Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Okay

This semester at university has been tough. Tougher than it should have been. And I've been wanting to quit basically since the semester began. The last couple weeks, I've been contemplating whether I should take on a second course next semester, or just stick with one. Well, I have made my decision. I'm not going to come back at all.

In 2014, when Serge & Sew changed ownership, I voiced my desire to become the sewing machine technician for the store, as one of the previous owners held the position at the time. I want turned down as the intention was for the new owner's husband was to be trained for the job. I was told that was men's work. 

In 2015, I got to meet the regional technician for PFAFF, a man named Brian. I asked him how one becomes a sewing machine tech and he informed me that you had to hold a position with a business that was an official PFAFF dealer to be trained by PFAFF. I asked how a person is supposed to get a position without training, but all I got in response was a shrug. 

In 2016, I came to Edmonton. Discouraged from my attempts to get into this bizarre trade, I moved out here to go to school to become a math teacher. I got a job in another quilting shop pretty easily with my experience from Serge & Sew. This summer, I had a chat with one of the techs at Johnson's, my new place of work, and he was showing me something on a machine. He told me that he has to retire sometime and someone would have to replace him. 

I went to my boss and told him that I wanted to be a tech and that I would like to be trained. He told me that he already knew that because Brian (remember the regional PFAFF tech?) had told him so. Apparently, Brian was keeping an ear out for a position for me until he had heard that I moved away to go to university. After some deliberation, my boss told me that when Andy retires, if I want the job, it's mine. 

In the mean time, I still went forward with schooling. It sucked right from the get-go. I had no time. I didn't get what was being told to me. I didn't know anyone. And now that the semester is almost over, somehow it finally hit me. This isn't what I want to do. I clearly want to be a sewing machine technician. I have an opportunity in the semi-near future for that to happen. And I am wasting my time, energy, money and happiness trying to half-ass my way through school for a job I don't even really want. 

I know it isn't glamorous. It isn't going to make me a lot of money. It isn't something people are going to view as a major success. And that's okay. Because I love it! I love puzzles - being able to figure out what the problem is with each machine will be great. I love mechanics. I love sewing! And I really don't mind my lifestyle of simple and cheap. So it's okay. Screw what anyone else thinks of my job or lifestyle.  

It's okay! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Little Pink Backpack

So last night I'm waiting at the bus stop and this mom and her like 4 year old daughter wander up. The daughter says, "Mommy, I'm cold." So the mom tells her to get her mitts on. The little girl asks for help but her mom says, "I can't go in there. I'm smoking." So the little girl comes into the bus shelter with me and dumps the contents of her little, pink, furry backpack on the bench.

She starts sifting through the contents on the bench. She sets aside a Minnie Mouse toque and continues rifling through everything. Suddenly, the mother yells out, "Hurry up! The bus is here!" The little girl looks up to see the aforementioned bus and, now panicking, searches through her belongings at a faster pace. I asked, "Would you like some help?" And in the smallest, most polite voice she replies, "Yes, please."

She tells me she's looking for her little mittens. I eventually find a pair of thin, pink mittens and placed them with the matching toque she had put off to the side earlier. By this time, the bus had stopped. I began to stuff the remaining items, including another pair of mittens and some candy, back into the fluffy bag. I handed it to her and said we could get the toque and mittens on her on the bus. We then scrambled on board together.

She and her mom sat farther to the back of the bus. I did overhear the mother mentioning "the kind lady who helped her". I sat for a good fifteen minutes or so, contemplating the whole scenario, before I realized that I was on the wrong bus! I was so distracted from helping the small girl that I didn't even look at the number of the bus before stepping on. Oh well! So I'm a little late getting home. No big deal. At least I was able to help the adorable child find her mittens. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016


If anyone actually reads these things, you'll have noticed that it's been quite some time since my last post. This was actually brought to my attention by a recently acquired friend who happened to stumble upon this blog. Well, I suppose I should probably provide an update on my life.

The truth is, the last year and a half have been extremely difficult for me. It started with the ending of a relationship which I thought was "the one". It's amazing how you can love someone with all your heart and still know that it's not quite right. Things got tough. Financially, mostly. We were eating poorly because we simply could not afford decent food. This unhealthy diet caught up to me in the form of anemia. I was actually becoming slightly malnourished from our situation. The reason for our financial troubles were that he could not find a job.

Now... when I say "could not find a job", I don't mean there was no work to be had. I mean he literally could not bring himself to go out and find work. He suffered from a major bout of depression and had dealt with depression for many years. I remember the first time it became apparent to me. It was after a long, hard attempt at a new career path that didn't quite work out as well as we had hoped. He would go through phases of this depression, sometimes okay, sometimes reserved and secluding himself from the world. 

Anyway, this particular run was lasting far longer than I could bear. I was working full time, doing all the chores, mini side work here and there and we still weren't covering all the bills. So I eventually crumbled from the weight and decided I couldn't handle it any longer. I couldn't carry both of us for that long. 

I care very deeply for him. I like to think I was not cold and cruel. I got a room mate to help with costs, but allowed him to stay at the house for a while to figure out what to do with himself. But I also needed to figure out what to do with myself. 

After some deliberation, I chose to go back to school. I was sick of being in retail and having the basis of my career be to convince people to buy more stuff that they probably didn't really need. I decided I would like to become a math teacher. That seemed like a noble career. Something I could be proud to tell people I do for a living. And I quite enjoyed math in high school and my year of college. 

Yes! School it is! I have nothing holding me back. No partner to compromise with. But how to afford this... even with a roommate I was barely covering my bills working full time. It's all that debt I had accumulated from my business... Well, the idea that I wasn't limited to staying in Nanaimo was brought forth by a good friend of mine when I mentioned the idea of school. So I asked my sister in Edmonton how she would feel about me moving in with her. She gets a free babysitter here and there and I get cheap accommodation while I attempt to better myself. She was ecstatic at the idea! Okay! Off to Edmonton I go!

Well I moved in with her a few months later. The move was extremely hard. I was leaving behind a good number of very good friends to go somewhere I didn't really want to be to do something rather scary and to do it all by myself. Yes, I had my sister, but this was the first time that I had ever been single, really. I'd always had a partner to lean on when I needed. Now I was going to a strange city all by myself. 

It proved a difficult adjustment. I was lonely. Extremely lonely. My sister and her kids felt more like an invasion of personal space (in both directions) than support. I was alone. I tried to get out and meet people. But I found the city atmosphere not quite as warm and welcoming as the smaller communities I had lived in previously. I began to experience darkness that I had never known before...

You know that feeling when you just wake up from a bad dream? Right before you realize that everything is okay and that you are, in fact, safe in your own bed? Yeah that feeling. Now imagine that basically all the time. I knew in my head that my life wasn't bad. I had lots of people who cared about me. A roof over my head. Food in my belly. And yet... all I wanted was for everything to just end. Because nothingness seemed so much more peaceful than this complete loss. The loneliness. The fight to just keep going every day. The lack of purpose and direction. The constant bombardment of another thing going wrong. Just end... stop.

Well things got a little better when my mom moved in with us. My mother is an amazing woman and I felt comforted by her presence. But even after we moved to a bigger house that was supposed to accommodate us all, I still felt like I was invading her and my sister's space, and felt rather ashamed to be mooching off my family, especially since it seemed to bring me no freedom of my own. I felt trapped. Weak. Overwhelmed. So I decided to move out. 

It just so happened that a friend of mine, who just happened to be living in Edmonton, just happened to be in search of a roommate. Well it suited me just fine. We coordinated some ground rules, and I moved in shortly thereafter. This was great for the most part. She was an absolute sweetheart, if a little quirky. 

School started a week after the move. Well what a slap in the face! It had been eight long years since the last time I did any schooling. I couldn't believe how much I had forgotten. The enormous campus with seas of people were intimidating, to say the least. I was only in three classes, but I could not find the time, between work and class, to get my homework done. 

