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Mohawk River Run

Instead of my beloved Lame Friday Post, I make bold to offer two Running Commentary posts in a row, because once again I ran two days in a row.  I’m just a little pleased with myself about it (happily glossing over the fact that I first took three days off).  Also, the setting of my run was definitely Mohawk Valley-ish.

As I mentioned yesterday, I am in Rome for Thanksgiving.  I had brought running clothes for two days but, as it turned out, not quite what I needed.  Well, who expects to wear shorts to run in November?  Yes, it happens, but one must admit, it is unusual.  No matter, my Mom loaned me a pair of shorts and off I went.

It was a little later than yesterday’s run; the sun was high in the sky, so I decided to check out the Mohawk River Trail. I picked it up off (I think) Culver Avenue (at least, one end of that street is Culver.  I suppose I COULD look it up before I publish this, but you know what a slacker I am on a Friday).  The trail head was clearly labeled, and there was a trash can at the entrance.  I always take note of public trash cans, for if I’m walking a dog and need to dispose of poop bags.

The trail is blacktop and wide enough for two or three to walk abreast.  I made note of that, because I thought I might be returning later in the day for a walk with members of my family.  Oh, I do love to be in the woods.  The trees were bare, leaves carpeted the ground, everything was brown and peaceful.  It was a cloudy, almost a gloomy morning, but my mood was anything but gloomy.  I could feel that I was running faster than yesterday, which you may recall, was faster than previously.  I’m thinking the reason was that I had been up for a while, drank coffee and eaten some toast and date-nut bread (protein in the dates and nuts!).

Just to interject another family note (it is a holiday weekend, after all), the date-nut bread was made by my sister Diane using my grandmother’s recipe.  Grandma always brought date-nut bread for Thanksgiving and Christmas; I am so pleased to have the tradition continued.  To add to the tradition (and the best traditions are built on over the years), my sister made the bread with her daughter, another sister and a niece, while having few drinks and a lot of laughs.  Laughs are a very important part of my family’s traditions.

Getting back to the run, I was enjoying myself quite a bit on the smooth, fairly level path.  I could see a few side paths that were not paved. I’m not sure if they were official or just used by some people, but I did not explore any today.  One led down to the water, possibly for a fishing spot.  The river was mostly visible through the trees, civilization less so. I was not sure where I was in relation to the City of Rome.  This did not particularly worry me.  I could always turn around and run back the way I came, but of course I didn’t want to do that.

There was a bridge in the distance.  Could I get there from here?  I had crossed a bridge to get to the trail so obviously would have to cross another to get back.  I was about half-way to how long I wanted to run for.  It was time to turn around or go another way.  Up a little bit of a hill, I came to a road.  Ah, but what road?  It did not look familiar.  Then I saw a sign for MVCC (Mohawk Valley Community College).  I know they have a branch on Floyd Avenue.   There was a sidewalk, to I got on it and turned in the direction of the bridge.

Things did not look completely familiar right away, but I was still pretty sure I was on Floyd Ave and headed in the right direction (I know it is more proper to say “Floyd Avenue” when I don’t have a street number, but we SAY “Floyd Ave” in conversation, so I make bold to say that here) (just a little grammatical digression).  Then things looked vaguely familiar, then I recognized stuff.

It was a lovely little run.  I went the exact length of time I went yesterday. Perhaps by Sunday I will increase it by the recommended 10 percent.  In the meantime, I’ll hit Publish and feel pleased with myself that I burned off some of the calories consumed at our Thanksgiving feast.  Happy Friday, everyone.

 

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Adventures in Laundry

I thought I would give my readers an update on the washer/drier adventure I had on Saturday.  As I mentioned in Saturday’s post, a work friend sold me his old washer and drier at a very attractive price.  Saturday was the day to go get it, and several family members came over to help and/or point and laugh.

