November 2008 Archives
We like to change things up every now and then at CRL. This month, we combined the November and December magazine into one grand holiday issue which, given our yearly tendency of touching on the holidays in both months, was a sensible move. In this issue, you will find holiday events to keep you busy from now through New Year’s, from holiday strolls, to house tours, to First Nights. We also have timely advice from our parenting expert Randy Cale, who offers great tips on how to help your children be more appreciative this holiday season, and fitness writer Judy Torel, who shares her philosophy on indulging the season’s mirth without the inevitable girth.
Aside from the festive parties and events, this is the time of year when we are in the spirit of giving, not just to family and friends, but to strangers and those in need. While it’s great to be generous during the “season of giving”, it’s important to be charitable all year long. That’s why we at CRL strive to be involved in the community and take special pride in the amount of support that we have given to local organizations. From donations to media sponsorships, we have assisted many in need, including Vanderheyden, the Arthritis Foundation, the American Heart Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the AIDS Foundation, the National Association of the Blind, the Ronald McDonald House, Whitney Young, New Visions, the Rotterdam Boys & Girls Club, the Salvation Army, Northeast Parent & Child, the Cohoes Music Hall, the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company and many others. Since we are a community-based publication, we feel it is our duty to give back and hope to inspire us all to do the same.
On behalf of the entire staff of CRL, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season.
‘Tis the season for red kettles
By Alissa Lubanski
The day after Thanksgiving brings with it the ringing of cash registers and the ringing of something else, too: the Salvation Army bell, the universal summons to charity in the season of glad tidings and good will.
Like postmen, these dedicated ringers stand out in all elements until December 20 collecting donations and spreading good cheer. Money raised accounts for about 40 percent of the Salvation Army’s annual revenue. Some of the bell ringers are paid, but most are volunteers.
Mary Jane Myers of Cobleskill, has been a volunteer bell ringer for 37 years and has no plans on slowing down anytime soon
Last year the ringers in her area collected $28,210 in three locations in Schoharie County: two Price Chopper’s and Wal-mart. That money stretches to help her community and beyond.
Myers, who also volunteers her time to other organizations, became involved through a co-worker while working as a loan assistant at Key Bank. She became the Treasurer for the local Salvation Army unit and encouraged others to also volunteer. Now retired from the bank, she continues to give her time to the cause and last year recruited 256 volunteers.
She is proud that her unit stretches the donations they receive as far as possible in order to help the most people. For example, they buy $1,000 worth of groceries, but only spend around $500-$650 thanks to sales and coupons.
If you’re wondering exactly where the kettle money goes here’s just a sampling:
• Turkeys are provided for those in need at Thanksgiving and Christmas
• Prescription medicine
• Fuel costs
• Food pantries
• They provide housing for people who have been displaced by a fire
• They help out with clothing and school supplies
But it doesn’t stop there. They even provide an educational and fun getaway for kids. “We send 14 kids from the county to the Salvation Army camp in Penn Yan,” Myers said. They provide everything a child would need for camp: backpacks, towels, washcloths, toothpaste, toothbrush and combs.
This year when you pass by a red kettle, perhaps you will be inclined to give a little bit more. Not only will you feel good, but so will the people who benefit most from the Salvation Army.
To sign up as a volunteer visit www.salvationarmycapitalregion.org or www.redkettles.org or contact Felix Perez at 463.6678 ext. 17 or email email@example.com.
Tips to make your home sparkle for the holidays
Holiday entertaining requires more than artful decorations, tasty hors d'oeuvres and some cheerful libations. Savvy hosts know that great holiday entertaining occurs in a home that sparkles as brightly as the decorations that adorn it.
The holidays can be a time to truly let your hostess skills shine, as family and friends gather to celebrate. From beautifully polished silverware on the table, to a well stocked refrigerator that is fresh and inviting when guests go looking for a soft drink, to a home filled with the aroma of just-baked confections - every detail should convey the holiday theme of bright and shiny.
To ensure you're ready to welcome guests this holiday season, lifestyle expert Jill Cordes offers tips to make your preparations a cinch.
Evergreen trees, the smell of fresh-baked goods and cranberry scented candles - the holidays are filled with wonderful aromas. Don't let smelly leftovers overpower the joyful scents of the season.
• Guests will appreciate a refrigerator that is clean and odor free, and a sink area that doesn't suffer from "stinky disposal syndrome." Place an open box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda in the refrigerator to absorb odors and prevent taste transfer between foods. Deodorize the garbage disposal and drains by pouring baking soda down them while running warm tap water.
• Get the smell of fresh garlic from all that holiday cooking off your fingers by rubbing your hands on stainless steel, either a stainless steel spatula or along the edge of your sink. Then wash with regular soap and water. The stainless steel neutralizes the odors.
The star atop your Christmas tree shouldn't be the only thing in your home that shines for the holiday.
• To get your best silverware and jewelry sparkling for holiday get-togethers, make an easy, affordable silver polish with a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and rub with a cloth. For gleaming crystal, clean with vinegar and lemon juice.
Foods of the season
Meals savored with loved ones are the characteristic "flavor" of the holiday.
• Store heart-warming winter greens like Swiss chard, spinach and kale in an open container in the fridge. Cauliflower should be stored stem side down, whereas broccoli stores best standing upright on the bottom shelf. If you leave them in the plastic bags you bought them in, remember to poke holes in the bag to allow the greens to breathe so they last longer.
• Store fresh tomatoes on your counter with the stem side down to prevent bruising and softening. Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator, where they immediately begin to lose flavor; or in closed containers or sealed plastic, which cause premature ripening.
Holiday home cleaning
From top to bottom, a clean home will tell your guests how much you value their comfort while they visit your home.
• Don't season your fresh holiday ham with chemicals - clean your food prep area by wiping cutting boards, counters and oven tops with food safe, chemical-free cleaners.
• Since spills can happen, have cleaning supplies on hand so that guests don't feel embarrassed or stressed about a stain on your upholstery or carpet. You can also freshen your carpet right before your friends and family arrive. Just sprinkle some baking soda, wait 15 minutes and vacuum. Your guests will be greeted by the scent of the delicious holiday meal cooking in your kitchen and not your smelly carpet.
For more ideas and tips on holiday entertaining from Jill Cordes and Arm & Hammer, the most recognized baking soda brand, visit www.ArmandHammer.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content
3 secrets to a better holiday season for your family
By Randy Cale, PH.D
We often find the holidays both stressful, and at times, unfulfilling. This is particularly upsetting when we see our children dissatisfied with their holiday experiences. Here are three simple ways to have a happier and more easeful holiday season.
1. Set limits on your child’s expectations early on.
Our children are exposed to repeated messages, suggesting more, more, more. If we fail to set limits early on, children begin to imagine gift after gift after gift. If you vaguely suggest that maybes Santa will bring them all the toys on their list (but he doesn’t), this is a set-up for disappointment.
More importantly, if you make it a habit to not set limits in their young minds, you begin to nurture greediness and a desire for more, with little appreciation for what is given.
Some of you see this now, as children open dozens of gifts, often throwing them aside as quickly as they can open them. Within hours, they are asking for more or expressing disappointment over not getting some new ‘gizmo’ that just wasn’t available.
2. Get more by giving more!
Giving doesn’t come naturally for many children, but the benefits of giving are profound and open a powerful emotional path to personal well-being. In fact, research suggests that this is one of the most consistent ways to generate positive self-esteem.
Yet, many times we fail to teach our children to give, limiting their ability to get the “good feelings” that come from the generosity of the heart. Of all the family traditions I have seen over the years, one of my favorites is asking children to select a group of their toys to donate each holiday season. They must be in good shape and equal the number of gifts on their Santa list. This helps you keep down the rising clutter in your home, and helps children to engage in the practice of giving.
Another way of demonstrating the value of giving is by having the family volunteer to serve others during the holidays (or all year round!) at your church, the local soup kitchen or the helping the developmentally disabled. There is nothing more valuable than seeing Mom and Dad give their time. Remember, children learn more from your actions than your words.
3. Start a tradition of sharing your gratitude!
Most of us seek to raise children who are grateful for their gifts, and yet many us of find them to be remarkably ungrateful. This is, in part, a function of the way we live our day-to-day lives at home.
When we walk in the door and complain about traffic, we fail to be grateful about getting home safe to a heated home and healthy children. When we sit at the table and discuss the problems with our economy, we fail to be grateful for the economy that has filled our home with furniture, food and more stuff than we ever use. When we harp on the kids about not picking up their stuff, we have often fail to notice when they did pick up their stuff.
Over and over again, we often teach our children by modeling a lack of gratitude in our own lives, yet we want our children to be more grateful for what they have. It doesn’t work that way.
So why not establish a new tradition? Every night at dinner, make it a rule that no complaints are allowed during dinner. Instead, everyone must mention something that they are grateful for. This sets the tone for dinner and starts everyone off in a healthy direction. It also demonstrates to our children that you can choose what you focus upon and that you choose to focus on gratitude and appreciation.
This shift is not a small one. It will transform their lives over the long haul. A grateful child likely becomes a grateful adult and this leads to more optimism, more happiness and more success in life.
Please consider these three simple ideas; any one of them will help promote values that serve you and your family. I wish you only the best this holiday season.
Dr. Randy Cale, a Clifton Park based parenting expert, author, speaker and licensed psychologist, offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. Dr. Cale’s new website, www.TerrificParenting.com offers valuable free parenting information and an e-mail newsletter.
Enjoy the holidays without losing your healthy habits!
By Judith Torel
Blink your eyes for a second and another year has gone by! Suddenly we are in the middle of the holiday season for another go round of constantly available foods and treats. As we try to accomplish everything else we need to do for the holidays, it is so easy for our exercise habits to go into hibernation.
But, with two “attitude” adjustments, you can get yourself to maintain some assemblance of nutritional health and physical fitness while you enjoy the riches of the holiday season.
Experience, people, food
“I just can’t resist all the huge holiday meals.”
“With all those holiday treats around at work and home, I am constantly snacking.”
“This is the only time of year that I get these foods and I don’t want to miss out!”
Who hasn’t found themselves saying at least one of the above to himself during the holidays? The problem with these thoughts is that the emphasis is on a value system that puts holiday food above everything else that goes with the holiday season.
I promote the use of the following hierarchy of values: experience first, people second, food third. We are on this earth to have experiences. It means that we need to focus on feeling the warmth of a fire in the fireplace when coming inside to a party from the bone chilling cold of the Northeast, and really experiencing the toasty warmth right to our bones.
