Monthly Archives: March 2019

I’m your Mom, not your pimp

I’m really concerned about today’s young people* and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about what a shitty world in which the next generation is  growing up. Does saying that make me sound really old? If it does, so be it. Unlike much of today’s youth, I can live with a little criticism and negativity.

It may not be fair to make comparisons to my own young adulthood since my situation was a bit different, but when I consider the responsibilities which were foisted upon me at a young age, I have a hard time accepting how lame dependent my sons continue to be on their Dad and me. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m appreciative of the fact that we can provide them with financial and other types of support, but their collective inability to navigate through life without relying heavily upon us, strikes me as kind of bizarre. I’m only half kidding when I say that I’ve wondered at times if they would starve if we were gone and they were faced with a manual can opener and a pantry filled with canned goods. I honestly don’t know if they would even know where to begin.

It’s a similar situation when it comes to finding a job, something both of my younger sons have been needing to accomplish (shout out to the fully employed LL!). Apparently, one of my sons had no idea as to how to actually obtain employment. When I asked him how his friends with jobs may have found their way to employment, he said they “knew people.” I suggested he might want to either search online help wanted ads or visit some retail/restaurant spots and ask for applications. Radical, right? How could he not know this?

What prompted me recently to actually utter the phrase that titles this post, relates directly to finding a job. As he was walking out the door to walk to school, my 14 year-old  asked me to “get him some babysitting gigs.” Keep in mind, he’s the youngest grandchild on both sides of the family and knows nothing about actually taking care of children. When I asked him about his skills when it comes to diaper changing, he informed me that he’d like to start with older kids, like 3 or 4 year-olds and then work his way down to babies because babies are harder. He may not be experienced, but he isn’t dumb.

Maybe you need a babysitter? Or a son?

 

*am I alone in this?

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Filed under aging, Albany, Boys, DelSo, Education, family, ideas, Local, moms, musings, Observations, relationships, Summer, upstate New York

Saving money with Rent the Runway

 

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All right, look, I could probably find 10 reasons to justify spending $159 a month on my Unlimited Membership, but let me tell you the number two reason why I’ve been continuing the service – since I became a subscriber in November, I’ve spent a total of about $55 buying new clothes and $0 on dry cleaning. If I were to look back at what I spent in past years, I’m confident that my purchases of new clothing (that I might only wear a handful of times before tiring of them), would total close to what my subscription has cost me.

More details? Sure!

  • The service has been excellent. There was a single snafu (apparently the bag that was en route to me had a faulty zipper and I ended up with a cardboard box with two garments, one of which was not intended to be delivered to me) and it was dealt with efficiently and with minimal headache.
  • I have a fairly busy social calendar and an aversion to wearing the same thing twice, at least when it’s to an event locally.
  • I’d much rather spend my time outdoors than in a mall or shopping center and the convenience of selecting and “hearting” a bunch of garments on an app and having them dropped off at my house is a dream.
  • The turnaround time on orders is typically 2 days so I can take a look at the weather and what I have going on and select the appropriate items.
  • I’m wearing clothing that I couldn’t necessarily afford (hello, Temperley London and Opening Ceremony) to purchase except as an isolated indulgence.
  • Putting my account on hold during vacations or dull times, is easily accommodated.
  • There’s an excellent UPS drop off spot conveniently located between home and work making drop offs simple.
  • ”My” wardrobe gets lots of positive attention – and I always ‘fess up that whatever I’m wearing is Rent the Runway.
  • And, my number one reason: I love fashion – didn’t you know I was voted Best Dressed in 8th grade?

Maybe you want to give it a try? Send me an email or make a comment and I’ll happily share a discount code.

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Filed under Events, Fashion, favorites, holidays, ideas, Observations, Recommendations, Uncategorized

The (Legendary) Sleepy Hollow Half

A few months ago I had a brilliant idea – I thought it would be really cool to have a new running goal because, you know, running 1000 miles in a year isn’t enough. I decided that I’d like to run 25 half marathons by September 21st, 2021 aka my 55th birthday. It must have been a moment of exhilaration and endorphins following my 10th ½ and PR in Syracuse or something. But, I’ve now said it out loud and written it down, so, I’m committed.

Number 11 was last weekend down in Westchester. The race sounded scenic (Hudson River views!) and challenging (hills and 5+ miles on trails) and I convinced a friend to register with me, a condition that always helps to keep me accountable. As the race run approached, I focused on working through the discomfort I’ve been experiencing, particularly in my hips, by committing to yoga and my foam roller. I think it was time well spent, but I hadn’t run any distances beyond 7 or 8 miles since November’s Syracuse event, which made me a bit nervous. I decided to do my best and just enjoy the view.

