For awhile I kept hearing that I was too thin. It both disturbed and delighted me. Don’t get me wrong, I am a healthy eater and borderline obsessive exerciser, yet I don’t deny my body either food or rest. But there’s something about being thin that feels powerful, in charge, in control.
I grew up with good foods and bad foods. I knew that coffee flavored yogurt was a doubly good food because it was low in fat and had caffeine – winner! And if you followed your yogurt with a cigarette, well, you were practically in a negative calorie situation. I remember Dexatrim pills and some sort of chewy chocolate flavored squares (neither of which I’ve ever taken) that were to be consumed in place of real food. Dieting was a way of life for my mother, lest she resemble her own mother, a woman who bore 15 children and whose body retained the cumulative evidence of each one of those individual pregnancies.
I’ve been lovingly accused of having a distorted perspective of my size and shape. I clearly can see the soft parts of my body, as they contrast with the more muscular areas, and I struggle with accepting them. I prefer to not have a scale in the house because I fear getting obsessed with a magic number, attainable or not. My weight has the ability to fill me with giddiness or a mild case of self-loathing, two extreme emotions which I prefer to avoid as I try to live a more even sort of life.
In the last few months, I have gained 4 or 5 lbs and I vacillate between acceptance and discomfort. I’ve been told, unsolicited, that I look “healthy” and “fit” and I don’t know why I feel challenged to accept these positive words in relation to my physical size. Isn’t healthy the goal? Isn’t fit the reason I exercise? Why must I work so hard mentally to respect my body and all the wonderful qualities it possesses?
A few weeks ago I was shopping at the Gap, a place I haven’t bought pants in quite some time. I started with a pair of khaki slacks in a size 6. Too big. I grabbed the 4s with the same result. I finally worked my way down to a size 0, which fit nicely, but I ultimately walked out with a size 2 in my bag because I refused to “buy in” to the vanity sizing so prevalent in current retail stores. I mean, who the hell wants to be a zero?!? What does that even mean?
Someday I hope to truly embrace my body, regardless of whatever number the scale or the size reveals.
Maybe I’m simple or I have a low threshold for happiness. I’m not really sure, but what I do know is I had a fantastically, perfect weekend. As the weekend progressed, I mentally inventoried each special little thing that cumulatively gave me one of my favorite birthday celebrations ever. Noting 46 of these items was an easy feat to achieve.
- Early morning surprise drive-by with birthday wishes
- A Happy Birthday text from my son. (He was upstairs when he sent it to me.)
- Birthday cards at work
- Facebook birthday messages, especially when they contained the word “inspiring.”
- A pedicure and manicure to begin my weekend
- The tuna roll I inhaled
- A gigantic salted caramel mocha sipped pond-side in the sunshine
- Thoughtfully selected, thoughtfully wrapped presents.
- Reading a funny book aloud with a friend
- Receiving a handcrafted card from Quinn
- Listening to Quinn explain the handcrafted card he gave me. It involves superpowers, popcorn falling from the sky and the sentiment that he “lives” me.
- That run that I took as the sky began to darken and the sliver of moon that led me back home.
- Finding the perfect thing to wear for my birthday dinner.
- Reading a special card.
- That parking space on the corner of State and Lark.
- A tasty sparkling rose from New Mexico, Gruet.
I wish you could smell this pasta!!!
- The pasta that was worth every moment of self-denial, house made tagliatelle with a cinghiale Bolognese at the bar at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark.
- The tasty glass of Spanish granache that accompanied my pasta and the beautifully rare hangar steak that I enjoyed as my main course.
- The creme brûlée
- The glass of tawny port I sipped with desert
- The enjoyable conversation I shared at the bar with friends
- Neil Young playing during my meal
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- A beautiful morning on the first day of fall
- The soccer game beginning early
- Getting every single chore out of the way prior to my friend’s arrival
- Driving my friend’s stick shift Beetle. I’ve still got it!
Note the crown.
- The sunshine topping off my apricot glow, poolside under a mostly blue sky.
- That dive into the pool which simultaneously took my breath away and confirmed that I was alive.
- Laughing with Will about the disparity between how men and women perceive 4 inches
Crown still in place – lots of candles!
- Being presented with the sickest cake I have ever tasted – Civitello’s Italian rum cake.
- The hot tub!
- Joining the Decades Party.
- Popping that bottle of Prosecco knowing we wouldn’t be driving any place.
- Watching that rain storm creep in.
- My boy making popcorn for movie night.
- Walking a couple of laps in the misty rain.
- A friend stopping by for a night-cap.
- That cake…
- Sleeping soundly in a cozy bed with the windows open.
- Breakfast from All Good Bakers.
- Seeing the faintly yellow reflection of the leaves out my window.
- Another piece of that cake…
- A nap as the sun shined onto my first-flannels-of-the-season made bed.
- A walk through the Honest Weight Harvest Fest in Washington Park
- My run, all 5.66 miles of it, and the best hot shower I could imagine.
