2018-10-15 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, YouTube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Weekly review: Week ending October 12, 2018

A- has been growing more independent, insisting on doing her jobs: using the toilet, brushing her teeth, even putting things in the laundry and putting her dishes in the sink. The bedtime routine was mostly smooth these days, although naps were a little rough. It’s amazing watching her grow.

  • Kaizen
    • We bought poultry shears.
  • Us
    • W- brined, spatchcocked, and roasted a turkey.
    • I worked on my corporate taxes a little more.
    • We celebrated a milestone by eating at a fish and chips place.
    • W- fixed the toaster oven with spare parts from the old one.
    • I napped for a few hours. It was refreshing.
  • Gross motor
    • A- found it easy to pedal the tricycle back and forth on the path.
    • A- walked and ran back to the house even though it was so cold.
    • A- walked all the way home from the drop-in centre.
  • Fine motor
    • A- inserted pegs into numbered pegboards.
    • A- was interested in different colors and patterns of tape at the drop-in centre.
  • Language
    • At the drop-in centre, someone said, “Bye A-!” A- said, “Actually, I’m M-.”
    • A- reacted to W-‘s departure by calling out, “I miss being hugged by you!”
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- wanted to pack her toothbrush and toothpaste in her lunch bag. She brushed her teeth in the school yard.
    • The swelling from A-‘s bug bite mostly subsided, but the bit became redder and a little splotchy. I wonder if it’s a wasp sting.
    • A- played independently while we ate dinner and washed dishes.
  • Sleep
    • A- had a big tantrum about napping. We resolved to back off a little and not try to force the issue.
    • “Your eyes are getting heavy and sleepy.” “Don’t forget the belly button!”
    • I’m surprised at how well guided meditation works for helping A- fall asleep.
    • A- wanted to sleep, so she insisted on the stroller.
  • Emotion
    • “I want to knock down blocks so I can get my frustration out.”
  • Household
    • A- scooped food for the cats and refilled their water.
    • A- pushed her tower over to the pantry and helped herself to chips.
    • A- picked up the laundry on the floor and carried out downstairs.
  • Social
    • “I want to cheer up everyone.”
    • At the drop-in centre, A- said, “No no no baby!” Turns out there was a baby who was about to put grass in his or her mouth, so it was great that A- called our attention.
  • Pretend
    • A- piled her hooded towel on top of her head and was very proud of her imitation of me.
    • A- wanted me to pretend I was a printer.
  • Cognition
    • “I’m hiding but my face is peeking out.” A- understands that she can be partially hidden.
    • A- sorted little bears by colour.
  • Thoughts
    • If I don’t have time for the kinds of things that used to tickle my brain, how would I like to adapt?

Blog posts


Category The other week Last week Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Family 1.9 8.9 7.0 14.9 11.7
Sleep 34.7 38.6 3.8 64.8 6.5
Unpaid work 7.2 9.5 2.3 16.0 3.8
Personal 6.5 8.5 2.0 14.3 3.4
Business 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.7 1.7
Discretionary – Play 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.6 0.1
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Productive 2.4 1.0 -1.5 1.6 -2.5
A- 46.9 32.2 -14.7 54.0 -24.8

2018-10-08 Emacs news

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, /r/orgmode, /r/spacemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacsen.org, YouTube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Monthly review: September 2018

Weaning was a big thing this month. A- did not like it at all, and started resisting both comfort and bedtime routines. We’re slowly settling down into new patterns.

A- was also very interested in letters, spelling, and writing, and in riding her balance bicycle.

  • Kaizen:
    • I added my library card barcode to my phone case and put the Presto card in a cardholder. This made getting out the door so much easier.
    • I checked out a daycare and interviewed a babysitter’s references. We decided to go with the status quo of my staying home with A- instead.
    • W- and I talked about workloads and our coping plans when we’re both under heavy loads. I started doing more household maintenance during the week, like sweeping the bathroom while waiting for her to use the toilet and taking out the litter boxes while she napped.
    • I organized A-‘s drawers, putting away warm-weather clothes and bringing out cool-weather ones.
    • I experimented with using voice dictation to do my journal entries.
    • I experimented with putting a movie on my phone. It looks like I might be able to watch things in 5 minute increments.
  • Us
    • I woke up early and sewed a pair of shorts for myself!
  • Gross motor
    • A- liked running up the hill and coming back for a hug whenever I blew the whistle. Sometimes she even ran a little out of sight. She also enjoyed being chased and picked up.
    • A- learned how to pedal a tricycle.
    • A- learned how to coast on her balance bike.
  • Fine motor
    • A- used chopsticks to pick up a piece of shredded duck.
  • Language
    • A- said, “Teach me how to write!” I suggested that she start with tracing lines and circles with her finger. I also showed her how letters are made up of simpler shapes. We practised painting over letters, too.
    • A- liked substituting ideas in books. Little Excavator became Big Excavator, and Never Follow a Dinosaur became Never Follow an Excavator. She corrected us whenever we used the original words from the books. (4. Cognition)
    • A- loves reassuring me that she’s prepared. “Don’t worry, I have a water bottle when you get thirsty.”
    • A- was very interested in letters. She asked questions of the form, “What starts daddy?”
    • A- read several books to herself. It was awesome.
    • A-‘s been insisting that we call her M-, and invariably corrects us when we call her A- (even when I’m talking to W-). We made a nametag for her to remind us. I called her A- again, and she said, “I have my nametag on.”
  • Eating
    • A- tried egg yolk, carrots, and rice with a little curry sauce.
  • Sleep
    • Weaning and teething disrupted sleep a lot, but being more firm about bedtime seems to be paying off.
  • Emotion
    • A- asked me to draw a lonely A-. Then she asked me to draw W- hugging her.
    • Even during tough moments, I’m glad I’m the one here with A-. She’s going to test and run into her limits, and I have more patience than a babysitter would.
    • A- got overtired on the way home, and she threw a big tantrum. It was hard to carry her home while rolling our grocery cart too.
  • Social
    • A- reminded me to look both ways when crossing the street, and insisted that I do it again whenever I forgot.
    • A- had a small owie and insisted on W- for comfort. “Mama’s kisses don’t work. Daddy’s kisses do.”
    • A- played with independence. She asked me to say, “You’re not allowed to go up the hill.” She ran up the hill, then wanted me to chase her and carry her down.
  • Pretend
    • A- had fun playing with the big cardboard boxes in the schoolyard. She pretended they were houses, and we visited each other. She also pretended that one was an oven and that she was a carrot muffin.
    • A- asked me to use the long, thin towel to tie a pretend bike trailer to her balance bike. She had lots of fun bringing it around.
    • A- really liked the giraffe that W- made for her using the Little Engineer set. They added wheels and wings to it, and she flew it around the house.
    • A- merrily typed on her cardboard laptop. She said, “I’m getting a thought out of my head.”
    • We reenacted the put away video.
    • We put paper slips and elastics around books, and then pretended that they were requested books that A- could check out.
    • W- made a megaphone out of a piece of paper. A- had lots of fun shouting through it, just like in the book “Go, Dog, Go.”
  • World
    • W- went for a haircut, so A- and I came along and watched the hairstylist work.
    • We followed the garbage truck around. The worker showed A- how the compactor worked.
    • A- saw a bird die. It hit the window and then fell on the deck. She spent the rest of the day talking about dead birds, pretending to be a dead bird, and asking about death.
  • Self-care
    • We’re all done with weaning.
    • A- took some of the magnetic tiles to a corner away from the other kids, saying she wanted a “quiet area.” (2.2 Self-regulation)
    • We went to the ocularist for a checkup. A- was pretty anxious, and often reminded herself about the toy box. The ocularist said she’ll get a new conformer in November. In the meantime, the ocularist polished her conformer, and A- picked a box of crayons from the toy box.
    • A- tied a scarf around her waist all by herself. (5.2.1 Dressing)
    • A- ate lots of crackers, cheese, and peaches during snack time. She kept asking for permission and serving herself with tongs.
    • A- figured out how to turn the door knob even with the knob protector on. She went between rooms a few times.
    • A- turned the lights on and off by tapping the light switch with a roller.

