Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category

Tower Of Song

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Vineyard near Villafranca Del Bierzo on the Camino de Santiago

Wandering around Molinaseca we found a bar with a fútbol game on, a match with two local teams, Ponferada vs. Pontevedra. The tables in the bar were full and the bartender, a big guy in a plaid shirt, gave us a tapa with our beer and brought a plate of meatballs out from the kitchen and passed them around to everyone in the bar. It was a 0-0 finish and the the locals seemed happy with that result. Ponferada is the closest town. Maybe they were lucky to get a draw.

It is probably our age but when we walk all day we find walking uphill much easier than going downhill. When you put on an extra ten to fifteen pounds, the weight of our backpacks, you find the bottoms of your feet feeling bruised and the effort it takes to brace yourself against gravity on each downhill step takes a toll. Just saying, certainly not a complaint. The Camino experience is above complaining. We’ll walk by someone who is clearly in pain and they will smile and say “Buen Camino.”

Leonard Cohen learned to play classical guitar from a Spanish musician in his hometown of Montreal. “He took the guitar and he produced a sound from that guitar that I’d never heard… a six chord progression that many, many flamenco songs are based on. It was those six chords, that guitar pattern that has been the basis of all my songs. In 2016 Cohen received the Prince of Asturias award in Oviedo and he had dinner at the place we ate at tonight in Villafranca Del Bierzo. The owner was pictured on the wall with Cohen and The owner’s son helped Peggi figure out how to buy more minutes on her prepaid Vodaphone SIM card while we we sitting under a photo of his father and Leonard.

Virgin del Pilar

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Fiesta Nacional de España, October12 in Astorga

Every time the Virgin Mary appears to someone she gets a new name. And she always looks a little different so there are many depictions. The name associated with Santiago’s Marian apparition is Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Lady of the Pillar, and she is depicted with a radiant golden crown. Santiago, or St. James the greater, one on the twelve apostles came to the Iberian peninsula to preach the gospel and he is the patron saint of both Spain and Portugal but they revere the Virgen Del Pilar more and today, October 12th, is her feast day. It coincides with Columbus Day and is celebrated as the national holiday of Spain, the “Fiesta Nacional de España.”

So a feast day and a celebration of a genocide with a military parade in Madrid that costs 800,000 euros. We walked twenty two miles to Astorga and were too spaced out to figure out how the holy day/holiday was being celebrated. The shops were all closed and groups of people were on the street in traditional garb. We bought some wine and Tejas de Almendra and took them back to our room to toast the Virgin del Pilar.

Leaf Peep Express

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Leaf peeping train leaving Utica for the  Adirondacks

We’ve been watching a Spanish tv show on Netflix called “Ministerio Del Tiempo” where the characters are given assignments that take them back in time, usually for the purpose of ensuring history unfolds the way they feel it should. We are forever backing the show up because the Spanaids talk so fast, Peggi can only catch a bit of it and we can’t read the English sub-titles before they’re gone.

Looking out the window of our train car in Utica I had the sensation we were time traveling. Maybe next year we’ll ride this old train up to Pete and Shelley’s place.


Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Ma and Pa Tierney photographed on their fiftieth wedding anniversary

The Tierney side of my family had its annual picnic today and this one was more fun than all the rest for some reason. Only one set of aunt and uncles is left so it is mostly cousins and their families. I have a lot of cousins on this side and we are all around the same age. It always was when we were growing up especially the Christmas parties at my grandmother’s house where we would all run around while the adults talked in the basement. With most of those adults gone now the reunions are fun again.

My cousin, Kathleen, organizes these affairs and a few years back I told her you can’t call it a reunion if you have it every year. I must have read that somewhere. Anyway, she now calls it a “family picnic.” Kathleen is a natural born leader. A few years older than me, she organized us all when we were little kids. Today she is a nun, a Sister of Mercy. I told her we were doing the Camino in Spain and she had never heard of it, the oldest religious pilgrimage in the Christian world. I never knew exactly where she stood with Catholicism and I was especially curious because of all the recent turmoil so I dove right in. We registered our disgust with the priestly sexual abuse and cover-up and within minutes she was discussing how we can can get to the ordination of women.

My sister, Amy, had the brilliant idea to bring some of the watercolors that our dad left behind when he passed. She arranged them on a table and the relatives helped theirselves, each leaving with some original Leo Dodd’s.

