Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dirty dancing

There was all this stressful stuff for me to deal with today so after work I went dancing in the gym. Zumba has come to take the place of that first after-work glass of wine.

Do not worry -- after that there is still the second and the third glass of wine.
But meanwhile I eat and drink less because I am in the gym dancing.

I even listen to Zumba music in the car sometimes because I practice the steps in my head. At such times I think, Leonard Pennario would freak. And I am kind of ashamed of myself. But it is so much fun!

And it is so silly. You can not listen to "She's hot, she's blazin'" and not crack up.

The song goes, "She's hot! She's blazin'.... Everybody wants her name, and..."

And we are all shimmying up to the front of the room and then you go into this kick, kick thing.You kick one leg out and pump your arms and the one or two guys in the class chime in and go "Uh! Uh!"

Once I started laughing so hard I had to stop dancing.

I told Howard about it and Howard said, "That sounds obscene!"

I said: "All I know is I've lost 10 pounds."

That is Buffalo style! Only the true Buffalo saying is "All's I know..." The Zumba class in the downtown gym which is where I went today, that is different from the Zumba classes in the suburbs. Downtown with this one teacher, Renee, you get a sort of hip-hop Zumba. That is why when I go out to the suburban gyms I have all the hot moves. Renee teaches you to get out there and shake it!

I have said it before and I will say it again: All I know is I've lost 10 pounds.

Big news today, I got a 'phone call from someone I have been wanting to talk to for the Pennario book, someone I have been waiting to hear from forever. I am so excited about that. I could not call her from work so I sent a quick email saying I would call her in the next couple days, as soon as I found five minutes when I was not going nuts. Well, I did not put it that way. But I did not want her to think I would not call her.

That is the greatest, when something like that happens!

It is almost as great as losing 10 pounds!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Disaster on the kitchen counter

Larry was over yesterday cleaning the house. Remember Larry? He is Howard's friend whom I pay to come and clean the house every week. Otherwise the house would be hopeless.

Above is a picture of Larry vacuuming. He was in the zone and did not even notice my taking it. Larry does an excellent job and I thank God for him. However.

There is one thing about Larry though and that is that he destroys things. Things happen when he is here.

He wrecked the kitchen garbage can so the pedal no longer works that opens the lid. Then after a few more weeks the lid fell off.

He managed to hurt the highboy up in the bedroom so it no longer stands firm. Something happened to one of the legs. That is a word I love, highboy.

Once I talked with him about the peeling wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom. Larry's solution was to take down all the wallpaper. Now there is just plaster! It is like the second floor of the Statler.

You almost have to admire Larry because whatever he does, it will be something you do not expect. You think you have a handle on him and maybe you can predict the disaster and guard against it. For instance one thing he does is, if he finds some veggies from the farmers' market that you forgot in a bag on the kitchen counter, he will take that bag and sling it over some obscure doorknob somewhere, on a door you never open. So you forget about it until you smell something.

Ugh! That has happened several times and now I am wise to it. So yesterday when I came home, the first thing I did was look for this string bag of potatoes. My brother George had brokered this something like 50-pound bag of potatoes at the Clinton Bailey Market and he had taken maybe a third of them, and my mother had taken a few pounds, and my share was now at my house, in this mesh bag.

As I expected the bag was no longer in the kitchen. Where was it? For once I knew enough to look. I looked here. I looked there. Finally I found it slung from a hook on the inside of the back utility closet.


But Larry got the last laugh. This is what I mean about him. He is endlessly virtuosic and inventive, like Leonard Pennario, when it comes to devising new ways to confound you.

Here is what happened.

I keep two Crock Pots on the kitchen counter. Yesterday a pork roast was cooking in one of them. The other was empty and turned off and I do what Larry suggested, use it as a kind of bread box. So there was a bag of popcorn kernels in there, a bag I just got from the Niagara County Farmers Market. And a bag of dried beans. And some whole wheat pita bread.

What Larry did was beautiful and genius. As I said, like Pennario.

He simply turned the Crock Pot on Warm.

This morning something smelled funny and Howard figured out what it was. The plastic of the popcorn bag and the bean bag had melted. Hot popcorn kernels had spilled out and mingled with the hot white beans.

