Yesterday I wore a sweater which definitely had seen better days. There were more than a couple of small, random holes (moths? burns?) that made it beyond repair. I almost took it off and discarded it, but instead made the decision to wear that sweater one last time, rationalizing that most of the damage would be difficult to detect without closer inspection. I didn’t expect anyone to be too near me anyway.
I paired my sweater with skinny jeans and a pair of flats with oversized bows that make me smile. It was a comfortable outfit that made me feel good and I garnered a couple of nice compliments from friends. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I could see what others had remarked upon – I did look pretty, despite the less than perfect state of my sweater.
At the end of my day, I undressed and looked over the sweater. There was no hope of making the fabric whole again, a fact that I understood and accepted. On the last day that my sweater would ever be worn, it was worn with awareness and appreciation for the way I felt when I was within it. I knew that I would never again wear that particular garment, but was consoled by the knowledge that I had worn the sh*t out of that black sweater for many years. It had rewarded me with a last “hug,” along with a lesson to remember to be appreciative of the now.
Articles of clothing, time spent with loved ones, relationships – if you knew that it was the last time, would you do things differently? Is there a different level of honor that would be present if you were aware that you were never going to experience something ever again? Should there be?
I’ve been on a Rolling Stones kick recently. Maybe it was that tribute band I went to see a couple of weeks ago at The Hangar. I listened to them all the way on my run today from home to Troy, where I met my neighbor at event and caught a ride home. It wasn’t the easiest run I‘ve ever taken and parts of the route were new and a little unnerving to me, but I don’t regret a step of it. It was a gift to be outdoors with the air on my skin and every scent encountered along the river pleasant.
I ran in South Troy for the first time, which was kind of cool since I had made a brief cameo just yesterday at my friend Mary’s birthday. You know, Mary Panza from South f’n Troy. She’s my oldest upstate friend and I was thrilled to attend her celebration yesterday and to give her a gift. Not just “a gift,” but the most perfect gift – one I had seen at Elissa Halloran’s and immediately knew
it she belonged with Mary.
Giving Mary to Mary was the perfect demonstration of how much more joyous it is to give than to receive. That is a true gift.
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and it’s caused me to struggle with writing a bit. I’ve been purposefully keeping myself busy – attending events like Champagne on the Park and working extra nights, such as last Wednesday at the annual Troy Arts Center Gala. But, today, there was that run from Albany to Troy which gave me a long time to think things through and I believe I’m getting closer to being unstuck. At least for now.
Life is so unpredictable. Who really knows what’s next? With things in such a state of flux, is it even worthwhile to try to figure it the fuck out? Just keep running…
I’ve been examining how I’ve grown from situations I’ve faced, and have to admit that I just don’t yet have the necessary perspective to understand exactly what happened. I know I’ve changed and learned new things, but haven’t yet determined at what cost.
Taking the time to process stuff is critical. It’s comparable, I think, to pain management. You have to be aware of it, understand that you can’t hide from it and stay on top of it before it has a chance to overwhelm you. Eventually, though, you need to move forward with what comes next. This song just might help you with that.
Filed under aging, Albany, beauty, birthdays, Exercise, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, running, sunday, Troy, Uncategorized
We’re not really big on Hallmark holidays, but I do indulge in playing the Mother’s Day card once a year. This year I was informed that I could say “but, it’s Mother’s Day” a total of only ten times before the phrase would lose its power to motivate my sons to do something for me. I think I got to number 8 on that before calling it a night. It was a good
day weekend. Some highlights:
- Arriving at home, after walking from work on Lark Street, to find one of my sons beginning to tackle the sink full of dishes left by his brothers.
- Leisurely reading the NYT and TU at the dining room table while listening to the Spotify station of my choice.
- Pancakes with strawberries, even if I had to make them myself.
- A lovely gift.
- A few chores crossed off the list.
- Throwing the ball around with my dog-son.
- Catnapping on my deck in the sun.
- Running 7+ miles with my Luna B*tch, Chrissy.
- A little time spent in Washington Park with the tulips and lilacs.
- Dinner with all 3 of my sons (sort of, one was working) at one of my favorite Albany spots, Cafe Capriccio.
Of course I got the eggplant.
- Wrapping up the weekend by extending it to Monday with some satisfying yard work and a long phone call to one of my favorite moms.
Isn’t mulch like magic?
I hope all you other Moms enjoyed your weekends as well.
Filed under Albany, beauty, Boys, Dinner, family, favorites, Flowers, Gardens, holidays, Local, moms, Restaurants, running, Spring, sunday, Uncategorized
Unexpectedly, I found myself with the evening free last night. Since I had been mourning a lack of opportunity to visit the park on a sunny day and the evening was stellar, I grabbed Jeter and headed down with my Nikon for a walk. I parked on South Lake and meandered along the “lake,” making my way towards Moses and the tulip beds, passing folks fishing and families strolling and runners, feeling perfectly content with exactly what I was doing.
The air was wonderfully fresh and scented by blossoming trees. Jeter was better behaved than usual despite the unfamiliar surroundings and the dozens of people roaming around. I took pictures, reminding myself with each shutter snap how much I’ve missed taking photos with my camera, instead of my phone. As I glanced around, I was surprised by two things – how few people I recognized and how wonderfully diverse Albany was becoming.
Everywhere I looked I saw people with skin in a rainbow of shades. Folks were dressed uniquely and children, particularly little girls, were wearing their spring finest posing among the flowers for family photos. There were no harsh voices and everyone seemed to be enjoying time spent outdoors after a spring that was a long time coming. It was lovely and left me feeling so happy and proud of my adopted city.
