Recently in Dad Category

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About 4 months after Ms. Z was born, my dad needed heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.  The surgery went well, but there were complications with the anti-coagulant therapy that resulted in my dad experiencing a ruptured spleen and significant internal bleeding.  My dad jokes that he needed "a full oil change" -- when all was said and done, it took 7 units of O positive to help save his life.

Up until that point in my life, I'd always been a little scared of giving blood -- needles and bleeding just weirded me out.  But if there's anything I got used to in the process of trying to and having a baby, it was to deal with blood draws and IVs.  So I got to thinking about it.  As I've gotten into Health IT and started working at a university with major medical center, I've spent a lot more time thinking about health care, and how I can make a difference personally.  Giving blood seemed like the perfect way to start.

In honor of my dad, I've made a long term pledge (to myself) to donate 7 units of blood.  On Friday I made my first donation, and I promise to update my progress here as I go along.  Here's a few things I learned from my first donation:

  • At any given time only 38% of people in the US are eligible to give blood (i.e. they meet the health previous history requirements)
  • Only 8% of people give blood
  • Giving blood is easy and does not take a long time -- it took about 10 minutes for me to make my donation and another 15-20 to hang out after the donation while you drink some juice.
  • Drink a lot of water before hand -- it will help the donation go faster and more smoothly (and you'll feel better, too!)
  • You feel like a real hero when you're done.   
The Red Cross website is great at helping you find out more about your local Red Cross chapter as well as a a place to donate in your area -- most of the time you can even make an appointment so that you can do it at a time that works best for you. 

To put the incredible gift that my father received in perspective: when people donate blood, they can only donate 1 unit at a time and you have to wait at least 2 months to donate more.  There's a good chance that 7 different people contributed to what my dad received.  Although they will never know it, there are seven people in Southeastern Michigan who helped make sure that my dad is still here to watch his granddaughter grow up.

If you can donate, I'd really like to encourage to to do so. So many people need blood and when it's needed, there's no more precious gift in the world.

In case you want to know more about what I do in my day job, you can check out my first non-crafting blog post ever at the HealthIT Buzz blog sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.  It's a piece of writing I'm particularly proud of and I think it's a pretty good story as well -- and if you're interested in what your doctor has to think about when they're considering using an electronic health record system, it might be a nice intro.

Pretty Wooden Things

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I passed my second 4th decade birthday uneventfully, but happily.  A small collection of thoughtful and lovely things joined my life.  Most supported my continuing love affairs with making coffee and making cookies.  There were a few things that I thought merited special comment on my blog.

The beautiful little bowls you see were hand-turned by my dad.  The inner one is walnut, the outer is cherry.  He created the dark edge on the cherry bowl with a burning technique.  Both have a beeswax finish, so they could easily be used for food, but I've decided to use them on my dresser where I will see them more often and where I will be able to touch them every day when I take off my jewelry.  One thing that is hard to convey in a picture is how smooth these bowls are.  Almost soft.  I hope I was able to capture some of their radiant quality in my picture.  The walnut bowl in particular has a deep, luminous glow.

The needles come from from a set of Darn Pretty 6" double points in the "Winter Sky" color pattern and were a gift from my beautiful little girl who is all about having socks knit for her.  These needles are as a much a joy to look at as they are to knit with.  In honor of the giver, I have cast on the first pair of socks employing a set of them for her.  She's quite enthusiastic about the potential for new socks and has been almost ecstatic when I've asked her to take off her sock so we can size them as we go.  Knitting with these needles has started to build in me an unholy desire to get  set of their interchangeable circulars.  Dyak Craft needles are hand turned and feel to me like the perfect spiritual complement to a beautiful hand made garment

Other than that, it is all good, but very busy.  Between a busy three year old and a job with an aggressive time table, I haven't been able to take as much advantage of the knitting mojo I have as I would like.  But I have managed to build my elliptical time back into my routine, so it's all good after I accept the reality of the limitations of a 24 hour day and the need for a reasonable amount of sleep.  

Back on Wednesday

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This post officially post-poned due to a family wedding on a Sunday night that required interstate travel and a small person who would not go to bed until 2 AM after we got home.  She just doesn't understand the whole "you need to go to bed because Mommy and Daddy need to go to work in the morning."  But going to the aforesaid wedding meant that we got to grab my dad and bring him home with us (along with another treat that will no doubt show up on the blog in the future), so baby girl has a fun fun week ahead of her, and I always enjoy having my Dad around!

I'll be back on my regularly scheduled time on Wednesday. 

The Sweetest Thing

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Flowered Yellow Baby Kimono Sweater

I can't believe that I forgot to do show and tell with this little sweater. This lovely little baby kimono sweater was knit by my dad and my mom put the embroidered daisies on it after dad put it all together. The little sweater is entirely too sweet. It is also a bit too big for her right now, but it is good for her to have some nice things to grow into. Unfortunately, I can't remember which book my dad told me this pattern came from. It was an excellent first sweater project for Dad, since the basic pieces were simple stockinette and garter stitch. However, it also had some good learning elements -- like picking up stitches along the neck line and seaming in the sleeves. It's so tiny and sweet, a little treasure for her hope chest someday after she can't wear it any more.

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Flower Hat Topper

No outfit is complete without a few accessories, and since the Z baby is not yet into shoe shopping, Mom and Dad decided she needed a couple of hats. I think (once again, the brain is fuzzy... mommyhood is not so good for the memory cells, it seems) my mom is the creator of these little items. She's going to be precious with a little flowered sweater and a hat with a flower on top, I think.

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Ducky Baby Topper

And how could you not like this sweet little hat with a ducky embroidered on it? Too cute, I say!

And the best part? Aside from having sweet things made by your grandparents? Having washable sweet things made by your grandparents.

Tomorrow we are going to take Z on her first big adventure. We're driving to Michigan Fiber Fest (near Allegan, MI) to meet my folks and enjoy some sheepy goodness. Mom and Dad have already claimed the Z baby for their own so I'll get some time to explore the barns and hopefully take some good pictures. I'm not planning on buying much, but I'm hoping the trip will help me get my spinning mojo back in order. I'm also hoping that Z and John and I do well as a family -- I'd really love to be able to take her out on more day and overnight trips.

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