The 27 year old undergrad.

It has been a busy, stressful summer.  I started classes the day after moving into our new apartment and we still aren’t completely unpacked and set up.  We have been frequently thrift shops looking for furniture, but haven’t had any luck.  Things are slowly coming together back up in the great white north!

My summer semester was definitely hard, it is such a shock going from the working world back into school full time.  But I made it, and with decent grades.  The biggest shock of all, however, was the fact that I am at a completely different life stage them most of my classmates.  Being a 27 year old in undergrad classes, I am 8 years older then some of my peers.  Although that really isn’t much when you consider one’s lifespan, it is quite a difference in what “phase” of life is happening.

I am 27, will be celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary with the Artist at the end of this month, I have lived on my own and with the Artist for many years and in turn have many bills to pay, and my favourite pass times include reading, watching films, listening to CBC radio, cooking (well, I am the assistant- the Artist is the actual cook!), relaxing while listening to our record collection, getting crafty, and powerlifting.  Through conversation with other students around campus, it seems, as it should when you are 19, that going to bars and hanging out with friends are what the kids are doing these days.  I wish I was saying that I was declining invitations to go out to the bar because I just wanted to go home and relax, but it must be obvious that I am an old lady.  Either that, or I come across as an unapproachable person.  Its probably both.  Chandler from Friends articulates it perfectly…

Chandler Bing

I also feel like I am one of the last people to be fit the “starving student” archetype.  I feel like I am surrounded by people who can afford all kinds of travelling and vacations, Mac laptops to bring to class for note taking, take-out food whenever they want, and no problems paying tuition or rent.  Meanwhile, I am doing my laundry in my bathtub, using the campus food bank, sharing a laptop with the Artist (we need a computer equally for our own livelihoods) as well as a cell phone, and taking notes in class with a notebook that my parents bought for me and a pen I took from their  house.  I filled that notebook completely, so lets hope they buy me a new one for the upcoming term, LOL.  I also have no idea how I will be paying my tuition that is due at then end of this month, not to mention bills, and I continuously sew together the same few clothing items that keep gaining new holes or tears.

It is all very weird, being in undergrad classes at 27.  When I was 19, I thought for sure that at 27 I would have the best job that ever existed and been done school with a prestigious degree(s) and have my dream home and life all figured out.  Well, I have come to the conclusion that you never really figure life out.  It is an ongoing journey with changing goals and aspirations along the way- so you might as well enjoy things, one day at a time.

Today I enjoyed bacon, egg and veggie scramble, and hash browns for lunch.  I enjoyed grocery shopping and still having about $10 left over for any other food needs that might arise this week.  I am going to workout later with the Artist, and despite my current sciatic pain, I will enjoy that too.  I will enjoy watching the Olympics tonight snuggled up with my love, and I will enjoy how beautifully gloomy and rainy it is this afternoon.

To see more photos of me enjoying the simple things in life, check me out on instagram @capitaineflash

As much as I would LOVE to travel and take a vacation, not have to worry about how I will pay tuition, or go shopping for new clothes and shoes whenever I feel like, I am sharing my life with someone who makes me smile and laugh every day, who shows me unconditional love, supports me, and inspires me….and that is more important than anything.

Suddenly, the mangled and torn insoles of my shoes seem so insignificant ❤

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Free Spirit.

The Artist and I have frequent hear to heart talks, discussing life.  These talks are really heart felt and intense, but in a good way.  During one of our more recent talks, he told me about how he saw me as such a free spirit when we first met.  He said that I was very “real”.  That I was unafraid to be myself 100%.  And that he admired this, and my free spirited-ness inspired him to be more relaxed and stress free.

