First, thanks to Mexico, Czech Republic and Brazil for reading. Also O Canada, my home and native land.

Sunday evening I went into our closet and found a basket of plastic flowers with a bunny, so I placed in front of our door until Easter. Today I walked out to do four neighborhood errands that lasted an hour, and I left the dog at home after taking her for another outing.

When I arrived home the arrangement was pulled away from the door, turned around and one “flower” snapped off and thrown on the carpet a couple of feet away. I know all my neighbors and the two other dogs who are nearly as old as my own.

There was a thief here a couple of years ago, sneaking into residences and stealing money, credit cards, cell phones, anything she could carry. There is video of her counting money. The D.A. declined to prosecute. Our residence was never invaded.

There was a robbery about 50 feet from our front door last weekend. I wonder if someone is stalking us once again. The gal used to use unlocked doors to get in when people took out their dogs, trash, recycling or went to get their mail and thought it was OK to leave the front door unlocked.

Yes, I now have a stick under the door to deter anyone from entering and double-check both doors, stove, oven before I lift the hip-less dog to bed. My husband says it must have been one of our dog neighbors but these dogs are nearly as old as Zoe (fourteen) and have no interest in plastic flowers. Someone is sending a message.

If I am being targeted because of disability, I have informed all who need to be concerned about my safety of a potential threat to all of us. I need to walk and my husband wants to assure that I can do so with Ms. Winnie, a three-wheeled cart with brakes my Aunts gave me over the holidays. It can hold a few groceries. Perhaps someone saw me leave with that and thought that I was an easy target.

Be certain that for years I have locked my door every time I leave and when I re-enter I add the stick. The hinges are inside, they’d have to make a lot of noise to get in here and I’d have time to call 911. Don’t worry, be happy! Dee



First, welcome readers from Australia, Brazil and Sweden. G’Day, Ola and Hej!

Our dog Zoe is getting quite old and I’ll probably be here alone with her at the end of her days. Right now she seems healthy and happy whilst losing her sight and hearing.

Sir Paul McCartney wrote:

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise”

I think our “hip-less wonder-dog” is happy in the moment and doesn’t see the future. She knows the present and remembers much of the past. We have had her with us since she turned six weeks of age, from a shelter. That was 14 years ago and I hope she doesn’t remember the squalor she grew up in for several weeks before she and her litter-mates were dumped at the downtown shelter.

She now lives a “sheltered” life and sleeps on her beds and ours, including an orthopedic bed in my car from which she pops up from sound sleep at off-ramps and stop lights. She can jump down from our bed and looks out our windows early morning to catch the squirrels. That would be a virtual catch from far up, she’s never gotten a squirrel.

She killed two mice, yes, years ago. Sorry, mouse families. She will have to pay retribution for that but she already has on earth. My husband took both mice from her mouth immediately and tossed them onto a nature preserve for the Greater Sandhill Cranes to feed their young colts. Zoe eats frozen raw lamb and dry (for travel) duck or turkey kibble. We can’t get dry ice here so I keep her on some frozen dried so her tummy is OK when we travel.

I will be there for her, nonetheless, at the end. I always have to make the decision and be there. My husband is a big, strong guy and has been a pallbearer for many humans, but not necessarily one who has been in the trenches at decision or death. I have done so more times than most and insisted before we adopted Zoe that if he is to be a “pet dad” he must participate in the bad things as well as the good. He’s already good at long walks and picking up the poop, and even though this real genius cannot change a roll of toilet paper he always puts the seat down! OK, twice in nearly 17 years I fell in.

Bye, bye blackbird is an old song I somewhat remember. Dad’s mother used to sing it to me as a baby and she died before I was a year old so I never really knew her.

“Pack up all my cares and woes, here I go, singing low, bye by blackbird, where somebody waits for me, sugar sweet so is (s)he….”

I can tell you that in heaven Zoe will meet many canine, feline and human friends. Yes, she likes cats and hopefully she’ll meet my former dog Chani who raised a cat, Mick, who raised many more dogs who visited him all the time. He taught himself to fetch crumpled post-it notes from my work and drop them at my feet to toss. Hey, Chani raised him, I let her do so.

Zoe is not ready to go yet, at about 98.5 in people years but I will look for it, get no unnecessary treatment and be there for and with her before she suffers. Dee

Truth Be Told

I heard of a comment by director/actor Ron Howard on why he likes movies based on true stories. Apollo 13 was a true story starring Tom Hanks and many others.

