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…

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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 ❤

Parcels and Halloween!

I opened the mail, and there was a notice inside saying there was a parcel waiting for me at the post office.  A parcel?!?! 😀  From who?  For what?  I couldn’t wait!  The post office was closed, so I had to wait until the next day.  I was bursting with so much excitement I could hardly contain it.  I patiently waited until I could get to the post office on my way home the next day.  As I approached, I got butterflies in my stomach.  What on earth could it be?  I didn’t order anything, nor was I expecting anything.  And aside form bills or flyers, I love getting mail.  I love getting cards and stuff from my family.  But a parcel?!?!  I hand them my slip and so them my ID.  They come back with not 1, but 2 large boxes!!!  

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I think my eyes bulged a little, like a cartoon.  They were not heavy, so I was able to carry them home, which was about a 10 minute walk from the post office.  While I was walking with these large parcels, I think I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time, because I was getting funny looks from passers by.  I was so ridiculously excited I was contemplating finding a public bathroom I could go into to open them, or a bench off to the side where I could tear into my goods.  I thought, maybe I could turn around and go to the library, or sneak down a side street….but then it clicked.  That would be insane.  I told myself, “I am an adult, I can wait until I get home, which is in 2 minutes”.  Somehow, I managed.  I got home and opened up my Pandora’s Box.

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Yay!  It was Halloween goodies from my mom.  She is so insanely thoughtful.  It may not seem like raiding the dollar store and mailing the items is thoughtful…but it is.  So very much.  I was recently telling her that I got out some Halloween decorations, and she asked me if I had much.  I replied by saying we had a fall table runner and some bowls, and some napkins.  And I had some candy corn from the year before.  It was insanely stale, but I put it out anyways for the look.  I don’t really like candy corn- it gets stuck in my teeth, it is insanely sweet, don’t taste very good, and made with pure junk.  But, for some reason unknown, I can’t stop eating the stale bowl of neon treats.  I told her we were at the dollar store, and I wanted to buy some stuff, like a pair of socks, and maybe another trinket or something, but didn’t in order to stay on our tight budget.  I thought maybe I could fashion a decorative garland or something out of coloured paper we had at home already.  So what does my mom secretly do?  She goes to the dollar store and gets all the things she thinks I would like, including festive socks.  I love being festive with decorations and baking and cooking, and I especially love festive socks, and she knows how much it all makes me happy.  Now, with regards to all things festive, I have specific personal rules about when to get the decor out and when I can start wearing my socks.  

For Halloween and Easter: I can get decorations up no more then 2 weeks in advance, and no later then 1 week in advance.  They must come down no later then 1 week after the holiday.  I can only bake festive goodies a few days before the holiday in order to still be able to enjoy some on the actual holiday without them being gone or going stale.  I can eat associated candy on cheat days leading up, but in small amounts.  Most of the candy is reserved for a binge on the day of.  I can start wearing my festive socks, if I wish up, to a week before, and the last day being the holiday itself.

For Christmas: While in St. Louis, we get our tree and decor up around Dec. 1, I start wearing my festive jammies and socks, watching Christmas movies, and listening to Christmas music.  This is because we go to Canada mid-Decemeber, and want to enjoy the festivities in our home before we depart.  While living in Canada, we do all this about 2 weeks before Christmas, maybe closer to 3 if we are planning on going away, so maximize our time at home basking in the glory of it all.  No matter what, I stop wearing festive jammies and socks after Jan. 1, and that is also the last day for Christmas movies and music.  And about a week, later, the decor comes down- which is quite depressing.  Also, for Christmas movies, I save my favourite ones for the closest to Christmas, just because.  And I only watch these during the holidays.  Same goes for Halloween movies.  

I guess everything is just because.  There is no real logic to my madness.  I realize I am a little insane about it.  But, my theory is, if things are up too early, and taken down too late, and I watch festive movies all year round, then the actual holiday itself is less special.  I love sitting with my family, with the Christmas tree lit, giggling and laughing playing Christmas music as we decorate.  And it just wouldn’t be the same if we had been listening to the music for weeks already at that point.  We always get a real tree, so the tree passes it’s prime by the time Christmas day rolls around if we get it too early, and then everyone gets annoyed finding dead pine needles everywhere instead of admiring the tree and enjoying family togetherness at breakfast on the cold morning of Christmas day.

And there is a glimpse of my personal insanity 😛  

Back to it.  Right away, I started putting up the Halloween decor.  I was home by myself, bursting with excitement, and yearning for someone to be here to share it with me.  I hope the Artist comes home soon!!!  The Artist came in to grab a quite bite to eat before his next class as I was decorating our front door.  The smile on his face told it all.  He said how cute it was that my mom new I would love all this stuff, and the excitement he saw within me made him smile.  Even though he is indifferent as to whether or not the door is decorated or the napkins are festive, he says how cute it is to see me all giddy.  A warm hug, the gentlest, sweetest look in his eyes….Halloween decor aside, that is what truly made my day.  If he can love me even more whilst seeing me in the middle of my holiday insanity (clearly ridiculous as I am sure you can remember from the above), then I truly have myself a keeper.  He loves me for who I am, it is as simple as that.

Here is a glimpse of our new festivities 😀

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Not Halloween related, but a favourite of ours. There is no Swiss Chalet here.

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Blurry, but it is full of candy!

Blurry, but it is full of candy!

 

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Dollar Tree is the dollar store we go to here, and these were the exact socks I had my eye on!!!!! Dollar Tree just opened up back home.

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Some chocolate eyeballs, the exact ones I had from last year that were stale! So excited for some fresh ones 😀 And a chocolate bar!

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Some festive napkins under the stale candy corn haha.

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Pumpkin lights 😀

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LOVE these.

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Fancy cups, again, the kind I had my eye on! My mom always said when I was a kid, that she knew everything. Maybe, she actually does?

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Extra cupcake decorators that I used for the plants.

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Thanksgiving and Halloween cards from my parents. And yes, I displayed the envelope because I like the stickers on it.

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Full of candy.

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Bat garland.

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Up close.

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Bathroom door.

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Fridge.

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All lit up!

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This upcoming weekend we plan on carving pumpkins, and on Halloween day, we are going to maybe watch a scary movie and eat candy 😀  Halloween and Halloween II starring Jamie Lee Curtis- yes please!  I also really want to watch Hocus Pocus, but can’t obtain a copy so far….so cross your fingers.  This craving goes unsatisfied every year.

Nice things the Artist has done: He knows I like the bed made because it keeps our room looking tidy and comfy, so he made the bed.  I left early in the morning, and he left later on, so when I came home it was a nice surprise!  He complimented me on my knowledge of art, and was impressed!  He also made this for the dining room, because I have been saying we need a side table in there:

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Nice things I have done: Cleaned the house and did our laundry.  Made the Artist his coffee this morning, and woke him with gentle kisses.  Helped him with an assignment last night by proofreading it, giving my opinion, and reading it out loud to him.  

I can’t wait until this weekend so we can carve pumpkins together.  Here is a photo of our first pumpkin carving session together, mere weeks (maybe about 2?) before we started dating ❤ 

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Happiness is contagious.

A Sample of Some of My Baked Goods

I am pleased to say, that I woke up this morning and I was freezing!  And by freezing I mean the fans were blowing directly on me with no blankets at 77 degrees!!!!  Finally, some heat relief.  I have never been so happy to pull on blankets and be all snuggly warm.  It was marvellous.  It is sunny and gorgeous outside, definitely going to be an outdoorsy type of day.

Speaking of snuggly, the latest thing about the Artist that I love is this contrast he has.  He appears large, I tell people he is a “big guy”.  He is very muscular, with very broad shoulders and very strong.  He has longish hair, for a man anyways, and a big, full beard.  He looks very manly, very masculine.  But he is the biggest teddy bear ever 😀  The contrast here is the cutest thing in the world.  He is super sweet and sensitive, caring, loving, thoughtful, and very affectionate and cuddly.  I am a very affectionate and cuddly person too, so this works out well.  The event I am thinking of in particular here happened last night.  I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to find myself laying the on edge of bed with the Artist laying where I should have been laying, and he was wrapped right around me.  He was so snuggled up, and warm, and sleeping peacefully, that I tried my hardest to stay awake to savour this moment as long as possible.  For those of you who know me, this didn’t last long because I am the hugest “sleeper”.  I have no tolerance for being sleepy.  If I am at all tired, I have to sleep- or watch out.  And I need a good 9 hours a night to feel refreshed.  Too many nights in a row with less then that exhausts me.  And I can sleep through anything- severe weather and storms, loud noises, people talking, and I can even sleep through pain.  And no matter where I am!  Whether it is in the car (yes, at 24 years old I still fall asleep in the car often), the bus or subway, at home, during the day, it doesn’t matter.

So back to my story, I love this crazy contrast about the Artist’s appearance and personality.  And that moment last night was so amazing, I wanted to hold on to it so tightly.  And this morning, I was trying to get out of bed, but with his eyes still closed and that mischievous smile, he held on tight so I couldn’t get up.  “Lets snuggle”.  Of course I don’t need to be asked twice!  It was a great Saturday morning.

So here is a little collection of baked goods I have made over the past few months, I consider these “the stars”, because I have made lots of things, these are just the best ones.  My Artist loves baked goods, especially cakes and pastries.  So I am always making them for him to enjoy.  And I think I am the most understanding wife, because as I type I am thinking about how I got everything clean yesterday except the floors.  Why?  Because the Artist has art all over them.  But instead of nagging for him to clean it all up so I can vacuum and mop, I told him him what nice work he has made, and which were my favourites.  I have my whole life to clean the floors.  In this house, “life” comes first!  Spending time together, doing fun things, spending time with family, and the like, all come before cleaning or organizing.  If my mom calls when I am about to do dishes, being so far away from her, it is no competition.  I throw in the towel, literally, and have a nice long chat.

Back to the baked goods!

The Artist was in New York for Valentine’s Day and I was here, so I made these fun cupcakes!  Much easier then they appear.  It involves cooking some of the batter first (and colouring it) and then cutting them into shapes and awkwardly holding them in the cupcake pan while pouring the white batter around them, and baking again.  And remembering very precisely where and how to cut so you can see the shape, haha!

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The Artist’s birthday cheesecake, that we had while my parents were visiting.  That was such a great week.

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“For No Reason” cheesecake swirled brownies that I made one weekend.

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“Everything” oatmeal cookies, a favourite in our house, especially for the Artist.  These are so chewy and delicious, my mouth is watering.  I like to freeze various doughs in batches so I can make a few at at time and not binge on an entire batch of batter between the 2 of us in one go.  I also like to make goodies and freeze them so I can just pull them out any time!

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I know this isn’t a baked good, but how awesome is it that we made our own butter?!  Just whipping cream in the food processor.  It was so good we didn’t even add any salt.  And as a bi product, we got buttermilk, which went fantastic in pancakes the next morning.

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“Just Because” lemon poppyseed loaf, one of the Artist’s favourites.

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I am happy to report our place is now 75 degrees.  It feels so cold, but so nice.  I guess we Canadians like the cold, because I have been losing my mind with this heat.  And winters in St. Louis?  Ha!  What winter? 😉