the original man cave

18 09 2008


He was, as we’ve seen in other examples, a man way ahead of the times, not only in fashion but in home decorating as well.  

Last Fall on seeing the latest batch of trinkets he’d amassed,  I mentioned to him that I thought one of the missing elements of his little cabin-like room – dark paneling, a rustic-look wood theme in the furniture and the smallest room in the house-was a moose head.  He laughed and thought that would be a good idea.  So I searched the internet till I found just the one to do the trick.

In the six weeks time between first mentioning it and taking it down to Indiana for the Holidays – he’d forgotten that I’d said I was going to buy it and was a bit shocked when I opened the box.  But he quickly found the perfect place for it to watch over him at night.  And before long those empty antlers became a trophy case for another favorite bobble – old CD’s.  Just like a magpie, he loved shiny things…so he had them hanging in his room, on the kitchen door, on the calendar – anywhere there was an empty spot that needed “prettifying”.

During this last week of Wall Street ups and mostly downs, I’ve been reminded that what he left behind were not the kind of riches we have to contact a broker about – but the kind of riches he left by being the kind of person that brought us so much laughter and love and no “crash” can take that away from us.

So if you have a man cave you’d like to decorate – remember to put a touch of Billy in it and smile.

I get by with a little help from my friends…

17 09 2008

I dig iconic art.  I wasn’t raised with iconic art in my church unless you consider a semi-tropical river scene in the baptistry iconic art.  I always felt a bit like the baby Moshe being put in a wicker basket about to be floated down the Nile during the 8:30 a.m. sleepy service on Sundays. 

Pictures of our Jesus were not on the walls or in statues – just in those carry- home papers we were supposed to read with our parents.  They were always the same pictures and when I look at them now I seriously hope Jesus doesn’t look like that at all.


 A tad creepy really.


And I didn’t know my heart   had an Arts & Crafts             decorating motif… I thought it’d be a bit more like door at Bilbo Baggins’ Bag End.


When we showed up at the funeral home for Billy’s wake and did the first “walk through”, I noticed that everyone did a little imperceptible shudder…it wasn’t like when my Mom first saw her father “dressed out” in the casket and realized that his moustache had been shaved off while in the hospital down in Tennessee…but it was a shudder nonetheless.

On a side table near the casket was a glass pillar candle with a picture of my dad superimposed over the background of a flag that the funeral home had prepared. It was like the ones you can buy in the grocery store – at least I can buy them in my grocery store in the hispanic section – but I imagine some of you don’t have large immigrant communities in your neighborhood. 

Baptists don’t get into the candle thing so much – at least the way good Catholics do. Sometimes I’m pretty sure when Martin threw the baby out with the bath water there were lots of things that Protestants might think about reclaiming. One explanation of the candle part is:

Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means “waiting” or “watching”) are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. Lighting a candle is a way of extending one’s prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf the prayer is offered.

Mom has begun to really enjoy her St. Billy candle.  She couldn’t have candles lit around Billy much in the end – he’d freak out thinking they were going to catch the house on fire and would go around behind her blowing them out as soon as she had lit them.  Now, I appreciate that Smokey the Bear mentality but those little battery operated tea lights that I bought them as a substitue – don’t really cut it much.  

For as long as I can remember, when the weather starts to turn cold and the days grow shorter – she enjoys having a candle on her kitchen table to light in the early hours of dawn.  So maybe she’ll be sharing that space with Billy’s face flickering in front of her.  Yesterday something she read got the well of tears pump primed and she has had a hard time capping the flow.  That is a good thing.  She needed that and it is healthy.  I’m a bit jealous actually. And she said she likes to be alone to get it out her way – on her timetable.  What a smart woman.

One of the first days I came home after the funeral, I was at the grocery store and had to bring some friends home with me to share my space.  And in case you don’t recognize them by their faces, know that I’ve got it covered here with the patron saint of hopeless cases on my side.  I know you’re relieved.

psycho writer

16 09 2008

I can barely contain myself.  It is like I just found someone in the universe that I really relate to.  And it was a chance meeting…

As a fledgling blogger, I am learning what this process is supposed to look like – and one of the components I’ve seen mentioned in numerous articles I’ve read say I should be reading other blogs to see what’s out there.  Good research…any amateur writer knows that.  

