Weekly review: Week ending August 10, 2018

  • Field trip
    • We went to the Horse Palace and caught the show. A- liked pretending to be a farmer (milking a pretend cow, collecting pretend eggs, etc.), riding a mechanical horse, riding a small cart, riding a small motorized tractor, and watching the show. She decided to skip the pony ride.
  • Gross motor
    • A- got the hang of doing forward rolls and did them all over the mattress.
  • Language
    • “I don’t like Mama’s friends. I like my own friends. I like E-.”
    • “I don’t know that word. The water word,” A- said, referring to the word “gulp” from a book we had read earlier that afternoon.
    • “‘Let me go first,’ said the train. ‘Let me go last,’ said the train.” I’m not sure where that came from, but it was interesting to hear her make up a pair of quotes.
    • Talking about thoughts: “I thought about the cart.”
  • Music
    • A- asked me to sing “Drink Up Me Hearties” while she nursed.
  • Art
    • A- made a book by gluing felt pieces to paper. She called it her colouring book.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- went upstairs to get her own clothes all by herself. She came down with a shirt and two pairs of pants. Turned out she wanted to wear one pair of pants as a hat.
    • A- wanted to learn how to tie my shoelaces. I managed to help her through one bow.
    • I’m working on going to sleep more predictably, although I’m okay with A- staying up a little if she wants to. This week, I introduced a musical signal for when I’m going to sleep, which might become a good alternative cue since we’re also working on night weaning.
  • Emotion
    • A- was upset because I set limits on nursing. After lots of crying, she said, “I want Sheep to hold.” She fell asleep snuggling Sheep while I snuggled her.
  • Social
    • A- looked at her shoes on the new shelf, decided the new shelf was all hers, and moved our extra shoes off the shelf.
    • I reminded A- that she needed to be quiet in W-‘s room. She said, “I’m being quiet,” and then proceeded to sing “Eh soom boo kawaya” in a whisper.
  • Pretend
    • A- pretended to be the neighbour’s dog. She liked fetching a small ball.
    • A- wanted to copy the way the Cat in the Hat held his hands. She asked me to teach her. After I arranged her fingers, she smiled the way she thought the cat smiled.
    • A- roleplayed as Yousria from the drop-in centre. She asked W- to knock on the pretend door, and then she opened it and welcomed him in. She also roleplayed checking into a hotel, getting the room key, and putting the room key into a slot by the door.
    • A- pretended to play a tug-of-war with an imaginary carrot, roleplaying the scene from “Warning! Do Not Touch!”.
    • A- reenacted scenes from the Curious George book. She liked pretending to be caught in a hat or blown away with balloons. She also liked pretending to go to the zoo and distribute balloons.
    • Yay, nature class is starting to influence play. A- wanted to make a nest out of a blanket. She pretended to sleep on invisible eggs.
  • Cognition
    • W- found the Opposites game in my stash. A- matched up cards with a little help. I think she mostly went by picture similarity, but she was also able to complete pairs if we labeled them verbally and gave her choices.
    • A- wanted to play with the opposites puzzle. She matched up three sets of five pairs.
  • World
    • We followed a garbage truck up the street. A- liked watching the arms shake out the contents of the bins, and she also liked waving at the worker.
    • The nature class focused on trees. We looked at woodpecker holes, used forest matter to make nests, and sniffed a sassafras leaf.
  • Kaizen
    • W- fixed his glasses and I started patching my carrier.
    • We tidied up the front shelf and added an extra level. W- prototyped a shallow divider to keep the backpacks upright.
  • Us
    • I reviewed the past year.

Blog posts


Focus areas and time review

  • A- (Childcare) (70.8h – 42% of total)
  • Business (0.4h – 0%)
    • Build (0.4h – 100% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.2h)
    • Sewing (1.0h)
    • Writing (3.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.1h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (12.3h – 7%)
  • Unpaid work (18.7h – 11%)
  • Sleep (54.2h – 32% – average of 7.7 per day)

2018-08-13 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.

Turning 35; life as a 34-year-old

This year was less about dealing with uncertainty, and more about discovery and delight. As a confident talker, A- is quite an active participant in her own learning and growth, and I’m enjoying learning how to collaborate with her. It’s great to see the results of the things we experimented with last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we continue to grow.

It helped that lots of medical uncertainties got resolved. The pediatrician said we could stop going for ultrasounds for A-‘s liver hemangioma. The hospital cardiology department said it was okay for A- to go to the community cardiologist for routine monitoring, instead of coming to the hospital for exams under sedation. Dental surgery took care of the cavities that were possibly due to either breastfeeding or enamel hypoplasia. We’ll continue to see the Eye Clinic twice a year, and the ocularist a bit more frequently than that. With most of the those concerns out of the way, though, I felt comfortable wrapping up with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program and heading out into the wild world of parenting without training wheels.