I was a little surprised by this, I had never really thought of myself as a free spirit, so I asked him why he thought this.  (Note: The Artist and I were roommates, with another roommate and two people living in the basement of the house during college, read more here: https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/3-years-of-the-best-marriage-ever/ ) He said that he was very uptight and felt stressed all the time with regards to things like doing paperwork, house chores, etc.  He admired how I left my dishes in the sink for a few days before washing them, and how it didn’t bother me.  How I slept in on weekends and walked around the house in my pyjamas in the middle of the afternoon.  How I stayed up late watching a movie I had been craving to see while eating a big bag of chips, even though I knew I had to get up early.  How I threw my dirty laundry on the floor of my bedroom.  How I wanted to carve pumpkins at Halloween and put up a tree and a million knick-knacks during Christmas.  He said that I would get ready to go out with friends in just a few minutes, and look amazing.  How I gave honest opinions, and was direct with people on what I wanted.  How I would wear flip flops in the middle of winter to take the garbage to the curb……among so many other things.  Initially, I was thinking that this just proved that I was a slob, and kind of lazy.  But as we talked, he explained how it inspired him to live life in a more mellow, relaxing way.  To go with the flow, and stop to smell the roses along the way.  And that the way I seemed unafraid to be myself, even in front of a stranger, he said I was very “real” and wasn’t acting in a way that was unnatural to me or that I was trying to impress someone.  He said that I have changed his life, for the better.  That he is now more mellow, and doesn’t let things bother him.  And that this has carried over into his art practice, he stays up until the wee hours of the morning if he is on a roll with a good idea- instead of doing the so-called “sensible” thing and going to bed at a reasonable hour.  He doesn’t feel as much pressure to produce paintings quickly, but rather, lets the creative process take him over.  And that the result is works that are launching his career.

This really touched me.  I really never thought of myself as a free spirit type of person, and I still don’t know if I am.  But the way he expressed these feelings to me was very moving, and my heart almost exploded ❤  I had no idea I had touched his life on such a deep level.  Of course we love each other and have an amazing, fulfilling life together, but this story touched my soul in a way that I simply cannot describe.  I don’t think I have ever heard someone articulate how they saw their loved one, and how they fell in love.

Then I thought, am I still the free spirit he fell in love with?  And I sort of panicked, as I wasn’t sure if I was a free spirit then, let alone now.  As I was saying this, we were getting ready to go shopping before the store closed, which was soon.  I was starving so I microwaved some left overs on a plate, grabbed my purse and got into the passenger seat of the car- like it was no big deal. He looked at me, smiled, pointed at the plate of leftovers and said, “free spirit”.  And he continues to do this now, as I was having a hard time seeing in myself what he saw.  One time, I didn’t want to wait in line in the fitting room at a store, so I tried the shirt on over top of the shirt I was wearing.  One time I couldn’t find the lid for my Magic Bullet smoothie cup, so I screwed the blade back on, put it in my purse, and headed to my office.  Another time, I spilled a giant gob of salsa on my shirt, and proceeded to lick it off and continue eating.  On a rainy Saturday, I sat on the couch for several (and I mean several!) consecutive hours watching TV in a nest of blankets.  I am convinced it is more laziness, but my Artist continues to tell me how I inspire him, as I do what I want and indulge in a lot fun things.  And when we indulge in watching TV until our eyes burn, cuddled together, late at night, and having these heart to heart talks, the Artist points out what a fun night it was spending this time together giggling and being silly.  That it isn’t laziness per se, that yes- we could have cleaned the apartment or done something more “productive”, but instead had a wonderful night together.  And in my books, taking the time to live and love is way more productive in the grand scheme of life ❤

The Artist’s First Tattoo.

We were getting ready to go walking down Delmar and the Artist was looking in the mirror and said that he wanted a tattoo of the letter X on the right side of his chest, near his armpit.  I was confused, this was oddly specific and a weird thing to want as a tattoo.  And he didn’t want a fancy letter X, just 2 straight lines.  I asked him why.  He said that it was my spot ❤

The story of my spot….

My side of the bed is the right side, and I like to lay on my left side facing the Artist, with my head on his chest/in his armpit, while his arm wraps around me tight.  I am then in perfect range of motion to receive a forehead kiss, and his hand can stroke my shoulder and arm.  It is so sweet and cozy, my favourite way to fall asleep.  My favourite place to be at all, really.  We always have the best talks like that too.  And when I get all sleepy at night, I literally CRAVE to be laying like this with him.  Those minutes before falling asleep, is my favourite part of the day.  So I felt very privileged that he wanted this tattoo in honour of me.  There happens to be a tattoo parlour on Delmar, so we popped in to see about the pricing.  One thing lead to another, and the Artist and the tattoo artist did an “artist swap”- a painting in exchange for the letter X tattoo that he wanted.  And boom- it was done.  It took longer to apply the stencil and disinfectant then it did to complete the tattoo, haha.  It was that simple and quick.

