Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dog days of summer


One of my favorite things about our most recent visit to the Cape was the fact that Jeter could come along. Actually, it was one of the criteria, along with an outdoor shower, that I considered to be a requirement when we were searching for a rental for the week. Hey, even a dog needs a change of scenery on occasion.

Bringing Jeter along was not without complication. Originally I thought I might snag the little cabin that was poised on a hill next to the main house, as my own for the week. Once I toured the space I knew it would be better suited to the preteens since the bed was up a ladder in a loft area. Jeter doesn’t do ladders, but he does like to sleep with me, so I picked a bedroom in the cottage instead.

We also had a nocturnal visit from the biggest damn raccoon I’ve ever seen. (S)he was attracted to Jeter’s airtight food bin and bowls, which I had set up on the screened in porch. It took a couple of days before the bandit made its move, but one night we were woken up by something really loud. Turns out the raccoon was attempting a break in – directly through the screen. By the time we figured out what was going on there was a decent sized hole in the screen directly above Jeter’s feeding station. Live and learn.

It isn’t always fun having a dog on vacation. I found that Jeter was really annoying at the ocean when we were with our entire gang of kids and adults. He just wanted to be a part of everything which meant sand everywhere, plaintive and relentless barking and generally being an annoyance. When I took him solo, though, he was fantastic. He settled in and was completely chill. I believe I even caught a cat nap with my dog snuggled next to me. He was a little tired, too, from all of the swimming he did.

Good walks, good swims, good sleeps, good dog.

 

 

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Filed under Cape Cod, family, friends, road trips, Summer, Uncategorized, vacation

Lighting up – smoking pot and being a white supremacist

The Washington Post had an interesting article last month about the prevalence of marijuana smoke in our country’s capital now that recreational marijuana use has been legalized. The aroma of marijuana is unexpectedly filling the air in neighborhoods considered to be conservative, places like Georgetown and “even in the suburbs of Bethesda.” The writer interviews a number of residents and there’s a lot of wondering about who these pot smokers are – have they been smoking weed all these years secretly? Where? Who are they? Pot smokers have come out of the proverbial closet to enjoy lighting up without shame or fear of prosecution. In a country that is increasingly decriminalizing marijuana consumption, some might call it progress.

When I originally read that story, I immediately thought of the increased occurrences of Americans spewing racist, bigoted, misogynistic and homophobic beliefs since Donald Trump became a resident of the White House.*  Violent, self-perceived victims have crawled out of the swamps and woods and from under the rocks where they’ve been hiding to flaunt their Nazi ideology and inflict damage upon those who reject their philosophy. What happened this weekend in Charlottesville is directly related to the principles of our current administration and while these domestic terrorists weren’t literally given consent to act upon their twisted and often downright evil beliefs, the leader of our country has tacitly with his policies (immigration, LGBT, permitted police response) deemed their actions as acceptable.

Well, you know what? It isn’t acceptable. It isn’t civilized. It isn’t what our country is about and it will not be swallowed like a hit from a bong. Demonstrate your lack of acceptance of Neo-Nazism TODAY, Sunday, August 13th at 5:00 at Townsend Park.  Get fired up and be there.

*See what I did here? I just can’t refer to him as the President.

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Filed under Albany, Events, Uncategorized

Eating Charleston – 5 bites

One of the most appealing things about Charleston is the food scene. It is very much a happening thing. There are an insane number of restaurants and the trend, like in many other places, is all about local products. This translates to lots of shrimp and crab, fresh produce and, of course, barbecue. In advance of my recent visit, other than a culinary tour for my first afternoon, I didn’t make any reservations for meals preferring instead to be spontaneous. See? I’m working on that, friends.

Here are my five favorite meals:

Look at those grits!

My warm cinnamon roll.

  • Breakfast at Hen and the Goat.* I found this place on Yelp and it sounded promising. What it actually was, though, was fantastic. It’s one of those places where you order at the counter and take a number to your table for food delivery. I ordered the Bill Murray – 2 eggs, ham, salsa, with cheese grits subbed for the home fries and a side of avocado because a girl needs her vegetables. The eggs were scrambled soft as requested and the grits were the best I’ve ever had – creamy, cheesy with zero grittiness. The ham was a tad salty for my taste, so I left some on the plate and rewarded myself with a cinnamon roll which was So Damn Good. Charleston and I were off to a good start.

That’s a half order.

Super fresh fruit bowl.

  • Next up – another breakfast out. This meal was my reward for an 11 mile bike ride to Folly Beach. Lost Dog Cafe had been recommended by my AirBandB host and I’ve got to say, he’s got good taste. The place was popping when I arrived but I nabbed a seat at the bar and was well taken care of. I had a half order of biscuits with sausage gravy and a beautiful bowl of fresh fruit. It was simple food, well prepared and exactly what I wanted. Well, almost exactly. I really wanted to try one of their heralded cinnamon rolls, you know, for scientific reasons, but I just couldn’t justify consuming another baked good. I should have eaten it – I still had an 11 mile bike ride home!

Simple and perfect.

  • One of my goals was to eat seafood and my friend Dora, from Fin, had spoken highly of 167 Raw on East Bay. The wait for a seat for one was about 45 minutes, but the time passed quickly with a nice Cremant and social fellow waiters. I was eventually seated next to another solo diner, Natalie from Brooklyn, and we spent a really nice hour or so chatting and slurping. I completely enjoyed my array of oysters, a second glass of wine and the conversation.

Pretty, right? Also pretty hard to eat!

A salad with a grilled peach? Yes, please!

  • S.N.O.B. (Slightly North of Broad) had been recommended by a number of people and I can understand why. It’s a pretty spot in an old warehouse with a nice bar, open kitchen and lots of windows facing the bustling street. I made my way here for a light dinner (an appetizer and a salad) at the bar and thought the food was really good. My single complaint was the attractive, yet highly impractical presentation of my crab, shrimp, avocado, heirloom tomato cocktail. Eating it delicately at the bar was a pain in the ass. Maybe I should have requested a fish fork? I don’t know, I just wanted to dump it all onto a plate. Call me a cretin.

I pretty much ate everything on this tray…

  • When the chef you work for tells you to go to a barbecue spot, you go. That’s how I found myself at Swig & Swine, a place that takes bar-b-q to a new level. The menu was a little intimidating with the meats sold by the half pound, but I took a minute and determined that ordering a brisket sandwich without bread was my best move. In place of bread, I added a second side selecting mac and cheese and cole slaw to accompany my beef. Damn, this place was fantastic. It was easily the tastiest, most tender brisket I’ve ever had and the sides were equally memorable.  Their beer and bourbon selections were pretty impressive, too.  I love a place that takes their work seriously, but retains a sense of humor and this spot definitely did that with their t-shirts proclaiming that they’ve been “Horrifying vegetarians since 2013.” Cool spot.

*This was the only place I made it to twice. Here’s the avocado toast (with an added fried egg or two) I thoroughly enjoyed when I stopped in for my second meal. Isn’t it beautiful?

Micro greens with a purpose – they really added to the dish.

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Finding peace (and pieces) on the road

One of the roads taken on this trip.

Do you ever have a day or two or three when it feels like you must be doing something right in your life? I mean, how else can you accept the good fortune that you’re experiencing? It almost makes a person believe that old adage about how if you’re happy inside, you’re happy everywhere you are. There’s no other way to explain the feeling of loving everywhere you go.

This trip has been remarkable. As I sat facing the charm of Rainbow Row, I had a hard time processing how lucky I’ve been in Charleston. The rain cooperated and only came at times that had no bearing at all on my activities. That’s saying something considering it rained 3 of my 5 days there. The people I’ve talked to have been friendly, the drinks cold and the food terrific. I scored parking each time I needed to and only hit legitimate traffic once – and that was on a draw bridge. It couldn’t have been a better solo trip.

You know, I didn’t grow up expecting to ever be in a position where I could indulge my itch to travel. I’ve come a long way since my first trip to Florida with one of my dearest friend’s family when I had $50 in my pocket, and that only because my brother gave it to me as I left our house. Along the way I learned to travel inexpensively, meals from grocery stores and delis, low budget accommodations, lots of self guided walking tours…you get it. It was good practice and I learned a lot.

Memories were made and I’m heading home with what feels like a new piece in place in my life’s mosaic.  What’s your next destination?

“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry”

– Jack Kerouac

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Filed under beauty, Charleston, musings, Observations, Random, Summer, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

Things are amping up here in Albany as the September mayoral primary approaches. Of course, the winner of the primary in our fair city is the de facto winner of the election. That’s just how things work in our overwhelmingly democratic capital city. I’ve noticed while driving and running around town that there are a lot of lawn signs for the candidates popping up, particularly it seems for Frank Commisso, Jr. They’re everywhere and their prevalence has caused me to wonder what the appeal is for this candidate who I perceive to be a newish face on an old machine. Maybe you can help me with that, reader?

I’ve got my candidate – I’ll be voting again for Kathy Sheehan. Out of all of the candidates, I believe she is the smartest and least inclined to work for her own interests. I’ve heard criticism about her lack of political savvy and some say she is merely performing her duties as a step towards a more elevated position. It’s ok. I’ll take intelligent and ambitious. I think she’s done a good job and is making positive changes for residents. Plus, I like her – she’s approachable, compassionate and we seem to share similar values. She’s got my vote.

There have been a number of folks polling and campaigning at my door already and I’ve signed a few petitions. The other two primary candidates have stopped by and I had a very nice conversation with Frank Commisso, Jr., but remain firm in my commitment to Mayor Sheehan. Maybe that’s why I was dismayed to find a Carolyn McLaughlin sign staked in my front garden when I returned from Cape Cod last week. I do have a first floor rental flat, though, and would certainly permit my tenant-friend to express his own political leanings by supporting his own candidate. When I saw him, I asked if he had given permission for the sign to be posted and he responded with surprise and said “I thought you put it there.” Hmmm. Nope.

Looking across the street, I noticed another McLaughlin sign staked in the front yard of a neighbor who I know to be traveling this summer. When I reached out to my neighbor and asked if she had approved the sign, she quickly said “No,” and asked me to remove it. Done. Both of “our” signs went into the trash last night. Now I’m left to wonder if those Commisso signs all over town might have also been distributed and posted without explicit permission. Regardless, let’s hope they’re removed post-primary as quickly as they’ve appeared. They’re blocking my scenery.

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Filed under Albany, DelSo, Local, politics, Uncategorized

Tidal time

Just back from a quick trip to the Cape and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the speed of life. It was a three-day trip and we packed in a lot of time outdoors, a couple of beaches and bike rides and a few margaritas. There were friends in Provincetown to drink with and the weather was just what I needed – 2 days of sunshine followed by a day of on and off showers mixed with sunshine. There was a tremendous moonrise and hours spent working on a 1000 piece puzzle that I’m still obsessing over from more than 250 miles away. It was delightful.

I’ve been doing this Cape Cod thing for 20 years now and it never gets old. There’s always a new beach or restaurant or shop to visit and a different house to make home. Despite all the new spots to explore, there are traditions to be honored, favorite running routes and swimming spots, dinner joints and ice cream flavors. It’s a wonderful place and, even when things don’t go perfectly, I’m always appreciative of the time spent in this special place. 

38530306-4D8A-4CFF-8359-597BE360EB23-8404-000005C35C37E501                                                                         On this trip, though, I was struck by a thought I couldn’t shake – it seems that I have as many memories of time spent on the Cape as there are grains of sand on the beach. When I revisit places, eat particular foods, smell distinct aromas, hear certain sounds, I feel as if I’m sometimes doing those things with company. Over the years, in addition to my own family, I’ve spent Cape time with dozens of friends and when I see or taste or smell or hear something that reminds me of a previous, similar experience it’s almost like those folks are once again joining me. I hear their voices and laughter over the roar of the ocean and see their smiles through early morning fog and feel so incredibly fortunate to have the memories of so many times spent with people I love, in a place I love. I simply can’t wait to get back there next month with my guys!

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Filed under beauty, Boys, Cape Cod, family, favorites, friends, Observations, road trips, Summer, Uncategorized

Define “next business day,” Trustco

Looking over the business checking account the other day, I noticed something weird. Apparently, I’d been dinged with a $36 insufficient funds charge. I was more than a little surprised since the charge was levied on Tuesday, June 20 and I had deposited a substantial certified check, via the ATM, on 6/17.

I find myself using the ATM quite a bit these days. It’s like banking on your own hours and it’s really convenient. When I made that particular deposit, the slip I received quite clearly said “deposit posts on 6/19.” When I followed up with the branch, I was given an explanation that kind of feels like bullshit, but maybe you can help me understand?

Here’s what I was told: the ATM clearly says that deposits post on the next business day. Now, if I made a deposit on Saturday the 17th, in my mind the next business day is Monday the 19th. Well, that’s not how Trustco (and maybe every other bank in the universe) sees things. Saturday’s transactions actually get credited on Tuesday. So, even though the slip says “deposit posts on 6/19,” they meant 6/20, which is the day that the bank elected to charge $36 prior to crediting that $10,000+ deposit.

Is it really any wonder that people seem to be moving to credit unions?

Ultimately, I was able to have the charge reversed, but I didn’t like feeling as if Trustco was doing me a favor. In fact, I kind of think I’m doing them a favor with my 5 accounts and mortgage.

Banks need to start making sense.

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