Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category

Standing Rock

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Inside out Pomegranate on kitchen counter

I was so happy to read that the Army will not approve an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. A real victory for the Native American tribes and protesters!

The RoCo Members show is always a treat. It is my favorite show of theirs most years with one work from every member and there are a record number of members this year. The show is still visibly pleasing and credit must go to those who hung the show. Or maybe it is simply the abundance of engaging work. This is really something for Rochester to be proud of.

Louise brought us two Pomegranates for Thanksgiving dinner. We had one with Mascarpone for dinner that day and we hung on to the other. I cut into it this morning and squeezed and knocked the seeds out as she had shown us. It was juicier and much sweeter than the first. The inverted shell looked quite exotic, like coral or something, and I took a few shots of it. It would look good in Instagram’s square format.

Earth Art

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Chopped up leaves on the front yard

My watch says I walked 7.56 miles yesterday and I never left the yard. We raked and then mowed our leaves. In a good year we only mow the so called lawn once but we have mowed (aka mulched) the leaves four times. This should it. We have about two inches of chopped up leaves out there and it looks something like Robert Smithson’s earth art.

I Don’t Know

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Maple leaves standing in the snow in late November

Many Maple trees, the Sugar Maples in particular, turn brilliant colors early and drop their leaves before the oaks but Norway Maples turn yellow and hang on. When they fell en masse a few days ago, with rain/wind/snow punch, they landed upright in the snow. It looked unnatural, like an art installation or something.

Recording live, as we do at the Little Theater, has spoiled me. The song is done as soon as we play it. We put a title on some and post them on the site but when we hit two hundred songs I started looking for ones to retire before putting another up in its place. The song below was recorded last week. Conceived, played, mixed and recorded in as much time as the song is long. Simple.

Multi-track recording is a whole other story. We got together here a few months ago, six sessions, a couple hours each and laid down some improvised tracks. Since then we’ve done piano overdubs. We’ve looped sections created ending through editing. We mashed a few songs together as one. Peggi doubled one of her sax tracks. We’ve replaced whole tracks with new takes. We tore the drums and bass out from under one song and put congas and electric bass on it. We’re adding bass clarinet next week. All this is a lot of work. Many nights are consumed with compressor settings and reverb plug ins. I haven’t even had time to check in here.

Does all of this sound any better than closing our eyes and knocking the songs off live? I don’t know.

Listen to “Inner Dialog” by Margaret Explosion, recorded last week at the Little Theater Café
Margaret Explosion - Inner Dialog
Margaret Explosion – Inner Dialog
Margaret Explosion plays Wednesday evenings at the Little Theatre Café.

Waiting For The White Out

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Green and brown leaves on concrete driveway


Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Sewer manhole cover at the top o Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York

I guess I never came across our town seal until the other day. Gerundegut is the Native American word for “Where the Land and the waters meet,” a perfect description of town, now know as Irondequoit. When we lived in the city I chronicled the nearby manhole covers in this slideshow. I’m going to start looking down again.

Bare Bones

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

10 point buck off Wisner Road in Rochester, New York

The day before election day we saw “A Palo Seco” perform at the Dryden Theater as part of the Eastman’s World Music Series. The New York based company puts a contemporary spin on raw, “a palo seco” or bare-bones flamenco, minimal musical accompianment with some improvisation. Mostly this was voice and percussive dancing, heals clicking and hands clapping. We loved it. Check out their video.

The day after the election there was blood on Hoffman Road in two different spots, both near houses with “Repeal the Safe Act” signs. I know there is a controlled deer bow hunt on property nearby and maybe the wounded wandered around before dropping but we’ve always thought people take deer on their own property even if they do live within the the town limits. There’s far too many deer around here. They decimate the undergrowth and the next generations old growth. But you can stop and look at these guys standing still just ten feet away and they don’t flinch. There can’t be much sport in taking them out.

I Shook Danny Wegmans Hand

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Paella cooking over an open fire at Wegman's Next Door restaurant

Next Door (by Wegmans) threw a “Tapas and Paella” party over the weekend. As hardcore Españaphiles we couldn’t resist. It was pretty expensive so we were afraid to suggest it to any of our friends but we ran into Tony who comes to see Margaret Explosion and we mingled and had a great time.

They had some famous Spanish chefs there cooking paella in huge pans over an open fire on the patio. There was a bar out outside and seating around a couple of fire pits. Tapas were prepared and served inside where a band, Roja Jazz, was playing. They did a great job creating a Spanish atmosphere. The tapas came fast and furious, Manchego and Valderon cheese, pulpo swimming in olive oil, shrimp, champioñes and of course, Jamoón Iberico.

