Tag Archives: The Myriad Ways That I Love Dave

Playlist Weeks 21-23: My Whole Life Has Been A Constant Ailment, You Can Provide A Simple Remedy

I’m challenging myself to get through a whole shuffle of my music collection on my iPod without skipping. Then I am supposed to write about what I heard each week. I’m five weeks behind. I started getting sick the day before my day trip to NYC, and I went anyway because I really didn’t want to miss my opportunity to see The Book of Mormon. I’m glad I went, the show was really good, but the 18-hour day really knocked me out. The virus took hold and wouldn’t let go for a week. So there wasn’t any progress on the shuffle challenge at all during week 22 because I didn’t go to work.

Five weeks worth of songs is too unwieldy, so I’m just going to cover the first three of these weeks, and catch up on weeks 24-26 next week. Then I should be back on schedule, and almost done (at 92% as of today)!

Here is the playlist summary:

* Songs listened to in weeks 21, 22, and 23:  200

* Completed:  84%

* Number of double shots:  6 (The Innocence Mission, The Police * 3, Stereolab, Simon & Garfunkel)

* Number of triple shots:  0

Now is the time in the iPod shuffle challenge when I think “Didn’t I hear that already?” a lot. These weeks were also annoying because my beloved/hated noise-cancelling headphones finally died (again). I spent over $50 to have them repaired/replaced by Sennheiser for the second time in a few years. Since that process takes weeks, I had to use the ear buds for awhile. I am NOT an ear bud person.

Just going to highlight a few songs this time:

* The title of this post comes from Kevin Gilbert’s “When You Give Your Love To Me.” I’ve mentioned him before. I first heard of him in Toy Matinee and then lost track of him. I was saddened to learn he died way too young. I managed to find a copy of his CD Thud (released about a year before his death) in a used record store a few years ago and I’m ashamed to say that “When You Give Your Love To Me” was the only song that really stood out on first listen. The other songs were somehow just beyond me at first. I’m always impressed by his lyrics, which are so clever and often biting. It took me longer to warm up to the music. But I did. This song is still my favorite though. It’s sarcastic, funny, yet hopeful and (I hope Kevin wouldn’t mind me saying this) adorable.

I found a series of videos on You Tube of Kevin supporting Thud outside a record store in Colorado. I was so happy to find these, but they depress me a little too. He deserved more success. Why Sheryl Crow became so successful while Kevin Gilbert had to play on the sidewalk to support his album, I’ll never understand. Here’s a link to the album version of the song.

* Mew “The Zookeeper’s Boy” This is the first Mew song I ever heard, courtesy of the Sirius channel formerly known as “Left of Center.” Hearing a new song I like enough to buy the whole album has become very rare for me. But I bought And the Glass Handed Kites and did not regret it. The album is meant to be heard in one sitting. I listened to it on repeat while cleaning our new house in 2006. I keep linking to live Mew videos because I’m so impressed at how they sound live. I’d love to see them one day. Maybe a trip to Denmark is in order?

* Craig Mack (featuring everybody and their brother) “Flava in Ya Ear” I love everything about this song. I love Puffy mumbling “You know we had to do a remix, right?” I love the irony of having so many featured rappers that Craig Mack isn’t that involved. I love that LL Cool J’s involved. I love the weird off-beat quality to the last “I’m kicking new flava in your ear” part of each chorus. This song reminds me of visiting Dave in Syracuse during grad school. Syracuse had shitty radio stations, so we ended up listening to the R&B/rap station most of the time. Dave’s car during grad school was the biggest piece of shit. He painted over the rust in geometric shapes. He installed a radio that had no knobs. There was no air conditioning. He eventually wore a hole straight through the floor of the driver’s side through which you could watch the ground go by at highway speeds. That was always a thrill.

* The Innocence Mission “The Lakes of Canada” I try not to highlight songs without a You Tube link, but I have to make an exception since this is one of my favorite songs ever. The Birds of My Neighborhood album came out right before my wedding, which we had in Canada. Hopefully my old boss isn’t reading, because hearing this song reminds me of the hours I spent daydreaming at work about finally being in the same city as Dave after so many years waiting for him to get his ass down here.

