Tuesday, July 31, 2012


My bad for being MIA yesterday. Even though I haven't explicitly stated so, it is my intention to post five days a week, usually Monday - Friday. This week we might be looking at Tuesday - Saturday, since yesterday was two smudges too busy to post.

David and I went down to Denver to babysit his niece and nephew for the day, after which we had to bustle ourselves back up to Boulder in time for Haruki's grumpy dog class. On that note, she is doing pretty well with her training, largely because the training consists of redirecting her anxiety/aggression towards other dogs into her desire for cheese, which she gets a shit-ton of in training.

This is the only picture I took yesterday:-(

This is Haruki trying to cuddle through the barrier that we got to save her if we were to get in a car accident. We are thinking that we ought to send this picture to the other dog owners in Haruki's grumpy dogs class--you know, so they know not to mess with Hannibal-Ruki.

Other highlights from the weekend include having dinner with friends at Aji (ajirestaurant.com). Company was good, dinner was "meh." The best thing I had was the Honey Brown beer I ordered.

We also got a chance to catch up with our long-lost friend Adam, who has recently returned to Boulder after a lengthy sojourn in his native UK. Adam made us tea--with a real live tea cosy!

Adam is also a professor of philosophy at CU Boulder, and is s.i.n.g.l.e.!!! Photos forthcoming!

And finally: agggggggghhhhh! Our wedding is next Saturday! (August 11, not August 4). Raise your hand if you thought next Saturday meant August 4. You're wrong. Booyah.

*Do you find yourself engaging in idiotic behavior just because you know it will mean a less-boring photograph for your blog?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday First

Today was Haruki's first day ever being off-leash (since we've had her).

Given her propensity to hyperventilate when she sees deer, small rodents, birds, etc., this is a big deal, as it meant that I had to loosen the f$%& up and just trust her a little. Yah--that's right. I had to trust a two-year old dog that she'd listen when we called her, even if a deer might be taunting her to chase. (More on this scenario soon, unfortunately.)

This was Haruki after David and I put on her new off-leash collar.

It's a Garmin Astro, which is specifically designed to track dogs when they're wearing this funky collar. (It cost a lot. Don't ask. David has been very intent on letting Haruki off-leash so who am I to complain if that Astro bizness means that we literally can't afford to get blinds in our house?)

This is right before she realized that I was holding her leash and that is was, in fact, not attached to her.

2.5 seconds later...

It turns out that our dog is a lot faster than we thought, and is also able to spring in the air in the same way that deer do. I mean it--she doesn't even need a running start to jump five feet in the air, she just hops like a cricket.

Despite being stressed that she'd run away forever, it made me so (embarrassingly) happy to see how happy she was running alongside us, playing in the grass, and just generally being a very doggy dog.

Unfortunately, as often happens in our little mountain neighborhood, we--and Haruki--spotted a group of four deer on a ridge above us. Though she did come to us after seeing the deer, after seeing them jump off Haruki bolted after them. According to our Garmin tracker, she ran and chased those poor deer for about three hundred yards down the canyon. In other words, I screamed her name like an idiot for about five minutes before she came running back, completely exhausted but so happy to see us. (It's lucky she recognizes my voice, even when I'm screeching full-stop and my voice is cracking like an egg.) (Sorry for the simile.)

Lucky for me and David, Haruki was--and still is--completely wiped out from this adventure. She collapsed on our floor very quickly and I was able to snap a picture of her battle wounds:

She did not have those little gouges on her right arm before we left. So, either she nicked herself on a sharp rock while running, or ... she caught one of those deer and they gave her what for! Sigh. I can't believe that people with kids ever let them leave the house. I'm going to need a lot of Xanax if we have kids...

*Do you ever let your dog off-leash? We aren't comfortable doing it often or in many locations, but because the area around our house is secluded forest it's a much safer option than in most places.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gisella Restaurant Review

Yah, even the restaurant names are fancier in Aspen. I actually heard a waiter pronounce it like "Gizz-ella" rather than "Gee-zella." Yikes. Aspen is where fancy-schmancy comes to die and be reborn uber-fancy-schmanced.

Luckily, however, our meal was actually very good, and we were able to sit outside on with Haruki tucked on the side of our table.

We do not feed her human food, and yet here she is, staring at David's focaccia like she owns it.

Despite plowing our way through some pretty average focaccia and olive oil, David and I decided to stuff ourselves with entrees and appetizers! (Vacation = a valid reason for ignoring hunger/satiety cues--my favorite!)

David had the minestrone, which was surprisingly yummy: lots of really fresh veggies, some kind of nutty and hearty grain, and a broth that tasted like more than water!

I had the misto salad, which was a complete rip-off at $12--though it was also the cheapest salad on the menu. And I'm not talking about entree salads here, people, I'm talking about starter salads that cost $12-20. There's a big part of me that will always see spending $12 on a starter salad as absurd--even if it did have a great lemon vinaigrette and even if I become a rich and famous vagina scholar.

For our entrees, David and I both had the Whole-Wheat Veggie Pasta, which was.so.good. As you might recall, I don't like pasta so much, but this I really enjoyed. The WW pasta was hearty and filling and perfectly cooked. There was a diverse range of veggies from spinach to peas to string beans to artichoke to tomato to mushroom, all of which were coated in a subtle but yummy and thick sauce (and later topped with parmesan cheese)!

I kept telling David that I wish I knew what made this pasta dish a success while previous pasta dishes have been crap--any ideas? I would eat pasta a lot more if it tasted like this. (OK, realistically, I'd cook dinner occasionally and occasionally cook pasta instead of what I've been doing lately, which is eating a s%&*ton of kale and then filling in all my additional caloric "needs" with chocolate and cereal. (Please see my post on girl hormones.)

After dinner, we took a walk around the swanky neighborhoods of Aspen. And! We saw a bear! Eating trash! I didn't get a picture, though, because it was literally six feet from us and I was too busy freaking out and trying to get away quickly without alarming the bear. (Given my emotional state lately, I'm surprised the bear didn't sense my voracious appetite--yes, even for trash--and attack me as a food competitor.)

*Do you ever post blogs without proofreading them? (Ummm...just curious...)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Yah, this is going to be a shortie, because I've just opened a beer (Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout--soo yummy) and I'm going to enter a very lazy mode asap.

But I did want to share some of the beautiful scenery that David and I saw on our hike today. Today we headed to the Maroon Bells, which, in case you didn't know, are probably the most photographed peaks in all of Colorado. And I can see why. The hike was peaceful, refreshing, invigorating--all that good stuff. There was flora and fauna (I don't really know what those are), waterfalls, high cliffs, and even black bears! (YES! David and I actually saw one black bear while hiking and another this evening during an after-dinner walk!)

I'll be back tomorrow with a bit more detail, but until then...

Nerd alert.

My hat is shielding my face so you can't tell that I look like I'm tired and ageing:-)

P.S. I looked up my Google Reader subscribers today and found that I lost one. I'm down to five, and I can only assume that is because I admitted that I cuddle with Haruki. Sorry peeps. My bad. Won't happen again.

P.P.S. And really, I'm down to three Google Reader subscribers, since two of them are me and David:-(

*If you have a blog, do you obsessively try to track how many people are reading it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Is that a movie title?

Uhhh, anyway, that's what we've got over here on our road trip to Aspen, CO--dogville. It's our first trip with Haruki, and it's ... different than the trips David and I have taken together.

On previous trips, David and I feel free to do whatever we like. Usually we bring our bikes and fall into a routine that looks like this: wake up when we want, get ready to ride, eat breakfast at some cute cafe, ride, shower/sleep/etc.(!), followed by dinner, followed by dessert somewhere.

Pretty nice, right?

With Haruki here, however, that has changed, since we are not allowed to leave her alone in the hotel at all, meaning that biking together and eating wherever we want is not an option. Hiking is now our activity of choice, since it's more dog friendly. As far as dinner goes, we're left to take-out or places that have outdoor seating; this isn't so bad in the middle of July, but I'd hate to take a weekend getaway trip in the middle of winter!

All that being said, on a dog-free weekend getaway I usually only have one person to play and cuddle with!

I drank no alcohol before this picture was taken.
The reason I'm hashing all of this out is that having Haruki here on our vacation has made me really think about what life becomes once you have kids. Obviously (actually, I mean hopefully) I'll love our kids way more than I love Haruki, but sometimes I really wonder just how hard it is going to be to adjust to life with kids. I mean, if you want to take a hike while on vacation, you either carry the baby while it's still little, or deal with complaining about how tired they are once they get older! If you want to take a family bike ride, suddenly you not only have to buy more bikes, but you also have to buy more gear, transport it, and wash it!

I swear I don't hate kids, despite how those last two scenarios sound. But realistically, it's an entirely different lifestyle--and one that I'm struggling to accept because it's hard to know if it's right for you without just jumping down the rabbit hole full stop.

*How do/did you adjust to life with kids? Vacations with kids?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Partying with Kurt and Goldie

Only we're staying in a slightly less swanky hotel.

At least I figured out that the bad smell in the room is coming from Haruki's new bone and not the bed, the floor, me, etc.
In case you don't follow celebrity news, my little reference to "Kurt and Goldie" means that David, Haruki, and I are in Aspen, Colorado. We're here until Thursday because the floors and stairs at home are being stained and we had to be out. I'd been to Aspen before, though only for one-night stints while doing Ride the Rockies bike tour. As such, I jumped at the chance to come here when David asked where I might like to spend our four homeless days.

So far, so good, though I have to say that Aspen doesn't feel like a quintessential Colorado mountain town. By that I mean that it is too swanky for it's own good, and people (so far) don't seem to be as nice.

Exhibit A: 

David and I walked into an art gallery this evening because we liked this painting of a bear staring at butterflies.

Unfortunately, we had already spent $42,000 on dinner, so we couldn't afford this painting--whomp whomp!

Not only that, but dinner was pretty lame to boot! We got takeout from Pyramid Bistro and went to sit here to eat:

We tried their crunchy kale chips, veggie potstickers (David's choice), homemade veggie burger, and tofu/veggie stir fry. Once again, I remembered halfway through that I ought to photograph my mediocre food.

The veggie burger was pretty good, but that stir fry reminded me of when I ate a lot of Lean Cuisine meals.

On the up side, the scenery isn't too bad, 

and I'm here with my two favorite dawggggggs.

After all, vacation is just a chance to respond to emails in a new location, right?

And yes, we brought Haruki with us. More on the joys of traveling with a dog tomorrow. Heh.

*Ever been to Aspen? Any spots we should check out? Tips on traveling with a dog? Heeeeeeeelp meeeeee...

Friday, July 20, 2012


If you read my last post (http://nikkicookskale.blogspot.com/2012/07/menses-schmenses.html) then you already know that I'm losing my shiiiiiiit:

Actually, I took this picture in the bathroom at Whole Foods after I had my makeup done for the wedding last week. I look kind of like a horse on LSD in this picture--hmmm. . .prolly not the look the makeup artist was going for...

However, if you read the news this morning (http://www.9news.com/news/article/278707/71/71-shot-12-dead-in-horrific-theater-shooting), then you also know that me feeling kooky isn't too high up on the list of things that will ruin your week.

Sigh. I have nothing original to add to the discussion that these events inevitably incite, but I did spend today reminding myself that:

1) I'm healthy.
2) The people I love are healthy and live near me.
3) I'm a very lucky woman.
4) Also, I like lists. They are a nice solution for the tension between my laziness and my desire to write well on this blog.

In other news, I didn't spend all day today thinking only about myself! Yeeeeowww!

