Friday, July 31, 2009

It's about art and restoration ... and loud prints


Well folks, before I launch into the weekend survey of fun things to do with the kids (and without them), I should mention that next week we are off to Vacationland and all that entails. ... Usually sitting around my mother-in-law's abode trying to fend off Maine's state bird and driving each other UP THE WALL with innane inquiries such as: What do you want for dinner? What will the kids eat? Is it raining out? Are you going to the beach? Would you like ice cream? Are you planning to get off that couch at all this week?

Ah, vacation. Same angst, different scenery. ... Suffice to say, posts here are likely to be sparse, if at all.

Of course the house will be protected by super security system 2000, which will be fine against would-criminals but will leave us up sh*t creek without the proverbial implements of navigation if the roof caves in.



4:30? ... Almost time for Troy Night Out! The collar city is more than just court houses and crosswalks; it is also filled with arts and culture. Come out to Troy on the last Friday of any given month from 5 to 9 p.m. and see what you’ve been missing.


Dave Cox and Pat Ferri are presenting Comedy for the New Depression, at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1 at Performance Space for the 21st Century (PS21) in Chatham. If you haven't seen Those TWO Guys in person you might not understand that CRAZY should be their middle name. Family fun for the whole family in a space not to be missed. $25 for adults; $7 for children under 14.


The Wagon House Education Center at Olana's historic farm complex still has spots left for its summer week-long programs:

THE JOURNEY, an outdoor exploration and arts program, runs Aug. 3 through Aug. 7. The fee per week is $165 per child ($125 for members of The Olana Partnership) and is geared for children ages 6 to 12, who will work in small groups at the Frederic Church estate as they journey to one of the locales visited by Church in the 19th century. Children will encounter art, music, history, poetry and nature as they explore the world of the landmark Hudson River School painter.

An Ice Cream Social for program participants and their families takes place the Sunday evening preceding the session.

, a dramatic arts program, runs Aug. 17 through Aug. 21. The fee per week is $140 per child ($100 for members of The Olana Partnership) and is geared for students ages 7-14, who will create their own play from soup-to-nuts in a non-competitive live theater program. This week-long "full process" experience will include creating original scripts, sets and props. Themes will explore living on a farm in the 1800s and jumping into a Hudson River School painting. A final performance is open to the public Friday, Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. at the Wagon House Education Center.

Call 828-1872, extension 110 for more information on week-long art camps or register online.

ART IN THE BARN, is sure to delight tots (3 to 5 years of age) and their caretakers every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Wagon House Education Center. The drop-in art studio is for youngsters who are just starting to dabble in their artistic genius. Using themes such as The Hudson River, architecture, art and nature and farm history for inspiration, center educators will help you and the kids get messy and explore different art including dance and storytelling. This program is free.




I have come to terms with the notion that the only Pulizer I will ever get will likely be a Lilly Pulizer - the colorful and flamboyantly printed designer clothes and accessories that redefined casual elegance, and has been a mainstay of the society set for the past 50 years.

Now, I may not have one fashionable bone in my body, but the dress that started Lilly on the road to a Jubilee celebration is something I can TOTALLY identify with because of its humble origins; it was made solely to hide juice stains. Slobs of the word unite!

Of course the pricetags -- between $150 and $500 for dresses -- make procurement on my part a matter of when I am able to stop uttering the phrase: "YOU JUST SPILLED JUICE ON ME AGAIN!" My guess? Five to 10 years at the earliest.

But that's beside the point, which is: Lilly Pulizer is celebrating 50 years in business with a series of events at The Pink Paddock Boutique in Saratoga Springs.

*On Aug. 7, a Lilly Pulitzer Traveling Retrospective of the designers vintage looks will take place at the Gideon Putnam Resort. Guests can shop the current collection while partaking in cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Print designer Rebecca Allred will be in attendence and will create hand-painted prints for customers who spend $400 or more.

*An all-day "shopping event" will take place Aug. 8 at the shop, located at 380 Broadway.

*On Sunday, Aug. 9, Lilly Pulizer and The Pink Paddock sponsor the Saratoga Polo Tournaments, which will feature contests, rides in a Lilly Pulitzer printed Jeep, and opportunites to hob nob with designer Allred.

