My birthday is July 28, but due to a romantic trip I sprung on my husband right before, out-of-town guests and other things we have had to tackle, we actually just celebrated it last week. But it was worth the wait.
My husband decided he didn’t want to give me a day, so he gave me a week! From Sunday to the following Sunday it was one surprise after another. It started with a trip to Evergreen. Roy surprised me with a trip to Evergreen in early 2014, right before our world effectively imploded (at least temporarily) and threw us off for the rest of the year. The trip was magical, and we always planned to go back, it just didn’t happen as soon as we thought.
I was so excited, and genuinely surprised until we were nearly there. As soon as we got into town, we had a late breakfast and then grabbed some coffee at a place I have been craving ever since my first time there! I highly recommend a Cake Batter Latte for any sweet-drink inclined person – so good! We took a scenic drive, hit up some local shops – mostly craft places or stores that supported and sold things by local artists. Then we went to another coffee place (I had two local faves, had to hit them both up) and finished the evening with an amazing dinner at a “splurge” restaurant where I had the bacon-wrapped elk medallions with huckleberry vinaigrette and blue cheese. This was a huge departure from my usual choices of fish or seafood.
The next night we planned our dream house. It’s always been a dream to design/build our own home. So we looked at a lot of houses we liked, compared different exteriors to get a sense of what we want the exterior to look like. By then, my very anti-planning husband needed to call it day. So, we’ll start on the interior sometime this coming week if time allows. It’s nice getting a sense of what kinds of architecture we both gravitate towards and it’s interesting and while we’re both extreme opposites, we actually have very similar tastes.
The next day it was a dinner at Red Lobster. This was already going to happen because of Crab Fest, but isn’t it better to incorporate it in a week full of festivities? It was also a reward for having to go to the dentist (no cavities – natch).
We didn’t do anything Wednesday or Thursday – we were both busy and tired. But on Friday, after a blood treatment at the Cancer Center, we went for coffee at one of my favorite-but-far-away places and Roy (my husband) also took me to a specialty chocolate shop that I am addicted to, but is equally far away. I have a serious chocolate problem, though I don’t actually consider it a problem, but it is certainly an addiction. Three macaroons and thirteen specialty chocolates later… let’s just say I was a happy camper.
The next night, Roy made an amazing dinner: Cajun pork chops that I swear tasted more like pork loin because they were that tender, grilled jalapenos and mushrooms, mozzarella ball and baby tomato salad with basil, and jalapeno bacon. We had cornbread from scratch with honey for dessert. I love when my husband cooks, and it’s not that it’s rare, but when he goes all out like that – seriously better than the food I have at restaurants.
But the last day of my birthday week was probably the best, simply because it included everything that I love. First my husband took me to a store called Nature’s Own. It’s a science and nature store that has a lot of fossils, natural stones and art, preserved butterflies (not hunted, preserved after they went through their full lifespan) etc. I loved it. I love natural beauty, stones, etc. but also I’m a total dinosaur nerd so this store fulfilled two of my loves at once. I ended up walking out of there with a Spinosaurus tooth from Morocco (roughly 110 million years old), and an imprint of different types of ammonite, as well as another species altogether from Germany that is roughly 180 million years old (from the late Jurassic period).
Ever since I was little I have been a complete dinosaur and ancient history (including prehistory) enthusiast, and owned (and read) several scholarly books and encyclopedias about dinosaurs and other extinct animals living through the most recent Ice Age. It’s a love that is more than twenty years old, and a passion that has never faded like other childhood pursuits sometimes do. They were both incredibly special, though I had a hard time accepting them at first because they were expensive (completely reasonable for what they are, but it’s not like authentic dinosaur teeth come cheap) and had no practical purpose beyond the fact that I liked them. They’ll sit in my office and while I’ll admire them, it’s not like getting a book to read and reference, or a movie to watch or something for the house to use or electronics like a laptop to live on. Sometimes my hyper-rationalness (as my husband calls it) makes accepting such things difficult. Maybe it’s why I suck so much when it comes to spending money on myself. I’d have to create a pro’s and con’s list about whether it was a sound investment or not! 😛
After that Roy took me to dinner at my favorite seafood place and I had the most amazing dish (seafood stew with a light tomato broth, scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams and crab) and a few oysters. Then we went back to the same chocolate shop we were just at the day before, and I got six more specialty chocolates, because you know I was already running low. 😉 Our outing ended with me going to one of my favorite used bookstores and of course I walked out with two new books. (Seriously, I’ve never walked out with less than two books!) They’re both on craft and writing memoir, and I’m really excited to dive into both of them.
Then we went home, and just hung out and relaxed before I finally got my presents. Every birthday or Christmas some people (including my husband) lament, “Don’t you want anything besides books?” So now my birthday lists consists of a few DVD collections (six TV shows/seasons) and a couple dozen books. Most of them are out-of-print guilty pleasure reads from series I enjoyed when I was younger, though a few are for research on ongoing writing projects and again passions of mine (this year these books focused on Ancient Greece). I cleaned up all right – more than all right. I got all of the books on my list that were not guilty pleasures (so Dinosaurs and Ancient Greece respectively) as well as a few thrillers, and all of the DVDs on my list except for two. Which is really okay because it leaves some for Christmas haha.
This birthday was definitely the best one I’ve had since I can remember. Great food and great times were had. New experiences and discovering new places for me to become obsessed with (Nature’s Own, cough, cough) and some old favorites (CHOCOLATE!!!) was the perfect mix. And spreading all the love over a week’s time… definitely not too shabby. It’s hard to come up with a favorite activity or meal. (Roy’s Saturday home cooking, the seafood place, Evergreen as a whole because it was too much fun to try and break it down more than that, and Nature’s Own certainly top off the list though!) If waiting a month to celebrate my birthday means it goes over like this – I want to wait every year from here on out! (I never did like celebrating my birthday on the actual day anyways – perhaps it’s the whole dying on my birthday thing that gives me mixed feelings. 😛 )
Thanks for the wonderful birthday week, Roy! You certainly raised the bar… perhaps I’ll have to rethink what I have planned for your birthday in November. (Because come on, it’s me. You know I’ve had your birthday planned out since May at the latest. 😛 )