Category Archives: Observations

For the last time

B105CC8D-49F7-4FA1-A25C-C56D5F197860Yesterday I wore a sweater which definitely had seen better days. There were more than a couple of small, random holes (moths? burns?) that made it beyond repair. I almost took it off and discarded it, but instead made the decision to wear that sweater one last time, rationalizing that most of the damage would be difficult to detect without closer inspection. I didn’t expect anyone to be too near me anyway.

I paired my sweater with skinny jeans and a pair of flats with oversized bows that make me smile. It was a comfortable outfit that made me feel good and I garnered a couple of nice compliments from friends. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I could see what others had remarked upon – I did look pretty, despite the less than perfect state of my sweater.

At the end of my day, I undressed and looked over the sweater. There was no hope of making the fabric whole again, a fact that I understood and accepted. On the last day that my sweater would ever be worn, it was worn with awareness and appreciation for the way I felt when I was within it. I knew that I would never again wear that particular garment, but was consoled by the knowledge that I had worn the sh*t out of that black sweater for many years.  It had rewarded me with a last “hug,” along with a lesson to remember to be appreciative of the now.

Articles of clothing, time spent with loved ones, relationships – if you knew that it was the last time, would you do things differently? Is there a different level of honor that would be present if you were aware that you were never going to experience something ever again? Should there be?

 

 

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Filed under aging, Fashion, favorites, love, musings, Observations, Random, relationships

Processing

I’ve been on a Rolling Stones kick recently. Maybe it was that tribute band I went to see a couple of weeks ago at The Hangar. I listened to them all the way on my run today from home to Troy, where I met my neighbor at event and caught a ride home. It wasn’t the easiest run I‘ve ever taken and parts of the route were new and a little unnerving to me, but I don’t regret a step of it. It was a gift to be outdoors with the air on my skin and every scent encountered along the river pleasant.

I ran in South Troy for the first time, which was kind of cool since I had made a brief cameo just yesterday at my friend Mary’s birthday. You know, Mary Panza from South f’n Troy. She’s my oldest upstate friend and I was thrilled to attend her celebration yesterday and to give her a gift. Not just “a gift,” but the most perfect gift – one I had seen at Elissa Halloran’s and immediately knew it she belonged with Mary. 

Giving Mary to Mary was the perfect demonstration of how much more joyous it is to give than to receive. That is a true gift.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and it’s caused me to struggle with writing a bit. I’ve been purposefully keeping myself busy – attending events like Champagne on the Park and working extra nights, such as last Wednesday at the annual Troy Arts Center Gala. But, today, there was that run from Albany to Troy which gave me a long time to think things through and I believe I’m getting closer to being unstuck. At least for now.

Life is so unpredictable. Who really knows what’s next? With things in such a state of flux, is it even worthwhile to try to figure it the fuck out? Just keep running…

I’ve been examining how I’ve grown from situations I’ve faced, and have to admit that I just don’t yet have the necessary perspective to understand exactly what happened. I know I’ve changed and learned new things, but haven’t yet determined at what cost.

Taking the time to process stuff is critical. It’s comparable, I think, to pain management. You have to be aware of it, understand that you can’t hide from it and stay on top of it before it has a chance to overwhelm you. Eventually, though, you need to move forward with what comes next. This song just might help you with that.

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Filed under aging, Albany, beauty, birthdays, Exercise, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, running, sunday, Troy, Uncategorized

Tulips and kisses – Albany love

Unexpectedly, I found myself with the evening free last night. Since I had been mourning a lack of opportunity to visit the park on a sunny day and the evening was stellar, I grabbed Jeter and headed down with my Nikon for a walk. I parked on South Lake and meandered along the “lake,” making my way towards Moses and the tulip beds, passing folks fishing and families strolling and runners, feeling perfectly content with exactly what I was doing.

The air was wonderfully fresh and scented by blossoming trees. Jeter was better behaved than usual despite the unfamiliar surroundings and the dozens of people roaming around. I took pictures, reminding myself with each shutter snap how much I’ve missed taking photos with my camera, instead of my phone. As I glanced around, I was surprised by two things – how few people I recognized and how wonderfully diverse Albany was becoming.

Everywhere I looked I saw people with skin in a rainbow of shades. Folks were dressed uniquely and children, particularly little girls, were wearing their spring finest posing among the flowers for family photos. There were no harsh voices and everyone seemed to be enjoying time spent outdoors after a spring that was a long time coming. It was lovely and left me feeling so happy and proud of my adopted city.

I’ve got two recommendations for you – get there if you can.  The tulips should be blooming for at least another week, I imagine. My second suggestion? When you find yourself with some spare time, fill it doing something that gives you joy.

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Filed under Albany, beauty, favorites, Flowers, Gardens, Local, Observations, Recommendations, Spring

Seneca 7

Three days post-race and I’m thinking I may have peaked in terms of muscle soreness. Since I can’t really run for another couple of days, I’ve got a little time to share my first relay race experience from an event I participated in the last weekend in April. You know, that spring weekend when it legitimately snowed…

The Seneca Seven is a seven-member team relay race with a course that goes completely around Seneca Lake. The race is divided into 21 legs with each runner taking 3 legs. I was runner 4 with a total mileage of just about 9 miles. I had requested hills and my generous teammates indulged me by giving me a terrific climb of approximately 300 ft over 3.5 miles for my second leg. Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad but don’t tell my teammates!

Before I got there, though, there were a lot of group messages on Facebook and far too many details to be communicated and managed. Seriously, organizing 14 women is truly like herding cats and there’s a reason that this sort of event is one that I’ve not experienced before – it’s too much work for too little running. Not taking into account any of the time prior to our departure for Geneva, N.Y., the race absorbed 36 hours of my weekend and I ran less than 10 miles. That’s negative math for me.

But, the positives? There definitely were some. I really enjoyed riding in the van and getting to know the women who were on my team. We had some fun for sure and I’d happily hang out with any of them again. The course was beautiful, even in the snow/rain mix with which we had to contend. I haven’t been to the Finger Lakes in years and Geneva looked like a perfect spot for a summer weekend spent enjoying the outdoors as well checking out some of the restaurants and shops that line the charming streets of town.

There are also tons of wineries and breweries that I’d be happy to explore, maybe even on bike. The roads generally have wide shoulders and I think the riding would be awesome.

img_4974One of the best things about the race came after the 12 hours we spent on the course. Apparently, there was some controversy about this year’s race shirts. It seems that some folks were offended by one of the images on the shirt, an image one of my teammates had questioned because we didn’t understand what it was depicting. The image, a swoop of yellow hair with a line drawn through it represented Donald Trump and was included, according to race officials, because of his lack of support of environmental issues.

While some might say that politics don’t belong in races, I disagree. Personally, I hesitated before committing to the Shape Half Marathon last month because I’m not a fan of the event’s media sponsor. Choosing to participate in an activity can be interpreted as supporting a cause or endorsing a person and I don’t generally do that lightly. I’m not sure that I’ll do this particular race again, but I will proudly wear my new shirt.

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Filed under Events, Exercise, friends, Observations, road trips, running, Spring, Uncategorized

Asking to be killed

Watch this video.

The situation in Toronto earlier this week was pretty dramatic – a man, a rented van, and seemingly, a mission to hurt and kill as many innocent pedestrians as possible. While it’s something we’ve seen before, there were two things that stood out to me as remarkably different.

The first, the one that has been justifiably lauded by so very many, is the composure of the police officer who ultimately disarmed the suspect. His actions have already been recognized as being text-book perfect. He was calm, and he controlled and managed the situation in a manner that will surely be used in the future for instructing how to deal with these all too frequent incidents. It was reassuring to witness an officer of the law bringing a horrific episode to an end without a single bullet. Bravo.

The second thing that impressed me was the absolute lack of awareness about the situation demonstrated by three pedestrians who walked through the scene as it unfolded. I use the word “scene” intentionally, because what in the world was those people thinking – perhaps, that they had stumbled upon a movie being filmed? I mean, look at them! There’s a police officer facing in their direction with a weapon drawn and they’re just ambling along? How is it that they were not prevented from walking into the middle of a wildly volatile situation? And, more striking, how clueless were they?

0A2D807D-B9BB-49BD-B933-42644634995FIf folks can’t assess the threat of an ongoing altercation between the police and a suspect, I have little faith that they’ll ever be able to prevent more occurrences like the one in Toronto (or NYC, or Barcelona or Muenster…) by seeing and saying something. Eyes open, people.

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Filed under Events, musings, News, Observations, Uncategorized

Questions about a well-lived life

How many times a week do you conclude that your day was one that felt as if you had lived it well? Once? Twice? Maybe more than that?

How do you personally define a day as “well-lived?” Is it measurable in some way? Is there a consistency in the components that come together to combine in a fashion that would satisfy your own criteria for well-lived?

I’ve been struggling. As a person with a pretty firm idea of how long life is (not long enough), my ability to tolerate accept witness loved ones who can’t seem to recognize and embrace the simple joys, daily miracles and random accomplishments that are present in most of our lives, is limited. Sometimes I just need to separate myself from people who do not appreciate the time they’ve been given.

How do I define a well-lived day? I’ll give you an example – on Saturday I raked up the backyard and filled three bags with leaves and yard debris, swept the deck and finally tossed a bunch of cracked flower pots, roasted some vegetables, took care of a few chores inside the house, played ball with Jeter, prepared and ate dinner with my family, went to work and took care of my guests with as much attention and competence as possible, came home and wound down with an episode of some HGTV show and a little ice cream and was in bed by midnight. To me, that felt like a day well-lived.

Was it exciting? Not particularly. Did I change the world? No, but my yard looks so much better and my deck is ready for sunshine and the plants I pre-ordered from my neighborhood association. Were there moments when I felt stressed or even melancholy? Of course, but my appreciation for the physical strength I possess which enables me to do outdoor and indoor maintenance overshadowed those instances. Would I have liked to simply remain at home or have gone out to socialize rather than go to work? Sure, but I do value the extra income and it provides me with the means to travel, something I absolutely love to do. Plus, I’m not great at going out solo. Believe it or not, I can be a little shy in social situations.

What made the day well-lived, to me, was the sense that I made good use of my time. It wasn’t even necessarily what I did with my minutes and hours, it’s what I didn’t do – I didn’t squander them or spend them doing things that didn’t give me satisfaction. The day in many ways was spent cultivating happiness – it makes me happy to have a tidy yard and a clean house and a fridge stocked with good food and guests who have enjoyed their own evening out because of, in part, my efforts. It was a good day.

How was your weekend? Did you live it well?

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Filed under aging, beauty, love, musings, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized

(Not) Lost in translation

278790E3-7D3A-4AE8-9C22-6CA27AF25C5CAt work last night I saw something new – a rare occurrence when you’ve been a server for 35+ years. A couple, an Asian woman and white man who were dining, had a novel way of communicating with one another – an electronic universal translator. It really seemed to come in handy as they made modifications to dishes and ordered their meals, but I didn’t notice that they used it very much for actually speaking to one another. It made me wonder about how men and women might be able to utilize such a device when they speak the same “official” language, yet lack a common emotional language.

One of the biggest challenges in a romantic relationship is communication. Even though we live in a world with a dizzying array of means to communicate, it still seems as if males and females approach this exercise in very different ways. It might be unfair to generalize and assign characteristics by gender, but, in my 51  years on earth, I’ve learned a couple of things.

In my experience, men don’t often initiate conversations about topics which might be difficult to discuss. It’s kind of the way I am about household repairs – I try to ignore suspected problems (the dishwasher not cleaning plates thoroughly, for example) until they became too big of an issue to avoid any longer. It’s almost as if those fellas (and I) are hoping that the problem will somehow resolve itself without any attention. Of course, it doesn’t really work that way and instead of the glitch rectifying itself, the malfunction generally grows larger and results in an even greater problem. Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it nonexistent, it just allows it to morph into something even more expensive to repair. My machine will help to prevent these kind of situations from occurring or , at the least, escalating..

If I were able to invent a male-female translator I would be sure to include a feature that measured levels of honesty. A relationship that lacks such a fundamental function will never provide a truly satisfying and healthy coupling. We all are guilty of lies of omission, I suppose, but a romantic connection between two should always include a sense of security when it comes to talking about tough subjects. More honesty eventually means more opportunities for creating a relationship that can provide a couple with the strength to stand up to the everyday challenges of life as a unit. Honesty can be scary, but lack of direct honesty is far more scary.

My prototype for a male-female translator would also come loaded with a function that demands that communication comes at regular intervals, i.e. there should be mandatory limits on allowing texts/emails/vms to go unanswered. Lines of communication corrode when they go unused and a lack of time devoted to one another will kill relationships faster than an iPhone battery dies. It isn’t realistic to expect a complete accord when it comes to communication styles, but leaving your loved one hanging for too long will create an unnecessarily adverse situation. My translator will be equipped with an electrical shock function that grows progressively more painful when one party fails to respond after a particular length of time or in the case of an accumulation of unanswered messages.

What have I failed to include? Additional features you’d like to add to my prototype?

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Filed under love, musings, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized