Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rustles of spring

Signs of spring! The giraffes were out.

I told Howard I was going to make note of the giraffe and he said: "You'd be sticking your neck out." Ha, ha! But I am doing it anyway.

I could not take a picture from my car in the heat of the moment so I used that picture up above from Trip Advisor, of a giraffe at the Buffalo Zoo. It is cool how the Buffalo Zoo is in the city, right on a well-traveled street corner, so it is not unusual to round the corner and see a giraffe. Other animals, too! Once I saw a rhinoceros. I just happened to have just the right view into the zoo.

That is a most excellent thing, when you are driving down an ordinary city street and can see a rhinoceros! It was just standing there two-dimensional, like an animal cracker.

Anyway, that was one sign of spring, seeing the giraffe.

Another was, I saw a freighter steaming into the harbor the other day. That is a summer sight!

And one more thing, the greatest sign of all. Yesterday morning I went outside to take out the garbage -- just me taking out the garbage is a sign of spring -- and I heard the unmistakable voice that means spring. The voice from next door.

"You son of a pup," it said.

It was the guy from next door who cannot stop swearing! His voice was quiet as if he were warming up. But it was distinct! I heard him!

Surely now spring is here to stay.

We may now hear Pennario playing "Rustles of Spring."

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ow, ow, ow!

I went to Pilates class today. My body just felt as if it wanted it so I said, "OK, body. OK."

Wow, was I ever sorry!

We did all those exercises pictured above and then some. Thanks a lot, body, for wanting that!

I have been out of the Pilates loop for a while, just the way I have been out of the Leonard Pennario loop. And I found to my horror that I could not even do the Roll-Up. That is where you lie on your back and have to sit up with your legs flat on the floor. Son of a sea cook, I could not do it! I would psych myself into rolling up ...

... but then I would have to grab onto my legs just to pull myself up. Not good, not good! It will come back to me in a few weeks but still.

The teacher, Jill, said encouragingly: "We are doing this later in the workout so you can see how your body performs when it is warmed up ... or, maybe, exhausted."

I was certainly in the exhausted category.

After that I went to Albrecht Discount  on Sheridan and they were remodeling! Dust and dirt and cardboard boxes were everywhere. Most unsettling.

I said, "I hope you're not changing things too much. I like things at Aldi the way they are."

The one workman said to me, "We're just trying to make things so that whatever Aldi you will walk into, things are the same. Like at Walmart."

 I bought some Goldhen eggs and fled.

But now a few hours later I am feeling good. I have my Goldhen eggs plus I have the aching muscles that prove I had a really good workout.

I am ahead in the game of life!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cool cats

Tonight we did Movie Night again at my mom's. She is well again! Which means I can get back to this Web log and to Leonard Pennario.

The movie we saw was "The AristoCats."

I had never seen it! It is from 1970, a little on the new side for us.

It was fun. My brother George had done some Googling and knew that the voice of Duchess -- that's the white cat -- was Eva Gabor. So funny! Probably some of the other voices are noteworthy but I did not recognize the names. Phil Harris who was the tomcat, he was a band leader. One quote attributed to him is: "I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver." Ha, ha!

The kids have gotten good at watching movies. It is a far cry from back when they could not concentrate. They were fixated on "The AristoCats" and we were all laughing along with little George who took great enjoyment in the movie and laughed and laughed, this funny loud little-boy laugh.

We all laughed together at Uncle Waldo, the goose who had been basted in white wine! Handily that clip has been posted on YouTube. I loved how they showed the geese from behind, waddling.

That jazz song at the end is a kick: "Everybody Wants To Be a Cat."

I am in my second childhood!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A new leaf

The harvest is in!

I am talking about my sorrel plant. I grabbed up the leaves yesterday and for a day they sat in the fridge in a plastic bag. But I absolutely did not want to waste them. And so I made a pilaf.

Remember my sorrel? Sure you do. It was only back in 2008 that I noted its presence in my garden. Leonard Pennario was still around then.

For my pilaf I used a recipe for spinach. If you are looking for a recipe for sorrel there are kind of slim pickings.

It came out yummy! I do not remember what I have done with this sorrel in the past, if anything. Back in 2008 I kind of mocked it out. But it is tasty! The sorrel tastes kind of like a lemon spinach. And it has a smooth texture like chard.

Now I have a mind to cook up more from my back yard. There are dandelions. And I have already chopped up and eaten some of the bishop's weed. The chives are growing and I have used those too.

Spring is sprung!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The twilight zone

Squeezing in exercise at the end of the day I found that gnarly spring trees sure do make nice pictures!

Especially with the gently variegated sky.

One of the many reasons why not to move to California as Leonard Pennario did.

This looks like some landscape out of Europe!

Snap. Snap!

I do love my variations on a theme.

Incredible, the beauty right in your own back yard!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter Yeggs

Our friend Ryan said that the mention of yeggs made him think of just one thing:

Bugs Bunny and "Easter Yeggs"!

Hahahahaa! I looked up Bugs Bunny's "Easter Yeggs" and found this cartoon, this clip of it I mean. It is like nothing you would see now. Bugs is in a shoddy part of town. You see signs for "Dead End" and "City Dump." Then there is that mean kid sleeping in a crate.

The kid beats Bugs up! And there is this weird old 1930s looking sofa in the background.

