Tag Archives: marriage


It’s after 2:00 a,m. and I cannot sleep. My husband, first time in a while, is now snoring soundly, dog Zoe is yipping in REM sleep. I was just laughing inside my head while marveling at my family and how I know them so well, so can get up and write a bit.

My husband sometimes talks in his sleep. He tells me I do as well. I never understand a single word he says, just put my hand on his back and say “it’s OK” and snoring starts once again. With the dog it’s different. Sometimes I put my hand on her, usually her REM sleeps are very brief and she goes right back to sleep on her own.

It’s funny how you know people 24/7, and a dog. As a wife and “dog mom” you know what everyone is up to and anticipate what they need all the time. Out? OK, it’s 2 a.m. and I can get a jacket on and do it. That is rare. Zoe’s on really great food and she is not ill often even given her age.

I never lived with someone when I was single. It is very different being with a husband, someone for 15 years as there is a sense of one-ness and camaraderie that you don’t get from going on a date to a movie. Come on, we fart from time to time, so does old Zoe.

When I leave to write or just go into the other room I listen. I know they’re both OK. ABC, Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Yes, I took the first ever course from HSUS and the Red Cross for animals, way back. Yes, I passed and worked with shelter animals and feral cats for 20 years.

I still check on them every 20 minutes I’m in our den typing. They don’t know it, but I’m there. That’s what caring people do for their loved ones. Dee

ps They are fine, I will sign off and go back to them. D




My husband wants to start to learn how to cook. He can now make a grilled cheese sandwich (likes mine better) and last week he learned how to make oatmeal. Yea!

After 14 years of me bringing in my entire kitchen, fully equipped (he brought one plastic colander from college) he wants to make pancakes with whipped egg whites, and homemade pasta. Not together, of course. It’s great because I’ve never been able to use the hand-cranked pasta maker I bought before we met, for counter thickness. Now I enjoy his rolling and cutting the pasta I made while I work on other dinner items from across the bar/island.

He wants beef. I want fish and can’t even cook it here because he’s allergic to anything that swims. So I eat beef. Over the years I’ve integrated pork, lamb and chicken into the dinner mix. No, not all together.

I started with large plastic drink cups for the road so we’d recognize my Diet Coke from his Dr. Pepper. Mine was pink, his blue. I don’t like tasting his beverage and he hates mine.

Our first iPhones were the same, except for the cases. Mine was hot pink. His was a black Otter box because he drops it all the time, or drowns it, that’s another story. I didn’t want him to grab my phone off the counter by mistake else he’d have little to deal at work with my contacts. After seven years I got a new phone and my laptop is so old I cannot complete activation. But mine is rose gold and his is black, so he won’t pick up my phone in error. Red and blue toothbrushes, for the road. Separate, but together.

As people are together for years there are routines and this is my space and this is your space. You want to watch a war movie and I want to watch a cooking show. Thinking about it he must have had a bump on the head or something because now likes Alton Brown from Food Network – so do I! Heaven forbid he find Harold McGee’s book on my various cookbook shelves. I may have to place a different cover on it, get a romance novel from a thrift shop….

My husband says after 14 years I have created a “food snob.” I’m afraid I have. Until recently he only came into my kitchen to get water and ice.

I think that by being different we come together. He’s learning to cook a bit. I know a lot about what he would call “soft skills” in his work. We talk. He reaches for the upper cabinets for things I can’t get, and I plumb the lower cabinets for what he can’t reach, as in where are picture hangers and a hammer. It’s teamwork. Yes, I did put all his toolboxes in storage so he only has a hammer, screwdrivers, picture hooks, tape measure….. It’s a galley kitchen, little space!

On the other hand, I’ve a set of ten of my mother’s china. Also a set of 8 from Nanny (my husband’s grandmother). We have a table that seats four. Do the math. We usually eat alone on melamine plates or historic Pyrex bowls for pasta or true Texas Chili. Yes, M-I-L bought me the incomplete Pyrex set from a Texas antique store then donated her coveted smallest blue bowl to make a full set, the blue is always the one that breaks first. My aunt gifted me my grandmother’s blue bowl. Today, after years of use I can’t tell one from the other but use them for his breakfast eggs. Differences can work. Cheers! Dee


We met 14 years ago, three weeks after 9/11. That is what all of us talked about. An epic tragedy.