It could have been worse. The house could have burned down, killing us as we slept. Or, as Howard said, it could have been this "I Love Lucy" situation, with the kitchen full, floor to ceiling, of popped popcorn.

It is what it is, as the saying goes. That is Larry.

I wonder what next Tuesday will bring!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Zut alors, no picture today. The Blogger site has been acting funny recently and today I cannot get the "Insert Image" thing to work. Son of a sea cook and alors.

Every time you think you get used to this site they change it. Will they just leave it alone?

Well, other than that the morning is going well. Last night after writing what I did about my dreams, I slept like a stone!

So did Howard! Was it the barometric pressure or what? Neither of us awoke during the night for as much as one second. We were down for the count.

I wonder if it was my evening Zumba-ing. After work I went to my mom's as usual and after that I rushed out into the drizzly night and went to Zumba class. It is funny going to the gym after having a glass of wine but you know what, people have no problem dancing at a nightclub while drinking all kinds of drinks. So I said what the heck.

I had a blast at the gym. This is the Colvin Buffalo Athletic Club, the BAC for Women. My friend Nicole was telling me how much fun their Zumba classes are in the winter when it gets dark at 5 p.m. As I may have said before, that is my favorite time of year, and it is fast approaching. But it is not Nicole's favorite time, and she said what saved her sanity was this evening Zumba class.

"It's all brightly lit up and everyone's in there dancing and having this great time," she told me.

That is the truth!

I even got special praise from the teacher because she had stopped dancing to take a drink of water or something and everyone else in the class stopped too but there I was, in my bright blue Zumba pants and screaming red tank top, still dancing uninhibitedly. Ha, ha! It does not matter how old you get, you always love special praise from the teacher.

Leonard Pennario told me how much he loved getting gold stars from his teacher when he was a kid. And I do, too! We all do if we are honest with ourselves.

So all that is why I slept like the dead.

I still do not know whether I am ready to tackle this Tuesday. All other things being equal, I still wish it were Saturday or Sunday I was going to garage sales or Latin Mass instead of to work. Oh well.

At least I am awake!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Then I woke up

Wow, this has been a long day! And it started out in a terrible Monday morning way.

Don't you hate when you dream of something you like and then you wake up and it's gone?

Without going into big detail or anything, I was dreaming two things. One was that I was going to interview Beethoven. Perhaps you have wondered what music, ahem, critics dream about. This is what!

In my dream Beethoven was coming to Kleinhans Music Hall because we were doing his "Eroica" Symphony. I was saying to my friends, "I think I will go and say hello to him. He'll like me," I said. Which is the truth. Beethoven would like me!

But it is so funny that I could buy into the fiction that Beethoven was still alive. I mean, in my dreams I have a lot on the ball. If I dream I give someone my cell phone number, it is my actual cell phone number. I carry that number into my dreams. I always have pieces of music correctly identified. I even remember Zumba songs and which steps go with them.

Somehow all this extraneous stuff is in order in my brain, but I can buy that Beethoven did not die, that he is alive and I am going to interview him. In my dream he was kind of forgotten. I was saying, "It's funny no one is sitting him down and talking to him. I would like to do that and he will like me and let me do it."

It seems that in my dream Beethoven was standing in for Leonard Pennario. I have been working on that project pretty intensively recently and this dream situation mirrored that one.

So that was one thing I was dreaming, big plans to move in on Beethoven and write a book. The other thing was that Howard was buying a Great Dane puppy!

You would have thought it would have been a St. Bernard. Because there was the movie about the St. Bernard named Beethoven. That would have tied the dreams together.

But no, it was a Great Dane. That was fine with me. I love Great Danes. I always pictured one sitting in front of the fireplace and I could not get over Howard's good taste that he had selected that breed. Also I was curious in my dream, as I am in real life, as to what a baby Great Dane looks like. They are such wild looking dogs, with their long legs. So I was looking forward to seeing this puppy and playing with it.

La la la la la la la.

Then I woke up.

The first thing I realized was, I was not going to be bouncing up to Beethoven and introducing myself any time soon. Beethoven has been dead since 1827.

