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 ❤

Life in Canada.

Yes, we have moved back to Canada!  It has been much more difficult then anticipated, and the universe tends to not make things easy for us, but we have prevailed!  Here are a few stories of our latest adventure…

To start things off, our old faithful Cavalier called it quits before the road trip from St. Louis was even complete.  Yes, the car died completely.  There were cosmetic things wrong, like the trunk jiggled, the turn signal was temperamental, etc. but this wasn’t expected.  Although, it kind of was, because the car was a 2001 and had a TON of mileage on it.  But we were hoping it would hold on for 1 more year as I am commuting to school to upgrade my degree.  Nope…not a chance.  To be positive and avoid a total mental breakdown 2 weeks before I needed to commute to class, I told myself the positives: at least my parents were towing our belongings along with us and we could hop in the truck with them…at least the truck had extra seats for us…at least the car died and the clutch seized as we were exiting the highway and we could coast down the the exit ramp and push it into a gas station…at least it was not a major city type of area and we didn’t cause a traffic commotion…at least we have supportive family that we could count on…and most importantly, at least this didn’t happen in the middle of the highway and cause an accident.  This helped take the edge off, but I was still a panicking, crying, mess.  We had no money or the ability to get money quickly, and I need a car to get to class.  All I could think about was how could we possibly get from that moment to where we needed to be in such a short time?!

My uncle lent us his trailer and truck to tow our stuff, and we saved a ton of money doing this instead of renting a truck/trailer, and my parents helped out a ton with paying for gas, food, etc.  He uses it for work though, and with his busy business, we had to unload everything that night when we arrived at my parent’s place on a Sunday night, so we could return everything to him to use for work Monday morning.  We jammed all of our stuff in my parent’s garage.  Everything got dusty, dirty, and banged around, but we managed to get it all inside.  It was after 11pm before everything was complete, moving in the dark didn’t speed things up either.  We loaded up in St. Louis, unloaded in Creemore, loaded up again in Creemore in a Uhaul, and then unloaded again in our new place.  Oh boy, was that a lot of moving.  And loading up in Creemore and then unloading into our new place was a dreadfully rainy day.  It literally rained all day long while we moved.

The next day, after arriving at my parent’s place, we tried to enjoy the peacefulness of the quiet country and enjoy some fresh air to just think and let this whole mess sink in.  A moment of serenity, indeed.

DSCN8909 DSCN8915 DSCN8903 DSCN8892

We had an apartment lined up thanks to the help of the Artist’s dad, and we were expecting to sign the lease as soon as we were back.  The day before we began the road trip from St. Louis, MO we were informed that the apartment was no longer available.  No car, no place to live, classes in under 2 weeks, no money.  Oh dear.  Long story short, the apartment was actually still available and we went to view it and had an appointment to sign the lease immediately afterwards.

The apartment was a disaster.  They were in the middle of fixing it up still, the cabinets were being replaced, the baseboards had to be replaced, not to mention the usual repainting and cleaning and stuff.  We also saw cockroaches, including inside the refrigerator.  And did I mention that the person who was supposed to meet us to show the apartment was 45 minutes late?  We called every number we had for the leasing company, the building in particular, etc. and got only voicemails, right before our cell phone died, they showed up.  We went to the head office and explained our concerns, while trying to remain calm after what we had just seen, and we were informed it would not be ready for the original time discussed.  They explained they had another unit in another building we could look at that would be ready for the time frame we wanted.  We viewed it the next morning, and although it is a bit smaller, we really liked it.  The building staff were very friendly, answered all of our questions, and greeted us in the lobby immediately.  The neighbourhood is way better too- errands can be done easily on foot and just the “feel” of the neighbourhood was what hit home for us.  We signed that lease and arranged the move in- phew.  A place to live.  Yes we would be moving in the day before I start classes, but oh well, minor detail compared to what we had been through.  As I mentioned, it was raining on the day we ended up moving in, but again, it seemed trivial at that point, and we persevered.

The remainder of our time during this interim at my parent’s place before we could move into our apartment was spent looking for a car, figuring out bills, money, and the logistics of everything.  Again, all that was going through my mind was how could we possibly get from here to there with no resources in such a short period of time?!  We spent a lot of long hours on the road, borrowing any spare car from family we could, to work on getting the logistics for everything we needed done.

