Category Archives: birthdays

48 was great, I expect 49 to be sublime

When I see a reflection of myself, I don’t think I look how 49 sounds. In many ways I feel younger than ever, the result, I think of being happy and healthy and old enough to truly appreciate it.

“Nobody wants to get old but they don’t want to die young either.” – Keith Richards

I’ve had a wonderful year with many unforgettable moments. I’m in a good place professionally in a really positive place. My boys are gaining independence, venturing forth into college, work and on wheels.* I saw some fantastic concerts and a number of beautiful sunsets. There were moments when my life felt so perfect that I could have died with a contented sigh.

“I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.” – The Faces

When I’m 49, I plan to go to Nashville with my best friends and Spain and Portugal with my middle son. My brother and I will be restaurant owners. I’ll challenge myself with a half marathon and a schedule that will be intense, to say the least. There will be delicious meals and lovely wines and I’ll take pictures and write about all of it.

“Never slow down, never grow old.” – Tom Petty

Age, like weight and height, is a number. It’s up to each of us to decide the importance of it in our lives. I’d like to think that the total of my years is a pretty small figure when compared to the total number of moments I’ve shared with loved ones laughing, making memories and experiencing life.  49 is going to be fine.

*Quinn is obsessed with his bicycle and the freedom it affords him.


Filed under aging, Albany, birthdays, Dinner, family

My mythical beast turns 16

On a sunny day, not unlike some of the ones we’ve enjoyed this week, my water broke and labor began for my second child. Neither of these occurred with any haste – it was more a leak than a gush and the progress of my contractions was painfully (literally) slow. When my red-faced, bald-headed baby boy finally made his debut it was a new day and I was in awe – of both his perfection and the strength of my body. Birthing him was, most definitely, my proudest physical accomplishment.

Sixteen years later this child continues to amaze and exhaust me. I do, however, find myself worrying about him more than I do either of his brothers. His humor, intelligence and charm have provided him with wonderful life experiences. Unfortunately, though, his gifts have also given him the opportunity to avoid truly exerting himself. Ever. Everything has come so easily to this guy…it kind of scares me.

During my run yesterday I was thinking about him and life and challenges to be met and conquered. I thought about all the things I want him to know – about himself and life. Of course, being a teenager, he only ingests my motherly wisdom in small doses and on an as needed basis. Hopefully one day he will come to know all of the following…

  1. Nothing in life is more important than health and happiness.
  2. There is satisfaction in doing your best and working hard.
  3. You have been blessed with many talents.
  4. Be where you are.
  5. Don’t ever lose your sense of right and wrong.
  6. Responsibilities will make you a grownup far more than a driver’s permit.
  7. You can do anything.
  8. Take your time figuring out what you want to do career wise. There’s no rush.
  9. That being said, finding yourself is a self-sponsored trip.
  10. You may look like your father, but so much of your behavior mirrors my own. I get you.
  11. Travel and see as much of the world as you can.
  12. Be honest. In the long run, it’s easier.  I promise.
  13. Keep carrying groceries for old women.
  14. Never stop giving good hugs.
  15. Going to concerts with you has been one of the best rewards of parenthood.
  16. You are loved.

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Filed under aging, birthdays, Boys, musings

18 thoughts from the weekend my son turned 18

  • When he was born, my oldest son scared me. That changed.
  • Now, I’m in awe of him.
  • According to my sons, the plural of penis is penis. (The “s” is silent when it’s plural)
  • Crazy > Creepy
  • The Olde English was the perfect place to celebrate my Anglophile son’s birthday.
  • Molly, our server, deserves a raise. She was terrific, as was my fish and chips.
  • The skiing this weekend was wonderfully challenging.
  • Ryan, the guy at Best Buy who set me up with my new phone, was a super representative.
  • The woman who violently slammed my car with her hand in the parking lot at Crossgates Mall represented “ugly with anger” beautifully.
  • It feels good when someone you’ve known for 20+ years tells you that you look happy.
  • Troy really isn’t that far from Albany.
  • The old fashioned at The Wine Bar and Bistro and the new fashioned at New World Bistro Bar are equally perfect.
  • Applying for my son’s third passport in 18 years fills me with pride.
  • 8 countries in 18 years is pretty damn impressive.  I can’t wait to see where else my children venture.
  • McGeary’s on a Saturday night was wonderfully diverse, a testament to Tess’ ability to create an atmosphere that is welcoming.
  • Putting on a pretty dress and lipstick for an evening out doesn’t ever get tired.
  • It has been a remarkable season for x-country skiing.  That being said, I’m excited to hit the pavement in my sneakers soon.
  • The seasons, the years, life go(es) by so very quickly.  Get it while you can.


Filed under Albany, birthdays, Boys, Dinner, family, Food, Lark Street, Local, Observations, Restaurants, skiing, Troy, Uncategorized, x-country skiing

A decade of the mighty Quinn

imageMany years ago, Quinn was described by his grandmother as formidable. She was so right, he most certainly is. There are some other words that can be used to describe my forever baby boy – relentless, sweet, affectionate and funny. In honor of his 10th birthday, please let me share a few moments and memories which truly define my youngest son.