I went in for a shift at the Humane Society, and gave some pent up dogs some much-needed exercise.

Exhibit A: Toby!

Toby is only seven months old, with soft brown eyes and really shiny pretty cute floppy ears. Check him out: http://www.boulderhumane.org/animals/adoption/16610334

And Pinto (not the best name for a dog, I think): http://www.boulderhumane.org/animals/adoption/16755457

Pinto was a real sweetheart, and love.love.loved jumping in the cool creek (it's 100 degrees here today). So while I didn't cure cancer today, I did give two very sweet dogs a nice afternoon walk and cool-off. (Shrug) Better than staying home and thinking hateful thoughts about your mom myself.

*For what are you grateful today?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Umm, so I'm going to write about menstruation here, so all you peeps who don't want to read about girl crap--peace out!


I've decided to write about menstruation because I'm currently experiencing an unfortunate influx of girl hormones. As a result:

1) I am tired.
2) I feel lazy and worthless and unable to do the simplest of tasks.
3) I feel fat.
4) I suddenly feel even more uncoordinated in my group exercise classes.
5) I feel doubt about everything.
6) David's poop jokes are less funny.
7) David is generally less funny.

Now I read _Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret_ the same as every other adolescent girl, so I know about the slew of "symptoms" that are associated with PMS. But really, who gives a shit about cramps and acne when the most disturbing part of hormones is that they make you feel like you're not yourself. Anyone? Is it just me?

Because I stopped having my period for about three years, from ~27-30, and was previously on a birth control pill that regulated my cycle, the last year or so of having real, hormonally unregulated menstrual cycles has come as something of a shock. It took a lot concerted effort for me to get my period back after I lost it, so I don't say this lightly ... but, man it was great not having a period!

*So, umm, can someone else weigh in on this issue? Are you affected by menstrual hormones at all? (Or do I just have a mood disorder?!!!)

*Also, any thoughts about attitudes towards PMS in other cultures? Somehow I doubt that I'd be boo-hooing about "not feeling like myself" if I lived in rural Africa...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Does WIAW mean that you post what you ate on Tuesday on Wednesday? I don't think I'll ever stop being too lazy to take pictures of everything I eat, but just in case, it would be good to know.

In other news, Haruki made a new friend! More importantly, she didn't attempt to mortally wound said new friend! Yay!

That's Jenny, and she belongs to our blacksmith, Will. Will and Jenny came over last night to drop off some metal sheets for our garage doors. After a few tense moments (on my part) Jenny and Haruki literally frolicked for an hour. I have to say, I don't like Haruki's dog aggression because it scares and embarrasses me,* but seeing how happy she was to have a friend made me want to keep working hard at getting her to relax around other dogs.  

Am I the only one who thinks it's adorable that Haruki and Jenny are drinking together out of the same bowl?

In other news, I went to a new class at the gym today and had my ego taken down a notch. It was a step aerobics class, and although the group exercise classes I've been taking have some step aerobics, this was another story. Let's just say that there is a reason I don't dance unless I've had a lot to drink, and it might have something to do with how stupid I looked when the instructor told us to do a "Meringue" move.

I still don't know what that means, but I'm pretty confident that I didn't do it correctly. Sigh. But at least I'm learning to love looking stupid--if only for the sake of getting a good workout:-)

*I know. It says a lot about my neuroses that I'm embarrassed by my dog's behavior. I'm working on it (With Peanut Butter Puffins) (And cheese for Haruki).

**Tell me something good: best thing that you've eaten in the last 24 hours, or something that made you v.v. happy recently?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Construction Whine

I think of myself as a definite morning person. I like being awake before David, I could go to be by ten every night, and I love love love drinking my coffee by myself when I still have the whole day to enjoy.

However, what I love less is this:

Oh, and this:

In the first picture, you get a sense of just how many random people are milling about our house by 7:50 every morning. (Each car/truck usually brings about two-three people.)

Yes, it is nice that soon David and I will get to live in this beautiful house that is brand new. But until then, we are like three months past the scheduled completion date and our house is still a zoo everyday!

In the lower photograph, you can (barely) see a big Cat tractor (I think that's what it's called) that is driving past our house every morning on the way to start construction on another house that burned down in the Four Mile fire.

Sigh. This a.m. I definitely considered becoming a night person. If only I wasn't prone to eating chocolate late at night I might take some action and start staying and waking up late!

In other news, my dog is cute:

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I love her. It's also made me think more favorably about having kids. I mean, having a dog is not the same as having kids. But in both cases you are expected to exert some effort in order to care for another being. Your reward in both cases is that you get to love something and on most days it makes you a happier person as a result.

Peeps with kids--am I even close? I'm trying really hard to come around to the kid thing, but the tiniest part of my rational brain needs a really good explanation for why we humans voluntarily raise children--not that raising kids is a horrible task, of course, but is definitely very challenging on a lot of levels.

Lastly, I wrote another paragraph for my dissertation introduction. To reward myself, I went and had my makeup done at Sephora--as a tutorial for the "big day." I liked how it turned out, though I did experience some self doubt about my current level of makeup use. I used to wear makeup really frequently, though since meeting David I've whittled it down to powder, blush, and mascara (at his request).

I have to say, it made me feel a bit prettier to wear more makeup again. But I was not a fan of the cleanup:

I don't think I'll be wearing industrial-strength mascara on our wedding day.

*Is having kids worth it? How much makeup do you wear?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Monday...La la, la la la

I'm afraid that I have to make this relatively quick, since it's 8 p.m., I've just gotten home, and I still have a shower and several other things to take care of before I bid adieu for my bed.

I'll start with the weekend. It was mostly good, though perhaps not great. We did have a great visit with my parents on Saturday night, as well as a birthday party for David's mother last night.

In addition, we shopped: dresses for me, and wedding bands for him:

I'm looking for a dress to wear on the night before our wedding. If I look annoyed in the picture on the right it's because: 1) that dress looks like a gingham sack, and 2) David kept making me come all the way out into the store to see how I looked. Am I the only one who loathes having other people see me while I'm trying things on? On the bright side, by putting this photo up I'm saying "Who gives a f*$%."

Thankfully David is not actually interested in most of these rings. Rather, he is thinking about having something custom-designed that combines elements of some of these rings. Although if he wore one of the garish numbers above that might assuage any fears I have of other women hitting on him. Actually, the fact that he wears this hat does that anyway:


Per my Friday wishes, we also made pancakes!! Banana-Cinnamon pancakes, to be precise. (Do I have to state that they were whole grain, or will you just know that I'm a worthwhile--rather than worthless-person?)

OK--off to shower. Just as soon as I'm done eating this chocolate...

*What was the best part of your weekend? Do you worry that you won't be able to sleep when you've eaten chocolate right before bed?

Friday, July 13, 2012


I'm not even knocked up and I think I'm starting to feel nest-y. As in, "Oooh, I'm so glad it's Friday because tomorrow Haruki, David, and I can sleep in and eat pancakes and read the New York Times together."

David likes to make fun of me for sentiments like this one, since technically we could do this everyday because of our job flexibility. (David is a philosophy professor at CU Boulder, in case I haven't mentioned that before. Hence the robot-like rationality.) David also finds it mildly alarming that even though I could watch movies all day on a Wednesday, for instance, I choose not to, instead reserving Sunday (and let's face it, sometimes Saturday) for utter relaxation day: movies, reading, minimal stressors, etc.

I got to thinking about all this because last night David and I went out to dinner with our friend Bradley, who regaled us with his most recent adventures in dating. It doesn't seem like that long ago that David and I started dating (3 years), but my my how things have changed for us.