It’s not over yet.  My tuition was due at the end of April and I was counting on our tax return to cover most of it.  Of course it didn’t, and our bank account was emptied down to the dollar to pay for my summer tuition.  Our small amount of “float money” to cover the next month’s rent, stocking our pantry, getting me a laptop, and buying a few things we needed for our apartment- was gone.  Entirely gone.

I am not sure how we made it, but I am so proud to say that…

…we now have a car!

IMG_20160513_152635-2

…we have an apartment (and I will post pictures when we get it all up and decorated, it is slow progress as I am fully engulfed in my classes)!

IMG_20160520_185821

Outside at our new place!

…tuition has been paid and although it pained me to empty our bank account unexpectedly for it, at least it didn’t add to the already incredibly large mound of debt that we are currently surrounded by, and I am a few weeks into classes!

IMG_20160502_154320-2

Me on my first day of classes!

I don’t have a laptop of my own, so the Artist and I share.  We both need it equally for our livelihoods, so it can be challenging.  But we supplement with using computers at the public library and I have a library at school to use.  A laptop for school got put to the bottom of the priority list pretty quickly, unfortunately.

The fun doesn’t stop there though!  As we are trying to get our student loan payments stopped, I found out that my course load is not recognized because it is not full time (more like 3/4 time) and a bunch of other details, so I still have to make payments on it ALL SUMMER.  I will be full time in the fall though.  But after talking with the financial aid office at my school, my course load might actually be considered full time- fingers crossed this gets figured out.  Icing on the cake?  My recent load of laundry somehow ripped a huge hole in my only pair of pants.  Yes, I have one pair of pants.  “Had” one pair.  I will probably just sew it and keep wearing them actually, just when I think we can’t possibly be more broke, something else happens.  But I do love these pants, they fit like a glove!  Hopefully they can still be saved.  I do have leggings, but I wear clothes in general out quickly and these too are gaining holes and are looking like cheesecloth in some areas.  I mostly like to wear those around the house though.  I have some other pants, but they are too small, but maybe, just maybe, I will fit into them soon and bypass the expense (which is really an investment- good pants aren’t cheap!) of purchasing new pants.  I was also down to like 3 pairs of socks, and they were pretty ratty.  All the credit goes to my parents on this one, they bought me a ton of new socks and even a new backpack for school!

Like I said, I don’t know how we made it, but we did.  We have such supportive family who let us stay with them until we figured this all out, borrowed vehicles to get around, they fed us and did their best to soothe the panic, stress, and anxiety that seemed all consuming at times.  We are skimming by right now while looking for regular income.  I don’t know how we will buy groceries in a few days when we need food, we boiled some left over chicken bones last night to get some bone broth to stretch things a little.  I don’t know how we will pay our internet bill coming up, and it is pretty impossible to do an online class without internet at home.  We spent the first 2 weeks in our apartment without internet (first possible appointment to get it set up was a bit of a wait), and it has been an absolute studying nightmare.  Everything has been “Plan B” so far in our life.  St. Louis was not our “Plan A”, our current apartment, car, and school I am attending to upgrade were not “Plan A” either.  But somehow, our “Plan B’s” always seem to turn out even better then what we originally had in the books ❤ There are a lot of uncertain things, but we made it, and above all, we have one another ❤ We are doing whatever it takes to achieve our goals and follow our dreams.  NO. MATTER. WHAT.

Surprises and My First Tattoo.

I get home from work on December 22nd, 2014 in the early evening, carrying my bags, binders, and change of shoes (I don’t like wearing heels driving) in my arms and fumbling through the door.  Steve hands me the phone and tells me to call my mom on her cell phone ASAP, not letting me empty my hands or take of my coat and boots. His sense of urgency concerned me a little, thinking that maybe something is wrong, or something urgent is going on.  I call her cell phone.  She answers and says hello, and after a few seconds on small talk her and my dad emerge from our bedroom.  SURPRISE!  All the way from Ontario, Canada, they surprised both the Artist and myself that night.  We talk often enough, that they new the Artist was home during the days and I was at work.  They knew we had one car, that I used it to get to work during weekdays.  Minutes before I arrived home, they had called the Artist to have him come down and let them in the front door of our apartment building, as you need a key.  He thought it was a joke- he and my mother have a very sarcastic dialogue.  But there they were, standing in the rain, waiting to be let inside.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I have never been surprised like that before- they came from SO far!  It’s not like  they stopped by on their way home……they drove down from another country.  We were unable to make it home for the holidays for both time and financial constraints, so they came to us!  They skipped all other holiday gatherings to spend the holidays with us ❤

surprise

And they brought a million presents!!!

surprise2

I come from a small town, and everyone knew about the surprise.  Lots of folks sent gifts for us down with them, and holidays cards as well.  I know this is going to sound SO cliche, but it was a Christmas miracle ❤  My family doesn’t have much, but they are willing to spend what they do have one us ❤  I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family- there are no words.

We enjoyed some local museums, shopping, and lots of cooking.  And of course, lots of cooking meant lots of eating.  They even brought down a bunch of my favourite snacks from home that are unavailable here.  It was very hard when they left the following weekend.  There were many tears.  I think I am still recovering from the post-holiday blues……

To get ours spirits up, the Artist gave me my first tattoo on New Years Day.  Actually, he gave me two!

DSCN5303 DSCN5307

The one on my finger is the crown motif in Basquiat’s paintings, and the Artist has a larger version of this one his ankle.  This was his first time doing a tattoo on someone else other then himself.  The one on my heel is the deathly hallows symbol from Harry Potter.  These are both very intimately meaningful to me in so many ways, but I am not going to divulge them on here.  Instead, ask me sometime.

As they heal, they are becoming more of a grey tone then black, and I have no idea why.  My skin is crazy, the Artist said I am like a member of X-Men.  I never get sun burns, I have very little body hair, and my skin is very oily and soft.  Like, so oily.  These tattoos have healed very well, and have caused me little inconvenience.  So we will see how they finish up!

Happy holidays ❤

Parcels, Easter Eggs, and Sleep.

I have such a great family.  My parents sent another care package from home containing easter crafts and chocolates.  I am surrounded by so much love, even though they live in another country, we stay in touch as if they lived around the corner.  Right away, I started building my easter cookie house and stuffing my face with Kit Kats, Cadbury Cream Eggs, and chocolate bunnies.  Not sure why I made a weirdo face while holding the parcel, I blame it on excitement as to what is inside.

DSCN2891 DSCN2898 DSCN2895 DSCN2894DSCN2893 DSCN2892DSCN2897

Despite me turning 25 this summer, I still enjoy my favourite activities from childhood. Clearly, as you see above.  In the box was also the supplies to paint easter eggs.  I couldn’t justify boiling the eggs and then just throwing them out afterwards- too much of a waste for me.  So I carefully poked holes in the bottom and to get the egg out, and then cleaned the shells.  Lets just say the Artist was eating lots of eggs for breakfast, as I don’t like eggs like that.  After I had a bunch, I got to work.  Funnest easter craft ever.  Throwing them out, and taking down all my easter decorations was so depressing.  Especially tossing my eggshells.  Sigh.

DSCN2931 DSCN2908 DSCN2901 DSCN2900

Just to add to my love for old childhood activities, during a thunderstorm the other day I put on my Dumbledore’s Army pin and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with a bowl of popcorn.  I even have the old fashioned air popper, so it’s a healthy snack, yet still has the nostalgia of the classic snack my mother used to make.

DSCN2917

I do have an abnormal obsession with dark afternoons, there is just something about a good rain/thunder/lightning storm that is soothing to me.  There were several days in a row a weeks ago of thunderstorms, rain, and the darkest afternoons I have ever experienced.  There was even a tornado, with the sirens going off and everything.  It occurred in the wee hours of the morning, really close to where we live, and I slept through the entire thing- sirens and all.  It was by far the best sleep I have ever had- ever.  Just thinking about it makes me feel happy and refreshed.  I love to sleep.  I have never had problems falling asleep or staying asleep.  But I do have issues with waking up, and not getting enough sleep.  Every morning, for the duration of my entire life, is a struggle.  Waking up is almost a little traumatizing, I need lots of time to slowly make the transition.  Showering immediately is out of the question.  Which is why I have been an evening showerer since I was a kid.  Whenever I tell people that I need at least 8 hours a night of good, deep sleep just to function, they usually laugh.  Then when I tell them that 9 hours is what I prefer because I feel so energized, they usually give me a strange look, eye roll, or head shake, and then proceed to tell me about how they don’t have time for that- that they get 5 or 6 hours a night.

I simply can’t handle that.  If I get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, I feel like I have a hangover combined with the flu, combined with being hit my a moving vehicle.  And everyone says they just push through it, and go about their day.  But I feel lethargic, my brain is foggy, I can’t think or focus despite my maximum efforts, and stare into space all day.  If this is the case for me, why should I live like that?  In terms of “not having the time or sleep that much”, I would rather leave the dishes and laundry until another time and take care of my body and brain, and sleep.  Housework will be there tomorrow.  Walking around only half there all day is no fun, I want to enjoy the day and be fully present and feeling vibrant and full of energy.  So I guess you could say, sleep is important to me.  It is a priority.  And since I have started making the time and effort to get 8-9 hours a night, I have energy to go to the gym (and sleep is important for muscle recovery), I enjoy everything so much more, like cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping, and even watching TV is more fun because I am not zoning out, I am actually watching, and laughing, and engaging.  My skin is clearer, and dark circles around my eyes are minimal.  I feel more motivated to eat healthy, nutritious foods, and go out and about doing fun things and experiencing the city.

And I love snuggling into our soft bed, with cozy blankets, all comfy, snuggled up with the Artist’s arm around me as we chit chat before drifting off, is a fun little excerpt of quality time together.

To summarize: I refuse to walk around like a grumpy zombie all day because I didn’t get enough sleep.  I want to feel energized and enjoy every day as it comes.  Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

 

Getting Out of This Funk- Update.

I think it is time to update my get-out-this-funk status.  I have been working hard at my checking off everything on my list, and feeling much better 🙂   No more letting these winter blues bring me down!

– Clean the house, top to bottom. A cluttered and messy living space makes for a restless and overwhelmed mind. And a clean and tidy living space makes for a more calm mind, or so I have found for me. DONE!

– Catch up on laundry. IN PROGRESS! (I never have enough quarters….)

– Schedule a day that works for both the Artist and I to prepare our taxes. MAILING OUR FINAL PAPERS ON MONDAY!

– Apply for an external scholarship. IN PROGRESS!

– Go to the Soulard Farmer’s Market. To stock up on fresh and healthy foods, support local farmers, and get some fresh air and out and about in the community. I like to eat local and organically as often as I can. NOT YET, BUT MAYBE TOMORROW!

– Do some yoga. I enjoy kripalu yoga. I find it is relaxing, stress relieving, and is really beneficial for my body’s needs. NOT YET

– Work with the Artist on fixing up the chairs from Goodwill. DONE! (refer to previous post)

– Stock up on lots of healthy foods to fill my body with nutrients, and to entice me to cook lots of home cooked meals, and healthified baked goods. DONE! (Still some items I would like to get, but still bargain hunting for a good price!)

My favourite salad.

My favourite salad.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Pork and veggie kabobs.

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry.  AMAZING!

Home made Mongolian Grill style stirfry. AMAZING!

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

Chocolate peanut butter cups, healthified.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit.  The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste.  The flavours of those don't come through, they just sweeten.

The middle is organic, natural, unsalted PB with some vanilla protein powder to help flavour it and thicken it up a bit. The chocolate is organic unrefined coconut oil, cocoa powder, and honey and pure maple syrup to taste. The flavours of those don’t come through, they just sweeten.

– Switch up my exercise routine to include heavier lifting and more cardio. LIFTING HEAVIER 😀 FOR MY VERY FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE, I GRABBED WEIGHTS ON THE BOTTOM FREE WEIGHT RACK! STILL TRYING TO WORK IN MORE CARDIO.

– Clean out and organize the fridge, freezer, and pantry. DONE!

– Find good homes for clothing and other items that I no longer need, and that are contributing to the clutter. NOT YET

– Do a little thrifting. I could some some non-winter shoes that are more fancy then every day wear. DONE! (refer to previous post, although you can never do enough thrifting lol!)

– Pick up my knitting. WORKING ON SOME LEG WARMERS!

– Finish my current novel. IN PROGRESS!

– Watch some good movies. YES 🙂 Among others, I recently saw Gravity.  It was amazing, but really scary.  Space really freaks me out.  It is like my worst nightmare, being lost in space.  Or bring lost at sea on a rubber dingy, with no land in sight.  The vastness of the ocean also freaks me right out.  I could never go into space, or go scuba diving.  I don’t even like doing for deep sea swims in a lake or something where the bottom is waaaaay down there.  I’m not sure what it is, but it is so scary to me.  Way more scary then horror movies with fictional monsters or villains.

On a happier note, I listened to an interesting story on NPR recently.  The Artist and I were in the car, arriving at home, but ran into the house as fast as we could to turn on the radio to continue listening.  It was about a man who was several months behind in his rent and had to go before a judge, and was facing eviction.  He was given 15 days to come up with the money his owed, and had no idea how he was going to do it.  He entered a rap contest and the grand prize was exactly the amount he owed.  He was struggling to make a living, trying to follow his dreams.  In the end, he and another contestant were tied for the win, and he was able to pay off his rent debt.  Shortly thereafter, having been seen at the contest, his career took off and he was going off on tour.  He said that if this is what it took for him to make it, then it was all worth it.

The moral of story is, don’t give up on your dreams.  Don’t settle for anything less then what you want.  I think the reason why the Artist and I enjoyed this radio talk so much was because we are living this story.  We are struggling, we are broke, but we keep on going.  One step at a time, we are headed in the right direction.  We figure out whatever obstacles are presented to us, and we become that much closer.  Some think we are crazy to “choose” this struggle, that it is really worth it?  The answer is yes.  Without a doubt.  We know what we want, and will stop at nothing.  As the saying goes, “even the longest journey, begins with a single step”.

I know what I want in a home.  I know what I want in a career.  I know what I want in a family.  I am in an amazing marriage.  I am head over heels in love.  I will work hard to achieve my goals.  I will never give up.

Am most importantly, I am happy.  And really, isn’t that all that matters?

 

What a Wonderful Family.

Well it was a long trip home from Canada.  We were storm stayed for 2 extra days- the weather was insane.  Roads were closed, vehicles were stranded, plows were pulled off the roads, loads of snow fall, huge winds, -40 temperatures, the works.  But, I found some gear in my parent’s closets and braved the weather with the family dog!  It was a lot fun!  And our dog, Maggie, doesn’t have playmates too often anymore with everyone away for school.  It reminded me of snow days as a child, home from school.  We had a routine, my brothers and I.  Sleep in a little, because my mom would hear on the radio buses were cancelled and not wake us, then we would wake and see the time and freak out lol.  Then we would watch some cartoons in our jammies, the ones we normally missed because we were headed to school.  Watch the Price is Right.  Gear up, and head outside (pjs under snow pants!).  Make snow forts, snow men, toboggan down by the barn, admire the huge snow banks and giant icicles, use icy snow to sort of “carve” shapes.  Come in.  Make hot chocolate.  Curl up on the couch and watch a movie with a snack, and our hot chocolate, still rosy cheeked.

DSCN1832 DSCN1833

 

When we did finally leave, it was so sad.  We had such good visits with everyone, being cozied up and storm stayed for 2 days was fun, and we got to watch a new season of Criminal Minds, of which we had been yearning for.  Not to mention to long drive back.  The drive between St. Louis and Ontario is like a time portal to another dimension.  When we are in Ontario, it is like St. Louis is just a distant dream from a restless sleep.  But when we are in St. Louis, it is like everything that just happened was forever ago, rather than just a day ago.  It is a very weird feeling.  The same goes for when you drive to Florida to vacation.  When you get back it is like, was I even in Florida?  The drive plays with our brains a little.

As I started unpacking some things, it really hit me how insanely thoughtful our families are.  The Artist’s mom and step dad got us a night’s stay downtown Toronto at the Hilton- which was awesome!  We got to enjoy some yummy food, valet parking for the first time, and seeing some familiar sights.  Our view from the 29th floor:

DSCN1794 DSCN1796 DSCN1800 DSCN1815

 

While in Canada, my mom spoiled us with all of our favourites.  Ruffles All Dressed chips- which they don’t have here, and I have been CRAVING for some time now.  Finger foods and hot appetizers from M&M- need I say more?  Eating at Swiss Chalet and East Side Marios- both of which are not here.  Making me a grilled cheese sandwich, with white regular bread and 2 slices of Kraft singles- an old favourite, and that was always made for me by my mom or dad in the arena canteen on Saturday morning when I skated back in high school.  Making a big ham roast.  A variety of chocolates- because with me, you can’t go wrong with chocolate.  Poutine- enough said.  Pad Thai from the Georgian Mall- an old favourite.  And doing simple things like grocery shopping together, and being out and about- this has always been a favourite thing of mine with my mom.  As we saunter down each aisle, we have some great heart to heart talks.  And with the Artist there, obviously we giggle ourselves silly.  My mom is so thoughtful, she is always putting everyone, including us, before herself.  Whether it is going through her bucket of coins to pick out the American ones to give to us (for laundry lol!), or surprising us with a favourite dvd, or driving us wherever we need to go despite the weather and despite how busy she is, she is always putting others first.  Mom, if I can ever be half as thoughtful and selfless as you, I think I will be doing good ❤

And dad, one thing I always enjoy, is our talks about life, the “real world”, and current events.  You always seem to know what is going on, and have good sense of the so-called real world and how being a grown up is tough.  You also, put everyone else first.  From giving us Tim Horton’s gift cards, or buying us good whisky or coffee, or allowing us to borrow your precious Criminal Minds dvds, I know you are always thinking of us ❤

And Char, who also constantly puts everyone else first.  She was my favourite playmate when I was a kid, and if asked who my best friend was, the answer was always “Char”.  Always taking me on fun adventures, and countless sleepovers.  Helping us put our wedding together, driving up to have a night of board games, or go to the movies, or out for dinner, no drive seems too long for her, if it means she will get to spend time with her family.

And I haven’t even touched on what they do for everyone else, their communities, their family, and their friends.  I am so lucky to have such a great family ❤

And what never gets old, is how much my Artist makes me smile by just being himself.  Our first day back, after a VERY long day the day before (which included the second half of the drive from Ontario, a gallery opening, dinner with friends, and grocery shopping!), he started making art right away.  I could tell he was really missing it ❤

DSCN1842

 

How lucky am I?  We are still living the student life, pinching the pennies, and trying to make careers happen, yet I couldn’t be happier.  We don’t have much, we have each other- and to me, that truly is, everything.

Anniversary Gifts

I wanted to share what the Artist and I got each other for our 3rd wedding anniversary.  I posted previously about our story together and photos of our wedding.  We like to fully enjoy and be present 100% for special occasions, so sometimes we do our own private celebrations before or after the actual day.  For example, this past Valentine’s Day, we had our own celebration about 2 weeks after the actual day because that was a better time for us.  That way, we could be committed 100% to that moment.  We were able to spend an entire day and evening together, rather just a little while before the Artist had class or something, and it was also during a window of slower schedules, so our minds were completely focused on being together.  So for our anniversary, we exchanged gifts and celebrated in stages.  In total, we had a nice dinner, exchanged home cards (we do home made cards for every occasion :D), small gifts, movie, baked goods, and time together to share nice words.

For the Artist, I was a little stuck.  It can be hard to think of things that are low in price but still just as thoughtful as the things we always talk about doing or getting one day.  I thought that he would really enjoy something hand sewn by me with our new sewing machine, but didn’t think I would be able to measure him, pick out fabric, and make it without him knowing.  So I thought I would fashion a gift card, so he can choose the item and the fabric etc.  Then I thought, why just one?  So I made a booklet of “Emily Coupons”!  This may look lame, but it was very special.  The coupons included things like making any dinner of his choice- including dessert, any movie of his choice- he often likes really long movies or ones that I don’t have much desire to see, sewing canvas for him, and of course, sewing him any item of clothing he wants.

DSCN0419 DSCN0421

 

I also baked a new recipe for maple cookies, because the Artist loves them, but they didn’t turn out.  I think the best way to go for maple cookies is the kind in a box from the store.

DSCN0415

 

I also made one of his classic favourites, a pecan pie.  The ultimate goal is to beat the kind from Swiss Chalet, it is the ideal pecan pie.  Mine is pretty good too, and since I have the stuff, he is ready for a second one 😉

DSCN0441 DSCN0440

And…..he got me a jewellery box!  Or at least that is how I use it, haha.  I had been saying that my little wooden cigar box was not holding everything- all my stuff was tangled and I couldn’t close the lid or get anything out because it was all messed up.  So when I opened this, I was so excited to organize my accessories into it.  And the style and colours of it are so thoughtful, they are very “me”.

Here it is empty:

DSCN0416 DSCN0417 DSCN0418

Here it is full:

DSCN0429 DSCN0432DSCN0430 DSCN0428

And here is my old wooden cigar box, that I now use to hold just my pins:

DSCN0422 DSCN0423

I love the red velvet interior, and the old, faded gold paint.  He got it at a second hand, antiquey type store, which is my kind of store 😉  He has even picked out some of the accessories in the past here or has given them to me as gifts.  Some are second hand, some are new, and they are all “fake” and cheap haha!  But I love them.

His gifts, even if they were acquired for free or home made, never fail to become a treasure.  He is so thoughtful and creative.

Sometimes we decide to do a gift exchange and we have to get the gift at the dollar store.  Or it has to be homemade.  And boy, the things we can come up with!  The very best, most ,creative, rarest thing I got for him was for Christmas 2011.  It was a Julian Schnabel book.  He had been yearning hard for it, and for a long, long time.  But it is rare, hard to find, and only a certain, quite low number, of copies exist in the world.  And it is out of print.  Most copies cost hundreds of dollars and are used and beat up, missing pages, the cover is gone, or the spine is detached.  And they still cost a fortune.  I popped into this unique bookstore in Toronto on Queen St. and I couldn’t believe what I saw before me- this book.  And it was in perfect, like-new condition, contained all pages, was beautiful and shiny, and even smelled new still.  And, above all else, was crazy cheap.  So I bought it and lugged the huge thing home on foot.  It was only September, so I had to hide it until Christmas.  I had to tell someone my secret, so I called my mom right away to tell her!  The Artist was still searching on his own for it, so I had to do a little detective work and creative subject changing.  Whenever he saw it for a good deal, which was nothing compared to my deal, he wanted to buy it.  So I was dodging this left, right, and centre!  But usually, the Artist has a sixth sense, and whenever a gift giving occasion happens, he tries to, or actually does, buy what I got him for himself.  And then I discover it and have to tell him why he has to return it lol!  So this Schnabel book was the first time I kept him away with great undercover skills and he had no idea what it was.  The look on his face was priceless, and even more priceless when he found out how cheap it was!

That is all.

This has been a nice reflection, and has helped to soothe me ❤

It has been quite a day.  Hot.  Humid.  Sticky.  Stressing over health issues.  House is a mess because it is too hot to clean.  I need to workout but I don’t have a lock to lock up my new-to-me bike.  I want to indulge in some quiet, laying around time, to get over the stress of my most recent call from the doctor’s office instead.  I need a shower.  We need to budget (this is an every day thing, but when other things add up, it seems treacherous).

Right now, I think I will indulge in a nice shower and pampering of sorts with my good smelling lotions and soaps, then curl up with an old movie, maybe a cartoon, and do nothing.  I tend to be a worrier, and I know that if indulge in this quiet, me-time to process things, I will feel better tomorrow.  If I don’t, the feelings will linger and disrupt several days instead of just one.  So I find zapping it right away is best, if the day permits it.  And today, it is permitting.  Cleaning can wait.  My mental health comes first 😉

And when the Artist gets home, he always knows exactly what to do to help me feel better.  Another one of his sixth senses.

The neurons in your brain take the path of easiest travel, which are the connections used most often.  They are the strongest.  So even in stressful times, positive thinking and positive self-talk can make a difference by strengthening those neurons to be the ones most travelled.  So here’s to thinking about the good; I have a great and loving family who support me no matter what.  I have a wonderful, husband, so wonderful there are no words to describe it.  I am living in St. Louis in a very eclectic apartment, which is very “Emily and her Artist”.  I may not have much money in the bank, but I am so rich with love ❤