geekery, drawing and then some



For the past few weeks, in an attempt to cope with the dramatic events in my flat, I’ve done quite a lot of crocheting. I started with a green vest because it looked simple and I almost always feel cold. I found some nice merino-wool and it does indeed keep me warm. Pondering what to do next, I did some small squares, to try out a few stitches.

Next, inspired by Millie’s ripple blanket I decided I wanted to make one too and I ordered a bunch of alpaca wool to make it. One or two of the colours I had planned didn’t look quite right, and while waiting for the other colours to come in, I made some wristwarmers

I found a nice ripple-pattern on Attic 24, started the blanket and then my youngest sister saw photos and commented on how she wanted one as well. So I made her one, made myself a little phone-sock and then finished my blanket.

I tried making a top but had to frog it due to massive mistakes I made, and have started another one

Perhaps the mild weather helps, because so far, my hands have not hurted at all and I’ve only had discomfort in my arm (less than a handful of times). Surprisingly, writing does hurt. I guess I’ll go with the flow on this one, and crochet myself into oblivion for as long as I can and want to.

Admitting defeat

It became clear to me over the past few days I’ll never get my flat cleaned up the way I want before the windowreplacement. With the amount of anxiety I had about it (and let’s face it, about anything) I have thought up a Plan B (and possibly C and D). Today or tomorrow I will take my little bike, cycle to GAMMA (a DIY-store nearby) and get myself a bunch of moving boxes, small size. After that, I have about two weeks to get my affairs in order and that gets easier when I can simple toss ‘everything’ in boxes and stack those.

I prefered not to do it that way and then stuff happend that got in the way. I don’t feel defeated. In fact, I feel pretty pleased about having thought this through beforehand which leads me to Plan B without stress and still confident I can do this. For me, this makes a huge difference with how I did things before. Instead of ‘fighting’ against my nature and trying ‘not to worry so much’ I took a few minutes to write down my plan and my backup-plan. This action alone gave me enough calmness to not have to spend much time thinking about it. Normally I’d keep it all active in my head, and this eats up a lot of backgroundprocess-energy.

I’ll still need some help with clearing the balcony, and even that doesn’t look as daunting as it did before.

Just a few more weeks

As mentioned before I have a few weeks before the windows get replaced. I have done my best to stick to my plan of 1 day off, 3 days off cleanup, and have at least managed some cleanup-days. Not as many as I’d like though. I had another project that ate up a lot off energy and had an annoying headache that lasted a week.

I spent some time away from home to avoid having to spend a few days in non-stop drilling into my walls on the outside and the following insertion of isolationspray (some foamy material). After returning I discovered that they had shifted the schedule and found myself spending a few annoying days in nearly non-stop drilling anyway. The earplugs helped with the sound, and not with the vibrations.

On one of these days they sprayed the foamy into the wall from the roof. I live on the top floor of my building and thus instany discovered the gaps between my windows and the outside wall in that area. The tiny black sticky foamy balls sprayed out of the gaps onto the balcony, like black snow. It stuck to the windows and the plants. I had not cleaned up the balcony yet and the mess became a mess.

I did my best to remove some of the sticky black foam-balls, getting them to unstick. At some point I moved my curtain. Big surprise there, sticky black foam-balls had found a hole towards the inside and stuck tothe curtain.


At least I managed to mostly clean that up myself. The isolation-guys came by to clean up the balcony and though they didn’t get all, they got a lot.

I keep telling myself, just a few more weeks… 1

  1. Although, right now, I think the drama will never end, because I also need to do something about the broken tiles in the bathroomfloor and the radiators need replacing too. The joys of homeownership. 

The clean-up plan

zones By the end of November, all my windows and their frames will go into a huge recycling bin and I’ll get new (better) windows.

For this process I need to clean-up. All the stuff near the windows has to move somewhere else. And I have stuff at ‘somewhere else’. 1 Seems like a good time to do a massive decluttering, but with my limited energy supply it seemed a bit daunting.

