Category Archives: Uncategorized

Making Do

I’m reminded of an old story where a young bride goes to make her first roast for guests and her husband sees her cutting off an entire end of the roast before placing it in the oven. “Why did you just do that,” he asked. She told him she didn’t know, that her mother always did it that way.

She asked her mother. Same answer. She asked her mother and sure enough, her mother didn’t have a pan large enough for the roast. So much for family tradition!

When my own mother came into her own in the kitchen she decided to create a very British Christmas because her father was from Jolly Olde England and she also had Irish relatives. Unbeknownst to me, she wasn’t a fan of turkey and while it was OK to have it once a year for American Thanksgiving (she was always a Canadian citizen) she wasn’t about to have it for Christmas as well.

So it was to be prime rib au jus, roasted potatoes (in the drippings, yum), lots of different veggies and Yorkshire pudding. For dessert, she and my sisters baked for two months, beginning in early November but the most Brit of the desserts was mincemeat tarts. She and my aunt tried to make mincemeat one year but that’s another story. So Crosse and Blackwells it was. Now she had to make and cut the tart pastry.

By the time I became aware of my passion for cooking, she already had the routine down pat. For the bottom she used an old champagne glass, the type that was made to fit Marie Antoiette’s breast and not the kind that does the most for Champagne’s bubbles. For the “hats,” as my Aunt L called them, that called for a small champagne flute. They were both the perfect size. We only had one of each glass and they were not fine crystal by any means, but they served their purpose for many years.

I hope Mom passed those along to my sisters, who often bake. Whenever I saw a cookie cutter over the years I’ve been on my own, one that I like, I’d buy it. Then I started making dog cookies so found the requisite paw and bone-shaped cutters for those.

It was only when I went to cooking school that I found that one could buy measured cookie cutters nested in their own little box. I recently found one on Amazon with 12 round cutters that range from one inch to 4.4,” all for about ten bucks. My old fluted set rusted out but this one should last, especially if I don’t let them soak in soapy dishwater. That may be the perfect gift for my sisters, for other purposes. They’re already making do with Mom’s muffin tins and the two perfect champagne glasses, for mincemeat tarts.

I think there’s some mincemeat in my new pantry. I may have to find out which cutters fit my muffin tins! Cheers! Dee

All Three Made It!

We moved last weekend. We still haven’t found our normal toothbrushes or silverware yet but I cooked for the first time (pre-formed meatballs, jarred spaghetti sauce) the other night. We haven’t started on our offices yet and bathrooms are still in disarray but my computer’s running and we have made a sideboard and two bookcases once those boxes get unpacked. At this rate it’ll be a couple of weeks.

Today is my pantry, knives, spice rack, coat rack and my husband’s new, still-in-the-box sit/stand desk which he’s excited to open. The cavalry is coming in in the way of my housekeeper and a friend so we’ll bang some tough things out. Like the bumpers on my dining table and my husband’s glass desk. The bumpers came off the furniture so he got new ones, we have to replace them, clean the glass and the movers put both glass tops on upside down so that’s a two-person job at least.

The first, pristine box I packed included the remains of two of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. Chani was an abused Golden/X from a shelter who I rehabilitated and had for ten years, and Zoe, another shelter dog, this one a pup, an Aussie mix who my husband and I adopted at five weeks of age and had for fifteen years. Chani is in the the heart of a teddy bear she found at a flea market sale in a local park. She just walked up to the largest stuffed animal she saw and picked it up in her mouth so for fifty cents I let her have it. A dear friend who is gone now, a milliner whose husband, a Navy Captain (ret.) married us, thought that bear would be a perfect final resting place. After scattering most of Chani’s ashes in her favorite park and planning a tree ceremonially (which is doing great!) she took a bit of the ashes in a little baggie and sewed them behind a red felt “heart” trimmed with lace and teeny beads.

When Zoe, our next dog, was a pup we moved next door to prove a point and a couple of friends came over to help carry things over. I told her that Zoe could have any of Chani’s stuffed toys save one, the teddy bear with Chani’s remains. Zoe shows up at our new place with my friend and a huge brown teddy bear sticking out of her mouth. “Look, Mommy!” Since then it’s been safely on a high shelf. Zoe died in Texas, while I was in the hospital three years ago. Her remains are in a small cedar box with nameplate and lock and key. We also have her paw print framed in a shadow box that hung in the kitchen over her food bowl, her favorite place in the house.

So now that my two favorite dogs were safely ensconced in a box and the move was on, I told Lulu, our young, dear headstrong full Mini Aussie that if she was good, she could move with us as well. Honestly, she might have been happy wandering the halls of our old tower, happy to be taken in by all the friends she met there! She made it, of course, and is getting used to the new place. I’ve only found two of her three beds so far and there’s not a shred of wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms (a good thing) so she’s looking for hangouts by the windows. Same view, well, similar, 300 feet further in from the Lake and 30 feet lower. But it’s a huge place and once we hang the quilts it should be less cacophonous. A better view, actually, with the two balconies and view of the bike trail below,

We needed the extra space for what has become a Zoom career and we just love the view and the old Olmstead parks that dot the shoreline. It’s city but not. It’s our home base for now. Hopefully it’s for a while because moving is a bear that I do not want to repeat anytime soon.

I called my housekeeper a “moving goddess” this morning as we talked time of day for her to slot us in. Two weeks ago she cleaned while her dear big sister helped me pack two sets of fine china and all the crystal. Nothing broke. One of my old-fashioned glass lemon reamers broke, but I’ve two others. I packed that one. Oops. All the china and crystal is put up, and I even have room for it! We’re down to probably thirty boxes to unpack. Most of them are books, office stuff and pantry items.

A couple of weeks and we should be able to entertain should we be up to the task. Lulu made it here. She’ll entertain before next week is out. Rue wants to come over for a play date, and we just met Jack, a toy Aussie just rescued last week. Her date book is filling up quickly and it includes an annual vet visit just before her third birthday on New Years Eve. I’ll be up to making cookies, perhaps chicken liver cookies this year, for her to give to friends on her special day. That’s something for a retired pet parent to look forward to. Back to work, must make breakfast for the gang. Cheerio! Dee

They Took Our Toothbrushes!

Yesterday we hired two “packers” from a national company to help us in the final stages of moving. First we had to pay the company for their time, for them to collect later. We estimated four hours. The company said we could easily change it to three if we called them the next day. They lied. The kids, yes they were kids, showed up and I had asked the company if they could move a few things to trash for us first. OK.

I’ve tried for weeks to find our ten year-old sofa a home at a local charity but to no avail. One wouldn’t take it because they no longer enter people’s homes for anything since COVID, another because we don’t have a driveway or garage on the 15th floor, and the last because it looks like someone had sat on it once. So it was sadly trash-bound. One of these kids wanted it for himself or to sell. So they spent an hour using nearly an entire roll of our cling wrap to protect it from the rain and place it in their truck.

The first hour was shot. Then I found out they didn’t know how to pack a box, even how to use a mover’s tape dispenser. There was no way these kids were getting near my mother’s Lenox gravy boat. As they tore off two-inch pieces of tape to seal an overstuffed or under-packed box, another hour elapsed. Then they quit for lunch and left for an hour.

When they returned they still didn’t know how to pack a box or use tape, I set them to books. A little better. Then bathroom closets. I asked them to stick to closets but no, even after being asked to leave everything be because we had to live here for two more days, they didn’t listen. They packed our toothbrushes in the toothbrush holder, how I shudder to think but I’ll buy new toothbrushes before using those. Then they packed my husband’s glasses. My husband can’t see without his contacts. Practically blind, after he takes out the contacts to go to bed, he puts on his glasses with titanium frames so he can lose them if he falls asleep watching the Tonight Show and they’ll survive.

Gone. We let them go an hour early. I just couldn’t take it anymore. They left thinking they were the cat’s meow and that they’d certainly be called back again. And in taking the sofa cushions now that it had stopped raining (and draining us of a number of tall kitchen garbage bags), they dropped the note containing their payment code by the elevator. I didn’t know what it was so when I found it, I threw it away. They called moments later from the road, and I searched for and found it. Yes, they got paid.

