Monday, September 28, 2009

Snuggling in the Dark at Sidewalk

Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival in Birmingham every year is one of our ultimate favorites. Like Magic City Art Connection and Artwalk—it’s a downtown event. The city. We love it. We have an awesome theatre downtown. We typically get to The Alabama Theatre for opera every year, but they’ve moved Opera Birmingham to Samford University. Snore. Not the same. No way. At Sidewalk, we usually camp out at The Alabama Theatre, making that our movie home and watching whatever the screen has to offer. The seats are squishy and comfortable and every seat in the house is good. This year, we got weekend passes and spent all day Saturday downtown.

We started the weekend off with the opening night movie at The Alabama. Loved it. It was a documentary on the best worst movie ever made. The star, George Hardy, is an Alabama native, hailing from Alex City. He and some others filled the stage with happiness and homecoming excitement. The documentary was a documentary—it showed oddness in the best possible light. It wasn’t cruel or unkind. Some things just are strange. That’s ok.

We had a lovely date night with popcorn and wine in plastic cups. We returned at 10:30 on Saturday for more popcorn and wine in plastic cups. The red wine was warm. It made us happy. We watched a movie that Mr. Husband hated—with good reason. It tried so damn hard to be a misfit flick, trying to capture what was Napoleon Dynamite but failing only to be annoying. Mr. Husband was good and pulled through like a champ. He tortured me with his pick the following night. The rest of the day, though, on Saturday was super awesome—good movies, good wine, good happiness flowing between us and out of us and over us and into us. I love being in the dark and snuggling up against my Mr. Husband, knowing that we’re sharing the same thing and calm and happy and have no place in the world to go. No one was calling. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go but here. We were the boss of us.

More wine in plastic cups. The two of us walking through the city streets all lit up with art under our fingernails. Hot dogs from Lyric Hot Dog across from The Alabama. More movies. More popcorn. More wine in plastic cups. The two of us settling down to watch a drama then some animated shorts, then another drama. And, then—The House of the Devil. Awesome movie that captures 1970s horror flicks. Totally a bit of Rosemary’s Baby and some other stuff too. Bhavesh and Leena joined us for the fright night festival, and then we danced down the street to The Carver Theatre for some Canadian humor.

It was relaxing. It was fun. The world of work was far behind us. In fact, it didn’t exist. We faded into the movie screen and escaped into different worlds. Me with my Mr. Husband beside me. There’s simply nothing better. Well, save for a real glass wine glass with wine in it. I appreciate that … wine in plastic cups comes in a close second. Cheers!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Riding for Happiness

My bike has finally returned from the bike doctor, Bike Link on 280. She is in good shape and ready to roll. I love my green Trek—she brings back great memories and some sad. In 1995, the year that Jerry Garcia died, I was living at home when my two brothers didn’t come home for Easter. Mom bought me a Trek to reward me. Wow! And I have taken good care of this bike over the past fourteen years. My favorite years with the Trek were my early years of grad school when I could ride to my classes at UAB from the Highland Park area where I lived. My bike has taken good care of me. In the past few years, she fell into disarray with her tires falling to flat and one of the gearshifts being smashed. Poor girl. After 3-4 weeks at Bike Link, she is good as new! And Mr. Husband and I have a new way of life: bike life.

We are in a state of mind where we’re trying to exercise more. We’re trying desperately to be more active. We will never be as active as my parents, who Mr. Husband often says never stop moving during daylight hours, but we’d like to be more active than we have been. We like to read and play video games—that means that within a few years we’ll have the physique of very fat sloth. We must fight that every day. Jeff got a bike for Birthannukah—this is all part of the master plan.

When we built and bought our house last year, we also had a master plan. I like master plans. Mr. Husband says I plan too much. He’s right. I plan to the point of super neuroticism, but it does not consume me (most days). We could have bought a larger house with a beautiful lawn for our many kids that we’d easily spit out to run about on and play croquet. We could have, but I wanted something similar to what I had in grad school when I lived downtown and could bike or walk to the grocery store. We found our perfect neighborhood with Bruno’s and Fresh Market within walking distance. Until the Bruno’s closed, our life was golden and the master plan was falling into place perfectly. Stupid economy. Bruno’s closed, and so now we rely on Fresh Market. Not bad, but not ideal for all our groceries.

