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Love those Lady Elks

Last week I lamented missing the Lady Elks breakfast, which they serve on Sundays in January. This week I got myself a breakfast date, and we had a nice meal.

Breakfast was served from 8 to 11 a.m. My friend, Diane, and I arrived shortly after nine. We found a parking space in the lot of the Elks Lodge on Mary Street in Herkimer, NY, and walked in.

We paid our $8. I apologized for giving them a fifty.

“I told that maid I wanted small bills, but you can’t get good help these days,” I said. It is a joke I usually make when I pay with a large bill. I also got $5 worth of 50/50 tickets, which I took to the table to fill out. First we made our orders: eggs, toast (white or wheat), bacon (could have chosen sausage), homefries with onions. I also got baked beans. We both declined pancakes.

A gentleman poured us coffee right away. Soon a lady came around with a tray of cups of juice. We both chose orange.

“Everybody’s taking orange today,” she said.

“Oh, I’ll take tomato,” Diane said. “I don’t want you to end up with a lot of tomato juice left over.”

“They can use it to make Bloody Marys later,” I suggested, adding that I usually take the tomato, but it seemed more of an orange kind of day. The lady said we could take one of each if we wanted, so we did.

“So now we’re friends?” she said. Of course we were.

I had already put money in the tip basket, knowing we would get good service. How right I was.

I put Steven’s name on the 50/50 tickets. I thought that was fair since he wasn’t getting a yummy breakfast.

“Then he can spend the money on me,” I said when I put the tickets in the jar, much to the amusement of the ladies at the table. Alas, he did not win.

There is one more Lady Elks breakfast, on January 26. I probably won’t make it, but I was happy to at least make it to one.


Now I’m Hungry

One thing that has helped ease my post-Christmas letdown since I moved back here is that the Herkimer Lady Elks serve breakfast on Sundays in January.

They serve from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Elks Lodge at 124 Mary St. in Herkimer, NY. Cost is $8, $4 for children under 12. The menu includes eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, home fries, baked beans, toast, and coffee or tea. Yum.

I love these community meals. It’s always good food and a good time. The servers usually make silly jokes with the patrons and each other. You often see people you know. You can buy a 50/50 ticket, so there is also a chance to make a profit. It’s relaxed; it’s fun.

And this year, Steven is scheduled to work every Sunday this month. I can’t go to a Lady Elks breakfast without my main squeeze! At least, perhaps I can, but I would certainly prefer not to.

However, the purpose of this post is not to bemoan my fate, but to give a shout-out to the Lady Elks. Local readers, you have two more chances to enjoy this event: January 19 and 26. I highly recommend it. If I can find another date, maybe I’ll see you there.

I Hit the Road

Temperatures rose in the Mohawk Valley today, and I took advantage of it.

I was debating between running outside and trying the mini-tramp again but decided first to take my dog, Tabby for a walk. She was amenable. By amenable, of course I mean that as soon as she saw me putting my sneakers on she jumped and barked and ran towards the door. You know dogs.

We hadn’t gone half a block when I realized temperatures were delightful (relatively speaking, of course) for a run. Tabby only seemed interested in going around the block anyways. My concern was the sidewalks, which were by no means bare in all spots. As we turned up our street, though, I saw two runners coming down the street. Of course! I could run in the road! I generally prefer to run on the sidewalk, but I figured I could stick to less busy streets.

I kept on the long pants I was wearing. They are not running pants but are loose-fitting and had the advantage of being already partly dirty. I also kept on my toque and gloves. I found my long-sleeved ARMY t-shirt and switched to sports bras and a pair of winter running socks. I was set.

To run very slowly. I didn’t set out for a slow run, but it seemed that is what my body was up for. No matter, just keep going. I looked at the sidewalk and saw that for a long stretch it was completely bare. So I went on the sidewalk. Then I saw a patch where it didn’t look so good. I went back into the road. Damned if there wasn’t snow in the road too. No cars coming, run around it.