The original plan had been for Steven and me to go get the appliances after he got done work at 2:30.  I had had some vague thoughts of going earlier by myself but thought better muscles than mine might be a good idea.  My sister Cheryl had expressed an interest in going to the Herkimer College Craft Fair, which was that day.  Since I was hoping my Dad would help us install the things and my nephew Dan might help us get them down the basement stairs, I suggested a family party.  For one reason, my Mom and niece Dana would probably like to go to the Craft Fair, and Dana would have to bring my delightful great nephew Shepherd.  I just can’t get enough of little Sheppie.

It was not until Saturday morning that Cheryl had the excellent idea that Dan accompany me to get the appliance so that it would not be so late by the time we were installing them.  I greatly appreciated that thought, since I had to be at Ilion Little Theatre around six for Lunch Hour (remember that?  I’ve only mentioned it several dozen times).

Driving out to get the washer and drier was an adventure in itself.  My work friend lives way out in the country, near East Winfield.  We took the twisty, hilly Route 51 out of Ilion.  It’s always fun to drive these country roads, and in some places the views are magnificent.  Saturday the views were not seen at their best, because of rain and, oh dear, snow, but we enjoyed what we could see.

After returning with the washer and drier, we had the fun of maneuvering them into the house and down the basement stairs.  I was glad to have the help of several family members, because I am not much help in these situations.  I was helpful enough to make coffee at least.  Then I enjoyed some time with Shepherd while Dad and Steven worked on getting the appliances hooked up.

I wanted to feed my helpers so called Salvatore’s and ordered pizza.  They came through with their usual prompt, polite delivery of delicious food.  Before we enjoyed the pizza, Steven and Dad ran into a couple of problems with the drier.  Steven had to run out and get a new clamp for the hose.

I put in a small load of laundry to test the washer.  When we had previously had a washer (before the flood of 2013), we had a slight problem with overflow when it emptied.  Dad brought his snake and snaked the pipe.  Alas, it was not the miracle we were hoping for.  I felt that mopping the floor was a small price to pay for in-house laundry, but Dad cleverly solved the problem by moving the hose so the washer could empty into the sink instead of the uncooperative pipe.

That problem taken care of, we discovered that the drier plug did not fit our outlet.  Undaunted, I carried the clean laundry upstairs and found places to hang everything.  For sunny days I have a clothesline, but Saturday was not.  Dad drew a diagram of the plug needed and showed Steven how to install it.  We made plans to take care of that little chore on Sunday.

I cannot express how happy I feel to be able to have clean clothes without an expedition to the laundromat.  Sometimes it is almost worth it to go through the stress and pain of not having something in order to savor the joy when you get it back.  I say ALMOST.  In any case, it made a nice little Mohawk Valley adventure to fetch and install our new (to us) washer and drier, especially as some of my favorite family members were involved (not that I play favorites amongst my family — don’t get jealous, other family members who might be reading this) (oh yeah, like my family bothers to read my blog).

 

Family, Fun and Forehead

Sometimes Mohawk Valley adventures render you too tired to write about them.  For me this is especially true when I spend any amount of time in direct, hot sunlight.  I have some sort of sun sensitivity.  And I’m a big, fat baby.  Don’t judge.

Speaking of big, fat babies, Steven and I saw our delightful great-nephew, Shepherd today.   Well,  he’s not exactly big and fat, and he is more toddler than baby, but he is nine months old and he has sweet, chubby feet.  Everybody loves him, with good reason.

We met him and his family at church, then met up with some other family members and drove to Fly Creek Cider Mill.  I have written numerous times about Fly Creek Cider Mill, but it is always worth another visit and shout-out.  My father and I made sure we tried every sample offered, although he eschewed the fudge and the alcoholic beverages (wine, hard cider and today there was gin and vodka).  In case anyone is shaking his or her head at my lushiness, I did not try ALL the alcoholic beverages offered.  Two wines, one cider and some gin, and it was eetsy-beetsy tastes of each.  Why am I justifying myself to you?  That’s a bad sign too, isn’t it?  Oh dear.

