Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Return of the Great White Heron

The heron is back!

I am not sure if it is a Great White Heron or a Great Blue Heron. It is a kind of bluish white. I saw it this morning at Hoyt Lake.

Studying the pictures I do believe it to be a Great White Heron. Whatever it was, the heron was standing around on its long legs looking for fish. I am building a history with herons, including this heron that I drew. In my growing experience, herons can remain pretty much motionless for a long time.

I could not wait it out on account of I had to go and get my manicure. Remember my first manicure? This was my second. And it will not be that long until my third. I am getting into this groove here and I find I like it.

However even being in a hurry I snapped some pictures of the heron.

I filmed him too! Here he is just standing around. Haha, I am noticing that because my cat Jeoffry is a tomcat I am always assuming all animals are boys.

I like the video because you can hear the birds. This is a part of Delaware Park where I love walking...

... because you can hear birds. The red-winged blackbird is the bird that dominates. To me that is always a sound of spring.

Notice in the above picture that there is somebody out on a boat. I loved that!

Spring... bring it on!

Monday, April 8, 2024

Total Eclipse of the Rhinoceroses


Howard and I went to the Buffalo Zoo today to view the Total Eclipse.

We had been invited to an eclipse party we had really been looking forward to, however the traffic predictions were vexing, and Howard had been under the weather and was recuperating. The Zoo allowed us not to be in close quarters with anyone, in case he had had some bug that could be passed on.

And so we viewed the eclipse from outside the rhino enclosure! Those are the rhinos up above. 

The afternoon was honestly magical. I had ridiculed the eclipse beforehand. Why are all these people traveling to Buffalo, I had wondered. I would not cross the street to view an eclipse. That is what I said.

Then I did end up crossing the street to view the eclipse. The Buffalo Zoo is across the street!

Delaware Park was full of people with their eclipse glasses. Howard issued me a pair of eclipse glasses so we were set too. We ran into some people we knew. Other people were texting us. Everyone was excited.

When the eclipse really got down to business, everyone grew quiet. This facet of the eclipse was almost as astonishing as the videos. Here in Buffalo we never shut up for anything! Yet everyone was suddenly hushed.

I took these pictures.

And this video ....


LOL! You can tell how dazzled we were!

And then I stopped filming anything because you just have to enjoy, you know?

It was just so beautiful! 

The Zoo being plunged into darkness. I mean real darkness, aside from the lanterns were on of course, and there were other lights.But really, it was dark as night. No one could believe it. 

This eclipse, I had totally underestimated it. It made me think of a few years ago when the high-wire artist Nik Wallenda walked the wire over Niagara Falls. I had thought that would be no big deal. Then Howard and I were watching it with Jocko in the Hyatt and we all realized we had been wrong in underestimating it.

I will remember this the way I remember that.


Sunday, March 24, 2024

An epic Palm Sunday

This morning I sang in the choir of St. Louis Church -- remember when I joined? It was quite the adventure then and it has only gotten better. Above is a photo one of my friends in the Alto section took of me on her phone as I was looking down admiring the church. I cannot get over how beautiful it all is!

Today being Palm Sunday we sang "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." That is the traditional Palm Sunday hymn. You may not deviate from it, not that we would want to.

The organ that accompanied us this morning!

Our choir director and organist, the great Frank Scinta, he pulled out all the stops. I mean it was as if we were in a movie. An epic movie. He is improvising this, too. He is pulling it out of his head. It is not as if you can go out and get this arrangement. 

I am sure that nobody in the entire world heard an "All Glory, Laud, and Honor" remotely like ours!

Oh, brother. I wanted to put the video on the Web log however the person in charge of the live stream is not letting me do it. So here is a link to the video.

"All Glory, Laud and Honor" begins right about 16:20. Actually a bit after that, however tune in at 16:20 so you can hear the announcer announcing it... "Number 97, on page 120," as if it is just another hymn, on just another Sunday. It is not!

That fanfare that introduces it!

It was like "The Ten Commandments"!

Then Scinta just takes off with his improvisations. We were so dazzled in the alto section we were all just smiling dazedly.

It is hard to get it across just in a video. I should have been recording it up in the choir loft. The volume of it, you can't imagine. Like an ocean wave. Here is where I wish it were a Latin Mass, where I also sing. This kind of church, this kind of music, calls for incense and pageantry. 

I recommend you watch the entire video because all the music was interesting. The Mass ended with the spiritual "Were You There." It was very quiet compared with "All Glory, Laud and Honor" -- in between of course you have gone through the entire Passion, and everything feels different. I was crying in "Were You There" and I was not the only one.

