Category Archives: Rant

Hustle and Jive – or dancing for $$

Last week, as I emailed Matt Baumgartner an excel spreadsheet with my availability to work his World Cup Block Party, I thought to myself, “Silvia, you really hustle to pay your bills and afford to travel.” There’s the full-time school job, the night or two a week at the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark, shooting photographs for the TU and their Seen galleries, consigning my clothing and the occasional chaperoning gig. My calendar is definitely pretty full, but I’m not complaining. My car is paid for and I’ve got no debt other than my mortgage which has less than 9 years left to go. I’m doing okay.

Talking about money is awkward. Unless you’re my brother or one of my closest friends, you’ll never hear me complain about being broke. I wish other people had the same impulse about finances and privacy because I really don’t know how to respond when someone says, “Oh, we can’t take a vacation because we can’t afford it.” Um…sorry? Am I supposed to feel guilty because I do have a trip or two planned?

We all have priorities.  We each make decisions about how to make and spend our money.  For me, being able to travel is paramount and I will pick up odd jobs to be able to afford 2 weeks at the beach, occasional weekends out-of-town and an annual “Mom and Me” trip with one of the guys.  It is important to me and I think of it as an educational investment.  Other people may choose to only work part-time in favor of remaining home with small children or perhaps give up a regular income to pursue artistic endeavors.  Whatever works, not my business or concern.

I respect an individual’s personal (and family’s) decision, but I refuse to be made to feel guilty because some folks may not have the funds to spend a couple of weeks frolicking in the ocean.  I work hard to make that happen.  It’s not my problem and I don’t appreciate anyone trying to bring me down because of their own life choices.  I’ll just keep paying my own way and dancing to my own tune.  It would be nice if others would do the same.

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Filed under Random, Rant

How much is that doggie in the window?

I’ve been stressing about getting a puppy.  There were the usual considerations, of course.  When?  What type of puppy?  From where?  Added to my dilemma was the criticism I received from a number of my friends on Facebook. Apparently, wanting a dog from a breeder rather than rescuing a dog from a shelter makes me a selfish person.  My response to that?  I’m sorry, but, bite me.

I do what I can to make the world a better place.  I don’t intentionally hurt anyone, nor do I thoughtlessly consume from, or sully, our planet.  When I have a pet, I take care of it – veterinarian visits as necessary, quality food, belly rubs and baths.  All of it.

That being said, I accept the fact that I can’t save the world.  It just isn’t possible.  I donate my time and money to charities which are important to me, and I respect those who work tirelessly for the less advantaged, be they humans or other living creatures.  I say that with complete sincerity.

There may be a point in time when I am in a position to offer a home to a dog who needs to be saved, but I’m not there right now.  I’m sorry but I don’t want an animal who has been abused or malnourished or neglected.  I’m not interested in rehabilitating or attempting to socialize a dog who has  been mistreated.  I’ve done that already, before I had children, and it was satisfying and wonderful, but this is not the right time in my life to do that again.

I reconnected yesterday with the lovely woman who provided us with Cassidy and the angst I felt about getting a new pet, and all the related questions, disappeared.  When I shared with her the life we had shared with the puppy she had entrusted to us, she cried.  The fact that I paid her for the privilege of raising an animal she brought into the world with intention, does nothing to minimize the importance of the relationship there was between our family and a special pet.

The reality is this: adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue outfit can cost hundreds of dollars.  While the decision is far from purely fiscal, I’d rather spend $200 more and welcome a pet who has known nothing but love into my house.  If you’re offended by that, it isn’t my problem. It’s yours.

There’s a litter of puppies due next month and I am hopeful that Happy Brady Lilly will be joining our family later in spring.  I don’t believe the fact that (s)he will come with papers is really a reason for you to write them, or me, off.

In closing – “Dogs never bite me.  Just humans.”  Marilyn Monroe

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Filed under Boys, family, musings, Rant

Keeping up with the Kardashians and Duck Dynasty – reality?

I don’t really watch a lot of television, but when I do it’s either a series like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, or sports. The only reality TV I watch, other than American Idol or the occasional episode of The Amazing Race, is on the Home and Garden channel.

I remember first becoming aware of the Kardashian family 5 or 6 years ago while having a manicure in a nail salon in the mall.  If I remember correctly, they were at some ski resort and there was all sorts of drama – fighting between the sisters, lying to one another, and lots of conspicuous consumption.  The sisters had a tendency to pose with the ever-so irritating duck lips  Yuck.  Keep up with them?  No, thanks.

Since that time I’ve become increasingly more repulsed by this family who makes a business of creating an impression of desirable beauty when in reality they are nothing more than exploiters of all things ugly.  It’s hard to tell which is more disturbing – the fact that this family is eager to sort their personal laundry on air or that millions of people are enthusiastic spectators to the mess that is their lives.  What does this say about our culture?

I’ve never seen Duck Dynasty, but I think I understand the premise – it’s the antics of a family who have created a family business of actually selling a product, some sort of duck caller, unlike the Kardashians who merely sell their souls.  From what I’ve seen in the media, the patriarch of the family has alienated some viewers with his outrageously homophobic opinions, which he presents as originating in his religious beliefs.