It was clear that this was going to be one of those “At least I did it” runs. Frankly, this was all right with me, since I have not been running at all lately, except for that stint on the mini-tramp the other day. I had been watching an old horror movie during that. I began to wonder how Lionel Barrymore was making out with that mad scientist’s formula.

Another good stretch of sidewalk. Must take advantage of that. Another patch of snow but it was right near somebody’s driveway. Good. I would run to that and go back into the road. A car was coming just as I got to the driveway. I stayed on the sidewalk, so as not to run right out in front of the car. Some would say I just should have stayed in the road to begin with.

Then I discovered it was not so bad running over the snow. I had to exercise caution, because you never know when there might be a patch of ice, but it was really not so bad. The warmer temperature made things a more melty than frozen. That was to the good; it takes more effort to run through stuff.

So I felt pretty good about myself that I ran. I hope the warmer temperatures last the week, so I can run outdoors again. If not, there’s always the mini-tramp and that Lionel Barrymore movie.

It’s Running Commentary Again!

So I started running again two weeks ago, in Vermont, then I didn’t feel so good all week. My ill health culminated in a severe headache on Saturday (perhaps you heard me kvetching about it; everybody else did), and I didn’t feel so hot all this week.

Anybody still reading? I hope so, because this is NOT a post to kvetch about feeling bad again, because I feel TERRIFIC! I went running this morning! I’m going to do a blog post about it!

My day started about 3:30 this morning, because my husband Steven had to work at 6:30 (he needs plenty of lead time). I thought it would be good to wait till the sun was up to hit the pavement. However, I didn’t want to wait too long and talk myself out of it (I can be very persuasive).

I had already walked to the post office with Tabby about 6:30, when it was still dark out. It had been surprisingly warm, but I know the temperature sometimes drops when the sun comes up (go figure) (I’m doing a lot of parentheticals today, aren’t I?)(my computer is telling me “parentheticals” is not a word). I had on some spandex leggings under my skirt (much more comfortable than pantyhose). I thought they would be suitable for a run. I sought out a long-sleeved ARMY t-shirt, which has a big reflective symbol on the back. Safety first! I knew where my toque was, because I’ve been wearing it to work. I was ready!

The sun was up, but cloud cover made everything grey and gloomy, my favorite kind of day. Right away, I saw my friend Pudge the pug with his person.

“Hi there! I haven’t seen you guys in a while!” As usual, Pudge was too wiggly to pet easily, but I tried, while remarking on what a good dog he is. His guy remarked that it was cool out, to which I agreed, and we went our separate ways.

Ah, it felt good to run, which surprised me, because I haven’t done anything but walk with Tabby all week. Still, I guess the walking helped, because I could rock this! I admired some trees still full of colored leaves as I ran down German Street. I decided to go up the hill by Valley Health, just so I could get a nice view of the mountain in the distance as I came down the other side.

Some rays of sun peeked through the clouds at Valley Health, just high enough to hit trees on the top of that hill. The rising sun seems to give a more intense light than when the sun is high in the sky. Perhaps it is the angle. Or perhaps this morning’s cloud cover made it seem that way. Or perhaps I’m full of beans right down the line. In any case, I enjoyed the view.

I enjoyed being at the top of that small hill, especially knowing I probably was not going to run any other hills. The view down to the mountains on the other side of town was disappointing, I suppose because the sun was pointing in the opposite direction. Silly me.

My I Can Rock This euphoria did not last. However, by that time, I was more than half-way through how long I wanted to run. It was no problem to keep going. I admired Halloween decorations on many houses. I noticed one porch, however, that was completely bare. This porch had previously been crowded with bicycles and toys. I wondered if the people living there had moved. Or perhaps the children had abruptly grown up. I interrupted my speculations to admire a particularly cute witch on another porch.

Exciting my admiration even more are the spider webs. I didn’t put up any spider webs this year, but when I do, they end up all clumpy and bunchy. I saw many porches with webs spread smoothly and evenly, some boasting spiders, some dried leaves. Had the leaves just blown there or been artistically placed? They looked cool.

