1. She doesn't think she's funny, but she makes me laugh a lot more than she gives herself credit for.
2. She does nice things for people she likes not because it's socially expected, but because it really means a lot to her to be able to do so.
3. She makes all the appropriate yummy noises when she eays my cooking - which is good, because one of the main reasons I cook is because I want to impress her.
4. She delights in small things that most people don't care about - snow falling in ploofs, the first tiny flowers blooming in Spring.
5. She's a perfectionist about pie, and hates when she has to use canned pumpkin in a pie rather than making it from scratch.
6. She's a nerd, too, and really enjoys watching "Heroes" or "Battlestar Galactica" with me, or the same 14 episodes of "Firefly" for the tenth time.
7. She likes playing nerdy games like Munchkin, Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne with me and our nerdy friends. She's even getting into roleplaying games, a little bit.
8. She's full of fun ideas like, "Since we're passing by, let's stop in at the erotic bakery and see the penis cakes." Unfortunately, the place was closed. Next time, maybe...
9. She's as perfect a traveling buddy as I could possibly hope for. We've hiked six miles on the Great Wall of China together, stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona together, visited Mount Rushmore and Wall Drug and Carhenge together, and we're looking forward to more adventures great and small, grand and absurd.
10. She likes hiking and camping and doesn't think that sleeping in a tent is necessarily a bad thing. She agrees enthusiastically that we should register at REI rather than Crate & Barrel for wedding gifts.
11. She has a sense of humor nearly as juvenile as mine, and agrees with me that farts are hilarious.
12. She carries on entire conversations with me in strange nonsense words we've invented.
13. She, unlike most adults including myself, sings and dances without a hint of self-consciousness.
14. She wants to wear a green dress at our wedding (but not a real green dress, that's cruel).
15. She is perfectly comfortable leaving the house nearly every day without wearing so much as a trace of makeup.
16. She refuses to conform to nearly any feminine stereotype you can name...but still has a hard time passing by any shoe store without at least stopping in to browse a little bit.
17. She makes the best goddamn french toast on planet Earth.
18. She'll save children, but not the British children.
19. She falls asleep inside five minutes when I read to her in bed.
20. She moved 1000 miles away from home and family mostly just because she wanted to try it and see what it was like.
21. She tells me my paintings are good, even when they're not.
22. She wears her hair in braids.
23. She knows all kinds of things about subjects I know almost nothing about.
24. She always wants to have a sip, or at least a sniff, when I drink beer or bourbon and always makes the same "eew gross" face while handing the glass or bottle back to me.
25. She makes me feel totally at ease with myself and never asks me to be anything I'm not.
26. She's dead sexy. Her arms and shoulders, so often overlooked in the female sex-appeal department, are simply stunning.
27. She's beautiful, even though she seems not to believe me when I tell her so.
28. She loves me, and what more could I possibly ask?
Happy birthday, Emily Rose. I love you madly.