Monthly Archives: January 2019

Twinning with Princess Diana

There was a time in my life when holidays and birthdays often came with gifts of jewelry. Earrings were a popular choice and I was given some really beautiful ones that are special to me and probably even valuable. Like those .5 carat diamond studs of which I managed to lose one. Twice.


There was one pair in particular which quickly earned a spot in my rotation of ear accessories because they were reminiscent of Lady Di’s engagement ring. The studs with large oval sapphires (my birthstone) surrounded by small diamonds were about as close to Princess status as I was destined to achieve and I just loved them.


Except, they were
heavy and pulled my ear lobes uncomfortably. In the hopes that I would avoid losing one of these beauties, I had them modified into screw backs which ultimately only added to the discomfort because the posts were now thicker and caused some pain when I put them on and took them off.  They languished in a drawer for years, only seeing the light of day on the rare occasion when I would resign myself to suffering with them in my ears for the sake of the perfect outfit.


Recently, though, I decided I needed to have them modified to make them more wearable and I knew just where to bring them –
Byron & Gill Mercantile on Lark St. Siobhan Byron had previously created a necklace for me from a pair of ruby and diamond earrings, that single .5 carat diamond and a dangling ruby as a self-gift for my 50th and I knew she’d be able to help me wear these earrings more frequently. I left them with her and a couple of weeks later, I had myself a new pair of infinitely more comfortable to wear earrings. The price was reasonable (approx $150) for the quality of work(wo)manship and I am thrilled to be able to wear these pretty blue earrings with pride instead of pain.

If you’re looking to have a special piece created or a current item modified, I highly recommend Siobhan and Byron & Gill. Stop in and tell her I sent you.

 

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Filed under Albany, art, beauty, birthdays, Fashion, favorites, ideas, Lark Street, Local, Recommendations, Uncategorized

Where Hepburn and Tracy trysted

What a day.

Trysted. What a word! Sometimes the state of language distresses me…folks don’t respect it enough to spell it or speak it correctly and the words we’ve added to English just don’t seem to have added much really. Like “hooking up,” for instance. But, I digress. Let’s get to where Hepburn and Tracy trysted!

During my recent time in Palm Springs, I had a few touristy things I wanted to do and one of them was a tour of the heavily Mid-Century Modern (MCM) neighborhood of Old Las Palmas.  After doing some quick research, I decided that the Palm Spring Historical Society’s “Golden Era Hollywood Homes” tour sounded like exactly what I was hoping to find. $20 and a couple of days later and there I was, meeting my group by the Synagogue which had been unfortunately renovated to disguise its MCM roots. Apparently, until the 1980’s MCM was a look not very highly regarded by many. But me? I love it.

This isn’t THE gate, but it sure is pretty.

The tour covered about 2 miles at an easy pace and lasted 2.5 hours. Our guide, (Joe?), a retired actor originally from Rochester or Buffalo, NY who graduated from Geneseo, was terrific. His narration was rehearsed but didn’t sound canned and his enthusiasm was contagious. On a beautiful morning, our group of 14 or so made its way past the former homes of, among others, George Hamilton, Kirk Douglas, Dinah Shore, Liberace and Lily Tomlin. We paused outside of Leonardo DiCaprio’s, available as an AirBandB, I believe, and eventually found ourselves outside of the completely-hidden-by-a-fence-and-wooden-gate home of Hollywood legend, Spencer Tracy.

Our guide shared some of the history of the wildly romantic and tragic relationship of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, star-crossed lovers of the golden era of Hollywood. He, a devout and married Catholic and she, a woman of rare independence, had shared a life of sorts in Palm Springs behind the very gate of which we stood in front. The gate which slid open to permit a woman and her small, leashed dog to exit. The woman smiled and took a few steps away from us before turning around to greet us with a “Good morning.” She continued to address us saying that since it was the holidays, she’d like to invite our group inside the gates to see the property. For real.

It was such an unexpected and graciously offered treat. She showed us through the car port to the rear of the house where there was spa, including a waterfall of sorts which was decorated with three stone monkeys depicting “See no evil,” “Speak no evil,” and “Hear no evil.” It seemed perfectly appropriate for every part of the situation.

