Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

They've come out in reverse order but I'm sure you get the picture...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The big day

I have been very busy today and the only time I had to write a blog entry, I decided to spend out on my bike instead. I am 100% certain that I made the right choice, even if it was cold and damp.

J is 4 tomorrow, we have got lots of things planned during the afternoon and the weekend. I will try to get some pictures along the way and post them next week.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shopaholic or not?

There have been times in my life when I have been criticised for spending too much money on things I don't need.

Actually, come to think of it, that is probably quite a large portion of my life, but seeing as I have been more or less financially independent for the last 15 years or so I don't think I have ever been completely irresponsible with money. Careless at times yes, but not crazy.

Following on from successful blogs like The Sartorialist, Berlingske (our daily paper) has a section at the weekend where they photograph someone in the street who they think looks cool (or captures the zeitgeist as I have always wanted to say) and ask them various questions about the clothes they are wearing and how much they spend on a monthly basis on clothes. It seems that the average is about 2000kr per month (approx £200 or $350) which always seems like a great deal to me especially when they are asking students and young people.

I started writing this post because I felt like I have spent more money than usual on clothes in the last couple of months than usual and I have been looking for more things online. This is partly because the weather has changed and I am quite a lot smaller than I was last winter so I have needed to buy some new things.

In actual fact, I have only bought a new coat, a down vest and a couple of shirts/t-shirts totalling around 2000kr and that is in at least 2 months. I had a big blow out in August and bought jeans, a belt, a jacket and a sweater in England, but I needed some clothes for work that don't look like they belong in the garden. Juxtaposed to this is the fact that I currently have a number of my cast off items for sale on eBay including a very old ski jacket and a number or pairs or trousers. As it stands at the moment, I will be getting about 1000kr back from them by the end of the day.

So, do I spend a lot or not? I'm not sure, sometimes it seems like a lot, but in relation to these trendy young types, perhaps I am more frugal than I imagined.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doing things you really don't want to do

On Sunday I cleaned the oven, I didn't want to do it, but it has needed to be done for several months so I finally got around to it.

I didn't want to clean the oven, but it was fun compared with our other daily festivities that we have to go through at the moment.

Every day we have to spend about half an hour flushing DK's bowels out with salt water. He hates it. We hate it. Even J hates it because everyone is tense and he gets little attention.

The temptation is to get it over and done with as quickly as possible, but rushing really doesn't help and it is important to do it properly so that his bowels can recover from the stretching that they have had for his first 15 months and be in good enough condition to work properly when the non working bits are removed in November. The consequences of them not working would be a colostomy bag until they are recovered and we don't want to deal with that...
I know it is for his own good, but he doesn't. He just hates it and screams to let us know how he feels about the whole deal. The only positive side is that he cheers up very quickly afterwards and is back to his normal self in 5 minutes or so afterwards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tubeless success

The first set of tyres I tried to fit to my new wheels would not fit, they were not even close to going onto the rims so that means the Kenda Navegals are out of action. The Racing Ralphs on the other hand fit like a glove and were pretty easy to get fitted and inflated. I didn't realise how horrid liquid latex smells, but it does a good job of sealing up the gaps.

I took the bike for a test ride yesterday in the forest with BHP. He's not a very experienced mountain biker, for all of his road riding experience and he struggled a bit in the mud for a while before breaking his chain and then managing to get very lost on the way back to the car... I'm sorry he didn't have a very good ride, but I had a pretty good time despite the mud and rain. I'll leave the rack on the car for a while to see if I can get back up there again soon.

DK has had new drains put back in both ears this morning. That was general anaesthetic number 5 or 6 I think. I've never had one, but he seems to be getting better at coping with experience and he is over it in an hour or so these days!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ready to roll

The weather has been crap today so I spent rather a lot of time fitting tyres and mudguards to different bikes and then hunting spiders in the basement instead of riding in the cold grey miserableness outside.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting BHP to test out the tubeless tyres if they still have any air in them. I ended up fitting the more summery tyres that I have simply because there was no way in the world that I could get the others onto the new rims. Not even close...

