The 27 year old undergrad.

It has been a busy, stressful summer.  I started classes the day after moving into our new Toronto 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…

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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 ❤

Women in the Working World

Lately, as an adult women who aspires for both a thriving career as well as motherhood, it seems as though having both is a puzzle I can’t figure out.  I am turning 25 in a few weeks, and the Artist and I hope to be fortunate enough to have children together in the future, and we both have big dreams for our careers as well, however, more and more it seems difficult to have both.  Things are different for women, we have “biological clocks”, and as we approach 30, or so I personally feel, our clocks start to remind us that time is ticking and the pressure of aging (as well as even more immense pressure from society) can be abundantly felt.  So here is what started my thoughts on all of this….

As my 25th birthday approaches, I have decided that I would like to further my educational career with a master’s degree and have been accepted to Washington University in St. Louis.  It is a 2 year MSW program and quite pricey, and I got a partial scholarship.  I am in desperate need of funding to even begin to be able to afford this, and have a deep gut feeling that I will not be attending classes this fall because I can’t afford it.  To read more about my situation on this: https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/bittersweet/

So that is another year before I can apply to other MSW programs, and another year delaying the beginning of a career, would then put me age 28 before my careers even begins after graduation, and then building a secure lifestyle that allows me to try and get pregnant and be financially stable enough to take time off, and be able to afford it, to care for a child….pushing me past that ripe age of 30 that I mentioned above.  I know plenty of women have children well into their thirties, and I might be one of them, but wouldn’t it be nice to not feel pressured to have a child by the big bully called age?

Which is what sparked these thoughts for me in the first place.  It is like having to choose between having children in your mid-late twenties, or going to grad school during this time instead, and delaying having children until afterwards.  I know plenty of people have children while in grad school, but I don’t think that that choice is for me.  Or at least, it is my current thought.  So as of right now,  I plan to go to grad school at some point, we both want to get our careers up and running (which is really testing our patience, at almost 25 and 29, we just want to have established careers already!), and at that point, we will consider children.  I don’t want to have this feeling that I have to choose one or the other, so I just simply will not.  I am striving towards 2 careers; as a social worker with an MSW, and if I am fortunate enough to be able to bear a child, as a mother.  But you never know what life will throw at you, and the next day is never a guarantee, so although we have big plans for our futures, we try and live in the moment and enjoy each day as it comes.  Such as seeing a Shakespeare’s Henry V in Forest Park together, enjoying a picnic while we wait for the show, and having some quality time together, cracking open a fresh coconut, cooking a nice meal, celebrating birthdays, admiring the Artist’s thesis painting, chocolate chip pancakes and the best bacon I have ever had.  Because you never know what tomorrow will bring!

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park

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Sweet and a little spicy, orange chicken with cashews.

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Best, yet healthiest, bacon ever!

Best, yet healthiest, bacon ever!

So I encourage everyone of both genders to embrace the women in your lives as they balance life 🙂  I applaud all the women out there who are rocking it in their careers and as awesome moms, I look up to you all. ❤

A Passionate Life, Filled With Love.

This morning, I grab the computer, and see all of these new photos saved on the desktop titled: beard, long beard, long blended beard, realistic beard, huge beard, huge beard blend, etc.  I new exactly what it was.  The Artist was photoshopping old pictures of himself and creating different looks for his beard to see what he liked the best.  Clearly, a very Artist thing to do.  I laughed for a good couple of minutes straight, because I was wondering what he was so focused on last night and why he was asking me so many beard-related questions.  This is the type of thing, that just warms my heart.  Then the Artist got out of bed, wasn’t even awake for 5 seconds, his eyes weren’t even opened all the way yet, and he had his gloves on and a paintbrush in his hand.  This passion and obsession with art and the romance and poetry associated with it, makes me so happy.  It is definitely a quality that we both share.  I experience similar feelings with art, but not to the extent that he does, or like any of the millions of examples I have previously described about him.  But here is a good example of how I too, am also a passionate person.

