gone apple pickin'

Me and the fam' went apple picking this weekend. We've gone with my brother and his family in Connecticut but never on our own here in Massachusetts. And it seemed like a good New England autumn thing to do. I'm told the best time to go is mid-October, so we were a few days late but there was still some good pickin' to be had. We tossed a few apples from about five or six different varieties into a couple of bags with the intention of eating a few and baking the rest into a delicious pie. I'd forgotten which varieties were which by the time we got home, though, so the pie is sure to be an interesting (and hopefully tasty) mix...that Neal, not me, will be baking, of course.

For this apple pickin', we drove about an hour north to Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, Mass., close to the New Hampshire border. The farm offers a hay ride of sorts to where the apple trees are, pumpkins, raspberries (and other produce at other times of the year, I assume), and a store/bakery where you can get hot apple cider, apple cider donuts, pies, pumpkin butter, etc. But no bathrooms, just porta potties. Overall, it was a good time but I'm not sure it was totally worth the drive. I'd probably try for a closer orchard next time.


like, seriously

While turning 31 isn't as much of a milestone as turning 30, or even enjoying that final year of one's 20s, because I've written about birthdays the past few years, I thought I'd maintain the tradition. When I was a teenager people always thought I was actually much older. I once convinced a couple of guys that I was 18 after they guessed I was 25. I was 16. And I don't write this to brag but it seems like over the past few years that trend has reversed slightly. So I thought I'd share my secrets to maintaining that youthful glow. For starters, over the past ten years or so I've always been at least 5 to 10 pounds over my ideal weight (i.e. high school varsity soccer playing runnin' around for two hours a day weight). If I compare passport photos - one taken right after high school, the other taken just a couple of years ago - I actually look thinner in the more recent photo even though I'm easily 15 pounds heavier than the earlier photo. Your face tends to get downright gaunt as you age, but you can offset this if you pack on a few extra pounds. A couple of extra pounds of fat would easily take half a decade off Madonna's face, for example. Secondly, I wear very little make-up. And finally, I say like. Like, a lot.

Here's to another year.