Saturday, December 28, 2019

A Christmas wreath

In 2020 I want to write in this Web log every day. And so I am going to get warmed up now.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me now that I wrote every day for so long. My mother passed away and it is as if she lives on, because all these little conversations we had, all the fun we had, is right here. Plus all these things I would have forgotten, I remember them! Because I wrote them down.

Why everyone does not keep a Web log I will never know. But anyway. In the spirit of this new resolution...

My friend Meghan, pictured up above, and I made wreaths!

This was on the Second Day of Christmas, also known as the Feast of Stephen.

We went for a walk through Delaware Park and collected things we would need. We amassed pine boughs, several different kinds. And beautiful wintry berries, probably poisonous because they were sitting there having not been eaten even by birds. There were black and red berries.

As Meghan said later, the red berries were like gold, because there were so few of them. But the black berries were striking! And when we got back to my house we realized that I have growing by my front door -- drum roll please -- actual holly! With the red berries and the shiny leaves.

So we cut all this stuff up and we went to work at my dining room table.'

Later I swept everything up and I thought I had done pretty well. However Howard went to sit down for dinner and he goes, "What the heck?"

His chair was covered in pine needles!

Not so surprising considering not long before the table had looked like this ...

... but still.

Long story short I have a wreath on my door, better late than never. Howard admired it. And I am happy with it.

And today, the Fourth Day of Christmas, I actually sent out a couple of cards.

What will things be like by Twelfth Night?

You never know!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Love Boat

Thursday was Howard's and my anniversary. We have been married 15 years!

I think the first year I had this Web log going it was only five years. We went to Fanny's that year. Haha, I laugh reading back on that. Fanny's was where we met. That was 2009.

The year after that, 2010, we went to an Asian restaurant called Orchid, because Fanny's had closed.

That was the year Howard showed his aplomb with chopsticks.

In 2011 we went to Oliver's.

In 2012 it seems we celebrated at home. Howard brought me roses and we had lobster from Wegman's.

In 2013 our anniversary coincided with this terrible snowstorm. Haha, I remember that snowstorm. I was just thinking about it the other day, because it was my worst drive home from work ever. I had forgotten it was our anniversary.

But it did! And after St. Christopher got me home in one piece we went to Tokyo II.

That was where we went on Thursday. It is hard to beat a Japanese restaurant. The yelling, the screaming of the birthday parties. The 18th century headdress they put on the birthday girl. The booze they spray into the mouths of the people gathered around the table. These birthday parties are always going on and it is so funny and so much fun.

Howard took the picture of me at the top of the post. That is me with the Love Boat! That is what we always order.

Back home, Howard had special ordered a bottle of German caraway liqueur. It is called Kaiser Kummel. That name would make sense to anyone in Buffalo because we are used to Kaiser rolls and Kummelweck. Kummel is caraway!

I tried it without looking at the label. I sipped slowly and then I said: "That is caraway."

Sure enough!

One of my favorite things.

Kaiser Kummel has been around for over 150 years which means Johannes Brahms could have tasted some. And he did, if I know Johannes Brahms and I do believe I do.

Sushi and caraway!

I wonder what the next 15 years will bring. I do not know but I believe I know one thing.

It will be good!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Christmas decorating begins

Today I decorated the mantel for Christmas for what I believe to be the first time in my life.

I mean, I had decorated it before with Candle-Lite candles and whatnot. But it has always been kind of slapdash, as Jeoffry, above, has clearly realized.

Today for the first time, I got some garland and mounded it on the mantel and put lights with it.

Which looks pretty good if I may say so myself.

I am playing host to our Christmas carolers this week so I need the house to be festive. We had great success last year and so this year we are feeling our oats and thinking of adding to our repertoire. We are dreaming of "In Dulci Jubilo" and the Gloucestershire Wassail.

Our surroundings must be right! Next I will go about putting up the tree. I might do it right now. I might wait till tomorrow. For tonight I might just rest on my laurels, you know?

