Yet another benefit of drinking – flower boxes!
Screw Hallmark – as far as I’m concerned, May 5th was my ideal Mother’s Day. No matter what happens next Sunday, I will cherish the day I had, from the scandalously late start to the fortified-with-an-afternoon-nap late ending – perfect! Let me be a little more specific…
Saturday night, I shot a SEEN gallery down at Prime 677. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and it was a lovely event. The food was spectacular and the folks at Empire Wines rallied the troops to put on an extraordinary wine tasting. It’s been noted by some astute Times Union readers that whenever an event involves wine, I’m usually there. Guilty as charged.
I got home from the party working at about 10:30 only to find my little guy desperately upset that he had been denied a ‘s’more from the neighbor’s party, a situation I was able to correct with a soothing shower and some ice cream. Tucking him in at such a late hour gave me the first gift of Sunday – he slept until 10:00, which gave me an incredibly quiet morning. Soft music, strong coffee and the paper comprise my personal morning bliss trifecta. So far, so good.
After the boys departed at noon for their Dad’s, I got busy in the front yard with mulch and some annuals. The sun was glorious, birds were chirping and the simple joy of getting a little dirty made my heart sing. I had a mid afternoon visit from the person I most love spending time with and the day moved along at a pace that was completely enjoyable. I accomplished some other chores, including eating a fantastic lunch salad, and punctuated the afternoon with an indulgent nap on clean sheets. But, wait – there’s more.
Caesar salad with shaved Romano and grilled asparagus
As the day cooled down a bit, I tied on my running shoes and hit the streets for a 5-mile lap through the neighborhood. I had intended to go a bit further, but contented myself with not pushing myself too hard and tried to just enjoy myself. Done. A shower, a quick visit with the neighbors for a glass of wine and then home again for finale of the only reality show I would ever want to be on, The Amazing Race, and I was in bed by 10:15, thoroughly relaxed and satisfied with my day.
There weren’t any tulips or handmade crafts, but nonetheless it was a lovely day with a wonderful mix of boys, friends, productivity, relaxation and good food and wine. Mother’s Day 2013 is a done deal, as far as I am concerned. Any additional gifts are truly unnecessary, although I do have a fondness for the imperfectly made card along with a hankering for a French lilac bush. Just saying.
Filed under Albany, beauty, Boys, Coffee, DelSo, Eating, Events, family, favorites, Flowers, friends, Gardens, ideas, Local, love, running, SEEN, Spring, sunday, Wine
Last Sunday I absolved myself for Saturday night’s indulgences by participating in the Hand in Hand Run/Walk down in the Hudson Valley. Let me be honest with you, I’ll pretty much take any opportunity to visit with friends in the New Paltz area to enjoy some “adults only” time, but the added bonus of a morning race across the Hudson River makes me feel like a winner every time. This day was no exception.
The race is a fundraiser for programs to support developmentally delayed and disabled children, a cause close to my heart. Although April has been a recovery sort of month for me in terms of running, I decided to go for the 5 mile run instead of the 5 K option, abiding by my motto of preferring to regret doing something rather than not doing something. It was a good choice despite the blustery, cold wind that accompanied the portions of the run that involved crossing the river. Twice.
The course was challenging, but scenic, and the sun was beautiful on the Hudson. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in close proximity to the majestic Hudson I can’t help but be stunned by how beautiful it truly is. Imagine being an early explorer and sailing along those waters, in the shadow of the Catskills? Impressive!
This race was an affirmation in every way for me. After running the Delmar Dash the previous week in a disappointing time, I felt much stronger on Sunday, despite the more challenging terrain of this course. Seems that partying with the girls, along with a heaping bowl or two of pasta, just might be the best race prep. I finished 5th in my age group (a small percentage of the participants) with a time of 47:20. Not too shabby.
I’m eyeing a couple of races for May and am particularly excited for SPAC’s Rock and Run on Sunday, May 19th. They’ve introduced a 10K option for this year and I’m sure the course will be beautiful. Sounds like more pasta (and another bottle of wine) will be in order. Who’s in?
On the weeks when I work two double shifts, I struggle to get my miles in. In addition to being somewhat obsessive about exercise, I am also mistress of the rationalization so, I console myself on these alternating weeks with the fact that I get some physical activity running up and down the stairs at the Wine Bar. Guilt assuaged.
