ARE Summer Trail Series – Week 4

2 out of 3 (again) on the Lunar B*tches

2 out of 3 (again) on the Lunar B*tches

After missing last week’s run at Five Rivers, I was excited to get back on the trail with Thursday night’s 3 miler up at Thacher Park. And I do mean up. The first approximate mile was pretty much an uphill climb. The saving grace was the fact that the trail wound about a bit, in a similar fashion to the lines for the amusement rides at Disney World, so you never really saw how far there remained before things might level off.

Thacher Park is known for the phenomenal views from the escarpment, but the trails we were on were set in the thick of the woods with lush, green views and gurgling water from active streams. I’ve only run up here in the fall when most of the foliage was already making a bed on the forest floor, so this was a new perspective for me. The trails were a bit rutted and rocky, with some potentially slippery moss, but more than wide enough in most places for three runners to run shoulder to shoulder. The surface was intermittently marked by mud after the rainy week we’ve had, but there was room to avoid it.

After the intense opening climb, the path leveled off for probably* a mile plus before the descent and loop back to our starting point. Those parts were pretty damn idyllic and nearly inspired us to take a second loop, before we decided to cross the road and run along the escarpment trail a bit until we felt finished. Of the three runs in the series which I’ve been able to make, this was the most challenging and I’d like to get back up there to explore more of the trails. Maybe I can find one (or you might know one to share?) that doesn’t start quite so aggressively.

Check here for next week’s run, but I think I heard it might be back at Thacher – with a bar-b-q! I’ve got the Albany House and Garden tour that night, but I’m confident I’ll meet my goal of hitting at least 50% of the runs in this series.

*continuing to hold true to my vow of not taking any electronic gadgets into the woods.

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Filed under Exercise, friends, Local, running, Summer, Uncategorized

Flipping the bird

It looked like this starling.

Apologies in advance for this post’s title. I don’t intend it to convey any disrespect, it’s more my attempt to emotionally remove myself from an incident which I found to be upsetting. Here’s what happened…

Over the weekend, my son came across an injured bird in the lawn next to our house. The poor guy was lying in the grass on its stomach looking uncomfortable and afraid. Naturally, Jeter was very interested in the bird, although not in an aggressive way. I think he was just happy to finally get close to one of those “things” that tease him with their ability to flit about as they visit our front porch feeder.

Twice, Jeter got close to the bird and it responded by hopping away, inadvertently landing on its back both times. Each time, I ever so gently rolled it back into its seemingly preferred position of belly down, an act which didn’t cause any apparent additional distress. I brought the hose to the bird and dripped some water directly in its mouth, which it seemed to appreciate. Beyond that, I simply didn’t know what to do.

As expected, by the next morning the bird was dead. I considered what to do with it and concluded that digging a hole and burying it really wouldn’t be much better than simply picking it up and placing it in the trash. I mean, at this point, what was the difference? I’m okay with my decision on how to dispose of the bird, but I’m questioning my actions relating to what I did when the bird was suffering. To me, it seems unreasonable to bring a “wild” bird to a veterinarian for medical attention, but should I have taken it somewhere to be euthanized? I don’t think I could have “put it out of its misery” myself, but should I have tried to find a means to do that? What have you/would you have done in the same situation?

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Filed under DelSo, musings, Random, Uncategorized

Friday night cookout at The Cheese Traveler

Despite the threat of tornadoes, a couple of the (formerly) McGuire’s girls and I dropped in for the weekly cookout at the DelSo’s own Cheese Traveler. What? You didn’t know they had a dinner menu of delectable, seasonal items available for dine in or take away? Please allow me to share some information about what we ordered from last night’s offerings.

Panzanella

Panzanella

We opened with the salt potatoes, a panzanella salad and a specially requested order of grilled asparagus. The potatoes and asparagus were both accompanied by a delicious aioli, while the panzanella was a medley of gorgeous greens, vegetables and capers tossed with chunks of perfectly grilled bread. We ordered a second one of those bad boys.

imageJaclyn and I each had the #2: a tilldale burger: Shelburne cheddar, pancetta, and garlic aioli ($13), while Emily went with the #3 a lamb burger: chèvre, chutney, garlic aioli ($13). Juicy and beautifully cooked these burgers were exactly what three rather particular restaurant veterans were hoping for – simple, conscientiously sourced components put together for a dynamite casual meal.

The beverage selection has been thoughtfully curated and there were beers, wines and ciders available to enjoy on premise or to take home.  The water that was served was thoughtfully flavored with mint – nice attention to detail.

The menu changes so check here for the week’s offerings.

See you there.

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Filed under Albany, Delaware Avenue, DelSo, Dinner, Food, friends, Local, Recommendations, Restaurants

Zero tolerance for pain

image I’ve come to realize that I don’t do well with pain, at least not pain of the emotional sort. As a matter of fact, when someone seriously hurts my feelings, I get angry. Really, really angry. Like I practically see red and have a tendency to behave in an irrational and borderline insane way. It is not pretty.

Physical pain is a different story, though. I’ve experienced some pretty painful things – unmedicated childbirth, separated shoulder, multiple surgeries on various parts of my body, and nothing as caused me to truly lose my sh!t.* I’ve developed some skills along the way to help me cope, things like focused breathing and visualization have gone a long way in making me able to contend with severe discomfort.

As long as it is my own pain, that is. I don’t do as well with other people’s pain. When someone I care about is hurting, I’m good with trying to make them more comfortable and doing my best to provide them with whatever they might need to get well again. To a point. If it feels to me that there is a lack of positive progress or a wallowing in the pain, I find myself stepping off. I guess I just can’t handle it.

What are you more able to tolerate – physical or emotional pain?