Now, when your special day comes around again – be sure to celebrate it. Indulge yourself. Feel special. And, if you need any ideas for having a memorable time, feel free to borrow any of mine. I’ve been blessed with plenty to share.
Filed under aging, birthdays, DelSo, drinking, Eating, favorites, Food, friends, ideas, Lark Street, love, Random, Recommendations, running, Summer, upstate New York, Wine
In the spirit of life being comprised of moments and not years, I offer 45 special moments in time which I was blessed enough to enjoy in my 45th year…
1. Memorial Day Girls’ weekend in Albany.
2. NYC with Liam – from the Met to running in the dark to Brooklyn from the Lower West Side – truly memorable.
3. My first 4 mile run.
4. My first 5 mile run.
5. My first 10K.
6. Running in the desert with the sun shining and the mountains glowing. (is there a theme here?)
7. Mommy and me trip with Quinn to NYC, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
8. The Allman Brothers and Santana at SPAC.
9. Running in Central Park on a mild February day. (again?)
10. My brother’s birthday party in Syracuse with the best friends imaginable.
11. A day spent poolside at my friends Will and Raj’s house in Niskayuna
12. Dinner at the bar at Lupa with Mary Lynn
13. The Delmar Turkey Trot followed by Thanksgiving dinner with the McGuire family – in pajamas.
14. Finding DelSo on the map – literally!
15. All Good Bakers opening in my wonderful neighborhood.
16. The IRS confirming that I didn’t owe them $1500. They owe me $1600.
17. Eating a rare burger at the Capital City Gastropub. Ok, that might count as multiple moments because I’ve done it
more than once.
18. Receiving a thank you card from a former student who said I inspired him to note his gratitude.
19. Watching Quinn take his first bridge jump.
20. Truly knowing that I am able to support my household, unaided.
21. Falling in love with trail running in Saratoga with my friend, Chrissy.
22. Cross country skiing in October.
23. Having my hand held by a friend held while threading our way through a crowd.
24. Albany’s Last Run with some great girlfriends.
25. Working Lark Fest at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark Street.
26. Spending time with college friends who I hadn’t seen in far too long.
27. Finding out that two of my favorite people are expecting two new people.
28. Hot yoga classes on Martha’s Vineyard. Well, actually, finishing a hot yoga class or two on Martha’s Vineyard.
29. Finding the most gorgeous cashmere robe imaginable hanging in my bathroom.
30. Harry Potter marathons with Quinn.
31. That incredible bottle of Spanish wine I enjoyed with my awesome neighbors.
32. The satisfaction of buying and installing air conditioners in my house – all by.myself!
33. Being able to bike 20 miles without any preliminary rides or lasting discomfort.
34. Finding the necessary piece to assemble my dressing table – after more than a year of looking for it.
35. Having an opportunity to volunteer for the Historic Albany Foundation by pouring (and drinking) wine at their event.
36. Drinks on the rooftop at Eataly’s Birreria.
37. Our full moon bonfire at White Crest beach.
38. The first sip of a glass of refreshing rose on a hot day in NYC.
39. Girls’ Gathering in Kingston to begin the Summer of 2012.
40. Running in the soft rain at Albany Muni.
41. Crossing the Bourne Bridge. heading to Wellfleet, listening to Simon & Garfunkel.
42. Going blonde-ish, something I always wanted to do.
43. Getting negative PET Scan results.
44. Feeling my heart beat fast at the mere sight of someone special.
45. Breathing – deeply and with appreciation for all the gifts I receive each day I am alive.
Last weekend may have been one of the best weekends ever. The weather was outstanding, the Wine Bar was beautifully busy, Lark Fest was once again a joy, and I got to take my middle son to SPAC to close out the season. Yep, pretty friggin’ awesome.
When the show was first announced, I decided a Sunday night show in September was undo-able. Especially during the early weeks of school when my body is still craving the languidness of summer. Nope, not happening. But, once I realized that the following day was a holiday (Happy New Year!) and I was offered the opportunity to shoot pictures for a Times Union SEEN gallery, everything changed. We were there!
I have to admit, I don’t really know a lot of the band’s music, but there are a couple of tunes that almost have an anthemic quality that I really like. I think Greg Haymes gave a really fair and accurate review of the show here. It was an absolutely gorgeous night and I think I won some “cool mom” points with my boy – winning! I had hoped to slip a photo of he and I together into the SEEN gallery, an idea which was nixed by my teen. Oddly enough, he acquiesced to having a photo taken with three beautiful college coeds…See if you can find that picture. If you can’t locate it on the TU site, you might want to check inside his middle school locker.
