Tag Archives: home

Stories

Nineteen years of marriage, where did the years go? My husband still says he could live/work out of a hotel room or faceless corporate apartment and be just fine. He really doesn’t mind eating in a restaurant three meals a day. Me, I need a nest. I don’t know if it’s just a male-female thing, because I think he feels just as much at home at our home, wherever that may be.

We don’t have kids or grandkids so our walls aren’t stocked with the usual family and school photos, year by year. I do like, however, to populate them with memories.

Our new front entryway boasts two idyllic country scenes, two lithos I found at a consignment shop in Houston years ago for $2 apiece. They are of the Italian countryside, rustic but reminding both of us of our country roots. Facing us is a charcoal drawing of a pas de deux, as dance has been a part of my family for many years, as have the arts. It’s a competition winner from a former art school client, my Dad bought it for me at auction.

In the kitchen above my precious knives are scenes from travels in Greece and Italy, and a framed recipe for Chilean Sea Bass. Not just any sea bass, it’s on James Earl Jones’ letterhead and is signed. Dad bought it at auction from another client, an HBCU in Texas.

Most important are the quilts, which are the theme of our new home. My mother-in-law made two of them, one a crazy color mix which she made into an all seasons quilt, and another she made for my husband when he was a young boy, of boys in overalls in matching sun hats. There is also the flower/flour power hexagonal quilt that has been in her family for over 100 years and is made in a themed flower pattern of old flour sacks.

These quilts are further personalized by new ones purchased just for our new office spaces. I bought my husband a pastel version of a Texas flag for his office, and my roots come back to me with a classic farmhouse sampler quilt, but it’s made by four ladies in Canada who met every month for lunch for a year to share their squares. Mom was a lifelong Canadian.

We have paintings done by my father, who took up art in his seventies. I just framed some works from the part of Texas where my husband grew up, scenes from my cooking schools, and a number of travel photos taken by me before and after we met.

My husband got his degree in physics, but he said it was too lonely to work in a lab all day and go home to life as a single guy. Then he met me. Even though he’ll tell you the story about the number of square feet he took up in a moving truck (three, the absolute minimum) for an easy chair, dual-brained computer he built and huge CRT monitors. I brought him a kitchen and office. We built from there. And yes, it took 12 more linear feet in the truck and now, even more.

As a consultant, he used to fly out every Monday and return Friday evening. Then COVID struck, and now he has his own studio/office for Zoom meetings and training when it cannot be held on-site. We’re getting normal bit by bit but for now working from home is the new reality.

What he won’t tell you is that he does enjoy returning home to a hot meal and our dog Lulu wagging her tail to greet him. I don’t want to go live in a corporate apartment forever, while a few months at a time is OK provided my nest exists to go home to. He won’t begrudge me the few linear moving truck feet I cost as the ROI is worth it!

I’m closing the current decorating phase and ended up with a vastly better livable/workable space for the whole family. Lulu still doesn’t know where her “spot” is with us working at each end of our space, but she’ll work it out, and if not, we know where to find her a puppy friend. There is an impasse, however. Of course there is! Life wouldn’t be fun without a challenge. I’d like to match her Aussie brains and 42 lbs. of sheer muscle, and my husband would prefer a less-smart, more sedentary and less hard-headed beast. We’ll work it out.

Our home tells a story, it’s our story. Cheers! Dee

Home

Ask Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. She knew where Glinda The Good Witch of the North and the Wizard would take her, back to Aunty Em and Uncle Henry and the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion farm hands. Along with the shady Wizard who flew the balloon back to Kansas.

A man from my husband’s years of growing up died the other day and will be put to rest this morning. We cannot be there but sent a note through my mother-in-law. As for a pallbearer, my father-in-law, he could not have a better friend other than his dear wife, their sons and grandchildren.

I know my home is here with my husband and dog. Both my parents are gone now and there is no land to call home. Dad used to love land, views et al. The “house on the hill” was our masterpiece. It was completely unfinished. At age eight I used a manual miter box and saw to frame the windows. I also had to learn to use both hands standing atop a ladder to place ceiling pieces in the basement. That was really hard for a little kid. A staple gun, really?

The doc who bought the house, still has it. He must be retired by now. I’ve tried to get in touch with him over the years just to say hello, find out how things are going and see that he gets in touch with me before he sells the property. Dad chose well. It does have a great view!

I will have to design my own home if I’m still alive when my husband retires. I’ve ideas. Trying to figure out post and beam. It will be my last home. Dee

New Home

I gave it up for this, my favorite quote from It’s A Wonderful Life,

Bread that this house may never know hunger, salt that life may always have flavor, and wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

As my friend read the note I pulled out the bread, salt and a bottle of wine. That was her family’s gift. Plus some of my homemade soup and dog treats.

