Heaven knows how many times we hear that phrase as children: whether it’s Mommy urging us to put a spoonful of veggies into our sealed-shut mouths, or the kindergarten teacher attempting to introduce fractions in a positive manner, we are always being asked to step outside our comfort zones, to open our minds, if temporarily, to something we aren’t sure about.
I had to do this earlier this November, when it was time to board the plane for Colorado. I’d only been there once as a young child, but now I was returning with my family to celebrate my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. It was an occasion I’d been dreading since the date was announced. Not because I didn’t want to enjoy and experience this milestone with my cousin… because I dreaded the feel of Denver in November.
Temperature is no joke for me: if it drops below about 69, I’m miserable, shivering in my winter coat. (Keep in mind that I am a spoiled California kid.) On the flip side, let the thermostat break 85 or so and I’m like the Wicked Witch of the West, slowly melting (and not playing the silent stoic about it either.) We’d read a forecast that Denver was supposed to be relatively temperate that weekend. We’d also been warned that the weather in Denver is as faithful to the predictions as a butterfly to his mate, and as reliable as the elevator in an abandoned building. It might rain, or snow, or hail, and then the sun could beam down and taunt us with its fickle warmth before retreating to be replaced by more hail, or snow, or rain. I expected the worst possible weather: a freezing, hailing snow kingdom, in which I would be ensconced in an air-conditioned synagogue, catching my death of pneumonia in the treacherous air.
It turned out, we were blessed with relatively beautiful weather. No snow, no hail, just temperatures barely above freezing in the early morning – but that I found I could deal with, thanks to our hotel lobby’s real fireplace. The afternoons were sunny, and I insisted upon exploring Denver a little bit while not engaging in the Bar Mitzvah celebration.
cannon monument near state capital building
art museum – look closely for broom and dustpan outdoor art
Both the family time and the interesting things we saw in the city were memorable experiences. When it was time to return home to temperate Southern California, I wished we could have stayed a little longer to explore more… but as it turned out, the day after we left Denver it snowed.
At any rate, I was glad I tried spending some time in a new environment. I ended up liking it!
Liberty Bell replica near state capital
Cherry Creek State Park – we were delighted to see prairie dogs and what looked like magpies along the trail!
These black bean brownies with berry and mint ice cream are another thing I tried this month with good results. I was afraid this flavor combination would be a little weird, but it forms a perfect harmony.
The rich, soft gluten-free brownie is complemented by a sassy berry kiss and covered in a cold blanket of ice cream – much like snow on the ground in mid-winter, concealing the future fruits of spring buried in the soil. And the cold temperature wasn’t all that reminded me of Denver – like that visit, it was a new and positive experience.
This holiday treat is for those who aren’t afraid to savor something cold this time of year – either because you live in paradise (like me) where it’s sunny year-round, or because you’re just brave and hard-core like that. Enjoy this surprisingly scrumptious red and green flavor fusion. Find the courage to try something new – you just might like it!