Running into Grace

Swag that glows in the dark? Yes, please!

Swag that glows in the dark? Yes, please!

Driving through 3 states to bring one’s child to school would probably constitute as a full enough day for most, but, you know me, always looking to kick it up a notch. The four-mile Moonlight in Vermont race provided the perfect opportunity to extend Saturday right into Sunday, and got me into my 4th state in 24 hours. That sounds like a win, right?

I rendezvoused with the other two lunar b*tches in a random Troy parking lot (naturally) at 10:30 pm, which gave us plenty of time to get to the starting line by midnight. Yes, I said midnight. Doesn’t running 4 miles in the dark in the middle of nowhere in Vermont sound like fun?

The drive actually took less time than we had expected which left plenty of time for us to pick up our swag, wonder if we were dressed warmly enough (we were) and run into the aforementioned Grace, a woman I had worked with many years ago at Yono’s. If you had told me 20 years ago that Grace and I would both be running a race at midnight in Vermont, I would have called you crazy. Who’s crazy now?

The run was fabulous! The first two miles seemed to be entirely downhill on a combination of paved and dirt roads. There were luminaria lining our path, along with runners in tricked out bling, to add to the light of the gorgeous moon. The scenery, even in the dark, was beautiful like a black and white photograph with random colorization. The hills up were brutal, and the limited light demanded a cautious pace, but the air was fresh and there wasn’t any other place that I wanted to be.

It was the perfect way to both end and begin a day. Check this one out for next year!

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, friends, road trips, running, Summer

Letting go

imageSaturday was a big day and I’m not talking about American Pharaoh’s upset up in Saratoga. No, it was the first day of my oldest son’s adult life – he is officially a college freshman. Yesterday was Drop Off day, which might be better named Jump off a Cliff Day because that’s what I felt like doing after waiting in endless lines on a hot afternoon.

How come no one told me about the clusterf*ck involved with getting your kid situated in a dorm room? I suspect it is part of an overall conspiracy of silence involving parenting situations such as childbirth, potty training and your child’s impersonation of Satan during puberty. Come on, more experienced parents, you need to share this information! For the uninitiated, let me tell you what it was like…

First, you’re assigned a specific drop off time, which is silly because it truly means nothing. If you’re like me, you dutifully arrive 5 minutes early (forgoing that gas stop in favor of promptness) to join the already inordinately long line of vehicles trying to reach the promised land of “Student sign in.” After approximately 30 minutes, you reach your first destination, park your car, race to use the bathroom and wait patiently as your child queues to receive their dorm keys.

Step two involves driving to another parking area, one I ultimately referred to as the “holding pen,” where you park near other parents with children with the same dormitory assignment. This is where you have an opportunity to meet other annoyed parents and discuss the odds of getting your children unpacked before their graduation day arrives. After about an hour, and numerous parents complaining to the keepers of the gate, we were finally released to go wait in our cars for the final line step – drop off.

This part of the process is made much more exciting if your gas gauge indicates that your miles-to-go-to-zero is clicking down at the speed of light, or so it seems to be when contrasted with the rate of speed in which the line moves. If you’re lucky, a nice university cop will let you advance when he correctly detects panic in your voice as you ask him how far it is to the nearest gas station. Now things get fun.

imageYou pull to the curb and are immediately approached by an enthusiastic group of students who happily take the remaining possessions out of your car (everything other than the refrigerator already unloaded and hauled on foot by your children as they try to hasten the process) and place them into wheeled bins to deliver to your child’s room. There are brief conversations (Student: “Do you know where you’re going?” Parent: “Yes, the f*ck out of here.” and “I love your Bernie sticker!” said by the young woman in charge of UHart’s Students for Bernie Facebook page) and then you park your car in the third parking lot of the day and finally enter the room where your child will be living.

imageAnd then, it gets real. You see your child unpacking the things they found most important to bring along on their college adventure – books, electronics, that tea kettle you gave them as a birthday gift. You take in their surroundings so you can imagine them there when your home feels off-balance and empty without them. You walk back to your car and know beyond a doubt that the original cord cutting 18+ years ago was just the first of many. And you let go.

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Filed under aging, Boys, Education, family, moms, road trips

What are you full of?

imageDuring last night’s mental therapy run, I was thinking about potential and how long it takes for some to accept the challenge and make the effort required to embody their own unrealized possibility. Self actualization  – it isn’t necessarily an easy thing to accomplish.

Change and growth can be scary.  There’s an inherent risk involved when we let go of what we know to reach for something new. I see this hesitation, this lack of movement, at times in myself as well as in (other) important people in my life and it can be maddeningly frustrating.  It’s hard to feel, it’s equally hard to witness.

Possessing potential is great but over the years I’ve learned that a central core of ability is nothing, unless it comes coupled with the capacity to work hard. Without drive and determination, being full of potential can closely resemble being full of sh*t.

A couple of songs which hammered home what I was thinking and feeling during those five miles. Thank you, Fiona and Aimee for the wisdom.

 

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, running, Uncategorized

Who are these people?

If you’re anything like me, you must occasionally observe the actions of others and wonder to yourself “Who are those people? Where are they from that they were taught that that sort of behavior was acceptable? Who raised them?!” There have been a few things in the news, and in my travels, recently that left me shaking my head and clenching my fists. Maybe they prompted a similar response in you?

People who harm or kill animals

On a local level, think of Hudson who, along with two litter mates,was found at approximately 3 weeks of age nailed to train tracks.  Or, maybe the “man” who was recently convicted of spraying his unnamed dog with alcohol and then setting it on fire. How about that abomination of a human being who killed Cecil the lion, along with numerous other majestic and rare animals, for “sport?” How can our world still be populated by humans who participate in canned hunts? I can’t imagine how anyone can perceive the act of killing a wild animal as something to be lauded.  They truly make me sick to my stomach.

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

People who litter

It is impossible to walk or run around Albany without confronting trash. The array of discarded debris is remarkable – from straw wrappers to empty beverage containers to flat screen tvs, all tossed by the roadside. What makes people believe the world is somehow their personal landfill? You know what? I kind of hate them.

The subject of trash is the perfect segue to the latest “reality” television family implosion…

The Dugars

I’ve never watched this show but it has been impossible to avoid hearing about this enormous family. Their homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic perspective on life was apparently popular entertainment for nearly a decade until they collectively revealed that their feet were made of clay. Or maybe mud would be a more accurate descriptor. I really wish that the fad of looking to families who are willing to prostitute themselves in the media as positive examples would end.  Immediately.

So, tell me – who are these people and, more importantly, how do we make them go away?

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Filed under Albany, Local, News, Random, Rants

(Sometimes) I want to be alone

(Said in a Greta Garbo voice, pronouncing want vant.)

As I sat on the train heading south to Hudson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I considered my decision to take the trip solo. I had made two attempts to find a companion for the day, but didn’t find a taker. No worries whatsoever.  I’d been thinking about this little adventure for some time and today was the ideal day to enjoy a little time out of town.

I’m so glad I’m not reluctant to explore the world on my own. I have no problem grabbing my wallet, a bottle of water and a camera and taking to the road.  Doing things by myself isn’t an inferior experience, it’s just a different one. I like being with me.

I know I’m perceived as an extremely social person, working jobs that require lots of personality and interaction, but that doesn’t mean that I am incapable of going it alone. Spending time with other people is enjoyable because people are interesting and fun.  But, so am I!

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I’m interested in living a full life, fashioning an existence where beauty is embraced and experiences are curated. Waiting around for someone to accompany me on my explorations isn’t even a consideration. There’s just too damn much to see, to taste and to experience.  Alone is not a bad thing – especially when there are two oysters and you get to eat them both.

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Filed under beauty, musings, Restaurants, road trips, Summer, travel, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Answering the call of cheese

imageOr maybe I should say the call of The Cheese Traveler. A couple of weeks ago while I was out of town, Eric reached out to me to see if I might lend a hand during his weekly cookouts. His regular servers were moving on to other opportunities and he just needed some help for the last 8 weeks or so of his season. Well, you know me. I like to work and if I can be of assistance to someone in my DelSo neighborhood, I’m in. Plus, there was cheese!

Two weeks ago, along with my neighbor/former McG’s coworker, Emily, I worked my first shift. How did it go? Well, we muddled through by the grace of our experience and the mellowness of everyone involved. If you’ve never done front of the house duties before I don’t know if I can explain to you all the variables and details which are involved with walking into an unknown food business and providing service, but, I’ll give it a shot…

First, there’s the menu. Although Ryan, Eric’s rockstar grill guy, runs a fairly small menu, the individual items feature numerous ingredients. Many of them include source information (for instance “Tilldale Farm“) or require some explanation (what is Halloumi??). Then there’s the beer, wine and cider offerings, which are really extensive and primarily small batch. Add in the need to understand how tickets or orders are placed (who makes the cheese plates vs. the hot items) and how the meal is paced if there are multiple courses. Of course, the server needs to know where to find things like silverware, napkins and glasses. Oh – and what do you when the gentle sprinkle of rain becomes a downpour?

So, Emily and I figured it out. Some familiar faces came out to enjoy a bite to eat and we managed to make it through the night relatively unscathed. Last night, our second dynamic duo evening, we did even better helping The Cheese Traveler to enjoy one of the best Friday night cookouts of the season. And we had a great time doing it!

I’m in for the next two Friday nights beyond point I’ll be occupied with my own project. Check out the menu, which is updated weekly, and stop by and enjoy a tasty dinner al fresco. In addition to my cameo appearance(s), there will be guest chefs featured on 8/28 and 9/4. Come see us!

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, drinking, Food, Local, Restaurants, Summer

Dealing with the City of Albany has been a bureaucratic…

imageDream! Bet you weren’t expecting that, right? I’ve freely admitted I know knew nothing about buying or owning a business so everything involved is new to me. As I wade through the paperwork and appointments, my respect for every single business owner on the face of the earth has grown immensely. God bless you, folks! Your success at navigating your way through the process is my inspiration.

My primary objective is to get my application to the State Liquor Authority asap because this is the lynchpin in the entire process. Of course, I want my application to be flawless or, as they say, lacking in deficiencies. I’m working with a professional who is helping me through this intensely precise process.

As I address the bulleted list of items I need, I’ve been in close contact with various offices in City Hall. The degree of helpfulness I’ve encountered has been absolutely outstanding. For instance, I needed a document that Codes and Enforcement typically has on file. Except, in this case, they had no record of ever producing the document I needed. Which meant that an inspection had to be scheduled and the timeframe for that, naturally, was approximately 2 weeks. When I explained my situation and the need to have the document the very next day, they made it happen. Boom.

This is just one example of the professional and polite assistance I’ve received during my interactions with city offices. Others? When I requested a brief meeting with the mayor, I was accommodated with a place on her schedule within 48 hours. As I attempted to obtain yet another piece of paper for the SLA and was advised it would require a FOIL request and approximately 30 days, an employee described another option which would achieve the same result and that could be prepared in 10 days or less.

Each person I’ve encountered has made it clear that they are interested in providing me, an eventual business owner, with what I need to do business in Albany. Their motivation and actions have demonstrated a commitment to this ideal and I couldn’t be more appreciative, as both a homeowner and a new business owner. Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more, Albany!

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Filed under Albany, Lark Street, Local, Observations, stress