Soulmates.

I was out, but at a computer, missing the Artist. I was studying for a midterm, and of course full of stress and anxiety about it. I am waiting to hear if I got into the MA program I applied to and interviewed for, and I am really stressed about that too. Stressed if I don’t get it, yet anxious if I do. If I don’t get in, that is a lot of hard work applying (and applying for a scholarship) that didn’t pay off, and my plans will have to change. But if I do get in, that is 2 more years of what I know will be really hard work. I want to take on the challenge, but still, I know that lots of hard work would be in my future. Not to mention the stresses of daily life, trying to find time to do laundry and cook and all that.

I had been feeling particularly stressed at that moment, my body feeling restless and anxious, and I was yearning (and still am) to take a vacation with the Artist. We took an amazing week long vacation to the Dominican Republic in 2010, and we went to Chicago for a few days exploring in 2015, but that is it. We have bee talking about wanting a vacation together for so long, even just a few nights away somewhere within driving distance where there is a cheap motel where we can watch a “movie on TV” and order all kinds of takeout and junk food for a few days while we enjoy an outdoor pool, restaurants, sightseeing, a beach, etc. Even that seems impossible when you are broke AF, let alone going somewhere tropical or otherwise expensive like NYC or Florida.

But, my number one way to redirect my anxious thoughts it to think about my love, and how we get to share our lives together, no matter what. No matter where we are or what we are doing, we get to be together. Master’s program or no Master’s program, vacation or no vacation, money or no money, we will make it. We will figure it out. And then I checked my email. The Artist sent me an email with nothing in the body or subject line, just a link to a video. The video was of a car commercial, and the song of that car commercial has become associated with our lives. I was just saying that every time I hear that commercial, I think back to last summer. We had just moved, it was a hard, hard move with lots of obstacles. We were even more broke than we are now. I had classes start the day after we moved in, I didn’t know my way around and had no phone to use GPS, on top of the nerves of just going back to school after 5 years off. The summer was spent in a realm of anxiety and stress, with boxes everywhere as we tried to balance school, job searching, and unpacking. I was so stressed that I had no appetite and didn’t sleep well, and if you know me, you know that this is VERY unlike me. And somehow, with that commercial always coming on, the song somehow became associated with that period of our lives.

But now, the song is a reminder that no matter how stressful life gets, I have this guy by my side making me laugh, supporting me, and enriching my life on a daily basis. He sees beauty in such ordinary things that I never would have noticed before, and it reminds me to stop and smell the roses. So we would stop the craziness for a few hours, go exploring in our new city, and have some laughs.

I teared up watching this video, it was like he knew exactly my stress levels and that I was thinking of him, and sent this video to let me know he was also thinking of me, and that whatever happens, we will find a way to flourish, together ‚̧

No, I don’t want to buy your $5 per serving shake/meal replacement/smoothie/whatever you are selling.

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is becoming a representative of some sort of product lately? Skin care, food, kitchen supplies, make up, etc., but the most common thing I keep getting asked to buy and become a part of, is shakes. But the most common thing seems to be shakes and meal replacements, but for me, the answer is no. I get it, though. It is a REALLY tough economy right now and everyone is scrambling to find income and survive. And kudos to all the awesome people in my life that these things work for, who are on a journey of health and wellness and have created a business they love. But please understand, this is not for me. Here is why.

When I tell you I can’t afford it, I really can’t. When you say things like “you are worth the investment”, I appreciate it, and I know that that my health is important and worth a lot of effort an attention. But that doesn’t change my ability to afford it. I use my campus food bank, I budget like crazy, and there are still nights that I have gone to bed without dinner, simply because pay day was around the corner and I had no food because it all went to rent or another crucial bill. This is not the norm every night, though, so don’t worry. I still manage to eat healthy foods on a $100 or less budget per week, in Toronto, for two adult powerlifters with big appetites. We both have smoothies for breakfast that cost $1-2 per person. Mine packs about 40g protein, 10g fiber, 1 fruit, 1 vegetable, lots of fat and carbs, and an array of vitamins and minerals. Sometimes I even eat an orange or kiwi on the side which will up the vitamins and fiber too. These are dietary requirements that are specific to my needs, and meal replacements generally do not meet these needs. Also, I can’t have gluten, which is surprisingly in a lot of that stuff, and I choose not to eat much soy, because it is bad for, and aggravates, all of my weird bodily conditions.

