Happy Father’s Day ~ Tribute to Fathers & Husbands & Men

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there.

The important roles men play in our society have been under siege for longer than I want to remember.  I cringe every time I see a commercial on TV that shows the man as being inept while showing his wife as being the one with a brain.

I don’t want to go all Dr. Laura on you, but there are certain things that are just the truth:  A mother cannot teach her son how to be a man, just as a father cannot teach his daughter how to be a woman.  In no way am I denigrating the single mothers and fathers who devote themselves to raising their children.  Still, a father can teach his son things that a mother can’t.

One of my favorite family pictures is of my husband and our son shaving.  My husband sat our toddler on the counter next to the bathroom sink, and lathered up his face for the morning shave.  He lathered up our son’s face, too.  They laughed and played with the shaving cream.  Then, my husband gave the boy a razor with no razor blade in it and taught him how to shave.  I don’t shave my face and neck.  I shave my legs and underarms.  Skills our young man didn’t need.

The day we took the training wheels off the little bicycle is another instance.  I would have been hovering, holding onto the bicycle for way too long, not letting the little guy go for it.  My husband whispered something in his ear and told me to stand back.  I did.  What happened was a beautiful thing.  On the third try, he was riding his bike like a pro.  They did the guy high-five stuff.  It was wonderful.

One more story about how fathers can’t take the place of mothers is this:  respect for women (really, for all people).  When the boy was coming into puberty, he decided to challenge me about some house rules, and he went over the top in terms of disrespect.  My husband gave him the “don’t you ever speak to your mother like that again” speech.  And he never did.

You may not like this part, but we had guns while my son was growing up.  Guns were in a locked closet.  Ammo was in a different locked closet.  It made me nervous.  So, when the boy was in 4th grade, he took him to a shooting range and taught him how to use a gun.  He got kicked in the cheek by a powerful gun, knocked on his behind by another powerful gun.  He GOT IT about guns.  Aside from the fact that he had no access to the gun closet or the ammo closet, I’m glad my husband did that.  Our boy was no longer curious, it was no longer the forbidden fruit.  I would never have done that, and I was scared the whole time they were out there shooting “stuff.”

My husband had a massive heart attack and passed away on our bed when our son was 17.  We watched it happen, while the EMT men were trying to save his life.  That was about 3 years ago.

I’m glad my son had 17 years with a father who was devoted to him.  I’m grateful for the lessons he learned that only a father could teach him.  My son still has devoted uncles.  They are always ready to talk with my son, always ready to be a surrogate father to my son.  It is not the same as my son having his own father, but it’s a pretty close second.

Now, on to my own father.

My dad is a Veteran of WWII.  He and my Mother raised my brother to be a fine man.  We did a lot of things together as a family.  Still, there are certain things between my Father and my brother that are just between them.  Personally, I think “guy stuff” is good.

My earliest remembrances of my Father:  Rubber-banding our feet together while he taught me how to dance (Glenn Miller album), teaching me how to swim, helping me get over my fears and do a perfect jack-knive from the high board in the town’s swimming pool, helping me learn my multiplication tables and how to tell time (in the kitchen, after dinner), helping us bury our beloved little dog in the back yard.  I am blessed to call him my Father.

Speaking of which:  My Father passed away in 2003.  My Husband passed away in 2007.  I’m glad my son spent many years with both of these fine men, a wonderful Father and a wonderful Grandfather.  My son also has uncles, with whom he is close, who were raised by fine men who were fathers.

My husband was a grilling king.  His favorite thing was a strip steak.  He would do a little olive oil, some salt & pepper, sometimes a little garlic powder, and then grill them.  It’s pretty easy to grill a good steak to medium rare.

My Daddy’s favorite thing to make was Caesar Salad.  If you want the recipe, leave a message or email me.  I’ll send you the recipe and a little Caesar Salad history.



Census Workers ~ Irritating Follow-Up Visits



I was one of the “lucky” ones to receive the long-form census.  I filled it out, answering only the questions I believe are required by the United States Constitution:  number of people living here and our ages.  I don’t think the question asking for your race is mandated; however, being annoyed with politicians, I answered the race question.  My race?  HUMAN.

Census follow-up workers have come to my apartment door five times.  Here’s the history of their visits:

VISIT #1:  Very nice, shy, young woman.  Told her I had sent it in.  She said it probably just hadn’t gone through the system yet, and thanked me for my time.

VISIT#2:  Man, looked like mid 30’s.  Told him that I had sent in my form.  He started out nice … well, it might have gotten lost in the mail, you don’t want to lose benefits for your district, blah blah blah.  Told him I would not fill the form out twice.  He said he would be back.  Told him that I would give him the same answer.

VISIT#3:  Same guy from Visit #2.  Told him, again, that I had filled out the long-form and sent it in.  He said there was no such thing as a long form.  How stupid are these people?  At the time, my son was conducting a study group for college finals.  Both the census guy and the 4 young men in the study group could see each other and hear each other.  When this guy got vocally rude with me, they all stood up and asked:  “Debbie, do you need some help here?”  The census worker left immediately.  I asked him how he got into my building.  He told me that he wasn’t required to answer that question.  (Since then, I’ve read that apartment buildings are required to let census workers in.  My apartment manager told me that no request from the Census Bureau has been made.)

