Category: Birthdays

I’m proud (!) to say that we’ve done no sightseeing in DC. Instead, I’ve been sleeping like mad: 13 hours the first night, 11 the second, and 9 last night. I probably would have slept more, but dinner made for a late night and we didn’t sleep in as much this morning.

Dinner was at 1789 restaurant. Located in a Federal style building converted into a series of dining rooms decorated with antiques. It’s a very ‘east coast’ place. The building isn’t actually from 1789, the name came from history; but that doesn’t seem to matter.


I recently had the joy of creating a gift for my niece, Shyna — a set of wooden blocks for her to play with. I’ll confess it wasn’t my first time, having made a set for my nephew, Connor, when he was about the same age.


I have no idea what got into my darling bride, but she pulled out all the stops on this, the sixth day of our honeymoon and my actual 40th birthday. As I explained yesterday we spent the entire day at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, an absurdly luxurious mini-palace, the cost of which she’s never shared and I don’t ever want to know. We had buffet breakfast in the morning, which was basically Full Irish but, since we were in Scotland, was simply called “breakfast”. Then we went and met Cooper. Who’s Cooper?

This is Cooper.

This is Cooper.

We were taken around for an hour or so by Graeme, a passionate birder who keeps a half-dozen or so birds of prey. Cooper was our boy, though, and he was gorgeous. We (Lisa and I) would take turns wearing the glove, and as we wandered through the woods Graeme would occasionally tell us to put our hand up; he’d put a bit of chicken on it, and in a few moments – whoosh!!! Cooper alights to take his treat. It was wonderful. Apparently on some tours like this the bird is basically sent to and fro from human to tree, back and forth. No no no, not with us. Graeme would engineer it so that Cooper would have to dive and swoop through underbrush and branches to reach us, which he did seemingly effortlessly. Fabulous. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but apparently it’s a tough experience to come by in the United States, regulations being what the are here. At the end of the tour I distinctly remember Graeme setting up extended photo ops by giving Cooper a whole baby chick, which he tried to hide from us (I guess some of his tourists are squeamish?) by stuffing “the treat” deep into our gloved hand and immediately siccing Cooper on it. Whatever, it was an amazing time.


My darling love just figured out that the Garden of Cosmic Speculation will be open for its annual one-day-a-year-open-to-the-public-for-charity while we’ll be in Ireland for our honeymoon. Our honeymoon is now a split Ireland / Scotland trip.

Double bonus – it’s about an hour away from a portion of Hadrian’s Wall, which I’ve also wanted to see for decades.

Man, getting married is totally going to be worth it. (heh.)

Lisa’s addition: John’s birthday dinner wil be at Three Chimmneys, followed by a night at the House Over-By in the Isle of Skye. This place is listed as one of 500 Places for food & wine lovers, and definitely counts as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

An already special event (our honeymoon) is now fabulous!


This last weekend I flew down to San Francisco to surprise my mom for her birthday. It was a huge success.

She came in to the door and my nephew met her with flowers. Then he peremptorily said ‘close your eyes, it’s a secret!’ She, being a good grandma, did, and he led her into the living room, where I waited. (She did bounce off the walls a bit, he wasn’t very good at leading her, I must say.) When she opened her eyes — the look on her face was priceless.

Big hugs, lots of happiness.