March 2012 Archives

This is what counts

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CJ Lee wedding stairs.jpg

For some reason I have tripped upon a lot of wedding-related writing in the past few days, and it just amazes me how insane people let it make them. I've long said that if people put anywhere near the amount of effort into the marriage that they put into the wedding, there'd be far fewer divorces.

I was looking for something else and ran across this photo from our wedding. It was 1983. We were married in our apartment on a cold November afternoon by a judge we didn't know. A few friends and family came. She made that dress. We're so young, and she's so beautiful, that it breaks my heart. Of course, we had no idea what we were getting into. No one does. It's been as easy as breathing, except for the parts that were awful and hard and painful. But I liked the hard parts, too, because we shared them, came through them, and now there's just nothing we can't get through.

A short ceremony in our apartment followed by a nice dinner in a restaurant we liked, a delightful evening out with friends and family. Was it a dream wedding? It's the marriage that counts.

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Centrally located

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Albany Troy map

Albany Troy map (Photo credit: carljohnson)

This started out as a long, dreary post about why I live where I live, but I thought I'd cut the dreary. The "Non-Urban" part of My Non-Urban Life is that I'm in an early suburb, set just across the river and up a hill from the filth and noise of the city, advertised as a place for healthful living just minutes away by trolley. We're on little village lots, close to our neighbors (in good and bad ways), on streets that should have had sidewalks but don't. I live a block from a lovely little lake that has been the center of neighborhood activity since a neighborhood was installed on historic old farmland more than 85 years ago. The schools are good, the politics petty, and diversity almost non-existent. So sometimes I wish I lived in a place where I could tuck down the street for a morning coffee or an evening decaf or grab some groceries without getting in a car (although honestly, there are limited places in the city where that's true). Since the number one thing I hate about my current location, perhaps the only thing, is one of my current neighbors, going back into a city setting and getting even closer (physically) to my neighbors seems unappealing.

But there are some other parts of the urban fabric I miss. Sidewalks, for instance. Stoops. Looking at the details on the brownstones. Somehow taking a walk through our neighborhood and looking at one sloppy vinyl siding job after another isn't the same as tripping down Second Street in Troy and looking at the ornate doors and window casings. I miss wondering what goes on in the secluded back patios, what little gems of gardens are hidden there. And I miss being able to walk to work, as I could and did for several years in Syracuse and Albany. While it's hard to figure out where jobs are going to take you, I've worked a substantial number of my years in downtown Albany, and my wife now works in downtown Troy, and it would be nice for one or the other to be able to roll out the door and down the street for a brisk 20-minute walk, rather than having to contend with traffic and bus schedules and the problems of crossing the bridge by bike.

So as we've just refinanced and are looking at finally making this into the house we wanted it to be, it's also tempting to just re-assess and see if there isn't a better location. I find downtown Troy absolutely charming and have enjoyed the residents I've met, but wonder if it could fit my lifestyle. Right now it doesn't seem that way -- I don't see city houses with off-street parking, room for bikes and boats, and a decent separation from neighbors at a price I can pay. Or where I do, they're essentially in neighborhoods just like mine, not adding a lot of walkability or diversity; they're just suburban houses in a city.

So I think we're staying put in our little slice of non-urbia.
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Heritage tool

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sheetrock knife
My great grandfather's sheetrock knife.

The turning pointe

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ballet observation DSC_0433 dw crop.jpg

The fine print

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How did this happen?

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Some days I find myself seriously wondering how this:Hannah and Rebekah 2000.jpg

Turned into this: RPI move-in day.jpg

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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