Category Archives: The Ranch


Yes, that is what I am and have been for years. I would like to give a gift to my nephew. It’ll take a while to put together. Ten recipes with instructions and completed with whatever is needed to finish the dish.

I know that he’s going to be OK but as he needs to eat while getting an education I may have to go to our local university to check out dorm rooms. Plus, he has to wow the girl of his dreams, whoever she may be.

Years ago my father, as a gift, brought a psychic to dinner to read my fortune. She said I was a teacher. I am, a leader, visionary and teacher since I was a child.

Going to cooking school has enlightened me and I worry about college students eating food that is not good for them or their education. Hopefully college moms (hear me PDXKnitterati) will help on this quest. Few ingredients, pots or pans, healthy and fast. No, not just ramen noodles….. Cheers! Dee




The Food Snob II

It was 9/11. Italian neighbors pounded on the door shouting CNN! CNN! We invited them in with electricians and appliance movers and watched as the towers went down. So sad.

Neither Continental nor the American Consulate would allow me to come home. Continental because there were no overseas flights. The Consulate simply said that my sleeveless summer dresses would not keep me warm enough in Newfoundland, the furthest I could be flown. I must say that the Customs Agent in Newark said “Welcome Home.” I shed a few tears, of course, but knew better than to kiss that floor.

Two weeks later I met a guy at a local restaurant over lunch. We were all talking about 9/11, of course. We talked for hours and shook hands and exchanged phone numbers in the parking lot. I threw away his number. He called the next evening, we lived 1/2 mile apart. We went to a movie and dinner. He opened the car door, took my hand and hasn’t let go for over 14 years.

He was laid off in dot.bomb era before we met, moved home with his parents and got another job back near me in two weeks. I consulted as my profession, worked with neighborhood pets as a side job/hobby and shelter pets/ferals as a volunteer. Through the dogs I found him a home 1,000 steps from mine. He could not visit me at home because he is deathly allergic to cats. Once he bought a gas mask and came over for dinner. Really, Darth Vader? Luke, I am your father. It lasted less than ten minutes, I think I was laughing too hard. We went out for dinner.

In the interest of spending time together I had a lot of kitchen equipment and moved some of it to his place. He brought one ugly blue plastic colander that we still have, and I brought utensils, plates, pots and pans. One day he came home for lunch from work and I was finishing up grilled cheese sandwiches (and tomato soup, of course) and he remarked “Oh, so that’s how you do it!””Hello? What planet?”

Later I got to meet his family before we eloped and his mother gave me a photo of him at age four making toast. The photo has been on our frig for years, and it only took him 30 more years to make a grilled cheese sandwich, and he likes mine better. Better choice of bread and type of cheese, I’d surmise. He’s a physicist so is methodical.

I graduated from two cooking schools, one professional in NYC and another in Italy.

My husband heard but did not listen to my cooking adventures even after he created this blog for me years ago. He is a keen critic of my food, which is well-prepared and tasty. Of late he’s taken to making fresh pasta and pancakes (not together) but only reads me recipes and I do the shopping, prep, cooking and clean-up. I’ve learned not to let him make spaghetti and meatballs (bottled sauce and dried pasta) because if I’m sick and cannot eat, none of the cleanup will be done. Oh, he also can make oatmeal with milk, topped with yogurt and berries. The walls tell stories and not about me, dear friend.

Once again, the human tornado is here in force. Oatmeal “glue” on a pot. An oatmeal bowl un-rinsed. He tells guests I have to do a newly imagined or read recipe three times before it’s right. I’ve a good palate, shop and do mis en place, cook and clean up.

Do you know what he tells me now? “Dear, you have created a food snob.” I agree. Since our old dog ate dinner off my plate while I was eating the other day, I do my thing in the kitchen, and once it is clean I tell husband and dog that The Kitchen Is Closed. Water and Dr. Pepper only. Cheers! Dee



Around this time of year we all think about family and friends. Someday I’d like to create my Mom’s prime rib, Yorkshire pudding and a few desserts. I always did the side dishes, a number of them, so I know my permutations of those. Perhaps a post on sides, though your family already have plans.