For Valentine’s Day last year, the Artist and I celebrated 2 weeks after the actual day.  He was traveling for school, and when he got back we were both just really busy and didn’t want to have to squeeze something in, we wanted a nice relaxing celebration.  Besides, we spend a lot of quality time together on a regular basis, and show our thoughtfulness often.  So really, Valentine’s Day is every day for us ❤

This year, we decided to celebrate 2 weeks early.  I got a coupon in the mail for the St. Louis symphony for 2 for 1 priced tickets, 2 free drinks from the bar, and free parking to a concert of our choice!  This was too amazing to pass up, so we checked out the ticket prices and concert calendar.  To our excitement, Beethoven Symphony No.5 and Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 were playing, and if we went to the Sunday afternoon concert versus the more popular Friday and Saturday nighttime concerts, the tickets were cheaper.  So we reserved 2 seats on the balcony and got out our Beethoven Symphony No. 5 record to listen to.  The concert was less then 10 minutes away from our favourite Thai restaurant, so we decided to make an evening out of it and get Pad Thai for dinner afterwards, and then head home for some movies, snacks, and snuggles.

The morning of the concert, we could hardly contain our excitement.  This is something we have been wanting to do for years now, but could never find an affordable concert to attend.  First thing in the morning, the Artist had to go out to pick up the last piece of my Valentine’s Day present, because he said it had to be timed right.  He came back with a bag from Trader Joe’s with my favourite “healthy” bacon, orange juice, and Champagne.  Well, not real Champagne, but still- mimosas with breakfast in our newly acquired Crystal wine glasses was very elegant.  And surprisingly, I didn’t break one.  We usually just have cheap glasses because I am notoriously clumsy and drop things a lot.  The last item I saw in the bag was Roasted Seaweed Snack.  I laughed, and asked the Artist what this was all about.  He said they were only 99 cents and everyone was buying them, so he thought he would give them a whirl.  What a guy 🙂  The Artist made the chocolate chip pancakes, I made the bacon, we sipped mimosas, and exchanged gifts.  We both really like the sweet and salty marriage of flavours in this breakfast combination.

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As it turns out, Sandra Bullock playing the water glasses in Miss Congeniality, is a real thing! We have been having fun making that sound with these 🙂

The Artist had something behind his back, and I couldn’t wait to see what it was.  He is so thoughtful, and can find the perfect gift for me on any budget.  First was a homemade card, made with so much love and they always make me laugh.  Next was a beautiful bouquet of yellow tulips, and then a heart shaped box of chocolates.  Sounds pretty generic, right?  Flowers and chocolates for the lady on Valentine’s Day, easy.  To the untrained eye, maybe 😉  We both share a love for all flowers and plants and any plant life, really.  I have Dutch in me, and I love the colour yellow (and green for that matter).  The Artist always says that those are my colours.  Now do you see how thoughtful this truly is?  And when he gave them to me, he said that they were to remind me of him while he is traveling, and to keep me smiling while we are apart.  I had made some tissue paper flowers as a festive decoration, but these are so much more lovely.  Now the chocolates.  In a previous post, https://emilyandherartist.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/inspired-by-a-facebook-trend/ I had mentioned that for my entire life, up to and including the present, I have been infatuated with tiny things.  He said that he looked at the larger boxes so I would have more chocolates to eat, but knew that I would love the small box, because of the cuteness of the size.  He knows me so well!  And the chocolates inside, although they were a bargain, were DELCIOUS!  Better then most chocolates actually.  They were ooey and gooey inside, with a variety of flavours and textures.  I just loved the chewy textures of the creamy middles, and the gooey caramels.  I am a texture girl.  I love the thick texture of fudge, I prefer my brownies super chewy and fudgy- almost still a little wet, I love gummy candies and sour keys, and sticky caramel desserts, among many others.  And we always do homemade cards, and the Artist always includes something silly, usually by accident.  Sometimes he spells a word wrong, or runs out of room to write and starts to write sideways up the page, or his pen or marker dies, and it always makes me laugh.  He always writes such nice things, and when I go back later and read them, his words are like a snippet from that day, and I am instantly transported back in time.  I have saved all of our homemade cards, and read them often ❤

