Monthly review: August 2016

It took me a while to write this monthly review. September’s practically done. This tells me I need to tweak my post-A-bedtime routines a little, but that’s okay.

It’s been an eventful year, for sure. Plenty of stuff for my annual review. I’m sure it will make more sense later on. At the moment, I’m just trying to capture enough hooks to let me get back into the memories. =)

After several consultations with dietitians (both public and private), upgrading to a high chair, and plenty of self-feeding, A- has been gaining weight at a steady clip. Whew! I added a detailed feeding log and more visualizations to our tracker, of course. Data data data.

There’s only a slight downside to A’s improved growth curve. It turns out that I’ve been lifting her incorrectly, and the extra weight has led to de Quervain’s tenosynovitis in my left hand. No big deal. I’ve modified my lifting technique, I’m careful not to put too much stress on my thumb, and I sometimes use an inexpensive over-the-counter brace. Since I can’t avoid using that hand, it probably won’t go away until we’re done breastfeeding or A- is more independent, but maybe I can avoid making it worse.

Since A- has been growing well, I bought a second-hand Manduca. That’s become our go-to carrier. The Manduca doesn’t require an insert for small babies, so I was able to use it with A- right away. It feels more secure than the ring sling. I’d like to learn how to use the mei tai too.

We booked our flights home, yay! It’ll be our first time traveling with A-, and it’s going to be a loooong flight. Hoping that Korean Air lives up to its reputation for family-friendliness.

With an average of two hours a week of consulting, I managed to fill the pipeline, yay! I’ve volunteered to help them with something time-sensitive, so I’ll be busy for the next few months. A- is still top priority, of course.

Lots of social things, too. Dinner with W-‘s family, park time with Rachael and G-, a nice walk with Jen, Ewan, and E-, and the final classes for Peer Nutrition. Also, J- had her friends over, and they made pesto from the garden basil. And they cleaned up. Wow. W- and I sat on the deck and marvelled.

Life is good.



Blog posts



Category Last month % This month % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 34.3 36.9 2.6 62.0 4.3
Unpaid work 40.2 42.5 2.2 71.3 3.7
Discretionary – Social 1.5 2.5 0.9 4.1 1.6
Discretionary – Family 1.2 2.0 0.8 3.3 1.3
Discretionary – Play 0.5 0.5 -0.1 0.8 -0.1
Business – Build 0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.2 -0.2
Business – Connect 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.2
Business – Earn 1.4 1.3 -0.2 2.1 -0.3
Discretionary – Productive 4.8 4.6 -0.2 7.7 -0.4
Personal 13.1 12.4 -0.7 20.8 -1.2
Sleep 36.8 34.3 -2.5 57.6 -4.1

2016-09-26 Emacs News

Links from, /r/orgmode, Hacker News,, Youtube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Weekly review: Week ending September 23, 2016

We started the weekend with lots of cooking. A- played by herself while W- and I prepped, cooked, and washed up. It was almost like having both of us at normal productivity, wow! I’d like to get back into the swing of cooking for the week ahead. It makes weekdays a lot easier, and I feel good about getting all of that prep work done.

The CNIB caseworker conducted a detailed assessment of A-‘s vision, using blinking toys and other tools to check her field of vision and her ability to notice, track, and reach for things. The vision in A-‘s right eye appears to be perfectly fine, and she’s learned to compensate for her limited field of vision by turning her head. The case worker will send us her discharge notes since she probably doesn’t need CNIB’s help at the moment. We can ask for her to be reassessed if it looks like she needs help with things like crawling, walking, or navigating. The school board will conduct its own assessment when she’s ready for school. In the meantime, the case worker suggested keeping an eye out for signs like A- cutting corners or bumping into things. If we need to help A- tell the difference between door frames, floors, and walls, we can use reflective tape to highlight the edges and increase contrast.

One of the things the CNIB caseworker checked was if A- could roll over both ways. A- hadn’t quite gotten the hang of rolling to her left before, but the glowing toy was irresistible, so she figured it out and looked very pleased with herself. Now she rolls and rolls on the bed, which is on the floor and against the wall for precisely this situation. Roll, roll, roll. She spent some time figuring out why the wall stopped her from rolling further, and testing if it would keep doing that even if she rolled away. I think she’s starting to make her peace with it.

This week’s Make the Connection program session focused on how to help babies feel safe and loved, even when they’re fussy or afraid. Mirroring and validating their emotions, soothing or distracting them, and taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of them… So far, so good.

I traded the glass bottles that A- hardly used for two bags of baby clothes. We’ll see if those work out! This bartering thing looks promising, especially for things that people value differently.

After crunching the numbers, I submitted this year’s health expenses to my private health spending plan provider. They’ve added an online submission process. Yay not having to print and mail receipts! This year has been pretty good, although I’d still like to make it out to the dentist if I get a chance. It would be really neat if I can squeeze in a massage or two as well. A- might be okay with it, if W- is around. I should just go and book things. Maybe after J-‘s closet is finished…

Lots of consulting as I pick up the ball I dropped. Squeezing it into the early morning hours, and sometimes during the day with W-‘s help.

W- has made great progress on assembling J-‘s new wardrobe from Ikea. He’s also been working on custom shelves to fill in the rest of that wall. Everything looks neat. Whee!