* Tuscadero “Nancy Drew” You know how parents get antsy to clear their house of your stuff the second you move out? That’s what this song is about. She’s pissed that her parents threw out her Nancy Drew books, etc…

My favorite line of this song is: 

“I collected all fifty-six
And you threw them out
You’re both such pricks”

In the years after I left home, Mom and I had protracted negotiations about when I’d go through the attic and several times a year she threatened to throw out my stuff. Luckily, nothing was lost…except something extremely precious that, ironically and tragically, I had purposely given back to her for safe keeping.

My grandmother made quilts and because I was a girl, she made me a pink quilt when I was little. When I got older and asserted my love of green, she finally made me a new quilt. A beautiful quilt, a green quilt. I loved that thing. It got to where I couldn’t sleep without it. I took it to college. I even carried it to Dave’s room when I slept over there. It came with me when I moved into my first apartment in D.C. Years of use started to take their toll. Tears and holes started to form. My Mom’s cousin who can sew patched it a few times, but the situation was becoming too dire for patches. With regret, I stopped using it to protect it from further damage. Dave was moving here and I didn’t have room in my apartment to store anything we weren’t going to use. I asked Mom if she’d keep it for me until we had a bigger place. I begged her not to throw it out. I was clear about wanting it back.

Sometime later, when I visited home, I noticed a flash of green in the back of my brother’s minivan. Under the Cheez-It crumbs and the other detritus of small children was my beloved green quilt, lining the back of the minivan. It was ruined. I felt ill. My Mom insisted she hadn’t given my brother the quilt. I dropped the subject. But every time I think of that quilt my stomach still catches with the sense of loss. 

Photo Friday: Bowl O’ Cookies

Dave decided we shouldn’t go to his family reunion empty handed. I have no clue about the etiquette for this shit, but I tried to talk him out of it. We don’t have time in the evenings during the week, especially the week before we take vacation days. Whatever we bring also has to travel 10 hours with us. Plus, I was certain his sister-in-law, baker extraordinaire, would have it covered. Perhaps I shouldn’t mention that the blondies I took to the reunion last year were the last thing to go.

Anyway, he insisted on making cookies.

I just made Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies for Memorial Day, so I made the fateful suggestion of trying the family recipe my friend posted in the comments on the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie review. A recipe we haven’t tried before. At 10PM the night before we are leaving. When we aren’t packed. And writing this is also a good use of my time, but I digress.

Dave doubled the recipe for a greater yield when he made the dough last night. But tonight, he didn’t so much feel like baking anymore. So he decided to make them massive so he wouldn’t be baking all night. He also didn’t grease the cookie sheets or line them with parchment. I suppose I should’ve kept an eye on the proceedings, but I worked from 8AM until 8:30PM, so I was eating my dinner and staring glassy-eyed at the TV while Dave made these decisions.

Would you like some cookies?

They’re the cookies that eat like a soup! They have a lovely flavor, but they are very flat and delicate, in addition to being stuck to the pan and undercooked. He’s trying to adjust the later batches, so hopefully we will have a yield greater than zero.

I find this really amusing, probably because Dave is so skilled at cooking while I’m just not. So I’m happy I can feel superior about baking.

My apologies to Erin’s husband’s family for desecrating their childhood cookie.

Of Picnics And Plateaus

Before I got married, my work colleagues threw me a party. One of the gifts was an insulated picnic backpack, which we never used until years later, after we adopted Chuck. Our first Memorial Day with Chuck, Dave suggested we have a picnic by the Potomac. The first picnic consisted of a very long walk to the picnic site, Dave’s homemade goopy brownies, and lots of Rolling Thunder.

Since 2005, the Memorial Day weekend picnic has been a tradition.

Dave’s picnic idea was brilliant. You see, I have a problem. I’m very good at planning, but I’m not so good at being in the moment. Several years ago I remember laughing out loud while watching an episode of “Inside the Actors Studio.” I think Ed Harris was talking about what it was like to work with Marcia Gay Harden in “Pollock” and he said that she was a great actress because “she was present.” That seemed like the stupidest thing I’d ever heard, of course she was present, how else could she have been in the movie? But now I sort of know what he meant.