I had never seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon before. This is my first one.

There will be more!

By the way my mother's crossword puzzle supremacy continued today. She was able to call the first name of some football coach I had never heard of.

"He was the coach for Notre Dame," she said.

I said, "Mom, how do you know these things?"

She said, "I read the sports pages."

Researching Leonard Pennario leaves me no time for researching football coaches, alas. But I hail my mother's victory.

She is rocking that rehab!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yeggs over easy

The rehab is doing my mom good! Every day things are better.

Last night she wanted to do the puzzle from the paper. I could not remember that last time that had happened.

My brother had taken the sports section, where the puzzle is, so I went down the hall to the sitting room to look for another copy. Ah! There was one on the coffee table. An old guy was sitting in front of it but he appeared to be watching TV.

I approached, all ready to say, "You don't mind if I grab the paper, do you?"

But the guy was asleep with his mouth open. Ha, ha! He must have been reading something I wrote!

I took the paper and went back to my mom's room. We do the puzzle. My mom was kind of down for the count by then after all her physical therapy but she wasn't ready to go to sleep. That was an improvement too. There are improvements as far as the eye can see.

And after months of discouragement she was suddenly up to the clues! I was reading them and she was answering them. Even clues I did not know!

We get to "Safecracker." I told my mom: "Four letters ending in a G."

I was thinking "Thug," maybe. But I wanted my mom to get it.

My mom goes immediately: "Yegg."

"Yegg?" I said.

"Yes, yegg." She spelled it.

"Mom, I never heard that word," I said.

But sure enough.

Anyway. Things are sure better! You would not believe this but there was a time not too long ago when Mom could not remember Leonard Pennario's name. Imagine being around me day in and day out and not remembering that.

She said: "Who was that pianist you were friends with and are writing your book about?"

That was when I knew something was seriously wrong!

Now we are worlds from that. Cross fingers and say prayers, it really looks as if things are turning around. Plus I have learned a new word, yegg.

I will have to work it into this Web log!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


 The Leonard Pennario Web log has been kind of erratic recently because my mom has been sick. She was in hospital for a little bit. That is how I am going to say it now, the British way, in hospital.

However! She is getting better now.

She is in rehab!

There is a lot of laughing about this. "She's hitting the heroin again?" one friend at work asked me.

There is also a lot of singing of the Amy Winehouse "Rehab" song. My mom sings it. Poor old Amy Winehouse, when they wanted her to go to rehab, she should have said yes, yes, yes. Perhaps she would still be among us.

Rehab is helping my mom. All of a sudden she has these busy days with physical therapy and occupational therapy and strength training and hardly any napping. When it is mealtime she is hungry and when it is bedtime she is sleepy.

I am also realizing how healthy she is. My mom is strong and looks young and has a lot going for her, one of which is she still has all her teeth and they are in great shape.

Nurses always comment on that. When they get to that question in the questionnaire, about the teeth, and my mom answers that all her teeth are hers, the nurses always stop and marvel.

"Not too many people your age can say that," they say.

And my mom always smiles and shows off her teeth.

She is Wonder Woman!

I hope I take after her.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Season's greetings

I went walking in the park today and the weather for once was tolerable! There was a cold wind off the lake but it was sunny and ... and! ... I wore shorts.

It was very different from one day last week when I took the above picture.

And this one!

This was the year March went in like a lion and out like a lion!

It was funny, taking those pictures. I went for a walk with my friend Michelle and we were getting soaked. The snow was flying sideways. And it was all in big, wet flakes.

I could tell that my taking pictures exasperated Michelle but still, I could not stop!

"Hang on," I kept saying. Then I had to take off my mittens and get out my phone and take it out of its case because the case is rough and ready in case I drop it. Howard told me it is because I always drop the phone, which I do. The trouble with the case is you cannot take pictures while the phone is in it, because otherwise your picture will look like something that should be on display at the Albright-Knox.

Now I am glad I took my pictures of the park. It is good to have a record of what things were like just over a week ago.

Today I was encouraged by my walk and so I found five minutes to sit down at the piano and play Mendelssohn's "Spring Song." It is this little ritual I have. Even if I am not Leonard Pennario, I can do a pretty good number on the "Spring Song."

Here is a video I found. I do not know who the pianist is but still.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Guy's got rhythm

That picture is of the great Guy Boleri playing at my friend Gary's house the other night. It was not even a party! Four of us were just sitting around.

Next to guy you can see Gary's second piano which is a beautifully carved Kurtzmann. Those handsome gents on the record jacket cover are the Russian pianist Vladimir Sofronitsky and, on the right, Alexander Scriabin. And to the left of that album is Jimi Hendrix.

Gary is a vinyl fan as am I! And so is Guy. Guy has told me that Leonard's performance of Gershwin's Concerto in F changed his life.

Here is Howard singing with Guy.

Going to Gary's, even for half an hour, is like a mini-vacation. Look at the piano and you will see why.

Being buried in work it is relaxing and de-stressing just to look back on that evening. When your job or whatever gets to be too much, take this advice:

Buy a piano.

Buy some bottles of wine.

Put them on the piano.

Call your friends!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rustles of spring

The crocuses bloom in the cold!

Makes you think of this. Pennario did a terrific version of this piece but we will settle for what we have at our fingertips.