Tag Archives: gifts

Little Things

Grief is a strange thing. It affects everyone differently, and I’ll not go into my most recent experience. Whew! You say. People say it’s the little things you remember that mean the most.

My father traveled a lot for work, when I was growing up, and later upon retirement for leisure. Weeks before he passed we were supposed to go, en famille, on a cruise down the Rhine and visit his parents birthplaces in Germany and Switzerland. We didn’t get there. But he did travel the world and always brought back something from the countries he visited.

When he started going to Florence, Italy regularly the gifts changed. At first in the fall, he’d always bring back the olio novello, the newest, first pressing of the olives. Now, if I wanted, I could order it online but this was back in the day, and it was special as it came from him. As he got older, he traveled lighter, and didn’t like the thought of a bottle of olive oil breaking in his suitcase.

He started on Ferragamo scarves. Impressive silk scarves with a hint of whimsy that I loved. Then he changed to little boxes. I have them all over the house now. Made of metal, wood or paper, they echo the ambiance of the places from whence they came. That is to say, they didn’t come from airport gift shops! That would be my husband, and because of my rule of nothing breakable, nothing collectible so he gets me a refrigerator magnet from anywhere he goes. Tomorrow when Lulu (the dog) and I go pick him up at the airport, I’m sure he’ll show up with a magnet in the shape of the Alamo!

But I digress. In the middle of my kitchen peninsula, I’ve a cheap plastic timer. It’s an Italian in a chef’s toque. It’s the silliest gift Dad ever gave me, but I see it every day and it brings back fond memories.

I don’t know where they got the idea, but our parents picked a themed Christmas ornament for each kid, every year, then when we moved out of the house, we had enough ornaments and memories to start a tree of our own. It’s similar with travel gifts and photos. They last a lifetime and mean so much to the recipient. Just a thought. Happy Spring! There’s a cruise ship that tours the Great Lakes and it’s pulling into port just now to start the season. Gotta plant the herbs outside and get a tomato plant – I’m not growing from seed this year. Dee


Flowers and Insects

Yes, yesterday I received from my husband two dozen roses. Half small red and half large yellow and pink. I put them up in two containers.

It’s too dark to take a photo now but he also included spider traps because I’ve gotten a couple bites during my sleep of late.

A honey gift with flowers and spider traps. What other husband would consider that combination? Only mine. Oh, and he put gas in my car. I’ll have to get it washed as the salt and snow have beaten it up. Also drive out to get dog food. He leaves early this morning. I’ll just try to stay out of his morning routine and make some oatmeal, yogurt and blueberries and take the dog out quickly. Have a great day! Dee

ps the mixed bouquets bring out the colors of Tuscan and especially Maori paintings of my Dad. He took up painting at age 80.

Note: Try Video Later

I got a great history in art from Fr. John, then a lesson in Renaissance and Reformation in history from said priest.

When my father turned 80 he took up art. As you walk into our home we’ve a Tuscan landscape on one wall and Maori art on the other. Plus a charcoal drawing of dancers from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, from a student about thirty years ago. Dad painted two, and bought me the drawing.

There is a print to the left and more photos to the right in the kitchen. Not all food-related. Directly in front I framed the Brooklyn Bridge in b/w for my husband. Down the hall there are two framed photos I took on an historic tour, one of a mill in Vermont and another of Concord grapes near where I grew up.

I call these three “the greens” because they each have a different frame and matte color but our focus is on the Creek. I’ve loved that creek for many years and the photographer was much better than I, though I do hope my framing choices do it justice.

In the bedroom the piece de resistance is over our bed, another raw Tuscan countryside. I went to a consignment shop in Houston perhaps ten years ago and was looking for a nice piece to store china. Checking out the drawers I found two Tuscan, signed and numbered lithos and scurried out of the store. Forget the dresser/server, I paid $4 for them and then $150 to double-mat them years later.

There are three Tuscan artist-made paintings of local towns from a guy I really liked. They’re all double or triple-matted in wood frames. My framer also helped me do a tryptich of my long shots of the Greek seas. And, for my husband, a crayon drawing of The Wizard of Oz. It’s his favorite.

