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.
Yesterday was the first snow day my district has had this academic year – and it was well worth the wait. I understand that we don’t all have the luxury of a delayed start or the cancellation of our work day due to the weather and think you should know I am very appreciative of this career perk. I was so very thankful for yesterday’s surprise (2″-4″ was the forecast, I’d say 6″ or 7″ was the reality) snow day that I just might send my superintendent a thank you note. You know how I like to do that. Or, as my snow day, cross-country skiing partner in crime suggested, perhaps I should send that note of gratitude to the superintendent of my children’s district for not giving them the day off. I certainly have enough appreciation to spread it out, trust me.
As I spent my found day doing fun things, I realized that I had experienced a perfect snow day. Here are the factors which led me to that ultimate conclusion:
- The day off was completely unexpected. I would have been more than contented with a mere delay.
- Speaking of delays, the fact that the boys were delayed and I was off was an incredible gift. We had an easy morning and then there was quiet.
- Coffee with my favorite fellow was another unexpected treat.
- Skiing with one of my best hardcore exercise girls at Capital Hills on a day with incredible light and eventual warm temperatures. Spring skiing rocks!
- A terrific lunch at the golf course’s Club House. Seriously, the food was really good!
- Getting my Saturday chores done a day early. It almost feels like I was given 2 days!
- Afternoon coffee with my favorite fellow
- Making pizza with my boys
- A hot bath
- A reasonable bed time
The secret to homemade pizza? A HOT oven.
I hope you were able to enjoy the recent (bonus) snowfall but, if you didn’t, I think I had enough fun for both of us. You’re welcome!
Filed under Albany, beauty, Eating, Exercise, favorites, friends, Local, pizza, Recommendations, skiing, snow, Uncategorized, winter, x-country skiing
Despite the fact that the conditions were dangerously icy yesterday and I fell multiple times, jamming my thumb really hard once and landing on my ass hard enough to create a bruise that I almost felt compelled to name, I absolutely LOVE cross-country skiing. If you haven’t given it a try because you mistakenly believe it to be for old, slow people, you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. We’re at the point where we need a new snowfall to get the conditions back to where they had been for the past couple of weeks, but my own skis are in my car for the duration. There is no better time to be had than tooling around
Albany Muni Capital Hills with a couple of friends and a flask filled with homemade limoncello. That is upstate winter living at its finest!
View from a lower trail
Snow goddesses abound!
Spectacular sunsets, too!
Filed under Albany, beauty, Exercise, favorites, friends, Local, Normanskill, Recommendations, snow, Uncategorized, upstate New York, winter, x-country skiing
My goal for 2012 was to run one organized race or run per month and, if we take the number of races I ran and divide them by twelve, I accomplished my mission. As I removed my race numbers from my bulletin board, I arranged them, as any borderline obsessive would, in chronological order and noted a couple of things:
- I didn’t get a bib at last year’s (1/1/2012) Hangover Half/3.5, but I do remember running it.
- There wasn’t a race in February or July that worked for my schedule but I did run two in June, two in October and two in December.
- My fastest 5k time was 24:28 in the Treetops to Rooftops race in June. What can I say? It’s flat.
- I never imagined I would push myself to 10k as a distance, but I did register for, and complete, two 10ks in 2012. Woohoo!! I guess the 15k Stockadathon should be my new challenge?
- Albany’s Last Run is near and dear to my heart. Anytime I can run through Washington Park in the dark and feel comfortable and festive is a good time.
So, it’s a new year…what’s next? Well, I’ve got some different goals this year and, guess what? They’re not all about faster and further. Instead, I’m planning to shift the focus to pleasure and enjoying the scenery. I’m practically delirious by the thought of running in Amsterdam for the first time in 20+ years and hope to run in at least 5 countries this year. Yes, five! I’ll do my best to hit 15-20 miles a week and, as long as there is snow, feel free to mix it up by indulging in my love of cross-country skiing without guilt. Actually, without guilt, and with enjoyment, is my ultimate goal for 2013. How about you?
