Thursday, March 21, 2019

Blackbird singing....

This morning, taking a quick walk around the park, I heard the song of what turned out to be the Red-Winged Blackbird.

Elementary to bird watchers, but new to me!

I mean, I know the bird's call. I love it because I associate it with high summer. You can listen to it here on the Audubon site.

But I did not know what bird it was I was hearing. I had to stare up into the tree where it came from, and keep staring, until I realized the call was coming from the tree next door. That second tree was a lot smaller and it was then that I could easily behold the blackbird sitting on a branch.

I do not think I have ever been able to identify the blackbird before. I believe this is its debut on this Web log.

There was the goldfinch.

And the robin that built its nest on the windowsill right by Howard's desk.

And the mourning doves Jeoffry scared away.

But the red-winged blackbird? It is common. It is abundant. But before this it was a mystery.

Red-winged Blackbird, I am happy to add you to my list of birds I now know.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Green day

Yesterday I had to take a picture of my purchases at Amvets before they were even in the bag.

They were just so pretty! Full of the colors of spring. Even if spring is not here yet. The pitcher in the pitcher (ha, could not help that) is covered with flowers that you cannot see. The records on the right, I had actually picked them out the day before. But I could not handle the checkout line on that day so I put them back in the record bin and went on my way.

No one else wanted the records I wanted! And I put them right in the front and everything.

I am insulted!

But happy to find them right where I had stashed them, I will say that. We had no coffee hour at church because the Italian Mass congregation had the hall for their massive St. Joseph's Table. And so my friend Lizzie and I went from church to Amvets where we met our friend Ryan. And then all three of us went to Buffalo Cider Hall...

.... in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

We agreed that Amvets is a great place to meet. That way if your friend is late, no worries. You may amuse yourself indefinitely.

I was happy because I had the best St. Patrick's Day outfit I had ever had. The piece de resistance was a bright green Liz Claiborne sweater. It had been sitting for months at the top of a pile of clothes in a box destined for Amvets. But the box never seemed to make its way to Amvets and so I thought, I may as well get a wear out of it, I mean, as long as it is here.

"You should keep it," said my Irish friend Bill Kearney at church. And I do believe I will.

There are times when you need something Kelly green and even if that happens only once or twice a year, it is worth having something for those occasions!

Back to the Buffalo Cider Hall. While we were drinking cider with varying percentages of alcohol Ryan had to tell me about this St. Patrick cartoon which now I will never get out of my head. Here I had admired St. Patrick in the choir loft of St. Anthony's ...

... and had even said a prayer: St. Patrick, pray for us!

But now when I think of St. Patrick all I can think of is this.

Ha, ha!

A happy St. Patrick's Day it was. And now back to work, with unfinished business clamoring for my attention.

Are we there yet?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sketching a shoeshine

My friend Meghan and I were downtown yesterday sketching and I drew a picture of her getting a shoeshine in the downtown Buffalo Athletic Club building at 69 Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo.

That is it up above!

It is fun to draw whatever happens to be going on. I am starting to see that.

If you have a sketchbook you are never bored!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The thrift shopping we do in the spring

Even though it's freezing out I know it is spring.

There is the matter of the daffodils, up above. It may take a sharp eye to spot them but they are there!

There is also the matter of  I cannot stay away from thrift shops.

I have a lot of work to do so I do not go special. But I work in a quick stop on my way from somewhere I have to be. For instance yesterday I went to the chiropractor. On my way home I could not resist popping into Goodwill.

Hardly had I stepped inside when from across the crowded room I saw it -- a gigantic framed print of John Singer Sargent's "Daughters of Edward Darley Boit." Here is a picture of it from the Boston Museum of Fine Art, where I believe the picture lives.

And I have to say, it was darn near as big as in that photo. And framed the same way, too. I recognized it as soon as I walked in. I have been studying Sargent recently because I have been noticing that he and I have in common certain ways of thinking and perceiving things. Howard laughs at me because I am cooking dinner and listening to curators and other eggheads giving lectures about him.

Back to "Daughters of Edward Darley Boit." It was $15, purple price tag, darn.

That was not the color that was half price! Yellow was half price if memory serves me.