We signed up for music classes and made it to about half of them, skipping a number of classes due to trips to the Philippines and jet lag recovery time. Even though A- continued to be mostly reserved during music classes, she talked about them positively, singing the songs at home and imitating the teacher. For my part, I picked up a few more nursery rhymes. We tried nature classes, too, although A- seems to prefer music classes at the moment.

I’ve been making an effort to make friends and help A- connect with people. That seems to be working out wonderfully. I liked building friendships with other parents and their kids, and A- enjoyed interacting with them too.

My dad’s health declined rapidly, so we made three trips to the Philippines during the year. A- and I got the hang of travelling by ourselves. A- enjoyed spending time with my family, although she was a little anxious around the medical equipment supporting my dad at home. When my dad died, W- was in the Philippines with us, which was very helpful. The celebration of my dad’s life was inspiring. I can only hope to live so well, in my own way.

Continuous improvement

It was great to slowly, slowly gain space for thinking and continuous improvement:

  • I started journaling quick keywords in a database app on my phone. I built a workflow for highlighting, summarizing, and linking entries. I also used the same app to keep track of A-‘s words. I started learning about pedagogical documentation.
  • I automated more things with Tasker, AutoInput, AutoShare, and Google Assistant on my phone, and shell scripts and Emacs Lisp on my computers.
  • We upgraded to a colour laser printer. I figured out how to make children’s books by using Org Mode and LaTeX to create the templates and process drawn images. I found Medibang Paint useful for drawing on my phone.
  • I got back into drawing with sketched thoughts and moments from everyday life.
  • On the work front, I turned over my regular maintenance work to the dev team. I worked on a few prototypes, and I learned how to write VBA scripts to process mail in Microsoft Outlook, too.
  • I sorted out my photo organization and rating system.
  • I started backing up to the NAS that W- set up for us.
  • I set up Google Pay on my phone, which is handy with a toddler around.
  • I switched to doing my business books in Ledger and filing my corporate taxes with MyTaxExpress under WINE in Linux.
  • We decluttered various areas in our house, and we organized A-‘s play area and bedroom. We added more kid-sized furniture, too.
  • I played with cardboard and made a bulldozer hat for Halloween. I also sewed A-‘s construction vest costume. Yay getting back into making!
  • We took advantage of some of the city’s resources: swimming pools, the Ontario Science Centre, the Royal Ontario Museum, Riverdale Farm, the Make the Connection workshop, and various parks and playgrounds.
  • I got a bike trailer and have actually managed to make it out with A- on five round-trips.
  • I followed a guar gum giant bubble recipe from the Internet and learned the secret of making large bubbles. (Fun!)
  • I experimented with having babysitters from an agency. A- was okay with them, but she strongly prefers spending time with me, so I’ll just postpone big consulting projects until I have more discretionary time.
  • I drew visual routines and started working on musical cues as well.
  • I learned more about supporting pretend play, language development, independence, and other areas of learning.

35 to 36: Looking ahead

This might be my last year spending all this time with A-, if she goes to preschool next year. How can I make the most of this opportunity? I’m looking forward to helping A- learn about self-care, independence, socialization, and exploration. Bring on the “why?” stage!

I’m also looking forward to learning more about pedagogical documentation, drawing, taking pictures/videos, and other ways I can share things with her and with other people. Making books for A- is fun, so I’d like to do more of that too.

Personally, I want to work on streamlining and improving our routines, learning through reading and reflection, and maybe picking up another technique or two that I can use for automation.

In terms of relationships, my family’s dealing with all the changes from last year: my dad’s death, my sister’s move to the Netherlands, the transition of the family business. We’ll see how all of that works out, and what I can help with. I’d also like to get even better at building friendships, especially with the help of baked goods or shared activities.

W- continues to be awesome. I love being able to do both long-term planning and on-the-fly adjustments with his help. He’s working on the porch this year, so I’ll see how I can give him more space to do that.

I think it’s going to be wonderful.


Category % 33 years % 34 years Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 39.2 46.7 7.5 78.5 12.5
Discretionary – Family 1.4 3.3 1.9 5.6 3.2
Business – Connect 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.1
Business – Earn 1.2 1.1 -0.1 1.9 -0.1
Discretionary – Productive 3.6 3.5 -0.1 5.9 -0.1
Discretionary – Social 1.1 0.9 -0.2 1.5 -0.3
Business – Build 0.5 0.3 -0.2 0.4 -0.4
Discretionary – Play 1.5 0.7 -0.8 1.2 -1.3
Unpaid work 6.8 5.4 -1.4 9.1 -2.2
Sleep 34.0 31.2 -2.8 52.4 -4.7
Personal 10.4 6.2 -4.2 10.4 -7.1

My tracking was thrown off a little by the trips, but this should still give me a rough idea of how things worked out. A- was more awake and wanted more interaction, so childcare went up and practically all the other categories went down. The sparkline definitely looks like it’s trending upwards. 11.2 hours of childcare is roughly 12 noon to 12 midnight, with a 45-minute gap daily for doing chores while W- plays with A-, and maybe the occasional longer break during the weekends. I usually left my tracker set to Childcare even during meals, though, and sometimes during subway trips or errands as well.


I got around 7.5 hours of sleep a night, often shifted around (staying up late for discretionary time, sleeping in to catch up). It was a little hard sometimes when I wasn’t well-synced with A-, but it was worthwhile. Productive discretionary time was surprisingly stable on a yearly basis (maybe two hours times three days a week), but somewhat varied on a monthly basis. I spent about 40 minutes a week on Emacs, mostly doing Emacs News and a little automation. Drawing declined from September to December, but is slowly on the rise again.


On a yearly basis, consulting was also stable at around two hours a week. It was also pretty bursty on a monthly basis, ranging from 0% to 2.8%.


As mentioned, I’ve been working on being more social:


Even with the increase in childcare, my day feels pretty pleasant and manageable. More sleep would be nice, but I also like keeping a journal, drawing, writing, compiling Emacs News, and working on little tweaks. Still, I’m okay with spending time with A- instead of creating space by getting a babysitter. I learn a lot from A- too, so it works out. We’ll see how it goes!

Quick summary:

  • Aug: routine monitoring of cardiology OK, swimming, new conformer, flight with A-
  • Sept: journal gap – busy with trip
  • Oct: baby nostalgia, pretend play, furniture, journal spreasheet, HBHC
  • Nov: Make the Connection, three-word sentences, potty training, reading, corporate taxes
  • Dec: passport renewal, door knobs, flight
  • Jan: A- and my family, Papa’s death and wake, paperwork
  • Feb: phrases, organization, eye exam, party
  • Mar: making books, new conformer, voice shortcuts, NAS, pretend play, dentistry consultation, timer, flight
  • Apr: visiting family, bug bites, focusing on kaizen
  • May: journal summary, doctor exam, babysitter experiment, Autoshare, shopping trolley, Google Pay, okay to enjoy the moment
  • June: bike trailer/stroller, organization, picture descriptions, alphabet cookie cutters, “stop babysitting experiment,” giant bubbles
  • July: lights, decluttering, routines, work laptop upgrade

2018-08-06 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.

Checking PC Optimum’s math for PC Mastercard points from Google Pay

I wasn’t sure if PC Optimum was properly crediting 20 points per $1 spent at stores like No Frills and 10 points per $1 spent elsewhere. The “PC Financial Earn” lines in the PC Optimum app often didn’t show any doubles that I recognized, and the time delay between the transaction and the points credit muddled the waters too. I liked the convenience of using Google Pay on my phone to pay for groceries while out and about with A-, since it’s easier to keep track of a big phone than it is to make sure my credit cards are in my pocket when we go out. (Also, A- sometimes insists on hanging onto my credit card after she “pays” for things, so that’s one more thing to keep track of if I use a card.) If the 20 points per $1 wasn’t getting properly credited, though, it might be worth carrying a different credit card that gives me 2% cashback on grocery expenses.

I sat down and made a spreadsheet based on my credit card transactions, calculating the number of points expected. Here’s an excerpt:

Date Amount Points expected Location
2018-07-10 31.99 320  
2018-07-10 4.09 82 No Frills
2018-07-08 39.11 782 No Frills

I made another spreadsheet with the transactions from the PC Optimum site (no CSV export, oh well). Here’s another excerpt:

Date Amount Points Type
2018-07-11   41 PC Financial Earn
2018-07-11   361 PC Financial Earn
2018-07-10 14.09 -10000 PC Optimum
2018-07-09 28.92   PC Optimum
2018-07-09 66.9 920 PC Optimum
2018-07-09   391 PC Financial Earn
2018-07-09   391 PC Financial Earn

Here’s how those two transactions match up with their points, I think.

2018-07-08 39.11 782 NF
2018-07-09   391 PC Financial Earn
2018-07-09   391 PC Financial Earn


2018-07-10 31.99 320  
2018-07-10 4.09 82 NF
2018-07-11   41 PC Financial Earn
2018-07-11   361 PC Financial Earn

So if my only transactions for the day are at No Frills, I see a doubled points entry, which is easy to verify. If I also bought something somewhere else, the first PC Financial Earn transaction gives me the extra +10/$1 expected for No Frills, and the second PC Financial Earn transaction gives me the 10/$1 points for the total of both credit card transactions.

