Tag Archives: Juni Fisher


Yes, I took up the guitar at age fifty. I filed our taxes on April 15 and decided to pay a bit of our refund for a guitar. I didn’t have any idea how to buy a guitar and bought a good one but the wrong one for me for $200. But I also signed up for lessons, private lessons.

I learned a lot in a couple of months then they changed teachers and I got a drummer. He didn’t care to teach chords and said people don’t care if you can’t hit a note, you just have to be on the beat. That may be OK in his world but not in mine.

The downfall came when he realized I may have perfect pitch and he doesn’t so he wouldn’t let me into a darkened practice room to tune up before a lesson. I’m paying for this, not a parent and I want every bit of thirty minutes to count and I always pre-tuned at home a mile away.

This is not a bad story. I did get him a chronology of his favorite band before I quit. Now I have a really good folk guitar that I keep hydrated, a keyboard to help me figure things out because I read a piano better than I read a guitar. I’m not a musician, had to go to the mall instead and quit everything to be a kid.

The celebrated Western singer Juni Fisher approved my choice of guitar, a Seagull. Don’t tell anyone but we all sang Beatles Rock Band together once.

I wake up with a different song in my heart every morning and tend to sing it for a moment or two. Today I fused John Denver with The Eagles. I didn’t sing it out loud.

You, you, you are the sunshine…. from legendary PPM, we could use some of that sunshine here! Dee



American Pie

Yes, I have the lyrics on my music stand and made up the chords as a beginner guitarist to suit me and even did a riff at the end for my guitar teacher a few years ago. I know, you want me to say before the music died.

It lives and I awaken every day with a song in my heart, whether it be from The Sound of Music, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Juni Fisher or Bob Dylan.

I’m writing about ham, and cheese, perhaps even a quiche, as that is an American Pie. No top crust on that, sadly. Pot pie is an invention made to disguise leftovers. Apple pie is a classic but I prefer strawberry/rhubarb. No, I don’t bake as that was left to my mother and sisters so I did main courses and veg on Thanksgiving.

So what is American Pie? I’d like it to be a melting pot of many of our cultures but today, politicians say the folks who came in and looked like them are “in” and everyone else is out. That doesn’t sit right with me.

I always thought I was a good Catholic girl growing up with strict rules around the house and many chores on weekends. As I recall now I was a scrapper from the start, smart and always fighting for the little ones. No fisticuffs, only words. I like to think that spirit is a piece of American Pie. I didn’t fit in and neither did they, but I was three years older so put the bullies in their place.

Perhaps it started when a family of boys on our small school bus stole my hat and ripped it in half. It was cold out and I had to walk 1/4 mile home from said bus without it. I was crying entering the classroom and the teacher sent me to the principal. He knew the family and showed me photos of the boys so I could identify them. I was terrified as I knew there were eight of them and they would retaliate but my dairy friends, two families with ten kids between them stuck up for me the next day and not a word was said thereafter.

My aunts kept a dictionary atop the toilet in their guest powder room. We were expected to open it, learn a word and define it before we rejoined them. Of course we only touched the dictionary with clean and dry hands.

Never underestimate the power of language. I miss those protectors too and we’ve been in touch since, but that was a long, long time ago. Dee

Dee’s Non-Dairy Planet

For the past week I’ve had to be on antibiotics. They require two pills a day with food, breakfast and dinner, and that I not have dairy on either side for two hours.

Try to have breakfast without dairy. No butter, no cereal, no egg. And Friday night is homemade pizza night with really good mozzarella cheese from the Italian market down the street. Forget it. So lunch became my cheese fix.

The other day I popped in for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants and they laughed at me for needing a “cheese fix.”

I thought of going vegan and eliminating dairy for a couple of months, but have not because it’s too important to me and a source of Vitamin D and I don’t drink milk. My solution ended up being Pro Bar Meals (hear that, ladies?) both Superfruit Slam and one decadent chocolate. One must eat food with antibiotics and these are tasty and filling. The ladies to whom I refer were our neighbors in the Rockies and they marketed wonderful SmartWool socks and ProBars. I received them as gifts when I took their pup out for a walk. I miss those gals!

Antibiotics always messed up my system by eliminating all the good bacteria along with the bad, throwing the baby out with the bath water so to speak. Yogurt was out of the question so I asked the pharmacist what was the best probiotic (Doc’s orders) and yesterday my husband started taking it daily as well and has seen a difference in 12 hours. He’s concerned he’s “stealing” it from me. I said we can always get more just a few blocks away.

