David’s 30th Birthday at Nifty Fifty’s | 26 April 2023

On Wednesday, 26 April 2023, David turned 30. Erich, Erich’s mom, David and I traveled to Northeast Philly to go to Nifty Fifty’s. They are a throwback diner, and most of the food is 50s-esque. The music that was played was from doo-wop and Motown groups. Nifty Fifty’s is also known for their milkshakes.

We then went back to David’s house and I gave him his gifts.

David had a 30th birthday to remember. We couldn’t wait for part II on Sunday, 30 April 2023.

Happiness Box 2023

My Happiness Box is lighter than it has been in the past. In the past, before I ever fell in love and got into a relationship, I would just put everything into it. Now, instead of making the box massive, I focus on one thing and make a separate scrapbook or snapbook for the bigger stuff.

David’s Snapbook

I finished David’s Snapbook on Friday. It looks amazing.

Truly a labour of love.

I wrapped it on Saturday morning, and it’s with the clothes I bought him. I can’t wait for him to open his gifts on Wednesday. I think he’ll be surprised.

Thankful Thursday 20 April 2023

Happy Thursday, y’all! While I was able to update my blog for the past three days about our trip to Brighton Beach/Coney Island, I’ve also been busy working on David’s snapbook. Let me share a few pages with you.

I’m just about done as well. I should be done by Saturday, then I can wrap it and it’ll be good to go for his birthday on the 26th.

I’m beyond grateful for David this week. I’m also thankful for friends, co-workers, and family. What are you grateful for?

Brighton Beach / Coney Island | Day 3: Auf Wiedersehen | 4 April 2023

Tuesday was check out day and we checked out at 10:30 AM. That morning I found the Steeplechase Pier and meditated for a while. I brought David back, we took some photos and sat in meditation before we left.

We were going to go to DUMBO, but I didn’t realize it was DUMBO Heights since I’m used to taking transit in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so Google maps led us over the Manhattan Bridge. We couldn’t get back to DUMBO Heights and we walked China Town instead. We could see the Brooklyn Bridge from one of the parks in China Town and I took some lovely photos.

Unfortunately, David and I got stuck in Trump traffic and we saw some of the rallies as David was trying to get out of Manhattan. It took us about an hour to get out of Manhattan since a lot of the roads were closed because of the Trump mess. We were both relieved when we got out of Manhattan. We stopped in New Jersey at a rest stop to eat. We arrived back to David’s at 2:30 and I hung out with David and Erich for a few hours. We told Erich about our trip, then we relaxed. David let me play Persona 5 for a couple of hours, then we watched Fairy Tale.

It was a wonderful trip and David enjoyed his early birthday gift. He turns 30 on 26 April and I’m going to make him a sn@pbook of our trip for his birthday. We both took off on the 26th and Erich’s mom is taking us out to dinner. Then on 30 April, I’m ordering Mission BBQ and inviting a few of his friends. Nothing too big, as he likes to keep things simple, but it’s also something special since he’s turning 30. This party isn’t a surprise, but the trip sure was.

Brighton Beach / Coney Island | Day 2 | 3 April 2023

I woke up at 7:30 and I walked to the beach as David slept. I decided to take a polar plunge and the water felt great. It was 37 degrees on Monday morning, the ocean had to be about that temperature too. Someone walking the beach took photos for me and I was able to go up to my abdomen and I dunked my head into the waves. After the plunge, I wrapped myself in towels, sat on the beach for a bit, and meditated. Not very many people were there, and it was peaceful to listen to the waves and gulls. The beach is my happy place, regardless of the season. When I headed back to the Air BNB, two pigeons greeted me. Pigeons are one of my favourite birds and I loved seeing them.

I changed when I got back to the Air BNB and I decided to walk to the bodegas near us. I was hungry and I knew that rice pudding wouldn’t be enough for me. I walked to two different bodegas and the last one I walked into, they had mini bowels of GF cheerios. The clerk gave me a cup of milk, free of charge. When I got back to the Air BNB, David was awake. I had my breakfast, then we had the oysters and pudding. That was David’s first time having a raw oyster. I’ve been eating them since I was 6 years old and I showed him how to eat them. I also told him the sauce is delicious. David enjoyed the oyster.

Monday was Russian day. I wanted to show David the Riegleman Boardwalk and I wanted to give him a tour of Brighton Beach. We walked the boardwalk and made our way to Tatiana Café in Brighton Beach. David and I split a borscht and I wanted him to try the pelmeni. Pelmeni is meat filled Russian dumplings. I learned about them from my Russian Jewish group, except I had to make mine gluten-free. I knew I couldn’t get the pelmeni GF at Tatiana, David was excited to try them. He thought both the borscht and pelmeni were amazing. He also loved the compote drink. I’ll have to make the GF pelmeni for him some time. They almost reminded him of a crossover between a pierogi and wonton.

After lunch, we walked the beach and I showed him some of the Russian shops near the beach. Before we went to dinner at a Ukrainian restaurant, I would give him more tours of Brighton Beach off the beach. At this point, it was getting windy and it was a bit windy on the beach. I brought my ace flag, I wanted to get a photo on the beach and before Pride month, and while I was able to get it around me, it was a bit of a challenge. We also sat on the gazebo and keeping the flag still was a challenge. I managed and the pictures did come out nice.

We made it back to the Air BNB at 3:30 and we watched Sing 2 on Netflix, then Seven Deadly Sins. We wanted to relax before we walked back to Brighton Beach for dinner. I’m glad we did because when we headed out at 6:30, the wind was brutal. When we made it to Brighton Beach, I showed David the different Russian shops and buildings before we went to Skovorda for dinner.

David loved Skovorda and he and our waiter, Erich, really got along. Erich saw my back tattoo and loved it. He talked about the wings he has on our back and we made a few jokes. I’m glad David loved the Ukrainian restaurant because it is one of my favourites.

David didn’t feel like walking back and I suggested riding the subway. It was his first time riding the subway and I was his guide. I knew the subway and I knew how to get back to our Air BNB; we were staying two blocks from Stillwell Ave.

Since I am used to Brighton Beach and Stillwell Ave., I guided us back with no issue. David seemed to like the subway.

Brighton Beach / Coney Island | Day 1 | 2 April 2023

For the past few weeks, I was planning a surprise trip for David. He only knew we were going to New York, but he really had no idea where in New York we were going.

He’s not a morning person, but on Sunday he got up at 10 AM, and after a few photos under my blossoming Japanese maple tree, we were on our way by 11 AM.

When we were on the Turnpike, David asked where we were actually going. I decided to let him in on the surprise and I told him, “Brighton Beach and Coney Island!” David smiled and he was really surprised. His birthday is 26 April and it was an early birthday surprise.

We arrived at our Air BNB in Coney Island at 2 PM and Norbert let us check in early. I knew David was a bit tired from driving, especially since the highways into NYC were narrow and his anxiety was amped, so we had the gluten-free lunch I made and relaxed for a couple of hours. Norbert’s condo was beautiful and our room was really nice. Norbert and his wife were also friendly and welcoming.

It was sunny and 52 degrees Fahrenheit in Coney Island. Luna Park had a test run this past weekend and I took David to the amusement park. He didn’t feel like riding the rides since it was still too chilly for him, but he enjoyed walking around. Most of the roller coasters were opened and I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I only rode the swings and that was fun. David took pictures and videos of me riding those swings. After that ride, I brought my dad’s film camera (1980 Olympus) and I took photos of Luna Park. I asked the security guard if he could get a photo of us, which he did. His girlfriend was visiting and she asked me if I could take a photo of them. We exchanged Instagram accounts, and I told her the film photos would be available in a few weeks since they have to get developed. I picked up the film photos last Friday and sent her the photo.

After I took photos, we explored Luna Park some more. David knew I wanted to get photo booth photos and he spotted a photo booth, pointing it out to me. Sadly, the photo booth wasn’t turned on yet. Not every ride was opened either. I was disappointed, but there would be other opportunities. There was a cool mural in the park and David took some photos of me with my cellphone. I asked a young woman if she could take a photo of us next to this mural and she took a few. David and I thought that mural looked cool.

That was a fun hour and we spent another hour on the beach. It truly was a beautiful day and I managed to catch some rays. David and I walked around the beach, took some photos, and relaxed a bit. He thought it was peaceful.

Sunday night was gluten-free Ramen night. There was a Burmese restaurant, Rangoon, in Park Slope and David drove. It was about a 20 minute drive and the view of the sun setting behind the Verazano Bridge was gorgeous. Rangoon was delicious and when we go back in the summer, David is going to bring Erich with us. He thinks Erich would enjoy this spot. I ordered a glass noodle fish stew and David ordered a pork noodle. We were stuffed at the end, and our oysters didn’t come out until check out. We took them to go, along with a rice pudding I would have on Monday for breakfast.

I wanted to take David to Brooklyn Heights Promenade and that was our last stop before going back to our Air BNB in Coney Island. The view from Brooklyn Heights was breathtaking. I left my tripod in David’s car, but I found someone to take our photo. The tourist struggled with my camera a bit and his friend took videos of him struggling. I walked him through using my camera again and eventually we able to take a few photos of us. I thanked him. Another tourist walked by and I handed her my phone. Before we headed back to Coney Island, we sat and admired the sights, we meditated and the air was nice and cool.

Unfortunately, when we got back to our Air BNB, our room was hot. Norbert’s condo doesn’t have central heat or air, he has radiators. I’m not sure if other guests were cold and jacked up the heat, but our room was uncomfortable. David opened the windows and we were able to sleep after we watched Seven Deadly Sins on Netflix.

Our First Passover and Easter Together

David and I celebrated our first Passover, then first Passover and Easter, together this weekend. It was his first time having a Seder, and he liked the Stonewall Seder we did on Sunday the best.

During the Stonewall Seder we had a few laughs. When David held the orange and started quoting Shakespeare “to be or not to be,” I broke. We both really liked how the afikomen didn’t have to be a hidden piece of matzo, it could be anything that has value to you and you could talk about your why. He said his guitar pick since he’s a musician, and I chose my camera. Then we both said, “we are each other’s afikomens.” Thus, resulting in this one afikomen picture, then an afikomen selfie.

We both took pictures: https://photos.app.goo.gl/x7GJbBDMcW1bbHoP9