Refusing To Migrate

Eastman Lake in Durand Eastman Park, late Fall 2008
Eastman Lake in Durand Eastman Park, late Fall 2008

We walked through the woods and along the eastern shore of Eastman Lake this morning. Up near Lake Ontario we crossed over to Durand Lake and took the path along its western shore to the woods that lead back to our house. I didn’t see a soul the whole time except for my wife. Winter is coming on and the remaining leaves have lost most of their color other than this rich brown.

Winters in Rochester are tough and they toughen us. I’m looking forward to this one. I like the solitude, the warmth of the fireplace, the lighter social calender and the additional time to paint.

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Three’s A Crowd

Raccoons out back in a tree
Raccoons out back in a tree

There was a squirrel fight going on outside our bedroom window this morning. At least i thought it was squirrels. It woke me up so I got up and didn’t think much about it. Later we saw our neighbor walk up our driveway to look at something in our back yard. We went out and found three large raccoons in a tree. Two were on a perch near the top and one was further down. Every time the third one tried to get on the same perch a nasty fight broke out with lots of loud squealing. Our neighbor said it was too early for mating so who knows what was going on. It was hard to watch. I took a few photos and went back in to work.

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From the Desk of the President

Peggi working on the pool
Peggi working on the pool

The water temperature in the neighborhood pool was down in the fifties so we decided to close the pool this weekend. As current presidents we made the call and emailed our neighbors to be down at the pool at 9:30 this morning. We took the diving board off and put it in the pump house. We threw some Algaecide in the water and put the cover on. We put the chairs and tables in a pile and covered them with a tarp and then drained the pump.

We were basically done and I was ready to go back home at 10:30 and have some breakfast but Jared was itching to get going on a project that we said we would do in the fall. Next thing you know I was swinging a sledgehammer at the sidewalk so we could repair a leak in the hose that ran back to the pipe. We took about ten trips back to the house pick up tools and Peggi, Jared and I drove to Home Depot to pick up some concrete and plastic plumbing parts. We stuck the parts together and had to come to clean up in time be out at Alice and Julio’s for dinner at six.

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Wooly Bully

The party room attached to the bar at the VFW in Fairport last night was flooded with florescent lighting and the acoustics from the hard surfaces made conversation tough but the class of 1968 rose to the challenge. Just like old people, everyone pretty much showed up at once. There was about a third of the class there along with a poster with the faces of the fallen. Three of my best friends from high school were on the board and it felt strange. Everyone knew Charlie Coco and Tim Schapp (in the glasses below) had died of AIDS but a number of people asked me how Dave Mahoney died, Patti Cowie, Dave’s old flame, among them.

Row I - Nancy Barry, Bill DeMar, Dave LaPlante, Richard Poe
Row I – Nancy Barry, Bill DeMar, Dave LaPlante, Richard Poe Row 2 – Bernard Finch, Mary Renz, Tom Kalupski, May Piotrowski, Bill Hargarther, Debby Wiechman, Joe Barrett, Rena Wojack Row 3 – Darlene Hilfiker, Richard LaFrois, Ruth White, Bobby Gray, Barb Mayer,Tom Schneider, Martha Schneider, Albert Williams Row 4 – Andy Finn, Jean Meier, Paul Dodd, Sandy Argus, Bob Brooks, MaryAnn Wojaick, John Abrams, Irene Palermo Row 5 – Marty Schreiber, Tim Schapp, Eileen Amen, Roger Miner, Michael Coffee, Linda Fry, Steve Zelimier, Michael Kubrich Row 6 – Gary Nagel, Dave Wilson, Fred Lorman, Richard Switzer, John Welch, Bob Leiberrnan, Milan Beh, Alfred Williams

Someone brought old class photos and I was knocked out by this one of our fifth grade class at Holy Trinity. My family moved out of the city that year and I joined the class midyear so I didn’t expect to see my photo in here (with tie above). Bill DeMar was in the photo. I heard he is dead too. He figured out how to set the clocks back so the bell never rang at the end of recess. Andy Finn, who has his own talk show, was in the photo and Tim Schapp and Joe Barrett were there even though they were not in attendance at the reunion. Bill Grey, whose father started Bill Grey’s restaurants, was in the photo and John Abraham, a good friend from grade school. He died in a car crash right after high school. Albert Williams was in the photo and in attendance. His twin brother, Alfred, was in the photo but still in Las Vegas. Dave LaPlant  was in the photo and he was standing right next to me. He helped me identify the rest of the class. Jean Maier was in the photo and she was there too. And Irene Palermo was on the end of row four. I called her over to show her the photo. We were boyfriend/girlfriend in high school. She told me I looked thin. I took it to mean  “too thin”. She looked great.

I was too overwhelmed to take photos and that is not like me. I did get a good one of Nina Gaby and Leeann Birdsall and another of Karen Mahoney and Laurice Densmore. I couldn’t tell if I was overloaded from seeing so many familiar people or emotionally drained from replaying so many scenes from the past. I wasn’t even able to make good conversation. I felt like I was back in high school. Mike Allen took me out to his car to show me something. He was in working bands in high school and he gave me an announcement for an upcoming gig. I checked to see how Peggi was holding up. I was in her place earlier in the year when we went to her reunion outside Detroit. She was talking to Mary Kaye and Shirley Zimmer and was all smiles so I felt better.

We did the twist on the dance floor and we all snaked into the bar. Marianne Gocker was hanging on to my hips. Holly Clark became the Queen of Soul for “Respect”. The class was dancing in a big circle and Jeff Munson and Doug Klick did a WWF interpretation of Wolly Bully in the center of it all. The dj had a pretty good segue with Louie Louie but it wasn’t the Kingsmen version.

The committee took home mums and leftovers from Proiettis. I was still out of it today so we snuck over to Rick and Monica’s hot tub for a soak and then watched Mystery Science Theatre reruns on VHS.

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Post Labor Day

Jerod's pick up truck at the quarry in Penfield
Jerod’s pick up truck at the quarry in Penfield

Our neighbor, Jerod, rang the bell this morning because we were a half hour late for our our trip to the Penfield quarry. We needed to pick up more stone for the road repair on our street. We had a decent excuse. We were working at our 4D job. Peggi was on the line with support at company we are working with to host an image bank for the library.

We drove out to the stone quarry and filled up his pick-up truck with crushed stone. They have doubled their price out there and it is now $10 a load. Peggi and I did the shoveling and it took us about a half an hour to fill the truck.

Back at 4D we started work on a brochure with stock photos of women executives that Peggi picked out. And then we headed out to the side of the house to continue painting. The temperature of the water down at the pool was 74 and it felt great after all the manual labor.

I’m trying not to think about politics today.

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Best Batch Yet

Eric Ryan, Jann, Mary Alice in her Cocktail Hour pjs, Peggi and Ann in the HLC halls
Eric Ryan, Jann, Mary Alice in her Cocktail Hour pjs, Peggi and Ann in the HLC halls

I picked some near perfect tomatoes from the garden along with a handful of jalapeño peppers and made salsa to bring to the family gathering at my brother’s house. My sister-in-law told me it was ‘the best batch yet” and that got me singing that Captain Beefheart song. “We don’t have to suffer. We’re the best batch yet.”

There are five ingredients in my salsa – tomatoes, onion, jalapeños, fresh cilantro and lime juice. Each has a very important role and when the tomatoes are local, it really sings. I studied the salsa they served in the Yukatan to discern the proportions. It takes more cilantro than you would imagine.

It seems like half my family was born in August (my parents used the rythym method) so we celebrate all the August birthdays at once. Our niece’s boyfriend, Eric Ryan, brought the crossword puzzle from Newsday and it took the whole family to lick it. My youngest sister knew that Marie Osmond had a hit with “Paper Roses” and my father knew that “Sandy’s owner” was Little Orphan Annie. We could have used Peggi’s mom’s help as she is somewhat of a crossword puzzle ace but she wasn’t feeling well enough to come.

After the picnic, my other sister, her daughter and her boyfriend, and Peggi and I all stopped in to see Peggi’s mom. Peggi’s mom had her pink, “Cocktail Hour” pjs on. We took a short walk around the halls. My niece had broken her leg while walking her dog so she was on crutches and Peggi’s mom uses a walker. Our pace was so slow that Eric Ryan could read aloud from his magazine.

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Rehab

Margaret Explosion with Bernie Heveron on bass at the Village Gate Courtyard
Margaret Explosion with Bernie Heveron on bass at the Village Gate Courtyard

Peggi sprung her mom from Highland Hospital yesterday afternoon and drove her to the Living Center next store to her apartment. She has to spend two weeks there for rehab in order to get strong enough to return to home.

Margaret Explosion had a gig at the Village Gate Courtyard and it was a beautiful night for it. Bernie Heveron played bass with us so it was Personal Effects again for the night so we did instrumental versions of “Big Man”, “Don’t Wake Me” and Bring Out The Jazz”. It was very casual gig. I got up to take this shot in the middle of a song. Rick Simpson and his buddies juggled fire during our break. Gary Trainer from the Atomic Swindlers was there and Scott from Watkins and the Rapiers. John Gilmore picked up a pizza from Nino’s and brought it back to the house. Bob Mahoney, Bill and Geri and Jeff and Mary Kaye all stopped by. We watched Peggi’s movies from the tractor pull in Pike.

We did some 4D business this morning and then headed out to the backyard to continue preparing the house for its new coat of paint. That meant scraping and sanding the trim around the windows in our living room so I spent most the afternoon up on the ladder. We had the windows open and iTunes cranking so time flew. We took a brake to swim down the street and then got back to work. We thawed some homemade spaghetti sauce from last year for dinner and headed out to visit Peggi’s mom in her new room. She was out walking the halls when we got there. I was happy to find a healthy wifi signal and posted this from there.

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Panic Attack!

Labor Day weekend always signals a sense of panic for me. We were going to take a sail on the big catamaran that’s docked down by the river. I think it’s called “Wild Hearts”. We were going to paint our house this summer and it’s only half done. We talked of taking a vacation but that didn’t really materialize. I was going to rework the Refrigerator so at least I can find stuff. I was reminded of that item last night when someone sent this.

Subject: whoever does this site…
You’re a f**king GENIUS man!!!! I absolutely LOVE the refrigerator.
I used to live in Rochester and after 16 politically correct, yuppy, whitebread years living in Seattle – I’m still homesick. Great stuff. Thanks!
Katherine

And we definitely didn’t spend enough time down at the pool. So where did the summer go? I know you are supposed to take time off from labor this weekend but I feel like I have to work to get caught up.

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Detention For Skipping Detention

RL Thomass detention slips
RL Thomass detention slips

They really knew how to torture you in high school. Sitting in a room after school with nothing to do was about as bad as it got. Looks like I tried skipping detention and got another slip for cutting detention. I found a few of the pink slips in my old yearbook along with this entry from Melinda Lasher.

“Paul, Next year you’ll probably major in Math right? Or maybe English. (I must have been in those two classes with her) Course it wasn’t too bad for you ’cause you never even came. I never saw someone get away with skipping as much as you.”

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Puddin’ Tane

Peggi and I were having a nice dinner, an exact repeat of the night before, when I realized that I had to be at a high school reunion meeting in two minutes. I grabbed the badges that I had been working on and drove fast over the Bay Bridge and down to the lake to the classmate’s house. This was supposed to be the last meeting but nobody showed up except me and another woman with a Lilydale (New York State Spiritualist community) t-shirt on. The three of us didn’t exactly finish our business.

We had nominated the three guys that weren’t at our last meeting to be the MCs but then they didn’t show up at this meeting either so they won’t even know that they are the MCs until they show up at the reunion. And of course there won’t be any sort of program to officiate and there probably won’t even be a PA unless the VFW has one lying around. It will all be fine though as as long as the DJ that we hired isn’t too loud or some sort of creep. Bob Brenna and I were the MCs of our high school talent show and I ad libbed most of that. I just recommended Bob’s lawyering services to my sister who was unfairly fired from her job. Bob recommended another lawyer. I had the lead in a high school play too and I fumbled some lines so badly that I shot us all into the next act. We had too do some serious ad lib backpedaling to get straightened out. Laurice Densmore was the female lead and she will be at the reunion. I’m looking forward to seeing her.

