Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Switchin' in the kitchen


Today is Demo Week.

I am demo-ing my kitchen!

My kitchen is awful. It was OK when I bought this house. It had a kind of '80s look, but you know me, I have nothing against the '80s. Leonard Pennario achieved some neat things in the '80s. However.

The kitchen has just fallen apart!

The cabinets have just broken. The fronts fell off several of the drawers. There is this funny cabinet over the stove, over the hood. One of those cabinet doors actually split in half. You can see some of these details in the picture up above.

Home kitchens are not made for people who actually cook!

I do. I cook breakfast and dinner and I pack lunches for Howard and me. For years I packed lunch only for myself but then Howard got wise to it and now I have to do for him, too. And I have always liked having people over. When the house was in better shape and before everybody got married, people would come over from work. No big deal, no planning, we would just hang out and drink wine and make dinner.

Now I still cook for other people. My brother comes over for breakfast on Saturdays. I cook for the St. Anthony's coffee hour.  I took this picture one week before running over to Mass.


Long Web log post short, the kitchen is just .... well, it has just collapsed.

No matter. By next week it will all be gone. Those weak old cabinets, gone. I am going to put in restaurant stuff. Stainless steel tables, big ol' stainless steel restaurant sink.

That is my plan.

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


I must continue this Web log because the last post I had written was: "The Christmas Tree Quandary." And here it is, 60 degrees today!

Well, it was raining. We cannot get things right this early in the year. We cannot have warmth without rain. Still, it feels good.

And may I point out, that quandary did not last for long. Almost right after I wrote that post I went and took the tree down. I was not quite sure why. It was a very snowy day. But I must have felt something because that very evening, it began warming up, and the next day the snow began to melt. And I did a check for the daffodils and you know what? They were up!

I took a picture and that is it, at the top of this post. OK, so they will be only an inch high for a couple of months. Still.

Now I have no choice but to consider it spring. Lenz, to use the old word that gave us Lent. I got through Ash Wednesday even though it was the same day as St. Valentine's Day, an unfortunate coincidence I got to explore in the paper. We celebrated the good saint's day the Thursday after Valentine's Day. Howard took the picture at left. Look, that is a Cinnamon Pecan Swirl candle. Remember the snowy night I went out shopping for those? I will never forget that. It is a funny thing to remember, but I remember it.  "It crossed my mind that maybe I was dead." I remember that moment!

Meanwhile there was Ash Wednesday to deal with.

I got the mother lode of ashes on my forehead. I had a dentist appointment and I actually apologized for them.

"I'm sorry I am covered with these ashes," I said.

I mean, I had to say something! It was the elephant in the room. Here I was lying under these lights with all these ashes.

Clearly this is going to be one of these Lents. I know, I know, it is a holy time of year, a time of renewal, and still, I cannot handle Ash Wednesday, I just cannot. I lost five pounds out of stress and then gained them back out of stress.

The good news: Forward we go now into spring.

Next quandary: Gardening!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Christmas tree quandary

I have a terrible confession: My Christmas tree -- pictured at left when it was still bright white -- is still up.

I keep promising myself I will take it down but then I do not.
Part of the problem is, it is still snowy outside. When it goes up into the 40s or something, then you can think spring, and that is the time to take down the tree. When you get into Lent, Lent means spring, and that is the time to take down the tree.

Not now!

Last week I went past some of the better houses, on Nottingham and streets like that, and some of them still had trees lit up outside. So I am not alone.

Still I feel a little funny plugging in the tree. I know it is time to take it down. We have passed Septuagesima Sunday and Sexagesima -- hee hee -- Sunday. Candlemas is past.

What is wrong with me?

It is not even a real tree. It does not have to go out on the curb or die a terrible death like the tree in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Fir Tree."

It simply goes into its box and is put away, in preparation for coming out in again in what, a few months?

Why can't I take down my tree?

Hahaha... I am laughing over all my old Christmas tree stories.

There was one year I went without. Unbelievable but true.

There was another year when it was the Fourth Sunday of Advent and I did not have a tree and rushed out to get one and wound up in Christmas tree stand emergency mode.

There was the year I put the tree up on Christmas Eve. I could not get to it before then!

Oh, look! There was one year I did not take the tree down till Ash Wednesday. And Ash Wednesday that year was March 9!!

That is what I will do this year. I will take the tree down on Ash Wednesday.

I must be strong!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Charles Burchfield and the Cheerios plant


I love industry. I do not know why this is.

I love observing and taking pictures of factories and such!

Once when I worked at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, I went to an art exhibit that was called "Smoke." The person took pictures of smokestacks and the smoke coming out of them, smokestacks that belonged to big plants. They were huge photos, beautifully framed.

Looking back now I am sure he or she aimed to make some kind of statement. I do seem to remember there was something, about pollution. But the message was lost on me. I am standing there staring, thinking: These pictures are beautiful! I want to do that!

So I packed up my Instamatic and the next day on the way to work I detoured down Buffalo Avenue so I could look at all the factories and take pictures.

I wish I knew where those pictures are now! But I do not. So I am sharing a picture I took a week or so ago, of a landscape including the Cheerios plant in downtown Buffalo, near where I work.

I used the above picture as my Facebook cover photo. Everyone was really nice with their kind words. One friend said it looked, ahem, like the work of Charles Burchfield. After that I was walking around with this big ego, I can tell you that.

And today I got a great surprise.

My friend Barry is turning my photo into a painting!

I believe Barry works in oils. He already posted a picture on Facebook of my photo roughed out.


I was thrilled. I asked him if he could post pictures of the painting's progress. It would be like "Sunday in the Park With George," where you see a painting coming to life!

Being into watercolors I would like to try my hand at my photo. Maybe some day. Right now I am too busy with Leonard Pennario, plus I think I should try easier stuff first, like wildflowers or a cup of coffee or something. The other day I painted my oatmeal. That is more my speed.

I will let Barry do the heavy lifting.

And I promise to post his progress!