Sometimes you don’t know what you really want until it’s right in front of you.
The minute I got to San Francisco, I knew: I couldn’t leave this city until I hugged a redwood tree.
Sure, the delicious dumplings were also noteworthy, as were drinks with friends I see hardly ever, and getting to hang out with my ridiculous west coast colleagues. But there was a redwood-sized hole in my heart that only a hug could fix.
So on Saturday, Dan (my high school prom date), Steven (his fiancé), and I headed out into the Muir Woods for a redwood adventure. If you’re in the area, do not miss this park – it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. The trees were so enormous and so different from the pines and oaks back in New England. The canopy above looked like a caricature of itself, with small pinwheeled branches reaching toward the sun.
And even without going off the path, I got to hug and climb inside not one but half a dozen redwoods, having my own Ferngully moment of appreciating these trees that are older than everyone I know, older than most of the states in the union, and still reaching toward the sky all the same.
Hugging a redwood for the first time! (with Dan peeking over my shoulder)
My walking buddies, Steven and Dan
Redwood canopy, as seen by a short human
Achievement unlocked – now on to the next goal!
My friends and I have been mentally preparing for Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast, including running through our family recipes and traditions. In doing so, we found that the Thanksgiving meal we were picturing was all different. Sure, we expected this when we lived in London and no one had heard of this wacky holiday, or in college where people came from all over, but surely three women raised in one small town would have the same menu in mind… right?
So now I want to know – what’s on your required list for Thanksgiving? Does it ever change? Are you allowed to help with the cooking? Are we the only family that doesn’t religiously eat squash, and can anyone confirm that turkey really is better when deep fried?
Here’s our family menu for 2013:
- Turkey (always)
- Stuffing (always, made with bread, apples, onions, eggs, etc. – no cornbread (!!), no meat (??))
- Mashed potatoes (usually? I feel like we’ve gone without)
- Gravy (always since Grandma Boo Boo has joined us!)
- Cranberry sauce, homemade AND canned (always)
- NOT broccoli casserole (retired for 2013, though it may resurface at Christmas)
- Caesar salad (almost always)
- At least two kinds of vegetables (always)
- Butternut squash with kale and pumpkin seeds – recipe here
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- At least two kinds of pie (always – I believe that other kinds of dessert are acceptable traditions but should never replace the all-American pie)
What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? Post what YOU think this meal entails – and your favorite recipes, if you’re willing to share! – below!
I love a good health trend. From novelty races like the Color Run to switching to agave instead of honey in my tea, I find that while health and exercise trends might not actually make a huge difference in my life, it’s fun to change things around now and then to keep myself energized.
So I was ready to love crossfit – to have some reason to shell out $200 a month for a new gym, to make some new friends, to stretch some new muscles.
And I hated it.
I write this from the morning after a free crossfit demo in Boston’s Back Bay, courtesy of City Sports. I can’t move most of my body, so I guess that’s supposed to mean that I had a good workout. But really, it just makes me mad.
Mad that during the hour-long session, we got lectured for half the time about how crossfit is going to help us with all aspects of our life, like “reaching for flour at work” (are we all bakers??)… something I can’t even do in my soreness. Mad that it was marketed as being about your own strength, your own 100%… but the rest of your team isn’t allowed to go on until you finish those burpees. Mad that when the small medicine balls ran out, we had to use one that was double the size, and just deal with it. Mad that when I asked for an adjustment because my hip flexor was killing me, the trainer said “There’s really no substitution… I guess you could do push-ups if you really needed to,” implying that instead I should just tough through it. And REALLY mad that after an exercise session that was supposed to be about working brand new muscles, we were given zero minutes to stretch after – no instruction, no finale, no warning about how important it is to properly cool down these new muscles, just “Don’t forget to check our onboarding program!”
That was your chance to wow me, crossfit, and you blew it. I’m going back to Zumba, boot camp in the park, and 5ks where costumes are required – at least they don’t hurt me.
This weekend, I brought some magic back into my life courtesy of “Cinderella” on Broadway. From row G (thanks TKTS!), I got to celebrate the rags-to-riches musical with a bit of a feminist and “Occupy” twist. I would have loved to see even more agency from Cinderella – she takes her shoe when it falls off the first time, then carefully places it on the step when she actually wants the prince to find her, but at the same time she hands the politics book to the men to read instead of just telling them what to do (if you want to show the people you’re listening, establish a democracy).
Still, the costumes and the drama and the joy of finding something that fits – whether it’s a leadership role, a revolution, or a perfect glass slipper – stuck with me long after the final waltz ended.
Here’s one of the best songs from the show, the Brandy TV version. I dare you not to have this stuck in your head all day!