Even though I was running late for the meeting I stopped at my brother’s house. I couldn’t just drive by. He was in the middle of dinner, two burnt hot dogs and a bag of potato chips that he was dipping in applesauce. Sounds like something I would like. He pointed to the ashtray on the table and said he had started smoking again because his ex-wife was squeezing him for more money. I told him that wasn’t a good enough reason. When I got to the meeting the host’s husband was working out in the garage with the radio on. He looked really happy. After the meeting he showed me his human skull. He works at Ward’s Scientific. I told him I would like to have one of those.

When I got back home Peggi was on the phone with her mom who had fallen and hit her head. Peggi was preparing to head out to her mom’s apartment and she’ll probably spend the night there. When she got there she reminded her mom of the question the emergency doctor asked her the last time she fell. “Remember mom, the doctor said, ‘What’s your name? And you said?” Peggi’s mom didn’t remember at first but then said, “Puddin’ Tane. Puddin’ Tane. Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same”. She’s gonna be all right.

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Bowl of Cherries

Philip Guston drawing, Bowl of Cherries
Philip Guston drawing, Bowl of Cherries

If NetFlix can have an outage, I can.

We had dinner with Alice and Julio on and learned that Alice was geared up to paint but was having too much fun in the garden to get to it yet. Dinner conversation led to a topic that required the assistance of our laptop. And of course that led to other online topics. Julio had me type in their address on Google maps and we looked at a street view of their house. Alice led me down their street with the little arrows and we turned the corner to find two people walking on the sidewalk in front of a neighbor’s house. It was Alice and Julio out for a walk last summer.

Saturday morning we were reading on our deck, eating cherries and delaying the day’s planned activity, power washing the house. I came in to check email and there was one from Jeff Munson telling us that he had just talked Mary Kaye into driving down to Pike at the bottom of the state for the last day of the Wyoming County Fair. He asked if we wanted to ride along with them. I emailed back that we were on.

We had hoped to see the prize winning animals, our favorite part, but they were mostly all headed home after spending the week at the fairgrounds. We did see some goats, pigs and cows. This is the heart of New York farm country and there were a lot of vendors selling wood stoves, cow milking machines, four wheel drive vehicles, dirt bikes, big farm equipment,huge tractors and “The World’s Fastest Lawnmower”.

We saw women in period dress weaving on old looms and baking in brick ovens. We walked around the midway and rode on the Ferris wheel. A lot of people were wearing t-shirts that made statements like, “I Won’t Lower My Standards To Raise Yours”. And one guy had a red t-shirt on that asked a question that puzzled me at first? “Does This Match My Neck?” Peggi explained it.

We felt like we had done it all and were set to leave when tractor pull satrted. It was ten bucks to get in and we didn’t even know what it was but we went for it. That’s another story. I grabbed a few photos and will sort them out.

On Sunday we borrowed our neighbor’s power washer and hooked the gasoline fired machine up to our garden hose to blast our house clean. It’s now ready to paint. Rick and Monica were doing yard work as well and they invited us over for dinner. We ate on their back porch and then watched Hellboy from Netflix. I fell asleep.

More photos from the Wyoming County Fair

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Basketball Team Faced Strong Competition

Holy Trinity basketball team, mid sixties. l. to r. Paul Dodd, Alfred Williams, Jim Schneider, Albert Williams, Jim McClellan, Russ Minor's older brother, Bernie Finch
Holy Trinity basketball team, mid sixties. l. to r. Paul Dodd, Alfred Williams, Jim Schneider, Albert Williams, Jim McClellan, Russ Minor’s older brother, Bernie Finch


Dodd, Williams, Schneider, Williams, McClellan, Minor and Finch playing for Holy Trinity basketball team.

I made a birthday card for my mom today and I went rummaging through a bunch of old photos to find one to use on her card. I found one of her working as a cashier in my uncle’s (her brother) grocery store and I scanned it for her card. I did a painting a long time ago of my uncle in his store. I worked there too although never on the cash register. I was a stock boy. I used to take cream pies into the cooler and eat them when he left the store. He came back one time and caught me sitting on top the milk crates holding a whole banana cream pie up to mouth.

