One Year.

To David:

A year ago, I made a move. I found your OkCupid profile and was intrigued. Your words made me smile and I was excited to talk to you. According to you, the real litmus test was “… if you can sit in the car and listen to me rap along to Scarface’s “No Tears” and not call me names. Then, and only then, do we have a chance.”

I sent you this message:

Since then, you have brought it. Fiercely.

On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, we had dinner at El Pueblito. You fed me Reese’s Pieces and we got kicked out of our Cabana and then lingered in the parking lot for far too long. Thursday, we had a picnic with Antone’s sandwiches and walked through the Japanese Gardens. Friday, we went to Miller Outdoor Theatre and saw Tosca. Saturday, we had a 30Rock marathon. Sunday, I sat in a coffee shop while you chatted with Bedmos in a remote session on my computer. After that, I stopped keeping track.

I hope you enjoy these first installments of our blog. I enjoyed writing them and remembering all of these wonderful and funny things about us. We have had so many adventures and I can’t wait to have so many more.

In 12 very quick months I have fallen completely in love with you. I am excited about this chapter in our lives together and that we will have so many more. You treat me unbelievably well. You make me laugh. You are so handsome. You are so smart. You hold me and I feel so warm and so loved and so safe. You are amazing. You are my travel partner. Happy Anniversary. I choose you.



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Meatless Monday- An Introduction

Several months ago, David and I got excited about a thing called Meatless Monday. We were not excited enough to take our practice seriously, though. As I look through chat logs and our shared calendar, I realize that Meatless Monday has been on the calendar since November 15, 2010. I suppose it is about time we got serious about this. The health and environmental benefits are numerous. Of course, we aren’t making any huge dents, but I hope we can encourage some friends and family to join us.

Lately we have renewed interest in this endeavor and are hoping it sticks. Last week, we intended to make it happen. In the middle of the day, we realized we had blown it by eating meat. So, we changed it to “Tofu Tuesday.” When that failed, we decided to declare the next day “Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda Wednesday.”

Monday, July 12, 2011:

Late breakfast/Lunch: Big bowls of cereal. Delicious.

Dinner: Vegetarian lasagna. David and I make a pretty delicious spaghetti sauce. David started the sauce and I prepared the vegetables. We added spinach to the sauce and broiled the veggies after they had been mixed with spices. There were at least 4 layers. David made an awesome Bechamel sauce. We had a friend over and ate more than half of the massive lasagna. It was amazing.

I am looking forward to our next Meatless Monday. It is an awesome opportunity to try new things and to take care of ourselves. Granted, the amount of cheese that went into the lasagna can’t possibly be good for anyone. I’m sure we will get better at that.


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Remember that time I had this awesome drawing made of David?


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Remember that time we rearranged the office?

David mentioned several times that he was interested in rearranging his office. He wanted more room and for me to have a place to work or hang out while he was in there. I offered to help him and that started a 2 month long project. It started with several before pictures of the outrageous state of the office. Then we set about the surprisingly enormous task of emptying the office. The contents of the office filled the living room and then stayed there while we took a break from cleaning for about a month and 3 weeks.

Along the way, we found lots of things. To quote David: “Final count, 14 computers, 4 laptops. Well, 5 laptops. One of them was in pieces.”

Things got desperate when David’s parents were coming in to visit in January. In the week before they arrived, we decided to put the office into the bedroom and the bedroom into the office. We had a man come and haul off the 14 computers and we bought a few things to make the apartment more like a home. While David was at work, I spent some time putting finishing touches on the apartment. I hung up some framed photos and arranged some candles and vacuumed. It was beautiful. The office transition went well. David set up a desk for me and it’s disgustingly cute in here. The bedroom works just perfectly.

The apartment feels more and more like a home every day. I’m sure that has more to do with us than the apartment.

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Myriadventure: The Room

Have you ever seen The Room?

If not, do yourself a favor and watch it when you don’t care about losing a few hours of your life. It is on several “Worst Movies Ever” lists and is definitely a terrible movie. The director, writer and lead actor is a bizarre man. Tommy Wiseau travels the country making appearances at showings of the films. When we found out that he was coming to Houston, we bought our tickets immediately and were so pumped to see the crazy live. We had no idea what we were in store for. The movie has gained quite the cult following and the experience was unlike any other I’ve had at the movies. It definitely qualifies as a Myriadventure, but getting there proved to be one too.

Here’s what happened:

After spending a lovely evening at a housewarming party for a friend, we realized we were cutting it close for the midnight showing. We got in the car and realized that we had forgotten that the car was in dire need of gas. We make it out of the parking garage and David says, “If it starts to lurch when we turn, then we are in trouble.” At that point, we turned onto the street and the car ran out of gas. We coasted down the road and were bursting with pride as we coasted into a gas station. What we failed to notice until we were done high-fiving each other was that the gas station we had so beautifully coasted to was closed.

We pushed the car down the street toward another gas station that is about a mile away. We make it into the parking lot to find that this gas station is also closed. At this point, two people have stopped and gotten out of their cars to help us. The only open gas station on the area is across the street from where we are. In order to get the car there, we would have had to make our way through a busy intersection and perform a U-Turn. David went across the street to buy a gas can, but they don’t sell them. Naturally. I headed to the CVS across the street to buy some gallon water jugs. When I make it back, David has done the same thing from the gas station and is filling a jug with gas. We make a paper funnel and sloppily pour the gallon into the car. After deciding this is good enough, we head to the theatre, reeking of gasoline. We were supposed to be there at midnight and we arrive at the theatre 30 minutes late.

The movie hadn’t even started. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero(an actor in the movie) were in the lobby signing autographs and taking photos when we walked in. We got some great seats and the pre-show Q & A session started. Tommy was delightfully awkward and we were highly amused by him.

The theatre was packed with people yelling and laughing and from the minute the movie began, people were quoting along and throwing spoons at the screen. There were chants and cheers and lots of howling. We had the chance to sneak out of the movie and wait in line to meet Tommy and Greg. They took pictures with us and we asked Greg a question about our favorite part in the movie and got their autographs on a GIANT poster and some DVDs.

After hob knobbing with the celebrities, we made it back into the theatre to finish the movie. We noticed a very strong and specific aroma around us. Someone was smoking weed in the theatre. It did not take very long for us to realize that that someone was a kid right in front of us. I can only assume he was using a small portable vaporizing pipe because there was no smoke. It was obnoxious. After a few minutes of this, David tapped the guy on the shoulder and said, “Would you mind?” To which the kid responded, “Oh, sorry bro, did you want some?”

The whole thing was kind of awesome.


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Remember that time Mike took us out on the boat and it died?

And then your dad talked to me and Victoria about choices?

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Remember “No, did you hear that?”

…when David kept asking me, “No, did you hear that?”

We were in Ft. Lauderdale and had just eaten our weight in delicious Barbecue at The Dixie Pig. There was an older man there with two golden retrievers. He was adorable and kept feeding the dogs from his plate while he caught up with the waitress. This guy was clearly a regular.

While we were on our way out, the man was telling the waitress that he was going to be knocking things off his ‘bucket list’ and was describing plans for trips he wanted to take. That I am mentioning this at this point in the story should assure you that I did hear what the man said.

As soon as the words were out of the man’s mouth, David looked at me and asked, “Did you hear that?” I answered, “Yes.” He looked at me and said, “Wait, did you hear that?” I again looked at him and said, “Yeah.” At this point, I was completely mystified at how he could be asking me the same question twice. Then, he looked at me and asked, “No, did you hear that?” At this point, I threw my hands up and said, “Yes, I heard that!”

By this time, David realized what he had done and began laughing. He laughed until he hurt and was crying.

So here’s how it happened. I had heard the guy talk about his bucket list, and I thought it was cute, so I asked Ashley if she had heard what that guy said (Did you hear that?). She said yes, but I suppose that I didn’t believe her since the guy was speaking softly. So I asked her again (Did you hear that?). She answered yes again, but for some reason, I thought she hadn’t understood that I was asking about the old guy with the retrievers, so I asked her again (Did you hear that?). In my head, I had asked three unique and separate questions about different subjects, but to her, I asked her the same thing three times after getting the same answer back. Once I realized how bewildered she must have been, I couldn’t help myself, I was laughing so hard.

— David

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Myriadventure: Wurstfest

If you heard of something called a “Ten Day Salute to Sausage,” what would you do?

The correct answer is to drive there so fast that you get a ticket from a state trooper.

We did that. In an effort to make it in time to see the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra, David got a ticket in Gonzales, TX. The state trooper was uninterested in our plans to make it to Wurstfest in time to see the Jimmy Sturr Orchestra and eat sausage. He was more interested in the fact that David was driving well above the speed limit and did not have a license plate on the front of his car. “You’re in violation of the law,” was all he kept saying.

After our encounter with the law, we made it to the fairgrounds and realized that there was no need for the hurry since Jimmy Sturr was not on for another hour. We walked the grounds and saw a slice of life. There were lots of people in lederhosen with personal pitchers of beer. Every tent surrounding the food pavilion (yes, an entire pavilion just for food) housed different polka bands. There were oom-pah-pahs overlapping each other and lots of yelling and laughter. It was delightful to walk through the quaint booths and see the little old German ladies serving sausage-on-a-stick and potato pancakes.

