Open Big

Flooded boat launch at Sea Beezee, New York
Flooded boat launch at Sea Breeze, New York

My regular dentist is shy about telling me to open wider. He is so gentle it seems like he tip-toes into the room. I’ve never had a bad experience there and he has done some grisly work. In high school I went to his father in the very same building. I went out with the receptionist. His father introduced me to Novocain, a god send. 

Our childhood dentist, who worked out of the sixth floor of the Medical Arts building on Alexander, would just say, “Hold on.” And then he would grind away with his low speed drill. He would make a fist and act like it was my tooth. He’d say, “I went in here and it opened up and the cavity went this way.” He would take a break while I was in the chair and smoke a cigarette in the other room.

While I was going to school in Bloomington I went to a dentist on Kirkwood, a jovial older guy. His wife was the receptionist. I had a tooth pulled there. He gave me a sedative with instructions to take it twenty minutes before arriving for my appointment. I was on my bicycle and I barely made it there. I came to while he was struggling to extract my tooth. I remember helping him yank it out.

When I moved back to Rochester I started seeing Rocco Cupolo, a dentist my mom recommended. He remarried and had a second family so he worked a long time. Rocco’s, the Italian restaurant on Monroe Avenue is owned by his son and is named after him.

I had a root canal yesterday from a specialist. He worked furiously and continually asked me to “Open Big.” I was afraid to say anything to him for fear he would break one of those long skinny files off in my tooth. Other than asking his assistant for tools the only other thing he said was “What nice long roots you have.”

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"Uncle Ray" Paul Dodd Painting from 1990 Pyramid Arts Center show entitled "The City" Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54" wide by "60" high
“Uncle Ray” Paul Dodd Painting from 1990 Pyramid Arts Center show entitled “The City” Acrylic house paint on billboard paper, 54″ wide by “60” high

Ray Tierney II, my mom’s only brother (she had four sisters) was my godfather. I guess I would have gone to live with the Tierney’s if something had happened to my parents. I had a godmother too, one of my father’s sisters, Aunt Helen, who at the time of my baptism was unmarried. She was my parent’s go-to sitter. Ray already had a family of his own.

My grandfather, also named Ray Tierney, owned a grocery store on North Avenue with two of his brothers. He was dynamo so it was only natural that his son and Ray Tierney III went into the grocery business. I worked there during high school and eventually was in charge of ordering for the dog food and paper aisles. Fellow workers would send newbies out in the dark to take down the flag (there was none) or into the back room for shelf stretchers. They referred to my uncle as “High Pockets.”

I was certain my uncle had left the store when I snagged a banana cream pie and took it in the cooler where I climbed up on the milk crates to work on the pie. I didn’t have any silverware so I was holding the whole pie up to my mouth when my uncle walked in. When I told Ray III this story he said, “Don’t worry, he probably saved the empty box and got credit for the pie.”

I painted this picture of my uncle in 1990 for a Pyramid Arts Center show entitled “The City.” It was one of ten large portrayals of one member of each family in my extended family, a show intended to show the connection between family and place.

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The Eternal Light

Kenny Rogers Yard Sale
Kenny Rogers Yard Sale

Maybe it was the hot sun but this was a particularly strange yard sale. We were only here because we were walking right by it. I can’t figure out what the advantage of using those Perfect Push-Up handles would be. And ten dollars for the John F. Kennedy plate is crazy.

The “Kenny Rogers” photo, in a brown envelope previously used for “Paid Bills” was intriguing. I pulled it all the way out of the envelope. Kenny was photographed at the Rochester Airport wearing short white shorts. It was hard to tell whether the woman proprietor was suggesting you put it on eBay or whether she had researched the photo there and determined it was worth five dollars. The skinny old man figure at the bottom right was missing some fingers. The masking tape called our attention to them. But the missing fingers were taped to the base of the figurine.

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Oh My

Sea Breeze Roller Coaster In Summer
Sea Breeze Roller Coaster In Summer

We missed the opening of our nephew’s restaurant in Miami. It was in the middle of Jazz Fest and World Cup so we made tentative plans to visit in the Fall when the hurricane season is over. Today we firmed up those plans when Peggi’s sister called and suggested meeting there over Thanksgiving weekend.

We took the call while walking through the park. Peggi’s sister, who lives in LA, asked if we had any travel plans this summer. We were almost to the beach and the thought of going anywhere this time of year seemed really strange. In LA the weather is pretty much the same all year but the summer can get awfully hot so I guess that would be the time to go somewhere.

Our nephew and his girlfriend call their new restaurant Boia De, Italian for “Oh My.” We are really looking forward to dining there.

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Handmade Pasta

Paddle Boat on Irondequoit Bay from Kathy's backyard
Paddle Boat on Irondequoit Bay from Kathy’s backyard

It was so hot today we decided to stay off the streets and take the path in the woods to our friend Kathy’s place. She has workers there constructing a deck in her backyard and we’ve been checking up on the progress. It is not your ordinary deck. This one is off her unattached garage and it is just above ground level. Tick safe.

The garage wall that meets the deck has been reworked as well with hand stained board and batten. And beams and supports for a pergola are being carefully considered. This is a work of art and it has been a joy to watch. The Harbor Town Belle was headed up to the Bay Bridge while we were there.

Peggi wore her backpack over in order to carry Kathy’s pasta maker home. We’re having handmade pasta with artichokes for dinner.

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Morning Dove

Morning Dove on pool cover
Morning Dove on pool cover

We were down at the pool before the sun was up this morning, forced out of our house while Town & Country treated the perimeter for carpenter ants. It is supposed to be non-toxic, a synthetic concoction of chrysanthemum and oyster shells. He doesn’t even wear a mask. But that’s not saying much. We brought the papers, our devices and a pot of coffee down here while he did his thing.

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Do It Yourself

Gutter repair job on our home.
Gutter repair job on our home.

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I hate that saying. Why should you have to hang your own gutters? Or remodel your kitchen? There are craftsmen out there. People who have lots of experience. People who are really good at what they do. This “do it yourself” movement has left us with half-assed work everywhere you look.

That’s what I like to think but just because I like to think that doesn’t mean it makes any sense. We hired a company last Fall to replace a few gutters. They were recommended to us. I think that company subcontracted the job to someone else. The guy in charge hit his thumb with a hammer. He showed it to us and told us he thought he broke it. He came back three days later with it all wrapped up.

They hung the gutters with screws that came right through the backside of the fascia board. I didn’t call and complain because I didn’t want to see the guys again. I tried not to look up all winter and planned to back them out in the Spring and put in shorter screws. I finally got to it today. I found a whole long stretch were there were no screws at all. The hangers were lying in the gutter. I borrowed Jared’s six foot level and did the job right. You know what they say.

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Perfect Dream

US Women's Nations team at Red Bull Stadium in May 2019. Rapino, Heath, Sonnet, Lavelle, Lloyd and Mewis
US Women’s National team at Red Bull Stadium in May 2019. Rapino, Heath, Sonnet, Lavelle, Lloyd and Mewis

Close-ups of the US soccer players were on the NY subway station walls when we were down there in May. Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh. FIFA printed giant posters that were displayed on each surface of a kiosk in Red Bull Stadium when we saw the team play their last friendly before France. We had already fallen in love with Rose Lavelle, watching her play portions of matches leading up to the World Cup. I walked all around the posters looking for Lavelle but there was none. But we were thrilled to see her start. In fact it was the same lineup that started today. Lavelle is now marketable.

Rapino came through big time with a perfectly struck ball in the sixty first minute. She has an amazing amount of confidence in high pressure situations. But nobody wants to win on penalty shots.

The US’s long ball approach to the first half took the play right by Rose Lavelle time and again. But with the ball at her feet in the second half she was able to work her magic. This was an absolutely perfect dream finish! Fox won’t let me embed the video but if you follow this link to YouTube you can see the five foot four inch Lavelle take on the Dutch side herself.

Thank god for Rose Lavelle!

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The Livin’ Is Easy

Mutant strawberries at Aman's
Mutant strawberries at Aman’s

We bought two quarts of local strawberries at Aman’s and put one in each of our backpacks. Our Wegmans purchases were nestled below. These mutant strawberries were on display near the checkout, right next to the refrigerator magnets. The one reading, “Somedays I amaze myself and other days I put my keys in the refrigerator” caught our eye.

I hated to see England lose the the third place match today. I really, really wanted Ellen White to get another one but it was not in the cards. Sweden came out like gangbusters and scored two early goals. The rest of the match was England’s. Most of the items on our shopping list were for tomorrow’s match. We’re having a few friends over to watch it live and then a pool party to celebrate!

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Weed Whacking World

Honeysuckle bush on Hoffman Road
Honeysuckle bush on Hoffman Road

We passed a neighbor on our way out. He was completely lost in thought as he hovered over his weed whacker. Peggi identified this flowering bush as a Honeysuckle and geotagged it with the iNaturalist app. We use that everyday now, cataloging the world in some small way.

We waited out a thunderstorm and then headed into the park. The temperature had dropped ten degrees but it was still just as humid. The park was almost empty. No dog walkers parked at the entrance. At the top of Zoo Road we spotted some teenage girls standing by a car. They saw us and quickly got into the car. One kid, a guy, was still standing near the car but he turned his back to us. A small time drug deal was going down.

Up at the lake the parking lot was empty. A couple of Asian kids were playing soccer. We heard people swimming but couldn’t see them. We looked down one of those steep paths and l saw that the beach is still underwater.

On the way back through the park we saw a familiar pickup truck, a dog walker with wacky pro gun bumper stickers on his bumper A little further up the road we saw a guy standing near his car, smoking a cigar. A big branch fell in the woods behind him and we all looked in that direction. He didn’t acknowledge it but told us we were brave to be out walking without an umbrella.

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Roller Coaster

Dome inside St. Mary The Protectress Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Rochester, New York
Dome inside St. Mary The Protectress Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Rochester, New York

Wonder Windows was having their company picnic in the park this afternoon. Their trucks were lined up on Log Cabin Road. They were in the same shelter that we used to have the Earring Company picnic in. We stopped to look out at Durand Lake. Someone was out in the middle with a small boat. He had his pole in the water and it looked so idyllic and then BOOM! Someone set off a loud fireworks.

We plan to blow up our last package of Roller Coaster Firecrackers tomorrow in honor of Earl, the founder of the company. He is the one pictured on the right on their storefront in Nevada in this photo. He died in a car accident a few months ago and we told his brother we’d toast him with this ceremonial mini blast..

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Dancing In The Street

Dancing in the street at Jazz Fest in Rochester, New York
Dancing in the street at Jazz Fest in Rochester, New York

When our friend, Duane, was up from Brooklyn for a few days he reset the weight on the tone arm of our stereo. He said it felt too heavy. I knew that was asking for trouble. I played a George and Tammy song after dinner and then Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone. “Near You” sounded scratchier than ever and the needle wouldn’t even stay in the groove for Sly. I added some more weight.

We watched the match today with our neighbors. Jedi played soccer growing up in Jamaica so he knows the game and he is fun to watch with. His wife, Helena, made some killer fried green tomatoes for the occasion and Peggi made hummus. We did some serious screaming.

Without the injured Rapino the US beat England but just by a whisker. A goal called back for being a few inches offsides and then a missed penalty shot prevented England from taking the match into overtime. England had the possession too but the US played better. All three goals were beauties. And Rose Lavelle’s nutmeg in the opening minutes, and not just a nutmeg but one where she picked up her own passon the other side, a good omen. The US is going all the way.

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They Walk Among US

Don Jr. T-Shirt
Don Jr. T-Shirt

Peggi and I headed out for a walk today and ran into a neighbor, Larry, who was walking his dog. We were in his house once and he and his wife had Fox News on in the middle of the day. In summer we can hear right wing radio coming from his garage. He wore a red MAGA hat during the 2016 campaign and today we found him sporting a new TRUMP hat with the slogan “Keep America Great” on it. He’s a nice guy and although I think the hat is absurd we don’t talk politics.

I’m putting out feelers for a Don Jr. Tee. Something equally absurd. I created this graphic and I’m thinking about putting it on a white t-shirt. We printed some shirts a long time ago and it was a lot of work. I’m thinking of sending the art work off and getting someone else to print them but there is the question of how many to order.

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Can I Not Help You?

Sign-in board at Spectrum TV customer service
Sign-in board at Spectrum TV customer service

With only the semis and final ahead of us and the Jazz Fest behind us we are out of the woods with DVR issues. Our Spectrum box went rogue on us. Soccer matches that we recorded would freeze while we were trying to watch them or sometimes they would not even be there when we got home from Jazz Fest. 

Spectrum’s customer service number is manned by a dumb AI maze, designed firstly to not get their employees involved. I take it they get lot of calls about streaming issues, which rightly they should not have to field, so if you have a real cable issue you have work your way to that topic. And when you get there, there is only a limited menu of problems to report. Why did we have to wait while they checked for an outage in our area? Why do we have to watch while they reboot our cable box when we already did that? 

We gave up and took our box to Spectrum’s office. They gave us one that looked brand new but it had apparently already been refurbished and the first soccer match we recorded jumped from the 82nd to the 90th minute in the blink of an eye, We missed the game winning goal. The second debate gave out in the middle of Kamala Harris’s take down of Joe Biden. When we rebooted the box the whole recording was gone. 

We drove over to Spectrum again the next morning and signed in on the iPad at the door. I sat down and noticed there were two Paul Ds on the monitor. I thought I may have submitted my name twice. Two clerks’s were helping customers. The one on the left of us was talking to a woman who thought she was being overcharged. She was. The Spectrum employee pointed out the promotional offer she had signed up for had expired. She didn’t remember ever signing up for a promotion. Listening to this conversation was painful but I wasn’t being paid by the hour.

On the other side of us someone was looking at a list of cable packages and trying to decide which one included the stations he wanted. We were planning to meet at a friends house to watch the US France match in a half hour so we getting antsy. He finally decided on a package and left. The Spectrum clerk went in the back room. A third clerk came out to man another station but as soon as she did her phone rang, the one in her pocket. She was still carrying on a personal conversation when the clerk on our left called “Paul D.” 

I stood up at the same time as the guy across from us, the other Paul D. I said “I’m Paul D” but he just gave me a blank look so I went up to the desk and traded in our gear. 

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Dueling Interests

Cyro Baptista performing at Geva Theater during the 2019 Rochester International Jazz Festival
Cyro Baptista performing at Geva Theater during the 2019 Rochester International Jazz Festival

Brazilian percussionist, Cyro Baptista, played with Laurie Anderson, Gato Barbieri, David Byrne, Dr. John, Brian Eno, Milton Nascimento, Carlos Santana and Caetano Veloso. He has been here a few times, always with a completely different band, and he is always irresistibly entertaining. Joyous Brazilian rhythms are the foundation of his music but his ensembles, exceptional team players, work with a full palette of world music. They opened the set we saw with a Don Cherry composition.

I wore my Spain shirt yesterday and tried to stuff my soft spot for their beautiful game. I expected the US to run over them but Spain gave them a real test. I’m happy for that. Rose Lavelle played great and Rapino, of course, but the US defense looked shaky. We are going to have cheer especially loud when they meet France.

I hated to see Canada go home but their match with Sweden was a duel between two teams with similar skills and approaches and consequentially they trapped each other in the center of the pitch. Canada had an edge in possession but Sweden was a bit tougher and put one in in the second half. I’m pulling for Italy and I was so happy to see them take down the tactical Chinese side. Valentina Giacinti is a joy to watch. I will cheer them all the way up to a possible confrontation with the US.

I’m tying to keep up with the Jazz Fest here.

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Switch Without The S

Switch, street band, performing at the 2019 Rochester International Jazz Festival
Switch, street band, performing at the 2019 Rochester International Jazz Festival

Switch was tearing it up in the street. The band tip box was was chocked with quiet money and the singer, a commanding force, had East Avenue full of people doing dance moves in unison. She briefly broke it up by the announcing “the cops have asked us to for a minute so a big-ass truck can get through.” We headed into Christ Church for Empirical.

Our schedule for the last few days revolves around festival because those start times are fixed. We’ve been time-shifting the World Cup, watching a match before and one after the festival. The Norway/Australia match went beyond overtime and into a penalty kick round on Saturday. That kept us up past one and France and Brazil went into overtime last night against Brazil, the team we love but know aren’t able to go all the way.

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Bring It On

View of High Falls from Genesee Brewery on Saint Paul Boulevard in Rochester, New York
View of High Falls from Genesee Brewery on Saint Paul Boulevard in Rochester, New York

Not much of a lineup for opening night of the annual Jazz Fest but we did find a gem.

Girls In Airports will probably reconsider their moniker when they get a little older. A five piece from Denmark, they appeared here with only one sax player and he was filling in for the other two. The keyboardist’s layered, sweeping, full range soundscape was the foundation with drums on one side and a percussionist on the other and a breathy saxophonist. There was no lead instrument, just dreamy textural magic.

I have moved my yearly Jazz Fest Notes to new location.

I won’t have to keep doing this if they keep bring back the same artists. Here’s a link to photo I took of Jake Shimabukuro, the ukulele YouTube sensation, from eleven years ago. Julia Nunes, a local ukulele YouTube sensation, can be seen down front. Jake in Rochester 2008.

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Everyone’s A Winner

Furry black guy at Rochester Contemporary 6x6
Furry black guy at Rochester Contemporary 6×6 show

Still no strawberries. The clerk behind the counter a Aman’s said they had two suppliers and both said they expected their strawberries to be ripe enough for market by the end of this week.

I finally won at horseshoes. First time this year. My neighbor keeps track of these things. We’ve played eight times, best out of three, and he had won them all until yesterday.

We may be overusing our iNaturalist app. We are stopping at every strange looking tree and ordinarily ones that we should already have in our database. Today we identified something we thought was an unusual oak as a Silver Maple, and two different Locust varieties.

We stopped in RoCO’s 6×6 show and this furry guy caught my eye.

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Viri Probati

Dandelions in the South Wedge neighborhood of Rochester, New York
Dandelions in the South Wedge neighborhood of Rochester, New York

Out of sheer desperation Pope Francis is open to ordaining elderly married men, “men of proven character” or ”Viri Probati” in god’s language. He needs to get a lot more desperate.

Rochester used to be a soccer town. I have no idea what happened. In 1975 the Rochester Lancers filled the old Aquinas Stadium when they met the New York Cosmos, featuring the great Pelé. The Rhinos carried on that legacy and all I have left is a hat. They got local government to build a soccer specific stadium in a run down part of the city. Of course there was public money involved but a good bit of the public was afraid of setting foot in that neighborhood.

It became the home stadium for a women’s profession team, the Flash. They became the best team in NWSL. They outdrew the Rhinos (before they went dormant) and won the championship in their final season here before the franchise moved to North Carolina.

We’re currently loving the Women’s World Cup, cheering for the US with former Flash members, Carli Lloyd, Sam Mewis, Jessica McDonald and Abby Dahlkamper. But also cheering on Australia with Sam Kerr (four goals last night) and Alanna Kennedy, former Flash members. Christine Sinclair, playing for Canada and four goals away from Abby Wambach’s record,  was named MVP of the 2011 Final after the Flash won the championship. And most every international star came through Rochester playing for their club teams including the great Marta and Heather O’Reilly.

I’ll stop here but I’m still wondering what happened.

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iNaturalist

Fallen tree on Hoffman Road.
Fallen tree on Hoffman Road.

Our backpacks were full., a lot of can goods this time, mostly beans and peanut butter and jar of tahini so they were heavy too. But we soldiered on, down East Ridge to Aman’s, on the chance they had fresh strawberries. We spotted Bob, who runs the place, and he said he had just talked with the farmer, who told him “this is the first time in fifty years that he didn’t have strawberries by Father’s Day.” Bob added, “Too wet, too cold.”

To get out of our neighborhood and up to Wegmans we have to walk by a dog at the end of our street. There are many dogs on the street but this one does not like us. He comes at us barking loudly with his teeth showing. I had a dog take my hand in and it bit down so hard I couldn’t get my hand out without shredding my fingers so I’m a little gun shy. The dog has come at us five or six times now and if the owner see’s what happens she says she’s sorry.

Today we got by the dog without a hitch and we ran into a young woman who told us she was also terrorized by the dog. She showed us the scar on her leg from a dog that had come after her while she was walking a few years back. While we were talking a large branch fell across the road. It hit the power lines and a crackling bolt of electricity shot down the line that ran just above our heads. We continued on up to Wegmans and by the time we returned the power company was restoring our electricity.

I got up on the roof to blow off all the stuff that has fallen from the oak trees and the power went off again. A large Hickory tree fell across the road behind our house. I know its a Hickory because I took a photo of the a leaf cluster and used the iNaturalist app to identify it. The same power company crew and tree surgeons came down to address this problem. We asked for the firewood and they told us we had until Monday morning to pick up the wood.

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