Telling the truth – in Albany

We are living in scary times, friends. I don’t know about you, but I feel anxious about the state of our country and the relationships we have internationally. It seems like a long time since I’ve woken up without having to wonder what kind of outrageous statement or action with which Donald Trump has greeted the new day. It simply doesn’t always feel good to be an American in 2017.

Last Friday, though, was a bright spot in an otherwise dark time thanks to the New York State Writers Institute. Their schedule this fall is fantastic and the symposium they hosted over the weekend was absolutely tremendous. Although I was able to attend only two sessions of the event, I walked away with a glimmer of hope and a new sense of pride in my city. Bravo, Paul Grondahl and the NYSWI.

A few observations about the panels I attended:

  • The participants* were smart.
  • The audience was interested and mostly respectful.
  • Page Hall was packed.
  • The time went remarkably fast.
  • It was affirming, inspiring and reassuring.

Check out the rest of their schedule of events. There’s something there for everyone – and it’s free.

*Participants included moderator, Bob Schieffer, Douglas Brinkley, Franklin Foer, Amy and David Goodman, Maria Hinojas, Harry Rosenfeld and Tim Wu.

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Crafts and craft cider

There’s something about Columbus Day weekend that makes me want to take a road trip. I don’t need to go far or stay away from home for long, but I just need to scratch my itch and get out town. As is often the case, the options for the holiday weekend were numerous and making a decision was a challenge. I’m inclined to fill up my dance card, so to speak, and it took some effort to select two events to attend. Plan in hand, I hit the road late Sunday morning and headed south. First stop – Kingston’s Hutton Brickyards.

Field + Supply, “a modern makers craft fair” is not the kind of event I generally attend. I’m not particularly crafty and don’t like crowds, particularly when they’re fawning over darling and precious handiworks. But, I got the sense that this was different and it was in a perfect in between spot to meet Hudson Valley friends. I’m so glad I went!

The venue is pretty cool, situated right on the river with covered spaces providing shelter on a damp day. Parking was free and well organized. We paid our $15 entry fee, adding an extra $5 to score a cloth bag, and wandered in, immediately impressed by the set up. There were plenty of people around, all of whom were remarkably attractive, but it never felt crowded. The various vendors craftspeople offered an array of handmade, small production items including jewelry, clothing, furniture, leather goods, fragrance/cosmetics and food.

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IMG_3037We availed ourselves of a number of items and I couldn’t be happier with my cool leather/wool plaid shoulder bag, an organic hair product designed to smooth and shape hair, incense and a bodacious jar of honey. It feels good to purchase from producers. Next stop…Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook.

This was the third time, I think, that I have attended Cider Sunday sponsored by Nine-Pin. The cider and food are always solid, it’s the weather that’s the wild card for this event each year. By the time I arrived after 3:00, it was warm, humid but not raining. No complaints on the weather, or anything else for that matter. I chatted with some folks I know, sipped an Original cider, ate some DeFazio’s and enjoyed the music. It was the perfect pit stop with a purpose.

Another good Sunday spent exploring the Hudson Valley. We are so lucky here, people! PS. If you feel the way I do about craft fairs, let me recommend one that’s coming up – The Half Moon Market is docking again in Washington Park’s Lake House. It makes for the perfect fall afternoon in Center Square.

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A half dozen halves

Good friends

I recently ran my 6th half marathon – a claim I never imagined writing, much less accomplishing. The race, Rosendale Runs organized by the Shawagunk Runners group, was essentially a rail trail course, with a couple of miles at the beginning on the road. It was my first time running this race and I really liked the course. There was basically only one hill, and it was very early on, making for a mellow 13+ miles.

Saturday races can be challenging from a practical point of view, especially when they’re out of town. This one worked out pretty well since I crashed at a friend’s place Friday and woke up in close proximity to the course, which was in Rosendale just north of New Paltz. It was a damp, cool morning and I was really glad I had tossed a hat in my bag because I definitely needed it.

What can you say about a half marathon? It was scenic, the runners and organizers were all pleasant and I felt pretty strong running the distance. There was a trestle bridge that offered beautiful views and the path we ran on was soft and wide making for ideal conditions other than in the muddy spots.

Good swag!

I’ve gotten a tad blasé about 1/2s, and have accepted the reality that I’m probably never going to break any speed records. Instead, I run them to push myself a bit and to gain a new experience. I was happy to share this one with a couple of friends and I’ll be checking to see if it fits in my schedule next year again. Maybe I’ll even run it a little faster.

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Sweetness

The best honey I’ve ever had.