I’ve others to put up, but one is newly important. I took care of a dog for a friend and she brought back a Japanese wood block print for me. It is key because in the 1700’s he was the first artist in the world to make full-color  wood prints. It is of a courtesan receiving an invitation and I look forward to meeting with Ms. K. to frame it. Let’s see what shows up below from former work. That’s my Dad’s Tuscan work.


Too dark to do photos. New phone so no experience except not answering wrong numbers from gang members and just making a few calls. Kindergarten level. Framing art to make it look as good as it can be is fun. Also expensive. As to my mentor’s photo below, I will be buried there. Not there but miles away. She always made my and many others’ days. Cheers! Dee


Little Things

We got a few little things in the mail yesterday that may become big things. Life-changing things.

Dog Zoe tried to take over my side of the bed for nearly three hours so I’m up. I’m sure she’s on my pillows by now. She is trying to get used to my husband being away a few days per week. Then, she takes over his side and he tends to move his feet and touch her overnight so she jumps down, then whines to me to be lifted up again. Otis, I know. It kind of ruins my sleep pattern, if I have one.

I’m looking into ties and tie bars that will make a statement. I found one. I can’t tell you what it is but it pleased a physicist. Yes, my husband. I’d like to find some vintage ones but the reach over the tie is an issue. I’ll check on that.

We’ve also acted on some recent information and have gained fruition in that regard. No, I can’t tell you about that either. Great news is that he’s home and sleeping (with Zoe) and we’ve a bunch of things to do this weekend but sleep is the first issue so I’ll let him do so all morning if he needs it while I prepare dinner. Last night I ordered in great pizza.

I take out the dog, feed her, take care of the bills and a lot of other things. The master shower has a Do Not Enter sign on it. I wrote it, and never use it, it’s not big enough to wash my hair, and I’m not Rapunzel. I think mold grew while he was gone for months. Ick. I tried but now have to use more desperate measures. The hardware store sold me something the maids use. I have old Crocs and latex gloves but believe I need safety goggles before going in.

Husband says I’m pre-cleaning for the maids we plan to hire soon. It’s a family tradition, my side. His mother does it all, but he knows me and the P family too well! Cheers! Dee

Dear Postmaster General

Dear General Brennan,

I sent a very special package to my father in Indianapolis for his 84th birthday for delivery yesterday. It was sent priority mail and required a signature. I was told after many hours on the phone that the post office cannot deliver this package (they tried once at 1:18 p.m. yesterday) unless they place a coral form out for re-delivery.

My Dad flew today to the nation’s premier cancer center. I wanted him to have this gift yesterday. Now it is in limbo, as neither my post office nor Indianapolis will allow me to get it back or have someone else pick it up or send it to my Uncle in Indianapolis.

Dad may never come back. Your rules are archaic and cruel. He got the equivalent of a “gold watch” and I framed the article for him. Now USPS won’t send the package back to me, allow someone else to pick it up or allow receipt to a family member in his neighborhood. Tracking number is 9**************.

My Uncle, in Indianapolis, is willing to accept the package and give it to Dad if/when he returns from cancer treatment. If not I would like it released immediately to me at my home address, and before October 6 when they will return it anyway without ever having to try to re-deliver. We paid for priority mail and are being treated very badly by your system.

No matter how many ads you put on television, people appreciate and pay for service. My dog looks for blue pants with a dark stripe because she loves our postal carriers. They all know her. But the system is messed up.

My Uncle’s  residence is *****************************. He has arranged for me to send it there, if he or a member of his household over 18 years of age is present to sign for it.

I will have this letter notarized and hope it is enough to get this gift to my ailing father. With thanks for your consideration of my request. If not, I’m willing to get a court order to get this package back or drive to the post office that is holding my father’s gift, show my Passport and demand it back.


Neil Young

I’m listening to him now. It’s just a dream is the tune and I must get back to it before This Old Guitar with Joni Mitchell.

When your spouse wants a gift you should know it. I would have had tickets to a concert last week if one beloved artist was in town at the same time as my husband was in town. He should know I am this old guitar. Neil Young played it with Joni Mitchell on Hank Williams’ old guitar. Oh, my. I may swoon with such talent.

