Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Cheryl wrote: This fall we are moving with Nico and Léo to a glorious vineyard in the south of France. We will be working as a family to market and present the property as a vacation destination (complete with a cooking seminars with Chef Paul) and helping to restore a medieval castle on the site. We'll serve guests meals from local produce cooked over olive wood and grapevines in an eight-foot wide fireplace under the vaulted stone ceiling of a 15th century farmhouse.
We wish them bonne chance and bon voyage.
Pictured here left to right: Bob Conner (PlanetAlbany), Cheryl Clark of Chez Sophie, and Lou Rappaport, retired Gazetteer.
* HH = Handsome Husband
Saturday, September 26, 2009
as she did a sort of hula. My mother somehow got the sheet music for this song and it eventually became part of our family lore. As adults, my sisters and I would sing the song and do the hula whenever we got together and could use this "act" to appall or embarrass our children. I believe that my own children feel that it is time to put this routine to rest for good.
The HH*, knowing that I have long been a fan of The Manhattan Transfer, kindly bought (fairly expensive) tickets for us to see them perform last night at The Egg in Albany, NY. The singing got better as the evening went on. But during the first two or three songs, I felt like my children watching another family reunion performance by their mother and aunts as Lovely Luawana Ladies. I was at first appalled, then embarrassed that it was because of me that we were at this show. I do not wish to be unkind or thought of as ageist, but these folks need to either retire or rethink their act. Ladies of a certain age cannot pull off the same shimmies and wiggles that looked good forty years ago. And the men: between them, an odd-looking toupee, Sansabelt slacks overhung by a paunch, and voices that couldn't quite do what they once could.
Is it a crime to be older and broader than you once were? Lord, I hope not, because I can certainly be described that way. But at least the act and the clothes need to reflect what is now and not what once was.
Last night's show was far from a sell-out and I fear that if The Manhattan Transfer come around this way again, the audience will likely be even thinner. You hate to be discouraging to folks who are trying to keep on keepin' on, but I think it's time for them to rest on their laurels and go spend some quality time with the grandchildren.
*HH = Handsome Husband
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The father, John McKenna III, has started a foundation in memory of these two Marines and his latest effort is to establish a military courtesy room at Albany Airport. Albany Airport is too small for USO to serve, but plenty of service men and women come and go through here. Occasionally, soldiers on their way to Fort Drum in the northern Adirondacks get stranded by weather delays. Sometimes young and inexperienced, they may not have the money to book a motel room. Mr. McKenna says that the local sheriffs (there are always some on duty at the airport) will pool their money and get a room for a wayward soldier.
The new courtesy room will be well-stocked and staffed with volunteers so that traveling service men and women can have a quiet place to snooze, something to eat, and a phone to call home. What a terrific idea.
Mr. McKenna will need some donations: recliners (a bunch of those) a microwave, a TV or two, some video games... Please contact him if you can help. Thank you.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I am somewhere in the process of being appointed by the local Blue Star Mothers to be a deputy representative for the Veterans Administration Voluntary Services. On Tuesday, I attended my first meeting at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY. I have lots to learn, but here are some of my first impressions:
- The Stratton VA hospital is a very busy place. Parking is impossible.
- There are lots of good folks working and volunteering there.
As the mother of a young woman currently serving in the army, I was especially interested to learn the the VA hospital is in the process of significantly adding to their services for females. There hasn't been much need before, but with the increase in females serving in the military (I have read in various places that women are now 20% of those on active military duty) the VA is having to play catch-up. Stratton is adding a Women's Wellness Center. Previously, they had no doctor on staff trained to do primary care for women. So, they are conducting "mini-residencies" for their primary care doctors and are trying to hire a half-time GYN specialist. Stratton didn't even own any pajamas or robes for women, but I understand those are on order, along with the equipment to do mammograms and DEXA scans...
If you live anywhere near a VA hospital, call their volunteer director and ask how you can help. Whether you want to cheer a lonely patient or just donate a $20 CD player, there is something that needs doing at nearly any level you're comfortable with. Please consider it.
Blue Star Mothers to help pack 70 boxes and prepare them to be shipped to deployed military service men and women.
After hand-writing about half of the 70 customs labels that needed to be prepared, I got grumpy about the fact that we must use these forms at all! How unfriendly the process is to groups like ours. Why should customs forms be required to send packages to US troops via US military planes to US bases?
Grrrrr!!! But here are the finished boxes, many now on their way to the 10th Mountain soldiers from Fort Drum we've adopted. I hope they enjoy a little taste of home.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
America Supports You Freedom Walks take place in many communities around the country.
On a lighter note: After last night's event, a little tired, cold and hungry, the HH and I stopped at Milano in Latham, a restaurant we've been to before. Last night, we were seated next to a 40-something couple, apparantly on a first date. This has happened to us before at this restaurant. I guess it's popular with the slightly older back-in-the-game crowd. I tried not to listen to this dating couple, not just to be polite, but also because the conversation was extremely boring. However, the tables in this restaurant are very close so it's almost impossible not to hear what is being said by one's neighbors.
My husband and I came away from the evening with slightly different takes on what we'd overheard.
HH said something like: I don't care what anyone says, being married is never half as boring as that conversation was. (A left-handed compliment if I've ever heard one, thank you!)
As for me, I had to restrain myself when the attractive lady at the next table excused herself to go to the restroom. I was dying to lean over and advise the nice-looking man and would-be suitor: The word "amortization" never belongs in a first date dinner conversation.
I guess HH and I can claim some expertise on these matters. Our 25th wedding anniversary is coming up this Tuesday, September 15. I hope we make it another twenty-five years. That Milano dating vignette made me shudder...
Click on photos to enlarge.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
As the mother of a deployed soldier, I can't decide whether to follow the news from Afghanistan more closely or try to ignore it altogether. What I do read is not very reassuring.
On the other side of the Adirondacks from us is Fort Drum, home to the 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry. The news from there continues to be somber. Since my last post, two more soldiers have been lost in Afghanistan.
Spc. Wheeler is survived by his father and brother. Spc. Wheeler was 22.
I look at these photos and think: Too young, too handsome, too soon to be gone.
My sincere sympathy to the families of Cpl. Morin and Spc. Wheeler. I honor the service of these men. May they rest in peace.