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Time with My Girls
Sometimes you just have to get outside with your family. Sometimes you have to take advantage of the beauty where you are.
We live a short drive from the Helderberg Hills, a fairly large rural plateau just south of Albany NY. There is an overlook area at the top of the northeast facing escarpment (the cliffs where the hills abruptly end). This is a popular spot and affords a wonderful view of the northeast area of Albany county and the areas beyond.
Here pictured with my soon to be 18 year old daughter, picture taken by Kim, Albany in the distance. A crisp winter day, calm and comfortable. We did some short hiking in the woods well behind lands edge. Some cross country skiers taking advantage of the trails and the fine winter weather. _________________________________________________________________________
I am fascinated, lately, by urban environments; those with history bleeding from the walls of the old brick buildings.
I swear I can hear voices and feel long dead passersby trodding by me in the early hours, and on cold winter days when few living beings are abroad.
Troy, NY has wonderful old brick and stone architecture in its preserved downtown streets.
I am especially fond of walking through the back alleyways, seeing artifacts, signage and the detritus of urban endeavor strewn along the walls, not meant for the general public to see or even know about.
Here, the brick is less finished, the age more apparent, then need to sugarcoat reality less realized.
I am fine back here.
My wife and I adopted our daughter. From her first year of life, we allowed and maintained an open adoption, in that she knows and has relationships with many of her birth family.
She is especially close to her paternal birth grandmother, who maintains Canadian citizenship, absolutely cherishes her only grandchild and was always there for us when we needed a babysitter and, as Jenna got older, started taking her to Canada to meet extended family.
This year, Kim and I were also invited up to her family New Years/Holiday reunion in the small village of Verchelle just northeast of Montreal.
These are mostly french speakers, some have varying amounts of English, but Jenna speaks french, I do somewhat, and we got along fine.
The first morning we were there, we got up before 8AM and ventured out for a walk around town. It was 10 below and the air was thick with crystallized ice, reminding me of my family visits in Frigid Quebec years and years ago.
Favor for a Friend
Jason Ladanye attended my Photoshop series at UAlbany this past fall.
He is a magician, Bluesman, consummate guitarist and keyboardist and, like me, a passionate teacher to all who want to learn, and some who don't. he toured for two years with BB King and more recently with Ernie Williams and Kim and I saw them play a few times.
In this time period, my daughter had developed an interest in classic Rock and Guitar and Jason became her teacher and mentor. We saw him play live a few times with local greats Matt Mirabile and Jill Hughes, which cemented our interest in great Blues music.
Looking for edgy images for his Magic promotional materials, he asked and I agreed to a cold weather urban photo-shoot in Troy.
Looking back at these, I am pretty sure I didn't do him justice, but I gave it a try...