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In a Schenectady state of mind

By Thom O'Connor
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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Like a tumbling leaf sucked into a sudden updraft from an autumn breeze, I am simultaneously exhilarated by my favorite season and confused by the variables that impact my journey.

Perhaps I am, after all, a reincarnated latter-day member of the Abarimon race, distinguished by an ability to outrun adversity, despite congenital deformities that include backward feet. Unlike these fictional humanoids that were forbidden to leave their mountain homeland, I am free-floating on a cloud of optimism toward my hurry-up-and-wait destination in that turn-around town called Schenectady.

You may recall when we last spoke that I was en route to the Stockade Art show and Greek and Italian fests and the last performance of "Forever Plaid" at Proctors. In quick succession, I schedule the sold-out performance of Johnny Mathis and then laughed-a-lot at SPAMALOT.

The laughter ceased momentarily with an early morning call from my PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) telling me that a script sent by my doctor would cost in excess of $500. It was only one of five scripts in need of replenishment. It appears that all those articles that I had been reading about those seniors with chronic illnesses falling into a coverage gap (commonly called the donut hole) of prescription coverage applied to me.

Unsure how my association with that “senior” word escaped me. Seniors, I learn, get stuck in the donut hole if our prescription drugs cost too much to be paid for through basic Medicare coverage, but aren't expensive enough to qualify for catastrophic coverage. When my haze of denial clears, I quickly apply to a NYS program called EPIC for assistance until the New Year when my traditional coverage will be reinstated. At the pharmacy, I learned that close to 4 million of us reached this threshold in 2010.

Days before, I attended my first quilt show -– sponsored by Q.U.I.L.T.S. (Quilters United in Working Together, Schenectady) at Proctors. Stunned by the volume, beauty, craftsmanship and near-endless diversity of the offerings! (Pictured above is Colonie resident Crickett Sweet, the "featured quilter" for the show.) There wasn’t a space within the Proctors complex that was not quiltified to the delight of the hundreds of awestruck onlookers who attended the two-day show 'n' tell. Writer Joanne McFadden offers a great overview of the show -– Autumn Inspirations -– in this paper on Sept. 30.

Q.U.I. L. T.S. Wounded Soldier Quilt Project caught my attention. Speaking with Pat Terry (Schenectady) and Chris Powell (Scotia) who spearhead this noteworthy initiative, I learn that in 2005, the Q.U.I.L.T.S. guild became involved in making quilts for soldiers returning from the Iraqi War.

“One of our former members read an article about quilts being distributed to wounded soldiers by another guild in Maryland,” Pat tells me. She thought this would be a worthwhile project for our 100 members.

She went on to say that completed quilts are sent to Pat Baker of Hughesville, Md., who is the coordinator of the quilt distribution. That Pat is a member of the Quilters Guild of Southern Maryland. The quilts are distributed to Bethesda Naval Hospital and Andrews Air Force base. They are given to soldiers who request one. Quilts arrive from all over the U.S. Ten thousands quilts have been distributed as of this year. Schenectady’s Q.U.I.L.T.S has sent more than 200 quilts since it became involved five years ago. From my perspective, another little know fact and source of pride for the Electric City.

For those unable to attend the Quilt Show last month at Proctors and who would like more information, you should consider attending a Guild meeting (7 p.p. on the first Thursday of each month -– usually at the Unitarian Society (Wendell Avenue) and sometimes at Proctors. This and other information is readily available at visit www.quiltschenectady.org. Although the membership is comprised of women, men are welcomed.

Attending Q.U.I.L.T.S. whets my appetite for the Northeast Fine Craft Festival coming up on Oct. 23–24. I see artifacts and posters in local storefronts promoting the show and know that this is something I will enjoy.

On and off, I view and revisit a wonderful living space downtown that, despite best wishes, may fall to the wayside as I continue to bide time on the sale of my house. Even before I knew an apartment was available at the Jay Street location, I lingered at curbside to imagine how neat it would be to live in an apartment so close to work and in such a beautiful building.

Events and things to do are popping up everywhere in town. In the short term, I look forward to Mel Brooks’ "Young Frankenstein" at Proctors on the 14th – billed as the “scariest comedy of all times” – but not before what promises to be an exciting open house at the new City Center building (State & Jay Streets) on Oct. 13. Promos promise fantastic food from 30 vendors, a silent auction, and live music. The sheer volume and discography of top-rated musicians in this town make every chance to hear them LIVE a reward in itself.

And did I mention that A Place For Jazz is hosting The Bruce Barth Trio; The J.D. Allen Trio starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22? This concert will take place at the First Unitarian Society (1221 Wendell Ave.). Tickets are $15 for general public and can be ordered by calling 518-393-4011 or emailing coakjazz@aol.com. I have never been to this venue but singing biker-man ChuckZee chastised me for not attending a recent choral event there. I’m prepared to repent at the night of Jazz.

It is fall after all, and I’m in that turn-around town, Schenectady state of mind!

Despite whiplash from the wallop of high winds on his fall to earth –- and disappointment at not having the winning ticket for the featured quilt raffle, blogger Thom O’Connor continues to batten down the hatches on Richmondville’s Trout Haven Lake for winter in Schoharie County before he resumes his efforts to move to not-quite 24/7, but full-of-promise Schenectady.

 

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