* * *

Things are going to change a bit around here. We’re starting with the bedroom and boxes and my husband just ordered a 40″ monitor/tv. We’ve got tons of space in our bedroom so I want to move his desks in there with monitor/tv and some of his favorite pictures so on the occasional day he works from home he has an en suite bath and can close the door to all the noise made by me and dog Zoe. He thinks I’m taking his office. I’m not. Most of the time he uses the computer lying on the bed so I’m doing him a favor.

Then I get rid of more boxes and move my desk from the living room to the guest room/office with all my pictures. I’m having three long photos of Greece: Korfu, Zakynthos and Lefkada framed to be picked up Monday. Plus I’ve tons of other stuff covered from dust with towels that we need to put up.

Jim gets the Brooklyn Bridge photo and my recently framed crayon drawing (age five) of the tin man, lion, scarecrow and me/Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Oddly with all the art and heritage quilts we have, this is his favorite.

I’ll probably end up with framed works up to the ceiling in “my” new office. I’ll be able to move the dining room where my desk is now and take advantage of our view. Also make room for a chair and floor lamp in our “open concept” space by the kitchen with a chair that fits the tall man for reading and conversation. I’m thinking a chair that turns into a recliner but doesn’t look like one. It’s not your grandfather’s Barcalounger but a proper chair.

Now I just have to empty/store boxes, shred old work papers, donate to St. Vincent de Paul. That’s where our working CRT tv will go, to a good home.

* * *

Jim’s (and for 11 years my) grandma, Nanny, had a birthday yesterday. Five years ago I brought in a western singer, the extraordinarily talented Ms. Juni Fisher to sing for her. She doesn’t need any physical gifts so was going to a concert last night. No word from our brother yet. Only strings, “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” music, and her great-grandkids were playing violin. We paid the utilities for the band so I hope they wished her a happy birthday!

I figured that in the 80-year range experiences are more important than calling the local florist so I thought outside the box and made it happen. We actually did send a physical component because when I called to say “Happy Birthday” she said she wanted something different for her Thanksgiving at which at least 60 people are served turkey and ham and brisket and so many wonderful desserts that’ll clog your heart just thinking of them.

I found a used set of Kubb (pronounced KOOB), an outdoor chess game invented by Swedish Vikings. I got it because my husband played it at a corporate function and liked the fact that it was for all ages and doesn’t require any specific athletic abilities. There are a LOT of kiddos at Thanksgiving. This wood looks older and has been treated to prevent it from weather damage. Apparently one stakes out a small area, sets up wooden blocks then uses pins to knock over those blocks then capture “The King.” We’ll see. Hope the kids and adults like it. It will certainly be different than riding four-wheelers and shooting skeet, or playing tennis or Risk.

Yes, we have really raucous thanksgivings with our iced tea et al. One year the grands (there are five plus me) laid down in a darkened living room and told stories. Do you know that the girls put my husband down a laundry chute? He’s now much taller and bigger and that will not happen again. My husband was having back trouble so was laying on the floor and the others joined us and it was a magical time. At one point one of their 15 kids ran through and said that an older, much bigger cousin had “disrespected him” in a football game. Their mothers just laughed and let them work it out.

Yes, I’m up at three but actually had a short nap yesterday afternoon. I do hope you are sound asleep (depending on whether you’re in Japan, Germany, the UK or US of A (yes I read my stats) and enjoying your weekend. Cook something! Dee

Canadaway Creek

This past year I had a photo framed. I bought it at a fund-raiser for an educational institution. It is by an esteemed writer, editor and photographer who is now gone, dated 1982.

It was of the creek I grew up on, climbed down a cliff to get to, caught crawdads and didn’t even think of cooking them, had black snakes thrown at me by neighbors and cherry bombs tossed in the back of my shirt. We also made hay forts (boys vs. girls), swam, played in the sand and learned a bit about horses.

And I read. At age eight I read Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther and The Diary of Anne Frank. I learned a lot in those years.

My favorite time was going down the 100′ rope my grandfather made, by myself and exploring what I called the “enchanted forest.” There were colored leaves on the ground, it was silent and I could gather my thoughts before being called up to dinner.

Celebrated singer and friend Juni Fisher wrote a song about the Mockingbird call which is what her mother used when she was lost in the woods. My mom’s was a car horn beeped three times but when Juni sang it for Nanny a few years ago there was a resonance of being called home.

I’ve told my husband to scatter my ashes in the enchanted forest. It is where I learned to live so framing this photo and making it a focus in our home is important to me. I took a picture of the framed photo and sent it to her daughter.