I decided to make a plan! I started by calculating the number of days left until the Big Day (50) and looked at how I could best divide them into smaller chunks. I ended up with 12 times 4 days (and then two days left).

I then divided the Offending Areas into 10 zones, roughly, with equal amounts of junk. lastly, I entered repeating events in my calendar, repeating every 4 days.

Day 1-3

declutter, clean, do whatever needs to get done in any one zone. no switching zones during those days. Sliding into neighbouring zone won’t hurt the plan as long as the focus remains at or near one area. Knowing me I’ll bounce around, flying from one side to another, if I don’t set this rule.

Day 4

obligated rest and fun, damnit! because it works so well to force myself to do something fun. Actually it does, and again, knowing me, I won’t stop until I drop otherwise (if someone could send me a moderation dial/button, I’d feel forever grateful)

10 zones means I have 40 days planned, which leaves a handful of days unallocated. Completely intentional, I have some things planned and will use those extra days as a buffer.

The past few days I cleared a small area and actually ditched about one garbage bag already. I admit I mostly got rid of old chewed up dog toys. Still, anything that goes means less stuff in my flat.

Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll have my first obligated funrest day. I think I’ll clean out some pens…

  1. If all else fails I guess I can always rent storage space and become an actual storage hoarder. 

Geekery and illness

Somewhere earlier this year, Nano started acting a little weird. She seemed more sluggish and slow, and at the same time more bitchy — I think I can use ‘bitchy’ here, she is a female dog and all — and easily annoyed.

Normally, we’d go out at around 22:00 and then again at 08:00 or maybe 09:00. She needed to go pee more. And she drank a lot. I had to refill her bowl four or five times per day.

After a week of waking up at 01:00 and 03:00 and 05:00 and 07:00 because she had to go pee, I made an appointment with the vet. They did some tests, including an extensive blood-test, and the cause of her malaise became very clear: high bloodsugar. Since the other tests showed no anomalies, the vet concluded diabetes. She told us to start doing shots, and then bring Nano in for another bloodsugar-test in a week or so. I asked about checking her levels myself, since I did own a glucosemeter. They showed me how to do it, and told me to phone in the results after a week of doing 2 units per meal (4 per day), 12 hours apart.


A few things became almost immediately clear:

  • Nano doesn’t like the way the vet said to check her glucose
  • She almost instantly stopped drinking and peeing so much, I could sleep through the night once more!
  • Nano should have her head checked, she does not care at all about getting needles in her ear or shoulders. In fact, these days, when I take out the glucosemeter she comes running as soon as she hears the pop of the strips container.
  • Nano’s levels do better on a raw meat diet, they go through the roof on dry food.
  • Nano’s seemingly innocent snacks made her levels go very high (above 30mmol/L (or 540mg/dL), from around 9 or 10 (or ~160-180mg/dL)).
  • Tiny insuline bottles fall over easily in the fridge 1

nano chart

Glucose-levels for dogs need to follow a similar pattern as they do for humans. Ideally, she’ll have values between 5 and 10 mmol/L. We have discovered, however, that if she drops below ~6.5, her glucose will shoot up in the next hour or so (up to and sometimes even over 20). I’ve tried various meters and they mostly seem to agree on the values, and that the glucose bounces back up when it drops below 6-ish.

In the early days, I used a Launch Center Pro action to keep track of her values and the amount of food she had. It looked like this:

fantastical2://x-callback-url/parse?sentence=125gr%20rmb%20<zddate>%20@%20<zzeh[list:Select dosage|0EH=0|1EH=1|2EH=2|3EH=3|4EH=4]>%20for%200%20min%20%2Fwa&notes=nanocheck&add=1&x-success={{due://x-callback-url/add?title=feed%20Nano&hourslater=11&x-success={{launchpro://}}}}

It adds a new event in a Google calendar through the wonderful Fantastical 2 and then creates a reminder for 11 hours later to feed Nano again, in Due It relies on several TextExpander snippets to fill in the correct date and dosage. I also have an IFTTT rule set up to check new events in that calendar and add them as a new row to a spreadsheet. I don’t use Google Calendar for much, but it proved useful in this case.