This annual picnic is one of the few times I can think of when I just let myself be in the moment and relax–be present, if you will. We hang out on blankets, eat Dave’s delicious food, drink celebratory fizzy beverage, look at the water, watch Chuck eating his special treat, and coo over how adorable he is. For once, my mind isn’t somewhere else. I’m not watching the clock, wondering how long this is taking, worrying about my to do list and what I’m not doing because I’m doing this, or planning what I should do later.

The feeling I have during the picnic is glorious and I have to figure out how to feel this way more than a few hours per year.

Dave is a kick ass picnic provider. It’s one of our “cheat” occasions, when we don’t really worry about what we eat even though we both want to lose weight. This year, the menu consisted of:  lemon rosemary lamb with tzatziki, grilled zucchini, and Mediterranean orzo salad with feta vinaigrette (not pictured: sparkling lemonade, my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, and a frozen Kong for Chuck).

Here is this year’s portrait of my special little family.

Since part of the tradition is taking pictures, this means we have pictures of us around the same time every year. Given the title of this post, you may see where I’m going.

I’ll start with the good news, a set of before and after pictures. On the left is my not so glamorous before (this photo makes me cringe) at my highest adult weight ever. On the right is my glamour shot from this year.

I know these shots aren’t set up the same, but there are almost always differences in before and after pictures that aren’t related to actual weight changes. Have you ever noticed how miserable the person looks in their before photo? The before never involves good hair or a smile, while the after photo involves both. At least some of the difference is attitude.

I wasn’t at all pleased with the way I looked on the left. I threw my hair back and put on a hoodie to cover myself even though it was hot. And I gave Dave a stupid look assuming I’d just delete the picture.

In the after, I’m much happier with how I look. I bothered to do my hair and wear something a little more photo-ready. And I smiled and posed in a not totally hunched over trying to hide myself way.

But there’s also a 15 pound difference. Trust me.

So what’s the bad news? The picture on the left was taken three years ago. I lost the 15 pounds between 2008 and 2009. Since August 2009, my weight has stayed stubbornly the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled I’ve kept the weight off for two years. But I wasn’t done. I have been actively trying to lose a little more the whole time. Since August 2009, I trained for and completed: two 5Ks, a 10K, two 10-milers, and a half marathon. While I can’t prove causality, the amount of exercise I do points to my problem being diet. Fuck.

In the weeks before Easter, Dave and I tried eating based at least loosely on the Primal Blueprint. We didn’t follow it religiously (for example, we didn’t give up dairy), but it was still a pretty drastic change, particularly the no added sugar thing. But it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and I lost about 3 pounds pretty quickly.

But then Easter happened. I planned on having a free for all over Easter for about a week, but the Easter chocolate joyride lasted a full month, courtesy of my miscalculating how much chocolate we could consume during my Mom’s visit and my Mom bringing more than we had requested. By the time the carnage was over, those 3 pounds were back and it was time to plan the Memorial Day picnic. I made cookies and had a cookie every day for a week until they were gone.

I have a special occasion problem. And there’s a special occasion ALL. THE. TIME.

Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, my birthday in August, Dave’s birthday in September, our anniversary in October, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mom’s visiting, I’m on vacation, I had a tough day at work, I had a good day, it’s a full moon on Tuesday.

I don’t want to live in a world in which I can never have another cupcake, but it’s way too easy for me to justify a treat.  There has to be a happy medium somewhere and I need to find it. Because it’s crazy to run the distances I have run over the past two years only to support a cupcake habit.

How often do you justify treats?

Cherry Blossom Race Report

In December I entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. I figured there was no way I’d get in two years in a row, but random selection is funny in its randomness. So I spent another winter training for a long distance race (10 miles is long distance for me anyway).

I think I felt more pressure this time. Last year my goal was to finish. This year I had to beat last year’s time, I wanted to be at least five minutes faster. The pre-game was a mix of excitement and anxiety.

The excitement: last year I was in the slowest of the six starting corrals, with a purple bib number. This year, my corral assignment based on my previous time was the fifth instead of the sixth, which meant my bib number would be green, my favorite color.

