One of the many highlights of my week was finding Leonard Pennario's Grieg and Rachmaninoff record. He plays Grieg's Piano Concerto and Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Erich Leinsdorf and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
I found the record at Amvets!
That is it pictured at the top. Study the picture so you will know this record if you see it. But you will not! It is a rare score.
You never find Pennario records at thrift shops, not even his best-selling "Concerto Under the Stars." People hold on to these records. As Howard said they are heirlooms.
And the beautiful thing was, I had stopped into Amvets after work, to chill before I got home. That is a strategy I have had for years. Other people have it too by the way. I always see people in office clothes, walking around looking at stuff, just unwinding.
One woman in office clothes, we got talking a few weeks ago by the cake pans. She was trying to decide between one Bundt pan and another. One was a style I had had my eye on, and I explained to her why it was superior.
Then she bought it! And she went away all happy and beaming. And I was thinking, Why did I talk her into buying that pan??
I wanted that pan!
Oh well, I do not need another cake pan.
But I always need another Pennario record! And it was funny, before finding the record the other day, I had been stressed out, antisocial. I had even been on the fence about staying in Amvets another five minutes. And suddenly everything changed.
In the checkout line I realized: It changes you to be holding a Leonard Pennario record. You become graceful and smart and inspired and you smile.
Idly I brushed the leaves off this one tub. And lo and behold ...
It was brimming with oregano!
It is not as if I can get everything right. A stick stuck in the pot read "Apple Mint." Perhaps I might see some apple mint later. But for now, oregano! A lot of it! I think the leaves were making the planter into some kind of a greenhouse.
Because I did not have this oregano last summer. But I sure have it now!
Now I can see hope inching up with me like those daffodil shoots. Every year I have garden ambitions. Every year, because I have too many irons in the fire, the grand plans end in chaos.
After Mass on Sunday we got our throats blessed in accordance with the Feast of St. Blaise. Technically the feast of St. Blaise was Friday, Feb. 3, but you do the best you can, you know?
I was one of the stragglers because I was up in the organ loft. I snapped that picture of a few of the other last folks in line. The line was long! Many many throats were blessed by both Father Justus and our new pastor, Msgr. Joe. That is Father Justus doing the honors in this picture.
One reason I was late to the throat blessing was that after Mass I got gabbing with Josephine, the organist.
"St. Blaise is one of the 14 Holy Helpers," I told her. And I explained how the 14 Holy Helpers are saints turned to since medieval times for specific purposes. There is St. Blaise for the throat. St. Christopher for travel. St. Vitus for, I don't know, St. Vitus Dance. St. Barbara for fever. St. Elmo for, I don't know, St. Elmo's Fire. And I forget the rest, but with a little thought they will come to me.
Josephine said, "Mary, I never would have known that."
I said, "Nobody in the world knows that but me."
Which is true! With the exception of anyone who shared any of our previous 14 Holy Helpers adventures. Those folks would know that St. Blaise is a 14 Holy Helper.
And then. To top things off ....
Today I had to go to the endodontist. And I passed Fourteen Holy Helpers!
It is the fresh fresh start to the New Year. That is how I see it anyway.
January is not all it is cracked up to be, in my experience. You go into it with resolutions and good intentions. You wind up just sitting around, eating chocolate. It is comfy but sleepy.
But then ... February!
You awaken. The year is a twelfth gone! What have you been doing? But now there is this bright new month. Literally bright. Feb. 1 has brought sun. With Valentine's Day. Hot chocolate. (OK, so you do not get away from chocolate.) Ice skating, now that I have learned to love it. New energy. New promise.
Not only that but February happens to be the shortest month. Tight deadlines are great when it comes to getting anything done. The less time the better. Take it from me. I have been to the mountain and back.
It is not too late to make something out of your year!
You can go back to your resolutions starting Feb. 1!