It means really looking into the eyes and making a connection with the friend you bumped into at a holiday party who you haven’t seen in over a year, and paying full attention to what she is saying without secretly eyeing the buffet table behind her. Or, really playing with your niece and being 100 percent present to her while not just going through the motions to fill time until dinner.
Food is definitely a daily life priority, if for no other reason than without it we would die. It is also one of the pleasures we get to enjoy on a daily basis, but when food takes precedence over experiences in life and connection with people, then it has moved into a position that will be problematic, especially during the holidays when tasty, mouthwatering foods are seemingly everywhere!
So practice the attitude adjustment of: experience first, people second, food third during the holidays and then let it spill over into the New Year as well.
“I already blew it with two of my co-worker’s famous holiday cookies so I may as well keep eating them throughout the rest of the work day.”
“I can’t get in my full workout today and get to the mall after work to pick up the two holiday gifts I have to get, so I may as well just skip the workout altogether.”
“I want to eat as much as I want at the party tonight so I am not going to eat today and I will do an extra long workout before I go.”
All of the thoughts above share a common theme: they illustrate an underlying belief system that sees things in all or nothing/black and white terms. Eat no cookies or eat every last one on the plate. Get in a full workout or don’t do any workout. Create an extreme calorie deficit earlier in the day and then over-consume at the end of the day.
When we operate through ‘all or nothing/black or white thinking’ our quality of life suffers, not to mention our waistline grows bigger. Swinging from one extreme to the other when it comes to eating and workouts is like never feeling grounded and satisfied. You spend the majority of your waking life in a state of deficit or over-abundance to the point of feeling sick. You are either lethargic from under-exercising or exhausted and famished from over-exercising.
We don’t have to be victim to ‘all or nothing’ thinking and the holidays is the perfect time to practice “thinking percentages”. Instead of blowing off a workout because you don’t have time to do your normal routine, then figure out what percentage you can do while still being able to run your errands. Maybe you can fit in 45 percent – it sure is better than zero percent.
You ate two cookies when you were planning to eat none, so you figure you might as well eat more. Ask yourself what percentage of your daily intake you consumed in those two cookies. If you are targeting 1,500 calories per day (weight loss for the average woman/2,000 for the average man) and those two cookies totaled 300 calories, that is 20 percent of your daily intake. Compare that to eating the rest of the plate. Let’s say 10 cookies at 150 calories each totaling 1,500 calories which is 100 percent of a woman’s daily intake. Twenty percent vs. 100 percent illustrates that having something off your plan doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and eat more. There is a definite difference between 300 calories vs.1,500 calories; a definite difference between over-eating 20 percent of your daily calories vs. 100 percent!
By practicing the attitude adjustment of thinking in percentages, you will minimize the degree to which you over-eat and minimize the number of workouts you totally miss this holiday season.
Judy Torel is a USAT coach, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and psychotherapist. She conducts online services through her website www.judytorel.com. Her office is located in Planet Fitness, Loudonville. She is also a competing triathlete who is currently training for Ironman, Florida. She can be reached at 469.0815 or firstname.lastname@example.org
November 28 – January 3
12th Annual Capital Holiday Lights in the Park – This year’s theme: An Olde-Fashioned Holiday. Sun-Thurs 6pm-9pm; Fri & Sat 6pm-10pm. $15 per car, $25 per limousine or passenger van, and $75 per bus. Proceeds benefit Albany PAL. Washington Park, Albany. For more info: 435.0392.
November 21-December 24
Holiday Hunger Appeal – Benefits the Food Bank. Several businesses and organizations will match collections. 10am-9:30pm. Crossgates Mall, Albany. For more info: 786.3691 x222; www.regionalfoodbank.net.
Cohoes 45th Annual Turkey Trot – Races will begin in front of City Hall. Rain or shine. Bring a non-perishable food item to be donated to local food pantry. First 150 applicants receive a long-sleeve t-shirt. 3.5 mile walk 8am. Kids races 9am. 3.5 mile run 10am. Awards ceremony held at City Hall following race. For more info: 233.2116.
Striking 12 – Based on Hans Christian Anderson´s classic fairy tale The Little Match Girl, a grumpy office worker is dead-set upon spending New Year´s Eve all by himself. Capital Repertory Theatre, Albany. For more info: 462.4531, email@example.com.
Nutcrackers - The Nunsense Christmas Musical – The Nunsense Christmas Musical, Nuncrackers, is presented as the first TV special taped in the Cable Access Studio built by Reverend Mother in the convent basement. Thurs/Fri/Sat 8pm. Sat/Sun 3pm. Cohoes Music Hall, Cohoes. For more info: 237.5858, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Madrigals, Coffee, and Desserts – Afternoon coffee and desserts and holiday songs performed by a special Madrigal Singing Ensemble. Stroll through the beautifully decorated rooms and hallways. 4pm-6pm. $20 reservations suggested. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
SEFCU Holiday Tree Lighting and Fireworks Festival – Arts and crafts, storytelling, holiday marketplace, visit from Santa, Toys for Tots, holiday music, dramatic fireworks display. 1pm-6pm. Free. Empire State Plaza, Albany. For more info: 877.659.4ESP; www.espirestateplaza.org.
2nd Annual Winter WonderLARK – Kicking off the event will again be the Santa Speedo Sprint, a fundraiser for the Albany Damien Center. Activities scheduled includes a Gingerbread Funshop, Trolley Ride through Washington Park, Santa Claus at the BID office, musicians and performers all day long, a many more surprises throughout the day. 12pm-5pm. Lark Street BID, Albany. For more info: 434.3861, email@example.com.
ARIA Holiday Music Program – Wine & cheese. RSVP, space limited. 7pm. $8. Pruyn House, Newtonville. For more info: 783.1435; www.colonie.org/pruyn.
Children's Holiday Party – Magician, face painting, a visit from Santa, & refreshments. RSVP, space limited. 1pm-3pm. Free. Pruyn House, Newtonville. For more info: 783.1435; www.colonie.org/pruyn.
Opera at Ten Broeck Mansion – Lake George Opera brings a program of favorites to the Mansion. Enjoy refreshments. Stroll through the beautifully decorated house. 2pm-4pm. $25, pre-paid reservations required. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
Albany Winter Festival 2008 – Free family event includes a myriad of outdoor and indoor activities focusing on a family audience. Fabulous Fireworks will light up the skies! 11:30am-6pm. Downtown Albany. For more info: 434.2032, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Farm to Chef Tour – Tour starts at Chatham Co-Op. Chef Jeff Loshinsky will demonstrate how to roast autumn root vegetables. Carol Hargis of the Chocolate Moose will show how they create their local hand-dipped creations. Go behind the scenes into the kitchen of master baker Madeline Delosh at her new Mado Patisserie in Chatham. $25 for annual membership, includes tour and other Bounty events. 12pm. For more info: 392.0474; www.columbiacountybounty.com.
Sweet & Savory Tasting Event – Sample a selection of artisan breads and cheeses from bakers and creameries in Columbia County and the Hudson Valley. A great way to learn about wine-and-cheese pairings for the holidays. 11am-5pm. Hudson-Chatham Winery, Ghent. For more info: 392.2598; www.hudson-chathamwinery.com.
November 29, 30
Holiday Gift Basket Weekend – Create personalized gift baskets with our selection of wines, syrups, cheeses, chocolates, preserves, honey, pancake mixes, and other gift items. Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Hudson-Chatham Winery, Ghent. For more info: 392-2598; www.hudson-chathamwinery.com.
Holiday Bonfire – Warm up with friends and neighbors with a sunset backdrop. 4pm-5pm. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson. For more info: 828.0135; www.olana.org.
Gallery of Wreaths – Silent auction and craft boutique. Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm. Columbia County Historical Society, Kinderhook Village. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
Holiday Sing – Songs of the season for all those who celebrate has been the traditional feature of this holiday sing. 3:30pm. Austerlitz Historical Society, Austerlitz. For more info: 392.0062; www.oldausterlitz.org.
Tom Hanford’s Christmas in America – Offers an entertaining look for children and families at some of the ways Christmas was observed in the United States of the 1800s. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson. For more info: 828.0135; www.olana.org.
Celebrate the holidays with the Columbia County Historical Society – At the Museum, Garden Clubs of Columbia County Gallery of Trees. At the James Vanderpoel House: Annual Gallery of Wreathes with Silent Auction and the Holiday Craft Boutique, open daily. For more info: www.cchsny.org.
Candlelight Night Village of Kinderhook – Celebrate the season with family fun activities. 5pm-8pm. For more info: www.cchsny.org.
November 8 – January 3
Holiday in the Mountains – Annual fine craft exhibition and sale. Artisans fill the gallery with pottery, quilts, toys, clothing, jewelry, ornaments and more. Greene County Council on the Arts Mountaintop Gallery, Windham. For more info: 734.3104; www.greenearts.org.
November 15, 16
Chilly Willy Winter’s Eve – Special content cold season tour with costumed guide. Preparations for winter life on the farm and celebrations of Martinmas, St. Nicholas and St. Lucia days. Dutch and Swedish refreshments. 11am, 1pm & 3pm each day. Bronck Museum, Coxsackie. For more info: 731.6490.
Catskill Mountain Chamber Orchestra Thanksgiving Concert—Robert Manno, Music Director. Program: Ireland, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Britten. $18. 8pm. Doctorow Center for the Arts, Hunter. For more info: 263.2063; www.catskillmtn.org.
M Gallery Celebrates the Holidays – Holiday Open House with works by Patrick Milbourn and friends, collectable/historical one-of-a-kind, turn-of-the-century pens and inks, and a special collection of vintage Christofle Silver. 6pm-8pm. M Gallery, Catskill. For more info: 943.0380; www.mgallery-online.com.
George Gee’s Jump Jivin’ Wailers Swing Orchestra – This electrifying 10-piece unit, created in 1998, is known around the world. With vocalist/trumpeter Walt Szymanski, fellow featured vocalist John Dokes, and bandleader George Gee. $18. 8pm. Doctorow Center for the Arts, Hunter. For more info: 263.2063; www.catskillmtn.org.
Open House Harvest Luncheon – Soup, sandwich, dessert, coffee, tea, soda. Bake sale. Proceeds go to the Sir Willam Johnson Seniors. All are welcome. 12pm-3pm. $5 donation. Newly Renovated Village Hall, Ft. Johnson. For more info: 843.3175.
Christmas in November – Holiday Home Tour. Fundraiser will include tours of five beautifully decorated homes, complimentary dessert and coffee and Christmas shopping at the Carondelet Pavilion Auditorium. $15, $20 at door, $8 children under 16. 10am-4pm. Homes in Amsterdam & Hagaman. For more info: 843.5197; 842.3414.
