Monday, August 17, 2015

Calorie city

Yikes, all I am doing this summer is eating!

The conventional wisdom is that you put on weight during the winter and take it off during the summer. But A friend and I were talking the other day and we agreed that we fly in the face of that convention. We eat more in the summer than the winter!

I have to say this, I have not exactly put on weight. However the plan was to take off 10 pounds starting last winter and I got to five pounds and then screeched to a halt.

It has been like hand-to-hand fighting in the streets not to put those five pounds back on! We are talking many, many desperate prayers not to mention trips to the gym.

The truth is, Buffalo is heaven in the summer. There are outdoor concerts and plays, attended while lying on the grass, eating grapes, cheese and crackers and drinking wine and ale. There are ice cream parlors and ice cream machines. There are amazing food trucks, and entire evenings that celebrate them. There are big community picnics and also picnics that you just throw together yourself. There is the Erie County Fair. There is no end to it!

Howard took that picture above at Shakespeare in Delaware Park last night. It gives you an idea of the seductive beauty that is Buffalo. I was too busy opening a bottle of wine to take pictures. This was my second time seeing the play, mind you. The first time was for the picnicking.

Howard also took this beautiful picture of our friend the great actor Dave Lundy who commanded the stage as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in "Twelfth Night." Hence this most recent diet bomb. Thanks a lot, Sir Dave Lundy!

Today I got together with my brother and my little niece and nephew and we went out for ice cream. Pennario is surely smiling down on me because he loved his ice cream. But I have a feeling that I will not be smiling, if I go on like this.

I am going to be one of the many people who need those roomy new seats at Kleinhans Music Hall.

I am going to have to sue all the parties involved!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

I owe Ioway

At the gym working the elliptical machine I saw TV footage of Donald Trump landing his helicopter outside the Iowa State Fair. And of Hillary Clinton making jokes about emails and Snapchat.

What fun that all must be, you know? If this were a swing state we would be able to get these people to the Erie County Fair! However they would have a tough time topping that majestic blueberry shortcake pictured above which was one of the things I ate the other day while I was there, hence the gym visit.

By the way The Buffalo News' gallery of all of us at the fair eating and Tweeting is like an exhibit from the Guggenheim, monumental. There is a glory in that food and we in Buffalo recognize that. Reading other newspapers' coverage of the Iowa State Fair I got impatient with the writers' horror at the food and all the frying and calories. It's the fair, it has been this way forever. Get over it. Eat the food and then go the the gym, which is what I did. You will be fine.

OK, do not eat the quite the quantity that I did. I was on that elliptical for some time!

Eventually I disembarked and, ahem, pumped some iron, while I listened to Pennario playing Chopin preludes. But now there is only one thing running through my head and it is this other song from "State Fair." I can't believe I forgot to mention it yesterday.

Here it is in all its 1945 glory. From the comments I learned that the song was left out of the 1962 movie because the 1962 movie was set in Texas. Too bad for that! One person writes, "My favorite song from the whole movie."

What fun! You may thank me later.

After you have been humming this for three days!

Friday, August 14, 2015

The danger of the Erie County Fair

This week I got to go to the Erie County Fair. My friend Ryan went with me and pointed out items of interest I might have otherwise overlooked. Such as the potato pictured above! It is part of Ryan's favorite fair category, Non-Traditional Vegetables.

Here is a snarl of carrots from that category. It is now my favorite too!

However there is a danger to the Erie County Fair and that is that you cannot get the songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "State Fair" out of your head.

Wow, that song makes me nostalgic! I remember watching the 1945 movie on TV with my family when I was little. Television, I should say. My father always called it television.

And there is this classic.

The whole movie is on YouTube. That will be dandy gym watching!

Meanwhile one more "State Fair," classic. This is one of those marvelous Richard Rodgers waltzes. Bernadette Peters sang it at Kleinhans Music Hall, I remember, with the Buffalo Philharmonic. I liked Bernadette Peters for recognizing the song's greatness.

