Saturday, November 27, 2010

Merci Beaucoup

This afternoon, Josh and I made the mistake of riding our bikes around Bethesda with all the black friday shoppers and eaters. I take that back. Riding our bikes is never a mistake. We made the mistake of wearing too few layers and freezing our way through the afternoon. We stuck it out, though, and shopped some ourselves. As we perused the racks in moth ball-smelling Montgomery County Thrift store, I became thankful that thrifty vintage clothing is now so trendy and that the carolina blue ski pant overalls I found were only $4.24. As we played endlessly with the iPads at the apple store, I became a victim of consumerism and was convinced that I just had to have one. But as we looked through the creative and original goodies at Ten Thousand Villages, I thought about the people making those crafts and grew thankful for the technology I do have.

Most of my life, I enjoyed thanksgiving for the food and the time off of school but it didn't mean as much to me as most holidays. I loved Halloween and I loved Christmas, and Thanksgiving was a nice break between the two but always just a stepping stone from one to the next. It wasn't until my High School years that fall became my favorite season and, with it, Thanksgiving my favorite holiday. Coupled with the High School Soccer State Championship (in any good year), the week of thanksgiving was always one of the best all year. My senior year was especially memorable when us Maryland Shaws met the Vermonsters in New York City for an unconventional Thanksgiving weekend complete with the balloon inflation viewing, a broadway musical, live Macy's parade viewing, brunch at Serendipity, and a Thanksgiving feast at Jane on Houston Street which continues to be one of the best meals I've ever had.

In the following years, Thanksgiving became even more special because it was one of the few times I was sure to come home from college to see my family and friends. Until my Junior year, though, when I was too fed up with travel to fly home and was too excited about Florida football not to stay in the state and attend the annual Florida v. Floirda State rivalry game, which we've won every year since I began caring about it.

This year, Josh and Brendon and I decided to rebirth a tradition that was a symbol of Thanksgiving throughout my college years. It began my Sophomore year when my four roommates and I decided to host a potluck the Sunday before Thanksgiving for all of our friends. We probably had 20 or 25 people there but we constructed a table (with four different tables collected from all our friends' apartments) long enough for everyone to dine around. Given that we were young college kids who were much more into keg parties than dinner parties, we weren't sure how committed everyone would be to this event, especially the boys. But it ended up being a HUGE success. Two of our guy friends spent the whole day cooking a turkey. And everyone came with their favorite family dish in hand. We had so much food that all five of us had a leftover thanksgiving dinner for every subsequent meal before we left Gainesville for our respective homes. It kind of spoiled my Thanksgiving day dinner but it was well worth the tradition that was born and it was a lesson that I learned from for future years.

With the lesson learned, Turkey Day 2010 was not spoiled by our Sunday dinner. It was a wonderful day and night spent with many people whom I love and am thankful for. In the morning, I played touch football with Josh, Nathan, and five other friends. Being the only girl, I am often nervous that I won't be passed to as deserved. Even though I know these boys and that they know I'm athletic and aren't male shovenists, I can't help but question their trust in a female's ability to play football. But I ended up participating as much as anyone, scoring a touchdown, making an interception, and making the only safety of the game. It was only four on four but it was tons of fun and my team won! Cold, tired, and ready to eat, we all headed home. Josh and I went to my parents house where we ate lots of food with Betsy, Sandy, Nathan and Nathan's friend Kate. After dinner we played a very close boys v. girls game of trivial pursuit, ate dessert while watching multiple thanksgiving FRIENDS episodes, and played charades. Josh and I went home in a food comatose state, passed out, and slept for over ten hours. I'd like to say I went to sleep thinking about all the things I'm thankful for but that would be a scripted interlude to the story I'm about to tell. Had I truly thought of these things, here is what would have gone through my mind...

I am thankful for the weirdos that are Nathan, Betsy, and Sandy Shaw, who's quirkiness continues to surprise me after all these years. I am thankful for my parents twenty-five long, happy years of marriage and for the upcoming family trip to Colorado.

I am thankful for a bearded boyfriend who has made me laugh and smile every day for almost four years. I am thankful for his athleticism and excitement about being active outside, I am thankful that he moved north with me and that he loves the weather so much, and I'm thankful to have him in my bed every night to keep me warm.

As my dad said before dinner last night, I am thankful that we now have two Josh's in the family.

I am thankful for my betrothed, Joyce Huang. For her loudness, for her enthusiasm, for her many visits last winter spring and summer, and for the fact that she loved me from day one of our cohabitation despite the mess that I made of our room. That is a kind of unconditional love which only she, josh, and my parents have proved to possess.

I am thankful for Inna, who is so honest and genuine and cool, who tells me I'm pretty more than any of my other friends, who is my fashion mentor, and without whom this city does not feel the same (especially for Thanksgiving and New Years). I'm also thankful for Mike Denny, who has made them our best couple friend.

I am thankful for Ingrid, who I finally live near after many years apart. I am thankful for her excitement in anything, no matter how trivial, and for the contagion of this excitement. I am thankful to finally play soccer with her again and am excited for the many athletic adventures we have planned for the future.

I am thankful for Nicole, who was my rock throughout college, who keeps me grounded, who impresses me with her steadfast convictions, and who makes me laugh with her sarcasm. I am thankful for her willingness to leave facebook with me but am excited to get back on and see Nicole Jones took the Quiz "What Kind of Asian are you?" on my newsfeed again.

I am thankful for rekindling my love of biking and I am so thankful for the experience of Ragbrai 2010.

I am thankful for the Vermont Shaws, whose visit this fall brought back so many wonderful memories of my childhood.

I am thankful for Ben and David and Jeff and the other BCC '04 boys that I've become close with through many games of frisbee at Norwood. I'm also thankful for Brendon, who is Josh's favorite roommate and our great new friend.

I am thankful for my girl scout family, who give me a reason to be excited for work every day, who are so funny and ecclectic and exciting, who can make anything, from a work baby shower to a girlie throwback slumper party, fun.

 And I'm thankful for the work I do at GSCNC every day. I'm thankful to be employed and to have an opportunity to support such a great organization.

 I am thankful for a rekindled relationship with Marlee, who is my oldest friend and is the first person I'm not related to by blood to whom I said I love you.

 I am thankful for Raquel, Julie, Rachel, Erin, Euhbin, Mary, David, Mike, Chris and Stephen. I am thankful for many youthful memories with them and I'm thankful that we can go a while without talking but still get together and act as though no time has passed since we last hung out.

I'm thankful for Sam and Jessi and D4M4F. I'm thankful for Brian and Proemsey and Josh's other weirdo friends.

I am thankful for the florida gators and for the superb rarity of my college experience, made such by people like Tim Tebow, Al Horfod, Urban meyer, and Billy Donovan.

More importantly, I am thankful for The University of Florida and my college education, made possible by my grandparents, Betty and Don Shaw.

I'm thankful for this holiday which gives me a reason think of all that I'm thankful for. And I'm thankful for this blog which gives me the internet space to say thank you to all you readers whom I love and appreciate.

Friday, November 26, 2010


On this freezing cold afternoon, Joshua and I decided to go for a bike ride. But then we were scared of the cold so, instead, we decided to ride into Bethesda and eat lunch inside somewhere warm. We're now in the apple store playing with iPads. We're leaving soon so I will save the details of our short ride and our long thanksgiving dinner for later. But I have suddenly fallen in love with this new technology and I had to share it with the world. If you are my secret Santa, I'll tell you what's on my Christmas list: the iPad. Unless your name is Sarah Parillo in which case you should already know what I want.

I hope everyone is having a happy black friday and I'll be back later to tell you about my happy thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Oh yeah so I kept my promise and biked to work both Wednesday and Thursday last week. Then I ran after work those two days, over 10 miles in 28 hours, which is a LOT for me. Now I'm sick, though, so I have done nothing active all week. I stayed home sick on Tuesday and wish I was still home today. I hate being sick. I whine a lot, I have no motivation to do anything, and I get really frustrated that I'm not better and can't do normal things like drink wine with dinner or go for a run. I would like to keep my blog whining to a minimum so I'll make this short but wanted to inform you that I kept my second promise and that I have an excuse for my lazy, blogless week.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twenty Five Years of Shaw Shaw

Speaking of biking, as I so often do, my parents went for a bike ride today. They went for a nineteen mile bike ride between wineries in Northern California, complimented by a picnic lunch. Today is their 25th wedding anniversary and, to celebrate, they are spending the week in San Francisco and Nappa Valley, where they honeymooned twenty five wonderful years ago. Tonight (right about now, actually) they are sitting down to dinner at a little French bistro somewhere in the Valley. They were on the waiting list at French Laundry, a five star restaurant in Yountville, California, but weren't able to get a table. On the phone this evening, my mom told me she is actually glad not to be spending upwards of $500 on dinner and, instead looking forward to a cozy, more authentically french meal.

My parents have a history of five star restaurant anniversary dining. Actually, they have a history of dining at one particular five star restaurant, the only one within a days drive of Washington, DC. It is called The Inn at Little Washington and it is located in Washington, VA. While there are some things that my parents will splurge on, like some good foodie food, they are frugal at heart which is why they always made reservations at The Inn on weeknights and stayed in moderately priced Bed and Breakfasts a few blocks away. In fact, on my parents anniversary last year, my mom was musing about how to celebrate their 25th and she proposed taking the whole family (maybe Josh too) to an intimate dinner there and putting us up in one of these nice little Bed and Breakfasts. At the time, I was without a job and living with my boyfriend in my parents basement. The four of us had a nice dinner together and then watched the tape of their wedding. They were old and mature when they tied the knot, in their 30s and 40s. So the event was very classy and involved a long sleeve off-white dress with no train, a simple bouquet of red roses, a band that played kind of jazzy and classic music, and, of course, a fancy meal. My parents are pretty low-key and I can't imagine their wedding being too stressful to plan but there is one story I have heard over and over again through the years. That story is that they got to go to the hotel ahead of time and try tons of food that could potentially be served at their reception. Their decided upon menu included this one salad that they loved because it had hearts of palm but, at the reception, my dad's salad plate didn't have any hearts of palm! It was a tragedy that they remember to this day. But, of course, it didn't bring down the mood of the night, or taint their memory of the food. It simply indicates that they truly both loved food then as much as they do now. But my dad had to go ruining that by becoming a silly vegan!

My parents love lots of things. But aside from each other and their family and friends, it's hard to think of many things they love more than food and wine and biking and travel. Yeah, it would have been cool to dine at The Inn at Little Washington but I know I can make this happen on my own if it is important enough to me. And I can't think of a better way for my parents to celebrate this landmark than by traveling, biking, and eating in the city where they consummated (not in the dirty way) their marriage. I think it is pretty sweet when you envy your nearly/already retired parents for the awesomeness of their life. I told my friends at work today about their trip and, not having spent more than a few minutes with my parents, they said "your parents are so cool". Because they really are so cool and they let me see that retirement doesn't have to mean scary old age but means a happy and adventurous life. Like them, I want to be something something (ages undisclosed) and bike and eat and drink all the food and wine this world has to offer. But, no dad, I am not wishing my life away.

So bike on Sandy and Betsy Shaw Shaw. Be vegan if you want, drink wine if you want, and continue knowing that an anniversary dinner can be just as special in a little no name french bistro as in a world renowned restaurant for which you need a reservation two months in advance. Thanks for being born with the same last name, thanks for meeting at a halloween party, thanks for falling in love on a sailboat, and thanks for getting married on November 9, 1985 and being great parents for the last 25 years! I know I've only been around for 23 or so but you were parents in the making all that time. Happy Anniversary!

Oh, and thanks for having Nathan too. Life wouldn't be the same without our little Nero.

Oh oh and I heard once you hit 25 years of marriage, the party IS over.........  (or not, it's up to you)

Our little family

Love and Stuff

My parents in France last fall

Never too old for a jumping picture

Party's Over? I don't think so

Inn at Little Washington Foods

One of the four times they biked across Iowa. No big deal

Nathan Shaw. Better known by some (one) as Nero.

Twenty five years of cheesy happy family

Yesterday: Shaw Shaws crossed the Golden Gate by bike

Broken Promise

So, it turns out I did have an excuse not to bike today. I get veggies once a week from a Community Supported Agriculture Share with my parents and my friend Nikki. My parents (or I) pick up the veggies on Mondays and I bring Nikki's portion to her at work on Tuesday. In the past, I have used my own personal bike taxi to bring the produce to work but not this week. My parents are out of town so I gave Nikki almost half the produce and it was way too bulky to strap to my bike or fit in a backpack.

Believe me, I fought hard to make biking possible despite this hindrance and I couldn't conjure a way. I tried to concoct a plan with Josh, who has been driving to work this week so he can feed and walk Morgy each morning. I thought maybe he could drive the veggies and drop them off on his way. Nope, he goes in too early. So he could drive them in and drop them off on his way home. Nope, he leaves too late. The only conceivable way I could bike in and get Nikki her share today was to have Josh drive them to touchstone and then meet him for a 20 minute lunch in Dupont to pick them up which just didn't seem worth it. I did not want to let myself or my readers down but I couldn't see a way out of bringing a bag of produce to work by metro. So that's what I did. And turns out, I did let my readers down. Before I even got to my desk this morning, I was asked by two people, one of whom doesn't even know I have a blog, whether I biked. Well, no, dear friends, I did not and I'm sorry. But I will make it up to you by commuting by bike at least the next two days.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Back

Two nights ago we fell back in time. I love falling back for about a day. I like going to bed at 3, waking up at 10, and still having gotten my eight hours of needed rest for Sunday morning frisbee. I like the day after when all the clocks in my life still read yesterday's time and I am pleasantly surprised to discover the time is wrong and there is an extra hour left of my Sunday. Even Monday morning, I like waking up to a lit apartment and a lit sky. By Monday evening though, I remember that this time change means shorter days and less opportune conditions for biking home from work.

