Ay me! I have not checked in all day because I have been running around.
This morning I did Zumba class with my friend Nicole. Nicole is a trained ballet dancer so I am proud to have her as a Zumba friend. I have in mind that I can copy her moves. Nicole dances in the front of the class and is very graceful and I Zumba kind of near the back because I am still learning and sort of flail around.
But I have fun! And as of now I have dropped five pounds.
Five pounds! Yay me!
From "Ay me" to "Yay me!" What a difference a "y" makes.
After Zumba I went garage sale-ing with my mom and I bought:
1.) a pot I can cook pasta in, for $3, plus with my mother making me bargain, I made them throw in a ladle, a salad server and a slotted spoon. My bargaining skills are growing. Soon I will be ready to graduate to a Moroccan bazaar.
2.) The Favorite Brand Name Cookbook.
It is lavishly illustrated.
It is 700 pages long and it calls for things like "1 bunch of DOLE Broccoli" and "1 tablespoon LAND O'LAKES butter." I got a box of cookbooks for $3 and this is one. I have not even looked yet to see what the other ones are.
3.) Two little glass dishes that read: "A Good Deal For a Tasty Meal." The rumor on the Internet is that they were from an Automat but who knows. All's I know, as we like to say here in Buffalo, is that on eBay they are going for $30 for two, and I paid a quarter for both. Yay me!
4.) A lamp! It is pictured at the top of this post. It cost $2.
5.) An alarm clock, for 50 cents, but my mom took it from me. She wants to see if it lights up. If it does, she wants it. That is OK with me. I want an alarm clock that does not light up. I do not want to see what time it is in the middle of the night, thank you very much.
6.) Dishes, like I need more of them. But these were so pretty, with yellow flowers. There is service for 3 so that will be great for when Howard and I have a friend over. One friend, is all that may join us for dinner, if we are to use these special dishes.
7.) A Monopoly game from 1964!
I love how it reads "Parker Brothers Real Estate Trading Game Equipment."
Monopoly games are classics, like The Joy of Cooking, or Leonard Pennario albums. There are no bad years. I have been waiting for a good Monopoly game where the price is right. This one had the metal tokens and the classic board and all the cards and money. The only problem was the houses and hotels were plastic. However! The box and everything was in good condition and the price was right: 50 cents. Sold!
I bought other stuff but God forget what. Then I went to the Broadway Market. One thing I bought was a whole mullet. I wish to start cooking whole fish.
Last night Howard and I were at E.B. Green's listening to Jackie Jocko, pictured above, and Howard said, "Jocko has a surprise for you."
Jocko started laughing and at the same time as playing Leonard Pennario's "Midnight on the Cliffs" (in my honor, he always plays that when I come in) he pulled something out of somewhere in the recesses of the piano and handed it to me.
It was my Buffalo Athletic Club card! And my Summer Survivor card! Which, remember, I just wrote that I had lost.
Darn, I had already paid the $5 to get a new one! I just wanted to put the whole annoyance behind me, the way I do when I get a parking ticket. Well, if I had not paid the $5 they would not have turned up. That is the way you have to look at it.
I should have figured my gym card would be at Jocko.
1.) confused a doctor appointment with a dentist appointment.
2.) lost my gym card, which will cost me $5.
3.) went shopping at Tops with my hair wet and ran into a girl from my Zumba class. We had a great time talking about our various teachers and why Renee, who teaches downtown, is so great. But there she was looking as if she just stepped out of church and there I am with my wet hair. Subsequently I was hit up by a panhandler by the checkout counter and while I was getting over that I ran into Dan Hart, the Philharmonic's CEO. Just the kind of person you want to run into with your hair wet, you know?
4.) forgot to call two people I said I would call today.
5.) bit my nails, verboten with my perfect teeth.
6.) spilled my water bottle over my socks and into my sneakers before Zumba class. Only I could manage to do that. Sneakers, socks, soaking wet. I Zumba-ed anyway!
Zowie. I felt like such an idiot. This is what it is like when you are devoting every waking moment to Leonard Pennario. My most abject moment was, there I was listening to the phone message the dentist left. "We had you on for today at 3 p.m. We would like you to call and reschedule. Normally we --"
And then they were cut off! I am sure they were going to say, normally we charge you for missed appointments. But I do not know for sure. Because on top of everything else my voice mail was full.
My friend Marta asks: "How was the Facebook Mass?"