A few weeks ago, I found the Glucodock , a glucosemeter that clicks into the iPhone and lets the phone do the hard work. For €9.95 I figured I could take the risk and try it for a while. It works really well, and the strips actually cost less than the previous meter I used, always a bonus.

Nano has improved healthwise. She drinks normal amounts and sleeps through the night again. Last week she had surgery to remove a cyste from her toe, and the wound healed up quick. It seems she doesn’t have the slow wound healing associated with diabetes and in fact, she didn’t seem bother by the stitches at all. She did seem bothered by the bandage and boot she had to wear for a few days, and as soon as I removed those, she ran around like a happy little puppy.


Her bloodsugar still bounces around a bit, higher in the morning, but low enough in the afternoon and evening. She has stayed at the doggy hotel and with friends and all went well. She still tries to steal food — usually the kind she shouldn’t eat.

Over the past few months I’ve heard that I overanalyse the data and check her levels too often (before breakfast and dinner, and then in the afternoon and before bed). Perhaps I do, however, I’d do the same for me. I don’t do it because I freak out over her levels, I do it to find patterns to find the best treatment possible.

And I also get to geek out in the meantime.

  1. So I sugrud a holderinsuline in fridge 

Oh yeah, btw…

I got a little tired from the issues I had with WordPress . Not because WordPress doesn’t do what it says it does — it does actually — but because I don’t write that much here anymore and I felt that I only consistently kept the site up-to-date WordPress-wise, and not content-wise. I felt I spent more time on updating than on anything else.

Which — naturally — meant I started fiddling. First, I tried Pelican which I liked and really wanted to use. Then, I stumbled on Nikola

I tried them both and they both seemed to work for me. In the end, I went for Nikola. It seems faster and better at not rebuilding posts unnecessarily.

The migration required the following steps:

  1. Export an xml-file of my WordPress-data (posts and pages).

    Easy enough through the ‘Tools > Export > All Content’ in the WordPress Admin pane (although I must admit it went horribly wrong for me, but in the end, I managed to get a usable file).

  2. Import in Nikola with nikola import_wordpress file.xml

    This did not work for me, it got stuck or crashed even though I checked the file with xmllint. Instead, I downloaded WordPress to Markdown Exporter and converted the xml-file that way. I lost some info, but nothing very dramatic.

  3. Mess around until everything works and looks okay.

    This took the most time because I got distracted by lots of new stuff like Python and RestructeredText. Had fun.

Pretty sure some things didn’t work as expected and I’ve possibly broken some links. However, I delved into my .htaccess file which should redirect old links to their new place. This mattered even more because at the same time I decided to switch domains 1 from http://tanniespace.com to http://tannie.nl . Apparently, when I decide to mess with things, I mess with them thoroughly.

  1. Yes, I love breaking the internet. 

Tilburg Penshow

Today I went to the Tilburg Penshow and had a blast. I hung out and tried pens with a bunch of great people, always a pleasant experience.

Before I went, I decided I had to keep a tight budget. Nano’s surgery certainly put a dent in my pen-budget (or any of my budgets, really) and my idea of finding a nice Lamy 2000 for maybe €120 (new, retail, €200) went down the drain quickly. I figured I could squeeze out enough money to buy a cheaper pen and maybe some ink.

I looked around (no ink), browsed, picked up a few pens and then it happened. The heavens opened, angels sang, light shone down on a table, and there I saw it. A Lamy 2000! 1

After checking it out with other people and asking the price, it seemed like a very good deal, too good to pass up, even. So I paid, and will eat nothing but ramen the next few months, obviously.

We inked it up MacGuyver-style: unscrewing the section and dripping ink from my Pelikan into the barrel. When I wrote with it, the angels started singing again 2



[Lamy2000]: http://tannie.nl/gallery/pens/2014-09-27_162055.jpg

  1. Two, actually, but I only wanted one. For now. 

  2. Or maybe I had low bloodsugar and started hallucinating again. It happens.