I had planned to take a run yesterday, but between a super late Friday night, an array of errands and a soccer game (we won), I just knew I didn’t have it in me. Sunday was essentially looking wide-open and I decided I’d experience that long run which had become almost mythical in my mind – my house to Delaware to Whitehall to New Scotland to Slingerlands and the bypass, to Kenwood and back to Delaware and then home. I finally had the time and today seemed the ideal day to give it a go.
After a relaxing morning, I put myself in the mindset that my run was a St. Patrick’s Day treat akin to soda bread and a pot of tea from Bewley’s. I particularly appreciated that any residual March 18 discomfort would be the result of muscle exertion rather than beer
over indulgence. My weather app kept promising clouds, but luckily they never materialized. I think the somewhat aggressive wind may have kept those moving right along in the blue sky.
What kept me moving over the 9.5+ miles? Good music, thoughts of my late Uncle John McMenamin, a man who loved a good brisk walk along the Irish Sea, and my sense that the sun was in complete approval of my efforts. I allowed myself to move at a pace that I could keep moving at and I am absolutely content with my outing. If Uncle John and I were able to sit down together with a couple of bowls of his wife Bridie’s creamy vegetable soup, I’d say today was just about an ideal St. Patrick’s Day. I hope yours was equally enjoyable.
This is my happy face.
Maybe it is because this was the first place I ever truly skied. Perhaps it is a result of the stunning panoramic views in every direction. It may be because of the friendliness of every staff member I’ve ever encountered. Or, it might be because of the all-things-considered reasonableness of the price of a lift ticket and rentals. This past Sunday, the spectacular weather was definitely a factor.
Whatever it is, I absolutely love Belleayre Mountain. If you know me, you are aware that my general expectation is not “perfection.” I actually find it to be a bit overrated as a measurement. Yet, Sunday, I heard myself saying “perfect” an uncountable number of times. It truly was a day of skiing that I will have a hard time ever matching, much less surpassing, regardless of how many seasons I revisit those slopes.
Why was it so special? Well, the drive south was beautiful, as winter and spring continued to switch places for a few days. Getting my equipment and lift ticket was a breeze, and I was on the chairlift within 20 minutes of parking my car. The snow was soft, the sun was blazing and the sky was blue. I was traveling light (sans boys), hanging with Aloysius and his next generation, and feeling absolutely giddy on sunshine and life. To all of you who weren’t there – I’m sincerely sorry you missed the opportunity to feel the joy of gliding down a mountain with the warmth of the sun on your back. Or the simple happiness of a tasty beer sipped al fresco midway down the slopes. Bliss.
Upon my return to Albany, the only way I could possibly punctuate a day that glorious was with a terrific dinner at the Capital City Gastropub and my first TasteeFreez visit of the year. It may not get any better than this, but, no worries, I’ll continue to keep trying. Kisses – Silvia
That would be a sundae – with nuts.
Filed under Aloysius, beauty, Eating, Exercise, favorites, Recommendations, road trips, skiing, snow, sunday, upstate New York, winter
A couple of Sundays ago, I made it to the City Beer Hall for brunch. I had no expectations going in other than to use my Living Social voucher and catch up with some friends. I certainly did not expect the place to be so jammed with other wannabee brunch eaters and I most definitely did not expect to have a meal that was so completely satisfying. Let me tell you everything…
Our group arrived piecemeal. I was the first in and I got our name on the list for a table for 5 + a child. The wait was approximately 25 minutes, a length of time which did not feel overly long. Drinks were enjoyed by the bar and appetites were whetted by the passing plates of food. When we sat down at one of the picnic style tables we were ready to sample a variety of the menu’s offerings. Here’s what we ended up with:
Gastro Salad – it may look a bit chaotic but it was really overwhelmingly delicious!
Challah bread French toast – yum!
Spinach & tomato omelete with home fries
Truffled mac n cheese
I failed to get photos of the Sliced Cajun Seasoned Hangar Steak sandwich on grilled sourdough with stellar hand-cut fries and the adorably dubbed “Spit in the Eye,” but I assure you, they were pleasing to the eye and the belly. Good stuff all around! The only ever so slight misstep was the mac and cheese. When it was initially delivered to our party the temperature was a bit lacking. We brought the problem to a server’s attention (that’s what you do when there’s an issue with your food – you let them fix it) and it was returned to us a few minutes later piping hot and delicious.
