Tag Archives: vapt

In which we celebrate three years of Team Stryker


Tuesday was the first really warm day we’ve had in over a month. It was absolutely perfect weather for a bike ride – sunny, warm but not too hot, with the smell of spring in the air and the sky the exact shade of blue that is always what I think of when I think of spring in Sonoma county. To celebrate spring, and to celebrate 3 years of being married, Dan and I went on a long bike ride up Geysers Road. It’s a ride that we’ve done before, only we’ve always turned around sooner than we did this time. It’s a pretty steady uphill climb for most of the road, with a few downhills and a few strenuous steep bits, one of which I’ve yet to make it all the way up without getting off the bike and walking. While I love watching the large birds swoop above, and I know they’re not actually interested in me, it’s a little disconcerting sometimes to be huffing and puffing up a big hill while several turkey vultures circle overhead.

The road climbs the low foothills east of Cloverdale, following Suphur Creek (Big? Little? not sure) and eventually turns south toward Healdsburg. We made it all the way to the entrance of the geothermal plant, which is 10.8 miles from the house. Here are some of the things we saw along the way.

Really needs sound to capture the awesomeness

It's alive! And it's covered in ghosts.

We turned around at the plant and came back to where we’d seen a roped driveway that crossed the creek (likely a ford in times when the creek is low), parked our bikes, and walked down to the water. It rushed and roared, moving swiftly, swollen with all the rain we’ve had in the last month plus probably some snow runoff as well. We found a large rock to share upon which we sat and ate our energy bars and our oranges, and then we spent some time skipping stones across the fast-moving creek. I found a cool rock and Dan made me a present.

High water line

I got a rock.

Perfectly split!

Twu Wuv

Energized by our break, we headed back toward Cloverdale. One of the nice things about the ride back is that for the most part, it’s downhill, and there are some points during which you can go as fast as you want because you can see any cars coming for quite a long ways ahead. On this particular ride, during the couple of hours we were on the road, we only saw one moving vehicle; the same truck passed us in one direction, turned around, and came back the other way as we were riding back west. To have the whole road to ourselves, pretty much entire ride, was awesome.

It was the perfect spring day, and an incredible 21.6 mile ride. And I don’t care what the sign says; on those long downhill stretches, I woohoo as much as I want.


Something to celebrate

Despite my annoyance at Yet Another unpaid (furlough) day, the four-day weekend turned out to be, on balance, pretty good. The weekend included, but was not limited to:

* Both of us experiencing a comedy show (at a comedy club) for the first time. I liked one of the warm-up acts better than the main guy; Dan though the main guy was the best; but we both had a good time.

* a trip to the yarn store to acquire yarn for a new challenging project

* Not one, not two, but three awesome, celebratory meals (more on that in a bit)

* Homemade donut experiment

* A walk around a snowy, sunny park and a great conversation

* Lazy lounging

* Attending a fawncy dress party (and baking a cake!)

* no photos taken, sorry.

First, the cake. The birthday girl wanted a cake that incorporated dark chocolate, wine, and raspberries, and so after doing some brainstorming I modified a chocolate stout cake recipe, using wine instead of beer. Here’s my version.

1 cup fruity red wine (I used Yellowtail Shiraz Cab)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain yogurt

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons light whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan; I use parchment paper in the bottom because my 9×13 pans are glass and this makes my life infinitely easier. Bring 1 cup wine and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add wine-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and fold batter until completely combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer cake to rack; cool completely in the pan, then turn cake out onto serving thingy for drizzling ganache.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over the top of cooled cake.

For my cake, I macerated a container of raspberries with a fork and mixed in a few more splashes of wine, then sliced the cake down the middle lengthwise (using a thread) and smushed the raspberry-wine goo all around, then put the top back on the cake and poured the ganache over. It was delicious.

I really enjoyed attending the party, which was fancy-dress optional (I opted yes), especially because I did my makeup and a special hairdo (wish I’d taken photos of this; it looked great!). The people who were dressed up fancy at the party were mostly people who had attended the awesome Halloween party we went to in October. The ones who didn’t were just as fun to talk to.

And now the meals. On Saturday, before getting ready for the party, we trekked out to the big Asian market and stocked up on supplies for our Sunday dinner and also got some sushi-grade salmon and hamachi. Because we knew the party would be nibbles and wine only, we opted for a very very early dinner (or, perhaps, linner). While I did my hair and makeup and generally beautified myself, Dan made sushi rice and constructed some lovely nigiri. Yum!