November 29, 30
Holiday Open House – Designed like many 18th &19th century holiday festivals which centered around feasting and visiting good friends and neighbors. Pick up a "Heritage Holiday Passport" and visit three sites to have your name entered into a drawing for a Heritage Holidays Gift Basket. Free (donations accepted). Old Fort Johnson, Fort Johnson. For more info: 843.0300.
December 4 - 23
Light Up the Sky with the Marching Rams – Drive through light show. 6:30pm. $5 per vehicle. Brookside Ave, Amsterdam. For more info: 843.3052.
Elves Night Out – Caroling, shopping, pictures with Santa and more. Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge. For more info: 673.4434.
St. Nicholas Day – Colonial music, storytelling, roaring fires, pine bough decorations, homemade cookies & gingerbread, stollen, hot chocolate, spiced cider, St. Nicholas & homemade wooden ornaments. 12pm-4:30pm. Fort Klock, St Johnsville. For more info: 568.7779.
Visit Santa – Visit Santa, shop for primitive & country gifts and more. 10am-5pm. For more info: 829.7024.
Holiday Market Kickoff – Cooperstown Farmers Market. For more info: 607.547.6195.
Thanksgiving at the Farmers Museum – A festive celebration of the holidays meant just for kids! Make holiday crafts including gingerbread men, holiday ornaments, and stockings. 10am-4pm. Free. Children 5 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are highly recommended. Bump Tavern, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.1481 or 607.547.1450.
Santa and Mrs. Claus Arrive – Visit them in Pioneer Park every weekend until Christmas. 5:30pm. Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.9983.
November 28, 29
Christmas Lights Trains – Charlotte Valley Railroad. 6pm. Cooperstown. For more info: 607.432.2429; www.lhrs.com.
Adorn-a-Door Wreath Festival – Cooperstown Art Association. 10am-4:30pm. For more info: 607.547.9777; www.cooperstownart.com.
November 29, 30
Santa Claus Express Trains – Charlotte Valley Railroad. 2pm. For more info: 607.432.2429; www.lrhs.com.
Christmas Lights Train – Charlotte Valley Railroad, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.432.2429; www.lrhs.com.
December 6, 7, 13, 14
Santa Claus Express Trains – Charlotte Valley Railroad, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.432.2429; www.lrhs.com.
Sint Niklaas Visits the Brewery – St. Nik makes his annual visit to the brewery loaded down with stories and treats for the tots. Beer sampling, hot chocolate and cider, Belgian spiced cookies, and sleigh or wagon rides. 11am-5pm. Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown. For more info: 800.544.1809; www.ommegang.com.
Holiday Hoopla for Kids at the Farmers Museum – Spend the afternoon making holiday crafts to take home including gingerbread men, holiday ornaments and stockings. Enjoy holiday music & decorations. Donations benefit a local charity. Children 5 & under must be accompanied by adult. Reservations recommended. 1pm-3pm. Free. Bump Tavern, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.1481.
Candlelight Evening at The Farmers´ Museum –This festive event captures the holiday spirit in a celebration of friendship, family and community, with caroling, sleigh rides, winter games, and wassail. 3pm-7pm. The Farmers Museum, Cooperstown. For more info: 607.547.1450.
The Living Nativity – Presented by the Community Bible Chapel of Toddsville. 5:30pm-8:30pm. For more info: 607.547.9764.
Holiday Bazaar – There will be a store where children can shop for the family and then wrap up their gifts. Coffee & other beverages available. Raffle for queen-size quilt made by Ida Wager. Church is handicapped accessible. 10am-3pm. Zion’s United Church of Christ of Taborton. For more info: www.rensco.com.
Turkey Walk – Activities kick off with the 1.5 Mile Turkey Walk at 8am, followed by the 1 Mile Grade School Race at 8:45am. At 9:15am, “Trotter the Turkey” and his friends compete in the 4th Annual Mascot Run. Running of the Open 5K (3.1 miles) with more than 3,000 people expected at 9:30am. Open 10K (6.2 miles) set to start at 10:30am. Troy. For more info: 235.8993.
Troy Elks All You Can Eat Breakfast with Santa – Children 4-12 $3 and a free picture with Santa, under 4 free. 8am-12pm. Troy. For more info: 283.1193.
26th Annual Troy Victorian Stroll – Live music, dancing, storytelling, theatre, costumed performers. The stroll ends at 5pm with “A Celebration of Lights” at Monument Square. 11am-5pm. Free. For more info: 274.7020; www.troyvictorianstroll.com.
Visit with Santa – Come visit Santa. Large selection of trees, kissing balls, decorative wreaths, boughs and roping. Free local delivery. Gold Krest Family Farm, Rensselaer. For more info: 365.5969 or 465.0437.
St. Jude the Apostle Christmas Breakfast – Come visit Santa and enjoy our Christmas decorations. Adults $6 adults, 5-12 $3, under 4 free. 8am-11am. Wynantskill. For more info: 423.8518.
December 6, 7, 13, 14
Crafts & Carols at Howe Caverns – Featuring unique crafts produced by local artisans, music by local choral groups, photos with Santa and much more. Overnight packages available. 11am-5pm. Howe Caverns, Howes Cave. For more info: 296.3900; www.howecaverns.com.
Pictures w/ Santa – Free picture with Santa & a gift. New York Power Authority, North Blenheim. For more info: 800.724.0309; www.nypa.gov.
Schenectady Farmers Market – Locally produced soaps, produce, poultry, eggs, baked goods, wine, bedding and vegetable plants. City Hall. 9am-1pm. For more info: 827.6637.
Scotia-Glenville Children's Museum 30th Anniversary – The museum is celebrating its "Pearl Anniversary" with a dinner and silent auction. All proceeds from event will be used to continue museum programming in 12 counties in the Capital Region and surrounding areas. Call for reservations. 6pm. $50. Malozzi's, Rotterdam/Schenectady. For more info: 346.1764; www.travelingmuseum.org.
Styling For Life – 10 stylists, 3 hours, and a hair cutting marathon. Music, refreshments, and a great hair cut. Proceeds benefit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Donation: Men $14, Women $20. 5pm-8pm. The Cutting Edge Family Hair Salon, Schenectady. For more info: 356.5554.
Art Night Schenectady – Shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries will keep their doors open and invite the Capital District in on the 3rd Friday of every month. Free. 5pm-9pm. Downtown Schenectady. For more info: 372.5656; www.artnightschenectady.com.
Gazette Holiday Parade – Live music, fire trucks, dancers and numerous floats. 5pm. State St. and Erie Blvd, Schenectady. For more info: 372.5656.
Home Entertaining and Party Settings – Symposium-style class where you will be encouraged to ask questions, take notes and snap pictures. Sign up early as space is limited. $20. Schenectady. For more info: 374.6885; www.experienceandcreativedesign.com.
December 5, 6, 7 & 12, 13, 14
Twas the Land of the Night Before – A family holiday show. Original play by Steve Suriano and Bill Douglas. Dec 5, 6 ,12,13 7:30pm; Dec 7, 14 2pm. $15 , Seniors, students w/ ID $12. 440 Upstairs Proctors, Schenectady. For more info: 346.6204, www.proctors.org.
Capital Region Improv Jams – Come play along with members of The Mop & Bucket Company, anyone - and that means you - will have the opportunity to perform in our most popular and fun-filled formats. Every 4th Thursday of the month. 8pm. Muddy Cup, Schenectady. For more info: 577.6726; www.mopco.org.
Ladies Noel Night – Chocolates, live music, door prizes, holiday refreshments, and more. 5pm-7pm. Free. The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls. For more info: 792.1761; www.thehydecollection.org.
Hometown Thanksgiving Dinner – Community turkey dinner, all the trimmings, desserts, fellowship, entertainment. Transportation & home delivery available. Continuous seating. 11:30am-3pm. Free. Christ Church United Methodist, Glens Falls. For more info: 745.7935.
Lite up the Village – Watch the Village come to life with the lights of the season. Caroling and a visit from Santa. Concert by the Lake George Community Band. Shepard Park & Georgian Resort, Lake George. For more info: www.boltonchamber.org.
Sugar Plum Ball – Young ladies & gentlemen enjoy dancing, refreshments. 7pm-9pm. The Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls. For more info: 798.0170.
Christmas Tea & Bazaar – Celebrate the season. 11am-3pm. North Creek United Methodist Church, North Creek. For more info: 251.3427.
Reindeer Run – 5k race. 8am. Register. Adirondack Community College, Queensbury. For more info: www.adirondackrunners.com.
Christmas Boutique – Displayed in the historic Sherman House, holiday decorations, gift ware, figurines, jewelry, bakery, visit with Santa. 9am-3pm. Free. Glens Falls Senior Center, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.2189.
Operation Santa Claus Charity Ball – Cocktails to dancing, auctions. Music by The Audio Stars. Black tie optional, tables of 10 available. 6pm-midnight. Reservations. The Sagamore, Bolton Landing. For more info: 747.2628.
December 6, 7
A Holiday Weekend in Bolton Landing – Shop, dine & stroll the streets of Bolton Landing during this festive event. Participating restaurants will be offering specials and shops will be serving holiday refreshments. Bolton Landing. For more info: www.lakegeorgechamber.com.
December 6, 7
Community Holiday Celebration – Our Town Theatre Group's annual holiday celebration, refreshments. Sat 7:30pm; Sun 2pm. Free. Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek. For more info: 810.8722.
Teenagers Only Holiday Dance – For teens 13-19 only. 7pm-10pm. Free. Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek. For more info: 251.2212.
Gingerbread Workshop – Families create your own Gingerbread masterpiece with Valerie Donley. Register. Material fee. 10am & 11:30am. Town of Chester Public Library, Chestertown. For more info: 594.5384.
Moments in Time Ice Show – Figure skating. Celebrate Glens Falls Centennial. Bring canned good/non-perishable food items to be donated to local charity. Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls. For more info: 747.6571.
Men’s Holiday Night – Holiday refreshments, entertainment and more. 4pm-8pm. Free. Downtown Glens Falls. For more info: 798.1144 x2.
Children’s Christmas Party – Visit from Santa, gifts, music, refreshments too! 1pm-3pm. Free. Thurman Town Hall, Athol. For more info: 623.2249.
Christmas Lights & Cookie Delights – The lighting of 60 trees, holiday music, Santa and cookies and cocoa. 6pm. Free. Fort Edward Yacht Basin, Fort Edward. For more info: email email@example.com.