I expect the weather will still be crap but I'm looking forward to my first mountain bike ride in quite some time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy day ahead

I have a meeting in CPH and MK is taking DK back to the hospital again, but this time just for a meeting with a social worker type of person to decide when she has to go back to work. (MK that is).

My secret mission is to find one of these:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Suddenly I'm busy

I have taken over another project from one of my colleagues so now I am suddenly rather busy at work which is nice for a change although I am sure the novelty will wear off...

I tried to get my new wheels going last night, but I am missing a lock ring so that will have to wait until I manage to locate one before I can try them out. Hopefully I will be able to get one when I am in Copenhagen in the morning so that I can try them out at the weekend...

I am having another go at selling stuff on eBay. I was going to take my clothes that I have grown out of to the charity shop, but seeing as people were prepared to pay silly money for my used cycling clothing, I thought I'd see if they are interested in my work clothes as well. It will be interesting to see if anyone wants my old trousers...

I took the train to work this morning for a change because MK wanted the car to take DK to the hospital and I didn't have time to go with them. It was a total mess and it took me 2 hours to get there. I'll be avoiding that in the future if I can.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big boxes and Big coats

I promised I would show some justification for me buying a new coat. Here is me in my old coat with 2 pillows stuffed inside it. There is enough space to get MK in there, but then there would be nobody to take the picture...
Here I am in the new coat, there is no room for pillows in here and I hope it will keep me warm in the miserable Danish winter that is descending upon us.
A big DPD truck arrived this morning carrying a big box with my name on it. Amazingly enough, my wheels have been built and are now sitting behind me waiting to have the disc rotors installed and some tyres. Hopefully the tubeless system won't cause me any problems as the rim strips and valves are already fitted...

I hope to get them fitted tonight, but I don't think I'll be able to give them a test ride until the weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ignacio Ponseti 1914 - 2009

Despite having reached an amazing age of 95 whilst continuing to work, it is still sad to hear that Dr Ponseti died this week. He seems to have had an eventful and interesting life and his legacy will continue to touch a lot of people around the world for many years to come.

Here is his obituary from Iowa University, it is a little long, but worth reading:

Ignacio Ponseti, MD, whose pioneering, non-surgical, low-cost clubfoot treatment has benefited hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, died Oct. 18 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics at age 95 following a sudden illness.

Ponseti's gentle methods and soft-spoken compassion were a hallmark of a six-decade commitment to helping children, and belied a sometimes tumultuous, even dangerous, early career in medicine.

Ponseti was born in 1914 on the Spanish island of Minorca. As a teenager, he worked summers in his watchmaker father's repair shop. Hours spent learning to make and replace tiny, delicate watch parts were lessons in patience and precision that would serve him well in the years that followed.

Ponseti entered medical school in Barcelona in 1930 and completed his degree in 1936, just before the start of the three-year Spanish Civil War. Volunteering to serve as a medical officer with the Loyalist army, he spent the war in the Orthopedic and Fracture Service treating battle wounds. By 1939, General Francisco Franco's fascist army had gained control, and Ponseti, fearing imprisonment or worse, chose to leave Spain.

His escape was not a solo effort, however. Ponseti also arranged a risky evacuation for the nearly 40 wounded men in his care. He worked for three days and nights to set their fractures, and then, with the help of local smugglers, he transported the wounded by mule over the Pyrenees mountains to safety in France.

Finding himself with no home or citizenship, Ponseti left France for Mexico, where he served as the community doctor for Juchitepec, a small town south of Mexico City. There, he successfully treated typhoid patients with hydration and bean puree.While in Mexico for two years, Ponseti met Dr. Juan Farril, a professor of orthopedics at the University of Mexico who had trained in the United States. With Farril's assistance, Ponseti arranged to study with Dr. Arthur Steindler, then chairman of orthopedics at the University of Iowa. In 1941, Ponseti moved to Iowa City.

