Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ice Breaker Challenge

I ran today for a loved one.  Actually, for the loved one of a loved one, which I guess is loved-one-once-removed, but these particular loved ones aren't going anywhere.  They will not be removed.  

The run today was a benefit for the Albany Rowing Center, ARC.  This club promotes and supports rowing and  I have some familiarity with it as a once-upon-a-time recreational rower and a spectator to those who were bitten by the rowing bug.   A million years ago, I was a rowing widow and I got to know some of those hardy rowing types. (If I ever witnessed my-then husband checking out girls it was in admiration of their potential to row.  True story.) One of the men I met through ARC died yesterday from cancer.  And today I ran.

Although I only knew Rex Babin casually on a personal level, his professional work said a lot about who he was.  Smart, daring, and strong.  He came, on my request, to a school I worked in many years ago,  to speak to the students about his work.  It was a pretty far drive, about 40 miles round trip, which is a lot to ask, but he was agreeable and did a wonderful job sharing his perspective and talent with a bunch of teenagers in Greene County.  I think I sent him a thank you letter.

And back to the run this morning.  I ran a path that would have been familiar to Rex Babin from his ARC days, surrounded by determined people stretching their muscles. There was a pink ribbon pinned to my UnderArmor for protection and inspiration.  My head was filled with thoughts of cancer and soft tissue and bones and being a warrior.  I improved my personal record today on this ice breaker, heartbreaker course.  

And then I came home and ate these waffles, with my boys.  FU, cancer.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mayor of Simpleton

image from:
Sometimes I'm convinced that I'm a complete simpleton. I hear people talking about deep thoughts and intellectual pursuits and my eyes have a tendency to glaze over a bit. I'm not shallow or vapid, I just am more inclined to exercise my body these days than I am to stretch my brain. I'm interested in current events and history and the world's wonders, but I'm definitely not staying up late at night to debate these topics. I'm kind of living in the moment, enjoying my boys and imagining a future with love and happiness. I know people who are very concerned with material items and the "right" house in the "right" neighborhood, but I'm just not concerned with stuff like that. I guess I don't need much to be satisfied.  I like nice things, please don't misunderstand me, but I just don't need them. If I can be with the people I love, pay my bills, live a comfortable life, then I'm happy. It's that simple to me.

Running the other day, on a gorgeous day made to celebrate being alive, I was thinking about my home where I've lived longer than anywhere else before. I love my home, my neighborhood, my familiar possessions, but without them I'd still be at peace. As I ran past a field of raised ranches, a style of home I've always looked at with disdain, I knew in that moment that I could live there as long as I was with the people I love. Without a doubt, I knew I could, in fact, reside anywhere and be contented.  In the country, in a city, in a house in an apartment - anywhere. Because I'm truly happy on the inside.  And it really is true that if you're happy internally, fulfilled, then it is possible to live anywhere.  How liberating!  What amazing freedom!

In recent weeks I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by social demands. It seems that each weekend (and often weeknights as well) arrives with obligations and opportunities and looking at my calendar is something that has been inspiring more dread than excitement. I am really looking forward to the upcoming spring break from school to recharge my batteries and I have been consciously leaving that week open, an exercise in saying "no" that I am sincerely working on. It's really difficult, though, to complain about a life that offers so many opportunities for fun and new experiences.

A home that I can take with me, loved ones, physical well being, adventures... Laura Ingalls Wilder was absolutely right: “It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

* No, not this guy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's All Good

I finally had a chance Saturday morning to get to All Good Bakers in their new DelSo location.  The space looks great - tidy, warm and inviting with the awesome aroma of baking bread. I poked around a little and was impressed with the variety of offerings - loaves of different shapes in varying shades of golden brown. I left with a couple of traditional white waxed bakery bags with bialys, cookies, rolls and a 2-day old loaf ($2!) of yummy bread that screamed French toast.  My overall impression was that this is staff of life bread - simple, wholesome, baked with care and quality ingredients, bread.  Not fussy or overwrought, but an essential, basic part of life.  Yeah, it's all good.

wholesome goodness

olive loaves

rolls, bialys, DelSo cookies

$2 deal of the day

French toast with All Good Bakers bread @chez Silvia

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meeting and Meat

I got up to Falvo's recently to pick up my corned beef along with some beef short ribs.  I've never bought a corned beef that was prepared "in-house" and I was curious to see if there would be a discernible difference between the more commercially, vacuum-packed variety.  And the short ribs?  They were on sale and the butchers at Falvo's do such a beautiful job trimming them that I couldn't resist.

