just another day, downtown albany (10.21.2012 edition)

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today was one of those days that you can’t quite believe – a whirlwind, in a good way. it began with an early morning hockey game out in the burbs, but the remainder was downtown. and a whirlwind downtown? just another day, of course: empire state plaza, washington park, occupy albany, two separate strange encounters (one with the albany police and another with a fast food joint) and a birthday for a dead guy (which is an interesting title for a poem: i got dibs!).


drove out to bethlehem for j’s first game of the season. it’s been so nice to see him take the ice this year with strategy in mind (solving one problem without creating another) and a real sense of where everyone is on the ice. he got a goal and had some great defensive plays. mostly, he’s happy when he’s skating, and it’s a delight to watch him in his element. most everyone who knows me knows that the incredible scheduling demands hockey puts on the whole family gives me anxiety, but i do like seeing j throw himself at the thing he loves. i know a bit about that. 🙂


on my run this morning, i encountered something exciting in the empire state plaza: the boards for the ice rink! i’ve been white-knuckling the descent into fall and really dreading winter. but those boards are a little bright spot. i loved walking down there and skating with the boys last year. it’s a terrific addition to the neighborhood — even if it requires that angry beast winter. as for my run? one of those days when the entire 3 miles seemed to be into the wind and uphill.


the photo in this post looks downtown from the making strides against breast cancer event that was held today in washington park. the shot captures one side of my block, and it also captures the day: sunny and cloudy, crisp and gorgeous. i passed the event on my run and stopped there when i finished my 3 miles, but only to sign up for CPS-3, a huge cancer prevention study run by the american cancer society. i’ll write a separate post on that, but today as i walked (i walked about 3 miles today in addition to my run), i thought about why i avoid the cancer walks and events.

i am brought to tears when i see them. today, rows and rows of pink-clad bodies wound through the park. from one vantage point, i could see a full s-shape, flowing down one of the hills near the playhouse and curving around both sides of the lake. very moving, for sure. i tried to pinpoint the emotion behind what chokes me up, but i couldn’t get to it. the best i could settle on was this: it’s just not the right mood/tone for me, personally. however, i’m so glad that it inspires thousands and thousands and raises money and increases awareness.


just steps from my door, four policemen had a woman in cuffs. they were searching her car. i didn’t think anything of it: there are always police keeping order on lark street. but after i’d been inside for several minutes, i heard one of the policemen yelling at her. so i went back outside and stood in my doorway to watch. i wasn’t rubber-necking — i was disturbed by the tone, and i felt like i needed to bear witness, or something, for a woman who was definitely caught in an imbalance of power.

i often admire the work police and firemen do, but something here bothered me. i don’t know what she’d done to get in a jam today, but they were letting her go. she was in her car by the time i came back out to see what was happening. the best way to describe it was that one of the officers was heckling her, threatening jail (which he spelled out j-a-i-l), telling her to go back to vermont and making nice with her dog, which he told, “i wish i could take you home with me and give you a normal life.”

it was a strange situation for me to be in. it didn’t quite rise to the level of something i should intervene in, but it was upsetting enough that i wanted to make my presence known. i don’t know what i would have dared to say if it got worse. trying to reflect on if i did enough.


on my way to a birthday for a dead guy (true story! one of the poets was celebrating the life of a friend she lost recently by hosting a birthday party for him — so great!), i bumped into the occupy albany “march back to academy park.” i tried to get a picture, but i hit the wrong button on my phone (#oldpeopleproblems). however, i was super excited to see another poet friend (& activist) lesley rushing at me from the marchers to give me a hug. love, love, love the albany writing community!! not only is it everywhere, but it’s full of affection.

less than one block later, still on my way to the birthday party, a man approached me from a table stacked with trays of apples. the booth was set up for the making strides event, and he asked me if i wanted one. i accepted and took a bite, and he said, “compliments of mcdonald’s!” i looked closer, and sure enough: mcdonald’s was offering free apples. it tasted like a normal mcintosh, but i have to say part of me worried it was a magic apple, that a spell was cast upon it that would make me start craving all-beef patties in some sort of cosmic twist after i’d just reported in the CRS-3 survey that i don’t eat red meat.


and so how have so many weeks gone by since i posted here? clearly, life gives me things to write about. i have no good answer. and i promised myself when i got back to blogging that i wouldn’t apologize for lack of posting. i also promised myself that i’d post more often. ah, well. i have good intentions. and yes, i do know, how the road to hell is paved!


  1. Who was the dead guy again?
    As a breast cancner endurer (not survivor) I admire those who work and walk but I just can’t go anymore – I celebrate life everyday.

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