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Life Balance (Collage)

Hello everyone 🙂

This collage was inspired by some of the changes and decisions I am having to make this year.  Trying to work out what works best for me, how to manage that pesky work/life balance, and making decisions about the future.  All things I would rather procrastinate about with my usual head-in-the-sand attitude.

I’m not good at making decisions.  I have trouble deciding what colour underwear to put on, let alone making decisions about employment or whether or not to buy a house.  While I have been a brave girl (sort of) and managed to buy my first home, I still struggle with the career side of things.  What am I supposed to be doing?  Am I doing what makes me happy?  Is it more important to be fulfilled and content in your work, or should paying your bills come first?  So tricky.

All I know is that I am calm and settled when I am crafting.  That is one part of the life equation I don’t want to give up.  No one else has to judge it or even see it.  It’s doesn’t have deadlines, most of the time, and no one will get fired if it isn’t done right.  It gives me a sense of achievement, and if I don’t like what I’ve made, I can just paint over it and no one else needs to know.

How do you balance your creative side and your needing-to-work side?  Or are you lucky enough to combine the two and make a living from your art?  I’d love to hear how you make things work for you.

Thank you for dropping by x

 

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Blogging Challenge – Day Four : Your Dream Job

Apologies for lack of crafting posts… I’m packing up my house and unfortunately, crafty times are just not a-happenin’ at the moment…Bear with me x

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Ah, dream jobs…so named because they are, in fact, just dreams, for most of us.  As I have mentioned before, I’ve never known what I wanted to do when I “grow up”.  Now, in my forties, it seems a little redundant to start trying to figure it out.  But I still do try.  I read books on discovering your passion and take online quizzes about “finding your true calling” and all that nonsense.  Really, I just want someone to tell me what to do.  Give me some clue as to what I could do that would a.) bring me happiness and fulfillment, and b.) not leave me broke and living in a ditch or at my Mother’s.

I always wanted to be a writer, as a child, and I still have romantic notions about that happening.  But I have yet to write even one chapter of a book and I don’t even know what to write about.  I could write the story of a very boring girl who doesn’t have many life experiences, but I’m not sure who would want to read it.

So, grand writing career aside, I haven’t many other ambitions.  Most of this is due to a lack of bravery on my part.  I think about different careers but then talk myself out of them because they’re too risky (not enough employment opportunities), too underpaid (I have to live, after all), too stressful (I don’t do stress) or too something (basically I make lots of excuses).  Often, it’s just that I think I wouldn’t be able to do it, or I would do it so badly that somebody would die or lose their home or hold me forever responsible for a lifetime of woe and disappointment, and everybody would hate me.

The other side of it is that I really don’t know what fires me up.  Ask me what I enjoy doing and I will have trouble telling you.  Most of the time I just try and get through the day without falling over or having some sort of accident or getting fired.  I don’t know what I would like to do, if I had the choice, as a long term job.

But, dream jobs are not necessarily based on reality so, if I was going to just brain storm this for a while, here’s a few things I would like to be paid to do :