Three thousand miles away he was a living casualty of the dot-bomb era so he moved home three weeks after we met. In two weeks he braved Thanksgiving with my mother and he was back and staying with relatives for a month. I found him a home 1,000 feet from mine.

We moved him in, mostly computer, and got him an air bed that leaked. He tried to come to my place for dinner early on but I had a cat and he’s deathly allergic. He bought a gas mask beforehand so all he could say sounded like “Luke, I am your father.” Ten minutes later we were out of there to buy dinner.

Fourteen years later I knew we were in it for the long haul, he didn’t, so I decided I had enough stuff in my kitchen that I could cook for myself, and give him some essential items to use at his place as well. He brought one thing to his new kitchen, a colander. Before he started eating string cheese he may have made pasta once or twice. His mother gave this to him for college and we still have it. I went to cooking school and have every necessary tool known to humankind.

Funny story. I walked to Pier 1, 1/2 mile away and saw glasses. Six small, medium and large Picardie glasses for juice and beverages. It was $18. I got it immediately for him and tried to lug it home. One glass is light, 18 are heavy! I stopped every 300 feet and put the box down. Then I crossed the park. I went to his place and left them upstairs on the doorstep.  At that point I didn’t care if anyone stole them. I went through the bushes and home and there was a note. “Home sick from work and have aspirin. Do you have a glass?” Marriage made in heaven. Fate.

It worked out for the best. His mother and I cook together for days every holiday and I know now why he married me 12 years ago: I cook; write and edit; take good care of the dog; and when we walked on the beach that first date and looked at the sunset he held me and I was the perfect chin rest.  That’s love.

Oh, he also built me a pantry (I designed and helped). We’ve dishes for 18 and a table that seats four. Tomorrow is another day! Dee

Jim's Colander

Jim’s Colander

Sugar and Spice, and Herbs

At lunch time my major concern is that window washers are coming down and there are ropes hanging. Our poor old dog doesn’ know what to do so I’m awaiting their arrival and introducing them as our friends, as I do every year.

I cannot go out or get lunch anywhere until they are below us and friends.

Today my husband went out a new adventure. Part of it is attending a wedding for a young cousin. Brava! We sent her one gift this morning, no, two. I had the opportunity to teach the bride and her cousin cooking classes, two years at Thanksgiving, when she was just a little girl. I heard that she and her future husband  like to cook together.

All I’ll tell you about the first gift is that it includes reference works (how romantic) plus the same spiced nuts I place on Nanny’s table every year for 14 years come next week. The spiced nuts were not sent to the bride, but to her mother, to calm her nerves and know everything will be OK. Don’t stress! Nanny and I are there in spirit for you. Just place the nuts on the table, take a breath.

Of course for Thanksgiving I never would have tried to do pies or cakes. First, I do not bake. Second, you couldn’t imagine the tastes up there on that Thanksgiving table. Forget the table after being satiated by turkey, ham, brisket and numerous side dishes. Feeding 50+ with just desserts, one must use windowsills et all!

I thought a lot of fresh spices and herbs would complete our wedding package so ordered it from Penzey’s this morning and it will arrive before the wedding as well. I remember when the bride’s youngest brother climbed off his mother’s lap and insisted on kissing me goodbye. He’s grown now and would hate to hear that story. I’ll keep it for blackmail!

For the bride and groom come common herbs, chilis and cinnamon sugar, sugar and spice. Congratulations, newlyweds!

In the beginning I  concentrated on two things and knew no-one left much on the kitchen table. I brought my homemade boursin and crackers, plus spiced nuts and just left them on the table. During The Game all the ladies congregated in the Kitchen and I hope I had a part in that. Next year I gave them spinach balls but left that recipe to a new bride in my new family.

Mincemeat tarts, Brussels sprout and cauliflower vegetarian (but rich and sinful) gratin. I don’t remember the rest at the moment, only that the boursin and nuts always are on the kitchen table and after all the good dishes are cleaned and replaced that’s where we go to relax before the next round. Yes, there’s a next round after The Game and it entails plastic cups and paper plates.  That’s why I wanted cousin the MOB to have the nuts on the kitchen table in a bowl, or wherever she wants them. My husband flew them south this morning and will take another flight and car to the wedding.

