Category Archives: Rants

Who are these people?

If you’re anything like me, you must occasionally observe the actions of others and wonder to yourself “Who are those people? Where are they from that they were taught that that sort of behavior was acceptable? Who raised them?!” There have been a few things in the news, and in my travels, recently that left me shaking my head and clenching my fists. Maybe they prompted a similar response in you?

People who harm or kill animals

On a local level, think of Hudson who, along with two litter mates,was found at approximately 3 weeks of age nailed to train tracks.  Or, maybe the “man” who was recently convicted of spraying his unnamed dog with alcohol and then setting it on fire. How about that abomination of a human being who killed Cecil the lion, along with numerous other majestic and rare animals, for “sport?” How can our world still be populated by humans who participate in canned hunts? I can’t imagine how anyone can perceive the act of killing a wild animal as something to be lauded.  They truly make me sick to my stomach.

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

On the side of the yellow brick road, 8/15

People who litter

It is impossible to walk or run around Albany without confronting trash. The array of discarded debris is remarkable – from straw wrappers to empty beverage containers to flat screen tvs, all tossed by the roadside. What makes people believe the world is somehow their personal landfill? You know what? I kind of hate them.

The subject of trash is the perfect segue to the latest “reality” television family implosion…

The Dugars

I’ve never watched this show but it has been impossible to avoid hearing about this enormous family. Their homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic perspective on life was apparently popular entertainment for nearly a decade until they collectively revealed that their feet were made of clay. Or maybe mud would be a more accurate descriptor. I really wish that the fad of looking to families who are willing to prostitute themselves in the media as positive examples would end.  Immediately.

So, tell me – who are these people and, more importantly, how do we make them go away?

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Filed under Albany, Local, News, Random, Rants

Hit the road, Jack (Frost)

imageOk, people, I’ve arrived at that place where many of you have been for weeks, if not months – I’m done with winter. As I look out my sliding glass window at the still light at 7:15 pm sky, I want to feel enticed to venture outdoors, to take a walk or run. Instead, I’m cozied up on the couch trying to decide which comes first – a hot shower or a quick nap. This does not make me happy.

Last month when it was barely 12 degrees for my son’s sledding party, I didn’t complain. During my winter break a few weeks back, there were a couple of days when it was literally too cold to be outside for more than a few minutes. I accepted it. On the first full day of spring when Mother Nature spit snow from the sky, I responded by simply changing from my Frye boots into a pair of Doc’s. No big deal.

But, today? When I went outside and felt the bone-chilling wind cut through my three layers of clothing? As I reached, again, for a hat and gloves and warmed up my car prior to going to work? I felt pissed. I’m tired of my winter wardrobe, sick of socks and wearing leggings under my jeans. I’m ready for bare legs, crisp cotton sheets and open windows, aren’t you?

It’s time, Jack Frost. You need to go.


Filed under Exercise, Rants, winter

On dog hair and dry cleaning

Pre-bath, at the dogpark

Pre-bath, at the dogpark

In case I haven’t mentioned it recently, I am absolutely smitten with my Jeter. Seriously, I don’t think I would trade him for the real Jeter, if the opportunity came my way. He is an absolute love. I’ve never had a white dog before though, and his fur, beautiful as it may be, is freaking me out. It’s kind of everywhere, regardless of how often I vacuum.

So, Jeter’s fur and my leaning-heavily-toward-the-dark-side wardrobe don’t really combine for the best look. I’ve learned that lighter colored lounge wear and denim are my best bets for around the house and I consciously avoid donning my blacks and blues until I’m walking out the door, but, I still feel like I’m waging a losing war. My only consolation comes from the knowledge that Jeter, who loves his bath, is one clean dog.

Speaking of clean, specifically dry cleaning, am I alone in thinking it is outrageously expensive? I do my best to avoid buying “dry clean only” garments, but still find myself with some items which I’ve been afraid to tackle on my own. To offset the expense of my dresses and cashmere and/or wool sweaters, I took advantage (or so I thought) of a recent Groupon offer for Best Cleaners. Last week, I dropped off 2 simple cashmere sweaters, 1 sleeveless silk dress and 1 sleeveless gabardine sheath.

