Watching Gerhard Richter run a huge squeegee over his wet painting in a YouTube clip the interviewer asks Richter “How do you know when a painting is done.” Richter answered “When nothing bothers me. And I don’t know what to do next.”
This afternoon we walked a dvd of “Dazed and Confused” over to the library this afternoon. We always find something there to bring home and when it’s due we walk back with it and start the cycle all over. We had seen the Richard Linkletter movie before but it was more fun this time, maybe because we are so far out of high school. Talk about archetypes, this movie nailed them. And the soundtrack has aged really well.
We walked along the lake yesterday looking for the beach. It’s there but underwater. We knew it was supposed to rain but we thought we could get a walk in. What we didn’t count on was the Open House detour we took when we saw the sign in front of the Highlands on Lakeshore Boulevard. There are seven gorgeous homes up there, all but one looking out over the lake from that big hill.. The house we looked at used to be owned browner of Edwards Restaurant downtown. We used to go there when Peggi’s parents came into town. Coming back through the park we noticed they had cancelled the Arboretum Tour and then, boom. We were caught in thunderstorm.
We buy Canaltown’s Rochester Choice blend and were getting low so I called Pete and had him put together a couple of big bags. We parked in the empty parking lot of the old Tops, our store of choice when we lived in the now hot North Winton neighborhood. We decided to take a walk before picking up the bags so we headed downtown on the north side of East Avenue. I had something to drop off at RoCo and we took a last look at the local landscape show while we were there. I was struck by how good looking this show is. Nine widely different artists and yet it hangs together.
We found a flyer there for a used book show at the library so we kept walking. Peggi found a small Rouault book from 1959, just one year after Rouault’s death, from a time when art books customarily had color plates glued to the pulp pages and these are knockouts. Clowns, prostitutes and religious paintings. The book was a dollar. Two of the four Rouault prints my father had on our living room wall can be seen in this family photo. I am a fan.
We walked out of downtown on the south side of Eastman, picked up our coffee and took it across the street to Wegman’s Italian restaurant where we split calamari, roasted beet salad with pistachio vinaigrette and octopus. With all the great Italian restaurants in this town Wegmans gave it a good shot.
I asked our smart speaker to play some Peggy Lee and the first one out was “Is That All There Is?” probably her most popular song. Personal Effects used to do a version of that. But this setlist went deep and reminded me how much I love her. I was especially struck by how good “Where or When” sounded so I went to my library to mark it as a favorite. I only have so much time left to listen to music, as we all do. It already had five stars on it.
We tried to track down Peggi Lee when we were out visiting Peggi’s sister in Belair. We even bought one of those star maps that had her house marked on it. We were on foot, a dangerous way to get around the Hollywood Hills and her house was just too much of hike.
I thought the song below was the most interesting from last week. Nothing like Where or When. That’s my nephew’s drone on the cover.
I knew something was up when I saw our neighbor, Jared, coming back from the corner with his noise cancelling headphones in his hand. We were still reading the morning paper but we waved to Jared and he came up to the door. He told us his wife had gone out for coffee and had to drive under the power lines that were stretched to the max under a fallen oak.
Jared said Spectrum TV was down there and a “cute little reporter” had interviewed him, inquiring how residents were impacted the storm. He said he told the reporter he likes a good storm. By the time we got down there the power company had stung yellow tape across our street, sealing us in. They cut the power and tree surgeons were preparing to go to work. When the power came back on we found Jared’s interview online. He told us “they cut out all the good parts.”
Wegman’s was wacky before the snowfall. We walked up there along Sea Breeze Way and had spaced out enough on the way to have forgotten about the impending storm. We remembered when we saw cars backed up trying to get in the lot. Shoppers were almost giddy. A guy from Custom Brewcraft was pouring tall samples of their new IPA. Every cashier lane was open and our cashier was moving so fast she put a jar of Miracle Whip from the guy behind us into our bag. Of course we had paid for it so we had get in the Customer Service line to get our money back.
It snowed enough on our walk back that we decided to put our skies on and try the woods. There was just enough to cushion a fall but we both stayed upright. It snowed so much last night that by this afternoon we couldn’t even see yesterday’s ski tracks. There were seven deer standing in the creek. We stopped on the bridge to watch. Only 9ºF my fingers were too cold to take a picture.
When the holiday fanfare dies down and the neighbors leave for Florida the heart of the season is just beginning. The lakes in Durand have ice fishermen on them, high school kids are playing hockey in the coves and hundreds of ducks are flocking together beyond the ice formations along the shore of Lake Ontario. The slate grey skies make the male cardinal look like it is on fire. And the threat of 18 inches over the weekend has made us giddy.
