31 July 2013

Taking August Off Pt 3

This week I've covered the job situation and the career situation, today is my "I'm going to bitch about the shitty things in my life" day.

I don't really want to though.


Sure, I'm not eligible to get a visa of indefinite leave or my British Citizenship (although, everyone thinks I'm entitled to because I'm married to a British Citizen but there is no supporting evidence for this anywhere) for another four years. Sure I don't have a start date for my job and am still broke. Sure I can't join the army and be bad ass. But I have my husband. I have Taekwon-Do. I have writing. I have my family. I have my old and new friends.

These don't make up for having a lack of fulfilling career at the moment, I do have to remind myself that life is not all bad and as the saying goes:

It's easy for me to fall into the hole of "I wasted my time getting my nursing degree and being separated from my husband and now I can't even do anything." instead of thinking "Look at all the opportunities you've been given." The husband cat has been pretty awesome and supportive anything I have wanted to do, which should be a given but not many couples experience (in my experience). I have a great coach who has not only helped me start competing again, but has included me into the British Army TKD training where I have met some great people. He is even trying to open the door where I may have a chance of training with Warren Vice, who holds all sorts of National and International Titles. I have stumbled onto a Yoga instructor, Natalie Coleman, who is the most calm and even tempered person I have ever met. I have been given the opportunity to have more time to write (with varying results) and to travel (also with varying results).

So, back to this whole "Taking August Off" thing. I'm going to blog as regularly as I can and keep going with some of the unfinished goals I set out in the first half of the year. I'll give myself until September before I start breaking out a new set of goals. Hopefully (fingers crossed) I will start work next month and a lot of the pressure I'm putting on myself can be eased.

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Taking August Off - Part One - Part Two

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Also, for those who don't know who Warren Vice is, he's the dude in the black and gold dobok. Don't worry, I just learned who he was a couple months ago.

30 July 2013

Taking August Off Pt 2

So yesterday I complained about my job situation, today I'm going to whine about my career. Be warned, it's dismal.

In fact, it is non-existent.Without a job it is dismally non-existent.

Sad cat is sad.
I know the difference between having a job and having a career, and you don't need to be employed by someone else to have a career. But when you've always seen yourself as a nurse working in a hospital or in a clinic it's hard to change your definition of a successful career. I know I have options of pursuing self-employment as a nurse, but I dont' feel like I have the expertise, knowledge, or experience to do that. I also feel like I need about ten to fifteen years more experience before I pursue a masters or PhD in nursing, if that's something that I still want to do in ten or fifteen years.

Last year, around this time, I had a notion that I wanted to join the British Army as nurse to see if that could reignite my love for nursing. I've had some experiences since nursing school that have left me scratching my head wondering, "Do I really want to do this for the next 35 years of my life?" and coming up with the answer of "No" every time. This time last year, I would have been able to join the army no problem, but as a nurse I was waiting for my registration to come through.

When I finally got my Nursing PIN I went straight to the recruiting office. My first recruiter conversations was "Have I considered becoming a chef or a Signaller?" went they told me I needed to be a UK resident for 5 years before I became a Nursing Officer. My second was "You can be Nurse Soldier." The third was "The rules have changed and nobody knew it was happening so you need your British citizenship or a visa of indefinite leave to remain. Even though you're part of the Commonwealth." Neither visa or citizenship is within my grasp for the next five years.

This is the kind of cat I wanted to be.
I only recently got the news about the rule change and being ineligible for service in the army and I'm still in the depths of disappointment. I had my heart set on it because I feel like it was my last chance to make something positive out of my nursing degree and you know, to join the Taekwon-Do team. With my non-existent start date for my job on a stroke rehab unit I just really want to throw the towel in with nursing and do something else. Not that that is totally financially feasible at the moment, but I was also reminded that my biological clock is running out and having a career change at 33 (when it will likely be financially feasible), which according to The Guardian is a typical age for a lot of people to start making the change, will be difficult when I start having a family.


Yesterday's blog post made me feel better, today's blog post makes me want to drink a lot of red wine. While you and I are talking over this bottle of wine, please share with me the best career or life advice you've ever received. 

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Taking August Off - Part One - Part Three

29 July 2013

Taking August Off Pt 1

Yes, I'm taking August off.