The anxiety: Besides the anxiety I have about getting up way earlier than I want to on a Sunday and getting to the race on time, and then, you know, having to run 10 miles, there was also this…I awoke at 4:30 Saturday morning with phantom right shoulder pain. No idea what the hell caused it, but the internet said it could be a heart attack. Couldn’t wait to run 10 miles in that condition!

So I don’t keep you in suspense, I’ll tell you that I didn’t suffer a heart attack during the race and I did finish. Here is my race report.

1.) I don’t think there’s going to be a next time (although I always say that in the days immediately following a race). Last year, the weather was perfect but the blossoms were gone. This year was a little chilly, but the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom. Running around East Potomac Park surrounded by puffy cherry blossoms on both sides was lovely. So I think I’ve lived it. If I keep pushing my luck, I think I’ll be sorry (the weather the day before the race this year was HAIL).

2.) I had to frantically rush to the start again this year. I seem to underestimate the length of the walk from my favored parking area–almost a mile. I made it to the starting line with only a couple of minutes to spare (they close the start at 8am). So much for being in a faster starting corral this year!

3.) Last year, my nemesis was the juggler. He passed me at one of the last water stops and I made it my goal to beat him, but I failed. Can I just tell you how demoralizing it is to get beat by someone who juggled while running? Pretty demoralizing. This year, in a race of over 15,000 people, I managed to start at the same time as the fucking juggler. After the fifth call of “yea, juggler!” from the crowd, I ran faster because there was no way I was listening to that for 10 miles.

4.) The panic of the start and the juggler turned out to be useful, because I’d gone at least a couple of miles or so before I started thinking about what I was doing.

5.) While running across the Memorial Bridge, I got to listen to a woman talking smack to her friend behind me about how the course had been changed from last year. She kept insisting that the course went over the bridge twice last year. Her friend kept arguing (correctly) that she was mistaken, but she kept insisting she was right, using such compelling arguments as “no, we were here last year, remember?”

6.) I believe that I was at mile 3 when I started daydreaming about the sour cream pancakes Dave promised to make me when we got home. I pictured myself lounging on the chaise with my feet up eating pancakes and watching Butler beat VCU (which I’d DVR’ed the night before). But I had 7 miles left.

7.) Around the 4 mile point, an ambulance had to get through the crowd of runners. I saw the woman on the stretcher and she was conscious, so hopefully she was OK.

8.) Around the 4.5 mile point, my right shoulder started to hurt a little, reminding me that I’d forgotten to pack an Advil for this possibility.

9.) I got through the next couple of miles by focusing on the blossoms around the Tidal Basin, and eating my energy chews without choking to death. When I got past the Tidal Basin area, I felt like it was almost done.

10.) It was not almost done. I was starting to feel some despair creep in when I realized I was about to reach the turnaround at the tip of Hains Point. Praise Jesus, now it was almost over.

11.) While the very last bit leading to the finish is flat, there is an annoying hill within the last 1000 meters. It was on this hill that super annoying spectators, let’s call them morons, decided to run across the course to get to the other side. Most of the morons had the good sense to stay the hell away from me, but one moron darted right into my path. Let me remind you that I was less than 1000 meters from the damn finish…and running up a hill. I really didn’t want to break-a my stride, but if I hadn’t I would have smashed right into this moron. She is lucky I didn’t have a weapon, because I would have killed her on the spot. My suggestion to the race organizers for next year–sharpshooters to take out the morons on this part of the course.

12.) At this point I started looking for Dave and making sure that I was on the right side so he could get my picture. I finally found him and he looked befuddled, as if he didn’t realize that I was running in this thing. I smiled, said “Hi!,” and waved as I passed by. “Shit,” he muttered.

13.) On to the finish. Last year, the professional photographers didn’t get a picture of me crossing the finish. This year I think I was foiled again. I came in right behind two people who turned out to be a couple (I hope) who felt the need to cross the finish line holding hands. Once I realized this I tried to get around them, but it was too late. Oh well, hopefully some of Dave’s pictures turned out OK.

14.) I met my time goal, finishing 5:35 faster this year.

15.) I beat the juggler!

We’ve come to the time in a race report for the photos. I would like to say first of all that Dave is a very generous and supportive husband. Both years, he went with me to the race, which means he had to get up as early as me. He stays the whole time and waits for me to finish, even though it takes me almost two hours to run this thing and it was cold this year. I am very grateful for the love and support.