On a recent morning that could only be described as glorious, I ran my first 10K. Slowly. I was kind of nervous about it since my body has continued to feel uncomfortable (polite euphemism for pain) from my tailbone/glute issues, and I really wanted to run the entire 10K even though there was a 5K option that was very popular. I felt the need to challenge myself with a new official distance due to my opting out on participating for the second time in the American Memorial Sprint Triathlon in my hometown, Greenwood Lake, N.Y. It was a difficult decision to make but the triathlon was beginning to feel more like an obligation than a fun event because I knew the week following the Sunday race was going to be intensely busy with 3 Wine Bar shifts and a SEEN gig. I’m really trying to be conscious of how much I load on my plate, in so many ways.
During the race, I continually had to remind myself to slow down during the first 3 or 4 miles because I was concerned that I would burn through my reserves too quickly and have nothing left with which to finish. It was a good plan and it worked. I didn’t run particularly fast (avg mile was 9:35), but I finished strong and my endorphins were kicking. The race was extremely well-organized and everyone involved was friendly and indulgent as I shot pics for the TU’s SEEN gallery. And, now that I have this one under my belt, look what I’m doing next month! I’m hoping my butt issues will be resolved by then and I’ll finish a bit faster. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Sixteen years ago, Lark Fest fell on my 30th birthday. I remember it was a beautiful late summer day, mild and sunny. My two best girlfriends had come to visit for the weekend and I was excited about so many things in my life. I was spending the day with my friends and sharing “my” city. The evening’s dinner plan was for a party of 10 to celebrate my birthday at the restaurant that had done a marvelous job catering my wedding and I couldn’t wait to see what the “Peters” at the now long gone, Unlimited Feast were going to feed us. And, of course, there was the fact that I had received exactly what I most wanted for my birthday. I was pregnant.
I remember that day so vividly, exactly what I was wearing, (a cool black maxi dress), and what I purchased from the craft vendors (a beautiful piece of pottery). Lark Fest was fun. There were families and students and couples all having a good time eating and admiring music and crafts and other merchandise. I don’t recall it being overly loud or crowded and I know we had a great time.
In later years, I brought my older boys to Lark Fest. They enjoyed the buzz of the crowd and the array of food available, although it seems they nearly always chose hot dogs rather than something more exotic. In the last 10 years, though, Lark Fest changed for me. I don’t know if it was when I began working Saturday nights at a restaurant on Lark that began souring me on the event. We used to have to keep our door carefully locked as we set up the restaurant to prevent drunk people from coming into the restaurant to use our bathrooms. Getting to work was a pain in the ass and getting my guests to the restaurant was virtually impossible until mid-evening because the street is generally closed to traffic for a minimum of 1.5 hours after the conclusion of the event. Maybe it was my impression that virtually everyone I observed walking by the restaurant looked drunk. And not in an “I’m having fun but may have had one beer too many” sort of way. It was definitely more of an “I achieved my goal of getting shitty drunk.” Gross. The families I remember seeing strolling the street were no longer a presence, elbowed out by college and high school students. It had changed. It wasn’t about music or crafts or food. It was about drinking. Period.
Lark Fest this year promises to be a different experience. It absolutely has to be because the residents and businesses of the Center Square and Hudson Park neighborhoods have demanded a change. They’re tired of intoxicated people destroying their property and urinating on their stoops. The inconveniences of a single day event (the noise, the inability to move their cars during the day, etc) are really not the major issue – it’s the lack of respect shown by so many of the attendees to the business and home owners who have so graciously shared their neighborhood.
The word on the street is that Lark Fest is in serious crisis mode. The folks who live and work 365 days a year in the neighborhood are done
being pissed on indulging an event that has brought more damage in recent years than festivity to their street. The police will be stationed at every cross street to prevent alcohol from being brought into the festival and they promise a crackdown on the underage and excessive drinking. Hopefully, there will be more bathroom facilities available and the attendees will use them. And maybe Lark Fest will regain that special place in my heart as a day to inspire excitement rather than dread.
What are your thoughts or memories of Lark Fest? Are there any you’d like to share?
I can’t vote for her, but you really should pull the lever next to Patricia Fahy’s name if you’re lucky enough to have it on your ballot. I’ve known Pat since our children attended daycare together and I’ve witnessed the energy and intelligence she brings to each task to which she devotes herself and believe she will do a great job in the Assembly.
I supported Pat during her tenure on the Albany City School District Board of Education and sincerely believe that the facilities our city’s children have available to them come in no small part as the result of Pat Fahy’s tireless work on their behalf. She has inspired me to volunteer and become involved over the years, and I happily spent time canvassing for her despite her absence from the ballot I will be confronted with on primary day. (Primary Day, which incidentally will be a Thursday this year rather than the usual Tuesday.)
Pat has collected endorsements from many outstanding individuals, organizations and groups and is in an excellent position to serve the new 109th District with a desirable blend of experience, familiarity and independence. As the TU Editorial Board so succinctly expressed she: “…brings the right mix of experience and understanding of the issues…”
If you’re undecided, please do me, as well as yourself, a favor and support the candidacy of a women who will work on the behalf of all her constituents on issues which involve health and wellness, jobs, ethics, the environment and human and civil rights. Use your voice and vote!
Filed under Albany, politics