These past two months have been big. Big fun, big trips, big decisions. Last week, I was presented with the biggest question I ever been asked. And I’m happy to say that it was the easiest I’ve ever answered.
Last Wednesday after taking me out for lunch mid-workday and swinging by the Cupcake Stop truck for a couple gluten-free cupcakes, Chris suggested that we head home instead of returning to work. I happily obliged. When we arrived home, I was advised that I needed to pack a bag and would need two nice outfits, one a bit nicer than the other. We threw together our bag in half an hour and hurried out the door. There was a car waiting downstairs to take us to the airport.
Now, I can’t say that I was entirely surprised, though this is not Chris’ fault. Friday was our impending third anniversary of dating, and I’d been on high alert since first thing on Monday. One of my coworkers sat me down that morning so we could plan out the week.
“So uh, I was thinking maybe we should plan to get stuff done a little early this week. You know, just so that we can take it easy the last couple days. And I might have a….um…conference to go to on Friday, so maybe we could try to get things done by Wednesday morningish….”
To his credit, he really did much better than this—quite well actually—but this is how it sounded to me. I have a degree in acting from NYU. Don’t mess.
So, I knew something was up. It also didn’t help that one of Chris’ coworkers asked us at a company event that night if we were going somewhere that weekend because Chris’ calendar showed he was out Thursday and Friday—oops. Chris went white as a sheet (I almost reached over and checked his pulse) and shook his head. On Tuesday, when he asked to take me to lunch the next day, the “getting work done by Wednesday morning” thing officially clicked. I knew it wasn’t likely that I’d be back to work, so I scrambled and finished all my stuff. I was ready to be surprised.
When we checked in at the airport, I discovered that my first guess as to where we’d be going was correct: Seattle.
I’ve noticed a huge, glaring pattern in my life. I don’t know that it’s something I’ve ever avoided or ignored, but it’s something I’ve decided I need to learn to embrace, tightly:
The best decisions in my life are always the big, scary ones. You know, the kind that make you feel as though you’re standing at the edge of a terrible cliff, curling your toes over the lip, feeling the dizziness of being unsafe and too high. The kind that make you want to run screaming and hide somewhere dark and warm until everyone forgets your name. The kind that you know need to be made, for one reason or another, and that can only be made by letting go and falling. Down. Fast. That kind.
Atlanta? you may be asking. Yes, Atlanta. Toward the end of the month, I took Chris on a surprise birthday trip to Atlanta, Georgia.
No offense to what I found to be a very nice city, but I've honestly never had any desire to visit Atlanta. I didn't realize there was anything there to see. And then we heard about the Georgia Aquarium. It turns out that it's the largest in the world. It is also home to four specimens of the largest fish in the world. The whale shark. Aquariums and whale sharks--two of Chris' favorite things. We had to go.
Oooh, whale shark. Looks menacing, right? Hardly. The whale shark is a filter feeder and fills it's belly with a diet of krill (aka itty bitty shrimp). They're gentle giants and are excellent swimming companions. I could have told you that a year ago, except for the fact that when Chris and I tried to swim with them on our trip to Mexico last summer, I spent the whole time throwing up over the side of the boat. Food poisoning and sea sickness are not a good combination. Oh, and quick travel tip: don't eat beef carpaccio at an uber-touristy eco theme park. Seems obvious, I know, but just in case you're feeling daring. Don't. Anywho! I can tell you that they're fun to take a dip with now, because Chris and I squeezed into wet suits and jumped in with them at the aquarium. Pretty cool, right?
No? It would have been much more awesome if we'd swum with something scarier?
October was not at all the month I expected it to be, full of waiting, struggle, and stress. It became a month of transition and doing and planning, a month of many memorable experiences, some of which seem surprisingly far away now. Nonetheless, I wish to recall two of them for you before the rush of the next two months pulls their relevance away entirely. Out of consideration for you, reader, I have broken these events into two separate posts. The first is below.
I want to start by saying that I’m very glad that this is something that Chris and I decided to do. There are so many wonderful events that happen throughout the year in our city, and we have the unfortunate tendency of letting them pass right by. Part of it is that we’re busy people, part of it is just that we’re both pretty low-key and perfectly content to spend our rare and prized weekend days at home. When I started seeing the posters this year, though, I knew we couldn’t miss it. Tickets were booked in August and the excitement was immediate. I wanted that day to be here now.
I chose our events based on what was available (those featuring the likes of Giada, Rachael, or Alton were completely booked) and what looked safe and enjoyable for the gluten-free. There was a cheese and olive oil tasting that I knew we both would have loved, but I assumed the vehicle for the oils would be none other than bread. Not ideal. So I booked us for a culinary demonstration by Rocco DiSpirito and a “Tour de Beef.” The latest studies tend to agree that cow is gluten-free.
We arrived at the culinary demo and it was packed. Now, I can’t say that I really know Rocco DiSpirito’s work or cuisine, but I’d seen him on various shows and sometimes it’s fun to see someone that has a name, just because. The whole thing was very entertaining. Rocco came out and immediately told everyone to ignore the guy who had just said that we weren’t to take any pictures (My one regret of the day—that I didn’t bring my camera. Not that mine is anything special, but the iPhone can only do so much). He said the setup made him feel like John Edwards and began “reading” the audience, going around from person to person, making all the young girls blush and giggle.