Category Archives: Normanskill

A fall morning, Normanskill style

This place is so special.  Feast your eyes on this morning’s beauty…

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Filed under Albany, beauty, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, favorites, Local, Normanskill, upstate New York

Labor Day – sunshine and duck butts

After a summer spent working and vacationing, I elected to spend this holiday weekend, quietly at home. Friday night I ate al fresco at The Cheese Traveler, devouring my burger and merely indicating yes or no with the motion of my head. So good! Saturday, following a run, I ate at Mingle’s bar very much enjoying my salad and paella, along with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Sunday was a day for leftovers and binging on Orange is the New Black with a side order of tennis. It was definitely a lazy weekend, other than for Jeter who spent quality time each day at the Normanskill Dog Park.

Today needed to be different. I needed to burn some energy in the hopes that I would get a good night’s sleep tonight and feel fresh for tomorrow’s back to school activities. I decided that today was the perfect day to give paddle boarding a try – weather, opportunity, mood, it all added up and so, I hit the highway for Saratoga County’s Kayak Shack. I had a Living Social deal, bought earlier this summer for $20, which gave me 3 hours of paddle boarding for two. I was solo (do you think the businesses in receipt of deals for 2 being redeemed by only 1, tsk tsk silently and sympathetically?), which provided me lots of time to focus on keeping my balance, something of which I really need to remain cognizant in a general sort of way.

So, what was it like? I loved it! I had no issue getting on my board and moving from kneeling to standing. There was a strong current, with an accompanying wind, which made my trip out quite an exertion. It is a real abdominal workout, which I welcomed.  Seems like I’ve taken a few shots to the gut recently and any assistance in keeping that area defensively taut is welcome.  For every 4 or 5 strokes on the left side of the board, I had to take a dozen on the right side to remain on a semi-straight path. There were a couple of moments when I absolutely wobbled and fought to maintain my balance, usually when I neglected to pay attention to what was going on in the water around me. I dumped once, but welcomed the refreshing dunk in the lake and had no issue climbing back on board. Literally.

Here’s what I found kind of interesting – I grew up in lake community and feel like I have some experience with boating, be it from my teen years waterskiing or my brief time spent sweep rowing/sculling. Today, I discovered fairly quickly that motor boaters had no real regard for paddlers. There were all sorts of instances when a boat’s wake provided an experience similar to what one would find in a wave pool. It was mostly ok, but I still felt a bit irritated by the lack of respect for those of us with a paddle rather than a throttle in our hand.

I booked along at a pretty good clip as I worked to raise my heart rate and turn my fun into a true workout. The shore on both sides was marshy with leaves threatening to begin changing colors and tons of ducks greedily going bottoms up as they munched on some delicacy underwater. I paddled to a wider part in the water where things really started to feel a bit like the Wild West with motorboats and kayaks and stand up paddle boards chaotically strewn across the water. I grew up in a town filled with cowboys, but we had more of a sense of water traffic regs than most of the people I encountered today.

Bottom line – it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. If anyone wants to give it a try some weekend before the water grows too cold to be described as invigorating, let me know. I’d love to go back.

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Filed under Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Exercise, ideas, Local, Normanskill, Recommendations, road trips, Saratoga, Summer, upstate New York

Expectations

What are “reasonable” expectations?  Are you comfortable with those you have and, presumably, honor?  I was thinking about some of the expectations I have and considering their degree of realism.  I think I do ok with most of them.  My problem comes when I allow something external to start putting the squeeze on me – like Hallmark or Madison Avenue.  That’s when I’m sure to be dissatisfied.

When I recently wrote my list of Mother’s Day wishes, I didn’t think I was asking for all that much.  Most of the items had more to do with thoughtfulness than money.  I thought it was a reasonable list of expectations. Shall I share how many I received and how it made me feel?