I was talking to my mom’s cousin, Joe O’Keefe, when he leaned in to tell me my mom was always his favorite of the Tierney girls. My mom’s sister, Ann, walked by just as he said that and I said, “Does Ann know that?” He laughed and called me a “no good, bog-trotting, trouble making, Mic,” a mouthful of a phrase I had not heard before.

Outside Of Your Mind

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

Old 7/11 on Culver Road in Rochester, New York

Lee Friedlander called Henry Wessel the “Photo Buddha.” Wessel died recently and in addition to his body of work he left us this beautiful quote. “The process of photographing is a pleasure: eyes open, receptive, sensing, and at some point, connecting. It’s thrilling to be outside of your mind, your eyes far ahead of your thoughts.”

Our yoga teacher talks through the entire class. I like this but he told us one of his former students complained about it. He mostly talks about the pose and I find it helps me to work toward the proper position. Otherwise I would be daydreaming. Sometimes he goes off on a tangent. Last night he told us about a book he was reading on telomeres, the caps at the end of each strand of DNA. He described them as the plastic wraps on the end of shoelaces. His manner of talking is part of the meditation and the class flies by.

Pete LaBonne joins Margaret Explosion on the grand piano Wednesday night. This will be our last performance until November.

Margaret Explosion - Transfigure

Margaret Explosion – Transfigure

That You

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Multi colored hairO on Sea BreezePier

Some people know how to throw a party. Fifty years is a lot to celebrate. Quite a few of us didn’t even make it. I went to my fifth high school reunion this weekend and this one should have been the best. Maybe it was. Maybe the standards have shifted.

I was looking forward to the first few hours of chaos, when everyone arrives and you spot an old friend across the room that you haven’t seen since high school, or someone greets you by name and you have no idea who it is, when someone tells you the silliest story, something they remember about you that doesn’t even sound like you. That you. There is a real buzz in the air as you reconnect and find yourself talking to someone you never said a word to in high school.

We experienced all this last week at Peggi’s reunion outside of Detroit. The ones my classmates threw every ten years went like this as well but something was off this time. The get together at the sports bar the night before was pure fun. Surrounded by giant tvs we managed to whoop it up. The reunion itself, the next night at the old Happy Acres golf club, was almost planned to death. Name tags were distributed as we filed in and we were encouraged to find a table so an MC/minister/classmate could work the room. And after that the town supervisor, also a classmate, said his piece. They killed the buzz in record time but we managed to rise above it all. We just had to work a little harder. We were sitting with Joe and he knows how to act. And before dinner was even finished we were milling about and magical conversations ensued.

We drove out here with Frank, the school president in 1968, and we didn’t want to leave until he had finished holding court with Marianne, Holly and Mickey so we hung out by the bar. A classmate said goodbye but came back about ten minutes later because he had forgotten his sports jacket. The committee was packing up the Party Store decorations when we went out for the car. The guy who had forgotten his jacket was still there, trying to get an Uber. He said he might be impaired and he didn’t want to jeopardize his job. We offered to give him a ride.

The front seat was Frank’s because his hip is new so we asked our passenger to sit in the back with Peggi. He had a hard time getting in because both of his knees had been replaced. We found Frank at the door and met another classmate there who was smoking a cigarette. He had too much to drink so we offered to give him a ride even though our car’s four seats were full. He refused our offer and we left. Peggi asked our back seat passenger what his job was and he told us he was a financial planner. He dropped something on the floor and fumbled around for it. It was a breathalyzer. His own breathalyzer.

Good Sport

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Hitsville USA in Detroit Michigan

Berry Gordy purchased this house on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan in 1959. The soundtrack of our youth was recorded in Hitsville USA. Now the Motown Museum was a must see for us this weekend when we drove to Detroit for Peggi’s 50th high school reunion. We stayed downtown last time we were here and and we were happy to see how much it has bloomed since. We had lunch in the Eastern Market and Peggi bought a “Detroit Girl” t-shirt from a vendor for five bucks. This time we stayed in Royal Oak with an old friend of Peggi’s.