I shop sales.  It's the only way I know to maximize my dollars and the Lilly boys do enjoy eating like princes.  I've gotten more savvy during this past year of being solely responsible for the grocery shopping and I don't mind making the effort to stop at the butcher every few weeks to stock up the freezer.  I find it particularly efficient to call ahead with my order so that it is prepared and packaged when I arrive.  I figure it saves me time and also allows the folks at the butcher to work at their preferred pace.  

When I arrived to pick up my items, I couldn't resist peeking at the beautiful meat in the deli cases.  The steaks looked great, as did the array of house made sausages.  But then my eye was drawn to a two-page print out of a blog posting from the Times Union.  A blog post from Vinoteca, the blog I contribute to a few times a month.  A blog post that I wrote!  I'm smiling as I type this because it really was one of the coolest things to come from my writing...

I introduced myself to the gentleman I perceive to be the owner, as the writer of that piece and we made a connection.  It turns out he had fielded my phone call when I called that afternoon from BJ's looking for rack of lamb.  We chatted a bit about the rack of lamb and the importance of supporting local independent businesses and the increase in the amount of lamb he is selling to those who read the piece as they shop.  Very, very cool. 

And the corned beef?  It was tender and flavorful and lean almost to a fault.  The salt content was a bit intense for me but I think I should have asked for some cooking instructions.  I ended up tossing it in the crockpot overnight in a pool of beef stock, but next time will use a combination of beer and plain water, maybe adding a peeled potato to absorb a bit of the salt from the brine.  It was a quality piece of beef for sure and I'll be happy to buy Falvo's corned beef in the future. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Incredibly well adjusted

The first time I went to a chiropractor I was in a bad way.  Although I can't recall the exact nature of my complaint, I'm sure it originated in my lower back because that was where things used to hurt.  I remember being a bit hesitant about having my back "cracked" and feeling awkward about the process. I was skeptical about what the results would be, too. I mean, after all, it wasn't real medicine, right?

Lee Masterson, at Delmar Chiropractic at 204 Delaware Avenue, has been my go to guy since the practice opened in 1999, the year my middle son was born.  I was committed to having a natural childbirth experience and felt that it was important that my body be in alignment to facilitate this process. What I hadn't correctly anticipated was my need for regular adjusting post-birth.  I can't imagine I was alone in "bumping" my hip out to provide the perfect straddle spot to support my infant, yet my body took it personally.  And revolted.  

One of the things I most appreciate about Lee is his respect for the integrity of the body.  He works in concert with my spine, my muscles and my lifestyle to help me maintain my good health.  During the years when I struggled with back discomfort, he taught me to recognize and address my body's complaints and I feel much more confident in my ability to assess my state of wellness.  I make it a habit, particularly these days as I approach 20 miles of running per week, to check my posture and eyeball the levelness of my shoulder and hips.  When things don't feel or look right, I call Lee's office and arrange for a maintenance appointment.

I'm really fortunate to have health insurance which covers chiropractic care and a visit costs only a co-pay.  My oldest son as a toddler had an issue with a slightly inverted foot and Lee saw him for $3 a visit, his age at the time.  How's that for commitment to your practice?  On occasion over the years, I've seen other providers in the DC office and I have been consistently impressed by the care I've received. I certainly can't claim to be completely balanced in a life filled with boys, work and exercise, but I can say with complete confidence that my skeleton at least is very well adjusted.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The luck of the Irish

What a day I had on St. Patrick's Day! I mean how can a colleen complain about a day that included a flat 4 mile run, a creamy pint of Guinness and a vivid voice from the past reminding me who I am?

My day started with The Running of the Green (Island). I remember signing up for the race shortly after I participated in a 3.5 mile New Year's Day run and thinking that 4 miles seemed an awfully long way to run without stopping. Yesterday, though, between the camaraderie of a contingent of green-clad runners, the mild temperature, and the sun breaking through the clouds, it really wasn't too far to go. And that was before Karen and I had decided to celebrate our efforts with a pint.

On a day which typically means excess, particularly in Albany, Karen and I knew we were only having one. Seriously, it wasn't even noon - who the hell did we think we were? Our car pool rendezvous point had been the Corning Preserve parking lot so we headed over to the nearby Olde English thinking (correctly) that we would beat the overindulgent crowd. This was the maiden visit for both of us and we couldn't have been happier. Well, maybe if Matt had been there, but, that aside, it was the ideal spot and I very much look forward to returning on an occasion when I can sample a few more of the offerings.

And - that voice from the past? As is often the case, it came from the most unexpected place. I was tossing some crap out of my basement as I work towards being fully responsible for the condition of my home. There was a box of books that had been residing in the dankness of the cellar for a decade and a half and it was time to "discard"* them. As I removed one, a green envelope slipped out from between the swollen pages. Oddly enough it was a St. Patrick's Day card I received in 1992, my senior year of college. I had spent the first three weeks of that particular year in Ireland getting to know my father's family and was feeling very connected to my heritage. I returned to Albany with a new sense of self and an inner peace that I have done my best to nourish in the 20 years which have passed. The man who gave me the card had included some thoughtful words about my roots and my new found identity. While his words continued to touch me despite all the years which have gone by, what made the largest impact was my forced recollection of who I was then and who I want to be now.

The relationship I shared with that long ago man was romantic and passionate and filled with intensity. And doomed. There was no future in it and an observer to it once characterized it as creating more heat than light. She was right. But, as is consistent with all the human interactions we have, I learned from it and wouldn't be the person I am today without that experience. On a day of firsts, a reminder from the past seemed oddly appropriate and I'll be considering the message far longer than that delicious pint lasted.

*librarian talk for get rid of

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The sharing of the green

Spending winter skiing at Albany Muni Capital Hills has been one of my favorite outdoor activities for many years.  The quiet beauty of the Normanskill, the cardinals and bluebirds, the sense of isolation in the midst of a residential neighborhood in a small is a special place.

This winter, there wasn't a single day's worth of skiing there, for me.  The right conditions never arrived this year to entice me out to ski those hills and paths, yet,  I probably spent more time on those greens than ever before.  Running.

The coincidental timing of lack of snow and my excess of interest in running was perfect. The consolation was an easy one to swallow during the most mild winter I can recall and, as the almost anticlimactic seasons shift, I am struggling with giving the course exclusively back to the golfers.  With the date of the course opening moved ahead to today, St. Patrick's Day, I'm wondering if there isn't a way runners and golfers could share this wonderful jewel.

From what I understand (total hearsay), runners are not permitted on the course during posted hours.  The rationale I've heard involves the perils of golf balls and the distraction of Lycra clad joggers.  I understand how these may be dangerous to both those with the clubs and those with the Nikes, but are the risks to a runner greater than the dangers of riding in one of those golf carts?  Wouldn't the odds of a rider being hit by an errant golf ball be similar to those of a runner?  Has this been studied?  Damn it, is there empirical evidence?!?

I don't play golf but imagine there is a certain focus required to be an exceptional golfer. Seems to me that professional golfers hit the ball with thousands of people surrounding them.  The only behavior of the crowd that I've seen (on television when absolutely nothing else was on or I couldn't find the remote) corrected was their volume.  I mean, I've seen some shushing.  When I run, I don't really talk, so that wouldn't be a concern at all.  Promise.

With some creativity, mutual respect and a wee bit of luck I am certain golfers and runners could share the green.  No malarkey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Get a room! (Part 2)

Continued from here -

For nights 2 and 3 of our winter break, we shifted our base to an Embassy Suites in the Old Town area of Alexandria, VA, a 15-20 minute ride on the Blue Line of the Metro system.  I've stayed here before and I like the location.  It is close enough to D.C., around the corner from some great retail shopping and restaurants on King Street and very comfortable.  We did, however, have an issue.  The hotel is being renovated, which meant that the breakfast service was a bit disjointed.  I don't expect to eat in a hotel using disposable flatware - call me princess if you must.  The other issue was something we had, ironically, encountered during our other stay at this particular hotel.  The pool, other than our first day, was unavailable due to maintenance.  Had I been made aware of this scheduled maintenance, we would have perhaps stayed all three nights at the Foggy Bottom location.  Here's what's cool, though. I Tweeted about my annoyance and within an hour, received an email from corporate apologizing for the situation.  Ultimately, I was credited the price of one night's accommodations to compensate me for the inconvenience, a nice gesture on their part.  I would still consider staying at this hotel in the future, but I would certainly confirm the availability of the advertised amenities.

The magnificent marble stairs at the Monaco
In Baltimore we stayed in the plushest digs of our trip, the Kimpton Monaco.  This recently opened hotel is in a gorgeous historic building and our room was fantastic!  The superior quality of this place was apparent even to my 7 y/o, who quickly declared it to be the "best place" we stayed.  Our room was spacious, quiet and included a banging bathroom complete with garden tub and walk in shower. and my favorite Aveda products as a bonus. Our two days here were exceedingly comfortable and we were very well taken care of by the staff.  Price-wise we lucked out with a deal from Hotwire and paid only $200 and change total for 2 nights.  Speaking of Hotwire, another special offer came my way while we were in Baltimore which provided me the opportunity to cancel the reservation we had in place for our final night in NYC at the Radisson.
The Hotel Belleclaire, a small boutique hotel on the UWS, was offering a special for approximately $115 a night and I pounced on it.  The hotel was just west of Broadway on 77th  Street - a great location for exploring, or revisiting, one of my favorite areas of Manhattan.  The lobby was being renovated, which made for some noise and dust upon entry, but the staff couldn't have been more accommodating, storing our luggage and providing a suite to guests complete with snacks and beverages.  The room itself was standard NYC small, but it was clean (no skeevy carpet!) and equipped with a modern bathroom and a comfortable bed.  I would definitely consider staying here again, although it is more appropriate for a couple than a family.  Guess I'd better work on that!

I've come to the conclusion, however, that my favorite hotel in New York City is the Millenium Hilton, on Church Street in the financial district.  A week after my epic train trip with my youngest, I headed back to the city with my oldest and this is where we stayed.  I believe I've stayed at this particular Hilton at least a half dozen times and I've never had a bad experience. The staff is always pleasant, the room immaculate and the location perfect for my needs. And there's a pool! I know that I've landed at this place through the luck of the draw when using Hotwire and/or Priceline, but most recently I've been booking using a combination of Hilton Honors points and cash. The going rate for this place on a weekend is often a bit less than the more centrally located Hiltons in Manhattan, generally about $250 a night, I'd say. Using a combination of points and cash brings it down to about $100 a night - a real New York bargain. The added bonus of staying in the business district is that onstreet parking is generally available on weekends and holidays, which can save you a bundle. If you're unfamiliar with this part of the city, be aware it is NOT like midtown - at all. There isn't much in the way of shopping other than Brooks Brothers (natch) and Century 21. No worries - there is a Starbuck's around the corner and tons of green space for kids and adults alike, as well as the 9/11 Memorial, the Staten Island Ferry,  Southstreet Seaport and the Brooklyn Bridge. I'm already thinking about gathering up the girls and getting down there again - asap.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Can't get no satisfaction

If only everything was as good as Yono's pork belly
Maybe this is the payback for eating a mess of pork belly and bakmi last night?  Despite the brilliant warm sunshine today, I seem to be having the most frustrating day I can remember.  Here's how it has gone down, dare I say, so far...

Woke up and recognized that with that hour being stolen from me (and you, too!), there was no way I could do the three things I had hoped to manage.  And still feel like I had a day off, that is.  Immediately cancelled my lunch plans via text and allowed myself to imagine an afternoon reading the paper and puttering.  Ate some breakfast and walked to yoga and found the parking lot surprisingly crowded.  Realized that today was a special workshop or something and there was no Sunday morning Sadhana.  Consoled myself with thoughts of leisurely reading the paper and perhaps doing some yoga at home.

Bought the paper, walked home and grabbed my scissors to clip coupons.  What?  No coupons?  Did some investigating and determined that none of the "good stuff" was in my paper - no coupons, no book reviews, no weekly restaurant skewering or "journalistic" ridiculousness to mock for the week.  Someone at Stewart's didn't do their job correctly.  Crap.  Hopped in my car to go to Lowe's for some moth traps so I can finally confirm that the closet moths are truly gone.  Guess what I found on the shelf?  Yep, nothing.  They're all out.  Merde.

Decided to stop in at Marshall's in the still optimistic mindset that perhaps I could find something green for next week's Running of the Green.  Nope, definitely not experiencing the luck of my people today, unless you're considering the Potato Famine era.  Drove to the pharmacy to pick up the two prescriptions I dropped off last week, fully prepared for them to be closed.  Was slightly gratified to see the Open sign illuminated.  Was completely nonplussed when the pharmacist said he didn't have enough synthroid to fill my order.  Of course, he doesn't.  Why would he on such a day? Scheisse.

So...what to do?  How about a load of laundry and hope the machine doesn't break down?  Maybe rake the front yard and release those crocus from the leaves and debris which have sheltered them all winter.  Rake the back yard, as well, because it is something I can do without relying upon anyone or anything else.  And go for a run.  Better make it a long one.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

7 Days, 3 cities, 1 boy

Check out my latest post over at Vinoteca.

7 Days, 3 cities, 1 boy

Delso cookies!

Sometimes I think I am a pretty lucky lady, other times I know I am a very lucky lady. Like Thursday evening when I got to participate in a Cookie Tasting. Yeah, I said Cookie Tasting. You may not know this, but I love cookies. If I had a choice between cookies, cake or pie, it would be cookies all the way for me, although I would eternally miss this pie.  Maybe it is their shape (I like circles) or the fact that I can eat many of them without feeling too guilty.  Or perhaps the way the pair so perfectly with a glass of cold milk.  And talk about varieties!  There are seemingly an infinite number of variations on these simple treats - and I'll try them all, holding a special place in my heart for New York City style black & whites, Linzer Tarts and good old fashioned chocolate chips.

You all know the exciting news about All Good Bakers relocating to the DelSo, yes? The owners of this terrific business already reside in the neighborhood and they, along with Linda Kindlon of Bake for You, decided that it would be appropriate to create a cookie that represented their new location - the DelSo cookie. Although I didn't officially submit a recipe, in my mind the winning cookie needed to be a combination of wholesome and indulgent, traditional yet with a surprise component, and definitely had to demonstrate an artistic flair without an iota of preciousness. That's kind of a lot to pack into 3 bites, isn't it?

The event was well organized with 6 varieties of cookies to be tasted. There were beverages, including Meadowbrook Farms milk, scorecards and plenty of cookies for those inclined to go back for seconds. Me? I was the annoying person who broke the cookies in half so as to not weigh myself down for my return run home. No worries - my hands were clean, I swear.

Of the six, I had two strong favorites but the cookie pictured was my ultimate number one - or number six since the scale was 1 to 6 with six being the best score. What set this cookie apart was the inclusion of popped corn,which added a completely unexpected airy crunch to the cookie. A close second was the Mexican chocolate cookie which had a wonderful chili pepper spice, making it very much a grown up cookie, which just might keep the children's hands out of the cookie jar.  Each of the different cookies, regardless of the ingredients (dried apples, orange zest, coconut...) was perfectly baked and there truly wasn't a bad one in the bunch.

It was a really fun way to spend an hour and I enjoyed chatting it up with the Fussy and the friendly. The winner has not yet been announced in the battle to be the DelSo cookie, but I know we, in the DelSo neighborhood, are certain that we are the ultimate winners with the upcoming arrival of All Good Bakers, complete with cookies from Bake for You,  in our little Best Up and Coming neighborhood.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Get a room!

The Westin in Boston
Radisson on Lexington, NYC
There's a part of me that keeps waiting for life to slow down a little - it has been a pretty wild ride for the last 6 weeks or so, and I really am hoping to spend some quality time at home, putzing in my front garden and getting a few spring cleaning chores accomplished.  My busy family/ social calendar has provided me with a number of recent opportunities to stay in hotels and I thought it might be interesting to relate my experiences to you all, for what it's worth.

In the last month and a half, I have stayed at 6 different hotels in 4 different states - 5, if we include the District of Columbia.  We all know that hotels can be expensive, and I'm a fan of getting a good deal in all things travel related, so let me offer you some tips. 
  1. Create an email account just for travel related websites.  I receive offers from Hotwire,, Travel Ticker, Groupon, Living Social and Travelocity and it's nice to have them all in one place devoted to travel. 
  2. Consider linking your credit card with a rewards program.  I like the Hilton family of hotels (Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Embassy Suites, etc) and often use my credit card to earn points even if I have the cash in my pocket to make a purchase. 
  3. If there's a problem with your accommodations, don't suffer in silence!  Give the business an opportunity to correct the issue and make you happy.  That's how companies create repeat business and brand loyalty. Now, some specific hotel information from my recent travels...
I was in Boston at the end of January for a wonderful surprise birthday party. The Westin was the perfect place to stay for me - an easy walk to my transportation hub, South Station, and a Starbuck's right in the lobby.  My most favorite thing about this hotel, though, was the available map of recommended running routes.  It definitely is a niche thing, but one that I found to be the perfect amenity for me.