Some of you who are past the "WHO GAVE JUNIOR THE PERMANENT MARKER?!" phase might like to check it out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love the rain

I do. I love it.

I love the way it shines against the sky and reflects the soft clouds with a hard edge.

I love the way it falls in fat droplets onto thirsty ground.

I love when it changes the landscape, momentarily and without malice: I love discovering pools of water to splash in where none had been before.

I love the way it taps at the roof; sometimes insistently.

I do NOT love the way it finds its way through the cracks and crevices of the new house, however. Drips forming on door jams. Threatening stains on the new walls. I do NOT like it.




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh me of inferior blogging

Stacy, the lovely and talented mind behind Apathy Lounge, wrote a delightful and thought-provoking reminiscence into junk drawers past and present. And I SOoooooo wanted to comment there. But it would seem I'm totally and irredeemably unable to master the art of logging into Typepad.

*Shakes head in shame*

I then tried to e-mail her directly, which I usually do in times of my technological malfunctions, but I couldn't manage to find her e-mail address either.

I did say irredeemably, right?

*More shame shaking*

Instead, I will offer you the *comment* I had hoped to leave for her:

I happen to know I had four pairs of scissors (why can I never find them?); bits of leftover ribbon; a compass; four birthday candles; seven product information booklets, including three booklets for appliances we no long own; three marbles; two Playmobil figures, scuba dude and zoo keeper; two packages of batteries; an old Nalgene bottle filled with corks; the top half of a Hello Kitty plastic egg; four glue sticks; two packages of some longevity chemical for cut flowers; two rubber bands; six pencils; one pen; two reusable produce bags, one mesh the other muslin; theater ticket stubs; a postcard from France; and a Buyus Funeral Home ash tray, which I'm considering using as a soap dish in the downstairs bathroom.

I know this because I packed the junk in a reusable grocery tote and moved it to the new house, where it has become painfully obvious that the new kitchen has one fewer drawer.

Now I have to find a drawer for my junk.

Now. Go snoop through Stacy's junk drawer, she's got a choice of cake or pie for you, too.

Which reminds me: "Pie."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The navel-gazing rhetorical question that *might* just break that camel's back

So ... when you've gotten the children breakfast, and you've washed the dishes from the night before, and you've gathered lunches, wiped counters and swept the floors (not to mention p*ssed off the husband by not caring what he gets done in the house while you are away ... so long as he gets the youngest child to put on clothes) ...

AND there are still 15 minutes before you have to battle your way to the car and the commute and work ...

So you sit down with your lukewarm coffee to watch your kids as they play ... and watch the Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Walter Matthau narrating) because they, unlike you, really can multi-task.

AND then your littlest one creeps around the corner of the chair that's facing yours, peeps his little scrunched-up face in your direction and crooks his finger as if he's waving at you with some imaginary puppet ...

You just look at his beamish little face and have to ask yourself ...

What *bleeping* JOB is worth missing this all day long?

And your brain snaps you back to sanity: The one that provides health insurance benefits.

And you can't help but hope that someone, anyone, you've elected to public office realizes the costs of doing nothing are just too high.

And they finally do something about it, even if it costs them the next election.

Often, doing the right thing hurts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What I would have missed if I was at BlogHer '09 ...

Well, this and getting the shelves installed in my office closet. (I've always been a cheap date). Or taking Annabel on her first trip to the laundromat to find out that she's more like me than I realized: LOVED. THE. LAUNDROMAT. She didn't want to leave.
Although for me it's the smell of detergent and dryer sheets; for her it was helping strangers pick out working dryers and running around with the funny clothes carts. I also learned both Annabel and Silas can put together the wooden train tracks (Something I have trouble doing) and the profession of surgeon might be within reach for either of them, as well.

I know the BlogHer conference is more than angst, swag and public/private parties where people get to rub elbows with the top brass of influential blogs ... it just never sounds like it from the post BlogHer posts.

Why is that?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Flood Gates

seen this face a lot lately

Ultimately, I never believed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was the victim of racial profiling when police in Cambridge arrested him for becoming outraged as officers investigated a report of a burglary at his address.

But while President Obama backs off from his initial statement in defense of his friend, that the police acted "stupidly," I still believe Gates was the victim of bad police work. And the arrest fits the bill of not being the smartest move on their part.

Police don guns and badges and have a responsibility to have the coolest of heads. When investigating reports of crime they should be aware of potential inaccuracies and biases of reporting witnesses, as well as emotional outrage of those falsely accused. It just seems apparent that by arresting Gates after having determined there was no burglary seems was done as a rap on the knuckles for his anger toward them. It just seems too personal.

If everyone involved were to have taken a deep breath, they would have seen this as a huge misunderstanding.

As information trickles out on what happened, we learn that Office Crowley had, in fact, facilitated training for police on how to avoid racial profiling. It isn’t far from fathomable that Crowley might have become just as irate at the remark Gates made about him being a racist as Gates was about being asked for identification in his own home. The guilt of profiling really belongs to the neighbor who sized him up as a robber, or more accurate it seems, the reporting agencies that ran with the theory before it had been proved.

It is probably true that either party might have been able to diffuse the situation, but I feel police - being the professionals - have the obligation to do so. They should be obligated to make arrests responsibly with an eye on justice, not just to stop a man from saying things that hurt their feelings.

Because ultimately what they are saying is that under no circumstances can you argue with a cop. You can not call him a racist and get away with it. You can only bow your head, say 'no sir,' and hope he goes away.

The thing that remains to be seen, however, is how the event will impact the real issues concerning racial profiling as it has become investigative policy for many police forces.

For instance, in Troy, NY, police are still arresting people of color in higher numbers than whites for traffic violations such as riding a bike without a bell or jaywalking. Not ticketed, not fined: ARRESTED. The idea being that there will be no public outrage for the innocent when drugs are discovered on a handful of the guilty.

That’s not justice, it is lazy police work.

As the nation focus’ its attention on Gates, I just hope the people involved can shine the light on real cases of racism for those who are relegated to the shadows.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Random Question Thursday has MOVED ....

To Friday ...

And now I'm just going to ask a pointed question:

What are you doing this weekend?

As is usual, I'm not sure what's in store for for us this weekend but my hope is it will involve getting running water to actually STAY in the new sink and not SPURT into the old cabinet. I'm also guessing upcoming fun for us will have something to do with laundry ... lots and lots of laundry ... as well as trying to cut back on the number of boxes we are living out of by finding a permanent home for the stuff currently living in cardboard.

But that's just a guess. But one never knows, it might also include visiting one of the many events around the region:

Looking for something unique to do this weekend? Why not visit local potter Barbara Reeley as she opens her home studio to the public for a kiln firing and pottery sale. With the weathercasters calling for sun and clouds this weekend, she's decided it's the perfect weather to do Raku, a pottery firing process known for its unpredictability.

The firing and sale begins at 10 on Saturday morning and will end at 6 p.m. Her studio is located at 9346 NY 66. From Troy take route 66 East, go past Emma Willard School and through Wynantskill. At the juncture of routes 66 and 355 take a right on 66 and continue 1.2 miles. Her house (white on the left) is past Pandora Street. Look for a blue flag. If you get to Rosena Street you have gone too far. Call 283-1082 for more information.

It's an event that may sound ho-hum, but it really keeps the community buzzing; the 13th Annual Dry Cleaning Day at Commodore Cleaners, 341 Fifth Ave., Troy. The Kiwanis Club of Troy will take over counter duties Saturday between 1 and 4 p.m. and during those hours Commodore will donate all proceeds from prepaid drop offs to the club, which funds community projects including summer camps for kids and other youth-related causes. Innundate them with your dirty laundry why don't you: everything from winter coats to work clothes. The kids will thank you.

Stride Family Day Clambake and Concert will take place Sunday from 12:30 to 6 p.m. at Butler Park in Averill Park. Sponsored by the Arlington House Restaurant as a fundraiser for Stride, tickets are $25 and include all food, beverages, and entertainment for the day. Recreational facilities available as well. Rain or Shine. Reservations required. Call the Stride Office at 598-1279 or email:

Family Fun Day kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Brunswick Baptist Church, 385 Grange Road.
The annual event features pony rides, a petting zoo, climbing wall, games, hot dogs and more. Free.
Call 237-1932 for more information.

Tuesday is Open Mic Night at the Nassau Free Library. Kids are invited to sing, dance, read poems or play an instrument all before a receptive audience. A karoake machine will add to your singing pleasure. Participation may also be in the form of cheering on the brave souls getting up to perform. And as an added bonus, anyone who participates will be allowed to choose a song for event facilitator Kristine Moxon to sing.

If you dig on dinosaurs, though, you might want to stop by on Wednesday evening for "Jurassic Jiggle," songs, stories, pussle search and craft all about dinosaurs. The events are free, but registration is required to ensure there are supplies for all who attend. Both events begin at 6 p.m. Call the library at 766-2715 for information and registration.


Zion's United Church of Christ of Taborton, 741 Taborton Road in Sand Lake, is hosting it's annual Summer Festival and Craft Fair. Saturday, Aug. 1 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a craft fair, auction, games, live music and more. A picnic is also planned, featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, soda and ice cream. The auction will begin at 1 p.m. and there will be three seatings for a chicken barbecue at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. For information, call 674-8204.

The 24th Annual Run for the Roses at Grafton Lakes State Park gets underway at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9
The 5K race through park roads benefits the Grafton Community Library. A nature walk preceeds the event at 8 a.m. and 1 mile fun run for children is planned for 10 a.m. For more information, contact the Grafton Library at 279-0580 or visit

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Why I'm (respectfully) not signing ....

I've been lured in to the debate on blogging with integrity, which seems to be the latest cause d'outrage from the internet set, out of curiosity (and Twitter, where every other post seems to be talking about BlogHer).

Best as I can gather the whole dustup started when some media folks questioned and therefore impugned the integrity of "mom bloggers" for their willingness to take pay for play with respect to consumer products without disclosing such marketing relationships on their sites.

The mom bloggers responded with outrage and said that a few bad apples were tainting the barrel.

Some folks responded to that by offering a respite from review blogging for a week.

Then other folks responded to that with outrage, saying the problem isn't in the type of blogging but the way it's being done.

And then they countered with their own challenge, Blogging with Integrity, complete with pledge and badge all "html"ed for the convenience of cutting and pasting.

Of course that's just my take, and each side that comes to the table says the other side misunderstands, so what I know is really not terribly reliable.

Anyhow. ...

I'm not a reviewer, although from time to time I have found a product or book or idea emanating from out there in the wide world of consumerism intriguing enough to include here. I've linked to things I haven't purchased by way of explanation or so as not to blur the lines between photographs I have taken and photographs I have not taken. Occasionally, a PR person has asked me to review something and I've done it, but they were never guaranteed a favorable review.

All of that is beside the point, however.

The point comes when a PR person, who is in grad school, studying to be a psychologist, and as such "better understand ethics," asked me to link to her company's site in a sentence I wrote a few years ago, which is still getting snagged up in Google searches. ... They'd pay me $95.

Meh. So much for her understanding of ethics.

In days of yore, journalists reviewing products sent freely by manufacturers would box the loot up and send it back or donate it to some cause so that they wouldn't benefit monetarily from the merchandise. There was such a thing as the appearance of impropriety. The height of ethics, however, would be the company laying out the cash for the thing to which they are reviewing and the denial of advertising dollars from companies they were calling out. The editorial department and the advertising departments didn't really co-mingle.

But that's how things used to be done, it seemed, before budgets got tight and fact checkers found themselves in a different line of work altogether in the high-minded news business. Now they have a term for advertising and editorial working hand-in-hand. They call it synergy. It stinks.

And as professionals in the business dwindled dilatants (and I count myself among them) flourished. Anyone with an opinion has one; only they don't necessarily understand the rules of the game, which can be complicated.

What's my point?

I applaud the idea of a pledge for blogger integrity, but I just don't condone the marketing of it as a hip, new brand.

So, for that reason I won't be signing the pledge or publishing the badge here, although I will continue to follow its principles.

I worry that this school bus of a campaign, which I believe IS a brilliant way to introduce a concept to people who have never been in the field of journalism, may turn into a bandwagon if those who sign on don't understand it's only a first step.

Understanding what we don't know, in this case, is so much more important than what we think we do know.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009



It's been five days.

Had it not been for a helpful visit from Jed's mom and her Significant Other to help us during the move, not to mention a two-day business trip afterward, it would have been Day One that The Champ was not only introduced to his new room but forcibly installed there for normal sleeping hours.

