Funny Suits

Turtles sunning themselves on a  fallen tree in Durand Lake
Turtles sunning themselves on a fallen tree in Durand Lake

We were coming up from the big lake (Ontario), walking along the west side of Durand Lake, the sunny side in the morning, and Peggi was telling me about her dream the night before. Ken, Margaret Explosion’s bass player, had suggested that we all wear hat and some funny suits at our gig next Wednesday, the first since they pulled the plug on live music back in March 2020. And he wanted us each to take a drug before the performance, some pills that he got from his mother.

And then I heard a splash as a bunch of these turtles were startled by our presence. We froze and they slow climbed back on the log. If you enlarge the photo above you can see more heads sticking out of the water to the left of the fallen tree. We stayed here for a half hour or so.

Earlier we had watched one of those white swans chase a goose across the lake. Closer to home a bull frog was holding court on Trott Lake. A Pileated woodpecker was competing with the sound of a nail gun from the workers on our neighbor’s roof. Back at home Peggi checked her fortune in today’s paper and found that she “would be favorably impacted by a member of the animal kingdom today.”

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Ask Alice

Flowering bushes and trees on walking route up to Aman's
Flowering bushes and trees on walking route up to Aman’s

We rode out to Port Bay over the weekend in the the backseat of some old friends’ car. Old as in our age and due to the fact that I went to high school with one of them. We had not seen them since their trip to Mexico and we had a lot to catch up on. Traveling during a pandemic is adventurous enough but they pushed the envelope and arranged a guided psychedelic trip on an organic South American plant, Ayahuasca. It is said to trigger the growth of new brain cells and possibly treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.

They took a taxi outside of town and met a young shaman and his girlfriend in a small building with no running water. They were instructed to keep their eyes closed for the entire trip, something that lasted til the sun came up. Their hallucinations were similar in that they both involved brightly colored objects, small Lego-like pieces and numbers on buildings. I was in awe that they were so trusting and so so open to this new, potentialy wild experience. Other than a few mushrooms I haven’t taken a psychedelic trip since 1969.

We walked up to Aman’s this morning and the he humidity was so low today, the cool temperatures so crisp, the flowering tress at peak color, I felt like I was tripping.

Listen to Alice by Margaret Explosion
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Triple Header

Three mice in three traps
Three mice in three traps

There must be a more humane way to get mice out of your house. A better mousetrap. Mice had free rein of our home before we bought it. The droppings were everywhere. We think one died in the furthest reaches of our oven because it took a year of baking to completely eliminate the odor.

We were watching a Perry Mason episode the other night and I was half asleep when I thought I saw a mouse scamper by. We had already heard suspicious rumblings behind the cupboards so I sprung into action. They can’t resist peanut butter. We use Wegman’s Organic Crunchy. In fact, I hear mice on death row request it as their last meal. We caught five in a twenty four period and think we’re good for another year.

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No Tocar

Victorian chairs at Gem Lab on Mount Hope
Victorian chairs at Gem Lab on Mount Hope

Before the doctor set her wrist he had his assistant cut Peggi’s wedding ring off. We were out walking last year on a perfectly dry road when one of Peggi’s YakTrax came off and caught the other. She went down fast and broke her wrist. Now that the pandemic has settled down we entered a jewelry store to have the ring repaired. They were having a Mother’s Day sale of a Victorian collection they had acquired and they brought in some furniture to kick it off.

On our way home from the beach we noticed a couple bent over some green plants. They both were carrying plastic shopping bags and the man was cutting cutting something. We thought maybe they were foraging for mushrooms so I asked “What have you found.”

When they turned back toward us it became clear that they had no idea what I had just said. You know that look. I tried again. Blank faces. I know how they felt. I’ve felt this way many times in Spain. With hand gestures and Asian flavored words the man communicated that they were picking these weed-like greens for soup. Peggi reached down to pick one and the man said, “No.” He held up his hands and showed us he was wearing gloves.

After the couple moved on Peggi used her iNaturalist app to identify the plant as nettles, something we have been stung by in the past.

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Brooklyn Strong

Jared's fish being fed by Peggi
Jared’s fish being fed by Peggi

I mention this every year but it is a good excuse to link to this photo of Peggi with a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby in 1973, our first date, the year Secretariat won. We’re going with Brooklyn Strong in today’s derby despite the 40/1 odds.

Our neighbors left us in charge of feeding their fish while they’re out of town. These guys all survived the winter but the water temperature was only 50 degrees this morning so they were a little sluggish.

Peggi’s is doing grand jury duty for a few weeks and it has been an education for the both of us. The process seems lopsided to first timers. The prosecutors present their case and walk the jurors to their indictment 99.9% of the time.

