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Category Archives: Capital Region

Drunk and overwhelmed by the size (thatswhatshesaid) on my 25th birthday.

I just read this article on Friday Puppy (For those in the Capital region, surely you follow Matt Baumgartner’s hilarious blog. If not, well, at least you go to Bomber’s for your free birthday margarita. If not – what is wrong with you? Find another blog to read. You don’t belong here.).

Anyways, the article is titled “So you wanna drive an ice cream truck” and is a list of ten helpful hints from a former ice cream truck driver, Matt himself. I tried picking a favorite tip to share with you, but they are all hilarious, so I will just give you a sample.

My sister, drunk and overwhelmed by a smaller-scale margarita at Bombers.

6.   Some towns require a daily permit to be a “vendor”.  So every day, I had to go into the Scotia town hall and buy the permit.  And every day they acted like it was my first time walking in there.

“How can we help you?”

‘Delorores, it’s me.  I need another permit.”

“A permit for……..”.

“What do you think, Delores?  I’m wearing an all white paper hat.  I have ice cream stains on my thighs. You see my big stupid truck outside.”

Go read the article. Then leave work and go to Bombers for happy hour. Its hot out and a frozen mango margarita is calling your name. Or is that “Heather” its saying?

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I was doing so well with keeping up with my blog. And then last week, we found out our dog had to have surgery and, of course, that was all I could think about. Sadie is a 14 year old shepherd mix, whom Jason rescued from the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society when she was one. She is such a good girl (you know, if you look passed her need to sometimes run off and her constant badgering of the humans around her, in order to entice them into a game of tug with her rope). Most people who meet her do not believe that she’s the seniorest (yup.) of senior dogs, instead pegging her for five or six. She will literally play fetch until the point where she makes herself sick. She will pause a moment or two to puke, regain her composure and then bring the ball back to you, ready to take off after another throw.

Last June, we noticed a couple tumors on her hip, which ended up being malignant and cancerous. It had to be removed right away. The vet was very concerned with her surgery, mentioning that older dogs don’t always do well with anesthesia, sometimes not even waking up. But if we didn’t have the tumor removed, the .. bad stuff? .. from it would spread into her blood stream and that’s just no good. So, with tears, we sent her off to surgery, only to be pleasantly surprised when the vet called to tell me that not only did she do fantastic, but she woke up faster than most puppies.

This was last year’s Frankenbutt. This year, it’s right under her tail and barely noticeable.

Although we did (lovingly. Don’t judge) refer to her as Frankenbutt for most of the summer, she recovered wonderfully and was back to her old self by August.

That is, until right before the wedding, when we noticed she was having trouble going to the bathroom. Off to the vet we went yet again. She had a small tumor right inside of her butt, which was creating a blockage which, in turn, led to an infection. The vet prescribed some antibiotics which cleared things up for a couple of months. Last week, we noticed it looked inflamed again, and knew she was going to have to have yet another surgery.

Again, we were worried and lost quite a bit of sleep contemplating whether or not we were doing this for us or for her. The vets had to run pre-surgery blood work on her and assured us that everything else looks great on her. We wouldn’t just be prolonging the inevitable with this surgery. We would be fixing the one thing affecting her quality of life.

So I dropped her off Thursday morning and valiantly waited until I was back in my car to start sobbing. We waited anxiously all morning for the “all is well call”, which we received around noon.

Sadie isn’t supposed to exert herself for 7-10 days, but by Sunday, she was noticeably stir crazy. We let her out to do a little gardening with us and only had to yell at her 479 times to go lay down and relax. After being reprimanded for doing sprints between the front and back yard, she resigned herself to just walking around and sniffing things. Her recovery has been fantastic and I can only hope that my body is as tough as hers when I reach 78, which is her approximate human-age.

Having her second surgery exactly to the day of her surgery last year means that we may have to, again, miss out on one of our favorite fundraising events, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society’s Paws in the Park, a walk to raise money for the local Humane Society.  If you’re an animal lover and in the Albany area, you should really check this event out. The 1 ¼ mile walk encourages owners to bring their dogs and looks like a canine parade. Vendors are set up, selling homemade dog cookies (the human variation, too), unique collars and all sorts of treats for your favorite furry friend.