Hometown Holiday Festival – Official lighting of the Village Christmas Tree, live Nativity Scene, and a visit from Santa Claus! Carols sung, refreshments provided, a "ring of fire" to keep warm and toast marshmallows, and a gift for every child. 6pm. Rain date December 6. Veteran's Park, Granville. For more info: www.granvillechamber.com.
December 5, 6, 7
Christmas in Cambridge – Friday evening parade, tree lighting at the Village tree in front of the library, reading of T'was the Night Before Christmas, shopping & refreshments. Saturday Christmas Sale at the Cambridge Central School. Downtown Cambridge. For more info: www.cambridgenychamber.com.
Breakfast with Santa – Breakfast & photos with Santa & FFA helpers; projects, crafts, etc. 7:30-11:30am. $5 adults, $4 children. Elks Club, Greenwich. For more info: 692.9446.
Community Caroling in Mowry Park – Gazebo, Mowry Park, Main St., Greenwich 6pm. Free. For more info: 692.7979.
November 29, 30
Heritage Holidays St. John’s Day – This holiday celebration honors one originally celebrated by Sir William Johnson with a series of holiday events in historic sites across the Mohawk Valley. With three site visits stamped in a passport, visitors will experience diverse customs and traditions at multiple sites. $3 donation. 10am. Johnson Hall State Historic Site, Johnstown. For more info: 762.8712.
Reindeer Roundup Festival – Reindeer Roundup Pursuit Race features a 10am start for a 5km classic event immediately followed by a pursuit start 5km freestyle event. Bill Koch Cookie Race (ages 13 & younger) held following the Pursuit Race. Junior facility use fee includes Bill Koch race, awards, full day of skiing, tubing & ice-skating! $10 entry fee includes detailed color course map. $20/$25 registration by 12/17. Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, Benson. For more info: 863.4974; 383.8565.
Christmas Day Fun at Lapland Lake – Visit with our reindeer! Ski & snowshoe trails, junior tubing hill & ice-skating open 11am-4:30pm. Ski shop and warming lodge open. Rental and retail shops open but no food service or lessons today. $18 adults; $16 seniors and youth; $8 juniors. 11am. Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, Benson. For more info: 863.4974.
All events December 31 – January 1
First Night Saratoga – First Night on New Year's Eve is the most exhilarating night of the season. Be a part of the magic! Alcohol-free celebration of the arts and community. Downtown Saratoga. For more info: 583.9622 x132.
New Year’s Celebration – Includes dinner, open bar, champagne toast, and snacks. Entertainment by DJ Carmine Dio. Discounted room rates for the night. 7pm-1am. $70 per person, or $125 per couple. Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Schoharie. For more info: 295.6088.
New Year’s Eve Party – Skiing, tubing specials, food and fun ring in 2009! State Rt. 28, North Creek. For more info: 251.2411.
First Day in Lake George – Celebrate in Lake George, New Year's Day Polar Plunge swim, children's activities, parade, boat cruise & more! Canada Street, Lake George. For more info: 240.0809.
First Night Jiminy Peak – New Year's Eve will feature the annual torchlight parade down the mountain followed by a spectacular fireworks display lighting up the sky and the snow! Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock, MA. For more info: 413.738.5500; www.jiminypeak.com.
Champagne Preview Party – A preview of the Ten Broeck Mansion´s gracious rooms and halls beautifully decorated for the holidays by community volunteers. Enjoy a champagne reception, a silent auction, holiday gift shop and a visit from Sinterklaas. 5:30pm-8:30pm. $60 pre-paid reservations required. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
Holiday Tea at Ten Broeck Mansion – Enjoy a festive Holiday Tea served in the formal dining room. Sit with friends in one of the lovely parlors and then stroll through the beautifully decorated rooms and hallways. Stop in the Gift Shop for early gift shopping and homemade baked goods. 2pm-4pm. $15 pre-paid reservations required. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
Open House – Stroll through the Mansion. Let the children enjoy holiday crafts and a visit from Sinterklass (until 2pm). 12pm-4pm. $10 family rate, $5 adult, $1 children under 12. Ten Broeck Mansion, Albany. For more info: 436.9826.
Greens Show – Holiday decorations by the Blue Creek Garden Club, theme “Holiday Magic” Free. 10am-4pm. Pruyn House, Newtonville. For more info: 783.1435; ww.colonie.org/pruyn.
Friends of Pruyn House Open House – Music by the Recorders, punch & cookies, decorations. Free. 12:30pm-4:30pm. Pruyn House, Newtonville. For more info: 783.1435; www.colonie.org/pruyn.
Historic Albany Foundation’s 5th Annual Holiday House Tour - Enjoy a self-guided tour of 12 of Albany’s beautiful historic homes, each uniquely decorated for the season.12pm-5pm. Albany. For more info: www.historic-albany.org.
December 5-7, 12-14, 19-21, 26-28
Holiday House Tours – Visit Olana for Christmas with the Churches, a look at how the family spent the Holiday at home. Olana State Historic Site, Hudson. 11am-4pm. For more info: 828.0135; www.olana.org.
Lindenwald Winter Celebration – Warm yourself with hot cider while socializing with friends in the winterized tent before going on tours of Lindenwald especially adorned for the season. 5:30pm-8:30pm. Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Kinderhook. For more info: 758.9689.
Annual Holiday at Home – Visit private historic homes in the village decorated for the holidays. Reservations required. 5:30pm-8pm. Kinderhook. For more info: 758.9265; www.cchsny.org.
December 13, 14
Christmas at Clermont Open House –.Live music, brilliant holiday decorations, and the warm holiday spirit make this the perfect place to make your own holiday memories.Bring the entire family to take in the historic mansion richly decorated for a French Empire Christmas. Self-guided tours of the museum Visitors will enjoy seeing two floors of the historic mansion house set above the broad views of the Hudson River. Free. 11am-4pm. Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown. For more info: 537.4240; www.friendsofclermont.org.
Candlelight Tours of Clermont – Candlelight Tours are a special opportunity to see the historic mansion at its best.Free marshmallows will be offered for toasting by the fireside, and singing carols is encouraged.3pm-6pm. $5 adult, $4 senior/student, children 14 & under free. Clermont State Historic Site, Germantown. For more info: 537.4240; www.friendsofclermont.org.
Christmas Open House at the Roosevelt Sites – Both the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill will be decorated according to Roosevelt family tradition. At the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, an FDR impersonator will be reading excerpts from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. 6pm-9pm. Free. Hyde Park. For more info: 845.229.6214, 845.229.5320; www.nps.gov.
Saratoga/GlensFalls/ North Country
November 28, 29
A Heritage Holiday Celebration – A weekend series of holiday events in historic sites across the Mohawk Valley. With three site visits stamped in a passport, visitors will experience diverse customs and traditions at multiple sites. Johnson Hall State Historic Site, Johnstown. For more info: www.nysparks.state.ny.us.
December 6, 7
North Country Holiday Bed & Breakfast Tour – 15 Bed & Breakfast Inns will open their doors during this self-guided tour. Inns on tour range from rustic, secluded log cabin "castles" to Victorian mansions & historic farmhouses. $25; $20 senior/students. Lake George/Adirondack Region. For more info: 668.5755; www.lakegeorgechamber.com/bbtour.
December 6, 7
Christmas in Warrensburg – Celebration featuring Candlelight House Tour, caroling, holiday storytelling, tree lighting ceremony, craft fair & demonstrations, church bazaars, luncheons, concerts. Free. Main Street, downtown Warrensburg. For more info: 466.5497; www.warrensburgchamber.com.
Mohawk & Leatherstocking Region
November 29, 30
2nd Annual Heritage Holidays Open House – Fort Plain Museum, Fort Plains. For more info: 993.2527; www.fortplainmuseum.com.
November 28-30 & weekends in December
20th Annual Victorian Holiday Tours – Seasonal decorations by well-known Hudson Valley and New York City florists, artists and designers. 1pm-4pm. Wilderstein Historic Site, Rhinebeck. For more info: 845.876.4818; www.wilderstein.org.
Yuletide High Tea – Celebration with traditional holiday cakes, delicate open-faced tea sandwiches and seasonal music.Mansion tour is included.1pm. Adults $25, children $10. Reservations required. Wilderstein Historic Site, Rhinebeck. For more info: 845.876.4818; www.wilderstein.org.
November 18 – December 31
A Gilded Age Christmas – Elaborate turn-of-the-century holiday decorations, flower arrangements, Christmas trees festooned with Edwardian-style ornaments and spectacular dining room decorations based on historic themes. Adults $5, seniors and students $4, under 12 free. Mills Mansion, Staatsburgh Historical Site, Staatsburgh. For more info: 845.889.8851; www.staatsburgh.org.
December 20, 21 & 27, 28
Evening Candlelight Tours at Van Cortlandt Manor – Experience a late 18th-century celebration of “Twelfth Night.” Visit the home of one of the wealthiest families of the post-Revolutionary era. Decorations, live music and desserts. Stroll through the orchard lit by candle-lanterns to the tenant house to meet the Lord of Misrule. Reservations required. Croton-on-Hudson. For more info: 914.631.8200 x618.
Holiday Tours of Boscobel – The House will be decorated with fresh greens, fruits, flowers and festive handmade decorations. Tours offer insight into the holiday traditions and entertaining during the Federal period. Cider and fruitcake will be served at the end of the tour. 10am to 3:15pm. Open everyday except Tuesdays and Christmas Day. Adults $15, seniors $12, children 12 and under $7. Garrison. For more info: 845.265.3638 x115; www.boscobel.org.
Boscobel’s Traditional Candlelight Tours – A cherished annual tradition, witness Boscobel illuminated by hundreds of candles, beautiful natural hand-made decorations, and live classical music. End your tour in front of the fire with a toast from Boscobel’s wassail bowl and a taste of delicious fruitcake. Please dress for the weather as there may be a wait outdoors before being admitted to the house. 5pm-8pm. Adults $17, seniors $14, children 12 and under $9. Garrison. For more info: 845.265.3638 x115; www.boscobel.org.
Homes for the Holiday House Tour – Tour eight lovely area homes all decked out in their holiday finery. $20. 1pm-5pm. Salem. For more info: 854.7053.
Holiday House Tour – Visit some of the area's Historic Homes, B&B's and Inns. This year’s tour features properties within walking distance to downtown Stockbridge.They include the private home of Dan Symecko, Laurel Hill Place, Former Rockwell residence complete with former Rockwell models, Taggart House B&B, The Campbell House and the historic Mission House & Merwin House. $15.11am-4pm. For more info: www.stockbridgechamber.org.
