I tried a new Pandora station for yesterday’s afternoon run – Alabama Shakes radio. It opened with an Amy Winehouse song and never looked back. Good stuff. When the first Alabama Shakes’ song, Always Alright, came on, it took me immediately back to Silver Linings Playbook, a movie (and book) I absolutely loved.
I started thinking about when I saw the Shakes back in June at Mountain Jam and how, as I was photographing the band for the Times Union, I was approached by a woman who requested that I share some of my photos with her. It turns out this woman, a hair stylist, had done the lead singer Brittany Howard’s hair that morning and was hoping to get some good images to help promote her business. Of course, I complied and emailed her a number of jpegs a few days later.
I wondered how I had ever created a life in which I occasionally get to take pictures of famous people. I mean, really? How friggin lucky am I? I thought about The Shakes, and the presence of their music in a Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence film, and considered how much I enjoy the talents of each of them. I shook my head in amazement that I could probably play Six Degrees of Separation and get to Bradley Cooper. It made me smile – despite the bag of dog poop I was toting.
Speaking of which, sometimes it feels like I’m closer to Bradley Cooper than I am to a trash receptacle when it comes to running my regular 5-mile loop. While I thoroughly enjoy the thought of having a connection to the very handsome Mr. Cooper, I think I’d be even happier if there were more trash cans available along Whitehall Road and New Scotland Avenue.
The last time I ran up, and I do mean up, at Thacher Park was over the summer during ARE’s trail series. The weather was fine and the people were nice, but the course began with a murderous hill which made me a bit cranky. I don’t mind hills*, but, please let me work up to them!
Last Sunday’s Squirrelly Six caught me a little unprepared. You know, the week you open a restaurant and work 6 consecutive days/nights may not be the right time to register to run six miles through the woods, but there I was, nonetheless, at 9:30 in the morning at the starting line. The weather had been a concern since rain was in the forecast and I was worried it might be kind of cold. We (my Lunar Girls were there, too!) totally lucked out with a mostly dry run through some fresh mud from the previous night’s showers in an almost balmy 50’ish . Mud is fun, though and I nailed it when it came to running attire, luckily selecting layers which kept me comfortable for the duration.
I’ve done this race, I think, 3 consecutive years and the course which debuted this year was my absolute favorite. The trails were mostly fairly wide with limited hills and the vista was spectacular. No, really – it was a stunning morning with peak foliage and a mood enhancing layer of fog in the valley. I was unable to resist stopping twice to snap a couple of pictures because it was that scenic. It was an absolutely beautiful run and the perfect personal reward at the end of a long week.
Next up – After the Leaves Have Fallen in early November. It’s a bit more than twice the distance which means it should be at least twice as fun, right?
It can be music to a person’s ears.
What a week! As I anticipated sitting still for an hour or so to have my nails attended to, I finally had some time to reflect upon what has transpired in the last 7 days. Taking a few moments to consider all that has happened felt like a wonderful luxury – even more so than soaking my feet in a hot bath and having the pedicure chair’s magic fingers digging into my spine. Time is truly life’s greatest gift.
Following closely behind the present of time, are the countless people who have encouraged, supported and advised me during the months-long process of becoming a restaurant owner. I know that the intensity of this last week would never have been realized, or survived, without the presence of friends who I have felt in my court during each and every moment.
If you know me, or have read me, you’re aware that I am not an overly emotional woman. Sure, pictures of animals and people suffering in poverty always make me tear up, but, generally I’m a pretty cool character. Unless, you tell me you’re proud of me. Hearing that sentiment directed towards me is guaranteed to penetrate my reserved exterior faster than Superman falls to kryptonite.
Never in my life have so many friends expressed their pride in me. I am overwhelmed, and occasionally overcome, by the outpouring of respect and pleasure for this wonderful adventure, Lark + Lily, on which my brother and I have embarked. Thank you, so very much. It means more than you will ever know.
One of my responsibilities at school is morning hall duty. I generally bring a book to my post at the end of corridor, but often I don’t read more than a sentence or two because I am so captivated by the students making their way to their home rooms. They are so incredibly compelling in their not-still-children, not-quite-teenagers way that I find myself content to merely witness their passage – through both the hallway and through the critical years of their middle school experience.
Do you remember your own middle school years? If so, is it with fondness or discomfort? In my hometown, Greenwood Lake, N.Y., the configuration of the middle school was kind of unique – grades 4th-8th attended a single building with a two-storied wing for academics and a wing shared by the grades for specials and the cafeteria. I loved that school and my class of 60 students or so. It felt like a safe, comfortable space and I thrived in that environment.
Despite the level of familiar comfort I felt among my friends and with my teachers, I can still recall the sometimes painful moments of being a pre-teen. Am I the only person in the world who was too embarrassed to blow my nose in class? Or who had some unfortunate results while experimenting with hairstyles or trying on different personas?
When I see the parade of kids heading towards me in the hallway, I am utterly charmed by the wide range of physical variations – there are boys and girls far smaller than my 10 year-old as well as students who I have to crane my neck upwards in order to make eye contact. The array of fashions, from sweatpants and leggings (always black) to skinny jeans to pants of a length that my middle school peers would have dubbed “flood waters,” never fails to make me smile.
The fresh-faced girls with a tasteful dab of lip gloss and the lightest coating of mascara are perfectly matched by the boys who have discovered hair gel and their father’s cologne. These kids usually travel the halls in a pack, which maximizes their impact on the less sophisticated students who sport t-shirts featuring non-ironic cartoon characters and hair ribbons and bows. I am equally in awe of those who attempt to appear older and the ones who are adorably oblivious to the accouterments of adulthood. They’re all beautiful.
Stress is a weird thing, don’t you think? I mean the way it presents itself can be so insidious. During my waking hours, I think I deal with it pretty well – the meltdown the other evening after arriving home after an hour in the dentist’s chair only to find the trash cans still at the curb, the dishwasher filled with the clean dishes and the sink filled with dirty ones, aside. But, the nights are a different story. As a matter of fact, the nights are what landed me in the dentist’s chair to begin with.
I’ve been grinding my teeth – intensely enough for me to find myself waking up with headaches. The waking up can be painful, particularly when it occurs at 4:00 a.m. I’ve been doing a number on my teeth and was at the dentist to have a small old filling replaced as well as getting fit for a nighttime mouth guard. That’s hot, huh?
When I find myself in times of trouble, I do my best to get as much time outdoors as possible. Fresh air really helps, whether I’m running or walking or even just sitting still. Maybe you do the same?
The other thing I find myself doing is reaching into my jewelry box for a medallion I received many years ago from one of my aunts, Sister Maria Pia. She’s my mother’s youngest sister and, along with two of my Opa’s now deceased sisters, she is a Roman Catholic nun. The medallion I wear is of the Virgin Mary and was purchased in Lourdes, France. While I don’t consider myself to be incredibly religious, there’s something about Mary that I find comforting and inspiring. When she’s around my neck, I somehow feel safer.
Do you have a talisman?
Filed under musings, stress
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could close your eyes and read at the same time? Since that isn’t possible, read the next few sentences and then close your eyes for a moment and imagine the picture I’m trying to paint for you…
A gorgeously sunny afternoon in early autumn. Blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud. Leaves colored in vivid shades of orange and red and yellow. The fragrance of ripe apples permeating the air along with the buzzing of yellow jackets seeking their own share of the harvest. Cold, delicious cider and smoky pork. The warmth of the sun on that spot on your lower back where your shirt and shorts don’t meet.
That was how I spent a glorious couple of hours yesterday down in Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook. The crowd, impressive in both size and mellowness, was friendly and fun, happy to sip Nine-Pin and toss beanbags as they played cornhole. It was truly the epitome of an upstate October Sunday.
I saw some familiar faces and made some new acquaintances who I’ll be working with to get Nine-Pin on draft for Lark + Lily.
I can’t make the perfection of an autumn day last forever, but I can arrange for the taste of the day to be made available all year long. We’ll have Cider Tuesday through Saturday instead.
Seeing that this is probably my last free weekend for the foreseeable future, I decided to indulge myself. While there are times when that could mean shopping or a pedicure, Saturday it meant taking a run, and on such a beautiful day, with a trail half marathon coming in up in less than a month, a long one at that.
My original intention was to do a loop that I’ve done in the past. At about 8 miles, the route goes out Delaware to Whitehall to New Scotland into Slingerlands before getting back on Delaware and back to the DelSo. I really don’t care for the piece which goes along the by-pass between the traffic circle and Kenwood so I decided to run past the circle and jump onto the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail for a bit to avoid it. But, once I got on the trail, and it was so nice out and the trail was so sweet, I just couldn’t stop myself – I took it to the very end (as in South End) and eventually back up McCarty for a total of just under 13 miles aka almost a half marathon!
The trail was pretty spectacular, especially on a fall day. The surface changes from dirt and grass to stone to blacktop over the distance and there were so many gorgeous views that I’ve never seen from that particular perspective, like the Normanskill with some real activity and the underside of both the 9W and NYS Thruway bridges. I can’t wait to get back on it with the Lunar Girlz, in part because there were a couple of parts which felt pretty remote, but mostly because it was so damn pretty. I think I’d only enjoy it more with some company.
The same day I’ll be running the After the Leaves Have Fallen, they’re taking on the Stockadathon. Here’s hoping for good, fun races to all. Any chance of seeing you at a starting line soon?