Last year, Sadie’s recovery time was a lot longer than it will be this time. We are going to play it by ear and see how she’s doing on Saturday (June 9th, the day of the walk). Even if we aren’t able to bring her, Sadie is still raising money for her alma mater. She wants to remind you that she is currently kicking cancer’s butt and that not all of her buddies are lucky enough to be in a loving home like she has. Even a donation of $5 goes a long way in helping the animals at the shelter stay fed and cared for, until their parents come along and take them to their home. So, with that shameless guilt trip, if you’re interested in donating, click this link for more information.


The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to comment #41 – Renee Richardson. Thanks so much to Ali Herrmann for sponsoring this giveaway!

We bought our house in November – four months before our wedding. If you’re thinking “Wow! Buying a house so close to your wedding? That seems stressful!” – you would be correct. It was an extremely stressful time, which pushed both the boundaries of our relationship and our sanity.

Luckily, we are now happily married and our weekends have been free to finally get things done around the house. Jason has been busting his butt outside, chopping down trees, digging up weeds and other things which involve a ladder and going on the roof. I think maybe filling something in to keep bees away? Let’s say that. Anyways, I’ve been running around inside, cleaning and trying to get rooms to come together. For a lot of our decorating needs, I turn to Etsy (where I went for a good chunk of wedding supplies as well).

Etsy is currently my very favorite site. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, think of it as an online craft fair. Thousands of vendors set up “shops”, posting pictures and descriptions of their items for sale. You can find hand-crocheted baby blankets, wedding cake toppers and kitchen knickknacks all at the click of your mouse.

I’ve ordered over a dozen items off of Etsy, and every shop owner has been fantastic to work with.

So, just as I do with everything, when it came to decorating our house, I went to Etsy. I found a great, local art shop (you can search by zipcode), owned by Ali Herrmann.

Ali lives in Canaan, NY. Saturdays during June you can find her at the Delmar Farmer’s Market from 9am – 1 pm.  On June 10th she will be at the Schenectady Green Market from 10am – 2 pm. She will also be at Art on Lark on June 9th!

From Ali’s shop profile:

My work here is all original painting! When you purchase my work, you are buying the originals, as I do not take or make prints of them. I am a full time artist, so please know that your support is truly appreciated.

My work is heavily influenced by the growth and decay cycles of nature; though I am most intrigued by the “pods” I find. Within my paintings, I reference plants and pods amidst a combination of both representation and abstraction. As a result, repetitious forms and patterns start to emerge, creating a unique, playful landscape all its own.

Limited Selections of work also available for sale at:
Anchor No. 5 Boutique, 288 River Street, Troy, NY

Jewelry and artwork for sale at the Albany, NY Visitors Center (corner of B’way and Columbia)

She also has a jewelry shop, which you can view at www.theotherali.etsy.com (We may also hold a giveaway for that shop as well!)

Ali has offered my readers 10% off their entire purchase by using the coupon code BLOGHEATHER. The coupon code must be entered on the Etsy cart/payment page BEFORE being redirected to paypal for completion. Once coupon code is entered properly, click apply and you with see the discount applied. The coupon code IS case sensitive.

On the right, you will see “Apply Shop Coupon Code”. Click the link and enter BLOGHEATHER for 10% off your order

She has also graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win one of her watercolors, Rusty Veins. This original watercolor was done on 140lb hot pressed watercolor paper, using orange and rust colors. The 5.75” x 4” piece will come shipped in a protective photo storage bag, matted in a black mat.

In order to win, please visit Ali’s shop at AliHerrmann. Come back and leave a comment, letting Ali know the name of another piece that you like.

For one extra entry, please subscribe to my blog, and leave a separate comment letting me know you did this.

For one more entry, please like Ali’s Facebook Fan Page. Please leave a separate comment letting me know you did this.