The reunion was a multi-pronged affair. I took photos of Peggi standing in front of two of her family’s old houses and then we met classmates at a bar where a beer and a glass of wine cost us 23 dollars. The group moved to a party at the home of one her schoolmates. He had his drums set up in the basement with blacklight posters on the wall. A group of guys who were in a band when they all were in high school entertained us in a mature lounge punk style. I spent some time talking to a biker, the partner of one of Peggi’s classmates. He had a beard like ZZ Top and he told me he worked in a machine shop long enough to lose a good deal of his hearing, the low end in his left ear and the high end in his right ear. He said if someone calls “she can always tell if I’m talking to a man or a woman because I use the left ear for women and the right ear for men.” The two of them rode their bikes from Detroit to Key West and back this summer.

The following night was the actual reunion, name tags with the high school pictures and all, and it was almost anti-climatic after the shock of seeing everyone the night before. The dj was pretty good and the class got rowdy in a hurry. Peggi and I danced to Spencer Davis’s “Gimme Some Lovin'” and the Detroit Wheels’ “Devil With The Blue Dress.” Both sounded unbelievably good. I’ve been to all five of Peggi’s reunions so I can easily find someone to talk to while Peggi is careening down Memory Lane. A few people told me I was a good sport for going. I thought I was having more fun than that.

Searching For Home

Monday, September 10th, 2018

Pete Monacelli Searching For Home Huberton Summers 1950s No3

The Little Theater tests the waters with movies by only giving them one showing. I was looking forward to the Joan Jett documentary and they have just announced it will be here for one screening, on a Wednesday this month when our band is playing in the Café. We’ll miss Dylan at the Auditorium because that too is a Wednesday. Tomorrow night “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda” plays the Little at 7pm. Our friend, Stan, called our attention it this one. Sakamoto was a member of the the Yellow Magic Orchestra and is an Oscar-winning film composer. After the Fukushima disaster he became an an outspoken social activist against nuclear power in Japan. A few weeks back I posted a link to a set of music he compiled for his favorite restaurant in NYC.

I’m starting to feel like that guy you see at every art opening chowing down the food. We went to two this weekend. On Friday we drove along the Parkway to Albion for Pete Monacelli’s “Searching For Home” show. This series is mostly flat, hard edged paintings with architectural shapes pulling and pushing the plane. On Sunday we stopped by Margaret Spevak’s opening in the Café. Her quilts happily cross the boundaries of craft and art. Both shows were delightful.

We’re Gonna Touch

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Minimally Concert Hall in Fairhaven New York

Olcott and Wolcott, are both about the same distance from our house, one in the direction of Buffalo and the other on the way to Syracuse. Both are idyllic little towns on the shore of Lake Ontario, surrounded by fruit orchards. We visited both this summer and pushed it yesterday by continuing on to Fair Haven, the town after Wolcott.

Matthew was our guide. I had not been here since I was a kid and I was anxious to see the diving boards along the channel that runs off the lake into the state park. The hardware is still there but the boards are gone.

We parked in the center of town near the library, next to a street person who was sitting on the lawn. He was barefoot and wearing cut-offs, that’s it. Matthew introduced him to us and he stood up to say, “We’re going to touch” and he gave me a polite hug.

The town is charming. It swells in size over the summer and has three art galleries. We visited them all before heading to Little Sodus Inn, a dark funky bar right at the bottom of the bay. We passed a sign that read, “Curfew in Effect 10PM to 5AM Under 18 years of age.” The bartender’s top was cut really low yet it never ran out of tattoo covered breasts. We took our beers out in the sun but I could see spending some time in there.

Walking toward the lake by some dreamy cottages we stopped at the “Fly by Night Cookie Shop and Miniature Museum,” a fairytale like place run by a large German woman who looked like she stepped out of a Bruegal painting. We picked out cookies from glass jars, chocolate rum balls, “Hee Hee” cookies shaped like marijuana leaves and coconut almond macaroons.

Our next stop was a general store on Main Street with a “No Skateboarding or Loitering” sign out front. First thing that caught my eye was a shelf of gag items, a lollipop that will turn your tongue blue, birthday candles that you can’t blow out, and a bloody bandaid with a nail through it that you can wrap around your finger. A table near the door was stocked with local produce. We bought peaches, apples and eggs. The counter near the cash register was surrounded with tiers of Bic lighters, Bill’s Beef Sticks and five short stacks of “Big Slab” Beef Jerky in a big transparent case. Your choice of “Original, Black Pepper, Teriyaki, Sweet n’ Spicy and Cajun.”

