Monday, 27 July 2015
Saturday, 18 July 2015
- This is my copy, I never keep a dust cover on and you know what? I really like that it is sunshine yellow! My mood lifts when I see it.
- The layout, whatever your preference, pattern or chart it's there. And having a picture of every block is so useful.
- Browsing, even when I'm too tired (lazy) to actually pick up a hook it’s a great book to flip through. I always find one I haven't noticed before.
- Great value.
- Well I suppose I don't like getting to the end of it……………..
- No honestly I would love it to be 1000 Crochet Blocks, but its great value for money and that would just be greedy.
Sunday, 28 June 2015
For those who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about crochet stitches in every country have different names. This is perfectly understandable when those countries have different languages but seemingly bizarre when the language (i.e. English) is the same as is the case for the US and UK.
It becomes less surprising when you think about when crochet became popular not so far back as I talk about here, which means that terms were being generated on both sides of the Atlantic. In the same way we have chips and fries, chips and crisps, boots and trunks, eggplant and aubergine. When I lived in the States someone yelled at me to get off the pavement, it was extremely confusing and possibly life threatening as I was at the time walking on what I thought of as the road!
Given enough time and without the advent of popular media such as tv influencing things we would have ended up with two languages.
So in the hope that other people find it useful to bookmark or print, here's my handy little reference card.
Sunday, 3 May 2015
Wednesday, 8 April 2015
My closest friends son is an Aspie as is my oldest boy. During a recent trip to the park we were chatting about the similarities but also the differences between the two. One is a mechanical things loving extrovert. The other is a nature loving introvert. One sings or refuses to listen to some songs, the other doesn't notice the presence or absence of music. One is small for his age, the other large. The list goes on.
He's not like Billy/Fred/Jane!
- Mostly boys - but they'll be some girls
- Some kids with poor eye contact - but one or two will have great eye contact
- Some kids that are playing on their own, seeming to ignore the existence of the others - and some running around playing tag or being dinosaurs or octonauts together
- Some kids won't like bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, all of the above - some will get to an overload point - some will show no reaction whatsoever
- Some very quiet kids - some really noisy kids - some moderate kids. And which ones are which will probably keep changing.
|Cookie Cutter Autism|
One of the things you'll get told or read over and over is that autism is about developmental delay. It is BUT that doesn't mean they will be delayed in every area.
Old or Young For His Age?
My little boy still has the occasional time when he throws himself onto the floor hysterically because he lost a game in the classroom. In his defense he's well aware of his inability to cope with losing and takes steps to control it, usually by avoiding playing.
It's also quite apparent that he has very little care for others feelings if it's in conflict with what he wants. His little brother is the main exception to this rule, he doesn't like him being upset.
His coordination in sports is somewhat lacking in things like throwing or riding his bike. It would probably help if he would pay any attention to where he was going. His running is quite good though and now that he's becoming interested in cricket his catching is showing improvement simply because he's found a reason to be interested in it.
In other ways though he is frighteningly old. His thought processes are extremely logical, he can think his way around corners and can be incredibly persuasive in his arguments. His problem solving skills and manipulation of others can be scary and most certainly demonstrates an awareness of other peoples buttons and feelings. The best way I can describe him at such times is 'a born politician'.
He knowingly humours me. He will tell his stepdad that he's told me what I wanted to hear so he could get on with things.
So if you're looking into the future for a glimpse of your child, I'm happy to say that for autistic children it's just as much a mystery as for any other kid. And I can't emphasise enough - it won't be all bad, in fact some of it will be pretty damn amazing.
Monday, 6 April 2015
Worried About Redundancy
last couple of years my industry has shrunk.
Partly the bursting of the mining boom bubble. Partly government not investing in
infrastructure. Partly the knock on
effects of the global economy reducing companies willingness to spend.
I've been one of the lucky ones. I've come out the other end still fully employed. I have however been extremely aware of the shrinkage. One of my roles when my company decided on several occasions that we had to shrink too, was to be the one looking into people's eyes and telling them their world was changing. Yes I am that (insert descriptive expletive of your choice). I'm not HR, I'm a geologist, but I'm a team lead and if I don't do it who should?
As a side line to this article, each and every one of those people was truly amazing in their reaction at that unguarded moment.
I don't think anyone has come through completely unscathed or unaltered, but for me it's changed one of my thought processes in a basic way.
I think a lot of people when faced with the prospect of redundancy in their company start working out their redundancy package. At that point some even welcome the idea of redundancy! Most start looking at their debt, at their monthly living costs and of course jump onto the job seekers sites. It seems to me that most people take 3 to 6 months to find a new job. The redundancy package gets them over that first 3 months but then?
What's in Your Pantry?
Like a lot of people I pretty much lived paycheck to paycheck. I started looking at my pantry. If I lost my job today, how long could my household survive on what we had in?
When I first made people redundant it was just me and my kids. We're luckier now in that I have a partner so a little less vulnerable. But still, in the face of redundancy/ injury/ food or petrol crisis how long could we last on what we had?
