It’s hard to deny that spring has sprung now that I’ve got two colors of crocus creating a riot of color in my front garden. I can’t say I’m unhappy about the premature arrival of what is typically the most fickle of seasons, but I can admit that I am more than a little uncomfortable with how quickly windows have been thrown open and bare legs have been exposed. I’m still waiting for winter.
For the first time in my 20 years of teaching, I didn’t have a single delayed start or cancelation to school this winter. Yes, I said 20 years. That is remarkable. Also absent from this year’s “winter” was any opportunity to cross-country ski locally, sleigh ride or build a snowman. I can count on one ungloved hand the number of days which were bitter cold and I’m glad that I didn’t invest in new winter gear for any of my children.
I miss the sound of cottony silence that comes from a good snowstorm and the camaraderie of neighbors coming together to dig cars out of mounds of snow and shovel sidewalks. There’s something magical about waking up in the morning to find one’s front steps buried in white, fluffy powder. It adds a sense of adventure to an otherwise typical day.
All that being said, I didn’t miss white knuckled driving or needing to repeatedly fill my wiper fluid reservoir. My skis may not have come out of their off season home in the basement, but I was able to explore areas of the golf course on foot that I’d only ever experienced before on skis. Running the golf course for 4 or 5 months has been both a real treat and a workout and Jeter and I are both going to miss it.
This premature El Niño spring feels a bit like a reward not earned, but let’s enjoy it, along with e.e. cummings’ words, anyway.
“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”
Filed under beauty, favorites, Flowers, Local, Normanskill, Observations, running, skiing, Spring, upstate New York, x-country skiing
…but sometimes they do cry. As I transition from a season of x-country skiing to being back on the pavement, my hips are screaming in protest. They really do prefer the glide of skis on powder to the pounding of feet on sidewalks. It’s going to be a long spring/summer/fall if the hips and I can’t find a way to get along. Maybe you have some tips to share?
Before we get to that, let me tell you what I’ve been doing to make friends with my ever-so-important hips:
- Intense massage with active stretches
- Yoga – at least one 75 minute class a week. Last weekend I got lucky and took a class with The Hot Yoga Spot‘s Aaron. He introduced the theme as “Hips: heaven or hell.” Perfect!! It really was just what I needed.
- Lots of pigeon pose
- Slow-paced runs
- Hot baths (with bubbles and sometimes a glass of wine)
So – what have you got? Am I missing something? What else can I do to loosen up these damn hips?
If you’re an outdoors exerciser, you’ll probably agree that we’ve arrived at shoulder season – or, as I like to call it, ass season. As in, falling on your ass if you’re not cautious because it’s so damn icy. We’re somewhere between skiing and running/cycling season and each day brings the question of which activity will be best attempted in conditions that seem to vary daily.
The golf course has deteriorated into an icy landscape, complete with bare spots and piles of dog poop. I skied it Friday and it was treacherous. After walking it on Saturday, I reluctantly concluded that ski season was over. I consoled myself with my first run in weeks – 5 slow, wet and slick miles. My quads are screaming today, so I guess I guess we can call this shoulder, ass and quads season to be accurate.
This morning, there was an unexpected (to me) period of snow. Fluffy flakes quickly accumulated and frosted the icy snow changing my prospects for the day. A ski it would be.
Work last night, an obscenely early soccer game (7:30), and the time change had combined to kick my ass, confirming the appropriateness of my naming the season after the gluteal region. After a nap between fresh flannel sheets, I felt prepared to attempt the golf course, hoping that the trails would be improved. It proved to be beyond my expectations.
The sun had softened the snow’s crust and the newly fallen flakes had filled in the worst of the divots. The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds and the ski was sublime. Although I am generally conscious of being present in the moment, I focused even harder on experiencing this ski, imagining it as being my last of the winter.
The interior trails, particularly the Coca-Cola, were beautiful and easily negotiated. Jeter and I explored a new path or two and when we completed our long loop it seemed we both felt pleasantly fatigued. Regardless of which part of my body feels sore, that soulful place inside me feels satisfied. Time for a glass of wine.
- When he was born, my oldest son scared me. That changed.
- Now, I’m in awe of him.
- According to my sons, the plural of penis is penis. (The “s” is silent when it’s plural)
- Crazy > Creepy
- The Olde English was the perfect place to celebrate my Anglophile son’s birthday.
- Molly, our server, deserves a raise. She was terrific, as was my fish and chips.
- The skiing this weekend was wonderfully challenging.
- Ryan, the guy at Best Buy who set me up with my new phone, was a super representative.
- The woman who violently slammed my car with her hand in the parking lot at Crossgates Mall represented “ugly with anger” beautifully.
- It feels good when someone you’ve known for 20+ years tells you that you look happy.
- Troy really isn’t that far from Albany.
- The old fashioned at The Wine Bar and Bistro and the new fashioned at New World Bistro Bar are equally perfect.
- Applying for my son’s third passport in 18 years fills me with pride.
- 8 countries in 18 years is pretty damn impressive. I can’t wait to see where else my children venture.
- McGeary’s on a Saturday night was wonderfully diverse, a testament to Tess’ ability to create an atmosphere that is welcoming.
- Putting on a pretty dress and lipstick for an evening out doesn’t ever get tired.
- It has been a remarkable season for x-country skiing. That being said, I’m excited to hit the pavement in my sneakers soon.
- The seasons, the years, life go(es) by so very quickly. Get it while you can.
