Best Birthday Ever!

He writes in this font, she writes in this font.

Twenty-nine is not the traditional landmark of birthdays. A year before the “dirty thirty” and nearly a decade between the two main flagships of aging: 21 and 40. Searching my memory I cannot recall a single story from friends or family that started with “29 was the best birthday ever.” More often it seems people sweep this not worth mentioning day under the rug of time, just another banal day.

Well, 29 was my best, most favorite, superb birthday — ever.

Let’s talk pre-birthday. I was a little anxious. I’m not quite sure why: he was already grateful after I eagerly greeted him home from walking the dog early that morning. You would have thought I gifted him a million dollars. I truly did not know what to expect from the day, including the Airbnb.

We spent the morning devouring a fruit tart covered in 29 wax dripping candles, and later enjoyed  even more beautiful fresh treats under canopies at the bustling PSU Farmer’s Market. I then nervously took photos of him like a mom at Christmas, while he opened his gifts from me. The day was beautiful. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Airbnb, he’ll share more about it. I spent weeks searching for the perfect place that would give us comfort, peace, and relaxation.

Bags packed, car full of food and some wine, we hit the road and headed north. From the onset I was clueless as to our destination. Up and out of the way in Washington, near White Salmon, but past it, we drove onward. We went through beautiful hills, my eyes growing wide in wonder at the orchards and rolling hills. I would have been happy to stop and camp along the road with all that beauty. Megan had even more grand ideas.

The car finally slowed to a crawl, the right signal-light blinking, in front of the Steelhead Ranch. Gliding slowly through the long driveway to our home for the night, I saw dozens of strange-looking creatures dodging their heads up and down through a fence. It was if they wanted to see us without us seeing them. Hide and seek with an animal that looked like a

poodle and camel somehow came together to create something entirely nonsensical.

“Are those fucking alpacas?”

Megan just laughed at first, for a good fifteen seconds. Then she replied, Yes.” More laughs.

So we spent the celebration of my twenty-ninth year on a ranch. Alpaca petting, fat farm-cat rubbing, adventuring through woods with a healthy Burnese mountain dog following close behind. It wasn’t clear if he followed to protect us or save himself from boredom. Either way we never got his name.

All evening we read and planned our honeymoon. Talking. Really talking the way two people talk when there is nothing else to do except enjoy each other’s company and draw out ideas like spreading sand across a table. Smooth and complete. I think that was the best part of the whole experience. Talking to Megan, undisturbed, is a present beyond the measure of value.

That was how we spent my birthday and it was wonderful.  I suppose I should add that we watched “Spice World” to cap the night. I have no doubt Megan would have mentioned it if I did not.



New Year, Same Love

This post was written by Guy. 

The bells that rang announcing this new year sounded loudly with overflowing love and gratitude.

This won’t be a post about any particular event or outing. I won’t dive into the details of our New Year’s Eve festivities, the following day’s luxurious stay in bed, or the magnificent hiking adventure that we embarked upon the next day. Much to Megan’s dismay, who I know would like me to write separate posts for each occasion, I would prefer our first post this year to be about feeling rather than fact.

It’s a fact that we attended an intensely cheery, delightful, NYE party thrown by Megan’s friend, Katy Weaver (NYE photos by her). We woke up only to stay anchored in bed the next day, enjoying a homemade kit of decadence by way of smoked salmon, fine cheese, and a few too many mimosas. All this while watching, not one, two, or three, but the first three Harry Potter movies. In rebellion against our own compulsive wills to be productive, we used covers and cuddles to shackle ourselves into a state of relaxation. I won’t write about that though. With well-rested muscles and minds only slightly hazy from a day of gradual drinking, we spent Saturday awing and ohmygawding the breathtaking beauty of Portland, hiking up to Pittock Mansion from Macleay Park. Nope, I won’t write about that either. Maybe in a different post, if Megan says so.

In a sentence: This year began by capturing everything I love about Megan, our audacious relationship, and my new life. All in three short days.

For several years I began each first day of January by creating lists of what I aim to accomplish and how I could better myself over the succeeding twelve months. Put differently, I spent the day alone. I wrote, I read, I planned — I did not live.

