I know I’m not the only one who finds the holidays stressful but I feel lucky to have an antidote. A walk to the lake is a chill pill for me, one that works every time. I loved having my family over for dinner on Christmas Eve, a good part of them anyway. My stress comes from the string of holiday parties, friends in from out of town, the holiday shows, all the activity packed into a two week period. I just want to stay home and watch Perry Mason.
Our Saint Patty’s tradition is no more than ten years old so we could easily find change it. We usually walk down Wisner, through the woods and up into the neighborhood on the westside of Culver. We are not even a mile from Shamrock Jack’s but by the time we got there today, just after noon, the restaurant was full. We gave our name to the hostess and she said it would ten dollars. Five apiece to to get in the joint and wait for a table!
They had a bigger tent than ever out back and one set up in the front. We ordered a pint and eventually a sandwich while we watched limos and buses, one a school bus with an Irish flag on the side, drop off more people dressed in green. Peggi had just taken her last bite when the bus boy came up to our table and asked if he could take her plate. He eyed mine and and I asked if they were out of plates back there. He laughed and said they were.
We had only started our walk so we continued down Culver to the lake and over the bridge into Webster. We stopped there for a bit to watch three wind surfers getting airborne. We walked up to Gosnell Park off Vosburg Road and sat down a bench in the meadow. On the return trip we stopped in the Bay Side Pub to use their bathroom and refill with a pint. This is where we’ll be next year.
Sadly, we finished the the sixth and final episode of “Top of the Lake.” I didn’t want that show to end. Sure it got a little bogged down with the two main characters’ relationship but the show soared each time they cut back to Paradise, the women’s communal camp built of cargo containers on the coast of New Zealand. I want Holly Hunter as my guru.
It took some doing for Peggi to plan our walking route today. We knew the distance we wanted, somewhere near the eight mile mark, but we also had a time factor. We wanted to be at Shamrock Jack’s at 12:30 to meet Matthew and Louise for lunch but that is only a mile and half from our house.
So Peggi plotted a route across the spit of land at the top of bay, one that took across the seasonal bridge and over to the Bay Side Pub, one of the funky restaurants that dot the lakeshore. It was twelve degrees, the wind was pretty fierce and the sidewalks were not plowed so we didn’t make it to the Bat=y Side. We turned around on he other side of the bridge and headed back to Shamrock Jacks where we arrived right on cue. We picked up our miles by taking he long way home.
I found this picture from yesterday on my camera card. It hardly seems possible. It was fifty five degrees today. This is why we love it here.
We stopped into the Downstairs Cabaret tonight to catch students from the Eastman playing jazz in the small theater. The room sounds especially good. I ordered a Guiness and that reminded me that I was going to do something to celebrate the tenth anniversary of this blog. I knew it was coming and then I missed it. My first post, from November 2007, had something to do with the dark brown brew.
Our friend, Pete LaBonne, plans to be here tomorrow night to play piano with Margaret Explosion. He is such a dynamic player he just might bust this whole thing wide open. We could break through to a different dimension. We saw the Rodin show at the Metropolitan on Sunday. Peggi took this photo of a photo there and I made a poster for the event and I came up with a slogan. Margaret Explosion, “the thinking man’s band in a below the belt world.”
It’s snowing now and Peggi has calculated ideal time to head into the woods on our skis in order to take advantage of the fresh powder. The 26 inches we got a few days ago turned crusty in the Saint Patty sun and this will give us another shot.
Our Little Theatre date was cancelled because of that storm. Having grown up here I thought they were overreacting. We went up to Regal at Culver Ridge that night to see one of the Academy Award nominated movies, “Hidden Numbers,” but that place was closed too. We saw it last night but need to go back to see “Get Out.”
I hadn’t rained in so long, we never imagined we would go out for a bike ride and have to take shelter from a thunder storm but that is exactly what happened on Saturday when we set out for Charlotte. We planned to check out the health fair and, of course, the beach volleyball beach volleyball. We rode down Rock Beach Road bypassing Rochester’s Gold Coast, and only made it as far as the Summerville pier before he skies turned threatening. We took refuge in O”loughlin’s and were forced to have a pint near noon. The Olympics were on the tvs and we parked ourselves in front of a soccer match. That was three days ago and it has rained everyday since. So much for that drought.
Peggi took this movie with her phone. We had to show it to Steve Greive, the neighborhood rackaholic, so she put it on YouTube. The 10-point buck, in velvet, was hanging out near the park. While Peggi was shooting this movie she found two other bucks in her frame, an 8 and another 10 point.
Today’s walk proved more fruitful than most. I found a five dollar bill where the park boundaries meet the dead-end of Hoffman Road. I already had a few golf balls in my pocket, a Pinnacle and a bright pink “Precept Lady 10+.” On the ground, near the river, I found another drug bag. I have been bringing them home for the last few months and I have a small pile of multi-colored miniature baggies. I used to bring home giant cans of Budweiser but that guy apparently moved on.
When we lived in the city we’d walk to the corner bar for lunch on Saint Patrick’s Day. Carroll’s was an old school Irish bar then. The younger set had not hipified it. You were liable to hear heated conversations about Irish politics mixed just above the Pogues. On Saint Patty’s we’d often catch these old guys, two accordions and a fiddle or sometimes three accordions. And occasionally bagpipes would fill the bar.
These days we have a mile or so walk to get to the closest Irish joint. We stopped on the other side of the woods and met Matthew and Louise and the four of us arrived at Shamrock Jack’s just before noon, in time to get a table in the dining room. Jumbo Shrimp was playing in the tent out back. We caught a bit of their set after lunch and then stopped in the Reunion Inn across the street for a couple games of pinball. I felt like going back to bed by the time we got home but I slogged on.
My dad’s car is in the shop so he invited us over to their place to celebrate my birthday with a milkshake and sandwich. The weekly special was an Italian Hogie, the same thing Robert Durst shoplifted from Wegmans when he got popped. The bistro at their place was packed so we ate lunch in the library by the fireplace.
It was a beautiful day, warm enough to go without a hat and a clear blue sky. We left my parents’ place and traveled west on the 104 past the ruins of Kodak Park and Ridgemont Plaza and onward, just wandering as is our custom on April 28. We turned right on a small road that surely would have taken us to the lake if we stuck with it but we got on Route 18, the “Roosevelt Highway” and paralleled the shoreline until we got to Lakeside Beach State Park.
The park wasn’t officially open so there was no entry fee and most of it was lawn with concrete slabs scattered about and chainlink nets for something called disc golf. We tried to ignore all that and climbed down the bank to the lake where we found some shotgun shells, golf balls, drug bags and all sorts of tiny plastic trash.
We walked for a few hours and worked up a thirst so we stopped in Oak Orchard and bought a couple of bottles of Guinness from a girl with large peace sign earrings. We drank the beer by a nearby bridge and watched a turtle sun himself. This very sleepy little town was just coming alive for the season with bait shops, boat rentals and sailboat ride places.
We took the Lake Ontario State Parkway back into town and were amazed at how rough the road was. A bit forlorn but still a beautiful highway. Each bridge is slightly different from the next and all faced with stone. Many are in disrepair today. The Parkway was built in the late forties at what was surely an optimistic time, a time when you might just hop in the car on sunny afternoon and take a drive.
Just like last year only half of our blue Christmas lights worked when we took them out of the box. Instead of buying more of those $3.99 strings, we sprung for LED. They are an intense, deep blue. They take less energy but last forever and the color isn’t supposed to fade like the others did while they hung outdoors. The lights even came with some sort of guaranty.
With the temperature near fifty, this will clearly not be a white Christmas. Where did that foot of snow go? It was enough to break quite a few branches off the pine trees in the park so we brought a few home to spread out on our window sill. And Peggi made Christmas cookies so its beginning to smell like Christmas around here.
I’m not exactly in the Christmas spirt. We were talking to Jon Gary at the Bobby Henrie show and he told us their wooden menorah caught fire. That’s kinda the way I feel for some reason.
I enjoyed the Solstice party at Tom and Carol Aquilano‘s. That is a holyday/holiday I can get behind. A Guinness with friends sitting around an open fire pit. Perfect.
How does Duane, in Brooklyn, know about these things before us? Maybe it’s because he does look at his fb page. We live about a mile away from Vic and Irv’s and had no idea they were closing their doors and moving up Culver Road to Fioravanti’s old place. Of course, about the only time we eat there is when Duane is in town.
Once informed of the move we had to get down there so we arranged to dine with parents last night. The signs, posted all over the store, say they will be open until October 25th at 9PM and then reopen in the new place on November 1. They will still have a view of the lake from the new location and workers were inside getting it ready as we drove by. The manager at Vic & Irv’s gave us the scoop.
Vic sold the property and the name to someone before he died. They rent the space to the people who own the business but they are going into foreclose on the property. So the current owners are moving the location uptown bait and changing the name to “Vic’s Place.” If I sound obsessive about all these details, I am. I used to ride my bike down here some fifty years ago, the place is celebrating their 80th year and I’ve sweated the death of the partners, the ownership changes, the switch to Styrofoam plates from cardboard, the giant jar of pickles, the best onion rings in town and Vic’s secret hot sauce.
Time marches on. My mom ordered a Veggie Burger, something that was unheard in Vic’s early days. I had the same thing I’ve always ordered. Cheeseburger, onion rings and a vanilla shake. My dad went the classic. “Baloney and Onions.”
I’m quite sure St. Patrick’s day is one of those holidays, formerly holy days, that have glommed onto the Equinox the way Christmas glommed onto the solstice. So we celebrate the first unofficial day of Spring by walking through the park and out onto Culver Road where the Guinness truck is parked in front of Shamrock Jacks. This is our family of two tradition.
We were there before noon and green bagels were still set up on a table in front. Our waitress, one of the sisters that own the place, was wearing a “Drink Like A Champion Today” shirt. A band was playing in the bar and another one was setting up out back in the tent. By the time we left the place was mobbed. These are my people. I’m getting out.
Our best guess is that it is someone who walks (well most people walk) but walks like we do (“the walkers”). Someone in a car, even a stopped car, would never be able to toss their empty beer cans so accurately into this boggy area around the same fallen tree on a regular basis. It must be a walker and they probably do it at night. We rarely walk after dark so that would explain why we have never run into them.
By now I assume some neighbors think Peggi and I are the Bud freaks because they have spotted us carrying the empties back. The culprit probably has an OCD problem as well as a drinking problem. I mean you could get rid of an empty anywhere but these are always in exactly the same spot. I’ve thought about putting up a camera like the one Steve Grieve has out in the marsh to photograph deer but then I wonder if maybe there already is a camera up here photographing Peggi and I as we habitually pick up the cans.
Budweiser is not using their patriotic can design anymore (type Budweiser in the search engine on this page to see the other entries on this subject) and how about that one can (above) that is taller than the rest. Budweiser has taken their 24 ounce can up a notch. This one goes to 25.
My brother, Fran has rebuilt a couple of Corvettes but he took a long hiatus from his car hobby while his daughter was going to school. Now that she has graduated he’s drooling over cars at Turner’s. I spotted this one down at the lake and sent him the photo.
There was a time when Abilene didn’t have any beers on tap. I would look around at what others were drinking and then order one of those, usually something in a can. These days I am happy to order a Guinness. Good times, like Brian William’s birthday in Abilene backyard, go better with it. Tom Kohn almost talked us in to driving three hours to hear Pharaoh Sanders at Guelph. And he informed us that Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby’s next local stop will be at Abilene. Maybe Danny will have his new, bigger venue by then.
News Flash: Eric Goulden (aka Mr. Wreckless) will do a version of a painting if you see something you like on his site. Duane Sherwood just received “Cucumber 2” in the mail, a painting that was previously sold.
After the party we stopped next door at Fuego and purchased some FT, OR, fresh roasted on premises, Mexican coffee. Can’t think of a better place to start your evening.
Privately we were calling our nephew’s NYC celebration “The Graduation Gout Tour” but that is really unfair. We ate at three very nicer restaurants in three days and never really felt overstuffed. Our graduate nephew’ brother works at NoMad and he picked “Blue Hill at Stone Barn.” The graduate picked Gramercy Park Tavern and of course we had to eat at our other nephew’s place, “NoMad.” Well, it’s not really his place but someday he’ll have one. He worked at “Animal” in LA and has worked his way up to sous chef at NoMad. I took snippets of movies of our nephews and their friend as we ate and then stitched them together last night.
