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 ❤


Live, Love, Laugh, Eat

As we are eating our sandwiches for dinner, I watch the Artist and think about how much he has changed in the last few minutes.  When he goes to “the bad place” from hunger, you can tell.  He gets quiet, easily frustrated, his eyes appear like they are difficult to hold open, he can’t make a decision, he appears to be on the verge of curling up into the fetal position and crying, bursting through the window to scream like a mad man down the street, or chew off his own arm.  Then as he eats, you can see him come back to life with every bite.

One of our favourite sandwiches: pulled pork, which goes excellent with corn on the cob, and peach-orange-mango popsicles (I don’t like mango, but the Artist had frozen some so I thought I would try hiding it in these, it worked!).

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Me: You know how you get all crazy when you’re hungry and then as you eat you are a whole knew person, like you come back to life?

The Artist: (as he inhales his sandwich) Ya.

Me: Is it the same when I get hungry and go to “the bad place”?

The Artist: (stops eating, eyes widen, and pauses…) It is almost worse for you!

Me: (Bursts out laughing)

The Artist: You get worse, you get really frustrated and it is like tunnel vision.  You can only see what the immediate need is, beyond that is unimportant……and with sleeping too.

Me: (stil laughing)

The Artist: And for various other, really specific things.  For example, on a rainy day, you NEED to cuddle and watch TV, whatever you are craving at the time, and it is usually something bad or a kids movie.

Me: I guess we are want-what-we-want-when-we-want-it kind of people.

The Artist: I am an Artist, and that is why I can’t work at a regular job.

This is bang-on-100% true.

This is us.

Why bother fretting about getting the vacuuming done when it is a gorgeous day outside?  Seize to moment and go outside and enjoy the weather.  Vacuum later that night, or tomorrow, it won’t go anywhere.  Or why not embrace an urge to go to the zoo, the park, or get ingredients to bake a cake, instead of sticking to the original plan of organizing closets or cupboards?  In our household, “life” is the priority.  Especially over things like housework, dishes, and other day to day things.  Every day is not like this, I don’t live in filth and eat junk all the time because I am too busy out and about.  Because usually, a day will call for, or an urge will come up, for me to put up my hair, turn on the radio, and  clean ’til the cows come home.  And the same goes for cooking nice meals, preparing things from scratch to freeze for later, etc.  It all gets done in good time, and doing it when I really, really want to, when I have a craving to do it, makes it all the more enjoyable.  Versus, the opposite- staying inside when you want to be out enjoying the sunshine just to do dishes.  Because, more then likely, the next day, I will want to clean up the kitchen so I can bake some goodies.

Embrace your urges.  Because you may not necessarily always be able to.  Kids.  Career.  New home.  Family.  Etc.  I may not always be able to enjoy TV on rainy days because I will be looking after kids, or working at a job.  I may not always be able to decide on whim to bake a cake, because I have to take the baby to doctor or get called in to work (and no, I am not pregnant nor are we “trying”, nor do I work, this is all hypothetical!).  So embracing it now is important to me, because this freedom may not always exist.

Saying that we are want-what-we-want-when-we-want-it kind of people doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?  In fact, I am proud of our lifestyle.  Life is precious.  And yes, I worry, and I stress, but it comes less and less often.  All I have to do is go back to these thoughts, and remember.  It is a great coping strategy.

Today, I embraced the cooler temperatures and did some housework so I wouldn’t get all hot and sweaty.  I wanted to lay on the couch and read an article from TIME magazine, so I did that with my breakfast.  I felt and urge to write a blog post, so here it is.  I am excited to go to a zumba session later and ride my bike to get there, I can’t wait.  I feel like cooking something nice for dinner, so I will!

Ever feel like doing nothing?  Don’t.  Ever feel like being super productive?  Go ahead.  Ever feeling nostalgic and want to catch up with old friends about old times?  Do it.  You never know when a time might come that you are no longer able to.

Embrace each moment as they come.

Enjoy the little things.

Be happy.

Happiness is contagious.

Sick Artist

How to know if the Artist is seriously ill, usually with allergies, versus feeling rundown or having a cold:

– instead of his brilliance being turned on 24/7 and him not being able to ever turn it off, it is in fact, off

– instead of laying awake until the wee hours of the morning unable to sleep due to this brilliance always being on, he is asleep before 9:30pm with the TV and lights on (***note- the Artist NEVER falls asleep in front of the TV, he can be tired, but can’t fall asleep until he turns the TV and lights off)

– instead of his legitimate fear of something near or touching his eyes preventing him from taking eye drops for his quite severe allergy symptoms, he no longer cares and drops the stuff in

– instead of cracking jokes, making mischief, and pestering me (I love to be pestered by him 😉 haha, we have a lot of fun with it), he is bed ridden and curls up around me….when I ask him if I can get him anything or do anything to help, he says he just wants to cuddle and be near me

– he falls asleep on the bed, laying upside down, on a diagonal, with his feet on my pillow

– he has little energy for eating or showering, which are essential things he likes to do several times a day (cool rinses are key in this hot weather here)

– he stays in the same clothes for far too long

– he becomes a cuddle monster 24/7

– instead of waking up to every little sound, some that I don’t even think exist, he sleeps through the TV blaring, me on the computer, lights on, me talking on the phone, me sneezing, and/or loud neighbours or other outside ruckus

– I will find multiple kleenexes as I make the bed in the several days following his illness

I will always take care of my sick Artist, and he always take care of me.  When I am sick, he cooks for me, serves me in bed, gets me hot beverages and snacks, covers me with blankets, cuddles me like crazy, gives me back rubs, and the tenderest of kisses.  Sometimes, if we are feeling like having a lazy day at home in pyjamas in front of the TV for an entire day, we call it “having a faking it day”.  Essentially, we joke that we are faking sick.  So we stay in bed, in comfy clothes, eat delicious, yet junky foods, cuddle, give back rubs, and watch guilty pleasure movies.  Usually we need one of these days as a mental health day.  So it is not like we are sick from a virus or anything, but having a lazy day to just us, to avoid burnout.  It is a great tool for us when we are super busy, on the go, especially the Artist with school, to rejuvenate and spend some quality time together talking and giggling and indulging.  These “fake sick” days are something I always look forward to it on a lazy weekend day.

Self care is very important, and I think I have a very good self care tool kit.  My number one item/tool in it is my Artist.  If I have had a rough day, just seeing his face makes it all better.  A hug and kiss and cuddle just makes me melt.  Then we talk about what is bothering me, and he helps me through it all with so much love and support.  And I for him.  Sometimes he just calls or emails me because he wants to hear from me or listen to my voice as a little boost to get through the day until I get home.  And in turn, my day gets boosted.

Cozy bed, kisses and cuddles, and screen time.

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I love my Artist ❤

Happiness is contagious.

Back to School for the Artist

The Artist has been back to school now for a few weeks, and has his yearly “back to school cold”.  I used to get them too when I was going to school.  It consists of cold like symptoms accompanied by seasonal fall allergies due to the mental strain of going back to school.  You see, the Artist and I both like to spend our days doing whatever we want, on our own schedule.  The key here, is our “on our own schedule”.  Having class at certain times, and due dates for assignments does not mesh well with a person who likes to run on their own time.  I suppose that is why I excelled extremely well in online non-paced university courses- you just had 6 months to complete all the materials, assignments, exams, etc.  So if I felt like going to the beach one day instead of doing homework, I did.  And made up for it on a rainy day, or in the evening.  So this back-to-school-cold is basically caused by the stress it takes to shift from this style of schedule for the 4 months of summer, to the school/attending class/deadlines style.  It makes one feel rundown and exhausted, and when accompanied by allergy symptoms, makes you ill.  Since I am not in school, I am available to tend to the Artist and take care of him, and give him lots of extra TLC.  Except on days when I have “out in the world eyes”.  Those days consist of the two of us recovering in bed, taking oil of oregano, and eating comfort foods.

Out-in-the-world eyes is a similar oddity that we share.  When out and about all day, interacting with people, learning new things, and just being social in general, one comes home and begins to relax and the effects become apparent.  I usually wear make-up which makes it much worse, and if allergies are in the air, well now you are just miserable.  The effects include dry, irritated, tired eyes, and if left untreated, a headache evolves, and you feel exhausted.  All the stimulation from the world, combined with allergens in the air, combined with make-up, combined with sunshine, combined with being on the computer, combined with reading, combined with sensitive eyes…equals out-in-the-world eyes.  To treat them, I like to remove my make-up, rinse my face with cold water, and take a few minutes to relax and chat with the Artist about our days.  Ideally, a shower and comfy clothes should follow, if the evening’s itinerary permits.  If none of these can happen, a headache will evolve, and I will be likely to take Ibuprofen, and then do the above, resulting in feeling exhausted.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any photos to go with this.

Switching gears, I wanted to tell a cute story.  I was waiting at the bus stop near our apartment building the other day and the Artist was out.  The bus was not showing up.  In St. Louis, transit runs anywhere between every 20-40 minutes, depending on the route and day of the week.  Well, I was 20 minutes past the time it was supposed to come, I was going to be very late.  But then, I see the Artist pull up to our building in the car!  So I ran over as fast as I could, and he gave me a ride.  When I got in the car, he had a huge smile on his face.  He said that his meeting was over and he wanted to zip by to see if I had caught the bus before we went to his studio, because he had a feeling the bus wouldn’t make it on time.  So when he saw me running in the distance, he had a huge smile 🙂  What a thoughtful guy.

Reminiscing back to this time last year; we were still settling in to our apartment having just arrived in St. Louis, my parents helped us move, my parents, brother and aunt came to visit during the Labour Day weekend, things were new and exciting, the Artist was moving into his studio, and so much more.  It is crazy to think that a year has gone by, it went by so fast.  And I just know that this next year will go by even faster.  St. Louis will be the longest I have ever lived in one place other then my childhood home in Creemore, and also the longest time the Artist and I have lived in the same city together.  Who knows what opportunities we will be pursuing at this time next year- but I look forward to it.  It will be bittersweet I guess.  Cheers to another great year in St. Louis!