Category Archives: Travel

Theme vs. Similarity

My brother has me hooked on lectins, learning about them lately. We both have diseases that could have been caused by them. Pretty much every food is prohibited on a lectin-free diet. My downfall is nightshades. Aside from tobacco, which I do not use, what would I do without tomatoes, potatoes, corn and squash, eggplant, garlic, hot peppers and others? I’ve built my culinary life around these ingredients.

If you read a book about lectin they’ll tell you very few fruits and veg, no meat, fish and no dairy, no wheat, no legumes. Come on, what can we eat?

Very early this morning I watched a cooking show where the star showed a meal with freshly-picked zucchini blossoms with a ricotta filling, asparagus with a mousseline, salmon with another hollandaise-based sauce and berries with sabayon. Death by cream and eggs.

Years ago our family used to go abroad for holidays and we went to one restaurant that served the same thing every year. They were crowded and had to make a lot of things in advance but to get soup in a bread bowl (so they didn’t have to do dishes) plus every course overpowered by bread was a bit much.

One year we did our own thing. I remember a photo as pseudo-cuz and we presented home-made whole chickens and fixings to the crowd. Now I remember Mom saying that we don’t need to go out to dinner in the middle of no-where as I can cook better than any restaurant in town.

By that time, she could do so. I live in a city and have traveled the world and still cook better than any restaurant in the neighborhood. Yes! Sometimes we like different flavors so taste what we like and sometimes leave town for convenience or the need to try other foods. I have itineraries but my husband will not take me anywhere until I can walk a certain distance without arthritic pain. Europe is the initial goal.

I like varied menus. No way on Thanksgiving with 60 of my husband’s folks watching “The Game” am I going to control that menu, but I can do mine for family and friends. Bread and dairy are ways to control costs.  When I cook for a small group at home I do not have those restaurant constraints. I spend time creating a menu that is appropriate for the people we will entertain. As a mentor Julia Child would say Bon Appetit! Dee

ps We have fancy dinner service for 18 and a table for four. We have a folding table and linens for everything. That’s me.





I think not. My husband spent 100,000 miles to send me on a weekend trip, first class, to Park City, UT. The weather did not cooperate but we stayed in a lovely resort hotel and took a long drive and walked Main Street and ate at our favorite haunts. Then we hung out as after living there we’d seen all the monuments, as an old D.C. roommate had said. We weren’t under pressure to do anything in bad weather or if we just wanted to watch Netflix by one of our three fireplaces. Yeah, one bedroom, three fireplaces.

We only had two days, then he headed west and I, east for the week. From Chicago I was taking a short hop. There were no crews, so flights were delayed indeterminately. I was stuck in Chicago for three hours and changed flights because a blessed soul at the desk booked me another gate pass for another plane, nodding when I said I didn’t want to spend the night on the floor at the airport.

At that moment, Dr. Dau was physically taken out of his seat in favor of United Airlines personnel, because the plane had four passengers without a seat. I was in the airport.

I had no clue, got a boarding pass for the earlier flight that would be leaving way earlier than the later one because my original crew had never left Kentucky. The earlier 5:30 flight was delayed until 7:30 because of lack of crew.

At the new destination, we were so frustrated by the lack of information and no-one was even at the desk while we were there for hours. We had already planned a revolt because no-one would tell us anything. We had no idea of the United Airlines debacle. People had been there for hours and there were no crews. Then one showed up in uniform. Yea! We had originally wanted them to put us up for the night or charter transportation for the lot of us to Milwaukee and had a gang of eight.

Then another crew showed up in plain clothes, unbeknownst to most passengers, to take seats on our plane. I did not know the significance of this action until I showed up having changed my ticket hours ago with a new boarding pass with seat 17C. A woman was seated there. Yes, she was non-uniform crew for the next morning back to ORD.

I looked at my seat number, now knowing that paying travelers were being denied boarding for overbooking but nothing of the “big story” and just thought that as long as I was onboard, I wanted my seat. I looked at her, showed her my boarding pass and said nicely that I thought this was my seat. I only thought that she would go to the empty one by the window.

Her compatriots were in riotous laughter. All I asked for was my seat. She moved back with her friend but it was clear that they wanted space and got it and when I showed up, she was the butt of all their jokes. I felt bad that they were laughing so hard, and at her. She was angry with me so I gave her a frig magnet from Utah and all was forgiven.

Ending, I believe their policies are bad. No airline should place people who paid for a ticket and are in their seat in danger, especially to call in police to drag them out bloody to make room for their own personnel. Given a background in legislation and law and a lifetime of common sense, I think there was a “strike” of some sort by the unions after the videos went viral so there were no crews, no flights.