Back at our car the shirtless guy was still on the lawn and a young couple, maybe eighteen years old or so, was sitting on a bench. The woman was was clearly strung out and she jumped up to pace with her phone. She walked around the building and returned holding the phone out to the guy and asking the person on the other end if they wanted to talk to daddy.

Corporal Punishment

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Virgin Mary statue in front of Bishop Kearney High School on the first day of school 2018

I went to two high schools. This one, above, is Bishop Kearney. We walked by there yesterday on our way to Starbucks. I like how the Virgin Mary, flag and cross on top of the building line up. I went here for two years and couldn’t wait to get out. Back in the day the whole left side of the building was for girls and we were on the right. The nuns and Irish Christian brothers lived on the top floor. The gymnasium was straight ahead and there was a little closet-like room between the gym doors where the brothers would take you and apply corporal punishment if you misbehaved. It was a Catholic thing. We had dinner with Martha O’Connor the other night and determined that her brother, Kevin, was in my class. I think I remember him. It was a long time ago. RL Thomas, where I went for my second two years, was a lot more memorable.

Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theatre Café every Wednesday in September. Here’s a song from our last gig.

Margaret Explosion - Homeward

Margaret Explosion – Homeward

Hearting The ADKs

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Big caterpillar on road in Adirondacks

Peggi’s phone read 93 degrees when we lost our cellular coverage so it stayed that way for two days while we were off the grid. It was too hot to do anything but sit and talk. And when dinnertime came Pete had some Tabouli, tomatoes and freshly pickled cucumbers ready to serve.

Out on the road the next morning we walked two and half miles toward Crown Point and before turning around. Long before the Revolutionary War the British fought the French at Crown Point on Lake Champlain. This is a dirt road and the only vehicle we saw was a logging truck.

The temperature dropped about forty degrees the next day. I dumped the rain water out of the rowboat and the four of us went out on the marsh. The sticker on the side of the boat said it held 400 pounds so it road pretty low. The boat didn’t have any oars so Pete worked a canoe paddle from the rear and Shelley sat up front with another paddle. Peggi and I sat in the middle and we floated through yellow pond lilies from one beaver dam to the next. It is incredibly beautiful up here.

We drank Gennys by candlelight and listen to tracks from the Gigunda vault.

Pete LaBonne – Acorn Girl

Desire of Ages

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Steel box near river on Plymouth Avenue

We couldn’t decide which way to walk. When we got to the corner we paused and then went the way didn’t go yesterday. We discussed coffee and the headed toward Starbucks. We heard someone on a P.A. in the distance, maybe at the town hall, so we headed that way. There was garage sale going on in the old farm house on Culver, the one set way back from the road. I was looking at a Snoopy Pez dispenser and Peggi was looking at some wine glasses when the homeowner came over to say they were closing up shop and they were just going to take everything out to the curb. He offered to get us a box that we could fill up for five bucks. That was easy.

We grabbed the glasses, a Blue Ray box set of the Godfather movies, dvd of Mystic River and Kill Bill. I chose three eps, Tom Jones Live, Ray Charles Crying Time ad the soundtrack to Dr. Zhivago which is primarily Lara’s Theme.We took a stack of books, As I lay Dying, Of Human Bondage, Main Street and the complete works of Shakespeare. And for good measure I through in a book called The Desire of Ages, the 1898 life of Christ by Ellen G. White. Each short chapter is illustrated. I might just cut the pictures out. We told the owner we would be back in a few hours to pick up the box.

A big band, comprised of old people and teens, was playing in the band stand behind Town Hall. That must have been what we heard earlier. They did “Happy” and then KC’s ”Boogie Shoes.” We had seen a sign for the Sea Breeze Fire Department Festival, something we had stumbled onto years ago while we were out biking, so we headed toward the lake on Kings Highway. We found a big cooler with a bag of ice and a five inch stack in individually wrapped American cheese slices in it. The festival was apparently the day before. We turned around and spotted a pair of Santa and Mrs. Claus gnomes, about ten inches high, sitting under a shrub in someone’s yard. So cute they must leave it up year round.

Acorn Girl

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Bag of potato chips on blue sofa by curb along Culver Road in Rochester, New York

We tell how humid it is by how easily our front door closes. When we’re home we keep it locked but slightly ajar so we can get in without a key. A gentle tug closes it part way, the bugs stay out and we have easy access. When the humidity is really low the damn thing closes behind us. It was really low today, a perfect day for a walk to the beach. And once there we walked out the pier. We are headed back to Spain to complete our walk and we have just started to ramp up our milage.

