Thursday, May 31, 2012

The princess of the keyboard

Yikes, it has been a week since I wrote on this Web log! I have however been writing on the other Web log so I am not a complete loser. But this one means so much to me. I am going to have to catch up and fill in the blanks and then go forward without pause.

A Web log is like a toccata. You have to keep your fingers moving.

Type, type, type!

Which I am good at. In my day I was the pride of Kelly Girl! I was what they called a "speed typist."

The company featured me personally in its ad.

Haha... guess where I found that ad? On the UB Web site. In a story blaming temping for all kinds of socioeconomic ills.

Which is a pile of bull. Let me tell you, a lot of us would never have found jobs were it not for Kelly Girl. Everyone wanted to hire me permanently! My friends had the same experience. This was in the Reagan era. We were constantly getting job offers. If you could spell and you showed up looking halfway decent and on time, that was the secret.

If you were dumb it was a different story. There was this other agency called Ablest. Once when my roommate at the time, Anne, was temping at a bank, another girl at the bank was asked by the boss which agency she was from.

She said: "Um.... A-BLEST?"

She was not hired!!

Thinking back on those days I grow proud of my past. This is funny, now that I think about it: Typing is a skill that grows ever more important in the computer age. That keyboard is the same!

Arise, go forth and type!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weed eater

For the last few days I have been digging up my Bishop's Weed. I have written about this Bishop's Weed before. It is not pretty!

However. There is a news flash.

I can eat this stuff!!

Nothing is that bad if you can eat it, say I. And I love the part about how it can be enjoyed "in large quantities." That is how I prefer to enjoy things. Even salad greens. Pennario who used to see humor in everything used to kid me about my vast quantities of salad greens.

Another site I found somewhere said that bishop's weed -- it is also known as Ground Elder, or Giersch in German -- grows everywhere in Germany and kept an awful lot of people alive during World War II. Apparently it grows through bombed-out ruins and everything.

Nothing stops it!

Of course I promptly went lastnight and harvested a basket of bishop's weed and ate it. It had a kind of peppery bite. I have seen it described as like carrot and cilantro. It is part of the carrot family.

I ate it as a salad and then I sauteed some of it in butter to try it that way. And I liked it! Well, there have only been maybe two foods in my life that I have not been wild about. Normally I just love to eat anything.

I was looking up what I wrote about bishop's weed and I have to say, I started laughing at the thought of planting it in Bishop Kmiec's yard.Those would be the wages of closing St. Ann's!

On the other hand why do the Bishop a favor.

Why give him a gift of this wonderful, life-saving plant?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

K is for Kmart

The other night when I was at my sister's, the conversation turned to shopping as it very often does. And I mentioned Kmart.

"You're dating yourself," warned my sister's friend Emily.

"I am not," I said.

"There's no more Kmart."

"Ah," I said. "But we have a Kmart."

"You're kidding!!" she marveled.

I was not! We do have a Kmart, in North Buffalo. And yesterday I shopped there.

I have a half-assed garden going and so does Howard at Big Blue. I hate to use such a vulgar word as half-assed on this Web log but once I had a conversation with my dad about this, who I will have you know was very, very proper. And my father, God rest his soul, and I agreed that there was no parallel to half-assed in the King's English. Half-hearted does not quite cut it! That is what we determined.

For my half-assed garden, I was looking for some tomato plants. I have cleared away the Bishop's Weed from a little plot around the side of the house and there is a big magnificent sage plant there. Last night, I was inspired by my sister's garden of lettuces so I planted Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and also arugula. I had these seeds from whenever but had never planted them. Today I felt awed by what I had accomplished. I decided I wanted other herbs and also maybe a few tomato plants.

With which, after work today I stopped at Home Depot. But all the vegetable plants were picked over and besides, the line was long and there was no purchasing to be done. You know what, I can never figure out why stores let this happen. They lose so many customers because who wants to face a long line.

On the way home I passed Kmart.

Hey, why not? It was a nice night. It reminded me of when I was a kid and sometimes we would go to Kmart after dinner. I pulled in. I parked.

They had all these plants in front of the store, same as Home Depot. I walked up to where they had vegetable plants. Admired the cauliflower plants even though I am not growing cauliflower -- no room, I must needs be choosy. Plus I have grown cauliflower before. Been there, done that.

Then I saw one (1) six-pack of tomatoes.

Better Boy, was the variety. Whatever, I do not need heirloom tomatoes. It was beautiful and simple. I counted them up, six tiny, healthy plants. There was only one pack, too. Not even ...

... two packs! So I was not tempted to overindulge as I have been in other years.

I went to the checkout. There was just a short line. I bought them.

Yay, Kmart!!

Grand total spent this year on my half-assed garden: $2.15.

More money to spend on my Leonard Pennario habit, buying records and pictures.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Voice

I lost a musician today I loved. He was my favorite living musician. It's no secret because I was always writing about him. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died today. He was 86. I have written about him so many times on this Web log and though I did not know him personally, and though I know he had a long life, I feel kind of socked in the gut.

It is horrible because if you say you lost a singer you loved everyone thinks you mean Donna Summer! Earlier today writing on the Buffalo News' Web log I said that right away to head all the jokes off at the pass.

Somewhere I have two autographed pictures of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau that he sent me when I was a teenager. I wrote to him and he wrote me back. Am I a lucky gal or what? He has just figured so much in my life. I discovered so much in music because of him.

Reading his obituaries today I was mad at how the writers put negative stuff people had said about him not only in the obit, but up near the top. Then I thought: they did that with Leonard Pennario too. This is how our greatest musicians are treated. I guess the greatest ones, they figure they can take it.

Losing Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is terrible because you cannot do or say anything. With Leonard, I was there and I could help and reporters were calling me and it was cathartic to talk.

Now I just suffer in silence. And the classical music station is not even paying tribute to him. Grrrr. I tuned in after work but no, they were just toiling through some long baroque instrumental piece.

It was even worse than when Johnny Cash died and the country station was not bothering to play his songs.

Smite them, O Lord!

Back to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, this was a wonderful man with a wonderful voice, a voice that touched you personally. They let me write something for the paper tomorrow and I did but I do not do my best work when I am bummed out, plus I was rushed and I am not sure I said what I wanted to say.

A lot of people on the Internet are posting this song by Gustav Mahler. Some people are pointing out that Fischer-Dieskau died on the date that Mahler died. Mahler died 101 years ago today.

In any case ... exquisite.

The Voice.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Whilst scouring the Internet for a recipe worthy to christen my new Crock Pot, I am reminded over and over of the old wisdom:

Food Web loggers, ahem.

Leave the food photography to the pros!

I am not normally elitist. For instance I hate when a recipe is described as "restaurant style." Aren't restaurants supposed to be imitating home cooking? I also hate the term "home cook." I am trying to talk myself out of that but have not been able to.

However. Pictures are a different matter.

God knows I am not squeamish when it comes to food. I love to eat! It is one thing that brought me and Leonard Pennario together.

But the pro food photographers -- haha, it is early in the day and that almost came out "phood fotographers" -- have gifts that we normal people with our pocket digital cameras do not. Face it.

I have been guilty of amateur food photography too, God knows. So has Howard. Sometimes if dinner looks especially good Howard takes a picture of it. Which cheers me and flatters me, but then the picture goes on line and, ahem, something is lost in translation.

Today I resolve, I take no more pictures of food. I could not believe the pictures I found online on other people's Web logs in just five minutes of searching for chicken and cauliflower curry in a Crock Pot. This shot at the top is just the beginning.

Is this a plate or a Petri dish?

Photographing a half-empty dish does not improve things.

This dish should have stayed an ancient Chinese secret.

Bone appetit!

Two sage pieces of kitchen advice:

Stand facing the stove (from "The Joy of Cooking") ... and ...

Step away from the camera!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wheels of a dream

I am in love with my rental car! I have been driving a rental car because someone banged into my car when it was parked and now it is getting fixed.

What is with my car, does it have a big target on it or something?

Remember the Kenmore snow plow? I still avoid Kenmore because of that. Yesterday coming home from Zumba class I took the long way around so I would not have to drive through Kenmore.

But anyway. Good comes out of bad and for a few precious days I have this rental car I love. It is an Impala. Technically known as ...

... Aepyceros Melampus. You know me, I like my Latin.