I’ve always believed in our public schools, and was a product of them when my very Catholic (at the time) mother checked out the parish school in our small village and found it wanting. This is something else altogether. One of them was just lazy and stupid and will get what he deserves in life. The other has potential, and a one-year old daughter, but may be limited by his education if he doesn’t know to fight for more. He thinks he can be a music consultant because he likes rap, but has never picked up a musical instrument. No, I didn’t let him touch my instruments, as I had already packed them myself.

Moving is a bear, but hopefully the extra work left to us to accomplish alone will get done. Today we get the keys to our new place, and a new living room carpet and sofa will be delivered there, that won’t have to be moved on Saturday. Lulu’s at doggie camp with our long-time in-home pet-sitter who she loves (I’ll bet she’ll run around with his dog and barely miss us) and we have movers coming tomorrow morning. We have the weekend to finish the move and lock up a ten-year phase of our lives.

That’s life as the sun rises over the lake and I get to packing. How’s your day going? Cheers! Dee

A Sense of Place

As I continue clearing out to move in a few weeks, there is some trepidation as I decide on which pile and how much to save. I know that anything I place in storage will go unheeded for perhaps years so I try to throw more away.

As we age, however, there are some things one needs to have a true home. My husband appears to be quite nonchalant about things in general. My “I might need that” is tempered sometimes by his “we can always get another.” Some things, however, are not easily replaceable. He has no problem with the thought of getting rid of everything and going to live on the road. Not me. I’ve been collecting for forty years, since graduating college, and these things mean a great deal to me. We did pick up once and live overseas for a few months, but kept our home as it was and moved right back in after we picked up our dog from a friend.

When we got married, his mother gave us three quilts. I never learned to even sew, having failed that, my first and only badge attempt, in Girl Scouts. One she started when she got married, a crazy 70’s geometric quilt with every color in the rainbow. A second quilt, small and dainty with little flowers, had been in her family for a couple of generations and is made of flour sacks. It’s about a 5′ hexagon that she backed and bordered and it hangs in our guest room.

Another has never been on a wall, it’s of little boys in overalls with sun hats that she made to put on my husband’s bed when he was a child. I’ve never asked but I’ll bet his little brother has one as well.

I have framed photos that I’ve taken of the places we’ve lived and I’ve visited over the years, and artwork that my father has painted, and a beautiful drawing of a pas de deux from an American art museum that Dad bought at auction for me. Neither of us have a childhood home to visit, anymore, so I’d like to make sure that as we take this next step toward a “forever home” we bring our pasts with us into our future.

For him, I chose a shabby chic Texas flag quilt for his new office. We’ve asked the artist to place a sleeve on the back so it can be hung, so that should be done next week and shipped to us before we move. I’ve chosen a country sampler quilt, from Canadian artists. That is on its way here as I write this, and the artist will be happy to know it is going to a good home.

I love the story of the quilters meeting every month for lunch for a year, until they finished their twelve blocks each. That they’re Canadian makes the story even better as it makes me think of three infamous sisters from Montreal, who are no longer with us. My mother and my two aunts loved Canada. Her eldest sister lived in Montreal and Toronto all her life, and the youngest moved to the States, near our family, became an English teacher and in the 1970’s became a U.S. citizen. Mom lived in the United States for fifty years and remained proud of her Canadian citizenship until the day she died.

So, to our new home, far from family and childhood memories, we will take a version of them. Perhaps as we gently age, gracefully I hope, looking at our walls will stir memories and stories of days gone by. My mother-in-law introduced me to quilts as an art form. Thanks, M. Cheers! Dee

Perception

Recently my brother told me something that really made me think. Our father was a violinist and music teacher, all instruments. We were basically expected to take up an instrument as a child, and learn to play. Music was still taught in public schools back then, so I started early and had wonderful violin and voice teachers.

For me it was violin, his love above all other instruments. Dad bought a used baby grand so my sister and I both took up piano, with a private teacher. My brother ended up with the trumpet, and only recently told me it was Dad’s idea, not his. He’d always wanted to take piano as well.