Ponseti's limited English and lack of a medical school diploma (due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War) almost stymied his entry into Iowa's residency program. Fortunately, he was able to explain the situation - in French - to Carl Seashore, then dean of the UI Graduate College, who helped resolve the problem.

After completing his residency in 1944, Ponseti joined the orthopedics faculty at UI Hospitals and Clinics, where he remained for the next four decades treating patients, teaching and conducting research. He retired as professor emeritus in 1984, but returned to the University in 1986 to a consultative practice in orthopedics until he fell ill last Tuesday (October 13, 2009).

Ponseti's work on clubfoot started very early in his UI career in the 1940s. It was obvious that without treatment, children with clubfoot faced a lifetime of debilitation, and even possible amputation. But the surgical treatments used at the time had significant limitations. With nearly 200,000 children born each year with the condition, the need to find a more effective treatment was imperative.

During his first year as a graduate fellow, Ponseti reviewed the outcomes of Dr. Steindler's clubfoot surgical treatment used between 1921 and 1941. Analysis showed that surgical treatment often resulted in stiff, fixed ankles. Moreover, although the treated children could walk, they almost always had a limp.

Ponseti's extensive examination of the anatomy and biology of infant feet, led him to believe that physical manipulation and casting might be a more successful approach. In 1950, Dr. Carroll Larson, head of orthopedics at the University of Iowa, put Ponseti in charge of the clubfoot clinic, where he developed the eponymous method that would slowly but surely revolutionize clubfoot treatment.

Known as the Ponseti method, it involves the careful manipulation of muscles, joints and ligaments held in a series of casts and braces to reposition the foot back to normal. It has become the "gold standard" for clubfoot treatment, after decades of positive follow-up results and numerous international peer-reviewed studies showing success rates as high as 98 percent.

However, for the first 40 years after developing the technique, only Ponseti and a handful of orthopedic surgeons used the method, treating more than 2,000 children. Frustrated by the under-use of his technique, Ponseti and colleagues who had used the technique began making a concerted effort in the 1990s to communicate the method and its successful results to as wide an audience as possible.

Ponseti's book, “Congenital Clubfoot: Fundamentals of Treatment,” published by Oxford University Press in 1996, describes his experience with the method and includes patient studies confirming the success of the approach. A string of peer-reviewed articles, including multi-decade follow-up studies, also helped raise awareness and professional acceptance of the method.

By early 2000, the Web became an effective grass-roots medium, especially among the parents of successfully treated children who advocated the Ponseti method to other families searching for the best treatment for clubfoot. Over the past decade, these educational and advocacy efforts have resulted in the Ponseti method being considered the mainstream treatment for clubfoot in North America today. The technique is increasingly used to help children with clubfoot from underdeveloped regions of the world. In August 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed the Ponseti Method.

The Ponseti International Association for the Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment was founded in 2006 at the University of Iowa. The Ponseti International Association aims to improve the treatment of children born with clubfoot through education, research and improved access to care.

Ponseti is survived by his wife, Helena Percas-Ponseti, whom he married in 1960 in Iowa. Ponseti shared a love of art with his wife, who was originally from Spain, as well. Her story of his life, Homage to Iowa: The Inside Story of Ignacio V. Ponseti, was published in 2007. Dr. Ponseti also is survived by his son, Bill Ponseti. Arrangements for a celebration of life are pending

Monday, October 19, 2009

Around we go again

It's been a good weekend in some ways and average in others.

I fell into the usual Danish coat trap on Saturday (that is different from the Darrell Cartrip) and bought a black coat. It was greatly reduced at the outlets and I couldn't be bothered to spend the next 2 weeks agonising over what, where and why to buy online and I do genuinely like this coat. I'll post a picture tomorrow and one of the old coat to show my justification too.

Darrell Cartrip in case you were wondering...

A friend and former boss came over on Saturday afternoon to go for a bike ride and then stayed for some home made pizza in the evening, it was a bit chilly and very windy, but we had a good 75km ride including a few hills and shot the breeze for a couple of hours.