The foyer

We finished our tour with entry to the foyer of the house. The floors were 8” squares of terra-cotta tile with a thick grout line. The ceilings were gorgeous wood. Beautiful. As we entered, the view was to the pool area we had just visited as seen through tall glass windows. Sigh.

The courtesy we enjoyed made the tour nearly impossible to ever repeat and I’ll remember it for a longtime.

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Filed under beauty, California, favorites, house, Observations, Recommendations, travel, Uncategorized

Memories of Miami

Last weekend, while Albany hunkered down for a powerful snowstorm and arctic temperatures, I hopped on a nonstop flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Ultimate destination: Miami Beach. Despite the government shutdown, my timing was good and I made it through Albany International (*giggle*) Airport security in no time and boarded the JetBlue flight in the second group, pretty much ensuring that there would be space for my carry-on bag. I’d been burned in both directions on my recent trip to California when I’d had to surrender my bag to be checked and I had no time to waste waiting on checked luggage on a tight weekend. Minutes count, you know?

 

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Following a comfortable flight, my first on JetBlue, I was collected curbside by a very old friend and we headed to South Beach for drinks. It was Art Deco Weekend, an event with all sorts of activities like music, performances, dancing and food and drink related happenings. Ocean Drive was closed to traffic and under the light of an increasingly larger moon, we walked around checking out the scene. It felt incredible to be outdoors, walking with a mojito in hand, and my indulgent decision to take this trip was confirmed as the correct impulse. I was so happy to be there!

The remainder of my brief time in Miami was spent walking for miles, eating and drinking liberally, gazing at Deco buildings and the Atlantic, and simply relaxing whether that came in the form of a run, a nap, or a lounge chair with a view. And a cushion. I stayed with a friend (Thanks, MB!) and the location of his rental house was fantastic well within my range of walking distance from the terrace of The Standard, Lincoln Road Mall and the ocean. When the destination was deemed as too far, we Ubered and Lyfted, but I also noticed a free shuttle that might have been an option if your budget was particularly limited.

There was a bountiful meal at Mr. Chow in the W Hotel, the decided upon location when I explained that I needed a place to wear a special dress and delicious baked goods and cafe con leche from a place filled with flavor, both local and imported. I had a wonderful meal of the evening’s special preparation of red snapper at the bar of Stiltsville Fish Bar, watching the Patriots game, before we Ubered to a cash only dive bar, where the game continued. I drank too much tequila, but my sunscreen application was mostly on point and I came home a bit worse for the wear, but with a glow that was more golden than green. Or so I’d like to think.

 

I wouldn’t hesitate to do this again. It was a terrific little almost-mid-winter getaway. Have you ever split town for a weekend in a similar fashion? Where did you go?

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Filed under beauty, breakfast, Dinner, drinking, Eating, Exercise, friends, ideas, Recommendations, Restaurants, road trips, snow, travel, Uncategorized, vacation, winter

Black lace forever

Look at this top….

isn’t it amazing? It’s been mine for the last 24 years, but it’s time for me to pass it on to someone else. Even though that breaks my heart a little. I still love it and think it’s beautifully unique and well made, but it doesn’t fit me right and I know someone else can wear this far better than I.

I bought this blouse on my honeymoon. We were in our last destination and had been traveling more than a month. The weather had been mixed, but Amsterdam was hot. We had been forced to pry open the sliding glass door in our hotel room because there was no air conditioning and it was absolutely sweltering in our room. It gave us a more direct view into Tina’s House of Pain just across the brick sidewalk from our hotel.

Amsterdam has a great flea market and I’ve done well there with clothing. I saw this blouse hanging on a rod loaded with vintage clothing and immediately wanted it. I tried to dicker the price down without success. Our budget was tight and it was an indulgence, particularly during our fifth week in Europe. But, after initially walking away from the blouse, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Later in the afternoon, I returned to the vendor along the canal and gave him his requested price of 30 guilder. I don’t remember the conversion rate, but I do know it was the most expensive article of clothing I had purchased at that point in my life, Frye boots aside.

It’s been an honor to own this garment but it’s time to get it out of my closet and into someone else’s. So, I’ll be bringing this blouse to an upcoming clothing swap. I’ll just keep the memories.

