Monday, January 30, 2006
I've started the Examination of the Newborn Course - lots of work, more than I'd thought. At the back of the classroom, I was nibbling at some 'hemp seeds' as recommended by Dr Gillian Keith as a 'healthy snack' and offered some to my fellow students. Back came the retort from Wendy: "no thanks, I'm driving"! Damn, why am I never as sharp as that?
One of my clients has PUPPs (Try googling it!). This is horribly itchy and a real pain if you're pregnant. Smearing juice from the Aloe plant is reckoned to be a good cure - so I passed on this tip. Aforementioned client duly trots off to plant shop where some geezer fobbed her off with a cactus instead of an aloe plant. Can you imagine? She has been smearing essence of cactus all over her belly, not to mention dealing with the spikes!? Of course it didn't work. When she finally realised her mistake and got the right plant it worked a treat
Sunday, January 29, 2006
These instructions are cribbed from the far superior ones at Cleo's plastic bag site. But then hers aren't done by a dog.
First of all, grab a bag (preferably smelling of something tasty)>
Then cut off the bottom of the bag.
Straighten bag out> And fold not quite in half - leave an inch at the side.
Fold in half again, then neaten the top by cutting off the handles...
Next - cut through the layers in inch or inch and a half strips but do not cut the inch that you left at the edge. Just like so..
On this picture, I've drawn in some black lines on the uncut part of the bag to show you where you need to cut next - this is the tricky bit. ('specially when you've got paws).
And here is the finished ball of plastic ready for Tutmut to knit with...
Now aren't I the clever one?
These socks in the fab, self patterning Regia yarn are coming on a treat NOW. Last time I knitted a pair of socks (not counting baby ones) was over 20 years ago (give or take). Didn't have self patterning yarn then so I slaved with three ply and fine needles and made these for DH. He has appreciated them - wears them on special occasions and they're not showing much signs of wear. They were knitted top down, so I'm knitting these toe up!
- amazing what's new! I'm using Wendy Johnson's toe-up generic sock pattern
and got it completely wrong first time out by measuring my swatch too generously - the socks were looking HUGE so I frogged them. This is they - as you can see, I was trying to be efficient and had started both toes,
using Wendy's short row method
with a provisional cast on with waste yarn. Having frogged both of them I
recalculated using 8 stitches per inch (instead of 9) and got a more normal size: Looking much better:
What do you do when you've got 4 bananas going black in the fruit bowl? Make an all in one banana and walnut loaf of course. A la Delia.
AND I haven't had any. Didn't even lick the bowl.
Such self control.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
The first birth of 2006 was lovely - even though I did give me enough rope to hang myself~
Kate looked very calm: she was contracting about once in every 10 minutes and still very chatty. I did a complete check of all her observations and was very alarmed to find the baby's heartbeat was bradycardic (much slower than normal) - thinking this might be connected to her position at the time (she was lying very flat on the sofa so I could feel her tummy and check the position of her baby) she sat up. I was muttering about cancelling the planned home birth and transferring in when the heartbeat returned to normal - and we all breathed a sigh of relief. Kate agree to have a vaginal examination just to check what was going on - good news! Her cervix was 4-5 cm dilated (though posterior) and the baby's head was very low in her pelvis (at spines or even +1, though, like many NHS midwives, I have a dreadful tendency to underestimate everything so as not to get tangled up in arbitrary time limits and policies). The baby was moving around well and I decided the umbilical cord must have been compressed and that it was OK now. But just in case we all agreed I could do a CTG (cardiotocograph monitoring) just to make sure there wasn't anything awful going on. I wouldn't hang about, but it was also agreed I would nip out and get the homebirth emergency equipment from the Community hospital (Oxygen, suction and entonox - I have everything else in my car) - drop off Syd my dog at home, bless him, so he wouldn't have to spend the next 8 hours or whatever cooped up in the car, and pick up some lunch (late lunch - it was already 3pm, but I had left over chicken and rice in the fridge). Managed to accomplish all that and get back to Kate and Chris inside half an hour - I'm tending to caution this year as I had 3 'born before arrivals' in 2005 and I don't want to get caught out again.
When I got back, Chris had prepared the room for the birth - plastic and blankets draped over the sofa, which was pushed back against a wall to make plenty of room, baby clothes and towels warming by the gas fire. The Fetal heart was still fine but we did the CTG anyway - Kate was contracting about 1:8 now, and the heart beat showed a slight deceleration with some of the contractions, but this was the only suspicious feature I could see - it was otherwise very normal and I scored it 6 out of 8 on our '5-alert' scale.