No Beethoven!

And then....

No puppy!

No fair!

Not only that but it was Monday.

A heck of a way to start the week!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Where the other half lives

Today I was finally well so I went back to Zumba class. What a relief that was!

I also went to the estate sale at the Miller Mansion, pictured above. That is the mansion on Nottingham where Rick Snowden who used to own the Tally Ho strip club lives. The Tally Ho lost its liquor license and closed and from what I understand, Rick Snowden's marriage broke up, and now he is leaving town. So technically this was not an estate sale but a moving sale. I went with my friend Melinda.

The Miller Mansion is so grand and I kept thinking of parties I had been at there. I do not, ahem, approve of strip clubs. But it was nice of Rick Snowden and his wife entertained there and so much of the city got to enjoy that beautiful mansion.

That boring couple from Burlington, Ont., who recently bought it to have a "part-time presence" in Buffalo will not entertain like that, of that I am sure!

Rick Snowden also did a wonderful favor for me some years back. Well, I can say how many years it was, five and a half years. He lent me and seven of my friends Hugh Hefner's limo plus a chauffeur for my bachelorette party. Normal people just get normal limos for their bachelorette parties. But we had Hugh Hefner's limo! I do not endorse Hugh Hefner but that was a great thing to laugh about.

We took Hef's limo to Niagara Falls and drank champagne by the falls. A security guard by the falls helped us open the bottle. It was me and Jane and Lizzie and Michelle ... I think both Michelles ... and our beautiful Brazilian friend Brenda. Jane was our connection with Rick. She knew him. It was this clear cold December night at the falls. When we finished the champagne we went back to the Miller Mansion in Hugh Hefner's limo and went to a party Rick Snowden was having.

After the next party I went to I wrote Rick Snowden a note thanking him for his generosity and I felt glad today I had done that. So many notes you do not get around to writing and I am glad I wrote that one.

Here is something strange. Rick Snowden was at the door greeting us as we arrived for his estate sale. That I did not expect. It was kind of offputting. You do not imagine when you go to an estate sale that the person will be there.

"Welcome to my home," he was telling everyone.

He was selling all his presidential posters and collection of teacups commemorating British royalty. Everything was quite costly and all I can say is, it is a good thing he did not collect Leonard Pennario memorabilia because I would have spent a fortune! I wonder why he is selling his collections. I wanted to ask him but other people were around and I was not sure he remembered who I was and I felt uncomfortable so I did not ask.

I do not approve of, ahem, strip clubs, as I just said. But in spite of the strip club biz he always struck me as a good person. There are people who are strange mixes of good and objectionable. Oskar Schindler was one and I think Mel Gibson is one. Heck, I am probably one. Anyway, I like Rick Snowden.

Wherever he goes next, I wish him good luck.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Must have

One thing that -- besides Leonard Pennario records -- I did not find at the Route 16 garage sales was...

... a peacock!

I must have one.

The October issue of Martha Stewart Living just showed up and it features peacocks and where they can be had. I get a kick out of Martha Stewart Living. It always cheers me up just with its pictures and its celebrations of everyday things like laundry and paint and soup.

There was one issue that celebrated mustards. It was my go-to bedtime read forever. I would drift off to sleep looking at glossy pictures of mustards and mustard seeds. That was before I got married! Now I drift off to sleep listening to Howard talking about lime wash and dump trucks.

Martha Stewart always goes into high gear in the October issue because it is about Hallowe'en and she loves Hallowe'en. She always has impossible new takes on jack o'lanterns and new elegant spins on pies and cupcakes and parties. I like an elegant take on Hallowe'en rather than a gruesome take. So I eat this all up.

Anyway, back to peacocks. This issue has a beautiful page that shows peacocks wandering at the Hallowe'en party you are going to hold. The whole room is silvery black-and-white. That is because before acquiring the peacocks you take a black-and-white photo and blow it up and transfer it to vinyl! And that is your backdrop. And then you get these blue peacocks and they wander around.

The large peacocks are something like $250 but, "They are worth the investment for the drama they impart," says Martha Stewart.

