Monday, May 31, 2010

Keeping Busy, Out of Trouble and Out of Touch or My Week With Food or Improvising With Dry Vermouth

Benni

Since picking up the Puppy a week ago last Friday, we've been busy either showing him off, entertaining friends, or keeping one eye on the boy. Last Saturday Benni met the Girls, Remy and Lady, two Scotties at our friends home where we had a nice chicken barbecue (or was it grilled chicken?). Remy had been ill but seemed to enjoy the young pup. (Today we learned that Remy,  had gotten worse during the week and had to be put down. We know how sad our friends are).

Last Sunday, another friend and his mom came over for a nice visit, coffee and doughnuts, then we went to Blondie's for burgers and fries. Just before they left another friend called to tell us that Stop and Shop had clams on sale and that he was going to get some and bring them over so that I could make linguini and clam sauce. Although I had planned to eat lightly that evening, good intentions aside, we all enjoyed a nice big bowl of Linguini con le Vongole in Bianco.  (And,as I was fresh out of white wine, I had to improvise with Dry Vermouth).  (Remember Phoebe Snow "It must be Sunday... It Must be Monday, Everybody's Drinking Vermouth)

This Memorial Day weekend we went to PTown to visit another friend who is staying at the campground. Steven is not much of a cook and as it would take a small loan to eat at PTown's restaurants, Leon and I brought groceries. Friday night was Pasta with Sauteed Eggplant and Roasted Peppers, Breaded Chicken Cutlets, and Broccoli; Saturday night I made Salad, Shrimp in Butter Sauce and Brown Rice.

Back home today we had company again - everyone wants to see the new puppy - my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew, three friends joined us for Seasoned Italian Burgers (basically meatballs - with chopped onions, seasoning, breadcrumbs, eggs, made into patties, then grilled), homemade cole slaw, potato salad  (compliments of Claire) and macaroni salad and hot dogs (compliments of Joe and Andrew). Plus desserts (brought by Claire and Steve).

I think I'm tired of cooking. This week it's going to be pizza, Chinese and supermarket take-out. Then I can get back to reading all your blogs, catch the first episode of the new season of Burn Notice, listen to PBS and the Nightly News and stay in touch with the progress we're all making toward ensuring a timely Armageddon.  I think I should improvise with Dry Vermouth.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just a few Pics for Today

Cactus Garden
Snake in the Cactus Garden
Yellow Iris
Peony
Daisies
Leon's Chevy work van
Garden survived the wind and  hail last night
Benni at  home in the yard

Friday, May 21, 2010

A New Blessing

Not only did a gorgeous Iris blossom in the garden this morning....

But Aunt Merri from Lab Rescue called Leon and I in to take delivery of our new puppy....

"Benni", (Benedict Bentley or "Benni-Benni") is about 8 weeks old and is a Labrador-Weimaraner mix and is very laid back and playful. He has black slivery fur and blue-green eyes. We came up with the name Benni - don't mock us - because we wanted something that had a German connection but a more Southern European flavor (guess) and something sophisticated (expensive auto) as well.

At home with Leon
Benedict means Blessing

Benni's first Movie:

video

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Put to Rest

Leon and I decided that it was time to put Bruno's ashes in the ground.  With our rocky soil we could have never dug a hole big enough or deep enough to accommodate him without cremation.  So we found a nice spot near a large outcropping of rock and dug a hole for his box of ashes.  We planted some pachysandra - he loved pachysandra - and placed a marker that my cousin Rose got for us on the rock with liquid nails.  Still need to clean up the white goop that oozed out around the plaque.




I'm thinking that it was just around this time in 1994 that Bruno found us in the park and asked us to be his family.




The rock is in the right-of-way on the west acre where we've planted evergreens and mowed to make the area park-like.  We also planted some giant pumpkins, cucumbers, sunflowers and dill.




Later, I put more veggies in the garden and except for the hot peppers and the sweet peppers, it is pretty much all planted.

Tomorrow we go to the Lab Rescue place to look at some puppies.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Call Me Neurotic

I  expressed some frustration in my last post about Leon's and my role in putting together an event for his  car club.  I realize that one of the reasons I do not generally get involved in groups and why even many job situations end up being uncomfortable is that they all tend to be more or less dysfunctional systems.  When I am involved in a dysfunctional system have a neurotic tendency to be a symptom carrier and my preferred symptom is anger disguised as guilt and depression.