Outdoors the temperature must have been in the forties but the conversation was lively. We were talking to someone about Spain and he told us he was somewhat of a train buff. He and his wife had taken the high speed train from Barcelona to Madrid and then down to Sevilla. We said something about the effort to get a high speed train here and he said, “Well, I’m with Don Trump,” which sounded like a non-sequitor until he explained he didn’t think the government should be subsidizing the trains. Oh, and Danny Wegman was there. I saw someone shaking his hand so I want over thanked him for having this event. I told him my mother was a Tierney and they were all in the grocery business in Rochester. He interrupted, “I know who the Tierney’s were.

Peanut Butter Bagels

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Musical entertainer at the Friendly Home in Rochester, New York

We had lunch with my mom yesterday and I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. A Vassar girl some seventy years ago, she told me she was in the Yale Commons that morning and they were serving peanut butter bagels. Her mother and dad were there too. I was trying to figure out whether the peanut butter was baked into the bagel or spread on top. She said she was trying to eat one with a fork and she just couldn’t get a piece of it. I told her most people pick up a bagel with their hands and eat it that way. She said I know that but I couldn’t get a hold of it so I asked for a fork.

Bush Whack

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Red Algae near Brickyard Trail in Brighton New York

We met Richard Carstensen in the back corner of Temple B’rith Kodesh’s parking lot and headed off into the woods, bushwhacking style. We were wearing our socks on the outside of our pants, our shirts were tucked in and our Permethrin hoods were up. We skirted but deliberately stayed off the newly dedicated Brickyard Trail. We found fox holes and frogs and butterflies. They are still out there.

Above The Thick Of It

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Frank Paolo waving from his apartment on Saint Paul Boulevard in Rochester, New York

We bought tickets to the Landmark Society’s “Inside Downtown Tour,” mostly newly renovated loft spaces in the old garment district but a couple of historic churches and the Clade Brandon designed Chamber of Commerce building were included. My grandmother worked at Suberba Cravet, the tie makers, whose building was right around the corner and my grandfather worked for a shoemaker here before he opened his restaurant. Frank Paolo lives right in the the thick of it or, more accurately, above the thick of it, but his Brutalist building was not included. Someday it will fit landmark status. We called him and asked him to step out on his porch so I could take this picture.

Most of the open plan lofts were under a 1000 square feet but the ceilings were so tall and the windows so large, in some cases floor to ceiling, that the spaces felt very livable. One of the developers of HIVE@116, Dan Morganstern had his place place open and his wife greeted us at the door. We ran into Gap and Janet Mangione there. The Morgansterns had a huge place and the walls were covered with art. Peggi spotted two of her clown paintings from RoCo’s 6×6 show. They looked sensational!

Our Lady of Victory Church was giving away Saint Theresa medals from Italy so I put on on my keychain. I had not been in World Wide News in years. I went in just to see if they still sold magazines. They do so I bought aN Art Forum. We finished with a complimentary Genny beer inside the the Micheals-Stern Building.

Food Issue

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Display in waiting room at Thai Mii Up Restaurant in Rochester, New York

We checked out Thai Mii Up, the new restaurant up on Ridge Road, by bringing home an order of one of the chef’s specials, “Salt and Pepper Shrimp.” It was especially lively with a whole jalapeño pepper sliced like you would slice bread and mixed in with the lightly battered crustaceans. I would go back.

Aman’s will be taking their “Fresh Corn” sandwich sign in for the winter pretty soon. The corn was coming from a farm in Hamlin and now one in Penfield but the clerk told us it was coming to the end of the line. We had some black bean and mango salad at the Genesee Co-op the other day and I wrote down the ingredients. It was delicious and corn was in there(Black bean, mango, corn, sweet bell pepper, garlic, olive oil. cilantro, red onion, lime juice). I plan to make it with last night’s corn leftovers.

Louise brought us a small grape pie. We split that for breakfast.

We took care of my sister’s dog for a few days. Clarabell looks exactly like the Hush Puppy dog and people can’t resist her. We had neighbors come out of their houses to pet the dog while we were so-called “walking” her (letting her poop on someone else’s lawn and then retrieving the poop in a Wegman’s bag). My sister bought us some peanut butter fudge to thank us and made short work of that.

It is our neighbor, Sue’s, birthday so Peggi made her a cherry pie and plan to walk it down to her as soon as it cools.

End Of The Line

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Rochester Subway movie at the Little Theater in Rochester, New York

At one time Rochester was the smallest city in the country with a subway system. Most of the lines were above ground so it was more of a streetcar system but it sure looked cool in the movie we saw at the Little Theater tonight. It was screened in Theater 1 and we almost didn’t get in. It was sold our so we put our names on a wait list and then spotted the director, Fred Armstrong, who told us about a couple of seats up in the balcony, the best seats in the house. This movie is twenty years old and was narrated by Walter Dixon. All the old-timers featured in the movie are dead and it made me realize how lucky we are that this history was preserved in film.