November 29, 30 & December 6, 13, 20
Holiday Tours of Park-McCullough – See "Vermont's Jewel" in its festive holiday garb. November dates 10am-4pm, December dates 12pm-4pm. Park McCullough House, North Bennington. For more info: 802.442.5441; www.parkmuccullough.org.
December 6, 13
Holiday Open House Tour – See the decorations and enjoy the food at Barnstead Inn, Inn at Manchester, Inn at Ormsby Hill, Manchester Highlands Inn, Weathervane Motel and Wilburton Inn. All the proceeds of these tours will benefit the Komen Vermont-New Hampshire Race for the Cure. At each property there will be a breast cancer survivor to help the innkeepers greet and welcome tour goers. 12pm-4pm. $12.50. Dinner/dance on Saturday at Bistro Henry, featuring a sit-down dinner, $75. For more info: 802.362.1163, or 802.362.1793.
December 28, 29
Hildene Holiday Evenings – Self-guided tours through the mansion decorated for the holidays. Cider, carolers and a bonfire on the front lawn. 4:30pm-6:30pm. Adults $15, children $5, members free. Hildene: The Lincoln Family Home, Manchester. For more info: www.hildene.org.
Christmas in the Country by Riverview Entertainment – Enjoy Riverview's famed revue, with wonderful remembrances of Christmas past & present. $36; group rates available. 11:30am. Perthshire Dinner Theatre, Amsterdam. For more info: 883.5123; www.perthshireofperth.com.
School Days – A Christmas Carol – The Nebraska Theatre Caravan returns to Proctors for their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge and his ghostly visitors are brought to life in this rendition of Charles Dickens' timeless tale of redemption and Christmas cheer. Join us for this holiday favorite, as one man discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Adults $11, children $10; Group adult $9, children $8. 10am. Proctor’s Theatre, Schenectady. For more info: www.proctors.org.
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play – 8pm. $10/$12. Colonial Little Theatre, Johnstown. For more info: 347.2372.
Yuletide Gathering – Adirondack Repertory Dance Theatre's annual holiday presentation. Charles R Wood Theater, Glens Falls. For more info: 761.0873.
A von Trapp Holiday Concert – Starring Elisabeth von Trapp. Columbia-Greene Community College, Arts Center Theater, Hudson. 7:30pm. 828.4181; www.mycommunitycollege.com.
December 6, 7
Albany Symphony Presents The Magic of Christmas – David Allen Miller has fashioned a warm and entertaining concert with holiday favorites, community music groups and a special visit by a well known couple. Sat. 3pm & 7:30pm, Sun. 3pm. Adults $25-$49; seniors $20-$44; children/students. Palace Theater, Albany. For more info: 465.4755; www.albanysymphony.com.
Mohawk Valley Chorus Christmas Concert – General $11, students & seniors $8, under 12 free. 4pm. St. Mary’s Church, Amsterdam. For more info: 864.5887.
Notes of Good Cheer – Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra with Children's Chorus. 5pm. Glens Falls High School, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.1348.
Adirondack Voices Holiday Concert – 70 member chorus perform holiday music with Lake George Community Band. 7:30pm. Christ Church United Methodist Church, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.2620.
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones Holiday Tour – 7pm. The Egg, Albany. For more info: 473.7773, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hollywood Christmas by Laura Roth Entertainment – Experience Perthshire in all its holiday beauty and celebrate the Christmas season with some of the silver screen’s most brilliant stars such as Mae West, Carmen Miranda, Judy Garland, & more! $36; group rates available. 11:30am. Perthshire Dinner Theatre, Amsterdam. For more info: 883.5123; www.perthshireofperth.com.
December 13, 14
The Nutcracker – Adirondack Ballet Theater, performed by students ages 7-18. Sat 2:30 & 7pm; Sun 2:30pm. Charles R Wood Theater, Glens Falls. For more info: 798.5058.
A Night Before Christmas with Spyro Gyra – Debuting hits from their upcoming new holiday CD, Spyro Gyra is a marathon runner in the arena of contemporary jazz. 7pm. Adults $32/$29, students $15. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. For more info: 273.0038.
Holiday Concert – Enjoy popular holiday selections, traditional and new from Lake George Community Band conducted by Greg Mason. Free. Aviation Mall, Queensbury. For more info: 744.1015.
La Salle Institute Holiday Concert – 7:30pm. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. For more info: 273.0038.
Lake George Community Band Holiday Concert – 7:30pm. Charles R Wood Theater, Glens Falls. For more info: 798.9663.
December 19, 20
Old Fashioned Christmas Cabaret – Charles R Wood Theater, Glens Falls. For more info: 798.9663.
Sweet Honey In The Rock ~ A Holiday Show – Sweet Honey makes a joyful noise as they sing songs of the season. This Grammy winning female a cappella group spreads a message of love and peace by interweaving rhythmic stories of their African ancestors with rich and festive choral harmonies. 8pm. Adults $36/$33; students $20. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. For more info: 273.0038, email@example.com.
Mountain Snow & Mistletoe – Chris Shaw & Bridget Ball Shaw perform holiday classics. 8pm. Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy. For more info: 273.0038, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voices of Cooperstown Messiah Concert – Held at Church Christ. 8pm. $18. For more info: 607.547.9555.
November 1 – December 20
Christmas Craft Fair – Shaker items for the holidays.Shaker Heritage Society, Albany. For more info: 456.7890, email@example.com.
November – December 24
Holiday Showcase – Work by local artisans. Mon.-Sat. 8:30am-5pm. Adirondack Mountain Club, Lake George. For more info: 668.4447; www.adk.org.
November 15 – December 24
LARAC Holiday Showcase – Original art and fine crafts by regional artists. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Lapham Gallery, Glens Falls. For more info: 798.1144.
November 22, 23
Christmas Holiday Craft Show – 9am-4pm. Sunnycrest Orchards Farm Market, Sharon Springs. For more info: 284.2256; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open House – Over 30 artisans show casing their works, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, glassware, wooden ware. Fri 5pm-8pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. Free. Shirt Factory Artists, Glens Falls. For more info: 793.9309.
Country Christmas Bazaar – Hand-crafted items by local artisans, door prizes, luncheon available Sale benefits the Christmas Basket Fund. 9am-3pm. Thurman Town Hall, Athol. For more info: 623.2580 or 623.2909.
Center for the Family Craft Fair – Annual Craft Show to benefit the Saratoga Center for the Family. Saratoga Springs City Center, Saratoga. For more info: 584.0027.
Third Annual Holiday Arts and Craft Sale – 10am-4pm. Salem. For more info: 854.7135; email email@example.com.
December 6, 7, 13, 14
Crafts & Carols at Howe Caverns – Featuring unique crafts produced by local artisans, music by local choral groups, photos with Santa and much more. Overnight packages available. 11am-5pm. Howe Caverns, Howes Cave. For more info: 296.3900; www.howecaverns.com.
Holiday Northeast Arts & Crafts Show – 9am-3pm. Empire State Plaza, Albany. For more info: 786.1529.
Arkell Museum Holiday Fair – Fine artisan vendors, baked goods, library used book sale, ornament making workshop. 12pm. $2 suggested donation. For more info: 673.2314.
North Country Festival of Trees – Arts & crafts, holiday boutique, Children's activities, decorated trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and more. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge, Queensbury. For more info: www.sixflagsgreatescapelodge.com.
November 29-December 7
Festival of Trees – Christmas trees decorated for viewing. Special events may include: Christmas Ball, Children’s Morning, Ladies’ Luncheon, Wine Tasting, and more! GFWC Century Club, Amsterdam. Call for times, admission fees, and special events: 842.2031.
December 1 – January 4
Festival of Trees – Many trees on display decorated by different schools and agencies. 10am-5pm daily. New York Power Authority, North Blenheim. For more info: 800.724.0309; www.nypa.gov.
December 4 -7
Saratoga Springs Festival of Trees – Decorated trees from 6 foot to 2 foot table top trees, centerpieces with class, wreaths that warm your heart and lots of other holiday goodies! Saratoga Springs City Center, Saratoga. For more info: www.saratogafestivaloftrees.com.
Ballston Spa Festival of Trees – Businesses, residents and organizations in our community will be donating decorated tabletop trees, garlands, wreaths, candles and holiday items to exhibit and sell. All proceeds go to support community events and village beautification. Free. St. Mary’s School, Ballston Spa. For more info: 885.2772.
A Festival of Trees & Holiday Cocktail Party – Come enjoy a holiday gathering with friends and family while supporting a local gem, The Georgi. Hors d’oeuvres and music. A Silent Auction will feature beautifully decorated Christmas Trees provided by our local businesses. Cash bar available. $30 per person or $50 per couple. 7pm-9:30pm. For more info: 854.3936.
Festival of Trees – Locally designed and decorated Christmas trees. National Soccer Hall of Fame, Oneonta. For more info: 607.432.5531; www.soccerhall.org.
December 6 - 13
Old Stone Fort Festival of Trees – Exhibition of Christmas trees decorated by local artists and community groups. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Sun 12pm-5pm. Old Stone Fort, Schoharie. For more info: 295.7192; www.oldstonefort.org.
Best House Victorian Tea – Featuring an Exhibit of Christmas Trees by Hattie & Christmas Quilts. Donation $5. 1pm-4pm. Middleburgh. For more info: www.middleburghnyvillage.org.
Salzburg & Vienna
Beauty And The Best
By Linda McClain, CTA
What movie filmed in beautiful Salzburg became one of the most beloved classics of all time? If you are thinking “The Sound Of Music” you are correct. The story of the legendary Von Trapp family has been entertaining the Capital Region for decades. The film is a perfect blend of captivating scenery, Von Trapp heritage and heartfelt melodies, including my favorite, Edelweiss.
How do I get there?
Connecting service from Albany to Vienna and Salzburg are operated on United and Lufthansa. However, non-stop air is available from JFK to Vienna on Austrian Airlines. Scrumptious Vienna pastries are just a few hours away!
Surprisingly, Austria is larger than Switzerland, but smaller than our state of Maine. Approximately eight million people populate Austria. The main language spoken is German. With Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia and Yugoslavia as border countries, Austria has both eclectic appeal and versatile accessibility.
The Hahneckkogel, (the highest wooded mountain in Europe) is located in Austria. It marks the geographical center of the continent of Europe.
When should I go?
Vienna, Austria’s Capital, is considered among the most admired holiday destinations in the world, especially during the Christmas season (mid-November through the end of December).
Whether winter skiing or summer sightseeing, exceptional scenery and tourist attractions make Austria a great choice any time of year.