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Now do you see how this is the opposite of a generic Valentine’s Day gift?  He gets me, and who I am.  I created a travel survival kit for him since we can’t travel together.  I included little love notes on each item, with inside jokes that made him laugh.  The main gift was a small picture of us that I put in a tiny frame, that he could take with him so we can always be together even when we are not.  And on the flip side of the photo was a secret “kiss for the road, to take with him everywhere”, where I put I lipstick and kissed the back of the photo.  The other main gift- brownies!  His classic favourite.

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I got all done up with hair and make up and we headed to the concert.  It was so nice to park in a lot right beside the building for free instead of circling forever to find something free that’s half way across the city.  It was definitely a treat.  The building was just breathtakingly beautiful inside.  Gorgeous architecture.  I love this old fashioned style, it feels so luxurious.  We took our seats, and listened to the musicians warm up.  The lights dimmed.  The conductor, the very renowned and talented Jaap van Zweden, came on stage, and they begun.  Beethoven Symphony No. 5- it sounded exactly like our record.  It was flawless.  It was smooth.  It so impeccably perfect.  And to some, I am sure that the conductor looks like a sort-of-dancing-sort-of-convulsing lunatic.  But, really, they are leading the show.  They keep the pace, they que speed and volume changes, they que different sections to begin playing at certain parts, and influence the musicians for an aesthetically pleasing performance.  And this was extraordinarily apparent in Jaap van Zweden.  My eyes filled with tears instantly, a soon as that first note was played.  It was stunning.  A 2 hour long concert of classical music seemed a bit long, but it flew by in what felt like an instant.  As tears streamed down my cheeks, my brain was hyperaware of all the sounds and movements, but at the same time, it was relaxed, in a state of sublime.  It was very meditative.  I wasn’t thinking about anything else, other then the beauty of what I was experiencing.  I could feel it in my bones, to my very soul.  This gut-wrenching visceral feeling in my stomach, and my chest, consumed my entire being.  Tension in the music would build, and then the orchestra would explode, and the Artist knows my favourite parts, and was squeezing my hand throughout, as if to say “I can feel it too”.  What a wonderful feeling to share together.

I used to play the flute and piano as a child and teenager, and performed as part of a larger band, or orchestra, if you will.  Nothing compared to this, though.  I loved it.  I loved the sound of our band as a whole, rather just myself playing solo.  I could never have articulated it at that point in my life, but I felt the love for playing an instrument in this group, deep within my veins. But come on, what does a young teenager know about passion in life?  Well, all I can tell you is, that the feelings I felt during the performance, the tears on my cheeks, and my heart being touched, were the same feelings that I felt back then.  Music moves me, in a way that I cannot do justice with words because it is a feeling, and an experience, it’s not a tangible object that I can show you.

The musicians ranged from quite young looking, to much older looking, and they were all extremely gifted- the type of gift that cannot be learned, acquired, or taught, but that just is.  It is exists, and others who have honed in on their gift can help to guide the new, but there is no secret to unleashing it.  It is something that just exists.  Something that I see in my Artist every day ❤