There were 10 “things” on the list.  Three were delivered, a number  I can accept.  Well, was actually more like 2 were completely met and two were partially met, which I decided to count as three.  I’m almost always able to see the positive, and the overall spirit of my wish or expectation was met.  For instance, I didn’t have to get up prematurely to take Jeter out, because he wasn’t home yet from Center Square.  That sort of thing.  So, three done with one more  that I’m going to nail before the day is done.

Today, in the morning, I was disappointed.  There was very little showering of attention and there wasn’t a single sweet bakery treat.  I washed and folded four loads of laundry and thawed some chicken for dinner.  I decided I no longer wanted to go out.  I did some puttering around the house, a little garden weeding and then spontaneously joined friends for a glass of prosecco.  The day started to shift.

kale, pears, roth bleu, craisins, sunflower oil, salt

kale, pears, roth bleu, craisins, sunflower oil, salt

I came home and prepared a beautiful dinner of slightly charred chicken with two marinades, grilled local asparagus and a fantastic kale and pear side dish. The boys set the table with minimal protest.  They helped to clean up following dinner, as well.  When the kitchen was tidied up, I headed down to the Normanskill for a walk, minus any FLB, but Jeter with riding shotgun.

Normanskill

Normanskill

I saw the end of my day in sight.  A walk, some writing, a run, a shower and in between the fresh sheets.  My annoyance with the FLB and their fail for Mother’s Day began to roll off my shoulders.  What did it matter?  Why are flowers or candy any more special because they arrive on a specified holiday?  Isn’t it more enjoyable to receive some acknowledgement of our value on a day when our children are inspired, rather than pressured?  Who cares?  Or, more specifically, why should I care?

So, Jeter had his first swim (not as much of a natural as Cassidy), I had a walk in the sunshine and now, my run beckons.  The day didn’t go as expected, but it still was a day of sunshine, good food, new experiences, friends, bubbles, exercise, and being a mom to three “boys.”

Hope your Mother’s Day expectations were met equally well.

not really sure about how he got here...

not really sure about how he got here…

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Filed under aging, Boys, Eating, family, holidays, moms, musings, Normanskill, sunday

My love affair with Winter

Valentine’s Day seems the perfect time to express my adoration for Winter.  In all honesty, it’s a love I never imagined experiencing.  Winter was always the cruelest of seasons, I thought.  Endlessly long, yet filled with days which offered mere hours of daylight.  Cold in a way that kept one indoors, in isolation.  Yuck.

Our relationship was purely platonic at the start.  It was a casual thing for many years, sort of a “friends with benefits situation.”  If I had a little extra timphoto 2(4)e, I could maybe work in an hour outdoors on my cross-country skis.  Many people have a summer romance, but we had a winter fling. Winter certainly wasn’t something I was willing to build a life around. It was more a matter of convenience, a circumstance I’d be remiss to replicate in my romantic life, yet acceptable for a relationship physical in nature.

During the snowy years, we got a little more serious with each other and I found myself keeping my skis in my car “just in case.” I explored Capital Hills, familiarizing myself with the various trails, learning which spots tended to get icy and which direction to ski to witness the often stellar winter sunsets.  I bought better cold weather gear and, repulsed by the false consistency of the treadmill, committed to running outdoors year round.

Winter challenged me and I responded with enthusiasm and devotion.  Downhill skiing beckoned and I fell even deeper in love.  The combination of adrenaline, fresh air and sunshine was intoxicating.  Winter was no longer something to be survived, it became a season to savor.  I realized recently that Winter has become my favorite season and I no longer wish it away as I may have in the past.
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Sometimes we find love in the most unexpected places.  Recognizing it, and embracing it with grace, makes our time here, and our hearts, feel remarkably full.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, favorites, holidays, Local, love, Normanskill, running, skiing, snow, upstate New York, winter, x-country skiing

Taking a punch

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I began my day on the floor, next to Cassidy, my tears dripping on the softest fur a dog has ever had.  That’s why we picked her, you know.  In a litter of 11 beautiful black labs, she was different, wearing a lavender ribbon around her neck with fur that could only be described as fluffy. A dozen years later, her coat remains a marvel of softness.