Unfortunately, it upset me because I was right there watching over a fellow passenger I’d never met before who’d already been at the airport three hours before our final two and was very ill. We have been in touch today, have common business interests and he is doing well. He calls me his “airport angel.” All I did was watch over him, and bring him some warm ginger ale to sip. They sat him in first class. It didn’t help that the jetway broke at our destination and we had to stay on the plane another hour for it to be fixed.

Passengers took care of each other. No-one, administration, unions, took care of us. We took the brunt of it that day. I had a wonderful vacation with my husband in the mountains. It took me many hours and travails to get home. I’d changed flights and knew my luggage would not be there. It was there, the last of four bags as they closed the carousel. My friend Joe was there to pick me up and dropped me home where I slept, then picked up my dog from great people who took care of her. There are bright lights. I saw them in the mountains. Snow-Kitties, my husband and our dog.

That’s how I’d like to remember the weekend. Sno-Cats grooming the mountain trails, sitting beside the fire. Gorgeous mountains, even one mortar went off for avalanche control. When we lived there they were my lullabies. Yes, it took a while to get used to the lights and sounds but they actually help to put me back to sleep. Back to normal life… if there is one. Dee

Snakes on a Plane?

I’ve heard of a movie of that name, never saw it. I’ve a worse nightmare, a bodysuit on a plane.

There’s a place I go to buy clothing that has bodysuits with no snaps. OK, you get to the airport with plenty of time to check in and hang out in security lines then go through TSA. After security, you buy a bottle of water for the plane. Often they don’t even give you a cup of ice cubes with a tablespoon of water in it.

So, you sip your water at the gate. Then you need to use the restroom because you’ll never get a chance to do so on the plane. No snaps means that in the airport or on the plane, you’ll have to strip down and life will never be the same. Three snaps means an annoying five minutes you’ll never get back. I suggest wearing something easy under layered sweaters. It’s always hot when you board. Then once the engines are engaged, it’s freezing.

Gals used to tell me to wear linen on the plane. It wrinkles like crazy but they said they’ll know you only want the best so you may be upgraded. I prefer basic black or white “dressy”tees under a sweater or two, coat above if needed.

Today I made a “cheater” brussels sprout and cauliflower gratin that eliminated about 17 steps from my usual recipe. Hopefully our nephew will be able to make it tomorrow as his grandfather and our cousin, Zoe’s vet, enjoy it.

I also made a cranberry orange sauce for parfaits. I may just have to make another as I will not be allowed to take it on the plane. I was supposed to take Zoe today but am holding on for now. She is a comfort to me. Note to self: do not ever wear a bodysuit on a plane again! Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving! Dee and Zoe


Mom always conveyed that I was loser, she was trapped, married to Dad and pregnant so stuck, back in the old days. Vacuuming in a dress and heels and high hair. She lost much but the year I graduated college she did as well. I was Deans’ List at 3.8 and she was summa and went on to accounting where she passed her CPA exam the first time. That was not a competition. I was very proud of her.

For several weeks now, and nearly all last year I’ve lost my husband to work everywhere. He always calls me every night but he’s overseas in India so even our new iPhone 6 S’ won’t work. Work on that, Apple.

It’s been a bit but I’ve got bruises that made it difficult to walk, sit and sleep. I couldn’t have caused them myself, maybe bruised a couple of ribs. Sleepwalking? Never did it in all my life. Maybe once I was tired so missed the bathroom by 10′ at age eight and tried to pee on a chair in the living room.

I’m also in the process of losing my right eye because of walking with husband and dog one sunny weekend afternoon and taking a spill on the very crosswalk I created. We are enrolled in health insurance but have no proof of it so no-one will see me. Pretty soon I won’t be able to see them.

Luckily my husband has a temporary international health policy for his journey. I don’t want to lose my husband, our family, our dear Zoe (the dog). No good deeds go undone. I need to do some research, pay some bills and finish our taxes. I don’t always win, but I do make things right. I don’t like losing and my husband says I even find my way through side streets to get around traffic. I do. Cheers! Dee

ps Love you, Dad! I miss you and hope you’re doing well.


True Grit

Yes, Kim Darby, John Wayne and Glen Campbell. I haven’t researched it but it must have been the breakout film for one of my favorite actors, Robert Duvall. He can also carry a tune.

It was my first time on a plane and first trip to The Big Apple. We went to see True Grit the day it opened on a big screen in Radio City Music Hall. During intermission my sister and I sat in the men’s room “lounge” until I figured out there were all men in there. We were waiting for Dad. Oops.

