Tag Archives: flowers


I like to think I’m class-less in terms of social structures. We both have severed social structures to do our own thing and think outside the box.

Class, coming up is a florist class I did last year and loved. When I saw what we would be making I asked to jump from a plane instead of making said arrangement. I made it and it was beautiful.

No matter age, learning is always an opportunity to broaden the mind. Yes, I’ve class and classes. Cheers! Dee



Friday is flower day. 1/2 off at a terrific florist right up the street. My husband never notices the flowers I get him every week so I started buying vintage chemistry flasks (Erlenmeyer, Florence, a graduated cylinder for single arrangements. He noticed.

I also got him miniature milk bottles (he grew up on a dairy) in a metal basket. He noticed. I’ve had those flowers for three weeks. The flowers are for my husband, me and our little dog Zoe. Our family.

Today I bought three yellow spider mums and placed them with three-week old greens to honor the memory of my father, who died over the holidays.

For the kitchen I got yellow and purple daisies and strange green mums for a large mason jar.

I moved the tomato plant to a gallon container as we currently have three babies on the way, of the Sweet 100 tomato variety, and we installed a cage. The plant was 8″ tall when I bought it five weeks ago, it is now taller than me. We have been self-pollenating, just tapping every new flower with a pencil. I also moved the basil out of a 4″ pot to a larger Green Bay Packers popcorn container. Both are looking a bit sad and shocked now but a bit of sun, water and plant food will help. Tomorrow.

With the basil gone from the three-pot wooden container I needed something else. As a kid I saw these beautiful flowers and gathered some up to give to Mom. I handed them to her and she immediately tossed them into the trash and said, “they’re weeds!” No, Mommy, they’re beautiful! Today I bought one gorgeous Queen Anne’s Lace flower and it is in my living room in a shot glass with flower food and water, standing in for the basil. It is beautiful and I will never think of it as a weed.

It has a hallowed place in the middle of the “nun desk” with Dad’s Turkish pashmina scarf and sacred ornaments for me, including my rosary from First Communion, and the mini milk bottles of course! The desk was a gift from neighbors who moved down the street to a more eco-friendly building that he re-designed back in the 1950’s. They bought it at auction at a nun’s school in town. It is gorgeous oak and the one drawer now holds all my cards for thank you’s, holidays, and other occasions.

We lose some things, we gain some things that provide memories for a lifetime. Cheers! Dee

btw with all I got today, it was under $10 of flowers and a weed.

Fifteen Years & Vehicles

This is not about cars. OK. On our first date nearly 15 years ago he picked me up in his old Honda Accord. I had owned one before. He opened my door, took my hand and the rest was history. Ten years later my husband and I sold the car to a colleague with a young family.

When there was a going-away party for us ten years after we met, I asked the owner if I could go out and say goodbye to the car that brought us together. As I looked in the window there was a baby seat in back and it was not the same but at least that going-away gift was not in vain.

For fifteen years my husband has brought me flowers, at first in vases and then loose. Of course the loose ones I had to arrange and place in a vase were delivered always while I had dinner on the stove.

Now I buy him flowers and the florists laugh. We have three arrangements this week, a pre-made floral bouquet for the dining table, a refreshed arrangement with millet and greens, two new mums and one hydrangea. In the guest (my and dog Zoe’s) bath we have a few yellow daisies and echinacia flowers.

Flowers and meals are vehicles for love and devotion. I took Zoe out at six, fed her and lifted her back up to the bed as J got back actually early last night from work, about 9:30 and wanted pasta.

When he came home last weekend he mentioned something I never thought about. He buys crazy ice creams for me like chocolate therapy. He loves cherry garcia. I can’t make a milkshake with anything with hard stuff like chocolate chips or nuts in it.

He told me that I only use a bit of plain vanilla ice cream as a vehicle for something else whether it be a milkshake with milk and chocolate sauce or a bowl with berries or my homemade blueberry sauce. He is correct. I hate to say that as it’ll go to his head!

Another vehicle arrived yesterday afternoon, a new grill. It is a flavor vehicle for his truly. First we have to clean off the balcony and I need to have Zoe’s beds washed. J annihilated about 1,000 spiders last week and I need to vacuum and toss the bag immediately, scrub the concrete and clean the windows.

A friend wants our old grill so I’ll clean it up (it’s ten years old) and deliver it and we’ll get propane and set up the new one. I got on the “spider duty” list for monthly outside only as I do not want pesticides indoors. I’ve found out that this year spiders are a serious issue. It is good that we get to share our old grill with a friend who doesn’t have one.

Speaking of vehicles the elevator is another and is down for days due to diagnostics. Being trapped in there with our recycling (luckily I had just dropped the dog at home after a walk) for an hour with the service company (OTIS) wanting me to solve their problem rather than sending a truck out was heinous on their part as they knew it was very shortly after hours and they would have to pay overtime. I was paying overtime, for me, being stuck, with my husband on a plane home and he’d requested a specific frozen pizza I was en route to purchase.

What to eat? I don’t know. It’s warm out and husband/dog are still asleep and we have to set up the balcony, grill et al I’m thinking pot roast. I’ve these great pappardelle egg noodles that go great with stews. Tomorrow I’m thinking Lamb Robert (Google it) as the marinade is fantastic. Get one part of the leg of lamb or the other or both together. Bone and butterfly it (or have your butcher do so). Marinate and place on the grill. Forget about placing it in a hot turned-off oven. Just cook to temp (the super-fast instant read thermometers have gone down in price from $100 and my husband ordered one that should arrive today).

Oh, the above dish is one of my brother’s favorites, Lamb Robert (RO-bear) that I haven’t made him for years. I also have not seen him for years since Mom died but we’ve a vehicle to do that as well. No, my old SUV is not going there. He calls the lamb dish “Sheep Bob,” always a jokester. Dee


I Bought Him Flowers

My husband, a small bunch of pink and yellow tulips in vase overlooking the lake. He flew in Saturday afternoon for a steak and baked potato dinner.

Easter Sunday we took it easy, I’d gotten a rack of lamb the day before and marinated it in olive oil, salt and pepper, sprigs of fresh thyme and leaves of rosemary all day. I forgot the garlic, the entire head was in a bowl elsewhere.

Simple roasted rack of lamb, boiled red potatoes with butter and seasonings, and a salad with his favorite vinaigrette, no, not mine from a half dozen acids including several vinegars and fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil, he wants bottled ranch dressing so he got that one.

It was a good weekend. Perhaps Texas Chili and my Ten-Minute Lasagne (on the site) next weekend. As a young girl or young adult you could always see me reading cookbooks and helping out if I was allowed to do so.

Thanks to all who helped me learn how to cook, from a very young age to caterers to college (I cooked for all my roommates) to work, work, work, then cooking schools. I thank everyone for contributing to my education.

Recently unable to sleep or really read because of an eye issue I’ve been up at night watching/listening to The Mind of a Chef, brainchild of Anthony Bourdain, and Michael Pollan’s concise and interesting distillation of his book Cooked.

It is fascinating to learn more about cultures, flavors, icky things I may never like to eat (not on the show but I never had haggis in Scotland) but Chef Pollan brought something to light. Many folks I know never cook a thing. I cook three meals a day plus feed and take my dog out, another thing people hire out.

Yes, my sink nearly fell below because the glue that held it together was not strong enough. Why? It’s a double sink and I use it many times a day and do hand-wash certain special dishes, large pots and pans and wash my hands. In the years we’ve been here no-one has seen this happen, because no-one cooks.

Dear Michael Pollan,

I like the way you pull people in instead of push them to feed their family healthy, home-cooked foods. For nearly thirty years I’ve shopped the outer aisles of the grocery store. I barely know my produce folks because they change out all the time but I bring my Texas Chili (Pedernales riff, of course no beans) to my butchers. Yes, I’ve a meat grinder on my 28 year Kitchenaid and at my age move it across the kitchen to put on the grinder.

I graduated PKU, Peter Kump’s which is now ICE.

I pick out all my 4# of hand-chosen meat (sale days are great) and take it down and do a Texas grind. The rest of it is up to the onions, garlic and spices. You may want to look up Lady Bird Johnson’s Pedernales River Chili that was served in 1962 for 5,000 guests at the Ranch west of Austin. The guest list included JFK. If you look up the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Museum it’s on the site, or just Google it.

It’s very generic as a recipe because they don’t have what we do today and I’ll never use “chili powder,” so make my own from Penzey’s. This recipe was the most requested White House document in 1962 before JFK was killed.

Sharing this information is important to our future. Cooking made us human. Shopping at a grocery store for microwave or ready-made foods is ok a day or two a week but it probably means you’re at the TV and spouse is online and the kiddos never got to have dinner with their family.

Caring for one’s family is most important. Don’t tell your kids how many hours you had to work this week.  Tell them you’re having what I’ve done for kids, MYOP night. I make pizza dough in advance but if they’re not my kids (we don’t have kids) I always have them make a ball of dough before they get tired to take home and rise in the frig for tomorrow.

Kids roll out their own dough and top their own pizzas with anything from caramelized onions and anchovies, tomato and plain mozz, pepperoni and it runs the gamut from sauteed spinach, roasted garlic………



My old MacBook smells. Over Thanksgiving I realized it only had about two minutes of power off electrical juice, making it OK at my desk but not on the road. My husband got a new battery for me that we charged overnight. I’ve got it on a silicone mat on a glass desk. That battery is hot. I’m emptying it now off power.

Now there are three days of tech instructions I need to go through to baby a $20 battery. I’m going out on the street with a sign that says “Will Work For Batteries.” Let’s guess how many homeless people will sign up. I also use a hand-me-down iPhone 3 that only lasts 20 minutes off the juice so now keep it hooked up in the car on any trip longer than 15 minutes because if we need to move two cars cross-country we’ll need to keep in touch. Methinks it may be time to regenerate by switching to new products I love, that work.

As the sun is red and peeking through clouds this morning I think that our entire world regenerates every day with sun and moon. I’ve a small flowering plant in a 4″ pot that I moved and forgot to water for a day. The leaves and flowers wilted. Yesterday I gave it about a tablespoon of water and overnight it came back to life.

That’s what we do. Get sucker-punched, use your brain to beat it. Learn never to go through that again. The “fool me once” principle. We are regenerists. We survive. Darwin is still here, he’s just at my desk and very warm. I need to take out the dog. Cheers and have a great day! Dee

Good Signs

Over 12 years ago, my husband and I eloped. There were eight of us and everyone played a role. Dear friends, a Navy Captain and his wife, helped out. He married us and she was a witness on the marriage certificate.

She also made me allow her (you don’t argue with J, her three sons know as much) to buy my wedding bouquet. I saw a simple arrangement in a small vase at the florist and said “that’s it.” She wanted something more grand, I said small. I got yellow French tulips and alstroemeria in pink and yellow and ordered it to be wrapped in pale blue silk ribbon to carry through the eucalyptus grove we trespassed onto, overlooking the Pacific ocean, for the Ceremony, which the Captain wrote for us.

I already had my great aunt’s pearls (old), new pearl earrings, a borrowed bracelet and now the blue ribbon.

Today I received flowers, and not from my husband, a thank-you gift that is business-related. Valentines and our anniversary have passed and we have a pact not to celebrate “Hallmark” dates.

My husband asked me to engrave our wedding date and my birth date into his wedding ring. He still forgets both. Today’s flowers include yellow tulips and pink and yellow alstroemeria, from my wedding bouquet. There is no way the sender knew my wedding flowers as my husband does not even know them.

It’s a good sign of things to come. Cheers, reader. Let the weather warm and the birds be happy that they flew North two months too early! Dee

Spring Cleaning

The tulips are out, some of the trees have blossoms and my husband got his snow tires off this weekend. I’ll wait til next week, as it’s already snowed in June.

I was so excited this past week to see two regular farm markets open along with a new one. I got so crazed I bought a huge watermelon that took me nearly 1/2 hour to break down yesterday, and I’ve already given some to neighbors and sent husband Jim to work with more this morning.

Tomorrow I’ve plans to do some garage cleaning as it’s closing in on us. We only need to keep the boxes for such things as my Kitchenaid mixer we got nearly 9 years ago for our wedding. Its styrofoam inserts will protect it from any move and that box has been very useful.

We’re also starting on a new look for the blog, plus enhanced functionality for your benefit. If you’ve any ideas, recommendations please let me know.

Yesterday I made lovely lamb chops. I love my butchers but they serve a clientele, lets call it the NY strip and rack of lamb clientele. When I asked for lamb shoulder yesterday the one butcher nearly shuddered. See, summer people, ski people up here don’t cook. Ordering in pizza is about as complicated as it gets. Or maybe putting a steak on the grill.

Last week I bought lamb shoulder from the Wednesday farmers’ market and made spicy kofta kebabs with delicious side dishes that we ate for several days until the tzatziki’s garlic flavor had taken over the final 1/2 cup.

Yesterday we attended the first week of another famed market, Park Silly, and did not get to the farmers portion, well-away from the other goods and food and beer. We did hear an announcement for BBQ at a restaurant we had not attended, boasting a $10 lunch. So, instead of going to sit on the terrace at a local eatery with good local BBQ, we turned around and tried the new place.

