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Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

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My Dad was Hungarian and a very good cook. I think he even had his own Hungarian restaurant once.

Mom, on the other hand, was known far and wide for her burnt porkchops and except for a few tried and true ultra-simplistic recipes, she was not considered an inspiring cook.

Maybe it is true that opposites attract.

But Mom’s brave attempts at gourmet cooking caused Dad to make a teasing proclamation he repeated often at the family dinner table. It was an anonymous quote guaranteed to make Mom angry when she had done the cooking.

And the impact of those words echo in my memory and remain a constant reminder today of what constitutes a good cook.

What did my Dad say to provide such contemplation and inspiration?

He said, “The cook is not in love!”

And that meant there was not enough salt!

Nowadays we all seem to be “watching our salt” intake. Still, there is something to be said for tasting as you go. And that was the way of the best cooks in my Dad’s experience. Poor Mom stayed quiet and just kept trying.

On occasion Dad would give me his recipes for the dishes I liked best. Here’s a good one, for the most favorite dish in my family.

HUNGARIAN CHICKEN PAPRIKASH

For a family of four: 6-8 chicken pieces or more.

In large pot, melt 2 sticks of butter.

Add 2 large chopped onions and saute until onions are translucent.

Add the larger pieces of chicken (breasts) skin side down.

Spoon some of the onion over each layer.

On top of that, add the smaller pieces of chicken skin side down.

Simmer covered for 20 minutes.

Reverse and turn everything.  Now put smaller pieces of chicken on the

bottom skin side up and the bigger pieces on top of that, skin side up.

Simmer covered for 20 minutes more.

You should now have lots of juice.  If not, add some water.

Also now add lots of paprika – 4 or 5 or 6 tablespoonsful. 

You are looking for a very orange colored gravy.

Simmer another 15 minutes.

Your Hungarian Paprikash is done!

Serve over cooked egg noodles or spaetzle.

Serve with sour cream on the side.

The odd thing about this recipe is the only spice is Paprika. NO salt or pepper are called for and in fact discouraged. Each diner can add salt or not at will. And no comments will be made about the cook not being in love.

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This is Me, Elsa

They call me a Rescue Dog but I am really just a dog, a descendent of the mighty wolves of long ago. I actually remember bits and pieces of that ancient time when we depended upon our wolf families to survive. This leftover is a dog who still thinks the family/pack is everything.

I remember my ancient mother licking my face to tell me I was safe and cared for. And I remember roughhouse playing with my siblings as practice for real hunting and fighting. But mostly I remember the “now times” and my first, second and third human families.

My name is Elsa.

I am a little rescue dog with big wolf ideas.

In this life I have some bad memories.

My first human family did not really want puppies so they gave me to a kennel where I lived in a cage. Then a mean couple finally adopted me. I had a home but it was not a happy place because the man hit the lady and made her cry. I would growl at him and bark but he hit her anyway and he hit me too. I think he broke one of my ribs because it still sticks out and I don’t like anyone touching there. I also cringe and flinch if you try to pat me on my head.

The mean couple trained me to never to “go” on the grass. They thought the neighbors would complain. To avoid getting hit or kicked I learned to always go on the edges, on the concrete or gravel even though that was uncomfortable and sometimes hot on my feet.

I never learned to play either because there were no toys in that house. As hard as I tried I suppose I never did anything right because the mean couple ended up leaving me at a kennel. Their reason given was they simply did not want me. I was back living in a cage.

The next people who adopted me gave me back too and said it was because of hospitalization. I never bit anyone but maybe they thought I did. I am not sure why they were hospitalized. Then I was put in a foster program instead of in a kennel. The foster people tried to be nice but they had too many dogs to care for. Every Saturday they took us to a pet store in Virginia where people came to meet us and maybe take us away.

How I hated Saturdays! The noise was unbearable because all the foster dogs barked and cried at once. We were all so afraid of all the strangers and there was this awful smell of fear.

But there was a lady who walked with a stick who came in that Saturday.

They brought her a chair and they took me to a cage that was right next to her. I fought with the two attendants who were trying to put me in there when the lady said, “Please don’t put her in that cage. I will hold her.” And so I sat on-leash, next to the lady with my head on her foot, shivering and looking into her eyes to thank her in the only way I could.

That nice lady was named Dor and she was with another nice one named Emmy. They did not know me and I could not tell them how afraid I am of cars. Cars always take me to another horrible place. But Emmy and an attendant put me in the back seat of a car where I did some serious shaking and shivering. Emmy drove and Dor sat next to me. She wrapped me in her coat, held me close, and talked to me in a soft voice. She said, “It’s o.k. You are going home to a nice place where people will love you.” And she kept stroking my face and my ears like my real dog mother used to do and all the wolf mothers before her.

And I thought, “I will never forget this human. I will never forget.”

We drove for a long time to a house with other people and even a dog named Kota, who was much bigger than me and very very nervous. In fact, Kota turned out to be so nervous, she could not be still.

We went inside but I was sure they would soon take me to another kennel and another cage. I really wanted to explore but there were so many people talking at once and Kota kept running around nonstop. Finally I growled as if I were Mighty Wolf and scared Kota onto a chair with her mistress.

It was a relief to sleep that night in a dark room with Dor and Bill. I slept on a blanket at the foot of their bed and it was heavenly quiet. Everybody left in the morning except for Dor and Bill. Now we three would get to know each other and I somehow knew this would be my forever family,

I think I am as smart as any other dog, but it took a day and a night and some more experiences to believe I had a new home where the humans actually liked me.

Dor was the one human I decided to take care of.

I followed her everywhere and still do.

I sit behind her chair but if she moves I move.

I have been here two years now and all this time she thought I was the one who needed protecting. Even when I bark at strangers she thinks I am afraid for myself.

The truth is, I am protecting HER – not me. I do love all her soft words of praise and love and the gentle petting too. But I know my real purpose is to protect her and my family.

I knew this from the very first moment I heard her say,

“Please don’t put her in that cage. I will hold her.”

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Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

Another Valentine’s Day came and went,

The only card I received was from my oldest, longest friend, Kit the Wit. Kit knows me well since we have been friends since childhood. Anyway, she knows I married a good kind generous loving man who does not believe in Valentine’s Day.

In our younger life together I put on a brave show of agreeing with Bill.

“It’s a Hallmark Holiday,” said we.

“It’s all commercialized.”

“Yup.”

And so the years went by. When hearing about our strange family custom, some friends sent cards and even candy but those acts of sympathy never lasted long. Only Kit the Wit persisted in remembering that her old friend always spent Valentine’s Day wishing for a surprise.

This Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2021 came and went like all the others.

Until February 15, 2021 – the day after! Actually the night after.

It was already dark and a holiday (President’s Day) so we were not expecting any deliveries, but suddenly Elsa the Dog began frantic barking and the lights of a delivery truck lit up the house. It was a gift from our three grandgirls – a beautiful box of chocolates with fond wishes for our enjoyment.

How wonderful is that?

THANKYOU MY SWEET AND THOUGHTFUL GRANDDAUGHTERS FOR LITERALLY MAKING OUR DAY!

AND HAPPY BELATED VALENTINES TO YOU TOO!

We love you more than you will ever know!

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wedding-day

Dor and Bill Wed

 

Today is our Anniversary!

Would you believe 61 years?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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B's 85th with Cake

Gathering

There was a gathering last week for (Dad’s/Grampy’s) Bill’s birthday!  And our once quiet little house in rural Virginia became a beehive of activity with lots of talking, shouting, and barking from Elsa-the-dog, all vying to be heard to catch up on our lives.

The Grandgirls 2019

And there was the birthday boy of course.  There were MaltShop Music DVDs from the 1950’s as a backdrop.  What fun.  What memories.  A chocolate birthday cake with chocolate icing was a hit too.

Dining Delight

I made a new dish for dinner which is now a family fave.  It is called Sausage and Linguine.  Basically it is just that with a few other things like red peppers.  It was a major hit though.  Nothing like a recipe with 5 or less ingredients.

Playing with a Rescue Dog

Elsa Loves Son Corky, who managed to actually play with her.  Elsa does not know how to play.  She runs away from squeaky toys (afraid they are crying and hurt), will not fetch a ball or play tug-o’-war either.  Sad.  But she loves Corky.  He treats her like a puppy, challenges her by showing and hiding treats and and Elsa wags her tail and acts much like a puppy even though she is 7 years old now.

Laughter Lingers

I'm in Cork 2019It was a lovely day for Bill’s birthday with calls and cards, and gifts and lots and lots of love.  The GrandGirls left first, returning to D.C., South Carolina and Michigan to resume their busy lives.  Then we had time with son Corky and daughter-in-law Emmy – time for shopping, talking, laughing, planning.  It was all such fun and we loved every minute, but they are all gone now.

The house is quiet again except for a couple of thunder storms.  Elsa is frightened and shaking under my desk at my feet.  I’m sure she misses Corky and all the other big humans who were here such a short time ago.

Ditto.

 

 

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Flowers 60th

Flowers from our friends of 56 years – Janet, Pam, Deb, and Scott – Thank you!

It was a very good year.

It was when I met Bill.

I told my Mom I had finally met a real “man” because Bill was all of 21.

My Dad didn’t like him.

We were married anyway, three years later.

Today is another anniversary.

Today we have been married 60 years!