Countrywide, summers can be hot while evenings can be cool. May, September and the beginning of October are the driest. April and November are the wettest periods. Weather conditions drop in temperature for each 1,000 feet altitude. Snow cover lasts from late December to March in the valleys. At 6,000 feet, snow lasts from November until May. Snow cover becomes permanent at about 8,500 feet.
Salzburg weather averages in Fahrenheit: Winter 43 high, 28 low. Spring 62 high, 44 low. Summer 74 high, 57 low. Fall 59 high, 43 low.
Vienna weather: Winter 42 high, 37 low. Spring 61 high, 48 low. Summer 78 high, 63 low. Fall 64 high, 53 low.
Why visit Salzburg and Vienna?
Are you fascinated with historic significance? The Alpine valleys were settled in the Paleolithic Age.
In 400 BC, Celtic people arrived, colonizing in the Eastern Alps. In the 7th century, settlement concentrated on Hallstatt, a large prehistoric salt mining area. This is still one of the main regions of modern day Austria. Then came the Roman Empire and a succession of Habsburg dynasty rulers (1273-1918). Austria has survived World War I, and endured Nazi control by Adolf Hitler during World War II. Today’s Austria is a parliamentary democracy.
Places of interest
• Schonbrunn Imperial Summer Palace: UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, recognized for importance of palace and gardens as a baroque work of art. It includes an 18th century park and the world’s oldest zoo (1752).
• Vienna’s elaborate baroque architecture is bordered by the wide and legendary Danube River.
• Austria’s famous child genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born in Salzburg. Visit the home and gravesite of this prolific composer. He wrote over 600 compositions in his brief 35 year life (1756-1791).
• Salzburg is a picture-book city with echoes of Mozart. The Salsach River may be the only thing moving away from its beautiful banks.
The Hofburg - Vienna’s Imperial Palace & Spanish Riding School, home to the famous white Lipizzaner stallions. The horses have been trained precision maneuvers to the music of Mozart, in a tradition of more than 400 years.
The Vienna Opera House - Where world-class opera and ballet performances meet the elegance of Renaissance revival architecture. The interior includes bronze statues, frescoes and sprawling chandeliers; location of the Johann Strauss Opera Ball each winter.
Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Fortress - Built in 1077. Largest fully-preserved fortress in Central Europe.
• Silent Night, Holy Night was first performed in St. Nikolaus’ church, just outside Salzburg. Each Christmas Eve, thousands of people crowd the little town of Oberdorf to celebrate the coming of Christmas and memorialize Franz Gruber and Josef Mohr, authors of the world’s most beloved Christmas carol (www.stillenacht.info).
• Visit or stay in the original home of the Von Trapp Family in Salzburg (www.villa-trapp.cc). The home was made available to the public in September 2008.
• Since 1298 AD, Vienna has been the main host to the Christmas Markets. The snow-covered Alps inspire a magical display of holiday festivities and events. Cities and towns across the country participate in the tradition of The Christmas Markets from mid-November to the end of December (www.austria.info).
Getting around Vienna
Vienna has a variety of transportation options including bus, rail and tram services. The heart of Vienna is known as the Inner Stadt and is surrounded by a large circular street, Ringstrasse. Shaped like a horseshoe, it is lined with amazing architecture, lavish gardens and parks. A tributary of the Danube River borders the city, enhancing its beauty even more.
Getting around Austria
The autobahnen (super highways) are efficient for connecting to major cities, but most tourists prefer taking alternate routes to experience local culture and scenery. If driving by car, narrow mountain passes and rural roads can affect your gas budget. Austria has extensive bus service that has easy connections from rail stations to nearby villages. This makes train travel a sensible option. Select from a variety of rail passes that include additional Eastern or Western Europe countries. For more details visit www.raileurope.com.
More than a waltz
The Danube is the second longest river in Europe, traveling 1,800 miles and covers over 10 countries, making it the longest international river in Europe. It is the only river in Europe that flows west to east.
More than 20 million people depend on the Danube River for drinking water.
The Danube River Basin has over 100 species of fish.
Danube River Cruises are the best way to discover beautiful medieval towns, panoramic landscapes, and experience cultural heritage. Choose from a variety of itineraries based on your timeframe and geographical preferences. These cruises are seasonal and do not operate in winter conditions.
Famous Austrians include:
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year! Auf Wiedersehen~
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.net. I invite you to contact me for travel assistance to your favorite travel destination.
Is your marriage in trouble?
By Diane E. Lykes, LCSW
When it comes to having concerns about your marriage, rest assured that you are not alone. The phrase, “How to save a marriage” is typed into Google over 8,000 times a month. And the statistics citing half of first marriages and 70 percent of second marriages ending in divorce has remained unchanged.
There are definite warning signs that indicate your marriage may be in trouble. Learning about these “red flags” will help you address the issues in your relationship so that you don’t become one of the statistics. And more importantly, will enable you to live your life in a marriage filled with devotion, romance, respect and love.
Warning signs you should not ignore
One of the major red flags in an unhealthy marriage is a pattern of repeated criticisms where one or both partners feel they can’t do anything right. Often times, negative language is used about the partners’ personality and character.
It’s all business
When the relationship begins to feel like a business arrangement couples should take notice. If you can spend hours under the same roof, attend social functions together and run the household errands without ever having meaningful conversation, you are losing your connection. Couples who spend a great deal of time in silence begin to feel as if living alone would not be any different.
Lack of intimacy
Physical affection is an extremely important part of any romantic partnership. A marked decline in intimacy is one of the telltale signs of a failing relationship. If your partner is showing very little interest in intimacy, it is likely a red flag and may also be a sign of an extramarital affair.
Both partners become worn down from repeated arguments. It feels as if you are always angry with each other about something.
When you begin avoiding each other or repeatedly walk away from conflict rather than seeking resolution, you are likely to feel misunderstood and disrespected. Problems never get resolved and you begin to develop layers of “baggage”.
You have developed a list of all the things you can’t stand about your partner rather than noticing any of their positive qualities.
You are already thinking about divorce and playing out scenarios in your mind about what your life would be like without your partner in it.
Great relationships don’t just happen. There is no luck involved when it comes to which couples live happily ever after and which couple part ways. Yes, one in two marriages ends in divorce, but almost all of these relationships began with love. So why do so many commitments fall apart? The answer is simple: love is not enough.
This may sound very unromantic, but it is true. If you interviewed couples who have been married 20, 30 or even 50 years, they would all tell you one thing: keeping the romance, excitement and happiness alive requires hard work from both partners. Hope and luck have nothing to do with their good relationships. What they have learned is the “how to’s” for a successful relationship. In the same way an architect learns how to design a beautiful structure, these partners have taken the time to learn how to design a beautiful marriage.
In her marriage seminars, relationship guru Dr. Ellen Kreidman offers insight into the importance of understanding the basics of a good relationship (rather then assuming that “love will conquer all”). For example, she states that a man falls in love because of the way he feels about himself when he is with a woman. When he no longer feels good about himself in the relationship, he may find someone else or something else that gives him this good feeling again. She believes that extramarital affairs are his effort to feel desired, special and needed again. Her mantra: “If you don’t have a love affair with your partner, someone else will.”
And, is it any different for a woman? A woman falls in love because she feels beautiful both inside and out in her partner’s eyes. The most common reason why a woman files for divorce is “neglect”. She feels as though her partner has checked out of the relationship and she is left feeling alone in a marriage that once brought her great fulfillment.
So ask yourself this question: how does your spouse feel when they are with you?
“Love is life…And if you miss love, you miss life,” Leo Buscaglia.
The time to be happy and have a great relationship is now. Postponing happiness or waiting for a divine intervention that will solve your marital problems will lead you down a lonely road. Consider putting 150 percent of yourself into making your marriage work. The benefits will last a lifetime.
Diane Lykes is a Principal of Synergy Counseling Associates in Albany where she specializes in individual and couples counseling, educational training and clinical consultation. Synergy is a unique counseling practice providing compassionate, solution-oriented treatment for adults, children, adolescents and families. She can be reached at 466.3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can go home again
The resurgence of downtown Cohoes
By Mary Beth Galarneau
Seventy-five years ago, with the City of Cohoes riding the crest of Hudson River industrial development, textile mills abounded, and the city’s growth followed suit.
Nowadays, the roles have reversed. With the emphasis having shifted to residential planning, the city now tailors its commerce to its growth, and a new-found diversification. In fact, five years from now, Cohoes is expected to be one of the better-known bedroom communities in the area, and Remsen Street will be a destination for specialty shopping, fine dining and a burgeoning arts scene.
At least that’s how Ed Tremblay, director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Cohoes, envisions it.
Of course, Tremblay is realistic. “It [the city] didn’t just fall apart overnight. It was a twenty to twenty-five year decline of traditional downtown,” he said. And he knows it will take time to rebuild the city into a version of its former self.
Cohoes Historian Steve Lackmann agrees. A life-long resident, Lackmann remembers Remsen Street as the hub of the city. On most Saturdays, sidewalks bustled with shoppers, frequenting stores such as Cramer’s Armory, Cohoes Men and Boys, Cohoes Manufacturing, the Cohoes Army and Navy store and Carroll’s Shoe Store. There were discount ‘five and dime’ such as Kresge’s and Fishmans, and hardware stores such Stile’s. You could get auto parts at the Western Auto store or fresh vegetables at Nassar’s. Christmas time was especially festive, with decorations billowing along Remsen Street like wind-raveled ribbons. Shoppers would be three deep.
And while downtown Cohoes eventually fell victim to the suburban shopping mall, it has now come full circle. “Main Street USA”, and the convenience of urban living, is in vogue again. Today, along with a few of the older attractions such as Tables & Chairs, Rizzo’s Florist, Marra’s Pharmacy, Miron’s For Floors, Smith’s Restaurant, and the Cohoes Music Hall, there are several new businesses popping up, including Harmony House, a wine shop and bakery, Marvelous Things Boutique and Hometown Pizza. It’s a virtual hometown renaissance.
A new beginning
Tremblay credits Mayor John McDonald with launching the revitalization effort and acquiring $20 million in grants.
First up was repairing the sidewalks and overgrown areas near Harmony Mills and installing street lights with an IDA (Industrial Development Agency) grant. These changes attracted an investor from New York City, who re-imagined the industrial age mill complex renown for its production of garments into a series of Manhattan-style loft apartments for working professionals. All 96 units are currently occupied and construction on another 140 units is expected in the spring.
Other grants followed. In 2004, a façade grant was used to spruce up the exterior of several Remsen Street buildings, while additional grants were used to refurbish storefronts and rehabilitate upper floor apartments. In the last two years, there have been 25 new upper-story housing units created on Remsen Street, ranging from $700-$1,000 in monthly rent, while several new commercial buildings have also been upgraded, resulting in over 150 back office jobs that weren’t there just a few years ago.
