Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Pain in the Butt

Part two of my hiking adventure deals with the day after. As I mentioned, we hiked back up from the waterfall about two miles, at a graduated incline and never stopped once. It was like a Stairmaster, but with better air and scenery.

Monday morning, I could barely move. My butt and legs hurt badly. Even my friend, Percocet, was barely making a dent. (Though combined with two diet cokes, it was performing at a much improved rate.)

So Monday morning, I was publicly expressing my pain to Becca (my hiking buddy) and Georgia (another friend). Luckily, I’m gifted in that I can take my agony and construct it to be humorous. I explained to Georgia my aches and pointed to the two spots near the back of my thighs that screamed in agony.

“That’s your gluteus meatius,” she said.

I nearly died of laughter. “Meatius?” What Greek linguist thought to make the ass sound fat centuries ago? Brilliant, I thought. That man totally would have been my friend.

I left enlighten and determined to learn about my meaty butt. Venturing onto Wikipedia, I searched to learn more about this fascinating, but very sore muscle.

Nothing. My searches yielded nothing. Finally, I expanded my search and there it was.

It wasn’t “Meatius”; it was “medius.”

Huh? Well what’s funny about that?

That’s why I hate the Greeks, no sense of irony.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brie all that you can Brie!

So this weekend I went hiking. No, seriously! I went into the woods and walked trails.

A friend of mine invited me go a few weeks ago and since I’m trying to reinvent myself and try new things, I accepted. I came home and told Larry.

“You realize that hiking is outdoors,” he said.


(Our previous version of hiking was the antique barns in Frederick, MD. We both bought new shoes to prepare for that adventure.)

But this was different. I had to wear layers…which did not coordinate as well as I hoped. However, I did opt for this amazing electric blue windbreaker that highlighted the blue in my eyes. That seemed like a good idea. Plus, I had to pack a lunch to carry with for the day.

Since it rained the day prior, I didn’t shop for anything to eat the next day. That morning, I scoured through the few things in our refrigerator suitable for lunch. For the record, brie cheese does not travel well. Instead, I raided my three-year-old’s diaper bag and stole leftover baggies of food. I was probably the first person on the Shenandoah trails to make a meal of goldfish crackers, mini-marshmallows and vanilla wafers.

The day couldn’t have been better and thought pretty reminiscent of my everyday life. Here I was — layered in my dazzling blue jacket, ready to head out at 8:30; my three cups of coffee already downed, my bladder empty for the long car ride and three of our six hikers behind schedule. Always the lone solider prepared hours before everyone else.

So we headed to Misha’s Coffee for another round of latte’s and conversation. Two hours later, we were wired and on the road. No one had brought the quality of lunch that I had so we had to pull off in Gainesville for Panera. I opened the car door and breathed deeply.

“Ah, nothing like the country.”

25 minutes for five people to gather lunch and we were in the cars once again. We looked good; we had food and we were ready to conquer nature with our Focaccia sandwiches. As we approached the park, the temperature had dropped, but we were ready to handle the trails.

We hiked for a couple miles on our way to the bottom of White Oak Canyon. (It was more of a trail, but Canyon sounds more rugged, doesn’t it?) Every now and then we’d stop to take in the view; the changing leaves were magnificent and magical. We broke for lunch and climbed onto a rock that was midway through the river. There was something spiritual about sitting in the midst of all this, eating goldfish crackers and turkey jerky.

At the bottom of the trail was the waterfall we’d heard about from passinghikers. We perched on our viewpoint, opposite the falls and just starred. It was beautiful. We just sat there for an hour.

The migration back to the cars was quick and silent. Two miles back up the trail with no breaks. It was like a wilderness boot camp. My REI coat felt more like a hefty trash bag than a color compliment.

I came home… tired, sweaty but elated. As I burst in the door, looked at Larry and said, “I am so ready for camping.”

He looked skeptically.
“You realize that’s outdoors, don’t you?”

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Great Country Farm

It is approaching fall again; crisp mornings, daylight savings time, Halloween. Last weekend, we took Corey for our annual pilgrimage to the Great Country Farm. Ordinarily, the farm is a co-op and provides its members with weekly deliveries of home-grown produce. However, during the month of the October, they have a wonderful fall celebration which includes a petting zoo, pumpkin picking, rope swings, and our favorite, pig races.

The farm is located in Bluemont, VA and lies on the edge of the Shenandoah Mountains, amongst trees with rust colored leaves and two lane highways dotted with the carcasses of dead raccoons and deer. The drive takes us about 90 minutes. Last year, while Corey napped in the back seat, Larry looked over and inquired, “Didn’t we rent a get-away cabin out here a few years ago?”

We usually spend the day with three other families and each year it gets better. Last year, we all picnicked and fed a brood of 12 kids. This year, the kids ran off while the adults had a wine and cheese party. Next year, we are contemplating just giving the car keys to the kids and going for a spa weekend.

Corey loves it there and now that he’s older, he’s able to do more things. The other kids take him along on all activities, and frankly, we can go hours before we see him. The rule is, if he needs to pee, call us. Luckily, he’s been blessed with an extremely strong bladder.

The last activity of the afternoon was picking our pumpkins. All of us climbed onto the hay ride to head out to the pumpkin patch. (It seems my spouse has an allergy to hay, so he volunteered to close down the wine & cheese party; convenient, huh?) The field is exactly what you’d expect; countryside dotted with beautifully round, orange pumpkins and cornucopia-gourds. It truly is an amazing site.

So we pulled to a stop and everyone went barreling into the field to get their pumpkins. Like the good father I am, I let my son dawdle in the field, picking up bugs and guts from fallen pumpkins.

Everywhere, parents are working with their kids to find just the right pumpkin; the one that will adorn their front stoop with pride and send the message: a happy child lives here.

As we make our way back to the hay bales, I have two giantatic pumpkins in tow; each the perfect size and color to send the message: a creative and artistic gay man lives here.

My friend Karen looks over and says, “Um, didn’t you have a child with you when you went out?”

“Crap… I did. Be right back.”

We returned and this time I had two fabulous pumpkins AND the kid. We sat next to a wonderful family who each had a pumpkin. During our brief conversation, they asked Corey if he was excited to carve his two pumpkins. He nodded yes.

The poor little guy; he had no idea that these pumpkins, which I struggled to find just the right size and shade of orange, were fated to be the perfect compliments to our new mums. Sad how life dishes out such disappointments. Fortunately, a box of Goldfish Crackers solves anything.

The little guy will get his carving pumpkin next week when he visits another farm with his moms. He is honestly more excited about the trick-or-treating than the carving of large vegetables. He finally understands the concept that going up to a stranger’s door and eating the food they dispense is okay… at least for that day.

We were going to have his dress up as “Dash Incredible,” but he has decided The Incredibles are bad. So he’s going to be fireman.

“He is totally in love with firemen right now,” one of his moms said.

Is it totally creepy that I understand exactly how he feels?