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Friday, March 21, 2014

A little update and a lot of news...

Recently I made a little black and white knit  top using Kwik Sew 3766 - you can find the top here.

Prior to making that, I made a trial garment in cotton jersey.  I just didn't have time to blog about it.

This is the pattern, for those of you who already have seen the black and white top, and don't want to look at it again.  


It is a lovely simple top to make.  For this variation I used a cotton interlock, a very stable knit.  I cut size S but I really should cut a little large for this type of knit - it doesn't have quite the stretch factor recommended by the pattern.  On the other hand, the fabric was easy to sew,  and I didn't have any problems with needles, skipping stitches or any of the other delights that seem to happen with knits.

I made the hem deeper - 2 inches instead of 1 inch, because I rather like that look, and also because I needed to make the top shorter.  I also used a little cuff at the wrists instead of a hem, because I liked the look of it - it sort of adds a slight sporty touch.

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Now for the personal bit - don't worry, it isn't that personal just the news that I will be back in the Blogosphere soon.

Why - because I can't do it all.

Some of you know that I was going to start a Fourth Year in a Psychology degree this year.  I did, but I also had a lot on my work plate. 

And I like to do things properly.  And I like to manage my deadlines well.  And I was not going to be able to do anything well.  I don't mean perfection, but just competence, mastery and enjoyment of the task at hand.

Anne was right - I had to deprioritise something.   So I am going to drop an activity for the time being and restructure a few things.  The story so far:

When I did the first part of the degree (3 years) I was supporting my husband in a fairly traditional way.  This worked - he is a very busy General Physician (if you are in the USA, and Internist, specialist in internal medicine).  It does mean he needs total support, because his work is very demanding.  Also, you  have to be aware that the profession is not good at work/life balance, especially in the old school training he had.  So I factor that in, and make sure I am available to listen and so on.  And tried to make myself adaptable with my interests so we could do things together when we could organise it.

Then he had a bout of ill health.  His number one staff member of 15 years decided this was time to leave.  ( remember years ago working for a Doctor - I was a Registered Nurse once upon a long time ago - and he became ill - and my response was, don't worry, I'll look after things that are needed - like cancelling patients and so on).    The the other lady who had been there 18 years decided it was a good time to leave as well.  So he was in a pickle. He thought he could do the book work and as he is nearer retirement than he was, he would get the typing done by a transcription service, and have a part time receptionist.  I said how are you going to find time to do the bookwork, surely it is not that hard, I'll do it.

Silly me.  Things had changed a lot.  The BAS.  Yuk.  A huge accounting program to learn.  Zero knowledge.

And also lots of accounts to do from hospitals.  A huge backlog.  I took one look - and volunteered.  Silly me.  Still, I do like to get order in things, and I do like to eat :)

Then there is the general management - I seem to be doing that too.

So I have sort of become, as someone recently commented, the backbone.

Then there is the scanning project...

And the account backlog from the recent move and the tidying up of the old premises.

Then the getting new stationary, yellow pages etc etc.

What I have found is that I actually can't work for John, run the house entirely,  and study as well. So I made the difficult decision on Tuesday, after speaking to the academic advisor, to withdraw for now.

My husband was upset, but can see quite clearly, as can I, that I only had time for the bookkeeping  and that we need to get a system in place so I can just manage things and do the bookkeeping.  The the practice can support me, instead of me supporting it.  He always says I contribute my bit and more.

So it looks as though this year I am going to get a system going for the accounts, the filing problems, and the big scanning project.  For those of you that don't know what that is, we have to keep records, and we have a lot - a small room full, that all have to go onto digital storage before retirement, otherwise you have to keep a storage facility somewhere - and nothing can be disposed of until death, and after probate.   So I think the problem needs to be sorted out now, not when I am 90.  My husband is always amused at my pragmatic approach :).

I know I have made the right decision.  I do not need in any sense a further qualification - my first career was as a Registered Nurse, the I did a Bachelor of Arts (Honours 1), then I lectured in Television Studies, then I moved when I married John and could not get appropriate work.  So I started the Psychology degree.  Lots of twists and turns, but that is all part of the rich tapestry of life.

By the way, my husband is a very nice, very kind man, so that makes the decision easier.

And the plus side of this???? I'll be able to do a bit of sewing and blogging again. And no, this decision wasn't me trying to rationalise my decision :).  I have missed you all though :)

This weekend we have to clear out the old premises.  Then I will get on with making the second little black and white knit top which is my March garment of the month.

Sarah Liz



47 comments:

  1. Sarah, I know it must have been a hard decision to make giving up your studies. A few years ago I was in a very similar position with working full time (in a job that was too demanding anyway) then being out of the office for one day a week at university, as well as running the house! Something had to give, and unfortunately it was my mental health first, followed by the studying. I'm glad you've made your decision before trying to "do it all" made you ill.

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    1. Thank you for your thoughts Sam- and it is lovely to find out about you as well. Depression and anxiety are very real and horrible conditions, and I am sure our lifestyles do not help. I could tell I would succumb as I was already starting to get the signs.

