Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The end of April

I'm taking a break from my chores. Well, they're not really chores, so much as little tasks that need to be done before leaving for the weekend. Things like, re-washing the comforter on the 'guest bed' (which is actually the futon-like IKEA sofa bed we bought to use during our time on Nantucket) and setting up said bed in the 'guest room' (which is actually hubby's studio minus his drawing table, plus the 'guest bed'); sweeping the living room for the second time this week to keep the litter tracked upstairs by Hanzo in check (that's twice more than any normal week of sweeping); washing AND putting away the dishes (normally they just sit in the dishwasher until they are used again...not sure why we even have cupboards?); and, a little extra thorough cleaning of the bathroom (I figured I'd give our house/dog-sitter a freshly washed shower curtain).
It's been a pretty productive day, considering I haven't actually done anything fun or remotely entertaining. I had planned on sleeping in, only to realize yet again that I am incapable of staying in bed past 7am, no matter how tired I feel. So I got my shopping errands out of the way. I also had to have a key made for work, so I had to pop over to the shop for a minute or two. Now that I have finally gotten my dream of a 4-day work week, I am back to being an hourly employee instead of salaried manager. That means, apparently, that I will be doing a lot more work for free, as I can't see asking to be paid for what I did today, even though it was clearly work I was unable to do any time while still 'on the clock'. There are certainly kinks that will have to be ironed out of this deal, I'm sure.
I am hoping to take advantage of my time away by figuring out a schedule/plan for myself once we are back from Akron. I really think it will be easier to stick to a schedule now that I have decided to hold off on doing any more tees or bags. Since my studio is so small, I will be able to organize much better having only to find space for my paper making and not also for printing.
So until May, these are my last random thoughts.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A little boost for me

A strange thing happened yesterday. A good-strange thing. It is only really strange if I first mention a conversation between my sister, aunt, and me from Wednesday. The girls came over for a 'craft day' of sorts. Basically, I thought it might be nice to stay home and have them over, so to save us all from just sitting and staring at each other, I had them bring over a project to work on while we chit-chat. So as we are all just hanging out: sister with her beading, auntie with her doodling, and me folding and cutting papers, they commented on my latest screen printed shirt hanging to dry. I had just finished it prior to their arrival. I am definitely happy with it. I really like the stencil I drew and cut, and I printed with brown ink on a brown tee. It's actually a gift for my mother-in-law, so I am glad it turned out as well as it did. This design I have only done as gifts, come to think of it. Which, I suppose brings me to the strange thing which had started this post in the first place!!

The above mentioned shirt prompted me to discuss my latest thoughts on my etsy shop, which are to: a)get back to doing more paper things (b/c I love it so, and I seem to not get to it lately); and, b) to maybe take out my screen printed items altogether since they seem to just sit in my shop, anyway.

Saturday morning, when I was up with the dog, cat, and a whole slew of birds to watch in the backyard, I was checking my emails, blog, etsy site, and so on, when I saw that I had a new convo through etsy. To my surprise it was a lovely little note from another etsy seller. She has adorable little illustrations which she has turned into a number of great gifts. (you should check her out here.) The strange thing is that she had checked out my shop and had left a message saying, basically the same thing I had just been discussing a few days earlier with the girls! It was so nice to have someone take the time to stop by to offer advice; but, even better to have it echo what I had already decided to do. It has boosted my confidence in what I am doing and that I am making the right decisions.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The good with the bad

A week from now I will be waking up in Ohio. Specifically, in my in-laws' house. Hubby and I needed to get away from our jobs...FAR AWAY...but are not in any position to take a proper vacation. And his parents have been begging us to come visit (even though they are on the Cape for 2 weeks every September). So we gave in, they paid for the plane tickets, and we are preparing for an extended weekend out of town. We are having a friend pet-sit for us, which also means he will be house-sitting, since it is also an opportunity for him to get out of his house (which he shares with 7 other people) for awhile.
Preparing our house for a guest isn't that easy for me. I don't mind if my house is dusty or there are dishes in the sink. But if someone else is going to be staying here, I need it clean. I have been scrubbing floors, dusting, vacuuming, washing name it...all between work and other daily activities. Today, of course, I am taking a break to go play with my sister, but tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful here, so we are planning a yard day. Not as in 'sit out and sip lemonade and play croquet'...finish mowing, raking leaves, and a few trips to the dump, instead.
Upon our return home, however, I am starting my new schedule. I have finally managed my 4-day workweek. Hubby has returned to the workforce, as well, with a similar schedule. Hopefully I can align myself with his 'at home' work schedule and get my stuff done while he is working on his stuff! Pre-made schedule! Of course, I'll have to throw in menu planning, shopping, and cleaning, but I don't think I'll have too much trouble.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday: time to get serious