  1. Have my own doggy day care centre.  I mean, come on…playing with dogs all day, getting to watch their crazy antics and enjoying wuppet cuddles, licks and romps?  What’s not to love?
  2. Animal Massage Therapist.  I heard about this once.  It sounded ideal.  Getting to ease the pain of animals and make them feel better?  Awesome.
  3. Full time card maker.  I could actually do this, if I charged about $45 each for my cards.  As it stands, my prices are not nearly high enough to keep me solvent.
  4. Greeting card sentiment writer.  I used to love Mr Bickley’s job on Mork and Mindy.  You know, the grumpy old dude who lived in the apartment above M & M?  He used to write the verses and words that went in greeting cards.  What a cool job!  I would write sassy, humorous things.  Not all that generic greeting card nonsense you normally get.  But maybe some sappy stuff too, because people seem to like that.
  5. Working with baby sloths.  I don’t care what I’m doing – I will change their nappies or feed them or clip their toenails or read them bedtime stories.  I’ll do anything!  It’s baby sloths!  They’re so darned cute!
  6. Kelly Rae Roberts’ job.  Basically I want to make pretty things that people love and that make people smile.  I want to wake up one day and suddenly have talent I never knew I possessed.  I want to be brave enough to believe I have something to offer and that the world will want that offering.  And buy it.
  7. Cheese taster.  I don’t know if that’s an actual job, but it should be.  I would be excellent at it.  Fat, but excellent.
  8. Ice Cream Flavour Creator.  I seem to be on a food-themed slant here… I would like to ride a bicycle through picturesque villages, dreaming up taste sensations.  Lots of Butterscotch and Pistachio.  An ice cream Willy Wonka, if you will.  And my bicycle would have a little bell and one of those baskets with flowers on.  I might wear a beret and lots of gingham.
  9. Songwriter.  I think being a pop star would be scary and annoying.  But writing songs for pop stars would be ace.
  10. Radio DJ.  Playing music all day and sitting in a little box, not being bothered by other people?  Heaven.  I have a terrible, Minnie Mouse kind of voice though – I don’t know that anyone would want to listen to that.

So, there’s a few jobs I would like to have.  Apparently, if I could combine food, animals, music and art, I would be very happy.  If you know of such a job, let me know.  I will apply immediately.  I have references 🙂

🙂

Too Tired for a Title

Too Tired for a Title

So tired.  Too tired to type.  Work has gone from ridiculously busy and stressful to it’s-possible-I-might-have-an-aneurism-very-soon busy and stressful.  I’m not even going to go into details, just believe me when I say I have face-palmed more this week than in any other week before it and I predict much swearing and head-holding before the week is up.

I’ve made a couple of jewellery bits and pieces, for the lovely K who is, as I type, gallivanting around Tonga somewhere swimming with whales (as you do).  I envy her lifestyle so much.  I also envy her ability to wear bathers in public and not worry about what anyone else thinks (she doesn’t need to worry anyway).  My thighs and other flabby bits are stopping me from swimming with whales!  Well, that and the fact I am not a very good traveller, don’t like flying, can’t dive without holding my nose and spend too much money on craft supplies and op-shopping to actually go and buy myself some holidays in exotic locations.  With whales.

Back to the jewellery.  K wanted me to re-string a shell she loved onto some string or thonging.  We’d already done this a while back but she wore it in the water (as she does) and it started fraying and disintegrating.  So I decided to go with tiger tail (not really ideal for water either but stronger) and bead the whole length.  Hope she likes it.  I know she wanted a more natural look but hopefully she will approve of this different approach….

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…also did some matching earrings…(both pieces using some wooden beads I bought last week)…

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…and, finally, I repaired and re-strung a bracelet I had made K ages ago.  This had also suffered disintegration via sea water baths and was barely holding itself together.  But it is fixed again now, ready for another few months of ocean swimming (and probably the odd whale/shark/seal/krakken sighting).

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It’s nice having someone appreciate my funny little crafting endeavours and so, to K, I say thank you 🙂

PS Sorry – very short post but I am completely shattered after a very long day lifting furniture, dealing with clients, trouble-shooting problems and just being in a general unorganised frenzy.  Hope you’re having a zen-like, calm and non-stressful week – send some of that over to me! 🙂

You’re Moving Out Today

You’re Moving Out Today

Pack up your rubber duck, I’d like to wish you luck…

I hate moving.  Moving sucks.  The packing of boxes, the culling of drawers and cupboards, the cleaning of areas long hidden by fridges and shelves and televisions.  The complete disarray of stuff everywhere that seems to multiply every time you think you’re just about done.  I hate moving.  But what I hate even more, is when everyone else is moving and you’re being left behind.  That is way worse.  This is the situation I find myself in this week.