I believe that when you do good and others do evil, what comes around goes around. Maybe not in this lifetime. Learn something every day, do good things like adopting from your local animal shelter, and be happy. Dee


Save the Good Thoughts for then. Surgery’s off. I don’t want to talk about this glitch, but can’t get a team together after 12 days? Jim’s dad likes stories. He tells them better than anyone and must be bored to tears after all this time in the hospital.

So, how about I tell you a story. The #4 highlight of this birthday is my shorter haircut and, yes, highlights, first in six months because I’m always last on my list of things to do. #3, making sure Jim’s snow tires were mounted and balanced for this week because we’re supposed to have snow and he has a difficult commute. It’s good to know that he’s safe. #2 was the movie Red. It’s worth seeing if you recognize the names Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich or Helen Mirren. I didn’t expect much and it was a delight!

My birthday present was orchestra seats (10′ from the microphone) to Wylie and the Wild West and Juni Fisher, all part of the annual Heber Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair. Beforehand we met local artists and saw their work. The concert was very enjoyable. They showcased a young gal, 18, with a powerful voice, several cowboy poets and then brought out Juni Fisher, who has a grace of voice and guitar talent that is truly inspirational. A fellow blogger, pdxknitterati, helped me find her and we brought her to Texas to sing as a surprise for Nanny’s birthday two years ago. Since then we’ve kept in touch and it is always good to know that she’s going places and doing things I would never consider (good things, not illegal in any way!) to further her life and career. It was a joy to hear her sing again, in person.

Then Wylie and the Wild West entered the house and those boys can play! Both music and stage hijinks. A very talented group of musicians, I was impressed by the four musicians and the range and number of instruments they played. Was that a 12-string electric mandolin? Way cool. Fiddle to bass guitar, acoustic guitar to drums. And Wylie has an instrument he brings with him everywhere and doesn’t need to find a place to stow it on a tour bus or plane. His voice. He’s a yodeler, you might have heard him once or twice as he was the voice of the “Yahoo!” yodel several years ago. As a child of a germanic family, yodeling is something we loved in “The Sound of Music” and old family albums but it is a dying art and I must pat Wylie Gustafson on the back for trying to put it back on the map, with a distinctive American flair.

As I recall, yodeling was created for families to transmit news across the mountains, especially in the Alps. Certain tones would convey a message, like a baby was born, so that other families would know. It is a gift that Wylie was taught by his father and something to pass on. He’s even written a book about it.

It was a rollicking show for folks in plaid shirts, jeans and Stetsons who remember the polka, yodeling and earlier days of Rock & Roll. While I loved Buffalo Gals, and Zenyatta (sorry she lost by a head in the Breeders’ Cup), I think “16 Hands” was my favorite that day, perhaps because of Zenyatta. You showed traditionalism, innovation, talent, a great sense of humor and history, and a reverence for our nation and its lands.

Someday I may get to the Pendleton Roundup as a visitor to see what y’all are writing about. Until then, I’ll listen to your music. Thanks for a great show and more music! Cheers, Dee


Might an anger management class come in handy? I just read my last few posts. Tonight my husband asked me out to dinner and I agreed, but only after telling him that he had a haircut the other night, I cleaned Mr. Fish’s water, bathed the dog and got her nails trimmed today (washed and dried all the dog towels and my wet clothing) and I haven’t had my hair cut for six months because I always place myself at the end of the list. I never get to the end of the list. Ask my siblings about “Renew Passport.”

I showered and changed and we had a nice meal and I’m going to see our hairdresser next week for some “happy hair.” We have several tasks this weekend, some of the secret holiday variety for others, the one kind of shopping I enjoy. I’m a happy person, and once I clean out the frig will be happier.

A birthday is coming up, and I even offered to get my own gift, but think I’ll ask my husband to do it. It’s a three-part gift. First, he got me off Facebook because any shred of privacy they promise is a sham. Done. Now he has to delete a widget off this site because I don’t approve of their practices and will not let them dictate the percentage of food commentary this site provides. And then there’s a concert on my birthday by Juni Fisher, a cowgirl poet who will be performing in a nearby town. We’re thinking of having folks for BBQ afterwards.

Sounds like a weekend to me! Any good movies coming out? I can’t wait to hear Gwyneth Paltrow sing country. Wait, my husband’s parents need tix to that movie, I’ll bring a movie gift certificate along with spicy almonds and cashews to Thanksgiving. Cheers and thanks for reading and writing in. Dee

Sous Vide

We met an older couple at Yellowstone National Park yesterday and thought we’d be looking at boiling mud. It was boiling water. This pot was right next to a river a fisherman was on, and boiling water was flowing into it. Apparently there were still fish to be had. We didn’t take a photo. We have every respect for our country and the lands we citizens pay for and call our own.

