Sunday, February 18, 2018

In and around Hudson

It snowed overnight and our park over the road looked lovely/lovelier
 Sue cleared the snow off the car...

we wanted to travel over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge so headed off on a little trip...

 So we headed back to Hudson and had a lovely stroll around in the sun

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A trip to Albany, NY

We hired a car and headed to Albany. By the time we made it to Albany we needed lunch and it was freezing cold. So we found Jack's Oyster Bar. Opened in 1913 by Jack Rosenstein, the restaurant has been continuously operated by the same family and is now under the direction of grandson, Brad. Joined by Brad is Executive Chef Larry Schepici. Together, they work to create the ultimate dining experience for you each and every time you visit.
And create a dining experience they did indeed. 


The main appeal for the trip was to have at least been to the capital city of New York State.

We drove through the Empire State Plaza and around to see the major buildings of the area. Having braved the icy blast the walk around was brisk.

We decided to head to the Watervleit Shaker Heritage Society. The Shaker Heritage Society is a non-profit organization that offers  educational programming about the Shakers, their innovative spirit and their influence on American culture.
The Society is actively concerned with preserving the integrity of the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District, site of America’s first Shaker settlement.
The Church Family site, where the Society’s offices are located, is the heart of the 770-acre Historic District. The property includes nine remaining Shaker buildings, herb garden, open fields, apple orchard, Ann Lee Pond nature preserve, and the Shaker cemetery where the founder, Ann Lee is buried. Visitors are welcome to picnic, hike, enjoy a concert or workshop or just relax and experience the atmosphere of this special place.They had some clothes to try on.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Goin' up the country...

A little sojourn up the country via Amtak to Hudson NY.
Hudson a city located along the west border of Columbia County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 6,713, the second-largest in the county, following the nearby town of Kinderhook. Located on the east side of the Hudson River and 120 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, it was named for the river and its namesake explorer Henry Hudson.

Our VRBO accommodation is just gorgeous- opposite a park in Warren Street and convenient to all the shops and restaurants in the area

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Street shopping or Roadside treasures

Usually on Friday mornings or Sunday evenings in my neighborhood I can spot some sort of roadside treasure to street shop. Having done a little research here are some tips for what and when to do this fine art of shopping.

1) Embrace Your Inner Frugal Weirdo
The very nature of trash finding requires you to not care what other people think. The spendy-pants among us would rather rack up debt and squander their savings by purchasing brand new furniture, clothes, and custom hound coats. But we frugal weirdos know that frugality is the true key to freedom and that taking discarded stuff is a core element of our financially-savvy lifestyle.

2) Get A Greyhound
I suppose it doesn’t have to be a greyhound specifically, although I can only vouch for their efficacy in this process. A hound of any type provides an excuse to roam the streets scoping out trash piles to your heart’s content.
Plus, dogs are great trash find companions–you could outfit them with a doggy backpack and have them help you haul your goods!

3) Memorize Move-Out Dates
Make moving days your business. Investigate the common lease start dates for rentals in your area (it’s September 1st here in Cambridge) and the turnover dates for any local universities. Anything that equals lots of people moving will equal massive amounts of giveaways.

4) Learn Your Trash Find Locations
In general, Mr. FW and I eschew the concept of actually opening trash bins. We only quest after trash that’s been set out on the sidewalk in the style of a free box.
This type of giveaway method is very common here in Cambridge and in most large cities, but it may be less standard practice in suburban/rural areas.
However, if you’re not a city-dweller don’t despair just yet–both my mom and my sister report amazing trash finds in their quasi-rural area.

5) The Seasons of Trash
Depending on the climate of your region, it’s possible your trash will experience seasonal shifts. Here in the snowy northeast, trash finding is a non-starter from November to April.
Shockingly, no one sets out piles of giveaways while there are snowbanks as tall as Frugal Hound. Hence, summer and fall are our high seasons.
We’ve had a real dearth of trash finds this winter, making us pine for the languid days of summer when glorious trash finds are piled high and Frugal Hound frolics on her leash, finally feeling her paw pads warm against the sidewalk as opposed to frozen against the snowbanks.

6) Don’t Hunt On Actual Trash Nights
Saturdays and Sundays are prime trash find evenings. The weekdays when people set out their actual, stinky trash barrels aren’t usually optimal for the type of trash hunting we’re conducting.
No one wants to dig through actual trash barrels, so we find it far more efficacious to scope on the weekends when people are more likely to clean out their attics and leave the unwanted discoveries on the roadside.

7) Leave No Trash Unattended
If you encounter a sweet trash find, beware of leaving it alone to go retrieve your car. Best to use the buddy system and deputize one person to guard the prized trash. If you’re looking, you can bet other people are too.
I once sat on top of a free desk by the side of the road for the better part of an hour while I waited for Mr. FW to get off work and drive the car over to me. It was a tactical move, I had to think fast and leap atop the desk for fear of another hunter taking my treasure. I called Mr. FW to report that we had a desk and that he only needed to bring the car around. I’d forgotten he was working late that day, and underestimated just how long I’d have to sit there on that desk. But I had no worries, a good desk is worth waiting for.

8) Don’t Steal Stuff
Try not to inadvertently snatch items that aren’t actually being thrown out. This only happened to Mr. Frugalwoods and me once. We were out on an evening stroll and came upon a charming end table standing on the sidewalk with not a person in sight.
Being consummate frugal trash finders, we started to pick it up and walk off. Fortunately, its owner dashed out and asked us to cease and desist in stealing her table. In our defense, this table appeared to be abandoned next to the trash barrels on the curb. Let this be a lesson in not leaving your furniture unattended when Mr. FW and I are in the vicinity.
Now, if we’re in doubt about the provenance of a trash pile, we simply stand there for a few minutes to see if anyone comes to claim it. We thought for sure that Mr. FW’s best dress shirt wasn’t actually a trash find, so we waited by the side of road to see if anyone would come running out to chase us off. No one emerged and thus, Mr. FW is well outfitted.

9) Methods of Trash Collection: By Car or On Foot?
Both are valid means of securing your trash. A car is obviously superior for larger, more furniture-oriented items, but worse for small tidbits since it’s difficult to see what’s sitting on the curb when you’re driving past.
Trash finding on foot has the advantage of allowing you to closely examine each stack of giveaways you pass, but, has the obvious downside of limiting you to your natural carrying capacity. If on foot, prepare yourself with bags or backpacks. You never know what fiddly little items you might want to tote home, which is made vastly easier by the presence of a bag.

10) Assess Trash Piles First By Sight, Second By Hand
As you approach a potential trash bonanza, use your eyes before your paws. What sort of house is the pile in front of? Does it look clean and detritus free? What’s in the pile and do you want to touch it? Is there an odd mold or odor emanating from the pile? When in doubt, walk on.
Once you’ve rigorously inspected your intended trash pile by sight, it’s time to dig in. Take your time, don’t worry about what any passerby might think, and relish your newfound free possessions.

11) Don’t Take It All
Don’t fear leaving some trash finds behind. The goal of trash hunting is to find quality items that you’ll actually use. Allow yourself to pass up any trash that’s subpar or superfluous. Hoarding is not the trash find objective–don’t let yourself be duped into taking trash you don’t need!
The box that I left behind most recently contained cute skirts, shirts and dresses that I would’ve loved wearing… if I was still 22. Since I’m pretty obviously NOT 22, it was rather evident that I should leave that trash where it lay.
12) Seek Quality
Be discerning in the trash that you collect. After all, it is stuff and no one wants to be ruled by their stuff–which is almost guaranteed to happen if you have too much of it. With furniture in particular, think twice before grabbing that Ikea coffee table. Does it look like Frugal Hound assembled it? Will it even survive the trip home? Conversely, I always pounce on finely crafted wood furniture. Even if I don’t like the color, I can always refinish it myself.

To find great trash is a virtuous cycle. By taking an item destined for a landfill, you’re helping yourself by saving money and you’re helping the environment by reusing a discarded thing. You’re now armed with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to pursue the trash finds of your dreams. Go forth and may you turn to treasure what others have so carelessly tossed away!
(Source: Frugal Woods Blog)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's day NYC style

I'm posting a whole lot here about the history of Valentine's Day to help me understand the absolute proliferation of things that were available up to and beyond February 14.  I've included some of the things I saw...

So here goes...

Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine's Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.

The ancient Romans may also be responsible for the name of our modern day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men — both named Valentine — on Feb. 14 of different years in the 3rd century A.D. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

We do know that the ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on the 15th of February. With the introduction of Christianity, the holiday moved to the 14th of February--the saint day that celebrated several early Christian martyrs named Valentine.

In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. 
Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. (Source: The History Channel)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

UGC Eats


“UGC Eats features an eclectic mixture of snacks and beverages from organic Bronx hot sauce to Olive Oil from Greece!”

And another review...

"So happy to have stumbled upon this new place! Such a cool concept and a beautiful, laid-back space for meeting friends or getting work done. Most of the things in the store are sourced from the owner's travels and are for sale. I have my eye on the beautiful grandfather clock and model ship. Both items are sadly out of my budget, but I do hope they find a good home. :)

This cafe also sells unique imported and local food items, which I will certainly be making use of since I live just a few blocks away. Since they are still just a month old, they are working out a few kinks. They didn't have iced coffee when I came, and they don't have breakfast sandwiches yet. But I'm sure that they will find their bearings in no time. Long live UGC eats and long may they prosper!"
I'll have to give it a try :)

Monday, February 12, 2018

After the rain

It always intrigues me that after the rain and even during the heavy rain storms there are always discarded umbrellas around the city’s streets and in its "trash cans". It turns out one can, rather than throw out yet another umbrella after the next rain storm, "bring it to the Local Labels kiosk in the Graybar Passageway at Grand Central Terminal to be recycled into stylish bags and totes by fashion designer, Catherine Edouard-Charlot."

This also got me thinking of the NY1 ad that says how you know you're a New Yorker...among other things....when you know that $5 umbrella will only last 5 minutes...

So here is other ways to know one is a New Yorker...
  • You've seen Woody Allen. [Note: or substitute whatever celebrity you see around your neighborhood.]

  • You've stolen a cab from someone who needs it more than you do.

  • You've cried on the subway and not given a damn what anyone thinks.

  • You've killed a cockroach with your bare hands.
  • You don't pronounce Houston Street like the city in Texas.

  • You don't stare when you spot a celebrity.

  • You never tell a cab driver where you're going until you're inside the cab.

  • When you've been here at least five years (weeds out the college dilettantes) combined with when you start talking about the thing that used to be on that corner three stores ago. (Note: this comes from Garth Johnston, a born and bred New Yorker.)
  • When you stop going out on Friday nights.
  • When you start going out on Monday nights.
  • When you stop giving money to homeless people.
  • When you know better than to enter an empty subway car. 
  • When you know how to walk around tourists. 
  • You just want SantaCon and the No Pants Ride to end already.
  • You can nap on the subway and play it cool when a rat scurries across your face.
  • You don't even notice the pee smell in the subway system anymore.

In and around Hudson

It snowed overnight and our park over the road looked lovely/lovelier  Sue cleared the snow off the car... we wanted to travel ov...