It gives you that beautiful Victorian look. Perhaps we will get a blue peacock for Big Blue. Howard liked the idea. I was trailing around after him as he made his oatmeal and I was reading aloud from the magazine and  I believe he said something like, "Fine, honey. Buy a peacock."

There is my green light!

I could not find the peacock story on line but I did find Chef Scott Peacock's recipe for chicken and dumplings.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Afternoon in the country

I do tend to become preoccupied with garage sales a lot and over the weekend I did a story for the city page about them! It was about a giant garage sale on our legendary Route 16.

In a way I liked doing this story. I like the deadline aspect of newspaper writing. When I review a concert I have about a half an hour, usually, to write what I do. It might not be perfect but the challenge is to do the best you can. When the time is up, it is up. That is the game!

Saturday it was like "Beat the Clock." The stopwatch starts ticking whenever it was I got to the sale on Route 16, which was about 11 a.m. I had till 5 p.m. to get the story all wrapped up. Originally they told me 4 p.m. but I stretched it till 5.

It really does strike me like a game. I drove out there by myself. When I got to the county line I was meeting up with my friend Lizzie. But even before that, I had to stop. I saw a garage sale, which I imagined to be the first in the long chain, before I crossed into Cattaraugus County. And I just had to stop.

I could not wait!

I was in the car brushing my hair and getting my notebook ready and I just could not wait to go play. You just never know what you will find, who will say what. And I was all happy and excited to get going.

Even though I was getting over this bug and was all Nyquil-ed up, I still could not wait.

Was the story perfect when I wrapped it up at 5? No. Will it change the world? No. But it was a damn good story if I say so myself. The best part was these Asian students who told me that back home in South Korea and Taiwan, people do not buy used stuff. I like to give people who read the story something to chew on and that is what you can take and chew on after this story. Now we all know that in South Korea they do not buy used stuff. That is interesting!

And fine by me. More Leonard Pennario records for the rest of us!

The only thing that bugged me about the whole thing was I did not get to do much shopping. There were two boxes of records at one sale and I looked through those -- nothing interesting. And I did manage to buy something for Howard. It is a book he loves. It is "The Reader's Digest Guide To Fixing Appliances."

I paid 50 cents for that before interviewing the woman running the sale.

I am glad I have a souvenir of this adventure!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I have had a cold so I have been remiss in weighing in on the Web log. However...

All kinds of action on the Leonard Pennario front!

One thing is, this one gentleman on YouTube I do not know, his name is David Hertzberg, he posted a few Pennario videos including this sweet Brahms waltz. As I told him in a comment, he makes interesting use of the graphics on the record jacket. There is something poignant about it, how he zeroes in on Pennario's face -- and then at the end, the shot of Pennario on stage, in the spotlight, bowing by the piano.

I love how Pennario plays this simple little waltz. You could argue about it, about whether he does too much with the tempo here and there, about this, about that. But it sounds as if he did not overthink it. He just played the waltz as he felt like playing it and it is so honest and genuine.

In contrast to how Evgeny Kissin plays it, which to me is kind of fussy. Kissin does a good job but he is laboring over every little phrase and you can tell he has been thinking about it.

It is funny, the first comment on that Kissin clip. Someone writes:

I think a good way to judge someone's skill at music is by how outrageous their hair is. Like Kissin, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.

Ha, ha! But still...

Relax, Evgeny!

Pennario just takes hold of it and gives it a whirl and there is something very touching about that.

Dear Leonard.

This is real inside baseball talk here. Apologies to the non-music fans! I have been sick, which is why I have had time to concentrate on this stuff.

Howard told me today I had to come home and not Zumba and kick this bug that I have. So I did what he said. On the way home I stopped at CVS and loaded up on drugs. Zut alors, remember my five Extra Bucks? They expired yesterday. One day! A day late and a dollar short, that is me.

I bought two bottles of Nyquil and two packages of CVS nighttime and daytime capsules.

Tomorrow I should be ready to face the world again.

For now I think I will listen to that Brahms waltz.

La la la la la la la.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time capsule

Howard is coveting a truck he saw on eBay.

It is that truck pictured above!

