I Live in New York

“I live in New York.”

Such an innocent phrase, but one fraught with a sort of complication from the outset. When I tell people this, in response to their question of where I live, they almost always launch into their memories of the city that never sleeps. They tell me about how they visited “the Village,” or how they loved Times Square on New Year’s. Or a plethora of other tales that I inevitably have to interrupt.

“Not the city. I live upstate.”

Then they look at me as if I’ve grown two heads, or in disgust because they thought I’d deliberately misled them. When, for me, it’s simply easier for me to say New York and try to move on. Saying “Upstate” makes me sound a bit snooty. “I have an estate upstate.” So I say “I live in New York,” and steady myself for the onslaught that is likely to come from the final reveal.

I’ll admit that sometimes I wish the city was called something else, that the good people who created this great state didn’t name it the same as its largest city. It’s not like Oklahoma City, in that if I said “I’m going to Oklahoma City,” you know I don’t mean the state, and vice versa. It’s not like there weren’t about a million others names out there, but no one of significance decided this was a faux pas.

“I’m confused,” they tell me. “What do you mean upstate?”

And I have to tell them I live about halfway between Syracuse, a pretty big city in its own right, and Albany, the erstwhile state capital. Continue reading “I Live in New York”

New York to California

“No mountain’s too high. No stone is too small. I’ll build a bridge through the fire. For you I would crawl from New York to California.” -Mat Kearney Have you ever felt this way about another person? I know, it’s easy to say you have, but did you ever take the time to truly consider … Continue reading New York to California

White-Out Christmas

snowfall_1My first Christmas here it snowed puppies and kittens. Now, I’m a Philly boy born and raised, so a little snow never bothers me. I grew up around snow plows and getting snowed in (on occasion), so I thought I was prepared for a true, honest-to-goodness upstate New York winter. I was not. And Christmas was the perfect time to discover that for the first time.

The blizzard of 2002 started rather inauspiciously, with a few snow flurries on Christmas Eve, but by the time we rolled out of bed on the special morning and shuffled to the large picture window in our fuzzy robes and slippers our mouths were agape at the winter wonderland that awaited us. And we both thought at the same time, “shovels.” Then the shifts began, the great Christmas dig-out.

She had the first shift, bundling up against the cold, grabbing the nearest shovel and getting to work while I made hot chocolate for both of us in our tiny kitchen. I couldn’t help thinking about the insane juxtaposition of spending Christmas in Tennessee in 2001 when it was a balmy 50 degrees with nary a snowflake in the sky. What a difference a year (and a couple thousand miles) makes.

Then it was my turn, and I took the same shovel she used, feeling a kinship with her as I grabbed its handle. Either that or it was just damn cold. As I headed out into the abyss that was our yard, I knew I would be out there for a while. And it kept snowing the whole time. That was the craziest part of it. We were just trying to keep status quo in the midst of so much of the white, fluffy stuff.

It was my job to dig out the cars. Snow had come up almost to the windows while the storm had raged on Christmas Eve, and the position of our driveway at the time was down near the road. I had to shovel through what seemed like miles of yard just to get to the vehicles, and my arms were exhausted from the effort. Then it took a Herculean effort to shovel around the car wheels, creating an island of car in the sea of snow. Then I dug out the second one. Continue reading “White-Out Christmas”