When my son came home from school today, he proclaimed it was “the hottest day ever” and “it should be ILLEGAL for the weather to be so hot.”
For those of you who live in more southern climates, it’s only 80 degrees here. But to a Rochester kid, this is hot.
Then he shared this interesting bit of news with me:
He was sort of “discovered” by the Marshall Tucker Band.
The scene was last week’s Rochester Lilac Festival. The Twelve Corners Middle School Jazz band, led by the wonderful Mr. Baldwin, performed for the lunch crowd. In this crowd must have been …. the Marshall Tucker Band, who was putting on a free performance that evening.
After this performance, in the video above, shot by a friend and another proud pappa of the baritone saxophonist, a member of the Marshall Tucker Band wanted to know who the guitar soloist was.
That would happen to be MY BOY!
Now, I still don’t want my baby to grow up to be a rock star, but at the very least, to see that ear-to-ear grin on his face, it’s worth bragging about in a blog post!
Rock on, young man, rock on.
This cautionary tale has a lesson: Before embarking on a bike ride, make sure you have taken the right key for your bike chain.
It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon in late April. The kind of afternoon in early spring when every tree is a different color of flowering buds, each branch has that blessed tinge of the lightest green. On that day in April, I wish I could freeze time then and there and live and linger in that feeling of potential that early spring gives. I wished to go no further.
There was nothing pressing on our family schedule for the evening: no plays, baseball games, concerts or meetings. And, our family of five was down two people: hubby in Detroit and my daughter on her way to a youth weekend retreat.
If you have a family, you know that the absence of even one member changes the dynamic of the household, and can inspire you to make a change in an otherwise humdrum weeknight.
Tonight, it would be just me and the boys!
I said “boys, let’s do something different. Let’s bike to the library, get out some books. Then I’ll grill for dinner, and THEN, let’s go to the Canal
for some yogurt for dessert!”
And who could argue with that plan? Not even my boys!
So off we went to the Brighton Memorial Library.
We locked our bikes and spent about 30 minutes reading and selecting some books.
Then, the tale of a wonderful evening took a dark turn.
My eldest son presented me with the key. It wouldn’t fit.
“You told me you had the right key.”
“Yeah, that’s the key, I took it out of the keybox.”
“Did you actually check if it worked?”
Obviously, he did not.
So, we walked home from the library leaving our locked bikes behind to locate the lost key.
Now, during the de-cluttering and staging of our home, somehow the key in question went AWOL.
Now, we had three bikes securely locked at the library and no key.
The grill remained unlit. Our bellies remained unfed.
Armed with a hedge clipper, I loaded the boys into the Traverse and headed back to the library.
Funny thing about a good bike chain. Underneath that rubber coating is a network of woven and twisted wires that don’t snap but merely bend when you try to clip them.
I called the good people at the Park Avenue Bike shop to explain my predicament and see if they had a lock cutting service.
“Are you far from home? Are you in a remote rural area?” asked Park Ave Bike Man.
“No, I’m at the Brighton Library. And I have a car.”
Folks, here is a bit of helpful information: Park Ave Bike is many things to many local bikers, but they do not have a lock clipping service for stranded, keyless bikers.
He then suggested I get some bolt cutters.
So, with the sky darkening, and are bellies growling even louder, we headed to our nearest big box hardware store.
A patient but doubtful man wearing an orange apron helped me select bolt cutters for the job.
“You may have to work at this for a while. This is not a one-person job. You may have to attach pipes to the end of each handle for best leverage at some point to break that lock.”
So, at this point, I am a starving mamma wielding a bolt cutter on the check out line of Home Depot. All I wanted that evening was a cup of soft serve yogurt on the Erie Canal.
At this point, my boys and I were beginning to feel like we were caught in a scene from our favorite comedy. I was taking on the role of Claire Dunphy.
We get back to the library and it is now nearly dark. I start chomping away at the bike lock. Next to me are some more unattended bikes. They don’t even have a chain on them.
A man exits the library and gives us a weird look. He takes out his cell phone.
The librarian comes out and also gives us a funny look.
At this point my eldest son shouts “THERE IS NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS. WE ARE NOT BIKE THIEVES. THESE ARE OUR BIKES WE ARE STEALING.”
Now, if I was going to steal a bike, I wouldn’t do it at the Brighton Library. The police station for the town is attached to the same building.
Finally, after a few chomps – without the aid of pipes – the bikes are free. The boys and I give a triumphant yelp and there are high fives all around.
We didn’t grill that night. Nor did we make it to the Erie Canal for a yogurt treat. I think I ordered in a pizza.
And the next day, I went back to Park Ave. Bike and bought a new bike lock.
With five extra keys.
A very long time ago, in a New Jersey city far far away, a young girl dressed in all black stood pressed against a mob of other darkly clad classmates waiting for the Smithereens to take the stage. In one hand was a pen. In the other a skinny reporter’s notebook. She was covering the concert for the daily student newspaper for Rutgers University. Her very first concert review. She wondered: could writing for Rolling Stone be far off?
She didn’t have to pay because she had a student media pass. She felt so COOL!
Her date, well, he had to pay.
Fast forward, em, several decades later.
She can’t even remember who her date was that evening or who ditched who.
That student reporter jumping up and down in the Rutgers Student Center while covering that great local New Brunswick band? The band she loved so much she played a tape recording (yep, tape recording) of their album Especially for You in her dorm room until it broke?
That would be me.
I’m all grown up. But I still love the Smithereens – the honey smooth baritone voice of lead singer Pat DiNizio. The timeless garage band sound.
So when I learned the Smithereens were playing the Rochester Lilac Festival for free, I thought:
“I’ve GOT to go!”
Then I checked on the date.
Hmmm. Being Jewish, practicing Judaism makes you make some tough choices.
I really wanted to have my eardrums blown away by this band who got their start in my college town. But you see, it was Friday night. And the grown-up me — the wife and mom with three kids — has a rule. Friday night is Shabbat. Friday night is family night.
And for nine years now, my family has spent every other Friday night celebrating Shabbat with a chavurah, pretty much a circle of friends who has served as our extended family in a city where we have no family. And with the move coming, we really only have three more gatherings like this left.
Now, our communal Shabbat celebrations start at 7. And, the host’s home was a hop skip and a jump through the lilacs from the stage where the Smithereens would play. And on such a beautiful Rochester night. And who knows if or when I would ever get a chance like this?
I’m a grownup, right? I can make my own decisions, I could have just walked over to listen to one of my fave bands to take me back to my college days, right?
But I made my decision. To set an example for my kids, who have sacrificed many a social outing to be together to celebrate Shabbat.
And, to see my teen kids leading our prayer services with the other teens in the group….
To hear them sing the prayers for years I had begged, prodded and NUDGED for them to follow along?
As I sat and listened to my kids lead the adults in prayer, I knew I made the right choice.
To Pat and the rest of the Smithereens, I’ll have to catch you another time. And in the meantime, I promise to buy your latest stuff.
This time, I’ll just download it.
Have you ever had to make a choice because of the religion you practice?
This gallery contains 2 photos.
Frolic in the lilacs. Check out some free music from the TCMS Jazz Band this Wednesday at lunchtime!
This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Patterns.
Patterns are found in nature. And in turn, we foolish humans try to mimic the majesty of nature’s patterns in the man-made world. . I photographed two examples of patterns I found this year in Rochester, N.Y.
While one is a pattern only nature could create (well, maybe man helped it along with a bit of hybridization), one is a pattern created by man, or a woman, in hopes of preserving nature.
The first is a lilac. But these are not your ordinary lilacs.
This week is Rochester’s Lilac festival, an event that draws thousands to the area for music, great food, and of course, to inhale the fragrance from the city that can boast the nation’s largest collection of lilac bushes in Highland Park.
While white lilacs are the most fragrant, photogenically, my mom and I like this striped variety the best. I give full credit to her photographic wizardry here. I also learned from the blog, eattheweeds, that lilacs are from the edible olive family. In addition to their intoxicating fragrance, lilac blossoms and seeds can be used in cooking and wine making.
The next photo is a pattern that struck my eye at Rochester’s Greentopia Festival, held every September. As much as I searched and searched on the Internet, I could not find a link to this artist/vendor, so if you know who makes these, leave me a comment and I will certainly give the artist a little link love:
This gallery contains 6 photos.
Rochester is now starring as the stunt double for New York City in Spiderman 2. And it’s making some Rochesterians as mad as the Incredible Hulk
We found that house! Still, I will miss the oldness of my old house. So that’s why, on a whim and a search, I found a great blog www.reclaimingdetroit.org
Not only can those old glass doorknobs and beautiful old hardwoods be found here, lovingly rescued from crumbling buildings, but the organization provides much needed jobs and training to Detroit’s population.
I’m putting this on my list of places to check out just as soon as the last box is unpacked:
The months of uncertainty are over.
Ever since October 5, when General Motors announced it would be shutting down its Western New York research facility , life’s carpet of stability had been snatched out from under my family’s feet.
Every night – and I’m not kidding – EVERY night before managing to get to sleep, I’d look around the teal walls of my bedroom and wonder – what’s next? Where will we find a house? What will it look like? Where will home be next.
House hunting in the Detroit area did not put my squirreled brain at ease. Contrary to what everyone believes: (You are moving to Detroit!? You can probably buy two mansions for a dollar!), the housing market in the Detroit suburbs, the ones with the lakes and the great schools, is murder.
NO inventory.Still a decent amount of foreclosures that need so much work that someone would do them a service to tear them down and start all over.
So when a good house comes up, the buyer better be ready and jump on it.
And jump we did. At an open house. Cars lined up and down the street and around the corner to check it out.
We put in our bid. And waited. And the sun went up and down and still no word. And the sun did that two more times.
There were fourteen offers on the table. Ours made it to the final two.
And then the phone call from my transplanted beloved.
We got it!
So overjoyed was I, that the months of pressure, worry and uncertainty were finally over, that upon calling my parents to tell them the deal was done….
I screamed for joy with them over my phone in the backyard.
And we screamed. And laughed. And I jumped. And jumped and jumped.
And busted my knee.
There a was a pop. And a freakish twist that no leg should ever move.
And I wound up on the ground on my patio. Writhing in pain. Gasping, crying and laughing all at once.
Go ahead. Laugh, it’s funny!
Now, I’m off to my doctor and hope that I will not have to find a orthopedist as soon as I move into my new home.
This is going to be a weird spring.
For 13 winters something has been growing in my basement.
Now don’t be frightened, especially if you are a potential buyer of my house.
The things that grew were my seedlings. All through the winter. Under grow lights set under timers.
Trays and trays of seedlings growing in plantable peat pots.
Annuals. Perennials. And Herbs.
All legal herbs, that is.
From the tiny seedlings grew the fully grown plants that populated my garden each year.
But this spring, the spring of transition, the only thing I’ve planted has been this:
The only gardening I’ve done is the kind where you weed while kneeling on a gardening pad and watch the bulbs you’ve planted from previous years emerge from the ground.
So, this gardener without a garden needs your help.
Won’t you write to me with your gardening plans – especially if you live in my current town of Rochester, or better yet, if you live in Detroit, tell me what the gardening scene is like in the motor city. Write to me where you find my contact information and I will feature you as a guest blogger right here.
So, get your green thumbs out of the dirt and onto that keyboard and write me!
The weekly Photo Challenge this week is: change:
It’s kind of spooky, because a big sign of change JUST popped up on my property. Today.
I knew the sign was coming up today from our realtor. I’ve known for over two months. It still is a shock.
But still, it seemed as if it came out of nowhere. No knock on the door. It just sprouted up like a mutant spring bulb.
To me, this is a big life changing event, selling one’s house. And to me, being Jewish, there are usually rituals associated with life changing events.
But trhere was no ceremony, no blessing for putting up a sign as in Judaism, when there is a blessing for putting up a mezzuzah on one’s door.
I just opened up my heavy, ancient oak door this morning to let my kid get on the schoolbus, and there it was. This to me is clearly a sign of change.
If you have ever sold your home, what were your feelings the first time you saw the sign on your lawn?