Eat Donuts, Sleep, Read

For our Columbus Day trip this year, we drove to New York to visit my parents and siblings. You know those IndieBound bookmarks that say “Eat Sleep Read”?  That pretty much sums up the weekend.  I was still knocked out from a cold I got in September, and I spent 25 hours sleeping it off between Saturday morning and Monday afternoon.  When I wasn’t sleeping, I visited the Village Tea Room with my sister, an Italian restaurant in Gardiner with my parents, got a bunch of take-out with Stephen, and had Sunday brunch at my parents’ favorite bagel place.  I finished up my September book and read through all of my mom’s back issues of Real Simple and O.

On Monday, Stephen and I went apple-picking (and zinnia-picking, and cider donut-eating) with my mom.  It was an overcast day, but the foliage was sparkling and the view was magnificent. 

We got Macouns, Cortlands, a couple of Empires, and one of the last few Macintoshes on the trees.  No Deliciouses, Red or Golden, because I dislike their texture and find them flavorless.  And their name seems like a marketing stunt, like naming Greenland “Greenland”.  I’ll be the judge of deliciousness.

Stephen thought the Goldens were pretty good, though.  Here he is eating one.

Afterward, we went to the farm stand and bought half a dozen cider donuts for the long drive back to Cambridge.  They were warm, fresh out of the donut-maker, so Stephen ate four of them in the first twenty minutes.  I can’t blame him.

When we did this around the same time last fall, I wore shorts and a t-shirt.  Hard to believe that now.  It was way too cold for that this time.  It feels like we transitioned very quickly from late summer to late fall this year, weather-wise.  I like it when October has warm days and chilly nights.  But this past month—in eastern Mass, anyway—it was just plain chilly.  We’ve already had snow twice!     



I’ve been in corn mazes before. A farm near my parents’ house grows one every year, and I’m always surprised by how disorienting it is. The paths are so narrow that you have to walk single-file, and the plants obscure and muffle everything outside the maze. It’s the perfect setting for a horror movie.

I also got lost (for a couple of minutes) in a real cornfield once, while playing tag with friends. It was late fall, and the plants were withered and brown, the stalks crackling around our feet. As we scattered in all directions, I got turned around and couldn’t figure out how to get out again. Eventually, I stood on my toes and looked toward the horizon. I saw the ridge that borders our town to the west and remembered that I’d come from the opposite direction. I turned and ran to safety.

So I’m no stranger to cornfields. But the maze we visited earlier this fall in Sterling, Mass, was by far the most elaborate, confusing, and complex I’ve ever seen. This eight-acre monstrosity took us over an hour to navigate. Apparently some people stay in all day, finding all the different paths to the exit. It isn’t creepy—the paths are wide and the maze is staffed by helpful people who’ll point you in the right direction if you get frustrated. There’s even a snack bar halfway through. We went with a large group that split up at the entrance; I stuck with Stephen because he is an excellent navigator, and was able to get us out in a flash once I was ready to leave (read: tired and whiny). He must have a compass, an atlas, and a topographic map hardwired into his brain—he almost never gets lost. If we drive somewhere just once (even if I’m driving and I go the wrong way or we turn around a bunch of times or it’s dark or whatever) he remembers the route forever.

I really don’t understand it. I mean, I’ve gotten lost at IKEA.

Which is why I don't go into cornfields alone anymore.