There were footprints in the fresh snow on the paths this morning so we weren’t the only ones out there. We didn’t see anyone though. It was only 5 degrees.
I’ve been playing around with these bodily forms for a few weeks now. With acrylic paint on paper, solid colors straight from the tube or jar, I limited myself to three colors per piece. I settled on four drawings that worked and tweaked the curves for days. I swapped colors while they were hanging on the wall. I determined I didn’t need the negative space on the sheet of paper that I painted each one on and found some pieces of 1/8 inch plastic that will remain flat after I cut the forms out. The plastic sheets were bigger than my painting sketches so I photographed the sketches and projected the paintings on the plastic sheets.
I had seen a jig saw in Jared’s garage so I took the sheets down there and asked if I could cut them out. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be to follow my curves. Turns out Jared’s wife, Sue, is the jig saw expert. I came close to just asking her if she could cut my forms out but I eventually got a little better. Peggi tried her hand at it and together we completed the task. Jared’s garage is heated, ours is not, so I plan to file the edges down when it gets a little warmer and then paint them.
Peggi and I home-tested for the first time since this thing began. We were getting to gather with two other couples to celebrate Jedi’s 67th and someone suggested we all test before the event. We bought some test kits back in the fall when we thought we might have been exposed. We felt ok and never went anywhere so we didn’t use them. The package said they expired in January so here we are. Negative.
We arranged to take Jedi and Helena’s dog, Bigz, for a walking the morning. Jedi was still in pjs when we stopped by. Bigz was roaring to go. He pulled us along, down Hoffman to the golf course and into the woods. We came up on Center Entrance and met a neighbor walking her new puppy. The puppy was three time the size of the Notorious Mr. Bigz but Bigz was the aggressor. I’ve had this song going through my head all day.
Keeping up with the three LaLiga teams we follow is handful. Imagine if you were one of the players. In addition to the 38 regular season fixtures there are Olympic and World Cup qualifying games for their home countries and then, if the teams are lucky enough, the tournaments which are woven into the season. The Champions League, the Copa del Rey and today’s Super Cup.
Real Madrid meets Barcelona today (always an “El Classico” when they meet). Atletico meets Athletic Club Bilbao tomorrow and then the winners meet each other on Sunday, all matches in Riyadh, the capitol of Saudi Arabia. The four teams qualified by being the first or second place finishers in last year’s La Liga and Copa del Rey tournaments. Why Saudi Arabia? Money. Lots of it. Will MBS be in the stands? I will report back.
We picked an armload of collard greens and kale from garden. In January! Petra from Fruition Seeds says it gets sweeter after a freeze. I eat the very top leaves of the kale plants while we are down there, the smallest but most tender. We found enough cilantro and even some arugula standing in the snow to compliment the tasting. Super greens for Supercopa!
I keep reminding myself, “If Sun Ra can die, anyone can.”
Bruce Anderson, barber, fine artist and guitar player for MX-80 Sound has left the planet. His work, with Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Caroline Peyton and MX-80 Sound, was proof of higher life forms in Indiana, where Peggi and I spent out college age years. It is so sad to think we’ll never again hear Angel Corpus Christi at live MX shows screaming with delight during one of Bruce’s amazing solos.
It was cold this morning but the birders were out, all bundled up with binoculars hanging on their necks. Someone had spotted Redpolls and Purple Finches near the end of Hoffman Road and posted the location so a small group had gathered. The Finches have come south for the winter, “south” to upstate New York. One of the guys told us he had also seen some Red Crossbills near Conifer Lane, the long dead end running off Hoffman. He told us they have special beaks that enable them to pick the seeds out of a pine cone.
We looked Red Crossbills up when we got back home and sure enough, “their distinctive mandibles, crossed at the tips, enable them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits.” Fitting that they were spotted on Conifer Lane probably picking the seeds out of the conifer cones.
The first round of Spain’s Copa del Rey happened midweek between La Liga fixtures. Second and third tier clubs are eligible so the matches took us to unknown regions while the country celebrated Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day.) We enjoy the pageantry of the pregame as much as the match and watched one match each day for the last three, Barcelona playing in Linares, Real Madrid in Alcoi in Alcoyano’s tiny stadium and then Majadahonda vs Atletico. All three of the big teams won but just barely in some cases.
I see the 99 year old Betty White did not die from complications of the Covid vaccination. I’m running out of band width keeping up with the fact checks!
I didn’t want the acrylic primer I bought online to freeze so I was keeping a lookout for the Amazon truck. It was dinner time and dark when we got an email saying our package had been delivered. I walked around the house but I couldn’t find it. We texted the neighbors on three sides and emailed Amazon that we didn’t receive the package. On their site we found a photo of our package sitting somewhere in the dark, a beige blur on a solid background shot in a vertical orientation. We took the photo into Photoshop Elements and jacked up the levels enough to see the box sitting in front of our neighbors front door.
When we closed the street pool this fall I brought the two large flower pots home to repaint. I love winter for all the time it provides for projects but I am already backed up. I asked the paint guy at Meyer’s if he could mix me some turquoise paint with primer mixed in. I was under the impression that that was how things were done now. He told me that was a scam and I would have to use “bonding primer” first and then the paint. But their primer was backordered on account of one of those Covid supply chain issues.
Colleen Buzzard alerted us to a pop-up show in our neck of the woods so today’s walk started out in the direction of Durand Eastman. Up there I realized I had forgotten my mask so instead of crossing over to Culver we circled back to our house and picked up a mask before going the few blocks to Coolidge. Nancy was helping a friend clean out a house that he bought when it occurred to her that the white walls and wood floors would make an ideal gallery setting for her recent, mostly fabric based sculptures.
The crevice in the piece above was stuffed with dried “Devils Heads,” the seed pods of the invasive Asian water chestnut, that Nancy collected along the Hudson River bank. And below this piece, on the floor was a carefully arranged pile of the pods.
Nancy utilized the empty space in dramatic fashion by arranging her pieces in windows and on their sills, in the fireplace and on the hearth. Some hung from the ceiling while others sat on the floor. Right next door someone with Buffalo Bills posters and a campaign sign for Mike Carpinelli (Trump’s “favorite sheriff in New York State”) for Governor in 2222 and right across the street from the giant tree whose trunk has grown so big it no longer fits between the sidewalk and the street is this cute little one story, grey brick home slash gallery. This was a sweet location for an especially sweet show.
Four days into 2022 and we had our first proper ski of the season. Skied up to the lake and around the golf course. The few inches we got will be gone tomorrow when the temperature reaches into the forties.
Peggi spent a good bit of the remainder of the day trying to find a power cord for her Yamaha digital Sax, the YDS-150. The plastic horn comes with 4 double A batteries and sounds beautiful on its own, with no amplification. In Peggi’s hands it has a warm almost primitive sound like something older than a real saxophone. It isn’t a wind controller although it can be used that way via midi. House of Guitars and Sound Source didn’t have what she was looking for so she ordered a 6 foot USB A male to Micro USB B at Amazon.
I was talking to my brother today about his experience with switching internet providers. I was doing more listening than talking as he told me how little the person on the other end of the line knew, someone in a call center somewhere reading from a script. The cable company told him they would mail him a new modem and all he had to do was plug it in. “To what?” he kept asking. He has never had cable tv and as far as he knows there is no cable running to his house. I tried a line I’ve been using lately, paraphrasing our friend Kevin in Nashville, “The whole world is falling apart.” I think Kevin’s actual quote was, “Half the world is going nuts.”
The New York Times year end Week in Review had a big article on how global warming was playing out in various parts of the world. We are in danger of flooding up here while California burns and the arctic melts. Large parts of Spain are experiencing desertificaction so the almond farms are planting crops to replenish the soil. On a micro level I can tell you that we went out skiing yesterday after our first significant snowfall and our skis stuck to the warm ground.
We dropped our car off this morning at B&B on Saint Paul Boulevard for an inspection and an oil change. We hadn’t been in there in a year and they asked if we had an oil change somewhere else. I said we haven’t been anywhere and Brian told us they recommend an oil change even if you haven’t driven the miles. We took a five mile walk through Seneca Park while we waited. The Frederick Law Olmstead park, overlooking the Genesee River is so pretty in the winter. I really don’t believe the world is falling apart. I am an eternal optimist.
Nothing much happens in this Margaret Explosion song. The band just sits comfortably with these textured patterns. And nothing happens in the video either so they work well together. Most of it was shot out the back window of Duane’s car in New York. I love it back there, Peggi and Duane talking up front, music on the car’s sound system, watching the world go by. The footage is just like what I imagine people bring home on their phones after cruising through midtown in one of those open air double decker, red buses. There are times when you just don’t want anything to happen.
But then the movie footage sits around for a few years and you realize how much has happened. Gowanus’s Kentile sign is gone but I read it might be coming back. The toll takers and their booths on the NYS Thruway entrance are gone! And you hardly ever see turquoise Chevy Imapala convertibles anymore.
My father died six years ago today. I don’t make a point of remembering the the date of his death. I was reminded of the anniversary when my brother, John, emailed to thank me for passing my father’s ring along to him. It was a long time coming. When Peggi and I took my father to the hospital for the last time, they asked us to take his ring, watch and wallet. I still use the wallet. I put the ring and watch in a drawer and forgot about them.
My father wore the ring as a wedding ring but he bought it when he was almost sixty while he was working in New Mexico. I decided to have four rings made from a mold of the original ring. Our friend, Kathy, recommended the Gem Lab and they did a great job. When we picked up the four new ones we could not tell the original from the copies although the copies were actually a higher quality silver. The Gem Lab placed them in identical boxes and my sister Ann shuffled the five like a shell game and each picked one. My sister-in-law Char chose for John because he couldn’t make the drawing. John won and I gave it to him on Christmas Day.
Ironically, as a woodworker it would be dangerous for him to wear a ring. I remember getting my high school class ring stuck on a long string of shopping carts that I was pushing while working at my uncle’s supermarket. I nearly tore my finger off.
With numbers rising again in Monroe County we decided to skip the opening of Rochester Contemporary’s Members Show. We stopped by today and enjoyed the luxury of an uncrowded gallery with lots of art. More than ever.
I’ve always liked this show. Un-curated, democratic, wildly varied. Each member gets to contribute one piece. Bill Keyser’s piece, sitting on the white pedestal on the first wall, caught my attention immediately. I shouldn’t have said “sitting on a pedestal,” it jumps out at you. Only then did I notice my entry on the wall behind it. Peggi noted that the quiet quality of my piece provided air for Bill’s work. And the coolest thing of all is how Colleen Buzzard’s 3D drawing (bottom left of my piece) comes off the wall to animate the space and open the door for Bill Keyser’s sculpture. Congratulations to whoever it was that hung the show.
I remember paddling into a cove where a beaver was working on a nest. Can’t remember where we were. We inadvertantly rattled the beaver and it chased our canoe for awhile. We’ve never seen beavers in Durand but we see plenty of evidence of their handiwork. Judging by the size of these wood chips they must have some serious teeth.
Our morning walk is my favorite part of the day. It clears the air and raises the bar for the day’s experience.
I posted a cropped version of this photo to IG and Mitch Rasor asked if this is an esker. I had to look the word up. It probably is but I read that the two big lakes in Durand Eastman Park were sculpted. Eastman is down the hill to the right of this trail. They damned up the creeks that ran through the the park and created lakes with controlled outflows under Lakeshore Boulevard and out to Ontario.
When we played the Little last we had two guitars. On Wednesday Phil Marshall was on Covid alert after holiday exposure to family so we did the gig without any guitars. Feel free to play along with the trio.
Fine. Paint, sculpt. But good luck coming up with something as beautiful as this log nestled in the sand along Durand Eastman beach.
The beach was completely rearranged this morning by yesterday’s heavy rain and pounding waves. This log was nearly twelve feet long and it wasn’t there yesterday. It most likely came down the river out into the lake and then drifted eastward until washing ashore. If it is still there tomorrow it won’t be arranged like this.
We walked in rain coats this morning. The streets were quiet. Even The marsh off Hoffman Road looked especially beautiful. Back home I started a fire while Peggi read a few articles from the NYT website. Our local paper paused print production for a few days by putting the Saturday Real Estate section in with the Thursday weekend edition. And because our local carrier delivers it and the NY Times he is letting our copies sit at the warehouse until Sunday. Rochester hung in there but this is the beginning of the end for print journalism.
I played ten 45s while we opened a few gifts and then created a short Xmas Playlist in Apple Music so I could share the audio track of our Christmas.
Love Me Tender - Elvis Blue Velvet - Bobby Vinton Fool #1 - Brenda Lee Make The World Go Away - Ray Price Solitary Man - Neil Diamond Family Affair - Sly & The Family Stone Nature Boy - Bobby Darin The Twelfth of Never - Johnny Mathis Why Can't We Live Together - Timmy Thomas I'm Stone In Love With You - The Stylistics
We followed ski tracks into the park this morning. It may not be a white Christmas but it is a white Christmas Eve. You would never know that up at the lake.
Every ten years or so I get a chance to reconnect with Greg. An art major at IU when I was there, Greg was the real deal. I lived in the dorm, Greg saved on rent by living in his art studio in the Fine Arts building. In a sense he never left the studio. His apartment in NYC, all 185 square feet of it, is a rent controlled, fifth floor walkup.
Greg called this morning and we talked for an hour or so as if no time had passed at all. Many of our mutual friends have passed but we were able to engage and laugh in the present. Greg lamented how young artists can’t afford the city anymore and he missed batting around art notions over a cup of coffee. I offered that this observation may just be shaped by our age but he wouldn’t have it. He told me he limits his reverie. By doing so, the exercise is more satisfying and it leaves more time for him to work on his art journal/journey. I’m glad he made time to touch base today.
Everybody asks if our new metal roof is noisier in the rain and we haven’t noticed that. We got the roof hoping the snow would slide off instead of building ice ice dams as it melts. Our first snowfall is indeed sliding off. Very slowly. And it looks sensational behind our blue LED Christmas lights.
I was packing up my drums last night when Phil, the guitarist in Margaret Explosion, texted. “People all around me are testing positive. I think it is unwise to pursue the gig tonight.” We haven’t seen anyone except for Jedi who came over for a Christmas beer yesterday. The text took me back. Were we being reckless going out with Omicron in the air? Probably but we went for it. I texted Jack to see if he was available to sit in on his instrument of choice. He wasn’t so we performed as a trio. We had done so a few other times, at High Falls and then at a funeral but never at the little and the Wednesday before Christmas is traditionally a big night there.
I particularly like the minimal palette. I love it when there is air around Peggi’s sax and I can hear the full shape of Ken’s double bass notes. The café was almost full but not like holidays past and there were notable absences. Peggi and I had talked about doing “God Rest Ye . . .” but forgot. Someone called for an encore and we tore it up with the minor key holiday classic.
I may have mentioned that I found a dollar bill on a path up from Titus Avenue Extension. Today, walking long the western side of Durand Lake I spotted a twenty and a five curled up on the path. I quickly shoved it in my pocket.
I posted a cropped version of this photo on IG and Jim Mott asked, “Did she just happen to show up on a lightly-frosted day….or have you been putting out corn for months waiting for this shot?” It looks like the latter but as with most situations it is the former. Being there.
We learned Record Archive has paused their back room bar performances because of the current outbreak and the Little Theatre Café is probably not far behind. As it stands, Margaret Explosion will be there tonight. It would be fine with me if no one showed up and they just turned out the lights and let us play our two sets and then we go home and listen to the recordings. I wonder if anyone has even noticed that we deliberately turn the stage lights off before playing. We’ve been doing that for twenty years now. We really aren’t there for anyone else. We close our eyes and listen to each other. The rest is ambience.
This sounds especially selfish. But it wouldn’t work if we were not playing in front of a live audience. They force us to focus and shape the sound into something resembling a song. And I am delighted that enough people like the sound to get us our next gig. We usually come away with eleven or so of these pieces of which one will bear repeated listening, “a field recording of the future.”