I asked him what he remembered about trumpet, except being forced to practice at home so he cleverly decided to do so at 6:00 a.m. while walking up and down the upstairs hallway and waking all of us. We put an end to that, and he was gleeful to comply.

He said he remembered counting. What? Counting what? Bars, he said. I didn’t understand. He said he had to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 4 … until the trumpets came in. It never occurred to me. I was first violin, second chair. I was always playing! It never occurred to me that others had to wait until the conductor (and originally, the composer) wanted them to play.

The most egregious slight is to the guy who plays the cymbals. The only time he gets to strut his stuff is on July 4th, during the 1912 Overture! Then he’s drowned out by, you guessed it, the fireworks!

Think about perceptions of two recent political morasses. One is the “human infrastructure” bill and whether funding should be provided to seniors for vision, dental and hearing. Today’s arguments are pointless unless you go back to the initial thinkers who conceived of insuring ones health to begin with. Who ever thought that being able to see, hear and chew food were luxuries that only a few should have? Who thinks now that it’s OK for all old people to lose basic bodily functions because they’re frivolous? Think again. Perception. I am not yet eligible for Medicare but even my arm-and-a-leg (literally and figuratively) health care now offers little in the way of vision, hearing and dental.

Then think about voting rights. Lots of good folks have fought and died for voting rights in our country. Now one party is saying that the presidential election was rigged even though they know that it wasn’t. Why wasn’t their election/re-election rigged as well? Why only Donald Trump?

Now states are passing draconian laws to stop people from voting and, if they do somehow find a way to cast a ballot, deny that person’s right to vote and substitute partisan judgment instead. Why? Because even though the Constitution says people are eligible to vote, they’re the “wrong” people. Why? Because they don’t like my guy. Or gal. That’s not fair, or Constitutional. So why has our perception changed so much in four years, why is it now appropriate to laud white supremacy and think that others are not worthy of representation in our democracy?

Some things to think about on this grey Fall day. I’m counting until you finish thinking and we can all play our National Anthem together. 1, 2, 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 4, … Cheers! Dee

A Fresh Start

OK, I’ll say it. I’m over sixty years old and this is the first time I’ve ever lived in the same place for ten years. I remember putting my tooth through my lip at age six while playing jump rope with my sister. I tied one end of the rope to my bike and twirled the rope while my little sister jumped, and our neighbor Joey took my bike as a joke. I fell, in the driveway, and missed my class trip to the zoo the next morning. But I can’t look out the window of that family home and say, it was there, right there! I don’t even have a photo of it but I do remember playing touch football in the street with the neighborhood kids, and then the country house climbing a rope down the 150′ cliff by our front door (my parents made us use the back door) to play in the creek. But I can’t see it for myself. Even my husband’s family’s farm that they built fifty years ago has recently been torn down for “progress” that is Dallas needing more and more miles to grow northward.

Now my husband and I have been in the same place for ten years and I’m about to learn a new word, again. Purge. I’ve ten years of stuff to purge so we can move in five weeks time. We’re not going far, same town for now, even. It’s even smaller that that, or bigger, both. One tower to another. Bigger.

Purge, once begun later today, will probably become my favorite word for a while, because I want a shiny new home with everything in its place. But I’m scared to take that first step, our closet. Then begins the separation, as we’ll each for the first time, have a separate office. I have to “divorce” our books. Software manuals in his office, cookbooks in mine. We’ll each have our own sanctuary and the dog, who must be by one of our sides at all times, will have to choose.

COVID was a prime instigator of the move. If my husband’s clients are not back at the office en masse yet, he has to professionalize his home office to be able to Zoom well, and that includes equipment for meetings and for teaching teams. He much prefers one-on-one training sessions but this’ll have to do until everyone’s vaccinated. That and my need to change things up a bit.