I broke. What a friggin' year and now that I finally get into school, which was the entire point of this endeavour, I can't even handle it! Well I went in tears to a counsellor at the university. He suggested looking at all that was on my plate and deciding what to keep and what to drop because it clearly did not all fit! I wound up dropping two of my three classes. I didn't want to quit altogether, but school was the ball I cold no longer juggle. 

But with a ball dropped, I still was not holding myself together very well. With constant health problems plaguing me, I was also in and out of a doctor's office regularly. One day, I went in and wound up breaking into tears in front of my doctor. They suggested antidepressant medication. I was ready to try anything to help get myself through each day. 

Well that night I took my first pill. The next morning, I got up and showered as per usual, only to find myself waking up from the base of the bathtub with the warm water pounding on me to the sounds of my roommate banging on the bathroom door and yelling, "Are you okay?!" I went to the hospital, after passing out a couple more times trying to get to the door to open it. I spent half a day in a hospital bed crying, wishing I had someone there to hold my hand. But I was still alone... 

So here I am... The antidepressants are still part of my daily routine, a couple months later. And I'm feeling like myself again. School is still hard, but I'm still going. I am now starting to meet some people and get out and socializing like the butterfly I am. I'm not overly impressed that I have to rely on drugs to get me through it, but it is definitely better than the alternative. Oh! And I moved again. (For those of you keeping track, that is move number four this year.) I am now in a basement suite. Currently by myself, though I am only renting one of two rooms. The other one will likely be filled soon. No hard feelings with my roommate! She just had to move, so I decided to no longer be a burden to her. 

Yeah, so that is my experience over the last year and a half. It's been a rough go. Plus... you know... David Bowie died... and no one wants to hear that news! Rest in peace, Goblin King!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Making of the Toys

I was asked by my sister to nanny for her while she was at a grooming competition in Seattle.  I always jump at any chance to hang out with my niblings! They live so far away. 

After giving the kidlets their quilts, I thought it would be fun to bring them to a quilt shop with me.  They were excited to bring their quilts and show them off.  I asked them to help me choose some souvenir fabric to back bring home to Canada. 

Nolan chose a green fabric with teal shapes and Jo chose a pink fabric with dogs on it (ick! But I got it just the same).  I found a couple other prints that caught my eye, but my favourite was the tooth fairy flannel. The fairies are quite deranged looking and their teeth are still covered in blood.  Who comes up with this stuff?!

On our way back to the hotel, Nolan asked for his fabric.  I explained that it wasn't "his" - that he just helped me pick it out.  The he asked if I would at least make him something with it.  And thus began the making of the toys.

Nolan asked for a creeper (from Minecraft).  Sweet.  All squares.  How hard could that be? And of course, one cannot make something for one child and not the other, so I asked Jo what she would like.  "A teal unicorn with purple horn and hooves and pink and yellow hair." Um... Okay... A little more complicated, but I could handle this.

I looked up sewing unicorn toy and found what I now know to be a "pony loaf".  I fell in love with this pony loaf idea, and knew just the perfect fabric to use - fireside! We had some teal at Serge & Sew, so off I went.  
Found some anime eyes online that I felt worked well since I didn't want to go out and buy plastic eyes and voila! I think she turned out pretty cute.  Went together quickly, too.
Oddly, my "all squares" creeper took way longer,  I decided to get all pixel-y and cut a bunch of scraps into squares and pieced them all together. 288 squares altogether.
I was very happy with the results, though.
And apparently, so were the kids! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Somehow in the last couple months I have become "too busy".  I blame trying to distract myself from the art quilt I'm trying to make for Colin (see previous blog).  I started making a very simple quilt for my niece with the intention to make one for Nolan as well and give the quilts to them for Christmas or something.

Well, then I was asked to watch the kids for a few days while my sister was in the area for a grooming competition. So in my mind the deadline moved up from Christmas to April 22. Doable, but I don't seem to be able to take into count that I simply can't work on it EVERY day.  

So other projects were put on the back burner.  I didn't get Colin's quilt done mid-April like I was hoping, so now that is  being delayed even longer due to the beach quilt I have to have done for the store by mid May.  Top is done for that, but deadlines come up quick.  

The stupid thing is the kids weren't even expecting these quilts.  I really had no reason to place them in such a high priority.  But at least they were well received.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Motivation by Avoidance

My friend, Becky, and I went to a social quilting day today.  Jonanco Hobby Workshop puts on "Jonanco Quilting Days" two to three times per year.  These events include a whole weekend of quilting, though I was only able to attend one of the four days. I was too busy sewing so I wasn't my usual camera-happy self, but Diane, one of the Jonanco organizers, managed to snap a picture of me at my machine.

I worked on a quilt for my niece. A nice easy square-in-a-square pattern that would come together quickly was just what I needed.  I managed to get the 12 blocks I needed pieced, though I was sort of hoping for a finished quilt top.  She's slightly obsessed with Frozen, so I grudgingly use Frozen fabric for her quilt.  It's a good thing I'm working on hers first, since I'm very much looking forward to Nolan's Star Wars quilt of the same pattern.  Olaf is pretty cute, though. 

I needed a bit of a break from my art quilt that I'm making for my dear friend of an artist, Colin Spencer. (He doesn't have a website and I don't have permission to post any of his work right at the moment, but here's a link to a print maker's website that has a couple of his pieces posted.) I was excited for the challenge. And it has proven to be quite the challenge.  The process is basic enough, but getting the stripes just right managed to frustrate me.  I got that part done but hadn't been motivated to go back and keep going, especially since there was another striped part I would have to work on - with even skinnier stripes! Here is what I've got so far...
You can see the coloured pieces on the left and might even be able to see where they will fit in on the right side there.  You can also see the template of the striped piece I needed to do next. Well, having a break with something simple seemed to be enough motivation to get going again this evening. I managed to get half the strips sewn together before I ran out of white thread....
Motivation for the win! Maybe I can actually get all my quilts done on time. Colin's art quilt by April 17, the kids quilts by April 23, beach quilt by May 15(ish) and maybe even catch up on the myster quilt that I'm a couple installments behind on.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

All Work and No Play...

When I first started writing this blog, it was going to be a rant.  I was having a bad day and was ready to throw in the towel on my goals in life.  Mostly because I have no real goals.

It started because, at work, there are a couple jobs that just make me feel like I'm useless... simple... like I haven't amounted to anything.  These include (but are not limited to) refilling stock from the overstock and vacuuming. I don't even mind vacuuming! But being told to as if I haven't noticed the crap all over the carpet is demeaning to me.

I start feeling like "I'm better than this! I was a straight A student! I owned my own business!" And I get frustrated.  

So why don't I have any goals to get me ahead in life? The simple answer is money.  The more accurate answer is fear.  I have spent the last five years with little to no extra spending money and every time I/we save up a little safety net of cash, something comes up and we lose it. And all of this to end up on the verge of bankruptcy. Part of this is the result of previous loans. Student loans make up about half of our financial struggle.  

And so the fear comes in to play.  I would love to go back to college and study botany or environmental science.  But the thought of getting student loans again is hard for me.  I don't want to end up in this same situation again. So I sit in limbo at my minimum wage job that promotes consumerism, which I rather despise especially since I realize I succumb to it.  Gotta be better, stronger, faster! But you'll only achieve this if you have the newest __________!

Anyway, I have come up with two goals: 
1 - Focus my career goal from botany/environmental science to a more specific job title.  
2 - Get involved somehow to help decrease the cost of education for everyone. 

I love the idea of charities (preferably small ones because the larger ones tend to make way more money than they put into the actual purpose of the charity. 

But first, I must make my life work around my goals.  I plan to take a book keeping course and hopefully work from home, making a school schedule much more viable.