My Person, Our Engagement

This past Friday, January 25, 2019, is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. My best friend, the love of my life, asked me to marry him.

Let me back up a bit. After work this past Friday, I drove down to a place called Ravenwood Castle where I was meeting my then-boyfriend for a Harry Potter-themed Murder Mystery weekend. I was pretty excited for this- I re-read all the Harry Potter books in 2 weeks, we got nice Ravenclaw robes for Christmas and I bought us wands, and I even created a detailed fake puzzle to throw the other teams off.

It started off a little rough- most people had already formed their teams and the one we wanted to join (with other people wearing robes) was full. We got stuck with a trio of women who didn’t seem all that bright (spoiler: they weren’t) and one nice couple (who it turned out also got engaged there and were planning their wedding there in a few months). It picked up some when I started getting singled out with some special clues that said “Books turn Muggles into Wizards.” I was pretty excited that I got to be a special part of the mystery. Pretty soon Mr. Denham, the guy running the mystery weekend, showed me an ad in the newspaper (a clue!) and informed me I needed to call that number.

I tried a few times, but no answer. I left a message and then joined everyone else for dinner. In the middle of dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Denham encouraged me to call again. Apparently, the person on the other end (a part of the mystery, of course) had pneumonia and was asleep, but he woke up to get in on the mystery. I felt a strong sense of urgency, so I left the middle of my dinner to call again.

Swvenson Global Services was not terribly informative. To be fair, the actor was probably a bit confused; he was expecting the engagement call, but I gave him my fake character name and remained in character to say that the clues were “disturbing.” He asked me questions and made remarkably astute assertions like “You’re in a long-distance relationship” and “the place you live starts with C,” “the place your boyfriend lives starts with C.” I was so convinced this was a part of the murder mystery though, that I thought nothing of it.

Eventually, after about 20 minutes of relatively unhelpful observations and suggestions, talking to Swvenson Global Services led me downstairs to the library. I now knew I was looking for a book, but which one? There were thousands here. Then it hit me- Harry Potter! Of course! It was a Harry Potter Murder mystery! I asked my boyfriend to help me look for the Harry Potter books and was a little annoyed when he announced “they’re not here” after not looking very hard. How could he possibly know that?

Swvenson Global Services kept saying things like “is there a book that you read to each other before bed?” which struck me as an odd question, but this was coming from a man who had done about 5 different voices in 30 minutes while asking me to hold my arms up in the air and do the hokey pokey.

I was distracted by the mystery, so I missed Michael’s hushed conversation with a woman who was in the library with her phone out. “Are you the one who’s supposed to be taping this?” He asked her. She wasn’t, so we made her extremely nervous and she spent a good day and a half thinking we were the murderers. We later tried to explain that we had got engaged, but she was so suspicious of us that she pretended she was someone else.

Finally I picked up a book on the shelf that I’d noticed previously. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. It was one of my favorites and, as Michael pointed out, was newer-looking than the other books. I didn’t think it could be the right answer though- what did this book have to do with Harry Potter? I gave it a cursory flip through and, seeing nothing, put it back on the shelf. It would have to be more obvious than that for people to find it.

Annoyed and hungry, I gave up looking and went back to my dinner. We were even missing the welcome and announcements! (The proposal was supposed to happen after dinner, but I guess they forgot.) I’m sure Michael was sweating at this point.

After dinner, I became very concerned with the fact that they forgot to post our baby photos. So many things were not starting out right. I confronted them and followed them to their rooms while Michael went off to search for something. I helped them use the internet (Mr. Denham didn’t know how to search his email…) and get the baby pictures.

Michael comes back with a newspaper. “Look at this article! You had the right book after all!” There was an ad in this article all about Shallan, Kaladin, and Jasnah- my three favorite characters in the book. Clearly, that was a clue meant to lead to Words of Radiance.

I wanted to get back to the book before someone else found my clue first! I raced back down to the library, Michael following a little more slowly as he grabbed someone to film the moment he knew was coming.

I grabbed the book and started leafing through more carefully. Sure enough, there was something in there. A gorgeous engagement ring and a photo of the two dragons in How to Train Your Dragon saying “Will You Marry Me.”

I look up and he’s down on one knee and I’m just in shock. I always wondered how I’d react when someone proposed to me. We have the moment on video- my mouth is dropped open and I’m looking back and forth from the book back to him, breathing heavily.


Of course I say yes and the shock turns to elation as I excitedly relive the moment, talk with him about how I couldn’t believe I missed the book the first time, and tell everyone I can see that I just got engaged!

And then a carrot falls out of his ear.

Earlier at dinner, he received a note in his silverware- he had a magical disease and needed to see the healer. The healer gave him a carrot to keep in his ear for 15 minutes as the cure. Michael is a good sport and plays along, eventually forgetting about the carrot.

“Do you know what this means? You proposed to me with a carrot in your ear!” I inform him, delightedly.

I’m only a little disappointed that the carrot doesn’t show up in the photos!

Almost every girl dreams of the day that someone will propose to her. I wanted something creative, something special. I couldn’t tell you exactly what, but I loved watching those crazy engagement videos online and dreamed of them one day being me.

So many little things went wrong, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my proposal. My fiancee conspired with the man in charge of the murder mystery, and used a series of clues to lead me to a library, complete with my favorite book, a photo of dragons, and a ring with a purple stone. I couldn’t have planned it better myself! He knows me, he knows what I like and what I would find meaningful and exciting.


Before Michael, I never knew what it meant to have your partner be your best friend. Mine never were. Michael is so clearly my best friend, I don’t know how I ever thought anyone else was worthwhile. We have the same interests and values. I want to spend every moment with him. When we’re not together, I’m thinking about him. Best of all, he loves me in the same way I love him- as much or more than I love myself.

Before Michael, I used to try and guess- “I’ll be with this person forever,” I’d say, because I wanted to but not because I knew that it was true. Maybe I even said it because I knew it wasn’t. I didn’t know how it felt to be so sure about someone. But it was so obvious when we got together. There was no one else. Neither of us is perfect, but we are perfect for each other. There has never been any question in my mind that this day would come. I can’t wait for the day that I can officially pledge my love.

Don’t settle for second best. Wait for your special person. It sounds so cheesy, but you really will know when you find them.



Gratitude and Happiness

I just returned home from a 4.5 hour wine date with a friend, that we both expected to be closer to 2 hours. It was so refreshing and wonderful to chat with her for so long. It left me feeling an undercurrent of happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people in my life right now.

First, this friend is someone who I connected incredibly with, despite having very different hobbies. She enjoys things like bird-watching, yoga, and national parks, while I’m into boxing, axe-throwing, and nerdy things like fantasy books, D&D, and Magic. She’s also about 20 years older than me. But we both like wine and we both have excellent conversations! A few months ago, she said something about seeing us as being sisters in a past life, and it made me so happy.

We chatted about all kinds of things- work, relationships, family. It also made me so grateful for my incredible boyfriend. For me, at this point, I feel like I’ve found my person. I’m not thinking things like is he the right one or will this be my last relationship, but when we move in together (just a few more months!), when we get married, when we have kids. People always say that when you meet the right person, you’ll know. I used to always say I knew with my past relationships, but I just wanted them to be the right one. It’s different, when you do meet the right person, and you do know it. I never knew what it meant to feel that your significant other was your best friend until him. I never knew what it meant to “just know” until him. I never really felt like my significant other was part of my family until him. Everything just fits. Even when there are struggles, I never think about whether we should break up or if I’m really happy. I know I am and I know it’s just a part of any relationship. Instead, I just think of how to deal with them so we can be better, happier, and stronger.

I also felt so grateful for my family. I went this morning with my dad to TribeFest- a celebration for the Cleveland Indians. Throughout my childhood, I have memories of going with my dad and my brother to baseball games, even watching the World Series in the 90s. Today, my dad and I have been going to games for the past few years again and going to events like this one where we get to meet players, get autographs, and get an excellent caricature of us in our Indians gear. I am truly lucky, not only for my dad, but also for my mom and brother. To have parents who are so selfless and a brother who is more than a best friend. There are so many people out there who aren’t close to their family. I couldn’t live without mine. I would be successful or really much of anything without them.

And finally, my dog Zephyr. I recently had a bit of a scare when I found a giant lump on his back leg. He had it removed recently, but I didn’t find out it wasn’t a tumor until today. He just turned 9, so I know that we’re running out of time together, but I’ve been so lucky to have him in my life. He got me through graduate school, and through a lot of important milestones in my life. For practically his entire life, it’s been just the two of us living together, and I’ll never really experience that with a pet again. We both adore each other and I love every minute of it.

Thank you to all of these people (and dog!) who have been such an incredible part of my life. I look forward to many more happy experiences! Take the time to be grateful for your people(and animals), to tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you.

New Year and Old Friends

Almost every New Years Eve in the past 15 or so years, I’ve spent with my high school friends. I was a little disappointed at first to miss that party this year, but I’m happy to have spent the time in Chicago with my boyfriend and his friends.

Sometimes in my life, I’ve had these strong feelings of this is what my life would’ve been like had things turned out differently. Spending time with Michael’s friends was like that for me, because I knew them in college too.

The reason Michael (my boyfriend) and I met was that we were both part of a gaming club in college. I participated in it for two years, but got caught up in some nasty drama primarily between these two other members of the club that I was close with (for some reason). I don’t want to go into detail, but it was the darkest time in my life and I left the gaming group because of it.

My friend group in college ended up on the fringes of this gaming group. People like Michael and a few of our other close friends in college were still in the group and others had been or had friends in it. But for the most part, I didn’t ever see a vast majority of these people again.

Until last July when I went with Michael to a 4th of July party hosted by some of the people (not the nasty ones) from this group. And November when I attended one of the games that Michael is still a part of. And New Years Eve.

I cannot tell you how terrified I was to interact with them again after all of those years. I never really knew what they thought of me because of being caught up in all of that. I was afraid they would hate me or think poorly of me in some way.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the friendly, warm, welcome I have experienced every time I’ve hung out with them since. That’s what the gaming group was supposed to be like (if it weren’t for those two people who ruined it for me). That’s what it was like for Michael over all of these years.

I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been like that for me. It was disappointing to realize that I had missed out on all of that in college and even since then.

But I am grateful to have reconnected, for the time we do get together, and for friendly, welcoming gamers like them.

To old friends in the New Year!