Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 15 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Snow job

snow bunniesToday, without a doubt, was the best cross-country skiing I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy in the past 2 winters.  The company, the conditions, the lighting, it was all perfect.  The only thing that ever so slightly marred the afternoon was an exchange we observed between a couple as we headed up a hill following our loop through the back nine. We decided to climb one of the steeper hills rather than remain on the slightly groomed path that skirted around the golf course.  As we duck walked up the hill, we watched a mom climbing up the hill with two sleds in tow, one of which had a cute passenger of about 3 years-old. As she steadily made her way up the hill, a man, comfortably ensconced at the top of the hill, yelled down to her.  Words of encouragement, you might assume. Or, perhaps, an offer of assistance, right?  No, it wasn’t either of those things he was conveying.  What he said, repeatedly, was “You can’t do that” followed by “You know you can’t do that, don’t you?” I honestly don’t know if it is a function of my age or my personality, but I was immediately pissed.  How dare he tell her what she was and was not capable of doing?  Was she somehow internalizing his lack of confidence in her?  How were those boys she was shepherding up the hill processing the man’s skepticism in her ability to help them to reach the top?  I stared daggers at the guy as my friend and I not-so-quietly talked about what an ass he was.  Screw him.

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December 30, 2012 · 7:49 am

From tepid to hot to steamy

In my attempt to recreate last year’s Christmas in the desert, I bought myself a week’s worth of unlimited yoga classes at the Hot Yoga Spot in Stuyvesant Plaza.  I’d heard good things about this studio and was excited to sample as many classes as possible during my holiday break and for $25, it was a lot less expensive than a plane ticket to Palm Springs.

My first class, Hot Core Flow, taken on Christmas Eve, left me cold.  It started a bit late, the studio was a disorganized arrangement of mats, someone’s phone chimed and there were a lot more pre-class conversations than I’m accustomed to.  I had remembered to bring a hand towel to blot my face and other sweaty parts, a forethought that turned out to be completely unnecessary since I never really got that hot.  Meh.

Two days later I went back for the Runner’s Yoga class and was much more satisfied with the experience.  The class was well-paced, the directions were explicit and I definitely felt limber and stretched afterwards. There were only a handful of participants and the instructor, Aaron, offered plenty of personal attention and  corrections.  During shavasana, he coaxed my shoulders to the floor from their upwardly curled position and I felt myself dissolve into the floor when he stroked my face.  I had actually hoped to follow the class with a run, but I worked so hard  in the class that I  made myself a little nauseous – winning!

Yesterday afternoon I headed back for another Hot Core Flow with a different instructor  and I really got my ass kicked.  This class was crowded, but somehow didn’t bother me the way my first class had. Maybe it was the fact that I saw some familiar faces?  Regardless, we all squeezed in and got to work – and I do mean work, I was positively dripping wet when class finished.  The flows were challenging, requiring focus and strength.  There were definite moments when I doubted my capacity to finish the class, or even my ability to complete holding a position for the number of breaths we were attempting. Yikes!  Again, I had imagined a run following this class, but all I could do upon arriving home was strip, shower and eat – I had nothing left.

My hope is to get back for one more class over the weekend, perhaps with yet another instructor.  Overall, the experience has been super and if time and budget allowed, I would definitely avail myself of the Hot Yoga Spot with great frequency.  I’m going to attempt to take that Friday class on weeks when I don’t work and during the summer I’ll try to get there as often as possible.  If you haven’t been there before, I highly recommend the $25 deal.  It is a wonderful value and you deserve it!  Namaste, my friend.

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Filed under Albany, Exercise, ideas, Local, Recommendations

Ghosts of Christmases Past

150601_10151375565712889_1640025131_nChristmas always makes me feel melancholy.  I don’t think it is a lack of presents or cookies or family or traditions – I have as much of those things as I desire. Each year when this emotional deflation occurs, it surprises me.  The unanticipated sobering, despite festive bubbles imbibed, seems to sneak up on me when I finally have met, to the best of my abilities, my holiday obligations.  The shopping, cleaning, prepping, wrapping, cooking flurry has come to an end and what’s left?  A sense of … not quite disappointment or dissatisfaction, just a slightly disconcerting hollowness.  There’s something missing.

In years gone by, I’ve been able to look to physical and mental tiredness as likely culprits for my reflective mood.  Lack of sleep and overindulgence certainly could be held responsible for my feelings.  For many years, we hosted a decadent dinner party on Christmas Eve, which, naturally, was followed by a too brief night’s sleep and a midmorning drive east to join family.  That’s not the case, though, now.   My house is quiet and a nap beckons.  The boys are gone – they even took the dog.  They’ll continue to make the drive East for the foreseeable future, a realization that makes me smile.