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Filed under aging, beauty, Europe, Fashion, favorites, marriage, musings, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

It isn’t right or wrong. It’s how you feel

How much of your life do you spend trying to explain why you feel the way you do? Why you’re happy or sad or excited or down? You explain it to yourself, to people you share a relationship with, to your therapist…it’s exhausting and frustrating and sometimes even painful and for what? What’s the point?

No matter how much you talk about them, feelings don’t change. Do you know anyone who ever changed their strongest feelings for someone into feelings radically different based upon something that had been said or heard? No, me neither.

Feelings are moments and smiles and tears and exasperation and life. They accumulate, leaving their impression upon us. No two are exactly the same. It’s what keeps us on our feet and slightly out of balance. They never fail to surprise.

Since feelings can’t be easily changed or avoided, maybe the approach to dealing with feelings is to experience them. To be with them. To understand learn that they change and grow and maybe go away and there’s not an iota of control that one really has over any of it. Feelings just are. May as well just feel them.

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Filed under aging, friends, love, musings, Observations, relationships

I Am Still Alive

The title of the post refers to a really great book I just read, not the fact that I spent a quick and indulgent weekend in Miami, by the way. Kate Alice Marshall’s book, I Am Still Alive, published in 2018, was the perfect vacation read – exciting, well written and an absolute page turner. Let me tell you about it!

 

The story is told in alternating chronology – Before and After. Jess, the protagonist, has survived a devastating car crash which killed her mother and left her scarred with lasting injuries. Her father, who left the family when Jess was a small child, lives in a remote area of Canada and Jess is sent to live with him, an option better than the foster care setting in which she had previously been residing. Or was it?

 

After an unexpected second flight on a much smaller plane, Jess finds herself in a small cabin living with her father and his intimidating half wild dog in the woods, completely away from civilization. She and her father are essentially strangers to one another and Jess recognizes she can’t possibly live in the woods forever. She and her father negotiate that she will remain with him for a single year, a length of time Jess is able to imagine surviving with her dad. Until her Dad is dead and Jess is left alone.

 

What happens next is a tale of survival, learned independence, revenge and ultimately, realizing that we are capable of things we may have never before imagined. Curl up on the couch and settle in to read this one. I’ll be scrolling through photos from my warm MLK getaway.

 

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Filed under Books, holidays, Recommendations, travel, Uncategorized, vacation

Japanese Breakfast

Lest you conclude that I’m super hip and actually know much about the band Japanese Breakfast, let me assure you that my only familiarity with this group is through my 19 year-old son who is way cooler than l. I’ve heard a piece of one of their songs titled “Road Head,” a phrase I did not immediately interpret accurately. If you’re in the same boat of innocence, I suggest urbandictionary.com

My son went to see them the other night in Brooklyn (natch) and traveled down to the city with two friends, spending the night in an airbandb I booked for them in LIC because, three nearly 20 year-olds couldn’t get it together enough to reserve a spot, especially when they experienced technological errors. No big deal.

I’ve made reservations for G before. He spent the last week of his three months in Thailand in a lovely apartment in Bangkok. On that occasion, just like the more recent booking, I made it a point to communicate to the property owner that I was reserving for my son and assuring them in advance that he would treat their place with respect. And he has. The Thai woman I emailed with was very impressed with how well he took care of her place, and rewarded him with the favor of storing his luggage during the day prior to his nighttime flight. Things must have gone well in NYC because they were offered a generous late checkout, giving them the opportunity to recover from their night out.

My son isn’t in college, or even working at the moment,* but I’m not overly concerned. He is interested in seeing the world and experiencing life and I feel really fortunate to be able to give him the kind of safety net I personally didn’t have when I was his age, living independently and working 3 jobs. While we had different experiences of being 19, I can’t help but admire that he went to the other side of the world, alone, for three months and came back to tell the story.

It’s taken a couple of months for him to settle back in at home, but recently I’ve begun to see some real signs of maturity. He’s definitely growing up. I’m proud of him, and his confidence in traveling, and I can’t wait to see where he goes next. Greece (with me) and Japan (with friends) are the oft mentioned destinations topping his current list. My son’s ability to navigate his way through life is a display of Road Head that I don’t mind seeing at all.

*there’s a Session job he should be starting soon.

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Filed under aging, Boys, concerts, Events, family, moms, musings, NYC, Observations, road trips, travel