Monthly Archives: December 2011

Successful Christmas

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Of course, it hasn’t happened yet, so there are no reactions, no “present faces,” no “you shouldn’t have’s” yet. But I’m ready to call this the most successful Christmas in quite some time. For starters, we did a huge amount of our shopping in local stores, particularly Troy, particularly Pfeil Hardware, which is one of those treasures we all wish would exist. Small, friendly, bursting with just about everything for the home. Go there and be amazed, and then go back again and keep buying stuff there. (Our nearer hardware store used to be like that, but they gave in to terrors of Walmart and Home Depot and gave up carrying a lot of the household items that made them such a great local resource.) Also did a lot of business at Market Block Books and a number of the great little galleries and stores nearby. If Rebekah had her way, she’d spend every dime she gets at DesignIt Together, which does some wonderful designs and carries a lot of local music. Everything we didn’t get in Troy we got from Amazon, and a few things from Target. So in the end, there was only one trip to the mall during the entire Christmas season, and it was a bust, so not a dime was spent at a place that I hate with a resounding passion. I consider that success.

Also, the roast squash, pear-cranberry pies, and panettone pudding are all made and cooling. Tomorrow, we pop the local ham from Rolf’s Pork Store in the oven (and rinse and repeat on Monday), and all is done. I was in a position to treat people for Christmas, and to keep a lot of the money local. What could be better than that?

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Another one gone

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440 Odd Fellows Hall 2

Apparently, this lovely, graceful building, formerly the Odd Fellows Hall on State Street in Schenectady, just a few steps from Proctor’s Theater, needs to come down. Not for structural reasons, but because a company wants a new building (and business downtown is a good thing), and they couldn’t work with this one. Is there any chance that what replaces it will ever be so lovely? No.

Ruling things out

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Surgery for the Eye and Ear

Image by carljohnson via Flickr

I don’t think I’ve had medical treatment in the past couple of years that wasn’t primarily designed not to treat the problem, which has usually already passed of its own accord, but in order to rule things out. It’s a good thing to do, it’s the way to keep from being caught by surprise, and I have definitely known some people who were caught by surprise, but five hours in the ER, a nice little dose of radiation and ripping off the IV tape seems a high price to pay to learn, once again, there’s nothing wrong with me. But ruling things out comes with the over-50 territory, doesn’t it? So I rule things out. But at this point it would be nice to find out something is actually wrong and be able to fix it. I was actually excited a few months back when it looked like my nagging knee problem was a torn meniscus, something that could be surgically corrected. I don’t want surgery, haven’t ever had anything major, and there are definite risks, but I actually got excited that there could be a quick fix. I had to draw the honest surgeon who looked at it and said there was nothing for him to do. And so it goes.

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Best of, 2011 edition

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Finally get that tree up, do some last minute gift-bagging (wrapping is not for me), and the holidays will be upon us and gone and 2011 will be over, and once again I’ll be left feeling like I should have done one of those best-of-the-year posts that everyone seems to do  J. Eric has a nice post over at Indie Albany listing his top 20 albums of the year; while returning to the full-time working world has made it possible for me to buy albums again, as far as I can tell I bought three, and none of them was released this year, except perhaps “Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under.” Buzzfeed listed “21 People Who Died in 2011 And Will Be Missed;” I’d heard of 11 of them. Top TV shows? Well, we gave up cable this year. Movies? Didn’t go to a single one.

So with that in mind, and before I forget to do it at all, here are my best of 2011 picks:

  • Best TV Show I Never Watched Before: Doctor Who (with David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor).
  • Best Not In Any Way New Artist: Amanda Fucking Palmer and Dresden Dolls.
  • Best Book I Re-read: Erik Larson’s “The Devil in the White City.”
  • Best Movie: the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of “A Touch of Satan”
  • Best Re-discovered Vacation Spot: Old Forge, New York.
  • Best Financial Security: Weekly paycheck.
  • Best Bike Ride: every one of them, even the commutes.