Last night we helped the boy select a bunch of toys and brought them to his new room: A helicopter; a plastic farm; a double-decker parking garage; a veritable sales lot of tiny cars; scads of books, pilfered from his sister's room.

He made room for me on is bed and slid under the covers. A smile on his face that I knew expressed a delight at this new "game."

We read three books, he asked me to sing "Pirate Ships" and he sang along with me. His squinty-eyed smile and voice cracking at the parts he knew ... "Prirate shis. Prirate shis ... merr-an-booooold" ... even makes me think of Alfalfa from Our Gang.

He begins to protest our new bedtime routine the minute I tell him it's dad's turn to read.

From his sister's room, through his closed door and hers, all I hear is the low voice of my husband and ...

Tears. Tears. Tears. Screaming. Tears. Tears. Tears. Mama. Mama. Mama. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzz.

Breaks my heart. I have no need to break up the family bed.

To be fair, it breaks Jed's heart, too.

So when the boy awoke at two a.m., sitting up in his big boy bed crying in the dark, he arose and went off to console him. He soon returned with a sobbing child and tucked him into bed beside me.

In the morning Jed showered him with approval anyway ...

JED: "You slept in your own room last night! What a big boy!"

"NO! Sleep HERE!"

But he said it with a smile.

It's a start.
It's a start.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sometimes it helps to get lost in the details

I found it difficult to look at the "big picture" as we moved our home to a new house.

Whenever you endeavor to do something that has so many parts I think the tendency for the non-planners among us is to just shut down.

For months people with the best of intension and previous experience told me to start packing “now.” I knew they were right, but whenever I looked around at the massive amount of stuff we’d accumulated in a decade, I saw all the things that more or less owned me.

Instead of packing in boxes, I packed in my mind.

And I purged.

Every now and again I filled my car with things to donate to Goodwill. I dropped them off.

For a little while I felt lighter even though the donation hadn’t made a dent.
But when it finally came time to hunker down and get to the business of really moving things, it was just a blind grab and toss.

Project Mayhem.

For a start, we didn’t procure enough boxes. Packing box after box; unpacking, repacking. We found ourselves reusing worn cartons marked “Kitchen” for “Bedroom” or “Bath.” It didn’t really matter seeing as how all of it was just being dumped into the closest room to the entrance.

Our stuff has stuff, or so my parents like to tell us.

But relocation isn’t rocket science; it’s merely the systematic organizing and schlepping and hauling and re-organizing until one finds a constant (or the set of car keys they lost two Christmases ago).

Perhaps that’s why I found myself wide awake at 4 a.m. trying to bring organization to the kitchen before the rest of the house arose, bringing chaos to the kitchen instead.

I made a pot of coffee and stared up at the cabinets. It struck me as odd that I – the person who doesn’t really do the cooking – feel compelled to organize the space. As I unwrap the first of the glasses I realize that while the cooking part is creative, the cleaning part is compulsive.

And if I am to uphold my end of our “You Cook, I’ll Clean” arrangement, I need to be able to organize our things for easy replacement. I get to work placing the dishes and the bowls, the cups and the saucers in the cabinets. Mixing bowls will go up there; a little to the right. Wine glasses next … and then serving bowls and platters.

The coffee is growing cold. I splash a little more in my cup to warm it up.

There’s the collection of water bottles and Thermoses to place next, not to mention the odd lot of things we’re keeping but never use. A corner of the cabinet, in view but out of reach seems good for those.

I begin to notice other things, too.

The kitchen appears smaller, but it’s holding all of the items we spread over three rooms in our old house. Everything is finding its place; something I’ve been longing to say.

I know it won’t last. Space seems to have a way of overfilling, but in the early morning light of a brand new day in a new house, sitting back with a cup of coffee and a sense of completion certainly has its perks.

As the sun comes up I hear the faint sounds of movement above; the creak of floor boards and running of water. And as the work dwindles from frantic, I decide moving isn't such a bad thing. It helps a person sweep away the clutter as they would cobwebs and offers an opportunity to revist lost causes, which can only happen if you move the year-round Christmas tree and hear a familiar jingle of keys.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seven van loads, 100 trips up and down the stairs, delivery pizza at 10 p.m. ...

And the CHAMP asks: Go home now?

JED: We are home, bud. THIS is our home now.

