- Having no idea whatsoever of the time.
- A margarita – and then another one.
- Donuts with breakfast and chips with lunch.
- Classic board games.
- Ordering your afternoon like this: walk – nap – run – shower – wine.
- Another load of towels in the washing machine.
- A layer of stickiness that can only be created by salty air, sand and sunscreen.
- Eating off of paper plates and out of Rubbermaid containers.
- Finding a temporary new rhythm that is decidedly a bit off beat.
I went to mass the other day. It was in my hometown in the same church where I made my first communion, attended catechism classes and impatiently sat through midnight mass on Christmas Eve eager to only get home and open a single gift, as was our custom. I was there to accompany one of my oldest friends as he said a final public goodbye to his father.
The priest was “new,” having been there for just 20 years, he said. He was not the priest from my own childhood, Monsignor O’Flaherty who had no hesitation about addressing those dressed too casually or arriving too late for mass. Reverend Sweeney, along with my friend and his siblings, provided a lovely eulogy to a man who lived a long life filled with family and friends. I learned for the first time that my friend’s dad had never met his own dad and rejoiced in the thought of that introduction finally, 87 years later, taking place. The image made me smile.
Am I a true believer in heaven and life after death? Probably not. Do I believe that when we leave our earthly bodies behind our souls somehow come together and combine with those of whom we missed to create a new energy? I think I do.
I hope your Father’s Day, be it the third Sunday of June or some other day not yet on the calendar, is filled with love and a sense of connection.
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.
I’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.
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.
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?”
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!
It probably wasn’t coincidence that I heard that Springsteen song not once, but twice, on my way to the 35th reunion of my 8th grade class, right? There probably isn’t a song more appropriate for getting together with classmates and reminiscing about shared childhoods than that nugget that made its debut the same year I graduated from high school.
I’ve been to school reunions before, 4 of them actually. But this, the first middle school reunion planned and executed, was different. After a couple of days reflecting about it, I finally recognized what made this reunion so very novel. From the first M-W reunion in 1984, which I attended in a white crepe number I referred to as my Ginger Grant dress, I went with the intention of showing people who I had become, how I had grown and changed. Going to a reunion of my 8th grade classmates couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
Attending a reunion, in my actual hometown, with other members of the Class of 1980 wasn’t an exercise in validating who I am now. Instead it was a warm embrace from the friends who have always known exactly who I am. From the former teacher who remembered me as being “so smart” to the women who made a point of telling me that I had given them something intangible that they had never forgotten, those that were present on Saturday night demonstrated that the value I held for them was completely unrelated to anything I may have achieved in my life. It was simply because of who I am, and who I’ve always been, in an absolutely organic way.
Getting together with those who shared critical, right of passage events – field trips to NYC, hitchhiking adventures, explorations with gateway substances, first kisses, was positively fantastic. The hard work of classmates to make this event happen was greatly appreciated by all who attended and I truly believe every one there had a special and memorable night. For those who weren’t there, by choice or circumstance, you were missed. Pencil this event in for 2020. It’ll be epic.