I had my last first date 21 years ago tonight - October 30, 2007. At the time, I didn't know it would be my last first date nor did my date, I'm sure. Lisa and I went to a play (Elizabeth the Queen) on campus and we've been together ever since.
Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. This is the third anniversary we've celebrated since I began blogging so if you want to read the details of that day you can read a previous post here. No big plans this year. We spent the day, like most Saturdays - a little cleaning, errands, time with the boys. We fed the boys early and then put Oliver to bed and started a movie for Henry. We then had dinner ourselves, just the two of us. Nothing fancy but we did enjoy some wine.
We're okay with a quiet evening at home with the boys. We've had some more traditional anniversaries - trips to far-away places, four-star hotels, candlelit dinners. We've also spent a few at home - sick, pregnant, really sick AND pregnant. I'm glad to be home tonight. Here's to 18 more and then at least 25 more after that.
Today is the 17th anniversary of our wedding. Last year I wrote extensively about it here. This year we are actually spending a night away from the boys. This will be Oliver's first night away from BOTH mom and dad. We are dropping the kids off in Dayton, OH with Lisa's sister and then continuing on to Cincinnati. We have dinner reservations at Bistro JeanRo and also plan a trip to Jungle Jim's.
Saturday night Lisa and I had the rare opportunity to go out for the evening. With no family nearby and competent sitters difficult to find, this is indeed an infrequent occurrence. We decided on dinner and a movie. We didn't have reservations anywhere so we picked the movie we wanted to see and then decided to eat somewhere nearby. We ended up at Mitchell's Fish Market. I had been there once before but Lisa had not. The wait was only 45 minutes so we walked around a bit before being seated. I got started with the Oyster Sampler. Here is what I sampled and what I thought about them:
Gerrish Island, Maine -this one was bright and briny
Canadian Cove, Prince Edward Island, Canada - bland and disappointing
Tatamagouche, Northern Nova Scotia - this one was assertive and had a surprisingly wasabi-like finish
Quilsene, Hood Canal, Washington State - sweet with a clean cucumber-like finish
All but the Canadian Cove were top notch. For dinner I had a broiled shrimp and crabcake combo. Lisa had the Tropical Tilapia. I think we would both rate the meal just slightly above average. After dinner we made our way to the theatre to see Good Night, and Good Luck. There are lots of great, subtle performances in the film and George Clooney does a great job in the director's chair.
That was it for date night. Maybe we'll do it again in a few months.
“What is she doing with him?” We’ve all uttered that phrase when we’ve spotted at the mall or on TV a gorgeous woman with a less-than handsome guy. It seems to happen a lot to average-looking musicians. Is there any hope for regular guys who don’t play in a rock n’ roll band? I am living proof that there is.
October 30, 2005 will mark the 19th anniversary of my first date with my wife Lisa. We were not dating too long when I cooked dinner for her for the first time. I wasn’t very experienced in the kitchen back then but I gave a lot of thought to what I would prepare and made a simple meal that we enjoyed al fresco one fall evening on the front porch of my apartment.
During the weeks and months that followed, I cooked a few more times but I also got creative about the restaurants we went to when we ate out. A good looking guy can get away with taking his date to the Olive Garden out by the mall but regular guys have to go the extra mile to find those out-of-the-way romantic spots.
These experiences have contributed to my theory that a good working knowledge of food and wine exponentially increases a guy’s odds of having a relationship with the smoking hot babe of his dreams. Women like men who can cook. If you doubt my theory just tune in to watch Emeril crush some garlic and you’ll see women swoon like he was Jon Bon Jovi belting out “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
Guys will invest their time and energy in a great many pursuits. I’ve not met a woman yet who is impressed by an obsession with fantasy football or knowing every minute of the dialogue in all three installments of the Lord of the Rings.
So guys, if you’ve been trying to get up the nerve to ask someone out, think about offering to cook dinner for her. I’ll get you started with this great side dish. When I first made dinner for my wife I made chicken and rice with baked squash and green beans. This is a spiced up version of the squash. If you need help with the rest of the meal, drop me an email and I’ll hook you up with other recipes and some tips to help make your evening a success.
Baked Acorn Squash with Chipotle
1 acorn squash
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 chipotle pepper, chopped
2 Tablespoons adobe sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place haves skin-side down (cut a little off the bottom to make halves lay flat) in a baking dish and add about one inch of water to the baking dish. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and add to the cavity in each half one tablespoon butter, one tablespoon brown sugar, half the chipotle, and half the adobe. Put back in oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Last night Lisa and I had a "date." The first in about six months. The boy's daycare/preschool had a parents' night out from 5-11 pm. We dropped them off and took in dinner and a movie. We wanted to see Broken Flowers with Bill Murray, which started at 7:00 pm. That did not really give us time for a decent sit-down dinner. Our first couple of choices had too long of a wait so we ended up at Avalon. This place is much more night club than restaurant and we were the only patrons at 5:30 pm. The decor is interesting with a South Beach kind of feel. The services was good (it ought to be since we were the only ones there). Lisa had salmon and I had a burger stuffed with blue cheese. The food was decent enough. Lisa had a pre-dinner lemon drop martini that she seemed to enjoy. I stuck with a Sam Adams Summer Ale with my burger.