Pause. Are days weighed and measured with the same contrived consistency of coin? Do we spend days, either cheaply or recklessly, the same way we charge trips on Uber or empty our pockets of bills to buy a late-night feast?  Skeptically, begrudgingly, I must agree for now that time is a sort of currency, though I surmise that few know its value until after it is gone. With even less certainty; Unpause.

Three days into the new year, I finally take the time — spend the time — to reflect on life and how to make it better. Nothing comes to mind. Life is harmonious like your favorite song beginning on the radio the moment you start your car for work on a Monday morning. Nothing to take away or add, you just sit and enjoy the moment. That’s the only feeling that came to mind when I sat to write our next post. The words above followed that feeling; trailing behind and then leading the way.

I resolve to enjoy this year with Megan. In all its glory, glamor, and oftentimes goofiness, my only goal for this year is to spend each moment enjoying what I have with Her — the love of my life.

Fun Fact: Megan will still totally make me write posts about those adventures and, apparently, she has already created outlines for us to start writing our partnership and individual resolutions for the year. Some things simply never change. You've got that right!

New Holiday Traditions

This post written by Guy. 

The date of our engagement, which depended on the arrival of the ring, was glorious coincidence.

Sidenote #1: It was not “a glorious coincidence.” It was not one mere example of a greater phenomenon, not a casual run-in with destiny that you could confuse with other such experiences. No, it was one-of-a-kind, never forget it, perfect connection with fate.

Sidenote #2: Google Search defines Coincidence as “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.” Exchange a for the and that definition is right on the money.

Here are the events that quite remarkably concurred on the day that I engaged her.

  1. The ring arrived (we covered that already).

  2. Our special date night, which was planned independent of the first event.

Regarding the special date night. Several weeks ago my most dearest Mother purchased tickets for us to see The Nutcracker. Always impeccably wonderful, Mother wanted us to do something that reminded me of home and put us in the holiday spirit. It reminded me of home because I have been going to see The Nutcracker for several years, often alone, because I simply love the story. Thank you Mother, Merry Christmas.

Now that we had something to do, I wanted to make it into an event. Yes, I italicized the last two words of that sentence to connote something more grand and elaborate than simply going to see a ballet.  I kept thinking to myself, “This is our first Christmas together and I want to make it special, I want to make it memorable.”  The best way to accomplish that goal, I thought, was to plan a night out that would give her some of her absolute favorite things: fine food, elegant clothes, live performance, and plenty of photo opportunities. The last one really goes without saying.

The elegant clothing was an easy one, I knew Megan would suggest that we dress up to the occasion of attending a ballet from the onset. The only remaining questions were where to stay and where to eat. As fate would have it, one building housed the answers to both questions.

Looking at hotels near Keller Auditorium, my eyes quickly caught notice of Hotel Modera. This is because it is only 526 feet separate it from Keller, the decor is a collaboration between classic elegance and modern coolness, and it has a restaurant (Nel Centro) that is everything I wanted for the occasion. Perfection.

A few clicks later I had a special night planned, purchased, and ready to present to Megan.

If you read our last post, you know that I proposed the morning of this special date night. Imagine our excitement: her shocking, dumbfounded disbelief when I knelt down and asked; my unspeakable, indescribable awe when she answered; and our crying, kissing hysteria that ensued afterward and all in a moment.  

Now we were off on this special date night. I’ll repeat the last portion of this post’s first sentence — it was glorious coincidence. It was truly remarkable how events concurred, aligned, came together to create a day that we will never forget.

And the night was perfect. Megan looked like a Hollywood icon from yesteryear in her beautiful dress and with her hair up like Audrey Hepburn: pure grace and refinement. The food, which we did not get to photograph because the camera died, was delicious and tasted like elegance.* Lastly, but most splendidly, the show was better than I have ever seen. Perhaps the ballerinas, from the little adorable mice to the Sugar Plum Fairy, were simply better performers. That’s certainly possible considering the incredible feats of delicate control the little Fairy displayed. More likely though, the night was perfect because I got to experience everything while holding the hand of my future wife and home.

It was magic to look over and see her smiling, wondrous face enjoying the show. It was heaven to look down in her lap to see her hands holding mine tightly and the ring shining brightly up at us both.