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  2. I'm sure you've thought long and hard about your decision and went with what's ultimately best for your family. It's what we all would do. Good luck getting everything organized!!

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    1. Yes, there is only one decision really - keep your own health and sanity, and look after the ones you love.

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  3. I'm sorry to hear, Sarah Liz, that you've had to put on hold your plans for your Psychology degree - sometimes the timing just isn't right. I'm sure when the practice is running smoothly and all the paperwork is taken care of, you'll feel happy to continue your studies.

    best wishes
    Janine

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    1. Thank you Janine - this is what I told my husband - he felt bad, but I just told him it was timing and situational.

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  4. Sarah, best wishes. I am 15 hours away from a Masters Degree that I decided to not to continue to pursue about 5 years ago. I was just doing to much, with working full time, raising 3 teenage boys and taking care of a home. I too was mentally drained and ended up fighting depression. Godspeed dear.

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    1. Thank you Melanie - as you say, it is not worth the price of modern success, if depression is the result. That feeling of being drained is always telling you to change something.

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  5. You do what you need to do to maintain health and sanity. You know what is best for yourself and your family.

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    1. That's true BeaJay - if we look inside ourselves, we always find the answer.

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  6. Sarah, thank you so much for such an honest post. So many of us women, do believe we can 'have it all' and it takes a mighty brave and courageous woman to share the struggles and re-thinking a of decision like yours and admit 'having it all' just might not be worth it..... that there are other more important and worthy things in 'life'. As I age, I'm in my mid-50s now, I've come to realize that the 'only thing constant in life is change' and we do have to flex and adapt always, and seems you have learned how to master that with grace. On a purely selfish note, it'll be good to have you back.... writing and sharing about your wonderful projects!

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    1. Thank you Lisa. I find that a lot of sewing bloggers are courageous ladies - look at the replies today - talented, clever women who have had to make difficult choices. As you say, the definition of success now - having it all - does not always include the really important things of life. And change, as you say, is always with us - you only have to watch a garden to see the change everyday. It's nice to be back Lisa :)

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  7. You do have too much going on and I'm glad you have found a happy place. I know what it's like and it's not worth your mental health. Glad you'll be with us.

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    1. Yes, you have had your share of trials too DDD. Thank you for your thoughts and it is nice to be with you too.

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  8. Sorry to hear you had to change your plans. Multitasking is fine, as long as you don't overstretch yourself. With your workload it must be so much better to spend some peaceful time in the sewing room instead of returning from the practice to find yet another desk full of papers and more deadlines to meet! It must have been a hard decision for you but it's nice to have you back!

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    1. Yes, Marianne, it was as you say - and also, with not really dedicating myself to sorting everything out at the practice, the problems on all fronts were going to snowball. Not a good situation - it's better to withdraw gracefully, than to withdraw fail later. Being my husband's practice backbone was not on my wishlist, but that is life :). And it's nice to be back as well.

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  9. Everyone has summed up pretty much what I would have said. Postponing doesn't mean not doing. To share what I've been told on a number of occasions: you have to take care of you, too. =)

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    1. That is a good way of looking at it, L - and also, sometimes, the universe decrees you are just going to do it differently, when the time is right. I think a lot of us have to be told to take care of ourselves - it's almost like we need permission sometimes.

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  10. Sounds like you made the right decision, and I have to agree with everyone else. You are just making a slight detour for the time being. I am going to have to get this pattern, I have been looking for a basic tee shirt.

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    1. Yes. Your are right - life does have detours, and that is fine too. I've been on a few now - and guess what, I'm the richer for them :). This is a good basic tee - nothing fancy, and sews nicely. Very clear instructions - just watch the 1/4 inch seam allowances.

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  11. It takes a lot of mental strength to make definitive decisions. Especially when that appears on the surface to disadvantage you.ÑTo be your husband's practice backbone means that you have to be mentally strong, as you have shown you are. I'm glad he's a lovely person as otherwise this would have been much more difficult. You need to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy to continue in that role. From your description, you have clearly made the right decision. I admire your pragmatism and I definitely think it's better to withdraw from your course now than be forced to do so later or perform at a substandard level in one or more areas of your life. I agree, too, that we all become richer from detours in life's path - but we don't always recognise that at the time. This is a good time to start preparing those records for your husband's retirement, then you can spend time together rather than having them like a millstone around your necks. I'm glad you feel comfortable with your decision and hope you start to feel better soon - stress is so draining. I look forward to seeing more of you. My very best wishes to you both. :)

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    1. Thank you Anne for your, as always, insightful comments. Sometimes being pragmatic is not always easy either, but it generally serves me well - as does keeping in touch with reality. You are right, though, stress is draining, and that is how I am feeling at the moment. This will pass though.

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  12. I have been trying to find the words to respond to your post for the last day or so, but somehow I can't quite get it right. I wish you all the best. Studying is a big commitment at any stage and it is true, you can always get back to it. I read this quote yesterday and I feel it is quite a good one: so life has thrown a little wrench in your plans ... nevermind, it's not how you deal with your successes that counts, it's how you deal with your setbacks ...

    I wish you all the best with all the projects you have on. Good luck x

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    1. I agree, Giggles, sometimes it is hard to find the right words - but your sentiment is coming through loud and clear, and I really appreciate that.

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  13. Enjoy your extra "freedom". When you have so many demanding things going on, you cannot enjoy life, that is not living.

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  14. Hi Sarah Liz, your post is so thought provoking. Sometimes it takes more courage to accept something isn't working and change it than to keep struggling onwards. You can certainly go back to your studies when the other tasks are completed - and I'm sure, with your organisational skills, they'll be done quickly and efficiently. Best of luck and a big hug wings it's way from the UK x

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    1. Thank you Jacq, although it might take some time to get a head of steam up to tackle those tasks - I'm still a bit drained. That will pass though. You are right, so many times we do try and keep going when it is clear that it is not going to work.

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  15. Oh my goodness. You've just been through 'the wringer' and come out sane.
    Congratulations on making such a tough decision - but the decision that makes you happy.
    You're right. You can still go back and study, but for now you already have lots to achieve this year.
    Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. I'm chuckling - I'm not sure I went in sane:). You are right, it was one of those situations you would not wish for, but it's now nearly past.

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  16. Thank you for sharing with such honesty your situation and decision Sarah - it is heart-breaking to have to give up, even temporarily, something you so want to do and which would be so rewarding. I really feel for you and can see that you always do a superb job whatever you undertake. You will have the practice work sorted in no time, and we will look forward to more blog posts of your wonderful sewing. Maybe 2015 is your year to be a student!

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    1. Hello Patricia, yes, you are right - but it was obvious what was needed. I'm lucky in that my personality allows me to do well with whatever I have to do. And as you say, 2015 will bring, new, as yet to be revealed things.

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  17. I've Always Admired You Sarah Liz, And If It Even Possible, I Admire You Even More :) I Think It's Great That"Knowing" You, YouVe Thought Long And HaRd And Believe Your DecisionS are The best For Your Family At This Time.And Your HusbandBeing A Great Guy Of Course Felt Upset For You, BuT Truly,It's A Logical Nay Pragmatic Step, And We All Will Get To Benefit From Your Presence On The Blogosphere ;) hehe

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    1. Far, I'm very touched - I am quite ordinary really. Yes, John did feel bad - he is a good man, and I don't like seeing him in a mess either :). And, I shall enjoy being back with all of you too.

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  18. Sarahliz, Sending a big ole hug to you.. Know you have been super busy, trying to struggle and keep it all going, and getting it all done.. I admire your honesty, and your ability to make the decision, to do what is best for you and your family.. and I loved that you said, your hubby is sweet and kind, and you are there to help him with the stress of a busy doctors practice.. And as a long time hospital worker, I do see that doctors are under lots of stress. So nice that he has the good wife at home to help him... You are a fantastic lady!!!
    Look forward to seeing your sewing projects in the future..
    Best wishes on your work and getting all that office work organized.

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    1. Thank you Judy for your kind thoughts. Yes, doctor's do have a very stressful life - I knew that as a nurse, but now I know more, because I hear more about his problems, and see a lot more of them. And I'm looking forward to sewing again and seeing all of your projects too.

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  19. Sounds like a well considered decision. Good for you!

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    1. Yes, I did think hard about this :)

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  20. You are a fabulous lady (and a wonderful wife!). We women take on so much! Hoping the stress eases soon and life slows down a bit for you to enjoy it.

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    1. Thank you Annie - I think that it is important to enjoy life and find success sometimes where and how you are :)

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  21. Take all the time you need and put everything else aside. I think time wasted is the biggest regret people have. I hope you all find the stressful times make the good times better and that you find the time to study and a bit of time for yourself.

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    1. Yes, time wasted, and time wasted doing the things in life that are not important. People(and this includes the 4 pawed types) and relationships are what count in life, not other successes.

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  22. Oh wow the things we do to ourselves and so glad you had the piece of mind to work it through to a win/win solution for you both. Take care of yourself and it is all one step at a time with paperwork!

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    1. Thank you Sharon - yes, sometimes you do just have to take a step back and think things through. As for your advice about taking care of myself, - I shall - and the paperwork, most certainly one step at a time.

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  23. As the saying goes,' what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.' It is apparent you have thought this through carefully. I wish you all the best and will look forward to seeing more of your sewing as time permits!

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  24. Comgratulations on making your tough decision. It does sound like tou will have plenty to keep you intellectually challenged, even if not exactly in your field of interest. I hope your husband's health is returning, as you say it's not a job with much work-life balance and it sounds like you are very much needed at the mo.

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  25. I agree with a lot of comments above, especially "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!" I think you took the time to think this through and will find that you did mark the right decisions. Sewing therapy is good for the mind and soul!

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