Tabby graciously walked my cool down with me, and I felt pretty damn pleased with myself. I felt even better later when we walked to the post office (again) and the bank. Let’s hear it for exercise! Now if I could only work up the ambition to clean this house…

Happy Anniversary, BUP!

I’ve given a shout-out to the Belly Up Pub before, but I feel it is appropriate to do so again, because they celebrated their one year anniversary last Saturday.

Herkimer Now posted the anniversary on their Facebook page and suggested people stop down to help celebrate following the Superhero Sprint. This sounded like a good idea to me. Steven worked till 4:30, so we made a plan to meet there.

The Belly Up Pub is located on 122 W. Albany St. in Herkimer, NY. The site hosted Albany Street Cafe when Steven and I first came to the area. Before that it was a place called Dineen’s. Dineen’s was open long enough ago that women were not allowed to stand at the bar. I would have a problem with that.

I left my house about quarter after four to walk down to the Belly Up. As usual, I felt a little guilty about walking anywhere without my dog, Tabby, but she’s not 21.

Sitting at the bar, I ordered a glass of wine and began writing a blog post (not this one). I wished the bartender a happy anniversary. Their real celebration did not start till six, with drink and food specials as well as live music later on, but Steven and I like to go to a bar early, when it’s not as crowded. We got to take advantage of the Happy Hour Specials.

I fell into conversation with some gentlemen that walked in after me, so I did not get much writing done. When Steven showed up, we ordered some appetizers, which saved me cooking dinner. The Appetizer Sampler includes your choice of fries: regular, sweet potato or eggplant. I chose eggplant, because you can’t get eggplant fries just anywhere. It came with two dipping sauces. Yum.

It was a very pleasant interlude. We hope to do it again soon, even without the excuse of wishing the Belly Up a happy anniversary. For more information on the Belly Up Pub, visit their website at Or you can like their Facebook page.

I Run Again

Yes, running posts two days in a row. I had a couple of Mohawk Valley adventures I could talk about, watched a cheesy horror movie and even cooked something of interest. But I just went running, I’m proud of myself and I’m going to write about it.

Did that sound a trifle defensive? Maybe it was. I didn’t run that far and I didn’t run that fast. Yesterday I didn’t run at all, as I believe I mentioned. This morning was exceedingly cold and I had my doubts. Then Steven and I watched a non-cheesy movie and I got restless. Our thermostat said the temperature had risen to 28 degrees. I decided to chance it.

I put on my leopard spotted long johns, which I had worn under my skirt yesterday. They are lightweight spandex and I think they look cool. I found my other long-sleeved army t-shirt and my other pair of winter running socks. Sweatshirt, toque, mittens, I was on my way.

When we had been out and about earlier I had noticed the path over what used to be a hydraulic canal had been plowed. Really, the sidewalk plow has been very efficient in Herkimer this season. I determined to run toward Main Street and perhaps rock the canal path (not sure if it has an official name).

Just because the sidewalk plow had been by did not mean the sidewalks were bare. Lots of snow remained to crunch under my feet and slow me down. Well, so what, I told myself. I run for a certain amount of time not a certain distance. If it takes me longer to get to point A, so be it. And I’m sure it burns more calories.

Traffic was not too bad. I managed to cross German Street without too much problem. I ran in the road on one side street to get to the canal path but other than that I pretty much stuck to the sidewalk. Still, bare pavement is nice. You forget to appreciate these things till you are reminded. I met a couple of pedestrians but managed not to run into anybody.

I followed the path as far as I could then ran down a couple more residential streets to Main Street. I figured I could easily cross Main Street on a Sunday. As it turned out, not at the precise moment I wanted to. Then I noticed a stretch of bare sidewalk and decided to make my cross further up.

Eventually I crossed near a bank and thought to run through the bank parking lot to get to Church Street. Ah, that was bare pavement. Till I got to the other part of the parking lot, behind the 1834 Jail. Not so bare. I found some tire tracks to run in.

It burns more calories, I kept telling myself. Burns more calories. When I wasn’t thinking that, the song played in my head that goes, “All I wanna do/ Is have some fun/ I gotta feeling/ I’m not the only one.” Then I’d change things up and think, “All I wanna do/ Is run, run, run/ I look around and/ I am the only one.” I did see a family walking, parents and a small boy. I was glad I had stayed on the sidewalk, to set an example for the younger generation.

It was a much better run than Thursday’s, so I felt I had been rewarded for my effort. Once the roads are bare again, I am SO going to rock the hill up to Herkimer County Community College. Stay tuned.

Pedestrian Plan

I spent all day at work trying to psyche myself up to run. For one thing, I needed a blog post. Then my back started to hurt. Then I thought of my dog, Tabby, who likes to go for a walk, and I felt guilty. True, she walks my cool down with me, but that is only ten minutes.

Finally I reached a compromise: If it was nasty weather (which Tabby does not like to walk in), I would run. If not, I would see if my husband, Steven, would like to go for a walk with me and Tabby, which, of course, is one of Tabby’s favorite things to do.

I outlined my plan to a co-worker. I’m always telling people my plans. It increases the likelihood of my following through on them.

“That’s my plan,” I finished.

“And you’re sticking to it,” she added.

“I will try to stick to it,” I admitted. “If I come home and Steven has a pot of coffee and says, ‘Do you want a cup of coffee, honey?’ I’m having coffee.”

She thought this was a good plan too. And that is what I ended up doing. First I had coffee. Then we went for a walk.

I left on my army pants, which I wear to work, but changed into a long-sleeved shirt. Then I put on one of my Christmas sweatshirts, black with cardinals on holly branches with snow falling. An insulated sweatshirt and my toque (rhymes with “spook”) completed my ensemble.

I take so much time telling about my plan to walk and what I wore, because it was a pretty uneventful walk. The vague snowflakes that had been falling had stopped, and there was very little breeze. It was just about to get dark, my favorite time of day.

We admired many Christmas decorations, pointing out to each other all the lights on porches and trees visible through windows. I especially like different colored lights, but white or monochromatic can be nice, too. I restrained Steven from stealing any hard plastic light up snowmen we saw, but we did envy them.

I counted three houses in one block with candles in the windows, one of Steven’s favorite looks, then amended it to four, although the fourth only had a candle in one window.

By the time we got home it was almost dark. I pointed out how Halloweeny the bare trees looked against the grey sky. I like to mix up the holidays a little.

At this point, I am a little embarrassed, because this is a pretty dull post, even for me. However, it is Christmas time. We’re all busy. Maybe most people were even too busy to read this far. Perhaps it would have made a better post if I had let Steven steal the snowman. Questions to ponder.

I’ll try to plan a better post for tomorrow.

Running Through the Snow

It seems this sinus headache isn’t going anywhere, despite drugs and hot tea, so I may as well write today’s blog post. It’s only Saturday Running Commentary, after all. How hard could it be?

The headache had not really kicked in before the run. I did not get up early enough to run in the dark, as I did on Thursday. We slept in till the luxurious hour of 6:30. Woohoo! After two cups of coffee, I decided it was time to either run or eat with the intention of running later. Snow was predicted for later, so I thought I would run while the running was good.

I put on leggings and long sleeves, since the temperature was below 40 degrees. I found my toque but decided not to search for mittens and to wear my sweatshirt only for the cool down. I sensibly put a Tabby poop bag in the sweatshirt pocket so I wouldn’t have to remember it later.

Imagine my surprise when I went out the back door into snow! Lots and lots of swirling white flakes, not yet sticking to the ground but looking rather picturesque in the air. Never mind, I was ready to run and I intended to do so.

It wasn’t even that cold. I pulled my sleeves down over my hands and puffed along feeling not too uncomfortable. I took the hill by Valley Health again. I know, I must start running the longer, steeper hills. Possibly as early as tomorrow.

Skies in the distance were blue, so I headed in that direction. The snow tapered off then came back. Soon I was headed back toward grey skies. I do admire a grey November sky.