Not in the "I'm going to stop exercising" or "I'm going to stop blogging." or "I'm going to stop writing" sort of way. More like, "I'm not going to set any new goals for myself" sort of way. Busy being relative, but it's been a busy couple of months. Not busy as in "I don't have enough hours in the day" but busy being "mentally drained" and I need to recover.There have been a few life things that have left me a motivational sink hole, particularly pertaining to my job, career, and residency.

About sums it up.

Not that I want to detract from my successes in the last year, but after a year off work I'd like to start again. I had an interview at the beginning of May for a "Bank Nurse" position on a stroke rehab unit. This doesnt' resemble anything close to my idea of dream job, but I knew it was a place to start to gain experience and confidence for that dream job. Beginning of June I finally received more paperwork to fill out to start said job and it was completed promptly. Following completion I was given the impression that I potentially could have started working middle of June. Huzzah!

June came and went and I heard nothing positive. First, that I wasn't going to be starting, and second, my employers were still waiting on my references in Canada to come back. I heard this over and over again until about ten days ago when I called and a relatively new employee to the HR department told me my employer requires me to have up four years worth of references and I had given them only two: I missing years 2009 and from August 2012 to August 2013. I sighed at first, then wanted to bash my head against that desk, and then I wanted to bash the head of HR's head against a desk. It's one of those frustrating, bureaucratic, red tape moments where you want to throw a tantrum down the phone asking, "Why the EFF couldn't someone have told me this in JUNE?"


But! I kept my temper in check and thanked the woman for informing of this good news. I have since been chasing up people to be my references here in the UK and back in Canada. If there's one good thing about Facebook it's that you can keep in touch with people on a fairly low basis of commitment and I had a few former coworkers agree to write me a couple of references.

While I try to stay positive and patient throughout this prolonged period of transition, I feel like it's a good time to have a good complaining session. If you're going through something fraught with red tape and poor communication, leave me a comment. It's good to get things off your chest once in a while.

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Taking August Off: Part Two - Part Three

28 July 2013

Missed the Solstice Pt 4


10. Read two more books.
In my Week 5 update I had mentioned I finished reading three books by Jane Austen, "Emma", "Northanger Abbey", and "Persuasion". I have also re-read "The Eye of the World" and "The Great Hunt" by Robert Jordon. I probably could have gotten away with just saying "read" because I don't really remember what happened in the books the first time I read them about 14 years ago.

Oh look, new covers too!

Don't I sound old.

Don't answer that.

Still, keeping track of all my books, those read and unread, via GoodReads.

11. Write 2 more chapters for Elisa's Thoughts.
Sadly, I have only posted one chapter update from the chapters I wrote for the previous group of goals and not written any more chapters... I seriously need to hunker down and finish this. Not that I'm solely motivated by this, but now that people are leaving nice reviews I feel some extra motivation to keep going with this.

I will finish this project.

Also, I made a playlist on my YouTube channel using the songs that inspire me throughout the project.

12. GoodReads Widget
Complete April 6, 2013

27 July 2013

Missed the Solstice Pt 3


7. Post five chapters of #KK
See Part 2 for more on this...

8. Get tickets to see Tegan & Sara.
Originally my plan was to see them in Manchester, but when the tickets sold out and Susi M could come visit me we saw them in London at The Troxy. A single, solitary picture can be found here of my experience.

9. Visit four more English Heritage Sites.
No change from the last update in Week 5 about these sights. I did manage to see Windsor Castle, although not part of the English Heritage collective.

- - -

It's a short and to the point blog post, I know. Summer simply doesn't inspire indoor work for me.

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Part One - Part Two - Part Four

12 July 2013

Missed the Solstice Pt 2


3. Novel outline for Hashtag Kissing Katie
Several months ago Stephanie Pawley challenged me to a novel challenge, to blog one chapter a week (or at least a 500 word snipped of a chapter written) for the past three months.

It happened for neither of us, sadly.

Other life events and obligations just ended up taking priority over starting a new project. I'm not as stressed or worried about not finishing this project (it barely got a start, to be fair) for various reasons, mostly because I enjoyed what I did when I didn't get around to writing, and I have a number of other projects I really have my heart set on finishing.