I am so happy for them as they’re out of a townhouse and into a home. I recall a wonderful lunch with two old friends, now gone, of one’s parents who had 500 acres of land and a home well within it. Neighbors complained about noise and were told “then get off our property!” Yes, he was West Point, my other friend was Annapolis, both high up, and they had a $10 bottle of wine at stake at the annual Army/Navy game. They are both gone now, heaven rest them. They’re probably still betting on The Game.

A home is something to dream for achieving those dreams means one has roots. Dee

 

Wheels Down

My husband touched down about an hour ago, not home but across the country but he is probably in Customs and on US soil in a safe place.

He’s been in India for work, a grueling week and I’m certain he’ll sleep the weekend away and be home a week from now.

I gave him a list from the NYTimes (thanks, Grey Lady) of what to do and what not to do. His favorite beverage includes an inordinate amount of ice and Dallas’ answer to Beaujolais, Dr. Pepper. He was deprived of both (you can’t drink local water/ice) so I asked him to treat himself to a huge glass of ice and Dr. P at the airport. No word from him for over an hour. He must still be at Customs.

He brought an extra suitcase with books and training materials. I’m getting worried though I’m glad they landed safely. He’s through and is driving to his hotel before he gets too tired. Whew! He sounds really tired and will call later, guess he didn’t get his DP and ice.

When a spouse can’t call for over a week it’s stressful, especially with taxes et al to be completed, but I did them as I have for years, before we were married I did his! He asked to meet me at the restaurant where we first met, on April 14 – nice timing – and showed me his W-2 and asked me to do his federal and state taxes, giving me the forms. The deadline, it was snail mail back then, was midnight on the 15th so I went over it with him at the restaurant, we made a copy, sealed the envelope and drove to the main post office about 10 p.m. and waited in line to place the envelope (in the running car) in the USPS mailbox.

That old car brings back memories of trips we took and stories that were shared. He sold it to a co-worker years ago. His colleague¬†came to our going-away party and I asked if I could say goodbye to the car. I just looked at it, looked into the window and there was a baby seat in the back and I knew it was no longer “our” old car, it was theirs. Good.

Here’s a tax story. I did my own taxes and mailed them via USPS. Two days later they were returned to me for no reason. I spent a day dealing with the IRS and the USPS who finally said they made a mistake. The IRS waived penalties because it was the fault of the postal service. I’d sent the unopened tax envelope with postmark in another envelope with a postmark and IRS still said I had to pay late fees because even with the April 15 postmark it arrived late. Don’t trust the federal government! That’s all for now. I have to hope my husband doesn’t fall asleep on the freeway. Dee

ps He’s parked and is walking to his hotel. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of sleep but at least he’s safe. Last night I tried to put worry out of my mind with breathing and thoughts. I think I’ve worried since I was a little kid. It’s a hard habit to kick. Please don’t say yoga. Dee

 

Sleep

I cannot sleep. My husband and dog are snoring and dreaming the night away and I’ll bet dog Zoe has my pillows by now.

Family is so important. It is good to have mine together for a few days. Poems, prayers and promises is what it’s all about.

I’ve recently seen documentaries about the great Glen Campbell, and the late great John Denver and Johnny Cash. I grew up with these songs, from the north, and didn’t appreciate them until later years. Johnny Cash, Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan taught me basic guitar.

I wake with a song in my mind every morning that I sing to myself while I prepare to take Zoe outside. This morning as I prepared for my husband’s return it was PPM’s “Stewball” was a racehorse, I wish that he were mine…..

My mother, dead seven years now, said I always liked dirges, which is why I loved folk music and rock that evoked it (Dave Mason) and lyrics. My challenge with the guitar these days is keeping it hydrated. Then I like to find lyrics and work my way through a song without musical notations.

Joan Baez, I love you but your chords are outside my repertoire and I haven’t taken private lessons for years. All I wanted to do is sing for my family and even Beatles Rock Band is in storage along with my keyboard.

Wake up and sing! Sometimes my husband sings something silly and it stays in my head for days. Invasive! I know. Welcome the sleeping man and dog in my bedroom. It’s always great to have family together. 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

Leaps of Faith

My husband came back to me after five weeks away at a new job across the country. Things have been a bit rocky over the phone so I asked if he was coming to seek a divorce.

That’s not in the plan. He’s been resting and the dog was mad at him but likes him again. Of course I do as well. As he’s across the country for a weekend and we’re trying to make it his time (I’m hungry) we’ve a plan to stay mainly on this time until things change.

I’m up at 4:00 and it’s 2:00 his time. He and the dog are sleeping soundly. I came out of our bedroom quietly and saw the last half of Lasse Hallstrom’s film Salmon Fishing in the Yemen for probably the third time and saw even more in it.

If you see it, you will see many leaps of faith. I’ve only a few films I’d own and this is one. This is how I met my husband right after 9/11. It then comes down to jobs and how we even adopted our dog who is with us over ten years later. Leaps of faith. I go with my heart, head and gut and know what to do.