(*Sidenote: it seriously just occurred to me that this "nesting" is the opening stage of what may later be empty nest syndrome: me, at like 47, doing step aerobics at the YMCA, prolly drinking too much wine, and generally hiding from the fact that my life's purpose--i.e. raising my spoiled kids--has been nullified because they "flew the coop." In other words, I'm building a "nest" that is going to self-destruct faster than a college freshman.)

(Jesus. Speaking of which, there should be some kind of Lord's prayer for neurotics.)

Anyyyyyway, dinner was good. We hadn't seen Bradley in awhile, so it was nice to catch up over mediocre food.

We ate at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant, which is one of the surprisingly few vegetarian restaurants in Boulder.

I started with a Spring salad, which had pickled onions (not on the menu but yummy), pepitas!, and some kind of tangy dressing. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think that's what I actually ordered! Hey!

Not that you can tell, though, because I forgot to take a picture of it before I ate.it.all.

Same goes for the Blonde Ale I shared with David:

But, ta-da! My entree:

Mustard-crusted tofu with sweet potatoes, seared greens, and cherry reduction.

Actually, this doesn't deserve a "ta-da." The tofu was good but not great, the greens and sweet potatoes were "meh," and the cherry reduction was way too sweet--like cherry juice sweet.

David and Bradley got the seitan "loin" (puke, "loin"), which was much better:

I think I'm going to work on my photography skillz.
So, the moral of the story is: even when the restaurant's motto is to make vegetarian food appealing to all palates, sometimes even peeps with vegetarian palates have to gag down overpriced vegetables and soy products.

*Have you wondered how much a 1/4 block of tofu, 5 slices of sweet potato, and a mini-serving of chard actually costs? Yah, me neither. $%*#!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two-Topic Thursday

Our first topic for the day is Body Pump. I went. Again. Here's the proof:

Yes, I always choose a spot in the back--come on--nobody looks good from behind when they are sticking their bottom out like it's being served on a platter!
For the last week or two I've also been staying for the class right after Body Pump, which is called Cardio Blast and involves some plyometrics, strength training, step aerobics, and core work. I call this a "double header," and it brings me to my next topic, which is: pre-wedding dieting.

Obviously, as a former anorexic and bulimic, I try to avoid anything that resembles dieting. However, even with my "non-wedding" wedding, it's hard to ignore the media hype around brides feeling like they have to lose weight before they give away their freedom get married.

Originally I had intended to avoid this trap by envisioning a short, flirty, and forgiving wedding dress, a รก la:

Cute, right? Who knows how big that model's hips/bottom/stomach are--and that's the point of the dress!!! Actually, we all know how "big" the model's bits are. But my point is that if I were wearing it, who knows how many cupcakes I could eat the day before the wedding--with no (apparent) fatty consequences.

On the day of wedding dress shopping, however, which I only agreed to do because it was important to my mother (Hi Mom! I love you!), I must've had some kind of hormonally-induced lapse of judgment because what I ended up with is form fitting, long, lacy--a legitimate wedding dress!

My dress is very pretty and I'm extremely grateful that my Mom and Dad wanted to get the dress for me.

But...it has caused me the tiniest amount of stress because I know that I'm two (medium) pizzas away from feeling like a lumpy sausage in a lace casing. OK, not really, but that's what the ED thoughts tell me when I eat three bowls of Peanut Butter Puffins. I've resisted the (strong) temptation to engage in some form of dieting, but I do think that my wedding dress is, at least in a very small way, part of the reason I'm doing these twice-a-week "double headers" at the gym. Mostly I'm doing it because it makes me feel really good, and it's wonderful to feel excited about fitness and exercise rather than feeling like I have to do it because I ate too much f-ing cereal.

So, where's the fine line between wanting to move my body in a way that makes me happy versus punishing it for something (a wedding) that is--after all--not important? (Really--in case it hasn't been obvious before--I care very little about this wedding.) (That sounds mean, like I'm going to hurt my Mom's feelings. Sorry, Mom!)

*What about you--did/do you feel pressure to look perfect on your wedding day?