News From the North

News From the North

Escaping Winter Body

It’s no secret that I’ve put on weight since moving Upstate. Blame it on age, blame it on the fact that I don’t walk to public transportation, blame it on the absent layer of appetite-suppressing city stress. But the reality is that I’m softer, and no amount of Farm Pilates is making a dent. So I’ve taken to other forms of weight management. I realize some of you super nerds are linked up to the Heart app on the iPhone, but what I’m doing here is taking technology’s same strategy back to basics. A country FitBit, if you will.Here are my Top Tips from The North for getting into shape, none of which have been proven to cause weight loss or muscle gain (yet):

*Ankle Weights: You saw this one coming. As a Floridian, walking with ankle weights ain’t nothin’ new, so when I was tasked with touring Booty Biter (neighbor’s dog) around her property, I thought “why not lean in?” Started with 2lb-ers, and when one of those fell off walking the Dharma Meditation Center, never to be seen again, I invested in some hefty 3.5lb anklets. Yes, they may look vaguely like large, black sandbags, but trust it’s an easy way to “go hard” when you’re mowing the lawn.

*Park At The Top of the Hill: I’m sure Oprah has told you this before—park your vehicle the furthest away for that extra bit of walking to the store. Same concept, except here I am parking by the Estate mailbox, and walking down the hill to my house. Sure, this might prove inconvenient when I have to pee or carry an abundant CSA, but it’s all in the name of exercise. You can do anything for 30 seconds, they say.

*Martinis Instead of Wine: I’m serious, though. In my older, mature, more sophisticated age, I have started making a salty (helps with water retention!) dirty martini for happy hour in place of the usual wine (which goes straight to the belly, my mother notes). An added bonus is that at-home martinis save me money and headaches. Win-win.

*Going Upstairs to Pee: Similar to Tip #2, I’ve restricted myself to only using the loft Master Bath. What this looks like is in the morning when I’m hydrating on all the fluids (apple cider vinegar, lemon water—just like Gwen!—coffee, potentially a sparkling grapefruit water for dessert), I force myself to run upstairs when I have to pee. Which, as you can see by the morning menu, is often. Not only is this mimicking the four flights I used to hoof in Brooklyn, but also builds bladder strength!

Catch me poolside in a high-thigh sensible one piece this summer.


I have grown increasingly more comfortable with bugs (as in, creatures which were here before me who I just need to make peace with). When you own a country house, I don’t care how much you clean it, you are going to have bugs in there. 

Spiders are year-round and honestly bother me the least. In fact, I’ve even grown a little fond of spiders—admiring how hard they work to eat, how they are constantly repairing their webs. They catch other bugs, mind their own business, and generally stay within their little Spidey home. Other insects seem to enjoy the element of human surprise, and that takes adjusting to. Without warning they’ll show up as a black fly in your Chardonnay, a gnat on your lemon, a bee on your shoe. Or in my case, a stinkbug in your House Binder you brought to the local bank to refinance your mortgage in an effort to assert your strong independent womanness only to clam up when the little fucker scooted out from under the School Tax bill.

The Stinkbug. Messing with me since I moved in, probably because it’s cold most of the year and according to my light research, that’s when they like to group together in the dark crevices of your home. But we are in a yo-yo of cold/warm weather and they are ready to party at the strike of a match. 

Picture sitting on your couch and hearing a now distinctive buuuurrrzzzttt noise. That is your warning that a stinkbug is taking flight. You quickly look around to spot the goddamn thing only to have it graze the side of your face as it plummets to the floor. N.B. stinkbugs like to think they can fly, but once they get going, they realize their bodies are too heavy and rapidly drop to the ground. But stinkbugs don’t care, they have creepy long legs that grasp on to whatever’s closest on the way down.

What’s more annoying is that they can’t be killed. An urban legend says if you suck them up in the vacuum, they will release their namesake “stink” I’ve yet to encounter. Sucking up is usually my method of execution as it provides the longest distance between myself and the executee. Flushing down the toilet is the most trusted bug-disposal if you don’t mind that proximity to human hand problem.

If I could speak the language Bug, I would tell the stinkbug to round up his friend the Black Fly and head South. Out of my house, out from in between my pillows where I constantly fear they are hiding. Away from my dog, Violet, who bolts at the first buzz she hears in the dark.  Alas, I’ve yet to master insect communication, so the stinkbug will live to see another day.

Fashion Ticks

Okay, picture myself sitting across from Sidney at a rainy Thursday night dinner at Prospect, the restaurant at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge where I was doing some work last week. In a rare turn of events, I had showered before she got there and even washed my hair (the SCL free bath products are worth the shower). I was telling her how I was v jazzed to have been invited to my fancy friend, Kate’s v high brow, v New York City Google Fashion Party at the MET Museum.* If all of those details aren’t titillating enough, she has been organizing the event with Anna Wintour herself.

Now, the process of de-country-fying myself for a public appearance is going to involve the obvious tasks: manicure/pedicure at Art Nail, a face mask every day from now until the event, lose 13lbs, probably a blowout or at the least a bang trim, find something dry cleaned and chic to wear, shave, brush teeth.

So Sidney and I are half-laughing about this necessary prep work, and I’m running my fingers through my hair, naturally. How generous for Kate to invite me to such a prestigious event, I thought. Around that same time I say out loud that I’m always feeling like there are ticks on me.

You know what happened next! I pull a tick out of my scalp right there at the dinner table. I then proceeded to flick it onto the floor. Clearly it wasn’t attached which meant I needed to smash its head in or else it would hop right onto another bar dwelling City-ot (newly learned Upstate vocab combining City + Idiot). With that, I took my knife, smashed the head, and put it on my plate just in time for Rose to come by to collect our dirty dishes.

And that is how I escaped Lyme disease and will arrive at the MET Google party largely country-free.

*Some will argue that I actually invited myself, telling Kate I was so excited to go before she had even added me to the invite list. I would say these are fashion details.


By Alison Matheny

Cool Off Like a Local: Swimming Holes

Cool Off Like a Local: Swimming Holes

The Simple Life

The Simple Life