Musing with Max

Musing with Max

May 26, 2014

Wacky Weekend

Don't know about you but as far a I'm concerned the weekend starts on Friday the minute I step out the office door. And this one had me all excited going in. First, Frank was working from home which meant a hard stop at 5:00 PM and no waiting for his 1 1/2 hour commute from the hinterlands of Brooklyn, second, the weather promised to be fairly decent if only with a passing shower both Saturday and Sunday at most which meant some much needed gardening time, third, lots of cooking fun since we had nothing planned but to hang around the house and play in the garden, and last but not least, it was three days. So we opened a bottle of wine, put on some music and... wait, what's that noise? Look out the back door, oh my!

Hail!, the size of golf balls

and it's covering everything

and Frank needs to go out and play in it.

Hmm, an inauspicious beginning to our much anticipated weekend.

Saturday starts out quite cool as Max and I go for our walk, it's predicted to warm up though to a very comfortable 74F. Wrong! Stays cool and rainy all day, so much for gardening. We'll make the best of it though. Let's start working on dinner, something fun...crab cakes.

and caesar salad

Sunday starts out a little warmer and soon we are outside surveying the garden

Huh???? what happened here? The hail from Friday night tore into all the hostas, and also into my newly planted coneflowers

replacing the ones the roofers and gutter guys stomped all mover last year, Ugh! The surveying does improve as we walk down the garden path.

The poppies are up and blooming and multiplying like mad. I'm very happy about this since they are actually on my neighbors' side of the shared flower bed but with much coaxing and hoping their self seeding selves have started to pop up on my side. Hail yes! (Couldn't resist:))

As I walk towards the back I am happy to see the honeysuckle growing like a beanstalk.

Unfortunately it is not fragrant but still quite beautiful. I expect it will really take off once we have the very sick crab apple cut down. I hate bringing a tree down but both my crab apples are more than half dried so it's time to face the truth, the honeysuckle and dogwood hide underneath one so it will be interesting to see where they go once the big tree is gone.

The wisteria has lost most of it's blooms. It had a very short blooming season this year as a lot of other early spring flowering trees and bushes so as I walk around it trying to find a bloom to take a picture of, I find this little beauty growing through it,

a mini me wisteria? a weed? who knows, it sure is pretty though so weed or not, it stays.

Time for some more fun food!

The Sunday NYTimes magazine has an amazing rib recipe from Mark Bittman, we'll have some fun there!

Braised Spareribs with white wine garlic and anchovies, adapted from Mark Bittman

  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 3to 4 pounds spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3or 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1cup dry white wine
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish.
*note, I did not have spareribs, I had country style ribs-boneless, which worked just as well

1. Put the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the ribs, meatiest side down; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, more or less undisturbed, until the meat browns nicely, 5 to 10 minutes, then turn and brown some more. You can brown the ribs in batches, but perfection is not imperative.
2. If there’s too much fat, spoon some off; add the garlic and anchovies, and stir a minute. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; bring to a simmer, then cover and cook, adding more wine if the pot gets too dry, until the ribs are tender, about an hour. If the mixture is soupy (unlikely), turn the heat to high, and cook until some of the liquid boils off. Serve, garnished with the parsley.

I served it with baked potato because I was too lazy to make any other kind and it was so scrumptiously delicious I barely had time to take a picture before it was all gone.
And where's Max?

Camera shy all of a sudden.

May 19, 2014

Fleeting Flowers in the House-May

Everything is late. The cold stayed around for so long and then all of a sudden a little warmth and a lot of rain. In the blink of an eye everything is suddenly plush and so vibrantly green! Blooming came late though and then has moved on quickly as if to play catch up. My Spring flowers usually allow me to go in stages and we're able to enjoy different flowers that we can bring in every week from the end of April through most of May. Not this year though. This year, its all come in a rush and is leaving in a rush too. Lucky for me that the rush all came this week so I can join in for Jane's Flowers in the house party before they fade away.

Luckily this flower never fades.

May 9, 2014

Coming up for air

This is long, but please bear with me, I've been away a while.

