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Our New Home

One thing that is different between DF and myself is the number of times we’ve moved.  I can count on one hand, at least right now, the number of permanent homes I’ve had (I can count on two hands if you include temporary places I’ve lived for short months here and there).  DF, however, has moved so many times in his life he can hardly count them.  But, we both agree that we don’t want to move a lot in our life together. So, we set out to find our ‘forever home’.

We had a few criteria for our home, and initially we weren’t expecting to ‘seriously’ look until January.  But, we did feel it was important to look at places together so we would get a good handle on our likes and dislikes – we’d both looked at places in the past, but never together.

Our first trip out was quite productive and there was one place that was interesting to us.  We started talking about putting in an offer, but felt as though we should look some more.  It turned out that an offer was already accepted on that place. BUT, on our next trip out to look at places there was this one place. It was rough around the edges – a one owner home it is definitely ‘retro’.  But, it had a LOT of potential and met our criteria

So we took a leap and will own our home in a few short weeks!

So what criteria did we have for our home?

  1. Reduce my commute – I don’t foresee myself changing hospitals so minimizing my commute is important. DF could easily change locations for his job.
  2. Bright sunny big yard – big enough for kids, a dog and LOTS of gardening.
  3. Good community feel – in an ideal world close to certain friends so we can build community together, but also within a neighborhood that is community-focused.
  4. Quiet street – I want to feel relatively safe letting any kids we have (or friends/family’s kids) outside without one of us having to be close by at all times.
  5. Potential for what we envision in our future – as mentioned above.  We did not want a ‘starter’ home, but rather a home that could grow and expand as we need it to.

So, how well does our home fit the criteria?

  1. Right now it takes me ~30min to drive to work.  I try to walk out the door between 45-40min before I have to be there, to give me the time I need, especially with parking away from the hospital on weekdays.  The new commute drops down to about 15min.  The surprising thing is that this new place is only ~1mile from our current place. It’s amazing how a small distance can make a huge difference.
  2. The place has a big, sunny, yard – it’s on a corner lot so there is lots of space and no one on one side!
  3. The neighbors have already been quite welcoming, and are happy to have a couple move in (we are more community minded than the cranky 90 year old who lived in the house prior to us).
  4. It’s a dead end street, and our end is apparently used for street hockey and games regularly.
  5. There is great potential – if we need more space we can build on without losing too much yard, and with 4 bedrooms and 2 floors we have plenty of room for a long time to come!

We cannot wait until we close! Less than 2 weeks to go!

Well the proposal really began well before the actual date the question was ‘popped’.  We hiked the Westcoast Trail on Vancouver Island in August/2012. This particular hiking trip was one I have always wanted to do and had never known anyone interested or experienced in doing a long multi-night trip.

In DF I met the one person I trusted enough for a week on the trail.  It was intense (more so because we rushed through the trip rather than going slow and enjoying the hikes -next time we are doing it over many more nights!).  At the end of the trip, we both got sick with “Tsusiat’s Revenge”. DF had it worse than I did, but we both felt like death.  On our last morning (after a very rough night) we had an easy 12k hike out. This end of the trail was flat, was well defined and comfortable.  I would liken it to the trails around Stanley Park.  As we were hiking, I realized how sick DF was, and became worried that he would need more medical attention than I could give on the trail.  I started urging him to go faster so we’d be able to get out, get the bus, get back to our car so I could take him to the Doctor.  Sadly, he made it to the 6k marker and couldn’t go on as he was doubled over sick.  Thankfully, I’m a runner, so I dropped my pack beside him, grabbed my (no longer Tsusiat-Falls-Contaminated) water bottle and started sprinting.  A challenge in hiking boots.

Normally the 12k we did that day should take about 4hrs to complete, and I was so worried about DF that I did the last 6k in 1hr (which shocked the Park’s employee once I found her).  Every time I passed a person on the trail I asked them to give Dan an update on where I was.  We ended up having Parks Canada people go in to where DF was huddled in his bright orange sleeping bag, carry our packs, and help him out to a boat that was waiting on a beach ~1.5km away.  We met in the town of Bamfield and went to the clinic so DF could get fixed up.  We ended up spending one more night in Bamfield so I could nurse him back to health before the crazy bus trip back to our car.

That night I went digging through DF’s Pack to see if he had any clean clothes left. I gave up pretty quickly as I recalled that he hadn’t packed any extras.  Little did I know that I was within inches of discovering something surprising and sparkly hidden in his clothing.

All in all, we had many discussions about getting married, but I wasn’t really expecting a proposal just yet, so it came as a complete surprise…

Suffice it to say the engagement happened immediately after we got home (and slept a bit). It was hilarious, special and I will never forget that moment.

 

As I reflect on what this blog is to become I can’t help but consider where my life is at now, and where it is going…

When I last blogged I had just moved across an international border, was starting a new job, adapting to a new place, living with someone again (I had been living alone for years – and have never lived with a partner before, and let me tell you I LOVE living with DF like I have never loved living with anyone!) and planning for the future…

Since then we have gotten engaged, started planning our wedding and began hunting for a home.  That hunt went quickly and we will be home owners when our place closes in a few short weeks!

Moving into our new home wont happen until the end of March, or so, since our place needs A LOT of renovations we will take advantage of the first few weeks to get things progressing towards.

So, with it being January, what are some of my goals for 2013?

  1. Plan our Wedding
  2. Move into what is hopefully our forever home and work towards making it a nicely decorated, welcoming place where our friends, family and neighbors feel welcome.
  3. Start working towards garden spaces in our home. One long term goal of mine is to be productive with our space so that we can reduce our grocery bills. I would love to be able to work towards 100% of our produce being grown at home. How awesome would that be??? That is definitely a long term goal, though, as for that to truly be an option I will need a greenhouse which isn’t a top priority purchase (a fence is a higher priority for outdoor purchases)…  But we can start this year, as we are right in the correct window to get gardens going…
  4. And of course there are knitting-related goals too…

So, for now I am going to post a couple of posts in rapid succession to help get my readers (if I have any left) updated on where things are at.  How will this blog be used (and will there be posts???).  I would like to resume posting and perhaps will have to set a goal or a plan – perhaps even booking it in my calendar.  I am envisioning blogging about the garden development and progress, the home renovations and how all of that interplays into our family’s life.

Major Life Changes

Life is taking a huge turn. I am moving. Not only am I moving, I am changing cities. Not only am I changing cities, but I am changing countries. Plus, my boyfriend and I will be living together, not to mention we need to integrate our two, old, cats.

While I am still considering how to proceed with this blog – and can certainly see blogging about building a new life and a new community in a new place, my boyfriend and I have started a blog together! From the perspective of our cats. Yes, that is right. We will be telling the stories of the integration of two cats, who have not successfully lived with other cats, through the eyes of the cats.

If you are interested in following along feel free to check out The War of the Cats.  In the mean time, I will continue to reflect on what to do with this blog. On the bright side there will be much less commuting, so perhaps I will have more time to blog?

December 12, 2010.  That was the last date that I posted on this blog.  I can’t help but wonder if anyone is reading this anymore? Well, since I haven’t posted, I would assume not.  There have been hits, of course, people looking up old posts.

Anyhow, if anyone is reading this, I do want to send out a ‘Happy New Year’ post that is more than a year delayed!

So much has happened this past year that it’s hard to know where to begin.   Perhaps an explanation as to why I’ve disappeared for this past year:

  1. Life is just crazy busy.  Life has gone from busy to bonkers.  I was in school with projects and deadlines, I had the CRNE to study for, then the NCLEX-RN (I passed both!) and I’ve spent most days off commuting between cities (across a border), but more on this in a moment.
  2. I’ve started a full time job – and was working as a casual, but full time, in the mean time.  I do nothing but sleep, take care of myself and relax between shifts.
  3. I hesitate to post about anything work-related as I want to be very very careful to respect the confidentiality of my patients, and workplace. I know privacy can be a concern with the internet so I don’t want to post anything that could come back to haunt me.
  4. There have been some major changes in my life, all good (that I’ll get to), but it creates a challenge in terms of content.
  5. I want to blog about ‘living my life well’ but that’s a rather broad topic and I’m not sure how to pare it down into a series of posts that are relevant, interesting to my readers etc etc.  I also know that it’s partly so friends and loved ones can keep up with me, true. But, I’m still not sure what it all means: living my life intentionally, health and fitness, student-loan pay-offs etc, family and relationships etc.  See??? All rather broad.  And knowing the current direction of my life, it could mean many other things too. So, if anyone is reading this, and has comments, there’s a comment box at the bottom of this post (just click on this post so it’s on its own page. It asks for an email address, and it wont get posted or used by me, it’s just to verify you’re not a spammer).

Anyhow, since my life has gone through so many changes in 2011, perhaps a “Top Ten Highlights of 2011” is in order.

10.  I AM NO LONGER A STUDENT!!! That is definitely a highlight! I finished Nursing School, am done with pesky assignments, no more APA (unless I need to write for work, I suppose…), and no more Monday to Friday 9-5.

9.  Passing the NCLEX-RN (US) exam. It’s a tough exam, and designed very differently from the CRNE (Canadian exam).  Both exams I’m proud of passing, but the NCLEX has a lower pass rate for Canadian trained RNs and the way the exam is set up makes it seem harder (and I believe it is).  I used to have a link with the data, but if you do some searches it data from official sources can be found — I passed it several months ago and I have long-since deleted the links.

8.  I was immediately hired on where I worked as a student, as an RN.  I still work there, but only pick up shifts occasionally. So jobs, money and all that worry post-graduation was for naught.

7.  About 6 months after I finished school I was hired at my dream job — in a full time position! I love it there.

6.  Many miles of commuting across an international border between two cities. I haven’t moved, but do spend a lot of time in another city.  I cherish those miles of driving — it gives me a lot of time to think and reflect.

5.  My nursing school graduation gala dinner.  That was a delightful party with many friends and a reminder of :

Hello Nurse!

and many other moments of hilarity. There were many gorgeous nurses who are at the start of amazing careers.

4.  Memory Lane Camping trip. I had the chance to go on a camping trip throughout Oregon this past summer.  The time was spent walking down memory lane, it was a delight and eye opening.

3.  Visits to Portland meeting some special people.

2.  My birthday this year was spent in a nearby town with some very special people.  People I was just meeting, or have been getting to know this year

And… Number 1 is…

The biggest highlight of my year intertwines with all of the previous highlights, and goes back to New Years Eve 2010/2011. That weekend, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I ended up going to a dance event.  I worked up the courage to take initiative in asking people to dance — it was follow (female) heavy, and I’d been asked by several beginners.  So I decided it was time to be more assertive.

That decision to go to that dance event was one of those minor life choices that we make that seem innocuous at the time but end up being a significant turning point.  The reason for this is shortly after midnight, I asked the DJ to dance and I ended up meeting the love of my life. When people say that finding love happens when you least expect it is certainly true.  This past year I have begun a journey that I cherish with an amazing man.  We don’t live in the same city – yet, but are working on how to make that happen.

The trips to Portland are for family reasons (his) and my birthday in a nearby town was so I could meet his brother and Fiancee when they were in Portland for Christmas.  The camping trip wasn’t my memory lane, it was his — and it was a special time of learning all about his history and where he’s lived.

The question comes, will I continue posting? I hope so, I have goals and plans for 2012 that definitely fall into ‘living life well’ and if I can figure out how that  could all shape into blog posts, they will show up here. On the bright side: I’m no longer required to come up with ‘reflective journals’ for school so that makes me enjoy posting here more!

As I reflect on these highlights I smile in amazement at the bend in the road and I am excited (and nervous – but in the good, anticipatory way) about all the changes that 2012 will bring.  I hope 2012 is an amazing year full of wonder and growth and most of all, happy, for all of us.  Happy New Year.

End of Term Reflections

What can I say about life since school started back up in September? Very little is new for me, yet I feel like so much has changed.  School was one thing: busy.  I’ve had group assignments like crazy — as usual — though this time I’m dealing with a group member who is less than effective, to say the least.  The issues with this one person were so intense that I lost many hours of sleep trying to figure out how to handle the situation.  The challenge was, this group member has a complete lack of respect for the other members of the group, wouldn’t work within the group process and occasionally seemed to sabotage the group assignments.  I wont start a rant about all that this person does, as I do have to continue to work with them through the next rotation (believe me, this group has a lot to do before Feb 10th, but I can’t wait to be done with this person!).

