Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Care Package

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Care (verb): a. to feel interest or concern  b. to give care
     c. to have a likeness, fondness or taste. source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

It seems only natural to follow a definition of "care" with some anecdotal examples of  bad care received.  On reflection, however, I realize it wouldn't be beneficial or productive to itemize. I'm certain we all have our own laundry lists of occasions when we were disappointed by the level of care we've received in life, be it from a parent, a partner, or perhaps a professional upon whom we were dependent. I think it  is sufficient to say that the examples I personally hold  are more a confirmation of an inability to take care of rather than evidence of a lack of being able to accept being taken care of.

I've been told I am difficult to take care of, that I do not allow myself to be given care.  Up until this point in my life, I've been willing to accept this criticism  assuming, of course, that it is a flaw in my disposition which somehow makes me less than lovable.  I no longer subscribe to this.  I understand that my lack of familiarity with being taken care of has caused me to develop into an extremely independent person, but I do not believe that somehow negates my ability to allow someone to attend to me in a caring manner.  Am I a capable and accomplished adult?  Absolutely.  Do I require someone to manage my health and finances and daily calendar?  No.  Do I desire someone who will stand beside me and allow me to feel a true sense of security, which will in turn permit me to learn what it means to truly be taken care of?  Yes, please, I'm interested in the whole (care)package.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's about the kids

I always knew I wanted to have children, even if I was uncertain about whether I would ever get married. My sensibility that marriage was not a necessary prerequisite of parenthood was the result of my own experience growing up without having a father in my life. Or maybe it was another example of my being ahead of the curve, yet again, with the single parenthood trend so popular these days with celebrities. Either way, children were a given, marriage was an uncertainty. Now, that was truly premonitory!

During my marriage, I absolutely valued the advantages of there being two involved parents in the lives of our children. From the minute Liam was born, his father’s presence provided nurturing attention which I was unable to supply in my C-section induced stupor. The physically demanding years of babyhood and toddler stage would probably have done me in without a partner to share the weight of the load.  I imagine the teen years will require an equal amount of exertion to survive. Fortunately, the children will always have two parents who love them, support them and want them to be secure and happy in their lives – that's not going to change.

On the occasions when I projected into the future and imagined what my personal life would look like post-marriage, I was certain that I would never be interested in marrying a second time.  I mean, what was the point?  I already had all the biological babies I was going to have and without children in the equation, what is the true purpose of marriage?  Is it a financial arrangement?  A means to obtain health insurance and other benefits?  It seems that marriage is more a practical arrangement than a logical step on an emotional journey.  Or, am I all wrong? 

Like marriage, divorce is also about the children.  How do the adult members of a family manage to separate from one another without leaving the children feeling abandoned?  How much is shared with them, and at what point are they allowed to express what they may want and need in the new family configuration?  Is it really possible to maintain a family while ending a marriage?  It seems that with every inevitable decision questions are created, which is overwhelming at times.  I know others that have been through this process and will definitely be looking to them for support, guidance and advice as we negotiate this new path.  The connection between adults within a marriage may evolve, but the commitment to the children remains consistent.  It is about the kids.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

AOA 3rd Birthday Party

What a great party! Wednesday night, Mary and Greg hosted a fun party at The Point on upper Madison Avenue, and going out on a limb, I'd say a good time was had by all. Lots of other more fussy and thorough bloggers have covered the finer details, especially the cheese selection and the paella. Here are  pictures of 2 of my favorite things from the party. Yeah, that's right, cool buttons and cupcakes. The buttons were made by Laura Glazer using Lori Hansen's drawings. I took a full set of four and currently have them strung together on a piece of ribbon making an AOA bracelet of sorts. The cupcakes? Well, believe me, they're gone, baby, gone.

