Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 66 - What do you treasure?

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 66 - What do you treasure?

A treasured memory of my grandparents
My treasure in life is my family and close friends, these are the people who mean so much to me and have taught and teach me so much through walking my life with them by my side. These are the people I learn new things from daily, who show me love, compassion and support when I most need it, the people who I can argue with or disagree with but with no love lost. I would not be the person I am now without these people around me.

I also treasure the memories I have with those people and especially with the family and friends who are no longer with us. The good memories of those periods of time which I will never relive, of holidays, gap years, university late nights chatting, playing board games with my family, weddings and other joyous events.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 65 - Colleges and Universities

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 65 - Colleges and Universities

Graduating as
Ruth Hogan BSc (Hons) MCOptom
I attended both university and 6th form college, with a gap year placed in between.

At Haslingden High School 6th Form College I studied for A & AS levels in the subjects: Biology, Maths, Music, Chemistry, French and General Studies, quite a mixture of different subjects as I was not sure what I wanted to go on to do later. I loved music but felt I did not want to use this as a career path, but loved my maths and sciences.

I went onto Bradford University where I studied Optometry which was a very vocational degree leading me straight into my profession as an Optometrist. In this degree I used a lot of the maths and sciences which I had learnt at College towards my degree but continued to use the music side as a hobby, playing in the university orchestra and at the Christian Union.

Working in an African hospital
The languages I studied at College has always been useful for my love of travelling, even though French was not used it gave me a great basis to learn Portuguese and later other languages.

I do enjoy my career, looking back there may have been other things I could have done, but I think I made the correct choices in life.

I loved my studying days more with the social aspects of college and university life and would say this period in life is one of my favourites, although I think I seem to forget the stresses of exams, essays and the hard work studying was at times.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Family Surname Christmas Tree

I would like to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2015...

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 64 - Jobs & Careers

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 64 - Jobs & Careers

As I was thinking about this post, I was thinking that I just need to go back through my CV (or resume). 

Working in a hospital in Malawi as an Optician
As a teenager I never did get a Saturday job but I would get paid for doing extra jobs around the house for my mum and dad. I would catch up the weeks soaps whilst doing the family's ironing on a Saturday morning and help my mum with the cleaning during the week in exchange for a late lift to school when my classes started late in the 6th form. I would also occasionally cover my brother's paper round when he had a late night or went away with friends, which enabled me to collect a little more pocket money. I did used to love the early Sunday morning paper round when the weather was nice, as you were up and out before most people and it was really refreshing and inspiring, although I would not have wanted to have gotten up that early on a regular basis and especially when it was throwing it down or blowing a gale. I was not really interested in having lots of spending money at the time, so never sought out a proper job.

When I left 6th form whilst doing my gap year and during university, I managed to get a job as a Receptionist or Optical Assistant in an Opticians in the local town. The job was great work experience for my degree as well, as I was studying Optometry with the intension of becoming an Optician. Having worked a little in an Opticians I went into my degree with a little knowledge already and was able to practice some of my clinical skills later on, which really boosted my studying.

Once, I finished university I landed a job in the same Optician's Practice when I did my pre-registration year and worked for another few years post-qualifying. It was a great place to work, with a lovely laid back family atmosphere, although at time's the pace was slow and it was quite isolating as the sole Optician as a newly qualified Optometrist, but I really enjoyed my time there. It was the place I established my career and the people whom I worked with there really stretched me and enabled me to be where I am today.

At my graduation
After a few years there I decided it was time to move onto pastures new. Myself and my husband took a miniture break to travel, before returning and moving to work in a hospital setting as an Optometrist. The work here was much more challenging and motivating, there was much more room for career progression, although the early days were tough. I am still in this work place, although I now only work part-time but love this job. I specialise in Glaucoma and Paediatric Optometry, both specialities of which I really love and it is so rewarding, even there is so much more politics in the hospital setting.

I do love my work/life balance right now, I spend 2 days at work and 3 days with my little boy. I would not have it any other way. I still want to push forward in my career over time and acknowledge that will probably be slower now I work few hours, but there are also many other things I often dream of doing. I have a real passion for fresh, home cooking -  I feel many people do not know how to cook from scratch and have a passion to show people that it is not that difficult and that food and cooking can be tasty, healthy and fun instead of a chore. I also have a passion for hospitality and as a child always wanted to own and run my own B&B or restaurant - linked with my passion for cooking. Genealogy is another love of mine but I do not think I could ever make it into a career as my passion is in my own family story, but have considered how I could make a living from genealogy. I also have a passion for travelling and working in the 3rd world . . . but these dreams seem a way away at the moment, but who knows what the future will bring whether I'll be a one career woman or later a full time mum or will I have many careers? 

I do not know but I do feel as if the world is my oyster and I can dream, be driven and motivated to reach my goals and potentials, to make the most of my life and enjoy it!!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 63 - Addresses & Locations

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 63 - Addresses & Locations

I am going to recall 2 addresses and locations from my childhood.

My childhood home
The first is a town called Bacup,  and the house there in which is where I grew up. I lived there the whole of my childhood and we had great next door neighbours on both sides.

On one side there was an elderly lady who was so agile even into her 90s. She was called Mrs R and was a surrogate grandparent to me in many ways. We would help with small jobs around the house and garden, like changing light bulbs and cutting the lawn. She was quite deaf so we could sometimes hear what she was watching on the TV through the wall and we had to knock on the living room window and wave at her to get her attention. She would invite me in for a cuppa and we would have a chat. She used to drive an automatic VW Polo which she would get around everywhere right up to her sad departing from this world. The houses were 3 bedroom semi's with large gardens on a steep slope and we were adjoining her house. 

On the other side across the gap between the houses there was another family with children similarly aged to myself and my brother. We would play out with them quite a lot, we got up to all sorts of mischief with them! Climbing trees, building tree houses, playing sardines, hide & seek, cricket, football, making secret societies with passwords and being out on our bikes. It was a wonderful, safe place to play together, to get dirty and enjoy childhood.

There were not many houses on the street and most of the neighbours were very friendly, it was a nice quiet place to live with good scenery, not far from the moorlands to go out walking across. There was a newspaper shop, post office and Chinese take away all a five minute walk from the house. I would go and collect my dads paper during the school holidays or run errands to the Chinese or post-office.

The second place is a street in the town of Horsforth, where my maternal grandparents lived. We spent some time in our school holidays there as well as other days and weekends throughout the year.

Again my grandparents lived in 3 bedroomed semi, very much like my own parents house.

I knew my grandparents neighbours fairly well, across the gap there was a couple who my grandparents got along with really well. They would pay each others window cleaner and milk man and do errands and chores for one another. In my grandparents later life they cared for them and did much more for them than would be expected of neighbours.

The adjoining house was a family with 2 children a little younger than myself and brother who we would occasionally play with when we went to visit.

Walking down the hill to the main road from my grandparents house and across the road was St George's playing fields where Grandma would send us with Grandad to play football and cricket. We would also regularly visit Horsforth Hall Park, the playground and the Japanese gardens. I have many good memories there.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Book of Me, Written by You - Week 62 - Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

Each week there are prompts which require answering.

Week 62 - Is Blood Thicker Than Water?

Blood Doesn't Grow On Trees

Who is our "family"?
Does our "blood family" come first?
Who are our "good friends"?

To me family is anyone who is a good friend, as well as blood family who I have done "life" with. Family is an important concept to me. I have not always fully seen eye to eye with all my blood relations but I have remained in contact with them all and enjoy seeing them semi-regularly. I would always make the space to see my blood relatives too, despite our differences there is something strong in a blood-link relationship, which I cannot quite explain and my relatives are important to me. 

Some members of my family
As I have researched my family tree and visited graves or ancestral homes I would regularly get a deja-vu feeling, as if something was drawing me there - is this part of the blood link, the memories of the generations gone by whom I share part of my DNA with?

I also have a great church family around me in the community in which I live, these are people who I see on a regular basis throughout my week and share my every day "life" with - the up's and the down's. 

I have great friends who I have spent parts of my "life" with in the past, who I can pick up totally where we last left off and enjoy spending time together. These friends are also part of my family. For example, a good school friend who I have kept in contact regularly with, my gap year team mates who I lived with for a year, my university friends who we lived in one another's houses together, etc.

A good friend who I would class as family is a friend who I have shared "life" with to a deeper level, than an acquaintance. They are people I trust, love and cherish with my high's and my low's and who share their lives with me too.