When we brought home Lulu at eight weeks, nearly three years ago she inherited our old dog’s beds and food bowls. I never removed the few “doggie nose” prints on the lower windows from Zoe, our fifteen year-old Aussie mix who died, because I thought the pup might need to know the best places to lay her head. Now, she does. When I see Lulu lying in the guest bath door a few feet from the front door with her head in the hall so she can make sure no-one comes or goes without her OK, I see Zoe’s head in the same location. Or propped up on the radiator looking out the 15th story window to life below, all the birds and squirrels and doggie friends. Fresh paint on the walls, new carpets and appliances, and a few new things and it’ll be a jump-start that we need after twenty years together. Yep, we met at a TGI Fridays 20 years ago today, over 2,000 miles away. We’ve lived in seven places together, so far, since that day. This’ll be lucky number eight.

We’re not getting any younger, so this will be another stepping stone to our forever home, where we can retire and enjoy our time together and apart. When he was a kid he built himself a workshop, while his younger brother concerned himself with outdoor activities like canoeing. I see a large workshop for him that he can tool up for whatever he wants to build. Rockets? OK, but only if you aim them away from the house. That’s fine, dear.

I’m content with an eminently workable kitchen, pantry and garden and look forward to having a shady, verdant back yard with quiet spaces to enjoy and entertain with a woodburning stove. And a separate space to throw a ball or do some agility with the dogs. Whoops, did I say dogs? Nothing, honey, I didn’t just say that, really. Yes, when we get Lu a little sister. But that’s the future, this is now. Consider this boot camp. Before Thanksgiving we’ll have a new HQ. You’ll still know where to find me and I’ll try to check in from time to time. Hope the Fall is treating you kindly. Cheers! Dee

You Go Girl(s)!!!

Sorry, you’re no longer girls but brave and talented young women. Part of your childhood was stolen from you and while you can’t get back what you lost, you can make sure others are not deprived in the same depraved fashion.

I watched this past week as Ms. Reisman, Ms. Nichols, Ms. Lorincz, Ms. Maroney and Ms. Biles testified to the United States Senate about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Dr. Nasser, a horrible person who luckily is prison and can’t hurt anyone else for the rest of his life.

I was a wide-eyed girl in 1972 when America watched Olga Korbut leap and twirl to stardom. I’d never seen anything so beautiful and I decided to join our high school gymnastics team as a high school freshman. The cheerleaders took over and they could do a back handspring and splits. All I had was tiny-ness and six years of ballet, and grace, and splits. I never competed back then but it was fun learning.

When we moved north to start Junior year, I was elected captain of our team for two years and that was fun as well. I also took additional lessons and taught at a gym owned by a former Olympic beam champion. Never an elite gymnast, I let it fall to the wayside, but did teach summers to pay my way through college.

If last week was heartbreaking for all those who watched the Senate hearing, think about what those young girls went through for years.

What I know about gymnastics is that there was no way the USA could compete worldwide because the Soviet Union and other countries had state-sponsored Olympic sports like gymnastics. Instead, the US sought to teach children the sport.

That, in and of itself, requires the regulating entities to have a duty of care above and beyond that of caring for adult athletes. While this particular hearing focused on the FBI’s ineptitude, disinterest, and certain agents’ lack of moral compass, there’s more there, there.

Let’s start with the Olympics regulatory agencies, SafeSport and the US Gymnastics Federation. They are all at fault here. If the US Senate does anything, they should make sure that an independent body keeps all Olympic athletes safe from abuse. This body must have some muscle, because the runaround these ladies suffered compounded their physical abuse, and as such is a disgrace.

It intrigued me to see the Senators. They had no idea what to do. Luckily it was the Senate and not the House, where certain members could have made fun of these brave young women just because that’s basically what they do no matter the subject. These Senators weren’t squirming visibly but they were mightily uncomfortable.

To these brave athletes, the best I can hope for is that these Senators think of what they would say to their daughter (grand-daughter, great-grand-daughter) if she comes to them and says she wants to become an Elite gymnast. Right now, they should say, not now, sweetie. How about next year after we make sure you’re safe. Cheers, Dee

20 Years

It was late afternoon when there was loud pounding on the door, people shouting “CNN! CNN!” It was the next door neighbors alerting us to the bombing of the World Trade Center.

As the evening turned into night, one could think of nothing else. We’d just returned from a wonderful saiing trip echoing that of Odysseus through the Ionian Sea for my father’s 70th birthday and I was in Florence, Italy for just a couple of days before flying home to California. All I wanted to do was get home to the US but all flights were cancelled.

Each morning I started out by walking to the Ponte Vecchio to the Continental Airlines office to see when I could get home. En route to the apartment I stopped at the US Consulate next door where they told me no deal, try tomorrow.

When CNN International wasn’t on, I was actually developing my photos from the trip, even had time to mount them in photo books. I meandered around Florence seeing everything I could.

What I remember most are the people. I picked up clothes at the cleaners and they said they were so sorry. Same at the grocery. Through the Consulate I got to know some folks and they invited me to a memorial service with a lot of ex-pats.

One day at the main square, the Piazza Signoria, hundreds of people filled the space, holding hands while a lone church bell tolled mournfully for three minutes.

One day the Consulate said that the airline could get me to Newfoundland, but they were sure my summer dresses wouldn’t serve me well as I may be in Canada for some time!

Finally, I was able to catch a flight from Rome. When I went through Customs in LA, all the agent said to me was “Welcome home” and I cried. Again.

None of my family or friends were killed but it felt like America itself was wounded, and the world did reach out. We also reached out to each other. Frankly, I wouldn’t have met my husband of 18 years had we not run into each other in early October, 2001.

I heard former President George Bush speak at Shanksville, PA this morning, on TV. What a powerful speech. It’s a pity it’ll be buried by the right-wing media. I’ve agreed with little George Bush has ever said, but this speech is something we should hear and I’m going to look for it to read as well. Powerful stuff. We should listen, and think about the heroes of 9/11 and our future as a nation.

Our world is a different place, now with our major terrorist danger coming from within our borders. I think it’s time we all put our weapons (words are a weapon) aside and realize that we are one people, with problems that we have always solved together. That is what makes us strong, makes us the United States of America. Not red or blue, united. I write in peace and understanding, Dee

One Day, Several Wins

Of course today the US Senate passed what is now known as the “bipartisan” infrastructure bill. One would assume that this one deals with roads and bridges that all legislators know about. What one half of Congress fails to understand is that being against “human” infrastucture, is short-sighted. This Democratic-only completion of the infrastructure package is needed as well. Today, we’ll celebrate the bipartisan win. To quote Scarlet O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.

New York State, my home state and home of my high school and college alma maters, has a new Governor starting in two weeks. Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul of Buffalo for becoming the first female governor! That’s a big win. I must also give a hearty “You go girl!” to this upstater. I can’t remember when there was a governor from upstate, but there must be one or two in the state’s history.

People don’t understand that New York is essentially two states, upstate and New York City. When the newly formed Crime Victims Board was created during my tenure we knew that felons wouldn’t fund it, though through the “Son of Sam Law” we were able to capture all proceeds from books or movies that would otherwise go to the felon. It was funded by a portion of driving violations. So upstate speeders pay victims of downstate crimes.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, shortly after he said he would be governor of ALL New Yorkers, depicted upstate cities and towns as sterile and boring, and the women as wearing gingham dresses. When I was working for the legislature, the Speaker’s driver asked me where I lived. I told him. He asked how long a drive. Seven hours from Albany, I told him. I had to point it out on the wall map before he believed how far Chautauqua County was from NYC. My first time as an adult in the Big Apple, I almost doubled over in the subway turnstile and the man next to me asked what planet I was from. I’d only seen a turnstile when I went into our village library, so they could count the number of patrons and justify their existence, had never had to put in a token!

Yes, I grew up in upstate New York and never saw a woman in a gingham dress. And I’m sure that Lt. Gov. Hochul doesn’t wear one either. She did attend Syracuse University, but I won’t hold that against her. They used to wipe the floor with our basketball team when they were Div. I and we were Div. III, back in the olden days when we were both at school, yes and we’re the same age.

My theme for the day is women’s rights. A woman has the right to high government office, and to live and work without harassment because of her gender. Olympians and now an incoming governor are people to look up to for being all that they can be. Today’s a good day. Now, Olympian ladies, make sure you can compete in future wearing sport-fitted uniforms and not teeny weeny polka dot bikinis! Cheers! Dee

The More Things Change…

You know the rest, but first, I’ll lead in with an upbeat story. Today I went out to find a new Zoom shirt for my husband, as he’s tough to fit and the stores are almost switched over to fall apparel. New job calls for him to work from home sometimes so I try to find him short-sleeved button-downs that look good on camera and sometimes elicit comments from colleagues. Today I found a navy button-down with fish on it, funny as he’s deathly allergic to fish.

While I awaited an open cashier, the lady in front of me and I struck up a conversation. Turns out she’s a retired teacher of differently-abled students. She retired because when a student acted up or became upset in class, she’d kneel down to his/her level to fix the situation. When the episode was over, her arthritis was so bad she had to ask for help getting up. I understand that problem all too well.

We each checked out and met again going out to the parking lot. I thanked her for all her years of teaching and she said that she misses her students every day, especially with COVID shutting down the schools all last year. She also said that she hoped I had a career that fulfilled me as hers had. What a stunning remark. I thought about it and said that my early career in government had made my consulting career possible and that one of the most rewarding clients’ mission was getting parents in needy neighborhoods to become more involved in their childrens’ education.

Today made me think about my career and life’s work. My favorite job, bar none, was my first adult job right out of college. I joined a staff of sixty as a legislative analyst for the New York State Assembly. That was forty years ago. All the “kids” were my age, very smart and driven and because we worked all the time, we became family.

Hugh Carey was Governor then, shortly before Andrew Cuomo’s dad, Mario won the governorship. Today the prodigal son was found to have acted with sexual impropriety with female staff. I’m not surprised. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When I was there, it was the most sexist place I’d ever seen in terms of randy men and low female salaries. I learned early on about the “Bear Mountain Rule,” which was that basically anything that happened in Albany, stayed in Albany.

One legislator, when I found myself alone with him on an elevator for a moment or two, actually said “Too bad you’re wearing tights. If you were wearing knee socks I’d just lift that kilt right up.” Then there was the lawyer assigned to my committee. For months he’d been asking me to dinner saying it was just an informational dinner shared by two colleagues. I finally said yes, chose the place that was one my roommate and I frequented for burgers, and went.

He drove me home and asked to come up to my apartment. I said no, I had an early morning and that I didn’t like guests walking through the wide-open first floor offices of a health care lobbyist downstairs. He got out of his car and kept asking. Finally he said, and I quote “You’re an attractive woman, I’m a man. We both have needs.”

I almost peed my pants. I ran inside and locked the door, ran upstairs and my roommate was there with a couple of friends having not come to my rescue at the restaurant. They were there to see how my “date” went and we laughed uncontrollably. The next morning, I was called into the office of his boss’s boss and asked to shut the door. I couldn’t think of why he needed to talk to me but figured my chairman or some other member was upset about some legislation.

He said “What happened?” I was confused. “Last night.” OMG. I told him and he almost fell off his chair laughing. The guy never asked me out again. If news got around his staff that quickly, I certainly did not want my name or reputation associated with it!

I had a huge committee, 750 bills per year to manage and track, all before computers. I worked long hours and covered for others because I was single and lived two blocks from the Capitol, standing by especially during Session when the members were in town. Raises came and went and I was happy with a cost of living adjustment. Then I found out a guy who started two years after me was making more money. I asked why.

“Because he has a wife and kids.” That was the eighties. Now New York’s governor is apologizing and hoping to keep his position. I’m advised by the news that New York hasn’t tried to impeach a governor in 100 years. There are questions as to whether his are impeachable offenses. We’ll see. Anything’s possible in politics.

They hired me because I’m smart and learn fast. In no time I was fending off pick-up lines like a pro. Nothing like a quick “How’s your daughter Anna doing, isn’t she in law school now?” to neutralize the attack. Fair play. That’s all women ask. Cheers! Dee