07 January 2013

reject the expert :: embrace the geek

So 2012 didn't turn out too shabby. During one short year I created a whole small person from a single cell. Perhaps I ought to say "we" created, but we all know who did the lion's share. And by the time the bells rang 2013 in, that single cell from one year before could giggle when he trumped like a carthorse. An important milestone I'm sure you'll agree.

So, despite not achieving any of my goals last year (largely - though not entirely - because of the small person) I do have a few for the next 12 months.

First up, I'm not going to live the way anyone else tells me (unless I actually know them, and then I might consider it). Because if you add all the advice up, all the layers of rules and checklists and intentions and schedules, you will spontaneously implode.


A quick example; here's how an (edited) two-hour segment of Christmas day might have looked had I paid heed to Nigella Lawson's turkey dinner schedule and Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby regime. Let's call it the expert mash-up of doom-laiden stress.

- Peel and cut potatoes, then leave in cold water. Take bacon-wrapped chipolatas out of the fridge.
- Baby must be fully awake regardless of how long he has slept. Encourage him to have a good kick under his playgym or take him on an outing. (Who wrapped the chipolatas? Do we have chipolatas? Bugger it. Take the baby for an outing - I don't CARE if you're still in your pyjamas, IT'S WHAT THE BOOK SAYS.)
- Take turkey out of brine, sit it on a rack in the sink and leave to drip, drain and come to room temperature. Preheat 1st oven to 200*C. Trim Brussels sprouts and leave in colander. Take prepared stuffing out of the fridge. (On the day everyone's most scared of food poisoning, I can't wash my hands because there's a turkey in the sink. Hmm.)
- Put chipolatas in oven, Infuse milk for bread sauce. Measure out ingredients for chocolate pudding and set aside. (Bread sauce? Chocolate pudding? I think not.)
- He should be given a full breast-feed or full bottle-feed.
- Put prepared potatoes in pan on heat to parboil. (Hang on, I'm breastfeeding.)
- Take chipolatas out of oven and leave wrapped in foil (still breastfeeding...)
- Melt basting liquid for turkey (yup, still breastfeeding...)
- Baste turkey with half the liquid and put in first oven. Potatoes should be parboiling so keep an eye on them, then drain, dredge and leave in pan. (Sod the tatties, I've fed him now so I'm allowed a glass of something dry and fizzy aren't I? Geez.)
- Change his nappy, close curtains and settle drowsy baby, half swaddled in the dark with the door shut no later than 12 noon. (Chance would be a fine thing. Put him in a pram and pass me the cooking sherry.)

You see? I suggest paying scant attention to them, for that way madness lies. Even if you have two ovens and pre-prepared stuffing.

So, good on you Cami Walker you generous soul, glad you're teaching the world to grin Gretchen Rubin, and Kim John Payne I agree with all your parenting ideas. But this year I'm going to shuffle through under my own steam if it's all the same to you. Advice is good. But you can have too much of a good thing, and "shuffling through" worked for me on Christmas day.

There's another change afoot in 2013: I'm gently embracing my inner geek. I've realised that no simple or wholesome creative activity is complete without an app or a preparatory session in front of the computer screen.

Not that I'm complaining, it's totally brilliant. I've planned the veg patch for this year, proven that I'm making progress with the post-baby weight loss, lost hours to Ravelry, and completed the first week of an Illustrator course (which I hope will lead to my being able to design things pretty enough to sell...).

Happy New Year one and all. Here's to a geeky one.

growVeg is a very cool tool to draw and plan your veg garden.
you tell it your location and it tells you when to do what
based on your frost dates.

my random recipe for January, chosen by random number generator,
was totally delicious. update coming soon.

pregnancy: plotted.
the NHS BMI Tracker app is so simple, and thoroughly motivational.
I'm getting there... gradually.

the fabulous Nicole's Classes (they of the dotty freebie pattern
you see in my background!) are going to keep me very
busy the first half of 2013, kicking off with a month of
Adobe Illustrator. Here's my first week's homework.

a new blanket idea is hatching - maybe I could use Illustrator to design a
gorgeous pattern sheet to sell on Ravelry? That's my resolution...


  1. I think there is a geek deep down in all of us that appreciate this post. I know you can sell a pattern on ravelry!! Can't wait to see the blanket idea :)

  2. hi five I'm a fellow geek :) nothing wrong with it. lookin forward to your illustrator designs when you're happye nough to show them to us!

  3. I'm liking your attitude to parenting advice ... far too much of it around to be healthy!

    Good luck with your app-prefaced plans ... have fun with Illustrator :D

  4. Looks like your days are full full full...

  5. You always make me laugh! Happy new year! Here's to breast feeding while downloading geek apps (that garden one is so cool) as that's what I'm doing right now.

  6. :D Hee hee.
    Have you read those three books? I have read The Happiness Project - couple of years back and I am in the middle of the Simplicity Parenting one but book club books are more enjoyable so take priority and yet I'm still behind with them! Haven't read the 29 gifts one - looks interesting, but I totally agree, not to to try and impose such rules on oneself even though it obviously worked for her. Have you read it? Worth a read?

    Thanks for link to the veg patch thing. Will it really work for us? We have such a short growing season here - and yet you always manage such an amazing harvest!

    And I love your particular brand of geekiness - so much more productive than wasting hours on Facebook which is what I tend to do when get on the computer as I am generally lacking in energy. Nevermind - Spring is on its way and I'll be running along behind you trying to catch some of your enthusiasm and productivity and creativity. ;-)

    Love ya!

    1. Got 29gifts out of library last year. Surprisingly, found it a bit 'meh'. Simplicity parenting: read first third or so, but find it a bit repetitive so get distracted by other things. And I dip into the happiness project time to time, and it just makes me feel shitty because I'm guilty of all the bad behavior she lists about herself!

      The veg patch thing should work in theory, even this far north! I told it my location and it sets the frost dates as being from October to march, which seems fairly accurate. I'm going to try and follow the planting schedule it came up with, I guess we'll see!

  7. I got such a kick out of that run down! And those are some mighty fine resolutions! I would happily purchase said fancy illustrator produced ravelry pattern!


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