The Facebook Mass was Sunday at St. Adalbert's Basilica, pictured above. I had to give up going to my Latin Mass for it, was the only negative thing. Between you and me and the Staten Island Ferry, I do secretly hope that the Pope is moving toward returning all Masses to Latin. Because I do not know why I should always have to be the one to give up something.
Every time anyone else drags me to a Mass it is always in the vernacular.
"And also with you." I do not like that response!
Also I had to go from Zumba to Mass and not the other way around the way I usually do. That is kind of odd. You go to Mass with Zumba songs still ringing in your ears. "The floor ... the floor ... the floor is on fire! We don't need no water, let it burn, let it burn!"
Where was I?
How did I get on to this?
The Facebook Mass. Other than that it was not in Latin it was a beautiful thing. It was cool how the priest pronounced Facebook "Fess-book." He had this musical Polish accent. They sang the Kyrie in Greek which impressed and delighted me.
I took this glowing picture of the church.
Here is a confessional at St. Adalbert's, with a penitent standing in front of it.
Across the street was the Ethiopian Orthodox Church ...
... and weird mournful chant was emanating from it.
After Mass the priest blessed all our cars because it was the Feast of St. Christopher. Remember the Feast of St. Christopher last year, when he helped me through that storm on the way home from Artpark? I wrote all about it without knowing it was his feast day. And then we hashed over whether St. Christopher was a saint or whether he was not and we sorted it all out.
How is that for a quick year? Am I through yet with my book on Leonard Pennario? No!
The priest at St. Adalbert's said he was going to bless all the cars in the parking lot. I got to worrying because my car was not in the lot. It was off on a side street. So I went to him with my concerns. He looked at me as if to say, what kind of nut is this. Then he said, "I walked all around the block." So, OK, the Crown Vic was included.
Yesterday was the third day of the Triduum of the Feast of St. Ann and St. Joachim so my friend Jane and her friend Victor and our friend Airborne Eddy and I all went to Mass at St. Ann's and then we went to the Swannie House and had a feast of chicken wings. Which, I never eat wings! I do not know what got into me.
For a while we were at the bar inside at the Swannie where it was fun and noisy and we got into conversations with fellow patrons. Eddy was sharing his memories of working with Shane Brother Shane, the deejay who visited Howard and me a few weeks ago. Eddy said Shane used to drink beer and tomato juice. He seemed to recall the drink was called a Red Eye.
Eddy said there was never another human being in the history of the world who drank that drink. Shane is the only one! A poll of the people at the bar suggested that was true. It is fun to think of matters like this having been discussed for well over a century at this very bar. I wonder if Leonard Pennario ever had a drink there! I would imagine he did.
After that we went out on the patio and sat there for a couple of hours. I drank the Swannie House red wine. Eddy sipped vodka. Jane drank a vodka tonic and Victor had beer. And we ate those wings. The patio of the Swannie is beautiful, with trellises and trees overhead. The moon was full. The best thing were the sounds you hear. It is in such an industrial area with factories surrounding it. And right outside the doorway is the Buffalo River and that big glorious bridge. When I was walking in I took this picture.
Trucks kept trundling over the bridge. We heard what we thought was a boat passing on the river. Jane thought it was our fireboat, the Cotter. Then we heard a bell clanging, on and on. It sounded like one of the trolleys but we were not near the trolleys. Now I think it was the bridge doing something.
After finishing up those wings Eddy led us down to the river and we stood around for a while on a rickety, rocking dock, looking up at the moon and the grain elevators and listening to the water. I took this picture.
In this picture you can see the full moon!
St. Ann and St. Joachim were the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the top of this post is a sweet picture of them kissing!
Here are two pictures I took at Mass at St. Ann's. It is an incredible church and my grandparents were married there.
Apologies for weighing in so sporadically! I am in the middle of another book push as I put it, sending out letters, working stuff out. There are still a few people I am trying to track down plus the book is up to 700-some pages and I am doing major editing.
Sorry but this is what it is like when you are writing about a kingpin pianist like Leonard Pennario! It is not as if you can turn this thing around in two days. Plus over the weekend I had to take my mom to "Amadeus" and go to the Philharmonic's concert Friday. So much to do and I never catch up.
On top of this there is my secret garden.
Today I woke up and went downstairs and one of the first thoughts I had was, I have to water it!
The secret garden is on the kitchen counter. I bought it Saturday when I went garage-saleing with my mom.
It is a Sprout Garden!
The Sprout Garden cost me $1. That was what it was marked and I thought it was a fair price so I shelled out for it. My mother looked on in quiet disapproval. She believes in bargaining just on principle. It was late in the day and people were shutting down and I know my mom would have felt better about my Sprout Garden if I had talked it down to, say, 75 cents.