The Artist hugely suits tattoos.  A lot.  He is such a big, strong guy, with a huge beard and long hair.  He looks rather intimidating, actually.  But inside, he is the sweetest, most sensitive, cuddle bug that I know.  The contrast that I am describing is one of my favourite things about him, and the idea of even more tattoos would just further it.  He has practiced a few more with a pen to test out his ideas, and they look awesome.  Nothing crazy or anything, but rather symbols, interesting drawings, and even one in memory of his childhood dog that recently passed.

It was a wonderfully spontaneous, spur of the moment adventure.  And I think that in life, we all need to remember to have a little spontaneous adventure once in awhile.  It is good for the soul, in my opinion.

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No turning back now!

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It’s done! Doesn’t his missing chest hair look ridiculous?! Ha!

On the way home!

On the way home!

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After a few weeks of his hair growing back.  And no, his hands are not tattooed (yet!), he is just drawing ideas with a pen to see what they look like 😉

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My spot ❤

 

A Glimpse of the Day I Turned 25.

This 4th of July, I turned 25.  Yikes.  25.  Life is moving so fast.

The Artist asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday.  There are so many fun things to do on a budget in St. Louis, but all I ever want is just some good, quality time together.  I had been wanting to go bowling for awhile, so we decided to incorporate that into our day, and there is so much good food around here of which I have a hard time choosing where to eat, I asked the Artist if he would pick the restaurant and then not reveal it until right before we left.  That in itself is a great birthday gift, haha, because I can never make a choice and am always overwhelmed by the oh-so-many delicious options.  It was SO nice to not even have to think about where to eat!  He decided on one of our favourites: Mission Taco.  Read about the extreme levels of awesome they have here, https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/moving-food/

But even after we made these plans, I told the Artist that I didn’t care if they didn’t happen or if we ended up doing something else, that if the night organically led us elsewhere, or nowhere other then the couch, I wouldn’t mind.  The Artist and I spend a lot of quality time together on a regular, daily basis, and we are always going out on dates and doing fun things.  So my birthday was like any other day when you boil it down.  Even if we both have a busy day, we always take some time together, even if it is just a few minutes.  Sometimes we will chit-chat and snuggle and giggle before we go to sleep, or sometimes we will take time out of our busy days to cook together, which always brings about great conversations.  This is a quality about our marriage that I just love; we don’t use special occasions as a “reminder” to do something nice for one another or to go out on a date.  Actually, the last 2 years we weren’t even in the same city on Valentine’s Day, and we did our own little thing weeks earlier.  But on that day, we knew we were thinking of the other, and that is enough ❤

My birthday ended up including a delicious breakfast of chocolate pancakes and bacon, sleeping in late, a great after-breakfast conversation about our favourite actors (which included Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carell, among so many others), a present, drinks, bowling, RummiKub, and tacos.  I have been loving the TV show Orange is the New Black, and really want to read the book.  But all the libraries around here have pretty large waiting lists, and each person have have the book for up to 3 weeks!  I was so disappointed when I discovered this, because I have such a craving to read it!

To my surprise, when I opened my birthday present, was a brand spanking new copy of Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman.  It smelled amazing.  I even fanned the pages a little because there is just something about the shininess and smell of a brand new book that is just so satisfying.  We usually use the library to read books, or get them for a quarter a piece at thrift stores or library book sales and in used conditions, so this brand new copy of my very own is such a treat 😀

He also got me new sunglasses because I broke mine and my backups are scratched like crazy, and then took me to the new candy shop that just opened down the street to pick out some candy.  He gets me.  He pointed out Sour Patch Peaches to me because he knows how much I LOVE peach candy, (a very specific flavour, I know, haha) and I couldn’t resist.  I also picked out some taffy, a cherry jolly rancher stick (which is awesome because that is the only flavour I like and didn’t have to buy a whole pack to get a handful of cherry candies), and what I was most excited about: the Harry Potter Chocolate Frog.

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Then onto a blueberry lemonade Smirnoff slushie, tacos and bowling.  I grew up with 5 pin bowling with tiny balls, so this intimidating 10 pin stuff was hard!  My goal of zero gutter balls went out the window in a hurry.  But it was fun, and we will be back.

 

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When we came home, we decided to play RummiKub, which is one of our favourite games.  We turned on some oldies music,  and of course, I won 😉

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We finished the night with some silly pictures, and watched Corner Gas in bed.

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Perfection.

What a wonderful life I have ❤

My Artist <3

Reasons why the Artist is the best husband, most respectful man, and such a great human being:

1. He makes it clear that we both equally share the responsibilities of keeping up a household with cleaning and cooking and maintaining it.  I never feel like it is my “duty”, and I never “feel expected” to do these tasks.  Even when he is writing his thesis from morning until night, and I choose to have a movie marathon in bed, and I say “I should have done those dishes today instead of watching movies”, clearly I had more availability then he did, he still indicates to me that it is equally our responsibility, and that he will do them tomorrow.  He never even makes jokes about “women belonging in the kitchen” and what not.

2. Piggybacking on the above, he is extremely grateful.  For everything.  Every day.  All the time.  If I cook him breakfast, his face lights up as if I have never done something so nice before, he thanks me, and shows some affection.  Thank-yous never become implied, he is always full of gratitude and expresses it.

3. He surprises me.  Whether it is coming home with some chocolate, choosing the most perfect gift, or making me laugh in some strange way.

4. He supports me.  He truly believes that I can do anything, he is my biggest fan and cheerleader in life.

5. He gets me.  Not only does he understand all my weird quirks as much as another person possibly can, he likes them.

6. He loves me, and tells me every day, several times.

7. He respects me.  He never yells or shouts or plays mind games.  He is never sarcastic or negative towards me.

8. He compliments me.  Whether I am at my best or at my worst, and not just on my appearance, but with regards to my inner self.  Recently he paused and looked at me and smiled.  Then he moved in for a hug and told me how good I looked.  And just so you know, I was wearing jeans, a plain tank top and cardigan, no make-up, not showered, and was putting on my new scarf.

9. He is so generous.  He gives me most of his dessert, the last chip out of the bowl, his McDonald’s fries (which are my most favourite fries EVER), his ice cream, he adjusts the volume on the TV which has to be done manually, he serves me dinner right to my lap on the couch, and he is generous with all of the above points.

10. He is very sensitive and affectionate.  He has so much empathy, passion, and love. He is caring and sweet.  He loves to snuggle with me, hold me hand, kiss my forehead, and stroke my cheeks.

11. He inspires me.  To be the best me that I can be, to enjoy life to the fullest, to love hard, to live hard, and embrace the present moment.  He inspires me to follow my dreams, and never give up.

He is my Artist, and I love him with all my heart ❤

My favourite time of day? Bed time- and not just because sleeping is one of my favourite things to do. It is that moment when the Artist and I get under the covers, snuggle up together, and have our nightly chit-chat as we fall asleep. The world is quiet, stresses melt away, we share a laugh or two, and I feel so safe, secure, and comforted with Steve’s big arms wrapped around me. It is that moment every night that reassures me, that no matter what happens, all we really need is one another.

And that, my friends, despite what my bank account says, is what makes me truly rich.

 

Donuts, Poutine, Truffles, and a Homemade Scarf.

My cheat treat this week was poutine, something I had on my mind and it was long overdue for achieving satisfaction.  I did it at home, because St. Louis has no clue what poutine even is.  I couldn’t find any cheese curds, so I just used mozzarella.  For make-shift poutine at home- I did pretty darn good.  It was really yummy, and the Artist even liked it too.

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The next morning we planned on grabbing donuts at World’s Fair Donuts-ok, so I had 2 cheat treats lol-on our way to the free admission of the Botanical Gardens.  We are cursed for this.  We have to get there before noon to get the free admission on Saturdays, and something always happens.  Sometimes there is traffic or an accident and we are stuck, etc. but this time, we got lost.  The road we were supposed to take was not a through road, therefore we couldn’t turn where we were supposed to.  Obviously, we got lost and drove around for like 2 hours.  We got there just after noon, and they wouldn’t let us in unless we paid.  So we got donuts afterwards and went grocery shopping instead.  World’s Fair Donuts are amazing, and so cheap.  A buttermilk cake donut is just 56 cents.  And boy are they ever tasty.

