Productivity Plus (read: EMPLOYMENT!!)

Have you ever tightly grasped heavy tools with each hand a-a-a-a-l-l-l-l-l-l day, climbing up and down a two- or three-foot ladder with them, moving them just so up and down walls, trying to wield them in such a way as to make mudding plaster do exactly what you want it to?

I hadn’t either, before today, the third day of my summer employment as assistant to a professional custom drywaller/painter. Today, we trowelled all day long, and tonight, my hands are sore and blistered. There were several times this afternoon when I was pretty sure my hands were going to seize up and I was a tiny bit afraid I’d never be able to unclench them again! Who knew that mudding stuff weighed so much or that I could have any ability whatsoever in applying it to walls? The part that shocks me most is that my boss is trusting me to touch these walls and, in fact, isn’t correcting everything I do!

Tomorrow we’re sanding… I wonder if I have any skill with that, and if the dust is going to make the cold I developed after the first day on the job site any worse.

Yes, I got a job. On Monday. And it’s been the most productive week I’ve had in a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time. You really haven’t heard the half of it. Well, okay, about 60%.

The rest is this: on the weekend, I finally moved upstairs to the room I painted back in March, and I even have new curtains up now! But wait! That’s not all! I actually got two jobs on Monday! You should be proud of me now, I’m telling you.

My second job is as a waitress/server at a new English pub coming to the very tourist-attracting town of Bayfield, 20 minutes south of my town. The pub will be called the Brew’n Arms, will have 12 brews on tap, and a very English menu, as well as decor as authentic as possible. It will open around the end of this month, and I’m very excited!! I’m also very grateful that I’m not starting both jobs at the same time, what with the current pain with every step I take and everything I try to grasp with my hands. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll be used to the physical demands of my manual labour job so that I can have a bit more energy by the time an evening full of serving comes around!

One more thing for the productivity roster: I went for a run tonight, after peeling off my white and crusty clothes (and putting on other ones), and before taking a long soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts… ahh.

(insert smile here)

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Jimified, I Am

Today was mostly spent fighting coxxys pain in a Buick LeSabre, going 85 miles per hour on I-69 N (for the anatomically illiterate, “coxxys” means “tail bone”). Yes, my NBS (Numb Bum Syndrome) is back in fully aggravating force (read history here), and I’m starting to hypochondriacally research possible (actual medical) conditions. Ack!

But that’s not what I’m here to write about. I was driving for several hours on I-69 because it was the end of my long and prodigious weekend in Indianapolis with Jimi (My Cyber Boyfriend). He’s whom I’m here to write about tonight.

This is one of those moments when I wonder what he’ll think of what I’m about to write, and what my family will think, and what my friends will think, and what his family will think, and what his friends will think, and you get the picture. Not that it’s a big deal, just that when one is being transparent on the Internet, one needs to consider such things so as to offend no one nor disclose inappropriate information. Again, not that I believe I’ll be offending anyone, nor do I plan on disclosing inappropriate information. This post is not that kind of juicy!

I once said to Jimi that I hope to be able to show the world glimpses of the deep and introspective, the sensitive and well-rounded sides of him that few get to see or appreciate and many would never assume from his often outrageous behaviour.

One of the unfortunate things about having a long-distance relationship that has been built mostly through online communication is that it is difficult to convey one’s true emotions. I’ve tried “emoticons”and “smileys”, but they are mostly just silly and shallow and fall very short of what I’m really feeling. All this to say that, when I get to spend rare and coveted “in-person” time with my man, stuff that may have aggravated or confused me as a result of chatting through IM takes shape, finds balance, and adds another facet to the intriguing man that is Jimi. An intriguing man that I fall more in love with via every interaction.

As we lounged on a hawaiian-patterned blanket on a grassy knoll in a quaint park yesterday afternoon, soaking up the sun’s rays and grazing on each other’s company, my heart was basking in contentedness. The intimacy of sharing a few lazy hours doing absolutely nothing but talking and laughing and cuddling with Jimi intensified a growing awareness that my heart has never been so at home.

He is someone I can easily and confidently trust, laugh with, laugh at, cry with, be angry at, make up (and out, heehee) with, be quiet with, talk about God and the world with, learn with,
grow with, shop with, eat with, work hard with, be lazy with, be broken with, and you get the point by now I hope.

He is not intimidated by my neediness: he is eager to redeem it through loving me (that’s the simple explanation). He doesn’t always do what I might expect: he surprises me by going above and beyond, with my happiness and well-being in mind. He doesn’t play into my (occasional?!) manipulative whims: he tell me straight up how it is, firmly and tenderly.

Like me, he can be cynical and sarcastic; enjoys a wide range of music; hates religiosity and legalism; enjoys digging deeper into truth, God and life; is comfortable talking about “taboo” subjects; loves technology; is aware of pop culture trends; has opinions about fashion; and likes to cook.

Unlike me, he can be uber-realistic where I like to be somewhat more idealistic. He plans for a year from now whereas I plan for this week. He thinks I should get a pair of white pants or shorts, but I’m a little skeptical. He takes every opportunity to shock people, but I like to work up to it. He brushes his teeth once a day and hasn’t been to the dentist since fourth grade; I’ve had over 25 cavities filled since sixth grade and can’t leave the house or go to bed without brushing my teeth.

He is Jimi. When we talk about other guys in my life, the simple truth always emerges: they’re not Jimi enough! He is Jimi, and he’s my Jimi, and I love him, and this is the beginning of my promise to tell the world of the greatness that is Jimi.

The Crazy is Me!

If you’ve found yourself wondering if your life would ever turn itself around into something you actually enjoy, you might be able to identify with me right now. This is one of those times in which I really do think I have issues that need professional help.

I feel trapped in a place I don’t really want to live, without the resources or the timeline to look for something else (but, deep down, thankful to not have to pay rent).

This is the first phase in my life in which I’ve really needed to win my own bread, but the things that I love doing (writing, singing, crafting) aren’t making me any money and I’m not sure how to turn that around, especially without formal training or experience or anyone jumping on my bandwagon to help me. And I’ve never had to put much effort into finding a job–they’ve always come to me. I don’t want to believe that getting a decent job requires working my butt off, but I’m getting the feeling that I’m delusional in other areas, so perhaps I am in this one, too.

I’ve been discouraged by the attempts I’ve made to make and sell crafty stuff, even with the addition of a “shop” at Etsy.com. I think my cards are cool, but they’ve landed with a resounding thud on the bottom of the Internet’s creative pile, apparently.

I was at first really excited about my potential for making some money with articles at Helium. com, but in three months, several articles haven’t even made me a dollar. A writing contest offering from $5 to a few hundred dollars to the author with the best ratings seemed like a great idea, one that I could enjoy putting effort into. Little did I know that there are people out there with NOTHING BETTER TO DO BUT SIT ON THE INTERNET AND MAKE UP STUFF FOR EACH AND EVERY CATEGORY, thus guaranteeing them a spot in the running. Being someone who likes to write about stuff I actually am familiar with, and feeling the moral or perhaps only anal retentive urge to write a quality piece, spinning off a few words (and making them sound like I know what I’m talking about) under every category is just not gonna work for me.

Maybe it’s blind arrogance that makes me think I may have skills worthy of the public, but I still think I do. I regularly see CD jackets, publications, articles, etc. that people are getting paid for but which even my untrained eye can plainly see are subpar and I, yes, I, Sarah Koopmans, could improve upon them, but are they hiring me, the one with the skill sitting around, waiting to be asked? OF COURSE NOT!

Perhaps I shouldn’t be posting momentary delusions on this site–I could be destroying my (however false) reputation for levelheadedness and maturity–but, if I’m going to be transparent, I need to be able to write blogs that aren’t balanced and sane, so I’ll take my chances. After all, these posts are juicy, and everyone knows that juicy-ness (and sex) is what keeps people interested. Tune in next time for my take on why women avoid sex, and what to do about it. There you have it: juicy-ness, sex, gunmen, cat lovers, ranting, and God–there aren’t many places you can go to get a combination of all of that!

After all this ranting, I should add that I took a proactive step this afternoon that should make me more hire-able: I rented the Smart Serve training kit (Ontario’s way of training people to serve alcohol responsibly). I’m now out $30, so it had better pay off!!

I think I’d better end this rant before I have to cite my own blog as the cause of my depression.

Sunday Brunch

Will spring ever come to Huron County? I’m seeing pictures and hearing tales that spring has arrived to other places around North America but why the heck isn’t it showing its very welcome face around here? Unless, having been away for so many springs in a row, I forget what the coming of spring looks like. I’m expecting at least a little warmth… are you with me?

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Last night I decided I wouldn’t do something I had wanted to do and something that could turn into a dream for me and something that others were encouraging me to do, something that I kinda feel chicken for not being brave enough to do. However, it’s a good decision. Not a decision I love, perhaps, but a wise one, my current circumstances considered. I’m hoping and praying for another chance, someday.

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I’m a mean cynic sometimes. Sorry.

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I’ve had creator’s block lately (other than the envelopes and the desk thing from last post), if there is such a thing. If there isn’t, I’m establishing such a thing right now. Making 20 cards has taken me more than two weeks… I swear it’s not that I’ve been slacking, although, of course, I’m also known as Queen Procrastinator.

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I like complaining about Pepsi. I used to not care, but after living in Mexico, Coke-drinking capital of the world, where Coke is made with cane sugar instead of refined sugar, you learn to recognize it for its reigning greatness (that’s the product, not the company as a whole). Pepsi costs half as much in Mexico, and with good reason… its inferiority is blatantly obvious there! The difference between the world’s two top-selling colas is forever imprinted on my tastebuds, and a Pepsi fan I will never be.

If you serve me pizza or anything else that’s hot and greasy and you have neither Coke nor any suitable replacement, but you do have Pepsi, I’ll drink it–after complaining. Because I like people to know, you especially, that Coke is superior in taste. And I’m a cynic like that.

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I need money. For the first time in my life, I’m feeling the crunch of needing to make my own money in order to pay necessary bills. And that’s without having any major ones! Seriously, jobs have pretty much just fallen into my lap in the past. Having to hand out resumes is intimidating!! I am learning to suck it up, however, much to Jimi’s relief

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My salvation might be in question. That’s right. I was in a bar on Friday night. Listening to my amazingly talented friend Nathan play secular songs! And I even sat down and stayed. For a few hours!

It gets worse: I had a beer. Yes, you saw correctly, I bought and drank one of those beverages fondly known as “cold ones”, the ones associated with bush parties, dancing, and devil worship.

God have mercy on my soul.

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Have I mentioned that I’m a cynic? I’m told the Internet likes cynics. I think I’ll stick around for a while.

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!

Ghetto Fabulous in G-Dot

Today I picked up my desperately-needed paycheque (I’m still working on that whole getting-another-job thing), and after depositing in the bank, my second purchase, after buying a new ink pad for my card-making endeavours (my collection of supplies, compared to most crafters, is pretty ghetto fabulous itself), was Culbert’s Creme Puffs. Culbert’s is our local bakery and their creme puffs are pretty stinkin’ amazing – four bites of creamy, doughy, powdered-sugary bliss. Being that I’m next to broke, you’d think I’d stick with buying things that are only necessities, such as gas for the vehicle I was driving around (that was my third purchase), but no. I had to buy creme puffs! And not one, not two, but a whole half dozen creme puffs, worth $3.00!

My friend just posted a blog on her myspace about the ghetto fabulous mentality. According to her, there’s an urban dictionary, and this is what it has to say about the term: ghetto fabulous – Spending money on items that are not of a necessity, when there are things that you actually do need; Not making wise economic choices with one’s money for the sake of appearing “cool” or wealthy; Vanity. (Thank you, Heather) I definitely did not NEED creme puffs, but it sure is dang lovely to eat them for breakfast/lunch right around now at 12:20 pm! Yes, I have a credit card to pay off, etc., but today, I am ghetto fabulous, so BACK OFF, CREDITORS! GIVE THIS WOMAN TEN MINUTES AND $3.00 WORTH OF PASTRY HEAVEN!

Someday I’ll be able to afford the gym time it’ll take to burn all of these accumulating fat cells off (I’ve also been overdosing on Cadbury’s Creme Eggs lately, but I have a perfectly good reason: they’re not available all year round, so one has to take advantage when one is able), but for now, that French creme is calling my name…

The Promise of Posting Proliferation

It’s 2:09 am, I’ve turned the lamp back up to Brightest from Dimmest, I’ve given in to my hunger pangs and opened a package of Salt & Vinegar Crispers, and the whole neck/shoulder/back region of my body is protesting the positions I’ve forced it into over the past several months as I’ve stayed up late to watch movies and such addictive TV shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, and House on my laptop, not to mention a fairly all-consuming addiction to Facebook, however I am so freakin’ inspired by Dooce.com that I must, yes, MUST post something right now!

How completely unacceptable that I have not posted something since (gasp!) Friday (today will be Wednesday). One would think my life was entirely without inspiration, but the reality is that I’ve a) been focusing my creative thoughts elsewhere (I’d post a picture but I haven’t taken any of my new spring cards yet); and b) I’ve been under the perfectionist-tainted and misguided impression that everything I write has to be deep, thought-provoking, and life-changing. I discovered tonight that such is not the case. Thank you, Heather B. Armstrong, for this lesson in professional bloggage: Happiness is… (yes, you have to follow the link).

If someone who supports her family through her blog site can do a 5-word post about poop and call it a day, so the heck can I, I who have no one to support nor any ads paying me anything… yet.

So here I sit, cross-legged on my bed, leaning over my beautiful iBook G4, which rests on a nice fake wood TV tray, at 2:21 am, typing with my left hand and only the ring ringer of my right (can’t count the number of times I’ve hit delete in these last few lines) because of the residual enriched wheat flour and monoglycerides from the Crispers on my index and middle fingers, saying that I hope to become at least a small bit more posting proliferate, being that I no longer expect only to share the thoughts that my family, children (someday), friends, or church would be proud of. Be ye warned.

Doctor, Doctor! I have Numb Bum Syndrome!

I’ve developed a strange ailment over the past few days that I’ve dubbed NBS (Numb Bum Syndrome). Wikipedia could tell me nothing about the disease, so I must have invented it. Perhaps I should contact a medical journal about writing an article about this emerging condition.

The feeling could be compared to how your legs feel after being folded into the backseat of a hatchback for hours on end during a cross-country road trip without potty breaks. It’s likely that old women feel this all the time.

“Stir-crazy” also comes to mind–it’s this sensation of needing to move around, aching for a different position. My behind is going stir-crazy!

It could all be related to a rollerblading accident I had years ago when I fell on my tailbone and screwed it up somethin’ fierce. My sacrum has never been the same since, and apparently now it’s hired its own medical team to invent new ways to remind me that those borrowed rollercoasters-on-wheels had no brakes!

I kid you not: I am unable to comfortably rest on my haunches for any length of time, nor do I seem to find any satisfying positions. For the past few days especially, I’ve been increasingly uneasy as I try to sit at my desk to make cards, on my bed to read, in my armchair to read, on my stool to use my laptop.

If this continues, I’m going to have to adapt my desk from the regular chair-sitting-height it’s at to a sort of waist-high work station where I can choose to stand or sit on a high stool (which I’d also have to go out and spend money on). I’m currently alternating positions to write on my laptop, which is resting on a chair-high stool: abusing my back by bending over, and mistreating my knees by kneeling in front of it . This can’t healthily continue!

Should you be so fortunate as to see me frantically slapping my butt cheeks or jabbing my fist into my tailbone, simply know that you have observed a medical enigma as it happens. If you call yourself my friend, keeping a supply of ice packs on hand when I come visiting would be extremely considerate of you.

From Derriere Dynasty, I leave you,

Benumbed

Creative Void

My apologies to those that have come to expect a new post every day or so, only to be disappointed the last few days.

I have to admit a stunning lack of inspiration over the past few days, possibly due to focusing more creative efforts on the beginning of a new season of card-making. It could also mean the posting “honeymoon phase” is over and I’ll have to stockpile creativity when its waves wash over me.

The good news is I’m making cards again, which hopefully will be at least slightly financially lucrative for me. Check out my online shop at sarahnadian.etsy.com. Please remember it’s still in the beginning stages, so don’t judge too harshly! More creativity to come!

The Accidental Ditz

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person.

I’ve posted before about the box full of awards I have from high school and how my name is up on some of those plaques still hung in the hallways of St. Anne’s (totally not bragging then or now). I regularly find people to be shallow. I enjoy reading, and by reading I don’t mean deciphering text messages or IM slang, or even flipping through comic books. I’m referring to those things that are full of pages covered in words that are actually spelled out in long form which take many hours to get through. I’ve also been around. I’m fluent in Spanish and can understand Portuguese (again, not bragging). My well-schooled boyfriend calls me one of the most knowledgeable uneducated people he knows (this could be my own twisted intepretation of his words). That’s gotta count for something!

Alas! I astound myself regularly by doing things that would prove me the opposite of intelligent. Or, perhaps, as my boss says, it’s all to keep me humble. If that’s true, I may very well be the most arrogant employee she’s ever had, on my way to being the most humble. If I tell you all the stupid things I’ve done at the bookstore, you may never darken its door when I’m on duty. However, for entertainment purposes, here are a few:

I sold a box of communion wafers worth $30 for the price of a small container of communion cracker bits, worth $3.50-ish. My boss had to call to ask for more money.
After selling several CDs to several people over a period of several days (I hope it wasn’t longer than that), I suddenly realized that I hadn’t been taking the little square coupons off of them. These are coupons that have to be submitted to the music supplier so they can reimburse us for the extra $2.00 discount we give the customer. My boss had to call people to ask them to go through their trash, houses, and cars to look for the little yellow stickers and bring them back to us.

I charged someone’s credit card $66.50 when their purchase totalled $62.79. My boss had to write them an apologetic letter with a cheque enclosed for the difference.
I allowed a customer to take merchandise after only paying a deposit. She said she’d know by the next day or the day after whether it was what she needed or not, and after all, it was a gift for the children of that man that died suddenly a few weeks ago (Wondering Why). Three days later when she was still a no-show, my boss had me call the woman to ask her to come in to settle her account. It was on her “To-Do List” for sometime soon…

I’m not sure why my boss hasn’t fired me yet. Then again, maybe this post will give her due cause. I hope this ditziness isn’t permanent. Maybe I can blame global warming.