Archive for April, 2011

This was a very busy, very fantastic Easter weekend.

On Saturday, the boyfriend tried to take advantage of some free time to show me some car stuff. He wants me to follow through on my 25 list and learn how to change a tire (maybe more than I do). But Saturday he settled for teaching me how to check the oil.

Which turned out to be nearly empty. Oops!

Changing tires will have to wait until next time, but at least now I know that there is, indeed, a full spare in my trunk.

Yesterday, the morning started off with Easter services, followed by a lesson in making matzo brei.

The boyfriend was the master chef

Which was quickly followed by devouring the dish. So simple, yet so good.

Then, yesterday afternoon, we hosted the first ever Peaster (Passover and Easter) dinner. Like Thanksgiving, it was the first time I hadn’t been home for the holiday. But we made up for it by creating our own new tradition.

We combined traditional Easter foods (namely, ham), and Passover traditions (lots of matzo and hiding the afikoman) and invited friends over to celebrate with us. And, if I do say so myself, dinner was a HUGE success.

Peaster Menu:
Deviled Eggs (from Cla’s recipe)
Spiral Cut Ham
Matzo Ball Soup
Potato Kugel (courtesy of RB and LB)
Haroset (courtesy of JVo and D)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Apple Cake (courtesy of JVo and D)
The Best Brownies You’ve Ever Had (courtesy of RB and LB)

We will, of course, be eating ham and matzo ball soup for the next week or so, but that’s a small price to pay for such a delicious meal.

And finally, even though it came before the actual Peaster meal, I enjoyed my first diet coke in 40 days.

The boyfriend warned me before I opened it that I’d probably find it disgusting. He was so very, very wrong.

Some people turn their Lenten sacrifices into lifestyles; I’ve come to the realization, however, that I am not one of those people.

Will I go back to drinking three diet cokes a day? Hopefully not.

But it is finals week, so I can’t make any promises.

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I have always treated running as an exercise in getting from Point A to Point B (or looping back around to Point A) without stopping. I take note of and enjoy my surroundings, and I’ve used runs to explore new areas, but I rarely ever stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

The boyfriend, on the other hand, almost always brings his iPhone and photo-documents his runs. He has an eye for well-lit shots and interesting composition. Or, you know, all those other fancy photog phrases. He’s great at it. And he seems to enjoy his runs a lot more than I’ve been enjoying mine recently.

So I decided to do something about that.

During yesterday’s gorgeous afternoon I took my iPhone and ran myself down to the mall. It was a good thing I’d planned to stop at the WWII Memorial anyway, because if I’d wanted to run, I’d have been dodging tourists left and right. So I paused Guillermo, opened my fancy new camera app, and played photographer.

I'm not sure, but I think this must have been a wedding photo. I could read the phrases "something borrowed," and "something blue," around the frame.

I’m not quite as skilled when it comes to finding that right shot, but I chose things that particularly struck me, and things that I thought I could play with using the fancy editing tools I now have at my disposal.

And the truth is? My run was more fun. I wasn’t just speeding through the scenery; I actually stopped to enjoy it.

I only took a few photos this time, but I’ll get better. I’ll see things in a different light, and perhaps I’ll even explore a little more of DC in the process.

Besides, getting to use the fancy apps is always a plus.

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I have seen other women do it. I know it can be done.

I just cannot figure out how to gracefully ride my bike while carrying my purse.

Now, I get it. That’s what backpacks are for. But sometimes a girl gets tired of lugging around a backpack, and on a day she doesn’t have class, she just wants the minimal amount of stuff with her.

I think I knew as soon as I got on the bike that I’d made a mistake. But I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to be stubborn enough to try it anyway.

The first few blocks were wobbly at best.

  • I tried putting the bag on my shoulder. It slipped.
  • I tried sitting up straighter. Still not helpful.
  • I contemplated sitting the bag in front me, kind of on the handlebars. And I almost fell over just thinking about it.

Eventually, I thought I’d found a winner. I was holding the bag in my right hand, so that it was hanging parallel to the bike. Or so I thought.

But if it had been truly parallel, I wouldn’ t have heard sounds like chhhhhhshhhh. Eeeeieieieieie. Oh, yes. Those are the sounds you hear when your purse gets caught in your wheel. Or, more specifically, between the fork and the wheel.

And this is what happens:

It looked worse before I cleaned up all the dirt/grease/gunk. Kind of like when you get cut and there’s blood everywhere, but the cut itself isn’t so big. Exactly like that.

So, on the one hand, I know this doesn’t look awful, but on the other, this bag was a gift from the boyfriend’s mom, and I’d really like to get it fixed before I see her again.

I’d also like to figure out how other women manage this feat. Seriously, there must be some sort of balancing trick I can learn. I can’t afford to have all of my bags looking bike-chewed.

Maybe on the way home I’ll just try wearing it around my neck.


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When my brother and I were younger, maybe 6 and 8, we tattooed each other with permanent marker while waiting for Dad to pick us up from one of Mom’s meetings.

(The meeting was clearly not in the same room as the tattoo parlor.)

By the time he showed up, we had polka dots, smiley faces, and a variety of odd designs all over our legs and arms. And, while we thought it was hilarious, Dad was not so thrilled – mostly because he thought Mama was going to be upset. So he whisked us over to a friend’s house and proceeded to scrub us until our skin was red. And even then I think there was still a slight echo of polka dots at school the next morning.

It’s only fitting, then, that more than 15 years later we busted out the Sharpie tattoos again – this time at Daddy’s retirement party.

Daddy with all his kids - before everyone else showed up

Back in March, Daddy turned 70 and decided that work was getting in the way of his playtime. So on March 31st he completed his last day of work, and on April 1st he celebrated his first day of retirement. And this past Saturday we all celebrated with him.

In addition to family, there were old work friends, church friends, neighbors, and teammates from all of the softball leagues he’s been in over the years. As the night went on, the scotch was flowing, and the boyfriend decided it would be a good idea to show off his tattooing skills. And everyone else agreed.

Thus began round two of Sharpie tattoos.

From left to right: me with "Popeye"; Mama with Pink Panther; Mama with hers and Daddys initials; BigSis2 with Woody Woodpecker - all courtesy of the boyfriend

And that photo doesn’t even include the neck tattoo or the tramp stamp.

Overall, the party was a huge success. Daddy got a chance to hang out with all of his favorite people, and everybody who stopped by had a blast. I may have initially expected a retirement party to be calm and low key, but I know better now. Especially when my family and Johnny Walker are involved.

Now that it’s over, Daddy can focus on softball (at least one member of our family will hit a home run this year!) and his other retirement project: cleaning out the house via craigslist and eBay.

If I know my father, and I think I do, he’s even more ruthless than Cla, so I’d better get any childhood memories out of the house ASAP.

But I can’t do it all in one swell foop, so just know that I’ve got my eye on you, Daddy.

And please try not to throw out any more home videos.

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There are certain skills that many women (and I’m sure men, too) have, that I often feel as though I’m lacking.

It’s really the little things. Like:

  • wearing pantyhose without squirming
  • commuting in heels instead of keeping them under your desk at the office
  • ironing out all the wrinkles (not just the easy ones)
  • caring enough to blow dry your hair (maybe the caring isn’t a skill, but the blow drying is)
  • painting your own nails
  • putting on makeup (and taking it off)

And you see, it’s this last one that I’ve been having the most trouble with recently. I’ve pretty much given up on the rest of the list (I might blow dry if I’m feeling extra ambitious), but the makeup issue remains.

I’m not one to wear a lot of it. In fact, I’m not one to wear any, unless it’s a special occasion. And while most mothers seem to think that their daughters wear too much makeup, and so would be pleased at my minimalism, mine has been begging me wear more. (In a nice way, Mama, I know.) She’s been subtly and not-so-subtly hinting at it for years, but after this most recent wedding, when I had my makeup professionally done, it came up again.

