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 ❤

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And they brought a million presents!!!

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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!

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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 ❤

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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.

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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:

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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 ❤

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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.