The contest closes Friday, May 25th at 3:00 p.m. The winner will be chosen using random.org. The winner will be contacted via email (so make sure to leave your address in your comments!) and will have 48 hours to respond.

Rusty Veins by Ali Herrmann


Please:

  1. Stop making movies about eternal vampire love and reality shows glorifying teenage pregnancy.  I think we may be sending the wrong messages to our youth. 
  2. Do not continue doing road work in Watervliet. I’m not a mechanic, but I don’t believe 2010’s little year-long construction projects were good for my car’s alignment. Or my patience.
  3. Keep making phones with actual keyboards. I know I’m only 25, and should be into the whole techy-touch screen scene, but I’m not. I just like what I like and what I like is my Blackberry with a keyboard.
  4. Continue posting calorie counts on restaurant menus.  I understand that some people say that if they are going out to eat, they want to have a good time and don’t want to feel guilty.  However, if I already plan on ordering a fried buffalo chicken sandwich with cheese and slathered in dressing, with fries, I WANT to be reminded that, although delicious, those mozzarella sticks are another 800 calories.
  5. Don’t interrupt my previously scheduled programming because you think a little boy may be trapped in a balloon, flying away Oz style.
  6. Take a moment and make an executive decision as to whether or not a “celebrity” truly warrants an autobiography or memoir.  Portia surviving on 300 calories a day, despite her family’s desperate pleas for her to get help? Interesting. Snooki writing … whatever it is that she writes about (or gives a vague story idea to a ghost writer who goes home and drinks themselves to sleep because they can’t believe that this is what their life has come to)? Not interesting. Don’t let junk like that clutter up Target’s always-pretty book section.
  7. Think it over before creating another medical or criminal drama.  Please note that mixing them together doesn’t count as a new genre.
  8. Euthanize American Idol, and let it slip away slowly into the night, with as much grace as it can muster.  Say Paula is crazy all you want, but she was smart enough to jump ship two seasons ago.
  9. Go ahead and let as many A-listers as possible make an appearance on Glee. I forgot about Gwyneth Paltrow up until her appearance. Although that would probably bum her out (my opinion is obviously high up on her list of important things), I bet it feels nice for her to have a hit song on iTunes.
  10. Oh .. and global peace, end famine and all that stuff.

 “Who wants to have my babies?” a college aged man yelled, while leaning out the 3rd floor window of a brownstone on Lark Street, waving around a red plastic cup. Two of his friends were also leaning out the window, heckling a small group of early 20-something girls on the street below them. “Come on upstairs,” the one in the middle yelled.  The girls laughed and walked away, much to the boys’ chagrin.

That was just one of many spectacles you could have witnessed if you were one of the anticipated 80,000 people who attended the 29th Annual LarkFest on Saturday.  Ten blocks were closed to traffic in the Lark St. neighborhood of Albany, as hundreds of vendors lined up, hoping to cash in on the turnout.  Walking into the festival was a bit of sensory overload.  The smells of sausage and smoke, popcorn and pulled pork, incense and marijuana all mingled in the air.  The sun not only provided a 77*F day, but also served as a spotlight shining down on various stands and aluminum cartoon character balloons, perhaps helping to catch the eye of a Larkfest spectator with money to spend.  Or, a toddler with an admiration for Dora the Explorer.

Many people seemed to decide the best course of action was to go with the flow, down one side of the street and back up the other, although the youngest and oldest attendants brought the hustle to a halt at times.  Guitar chords filled the air, propelling you towards either the Washington or Madison Stages to check out the live music.  Along the way, there were plenty of things to stop and check out.

Elda’s on Lark was selling 16 ounce Heineken cans for $4. Available outside their restaurant, near the corner of Spring St and the Washington Stage, the cute girls with short black shorts and tight Elda’s T-shirts didn’t have a problem attracting buyers.

