Amsterdam, Day 1

Here’s the thing about day 1 of Amsterdam. A lot of it was spent sleeping, on a plane, or in the airport.

We got up at 2:00am to drive to the airport, after about an hour of sleep. Happily, I slept on the flight. Chris wasn’t so lucky. We ate lunch at the airport because check-in wasn’t until 2:00pm, and we made our way to the hotel. After my Atlanta debacle, I was a little gun shy about picking a place to stay, but it turned out well. They let us check in a half-hour early, upgraded our room, and gave us a voucher for free drinks since we are celebrating our 2-year anniversary, which was truly lovely of them. Even if they did wake us up to give us that…and wished a happy anniversary to me and my husband. 😶

After naps and showers, we looked around Amsterdam a bit, and it was a little terrifying. Bike culture is a big deal here, and unlike in the US, it seems they always have the right of way, regardless of lights, crosswalks, pedestrians, etc. We are both cyclists and fully support bike lanes, cyclists, and everything that goes along with that, but here it’s intimidating and not what we are used to. And someone yelled at us because we crossed in a crosswalk and he came barreling around a corner and got mad at us. I mean, sure, right of way. But there’s no need to be a dick about it.

We had a mediocre doner kebab near the train station and a spectacular holiday drink at a Starbucks that was built in an old bank. We collect the city mugs and were able to add to our collection. There’s just one more that exists somewhere that’s on the list. Fingers crossed!

The canals are lovely, especially at night. One of my favorite views.

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Iceland, Day 4

Our last day! We had a bit of a lie-in because of our long day yesterday. First we headed to the Phallological Museum and got some souvenirs. Like queer ladies do. Then we went to Hallgrímskirkja church and looked around a bit. I always love seeing churches in different countries. We climbed to the top of the tower for a spectacular view.

We walked through a park and saw some geese, ducks, and a rainbow!

We grabbed hot dogs again for lunch, and it started to rain…and then hail. Did I mention it’s from an outdoor stand? Still, totally worth it.

13/10 would recommend this jacket, btw. LL Bean rocks it. Stayed super dry and warm!

We wanted a break from the rain, so we went and had a coffee and a dessert. And a nice view.

We spent the rest of our day shopping, and Chris found a yarn store. She got supplies to make a hat and a scarf, plus this surprise cool reusable bag. The symbol on the bag is for the Hand Knitting Association of Iceland.

We had dinner at a place that touted its raclette and fondue, and I was STOKED. We had had raclette before, on our vacation to Germany and Austria, but had never had it in a restaurant. I’m not sure if our experience was…normal or not.

We ordered our food, and then we were moved to a different table so the raclette machine could be set up. It heated up, and about 10-15 minutes later, the waitress brought a plate of cheese, four spatula trays, a bowl of potatoes, and two plates of meat and vegetables. And left.

No explanation.

And little did we know, we wouldn’t see her again until we were done.

So, as you can see, we figured out what to do, but we had no clue. I panicked.

So I googled “order raclette in a restaurant,” and I learned we broil the cheese below and grill the other stuff above. We think the machine may have been defective, though, because the cheese didn’t get super hot and bubbly like usual. But maybe that’s an effect of the machine instead of an open flame.

Remember our waitress? Us too, barely. Over an hour passed. Nothing. No water. No asking if we are okay. No “any questions?” 1:12 from “I don’t know how to eat this” message to her asking “was it all right?” “Mm-hmm” was my answer, barely conscious as I slowly faded away from dehydration.

Oh, and the menu said it came with cornichons, and THERE WERE NONE. Also, no bread also promised on the menu.

And the bill came, and despite it not being clear on the menu the price listed was per person, we were charged double the price on the menu. I wouldn’t even care about that — because it wasn’t surprising — if it weren’t paired with the other stuff.

The food was good. I just have no idea if we prepared/ate/etc. it correctly. But I guess it doesn’t matter?

Now we are all packed and my alarm is set to wake up in…2.5 hours. Damn. Guess I should go to bed.

Tomorrow, Amsterdam!

Iceland, Day 3

How has it been three days?!

Today we put our rental car to the test and went from Reykjavík to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon — a 5-hour trip one way.I hardly slept last night so, to no one’s surprise, I was a little grumpy. But Chris took the wheel after an hour, and I got a nap. And then some lunch. And then my mood improved. Oh, Monica. How does she put up with you?

Our first stop was Reynisfjara, which also happened to be the wallpaper in Chris’ computer for two years. Bucket list item for her.

Next we stopped at a crazy diner/gas station/mini mart that I dubbed Icelandic Sheetz. We had delicious lamb soup and a lamb burger.

Our last stop was Jökulsárlón, a lake that had bits of glacier bobbing in it. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

One of the best parts of the day was the scenery along the way, so here’s some of that.

Also, our first task of the day? Getting gas. It’s 6am and 3 degrees Celsius outside. I pay with my credit card, and it asks for a pin.

But…I have no pin.

It’s freezing, I’m exhausted, and we are in Iceland. I shrug and enter the pin to my debit card, thinking if I ever set one up, that was probably it.

Bingo.

Oh, and I thought I locked us in a bathroom for 20 seconds before Chris saved the day.

Tomorrow’s our last day here! So much lamb soup, so little time.

Iceland, Day 2

Day 2 in the Books!

We got a bit of a late start, because we slept almost 14 hours. Whoops. But we needed it, and it made yours truly much more pleasant to be around.

I drove again today (because I’m shit at navigating and a slightly better driver), and we made a couple wrong turns and I didn’t let someone go who had the right of way. I was pretty annoyed with myself and getting a bit discouraged. And then the radio, which plays a mix of Icelandic and American music, played “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Commence sobbing.

“Think that’s your dad trying to calm you down?” Chris asked.

I did. And it did.

No further problems the rest of the day, except that Chris took issue with how fast I went over the speed bumps. (“We both almost hit our heads on the ceiling!”) Whatever. I went the speed limit. Oh, and she insists I almost wrecked the car when I saw a gay-rainbow bus. I was fully in control, but I was pretty excited.

We saw Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geyser (the geyser which all geysers are named after!), plus Strokker geyser, which we saw erupt a few times. We spent the evening strolling the city a bit and finished with a delicious meal at Burro, an Icelandic tapas restaurant.

My only regret is that we didn’t stop at Ruby Tuesday. Who knew there were three in Iceland?! Zero in Pittsburgh and three here. So unfair.

Iceland, day 1

Hello, friends. We left Pittsburgh at 7:00 (or a little after, because our departure was not punctual) and arrived in Iceland around 5:00am local time, which is 1:00am Yinzer time. Neither Chris nor I slept much on the flight, so it made for an exhausting day.

We picked up our rental (and got upgraded to a Kia SUV and not the tiny sedan we originally chose) and made our way to the Blue Lagoon. Even with our dilly-dallying, we were an hour early. I took a brief snooze, and then we headed in, dashing ahead of a bus full of people because we booked a slightly better package.

So, picture it. A man hands you a towel and a bathrobe and you’re ushered to a changing room. You’re told you have to fully shower before you go into the lagoon. We stood around awkwardly, not knowing what to do and even getting confused by the lockers. Am I supposed to strip naked and head to the shower, then march, still naked, back to a changing area to put on my sweet, sweet bathing costume? Why are so many other people in their suits? Does “fully naked” mean something different?

Anyway, we finally figured it out. There were a few hiccups (like when Chris saw a guy steal my towel and then HE DENIED IT, and other fun stuff), but overall it was a magical experience. Then we walked around the lagoon and headed to Reykjavik, where I had a much better Airbnb experience than last time, and we just mulled around a bit.

Here are some pics.

You Can Tell Everybody That This Is Your Card

Happy anniversary, my love.

We’ve done a lot of walking and worn a lot of shoes in the six years we’ve been together, but these shoes from this day — always my favorite.

I’m sorry I didn’t get you a card. Did we have any idea when we got married what a whirlwind our lives would become? And that we would have no free time and be bad at planning stuff and basically be living life flying from one thing to the next? I certainly didn’t. “After this, things will calm down.” False.

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I love that dress so much, and you looked so amazing. You look lovely every day, but that day really took the cake. And doughnuts. And cookies.

You have made my life so much better, and are so supportive of all of my fangirling, even if I’m not always the best about dividing my attention. You even agreed to a Star Wars theme for part of our special day. Who does that? You do. And you are amazing.

So I’m sorry that I didn’t get you a card, since my free time during the week was spent writing, doing pod prep, dealing with plumbing business, and trying to do laundry to prep for Iceland in the middle of our busiest season at work. And also reading fanfic, because please see above regarding “bad at dividing my attention.” And then on the weekend, we hate to spend any time apart, because we are those people.

You made a day I was sort of low-key dreading because my father wouldn’t be there one of the best days of my life. He would have loved you.

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He would have loved your sass, your wit, and, most importantly, your all-encompassing love for his daughter, the giant nerd.

And he probably would have wondered how I landed such a hottie.

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I also wonder that.

You’re my protector, my biggest fan, my best girl, and my occasional makeup artist.

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So I’m sorry our lives were so hectic that I didn’t get you card, but I hope this blog will do.

We’ve certainly had our share of rain, but there’s no one else I’d rather be under the umbrella with.

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Here’s to the next two…hundred.0937

I belong with you, you belong with me. You’re my sweetheart.1091

#CHRONICA2015 FOREVER!

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Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

I am 40 years old.

I am married (for almost two years) to a lovely woman who I’ve had a crush on for almost half of my life.

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I live in a world where my sexual orientation is a boring statement of fact that isn’t really a thing…or at least I think it is, until someone makes it otherwise.

I started coming out gradually, at 19, first between wrenching sobs to my freshman-year RA, saying that I might be gay. She was the first I told about these swirling, confusing feelings that were only amplified by the roommate (let’s call her N) I had fallen for. I stared at a bottle of Advil, wondering if taking the entire bottle would be enough to put me out of my misery, and I found the strength to put it down, knock on Jen’s door, and just…come out with it.

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