Today, Mr. Husband decided he was going to make ice cream. His dear mother bought him an ice cream maker three years ago for his birthday. We never used it while we were in the cramped little apartment, so it makes its first appearance in a starring role now after almost a year in the new house. Better late than never. Totally. We needed ingredients like heavy cream and whole milk (we drink skim). Add to that the fact that we were very nearly out of toilet paper to the point of having to wipe with our hands (as my dad is so fond of putting it when he thinks he’s being funny), so it was time for a trip to the grocery store.

Let’s bike it!

We set out eagerly, he in helmet and me without a helmet yet. I forgot to tell Mr. Husband to purchase a helmet for me when he picked up my bike yesterday afternoon. Oops. I’d better be careful! Well, it’s not really my brain that’s the moneymaker in the family, so at least Mr. Husband’s big brain was protected. That’s what counts. Mr. Husband also put his bike computer on his bike this morning—I bought him a silly little "computer" because it’s a computer when I bought his bike. Our friend Brian grimaced and then grinned when he heard that I’d bought such a silly thing. But it’s a computer. Mr. Husband loves computers. And it came to great use today. We figured out that biking twice around our extended block is one mile. Nice. I can do the math—four times around is two miles. We will so be fit soon. Totally.

I put an empty backpack on my back, an old hemp backpack that is littered with ink stains and who-knows-what stains (but washed and clean), and we set out for the Walgreen’s – Fresh Market shopping center. We broke a sweat easily and didn't get hit by any cars. Bonus! Mr. Husband watched the bikes as I went into Fresh Market for his ice cream supplies. I watched the bikes as he went into Walgreen’s for toilet paper. We are such a team. I carried the groceries on my back and in a bag from my handlebars—I have much more experience at riding a bike than my dear Mr. Husband. Safety first.

It was fun—the two of us riding together and shouting back and forth to each other. And we totally saved the planet by not using our cars for that short trip. We’re green super heroes. We know. We started today what will be a tradition. We’ll use our bikes when we can—being healthy and exercising and getting just a little bit more out of life.

Next step: biking on a trail at Oak Mountain. Of course, I need to get a bike helmet before we take that adventure. But it’s coming. It’s going to happen. We’re going to feel the wind in our face and see green everywhere while we enjoy the best of what life has to offer for very cheap. You just can’t beat that.

Polish Cupcakes

Alicia Hume is, like, my hero. Totally. A little over five years ago, I was sitting with Alicia and Miles at Surin West in Five Points, Birmingham after playing tennis together at UAB. They were high school sweethearts and had been married for five years at that time. I was single and happy that a “couple” would hang out with me—typically, the single girl has a plague of some sorts that couples can smell from miles away and know to stay clear. Not the Humes. They were living life to its fullest, full of laughter and Polish moonshine. Alicia is from Poland—way over there. Miles is a born and bred Alabama boy. Somehow, they make it work, and they make it work well.

During this dinner five years ago, I quizzed the Humes about having kids. They were such a happy couple—kids seemed natural. Any other couples that I knew had a baby within the first three years of marital bliss. Why not the Humes? They laughed at me and said that they were not ready for kids. No way. They said something like, “maybe in five more years.” Ha. HaHA!

About a month later, it was revealed that the Humes had a fun night together where they invited moonshine (which is made in Poland by Alicia’s mother, God bless her) into their evening and thought it would be funny “to try.” This means they didn’t protect themselves from what could possibly be. And what happened? Twins. Boom! Just like that. Lucky Humes. Alicia didn’t even have the special short-term disability insurance that women can get when they plan to have a child in the near future. This was a surprise. And what did they do directly after having two surprise twins—they had another boy directly afterwards. This often gives strangers the impression that they’re looking at triplets. Not so. Jacob and Joseph are the twins with Johnny bringing up the rear about a year behind.

Now that it is five years later, I still get to enjoy the company of the Humes—even though we don’t have kids. The Humes are equal opportunity friends. They don’t care if you fit into their particular dynamic—they are good people. I love the energy that Alicia’s three boys bring into any room. They are sweet and respectful little boys who compliment you and make you feel good. They are matter-of-fact and always ask before touching anything. They immediately storm into our house and look for the toys that they know we keep in a green crate in the living room. They remember the puppet and Transformers collections from the housewarming. They are ever curious, and I love that.