Congratulations AOA - 3 great years and one terrific birthday party.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Elissa Halloran ~ Lark Street

Elissa's creations
You know how I enjoy little traditions in life, right? Have we talked about this before? I can't say they make sense to anyone but me, and whom I may share them with, but I like the familiarity of there being a consistency in some of my actions. Like listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" at high volume, with the sun roof open, as the boys and I cross the Bourne Bridge on our way to Wellfleet every summer. And Christmas morning would certainly not be the same without bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. A more recent tradition in my life is purchasing 40th birthday gift necklaces for my girlfriends at Elissa Halloran's wonderful shop on Lark Street. As you might imagine, I haven't been doing this for that many years, (I mean, how old do you think my friends and I are?) but it is a ritual I intend to continue because Elissa always seems to have created something appropriate for a significant birthday celebration.

I've got another one of these milestone parties to attend this weekend in New Paltz, so yesterday I made my way into Elissa's - and check out the cool stuff she's featuring presently! Now, she's best known for her amazing, unique jewelry pieces, but her store is truly a treasure trove brimming with one of a kind things. In addition to a full selection of jewelry, she also has vintage items, art in the form form of pottery, paintings and photographs, an awesome selection of scarves and cool hats, and a tremendous variety of consigned clothes. Yep, you could definitely devote some time to poking around this place and walk out with great stuff for little dollars.

check out the beaded head piece!
Yesterday's haul included a special necklace with a beautiful mother-of-pearl pendant that just seemed perfect for this weekend's birthday girl.  I'd show it to you but then she'd see it and I'd have to undo Elissa's wrap job - sorry, not going to happen.  I also bought a gorgeous handwoven scarf with colors which reminded me of Easter eggs - pinks, soft blues and ideal little gift for a friend who has been sharing her home and wardrobe with me in recent months.  Lest you think I only indulged my friends, check out the amazing, must-have-been-made-for-me, beaded headpiece I picked up for myself.  It is definitely an item that is a reach for me to wear, but I fell in love with it (funny, how spring seems to offer new opportunities to fall in love!) and I'm hoping to work it into my accessories wardrobe with frequency.  Maybe it will be my new signature piece?

I tried on a great dress, but ended up leaving it behind - my life isn't really offering me opportunities to wear long dresses these days, but it really was stunning.  It was a nude dress with a sheer black overlay, and featured these beautiful copper colored paillettes -  and it was brand new!  I did pick up an adorable black cotton skirt with sequins along the hemline for a mere $7, exactly how much I want to spend on clothing which will ultimately be worn for work at the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark.  Through the weekend Elissa is selling off the winter clothing items at 50% off as she celebrates her 10th anniversary.  Get yourself there already.

feather handbands
neat accessories to wear or use decoratively
i'm a sucker for something sparkly

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chapter Next

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I've been busy recently, which isn't really new, yet because of my personal situation, it is entirely different.  When you've been involved in a relationship for a lifetime (18 years), severing those threads, and disengaging, takes time and sensitivity and patience.  Factor in 3 children and a myriad of shared commitments and financial responsibilities, and things do start to feel weighty, which I suppose is good. Decisions like the recent ones arrived at at my house should not be made lightly.

It's intensely interesting that two people can come together as individuals and create a world in which they are both heavily invested.  I remember many years ago being convinced that a healthy relationship with growth potential meant that, as a unit, 2 together could accomplish more than 2 traveling solo.  I still believe that to be true, however, there no longer is that sense present in my life.  It is time for a new chapter to begin.

The last nearly 20 years have been vital to my sense of adulthood.  Marriage, graduate school and a profession, home ownership, health challenges, and, most importantly, parenthood, have forever changed me from the person I was prior to each of those occurrences. Those experiences have been critical to creating the woman I now am, for better or worse.  This chapter of my life has been fruitful and satisfying, and I can't think of much I would have changed.  There were some wonderful trips and memorable meals, difficult situations were survived, if not vanquished, and many gifts were shared, but I am firmly convinced that it is time to turn the page and step forward to what's next.

