Monday, September 30, 2019

When flowers find you

Yesterday before Mass I took a peek at The Buffalo News because we were having no coffee hour on this particular day and so I could take a minute to breathe.

There was this story by my friend Susan Martin about what decorators advised for your home. Decorators, I love that idea. People used to have decorators back in the 1960s. Leonard Pennario had a decorator. Everyone did.

But anyway. One decorator said there was nothing like fresh flowers to make your house feel beautiful.

As I may have mentioned I have been cleaning the house and tidying it hoping that it makes my life less chaotic and I can reach all of my goals with no exceptions. I thought hmmm. The roses are blooming outside! And/or maybe I should go out and buy some flowers.


Flowers found me!

After Mass, there being no coffee hour, I asked my friend Meghan who sings with me in the choir if she wanted to go grab coffee. Which she did. We went to the Public at the Hotel Lafayette where we enjoyed coffee and yummy sausage sandwiches.

And as we were dining, this woman came up and offered us flowers!

They were her bridal centerpieces. She had just been married the night before at the Lafayette. Her husband was with her.

I told her best wishes on her wedding being that my mother told me to say best wishes to the bride and congratulations to the groom. And Meghan and I gladly accepted the centerpieces! Here is Meghan with the flowers. The bride is in the background. Her husband is to the left, I do believe. And in the background is a table full of guys who were accompanied by a big white poodle dog. I should have gotten the dog in the picture. The guys also accepted flowers!

Thank you, newly married gal!

I went home and the flowers went well in my dining room. I should post a picture but I would like to do a little more cleaning up first.

For now at the top of the post I put up a sketch I was doing not long ago at the Botanical Gardens. I pompously signed it even though I was not done with it. I was also with Meghan, now that I think of it, on that occasion. She is my sketching buddy. But more importantly...

She is the flower child!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Sylvia, the '80s, and me

I have been tidying the house because it is this nightmare. And today this old datebook washed up on the tides. It is "The 1988 Sylvia Book of Days."

Sylvia was this cartoon to which my roommates and I had a deep devotion back in the day. Awfully feminist, awfully funny. The cartoonist who wrote the comic strip, Nicole Hollander, is 80 now, how about that? I just had to look it up.

I should write an, ahem, essay about this and get it published somewhere, but I am too lazy and I have other things to write and do. Speaking of which, the things I wrote and did while I was using this datebook, just looking at the notes I made of them takes me back to this crazy era of my life.

What was I, 25? I turned 26 during the course of this book. I do remember though that I carried the book around with me long after that, because I had a lot of notes and phone numbers in it. The list of phone numbers made me kind of teary. My Uncle Bob was on it. I miss my Uncle Bob. Robert Junior Lockwood was on the list too, God rest his soul. He was a bluesman my friends and I were friends with. We went to Cleveland and stayed at his house.

The notes show me freelancing for the Niagara Gazette. I recognized my questions for John Lennon's sister, who was one of the people I interviewed. Some of the interviews I totally forgot. On Monday, Oct. 24, I had a note to interview Maria Irene Fornes at the Lenox Hotel. Who was Maria Irene Fornes? I had no recollection so I Googled it and she is a lesbian Cuban playwright. 

How boho is that, interviewing this Cuban playwright at the Lenox Hotel? Surely we spoke of many things. I kind of remember going to the Lenox Hotel for something, you know? But beyond that, it is a mystery.

The Niagara Gazette hired me near the end of that tattered year. My tryout was Oct. 7. The "yuch" I wrote did not mean I did not want the job. I did. But the tryout stressed me out. I was much more happy to write that on Oct. 9, my bartender friend Lupe was singing at the Feede Bagge.

Suddenly because of the Gazette a net was dropped over my head and the days are marked, "Off." "Midnight." "Late." Late was the late shift, 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. At least if you are going to get a job, get the craziest job you can get, you know? That is what I did.

The honeymoon with the Niagara Gazette did not last long because I had these plans to go over New Year's to San Francisco with my brother George to hear the Grateful Dead. I stuck to those plans -- I made the job let me go, I remember -- and it totally shot my work ethic. The old Sylvia datebook  includes a million notes for the trip. I went back and jotted them on unused pages earlier in the book.

There were money notes about splitting the expenses with George, directions involving Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge and my Auntie Rose, who lived in Santa Rosa. My dear Auntie Rose. She is gone too. She was very anti-job and it was while we were touring the Sonoma wine country that my work ethic officially vanished. I stuck it out for something like two years at the Gazette but things were never the same. They stopped letting me write, was another problem. They wanted me to write headlines but not stories and I became discontented with that.

Back to Sylvia. There were pictures stuck between the pages of hippies George and I met in San Francisco. There was a postcard of the Three Stooges that made me laugh out loud because I knew it was from my friend Daryle and sure enough it was.

There was also a photo of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Nelson Mandela. And a photo of me with George and our sister Margie who, I have to say, looks exactly the same now. Phone numbers of guitarists. Lists of my favorite blues songs.

Really, as Dickens famously wrote, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It would be over 10 years before I met my husband. I was not even yet in my West Delavan apartment. I think I was still living in the haunted Parkside place. What a zoo.