On Friday night, we had cupcake night at our house. Alicia and the Hume boys came flooding through the door, filling our home with questions, laughter, and heads poking into every corner of our house. Jacob put the crayons to good use, and Joseph quickly located all Transformers scattered around the house. Johnny brought up the rear, following his brothers and trying to do whatever they did. After locating all the toys and making sure they were used well, I showed the boys their aprons. I made the aprons the night before so that I wouldn’t have to guess who was who. It was so much better than silly old nametags.

The boys were quickly put to work cracking eggs. Each boy got to crack two eggs into the cake batter. We went in order with Johnny starting first. They loved the banging and cracking, and I dug eggshells out of the cake batter. Each boy got a wooden spoon and mixed up the cake with firm instructions not to lick the spoon yet. Two spoons were confiscated when those direct orders were ignored in light of sugar and yum being before them. They did a good job—and they loved it. Their attention was devoted to their baking task. Then, I brought out the mixer! I had power—I’m almost certain they thought I was cool. Surely.

The boys were in charge of spooning the cake batter into the cupcake cups that Johnny had arranged in the cupcake pans. Joseph, who informed me very sweetly that his name was not Joey when I presented him his apron, admitted that spooning the batter into the cups was hard work. But he kept trying. The boys had a great idea—they asked before implementing their master plan. They asked if they could mix the strawberry and yellow cake. Of course! Genius plan, boys! That gave them a second wind and they almost completed the entire task. Alicia and I followed by ensuring each cupcake was completely filled with cake batter. Into the oven!

While the cupcakes baked for 18-20 minutes, I mixed up the icing colors. The wonder of each boy as I took a bowl filled with white icing mixed it to blue, yellow, green, purple, red, and orange was the cutest thing. Every time, they exclaimed, “oh, wow! It’s turning color!” I was a magician. I was all-powerful and the color-giver. I made up little parchment icing bags and filled each, adding a rose tip to the lavender bag. The boys got to test the cupcakes at 18 minutes with a toothpick to see if they were ready. They were the best little helpers ever.

When the cupcakes were ready and slightly cooled, we began to ice them. I put a sloppy rose on each cupcake and wrote their names, being sure to give Joseph his proper name. The boys ate their first cupcakes and then waited patiently for the next one to be decorated. They ate them as fast as I could decorate. Alicia learned a thing or two and decorated a cupcake for Miles, who was waiting at home for his sugar crew to return.

As Alicia drove the boys home, Joseph told her “I think I will see them again tomorrow. That was fun!” Today, I’ve heard that our house is now officially called “the cupcake house.” Awesome. It is so much fun to bring happiness so easily. Kids are easy. I like that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fitness Boot Camp

Mr. Husband is ever supportive. I am super lucky—I know. While we are knee-deep in Clomid, which is like shooting girl-crazy right into my veins, the stress is doubling, tripling, and trying to fold again. What do I do? I eat my feelings. I’ve been eating a lot of feelings these past four months of Clomid. Mr. Husband is more than happy to eat feelings for the both of us. We are a feeling-eating fest.

We need relief. My good friend Sarah, the first person ever to train me in a corporate environment ten years ago, mentioned an opportunity: working out with a personal trainer. What are we? Celebrities!? No, we’re normal people who have a great opportunity to work out with a very small group of four people with a personal trainer who, from his home, forces us to run, jump, lunge, lift weights, and run some more. This morning, my legs are screaming. It consists of short-bursts of high-impact cardio training. Ouch.

This is called Fitness Boot Camp with interval training. Maybe we wanted to be a bit more like Harold? Look, Harold! We’re exercise soldiers! Every time I do a push-up, I think of Harold doing push-ups in Army boot camp. I’m sure it’s exactly the same thing. Fitness Boot Camp means that we have a trainer who puts us through a series of short sprints—continuous cardio movement, but varied. Lots of movement—we are both sweating in the first ten minutes. NPR did a story recently on this new “craze.” I guess we are complete trend followers now. I don’t feel trendy—I only feel really, really sore.

Mr. Husband agreed to do this crazy thing with me—follow the craze. To remind you, my dear Mr. Husband is a video-gamer. His typical exercise involves thumbs, fingers, slouching over, squinting at the TV, and the occasional frustration at losing a man without saving the point in the game. I bought him a bike for Birthannukah, but we haven’t ridden much since my Trek is currently in the shop (and has been for three weeks going on four). Mr. Husband is not very athletic, but he doesn’t have to be. At his height, 6’7”, he can not eat for one meal and lose five pounds. Lucky. Mr. Husband is quick to remind me that his body is built to house his brain—not for exercise.

