Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The strong will survive


We have a once-a-week Cardio Dance class in the office after work, once a week. I went to it today.

Fourteen Holy cannoli, is this class tough! You work and work. They bring in this teacher who, I am a veteran of many a Zumba class, and she is tougher. They blast this unrelenting hip-hop at you. Honest, I think I caught this "lyric" -- I use the quote marks there as Pennario would have --

Baby meet me in the bathroom stall
Show me why you should have it all

Yikes!

We were all dancing and sweating and ready to pass out on this 90 degree day but still I made it over to my friend Karen and I said, "Karen, was that lyric, and I use the term loosely, what I thought it was?"

Well, the important thing is, we are looking better and better every week! You do not take a class like this and walk away from it unchanged.

The class is not exactly pleasant. They have one oscillating fan ...


... and it is hot and because you are in the, ahem, office, there are all these security guards and co-workers and editors and whatnot observing you and laughing.

It is no wonder that today we had three no-shows.

"The weak are leaving," I said to Karen. "The strong will survive."

That which does not kill us makes us stronger!

And we will get stronger still seeing that now we are lobbying to make the class twice a week. Today I was thinking, it is a little easier than it was last week.  If we amped it up to twice a week, that improvement would come twice as fast.

Beach body, here I come.

Better late than never!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fun at a discount


It is Hallowe'en at Big Lots. I just went today looking for canning stuff because after making all that jam I am running low on Wide Mouthed Lids. There is something about Wide Mouthed Lids that makes you want to capitalize it, you know? Anyway that is why I stopped there after work.

Do not discount the pleasure a stop at a discount store adds to your day. There is something in wandering the aisles, with your pedometer counting every step as you enjoy yourself, looking at this and that.

They have candles marked down. I almost bought one called Croissant but at the last minute, tight-fisted German that I am, I cheaped out. I also ogled the school supplies but cheaped out on them, too. I am a fiend for markers and index cards and other stuff and I rationalize them by saying they help me with my book. However I stood firm.

I did buy Jeoffry a couple of catnip toys. He will be a happy boy later on tonight.

I also bought some lemon hand soap because they have some at St. Anthony's and I have admired its aroma. And some gym socks because mysteriously I am down to something like two pairs. Where do gym socks go? It is a mystery for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost to answer in the next life.

You can get, ahem, organic green tea with mint and with jasmine and so I took advantage. The tea is $1.80 for 20 sachets.

Fun at Big Lots! Culminating in when I saw the aisle full of skeletons. And pumpkin candles and pumpkin tea. I do not get upset the way other people do at such a sight. I just figure Big Lots is a little ahead of us in life.

That wild and unruly time of year will be here before we know it!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A plum job

My kitchen is chaos because of a decision I rashly made. I am entering a jar of jam in the Erie County Fair!

As is typical with me I waited until the absolute last minute to make this decision. I did not realize I would have to put down what kind of jam I would make. So I put down plum jam.

With which, I went to the Broadway Market and got a hold of some plums. I bought something like eight pounds because I want to get this jam right.

Last night, 80 degrees and it was 100 degrees in my kitchen. And my kitchen smelled like Christmas because of the spices I am putting in this jam. I do not want to give away all my secrets because I am gunning for a blue ribbon, but one spice is the star anise I prudently picked up at A Dollar back in March. 

That made my day, being able to use that star anise! Plus, I had really forgotten how I loved to make jam. It is usually not something you prioritize especially when you have other projects going.

I think the last time I made jam was last summer when I did the story on picking strawberries. Back then I delighted in my garage sale canning equipment and I do so again today. Probably I am using the same jars I used then because we burned through that strawberry jam.

There used to be a crayon called Plum. I wonder if they still have it or if it has been eliminated along with the Mulberry. I think the Plum is still there.

As is my jam, now. I made 15 jars.

Blue ribbon, here I come!

A plum job

My kitchen is chaos because of a decision I rashly made. I am entering a jar of jam in the Erie County Fair!

As is typical with me I waited until the absolute last minute to make this decision. I did not realize I would have to put down what kind of jam I would make. So I put down plum jam.

With which, I went to the Broadway Market and got a hold of some plums. I bought something like eight pounds because I want to get this jam right.

Last night, 80 degrees and it was 00 degrees in my kitchen. And my kitchen smelled like Christmas because of the spices I am putting in this jam. I do not want to give away all my secrets because I am gunning for a blue ribbon, but one spice is the star anise I prudently picked up at A Dollar back in March. 

That made my day, being able to use that star anise! Plus, I had really forgotten how I loved to make jam. It is usually not something you prioritize especially when you have other projects going.

I think the last time I made jam was last summer when I did the story on picking strawberries. Back then I delighted in my garage sale canning equipment and I do so again today. Probably I am using the same jars I used then because we burned through that strawberry jam.