We each got a sausage on a stick and sat down at a picnic table. When we were done, I got up, but got my foot stuck behind the table leg. I fell over on my side, and with my foot stuck, I couldn’t throw my leg out to catch myself. I fell pretty hard and sent our now-empty sausage sticks clattering across the ground. Ashley laughed so hard that she hurt herself. I can’t believe that she forgot to put this part in.

— David

We made the rounds and listened to polka bands and waltzed. We grabbed a sausage plate or two and sat in the big concert hall, waiting for the next big band. We made the rounds and listened to polka bands and waltzed. Everyone was walking around with giant stacks of Wurstfest cups and pitchers. We were looking for the booth handing out these

cups and then realized that these people had a cup for each beer they had bought and consumed. Similarly, they had also consumed multiple pitchers of beer.

I only wanted one beer, and so we only had one cup. David couldn’t be bothered to drink any beer, so we had to get creative if we wanted cups and pitchers of our own. We noticed that there were cups lying on the ground all over the place. We picked those up. Then we noticed that every trash can we walked by had both pitchers and cups in them. It didn’t take us long to resort to dumpster diving. We shamelessly grabbed stacks upon stacks of cups and carried them around for the rest of the evening. When things were dying down and we decided to leave, David went crazy and ransacked every garbage can.

We collected at least 40 cups and 4 pitchers. We use them on game nights and have let our friends write their names on them so they have their own cup when they come over.

It’s pretty cute.

The funniest thing at Wurstfest was a show called Harry Potter and the Order of the Opas. It was a melodrama parody. It was community theater. It was amazing. The cast was hilarious. The wands were sausages on sticks and the characters talked about various goings on at Wurstfest. Audience participation was encouraged. There was lots of laughing.

We stayed the night in Boerne and took our time on the way home. We explored Schulenberg and saw lots of interesting things. One of my favorites was an anti-abortion sculpture at the Knights of Colombus that we found during our trip back from Czhilispiel. After that we stopped at a park and played a game of Rummikub. Near the end of the game a GIANT spider let itself down onto the table inches from my face. We finished the game standing up and decided to go talk to the cows next to the park. It took a while to realize how close we were to the biggest spider I’ve ever seen. As we got into the car, I noticed that the spider from the table had made its way onto David’s hoodie. I refused to let him into the car until he got rid of it. He ripped off his jacket and ran away. The spider probably made it back into the car, but we never saw it again.

I can’t wait for the next Wurstfest!

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Myriadventure: Czhilispiel 38

Every third weekend or first Friday or next to last Wednesday through Saturday of any given month there is something going on in the Texas German Hill Country.  On a drive to Boerne, we noticed an ad for something called Czhilispiel and decided to look it up.

Czhilispiel is a weekend festival and chili cook-off that is hosted in Flatonia, TX. Held every 4th weekend in October, Czhilispiel boasts an impressive chili cook-off, fun family activities, live entertainers, lots of carnival games, carnival rides and of course carnival food. Also, a 5k. That we decided to run. Flatonia is an incredibly quaint town with a population of around 1,500.  I am fairly certain that the entire population of Flatonia was at Czhilispiel.

The events all took place “downtown” on the street between the stores and the railroad tracks.  We arrived on Friday night and checked into our room at the Comfort Inn Flatonia.  After that, we knew we wanted to check out the grounds and carnival and figure out where we needed to be for the 5k that was happening the next morning.

Every carnival comes with a certain requisite cast of characters, props and menu items. Topping my list of favorites are Carnies, Tilt-A-Whirls and Jumbo Corn Dogs. We walked around playing the game “Patron or Carnie.” In case it is not clear, it is a game where you guess who is a Patron and who is a Carnie. We are really good at it.

After several stimulating rounds, we perused the myriad food booths. There were spiral cut potatoes and fried everything and tacos and, of course, JUMBO CORNDOGS. Since we had the 5k early the next morning, we decided to split a jumbo corndog and to really do some damage the next day. It looked a little something like this:

It was delicious. They always are. It’s hard to go wrong with wieners in bread and drenched in mustard. We headed back to the hotel, since the 5k started so early.

DAY 2:

The 5 k was… intense. I had yet to finish my running program and had yet to run for more than 20 minutes at a time. Also, we were in the German Hill Country. Hills. Everywhere. Neither of us had ever run up or down hills. So, we made the switch to the walking group early on. David ran ahead for a while and then looped back to walk with me. While he was gone, I made friends with the local Methodist minister’s wife. She was very nice and waved at EVERYONE that walked/ran by and then told me all about them. The best part about this whole experience (aside from it being sponsored by Shiner beer) was that in the end, David won 3rd place for his division. We stayed around for the awards ceremony to show our support for our fellow 5k-ers andno one was more surprised than we to hear that in 3rd place for the Men’s 29 and under walking division was David Norelid.