The math works out. It was just a little difficult to verify when I was scrolling through it on my phone. It would be nice to be able to do three-digit sums in my head… Anyway, I can probably trust it reasonably well, although I’ll keep this explanation around in case I need to figure it out again (or in case someone else needs to).

Thanks to the PC Optimum support staff for giving me the benefit of the doubt when I asked for an adjustment! I sent another message undoing that request, so let’s see if I can get this properly sorted out.

Week ending 2018-08-03

  • Field trip
    • We took the bike and trailer to Vermont Square Park, where A- played with the tractor and other toys. We shared our sand toys with other kids, and A- practised taking turns. She also waded in the pool.
  • Gross motor
    • A- practised riding her balance bike. She alternated between walking it and asking me to push her, and she also practised walking it down a slope.
  • Language
    • W- told A-, “After we dry my glasses, I’ll brush your teeth.” A- replied, “Savvy.”
    • A- was interested in one of the books I borrowed from the library, and kept bringing it over to me to read to her even though it didn’t have any pictures in it.
    • “I don’t like going to bed.”
    • A- now makes up songs and stories while waiting. She sang, “Avocado, avocado, what do you see?” and a few other stanzas, and then said, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl named A- who wanted to eat an avocado but Mama said it was not yet ripe.”
    • A- was chasing J- to tax her pesto, but she got distracted by the bookcase and fell into the book trap. She ignored the food and brought a book over to W- so he could read it.
    • “I’m a messy eater.”
    • A- bruised her toe the day before. Right after she woke up, she said, “I don’t want to go to the hospital. I will try not to go to the hospital.”
    • “We can do kids’ yoga later.” “I want to do it now.” “You’re impatient.” “I wait patiently.”
    • On the way out, A- said, “I really need a walking stick.” W- said, “You don’t really need a walking stick.” A- said, “I doooo.
    • A- wanted another evening snack. I asked her what she wanted to eat. She said, “I want some of the snacks that I like.”
  • Art
    • A- made lots of handprints, even asking me to mix colours on her hands. We went outside and made footprints too.
  • Self-care
    • A- bruised her big toe by dropping a can of fish on it. The pain distracted her from playing a bit, but she felt better in the morning. We skipped nature class to let her rest, and she seemed back to normal by lunch.
    • A- practised separation by going up and down the stairs several times, saying “I will come right back downstairs just like I promised to.” She also pretended to go to school and come back, and to go to work and come back.
  • Eating
    • We tried frozen shelled edamame. A- refused to eat it, preferring the experience of eating edamame from the pod.
  • Household
    • A- got her broom and started sweeping the kitchen floor. She got the big broom and gave it to P-. We suggested using the dustpan, so she got the dustpan and the brush, and she showed P- how to use them.
    • A- helped collect and sort the laundry. She pushed the basket from room to room, transferred the laundry from her room and the bathroom, and helped me bump the basket down to the basement. She stood on a stool and asked me where each item went, and she put it in the appropriate compartment.
  • Social
    • We saw a couple of friends on their way home, so we invited them in and shared some of our red bean buns. A- thoughtfully cleared her play table and offered it to the other kid. After they left, A- spent quite a few days pretending to be the other kid and pretending we were his parents.
    • A- defended daddy time by telling me, “Private! Only Daddy and A-!” I let them play a little longer before starting bedtime routine.
    • A- was laughing. Then she said, “Hahaha, I’m laughing so loud, hahaha.” This cracked us up, of course. Then she said, “Hahaha, we’re laughing together, hahaha.”
    • A- played a game of hiding something behind her back, and bringing it out again.
  • Pretend
    • A- pretended to be a cat. She wanted to lick pretend wet food (yogurt) off a saucer on the floor.
    • Multiple levels of indirection! A- pretended to be S- pretending to be a cat, labeling herself as “S- cat” while eating pretend wet food.
  • Cognition
    • A- wanted to bring four bottles of paint to the kitchen, so she put them in a bucket and carried the bucket. “My bucket is heavy,” she said.
  • World
    • A- played with her reflection in a mirror. “A- is gone. A- is there. A- is gone.”
  • Kaizen
    • I made lots of red bean buns, and I experimented with making red bean rolls. The rolls were easier to make, but the buns were prettier.
    • I shifted to drawing more while waiting for A-. It’s a good way to use time.
  • Us
    • We met up with Linda Ristevski for a library tour. We went to Runnymede library and got our library passports stamped. I showed her the book return system, and the park behind the library. It was lots of fun hanging out!