My birthday celebrations kicked off last Friday. Melanie and I left our kids at my parents’ place and then went to see David Fincher’s brand new film, Gone Girl. We went to a downtown movie theater I hadn’t been to in years, but which still seems fairly modern. That combined with seeing a fairly big movie on opening night, in a downtown theater no less, made it feel special. The movie was great, which only added to how enjoyable it was. After the movie ended, we lucked out on some free street parking and made our way into City Creek Center, the luxury mall built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and opened only two years ago. Putting thoughts about the Church’s involvement with a luxury shopping mall to the side, I really liked the place. It was clean and airy, great and spacious. It was twilight hours, so it was lit well enough to see without artificial light, but still dim and atmospheric. The air was crispy cool. Very pleasant. We made our way to The Cheesecake Factory, easily the most crowded location at the mall. We had a 30-minute wait before being seated outside and enjoying a good and very expensive meal. Melanie and I discussed life, the universe, and everything. Well, okay, spirituality mostly. But it felt like it had been years since we’d talked so much, and it was extremely lovely and rejuvenating for us. I’ve always been smitten by Melanie, and it’s nice to have an opportunity to interact in ways where that becomes clear. We’re truly best friends, and it’s easily the greatest thing about my life. The friendship in our relationship is so strong. Yes, I’m bragging.
My bride and best friend, sitting directly behind my second-best friend, avocado egg rolls.
Chicken Madeira about to be devoured by the birthday boy.
Birthday shenanigans continued on Sunday night, when we had a birthday dinner with Melanie’s side of the family. Per my request, we had pot roast (with baby carrots), rolls, salad, funeral potatoes, and for dessert, apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious, and the leftovers made a nice lunch the following day.
My apple cobbler, with a slightly melted candle sitting therein. Can you see the secret message?
Eddie and Peter have already gone Gothic. I thought I had a few more years before this crap started.
Proof that Creegan was there.
On my actual birthday, Melanie and I again splurged on eating out. We had Café Zupas for lunch, after which we drove to Best Buy, where I picked up the brand new Weezer album (released that very morning). That night, we went to my parents’, where for the first time in perhaps years, I was with all of my siblings at once. My parents treated me to Chinese food, which was super delicious, and Melanie made yet another birthday dessert for me. This time, it was “Better than Sex Cake,” or “Candy Bar Cake,” if you prefer a more family-friendly moniker. Despite the large crowd in a small apartment, things went really well and I very much enjoyed myself.
The birthday fun didn’t stop there. I have since had carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist, and it has gone even more smoothly than it did with my right wrist. I also received a package with a new book (The Crucible of Doubt by Terryl & Fiona Givens) and a new Robert Plant CD. A modest little birthday package, if I do say so myself, and yet one that I am quite excited about. Melanie and I will also be going to The New Pornographers’ concert tomorrow night. They happen to be playing in SLC just a few days after my birthday, not unlike three years ago when we they played in Tallahassee shortly after my birthday and Melanie and I both attended. I have my hopes up that a SLC performance will be much, much better than what we got in Tally. But even if it’s on par, the music will be good. I’m very excited.