We both enjoyed the movie. Bill Murray seems to have become a master of understatement. He can convey a wide range of emotion with great subtlety. He may get another Oscar nomination for this. There were also great performances from Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange and a couple other actresses playing women from Bill Murray's past.
Last night Lisa and I attended the Witham Health Services Foundation's annual Gala. This is Lebanon's only black-tie event and this was the first year we have attended. Our neighbors took care of the kids and we got to have a night out together for the first time since before Oliver was born. We managed to be out for a full five hours of dinner and dancing.
We really enjoyed ourselves. There were about 200 people there including good friends of ours from our small group at church and lots of people we know through civic involvement. We also met several new people.
The food was decent considering they were serving 200. It included a nice salad of mixed greens (not a leaf of iceberg to be found), a phyllo seafood cup (not great), a bacon-wrapped filet mignon, mixed vegetables, and potatoes. We also had a nice campaign sorbet as a pallet cleanser. Dessert looked elegant but tasted ordinary. Merlot and White Zinfandel were served with dinner.
The entertainment was top notch. The Flip Miller band covered a wide spectrum of music from the last 60 years including big band, show tunes, disco, Dave Matthews, and Outkast. Chadd took the mic for a rendition of Margaritaville.
We had a great time and plan to put this on our annual social calendar. BTW, I had the hottest date there. Lisa looked stunning in a black dress with an uncharacteristically plunging neckline.
Today is our 16th wedding anniversary. We were married in Akron, Ohio on an icy winter day. We picked a December date because we were still in college and the previous summer would have been too soon and the following summer too late. So, we got married between semesters. It was a pretty simple wedding. Lisa wore her mother's dress, we had a friend do the flowers, one aunt got the union hall for the reception, another aunt catered, and Lisa's mom made the wedding cake and bridesmaid dresses.
I arrived in Akron a few days before the wedding and came down with the flu. Although better by our wedding day, I had an enormous fever blister. Four friends from college (Peter, David, Will, and Michael) and Lisa's brother (Lee) were my groomsmen. I still count all of these guys as good friends. The night before we had a very low-key bachelor's party. Coming from a Christian college there was no booze or semi-nude women involved. We stayed in the hotel room, ate pizza, drank diet Coke, and played Rook. The next morning we had a big greasy breakfast even though none of us was nursing a hangover.
It was a simple, but long ceremony. Lisa's dad and my stepfather co-officiated and had to each do a little preaching. A couple other friends from college, Alan and Beth, provide the music.
I remember it being a very surreal, somewhat artificial experience. It felt a lot like being in a performance - I was wearing rented clothes, there was an audience, cameras. I was in a film a year earlier and my character got married. The real thing felt like that - staged. For me the wedding was just a formality and paled in comparison to beginning our lives together as marriage partners.
After the reception, Lisa's brother drove us to Cleveland where we stayed the night. We got on a plane the next morning for New York City. When we landed in New York I remember feeling really grown up. This was Lisa's first plane ride and only my third. It was the first time either of us had been on a trip without "adult supervision." We stayed at the Grand Hyatt. We were travel novices and did not see much of what the city has to offer (although we have in subsequent visits). We did, however, eat dinner at the Four Seasons, see both Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables (this was 1988 and these shows were new - tickets were not easy to get), and spent New Year's Eve at Times Square. We packed a lot into four days and three nights.
When we got back home we settled into a life together pretty comfortably. I can remember feeling like every night was a slumber party with my best friend. People had told us marriage would be a big adjustment. For us, it wasn't.
Lisa was 20 and and half and I had just turned 24 when we got married. We have truly grown up together. I love being married and could never imagine myself single. I love being married to Lisa. I can't image myself with anyone else. Side-by-side we've experienced joys, sorrows, births, deaths, moves, job changes, unemployment, illnesses, and everything else life has thrown our way.
I know over the next 16 years much of our energy will be spent helping two boys become men. I'm glad to be co-parenting with Lisa. She is a wonderful mother. In another 16 years Henry will likely be in college and baby number two will be in his last years of high school. Part of that picture is clear in my mind and another pretty murky. I have a hard time conceiving of our kids as being adolescents and adults. I can clearly see, however, Lisa and me side-by-side getting ready for another 16 years.
Over the years we've had some pretty exciting anniversary trips: England, Scotland, New Orleans, Chicago, Napa Valley, Ashville (NC), Los Angeles. This year we'll be staying close to home. Dinner and a movie is the plan.