Yesterday the sun was shining so I decided to abort my plans of doing something useful around the house to get out into the forest on my bike. I had a really great 2½ hours or so hammering around the forest roads on my winter hacking bike and was so enthused about the whole forest/autumn thing when I got home that I persuaded the rest of the family to come back to the woods later on for a walk. The walk didn't turn out 100% as planned becuase the paths we chose were rather too rugged for J to ride on his bike and pushing the Bugaboo was retty tough too, but in the end we had fun.

Today MK has had to make another appointment at the ear doctors for DK as the drain fell out of his left ear at the end of last week after he had a ear infection as part of a cold/cough. I suppose he'll be in for another to be implanted in a week or so. We are hoping that he can have some titanium ones fitted next time, not to save weight, but becuase apparently they don't fall out on their own.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter Coats

Yesterday I had to admit defeat and dig out my winter coat as we have been having unusually cold weather. The problem was that I was more or less lost in my duffel coat and had to find something else to wear.

My solution was to wear my older coat that I had when I first moved to Denmark. It is OK, but was replaced because it has holes in the cuffs and is getting a bit scruffy.

Whilst killing a bit of time in Copenhagen before meeting ex colleagues for dinner I looked in the shops at the coats, but absolutely everything was black and boring (and very expensive too, but that is no surprise).

As a result I am sort of on-line fantasy winter coat shopping at the moment. My current favourite is this one, but I'm not sure and more importantly, the holder of the purse strings isn't either...
I am looking forward to a weekend of relaxing and cycling in the cold and wet :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Off the road

I have an incredible wife. This morning she has gone back to work for an all day team meeting and dinner this evening and she looked fabulous in her new work dress despite appearing to have caught J's flu from yesterday.

Another of her great attributes is that she allows me to indulge myself in my two hobbies (spending money on bikes and riding bikes). This week it has been the former that she has helped with the most by letting me order new mountain bike wheels so that I can get back out into the forests to enjoy the autumn colours and get ready for some races over the winter.

The new wheels will be a lot better than the old ones (not only because they will turn with the pedals) being lighter and also TUBELESS. Yes I am going to be running without inner tubes thus saving weight and avoiding punctures at the same time. There is a special rim strip that seals the valve and tyre to the rim and then you put some latex fluid into the tyre that seals up and leaks or punctures as you ride along. Apparently the only thing you have to do is check that there is still enough sealant fluid in the tyres every 8 weeks or so. I can't wait.
Bike geeks will also want to know that they are XT hubs (so I can keep my centre lock rotors and not be bankrupt), black DT competition spokes and black brass nipples.
The wheels are being built in Sheffield so I will have to wait a couple of weeks to get my hands on them, but it is almost impossible to get 29er wheels in Denmark and I am sure it will be cheaper from the UK as well.
That means that I will be able to take part in the Slush Cup this year and get a bit of intensity into my training ready to hit the road again in the spring with enough speed to keep up with the racing dudes.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Silly Ideas

There are a lot of things going on at the moment which means that I don't have many interesting things to blog about other than hospital visits, colonic irrigation and so on. In fact, whilst syringing DKs ear this morning to get out the remains of an ear infection he seems to have had over the last week, the drain seems to have come out so that will mean yet another appointment with the ear doctor and probably another small operation to put a new one back in there.

I have been thinking about what I am eating again as I have slowly drifted back into more normal eating habits. That is not to say that I am eating badly again, but I have not been totally abstaining from cakes and sweet things. I have been eating very little of these sweet goodies and I intend to begin my abstinence again in the very near future - probably when MKs home make orange cake is all gone. Anyway, I digress. I have been considering trying out a few different diets to see how it is to try and survive with some strange and arbitrary eating rules. Maybe just for a day or maybe a week depending on the complexity of surviving without eating X, Y or Z.

Which should I try?

