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

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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 ‚̧

Life and Homemade Kettlecorn.

As adults, we have so much going on that days slip away in an instant, which turns into weeks and months. ¬†How easy is it to walk in the door after a long day and be so tired, you microwave something for dinner and watch TV until you fall asleep? ¬†How easy is it to waste precious time mindlessly browsing the internet? ¬†How easy is it to give your full self to your work, and be so busy with that you forget about other aspects of life? ¬†It is hard to find the energy to go to the gym, spend time in the kitchen doing home cooking, and and be “present” as a wife, mother, daughter, whatever your roles may be.

This is something I have been finding hard lately. ¬†The evenings are spent trying not to fall asleep before 8pm. ¬†So The Artist and I devised a plan. ¬†We decided to think about what we wanted, and what was important to us, and how we would incorporate that into our lives. ¬†It is like a vicious circle‚Ķ.you’re too tired to go to the gym or cook a meal, but if you exercise and eat well you will have more energy. ¬†One day, it was like “enough is enough”! ¬†This cycle of no exercise, bad eating, and crashing in front of the TV every night HAS to stop! ¬†Here is what we decided we want; more time together, a clean apartment, more home cooking and healthier eating, more sleep, more exercise. ¬†These are our goals to achieve them.

1. Go to the gym 2-3 times a week to lift weights together. ¬†Yoga etc. at home on the “off” days for me. ¬†Lots of exercise during weekdays, so weekends are reserved for “fun exercise” like a day walking around the zoo.

2. Home cooked meals every week night. ¬†Even if it is leftovers, it is healthy, balanced left overs. ¬†We like to make meals in bulk solely to have leftovers ūüôā ¬†Weekends are for extra special homemade meals that are more time consuming (we put on some music, pour some rum, and make a night of it!). ¬†Or the opposite: we have “cheat” meals like chicken strips or poutine.

3. We limit mindless internet browsing. ¬†We catch up on how each other’s days went, and then sometimes returning Facebook messages or reading the latest on blogs I follow is a good way to wind down. ¬†In the evening hours, we try to limit this to 15 minutes. The Artist uses the internet during the day when he has some free time, and I like to “browse” in the mornings when I first get up. ¬†So only 15 minutes in the evenings isn’t so bad because we have used our “non-together” time to complete emails and check out our favourites sites already.

4. We do one thing together every day. ¬†Whether it is cook a meal together, watch a movie together, play cards, etc. we do at least one thing together per day. ¬†This comes naturally, and isn’t really something we have to think about.

5. We do one fun outing or event together each weekend.  Sort of like a date night.  We might go to Forest Park, the zoo, thrifting, we might marathon a TV show until 3am all snuggled up on the couch, or even decorate for an upcoming holiday.  Recently, we went to a fundraiser for an organization I used to volunteer at and caught up with friends, and went to the zoo!  The sea lion loved The Artist.

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6. The Artist does day to day household chores like dishes and making the bed. ¬†We don’t have a dish washer, so they pile up on the counter quickly! ¬†I do the more weekly jobs during weekends like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or dusting. ¬†That way, our place stays clean and neat and we share the chores. ¬†For both of us, a clean and tidy place makes relaxing easy. ¬†It is hard to relax your body and mind you are surrounded by a mess.

7. We do things for ourselves, at least once a week. ¬†For example, I am taking a pottery class right now. ¬†It is something I am doing just for me, and that I have been wanting to do for awhile. ¬†Or writing a blog post on here ūüėČ ¬†And as of lately, the Artist likes to browse magazines with a coffee when I am out and about.

8. Minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night.  Minimum.  No less.  Sleep is something we value and that is important to us.  Every night, we think of what time we are getting up the next day, and count 8 hours (minimum!) backwards to get and idea of when we will go to bed.  We also leave lots of time for teeth brushing, and actually falling asleep.  So if we are getting up at 8am, by 10pm the night before we will settle down and do quieter activities, usually watching TV.  By 11pm we are getting ready for bed and brushing our teeth.  And sometime between 11pm-12am, we are asleep.  So that is 8-9hrs of glorious slumber.

Now, these things sound sort of obvious, and I get that. ¬†But as we get older and our careers and families begin to blossom, these things are easily forgettable. ¬†I know lots of couples who spend very little quality time together, and lots of people who forget about their hobbies and interests because watching TV after a long is much easier and more desirable- let alone remember to eat well and exercise. ¬†And I can especially think of many busy folks who don’t get enough sleep and are tired on a daily basis. ¬†I understand there are lots of reasons as to why, and that is fine. ¬†But at this time in our lives, we don’t have many reasons as to why we can’t get more sleep, so we are taking advantage. ¬†I am sure this will change should be we lucky enough to have children one day.