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 33.0 37.7 4.6 61.2 7.8
Unpaid work 7.3 9.3 2.0 15.1 3.3
Personal 8.3 9.9 1.7 16.1 2.8
Discretionary – Play 0.3 0.7 0.4 1.2 0.7
Business 0.8 0.9 0.1 1.4 0.1
Discretionary – Family 1.6 1.0 -0.5 1.7 -0.9
Discretionary – Productive 3.4 1.7 -1.7 2.8 -2.9
Discretionary – Social 2.3 0.3 -2.0 0.5 -3.3
A- 43.0 38.5 -4.5 62.6 -7.5

Weekly review: Week ending October 5, 2018

A- was under the weather (cough/cold/fever), so we stayed close to home.

  • Kaizen
    • I made yellow playdough using the recipe from the EarlyON centre. It was a bit softer and stickier than the first recipe I tried, but better than the second. I think hand-kneading it instead of using the stand mixer is definitely the way to go.
    • I switched my phone to monochrome to make it less appealing. It seems to reduce the number of times A- asks to watch her videos.
  • Us
    • We cooked a lot: spinach, broccoli, beansprouts, rice and beans, jerk chicken, Indian curry, and Shake and Bake chicken.
    • The cat litter we ordered arrived, but it was sent back because the shipment was incomplete and the shipper couldn’t do a partial shipment.
    • I’m not sure why my phone doesn’t seem to ring. Maybe the volume is set too low sometimes?
    • A- was napping, so W- and I actually managed to play Borderlands 2 for thirty minutes. There were lots of other things that could be done, of course, but we figured it was important to spend time relaxing together.
    • I cut my hair back to shoulder length.
    • I picked up a few supplies from Old Navy, Nations, and Staples. Toddler gloves weren’t in stock yet, but I picked up another pack of white crew socks. The bus made it easier to go there and back.
  • Language
    • I asked A- to find words on pages while we were reading. She did a pretty good job at guessing words if I told her what letter they started with or if they were in an easy-to-predict position.
  • Sleep
    • A- insisted on being in the carrier in the kitchen so that she could go to sleep.
    • A- wanted to sleep on my lap, so I snuggled her on the couch. One of the cats wanted scritches too, but I asked W- to bring her down. Holding her while she slept was nice and peaceful.
    • A- resisted bedtime by insisting that she was not done with snack. When I set a timer and insisted on putting her food away, she threw a tantrum. Even though she was upset, she decided to go upstairs with me instead of staying downstairs. I managed to help her brush her teeth and have a bath by focusing on what’s her job. Once we got settled into bed, she fell fast asleep.
  • Emotion
    • A- was terrified of a few books, so we put the worst offender in the recycling bin outside and the rest in the box for donation. She still wouldn’t settle, so I playfully introduced spraying away what she was scared about (drawing inspiration from the idea of “anti-monster spray”). That helped, although it didn’t completely settle her – she still cried, wanting the garbage truck to come right away and wanting to be far away from the books. A few hours later, she cried about wanting to spray the book away. I handed her the spray bottle and she sprayed the window. She said, “I sprayed it away myself,” and calmed down.
    • A- was pretty upset. She cried about missing nursing. I said no. Eventually she settled down after lots of crying.
    • “I want to be in the not scary sling.” When A- is scared, she wants to be snuggled in the sling.
  • Social
    • A- really didn’t want to let go of W-, who had to go back to work. As W- gently lowered her to the ground, she said, “I don’t want to fall out of you. I really love you.”
    • I had to set firm boundaries about playing with my face. A- was not happy about that.
    • A- was quite affectionate, frequently hugging our cat, J-, W-, and even me.
  • Pretend
    • A- interrupted her pretend grocery shopping at home by saying, “I need to go to the supermarket bathroom.” She went to the potty. It’s nice how she stays in character…
    • A- liked being in her Tigger costume. I think it’s getting a little small for her.
  • Self-care
    • A-‘s fever spiked, her breathing was fast and shallow, she was drowsier than normal, and her hands were cool and mottled, so we called Telehealth and they advised us to take her to the emergency room. By the time we saw a nurse, her fever had cooled down a bit, and she was okay with drinking some Tylenol.
    • A-‘s fever gradually subsided and her mood improved. It was a good day to read a lot, though. She fell asleep on my lap while we were reading on the couch.
    • A- didn’t want to drink fever medicine. She said it was yucky. I suggested alternating it with small spoonfuls of ice cream to help take the taste away, and she accepted that.
    • A- ate cup noodles with chopsticks. She was able to bring noodles to her mouth and slurp them in. She even climbed down from the table, got the cup of noodles, and cradled it in one hand while eating with the other. She’s ready for university!
    • I insisted on 10 minutes to read my own book before I read to A-, and I also enjoyed a few minutes of practising music because I wanted to.
  • Other
    • We made it out to the library to return a couple of books before they became overdue. A- walked all the way there and most of the way back. She asked me to pick her up, and then she quickly fell asleep in my arms.