Like most good things, the number of chapters a person gets in life is finite.  I've been increasingly cognizant of that fact with every loss I've experienced, be it the death of a friend or loved one, or the removal of renegade cells from my body.  I want some things in this next chapter that are different than what I have known.  I want to be taken care of and confident that I am cherished.  I want to yield some control and decision making.  I want to know that my existence has been as full as I could possibly make it, with every single page a chronicle of a life well lived.  Chapter next.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Believing in me

at the finish!!
I just wanted to update you all on my awesome accomplishment on Saturday!  Am I boasting?  Sorry, I think the endorphins might still be running amok which, ironically, is in direct contrast to the blood flow through my calves - seems they have locked up a bit.  Allow me to share some highlights of my experience with you. 

The ride down to Bellayre took a bit under 2 hours and it was a beautiful drive.  Despite the panoramic view, the last 30 miles or so I began to get a bit nervous about what I had gotten myself into.  Perhaps it was driving behind an Audi wagon with vanity plates that said "Tri-Girl?" 

This was the 20th anniversary of the Pine Hill Arms Triathlon and you'd think they'd have things pretty well organized by now, but that really wasn't the case.  There was definitely some confusion about where to set up our stuff, what the course conditions were going to be like and they definitely put us on top of the mountain way too early, but maybe this was just my own lack of experience.  Whatever - I just kept reminding myself that I was in it as a personal challenge and to have some fun. 
at the top of the mountain

Fortunately, I had some friends on hand participating and offering their support, advice and picture taking talents. I was most concerned about the skiing segment since I've only skied once before - and it was before Quinn was born. He's 6. Luckily, my friend, Jim, rode the chairlift with me and once I mastered dismounting without falling, I felt some confidence building. I positioned myself in the back of the pack of racers and when it was time to start, I committed to doing things at my own pace. I have to say, the ski was an absolute joy. The clouds broke up and the sun was shining and there was a view that was inspiring. I had no problems navigating my way down with caution and was really happy with my ability to negotiate my way successfully to the bottom of the 2+ miles.  
finishing the grueling biking segment
I got my skis off and put my cycling shoes on and headed out for the 10 mile bike ride. Honestly, this was the leg I most discounted - even with the description of the ride as "grueling." I figured, 10 miles, pssshaw - I can do that, no problem. Of course, I haven't even sat on my bike since prior to my shoulder reconstruction in September, but if I've got anything, it's self confidence. The first couple of miles were insane - according to my friend's fancy watch thingamijig, we gained about 1,000 feet in 2 miles.  I don't know if that sounds like a lot to you, but, believe me, as I was climbing that hill (or as I was calling it "mo-fo hill"), it felt off the chart challenging.  I completely thought I was going to have to get off of my bike, but sheer determination (did I mention I can do anything?) and gritting my teeth got me through it.  Seriously, if you've birthed babies without pain medication - there's nothing you can't do!  James grabbed this picture of me as I was finishing the biking piece - note there is no one around me.  That's because I was in absolute last place.  The mere fact that he was just leaving for the run, though, urged me on and I kept going, getting off my bike, stripping down a layer and lacing up my sneakers.

gearing up for a ridiculous hill
The run was really the only part of the event for which I actively trained.  Of course, my training was indoors on a treadmill, but I've played around a bit with distance, incline and speed, and felt pretty good about this piece.  I knew I was going to make it when my iPod started throwing me Led Zeppelin, Madonna and Tom Petty, and I felt my body go into a zone which was really empowering.  In spite of my preparation, there was one hill that I succumbed to and I needed to walk for maybe 90 seconds.  I was able to get my feet going again and ultimately finished in about 1 3/4 hours, I think.  Or, as my friend Lisa described it, DFL (dead f'n last).  The truth is, I couldn't have cared less how long it took, I just wanted the sense of accomplishment and I got that in spades.  It was an incredible feat for my 44 y/o body and I'll be parlaying this into future physical challenges, carrying with me the belief that I can in fact do anything.  As a matter of fact, there's an event in September in my hometown and I've got my eyes on that one already... 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Look what I'm tri-ing tomorrow!