2016-09-23b-week-ending-2016-09-23-weekly-journal output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (6.5h – 3%)
    • Earn (4.7h – 73% of Business)
    • Build (0.7h – 11% of Business)
      • ☑ Round up the receipts for PHSP
    • Connect (1.0h – 15% of Business)
  • Relationships (6.7h – 3%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.1h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Fix my config
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.0h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (18.3h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (66.6h – 39%)
    • Childcare (56.8h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (63.9h – 38% – average of 9.1 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending September 16, 2016

Our family home visitor has been helping us with activities leading towards A-‘s 9-month developmental milestones. This week, we focused on looking for hidden objects. We showed A- a toy, then covered it with a piece of cloth. After a few tries of showing and hiding the cloth, she got the hang of pulling the cloth off to reveal the object. I think she’s even starting to pull covers towards objects so that we can play this game of hiding and showing. :) We also watched a video on infant massage – plenty of things for us to try. Next: imitating facial expressions.

I’m learning that a great way to make the most of my time is to stay with A- when she naps, since that helps her sleep longer. Depending on whether she’s nursing or not, I might nap as well, do things on my phone, draw index cards, or work on my computer. I’ve blitzed through quite a few e-books on my phone, and I’ve figured out passable ways to review my sketches, capture quick thoughts, and even do a little system administration. I still haven’t sorted out my writing or video editing workflows, but that will come in time.

Slowly getting back to normal life. A- patiently entertained herself as I helped W- make a ton of dumplings. By golly! An actual, sit-down, get-your-fingers-dirty, triple batch of pork and chives dumpling making session. On Friday, W- splurged on a nice 2″ New York strip to celebrate progress on J-‘s closet renovation. A- enjoyed some of it too, using the beginnings of a pincer grasp to take the pieces I dangled in front of her.

Social stuff: I made it to the potluck picnic hosted by our midwives, yay! It was fun catching up with a couple of other folks from the prenatal classes we attended. The lemon curd squares I brought were a little overcooked (life with a baby), but still okay – W- helped me fix it. More practice needed. I also made it to the follow-ups for the peer nutrition workshop. Due to the unexpected closure of the venue, I hung out in the park with a couple of other new moms. On the way home, I discovered that chugging almost a litre of milk (didn’t want to waste it and no one else seemed to have any cups for sharing) was not a good idea. W- to the rescue again!

Slowly improving my process for drawing index cards. A head lamp helps me avoid eye fatigue when I’m drawing in the dark next to a sleeping A-. Taking the pictures on my phone before passing them through ClearScanner seems to reduce the number of crashes. Still not as pretty as the index cards I draw on my computer, but the important thing is they get drawn. It’s a good thing I’m sorting out this workflow now, actually. A-‘s becoming more mobile, so it’s time to start babyproofing her room. Can’t leave the power adapter and the laptop by the bed any more. =)

Also, I checked out the Toronto Public Library’s book sale for child development books for me and board books for A-. No such luck, but oh well. Now going through the early childhood education books available at the library. Whee!

Blog posts


2016-09-17g-week-ending-2016-09-16-weekly-journal output

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.5h – 0%)
    • Earn (1.5h)
  • Relationships (4.1h – 2%)
    • ☑ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.9h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.9h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (72.6h – 43%)
    • Childcare (57.1h – 33% of total)
  • Sleep (55.6h – 33% – average of 7.9 per day)

2016-09-19 Emacs News

Links from, /r/orgmode, Hacker News,, Youtube, the changes to the Emacs NEWS file, and emacs-devel.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Weekly review: Week ending September 9, 2016

A-‘s steadily catching up in terms of weight, hooray! We aren’t doing anything special, just letting her feed herself. We’ve added kamut puffs and Toodle-Os to her snacking options, and we’ve been introducing her to more of our regular meals. She’s catching up with the 10th percentile curve, yay. We took her for another checkup at the cardiologist, who says she should be okay for travel. Yay!

We started with the Make the Connection program offered by Toronto Public Health. It looks promising: TTC tokens, a little bit of a program like the Ontario Early Years Centre drop-ins, and some discussion on parenting and building secure attachments. I really appreciate how Canada has programs like these.

A- is getting much better at sitting independently, inching her way forward when crawling, and exploring toys. I even managed to squeeze in some time to help W- make lots of pork and chive dumplings.

We moved all the upstairs furniture around so that someone could come in and stretch the carpet. That took care of the ripples and of the edge leading up to J-‘s new closet. One of the seams has opened up, though, so the person who did the carpet may have to come in and do that bit again.

It took a bit of bleary-eyed typing and clicking, but I got my business books reconciled up to the current month. That should make it easier to file corporate taxes. Whee!

I finally got around to taking advantage of the free Linode memory upgrade. Still have to think of better ways to use my server, though. It might be better to downgrade plans, considering I haven’t implemented that many additional uses since the last time I thought about this question (2014, I think, when Linode went SSD and double RAM?). On the other hand, it would be interesting to expand my capabilities, and maybe also get a proper Emacs setup on it and other useful things. Hmm, let’s start with owncloud, maybe…

2016-09-13c-week-ending-2016-09-09-journal-weekly output

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.0h – 1%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.0h – 33% of Business)
    • Build (1.9h – 63% of Business)
    • Connect (0.1h – 3% of Business)
  • Relationships (7.4h – 4%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.9h – 4%)
    • Drawing (4.7h)
    • Emacs (0.3h)
    • Coding (1.2h)
      • ☑ Fix website
      • ☑ Fix weight display labels
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.4h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (20.1h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (75.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.3h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (52.4h – 31% – average of 7.5 per day)