Blog posts


Category The other week Last week Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 44.6 46.9 2.3 78.8 3.8
Discretionary – Productive 1.2 2.4 1.2 4.1 2.1
Discretionary – Family 0.8 1.9 1.1 3.2 1.8
Personal 5.8 6.5 0.7 10.9 1.1
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Business 0.5 0.0 -0.5 0.0 -0.8
Discretionary – Play 0.9 0.3 -0.6 0.5 -1.0
Unpaid work 8.8 7.2 -1.5 12.2 -2.6
Sleep 37.3 34.7 -2.6 58.3 -4.4

Adjusting to less focused time

It feels like I’ve had much less focused time over the past two months. Weaning, sickness, and A-‘s bigger emotions all needed more patience and energy. I’ve been prioritizing sleep and household maintenance over things like staying up to consult or write. On the plus side, we’ve gotten back into the rhythm of preparing meals for the week, and cleaning the house is a little easier now.

How can I adapt if this is my new normal?

I’ve been setting more firm boundaries (myself, bedtime routines, etc.), and that’s been working reasonably well. I’ve also adjusted my plans and made sure not to commit to more consulting than I could do.

I’m not keen on making videos a regular part of her day, since we don’t want to add another cause for conflict. I considered creating space by having a babysitter come over for 3-4 hours. A- is still not keen on the idea, though, and I can see how we both benefit from the time we spend with each other.

So the main thing to do, I think, is to rejig my plans in order to make the most of the constraints. What do I want to learn even without lots of focused sit-down time? How do I want to grow?

  • Equanimity: This lets me turn A-‘s tantrums into learning opportunities. I can practise appreciating her and this life, especially when we’re in the thick of things. Taking care of our basic needs gives me the space to be patient and kind when A- needs me to be, and it’s good practice in anticipating and heading off challenges. I tend to be firmer than W- is, so I can work on noticing when a little kindness or flexibility might help a lot when A- and I are on our own.
  • Household maintenance: I want to take on more chores, help A- get involved, and become more effective. This is also a good opportunity to practise noticing things. I can learn things from W- and from the Internet.
  • Thinking, learning, and improving in short bursts: I want to get better at using little pockets of time. Drawing and dictating might be good techniques to explore further.
  • Mindfulness and being present: I want to get better at being there for A- instead of letting myself be distracted. I want to get better at enjoying now. I also want to balance that with thinking about and doing my own things. I can start with a few magic moments a day, and then expand from there.
  • Playfulness and creativity: I like the way W- interacts with A-. It might be interesting to practise playfulness and creativity, especially since A- can be my play partner and guide. I can pick up ideas at the drop-in centres, and sometimes reading helps.

These things are less obviously rewarding than, say, figuring out a clever solution for a client problem or coming up with a neat Emacs hack and blogging about it. But they’re worthwhile things to learn anyway.

How can I make my learning more intentional? It might be interesting to make myself a list of things to focus on or try out, and then try one at time while keeping an eye out for other things that are relevant to the situation. For example, I could have a day of involving A-‘s toys in tasks, then see how that resonates with A-.

How can I make my learning more visible? I think journal entries will help a little. Sometimes A- insists that I stay close while she’s sleeping, so that might be a good time to write. I can draw thoughts while waiting for A-, too, which is a good way to model writing and drawing. Paper seems to work a little better than drawing on my phone, although maybe that’s a matter of practice. I don’t have a good workflow for dealing with notes yet, but I can archive pictures for now and deal with them as mostly transitory thinking aids.

I’ll probably have lots of focused time later on. Crunch time isn’t forever. Even if I may need to start over, I’m not too worried. I think I’ll be able to get the hang of things again.

In the meantime, we’re mostly set up for playing and doing chores at home. Once we recover from this cold and cough, I think our daily rhythm will involve drop-in centres as well as home time. I’ve got things to learn and ways to grow. I can do this, even though it’s a bit different from what I’m used to.

Life changes. It’s good to adapt.