Warren Philips framed a print for us. He called to say it was ready for pick-up so drive over there this afternoon and found him sitting in the window of shop, eating lunch with the lights while listening to Christmas music. From the looks of what was left it was a healthy lunch, both fruits and vegetables. We got a total cost from him and then walked down East main from his shop near Goodman to ESL at Winton and Main to pick up some cash. The five mile loop took us though our old neighborhood and brought back all sorts of memories.
About half the houses on the North side of Main have been torn down and there’s a lot of new buildings like Auto Zone. The giant Eckerd’s that put in where Kadri’s gas station was is now a Dollar Store. The Comic Book Store is gone. East High was letting out when we passed. Amazing how much energy those kids have. I found a Trump playing card on the ground near the school, the queen of diamonds with “Melania, Supermodel” on the back. We used to get a Friday Fish Fry at My Brother’s Place, now Club Soda where the bikers and cops hang out. Economy Paper is still in business. We had a salesman from that place call on us at 4D. Eastern Printing is still cranking. We did many jobs there.
Fleckinger’s Meat Market is a tax service place. That guy knew my grandfather. Salvatore’s, the original location at Wisconsin Street, has the whole block now. The founder’s father, Fred, owned the grocery store across the street. Bertha’s is gone. It’s a laundramat. We stopped in there to go to the bathroom. There is a Puerto Rican restaurant where Mooney’s was and Effinger’s German restaurant before that and Jamaican place across the street. Carroll’s Irish Bar painted their place dark grey for some reason. Fam’s disco is a teen center. The greenhouse is a coffee shop for recovering alcoholics. Mustard Street, where French’s used to be, looks as bleak as ever. Nobody remembers any of this stuff.
Personal Effects “Silver Finger Nails” from “90 Day In The Planetarium” 1987
I know I’ve been out of sorts when I don’t find any interesting photos on my camera. It is always with me and I usually start a blog post by looking back at what I have brought home. And then I sort of write to the photo sometimes. Just as often the text has nothing to do with the visuals and that makes its own statement. It is at least a starting point.
It has been a few days and this is all I found. The deer are nearly camouflaged and the photo reminds me of those old Highlights magazines. I remember them in our house but I mostly remember them at Dr. Cleary’s, our family dentist. He had an office on the sixth floor of the Medical Arts building on Alexander Street and my mom would take all six of us, Amy wasn’t born yet, to the dentist at the same time. We usually all needed his attention but there wasn’t a babysitter if you didn’t. We devoured the Highlights magazines and there was always a feature where you had to find a list of things hidden in a photo. I’ve gotten pretty good at it but I could never spot these three deer before they spotted me.
Turns out our car is totaled so we took to the internet to shop for a new one and a few days slipped by. And then there was that whole day we spent looking for the title of old car. If they still made the Element we would already have a new one but they don’t make them anymore. Bob Martin thinks we oughta be looking at panel trucks.
Years after this photo was taken an Academy Award winning movie was shot in Bloomington Indiana and this quarry was featured in a scene. My father took this photo when he came out to visit and I love the body language. I look scared and my brother, Fran, looks like he’s having the time of his life. Funny, too, that I took diving at IU as a PE requirement. The teacher was, Hobie Billingsley, the US Diving coach. The first thing he had us do was climb the ladders to the high platform, walk to the edge, turn our backs to the pool and fall backward in a stiff, plank-like position. If executed properly you do a full rotation and land first. If not, ouch. He was building trust.
I just called my brother for some advice. Our insurance company has passed our claim on to the “Total Loss Department” and we’re waiting to hear what they plan to offer us for it. My brother knows cars. I have no idea what goes on under the hood. We love our car but it a 2003 Honda Element and they don’t make anything like it anymore. We moved the contents of our city house to this place in the car. My drums slide in with room for Pete and Shelley. We carry firewood from down below in it. My brother recommended a bay sho and we hope to have them get our car back on the road with insurance pay out. My uncle was our insurance agent in the old days. I don’t know if I can trust these guys.
And I don’t mean Brooklyn Academy of Music. The jolt was like the ones you got in the bumper cars at Willow Point Park when your friend slammed you in the rear. We were turning left into Jeff and Mary Kaye’s driveway and we weren’t quick enough for the driver behind us. He/she closed the gap and clipped the right rear corner of our car. Took the whole section of the car that holds the taillight right off. And he kept going into the night. When the Monroe County Sheriff showed up he said, “Welcome to 2018.”
We tried to shake it off and got down to business. Jeff’s stereo was acting up. His amp kept turning off. I plan to bring my old one there next time. He clicked on a Flash update and inadvertently installed something that gave him error messages but it wouldn’t come up while we were out there. His Airport extreme, a device Apple no longer makes, was flashing yellow. I opened Airport utility and updated the firmware. Mary Kaye never got an Apple id when she bought her phone so she was signed in as Jeff and was getting all his work related email. Peggi set Mary Kaye up we with her own id. Jeff’s Pages docs were all showing invisibles.Jeff didn’t know what they were. They look like the old typesetter marks and “Show Invisibles” was turned on. I turned it off. Last on the list was getting Jeff’s photos on his tv. You have to have the Photos app open before you can find them from your tv.
We drove home with one taillight and made it. Peggi installed the Allstate app, took photos of the damage and we expect a quote for repair tomorrow. They cover most of the cost for a car rental so we walked up to Enterprise and came home with a little white thing from Korea.
Don Hershey designed our house with with a very slim roofline. The one story structure has a low 2/12 pitch and as the roof is pitched down the four foot overhangs have a slight pitch upward. The facia board is very narrow and there were no gutters. A previous owner added a gutter around two sides of the garage and to get enough pitch for the water to roll they had to replace the facia with a wider piece of cedar. The gutter prevented ice from forming near the door but over time the the corners leaked. I patched them a few times but it didn’t last and the corners were especially treacherous in the winter. I thought there had been an innovation of some sort and gutters were were now made without any seams so I asked around for a contractor to replace ours.
A guy came out to give us an estimate and he was very professional. He told us a crew would do the work and he scheduled the job. The forecast called for rain that day so they rescheduled. They called the morning of the new appointment and said they would have to cancel again because of the rain. I said it wasn’t raining here but that didn’t matter. We were given a new appointment, a month away, when we returned from Spain. It was raining that day but they showed up anyway.
There were two guys. The foreman told us the other guy was new and he didn’t speak much English. I told him Peggi could speak Spanish if that helps. He bent over to pick up a tool and I noticed he was wearing flannel boxer shorts with cartoon characters on them. I went in the house and they started work. About five minutes later the main guy rang our bell and said he had to go to Urgent Care because he smashed his knuckles with his hammer. He had his blue stocking cap wrapped around his hand.
They came back out the next day but this time there were three of them. The new guy seemed sharper than the others but he kept his cell phone in his pocket playing music the whole time. They cracked the facia board ripping the old gutters off and used long screws to attach the new gutters. They came out the back of the facia board and are visible if you look up. I came out to check up on them and the lead guy showed me the pitch by holding a six inch level along the bottom of the gutter. My neighbor has a six foot level. This looked like a toy. When they left we found scraps of metal and nails in the driveway and I noticed a long sections of the new gutters wasn’t even screwed in. They did me a favor. I’ll do that with shorter screws.
We were in Target trying to get a look at the new iPhone XS when everyone’s phones sounded an alert at once. Peggi found it kind of creepy. I was thinking how we were all connected in some new, magical way.
Outside a woman in a big black Suburban hit the curb behind us and then zipped around us to park. We were on foot and I was thinking how our yoga teacher got hit by a shopping cart which had been propelled by a car in the parking lot of Cosco. You have to walk defensively.
Target is the only thing left in Irondequoit Mall and walking across the vast empty parking lot is a surreal experience. The pavement is a cracked and littered with cigarette butts and tiny bits of of trash, mostly plastic. We are already here from the future doing a cursory, shallow archeological dig. I found this broken snow shovel and stuck it in ground at the end of the pavement.
We are only one Rochester walk away from Camino part two. I’m already thinking rocket fuel at Starbucks for that last loop from the house.
This old lumberyard on Holt Road in Webster looks like a movie set now. I took this shot from the side of the place as we walked the Hojak Trail. We started at North Ponds Park and walked to Drumm Road and back seeing only a handful of people the whole time. We felt like we were on the Camino again, an easy straightaway portion of the Camino, with a natural stone or mud surface and a clear trail, the old railroad line. We were almost to the lake when we turned around and will push it that far next time. I’d love to see where that guy drove through the barricade and into the water on Lake Road.
Our credit card has been compromised three times in the last year. Is that average? I don’t feel like we’re reckless but maybe we are. The repercussions are crazy. When we told the Visa representative that this was the third time our card was compromised she told us that our card was not “compromised” but someone had committed fraud with it. An interesting technicality. So that would be one compromise and two frauds in the last year.