There used to be a crayon called Plum. I wonder if they still have it or if it has been eliminated along with the Mulberry. I think the Plum is still there.

As is my jam, now. I made 15 jars.

Blue ribbon, here I come!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturday kitchen


It would not be the weekend without me banging my head against a wall over some complicated pastry I am trying to make for church! Today I wanted to make a cinnamon swirl yeast coffee cake. Sort of like a big cinnamon roll.

I found a sweet dough recipe and mixed it and it rose -- and then it was time for the fun part, to roll it out like a pizza crust, top it with the filling, roll it back up and curl it into a ring.  I had made this yummy filling out of this old hippie cookbook. It was melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

La la la la la la.

It felt great, rolling out the dough on the cool, clean marble. Then it was fun to spoon the rich filling over it and spreading it to the four corners.

But then ...

Tuscany, we have a problem!

This always happens to me! The filling starts to ooze to the edges as I am rolling this thing up. There is too much! It pools up. I got to the end and ... zut alors! Zut, zut alors! I had to think fast. I took the upper edge and folded it over the lower so the goo was trapped in the middle, and then I scooped the thick rope into a ring and dumped it into the waiting cake pan.

Sugar and butter and cinnamon was already leaking out the sides. and underneath. Plus the ring was lopsided. It is always lopsided! 

Oh well. It really does not matter. The cake gets sliced up before anyone sees it because that is the way you want it after Mass. So the cake could look like this big toad ...


.. and no one would know the difference. It is just something I want to do for myself, do up a cake fat and round and perfect like a big doughnut. Why can't I do that?

I will be brooding about this Sunday morning when I should be listening to the sermon.

I will be looking for answers in Scripture. Especially to that overriding question:

Will somebody please tell me what makes this so much fun?



Saturday kitchen


It would not be the weekend without me banging my head against a wall over some complicated pastry I am trying to make for church! Today I wanted to make a cinnamon swirl yeast coffee cake. Sort of like a big cinnamon roll.

I found a sweet dough recipe and mixed it and it rose -- and then it was time for the fun part, to roll it out like a pizza crust, top it with the filling, roll it back up and curl it into a ring.  I had made this yummy filling out of this old hippie cookbook. It was melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

La la la la la la.

It felt great, rolling out the dough on the cool, clean marble. Then it was fun to spoon the rich filling over it and spreading it to the four corners.

But then ...

Tuscany, we have a problem!

This always happens to me! The filling starts to ooze to the edges as I am rolling this thing up. There is too much! It pools up. I got to the end and ... zut alors! Zut, zut alors! I had to think fast. I took the upper edge and folded it over the lower so the goo was trapped in the middle, and then I scooped the thick rope into a ring and dumped it into the waiting cake pan.

Sugar and butter and cinnamon was already leaking out the sides. and underneath. Plus the ring was lopsided. It is always lopsided! 

Oh well. It really does not matter. The cake gets sliced up before anyone sees it because that is the way you want it after Mass. So the cake could look like this big toad ...


.. and no one would know the difference. It is just something I want to do for myself, do up a cake fat and round and perfect like a big doughnut. Why can't I do that?

I will be brooding about this Sunday morning when I should be listening to the sermon.

I will be looking for answers in Scripture!


Thursday, June 30, 2016

When life gives you lemon balm


I had this kind of bug that took me out of circulation for a couple of days. And my new knowledge of weeds came back to me. And I started thinking about the lemon balm in my garden.

The ladies who had helped me with my weed story had told me how good it can be! Particularly it is good as a tea. And it is supposed to be healthful in many, many ways.

With which, I ventured outside to the garden ...


... to get some.

I crunched up a bunch of leaves and chopped them up and stuffed them into a cup and then I poured boiling water over it and let it steep for a few minutes. Then I took a sip.

That is some good tea!

It is just this pure light lemon taste. You do not have to put anything in it.

Plus, free tea, you know? I can't believe I never tried it before.

And a day later, after drinking a whole lot of it, I do have to say I feel much better!

There is a romantic line of thinking I ran across in the weed community -- ahem, I mean, the people online I referred to while working on my weed story -- that holds that the plants you need find you. These generous and giving plants go where they are needed.

I like that line of thinking. The bishop's weed, I have to say, has proven itself useful. And now I learn that the lemon balm, which I used to curse as it took over my back yard, is here for a reason too.

When it gets warm one of these days perhaps I will make sun tea, as pictured at the top of this post. That is something I have not done since I was 17.

To my health!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Father's day


A friend from church pointed out to me a few days ago that our priest, Father Justus, would be celebrating his year's anniversary with us.

Yikes!