The answer was a little depressing.
- Obviously within a week or so we'd be out of fresh food, because well it's fresh and after a week it wouldn't be. For the first week though plenty of salmon, salads, yoghurts, deli meats, cheese.
- When I was a kid we had a pantry with a shelf full of tins. I'm not sure if it's the fashion or my personal preference but I found I had a couple of tins of tuna, a tin of sweetcorn and a tin of coconut milk. Good as far as they went but hardly enough to keep us going for more than a couple of days.
- Dried goods were better. I like to make bread so I had plenty of flour and the like. Pasta and rice were also in decent supply (I'd at least be able to make a tuna bake combined with the tins).
- Finally the freezer. Some home made frozen meals such as pizza, lasagne, cottage pie and chicken nuggets. A respectable amount of frozen veg. A box of fish fingers.
Ok so I'm not listing everything here but you get the idea. The contents of my pantry, and freezer, and fridge were pretty meagre. They would keep us alive for a month or six weeks with very careful management and a lot of plain pasta but the variety and nutritional value was going to decline rapidly.
Extending this to the rest of the house and it was apparent that we'd be using newspaper for toilet roll and wearing hats to hide our greasy hair before the month was out if we ever had to rely purely on the contents of the house.
Now I know this sounds a little Mad Max post apocalyptic where everyone is suddenly wearing leather and carrying their own weight in weapons but it bothered me. Not in an obsessive I'm going to build tunnels under my house way but as a niggle at the back of my mind. I'd had to remove people's livelihoods in a snap of fingers. I was under no illusion that it couldn't happen to me tomorrow.
I didn't like feeling helpless and I was doing all I could to help keep things afloat at work, but there was something very concrete I could do at home to get rid of that niggle.
Where to Start?
Obviously it started with a list. Lists are very comforting when it's late in the evening, the kids are in bed and you can't make any actual progress. In all seriousness though a list in this situation was incredibly useful. I decided pretty quickly based entirely on gut feeling, that I wanted to have enough food and household goods in the house to survive comfortably for three months. Three months of school lunches for the kids. Three months of nutritious, tasty and varied evening meals, three months of porridge for breakfast. I didn't want to be able to just survive, I wanted to be able to keep things as normal as possible for the kids but I wanted to pay for it now while I could afford to.
I started in the morning and worked my way through breakfast, lunch and dinner. I mentally visited the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. I considered raw ingredients for bread, cookies and cakes that wouldn't store for three months but would keep things normal if they were there. I thought about herbs, spices and condiments. Cordials and fizzy pop made appearances. Then I worked my way through the house, the bathroom, the laundry, cleaning products,lightbulbs, batteries. Finally I thought about where it would live (the garage joined onto the house) and what kind of storage I was going to need.
It is not a quick job! Start adding prices to the items and suddenly it's also quite scary, but for me that made it even scarier not to do it. It also made me realize I couldn't do it all in one month, I simply couldn't afford to. I had to prioritise and I did that in two ways.
- Essentials. The huge bag of baker's flour that would keep me in bread for the duration. The toilet rolls that would soon be very obvious if they were gone. I drew up groups of goods in order of importance.
- Deals. I also came out of this exercise with a desire to live more cheaply. Try working out what you spend on any single item over the course of a year. When you see the final number you'll soon make a decision on whether it's that essential. So I decided when I saw our favourite mint and tea tree shower gel for example at half price (thank you Coles) I would buy 3 months worth in one go. Why wouldn't you?
The next thing I did was go online and join Costco. It just so happened that a new store had just opened about 10 minutes drive from where I live (bonus!). People have different views of Costco but with this new philosophy it makes sense to me.
Less Time in Supermarkets
We're a year or so on from making this decision, and while we don't always have three months worth of goods in we probably have 2 months in as a rule. In fact I was prompted to write this article because I was having a pantry clear up and realize we've probably dipped to about 1 months worth for the first time in a long while.
A number of habits have changed over this time:
- We get a meat pack from our local butcher, enough to last about 2 months each time. It's incredibly cheap to do it this way, the quality is excellent and there is plenty of variety.
- We did have to buy a chest freezer to cope with the above, but it means we can store way more everything now.
- Costco is our normal shop now. We try to go once a month for a big shop. We use a smaller shop for milk, salads etc when we need to.
- We plan our meals better. The kids like to write their choices on a calendar for the month ahead. We don't stick to it rigidly but it makes a good guide. When we do this we're far better at remembering it get something out of the freezer the night before.
The whole thing has done what it was intended to do. The niggle in the back of my mind has quieted, but it's had another benefit that looking back is obvious but didn't occur to me when I made the decision. We're actually living a lot cheaper than we did, oh yeah and we spend a lot less time in supermarkets.
Thursday, 5 February 2015
Having number three and four separate might seem overkill but it really does mean we know how much we have available for food, necessities and if we're really lucky for a bit of fun!
So how many accounts to make sure we have the money to change a light bulb? Five! But I still don't know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin