Musing with Max

Musing with Max

August 28, 2013


This is a bit of an exaggeration frankly. Because unlike Steve's sexy renovations we are replacing our roof. About a month ago we found a leak and rather than repair it we took the plunge and are replacing the whole thing since it is necessary. When we bought this old house 12 years ago the home inspector said the roof was fine except that whoever had done it had simply just laid the new roof over the old roof which isn't the way to do things but however it was in good shape. I had no idea what he meant.
We have a Timberline roof, that's it at the back of the house, the front looks just the same. Apparently this roof was originally wood shingles as is the rest of the house but the upkeep for that is tremendous so when they needed replacement instead of removing them and laying plywood and then the timberline shingles they just laid them over the existing wood shingles. Probably to save money and give me a massive headache. Every time we had a strong wind, a shingle would fall off, heat over 90F, a shingle would fall off, I sneezed too strongly, a shingle would fall off. Since they kind of overlay there weren't any leaks but we were starting to look a little trailer parkish so when a leak finally appeared we decided it was a sign from above, literally. And while we became really daft happy when we finally hired someone I suddenly panicked. OH MY GOD, MY GARDEN!!!!! The front has these

my beautiful crepe myrtles which almost reach the top, and yes even though Frank is right and we need to trim them I'd rather do it ourselves instead of roofer breakage.

Then there are the pots on the front steps

and the back steps

my favorite peegee hydrangea at the front which is also close to the house

 actually resting on part of the roof

the hydrangeas on the side

my new black eyed Susans on the other side

not to mention the ferns and Japanese maple on the side of the garage

and worse of beautiful herbs

with morning glory backdrop

Oh no! What to do? I know, we'll ask them to be careful! OK that was funny. We'll pray, and pick a lot of basil

and make loads of pesto

by chopping two garlic loves in the food processor, adding tow to three cups of basil leaves, a pinch of salt, a quarter cup of pine nuts and a quarter cup of olive oil

blend on high until it's all a mush and then freeze for a taste of Summer in the Winter. Then learn to take it all in stride like Max does

What banging? 

August 24, 2013

Glory Be

"I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid of being a Morning Glory!"
                                                                            ...Katherine Hepburn.

August 13, 2013

Down the Shore

When I was in high school, way before I ever thought I would be living in New Jersey, I had a few friends who had moved to Miami from there. They had moved mainly during their high school years so most of them had grown up there and for whatever reason (probably the rest of the Cuban family living in Miami and the fact that Cubans and winter don't mix) their families had decided to pack up and move south. Most of these people were guys and they always talked about their Summers on the Jersey shore. Their descriptions of a beach sounded a tad foreign to me what with all the talk of boardwalks and rides and taffy and so on. And after all, that was up North, I grew up in Miami, what the heck were they always bragging about? Frank grew up in New Jersey and moved to Miami during his senior year of high school, I heard endlessly from both he and his mother about their summers spent in Wildwood on the Jersey shore. I always found it interesting too how they all said "down the shore" as opposed to "down on the shore, or down to the shore". Quite the affectation if you ask me. Once we moved after we were married I was quite curious about all these paradises. Our first Summer we drove down to Wildwood,

 a short skip and a jump of 5 hours. Ouch, to go to the beach???? Are they crazy???? There was a boardwalk, cute, and extremely cold water. Another time we went to Sandy Hook

with friends, one of the first "Shore points" on the Garden State Parkway which means not 5 hours.
Overcrowded, freezing water, not real clean water, ugh. Once we tried Seaside Heights

now made famous by the Jersey Shore show with people who are not even from Jersey, ugh again. I grew up going to Miami Beach, are they joking? On other varied occasions we've ventured in that direction but not very often. Needless to say going "down the shore" was not going to be part of the plan. Number one, the traffic is nightmarish since that seems to be all everyone wants to do on Summer weekends, number two the water is freezing and number three...well I'll skip number three. I did think the boardwalks and the rides were cute in a cheesy tacky way but that's not enough to entice weekly summer sojourns that take inordinately long amounts of time to got to a beach where the water is so cold I won't go in and is usually wall to wall people, and again I won't touch number three. Except that a friend I work with has a family home down the shore and they also have a boat and they go every weekend and this weekend they invited us and other friends for some fun, frolicking, fishing, boating and eating...and eating...and eating. So off we went and immediately hit bumper to bumper traffic on the Garden State Parkway but then after a while it subsided, I never understand that it's the same amount of cars, anyway we were riding along at a nice clip, then we hit bumper to bumper again for a little while, then not, then again, then get my drift. In the end a drive that should have taken 1 1/2 hours took 2 1/2, not bad for a Saturday morning going down the shore. Luckily they were waiting for us with grilled burgers and some bruschetta so the eating began. Shortly after we all piled onto the boat and sped out into the bay with the wind blowing in our faces and making a mess out of our hair. Found the perfect spot according to captain Manny and the boys put the rods into the sea. And lo and behold not two minutes into his first fishing trip ever fisherman Frank pulled up this fluke

and we all thought it was a fluke until in his next turn he pulled up another one just like it and then he took a rest

before he went back to work

and caught a robin fish

and then a crab that managed to let go as he realized his fate while being pulled out. We had our dinner, time to go eat. So we started with a luscious shrimp ceviche I made from here

and some more of that bruschetta and Buffalo chicken dip, and grilled chicken wings; yes eclectic I know but that's where the fun part comes in. Then some grilled octopus and grilled freshly caught by my husband the fisherman fluke (which I took a picture of with my phone but somehow disappeared) accompanied by my famous Lemon Rice Salad.

rice pudding and brownies for dessert. Thank goodness we didn't pile into the boat after that or it would surely have sunk. I guess going down the shore is sometimes worth it.

And where was Max? He could have come along but didn't since he prefers his boats to have a couch and be stationary.

August 3, 2013

The Facebook Redemption

A year after my family came to the US from Cuba we had scrounged away enough money to move out of our efficiency apartment in Miami into a two bedroom apartment in a 12 unit building in a nice neighborhood. I was 8 years old. Very shortly after a woman moved into the apartment directly below us with her daughter who was also 8 years old. It was an immediate friendship. I was ecstatic to see her considering all I had to play with was my brother and a bunch of boys since that's all the building offered in the kid department. We pretty much spent every free moment together. When we were about 14 she moved, luckily it was across the street so we could continue our love fest. We did all those things little girls do, played with barbies, rode bikes, roller skated (badly) made mudpies, brought home stray puppies, went to the movies, sat around doing absolutely nothing and giggling endlessly at nothing in particular; then did all those things young teenage girls do, flirted with every boy in the neighborhood, took dancing lessons, went to the movies, went shopping, planned our weddings, stayed up watching movies until all hours during Summer vacation, dancing and singing in the rain because we saw it in a movie musical (our personal favorite) fought over stupid things, talked about clothes, makeup, hair, boys, boys , boys, went to Disney World...

bought stuffed animals

talked about boys, clothes, boys, clothes...and a million other things. When I was 16 my father died and we moved to another neighborhood shortly thereafter. She and I were in different grades, different schools and as it happens all too often you start to drift apart and away, new friends, new We did stay in touch on and off and when I was getting married I called her and asked her to be one of my bridesmaids; in those wedding planning sessions we had as teenagers I had promised her that she would be a bridesmaid, and so she was...

She's the tall one in the pink (that was a joke with us, she was very tall , I was very short)

and the gorgeous dark haired one is my brother's wife, who was my maid of honor. Six months after I got married Frank and I moved to New Jersey and we completely lost touch. She did run into my mother who told me she was married and had two little girls and that was that.

And why my post title? I joined facebook a few years ago to keep track of my niece and be able to communicate with her because that seemed to be the only way, I'm not really much into it, have very few facebook friends, think of it as some dumb bragging thing except that one day a couple of months ago I put her name in and there she was, and I sent her a message and two days ago we spent two glorious hours on the phone catching up and giggling as if we had never ever stopped. I get to add another F to BF and continue onto phase 2. 

Thank you facebook!