My workplace has lots of staff.  Lots of people in lots of offices, spread out across two sites.  So many people, in fact, we ran out of room for everybody.  So, a new building was needed where everyone could be together under one roof.  Everyone, that is, except little old moi. Well, moi and a few counsellors and a couple of extra people.  But, mostly, just me.  Í have had a year to worry about it but I wasn’t prepared for how upset I would actually be when it happened.  Everyone is leaving me.  It doesn’t help that it has now been a year since I separated from hubby and I am feeling a little bit abandoned and pathetic all over again as I fill out divorce papers and deal with stuff I don’t want to deal with.

I love my workmates.  They have been such a support to me over the last year or so and I will miss them terribly now that I won’t see them every day.  I know they’re still working for the same company and I will see them from time to time, but it isn’t the same and my job will feel much less…well, just less.  I don’t love my job – I love being at my job because of the people here. I know I get overly emotionally attached to people, I do.  It’s a bit of an issue with me.  I don’t know that it is necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave me prone to ridiculous heartbreak and melancholy over relationships that are, except to me, quite superficial.  People who probably don’t give me a second thought once they leave work for the day.  I just get attached to people and do not like it when I have to leave them, or them leave me.  I don’t do well at Goodbyes.  I get teary when staff have send-offs at work, whether I know them or not.

I am also having a slight panic attack about my new role, which is basically my usual role with a whole new bunch of stuff tacked on to it.  I am going to have to deal with clients more than before which is worrying to me (my self-confidence and social ability being what they are) and I am not sure I will be up for much of what is now expected of me.  I think people think I am far more competent than I actually am.  I am secretly quite useless.  Now I will be the main “face” of the workplace.  I don’t have the kind of face you need to be a “face”.  I need a different face.

Mostly, I am just going to miss everybody – the banter, the gossip, the laughs and the friendship. The guffaws from down the hallway and the “Hello! Morning! Hi!” as each day begins.  I won’t miss the mess in the kitchen or the politics, but I would gladly have those if it meant I got to keep the people.  I will miss the silliness and the little daily interactions that make the time fly by.  I will miss yelling stuff over the communal wall when I need to let reception know things.  I will miss the lunchroom chatter.  I will miss being part of something and feeling like I belong.  I don’t ever feel like I belong anywhere, so to have had that for the last year and then have it taken away is a bit disturbing for me.

 Obviously, I am over-reacting.  I will see these people again and I will talk to them on the phone and via email.  I will get to catch up with them at staff meetings and will probably visit the new offices when and if I need to.  And, in about three years, we are having a new building constructed that will see us all together again under one roof.  But that is years away.  Everyone will have left by then.  People are not like me, they don’t stay somewhere for a million years.  I myself already feel like quitting.  I am actually feeling quite bereft at the thought of not having everyone here (in case you hadn’t guessed already).  I’m going to have to make my work be about, well, work…  I’ve been coming to work to see my friends – work itself was just something I had to do while I was seeing my friends.  Don’t get me wrong, I think I do a reasonable job – I get things done on time, usually early and I am prompt and efficient and accommodating with requests.  I follow up on things and I help people.  I strive to always give 100%.  But it’s harder to do those things when there’s no one around to notice or make you feel otherwise happy and a part of something.  I don’t want to leave this place but, at the end of the day, it is just that – a place.  Without the people in it, it’s just a few walls and some daggy carpet.