Hahaha... I love when he is complimented on his singing and says, "I'm an old Glee Club boy."

All these memories, because of the Erie County Fair! And yes, I know you were wondering, the great pianist Leonard Pennario loved this musical. His tastes were a lot like my dad's, I would find myself thinking that. They were born in the same year and the same city so maybe that says something.

OK, somehow I have to buckle down and get work done today.

It won't easy!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Chutes and ladders

I took the picture of my lunch today because it is one of the last days at my old desk. I must soon be moving!

We are all moving. I am sort of looking forward to it. I like my co-workers and I likmeane the thought that I will be more in the swing of things instead of around the corner where I have been with just a few other people. On the other hand I will miss the view. Plus I am nostalgic. This desk was right where I was sitting when I spoke with Leonard Pennario for the first time. There has been so much water over the damn. Did I write damn? I meant dam.

One thing, I am a slob as I admitted the other day, so it is good for me to have to start afresh.

There is all this old stuff that has to be moved including stuff I stuck into drawers and forgot about. It makes me think: Could I move my desk at home too? I should. There is all this stuff and it gets away from you.

Sometimes I fantasize about one of those big chutes you see at construction sites. I want one hooked up to my window. And I will just pile all this paperwork, early drafts of my book, mean letters from mean people, and it will all go Schlooooop! into this chute and be gone.

Wouldn't that be great?

Could I have one of them hooked up at my home permanently?

What I should do is move constantly around my house. That way things would not collect. From occupying the south bedroom we could switch to the east bedroom. From the east bedroom, to the west bedroom. The west bedroom is full of junk so that would have to be moved. The east bedroom also has its share of accumulation.

Furniture would have to be moved so that means that it, and the area under it, would have to be dusted and cleaned. I would be traveling light, in my own home.

Perhaps this is an idea I should patent.

Perhaps I am onto something!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Good will at Goodwill

Today, long story but I wound up hearing Mass at Our Lady Help of Christians, on Union Road in Cheektowaga, pictured above in a view from the pew. I love that old expression, hear Mass, you know? It makes me think of the 18th century.

Although I have to say this, by the time we got to the Last Gospel, I was hearing not Mass as much as this screaming infant. There was one kid just screaming, that terrible scream that newborns have, as if they are being strangled. I wasn't annoyed or anything. You get babies at Mass, and that's fine. But .I had not gotten much sleep and I was kind of sitting there blinking.

After Mass I went across the street to Goodwill. It is a tradition that goes back to when my mom and I used to go to Our Lady Help of Christians together. 

It is always funny to see if anyone else from the Mass shows up. I do not know many people at this particular Mass. But one woman I did recognize! There was no mistaking her because she was an African woman in traditional African dress. The dress was a deep green and she had a matching scarf tied around her head.

I had been predisposed to like this woman because she was one of the few people who got to mass a couple of minutes later than I did and I did not arrive until the Kyrie. That is a long  story involving my keys which I lost the other day on the Maid of the Mist. At least I think I lost them on the Maid of the Mist. But anyway, I noticed this woman and her elegant foreign dress. And as I held the door open for her at Goodwill, I had to say hi.

"You were at Mass!" I said.

She smiled but it did not seem as if she spoke much English.

"I saw you at church!" I said. "Across the street. Church!"

Then she got it and we were both laughing.

"Dominus vobiscum!" I said. That is actually plural, as in "The Lord be with all of you," but that is the phrase we use all the time at Mass, so why complicate things.

It was so cool because she could not carry on much of  a conversation with me at Goodwill, but she had been participating at Mass as much as anyone. We spoke the international language of Latin.

Followed by the international language of thrift shopping. Our paths diverged when I went off to look for Leonard Pennario records but crossed later in Dresses and in Domestics.