It was a chic rooftop place with no-one there, beer list that went up to $28 per beer and their “BBQ” was burgers, hot dogs, and various kebabs (gyro, et al). Mine was enough for a small appetizer. We had to get Jim more food later.

Moral of the story: Don’t tell a Texas boy you have ‘que unless it’s real smoked brisket, ribs, sausage (that’s German TX near Austin) and if that brisket isn’t smoked at least 12 hours, forget it. We found that place a bait and switch and snooty operation. It’s fun to join the rest of the USA and much of the world in Spring! Even if we’re late to the party. Cheers, Dee


Jim took too long last night buying software, and showed up with two dozen roses, white and pink. I think he thinks he has to make up for the years he walked to work and there were no florists in town.

Early this morning I made three arrangements and, with the alstroemeria I picked up the other day it’s nearly more flowers than we can handle. The roses are gorgeous, opening fast and will be gone before the new year so must be enjoyed now.

For me, having fresh flowers is better than a Christmas tree, at least this year. Next year I may want to place my/our lifelong ornaments on a tree. My parents bought us each an ornament every year, labeled it and when we went away after college we got a box with our ornaments. What a wonderful way to keep memories.

Jim doesn’t have any, but I’ve been garnering two a year since we’ve married, each a different theme. OK, I bought two wooden socks, one blue and one green, the year we met, before marriage, because he was alone and needed a steak and baked potato and ornaments without a tree. Last year it was a Scottish lad and lass, this year a cowboy snowman and reindeer bearing a sheet of cookies.

My childhood ornaments are scattered but there are some with dates and I remember placing them on our tree. I’d love to see them all decorating a real tree.

Couples tell stories they remember, perhaps over and over. I think having an ornament from a certain year might bring up a new memory and topic.

I remember when my sister and I disturbed a beehive, when we recovered mice from the back of the Buick, and when my brother climbed the TV tower and wouldn’t come down. So many more. Time becomes more precious every day. Jim remembers riding Free, a dairy cow, and countless other stories.

So please keep cooking, for family and friends. And hand down your family recipes for traditions to continue. Dee

Monday Morning

For the past few months I’ve had a welcome sign on our front door with bluebirds and leaves and a small cow bell that rings every time we open the door.  Husband Jim said he was tired of the bell clanging so I put up our holiday wreath of red sparkly balls that does not clang.

That was not enough.  I decided it was time to change our ecru duvet cover.  For the first time in a year, I put on Mom’s red paisley duvet cover she gave us a few years ago.  It brought back some warm, and some sad, thoughts.

It made me think of Scotland and the town of Paisley, which I never went to but the Glasgow airport was on the outskirts.  It made me think of flowers.

Flowers and food.  I haven’t been without flowers since Mom passed about six weeks ago.  First it was funeral arrangements, then small table arrangements, birthday, etc.  Yesterday I bought bright yellow spider mums and arranged them with orange and yellow alstroemeria (sp).  Mom did impart to me a love of flowers and since I can’t grow them, I buy them.

As to flowers and food, I have the following advice.  If it’s a table arrangement, make sure your guests can see each other around the table.  Avoid flowers with an intense aroma (cinnamon fragrance from star lilies, that will also stain great-grandma’s linen tablecloth).  As with scented candles, they can overwhelm the food.  Your guests are there for the food and company, not the flowers or candles.

Sometimes I buy long-stemmed unopened roses, cut about an inch off, and display them for a few days.  Then before guests arrive, I cut them way down and put them in a small vase on the table when they are perfectly open.  I’m no Martha Stewart, but do have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and though I’m a guest, I need to prepare spicy almonds and cashews and a few other items.  We’re staying with Jim’s parents, about a five-hour drive each way.  Thanksgiving is at Nanny’s, with probably 60 in attendance this year!

I have to Zoe-proof the new car (Jim doesn’t want me to get the dog barrier and thinks she’ll stay in the back on her own – his mother has already submitted an opposite opinion) and get her groomed and nails clipped so she doesn’t tear the seats when she inevitably jumps the seats to get to the front passenger seat to be petted by Jim and sleep at his feet.

We had a quiet weekend, with errands and home-improvement chores and driving about town, cleaning the car et al.  Now it’s time to get back to business.  Hope you have a great week and have your Thanksgiving menu planned.  Order your turkeys now!  Dee