We suspect the other fraud happened when we bought gas up near Niagara Falls. Someone skimmed our number when we inserted our card at the funky pumps. About five months ago a vendor where we used our card had their database attacked so we had to get a new card and that was a “compromise.” On Friday night we bought gas at Herrema’s down near Charlotte. Visa had told us to pay in person rather than use our card at the pump but the place was closed and the only way to pay for gas we desperately needed was to pay with a card at the pump. We pay most bills on line and contacting all our vendors is a pain in the ass.
The brakes on our 2003 Element went funky over the weekend. Not bad enough to reach the calipers but they just started falling apart. I called B&B Auto and they were able to take us in so we left before breakfast, dropped it off and walked back home. We stopped at I-Square for a latte and watched this woman scraping the wooden steeple on the church across from the House of Guitars.
We spotted a handmade sign across the street from the town hall for a “Record Album Sale” so we stopped to check it out. A guy with a black wig was loading a car in the driveway and he seemed bothered that we interested in the sale. He told us to wait a minute while he locked up the dogs and then he led us to a small room with thousands of records. “Everything is a buck” he said and that was the last we saw of him.
The records were in surprisingly good shape, some never played, and there were multiple copies of many. We had a short stack in no time, Nino Roto’s soundtrack to the Godfather, KC and the Sunshine Band, Art Tatum, Stand by Sly and Family Stone and something I had never seen before, Our Memories of Elvis with a picture of Elvis’s father and the Colonel on the front.
A woman was screaming at someone on the phone in another room. It seems her brother wanted her to pick him up and help him take back his empties. When she hung up she came in the small room to ask if we wanted some napkin rings. Peggi said no and then the woman asked if we canned. Peggi said yes, but that was as far as that conversation went. And then she started complaining about foreign people. “They want everything for nothing. Always trying to talk me down. I gotta get rid of this stuff. I’m just gonna give it all away.” She asked Peggi if she could get rid of the words on her tv. She said, “I’m a little hard of hearing but I don’t need the words at the bottom.” She was watching QVC and screaming at one of the contestants.
She got on the phone again and told someone that the guy had met someone on Facebook and he was moving out. She said, “I hope it’s a scam.”
We are only a week away from the start of the season for La Liga and this guy is dumping his match time chair!
I like it when late summer slows things down to a crawl. Boring is not the right word for it, I find myself in too much of a stupor to feel bored. We linger longer after the horseshoes fly. I’ve been on a losing streak, though, and I’m wondering if it might be the logy weather. But why wouldn’t it affect my opponent? In a few weeks the cooler weather will clear my head and I’ll be productive members of society again.
I volunteered to do the name tags for an upcoming high school reunion. I did them ten years ago and I still have the files. Someone in the class is sharing a Google spreadsheet of who’s coming with me and I’m working my way through them. I see Matt Sanfilippo has not sent his check in. He signed my yearbook, “Italian Power Forever!”
It’s too bad this view from 25th floor of Buffalo’s City Hall building doesn’t show you what the building itself looks like. With tips from the NYT Travel Section column we spent 36 Hours in Buffalo and were just starting the final 24. We had already been to Big Ditch Brewery for their award-winning IPA and we had dinner at the Mexican place recommended in the article. We had walked along the waterfront as the sun went down in Canalside Park. We were staying at the refurbished Lafayette Hotel downtown. The article had recommended two other places. The Lafayette was designed by America’s first woman architect, Louise Blanchard Bethune, and was intended to be ready for the Pan American Expo but it wasn’t finished in time. It was big and funky, something like the Overlook Hotel in the Shining. My uncle told us he used to have lunch there but in later years it became what he called a flophouse. We located these places from the the observation deck of City Hall and we met an Indian couple up there who were visiting their daughter in Buffalo. They told us they had been to the Hindu Temple in Rochester.
When our band played Buffalo in the late seventies and early eighties I never knew where we were. I could get to places like the Continental, McVans, the Garage and Nietzsche’s but then we’d head off to a late night party in loft downtown or an apartment off Delaware or to some crazy late night food joint and I’d be totally lost. It would take us forever to get out of town.
This time stayed downtown and walked up to the Albright Knox. We zig aged and found Rowhouse Bakery, a dreamy coffee shop/bar/restaurant. We walked around the museum of course and then back downtown, stopping in Allentown for a local beer and dinner at Tempo, an Italian place with an Ellsworth Kelly print hanging over the fireplace. We ate out on the patio and split two appetizers and a beet salad. We were full before dinner so we stopped. We clocked ten miles before the day was done and now have a much better sense of the lay of the land.