  • Firstly I thought I would try the new raw food thing and see if I could last a week eating only raw food. To be honest, I don't think I could last more than a day or so on this one, because I simply can't think of many things worth eating that don't require cooking of some sort.
  • Secondly I thought about being vegetarian for a week. I think I could manage this and it would probably do me some good.
  • Taking this to the next level would mean being vegan for a day or two. Again, I can't imagine surviving this for long simply because there is nothing to eat if you're a vegan. I simply don't know how you could survive and it is even harder to see why you would want to do it.
To be honest, I am curious about the raw food, but I know I can't live on raw food in Denmark for long without learning a lot more about preparing stuff because I will go totally mad. I think it may be something I could incorporate into my diet more in the future.
Being a vegan is just daft, but maybe not eating meat for a few days would be interesting. I will think about a plan and post it tomorrow...

J seems to have flu today and is firmly attached to the sofa. I hope he gets better quickly.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Boys in tights


According to my blogger stats, this is my most viewed post ever with regular visits every day from people searching for boys in tights. I sincerely hope that you are not spaking your monkey over photographs of my 4 year old son. If you are, then you are a monumental pervert and deserve to die sad and lonely as you almost certainly will

Have a nice day :-)

Apparently it is fairly normal for young boys to wear tights here in the winter to keep warm. It makes some sense and you can even buy them with cars and planes on them for boys. DK has some of these that MK has bought for him and they work really well when he is in his brace.

Last week MK took the boys shopping in town and she happened to mention that they had bought J some more spiderman sock and some tights. She didn't mention the colour.

At first I was somewhat horrified that my some was going to be wearing pink tights and even more concerned that the other kids in his nursery would be mean to him about them.
He wore them for the first time on Sunday and absolutely loves them to the extent that it is a fight to get him out of them (unless he pees in them) and I really can't find it in me to see anything wrong about it. He simply loves running around the house in them and I am fairly sure that none of the other kids will care in his nursery, after all, he has flowers on his rain coat :-)
DK is doing fine, and remains as cheerful as ever.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The details are emerging

It seems that the incompetence in DKs latest problem is turning out to the fact that nobody found out that he had it sooner. This means that the healthy guts have been strained and stretched somewhat, but hopefully will be back in shape by the time of the operation thanks to our new skills of administering colonic irrigation.

This morning we went to the hospital to find out what will be happening with the operation and to have DK flushed out. It took 4 litres today which seemed like rather a lot to me considering that we only use 1 at home to do it, but it's better out than in.

The operation is scheduled for 18th November and he will have to be in for a couple of days before and a week after the actual operation, until then he is not to go to day care and will need a month to 6 weeks recovery afterwards before he can start so that means he will start after Christmas

Friday, October 09, 2009


Having found out where the water in the basement comes from, I have finally started trying to solve the problem.

The water comes in through the window when there is heavy rain and the drain backs up enough to come up through the drain in the window box. I've had a look down the drain and it looks like a soak away, but that doesn't make sense because it goes straight down under the house rather than out into the garden. Last night I dug out the plans of the house and sure enough, it is a drain that should go under the house. That means that it is blocked...

I have had a first go at flushing it out with Lars' pressure wash things without any success because it seems to be basically full of soil. I will have another go this weekend, but in all honesty, I suspect that I won't be able to budge it.

I suppose that the next step will be to call someone with a truck and some sort of heavy duty sucking equipment to get all the soil out.

One thing I did learn is that it is best to put the drain flusher into the drain before giving it a test fire.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

When the going gets tough

The tough have trouble sleeping and get rather a bad headache...

DK is getting better, I am getting worse. I have caught one of the boys colds and will no doubt be looking for a lot of sympathy over the coming days.

The hospital called to say that DK has to be flushed daily until his operation which should be at the start of November (provisionally) so MK has taken him to the hospital in CPH to be taught how to do it. He doesn't seem to like it much so I expect there will be a lot of mess and screaming involved in that over the coming days.

My bike ride was cancelled yesterday due to some shit/fan interfacing at work. Hopefully I can get that cleared up today and relax a little this evening.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Accepting Autumn

Autumn is certainly with us now so it is time to accept it, embrace it and enjoy it.

I would normally be trying to get out on my mountain bike at this time of year to enjoy the dry trails and the great colours in the woods, but the lack of a working back wheel means that I can't actually ride it at the moment.

The sun has been shining and despite the ferocious wind, it is a beautiful time to be out and about. The kids are fascinated by a bunch of bulldozers and diggers that are doing something in the park at the end of the road and we are now getting ready for the cold dark winter.

My priorities for cycling have changed from getting faster to making sure that I can still fit into the small trousers that I bought with such smugness only a few weeks ago. So far so good, but I am struggling to make progress towards my Christmas target of 90kg. I guess I will have to make a determined effort at some point to achieve that, but I am struggling with motivation and at the same time we both feel like we deserve a treat in the evening because of the trauma of DKs problems.

DK is doing much better the last couple of days although he has spent a couple of hours crying in the middle of the night for the last 2 nights. Hopefully he will get over that tonight...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Hopfully we'll get the practical stuff sorted out in the next day or so...

Enjoying his supper (but not a lot)


Last week before his balls turned blue

Monday, October 05, 2009

Bad news

How it should be:

The surgeon called this afternoon to say that DK does have Hirschsprungs disease. That means that will have to have part of his large intestine removed at some point. Normally this is discovered very early on with small babies and is a life threatening condition if not treated promptly. From that I assume that DK doesn't have a particularly bad case since he is now 15 months old and not doing too badly. Unfortunately, all this means is that they won't have to remove too much although I really don't know what I am talking about.

More news will follow when I have some and I am already getting a headache from drinking too much wine too fast...

False alarm

Despite writing a few posts ago that I would try to avoid just keeping an online journal, that is more or less what I am doing at the moment.
I has a moderately sleepless night in the hospital on Friday and was very happy to see MK and J when they arrived with cake for breakfast on Saturday. We dossed around for a while, well I did, DK slept and J terrorised the entire ward on a plastic mini cooper at 100mph.
We came home in the afternoon and had a good night sleep but yesterday DK was rather under the weather. By the evening his temperature was rather high and it seemed that the panadol was not bringing it back down so after speaking to the nurse in the hospital, we packed up and headed to CPH at 7 o'clock. As soon as we got in the car DK stopped the whining that he had been doing for the previous 5 hours (not an exaggeration) and by the time we got to the hospital, he was fine.
After a quick examination we went home again.

Better safe than sorry, but it was rather a waste of time and petrol to be honest.

Hopefully we will get some news about his guts today and tomorrow we are meeting with his pediatrician tomorrow to see what's what. If we are lucky, that could be the last of the operations... Fingers crossed.

I suppose a photograph would be kiddy porn, but DKs nuts look terribly sore, they are blue and swollen and look really sore, he is not at all happy about having the plaster changed on his stitches and generally prefers to be lying down than sitting at the moment.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Home again

We have finally Been sent home. SKa fever has gone down and he is eating and drinking so there was no need to carry on with the drip. We shod get the biopsy result on Monday but in the meantime he looks pretty sore around his privates and one can't help wincing at the sight and thought of the stitches where they put the errant ball back.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spoke too soon

DK has a fever so he and I will be in overnight to make sure he is OK

Full count

DK is now awake again after his operation and is now fully equipped with 2 testicles. Apparently the new one may not be much use but at least it is in the right place now!
Results on the Hirschsrung disease on Monday...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Another year

I guess I am about half way there today. It has been a busy day so far compared with yesterday which was spent waiting for something to happen. There were 3 men working on taking windows out of our house before I left for work this morning and we were all up and ready to go out a lot earlier than normal (something to do with the aforementioned men I think). J was busy telling the guys about his things and asking them what they were doing.

I had lots of generous gifts for my birthday this year. Thanks to everyone for them. I will post some pictures later.