We went to the hotel and showered and got ready for the rest of our day at the festival. First on our list was to find food to inhale. Fortunately, there was a chili cook-off and we were able to meander throughout the tents and grab samples of chili and ribs and barbecued chicken and sausage. We ate so much that we were miserable, justifying it with the fact that we had walked a 5k and had burned enough calories to break even. We broke even a few times.


Peppered throughout our food coma were various activities and performers. There were bands performing throughout the day and white tigers to go and see. We competed in the egg toss. David would have you believe that there was a failure on my part to deliver the egg far enough, thus causing him to fail in catching the egg. I will have you know that it was David’s fault that we lost. Deal with it.

After exhausting ourselves with all that egg-tossing, we had to eat some more. Next on the menu were 2 spiral cut potatoes with cheese and bacon, fried Oreos and a jumbo chili cheese dog (which we ate Lady and the Tramp style)

There were so many people and things to see. It was a lot of fun and we were bummed at the thought of heading back so soon. After perusing the schedule, we found an activity called, “Backseat Driving Mamma.” We had no clue if this was a show or something we participated in, but knew that the parade the next morning and the subsequent “Backseat Driving Mamma” event were worth staying an extra day.

Czhilispiel did not disappoint. The parade was awesome. There were tons of floats advertising all the surrounding areas festival royalty and the dates of their upcoming festivals. There were so many tractors and old cars and horses and politicians and a kid yelling from the top of the tallest tractor at his friends to look up and notice him already.

We may or may not have eaten another spiral cut potato at this time. Along with a super large big gulp sweet tea. Or two. We had signed up for the Backseat Driving Mamma contest and were still unaware of what exactly that entailed only to find out after the fact that it was a contest in which a team drove a riding lawn mower together. One member drove while the other was pulled behind in a small trailer. The driver was to be blindfolded and the passenger was to shout directions at the driver and lead them in a figure 8 pattern around two cones. Below is a picture of the course set up:

Here is that same course with the suggested(right) path:

Same map, our path of destruction:

Here is what happened:

They hand David the mask as I climb into the trailer. The mask is the very mask worn in the movie, Scream. It is disturbing to say the least. They let us know it is time to start and the mower lurches forward. We make it through the first half of the figure 8 beautifully, barely clipping the top cone on our right turn. As we turn, David should be able to hear me yell, “Go left!” However, he was not acting like it. So, I decide to repeat myself, several times and with increasing volume and hysteria. At some point, I decide to yell at David to just, “Stop! STOP!! STOOOOOOP!!!!!!” I should clarify that the point at which I made that decision was when I noticed that we were careening toward the hay bale barricade and the passengers that sat just beyond those bales. The mower came to a stop once David felt the impact of the collision. I saw the collision. I saw the onlookers leap up from the benches and run out of our way. What I also saw was that David had pinned a man’s legs between two benches. I jumped out of the trailer and apologized and asked the man if he was ok. His friend swatted the air and said, “Don’t worry about him. He looked like that before the accident!” and then helped his friend up, neither of them managed to spill either of their beers during the incident. Once the initial fear that we had murderized everyone subsided, we realized that everyone was laughing. This got us laughing. A lot. I have rarely laughed as hard as I did in the hours following the Backseat Driving Mamma experience.

Fortunately for anyone that will read this, I happened to record the whole thing. In an act of sheer prescient genius, I turned on the video recorder of my cell phone and placed it in my bra for the ride. Since the video is not so good, it serves as an audio account and sounds a lot like a black box recording of a crashing plane. It is terrifying but worth a listen.

If you ask him why he would not listen to me, David will say, “I was convinced I was heading the right direction.” I consider the Backseat Driving Mamma experience to be the first of several glimpses into my future.

I’m still pretty excited.

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Remember that time we cleaned out the fridge in Pasadena?

I had turned off the electricity at my old place before I had to be completely moved out. I had done this, forgetting to empty it out and clean it. A few weeks later, I came to the horrible realization of what I had done. David went with me to do damage control.

It was gross. We decided to put the fridge out for the trash. Getting it out to the front yard was quite the challenge. We rolled it, end over end, for a while. Once that got old, David put it on the bottom half of an office chair and pulled it with rope to the front yard.

Before he had even unloaded it, a man drove up and asked, “Does it work?” David told him that yes it did work, but that it was probably too gross to use. He said, “Ok. But it works?” When David told him it worked, the man pulled his truck over and loaded the fridge into the bed and then drove away.


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