The Perfect Gift?

How do I love thee?

– https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Barrett_Browning

I’ve chosen a quote today from Elizabeth Barrett Browning for this 3bones post. A partial quote, actually. It comes from her famous poem How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43) (https://poets.org/poem/how-do-i-love-thee-sonnet-43) which was first published as part of her work Sonnets from the Portuguese (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnets_from_the_Portuguese).

I’ve chosen Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s work for a very good reason. If you want to know why read on at your own risk, but this post should probably come with a warning.


Not a suitable standard “Read This Blog Post At Your Own Risk” warning sign. Google couldn’t find me one like that, but that’s OK, because in this time of coronavirus the definition of suitable and standard has changed.

This one may be a little harsh, though.


I am often accused of being too wordy. Perhaps, perhaps not.

This is just a warning that some of you might find this post too long to read. I’m OK with that. Some of you might find it too mushy. Some of you may not have the time (and believe me, we all have so many things to do and with so many changes in life in these coronavirus times I get that). But this post is really for Brenda.

Some of these embedded videos, YouTube’s and TED Talks may be quite long. Especially if you’re not Brenda and are reading this post. That’s OK, the deal is that these YouTube videos, TED Talks and photos mean something to me and I have shared them with Brenda in one way or another and at one time or another in our lives together.

Those of you that know me a little will keep reading and may watch some of the embeds in the post. That’s a few of you.

Those of you that know me a little better and are curious will watch many of the YouTube’s and TED Talks that I have placed in this post. Or at least, parts of them.

I can probably count those that do with this post what Brenda will do with this post on the fingers of my right hand, I don’t even need my left.

There are two people who will/would watch every embedded object and read every part of this post right through. Brenda and my Mom, but my Mom is no longer here to read so that leaves Brenda, making her the only one. I love you, Brenda, and I love you, Mom.

So the one person I know will read this post right through and watch every video and every embedded object will do so … a) because I am going to ask her to … and … b) because I am going to give her the instructions before reading this post.

So read on, and consider yourself so warned. Or not. That’s one of your available choices. Should you choose to do so, there’s at least 20(twenty) more choices for you below.


Australia Vacation, November 2019 to January 2nd, 2020

Brenda and I have an Anniversary today, July 2nd. It’s our wedding anniversary, but not the typical milestone anniversary. As of July 2nd, 2020 we will have been married 16 years. It’s the second marriage for both of us.

Many people I know have said the second time is better. I understand that now. I’ve heard some people say the third time is better, or maybe the fourth, or fifth or? I will never know if that is true. I hope for them it is, whatever their number is.

16 years together is important to me, and important to Brenda as well. As a matter of fact, it’s been my favorite number for the time it has taken me to write this post and will remain so until it is published.

Today the number 16 is soon to be replaced by a new number, 20(twenty). 20(twenty) will be my new favorite number as of July 2, 2020. The number 20(twenty) in 2020. That’s a lot of twos, and a lot of zeros too. But only one 20(twenty).

I made an important promise to Brenda back in January of this year. It was her birthday. With this post I have kept my promise. This is my personal Anniversary gift to her. It’s not perfect by any means. But it does keep my promise I made to her back on her birthday. It’s long, I know. But I also know she will read it right through. It’s actually 20(twenty) gifts in 2020.

A little more about that important promise I made to her back on her birthday … January 24, 2020. I bought her a rather expensive gift, and then I justified it by telling her that her Birthday Gift was really just a birthday gift, a Mother’s Day gift, and an anniversary gift all rolled up into one. Now I am not usually very good at keeping my promises when it comes to gifts, and she knows that. But it turns out we could afford the expensive birthday gift with all the gas money that we have saved over these coronavirus times, even though we have exceeded our budget on wine and groceries this last few months. And as of today, July 2, 2020, I have kept my promise. I hope she’s proud of me. Because after today … the deal is off.

