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Latin Mass: I’m more Ordinary than I suspected

Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form has been something I’ve always wanted to experience and assumed I would love. I am a Catholic who revels in the traditions and rituals of the faith. I love candles and stained glass, incense and statues. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I was raised in what I like to call the “Era of the Collage.” By the time I got to CCD class, as it was known back then, tradition and catechism had gone out the window, only to be replaced with gluing and pasting pictures of a smiling Jesus and the word “love” on construction paper week after week. I hungered for the “bells and smells” of the past, something that was a staple in the faith of my family of origin. (My godfather still goes to weekly Latin Mass in Virginia, so this stuff is in my DNA.) Read more

My dinner with Billy: HUGE!

So Dennis and I were having dinner at Caffe Italia in Albany (worthy of its own blog post another time) after a long day of driving to and from Burlington for a college visit with Noah. As we sipped our wine and waited for our entrees, Dennis looked over at a back table and said, “That guy looks like Billy Fuccillo.” (If you live in upstate New York, this man needs no introduction. If you don’t, you’ll understand the fascination when you watch the video clip below.) Anyway, once we heard his voice, we knew it was, in fact, Billy Fuccillo, and I said, “I’m not leaving here without taking a photo with him.” Read more

It’s about the journey, not the destination

My latest Life Lines column, running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

I’m a wannabe hiker. And a wannabe camper and kayaker, for that matter. Although I’ve done a little of all of those things, I’m no expert.

A writing colleague who knew I was clamoring for a hike messaged me one night and asked if I wanted to join her for a beginner trip to Huckleberry Point in the Catskills. With a little appointment juggling and a lot of assistance from my husband, Dennis, I said yes, packed a lunch, and dusted off my hiking boots. Read more

Foodie Friday: Hollow chef kicks it up a notch

When we were planning our date night this week, there was only one place on my list of suggestions: The Hollow Bar & Kitchen on North Pearl Street in Albany. I was craving the eggplant stack, which I’d had the first time we visited. I don’t care if you think you don’t like eggplant, you will love this. Trust me. It. Is. Incredible. So off we went, in search of eggplant and gnocchi and craft beer and wine.  Read more

Like riding a bike…

Isn’t it amazing how riding a bike is like…well…riding a bike? You really don’t forget. After not owning a bike for decades, not doing any serious riding save for a quick jaunt around the ‘hood on Dennis’ bike maybe once or twice in about 20 years, I find it simply incredible that I can hop on my new set of wheels (over there on the left) and set off on an 18-mile ride as if I’ve been doing it every day of my life. Sure my legs were a little wobbly when I dismounted, but come on, what else in life has such staying power as those bike-riding skills? Read more

A not-so-hidden gem in Albany: City Beer Hall

For the past few years, whenever we would go to Sunday Mass at Historic St. Mary’s in downtown Albany  (The church is a destination in itself, if you’ve never been there.), we’d drive past The City Beer Hall on the way home and say, “We have to try that some day.” Something about the 1903 building with the “Beer Hall” in lights on the roof spoke to us. It looked like it just had to be good. But, as with many things we say we’d like to do, we never got around to it. Until yesterday. Dennis and I spent Easter Monday downtown — first with a walk along the Hudson in the Corning Preserve and later with a walk over the highway, into Albany and onward to the Beer Hall.  Read more