Tag Archives: education

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



I’ve a seven year-old cell phone that the new ones sneer at. I also love books and the errant lands where I may be when everything is digitized.

I love paper, my books. Sitting on my bed with books a long time ago, on my bed because that was the only room I could afford to heat to 55 degrees in the winter while I planned dinner parties for friends and out-of-town guests. The other rooms were at 45 degrees and bathroom at nothing because it was not zoned, until guests arrived.

My parents bought me an arctic weight comforter one year and it allowed me to peruse several cookbooks at a time atop the duvet cover. I’d invite guests, shop and prep and cook in a tiny place with the frig door facing the wrong way, a bete noire of mine. All the planning was made from my cookbooks and notes taken from bed at a warm 55 degrees underneath my comforter.

Today I’ve the benefit of cooking school. I still love my books and can’t get new ones on my iPhone because it’s just too old. It allows me to talk to my husband and others so it’s OK.  There’s a new comforter and cover, at least 15 years old. Most of my instincts tell me what to cook as to what is in the market and some ideas I look to online because I was away from my cookbooks for several years as all of our stuff was in storage. I get lots of ideas and actually bring food into the grocery store to reward my providers and get comments.

Books of all sorts brought me alive as a young child and continue to do so. My husband will tell you I love paper, and I do. For a recent marriage I sent cookbooks and spices because I taught the bride rudimentary cooking when she was a kid.

I buy out-of-print cookbooks for kids, newlyweds all the time. What happens when the pipeline closes? No one will know the classics of all time. Paper. Handling something that has meaning. I’ll keep my cookbook collection and my husband will keep his technical book collection for reference, and inspiration. I have recipes, he has numerical recipes.

Like the movies, kids have no idea of Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, even The Wizard of Oz. Everyone buys prepared foods or orders out. I know because I cook. My kitchen sink nearly gave out last week because I actually use it.

Books, paper, I have many cookbooks here that I cherish, and don’t want paper to go away. Preserve books and history, Dee

The NedCil

I had a temp job at the Department of Education right after college. It was a six-week gig so I could find better employment.

What was I doing? Correcting applications for college scholarships. Name in boxes, address. These people couldn’t spell their names or fill in boxes so I had to do it for them. It was a ridiculous exercise for a $200/yr scholarship.

The effort allowed me to go to the state capitol to look for work. It was highly controlled. We were not allowed to use pens, only pencils. Ned controlled the pencils. Each one had “Ned” taped on it.

One day I had an interview with the speaker’s staff across the street and asked to take my breaks and lunch time to do so. No. Absolutely not.

Fifteen minutes before my interview I quit, left the building and never looked back. I got the job as an analyst and my life was changed. Today, my husband likes this story so much he calls my automated non-labeled pencils Ned-cils. Enjoy your weekend! Dee


Yes, that was my name in my first two years of high school. We all named each other in our little educational group.

I believe Piglet’s personality was tiny and shy and with the biggest heart which remains true to this day except for the tiny part. I’d love to find out what Eeyore, Tigger et al are doing. And Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin once said “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”

I believe every child should know that quote. I remember. Piglet

ps, Thanks, Eeyore for help learning geometry. I believe I taught you algebra, Dee

Teachers, Too

As I age and gain wisdom I remember the teachers outside the classroom like two Mrs. H, one my piano teacher and the other my ballet instructor.

Then there were neighbors and smart folks who came along and were neighbors or friends of my parents. The G’s, we’re still in touch and he taught me words and made me think and she inspired what little artistic side I have that has been turned into cooking.

When I was 16 I was sent to Florida to supervise my little brother and sister. I also helped out another little girl in gymnastics. After she performed for her dad, he asked me what I wanted to be. I was 16, I didn’t know yet. He said doctors and lawyers only deal with problems, architects deal with dreams. That advice has resonated for years.

Of course family is there, especially my aunts and uncles. The couple who “adopted” me 19 years ago taught me a lot, and he married us and they taught me kindness. My two development professional friends, R and K, imparted a lifetime of professional knowledge and led me towards wisdom.

There is time to give credit to nemeses for building structure and spirit. May they be situated at the lowest level of Dante’s inferno for eternity. But yes, by their awful acts upon me they did enhance my education.

My husband has taught me to not take things personally, there’s always an intellectual reasoning and one must figure it out and act appropriately. That means don’t cry, figure out where they’re coming from and why and deal with it.

E from work years ago. He was so calm and understated and sat next to me for a couple of years, having taken 1/10 of my workload. He took on more than that. He was a vet who worked KP stateside in his final weeks of duty after Vietnam after refusing to go to Chicago to fire at citizens at the 1968 Democratic Convention. He taught me patience and to be strong in my beliefs. Heaven knows what he saw over there. I saw him for more hours a day than his wife did and he never said a word about it. RIP, E.

My in-laws are a constant source of information and support. J tells me all about the Civil War and M and I cook for three days and barely run into each other as we dance around her kitchen. Sorry, it is termed the War of Northern Aggression. Both have taught determination and a commitment to doing things right.

J and B. They taught me joy. They’ve been partners for years and I’ve always asked them if I could be the flower girl at their wedding.

H and P, another couple who taught me how to make a good friend of an ornery curmudgeon who is a great writer (sorry H) and perseverance in trying to make a point to the government.

CW for legal info and humor. He’s the most cynical man I’ve ever met and I love him dearly and will send him red vines and Toblerone any day.

Of course my parents come into play. Who else could teach a kid to lick and ice cream cone or sip milk from a straw? My parents taught me hard work and being a person others can count upon. Another is my brother who taught me that permission was not in the dictionary.

Then there’s my other brother, the brother-in-law that had no use for me until I was of use to him, helping with his kids over huge family holidays. We are in touch regularly and he calls me “sis” which is more than my blood brother does, he just says Yo Dee Ho Dee. Do not go there or I’ll quit 26 posts short of 3K! J has taught perseverance and faith.

Not teachers, this is a real exercise. Everyone I meet teaches me something and I try to learn something new every day. Let’s call this a start of a beautiful friendship (Casablanca). Buona notte, Dee