Apparently they had a public pre-screening where everyone filled out a card on what they thought of the film. Nearly all said it was wonderful. On used awful words to deign a great film. In the end the critic said that the Apollo 13 crew never would have survived so it was an awful ending.

The critic never knew that it was a true story, a nail-biting story our country and the world went through with, not with in person but in hope for, these three astronauts, who were saved through their own ingenuity and that of NASA.

Where is History in the classrooms we pay for with our taxes for decades even though we do not have kids?  It has probably gone the way of art and music as unnecessary. Are math and science the next to go? I’m sure English is already a casualty. Ah, I’m certain sports will continue without any intellectual basis to achieve success and teamwork. If math and science are still on the frontier, music and art help both. After all, could Mozart have composed his first work at age five without a mathematical and creative brain?

What were the educational building blocks for our leaders today? Rich father? Check. Deferred military service. Check. Our artists and scientists and mathematicians had and wanted way more than that and worked themselves through school or fled their countries and a few even created the atomic bomb for the USA. I knew one.

Imagine our elected leaders after education is gone. I’ll be gone, too but your children will grow up in a different world. We’ll just have national walls, many guns and forced marriages for procreation. The current reality sounds more like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and should never take place. As Archie Bunker would say, this is only “a pigment of your imagination.” Dee


I’ve so many. Only one biologically. I love him dearly and he was a frustration for the first half of my life and a blessing for the rest. He took care of Dad in his late stages, who was like a brother when we were working together in a business and never outside working hours, whatever they might be. He was still Dad.

My husband is like a friend especially when he makes fun of me or puts chick flicks on Netflix when he is away on business in the states or overseas. He is my best friend.

My brother-in-law has retreated a bit. We used to talk to each other regularly but he is so busy these days with work he only calls us on the road, like my husband does with me. Originally we had nothing in common but realized that we did so, and now he calls me “sis.”

My brother G was a neighbor when I was a kid. I was allowed to see him for five minutes once a week and he’d give me a psychoses to define and report back. I wanted to get back to him in the hour, but was not allowed by my parents to do so. I just wanted more.

This is about a genetically-aligned brother and other brothers, none fictitious, that I love or have loved.

Tommy was my brother up the street. We were the same age. He came to all my birthday parties but I was told he was away at his aunt’s or at school. Before we were eight, he died of a brain tumor and no-one ever told us and I wasn’t allowed to see my friend or even know that he was sick.

I’m not talking about a few dates, but real friends. Matt was my brother and had a crush on me when I was eight. He carved a wood violin as a holiday ornament and never gave it to me. He called me out of the blue, literally as he is a pilot, the day after our honeymoon and said he was getting divorced (I hadn’t heard from him in decades) and I said “bad timing.” He’s a great guy and we keep in touch from time to time via email and phone. My husband understands. We were little kids who connected educationally and emotionally. Kindred spirits.

Ross and all his siblings and cousins were my brothers and sisters in grade school. They saved me from the bad guys who harassed me on the bus one day. Between them first and the Principal, to whom I was sent because I was crying, those three brothers never got near me again. They were twelve, between families across the way running a dairy and put a stop to the bad guys without any bruises. My brothers and sisters. I married a man who grew up on a dairy and ended up a physicist. Hard workers, hard-headed, loving and kind.

I met a guy first day of college orientation, first minute. We spent a while talking and had a couple of beers. I left him to go to my dorm room, locked it and slept across the room with my Bio roomie gal. At morning I had to go to the bathroom and stepped over this body in the hallway. He’d gone to his dorm and gotten a blanket and pillow and slept in front of my door.

He protected me for four years there and still does, 38 years and tears later. He made me drive him hours to his home to meet his girlfriend, to seek my approval for their marriage. They’ve two adult kids, successful in different realms. He is brilliant and doesn’t know it. That’s my brother. H brought two chairs and stopped the elevator and we talked until dawn about women and girls. He asked questions, so did I. Now he has a girl who is getting her doctorate.

He found me online years ago from a tech conference I attended, called me and I thought it was my future husband of 15 years now just messing with me. I think he mentioned Led, our friend and member of the clan, which I am not allowed to join because I’m a woman. I still think I should be at least an honorary member without shaving my head or carrying a paddle for six months. Nearly 40 years later hazing might kill me.

I have a great husband and only old dog Zoe, Greek for life, who may have a Masters in mouse chasing out of hard snow. He and my family, friends and priests helped me negotiate life. There are more brothers, then sisters and that will take forever!

