Canis Dormiens

Let sleeping dogs lie. This weekend I created a new category for the Olympics. Let sleeping dogs lie. Zoe and her young guest Miss L slept through most of their weekend here. Eating, walking, playing keep-away did not stop them from sleeping, usually near each other and in the same position.

I moved in Junior year of college with five gals and was named the cook (a wise choice for them as they’d never had anything from outside a box) and they did everything else from dishes, shopping (until I had to supervise), table setting and clearing, to trash. I asked one thing, that I be seated on a corner as I’m a leftie and don’t want to elbow anyone. They were all lefties! It’s no wonder women take on certain traits when they live with other women, they cycle together. Strange, anyway…..

Sunday, the Zoe and Miss L were told that the Olympic judges tied and they both won Gold in the Sleeping category. Mr. D at the hardware store up the street made his recommendations for their medals. A red, white and blue lanyard with a blank key with the same colors. I tied the lanyard to the size of their necks.

Zoe is lonely today, as my husband is gone as well. She still has the disciplinarian and food wench! Yes, that would be me. I’m not a politician nor will I ever be. I do know right from wrong and was a policy wonk. Nerd, whatever you wish to call it.

I do know that when my husband is away, I’ve a friend in old dog Zoe. We depend upon each other. I lifted her to our bed and she can’t hear, see or feel me walk by unless I touch her head. I’m wondering if she needs a young pup for company or if that would be just an annoyance for both of us. We gals have to stick together, leftie or not! Dee

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Lonely

Yes, I am when my husband leaves for work all week, every week. Last week he was sick with a cold and said he was staying away. Instead he flew in for 30 hours and drove me away. His snoring was so deep and loud from the severe head cold I went to the living room until six, when I took out then fed the girls (dogs). Then I fed him, and brought him apples and grapes.

Yes, that’s plural dogmas. I went out with a fire alarm with one dog, came back with two for a few days. Yes, Miss L is owned by a respected doctor, a neighbor who asked us to take her in again. I don’t mind. They keep each other company.

Miss L and Zoe enjoyed their time together. Miss L left yesterday morning. My husband left this morning. Zoe is more lonely than I am right now. I’m looking at breeders as an exercise as I’ve chosen four breeds after Zoe is gone, soon, but am asking myself if she needs a friend in her waning years.

She misses Miss L. The Divine Miss L left undercoat on Zoe’s bed, where she now sleeps, rather than on ours. I’m thinking she needs a buddy. We’ll talk. I may have an interim solution. Cheers to friends, Dee

Sixty Years

Yes, I’m getting there, thanks for asking. I went to a wedding about 20 years ago and a great band played songs from the 20’s through the 70’s.

I was asked to dance a lot with nice gents, beats sitting in the back at the kids table keeping an eye on the drunk uncle!

I knew the lyrics to most every song and was asked at the end of the lovely evening how I knew all this being only in my 30’s. Dad had three fake books, one of which I have and restored it. He promised them all to me.

Fake books were illegal at the time but that’s what musicians used. He used to play the piano and we’d all sing after dinner parties. We had one song that had been dear to his parents, from the 20’s, A Shanty in Old Shanty Town. He’s gone now so I don’t remember his contra-part. I sang the melody and no-one knew the words, but us.

Guests were amazed that I recognized and knew songs from forty years before I was born. Piano, guitar, violin, and American Musical Theater. Finally as a Junior in college they let me take it. They thought it was an easy class. It was not.

We had to listen and learn. We were normally tested on the introduction, that was very different than the work, as in Someone To Watch Over Me. For me it was more music than libretto, but I learned both.

For me to dance and sing the introductions to some of my favorite works and have people amazed that I could do so was actually a testament to Dad. If walking me around the living room as a baby didn’t work, and Jackie Gleason’s Music, Martinis and Memories record did not put me back to sleep, they’d take me around the block in the car and I was a goner. That’s it, I’ve an extra dog and we all need to sleep.

It’s only a shanty in old shanty town, the roof is so slanty it touches the ground. Just a tumble down shack by the old railroad tracks…….. Cheers, Dee

Three Sleepers

The fire alarms went off yesterday evening. I walked down fifteen flights of stairs with the dog to stand on the street for 90 minutes. Actually I was ailing and she was slipping so a kind young man carried her half the way down the metal stairs. Thank you!

My legs were like rubber bands and I had to lean on a planter as I could not stand. I had to wait another hour for an elevator, but the fire department let us in so we could sit and wait for the elevators to be turned back on.

It was a dog party out there! I brought back another one, just for the weekend. She’s been with us before and they are both sleeping soundly in our bedroom. Actually mine just came out to her other bed in the living room. They’re like really friendly sisters. Go figure, my old Aussie mutt and a young American Silken Windhound (Whippet and Borzoi). They’re very sweet together and believe they enjoy having company.

The third sleeper is not with us but across the land with a bad head cold. He may make it to work today, may not and perhaps will stay the weekend. With the time difference I can’t call for a few hours. He is a sleeper, and a snorer, my husband.