The world is getting smaller every day!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bad Housekeeping

I am a terrible housekeeper. Were I to offer an excuse I would say I spend too much time on my work, which is true. But I would probably be a bad housekeeper no matter what. I am lazy when it comes to cleaning. I always have something else to do.

However. You reach a point when you cannot take it any more, you know? And so today I cleaned the bathrooms. Unbelievable accomplishment points, you know?

Finish good draft of Pennario book: 200 satisfaction points.

Get it into hands of editor friend: 500 satisfaction points.

Stick with deadline: 1,000 satisfaction points.

Clean bathrooms: 8,000,000 satisfaction points!

Things have been extra bad around the house in the last week because mostly for work-related reasons, I just have not been home. When I did get home I just kind of dropped everything anywhere.

So I thought: Start anywhere. Do anything. I began on a whim with the floor of the, ahem, powder room. It had been looking grungy for I do not know how long. And it's funny, once you get around to dealing with it, it does not take that long. It is not like cleaning the fridge or something! Suddenly it is done and you have this clean cool floor.

Inspired, I went upstairs and did the tub.

I still have to do the mirror.

Perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile here is something that cracked me up. While I was touching up the bathroom our cat Jeoffry walked in. Jeoffry loves to drink out of the bathtub faucet. You turn it on to a trickle and he walks up and puts his paws on either side of the faucet and laps up the water.

It is too cute, and for a while now it has been depressing me that the tub and the faucet have been so dodgy. So now I am all proud of what I have done. Jeoffry hopped into the tub as he always does and I was standing there beaming.

But Jeoffry was not beaming.

He was confused!

He looks this way and that way. Gingerly, with his paw, he touched the clean tub. He backed up, away from the faucet. I turned the faucet to the trickle he is used to. He just looked at it. Then he looked down again. He looked up at me.

Then he hopped back out of the tub! Without a drink.

I guess I should clean more often.

He is not used to it!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Maxi-dress Monday

Hereafter on Mondays I am going to wear only maxi-dresses. Because this being summer, any day I do not wear a maxi-dress is a wasted day.

I wore a short dress today and I felt bad. Walking with my friend Michelle along the waterfront I could not help coveting this one girl's maxi and I confided that in Michelle.,

She said, "Well, I think they look good on everyone I see wearing them. Including you," she added tactfully. Michelle is always tactful! But then she said, "I just think they would be hot on a day like today."

"O, they are not!" I said. "They are exceedingly cool." I explained that of course you have to make sure you wear cotton maxis on hot days. But that goes without saying. Matter of fact it was partly because of the heat that I was coveting that dress. This woman who was wearing it was slim, African-American, and this maxi she had was very light and gauzy, and she looked cool and tropical and free.

I want to do all I can to keep this maxi fad going. It is just too much fun! I was walking around the other day thinking, it is like 1820. Everywhere I looked I saw women in long dresses. It is like Kate Greenaway, one of whose masterful drawings is pictured up above.

Here is a drawing Miss Greenaway did of me at The Buffalo News' Jazz at the Albright-Knox festival the other day with my niece Barbara and nephew Georgie.

Notice my red shoes. I got them at the Shoe Outlet! They are new I am ashamed to say. But I still like them.

I think this summer I will go all the way and live a Victorian life. Along with wearing long dresses I am going to leave calling cards, practice my Chopin every day (inspired by Leonard Pennario) and say Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, not just plain Felix Mendelssohn. And say "O" and not "Oh," as when I was speaking to Michelle.

You must keep life interesting, you know?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Of cabbages and kings

Thank goodness, I could finally access my masterful photos from my phone and illustrate my market adventure. Cabbages, pictured above, are so under-appreciated!

Tonight I made Asian Chicken Salad from Rachael Ray. I get the Rachael Ray magazine because I got a deal on it. Listen to me, talking like Donald Trump. I negotiated like Trump and got a good deal on Rachael Ray and Eating Well and Better Homes and Gardens.

I am starting to like Rachael Ray even though one day at the gym I got into a conversation with the girl on the next elliptical machine about how we worried that Rachael Ray was putting on pounds. Perhaps she has lost some since then, who knows. Perhaps you have to take her recipes with a grain of salt. That was what we were discussing.

Meanwhile I do like the magazine. I love the puns in the headlines for one thing. I have inherited Leonard Pennario's love for puns and word cleverness. There is a story announcing that from now on, in many cases, they will be calling for just plain olive oil instead of Extra Virgin. The headline: "Oil Change."

And for a special page on beets: "Beet this!"

Things like this make you smile, you know? Anyway back to my cabbage. Here is my friend Jennifer at the Clinton-Bailey Market selling cabbage and other greenery.

I bought a giant Savoy cabbage from Jennifer and it is just so pretty I do not know how I will ever do it justice.

Jeoffry does not care what I do with the Savoy cabbage.

Oh, to sleep so sweetly.

With no tough decisions to make!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Step away from the market

What I went to the Clinton/Bailey Market (piously) to buy: Greens.

My only plants in the garden doing well are the Arugula and the Spinach Mustard. The beans were eaten by something. Chopped off. Chomped off, I suspect. Gone.

So I wanted greens to go with my spinach and arugula. But I should have known better going to the market. Because I bought:

Cherries ($5)

Peaches ($6)

Savoy cabbage ($3)

Green onions ($2). May I point out this is an enormous bunch of green onions. It is about two feet long!

Basil plants ($5)

Oh, dear. The list goes on.

Kale ($1.50)

Blueberries ($4)

Corn ($2)

Cucumbers ($1)

At this point this one girl called out to me, "You just can't stop, girlfriend!" It put me in such a good mood that I went and bought more peaches, what the heck.

There was no stopping me! And you know things are bad when it gets so that you know most of the farmers.

After the market I went to the gym to do the Fat Burner Elliptical while listening to Pennario playing Chopin Preludes. Here it is a sunny 80 degree day but the No. 1 item on my weekend bucket list is making black cherry ice cream.

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Haha.. I took all these pictures of my market adventure but I have to go figure out how to get them out of my phone. When I try to do it all that comes up are the pictures from Howard's phone, zut alors. So I used one of his pictures up above. It is of me! Before my market adventure.

All right, enough Web logging.

Off to make that ice cream!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Garden of mystery

Zut alors, my garden is an embarrassment!

OK, the only person who sees it is the mailman. You really have to get up close to the house. But still. I am embarrassed in front of the mailman. Not only that but the other day I got a certified letter for Unclaimed Funds. How big of a screw-up am I. I have unclaimed funds and I have a loser garden. I cannot even grow Swiss Chard.

\My mailman is surely snickering at me.

About this Chard, I have to say this, this one book I have has chapters on all kinds of plants, and Troubleshooting. And under Chard, under Troubleshooting, the book says,  and I quote:

"Chard is a toughie and is generally trouble free."

Let me tell you this. I bought my Chard plants at the downtown farmers' market. Beautiful plants. And they still are beautiful, pretty much so anyway. But they have not changed one bit since I put them in the dirt. They have not grown one millimeter. They are just kind of the same. When I go out of the house to look at them they just kind of shrug at me.

I planted them a month ago!

And all my tomato plants have followed the same pattern. They have just sat there. They are like the worker in the parable Jesus tells who goes and buries his money. It just sits there. It does not grow.

OK, there is an exception. There are two tomato plants I planted together in a basket and they are growing great guns. They are not even in the sun. What in the world?

Who can figure this out?

The only thing I really have going for me -- growing for me -- are the greens, outside of the chard I mean. I have arugula coming up very nicely, and that mustard spinach I mentioned. The mesclun, it is trying. The green beans look good.

One thing I should mention, I am the only person in Western New York who cannot grow a zucchini. I tried once. It coughed up two zucchini, and I was thrilled. But then the plant just curled up and died.

This is all too depressing to post pictures. I know I put a lot of time into Pennario but still.