My father would talk about the subway all the time. How he’d take it to the end of the line with his family and his dad would go in to a bar there while he went swimming with his sisters. They had a great panel discussion after the movie with the directors, a city councilman and a state transportation engineer and a couple of guys from the The New York Museum of Transportation. They would have you believe the streetcar is still viable and could be in our future.

Chicken Goes To College

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Rochester skyline from Cobbs Hill

I had never heard of “Cornell Chicken” but our neighbors had. Rick and I were playing horseshoes and he told me the Cornell Cooperative Extension on St. Paul Boulevard was doing their annual chicken barbecue. He asked if we wanted him to pick up a couple of dinners. We didn’t have any dinner plans so I gave him twenty bucks and he took off. He called about ten minutes later to say he was a night early.

By the following night he had already told the neighbors down the street about the Cornell Chicken so he picked up six servings of chicken, boiled potatoes and corn and we ate on their new porch. You may know that Rick and Monica traded houses with the young couple who lives across the street from us. We listened to Duane’s “Crucial Roots Chapter 2 Dub and Circulate” and the dinner conversation swung from corporal punishment in Catholic schools to recreational drugs. Close calls and busts but mostly funny. War stories for a certain set. One of the group is from Jamaica and another via Puerto Rico but the stories are all the same because we are all about the same age.

As far as I can tell Cornell Chicken is salty and fairly dry but it has a nice barbecue flavor.

We stopped up to see my mom today and decided to do our day’s exercise up at Cobb’s Hill. We walked around the reservoir a few times interrupting a women’s exercise group in the main building each time we circled. And we stopped to watch a couple of City employees unlock the gate and go inside the reservoir with a long handled net. They came out with a pair of white, high-top running shoes. Someone had thrown them in our drinking water.

White Comet

Friday, September 16th, 2016

65 Mercury Comet at Vic's Place in Rochester, New York

I knew we would meet the owner of this 1965 Mercury Comet inside Vic’s Place. In fact, we sat right next him at the counter and struck up a conversation right away. I started by asking him if his hood had blown off. He said, “No, everyone asks to see the engine so I just leave the hood home.” He told us there is a vintage car show every night of the week around Rochester. In fact he rattled them off and recommended the one at the Shriner’s place on Bay Road tonight. You can get a good fish fry there too.

We were out riding bikes this morning, in and out of all the little neighborhoods that back up to the lake in Sea Breeze. We’ve been keeping our eye out for a house for Brandon at the Friendly Home. We saw an old campaign sign that read, “America Against Obama 2012” and a few new ones for Trump. “Repeal the Safe Act” signs often accompany the Trump signs. There was also one that read, “Veterans and Military Families for Hillary” and then one that read, “2016 We’re Doomed.”

We stopped at Vic’s Place for lunch. I know Duane will be jealous if he reads this. We usually save our visits until he comes to town. It’s a pretty heavy lunch. Peggi had a grilled cheese and fries and I went with a white hot and onion rings. A guy came in with a t-shirt that read “Shoot Them All and Let God Sort Them Out.” I had not seen one of those since the Viet Nam days and this guy was too young for that. Most of the people who eat here are pretty unhealthy looking. I watched a guy come in with a crooked walk. He sat nearby and ordered, “3 Texas.” Three! I couldn’t imagine. Around here the choice is “Porker” (what I had) or “Texas.”

We continued down to the lake and stopped amidst a sea of twenty something Pokeman zombies. We were watching the boats come into the public dock when a woman called for help. She was trying to pull a man from the water. I went over and helped her get him out. She told me he wanted to feel the water but then slipped in. I asked how he liked the water and the woman said “he can’t hear, see or speak.” As we rode away I was wondering how she knew he wanted to feel the water.


Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Canoe in Braddock Bay near of Rochester, New York

It was supposed to rain today and it didn’t. Just the way it has been going. We are still in a drought. Not that it has affected our garden. There is plenty of water from the hose and we’re only a mile or so from a Great Lake. Our plants have been loving all this sun and we have more produce than ever. We’re overeating to keep up with it all.

This summer’s record heat has driven us to the water. We rode bikes out Edgemere Drive where this photo was taken and down to the bay where Seneca Road dead ends at the Newport Yacht Club. We’ve been to Sea Breeze, Summerville and Charlotte more times than ever.

Today we rode through the park, along Lakeshore and then up Oakridge to Titus where we stopped at the library. I checked out “Kill ‘Em and Leave,” the new James Brown biography. I’m hoping its as good as “Buck Em,” the Buck Owens autobiography. Matthew let me borrow that one and I zipped through it. Who knew the star of Hee Haw had near perfect pitch and a photographic memory. His band used to play 14 hour sets. No break at all. And he juggled women.

The water in our pool has dropped to 75 degrees. In yesterday’s 85 degrees it felt great but the temperature dropped today. I’m hoping this dream doesn’t end too soon.