“The goal,” Tremblay said, “is to bring more people to live and walk the streets.”
But the revitalization effort is more than about renewing older structures. It’s also about new construction, including condominiums and apartments, which are going up at a rapid pace throughout the city. Approved for construction next year are “Water’s View” on the Mohawk River overlooking Peeble’s Island, and “Captain’s Lookout” on the Hudson River, while additional river-view apartments such as “Admiral’s Walk” and “Water Side Apartments” are nearing completion, as is “The Seasons” off of Manor Avenue.
Then there is the Cohoes Falls. Hushed like a secret behind the Harmony Mills, the conjoining of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers produces an ancient splendor second only to Niagara Falls in its power and grandeur. Seeking to exploit this wonder, the city recently opened a four-acre park next to the falls, attracting people from all over the Capital Region. And come spring, there will be a trail that winds to the base of the falls, complete with a platform so fisherman can wade into the base of the river. A family festival is also scheduled for spring, as an official “kick off” for the park.
“It’s all part of our smart-growth agenda,” said Mayor McDonald. “This new urbanism is about restoring and rehabbing facilities that have been here for a long time.”
New kids on the block
Whatever the agenda, it appears to be working. Just ask Sal Prizio, one of the recent new business owners to open shop on Remsen Street. Initially attracted to the relatively lower rents, Prizio soon found himself impressed with the city’s resurgence. It’s becoming a hot spot again and he understands why.
It’s all about quality of life.
Formerly in the music industry, Prizio is a “downstater” who grew tired of the four-hour daily commute from his Connecticut home to Manhattan. With a wife and baby at home, things had to change, and the prospect of owning his own coffee shop is something that always appealed to him. The idea was simple: to open a coffee shop for music lovers, but do it in a quieter, though still urban, environment. And although he originally considered locating his shop in a college town like Saratoga or Schenectady, he found himself irresistibly attracted to Cohoes. Of course, it didn’t hurt that his wife is from the area.
Though Prizzio’s “Bread and Jam” has a Manhattan-like vibe, it also retains a small town feel, offering something for everyone. There are home baked goods, signature sandwiches, coffee (French press is available), cappuccino, espresso and teas. And the music hits every age group, from the Fiddlers Tour every Tuesday in November, to Ernie Williams on November 26, Matt Durfee on November 22, and the Jazz brunch every Sunday of the year.
Just as many other water-front cities across the country are experiencing a resurgence, Cohoes proves that slow and steady works.
“It’s like building a house with a small crew,” said Tremblay. “The first four years you build the foundation, now we’re getting the framing done and in the next few years we’ll be putting the finishing touches and trim on.”
Mayor McDonald concurs. “We’re small enough that we can keep a personal touch, but still be able to attract investors to allow the community to grow,” he said.
And he’s right. One day at a time, the city of Cohoes is proving that you can go home again, you just have to take your time.
What exactly is a career management plan?
By Dan Moran
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure,” Robert s. Kaplan and David P. Norton, from their book: Strategy-focused Organization
An article I recently wrote generated a number of responses and questions – questions focused on just what a career management plan is, and how one goes about putting this resource tool together.
In the most basic of terms, a career management plan is very similar to a financial plan and focuses on your assets (skills, strengths, experience, qualifications, etc.), your liabilities (weaknesses, threats to industry, etc.), goals (life, career, financial, family) and strategy (timetables, strategic actions, tactics, etc.). It is a tool that becomes your guideline to working through this unsettled and often changing environment. Most important, it puts you in control of your career – and is proactive versus reactive.
Every professional should have some level of career management plan – especially those on the executive level. The need for a plan is heightened by the exposure and risk you take in your career or job. For example, a fifth grade teacher who has taught for 30 years who has contributed greatly to the lives of students may not need this, but an educator who has developed leading-edge programs and initiatives and is seeking that next level in their educational career would be a candidate. The business owner ready to cash out, sell their business and pursue other options is clearly a candidate; many skilled craftspeople likely would not have a need as their plan is largely dictated by the profession.
The process of career management planning
Defining the process of engaging and developing a career management plan can be summarized in three distinct elements: Discover, Plan & Act.
• Discover - Accomplished through one-on-one discussion, assessments, situation analysis and market studies. The initial focus is discovering skills, core competencies and future opportunities aligned with personal and professional goals.
• Plan - The process then moves to developing the plan inclusive of goals with specific timelines (Position – Role – Responsibility – Compensation - Culture) and planned actions to achieve the goals.
• Act - It is then time to act. Working again one-on-one, short-term goals and actions are planned with measurable accountability reviewed through coaching and mentoring executive sessions normally scheduled on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis, depending upon needs.
Each need is unique and therefore the process utilized is planned to align with goals and needs.
The elements of a Career Management Plan
Like a financial plan, a career management plan is inclusive of:
• Inventory of assets, skills and core competencies
• Defined and measurable career goals & metrics: 1, 3, 5 & 10 years (for some)
• Identification of career direction & opportunities
• Current and projected career market analysis
• Compensation plan
• Strategic career management plan: strategy, actions, timetables
• Marketing strategy: branding, networks, resources, tools (resumes, letters, strategic career statements, etc).
Working one-on-one with an experienced career management and transition specialist will produce the plan, supported by mentoring, feedback and accountability. I often meet with clients once quarterly or twice-yearly to revisit our plan and where they are, making adjustments as necessary in light of new opportunities and changing market conditions.
With a clearly defined career management plan you will have the clarity, courage and confidence to take your career and life to a level you never expected. You will never have to worry about the “what if” – you will have a plan to address each and every change and turn that can be presented to you.
Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. He specializes in helping people make career choices and seek new jobs. He is also a Certified Facilitator for Get Hired Now! and Get Clients Now! Programs, which help those in career transition and companies get results. You can reach him at 641.8968 or email@example.com or visit www.next-act.com.
Father of the Bride
(Or how in the world can baby daughters grow up so quickly?)
By Ed Lange
This one is for you guys out there with young daughters. A simple word of advice: hold onto your hat, because the space-time-emotion continuum is about to warp all over you without the slightest regard for your precious self-image-delusions. It doesn’t matter if your daughter is a diaper-wearing baby of six months, a front-tooth missing seven-year old, an independence-establishing teenager, or like my daughter, a 20-something early career woman. Regardless of what age your daughter is right now – at the instant you’re reading these words, the theory of relativity is going to leap up mischievously and smack you right in the kisser. And Albert Einstein with his shock of white hair and bright, impish smile is going to titter gleefully and inquire, “Und zo? Vhat dit you exschpect? Din’t I tell you time kut be bent?”
The bending of time
And dear brother reader, believe me, time is gonna bend like a Twizzler on the booster seat of a car in July – on the day that you take on the mantle of “father of the bride.” You know that old speculation that your life flashes before your eyes on the verge on death? Well, buddy, you ain’t gotta wait for death for it to happen. It’s going to happen as you walk down the aisle with your daughter on your arm or during the father-daughter dance or through the entire exchanging of vows or through the entire reception or when she climbs into the limo and disappears into her future.
There she’ll be in her wedding gown, looking as unbelievably beautiful and happy as she has ever looked in her life, and you’ll experience a flashback of her as a tiny, pudgy infant babbling merrily away in her crib. You’ll walk down the aisle with her, as proud as any Nobel Prize winner when you see the wedding guests beaming with delight – and you’ll remember a day you and she walked hand in hand on a beach when she was six. Standing at the altar, you’ll kiss her on her cheek aglow with a lifetime of sunrises to come, and you’ll remember kissing her as she slept in her bed on a night that you came home from a late night’s work. You’ll look her into her eyes so bright with possibilities, and remember those same eyes wide with wonder at a shooting star, a phosphorescent jellyfish or a dinosaur skeleton.
You’ll take her hand and remember the time you took that hand to help her up after she fell on the ice or walked in the woods, and then you’ll place that same treasured hand into the hand of the good man she has grown to love and take as her husband for life.
And then … then, somehow you’ll actually find the strength to turn away from her, from them, to take your seat, and leave her with that very fine “other guy”, your new son-in-law. What an inexpressible and incomprehensible moment that is - that moment of turning away. The human mind can’t possibly process the infinite thoughts and emotions that cascade through a father in that instant. Love, prayer, hope, joy, doubt, fear, sadness, promise, worry, happiness, pride, confidence, concern, peace, anticipation, excitement, delight. All simultaneously competing for priority attention as you think to yourself, “I’m supposed to turn and walk away now. After all these years of skinned knees, dance recitals, t-ball games, winter colds, high school proms, adventures and anxieties, accidents and arguments, shared laughter and songs, wiping away tears, hugs and kisses, singing lullabies and telling bedtime stories. After all the years of struggling with yourself as you tried to find a balance between protecting her and empowering her - striving to give her strong roots and soaring wings. Now, I’m supposed to turn and walk away.”
But that is our destiny as fathers. Our purpose as fathers. To raise our children with love and discipline, with guidance and confidence, with strength and courage and independence, so ultimately they can strike out on their own, blaze their own path with self-reliance and self-assurance, with ethics and honor and love. Birds teach their fledglings to fly, bears teach their cubs to hunt, and like them, we teach our children how to make their way in the world, because daddy bird, papa bear, and we fathers won’t be around forever. So, we turn and walk away, trusting that our precious daughter is prepared for the world ahead and that she has accepted a person who will be her friend, lover, teammate, partner, companion and will love and treasure her as much as you do.
And then we danced
When she was a little one – small enough to lift off the floor and hold in our arms – my daughter, my wife and I enjoyed a bit of goofiness we called “kitchen dancing”. This was nothing more than bopping and spinning to the beat of our own silly singing, laughing and whooping. Not much of a dancer, I was a little apprehensive about the traditional father-daughter dance at the wedding. I needn’t have been. As Billy Joel sang “Lullabye,” my now-married daughter and I were transported to a public solitude where we were reminded that although I had turned and walked away from her at the altar, and although her husband had become the number one man in her life – as it should be – I promise I would never leave her and no matter where she may go, I never will be far away. Because, unlike the birds and the bears, we human fathers and daughters are blessed by a bond that endures beyond the present and continues far into that space-time-emotion continuum – maybe even into infinite eternity. Who can tell? Maybe Albert Einstein knows … now.
A freelance writer, three of Ed Lange’s plays were finalists for national Audie Awards, in 2000, ’05, and ’07, and one of the three won. His articles have appeared multiple times in national magazines: Sail, Soundings, American Theatre, and Dramatics.
