Chipping away at life, if a bit reluctantly

‘A mixing bowl shouldn’t chip after using it once.” This tinny whine was met by my wife’s verbal dope slap informing me that chips are part of life, get over it. “But it’s imported from England”. Surely, this upscale tidbit would lend the appropriate gravitas to justify my indignation. She was unmoved.

Once again, the real world collided with my world and I was losing, badly. Most would say that fixating on mini-adversities is a rabbit hole to be avoided. Easier said than done. Is scuffing your new dress shoes on the revolving door of an office tower really worth even a moment of angst? What about when the proverbial shopping cart crashes into the car you just drove off the lot? Trivial, but encroachments on daily life nonetheless.

Why bring any of this up during a pandemic that has redefined adversity? You would think that this 21st century plague would force me to look at all of these banalities in their proper perspective. Yes and no. COVID-19 is like gravity. It’s everywhere, all the time, and must be respected and dealt with even though we can’t see it or, for most of us, explain it. Ignore gravity and COVID-19 at your own peril. The petty annoyances of my quotidian existence are more like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Unlike gravity (and COVID-19), you have a choice. Accept the challenge and try to solve it, or not. Some people are better at it than others. In the moment, depending on your skill or luck, it can be frustrating or rewarding. At the end of the day, it’s just another brick in the wall. Life goes on.

I realize that dress shoes, working in an office building and a Rubik’s Cube tag me as hopelessly out-of-touch. And what am I doing with a mixing bowl in the first place? Well, I thought everyone was trying to make brownies. The point is that most of life is the stringing together of daily minutiae. It is not unreasonable to expect more from this thread even if the individual details appear relatively unimportant.

Granted, taken too far it can border on the pathological. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” (“Network” – 1976). “I’m just standing up for my rights as a consumer” (“Falling Down” – 1993). Smashing the merchandise with a baseball bat is a rather extreme way to get your point across. But that bodega was charging Michael Douglas way too much for a Coke. More last century cultural references? “Hey, that’s life, get over it.” 

Gee . . . that felt good. 

By the way, the brownies were excellent.

M. A. Duca is a resident of Twin Lakes narrowly focused on everyday life.

Latest News

All kinds of minds at Autism Nature Trail

Natalia Zukerman playing for a group of school children at the Autism Nature Trail.

Loren Penmann

At Letchworth State Park in Castile, N.Y. the trees have a secret: they whisper to those who listen closely, especially to those who might hear the world differently. This is where you can find the Autism Nature Trail, or ANT, the first of its kind in this country, perhaps in the world. Designed for visitors on the autism spectrum, the ANT is a one-mile looped trail with eight stations at various intervals, little moments strung together, allowing visitors to experience everything from stillness to wild adventure.

The idea for the ANT was born from a conversation in 2014 between Loren Penman, a retired teacher and administrator, and her neighbor. The two women were discussing the new nature center at the park and Penman’s neighbor said that her grandson, who loved the park, probably wouldn’t be able to enjoy a nature center. He had autism and at age seven was still without language and in a state of almost constant agitation. Her neighbor went on to say, however, that she had observed her grandson finding great calm at Letchworth, a state of being he couldn’t achieve almost anywhere else. Speaking to another friend with an autistic grandchild, Penman heard the same sentiment about Letchworth; it completely calmed her grandchild. What was it about this special place that soothed the spirit?

Keep ReadingShow less
Snakes in the Catskills: A primer

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in collaboration with the Catskill Science Collaborative, presented “Snakes in the Catskills: A Primer,” the latest in its lecture series, on June 5. Presenter John Vanek, is a zoologist at the New York Natural Heritage Program in Syracuse, NY. The snake above is a harmless Northern Brown Snake. They are known as a “gardener’s friend” because they eat snails, slugs, and worms.

John Vanek

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in collaboration with the Catskill Science Collaborative, presented “Snakes in the Catskills: A Primer,” the latest in its lecture series, on June 5. Presenter John Vanek, is a zoologist at the New York Natural Heritage Program in Syracuse.

There are thirteen kinds of snakes in the Catskills. Only two are venomous. Vanek defined the Catskills area as including the counties of Greene, Delaware, Ulster, Sullivan, and Dutchess.

Keep ReadingShow less
Brunch at Troutbeck: Black Emmer Pancakes

Black Emmer Pancakes by Chef Vincent Gilberti at Troutbeck.

Jim Henkens

At Troutbeck, every meal is an experience, but Sundays have taken on a special charm with the highly anticipated return of brunch. Impeccably sourced, plentiful, elegant yet approachable, and immensely satisfying, the brunch menu reflects the essence of Troutbeck’s culinary philosophy. Available every Sunday, brunch complements the existing offerings of three meals a day, seven days a week, all open to the public.

The culinary program at Troutbeck is led by Executive Chef Vincent Gilberti, who honors the natural landscape through thoughtful and seasonal cuisine. “We launched brunch in February,” said Chef Vinny, as he’s affectionately known. “It’s been a goal of mine to add brunch since returning to Troutbeck as executive chef last year. Before my time here and before the pandemic, we had a bustling and fun brunch program, and while we’ve all returned to ‘normalcy,’ brunch was something we wanted to get back in the mix.” Chef Vinny hails from the Hudson Valley and brings with him a wealth of experience from some of New York City’s most celebrated restaurants, including Pulino’s, Battersby, and Dover. After a stint in San Francisco’s SPQR, where he honed his pasta-making skills, Chef Vinny has returned to Troutbeck with a renewed passion for the farm-to-table philosophy.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature-inspired exhibit opens in Sharon

"Pearl" from the "Elements" series.

Provided

The Sharon Town Hall is currently displaying an art exhibit by Pamela Peeters entitled “No Fear of Flying” until September 3, 2024. The exhibit opened on June 3 to celebrate World Environment Day.

The show displays work by Peeters, Allan Blagden, Zelena Blagden and Jean Saliter. Pamela Peeters has had a decades-long career as an environmental economist, sustainability strategist and ECO consultant, appearing on television and radio, sponsoring and leading environmental education programs globally and is recognized for her various artistic endeavors.

Keep ReadingShow less