Isn't that a riot? All I could think of was Laurel and Hardy. Even though I know, the truck is 1949 so that technically makes it too young to be prime Laurel and Hardy vintage.

It reminded me of the dump truck in that classic Laurel and Hardy clip where Ollie asks Stan to move the dump truck. I am a Laurel and Hardy fan from way back. Once in the days before VCRs my sister and I got up at 4 a.m. to watch "Sons of the Desert." I am not exactly proud of my Laurel and Hardy fanaticism except I have to say this, it helped get me into this thing with Leonard Pennario. Pennario loved that I loved Laurel and Hardy and could discuss them competently. He felt about them the way I do, that they were the funniest of anyone.

I went on YouTube to look for the Laurel and Hardy dump truck sequence. Ha, ha! Research today is so easy. You can be an idiot and do it. All I did was type "Laurel Hardy Dump Truck."

And here it is! The guy who posted it could not spell but still.

Yesterday Howard and I watched it and I started crying I was laughing so hard. There is so much that is great about it. The foggy look on Stan's face. The chirpy music. The noise of the dump truck.

Also it is funny back then how free they are with the cars. At the start you can hear them hitting the car behind them, this classic 1920s car. And the idea that if the truck driver wasn't there you could move the truck yourself. Ha, ha! That is not an idea you would get now.

All this because Howard found that truck on eBay.

The clip is only a minute and a half long. Take time out of your busy day to watch it.

After that listen to Pennario playing Chopin's "Minute Waltz" and then get this Laurel and Hardy-era take on the "Minute Waltz" here.

Too funny.

A great era.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hell's radio station

In between researching Leonard Pennario I am trying to get news of the Pope's visit to Britain. And all I get are these one-sided negative reports.

"Not everyone is happy with the Pope's visit to England!" That was how CBS started its report today. I hate CBS News. I wish they would drive into a pothole and not be able to drive out again. That is what happened to a friend of my brother George's and I wish it would happen to CBS.

CBS went on to quote some protesters and that was the end of its story. Nothing about the crowds that have turned out for the Pope. Nothing about the historic implications of this visit. Nothing.

Yesterday I got the same kind of report from CBS that began bitterly and ended with a reference to "this Pope who does not have the rock star appeal of his predecessor."



Do not expect to be watching or listening to CBS News in the hereafter is all I can say.

Howard and I did manage to catch a little bit of the Pope's visit on Fox News and they showed the snazzy new Popemobile.

Isn't that great? We love it.

Howard says we should get one for Ron Moss.

So he can drive around in it and people can cheer him.

Perhaps in the next Dyngus Day Parade.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pork project

My ancestors were German and every once in a while it takes over. This is one of those times! Perhaps the rain and the chill have something to do with it.

It is weird when your ethnicity affects you! When I get an attack of German-ness what happens is I do things like eat cabbage and apples and listen to "The Magic Flute." Sometimes I also listen to Johannes Brahms, such as these beautiful waltzes, played on two pianos by Leonard Pennario.

Last night I went to Albrecht Discount and bought a pork loin roast.

I also bought a bar of dark chocolate from Germany and another bar from Austria. It is a well-kept secret about Aldi that you can get fine German chocolate there on the cheap. Howard will be one happy man because he loves it when I bring home this stuff.

I put the pork in the Crock Pot with a load of apples and a chopped-up onion. And the apples are not just any apples. They are Wealthy apples!

Above is a picture of a wealthy pig and here is a picture of a Wealthy apple.

Wealthy apples are not exactly German but I Googled them and found they come from Minnesota where it seems they are kind of an heirloom variety. So they are German by association! Last week at the Broadway Market I picked up a bag of them and got hooked! They are green and red and crisp and tart.

Subsequently I went to the Clinton-Bailey Market and picked up a half bushel. Nothing in moderation, that is my motto!

Tonight, a pork roast.

That is one way to get through a rainy day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Adventure at sea

Yesterday I scored my first byline on the business page! My story is about the freighters on the Great Lakes.

It is no secret on this Web log that I am fascinated by the freighters that steam into the Buffalo River outside my office window.

Remember the Adam E. Cornelius?

And the Herbert C. Jackson? That is a stunning picture of it up above at night in Buffalo, cribbed from the Web site

Anyway I asked the business editor if I could write a story about these freighters and he said yes. With which, my immortal masterpiece, "Tough Times for Great Lakes Shipping."

I did not exactly see it as such a bad-news story but this is the business page and they do not pull their punches when it comes to headlines.

It is funny for me to write a story that is not about music because all of a sudden I am off my home turf. When I am writing about Leonard Pennario I think nothing of picking up the phone and calling some of the world's greatest musicians, and believe me, I know what I am talking about. But researching freighters I feel out to sea. Hahahaha! Not bad for before my second cup of coffee.

This story was an adventure. One shipping spokesman I spoke with, Glenn Nekvasal of the Lake Carriers Association, wound up being a huge fan of Gustav Mahler and had just finished reading the big multi-volume biography by Henri Louis de la Grange. So we wound up talking about Mahler. Ha, ha! Finally I had to say, "OK, about the Great Lakes..."

There was one time I actually lost it and started laughing.

That was when I was talking to the director of the Port of Buffalo. I had to call him back to check on this paragraph I was writing about what sort of stuff was shipped through Buffalo. And I had everything all tangled up. He had to go over and over it with me! I was trying to say it back to him, as in: "OK, the coal comes in from British Columbia by rail to Buffalo, and ..."

"No, to Thunder Bay, Ont."

"And then to Hamilton.."

"No, no!"

Finally I just started laughing. But I did manage to pound out these paragraphs:

Coal goes by train from British Columbia to Thunder Bay, Ont., and a freighter carries it to Buffalo, where it is blended with coal from West Virginia and reloaded onto other ships to go to U.S. Steel Canada plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke.

Petroleum coke is hauled on a freighter from Chicago to Buffalo, continuing by rail to AES Somerset power plant in Wilson. Freighters also carry limestone from Roger City, Mich., to Buffalo. From Buffalo, it goes by train to AES Somerset plant in Wilson, and by truck to the AES plant on Cayuga Lake.

You would not believe the work that went into that paragraph!

Next to that, my book on a great pianist is a walk in the park.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The morning's big question

Mystery of the morning:

Why is it that you can make your coffee exactly the same way every day -- same brand, same measurements, same method -- and you can keep your coffeemaker impeccably cleaned and maintained, and still ... and still ....

... your coffee can taste great one day and the next day taste like the free stuff they give you in the lobby of Motel 6?

That is what I am wondering this morning.

Naturally this morning my coffee tastes like Motel 6, or else I would not be mentioning this.

It is so frustrating! I found myself thinking about Beethoven. Beethoven used to count out his coffee beans before grinding them. He knew the exact number of beans he needed to get that coffee not tasting like Motel 6. Which, I used to think that was coffee fanaticism, but now I understand.

Perhaps I will start counting my coffee beans too! I should look up how many Beethoven used and start with that number.

Then again maybe how your coffee tastes has something to do with how you are feeling. Kind of like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, coffee is in the palate of the taster.

I did sleep lastnight but I was tossing and turning. I think about politics a lot. The world worries me and sometimes it intrudes on my dreams.

Also I have a story on my brain that I am working on for work. Without getting into too much detail, because who wants to hear about work, it was a story I suggested and that I thought would be fun.

Beware of those stories!

Nothing is ever fun!

This story has quietly turned into a pain. The opportunities to work on it did not pan out as expected and people are not calling me back and now I wish I had never mentioned it.

That is funny, how that works out. The things you think will be fun wind up being a pain and the things you think will be a pain, well, usually they are, but sometimes they are not. I will always remember the morning I got the note telling me Leonard Pennario was coming here and I should talk to him. I remember thinking: Now this.

Now look!

So I guess you never know.

A day sometimes surprises you too. The days that start out badly often end up well. I have noticed that. Unfortunately it works in reverse too.

On the bright side that kind of makes the morning exciting.

Though I do wish my coffee had not tasted like Motel 6.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brushes with greatness

Howard and I and our friend Shane Brother Shane, the famous deejay, went tonight to hear Jackie Jocko down at the Hyatt. Shane is back in town and he is keeping a low profile but we were able to lure him out. The lounge was kind of dark so not many people could see he was there.

We all took turns sitting on the bench with Jocko. Above is a picture of Shane in that exalted seat.

When Shane was sitting with him Jocko said, "Shane, you are in your own world."

Shane said, "Jocko, you are too."

That is the truth!

When I was sitting with Jocko...

... Jocko asked something about maybe writing a book about Shane.

I said, "No, Jocko, I am already writing a book about Leonard Pennario!"

One of these Type A alpha males is enough for me, thank you very much!

Speaking of alpha males here is Howard earlier in the day in a meeting with Shane.

You just look at that picture and you know important things are going on!

Take a good look at me in those pictures up above because they show my new haircut. I got it cut today while my car was being inspected. Both events had been woefully put off. I was overdue for my haircut and my car was overdue on its inspection.

Howard gets impatient because I forgot to get the new tires on the car. I did remember to get the lube and the oil change but the tires, I totally forgot that. However, I did remember to get my hair cut! This girl named Samantha who cut my hair took over an hour just blow-drying it.

When I got back to the office my friend Jane said, "It won't look that way tomorrow."

I said, "Jane, I know."

But for today it looked good. For our meeting with Jocko!

And with Shane.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In the headlines

Just now I picked up the paper -- well, two papers, The Buffalo News and the Wall Street Journal. I work at The Buffalo News which is why I capitalize its "the" but not the "the" in the Journal.

There are so many fascinating stories to follow these days!

Yesterday my brother George and I were walking around the park talking about it, how many stories we are glued to.

There is the Pope's visit to Great Britain. I prefer writing Great Britain and not United Kingdom which to me sounds like a theme park. I think that happens this week. He hits Scotland first. I am looking forward to this because I am in love with pomp and pageantry.

There is our New York State gubernatorial race. It is a lot of fun for Buffalo because we have our local tycoon Carl Paladino challenging the Albany status quo. It looks as if he will get the Republican nomination away from Rick Lazio who has refused to debate him. Then he will take on "Prince Andrew" Cuomo and all I can say is, hey, you never know.

This is all very exciting! Above is a scene from this race.

There is also the alleged City Grill shooter, the man accused of shooting eight people and killing four outside a downtown Buffalo nightclub, declaring, "Oh no, I didn't do it."

If I were not so into my book on Leonard Pennario it would be hard to concentrate on it, I will tell you that right now.

You could not make this stuff up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor day

There was no Zumba class I could go to today on account of Labor Day.

Zounds, zut alors and fie!

There was one class but it was at Eastern Hills all the way across town at 9:15 a.m. when I was still in my pajamas and drinking coffee. Beyond that they must have figured we did not need our exercise.

At least I got a lot of work done. I did not leave the house all day! I worked on my Leonard Pennario book. That is a snapshot of me up above, working on it! I worked on all these tough chapters, editing and moving things around. This book is like a giant mosaic. All the little shards have to fit together just right. But you know what, when something fits together, it gives you such a good feeling.

Sometimes I just step back and go, "Oh. Oh, that's nice. That works."

I do not know if the rest of my life I will love a book the way I love this one. I mean, I hope I go on to write other books. But I cannot imagine loving any one as much as this.

Even if the whole world hates this book I will love it!

So I sat there in my pajamas and worked on this book. Then when it got to be too indecent a time to be in my pajamas, around noon, I changed my clothes. I had a snack. I drank a can of Shur-Fine Diet White Birch Beer. I wrote some more. I edited some more and moved more things around.

I said: "Oh, that's nice. That works."

Suddenly it was 8 p.m. and I had to make dinner so I did that.

And there it sits, my day. It is funny, my friend Michelle told me lastnight when we were drinking wine on my porch, she said I had such discipline, working on this book. I said Michelle, the thing is, I love it.

Working on the book is as much fun as Zumba-ing which to me is high praise. It is like going swimming on a beautiful hot day. The tragedy of my life right now is I do not have enough time to work on it. When I get a nice day with no one yelling outside and preferably rain falling, and quiet, I just love it. And I get so few days like that. You do not realize until you are trying to do something like this how much of your life is packaged and sold and spoken for. And even when you do have the time you struggle with noise and disruption and distraction.