Cassidy has been the only dog my boys have known.  In her younger years, she was my cross-country skiing buddy, joyfully covering miles of the golf course with me each winter.  For a number of years, we rented a house on the Cape which welcomed pets and Cassidy was a regular at the nearby pond, diving under the water to retrieve rocks.  She has been a wonderful, wonderful pet.

In recent days, she has not been herself.  There have been messy episodes which have required copious amounts of Nature’s Miracle to eliminate.  Her appetite has been compromised and I scheduled a visit for the vet.  My youngest, Q, asked to accompany me to the appointment.  I hesitated, not knowing what the diagnosis might be, nor how he would respond to the bad news I anticipated.  He earnestly told me this: “I’ve taken some punches, Mom.  I’ve had up times and down times.  I’ll be ok.” He came with me.

The visit was as expected.  It seems that our girl has a tumor in her abdomen, more than likely cancer.  She probably is experiencing some internal bleeding.  I’m crying now.  The vet gave me some medication to help with her bowels.  He said to feed her whatever she wants to eat and to take her home any enjoy her.  We’ll know when she needs us to let her go.

I made Cassidy turkey risotto this morning.  I can’t stop looking at her resting peacefully and wondering how many more mornings I’ll awake to find her sleeping on the stained carpet at the foot of my bed.

No matter how hard you prepare yourself, the punch to the gut of losing a beloved pet always hurts.  Even when your child dries your tears and tells you everything is going to be fine.

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Filed under aging, Boys, cancer, family, love, Normanskill, x-country skiing

Reflections from a full moon run

Full Hunter’s Moon by Raven Wu

October’s Hunter’s Full Moon run with the Lunar Bitches had a lot going on.  It had been an entire month since we had all been together and life moves fast.  We all have children and full time jobs (+) and relationships to maintain and we are definitely busy.

Our runs are generally an easy combination of conversation and silence, along with a few “watch outs” thrown in as we tread through less than clear paths.  Kind of like life, it seems.

I realized on Sunday night that we have some strong common threads, in addition to the running, which serve to connect us.  We each have children who have challenges with which they struggle.  Our struggle as moms often is to find the “right” balance between helping our kids by helping them and helping them by not helping them.  There isn’t a cool app we can use to measure our success as we do our runs.  It isn’t easy, but we’re trying to teach our children independence and personal responsibility.

All three of have in the last year or so have had a change in our careers, be it be in our hours, employers or the populations with which we work.  There was a limited amount of complaining by each of us when the new positions were initially meted out by the universe, but it seems now that we have unanimously been able to transition to a positive place professionally.  We’ve landed on our feet.

During our runs, through fields and on rock strewn dirt roads, there’s always some stumbling.  We’ve come to learn and, more importantly, appreciate the obstacles which threaten to trip us up occasionally.  How we recover from that which threatens our balance has become an opportunity to exercise our strength.

 I’m already looking forward to November’s Frost Moon and run.

 

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Filed under Exercise, favorites, friends, Normanskill, Observations, running

Lunar B*tches

You knew it had to eventually happen, right?  Our trio of women, bold enough to run in the dark by the light of the full moon,* have morphed into an exclusive little running club.  I’d like to officially present the Lunar B*tches Running Club!  A few facts about our group:

  • Frequency of meetings: monthly.
  • Distance: 5-7 miles.
  • Pace: varied depending upon conversation and hills, usually ~5.5 – 6.0 mph
  • Benefits: personal sanity, grownup interactions, strong legs and tight butts.
  • Qualifications: see above

Last night we did about 6.5 miles at a fairly consistent pace.  We spent some time at Capital Hills which, aside from real-deal hills, also has the convenience of water stations (amazingly cold water stations) and a bathroom for a midway pit stop.  The fireflies and soft rain added a bit of a magical touch to the run and we were three very satisfied mommies when we wrapped up our evening.

Already looking forward to August…

*we didn’t actually see the moon last night, but headlamps provide illumination in a pinch.

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, favorites, friends, Local, Normanskill, running