Musing with Max

Musing with Max

December 31, 2015

The month that was

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Guess I'm in a bit of a writer's funk; not a lot comes to mind to write about and as Jennifer had expressed recently, we don't need to get redundant. I suppose I can write daily about everything that I do each day and goes through my mind but I'm nowhere near that interesting so I will spare you. I did want to try and get one more post in before the year ends so here I am wracking my little brain. Let's see what's happened since my last very depressing post, unfortunately some additional depressing stuff which we all know about and I'd rather not dwell on. I've gotten much more political and opinionated this year in this forum than I ever intended to but it's been a trying year so thank you for indulging my rants. I promise not to do so today and focus more on the lighter side of the last month and a half...and of course on MAX,

who spends an inordinate amount of time doing this.

Well the rest of November brought some balmy weather in these here parts which have continued into December, I have yet to wear my coat. Comfortable? Yes. Weird, even more yes. I keep thinking we're going to get walloped big time (please God no), others think we're owed for the last two nightmare winters. Whatever, we will need to go with it. I think everyone talks about weather all the time because it is the one thing we can't possibly control therefore giving us carte blanche to complain, complain, complain.

Since my last post, actually the day before, we went to the theater...saw Al Pacino in a David Mamet play...tried to replicate a memory of a Christmas Eve many years ago, 1984 I think. Al Pacino, David Mamet, American Buffalo, great acting, great play, walked out of the theater to find the streets of New York dusted with beautiful clean virgin snow, perfection! Alas, not this night. Not a very good play I'm afraid, a bit of an overwrought Al, fascinating as always though. The restaurant I picked was, how shall I say this, a dump hole in the wall...and then there was the news from Paris, left us reeling. The evening though has some redemption, before theater we met an ex-colleague from work at one of the coolest restaurant bars in New York, had a great time catching up and just enjoying each other's company, we all actually hated to move on. Life's ups and downs in a matter of hours.

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year,


with a few relocated and orphaned friends and then the neighbors stopped by. Goes to show how casual plans usually turn out the best. We had a lovely time, even if my stuffing was too runny, nobody cared.

All of a sudden Christmas was upon us, whew, how did that happen?

I pulled out the nutcrackers for the first time in several years. It felt good to see them again. We spent Christmas Eve at our friends' house sitting by the there is no global warming! Good thing is I didn't have to wear tights!

Frank gave me the gift of music

where I discovered a song I had never heard before

...or at least didn't remember. I could hear that beautiful voice all day. Frank got the gift of music and letters. His was a Rolling Stone Christmas, the best of the Stones and "Life" by Keith Richards. Who needs another sweater? This will all last forever.

Max has a new friend care of my sister-in-law Marta. Meet Jerry!

He guards him with his life!

And of course I've been cooking!

Portuguese Kale and Chourico soup.

Timpano! Something I've always wanted to make since "The Big Night", my second favorite food movie!

My Mother's special fried rice. Christmas weekend was yummy, I must say.

Tonight we are going out to dinner and a little dancing, toasting in 2016 with grand hopes and good wishes which is what I wish for everyone, but I've got to go now...I hear Roy Orbison calling me a pretty woman!

Thanks for letting me ramble!

October 10, 2015

A Change of Seasons

Summer has transitioned into Autumn in a most quiet way.

Maybe it wasn't so noticeable because this Summer was so downright pleasant. We barely had a heatwave and the uncomfortable humidity of the hot New York Summers was practically non-existent. I think there were a couple of hot and humid days in August and about a week in mid-September which is odd as September is one of the most pleasant weather months. Our crisp cool mornings and evenings are here and it is the best sleeping weather. The garden is dying back, the Montauk Daisies are making their entrance as the rubdeckias and coneflowers fade away.

The Morning Glories which usually last way into October are drying up fast due to our mini drought but some still manage to find their way into obscure little places,

the trees are slowly starting to turn,

and the pumpkin patches are taking over.

What a beautiful sight they are.

Time to start cooking stewy dishes.

 Scallops in Stewed Chickpeas and Tomatoes adapted from Saveur

Braised Beef Stew with Garlic Cream adapted from Saveur

We have new neighbors moving in next door, that's the second new family on the block this year and the house at the corner is for sale...a change of seasons alright. And the world goes round.

And then some things never change.

October 4, 2015

Guns and Ammo

I rarely get political or too personal in this forum, it's an escape for me bringing levity, a little bit of whimsy from the day to day problems and dealings. I'm sure most of those who read my blog, and those who I've interacted with beyond it, would deduce that I am a Liberal. Not a bad word as the first George Bush made it out to be, not at all, I am quite proud to be a Liberal because to me it means tolerance and open mindedness which is a pretty good way to be as far as I'm concerned.

But enough of that. Here is the reason for this post. Yet again we have had a mass shooting in the US of A, not far off from the one 2 months ago and 2 months before that and 2 months before that and so on and so on and so on. The routine of our country. People going on about their ordinary lives of going to the movies, a restaurant, a feeling secure that some madman with a gun ...or seven...who is clearly not well in the head, because how could anyone do this if they are not crazy, comes by and starts randomly picking people off. Nice. The guy in Oregon was crazy as a loon, he had learning disabilities and behavioral issues all his life yet HE WAS STILL ABLE TO BUY SEVEN, NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT SEVEN GUNS. How hard is this to get? The second amendment of our constitution does NOT say we can all own guns, it talks about a citizens' militia to defend the country against invasion, written at a time when we had just won a war of independence.

We are a very long way from that time and place. Yet the politicians kowtow to the NRA because they back their campaigns and elections, anything for money...except maybe one day it will be their granddaughter. Too late.

I never thought the NRA could be beaten, they are that powerful but then I read this post from our friend Jane which, unfortunately, has come at a very opportune moment.

I thought change would surely come after the Newtown massacre. How can the murder of twenty six year olds not be a wake up call? How many more have we had since then because nothing changed?

I am more afraid of the nutcase with a gun in my country than any terrorist.

Please sign the petition because this madness needs to stop:

As President Obama once very eloquently said:

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

And yes, by all means...pray.

September 6, 2015

Home Alone

In the 32 years that Frank and I have been married we have rarely been apart. There's been the occasional business trip here and there, when my Mom stopped traveling I would go visit her in Miami twice a year which was usually a 4 day trip sometime in the Spring and then sometime in the Fall. She left us 4 years ago so that stopped. Frank's Mom has now stopped traveling, not that traveling was much fun for her before; she doesn't fly so she visited us once a year on a grueling bus ride from Miami which is 24 hours, she once took the train which is a tad more comfortable but still 24 hours. So when planning his trip and trying to figure out when, he thought Labor Day weekend might work out well. We didn't have any plans and he would fly down Wednesday evening, work from home on Thursday, spend time with her by using Friday as a PTO and then the weekend, fly back Monday. This way it was only one day off which would leave us with quite a few days off left for the remainder of the year. Fine with me as we had no plans. I went to work on Thursday so it was pretty much business as usual. Friday we closed early for the holiday weekend and knowing that we would I made a hairdresser appointment which got me home at my usual time.

But it was Friday. The beginning of the weekend when we usually either go out to dinner or cook some fun food somewhere around 8 and now here I was all by my lonesome. Hmmm, what to do? Certainly not going out and I'm not crazy about cooking for one but one has to eat, so my first dinner for one.

Avocado Pasta

Watched King Kong with Naomi Watts all the while in awe of how pretty she is and how good an actress to keep me interested in this stupidity.

Saturday got up early, I am now conditioned to do this no matter what and regardless of what time I go to bed, ran into an old friend while walking with Max, had breakfast, waited until 8:45 and went to the grocery store, took my time; went to the other side of the shopping center to the art/framing store and finally dropped off my Jorge Bayo watercolors for framing,

came home, put the groceries away and decided to do all those things that need to be done but never do get done because Frank is in the house:

1. Went through the overflowing paper files, ripped up all the unnecessary stuff (most of it) and threw it out.

2. Attacked the window seat in the landing where I keep the photo albums, greeting cards. Threw out all those Christmas greeting cards with pictures of people's kids who are really just acquaintances but I felt bad and kept them, the photo box somebody gave me which I have never used and won't be using after all these years, the digital changing frame, ditto as the photo box, the digital photo key chain, ditto again. Couldn't bring myself to go through the box of cards because most of them are from my Mom, Dad, Aunt and husband so that stayed.

3. Went through the closets and got rid of all that stuff that is finally dawning on me I AM NOT GOING TO WEAR, finally throwing away that sweater my father gave me just before he died which is full of moth holes and I'm never going to wear because I have realized it will not bring him back.

4. Went through the window seat in the guest room and got rid of all the extra sheet sets that shouldn't be there and worn towels.

Chased the wild turkeys and deer out of the backyard!

5. Cleaned out the baskets in the library. The knitting basket---really? Who am I kidding here? The unfinished scarf that has been sitting on the needles untouched for God only knows how many years and heaven forbid I remember what the stitching pattern is. The skeins of yarn which I can't even remember when I bought them, the myriad of needles in different sizes that were bought for one particular long ago project, the embroidery yarns and round...the crochet needle...I don't remember how to crochet. The "memorabilia" baskets full of maps, brochures, city guides just in case I need them when I go back...huh?  (OK, I admit, I did keep some maps which are works of art in my view. My secret wish is to have been a cartographer).

6. Grilled eggplant for next week's lunches.

Dinner for one part two

Cheeseburger Cheeseburger

7. Caught up with and old friend on the phone who I haven't spoken to in almost ten years for two hours.

Sunday, got up early again and went for an extra long walk with the Maxer. Read the entire Sunday Times. Gave myself a mani-pedi.

Made a raspberry semifreddo

Roasted some peppers for next week's lunches,

cooked some chicken tenderloins for next week's lunches,

started marinating part of tomorrow's aioli platter.

Dinner for one part three

Swordfish with braised leeks and tomato

All the while  kareoaking to Sam Smith, listening to Tchaicovsky, Liszt, Andrea Bocelli, the entire Dave Brubeck collection, Bobby Darin and all of Dean Martin.

Spoke to Frank more than I do when he's here and can't wait til tomorrow morning when we pick him up.

Hate being home alone......But wait a minute.....I'm not.

Never mind.

August 8, 2015

Dog Days

We finally had a heat wave last week. The one and only, it's been a very pleasant Summer.

And a lazy one.

July 2, 2015

Walla Walla!

The name alone is alluring---Walla Walla---say it a few times and it just brings a smile to your face, for no apparent reason other than the sheer sound of it. And to top it all off, it's wine country! Sounds like perfection to me!

We go west after crossing the beautiful Columbia river and follow the road all along it marveling at the beauty of this drive, when all of a sudden we see the signs, "Stonehenge"!, OK we'll take the detour,

hmm, where am I again?  The views clearly show where

but it's hard not to make the quick stop at this little oddity along the way. We keep driving along what clearly defines "amber waves of grain".

 The landscape has me awestruck, we went from mountains and walls of dark green pine to these golden fields in a blink. Where am I again? Two and a half hours later or so we are in Walla Walla, a beautiful town surrounded by vineyards and farms and a main street where each lamp post boasts a hanging petunia, and no two are alike.

And every other storefront is a tasting room with my rock star favorite right around the corner from where I live.

and what is not a tasting room is either a coffee bar or a restaurant,

which might just be attached to a tasting room! And if that's not convenient enough, we can always take a 15 minute drive out to one of the vineyards,

and have a little tasting there,

and watch the vineyard pups lounge about,

while trying to do the same.

And on our last day there is the most precious little lavender farm,

which calls out "go west, young man, go west!"