Not My Mama’s Catfish……


Spiced catfish, braised greens and cheesy grits with poblano pepper.

There are some foods in my life that I don’t eat because of past experience, poor expectations or dietary sensitivity. Cat fish falls I to the poor expectations category.

During World War II, my father was stationed in Ft. Leonardwood, MO and my mother was there. I remember during my childhood my mother talking about her experiences there. She talked about going to the farmers market and buying catfish. It was alive when she took it home in a bucket. She talked about how it was a bottom feeder and had the flavor of the muddy Mississippr river. We never had it when I was a child.

So, it was a shock when I liked it. Granted, I didn’t have to kill or filet the fish.  I think it was farm raised and the muddy taste was not there.  The grits had cheddar cheese and cooked poblano pepper added. The collard greens were braised.  The meal was above average. I do thank Blue Apron for introducing me to another new food.

Visiting my Home Town…..

My Grandmother’s dressing table and my inadvertent selfie.
I have lived in and around Detroit for so long that I am now a Detroiter. I haven’t visited my hometown of Minneapolis and environs since my Mother’s funeral. My Aunt Betty has been asking me to come for quite for some time and I finally decided to go for a short family only visit. My brother, Bruce, is living with Aunt Betty. He is a chef and I wanted to taste his food again.

When I walked into the room where I would be sleeping, a rush of memories came back. The room was furnished with my Grandmother’s furniture. In the picture above, it is my Grandmother’s dressing table. I lived in her house for a some time and can remember seeing her at the table putting on her makeup. The picture came flashing back. Aunt Betty reminded me that she kept gum in the top left drawer to freshen her breath. And I remembered that I carefully removed some of the gum on occasion.

There was also a dresser, rocking chair and a reading lamp with an adjustable height so Grandfather could read in bed without disturbing anyone. I used the lamp to read at night. As I used it, I remembered it.

Although I haven’t talked about it much, I am a quilter. I am doing a Grandma’s Flower Garden quilt. I have seen so many of that pattern and none of them have seemed quite right. My Greatgrandma’s quilt was on the bed and it was just right.

20140814-102324-37404047.jpgthe best part of seeing it for me was that it was so well done. It shows a beautiful color sensibility and exquisite quilting. I can only hope that my version will be half as nice.

A Happy New Year


Bonnie photo bombed my first selfie

Today is the first day of the new year and I have made no resolutions for the year. I can say I do have some ideas about how I want things to do some things differently the coming year.

This last week, Bonnie, my silky terrier, had her fourteenth birthday. I gave her a bit of leftover Christmas turkey and she was happy. The picture below was a taken on her birthday when we got a bit more snow. She was out on the deck and it was a bit warmer that day. She likes to bury her face in the snow and eat the snow. She spent a bit of time trying to catch snowballs.


It has turned colder again with more snow. Tomorrow, I will shovel her a path to the yard. In the meantime, she manages to look absolutely miserable at the door if she waits more than thirty seconds.


Bonnie Bars the Door


Bonnie, my 13 year old Silky Terrier, keeps a watchful eye on my comings and goings. When I walk in the door, she greets me with wild abandoned joy.

She is vigilant for any signs that I might go out. She has separation anxiety. When she was a puppy, she dug an 11×18 inch hole it the wall leading to the garage. I came home and found a destroyed wood molding and the hole. She had plasterboard stuck in her whiskers and splinters everywhere. If had been operational at that time she would have been the star for the day. I now have a baby gate between her and the door. Over the years, I have tried several things to alter behavior. She is far better now but the anxiety is still there.

She watches as I get dressed. She looks at me if I go near my purse. Reaching for the keys or going into the garage has her following me.

She has over the years developed strategies for delaying my exit. She runs to the kitchen and looks plaintively at her water bowl. I fill it. Even though she may have just been out, she pretends she has to relieve herself. She is out for a long, long time. She does come when I call her in my mother voice. Then, she races to the door putting herself between me and the door. I lift her 10 lb. body up and over the baby’s gate. She now gives abut 30 seconds worth of whimpers instead of the youthful howls I used to hear.

So the game is winding down and she now knows I will come home.


From home to Home

The Detroit feeling explained….

The Sound

I’ve arrived in Detroit. To me, Detroit is home, but not in a sentimental or nostalgic sense. In the past week when I mentioned to anyone that I was headed to Detroit, usually their response was something like, “Oh, are you going to see family?”

