Sunday, August 30, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

This week, there was yet more stupid shit at work. I'm pretty close to losing my patience and telling the boss lady what I really think. Luckily, it hasn't come to that but I feel it bubbling. Despite that, let's celebrate a few simple joys from the week...

Laughing. I am typically a happy person: very easy to smile and even easier to laugh. Work has had me feeling not so happy for so long, that when a good laugh comes it just feels soooooo good. There were a few times this week where either Scott or a few friends from work had me in giggles or flat our hysterics. It truly felt so good: a light, happy feeling in my chest.

I was responsible for covering a fairly big show on Wednesday; the kind that my boss doesn't usually let me have (he has to be in charge of just about everything). Unfortunately, he advanced it so that means that I wasn't in on things from the beginning. There were a few times that the boss lady got involved a during the day. The only times there were any hiccups involved either him dropping the ball or her making a mountain out of a molehill. Besides that, it turned out to go fairly smooth and I was extremely busy the whole day. Despite it being a sixteen hour day, it really flew by and I had a purpose to being there. Overall, a pretty good day.

I took a couple of huge steps this week to help get out of my horrible work situation. As some of you may know, I'm a member of Actor's Equity Association which is the union that covers actors and stage managers (which I still identify as being even though that's not my current position). Anyway, they are associated with a program called The Actor's Fund that offers a work assistance program. I spoke to the woman in charge of it this week, am filling out some forms, and hope to be able to talk to a career counselor soon. I know that they are kind of backlogged, but I am very hopeful that they will be able to help. I may still be in a shitty situation, but it felt good to be proactive about it.

Scott and I had been talking about going away for a few days this summer but then started hemming and hawing about it when my department was threatened with losing jobs. He surprised me (found a discount code!) and booked a few days in St. Augustine. It gave me such a warm fuzzy feeling and I'm so happy & excited to get away for a little bit!!

Huge simple joy on Friday!!!! When I left work, I knew I wouldn't have to go back for ten days. Big old smile on my face with that. Then, I get home, work out, and Scott announces that he wants to take me out to dinner and a movie. I even wore a skirt -- that never happens. We had such a fabulous time.

This may seem like a silly simple joy, but it made me happy. I've been battling a green tinge of mold on the metal of our lanai. Today, a vinegar solution and some elbow grease triumphed! I only got maybe a quarter of it done, but it's amazing the difference it made. Vinegar is so amazing for cleaning!

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

First off, I must apologize for being slightly MIA and missing this week's Friday Finds post. After a week off from work, I managed to keep myself fairly occupied this week. Maybe that's what my schedule should be: one week on, one week off. Somehow, I don't think I'd be able to convince anyone of authority of that though. Despite being back to work this week, I did find some simple joys to celebrate... One, of course, being that I was actually busy at work. It's amazing how much faster the day goes when there's something to do.

Earlier this week, Scott and I went on a little mini date. I was leaving work, but he was on a break for dinner so we didn't have much time. We simply ran out for coffee and a pastry, but it was so nice spending some quality time with him.

I got to see some old friends that I toured with once upon a time this week. It was a happy surprise and so nice to catch up.

I started working out in January. I'd do really well for a few weeks, and then life might get in the way for a few weeks but overall I've either managed to lose or maintain my lost weight in that time. This week, I tried on some clothes that haven't fit in ages (including a pair of pants that I actually bought a little small a couple of years ago) and they all fit great!! Here's the kicker, I'm at about the same weight now that I was the last time I lost weight and all of the pants fit better now than they did then: that tells me that not only was weight lost, but there's been some firming up, too. I'm so not the girly-girl and I typically don't get excited about this kind of thing, but I was practically dancing around the house! I wore thin a couple pairs of jeans this past year and was pretty much set to buy some new ones this fall, but now I don't have to! I have four pairs of pants and jeans that are practically new to wear now. So happy!