This month’s column is a departure from my usual adult fare. In recognition of the upcoming holiday season, I am reviewing two young adult novels with crossover appeal to adult readers. Why not give your teen a novel you can both enjoy and discuss? The following titles fit the bill.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is set in a futuristic North America in which the people have rebelled against the government and the government won. The country is divided into the Capitol and 13 districts, only 12 of which are populated; the 13th was left a wasteland to remind citizens of the folly of treason. Every year, a boy and a girl from each district are chosen as tributes. They are sent to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games, an annual televised spectacle in which the tributes compete in a fight to the death. Watching the games on television in compulsory, (a dystopian version of must-see TV), the tribute that survives is set for life and he/she earns a comfortable life (enough food, electricity and heat) for his/her district for the next year, too. When our protagonist, 16-year old Katniss, volunteers to take the place of her younger sister as tribute, her outlook is bleak. She and the other District 12 tribute, Peeta, are from a poor district and they will be competing against wealthy, well-nourished, better-trained teens. Following their preparations for the games and the efforts made during the games to provide a plot that will keep hometown viewers interested and rooting for them, one can’t help but think of today’s “reality” television shows; their discomfiting similarities will give a thinking reader pause. Collins raises all sorts of questions: What is entertainment? Can any entertainment be considered immoral? What are the responsibilities of government? Of citizens? Can the powerless fight injustice? This is an excellent first book of a series–I look forward to the next installment.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore features another strong-willed, independent teenage girl as the protagonist. Katsa is feared and respected in her world, for not only is she the king’s niece, she has grace and an extreme skill for killing. When we meet her, she is engaged in an undercover rescue mission unauthorized by the king, for whom she also works as an enforcer. During the rescue, she encounters an intriguing stranger and knocks him out to keep him from interfering; when that same stranger appears at her uncle’s castle after her return, their friendship begins. Prince Po, whose grandfather Katsa and her companions have rescued, is trying to discover who instigated the kidnapping and why. After he helps Katsa free herself from her uncle’s cruel authority, they set off together to solve the mystery. Their quest and its attendant adventures form the bulk of the book. Though it is primarily a fantasy romance, Cashore’s novel also raises many questions: What does an individual owe to herself and society? What duty is owed to a corrupt authority? Can a woman marry and still retain her independence? Despite its lack of vampires, this novel should appeal to readers of the Twilight series. Graceling is a beautifully written novel, perfect for older teen girls (and their mothers!).
Susan Taylor has been in the book business, in one aspect or another, since 1982. She currently works at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. Stop by the store if you are looking for a good book—she’s read a lot more than she can talk about here!
Sun Sign Forecast
For November and December 2008
By Arlene DeAngelus
Aries: (March 21 to April 20)
Shared assets are highlighted in early November. Mid-month, you shift your review to personal finances and assets. Thanksgiving brings with it a renewed sense of spiritual awareness. In December, your interest turns to such topics as the law, religion and foreign cultures. At the end of the month, you rethink career goals and your work efficiency.
Taurus: (April 21 to May 20)
Early November favors one-to-one partnerships, both business and personal. Mid-month, you find yourself with a renewed interest in your appearance and personal habits. In December, settle outstanding issues over shared assets and pay any old debts. Toward the end of the month, relationships with loved ones are more serious. An old love reappears.
Gemini : (May 21 to June 20) Work and work relationships are the focus for early November. Mid-month, you seek spirituality and harmony in your life. At Thanksgiving time, you give thanks for friends both old and new. In December, you find happiness through your personal relationships as you begin to see yourself through another’s eyes. Take this time to learn about yourself.
Cancer: (June 21 to July 22)
Early November places your focus on your loved ones and children. Mid-month, analyze your goals and directions and realize how much you have already accomplished. After Thanksgiving, you explore a new career objective. In December, you want efficiency on all levels and you devote time to your body’s care by beginning an exercise or diet regimen.
Leo: (July 23 to August 22)
Family relationships and your home life are highlighted in November. Mid-month, you are able to make changes in your career goals or the equivalent in your life. After Thanksgiving, an agreement is reached concerning shared resources. In December, there are happy times with your loved ones and children and you give thanks for these special people in your life.
Virgo: (August 23 to September 22)
Early November enhances your communications in all areas. You take part in improving your everyday environment and convince others to do the same. Mid-month your attention turns to such studies as philosophy, religion and the abstract. In December, you enjoy family gatherings, however maintain the required duties of your career or the equivalent.
Libra: (September 23 to October 22)
Financial decisions and contracts are favored in November. Mid-month, agreements can be made with others regarding shared resources or assets. After Thanksgiving, you receive unexpected recognition for a job well-done. In December, you seek ways to communicate with others. Attend a workshop or lecture on a subject that is quite foreign to you.
Scorpio: (October 23 to November 21)
Early November is the time to express yourself to others and make a good impression. Mid-month, you may have to compromise in a one-to-one relationship and improve your understanding of others. In December, financial agreements and negotiations are favored. It is also a time to review your shared resources and resolve existing problems or settle old debts.
Sagittarius: (November 22 to December 21)
Spiritual enlightenment and your inner child are sought in November. Mid-month, you improve your physical condition through beginning a new diet or exercise program. Thanksgiving may bring unexpected guests for dinner. In December, you are able to express yourself to others and it is the time to sell an idea. Listen to others and compromise in a relationship.
Capricorn: (December 22 through January 19)
Early November brings a focus on your goals and directions. You explore creative ways to save money, but will need to read all contracts carefully before signing. In December, there’s a sense of spirituality and harmony as you prepare for the holiday festivities. You seek wisdom as you communicate with others in a desire to expand your perspective on life.
Aquarius: (January 20 to February 18)
Career goals, or the equivalent, are highlighted in November. It is possible to receive recognition for a job or project well-done. On an inner level, personal matters are also resolved. In December, you review your long-term goals and find ways to make any necessary changes. This is not a good time to initiate a business venture or take on additional debt.
Pisces: (February 19 to March 20)
Early November favors knowledge on an abstract level, Your interest turns to such topics as religion, philosophy and foreign cultures. Mid-month, you look for lectures or begin new studies. In December, you work to balance your career and personal duties. Late in the month, you focus on strengthening and keeping commitments that you have made in relationships.
By John Gray
A long time ago, a little girl named Virginia wrote a letter to a newspaper asking if there really was a Santa Claus. You know the rest of that story, and while you may pass it off as just another cornball piece of drivel produced by Hollywood, the truth is there is something magical about this time of the year. I’m not talking about something I read in a sappy Hallmark card, I’m talking about real magic. I saw what it did for a poor family in our area at exactly this time last year and I turned out to be Santa’s accidental elf.
I don’t recall the exact date, but I walked into work at Fox 23 and opened my email to see what little nuggets may await. Sometimes people seek information on stories, others want to complain, and a few like to tell me what a wonderful job I do on the weather, confusing me with Steve Caporizzo. I don’t have that much white hair for heaven’s sake! On this particular day, there was an email from a woman I met once by chance in Schenectady. She needed help.
In the course of her job, she came upon a very poor family living in what most would consider a very wealthy town in our area. In fact, I had driven by their house at least a hundred times, but never knew that tucked behind an old maple tree and a rickety porch lived a family of five facing such absolute poverty.
The email read something like this, “I know you probably can’t do a TV story on this family, but they have three very young children who have nothing. By nothing, John, I mean they can barely clothe them, and with winter fast approaching I’m worried because they don’t have socks, hats, gloves or coats.”
I felt bad for this family, but the lady was right. TV stations can’t do stories on everyone in need. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I was busy composing a thoughtful reply to her request, recommending she contact social services or the local church, when my Inbox beeped. It was a new email, a request from a professional organization asking me to come and speak to them at their annual Christmas lunch. Before I could say no, they were offering a bribe, a “small fee” for my time and trouble. Maybe it was old Saint Nick giving me a swift kick in the head, but my wheels started turning. People never offer me money to speak, and this mysterious email appeared just moments after the other about a family in need. Too much of a coincidence for this old Grinch to ignore.
I wrote them back and told them to pay me whatever they thought was fair and mentioned I was going to use the money to ‘adopt’ a needy family I just heard about. A few weeks later at the lunch I did my best to make them laugh and when it came time to pay me, the group gave me two checks. One was mine, the other an almost equal amount they collected from their 50/50 drawing. It was for the kids, they said. I almost cried.
The next day I went to Target with the children’s sizes scribbled on the back of a Starbucks receipt and got the kids as much as those two checks could buy. I was told to purchase only clothing, but it seemed a little cold just handing the parents a bag of socks and shirts, so I tossed in a jumbo size bag of M&M’s (Christmas colors, of course) for good measure. The look on the mother’s face when I dropped them off is one that will never leave me.
I’m not sharing this story so you’ll think good of me, quite the opposite. As proud as I was that I did the right thing with the money that fell in my lap, I was also a little embarrassed that it was the first time in my life I have reached out to a needy family during the holidays this way. If not for the email from a virtual stranger, an 18-month old child may have spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas in her bare feet. Not my child. Not yours. I suppose that’s the truth we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night. Or would that be the lie?
It’s a little ironic because if anyone asks me what my favorite book is, I without hesitation tell them Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. I’ve read the story twice and seen the various adaptations in movies my whole life. Who are the children that the ghost of Christmas Present warns Ebenezer about? Ignorance and Want. He tells Scrooge to be especially fearful of Ignorance because, “On his brow I see that written which is doom. Unless it be erased.”
I love the story of Scrooge because Dickens allows him to wake up before it is too late and gives him a chance to right the wrongs and erase the writing, as it were.
I covet the space this magazine gives me each month and treat it like a gift so I would never presume to judge or preach to anyone. But wouldn’t it be great if all of us, just this one year, did the smallest of things to help a local family in need? An extra can of corn at the supermarket to drop at the local food pantry. Picking up a toy at Wal-Mart to hand off to the folks at Toys for Tots. Maybe even finding a family in need through the local church that you and your office mates can adopt this year. It’s amazing how much a half dozen people can buy when pooling their money and their kindness together.
This is the time of year when families come together and we treat each other a little nicer. This year, with the economy so low and prices so high, the less fortunate among us, our neighbors, will need more than ever to rely on the kindness of strangers. It’s with a warm heart I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays and remind you that while Charles Dickens penned that classic tale 165 years ago, the lessons it teaches are as relevant as ever. Scrooge got his ghosts, I received an email, and you, dear reader, chose for some reason to pick up this magazine today. Santa needs all the elves he can get.
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org