An epic Palm Sunday, as I said to one of my friends.

A Mass to remember!

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

An Artist's Date at a Salon

 In the last few weeks I have been charting my journey so far going through Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way." It is time now to recount my third Artist's Date.

In a change of pace, I went for a mani/pedi!

And yes, this is artistic. I need a manicure for my piano playing. What if I am invited to perform a recital or a concerto or something? This is one impediment that will be out of the way. The Artist's Way is all about clearing impedimenta from your life.

Besides that, I have never had a mani/pedi in my life! I just did not grow up in a family where those things were done. Also I was a nail biter until recently. That was a great victory, stopping that nail biting!

Preparing for this step, I scouted a salon on Hertel where I just got my hair cut. It is called Imagine. It is just about around the corner from where we live. Imagine that! Amazing the things in your own back yard, you know? You are looking for something and it turns up right under your nose.

If I like the place, I thought, I will go there for the mani/pedi. And I did like the place. I loved my haircut. It felt so good to walk out of there not wearing a Scrunchie. That afternoon I went to see the movie "Cabrini" and I was sitting there the entire time trying not to put my head back against the chair. I did not want to squash my curls before going out to hear Howard play at the Hyatt that night. "Cabrini," by the way, is a great movie. But that will have to wait for tomorrow.

The day I returned to the salon a few days later, was a beautiful day. Soaring temperatures. I wore sandals because I read that would be best for the pedi, in case the polish was not quite dry.

That did end up not being an issue. The stylist, Hayley, did the pedicure first, and it was a leisurely process, as these things should be. Now that I think about it, I do not think that we as a culture are comfortable with this kind of thing, with someone scrubbing your feet, massaging your feet, working on making your feet beautiful.  Jesus knew that he began the tradition of the Washing of the Feet which is, goodness, coming up next week -- Holy Thursday. 

Well, I got used to the idea and now I am comfortable with it, I will tell you that. Also I loved that I got to sit in a massage chair and fiddle with it, having it do this and that with my back. The chair purred and rumbled, and Hayley and I gabbed periodically about this and that. In the background a customer was getting her hair cut, and bits of talk drifted over, about children and upcoming marriages.

".... And it's so nice, he's an altar boy...."

"... And I told her, why don't you wait until you have lived your life a little ...." (No, I was thinking, don't wait...)

"...And he is changing his major for the second time..."

Conversations like this have been going on for centuries and it was part of the fun of this sweet experience. While the pedicure was drying we did the manicure. I asked the stylist to make my nails short, because I play the piano. She asked questions and I got to talk about Beethoven and about Leonard Pennario.

Oh! I did not mention the most important thing -- the color I chose, for fingers and toes. Yes, I am a poet, and I know it.

It is Barbie pink! 

Yes, I will be playing my late Beethoven with my Barbie pink nails. I did not think of the color as Barbie pink but that is what it is. My friend Brenda correctly identified it as that when she came to pick me up to go see "Cabrini."

She said, "Mary, why did you choose that color?"

When in doubt, tell the truth, as Mark Twain said. So I did.

I said: "Because it is fun."

Sunday, March 10, 2024

My Artist's Date at the Zoo


I have had two more Artist's Dates and one of them was to the Buffalo Zoo!

This is a Victorian zoological gardens, in that it dates from 1875. It is across the street from my house. I mean I can see it from my front window, and at night I can hear the roaring of the lions.

However I almost never go there! Of course I was there when I was little. We all go to zoos when we are little. Then we go there again when we have little kids. However we never go there as adults on our own. Which, I just did that. And I totally recommend it!

The book "The Artist's Way," as I may have explained, demands that your Artist's Dates be on your own. You do not bring anybody! When I look around YouTube there are some YouTube gals who say you can take baby steps and bring someone else. However I strongly disagree. Get your act together and go somewhere on your own. It will not kill you. And when you are on your own you make your own decisions and you listen to your own thoughts. Do you want to stay and watch the polar bears for an hour? You do it. Do you want to wait until no one else is around so you can shoot a video? You can wait. 

It gets extremely relaxing, I have to say that. You just wander around, accountable to no one.

La la la la la la la.

Above is a picture I took of the capybara in the Buffalo Zoo's Rainforest exhibit. Just the Rainforest exhibit by itself is worth the price of admission to the zoo. You get to hang out in a tropical environment for as long as you want, listening to the waterfall, admiring lush greenery, looking at parrots...