Athena's Armoury has done well for me this week! I confirmed three custom orders and couldn't be happier! Well, if it was earning me a living, I could be happier but that's not the point right now. I'm making a stainless steel byzantine anklet for one of my FAE friends, a black anodized titanium and rubber cuff bracelet for a musician I was on tour with a long time ago, and a sterling & gold filled finger ring for a co-worker. I'm so excited to be working on all of these custom items!

I'm was also thrilled to be invited to be a member of an artist's collective on Etsy. It's still in the planning stages right now so I don't want to give too much away but I was honored to be invited and so excited to be a part of the group. It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun and I'm really looking forward to the fresh inspiration!

I ran into Lowe's to pick up some more containers for my herb garden the other day. I am pleased to report that my herbs are thriving, thus the need for bigger pots! But while I was wandering around the garden center, I spotted some echinacea plants! I don't remember having seen any before, so I quickly picked one out and brought it home. Not only a really amazing medicinal plant, it's also a really pretty, quirky flower. Happy find!

Scott decided to do the next stage of his shelving project! You may not understand why this is so terribly exciting for me. Scott owns literally hundreds of boardgames. All of these games have been in cardboard boxes in the dining room since we moved into our house... two years ago. His plan was to build bookcases/shelves/what have you attached to the walls in his office (he has his own room for his games, computer, books, guitars, etc. while I have my beloved albeit still not completely organized work room) for said games. It's been a long time in coming, so seeing some activity on that front is thrilling!! I can't wait to get rid of all of those cardboard boxes in the dining room.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

My week started off with one huge simple joy off the bat: I was using some of my vacation time (if you don't use it, you lose it) and didn't have to go into work this week. That is huge for me. And now that the week is drawing to a close, I am of course dreading having to go back. But that's besides the point because the purpose of this post is to celebrate the joys of the week.

The number two biggest joy of my week was picking up my best friend Julie from the airport. I love her to death and never get to see her since she lives in NY and I'm in FL. Our friendship is the kind where we know what's up without having to say a word and would do anything for each other. We relaxed on the beach, played games on the Wii, talked, drank, ate ice cream for dinner one night... I miss her already.

I saw Julie & Julia this week. I usually am so not into chick flicks, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I felt I could relate to the Julie character quite a bit: she finds herself stuck in a cubicle & unpleasant work situation, living somewhere she doesn't feel a connection to, having friends that can't relate to her, and feeling like her life isn't going anywhere. She found her joy & inspiration in Julia Child and her life turned around because of it. I left the theatre entertained by the story and wondering what was going to be "Julia" for me.

For a few days this week, Scott's been out of town. I am slightly embarrassed to admit how much I've enjoyed having the bed to myself. It's just that I'm a very light sleeper and can usually still hear him even wearing ear plugs, so to get to sleep for a few nights without waking up multiple times throughout the night and without having to wear ear plugs... it's been heaven.

Saturday was such a great day! I always enjoy myself when I go hang out in downtown St. Pete, I don't know why I don't do it more often. I hit the farmer's market (I got more herbs! yarrow & peacock ginger), the fabulous used bookstore, the new age shop, and the acupuncture/herbalism place (for info on classes). I ate lunch at the great organic shop, had one of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays help me get a refrigerator case open, and stopped by the cupcake shop for dessert. I even stumbled upon a tiny little serenity garden literally hidden away between buildings. It was beautiful and I never would have found it if I wasn't just wandering around.

I was pretty bummed about some stuff the last few days which I won't go into now, but sitting down to write out my simple joys from the week reminded me that it wasn't all bad. Yeah, there was some stupid shit that I had to deal with and not everything was perfect, but there were definitely some good highlights in there, too. Thank you CoolZebras for the inspiration to do these posts. They really do make a difference.

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds - Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Hello blogosphere! I've been a little quiet this past week because I've been on vacation. Well, I didn't get away unfortunately, but I've been off from work which is where I'm usually bored to tears and doing my blogging. Basically, I have two weeks of vacation time to use before the end of our fiscal year (they won't pay out the time not used, so if you don't use it you lose it), so even though I had no where to go I was still off.

