Monday, March 21, 2011

Take An All Weather Picnic

Ahh, spring. It is by far the dirtiest and most miserable season in Pittsburgh. It rains all the time. And when it’s not raining, it’s snowing. And if you happen to see sunshine, it’s just a trick. So don’t get excited. Tomorrow it will be cloudy and freezing again. But here’s an idea for how to defy spring’s misery: Schedule an “All Weather Picnic” and celebrate the season’s uncertainty.

Step One: Plan it!

Invite friends or family and decide on a day and time for your picnic (no ‘weather permitting’ clause allowed!). In addition to the more traditional lunchtime picnic, breakfast picnics can be great, and so can supper soirees. If you live inside the city of Pittsburgh, consider some of the beautiful parks that the city has to offer including Frick Park, Schenley Park, Point State Park, or the North Shore. Encourage your guests to plan on bringing a tasty one-pot dish in a Tupperware container. Warm soup in a thermos can provide some heat if your “All Weather Picnic” turns frosty. Remind your picnic buddies to be prepared for rain, snow, and freezing temps. Having the appropriate outerwear makes all the difference.

Step Two: Do it!

Pack a blanket to serve as a tablecloth. If you will be picnicking on the ground, take a tarp or cheap plastic sheet (you can buy this item very inexpensively at the Home Depot) to protect your tush from soggy springtime patches of grass. Some ideas for food to pack include fresh fruit, sandwiches, potato chips, cold pasta salad, or leftovers from the fridge that can be eaten cold. Pack disposable plastic plates, forks, knives and spoons. I like to take at least one regular serrated knife to cut through fruit or cheese wedges. To be more respectful of your host, Mother Nature, consider packing reusable plastic plates, utensils and cups. If you’re a rebel, pack a bottle of wine covered by a brown paper bag (don’t forget the wine opener!), or a flask of your favorite libation. While picnicking, keep your bottle under cover, lest the state’s enforcers of Puritanism find you fraternizing in sin.

Now, here’s the most important part of any successful “All Weather Picnic” outing. On the day of the picnic, check the weather forecast and dress accordingly! Gloves, a hat, and double layers of warm wool socks can be especially key.

Step Three: Remember it!

Take photos of your “All Weather Picnic” and share it with us on Twitter @ActiveYinzer. “All Weather Picnics” are a way to celebrate spring’s uncertain weather patterns while looking forward to the certainty of summer coming soon! Having a picnic – rain, snow or shine – is a great way to practice dealing with and even embracing the uncertainty we all face about some of the bigger things in our lives.

Make picnics a regular part of your life to enjoy time with loved ones, and to turn the most normal moments into special ones. Headed to the movies? Why not have a picnic in the parking lot beforehand? Or during a busy day of shopping, a picnic can provide the break you need and a chance to fuel up on healthy food choices. In any case, have a picnic rain or shine! And do it often. You may be fortunate enough to find that amidst springtime’s uncertainty, a glimpse of sunshine will appear to say that all is well for the Active Yinzer.