... and turtles and capybaras. There is also a Giant Anteater in there though I have not seen him. My Seek app saw him! I pointed the app at some birds and for some reason it spotted the Giant Anteater though I could not, and that was what it identified.

At least I could see the capybara. There is no missing him! I texted a picture of the capy to my friend Ryan. Ryan loves rodents!

Ryan wrote back: "As they used to say at the Erie County Fair: "Come see the RAT that's bigger than a CAT!"

After that I could not stop laughing.

These Artist's Dates, I am not sure what they are doing.

But at least they are keeping me entertained!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Fountain Pen heaven

My new fountain pens are all filled now and in working order. I waited until this morning to take care of all that. These things always take patience, in my experience.

Above is a photo I took of my growing collection!

I bought, do not ask me why, an Oasis Light notebook to go with the purple fountain pen which, yes, I filled with a cartridge of purple ink. All this was a struggle by the way. I am making it sound easy however it required help from Howard and from, ahem, artificial intelligence. The end justifies the means!

The purple pen is a Pilot. It comes from Japan. The other two pens are Lamys and they come from Germany.

Above is a picture of my growing family. The purple Pilot pen is at the top, and the Lamy pens are beneath.

Here is the purple pen with the Oasis notebook.


What to do with that notebook? That is the question.

The inside of the notebook said to check their website, OasisNotebook.com for "a lot of great tips on how to use this notebook." So I did.

All they had on there was how to print artistically in your notebook.

Not write, as in longhand. Print!

This is what the world has come to. No more cursive writing. Which really bugs me. If you do not know handwriting, how are you to appreciate looking at the Declaration of Independence? How can you read Mozart's catalog of his works if you happen on it in the British Museum? I remember once going to the Karpeles Manuscript Museum because they were displaying musical manuscripts, and I marveled at Mendelssohn's handwriting, so perfect and flowing and scholarly. If we do not bring back handwriting, no one will be able to understand that.

Oh well. I will fight the powers the only way I know how.

Speak softly, and carry a fountain pen!

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

In the Land of Fountain Pens



Today I went back to Hyatt's and bought a new fountain pen. It could not be helped!

OK, I bought two fountain pens. I admit it.

One was a Lamy. I already have a Lamy however I had to get another one because a few days ago I splurged on this fancy giant jar of Cobalt Blue ink by -- wait for it, Graf von Faber-Castell. Not merely Faber-Castell which we are used to seeing.Graf von Faber-Castell. The Count of Faber-Castell!

So the Lamy pen was one. I also went and bought a Pilot fountain pen.

Then cartridges to keep both of the pens fed.

I notice in the same series as the Cobalt Blue, the great Count of Faber-Castell also offers Garnet Red ink. How glamorous! Just the word "ink," I love it, you know? I will wind up owning all these inks.

Once you go into Hyatt's you can never come out. Above is a picture I took of just a small portion of their ink department. It is not even the fountain pen department, or the ink and calligraphy paper department! It is just the ink.

Here is a bit of the ink aisle looking north.


The inks are amazing. They come from Germany and France and Japan. The inks are interchangeable if you have a pen that takes ink from a bottle and not just from cartridges.

The inks are ready for their closeup!

Monday, March 4, 2024

A Summer Day in Buffalo Town


Today it was summer!

Just a few days after my freezing Artist's Date just last week, suddenly, as Howard said, it was as if we all flew to North Carolina. It was almost 70 degrees! My friend Ryan and I went and sat on the beach and took the sea air. And earlier, I took the picture above when I walked around Delaware Park.

The water was so clear.


I kept hoping I would see the giant snapping turtle again. I am on complete Turtle Alert and I am sure he and I will meet up in the future!

In the afternoon at the beach Ryan and I sat on Adirondack chairs in the sun and it was so warm we could almost complain about the heat. That is always fun, the first time each year when you can complain about the heat. We are not quite there yet but we will be soon.

Our usual spot, Wilkeson Pointe, is closed for construction. They cannot keep their hands off of Wilkeson Pointe. Here all our other parks need fixing and nothing needs fixing at Wilkeson Pointe and yet Wilkeson Pointe gets the attention. It is like working in the garden. You gravitate towards the area where everything is doing well and all the flowers are coming up. And that patch of bishop's weed -- oh, you leave that alone.

What with the summer weather I am thinking about my next Artist's Way Artist's Date.  I am thinking a mani/pedi. Does that count as an Artist's Date?