I read once how Jane Austen wrote books while being constantly interrupted. She worked in her father's parsonage, if I remember correctly. And people would come to the door and whenever there was a knock she had to take all her papers and put them away in a drawer.

And still she wrote that intricate "Emma" and "Pride and Prejudice" and the rest.

Well, whatever she went through, it cannot be worse or more challenging that what I am going through. Let us keep things in perspective here.

But still, an inspiration.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday's child

Not that many garage sales today, however, I did manage to score a set of silverware, serving for 12.

Real silver!

For $5!

That and two Italian cookbooks, one of which is pictured at left.  Then there was this vegetarian cookbook from some chi-chi San Francisco restaurant called Greens. The garage sale was waning so I drove a hard bargain and got both these cookbooks in addition to the silverware AND a little cookbook on Entertaining for Six to Eight, all for $10.

Look at me and my haul. I am such a savvy shopper! The great marketplaces of Morocco would not be ready for me. Lucky for them I will not be in Morocco any time soon.

All in all a nice day. My mom was feeling better because the temperature was below 90 degrees. We had Leonard Pennario on the CD player playing Debussy preludes. I worked in a Zumba class in the morning at the Colvin gym.

Howard and I wound up on the patio of my friend Jane's house watching the sunset.

That is the only way to see such a Saturday out.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The quandary

It is hard getting dressed to go anywhere!

It is easier for guys. Howard, last night when we went to hear Jackie Jocko, he was in jeans and a work shirt and he changed into one of Leonard Pennario's shirts and that was it and off we went.

Me, there are so many decisions! And in the morning, especially, it trips me up.

1. The shirt needs a jacket.

2. It's too darn hot.

3. There's that itchy tag.

4. Hemline just a little too "hell, yeah!"

5. Inner 8-year-old wants to wear something pink and totally inappropriate.

6. That top, I know I saw it yesterday! It was just here! Where did it go?

7. Shoes look pretty but I haven't worn them before. What if they hurt my feet?

8. No matter how many pounds I lose that will always be a pinchy skirt.

9. Did I wear this earlier this week?

10. Oh no! Coffee spill! You finally get it right and ....

It's hopeless, sometimes.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the closet.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heat wave

"What dreadfully hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance." Jane Austen wrote that and our Buffalo weatherman Mike Randall posted it on Facebook. Everyone is weighing in with opinions on our heat wave.

The best comment comes from a Lancaster guy named Thomas Hughes. How British is that, Thomas Hughes of Lancaster. Anyway, he writes: "I imagine Vivaldi had not Buffalo in mind (if it had existed mind you) when he wrote his Four Seasons Concerto. How does one bring forth Snow ("Fall"), More snow ("Winter"), Some more snow still ("Spring"), and Slush ("Summer") in a composition? LOL."

Me, I am done having opinions about the weather. It is completely beyond my control. I cannot argue it or work to change it because you know what the weather is going to do? Whatever the hell it wants!

That is a joke from my friend Gary. Gary ....

... is single and if you ask him what he is going to do today he will answer: "Whatever the hell I want!" Ha, ha! I like to ask him that question just to get that answer. I used to do stuff like that with Pennario. You could ask him a question as a joke knowing what he was going to answer.

Pennario, Pennario. Guess what I have been doing all morning?

Whatever the hell I wanted! And you can guess what that was.

Finally just now I checked Facebook. I am good about not doing that before it is ready to wind up whatever minimal work time I have been able to scrounge.That was when I saw Mike Randall's Jane Austen quote.

Howard and I laugh about how on Facebook everyone in Buffalo generally friends everyone else. You do not have to know the person. It is perfectly normal in this town to be friends with all kinds of TV people. They interact with you and you get to know them personally.

Once all our weathermen began fighting on Facebook. That would never happen in any other town. Things got bad and people were trying to intercede.

"Gentlemen," someone wrote, "we can't all be right all the time."

It is a wonderful town, Buffalo.

Even if it does threaten to keep us in a continual state of inelegance.