My youngest son goes to a magnet elementary school in our neighborhood. The latter fact is more the reason he attends that particular school than the arts and humanities centered curriculum, but we do enjoy many of the activities based upon the school’s theme.
This week the school community’s marked their Third Annual Multicultural Celebration. My son came home very excitedly to share that his class would be representing France. After a visit from a French college student, he was obsessed by the thought of making crepes as our contribution to the event. The sound of his voice repeatedly saying “crepe” in an attempted French accent, convinced me that this was an idee fixe that deserved to be indulged.
tedious remarkable number of suggestions from my 9 y/o with regards to how to make crepes (the batter must be made the night before cooking, beer is a necessary ingredient…), I located a reasonably simple recipe on Epicurious. Late Wednesday night, after closing the Wine Bar, I stirred up a triple batch of the recipe and went to sleep with a clear plan – and conscience.
After school, I hit up the store for a medium sized jar of Nutella and, upon arriving home, immediately got busy heating up two nonstick sauté pans. I brushed the hot pans with melted butter and got into the rhythm of working two pans, while also peeling and chopping a few apples to cook with brown sugar and cinnamon for an alternate filling.
The process was satisfyingly quick. In barely an hour, I had approximately 40 filled crepes, divided into two dishes with about twice as many Nutella ones than apple. I dusted the crepes with powdered sugar and we were on our way.
The event (and the crepes) was fantastic. The number of nations represented on the incredibly laden tables was mirrored by the audience in the multifunction room. The smells and flavors were rich in a way completely unrelated to any world currency. It was positively heady. I am so lucky to live in a city where my children have the opportunity to attend school with such a culturally diverse population. C’est magnifique!
What do you think? Are you aware of the current controversy regarding Mayor Sheehan’s budget proposal which will eliminate a ladder truck from the South End? When I first heard about it, in my typical fashion, I hastily concluded that taking this truck out of service would have a minimal impact. It seemed to me that the truck was of limited use since it only extended 6 floors and that a more versatile truck was just up the hill on Delaware Avenue. I also didn’t appreciate the heavy handed, dramatic response from the firefighter’s union. It just seemed too self-serving.
While at the Normanskill Dog Park the other morning, I struck up a conversation with a couple of women down there and they added some information to the argument. I gained a different perspective when one of the residents pointed out the general lack of services in that area and the fact that there are a number of high rise residential buildings which may be compromised in emergency situations. My opinion shifted.
As we continued our conversation, though, we started discussing the untapped revenue streams we personally witness. I know a number of people who own rental properties which are not inspected on a regular basis, as described here. Isn’t there some sort of registration fee on rental properties? How about the number of unlicensed dogs in the city? One of the dog park women no longer brings her dog to Washington Park because of the number of aggressive, unleashed dogs present. Does the dog warden stake out public spaces to confirm that animals are properly registered and licensed? I’ve also heard that there is a fee for satellite dishes and this (outdated) document seems to confirm that. And don’t even get me started on the number of red lights I see blown every single time I run or walk around the neighborhood.
My ultimate conclusion? Revenue sources in Albany would benefit from better record keeping and greater compliance enforcement. Maybe tough fiscal decisions, like the one Mayor Sheehan is now proposing, could be avoided if the various departments in the city were able to be more diligent in the enforcement of policies already in place. It would be great if no city resident were at risk of getting burned, wouldn’t it?
Filed under Albany, Local, News
This place is so special. Feast your eyes on this morning’s beauty…
(Dear readers: Please read this article, complete with comments, and then come back. Okay, done?)
I’ve got some information for you, paleandpasty. Take that fence picket out of your ass and have a seat. I am so tired of people like you anonymously criticizing my city. From your self-perceived superior, suburban vantage point, you make general statements about personal safety and outrageous property taxes in Albany. Let me tell you a couple of things.
In the more than 20 years I’ve lived in Albany, I’ve been mildly physically threatened once. Yes, once. It was fairly recently and I related the details here. While the situation was less than comfortable for me, the way I felt after that incident didn’t come close to approaching the degree of physical unease I experienced this week when I witnessed a brutal physical attack in the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts on Delaware Avenue. In Delmar. At 3:15 in the afternoon. Bad people and bad things happen to be in every community. Stop trying to perpetuate the misimpression that Albany has the monopoly on such things.
As for taxes, I just wrote the check last week for my school taxes. I paid 60% the price that a suburban friend paid. Of course, their property and their school district are both valued higher than mine. I understand that, but I certainly don’t believe that their cookie cutter ranch, which has less square feet and character than my home, or their mostly homogenous school system, which is more than a little white bread, is worth 40% more than what I paid. My children have access to AP classes, courses through HVCC and opportunities to explore and experience community resources, too. Those things are not suburban exclusives.
In closing, I’d like to add that my children are not being raised to believe it is okay to make anonymous statements criticizing the choices made by others. I don’t know where you grew up or attended school, but that is a lesson you seemed to miss. You are more than entitled to live where you want, but please stop trying to validate your choice by maligning mine.
Sincerely, Silvia Meder Lilly
That’s “my” board – all the way on the right!
After vacillating for days, I made the decision Sunday morning to spend my afternoon catching some bonus paddle boarding time. My early obligation of the day went surprisingly smoothly and I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to get on the water for one more time this season.
I arrived at the Kayak Shak in Saratoga a little before 1:00 and was on the water, solo, 15 minutes later. Unlike my previous two paddling adventures, this time I immediately headed east. The less traveled path was definitely the way to go yesterday. As I paddled along, the view on either side of the water was truly spectacular. The leaves were popping red and orange and the sky was blue, blue, so blue. As the creek curved and turned, there were times when there was nothing man-made to mar the scene – just trees, reeds and shrubs in various rainbow shades. And turtles. Lots of turtles.
The man who had set me up on my board said that two miles down there would be a bridge and that became my goal. As I twisted my core left and right, left and right, the surprisingly mild water splashed my feet and enticing me to jump in for a refreshing dip. I decided to indulge myself once I had finally reached that confounded bridge, and it was absolutely liberating when I finally made the leap from my board into the warmish water. I’m certain that September 28th is the latest I’ve ever gone swimming in upstate New York, and I am so very glad that I seized the opportunity that Mother Nature provided.
If you haven’t attempted Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) yourself, think about giving it a try. I think it is easier than it looks and, from what I read, it burns a fair amount of calories. It is also the most fun core workout I’ve ever experienced. I’m going to start investigating waterproof bag options because I really missed my camera yesterday. I would have loved to have captured some pictures of Saratoga’s natural beauty on an early fall day which felt like summer.
So – does anyone have any recommendations for a waterproof bag to stash my Nikon in?
It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose. The longer you live, the smaller the world becomes and the more likely it is that the individual spheres of one’s personal world will begin to overlap. Last night I helped train our new server at the Wine Bar. She is a former student. Sigh.
I obviously share a lot of my personal life and thoughts here, but it mostly feels anonymous. I don’t really know who reads this stuff and thus am often surprised when I meet someone in real life who knows about me or my adventures and antics. I do think, though, that I’ve done a decent job of keeping my day time school life separate from my night-time restaurant life. Until yesterday, that is.
I kind of pride myself about being ‘Me” wherever I am. That doesn’t mean, though, that I necessarily am comfortable being my blunt and sometimes bawdy self behind the bar with a young woman who used to attend the school where I teach. Must I now censor myself?
As I consider what I can and can not say while in the presence of a former student, why don’t you take a moment to ponder the First Amendment and the right to free speech on a literary level? Next weeks marks the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week. While I figure out the best way to say what I want, you can maybe read a book by authors who have used their words to freely express themselves.
Did you play that game when you were a kid? We usually alternated between Red Light and Mother, May I? on autumn evenings which grew more quickly dark as each day passed. They were fun games to play during times, which I recall as, much more simple than today. No batteries or cords necessary.
These days, I run for fun. Unfortunately, negotiating my way around the streets of Albany isn’t always fun. I play a different game now – Green light, red light, one-two-three. Are you familiar with it? It’s where you watch the light cycle through from green to yellow to red and then count “1, 2, 3″ before approaching the intersection. If you fail to follow the rules, like the scofflaw driver blowing through the red light, you’re likely to get run over. Really.
There isn’t a single time I’ve been out getting some miles in, when I haven’t observed drivers running red lights. It is no joke. I can appreciate the frustration with Albany’s lights which sometimes seemed timed expressly for making me late for my destination. I get it. But, seriously? Is it really going to be worth running a person or animal over? Drivers in Albany really need to drink a big old mug of slow the f*ck down.
Red light cameras are controversial and considered by some to be invasive, but I truly believe their value in potentially protecting lives exceeds their threat to privacy. Folks are concerned that the company which will be monitoring the cameras will be aggressively doling out tickets because they are a for-profit entity. So? Don’t run red lights and it will cost you nothing.
Albany is a fine place to live. We have invested in schools and libraries and crosswalks. There are cool new places to shop and eat and our mayor is committed to the arts. Wouldn’t it be great if families felt comfortable moving into our city because they knew that public safety was a genuine priority? I’m all for quality of life tickets a la Giuliani, jaywalking, bike riding in the wrong direction on the streets, drivers failing to respect pedestrians in crosswalks and red light runners. Give them a warning then give them a ticket. If the ticket comes from a camera monitored traffic light, give them the picture, too. It’ll last longer, right?