I saw a bit of it today and remember that trip as if it was yesterday. The big screen was amazing, as are flat screens and we don’t have a big one but do have HD, today.

Two rooms. Overlooking other rooms in a cheap Howard Johnsons near Times Square that was crime central. Three single beds for me, my younger sister, age 8, and brother, age three. He ordered hot chocolate on the plane and took a big gulp. Yes, it was hot so he spewed it all over the place.

It gets better. We lived in a village of 400 people, perhaps 1,000 when college was in session. In NYC my mother was visibly pregnant with my youngest sister. She was taking us on our first subway to see the sights while Dad was working. My brother asked about the “chocolate people” on the subway. Actually, they laughed and gave my mother a seat. We had never seen a Black person and I knew at age ten not to ask. My brother did.

True Grit. Radio City Music Hall. This was 1969. Dad bought my brother, age three, a Brooks Brothers navy suit. We walked by St. Patrick’s Cathedral and my brother told me everyone was looking at him. There were two lesbians 20′ in front of us kissing passionately.

I asked if anyone was staring at them. “No,” he said. “Then why would they be staring at you?”

It was an adventure in all senses, first plane, and True Grit was not age-appropriate for ages ten, eight and three but this trip is remembered and loved. With cheers from Dee.

ps Oh, we’ll have a neighbor joining me and Zoe tonight for a week or so and I’ll need to set up for Zoe’s little “sister,” as they do act like sisters. New dual leash to set up and we tested it last weekend and made modifications in terms of adding binder clips to keep Zoe from taking two thirds of the leash. Our guest has been here several times before so I’ve got the food routine down, if the new dual leash works and I tweak it according to their needs (so they serpentine on a swivel ahead of me, with each other rather than going around me) all will be well. D

pps I usually awaken to a song, in my head. Today it was The Wichita Lineman, thank you Glen Campbell and thanks for True Grit.

Statutes Of Limitation

I’ve learned over the years that the statute of limitations for the IRS is seven years.

Around here, a misdemeanor is three years, felony six years and homicide, eternal.

At TripAdvisor I wrote a review they would not publish because I knew a person who worked there forty years ago. I am not a murderer or burglar. I am a writer who writes of memories and things I love and would like to protect. I would never say the organization is “going to the dogs” but that’s just because I love dogs. And cats.

TripAdvisor has denied my voice and it has stolen and monetized 80,000 hits on my reviews but they will not print one review because someone told them not to print it. Luckily I’ve my own venue to do so. And people thought Chautauquans were quiet in the off-season. Never. It’s the book store and post office. If you send the Anti-Smart People there, you’ll have to go door to door and investigate traitors, round them up on the tennis courts and lock them in with no food or water or shelter. Tattoo them with numbers.

Then you might remember one moment in Chautauqua’s history. FDR made his “I Hate War” speech, a radio address, from the Miller Cottage. Chautauqua is doing this to Chautauquans simply because they have the money to do it. Just because one has money to do something does not mean it needs to be done. TripAdvisor has been told by Chautauqua not to air my views.

The Chautauquan Daily was overseen by a wonderful lady, Alfreda Irwin, for years. She’s gone now, but I’ve a lovely photo of hers of the creek where I want my ashes strewn. I bought it at a fund-raiser in Bestor Square to benefit Chautauqua and it took me 30 years to frame it. Her daughter called the Daily and they didn’t know her mother’s name. They didn’t know my father’s name. I hope they remember “Shorty,” as he was a pistol and raised a great family. All three Mediallion recipients were special to me, certainly my Dad.

Book me, Dano. I am never allowed to write a review of a non-profit organization a family member worked for 40 years ago and never took a position on demolition of the sacred amphitheater that even the National Trust for Historic Preservation wants kept intact? I asked their statute of limitation. This is not a restaurant or hotel chain, this is a non-profit organization that people care about, pay to visit and want some peace and harmony in their lives. If I’m 80 and knew my father I am not allowed to write a review. Harsh justice in my book. I’d like a court to see this one.

I used to write laws for a living. Scared me to death, writing for 34 million people at age 21. I hope of learning, knowing, arts and learning how to sail. Arts, religion, education, recreation.

Chautauqua would probably love to string up a gallows in Bestor Square. I’ve no hope of ever writing anything about Chautauqua if I ever knew anyone who lived or worked there. I’m nearing sixty so the ranks are thinning but if I had to disclose everyone I worked with when I was 19 years old and that stopped me from writing a review, what is wrong here?

Please say it’s not me. I don’t deserve life in prison or death by hanging in Bestor Plaza at Chautauqua Institution for trying to publish a review asking people to visit and see the Amphitheater and decide for themselves next season.

That’s all I did and now this is my only option. You. Write in to this blog. Just say “Save the Amp.” Forget the red ruby slippers and just say “there’s no place like home” in your heart.

Home is Chautauqua. The Amp is the heart of Chautauqua and they voted to tear it down to make more money. That tears out my heart. Respectfully, Dee

Thank You

Please is the most important, hello, good morning, good evening, good night, where is the nearest hotel, restaurant. Can I find a restroom as I’ve been on a bus all day. Today I’ll concentrate on thank you and please, as that’s even more important:

Gracias  or di nada- Mexico, please is por favor

Obrigado (men) or Obrigada (women) -Portugal…. por favor

Merci – France, please is s’il vous plait

Danke -Germany, please is bitte

Spasiba – Russia, I don’t think that there a please.Believe me, I’ve looked.

Separakallo for please, I never knew that until now, Epharisto for I don’t know any more and Parakalo for decades for thanks to the Greek people

Prego – Italian, Grazie or grazi mille which means a thousand thanks for a really great meal or service, I don’t know the rules.

The most important item before you get to this is learn please, thank you and your family are welcome to visit our country in English, Spanish, German or whatever language the hosts speak. They do not feel at home in our country sometimes, but we always must be made welcome in theirs. Yes, visitors may actually come here, even with TSA, to see New York or a university.

When visiting anywhere in your town or all over the world please learn the words PLEASE , excuse me, directions and follow up any kindness with a Thank You. We’ll all get a better reputation if Americans don’t rush in saying that everyone must speak our (not Brit) English.

This is the beginning, as we Americans must say please and thank you, at the very least, to our world neighbors when they visit our country, if one would prefer to skip learning a few words of the local language while asking for the route to the nearest restaurant or even more importantly, restroom facilities, you might want to reconsider those few words or just not travel and demand it of them.

Sorry, but as far as I am concerned the lady with the pink umbrella, parasol or brolly leading you off the bus visiting another country is one who will never actually be useful as she will never allow you to see the country you’re paying through the nose to see or let you even have lunch on your own. There will always be that umbrella, herding you. And it’s always attached to the person who peaked in high school, has a high voice and probably was a wanna-be cheerleader. Sorry, I don’t want to go on a trip with her. I leave my dog at home when we’re away with a sitter, I don’t need be herded for a week or two.

Reach out. Of course contact the State Department to find out what nations not to visit at any day. Then fly on your own and you’ll be free to find destinations other than London, Paris and Rome. As the venerable character Mame would say, “Live.” Do it yourself and have a great time. I have on my own with family and husband and work and it can be wonderful.

Go to an art gallery first and look at how many visions these local/worldwide artists had for their environs and for the world. Then go to your local restaurant (with patrons seated and the restaurant not empty) and ask for their local specialties. Look at my reviews on TripAdvisor! Share plates with your spouse. Back to the ship down the Danube or your car or train or tour bus and go.

Make sure to have dessert! And at least another three days because there are more museums to see, Dee

ps What, the ship sailed? Not ours. There are still art museums to see and mechanical and strange medical museums for my husband to attend. All we can do is see how it goes. We don’t mind splitting up for a few hours a day and meeting for dinner. Dee

Dear George Clooney, Director

Mr. Clooney, I must thank you for making Monuments Men once again. I must be brief because storms have started again and I must make sure our dog feels safe.

I learned things backwards in college as art taught me history (our old dog Zoe just came out to the office to see me during the next round of this incessant storm and I placed her on the sofa). History did not teach me art. History only taught me dates, 1066, Battle of Hastings. When I put things together between my curricula everything started to make sense.

The art of Greece, Romans, Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation plus Impressionists and even Dada-ism, gave me insight into the politics of the day. Yes, I worked in politics for a bit but ended up in arts and consulting.

When your crew, in the film, brought back the Ghent altarpiece that now resides at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, I felt it. Especially so with Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child at the Bruges church. Now it has a different abode, with bulletproof glass and no visitors within 15 feet.

What are we doing to our art now? I consider it ours, the world’s populace, as it is our heritage. At the 1964 World’s Fair where most people think aliens take off near the historic world dome, I saw the Pieta. We only got to go down an escalator into a black room with a white light on this historic work, then go back up on another several feet away.

I will never forget that day, just as I didn’t when JFK was killed. I was five years old and knew I had a passion I’d find someday. Years later I went to St. Peters’ at the Vatican and they, Madonna and the Dead Jesus Christ were there, but protected after the Pieta was shot. I have not been back since that day over 30 years ago.