The first couple of days that I was off was spent cleaning, grocery shopping, and getting the house in order. To me this was absolutely no fun and certainly no way to start a week off, but it had to be done in anticipation of a much looked forward to visit from my best friend. Julie came down to visit for a couple of days in the beginning of the week. The weather held out for us and we got to enjoy going to the beach both days which is a huge step up after last year when she came to visit and it rained the whole time. And now, Scott is away this weekend and I have the house all to myself. I had all of these grand plans of things I wanted to do, but they've either gotten canceled because I've had to deal with other shit around the house or I've just clean forgotten about all of the other things I was looking forward to. Seeing Julie was awesome (and only makes me miss her even more!) and having the bed to myself has been much more enjoyable than I should probably admit, but this week off has left much to be desired for.

Time away from work is always good, and I love being home but I also realized that I really need time away. I need to not think about work at all, to not have to worry about the house, to not have to deal with the day to day BS. I need a vacation to get away from it all, to be distracted by beauty & relaxation, and most of all to have fun. Unfortunately right now we really can't afford to "get away from it all" but we might be able to take a long weekend in a couple of weeks. So in the meantime I have to live vicariously (tell me where you've gone or are going to this summer!) and in a bit of a fantasy world...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Finds - Kali

I've been thinking a lot about endings & beginnings lately. I've been told for a few months now that things are changing and not to worry about an ending because with an ending comes a new beginning. With all of the layoffs that happened at work recently and the impending threat of more, change certainly does seem to be in the air but hasn't touched me... yet. It certainly does feel, however, that things are coming to a head so only time will tell at this point.

The goddess Kali is commonly known as the destroyer. But, she's misunderstood really. Sure she looks kind of frightening with her four arms (one wielding a sword, another with the severed head of a demon), the garland of skulls, her tongue sticking out, and her girdle of human arms; but two of her hands bless her worshipers and the symbology of her representation isn't quite that scary at all. Her black complexion symbolizes her all-embracing and transcendental nature. Kali is free from the illusory covering of clothing, for she is beyond the all maya or "false consciousness." Kali's garland of fifty human heads stands for the fifty letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, symbolizing infinite knowledge. Her girdle of severed human hands signifies work and liberation from the cycle of karma. Her sword is the destroyer of false consciousness. So even with the death and destruction comes creation.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New in Shop: Bishop's Mantle

I'm very excited to finally add another piece of armor to Athena's Armoury! It's actually been made for quite some time, but I had been waiting for the right femaille (fe'maille' -- get it??) model to show it off.

The traditional use of a chain maille bishop's mantle is as armor that protects the neck, shoulders, and upper chest from blades. A nontraditional use of this piece is as a capelet as shown in the femaille model pictures.

Historical methods of weaving were used in the creation of this mantle, including expanding Euro 4-1. This piece represents countless hours of work with approximately 3000 16 gauge 1/4" ID bright aluminum and copper rings all coiled, cut, and hand woven by me with seamless closures. Because it was made using bright aluminum (which is 1/3 the weight of steel) and a single row of copper, it weighs only 6 oz. Maille will protect against an edge of a weapon, however padding should be worn underneath for additional protection.

There are many options to customize this piece for your individual taste: a high collared neck with a draw string can be added, different metals used, additional length, or even daggers around the bottom edge. I love custom work and will design a piece to your request.

Available both in Athena's Armoury Etsy Shop & Artfire Studio.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where the Day Will Lead...

I went into work yesterday and was having a hard time focusing on anything. It was one of those days where I really didn't have much to do and wanted to be elsewhere were it not for the paycheck. I was quite unsuspecting of how the day would turn out.

First, I found out that they are changing around our health plan at work and are also taking away half of our sick time for this coming year. We only have five sick days now which, even though I very rarely take any sick time, I still think is wrong. My boss's boss continues to gun for our department. Without going into details: I don't know what her problem is, but it feels like she has a vendetta against us. Lastly, I found out that I have to work a very long day on Thursday and come in on Saturday. It's a good thing I don't really have a life. Anyhoo, all of those extra hours meant that I got to leave work yesterday at lunchtime and not have to go in at all today. That's good at least.