I made some granola Saturday and used almost the very last drops of a jar of honey that I bought last spring while I was in Germany. I say “almost” because I intentionally saved a teeny bit for a soothing cup or two of tea (with bourbon and lemon) that I will savor during my inevitable and eventual winter cold. I think I’ll need it then.

Honey has kind of become a thing in our house, like refrigerator magnets and miniature models of landmarks. I buy it when I travel and it’s like bringing home a literal sweet reminder of where I was.

Our collection.

The jar that I nearly kicked today was purchased on a drizzly day in April, at the Saturday market in the Munsterplatz in Freiburg. I’ve visited this market a number of times over the years, but, this was the first time my youngest son experienced it. Unimagined by us, it was also the last time I would go there with my uncle.

The beautiful Munster, perpetually wrapped in scaffolding, has stood in that square for centuries providing shelter and comfort to generations. We ate sausages made by the same family who had been selling their delicious wursts in that same spot for decades. The honey, in its squat jar, tasted like pine or cedar and was the best honey I’ve ever eaten. I’m a little embarrassed about how sad I am that it’s nearly gone.

A year ago, my uncle was here, in my home. We visited Olana and attended Oktoberfest.  He, as a consummate German, made himself useful and cleaned my toaster oven.  It was a special time, made even more so retrospectively, after his sudden death.  Like that jar of honey it was sweet and I wish it hadn’t come to an end so damned quickly.

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Filed under family, favorites, Food., Germany, musings, Recommendations, travel

Crockpot threesome

6F2B783B-C8A2-471F-8FD7-DB63188E79EA-2625-000001E94A7247BAI’ve fallen in love again with my crockpot. It started Friday morning when I tossed a chicken carcass, onions and carrots in, covered them in water and turned it on low. When I arrived at home after work, the house was fragrant and the chicken stock was ready. I strained it, refrigerated it overnight, skimmed the schmaltz off and had fresh chicken noodle soup in the time it took to cook egg noodles. It was the perfect meal after a rainy race.

Sunday morning, I sliced 3 lbs of onions and placed them in the crockpot with a generous knob of butter and a heavy drizzle of olive oil. The crockpot went on low and I let those onions cook all damn day, stirring them occasionally. The house smelled like heaven. Late in the afternoon, I added a quart of beef stock, salt and pepper and a good splash of port. (Sherry would work as well.) I let things continue cooking for another hour and then ladled some into a bowl, topped it with toasted bread and Swiss cheese (gruyère would have been even better) and placed it under the broiler to melt and brown cheese. Inexpensive, easy and delicious.

After receiving a bag of local apples over the weekend, my thoughts went to how in the world I could use them…applesauce! Sunday night I plugged the crockpot back in and added 8 or 10 peeled,* coarsely chopped apples, a 1″ piece of peeled ginger, brown sugar, cinnamon and about 3/4 cup of water. Again, turned it low and left it overnight to do its magic. Morning was particularly sweet – something we can all use on a Monday, especially the one we faced this week.

What are your favorite crockpot recipes? Do you have appliances that you’re inclined to date use seasonally?

*I partially peeled a few of them, leaving a bit of skin on for texture.

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Lunar b*tches do Las Vegas

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The lunar b*tches ran tonight and it was blissful. The air felt damp in a delicious way and we ran well, loose and comfortable. With two miles left, I tossed out Las Vegas and the massacre which occurred there today. Like our pace, our thoughts were in synch.

We wondered why those kind of weapons were made available to civilians? Why? How is it possible for a person to take 10+ weapons into a hotel without attracting notice? We talked about how, for God’s sake, gun violence was something we could actually do something about as a country. If we wanted to.

This perpetual state of “worst mass shooting in modern times” we’re living in, needs to end. How does the ability of an individual to possess enough weaponary to kill 58 people and be responsible for injuring more than 500 more, make anyone in the United States feel safer? Enough.

We have the power to change this. We can take control, through the legislative process and education, of the number of weapons allowed in our society. If we cared enough about what’s important, that is.

The reason we don’t direct our attention and efforts towards eradicating the problem our country has with gun violence is that there’s too much money to be made selling weapons and war. We’d rather profit from death than prevent it.

Tell me I’m wrong.

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Filed under DelSo, Exercise, friends, moms, musings, News, Observations, politics, Rant, running, Uncategorized

Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden

About a month ago,  I came up with a plan for how to spend the holiday from school that happened to land on my birthday – a drive down to the Bronx to check out the Chihuly exhibit at the NYBG.  I went with a friend from Mio, who I knew would appreciate it, and we had a great time.  While I’ve been to the nearby zoo, I’d not been to the botanical garden before and we really picked a winner of a day. It was perfect.

Check out the pictures to see some of my favorite glass sculptures and plants.  The show is up until the end of October and you should definitely try to catch it.

 

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