Category Archives: loving life

Dear WordPress

Thank you for the snow! Dee


The Wonder Kitty II, is a bean bag kitten, and is on my lap being petted for luck. The best of luck was given from Snowflake The First to my fellow volunteers spaying and neutering thousands of feral cats.

It was the right choice to leave him with these valiant volunteers. Note to ear-tippers who take off the top of the right ear while the cat is anesthetized to allow caretakers to know who has been spayed/neutered. Believe me, you cannot ever catch these crafty felines twice. I tipped II’s ear with sharp scissors. He is made of bean bags and batting so he never felt a thing. He is very soft and soothing. I gave an infant neighbor his little brother, who loves it.

We do things to make life livable, sometimes bearable when there is sickness or losses in the family. I was a consultant who spent weekends volunteering for the projects I created. I made an Animals section of day-to-day projects and while all the other managers had two projects per month I had 14. After a few years a new director fired me, saying they didn’t need people like me anymore. Yes, she said that, at a public event in front of the Councilman’s guests.

I left Snowflake with my fellow volunteers, who were loyal to the cause and to each other. Snow II is on my lap, I got my chops there with volunteers, management and feral cats. Mange? Get Dee. Ringworm? Get Dee. Tapeworms? Get Dee. Get it? You don’t want to know what happens when a feral cat or kitten awakens from surgery. Get ’em in, watch their breathing and release when ready. I even made a “Dee’s Kitty Wake-Up List” to show that cats had come out of anesthesia and were just napping. They just changed the name from mine a year ago. I thanked them for allowing me to make a change to their routine but didn’t need credit for doing so. Take care of your family and pets. Don’t feed your dog chocolate. 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


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


I would not ever use them on my family or our dog, who is probably the most spoiled canine on the planet. Or cheat on our food, except a frozen Friday Night Pizza from the convenience store so when his plane arrives I can have the oven heating. Flights from the West Coast are notoriously late or cancelled, I make excellent dough and pizza but I’m not going to get up at 11 p.m. to make the dough (Italian OO flour) and prepare the toppings. Dog Zoe and I are in bed by then.

My husband wants to use highways, paid or toll-free, to get everywhere. He says they’re faster but they’re usually clogged with traffic and I don’t normally drive more than two miles a day.

He’s off at work for the day or week or month and I need groceries, his dry cleaning and more. We move to a new city and I have to learn my way around. This was before GPS and what he calls “Google Girl.”

I find back streets to take me to the grocery. He tells me I’m “sneaky.” I show him the way and he takes it! Way to go, Dee!

Don’t tell him, but I also try to add veggies and fiber to his diet. Sneaky, yes. Just clean a pile of radishes or peel a jicama and make a salad with apple and vinaigrette. Those are not really shortcuts.

We spent nearly a year to get our Zoe to adopt a food and she has, for nearly 14 years. I never take shortcuts on that, except to make sure her tummy can take the raw food dry version for car trips as no-one will sell us dry ice here to keep her frozen raw food good during travel. I usually have it delivered every few weeks. She loves M, who takes it to our door and tells a story while he pets her. Some shortcuts are good! Dee

Stains, Love And Life

Yes there are stains on the dishes and laundry, and much to do in the kitchen and bathrooms. My husband is home to write a book and wants to learn how to cook. His favorites are spaghetti and meatballs, and really great fluffy pancakes for which I have to make egg whites to stiff peaks.

He usually sleeps immediately and like a champ but was up last night so today I’m going to make mini-quiches with eggs, cheese, prosciutto and he’ll love it.

He gets spaghetti sauce on his shirt, the walls, everywhere. I clean it up. Forget about pancakes, too many dishes to count. And when he decides to wash dishes, I follow him around like a second shift and clean up after him as there is water, water everywhere. Shower and shaving, too. He is called The Human Tornado for a reason. Yes, I gave him that name many years ago.

Do I love him? You bet I do. He is my love and my life. Stains included. He is my soul mate, savior, bete noir some of the time. With a love of life, cheers, Dee

Loving You

That was an old song I never cared for. I do care for my family, for this piece just my immediate family with whom I live, day in and day out.

My husband is brilliant, and knows everything including physics, software development, farm equipment and wood-splitting. He is kind but not effusive, hard-working and hard headed and not likely to say he’s sorry for anything, but he spoils our old dog like crazy.

Speaking of Zoe, she is kind to all (including cats that do not run) and wants to be next to us and herd us or play fetch with Precious, her only toy that is indestructible. She does not wish to sit on our laps but wants to be a couple of feet away so we can’t go anywhere without her knowledge. Yes, an old herder, though years ago she became afraid of two baby goats!

I have been accepted into my husband’s growing family, as has Zoe in a farming culture that does not allow dogs in the house. Now she is a member of their loving family as well, and stands on my father-in-law’s place on the sofa awaiting his return from feeding the cattle. She also picks up anything that drops on the floor during my mother-in-law’s and my cooking marathon for days before every Thanksgiving.

When we drive there as I turn on the long road to the Ranch she pops her head up from her 4″ orthopedic bed and knows our destination. Food and family.

That’s how we roll. I cooked some St. Louis style ribs last night, Alton Brown style, with a rub inspired by Jeanne Voltz, with salt, pepper, sugar and smoked paprika. My dear husband grilled the ribs for five minutes after I cooked them covered in a low oven for 90 minutes and I brushed on a hint of BBQ sauce that had a bit of bourbon in it. I also made a fresh radicchio salad with an organic ranch-style sauce, and we had a few root veggie chips.

I love my family! Dee


Ability, Doing, Thinking

Dad always said he had relative pitch, that’s a measure of one to know what note to play or hear being played and know it. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean “conflict” and started a band in boot camp. Instead of going to Korea he toured Europe’s greatest cities for the US Army managing a symphony, and arrived home to meet my mother and have four kids and play in local symphonies after work. He played the “fiddle” to get himself through college and called square dances. He was so talented.

He always told me I had perfect pitch, so did all my music teachers, some with disdain. I don’t know that I have that anymore. Dad played every instrument and taught all. I cannot manage to play piano (keyboard was in storage) or my nice guitar. I gave up violin as a kid. “Santa” bought me a cheap guitar at age 12 and Dad taught me basic chords. As I age my voice could not be in a choir, or as a child soloist.

I took up guitar again at age 50 with two private tutors, one was “Oh, Preacher, Where Art Thou” and the other was a drummer who did not care whether I learned the guitar, only that I kept the beat. I quit, after all my husband and I were paying for classes and I was driving myself there. It was my decision, and again we moved.

I’ve many books of free lyrics because I like to guess the chords. I’ve also one of Dad’s “fakebooks.” He has (had) two more for me. I bought a large binder and individual sleeves and encased every page for the first one and will do so for the rest of them. We used to sing a song in harmony then he’d go on his own riff while I sang the melody, it was a song his father taught him. I don’t remember the riff but it was Old Shanty Town, from the 20’s. “Just a tumble down shack, by the old railroad track, like a millionaire’s mansion keeps calling me back.”

A local shop that is probably known for local and other talent was the place to go for guitar restoration. I had mine done and have a personal guitar teacher and a violin professional on hand when they’re needed. I haven’t been well enough yet.

My brother and I are looking for my father’s violin, that I played as a cello at age two. I will see whether it is salvageable, able to be reconditioned by violin professionals and it will go from his family to his alma mater where a violin scholarship has been created in his name.

Music will stay in our family and in our hearts, Dee

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



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