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!

Gotta Sing, Gonna Sing, Gotta Sing Sing Sing!

It seems almost every time I observe a band perform in front of a crowd, I tear up. No, it doesn’t sadden me that people sing and play in public , rather I get emotional because I catch a glimpse of a dream that has been growing in my heart for some time now.

Something deep down in the core of me yearns to sing, to sing loud, to sing well and be heard, to sing for the enjoyment of people everywhere.

Rock star?! Not necessarily, though it could be fun. I’ll sing country, gospel, rock, jazz, blues, whatever. I just have to sing!!

A man whom I respect greatly and who has been an inspiring cheerleader of mine once told me that I have to sing, that people must have the chance to hear me. Please believe that I do not write the above out of a presumptuous desire for self-elevation. It’s just a fact about who I am, who I was made to be.

I don’t know when, where, how, or who with, but you heard it first here that I will, someday, sing in front of crowds. I will travel and sing. People will enjoy the experience, and, I hope and believe, take with them a few nuggets of truth.

Tonight, while listening to a talented group with two wonderful female vocalists, something stirred again within me. This time, as many times in the past, was a “God experience.” Instinctively, I closed my eyes and it was God and I, me begging, yearning for the opportunity, someday, to sing as a vocation. This may sound hokey for you non-spiritually-experienced, but in that God moment, I felt like God was asking me to live a pure life, and he would reward me with this desire (Psalm 37:4). I feel like I should reevaluate my decisions, my lifestyle, in order to live a more humble, pure life, one that honours God more than it pleases me. (Questions? Bring ’em on!)

Why? Because God is worth it, and so is that dream. I know that with Christ, all things are possible, even what may seem like a far fetched dream.