Vote – or don’t discuss politics. Maybe it is my first-generation American mentality, but I don’t understand why people don’t exercise their civic rights and responsibilities. It takes only a moment, generally, and provides a genuine opportunity to be part of a process. I haven’t missed an election since I turned 18 and I sincerely hope the experience of accompanying me to the polls wears off on my boys. I find it kind of exciting that my oldest son will be able to vote in the next presidential race, even if he sometimes threatens me by describing himself as conservative. I certainly can’t be described using that C-word, but when it comes to fiscal choices, like the gambling proposal on today’s ballot, I am decidedly cautious. That’ll be a “no” vote from me. If you’re undecided or unaware of this year’s ballot proposals, please click here before heading to the polls. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Tag Archives: New York State
In what feels like a previous lifetime, my girlfriends and I would meet in the mountains outside of New Paltz for our annual hike. There were years before the babies came, and even a couple of years after the oldest of the babies were born, when we would simply amble along a path by the climbers and real hikers. We just wanted to be outside together and the trails of Minnewaska State Park were perfect for us.
Other than a cross-country ski adventure a winter or two ago, it’s been a while since I’ve been there. The holiday weekend, however, threw the perfect opportunity my way – a 20k trail run with one of my childhood friends. Yes, 20k, I said. Which makes it about 3 or 4 miles longer than I’ve ever run. And I mentioned it was a trail run, right? Exactly – awesome!
If you were lucky Columbus Day weekend, you got to spend some time outdoors. If you were incredibly lucky, you were running through the woods of Minnewaska State Park. It was spectacular! The leaves were not quite peak yet, but the colors were still pretty gorgeous. The sky was blue and the air was slightly more damp than crisp. It was absolutely ideal weather to run.
The path we took was an official 20k route and the terrain was very hilly, with mostly soft ground cover. We paused a number of times to take in a view or sip some water as we circled both Minnewaska and Awosting Lakes. It was all about the journey. As we ran, the sky turned to dusk. We were careful as we finished with the last couple of miles of trail all downhill and leaf-covered.
And I want to do it again.
Last week in our (delayed) haste to soak in the last of Summer 2013, two of my boys and I hopped aboard the scenic Saratoga-North Creek Railroad. Despite the late night I had thoroughly enjoyed the previous evening at a concert at SPAC, we left Albany a little after 9:00 a.m. to catch our train, which was scheduled for a 10:00 departure.
We pulled out of the station a little late but, hey, what’s the rush? We had all day to relax in the comfortable double-decker dining car perusing the breakfast menu which featured reasonably priced entrees ranging from $4 for pastry to $9 for the Adirondack omelet, French toast or waffles. My guys ordered and were served fairly quickly. Their plates were hot on arrival, nicely presented and portioned generously. The servers were, without exception, friendly and accommodating.
The train took us through some remote areas with beautiful views of the mountains and Hudson River. The tables invite conversation and the period music playing softly in the background added to the sense of being part of another, more gentle time. As we approached North Creek the sun broke through the clouds and help to remove the chill of the air-conditioned car – I forgot to bring a sweater.
North Creek is a friendly little town with a couple of cute shops and a handful of restaurants. Note: the helpful map distributed at the ticket office is NOT drawn to scale. If you need more clarification on that fact, please see my youngest son. He has probably still not forgotten the trek I led him on, which ultimately ended at our chosen destination for lunch. Which was closed. I’ve been wanting to try barVino forever but, unfortunately (and expectedly) they don’t serve lunch. We ended up at Izzie’s Deli and Market, where I enjoyed my chicken salad, served on a bed of greens as I requested. A few heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved, finished the plate.
Dinner is served on the return trip and, again, is fairly priced with entrees ranging between $10 for their Adirondack casserole (described as turkey and assorted root vegetables in a homemade cream sauce finished with a bread crumb, Parmesan and butter topping) and $16 for a 7 oz filet. We didn’t indulge on the way south but the domed car captured and circulated some pretty enticing aromas.
The leisurely pace of the train, coupled with the 3 hour layover, made for a long day, but it was really enjoyable. During the ride south I allowed the train to rock me to sleep and woke up fairly refreshed for the return drive down the Northway. I would definitely take this trip again and am interested in the Ski Train which takes passengers to North Creek where a bus is available to complete the journey to Gore Mountain. A day well spent.
A long delayed return to Hyde Park finally occurred last weekend as history buff, Liam and I spent the afternoon visiting the Hudson Valley. The primary purpose of the trip was to see Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage retreat. I wasn’t aware of this lovely property prior to Liam and I touring the FDR mansion a year or so ago. Seems that Eleanor’s mother-in-law, Sara Delano, was a bit of a controlling influence in the FDR/ER marriage and Eleanor needed an escape hatch. Thus, Val-Kill came to be.
Our visit took about 90 minutes and included a brief movie in a blessedly air conditioned outbuilding and an organized tour of the home. We also checked out the cutting garden, but did not take the trek to Franklin’s Top Cottage up the hill. Seems Liam was not feeling the 1 mile uphill trek. We wouldn’t have been able to view FDR’s cottage, other than from the outside, due to budget cuts anyway. I’m not embarrassed to admit to being a bit awestruck to walk through the same modest threshold through which JFK and countless other politicians and dignitaries had passed. History can be so cool when there aren’t boring tests to complete or dates to memorize! The cottage was cozy with lots of wood and walls covered haphazardly in family photos and framed holiday cards. There was zero pretension or formality.
We made a quick stop over at the FDR library, but were one day premature for the reopening of what is our country’s first presidential library. There were a couple of rooms of photo exhibits which we both found really interesting and revealing and I know we’ll get back there (maybe in the fall?) to take in the renovated library in its entirety.
Our final stop was for lunch. Since we’re both fans of tacos, we Yelped to locate a nearby joint. Leave it to my son to pick the place that
- A. Didn’t have margaritas
- B. Only accepted cash and
- C. Was really close to the train station and thus offered an opportunity for checking out trains
Taking all of this into account, he did good and we had a terrific lunch for cheap at El Azteca. We went with two chicken quesadillas and the fish taco special with a side of guacamole. Our order, along with a coke and a delicious lime Mexican soda set us back $17. Yes, $17. The food was delicious! Everything was super fresh, tasty and served piping hot. I know where I’m stopping next time I’m taking Metro-North to the city…
Four of us attended Mountain Jam for what was consecutive year number three and I learned two very important things… the first had something to do with knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything will be fine because your oldest friends always have your back. The second was equally practical but involved mud, and boots that no longer kept the mud out. The ultimate message was the friends are for forever and the boots can be replaced. End of story.
One last thing – the crowd at this event was fantastic – peaceful, friendly, fun and colorful as hell. Getting these shots was a joy!
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.
- Would you do it all again? (“Probably not” was the impression I apparently conveyed in this one.)
- Travels in parenthood (Includes a nifty picture of me doing a ringer of Molly Ringwald impersonation.)
- Tests of spring (Where I talk about the NYS math assessments, but don’t acknowledge that I can’t do 8th grade math. I saved that for FB and Twitter.)
- What do you think about a “good enough life?” (Even if you don’t read my post, read the one which inspired it. Please.)
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!
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.