The first night, and also the last night, of my February train trip was booked at the Radisson on Lexington Ave in NYC.  Well, initially, that was the plan.  I had jumped on a Hotwire deal ($118 a night) and reserved the "bookend" nights of our vacation in a spot that would be convenient to Grand Central Station.  Upon our arrival, though, I began to consider other options.  The hotel wasn't bad, it just wasn't great.  The carpeting seemed dirty and the bathroom was really small.  The proximity to Central Park was good and the staff was pleasant, but, I certainly wasn't looking forward to returning to this place.  
Koi pond!
Since we were arriving in D.C. after dark, I thought we should spend our initial night in a location convenient to Union Station.  I selected the an Embassy Suites in the Foggy Bottom area of D.C. and then proceeded to navigate our way to the wrong Embassy Suites.  Oh, well, it was a lovely, mild night and we ultimately jumped into a cab to get there.  We were feeling beat and we indulged in takeout delivery, which is one of my fairly new, favorite things to do - very self-indulgent.  This hotel was nice and the standard Embassy Suites courtyard was kicked up a notch by the addition of a Koi pond, a cool bonus that came with an opportunity to feed the fish in the morning.  The best thing, though, in my opinion, about the Embassy Suites is how perfectly they are set up for families.  From the two-room suite to the generous breakfast and the evening cocktail hour (manager's reception), they really know how to provide value.  And how to address a less than happy guest, but that story is for part two of this post.

To be continued...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Domestic violence or how I got a black eye from cleaning the bathtub

After my recent week away, I felt compelled to accomplish some household chores over the weekend.  Now, you know I believe that nothing says welcome home like clean sheets, but you may not know that I have a fondness for taking baths.  In a clean bathtub, naturally.  

Seeing as how I'm the only person who has ever cleaned either of the two bathrooms in my house, I got right on that task Saturday morning.  I even utilized all of my favorite tools - scrubbing bubbles, abrasive cleanser, window cleaner...When I stepped into that shower a short while later it was clean.  Unfortunately, I stepped in with a little too much haste and immediately lost my footing, slamming my face on the top of a shampoo bottle to stop my fall.  Ouch - it really hurt!  And not just because it was the cheap inexpensive Suave brand stuff.  I've accepted that the Fekkai would have caused the same pain, right?

I'm not really good in medical situations, so I avoided looking at the damage(s) until I was safely out of the shower.  And dressed.  There was blood, but not too much and I didn't think there was a need for medical attention, or even ice.  (I hate the way ice feels - give me a heating pad any day.)  I posted a picture on Facebook in the hopes that I could immediately subtract 579 from the grand total of times I would need to tell the story of my injury, but it has led to an interesting week.

Some observations from having a black eye... I often forgot that I had a glaringly obvious injury, at least until I noticed someone awkwardly staring at my face.  Once that happened, I immediately launched into my story, tossing in a joke about "walking into a door" and how I "wasn't going to date Chris Brown ever again."  The situation usually was smoothed over after a giggle or two, but there definitely was a residual sense, call it a bruise if you'd like, of discomfort. The Rihanna/Chris Brown bad romance brings me to my next observation, but it's one you should be making about me.  

At the risk of protesting too much, do I strike (ha!) you as the kind of woman someone who would ever tolerate abuse*?  When have I ever permitted anyone - male or female, to take unfair advantage of me?  Please.  Just because I reveal my bruises doesn't mean I have more of them than anybody else. 

*When I was 19 I was involved with an asshole a guy who slapped me across my face. Once. I have friends who were physically abused by their partners and I am completely sympathetic to the realities of domestic violence. It isn't a joke to me, but I also know from experience that I did not, and would not, allow anyone to physically abuse me. I hope that those who are victims find the means to seek help. Here's a resource for those in NYS.