Quinn is sensitive and thoughtful. Unlike our current spoiled dog, Jeter, his predecessor, Cassidy, wasn’t given bed privileges. Recently, Quinn asked if it would be ok to place the urn containing Cassidy’s ashes on the bed just so she would know what it was like to sleep there.  Pretty sweet, right?

Quinn is articulate and well-spoken. During one of our regular evening battles to complete his homework, he asked me to not yell at him. He explained to me that he is motivated by happiness and love. His self awareness is impressive and I can only hope that both of those emotions will always be present, in excess, in his life.

Quinn is growing up too fast and his sense of humor is often a bit too mature for his years. Having two older brothers makes for an abbreviated childhood, I’m afraid. Please don’t ask about the South Park fish sticks episode that prompted a call home from his teacher.  Last week he told me that I had to stop treating him like a baby because he is “practically double digits.” I understand the inevitability of Quinn growing up but I really wish it could all slow down just a little. I think he’s mighty fine already.

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Filed under birthdays, Boys

Down a stud. Again.

imageFor my 18th birthday I received my first pair of diamond earrings. They were a gift from my boyfriend, (his father was a jeweler), and the .25 carat stones were considered “perfect.” I loved those earrings years longer than I loved that boyfriend.

4 or 5 years after I was given those studs, I lost one. I was in a hotel in the Soviet Union, maybe Moscow, and realized that one was missing from my ear. My (different) boyfriend and I crawled around on the communist quality carpeting looking in vain for the small earring. I grew impatient and gave up, consoling myself with the thought of the housekeeper finding it and somehow using it to improve her life day by buying goods which were only available to residents with “hard currency.”

Andy, who never was one to abandon hope, found the earring a few minutes later. I still have that pair of earrings.

Years later, I was given a new pair of diamond solitaire earrings. These were a bit more sizable and I wore them all the time. They, as all diamonds do, went with everything and gave me an accessory that was timelessly beautiful. The day I reached up to my earlobe and found one of those earrings missing was a very dark day indeed. I felt really sad and somehow incomplete without the earrings that I believed gave me, in a weird way, status. Within a short period of time, the earring was replaced, with an improvement – screw backs.

Friday, on my way home from the golf course, it happened again. My hand went to my earlobe to absentmindedly spin the posts in my ears and there was one missing. I had again lost one of my diamond studs. My immediate response was physical – a sinking in my stomach and an increase in my heartrate. This sucked. I quickly tried to mentally replay my day and  speculate about when and where it may have gone missing. I came up with some possibilities which demanded exploration.

I started with the car. Nothing. At home, I undressed carefully hoping the earring was somehow attached to me. No. I crawled around my bedroom floor, feeling the rug with my hands in hopes of coming across the errant earring. No dice. Or ice. I felt myself growing upset over the loss but reeled it in pretty quickly. It was an earring, one which had been worn with enjoyment many, many times. In the big picture, it really wasn’t that important. Not everything we love is forever.

To feel that I’ve made a fair effort, there are a couple of additional spots I still want to look when I’m back at work, but, if it’s gone, it’s gone. I’m thinking maybe I’m just not supposed to have a pair of diamond stud earrings. Maybe I’m more a diamond solitaire necklace girl.

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Filed under beauty, birthdays, Fashion, favorites, musings

Not all heroes wear uniforms, not every prince has a throne

DSC_0029Today is my brother’s 50th birthday.  I know I’ve said it before, but my brother has  been the one constant in my life.  This doesn’t mean that we didn’t have our times of conflict.  I recall darts being thrown at my feet to encourage me to vacate his room and spats over typical sibling bullshit, but, ultimately, if I ever needed anything, I’m talking protection, advice, $, he gave it to me.

Having only one sibling, and about a half a parent, made for an independent life.  There are times when weeks, maybe even months, have passed without my brother and I speaking.  Like some sort of German standoff, I may have even consciously not called him just to see how long it would be until he called me.  He always wins.  It doesn’t really matter, though, because when I do finally break down and dial his number, he almost always answers.

The thought that there is only a single person in the entire universe who shared your childhood is sobering.  Without my brother, I’m the sole keeper of legends and memories – a pretty weighty responsibility for the child with a reputation for being a bit wild.  Even though our recollections aren’t always (ever?) identical, the comfort of knowing that he was there, we were in it together, is reassuringly grounding.  The world feels like a safer place with him it.

Our mother complained that the boys in her family (and there were a lot of them) were treated better than the girls, they were considered “princes,” while the girls were more scullery maids.  As a parent, she continued that tradition and, if you’ve ever met the Lilly boys, you know I’m guilty of the same thing.  DSC_0014
On a Veteran’s Day a half century ago my brother was born.  His uniform is more lab coat than camo, his throne the same stool he’s been sitting on for at least 35 years, but these details do nothing to diminish the fact that, to me, he is a hero and a prince. Happy birthday, TJM!

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Words that moved me during year 47


Another year around the sun complete. Some words which moved me – to smile, to laugh, to think, to cry.

Life is full. Times passes quickly. Each day is a gift.

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