While catching up with my blog reading last week I was taken aback a bit by the poem Jen had included in this post, Vocation. I started out wanting to be a ballerina, not just in the little girl sense since I took dancing lessons into my mid teens, I also took flamenco so somewhere along the way I switched to wanting that. Life got in the way and that went on it's way. At some point I wanted to be an architect, I had taken it in high school in the vocational program and was told by the professor and my father that I was good. High school got in the way of that and I went on to my next idea, journalism. I took it in high school and worked for the school paper, really enjoyed it too and again was told I was good at it. (I still have the papers with my articles in them, not bad) When college time came around I abandoned that and thought of law. I wanted to be a criminal lawyer. In pre-law you have to take all kinds of legal courses and I found nothing more boring than business law so that put a glitch in my plan. That and the fact that if I wanted to make any kind of decent living in criminal law I would have to be a defense attorney which meant representing the guilty and trying to get them off, couldn't live with myself...bye bye law. So I made a 360 and decided on fashion design, maybe interior decorating, something artsy which would include things I was interested in, clothes, shoes, houses, furniture, shoes, art, painting, drawing, shoes, etc. I took a job recommended by a friend and my supervisor gave me a talking to explaining how those choices were not practical, I should switch to business administration which would serve me well in any profession. Worst advice I ever got but gullible 18 year old that I was I listened to him and since I hated business...and quit college. Took the job full time, admin at a finance company. Life happened, got married, moved to New York went looking for a job...terrified. "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere..." Took a job in an "employment agency", now known as a "recruiting firm" as the owner's assistant, just she and I. The firm grew a bit and so did I, got into recruiting and running the office; all at the same time. I was comfortable, not crazy about what I was doing but comfortable. It was decent place to work, was well treated, did well in the growth and salary department so I stayed. After over 20 years the owner abruptly closed the business in October of 2010, the day of my birthday no less and all I got were my walking papers. So much for loyalty. I quickly got a 3 month consulting assignment in recruiting for an advertising agency and then was out again. I interviewed at/with so many firms I can't even keep track, all for recruiting jobs, something which by the way I despise. I was interviewed by 20 year olds who couldn't ask a half way intelligent question but since this is advertising I was too old, therefore out of it. Rejection came the minute I walked in the door. The last straw came when a woman I was interviewing with walked in and her first words were "you are not getting this job", then proceeded to talk for a half hour about how hard she had had it etc. etc. I was too polite to just walk out. I came home and told Frank it was over. I would not do this to myself. My husband, being the great guy he is, said "fine, do whatever you want". I decided, part-time, close to home, NO RECRUITING, that's the criteria. It's not easy to reinvent yourself to the world so it took some doing but I am nothing if I'm not determined and my Parents' daughter. Applied for all kinds of funky things, friends told me I should open a restaurant, start a catering business, my thought "if I cook for a living I won't love it anymore", took a crappy part time job doing research in supermarkets for no money and just kept looking and looking and looking. Then one day I walked into a digital marketing agency that was looking to replace their part-time office manager who was retiring, she worked 2 to 3 days a week about 3 hours a day and they needed to increase that to every day from 9 to 3. They hired me. The HQ is in New Jersey, 10 miles from my house, 18 people in the office at the time I joined. Offices in UK, Caribbean and India, 700 total. My job was office supplies, assistant to the CEO, travel arrangements, event planning, mainly happy hours and the office picnic and holiday party. We are now 40 in NJ, 1400 worldwide, outgrew our office so we needed to move. Rented a space, hired an architect and had it built out. I was in charge of the entire endeavor, my boss gave me that task, I have fought with construction workers, furniture people, electricians, architects, movers, employees, you name it. Got it all done, flawlessly as I am told. This has been months in the making, during the month of March I was walking Max at 5:00 AM in 20F weather in my pajamas, sleep was a luxury I could not afford. In the midst of all this I had to plan our annual sales summit which is in early May (5/1 this year) and our new office opening party for over 100 people which took place this last Friday.

It's been a looooooong 5 months but well worth it. I finally took the road less traveled and it has made all the difference, I have found my vocation.

A lot of things have suffered, my housecleaning, laundry, my gardening but never this,

I know my priorities!

Thank you for indulging me.

By the way, all those ad agencies that wouldn't talk to don't know what you missed!!!!!!!