Apr 12 2017

Greek Easter

My father wasn’t one to praise me. A child of the Great Depression, his  measure of success was money; whereas my adult life has been defined by things that often don’t pay the bills: volunteering in my community, writing, filmmaking, acting.

“We sold out four shows and won Best of the Fringe Festival!”

“How much money did you make?”

But I understood. He didn’t want me to be poor, as his family was. He didn’t hesitate to tell my cousins how proud he was of my accomplishments. Just never me.

IMG_2611There was one big exception to his no-praise ways: my execution of his mother’s — my yia yia’s — recipes whenever I baked baklava or koulourakia (Greek Easter cookies — his favorite) for the holidays.

Year after year, with each batch he would say, “I think this is the best one ever, Dianie.” It didn’t matter if I burnt it a little, it was the best one ever.

As predictable as those words eventually became, hearing them was worth more than all the money in the world. I still hear them when I bake for the holidays. It’s why I still bake for the holidays, ten years after his passing.

Χριστός ἀνέστη!, Daddy.

Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day Tribute to my Father

My father, brother, family dog Bella, 1972.

My father, brother, family dog Bella, 1972.

My father didn’t raise me to be a happy person. He raised me to be a good one.

I’m so grateful he was my father. There were many times I HATED him growing up. He was tough. There were many times we feared him. Not that he ever raised a hand to us — no, not once. But if you did something he disapproved of (and you always knew beforehand if it was something he disapproved of), he’d give you this look, this gaze, that just shamed you to the core. There was no need to shame us publicly. When you have a strong parent like that, their scorn alone us all the humiliation you need.

So thank you pops. You didn’t make it easy, but life now is easier, because you taught me well. About respect, and self respect. And Family. You were a great father. I miss you. The world misses you.


Mar 1 2009

The power of a word.

Little story: Last May, @ a year after my dad died, I went to a friends house and opened a bottle of Petite Syrah I’d picked up at a winery on the way (she lives way out in the sticks outside Sacramento). My friend enjoys good wine, but she’s not a foodie and doesn’t have that silly wine vocabulary. So she took a sip and said “tasty”. And I lost it.

My dad always said “tasty” when he liked something. He was a food & beverage / bar man all his life. Very smart & wise, but not educated. He didn’t have that food/wine vocabulary either. But he’d light up whenever he’d say it, so you knew he liked it, whatever he was tasting. When she said it, it was the first time I’d heard it since his death.

I was stunned at the emotional power of such a simple word, “tasty”. I no longer lose it when I hear it now; I just smile & think of him.