Riding First Class On The Titanic

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Nathan Lyons outside Spectrum Gallery in Rochester, New York

I took this photo of Nathan Lyons a few years ago. He had some work in group show at Lumiere Gallery. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. He used to teach a summer workshop at Visual Studies and I toyed with taking that for years. I heard him talk at his most recent book release and I was kicking myself for never taking his workshop. He brought so much more to the table than what meets the eye with his work. He used his photos to tell bigger stories than the image by constructing diptychs and series and uniting whole collections in books that read like great American novels. Somehow I thought this kindred spirt would be around forever.

Tall Tales

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

John and Fran Dodd with heavy equipment on Labor Day

My brother, Fran, is a mason. He is the best around so he works all the time, most holidays but not Labor Day. He had a good bit of our family at his place for a picnic, Francis style. His back porch is covered in leftover culture stone. A stone barbecue takes centerstage in his backyard. It’s topped with big pieces of slate. A large worktable constructed with metal scaffolding and thick wooden planks sits off to the side.

Fran wears Home Depot work gloves as he mans the grill. He soaks the corn, husks on, in a giant plastic tub, something you’d see at a work site. He gets his car from a farm down the road. It has been picked only hours ago. It is so moist and sweet it would a crime to put anything on it. He told us when he works late he just calls the farm stand and asks them to put a few ears in their mailbox so he could pick it up on his way home. Fran makes better ribs than any of the Barbecue joints.

My sister, Amy, made raspberry tarts like the ones my mom used to make. While we had those with ice cream my siblings shared stories of disjointed but moving conversations they’ve had with the residents at our mom’s place, the newest members of our extended family. Each tale more delightful than the next.

The Ledge

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Plywood window on yellow concrete block wall, East Ridge Road in Rochester, NY

Claire, our soccer buddy, texted Peggi today about Heather O’Reilly‘s retirement from the women’s national team. She told Peggi to let her know if she needed help talking me off the ledge when I heard the news. Let me just say, “I’m ok.” I kind of suspected this was coming when she was moved to an alternate position at this summer’s Rio Olympics. She is still my favorite US player. I loved watching her watch the ball and continually position herself in the open space while signaling for the ball. Wearing number 9 she would switch sides and run up and down the flanks on both defense and offense, leapfrogging the front line to cross from the corner. She was always in the right place and never let up. Best team player bar none.

We washed the windows on the outside of house today and when we got around back I noticed this big old plastic thermometer. It was mounted near the window so we could see it inside and it looked so old fashioned. I hadn’t noticed it in years but I do remember using it when we first moved in. Our thermostats inside display the outside temperature and our computers, tablets and phones. My watch even has the temperature on it. I got a screwdriver out and took it down, the one on the back of the house too. Now I have to find a place to recycle the mercury.

Andressa & Poliana

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Old Corsair at Durand Eastman Beach

Last night’s Flash match with the Houston Dash was a fitting end to to the season’s home games. They have four more on the road and are in second place so the hope is they’ll get in the playoffs an we may have one of the championship games here. Last night’s score was two two. The match went back and forth and was played at a fairly fast clip with constant turnovers. Lynn Williams should have had the first goal. She went one on one with the goalie and delivered a shot directly into her arms. She redeemed herself with beautiful assists to both Flash goals. Peggi and I had fallen in love with the Brazilian team during the Olympics so it was a treat for us to watch two of their players (Andressa and Poliana) playing their club team match with Houston. I love how the Brizillians use only the first names of the players on the backs of their jerseys.

We spent the afternoon down at Durand Eastman Beach swimming and watching the party boat people anchored just off shore. A couple of snorkelers floated by and people standing up on boards with long paddles. A group of Asian kids were playing soccer in the sand next to us and all was right with th world.

Secret Life Of Fish

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Fallen tree sculpture with sun in woods near our house

The pachysandra on the hillside between our house and our neighbors really took a hit in this summer’s heat. It was brown and shriveled up before we got a good look at it. So we dug up some healthy pachysandra that had grown over our sidewalk out front and transplanted it on the hillside. We poked holes in the hill with a stick and stuffed the plants down the hole on by one.

While we were working away we could hear our neighbor, Jared, on the other side of the hill working on his goldfish pond. He had friend in town and the two of them took the plants out and reworked the banks of the pond so the water is a couple of inches deeper. They lined the edges with this linoleum-like product called “Rock-on-a-Roll” and then they returned the big rocks that surround the pond. The final touch was putting the plants back in the water and we overheard Jared telling his friend, “this way they have something to hide under and a place to go to dick around.” I don’t usually think of fish dicking around but I like the imagery.

We hadn’t seen a movie in the theaters a while so we found one tonight. “Indignation,” directed by James Schamus and based on a late Philip Roth novel, is fantastic.