After this, Kate decided to have a bath while I discussed everything with the Labour Ward co-ordinator. I downloaded the trace to LabourWard which was a MISTAKE! A Registrar looked at it and thought a section of the recording looked sinusoidal. He thought Kate ought to transfer in for closer observation and should not have her home birth. 'Sinusoidal' my ass, I thought, but didn't say - I actually said I disagreed with his findings but I would inform the parents of the doctor's advice. I'd put myself in an invidious position if anything went wrong at the birth now! I went upstairs to tell Kate and Chris - Kate announced the contractions had really picked up and this was it - she couldn't contemplate going anywhere. Isn't it wonderful when the mum knows what's happening with her body and tells you what's going on instead of vise versa. She climbed out of the bath and I could see great crashing contractions every couple of minutes (4-5:10).
Kate paced up and down the room like a tiger, pausing only to hang on to Chris every time another surge rolled over her. I didn't need to any more vaginal checks to know it was time to call for a second midwife - oh bliss, it was our old student, Liz, who would be coming out, and I knew she would be supportive. Kate was holding on to a towel draped over her hips like a sarong - she looked magnificent and I told her so. I got all the equipment ready and sat and waited like a midwife does. (There's always so much bl**dy paperwork).
Kate wanted a pee, so I suggested she go up to the bathroom and sit on the loo, facing the wall - it's a bit more private and the lighting was very bright downstairs. Chris took some oil to massage her back. Meanwhile Liz had made great progress coming from the general hospital and arrived within the hour - so I updated her.
There was a shout from upstairs - Kate's waters had burst - this was it! Typical - we'd prepared a lovely nest downstairs, so the baby decides to arrive on the bare boards of the bathroom floor! The Fetal heart had been absolutely fine through all this, so I felt justified in putting my neck out.
We helped Kate off the loo onto her knees (we hauled the blankets and resus stuff upstairs very quickly) leaning over the side of the bath - it was fairly cosy in there - Chris had to climb into the bath. Kate was a bit reluctant to push - but I praised her and encouraged her to move the noise she was making in her chest downwards. She didn't have to push much - her body was pushing the baby out for her, and just three contractions later the head was born. The baby made faces at me on the perineum before punching his way out into the world like superman (he had a nuchal fist).
Having caught him I posted him through his mum's legs so she could sit back and check him out (Yes, it was a boy!). Kate and Chris were quite overcome and the baby looked deliciously normal and yelled to let us know he was definitely here. The cord stopped pulsing relatively quickly, and Chris clamped and cut it as he'd asked to do. Their son was on his own! Kate pushed the placenta out only 12 minutes after he was born - they didn't want to keep it. Kate was helped downstairs to the sofa so she could get more comfortable - fortunately she only had superficial labial grazes despite her boy's fist. The baby took a while to settle down (he yelled a LOT) and go to the breast but when he did he fed for ages. I left them some hours later all snuggled up together.
It was a beautiful birth and a great one to start the year with.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Seth and his girlfriend, Hannah, came round for supper tonight - we had Indian style food - dahl, Sag Aloo and a coconut and almond veg. curry. YUM! Seth got his finished felted hat:
And Hannah got her Christmas Present finally! She seemed to like her felted Ringo bag (well - she made all the right noises).
(Sorry about the fag hanging out of DS's mouth, what is he LIKE?)
And a back view of hat (He declined a tassle
(or is that tassel?):
Hannah was so inspired by my presis, she said she wanted to learn! Well - nuff said. Out came the needles and yarn. I was trying to remember that little rhyme that goes:
"In through the front door, run around the back, out through the window, and off jumps Jack!"
We knitted the flowers from 'Folly' on Knitty.com (which HAS to be one of my FAVOURITE knitting sites on the internet). Here she is very intently making her first stitches:
Such concentration! And I remember how tight beginners tend to make those first stitches on the needle... But she did great and I think she might persevere.
Oh yes. Confession time. I bought some Regia today - I think this self patterning yarn looks magic. Tut tut, as if I need any more yarn in my stash.
Time for some socks, methinks.
Monday, January 16, 2006
I have completed Seth's pointy hat! I was wondering wether I should have made it more pear shaped instead of like a cone, but I grit my teeth and just carried on decreasing x6 every 6 rows. DH reckons it looks huge, but little does he does know that I've done a tension square - measuring before and after felting HA. In to the washing machine it goes - this afternoon. Exciting, isn't it! Yer tiz, on the windowsill, pre-felted:
Seth is bringing his girlfriend around for supper on Wednesday evening - I've knitted her the Noro felted 'Ringo' handbag from a kit on the "Getknitted" website. I was really pleased with the outcome. Since I finished it before I started this blog, I'll try and snap a pic of it when she opens her present.
On a separate note. I've been doing my 'morning pages' everyday (apart from one lapse) for a week. I've started eating a healthy diet and I'm awash with mineral water. Attended my first normal home birth of 2006 yesterday. Will write it up later. We midwives get withdrawal symptoms if we can't attend a birth regularly (at least one a month - and no, sections don't count - well maybe that's a bit harsh, but the atmosphere is soooo different).
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
This week, I have begun a journey to rediscover my artistic self, via The Artist's Way, a book by Julia Cameron.
I started yesterday with 'morning pages'; I slept 12hours last night! (and didn't get called out). I'm going to nurture myself for the next 12 weeks (and lose some weight with my new healthy diet!). My contract:
I, Tutleymutley, understand that I am undertaking an intensive, guided encounter with my own creativity. I commit myself to the twelve-week duration of the course. I, Tutleymutley, commit to weekly reading, daily morning pages, a weekly artist date, and the fulfillment of each week's tasks.
I, Tutleymutley, further understand that this course will raise issues and emotions for me to deal with. I, Tutleymutley, commit myself to excellent self care - adequate sleep, diet, excercise, and pampering - for the duration of the course.
10th January 2006
OH, oh, oh, this is going to be so hard. Getting enough sleep and eating right and excercise is hard enough. I'm so lazy! Time to get a grip.
Monday, January 09, 2006
One of the inspirations for starting a blog was seeing all the wonderful knitblogs out there. I should be in bed (got to get up early for work tomorrow) but I'm going to share my WIPS first, and one or two finished articles.
First finished article - a cardigan - adapted from a pattern in 'Traditional Sweater Book' by Madeline Weston, which I knitted up in Colinette 5point. I ran out of yarn and couldn't get the same batch - so it changed colour half way through. Certainly unique then. It didn't look right on me AT ALL, so I gave it to a friend I'd promised a jumper to years ago. She's the sort of person to not mind changing colours and, sure enough, she loved it.
The second finished article is a pair of socks for a neighbour's baby:
These were from 'Kids Knits' by Lesley Ann Price. I mucked up the pattern in the second sock but couldn't be bothered to Frog it, so I just swiss darned over the top...
Just need washing now, to fluff up the shetland yarn.
WIP No. 1 is a Pixie style hat for DS Seth: he wants a hat which will taper to a long point. I'd just finished my first felting project - a handbag in Noro Kureyon - which was great fun, so I've decided to use the same yarn and felt this too. It's knitted on the largest circular needles I have (size 6mm), and I haven't started decreasing yet. I love the way the Kureyon yarn changed colour - keeps me entranced while I knit, knit, knit. I'm making this up as I go along.
WIP No. 2 is a jumper knitted in the round from a pattern I made up myself for my DS when HE was a baby. I found the instructions recently so I thought I'd use up some lovely purple DK I had sitting in my stash and see if the instructions still made sense. I'll publish them on here if they do! Will probably give this to my neighbour's baby (Baby Theo that had the socks above). You can't see the detail brilliantly - though you can click on it to enlarge - but it's an aran style pattern.
Last WIP (No. 3) for tonight anyway. This was an inspiration from off the net - knitting with plastic bags - namely Tesco bags. I had some truly horrible pink acrylic stuff freely donated from a freecycler which needed something doing with, so I combined it with the plastic bag to make a very sturdy fabric. It's going to be a peg bag - will be fairly rotproof and be able to hang around outside come rain or shine! It's just garter stitch - but I got bored, so it has a stocking stitch diamond materialising in the middle.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Couple or three years ago I decided not to send Christmas cards any more – I would donate to a worthy charity (Usually the Guardian/Observer Christmas appeal) and promised myself everyone (friends and family) would receive a letter to keep in touch and send my virtual hugs. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and it just didn’t happen!
I donated to charity but never got around to starting the missive – or rather finishing it – I definitely started it last year. So this year, I have sat myself down and given myself a good talking and yer tiz – the annual missive a few years late, dot dot dot.
Yesterday I was full of cold, tickly cough, hawking up green phlegm, and I came home from work to find my lovely chrimble tree lying sprawled in the fire place, with decorations demolished and lights askew, all tree chocolates gone, and a half a mature stilton eaten. Dogs looking very guilty with bulging stomachs. I chased Syd off the premises and had to go and look for him 15 mins. later. I feel better today. Tree is replenished and back in its rightful place. Dogs (two chocolate labradors aka eating machines aka Tilly the mother dog, and Sydney, her son) are in my good books again.