Yet, he is enthusiastic. Our feeling-eating has gotten out of control. We need to tighten up on all ends. Economically, spending a little extra for a muscle man to whip us into shape is a good decision—we can’t afford new wardrobes for both of us if we grow out of our clothes. Must maintain. Must actually lose a bit, but more important to get control.

The first evening, Monday, we were plucky and excited. We met Chad, our built-of-steel-muscle-man, and his wife, Tammy. We met their two kids as we walked into their basement and prepared for the very first workout we’ve ever had. We’ve never been to a gym. Our first night was so not like Wii Fit. No way. We started with jumping jacks, mountain climbing, running the ladder, sprints up and down the long driveway, push-ups, weight lifting with lunges—we drank more water than we ever have before. Mr. Husband was a champ, and he truly surprised me.

We took a run down the street to the stop sign and back. Running there is no problem, running back is all up-hill. Chad, ever encouraging, says, “whoever can beat me to the driveway gets $50 off this month!” Sarah and I laugh, and then a breeze hits me as I see my Mr. Husband sail by me—legs flying, arms tightly held to his chest—he is running! Mr. Husband is running like the wind, like a big winged beast who probably cannot stop himself. I have never in my life seen Mr. Husband run. I always thought seeing him run would be like seeing Pheobe run in that Friends episode where she’s flailing her arms and can’t get one foot in front of the other. Not so. Mr. Husband was crisp, fast, and skilled like an antelope (a very tall antelope).

Chad chased Mr. Husband, probably taking two steps for every one of Mr. Husband’s, and he let Mr. Husband feel like he was about to win. I imagine Mr. Husband had that moment of victory before Chad picked up the pace and sailed by him effortlessly. We didn’t get our $50 off, but seeing Mr. Husband run is priceless.

Of course, he couldn’t move after that. Not at all. He tried, but his body quit. He lay on the floor making accusatory faces at me. By the second half of “just ten more” (that’s what Chad is always telling us), my left leg stopped working. It simply wouldn’t move during the jumping jack-lunges. I wasn’t so bad the next day, but today, after day two, my body aches. We are like two very old people now, shuffling about the house and having to help each other get ready for work. Bonus: we found out that we really like being old together. Not bad. And we feel so invigorated in our shuffling oldness. Really not bad.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

That Fresh Air

Birthannukah ended with hands all over our bodies. We got a couples massage at Santa Fe Day Spa in Lee Branch and walked away from Birthannukah well rested and feeling like tingly noodles. Good. Yes. It was hard, though, to walk away from such high celebrating. We rolled into the weekend feeling very much like Birthannukah was still upon us. I looked down to find that a little bit of it had spilled on my shirt. It was still with us. Thus, Saturday saw more wild celebrating as we ventured to The Tilted Kilt, a Hooters-like restaurant with push-up bras and low-riding tiny kilts, where Mr. Husband was like a kid in a toy store. So many boobs!

He was all smiles and narrating himself to the waitress, which I asked him to not do again. She doesn’t care about your inner struggle or your this beer or that beer decision. But he was so cute and he drank the draft PBR that I recommended. He’ll always have that taste of that in his mouth—how they get the tin can in the keg, I’ll never know, but it was there. After that, we went, me walking and Mr. Husband skipping with boobs dancing in his head, to see Tarantino’s new wonder Inglorious Basterds. Loved it. We were still living it up Birthannukah style.

We turned to each other a couple of times and commented on the freedom we have. The great, wild no-kid freedom to do whatever and whenever we want. We realize that it will all change. For that reason, we’re looming into maybe-it’s-better-if-we-don’t-have-kids range. And then we both start to fear our cold, lonely deaths and remember that we need children to take care of us in our twilight years. And we’re back to a have-kids-but-live-it-up-now-like-crazy mentality. We came home Saturday night and played video games together. We sit side-by-side on the couch and laugh and talk about how very tough we are with our newly acquired super powers. We’re living it up. And sometimes we can fly.