So this week, I've been carrying around some anger and have been very depressed.  This has not happened to me for quite some time - at least since leaving the day-to-day workplace and being self-employed.  But my involvement in the car club over several weeks became more than tangential and the dysfunction inherent in the group began to affect me subliminally.

Now I take into consideration that we will be visiting some puppies that are up for adoption and a whole lot of brain synapses begin firing out of sequence.  I should be feeling excited.  Instead I feel depressed and guilty for not being excited.  I feel apprehensive. I feel guilty for feeling apprehensive.  I'm afraid that any puppy could never be as perfect as our beloved Bruno.  Then I feel guilty because I may be rejecting a puppy who needs a home because of some ideal the puppy may not live up to.  Then I get depressed because I'm such a selfish cad. Then I'm afraid I might adopt out of feeling guilty.  I can go Ad Infinitum here.

So what to do.  One cathartic, but not necessarily constructive activity I engaged in during the wee hours of the morning because I was unable to sleep or stop obsessing, was to write a scathing email (and I scathe well, in writing, when I am angry) to the officers (highlight one specific officer) of the car club.  The other thing I did this morning (and have never done before) was to take Bruno's ashes for a meditative walk in the woods where we used to go almost every day.  Call me neurotic, but I began having this conversation with old Brunie and started balling my eyes out.  I called Leon and was crying to him over the phone uncontrollably.  I can be such a silly old man.

It is funny how these things come together. And how difficult it is to sort out feelings.  I think that I have been experiencing an underlying depression ever since we lost Bruno and I hadn't finished grieving.  I know this seems all out of proportion considering the relative status of man and beast.  And the facts of life and death.  And the time that has elapsed.  But it has more to do with attachment and bonding than with the facts of life.  By my nature I reject "implants" of any kind 99.99% of the time.  I am not a people person.  I do not get too close.  I do not bond easily.  But when I do bond, the letting go is much too painful.

So, some, or most, of my anger is/was directed at the individual who disrespected Leon.  It was a direct threat to our integrity as a couple, our attachment to one another. To me personally.  To my .01% chance of bonding.  You disrespect Leon, you disrespect me.  Coming as it did, at a time when we should be excited about becoming doggie parents, it began to interfere with my (our) ability to think clearly and feel appropriately about adopting.

Is there room in my heart right now for a new puppy?  Will I be disappointed?  Do I have it in me to bond with another creature?  And those same questions for Leon.  When I talked to Leon between sobs, I suggested it was time to put Brunie to rest.  Perhaps we will do that this weekend before going to visit the Weimedor (or Labraweimer) puppies on Sunday.

I do feel somewhat better now.  Thanks for listening.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

That Was the Week That Was

Clouds in a Blue Sky

Well, it's been a while since I posted, but it's been a recovery week.  Last weekend and the weeks leading up to it Leon, who is President of the local chapter, (and by association, I) was involved in pulling off the chapter's annual Lambda Car Club Invitational Event.  Why our event is held in New York State is a mystery to me.  However, be that as it may, we worked our tails off.

It Was Pollen Season in the Hudson Valley
FDR's Place Across the Street from the Motel


Unfortunately, Leon did not get the support he deserved from other Club Officers and members, so he (and I) were left to order the food, ice and beverages for the Friday Meet-and-Greet, plan, reserve the caterer, order the food, get registrations, collect the money, and arrange the payment for the main Saturday Evening Excellent Buffet.   Leon also arranged for a Junk Yard Tour (car buffs like doing that sort of thing, go figure!) and for discounts at a local motel.  He made sure the Club's Banner was posted outside the restaurant and answered (stupid) calls all weekend about the events.

The Saturday Evening Car Club Excellent Buffet Event 











Leon does all this out of his enthusiasm for Old Cars and the Guys in the Club.  And I do it only out of love for Leon, as I could care less about old cars.  The weekend brought not only unusual heat (in the nineties) for the Northeast, but major pollen allergies as well.  My sinuses were in overdrive.  The weekend activities took a lot out of us, especially because we worked so hard and the turnout was not quite what we had hoped.  On Sunday morning when Leon suggested we return home early rather than go to the Antique Car Show Field for several hours, I secretly offered a prayer of thanksgiving.

The Light at the End












The rest of the week has been averagely busy and today dealing with some fallout from a disgruntled club board member who has little right to complain.  So, here we are again, no worse off for the wear and tears.

Ribbons For My Honey for A Race Well Run


And Some Woodland Flowers to Sooth the Senses




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