We are three hours from Monday evening and I did not bike to work today. I don't expect it to be dark right at 5 but fairly soon after. But that doesn't need to stop me. I have bike lights and a bright yellow bikers jacket so I can be spotted from great distances. Last Tuesday, I biked to work, ran 5 miles with Nikki immediately after work, and got on my bike around 6:15 to ride 5 more miles home in the dark. Upon arriving home, it took me a little while to thaw out and gain back full motion of my fingers. Other than the cold, though, I had no complaints. I felt perfectly safe. In fact, I felt strong and proud. So much so that I texted Ingrid just to brag about what a badass I am.

Every subsequent morning, though, I roll out of bed in my cozy sweatpants, I shower and get dressed for work, and I walk to the metro bundled in multiple layers. I know I can brave the cold by bike but, when not in the act, I am scared to. The bottom line is that it isn't harder to ride in the dark and cold it is just a lot harder to motivate myself to. In order to follow through, I need to plan ahead so that's what I'm going to do. I hereby promise you, self and blog, that I will ride my bike to work tomorrow. And at least one more time this week. I checked and there is no rain in the forecast. That means no excuses not to ride and many excuses to keep blogging!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh my gosh what a Saturday. It was the day before Halloween, and the day that all the people who party and have to work on Monday celebrate Halloween. But it was also the day of the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive, the day of my last soccer game of the season, and the day of the infamous Florida/Georgia football game, for which the largest outdoor cocktail party is held in Jacksonville every year. I was determined not to miss a moment of any of these historic events so I jam packed my day full of plans, something I typically avoid doing. I knew that the metro would be abysmal, driving would be even worse, and I obviously live too far to walk. So I opted for my trusty old bicycle.

Josh and I left home a little before 9am to ride to our game at 16th and P Streets. It was cold and the air was hard to breathe, especially for his asthmatic lungs. But oh how I love city biking early on a Saturday morning when I feel comfortable (and not terrified) of biking on main roads like Wisconsin and Connecticut Ave. So bike on the road we did, I ahead of my wheezing boyfriend. We got to our game and Josh got to admire my perseverance at braving part of that ride on so many mornings in rush hour. We won 2-0 off goals scored by Ingrid and I and it was the perfect way to end the season.

After the game, Betsy Shaw met Ingrid and I at the field and we all got on our bikes and rode through herds of people down to 7th and Constitution where we locked our bikes at the sculpture garden and continued onto the Mall. The rally was great! It really was pretty sane and I'd like to think it pumped people up to vote and to work together to get some shit done. If nothing else, it was fun and highly entertaining, and the signs were well worth the trip. My mom's read "Drink Wine, Not Tea".

Despite my plan to not miss a moment of the one historic event of the day, I had lots to do so I left around 2:15. Navigating the mall by bike was quite a challenge so by the time I got to Georgetown, I was wiped out and didn't want to go on. I had no choice so I chugged along, slowly, thinking about the logistics of my costume and enjoying the nearly isolated trail. I don't know if D.C. residents were all at the rally or making last minute adjustments to their costumes but they sure weren't on the Capital Crescent Trail, which is rare for a sunny Saturday afternoon. Maybe everyone is just afraid of the cold, in which case, I'll be taking lots of advantage of that empty trail this winter! After stopping to pee, take advil, drink water, and lie on the concrete and wish I could teleport myself onto my warm cozy couch, I finally got to Bethesda. I stopped at a costume store for fabric and puffy paint and waited in a line that was waaay too long. I finally got home around 4, showered, ate, and spent the next few hours making my costume with Ingrid, drinking beer, and yelling at the TV. Josh and I discovered during these few hours that the TV in our room is a few seconds ahead of the TV in our living room, though we're not sure why. Ingrid and I were decorating in my room and turned the TV down enough so that Josh couldn't hear what was going on. Every time there was an exciting play, though, I'd forget our situation and cheer or curse, spoiling Josh's excitement as he sat wondering what was about to unfold on the living room TV. I found this situation quite amusing but watched the final few plays by Josh's side so that I wouldn't spoil the ending. And we must be good luck when we're together because the tables turned and we won on a field goal in overtime.

We went immediately out and had a kind of messy halloween night that involved too little clothing, too much time in transit, and too many alcoholic beverages. But our costumes were a success and I took at least a few pictures of the fun.

Brett Favre not lookin too happy. The Cigar Guy on the other hand was loving the press.

Bellatrix Lastrange. I should be a tattoo artist (or a member of the dark side).

Last minute pumpkin carving!