I asked her what she thought about it, and took her silence to mean she didn’t like it. “No,” she told me, “I just wish you did it more often! It makes your eyes pop!

So, even though the wedding was weeks ago, I finally took her advice. It seems ridiculous to say, but at the ripe old age of 25, I’ve finally started wearing mascara and eye liner on a regular basis – as in every day this week.

This is groundbreaking stuff, I know.

And she’s right. My eyes do pop. I actually feel just a teensy bit more confident when I leave the apartment in the morning. It’s the same kind of confidence as when I manage to walk a block in my heels without tripping.

The thing is, now that I’ve got the makeup on, I can’t take it off! Apparently straight soap and water are no match for MAC, Maybelline, and Ulta. Who knew?

So I basically end up scrubbing, still waking up with raccoon eyes, and just reapplying on top of the leftovers. I realize this is not a good thing, but I can only grow up one step at a time.

Last time I was home, Mama did my makeup for me. Maybe this weekend, she can teach me how to take it off without ripping out my eyelashes.

Though, if any of you have any tricks or favorite removal products, I’ll gladly take your input.

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That’s really the most I can say for last night’s Nats vs. Phillies game. That and the fact that the seats Cashew had won were pretty sweet, so I had an excellent view of the loss.

To be honest, I never assume that we’re going to win against the Nats. Especially not with Blanton pitching. (Seriously, why did Charlie keep him in so long?) But I had hoped that we would at least show up to the game.

The final score may have been 7-4, but really, it was not that close.

You know who did do an awesome job, though? Jayson Werth. How fitting.


I know it's hard to tell, but that's Werth at bat. The iPhone zoom leaves a lot to be desired.

Jayson Werth, who I still love, and his delightful scruff helped stomp all over my Phillies. In the early innings, before his solo home run, Philly fans were booing him, in typical Philly fashion. (I can say that. I’m from there.) I, however, to the amusement of the people seated in front of me, yelled over the booing, “I still love you, Jayson!” Because I do.

I don’t want to say that that’s what gave him the kick to have such a great game, but I don’t know that it’s not.

The thing is, I want him to do well. I like cheering for him. But there are 144 games where he’s not playing the Phillies and I don’t understand why he can’t limit his stellar performances to those.

Am I really being too high maintenance here?

Regardless, there are two games left in this series, and I’ll be at the Thursday one, watching Cliff Lee work his magic.

In the meantime, I’ll be praying that the Nats exhausted all their bat power last night. It’s one thing to lose a game. It’s quite another to lose the series.

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In the nine months that I’ve owned Andre (my bike), I’ve gone on just one long bike ride. And even that wasn’t very long – 12 miles or so, out to Gravelly Point (for a picnic) and back. I actually blame the marathon. Every free weekend I had was dedicated to racking up those running miles, and the last thing I wanted to do after running 20, was bike that same distance.

But this weekend we had the time.

I’d also never taken advantage of Beach Drive being closed on the weekend, so this past Saturday, even though it wasn’t particularly beautiful out, we planned to go for a nice 20-miler.

Now, I still don’t have bike-specific clothes, so I busted out my running spandex and old pair of sneakers, and vowed that I’d get a pair of those butt-padded shorts eventually. But that was really my main concern.

Turns out? It should have been the shoes.

The adventure started off fantastically, and it felt like the miles were flying by. I even practiced holding the curvy part of my handlebars (is there a technical term for that?) so I could feel like a real racer.

Photo courtesy of the boyfriend, who is clearly not afraid to ride and snap shots simultaneously

I didn’t. And I could have sworn I was much lower than it looks, but it still got my adrenaline pumping.

From Beach Drive we jumped onto Capital Crescent trail to make our way back toward Georgetown. It was smooth sailing, and Guillermo (and the boyfriend) kept me posted on just how fast we were going.

"Take the picture faster! Your tires are kicking dirt into my mouth!"

At one point, I noticed how the trail is just a little bit raised, so that there’s a bit of a dip to the dirt shoulder. And I thought, this is what scares me. I bet if I hit the side at this speed, I’d lose control.

