Daily Archives: February 10, 2013

Smokey, this is not ‘Nam

This is bowling.  There are rules.

What do you mean the cake is lopsided?  Look at the pretty colors!

What do you mean the cake is lopsided? Look at the pretty colors!

Man, I wish I could have prepped our party guests of that fact ahead of time, but the Big Lebowski remains a tad shy of appropriate movie fare for 8 year-olds, no matter how awesome they think they might be.  Quinn requested a bowling party this year and his Dad and I were happy to oblige.  Since we’re Albany folk, the Playdium was really the only choice for venues.  If you’re kicking it old school, may as well go all the way, right?  It really was the perfect activity for a bunch (there were 10, it felt like 15) of kids on a snowy afternoon and it was declared by the guest of honor to have been the “best party ever!”

DSC_0001This type of party is not for the faint of heart – the kids get pretty excited by all the open space and voices echo, and seem to amplify, in an alarming manner.  And don’t even get me started on the rental shoes!*  Despite these physical challenges, there is no better way to entertain and amuse a gang of 2nd graders, particularly at $10.95 a child which includes 60 minutes of bowling, 2 slices of more-than-acceptable pizza, individual ice cream cups and a couple of pitchers of soda.  Truly a bargain.

A couple of observations, including one that made me smile – one of the two girls invited to join the insanity festivities noticed that the lane shared by 3 boys and two girls, finished their game 2 frames ahead of the 100% boy lane.  A quick discussion with her about the efficiencies of females vs. males will hopefully stay with her for her entire life.  Ten kids seemed to be the perfect number.  Mathematically that came out to the age of the guest of honor (8) plus 2 parents.  More than that would have been too much, I suspect.  For all involved.  This was a pretty relaxed party – it was simple enough to add the latecomers to the bowling computer system and the employees we dealt with were beyond easy-going.  The Playdium may not be a fancy place, but it definitely beats driving around and the occasional acid flashback.

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*According to a close friend, that stuff they spray in there is some variant on napalm.  I doubt if that’s really true, but it sure does help to support the whole Vietnam/Big Lebowski thread.

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Filed under Albany, birthdays, Boys, Events, family, Local, Recommendations

Schooled on skiing

So cute!

So cute!

I spent most of my childhood in a village nestled in a valley between two (smallish) mountains.  Each of these mountains was home to a (smallish) ski resort.  Despite the proximity of these places to experience skiing, I personally never availed myself of the opportunity.  Skiing was always a bit beyond the budget, a fact that I recognized and accepted without question.

My first real chance to ski was as a newlywed.  We were visiting with some friends in Vermont and the plan was to ski, with borrowed equipment, from the condo to the base of the hill where we would purchase our lift tickets and enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activity.  Sounds fine, right?  Skis over my shoulder, I joined the others for the walk through the parking lots of the condo complex.  We arrived at the place where we were to snap into our skis and I looked down that hill, the whole time thinking about my lack of health insurance, and just knew it wasn’t happening for me.  I happily went back to the condo and  read the afternoon away, relieved to have avoided the certainty of a broken leg.

Years later, I had a one hour private ski lesson at Bousquet Mountain in the Berkshires.  At that point I was a fairly accomplished cross-country skier and, other than the icy mound I had to face as I disembarked the chairlift, I was pretty comfortable negotiating my way down the hills after my lesson.  Skiing was a fun activity, but not something for which I felt a burning excitement.  I was content with the affordability of cross-country and I loved the fact that I could keep my equipment in my car and take advantage of the opportunity to ski at a moment’s notice.  Winters began to feel much shorter.

Other than a winter triathlon that I participated in (“competed” in being too strong of a word), I didn’t ski again until this year and, I want to tell you, something has changed.  Skiing suddenly seems like a lot of fun and I am very much looking forward to getting back on the slopes with the frequency allowed by my budget and calendar.  Maybe it’s all the running I’ve been doing, but I find downhill skiing to be easier than cross-country. The ability to turn as I glide down hill, as opposed to skiing down the hills at Albany Muni on long skis without real edges, makes controlling my speed much more manageable.  My legs are strong and although I expected to feel some residual soreness after my day at Belleayre, I didn’t have the slightest muscle tenderness to remind me of the fun I had enjoyed.

Speaking of enjoyment, Aloysius and I brought along our generation next boys and planted them in Kids Camp for the day.  It was an investment ($100 + lunch), but we enjoyed knowing they were getting some quality instruction (2 to 1 ratio with the instructor) while we were exploring the mountain.  We had a great view of their activities from the lodge, beers firmly in hand, and they seemed to be having a good time together.  As far as the little guys enjoying the whole skiing thing, the jury is out on that.  I can tell you they probably had more fun than their teacher who noted that although the boys might be the best of “vacation buddies,” they certainly weren’t the best “learning buddies.”  What can I say – they’re lively boys.  They’ve got years ahead of them to learn to love to ski.  Trust me.

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Filed under Aloysius, Boys, Camp, Exercise, family, friends, Recommendations, skiing, snow, upstate New York, winter