Saturday, June 2, 2012

My journey into Tatting - the beginning

I love to try new things, learn new skills and that does not always mean honing nursing skills. I love to create whether it be with gardening, crochet, paper crafts, hand crafts, writing, painting. I have been trying to teach myself to tat.

Tatting is an old form of knotting that has been used to make lace and doilies. It requires a shuttle or needle and some thread. A tatting shuttle can range from ornate:

To the simple:

If you are interested in seeing the different types of shuttles (and there are many in many artistic forms), check out this blog:

Tatting needles are approximately 5" long and are the same diameter from tip to eye. Some people use a long doll needle.

From time to time I had thought about learning to tat, thinking "some day". It was placed on the back burner as many things had been when I started school and especially when going through nursing school. I was not overtly motivated until I started to create jewelry. I saw the following and said I WANT to do that!

So I got on YouTube and searched for tatting instructions and found several. I started with a simple shuttle technique video.

Tatting: How to make a Chain and a Ring

I worked at it and though I found it a bit daunting I did learn some things that many other videos had not mentioned. Such as the "flipping" of the ball thread on the shuttle thread. It also gave a very clear view of the "double stitch", the only real stitch in tatting.

I thought I would look at Tatting with a needle, just to see the differences. This video was very helpful and there is a series that I will be following until I personalize my own technique. We all adapt processes to our own style.

I found this very easy and was fascinated by her speed and technique. With just his video I was able to make two rings in a short amount of time. I will have to learn the finishing and attaching techniques in other videos. Here are my first attempts. Not bad for a novice. I will continue to improve on my technique.

BTW, one of the things I have to learn is not to go into Jo-Ann Fabrics looking for just one item when they are having a sale - on Jewelry Making - beads, findings, wire. But I should be set for awhile now...

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Have you ever found yourself trying to escape from life around you when there is something that you feel is out of your control? You find yourself doing it unconsciously, without thought, focusing on something inane or of lesser importance. And when it does finally come to your attention, you wince internally, an almost cringe of the gut.

I do not know about anyone else, but I find myself a bit annoyed with these actions within myself when I discover them. I give myself a mental shake. I am reminded I have survived countless tribulations, life-threatening illnesses and emerged on the other side of them renewed and a better person. I am reminded that I never walk alone.

Those remembrances strengthen my resolve to work the solution, to find the right path, to open my heart to possibilities, opportunities and guidance.

So today, I let go of the “I want” statements. Those statements that offer little to guide or solve but keep me revolving around myself and wallowing. Today I focus on actions and working solutions. Today I look at the problem head on and open myself up to the possibilities and opportunities I need to work to accept and move forward.

And I accept that while I have been given glimpses of my future, there is a process that tempers and hones, opportunities that will help me grow into the person I need to be so I am ready to step into the future self I glimpse ahead of me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Political Statement

I would like to make a political statement. I do not have an agenda but I take this opportunity to jot down a few thoughts.

1.       I am partly conservative and partly liberal so I guess that makes me a moderate. Like most people out there in the world, I vote according to my needs and how that vote will affect me and/or my loved ones.
2.      I do not believe that a president who shares my religion or skin color makes them good presidential material. A president is more than his skin color or his religion.
3.      I do not believe that the religion or the skin color of a candidate should be a mark against them for acceptability to run for president.
4.      Healthcare reforms…true healthcare reform will come only when the focus is taken off the money and put on the patient. The idea that hospitals are investment opportunities to fill out financial portfolios seems unethical to me. The idea that lining investors pockets takes president over the care and health of a patient is abhorrent to me.
5.      I don’t care how much money you have. Whether it be billions or $2.34 in your personal checking account. But I do take some offense at those people that pay a smaller percentage in taxes. I think it would go a long way to heal the rift between the haves and have-nots if we knew everyone paid their fair share. I do not care that Mr. Millionaire paid $100,000 in taxes and I paid $1,000. As long as the percentages are equal. I feel there is equality in that. Tax deductions should be limited to charitable spending and catastrophic medical expenses along with a per person flat rate deduction.
6.      That being said, I feel there should be remuneration for those who have suffered losses from a natural disaster.
7.      Fire, police, infrastructure and aid to the vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly need to come first before planting flowers or grant monies to artistic endeavors. Safety and the ability to move from town to town far outweigh cultural grants and should be sacrosanct.
8.     Personally, I think local businesses should be the ones beautifying their neighborhoods, not the government. I believe the government needs to get out of the business of planting flowers and painting murals.
9.      If the government is going to help people with mental health, medications and housing, they need to continue giving that help to those already in the program. They do not need to take on any more, but they should not be able to cut off or drop those already receiving help. It endangers their lives and in the end can cost more than the savings.
10.  I believe that each individual that receives government assistance should do something in return for that assistance. There are exceptions to that but for the most part they can crochet or knit or quilt items for the needy, they can help at a food bank, read to or tutor a special needs child, visit someone who is house bound due to condition or illness, volunteer to feed someone in a long-term care facility who has lost that ability to do for themselves. This whole “something for nothing” breeds an entitlement attitude that is unhealthy for our communities.
11.   While I believe that children should have a mother and a father present and active in their lives to get the best start in life, reality falls short of that ideal through divorce, death and irresponsibility. I believe that stability and loving interaction is more important than whether a child is raised by a gay couple or a single mom or single dad or single grandparent.
12.  While I would never think to force a religious group or church to perform marriage to a gay couple, there should be a secular solution to help protect non-traditional couples. Non-traditional couples are not always gay or lesbian but can also include straight couples who have pooled their resources for a better quality of life. A civil union, a binding contract – something so lives are not ripped apart when a partner dies, so that life-long non-married partners can visit them in the hospital and direct their care.
13.  I am tired of the back-biting, the nasty name-calling and the outright childishness of both major parties in our political system. The petty bickering and posturing is beginning to affect their ability to make and follow through on decisions that our country needs to be made to continue to function. I want to reach out and shake some sense into them. They are losing sight of why they were elected.
14.  It is more than time our veterans were given the respect and access to care they deserve. Counselors that question why a wife stays with her veteran husband, psychiatrists that wait 3 days before contacting a vet who is thinking of suicide, doctors prescribing pills in quantities that are addictive while never addressing the underlying cause, doctors that assume that all veterans are lying to try and get more money. Three years to process claims for disabilities that have been documented and proven while the vet looses more an more of his dignity and his ability to cope.

I don’t have answers to many of the problems facing our nation, our states, our communities. I know that my beliefs and opinions may not jibe with others within my circle. I have always been a bit of a maverick. For those things I can help with, I do. For those things that need intercession from government, I vote and I write letters.

Voting doesn’t make me a maverick, it makes me a good citizen.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Door Forcibly Opened

I’ve laid a hint here and there about things happening and that I had a story to tell. It is time to tell the story. 

On August 31, 2011, I was called to a meeting with my boss and the Human Resources Manager. Long story short, I was being relegated to fewer than 15 hours a week until I could find another position. Did I do anything to warrant this? Were they displeased with my performance? No, not really. Oh yes, I did make some minor errors that came from being new to the client management end of things, though nothing gross or devastating. They admitted that in most cases I would be mentored along as other new nurses to the company had been in the past. So why?

One of the reasons I had been offered the position was that one of the nurses had decided to give notice and look for work in an acute care setting, getting himself ready to become a travel nurse with his nurse wife. They also knew my work ethic and how I handled difficult clients and/or their family members. But the nurse who was going to leave decided to stay and here I was, an extra nurse in an agency who did not need me. And with the economy it was just too much to ask to pay nursing wages to do minimal nursing work that could be covered by the others in the office. I was told that I could continue to do the foot care program, working as a nurse until I found another position. And they would write a glowing letter of recommendation.

This was a blow. I was angry and hurt. But I did not stay that way. Certain things kept going through my mind. Doors I had closed being forcibly opened once more. And there was a relief, an emotional weight that lifted; a weight I had not even been aware of. I was fascinated by what was happening.

I was invited to continue getting the launch of a new program ready for alcohol detox. It gives me almost full-time hours at a reduced rate but with little vestiges of nursing here and there. I know they watched me to see what my reaction was going to be over the days that followed. I am still doing the foot care though only sporadically as they want my full effort on the program launch. I am working with nurses who respect me as a nurse and a co-worker. I find what I am doing challenging and exciting.

I will let you in on a little secret. Actually two secrets. My husband knew I was hurt and angry by what had happened. He also knew that I would continue to do my very best for this company despite the betrayal I felt. Yet, it was not until I spoke to him in-depth about what I needed to do, what I felt and how best to approach this new facet in my career that the anger and hurt began to really wane. He did not give me solutions; I was not asking for any. He did not give me resolution. He did listen and he responded and I found clarity in my confusion and the hurt melted away.

The second part of this, the second secret, is something that many of you may not understand but goes along with doors closed being forcibly opened. I love what I do as a nurse, as a caregiver. I enjoy the challenge of starting a new program utilizing my nursing skills as well as skills traditionally not considered nursing though they are integral to any nursing position. And yet what I was doing, my excitement and my vision of my future with this company seemed forced. My boss pointed out that she thought she was being selfish and having me as part of her team was forced. That this was not the place for me, despite my successes and my qualifications working with them for more than 6 years. I had shut the door on part of my original vision out of loyalty to this company and the great people I would continue to work with. I mean, what new nursing grad could turn down what was offered even before graduation? Nonetheless, I knew, deep in those dark reaches of my soul, that this was not where I needed to be. That still, small voice whispered, I rationalized.  

When that door was forcibly opened again, the self-imposed burden was lifted. The relief added to my confusion but as the clarity set in, as the hurt waned, I can better see the path before me. The destination is still obscured but the steps, or shall I say stops along the journey to that destination are getting clearer.

After re-vamping my resume, I have been applying to positions in different parts of Oregon and in different states. I have submitted my RN licensure by Endorsement to Washington State so I can look for work there. I will do the same to Idaho. I even have an interview next week. And so I slog with the rest of the tide looking for work. Interesting feeling.

Of course, I would have preferred to open that door on my own…I celebrate the fact that I discerned the rightness of that open door. The voice whispers and I listen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In Rsponse to Ask Amy

Dear Amy:
We need some insight regarding grandparents' rights.
Our son married a single mother of a 6-year-old boy and together they had a daughter.
From the start, we saw the baby almost daily.
Now almost 2, the baby is a delightful child who has given us a great deal of happiness.
We make a point to spend a lot of quality time with our granddaughter and have developed a wonderful relationship with her.
However, our son and daughter-in-law are insisting that we show the same level of affection with her son.
Now they are withholding visits with our granddaughter based on that condition.
While we have always welcomed this boy and have never mistreated him, we simply don't feel the same about him as our granddaughter. We think our son and his wife are being unreasonable.
Everyone we know agrees with us, and now we are looking for an impartial opinion.
First of all, is it wrong that we can't find a way to treat the two children exactly alike?
And, secondly, is it wrong that we should not be allowed to see our granddaughter because of this fact?
— Grandparents

Dear Grandparents:
It might seem impossible to feel exactly the same way about two children, but openly favoring one child is damaging to both children, the children's parents — and to you.
"Not mistreating" this boy is a depressingly low standard.
You may not be able to instantly muster the level of affection for your step-grandson that you do your granddaughter, but you don't seem to have made much of an effort. Isn't your grandparents' embrace big enough, wide enough and expansive enough for two?
I don't agree with the parents' decision to use their toddler daughter as a wedge to manipulate and control you, but I do agree with their effort to get your attention.
Your "right" to be with your grandchildren extends only as far as the parents wish it to. Visits are at their discretion.
I suggest you meet with your son and his wife (without the children present) to ask for their suggestions about ways you could get to know this grandson better. Give them suggestions, too, about how they can better help you to expand your reach.

In the morning I get up early enough to read the online comics and a little Dear Abby and Ask Amy before I have to get into the meat of the day. Above is from today’s (Saturday, August 20, 2011) Ask Amy column. Amy’s answer was rather lame, especially when she said the parents were wrong for withholding visits that were clearly damaging their family. But more than anything, today’s post made me think of the people in my life who accept, whose arms embrace, whose hearts grow to fill the need, even when they thought it couldn’t be done.

My mother was one that was surprised at how we integrated Barry, my ex-husband, into the family. In her life, when people divorce, they disappear, they are not spoken of except in general terms and only on very rare occasions. And if you should meet them on the street, it is a very, very awkward moment. Yet, because Barry was still a very big part of my life and the lives of her grandchildren, the whole family embraced and welcomed and loved him. When he remarried, his wife, Kitty, more fully integrated into our family. We all embraced her children. We accepted all of them. Her children remember my mom as grandma and have spoken of the wonderful memories associated with her and my dad. To my mom and dad, they were family.

I remember my mother bristling a bit when Kitty was showing pictures of her kids that included pictures of mine. She had thought Kitty was trying to usurp my motherhood. I let her know that Kitty was accepting my children into her heart as her own, not labeling them “Step.” I told her that my children knew I was their mother and they knew they could have a relationship with Kitty without offending me. We are all connected in this family web of ours. She never bristled again and embraced Kitty as fully as she embraced Barry.

I can add Afton and Rosel Hyde to this list as the embraced me into the family long before I married their son. Robert Hyde Jr who has a flock of kids that he treats as his own, whose blood connection is not nearly so important as the family connection he forges. Loraine Tackett who is mom to many more than those she gave birth to. And her children have that some acceptance, that same family embrace.

There are others I could add to this list, but this illustrates my point that family is those you let into your heart. Family is the connections and bonds we forge.Those connections and bonds are our life's blood. They keep our hearts open to possibilities and growing to make room for more connections and bonds.

And shame on those grandparents for having such a narrow sense of family. They have no clue as to what they are missing.