29 October 2008

28 October 2008

Alien sheep!

Goodness, has it been a week already? 0_o

We've spent quite a lot of time at the Canberra Hospital in the past week, and we keep walking past this display cabinet in the foyer which is about the Chaplaincy services on offer, along with some props and a knitted Christmas nativity scene (you know, the Kings, the Shepherds and so on). The figures are fine - but O.M.F.G.... is this a .. a .. SHEEP? Looks more like an alien emerging from a sheep skin .... aaaaaaaah!

The text on the book is done, hurrah (first pass anyway, I'll be seeing it again in January for revisions)! I'm now into writing the 252 puzzles. I need to write 5 a day to meet the deadline. They average 2 hours each, so it's a hell of a lot. Bit scary.

Dotter 2.0 is going well - we're still working to get the insulin levels right, but she's loving not having to do injections all the time!

21 October 2008

Dotter 2.0

I have a bionic daughter! Dotter version 2.0!

Here is her tummy, and the line, and her brand new green Cozmo insulin pump. This little beauty is worth more than anything else we own (yes, even more than our cars). Thank goodness for the wonderful parents who did the fund raising so she can have this.

The connection into her tummy is just a soft cannula tube, it goes in for about 9 mm. The clear plastic 'button' and sticking plaster sitting on top of the insertion is to hold the tube securely in place, and cover it to keep it clean, and it also allows her to disconnect the pump when she's having a shower. There isn't a permanent port, nothing surgically implanted. The site gets changed every 3 days (something she's just learnt to do herself), it's basically like doing an injection, only what gets injected is a needle and the soft plastic cannula, and the needle comes back out, leaving the soft tube in her tummy.

Of course, as it's stuck in her tummy for 3 days at a time, hygiene is much more important, we have sterile swabs, and have been taught how to wash and dry our hands like a surgeon does.

Now all she needs to do is lots of finger prick blood tests, she'll always need to do those (until under-the-skin BGL monitoring works better, anyway), and then she enters her blood glucose reading, and how much carbohydrate she's about to eat (to the nearest 5g), and the pump does the rest, delivering the insulin she needs - so no more injections for every time she has to eat!

We have a few nights of 3 hourly blood tests (midnight, 3am, 6am) ahead of us, and two more days of hospital visits, but we're going well so far, if a bit overwhelmed with information ... it's good though. Very good.

19 October 2008

Hemlock Ring

Ta dah! Tis done! This took just over a month to knit. It's Jared Flood's pattern, the Hemlock Ring Blanket, which is basically an old-fashioned doily pattern, with a Feather and Fan edge, knit in thick wool, instead of with fine laceweight yarn.

Pre-blocking :

Blocking. I wimped out, and didn't pin it. Not enough pins, knees, or time.

I went with the original knitted edging. It took 3 nights to complete, but I really like it.

Rustic Damson 12 ply, just under 3 balls. Gorgeous. I love this pattern so much I even want to knit it again - which is a rare thing!

Will send this down to Tassie in the next week or so – will be hard to let it go, but I know it's going to a good home.

Work on The Book continues apace, I've written nearly 5 of the 6 text chapters (~15,000 words all up). Need to work on weekends - not all day, but for at least half of them. It's basically going very well, but I am pretty weary.

And last but not least, in 2 sleeps Dotter gets her insulin pump! This will entail nearly 3 days at hospital (as an outpatient), and quite a few broken nights, as her blood sugar has to be tested through the night for the first little while, as we (ie me, Dotter, the diabetes educators and nurses, and her endocrinologist) figure out the right levels of insulin for her. Bit nervous about the whole thing, it's a quite different ball game from using insulin pens. Much bigger risk of hyperglycaemia and DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis).

09 October 2008

Working working working

Look what arrived in the mail this week!

This is the book I was Technical Editor on earlier this year - it's all for real now! It's little! My book will be nearly twice as big (roughly 8 x 10") - oh sorry, did that sound like gloating? My bad.

There's my name in print - eeeeee! Sarah, who was Senior Copy Editor on the Brain Games book, is my Project Editor on my Word Searches book. And Erin (Editorial Program Coordinator) is my Acquisitions Editor. They swap jobs around all the time!

This is how I stay sane during the day, when I'm all worded out ... although I'm not sure if doing an Escher jigsaw all in shades of grey qualifies as helping me stay sane!

This is where I'm working at the moment, I've co-opted the dining table.

A few days ago I submitted my first chapter (Chapter 2 - the longest one in the book) - the good news is Sarah (my Project Editor) is very happy with it, there are no edits to do at her level of things, and I've 'nailed' the Dummies style (which is very specific, you should see the pages and pages of Author's Guidelines!). Now it goes to my Copy Editor, then eventually to a Technical Editor, and then I'll get it back (probably in January 09) to make any suggested changes during the Author Review.

It is seriously kick ass cool having this whole editorial support network backing me up - something I've never had before, not even with my syndicated puzzles. I'm used to doing all my own editing, and proofreading, and layout, and design, and even all the promotions, sales and deliveries for my Canberra puzzle books. Loving the change!

I need to have all the wordy parts (ie everything that isn't puzzles) written by the 27th of this month. There's 5 chapters to go, and a bunch of short 'Section introductions' to write too. And my Author Bio and Acknowledgments (which is kind of funny, I thought you'd write those last!). Thanks to Daylight Savings I can now get on the computer at 7am and have a real time email chat with Sarah (4pm her time) which is making the whole communicating thing work much better!

Not quite sure how I'm going to get 252 puzzles written by 29 December, given that the text is taking up most of my time at the moment, so I'm not writing 4 puzzles a day (which is what is needed to do them over 3 months) - it's going to end up being more like 6 puzzles per day once I finally get to them 0_o

And I'm making sure I get some TV / knitting time every night after dinner, never fear. With a bird on my shoulder.

05 October 2008


A mysterious box arrived in the mail two days ago, from my friend Abbey (my one-time Secret Pal) - (slightly tardy but hey who's counting?) birthday treats!

Some very thoughtful choices - a book about losing loved pets - something Abbey and I have both gone through in the last year. And a Hawaiian cookbook - mmmm, pineapple and macadamia nuts :)

I've long lusted after this book - and it is really wonderful. A great introduction to cables in general, some great projects, and a brilliant cable stitch dictionary. Thank you Abbey, the perfect choice!!

You knew there would be yarn, didn't you? Tilli Tomas silk with beads - laceweight .... swoon .... 2 skeins!

This is the absolute pièce de résistance - a skein of actual real qiviut (faints). I'll bring it to SnB Tuggers next Saturday (on a leash, in chains) if anyone would like to pet it!

Thank you Abbey!!

Since I'm doing a bit of show and tell, Taph and Miss Spidey also splurged and treated me with this gorgeous ArtYarn sock yarn - what colours!

Steady progress is being made on the Hemlock Ring - I'm into the r e a l l y l o n g rows of feather and fan now (close on 400 stitches per row). It is just gorgeous.

The first week of work on The Book went well, although I was just about brain dead by Friday. Am taking Saturdays off, but will need to work for a couple of hours on Sundays to keep the panic at bay.

03 October 2008

Free donation

If you go to the Squidoo site you can make a $2 donation by clicking a button (ie it's free, your vote is all you need to cast). We're making donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - but you may have your own favourite charity. One vote per person.

Am utterly brain dead tonight - really hard to maintain the constant level of thinking and writing for a full week - and then add PMS in to the mix - not so good!

01 October 2008


Still alive, writing has officially started on The Book - it's going well, if busily, and I'm enjoying it a lot (so far!) - I hadn't realised how much I needed a break from the - yes - tedium of writing my weekly syndicated puzzles. I love a good project, I do!

Meet Avi, the Top Bird in this house ... and the higher the better!

We're bird sitting for a friend, for 2 weeks. Hmmm. I think I'm too nice. We never had birds when I was a kid, cos my mum has a phobia of them, so I'm not very used to this caper. While this little cockatiel is quite appealing, he does have some major personality flaws (will bite fingers, doesn't like being petted, and knows his own mind - well, I guess the last isn't a personality flaw as such, it just makes him a bit hard to manage at times).

Avi's favourite thing is to sit on my wrist or arm while I'm working. He even fell asleep on my leg yesterday, aaaw. Here he is sitting next to me on my office window sill (well, on top of my radio on my window sill).

He also wants stand on my computer keyboard and try to lever up the keys with his beak (!!!) - he's not allowed to do that one! His wings are clipped, so he just hops and walks around the place - and he much prefers to be outside his cage rather than in.

Aren't they messy little creatures?! I had no idea - the quantity of feathery debris and scaley skin bits or whatever from his preening ... ick. Still, he is rather sweet, and he can say a few things like "Brekkie!" and "Avi Avi Avi" (his name), and he likes English muffins with butter.