Category Archives: musings

Screen play

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the windows in my second story home. Many of the windows are on the larger size and Jeter likes to situate himself so his paws are propping him up on the window sill. My big fear is that he will attempt to chase something he sees outside of the window and the screen will get pushed out with Jeter to follow. Ugh. 11234002_10153291393997889_3796212111829749983_n

To lessen the chance of this frequently imagined tragedy from ever occurring, I generally only crack the lower window, opting instead to get my fresh air by pulling down the top window which is beyond Jeter’s reach. Now that I’ve resolved my own personal window anxiety inducer, I’ve cast my attention in other directions, at other screens that have caught my eye. Like the two I noticed last weekend during a walk.

The first were more an issue about a lack of screens, to be specific. As I was looking up at building near Lark Street, I noticed a 4 story building with open windows but no screens. I felt a little uncomfortable about the lack of screens, as my imagination kicked in and I started to picture small children and animals tumbling out of that gaping hole some forty or fifty feet up. Then I wondered shouldn’t there be some kind of window guards or something? You know those things that prevent a lower window from being raised beyond a certain point? I did a little research and it seems like there is an ordinance (Ordinance Number 62.81.06 ) but maybe code enforcement needs to direct some attention that way?

Jeter and I next made our way through the park and up New Scotland and over to Academy. I couldn’t help but notice a first floor window screen leaning against the front of a brick building. Naturally, my first thought was that the screen had been removed by someone either exiting or entering through the window. Is that a weird conclusion to make?

Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but open windows and screens cause fear in my heart.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, Exercise, Local, musings, Random

Fathers – the ones we have and the ones we don’t

imageI went to mass the other day. It was in my hometown in the same church where I made my first communion, attended catechism classes and impatiently sat through midnight mass on Christmas Eve eager to only get home and open a single gift, as was our custom. I was there to accompany one of my oldest friends as he said a final public goodbye to his father.

The priest was “new,” having been there for just 20 years, he said. He was not the priest from my own childhood, Monsignor O’Flaherty who had no hesitation about addressing those dressed too casually or arriving too late for mass. Reverend Sweeney, along with my friend and his siblings, provided a lovely eulogy to a man who lived a long life filled with family and friends. I learned for the first time that my friend’s dad had never met his own dad and rejoiced in the thought of that introduction finally, 87 years later, taking place. The image made me smile.

Am I a true believer in heaven and life after death? Probably not. Do I believe that when we leave our earthly bodies behind our souls somehow come together and combine with those of whom we missed to create a new energy? I think I do.

I hope your Father’s Day, be it the third Sunday of June or some other day not yet on the calendar, is filled with love and a sense of connection.

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Filed under aging, Aloysius, friends, holidays, musings, road trips

Flipping the bird

It looked like this starling.

Apologies in advance for this post’s title. I don’t intend it to convey any disrespect, it’s more my attempt to emotionally remove myself from an incident which I found to be upsetting. Here’s what happened…

Over the weekend, my son came across an injured bird in the lawn next to our house. The poor guy was lying in the grass on its stomach looking uncomfortable and afraid. Naturally, Jeter was very interested in the bird, although not in an aggressive way. I think he was just happy to finally get close to one of those “things” that tease him with their ability to flit about as they visit our front porch feeder.

Twice, Jeter got close to the bird and it responded by hopping away, inadvertently landing on its back both times. Each time, I ever so gently rolled it back into its seemingly preferred position of belly down, an act which didn’t cause any apparent additional distress. I brought the hose to the bird and dripped some water directly in its mouth, which it seemed to appreciate. Beyond that, I simply didn’t know what to do.

As expected, by the next morning the bird was dead. I considered what to do with it and concluded that digging a hole and burying it really wouldn’t be much better than simply picking it up and placing it in the trash. I mean, at this point, what was the difference? I’m okay with my decision on how to dispose of the bird, but I’m questioning my actions relating to what I did when the bird was suffering. To me, it seems unreasonable to bring a “wild” bird to a veterinarian for medical attention, but should I have taken it somewhere to be euthanized? I don’t think I could have “put it out of its misery” myself, but should I have tried to find a means to do that? What have you/would you have done in the same situation?

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Filed under DelSo, musings, Random, Uncategorized

Zero tolerance for pain

image I’ve come to realize that I don’t do well with pain, at least not pain of the emotional sort. As a matter of fact, when someone seriously hurts my feelings, I get angry. Really, really angry. Like I practically see red and have a tendency to behave in an irrational and borderline insane way. It is not pretty.

Physical pain is a different story, though. I’ve experienced some pretty painful things – unmedicated childbirth, separated shoulder, multiple surgeries on various parts of my body, and nothing as caused me to truly lose my sh!t.* I’ve developed some skills along the way to help me cope, things like focused breathing and visualization have gone a long way in making me able to contend with severe discomfort.

As long as it is my own pain, that is. I don’t do as well with other people’s pain. When someone I care about is hurting, I’m good with trying to make them more comfortable and doing my best to provide them with whatever they might need to get well again. To a point. If it feels to me that there is a lack of positive progress or a wallowing in the pain, I find myself stepping off. I guess I just can’t handle it.

What are you more able to tolerate – physical or emotional pain?

*Delivering that baby with Pitocin and without pain meds was probably the closest I’ve been to out of my mind with pain.

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Call me Caitlyn

Image: NBCNews.com

Image: NBCNews.com

There was a phrase a couple of years back that became so ubiquitous that I developed a physical response to hearing it. Each time someone uttered “It is what it is,” the hair on the back of my neck legitimately stood up and I began to exhale loudly. The phrase annoyed me, I think because it seemed so passive, so completely relinquishing control. Not my way, I guess.

The phrase that I’m hearing kind of frequently now is one I find less irritating – You do you. My hippie wannabe son has been dropping it on me for quite a few months, yet it hasn’t even begun to wear on my nerves. In fact, I kind of love it and I find myself smiling each time I hear it. You do you.

During my run tonight, I was thinking that nothing so perfectly illustrates the transition from It is what it is to You do you as Caitlyn née Bruce Jenner. Olympic hero and put upon parent to a collection of 10 (?) children, Bruce Jenner could have elected to continue flirting with Caitlyn, perhaps indulging his desire for female attributes and accoutrements exclusively out of the public eye, but instead, he decided to do him. Or, more accurately, her.

I can’t imagine the conflict experienced by a person who constantly feels that their external self does not accurately reflect their internal reality. It’s hard enough to look in the mirror occasionally and behold an image that doesn’t match the way we’re feeling – where did those lines and wrinkles come from? I still feel like I’m 22! The continual clash between personal perception of self and the visage we present to humanity can’t be anything short of perpetually jarring.

At 65 years of age, Caitlyn Jenner was introduced to the world in a way that has caused a social media frenzy. Some folks are having a difficult time reconciling Bruce with Caitlyn, are struggling to accept that a man who became an international hero by asserting his athletic prowess in one of the world’s most ancient events, prefers to define himself as female. You know what? It is what it is. You do you. All the best to you, Caitlyn Jenner.

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Filed under musings, News, Random, Uncategorized

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

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