I did say that if the trout was placed in a plastic bag and submersed in the boiling water that Top Chef would have called it sous vide. That said, I would never do that, did not have a trout or a bag. Our national parks are a marvel, as are the national forests and we’ve seen a few.

It’s not only a grand old flag, it’s this land is my land. We all own this land and should preserve it for generations to come. We don’t have kids and still will try to preserve it for generations to come. Some folks never get to see it. But you can see it and hear it in the voices of the West and their stories. Sure, they’re about love and loss, childhood memories and favorite horses. I guess that’s different than pure country songs from my husband’s background that are “my wife left me, dog ran away and I was fired” genre.

Thank you Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and so many other talents that help us see our country for what it could be. Also to the storytellers of the West, like Juni Fisher. Some of her ballads just make me cry, in a good way.

We look forward to seeing more of everything, here in the US and abroad. Cheers, Dee


Zoe (our dog) recoils as the guns blast: avalanche control measures are in effect in ski country. It must be time for comfort foods, as detailed in my latest blogs.

Regarding delis, I’ve a tale to tell. Raised Catholic (lapsed long ago) and married to a fundamental Christian, my knowledge of the Jewish faith is meager, only what I can read or glean from friends. A short time ago friend and noted cowgirl poet/singer/songwriter Juni Fisher was visiting and the subject of Ashkenazy and Sephardic Jews came up. She asked the difference.

I explained the cold climates of Russia and Poland, and the Southern climes of Spain and told her about borscht and matzo ball soup as opposed to the one Sephardic meal I was invited to attend (a friend was shocked to see me there as she didn’t know I was in the “tribe,” no I wasn’t, just a guest). I waxed poetic about foods to keep you warm and foods to keep you cool and when I finished, Juni said “Leave it to you to explain the entire Jewish faith in terms of food!!!”

She’s right. It’s laughable and a comment I’ll remember. I guess that’s what started this blog. Food has been an interest of mine for most of my life. I cook, and have attended great schools: I write so why not combine the two. It’s been an honor to host this blog and have nearly 25K hits in 18 months. For a niche blog that’s pretty impressive. I’m certainly thankful that so many people consider my prose worthwhile reading.

View to Nature Preserve

View to Nature Preserve

Boom! Boom! Someone here is not happy. The blasts must sound much louder to a dog’s ears. My husband just called to say he got to work OK even though I-80 was not plowed. Thank goodness he has AWD, DSTC and great snow tires! The ladies are walking to lunch today, in boots. I just sent in a photo report to our local weather station.

Time to get moving and make progress indoors as it’s snowing yet again and will for the next few days. Early this morning I read that this is the driest winter here in 67 years! Enjoy the day, Dee

My Christmas Gift

Thank you, WordPress. This NY gal never thought she’d be the top post on your Marty Robbins blog. It’s a long story but I have to thank husband Jim, his Nanny, PDXKnitterati, Juni Fisher and that little cowboy Joseph. Thanks, y’all for some fine family music memories. I dedicate this gift to Jim, because today is his birthday and he sang El Paso in a restaurant in Scotland at our going-away party that started everything….

Cheers, y’all come back now, hear? Dee

Yea Cooks!

Several bloggers who tap my site now and then have made it big with sponsors et al. Congratulations! I wish you well. To my fellow cooks who photograph foods and make them look fantastic, bravo. I want to know how things taste.

It doesn’t matter that no-one has plumbed my exhaustively researched cookbook list or even the essential pantry. No-one is sponsoring that or my blog. That’s just me being there to share thoughts and writings on food, family and friends. And the love goes out tonight to everyone who is cooking a special meal for a loved one.

I multi-tasked this afternoon making an Italian bean salad with red onion and sausage, turkey soup, grilled NY strip steak (Jim grilled it, I prepped it), rosti potatoes (a Swiss dish that is a potato cake) and a simple salad.

How does Monday come around so fast? This is a non-traditional Thanksgiving because we saw no family, but got to talk with them over the weekend. I hope that you like that I write about food. I might do that even better than cooking but we’d have to a contest for that and I can’t think of another gal that would fit this profile. I’m thinking and might have the right rival if it’s food, writing and music. Nah, forget about that, the best candidates I can come up with would wipe the floor with me on all counts. With a great deal of love and gratitude on this Thanksgiving weekend I bid you a good evening. Dee