Sad that we are doing to this art what the Nazis did, they did protect or burn it to keep it from the people who love it. We just have it in museums that don’t allow most people in because of high ticket prices. Perhaps they might see a work their family owned before the War. I’ve traversed the Ponte Vecchio many times as well as Florence’s churches and new bridges, post WWII. I’ve seen what war has done to Europe and Britain and the US. Also floods, think 1966, the rising of the Arno and Cimabue’s Altarpiece.

I believe these soldiers and their compatriots in the art world and not necessarily the Army, deserve credit. Thank you and I must go, the storms have taken up again and it’s only me and the dog tonight so she needs to be taken care of. Dee


Over my storied life, I have learned much from my family, school and music teachers, my husband and his family, my work at several venues and of course my dear professors.

There is nothing as educational or wisdom-producing as having responsibility for a life. No, we don’t have children, not our blessing. But I’ve been responsible for the lives of two cats and two dogs in my life over the years.

It’s like being a parent, you watch what goes in and what comes out. Sneezes as a little one and bumps as they age. You choose to adopt and take on a life and at the end, help ease them out of it.

Being responsible for a life teaches care above oneself, humility, joy, and as our Zoe would say ROUTINE. You have to go to the vet for shots, surgeries, even a first senior blood panel and keep your dog quarantined anywhere in the US under the British travel scheme permanently in case you’re sent overseas.

My first dog and cats passed after many happy years over 13 years ago. Now I’ve one old dog, nearly eleven years who we’ve had from six weeks of age. Five walks per day, perhaps six. Creating an indestructible toy. Baths and brushing and her herding us. Deciding to have her hips removed as a pup as she had severe hip dysplasia and going through two recoveries. Oh, she walks just fine and can run fast and corner because she had to grow her own hips from cartilage.

She doesn’t usually bark or whine, just stares until we do what she wants. If she’s over 70 in “dog years” perhaps that is what I should start to do. Just stare at my husband until he does what I want. Ah, well, it doesn’t work with people unless you want a horrible relationship. It does work for a herder, however. Patience is another virtue while caring for another life. It’s 5:00, time for dinner. It’s 5:02, you’re late. Get into the magic room and make my dinner, I don’t care if you’re writing about me on the blog. OK, I’m full, now I need to go for a walk. Stare.

She says “I killed a mouse today. I ate an old dead bird off the pavement and am going to vomit 48 hours later, in a safe place, your bed. Seven loads of laundry later you’ll still love me.” And we do.

Education is key. My first dog was abused for a year then in a shelter for the next. I was a volunteer and met her the first week and we were buddies but she was terrified of men, especially those in uniform, and kids. Even at this no-kill shelter there was word of another meeting to decide her fate. She was home with me the next morning. All it took was a home, love, care and training and she was the best rehabilitated dog in the world. Everyone loved her, and the kids would call out her name from the tot lot and run up to pet her and she adored them.

Did I hear the word sacrifice? No. It’s joy. For many years I was alone, not just single, alone. These were my companions and still are. Our dog Zoe follows me everywhere to make sure her pack is intact, especially as my husband has been off on a work assignment. Trust and loyalty are traits I admire from both me and Zoe. And my old dog’s ashes are in a teddy bear’s heart I move everywhere.

I do not hunt squirrels, however. Don’t worry, she’s on a 6′ leash and couldn’t get them even if she was off it, my dear hip-less wonderdog. Or bunnies. She doesn’t understand why they stay still until she’s 10′ away so they’re just interesting, not prey until they bolt. One thing is that I learn something new every day and that has always been my goal in life in all arenas. Cheers, Dee



I’m going to begin with something you will not expect. I helped a roommate and dear friend go through surgery of all wisdom teeth under sedation and I picked her up and nursed her through the weekend. She gifted me with a lamp and called me her Florence Nightingale. We are still randomly in touch 30 years later.

Florence as a city, while I’ve not traveled the entire world, is my favorite. After many years there is still so much I’ve not yet seen because the Ufizzi beckons me and Sta. Croce. I could cry just writing about Donatello’s Annunciation there, and Michelangelo’s Magdalen at the Duomo Museo.

What I love to do is get food for dei gatti (the cats) and walk up to San Miniato al Monte and leave the cat food and used to be lire for the lady who takes care of them. She always refused the money but would take it for the feral cats.

I’ve Florentine scarves, purses et al from Dad but would rather see Dad and go eat great food in the morning and make him organic whole wheat blueberry pancakes. And get the perfect pear. Yum. Cheers, in the Florentine style, Dee