CHAMP: No! Go home NOW!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't write, send movers

If you don't hear from me for a while, don't panic. I probably just lost the computer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And like *that* the hat gets passed

Do you remember back around Sunday when I wrote this? The whole parents in black and white hats thing? Oh, how I reveled in stealing the white "good guy" hat from my husband's traveling-man fingers.

Well ... last night Ittybit insisted on drawing a picture of her father in her journal and writing a poem next to it to describe him:

"Dad, Dad you're so sweet

Whenever you come home

It's really a treat."

A few pages later, she repeated the process next to a drawing of my likeness ...

"Mommy sleeps in her bed

She always has her camera with her

She came to my dance recital!

But she left early.

It was ok, though. I didn't mind."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Question Thursday?

Yes, I know it's Wednesday but I'm feeling productive and working a day ahead ... not to mention tomorrow I will be too busy thinking about how I should be throwing crap our possessions into boxes so's Jed (et. al.) can toss said boxes into the truck and haul them over to the new house. ... Where, if all goes well, we will be LIVING! come Monday.

BUT ... since I don't really want to think about any of that, answer me this:

What's you're favorite ice cream flavor?

ME: I'm going to say Green Tea flavored; I've never seen it locally, but I had some once in D.C. at a Japanese restaurant with my aunt. And I must say ... Mmmmm mmm. Mmm. So good, I might have to try and make it myself.

JED: Anything with a chocolate base and candy-like boulders works for him. New York Superfudge Chunk ... Rocky Road ... you get the idea. Ben AND Jerry are his heroes.

ITTYBIT: Used to be Mint Chocolate Chip (or Oreo something-or-other at Ralph's Pretty Good Cafe) but now she's favoring Cookie Dough wherever she goes ... even in our kitchen as we bake.

THE CHAMP: Although a man of few words at the moment, he gets his vanilla desire across fairly plainly. Lately though -- and as a result of The Other Mom not believing he really wanted the Mint Chocolate Chip he asked for by pointing -- he's found his true bliss is a literal blast, after she chose "Fireworks," a vanilla-based flavor from Stewart's Shops that features Pop Rocks candies, for him instead.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009





Quid pro quo.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Miss Daisy, driving

miss daisy driving, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I know: Cheap shot.

It's just my way of getting back at her for making me ride the Tilt-A-Whirl and that crazy beast that goes up in the air, spins around and tilts on its side making me pray to gods I don't really believe in so's I can just stand on solid ground again.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Where's the ripcord?

kitchen saint

I'm getting off this crazy train ... only to board another. It's the weekend, folks, and after the past five days I'm a think I'm a gonna drowned my sorrows in piles of laundry and lukewarm cups of coffee. Maybe I'll start packing. Or maybe -- just maybe -- if the kids are more funky than feverish and I've lightened up from the sobering thoughts of late, I'll venture outside to check out one of the family-friendly things happening around the region:


You don’t want to miss GE Kid’s Day at the plaza
Children's entertainment including face painters, clowns, puppet shows, jugglers, music and pony rides, with special guests Choo Choo Soul from Playhouse Disney will be in attendance. The event, which takes place Sunday at the Empire State Plaza from noon to 5 p.m. is presented by the State Office of General Services. Free.

A day of family activities revolving around the Beatrix Potter classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" including playing in Mr. McGregor's garden and finding Peter's shoes takes place at the Washington County Fair Farm Museum Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. The museum is located on Old Schuyler Road in Greenwich. Call 692-2464 for information.


A Celebration of the Quadricentennial of the Dutch settlement of the Hudson Valley will take place Saturday at Knickerbocker Mansion. The event includes a 400-year living history time line of the mansion and cemetery tours, sale of a first edition Will Moses poster, vendors and lecturers. A pancake breakfast will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. and an Authentic Dutch Colonial dinner will be served at 11 a.m. A re-enactment of the planting of the 1676 Witengamot Oak (with local dignitaries) commemorating a peace treaty between the Native Americans and European settlers will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday. Knickerbocker Mansion is located at 132 Knickerbocker Road, just off State Route 67 midway between Schaghticoke and Mechanicville.