Sunday, as you all know, was Chinese New Year*. We planned a delicious meal of Chinese greens and mushrooms, stir-fried with sesame seeds and ginger, served over udon; and an egg-tomato dish we had several times in China that we found a recipe for. It turned out to be just as good as we remembered. Plus, I got a can of red (adzuki) beans and turned it into red bean paste, then stuffed some wonton skins with the red bean paste and fried ’em up for a tasty treat.

And then yesterday was our 3-year engageaversary, and in honor of that Dan made an amazing saffron risotto with sauteed mushrooms and basil-chicken sausage. And a salad.

*Oh, was Sunday something else, too? We didn’t notice and don’t bother celebrating that. Not when our engageaversary is the 15th. 🙂


1. The beef stroganoff I made for Dan’s birthday was a success! At least, he and Steve pretended to like it. What I made turned out to be more of a beef bourignon because I used red wine instead of white. No fancy-pants cream of mushroom soup for my man! Instead, I used nonfat greek yogurt, a little bit of cream and butter, and a lot of seasoning. I didn’t really like cooking the beef (mostly because it made the house smell like cooked beef) and I managed to figure out a way to cook the mushrooms and onions separately so I only ate that part and not the beef part. The rest of the dinner was egg noodles (a must with beef stroganoff), a salad, and a fantastic chocolate cake, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.

Dan said he had a good birthday, so that’s what matters. I gave him a nerdy t-shirt designed by Wil Wheaton, a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and a bottle of fancy Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.

2. My leg is having sympathy pain this week or something. I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty charlie horse in the same spot where I tore my calf muscle last year. Today is the one-year anniversary of that injury, so yesterday I took it easy in the class where I had the initial injury and it was OK. You’d think that my leg would have gotten it together to heal completely in a year, but it hasn’t – I still have days where it hurts or aches, and there’s still a funky divot when I flex my calf muscle in a certain way. Here’s your lesson, kids: don’t tear your calf muscle. It sucks and won’t heal for a really, really long time.

3. Let’s just say Project Hott is not going anyplace fast. I looked at the photos from my friend’s party again for additional motivation and it just made me feel worse. It hasn’t helped that my leg has been bugging me all week and that I can’t do all of the abs portion of my classes because I’ve been having nasty vertigo for a few weeks now (Sunday was the worst; I had blurred vision and felt like I was falling-down drunk after we were out walking around the neighborhood taking photos, which is why we had to go home and didn’t get more accomplished). Doctor Google tells me that there are three possibilities for why I’m getting this oh-so-fun sensation, and in all three cases the solution/cure is “wait and it will eventually go away.”

Sorry I’m not all sunshine and rainbows coming out of my butt. I guess everybody has bad weeks. (Also, work stuff. I’m not even going there.)

The one really good thing that happened this week, though, was that I reconnected with an old friend who I’d lost touch with (from the same site where I met Dan). He’s living in LA, working on films, was teaching high school for a while, and seems to be in a much better headspace than he was five years ago. (He even ran the Great Wall marathon with only two months of training! That is some serious business.) Once upon a time we were pretty tight, so it’s nice feeling like I have my friend back again.

Grace in small things (because I haven’t done this in a while)

1. Spoons.
2. Friend gave birth yesterday, 3 weeks early but now she no longer has pre-eclampsia.
3. Videos of Wombat and Spats.
4. Head rubs.
5. Husbands having good birthdays.

Happy birthday, Super Dan

Today is my husband’s birthday. I think he is awesome, and am so glad he was born so 32 years later I could turn him into a burrito in the bed and zerbit his arm to say good morning.

This weekend some stuff happened, namely, I didn’t suck nearly as badly as I thought I would at the softball stuff (who knew I could throw accurately, though perhaps not with great force, and manage to connect bat with ball more often than not?). Also, we spent several hours on Sunday walking around the neighborhood so Dan could take photos for a school project. I took photos of flowers and crap because that’s how I roll.

Tonight I am making Dan a nice dinner and a birthday cake. I told him I would make him anything he wanted in the whole world, even if I had to make something different for myself, so he told me he wanted Beef Stroganoff. Beef Stroganoff it is. I haven’t cooked beef since probably 1996 sometime, so I hope I don’t do too badly at it. Go over and wish him a Happy Birthday!

525,600 minutes…and counting

Yesterday was one of those glorious days that makes Colorado springtime worth waiting for. We ran all our errands on Saturday, and in the process ended up finding a great, cheap place for breakfast burritos, eating fresh donuts from LaMar’s (a Colorado institution), and buying a pineapple. The sun was out, melting away Thursday’s snow. We got all our chores done on Saturday so Sunday could be a day to play, and relax, and enjoy our first anniversary of being legally married people.

It was a day of spinach, mushroom, and goat cheese omelets, of turkey bacon and freshly cut pineapple. A day of leisurely couch lounging, of preparing for yet another snowshoeing adventure (Dan still had the shoes rented, as it was his last day of Spring Break, so we wanted to take advantage.) Of driving up through Boulder and Nederland and along the Peak to Peak highway, of the Brainerd Lake recreation area, of men on cross-country skis pulling children in pods on ski runners, of dogs of every sort. A day of exploring a snowshoe-only trail, well marked until we came to this sign.

Thanks, Scarecrow, that’s really helpful.

A day of frustration, as the weather was cold-hot-cold-hot up there at 10,000 feet depending on whether the sun was out or behind a cloud. Of the snowshoe trail dumping us out on a road, and frustration that we had to slog along mostly melted snow for an hour before finding the snowsoe trail again. Of discussing the merits of oval vs. teardrop shaped snowshoes, and of reaching our destination (see top photo) only to realize it was far later than we’d thought, hurriedly scarfing down luna bars, and making the decision to walk (and posthole, depending on snow depth) the road back rather than take the more enjoyable but longer and more time-consuming snowshoe trail. Of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in the car, utter exhaustion, and the desperate need for a shower before we went out to dinner.

It was a day in which every so often we’d look at the clock, and say to each other, a year ago right now, I was waking up. I was picking wildflowers for my bouquet. I was excited, nervous, happy, posing for photos. And then, at 11:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time (12:48 PM Mountain), we were married, groom kissing bride, husband kissing wife. We looked at photos from the wedding as we lounged on the couch, and at dinner we talked about all manner of things, but during our moules et frite, our salmon salad and halibut dinners, our creme brulee and chocolate mousse and wine, I kept thinking how lucky I was to have had such a wonderful day a year ago, and such a wonderful year since. At home, we removed our constrictive clothing to allow for food lumps, and popped the cork on our last bottle of prosecco left over from the afterparty.

“I am so tired,” I said. “Me too,” he said. “But even after everything we’ve done today, I’m not nearly as tired as I was a year ago right now.” “Me neither,” I agreed. It was the longest day, it was the best day, it was a great day, one of many we’ve had in the last 365.

Today I have been thinking about one of the readings included in our wedding ceremony: Union, by Robert Fulghum.

Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.

World, he is my husband. And I am his wife. It’s been a banner year.

(photo of us by my aunt Kiki)


Taken on Monday, 3 days after I took this photo.
Things I have been looking forward to that are nearly here:

The arrival of spring (it’s here! or nearly so)

The arrival of Spats Turkey (April 1, baby, come out then!)

A weekend at home to do around-the-house stuff and be lazy (I’ve been away every weekend in March so far!)

Getting started with practices for my work softball team (!)

Our first wedding anniversary (Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!)

My cousin coming for another visit (this time, to check out the city and the graduate school she’ll be attending this fall!)

Also, an update on Project Hott:

I have, thus far, successfully avoided eating any chocolate or other candy at work for over two weeks now. Perhaps a bit of my caloric deficit was offset by the consumption of chips and cookies this past weekend, but then again the FitLinxx machine at the gym said I burned over 2000 calories snowshoeing on Saturday, so it’s at least a wash there. I don’t know that I can really feel any difference in my clothes yet, but I’ve been making an effort to change up my gym activity, pushing myself harder on machines than I have in a while, and I think my stupid leg is finally better enough that I can start running outside more regularly. It’s only been ELEVEN MONTHS, geesh.

All about us

Here’s a meme that went around Facebook,and then the bloggers started getting into it as well. I don’t write a ton about our relationship on here, so thought this might be kind of interesting.

What are your middle names?

His is Gordon, mine is Rose. Which is why our wedding website was gordonrose.us (we don’t have the url anymore)

How long have you been together?

Officially together since July of 2001, married nearly 11 months. So, like, almost 8 years.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

I noticed him posting on our mutual interest message board in the fall of 2000, maybe October. We started chatting/emailing in April of 2001 and started talking on the phone in May. Our first in-person meeting was in June of 2001. The whole we-met-through-the-internet thing makes the “know each other” question a little tough to answer.

Who asked whom out?
I gave him my phone number first. Our first kiss was mutual. I don’t think there was really any sort of “asking out” bit.

How old are each of you?
I am 29 for 2.5 more weeks. He is 31.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Overall, probably mine (they live in California) because his brother lived in Guatemala for 2 years and now lives in Latvia. Even still, we see his brother more frequently than you might expect.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?

This is a tough question, because it has changed a lot over time. At first it was the long-distance thing. At one point it was dealing with unemployment/money issues. Sometimes it is scheduling. Right now, thing are pretty good, though we are both more than ready for him to finish school and to move on to a new chapter in our lives.

Did you go to the same school?

Nope, I’m a Cal Bear and he’s a UNC Bear/Metro State Road Runner.

Are you from the same home town?

Cloverdale, CA vs. Greeley, CO. Not even close.

Who is smarter?

I think we’re both pretty smart, in both similar and different ways. Each of us has a head for useless trivia (he wins at trivial pursuit but that’s because I don’t know sports stuff); we’re both pretty articulate and good with words. Our IQs are I think within just a few points of each other. I think I probably have better test-taking skills and am better with spatial visualization-type stuff (like making up a fabric pattern to fit something/construct a garment or knowing what configuration of furniture would work well in a given space) but he’s not shabby at that sort of thing. He is more well-informed on a variety of subjects and far better at anything artistic.

Who is the most sensitive?

For most things, probably me. I’m more likely to wear my emotions on my sleeve (though I’ve gotten better about that) and he’s more likely to have something hurt him but he’ll cover it up for a while. We both get very romantic and squishy with each other and are well-matched when it comes to touchy-feely stuff.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

We eat out so rarely that I don’t even know. Years ago we had a regular breakfast place where we went every other weekend or so but that closed down. Now when we do go out it will depend far more on what we feel like eating – we have a favorite place for a variety of cuisines (pizza, thai, mexican, indian, etc.)

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

China! Followed by Italy.

Who has the craziest exes?

I have more exes than he does but I don’t really think any of them were crazy. The chef came closest to being a “crazy ex” but I wasn’t emotionally invested enough to even call that a relationship.

Who has the worst temper?

I think our tempers are pretty evenly matched, it just depends on the situation. I know he moderates his temper a lot more he might if he were with someone who didn’t have some of the past experiences I’ve had.

Who does the cooking?

For most of our time living together, Dan had cooked nearly every night (or we cook together). Last semester I cooked 4 nights a week because he didn’t get home until 10 PM. Now I’m cooking twice a week (or once, depending on if he has a good dinner idea and I don’t) and enjoying it because we eat together.

Who is the neat-freak?

HAHA. HA. Um, neither of us? Though I see mess more than he does, so I’m usually the instigator of The Cleaning Frenzy. One thing I wanted to accomplish this year was to live in a sty somewhat less of the time, and so far it seems to be working pretty well.

Who is more stubborn?

We are both quite stubborn but I probably get my way more than he does. Most of the time I’m happy to give in on something I don’t care that much about, but if I really feel strongly about it, I’ll probably get my way.

Who hogs the bed?

Me. And Loki. Poor Dan often gets trapped under both of us. I try to be more cognizant about staying on my side, but I’m not always successful.

Who wakes up earlier?

When we were first together, I was far more of a morning person and he was a night owl. The longer we’ve been together, the closer our sleep schedules seem to be matching. In the winter, I have a hard time waking up before it’s light out, so we both sleep late unless we absolutely have to get up. In the summer, I wake up first (usually). Unless we stayed up really late the night before, we’re both likely awake between 8:30 and 9:30 AM on a weekend morning. Weekdays completely depend on Dan’s school schedule. This semester he has an early class twice a week so we’re both out of the house around 8 AM. On days when he doesn’t have to get up, I’m a bit lazier as well.

Where was your first date?

I guess our first date was the first time we met in person? I met him at the airport with flowers, and we came back to my place in Berkeley. We walked all over town and I showed him the campus.

Who is more jealous?

I think we’re both so ridiculously secure in our relationship that there is no jealously at all. Sometimes he jokes about it. Neither of us is really the jealous type I guess.

How long did it take to get serious?

I think we both knew it was serious by the second in-person meeting (July of 2001) but we took things slowly because a) it was long distance, and b) we were both pretty young. Hence the whole not getting married until we’d been together nearly 7 years thing.

Who eats more?

If we go out to eat he will eat way more than I do. If we eat at home we eat about the same amount, or he might eat a little bit more. We’re both mindful about eating for the most part so we don’t eat a ton.

Who does the laundry?

I think this chore is pretty equal. Usually we take turns on a weekend running the machines and we share folding and putting away. It is my least favorite chore, so sometimes he will hang up my stuff for me.

Who’s better with the computer?

He is with a Mac and we’re probably equally proficient on PCs. I guess it depends on the program.

Who drives when you are together?

I am thoroughly ashamed to admit that I still can’t drive my car (a stick) and I’ve owned it nearly 2 years. It’s time to bite the bullet and learn. So when we are at home, he drives. When we’re traveling (rental car) he’s more likely to drive if it’s dark but otherwise I think we split driving time pretty well.