For $15, down from the $40 charged on any other day, tarot card readings were offered by The Psychic Gallery, located at 221 Lark Street.  According to their motto, they will, “walk you into happiness, love and success.”  At Lark Fest, they were willing to walk you to that happiness for the same price you’d pay for a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Machismo tent.  Most people seemed to choose the calories as their source of happiness.  In the Psychic Gallery tent sat a lonely looking, bored, beer drinking clairvoyant.  The employees of the Cheesecake Machismo, 293 Hamilton Street, were bustling to keep up with all of their orders.

Although their office on Lark Street is now closed, Planned Parenthood still manned a table, handing out both flavored condoms and candy. The organization was also offering brochures on safe sex practices.  The staff was chanting, “Don’t skip it – switch it,” – a new campaign encouraging people with no health insurance to take advantage of the free family planning services the office offers.

For something a little more G-rated, families could make their way to Incredible Larry’s show, outside of the Ben & Jerry’s shop.  The comic juggler was able to cash in on the heat, as several families settled on the curbs to watch his show and finish a cone full of ice cream.

The talk of this year’s LarkFest was the Silent Disco hosted by Bomber’s Burritos.  A silent disco is a party conducted through wireless headphones.  The concept is that two different DJs mix and play songs on stage, sending the songs out on one of two channels.  Audience members can tune into whichever channel they like, listening to the music through their headphones.  The disco was held from 12 to 5 p.m. in a roped off, tented area of LarkFest, on the corner of Hudson Ave.  Although still early in the day, the disco was, well, silent come 1:00 p.m., with only seven people participating. 

After national act Moby headlined last year’s Larkfest, the lack of a musical budget this year had been a source of contention and disappointment among usual Larkfest attendees.  Several were weary of the local acts that The Exit 97.7 had booked.  These bands were playing for free.  What do bands that don’t merit a paycheck have to offer?  Chris Wienk, head of The Exit 97.7 and the person in charge of booking the acts, had faith in the music his station was going to provide.  “The idea here, from our perspective, was to talk to up-and-coming artists who are hungering for a chance to play in front of a large audience like LarkFest.”

There were a couple noteworthy performances.  The performance of Rich Ortiz, Lake George, brought to mind songs of Matt Nathanson or Gavin Degraw.  Dressed in a uniform right out of Degraw’s closet– a newsboy cap, t-shirt and jeans, Ortiz played his acoustic guitar, percussion and harmonica – at times simultaneously-  and attracted quite a crowd during his thirty-five minute performance.  Voted “Best Acoustic Solo” in the Capital Region three years in a row in the Post Star Reader’s Poll, Ortiz’s pop-acoustic style is something to keep an eye on. 

A late edition to the LarkFest line-up, The Charlie Watts Riots (who will be performing early next month with Ortiz) have been present on Albany’s music scene since 2007.  Voted Best Pop Band in Metroland Magazine’s Best of 2010, the band can be described as Fountains of Wayne meets Simple Plan.  The band took the stage in slightly dishelved matching suits, white shirts and skinny ties.  In between filling their nearly hour long set, they had a comfortable stage presence and banter with the shy crowd of 60 something people who had formed, albeit at a noticeable distance from the stage.  “This is a great crowd but everyone needs to take five steps forward.  Even the people related to me.  You have 364 days to be a wallflower.  Not today. Today, you make my show,” guitarist Seth Powell joked.  The crowd obliged.

LarkFest is a chance for the people of the Capital Region – young and old, local and transplants- to come together and celebrate what is known as “Albany’s Greenwich Village.”  It is one of the few times a year where you can watch a mother bouncing her giggling baby along to the music of an acoustic guitar show and turn to see two cowboys in chaps – and not much else – making out in the middle of a street.  You can see a grown man wearing jean shorts over khaki pants, swaying along in a drunken stupor and cheering like a school girl at a Justin Bieber concert, while listening to punk music.  You can buy a sculpture made out of forks, sample Vegan snacks and take a picture with a member of the Albany All-Stars Roller Derby, all within ten steps of one another.  LarkFest is a time to embrace Albany’s diversity.  If only for the day, the drunken masses were as one.