No work for me today. Well, no PAID work, anyway. Wednesdays seem to be tricky for me. I took them off to get a mid-week day to get stuff done that I couldn't seem to get to during the weekends. But for some reason, I can't seem to get much done on Wednesdays either. I actually know the reason, and he is still asleep. Since losing his job (the local print shop he worked at went out of business), he has been home a lot. He is able to focus on his own freelance graphic design, which is great, but it doesn't get him out of the house much more than his long walk on the beach. And being an early morning person (you just can't shake a 5am wake-up when you are so used to it), I'm up trying to get the 'quiet stuff' done without waking him. That means computer work...which then just puts me in the 'stay home' mode. At any rate, I am HOPING to get stuff done today so that my already to long to-do list gets some stuff crossed off before I have to add more to it.
This Wednesday is a little different, in that I have my new girl working alone for the first time today. I have my phones nearby in case of emergency, though, I have high hopes for this one. She has a level head and seems capable of handling things. If she can make it past 9am, it's pretty much a ghost town around there until lunch time anyway. I do have to run to the bank, both for myself and work, but I (being the 'let's get the driving around town stuff done early' kinda girl that I am) always get there before the banks actually open. I don't like that. I am making a whole-hearted effort to not leave until 8:30!
One of my little sisters (not so little, I guess, at 26?) is coming over for some crafting this afternoon, so I am jazzed about that. It has been a long time since I have had a crafting friend.
And then there is the trip to Ohio, coming up ...oh, my...a week from Friday. I have been cleaning up little by little since we usually have someone stay at the house to take care of the pets while we are away. I don't mind having a 'messy' house, but I would never expect anyone else to have to put up with the dust bunnies! The fun bit about the trip, other than getting to get far away from work for a couple days, is that I am making a shirt for my mother-in-law for a Mother's Day gift. (oh, I should probably think about something for my own mother too?)
I think this post is becoming a way to put off other things....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It seems that Sundays are the only days I can actually find time to sit and post a blog. Or maybe it is that I just don't have anything of interest to blog about on a daily basis? Yes, that is probably more accurate.

Well, today is really no exception. I felt weird all day having stayed in bed until about 9am. Even now, 11 hours later, I am still trying to wrap my head around why on Earth I would stay in bed so late. It wore on me all day and I felt like I would get nothing done. Well, I did get the work I wanted to get done for work. The problem? The task I had set for myself was to print up an 'employee handbook' of sorts. I got it all typed out, went downstairs to print it all out, and pulled out pages of blurry, spotty nonsense. No ink in the printer!

[The above entry was started Sunday. I then ran out of time, as I needed to make dinner and then my day was over. Time for bed so that I could be awake to go into Day 3 of training my new co-worker. I will just continue on with today...Monday...]

My new help is working out great. She's a joy to have around, she works hard and she is nice to customers. She catches on quickly and I like talking to her.
Hubby and I are all set to take an extended weekend getaway to Akron, Ohio during the first weekend in May. We have not had a proper vacation in over 3 years, but are in need of some time far away from our jobs and responsibilities. So, we are spending a couple days with his parents. I am looking forward to it, especially now that I know my shifts will be covered without causing too much grief for others. I can tell you, though, that it will be very difficult to return to work.

I have decided that with my extra day off during the week I am going to be better about things that I let fall to the wayside. My hope was to be able to promote my etsy shop a lot more, and that would mean, also, that I could spend more time with my blog. I would love to make it more interesting and, oh I don't know, get a few more readers?? I come across such great things while I am killing time between chores, and I want to be able to explore these things more deeply and then share them with others. It is my hope that I can focus my energies on these things, which in turn should inspire me in my own work.

Step one: get downstairs to clean and organize that studio!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dumpster Diving and the Modern Woman

I'm doing it. I'm making myself do all the things I want to despite becoming super sensitive to my early schedule. Can I just say that getting up at 4:30 every morning, at first, is fairly easy to get used to when you're an early morning type already. However, after a while, you start to hate the sound of the alarm startling you out of sleep. Then it gets normal again, and so on. I'm in the stage where I absolutely HATE getting up early and I am exhausted by 11 am. So I am happy to say, that despite that feeling, I am working hard at getting things done. I am making time for what I feel is important in MY life...and that really doesn't include killing myself for WORK. It's just a job. I can only do what I can do, and that shouldn't cost my own well-being.
I have been making time to workout. I have been leaving my house to spend time with family (on occassion, which is a lot compared to the 'never' that I used to manage!). I have made several dinners in the past couple weeks (and not just 'pull it out of the fridge and heat it'). And I've been trying to get as much creative work done as I can. I managed to print my latest stencils: one as a bag, and 2 as tee shirts, which I am keeping for my sister and myself.
So, today I did the usual Tuesday thing: get up at 4:30, work til 1 and then get ready for the usual tuesday work errands. BUT, first...take out the trash. What's that in the dumpster? Someone threw away two perfectly fine outdoor benches?? Two curved picnic table style benches were IN THE DUMPSTER!! And there, next to the dumpster was a conveniently place cinder block for me to step up onto to reach in and pull those beauties right out. Into my trunk they go, and I'm off to finish my day...with free gifts!
and now, we relax until night...let's get pumped.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday morning, and I was thinking

I woke up this morning thinking about this blog. And the post from yesterday. And how each post seems to veer farther from my original intentions for this blog.
I seem to be falling into my old patterns from my MySpace days where my blog was used simply as a way to let off steam. Why would anyone want to read about my problems at work? Sometimes I need to let them go, and it certainly helps me to move on; but, I am sure the only people who really care to hear about it (or pretend to care) are living in this house. And it is only that they can't talk back that they are forced to just listen...and presumably can't understand a word I say anyway, since they are not human.
This blog was really supposed to be about creativity. How I would juggle a less than thrilling job, caring for our home and pets, staying healthy by working out, and trying be creative and make things, all the while keeping my stress of having one regular income in check...these are the things I was hoping to chronicle. But without all the whining.
And I was also hoping to find time in there to find other interesting people/places/things to pass on to others. But who has time for all of this??
I have not been feeling creative at all, lately. I had an idea for a stencil I wanted to do (the bamboo stencil) but it took me about a week to finally get my act together to draw and cut the stencil. I mean, a project that in real time took about 20 minutes, was drawn out to a week. And I haven't even printed it yet! But that comes today.
I don't get a lot of feedback with my crafts as I am basically alone here. Hubby has his stuff he is doing, and he is supportive of my things, but he doesn't get 'jazzed' about my crafts. I do have a sister who I spoke to yesterday, however, and with just a few words, she had me excited about my stuff again. I told her about the stencil and all she said was, 'oh, cool, I want to see it when it's done. I might want to buy one.' Of course, I am going to print one for her to have...she's my sister! But it was the little boost I think I needed. I asked for extra time off months ago. Stating to my boss that I was trying to get my little business off the ground. No one else is going to care about this as much as I do, so that leaves me to have to fight for what I need to make it work.
So, now I am going to try to get back on track. Work is for money to pay bills. My 'down time' is for me. And my stress about work needs to be kept under control if I am going to have any sort of creativity to work with!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

a day in...a night out

Today I worked. It was the flip side to last Saturday where I got my ...well, it was very busy last week. Today, not so much. In fact, during the last hour, one person came in. He asked me for directions to the veterinary office. I, of course, told him, then wished I had offered him a cup of coffee to stay and chat a bit. I got some reading done, though it is hard to really get into a book when you are startled by every noise that could be someone coming in and actually wanting to buy something. I got more bad news about the employee situation. The gist being: someone may or may not have been fired; and, someone else will be putting her foot down as far as how many days she will actually work. This, of course, is just all bad news for me, as I am still unable to get that extra day off to really dive into my etsy project. It is falling by the way-side, which I was so hoping I could avoid. It may be time for me to just quit my job and go looking for something else, as I just don't know how much more I can take of this getting jerked around...but I am not here to bitch about my job/boss/situation.

An interesting (well, we'll call it interesting for lack of a better term) thing happened this morning. One of the delivery guys came in, and I knew that I had not placed an order, so I was instantly curious. He had come in for coffee. Okay, not so strange. But then he says, 'I'm coming back for you.' To which I replied, 'I think not', as I assumed he meant he was bringing me a delivery later...which I had not ordered. He laughed and asked when I got out of work, what I was doing afterward ('going home,' I replied), and then did I live alone. And so I said, 'no, I'm married.' It was awkward, and now I have another reason to not want to go to work...just what I needed!

One the other side of the day, that being 'night', we are planning on going out! Yippee. I'm not a fan of 'out' but I do it once in awhile to remind people that I do, indeed, exist. Our friend's band is playing at a local restaurant. We have seen him play there before, so tonight we've decided to go early for dinner. What a treat. It also looks like several of our friends will also be there, so it should turn out to be a fun night.

So I guess I had better start looking for something to wear...well, something that is appropriate for being in the outside world. Guess these sweats will have to be put aside for now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

good day...good day

Yesterday I was determined to set myself up with a schedule of sorts. Nothing crazy or super detailed, but a way of being able to have something to point me in the right direction, WHEN...the urge to just sit and watch tv, read a book, or play video games hit. Well, surprise! It didn't get done. However, I did have some ideas in my head as far as how I would like to budget my time away from the 'bill paying' job. So, I feel pretty good about today. I didn't get a TON of stuff done, but I did finally cut out my bamboo stencil that I am SO excited about. I think it'll make a really cute tank for me for the summer. And, since its original purpose was for shirts for my etsy shop, it will ultimately end up there, too.

