

Security knows to call 911 or come find me if Zoe and I are not back in five minutes. That means when we return I can decide whether, not or what to feed her after her morning walk.

It means we’re safe. That and a stick under our door makes me feel better and be able to lift Zoe to the bed and sleep. Zoe is not a lap dog but is a herder and she guards the perimeters from her beds and lookout positions, depending upon where her “pack” is.

All Zoe can do is bark and she does not do so often. A two year-old could reach out for her food and she’d just look longingly at me asking Mommy, can I have some more? If someone is trying to break in, I get my phone and call 911. i just know to have our plans in place. My husband’s are better but he’s not around most times. Be safe out there! Dee

The Commandant

Yes, that is what we called her trainer in Dog Obedience 101. I underwent the training. My husband sat by the wall and criticized my techniques, and the Commandant never even looked at Zoe the entire six weeks.

Zoe did not undergo formal training, which I needed for doggie daycare and overnights, until she was a year old. She knew most of it but had each diseased hip out at six and nine months of age so we gave her time to recover.

I remember a German Shepherd who was really smart, right next to us in class. The Commandant spent a lot of time with him. He would conveniently “forget” to sit. He’d be commanded to repeat it and get a treat for doing so. He was only forgetting for a treat! Zoe did everything first time out (proud parents) but never got so much as a “good girl!” from the Commandant. She learned the basics, come when called, sit, down, stay and heel.

Now I am the Commandant. My husband has been home writing a book. I touch him on on the shoulder with his music or noise-cancelling headphones, point to our old Zoe who I lifted up on the bed and say “she’s with you.” I’m running errands.

Then, near her dinner time, she wants to come out to see the Disciplinarian and Food Wench, me. I tap him on the shoulder and say “she’s with me” and close the door.

Other than the occasional “honey-do” list I do make sure our home is a home and that our little one is taken care of. It’s usually me alone. She loves her walks with my husband. I can’t make it that far, RA for 30 years.

I can ask him to leave the computer or cell phone at a good breaking point to take her out because I’m making him a great dinner and am in the middle of it with three pans on the stove.

One thing I couldn’t teach the young, healing dog was not to jump up on people, because she never had the equipment to do so until she grew her own hips from cartilage. Amazing! She’s nearing 14 and never really had a puppy-hood and now she has no interest in jumping up. I’d just say “leave him alone. I know he’s delivering your food.”

I had to be a bit of a Commandant recently with a teething pup. She used to try to have illicit relations with my legs but now she’s grown, is no longer teething and just hugs me above the knee and does a “happy pee.” Her family knows she has a great place to stay and taunt Zoe when they are out of town. She needs someone for 101 and is a very smart girl so will learn fast if they keep up with homework.

If your dog does something right the first time, always say “good girl” and same for a boy. I do so many times a day, almost the number I tell my husband I love him. Cheers from Dee and The Fun Guy! Dee

 

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

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