The Uncle Sam Foundation will host the Uncle Sam Picnic Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Prospect Park in Troy. The goal is to raise money to commemorate the site of the first home in Troy of Samuel Wilson, who was the model for the nation's iconic Uncle Sam characterization. Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available at the door. The price of admission includes food, soda, entertainment and entry in prize drawings. Musical entertainment includes the Pearl River Dixieland Jazz Band, Donnie Elvis, the Greg Baker Band and P.J. the D.J., along with master of ceremonies Rudd Young.


Kids cooking classes are heating up at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville. Children of all ages will head out from the farm to harvest fresh, organic vegetables and use their harvest as the main ingredients of the day’s cooking lesion. Events also include stores and a fiber arts activity.
Two sessions of classes are available: Session One, for grades 3 through 5, will meet July 15 through 31; Session Two, for grades 6 through 8, will meet August 5 through 19. Classes for both sessions meet Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for three weeks. Cost is $180 per session. Call 672-7500, extension 105 for more information or email

V-Ville Hoopla and Village Tag Sale will get underway July 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the village of Valatie. The event promises family fun including food, amusements, face painting, a rock climbing wall, kettle corn, and Music by the Reverberators (from 2 to 4 p.m.) not to mention great bargains in the fabulous tag sales all along Main Street.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Random Ramblings Thursday

Whilst driving home from work yesterday I was forced to realize a truth that is only surprising to me: I am middle-aged.

Oh, this little pest had been flying around for a while. I swatted at it from time to time with the gestating and bearing of children at an age when most of my friends were getting ready to put their own kids in middle school; and some *shudder* high school and college.

Everyone else can see the lines in my face and the silver in my hair, growing coarser by the year. I unappologetically soften them in Photoshop.

I thought of myself as a late bloomer; “A Girl On Her Way,” to quote the title of a Maia Sharp song, and the reason for this inarguable wisdom.

An interview with Sharp was airing on National Public Radio as I steered my Civic home … (which is another key sign, I’ve learned, that a woman has reached a certain age. I came to this understanding after a attending gathering of women, wherein the husband of the host found himself shuffling cars in the driveway and had returned from his chore announcing that he’d been able to hear an NPR story in its entirety behind the wheels of seven different Hondas).

But I digress.

Sharp was telling me (and thousands of other listeners) that a girl on her way has only has so long before she becomes a woman who never arrived.

And there I was, slack jawed, a woman who never arrived: a woman, alone, in a car, listening to NPR.

The progression of this transformation became clear as the song portion played behind my thoughts.

For a time you tread water waiting for your first “real” job.

You get your first promotion.

Then a second.

Maybe you are named to the post of leadership before you turn 30, like I was.

And then maybe you get laid off.

Financial cuts.

Maybe they tell you how horrible you left things (even if you inherited someone else's mess) as a parting gift.

Maybe you spend some time thinking you are unemployable.

And sooner than not you are employed again.

This time you are grateful.


Unwilling to take chances.

You stagnate.

You try new things anyway.

You can't help yourself. You have ideas that lead you onward if not upward.

And for a time you are on your way again.

Things are looking up.

But nothing really catches on.

And then one day a song comes on the radio.

And you look into the corner of the rearview mirror you have angled toward your face.

Damn vanity.

And you see the truth.

And you finally swat dead that fly that was buzzing around you.

Turns out, it’s not as painful as you thought it would be.

You tell yourself: If you had only sought to arrive, you might have missed out on all the sights along the way.

Hell, it might even be true.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Two kids and a bucket ...

bucket, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Round about bedtime, after having lounged on the couch watching TV curled in a ball all evening, Ittybit started screaming that she was in pain.

SCREAMING. Her stomach hurt.

She begged for the medicine I had wanted to give her an hour before - medicine that she'd refused - when I felt her head and it seemed hot.

She had been complaining of pain since the afternoon. Just the low-grade, lay on the couch variety. The kind that makes a parent wonder if she's really sick or just trying to get one more episode of The Moose Channel. It was nothing like the doubled over, nonsensical speech kind I was now witnessing.

I called the doctors' service and left a message. I explained to the doctor on call what was happening. ... most of these stomach complaints, I know, turn out to be constipation (a condition my girl knows well) or gastroenteritis or who knows. But some turn out to be medical or surgical emergencies, such as appendicitis.

I wasn't use to the level of pain she was expressing.

I looked up appendicitis, by way of "acute abdominal pain in children" and Google.