Sunday was family Sunday. In Stewartland, that means the three brothers with their others gather at the Stewart family home and “take air” on the back porch. The act of “taking air” is something new to me—I learned about this activity the first time I visited Mr. Husband’s family in spring 2006. Mrs. Mother-in-Law asked me to take some air with her. I was under the impression that air was already automatically moving in and out of my lungs, my mouth, and me. She informed me that that the act of “taking air” occurs on the back porch with a glass of white wine. Me and my current air were in unanimous agreement—we shall take some fresh air with my Mrs. Mother-in-Law.

Every birthday or any random family Sunday, we typically congregate on the back porch.
The boys roll in one by one, then glasses are arranged and held in hand while the two dogs trip between boys and girls, smelling all sorts of new, strange, and wonderful things. For Mr. Husband’s birthday, we took air and laughed as we talked about Birthannukah and what had come to pass. It was a normal Sunday in Stewartland—the kind of Sunday that makes everything in your life suddenly seem just fine.

Mrs. Mother-in-Law baked Mr. Husband’s favorite cake: yellow cake with chocolate icing. I decorated it with swirls and sparkly icing. The candles on the cake lit the kitchen as we all sang and declared a happy birthday for Mr. Husband. And then we ate cake. Mr. Father-in-Law grilled steaks for dinner and Mrs. Mother-in-Law made twice baked potatoes. It was a feast of family feasts--Mr. Husband's favorite meal-from-his-mom. The family dug in. The family ate. The family laughed. The family was relaxed. Of course we did—we were all filled with fresh-fresh-fresh family air.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Problems with Dummy Husband 1.0

Recently, there have been some minor malfunctions with my Dummy Husband 1.0 model. The problems began when I changed jobs and now work within the same company but five miles up the road and in a different building from Dummy Husband 1.0. The Corporation did not inform me that my Dummy Husband 1.0 model needed continuous support and attention. In my mind, if I purchase one of their top of the line robot husbands that they promise will take complete care of me—then, I expect Dummy Husband 1.0 also to be able to take care of himself. Not so.

Recently, as a sign of how bad things have become, what some might call graceful degradation, Dummy Husband 1.0 sent an automated complaint to the The Corporation to complain of missing parts. I think there’s a short in a memory chip in my robot husband, but The Corporation tells me that this is normal and to be expected. I say that’s shoddy service.

I know that some of you wives out there also have invested great time and money in The Corporation’s promised superior product, Dummy Husband 1.0. You need to be aware of bugs and incomplete functionality that I’ve learned can be normal occurrences in Dummy Husband 1.0. I've also learned that Dummy Husband 1.0 can be returned, after jumping through many fiery hoops, but how do we know that the next Dummy Husband 1.0 won't contain the same bugs, problems, and missing parts? The Corporation also is keen not to offer any promises about Dummy Husband 2.0.

Email sent from Dummy Husband 1.0’s automated complaint system:
from Dummy Husband 1.0:
to The Corporation:
date Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 9:50 AM
subject Technical Note for Dummy Husband 1.0

Be advised that Dummy Husband 1.0 makes no assumptions about the completeness of the wardrobe provided to him upon bootup. To ensure beltification, we recommend keeping a belt within visual sensor range or draping one around Dummy Husband's neck.

Do not choke Dummy Husband with belt, as this will void the warranty on your Dummy Husband.

Email response from The Corporation:
from The Corporation:
to Dummy Husband 1.0:
date Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM
subject Re: Technical Note for Dummy Husband 1.0

Dear Users of Dummy Husband 1.0,

We regret to inform you that serious malfunctions in the technical design of Dummy Husband 1.0 have limited our ability to successfully respond and correct such problems as the missing beltification and the nomemoryitis that has plagued some Dummy Husband 1.0 models. We recommend that when you find such problems, which may include but are not limited to overflowingtrashegeous, cannotmovefromcouchascular, and badbreathasis, you simply return the model in its original box with receipt taped to inside left thigh for put-down processing.

At this time, we do not believe that Dummy Husband 1.0 is dangerous, but, we are not ruling out the possibility of the unknown. We want to assure the public that Dummy Husband 1.0 was fully tested in our lab before its final release. We are confident but unsure that Dummy Husband 1.0 will accomplish all husbandly tasks if put before him in a written list, reminded to him several times before the task is to take place, and ample follow-up is conducted to see that tasks are completed in a timely and efficient manner.