Here’s the thing – I don’t really know anything about this guy or his family. I honestly don’t care if he really believes that homosexuals are going directly to hell.   It doesn’t matter to me at all because his opinion holds no value in my world.  You see, my reality is populated with people who both maintain personal boundaries and value diversity, rather than exhibitionist mediawhores and judgmental conservatives.

Duck, duck, gross.  I’ll pass.

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Filed under News, Observations, politics, Rant, television

Don’t do me like that

Sunday evening I trucked it up to Saratoga to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Believe me, the drive did not compare to the time a group of us traveled via bus and maybe (?) train from groovy Greenwood Lake to the Nassau Coliseum to see the very same band.  Yep, I’m an old school TP fan and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for these guys since they were my first arena rock and roll show – 1981, Brendan Byrne Arena.

As always, the band played with heart and humor.  Tom Petty made just the right amount of anecdotal commentary with the crowd and played a great mix of old and new(er) tunes.  As expected, he closed with American Girl, a song which remains a favorite of mine despite the whole Silence of the Lambs connection.  His lyrics aren’t often cited as poetic, but he does have a plain directness in speaking which manages to convey emotions pretty effectively.  It was a fun show and my date, who coincidentally (or fatefully?!?) had attended a show from that very same 1981 tour, was the perfect partner for the night’s adventure, an adventure which ultimately ended at the Schenectady County Airport with some gawking at Tom Petty’s private jet.
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Sounds like an awesome night, yes?  Well, let me share a couple of my complaints with you…

The ticket prices were outrageous. $50 for a lawn seat is pretty damn obscene when you’re spending your night breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke and dodging drunks who are literally falling down.  It seems there’s no benefit in pricing the tickets high, assuming that’s an effort to keep the riffraff out.  Maybe not over-serving the crowd would be a good idea?  It is rather remarkable that folks manage to get so totally inebriated when beers are priced between $9-12 each.  I suppose one might as well drink alcohol because paying $4.50 for a 20 oz bottle of Dasani water is no bargain.  If you get drunk enough, you would have a hope of forgetting where all your hard-earned money went, I guess.  I realize that my first concert was a long time ago, but the price of tickets and refreshments (don’t get me started on the merch!) certainly seems out of whack with the general state of inflation.

Come on, SPAC/Live Nation give me a break – otherwise you won’t be seeing this face in the crowd.

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Filed under aging, beer, concerts, Events, Music, Rant, SEEN, SPAC, Summer

Sad, mad and glad

Last week was a weird week in the news. I mean like the kind of week when I almost feel ready to abandon reading anything beyond cooking and fashion magazines so I have a prayer of staying in my happy place. Are they going to print those upbeat type of glossy publications on Hearst’s new press?

Ever since I saw this story on the TU website I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.  I understand that these accidents occur with far too much frequency, but for reasons I haven’t quite grasped yet, this one has really had an impact on me.  My God, did you see the car?  It doesn’t seem possible that someone could have survived that crash and I’m left wondering what the future holds for the driver of that vehicle. How many times will he wish for a do-over, for the chance to take it back and do it all again differently?  As a parent, I’m tempted to begin printing out accident scene pictures and the related obituaries and start wallpapering my boys’  bedrooms with the consequences of bad decision-making. I’m scared and my heart aches for the families involved who both lost their children that morning, because I’m certain the young man who was driving that car will never be the same.

And how do you feel about the smoke story?  No, not the Pope Francis thing, this one.  Apparently, Assemblyman Steve Katz, an opponent of legalizing medical marijuana, has no personal problem with getting blazed and speeding up the NYS Thruway – at 10:00 a.m, by the way.  Perhaps he is anti-medical marijuana because he understands it won’t cure the severe case of hypocrisy he appears to be suffering  from.  What a jerk.  Throw him out of office and let him wake and bake on his own time.

If marijuana could in fact cure hypocrisy, maybe Rob Portman has been indulging in the wacky weed, too.  Seems that now that his own son is at risk of being denied basic civil rights because he is gay, Portman has had a change of heart in his consistently anti-gay marriage stance.  I don’t really understand why his son’s life and access to the benefits of marriage are somehow more important than the millions of other gay Americans who have been denied access to wedded bliss.  I’m sincerely glad he’s changed his position, but I’m even more glad that I could never imagine believing that my own child’s opportunities are somehow more valid than those of anyone else’s child.

I’ll go back to my Bon Appetit now.

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Filed under musings, News, Observations, politics, Rant

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

I don’t hate guns

image everydaynodaysoff.com

I hate what people use guns to do. Guns scare me, but I don’t hate them.  Today, more than two dozen people were massacred in a(nother) school shooting.  Twenty-seven people, including 20 children, woke up today for the last time.  I went for a run tonight and thought of the terror that was school today for those children and adults in Connecticut.  Each time I imagined the fear those children must have felt, I gasped anew, feeling my  heart nearly stop with my exhale.  Horror.

I couldn’t post today about the 12 Days of Dining DelSo. How could a person even consider a holiday season on a day like today?  This day belongs to those lives lost.

Peace.

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Filed under Christmas, politics, Rant, Uncategorized