Saturday morning’s weather was wretched – cold, windy and grey. I had spent the night downstate with my runnergirl friend to minimize the drive on race day, but we still needed to be on the road by 7:15 for our 9:30 start time. That gave me a solid 90 minute car ride to kick myself with regret for registering for this race. I just wasn’t feeling it and if L. had even hinted that she wasn’t either, I would have happily turned around and done something much more fun.

We arrived in the picturesque village of Sleepy Hollow about an hour before the race and parked way up high in the Middle-High School parking lot. We walked down the hill, collected our bibs and climbed back up the hill, pausing to turn around and admire the fantastic view, and returned to the car to thaw out. Did I mention that the air was raw? And that I neglected to bring gloves? Yeah. However, the people we had encountered thus far were all friendly and warm and somehow that helped me to rally and land on the starting line to begin my run.

I knew the course was reputed to be hilly, yet beyond the opening climb the first 5 miles were a piece of cake. While we started on a hard surface road, we quickly transitioned to an absolutely gorgeous trail. The wind was kicking up pretty hard, but the Hudson River never fails to inspire me and I happily made my way as the miles ticked off. Annoyingly, my running app consistently marked my miles before the official race markers which meant I hit each mile twice but at least I was warm and my body felt strong without any obvious pain.

Midway through there was a stretch that was on one lane of a two lane highway and that piece felt pretty damn long. Fortunately, the wind was at my back for the hardest inclines and once I reached the turnaround, I knew I was beyond the midway point and on my way to the finish line. But, first there were miles 12 and 13 which kicked my ass and forced me to pull off to the side of the road for a quick pigeon pose as both hips were beginning to scream. My feet joined in and there was a brief chorus of aches and pains that necessitated an increase in volume of my playlist to drown out the discomfort. The last hill was a bitch, and I couldn’t find my usual finishing kick, but I was happy enough with my time and the sunshine that was finally peeking through the clouds. Number 11 is complete. Next up – Helderberg to Hudson in April!

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, friends, road trips, running, Spring

From invisible to 518 famous

The years that I was married were busy ones. The boys were young and my husband and I worked opposite hours maximizing coverage of the children, but leaving little time for one another. As the kids grew, we grew apart until I remember a sense of invisibility appearing. I didn’t feel seen. In fact, I felt about as acknowledged as a throw pillow which had been part of a household for so long that its original bright color had faded into something no longer distinctive. It wasn’t good – or good for me.

My first post-marriage relationship, in many ways, kept me in that same shadowy place. Although I felt excited and emotionally engaged, the circumstances weren’t ideal and I felt restrained from being my best live out loud self. As a woman who increasingly wanted more – more fun, more open honesty, more life, I came to realize that the only part of my relationship that was consistently growing was my frustration. It’s taken a surprisingly long time to move from that dark place to a new vantage spot that comes with more sunshine and light. It’s getting better.

Have you heard or used the term 518-Famous? A close friend has been calling me that and it cracks me up. I absolutely love the phrase and I hope that whomever originated it did so with fondness, because that’s how I interpret being tagged as such. It isn’t a declaration of one’s value, it’s more a comment on the small, intimate circle that is Albany for a lot of people.

At an event last week there were some really nice women who had either seen  the Front Parlor storytelling event, or follow me on Instagram. They approached me knowing my name and it was pretty cool having a conversation immediately because this person you just met is familiar with your stories or perspective. While my circle of friends and acquaintances is pretty large due to many years in the hospitality industry and education, I’d like to believe that any notoriety I may own comes from this blog more than anything else. This is the place where I’m most myself publicly, I think, and where you just may have witnessed my becoming increasingly more visible. Maybe even 518 famous.

 

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Filed under aging, Albany, DelSo, Events, family, friends, Local, love, marriage, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets, upstate New York

The rich are different – Meghan Markle’s baby shower and the college admissions scandal.

Do you think the wealthy live like you? There have been a couple of news items recently that, to me, have very much demonstrated a fundamental difference between those who are financially rich and those who are not. First example? Meghan Markle’s recent baby shower in NYC, an occasion which seemed to truly piss people off due to the extreme cost of the event. To all the people who expressed disgust at the indulgence of a baby shower which cost more than most people make in multiple years of full time work, I ask this – are you sincerely shocked that Meghan Markle had a baby shower hosted at The Mark Hotel’s penthouse aka the most expensive hotel room in the country?  What were you expecting? Crepe streamers and ice cream cake at the Elks Club?