I’ve got two recommendations for you – get there if you can. The tulips should be blooming for at least another week, I imagine. My second suggestion? When you find yourself with some spare time, fill it doing something that gives you joy.
Americans are always the loudest. They want everyone to hear them but they don’t know how to listen. I want to softly tell the table of 6-Got-SUNY-semester-abroad written all over them, (unfortunately not in invisible ink), that I adore their enthusiasm and excitement but couldn’t they enjoy themselves just as much if they spoke in more quiet voices?
Waiting for a seat in a restaurant that I saved my cacio e pepe cherry for. Sorry if that sounds vulgar. It wasn’t my intent.
The crew here is outstanding. The door guy, smoothly and with a discreet disdain that even Paul McCullough could learn from, was impressive. The servers all served smiles.
This restaurant is at the end of a street named Salumi… Come on.
If I knew how to say it I’d say “I’m so sorry I don’t speak Italian because it is such a beautiful language.,” to every Italian I was lucky enough to encounter.
I just said “no bread.” I had the bread last night and it was delicious. I didn’t need it again, though.
It’s ok cool to be recognized with smiles when you frequent the same trattoria two nights in a row.
There’s a man wearing a lavender, I assume cashmere, turtleneck seated directly in front of me. He isn’t even trying to be ironic.
Holy shit. This cacio e pepe is the best pasta I’ve ever had. Ever. Period. The sautéed chicory on the side is a spicy green vegetable nirvana. Contrasted, yet companionable, to the pasta it all creates something which can only be described as sublime.
This meal is one of those that can be described as “final meal request” material.
I ate my full leaving enough on my plate(s) to prompt a couple of queries to confirm that I had found everything molto bene. Si! I just wanted to save room for dolce.
The tiramisu was worthy of service in this very, very fine trattoria. Bene. Molte bene!
Filed under Dinner, drinking, Eating, Europe, favorites, Food, Italy, Observations, Random, Recommendations, Restaurants, travel, vacation
- Everyone should have footwear that makes them feel like a rockstar.
- And friends who remind them how special they are.
- Seeing my children express their interests is the best part of parenting for me.
- My excitement for travel remains undiminished.
- February 2018 is the month in which one of my sons becomes an “adult” and the other becomes a teen. In theory at least.
- Packing for a trip challenges me in a way that I enjoy. The measure of success for me is wearing every thing I’ve packed.
- I believe there’s little in life that can’t be improved by fresh air, exercise and water.
- Fresh flowers in my house are an indulgence that I never imagined being able to afford. PS most of my bouquets come from the grocery store or my own garden.
- The days are getting longer, a fact which makes both cross-country skiers and folks who don’t like winter happy.
- I try to avoid scheduling much on Sundays, but don’t truly relax until the sheets are changed and the papers are read.
- In my retirement I want to explore yeast and dough. I love the smell, the magic and the kneading. Until then, it’s quickbreads and whisking.
- Long runs are Sunday are never the same but always appreciated.
Filed under aging, Albany, beauty, DelSo, Europe, Exercise, family, Fashion, Flowers, friends, Italy, musings, Observations, Random, running, sunday, travel
Tuesday night I was lucky enough to join an already in progress festive event down at Cafe Capriccio. Gathered together to celebrate Albany’s literary native son William Kennedy’s birthday were dozens of family members, friends and colleagues. I arrived as speakers began to share their thoughts, memories and best wishes and it was remarkable. The evening’s host, New York State Writers Institute director, Paul Grondahl, invited those present to share their own words in Bill’s honor and for a brief second I considered accepting the offer. It probably would have taken 2 more glasses of wine to get me to speak publicly, but the thoughts that were prompted can just as easily be shared here.
Albany has a modern literary tradition thanks to William Kennedy. His characters populate the streets and the imagination of a city which has been maligned and misrepresented for decades, if not centuries. The stories he has told portray a city filled with residents, frequently Irish American, living hardscrabble lives, corrupt, violent and often tragically funny. The struggles of his characters are familiar and universal, yet because they take place in Albany, N.Y., they are our stories. We own them, just like William Kennedy belongs to us, and despite the less than stellar reputations possessed by so many of his characters, we embrace them.
Because of William Kennedy, and his vision in founding the New York State Writer’s Institute, acclaimed authors have visited our area and shared their craft with audiences at no cost to attendees. As an undergraduate, I was thrilled to listen to Allen Ginsberg and Joyce Carol Oates read from their work. More recently, an in-depth symposium focused on telling the truth in a post-truth era brought heavyweight journalists to our area for a weekend of timely and interesting events. None of these experiences would have been available without the NYSWI and we as a city are indebted to Bill Kennedy for the opportunities to hear and learn from literary luminaries and embattled professional journalists.
The third gift I received that night was less tangible than the others and I don’t know if I have the words to describe it. The best I can come up with is it was a combined sense of pride, belonging and possibility. As the child of an Irishman I never met, I’ve sought out Irish culture and traditions for as long as I can remember. Witnessing a roomful of people singing a rousing chorus of Molly Malone (and joining in!) fed my soul as delightfully as Jim Rua’s always-prepared-with-love meals feed my belly. The thrill and privilege of being present at such an incredibly special event is something I will never forget. While I don’t imagine ever writing a book, the fact that Ironweed wasn’t published until Bill Kennedy was 55, and that I was present at his 90th birthday party, reminds me that just about anything is possible.