But already I have gotten a lot of entertainment for my $1.
I came home and set up the Sprout Garden and read the instructions, which were about three sentences long. I filled it with lentils, which were the easiest thing I had on hand, and the many hippie cookbooks in my collection praise lentil sprouts.
Then I watered it. You water it on top and the water pours down into the three trays of sprouts and then it collects in the bottom and you empty it out.
Now when I wake up or come home this gives me a little something to look forward to. I check to see how my sprouts are doing! This morning they were starting to sprout. But it is not so much that it will show up in pictures.
Tomorrow, you never know!
I cannot wait to harvest my first crop of sprouts. I can add it to my already impressive list of hippie skills. Already I am proud of being able to make soap and roast granola and sing "Sugar Magnolia" by heart.
Howard and I went to the Buffalo Philharmonic's "Hollywood on the Harbor." Above is the sunset with the Little Rock. In a picture taken by me!
Here is the sunset with Howard.
That was a little earlier in the evening.
The Philharmonic played "The Rowing of the Galley Slaves" from "Ben-Hur" by Leonard Pennario's friend Miklos Rozsa. How often do you get to hear that piece live? Reminds me, a couple of weeks ago at an estate sale I scored a lavish box set of the music from that movie, along with a deluxe book. I like Miklos Rozsa and from reading the letters he and Leonard wrote to each other I like their friendship. They both have all these opinions.
Introducing the Miklos Rozsa the conductor, Matthew Kraemer, never mentioned Rozsa's friendship with Pennario or that Rozsa wrote a piano concerto for Pennario. I was shocked, I tell you, shocked that he left that out!
Howard took this picture of me working and contemplating Leonard's friendship with Miklos Rozsa.
Here is another picture of the sunset. Click on it to blow it up and you might be able to see a little dog on board the boat. The dog wore a little life jacket and liked to run back and forth on the ledge at the back of the boat.
It was fun to look at the sunset and feel the breezes and watch the seagulls. And listen to the music from "Ben-Hur."
My friend Lizzie and I declared lastnight Take Your Mom to the Movies Night. Both of us took our moms to Movieland 8 to see "Letters To Juliet." We were joined by my niece Rosie and her mom, my sister Katie.
"Letters To Juliet" was sweet and the scenery was beautiful. Vanessa Redgrave was more beautiful and toned than I will ever be even though she is twice my age.
But one thing.
While I enjoy the many movies that glamorize newspapers and magazines, the young writer in this movie, Sophie -- that is she in the picture above -- was not convincingly smart.
Here she is trying to looks smart.
But she just seemed dumb, I am sorry.
They tried to make a joke out of all her "Omigods" and "awesomes" but smart people do not talk like that.
In movies this kind of thing always works like when you get a computer virus. Some thing blinks up on your computer and you are supposed to take it seriously and take some kind of action when -- what's that? A misspelling. There is always something to clue you in that it is a fraud.
Likewise with the young woman in this movie.
She is supposed to have gone to Brown University with a minor in Latin. Yeah, right. Especially when she all of a sudden says, "I used to lay in the grass when I was a kid and ..."
It's "lie," not "lay," honey.
It is like that other chick in that other movie who said "hung" and not "hanged." They try to pass themselves off as these brainiacs but something is always there that does not add up.
Bad grammar just gives you away. I used to notice with Leonard Pennario his grammar was impeccable. I am not saying mine is but I am not Leonard Pennario.
Also I do not go around like the woman in this movie trying to tell people I minored in Latin at Brown.
Remember a couple months ago when I bought my Bosch stove and Maytag fridge? I just looked it up. It was April 13.
My refrigerator kicked today!
This fridge I had just bought three months ago! At Orville's!
I got home after Zumba class and took a drink of milk and I did kind of think the milk was not as cold as it ought to be. Well, whatever. Then I stuck my hand in the freezer. And everything had melted.
The fridge kept kind of grunting to itself. Well, it is still doing that. It clicks on and runs for about 10 seconds and then it clicks off.
Naturally the service center is closed so I have to wait till tomorrow. And I have all this stuff to do tomorrow. I do not know how I am going to manage this.
The good news is that Howard and I had this feast because stuff is going to go, you know? We had rack of lamb and shrimp cooked up with summer squash and tomatoes and basil.
I made a pot of chili too because as luck would have it I had just cooked up some black beans and they were in the fridge. So we have lunch tomorrow.