I think of food and family, and sitting down to a wonderful meal together.

My holiday wish is that every family sit down for dinner together, all together, without any electronic device. Spend a half hour together and talk about your day or anything else, show an art project from school. Tell the story of the latest soccer game or piano lesson.

I’ve thought about my experiences and recommendations and the only one I added about dinner time was “electronic devices.” It was mentioned because I believe meals, especially dinner and holiday meals, are sacred events that should not include texts or calls unless one is a cop, firefighter, or doc and it is an emergency.

My family had dinner every evening, before computers or cell phones. Every year we’d receive spice cookies from an uncle in Switzerland over the holidays. He’s long gone now, as is my mother.

Enjoy your family. Happy holidays! Dee

Scent Memories

I’ve written about taste memories but just remembered some scent memories.

The small tobacco shop my father brought me to every few weeks was remarkable. He smoked a pipe back then and we’d go get him tobacco to place in his leather pouch. I don’t know that there are places like that now but I would love to step inside and sniff one as it would make me remember my childhood, holding Dad’s hand as we walked into the shop.

Mom’s prime rib, potatoes and my sides, usually three root vegetables. The smell of bacon, especially the ones we’re getting these days with cinnamon, or a savory one all hand-smoked.

Coffee. I don’t drink it, but I love the smell of coffee. The beans, the grounds, not so much the brewed beverage. I don’t have a moral imperative against it, It’s just not my cup of tea (which doesn’t really have a scent).

BBQ. Uncle B brought up his smoking rig one year and babysat his brisket for 13 hours, his ribs for five. He might’ve brought up some sausages that year, but I was into the brisket. Scent wafting over the house, that was a Texas treasure. And that one I got to taste. Amazing.

Whenever you want to feel like a kid again, load those taste and scent memories. Close your eyes and remember. Cheers and good eating! Dee


I lived above a dairy farm as a kid and am still in touch with the two families who owned it. We had great birthday parties there, competing for the best hay fort. That’s when they made small square bales, not round ones or what we call “marshmallows” that are wrapped in plastic.

There is a quality in a human being that comes from growing up on a dairy, now ranch. The hard headed-ness and attention to detail and driving, driving, driving everything is hard.

My husband is that man and we both effect change and that bothers the people who hire us to do so because they think they want it, but do not want to live through the change to achieve their objectives, mission, vision. I’ve retired from working for money but still effect change and work to help my husband do so as well.

One of my favorite homes is tearing down its mainstay, where many US Presidents and others have spoken and countless musicians, dancers have performed. It is and should be a national historic site. My dad saved it 35 years ago with other historic buildings for eight million dollars. Now they want to tear down one historic structure and add more seats for thirty million.

I worked there for years. My father was the president. One is supposed to be uncomfortable in the wooden seats where I sang Panis Angelicus in the County vocal championship in fourth grade. Second place.

There are fights that need to be done, and those that must be left alone. Change is a scary thing in any endeavor. When my husband, in a job interview, says dairy he’s usually hired on the spot. Before we married I asked what he did on holidays, family traditions et al. He said he milked cows.

He brought me to meet his parents. I used the guest bathroom at about 5:00 in the morning and unfortunately turned on the light. There were nine bulls staring at me from 15 feet away and they thought I was his father coming out to feed them. Those glowing eyes freaked me out. That’s ranching. Have a great day! Dee

Walking Out the Door

I’ve done it. I’ve held my dog and cat during and after euthanasia because they couldn’t make a life anymore. I’ve scattered their ashes and been at hospice before my mother died several years ago.

Jobs? I left gently for better opportunities but only openly quit once. Then I was stymied by a powerful woman who seduced me over a bagel at a hotel restaurant on Central Park. She only wanted me to work for her because I knew that thing, computers. Now my husband laughs as we have a division of labor and he takes care of all electronics. I take care of the dog and everything else.

Losing faith. I only walk out on a few of those who don’t want me or who feed me to the wolves. Some I fight for anyway because they need me.

