First Morning On Earth

Doe with its fawn with its mother in our back yard. Photo by Peggi Fournier.mother in our back yard
Doe with its fawn with its mother in our back yard. Photo by Peggi Fournier.mother in our back yard

I was up at six, my Covid era wake time, and down in the basement checking on our dehumidifier which started acting up this spring. So I didn’t even hear Peggi when she tried to call my attention to this newborn and its mama in out back yard.

Our neighbors sent us pictures of a doe being born just outside their window last week and we have come across three other mothers with their brand new offspring since. It could be a bumper crop. One mother had twins.

They come out a little wobbly but they are walking in minutes. The one above could be just hours old. The young ones stay close to the mother but then stay put while the mom goes about their business. We are told they have no scent and are safer without their mom for long periods of the day. We heard a coyote just yesterday. We’ve came across the newborns alone under a tree in the woods.

Amazing how they have evolved. But they aren’t done yet. There are too many them in our area. I don’t give a hoot about neighbors’ ornamental shrubs, they do way too much damage to the woods.

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Wallowing

Ray Tierney in front of his first store 312 North Street in Rochester, New York  1906
Ray Tierney in front of his first store 312 North Street in Rochester, New York 1906

Damn, did I go down a rabbit hole with these old photos of my grandfather’s stores. He had three stores starting with this one at 312 North Street, right where Hudson Avenue splits off. “The first blazer from Main Street corner,” as my grandfather describes it in his memoir. He opened a much larger store in 1935 at 634 South Avenue.

Before my father died he made one of his infamous charts plotting the Tierney Markets timeline against Harts Grocery and Wegmans and he showed the second store at “639” South Avenue which would have put it across Hickory Street on the wrong side of South Avenue. Peggi used her Newspapers.com subscription to track down a front page story about the 1939 fire which forced my grandfather to move to his final location, 999 South Clinton. I mention the discrepancy because I am finding out how easy it is to make a leap based on someone else’s hunch or typo. Some of the dates on the original photos have question marks next to them. I made a few leaps myself in identifying the photos on my Tierney Markets page.

My mom’s cousin brought some photos to a family reunion years ago and I scanned them. Her photos all had identifications on them. My father left all these old family photos on his computer and I’m still sorting those out. I had list of questions for my aunt, the youngest daughter of the man pictured above, but I found out last night that she had been taken to the hospital with Pneumonia. She will be tested for Coronavirus.

After I rounded up my Bloomington photos, a few weeks back, I sent the link to our old friends. Joe emailed back that if he had all those old photos he would wallow in them. Isn’t that what old people do? I think might have to do with how fast time moves as we get older. Too fast for you to savor the moment.

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Fun Stuff

Downtown Indianapolis 1973
Downtown Indianapolis 1973

Can’t remember why I was in Indianapolis in 1973. I had a few friends who lived there, Kim, Laurice and Jeff, and I visited all of them at some point. Bloomington was about sixty miles to the south and we hardly ever left. I know I saw Hendrix here but that was 1969. As I remember there was a building behind me with mirrored glass and the reflection lit this whole area. I found this photo on my hard dive, one of the last ones to filed away in a folder called “Fun Stuff”. When it comes to files on my computer I am one organized son-of-a-bitch.

I created a page today for my ongoing notebook project. I’ve only posted one of the eighteen I’ve finished. The book format doesn’t work so well on the phone but I’m happy with the way it looks on the desktop. Maybe that will be my next pandemic project.

I took another photo that day in Indianapolis and I used it for the cover of Margaret Explosion’s “Off The Corner.”

"Off The Corner" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.13.13. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Jack Schaefer - bass clarinet, Bob Martin - guitar, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Off The Corner” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.13.13. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Jack Schaefer – bass clarinet, Bob Martin – guitar, Paul Dodd – drums.

Listen to “On The Corner”

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Pandemic To Do

Bench in Duran Eastman overlooking Lake Ontario
Bench in Duran Eastman overlooking Lake Ontario

We wore masks today, the ones Peggi made. They match. And we timed our walk to avoid the forecasted rain but then realized we would have been better off to wait and walk during the rain. The park is almost getting too crowded to be safe. Many of the seldom used paths are clogged with people and their dogs. 

My pandemic job jar is full with projects, the biggest of which I am knee deep in – organizing my computer and back up discs. I thought my father was bad. I have turned out to be much worse.