And honestly, having this conversation and making this list helped 100%. ¬†We felt like the days were slipping by and we weren’t stopping to smell the roses in life- and we were not ok with that. ¬†It brought these wants and needs to our attention, and we decided on realistic goals. ¬†From thereon out, there was a difference. ¬†We no longer feel like like life is flying past us. ¬†We have healthier bodies, more energy then before, active hobbies and interests, and we are not being lost in the dust ‚̧

During one of our stay-at-home nights together, we watched a movie late at night, when the rest of the world was quiet and peaceful. ¬†We made a “nest” of blankets and pillow on the couch and I made some homemade kettle corn. ¬†It was a fabulous night. ¬†Here is my recipe ūüôā

1/3 canola oil

1/3 white sugar

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

salt to taste

In a large pot (that has a lid), heat the oil.  I like to throw in a kernel and when it pops, the oil is hot enough.  Turn of the heat and add the sugar and stir.  Add the popcorn kernels and return to medium-high heat.  Hold the lid on the pot with oven hits on your hands on each side.  Alternate shaking the pot up and down, side to side, and in circles for a few seconds.  Place on heat for a few seconds.  Repeat back and forth, shaking, and having it sit on the burner, for a few seconds each.  Do this until it is all popped, there will be several seconds in between kernels popping.  Remove from pot immediately into a serving bowl and add salt.  Stir gently.

Notes:

– leaving the popcorn solely on the burned will burn it (badly)

– solely shaking it and not alternating having it sit on the burner will take forever for everything to pop, it just doesn’t get hot enough

– I have a gas stove, all stoves will be different and temperature will vary

– the first time or two I made this, I scorched it (like the sugar went black and it was a disaster to clean lol!) so it might take practice

– it is worth it because it is delicious ūüėČ

– when you pour the popcorn into the serving bowl, it will be sticky- don’t worry, it will cool almost instantly and be very crunchy

– it may seem like there is barely any sugar or anything on the popcorn at first, but there isn’t much colour in this, when it cools, it is the texture that you will notice, and each piece should be coated (the picture below looks like plain popcorn, but it is all shiny from the sugar!)

– when I add the salt, I gently toss/stir to avoid the popcorn sticking into a bowl-shaped chunk as it cools

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The Artist’s Process.

I talk about my Artist a lot, I know.  About how he is gifted, in a way that is unique.  A way that is so unique, it is not something that one can acquire, or learn.  It is not something that can be taught either.  But rather, something that just exists.  It can be guided by others who also posses this, and honed and harnessed over time.  I went to his studio the other day and starting snapping pictures of awe-inspiring moments.  Of moments where I can feel the vibes in the air, viscerally.  Where my body is physically feeling pleasure and happiness, and passion that can only be understood by feeling it- not explaining it.  I am dedicating this post to the images I captured of my Artist doing what he is meant to be doing, in his niche, and exploding with passion and talent.

There are different “phases” of his art-making, that occur in no particular order and each time is different. ¬†I call them looking and thinking, curiosity, and going on a rampage. ¬†Here you will see him looking and thinking. ¬†Ever see the episode of The Big Bang Theory when they have to buckle down and get to work, and then Eye of the Tiger comes on and they are standing and staring at their white boards? ¬†It is kind of like that, quite simply put; he is looking, and thinking. ¬†And holding his hand or brush in a strange way, to imagine certain scenarios. ¬†But the thinking that is going on is intense. Sometimes it even makes him sweat. ¬†Sometimes he can’t think about anything else, and even asking what he feels like for dinner takes up too much of his attention to think about. ¬†And one time, Eye of the Tiger actually came on the radio when he was doing this, right after I thought of the parallel between him and the TV show. ¬†It blew my mind.

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And then there is the curiosity type. ¬†He is curious as what will happen if…..or what will happen when…..often using his foot to smudge something around, or crinkle up the canvas and patina it with old paint, dirty brushes, or roll it around on the messy floor. ¬†There is a large playful aspect about this, where is he having fun and exploring. ¬†The Artist is very curious by nature in every day life.

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And lastly, he goes on mark making rampages where he literally throws paint around, splashes it, and goes into a frenzy of sorts. ¬†Often times, this is where the bulk of the marks are done, and in a short period of time, because truly, he can’t stop. ¬†Even when he is plagued with allergies and is wearing sunglasses at night to protect his sore and sensitive eyes with tissues stuffed up his runny nose. ¬†But not always. ¬†There is no real pattern or predictability to his process, he does what he wants, when wants to do it. ¬†It is almost like an obsessive-compulsive thing, where he gets urges to paint, and regardless of the time of day, where he is, or what he is doing, he finds a way to make the magic happen.

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As you can see, the Artist goes from squatting to standing to bending over about a thousand times when he paints. ¬†This makes for a nice pairs of legs ūüėČ

You are probably thinking that all these photos look the same, that I am a lunatic, and nothing I have said makes any sense- what is so special about all of this? ¬†It is something that cannot be fully explained in with words, or justified with writing. ¬†It is something that needs to be felt, and I am trying to convey the Artist’s passion and talent with my words and by capturing him in action, but to truly experience this, to truly get it, one must feel it and experience live.

Think about the things that get your heart pumping a little faster, that make your body tingle, and that causes your brain, and your heart to explode with intense emotion.  It may not be art that does it for you, but it is still an experience of passion, of something beautiful.  And I am so incredibly fortunate to get to experience  this on a daily basis, on top of a million other things that make me happy.

As I read this post over, I am not totally satisfied. ¬†It is missing something, something to really push my point across so share exactly how I am feeling, how the Artist feels, and what these experiences are like. ¬†But then again, that is just it. ¬†I can’t express that missing something with words about how I am feeling, the only way to experience it for yourself, is to to do just that- experience it.

‚̧

 

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‚Äôs 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Day present, because he said it had to be timed right.¬† He came back with a bag from Trader Joe‚Äôs with my favourite ‚Äúhealthy‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt 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 ūüôā ¬†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 ūüôā

The Artist had something behind his back, and I couldn‚Äôt 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‚Äôs Day, easy.¬† To the untrained eye, maybe ūüėȬ† 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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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Halloween Celebrations

On the eve of Halloween, my Artist and I carved pumpkins- a tradition we have shared every year since we met.  We lay out newspapers and plastic bags, select an assortment of different knives, spoons, and other carving tools, and have at it.  We chat, giggle, and sing along to the radio we usually have playing.  It makes for a great date night together.  Here is what I came up with:

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And here is what the Artist concocted:

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I enjoyed my drinks from this fancy glass all day:

 

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And after pumpkin carving I dried the seeds and toasted them for snacking.  So delicious.

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The Artist also made some homemade chicken wings- which are always out of this world.  He knows how to make the perfect sauces that are not too bold, but full of flavours, and allows the yumminess to seep through- all the while rotating them perfectly creating the fall-off-the-bone effect with perfectly crispy skins.

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On to my treats! ¬†My mom sent me holiday packages in the mail, as per one of my previous posts, including this chocolate bar. ¬†I had it out on the coffee table for decoration, and it has been screaming at me to eat it since I got it….but I was saving it for Halloween night. ¬†So finally I got to indulge my treat! ¬†I felt like Rita on Arrested Development finally getting to eat her chocolate star after yearning for it for so long.

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I also made a few of these bad boys, which are caramel and chocolate pretzels. ¬†They were super addictive. ¬†But I tragically burned them, and only a handful were edible. ¬†I didn’t have any more caramel, so I will have to get more to try again because the few that I had were amazing. ¬†I don’t like plain pretzels- but cover them in anything, especially chocolate, and the sweet and salty, yet crunchiness just hits the spot.

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I went for caramel apple bites instead of whole apples, but sadly my caramel didn’t stick to the apples too well. ¬†They were however, despite their appearance, quite tasty.

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The Artist wanted me to bake Halloween cupcakes, when I asked him what treats he wanted…and to help us not eat the whole batch, I shared some with friends. ¬†Vanilla flavoured with Halloween festivities, and from a box. ¬†Homemade are just never as good- for some crazy reason.

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I also made some glazed pumpkin and oatmeal cookies.  They were ok.  They definitely needed the glaze.  I would try them again, but use a different recipe I think.

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These are healthy pumpkin and fall spice muffins. ¬†No processed sugar, flour, or butter. ¬†The Artist always says, “you probably like when you bake nasty things, because then you don’t have to share”! ¬†Ha! ¬†They aren’t “nasty” but they are not your average carb-a-loaded cafe muffins with more sugar then a can of pop. ¬†Not to mention the fat and calorie content.

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The Artist had some school related things to do, so while he was out I settled in and watched Hocus Pocus.

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I have been yearning to see this on Halloween for years, but have never been able to get my hands on a copy. ¬†And for some insane reason, I can only watch it on Halloween. ¬†Yes, I know, that is ridiculous. ¬†I didn’t think I would get my turn in line to borrow from our local library in time, but I did! ¬†It was a Halloween miracle. ¬†And watching after going years with this unsatisfied craving felt indescribably good. ¬†As a kid, I always wanted to dress up as Winifred Sanderson for Halloween. ¬†When the Artist came home, we watched Halloween and Halloween II starring Jamie Lee Curtis, again, a craving just the same as Hocus Pocus, going unsatisfied for years. ¬†But a few months ago I found a VHS copy of Halloween at Goodwill, and borrowed Halloween II from the library. ¬†As we started the second movie…

Me: (latching onto the Artist’s arm) I don’t like that, it’s scary.

Artist: Come on, it is just the opening credits- the movie hasn’t even started yet.

Me: I know, but there is a skull over by that pumpkin.

Artist: It’s like Oscar on Corner Gas, “some of the letters are bleeding!”.

Afterwards, we decided to watch something a bit lighter and comical, and cuddled into bed to watch Corner Gas- where the Artist proceeded to tickle and pester me. ¬†I love when he tickles and pesters me ‚̧ ¬†I may not think hat at the time haha, but I do. ¬†All in all, this Halloween was one of the best.

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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.