My 29th birthday.

I meant to write this weeks ago but got distracted by other shit, and then each time I thought about catching up on it the guilt I felt about putting it off only made me want to procrastinate more and now here we are more than two months later. As you can see, 29 is off to a roaring start. NYOOOOOMmotherfuckers.

My birthday was on September 16th, so I spent the weekend ringing in what is mercifully the last year of my twenties in the company of my fella and an assortment of friends. It was awesome, I was thoroughly spoiled by everyone, and in 48 hours I consumed probably half my body weight in free food and alcohol. Here’s how it all went down.

Friday

At my behest, Eric bought a Groupon for us to visit the Circuit Bouldering Gym in NE Portland, which I mistakenly thought offered top-roping in addition to bouldering. I’ve loved top-roping for years, but until my birthday I’d never tried bouldering for two critical reasons: 1.) I lack the grip strength required to open the mayonnaise unassisted much less heave my meatbag up a vertical incline, and 2.) I don’t like falling off anything taller than me. To be fair, bouldering gym floors are densely padded so if you do fall the outcome is likelier to be “Ow, my ass” than “Please drive me to the emergency room,” but still.

Since we were already at the gym and the Groupon was paid for we decided to give it a try anyway and we both loved it. As a bonus, I realized pretty quickly that regular exercise has helped me develop enough endurance to exert myself for more than a few seconds at a time without seeing my life flash before my eyes. Eric and I both made it over the top of the wall a few times.

Afterward we went to Alameda Brewing to grab lunch (I had albacore tacos and a stout), and from there we headed over to Eric’s sister’s place. He’d been house-sitting for her and her husband, so we took advantage of the opportunity to have a soak in the hot tub and knock back a few more drinks. We were kept company by their dog Luke (Lurk, as I call him), who is a dead ringer for Falkor the Luckdragon. After that we headed to My Brother’s Crawfish for dinner.

A little background about My Brother’s Crawfish: It’s an unassuming little Cajun restaurant located in a strip mall in southeast, and the food is dope. Eric sponsored a king crab boil with with sausage, corn, and potatoes thrown in, a side of cornbread, and chicken-sausage gumbo. I’d never eaten crab before that night, and some of the legs were so massive and spiny that even with the frigging pruning shears the restaurant provided I couldn’t crack them open without help from Eric.

Next was bad movies at Mike & Liv’s place with Heidi, Nathan, and Laurie. Eric baked me a chocolate-coffee cake to share with everyone and I got gifts. We watched Pieces, an appalling Italian slasher flick poorly dubbed into English,  and Sharkenstein, whose premise you can infer from the title. Mike and Liv mixed cosmos and margaritas for us all evening, and Mike also treated us to his bitchin’ popcorn seasoned with Worcestershire sauce and nutritional yeast.

Saturday

Eric and I went to Pip’s Original so I could collect my free birthday dozen mini-donuts. I got two of everything on the menu and an iced chai and shared it all with Eric. From there we headed to Lloyd Center to see It.

Remember how in my last post I mentioned that Bobby flaked out on the movie? Well, he found somebody to cover the shift he picked up and was able to join us after all. As is my custom when we watch horror movies together, I wore my skull onesie. Upon arriving at the movie theatre, Charmian greeted me with a gift: an enamel scary clown pin, which I wore with pride for the rest of the day and which now has a place of honor on my project bag.

Afterward we all drove to southeast to check out Creepy’s, a new bar located where the Morrison Hotel used to be. The Morrison Hotel was a seedy, overpriced bar that used to be a popular theatre community haunt for reasons I’ve never understood. The drinks were piss-weak and absurdly overpriced, which might have something to do with why they went out of business. In contrast, Creepy’s seems to have made a fetish out of being inhospitable, judging by the sheer number of ugly velvet clown paintings on the walls. It was the perfect follow-up to the movie. Sean bought me a grasshopper and a plate of deviled eggs.

We rounded off the night with the EastBurn Power Hour with Alyssa, Shen, Salim, Mariel, Dana, Chris, Sara Fay, and Estela. The Power Hour, which you’re eligible for only on your birthday, is an hour of free alcohol for you and up to nine friends. The drink options are limited and if anyone pukes it’s an automatic game over. For me it was the most meh part of the weekend. I booked it thinking only “Free alcohol!” and not “But you hate noisy, chaotic environments and big group outings!” It was good to see everyone who showed up, but thirty minutes in I was more than ready to call it a night.

And because I like to chronicle all my loot, here’s the complete list of gifts I was given:

  • A wearable sloth head and this fantastic mug from Estela.
  • Homemade cookies and a cable knit sweater from Alyssa.
  • New Adidas, a sloth-moth portrait, and crepe paper flowers from Eric.
  • A pinnable dress form, a headlamp, the complete Maude on DVD, and a book on embroidery from Mom.
  • Purr-maid socks, spices, and Borkchito from Mike and Liv.

My gift to myself was this sweatshirt, which I wore for the first time today because it’s the day after Thanksgiving and thus officially the first day of the Christmas season.

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