Those lamb chops, yum! And shrimp, perfect! I wish I had managed to cook a dinner that great for Leonard Pennario when I was in California. I mean, I tried my best but the planets line up for you like this only once in your life.
My fridge in California should have kicked!
All the same I am angry at this fridge. I have had it what, three months? Meanwhile my old one was not perfect but it never stopped dead in its tracks like this.
We are going to be seeing this more and more in Obama's America as our country turns more and more into old Communist East Germany. We will be driving Trabants.
We may as well get used to fridges that do not work.
The more I find out about Zumba the more it reminds me of classical piano.
In classical piano everyone traces everyone's lineage. It is like racehorses! For instance Leonard Pennario ...
... studied with Isabella Vengerova ...
.... who studied with Theodor Leschitizky ....
.... who studied with Carl Czerny ...
... who, as a kid, studied with ...
.... guess who?
I'll give you a hint.
So it is in Zumba, in Buffalo.
There is all this talk about what teacher studied with whom. The two alpha teachers affiliated with the Buffalo Athletic Club seem to be Mary, who teaches the raucous classes I get such a kick out of, and Eileen, who has an equally high-energy but very different style. Eileen is as thin as a whippet and angular and makes these sudden moves this way and that.
Most other teachers it seems can be traced to those two.
For instance there is Laurie whose Saturday morning class I sometimes go to at the Boulevard BAC. She is loud and wild and is much praised because, people have told me, "She studied with Mary."
On the other hand Ellery, who teaches my Zumba Toning class downtown, told me she studied with Eileen. She admires Eileen's artistry, as do I. Ellery still studies with Eileen. When I do Eileen's class Ellery is there too. It is like Pennario continuing to coach with Vengerova even after he was recording and highly successful.
Good news in the new Martha Stewart magazine! This is the August issue, with the front cover that says "Summer, Simplified."
On page 152 you will find "10 feel-good things." And one of them is "Reach for Red." I quote:
"Drinking one and a half to three glasses of red wine every day not only keeps a woman's heart healthy, it also may prevent excess weight gain throughout adulthood, according to a 13-year study of 20,000 women at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston."
Isn't that study the greatest?
Three glasses of wine!
You are allowed up to three!
I have never seen a total that high. Usually everyone tells you one glass a day for women and two glasses for men. Men have all the fun! That would always bother me. Then they would tell you they mean four-ounce glasses. And as the coup de grace they would tack on that disclaimer saying, "If you do not drink we do not suggest you start." Blah, blah, blah.
So this is wonderful. I also love how the minimum is one and a half glasses. If you stop at one you are not getting all the benefits.
Tonight I will raise a glass to Martha's health. Perhaps I will raise three glasses! And when my book on Leonard Pennario comes out she just might get a mention in the acknowledgments.
Today before hitting the garage sale with my mom I hit Zumba class at the Colvin Buffalo Athletic Club. I was running out the door at the same time the instructor was. This is this great wild instructor we love. Her name is also Mary.
Mary said to me that she always loves to see me in class because I smile!
It is true. I do! I smile and laugh all through the class. I have written on the Web log right from the beginning that Zumba cracks me up. I told Mary how much I have come to love this Zumba thing. I said I do not know how good I will ever get at it, but I enjoy it so much I go every day. I said, I have lost a few pounds but that is not even the point any more.
It just makes me feel good! You dance off the stress.
Lastnight I had trouble sleeping so I was up in the night for a little while sipping whiskey and looking through this catalog my new Zumba friend Gail had passed on to me. This company called Dance Wear Solutions has dance clothes cheap and I was looking for hip-hop pants.
This will be me, heading to Zumba class!
Ha, ha! Just kidding! Actually the pants I was shopping for looked more like this.
But still, me! Looking for hip-hop pants! I had to laugh at that.
I also had to laugh because I was awake and catalog shopping. When I was a baby and I could not sleep my mother would put the Sears catalog into my crib with me and I would flip through it until I fell asleep. I do not remember that of course but there are pictures to prove it, pictures of me in my crib with the Sears catalog.
I am still the same person, I guess!
In the end I did not buy the hip-hop pants. It would ruin the game of finding my Zumba clothes at garage sales and Goodwill. I just do not enjoy stuff if it is not used, you know? At the moment I am Zumba-ing in these electric green culottes. I am the only person in the class wearing culottes but you know what, everyone else will just have to deal with that.
I put the catalog down and went and worked on my Leonard Pennario book for an hour or so. Everyone tells you not to work when you can't sleep but it makes me feel better to do that and then I find I can go to sleep.
This morning my Zumba class woke me up.
When my book is published I wonder if it would be out of line to include my Zumba teachers in the acknowledgments.
It is so hot and we have no air conditioning and our house is like "The Long Hot Summer."
I am like Pennario's old flame Liz Taylor in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
I woke in the night and it was so hot it was unbelievable. I got up and stood in front of the fan. We have a window fan. I turned this way and that. Howard was asleep, on his side, shirtless, sweating. I should get him a wife beater to wear so it completes his Stanley Kowalski look.
I went back to bed and slept OK. But the oscillating fans, pictured above, that I saw at last weekend's estate sale haunted my dreams. I should have bought one!
You have to keep your sense of humor in these situations. Another thing that is funny is when it gets this hot, you do not particularly want to share the bed with anyone. So Howard sleeps on one edge and I sleep on the other. The other night I was so close to my edge I almost fell out of bed. That has not happened since I was 6!
There is more to say on this subject but I cannot write any more.
George Steinbrenner died and Howard was interviewed by a number of, ahem, media outlets about Big Blue and how it used to be Steinbrenner's restaurant, the Roundtable. Above is Steinbrenner, center, pictured at Big Blue with his partner Max Margulis, left, and Lou Madia, right. By "partner" I mean Margulis was his business partner, part owner of the Roundtable. You have to specify that these days!
When Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees, he made the announcement from Big Blue. Howard was interviewed about that on Channel 7 and the story was corroborated by sportscaster Rick Azar whose daughters went to Sacred Heart where I went.
Channel 7 referred to the old Roundtable as Big Blue which I love. Oh, and they interviewed our new friend Shane too! Shane, that is Shane-Brother-Shane the legendary disk jockey, was over at Big Blue and spoke eloquently about Steinbrenner and the Roundtable.
When they asked Shane to give his last name he said he had none.
"I am Shane," he said.
We loved that!
Speaking of names I love Steinbrenner's name. It is so magnificently German. It is a perfect name for a business mogul as the name Leonard Pennario is for a great pianist.
Steinbrenner means "stone burner." You could take that to mean burning coal, the way I look at it anyway. Appropriately enough there was a coal-burning Great Lakes freighter called the SS Henry Steinbrenner. He was Steinbrenner's father. The Steinbrenners were in the shipping business among other things.
Here is a photo of the Henry Steinbrenner which was built in 1909.
The SS Henry Steinbrenner sank in May, 1953, ending the lives of 17 men. It has been too long since this Web log explored Great Lakes history which has been a preoccupation of ours in the past.
We drink to the memory of all these illustrious Steinbrenners.
It took the cops forever to show up. There are so many crashes on our street that I am surprised the cops even bother to show up anymore. It is taking them longer and longer. I think they figure that if they wait a little while there will be another accident and then they can kill two birds with one stone.
Alertly I took the above picture through the screen in the front bedroom.
Here is the injured Cadillac.
What makes our street exciting is people just go flying down it. Every time I turn right into our driveway I put on my turn signal and slow down well in advance. And even so whatever oik is behind me continues trailing me so closely that by the time I turn I am always stressed out, whispering to myself, "Don't hit me.Don't hit me."
Above is a picture of me in front of Big Blue during Taste of Buffalo which was going on just a few feet in front of me. I am in the exalted company of my new friend Shane. It is Shane, Brother Shane! He is a famous rock deejay.
In the 1970s Shane's voice was heard up and down the Eastern seaboard on WKBW. My brother used to sneak off and listen to him because we were not allowed to listen to rock.
We could listen only to classical music which is why now, look at me, I am writing the authorized biography of Leonard Pennario. I worked three hours on it tonight!
But Shane and I still managed to find things to talk about. And thank God for that, because Shane has a beautiful voice. It kind of rolls out of his mouth. And he says things in beautiful ways. You can hear clips of Shane here on a page created in homage to him by our WBEN-AM friend Steve Cichon. It is great art!
When I was talking with Shane I was fascinated by how he knows all the timing of different songs, down to the second. He knows which songs are 1 minute 40 seconds and which are 1 minute 41 seconds. It is amazing to think about.
Perhaps when I am through writing about Pennario I will write a book about Shane.
I put this picture on Facebook but our friends out in Blog-O-Land did not see it yet. It is a prosthetic leg! It was in the basement of an estate sale. They were asking $250 thank God otherwise it would have been hard to resist, I will tell you that!
Howard said it was great that whatever mind organized the estate sale knew that the prosthetic leg should go next to the Barbie dolls.