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I must say, it was quite amazing, and refreshing to see the older musicians showing such great levels of passion while they played, as if they were wearing their heart on their sleeve and showed the audience something very intimate about themselves.  What is amazing to me is that although they are much older then some of the other members, they haven’t forgotten or lost the ability to unleash the passion for they do, something I think a lot of us are guilty for.  How easy it is to get caught up in the busy lifestyle of family and day to day life, that we forget what it is we are passionate about?  These folks reminded me that I need to be more conscious about making time for the things that I am interested in, things that I do just for me, the things that get my heart beating a little faster.  I am a very passionate person, I can feel a lot of things that are not tangible, I experience emotions very strongly, and have a lot of interests.  So taking the time to listen to my favourite songs, symponies, and radio shows.  Taking the time to lace up my skates and hit the ice.  Taking the time to lose myself in a book, cook dinner with my husband, and spend time laughing with my family.  Spending as much time as I can volunteering at Woman’s Place and the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court, helping, and empowering others.  But most of all, I am passionate about my marriage.  Spending time together, laying in bed having heart to heart conversations until all hours of the night when really, we should be sleeping, giggling and goofing around instead of taking a shower and getting ready to go out, experiencing what the city and community has to offer, and most of all, experiencing a happy life, in love, with one another ❤

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Update: Continuance From Last Post

After I finished typing my last post, I scurried into the kitchen to prepare the Artist’s coffee.  Then I put on the bacon, mixed up some pancake batter, and got everything started.  The Artist loves chocolate chips in his pancakes, and I love them that way too, so I added some.  I set out real Canadian home made maple syrup with our plates and cutlery and beverages.  The Artist was still sleeping, and I thought about more ways I could surprise him when he wakes up.  I know he hates when there are dirty dishes in our 1 tiny, little kitchen sink, because it makes it hard to rinse stuff and get water from the tap, so I cleaned all that up and put away the clean dishes from the drying rack.  The pancakes are on, the bacon is sizzling, and the house is filling up with the delicious smells.  As everything is nearing complete, I head in to wake up the Artist.  As I come in the door, he rolls over with a huge smile on his face, even though his eyes are still closed, and says “You’re the best.  I’m so happy.”  And then proceeds to pull me into bed for a snuggle.

He said he was having a dream about hyenas stealing our food, so waking up to this was the best.  Awwwww ❤  I went back into the kitchen to flip the pancakes and remove the bacon, and I see the Artist emerge wearing this white shirt that is my favourite.  For whatever reason, I think he just looks so good in it, even though he isn’t overly crazy about it.  He thinks he has better shirts.  But, knowing how much I like it and how good I think he looks in it, he put it on.

Doing nice things is contagious.  You would be surprised.  Little things or big things, it doesn’t matter, puts everyone in a good mood, and being happy and thankful for your kindness, they return it back.

As everything finished cooking, I plated our breakfast and brought it to the table.  Coffee for the Artist, milk for me, pancakes and bacon and vitamins for us both.  It was delicious.  I love sweet and salty combinations.  And having a big breakfast makes for a great start to a great day.  We gobbled up our goodies, and I thought some nice, cold, watermelon would be refreshing.  The Artist loves his watermelon in wedges, so I cut us each a great big one.  It was exceptionally juicy, so we scrunched in together over the sink and devoured them, in light of not making any further dishes.

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What a great morning.  The Artist is in such a good mood because of all my little surprises for him, and I am in such a good mood for having treated him.  We both enjoying being spoiled by the other, and we both enjoy being the one to do the spoiling.  The Artist is now on the computer and reading me highly philosophical, and intelligent art related quotes.  He looks quite comfortable and content, with his thinking cap on.  I like knowing I had something to do with this happiness.  Maybe he will make some art later, (and yes, he does draw/paint me sometimes 😉 ) or cook us a nice dinner, or whatever.  It makes me happy to make him happy.  And then later, when he returns the favour, and warms my heart with a nice gesture, the circle continues.

Like I said before, we make a great team.

Happiness is contagious.

Memories, Life, Bacon, and Pancakes

Last time I talked to my grandparents, on Skype, my grandpa asked me if I kept a journal of any sort.  I told him the only thing I really write is this blog, about my life and interests.  And he said that one day years from now, having that written down will be a great memory, and something to share with my family.  And if I have kids, and they read it when they are my age, they will think I am crazy!  Haha!  They won’t believe it!  My grandpa makes a really good point.  I love memories.  And I love sharing memories and hearing others.

Here are some photos of me when I was a baby with my grandparents and mom.

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Grandparents and I.

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My mom, grandma, great grandma (oma) and I. This is my grandpa’s mom.

Today, as of right now, this very moment, I want to remember that I woke up looking forward to just spending the day with the Artist, and embracing the days left before he starts school again.  If it is sunny we will go out for some fresh air, perhaps Forest Park.  If it is raining or overcast, who knows- but we will be together.  If we simply run an errand, get some groceries, or pick something up from the library, it will be a great time.  We love to laugh and giggle, be silly, talk in weird voices, and recite hilarious lines from our favourite shows.  We do this just around the house too, which makes for a great day.  We have nothing planned so far, but I just know that it will be one to remember, because every day is.  The Artist is my best friend, my husband, the person I most admire and look up to, he is motivating and encouraging of anything I do, and supportive in every way possible.  And I for him.  When I wake up in the morning, I am thinking about ways I can make his day better, even just little things- and him for me.   This morning, I am going to make him breakfast while he is still sleeping so he can wake up to something delicious.  And the other day, the Artist gave me the rest of his peanut M&Ms, because he knows how much I love chocolate and candies, and would rather see me enjoying them then himself (even though I had my own and polished them off earlier).  The little things to make each other’s day better really do make the difference.  And even though I know how to cook, and am reasonably good at it, I love when the Artist cooks for me.  And he loves when I cook for him.  I think I may have said this before, but when something is made with love, it tastes so much better.

This is the breakfast in bed I got on my birthday recently.

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Even though it is not his birthday, the Artist is about to get spoiled with something similar 😉

Here are some photos of our recent silliness, and fun and games.

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We are a great team.  Right from the beginning.  The best of friends.  In love.  Married.  Happy.

This photo was taken before the Artist and I were even dating.  It was shortly after we became roommates and instantly best friends.

This photo was taken before the Artist and I were even dating. It was shortly after we became roommates and instantly best friends.

A Little Life Inspiration

Today, I have decided that I am going to try and post something in each blog post about how the Artist amazes or inspires me, or does something sweet and thoughtful, and also what I do for him in the same context.  I thought of this today when I was making the Artist breakfast.  He made me breakfast in bed for my birthday, and waking up to the smell of bacon was just amazing.  I wanted to return the favour.  So while he was still asleep I started to cook up the bacon, cutting up watermelon, and mixing chocolate chip pancake batter.  He woke up (probably because of all the ruckus I was making in the kitchen) and came in all sleepy with a smile on his face, and then sat down at the kitchen table while I got him some coffee.  That is when I noticed that the back of his shirt had something on it….but nope.  It was just the Old Navy logo of his shirt, because he had put it on backwards.  This put a huge smile on my face 😀  And for anyone who knows my husband, he is a sleepyhead in the mornings, and a night owl at night.  I then immediately remembered to just the other day when I walked in the door and he told me that he had his shirt on inside out and noticed it when he went to undo a button, and couldn’t.

The reason that this amazes and inspires me is because the Artist is so busy looking at the world, observing and taking in every single bit of stimulant and seeing the beauty of what is seemingly ordinary, that he was probably looking or thinking about something else while getting dressed.  And not thinking “I have to do dishes” or “What movie should I watch later?”, but rather more along the lines of seeing and thinking about the beauty of a colour, shape, or shadow in the distance, and that it would make a good painting.  Or sometimes I might walk in the door and see him eating at the table and say:

Me- Are you just having lunch now?  It’s 3pm!

The Artist- Ya, I was painting and I was on a roll, I couldn’t stop.

Me- Aww, show me, show me! 🙂

His creative genius takes over and time flies before he realizes he has missed lunch.  This level of passion has no words to describe it.  It runs in his blood.

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, every day, the Artist never fails to inspire or amaze me in some way.  And I for him.  And I think that deserves a few words 🙂