When I went to pick my clothing up, I expected the total bill to be approximately $40, to which I intended to apply one of my $20 vouchers. I was shocked to learn that my balance after the $20 Groupon was applied was $48, meaning the total was originally $68. Is that normal? Is that really the cost of maintaining a wardrobe?

What do you all do? Handwash? Are there special settings on your machine at home which you utilize? I just bought my first lint brush, but I don’t think it will erase much beyond Jeter’s presence from my clothing. Help!


Filed under Fashion, Local, Random, Rants

An open letter to paleandpasty

(Dear readers: Please read this article, complete with comments, and then come back.  Okay, done?)

I’ve got some information for you, paleandpasty.  Take that fence picket out of your ass and have a seat.  I am so tired of people like you anonymously criticizing my city.  From your self-perceived superior, suburban vantage point, you make general statements about personal safety and outrageous property taxes in Albany.  Let me tell you a couple of things.

In the more than 20 years I’ve lived in Albany, I’ve been mildly physically threatened once.  Yes, once.  It was fairly recently and I related the details here.  While the situation was less than comfortable for me, the way I felt after that incident didn’t come close to approaching the degree of physical unease I experienced this week when I witnessed a brutal physical attack in the parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts on Delaware Avenue.  In Delmar.   At 3:15 in the afternoon.  Bad people and bad things happen to be in every community.  Stop trying to perpetuate the misimpression that Albany has the monopoly on such things.

As for taxes, I just wrote the check last week for my school taxes.  I paid 60% the price that a suburban friend paid.  Of course, their property and their school district are both valued higher than mine.  I understand that, but I certainly don’t believe that their cookie cutter ranch, which has less square feet and character than my home, or their mostly homogenous school system, which is more than a little white bread, is worth 40% more than what I paid.  My children have access to AP classes, courses through HVCC and opportunities to explore and experience community resources, too.  Those things are not suburban exclusives.

In closing, I’d like to add that my children are not being raised to believe it is okay to make anonymous statements criticizing the choices made by others.  I don’t know where you grew up or attended school, but that is a lesson you seemed to miss.  You are more than entitled to live where you want, but please stop trying to validate your choice by maligning mine.

Sincerely, Silvia Meder Lilly



Filed under Albany, DelSo, Education, Local, Observations, Rants, Schools

Time and $$ or Why I don’t fly out of Albany

My third-grader came home from school a few weeks back with a math project assignment.  My His task was to consider and solve a “real world” math problem.  We decided to use his math skills to create a budget for our summer trip to Florida, figuring out travel expenses, which parks to visit and where to stay.  We sat down at the iMac and got busy.

The first component of our trip was airfare.  I mentally estimated $300 a ticket, a generous number I thought considering the trip would be in August. I mean, who really wants to go to Florida in August?  Using Travelocity, I plugged in our dates and destination (trying both Orlando and Tampa) and was shocked by the result – $401 per ticket and 7+ hours of travel with 2 stops between Albany and either destination.  Are you kidding me?

I know that Southwest, an airline which wouldn’t show  up in a Travelocity or Expedia search, has a nonstop flight between Albany, but their schedule isn’t yet open for our late summer dates.  I decided to change our departure airport and see some other options.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that we could fly nonstop from Bradley Airport (84 miles from Albany) for a total of $340. That’s for both of us.

I quickly checked a couple of things – how much will parking be?  Approximately $7 or $8 per day.  What is the baggage policy of the airline (Jetblue) offering this stellar fare of $170 r/t? One bag free.  I mentally did some math…

Driving to Hartford should take about 2 hours, which means that ultimately it will be faster to drive to Connecticut, park my car and board a nonstop (2:50 minutes) flight than it would be to fly from Albany.  Parking will cost about $75, gas and tolls perhaps another $35 or $40 for a total of approximately $460, or $340 less than flying from the lovely little airport less than 20 minutes from my house.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I love to travel.  In the past two years, I’ve flown only once from Albany International Airport, choosing Logan (Boston), JFK, Newark and now, Bradley, instead.  If the difference in price is $40 or $50, I wouldn’t  mind spending a little more for the convenience of local, but when you’re talking about $100s, well, I just can’t do it.  Unfortunately, choosing local when it comes to air travel, isn’t nearly as palatable as choosing local for produce is.

$800+ to travel from Albany to Florida in August is a price I’m just not willing to swallow.


Filed under Albany, Boys, Local, Rants, road trips, Summer, travel, vacation

The sky’s the limit – two tales from my weekend in restaurants

I’ll begin with the planet piece, as in “what planet are you even from?” So, there was this party of five who wandered in from Lark Fest seeking a table.  They were neat in appearance and seemed reasonably intelligent.  Their preference was for a table on the back patio, but unfortunately we did not have one available to accommodate 5.  They were given a table inside and served water.   Three members of their party had stopped at the bar for drinks prior to sitting.

Imagine my surprise when, a few minutes later, I went out to the patio and saw one of the women from the 5-top pushing tables together.  When I asked her if someone had told her it was ok to do that she said, “No.” I explained the reason she wasn’t given permission to move tables was because it wasn’t, in fact, ok for her to take it upon herself to do it.  I asked her to return to the table we had already provided for her and assured her that I would get to work on creating a comfortable spot for them.

I was able to combine a couple of tables, carefully arranging the chairs, without causing the rest of the patio to be “unservable.” I invited the group outside and explained the need to leave the chairs as I had arranged them to keep the remaining tables accessible.  Naturally, no sooner had I turned around when one of the women had moved her chair to the precise spot which would prevent anyone from sitting in the two tables behind her, in effect taking up 4 tables for a total of 5 people.  Seriously?

PS.  We served a single glass of $8 wine to the table.  Really.

Up next: the (Jake)Moon

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Filed under Albany, Local, Rants, Restaurants

Destination lame


My middle son is wrapping up his middle school academic career in a couple of weeks. There are a few events to commemorate the occasion, including a day trip to NYC, later this month.  When I was in 8th grade, we also went to the city.  I remember it vividly because I saw my first Broadway musical, Grease, and wore the brown sweater coat (the height of fashion in 1980!) my mother knit for me.  It was a special day.

On Friday, he brought home the permission slip which detailed the itinerary for their day. Basically, they depart from Albany at 6:30 in the morning, returning at approximately 9:30 p.m.  Their first stop is midtown where they have 2.5 hours scheduled at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.  From there they head to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch.   I understand that not every kid has parents who believe in authentic experiences which reflect their locale, but doesn’t this sound incredibly generic? Is there anything about this that screams “greatest city in the world” to you?

But, wait, it gets better.  The kids then head down to the South Street Seaport – and this is the part that really rankles me, where they have 3 hours to wander around, using the “buddy system.” Now, I’m sure (right?) there will be adequate supervision of the kids, but this segment of the trip, the lengthiest one, is completely unstructured.  In the description provided on the permission slip, this cool, but small area, was heralded for its “mall and 15 places to eat.”  Really?!?  I’m sending my kid to New York to go to a mall and eat at some chain restaurant?

I’m pretty familiar with the downtown area where the kids are going to be.  The Brooklyn Bridge and the World Trade Center are right there.  Why aren’t they bringing the kids to either of these free, yet, significant places?  Maybe a ferry ride to Staten Island?  There’s so much history in that area!  How about Chinatown, Little Italy or the Tenement Museum, all of which are included in the 8th grade social studies curriculum?

Is it just me, or is this a true example of missed opportunity and lack of effort in planning?  What do you think?


Filed under Boys, Education, Events, NYC, Rants, Schools