Pine Hill Arms Triathlon

Saturday, March 19, 2011



SKI-BIKE-RUN (Helmets Required) -2.2 Mile Ski, 10 Intense Miles of Biking & 5 Mile Run
For Information Call The PINE HILL ARMS or 845-254-4012 or 1-800-932-2446

To be clear:
  • I've never competed in anything like this before.
  • I don't really ski - I mean, I did once, but x-country is my bag, not downhill.
  • I haven't been on my bike since last September and have no idea which bike to bring, so I'm bringing both.
  • The distance of the run has been described as 5K and 5 miles in various promotional materials.  Obviously, it can't be both so I guess I'll just see for myself.
  • I'm going to have a good time - that is my only goal.  Well, that and not getting hurt. 
I'll let you know how it goes.  Any and all encouragement is welcome.  If you're inclined to be negative and discouraging, how's about you save that for another time, like when I threaten to attempt Everest, ok?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blessed to be Irish

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A gorgeous St. Patrick's Day seems the perfect time to share some things which I feel very fortunate to have in my life.  I seriously could probably list one for each of those shamrocks in the picture to the right, but I wouldn't want to boast.  What I do want to do, though, is encourage you to take a moment, in a world filled with challenges and tragedies, to consider some of the wonderful aspects of your own lives.  A sunny day like today, when the wearing o' the green heralds nature's shades of green, which are merely around the corner, seems the perfect time to acknowledge life's blessings.

  • I am incredibly appreciative of my physical self - despite surgeries and setbacks, I am amazingly strong and (fairly) consistently healthy
  • I have 3 sons who are fortunate enough to have been  born into a family which accepts and loves them and hopes to nurture and enjoy them for many years to come.  As their mom, this makes me incredibly happy.
  • I have 2 jobs which give me satisfaction and a decent enough living and access to healthcare.
  • I have the opportunity to travel - locally, out of state, out of the country...
  • I absolutely have the best friends in the world - 'nuff said.
  • I have a partner in childrearing who consistently shares the same priorities for our children.
  • I have a sibling who has had my back my entire life.
  • I know that for every door which closes, another opens.
  • I am positive that the future holds promise and happiness.
  • I believe that I truly live a blessed life, full of love, laughter and joy.
How about you?  On a spectacular day like today, would you share some of your blessings, too?

Go(ing) West, (with a) young man

In just about a month Griffin and I jet to California for our special Mommy and Son trip.  One of the best traditions, I think, that I've created as a parent is the one-on-one vacations I've planned and enjoyed individually with the boys.  Liam and I have explored Colorado and Ireland together, and Griffin and I spent some time in Florida visiting some places which were new to both of us. Quinn is already talking about where he wants to go next year when it is finally his turn to get in the rotation. His first choice was Japan, which began as unrealistic and has evolved into absolutely not possible due to the tragic situation they're dealing with presently.  His second choice is Ireland, a meaningful place for me which I'm always happy to visit. 

When Liam and I returned from Dublin 2 years ago, Griffin had apparently been busy imagining where he wanted to go when his turn rolled around.  It may have been actually at the airport when he declared that he wanted to go to L.A.  Yep, that's right, not Los Angeles, but L.A.  I've been to California a few times, but my time was mostly spent in either the desert or in Wine Country, leaving lots of area unexplored.  I like to visit new places with a fairly loose agenda, generally making reservations for accommodations, but not really planning daily activities.  Here's our plan: 
  • 3 nights in Santa Monica - my thought was that we could use this as a base to visit Hollywood/Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach and Universal Studios
  • 3 nights in La Jolla - seems like a good location to check out San Diego and its zoo, perhaps take a surfing lesson and simply get in some beach time.
  • 2 nights in Palm Springs - a very dear friend, whom I haven't seen in almost 25 years (!) lives here and I couldn't imagine being that close to her without visiting.  Palm Springs has a really cool tram that I think Griffin will enjoy and he's never been to the desert, so I think this will a wonderful experience for him.
So - what do you think?  What are we missing?  Any recommendations for good eats along the way or something off the beaten path which we shouldn't miss?  Suggestions are most welcome!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Girlbomb Birthday Party

Me and Janice!!
Ever since I read Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl, I've been a fan of the memoir.  The ability of a person to chronicle and express their experiences never fails to touch me - and perhaps is the reason why I find myself sharing my own life as freely as I do here on DelSo.  A number of years ago, I read a review for a newly published autobiography, Girlbomb (A Halfway Homeless Memoir), written by  NYC native, Janice Erlbaum.  Based upon the review, I purchased the title for the high school library where I worked and when it arrived, I immediately devoured it.  Although Janice is a couple of years younger than I am, I completely identified with her experiences as a smart-beyond-her-years teen growing up with limited parental involvement during the early '80's.  Our situations certainly weren't identical, but I very much shared her experience of being "underprivileged, underage and underdressed."  When I finished the book, I visited her website, and sent her an email:

             "...So much of your book described my own self-medicated adolescence in the 80's.
              I also had a life with limited stability and your memoir brought so much of the     
              confusion  and contradiction right back to me in a breath-taking way."
Janice and Rachel!!
She graciously responded and through the years we've exchanged an occasional email and are, of course, requisite Facebook friends.  A couple of months ago she posted an event to celebrate the 5th birthday of Girlbomb to be held at the Bowery Poetry Club and I just knew I had to go.  Despite having lived in Albany for 20+ years, I was still somehow able to resurrect that hip, East Village, undergraduate, English major vibe, a result I'm sure of my company (my former Chelsea roomie, writer Rachel Aydt) and my attire (primarily black).  I can't describe, without gushing in a way that would completely dissolve my street creed, how excited I was to finally meet Janice and hear the words which had leaped from the page, actually fall from her lips - it was fantastic!  The club was everything you ever imagine a poetry club to be - dark, curtained off and with an appropriately creative graffiti-filled bathroom.  In addition to Janice, a number of other fabulously talented women read their work and performed for the crowd of appreciative fans.  Here's the official event notice:

          Girlbomb’s fifth birthday party! Celebrating five years since the publication
           of GIRLBOMB: A  Halfway Homeless Memoir. Readings and performances
           by author Koren Zailckas, GEMS founder Rachel Lloyd, and biffles Dana
           Piccoli and Melissa Saunders; dancing and schmoozing also on the agenda.

It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed feeling as if I was a part of a "scene" in NYC, if only for one night.  Thanks, Janice for an inspirational evening - and especially for writing.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Magical time

I think I've got a pretty solid relationship with time.  I respect it, try not to waste it and appreciate the power it can wield over situations which may initially appear unchangeable.  Although it may sometimes deservedly own its spot on a list of four-letter words, generally speaking, me and time are good.  There are occasions when it moves at a rate of speed that may seem too fast or too slow, but, like many other uncontrollable elements of our proscribed lives, I find it best to accept it and do my best to work within its parameters. (Despite my being pissed off twice a year when we manipulate the clocks as we did this morning.)

If you're under the impression that time moves too slowly as the greyness of March creeps along like a melting glacier, let me give you a photographic example of what a difference a mere week makes.  
last week, trees encased in ice
today, my little patch of earth coming alive

It's been a long autumn/winter with lots of snow, both literal and figurative, swirling around in my life.  I entered the season most typically related to hibernation and, instead of slowing down and becoming dormant, I opted to renew my commitment to having a life well lived.  I realized yesterday that I've made it to the city at least once each month since October - a real feat for me, one that I swear soothes my soul while stimulating my brain, every single time.  Not to be a bummer, but I need to have another little piece of something removed from my neck later this month.  I am convinced that this will be the last time this will be necessary because after months of turmoil, and years of repressing the struggle between my heart and my head, I feel like my internal compass is in accord with the direction I am facing - forward.  The procedure is scheduled for the last day of March, which makes me happy.  I can turn the page on the calendar, confident that time has worked its magic, and am incredibly excited about what the future offers.  Don't go anywhere - there are definitely more tricks up my sleeve!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I could almost be a vegetarian...

The boys in my life had a craving for waffles last night, a craving I was more than happy to indulge with my trusty waffle iron and a $50 jug of maple syrup.  Now, I love me some waffles, but I'm not really interested in eating a plate of carbs and sugar for dinner, except for special occasions - like discovering a 1/2 pint of heavy cream that demands to be whipped into cream.  Since that was not the case last night, I decided to indulge myself with some gorgeous greens instead.

You know I'm a huge fan of beets, and the love affair between me and broccoli rabe is well documented.  Naturally, the joining of these two beautiful veggies was nothing less than inspired - and fast.  As usual, I began with some olive oil and garlic in a deep saute pan.  I got the garlic all golden and fragrant, then turned the heat to low and tossed in a chopped sweet onion to soften.  I washed the beet greens and rabe gave them a quick coarse chop and tossed them into the pan.  I don't dry the greens because I prefer to add a small amount of moisture to the pan to give the vegetables a little help in creating steam.  Also, there's the added complication that  I accidentally melted my salad spinner in the oven a couple of months ago - oops!  Now, cover the pan and walk away for a few minutes at this point, it's actually the perfect time to wipe the sticky syrupy remains from the dining table.  Grab a bowl (isn't there something sooo comforting about eating from a bowl?), drizzle with some balsamic vinegar and dig in.  If there are  leftovers, I think they would be excellent in an omelet or tossed with some pasta, but with a dish this is easy and tasty, there's no reason you can't work these healthy veggies into your rotation on a regular basis.  Delicious!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A $9 Billion Problem

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We're living in some crazy times, my friends.  Driving to work the other morning I was listening to the radio and heard about challenging union negotiations taking place in our country.  I'm sure you're aware of the chaotic circumstances in Wisconsin, Rhode Island and NYC, right?  The irony here, however, is that the emergency 24 hours extension in contract talks was not related to teachers, police officers or firefighters; instead the dilemma centered around the NFL and their players' union.  Take a minute to grab a box of tissues - you're going to need them.  You see, the National Football League is so incredibly profitable that last year they made $9 billion more than anticipated.  I would have written that figure out in numerals, but was concerned I wouldn't know how to express it with the correct number of  zeros.  Am I the only person who thinks it is absolutely absurd that a professional sports association  should make 9 BILLION dollars more than the greedy bastards had initially expected?  In a single year?

All over the country there is a growing anti-union fever.  Benefits such as salary, medical insurance, retirement, and job security relating to seniority, are being attacked and eliminated when possible.  Legislation is being written to facilitate the deterioration of employee agreements that had been achieved after decades of public employees accepting verbal appreciation for their contributions to society, rather than monetary rewards for their efforts.    Professional public servants (Servants!  Now I understand where this phrase comes from) are being asked to forgo agreed upon salary increases for the sake of these difficult economic times - a reasonable request as our country tries to regain a sense of productivity and stability in a world gone mad for consumption.  I certainly am not an economist, and I would never claim to be an expert in anything that pertains to finances, but I am puzzled by this situation.  Can someone please explain to me how stripping benefits from educators came to be perceived as the solution to a crisis created by those with much more lucrative professions?  Do football players and the billionaire franchise owners really contribute more to American society than educators and public safety employees?  Did bankers from the top 5 U.S. banks really deserve to be awarded bonuses totalling more than $119 billion dollars in 2010?  Why aren't they being asked to sacrifice benefits or to justify their  contributions to the community?  I wish I had more answers than questions - as well as the problem of how to divide $9 billion.  God bless America.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flowers in the Museum - not in the attic.

How about that Steven Tyler? I have to admit, he has made watching American Idol fun all over again with his crazy exclamations and genuine respect for the contestants. But, this posting isn't about AI - it is about the annual NYS Museum Flower I attended last weekend, like I attend this event every single year. The organizers really know what they're doing by planning this display of gorgeousness at a time of the year not known for much local natural beauty. My favorite part of this show, aside from the recipient of the proceeds (the after school program hosted by the museum), is the clever way the flower designers take cues from the installations, both permanent and temporary. My favorite year for this show was when it coincided with a quilt show - amazing combinations of riotous colors and patterns were present that particular year, believe me. Overall, I enjoyed the show, as always, although I did miss seeing pieces by Renaissance, a florist which generally has a pretty large presence at this event. Anyone else go this year? Maybe I just missed David Schmidt's work somehow? A gloomy day like today is the perfect time to feast your eyes on the slideshow of pictures I took. At least that's how I'm trying to justify the delay in posting the pictures - see I wasn't unmotivated, I was saving them for you!
NYS Museum Flower Show

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fenway Park - (Forgive me, Thurman)

Although there isn't an appropriate box to check off on a census form, I have been in a mixed marriage.  You see, Tom is a Red Sox fan and I am a lifelong Yankee fan.  It really wasn't a problem for us since the two older boys had been equally divided. As is the case in most things, Quinn will be our ultimate wildcard once he pledges allegiance to a team.  I'll try to not lobby too hard and just hope that he has a natural affinity to go with the team that has a presence in my  hometown - Derek Jeter's mother is part of a large family which summered in GWL and he purchased and completely renovated their family compound a number of years ago, making him a Laker, just like me!  If you ever get to Greenwood Lake, N.Y. take the west shore road (Jersey Avenue for you non locals) and drive almost to the New Jersey border.  Make a left and you'll see his place on your right - and keep your distance please.  Celebrity stalking is so last year.

Rivalries aside, last week Griffin and I travelled to Boston for a quick getaway.  Ok, nothing is quick when it begins with an Amtrak ride (6 hours to get to Boston with the hour delay  factored in.  Really? 6 hours?), but it was a rather condensed visit.  We arrived late Thursday, dropped our bags off at our hotel and grabbed a quick, late dinner at the Capital Grille.  Friday morning, while Albany was getting hammered with snow, Boston was pounded by torrential rain.  Or, as I came to think of it, the tears of Thurman Munson were falling furiously upon us as I ventured into the enemy zone. 
We arrived at the ballpark in the late morning and bought tickets for the 11:00 a.m. tour.  We met our rather colorful tour guide in the gigantic gift shop and allowed him to share his extensive knowledge of the team, the ballpark as well as some pretty bad jokes.  When I asked him if there was a bathroom nearby, (thinking there might be an electric handdryer which I could use to dry my soaking wet hair), he informed me that there might be a restroom mid-way through the tour.  We found a  common ground of humor when I told him I wouldn't be opposed to pissing on the field in a true emergency.  He assured me it wouldn't be the first time that happened and we were on our way. The tour took approximately an hour and included a walk around a good bit of the park and the chance to sit in some pricy seats on the Green Monster.  I have to tell you, it is a fabulous ballpark.  I've only been to a couple of major league ballparks over the years (neither of which still exist), so it isn't as if I have a lot of ballpark experience, but this place did feel special.    Our guide did a great job of being entertaining, informative and borderline inappropriate and I learned some cool things.  For instance, the numbers on the side of the exterior wall were not, as I teased Griffin, the string of numbers from Lost, but instead were the handful of numbers permanantly retired by the team.  These same numbers appear inside the stadium behind right field and if you were to enlarge the photo above you would see that the number on the far right, #42, is a different color than all the other numbers.  That would be Jackie Robinson's number - and it will be his number forever because in 1997 MLB decided to completely retire that number.  Pretty cool, right? 
Despite the drenching rain and the uneasy feelings of disloyalty I experienced, I must tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and have nothing but respect for the ball field.  What happens on the ball field, however, is a completely different story.  Only 27 more days until opening day - go Yankees!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

David Gray ~ Beacon Theater

About 20 years ago, when I was still in a position to make rules for "Living Silvia Style," I decided that I would never decline an opportunity to experience something new.  Other than ecstasy or other recreational drugs, that is.  As for those substances, thanks, but I'm not interested, even when it is a famous actor offering, however, that's another story.  To return to the story at hand, last week one of my best friends provided me the chance to:
  • hang out with she and another dear friend of many, many years.
  • visit NYC for a night, 
  • check out a performer whom I've never seen before at one of my favorite venues, the Beacon Theater.
In general, the night was an educational experience for me.  For instance, I had no idea that "reluctant driver friend" doesn't have a clue about parallel parking - even when it means paying $55 to park in a convenient garage.  Guess I know what to get her for Christmas next  year - parking lessons!  Amazingly enough we scored a parking spot just west of Broadway at a cost of $2.50, which left a nice surplus for our eating and drinking budget.  Which, was a good thing as we walked a block north on Amsterdam and found our way into a pub that had terrific food matched perfectly with a nice beer selection.  The Amsterdam Ale House is one of those joints that to the uninitiated can cause a bit of angst.  You know, a place that has a promising menu and a cool ambiance but just may not be able to execute.  As we perused the food menu and ordered beers (yum, Ommegang Rare Vos on tap!), we witnessed a nearby table receive their meals and quickly decided to copy them and it was burgers all around.  We did not regret our decision - including our eclectic choice of mixing up our sides so could experience all that was offered: fries, onion rings and sweet potato fries.  Why choose when you can have everything?  We also shared an excellent salad of field greens with walnuts and crunchy rounds of fried goat cheese - a perfect starter course for three.  No disappointment at all.  Our night was going well...

After dinner we walked around the corner and got settled into our seats for David Gray's opening act, Lisa O'Neill.  I'm going to be honest here (as if I'm ever less than that!) and say that I just didn't love her.  As a matter of fact, after a couple of songs we decided that the bottle of Maker's Mark at the bar held more appeal than her performance.  Go ahead - shoot me.  Sorry.  I'd be willing to give her another listen but it just wasn't working for me that night.

David Gray, however, was a joy to listen to.  For me, his songs when played lived didn't demand undivided attention but instead provided an easy background harmony to enjoy the company of my dearest friends.  You're probably familiar with his biggest hit, Babylon, but do yourself a favor and give his latest release, Foundling, a listen.  The lyrics are poignant and his voice beautifully melodic and haunting.  I really love the words he sings in A Moment Changes Everything:

The stolen glances, broken threads
The visions looming in our heads
The years spent running parallel
To everything that might of been
I'm not spending a lot of time these days looking backwards, but will take those words with me into the future wherever it may lead. Hopefully, additional opportunities to see David Gray are part of that future.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Time Travel

image from
If you had a choice between stepping into a Time Machine and travelling to either the past or the future - what would you decide?  I'm not talking about jetting to a particular time period or era - what I mean is, would you jump into your own personal past or future?  I've been thinking about this fantastical journey in time as I absorb the sadness of a valiant attempt fallen short.  Myself, I'm undecided.  Would it be more valuable to revisit the past and make decisions that would prove to be less damaging or, would I prefer to jump ahead 6 months to a time when  emotions have hopefully been smoothed to a less raw state?

 I'm attempting to own my actions, both laudable and despicable.  I don't think I've ever claimed innocence with regards to my "personal" life but. in case you have the false impression that I've never shared a kiss with someone other than my husband, allow me to be clear here: I am an imperfect human being and I've done things that were clearly beyond the boundaries of traditional marriage.  Am I proud of this?  Of course, not.  I try not to spend a lot of time with self-loathing (and I have an ability to justify and rationalize my actions), but I must consider why I felt less than satisfied.  Is it an unrealistic expectation for marriage?  A desire for something new and exciting?  An unmet need that simply won't go away?  I don't really know - perhaps it is all of the above.  Maybe it is an unavoidable awareness that numbness should not be confused with contentment.  That creating a family with a person you love deeply does not necessarily translate into happily ever after and that sometimes, just sometimes, staying together holds the promise of more hurt rather than a cessation of pain. 

Ripping a bandage off and exposing a wound to light and air is not for everyone.  I understand that and find myself frequently apologizing for revealing more than is comfortable for others.  I don't do it to malign or rally support or to create a platform for my position.  Instead, I bare my thoughts and feelings as an exercise in expression, as well as an attempt to explore the thread of humanity that I truly believe connects all of us.  To write is no longer an option for me, but a compulsion.  To read, however, is your choice.