I have a rule I am abiding by and that is to use what is in my house. That explains the colored lights. I know white lights are more tasteful. But colored lights were what I had and you know what? I like them.

I make no apologies!

Recently watching one of those corny Hallmark Christmas movies, about which more later, I saw a comment from someone in ... Denmark, I think it was. One of those countries.

He wrote: "You Americans, do you all decorate your houses like that? I think it is ugly."

It did not matter that a few minutes before, I might have agreed that the houses were overdone. All of a sudden I grew defensive.

What a rude jerk!

Butt out, plain Dane!

Go back to your hygge!

We will decorate our homes as we see fit. All of a sudden I want to overdecorate my house and I will not stop until it is done.

Wassail, wassail!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A farewell on Hertel Avenue

The Kmart on Hertel and Delaware has closed and overnight, the sign came down.

It is harrowing to see.

Whereas in my sketch of Kmart the lot was filled with life ...

.... now all is bare and desolate.

What with the building knocked down yesterday that is two of my art subjects that have disappeared in the space of a couple of days. I mean, with Kmart we knew it was coming, but still. When it actually happens that does not make it easier to take!

Howard wondered if our friend Ryan had bought the big sign. But no, he had not.

Another friend had gone in early on hoping to buy one of the interior signs but they were all gone.

I should have drawn the interior of the Kmart. I should have drawn everything in it.

On account of you never know!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A farewell on Ellicott Street

As I wrote on Facebook today, I love sketching around Buffalo because I like to celebrate what we have. It makes me so sad when something I've drawn passes into history.

Today downtown I saw that this old building on Ellicott Street was destroyed. My friend Meghan and I were going from St. Michael's to Starbucks to sketch and we thought at first it was a fire. But we have since learned it was an emergency demolition because of neglect. The landlord had neglected this building and the roof began to cave in.

This is the sweet building with the peaked roof on the right in the sketch I did standing on the sidewalk last summer, of the block with Maureen's Flowers.

Darn it all! That is what I wrote on Facebook and one friend complimented me on my resistance to bad language.

Now I am officially like Charles Burchfield and his "Rainy Night" building. The buildings next to the main corner "Rainy Night" building are gone but they live on in his picture.

This building lives on in mine.

It is bittersweet because now, looking at the picture, it is like seeing a ghost. I remember that beautiful summer day I drew the sketch, from the sidewalk across the street. When you look at the sketch now I see that the building that came down today, the picture would not work without it. That roof added height and variety. And I admired the roof. I got in the little details that made it so cute.

We are all railing about this on Facebook and another point I made on a friend's page is that to make matters worse it is on a prominent downtown street. There is a gap now that cannot be filled.

Our friend the photographer Phil Pantano took that picture of the loss. Horrible. He ran it side by side with the sketch. I will not do that because No. 1 it is heartbreaking and No. 2 I do not have the technical know-how.

Buffalo! I love the place but sometimes....

Can you stand it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Happy cat

For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.

That is a line from "My Cat Jeoffry" and I found myself saying it because, well, our cat Jeoffry is better.

He had a cold for a few days and was sneezing alarmingly. He was not quite snoozing a lot. He was still on his feet. But you could tell he was not his true self.

He became his true self at a most inconvenient time of course when I had just cleaned off my desk and was trying to get work done.

How was I to interrupt him when he was scanning the yard below looking for the groundhog?

"Is there a groundhog?" We ask him that.

"Is there a Chihuahua?" Poor Jeoffry was down with his cold and scarcely noticed the Chihuahua at Thanksgiving dinner. Now that is it for the Chihuahua until next Thanksgiving! Our friend Larry's mother brought the dog and there will not be another chance for Jeoffry to see them again until next year. I keep thinking the Chihuahua is a he but it is a she. Her name is Precious.

Precious is precious and so is Jeoffry.

For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.

For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.

Our cat is once again complete!