So, I go home to find an Etsy Convo from my Fantasy Artists of Etsy Street Team friend Becky of Up From The Ashes (you must check out her amazing shop full of fairy wings, tiaras, and leather masks!!) telling me that she spotted my work on the Etsy Front Page!
My Titanium Stretch Chain Maille Choker was included in an amazing treasury curated by Green Post.

I haven't gotten any sales from the exposure, but have gotten tons of views and a few more hearts. By the way, I had hearted Green Post just recently and wonder if I made it into her treasury by that simple act. She's got an amazing shop full of eco paper, seed tags, and cards.

After that bit of excitement, I decided to head down to St. Pete to check out a store called Puckett's Store Fixtures that I had heard about from other area crafters. The place is a warehouse treasure trove of all manner of things for your business. It seems like it's mainly geared for people with a storefront, but I managed to pick up a new femaille model for $35 which I thought was a good deal. She's in really great shape and I needed a model for necklaces & such. I had to put a shirt on her, the poor thing looked so naked. I'm thinking about possibly painting her black, but we'll see.

Next stop, was a local nursery. We really haven't done anything with the outside of our house since we moved in. Admittedly, at first I really just didn't know what to do with it, but we also have had so many other big projects that we've had to deal with that it's been on the back burner. I've gotten really bored with how plain it is though, and have been thinking about doing some planting. Being stuck in a drought, however, is making me put that idea on hold a bit longer. It was fun walking around the sanctuary of the nursery and getting some ideas, though. My potted herb garden is certainly making things a little cheerier (I finally found some peppermint yesterday!) and I don't know if any birds have found the feeder yet, but it makes me happy anyway. I'm also thinking about making a garland out of seashells & twine to hang around the lanai to decorate it a bit out there.

Grocery shopping, a stop at Costco,Borders for magazines, and finally a quick browse at Target and I was finally home. I had been thinking about getting a terrarium for our sun room, but scored this adorable little succulent garden at Target for $5. I love it. It feels so Zen, which of course makes me content and happy. I might still add a terrarium later. All of this green is making me so happy lately.

Finally at around 9:00, I sat down on the couch with the cat, my Sage Woman magazine, a glass of iced green tea, and a lovely Aveda scented candle and relaxed until Scott got home half an hour later. What started as a day of scattered frustration at work turned into quite busy and delightful. You just never know where your day will lead sometimes...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Simple Joy Sunday

I called in sick on Tuesday for a doctor appointment (nothing's wrong, just stuffed up sinuses driving me nuts at night) and had a more productive day than I would have had I been at work. Sound strangely familiar? Well, it really makes me happy to get a lot done like that.

My freshly re-potted herbs are making me so happy! They are so beautiful to look at, they smell amazing, taste super yummy, and are sooooo good for you. You can see my blog post about my herbs from earlier in the week here.

In Other News:
Despite the drama of actually getting my new tire (the cost was unbelievable & I had a 16 year old who had only been on the job for four days do the install), it is finally done. That's a sigh of relief. Now, I simply have to deal with the scuffs and the bent sidestep, but at least that's primarily cosmetic. So glad that first step is done!

On the career front, I still have a job and thus am still getting a paycheck. Always a good thing. I'm still thinking about what else I'd be interested in doing and I am totally intrigued by herbalism & acupuncture. If there are any herbalists or acupuncturists out there with any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them.

On the house front, the room that we had to have rebuilt last year because it was flooding, started flooding again this week thus successfully freaking me out. Since the walls have been rebuilt, we're now considering what else might be wrong: water from the attic (despite the fact that the roof looked okay when it was all ripped up last year), a crack in the foundation (I don't even want to think about what that might involve), or just that water might still be seeping in between the slab and the wall (in which case a retaining wall might help).

As always, check out more Simple Joy Sundays over at Cool Zebras.