Our days are all dreamlike with long walks and long conversations with friends and relatives in far off places. We learned that Eric Goulden has tested positive. So far his wife, Amy, is a negative. And at 1pm Pacific time we had a Zoom meeting with three parties. Peggi’s sister in LA, our nephew in northern California. and our nephew Miami whose new restaurant was going great guns until this. I just can’t imagine that stress.

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Timber Profile

Tree sculpture on Log Cabin Road in Rochester, New York
Tree sculpture on Log Cabin Road in Rochester, New York

I am really impressed by the effort the park people put in on this fallen tree. They had cleaned up all the branches by the time we come across it. The stump is off to the right and from the sawdust evidence it mast have been laying across the road. This portion of Log Cabin Road is closed to car traffic all year so the situation allowed the park tree surgeons leave this upside down, organic, three pronged sculpture in the middle of the road. What amazes me is forethought that surely went into cutting the angles on those three big limbs. This thing is firmly planted. We took turns walking through the gateways.

Peggi was’t much help when I brought the first load of wood up from the fallen oak down below, the one they had to take down because the power line had singed it. But the next day our friend Steve, helped. He was staying with us and didn’t have the proper footwear or gloves for working outside so I offered him some mine. He asked if I was aware of the term, “LumberSexual.” I wasn’t but he joked that I could take a photo of him for his “Timber” profile. We got two car loads of wood up to the wood pile and we’ll let it sit there until Peggi gets her cast off.

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The Other Side

Paul Dodd taking the 1970 Census in Bloomington, Indiana.
Paul Dodd taking the 1970 Census in Bloomington, Indiana.

That’s my dog, Andy, sniffing the 1970 Census forms that I was responsible for filling out. It was one of the many part-time jobs I had in Bloomington, Indiana where I went to school for a couple of years. I’d go door to door, trying to catch the homeowner at home so I could ask him three or four pages of questions. Not everyone was cooperative. I’m guessing the Census taking process is all digital now. I wouldn’t want to be going door to door in this climate.

Wednesday was Margaret Explosion’s last gig at the Little for a while. They closed their doors at 5PM today and promised to make the dates up when we get to the other side of this contagion. The “Broken Wrist Series” went out with a bag. Mark Bradley and Roy Marshall sat in with us the first week and Jack Schaefer sat in with us last week. Peggi’s cast comes off a week from Wednesday and we’ll start doing Margaret Explosion gigs from home.

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Continuous Use

Our Lady of Bouckaert Street
Our Lady of Bouckaert Street

We walked over to Home Depot to get a new toilet seat. You know how you look at something many times a day and then one day you see it. You notice how discolored it had become. We got one that drops in slow motion. Both the seat and the cover. We paid a few extra dollars for that feature.

While we were there we wandered over to the lighting department. One of the four foot fluorescents in our garage started smoking the last time i was out there an I wanted to see what kind of shop lights they had on the market now. I bought the old fluorescents out at Hechinger’s back in the seventies and put them on a timer over some pot plants in our basement. I was surprised how easy it was to grow and wound up with a pretty good stash but I got too paranoid and put the lights out in the garage. Home Depot had a four foot, bright as hell, LED light for 25 bucks. Lasts up to thirty five years of continuous use. I brought that home too.

"Hula" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 03.20.19. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Phil Marshall - guitar, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Hula” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 03.20.19. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Phil Marshall – guitar, Paul Dodd – drums.
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X Ray Specs

Brick wall at Trata in Culver Road Armory
Brick wall at Trata in Culver Road Armory

The technician took Peggi back for more X Rays while I sat in the office with her purse. Her left wrist has been in a cast for a week now and she still had not seen the Orthopaedic Surgeon. She mentioned that her right wrist was also sore so they X-rayed that as well. I could hear the doctor in the next room talking to another person about the coronavirus. “It is gonna get out. It is impossible to control. But 30,000,000 million Americans have had the flu. 10,000 have died of the flu. I had a flu shot and I had the flu last week.” It was a little disconcerting.

Peggi came back and then the doctor came in with some good news. He determined her left wrist would not need surgery and he expected it to heal up fine in another five weeks. He told her she had chipped a piece off the bone in her right wrist and that it too would heal in time. Peggi then got right down to business. “Can I play my saxophone?” He recommended she take it easy for a few weeks. Margaret Explosion is back at the Little for a month of Wednesdays in March.

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Last Ski

Long concrete block barn and silo near village of Scottsville
Long concrete block barn and silo near village of Scottsville

Last Sunday we met our friends, Jeff and MaryKaye, out at their house on the river. We went skiing along a trail maintained by the Genesee Land Trust near the old canal bed. There were just enough obstacles to make it a real adventure. And there was the added drama of not knowing whether the trail would would end somewhere near where we started. It was great but that was our last ski this year. I’ll explain.

This winter is crapping out so the snow melts in the day and then freezes at night. Our road, which was supposedly “dedicated” by the town couple of years ago, gets plowed but they don’t drop salt on it. And we see the plow a lot less often than most neighborhoods. The frozen ruts from the car tires make the road treacherous on foot. That’s where Yaktrax come in, those wound metal coil things that you strap over your shoes. They work great.

But once we get off our street the roads are spotless. On Wednesday I didn’t even wear mine but Peggi did. When we got out on the clear road I thought to suggest Peggi take hers off. I should have done more that thought because one of her Yaktrax rode up on her show and the Yaktrax on the other shoe caught that one. Peggi went down fast. I just put away our ski boots for the season. Peggi has a cast on her broken wrist.

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Geek Squad

View from hallway in front of Nancy Valle's Studio in the Anderson Arts Building, Rochester, New York
View from hallway in front of Nancy Valle’s Studio in the Anderson Arts Building, Rochester, New York

Nancy Valle contacted me to let me know the digital slideshow I put in the Sounds & Sights show had stopped running. She was out of town for a week and someone unplugged the computer after the Thursday night figure drawing class. We stopped up there to address that problem and I took this shot.

We spent a good part of the week helping friends with a variety of computer problems. Jeff’s MacBook Pro was dropped. The track pad is cracked and unusable but he has his whole iTunes library on the laptop. We spent some time learning how to navigate sans mouse but couldn’t figure out how you click on stuff without one. Return/Enter didn’t do it. We suggested he take it in.

Steve Black, our house guest, has an iPad that is completely full of photos and movies, so full he can’t do anything with it. We air dropped a bunch of his movies to one of our computers and put them on a flash drive.

Duane in Brooklyn had HomePod reception issues that we tried to help him with. But we left him hanging with the mysterious events that keep showing up in his Calendar app.

The toughest problem was our neighbors’. Sue had reduced a couple of overstuffed filing cabinets in her basement to digitized folders of scans, iPhone photos and text files which she tucked away in Apple’s Notes application. At some point the 3,884 folders of notes, which are sorted by title by default, went out of order. They went random on the phone but they were still in order on her iMac. They were in order on the cloud as well but there was no why to get them organized on the phone. We called Apple Support for this one and they couldn’t help. They suggested we fill out a request at Apple.com/feedback.

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Young And Innocent

Paul, Ann and John standing on foundation of our new home on Hawley Drive in Webstaret, NY
Paul, Ann and John standing on foundation of our new home on Hawley Drive in Webster, NY

I came across this photo while looking for another file. It’s one of the old family slides that my sister, Amy, picked out to have scanned to share. My sister, Ann, brother John and I are standing on the foundation our new home in Webster so I know I would have been nine years old.

What struck me about the photo is the t-shirt I am wearing. It’s from Camp Stella Maris, the Diocese of Rochester’s summer camp on Conesius Lake, the camp where my cousin was sexually abused by Rev. Albert H. Cason, then a counselor. We were so young and innocent.

And we never imagined that if we told someone about the abuse, like the bishop himself, he would cover it up and let the guy go on to abuse others.

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White On White

Small white table and chairs by the street in the snow
Small white table and chairs by the street in the snow

I had something else in mind for today. And I’m sure Peggi did too but the big trucks backing into our neighbor’s driveway while we were still reading the paper signaled a change of plans. Instead of working on my small wood panel paintings we would be collecting wood. The owners of the house across the street were taking down a huge oak, the one that snuggled up to their front door and towered over their house.

We dressed for the weather, mid twenties and just perfect for working outdoors, and Peggi walked down to Jared’s place to see borrow his pickup while I got the wheelbarrow out. She was ringing his doorbell when she noticed the truck was gone. We put a plastic tarp down in our CRV and loaded it it up, four times and then a fifth load for Jared who is still getting over his chemo treatments.

We had a mountain of wood to split and a fire in the fireplace before the sun set.

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Looking Very Strongly

Bridge over Horseshoe Road in Winter.
Bridge over Horseshoe Road in Winter.

We needed to get out early this morning as the sun and warm temperatures were ready to take a toll on the ski paths. We skied out to the lake and down Horseshoe Road, over the bridge (above) and then back up to Hoffman Road before our second cup of coffee. The only other person we saw out there was the guy that zips around like it is a matter of life and death. He doesn’t even look up as he passes.

I had Annie Wells’ version of Phil Marshall’s “Nothing Left To Lose” stuck in my head as we skied. And something Peggi said triggered Trump’s, “I’m looking at it very strongly” quote. That’s now become one of my go-to phrases. There are ski tracks going in every which direction on the golf course. We’ve had five days in row of near perfect conditions with very little new accumulation. It is time for Mother Nature to cleanse the pallet.

"Fe La" by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.20.19. Peggi Fournier - sax, Ken Frank - bass, Phil Marshall - guitar, Bob Martin - guitar, Paul Dodd - drums.
“Fe La” by Margaret Explosion. Recorded live at the Little Theatre Café on 11.20.19. Peggi Fournier – sax, Ken Frank – bass, Phil Marshall – guitar, Bob Martin – guitar, Paul Dodd – drums.

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Y2K + 20

Red and gray building across the street from Saxon Studio near the Public Market
Red and gray building across the street from Saxon Studio near the Public Market

We walked up to Starbucks a little after noon and the place was busier than we have ever seen it. The baristas were joking that everyone had just woken up. It is a seven mile round trip so it takes some time but every bit of it is beautiful to us. Most of all the spacing out part.

On the way back it started sprinkling and the wind picked up. Then we got an alert, Peggi’s phone and my watch, something like the Amber Alert. “Snow Squall Warning til 2 PM EST. Sudden whiteouts. Icy Roads. Slow down!” It did snow but its winter.

Twenty years ago Pete LaBonne, who sometimes came to our New Year’s party, sent us a song of his to play at midnight 1999. We did, right after Prince’s song. “Shut down your computer now baby.”

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Perambulating

Hairdresser near Abilene in downtown Rochester, New York
Hairdresser near Abilene in downtown Rochester, New York

Our Netflix dvd, Jean Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game,” has been kicking’ around the house for weeks now. We tried it one night but feel asleep. You need to be fully rested for this 1939 classic. It plays like a non stop dance with the actors and camera swirling about in a witty, fluid, fast paced, stunning display of moving pictures. Jean Renoir stars and he is as good an actor as he is a director. The dialog skewers the Bourgeois as well as Buñuel’s “Discreet Charm” and despite being eighty years old it feels completely contemporary.

We shop at the co-op once a month with our 10% member’s discount and we almost ran out of days this month to take advantage. We parked in their lot and walked over to Park Avenue looking for a cup of coffee. We stopped in to see my sister at Parkleigh but she had the day off. She was living there in the run-up to Christmas.

We had to get out early today in order to beat the rain. We walked through the Park and along the lake. We turned up Horseshoe Road and walked around the clubhouse, across the golf course and up Hoffman Road. We were temporarily perambulating and then we headed home.

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Happy As Can Be

Santa on the corner of Garson and Goodman in Rochester, New York
Santa on the corner of Garson and Goodman in Rochester, New York

I discarded this picture at first but couldn’t let it go. Peggi was driving and I saw Santa up ahead on the corner where Webster splits off of Goodman. I rolled down the widow, just like I did with anti-vexers in a post from a few days ago, but then I mis-timed the shot and failed to get Santa’s attention.

I’m always composing in the frame and and only clicking when I feel it is right but this approach misses so much, not to mention chance. Our friend, Duane, sent us up one of those beautiful Robert Frank books on Steidl. The master uses an incredible toolbox of approaches to image making and he is an inspiration.

The shot above captures quite a bit. The turquoise house on Garson that matches the utility box. The shapes of the bare trees against the deep blue sky and the curve of this intersection. The rear view mirror on our car. The yellow signal light hanging over the street and the Walk sign that caught only half of on the left. There is a convince stare in the direction Santa is facing and he probably greeting one the patrons. We take this route every trip downtown and are usually stopped by the light. I don’t think it has ever look so good.

And the shot captures my connection to Christmas at this point. I am mostly an observer. No tree and nothing under it but happy as can be.

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Another Day In Paradise

Rubino's on East Ridge Road Road in Rochester
Rubino’s on East Ridge Road Road in Rochester

Rubino’s is about eight miles round trip, a nice walk on a good day. Thursday was not not a good day in the traditional sense. It was a beautiful day with snowfall heavy enough to narrow traffic on East Ridge Road to one lane in each direction. We stomped our feet and brushed off before crossing the threshold at Starbucks where the baristas were giddy. There was hardly anyone in the place and our server congratulated us on braving the elements.

Rubino’s was packed with holiday shoppers. We bought two tubs of olives for our holiday party and gallon of olive oil for general purposes. Near the secret sidewalk that runs off Kings Highway we saw someone collecting his mail. Before we could say hi he looked up and said, “Another day in paradise.” It wasn’t even snowing when we left the house and the passing storm was over by the time we got to the cemetery on our return trip.

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Loaves And Fishes

Lawn Street RGE building with flag in window
Lawn Street RGE building with flag in window

I got a little ahead of Peggi while skiing in the woods and ran into a guy on a curve that was too narrow for the both of us. We stopped and he said something about how nice a day it was for skiing. I replied that it was headed up into the forties tomorrow and immediately felt bad for being such a wet blanket. He said, “You’ll just have to get out early tomorrow if we want to ski.” So we plan on heading out after coffee.

A Spectrum Cable truck was parked at the end of Hoffman near where we usually park. We got out with our skies and saw someone climbing out of a snow bank. The cable guy and he had slipped on the ice while walking up a steep driveway. The first thing he said was, “I got a good hill for you.” We skirted the periphery of the golf course by following three different paths that eventually took us right up to the lake. We followed horseshoe Road for a bit. It is just as pretty in the winter as it is in the summer. When we got back to our car we saw an Enterprise delivery truck, probably something Amazon had rented, stuck in the same snowbank where the cable guy was.

We stopped a few places on First Friday before seeing the Members Show at RoCo so we missed the award announcements but learned that my entry won an award. I put a relatively low price, $200 on the large print and if it sold I planned on donating the the whole thing to RoCo and now I see this about the award. “Lumiere Photo Award Chosen by William Edwards, photographer and owner of Lumiere Photo. $200 gift certificate.”

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Beyond Hi Fi

Virgin Wood Type headquarters in Rochester, New York
Virgin Wood Type headquarters in Rochester, New York

Ossia, the Eastman School’s program of new music, starts at 7:30 tonight and that presents a conflict. Our yoga class doesn’t get out until 8. They usually do five six pieces so we should be able to catch the last half. I heard they were doing an Anthony Braxton number.

I’m secretly looking forward to tomorrow night when we have nothing on our calendar. I need some time to create mp3s from last Wednesday when Pete LaBonne joined Margaret Explosion on piano. Pete and Shelley stayed for the holiday feast and Kevin and Jeanne joined us from Nashville. Kevin Vicalvi was Bat McGrath’s long time bass player (and harmony voice) and he was in town for the tribute on Saturday.

I did my Record Store Day dj set on Friday and we had dinner at Jeff and Marry Kaye’s, tuna from Alaska and some intense homemade ginger bread. We brought home a few pieces of that for breakfast. We had a couple of couples over for dinner on Saturday. Tom and Jann own a shop and Janet and Jonathan wrote a book about Hi Fi living and before the Uber driver returned we finished the evening watching YouTube videos by the fire.

Sunday was reserved for a long walk along the lake and then a visit to Virgin Wood Type. We had hoped to to spend some time with Sam but he was asleep on the couch. Partners, Geri and Paul, showed us their newest line of type. Bill would be so proud.

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Good Packin’

Snow person in wind tunnel at RIT
Snow person in wind tunnel at RIT

I have my own system for labeling our firewood. My neighbor uses spray paint. I fold up a piece of white cardboard to 2″x2″ square, label it with the year, wrap it in clear packing tape and nail it into the end of one of the logs in the pile. This year we are burning wood we put up in 2015. While our neighbors were watching the Bills beat Miami we moved two face cords into our porch .

We will fill the space where those logs were with newly split wood. At the moment the log length sections of the big oak that came down on Hoffman are in a heap near our wood pile. They are so big Peggi and I were unable to roll them up on the splitter. So when the weather breaks I will have to swing my ax into them and follow that up with the sledge hammer to split the sections into something manageable for our Heathkit splitter. When those are split we’ll stack them where the the 2015 wood was and I’ll label it 2019. As they say, the wood warms you many times over.

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