Home to the armadillo, yea Jerry Jeff Walker, Dee





is when you know that all you’ve learned and achieved in your lifetime comes to fruition. At my age it comes in small tidbits, getting the City and County to agree on a pedestrian crosswalk. I still have to remind them to paint it every year. No-one ever stops a car for a pedestrian.

I’ve Italian micro-greens growing in small pots, seeds that I’m supposed to re-plant every two weeks and use in salads (or over meat, as I would do for my husband). Knock wood, I am the original brown thumb.

They’re little things, when it comes to the big things I undertake and accomplish. Today I’ve a little treat, a floral class where I can be more of an individual than the shy girl in grade school. We’ll see how I do, but I’m doing it on my own (my husband is only home 2 days a week from work and will miss me for two hours) but after fifteen years of him buying me flowers, it’s time to turn things around. Yes, I’ll put my 1962 Pedernales chili on the stove and re-season as needed after I get home at five. Thank you, Lady Bird!

Choosing is the key, outside aisles for everything besides rice, beans and such, flour, basics. The occasional chocolate bar is OK.

Food, art history, writing all include adding and/or removing. I just saw a Chagall for the second time at a museum last week. I thought the person in the shroud was a man. It was a tribute to Golda Meir. I’m not Jewish and do not practice any relegate faith, but appreciate the horrors the Jewish people have endured in the last century and many other religious cultures before, including Christianity. Trying to remove anyone from our world was horrific and something my family abhorred.

My grandfather fled Hitler’s Brownshirts in the late 1920’s for the USA and it is told that he jumped ship in the NY harbor. He didn’t want to be sent back, married his German bride from Switzerland and couldn’t get across a border to see my parents marry. I missed him because he died six weeks before I was born.

As to history, it can only be added, in good or bad ways, hopefully not removed. Art, painters add, sculptors remove. As for everything else it is a balance. Decide on yours. Cheers and have a great day! I’ve got my own pruning shears out for my floral class! Dee



Performing Arts

Forget Mapplethorpe, who gained prominence and disdain for one federally funded work of art. Before and since then the conservative sorts have already cut all art and music from our schools, and have sought to cut budgets for symphonies, ballets, opera and other art forms.

My brother leads a ballet company. His significant other was a prima ballerina in a major ballet company and now is artistic director. They do excellent work, and travel the world to gather the best dancers.

I talked to my brother tonight and he says that ballet is very popular, I wouldn’t have thought as much as I was just a kid when I was taught basic, toe and tap. I was built like my father, look like him. He was head of a major ballet company. He never danced, I never had the body or talent of a dancer or a gymnast, who I tried to become. I ended up captain of the team, a great one but not a dancer or a gymnast.

Now my brother jokes that everyone said he looked like tiny Mom. He looks just like Dad, who died over a year ago. I almost lost him at Rockefeller Center over the holidays a decade ago going through a crowd by the ice rink. My husband is a foot taller than me and all I asked of him was to look for someone who looked like Dad. We found him and continued on our way.

Music and art are how I got through grade school. Also private lessons in ballet, piano and violin. They teach kids so much, intellectually and instinctively and mathematically. The fact that they are gone from public schools now is a travesty. Art and music are not throw-aways. They are building blocks for children to learn.

Now both parents must have jobs and there is little time for the kids. Perhaps a bedtime story. We pay taxes. Heck, we pay school taxes and only have a dog! Mozart started composing at age five. It was mathematics. His brain was only wired better than mine or most others, and his ear was better. How do you think Beethoven’s Ninth was born of a deaf man?

Music, dance, opera are necessary to let children and adults know what is out there, artistically. Please attend and support artistic endeavors. Thank you and Zoe is telling me to lift her to bed. Now! Dee


Hostages, Fish and Dogs

Years ago I walked dogs and took care of dogs for neighbors. I still do for a very few nearby friends, for free. These had two dogs and salt-water fish in a 60-gallon tank that were the husband’s pride and joy.

I went to walk the dogs and feed the fish and was caught up by SWAT Teams outside who made me hunker down under a blanket behind barricades for six hours. I was a consultant and was making $10 for this visit which was a gift to these neighbors because I had to come home between meetings to take out my own dog nearby. My friend said I had to charge them something.