So I try to find other bloggers talking about things that sound like my life. I’m not looking in the political arenas, or the techie closets – mine is just the mundane with a psycho twist.  Hard to find that category in the WordPress index of themes, but today was different.  In their business section (who knew?) I notice a blurb that catches my eye and changes my day and maybe my life!  Words from a nationally exhibited working artist– trying to wrap her head around getting her life in order.  What a relief!  It’s not just me.  I’m not the only one struggling with which comes first the chicken or the egg – do I write first, or clean first?  Am I not productive artistically because I’m not organized or am I not organized because I’m not writing?

Now, I know most of you reading this today (or should I say posted today – read on a Thursday as I get the feeling that my readership is sneaking peaks at their workplace and really can’t afford to until they are well into their work week and sufficiently caught up…) have better things to do than to be inspired, entertained or motivated by blogs.  It is my personal goal each week to keep you sufficiently engaged to keep coming back for more of my own musings..let alone expose you to the big dogs in blogworld so don’t feel pressured to click on the link to read some really good writing…

I’m not the kind of disciplined writer that has a set pattern to my day – a this-is-when-I-work-so-do-not-dare-interrupt-me.  Nor does my inspiration come to me like that.  Much too random.  Much too chaotic. Take today for instance – “to do” lists aren’t really part of how my brain functions. It’s more of a kaleidoscope of things moving around in my brain like a pseudo LSD trip you’d see on a bad music video from the 60’s…forms emerge, retreat, morph into other things.  That is a typical day for me.

I am understandably fragile and moody and easily given over to whim. When that flow starts out my fingers – the rest of the day can settle into whatever.  It’ll all be good from the moment my curser moves to the “publish” button and it’s public. But if that inspiration isn’t quite ripe yet, then it’s a arduous process.  Like the urges we feel when we need to go to that one room of the house…but things weren’t really in “place”…you get my drift.

Worse yet, when I finally find that inspiration waiting quietly like a dust bunny in the corner – and something happens…a phone call, a knock at the door, a “can you tell me where…?”, or “what were you thinking about for lunch?” (the answer is always, “I wasn’t”) – and poof…the magic moment is gone and I’m deflated and feel like I have to start all over again.  Little noises, subtle squeaks in the floor, the cat meowing – anything can derail my train of thought.  So today I’ve decided – since my workspace is too public, too accessible – I will only write in the dead of night.  It is the only Do Not Disturb time when I’m not in peril. 

Actually I’m trying to figure out if I’m more frustrated by having started this process after 25 years “off” and not having the perfect writing environment or was I better off never having started back and having all the pressure mounting inside my head unexpressed.  See why I’m certifiably psycho?

I think it’s better having started writing…I think I am making progress.  I did take 500 lbs. of old magazines from a pile on my dining room floor and into the drop box at the hospital for re-purposing.  That felt good. And shredded bunches of junk mail just in time for the recycle pick-up tomorrow. Baby steps, right?  Baby steps. And today I have to wash my hair.  I may be on a roll here.

Just in time for me to pack up and go back to do the same thing at Billy’s. But what writer would be put off by being back in the space with such potential great ideas for future blogs?  It’d be like a sculpture artist passing on a trip to see Michelangelo’s David.

fashion forward

15 09 2008

For some of you this is old news… at least ONE person in my immediate family (OK, two – I just asked the most unlikely one and he knew!!) is aware that New York Fashion Week just finished up giving sneak peeks of what to expect next Spring. The runway that set the pace for what we will see for the Fall/Winter 2009 collections (back in February) had feathers, feathers, and more feathers.  

What a fashionista Billy was…and we never knew.  You got nothin’ on us Marc Jacobs.

who doesn’t…?

14 09 2008

It’s early evening on a rainy Sunday and of course, the boy says he needs some chocolate chip cookies and an ounce of guilt goes a long, long way.  When I’m here, it’s good to cook or bake just to re-establish my presence.  In my house, this standard American cookie is loved by one and all.  If ten people were polled – how many do you think would say these are one of their favorites?

As standard as this cookie is – I’m always surprised by the subtle variations in the recipe from house to house.  Some are more perfectly formed.  Some softer, chewier…others crispy and oddly shaped.  But everyone seems to be reading from the back of the same package and putting things together basically in the same order.  Some stay on the cookie sheet to cool, some cool on tin foil, some on wire racks.  How hard can this be?

There have been times in my cookie baking history that I have followed the directions to the letter of the law and they have been a total flop.  Was it the oven?  Was it the flour?  Which was the evil ingredient?  Just as many times as that has happened – they have come out unbelievably delicious while maybe skimping on something that was in short supply.  Maybe its just these magical marvels.

When we lived in Spain, packages of chocolate chips would line empty crevices of any suitcase that was bound for our apartment – our own suitcases, any family members coming to visit, or any friend or acquaintance we had any remote contact with could be talked into being a mule.  We couldn’t buy them in any store.  Most wives there don’t bake things like cookies at home so it was quite the novelty for birthday parties and other social gatherings.

There would always be a critical moment when someone would turn up their nose up at one of our precious cookies.  How could they NOT like a chocolate chip cookie?  It was unheard of  – bizarre – irrational.  Then I’d get some cultural clarity and realize even these little cookies were a totally American taste…and guess what?  The rest of the world is not under obligation to like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter or blue kool-aid for that matter no matter how much MY kids liked those things or how novel they seemed to us.

Cookie cutter people don’t exist either- nor do perfect chocolate chip cookies that are palate perfect for global consumption.  In our homes little things make us who we are – whether we are extremely active or couch potatoes, book readers or movie watchers, neat freaks or comfortably unconcerned about perfection – they are all the bits and pieces that make us who we are.  And once we’re “formed”- it doesn’t mean that we are going to be loved by everyone either – sometimes it’s an acquired taste. 

Billy always thought that chocolate chip cookies would be the perfect cookie without the chocolate chips.  “Too sweet for me,” he’d say, “too sweet for me.”

a sammich and moo juice

13 09 2008

Lunches carried in brown paper bags – names scrawled large enough to be seen from the passing Sputnik – the scorn of classmates who had the latest and greatest lunchboxes of  Top Cat , Casper or Felix the Cat.  Just plain old practical brown paper bags that I was supposed to bring home to be used again.

Oh those lunches. Mine was a sandwich of an odd substance usually on white bread with mayo wrapped in waxed paper; an apple for dessert.  No chips, no hostess cupcakes, twinkies or the other things I lusted for across those fold-up lunch tables. Wait,  I take that back – I did get three, count them three, Hydrox-fake Oreo-cookies.

During first grade I contracted Hepatitis A. When their own version of “Dr. Kildare” told them I needed to eat liver once a week – the form in which it was presented mattered NOT. The Oscar Mayer liver sausage/liverwurst /braunschweiger sandwiches – call it what you will – was supposed to be a source of vitamins and protein for me.  At the same time they were trying to save my liver – they subsequently tried killing me in the cholesterol department. Little did they know they were early on in the preparation for refining my taste buds to learn to love European paté when the time would come. Thank God for Lipitor (or it’s generic equivilant – death to the large pharmaseutical devils). 

There was one more component in the lunch department. It was my responsibility to put my sticky fingers into the penny jar each morning and only come out with the allotted three. Every weekday morning for nine months of the year – it would get robbed.  In its heyday it would be depleated to the tune of 9 cents a day.  Just enough to buy three kids three half pints of milk at lunch.

Hiding just inside the cupboard, always on the first shelf quietly waiting for deposits – this isn’t the only cupboard it’s been tucked away in – nor is it the original container – it is still there. 

Days before we started hospice, Billy was still stashing pennies. There they sit – no one is taking out money for moo juice these days.  But if you need a couple of pennies…you’ll know where to look.

billy’s birds and scary squirrels

12 09 2008

Early last spring, I got to my folks on a Saturday and found my dad out in the yard in his pajama pants, ball cap too big for his head, and short sleeved v-neck t-shirt head chasing around in the yard with a broom held up over his head like a crazy man.  “I’m gonna get them!  I’m gonna get them!,” he yelled.  “Gonna get who?”, I wondered out loud. 

Somewhere in post-retirement, Billy got into birds.  It was a great hobby – they collected beautiful wood carvings to hang in their kitchen, magazines and bird watching primers were always close at hand for identification and binoculars were amassed.  On the south side of the house there is a hugely overgrown honeysuckle bush – monstrously deformed and sprawling.  A personal aviary.

He had made what he considered the best anti-squirrel design for feeding his little tweeties.  But the fates, super-squirrels and/or a design flaw was really frustrating him.  Something was keeping his fine feathered friends at bay and by spying through the window, he had solved his mystery.  