In a couple of hours I’ll take out the girls (dogs) and feed them. Let’s hope I can take the elevator this time! Yesterday before the fire alarms I took Zoe out and she ran after her new boy toy, a Bernese Mountain Dog, the Swiss cart-pullers. I have to teach her something about restraint when it comes to men! But they only flirt, OK.

My parents never overtly taught me but one could tell when Dad moved down his bifocals to stare at a potential boyfriend with his intense baby blues, he scared every boy with whom I ever went to a movie. Except my husband of over 15 years, of course. We were older, then. He opened my car door, took my hand and never let go. Yes. We saw a movie and went out for Mexican food.

I usually have two sleepers, one who constantly snores, and one I have to check on regularly because of a “neural episode” I wrongly called a seizure last week. In REM sleep she chases squirrels, it’s funny to see. Cheers! Dee

Good Friends

I met this guy, Mr. D, at our home in probably 1982. He was a friend of my roommate. He was very funny. We all ended up working at the same place, writing laws for 34 million people, each of us in different departments.

He played jokes on us all the time. When I tired of my current chairman’s staff (the chief got nasty because I worked for his boss’s boss and he always lost) I asked for a transfer. I got commerce, D got small business and we shared an office up in the attic of the capitol building. There was a hesitance to put us in the same office together as while we both worked hard we were a force to be reckoned with, especially together, and our humor knew few boundaries.

Before the annual “company” picnic we’d go out to the toy store during lunch and search for things. Look, plastic ants! So we secretly placed them on the company cake. We also went there several times a year to find small gifts for his two kids. We were buddies. I’ve always loved his wife and we’ve all been friends for years.

Since he played so many tricks on staff I decided to play one on him. We got new-fangled land line phones one year and could use speed dial. He told me he had already placed his wife and mother-in-law on speed dial then left our shared office for a meeting.

I re-programmed his phone with inappropriate numbers from the back page of the Village Voice. He tried to call his wife and got one. He called the company and said something was wrong with his phone. I was on the other side of the partition and it hurt not to laugh out loud. They told him somebody must be messing with him. Yep, you deserved it, D!

He’s my age, retired and has a debilitating disease. I spoke with a friend of his today who told me that long after we parted ways (bad new/old boss for me) that as he climbed the ladder with different organizations, he used to ride a bicycle down the hallways with a pizza box as a delivery boy. That’s D!

He is retired now, but has made great strides in the world through his life, family and work. I’ve heard that their eldest is home now to help, and that their daughter is getting married. I wish D and MG strength, give my love for them and their children who I held as babies, and for them as a couple.

No-one could ask for better friends and while we’ve been apart a long time I still think of them often. We had some good times together. Cheers and best wishes from Dee

ps Don’t keep a hold of your heart, give a bit away as much as you can by loving others. I’m a D as well. Dee

Childhood, Food, Art

I remember a lot from childhood, from the “job jar” my sister and I had to blindly take four chores each Saturday and fulfill them, to presenting plays or ballets for our parents in the basement. We ate fast, asked to go downstairs and issued two tickets.

The other day, I saw a food contest that included peas, gracefully rendered into indulgence. My sister and I hated peas. Parents invented a “pea contest” in which we would count the peas on our plate and eat them, thus achieving their goal of us actually eating a vegetable. Dad would joke that the winner who ate the most peas got to do the dishes!

Childhood was made of cereal, bologna sandwiches, and a dinner that included protein, starch, veg and dessert. When she married Dad, Mom didn’t know how to cook. His mother started teaching her Dad’s favorites but she wasn’t alive for long. Oh, how I hated rice pudding for dessert. I’m sure it tasted great but it was a textural thing for me, even as a kid, and today I can’t eat octopus. I’m sure that made well, it tastes great but no.

As to food, adult version, I’ve taken several family recipes and tweaked them for taste, texture and presentation although my presentation is very rustic. I moved from Germanic to French, then to Italy and Greece and other countries for my inspiration. I only use Italian OO flour to make my pizza dough, and have also messed with Beef Carbonnade. I bring meat back to my butchers to try, and am the only person who brings food into a grocery store! They call out my name if I’m alone and eating vegetarian because my husband is on a business trip. He’s a beef and potatoes guy but now embraces Israeli couscous.

As to art, my framer is leaving me very soon, she has a great “eye” and is talented in execution of my requests. She and her family are moving elsewhere and starting a new business. I have her doing one last complicated work for me and have invited her over for lunch and to see all the changes she has made for me and my husband (who doesn’t notice except to know that he’s home after a tough week and needs to sleep).

I’m counting two great mounted quilts from my husband’s family as artwork, as well as a map we marked with the airport code, colored flag for over 500,000 boarding per year and up, and another color for under 500,000 boardings. Tiny flags with a map and much information, I consider it a work of art that we made.

Framed, quilted and maps, let’s see. Four in the front hallway, five in the guest bath, 14 stacked in the galley kitchen. Ten in the living room, two so far in the guest room, as there are still boxes to go through. Three in the hallway, ten in the master bedroom, six in the master bath. That’s 54. I included a decorative hanger that holds many dear hand towels I arranged from my aunts and my husband’s mother, who planned for knee surgery recovery by preparing linen towels to keep her legs up, cleverly embroidered with herbs, as we cook together every time we visit. Pristine and ironed.