As I was standing in the police line, they said there was a hostage situation two doors down, and a gun involved. After six hours of me being a witness the hostage was let go and the perpetrator killed himself. In the meantime SWAT had placed tear gas in all the townhomes. I  stood in line to ask about the dogs and fish. SWAT  broke through the living room window and said they placed the dogs in the garage so they’d be OK. I asked about the fish and they assured me that tear gas doesn’t penetrate an aquarium. What about when they come up for air? Can’t answer that, ma’am.

I called the homeowners several times on their cell, no answer. Finally I got them and the wife had no concern for the dogs, husband got on the phone frantic for his fish. Strange folks, indeed. I told them anyone could get in and steal their stuff as their living room window was smashed in order to allow in troops with machine guns. No response. They didn’t even want to come home. No way I was going to stay overnight upstairs in a space that was invaded by anyone or anything, or that could be, including tear gas and now, looters or even in their garage or sadly, bring them home with my dog.

Fed the fishies, they seemed OK. SWAT let me in after my waiting a couple more hours for them to check the premises and said these supposedly aggressive dogs were the biggest weenies they’d ever met. I took them out through the garage, fed them and moved new water for them washed in the kitchen and filled outdoors, to the garage where they would stay overnight and fed them, of course, and the fish.

Leaving the dogs in the garage overnight because of toxic fumes, there was no way I was lifting a 60 gallon tank of fish. SWAT boarded up the living room window and nearly nine hours after the hostage situation I was back home to take care of my dog and two cats only to leave home a few hours later getting back to the fish and dogs. Another $10? No. Not yet. No hostage-takers for morning walk and feeding but full police presence and questioning me being on site. Another few hours later I talked to the property owners again asking about when they planned to return and assure the safety of their property and animals.

When they arrived they acted as if the hostage and police action was all my fault because I was walking towards their home ten feet from the door and a SWAT officer bundled me up and took me away and never let me leave. And after 12 hours of my work, the couple, upon their arrival home, grudgingly gave me another $10 dollars for my time and extraordinary efforts on their behalf and that of their two dogs and precious fish. I was a consultant and was doing this as a favor for a friend. Let’s see, I don’t remember the friend or couple or dogs or fish names anymore, nor the name of the officers who grilled me on who might be around there to take hostages. I know I made a lot more as a consultant than $20 for all that time on behalf of their pets and home security.

That’s a good thing. It is also good that people who walk dogs and are doing just a favor for a friend should know what she/he is dealing with. The shooter was wacko, and I’d only visited the neighbors once beforehand to assess dogs and fish for a brief visit. Turns out they were wacko, too. They were so concerned about themselves and their furnishings and status they forgot what matters, each other and family, even if it’s fish. I just hope they didn’t have kids.

I never spoke with those folks again, they never even thanked me or paid me more than $10. They just saw it as a problem I caused because I happened to be on the sidewalk nearing their door and there was a gunman two doors away with a hostage, ready to shoot anything that moved and I was hauled off by police and forced to hang out there for nine hours. I told them and the cops that I had responsibilities as well, at my home and at work, and they said they might need me for questioning. Go figure.

From fish and dogs they didn’t care about, these usurpers took my life, work and family and held me hostage so I could not take care of my meetings and other responsibilities. There was no night’s sleep even at my home. It was a crime site so I could not see the dogs or fish until morning and I worried for them and their place being broken into by other nasty elements of society and sprayed with tear gas. I was Mary Poppins for those dogs. They were my charges for an entire weekend and I was graced $20 for the privilege of being detained by law enforcement for 12 hours. I heard they got rid of the dogs shortly thereafter. They kept the fish.

A paid vacation with paid pet care for my guys would have been appropriate. I’d say a small boat in Greece for a week, with staff. $20, no apology for not coming home and leaving me in charge for 48 hours instead of two pet walks and fish feedings, and no thanks at all, if you treat your peers this way you must be way down on the food chain by now. Just know I would never let you walk my dog.

My husband and I ended up living three doors down, a few years later. They were gone, thank goodness and the younger son of the couple across the street who called in the incident was in the hostage home, young, happy and healthy. Life and death and wasted time. We looked at that place but there was no way I could ever live there. Dolly lived next door to the death place, she was a pit bull. I’d go out on the stoop to put on my shoes, her owners would open the front door and she’d run to see me. Hugs and licks, Dolly was a sweet gal. They don’t call me the dog lady for nothing! Dee

ps Goodbye of course to dear neighborhood dog Gigi, The Captain, and now “the Admiral,” he used to call his dear wife who will be interred with him at Annapolis where they met and married. I met them through Gigi, The Captain married us and “the Admiral” has now moved on.

pps We lived in a great neighborhood.