At the risk of damning myself to an even longer wait next time I’m feeling brunch-ish, I’ll tell you this: from service to atmosphere to food and value, this place knocked it out of the park. I’ll be back there in a couple of weeks (2/16) to photograph the Albany Boys and Girls’ Club Ride to Raise: Mechanical Bull Riding Competition. Maybe I need to get there a little early to try the pulled pork sandwich. Or the kale salad…
I don’t know when Halloween became a holiday for adults, or more specifically for women to wear to trampy costumes, but I finally found an event that combined Zombies, running and charity – the rUNDEAD 5k in Saratoga State Park. This inaugural trail run race was held last Sunday morning, with proceeds benefiting the Special Olympics. I had a blast dodging zombies on the beautiful, but challenging trails through the scenic park where I originally fell in love with running on dirt and grass. So much fun!
The recent rains (even Pre-Sandy) had added a degree of peril to the leaf-strewn trails and I saw a number of runners go down as their feet either found a hidden tree root or trail dip, or simply lost their grip on wet leaves. Ooohhh! Scary! The volunteer zombie army, staked out along the course, was awesome – full of fun as they devoured lives in the form of flags hanging from participant’s belts. Runners who made it to the finish line with at least a single flag were considered survivors and it was great to watch runners and zombies face off at the finish line.
I ran the race without a belt and flags, but I did bring my camera. Here’s my SEEN gallery – check out the pics for a safe look at zombies!
A couple of weeks ago, I realized it was starting to feel like I hadn’t seen my bestie in a long time. Within hours, an indication of how psychically in tune we are, I got a text from her requesting a get together. We decided on a date and a destination and I immediately began to breathe easier.
Woodstock, one of our favorite girls’ rendezvous points, was our meeting place for a few hours of shopping, talking and eating. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon which had just transitioned from overcast to gorgeous – a perfect day to walk and talk at a relaxed pace. The Woodstock Film Festival was wrapping up and town was bustling with parking at a premium. We usually park for free, but on this beautiful day, parking set us back $5. After parking, we set out to hit up some of our favorite spots beginning with Jean Turmo.
I have a thing for good quality bath soap and I love soaps from Pre de Provence. I find it really difficult to find my most favorite fragrance (eucalyptus) but I also adore their sage, oatmeal and coco butter versions so I stocked up with a few large bars of indulgence. Pricy at $7.19 a bar, but they last for a long time and give me pleasure, so they’re worth the expense to me. The makeup counter at Jean Turmo is pretty awesome – they make their own line of cosmetics and I really like their lipsticks, so I added a new shade to my fall palette. Another thing they available is a line of shampoos and conditioners which you can have scented with essential oils to your personal specifications. One of my sons is a big fan of the tea tree oil conditioner and I plan to pick up a bottle for his Christmas stocking on my next trip down.
I was ridiculously pleased with myself that I remembered to bring along a necklace which I had originally purchased at Timbuktu, a lovely little shop in town. The beautiful beaded necklace had suffered from a run-in with a piece of furniture and had broken and strewn itself all over my dining room floor. I had collected as many of the beads as possible and had them restrung locally by my friend, Elissa, but I missed the original design and was hoping the artist could replicate the necklace’s former appearance. The jewelry maker, Jaime Surgill, was great and I hope to have my new/old necklace back in a couple of weeks.
Our lunch choice required a short drive south of town to the Little Bear, a Chinese restaurant that shares a parking lot with the Bear Cafe and the Bearsville Theater. I was concerned that they might be crowded because of the Film Fest but their location provided a buffer to the events in town and we scored a great table overlooking the stream without a problem. The food at this place is consistently great and the scallion pancakes have forever defined this delicacy for me. They are served piping hot with a delectable crisp exterior and are full of flavor. We also enjoyed a pot of house special soup (with pork and chicken and shrimp), an order of har kow and pork chow fun. Each item was delicious and our over-ordering indulgence provided me with Monday’s lunch.
Here – feast on these photos from our fun, delicious and productive afternoon: