Word Perv
(noun): One who takes delight & is skilled at constructing, writing or saying naughty phrases or dialogue.

Over the weekend Jay and I went camping in West Virginia. We got there Friday evening and after setting up camp we hiked to the top of Seneca Rocks to watch the sunset. We’d been to Seneca Rocks earlier in the summer, but it was no less spectacular the second time.

Sunset from the top of Seneca Rocks

Sunset from the top of Seneca Rocks


After watching the sunset we hiked back down, started a fire, and had dinner.

Saturday morning, after eating breakfast and packing our lunch, we drove to Dolly Sods for a long day hike.

Welcome to Dolly Sods!

Welcome to Dolly Sods!


We decided to do the North Hike, which is actually several trails patched together to form a 10.8 mile loop. The day started clear and cool and we happily set off.

Jay and I at the start of our hike

Jay and I at the start of our hike


It was a good hike that had some great views but it wasn’t without faults.

Dolly Sods

Dolly Sods


We knew before starting that there were no trail blazes but it turns out there are few markers either. This meant that on more than one occasion we got lost, headed down the wrong path, or took a trail that ended up not actually being a real trail. Ultimately this meant that instead of hiking 10.8 miles that day we hiked 12 miles. Another less-than-stellar aspect is some of the trails are extremely boggy. In fact, that might be using a generous term – they were muddy, smelly pits and as we picked our way across we got dirtier and smellier. Not usually a big deal but when you’re hot, tired, and one of you goes knees-deep into a smelly, muddy bog, it makes for a nasty last few miles… Of course the worst transgression from the hike was my own damn fault. For reasons I can’t even articulate, I left my sunscreen in the truck. Which meant I spent a good part of six hours in the sun. As a result my sunburn is so severe I want to lay in a tub of aloe.

Sunburned Courtney

Sunburned Courtney

Sunburns hurt!

Sunburns hurt!


So the moral of the story: WEAR SUNSCREEN. And be prepared to encounter some of the smelliest mud there is. Thank goodness for waterproof hiking shoes.


The other day I was driving to a neurologist appointment – oh yes, I’m unfortunately still dealing with a never-ending headache, more on that in a future post – and the song Paralyzer by Finger Eleven began to play on my iPod.

This song brings me back about seven years, when I had a short, but intense relationship with a man. He and I burned hot and fast before, not surprisingly, burning out. This song was popular at the time and we gravitated toward it. When he gave me an iPod as a gift, it came loaded with only one song: Paralyzer. On the back of the iPod was engraved: Lyrics, like poetry, expose the soul. Every time I hear that song I’m transported back to when he was a part of my life.

Of course music conjuring memories is probably as common as certain scents conjuring memories. The winter I was sixteen I had my first teenage love and heartbreak. I didn’t realize the smell of wood burning in our fireplace was so closely tied to my memories of that boy until the following autumn, when my dad started the fire and the scent of wood burning hit me and I immediately teared up. My reaction was so strong I remember it still, nineteen years later.

There are songs that remind me of a more general time in my life, as opposed to a specific event. When I first moved to the DC area six years ago a man I had one date with introduced me to Bob Schneider. That first summer and fall I played his album I’m Good Now on repeat – I loved the music and the lyrics, particularly the song C’mon Baby:

they say love finds its own way home / around the snakes inside your heart underneath all the bone / and though the world may fold you in its pocket you will never bend / you’re not the type my only love my only real friend

and what about the girl who ran / ran so far away she can never find her way back home again / she tripped and fell and broke her heart /  now the only thing she does well is fall apart

that’s what I say but is it true / the truth is everything is perfect and it’s not for me and you / to figure out anything at all and all we’ve got is time / but not much time so fuck the brakes and get in line

This is one of those songs that whenever it comes on I turn it up and sing along at the top of my lungs.

Perhaps music and its lyrics are poignant to me because I’m a poet. Perhaps that man was right when he wrote lyrics, like poetry, expose the soul. 

July 21, 2014

Top Five

Written by Posted in Random Babblings Comments 0

I am a voracious reader. I gobble up books as fast as I can, carrying my kindle with me nearly everywhere I go and reading constantly. I’m on a quest to read 100 books in 2014 (currently on book #59 for the year) and I’m part of a Facebook group dedicated solely to talking about the books we’re reading. Given how much I love reading I thought I’d share my five favorite books. These are in no particular order as I love them all equally.

#1: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – This is the story of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. It also talks of Jacob’s four wives and twelve sons, in fact, many are at least vaguely familiar with Jacob and his sons from Genesis in the Bible. But the heart of the story is the powerful bonds formed by women. It’s an excellent read and I highly recommend it. In fact I plan on re-reading it later this year, maybe that will be my 100th book of the year. :)

#2: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing – The amazing saga of Shackleton’s year long survival in icy Antarctica reads like a novel. Normally I gravitate toward fiction but nonfiction captures my heart when it reads like fiction. This story shows the power of the human spirit and the desire and drive to survive.

