Friday, December 24, 2010

Vote local...Vote Dolly

My fabulously adorable, best dog in the whole world has made it into the Friday Puppy competition.  While I understand that blogs can be read everywhere, this is a capital district blog and so I think a capital district puppy should win.  So let's let together, vote for Amsterdam, vote for under-bites, VOTE FOR DOLLY!!!!

To see the pictures you will have to click "more pictures"  or you can just vote for Dolly.  She looks like this :

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why am I here?

After wings on Tuesday I swung by Crossgates Mall because it is open ridiculously late during the holiday season.  I used to work in the mall and I really hated the expanded hours of the mall.  There are some many problems with it.  First of all, the smaller stores do not get much business during these hours yet have to put in the payroll.  The store I worked at catered to the soccer moms who were not the type to need to shop late at night, they had a plan.  Once in a while we would have a confused, wayward husband who needed a last minute gift.  For the most part we cleaned and got sick of Christmas music.  Usually I wouldn't have shopped at that time on principle, but I guess after two Yuenglings at Across the Street Pub my standards go out the window.

Basically, I needed a guitar stand for the townie.  Last year I got him an electric guitar for Christmas.  He always wanted one as a child and since it was his first Christmas in his thirties I thought it would be a fun gift.  It is a fun gift and he is talented enough to teach himself.  But it tends to live in the guest room and that isn't the best place to practice.  So a guitar stand would allow it to be set up in a better location, thus more practicing.  Stay tuned to see if this plan works.  So I found myself in this store....

I am ashamed to say that this is where I got his guitar last year, but it was a good "beginners" package and I wasn't sure if he would like it.  Wow, I am full of excuses today huh?   So this mega store would have you believe that there are this many people that are MEGA happy to serve you....

See how happy they look?  I assure this is not the case.  I walked in to two employees talking to each other.  One was the security person who was supposed to be at that stand in the front of the store. I think it is because he wears a yellow shirt.  The blue shirted man was talking his ear off.  I honestly felt bad for him since he is stuck at that little stand.  I interrupted this fascinating conversation to just ask if they had guitar stands.  Blue shirt looked very confused and yellow shirt stepped up and said, over by entertainment.  So I thanked them and walked back there.  In entertainment I found another blue shirt who was attempting to help many people at once.  He was on his little head set and running around.  I waited patiently and looked around trying to find it myself.  I was looking a pianos (that is close right?) when out of the corner of my eye I see blue shirt #1.  I have the fleeting thought that he might have come back to check on me.  I am so naive at times....I get his attention and tell him I can't find he.  He points to headset blue shirt and says, ask him, and literally runs away from me. I looked around at other frazzled customers that also would have appreciated blue shirt #1's help and thought, why the hell am I here?? 

Why am I here, when I could be, and always intended on going here....
The sign doesn't show it, but it is also a guitar shop.  It is on Rt 30N in Amsterdam and  has been open forever.  I'd thought about getting the guitar stand there many times but just didn't go, until today.  The thing I noticed first was that it smelled like the co-op I used to shop at in Philadelphia.  All natural and homey and healthy.  I cannot even begin to tell you the amount of natural food, supplements, beauty and health supplies they have.  My old roommate Colleen would be in heaven. I wasn't prepared to do any "healthy" shopping at the time, but as soon as I walked in the owner showed me the guitar stand, demonstrated how to use it, and I was out the door $12.95 plus tax later.  It took me longer to park the car at the mall.

So again, I ask myself, why don't I do this more?  Why don't I shop at these local places?  This shop is less than 5 minutes from my house.  I used to pass it EVERY DAY when I lived at my parents.  Is it the lure of the shiny lights at the mall?  The inaccurate notion that we will save time and money by going to a place bigger than a football field? There are so many beliefs that there is no place to shop in Amsterdam and nothing to do.  Today, as I sit sipping tea at the locally owned Coffee Beanery, I continue to convince myself that these notions are all wrong. Changing old habits takes practice and the holidays are a great time to practice.

