Tag Archives: names

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

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Cooking for…..

kittens? Yes. In 1987 my sister sent a five-week old kitten from CA to NYC on a plane with my brother as a surprise. Surprise, dog gal, you now have a kitten that fell off the 7′ shelf he was born on at two weeks of age and his mother would not feed.

Gorgeous Burmese/Tuxedo talker. I never got the last word until I held him in my arms 13 years later as he was euthanized with heart dysfunction exacerbated by pneumonia.

I knew absolutely nothing about cats. He didn’t even know how to drink water because he couldn’t see it. I left him milk when I went to work, had no A/C so it curdled during the day because it was so hot.

The first day I got a book on cats that told me to only feed him raw kidneys and to keep them in the freezer for four days to eliminate bacteria. OK. Then I got a book I still use (or did, when I lend it out it tends to disappear) that said build a mouse from the ground up.

I bought a chicken, ate the breasts over a couple of days and took off all the other meat for my Nathan. Hebrew for “gift.” My current dog is Zoe, Greek for “life.” Yes, that’s how I name my family, you’re glad right now I don’t have kids.

I mixed it with all kinds of stuff, cottage cheese, lecithin powder, kelp, bone meal. He barely ate it. I finally learned about organics. When he died at age 13 he was on Innova canned. I do much better with what is out there today.

For birthday and Christmas I got him and his little brother, Mickey, each a can of Fancy Feast trash food as a gift. Mick was named Mick Dundee, after Crocodile Dundee, because he was fearless when I adopted him at nine weeks. He took my dog’s bed for a year and then taught himself to fetch crumpled up post-it notes and retrieve them to me. His name morphed to Mickey Mouse and then just Mickey. He liked the twice a year Fancy Feast treats as well. Dogs ran away from home just to play with him.

My dog just turned eleven. She is on frozen raw and dry food. The dry is to prepare her tummy for long road trips. We’ll be moving soon and I can’t get dry ice here to keep her frozen food cold so I’m mixing the two now.

In my life I have “owned” two cats and two dogs. I love all of them but can no longer have cats because my husband is deathly allergic to them. I yearn to live on a farm so all the unowned cats will visit and I can see them outdoors, capture and have them spayed/neutered and if they forgive me for that, feed them. I continue to bathe Zoe every two weeks so her dander doesn’t make my husband sneeze. She loves the bath, not the comb-out 24 hours later.

After my first Nathan surprise, all our animals are from shelters. Please adopt from shelters. I worked with Greyhound Pets of America (GPA) for years and saw pitiful dogs coming off the racetrack of last resort, Caliente, and turning around in two weeks with good food, health care and human care. You may get a diamond in the rough, but it’s your diamond to polish.

I follow the no grain formula, frozen raw and my dog has the softest coat in the neighborhood. Yes, it’s expensive but at 11 our Zoe is happy and healthy. I bet she’d love that chicken mix I made for Nathan back in the day! Dee

Growing Up

We all have childhood stories. At age ten I was laughed at in the locker room changing for gym class for wearing an undershirt instead of a bra. When I told my mother I needed a bra, she laughed. Two weeks later she relented and bought me one, size 28AA. I didn’t need a bra. I NEEDED a bra because I went to school a year early and was always different. If something as simple as that stopped my class from laughing at me, I could fit in a bit.

While I’ve spent 20 years with abandoned and abused pets and feral cats (spay/neuter program) I’ve always had a soft spot for kids and adults who are different than the norm.

A few years ago I got a note from a gal with whom we used to walk to Catholic education classes every Wednesday. She walked with my younger sister. I walked with her younger brother. As they walked behind us they ridiculed him terribly. I stood up for him every time and told him to be himself always. I was eight. I had no idea about about how I was created or that other people were different. It didn’t matter. I was a little kid but wouldn’t allow anyone to be bullied.

Many years later his sister contacted me and thanked me for being kind to her brother and that now they are the best of friends. It’s tough to be different in any way in our society. My husband and I are smart and think outside the box, which can seem threatening to an employer or client. Of course he’s way smarter than me, but when I engaged a lifetime partner, I  looked up and try to meet the challenge every day.

I talked to a gal today on a billing issue and she said she was “Jo.” I asked about her name and she’s Italian and her name is Giovanna, such a beautiful name, as is Deirdre, which is mine. I know you know me as Dee but that’s the name I had to tell the teacher the first day of school every year, from the back row and very shy I’d say after she butchered my name several times, “people call me Dee.” It took me 23 years to appreciate my given name yet now everyone calls me Dee.

When one accepts one’s identity and gains wisdom through parents, life experience, work and marriage, that is growing up. With cell phones and texting I don’t know what kids will be. We never locked our doors or cars but must do so now. We had a land line that my sister hogged for hours every night to talk to a girlfriend a block away.

And I don’t text. Cheers! Dee