The highlight of the visit was showing Shepherd the ducks, geese and chickens.  He loved them.  He couldn’t get the hang of throwing them corn, but he enjoyed watching them gobble down the corn we threw them.  This was the part I spent out in direct sunlight. I even took off my crazy old lady hat for part of it, because I put it on Shepherd’s head.  Must protect the bambino, after all.

After our fun visit, we went for some food at Jerry’s Place, which I have also written about before.  I got one of the chocolate shakes in a mason jar this time.  Yum!  Perhaps tomorrow I can finally begin to do something about my big fat butt.

Before, after and during our adventures, we enjoyed beautiful drives through some of the best scenery I’ve ever seen.  Up hills where you can see for miles over farmland, forests and mountains.  Down into valleys near lovely lakes and rivers. I positively must get some kind of camera or device whereby I can post pictures.  In the meantime, I’m afraid you’ll just have to use your imagination.

In conclusion, this really is a Wrist to Forehead Sunday, because I feel some distress over the fact that I cannot do justice to today’s adventures.  Tomorrow I plunge back into the whirlpool of overtime, play rehearsals and my new diet and exercise program.  And a few other projects I have in mind.  Will I have the wherewithal to take my wrist off my forehead and write about them?  We’ll see.  Once again, a little suspense adds interest to the blog.

For more information about Fly Creek Cider Mill, visit their website at http://www.flycreekcidermill.com/.   For more information about Jerry’s Place visit http://www.jerrysplaceny.com/.

 

A Christmas Present I Once Bought

Yesterday I wrote about how I could not seem to write about a Christmas memory, because I got all bogged down in talking about how broke I was. Today I cut out all that stuff as well as a couple of paragraphs about some other presents I bought that year. Here is my story about a Christmas present I once bought.

So there I was with not much money to purchase Christmas presents. It was the early ’80s, later than five-and-dime stores but before Dollar Stores were ubiquitous. I was walking through Riverside Mall in North Utica with my sister Diane. I lacked a present for my sister Cheryl. A housewares place had a display of odd lot silverware out front, 50 cents a piece.

“I’ll get Cheryl a fork,” I said, just only kidding. Cheryl had just moved into an apartment of her own.

“That would be a good present,” Diane said, “because when I ate over there we used plastic forks.”

Of course my parents got Cheryl a full set of silverware, so I felt I had been properly cast into the shade. However, Cheryl was quite pleased with her gift. As she left our parents’ house Christmas evening, she said, “I’m going to go home and eat something with my new fork.”

I wonder if she still has it.

I Get Fenced In

I said yesterday I would try to offer a more substantive post today. Previously I mentioned that I owed a better blog post about a fence problem I recently had. This is what I came up with:

My mom had told me she, my dad and my sister Cheryl would be over to take a look at our fallen fence section and help us with repairs. I had gotten the bright idea of getting some of that plastic orange mesh stuff you sometimes see put up as a temporary measure. My main concern was to keep my dog in my yard and not running over into my neighbors’ back lot, which is where they park their cars (it is a multi-family dwelling). She has shown no disposition to go over there, but you never know what might catch a dog’s interest. Mom said to don’t buy anything yet but to let Dad take a look and advise us. I was good with that; my dad give excellent advice.

Since I’m a big advocate of “the more the merrier,” I was delighted when Cheryl showed up with her daughters Kimberly and Jenna. She said Dana, her married daughter, and her husband Dan were also coming, and Mom and Dad would be there soon.

“Grandpa’s coming?” asked Jenna.

“Who do you think’s going to tell us what to do?” said Cheryl.

When Mom and Dad arrived, we trooped out back where a section of wooden fence lay flat on the lawn, near a big space between two sections staying up with varying degrees of success. While Dad assessed the standing parts, I looked sadly at the fallen section. It did not seem in good shape to be put back up.

“Let’s just leave it here,” I said. “It can be a boardwalk.” I started walking back and forth on it, demonstrating. Kimberly started singing “Under the Boardwalk.” That’s a woman after my own heart. I stopped after a couple of boards broke under my feet. I knew I should go back on the South Beach Diet.

