A Day in My Life, June 2008

I had a sudden desire today to chronicle and compare the different stages of my life, as I look back and notice that my life in June 2008 is remarkable different from that of June 2007, June 2006, June 2005, and so on.

I invite you to be a witness on this journey.

June 2008 finds me 27 years old, living in a two-bedroom second-floor apartment in the only apartment building in a tiny town in East Huron County called Brucefield. This town is known for it’s flashing light, yellow if you’re driving between Clinton and Exeter on Highway 4, or red if you’re coming from either Seaforth or Bayfield. There is one elementary school, one church, one drive-in restaurant, two mechanic shops, one Asian/Home Decor/B&B/Lunch Room location, and one fire station.

My apartment overlooks a cornfield, the view of which is mostly obstructed by a lovely birch tree. Said tree helps me feel more confident walking around in my apartment in less-than-decent clothing on summer nights. After all, who would be driving by slowly enough whose gaze could penetrate the birch branches in the split second I happen to be passing through my dining room, several feet from my beautiful picture window?

I enjoy living alone, though sometimes I do wish someone was there to care whether I came in or not, or to wonder where I was, or to motivate me to do dishes, finally! My neighbours are understanding and quiet, the area is safe, and I actually have a place to call home. MY home. I’ve immensely enjoyed painting and decorating my apartment, putting all of my good taste to good use in a place where I’m the boss, now and forever.

Another addition to my life is that of Trixie the Toyota, a pretty, dark-green 1997 4Runner who goes with me everywhere I go. She hauls the accoutrements of my life and hobbies without complaint. She has survived being rolled over in the ditch after skidding out on an icy country road, being hit-and-run by some unknown person, a not-so-successful attempt at backing up a trailer, and carrying some of my more treasured furniture.

Not so enjoyable are the bills that go with being established and mobile, namely cell phone, rent, insurance, hydro, phone/internet, groceries, gas, repairs, etc. I can’t say as I ever yearned for that part of nesting, but I take it in stride, usually. I’ll be much happier when I can finally get my tax returns done (for the past 2 years), pay off my credit card, and have money set aside for winter tires.

I have spent more than a year at the same job, as a server at The Brew’n Arms English pub and restaurant in Bayfield, Ontario. Earlier this year, I graduated to keyholder and Dining Room Manager, as well as Kitchen Painter and Orchid-Caretaker extraordinaire. My bosses are wonderful people who have become friends and family, as well as the most understanding and flexible supervisors anyone could ask for. They make me want to stay and do my best for them, for their business, for their town.

Last year at this time, I was also working as a drywaller, and, shocker! I don’t miss it a tiny bit. I do enjoy my refined house-painting skills, which I have recently put to good use in a “cottage” in Bayfield, and hope to expand as a second job. If you hear of someone looking to hire a house painter, give them my number!

I’m not attending church because I couldn’t handle the one I had called “home” for years. I’m generally fed up with the institution that is what church has become, with all its expectations and traditions and legalism. I would enjoy a faith-based community of believers that is honest and open, a group that can laugh and be reverent in an informal way. I really could expand this paragraph to a whole essay, but suffice it to say that I have not encountered such a community, but I still seek to hold onto my beliefs. I am discovering more of what life is like on “the other side” (outside the Christian bubble), and it’s very educational, despite occasionally dangerous.

If it were possible to live on coffee, I’d do it.

I’ve joined the wonderful realm of BlackBerry, as I once dreamed of doing. And I’m paying for it, too.

Writing is still my best communication method.

I rarely see earlier than 10 AM, or close my eyes earlier than 1 or 2 AM. I’d like to change that.

The music in my life has developed over the past year as well. I am the youngest voice of the all-female cover band, Cactus Jam, and I love it, despite playing mostly Legions. I was also privileged enough to be part of Noted!, a project sponsored by the United Way in my county, which is helping to boost the music careers of the 17 women chosen to participate. We got to record 14 tracks in a professional studio, and a great-sounding CD is the result. This past winter I also ventured out to sing a few times at Open Mic nights at a local pub, and have been the featured soloist at two church events.

This year finds me recently motherless, a drastic blight on anyone’s life, and definitely on mine. It has changed so many things and finally propelled me into nesting in the first place. It also made my brother and I guardians of our youngest brother and launched me further into the land of disabled children in Ontario. I now have a lawyer, communicate regularly with several case workers, get all kinds of official mail, and have to return junk mail still addressed to Mom.

June 2008 also finds me blonde, and with an even greater fashion sense. I love that about growing older! I predict I’ll still be stylish in my 80s. If I’m not, remind me of now.

I’ve discovered I love flowers and plants, doing the Toronto Saturday Star crossword, Pinot Grigio and Shiraz, premium beer, CBC Radio, brie on melba rounds with semi-dried tomatoes in duck confit, Dollarama’s plain candles, serving dessert, mom’s old couch and armchair (with my apartment’s decor built around them), C&E used furniture in Goderich, Americanos from The Bean, and living in Huron County!!! (Sorry, but that deserved more than three exclamation points)
Being Sarah Elizabeth takes different shapes all the time, and I’m enjoying the process. Here’s to another year!

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How to Force a Reno

Today was a great day. Even though it started early (I had to be somewhere by 9:00 am), I loved that I had a reason to get up. The day continued to be great, even though I did a few hours of dirty work (pulling old nails out of two-by-fours at a kitchen renovation project), enhanced by some scrumptious raspberry turnovers and delectable coffee (thanks to the newly re-opened Art See Cafe on Main Street in Bayfield for the complimentary coffee on this, their first day of business!). Even when I pinched my left index finger between a crowbar and a plank, it continued to be a good day.

My day got better when I (finally) had the chance to stop at the shops in the little town that I drive through on my way home to Brucefield. I am usually either in a rush or driving passing at midnight, so I’ve never been able to check them out. Until today. One of them was great! An interior decorating shop, it was full of furniture, antiques, candles, wall-hangings, drapes, centerpieces, and much more. And a new friend, Debbie, who I now feel like I’ve known for a while.

It didn’t take long for me to share the pertinent details of my small-town Huron County life with Debbie and her elderly parents, and soon she started apologizing for her almost-baldness, citing chemotherapy as its cause. I started asking her questions, and was delighted to discover that my new friend is a breast cancer survivor! I shook her hand and explained my interest.

A couple hours later, after lunch and a shower (and an episode of The Office), I returned to Debbie’s store, this time with paraphernalia from my apartment in tow, to seek her help picking paint and drapery colours. Together we picked out a lovely deep blue-grey called Distant Thunder for my bathroom.

Skipping forward a few more hours, I spent the evening singing with the Noted! ladies, practicing our group songs for the CD Launch next week (if you don’t have your tickets yet or your CDs pre-ordered, what the heck are you waiting for?!). Gosh-darn it, we are talented!

Finally arriving home, I made use of both arms and toted my purse, papers, a shopping bag, my new gallon of paint, a jug of laundry soap, the items I took to help decide on a paint colour, and a McFlurry all up to my second floor apartment in one fell swoop.

All was well, til I set the can of paint down at the top of the stairs and started fishing for my keys. I somehow knocked the can over, and it started a fateful course down the carpeted stairs. Who knew the lids to paint cans would fall off of their own accord? Not I! Granted, it had some helpful momentum. Nervously, I turned around. And started to swear. My lovely Distant Thunder was all down the stairs, pooled on the floor at the bottom, flung onto the walls, and even splotched onto the ceiling of the entryway.
(Insert more swearing here)

 

The hideous evidence:

Paint can covered in paint
This can was brand new 30 minutes ago…

 

A wiped-up puddle of blue-grey paint
What was left after scooping up the majority of the paint puddle

 

Carpeted stairs dripped with paint
The view from the bottom

 

Paint drips on a wall
Water birds on a wall?
Paint smeared above a door
A little here and a little there…
Paint down carpeted steps
After cleaning up… luckily no one cares about this carpet!

On Demand: Proof of My Craftiness

The photos haven’t been edited, so please ignore the background. I’ve been asked for some pics a few times, so here ya go! Unless otherwise stated, these cards are made of 6″ squre cardstock. The larger sized ones are part of a collection I made for my cousin’s store. When I get the pictures of the rest of them, I’ll post them. Meanwhile, you can purchase some of my cards at sarahnadian.etsy.com. Enjoy!



This is a mini card, and below is a collection of several. They’re 2″ x 2″.

Above: Another mini.




I’m a Creative Genius

Occasionally, when met by a problem, if I’m motivated, I can come up with a viable solution. It might not be pretty or professional enough to earn me the cover of Martha Stewart Living or even Real Simple, but it accomplishes its purpose, if only temporarily.

Of course you know I’m leading up to something, which obviously is an account of how and why I think I qualify for the title of Creative Genius. I doubt Martha Stewart would agree, but just let me revel in my small-time problem-solving skills for a minute, okay? OKAY?

Now then, Exhibit A: Envelopes.

A few weeks ago, I started making cards. To sell. Previously, I had made cards that were 4″ by 6″, but for some reason, this time around, I decided I wanted to make square cards. 6″ x 6″ square, to be exact. I didn’t think anything strange about wanting to make 6″ square cards. I didn’t sit and wonder, “Does anyone else make 6″ square cards? If so, are there adequately-sized envelopes readily available?” Hindsight being 20/20, I now know that I should have sat and asked myself those very questions. After creating several designs and posting them on the Internet to sell here, it wasn’t until someone asked me to make 20 for them to sell in their store that I began to think seriously about envelopes. Can’t sell cards without envelopes. It’s just not done, not on this side of the world, anyway.

I started by looking online. I could get 6.25″ square envelopes–just not cheaply. So I expanded my search; to the local scrapbooking store. I found 6.25″ square envelopes–only they were made of vellum (shiny, transparent paper) and cost $1.40 apiece, or three times as much as the expensive regular paper ones I had found online. My other options were exactly 6″ square (meaning they’d be 0.25″ too small) or 7.5″ square (meaning my cards would be swimming in them, which is just not done when it comes to selling cards). I came to the conclusion that I would have to broaden my search even further: to the city I went. I went to a Michael’s. I went to a Staples. I went to a party supply store, another office supply store, a Giant Tiger (which now sells scrapbooking stuff, FYI), a Wal-Mart, and another scrapbooking store. All to absolutely no avail, and complete with some derisive body language on the part of one of the scrapbook store ladies, convincing me of my utter envelope ignorance. Commercial venues, you have failed me!

I was quite discouraged when I returned home from my forays envelope-less. When I bemoaned my failure to my boyfriend via AIM, his response was that I should make my own, duh! At first, I was defensive: “Do you know how to make envelopes? Do you know where to get the special glue that people can lick-and-stick later? Uh-huh, that’s what I thought!!” I didn’t get far before he put me out of my misery by suggesting that I seek the wisdom and assistance of The Almighty and Omniscient Google.

Lo and behold, I found this and this.

After the purchase of a ream of 8.5″ by 14″ paper (8.5″ by 11″ just wouldn’t be big enough, obviously) (thanks, Mom) and a significant amount of drawing and measuring and cutting, I created the only 6.25″ by 6.25″ envelopes to be had ’round these parts. And they are a pretty fine piece of work, if I do say so myself, all tapered and professional-looking! This is one of those instances in which I long for a digital camera that actually worked so I could show you what I mean. Guess you’ll just have to take my biased word for it.

For future reference: The time and effort needed to make envelopes from scratch aren’t worth it.
Note to self
: Make cards that fit into envelopes that are readily available.

Exhibit B: My Desk

Like most desks, mine was meant to be used with a chair. For most people, this wouldn’t be cause for concern. Then again, most people don’t have tailbone issues quite like mine. Lately, it has gotten to the point where I’m only comfortable sitting for certain lengths of time, which are always varied, even if I’m switching from a stool to a chair to an exercise ball. I believe in the benefits of the latter, but it’s not a simple solution for my case. Not sitting isn’t an option, either: most things I do at home involve this common but apparently unnatural position (crafting, writing, eating, reading, etc.).

This afternoon, I decided I’d had my limit of prolonged sitting, at least for now, and I set out to find a solution. Being the frugal and impatient person that I am, I sought objects to prop up my existing desk instead of creating or buying a new one. One Rubbermaid container and one milk crate later, I have a standing-height desk instead of a sitting-height one.

After typing most of this post standing up at my renovated desk, now my back is complaining. It seems no solution will be fool-proof, but I’d like to believe that with the addition of a tall stool, and the options being to stand, sit or half-sit, half-stand, my bones and muscles will be much happier. (Again, sorry that I have no picture to show you)

Would you agree with my self-proclaimed verdict, that I’m a Creative Genius? Guess it doesn’t matter much, seeing that I’m convinced and I’m the one doing the writing here!