Basically, I am being a big baby and whinging about nothing.  I have a job – that is something to be thankful for – and if things are changing a little, well, I will just have to get used to it.  But I am not good at change.  Change is scary.  Change makes things uncertain and different and just icky.  Until they turn into the things you’re used to.  And that, I suppose is what I have to wait for.  Or I could just hide under a desk somewhere and pretend it’s all not happening.  That sounds much more like me 🙂

 

 

Dog and Cat Tails

Dog and Cat Tails

I miss having stories.  When I was a vet nurse I had interesting stories to tell and experiences to share.  I had tales of midnight emergencies and specialist surgeries, strange cases and funny ones too (removing a pair of men’s underpants from the intestines of a dog was always tricky – sometimes the offending article did not belong to the man of the house and that was always an awkward moment).  Even my injuries were interesting, ranging from an almost fractured kneecap when I dropped an Xray box on to it, to dog bites and scalpel cuts and various other surgical mishaps.  I once almost gave myself a flip-top thumb whilst removing a scalpel blade carelessly from its holder.  Ouch.  I’ve been stabbed with needles meant for the patient (cue yet another tetanus injection for me), had a nasty case of ringworm , been left bruised and battered by over-exuberant staffies (I love them, but God almighty they’re nuts) and left scarred for life by feral cats.

I was lucky in the dog-bite category.  I only had a couple in my decade-long nursing career and even one of those was an accident :  my arm just happened to get in the way of an in-pain German Shepherd who was just snapping at the sedation injection I was giving her.  My arm blew up into one massive haematoma and I was disappointed the swelling only lasted a couple of days before I could really show it off to anyone.

With people I am a coward.  I have no courage where human beings are concerned – they scare me and I don’t understand them.  Animals?  Piece of cake.  They make sense to me and I understand them and their basic behaviours and needs.  I prided myself on being able to make friends with nasty dogs and cats alike.  And if not succeeding in becoming a bosom buddy, I could at least gain enough trust that they wouldn’t try to eat my face off.  Which is always a bonus, let’s be honest.  We did have one dog I was mortally afraid of – a Scottish Terrier named Monty.  He was nasty.  He would strike fear into all our hearts as we prayed that we would not be the one to prepare him for surgery.  I could not, whatever I tried, make him like me.  He would go for the throat if he could,  but, being only a foot or so high, would generally go for the legs and ankles.  You could not take your eye off him for a second – he would have you.  Now, you may think Oh, little scotty dogs are so cute! They couldn’t hurt anyone!, but let me tell you, my friend, how very wrong you are.  Scottish Terriers may be small but they have the tenacity and (unfortunately) jaw size of a much larger dog.  Their jaws are as powerful as a  German Shepherd and their teeth just as large.  Not fun when you combine that with the strength and killer attitude of Attila the Hun.  Of course, not all scotties are like that, but Monty, bless him, was vicious.  We always treated him well and didn’t care for him any less than we should, but we were always glad to see the back of him – hopefully with no necessary follow-up appointments.

Some of the bigger dogs were also a handful.  Bear, a particularly unpleasant Rottweiler was a bit of a nightmare.  Though not a large Rotty (thank goodness), he was still big enough to do damage and serious damage at that.  He was kept permanently muzzled – there was no other way to stay safe around him.  I was usually the one called upon to help with sedating him fro surgery, a role that meant basically sitting on him, legs straddled around his head so he couldn’t turn to bite the injector at the side of him.  Fun times.  But still, he was no competition for Monty.

Cats could also pose a problem because they were more difficult to handle if aggressive and had extra weapons (ie teeth AND claws).  You can’t successfully muzzle a cat and they are strong and feisty when upset.  And claws and teeth HURT.  AND get infected and scar.  Speed is the name of the game when dealing with cats as they get cranky pretty quickly and the longer you handle them, the more agitated they get, which is fair enough.

One charming kitty we had to deal with (not regularly, thank goodness!) was called, not very imaginatively, “Puss”.  He was, to be frank, a psycho.  So much so that his owners had to bring him in to the clinic in a hessian sack.  There was no handling of Puss.  Touch him and you would lose a finger.  I’m afraid we had to almost shut his head in a cupboard once in order to inject him with sedative…this was an accidental method – not really the ethically recommended way of doing things.  Puss lived to a comfortable old age and (thankfully for us) did not get sick very often.  He lived with an ex-clinic cat of ours, a beautiful Russian Blue called Clouseau who was as delightful as Puss was dreadful.