*Delivering that baby with Pitocin and without pain meds was probably the closest I’ve been to out of my mind with pain.

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Mountain Jam, 2015

10426562_10153351556722889_5769053083587712742_nI’ve been doing the Mountain Jam thing for a few years now and really feel like I’ve got this music fest under control. I know how to get to the event, where to park and the best landmarks for meeting my friends. I understand and accept that there will be red mud and rain at least one of the days and that the sun always shines when Michael Franti plays. I got this. For those who may not have had the good fortune to attend MJ2015, let me share some of my impressions from this year’s festival.

• Grace Potter is always an energetic and enthusiastic performer. I particularly enjoyed “Turntable” and her rip through “Cinnamon Girl.”  The complete setlist is here.

• I’ve had mixed Robert Plant experiences, but amazingly enough he’s gotten better each time I’ve seen him. How’s that for longevity? That 66 y/o rock and roll icon was so smoking hot that he compelled me to drop an f-bomb when I captioned an Instagram shot of him. I had no other word to describe the thrill of seeing him rock once again. Prepare to be impressed by this setlist!

• Gov’t Mule’s Dark Side of the Mule inspired me to stay on the Mountain far later than ever before – it was definitely pushing 2:00 a.m. before we headed for the gates. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but Warren and the band (including 3 phenomenal female back-up singers) killed it. I hope to experience this spectacle again and my respect for the band has gone through the roof.

• The food and beverages in which I indulged were all of good quality and fairly priced. I was impressed by the sausage stand’s commitment to checking the internal temperature on their offerings prior to selling and thought $6 for a big cup of cider was more than reasonable. Take note, SPAC!

• Saturday’s headliner was the dynamic duo, The Black Keys. I’m most familiar with their junior Kimbrough tribute album, Chulahoma, as well as 2011’s El Camino. Well, these guys absolutely rock! The drums/guitar combination is always my favorite and watching these two play was unbelievable. I’d do that again in a heartbeat.

• Unlike other large musical gatherings I’ve attended, there was zero drama or aggression in this crowd.  It was soooo mellow and pleasant.

• I already talked about Sunday on the mountain, but I wanted to add a note about Warren Haynes joining Franti and Spearhead during their set. What a treat it was to see Haynes play three consecutive days! And, his range – from Pink Floyd to jammy originals to Franti…wow! I even finally got a few good pictures of him, too.

  • Check out all my photos here.

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Filed under concerts, favorites, Music, road trips, SEEN

Mountain Jam packed with good vibes

Have you ever had a day when the universe lets you know that you must be doing something right? You know, everything just goes your way, from the weather to the drive to the food you eat and the people you meet..every single thing just goes your way. For me, that was yesterday in a nutshell.

My day began a little bleary after two consecutive late nights (more on those in another post), but I fortified myself, and the guys, with French toast with strawberries and bacon, along with coffee. Lots of coffee. I refused to rush, but still managed to get some necessary chores done, read the paper and mow the lawn before heading south for my third day of music on the mountain.

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I found myself with an unexpected opportunity to have a friend join me and immediately thought of my Franti-loving, Lunar B#tch friend, Chrissy. I knew she was on the road, heading north after some time spent with friends, and figured Mountain Jam might be the perfect pit stop – and it was. We texted and talked and put an impromptu plan together, including parking coordination and where to meet on the inside. And it all worked. Perfectly, in fact.

Franti was his consistent dose of sunshine and good vibes and the crowd was fantastic. Being in the pit to shoot photos has ruined me for all future shows, I’m afraid. It’s going to be like returning to coach after being bumped up to first class on an international flight. The other photographers were all friendly and cooperative as we moved around the area, each taking our shots and making way for one another. Security was cool, too, and there were no harsh voices to be heard. Amazing, just like the set Alabama Shakes laid down after Franti. Mercy, Brittany Howard takes no prisoners! She didn’t hold an iota back and I am so glad I got to experience this band live. If you have the chance – do it. No regrets, I promise.

I took hundreds of pictures this weekend and every single person I interacted with was pleasant and happy and totally cool. There were smiles and laughs as far as the camera and eye could see. It was one of those magical times when I couldn’t stop myself from continually wondering “How did I ever get to live this life?”

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Filed under concerts, Events, favorites, friends, Music, road trips, upstate New York

ARE Summer Trail Series – Week 2

image from Trip Advisor

This week’s run was remarkably different from last week’s Schodack Island romp. To begin, there was the weather. While last week was hot and humid, yesterday was overcast most of the day before a late afternoon clearing with an ideal temperature in the low 70s. The course was also quite different from the wide and flat trails we experienced Week 1 with much more narrow paths, lots of meandering tree roots and some noticeable, albeit short, hills. And, while both of the runs were riverside, the view from Peebles Island is dominated by beautiful water views (including kind of scary drop offs), a great deal of the time while SI was much more densely wooded and lush.

Jeter and I had company this week when we were joined by one of the lunar b*tches, as we made this our (belated) Strawberry Moon run. Another difference was that I was running with a bit of an injury. Earlier in the week, I noticed my right quad muscle was feeling a little tender, nothing too extreme, just a bit sore. Thursday morning when Jeter and went out for his morning constitutional, he excitedly and unexpectedly yanked the leash – hard, and I felt a pop of sorts in that same thigh. Yikes. I swallowed a couple of Alleve and gave my quad as much gentle attention during the day as possible.

I can’t say the run was my most comfortable endeavor, but as long as the terrain was fairly flat, I did fine. The hills were a bit more challenging and painful, but I’m happy to report today that I’m none the worse for the wear. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss Peebles Island – it’s kind of special. Next week’s run will be at 5 Rivers and unfortunately, Jeter and I have other plans. Keep your eyes here for the full schedule!

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