While Mom, Dad and Cheryl headed to the hardware store for supplies, Dad put the rest of us to work dismantling my boardwalk. I continued to sing the chorus of “Under the Boardwalk” as I pounded and pulled nails. A little music always helps the work go pleasantly.

My family did me better than my orange plastic idea with a roll of wire fencing and green metal posts to hold it up. We even took down and dismantled another section of wooden fence that looked about to fall. My new fence was soon looking beautiful. Alas that I do not have the right equipment to post a picture.

“I love it,” I said. “It’s the best fence that ever lived.” I thought I might even plant some pole beans to climb up the fence next spring. My mom suggested cucumbers, too. “And then I’ll make pickles to give everybody for Christmas,” I said. Now that would make a good blog post: me learning how to can something.

I am very happy with my new fence, and I feel so blessed that I have a family who helps me out so much.

Fence Post, Not Blog Post

Every Sunday is Wrist to Forehead Sunday. I don’t think there’s any getting away from that. In fact, today there would be every chance of my being too tired to get my wrist up to my forehead. But I am not the only tired one.

Earlier this week I wrote a post about a part of my fence being down. Today we had some great help from some awesome family members in fixing it. We tore apart the panel that had fallen. We pulled down another part that was about to fall and tore that apart. We pulled out nails and stacked broken fence pieces. We put up a new section of fence. We worked hard.

In fact, the whole thing deserves a better blog post than this. I intend to write one later in the week. For now I feel tired and grateful. Full disclosure: I am also extremely grateful that it is the Bra Off Sweats On Sit On The Couch Crocheting And Watching TV portion of the day.

Further disclosure: I was afraid this would happen. I thought to myself earlier, it would be a good idea to write a blog post early in the day BEFORE people come over to help with manual labor. Well, one does not always act on good ideas, does one?

No matter, I say. It is Sunday. I shall return to my crocheting and TV viewing, whilst I turn over in my head wonderful things I can do for the folks I am grateful to. And the better blog post I intend to write.

Grandma and the Left-Handed Compliment

For today’s Friday Lame Post, I share a memory that for some unknown reason popped into my head this morning.

My grandmother taught me the meaning of the term left-handed compliment one time when she said I gave her one. The occasion was a cousin’s wedding. We were dressed in our finest, uncomfortably placed in the family station wagon.

I was uncomfortable because I liked to ride in the back end, curled up or sprawled out as the mood struck me (these were the days before seat belt laws), not perched on the back seat in a supposedly lady-like fashion. My brother was uncomfortable because he was forced to ride in the back end, not the front seat in his accustomed spot. Well we, that is my three sisters and I, were in dresses. He was wearing pants.

Additionally, my mother had insisted we wear full pantyhose, not knee-his. Our dresses were long. We thought knee-his would be OK. Mom said it might show when we danced. We didn’t buy it, but she was Mom. She won.

We picked up Grandma at her house. When she got in in the car, the first word out of her mouth was, “Damn.” I can’t even remember what she was damning, but she went on to say something disparaging about her knee-his. Cue reproachful looks at Mom.

I said, “Fancy clothes don’t change you, Grandma. You’re still the same old Grandma.”

She told me it was a left-handed compliment. I never explained to her that I meant it as a sincere, loving statement. When Grandma had walked out her door in a long dress with her hair beautifully styled, I had felt a little intimidated. I remember thinking she looked like a Duchess. I think I was half-expecting her to act differently, too. To hear my “same old Grandma,” apparently just as uncomfortable dressed to the nines as we were, was a profound relief.

Thinking back on it today, I feel really bad that I did not explain that. Having subsequently received more left-handed than right-handed compliments myself (although I confess I haven’t really kept track), I think I know what one is. Grandma, if you’re up there listening, here is what I meant: You looked beautiful that day, but your true beauty was the person that you were.