VISIT#4:  Nice young girl from Visit #1 showed up with her supervisor.  Told them the same thing:  I am NOT answering the census twice.  If the Post Office or the Census Bureau can’t get their act together, not my problem.  Told them that, if I answer the census twice, it contributes to more gerrymandering of districts.  The SUPERVISOR told me she did not know what gerrymandering means.  Again:  how stupid are these people?  The nice young girl started backing off and was totally deer in the headlights.  By the way, I asked:  How did you get into my building?  Miss Supervisor told me that was none of my business, looked to the young girl and told her she didn’t have to answer my question.

VISIT #5:  The nice young girl and her supervisor’s supervisor show up.  There is another study group going on in my house.  I told this “super supervisor” the same thing:  I am not going to complete the census two times.  The super supervisor is writing things down on a census form on her clipboard.  I stepped out from my apartment to look at it.  She was writing things down, like my first name (which she heard from the kids studying in my house).  She was trying to fill out a census form for me based on what she could see and hear from my apartment.  I shouldn’t have done this, but got really incensed and took the form out of her clipboard.  I apologized for that, but told her she could not fill out a census form based on what she could see from the door of my apartment.

I asked the super supervisor how she got into my apartment building.  She admitted that she stood at the front door, and when a resident opened the front door, she scooted in.

She told me that her supervisor would be back.  So, the supervisor’s supervisor’s supervisor is going to come to my apartment.  OH, I am so scared!

Don’t know if the super “scary” big-dog supervisor will show up.  My answer will be the same:  I answered the census form, mailed it on time, and will not answer it again.  If you don’t like it, fine me.  I’ll see you in court.

Here is something else that really bugs me:  I’m paying the nice young girl at least $17 an hour.  From reports I’ve read, people like the young girl in Visit #1 are being hired, fired, rehired to skew the employment rate upwards for political purposes.  I wonder what I’m paying her supervisor, her supervisor’s supervisor, and the next supervisor to come.



Visit #6 just occurred.  The census worker was a young man, looked like he was in his late 20’s.  Told him the same thing:  I’m not answering the census twice.  Again, he told me I would be costing my district federal funds if I’m not counted.  Again, I told him that I will not be counted twice and therefore giving my district more funds and more representatives in Congress.

I was told the super duper supervisor was going to be my next visit!

Anyway, I watched him after he left my apartment door.  He started knocking on my neighbors’ doors.  I asked him if was trying to get census information about me from my neighbors.  He said that was exactly what he was doing.  He actually laughed at me.

From now on, I am going to video any visits from census follow-up workers.

Visit #7:  This time, no resident was available to open the front door of the building and allow the census worker to sneak in.  The worker sounded like a young man, and called me on the intercom.  For the 7th time, I told him that I will  NOT fill out the census twice.  He asked me to let him in so he could educate me.  He actually was very polite.  Still, I’m not answering the census twice.  He asked, “Won’t you at least tell me how many people live here.”  You know what my answer was.

Memorial Day ~ Men and Women ~ Honor Them All

Not going to a party today.  Spent this morning watching some videos and reading personal accounts from families who lost loved ones.  My deep thanks to all who have lost their lives so that I and future generations may live free.  My prayers for comfort to their families.

A lot of men and women in my family, and in my late husband’s family, served the United States proudly.  Thankfully, none of them were killed in war.  They came home from war, raised families, and contributed mightily to these United States.  They were the salt of the earth.  All but one have passed away.

My great great grandfather fought in the Civil War for the Union Army as a member of the Cavalry.

My grandfather fought in Europe during World War I, in the Army.  One of his legs was injured so badly that the doctors wanted to amputate his right leg.  He told them no.  He also told them that, if he woke up without a leg, he would shoot all of them.  He woke up with a leg.  He walked with one stiff leg for the rest of his life.

My Father, and both of his brothers, fought in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, for the Coast Guard & Navy.  My Father started out riding a horse and patrolling the coast of Florida.  Soon, all 3 of them wound up in the Pacific for most of  World War II.  They were involved in the reconstruction of Japan.  They sent a set of dishes to their mother (my grandmother) while rebuilding Japan.   My grandmother gave that set of dishes to me when I got married.  I cherish that set of china to this day, but only bring it out on Christmas.

My father-in-law also served in the Army, World War II.  He was the engineer and mechanic that kept the tanks rolling when they bogged down in northern Africa.  Among other things.  He was a genius, with a high school education.  My dear father-in-law came home to work for the “Skunk Works” at Lockheed and helped develop the SR71.

Let’s talk about the ladies.  My mother was basically Rosie the Riveter.  My mother-in-law did office work at the Port of Los Angeles.  Both women, who were very young at the time, stepped up to the plate.  I think most young people during that time stepped up to the plate.

There you have it.  None of them died in battle.  All of them served.  Only one remains:  my mother-in-law.  She is 85.

My father passed away a few years ago.  He always loved life, especially after what he saw during war.  Daddy’s favorite thing was to get his kids and grandkids over, grill some steaks or burgers, and make Caesar Salad.