What a history old rock has with country and folk. I learned to play guitar with mainly Johnny Cash, PPM and CSNY. Lyrics only except at lessons for a few months. I’ve always wanted to make things more difficult for myself by choosing my own chords and only having the lyrics but have made it easier via the country model of A,C, G and E. Of course I know B7 and some minor chords but the F’s and others are troublesome because I’ve small, stubby fingers and can’t reach across and hold all the strings down.

I do have a lot of sheet music, some from my Dad. Notebooks of lyrics and everything is now taped up in boxes, in storage. My keyboard is in storage. I do keep my new, smaller artisan folk guitar here to hydrate it every week.

The goal with my music is to be able to share at home with family. I never made a career of it. No, I don’t want to shred on a Strat except on Rock Band. Writing and music help make the long stretches of time my husband is away on business livable. Singing Leaving on a Jet Plane and doing my own harmony is how I get through long car trips to get to see family.

His gifts to me are my guitar and keyboard. I guess you could say that over eleven years ago he got me a dog but I worked that off in the first year with research and her surgeries. Oh, last week he got me a fish turner (I call it a Flipper and try to sing the song from the old tv show but don’t recall lyrics).

The fish flipper is an incredibly useful tool but I’ve never had one and it can be used for steaks or burgers….. He found me the only one on Amazon that’s left-handed! A friend’s spouse asked for a gift. I gave ideas. My husband and I do not give gifts on regular holidays, birthdays or anniversaries. We think of little things like learning to make real Texas Chili as a gift. It just doesn’t have a box or a ribbon.

Neil Young, thanks for being a rebel. As one of your CSNY cohorts would say, “Be Yourself.” And you always have been. Thank you for that. Hearing your voice today was a gift to me. Dee

A Long Time Ago…

in a galaxy far, far away. Whoops, sounds like Episode IV, A New Hope. I had a cat, and had just met the man who was to be my husband of nearly ten years (anniversary coming up in a few months). He could not visit me because he is deathly allergic to cats, so I had to find him his own place 1,000 feet from mine.

Let’s just say his gifts are usually meant to make HIS life easier or more fun. He did buy a gas mask so he could come over for dinner one night. I couldn’t stop laughing as all I could think of was James Earl Jones in Star Wars saying “Luke, I am your father.” That’s what he sounded like.

Washer and dryer and frig at his place so I could do his laundry (and mine without going to the laundromat) and cook.

The gas mask only lasted about ten minutes and we went out to a neighborhood haunt for dinner. Other “gifts” include a flat screen tv and a playstation III. Two controllers, one which has never been used in the past four years but finally made it out of the box because I wasn’t about to move the box!

This gift was because I wouldn’t go away for the weekend and leave my cat Mickey Mouse (real name Mick Dundee) alone. So my dear husband bought me an automated feeding system. Four trays so we could leave Friday night, go to Disneyland or wherever, and come home Sunday afternoon, no problem.

It was battery powered. I had to freeze two small packs, then pack the four trays with canned quality food (Innova, I used back then) and set the timer. Unfortunately one weekend the timer didn’t go off and that heavy feeding system was bashed around and ten feet from its original location. I felt terrible and fed him the minute I walked in the door. I also had a self-waterer that had been freshly scrubbed and filled before we left for the weekend. Also every dog in the neighborhood knew him. When they ran away from home I’d get a call and they’d be right outside looking at him through the window and asking him to come out and play/wrestle. He also taught himself to fetch, crumpled post-it notes from my to-do lists so aside for one missed meal, I was not needed.

We normally do not purchase gifts for each other for birthdays, holidays or anniversaries but I find my love’s tastes quite self-serving. Ceramic Santoku knife. Calphalon roasting pan with rack. For our wedding he spent days researching online and told his parents (who asked him what to get as a gift) we would love a food processor, but only a KitchenAid. I’m the cook and was not asked. Our counters now sport a blender, food processor and my 25 year-old 5 qt. stand mixer, all by KitchenAid!

Allow me to say that he comes into the kitchen only to get ice and Dr. Pepper. Has not cooked a thing since we met 11 years ago but he is eager to make it easier for me to cook for him.

Jim gave me sci fi movies. I gave him Jane Austen and Memoirs of a Geisha, for which I will never be forgiven. Excited I am to see Star Wars marathons on cable.

What would life be like without interesting stories and someone with whom to share them? Not one I want to be a part of. Thanks for reading, as always. Dee