We stayed up late watching the display in the fake fireplace and we started our day with a Cortado in Public Espresso + Coffee on the ground floor of our hotel. They had cool black and white art on the walls, paintings somewhere between Franz Kline and graffiti, and design magazines scattered about. Most of the customers seemed to be carrying on business via laptop or phone. We entered my Aunt and Uncles address in Niagara Falls into our phone and headed up there for the afternoon.
We set the alarm this morning so we could be on the beach by 8 AM for Marijana’s yoga class. It was already hot and I spent half of the class under my towel. Marijana worked a mindfulness theme about taking the time to enjoy the moment. She said when you are thirteen you can’t wait to be fourteen but if are sixty four you are in no hurry to turn sixty five. English is not her first lanquage so she had cute way of urging us to let go of time. She didn’t exactly say “let go” but I can’t remember what she said. I made a point to remember it but now it is gone. We all went swimming in the lake after class.
We read the paper down at pool and then visited our neighbor, Sue, who has been tending to Monarch butterflies. She spots the butterfly eggs on the bottom of the milkweed plants and brings those portions of the plants to the netted cage on her porch. The eggs turn into small caterpillars who eat the eggshell and then the leaves of the plant until they get big at which point they crawl to the top of the cage and curl up into a pupa. That thing stays green and then turns clear enough for you to see the butterfly inside all curled up. They drop out of the pupa and Sue releases them. If it isn’t a miracle it is pretty close.
We rode bikkes over to the the Port of chestier and and sat down just as it started to pour. There is some sort of sailboat race going on at the Yacht Club and we watched them all come in from the storm. Lou Reed’s “Waiting For My Man” was playing on the sound system when we sat down at the restaurant there. I told the waitress the music was god and she said that isn’t often the case. It stopped raining before we finished and we rode home in the sun. We walked up to Starbucks today for a Cold Brew and get in the door just as a thunderstorm struck. We need the rain. We took a few sips and the storm moved on. It never even rain back home.
I consider myself lucky but I am not as lucky as my neighbor. He has thrown so many bounce ringers, ones that hit the pit maybe one or two feet from the post and then bounce at an angle right on to the post. I have not won a round of three in a week now. He is good, no question, and I don’t mean to diminish his abilities. He has thrown so many of these that if it was just luck he would be one lucky SOB.
I have analyzed this situation. He throws a double flip. I throw a single flip, that is one revolution before ideally heading for the stake in an open position. And he has a much higher arc than I do. My tosses are low and hit the pit with forward momentum. His drop from a higher elevation and when they hit the scooped out pit they often bounce toward the stake. Another factor is the unusually dry summer we have had. The ground is firm enough to support a good bounce. I have to either make a change to my toss or wait for the weather to change.
Our wedding was kind of loose compared to today’s productions. We had been living together for three years so it wasn’t a surprise or anything. And we had just moved to (in my case “back to”) Rochester so it was kind of small. My parents friends and relatives made up a bigger portion of the attendees. We had a few friends in Rochester and a bunch came from Indiana where we had previously lived. Most of them stayed at our apartment where they slept on the floor.
We had an anniversary the other day and I got the wedding photos out. We asked my brother to take photos and I remember him saying he had some problem with his light reading but the photos we have look great. I forgotten who all came. I remember hiring this band. Peggi and I heard them down at the lake in a place called “The Showboat.” It was right across the street from the Penny Arcade. I think they were called “Beale Street Bandwagon” or something close. They went over really good especially with the old folks. Judging by the pictures I’d say my parents’ friends had more fun than almost anyone. Peggi and I had a blast.
Today is the halfway point of the Jazz Fest and The World Cup so it is too early to predict a winner but if I had to choose now there is no question, the World Cup wins. There has been an abundance of sensational matches. Unpredictable and thrilling, two words I could associate with this year’s lineup. We’ve time shifted games so we can watch them all but we’re at the stage now where two games are played simultaneously to settle the final standings of each group. Half go on, of course, and yesterday Spain tied Morocco with a late goal at the same time as Iran tied Portugal. And today we learn whether Messi goes home.
Life is short. Except if you’re Pete Tierney (no relation to the Tierney side of my family). Pete lived at Saint Ann’s down the hall from where my parents were for the couple years of their lives. He was in his 105th year and his obit was in the paper today. He attributed his long life to Mt Gay Rum. “Just the right amount every day.” There was another fellow on the same page who died with only one regret, that he didn’t live long enough to see Donald Trump thrown out of office. Old guys like me say they check the obits everyday and if we don’t see our picture in it we carry on.
I’ve been keeping track of the groups we’ve heard at the Jazz Fest over here.