Monthly Archives: October 2006

Halloween

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Suddenly last night I realized that about $30 worth of pumpkin had gone uncarved, so there was a sudden frenzy of gourd defacement in the kitchen, which went surprisingly well with the aid of a $3.99 Kmart pumpkin carving kit. Damned if I was just going to let those things sit and rot, but we kinda go through this every year — the idea of carving a pumpkin for Halloween is much more attractive than that actual task.

I am not among the adults who costume up for this affair. Who else would I want to be but me? But it does look like I’ll be pulling door duty tonight as the girls go off with friends to traipse around more in neighborhoods where the candy is rumored to be sweeter, as if just going into one of the new subdivisions will reward them with Lindt bon bons and marzipan. Okay, not marzipan. But I’ll have you know that before those McMansions were built, people were bused into our neighborhood for the candy! Now the buses pass us by. Ah, well, the pain of the uncool never changes.

Taking the fall

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Listen, someone has to take the blame when I wake up in the morning with “Lido Shuffle” stuck in my head like bubble gum on hot pavement, swirling around and never letting go. I don’t put nuggets like the Number 40 song for all of 1977 into my head willingly, and I was never part of the Boz Scaggs Army — not that there was one. Some songs were inescapable and now today, 29 years later, even hearing a snippet can set the entire lyric running through my brain. So who’s to blame? Jools Holland, of course.

By the way, I’ve met Hillary Clinton, and I don’t believe she’s had work done. But, possibly on the same show as Boz Scaggs, I saw Daryl Hall and John Oates the other night, and I think Daryl is about one eyebrow lift away from turning into Jocelyn Wildenstein. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I just didn’t need to hear “Maneater” again (which wasn’t on the charts in 1977, it came much later, but “Rich Girl” was. Oh, god.

Spread the pain. Look at this chart from 1977 — there’s hardly a song on there that isn’t still in permanent rotation somewhere on the radio band (which is why I don’t listen to terrestrial radio anymore. I don’t NEED to hear Marshall Tucker ever again).

The Markers Speak . . . Poetry!

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A delightful, hill-climbing ride through the Glenville hills on Friday, a nip in the air but the sun shining hard — just one of those perfect fall rides. I took the good camera, which I don’t usually do, and made a few stops to capture the historical markers scattered along the route. Didn’t get them all — dogs objected to my presence in a couple of instances, and I’ve found that people who live in the country tend not to cotton to leashes or any other form of canine restraint. Generally when you’re on a bike the dogs will just run you, but in one case I was already stopped and getting my shot of the Wolf Hollow sign when this old collie came bounding out of his yard and across the road. I didn’t even have time to unclip my road-side foot before he was on it, but luckily he skidded to a stop, sniffed my shoe, and walked me off his territory. I didn’t argue.

From that lovely ride, what may be my second-favorite marker ever:

Van Vleck Home

Further roadkill style reports and more

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Basking snakes (both alive and dead) are the new dead squirrel tail. I saw at least 100 snakes on the road today (please, let’s skip the whole Samuel L. Jackson thing, shall we?), mostly very small except for the one that was not small at all and which I went way out of my way not to run over, which was tough considering how fast I was sailing down that hill. Sadly, here it is October, usually a month I can simply cruise through, and a 45k ride in the rolling hills of Schodack is a challenge because I’ve done so little training. Blame the rain, blame the busyness, blame my brain (which is, after all, trying to kill me), but no matter who I blame, I didn’t get even close to a century this year and it’s no one’s fault but my own. I expect next year will be even tougher because of changing situations, but no sense worrying about that yet. There are still some great fall rides to be had.

This Columbus Day weekend was phenomenal, the One True Weekend that we’ve been wishing for all year, clear and bright and warm (in the sun — the October sun only warms what it touches in these climes). We went to Chesterwood, the home and studio of sculptor Daniel Chester French. They promised a fall festival, and as we drove through West Stockbridge we were confronted by hundreds upon hundreds of people at a similar festival at the Berkshire Botanical Garden, and I feared for the worst at Chesterwood (for me, crowds are the worst). But, no, just a couple of miles down the road and we had the place nearly to ourselves. We toured the house and studio, had a delightful walk through the outdoor sculpture exhibit, had a delicious meal, and the girls made jack-o-lanterns of some very nice sculpting clay. A grand day.

The rest of the weekend was some family things, finishing touches on the stoop and slate sidewalk I’ve been building (I’m unsure on the white marble edging around the slate sidewalk. It may be too much), a little painting, a couple of bike rides, a drive through the cemetery. The girls even went on a hayride. My god, what didn’t we do this weekend?

Trample, trample, trample!

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In our house, if you don’t get up when you’re supposed to, there’s a good chance that you will be trampled by an angry stuffed buffalo, who proclaims “Trample! Trample! Trample!” as he pulls your covers off. It’s best just to get up and not really anger the buffalo.

Chill

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Fall is here, or maybe it’s been here since August. Raininess, which has plagued us since spring, continues unabated, and now the nights are cool and the heat has come on a couple of times, just enough to burn off the chill. The days, of course, are short, and now it’s a struggle to get in a ride after work before the light goes flat, even on days when the rain holds off. But tonight it stayed clear and bright and I ran like crazy to get my bike and get a ride in, up from the river to Albany Rural Cemetery, around the cemetery a few times and then out to Siena College and back, a quick 30k or so with some good shoulders and traffic that isn’t too bad. But the chill is definitely there, and sucking in cold air on that first hill gave me that familiar lung-burn of fall.

Last week I took that route further, out Maxwell Road and into the heart of Colonie, to the new(ish) Crossings of Colonie park. All I can say is, omigod. When Colonie sets out to build a park, it doesn’t screw around. Miles of multi-use trails (I wouldn’t bike on them, too much slower traffic), gorgeous pond, nice playground for kids, beautiful buildings and restrooms, all nicely planned and lovely. All set in 130 acres right in the middle of the most built-up part of the town, running right behind Wolf Road. Can’t wait to go back with my blades!