Filed under Albany, birthdays, Boys, Dinner, family, Food, Lark Street, Local, Observations, Restaurants, skiing, Troy, Uncategorized, x-country skiing
I attended a meeting Tuesday evening in the Club House at Capital Hills. The weather, snowy and wet, was perfectly appropriate for the topic at hand – the sharing of ideas about winter activities at the golf course. As a year round, non-golfing user of the course, I knew this was a meeting I didn’t want to miss.
The meeting was hosted by golf course staff and attended by city recreation department employees as well as interested residents, in total, approximately 20 people or so. For the first 20 minutes, the conversation centered upon the lack of notification about the meeting and dog poop. Once that crap* was out-of-the-way, we got down to business.
Here are some things you may not know about Albany Muni Capital Hills:
• There are 4.75 miles of cart paths. Typically, snow is removed from these paved routes to facilitate dog walking.
• Generally, after 8+” of snow there are more than 6 miles of trails groomed for skiing.
• The golf course is comprised of nearly 300 acres, approximately two-thirds of which is not greens.
• The nearby Normanskill Farm adds an additional 200 acres of basically undeveloped land.
• Martel’s Restaurant has meeting, fundraiser and banquet space available.
Ideas bandied about include:
• Having ski rentals and how-to clinics available on designated days, organized perhaps by local ski equipment outfitters.
• A Winter Carnival and other events.
• Formal bird watching/nature walks.
• An Easter egg hunt.
• Fundraising opportunities via photography, i.e. a calendar of the Dogs of Capital Hills.
The meeting felt very much like a starting point in a potentially awesome initiative. There’s plenty of time for you to get involved. Contact the City Parks and Recreation Department or the course’s superintendent, Scott Gallup to be part of it.
Filed under Albany, Events, Exercise, family, ideas, Local, Normanskill, skiing, snow, Uncategorized, winter, x-country skiing
Valentine’s Day seems the perfect time to express my adoration for Winter. In all honesty, it’s a love I never imagined experiencing. Winter was always the cruelest of seasons, I thought. Endlessly long, yet filled with days which offered mere hours of daylight. Cold in a way that kept one indoors, in isolation. Yuck.
Our relationship was purely platonic at the start. It was a casual thing for many years, sort of a “friends with benefits situation.” If I had a little extra time, I could maybe work in an hour outdoors on my cross-country skis. Many people have a summer romance, but we had a winter fling. Winter certainly wasn’t something I was willing to build a life around. It was more a matter of convenience, a circumstance I’d be remiss to replicate in my romantic life, yet acceptable for a relationship physical in nature.
During the snowy years, we got a little more serious with each other and I found myself keeping my skis in my car “just in case.” I explored Capital Hills, familiarizing myself with the various trails, learning which spots tended to get icy and which direction to ski to witness the often stellar winter sunsets. I bought better cold weather gear and, repulsed by the false consistency of the treadmill, committed to running outdoors year round.
Winter challenged me and I responded with enthusiasm and devotion. Downhill skiing beckoned and I fell even deeper in love. The combination of adrenaline, fresh air and sunshine was intoxicating. Winter was no longer something to be survived, it became a season to savor. I realized recently that Winter has become my favorite season and I no longer wish it away as I may have in the past.
Sometimes we find love in the most unexpected places. Recognizing it, and embracing it with grace, makes our time here, and our hearts, feel remarkably full. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Filed under beauty, Exercise, favorites, holidays, Local, love, Normanskill, running, skiing, snow, upstate New York, winter, x-country skiing
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for those of us who like to exercise outdoors. I mean, 5 degrees on the plus side just doesn’t beckon to me, especially when the skies are grey and the wind is kicking up. After nearly a week without a run, I finally got out last Saturday during a break in the deep freeze. Of course, it was kind of snowing and rather messy, but damn it the thermometer was finally in the double digits and I needed to run.
Yaktrax in the snow
I’ve enjoyed winter runs and consider a layer of ice on the sidewalk to be an added challenge, along with a bit of a core workout. I like it. Layering up may be time consuming, but I have the right clothes and I love the time outdoors, traveling at my own pace. Saturday’s run required 4 layers and the addition of a new foul weather friend – Yaktrax.
I originally bought these “slip-on” grip enhancers last winter, but they languished in my running drawer until the other day. My hesitation to use them was based on fear – I was afraid that my feet would hurt or that I would feel awkward running on these springy-things. Fortunately, I was wrong. Once I figured out how to put them on they felt pretty light and were actually fairly unobtrusive for the first 3-4 miles. I had a great deal of traction and didn’t slip or slide at all while wearing them. I began to become more aware of them during mile five, feeling some new sensations in my lower legs, which may or may not have been from the Yaktrax. Either way, I’ll use them again and try to remember to pair them with an outer layer with pockets leaving myself the option of taking them off, if necessary.
Sunday morning, I got an email from Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area, an awesome old school ski area on the other side of the Hudson. This place has some of the most beautiful trails I’ve ever skied on and I was thrilled to receive notice that they had 25 km of trail open. After consulting with my runner girls, we made a plan to get ourselves to Poestenkill for a couple of hours of outdoor fun.
Neither Karen or Chrissy had ever skied here before and I was so happy to share this beautiful place with them. Chrissy offered me the job of “Life Tour Guide,” a career I think I could really get down with if only it was a real option. Although it was only about 13 degrees, there wasn’t any wind and the sun was reasonably bright. There may have also been a sip or two of homemade limoncello that provided a nice warm glow to our afternoon. We had a fantastic time and I hope to get out there again next weekend. At less than $20 for a trail pass and only a slightly more than 30 minute drive from the DelSo, it’s a bargain indulgence. Get there!