Musing with Max

Musing with Max

July 24, 2016

Summer Days...

...drifting away...

Frank keeps telling me to relax, enjoy my days, take my time. Easier said than done. I'm trying, getting better at it, pushing further from the bad stuff. Watching the flowers bloom...

...rubdekias finally bursting into the scene. And the mint just growing in between everything, I like the wildness of it.

The wisteria which barely bloomed this Spring is coming on strong all of a sudden, go figure. Will need to cut it back soon before it pulls a Stephen King and takes over the patio chairs. Maybe we'll finally build a pergola over the patio for it to climb onto this year; she says again.

The begonias on the porch are getting leggy and the vinca is wrapping itself on everything, an unruly mess, just my style.

Cool food. Lentil and sausage salad...

roasted corn and chipotle salad...

stuffed branzino.

...drifting away....

July 18, 2016

Week One

My first week of unemployed life was not at all what I expected it to be. Considering that there was quite a bit of relief in not having to go back to that place I thought I would do a bit of relaxing, gardening, reading, listening to music, and just plain breathing. On Monday I went to the local Stop & Shop and took my time walking up and down the aisles in a leisurely pace that I normally don't have time for. Not the brightest of ideas, when the bill totaled up I had spent way more than I had anticipated or even thought I had in my cart. I had a couple of calls from ex-colleagues shocked at my sudden departure and a few text messages, I got depressed. The next day I hit the garden for some serious weeding that was very necessary, filled up one bag and I had had it. It will have to be done in spurts. Wednesday I did four loads of laundry. Thursday Frank worked from home and even though he's mainly in his office on the third floor I paced around all day jittery and anxious, why I don't know. Friday I called a friend and rejected her invitation to spend Saturday down the shore because I am a miserable wreck and it's best I stay home this weekend. Then I decided to do what always makes it better...other than looking at this.

Dinner on Friday should always be fun so I pulled out that ripped page out of a magazine with the fun eggplant dip and piquillo peppers. As instructed I roasted the eggplant on the stove just as I always do for roasted peppers. Wow! first time I've ever done that,

and I'm in awe. It took all of 10 minutes, if that. After letting it cool in the strainer I just pulled the skin off and there was this soft smoky perfection. Chopped it into chunks, dropped it in the food processor with about a cup of goat cheese

until smooth, added some pepper...and voila!

Eggplant cheese spread. I then pulled out my last jar of piquillos that I brought from Spain,

blackened them in a cast iron pan and dropped them into a warm vinaigrette,

toast some slices of baguette and our appetizer is ready to go. Main dish should be just as much fun,

Cobb salad, without the hard boiled egg because by the time I thought of it the eggs wouldn't have been cold. Yummy just the same.

Saturday was a soupy muggy day. We did some work in the yard, sat outside sipping Cava to toast my new found freedom. Max lasted a half hour,

no better day to make pulled pork! I pulled out my little jar of green curry paste from my Try the world subscription Thai box and slathered it all over a big hunk of pork shoulder,

cooked it on top of the stove at low for about 3 and a half hours (should of been in the oven but that's a whole other story), let it cool a little then pulled it apart. Served it with some refreshing coleslaw and cucumber salad,

that curry paste is hot and spicy!

Sunday Max got a much needed bath,

which he hated every minute of. Dinner was an old Cuban staple,

Salt cod, Bacalao a la Vizcayna which I don't have a photo of. 

I feel better now. And look at my greeting this Monday morning!

Those are my neighbors' flowers he's feasting on. I told her rotten eggs an hot sauce will keep them away, she didn't listen.....

July 12, 2016

Pushing Daisies

I hate to admit it but for the last couple of years I have neglected my garden. Not totally mind you in that Grey Gardens sort of way but letting it go a bit. The left side by the driveway that I've struggled with for so many years got to the point that I don't even want to think about it...or at least didn't. My neighbor on the other side pulled out a giant kiftsgate rose which stood at the front of the back side bordering our properties. Turns out there were about five of them and three were on our side and to top it all off the guy she hired just chopped them down which means there are a bunch of stumps, no rose,  no barrier. Something else to come up with.

