Rabbit Holes

This weekend we decided to have some down time.

We were tired, and BDH’s birthday had just passed. We were unable to celebrate it when we wanted to, last weekend, because That Girl decided to bring home a stomach bug from school and consequently barfed spectacularly and stayed home from school and then spent the weekend recovering.

Then on his actual birthday, a weekday, BDH of course had to go to work and That Girl had some of her many activities in the evening and so it wasn’t an optimal time to celebrate. So we pushed back until this past weekend.

We ate cake and went to dinner and although he had an opportunity to choose a birthday present, he is still undecided as to what he would like, so no shopping was done. Instead, he chose to spend time on the weekend doing what he enjoys — playing computer games.

And That Girl, who wants to do whatever it is her dad is doing whenever he is home, sat beside him with her little computer and futzed with that. Or she watched TV.

And so, with them occupied, I had some time to myself. Which this past weekend meant I fell down some rabbit holes on my computer.

If you’re not familiar with the term, falling down a rabbit hole is a computer analogy to Alice falling down a rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland — you find something, follow it where it leads, follow links on to the next topic, again and again, until where you are bears little connection to where you started.

It can be fun, going down the rabbit hole. You can find interesting topics, learn new things, and be entertained and diverted. It can also be aggravating and can show you the very worst the interwebs has to offer.

For somebody like me, who loves libraries (and worked in some while in university) it is a chance to read all sorts of stuff, from all sorts of topics and sources. Articles, web pages, boards — I venture out from topic to topic and learn new things (bearing in mind that is IS the internet and so OF COURSE EVERYTHING IS TOTALLY 100% TRUE FACTS.)

But it’s also quite relaxing, just following the threads and paths down which my interest leads me.

I spent hours yesterday just wandering through the interwebs. Here’s a quick look at a few hours in the rabbit hole with me:

  • I started my day looking at knitting patterns on my favourite fibre community, and chatting with other knit enthusiasts about various non-knitting topics including Doctor Who, the upcoming US election, my cats, and cooking a surplus of squash and pumpkin.
  • That started me looking at recipes, first for squash and pumpkin, and then for some to add to my repertoire. Soups, baking, stews… and Macaroni Pie.
  • The thought of macaroni pie led me to read a blog written by a woman I “know” from my online knitting group who packed up and moved to Barbados for six months.
  • I love both macaroni pie and Barbados. So, once I read her macaroni pie recipes and also about her sojourn in Barbados, I began looking at her accommodation while there, which looked interesting and funky and kind of cheap.
  • That took me down a rabbit hole of accommodation in Barbados in general, because — despite having no budget for it in the foreseeable future — come hell or high water, I will go back there (even though it will just be for a family vacation).
  • And then that led me to accommodation in other Caribbean islands, particularly Cayman Islands, where I have been before, and Turks and Caicos, where I have not. Because why not.
  • And then THAT led me down the path of a blog I read from time to time about women who pack up and their lives and relocate to live on (mostly) tropical islands islands. Which was something I dreamt of doing when I was young and pre-family.
  • From there, where one blogger reminds the reader that you generally don’t have access to all the internet or shopping that you have here in Canada, I did a little online Christmas window-shopping and planning.
  • My holiday planning led me to a couple of sites related to items on my potential gift lists for BDH and That Girl (which I am not going to mention just now because of SPOILERS), which eventually wound back to Twitter.
  • In Twitter I saw a tweet from Justin Trudeau to an article about one of the heroes on the day the lone gunman stormed the government and was taken down a few years back, and the fallout from that time.
  • The sidebar of that article led me to some other articles which then led me to a story about an abandoned baby girl in India and how she was saved.
  • From there I followed links until I got to Gord Downie and his Secret Path project and the stories of Chanie Wenjack and other children who died trying to escape residential schools.

And then, I was fired up and spent an hour talking about it to BDH, who was still trying to relax and play his game.

Now, I did take breaks in that day of rabbit holing to give That Girl a bath and braid her hair, to have some supper, and to watch a little bit of a Harry Potter movie. But mostly, it was something to occupy my time while doing laundry and loads were washing and/or drying in the next room.

But it was a nice way to spend the hours. I travelled the world, I shopped, I chatted, and I learned about current events and history. It didn’t cost me anything but time.

It’s not always productive, and it’s not always relaxing if you make the mistake of reading the wrong sites or comments on articles. It might cost you money if you actually buy things online or make plans online or take recipes and make them and they turn out to be crap.

But not this time. This time it was a relaxing few hours with information, like spending time in a library.

Which reminds me, there are a few books I should look for online at my local branch…