Kids’ Almanac (Jan. 31-Feb. 7)

Ratboy, Jr.

Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.
– Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art


College basketball games in Poughkeepsie, New Paltz and beyond

Here’s something that never occurred to me to do with my family: attend local college basketball games. Our daughter and I attended a Marist Red Foxes women’s basketball game with our Girl Scout group, and we had a great time!

I was nervous that we had to park so far away from the McCann Center, but as we walked, we soon discovered the wonderful free Marist shuttles that pick up pedestrians, with direct dropoff at the Center. Service at the concession stands was quick, and we enjoyed checking out the swag table. One fun aspect of the game was the brief entertainment during the breaks, which reminded me of Hudson Valley Renegades baseball games.

Marist basketball ticket prices range from $4 to $12, depending on seating choice. Marist College is located at 3399 North Road in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 575-3553 or visit

After our great experience at Marist, we attended some SUNY-New Paltz Hawks women’s and men’s basketball games. Unlike Marist, parking is close to the Athletic & Wellness Center, but be sure to pay the $2 fee at the kiosk on your way in. Tickets are available on-site. Adults get in for $5, and it’s free for children aged 12 and under and for SUNY-New Paltz students and staff.

Upon entering the gym, you can get a free program, which was a helpful reference including the names of the players from both teams, their jersey numbers, their college grade levels, their heights and their hometowns. All of the spectator seating is on bleachers, which made it easy to find a spot: no searching for a particular section or row number. The Half Court concession stand offers Hawks merchandise, as well as basic snacks, but please note that no food or drink is allowed in the gymnasium, so you have to stand out in the hall to consume your purchases.

SUNY-New Paltz is located at 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 257-3910 or visit

We love cheering for our home teams, and it’s fantastic exposure for the kids: Our town-league basketball-playing son gets the chance to watch the experienced college students demonstrate what he’s learning; and our daughter is inspired by the women athletes whom she watches. I like the excitement of these budget-friendly outings, and I think that it’s a great indoor activity during the winter months.

With so many games scheduled at so many local colleges, including Vassar College, SUNY-Ulster and SUNY-Dutchess, it’s easy to find some that fit our plans. Take your family and see for yourself, and let me know how it went!


Ski lessons for the whole family at Monticello’s Holiday Mountain

Our family began skiing at Holiday Mountain in 2010, and we can personally attest to its slogan, “Where Great Skiers Begin.” We look forward to returning there every year for several reasons: The size is very manageable for our family, with a beginner, intermediate and advanced trail off the closest lift, so it’s easy for us to regroup and find each other (meaning that our son can track me down easily for hot cocoa money); the beginner hill is right in front of the lodge, with a supervised magic carpet lift that makes it easy for our youngest to get back to the top; and we love the excellent instruction that we receive in our lessons. Our son just started snowboarding, and Holiday has given him a solid start on that, too.

But it’s not just about the kids. I usually focus on getting lessons for my children, but last weekend, I had the opportunity to sign up for a session myself. My lesson with ski instructor Ariel Escobar was a game-changer. I told Ariel – who is a Professional Ski Instructors of America-certified teacher of traditional as well as adaptive skiing for folks with any type of special needs – that I just wanted to feel more free when I ski, more confident out on the slopes. After observing my skiing for a few minutes, he offered ideas that actually made skiing easier for me, along with more control through carving, not skidding, and I found myself having more fun than ever before!

Ariel used humorous visualizations to coach my arm positions to help me explore my ski edges, both literally and figuratively, and suddenly, it happened: I experienced a freedom that I’ve never felt on skis before. Before my lesson, I thought that I had to have more advanced skills to enjoy skiing more, but Ariel’s guidance proved that I can have a blast out there right now, right where I’m at, just taking it one turn at a time. Big props to manager Larry Valentia for heading up such a great place, Kevin Monahan for his conscientious work as the Ski and Snowboard School director and our instructors: the incomparable Ariel Escobar, who helped me find my inner skier; superstars Danny, David and Brendan, who have enabled our son to hit the ground running on his snowboard this season; our daughter’s fun and favorite teacher, Miss Jackie; and wonderful Miss Lisa in 2010, who took us from how-do-we-put-skis-on to conquering every trail.

If you have never skied before but have been wanting to try it out, Holiday Mountain is an excellent choice for getting started, for rebuilding skills after a long hiatus or for advanced levels looking to learn even more about skiing or snowboarding. Holiday Mountain is located at 99 Holiday Mountain Road in Monticello, less than one hour from New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 796-3161 or visit


The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare at the Bardavon this Friday

I get such affirmation singing along with singer, songwriter and storyteller Amy Steinberg’s “Exactly” song:

I am exactly where I need to be

I need to be exactly where I am

I am a blessing manifest

Acceptance of who we are, that we are enough, that we are worthy: I always appreciate events that reinforce these values for my children. The timeless story The Ugly Duckling is one heartwarming example that offers hope to anyone wishing away the Now. And this week, it’s coming to the Bardavon Opera House.

On Friday, February 1 at 10 a.m. and 12 noon, Lightwire Theater and CORBiAN present a performance of The Ugly Duckling and The Tortoise and the Hare. Geared for ages 5 through 9 years, this company uses art, science and technology to present a light-show version of these classic tales. Tickets cost $10 each, $6 for Bardavon members.

The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie. For tickets or more information, call (845) 473-5288, extension 106, or visit To learn more about the performers, visit


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  1. I always enjoy reading your weekly column! It’s a hoot!

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