Anyway, I have had fun beaming around in my Aepyceros Melampus. I mean, my normal car is superior, I am not denying that. Things like the inside of the door feel sort of flimsy next to the heavy-duty stuff I am used to.

But there is that new car smell.

And that new car clean, no dried leaves and Albrecht Discount receipts and Dollar Tree notebooks lying all over the place.

Three CDs and only three CDs stuck in the inside of the door: Beethoven bagatelles, Bernstein songs and Leonard Pennario playing Schumann.

Cleanliness and godliness!

For a few precious days.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The timer is ticking

An amazing thing has happened to my cooking capabilities. I was able to score a Crock Pot with a timer!

I am excited about this!! I have wanted one of these for a while. I found this one second hand for $15. It looks just like this one ....

... only it is white, not black. Which is fine with me. As Michael Jackson sang, it don't matter if you're black or white. Wow, looking at the Web log from which I stole this picture, I see that these things normally cost $40. "A bargain," writes the Web logger. An even bigger bargain for $15!

This Crock Pot I acquired does not look as if it was ever used. It is pristine in a way that your Crock Pots never are after you have used them. Unless the person who had this one is the greatest scourer in the world.

You can set it for four, eight, 10 or 12 hours. I have not used it yet but I have been admiring it and plugging it in and pushing its buttons. This is funny, if you have ever explored Goodwill's Small Electrics department, they tape on these hilarious notes. All in capital letters, it says: "THIS IS 'FINAL SALE.' THIS ITEM WAS TESTED BY PLUGING IT IN..."

After reading that word "pluging" I just cannot go any further.

I love that too much!

Now I must needs find a good project with which to christen the crock. I would like to find something that would have been off limits to me before because I would not be there when the dish finished cooking.

Perhaps this lasagna. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Veiled threat

Saturday whilst visiting estate sales I scored three mantillas! One is white lace, yay, because I did not have one of those and this is just in time for the summer Mass-going season. The others are black.

The first one I found, I held it up and I asked the estate sale attendant how much it was.

I said, "I am actually going to wear this to Mass. We wear veils at the church where I go."

She said, "They should never have gotten rid of that."

Then she gave me a very nice price.

I was thinking about what she said about they should never have gotten rid of that. I believe that everyone secretly wishes that head coverings for women at Mass were the law of the land. It gave us identity and class. I like wearing a veil at Mass because it is a reminder for me that something very sacred is going on.  It is not something normal or ordinary.

Also as I may have mentioned, it gives you that Floria Tosca look.

Leonard Pennario gave me a picture of himself and his family in Rome meeting the pope and the women are all wearing mantillas. I thought that was cool. Speaking of cool ... I read that mantillas are taking off among the young. I think I will give one to my niece Rosie for her Confirmation. There are discussions on the Internet among women yearning to wear veils to church but being afraid of clashing with modern custom. Here is one of those discussions. Ha, ha! One guy posts this picture...

... and writes: "Don't hold back. Go all out, be epic."

I love that picture! That will be me on my way to Mass one of these days! That site by the way has a wonderful name.

It is Phatmass!

And they have the Phatmass Phorums.


We should start a mantilla revolution. A group of us can fan out among estate sales and secure old mantillas. We will provide them free to people who promise to wear them to Mass. Especially modern Masses. Especially modern Masses.

Don't hold back.

Be epic!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So, how'd you sleep?

Every morning on my new sleep regimen one of the first things I do is fill out my Sleep Diary. It is a form I printed out from the, ahem, National Sleep Foundation.

You write what time you went to bed and what time you got out of bed and then it asks you questions about how you slept.

It is fun to be asked how you slept! It makes you feel good even if it is just a form asking you. Leonard and I used to ask each other how we slept. That is something I have not thought about for some time.

But back to my present situation. The form asks you: "When I awoke for the day, I felt --"

Then there are three boxes and you check one. It is either Refreshed, Moderately Refreshed or ...

... Mean and Evil. Well, they put it "Fatigued."

How do you start to figure that one out?

Usually I cop out and go with Moderately Refreshed. It kind of sums it up, you know? You were sleeping well but not enough.

Last night I slept absolutely fine -- until I hear that bouncy little marimba at 5:15 a.m.

I would have been Refreshed other than that I could not keep on sleeping!

Howard posted this picture of me on Facebook before I went to work. He was telling me about a paint gun he bought and the discussion was detailed and arcane and so I sat down on the stairs.

Hahahaa. Good night's sleep... not! Remind me to get back on the log and gripe. But meanwhile, I did get on the log, and they have a blank where you answer the question: "My sleep was disturbed by ..."

I wrote: "Alarm Clock."

That made me feel better!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A passage to India

Sure and you never know who is reading your Web log.

Listen to me, talking all Irish. It comes from listening to those fine gentlemen yesterday singing that May Crowning song. But anyway.

The other day I get this comment from this guy who calls himself Snake. And I asked him why he calls himself Snake. And I get this reply:

I know that Leonard Pennario fans are all over the world. But this one is pretty exotic, you know?

The Punjab!

Now it occurs to me: I think the first time I heard from him it concerned yoga. It was one of those times when I was worrying about yoga and whether or not as an, ahem, Roman Catholic I am allowed to do it.

Remember when I worried that in a pose like this ...

... I would make contact with ...

... Vishnu? (Or whoever that Hindu god is. I loved his look, is why I ran him.)

I did not make contact with a Hindu god perhaps, but I made contact with Aalok which is my new friend Snake's real name. Aalok means "cry of victory" in Hindi. He wrote that in his comment. See what I am learning.

Doing yoga poses is similar to writing on a Web log.

You never know who will tune in!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tenor madness

I love May songs, no matter what the weather. So today I found myself listening to Frank Patterson singing "Bring Flowers of the Fairest."

This guy is amazing!

The way he is in the moment. His hands. "As long as the azure shall keep its bright hue."

He pours his whole self into this song!

Frank Patterson died kind of young. He was from County Tipperary which is a marvelous place for a singer to be from. It is funny, last year I wrote that I got the feeling this song was an Irish song. Well, I guess it is! I was looking around for it and there are all these versions I had not seen the last time around. They are all by Irish singers.

An exception is this Scottish Father What-a-Waste.

Aren't you glad you read the Leonard Pennario Web log? Where else would you be listening to a dead Scottish priest? What a sweet accent he had. The way he says "Mary" is adorable. I do like it when someone does a nice job with the name "Mary."

I like how Father MacEwan and Frank Patterson above add that "and" that we do not have over here. Queen of the Angels AND Queen of the May. That is a wild Irish touch that I like.


So nicely done.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Up with the birdies

After describing my weird sleep regimen I should report on how it was going. It is going well!

I have been on it for over a week now. I had five nights of going to bed at midnight and getting up at 5 a.m. Then because my sleep time averaged out OK I was allowed to move my wake-up time to 5:15 a.m. You must go to bed at midnight and not before. That means being on your feet because otherwise you fall asleep. Also no alcohol after 9 p.m. Those are the rules!

And I am feeling really good. The only thing is, I think on this regimen you lose a little bit of your reasoning. I am happy and awake and sociable, la la la la la la la. And I have time to concentrate on Leonard Pennario. But I make some weird choices.

For one thing, you should see the paper where I did the computations on whether my percentage of sleep was good enough to move the get-up time from 5 to 5:15. This paper is covered in numbers because I could not do simple addition and multiplication. I mean, I was feeling great, but the mind was just not going.

For another thing, I am embarrassed to admit this but I have Communion Block. I realized this last Sunday.

I had forgotten about this but the Sunday before, but what happened was, I could not open my mouth right for Communion. You are supposed to do it like this...

... but  I must not have stuck my tongue out right or something. As I said this is embarrassing.

I am kneeling there and the priest has just kind of stops.

"Open your mouth," he says.

I was so embarrassed!

I managed it somehow and then I forgot about it. After years of practice I have gotten good at forgetting  the many embarrassing things that happen to me. But suddenly it was next Sunday, I mean this past Sunday.

And the same thing happened!

This time, I was kneeling there and at the last minute I remembered what had happened last week. And it was like not being able to fall asleep or something. I mean, this kind of thing is supposed to be wired into you and you do it unconsciously. If you trip yourself up you worry you will never do it right again. Just the way I sometimes panic and think, "Oh no, I can't fall asleep!" I now thought: "Oh no, I can't open my mouth right for Communion!"