While the act of becoming pregnant and birthing a child may be one that is practically universal (sorry, dudes, you do not have the power), how that whole process works on a socio-economic basis is quite varied. If you’re poor, black or uneducated your odds of having a well tended and healthy pregnancy are dramatically lower than what the Duchess of Sussex will experience. Focusing attention on the expense of her shower, which was paid for by her wealthy friends, deflects attention from the real issue – there’s an incredible disparity in health care and opportunities between the wealthy and most of the world’s population.  That being said,  I don’t begrudge her the joy that comes from bringing a new life into the world and I don’t believe you should either. Save your energy and outrage for the women who don’t get prenatal care or postpartum support.

Now, about this college admissions scandal…how is anyone surprised by this situation?  Rich people have been buying access to various institutions forever. If you’re wealthy, you can afford to invest in tutors, test prep, and other unearned opportunities for yourself and your children. No real shock there, right? Of course it isn’t enough that the offspring of the affluent don’t ever have to consider, much less worry about,  the expense of the college application process or getting a summer job to pay for books.  Nor will the onerous financial burden of student loan debt* be something that will ever be a part of their lives. Yet, apparently, those benefits of being wealthy aren’t quite enough, so a number of celebrities kicked it up a notch by ensuring their children’s admissions to elite schools by making large donations to educational institutions, buying their children better test scores and bribing coaches and athletics officials. Because, you know, all the advantages that come with white privilege aren’t enough when one can seal the deal with a generous check.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so focused on an extravagant celebration of an upcoming birth. Perhaps it’s time instead to direct our attention toward what children are being taught by their parents after they’re born.

 

*Which, by the way, is currently estimated to be $1.5 TRILLION.

 

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Filed under Education, News, Rant, Schools, Uncategorized

Telling the story of A Fire, a Phonebook Page and Finding My Father

Photo credit: Jamie Thompson

I’m finally sobering up after a night that was intoxicatingly special. Friday night I was one of 6 storytellers at a public event held at the Linda Auditorium. The occasion was a celebration of the 8th anniversary of our local take on the Moth Story Hour, The Front Parlor Series, which occurs monthly in two locations; Albany and Troy.

Telling a story, without notes, in front of an audience is a nerve-wracking experience. I’ve never performed on stage or addressed an audience like I did on Friday and I wasn’t certain how to prepare for it. I knew the story I wanted to tell, the one about how I found my father’s family 30 years ago. It’s a good story, made better by the fact that it’s true. Obviously, I know the chronology of the tale and the important players, but it was challenging to decide which details added to the story and which might merely distract from the overall recounting. I began working it out on “paper.”

It took me a couple of weeks before I nailed down the segments that I wanted to include and the basic order in which to share them. I practiced in my head, honing and editing, during runs and walks and drives. I revised. My biggest concern, besides completely choking, was that I would forget a certain episode or anecdote that I knew was important. I decided it made sense to count paragraphs and associate each one with a word. That way I only needed to remember 12 things. I could do that! On Wednesday, I printed the story for the first (and only) time and made 12 flash cards, for rehearsing.

Friday afternoon, I went for a run (shocking!) opting for my usual 5 mile loop. I passed the remains of a house that had been destroyed by a recent fire. I inhaled and the scent of fire damage immediately tweaked my memory. I knew that smell. I showered, grabbed the last can of hard cider from my fridge and headed to the Linda with a couple of talismans.

The first photo I ever saw of my father, the page from the Dublin phonebook and a stone from my father’s grave fashioned into a pendant.

Somehow I imagined there would be space there for me to actually run through my story out loud. There really wasn’t, though, with 5 other performers and an increasingly full auditorium. I drank my cider, flipping through my index cards, scanning the paper copy of my story and periodically checking the crowd to see familiar faces who had promised to come. I peed three times. More quickly than seemed possible, I was being introduced and made my way towards the stage. My last thought was this – “If you get nervous, just imagine you’re just telling the story to me. You got this.”*

I exhaled, deeply and slowly, and stepped up to the mic.

*As always, thanks Aloysius

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Filed under Albany, Aloysius, Events, family, friends, girlhood, Ireland, Irish, Local, musings, Observations, stress, upstate New York, writing

Sometimes my yoga mat…

is a life raft in a sea of turmoil

feels like an island with a population of one

inspires me to stretch far beyond its borders

keeps me present

invites me to new places

is my best friend

helps me breathe

tests my patience

challenges my body

makes me sweat

collects everything I want to be rid of

takes me where I want to be

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Filed under Exercise, favorites, musings, Observations, stress