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Across the Street Pub

On Tuesday, I found myself in Albany meeting up with the old Siena crew at wing night.  This tradition started a whooping 8 years ago.  I find it hard to believe I could be doing anything consistently for 8 years, but with good wings, decent beer, and fabulous friends, it really isn't much of a chore. 

We used to go every Tuesday once we turned 21 in college.  At that time, wings a beer or soda cost $5 including tip.  Prices have increased since then but it is still a deal.  I don't recall how much the special costs now because I upgraded the beer and ordered some breaded mushrooms.  They have a great variety of beer but only the watery ones come with the wing special.  I had the a Yuengling out of a bottle.  I suspect another male at the table was going to pour his in glass but opted to drink out of the bottle when he saw that was what I was doing (man up ; ) )

Since college, we've all moved on to different parts of the state, county, and even world.  But if some of them are home, and it's Tuesday, you can find us at The Across the Street Pub.  It keeps us connected and grounded to one another. The conversation is full of old stories, new stories, and a ridiculous amount of laughing.  Once in a while we get lucky and run into the "super sports fans" that we used to laugh at (and be a bit scared of) in college.  Some of the greatest people in my life meet here at the pub.  I guess you can say I found my roots in a basket of (chicken) wings!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Marrying a townie...

I moved back to Amsterdam about three and a half years ago. I didn't plan on staying, but as time went on I began to see my city through new eyes. As I'm sure this blog will reveal over time, there are so many reasons to believe in this city and so many people who refuse to do so. Ignoring the naysayers, Amsterdam does have a foundation of people that are dedicated to their families and their community. The organizations, buildings, parks, and programs throughout the city provide a uniqueness that is hard to appreciate until I moved away. When I moved back, I was reintroduced to these things and eventually introduced to my husband-to-be. He works locally, hangs out locally, spends his money locally. His 5 year old car only has 50,000 miles. I might (definitely) make fun of him for this once in awhile.

One such time that I might have (definitely have) made a joke in that direction was right after we got engaged (not locally I might point out). His response was to mockingly sing "your gonna marry a townie, your gonna marry a townie." Laughter and beer drinking ensued and I started to think, "You know, if I am going to marry a local, I should REALLY marry a local." Could we, as two locals, have a completely local wedding? Could our economically struggling city really have enough businesses to carry out a 200-300 person wedding? What effect would spending the significant amount of money it takes to have a wedding have on local businesses?

Well there is only one way to find out. We are officially having a “buy local” wedding. Here are the guidelines:
1. The wedding and reception will take place within the 12010 zip code.
2. Whenever humanely possible, money will be spent at locally owned businesses/vendors within the boundaries of the Greater Amsterdam School District (as not to leave out the town of Amsterdam, Hagaman, or Fort Johnson).
3. Whenever humanely possible, money will be spent on local products made in the State of New York.
4. I am going to have to spend money at Target and Joann Fabric. I just have to. But never, ever Wal Mart.

So what to call this wedding....
my ever ego-centric mind wants to call it "Amsterdam's finest" (I almost called this blog that).

What do you think I should call it???

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The name says it all...

The title for this blog comes from the following quote:

There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.

- Hodding Carter

This quote was one that I thought of often as a teacher. No matter the grade level or subject I was teaching, I always believed in teaching children to understand themselves and have the confidence to live life to the fullest.

At my place in life now, this quote takes on another meaning. It represents a conflict between being true to ones past roots, while simultaneously being true to the future. It is the struggle between where we’ve been and where we are going. Roots and wings are not mutually exclusive; they are tangled up differently for all people, but are always connected in some sense.

I always thought my roots and wings were very distant from one another. My plans after high school were to move out of my home town, become a teacher in an inner city school district, change lives and never look back. 11 years later, I’m a home owner, in my hometown, and looking for new career. I have a dog and a fiancĂ© who represents my roots and encourages me daily to find my wings. Each day, I learn more and more how my past and future are connected together.

I’ve always envisioned writing as part of my future. But in order to be a writer, one must write. So here goes….