Where would I put it? That was another consideration. I just have so much stuff, you know?

I could have overruled both those considerations. However, that fine ostentatious frame was chipped pretty visibly in spots. That was what finally made me make the decision I did, which was ...


That evening Howard said, "I'm surprised you could resist it."

"Me, too," I admitted. "If the frame were OK I would have bought it."

Howard asked, "Was it an original?"

I said, "Howard, no, it was not an original! People pay millions for this guy's stuff!"

I had to pause to imagine the greatness of the situation were I to be able to reply, "Yes, it was an original. And I like the idea of having an original Sargent. But where would I put it? And it had a purple price tag --

Howard stuck to his guns. "It could have been an original. You never know. People don't know what they have in their houses."

Watch, he will turn out to be right. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts will all of a sudden report that "Daughters of Edward Darley Boit" is missing.

And here it is at the Town of Tonawanda Goodwill. Turned down by me because the price tag was purple and not yellow.

Howard would sure have the last laugh!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The five people you meet on Ash Wednesday

This is a an uncompromising Ash Wednesday. As my brother George said it does not matter that it is the middle of March, it is the dead of winter.

I took that picture yesterday before my fingers froze and my phone died. 

Ash Wednesday stresses me out so much that I cannot be around people. Today instead of going to my usual church I went to St. Benedict's for my ashes. I have done that other years too. Every time I go there, I behold things that amaze me.

St. Benedict's as I have written before has a free-wheeling Ash Wednesday atmosphere. Laity distribute ashes. A girl welcomed me at the door with a bright smile and an invitation to check out their prayer resources, also there was a priest hearing confessions, and --

Suddenly the priest was at her elbow. "I was just going to say, I'm going on break," he said.

Ha, ha! He must have seen me approaching!

I went to get my ashes from this one lady who administered them simultaneously to me and to this big handsome guy my dad would have called "Mountain Man." We had to recite a psalm together.

All the while this girl was at the piano -- they have a piano at St. Ben's -- playing New Age music. That is the way this church is. It just is.

Now comes the greatest thing. After getting my ashes I was kneeling in the pew trying to pray the Rosary, which I try to do every day anyway. And right in the middle of a decade, which for the record was the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this young man approaches me.

"Hi!" he called out, with a big smile, as if he knew me.

And I figured he did. Because I am terrible with names and I am always embarrassed about it. But luckily all I did was say "Hi!" in return, and smile back.

Then I realized he was doing that with everyone. He would call out "Hi!" or "Hey!" exactly as if he knew them! And sometimes he would say, "Welcome to St. Benedict's," sometimes not.

He was not this dweeb, either. He looked like a popular kind of party guy. I admired him for taking on this role so fearlessly. Then what happened was, the girl at the piano began singing from her distant corner. You could not really hear her so this guy began chiming in, helping out.

"Lord, be with me, I can't do this alone," was one lyric, I think. I can't really remember. I was too awestruck.

I have never seen anyone with such self-confidence! He was just sauntering around the church, doing his thing.

Next to him, we are all mere church mice!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Back to Aqua Fit

On Saturday I went back to Aqua Fit class after a rather long absence.

I think it was the winter. All of a sudden when it's cold out, a class in the pool is a major time investment. You can't just run out into the parking lot with wet hair and a sun dress and go about your life. You must dry your hair, get dressed, all that jazz, and before you know it an extra hour has passed.

So on Saturday I had to talk myself into it. Here is your hair dryer, here is your swimsuit, you're going to like this, go.

And I did like it! Until this morning.

That was when I woke up and hurt!

It felt as if I had been in Body Sculpt class. It's funny, I have seen discussion threads on MyFitnessPal and whatnot, about whether to take this class, about whether it is more than just fun. Which, it is fun to be in the pool, let's admit it.

It does do you good!! Take it from me.

Plus you can use someone else's shower and you do not have to squander your own hot water.

Plus, after class the other day, I sketched the street corner. That is it above!

Howard liked it and put it for sale in our gallery.

I liked it, too. I love this side of town, near the gym. The houses have such personality and I love the power lines. It was all great fun. Even if I was a little sore afterwards.

I went back this morning.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring!