Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Knitting Revelations

My knitting habit has been badly stalled. This is due to a few factors, but mostly I've hit a block. I have all this stashed yarn and mountains of patterns that were given to me by a retiring knitter, yet I don't know what to knit with it. The scary part is that K and I have purged this stash twice! The previously purged yarn has been passed on to the Red Cross Volunteer Knitters in our town. They appreciate it. They actually knit with it. It's better for them to have it. I've done the same thing with my embarrassingly large collection of patterns. I've purged to the Goodwill. Twice. There are still too many patterns in my bin.

So yesterday, in my basement, with Christmas decorations still floating about waiting to be put away, I got ambitious. I purged almost all of the yarn and nearly all of the patterns. I soothed the hoarder in myself by justifying with the Internet: any pattern I liked and wanted to keep, I had to look for on the Internet. If it was there, I had to get rid of the hard copy. I was ruthless. I tempted the shopper in me by promising myself purchases: once I found something I loved and wanted to knit, then I would purchase the yarn I need. I have recycled half of the patterns and I have bagged up the rest to donate. There is a large green garbage bag full of yarn sitting in my hallway ready to haul to Red Cross today.

To impede any second thoughts, I immediately filled up my knitting bin with the Christmas decorations. It is furthermore known as 'the Christmas bin' and it occupies the only space available for said bin. I am happy with this new organizational step I've taken. There's peace with my decision and there's anticipation. I'm very much looking forward to finding the perfect thing to knit. Or crochet. Because I kept all of my needles and hooks. And notions. I wouldn't get rid of everything! What a small amount of space my knitting supplies now occupy on an alternate basement shelf.

I found the yellow cloth bin after my purge and I've managed to fit all of my kept yarn in it. There's one ball of crochet cotton, as I like to make snowflake ornaments. There's enough Irish Aran wool to make a sizeable project, so I kept that. As well, some unlabeled fine cream coloured wool. It's very soft so it must have some cashmere or angora or something of the sort to it. Again, enough to make a project of some sort. The two blue balls are washable acrylic but feel like angora, so I kept them. They match my winter coat, so I might get a pair of mittens out of them if I ever get ambitious. K liked the red, leftover from her Santa hat, so we kept that as well. Then, there are various skeins of an acrylic boucle. On my to-do list is to scour the pages of Ravelry to see if I can find a pattern to use it up on. I'm thinking Christmas gifts for my poor, struggling siblings and their significant others.

Oh, but I'm not done yet! So, the stash is pared to next-to-nothing proportions. I have no room to expand my new small collection, as the shelf space is re-assigned. What else can there be, you ask? Check out these new websites I found.

Ravelry Ok, it's not new. If you've not yet signed up and you are even just interested in sticks and string and knotting it together, sign up! There is a treasure trove on inspiration and instruction.

Mason-Dixon Knitting A knitting blog that is hilarious to read. They are leaps and bounds beyond my personal knitting ability, but they are entertaining and for me, that's motivation.

Organized Knitting This is a new blog, spun off from a Ravelry group. If you have any voyeuristic tendencies at all, you'll enjoy seeing people's personal solutions to knitting chaos. If you have no knitting interest whatsoever and are more to the OCD side of the spectrum, you'll enjoy all the pictures of bins and baskets and labels. I'm not totally sold on this blog yet, but as it's new, I'll keep checking in (with Google Reader, of course) to see where it goes.

Sock Pixie A blog, yet more. This is a mother-daughter team that sells sock yarn. I haven't bought any yet, but the colours they use are reason enough to stop by and poke around. Free patterns are regularly posted in case you're interested in trying out some fancy foot work. Sock Pixie has just recently posted two of the cutest baby slipper patterns I've come across.

Ok, now I'm done.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME!

Since pictures have been scarce around here lately, I thought I would share a pic of my birthday present. Notice the lovely new flat screen monitor? Notice the cords that are not cluttering up my desk? My new mouse and keyboard are free and unattached. I am very pleased with the new electronics. My ultimate goal is to get rid of the computer desk, mount the monitor on the wall and stash the box and printer downstairs. Of course, this will require the purchase of a couple of key pieces of pricey equipment, so it's not going to be an immediate set-up, but with my birthday present, we're well on the way. I am very much looking forward to making better use of the small amount of space that is available in our living area.

Otherwise, a lovely day. Perfect rink-building temperatures. (We're anxiously awaiting the opening of the outdoor rinks.) The kids and I did some housework and math. We went to Homeschooler Skating and then R's hockey practice. A nice ham dinner was waiting when we arrived home. That ham practically cooked itself! B cleaned up while the kids and I read. I fielded a number of calls from various family members wishing me a happy birthday, 8 telemarketing calls and a call from our building owners promising that a flooring company would be paying me a call to measure my floors for laminate flooring. It doesn't get better than this.

I'll leave you with this love tidbit overheard in the dressing room at the skating rink:

R: entering dressing room in an overexcited rush Hey - it's my Mom's birthday today!! Oh, hi everybody. (greetings exchanged) I'm not going to tell you how old mom is because it's not polite to share a lady's age unless she says it's ok. Hey - Mrs.P! You brought cupcakes! For my mom's birthday! Are there 33 of them? One for each year?!
How's that for discretion?

All Set Up

So there, I've done it. I set up Google Reader. 42 subscriptions and if those bloggers who regularly lurk would leave a comment, it'd be more!

At a glance, I can see which sites have been updated. That means, I can sit down a few times a day and not spend an hour clicking through links. Novel.

For those who asked via email or comments:

  • No, it's not as visually appealing as reading at the actual blog. However, it is less visually cluttered and for those of us who are easily sucked into the abyss of link-clicking, that's usually a good thing. Not that I don't appreciate the time and effort people put into the look of their blogs. I do! But my hungry children and my neglected husband and my crummy floor and my overflowing sink and my laundry monster and my magazine pile and my school shelf all appreciate every minute I'm not procrastinating at the PC;
  • Yes, I can see all the pictures you posted;
  • Yes, if I want to comment, I click through to the blog to do so...unless there's a work-around that I haven't found yet. We all know that I'm working on the fringes of my technical prowess. Don't overtax my confidence - if there's a trick, please let me know.
  • Yes, I find Google Reader more suited to me than Bloglines was. No good reason. I'm sure they both work the same.

The only other thing I've done is I've set myself up at Feedburner. I believe this is a good thing, but honestly, I don' t understand it well enough to talk about it intelligently yet. How's that for telling it like it is?! (Ree, are you there? Do you ever read the little people's blogs?) I did find a lovely Feedburner Help Center that, I'm sure, is going to be quite educational. Dontcha just love these adventures I embark on and then insist on sharing with you?!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Virtual Furniture Is Moving

In my unsatisfied quest to shuffle things up around here, I have dabbled where the techy-wannabe's should not.

It all started a few months ago when Doc mentioned that she uses a feed reader to wade through all the 384 292 495 sites she likes to keep up with. Clever, I thought. I thought I might even like to set me up one of them new fangled do-dads.

I did a wee bit of reading and nearly fell asleep because that is the particular physical response that occurs when I try to understand technical things that are beyond my simple reasoning abilities. Normally, I avoid such situations by having B explain them to me....which quickly turns into him just doing it for me. That's why I married him. You know how they normally say that necessity is the mother of invention? Not so. Just marry your Tech Support Wizard and you're all set. Ahem.

However, one of the reasons I began a blog was to expand my technical proficiency. So, I decided I must persevere. And boy, gee whiz, Wally, waddayaknow!!

I found this wondrous tidbit at Blogging Basics 101. Not only does the video explain what the feeds are, but it also explains how to set yourself up with a reader. Nice. So, I've set myself up with bloglines. It doesn't really appeal to me visually, but I must admit, I've got some favourite blogs subscribed to and does it ever make my morning blog-crawl super fast!! Now that I've been using it for a week or so, I think I may pop over to Google Reader and see if I like that reader better.

So, although no makeover is apparent here at Bonni's, I am still re-organizing and cleaning out bookmarks. It's refreshing like changing the furniture around and vacuuming places that haven’t been vacuumed since you last changed the furniture around is refreshing. Really. Now, if only I can figure out this feedburner thing...

Friday, February 8, 2008

I'd Blog A Little, But... seems like the provider's having some problems. So I've been spending time away from the PC doing other stuff. Like reading. And watching Stargate: Atlantis with B. And playing in the snow - all 16.5cm of it - with the kids and the dog. And updating our timeline up with some timeline figures that reflect our history reading. And writing nasty (but professional sounding) emails to the owners of our property telling them what a useless person they have employed in the position of building manager and when exactly were they, the owners, going to address the questions/issues/maintenance requests that we have been repeatedly submitted.

Have a good weekend.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Here We Go Again...

R's had another 'episode'.

If you've been following along, as I know some of you have, you'll remember that over the last year and a half, R's had some kidney problems. The short story is that his left kidney is in pretty bad shape due to what we think is UPJ Obstruction. But not just any old UPJ Obstruction, an intermittent obstruction. We suspect that this has been a problem all of his 8 short years, but due to the nature of the beast, it's been missed until now.

We're seeing a Urologist that we really like (not that we've had the opportunity to interview a panel of them or anything) at a hospital that we're blessed to be close to. Every few months, we head up there to have R's kidney scanned to see if there have been any changes. So far, so good.

My mission, that I chose to accept because it seemed to be the least of two evils, is to try to spirit the child to the nearest ultrasound machine at the peak of an episode of kidney pain. Now, if you have young children, you may be aware that sometimes they're not too adept at describing different types of discomfort.

That's challenge Number One: accurately identifying an episode before it passes and not blaming it on too much pepperoni or a wee bit of constipation. Luckily for me, there was no mistaking it this time.

Challenge Number Two would be finding an ultrasound set-up (available locally for your convenience from 8:30am to 4pm) before R's pain subsides. This kind of goes against my initial reaction to pain in one of my offspring. I tend to be a Fix It Now kind of mom. However, I do know that this step is important to identifying the specific problem that we're dealing with so I try to play along.

Of course, none of this is textbook or simple. The Urologist says he knows for pretty-much-absolutely-certainly-for-sure that UPJ is what we're dealing with. Yet we haven't got absolute proof. Mm hmm. R cannot seem to coordinate his 'episode' with regular business hours. I want absolute proof before anyone attempts to 'fix' the problem.

So we found ourselves in the local Emergency Department at 2:11am last week. It was a comedy of errors that I would be happy to explain to you at a later time. Of course, there's nothing Emerg can do at 2am, but I'm under strict instructions to try to catch this episode on film, so I'm doing my best. At any rate, we got the ball rolling. We were on our way home two hours later with an emergency ultrasound requisition and some lab work to be done. The worst of R's pain has passed and we got a couple of hours of sleep.

Back at the hospital at 10am, we were spirited in for an ultrasound. We dropped of the lab work. Did I mention that this was a Friday? No results available until Monday morning.

The comedy of errors continued as I dealt with trying to track down definitive results of lab work. By Wednesday, things had settled down. R was beginning to feel better after existing on water and Crush freezies for 5 days. I knew he wasn't in need of antibiotics for a kidney infection. I'd been in touch with the Urologist and his clinic nurse who were both very helpful. Crisis averted until next time.

Next time will involve a dash to the nearest functioning ultrasound equipment. That likely means a looooonnnngg drive with a kid who does not want to be strapped into a seatbelt while I try to deliver him and his kidney to CHEO in the wee hours of the night. It's a strange dichotomy: good that we're able to access the services that we need. Yet, not so good to be hoping that a child's pain will last so the trip is not wasted.

The very likely next step is surgery. I know this. I've put the Urologist off for 6 months and that clock is quickly running out of time. Not being mentally nor emotionally prepared to have someone I know as little as the Urologist babysit my kid let alone cut him open, I think I am approaching this in a remarkably uncharacteristically practical way. So far I have asked Brian to book the day of R's next appointment off work. And I've told my extended family to plan on entertaining K for the day. That's enough for now, me thinks.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Suggestions, please?

Can you see me pulling my hair out? Really. I'm frustrated. With various things. But blogging is right up at the top of the list for now. You will notice that I still don't have a header picture up. After a number of days playing with colour schemes, template options and other fiddly bits, I've given up.

Moving On.

I'm looking for some suggestions. Not about the blog...well, maybe about the blog if you felt like sharing. More seriously, I'm looking for suggestions regarding a science curriculum, or resource, or series. Something that is organized in some fashion that may be used to facilitate learning about science-y things. No explanation is necessary if you're not feeling chatty....just a title or a link is fine. If you'd care to streamline your suggestion, I'll leave some helpful hints.

Helpful Hints
  • I like things that are laid out and simple to follow.
  • Experiments that are not going to maim or destroy and that can be done at the kitchen table yet put away at the end of the day are good.
  • K likes bookwork, R, not so much.
  • K is all about the Life Science-y things: biology, ecology, zoology and R is more of a Physics/Probability/Chemistry sort of kid.
  • Mythbusters has been popular with both kids.
  • I'm all for something that jumps all over the map providing jumping off points if an interest presents itself.

Awaiting your responses with much anticipation,