I was thinking that being a pianist I should get a manicure. Leonard Pennario always got manicures. When I knew him he was still getting them. You need your hands to look good on a piano. I will have to tell the manicurist to make my nails short because I am a pianist.

This is a wonderful time of year, very early spring.

The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sunday in the Gorge With George

Because of an unforeseen sequence of events, I did not end up at Zoar Valley today with my friend Barbara as I had thought I would, to conclude our Western New York Hiking challenge.

Instead I ended up at Artpark, walking the gorge trail along the Niagara River!

My friend Barbara ended up going with her husband to Eighteen Mile Creek, an undeveloped -- that dreaded word! -- park in Hamburg. And I went with my brother George to Artpark.

Neither of us went to Zoar. Which is probably just as well, Zoar having the dangerous reputation that it does.

Artpark is also pretty impressive, I have to say that.

Here is my brother George setting off on the trail. 

That is the beautiful Lewiston-Queenston bridge in the distance!

I asked George to go with me because I thought he knew his way around the terrain. He did not! My dad had taken him walking to see the remnants of the old Great Gorge Route where the streetcars used to go, however that had been 30 years ago or more.

So we explored it together. We could not get over that these trails were there. We have been to Artpark hundreds of times, many of them together. However we never went near these trails. As I just said to someone, all I have ever done at Artpark is listen to music and drink wine. And write concert reviews. I did a million Artpark reviews for The Buffalo News.

Remember the one where St. Christopher saved me on the way home? 

Next to that adventure, this one was a cakewalk!

As these hikes go, this one was easy to follow. You were just supposed to walk this trail. You did not have to turn right or left or look for anything, aside from the waterfall that I was supposed to get my picture taken with.

There were three waterfalls. Here I am with one of them.

 I did not need that bulky pink coat today! However this trip was very spontaneous and I did not have time to turn the house upside down and my closets inside out.

This is really a magnificent part of the world. There is a color called Niagara that is the deep green of the river, and the river today was really that Niagara color.

I like that building visible in the first and last pictures -- an old power station apparently, on the Canadian side.

I also loved looking up at the American and Canadian flags over the Lewiston-Queenston bridge. My parents loved this part of the country. They loved Canada too. My father would always tell us that the Canadians were great gardeners and he would point out that Canada was cleaner than the U.S. This old power station has such an elegant old British Commonwealth look. It makes me think of the Edwardian era.

Now I want to know about the Great Gorge Route, where its remains are to be found. Actually I want to go back in time and ride the streetcar along that route. That must have been a thrill!

We stopped for a picnic beneath the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and enjoyed the vistas.

A beautiful hike, if a bit frightening at times! You do get close to the edge.

George and I agreed that we enjoyed the adventure tremendously. For us however it is not the thrill of hiking that we love. Hikers, I love them, however to them the point seems to be conquering adverse elements and terrain and visiting places that are not easily accessible. They also love employing tons of equipment -- snowshoes, spikes on their shoes, who knows what all.

Me, I like to travel with just Chapstick and a sketchbook. I do not even usually bring water. I love visiting places that are easily accessible. I can walk endlessly, I mean miles and miles. However I would prefer they are easy miles. I want to relax. Take the air. Look around.

I felt I could do that today. And now this is my eighth hike and I win my badge!

My old hiking partner Barbara also earned her badge for her hike at Eighteen Mile Creek.

As we love to declare...

We are the champions!

Saturday, March 2, 2024

A sally to Zoar Valley?

Remember my hiking challenge? My hiking partner, Barbara, and I are reaching the end of our trail.

We have only one hike to go!

You had to complete eight hikes before St. Joseph's Day, March 19. The hiking patriarch did not state it as St. Joseph's Day however that is how I can remember it. It makes sense because St. Joseph is the patron saint of Buffalo.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

We are trying to figure out what hike to do to conclude our saga. The search has narrowed somewhat because, not being dummies, we tend to reject hikes labeled "difficult" or, God forbid, "strenuous." That eliminates Emery Park, no matter how many picnics I have gone on there, and Boutwell Forest, wherever that is.

However we want to end our hiking adventure in a blaze of glory and so we are zeroing in on Zoar Valley.

Zoar like an eagle as we say! Barbara even texted me the icon of an eagle.

That is not Zoar Valley pictured above. That is just Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, a photo I took yesterday. I needed a picture of God's country, though, and it did the trick. 

The Zoar hike is labeled "difficult" -- however we have it on good authority that the trails are clearly marked. As they darned well should be. A couple of steps in the wrong direction, and you could be in trouble.

Clearly marked trails are rare and wonderful. Deciphering the maps has been the toughest part of this hiking adventure. I will report how it goes. It will certainly be an exalted finish for an adventure that began humbly with Tifft Nature Preserve, which both of us hiked in sneakers.

This will be a good challenge to face tomorrow. However it will not be the greatest challenge of the day! That honor belongs to Orlando Gibbons, the English Renaissance composer. I have to sing Gibbons' "Almighty and Everlasting God" with the St. Louis Choir at the 11 a.m. Mass. The choir has sung it before however I have not and so I have been cramming. 

"Stretch forth Thy right hand -- Thy right hand --" That is me! Over and over.

Two challenges, awaiting me tomorrow.

Challenges accepted!

Friday, March 1, 2024

An Artist's Date with Charles Burchfield

As I confided yesterday, I am working through Julia Cameron's famous book "The Artist's Way." I am on Chapter Two and yesterday I decided it was time for my second Artist's Date.

These are forays you make on your own, to anywhere -- it is just supposed to be something you enjoy, something that's fun. Technically you are supposed to plan them in advance. Yeah right, as Leonard Pennario used to say. I will get better at this however right now I am just trying to make sure these Artist's Dates happen. You do a chapter of the book a week and one Artist's Date a week. This weekend is kind of crowded and I wanted to make sure I did not fall behind with things.

I have a list of possibilities for Artist's Dates. It is easy to overthink them and I have vowed not to. I think I get the gist of it, which is to step out of your routine, do something different.

So yesterday I carved out a couple of hours and sallied out to the Burchfield Nature Center in Gardenville, i.e. West Seneca. It was actually not far from Cazenovia Park where I went for my first Artist's Date. South Buffalo and West Seneca are neighbors.

And speaking of neighbors, guess what was right across the street from the Burchfield Nature Center?

Beautiful Fourteen Holy Helpers!

The Burchfield Nature Center is a kind of mystery to me. Even after going there I was unable to determine its exact connection with Charles Burchfield. Did C.B. live there? Was it at least his property? I cannot figure that out and there was no one I could ask.

However it was new to me and I enjoyed, even in what amounted to bitter cold, walking on the wooden pathways and standing at the edge of the rushing creek.



What creek is this? That is another question.

From time to time plaques showed you pictures of Burchfield's wacky nature paintings. They would tell you he liked painting poplar trees, things like that. 


It left me wanting more information.

I wanted to know if it were these particular poplar trees he painted!

Did he paint this exact creek?

I am sentimental. I will have to look up these answers. One goofy thing about all this is I was friends with his daughter. My friend Michelle introduced me to Charles Burchfield's daughter Catherine Parker. Catherine was at my house several times. I was at her studio. I saw her at other friends' houses. Did I ever ask her one question about her dad? No!

Back then I knew nothing about Burchfield and I just was not curious. Which probably helped my friendship with her -- she must have gotten sick of people asking her about her famous father. But still.

Couldn't I at least have asked one question?

Back to yesterday. The Burchfield Nature Center itself, this sprawling wealthy-looking house, was closed. It was just me and the cold. I actually think this was a day Burchfield would have liked. I think he would have liked the color palette.


He loved this time of year, very early spring. He also loved the approach of winter. He liked the drama of our seasons here in Buffalo.

I walked around for about 45 minutes, thinking about things like this, and then I went on to Part Two of my Artist Date, which was to visit a nursery and treat myself to some plants. Gardenville was named for all its nurseries. 

I thought I might buy one or two plants. Yeah right -- again.

I came home with about a dozen! Here is my cart at Rudolph's, on Clinton Street.


When I got them home I arranged my acquisitions in the sun room. And the flora, I now say, were the best part of the Artist's Date. Last night, as I was getting ready to go rehearse with the St. Louis Choir, I was sort of fretting about how the day had gone. I wasted too much time, I thought. I have a lot of work to do. That Artist's Date ate too much of my day. I should do them on Sundays. You are supposed to fritter away Sundays, not Thursdays.

Then I looked up and saw all those flowers and ferns. And I thought, this is a day I will remember.

With pleasure.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

My First "The Artist's Way" Artist Date

Two weeks ago, I inherited a copy of  "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron. I found it at Amvets actually. It was in a heap of books that I bought that day -- a bumper crop I will have to get to chronicling one of these days soon.

"The Artist's Way" was originally published 25 years ago and is famous. When I mentioned it to my sister Katie, she knew all about it. I had heard of the Morning Pages, which you learn about first thing in the book. You are supposed to write three pages every day as soon as you get up.

Which, I started doing that right away. I looked into the book, thought it looked fascinating, and made sure that Julia Cameron was not coming at things from any weird New Age perspective. And so the very next morning, there I was, up early, writing my Morning Pages. This morning I believe was Day 12.

You can hear a lot about Morning Pages on YouTube. The next most-talked about aspect of "The Artist's Way" appears to be the Artist's Date. You are supposed to go out once a week by yourself to do something special you enjoy. 

I am into Chapter Two of the book now and I have done two Artist's Dates.

My first Artist's Date was Sunday after church, to Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo. I have not been there since I was 4 and lived around there and it is supposed to be a beautiful park and that was why it was on my radar. 

It might not seem like a big deal, visiting a city park on the other side of town. I go for walks pretty much every day. Most of the time I go by myself. And I really do enjoy them.

However you get your routine. There are a few routes I generally walk and I do not deviate from them much. To me this seems to be a big point about the Artist's Date -- it is supposed to change up your routine. You do something different.

You can easily start overthinking things, however I think I am on the right path with this. Because when I decided to go to Cazenovia Park, I could not believe the resistance I gave myself. There is something in you that does not like change.

What happened was, I was on my way to go on my usual walk, and I pulled over. I will map my way to Cazenovia Park, I thought. I will get on Google and have it direct me.

Then I raised a chorus of objections. "I'll get lost. I'll waste all kinds of time driving around. I won't get in my 10,000 steps. It's cold. Why don't I take my usual walk, and I'll go to Cazenovia Park after that..."

I pulled away without Googling. I drove another half a block. Then I pulled over again.

The same thing happened however this time I powered through. And yes, I did get lost, and yes, I spent 15 minutes or so driving around.

However I did get there, I got in my 10,000 steps, and I had a great time stepping outside my usual routine. I walked along Cazenovia Park in the freezing cold. I warmed up in the sun. It felt good to be looking at different things. I took the picture up above. Followed be others including these:

Early -- very early spring -- I love it. I love the colors. I loved the blue sky.

The adventure took me two or three hours and I was happy I did it. I do love walking around, thinking, and looking at things.

Which is also what I did this morning, on my second Artist's Date. I think Sunday is the best day for this kind of thing, however I am not sure I will be able to find the time this Sunday, and so I took the time slot I could get.

I will share the juicy details tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A Medieval Ash Wednesday

Howard and I put off our Valentine's Day celebration until next week. And so today I turned my attention to Ash Wednesday. There was no getting out of it, you know?

And already I can say: It is going to be one of those Lents.

Our 6 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass was a Low Mass -- that is, long, silent, and mysterious to anyone who has not attended one before. A friend I have gotten to know at the St. Louis choir was thinking she might go to this Mass and so I made sure I was there. I had told her she could join us in the choir loft. Choir reciprocity! And if we sang a chant she knew, she could sing with us.

La la la la la la la.

What happened was, she did join us up in the choir loft. However. 

She lasted 10 minutes!

OK, 20 minutes. Or a half an hour. However long it took for the ashes to be distributed. It is funny, I am accustomed to the Latin Mass. We do not have Eucharistic Ministers or any lay people who distribute the ashes. We have nothing like that. There is a priest -- sometimes two, however in this case we had one. And there is a crowd. The church was full today. It can take quite a while.

And I am kind of oblivious to it. It is like my sister Margie, living in New Jersey, has come to expect traffic jams. She visits Buffalo and hits a bit of a backup on the 190, no big deal for her. She just keeps talking, whatever. Whereas I, living in Buffalo, am all mad. What is this, I am saying. No one on the radio warned us about this. What is this backup?

A modern Mass goer is like me in this situation. What is this? Why is the line for ashes a mile long?

Why is the Mass two hours long?

It just not is something a normal person can deal with. OK, the Mass was not two hours long today. However if Jake, the choir leader, had not been sick, it would have been. Not that I would have noticed. You sing a lot through a normal Mass. It flies by like a freight train.

As it was today, we had a Low Mass and it was a little over an hour. However those ashes, they took a while.And it was too much for my St. Louis friend, I am afraid.

Here is a snapshot someone took of us finally receiving our ashes.

After which she fled into the night. And I do not blame her. Heck, she must have been thinking. What have I gotten into?

Next time anyone mentions wanting to come to our Latin Mass I will know better.

Instead of being all welcoming, I am going to say, "You know what? Don't."

And if the person persists, I will say, "OK, but be warned, we are on 12th century time."