Sorry I will not be there. I did go off the bride’s gift list but then again, I taught her cooking when she was a little kid and her cousin K said my first year (before marriage) that “Nanny has shoes like that.” Ouch! Love these gals and it makes me feel really old to see one getting married. To Bride and Groom! Dee


That’s something my husband and I talked about a week after we met. We married 14 months later. Oh, we eloped. What we said that first week is that the marriage is more important than the wedding. Our young friends are proving that to be true.

Marriage is about yesterday, nearly 13 years in, on a klutz week, I have them from time to time, every five years or so. I think I broke my near little toe on the wood leg to our sofa and had to get up to ice it again. He brought me an ice pack and a naproxin sodium for pain. Thank you, dearest!

In 2003 we were moving and had the car, the truck was on its way to its new destination and we were at an old Holiday Inn, new name, the round ones. The room was angular. I was up and pacing middle of the night and because of the non-squareness of the room when I stubbed my toe on the desk my husband, in his sleep, said “hurts, doesn’t it.” To this day it’s a joke here and he doesn’t remember saying it. That’s marriage.

People spend tens of thousands for weddings when they should consider their future. I did our wedding planning, flowers, site, dress (rental with tiara and lovely white scarf, hair, makeup, shirt and tie for my groom, lunch for eight and honeymoon) for $2,000. Yes, tell me to get out of here. That includes permits.

My husband and I asked an older couple (married for decades) for a meeting at their home. It was a Tuesday afternoon. They had been very kind to us, me before I met J, for years. I said that we have decided to marry. If you don’t have any plans at noon Saturday, we’d love for you to be there. I called them Mom and Dad.

I asked “Dad” if he would marry us. As a retired Navy Captain I’m sure he thought it would be on a ship, and “Mom” to sign as a witness. He took a moment in the other room (perhaps shed a tear because he has three sons and no daughter to give in marriage). He came out, asked how it would be done and told me he wanted to write the vows.

They were not great on computers so I said I’d type and print the vows for him in caps and double spaced. We found an illegal venue less than 24 hours before the wedding and were in and out of there in 15 minutes to go to my favorite Northern Italian place on the patio for lunch for eight. The chef gave us wedding cake. Then we went home to call our parents.

Yes, that 2K got us one night at a senior’s resort on Rte. 66 (my husband’s choice and it was karaoke night) and two in Vegas courtesy of a concierge who saw my bouquet and told us to come back after lunch and gave us a gorgeous suite on the 33rd floor for $88 per night!

It was an incredible four days planning and executing but worth every minute. We did what we wanted to do. Simple, elegant, and we met each others’ families first. His mother interrogated me for five days. Smart she is, because whenever I tell her that her son is on a five month project that takes over my kitchen work space and is driving me nuts all she says is “I told you.” Yes, she did. Cheers! Dee

ps “Dad” is now interred at Annapolis. Of course we were there. God rest his soul. As his “daughter” I’ve permission to visit any time. I just have to wait a month for a parking permit. Dee

Young People

We just received a wedding invitation from a lovely young couple. No save the date, no card to respond, very chic and modern with a photo of the couple.

I’ve never met the groom but have known the bride since she was about eight years old and I gave her and her cousin cooking lessons on holidays.

Oh, to be young and in love. I wish them every happiness. The groom’s name is one I gave my first cat in 1987 (I accidentally typed 1876 which seems like the right date some days when arthritis kicks in) which means “gift.” The five-week old kitten was a gift to me from 3,000 miles away. He was with me for 13 years and I never got in the last word, he was a Burmese/Siamese/Tuxedo DSH talker. Until I held him on his last journey, the one with the pink syringe. Then I just got to miss him, and his presence in my life.

Dear groom, it is a noble name to be cherished, and for your wife and families, certainly not for my cat. We wish you everything life has to offer. D & J

ps M, your photo is up on our frig for now but will be framed. I’m so happy for you! D

Missing Her Already

She hasn’t left yet, after nearly two weeks but Ms. L is loved and cherished here and is welcome back as a guest anytime. Any dog who can use her paw or tail to corral the sunshine from her eyes looks good to me.

No, I can’t see her in a Stetson. Too little and bony for the hat. She’s getting along with everyone in the neighborhood except she wants to eat skittish Yorkies and teeny poodles. Luckily she’s on leash. A neighbor was caught downtown today with two dogs, one really old, off-leash and was given a warning.