Ideas, tenacity, a brain or two and walking out the door isn’t so bad. I see it as an opportunity. Although my husband is deathly allergic to cats (I’ll tell you a story) we are cats and always land on our feet.

Walking out the door. Today. HR conversation about when all benefits will end. COBRA is nearly $1K and “marketplace” is about $4,500 per month.

So much for walking away, and away we go. Dee

100 To Go

I’ve set my goal at 2,000 posts. It was initially 1,000 but I may have gotten confused as you actually liked me.

There are 100 to go so I want reader requests, come on, I love you guys and gals and now you get to take the reins on this old horse.

I hate to leave you as my husband has actually picked up a spoon or tongs and helped me out in the kitchen. That’s not a good thing. I’d rather he get water or Dr. Pepper and move out of my way.

Yes, above all I enjoy cooking for my family and guests. There are a few guests that are always welcome at my table, you know who you are.

100 to go. Let her rip! Dee


I had a revelation today. As the lightning, thunder, wind, rain, snow and sleet came down around me I realize I have a voice.

When I was young, it was channeled into violin, piano and ballet. Then my parents got me a cheap guitar and I started up a mainly tone-deaf band at age 12.

I gave it all up. Singing a solo and being second then first chair violin was stressful. I was very shy and one parent told me I could do anything or be anything, and the other said I was worthless. That guitar was stolen.

A few years ago after I filed our taxes (which I’ve yet to do this year) I went in and bought a starter guitar and signed up for lessons. I took private lessons from  a gospel singer, then a drummer. I bought a fancy guitar and the only thing I do for it now is keep it hydrated.

I wondered why I couldn’t keep up the music, then just figured it out in this storm. I’ve found a voice. Some folks around me don’t like it, but for the past 15 years I have a voice. I called both my US Senators today. My voice and my pen (keyboard now) are my instruments for now.

Yes, every once in a while I lay back, close my eyes, tune my guitar and play Bye Bye Miss American Pie, or Teach Your Children, or even 500 Miles. Perhaps I’ll do that now.

My voice needs to be my voice and words until they are no longer needed, then I can play another instrument. I am a multi-tasker but with everything else… Think about it, Dee

Blackbird, Bye Bye

Pack up all your cares and woes,

Here I go, singing low, bye bye blackbird

…… blackbird, bye bye.

Last post, they’re selling my posts. I never wanted or got a nickel from them, I will be removing them from WordPress.

I don’t know how to do this as I’m a writer and not a techie, that’s probably why they allow people to steal my words and sell them.

To my readers, I salute you and will be back on other than WordPress. Thank you for being with me and inspiring me these few years. The grandmother who died before I was a year old sang that song to me, to get me to go to sleep. It’s that time. Dee


Mastitis Blankets?

Bibs and blankets are the theme here. Margie tells me my husband Jim always carried around a diaper or blanket as a toddler. Now I wash at least 12 tea towels per day that serve as a “bib” to make sure Jim doesn’t get egg yolk on his shirt in the morning or spaghetti sauce at night, plus kitchen duty.

There’s one scratchy blanket over the sofa, more like a “lap robe” that he uses when he’s cold, downstairs. Tonight I told him I found the perfect blanket for him on sale down the street. He talked at length about heft, warmth and feel (I know, I’m a woman and older than him and don’t need lap robes) then mentioned a mastitis blanket. And what the heck is that? Dairy cows sometimes have “udder” (akin to other) problems unknown to you and me.

He recalls his mother saving coupons from mastitis treatment packages for dairy cows and whenever you bought enough, you’d get a blanket. Hence the mastitis blanket. It’s too late to e-mail his mom tonight but what does it mean for a non-farm gal who grew up in farm country for a couple of years to hear things like this? It’s scary. Other-worldly. Plus, I was afraid that she’d go into a drawer somewhere, find one and mail it to me! And now she will.

I’m going to try a really soft, light, warm blanket that he can use, I can easily wash, and know he’ll love it, just as he loved the diapers and blankets of his childhood and lap robes of adulthood. He’ll love it and won’t have to think about milking cows ever again, or of mastitis. An update is warranted on this one! Moooooo, Dee