My byline snap
Notice I said catch-up instead of catsup or ketchup. We all (or those of us who hang on every word of dialogue in Mad Men at least) know there’s only 1 ketchup.
I digress – anyway, here are some blog posts from my other spot out here on the internet, Moms@Work.
Also, excitedly enough for me, the print edition of the May/June issue of Women@Work is now available in all sorts of lobbies and waiting rooms around town. Grab one, why don’t you and read my piece on page 59. Don’t forget to linger over my name on the page listing of contributing writers!
Filed under Boys, Education, family, ideas, moms, Moms@Work, Observations, politics, Schools, Spring, travel, vacation
Maybe 10 or 12 years ago, my friend Amy turned me on to Aimee Mann. I don’t recall exactly how it happened, but it involved a show at The Egg and an extra ticket. I don’t think I had any familiarity with Aimee Mann’s music beyond her ‘Til Tuesday stuff, but she hit me big. There was something appealing about her soft voice and her hard to take lyrics that I found powerful and moving. In the Egg’s lobby, immediately after the show, I bought two of her cds. A fan was born.
Through the years, I’ve listened to Aimee Mann with an enthusiasm which bordered upon obsession. When I was feeling positive about life, she made me appreciate my happiness. During the more emotionally challenging times, I knew that Aimee Mann understood my struggles and she kept me looking ahead. Her music is penetrating and she has written moody music for movies (Magnolia soundtrack) and revisited childhood classics with her contributions to the I Am Sam soundtrack and her cover of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
I caught her show a few years ago in Washington Park, a venue that didn’t necessarily suit her, in my opinion. Thursday night, on the invitation of two dear friends, I headed down to Hudson’s Club Helsinki to check her out again. The gorgeous space that is Helsinki, perfectly matched the intimacy of Mann’s music and she and her band put on a terrific show. Opening act and collaborator, Ted Leo, seemingly the result of some sort of merging of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson, was a bit weak as a solo act, yet he shined when he shared the stage with Aimee. She was funny as hell – self-deprecating and quick-witted in the same way her lyrics tend to be. Her observations, along with her black-framed glasses, were sharp and defining and it was a memorable show.
Although I failed at capturing a photo of she and I together, wearing our strikingly similar outfits of short shorts and nerdy eyewear, the night overall was perfect in every way.
Thank you, Amy.
Thank you, Aimee.
It seems like a long time since I’ve kicked back with my neighbors and enjoyed a bottle
or two of wine. It must be our crazy schedules with multiple jobs and obligations because it certainly isn’t a lack of interest. I find myself looking longingly out the window hoping to see their cars in the driveway when I have an hour to spare, but I know that spring is here now and summer with its long evenings, will be here soon. Time to start shopping for rose’!
I need to start packing for the upcoming trip. Quick joke: I actually thought I was going to visit friends in New Paltz this weekend. No, really. Of course, anyone who truly knows me would have been well aware that was never going to happen when I obviously need to be preparing for a holiday. I’ve actually started my preliminary stack of selected clothing and intend to begin visualizing outfits and accessories. I promise to limit myself to 2 pairs of running shoes.
I’ve been hemming and hawing about upgrading my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5. I don’t have any issues with my 4, but it would be kind of complicated to set it up to use in Europe and the price of the 5 was fair enough as an upgrade. I had already forfeited my unlimited data deal when I upgraded Griffin’s phone last month, and Best Buy was offering some decent incentives via this week’s circular, so I went for it.
You know how you generally feel at least slightly screwed when you get a new phone? Perhaps groped at a minimum? Well, let me tell you, I think I got an awesome deal! The phone was $199 and I bought the 3 for $50 accessory package which was a case, screen protector and car charger. I was given $125 for my iPhone 4, a $25 special weekly promotion and a $50 reward for having registered my phone number a few weeks back via Twitter. I used the $50 to pay for the accessories, so my receipt total walking out was about $230. I also have a gift card worth close to $150. So, basically for less than $80 I got myself a new phone – and I put it on my Best Buy account for a month so I could earn rewards. Winning!
