During my run the other night, it occurred to me that I was 2/3 of the way through my 46th year. The realization prompted a few thoughts…
I find myself with increasing frequency wondering if an article of clothing is “too young” or “too short.” This is not a bid for compliments, just the reality of my desire to grow older with grace. Does one just know when to put away those short shorts or that skirt that could reasonably be defined as “mini?”
My runs feel challenging, almost every single time. If I remind myself to run from the strength of my core, I forget how much my hips and glutes hurt. And another thing – why must people drive so fast in residential areas? This is Albany. Where are they rushing to be?
My children can be wildly inappropriate. Case in point: #2 was concerned about his older brother traveling to NYC unaccompanied. He suggested a t-shirt with a handwritten message, something offensively defensive, like, “Ask me about my raging case of syphilis.” That is funny as hell, to me.
I love a thunderstorm! Being in bed, feeling the wind blow and watching the sky light up, is an awesome sedative. I just wish Cassidy, my 12 y/o black lab, had a bit more tolerance for the thunder – maybe doggy ears make the claps too intense?
I am getting so excited for summer and the promise of adventures and travel! The only thing reining in my enthusiasm is my awareness that two summer holidays make the 10-week break go crazy fast. Before the mockingly sympathetic comments come in, yes, I do know how fortunate I am to have such an extended summer vacation. What I can’t understand is how people live a full life with only a couple of weeks of vacation a year.
No matter how high the number goes, I still feel the same as I did when I was half my present age – open for adventure, enthusiastic about the future and blessed by the presence of people I love and who love me in return. It’s just a number.
Filed under aging, Albany, birthdays, Boys, Exercise, musings, Observations, Random, running, Spring, Summer, travel, vacation
We’ve all heard of, and perhaps even experienced, the “Continental Breakfast.” On occasion, I’ve encountered it in hotels and it has generally left me unimpressed with its often dried out bread items and unimaginative accompaniments. If I were from “the Continent” and was presented with one of those bastardized versions of what should be the most simple and satisfying meal of the day, I suspect I would be inclined to drop the uber-American phrase “Have a nice day!” liberally, and with increasing sarcasm, throughout the day. You see, bad food makes me cranky.
During our visit with family last month we were spoiled by a version of the Continental breakfast. It began with a trip to the bakery in town where we pointed, with increasingly difficult to maintain restraint, at the array of baked goods in the glass case. Our chosen items were placed in a large, low-sided wicker basket to make keeping track of our selections easier. Personal favorites were the pumpkin seed topped rolls and the pretzel bread. It ain’t all pumpernickel and rye, my friend.
Once back at home, the breads were placed on the table along with a dazzling array of meats and cheeses. The meat selection included a smoky Black Forest cured bacon, ham, pâté, pimento studded bologna, and liverwurst. Basically, more German cold cuts than can be found in any single Capital Region locale other than Rolf’s. Also on the table were some cheeses, although these were primarily French except for a semi-firm Black Forest cheese which was pleasantly mild with a thick thread of smoke in the center. I need to talk to the Cheese Traveler about that one. The other cheeses were a St. Andre triple cream, a bleu and a camembert, each beautifully spreadable and delicious.
To round things out (my stomach, more specifically), there was some fantastic yogurt with way less sugar than its American counterpart, cereal, fruit and some sweet cherry tomatoes from Spain. This type of breakfast is leisurely – one has a small plate and fills it maybe a couple of times. The coffee is strong, with a nice crema layer on top, and each cup is brewed to order. It all has a very Continental feel to it and I think it buries the French petite de jeuner. Frühstück – it’s breakfast.
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
A big part of traveling, for me at least, is the food. I’ve seen some stuff written recently about Michelin starred restaurants in Germany, but that wasn’t what this trip was about. No, this time with family was more focused on home-style cooking a la Deutschland.