The squirrels were eating all the birdseed.  So seeing that the broom routine really wasn’t cutting it (I could hear all the squirrels and their twittering little laughs making fun of him) we had to come up with an alternate plan.  Thank God for the internet or I’d still be in the library.  Of course, on line I could find hundreds of birdfeeders designed to be 100% guaranteed squirrel proof.  He’d have no part of it.  “That stuff is for the birds…”

Next we tried a scarecrow…motion sensored, glassy eyed big owl.  We set it up on the ground under the bush – and after a bit checked on it to find that those cheeky squirrels had knocked it over (not really but that’s what Billy thought).  He fanagled a way to suspend it from the bush making it look like it was  “flying”.  Again – a wash.

Soon enough the dementia demons had distracted him to the point that he forgot all about feeding the peeps.  For the better part of 3 months no one has been paying attention to the birdy buddies.  My conscience has been bothering me…it takes two minutes to fill the coffee can with the small tin can and walk it around to the far side of the house.  That was a priority for my visit this time (and to have our phone interview with social security).  I wonder how long it will take for them to come back.  I did leave about a half a loaf of moldy bread under the bush the other day and there is not a crumb left to show for it.  Proof that we have squirrels or birds coming back.

This new chore will get added to the calendar’s ‘to do’ list as soon as we understand what garbage goes in which garbage can…recycling is tough at 81.  She loves working in the yard and if I can keep her from chopping down the aviary and even if she doesn’t have Meals on Wheels goodies to share with the squirrels/cat/birds/raccoon or whatever is snacking, she can handle the birdseed.

Yesterday I was thinking about how many people have mentioned knowing my dad by his whistle and I haven’t heard it for years.  As I was thinking about that – I heard a cardinal chirp out.  No, I’m not thinking he’s come back as a feathered friend – that’s for the birds!

worker man hands

11 09 2008

Worker man hands. Stout, sausage like fingers, one permanently crooked from getting jammed with a softball – and he never would have such a trivial thing looked at by a hand surgeon. He just rigged up a homemade finger splint and got on with life. Broad backed hands. Almost like a farmer. A firm grip. The winters took a real toll on those hands with constant exposure to sub-zero temperatures, ice, snow, tools, and gas meters – I NEVER remember seeing my dad wear gloves. According to him, he couldn’t get a grip with gloves.  Again, his famous interjection, “What are you going to do when winter gets here?”, uttered in a middle of a howling blizzard just showing the highland-border-collie-type love of the elements and tireless hard work that characterized his life.

Every year – they’d come back…deep splits on his knuckles, in the creases or on his finger tips. Those open splits were always raw and tender…no matter how much goo he’d put on them at night. They weren’t big – not always noticeable. By the time the weather would turn, he’d usually have a reprieve and slowly but surely, his hands would be good as new.  

I look down at my own hands. After 20 years of on again/ off again, unexplainable blistering, deep under the skin which then turns to insatiable itching, followed by peeling, drying and finally cracking – the genius I am, figures – I have eczema. I’ve tried tracking it over the years and I know it is not solely stress induced.  There have been times where I’m under tremendous stress and I have zero problem.  Then when it flares up, I get those same kind of splits and they hurt like the dickens. If I so much as touch certain things to the tips of my thumbs, it can be riviting pain.  Lemon juice, cutting tomatoes or hand sanitizer are not advisable when they are flare up. 

It will generally take a few weeks before they start to heal up and I can get back to using my hands as normal without having to be very careful with them.  They are still my hands.  The fingers all work, they move ok.  I don’t have a fever.  There is no pill to take.  I just have to wait it out – till they aren’t so tender.  I still have to wash dishes.  I don’t get a free pass every time they bother me.  Certain movements really make me wince in pain.  But I’ll get over it.  Very slowly – imperceptibly they get better.  And my life goes on till the next cycle.  I know what to expect – know what it feels like – know when it is starting up again.

I just wasn’t prepared for this morning.  CNN is the background white noise in our house every morning.  And the whine of the lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace in memory of those who died in the attacks of 9/11 brought a knot to my throat and instant tears spilling out of my eyes.  My personal wounds are still tender.  I just have to wait it out.  Eventually it will heal over and I’ll be able to go about my business without thinking.

Even in the throws of happy hospice hallucinations – those hands were working.  He was fixing things.  He asked us to hand him tools.  He was having trouble with a gas meter repair and needed another hand.  Glad to help.  He’d do the same for me…split fingers or not.

this old house

10 09 2008

We got into home ownership really late in the game.  All of our friends were well past their starter homes and on to bigger and better things – a couple times over.  “You need equity,” they’d chime in all the while my inner voice was wondering why they didn’t want to share some of theirs with us.  Living overseas for those 12 years had us out of the normal cycle of jobs, cars, homes, cottages and boats that many our age were able to afford.  We weren’t exactly in an occupation that rolls in the big bucks.  Frankly, we were too gypsy for it all.  Owning a home at that time seemed like it would tie us down and we had no idea where we’d end up landing.

When it was clear that we’d be Stateside for the next chapter (who knows how long some chapters can be), we begged, borrowed and stole enough for a down payment and jumped head first just after everyone’s adrenaline had been re-corked after all the fun of Y2K.  We never looked at any other property than this one.  It was in a part of town we were familiar with, was old (built in 1905) with tons of character and after living in 20 plus other spaces that weren’t ours  – we could live in just about anything. We did watch “The Money Pit” a night or two after moving in and could already relate.

There are more than enough projects to keep us busy long after the last mortgage payment which might get paid about the time the kids pay off our caskets.  We did determine, however, that it would be a good plan to pace ourselves wisely and tackle one big project a year.  I think before the first hayfever season, we determined that central air was a must and have never regretted that one.

Next came stripping all the quarter-sawn oak woodword on the first floor.  That was a huge undertaking that all the Dr.’s doing.  Then came the plaster walls, not one of them plumb, could not just be painted – they need to be coaxed into color with hours of TLC before a mere drop of pigment got near them.  But I love plaster and wouldn’t have it any other way.  

There is a time of year when that plaster does what it is supposed to do.  Our years overseas taught me that plaster keeps a place cool when it’s hot outside. But with air conditioning there aren’t too many times that I really need it to do that job for me.  The two in between seasons when the furnace/air conditioning has no business running – late spring and early fall – presents the most challenge.  Here in Michigan it is an unofficial test of hardiness and “winter-worthiness” to see how long we can go without turning on the furnace. I heard my neighbor’s on this morning and chortled self-righteously. So our livingroom comes equipped with blankets and sweaters and sweatshirts and socks and various and other sundry cozys.  

Another year our major project was the water heater and we stood at a crossroad:  the American norm or the tried and true European standard on-demand water heater.  That was a no brainer for me…yes, it cost more initially but I knew the real reason they were in every space we ever lived in overseas.

European apartments do not have forced air heating.  They have steam heat – often times controlled by “Central Command” and NOT by the individual owners.  Heat is not turned on until 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon and is turned off at 9 or 10 at night.  It really is quite genius.  During the day, the kids are in school, the husband is at work and the stay at home mom is so busy cleaning and airing out the house – she’d never dream of having the heat on.  And when they wanted to sit quiet in the late afternoon was when everyone was home gathered around the TV – that’s when the gas gods graced heat on the humans.  Sleeping is better in a cold room – so no overnight heat – with the exception of the treat of Christmas Eve when it was left on all night long. It wasn’t long into our first winter there that I discovered the alternate method of restoring warmth to my bones.

During these times of year when I feel chilled and nothing helps – there is only one quick solution…the longest, hottest, most lobster-reddening, pruning shower. That is why we decided to get an on-demand water heater.  And as I stood there today wasting precious water, I heard Billy’s voice in my head repeating the question he’d ask anytime I’d say I was cold, “What are you going to do when winter gets here?”

beer, biscuits and butter

9 09 2008

This is a schedule that seems vaguely familiar.  It’s 2 o’clock and the kitchen is all cleaned up and I’m on the couch in the afternoon sun ready for a nap.  It all started quite by accident some four hours ago making my second latte of the morning.  Noticing that the fridge was housing three separate jars of kosher dills – one full, one empty except for the brine, and one with a lone quarter dill swimming solo in the brine.  A sure sign that I am neglecting my family.  Now there is one jar of pickles with brine and two empty jars in the recycle bin.  Various and sundry other items got moved around and combined when I noticed one of my favorite things.  The grease tub.  Yes, today I would throw the Dr. a bone and make a real meal.  Fried chicken, homemade mashed potatoes and green beans.  