Her owner and I, she’s a neighbor, met because of the dog and bonded over collars. Martingale collars, no buckle, hand made Asian silk. They each have two. That collar has kept Ms. L from squirrels, Yorkies and miniature Poodles as she is a sighthound and looks for prey.

I can control her in a heartbeat. Walking two dogs, a sight hound and a herder, would be difficult without a leash splitter that the owner holds with one hand and the dogs have to stay on the same side and walk at the same pace.

They’re  couple of pounds from each other even though L is tall and skinny and Zoe has more fat and an undercoat. They’re now separated, which allows me to write this. No roughhousing for 20 minutes!

Zoe is under the bed with the door closed. L is on the sofa sound asleep as well, wiht her tail covering her eyes. It is remarkable how similar they are for different breeds.

My mother-in-law gave us a quilt years ago, all hexagons, 100 years old from a great grandmother. She kept up the pattern until dementia set in, then started using wild colors and patterns. I tell visitors that these strange patterns on the outside (my husband and I) met in the middle and married years ago.

I think that’s what is happening with our “sister” dogs. I will miss her when her Mom comes home. Such a sweet girl. Dee



It’s late for that Hallmark day, I know. I’ve one mother-in-law and one adopted  grandmother to thank for one great accomplishment: their son and grandson; my husband.

I did send cards and we called, after church. As far as I’m concerned every day should be Mothers’ Day! Did you hear that, Zoe? Fetch. Dee


My husband has had the flu for a few days. He will be home in the morning sometime so I’ve deconstructed flights to find out when to pick him up.

I didn’t want to call him as he must awaken well before the sun. Sent an email with what I surmise is his flight schedule and will carry on from there, hoping he calls to correct if needed. Work backwards. Think Ginger Rogers in high heels dancing with Fred Astaire.

When I was young I’d look at married people and ask, how did they learn that? The husband lends his arm to the wife over a patch of ice. Takes a hand crossing the street or just to connect. Husband takes the dog’s leash while wife picks up the poop. Yep, that’s me, religious about picking up the poop.

After years you don’t ask, just know what the other is thinking. When the priest or minister or Navy Captain marries you, there is a sense that you become one. Then there is that strange clank in the sink when your wedding ring hits a dish you’re washing and you realize you’re really married.

Then you adopt a shelter dog because you think your husband will spoil a child rotten, so he does for the dog. He would not argue with that. We were unable to have children but love our cousins, nieces and nephew.

So we are a deconstructed family. We have a dog. For St. Patrick’s day only, Zoe (Greek for life) will be Colleen, Irish for lass. She will wear her new emerald green collar, hand made silk with cherry blossoms sewn in to the pattern. Cheers! Dee



The trees are changing and getting more bare. A family we know is moving this week across the country. As my husband and I have moved several times over many years, we know that when people move, they’re gone forever.

My father changes places several times per year. We try to keep in touch by email but mostly he re-sends jokes from old buddies.

My husband’s family is in place, on a ranch in Texas. Two, actually, for now. His grandmother hosts Thanksgiving for up to 60 folks every year. This is our annual family event. I started with two but think I’m up to 5-6 dishes every year. My mother-in-law and I have a cook-fest for 2-3 days and it is a joy for me to spend time with her. Lately she’s been concerned that our dog is not coming along, because she helps with floor clean-up!

It’s good to have a family that stays in the same place for decades as I’ve never had that, all my life. Nanny “adopted” me 12 years ago as my grandmothers died before I was a year old.

We only had the family, six of us, for Thanksgiving and my mother was resentful that my soon-to-be husband joined us for dinner. She placed our luggage in the hallway and told us to find a hotel. She’s gone now, no matter whether she didn’t want me ever to be born, she’s gone. I’ve a Dad and another family who actually like me.

This year I have to do boursin and spiced nuts for the kitchen table, mincemeat tarts for dessert, and I’ll try a corn custard for the main table. Yes, I may be flying in with M’s new/old sewing machine but I have a family.

Very few women have a father-in-law who says “I have to try this dish, because I know who made it.” It’s the same guy that after an hour in my presence took his son aside and said “When are you going to ask her? It’s OK with me.” It took his mother another four days but we’re OK now. Fall in love, even if your love is across the country and you only speak 15 minutes a day. Pay your cell phone bill and hope things will work out. Dee