I also came across this old photo of the Holy Trinity basketball team from about that same time period. I looked as geeky as these basketball players. I had to do some rumaging to find both of the painting links in this entry. They are old paintings and there is no logical internet route to them anymore other than typing the url. I’ve gotten in the habit of breaking the links to old stuff but leaving it out there, online for times like this.

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Rigamarole

Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms near Durand Eastman Park
Mushrooms in Durand Eastman Park

It has rained a lot up near Lake Ontario. We have had some rain everyday for the last few weeks. The frogs are digging this weather, the mushrooms too. We have a bright red mushroom in our backyard and some funky things out front. We took a walk in the woods and found all these exotic formations.

We were going to go down to New York and then we decided to go up to the mountains but we didn’t leave on Saturday so we talked about leaving on Sunday and then we decided to stay right here instead. Peggi suggested pitching a tent in the back yard. We might do that. There’s too much rigmarole involved with trying to get out of town. It’s much easier to stay right here.

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Let The Drummer Take A Ride

Mike Allen, Alan Arras and Sandy Argus in the 1968 RL Thomas yearbook photos
Mike Allen, Alan Arras and Sandy Argus in the 1968 RL Thomas yearbook photos

Margaret Explosion had a gig tonight at the Little Theatre Cafe and Peggi and I were running late, I should say later than usual. We should have been playing by the time we got there but no big deal. Peggi’s sister left LA yesterday, just before the earthquake, to spend some time with her mom so they both showed up for the gig and we started talking. I went up to sit down and play and I realized that I had forgotten my sticks. That’s pretty bad. The band started without me and I went home to pick them up. I took my espresso along for the ride.

Peggi and I had been playing in the basement the night before and I found the sticks in a dark spot. I headed back to the Little and ran into Mike Allen at the door. He was in my class at RL and we chatted for a bit while the band played without a drummer. They sounded pretty good.

The really weird thing is I had the first page of a pdf of scans of our yearbook open on my computer at home and Mike was one of the people on that first page. He was reminding me that his brother was the drummer in the “Root of All Evil”, a band that I used to see all the time at Panorama Bowl. And they played our high school as well but it was always more fun over at Panorama Bowl. They covered the bowling lanes with plywood and about every twenty minutes a fight would break out on the dance floor. Most of the bands of that day covered the Rascals and Smokey, Mitch Ryder and even Barbara Lewis’s “Hello Stranger”.

I volunteered to make the little badges that people wear at the reunion. That’s my favorite part, looking at the old photos. Here’s a photo of Frank Paolo, who was also in my class, in a post he sent out to our class.

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This Is Why They Call It Sunday

We read the paper on the deck, worked in the yard, swam at the pool, played horseshoes and had dinner across the street at Rick and Monica’s. Rick cooked salmon on cedar planks and he made rice with cilantro and lime. We brought the salad. Monica made a blueberry pie. I told Rick that I had lost my jackknife. (I think it was at the theater during Hellboy) He went upstairs and came down with a black Swiss Army knife with the Kodak logo on it that he bought at the garage sale they had at our house after the previous owner died. He gave it to me so it is back where it belongs. We played with Rick’s new iPod Touch. I previewed some of our recent web pages. It was a perfect Sunday. Now I ‘m boning up on best web practices at Apple’s site. Gotta make sure our pages work on all of Apple’s hot new devices.

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Note To Myself

We spent the day constructing Julia Nunes’ website layout at HostBaby (sister company to CD Baby). They have a easy access admin panel and all sorts of snippets with easy ways for novices to update their site without wrecking it in their basic package. And then they offer the possibility of a full access site with the snippets. They even have a friendly, knowledgeable help staff. Pretty impressive.

Bob Russell emailed from the Little Theater Cafe wanting to know if we wanted to play next Wednesday so I guess we have a date in the near future. I just set my drums up here for the first time since our WXXI gig. Peggi and I might play later tonight. I’m going to add that date to the Margo site when I finish this. Is it ok if I talk to myself here? I’ve sort of made a resolution to not put up any new pages until the section I’m posting to gets reworked from html to php. Eventually the whole Refrigerator site will be php pages with includes for the header with a navigation menu that I can update in one document and have it fed to the whole site. I am completely backlogged with stuff to post to the site and I can’t see updating only to have to rework those pages down the road.

