What home feels like

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The stone staircase alongside the waterfall

Memorial Day weekend probably seems like the ultimate cliché when it comes to traveling a couple of hours (or more) to revisit one’s childhood. Not to take anything away from our nation’s true heroes, but surviving our teenaged years in the small village of Greenwood Lake made us veterans of an entirely different sort.

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Fitzgerald’s Falls

Since we had been brought back to the lake to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Class of 1980, meeting at the Middle School for what we exaggeratedly called a “hike,” was the perfect re-entry to the past. Heading for the trail, we walked alongside the brick building where we had once ruled, recalling intramural soccer games, events from the bicentennial celebration of 1976 and the family of ducks who once resided next to the now fenced in pond. It all felt like it could have been yesterday.

The trail into the woods was filled with memories of hikes, both with teachers and without adult supervision. How lucky were we to have had the Appalachian Trail behind our school and to have grown up at a time when exploring our surroundings was considered a valid use of class time? How many nights did we spend in the woods drinking cheap beer, listening to the waterfall splash against the mossy rocks, gaining an entirely different education?

Pink lady's slipper orchid

Pink lady’s slipper orchid

When we got to town a little later in the afternoon, it was remarkably familiar, yet ever so different. Businesses have come and gone, as is to be expected, but the renaming of childhood landmarks was jarring. What was known as “the field” or Pembleton’s to the more precise, was now named after someone who made their mark long after most of us had left the lake for lives elsewhere.  It felt like a weird responsibility to be the bearer of memories of what came before.

If I squinted my eyes I could still see the flea markets and fairs of long ago, along with the remnants of what was rumored to have once been a play area complete with mini golf and a concrete pool in which to sail toy boats. Situating myself along Windemere Avenue, relying upon buildings which may serve different purposes yet eternally remain the post office and Christman’s Realty to me, I located the slab of concrete which will always time stamp both my first “serious” boyfriend and the year the sidewalks were installed in town.

Look closely - can you read it?

Look closely – can you read it?

I took a run around the arm of the lake, a distance which is far shorter in miles than I ever would have guessed. So many of the places are different yet easily envisioned in my mind’s eye. Frank’s Pizzeria, now a residential building, but once home to great slices and a nice man who often gave me a ride up the mountain on his way home. The Bristol Bridge, long ago replaced by a span with far less interest and minus my name written in surprisingly weather resistant red lipstick.  McMansion-esque home replacing the cottages and bungalows where my friends lived so many years ago.

In Greenwood Lake everything feels familiar, yet nothing is exactly the same. Going home is like being dunked in a well of memories, moments from the past which, upon reflection, either gain or lose significance. There are ghosts everywhere – of friends lost to time or death and older versions of ourselves. But there’s a comfort in all of it. We were there and who we are today is directly related to the experiences we shared so many years ago. Going home feels like just the place I wanted to be this weekend.

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Filed under aging, friends, musings, relationships, road trips, Schools, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Iris and other May flowers

In a weekend blooming with fun and old friends, here are a few of the beautiful sights my eyes took in…

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The other beautiful “stuff” is going to take a little longer to unupload.

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Filed under beauty, Flowers, friends, Gardens, road trips, Spring, upstate New York

It’s over – and I’m sad

After 92 episodes, Mad Men is finished. My weekly date with Don Draper is no longer on my calendar and I’m already feeling the void.  *Sigh*. It was a good run.

I can’t recall who originally convinced me to start watching the series, which is a shame.  I owe them a sincere thank you for turning me on to what has been one of the most compelling television programs I’ve ever watched.  Since I came to the series a bit late, perhaps a season or two after it began, I binge watched the first 8 or 10 episodes to get caught up.  I never did that again, preferring instead to savor each weekly installment without haste, usually alone.

There’s nothing I can say about the Mad Men that hasn’t already been said by folks much more astute and articulate than I.  I loved the costumes, the perfectly selected music, and the detailed sets that recreated an era that I just barely missed.  The characters were so multidimensional and the writers balanced their appearances so impeccably, never portraying any one as more important than the others.  Other than Don, that is. He was the sun around which everyone else orbited, I think.

Don Draper, in my eyes, is not husband material.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s got a number of excellent qualifications including charm, smoldering hotness and excellent earnings potential, but ultimately he’s a project of epic proportion.  I’m at an age when projects of the male variety no longer appeal, at least not ones which are long term.  I suppose I could have spared him an afternoon or two, though, kind of like that other Sylvia.  You remember her, right?

I know that romantic trysts were not acceptable during the Mad Men era (are they even now?), but I’d like to believe that if Don and I had met at that lovely California retreat,  we would have definitely shared a Coke and a smile.  Om.

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Filed under favorites, sunday, television

Dirty laundry

image: ecoearth.com

image: ecoearth.com

With one child headed to college in a few months and another who constantly places clean clothes in the dirty laundry hamper rather than (re)folding it and putting it away in his dresser, I’m thinking it is time for me to allow both of them to enjoy one of adulthood’s greatest responsibilities – laundry. I’m done cajoling them into bringing the dirty clothes to me so I can have the pleasure of sorting, washing, drying and folding their stuff. It’s time.

When did you begin doing your own laundry? If I told you I washed my family’s laundry at the town Laundromat when I was in 3rd grade, would you believe me? Well, it’s true, I did. I have distinct memories of my brother and I walking 2 blocks, carrying baskets of dirty clothes, to the laundromat. I don’t remember complaining about doing it, either. The library was on the other side of the laundromat’s parking lot and I eventually got pretty adept at throwing the wash into the machine, walking to the library for a stack of Nancy Drew books and getting back in time to toss everything into the dryer.

When it came time for folding, the challenge was always the sheets.  My 9-year-old arms simply couldn’t extend wide enough to get the nice, crisp fold my mother expected.  If I was lucky, there would be some older women nearby who would literally give me a hand, teaching me that complete strangers were willing to help me as I made an effort.

I went downstairs this evening and moved my son’s load of laundry from the washing machine to the dryer so I could throw in a load of my things.  A bit later, I folded neatly placed his clothing into his hamper so I could toss my own stuff into the dryer.  Looks like I really did learn a lot from those kind women so many years ago.

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Filed under aging, Boys, family, girlhood

Fifteen ideas for Summer 2015

1. Eat and drink at Nine-Pin Cider’s Dine’n
2. Dinner at 15 Church Street.
3. Paddleboarding on Saratoga Lake
4. A day hike in the Catskills with my camera.
5. Host a party on my new and improved deck
6. Get to a Soul Cafe dinnerimage
7. Volunteer to prepare a meal at the Ronald McDonald House
8. Check out local Farmer’s Markets more often.
9. Get away for at least one night with the girls
10. Take the train to Hudson for an afternoon
11. Figure out what to do with my weedy, unappealing backyard
12. Watch one of those series that everyone talks about but, I’ve never seen.
13. Make it to at least ½ of ARE’s Summer Trail Runs.
14. Repurpose my spare bedroom into something more useful.
15. Enjoy these last couple of months of having all 3 of my boys home.

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Filed under Eating, ideas, musings, road trips, running, Summer, upstate New York

Sometimes Mother’s Day stinks

image…and I’m not talking about like a bouquet of flowers, either.  No, I’m talking about good old-fashioned perspiration.  You see, I began my Mother’s Day by participating in Fleet Feet’s 10K Classic.  The race began (and ended) at Bethlehem Central HS* and the route was fairly rural and mostly flat.  It was a small field of runners, but, as my friend Karen astutely noted, a small group didn’t mean that either of us had a prayer of finishing with any sort of distinction.  The difference between a 5K and a 10K is way more than just 5K, believe me. The runners we were up against were pretty intense athletes, from my perspective. But, we weren’t there for medals or prizes.  It was the promise of post-race mimosas that motivated us.

I really liked this race – we got lucky with the weather with a warm morning with limited sunshine and humidity.  There was only one real hill, which we hit it in both directions, but it was well placed at about mile 1.5 and 5.  The  size of the race was really appealing, too.  You’ll never see me at Freihofer’s or Corporate Challenge – they’re just too big for me. I’ll definitely run this again!

As for the rest of my Mother’s Day, let’s just say that teen-aged boys do not excel when it comes to showing appreciation and leave it at that.  Next year, I just might follow my run with a ride instead of heading home to cook for the boys.  It would probably be more satisfying.

 *and, yes, it was weird driving to school on Sunday.

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Filed under Boys, Exercise, friends, holidays, Local, running, sunday

Albany sparkled – Champagne on the Park, 2015!

tulipsIt’s been a couple of years since I last attended this event, the official kickoff to Tulip Fest Weekend. Boy, am I glad I picked last night to jump back in! What a wonderful night it was in our fair city – the air was warm, but without humidity, the evening light was divine, the flowers magnificent and the crowd festive and decked out in their finest attire. It truly was an epic night, the sort we all long for during the short, dark days of winter.

I was so busy shooting photos and visiting with friends (so many friends!) that I didn’t nosh at all, but the local restaurants put out what looked to be a satisfying spread, particularly when paired with bubbly pink wine. Albany was really at her finest . Thanks for a great evening, Lark Street BID!

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Filed under Albany, Events, Local, SEEN, Spring, upstate New York