I wasn’t an outdoorsy kid.
“Andrea, want to go outside?”
Putting down the remote in a frantic motion, “Wha—is the ice cream truck out there?! Jesus I thought I heard somethi-”
“No, just to play.”
“Oh ha, no thanks. Blossom’s on in four minutes.”
And so it went. Why go to summer camp when Salute Your Shorts let me pow wow in the comfort of my air conditioned den? I bet Camp Anawanna didn’t get seconds of orange sherbet. Why scuff my L.A. Lights? Why squint into the sun while NBC adjusted the screen brightness as the kids from Bayside High spent the summer in Hawaii? I already lost my Oakleys.
I just didn’t want to play a game that didn’t begin and end with a princess tiara, lime green nail polish, or fake money and a phone to dial my potential dream dates. Trees and grass were for the birds, literally.
Sure I ventured outside. To sticks and dirt and rocks big enough to pretend I was braving the rough terrain of the Oregon Trail. That damn small pox. Lost my whole wagon. I befriended animals, spied ant hills, muddied my knees. I built forts, carried walking sticks, and hid- somewhat successfully- behind trees. There were only so many trees that didn’t look like a vertical line in front of my circle shape.
But I liked the man-made space best. Nature pointed out all the ways I was different. All the bummers of my bigness. I couldn’t climb. Couldn’t run very far or very fast. Couldn’t comfortably capture the flag when sweat felt like a salt rinse in my eyeballs.
I didn’t even learn to swim until I was 7 or 8, I don’t think. Because who really wants to experiment in the deep end when you’re picturing yourself as an anvil dropping into a bed of feathers? I doubt anvils float.
Today I love being outside. I walk to and from work everyday and drive very little on the weekends. If only I could tell my younger self, the one who would have thumbed her way into an unmarked, window-less white van for a ride to school, that one day I’d relish the time spent striding to work… she’d probably laugh so hard that her second bowl of Corn Pops spilled on the rug.
I respect my littler self. She had a hard time with those red mesh pinnies in gym class, her hair frizzed upon contact with even one percentage point of moisture in the air, her legs chafed when she ran all out in tag, and she looked at a beach ball as a twin rather than a toy. I love that girl, I am that girl.
At 25, I’ve become closer Bear Grylls in my own version of Man Vs. Wild. I feel alive in nature. I prefer crisp air to conditioned, fiery red skies over fluorescence, the energy that’s sparked outside. But I still can’t climb the monkey bars, my sprint would still come in second to a tortoise, and my hair still looks like Jessie Spano in humidity. And if Saved By the Bell: The College Years is on, sister’s stayin’ indoors.
Buffalo Turkey Sliders
These itty bitty turkey burgers stay moist due to the addition of minced onion, celery, and hot sauce. I laid them on a bed of baby greens, shaved carrots, and cucumbers and topped the bowl off with blue cheese crumbles and chopped scallions. The rich and creamy cheese offsets the heat of the buffalo sauce and the crisp vegetables provide a refreshing crispness. Altogether, a perfect combination of flavors.
Barely a Set of Directions:
In a small bowl, combine 1 TBSP minced onion and 1 TBSP minced celery. Add a few drops of water and cover. Microwave to steam/soften the veggies for 1 minute.
Add the softened veggies to 1/4 lb of ground turkey breast, 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning, dash salt and pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot or Texas Pete). Mix well with your hands.
For mixture into two small slider patties.
Cook them in a small pan coated with oil and set over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side.
Pour a little hot sauce into a small bowl and dip each side of the cooked patties to coat.
Lay the buffalo sliders on a bed of baby romaine with any vegetables you’d like, but don’t forget the crumbled blue cheese. Drizzle with a creamy blue cheese dressing- recommended: Ken’s Steak House Light Chunky Blue Cheese.