We had dinner with friends last night. The youngest in our midst was an old friend’s son. He was playing country blues on a three quarter size guitar when we arrived. I went to high school with his father and he has been dead for quite some time now. We are still friends with his wife, Chuck’s “Acorn Girl.” I was struck by how much the son reminded me of his father. I wasn’t expecting it for some reason. I thought his father was truly one of a kind. I think he would be so proud of his son.

Here is one of Chuck Cuminale’s songs, “Acorn Girl,” as performed by Pete LaBonne.

Pete LaBonne – Acorn Girl

Salvaged From A Shredder

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

Flowers at Amans on East Ridge Road in Rochester, New York

Aman’s Farm Market picked up the slack when Abby Wambach’s parent’s place closed and they’ve been busier than ever. It’s family run as well but they have been around since 1867. They are great alternative to Wegman’s for fresh corn, strawberries and peaches. Their perennials are half price now so we put a few Vermillionaire plants in our backpacks and planted them out front by the four horseshoe chairs. Jim Mott painted the chairs and he was sitting in the fourth while he painted these three. They came from grandparents place on Gregory Hill Road but you can still get metal chairs just like them. We are delighted to find the small, orange, tubular flowers of the Vermillion plants are Hummingbird magnets.

We read this morning that the FBI was able to reconstruct shredded documents and use them to prosecute Trump’s lawyer, Micheal Cohen. I’m trying to imagine what that project must have been like.

Iron Cannibal Choppers

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Woods off of Kings Highway in Rochester, New York

There was hardly anyone on the golf course when we cut through this afternoon. Maybe it was too wet. We saw the beer lady in her cart and she was just sitting under a tree studying her phone. We came across a dead skunk on one of the greens with a puncture wound in his stomach and surprisingly it didn’t stink.

At the lake we took Kings Highway up to the library. We walk on the shoulder going against traffic as cars act like its a drag strip in that isolated Stretch. The undeveloped part of the park was thick and lush, too thick to even walk through this time of year. We usually stop in the library, study the new releases, and use their bathrooms but we didn’t have any time for that today. We were headed over to Deborah Ronnen’s to check out some new prints. Our favorite was by Kiki Smith.

We passed a Harley up on the sidewalk and grey haired biker on his cell phone. It wasn’t until we were right on top of him that we were able to read his t-shirt. “Iron Cannibal Choppers.” At the end of street we spotted a big patch of orange Chanterelle mushrooms. While we were walking a I made a mental note to look up Genesee beer and BlackkKlansman when I got back. I thought someone would be talking about the Genesee neon signs in the bar scene. Either they carry the local beer in Colorado Springs or someone scored a strategic product placement. I didn’t find anything.

After our art preview we had the Sesame Tofu special at Lanai and talked to the chef, Rico, about Hawaii. Peggi complemented him on the soundtrack, most of which she first heard her mom play on weekends back in the first Polynesian wave.

The Corn Is As High As

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Jared and tall Indian Corn 2018

Jared’s grandkids broke his glass rain collector but he estimated we had almost two inches of rain the other night. Other parts of the county got up to nine. I expected to find some of our tomato plants laying on the ground but they were all still standing. Peggi brought home a bag of them and we plan on making gazpacho. We’ll use the cucumbers from next door. Maybe try this recipe. We were trying to estimate how tall these corn stalks are. Our best guess is fifteen feet.


Monday, August 13th, 2018

Yellow wrought iron chairs on Fairlea in Rochester, New York

These are the kind chairs that you don’t sit at. They are in the front yard of house near us. We pass by often and we have never seen anyone sitting in them. They are nice looking and perhaps that is enough.

We started getting serious about putting away some money rather late. Our band was doing a Happy Hour gig at the Bug Jar and Steve Brown, one of the three original owners, was behind the bar those nights. He worked for Merrill in the day and he encouraged us stop by his office. He made it all fun, recommending a few things but mostly coaching us to buy what we like. Of course we bought some Apple. Steve moved on and these days we check in with Joe Marchese out at MCC every couple of years. He guides us toward a comfortable 60/40 balance of equities and fixed income. After a ten year bull market we had some shuffling to do. Our key strategy though is fairly simple. We just don’t spend that much.