So what went wrong for Letitia James’ in Rochester’s Daniel Prude case? Nearly a mirror image of the George Floyd murder and it comes back “no billed.” I don’t know much about the Rochester Beacon other than they just hired Frank De Blase as their music critic but I thought this editorial was pretty thought provoking.

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Musical Chairs

Sifted sand along beach in Durand Eastman
Sifted sand along beach in Durand Eastman

I watched the Colonel walk by this morning without her white dog. I wasn’t even sure it was her at first. She was walking so briskly. But with purple hair it had to be her. We spotted her again walking with a neighbor and without her dog. We learned her dog had lung cancer and had to be put down.

We entered the beach this morning just after the outlet from Durand Lake. It appeared someone was coming out of the water on the other side. We had a hunch that it might have been Jim Mott, a friend who is known to swim near year ’round. We walked toward him and Peggi thought she saw smoke coming from his mouth. Jim doesn’t smoke. We turned around. We talked to him later and learned he was down this way looking at warblers as they migrate through and he had taken a dip.

We had our annual pool meeting this afternoon. There has been a pool on our street since 1960 and Peggi and I are presidents (janitors) this year. One pair of neighbors is vaccine hesitant so we met outdoors. I made a fire and the wind kept changing directions so it was like musical chairs.

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Muy Excitable

Snowy magnolias on a rainy day
Snowy magnolias on a rainy day

I love rainy days. Maybe because it meant a day off when I was working construction. I love the sound of the rain on the roof. I am more productive on rainy days.

It doesn’t keep us in either. With good rain gear we never miss our daily walk. If we had stayed in today we would have missed this display up on Zoo Road. The snowy Magnolias were in full bloom yesterday and their petals cover the ground today.

We had our friends, Jedi and Helena, down for the second time this week. We were vacinated at the same time and are now filling that void. Helena made paella, Peggi made cornbread and a Tarta de Santiago and we watched El Classico, the twice yearly meeting of arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona. They are two of our favorite teams so we switched back forth as the match went on. Barcelona, true to form, dominated the game with 67% possession but Real Madrid was up 2-0 at the half. With a few slip ups we went all out for Barcelona in the second half, screaming at the players to shoot. With our help they almost pulled off a tie.

We watched the first half in English and switched to Spanish at the half. The game appeared much faster and even more exciting.

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Love Call

Toads mating in Jared's pond
Toads mating in Jared’s pond

We slept with our windows open last night to take in the trilling coming from the pond next door. We ran into our neighbors out at the mailbox today and told them how much we enjoyed the sound. Jared told us there were about twenty five pairs of toads getting it down there. We had to for ourselves.

The males are usually smaller than the females and they are the ones that make all the noise. That’s how they attract the females. It works like a charm. The pond looks like a whore house with extra males calling and waiting their turn.

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Lenten Roses

Watchtower Jesus found in Durand Eastman Park
Watchtower Jesus found in Durand Eastman Park

We couldn’t decide who this guy looks like. Sort of a cross between Michael McDonald and Ricky Nelson or maybe Brian Williams from Bobbie Henrie & The Goners. Someone had left a few Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets in the pocket of the information board in the park. “Please join us for the annual commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ. The date, time and location will be Saturday, March 27, 2021. Scan code for additional information.” That’s today!

Our lenten roses are in fact blooming on Palm Sunday.

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Hard Core

Marsh on Hoffman Road in late March
Marsh on Hoffman Road in late March

High winds were forecast until 4 PM so we planned a route that would circle our house in case we had to run for cover. It was raining when we left and pouring before we got to the end of our street. A small stream of water was running along the edge of the road at the top of the big hill on Hoffman. It grew bigger on the way down. Jack Koffman was out at the road picking up his paper. We surprised him. He said, “It’s raining guys.”

There is a big drain across the street from him where the runoff goes down and then under the road before emptying into the creek. The creek was overflowing as it raced further toward the lake. Tom from Whispering Pines was out by the road in rain gear. He laughed and said, “You guys are hard core.” He pointed to the impromptu stream that was flowing across his property, run off from his son’s ATV tracks, and then to the drain that he had just freed up in hopes of keeping his yard from flooding.

By the time we got to the marsh the rain was letting up. We confirmed that it is just as pretty on a dark, wet, dreary day as it is on a sunny one. The birds didn’t seem to mind.

When the 4 o’clock hour passed we went out with a wheelbarrow and picked up sticks around the house. We use them for kindling and may just start a fire tonight now the temperature has dropped.

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Another Miracle

Red Winged Blackbird at the top of the trees
Red Winged Blackbird at the top of the trees

The tops of these trees are turning green. It seems like a miracle. And the call of the red winged blackbird alerted me to this observation.

