Celebrating snake eyes and an unexpected trip from Korea to China

IMG_7974Yesterday my youngest son turned 11.  I wish I could remember exactly what time of day he was born, but it’s honestly kind of a blur. I think that happens once you have more than two children, some of the specific details no longer stick.  In complete honesty, I sometimes have to pause to recall if his birthday is the 5th or the 9th of February.  I guess I’ll never win Mother of the Year, but I do think I have a shot at Mother of the Day based upon my efforts yesterday.

The morning started with the scent of chocolate chip/ M&M cookies baking.  You know what?  Everyone should wake up on their birthday to a warm kitchen and the smell of freshly baked cookies. Quinn had Nutella crepes for breakfast, his favorite and he loved the Gryffindor scarf I had bought for him.  When he left the house for school, he kissed me goodbye and thanked me for a “wonderful” morning.  Pretty sweet, right?

I went to Quinn’s school a short while later to join his class for a field trip to the Albany Institute of History and Art.  I know that my chaperoning days are coming to a close and felt really fortunate that he wanted me to attend.  We rode the bus together and I think I succeeded in providing my son with special attention while also giving him his space, a balancing act which becomes more challenging as a child grows.  The exhibit was nicely done and the activities were active and hands on, perfect for a group of 5th graders. It was a nice day.

Our big plan for the evening was dinner out.  Quinn has a thing for Korean barbeque and had been anticipating gorging on dumplings for days.  We trucked up to Colonie, hungry and excited for a special meal, but were disappointed to see that the restaurant was closed.  I had never even considered that possibility!  We sat in the car laughing about our luck and I was incredibly impressed with Quinn’s ability to join in the mirth and indulge his brothers as they teased him about his misfortune.  After a moment’s consideration, Quinn decided that Chinese would hit the spot and we turned around and headed towards Ocean Palace, placing our order as we took the long, leisurely drive back down Central Avenue.

Our indulgent order (Peking Duck, squid with salt and pepper, beef chow fun, 2 orders of steamed dumplings, Chinese broccoli with ginger sauce and sesame chicken) took about 45 minutes to prepare, leaving us with about 25 minutes to kill.  That much time simply waiting can be deadly, but my sons were remarkably chill about the entire dinner fiasco.  There wasn’t a moment of complaining or whining or kvetching and I was left feeling ridiculously proud of their good natured flexibility.  My boys are growing up.

PS – Dinner, as always, was great.  Happy Year of the Monkey, y’all!

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Filed under aging, Albany, birthdays, Boys, Dinner, Eating, family, favorites, Food., Local, Recommendations, Uncategorized

Observations and the science fair

imageI’m a little ashamed for thinking, much less saying, this but … I really kind of detest the science fair. It isn’t because science isn’t really my thing, or that I’m opposed to exploring a topic of interest, it’s just that it turns into so much work without much reward. It’s hard to be excited about a process that comes with as many demands as a science experiment. Eh, maybe it’s just me.

Part of the science fair process involves observations which must be documented. In the spirit of research, I’ve got a few observations to share from my weekend. They’re in no particular order.

  • I’m not a bad feminist because I like Bernie more than I like Hillary.
  • The same is true when it comes the fact that I think it’s ok for a woman to want to look pretty when she leaves the house.
  • A winter walk with a friend and the dogs at the golf course makes for a perfect afternoon.
  • On a related note, lipstick has become my friend in a way it wasn’t until I was in my 40s.
  • Wearing a hat can be a real act of bravery. I’m not talking about a baseball cap, I mean a more bold chapeaux – something in a vivid colored felt or a generously proportioned straw number.
  • I don’t completely understand why folks get so uptight about getting older. I kind of think of adding years like putting another notch in my lipstick* case. It’s an accomplishment.
  • Recently, Delaware Avenue has been interesting to walk on, but scary to drive on. People really need to slow the hell down and stop being so aggressive behind the wheel.
  • In theory, I love brunch. What’s not to like about day drinking and someone other than me cooking and serving a meal? In reality, though, I just don’t have time for day drinking and a big meal midday. Maybe on vacation?
  • I thought the ribs I made on Saturday were pretty banging until I ate ribs at Jay and Karen’s. Never mind.
  • I’ve got an idea for this year’s science fair which just might be fun.  I’d say more but don’t want anyone co-opting our experiment.  Hint: it involves soda.

*what’s my obsession with lipstick?

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Filed under aging, Albany, Boys, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Exercise, Local, moms, Observations, Random, Schools, Uncategorized, winter

Crushed for my crush

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Image: timesunion.com

I was absolutely heartbroken yesterday to learn that Sentinel Butchery had closed their doors after a valiant attempt to provide best quality, local meats to the Capital District. Maybe you never had a chance to get to Emily Peterson’s shop or consume the products she brought from farm to table, but I assure it was special and the loss is real. Although the store was open for far too short of a time, it was long enough to demonstrate that what we eat is better when it is personal.

Emily and I opened our businesses within days of one another. When I was putting the finishing touches on the guest list for my Ladies First event, I saw a post on Table Hopping about Sentinel Butchery and was impressed by the rack of lamb pictured (from Washington County!) and Steve Barnes’ positive words about the store. When he stopped in to my place a few days later, I asked him if he thought Emily might be interested in joining my gathering of women who impress, inspiration and influence. He shared her contact information with me and the rest is history – she was the came to the party and knocked everyone’s socks off with her enthusiasm and personality. Steve was right – Emily and I got along famously, to the point that Steve and I “argued” over which of us had the larger crush on her.

Since that first event, Emily and I forged a friendship based upon mutual respect, passion for our work and laughter. Lark + Lily sourced all of our meats from her for our super successful New Year’s Day Open House and had looked forward to further collaboration in the future. The loss of Sentinel Butchery is, of course, a loss to Emily and her family, but it is also a loss to countless others, people who understand that knowing that the person who is selling you your roast or sausage or chops is the very same person who selected and butchered the animal from which those meats came from, is an entirely different level of sourcing ingredients.

Sentinel Butchery may no longer be open, but I’m confident that Emily will move forward and continue on a path which is true and real and genuine. She’s just that kind of woman and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. You should be, too.

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Filed under favorites, Food., friends, Local, Observations, Restaurants, Troy, Uncategorized

Never, ever

You know how they say “Never say never?” Well, despite that old adage there are few things in life that I personally never want to do. Let me give you a couple of examples…

  • I don’t imagine myself ever buying a brand new car. The new car smell simply comes at too high a price for me, financially and mentally. I prefer a gently loved vehicle that comes at a reduced price and maybe even with a little scratch or two.
  • Building a new house doesn’t appeal to me at all and I never want to take that task on. I seriously think I would lose what’s left of my mind if I had to make all of the choices and decisions relating to new construction – paint, floors, siding, fixtures, windows … no, thank you. I don’t ever want to deal with that.
  • Getting divorced is something I am not interested in doing ever again. My ex and I had what was probably the most civilized dissolution of a marriage ever, but it was still emotionally and mentally exhausting.
  • If I could make it through the rest of my life never witnessing the death of a loved one to cancer, I’d be most appreciative. It’s a shitty death and I’ve already seen it far too many times.
  • Other than a pinky finger or two, I’ve never broken a bone in my body. This is a streak I am very much interested in maintaining. It probably goes without saying that I’d also prefer to not ever hear “it’s malignant” again.

    How about you? What makes you say never ever?

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Filed under musings, Observations, Random

Could you be love?

yellow-brick-road-69066Despite this snow-less winter, Jeter and I have been spending a lot of time at the golf course. Instead of skiing, though, we run over trails and on paths which I’ve never explored before without my skis. It’s been a good consolation for a frustrated cross country skier and a dog who loves water, be it liquid or powder.

The route we’ve been taking to the golf course varies but a favorite path is the yellow brick road. There’s something about that road, whether I’m going up or down it, which inspires me to be optimistic and positive. I mean, that brick was covered by asphalt yet has still managed in places to break through and remind the observant of its presence. To me, it’s like the sun refusing to allow the clouds to prevent it from radiating. It never fails to lift my spirits and motivate me to invite the good stuff to come out, to allow my inner light to shine. To be love, shall we say?

It isn’t always easy to commit to freely sharing the good stuff. In all honesty, it’s kind of a new state of being for me and I have moments when I struggle with releasing the gifts of my soul without mentally measuring the anticipated return. I think it’s human nature to consider and weigh the risks involved with giving love to the universe without any expectation, don’t you? Allowing one’s self to be open and vulnerable is scary as hell, but you know what?  There’s no punishment in this world for loving too much and, when I think about those crumbling yellow bricks peeking through the black top designed to cover them up, I feel brave.  I’m going to let it shine.

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

Sweet love

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Cheesecake Machismo’r Frankencake.  Image:alloveralbany.com

Today’s run was brought to you by thoughts of love and dessert. Or maybe I should say, love of dessert. As Jeter and counted the miles, I considered my tendency to generally be a fairly generous person. I’m not a hoarder and I don’t feel the need to accumulate much in life, happily sharing things which come my way. With one exception.

I do not like to share my dessert. There’s something lost to me when I allow someone to get their fork or spoon all up in my cheesecake or creme brûlée. I know it sounds horrible, but it’s the honest to god truth. I just don’t get the same satisfaction in my indulgence when I’m not the exclusive consumer. I am unsatisfied, I guess. I want it all.

Being unsatisfied sucks, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as being dissatisfied. In my mind, dissatisfaction is worse. It’s like something occurred that actively inspired a negative feeling. Instead of satisfying you, it did something contrary. While being unsatisfied still leaves the possibility of satisfaction to occur, the state of dissatisfaction means that you’ve arrived at precisely the opposite destination.

What do you think? Which do you find to be more satisfying – dissatisfaction or unsatisfaction? And, most importantly, are you the kind of person who makes it a habit to share dessert?

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Filed under Food, love, musings, Observations, Random, running, Uncategorized

Birthdays and buildings – Vote Yes to AHS

new_exterior-washington_ave_view_1-16On February 9th my youngest child turns 11. I seriously don’t know even know where the last decade went. We brought him home from the hospital one winter afternoon and here it is a lifetime later. In an ironic way, the baby who was supposed to be my baby has grown up faster than either of his brothers. Such is life – grab the moments while you can.

This February 9th, I’ll be accompanying my boy and his classmates on their field trip to the Albany Institute of History and Art. I figure there aren’t many field trips left and I’m excited to spend his birthday with him and the exhibit, The Capital Region in 50 Objects interests me. It’s embarrassing how infrequently I get to the institute and I’m very much looking forward to seeing 50 objects which define the city where I have lived for more than half of my life.

Looking through the list of objects included in the display, I noticed a few buildings represented. As you might imagine, the Empire State Plaza and State Capitol are on the list, along with the residence of Stephen and Harriet Myers. You see, buildings are important and can help to define a city.

My children and I have witnessed the construction of a number of significant buildings in our lives here in Albany. I recall the construction of the Knickerbocker Arena Times Union Center and a number of other downtown buildings which have changed the landscape of our city. My children have benefited from the community investment made to improve libraries and both elementary and middle schools in our city and, as a parent, and taxpayer, I was pleased to support these initiatives. No longer do children in the city of Albany have to attend classes in buildings which are decrepit and lacking in modern amenities as was once the case.

This February 9th, we as a community again have the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the city and its children with A Vision for Tomorrow. While none of my children will directly benefit from this ambitious undertaking, I will gladly accept the small (approximately $25) addition to my annual tax bill.  It’s the right thing to do and will help to provide the best opportunity for our teens to succeed. If we can justify building an entire plaza to impress the Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands can’t we provide our own residents with a building for which they can feel pride?  Maybe you could think of it as a birthday gift to Quinn?

Need more information?  Check out one of these community forums and get yourself up to speed.  Let’s not allow a decision this big to be decided by a small group of voters.  Our kids deserve better.

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Filed under Albany, birthdays, Boys, Education, Events, Local, Schools, Uncategorized