Dave wasn’t happy with the pictures he took of me last year (although he got some great shots of the juggler and also brightly said to me after the race “did you know that a juggler beat you?”), so this year he was serious. Last year we hadn’t coordinated and I ran to the finish on the left, while he was perched on the right. This year I would run to the finish on the right side. Dave also took a lot of practice shots while he waited for me to approach. He got some great shots of the talented runners* who finished before me (about 3/4 of the field actually, reality check!).

Check out this great close up shot!

And how about this great wider-angle, multi-runner action shot, complete with cute costumed people?!

More great multi-runner action!

Dave took two pictures of me. Here is the first (I am the one in yellow).

And there’s this one, my favorite of the two.

That’s it! I guess there’s always next time…oh shit, I said I wasn’t doing this again.


* I’m sharing some of the good shots Dave took because I think it adds to the post content. I obviously don’t know who any of these people are so I can’t get their permission to publish these photos first. I tried to use only those pictures that I thought wouldn’t embarrass the subject. If by some miracle you have stumbled onto my little blog, and are in one of these shots and would rather not have your photo here, please email me and I will remove the photo).

Chuck O’ The Irish

Apparently we often get our dog Chuck groomed in March, as evidenced by all the Irish-themed bandanna pictures I seem to have of him. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share the best of Chuck celebrating his Irish (?!?) heritage. Dave insists that Chuck is a Finnish Lapphund, but I guess he can still be an honorary Irish dog since he looks so good in green.

We had Chuck groomed last weekend in preparation for a visit from my Mom this week. She really dislikes animals (I have no idea how I came from her), so we like Chuck to be all freshly coiffed when she’s going to be around him. Here is this year’s shamrock bandanna…I think Chuck rocks the argyle.

Last year’s bandanna was a little creepier…leprechauns!

But the bandanna that started this photo series was from a grooming visit in 2006. The picture from that year is quintessential Chuck. Not only is it the best of the Irish-themed Chuck pictures, but it is also my favorite picture of Chuck ever.  I titled it “Chuck looking adorable.” I love the sparkling bright happy eyes, I love how it looks like he’s smiling at me, and I love how his cheeks and neck are made entirely of fluff.

Dave used this picture to buy me the best present ever a few years ago for Christmas. He sent Baby Faces this picture and they made a custom pendant for me. When I opened it I was so confused. I thought Dave somehow found a Chow Chow pendant that happened to look a lot like Chuck, which would be weird since Chuck is a part-Chow mutt. I asked him how he found such a thing, and he explained that he had it made for me. This gift made me a little teary. It gives me comfort to wear this pendant when I have to be away from my Chucky puppy.

Quite frankly, I find the pendants of people kind of creepy, but the pet ones are adorable. I think animal eyes lend themselves to this application better.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Lack of Critical Thinking or Doofy Husbands*

My breakfast order at Panera doesn’t vary much–it’s either a pumpkin muffin or a cinnamon crunch bagel with honey walnut cream cheese. Sometimes, if I’m feeling wild and crazy, I’ll throw in a chai too. Since Dave had to go through the mall today on his way home, he sweetly called me to see if I wanted anything. Since I’d run that morning and still hadn’t eaten, I asked for a cinnamon crunch bagel and honey walnut cream cheese (so I could promptly undo any good the running did).

How much of that sweetness eroded when I found that Dave hadn’t actually procured the cream cheese because I “didn’t ask for it?” Quite a bit when you consider that he correctly answered the following question: “How many times have I eaten a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera without honey walnut cream cheese?”


Since I only got slightly less annoyed during my unexpected 20 minute cream cheese gathering excursion, I decided to purge myself here. I feel better now.

*Here is Sarah Haskins’ take on the subject of doofy husbands. Of the three things that we “need husbands to do for us,” Dave is not so much on the lawn care and is certainly not breeding children (I hope). But he drops me off at the door when it is super cold or raining, he carries things that are heavy, and he brought homemade hot chocolate in a thermos for me to have after my first 5K run in the cold and drizzle of a dreary March day. Happy Valentine’s Day, Love!