Wandering around Freiburg’s Munsterplatz earned us a delicious sausage sandwich from Meister’s food truck. Topped with beautifully browned onions and a dab of mustard, it was the perfect snack to tide us over until dinner. Next time I’m in Germany I hope to schedule an entire day in Freiburg eating, beginning with strong coffee and pretzel rolls smeared with unsalted butter. I hope to make lunch a leisurely enough event that it will effortlessly flow into the evening’s repast. I think the best way to accomplish this lofty goal would be to begin at the Munsterplatz’s food trucks with some version of wurst, washed down, naturally, with a fine hefeweizen or two.
For dinner, I plan to wander down to the Markthalle (food court) and sample as many different offerings as humanly possible. ”Food court” is a bit of a misnomer because this place is nothing like what you might find at Crossgates.
If the broom is out, they’re open!
It’s more like a German version of the restaurants at Eataly except the individual kiosks are each independent and devoted to an eclectic array of international cuisines. There are tables and central gathering spots where one can enjoy a bite to eat and/or a drink and there is a bustling sense of activity akin to that of a bee hive. That’s where I want to be.
Unless, of course, I’ve got wheels and get a little outside of the city and find a Straussen or Broom restaurant. We hit one of these last month in the Markgrafler wine region and thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the local wine and the cozy makeshift dining room in the winery’s tasting room. I had the Flammkuchen and it was delicious – and perfect with the local wine! Flammkuchen, or fire cake, is sort of like a pizza, but instead of tomato sauce, the top is spread with some sort of creamy yumminess. I had mine with diced veggies and it was a satisfying yet not too heavy dinner.
All this food talk and I still haven’t shared any images of our traditional Black Forest breakfasts…until I get to it, imagine plates holding meats and cheeses accompanied by a basket of freshly baked breads and rolls. Yes, save that thought and trust me, morning was definitely not anything to dread.
Those are the three words which most sum up my recent trip to Europe. I’ve been back a week now and finally feel myself getting my mojo back to begin resuming my
frenetic intense schedule of boys, jobs, chores and miles. I imagine I’ll be writing a series of posts to share some of the trip highlights, so stay tuned.
If you recall, when I left for the trip I didn’t really have much lined up in the way of formal plans. Our first few days were spent in the Titisee-Neustadt area, outside of Freiburg. They were very much having a spring similar to the one we are experiencing here in Albany, that is to say, nonexistent. I really didn’t mind because the dusting of snow which welcomed us each morning was beautiful and I feel as if I now have an inkling of what winter must look like in the Black Forest.
Liam and I took a train into Freiburg, primarily to experience the mode of travel, and were thrilled to join (for a brief time) the enthusiastic crowds heading into the city for a
soccer football match featuring the local team. Their chants, cheers and clanking bottles were an excellent soundtrack to accompany the train’s winding through the mountains. I was able to remember the precise spot where the stag leaped over the abyss to escape hunters, and snapped a picture to keep forever.
We spent an afternoon walking around Freiburg, a city with medieval roots and contemporary ideas about living green and education. One of the things which most struck me was the apparently seamless manner in which the modern and the historic are merged. For instance, there are numerous remnants of the original stone wall which encircled the city centuries ago. These relics are treated with respect, yet are incorporated into the current city in a way that is practical – we saw one piece which has been put to use as an interior wall in an ethnic restaurant. Another is part of the structure of a parking garage. I admire the utilitarian approach and wish we Americans did a better job of retaining old edifices and appreciating their contributions to our culture and our communities.
The original city wall now part of a parking garage!
If you’ve never visited Freiburg, I highly recommend it. The market surrounding the cathedral is wonderful and the city bustles with students, residents and tourists. Below are a few more photos – I only wish you could have smelled the wursts grilling, viewed the gorgeous early spring produce and sampled the flavors of this lovely little city. If you ever make it there, be sure to check out the awesome Markthalle or Food Court. Don’t forget to have a beer for me!
Farmers’ market offerings in the Munsterplatz
The stunning age of the homes.
- Um, so when did Christopher Columbus sail the ocean blue? Yeah, after this house was built.
Sadly enough, I did not run when I was in Europe. Nope (or should I say “nein?), not even once. I did get some quality exercise walking good distances nearly every day, but my greatest exercise may have come from pacing myself when it came to beer and wine consumption. I wrote about getting exercise while on the road here.
Here are some thoughts about staying in touch while traveling.