And then there are the weeds, and weeds, and weeds, and weeds. They never seem to end. They're like grey hairs, pull one three more come out. Out of control!

So since I have a little time on my hands what better way than to try and get things back into shape.

The pots on the patio by the back porch have really come into their own and require little maintenance. The hostas and ferns come back every year and now all I need to do is maybe add two pots of annuals. This year, white begonias (my Mom's favorites) some lavender and potato vine. Simple and sweet. I love all the shades of green and different leaf textures.

The side that's always given me so many headaches is being taken over by goosenecks. Fine with me, I love mass planting and these guys look really good here. On the opposite side of this bench towards the front of the planting bed there are a couple of new columbines, several astilbes and more goosenecks; although not as many as here. I may add more goosenecks, keep the astilbes towards the front and move the columbines. Simple and sweet.

The side of the porch is overrun by a profusion of hostas which keep multiplying except for the center of the row. I noticed the whole under the porch...groundhog! Extremely destructive little critter but it's hard to despise something so damn cute.

(That's not him, he's elusive, editorial license, close enough)

By the side of the back porch is where our color comes in,

even though the bright yellow rubdeckias are just starting to show, there are only a few coneflowers but soon there will be an explosion of yellow and purple to compliment the new addition of Shasta daisies.

The daylilies are putting on their show

despite the dreaded deer.

We're very excited with our new additions,

two baby clematis and several golden cypress by the garage.

So after an afternoon of pulling and cutting and digging and sweating and raking and filling two bags with stuff...I'm still not finished but we're getting there.

July 9, 2016

Rainy Days and Mondays

I've been a bit MIA lately, an occasional post here and there which I attributed to a lack of ideas, imagination, God knows what. The truth is my brain has been in an atrophied stage to some extent for the last several months. The job that I raved about in this same forum a couple of years ago turned into a living nightmare starting about a year ago or so due to that lovely corporate word "reorganization". A term and practice that brings nothing but discord, tension & backstabbing. I hoped it would run its course, things would stabilize and we would go back to our lovely little happy selves. A fantasy if ever I heard one. Reorganization means complete overhaul and upheaval. Most of the people I started out with, who I enjoyed seeing every single day and even socializing with, regardless of whether they were company events, were let go or left with only a handful of the originals remaining. They were replaced with badly trained pit bulls and fire breathing dragons with little decency and regard for employees and absolutely no idea what teamwork meant. They didn't last long but the damage had been done, the top brass took on these same qualities. Replacements have been found, they seem like a definite improvement on the first bunch but the atmosphere remains the same and since the company hasn't been doing well the culture is that of fear and trepidation. I never knew when the wrath would fall on me for something as stupid as dropping a paper clip (exaggeration for dramatic purposes). A few months ago while driving to work I experienced what I can only describe as a panic attack, my heart was beating so hard I thought it was going to jump out of my chest and I felt as if I couldn't breathe. Who knows maybe I was having a mild heart attack, either way these symptoms became frequent, daily in fact. I would also wake up in the middle of the night with the same feelings which meant constant sleepless nights. This clearly had to stop.

(gratuitous pic of Max to lighten up a bit)

I started to look for another job but it's hard when you have a job since you need to come up with all kinds of lies to interview. My anxiety escalated, I was in a constant state of panic. This doesn't bode well for...anything. I was miserable, made Frank miserable, looked miserable, you get my drift.

Then this week something glorious happened. I won the lottery! Kidding, I wish. Due to some uncomfortable situations, decisions and trumped up lies I was fired on Thursday. Friday was my last day. In my exit interview HR actually said "you seem 1000 pounds lighter". Yes, I am floating in fact. Driving out of that parking lot was pure ecstasy.

I will take a week to learn how to breathe again. Then its time for a reinvention. That's fine. I am free. While doing that I can spend more time with this little munchkin,

which brings me tremendous joy. I will cook more, garden more, write more (you'll be sick of me).

My first day of full freedom is a rainy Saturday, usually a downer in the Summer, not today. I couldn't be happier. Can't wait for the dreaded Monday!

As always, thank you for indulging me.