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There are no words to describe this.  You must try it to fully grasp what I am trying to tell you.  I could eat an endless amount of these and never get sick of them.  So good.

Hopefully next time we make it to the gardens on time.  I want to go again now that it is fall because of all the beautiful fall colours and nice weather.  And by nice, I do not mean scorching hot.  And by nice, I do not mean lung burning cold.  By nice, I mean a light jacket or sweater is all that is needed because the breeze is fresh and the sun is out- and we are far enough away from it now in November that it doesn’t feel scorching.

This nice weather makes me actually want to spend time in the kitchen, and not have to slave over a hot stove and oven sweating like a maniac- like during the summer.  So I made some healthy treats that taste amazing.  These little truffle bites are made with chick peas.  The Artist says they taste “healthy” but I think they taste the same as my non-healthy ones.  I posted about the non-healthy version previously….chocolate-peanut butter-pretzel truffles (or balls, or whatever you want to call them).  These ones consist of chick peas, organic natural unsalted peanut butter, a few pieces of chopped dates, and pretzels, blended together in the food processor.  It is sort of crumbly, but you can form balls in your hands and I rolled a few in dark chocolate, a few I left as-is, and a few I rolled in crushed peanuts.  I keep them in the freezer and eat them frozen- for some reason I like to eat frozen things.  Cheesecake, brownies, chocolate bars, fruit chunks, cookies, etc. etc.  I think it started with my impatience for not wanting to wait for them to unthaw, and now I prefer them frozen.

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On another note, I recently finished up another knitting project.  I have been doing this one forever- like over a year haha.  Like I said in my last post, I don’t get addicted to projects with smaller needles and yarn- and this one is both.  I made a scarf, with alternating knitting stitch stripes and stockinette stitch stripes.  It is attached at the ends, so you put your head through the whole, versus wrapping it around.

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The Artist is so sweet, today he made the bed for me.  And the other day he “forced” me to buy a $1 pair of Christmas socks, because he knows how much I love festive items, especially socks.  And this pair, for some reason, are my absolute most favourite, and he could tell instantly that they were perfect.  He also talked with me about future plans, where to live after he is done school, goals, career moves, etc. and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning having an amazing heart-to-heart laying in bed in the dark.  Snuggling of course.  It was a really great talk.  He knows me inside and out, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do for my happiness.  And I for him.  This morning I made hime his coffee before I left, and placed a little love note on top of the coffee make so he would see it right away.  He says when he makes coffee, and when he does, it tastes like swill.  Swill, or hot brown water.  But the funny thing is, I don’t even drink coffee.  We came to the conclusion that when something is made for you by someone else with love, it makes a difference in the taste ❤  The other day he made me smile, and warmed my heart to the core.  He is so funny, and I love discovering his antics after the fact.  I come in and sit down on the couch beside him, and told him that his shirt is on inside out.  He hadn’t realized this and had been walking around all day like that.  “Thankfully”, he said, he “didn’t go out in public”.  My heart=warmed instantly.  He was more then likely focused on his painting and other works that he didn’t realize.  He sees the world in a way that no one else does- every shadow, shape, and colour is interesting.  Flaws are not undesired, but rather, beautiful and tell a story.  From his perspective, noticing his shirt on backwards, or being bothered to switch it, wasn’t important.  The world has too much else to offer.

Sometimes, we don’t need to “do” or “say” something, all we need to do is embrace one another.  These extended hugs communicate everything between us when words don’t have the right, or enough, meaning.

Take a moment out of the day and hug your wife, husband, partner, or significant other, and pause for a moment.  Embrace with your heart.  Draw a gentle circles on his/her back with your hand, or cradle their face.  Tell your partner how much you love them, how you feel.  Give gentle, tender kisses.  Maybe whisper words in their ear so it tickles a little, maybe even causes some giggling.  Touch your noses together, in an eskimo kiss.  Take a moment from the hectic, crazy, wild adventures of the day to really be 110% present with your partner during this embrace.  You may not even need words, because your hearts will say everything.  I can’t think of a better way to recharge.  Life is precious, and the little moments can really make a difference in helping to enjoy every moment of it, and treasure it.  You will be surprised how intimate this can be, and how it can really help connect you when your brain is running a mile a minute.