The days meander on in a comforting sort of rhythm – get up, empty dishwasher, feed chickens, walk dogs, go to work, come home, sometimes cook tea, slump in front of good trashy novel or similarly trashy TV, or even trashy computer, load dishwasher and go to bed. There are, of course, variations on a theme: paint something, knit something, go paddling, hashing, check emails, shopping, housework in endless dreary repetitions of hoovering, laundry, composting and recycling and cleaning the loo . Zoom, and there’s another year gone by. But there are occasional highlights!
This year nothing much happened until end of June when I went to Eire to house sit, boysit, dogsit and catsit for my sister, Jane, whilst she went gallivanting off to Africa again (why? because I love her).
WHAT an interesting fortnight. I was a tad disappointed that Jane hadn’t written a complete list of instructions for the house, let alone what to do with the three foster boys she cares for: Clive, age 13yrs going on 7, Jim, 11yrs and Jason, nrly 6yrs (names have been changed to protect the guilty). When I harassed her to recite a list so I could note it down, she gave me the boys’ routine when they’re at school – of course, they finished school that week so it was all out of the window and ‘make it up’ time. I’ll tell you what happened in the first few days which set the tone for the rest of the fortnight… Friday, I arrived, and Jessie my sister's German Short Haired Pointer dog ate the chocolate I’d bought for everyone to share. She therefore had an upset stomach (bleurgh!). Jessie, Tilly and Syd
Saturday started off OK – Honeymoon period! Everyone did their jobs, so we all got our pocketmoney – and spent it all equally quickly when we all went shopping to Kilkenny.
We all went to cinema later – me and Jim and Jason (in his pyjamas for quick transfer to bed) saw ‘’Batman’ (Jason fell asleep half way through which was a ‘jolly good thing’ as the ending was not suitable for little boys – gave me the willies anyway. Audrey (Jane’s au pair and a lifesaver) and Clive went to see “Mr and Mrs Smith’ and thought it was great.
Sunday – the fun began! The dogs had poohed everywhere, all over the house – not clear which one, but no doubt still due to stolen chocolate. Hurling game that Clive supposed to play at was cancelled. Transpires Clive has given up scouts (has he, hasn’t he?) so didn’t join Jim who went off for a day of rafting in Thomastown. Jason appears with ‘chewing gum’ which (mentally checks Jane’s instructions) they are NOT ALLOWED, so I remove much to Jason’s disgust. Apparently it was ‘given’ to him by next door neighbour. Lovely day (little do I know that this is LAST lovely day weatherwise!) so we pack up a picnic and go to Slate Quarries:
Photo opposite is Jason at the Slate Quarries!
Dogs at Slate Quarries:
Clive entertaining dogs at Slate Quarries:
It was a lovely afternoon.
WE had to collect Jim from rafting by 1500hrs – not realizing that Irish time is not the same as English time and is much vaguer, we agreed that Clive could stay at home with his mate Eioan for half an hour. We were gone 2 hours As Jim was expected to help clear up, (see statement re Irish time).
Jim at the scouting event.
When we get home, all seems well until Jason is caught by Audrey trying to hide a hammer. There is an alarm going off next door – Audrey and I go to investigate. The house seems intact, but there is a smashed glass door on the caravan outside. There are also hammer marks on the house door, and the door to a car is left open with the glove compartment door open with empty chewing gum wrappers all over the front seat. This does not look good for Jason. Jason denies all. I feel we have to call Gardai in view of alarm and smashed window – just in case there is other damage, or there is an intruder. Garda comes to visit and is very gentle and polite– Jason confesses to chewing gum, but not anything else. I am now very suspicious of older boys but can’t prove anything. Jason does apologise to Maire (next door neighbour) after much encouragement. Later Jason packs his bag to leave home. He stays for supper, again with much encouragement and has three bed time stories. He then throws the biggest tantrum going. I think it’s all too much for him – Mammy is gone, and stranger taking her place who called the police on him... I am metamorphosing into a wicked stepmother, when all I wanted to be was kindly aunty. Clive starts off in his own bed, but next morning I find him asleep on sofa in front of telly, Jim does all the chores.
Monday: all boys went to school for last time. Audrey and I had a lovely morning painting (the weather starting to turn dreary and wet). Jim and Clive are asked to play in an under16s hurling match after school – they are keen, but it turns out later (when Jane returns to enlighten me) that they are really too young (normally play in under 14s) and the trainer was taking advantage of my ignorance. They don’t get back home until 2200hrs. Jason has another tantrum at bedtime. Unbeknownst to me, Clive stays up all night again, watching TV as he 'couldn’t sleep'.