It didn't seem likely, but I couldn't get it out of my head.

She was tired and wanted to sleep after I gave her some ibuprophen.

Her father read to her and slept near by just incase it got worse.

Her skin was cool when she awoke in the morning, and for a while she said her stomach felt better. Slowly, as we were getting ready for the day, the pain returned.

I called the doctor's office and got an appointment; I hustled them off into the car and off we went.

Ittybit saying how this may be the worst day of her life, and inquiring as to how much longer it would take to get there; Silas quietly watching out of the window until we arrive;. "Mama, scared, mama!"

Almost as soon as we got inside and gave them our names, she was in the restroom near the fish tank, vomiting.

Still, she was trying to console her little brother, who's recent well-baby visit -- complete with blood testing -- seemed torture enough for one year.

The nurse handed Ittybit a small basin, and guided us into the exam room. The doctor was the one on call from the night before. She listened with her stethoscope and pushed here and there with her fingers.

Seems like some garden variety virus.

Take her home, limit water, watch for signs of something worse.

As I was checking out, the doctor returned with a canister of stickers for the kids to choose from.

The girl quietly selected a princess sticker without her usual need to go through each and every picture to decide; and the boy immediately saw what he wanted ... a dump truck (although when he says it it sounds remarkably like an unmentionable sexual position). The doctor laughs.

I laugh, too. I feel better. Happy even, to be referred home rather than to the ER, where I had feared we'd wind up.

I barely noticed the boy's skin getting warmer as he waved goodbye to the doctor, happily, in my arms.

Lather, rinse repeat. Such is life with two.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Summer Reading Club

annabel's reading

Our library (and most likely your library, too) has an elaborate summer reading program for all ages. There are prizes galore for kids who read or are read to every day througout the summer.

Because of this, Ittybit and Champ (by imitation) are taking their books VERY SERIOUSLY.

So seriously, in fact, that this morning when I went into Ittybit's room to investigate why they were being so quiet, I was told in no uncertain terms by the toddler that I was invading their good time.

"Ah-BELL read me. GO! mama."

Of course, that's when I saw the book on top of the stack of "to read nexts" was this photographic joke book someone *ahem* gave me for Christmas.

No wonder they wanted me to leave them alone: Kids are never too young to riducle the parental units.

Monday, July 06, 2009

That child labor thing is just a guideline, right?

Well ... The Champ had to be dragged away, kicking and screaming, from his room after he started getting all Jackson Pollock-y with his paintbrush. His dad may smile on creativity for the walls, but he frowns when it involves the newly refinished floors.

Ittybit, however, spent all afternoon in her room, and with some help from some hard-working friends, managed to cover every smidgeon of wall with a fairly even coat of Peony Pink.

She's ready to move in now.

Friday, July 03, 2009

What? You wanted fireworks?

Well ... I suppose you could find loud and colorful explosions somewhere this weekend.

OR ... you could come to our place ....

Could you read that bit at the bottom?

FREE suds and grub.

Just sayin ...

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Random question Thursday

It's a two-fer this week, but only because I stiffed you last week and stuck you with a rant:

What odd, you're-not-quitting-your-day-job skill have you mastered?

And in what similar endeavor do you seek to become proficient?

PART ONE: I am extremely proud of the fact that I can whistle with my fingers. LOUD. Yes, folks, I can cat-call with the best of the construction crowd. I spent an entire summer, when I was 10 or so, perfecting these tweets so's I could win friends and influence people come fall when I would be attending a new school.

PART TWO: I would love to learn to perform yo-yo tricks. I'm not even sure why, seeing as I can barely get the blasted little thing to climb back up the string even one time after I've tossed it.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The only thing missing from the new house is Marlin Perkins

muledeer, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Otherwise this place may very well BE the wild kingdom.


ME: Hello?

HIM: OH. MY. GOD! Do you have a minute? I have to tell you what just happened to me. ... I saw a hawk fly over with a gopher in its claws. ... But it dropped him and he scampered away.

ME: I hope he's not moving in with the rest of the gang.

HIM: I know. ... me too. ... and that's not ALL! After that I was ATTACKED by two of the cutest little baby deer you have ever seen.

ME: Attacked? Were they rabid or something?

HIM: No, no. They were just two little fawns who mistook me for their mother for a second.