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I was that girl in grade school who made Valentines for everyone out of construction paper and doilies. Class size was about 25 kids. When my hand grew tired from making glitter masterpieces, I’d start writing Happy VD! because, you know, Valentine’s in a long word to write over and over. I was unaware it’s also an abbreviation for venereal disease, but some of my classmates weren’t. So began my rocky relationship with V Day.

The first VD MoonPie and I were together, I was excited to make him something special. Not just special, the most amazing something he ever tasted. But what? He loves white chocolate and fudge looked easy enough. Fudge is not easy. The sludge didn’t solidify. I put it in the freezer to firm up because that’s how much I know about making sweets. On the big day I presented him with a pretty bowl filled with thick, syrupy antifudge. To this day we refer to all cooking and baking failures as Hudge (Hailey + scary fudge).

Another year, MoonPie tried taking control and made a reservation at a fancy Indian restaurant in the Financial District. We arrived to a big empty room packed with white linen tables, candles burning and the walls covered in velvety gold wallpaper. I wanted to leave as soon as we entered, but we sat down. Many restaurants only do prix fixe menus on VD because they can. Going to a non-gf, non-vegan restaurant left me with one option. I can’t enjoy over-priced meals at all let alone when there’s only one thing for me. So we left and wound up crammed in an East Village restaurant where everyone was dressed up in high expectations and the special cocktails were served in giant spill-me-all-over martini glasses. It was fun, but not something I’ve ever wanted to do again.

Then there was the time MoonPie ignored the fact that I don’t like cut flowers and had a bouquet delivered. Except the flower people got the date wrong and rather than delivering them when I was home on the 13th, they delivered them to MoonPie on the 14th when I was out of town at a trade show. He sent himself flowers and they were dead by the time I saw them, but we got a nice red vase to put branches in so that year was kind of a score.

Now we stay home and make food and experiment with a dessert. Our first year cementing this tradition was before my diet changed. We made pasta with vodka sauce. Sounds fancy! Neither of us ever read recipe instructions. We skim through the ingredients list and go rogue from there. Naturally we added the vodka at the very end not realizing you’re supposed to cook off the booze. All dinner we were like Wow, this is good. I feel silly. Did we add too much Vodka? Nah. Seconds? I fell off my chair. Not in the act of trying to stand. I just fell off my chair. I went from sitting to falling on the floor and landing on the dirty fork I’d dropped earlier and neglected to pick up. MoonPie felt bad for laughing when we both realized the fork went through my shirt and pieced my back. The hyrogen peroxide felt so cold MoonPie wound up chasing me around to make sure my back didn’t get infected. Lesson learned: I’m a lightweight.

I forget what we cooked last year, but our dessert was a disaster. It was supposed to be this magical dark chocolate pudding INFUSED with basil and mint. It tasted way weirder that it sounds and it sounds pretty weird. Plus we forgot to strain the mint and basil leaves so the texture had us wiping our tongues on a napkin every other bite. Sexy! It reminded me of the first sip I took of bubble tea. One suck on the thick straw and a barage of giant chewy tapioca balls shot down my throat. What the hell is this? Nobody prepared me. ‘Scuse me for not being born knowing how to drink bubble tea.

This year we’re going for a run then making biryani. Someone gave MoonPie saffron for Christmas and we have yet to use some. We’re skipping what Jim Gaffigan on CBS Sunday Morning referred to as “gamble chocolates” from “the patron saint of bad gifts”. We can make our own bad desserts thank you very much. It’s how we keep things interesting after all these years.

I haven’t updated my running mileage in a while.

Jan: 163 miles

Feb: 60 miles

total: 223/ 1552 miles