So I created a new php index page for the Refrigerator and uploaded it. Peggi modified the .htaccess file to redirect301 the old index.html links to index.php. The only things in the menu are the few sections that I have reworked.

Peggi’s sister is coming into town next week to spend some time with her mom so Peggi and I are planning a trip to NYC. Another getaway idea is going up to Pete and Shelley’s place in the mountains. We met them twenty years ago on 8.8.88 at their “Digital Breakdown Party”, the day that Pete imaginged all tose old alrm clocks with flipping numbers relaxed and sat at 88:88. Maybe we can do both trips.

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Ah, But They’re Cool People

Ucrest Music Store in Buffalo New York
Ucrest Music Store in Buffalo New York

A few of the pads on Peggi’s soprano sax were sticking so she took the horn into Shuffle Music on East Avenue so Carl could look at it. Peggi mentioned that the horn is also slightly out of tune with itself. Some people notice that sort of thing. Carl suggested that she call Wally at U-Crest in Buffalo to see if he had any reconditioned sopranos in his Shop. He did and he FedExed out one that day for Peggi to try. This is the way they do things today.

The horn sounded great but the arrangement of the lower register keys was different. Peggi’s hands weren’t big enough to reach them. So she decided to take it back. We were planning on driving through Buffalo on our way to Detroit for Peggi’s high school reunion so thought we would hand deliver the thing. We found the place and hopped out of the car with the horn but couldn’t get in. They’re closed Fridays during July and August just like the sign says. Wally’s got a good thing going here. There was a nice one story brick house attached to the store on the left and a small kidney shaped swimming pool was behind the fence on the right. So we continued on to Detroit with the horn.

The expressways near the border have electronic signs displaying the wait times at the three bridges. Rainbow was only a half hour so we headed there. The cars were backed up for miles. We spent a lot more than a half hour looking at other people trapped in their cars and studying which of the lines were moving the fastest. The roads in Canada which used to seem so neatly maintained and fast moving were all chopped up. The 100 km speed limit seemed slow by NY Thruway standards and we were in a construction zone all the way across the top of Lake Erie. We had heard that the bridge up at Sarnia was less congested than Windsor so we took that route. We waited again for over an hour to get back in the US. We watched Homeland Security search the trunk of the car in front of us.

We drove by Peggi’s old house and then directly to a party in Troy. The people who were hosting the party were both in Peggi’s class. They reconnected a few years ago and got married. There was a band playing sixties music in the backyard. The guys were all from her high school but they looked older than Peggi. “Dirty Water” sounded pretty good. I picked a Mexican beer out of the kid’s swimming pool that had been filled with ice.

Peggi had a blast warming up for tomorrow’s reunion. She called her old friend, Leslie, from the party and we drove over to her house in Royal Oak where we spent the night. Leslie was wearing a Detroit Red Wings t-shirt when we got there. We sat on the porch while she smoked generic cigarettes. There was Doctor Bronner’s soap in the bathroom. In the morning we watched a locally produced horror movie that her son, Casey is in.

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No Place For Beer Cans

Boat at sunset on Lake Ontario
Boat at sunset on Lake Ontario

We walked up near the lake today and found four golf balls while crossing Durand Eastman Golf Course. One of the balls was from the Seneca Niagara Casino. I also found a few beer cans in the woods and threw them back out on the fairway. The golf course hires people to clean up the trash. If you golf at Durand, just drop your beer cans on the course. The woods is no place for beer cans.

We ordered take out from FarmFreshKitchens.com. We tried printing their menu but wound up with completely blank pages so we made a screen capture of their site and printed that. We wanted to show it to Peggi’s mom so she could pick something out. They don’t use butter or cream and they calculate the calories and total fat of their “fresh seasonal entrees”. The seven grain stuffed cabbage I had was 160 calories with 1.5 grams of fat.

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