Kissable Carlene

Hometown Hanging Out

I had a great New Year’s Eve and beginning to New Year’s Day 2013. I was able to visit Melissa & Matt (photos on my non-iPhone camera and I don’t have access at the moment, so check back for an update next week) and ate all their delicious appetizers and had a marvelous time, then I headed down to the Merry Monk in Albany to meet up with Jay and Keith, plus our friends Becky & John.
Carlene and Jay New Year's
Carlene, Jay, and Keith New Year's 2013
Overall, a fantastic evening, and I am very blessed to have such amazing, dynamic, intelligent, and fun friends in my life.

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I’m in Cork City, Ireland, sitting in a wrought-iron bed, wrapped up in a comforter, taking advantage of a lull in my whirlwind experience in Ireland. I’m thinking of home, and wanted to say a quick thank-you to someone who has helped me receive many compliments over here.

The Saturday before I left for Ireland, I treated myself to a shellac manicure at Salon 109 in downtown Albany that would last me the entire 16 days I would be away. My poor manicurist Toni ended up arriving an hour late after a morning full of flat tires and fiascos, and in the end the manicure was complimentary to make up for the inconvenience.

Thank you! Thank you!

I love this salon; between the great conversation and extremely considerate staff, I feel like I’m having a mini-vacation with friends instead of going to “get a service” done. I’m writing this a full week later, and my nails look as lovely as they did the day I had them done. Thanks, Toni, and thanks to the salon owner Mary for taking care of me!

Irish Rainbow

Also, here’s an Irish rainbow over residential Cork City for the menfolk who don’t understand the extra little bit of happy having nice nails brings to my day.

I was driving through Arbor Hill on the way to the highway yesterday, and as I sat at a stoplight, I glanced to my left and noticed that someone had spraypainted the word “Rebuild” on a boarded up business on Clinton Avenue.  The many layers of the word resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with the hope that it will resonate for you, too.

Spraypaint on a boarded-up shop in Arbor Hill reads, “Rebuild”
(Click for full-sized image)

Saturday was a lovely crisp, cool October day, the exact type of day that makes silly Northerners like myself put up with the month of February.  If you’ve never experienced a Northeastern February, I can sum it up for you: bitterly cold, depressingly dark, and thankfully short.

Madison Avenue in Albany on a lovely October day.

I knew I would be drinking at Oktoberfest, so I headed down to the bus stop instead of driving (safety first!!).  After ages of waiting, it became clear that the bus was either not coming or completely off-schedule, so I decided to simply hoof it downtown to the festival.

I figured that the quickest way to get there was as the crow flies, a.k.a. a straight line, so instead of taking the sidewalk I walked in the straightest line I could manage directly to Oktoberfest.  That involved ignoring lots of “Closed, Keep Out” signs, tiny spaces to wriggle through, and the kind of creativity needed when going off the beaten path.

Waiting for the bus…streets are abandoned.

…at least I had a nice view while I waited!

And so, my journey begins. First up, stairway closed to the public. Next up, wriggling into teeny little spaces. Totally worth it.

I made it to the festival at the exact time the bus did, with a hell of a sense of accomplishment plus an extra $1.50 in quarters in my pocket.  My friends were waiting for me, and we got down to the business of drinking with all due haste.  I made some new friends, photo stalked a girl whose outfit I loved, and loved every moment of the festival.

I could write about it for ages, and it would basically say, “So many girls had cute boots; the beer was delicious; oooh, that was a funny German outfit; holy moly, that girl’s vagina is practically falling out of her dress; oh look, that chick has so much makeup on she looks like a doll.”  Normal festival stuff.

Jen & I getting down to the business of drinking to celebrate the grand month of Oktober.

This girl DID have cute boots (instagram cut them off, sorry), and unlike 47% of the girls there, her lady parts were all covered up and her makeup was nice. I thought her outfit was cute so I photostalked her, then texted the pic to her so she’d have a copy.

There were tents and a polka band, a chugging contest that I would have entered and won if I weren’t so terrified of other people vomiting near me, ten zillion Port-a-Potties, and masses of people who were all sharing one goal of having a good time, which made it a pleasant crowd.

I have a thing with crowds – if the energy isn’t good, I can’t stand them.  If everyone is having a good time, I’m not fazed by them in the least.

Wolff’s Biergarten, our gracious host. Pretty much every day at the Biergarten is a mini Oktoberfest.

One of the reasons the crowd was so pleasant was because Matt Baumgartner, owner of Albany’s Biergarten and editor of, throws one hell of a party; he thinks of the details that keep people happy, such as seating, protection from the sun, and easy access to alcohol.

Thanks to that planning and the professionalism of the volunteers/employees, everyone in my camp had a fantastic time.  Sidekick Jay had such a good time, in fact, that he came down with a case of the pukies and I had to nurse him back to life with one of my magical concoctions.

“Carlene,” he moaned, clutching the glass weakly, “this tastes terrible.”  Ten minutes later, he was laughing and joking with us and 100% cured of the barfs.

Jay is cured of the barfs thanks to my amazing concoctions. You’re welcome, Jay.

The best way to know you had a fantastic day; if Karen is asleep, you know it was one hell of a party.

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Nothing like a fall festival!

My friend Becky and I decided to take advantage of a gorgeous fall weekend and hit up the Apple Festival in Altamont, NY. I love Altamont; it’s a cute little town that’s a healthy mix of old-timey and modern, and it’s about twenty minutes outside Albany. Becky does a lot of work for the Altamont Fairgrounds, and because she had to go in on the weekend for some business, we were able to get in for free, which was a pleasant and unexpected surprise for my wallet. The money I saved went straight to the vendors for food and goodies, so everyone made out in the deal.

Becky wasn’t having the best weekend, so we meandered through the open fairground area talking about feelings and shtuff, then discovered a classic car show in the back, which perked her up. We passed rows of classic Mustangs, Chevelles, Corvettes, and then, as we rounded a corner, WE FOUND THE DELOREAN from Back to the Future!

Back to the Future I turned to the left, and **DeLorean**

It’s a little weird to be old enough to have cars built during my lifetime deemed “classic cars,” but since I’m staring 30 in the face, I suppose it isn’t that surprising.

**Voila!!** The DeLorean, complete with flux capacitor.

This discovery was enough to bolster Becky’s mood, and we chatted with the man who was guarding the flux capacitor (yes, it had one). It is his friend’s car, and is an exact replica from the movie from bumper to bumper. It was as though we were looking at a prop from a movie set, albeit one legally registered to be driven on the highway. Overall, a solid find.

Take a peek inside…

The difference between the way girls hold events and the way boys hold events is vast.

Continuing on the wedding story, Melissa recently held her bridal shower, and it was a very nice, classy event with everyone getting dressed up and putting on their nice outfits before sipping mimosas and “Ooh!”ing and “Aah!”ing over the plethora of gifts she opened.

Bridal Shower Hat Melissa wears her sweet bridal shower hat.

Creating quite the contrast, Carl’s bachelor party, which I somehow ended up being a part of, was neither pretty nor nice, nor did anyone dress up with makeup (no strippers or any funny business, rest assured).  There was no “ooh”ing or “aah”ing, but there was some “blecccck”ing after the cab finally dropped him off at home.

Carl's bachelor party Carl is a hot mess after his version of the bridal shower, the bachelor party.

Next up: the bachelorette party, which will be yet another contrast. Weddings: not for the weak of heart.

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