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Sláinte

Carrol's Bar on East Main Street in Rochester, NY 2001
Carrol’s Bar on East Main Street in Rochester, NY 2001

When we lived in the city, Carrol’s was our corner bar. We’d walk up there just before noon on the 17th. Shamrock Jack’s is the closet Irish place to us now but that has gotten crazy. I think already had a huge tent set up in their parking lot last when everything shut down. You can’t beat crowds there so we looked for greener pastures.

Google Maps estimated it would take us an hour and seven minutes to walk to the Bayside in Webster. We called before leaving home and ordered two corned beef sandwiches to go. I put two beers in my pocket and Peggi and I celebrated Saint Patty’s at a picnic table overlooking the lake across the street from the restaurant. The McKeil Spirit was just pulling out of the Port of Rochester after dropping a load cement at Turning Point terminal. The sun came out while we we eating and turned the water turquoise.

We looked in on the premature post-pandemic scene at Shamrock Jack’s on our way back. The picnic tables in the parking lot looked safe but the bar was crowded and loud. A good place to test our vaccine but we moved on.

We learned yesterday that the last of the Tierneys has passed, my mom’s cousin, from the Maloney/Tierney side. We will toast her with some cherry water tonight.

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Forcing Spring

Forced Forsythia clippings in window
Forced Forsythia clippings in window

We nit meeting around. We’ve picked some forsythia clipping at different stages and their yellow blossoms are popping in our living room. We brought home a few clippings of fragrant witch hazel and our house smells like butterscotch. We have our seed packets out and the little plastic pots. The garden season has begun. The red wing blackbirds are our official bird and they are back, the early arrivals anyway, atop the tall grasses and dead trees that surround the marsh. Their call stops us dead in our tracks.

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Micro Vay-kay

Yellow Ford Galaxie 500 on Peart Avenue
Yellow Ford Galaxie 500 on Peart Avenue

We had a 3 o’clock appointment at Kathy’s house today to sit by the bay and watch the birds. Mostly gulls fishing at the edge of what’s left of the ice cover, but a few Junior Bald Eagles floated overhead. Kathy haunts estate sales, the tail end of them that is, when prices have been slashed, so she had a box of binoculars. Mine were made by Bushnell and Peggi found a Sears pair that worked for her. We spent most of our time looking at the houses on the other side in Webster. Some had staircases built into the hillside that descended five or six stories at least. The temperature was seventy when we left at five and the two hours felt like a mini vacation.

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Mid-Century Moderna

Ice on Lake Ontario Eastman inlet
Ice on Lake Ontario Eastman inlet

I feel like the ground hog in Punxsutawney at the beginning of February wondering if it is really safe to come out now that we have had the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. We are one step closer to feeling comfortable hanging out with vaccinated friends inside sans mask, playing with the band, visiting NYC or even traveling to Europe.

A handmade sign at Aman’s read “Face Masks 25% Off.” We walked home with another $2.99 bushel of apples and will make more apple sauce in the next few days. Peggi and I each got red peppers. Didn’t realize that til we got to the cash register. I was in the cooler picking out some Guinness for the upcoming holiday.

As I mentioned earlier we couldn’t decide who to root for when Real Madrid met Atlético Madrid. It turned out to be really easy. Atlético was on fire in the first half and they scored an early goal. Two star players were back in the line up, the Belgian Yannick Carrasco (injury) and Englishman Kieran Trippier (gambling suspension). The second half got tighter. I think Atlético was tired. Carlos Casemiro, the Brazilian, set up the Frenchman, Karim Benzema in the final minutes and tied it for Real. Final score as it should be Madrid 1, Madrid 1.

The ice formations on the lake are starting to recede and will go pretty fast with the 60 degree weather. I will miss it. It was the best winter ever.

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Forecast Modern

Macy's Modern furniture ad from 02.08.50 issue of New York Times
Macy’s Modern furniture ad from 02.08.50 issue of New York Times

Maybe this is what old people do. Without a job you are left to fill your days as you please. And there are many rabbit holes out there. I recently posted a video of our old band performing “Heartbeat” at a concert at RIT in 1984 and the audio was a bit rough so I looked for a cassette recording the show. I had one but we had filled the cassette by the time we got to the second encore and Heartbeat was not on it. I found a cassette in that box from a show we did with Pylon at the Ritz but there wasn’t a date on it so I googled “Pylon Ritz NYC” and found a Stephen Holden review of the show from May 29, 1983. The review was not live text but a scan of the actual newspaper. I’m guessing we have access to this by subscribing to nyt.com.

It’s Peggi’s father’s birthday today so I looked up the front page of the paper for the day he was born. WW1 was still raging and there were no photographs in the paper at that time. The Committee for Democratic Control took out a half page ad that asks, “Do the People Want War?” It advances the notion that only Wall Street does.