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect  – it was 10:30 a.m. when I went to the store.  That felt right.  The radio was telling me that we may have temps in the 40’s tonight – even that felt right.  And to add one more dab of perfection – there was a speciality beer in the fridge that had been there for months that a friend had given me as a treat – bottled in 2006 and $5 a bottle.  

I need to explain how to make perfect fried chicken.  My mom taught me.  It’s all about the cast iron skillet and reusing the grease with all the crispies carried over time after time.  Oh the salty delicious goodness of artery clogging food.  The potatoes, hand mashed I might add, take more butter than I dare tell my sister-in-law Amy (love you Amy!) lest she die of fright before tasting the reason the Irish are still on the planet.  I also found a can of biscuits with an expiration date of months ago in that excavation this morning. “What can be wrong with those?,” I ask myself, “if they don’t cook up right, Bella will get a treat.”  They came out golden and flaky and begging for more butter.  

After the chicken is fried in the skillet for a while, it is mandatory that it go into the oven for about a half hour to “crisp up”.  Rosemary always did the frying part before church on Sunday morning and the re-warm/crisp up after we got home while she finished her mashed potatoes.  As I took the chicken out of the oven I noticed something on the bottom of the oven – hummm, a tag from a pair of jeans, one of those long ones they run down the leg…all the more reason to use the oven – it looks like it’s been neglected a while.  Don’t even ask me how I think that got inside – I will probably blame psycho cat.  

All the while I was sipping said speciality beer since it was the ideal post-latte drink.  By 1 p.m. the Dr. was served and by 2 p.m. with an errand run on the side, the stove top had been dismantled, throughly cleaned, jeans label thrown away – pots, skillets, dishes done and I’m on the couch.  This is the vaguely familar part.

Twelve of the most important years of my life were lived in another culture.  One that took me years to adjust to and now that I’ve been back here for longer than I was there – I still find traces of it deeply ingrained in my soul.  Most of it has to do with food and the pace of life in general.  

The rug rats would start school at around 9 a.m. and come home for lunch at 1 p.m. for a two hour break.  They’d go to school at 3 p.m. until just before 5 p.m.  My mornings would revolve around the kitchen – going to the different markets I’d have to go to, gathering the ingredients for the day’s main meal of the day.  One market for meat, another market for fruits and vegetables and another for bread – and still yet another for the “normal” things you’d find at a grocery store – unless it was cheese or deli meats or fish or certain cleaning supplies.  Needless to say, it’d take up the entire morning waiting in line with every other mother in our barrio on the outskirts of Madrid.

I’d get home by 11 or so and get started with the prep so that when the kids walked in all famished at 1 – we’d be ready to eat.  Our routine was was that we’d use that time together to read aloud in English.  Oh the books we read together over those meals.  I’d read, they’d eat – and when it was time for them to go back to school – I’d eat, clean the kitchen and enjoy a snooze on the couch.  

I’ve always loved knowing the seasons of the year by how the sun plays through the windows of my living space.  Winter’s low angles – summer’s scourching blaze.  And in one of my favorite living spaces with the exception of the one we presently inhabit – the Fall angles were just perfectly suited to that afternoon nap – knowing I’d done and completed the biggest chore of the day yet one of the most rewarding – providing my family with homemade goodnesses to charge them up to meet their worlds head on.  My reward for a job well done to curl up on the couch with a blanket to snooze in the soft sunlight.

Like I said, we’ve been back here longer than we were ever gone but I have never been able to get into the American schedule of dinner at five.  It has never felt right – not from the cooking side or the eating side or the how to enjoy life side.  One of the biggest blows of culture shock was hearing the horror in my kids’ voices when they told me that they were given 20 minutes to eat lunch at school and that lunch “hour” was at 10:30 in the morning.  

I’ve often felt in the insuing years that much of my disfunction has to do with not being able to follow this foodie timetable that established us as a family.  I feel that we lost much of what we’d gained by having that two hours together to talk about life in the middle of our days.  Life in America hurt us that way but to be honest – helped us in others.  But in the food department I’ve never been able to get it together on this side of the Big Pond.  So if someone would just pay me for making my fingers move over my computer keyboard – I might have it made.  The Dr. would get his main meal of the day around 1 p.m. and I’d get my nap.