We managed it but there was a delay and a tense moment or two.

Blame it on my sleep regimen.

I love having an excuse!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Evening at the Hungry Ear

Last night Howard and I were on Off Beat Cinema. It airs at 2 a.m. on Saturday nights, broadcast from the Hungry Ear Coffeehouse here in Buffalo.

It was amazing how many people stay up to watch this show! We kept getting Facebook messages!

Howard took pictures of us on the set at Channel 7. Well, the actual set is in the back there, in the corner. That is where our friend Airborne Eddy is sitting. I am in the front wasting time. Ha, ha! I look silly wrapped in my shawl. But it was cold in there!

Here I am hosting my new cooking show.

Ha, ha! Just kidding.  Howard is a natural on TV....

... but I never know what to say or do. Many times I have just sat there! On Off Beat Cinema it was not as if they were asking me questions about Leonard Pennario so I did not really have much to say.

Whenever we go to TV stations I take pictures of Howard. 

That was Howard at Channel 2 with Andy Parker.

And with Kevin O'Connell.

TV... it ain't no good life.

But it's our life!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shop till you drop

The garage sale season has officially begun because my mom and I have gone to our first one for the year! Well, she has been to sales with my sisters already. But this was the first one with me.

No Pennario records at this sale, alas. But I got orange napkins for the table and also Pier I place mats. The tags were still on the place mats. That is always funny, when someone buys something and never uses it. I have been there!

The napkins and place mats go well with my current, ahem, theme for the dining room, which is orange. That theme was born from necessity a few weeks ago when I had to have a few people over including the boss. I had no flowers or anything but I had a ton of oranges from Albrecht Discount. I put the oranges in a big bowl and put them on the table. Then I had a bottle of Wild Pig wine, which has an orange label ...

... and a few Candle-Lite candles that were orange and yellow or close enough ...

... and there I was. Set! By the way that is a wonderful name for a wine, Wild Pig. Looking around for a picture I found the photo of an actual wild pig which is what is at the top of the post. I thought it would grab people's attention!

Besides that garage sale and another garage sale, where I bought other things magnificent and sundry, my mom and I also hit the rummage sale at Park School. We found out about it only at the last minute but it was worth it! We did not know about it until we saw the sign at the corner of Main and Harlem.

"Look, Mom, a rummage sale at Park," I said. "We only have 20 minutes till it closes. Should we go?"

My mom said sure! So we went. It was the end of the bag sale so we shared a bag. We stuffed the bag with so many things that I had to go get it reinforced. Hahahaha! Greed is good!

Speaking of which next year we will not make the mistake of not getting to the Park School sale until the last minute.

"Next year we have to make sure to get here earlier," my mom said.

But better late than never! Altogether a good day of shopping.

We are back in the saddle!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's May! It's May!

 Someone has to be the first to post this and it may as well be me!

From a great movie that the critics hated and the people loved.

The excess of it! Just mention "Camelot" to any intellectual and that intellectual will turn purple.

Fie on Julie Andrews! Fie!

Hahahaa! I am really enjoying these videos. They are great! And in June we will move on to ...

Surely one of the great song titles of all time.

I was up at 5 a.m. today. Polishing chapters. Crunching statistics on Pennario's record sales. I think I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Speaking of light, the dawn broke and I did not even notice. I did not realize it was light until hours later when I went out to the steps to get the paper.

Normally I do not get up this early but I am on a sleep-and-wake regimen owing to that recently I have inadvertently developed bad, ahem, sleep hygiene. That is a phrase I love, sleep hygiene! Bad sleep hygiene is when you are awake when you should not be awake and asleep when you should not be asleep. This sort of thing hits me now and then. And the way you deal with it is, you go on this regimen. I went to a sleep clinic once and that is what they made me do.

No drugs, is the good part. You just dig in and follow this regimen. In at midnight, up at 5.

For four days! After that you sleep until 5:15.

And four days after that, you get until 5:30.

And so on, until your body gets the message and you are sleeping like a normal human being.

Meanwhile the bright side of this is, you start feeling better. A little loopy, but better! Plus you have all this time.

TWO HOURS this morning on the book.