If autumn could speak, it would say the word "crispy" over and over again. Can't you hear it now? I hear crispy in cherry pie crusts. Crispy tiptoes through an apple orchard, dropping ripe apples off the limbs until arms and mouths are heavy with jewels. It wreaks crunchy havoc through piles of tartly colored leaves. But now that December-time has come, I don't feel right talking about autumn. I may be the only person who creates this attitude of December=the winter season. Well aware that the official beginning of winter is the 21st-22nd (what does the dash mean? Does winter begin during the dash at 11:59 of the 21st, or during the dash at midnight on the 22nd? Deep ponderings...), I pause to point attentions to the fact that December still feels wintery. Even saying the name of the month aloud blows a mini snowstorm into the room with my breath. Brrr. Better bundle up.
My husband and I keep a fake fireplace in our bedroom. I know, I know. Poke fun all you will (I did until one was purchased for us last year), but it keeps our room very toasty. At night, down goes the thermostat and on goes our little fireplace. The artificial flames have an ambience all their own and have even been known to mesmerize our baby. It is actually a heater which blasts warmth from a small grate-like opening at the bottom. However, there is a door that opens and a few plastic logs with a sprinkle of red glitter on them to denote glowing ashes. Oh yes, a perfect combination for a cool winter's eve. Off come my socks and then my phalanges enjoy a tanning bed until my skin reaches a near-melt factor. Now you're jealous. And a moment ago you were teasing me about owning such a thing. Tsk, tsk.
When Michael and I were newly married, I thought it would be funny to buy him a gag gift of pencils. These pencils are not pencils that you buy for elementary school kids, unless you want the teacher to take them away from your child because he was distracting the other students from learning. Have you ever given or received a particularly hilarious gag gift? This time around, I gave him a set of pencils from the movie The Incredibles. Picture plastic heads on wooden sticks with lead in them. Both have masks to hide their "true identities." Mr. Incredible has a smile--grimace is closer to the truth--on his face with a shock of slicked-back yellow hair. And Syndrome has the sweetest sky-high orange hair I've seen since Carrot Top. My husband loved them. He laughed out loud with that head-thrown-back kind of laugh and said, "Sweet!" However, he has yet to partake in their bountiful writing properties (I would like to say because they have such a special place in his heart, although it's probably not true.) They smirk at me from his pencil holder while I type on this old computer in the freezing basement.
Anniversaries are fun to celebrate, especially when there's no money involved. Creativity is key in these adventures. For our first anniversary, we went to Mackinaw Island in Michigan, the land of horses and fudge. We lodged at a beautiful old mansion in the woods and breakfasted on delicious piping hot meals prepared for the guests at the inn. We rode our bikes along the dusty streets of the island. We took a swim in Lake Huron (I think it was that lake) at dusk while bats made nosedives for my head as they shrieked (that was the last time I'll EVER do that. They only aimed for me, too, which was even weirder.) And we each ate fudge. A. Lot. Of. Fudge. It was good. We spent a fortune on that trip and decided that our first anniversary spent the money for years 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well. So...one year to celebrate the day we were wed, we drove just past the Canadian border into Windsor, grabbed some McDonald's fries to tell people we had bought something in Canada, and took pictures of our foreign soil fest. On the way home, I accidentally got in the semi truck only lane and we had to explain THAT one to customs...My favorite story has to be this past anniversary, in which we had a layover in Charlotte coming back from a wedding in Texas. We stayed at a place called a Microtel (how quaint), then dined at a buffet restaurant next door. Amid mushy peas, Shake 'n Bake chicken and the all-you-can-eat buffet lighting, we re-professed our undying love to one another as we giggled incessantly.
When I was pregnant, he would fetch this or that for me so that I wouldn't have to waddle around. He may have served me because he was tired of hearing me grunt and groan as I did something as simple as pour a glass of water, but I think it was because he loves me (wink.) He encourages me to be beautiful in who I am as a woman. He confronts me in love when I hurt him. He respects me, believes in me, and prays for me. He is a real man, one who is tenderly strong, and strongly tender. He is a leader of many. I admire him. He is my closest friend and I love him with an intensity even more than our fireplace can muster.
Thank you, Michael. I love you, too.