I’ll give you the recipe for Caesar Salad tomorrow.

Again, to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice, from the Revolutionary War to today … THANK YOU.

Grief ~ Death of a Spouse

Today would be my late husband’s birthday.  Ray Uhler 5/18/1948 ~ 9/18/2007.  Here he is, when we were very young:

My Ray is the tall, blond guy.  It’s a promo picture for the play Hair (Los Angeles).  Ray played the part of Woof.

Ray was much more than an actor/singer/songwriter.  He was a gifted carpenter and spent most of his life as a residential remodeling contractor.   

He was my husband, my best friend, and a devoted father to our son.  He could come home from an arduous day on one of his construction sites, sweep me off my feet while I was cooking dinner, dance me around the house, dance me back into the kitchen, and help me finish cooking dinner.  Then he spent time with our son, reading and playing games.

Today is his birthday.  People tell me I should be over it after the 2-1/2 years since his passing.  I’m not over it.  Yes, I take care of our son (he was just accepted to UCLA and UC-Berkeley), take care of business, keep a clean house, have lunch with friends, even have taken a couple of vacations.

I have zero interest in dating.  I will never marry again.  Of course, those people have never lost a spouse, never lost their best friend.  Yes, I still grieve.  Especially today.  I don’t grieve all day every day, but I grieve today.

Personally, I think that’s healthy.

Happy Mother’s Day ~ Best Mother’s Day Surprise


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there.  I hope you had a lovely day with family and friends.

Yellow roses were one of my Mother’s favorite flowers.  She passed on a few years ago at the young age of 79.  She was one of my best friends.  I miss her terribly.  Her name was Ellen.

This was the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in many years since my husband became ill and passed away a few years ago.  My son always writes me a letter every year, buys a lovely card and some grocery store flowers (all he can afford … he just turned 20).  Don’t get me wrong; I have always loved the heart he put into Mother’s Day as a teenager, especially after what happened to his Father.  This year, he cooked up a surprise.  With some help.

He announced at 9:00 A.M. this morning that guests were coming over and I should be ready to go to brunch by 11:00 A.M.  He wouldn’t tell me who was coming or where we were going.  I assumed it would be the gang of college kids who practically live here, with whom he studies, and who don’t live close to their mothers or grandmothers.

My apartment is usually a wreck … college kids eating and studying and making a mess.  Still, he wouldn’t tell me who was coming, and I got nervous.  Quickly made a quick clean up of the front of the apartment.  I actually did the 5 minute face of make-up instead of the 1 minute face of lotion and chapstick.  Put on the most decent clothes I have that were actually clean.

I figured these kids could pool enough money for brunch, but that it probably wouldn’t be a fancy restaurant, so I went sorta dressy casual clothes-wise.

Then, a bit of panic set in.  I thought:  What if it isn’t just the kids?  What if a parent comes?  Am I going to be embarrassed that kids study all over the place and it’s not immaculate?  Finally, I had to let it go and let it be.

Then, the “guests” came.  There have been a lot of deaths in my family during the last 5 years.  We get together for funerals and depressing things.  Then we drift away.  Today, members of my family came from different parts of the state.  My 20 year-old son certainly didn’t get this together by himself.  My cousin really got it together.

I opened my apartment door, and family members that I didn’t expect to see walked in.  We went to a sushi restaurant that my son planned.  We also went to a great place for awesome chocolate.  We laughed.  We took pictures.  We hugged and kissed each other.

It was a beautiful Mother’s Day.  The best I’ve had since I can’t remember.

Moral of this story?  A big family can go through years of  living physically away from each other, illness, death, raising teenagers, getting a little disconnected for a time.  At the end of the day, we are family.  We ROCK.

Anyway.  I’m a happy Mom today.  I so love my son.  I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday.  I love my family.  I am a blessed woman today.

I hope every mother on the planet had at least a little something that made her heart sing.  I know a lot of mothers didn’t have a lovely experience like I did.

I love you all, ladies.

Bragging on My Homeschooled Kid

UPDATE: The “biggest” school my son was accepted to is UC-Berkeley. He will enter as a Junior. Not bad. Anybody reading this blog who has a bone to pick with homeschooling or, on the other hand, want to know how we did it … leave a comment or email me.

~ Back to the original post ~

My son just got accepted to every university he applied to. Needless to say, I am a very proud mother.

His father and I took him out of public school mid-way through 6th grade. We homeschooled him. His father passed away, suddenly, when he was 16. We kept on keeping on.


Happy Birthday, Lucianne Goldberg

Lucianne Goldberg’s website is the first thing I read in the morning and the last thing I read at night.

Today is her birthday.

Happy Birthday!s

Thank you for the work you have done.  Thank you for giving me and others this beautiful salon.

I wish you many more decades of a beautiful life.

Speaking from experience, I can exhuberantly say that turning 50 isn’t the end of the world.  Oh, wait.  You’re 40, right?  30?  ROCK ON, Mrs. G.

Congrats and thanks from a long-time LDotter.

I would post-up Mrs. G’s pancake recipe, but I can’t find it right now.  If you’re an LDotter, you probably have it.