 

Suffice it to say, this rotation has been nothing but busy. I am not really sure of the count anymore — well, to be honest, I don’t want to go look — but I think I had about 14 deadlines in the space of a few weeks.  As such, I feel like I’ve done very little lately: when asked I don’t know what to say.  But the reality is, I haven’t totally disappeared, I’ve hung out with school friends, I’ve kept running — slowly, but still moving forward — and I’ve been meeting with some friends who knit.

 

This term has been important for shaping me in some important ways.  It’s been a time of better refining what I enjoy and where I want my career to start.  I’ve realized that what I appreciate is working with children, and their families, to support the children to reach whatever potential they may have.  I find this more gratifying than working with a geriatric population and supporting them as they move towards the end of their life.  I’m not saying that nursing in that population isn’t important, or there isn’t the potential for some important work to be done, just that when I compare the two populations I do prefer pediatrics.  However, we’ll see what direction my career actually takes, as I don’t ‘dislike’ geriatric units, but when I have to state a preference, that’s where I stand.

 

Next term I will be back on a geriatric unit for my last rotation before my preceptorship; I don’t yet know where my preceptorship will be (though I’m hopeful it will be a pediatric placement).

 

The other rotation I had this term was maternity.  This particular rotation was generally a happy one: the patients are in the middle of a major life transition, but overall it’s a happy one.  The patients are full of joy and wonderment and a lot of uncertainty.  For me, I think it was the hardest rotation out of all of them (though it’s not one that gets a ‘I’d NEVER work there’ from me — that’s Mental Health with Community a close second – I could see myself working in maternity – maybe). I’m not saying that it’s a hard place to work (it’s not), rather, I think it hit me the hardest.

 

The thing with this unit is it’s families, couples and single women being given this amazing gift of a new baby — or babies (I did work with a family that had identical twins too!).  This particular unit made me face the reality of what I want most of all: a family of my own.  Every day I was reminded of my dreams, and every day I think I grieved the loss of what I feel like I’ve never been allowed to have.  I don’t particularly want to get into details of this topic in this post, but I will get back to it, and I expect it will be soon.

 

Suffice it to say, being faced with newly formed families on a daily basis was very difficult.  I think I was lucky in who was in my clinical group — I felt very safe to be honest about this (though I was probably the quietest about this, compared with the others in my group) with this group of women.  I was also faced with the reality, like I haven’t been before, that I am getting to the point where I NEED to decide if I’m going to have a family on my own: even without a husband.  That thought breaks my heart. I know that I will have much processing and grieving to do if that’s the path my life ends up taking, but I’ve also realized that I would regret it if I let an inability to find a husband hold me back from having a family.  Again, this whole topic could be a book on its own, let alone a separate blog post.

 

I do think, overall, my perspective has shifted: from a resistance to the idea (of single motherhood), to a realization that it may be my reality, even if it’s not what I prefer.  My priorities leaving school haven’t changed: find a full-time job, pay of debt and buy a place.  But interspersed in that is the realization that I need to be preparing myself and my life for a family.  It could mean moving to the states and working there for a while (that’s an idea I still carry, and plan to work towards once I’m done school), but if I do end up as a single mother, I will move home: the support of my family is essential.

 

All in all it was an emotional term, one that is taking a lot of time for me to process.

Kitty Food

I confess, I buy my cat’s food at Costco in bulk and just feed her that. She doesn’t seem the worst for it, but sometimes I think I should consider her feed more closely. She’s so fluffy it’s hard to tell if she’s overweight:

Anyhow, my dear friend Melanie has a kitty food review posted, and I get a chance to win a tester pack if I post something on my blog. So, for those who are actually following my blog still (I have been going BONKERS with school, but I’ll get back to posting about a balanced life and living life well, once my life is… er… balanced…) here’s a link to her post.

Check it out, and if you’re from Canada comment and you have a chance to win. Say I sent ya!