As a general reminder, we'd like mention that Dummy Husband 1.0 should never be left alone for long periods of time and should always be fed three meals per day to ensure optimum functionality. Dummy Husband 1.0 is built to be the perfect companion for Wife 2.0. We hope you continue to enjoy your experience with Dummy Husband 1.0.

Thank you,

The Corporation

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A fight to the death: BBQ Ribs vs. Filet Mignon

The Birthannukah weekend was magnificent. First, we had a slight bump in the road as we attended a rib fest at Sloss Furnace. Why was this a bump in the road? Because we didn’t have any idea about what a rib fest actually is. We thought it would be a well-organized romp in the park like beer fest. Not so. Rib fest is an all-out redneck, tailgaiting extravaganza. Wear your Auburn or Alabama hat and wear your team colors! Drink beer out of a can. Drink beer after beer after beer out of a can! Walk around and talk football—spin your theories about the upcoming season and this coach or that coach.

Yes, clearly, we were out of our element. And the most disturbing news: the ribs were not free! What! Yikes. What did we get ourselves into? Fortunately, we brought along our own football loving, beer-can-drinking Alabama boy who was able to show us the ropes. He got us in the door, so to say, where we mixed with the rib folks. We got some sample ribs, which was nice, but we were completely lost with our conversation about books, NPR, and trains. Turns out, the evening was incredibly fun as we learned how to tailgate and watched our friend expertly discuss the ins and outs of the upcoming Auburn season. It was like watching a very unusual Broadway play with Lynard Skynard playing constantly in the background.

Rib fest turns out to be a Saturday afternoon event—we went on Friday night. Lesson learned. Next year we’ll return with proper baseball caps that declare our love of one team or the other and brush up on who the coaches and quarterbacks are. Sure we will.

Saturday afternoon, I surprised Mr. Husband with a mountain bike. He’s wanted a bike for a while—ever since Brian, our neighbor who is an avid mountain biker, loaned us his bikes for a spin around the neighborhood last fall. Mr. Husband likes the wind in his face. Perhaps he was a dog in a previous life—head out of the passenger side window, tongue flailing in the wind as I drive. Perhaps. Buying bikes when we first discovered we wanted them didn’t fit into the grand financial plan at the time, so we waited. We waited so long that Mr. Husband forgot. But I did not. I surprised him on Saturday with the help of Brian and Sharon. Brian confirmed the bike choice and made sure all was in proper order, and Sharon picked up the bike for us and stowed it safely at their home. When I purchased the bike, I didn’t realize that I had no way to get a bike for a 6’7” man home. Nice. Goodly neighbors to the rescue!

I walked to Brian and Sharon’s and picked up the giant bike. I called Mr. Husband on the way back and told him to get a beer and meet me on the front porch. He was standing there as I walked up the street with gigantic bike in hand. He ran down the street to meet me with childish woops of joy—a bike! He immediately hopped on the bike, exclaimed that the size was perfect, and rode off into the sunset. Ok, not exactly—but he rode around yelling about how much he loved it and how it was the most perfect thing ever and asking how I pulled it off. It was awesome. The excitement and joy that he radiated filled the entire street like a flood of happiness. Mr. Husband said, “That’s what I like—the feel of the wind in my face!” And then I think he barked a little real quietly. That’s the Birthannukah kind of way.

Later that afternoon, I told Mr. Husband I was going to cook him the best steak dinner ever. He was fine with that—but, to me, that’s so old hat. The truth was that we had reservations at Daniel George in Mountain Brook at 6:00. At 4:30, I ironed Mr. Husband’s clothes and woke him from his video game (when he was not riding around on his joy-filled bike, he was playing Shadow Complex on XBox all weekend), and told him to dress for dinner. I informed him that he’d find out where we were going when we got there. Yes! I drove and he rode shotgun (and I’m sure he wanted to put his head out the window). We drove down 280 and exited before hitting Five Points or downtown. We excited at the Zoo and turned right into Mountain Brook Village. Mr. Husband had never heard of Daniel George. Score! A super surprise.

Daniel George is a beautiful little restaurant tucked away on a side street in the little village. Two tables were outside on the sidewalk, one of them waiting just for us. As we feasted on cheese and homemade bread, filet and potatoes, we watched the clouds make Birthannukah pictures in the sky and felt the breeze welcoming us to a fine Birthannukah night. The sun set as we sat there, me telling Mr. Husband all the reasons why I love him right now, and him feeling spoiled and really, really, really loved. He is. We are. So happy.