When you say that if I join the business, it will help with my money problems, please understand that I am a full time university student with multiple part-time jobs that I enjoy- I barely have time to shower in a day, let alone participate in the constant social media presence involved in these things. I do enjoy social media, but not for posting every meal and workout I do in a day. And my part-time jobs are ones that are enhancing my life in some way, and I enjoy them.

When you say that I won’t have to step foot in the gym or cook dinners, because all workouts are done from home and dinners are a shake (for example), this does not sound appealing to me. I LOVE going to the gym and cooking. Mostly, I love eating home cooked meals. I do powerlifting, which requires a gym, unless you have your own gym, which would be incredible lol! When you say that I can get weights and modify the workouts to include them, the answer is no. I do powerlifting, it is not the same as getting some dumb bells and following a video.

So I ask that you understand that I have different interests than you, and that is ok. I am excited for you that have a business you love and are healthy and enjoy what you do. I also enjoy what I do, it just happens to be something different. I am so proud of you for working hard towards your health goals! I am also proud of myself. My goals are a little different, and that is also ok. I am looking to gain muscle mass and intense strength, which requires intense workouts at the gym and lots of calories consumed. Hence, low calorie shakes are not suited for me, and meals that cut calories are out of the question. My basal metabolic rate, which is just to maintain my body, muscle, organs, etc. at rest is a little over 1600 cal per day. Add in a workout that burns probably 700 cal AT LEAST, plus add in additional calories to create a surplus for muscle building…that is a lot of food.

So all in all, these shakes and meal replacements just do not suit my life, my goals, or my interests. They may suit yours, which again, is ok. Lets focus on encouraging one another to strive towards our goals, no matter what they are ūüôā

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 ‚̧

A breath of fresh air.

Sometimes we just need some fresh air. ¬†There is something about spending time with nature that is soothing, and helps you find peace with whatever you are struggling with. ¬†We really wanted to go camping (secluded style, not in a massive field full of tents), and although it is a cheap thing to do, we just couldn’t afford it. ¬†I was really upset, annoyed, etc. but tried my best to stay positive and come up with an alternative. ¬†We decided to take a walk at Castlewood State Park, and then a drive through Lone Elk Park instead. ¬†Our walk was very beautiful, and the air was very crisp- just the way we like it. ¬†There was a bench on one of the bluffs, so we sat down and just enjoyed the view for a bit. ¬†We breathed in that beautiful fresh air and just talked, and although I still want to go camping, I didn’t seem to mind as much anymore. ¬†It was very calming. ¬†Afterwards, we drove through Lone Elk Park, and briefly got to seek some elk and even a bison in the distance!

I often find myself craving to spend time outside or be with nature in some way, which I take as a sign that I am carrying around too much stress and need to take care of myself.  So, take care of myself I did.

DSCN7473 DSCN7477 DSCN7483 DSCN7490

Homemade Woven Coasters

As a working woman, I find that I don’t have much time to just be. ¬†Time to lounge around, watch TV, read, work on my latest project, write a blog post, or just have some time with my thoughts. ¬†Having this time is something that is very important to me, and I try and savour it whenever I can, even if it exists for only a short period of time.

To say that the Artist is a night owl would be an understatement. ¬†Every night as we are climbing into bed to watch TV, a movie, or read, he has lots of energy and is bouncing off the walls. ¬†Literally. ¬†He has the most energy at this time of the day, and in turn, sleeps in during the morning. ¬†Long after I have fallen asleep, sometimes on the couch, the Artist is “arting” away through the night creating his masterpieces. ¬†So on the weekends, I get up at my usual hour, sometimes sleep in a tad, and enjoy a nice, slow, relaxing morning. ¬†If I sleep in too late, and I will if I don’t set an alarm, my sleep schedule gets so thrown off and I am dragging myself around all week until I crash. ¬†So these mornings are my primary time to read, learn, and relax.

My latest project has been weaving, and I am addicted to it. ¬†So I have been putting on an old sitcom like Friends and weaving away in the mornings. ¬†I made a make shift loom using cardboard, and have been making these coasters that I really love. ¬†The Artist saw them on a blog…¬†http://www.prettyprudent.com/2014/09/prudent-home/diy-woven-coasters/ and asked me if I could make some, as I am fairly decent at “crafting”. ¬†I loved these, and they are just our style. ¬†So here are just a few, I have been making tons of these. ¬†When weaving, I feel very zen. ¬†It is like meditating. ¬†Just typing about it is making me crave a weaving session this morning.

DSCN6422 DSCN6423 DSCN6424 DSCN6429 DSCN6430 DSCN6431 DSCN6432 DSCN6433

Without my special weekend mornings, I feel off balance and kind of irritated.  I guess it just goes to show how important self-care is for our overall well-being, and that we should engage in it often.  By taking care of myself, I am the best wife I could possibly be, the best daughter, friend, and colleague that I could possibly be.  I am the best version of me, in all of my roles.

 

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 ‚̧

PMS

Lately I have noticed that lots of people post on social media about how crappy they feel, how sick they are today, how they wish their cold would go away, etc. and I am seeing these posts from both men and women. ¬†And then I had an epiphany. ¬†For several days a month, lasting several decades of every woman’s life, they experience menstruation, and I have never heard any complaints on social media about cramps or bloating and the like. ¬†Why not? ¬†Why the silence on things? ¬†Having a cold or flu usually consists of an upset stomach, headache, muscle aches and cramps, feeling tired, irritable, and maybe a nasty cough. ¬†Aside from the cough, most of the other symptoms are experienced with nature’s monthly visit to women, and then some. ¬†Add in there feeling bloated, food cravings, and having to use feminine hygiene products (that are not cheap!) to get through it, along with a variety of other things as every women experiences her own combination.

Some would argue, that it is just nature. ¬†Well wait, so getting the flu is some robot phenomenon? ¬†Why didn’t anyone tell me! ¬†Ha! ¬†Some might also argue that women are “built” for it, so “it can’t be that bad”. ¬†That is like saying that humans are built to require a heart to pump blood, therefore they are built for heart disease and “it can’t be that bad” since we are built for it. ¬†Haha! ¬†And it’s not like women can take sick days when feeling under the weather from PMS, because that would usually mean a few sick days taken every month from work. ¬†Who has that many paid sick days, and/or who can afford to take that many days off unpaid?¬† Or in movies and such, you hear men say things like, “watch out, it’s that time of the month for her, she will rip your head off and then cry her eyes out”. ¬†Well, men, if a large muscle in your body was contracting hard, you had a headache that wouldn’t quit, your body felt tired all over, you couldn’t hold your eyes open because you are exhausted, your stomach is acting up, and you couldn’t take the day off work because you have no sick days left, wouldn’t you be cranky too?

So we just go about our lives, uncomfortable and sometimes in pain, for 2-10 days a month (the average) and we just shut up about it.

But I don’t think it is necessary to suffer in complete silence. ¬†When the Artist isn’t feeling well I will take over making dinner, give him a back rub, and make some snuggle time together to watch a movie for example. ¬†When I am not feeling well, no matter the source of my symptoms, I expect the same. ¬†Even if life is busy, it is never too busy for a 10 minute back rub before bed, and sometimes that is all takes to take the edge off. ¬†He does not find me disgusting during this time of the month, as sadly, is the attitude that some partners take, and I can feel comfortable talking to him about concerns I have, or how I am feeling, and he will do what he can to help. ¬†In the end, both getting through a cold and getting through the symptoms of PMS, well, you just have to ride it out until it has run its course. ¬†So good coping skills is the most important thing to get you through it. ¬†My favourites are delicious food, a movie, comfy pyjamas, and lots of TLC from the Artist. ¬†And his favourites are exactly the same. ¬†Now, I am not saying that women “get sick” every month, I am just trying to point out that we go through uncomfortable, sometimes painful, unpleasant, inconvenient physical symptoms for several days a month, for several decades of our lives, and it is ok to talk about them without giving away too much detail or being obnoxious about it. ¬†So here it goes: today I feel so tired despite a good night’s sleep, I have terrible cramps, and a headache. ¬†And I will feel this way until the weekend is over. ¬†Now, that wasn’t disgusting or obnoxious, was it?

But, after all, this is how we experience pregnancy and become mothers, and that, is truly beautiful. ¬†I look forward to the day that I can feel a baby kick, and then watch it’s first steps and smiles. ¬†So folks, appreciate the women in your life. ¬†Sisters, spouses, girlfriends, mothers, friends, etc. ¬†Think about the tremendous¬†miracles that their bodies are able to go through, and support them through it. ¬†A little empathy¬†and understanding can go a long way. ¬†And the opposite; women, appreciate the men in your life. ¬†Fathers, brothers, friends, spouses, etc. ¬†Appreciate the support they give you, and their love for you. ¬†As all relationships in life are give-and-take, not give “or” take, it is a big circle of mutual exchanges.

You never know what this world will bring…so love hard, laugh often, and be thankful for every day ‚̧