OK, I admit it. This is sappy. It's Valentine's Day. I'm allowed.
But these are a few reasons why this guy is my valentine.
I've known him for a long time. I took this picture below when we were "just friends." My friend Suzanne met him that day. She said "you should hang on to that guy." But there was nothing to hang onto at that point. We were just friendly neighbors.
We met a few years before when I was getting evicted from my apartment because of my illegal cat, the late, great Stimpy. He was renting the duplex on the other side of him, right down the street. I looked at it, loved it (a tall ceiling, great for a Christmas tree; I have every intention to live there when I'm old) but timing was bad. So I moved across the street a few months later. Who knew that he'd be hanging out with Stimpy and walking with me through that grief journey when Stimpy died? (And Gypsy too. And he's pretty smitten with Lizzie, for that matter.)
But, as I got to know him, I realized he had lots of good qualities, lots of interests. Longtime readers know he loves his bicycle.
But not everyone knows he was very much a cycling activist, leading the charge to establish Michigan's Kal-Haven Trail a number of years ago and supporting cyclists though legislative lobbying and events like the Day of Silence ride.
And thanks to that hobby -- which has taken him on two wheels from Michigan to Ontario, Quebec, Vermont and other spots -- we've also had a few scary moments. (And yes, I freak every time he gets on that thing!)
He's made music, practicing his classical guitar with the relentless dedication of one who has a passion to learn.
And when it comes together, it's magical.
We've been to some terrific places together -- the busy streets and quiet mountains of Japan...
...the beautiful country of the Netherlands...
... and the City of Lights (and Love).
We'll always have bread if Rick is around. Nothing makes him happier than kneading bread!
And we'll probably have wine around, too! It's not a bad combo!
We've danced at more than a few weddings, but not ours because after 22 years we haven't done that yet!
And Rick has shown on occasion he can be a pretty snappy dresser.
Well, on more than one occasion.
Best of all, in introduced me to these guys.
Who grew into these guys.
And who just kept going, adding one more...
And then another!
And this one will be having a little brother soon. But there will be lots of hands to hold them both!
There are a lot of reasons why I feel like the luckiest woman on the entire planet.
But this is a big one.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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