Kind of funny that our neighbor spent time and money building a stage for his living room concerts and then the band spent a good bit of the night performing in the crowd like Sun Ra used to do. But then just about everything the Chandler Travis Three-O does is funny in a melancholy way. They do adult pop like the sweet side of NRBQ with no drums, a great sounding standup bass and a horn player who teaches at Berklee School. I came away singing NRBQ’s “Mona,” a song they didn’t do. They are great musicians and entertainers and sounded best when they were off mic.
Chandler distilled the whole of Saint Patrick’s Day in a three minute rip-roaring version of Danny Boy, the dark brew, the parade, the boiled beef and the debauchery. They performed three David Greenberger songs and brought the house down with their hootenanny version of Pete LaBonne’s “Turning The Page.”
“One hand tied around my back
two thieves steal away in the night
in a jungle gym frame of mind, I’m turning the page.”
I can’t tell if it is just my Mac centric view of the world or a real phenomena but I’m spotting the glowing Apple logo everywhere. We spotted this copy of the Steve Jobs book in Catalan yesterday and thumbed through the photos. There are more in the book then there were in the the eBook.
It was perfect day for the boiling of the beef. Or for an intervention but that’s another story. I wish I had my camera. Nikon had me send the camera back at my expense to fix a lens cover that wouldn’t spring fully open and then told me the replacement part is on backorder! Grrr. If I had the camera I could have pryed the lens cover open to make a movie of our walk through the woods and then the funky little neighborhood of Bloomington style houses (one was for sale for $87,000- just askin’), down Culver Road past the bowling alley and Mastrella’s where we saw the short Elvis impersonator, by the New York Store where we saw new bicycles made in Queens in the window, by the barking dog in front a house with a beautiful view of the lake to Shamrock Jack’s for a sandwich and a pint.
I can picture falling forward as well as springing back so this “Spring Forward, Fall Back” thing has always been hard for me to envision. I might just set my watch forward tonight and get a jump on things so it doesn’t feel like we really lose that precious hour.
We spotted a few crocuses out in our neighbor’s yard and these yellow flowers are out in our back yard. The geese are overhead, flying north and carrying on their own conversation. I found nine golf balls where the snow was as we crossed the golf course today. And we found these beer cans in the the usual spot on Hoffman Road. We were ready for the cans. Peggi had two Wegmans bags in her pocket and we filled them both. We continue to speculate wildly about who it might be that drinks these 24 ounce cans and then chucks them habitually in the same spot. It’s been going on for a few years now and kids would have grown out this kind of thing. Maybe a neighbor or someone who comes down here to drink beer and look at the wildlife.
Most of the birds are getting out but the smart ones are hanging around for this beautiful Fall weather. It’s not Indian Summer because we haven’t had a frost but that’s only a technicality because we live so close to the lake.
We were headed home from Peggi’s mom’s apartment with the last load of stuff to get rid of and we head this clanging under the car. I couldn’t even see out the back window because the big, green ,overstuffed, lift chair took up most of our cargo space. We stopped at the bank and I crawled under the car. Our tailpipe had broken off where it meets the muffler so I stopped in Jerome’s to have them take a look at it. They put the car up on the lift with the lift chair inside of the car and reattached the tailpipe. Further up the exhaust chain we noticed the heat shield on the catalytic convertor was falling off. I find these in the road all the time while on my bike but I’ve given up collecting them.
We don’t really have a piano player in our band unless Pete LaBonne is in town. Fred Marshall sat it a couple of weeks ago and he sounded great. Jaffe from the old Colorblind James Experience used to come all the time but we haven’t seen him in months. James Nichols threatened to come last week but didn’t. Maybe he’ll stop by tonight. He always sounds great. There’s no piano in the song below but the Little Theatre Café’s grand piano was sitting right next to us when we recorded the track so if you listen closely you’ll hear it vibrating sympathetically.