We borrowed chairs from our neighbors’ for Christmas Eve dinner and returned them today along with a plate of cookies. Peggi made two kinds, Christmas butter cookies from her mom’s recipe and cardamom cookies from our friend, Shelley’s, recipe. Our neighbors showed us all their cookies and offered us some homemade toffee. We took a plate of cookies to neighbors across the street too. Turns out they had been making cookies all week and they offered us some of theirs. They have a 3D printer and printed a replica of their Don Hershey house a few months back. They had their mini house on a some snowy white felt along with four new Irondequoit-centric 3D print-outs, House of Guitars, Rubino’s, Pasta Villa and DiVincenzo’s Bakery.
We invited my siblings and their families for Christmas Eve dinner. My brother, Mark, comes up from New Jersey with his family, my sister, Ann, came from her seven day Christmas season shift at Parkleigh and our niece, Brittney, from our old neighborhood. We started with appetizers and conversation, wedges of Spanish Manchego cheese with quince paste, Greek olives from Wegmans, smoked salmon from Jeff Spevak’s backyard with Señorío de la Antigua Rioja.
We overate for dinner. Peggi made applesauce with Jonagold apples from Schutt’s and we served a baked ham from the Co-op, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mixed green salad and Pears al Vino Tinto, poached pears in Red Wine for dessert. This is why Santa Claus looks the way he does.
“What if the physics of entropy was sliding between humans and objects through pure inertia?” The artist, Carlos Irijalba, uses this premiss as a springboard for his current show at Galeria MPA in Madrid. We popped in and out of a dozen small galleries on Calle Doctor Fouquet. This is our third time wandering the neighborhood behind the Reina Sofia and we were happy to see it has continued to blossom with a heavy dose of art.
We loved the Wim Wenders movie on the pope. And against all odds we’re still rooting for him, Francis. With all the walking we have been doing friends keep asking if we’ve seen Wenders’ “Paris Texas.” And of course we have but it has been a long time. So it was no surprise that the movie on our train from Madrid to Leon was “Paris Texas.” Harry Dean Stanton’s dialog was dubbed and the subtitles were in Spanish so it was a different experience.
Our first stop in Madrid, as we stumbled around the old city waiting for check-in, was this small church. People were gathering for mass so we only had a few minutes to look around. I paid my respects to this statue of Christ depicting a scene from the Passion while Peggi studied a depiction of the Virgin on the side altar next door. El Camino, part 2, is laid out before us.
Five or six miles takes a good sized bite out the day but we are less than a month away from part two of our Camino walk and we need to be ramping it up. Peggi plotted a loop from our house that took us over to the bay, down to the lake, across Lake Bluff Road (where I photographed this house on the lake) and up Birch Hills to the trail that runs along the lake at Durand. When we got to Kings Highway we scurried across the golf course to Hoffman Road. We were surprised to see a vehicle in the driveway of the house on the hill, the one that has sat empty and unfinished since the original owner walked away from place the because he couldn’t figure out how to put a driveway in. Of course he should have given that some thought before he built the house.
Bankruptcy takes time. This house sat empty for eight years. Wouldn’t it have been in someone’s interests to get an occupation there who is paying both a mortgage and taxes? I don’t get why it takes so long. Suddenly it is on the market again and sold in days. The house is built close to the road on such a steep hill that it took three switchbacks to get to level of the garage. And by the time you get up there you don’t have enough room to turn and enter the garage. The driveway is mostly washed out now but this guy got a four wheel drive pickup up to the first turn. He told us the “house was a steal.”
Forget about walking along the beach at Durand. The lake level is too high again and there is hardly any sand visible after all that rain.
We met our friends for Fungi pizza at Napa Bistro in Webster. I had been playing Sly and Family Stone singles before we left, I kicked it off the set with with “Family Affair,” and realized I had two copies of “Everyday People.” So I gave one to Matthew and Louise at lunch. Matthew tried returning the wine glasses we had left out at their place but I refused them. Louise was wearing a vintage t-shirt from her brother’s band, Luna, and we talked music, art, home improvement and boating. The time flew by.
The Church of the Transfiguration, on the corner of our street, was having a cookout toady. We had it on our calendar for a month but we had the timeframe wrong and they were packing up when got there. So we came home and ate leftovers.
We were walking back from Starbucks on Brown Road when I looked down an especially boring looking side street. The lawns were so brown. I looked up to see it was Greenlawn Street. We need rain.
I love the ride out Route 18. Like Highway 1 in California it follows the shoreline, in this case from the Port of Rochester to Niagara Falls. We didn’t go that far. We stopped in Olcott Beach where they were having something called the Jazz Trail, one band after another all day long at various locations in the tiny town. It is just far enough away from the cities to be funky. There was a big amusement park here years ago and there still is a small one for kids. We saw a few signs on people’s lawns that said, “No Dollar Store In Olcott.” Bars change hands here and the shops are all tiny souvenir places. I looked at t-shirt with a foamy pint class on it. It read “Love and Hopiness.”
Saxophonist, flautist and vocalist Bobby Militello was playing with his quartet on the stage in the middle of a park. He was a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet and Maynard Ferguson’s band. They sounded great. We walked around town and watched a fishing charter take off. Olcott was hit hard last year when the lake levels were so high. They had to line the beach with concrete slabs to keep the sand in. The lake had turned over last night. The water temperature was 48 but there was a few kids in.
We stopped at a few farm stands on the way back and came home with cherries, peaches and corn.
Eleven o’clock seemed a little early for a beer so I passed until halftime but then gave in when Croatia scored. We watched the World Cup Final down at our neighbor’s place. They had a few of their Jamaican friends over and we all pretty much cheered for Croatia. They played a better game but lost. The only statistic that really counts is the number of goals. There was quite a bit of food and the match flew by. I wanted it to last forever. One of the guys brought cod fritters (cod, broccoli, batter and habanero peppers). They were killer! We brought two home for dinner and had them with a fresh salad, arugula, kale and cilantro, all from the garden.
We picked up our 6×6 purchases this afternoon and I photographed three of them out in the driveway. I’m really happy with these. The first one, probably done by a kid, is every bit as cool as Hans Hoffmann’s push pull stuff. It commanded the main wall as you walk in the gallery. The beachball is an irresistable knockout. Just a bit of the air has escaped and the three primary colors heroicly define the form while the white circle on the top of the ball is just small enough to make you question it all. And that hotter than July ground! As my neighbor pointed out “La Avocat” should really be “L’avocat” but it is not. The painting is not the fruit either even though it says it is. We had to bring this home.
I certainly wasn’t cheering for Belgium when they went against Brazil but once that ended badly I was convinced Belgium were the stronger team and a deserving finalist. In fact, I even entertained thoughts of the end of the so called beautiful game. Brazil’s finesse and ball control was no match for the strong, physical Belgium side, sort of the way it was when I was playing for Webster Thomas. Our coach wore a beret and drove a Citroen. He taught us an early version of the light touch, European style. (He’s currently serving life in prison for molesting kids.) Our rival, Penfield, had a football player die the year before so they did away with their football team for a few years and all those big lugs played on Penfield’s soccer team. It was a nasty matchup but I think we prevailed.
So, I had resigned myself to the new world order. No Neymar, no Marcello, no Brazil. Spain, with seventy per cent possession had gone home. Germany, last year’s untouchable champion, was home. Argentina, with the world’s best player, was home. I tried to warm up to the Belgium side. They had the possession. They kept putting it in the box. It was only a matter of time and then, after a few dazzling fast breaks, France scored on a corner. Belgium had the big guy lurking in the box but he couldn’t get a touch on the ball. France was nimble, quick on defense, very few fouls, and when they got the ball, the whole team moved toward the goal. They passed (my favorite part of the game) beautifully. Mick Jagger was in the stands. They are the youngest team in the tournament. Their star player is nineteen. If they can play this well in the final England will be going home.
We had to watch the host team, Russia, play Saudi Arabia in the the opener. The opening rounds come fast and furious. The only reason they qualified is because they were the host so it was fun to see them win 5-0. Spain and Portugal, the Iberian rivals, played to a 3-3 tie. We desperately wanted Spain but despite their incredible possession stats, Ronaldo was unstoppable with three goals. And he could have had a winning fourth if he had done what any minor league player would have, just run toward the goal for scraps after you set your teammate up. Wouldn’t want to muss his hair.
Argentina and Iceland was a great matchup. Smallest country ever to qualify vs Messi and company. We sided with Argentina and the 1-1 tie is what they deserved. As bad as we wanted Brazil to win they couldn’t top Switzerland so their 1-1 tie gives both of them just 1 point in the standings and Serbia vaults to the top of that group with their win over Costa Rica.
The ties were good games, all of them, but it felt so good when Mexico defeated Germany 1-0. I think they blew Germany’s minds, like Jessie Owens did in the 1936 Olympics. This was an exhilarating match, probably the best of the Cup but I hope not. The methodical Germans kept their cool and maintained 61 percent possession but Mexico, when they got the ball, knew exactly what to do with it. They sprinted toward the goal. And although they took only half the shots Germany tried, they put one in. Without the US in this thing we are all Mexicans!
Peggi has a whole set of fans in connection with her Don Hershey website. One of them emailed this afternoon to see if Peggi wanted to get inside a house designed by Hershey on Parker Drive in Pittsford that she was considering buying. It was built for Robert Brown in 1951 and was featured in “Quality Budget Houses, A Treasury of 100 Architect-Designed Houses from $5,000 to $20,000.” The most recent owner was an RIT professor named Jeffrey Jones. Jeffery was an intern at Time magazine in 1965 when he interviewed Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival. Dylan wrote “Ballad of a Thin Man” about Mr. Jones.
“You walk into the room/With your pencil in your hand/You see somebody naked/And you say, “Who is that, man?”/ You try so hard/ But you don’t understand/ Just what you’ll say/ When you get home/ Because something is happening here/ But you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mister Jones?”
I went along for the ride and was surprised to see Mr. Jones’ name on the front of the house by the mailbox. And there was a poster for the 1965 Newport Folk Festival in what was called the “Play Room.” Mr. Jones died in 2007 and NME did this piece.
Not sure who lives here now but the house was rather sad. It had been neglected for well over a decade and every so called improvement that was done to the home before that was half-assed. And on top of that it appeared the original owner took Hershey’s plans and then built the house himself, cutting every corner imaginable. There is no basement for starters and the exposed interior rafters aren’t even long enough to do the span so pieces were bolted together. The porch, which is enveloped by the house on three sides rather than sticking out from the house, has a fireplace and floor to ceiling screens on the front. I wanted to sit down with a book.
Instead of the quarter million asking price it should be a tear-down. With a few modifications the Hershey plan should be re-executed.
The two Swedish women are only going a short distance tomorrow. One of them told us she had “Blasen” on her feet. Her partner used English. “Bloody blisters.”
The increments in the Camino guide books are all around twenty miles. Of course everything is in kilometers, which I think of as short miles. (like Euros are expensive dollars.) It is not a walk in the park. The two German guys that were drinking wine from the free spigot when we last saw them passed us this morning. We commented on how big their packs were. And then we passed them. They were sitting under a tree, putting some sort of lotion on their bare feet. We can’t seem to shake the two Italian women. They have been in every town we are for the last few days. An English florist, traveling by herself, keeps popping up as well but we haven’t seen that Kentucky woman, the one who’s doing the Camino for the second time by herself, in days. And May may never see that Brazilian couple again. We had the same sense of humor.
That’s the funny thing about this trip. A random group starts every day, all from the same town at the French border, and we all do it at our own pace so we are continually overlapping and meeting new people, hardly ever by name, and then they are gone. You meet, mostly in a cafe. On the trek it is simply “Hola.” We’ve crossed paths with this Asian guy at least a half dozen times and the only thing he has ever said to us is “Buen Camino.”
I eavesdropped tonight on a conversation between two guys speaking Spanish. Neither of them were native speakers, both were from different countries, but Spanish is the universal language. Or at least it should be. It is certainly the loving tongue.
We thought the seventeen caterpillar train was something until we came across a line that was 121 caterpillars long. All nose to butt as if they were connected by the shortest, invisible thread. From another vantage point someone is counting us pilgrims as we share the path.
The bridge in Puente la Reina was built for the pilgrims in the 1100’s and the town was named after the bridge. We had just taken a side trip, as if our journey is not long enough, to see the octagonal church built in the 1200’s, la Virgen Eunate, and we had tallied twenty miles por el dia. We were so tired when got here we stayed in for dinner. We ordered bacalao al pil pil, cod in garlic oil, and it sat on the plate under a pile of small clams and baby eel. The tv was on in the dining room, tuned to La Liga. Barcelona was leading Leganes 2-1 when Messi scored a miraculous goal.
Our neighbor down the street already had an invisible fence. And her two dogs patrolled the perimeter beating down a path in the snow while barking their heads off at anyone who walked by. The older of the two dogs died and she recently had the Invisible Fence people there. You can’t see their fence, of course, but they lined it with little blue flags and they put a 2 foot by three foot “Invisible Dog Fence” sign in the yard. We were guessing they tweaked the fence somehow, maybe gave it a firmware update or new software.
We saw the Invisible Fence truck in her driveway a few more times and we speculated that she might be having an affair with the driver. And then we saw him out in the yard with a little dog, a new second dog. We guessed that Invisible Fence might also offer things like dog training and, well, other services.
The new dog quickly learned how to bark, in unison with the other dog, at anyone who passes. Maybe because the mailman gives them treats and they expect it from everyone else. But they bark at the mailman too. The fence gives the dogs a jolt when they test the limits of their space. You would think the Invisible Fence company could also give them a jolt if they bark like idiots.
Our walk yesterday was interrupted with a visit to the Seneca Park Zoo. That should be a yearly stop for everyone just to keep the lid on our humanity. There is a major expansion going on with red and white concrete trucks rumbling by the the lions’ den. When the new buildings are ready they will tear down the original 1930’s yellow brick building, the one with the sign near the old entrance that reads, “Rochester Zoological Building – To the citizens of Rochester this building is dedicated. May the observation of the denizens of the wild afford pleasure and lead to a greater knowledge of the natural sciences.”
We spent time outdoors with the grey wolves, the lions and sea lions. We watched the tiger pace back and forth and were mesmerized by the elephants trunks. The rhino looks absolutely pre-historic. We were introduced to the exotic Pied Tamarin and Red Rumped Agouti. I felt like a kid again. My family used to come to this park to swim in the public pool but I can’t even remember where that was now. Peggi made some movies of the lemurs. They played a central role in her song, one we performed as Personal Effects, and she is planning to make a video to that song.
We left the zoo on foot and walked across the walking bridge to Maplewood Park, another Frederick Law Olmsted Park on the west side of the river. Instead of retracing our steps from there we tried walking across the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge at rush hour, a near death experience on the narrow sidewalk with three lanes of cars speeding toward you. I used the timer on my camera to record this shot of us on the other side.
Our neighbor has a 3D printer and the skills and patience to do an architectural drawing of his house in a CAD-like program. He fed the drawing to his printer and created this train set scale model of his Don Hershey home. He has printed a number of accessories from public domain files as well like a to-scale model of his dog. I’m wondering how we fit into his Mini City.
You’d think we’d be excited by the foot of snow we got last night but we need cold temperatures on the side. This stuff is so heavy and sticky it is good for only one thing. Snowmen. We trudged through the woods and up to the park. There were so many branches hanging low, laden with snow, and small trees bent over under the weight that we could hardly find the trail. There is something exhilarating about being disoriented. We wound up off trail about half the time and the woods was all new.
UR, formerly the U of R, started out in a cluster of buildings on University Avenue and wound up purchasing Oak Hill Country Club’s site on the Genesee River and moving their campus. Of course, as a historical marker on the site notes, those nine holes and swanky clubhouse were Native American settlements before that. UR has isolated itself out here with its fledgling College Town and the makings of another spread across the river.
UR is not that far away if you have all day to walk. We started downtown at the Broad street Bridge which formerly carried the Erie Canal across the Genesee River, and wandered through Corn Hill. At one point we found ourselves looking at the setting of my father’s 2015 watercolor, shown above. We worked our way down the west side of the river and crossed over it at Elmwood Avenue. As dreamy as the UR campus is, you are back in the South Wedge in no time at all.
The permanent collection at the Herbert Johnson Museum on Cornell’s Ithaca campus is so deep they could never have it all on display at once. There is not enough room in I.M. Pei‘s concrete building. So whenever you choose to visit you are guaranteed to see a great show. Currently they have these stunning Matisse prints from his Jazz portfolio on display. They own a complete set of Goya’s Los Caprichos. Their alumni had good taste and the cash.
Arthur Dove graduated from Cornell. He was studying law to please his father but he fell in love with art while he was here. The museum has an extensive collection of his work. Four of his watercolors were on display today. “Drawing the Line,” their current show of drawings, features Kirchner, Guston LaChaise, Paul Klee, Picasso, Egon Schiel and Emil Nolde.
You would think Ithaca would be full of sports bars but we couldn’t find one. Barcelona was playing València in the semifinal for the Copa Del Rey and we probably stopped in five bars on our way back to the car before we found one with the match on. Actually the set was tuned to Ellen DeGeneres Show but no one was watching it so they gladly switched channels and we ordered an Ithaca IPA called CascaZilla. We caught the second half and saw both Barcelona goals. We will be in Spain walking el Camino when the final happens in April.
The Super Bowl may be single handedly saving the usage of Roman numerals. And “LII” is a pretty impressive number especially when I think about having watched the first few. It was nowhere as big a deal back then. Now it is next to impossible to escape although we have managed to for many years. Often we are were up in the mountains celebrating Peggi’s birthday, off the grid even, at our friends house. Whenever we did check in on the game it was a lopsided match-up. But not this year.
We started the day by walking around our block, this time in reverse, Down to the lake and over to Kings Highway, up to the library and back down Titus to Culver. We cleaned up and hustled downtown for Maureen Outlaw Church’s opening at the Little Theatre Café, a great looking show with some romantic landscapes, many of them set in Ireland. The classical guitar players who were originally scheduled for the evening moved their performance up because of the game so the art opening turned into something close to a food fight.
We watched the Super Bowl out at my brothers. Next time we go there we will walk. It is only eight and half miles. The Martin Luther King/Dodge Ram mash-up certainly didn’t work. In fact, none of the commercials worked for me. And that is probably because none of them were aimed at me. I was hoping Justin Timberlake would bring Janet Jackson out but he didn’t. And the video appearance of Prince only reminded me how good his halftime show was. The game itself was great. I was really impressed with the passing on both teams. Long, perfect spiral, dead accurate passes. A high scoring, fast paced game with Julie Johnston Ertz’s husband diving into the end zone for a key touchdown.
I love this little house. I couldn’t have told you how to get there but I know I have photographed it before. We only stumble on it when we are wandering through the street off Culver down near Sea Breeze. I made a note of the address this time, 55 Topper Drive. The side window was wide open, just as it was a few years ago, so it probably won’t be around forever.
We met Jeff and Mary Kaye for dinner last night at Roux, the French place on Park Avenue. They’re pescaterians so we ordered appetizers from that side of the menu. I questioned whether Escargot was meat but they didn’t seem to have any problem with that. The waiter talked me into ordering Quail. The way he described the curry and mushroom sauce did it. But I was tempted anyway because I had not had quail since Bloomington. My boss there, a guy named “Frenchie,” used to hunt quail and his wife would make quail sandwiches for us for lunch. They are tiny birds and he hunted with a shotgun so there was always a little buckshot in the meat.
After dinner we went downtown to Christ Church. We hadn’t been to Compline in a few years so it was better than ever. Stephen Kennedy, an instructor of sacred music at Eastman School of Music, conducts the voices, a large group of which are his students. The program goes fast, not even thirty minutes last night. You are sort of stunned when its over.
It was pouring rain and in the mid fifties when we set out to the library. We had our rain gear on and the shoes we plan to wear when we walk the Camino. Peggi read you should have a hundred miles on the shoes before you go. Or was it a hundred hours? We were talking up Noah Baumbach movies to our neighbors and they rented “Mistress America” at the library. They liked it and offered it to us to watch again. I liked it better the second time.
We returned the movie and couldn’t find any place to hang our rain gear so we left it balled up near the door. We put “Fire & Fury” on reserve and a book about El Camino and then and we wandered around the library. We came home with another dvd, David Lynch’s “the Art of Life,” and three books – Reckless Daughter – A portrait of Joni Mitchell” (which was recommended by a friend), the Philip Roth collection of non-fiction (I plan to go right to the piece he wrote about his friend, Philip Guston) and “The Directory of Saints” (I liked how it was organized by the topic they were the patron saint of).
I like mountain pose.There is not much to it. And I love Savasana, the Sanskrit name for the relaxation pose we do at the end of class. Between those two there is some real work to do in opening up the creaky old frame. I like Jeffery’s class because he keeps you engaged. My tendency is to daydream but I surrender myself to watching and listening to him and two hours fly by.
Tonight he read a short passage from a motivational book at the end of class that I really liked. It was about salmon swimming upstream. You would think they’d choose the path of least resistence but they swim into the strongest current because they know that channel is unobstructed. We are meant to tackle things head on. I see the Bills won in OT yesterday.