With you my friend, I am there

It's a busy, busy week- new job, working on the house, packing, moving, you get the picture.

But I wanted to share one thing, as belated as it may be (and I hope it's not too late):

The beloved Adirondack Girl Scout camp that I attended for many summers - and that has been around for 70 years- is at risk of being closed.

Camp Little Notch has been among the very special places in my life-- and the lives of so many other women and girls.

For more information on the history of the camp, the issues at hand, the enormous movement that has been working to keep this amazing piece of land in the hands of the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, and to add your support to keeping Little Notch open, visit

And media folks, if you're listening: please consider covering this story. This is a story of love and friendship, nature and inspiration, of helping girls grow strong, and the power of place. And, sadly, it's the story of the economy and the choices that have to be made. It's a story worth telling.


Things I'm looking forward to in Albany

  • Mozzarella sticks with raspberry sauce on nearly every menu. I'll say it again, Albany NEEDS to claim this as its own before the rest of the world catches on. These Albany Sticks are the best appetizer you'll ever have.
  • Not having to drive over the mountains in snow storms to be there for winter holidays.
  • Working downtown
  • Checking out the Troy Winter Market (summer too!)
  • Lark Street
  • Time with our families being a normal part of daily life, rather than a drive and an overnight stay and packing every possible visit into one weekend.
(Again, I reserve the right to add to this list- and I know I will exercise that right.)


Things I'll Miss about the Valley

  • The mountains. Small but pretty, different every day, visible almost anywhere you go-- including from our apartment. I'll miss hiking and driving up these mountains, and watching them change with the seasons.
  • The restaurants. India House. Sierra Grill. Amy's Place. Apollo. Sunrise. Mount Tom's ice cream. I could go on and on.
  • And on the topic of food: Trader Joe's. It's going to be so very hard to adjust to living far from TJs.
  • The bike trails, oh the bike trails.
  • The laid back, work to live, happy vibes.
  • My Girl Scout troop.
  • Walking to work through charming Easthampton.
  • Berkshire Brewing Company's Steel Rail extra pale ale.
  • Working on a beautiful campus in a beautiful building with great people.

  • Our CSA farmshare, in which the farm was a 1/2 mile from our house, and picking up our share involved a weekly trip to the farm, picking flowers and herbs and raspberries, and seeing nearly everyone we know.
  • The running trails along the Mill River, through the woods, past farmland and community gardens. My running buddy.
  • Webs! (Although after packing up my yarn stash, it's clear I need to stay away from any yarn stores for a long, long while.)
  • Strolling Main St., Northampton
  • The potlucks
  • Trivia, and the Plunder Cats

(I reserve the right to add to this list as more comes up, which it will.)

  • The RMVs, which are generally pleasant, and a "long wait" is 15 minutes. And people still complain! They have no idea. I'm not ready to re-experience the Albany DMV hell.



We hunted and searched, found and pondered, weighed pros and weighed cons, worked and saved, stressed and fretted, laughed and squealed and gasped, gathered papers and signed our names a thousand times, took a deep breath and handed over checks with many digits, and then: the keys were passed, and the little house was ours.

Holding hands tight and jumping in with shouts of joy: Another Big Life Moment, ours.


Choosing Albany

Buying a house has been in our "next few years" plan for awhile. Originally we thought spring of 2010 would be a good time, but then these tax incentives came up and we found ourselves looking at the end of this past summer.

These grown-up decisions aren't easy- every part of this process has involved difficult choices.

I've spent years daydreaming about owning a home, but reality is different than those daydreams. We had to figure out what we could realistically afford (and come to terms with the fact that 'first house' and 'dream house' are two different things), and where this house would be. We had to think about what was important to us, and the types of visions we had for our life together. For years and years, our long-term plan has been to buy a home in Albany. This was the plan for a lot of reasons: our families are there, it's affordable, we like it, we feel a loyalty to it, we see exciting things happening there. This summer, we thought and reflected, weighed the options, and decided these things are still important to us. It would be difficult to leave our life in MA, but it was time. This place and these people will be in our hearts and our lives for a long time, I know. Our friendships are strong and will endure the distance, and we'll be back to visit often. But home is Upstate New York.

Over the summer, I was speaking to a friend who is expecting a baby in January. Her immediate family is spread out among four states (mom in South Carolina, brother in New York, dad and sister at different ends of Vermont, herself in New Jersey). She was lamenting the fact that she would have no family support system around her when the baby arrived. She had her husband, and there would be visitors, but all she wanted was to be in a spot surrounded by her immediate family.

Her story made me realize how lucky we are to have most of our family in one area. Our families are both tight-knit and great-- family birthday parties are regular events, cousins grow up close to one another, the support network is strong. We're not ready to have kids just yet, but when we are I want them to grow up in the middle of that kind of family. I want them to know our parents well, to see extended family more than a few times a year. That's important to both Patrick and I.

And then there's Albany itself. This city that I love, with so much potential, that needs people like us there. We have energy to give it, we see the good that is there and the good that can be there. We want to be a part of the community that is working to make Albany a great place to live. We've learned a lot from our time in the Pioneer Valley about strong communities and what makes an area vibrant. People in the Valley are proud to live here-- we want to bring that to Albany.

And so, if all goes well, we'll be Albany homeowners as of tomorrow. The next few weeks will be full of transition and sad goodbyes, but we're ready to return to our All-America City.

Getting here

Three years and four months ago, we moved to Northampton, Massachusetts. Pat was headed to UMass Amherst to finish a degree, and I was job-hunting after finishing my Masters program at SUNY Albany.

Our decision to head to Massachusetts was based on school, and our desire to live somewhere different for awhile. In the months leading up to our move, I started to worry. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave Albany. I liked life there. I had a good group of friends, I knew the area like the back of my hand, I liked being near our families, I was feeling settled. I was sad about leaving all that, and the idea of moving to a place where we knew hardly anyone was scary. Finding a job in a place where I had no connections was proving to be very hard. At one point, after a trip to MA to check out apartments, I cried in the car on the Mass Pike. I wanted to put the brakes on the plan to move and keep things exactly as they were.

But we didn't. We found an apartment that we loved, we packed a truck, and with the help of many reliable and strong friends, we moved our life to a new town in a new state. Not terribly far, but all of it new.

I took a job as a nanny while I looked for a 'real' job. In my free time I biked all the trails around town, I explored the shops on Main St, we tried the restaurants that we could walk to from our apartment. I missed Albany, but this place was growing on me. There were mountains visible where ever I went, the sky was unlike any other, the people were laid back, the attitude was right up my alley.

Slowly, this became home, and a lot of life happened here. We met some of our best friends, I found a job, we adopted a kitten, we invested in an air mattress which was used by visitors from near and far, we got engaged, we played trivia, we planned a wedding, we moved to another town, we celebrated the election of President Obama with dancing in the streets of Northampton, Patrick grew a beard (and a few months later, shaved it off), we had a winter of potlucks, we found community, I ran races, Pat helped grow a business, we took classes, Pat graduated, we developed our cooking skills, I had a Girl Scout troop, we climbed mountains, and we fell in love with this valley.

So why would we ever decide to move away from so much that was good? It wasn't an easy decision, but I'll tell you all about it in the next post.

all photos by me except the last one, by Patrick.