- Having no idea whatsoever of the time.
- A margarita – and then another one.
- Donuts with breakfast and chips with lunch.
- Classic board games.
- Ordering your afternoon like this: walk – nap – run – shower – wine.
- Another load of towels in the washing machine.
- A layer of stickiness that can only be created by salty air, sand and sunscreen.
- Eating off of paper plates and out of Rubbermaid containers.
- Finding a temporary new rhythm that is decidedly a bit off beat.
In the early aughts,* we rented a house in South Chatham, MA, for 3 or 4 consecutive years. It was a simple Cape with a super comfortable vibe and, once I rolled up and stashed all of the potentially treacherous throw rugs which were scattered about, the perfect place to relax with young children.
There was a tiny TV room where we would gather to watch the Tour de France in the morning and various classic movies in the evening. One year, we caught a young Dustin Hoffman and the beautiful Anne Bancroft in Mike Nichols’ The Graduate. Now maybe this wasn’t quite the ideal “family” movie, but the Simon and Garfunkel tunes were catchy as hell and “Mrs. Robinson” became part of our family soundtrack. Our tradition every year since, as we approach the Bourne Bridge, is to open the sunroof and lower the windows and blast that song as we drive across the canal. It is our signal that vacation has begun.
Two weeks ago, my oldest son graduated from Albany High School. The ceremony was long, but lovely, and he beamed as he walked across the dais and accepted his diploma. Next month he heads to the University of Hartford to study international relations and political science, but before that he’ll be riding shotgun as we head east to the beach.
I’d like to think my son will return from college with more focus than Benjamin Braddock, but regardless, I’m more interested than concerned to see what he does next.
*I can’t believe I’m running “aughts!”
I had a pretty busy weekend. If you have any doubt of that, check out the timesunion.com homepage from earlier today.
In the upper left hand corner, there’s my Seen gallery from Friday night’s Dave Matthews Band show at SPAC. Hitting at least one show at Dave’s annual two night stop in Saratoga is a tradition for me and one which I’ve been sharing with my middle son for the past few years. A couple of days prior to the show, though, he told me he’d rather go to his uncle’s lake house to hang out with his cousins than go to SPAC. I couldn’t have been more proud of his choice. Those are good priorities.
So, off I went solo. I drove up early to avoid traffic and get my photos prior to going through the gate. For the first time ever, I rode my bike around the park snagging my pics and it was a blast. Full confession: I did not wear my helmet because I thought it would be too weird.
I did, however, use extreme caution and was never really on a road at all. 100+ photos later, extra ticket sold for slightly below face value, I made my way to my seat and got my DMB on. It wasn’t my favorite setlist ever, Bela Fleck or not, but I still had a good time.
Sunday I hopped back on my bike, avec helmet, and rode down to Wolff’s Biergarten to snap some Seen pics of the crowd gathered together to watch the women’s World Cup final.The Independence Day holiday weekend combined beautifully with our USA women’s team to create a festive sea of red, white and blue. The energy, as always, was contagious and the roars of the spectators were deafening with each of our team’s five goals. Phenomenal and worth waiting 16 years to see!
I took a bunch of pictures of small groups and pairs of friends. I also worked hard to get an exceptional shot of the crowd, stepping in to the position that TU photographer Michael P. Farrell had occupied during Wednesday’s semi-final game. It was a good vantage point and I got a picture that made it on to A1 of the Times Union’s print edition, which was a thrill almost equal to the first 15 minutes of that final match.
For the first time ever, the Seen gallery was accompanied by a brief video. At an event such as the World Cup final a 12 or 15 second video conveys what’s happening beyond the power of still photos.
I mean, if a picture tells a thousand words, a video tells a million. Be sure to click on the video for a dose of competitive patriotism at its finest.
Filed under Albany, biking, Boys, concerts, Events, family, favorites, Local, Music, road trips, Saratoga, SEEN, soccer, Summer
I’ve been doing the Mountain Jam thing for a few years now and really feel like I’ve got this music fest under control. I know how to get to the event, where to park and the best landmarks for meeting my friends. I understand and accept that there will be red mud and rain at least one of the days and that the sun always shines when Michael Franti plays. I got this. For those who may not have had the good fortune to attend MJ2015, let me share some of my impressions from this year’s festival.
• Grace Potter is always an energetic and enthusiastic performer. I particularly enjoyed “Turntable” and her rip through “Cinnamon Girl.” The complete setlist is here.
• I’ve had mixed Robert Plant experiences, but amazingly enough he’s gotten better each time I’ve seen him. How’s that for longevity? That 66 y/o rock and roll icon was so smoking hot that he compelled me to drop an f-bomb when I captioned an Instagram shot of him. I had no other word to describe the thrill of seeing him rock once again. Prepare to be impressed by this setlist!
• Gov’t Mule’s Dark Side of the Mule inspired me to stay on the Mountain far later than ever before – it was definitely pushing 2:00 a.m. before we headed for the gates. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Warren and the band (including 3 phenomenal female back-up singers) killed it. I hope to experience this spectacle again and my respect for the band has gone through the roof.
• The food and beverages in which I indulged were all of good quality and fairly priced. I was impressed by the sausage stand’s commitment to checking the internal temperature on their offerings prior to selling and thought $6 for a big cup of cider was more than reasonable. Take note, SPAC!
• Saturday’s headliner was the dynamic duo, The Black Keys. I’m most familiar with their junior Kimbrough tribute album, Chulahoma, as well as 2011’s El Camino. Well, these guys absolutely rock! The drums/guitar combination is always my favorite and watching these two play was unbelievable. I’d do that again in a heartbeat.
• Unlike other large musical gatherings I’ve attended, there was zero drama or aggression in this crowd. It was soooo mellow and pleasant.
• I already talked about Sunday on the mountain, but I wanted to add a note about Warren Haynes joining Franti and Spearhead during their set. What a treat it was to see Haynes play three consecutive days! And, his range – from Pink Floyd to jammy originals to Franti…wow! I even finally got a few good pictures of him, too.
- Check out all my photos here.
Have you ever had a day when the universe lets you know that you must be doing something right? You know, everything just goes your way, from the weather to the drive to the food you eat and the people you meet..every single thing just goes your way. For me, that was yesterday in a nutshell.
My day began a little bleary after two consecutive late nights (more on those in another post), but I fortified myself, and the guys, with French toast with strawberries and bacon, along with coffee. Lots of coffee. I refused to rush, but still managed to get some necessary chores done, read the paper and mow the lawn before heading south for my third day of music on the mountain.
I found myself with an unexpected opportunity to have a friend join me and immediately thought of my Franti-loving, Lunar B#tch friend, Chrissy. I knew she was on the road, heading north after some time spent with friends, and figured Mountain Jam might be the perfect pit stop – and it was. We texted and talked and put an impromptu plan together, including parking coordination and where to meet on the inside. And it all worked. Perfectly, in fact.
Franti was his consistent dose of sunshine and good vibes and the crowd was fantastic. Being in the pit to shoot photos has ruined me for all future shows, I’m afraid. It’s going to be like returning to coach after being bumped up to first class on an international flight. The other photographers were all friendly and cooperative as we moved around the area, each taking our shots and making way for one another. Security was cool, too, and there were no harsh voices to be heard. Amazing, just like the set Alabama Shakes laid down after Franti. Mercy, Brittany Howard takes no prisoners! She didn’t hold an iota back and I am so glad I got to experience this band live. If you have the chance – do it. No regrets, I promise.
I took hundreds of pictures this weekend and every single person I interacted with was pleasant and happy and totally cool. There were smiles and laughs as far as the camera and eye could see. It was one of those magical times when I couldn’t stop myself from continually wondering “How did I ever get to live this life?”
It probably wasn’t coincidence that I heard that Springsteen song not once, but twice, on my way to the 35th reunion of my 8th grade class, right? There probably isn’t a song more appropriate for getting together with classmates and reminiscing about shared childhoods than that nugget that made its debut the same year I graduated from high school.
I’ve been to school reunions before, 4 of them actually. But this, the first middle school reunion planned and executed, was different. After a couple of days reflecting about it, I finally recognized what made this reunion so very novel. From the first M-W reunion in 1984, which I attended in a white crepe number I referred to as my Ginger Grant dress, I went with the intention of showing people who I had become, how I had grown and changed. Going to a reunion of my 8th grade classmates couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
Attending a reunion, in my actual hometown, with other members of the Class of 1980 wasn’t an exercise in validating who I am now. Instead it was a warm embrace from the friends who have always known exactly who I am. From the former teacher who remembered me as being “so smart” to the women who made a point of telling me that I had given them something intangible that they had never forgotten, those that were present on Saturday night demonstrated that the value I held for them was completely unrelated to anything I may have achieved in my life. It was simply because of who I am, and who I’ve always been, in an absolutely organic way.
Getting together with those who shared critical, right of passage events – field trips to NYC, hitchhiking adventures, explorations with gateway substances, first kisses, was positively fantastic. The hard work of classmates to make this event happen was greatly appreciated by all who attended and I truly believe every one there had a special and memorable night. For those who weren’t there, by choice or circumstance, you were missed. Pencil this event in for 2020. It’ll be epic.
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.