I looked up Peggi’s birthdate next and found a Macy’s ad for Modern furniture. By the time of our birthdays the papers were full of photos and on my birthdate I found one of the Yankee’s manager, Casey Stengel, and catcher, Yogi Berra, arguing with the umpire in a game the Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox. And next to that photo a capsulized version of another New York team’s (the Giants) loss to the other Boston team (the Braves). Pitcher Warren Spahn, a favorite of mine when the team moved to Milwaukee, went nine innings and scored the game winning run after successfully bunting the tying run in.

Across from the sports page was a full page ad for Collier’s Magazine whose new issue featured an article about movie censorship. Westerns were being censured in some towns for too much violence, a comedy was banned because the star had divorced and a negro singing star’s scene was cut from a film because “there are plenty of good white singers.” A not so idyllic past.

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31 Day X-Country Streak

Big snow roll in the Commons
Big snow roll in the Commons

Peggi once told me that winter is her favorite season. She was born in February and she suspected that might have something to do it. I love winter too especially when it is what hearty people call “a real winter,” long periods of below freezing temperatures with plenty of snow. I feel especially fortunate that we are able to share our enthusiasm for the season with each other.

I like shoveling snow and when they are calling for a significant amount I get out there a few times to reduce the load and just because it is fun. I shovel in my slippers when I grab the papers. We had a neighbor, last name “Painting” (which I thought was pretty cool), who would keep his driveway spotless in winter and we assumed he was obsessive. The neighbors surely think that of me now.

Winter naturally is a time to hunker down. We go out to ski in the woods and then come back to hunker (I assmue hunkering includes projects). Winter during a pandemic has been deep and rewarding. We miss going to to galleries but have found a bounty of beauty in the woods. The art pieces there are all three dimensional. Photos do not do them justice. The form of each tree is unique especially in decay.

This morning we found this big snow roll at the bottom of a hill near our ski path.

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Wonder

Paul on beach with ice formations. Photo by Peggi Fournier.
Paul on beach with ice formations. Photo by Peggi Fournier.

I don’t usually plan these these posts until I sit down but the lake was so dramatic this morning I knew I would use a photo of the beach. And if a person was in that photo it surely would have been Peggi, my valentine. But I didn’t take a photo of Peggi this morning, she took this one of me and it captures the wonder.

We skied through the woods, across the golf course (where there were so many people out it looked like a ski resort) and then out onto Eastman Lake. We spotted ski tracks out there and followed them, past a dozen or so ice fishing holes, all the way up to the big lake, the Great Lake, Ontario.

I am out on the big lake here, skiing between the two sand bars closest to shore. This was the twenty-fourth day in a row skiing. We are counting! The days are getting longer. It is 5:30 EST as I type this and it is still light out. I am already missing winter.

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Dreamscape

Lake Ontario shoreline with ice mounds in February
Lake Ontario shoreline with ice mounds in February

We skied along the lake and on the lake this morning. We traveled east to west between the small mound in the center of this photo and the line of bigger mounds nearer the open water. I’m guessing the ice mounds form where the sand bars are and if this winter continues, we’ll soon have bigger mounds on the next sand bar. Tomorrow will make twenty days in a row of perfect conditions.

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What’s Steve Up To?

Larry, Steve, Kenny, Unknown, Paul, Bill, Dave at Kenny Macher's 1969
Larry, Steve, Kenny, Unknown, Paul, Bill, Dave at Kenny Macher’s 1969

This is the earliest picture of Steve that I have. He was my assigned roommate in the dorm my freshman year at Indiana University. This was our crew. I’m thinking the photo was by Rich or Kim since both them were missing. Steve was from New Castle, a small town outside of Indianapolis. His father owned a jewelry store on the town square and there was a Chrysler factory outside of town. Steve was already a junior and he drove a white Baracuda with Led Zeppelin’s first album in the 8-track player.

Steve called us yesterday to report in. He was excited to have an appointment this Wednesday for the first dose of the vaccine. He had bought GameStop stock, sold some, made fifty bucks a share and he was hanging on to some options. He works part time at a car dealer in Charleston and had to drive a new vehicle to the other side of Atlanta, a 600 mile round trip. He was upset because he missed his grandson’s basketball game that day where he scored five points.

Steve asked if he had told us that he was being sued. He hadn’t. He was driving a company car, about to make a left hand turn and And the bicyclist ran into each other. The guy (Steve called him a wino) was riding the wrong way down a one way street. He fell off his bike and he is claiming he has headaches and soft tissue damage.

Steve owns some rental property and the tenant says the water pressure is too weak. She is threatening to move out. Steve says he can’t work on the place because the woman is a hoarder and she has stuff all over the place.

Steve said his next door neighbor told him that Biden would not be inaugurated. Steve bet him one hundred dollars that he would be inaugurated. The neighbor has not paid.

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