I’ve never numbered that before, 54. And I’m going to have at least 5-6 when I get the boxes out of the office! Another was designed to compliment a living room piece, so next week it’ll be 55. Now you know I will meet my maker one day, but I’d like to invite my framer to see her work and what I’ve done to showcase it before she leaves town. No, not all of them were done by her, but she has fixed a few of my old ones. They had sawtooth hangers and it is very windy here. Whenever the wind makes the building move, art shifts and I have to walk around our small space and “jeuje” them by 1/16 of an inch. Get wire. It’s worth the cost.

There are themes here. The living room quilt was designed and created by my mother-in-law and we made it seasonal. She had done all the squares and she spent three years of visits trying to make me find a design. I think she was my first framing teacher! Dad, years ago, gifted me with a beautiful box of rustic, seasonal signed lithos from Puglia that I would like to frame for the office to echo the love and care of his mother the quilter.

From college posters with masking tape on concrete walls, to cheap plastic frames (I still have one for a print I bought in a museum in Germany over 30 years ago), making “uni-frames” into real frames, one achieves a sense of permanence. I really wanted Dad to see the award-winning charcoal sketch of a pas de deux Dad bought for me at auction, of dancers, over 25 years ago, alas it was done two days after his funeral. It centers our living room and is gorgeous.

As an older adult I believe one must preserve memories and look at them often instead of inside a picture book that is in a drawer or cupboard and will never see the light of day. Speaking of light of day, I always get 98% UV protected glass, then still close the blinds. After all, these are family memories, something one has for a lifetime. Cheers! Dee

 

It Takes a Village

Recruit a family with a dog or cat to a condo that went bankrupt because you know all the low-rises around ban animals or any dog over three pounds.

They made it into apartments and scrimped on some of the details, like using primer instead of paint, plastic and cheap tile instead of marble for the guest bath.

I have my ways, thick prime frames under the low sconces so my husband doesn’t get hurt as he is quite tall. I know he won’t hit my art, so will not hit the low sconce. Five years later, I told him that fact. Furniture or art under sconces.

There are many dog owners here, perhaps 50% and they recruited us and we pay a fortune for a view in this town.

Aye, there’s the rub. A few weeks ago they told us none of us were allowed to use the lobby with our dogs. There were many reasons floating around the resident rumor mill. They didn’t want to scare off new residents (they’re now 98% full) but the worst was they wanted to punish everyone for the actions of a few.

They don’t want to deal with the few bad people and their animals and would rather punish everyone for a situation they have created. I’ve been bitten badly once and that dog and his owner left. My dog was bitten twice two weeks ago in a matter of seconds. He didn’t draw blood. But the owner immediately contained him and said this had never happened before. That was a lie. Another dog owner told me he attacked his dog a few weeks ago. His dog is afraid of everyone but our Zoe.

We know the problem ones and don’t spend the time to write complaints or sign petitions. We just get it done.

Before that time we were told all dog owners were no longer allowed in the lobby, that we had to use movers’ doors and the Island of Misfit Appliances. I’ve arthritis and live alone with my dog every week. I fear for my safety unless the guard knows we’re out there and to call 911 if we’re not back in five minutes.

Again, we pay a fortune to live here and now we’re told we can only use the “poor doors” in case we offend potential neighbors. I wrote and told them I’m looking to both ADA (for my arthritis) violations, and a potential class action suit for violation of civil rights for treating us differently than a minority of other residents. Also that many of us would leave. Ah, things started to change a bit after that. I didn’t write civil and human rights and ADA laws for 34 million people for nothing, and I do have a brain. It took a culinary curveball when I quit the rat race and went to cooking school…..

I still continue to take my old dog out the front door, no matter what. Rumors say this week that one is only allowed to take a dog out the front door if it is matter of life and safety. It is, for Zoe and me. My husband flies out for the week, and Zoe had a seizure last week and has to go out every two hours because of the drugs she’s taking and I’m alone and looking at her nearly 24/7 watching her breathing.

Situations with people (loud parties, failing to take care of their animal) and pets and other issues should be dealt with as they arise and with a dog whether it be incessant barking, or more seriously, biting of people and fellow pets or eliminating in public areas. As my Zoe was viciously attacked for no reason, people who make decisions should force change or eliminate the bad apples and not punish the 98% of good folks who wish to walk through the lobby and not the “poor doors.”

Guess what? She is the oldest dog that has lived here for the longest time and is now the first to be on their new Instagram site called Bark Lafayette. Go figure. We’re going to keep walking through the lobby. We pay too much to share the poor door with movers and abandoned appliances. Enjoy your Friday! My husband arrives late tonight and instead of getting his favorite frozen pizza from the gas station up the street, I’m going to make my own from scratch, dough and et al. Plus a bit of homemade pesto. I need cheese. Cheers! Dee