Talk about foreshadowing.

I felt the tug first. It was the tug of my shoelace catching a little bit on my gears. Not a big deal, I thought, let me just slightly shift my foot…Well, *slightly* was all it took.

Before I knew what was happening my front tire had hit that little edge, my bike spun out from under me, and I was on my butt, all tangled up with Andre.

I was shaken, for sure. And the bruises that have shown up on the backs of my legs are slowly turning that lovely shade of purple.

They don't look so bad here, and they could have been MUCH worse, but they're still not fun.

But luckily, that’s all. I’m not broken, and neither is Andre. And the boyfriend was there to help me shake it off and encourage me to get back on the horse, so to speak.

I told him later, “This is exactly why I don’t want clip-in shoes! I would have been stuck!

Although, after this experience, I am strongly considering velcro.

*At least four different groups of cyclists stopped while we were on the side of the road to make sure everything was okay. Granted, cycling may be a little more dangerous, but I’ve never had any runners stop to make sure I was all right, including when I was going through my “run fast and vomit” phase.

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April is shaping up to be a fairly busy month school-wise. I turned in a paper proposal today and realized that I have a paper due every week from now until May 3rd. Which is when my absolute last final is due. Yay…

It’s a good thing I had fun this past weekend, because it seems as though I’ll be spending the upcoming beautiful days in the library. *cringe*

But, on the positive side:

  • I won a basket of wine and goodies at the bridal shower I went to on Saturday – always a plus. (And maybe something to help me get through this last month of school…)
  • I exceeded my own expectations at the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler Sunday morning.

  • I went to my first Nats game of the season. And while I had to listen to the idiots behind me bash my boyfriend (Jayson Werth, of course, not the boyfriend), and the Nats lost, it was still a beautiful baseball day (if only slightly empty).

Here’s hoping that the next month goes smoothly and quickly and that the next time I’m back at the ballpark I won’t have anything due…at least within the next 24 hours.

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You all know how I feel about marathons. (I know, I know – 2 running posts in a week?! Bear with me.)

Basically, I’m hooked. And since I’ve started running them I’ve noted a few special ones that I want to check off my list – Boston, Chicago, Philly, to name a few. But I always figured that after last year, I’d cut back to just one marathon a year instead of two. That would be the sane thing to do, right?

Right. Until MJ suggested to me that we could turn 2011 into the Year of Marathon Maniacs.

I used to think that people who even considered this were crazy. Then I read some of the “how do you know if you’re a Maniac” questions:

  • Do your thoughts switch to the next scheduled race immediately after finishing a marathon?
  • Are you signed up for more than one race right now?
  • Do you know specifics about many of the marathons? Dates, courses, years run, etc.?
  • Do you know the story of how the marathon got started? Also why the course is 26.2 miles?

Guilty as charged.

The highest level of Maniac (titanium) has the following requirements:

  • 52 Marathons or more within 365 days. OR
  • 30 Marathons in 30 US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within 365 days. OR
  • 20 Countries within 365 days.

We all know that’s just crazy, but take a look at the requirements for a bronze-level Maniac:

  • 2 Marathons within a 16 day time frame.OR
  • 3 Marathons within a 90 day time frame.

So MJ and I have signed up for the Chicago Marathon (October 9th), Marine Corps Marathon (October 30th), and just today the Philadelphia Marathon (November 20th). Count ’em out – that’s 3 within 90 days.

I told another marathoner friend about this Maniac goal and he wrote me back saying, “I went to the web site for maniac marathoner or what ever it was called. 3 in 90 seems “reasonable” those upper levels seem beyond. What does the membership give you other than serious bragging rights? Just curious.

It’s a good question. But really? It’s just the bragging rights. And a t-shirt.

But mostly the bragging rights.

Come July I’ll be starting my training for all three, and probably cursing myself and the DC heat. But I know that on November 20th, when I finish Philly and I have all three of those beautiful medals and know that I’ve pushed my body to the max, it will all be worth it.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even get a new PR in there somewhere. I now have three chances to break 4:56:29!

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