When I went to cross back over German Street, the light was about to turn against me, but there were no cars there. One car waited at the red light, perpendicular to me. Was he about to make a left turn into me? He did not have his signal on, so I thought, if he wants to make a left turn and I’m in his way, it’s his own damn fault! His light did not turn green till I was mostly across anyways. Then he went straight, per his lack of turn signals. Good man! I think it was actually a youth. What was a kid that age doing up so early? Or was it still up so late? I’ll never know, but it gave me something to ponder as I ran.

Walking my cool down with Tabby later, she did her business and guess what was NOT in my sweatshirt pocket? I was certain I had put one there! Serves me right for not double checking. Luckily I had a couple of tissues and we were almost home, so I did not litter a neighbor’s lawn in a manner which I deplore in others.

It was not a bad run at all. Other than the snow, however, it was fairly uneventful. I shall try to observe more bloggable phenomena during subsequent runs. Stay tuned.

Return to PK’s

Some weeks ago our friend Tracy was supposed to visit us, and we intended to introduce her to PK’s Pub. She was unable to make it, so we went without her. I wrote a blog post about it. Recently Tracy did visit us and we went to PK’s. I see no reason not to give them another shout out.

My friend Pete was not behind the bar this time, but I met up with him later when I had to visit the ladies room. He and two other guys were in it, checking on something or fixing something (I think).

“You gents visit the ladies room often?” I asked.

“All the time,” one of the guys assured me.

“It is the happening place,” I agreed.

I had been going to order Hats and Broccoli, which Steven had last time, but changed my mind and got the Chicken Riggies. Spicy! Steven got a dish with pesto and chicken, and Tracy had something involving pork, mashed potatoes and mushrooms. I foolishly did not make a note of the name of what Tracy had, but I bet I’ll be able to figure it out and order it myself when I go back there.

We all enjoyed the salads before dinner, remarking that they are more substantial than the salads some places serve. I especially enjoy the garbanzo beans, and what I really love is the herbed butter that comes with the rolls.

When the waitress asked us were we all set, I was about to ask for the check when Tracy spoke up and asked about desserts. Well, I couldn’t let her eat dessert alone, could I? We all three had a chocolate ice cream cake that was heavenly.

It was a great meal with great service. Steven and I will not wait till the next time Tracy visits to return to PK’s Pub. They are located at 221 King St., Herkimer, NY 13350, phone number 315-866-3494. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 4:30 to 10 p.m.

More About My Toes

I mentioned in passing a couple of times that I had gotten a pedicure. I thought I’d say a little more about it today.

I’d been wanting to get one for a while now. My last pedicure was self-administered and it did not turn out so well to begin with. By last week the polish was chipped and grown out in a disgraceful fashion, and I was getting an uncomfortable ingrown toenail.

For anyone who is about to scream, “TMI!” Oh, just be quiet. You must know I hate that expression, and why shouldn’t I talk about my toes? This is a personal blog, after all. If you don’t like it, just don’t read me. (Then again, maybe nobody was about to scream anything and I should just get over myself.)

Where was I? Ah yes, calling the Hot Spot Salon and Spa for an appointment. I worked till eleven on Saturday. Claire had an opening at 12:30. As soon as I had made the appointment, I started second guessing myself (what a surprise).

“Shouldn’t I go running rather than get a pedicure?” I asked some co-workers.

“Go for a short run first,” one of them suggested. “The pedicure will feel really good then.”

This was good advice, but I was worried I would not have time to put on running clothes, run, go for cooldown walk with Tabby, shower, find thong sandals (they are not flip flops; flip flops are shower shoes), get to the Hot Spot. However, I felt I did have time to change shoes, take Tabby for a nice walk, shower, find sandals, get to the Hot Spot. Hmm… It doesn’t sound like so much less when I write it, but it felt a lot more relaxed at the time.

I was glad I got the pedicure. I picked a lovely shade of deep orange, a real harvest color. I was so pleased with it, I wore sandals for the rest of the day. And I went for a run on Sunday, so everybody can be happy.

The Hot Spot Salon and Spa is located at 121 E. Albany St., Herkimer, NY 13350, phone 315-866-9113. They are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.