#3: The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb – Another true story that reads like fiction, this one about the pursuit to break the 4-minute mile for the first time in history. Yes, we all know it’s eventually accomplished by Englishman Robert Bannister but knowing the outcome doesn’t change the excitement contained within this story.

#4: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This 700 page tome is about the hunt for Dracula and while I never thought I’d enjoy this book I was unable to put it down as the story was fascinating and written beautifully.

#5: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant – This was the book that really sparked my love affair with historical fiction, I’ve since read all but one of Dunant’s books and they’ve all been excellent but The Birth of Venus still ranks high on my list.

Honorable Mention: A trilogy about Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey. These three books, Becoming Marie Antoinette; Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow; and The Confessions of Marie Antoinette are excellent reads that tell the often-misunderstood life of Marie Antoinette. These books have added Versailles as a place I must visit on my next trip to Paris.

What are your favorite books?

On Thursday I metroed home as usual, found a spot on the train and opened my book – I’m reading The Alienist by Caleb Carr and it’s excellent. Usually I’m so absorbed in my book that I pay no attention to those who board or exit the train, I just keep reading, thumbing my digital pages forward, my body knowing instinctively when I’ve reached my stop. Thursday however I looked up just as a handsome man walked onto my train. Our eyes met for a moment and it happened – that moment when you catch a person’s eyes and you immediately know they are attracted to you in the same way you’re attracted to them? Yeah, that happened. I spent the rest of my metro ride glancing slyly at him, catching him doing the same. When I got to my stop I looked him directly in the eyes, smiled widely, and waved goodbye. We’d never spoken a word.

If I were single I’d write a Missed Connections ad on Craigslist. Never before have I been tempted to do so, and because I’m in a happy, committed relationship I wouldn’t think of doing it now, but still, it’s fun to flirt with the idea a little. Instead of writing a Missed Connections ad I did something a little more typical of me – I wrote a poem.


You wore

gray dress pants and black dress shoes,

a white tank and Clark Kent glasses.

I wore a gray skirt, black shirt,

hiking sandals and my ever-present book.

We were both leaving work, half casual.


On the Green line you boarded,

I noticed you immediately.

I shot you shy smiles though

I’m nothing resembling shy.

You grinned back at me.


Four stops and one transfer later

the train pulled to a slow stop

and I departed,

gave you a wide smile,

waved my fingertips.

You smiled in return,

the Superman of my Thursday. 


Have you ever wanted to write a Missed Connection ad? Have ever actually written one?

July 17, 2014

To Race or Not

Written by Posted in Running Comments 0

Summer is a time for watermelon, bikinis, drinking cold beer in the hot sun, camping, suntans, and speed workouts. Now I know you think that last one is a typo but I assure you, it’s not. For me, summers always include Tracky Tuesday, my weekly running group’s speed workout.


I’ve been doing these workouts for a few years now, heading to the track on Tuesday after work and grinding out a workout so hard someone inevitably pukes during the summer - and we consider that a badge of honor. We run sprints of varying distances – 400 repeats, 800 repeats, 1600 repeats, pyramid workouts, and everything in between. We run hard and fast and we cheer one another on. It’s the most supportive running group I’ve ever been a part of and I love it.

This year’s running hasn’t been great for me. I suffered IT band issues and after a six week break began running again in late April. I eased back into running and due to some non-running related things (work has had me traveling a lot), I’m still not back to my usual mileage or pace. Which is okay as I decided to not run any major races in 2014vand to just return to pain-free running, to return to the simple joy of running. And that’s where I’m at for the most part. I’m running 3-5 miles, 3-5 times a week. I’m not back to my usual 10 miles every Saturday morning routine just yet but I probably won’t get back to that till the heat and humidity of summer ease up a bit – which means I won’t embark on that till sometime this fall.

But because work has me working long hours and traveling to various cities and countries, I’ve only made it to one Tracky Tuesday workout this summer. And considering we only do these workouts June – August you can see I’ve missed about half of them. With more travel on the horizon, I know I’ll miss several more.

We end our season by running a local 5k race. We’ve won the Team division several years running and one lucky year I managed to win my age group. I look forward to this race all summer as I love running with my team of friends. But given how rarely I’ve been able to make the weekly workouts, I’m wavering on running it this year. If I were to run there’s no way I’d run my usual sub-7 minute pace, in fact, I’d probably run my slowest 5k ever. And while I think I’d be okay with running the race slower than usual, I almost feel like I haven’t earned the right to run the race this year because I’ve missed nearly all the workouts. I’m sure my friends and running partners would disagree, but right now, that’s sorta how I feel. I haven’t made a decision one way or the other and I probably won’t just yet – maybe if I can make it to practice next week I’ll feel like I should run the race in September.