Went out to wing night with Terra, Scott, and his friends, which was basically a fun trip of Scott and his friends amassing large piles of bones and Terra and I bullshitting and eating not wings. We’re both vegetarians. She’s the only solidarity I have in that.
Leah had a purse party for Thirty-One. I’ve concluded that a rite of passage for female adults is attending some sort of party where overpriced merchandise is sold and you buy some because you’ll feel bad if you don’t. That said, I did get a bag and matching wristlet I legitimately really like, especially considering I’ve been wanting a wristlet for a really long time and couldn’t find one I liked that wasn’t an even more overpriced Vera Bradley. This is also notable because it was the only Vera Bradley pattern I’ve ever liked. I’ll probably never find it again.
Paul’s company picnic was at Kennywood, which was a good time. We took Jonathan so he could hang out with one of Paul’s coworker’s kids, and they annihilated the arcade all day while Paul and I enjoyed the park and free lunch…
…And then we went to a Greek Orthodox church near where I work for their annual Greek food festival, and it was probably the best decision we ever made as a couple. If we get married, that food festival will be better than marriage. It was amazing. We had spanakopita, salad, baklava, grape leaves, gyros, and meatballs–which I even had a taste of (I’m hesitant but willing to at least taste meat products from other cultures because I think the experience is important). My only regret is that we didn’t go sooner–like, the first day. I could’ve had takeout feasts for lunch at work every day. Meanwhile, all the people were amazingly nice, and the whole atmosphere was so much different from the Catholic food-related fundraisers he and I are used to. The church was packed, they were playing loud, upbeat music, and people were dancing outside. That night, we rejoiced and made a pact to move to Greece when we’re rich writers.
My apartment is gradually being taken over by my recycling. The building itself doesn’t recycle, so I need to take it somewhere. If I’m back home, the recycling place closes at like 3:30 on weekdays and isn’t open on weekends. Usually, my best bet is to take it to this place in Pittsburgh when I’m in the city or to a place near work and my apartment but out of the way enough for it to not be worth it to do on my daily commute home.
Kelly turned 21, so we made an attempt to go out on the South Side. Problem is my brother, for some reason, insists on getting out here way early, and since he picked up Paul and Paul is on night shift, Paul was tired as hell and started falling asleep after dinner on our side shopping trip. True love is wanting to go get drunk (actually, it was more likely I’d have a couple then have to take one for the time and DD) but taking your boyfriend home to sleep instead. We picked up some beer and wine coolers at the six-pack shop near my apartment. Sometimes, living within walking distance of a college campus is awesome.
I turned 24! I had my birthday dinner at Shogun and got some pretty fun presents. Highlights are an upgraded iPhone from my family (but mostly my mom, let’s be real) and a signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, from Paul–it was the only thing I asked for and the only time I’ve actually told him something when he asked what to get me. Kimmie declared him a keeper immediately.
We had a going-away party for Marion, who is now living in Phoenix. It was Fayette County-themed, which turned out amazing and was a good time. Paul and I didn’t stay the night, but we hung out and drank for a while and had a good time. Best of luck to Marion!
My car needed fixed. It was expensive, but my mom paid for it and my car feels practically new–or it would if I would clean it.
Duke had cataract surgery, had a cone on his head, and couldn’t be left alone, so when he was cleared by his vets, we went on a belated-birthday trip to the casino. I love playing those slots. I didn’t win, but I didn’t burn through all of my gambling money, either, which is looking like it’s a trend with me. I suspect this is because I spend most of my time playing the Wizard of Oz slots until I start losing, and they do well enough to at least keep me playing.
One of my writing professors, Lori Jakiela, had a launch with her husband for hew new book, The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious. She’s awesome and you should read her stuff. She taught me (almost) everything I know about writing. She’s also a super sweet person and wrote the nicest things in my book. It was awesome to see her again. Now, I haven’t read the book and if you saw the stack of books on my nightstand right now, you’d understand why. If I had a dollar for every time Paul sent me a new chapter of something he’s working on and anxiously asked if I read it yet, you’d understand why. But don’t be like me–read it! The night was also a great success in that it finally gave Paul a proper appreciation for memoir, although I still keep bugging him to finish the David Sedaris book I had him borrow. Like I said, I can’t talk–I’ve had his copy of Gaiman’s American Gods for a sufficiently long time, and if I finish Fountainhead before I die, I’ll be lucky, especially considering I hate it so much it might actually be what kills me.
Brandon and I went to see Jimmy Eat World on kind of a whim, and they were fantastic. They played a significant portion of Bleed American, which is a stellar album, so I was very happy. Of course, their new album is also very good, but shit, man, Bleed American.
Went to the family reunion without Brandon or any of the cousins, but I still had a good time. I actually kicked ass at bingo this year and won enough bath supplies that I shouldn’t actually need any until I win more at next year’s family reunion. I tried to make my bath pouf last until this year for that reason, actually. Meanwhile, Kimmie, my godmother, gave me advice on dealing with Paul’s mom since her mother-in-law is horrible. Her advice was basically stand up to her but Paul has to, too–otherwise, I’m just a bitch to her.
Went to St. Rita’s street fair to see Leah’s cousin’s band play, which was a good time but it was really crowded, so I abandoned my dream of fried dough.
Paul finally got a car! It’s a nice Nissan Rogue, which is a good compromise between something big he can fit in and something small that’s good on gas mileage. I really like it. It rides nice and came with a free year of satellite radio. He’s been discovering lots of cool bands on it, which goes something like, “Hey, Janelle, have you heard of this band?” “Yes, Paul. When I was 15.” The car is also making things easier relationship-wise–we’ve been in a rough patch since just after my birthday, a lot of it having to do with his mom, so the car means I save time by not having to drive him when we go out, I save gas money by not having to make multiple trips or go out of my way, and I save sanity because I don’t have to encounter his mother much at all. In fact, if nothing is going on back in the Nam, I stay at my apartment, he comes over, and I don’t have to deal with anyone’s bullshit. Win/win.
Saw Pacific Rim.
Brandon and Kelly got in a car accident in Lancaster visiting Kelly’s family. They’re both fine aside from his bruised knee and her concussion and her grandma being really difficult about it on a level similar to Paul’s mom, but Kelly’s car is not fine–totaled, and she just bought it in March. They went looking for a new one the other day.
I went on some little shopping trips last week to get birthday presents for Meri, Paul, and Terra. I was also successful in finding presents for myself. Getting out for a few hours on my own was nice, too.
Saw Suavity’s Mouthpiece this past Friday, which was a good time, as always. Justin’s new song, “UPMC Mercy,” is the best he’s written.
Paul turned 23! We went to Steel City Con again, lunch at the Green Mango, my new favorite Thai place, and made a stop for beer and wine coolers again at the six-pack shop. An employee declared us his favorite couple because of Paul’s Captain America shirt and my Crow shirt.