It felt like just yesterday he got here.  I wonder what it feels like to him. Probably 10 years HAHAHAHAHAA.

Anyway we swung into action and today we had a special party for him at the breakfast after Mass. One of our number brought in this loud purple cake. I have never seen frosting that purple. Another friend brought a beautiful festive cake piled high with snow-white frosting.

And this is the greatest: Our friend Joan put together a bag of goodies for Father Justus. He lives at St. Rose of Lima with a few other great priests we know and Joan had put together this man-cave assortment of treats. There was a six-pack, this being Buffalo, and Father Justus liking beer. And Doritos and other chips and nacho cheese dip and pretzels, all this stuff that guys eat. Joan is a genius! Above is a picture of the party at St. Rose of Lima they will have with the gift pack.

But back to time flying. Here it was today 90 degrees. The church had that deep summer feel, the fans oscillating, the doors open. The men sweltering in their suit jackets. Hats off to them for keeping their jackets on, you know? I do not know how they do it to be honest.

And it was just a few months ago that it was 5 below zero! I remember that distinctly because by that time I was helping with the coffee hour, and I got there early along with a few other people, and we were all laughing and waving at each other because of the triumph we felt, getting there on this morning when it was 5 below zero. I think that was in March. It was not long ago.

Buffalo, you cannot say we do not get our seasons.

I hope Father Justus is enjoying it!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday, unlimited


This morning I went downtown to my Pilates class. And at the end of class, as we were doing our final stretches and clearing our minds, the teacher said something I loved.

She said to be open to all the endless possibilities that the day had to offer!

Isn't that a wonderful thing to be told on a Saturday?

And so I went forward ready to be open to these possibilities. I went to Tops and the possibilities were endless because, I don't know what it was about today, Buffalo was like Paris in August, when everyone leaves. No one was around! King Arthur flour was on sale for $3.99 and so I bought White Whole Wheat and regular bread Whole Wheat. I had a leisurely conversation with the checkout gal about our various baking projects. She was afraid of baking with yeast and I was telling her how easy it was.

My day continued. I got home and my friend Michelle -- Brunette Michelle this is -- texted me asking if I wanted to go to Ashker's in Delaware Park for a smoothie or lemonade. I said OK! I had book work and church baking to do, but it is good to take exercise. And so I walked to Ashker's.

And lo, it turned out Michelle had just come from getting her hair cut. She has told me about this great guy who cuts her hair, which always looks great, and I have been wanting to go to him.

End result, as we say here in Buffalo, a half an hour later there I am getting my hair cut! This wonderful hair cutter whose name is Todd operates out of his apartment and he could fit me in. He cuts hair for fun on the weekends. It is not his actual job. But it used to be and he was trained in Milan. Is this a wonderful world or what?

Todd fussed over me and I love this, at one point he asked me to stand up, and he walked around me making adjustments to my hair, clipping this and that. No one has ever done that before in my memory. The windows were open and you could see this long string of beautiful North Buffalo yards. Birds were singing. There was no mirror so I did not have to worry about how the haircut was coming along.

Then we walked together to the bathroom and he showed me.

Holy cow.

I looked great!!

Walking home I passed a garage sale. I bought a pitcher and an ice cream scoop.

La la la la la la la la.

I love doing this of a Saturday, just bombing around. I took the picture up above. What a beautiful day.

Full of endless possibilities!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Mad about Howard Cosell


On Facebook my friend Daryle started a discussion of Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell which led me to remember Mad magazine and Howard Cosell.

All I know about Cosell is what was in my older brother Tony's Mad magazines!

With which, I went looking on Google for Mad magazine stuff on Howard Cosell, so I could splash it up on Daryle's Facebook wall and annoy him, as he was in the middle of a serious discussion. I found examples of what I was looking for. Memory served me, as it always does when it comes to trivia and useless stuff. But alas and son of a sea cook, I could not find any imagery big enough to blow up and show off.

However. I found all other kinds of classic stuff. Such as the corny cover up above. I was describing this cover to Howard the other day because he eats corn really neatly, every single kernel just so. This is my Howard, Howard Goldman, we are talking about here. Not Howard Cosell! I do not know how he ate corn.

Continuing down our Mad memory lane... I found stuff I had never seen before. Like this:



Mad always loved hippie stuff. Such rich material.



Where else would you be seeing this stuff? Nowhere, that's where.

You forget that before Kennedy was assassinated he was the target of humor.



Can we hang this sign up now?


This is amazing. Perhaps my favorite of the lot.


Ha, ha! This is the great thing about writing on a Web log every day. You do not need anything earth shattering to warrant writing about. You can just put what is in your head. And today Mad magazine was in my head, thanks to my friend Daryle and his mention of Howard Cosell.

Click on any of these to study them in detail.

You know you want to!