The Restorative Power of Mountains, Oktoberfest, and Lots of Garlic

So, the past few weeks have not been ideal.

I stopped dating (and consequently, blogging), the Pats lost for two weeks in a row, and I had to deal with some other life drama that is totally blog-inappropriate (although, my definition of blog-appropriate includes some pretty questionable things — so there’s a good chance that my other life drama is actually totally apropos by normal-people standards).

In light of the above, I decided to drop everything on Friday and spontaneously join two of my best friends on a trip up to the Catskills for a long weekend of nature, Oktoberfest, and garlic — three of my favorite (totally non-questionable) things.

It was awesome and pretty much fixed my life.

Our first morning there, we engaged in an rousing session of moving wood from a big pile in the yard to a neatly organized stack on the side of a shed.

                                                      Bringing lanky back.

Yeah, I’m basically a glumberjack. (That means “gay lumberjack,” for those of you who don’t spend much time in glumberyards.)

…Or maybe I’m just Big Ang. (This is what happens when I obnoxiously try to display my buff chest while my friend struggles to take a picture that actually includes my face.)

Later that day, we encountered a random group of horses quietly standing still in the middle of a circle.

I know, right? It was weird to me too.

                     “Oh, don’t mind us. We’re just chillin’ with our saddles on.”

Naturally, I felt compelled to loudly declare, “THOSE ARE NOT REAL HORSES!” So I did.

And then my friends looked at me like I was the weird one. And then the horses moved and I stood corrected. And then I tried to explain to my friends that those horses were freakin’ bizarre — because a brilliant Mariah Carey music video from 1997 taught me that real horses, when left to their own devices, like to run wild and free with abandon into the sun.

And then they looked at me like I was weird again, and I was like, “Listen, y’all, if we weren’t in the mountains right now and had cell service, I’d settle this immediately by YouTubing ‘Butterfly’ and this whole argument would be moot.”

And then we all stopped caring about horses because we realized it was time for Oktoberfest.

After a glorious afternoon of beer and German food, we decided that the best way to end the day would be with some good old fashioned cigars while overlooking the mountains from the house we were staying in.

           Gangsta. (Or just nerdy gay man with a cigar and a chalice. Either one.)

For some reason (and by that I mean, “probably because of all the beer”), I felt compelled to try to be a tough guy and inhale all of my cigar smoke for the first time ever. So I did.

And then I proceeded to throw up three times.

Frazzled, I thought I was dying and promptly took to Google while my friends watched A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock and insisted that I was just having a bad reaction to the fact that I inhaled an entire cigar.

Thankfully, Google agreed with my friends. Turns out that inhaling cigar smoke is totally okay if you’re a chain-smoking professional. If you’re a glumberjack who only smokes on special occasions such as Oktoberfest, New Year’s Eve, and Carrie Underwood album release days, then you should avoid it at all costs. (You’re welcome for the warning, glumberjacks.)

By the way, did I mention that there was lots of foliage already and I freakin’ love being in nature?

                                         Fresh mountain air heals everything.

Our final day in the mountains involved hitting up my first-ever garlic festival. And it was heaven.

Turns out I’m a big fan of garlic burgers, garlic fries, garlic pancakes, garlic ice cream in garlic waffle cones, garlic sausage, and (non-garlic) bottled water.

At the end of it all, I feel like the trip (combined with Sunday’s incredible Pats win) really put life back into perspective.

And I didn’t even have to watch Titanic this time!

But I did have to move some wood, throw up a little, and eat probably nineteen cloves of garlic.

Totally worth it.



  1. LOL! @ 2nd photo!

    Sounds like you had a great time in the mountains despite life in general! I have to say those pics could have easily been taken in Norway; looks very similar (even the weather…). Something tells me you’d really like it here. Come visit sometime! I’ll gladly show you around 🙂

    Missed your blog! Good to have you back!

  2. I think I saw a show on Dr. Oz where he recommended garlic, nature and puking as a way to solve one’s problems. Sounds like you just confirmed it.

  3. I always think that animals are fake until they move and then I always think, “When will I learn that nobody actually keeps life-sized fake animals on their lawns, with the exception of reindeer at Christmas?” But still. Gets me everytime.

    Hope your drama is settilng down. I will send good thoughts your way.

    • Hahaha. I LOVE that you can relate to that part — it’s so true. I’d be lying if I said that the horse situation was a first! #sameperson

  4. Totally worth it! Garlic is love! Although I’m sorry you missed “A Time to Kill” I love that movie. I love Matthew McConaghey (sp?) in that movie.

    I didn’t know the Pats won….oh well.

    Glad you are feeling better!

    • Thanks, darlin’!!! Matthew Mcdjkahgjklw (you know who I mean) and garlic are so perfect. I think I may have to Netflix A Time to Kill soon!

  5. I was wondering where you were. I figured you were just smoking cigars and glumberjacking somewhere. That’s totally you, right?

    • Ha! Exactly – glumberjacking and cigar-smoking should always be the assumption in any absence of mine. Missed your blog – heading over now!

  6. There is nothing like nature to get your mojo back. Also, I totally fucking laughed my ass off @ glumberjacks. So much so, that I had to share it with my friends.

  7. I’ve just wandered over from The Bloggess where your comment was first and because you had “garlic” in the title of your blog post, I thought I should read it. And then I realized that YOU NEED TO MOVE INTO MY SHED! (that only SOUNDS creeeeepy but totally isn’t)
    Here’s why:
    I need a glumberjack. I have nature, I have mountains, I have a woodpile (or will after this weekend. Apparently) that needs splitting and moving and I have a husband who probably doesn’t want me cavorting with non-gay lumberjacks, so…
    But wait! There’s more! I also have garlic! Cuz I grow it in my garden! AND I can teach you how to smoke a cigar properly because my grandfather taught me when I was 12 and I am damn good at it even though I am also only a special-times cigar smoker (none of those times involve Carrie Underwood, though, so that cigar is allllll yours)
    So you just let me know when you’re ready to move and I’ve got a shed with your name on it in Colorado.

    • I am ready, willing, and able!!! The fresh garlic SEALED THE DEAL.

      • Excellent! I’ll get some candles and a little stove for heat and I’ll even remove the cobwebs in the shed and it’s all yours!
        We JUST planted the new baby garlic this past weekend, so you’ll be our garlic keeper.
        Hey…how do you feel about bears? I mean, the one that visits should be going home soon, but…it appears he’s not yet ready to desist in his abuse of our compost pile.

  8. In my city, “Oktoberfest” is a beer.

  9. SO jealous of all the awesomeness that was your weekend!

    ps no biggy, but I can blow smoke ring circles when I smoke cigars, which is only every new years eve, bachlorette party, and when the pregnancy test comes up negative.

    • LOL’ed over that whole pregnancy test reference. If I were a woman, I’d def be buying my prego tests and anticipatory celebratory cigars in unison.


  1. […] 2. Ringing in the New Year up in the Catskill Mountains with some of my best friends, a pool table, and one quality cigar that may or may not have made me throw up later (as per usual when I smoke cigars atop mountains). […]

  2. […] bloglink under his amusing reply. I love garlic so I clicked over to his blog, found that it was quite enjoyable, and I left a comment. This is not an uncommon habit of mine – I like to spread myself over […]

  3. […] I packed my things. But I was wrong! The Maxima carried me — to and from football games, dates, mountain excursions, etc. — for three more years. While my friends all settled into adulthood by purchasing fancy new […]

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