Well hello there! Goodness – the last two weeks have just zipped by. In a flurry of making. Mostly Christmas making. A little bit of birthday making. Busy fingers indeed, with many hot creamy coffees to kickstart early morning stitching (one morning I made a bag between 5 am and school drop off!), and steamy cups of tea to keep the fingers moving into the wee hours. So much to show!
But first … the dreaded GRAD YEAR! I realised the other day – well, actually I was reminded by a lovely reader’s concerned email- that whilst I had blabbed all over instagram about the grad year applications, I hadn’t written about it here. So, here it is! On the 14th October – an hour later than I thought was the designated time – I received an offer. My first preference – The Alfred. And last week I finally received my contract – I will be working a 4 day week (phew!) in the Renal, Endocrinology and Rheumatology Ward. Also a first preference. All that fretting ….
I really like more complex nursing where the patients have conditions that affect them systemically – where you’re constantly assessing and caring for the whole person not just one thing (I’m not at all cut out for the likes of orthopaedics – too production line).
I also like patients that hang around for a bit (not so good for them of course) because I really like building relationships with people and their families. And Renal and Endocrinology – well that’s a growth industry in our western societies at the moment so the skills and experience I gain will stand me in good stead.
I hummed and haahed over these preferences. I really really really would have loved to work at the Children’s and initially made them number 1. But then … they are on the other side of town – so dreadful travelling – horrible public transport – no train, only tram with a change in town that requires running helter skelter down two blocks and up 1. Car is no better – shocking traffic coming home from earlies (can take up to 2 hours to travel less than 10km) and often bad starting lates as well – and difficult, expensive parking.
Secondly – when I spoke with people in the know in Bega they said that if I applied to the new Bega hospital having done my grad year at the Children’s they’d be all “oh how nice.” But if I applied having done my grad year at The Alfred, they’d be all “Woo-hoo! Sign her up quick!” Even my pharmacist yesterday was excited by the Alfred – it’s such a big hospital – and the state centre for so much, that I will see HEAPS. And I loved working there in the ICU. It’s a great place – especially for a learner like me.
So – as of the 12 January, 2015, I will be Lily Boot, Registered Nurse (Grade 2) at The Alfred. Extraordinary really. Really. I arrived in Melbourne 5 years ago, with a basic BA, years of tutoring and boarding school work behind me, a smattering of retail experience and my horizons extending only as far as the dear little bookshop I worked at up in Elsternwick. And I loved it.
But once that began to wind up – and Abby was settled into high school – and Julian busy with his work – and dreams of moving to the country/beach and building our own straw bale home began to take shape – I needed something else. Something to fill up those long empty hours. Something to challenge my mind. Something to give me skills that would allow me to both contribute meaningfully to my community and give me a decent living so that our country/beach/strawbale dream could become a reality. And nursing just ticked all the boxes. I still can’t believe I did it!
I think back to that first year – travelling into town 4 days a week, sitting in classes, grasping exactly how they wanted me to write an essay (scientists are so different to humanists!), picking my way through the throngs of noisy teenagers I shared my classes with. It was so weird. I was really scared about losing my sense of being – of stopping being me – stay at home mum to Abby, wife to Julian, stitcher, knitter, home potterer. Still am a bit. And the end goal of BEING a nurse seemed ridiculously far away. Oy!
But the take home message dear reader – do it! Doesn’t matter how old you are (I was by far the eldest in every class and on almost every ward). Doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. Just do it! Pick that thing you’ve always thought might be good and jump in feet first. It will be scary and overwhelming and make you think you’ve utterly lost the plot sometimes, but if you just keep plodding away, it can happen. I failed Biology in high school – which was 25 years ago – and yet I topped my University Physiology and Anatomy class.
Honestly, I think as adults – especially creative adults like us, who enjoy a challenge, learning something new, keeping busy – we are so well suited to starting something new. We’ve sorted almost everything else. We’re know we can’t afford to stuff around – time, money, family, responsibilities and all. And we know how time flies.
We’re so much more efficient and capable than those lovely, ditzy teenagers (said with complete affection – I made many lovely friends amongst my young classmates! – and they’re only just like I was when I was their age) and we’ve just had so much more experience at LIFE, that so many things make so much more sense to us than them.
So – if you want to make a change, come over here so I can wholeheartedly throw my arms around you, give you a big hug, and say “Of course you can!!!!!!!”
Okay … onto pointy little Christmas hats …
So Mum’s gone to Canada for the holidays – we have family in Vancouver – and at the last minute – of course it was last minute – I thought it would be nice to knit each of the little cousins – there’s 5 of them now – a pointy elfy hat for Christmas.
I could just picture them all at Aunty Mary’s, the snow falling outside, the lights twinkling inside, and all five of them lined up – in height order – with their pointy knitted hats. What a cute photo, huh! So a couple of days before Mum arrived (her flight left from Melbourne), I began knitting and at first I was able to use wool from the stash. Awesome way to finish up leftover bulky yarn and I didn’t even have to leave the house. That’s my kind of crafting.
Biggest first – for my dear little 8 year old nephew Oscar. Thank goodness I did the biggest first. I would have hated knitting the biggest at 1:30am the morning Mum left.
Then I knitted the littlest – for my cute little 3 month old cousin James. That was a blitz. One episode of Zen, on iView, at my desk, and it was done.
Then there were three middles starting with my busy little 3 year old cousin Caleb.
But then there were no new colours for the next two – only rehashes of the previous three – bit ho-hum. I just had to go down to Wondoflex and for some reason, there never seemed to be a good time – until 2 days before Mum left.
Which meant I knitted one for my sweet little 18 month old cousin Frankie before I cooked Abby’s birthday supper the day before Mum left.
And finally knitted the last one for my funny little nephew Sam on the Thursday night AFTER Abby’s birthday supper. I think I cheered when I reached the decreasing rounds. And danced about as I cast off. Well staggered’s probably more accurate. It was very late.
However, I can now tell you, dear reader, that if you need to knit a heap of presents in a very short space of time – the Fuzzy Little Shapka Hat is the real deal. Awesomely easy, quick, lovely, doesn’t even use a whole ball of bulky … ticks all the boxes it does. Ravelled here.
And when the fam send me that photo – of all 5 little heads lined up in their stripey pointy elfy Christmas hats – I’ll be sure to show you :-)