There are no car chases or tanks or bombs in this film but if you see it as it is, there is faith in many areas and in order to earn self-acceptance one must take a chance. Cheers and happy Labor Day! Dee

 

Missing Pieces

Weeks ago we got dog Zoe an educational game consisting of a round MDF base with nine wood pieces, six pegs and three sliders. Basically the humans place a treat in each hole and add the pegs and sliders. Zoe’s now got the game down to 45 seconds and loses pieces under living room furniture. Then it’s our turn to get down there and find them and put them all away for the next time.

We’ve a huge missing piece of the Dee/Zoe game now. My husband. He has been gone across the country for nearly two weeks now trying out what may become a new job. He’s very busy and it would take 12 hours for him to get to our airport lobby on a Saturday and perhaps go out to the car (on a cool day) to say hello to Zoe, then turn around another 12 hours and go back to work. That doesn’t make any sense time wise or monetarily.

This is the longest we’ve been away from each other in our 13 years and with the time difference we rarely get more than a few minutes to speak on the phone. Zoe always knows it’s him when he calls, must know by my voice and key words, and lays by the door expecting him to come home from work in 20 minutes. We’ve only had 30 second calls from work in the past when he was in or near the neighborhood: I’m coming home dear, do you need anything? No, we’re fine. Just come home. My lasagne is in the oven.

[Change that to there’s pot roast in the oven, or I’m marinating skirt steak and working on Chimichurri and everything else and need you to to man the grill.]

Just come home, dear, and we can figure out where our new home might be. I miss you. Dee

p.s. He won’t come home for anything with eggplant in it, thus my stellar Moussaka is a bust here but I could always make it as a gift. Always live on on the bright side of the street. d

 

I Did It!

The last one was my 2,000th post and I swore to retire. I will miss you, dear reader, for your pithy comments (my aunt made me read the dictionary while using her bathroom, she was an English teacher) and friendship.

How about giving me a well-deserved vacation and I’ll decide whether to resume this, change the name or focus or just keep being Dee. I still have the site and of course I’ll let you know.

I’ve had a wonderful few years hearing from you and reading your blogs and will keep this site open for you to tell me to keep on writing!

Thank you for letting me learn how to write from the heart without fear, express myself, and not be so shy anymore. Thanks for letting me use this site to talk about politics, bullying, family, childhood and dogs as well as cooking.

My husband created this site for me six years ago and I was so scared to write on it, but How To Eat a Concord Grape was my first foray and it’s above and beyond my most popular post, especially in grape season and everyone wants to know whether or not to eat the seeds. I’d say be outdoors, follow my instructions and spit them out.

I am glad to have been useful, perhaps for dinner ideas, insightful thoughts and a little wisdom here and there.

With a blog there’s always something left on your “desk,” and an old friend of my Dad’s once told him: never stay late to clean your desk on a Friday. It’ll give you something to do on Monday. If you clean it all up you may die over the weekend. That is a very bad rendition (mine) of an old Irish proverb.

My desk is messy and I like it that way as it gives me something to think about. Cheers and Thanks, Dee

Oxymorons

Write a book on intuition. Some of us have it, some don’t. Reading about it will not help.

Have a dinner party and know exactly how, when and where to seat your guests and what to cook for them. Know how to steer the conversation when it goes to politics or religion and you want to get back to the shallow end of the pool before a guest or two drowns.

Should all the women of the world gang up and write a book on intuition? If we did, men would never read it. Certainly they would not understand it. Oh, I love gay men. They get it, and decorate and cook and talk to people like me.

I think this is one of the first things parents can pass along to their babies. Mommy and Daddy love you and we look for any sign of a need for food, nap or diaper change (Daddy usually disappears to the garage when that happens). You, kiddo, need to do the same. It’s OK to cry. Watch people. Know what they’ll do before they do or say it. Be one step ahead.

Read people. Anticipate. Act. If a friend comes over to my home crying I know something is wrong, offer tea or a glass of wine and whatever is wrong will come out and then we can make a plan to deal with it and I’ll have your back.

That’s the female world. I’ve worked with guys all my life and most are in love with their wives and nuts about their kids. They just can’t show it. This dichotomy must stop. My dad went out to play softball or touch football with ALL the kids in the neighborhood every summer evening after dinner. That was his rule. If the girls and little kids can’t play, I won’t play. We were tossing a softball to a three year-old¬† from several feet away and she ran to first base.

One thing I can say about my old man (yes, he’s old) is that he always had intuition. I do not believe that can be taught. We can talk about nature and nurture in another session. Thanks for reading! Less than 40 left. What do you think my next blog should be about? Don’t say start tweeting. Dee

But a book about intuition? That’s an oxymoron. Dee