Tuesday: I went to Cork to fetch my old pal, Sandra. Little does she know what she is letting herself in for. Audrey sends Clive to school – but it transpires there is no school and he spends the day getting into egg fights etc and I am summonsed to Ballyhale to collect him early. Jason has a tantrum about putting on his seatbelt – but is better that night.
Wed. Sandra and I went for a walk in Kells, along the river to the Priory. We bought some new bedtime stories in a bookshop (Lemony Snicket rules!).
Jason then has biggest tantrum ever – banging his head on the wall and inconsolable, despite hugs. I come closest to despair I have been yet. Meanwhile Jessie has managed to escape, in all the furore, and is out chasing sheep, coming home with blood all over her.
(Jason, Sandra and Audrey make purple fairy cakes)
Audrey and I go out
hunting at 9.30pm to find two sheep in another field next door to the one they should be in; one is limping but otherwise all present and alive (phew). Jason finally falls asleep after Audrey calms him.
Thursday, All the boys are now on holiday so we pack up a picnic and go off to Mahon Falls. This was the best day of the fortnight – the rain stayed away although it got a bit damp later in the day, and we walked a good 4-5 km over rough moorland without any complaints from anyone.
I feel I should summarise the rest – the weather got worse, overcast if not raining most days – not so good for July, but particularly galling, as when I got home there had been a heatwave in Devon for the previous week.
We did some lovely things together – Went to see the Tall Ships in Waterford, went to the beach in a storm and got blown along the sand in gale force winds! Sandra stayed for the full week, which was much appreciated. I’m not sure I’d have survived without Sandra and Audrey’s support! The boys were Ok most of the time – the tantrums lessened as the second week wore on. I really felt like I’d ‘failed’. The boys weren’t used to such a loose regime and certainly didn’t know me well enough I don’t think. I probably would do it again – but would go away camping – keep them all exhausted and on foreign territory. This picture is of them all working on a welcome home mammy poster!
My real holiday came in August when I went to the Big Green Gathering in Cheddar, and followed it with a solitary walk along the West Devon Way – strolling from Tavistock to Plymouth for three days, camping under the stars - just me and the dogs. The weather was fabulous (or it was until the end when it started raining just as I got into Plymouth! – good excuse for a pint), the views stupendous. I’d like to do a long walk again in 2006 – maybe the two moors way – coast to coast. Should be possible in a week.
I’ve also been involved in another new geeky hobby (last year's - I aim to start at least one geeky hobby EVERY year): bookcrossing!
See my bookshelves (below) for more information. Let me know if there’s any books you fancy and I’ll send ‘em on to you!
What of the rest of the family???
Dear son, Seth turned 18yrs in October and has left home (he’s been gone about a fortnight now) and is now living with his mate, Oak, in a HUGE house in Exeter. They have a 5 bedroom, 3 storey house for £500 a month, but only until September 2006. Seth’s new bedroom is bigger than our ground floor!
He left school last June, and had a very dossy summer but then started working for 'Marks and Spencer' in September and loves it. He hopes to do a 'bouncer' course in January so he can earn lots of dosh in the evenings to save so's he can go travelling toward the end of 2006. He’s got a lovely girlfriend called Hannah (blonde dreadlocks, leggy, hmm)– she was more excited about Seth’s new home than he was! They are both being very sensible – Hannah plans to move into a shared house with two girlfriends next September and is hoping to do fine art at Uni. Seth wants to travel and study more Ninjutsu* in Japan before going on to see the world.
I’m very aware that there hasn’t been much mention of my DH Steve in this missive – he wisely stayed away from Ireland when I went to house/boy sit and had a lovely dogless time at home. He also is not into festivals of any type so stayed at home then too!
Steve has got a new job picture framing for another ‘Bate’ in Exeter – more money, more job satisfaction than the job in Newton Abbot.
It’s very strange, just the two of us at home – no taxiing Seth around.
I’ll finish off with this *Politically-correct Christmas greeting* courtesy of the bookcrossing yahoo group…
Please accept with no obligation, implicit or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practised within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice, with total respect for the
religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, and their choice not to practise religious or secular traditions at all... and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due
respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Britain great (not to imply that Britain is necessarily greater than any other country nor is it the only "BRITAIN" in the northern hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith, sexual orientation and choice of computer platform of the wishee.
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wishee actually to implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
Hope you all have a lovely time in the holiday - I’ve got the whole of next week off (unheard of!).
*Amazing that me painting his face as a ninja turtle when he was little should have had such a long lasting impact!?