4. Run twice a week.
In my Week 5 update for this 12 Week Challenge I mentioned that running wasn't happening. I was just walking. It was improvement from a previous running update as I thought I'd have to scrap it entirely but the Walk to Run programme I had started also wasn't going according to plan. I was still getting an intense pain in my knee.

After Week 5 my TKD instructor referred me to an osteopath that he used and since then I've had great success with the walk to run programme. The husband cat has also been a great support, "running" next to me as I go through my walk to run programme. I know it's not very challenging for him but it's nice to have someone with you to talk to during the walking bit.

5. Take a multivitamin daily.
I started off really well with this and then at the halfway mark somehow fell off the wagon. For whatever reason I got in my head that swallowing a single multivitamin (and occasionally an iron tablet) was a pain in the ass and my good track record deteriorated. Rapidly.

I'm back on track again since I bought a bottle of chewable tablets. 

They're tasty!

6. Get my blue belt in Tae Kwon Do.
My grading occurred before the Solstice so this goal is technically complete. I found about a week after the Solstice whether or not I passed.

A level pass? Shocking. I messed up pretty badly on the theory. But I'll take it.  
 - - -

Missed the Solstice Part One - Part Three - Part Four

11 July 2013

Missed the Solstice Pt 1

I am very acutely aware that the Summer Solstice was more or less three weeks ago. I've looked at my 12 Things in 12 Weeks until Summer Soltice list and posts a number of times, also aware I didn't get 80% of my goals accomplished... But it doesn't feel right to leave that group of goals without a final wrap up/reflection post before going on to the next set of goals.

So here is the final 12 Things post:

1. Complete the A to Z Challenge


2. Get my UK's Driver's license.
Well, let me tell you the hassle surrounding this goal. So you have one year from the date of your intention to stay in the UK to get your UK license. Until then you can drive on a "foreign" license. You can trade in a Canadian license for a UK before the year is up, but then you don't have a Canadian license anymore. But this is only handy if you took your test on a manual/standard vehicle in Canada, otherwise you can only become licensed in the UK to drive automatic vehicles.

So, over 10 years ago I took my driver's test in Canada on an automatic vehicle as that was my only option at the time. Since then I have only had a manual/standard car, save for 5 months. When I was 19 or 20 I even go into a friend's automatic car when I was DD and had to ask how to work it because I forgot what to do to get it to drive.

All of that driving experience? Irrelevant.

For me to trade in my Canadian license and then get licensed on a manual/standard would be the same procedure as me getting my Provisional (Learner's) license and then do a driving test. So that's what I'm doing.

Looking cheerful, as always for official government documentation...

I took my first theory test for my license earlier this week (I know, well after the Solstice) and failed. I was a disappointed cat, but I've already booked the retest for the 24th of this month. Fingers crossed 'cause I'm running out of time!

Also, the husband cat bought a new car. I actually like this one. Reminds me of my old cars. But better.

Any body else running out of time on some of their goals? It can't just be me!

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Missed the Solstice Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

07 July 2013

A Summer Update

After my YouTube upload I avoided opening up a new blog post document. I didn't avoid it outright before that: blogging just took a major back seat to everything else that was going on.There are a few reasons for this avoidance

1. Guilt - didn't keep the commitments I made with myself and others.
2. Time - The very limited time I had over this last week I spent on relaxing or hanging out with people.
3. Low Priority - As much as I wanted to make blogging, writing, and my goals a top priority, it couldn't happen. I've been sad about it some days, but I'm trying not to get hung up on it or see this as a failure: just a re prioritization.

Events like this,
Impromptu BBQ at new foreign nursing friends house in London.
I'm not getting any money for having Fosters, Bulmers, or Heinz in
this picture, but I wouldn't say no if they ever offered me any...
Tegan & Sara at The Troxy in London with Susi M.
The Killers at Wembley Stadium with Kristy D.

Thanks Tickets4Troops!
GTI National Championships in Cheltenham

My coach and assistant coach duking it out...
 And this:
Canada Day in Trafalgar Square after my husband came
home early and unexpectedly.

Thanks Mom for sending those shirts!

I have six days of training left until I compete in the World Tae Kwon Do tournament in Coventry so I may or may not have an update between now and then. I will be more on Twitter though: 140 characters at one time is all I can manage presently but I'm hoping everybody else is having a good summer. For those in the UK and experiencing a heat wave, are you trying to keep cool or relishing the warmth?