So, there you have it – I miss my neighbors, yet am leaving them for a vacation but can stay in touch with my new phone. What have you been up to?
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
I spent most of my childhood in a village nestled in a valley between two (smallish) mountains. Each of these mountains was home to a (smallish) ski resort. Despite the proximity of these places to experience skiing, I personally never availed myself of the opportunity. Skiing was always a bit beyond the budget, a fact that I recognized and accepted without question.
My first real chance to ski was as a newlywed. We were visiting with some friends in Vermont and the plan was to ski, with borrowed equipment, from the condo to the base of the hill where we would purchase our lift tickets and enjoy an afternoon of outdoor activity. Sounds fine, right? Skis over my shoulder, I joined the others for the walk through the parking lots of the condo complex. We arrived at the place where we were to snap into our skis and I looked down that hill, the whole time thinking about my lack of health insurance, and just knew it wasn’t happening for me. I happily went back to the condo and read the afternoon away, relieved to have avoided the certainty of a broken leg.
Years later, I had a one hour private ski lesson at Bousquet Mountain in the Berkshires. At that point I was a fairly accomplished cross-country skier and, other than the icy mound I had to face as I disembarked the chairlift, I was pretty comfortable negotiating my way down the hills after my lesson. Skiing was a fun activity, but not something for which I felt a burning excitement. I was content with the affordability of cross-country and I loved the fact that I could keep my equipment in my car and take advantage of the opportunity to ski at a moment’s notice. Winters began to feel much shorter.
Other than a winter triathlon that I participated in (“competed” in being too strong of a word), I didn’t ski again until this year and, I want to tell you, something has changed. Skiing suddenly seems like a lot of fun and I am very much looking forward to getting back on the slopes with the frequency allowed by my budget and calendar. Maybe it’s all the running I’ve been doing, but I find downhill skiing to be easier than cross-country. The ability to turn as I glide down hill, as opposed to skiing down the hills at Albany Muni on long skis without real edges, makes controlling my speed much more manageable. My legs are strong and although I expected to feel some residual soreness after my day at Belleayre, I didn’t have the slightest muscle tenderness to remind me of the fun I had enjoyed.
Speaking of enjoyment, Aloysius and I brought along our generation next boys and planted them in Kids Camp for the day. It was an investment ($100 + lunch), but we enjoyed knowing they were getting some quality instruction (2 to 1 ratio with the instructor) while we were exploring the mountain. We had a great view of their activities from the lodge, beers firmly in hand, and they seemed to be having a good time together. As far as the little guys enjoying the whole skiing thing, the jury is out on that. I can tell you they probably had more fun than their teacher who noted that although the boys might be the best of “vacation buddies,” they certainly weren’t the best “learning buddies.” What can I say – they’re lively boys. They’ve got years ahead of them to learn to love to ski. Trust me.
Filed under Aloysius, Boys, Camp, Exercise, family, friends, Recommendations, skiing, snow, 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…
A close second, I might add. Just for the record, my most favorite is “fete,” but enough of language. Here are the pictures which tell a thousand words! Seeing as how everyone at the
fete event looked like a million bucks, let me add a few additional words of the text variety:
- This was a really fun crowd with many familiar faces. Not one person declined to pose for a picture and I didn’t hear a single complaint while I worked the crowd.
- The staff at the
Hilton Crowne Plaza Albany Hotel were all professional and pleasant.
- It was fun shooting pictures of some of the same people from Thursday’s event. It didn’t feel indulgent or redundant – the faces you see in both photo sets are the faces of the folks who make the restaurant industry happen.
- The Times Union merged my two galleries with another set of photos taken during Friday’s Grand Tasting event – you’ll know mine by the credit in the caption.
- Personal shout out to a former student and his lovely fiancee* ~ It made my night to see you! And I told you that you weren’t a Republican – thanks for listening.
*two French words in one post – Mon dieu! That’s 3…
Filed under Albany, art, drinking, Eating, Events, favorites, Food, Local, Observations, Recommendations, Restaurants, SEEN, upstate New York, Wine, winter