There’s a reason why 20(twenty) will be my new favourite number. I could have picked 2, or I could have picked 0. Some people pick 2 as their favorite number. Some may even pick the number 0. I am going to welcome 20(twenty) as my new favourite number because for personal reasons I couldn’t pick 20 before, and now 20(twenty) will have an entirely new meaning for me. The new 20(twenty) erases an old 20 that meant that I couldn’t pick it. Here’s those 20(twenty) reasons why …


July 2, 20(twenty)04

0. Brenda, I love you because … OOPS!

(OK, sweetie … now the deal here is that you may have to click each graphic to get it to play. Some may click, some may not. Some of them you may have to click twice. And some may be long. But you have to click and listen and begin to watch each one.

Some of them are long, and if you need to go back to them later, that’s OK. But you need to click each graphic before reading each of the reasons below.

Some of the links embedded in this post may even open up in another window, and you can close that window when you or it are done.

If the graphic doesn’t click the first time, try clicking it to watch one more time, and then and only then read each reason if it doesn’t do anything.

Some of the reasons below may contain other links as well, you can click those when opening this gift from me to you, or you can click them later.)

Ready? OK … my Anniversary Gift to you follows.


New Year’s Eve in Australia, January 1st, 20(twenty)

1. Brenda, I love you because … as of July 2, 20(twenty) … 20(twenty) will be my new favourite number. I could never pick the number 20 before, and only you will know the real reason why. If you want to know, you can ask me after reading this post, but only you will know. Only you will know the true reason why 20(twenty) is my new favourite.


2. Brenda, I love you because … you’re also my very best friend. Without question. This song by Savage Garden first became popular in 1999, a year before we we even met in 2000. They’re those numbers 2 and 0 that seem to keep popping up in our lives together, and they’ve been there all along since the year we met. 20(twenty) years ago today was our first date and the day we first met. Savage Garden’s song was on our wedding CD that I made and gave out to the family members who were at our wedding, and it became one of my favorite songs when we met on July 2, 2000, and it means as much to me now as it did then.

There’s just no rhyme or reason
Only the sense of completion
And in your eyes
I see the missing pieces I’m searching for
I think I’ve found my way home
I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy but I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life


Pompeii – October 5th, 2015

3. Brenda, I love you because … you inspire me to do my best. I love quotes, and one of the quotes that you have shared with me recently was from Oprah Winfrey … “When you know better, you do better.” Maya Angelou first said a variation of that quote, but it was Oprah who took Maya Angelou’s word and improved them. You improve me. To expand on those words … “When you know more, you can do more.” I’m sure somebody else has put those words together in the same way, but for today, these are my words to you. I don’t care if they can be attributed to someone else. I am saying them to you right now. I want to do more for you, for us. Because I now know more.


4. Brenda, I love you because … you help me to be complete. I am just better with you. Remember the movie Jerry Maguire and that iconic scene between he and Renée Zelweger? We watched it again together on a rainy day a couple of weeks ago. There’s only one thing I need say here, and Tom Cruise just helped me do so. You complete me.


Christmas 2018 – The epic Risk game!

5. Brenda, I love you because … you always let me win. I know you do. I play games to win and I am over competitive. You let me win in my life, and I know I sometimes get carried away, especially when playing board games of any sort. You love me anyway. You let me win, because it doesn’t matter to you. If I win, you win. I’m not perfect, and you know and are OK with that. I leave the garage light on after I go in there for a few moments to retrieve something. You shake your head, remind me that I left the light on, and carry on with doing whatever it was that you were doing before you opened the garage door and discovered that I had left it on. Again! Yet you love me anyway. Loving you is easy for me because there is no Risk involved.


19 minutes : 56 seconds

6. Brenda, I love you because … I have won life’s lottery. I heard about a very interesting number recently. The number is 1:400,000,000,000,000. That TED Talk I shared with you recently was where the number one in four hundred trillion was mentioned by the motivational speaker as the odds of any person in the history of the earth being born at the exact moment in time they are born, to the parents they were born to, with the DNA that they have. That’s a huge number, and with you I have won the life lottery because of it. With you life is more than F*©# and you make it easy and simple to love you. Life is never just FINE with you …

Frustrating

Insecure

Neurotic, or

Emotional


7. Brenda, I love you because … you help me to live & learn. I know I am sometimes slow to learn, but you help me with that. I get to live with you every day, and every day I learn from you. I know that sometimes I donl;t learn from you as well as I should. Which brings to mind another number …

.59

Over the last few years, I have shared with you the occasional blog post and sometimes a comment from a WordPress friend, David Kanigan. When I re-started my 3bones blog back in 2013, I began following David’s blog at … https://davidkanigan.com/ . David’s blog has several categories and sections, with one of my favourites being entitled “Miracle. All of it.” The above graphic from the post is where I did live and learn about the number .59 . It’s the relative amount of time we have on earth when compared to the age of the earth and I commented to David that …

I discovered that if we live to 85 and compare our time on earth to the actual timeline of the earth since it was “born” 4.54 billion years ago, we will have been alive for .59 seconds of Earth’s existence.

Wow. As David said in reply …

“Keith, I was frozen at .59 seconds of the Earth’s existence. Now that’s small and inconsequential.”

Brenda, I want to make the most of our time together.


11 min:39 sec

8. I love you, Brenda … because you understand me. Well maybe not understand why I sometimes do the things I do, but in the last few weeks especially, I have been trying to slow myself down. You’re showing me the importance of that. Did you know that in the human brain in any given moment there are 11,000,000 pieces of information that are coming into your mind? And only 40 of these are being processed consciously? I know that I sometimes forget where the bowl goes when it comes time to put it back in the pantry. That I will sometimes put something down, and it’s usually a black item that I have put down on an available black surface, or that I will sometimes misplace my keys. You’ve shown me that I should slow down and finish what I was doing before starting something else. During this whole coronavirus pandemic time, I am sure that my mind has been processing many more than the 11,000,000 pieces of information per moment that Dolly Chugh refers to in her TED Talk, but my mind can still only consciously process 40 of those. I have been trying to do too much and then trying to do it in too short a period of time. I need to follow a process (and less of them) through when doing certain daily tasks, like not bringing my phone with me when I am eating dinner, getting distracted by a text, and then start answering it. And I especially need to be in the moment when I am with you. I’m working really hard at that, because it’s one those things I can do for you that will make a difference for me, but especially for you. I love you because you understand me.


9. Brenda, I love you because … you always listen to me. I am not as good at that as you are, and I am trying to do better. I know I may need hearing aids and you have gently prodded me to get my hearing checked few times. Too bad that right now personal services are hard to come by, including getting my hearing checked. My hearing checked out just fine with the on line test I did recently from an accredited source. I may not always hear you, but I do listen to you and I am trying to be as good at listening to you as you are when you listen to me. Honest. Even though it may seem more difficult for me to make more of an appearance in our lives together, it’s the perfect choice for me. And this choice is easy for me.


10. Brenda, I love you because … you have made me a very lucky man. I sing in the car. I sing in my head, a lot. I know I am not very good. I get the words wrong more often than not. I am a very Lucky Man, which is one of my favourite songs from David Francey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdfLE8YjC3Y). I have liked David Francey’s music for a very long time. I got to see him live once when Bill and Betty Jo invited me to attend the Northern Lights Folk Club while in Edmonton one evening and on a business trip. Weather Vane is another of my favourite songs of David’s …

“Every day we find a way
To make it right as rain
And every day’s another way
We try and try again
When we succeed, we fill the need
And sanctify the pain
Forget the wind that howls in
And turns the weather vane.”


11. Brenda I love you because … I know I’m not perfect and you know I’m not perfect, but you love me anyway. I don’t always say the right thing. I try to, but I usually don’t say it in the right way. I can’t sing. I can’t dance like Rudolph could. But none of that matters to you. Right Before Your Eyes has been one of my favorite songs for as long as I could remember, I want to be your Rudolph Valentino. You are perfect for me.

And you’ll know what I’m thinking of And right before your eyes I’ll fall in love with you Today I’m done with games Gonna ask you for your name Say, I’ve been watching you I even know what you do Maybe today I’ll tell you Have found the nerve to sell you On a guy like me Who wishes that he could be your Rudolph Valentino Pull up in my limousine Oh, won’t you come in out of the rain And things will never be the same And then just like Greta Garbo you’ll stare like there’s no tomorrow And you’ll know what I’m thinking of And right before your eyes I’ll fall in love with you


12. Brenda, I love you because … you help me to see myself more clearly. I can’t always see the rainbows, or the blue sky. I often see the rain and the clouds first, but you help me to see through them. To see more clearly again. I am an optimist, but sometimes I do get bogged down in the details. You always slow me down. One of our favorite Canadian musical artists, Holly Cole, expresses it best.


13. Brenda, I love you because … we get to travel together. (This one is my personal favourite because #13 has always been your favourite number). We get to travel together. We have traveled many different places in the world, and have had many different adventures. All of them have been wonderful and memorable, and we have the pictures and albums to prove it. But I especially love you because I get to experience each of life’s adventures together with you. It never matters to you what we do as long as we can do it together. Even when I subliminally pester (and I know that I do) you to do something that I really want to do, you let me. Traveling through life is my adventure with you, and 13 is one of my favourite numbers because I was born on the 13th and it also happens to be your favourite number too.


14. Brenda, I love you because … you help me to be optimistic. I have always been an optimist, and it can sometimes be to my own detriment. You call me your Pollyanna. But it’s you who shows me how to laugh, how to love, how to live. And I am proud to call you my Mrs. Pollyanna.


Malta with Penélope

15. Brenda, I love you because … you love your family unconditionally. It shows every day. And I get to be part of that family. We your family, which has included me for the last 20(twenty) years, are all very lucky. And I know they agree with me.


16. Brenda, I love you because … you’re very brave. Back in 2013 when I restarted 3bones, it was for for both of us. But mainly for you, because you were fighting the invisible enemy cancer, and it was extremely hard for you and I could see that. But seeing your strength during those difficult times gave me more strength to travel that cancer road with you. It was easy for me to travel that road with you because I love you. We have traveled many roads together, but this was a road that neither of us had gone down before. We had no idea what the destination would be, we just had to travel the road together and trust that we would navigate it with each other. You’re also brave because you put up with my stupid humour. I know that sometimes you shake your head or roll your eyes at the things I say to be funny. My “dumb Dad” jokes that come out sometimes when we are with friends or neighbours or others. Thank you for being so very brave when it comes to me and for loving me anyway. Even when you roll your eyes or look at me with your head cocked at that unusual angle. You’re very brave and I love you for it.


17. Brenda, I love you because … you let me sing. I’m not a very good singer. I know it and you know it, yet you don’t say anything. You just let me belt away in the car. I often get the words wrong when I sing (just like when I talk sometimes) because with the music I know what is coming next with the rhythm and the beat, just not the words. I love music, but I love you more because you let me pretend that I know how to sing. The Queen cover of Bohemian Rhapsody above is perfect because the Muppets can’t sing either, and now everybody else knows that they are better singers than me.


18. Brenda, I love you because … I realize that yellow is my favourite new colour. There are so many different choices in our lives together. Kind of like the box of Crayola crayons. So many choices. So many changes. As of today, my new favourite colour of Crayola crayon is yellow. Just yellow. Yellow brightens our surroundings, makes things clearer, more defined. Yellow lights the way for us, defines our path. You’ve waited patiently and calmly for me and I now understand this after being together for what is today 20(twenty) years. It’s about time I catch up to you once again. As of today, yellow is my new favorite colour. Coldplay’s brilliant production of this video and the lyrics are why Yellow is also my new favourite song.

“Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow”


19. Brenda, I love you because … you know what’s up with me. You understand me like nobody else understands me. You know what’s going on with me. This song by 4 Non Blondes has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. The pre-chorus especially, which is sung between the 1 minute and the 1 minute 26 second mark …

“And so I cry sometimes when I’m lying in bed
Just to get it all out what’s in my head
And I, I am feeling a little peculiar

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream from the top of my lungs
“What’s going on?”

Thank you for keeping me steer myself the right direction. And especially, thank you for helping me to understand what’s up with me.


20 (twenty) 1. Brenda, I love you because … I can count the ways. And I just did. 20 (twenty) reasons why I love you. There are more. Many, many more reasons why I love you. Sonnet 43 says it pretty well, I think, and it says it all perfectly.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning fell in love with Robert Browning after he reached out to her about her writing.  The couple wrote letters back and forth to each other before finally marrying, knowing full well that the marriage would not be accepted by Barrett Browning’s father.  Their marriage was not only one filled with love, but also respect for each other’s writings.  The two were each other’s biggest supporters, and so it is no surprise that Barrett Browning would include this sonnet in her collection titled Sonnets From the Portuguese, so titled because Robert Browning often referred to his wife as his little Portuguese.

A lot of this information on Elizabeth Barret Browning and Sonnet 43 came from Wikipedia … https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnet_43. And, at the time of me gathering this last piece of logic for the 20(twenty) reasons why I love you, the last edit entry date for this Wikipedia entry was March 2, 20(twenty).

It has been one of my absolute favourite poems for a long time. Now you know why.


Oregon Coast Trip – September 2012

There are more than 20(twenty) reasons here why I love you. 20 (twenty)1 in fact. In fact, there are far more than 20(twenty)1 reasons why I love you.

My gift to you today is the present of presence, because I want to always be present in each other’s lives.

While we had lunch today after golf at Arrowsmith, we were discussing what the word perfect means, and you said to me that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be perfect. Things can be perfectly imperfect, too. You gave me a perfect ending to my gift to you on this day, this post.

So, is this the the perfect gift? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I know you will be OK with that and that’s all that matters. I know I’m not perfect and I know that you know that I am not perfect. And that’s OK, because I know you love me and you know that I love you. You’re perfect for me. So to me this is the perfect gift from me to you. And all it cost me was a little time.

Happy 16th anniversary, Sweetie. I hope we have at least 20(twenty) more together.

Love, Keith


27 thoughts on “The Perfect Gift?

  1. This was very delightful to read. I have to come back to the Ted Talks though.

    Thank you for sharing your love for Brenda with us.
    I wish you two many more love-filled years. Happy Anniversary.

    • Thank you, EC … coming from you, this comment means a lot. I hope you are well and managing to be safe in these trying coronavirus times … ❤️

  2. Aww this is such a sweet post. I admit I glossed over at a few places not because I lost interest but because it felt too personal, almost intrusive the act of reading it, as though I was going through someone’s diary behind the owner’s back. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, for letting us see how love can be long lasting and binding despite everything that’s going on in the world. I don’t know Brenda but I can see through your eyes why she must be absolutely cherished and loved the way you do through your words here. It left me teary-eyed. Happy Anniversary and may you two be together for a long long time. ❤

    • Hi Shruba … thanks for your comment on this post. Yes, I suppose this post may be considered too personal for some, but thank you for managing to get through it because I will admit it was long and very personal. I began 3bones many years ago with one post and a quote, and then I resurrected it a few years later as a way to keep in touch with my family. Most of my posts do tend to have those recurring themes … family, quotations, and music. That does make them personal, I know, but I have never been one to hide my feelings and this was an important post for me because the date and our 20(twenty) years together hold deep personal meaning for me. Thanks for your heartfelt comment, and I apologize if I made you cry. And thanks for the Happy Anniversary wishes as well. Be well in these turbulent times. I am off to read a little more in your blog now, “lemongrass” …

      • No no… please don’t apologise. I was happy to be able to glimpse into your life and get to know you and through you Brenda too. It was a pleasure to come across your post. Thanks and do stay safe! Hard times indeed but after the darkest night will come the dawn. I hope you’ll enjoy my blog! Thank you so much ☺❤

    • Thanks for your comment, Robbie. I am pleased that you got through even a couple of the videos because I know there were so many! it was an important date and an important new favourite number for me (and us of course), and I wanted to mark the occasion accordingly. I hope that you are managing to stay safe in South Africa (Brenda and I would love to travel there one day) during these difficult coronavirus times, and as always, I look forward to reading your future posts.

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