In amongst the day-to-day, ordinary, bread-and-butter type cases, we also had lots of interesting patients, injuries and clients:

  • The little dog who needed intricate surgery to rebuild his ribcage after it was shattered during a savage dog attack.  That was interesting enough on its own but, to add to the story, when we clipped him up to prepare for surgery, we realised he was missing an eye, and obviously had been for several years.  The owners were completely unaware and had no idea what happened to the eye.
  • The gorgeous Border Collie Max who, also injured badly in an attack, was near death and almost lost a leg (it was almost ripped clean off).  The damage to his body was so severe and extensive, that his skin began dying off and he had to undergo surgery and skin grafts almost every day to repair the wounds and regrow the skin.  He had to wear a full body stocking and be carried everywhere to toilet and eat.  He remained with us for over a month and as he got steadily happier and healthier, he became a bit of a handful.  But I think we were all glad of that – he was returning to his former self and was obviously responding well to all the care and attention.
  • The unfortunate pooch who decided jumping on a lawn mower whilst it was being used was a good idea.  He was lucky to only lose three toes.
  • The gorgeous ginger tom who was admitted with a serious case of pyothorax (a bacterial infection in the chest cavity) who had to submit to daily treatment – the insertion of a surgical “tap” so we could drain off the pus and fluid filling his chest.  The most beautiful, well-natured feline in history – he never complained, never scratched or bit anyone despite being in pain and having to undergo such unpleasant treatment every day, without anaesthetic (because it would be too risky in his condition).
  • The Koala with cataracts.
  • The canine bowel obstructions caused by swallowed bones (full-sized), tennis balls (whole), squash balls, metres of elastic, bras, socks, corn cobs and other paraphernalia.
  • The amputees and the pregnant mummies, the over-sized tumours and the late-night emergency calls to treat Fido who’d consumed entire boxes of snail pellets or birth control pills or condoms.
  • The abandoned kittens and the neglected puppies.
  • The wounded kangaroos and the injured and lost baby birds.
  • The vomiting vets (allergic to anaesthetic fumes) and the fainting nurses, the hysterical clients and the annoying ones, the men who would sob at the loss of their beloved “mate” and the children who would watch stoically as their lifelong companion fought for his or her life.

There were so many wonderful animals and the people who loved them.  I won’t go into the people who didn’t fall into this category – the neglectful ones, the down-right abusive ones and the ones who had no business owning an animal or being anywhere near one.  Cruelty to animals is something I do not understand and cannot bear.

 So I miss having tales to tell and being around animals as much as I was.  I loved my extended four-legged family and came to know some of them as well as my own pets.  I celebrated their successes and return to health and mourned their passing when the time came.  I never begrudged the blood or the muck, the endless sweeping and mopping of hairy floors or the constant changing of newspaper in the kennels.  I stood in the rain with dogs on leads, waiting patiently for a cocked leg or a dainty squat.  I welcomed newborns into the world and said goodbye to the elderly friends whose life had become a struggle and the only thing left to do was grant them peace and to do so with love and dignity.  Although euthanasia was always sad, I also looked at it as a blessing – the final loving gesture that could rid a life of pain.

 The job was stressful and, at times, difficult to deal with, but I will always remember the characters I met and the wonderful people who cared for them.  It made me hug my own animals a little bit tighter and pray for their continued good health (vet nurses are the worst – we know what can go wrong and every sign and symptom foretells death and doom).

I miss having any pets (I have never liked saying “pets” – it seems disrespectful, but “animals” seems too distant and clinical) and I hope to one day have a menagerie again.  In the meantime I pay special attention to our office dog and make friends with neighbourhood cats, watch the local waterbirds and listen intently to friends’ tales of their furry family member’s antics.  If you are lucky enough to be blessed with a four-legged, furred, feathered, scaled or hoofed friend, may you get to enjoy their company for many years and share lots of happy times together.  Give them a cuddle from me.

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