Today, 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.
Spending winter skiing at
Capital Hills has been one of my favorite outdoor activities for many years. The quiet beauty of the Normanskill, the cardinals and bluebirds, the sense of isolation in the midst of a residential neighborhood in a small city…it is a special place.
This winter, there wasn’t a single day’s worth of skiing there, for me. The right conditions never arrived this year to entice me out to ski those hills and paths, yet, I probably spent more time on those greens than ever before. Running.
The coincidental timing of lack of snow and my excess of interest in running was perfect. The consolation was an easy one to swallow during the most mild winter I can recall and, as the almost anticlimactic seasons shift, I am struggling with giving the course exclusively back to the golfers. With the date of the course opening moved ahead to today, St. Patrick’s Day, I’m wondering if there isn’t a way runners and golfers could share this wonderful jewel.
From what I understand (total hearsay), runners are not permitted on the course during posted hours. The rationale I’ve heard involves the perils of golf balls and the distraction of Lycra clad joggers. I understand how these may be dangerous to both those with the clubs and those with the Nikes, but are the risks to a runner greater than the dangers of riding in one of those golf carts? Wouldn’t the odds of a rider being hit by an errant golf ball be similar to those of a runner? Has this been studied? Damn it, is there empirical evidence?!?
I don’t play golf but imagine there is a certain focus required to be an exceptional golfer. Seems to me that professional golfers hit the ball with thousands of people surrounding them. The only behavior of the crowd that I’ve seen (on television when absolutely nothing else was on or I couldn’t find the remote) corrected was their volume. I mean, I’ve seen some shushing. When I run, I don’t really talk, so that wouldn’t be a concern at all. Promise.
With some creativity, mutual respect and a wee bit of luck I am certain golfers and runners could share the green. No malarkey.
When I first began running after my shoulder surgery, it was winter and I made use of the treadmill at the gym. I really had no complaints about the experience. I could listen to music, watched muted Home and Garden television and people watch – all at the same time without tripping. I was motivated by the display screen and played around with the incline and speed, watching the calories count off. Actually, it was probably one of the few times I considered myself to be a numbers person. I never really understood the blanket dislike of running on a treadmill, I mean, what’s so bad about running like a hamster in a cage? For outdoors time, I had the golf course for cross-country skiing. Remember when it used to snow here in the winter?
In the past couple of months, though, I’ve found myself beginning to understand the disdain for this type of exercise. Maybe it started at the Greenbush Area YMCA where they have televisions mounted from the ceiling rather than individual screens on each machine. It might have been the incessant FOX “news” assaulting my eyes that first turned me off to running as fast as I can without creating any distance between myself and something I find repulsive. And if it wasn’t that, the episode of Paula Deen “cooking
” with canned mushroom soup and multiple sticks of butter certainly was enough to make me uncomfortable. Gross. But, I believe my major issue with running on a treadmill comes from the basic fact that I simply enjoying being outside. In recent months, I’ve actually had a couple of moments when I’ve been running and I thought to myself, “If it all ended right now
, I’d be happy.” I’ve never replicated that emotion indoors on a treadmill, believe me.
Quinn and I are preparing for our epic train trip later in the month and I’m a bit stressed about getting my weekly miles in. I’m hoping to cob together some sort of babysitting when we’re on the road and I’ll bring a swimsuit also, just in case. Last week when I was in Boston, the hotel had a running concierge – have you ever heard of such a thing?!? Apparently it is a weather dependent service, but I thought it was a really cool amenity to offer guests. The timing of it didn’t work for me, but check this out:
Now, granted, it was Boston and I always get lost in Boston, but it was an awesome little map nonetheless. As I try to push my weekly mileage closer to the 20 mile mark, my acceptance of a lack of snow, (and thus no cross-country skiing), feels far more natural than running indoors. Let’s hope D.C., Baltimore and NYC offer opportunities similar to Boston or else the only thing more dreadful than the dreadmill will be my mood.