And for my own personal well-being, I managed to get to my 'gym' (a.k.a. my basement, complete with a two-station weight machine, my trail bike attached to a trainer to make it a 'stationary bike', and my tiny tv/vcr/xbox) and worked out for over an hour! I did a dance aerobics dvd, then decided to do some DDR. I felt great!
Then, I used some more of my extra time (since I get out of work a whole hour and a half early on Tuesdays and Thursdays) to re-shoot my t-shirts that I already have up on my etsy site, fix 'em up in photoshop, then I edited the listings. I think tomorrow, when it's not such a late hour, I will re-list a couple since I don't have any new good stuff to list yet.
And, since I made dinner yesterday, hubby is fixing dinner tonight, so the rest of the night (all one and a half hours of it) I will relax and enjoy my home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This is what I'm gonna do...

Here's what I've been thinking today:
I have a lot of things I think I want to do. Yet, I find myself never doing anything. I feel like I know myself and I know what makes me happy and what does not.
Having a schedule/routine...this makes me happy. So why am I letting myself get away without having a schedule? Where's the plan? What's next?
I love doing crafts. I love looking at the finished product, whatever it is, and thinking, 'wow! I made that!' But lately I haven't been making anything. I need to take back my 'me time' and really use it. I have been sitting by waiting for my dream work week of 3 days off, and using it as an excuse to get nothing done. 'oh, well, I'll have more time when I get that extra day off. I'll just take care of that then.' But that day never comes, and things don't get done.
I am not a house cleaner, but I don't like a 'dirty' house. So I do what needs to be done to keep the house 'clean' but not in the condition where I wouldn't be mortified if someone dropped by unexpected. I am trying to be better at this.
I have worked in kitchens and with food for most of my jobs, and I truly enjoy being in the kitchen, chopping veg, searing meat, assembling casseroles. Yet, I don't make dinner on a regular basis. I am trying to be better at this.
I LOVE working out. I love how it makes me feel, and I love that it is something GOOD only I can do for myself. It is a magic potion that always makes me feel better, no matter how bad my day was or how exhausted I am afterwards. But I haven't been allowing myself this pleasure as often as I would like. I am trying to be better at this.
Now, I'm not a social person and I rarely say 'hey, let's hang out' to anyone. And I don't think this is something that I need to change. It's who I am. I would like to manage my time better, however, so that I can do all the things that are important to me, make it to my job so that the bills get paid, but not feel like I have to give something up should I feel particularly social from time to time.
I spent several hours with my sister playing Rock Band the other day. It was the most fun I have had in a long time. We got to be silly after a long day at work and that is NEVER a bad thing.
I don't like having to work to pay the bills, but I have to say, I really enjoy living my life. And that is why I need to really focus on what that means to me. I know what I like...I just have to figure out how to put it all together.
And that's what I'm gonna do!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My new love and why we shall never be together

Last night I did something I rarely do. I (and hubby) drove to my sister's house for dinner. Does she live far away? Not really. Just about 30-40 minutes away; but, she lives in a town that is just a little off my usual beaten path. What I mean to say, is that you can't just get off the highway and be there. The bulk of the trip has to be made using side roads which cannot be driven at 60-65 mph, thus making it seem like a long trip.
At any rate, we made the journey to have a lovely homemade dinner of bar-b-q'ed ribs, garlicky mashed potatoes, baked beans (regular AND vegetarian), cornbread, pea salad, and sangria. ALL made from scratch (minus the store bought wine). It was a nice gathering of about 9 people. She and Auntie have a regular 'vintage' dinner on Saturdays where they swap off, alternating who cooks. This week they wanted to learn poker and so hubby and I attended with a couple cases of chips from our usual Tuesday game stash.
It was a bit too silly to be considered a real game of poker, as everyone just kept betting even though they had no idea what was going on. In the end, 3 of us just decided that was enough...two of the boys had split most of the chips and I had about 20 left.
Once the math of side pots came into play, we decided it was time for Rock Band on the ol' xbox. I was just gonna watch them play a song or two and then go home. But one thing led to another and BAM! I was in it until either someone dragged me out the door or my hands fell off. We came closest to the latter around 10:30.
I have the old fashioned xbox that you can't find games for (good games) unless you go on ebay or wherever you can get them used. So what did I do this morning? I got on ebay to see about buying an xbox 360! Do I need this? NO. Should I have this? NO. If I get that game I will NEVER get anything done. I mean, I love it so much I had to blog about it!
I was able to live my dream as a member of an all girl rock band last night...I slept like a baby!