Happiness is contagious.

Movies, Food, and Love

The Artist and I had 4 glorious nights in a row of evening movie dates and good food at home.  He is really busy for about half the week with class and stuff, and then the weekends are filled with painting and doing other related things, and we also do our errands and shopping, and fitting in something fun together.  Evening 1 consisted of Halloween and Halloween II with candy, chips, and chocolate.  Evening 2 consisted of National Treasure and homemade chicken wings with raw veggies.  Evening 3 consisted of National Treasure 2 and homemade thin crust pizza and a side salad.  And evening 4, consisted of baked chicken and orzo with mediterranean inspired flavours, and a side salad, while watching The Office, an episode we were craving to see.  We snuggled under a big comforter on the couch and only had our side table lamp on- which gives the best soft lighting.  Perfect for together time.

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Homemade dough by the Artist, homemade sauce by me, low fat mozzarella, and oregano sprinkled on top. To keep it healthy, I have a protein shake on the side and some veggies.

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Look at those nice arms 😉

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Homemade dough by the Artist, homemade sauce by my, low fat mozzarella, grilled red peppers, slices of baked chicken breast, basil pesto dollops, and a bit of tiny diced tomatoes. Having a shake and veggies to keep it balanced! Also, we make 1 batch of dough, and the Artist cuts it in half to make these 2 pizzas, each the size of a baking sheet. It is super thin, and hard to stretch, but it works. We liked the thin and crispy crust for these dishes, and it keeps the carbs lower.

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Homemade chicken wings with a slightly spicy buffalo sauce. The main ingredient in the sauce be Frank’s hot sauce. Not breaded and baked keeps them healthier them if you went to a restaurant, and cooking them so they are nice and crispy and falling off the bone is delicious!

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My currant favourite side salad; arugula and maybe some romaine, mixed veggies, fresh lemon juice, and a bit of an olive oil-herb-vinegar dressing.

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Mediterranean style chicken with orzo.

The Artist and I were in the kitchen together making these meals, which is one of my favourite things to do together.  Seriously.  Cooking together brings out really great quality time together, great conversation, jokes, giggling; the works.  And the Artist is such an amazing cook, and we both love eating delicious food, see how it is just perfect?  We also have great heart-to-hearts when dining in at a fast food place like McDonald’s, and end up sitting there talking for an hour.  Or right before we go to sleep, while laying bed, or while we are getting ready to go somewhere.  The Artist has a really absurd sense of humour, as do I, and a lot of people don’t always get his jokes or antics.

The Artist: (after saying something crazy about having chicken bits all over his hands) See, you get my jokes.

Me: Not only do I get them…

The Artist: (excitedly interrupting) Not only do you get them, you do them too!

Me: (smiling) I know, I love it.  Not only do I get your jokes, I love them.  I yearn for them.  If we haven’t seen or talked to one another all day, especially since we don’t have cell phones, I find myself craving some Artist-style jokes, humour, gestures, and general silliness.

We get one another.  Like crazy.  I have never felt so understood by someone else before.  And it was the Artist who helped me find the words for that, he is amazing with words.  He told me that he has never be able to be himself so much until he met me, that I allow him to be him.  That we bring out the most potential in one another.  And that I bring out the best version of himself.  I had been feeling this way, but couldn’t put it into words.  He nailed it.  As always.  He is so good with words, in every sense.  He is poetic in every aspect of his life.  He can articulate things like you wouldn’t believe.  His vocabulary will blown your mind.  He loves to read poetry and finds it amusing- seeing the humour in words.  He then uses that an ammunition for his own word humour, fuelling his crazy sense of humour.  I use word humour as well, the Artist brings it out in me.  And sometimes I let little things slip when I am out or talking with someone else, forgetting that is the incorrect way of saying something and that it is not just me and the Artist being goofy at home.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love life.

Happiness is contagious.