It seems you can’t talk about anything these days with Trump coming up. I think we said said something about tariffs and Joe said, “I understand economics but we’re dealing with a nut case.”

Welcome To The Jungle

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018

Red Wing Stadium as seen through sun glasses

We had not been to a Red Wings game in years but we see still has the naming rights to the scoreboard. We parked off Alexander Street where there was free alternate side parking and we hoofed it over to State Street. The Wings were losing 2-1 to the Scrantom/Wilkes Barre Railriders at the top of the second when we walked in.

I caught a foul ball. Well, I didn’t actually catch it. It bounced off the seats next to us and I grabbed it. I gave it to some kids sitting behind us. 7,000 people were in the stands for a day game and I felt like I was back at the Norton Street stadium with my father on a Knot Hole Day. The Wings were wearing different uniforms and playing under the name of “Rochester Plates,” some sort of promotion marking the 100th anniversary of the Garbage Plate which originated at Nick Tahou Hots just around the corner from Frontier Field. Between innings the announcer said, “There is nothing more Rochester than a Garbage Plate.”

They still play ten second samples of the Ramones, “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!,” Gary Glitter’s “Rock n’ Roll” and “Welcome to the Jungle. Fred Costello’s live organ sounded better than any of that. He did snippets of “In A Gadda Da Vida” and Mungo Jerry’s “Summertime” and then a full, jazzed-up version of Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman.” There are distractions galore, kids games between innings, conversations going on all around you, people on their cell phones and generally not watching the game.

I tried Louise’s sunglasses on when we were out at their place boating. I loved the color of the lenses and I bought my own pair at a local Rite Aid. I took this picture through the sunglasses. We went into the bathroom and they were playing the radio broadcast of the game over the speakers in there. Only there was I drawn into the nuances of America’s favorite pasttime.

For Janet

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Ted and Janet Williams at the Bug Jar Margaret Explosion performance in 2001

“Primordial Fleamarket: Sometimes the communist household object strikes you as having been made in geological times, rather than some manufacturing era. Glorified objects . . . rarefied.” Wendy Low echoed this quote from Janet Thayer Williams when she asked, “Who can look at a whisk broom and not think of the stitching in Janet’s painting?”

Friends of the William’s family gathered on Laburnum Crescent today to remember Janet. Someone made a convincing argument that Janet was still with us. Her paintings were were on display throughout the house and once I found this one, “Wite Out” from 2006, I stayed put beneath it. I first saw it in the tunnel between the new downtown library and the old building across the street. They often display art there and this painting stopped me dead on my tracks. The typewriter keys sang and leapt off the canvas as if some fantastic story was unfolding. It wasn’t on the page. It was somewhere between the mind, the keys and the page. I told Janet how much I loved it.


Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Small house at 236 Coolidge in Rochester, New York

Everyone is buying less, driving less, eating locally and reducing their footprint. If you’re thinking of downsizing, this small house on Coolidge Road is for sale. We’ve walked by it many times but have never seen anyone coming or going. We asked a neighbor if anyone lives in there and he said someone did for many years, a relative of someone else on the street, but he said it had been empty for a while. We noticed it had just come on the market and it comes with a full sized house right next door. It caught my eye because it is about the size a the small house Dave Mahoney and I lived in in Bloomington. Someone broke in there and stole our stereo. “Burnt Weeny Sandwich” was on the turntable and we were left with just the jacket.

Peggi and I did battle with some wasps today, a fairly big project for us. They were building a paper nest inside the umbrella by the pool. Bees kept coming and going and you couldn’t get near enough to open it so we really weren’t sure what was going on under there. We brought a candle down there, something Peggi had picked up to keep bugs away. We lit that for starters and set it on the table under the umbrella. My cousin had just paid us a visit a few days ago and she gave us a small box of essential oils. Peppermint and Lemongrass were in there, oils that are supposed repel bees. We put some of that on a cotton ball and taped it to the end of a long stick which I shoved up under the umbrella. They didn’t like it and flew out but stayed close. Others kept coming and there were twenty or so around the umbrella but they were more confused than anything.

We went home for some soap and water, something we had read they really don’t like. We put it in a spray bottle and misted them and the umbrella. Once we got the umbrella up we found two paper nests and no bees. Its supposed to rain tonight so that will clean up the mess.