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Mack Grad 2 w Cork

Corky and Mack

My son is here visiting after the great graduation celebration.  It is always wonderful to see him because he lives so far away in California.

This visit is extra special  though –  1) because of the graduation, and 2) because we saw all three grandgirls, 3) because Corky extended his stay and we can catch up on his life, and 4) because he is so darned helpful.

All in the space of a few days:

  • He moved umbrellas  and heavy pots to get us ready for summer.
  • He added a music app to our computers and phones.
  • He helped his Dad with technical things in the car.
  • He found us a highly recommended Handy Man.
  • He solved the problem of stink bugs in the tractor gas tank. (How did they get in there anyway?)
  • He installed dark blinds in the guest bedroom so guests can sleep longer now.
  • And more.

He is our pride and joy anyway, but this visit has to be marked down as special and this is our way of saying “Thank you son.  We love you.”

 

 

 

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Elsa

Elsa is beginning to love and trust, but it’s a long haul.

As difficult as it is, I now aim for the floor to meet her on her own level. Elsa is our little rescue dog who has been with us for three months. 

Getting up from the floor is the challenge of course but Big Foot (swollen foot that is now Slim Foot) is allowing weight bearing moves!

At first Elsa seemed confused and suspicious when I hit the carpet but she decided in two days it might be acceptable (if not alarmingly odd) human behavior.

She comes closer now when I am down there, close enough for a belly rub but not quite near enough for a hug.

We are making slow but positive progress.

Yesterday while Elsa and I were connecting on the floor,

the looming shadow of a man-person emerged. 

Gentle Bill wanted to join the party too and was on his way down.

Immediately alarmed, Elsa gave a mighty jump and hit her head on the coffee table. Then she crouched nearby in a terror pose.

She finally realized we humans were down there for family love and noone wanted to hurt her.

She inched closer, sat between us, and rolled over for double belly rubs.

This is true progress because Elsa cringes when we try to pat her head and shows unmistakable signs of previous abuse.

For now,  with patience and gentle handling,

Elsa is beginning to love and trust, but it’s a long haul.

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Russell-Terrier-On-White-03

Russell Terrier

Monday was PT Day.  Those are the initials for Physical Therapy of course.  I am trying hard to join the current initial-speaking generation whilst also re-learning how to walk.

Anyway, believe it or not (and I can’t believe it myself), I saw a wonderful thing when  entering the Physical Therapy center.

I saw a beautiful, sweet little DOG! 

A dog at PT?  Yup!

And although I didn’t have the nerve to take a photo, please

picture this:

  • A lady was lying on her back on the therapist’s table.
  • The therapist was seated at her head and manipulating the lady’s neck.
  • And on the patient’s abdomen was the most adorable little dog I have ever seen.

She (the dog) was stretched out on her Mistress’ stomach and looked up when I walked in (the dog – not the lady). Then she stared at me (the dog) and I stared at her until we both got tired of looking.  Actually I never tired of looking but while awaiting my turn with the therapist I pretended to read a magazine but kept sneaking looks at the amazing little creature.

At the end, they put the little dog down on the floor and she came right over to me for a greeting, an ear rub, and immediate love!

“Do you have another like her you want to get rid of?” I asked the lady.

“Funny you should ask,” was the answer. “Birdie just had puppies.  There are 3 left.  Someone is coming in two weeks to choose one of the 3.  The therapist wants another.  And there will be one left.  All 3 are calm like Birdie.”

Birdie is a Russell Terrier, a derivation of the Jack Russell.  These are  very active hunting dogs but the “Russell” (minus the Jack) is breeder-described as a couch potato!

Now I ask you, “Is this meant to be?”

I will know in about two weeks.

 

 

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This was another wedding yesterday, May 19, 2018.

It was the same day as the actual Royal Wedding at Windsor of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, but this event was in Georgetown, District of Columbia, U.S.A.

And it was the almost royal wedding of our little friend, Suzanne (half English) to the enormous love of her life, sweet Michael.  Suzanne is a grownup now of course, but we met her when she was born.

Her Mom is from England (of the sweet, elegant, but lots of fun variety) and her Dad was an all American boy who spread his delightful brand of happiness all the way across the ocean and back to our house in rural Virginia.

The wedding was spine-tingling and tear provoking, just the way a true-love marriage should be.

And there she was – the most radiant beautiful bride!

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Suzanne’s Mom walked her down the aisle because unfortunately, her Dad had passed away. How Terry would have loved to see Suzanne find such happiness, and to have the ceremony there in his favorite church!

One giggling moment was when Michael tried to put the wedding ring on the bride’s right hand!  That makes him “ours” for sure and something to share laughter about in later years.

No, I did not get to see the big royal wedding at Windsor, but this more than special occasion was a deeply meaningful, exceedingly joyful, Almost Royal Wedding that may have been was even better!

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