Category Archives: The Life of Lara

It’s all here. Adventures in extreme knitting, the house of poop, and suburban permaculture. You may also find rants about politics, ecology, humanitarianism, responsible living, toe floss, and other topics not covered here. Expect profanity and irreverence. You have been warned.

Harry Potter Themed 9th Birthday Party

Harry Potter 9th Birthday Party

Guests were asked to arrive promptly for sorting into houses. They were then sent in for wand making (sticking washi tape and sparkles on to chopsticks), and then to Professor Moody for Defense Against the Dark Arts (Pin the Wand on a large poster of Harry).

Then they were sent outside to practice Wingardiam Leviosa (balacing a baloon on a wand tip), while waiting for Divination class.

Cheryl made a brilliant Professor Trelawney (albeit without the sherry fumes), and some kids loved her class so much they wanted to do it twice!

While Divination was in session for one house at a time, Brooke ran History of Magic (Harry Potter trivia), and Vish ran them ragged with outdoor games.

We then had snacks and cake and present opening, and finished up with a herbology class, putting Extract of Murtlap and Bubotuber Pus into small jars for potions lessons at home. Preferably in the bathtub!

A wonderful time was had by all the kids, and all of the adults were driven to gin. Thank you to my wonderful professors, and Angi who quietly helped where it was needed and helped everything to run smoothly. I have had some lovely thank you messages from parents, which make all the effort worthwhile (as well as having a happy kid!).

Happy Birthday Squidilng

Inigo 9th Birthday

Kid went to bed 8, woke up 9.

Went to bed with Ogden the Octopus, and his new favourite soft toy “Zombunny” tucked inside his pyjamas. Zombunny was an early Christmas present made by the wonderful Cheryl, and he is perfect. At nine, he is still the kid that is late for school to stay with a dying monarch butterfly, has meaningful relationships with soft toys, and one particular tree at school.

At nine, he is still generous with his kisses and cuddles, still loves extravagantly, and still holds my hand to cross the road. But he also plays chess like a fiend, can ride his bike all the way to school, and climbs all the way to the top of the indoor climbing wall without a trace of fear.

He is brave, he is sweet, he is kind and he is clever. He is every bit as wonderful as I ever hoped he might be, and he keeps getting more and more himself, which is an absolute joy to watch. The last few years have brought some tough challenges, and he has recently proved to be more than a match for them. With the support of his teachers, he has gone from strength to strength this year, and (touch wood!), we may have found the magic formula for engagement at school. See the previous few posts for more detail.

And today, we finally had the initial assessment with an Occupational Therapist. It will be a while before we get the report back, but it looks like we might be finally on the road to a diagnosis, and some support for his challenges.

After the OT, we had lunch at his favourite restaurant Ras Vatika (Dosa and dhai Puri with a mango lassi), then went into town to see the windows at Smith & Caugheys. We wandered inside and discovered the Magical Forest, so we decided to check that out (highly recommended if you’re in Auckland with a kid), and then to Aotea Square for the giant lego Christmas tree.

Daddy then met us at the cinema for “Fantastic Beasts”, sushi for dinner, and then a trip to Giappo for the world’s best ice cream.

Which apparently comes with a candle for your ninth birthday.

On the way home he told me that he wished he had a time turner so he could live today over and over again. “It’s like I drank a whole bottle of Felix Felicis last night, and I’ve had a whole day of perfection”. I hear you kid.

Breakthrough

At the end of last term, Squid had a really crappy day. It was no ones fault – the class went on a sketching walk, and he wandered off. The teacher yelled – to keep him safe, which I completely understand, and he crumbled.

When I picked him up that day, he felt so bad, he told me he had considered hurting himself.

I insisted on more meetings with the school. An emergency appointment to talk to the Educational Psychologist, and an action plan was drawn up. The school committed to addressing both his deficits and his giftedness, and especially to try to accelerate him through some assessments to try to find where he is at (particularly in maths).

Yesterday at Mind Plus, the class were looking at analogies of giftedness, and this is what he came up with. He’s been putting in extra effort at school, and that, combined with all the extra stuff his classroom teach has been doing, seems to be finally making a difference.

For the teachers

This is a shout out to my teacher peeps.

This week, my kid expressed his unhappiness at school in a way that could not be ignored, and it couldn’t be misinterpreted.

And the response from the school has been heartening. Teachers who have worked with my boy have been shocked, and distressed, and they have made the time to set things in motion for change.

There have been teachers in his past that have ignored, minimised and disregarded his challenges, and his feelings about school, and my advocacy for my boy. But the last two days I have seen three teachers go above and beyond to make sure that this situation gets turned around.

And one special teacher, who happens to be a friend to both Squid and I, who took time out of her busy life to make sure we are supported and informed, and nurtured – you can’t know what your advocacy has meant.

I am hopeful that things will change really soon. And if it does, it will be down to great teachers, working passionately within a system that constrains and stifles where it should lift up and celebrate these wonderful people.

Thank you for the work you do.

Lara’s Magic Cast On

I really love Judy’s Magic Cast on for toe up socks. And now I am teaching toe up sock knitting, and about to release my first sock pattern, I have been knitting a lot of socks.

Judy’s cast on gives a great finish, but it’s just a bit too fiddly for me. I am a very lazy knitter, so if I can find a short cut, or a way to fudge something, I’ll do it. This is a very quick and basic video, and hope someone finds it useful.

Just remember that on the second needle (the one on the “top” in this video), you will need to knit the first round of stitches through the back loop to untwist them. The ones on bottom needle can be knit normally.

A moment of stellar parenting

Tonight, we had a parenting situation that needed a sensitive touch.

Small boy has grown accustomed to a cafe visit, with cake, as a reward for reading milestones. Not so much the reading every night, but the writing in the home reading journal. It was a deal we made at the beginning of the year with his teacher. She thought it was important, we had her back and enforced it.

Today, he hit 175 days of reading. But he hadn’t filled in the journal. I said no cake. There were tears.
Thank goodness I rock this parenting gig. I found a clip of The Beastie Boys singing “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, and sang “No Cake Till Tuesday”.

Kid became hysterical for a different reason, and the evening was saved.

Now looking for a reason to introduce him to Nick Cave. Or Snakefinger. Perhaps some Violent Femmes.

It’s not cancer

For a few years now, I’ve had a lump on the back of my neck, and thought nothing of it. It was painful when it first appeared, but not since, so I ignored it.

In April, just before festival, it got bigger. And painful. And a secondary lump appeared. Then I started getting facial nerve pain across the right side of my face. The intensity varies, but it’s been pretty much constant for a few months.

So I went to the GP, who sent me off to have needles poked into it for a biopsy.

It’s a “reactive” lymph node. Now, reacting is what a lymph node is supposed to do. But then, after it is done reacting, it is supposed to calm down and have a rest. This one is going off like a frog in a sock, and hasn’t got the memo to calm down yet.

And it might be what is causing the facial pain, and probably is what is causing the pain in my neck.

The solution is surgery. Ugh.

But at least it’s not cancer, right?

My First Ravelry Pattern!

Please do download it, add it to your ravelry queue, cast on, and post project pics when you are done. It won’t take more than an hour or two to make, and you can customise it and make it your own. This isn’t anything tricky or clever, it was designed to be worked on in a class I was teaching about knitting in the round.

May 2016

I just turned 46. It’s not so bad. I’m full of gratitude for the life I am able to live right now. Still terribly fond of Mark, so blessed to be mama to the best kid in the world, and doing fulfilling work, both in my volunteer role, and in in actual paid employment.

Yesterday, I taught a knitting class and had great feedback.

Inigo learning to knit while daddy played tennis

This morning, I finally taught Inigo how to knit (he learned to spin at the end of last month).
And this afternoon I published my first ever pattern on Ravelry – it’s nothing complicated, but great fun, and a good beginning project for a learner.

Next weekend we have Woolfest – the third annual pop up fibre market in Auckland, and the second one since I tok over as area delegate. Festival went off with nary a hitch, and for the first time eve, Inigo seems to not only be enjoying school, he has great friends, and he seems to be heading for some positive academic results for the first time.

I hope all is well with you too.

2016

Today, 5 year olds all over Australia started school today.
 
 I’ve dreaded today for years. It sucks.
 
 I’m coping.
 
 I miss my babies.

Happy families

Adam and Andrea are friends that I have known for years – since before Inigo was born and we used to go to a pub in Newtown for a knitting group.
 
 They bought a house, and renovated. They planned to start a family, and planned a more extensive renovation. But first, a wedding.
 
 Harbour Wedding
 
 Very soon afterwards, they found out they were expecting. Twins!
 
 Yesterday, we had a visit from them, Owen and Olivia are now two and a half, clever, chatty and adorable.
 
 Happiness!
 
 A simple reminder of the wonderful work I am lucky enough to do.
 
 
 - from my iPhone

The blog is back!

After a few days of thinking it might be gone for good, and then a few weeks of worrying how much could be recovered (which coincided with Mark having some hell weeks at work), we now have a working blog back.

The theme needs reinstalling (or updating), but the content is here. Thanks Mark!

How was your day?

So the cold from hell seems to be over. The fourth round of antibiotics seems to have done the trick, and I am now back to “normal” amounts of lung medication to keep me from brain death. After a week of regularly getting above 95% when I tested my oxygen perfusion, I decided it was finally time to go back to the sports medicine specialist to get the results of my MRI.

My iphone (4s) decided to refuse to turn on this morning, so after a comedy of errors I finally arrived 15 minutes late, and then had to wait a further half hour. Turns out, there are reasons for delayed appointments that aren’t to do with doctors being lazy.

So my MRI shows that I have another ruptured disk, the very bottom one in my spine. Because this disk bears all the weight of the spine, healing will take some time (it’s already been 10 months!), but it should come good with some physio and more rest.

But the MRI showed something else. A lipoma, a little collection of cells that in itself isn’t a problem, but the specialist wants me to see a neurologist to rule out “tethered spine syndrome”, which is a possible cause of my pain.

Hopefully my phone will restart, and the backup a week ago was recent enough that I haven’t lost much of importance (except the photos of our fab holiday in Russell with Richard and Miriam this weekend :( ).