Happy Birthday, Chris!

This past weekend, my lovely fiancée, Chris, turned 35 years of age. Here are 35 random things that will probably involve her! 

  1. So, I love presents and birthdays, so I made her open a gift from me that I had been keeping a secret since February. It is a necklace with a cutout of the United States, and there are two hearts on it in LA & Pittsburgh. Since we were long distance for so long, I thought it was a pretty good gift.
  2. We started early on Wednesday with dinner with Heather and Ryan and their supercute kids. I love all of these guys. We had a delicious Italian dinner and followed it up with some frozen yogurt.  Yogurt is messy business, folks. 
  3. The official festivities started off at the Carnegie Science Center for an over-21 night. We were joined by my brother and sister-in-law, her aunt, and two of her cousins, and we ran into a couple other friends.
  4. It was a good time but a little scary.
  5. I realize they are not actual Stormtroopers, but I was still a little nervous. Which I know is ridiculous, because if they tried to shoot me, I would be just fine. Not known for their accuracy.
  6. And I used all of my restraint not to say, “You’re a little short for a Stormtrooper.” 
  7. We played in some water, making sure to use proper safety techniques.  
  8. We learned all about rivers and woodland creatures, which was fun. Then we got to pretend we lived in a log.
  9.   Hey!
  10. Everyone got in on it!  Might submit this one to Awkward Family Photos.
  11.   The one that started it all.
  12. We walked around some more, and I got so many steps on my Fitbit!
  13. Then this happened.   I got to hold his lightsaber. Not a euphemism.
  14. Then we played air hockey against a robot, and I was the only one of the four of us who won. No big deal.
  15. Except…   I broke it.
  16. Time to head home! It was a really fun night. It was an interesting crowd, with equal parts extreme geeks, hipsters, and lesbians. Unexpected but welcome.
  17. We snuck out a back entrance but were held up because someone didn’t know how to work the ticket gate. Like, really?
  18. I had intended on making a birthday cake from scratch when I got home, but it was really late, so we stopped at the store and got a box mix. Chris requested white cake with blueberries and a lemon buttercream icing.   I even bought this milk that seemed to have been created just for me.
  19. We baked the cake, and though it looked pretty good, it majorly stuck to the pan. I had a bit of a meltdown, I’m ashamed to say. I felt stupid that it didn’t work out. But we made do the next day, and it tasted pretty darn good, even if it wasn’t a beauty.
  20. What it lacked in looks, it made up for in substance.  The self-deprecating part of me wants to say “much like myself,” but that’s inaccurate. I’m a hot piece of ass.
  21. Bedtime was 2:00am for us, and then Chris saw a spider, which made her stay up even later. I wish she would have woken me up. One more present I could have provided!
  22. Early 8:00am wakeup because who wouldn’t want to do a 6-10 mile bike ride in the unseasonably cold morning air with some friends? Happy birthday!
  23. We took part in East End Brewing’s Pedal Pale Ale Keg Ride, which was super fun. They are a near zero-waste, environmentally sustainable brewery, and each year, they host an event that transports their Pedal Pale Ale by bicycle. It was their 11th year and our first (though Jake the Experienced Cyclist had done it before).
  24. The idea is that you show up at the brewery and then do a 6- to 10-mile bike ride to an undisclosed location, where they tap the new keg.  Why does my head look so freaking giant?
  25. Then you have to find your way back by bike, which I was really nervous about. 
  26. Oh, and did I mention we had to ride 6-10 miles first? 
  27. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The ride was only 6 miles (Chris and I did a practice ride last weekend with her new bike and did 8), and…we ended up back at the brewery.   I may be making that face because my butt hurt. No one knows for sure.
  28. Also, there were 450-plus people, and most of them looked like hard-core cyclists. Very intimidating for this guy. But I kept up and didn’t embarrass myself. Yeah!  
  29. Most importantly, Chris had a great time.  It looks like a car is on fire in this picture, but I think it was delicious-smelling barbecue. I hope.
  30.    Bike madness.
  31. Then…our reward.  The birthday girl took the picture. Sorry, honey. Also, I apparently love shirts with zippers. Can’t wear too many at one time!
  32. We made our way home after that, and friends and some of Chris’ family came over for pizza and cake (which I quickly prepared and applied the icing). Lots of laughter, lots of stories, and lots of delicious food. For some reason, I took no pictures of this. Sorry, America.
  33. Sunday was a bit of lazing, a bit of yardwork, and a bit of cooking.
  34. It was a great weekend, and I think Chris had an even better birthday!
  35. Oh, one more random thing? How about some gushing. I love spending time with Chris, and this weekend was no different. We have so much fun together, whether it’s cycling, posing with Stormtroopers, or cutting down trees. She makes me so happy, and I hope that she felt even a fraction of the happiness she makes me feel every day.  I hope you enjoyed your last birthday as a non-married person, my dear. Because next year at this time, you’ll be married to this dork.


I’ve been horrible at being a blogger. Chris and I have been busy with, well, life, I guess. 

Moment of downtime with that a-hole cat sticking his tail in my face.

In honor of my almost-38 years on this earth and another year closer to 40, here are 38 random statements.

  1. We have eleventy million shows we want to watch, and yet, all it seems like we watch are reruns of “Castle” and “Modern Family.” “Modern Family” is on right now. Three episodes and counting.
  2. The balloons Chris got me for Valentine’s Day are going strong.
  3. We live in a really old house, and the shower has been giving us problems. We had one estimate this week and another in a couple weeks. I know we need to take our time and make a responsible decision, but I wish it were being replaced tomorrow.
  4. We went to the home show, which is where we found the bathroom estimators. I love the home show. Love it. It’s always around my birthday, and I drag Chris there every year.
  5. Work has been crazy, which seems like the norm lately. But at least Chris and I get to drive to work together.
  6.  We went for a walk this weekend at the Montour Trail so we could take pictures of this ice craziness in the old tunnel.  
  7. I also took this picture. “Let’s go for a walk on the trail in the snow and do our scratch-offs!,” said at least one person.
  8. 38 didn’t seem like that many when I started.
  9. We have narrowed down our photographer search to a handful of possibilities. We need to set up appointments with them to see which is the best fit, and then it’s another box checked!
  10. Doing that stuff is so awkward. It’s always weird meeting new people, and then there’s the added issue of them trying to sell themselves. Plus…gay couple, which everyone is not always okay with. So that will be fun.
  11. We have pretty much solidified the cookie table, so at least the most important wedding planning is done.
  12. Chris is doing dishes while I’m blogging on the couch. I like that she isn’t upset with me for being lazy. I’m a lucky gal.
  13. Sometimes I get sad that we knew each other for so long (10 years!) before we started dating. But, really, neither of us was ready back then. Life leads you in interesting places.
  14. For instance…I used to blog for a gay-wedding website. You know, that other time I was getting married. Through the years, I have kept in touch with some of my fellow bloggers on the Facebook and seen them get married and have kids. I had a bet with one of them last year, a bet that ended up with me sending homemade pumpkin-spice blondies to her. Well, said friend lives in the San Francisco Bay area, and when I asked her for suggestions on areas to stay for our honeymoon, she offered up a free place to stay, all out of the kindness of her (and her family’s) heart. 
  15. So all of those problems and years of difficulty led to a house! On our honeymoon!
  16. That makes total sense, right?
  17. A new brewery opened up near our house, Spoonwood. These pretzels and beer cheese were freaking amazing.
  18. And this beer. I don’t know which one this was, but the coffee-drip ale was amazing. It will change your life. 
  19. Also, adorable beer samples for $2.00.
  20. This guy is trying to help me blog.
  21. I kept whining to Chris that I didn’t have any presents, so she gave me an early one. A Millennium Falcon keychain!
  22. Thanks, Buzzfeed, for all of your “Top This Many Restaurants to Try In This Place” or “With This Food.” Our honeymoon will have to be seven weeks to eat all of those doughnuts!
  23. I could probably eat all of the doughnuts in two days.
  24. We have also been incorporating more activity into our, well, activities. We are doing twice-a-week Zumba, walking on the trail, Piyo, and I got a Fitbit. And we wonder why we have no free time.
  25. Restaurants we have been to lately — Emporio at Sienna Mercato, Piper’s Pub, Ten Penny, Toscana Brick Oven. This weekend — Primanti’s, Gianna Via, and Piper’s Pub (again). 
  26. Pittsburgh is not always my favorite place, but they do know how to make good food!
  27. I’m headed to Mom’s Monday for more birthday celebrating, so I’m basically extending it an extra two days. That’s always a fun time.
  28. I’m not sure how I got to be 38. Better than the alternative, but still.
  29. That being said, 38 wil be awesome. So many things to look forward to.
  30. So, there’s that wedding of a lifetime, which will be great.
  31. And there’s marrying my favorite person. Also great.
  32. Hey, my favorite person and I get to go on an amazing vacation!
  33. Maybe something like this will happen! This is us watching the sunset at Matador Beach on our “second date.”
  34. The stage production of “Dirty Dancing” is next month, and we’re eating at Meat and Potatoes beforehand, who have the best burger in Pennsylvania, per some random list. They also have bone marrow, which I will not be eating.
  35. One of my favorite things about the upcoming year is that I don’t even know what all the year will bring. 
  36. It’s going to be amazing.
  37. I’m a lucky person.
  38. Thank you for reading all of my 38 points.

Happy birthday to me!

Staycation, Day 5

Happy birthday, America! Also, my mom.

What am I doing with my hand? Finger guns!

If you wonder how I feel about my mom, check out my Mother’s Day post. I’d hate to repeat myself. So embarrassing!

We had a nice morning at her house and then went out for lunch. Then to Chris’ aunt’s house for a cookout.

And this guy. It’s been over two months. Delicious.

All in all, a great last day of staycation.