Well, sort of. I’ll see family next week, when I head outstate. Right now, I’m visiting Detroit (and also friends in Detroit). Detroit is home in the sense that it is where my mental map is centered, and it has formed my identity. It’s true I was born here, but I didn’t grow up in the city; I chose to live in the city as an adult, and immediately felt a sense of belonging.

It’s hard to explain—but why should I have to explain it? It’s like being in love. If you can explain why you’re in love with someone, then it’s probably not the…

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Life Going Upside Down


The house in the picture above is the first house for our family. At that time, the family was my mother, father, brother and me. It was one of the small suburban bungalows going up after the Second World War to house the “baby boom”. The house was in Richfield, Minnesota which is a suburb of Minneapolis. This photo was obviously taken in the winter. My story is about the summer of 1949.

There were so many children in the neighborhood that it was hard to be lonely. We played the usual childhood games of the era like “cowboys and Indians”, “cops and robbers”, “house”, tag, hide and seek and so much more. I was also allowed to go to the corner store which was about 3 blocks away without having to cross any busy streets to buy things for my mother. We played from morning until the street light came on which could be as late as 9:00 at night.

I remember on rainy days, Mother would play some music on the phonograph so we could dance in the dining room. Se liked to play the “Beer Barrel Polka” and would pick us up in her arms and whirl us around. She walked with us. During the winter, we went skating with her.

One of the neighbors got a TV and everyone in the neighborhood went over to see it. It had a tiny screen. It was so small that I could barely see it in the crowded room.

About the middle of summer, I noticed that Mom would listen very carefully to the news telling me to shush when certain things came on the radio. It was the report of the number of polio cases. I was too young to know what that meant. Mom told me that it was the number of sick people with polio in Minnesota.

I didn’t know what polio was. I had measles the year before and was quite sick. Mom said polio was worse. A little boy down the street was taken away in an ambulance. Mom said he had polio and I knew Joe. As the summer went on, the kids weren’t allowed to play together any more. We were all confined to our yards. We could sit on the edge of the property and talk to other kids. We didn’t play in each others houses any more.

Mom scrubbed and washed all the food. She peeled grapes. She peeled the tomatoes. Sometimes she let me help. My brother got sick and my parents got worried. Dr. Robb came by our house to see my brother. He got better and my mother got sick.

My brother and I were not allowed in her room. Mrs. McDonald from across the street came over and got our lunch. My Aunt Darcy took us to her house. We went home at night when my Dad got home. I knew things were so very wrong. My Dad cooked us breakfast for the first time in my life and didn’t smile.

After a couple of days, Mom went to the hospital. They said she had polio and I couldn’t see her. They told me she was in an iron lung.


After some time, she could breathe without the iron lung. They told me she couldn’t move her arms and legs very well. She was still in the hospital. My brother and I were not allowed in the hospital, so Dad drove us to the hospital and pointed to Mom in a window. We waved at her.

Some days we were with Aunt Darcy and my cousins. Some days we were with Aunt Betty. And some days we were with Mrs.McDonald. It was a crazy time where things changed every day. Everyone changed. Mom was in the hospital with only day visits for about six months.

Very slowly, Mom got better but never fully recovered. She needed help doing some things and had difficulty walking. And slowly, the world righted itself again while we all got used to a new reality.

In 1949, there were 42,173 cases of polio and there were 2,720 deaths in the United States. The epidemic was also in Canada and the UK.


My brother and I on the front steps of the house. I recently got a lot of pictures of my childhood and memories are being revived. I have also found that some of the memories have changed a bit when I see the pictures.

TV for Dogs


I have Directv in my home. Yesterday they had a message that told me about a new subscription channel called DogTV. And yes, your right, it is a channel with content for dogs. It is supposed to provide relaxation, stimulation and exposure to new things. It is colorized for dogs. They also said with HD technology, the dogs can actually see it. And supposedly will watch it. They have a trial period. They want you to pay for it. The promos really play on guilt about leaving your dog alone.

My dog has given no indication that she wants to watch TV. Since it is free for a week, I will be running it while I’m at work today and see if it has any effect on her. Will my greeting be different? Perhaps she won’t want to leave the TV when I get home. Maybe she’ll object when I change the channel. Only time will tell.