Moral of the story: Do not toss your old datebooks!

They are time machines!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Bosch gets the kabosh

We put the kabosh on the Bosch, b'gosh.

The Bosch stove this is! Not the dishwasher. The Bosch dischwascher -- sorry, you just have to spell it that way, you know? -- is the light of my life. I treat it like gold and buy it expensive rinse aid because it is the one appliance that has not betrayed me.

How did Bosch make such a great dischwascher but blow it with the stove?

Anyway. The saga of the Bosch has been chronicled extensively on this Weblog. It kicked two years after I first bought it, and then, well, it just kept kicking.

Finally I kicked it!

The other day it began leaking gas and that was the last straw. Up until then Howard had been fixing it whenever it broke, which was often. We kept ordering parts. But a gas leak is no joke and so as of today the Bosch was out the door. While I was waiting for the new stove I gave the Bosch the ceremonial kick.

Not long after that the phone rang and it was my Aunt Marce. I told her about the Bosch and how it was finally outta here.

She said, "Well, I hope you gave it a ceremonial burial."

I said: "I did. I kicked it."

Aunt Marce is a wonderful cook and that conversation was a pleasure because I knew that she understood me on a visceral level.

The thing was, that Bosch, it would desert me without a moment's notice. I do my church coffee hour and I could not go on like this, the thing dying on  Friday or a Saturday right when I was prepping for it. It had gotten to the point where it kicked several times a year. What if it kicked on Thanksgiving? Fie on it! Fie!!

So the Bosch got the kabosh.

Because of bad experiences I had had with Orville's over this Bosch, I went with Lowe's this time. Burned by this luxury stove that did me dirt, I am now going with a bare-bones model. It is a no-frilled General Electric with not so much as a clock. Something like this ...

It is just this big blank white stove. No controls. Not only that, it has a broiler drawer. Down at the bottom! I could not believe that.The last time I had a broiler drawer down at the bottom of the stove, I think I was in college.

When I realized that what I thought was the warming drawer was actually the broiler, I could not stop smiling. It is like memory lane! In my college apartments, we had these ancient Laurel and Hardy appliances, and the stove always had the broiler in this bottom drawer. I had forgotten all about that.

Well, you must excuse me now, but I have an Italian pork loin braising slowly on the front burner of my new stove.

A new day dawns!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The new Aldi

There is a glitch with the system tonight and it would not let me upload the pictures I wanted to upload. The only thing I could get to work was "Upload pictures from blog." So I did that and I saw the picture up above and I posted it.

On account of you cannot have a blog post without a picture!

What I wanted to report on was, our new Albrecht Discount reopened after its remodeling. And I went to it!

It is still a work in progress. It still managed to be a bit woebegone even with its remodeling. I think it needs to fill out a bit more. I have been to Aldis in worse neighborhoods than mine and they have looked better.

Also I could not find what I was looking for. It took me forever to find coffee and when I did, they were out of the Beaumont brand, the cheap brand, that I always buy. I had to settle for the 100 Percent Colombian. Which, I do not mind trying it, because I might like it. But still.

There were no good markdowns.

The checkout was slow. Lots of people in line. O look! The blog is letting me post a picture I took.

What other pictures can I post?

I guess I was not in a big enough hurry to catch these limited-time specials.

The view across the store. You see what I mean? It still looks kind of lackluster.

Another picture I took. Photography is sure easier than sketching!

I should have taken more pictures. But once in Price-Rite I was reprimanded for taking pictures. That was funny because I was taking admiring pictures of their spice department. I love their spice department and I wanted to tell the world. Plus, how can a store tell you not to take pictures? You are allowed to take pictures.

Ever since then I err on the side of caution. I do not like conflict.

But next time I go to this Aldi I will be bold and I will take more pictures. Perhaps it will have changed!

Perhaps the Limited Time Better Hurry case will be better stocked. Either that or perhaps I will be earlier.

Perhaps the Beaumont Coffee will be in stock.

Perhaps the checkout lines will be shorter.

I cannot wait to find out!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Summer in the city

As I write this, thunder is booming outside and rain is pouring down. The cat is in the window, fascinated.

We have been having this wonderful summer of weather and this sudden storm bears it out. It is like Camelot. The rain can never come till after sundown.

This evening I got on a bike and went to our historic Buffalo tavern, Ulrich's. I sketched Ulrich's from across the street. I had only about an hour before it began to get dark and I got back on the bike and pedaled home. Before I left I took the picture up above, just for reference. Tomorrow I will post my sketch. It is awesome! Well, I was happy with it, I will say that.

While I was drawing I was thinking: Grover Cleveland drank in that tavern! Odds are my great-grandfather drank in that tavern!

Did my great-grandfather know Grover Cleveland? That is a question to ponder.

When I was nearing my house it was the most amazing thing. There were people everywhere. Kids were swinging on the swings across the street from my house. Couples were walking with baby carriages. People were walking their dogs. All along the street you saw people on the sidewalks, people on their porches.

The city was alive!

It is like this all summer but especially in the last days of summer. The motorcycles too are roaring down the streets. Writing that, I am all of a sudden affectionate toward them. Everyone feels the summer is leaving.

We must enjoy it while we can!