Last year, I flew to the desert on Christmas Day.  I spent 5 days running and doing yoga and absorbing sunshine and love from a dear friend.  It may have been my favorite Christmas ever.  Self-indulgent without being an orgy of commercialism or consumption, it was stimulating and relaxing in equal measure.  I came back to New York renewed and satiated.

Thinking about that trip makes me feel happy.  So, today, I’ll snuggle back into my flannels, close my eyes and hopefully dream about the magical desert mountains where the sand flies when my sneakered feet pass through.  When I wake up, I’ll pull on my running clothes and make the dusting of snow outside do something similar.  As I count off the miles, I will remember Christmases gone by and imagine Christmases future, but mostly I will try my best to enjoy the present of today.  Merry Christmas.

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Filed under California, Christmas, holidays, musings, running, winter

12 Days of Christmas – Dining Delso

DSC_0001The 9th day of Christmas would be the ideal time to visit the big sister on the block – Nicole’s Restaurant.  This family run spot is most definitely an established business in the DelSo, really, it’s practically an institution.  Established in 1986 (!), Nicole’s has long been a consistently great spot for a romantic dinner for two, a family meal or festive group dinner.  The political types that litter Albany during session even make the trip down Delaware to enjoy items such as Eggplant Roulade and Hazelnut Chicken – you’ll recognize them when you them, trust me.  I really appreciate that meals are available in full and small portions and they also do a terrific “to-go” meal deal during the week that I plan to check out after the holidays.  And don’t forget them when you’re looking for a caterer for your next event – there were rave reviews for the food they provided in November for the Historic Albany Foundation’s BUILT show.  Check back in January for a post about their to-go meal specials – something for us both to look forward to in the New Year!

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Filed under Albany, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, favorites, Food, Recommendations, Restaurants

12 Days of Christmas – Dining DelSo

DSC_0026On the 8th day it was time to check out the bar(tenders) at a favorite neighborhood joint – New World Bistro Bar.  This place has been such a huge asset to the DelSo area.  Seriously, it probably single-handedly started the resurgence of Delaware Avenue when it opened a few years back.  I think the appeal of NWBB is its ability to be everything to everyone.  Need a quick bite pre or post movie?  Check! Looking for a place for a meal to impress a date or group of friends?  Yep, they do that.  How about a spot for a well mixed drink and a nosh at the bar?  Yeah, they’ve got that covered, too.  The space is funky, the servers familiar veterans and the food creative and consistently well-timed to the season.  And speaking of Christmas – this place is in fact open and ready to give you the gift of a stellar meal. Here’s their new winter menu. – a present to each and every one of us.

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Filed under Albany, Brunch, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Eating, favorites, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants

12 Days of Christmas ~ Dining DelSo

DSC_0003On the seventh day, God rested, right?  Well, on the 7th day of Christmas, so did I – at Mingle, that is.  Here’s how it went down… Following a fun run and a delicious cocktail, I knew I needed to get back to the DelSo, park my car for the night and walk somewhere to continue drinking the evening’s repast.  Mingle was the perfect spot for so many reasons – proximity, menu options, and comfort level, just for openers.  Lisa and I found our way to the bar (amazing how adept at that we are!) and settled in with bartender, Dave (David?), taking good care of us.  After a perusal of the menu, we made our choices: small Caesar salad for me, followed by the Tuna Un-Hui and dumplings and the bibimbap for Lisa.  I went with a glass (eventually 2) of Gruner-Veltliner, which was the perfect accompaniment to both of my courses.  To finish, I did my best to consume an amazing orange-scented tiramisu, with a lovely glass of tawny port on the side. God, I love port!  Without exception, our meal was terrific. I loved my tuna and Lisa’s beef dish, (the leftovers which, much to her regret, she forgot in my fridge!) was wonderful.  The seasonings were perfectly balanced in terms of their aggressiveness and the portions were generous without being silly big.  Dave was knowledgeable without being overbearing, Jose checked in on us for a chat and the dining room looked to be running like a fine-tuned machine.  As an aside, I absolutely love the relationships that have grown between the neighboring businesses on this little strip of Delaware Avenue and think it is a true community model.

Ah…the perfect Saturday came to a lovely conclusion and the seventh day of Christmas dining DelSo brought gifts to be enjoyed all year long.

My tuna!

My tuna!

As I captioned this on instagram - "This is why I run!"

As I captioned this on instagram – “This is why I run!”

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Filed under Albany, Christmas, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, Eating, favorites, Food, friends, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants