Category Archives: Washington

Who are you?

Yeah, you. My reader. It’s been more than 7 years, 2 domains and a divorce since DelSo was born. Over the years I’ve shared a lot of my life and self here, in print. You, as a reader, have come to know me on some level from my words. What makes you return here (assuming you’re not new around these parts) and read what I write? Let me remind you of some of what I’ve related to you in the hope that you might feel inclined to share with me – who you are, reader? Why are you here?

There have been so many miles – more plane rides than I could have ever imagined, along with  runs and races and road trips. I’ve  explored cities with my boys and my girlfriends and solo. My feet have run in a half dozen different countries and probably about the same number of states.

My home has evolved from a house with two full-time parents to one of three part-time children. There have been physical improvements, rooms repurposed and painted, new rugs and furniture rearranged. It feels different. After a refinance or two, I know it’s mine.

I’ve written about books I’ve read and movies and concerts I’ve seen. Increasingly, politics and my dismay with our current leadership have been topics I’ve felt compelled to write about.

My children and the challenges of being a parent frequently provide fodder for posts. While the joys outweigh the frustrations, parenthood remains a roller coaster ride that keeps me on the edge of my seat with a scream threatening to escape. It’s a heart racing ride.

Sometimes I cook or bake and post recipes and photos of the fruits of my labors. Food and wine are a big part of my life and I’ve happily shared my experiences with you.  Oh – and there’s that wine bar that I own.

There have been times when I wrote with sadness or anger, but I think I mostly write from a place of understanding and acceptance. Balance and moderation are woven throughout much of what I write.

Health and wellness have been covered and the miracle of menopause has been mentioned.  The heartbreak of addiction and the threat of cancer have been present. I’ve learned to ski and have found bliss in pigeon pose in a room heated to 100+ degrees.

It’s all here – my life.  Not perfect, not necessarily what I ever imagined it to be, but a life that I feel grateful for in a city that I have come to love.

Will you tell me why you visit my life?

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Bridgeford Hardware

I will always remember the hardware store in my hometown, Greenwood Lake, N.Y. Despite the time of day, it always seemed like dusk inside and I can remember being fascinated by the uncountable bins filled with washers, nails, screws and other unnamed shiny metal things. On the hottest of summer days, the store emanated a mildly damp coolness that made walking the aisles a quiet treat and I don’t remember ever complaining about it being my turn to run a hardware errand. 
That store is long gone, but in the DelSo we have Bridgeford Hardware, a throwback to those simpler times. Unlike the “big box” stores it is unnecessary to waste time searching for someone for assistance. Employees are readily available to help with practical suggestions and expert advice. Last week I finally decided to suck it up and replace the the screening in my sliding door to the deck. Now generally I’m not the worst person in the world in terms of home maintenance issues, but my hesitation was prompted by my experience the last time I replaced the screen a couple of years ago. On that particular day, the door was placed back on its slider and within an hour Cassidy Lilly (our family’s sweet black lab) felt the need to open the door with her sharp claw creating a new puncture. A hole which naturally has been expanding ever since until it ultimately became an ad hoc doggie door. 
With the arrival of spring, and my desire to improve my homeowner maintenance capabilities, I called Bridgeford and asked what we could do to prevent another screen repair job from going awry. Was there plexiglass which could be screwed to the lower part of the door? Perhaps chicken wire (aesthetics are secondary to function in some instances) could be stapled over the screen to provide an extra layer of fortification from Cassidy’s need to independently let herself out to the deck? It was explained that neither of these were an option as the plexiglass would crack when affixed by screws and chicken wire was not available. As an alternative, the patient man suggested using a flat sheet of metal, the type typically used when making covers for old school radiators. He did caution that they were expensive, probably close to $25, which would bring the cost of the repair up to about $50. I ended the call and considered my options. And then – I remembered that I already had one of those sheets of metal! I even knew where it was – bonus. I carried the door and the metal to my car and mere hours later, I was pleased to rehang the door that would let a breeze into my family room, yet keep the majority of pesky bugs out. 
Despite the additional labor and hardware involved with affixing the metal sheet, I wasn’t charged anymore than the regular price for a screen repair of that size, $25. As for Cassidy, she hasn’t even attempted to let herself out, so the solution has been a complete success. And my childhood love for hardware stores, like my sliding door’s screen, remains intact.

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Filed under Albany, DelSo, favorites, house, ideas, Librarians, Recommendations, relationships, Summer, Tomatoes, Washington

Get a room!

The Westin in Boston
Radisson on Lexington, NYC
There’s a part of me that keeps waiting for life to slow down a little – it has been a pretty wild ride for the last 6 weeks or so, and I really am hoping to spend some quality time at home, putzing in my front garden and getting a few spring cleaning chores accomplished.  My busy family/ social calendar has provided me with a number of recent opportunities to stay in hotels and I thought it might be interesting to relate my experiences to you all, for what it’s worth.

In the last month and a half, I have stayed at 6 different hotels in 4 different states – 5, if we include the District of Columbia.  We all know that hotels can be expensive, and I’m a fan of getting a good deal in all things travel related, so let me offer you some tips. 
  1. Create an email account just for travel related websites.  I receive offers from Hotwire, Hotels.com, Travel Ticker, Groupon, Living Social and Travelocity and it’s nice to have them all in one place devoted to travel. 
  2. Consider linking your credit card with a rewards program.  I like the Hilton family of hotels (Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, etc) and often use my credit card to earn points even if I have the cash in my pocket to make a purchase. 
  3. If there’s a problem with your accommodations, don’t suffer in silence!  Give the business an opportunity to correct the issue and make you happy.  That’s how companies create repeat business and brand loyalty. Now, some specific hotel information from my recent travels…
I was in Boston at the end of January for a wonderful surprise birthday party. The Westin was the perfect place to stay for me – an easy walk to my transportation hub, South Station, and a Starbuck’s right in the lobby.  My most favorite thing about this hotel, though, was the available map of recommended running routes.  It definitely is a niche thing, but one that I found to be the perfect amenity for me.

The first night, and also the last night, of my February train trip was booked at the Radisson on Lexington Ave in NYC.  Well, initially, that was the plan.  I had jumped on a Hotwire deal ($118 a night) and reserved the “bookend” nights of our vacation in a spot that would be convenient to Grand Central Station.  Upon our arrival, though, I began to consider other options.  The hotel wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great.  The carpeting seemed dirty and the bathroom was really small.  The proximity to Central Park was good and the staff was pleasant, but, I certainly wasn’t looking forward to returning to this place.  
Koi pond!
Since we were arriving in D.C. after dark, I thought we should spend our initial night in a location convenient to Union Station.  I selected the an Embassy Suites in the Foggy Bottom area of D.C. and then proceeded to navigate our way to the wrong Embassy Suites.  Oh, well, it was a lovely, mild night and we ultimately jumped into a cab to get there.  We were feeling beat and we indulged in takeout delivery, which is one of my fairly new, favorite things to do – very self-indulgent.  This hotel was nice and the standard Embassy Suites courtyard was kicked up a notch by the addition of a Koi pond, a cool bonus that came with an opportunity to feed the fish in the morning.  The best thing, though, in my opinion, about the Embassy Suites is how perfectly they are set up for families.  From the two-room suite to the generous breakfast and the evening cocktail hour (manager’s reception), they really know how to provide value.  And how to address a less than happy guest, but that story is for part two of this post.
To be continued…

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Filed under Boston, D.C., NYC, Recommendations, travel, Washington