Category Archives: monthly

Monthly review: April 2016

Last month, I wrote that I was looking forward to:

  • working more closely with the healthcare system and learning more about what to do
  • improving our routines and tools
  • gradually building a habit of going out (parent/baby groups, exercise, etc.)

A- is gradually moving past the slug stage of infancy. We’ve reached the awesome milestone of social smiles and cooing, hooray! That’s been helpful in getting us through those early morning wake-ups and occasional fussiness. W- has been super wonderful. I’m starting to feel like I might actually be getting the hang of this, too!

Warmer weather and A-‘s increasing wakefulness encouraged me to take her out for social activities. I checked out lots of free baby- and parent-oriented activities in the neighbourhood. They provide good excuses to go for a walk, A- gets to hear lots of words, and I’m learning from being around other parents and kids.

It’s great that there are so many resources available in the city. After a close call with a plugged duct, I started going to the breastfeeding clinic nearby. The weight history they’ve been keeping has shown that A- is gaining weight more slowly than normal. Based on my research and my conversations with the nurse at the cardiologist’s office, this is probably due to her heart defect. Having graduated from midwife care, we’re now seeing a pediatrician. I hope she can help keep an eye on the big picture, what with all the medical professionals we need to talk to.

The benefits of continuous improvement are starting to build up. Here are some of the little changes we’ve been trying:

  • Pizza is a handy way to use up leftovers.
  • The ring sling is a handy way to keep A- close, especially when she’s fussy and wants to be held. I can put it on even if I’m holding her.
  • Salads are fresh, convenient, and easy to eat. If I cut up ingredients and put them in containers, that makes mixing a salad pretty straightforward. I want to get us used to eating more vegetables, so I’ve been exploring salads. I think I’m getting the hang of having salad ingredients on hand, and I’ve been having fun exploring classic combinations too.
  • If I do laundry every other day instead of everyday, that saves time and energy.
  • If I brush my teeth and shower after dinner instead of timing it for before bed, then I feel better during A-‘s bedtime routine.
  • If I forget to do my pre-bed routine before A-‘s bath, I can brush my teeth while W- washes her.
  • If A- is cooing and not quite ready for bedtime, it can be a good opportunity to call my parents over Facebook Messenger so that they can interact with her.
  • If I draw my journal in the morning instead of at night, I don’t have to try to squeeze it into our bedtime routine.
  • If I keep lots of small towels handy, nursing becomes a more civilized affair.
  • If she’s crying, I can give her a short period of time to try settling down before I pick her up and more actively try to calm her.
  • If I loosen the bottom rail of the ring sling a little bit more compared to how I was doing it before, A- can sit more securely.
  • If I start Emacs as a daemon, I don’t have to worry about it crashing when I restart X.
  • If I use Tasker to set up call forwarding to either my home phone or a free voicemail service depending on location, I can worry less about missing calls or messages.

As our household routines improve and A- grows, W- and I have been gradually getting back more time for discretionary activities, too. W-‘s been getting back into woodworking, and he has also been able to go to the gym a couple of times a week. He’s great at coming up with songs and rhymes for A-, too, and she has come to enjoy bathtime.

I’m less worried about squeezing in naps while A- naps. I know that I can sleep in or start the bedtime routine a little earlier if I’m feeling tired, and I can call in W- for reinforcements if A- is fussier than usual. This has freed up time for me to learn more things. I’ve been sewing clothes, accessories, and stuffed toys. In terms of coding, visualizing baby data has helped me feel more comfortable with the d3 library (including animations, yay!). I applied that experience on my consulting gig, creating a couple of visualizations of their data. My drawing and writing still tends to be pretty journal-focused, but I can now take the time to explore other thoughts or go into more detail.

Most of the next big steps in terms of A-‘s medical stuff will be in June (cardiology update, eye clinic impression-taking). May will probably be more about improving our routines and skills. More social stuff, too. W-‘s parents are hosting a 100-day celebration for A-, and my eldest sister Ching is flying in for that. I’m looking forward to bringing A- to more get-togethers for exercise and stimulation. It would be nice to get back into the swing of drawing and blogging non-journal-type stuff – perhaps more kaizen posts. More salads and gardening, too! =)

2016-05-04b April 2016 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.5 0.4 -1.1 0.7 -1.8
Unpaid work 41.6 42.2 0.6 68.7 1.0
Unpaid work – Childcare 35.6 36.8 1.2 59.9 2.0
Discretionary – Social 0.7 1.7 1.0 2.8 1.7
Discretionary – Family 0.7 0.3 -0.4 0.5 -0.7
Sleep 36.9 33.5 -3.4 54.6 -5.6
Business – Connect 0.5 1.2 0.7 1.9 1.3
Business – Earn 0.3 1.2 0.9 2.0 1.5
Discretionary – Productive 6.5 6.5 -0.0 10.6 -0.0
Personal 11.1 12.7 1.5 20.6 2.6

Childcare’s a bit up and sleep is a bit down, but that’s probably influenced by the fact that I’ve improved my tracking system to allow me to capture more details for late-night feeds. I thought about breaking childcare down into subcategories (maybe stimulation, routine care, medical stuff, nursing, and other?), but I can handle that with notes instead of separate categories for now.

Monthly review: March 2016

March was all about adjusting to life with a newborn. Sleep is still a little patchy, but our routines are gradually getting smoother as we figure out little improvements. I’ve been able to do some cooking and go on various errands. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was still able to do a little bit of coding, writing, and sewing. I got back to posting Emacs News after a short hiatus. I even managed to check on my consulting clients: they’re doing well and things are running smoothly, hooray. =)

A- was officially diagnosed with microphthalmia, and we’re waiting for the ocularist to schedule the next steps. She also has a medium-sized ventricular septal defect which may or may not resolve itself over time; we’ll see. Thank goodness for public health.

This April, I’m looking forward to:

  • working more closely with the healthcare system and learning more about what to do
  • improving our routines and tools
  • gradually building a habit of going out (parent/baby groups, exercise, etc.)

2016-04-03b March 2016 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.8 0.2 -0.6 0.3 -1.0
Discretionary – Play 8.6 1.5 -7.1 2.8 -11.9
Unpaid work 17.9 41.6 23.7 74.6 39.9
Unpaid work – Childcare 3.8 35.6 31.8 63.9 53.4
Discretionary – Social 1.2 0.7 -0.5 1.3 -0.8
Discretionary – Family 2.5 0.7 -1.8 1.2 -3.1
Sleep 34.9 36.9 2.0 66.1 3.4
Business – Connect 0.7 0.5 -0.2 0.8 -0.4
Business – Earn 4.0 0.3 -3.6 0.6 -6.1
Discretionary – Productive 8.8 6.5 -2.3 11.7 -3.9
Personal 20.7 11.1 -9.6 20.0 -16.1

An average of 9.4 hours of sleep a day still feels a little short when it’s broken up into 1-2 hour chunks, but that’s okay, I’ll adapt.

Monthly review: February 2016

All right! On to the next phase of this experiment: easing into parenting. We welcomed the newest member of our family this month, whee! Now for a crash course in learning all the skills needed to help a tiny human survive and thrive… It’s been an intense week and a half, but I’m slowly learning how to relax into it. W- is totally, totally awesome. It helps that he has been through this before and can remind me to not panic.

I’ve been able to squeeze in a little writing, coding, and sewing. Consulting is on hold for the near future, and all the things I used to do have been turned over to a wonderful and capable team. Emacs News and other community things are also on hold. I’m looking forward to resuming them when things settle down, but if anyone wants to volunteer, feel free.

Lots of learning ahead, which probably means lots of notes, sketches, and maybe even blog posts when I have the time to try to organize things into some semblance of coherence. =)

2016-03-03c February 2016 -- index card #monthly #review #journal

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

These time records are slightly out of whack, since I didn’t update them when I was Rather Preoccupied. I’m slowly getting the hang of my new tracking routines now that I want to track both myself and the baby (her diapers and feeding).

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.2 0.8 0.5 1.2 0.9
Discretionary – Play 6.7 8.6 1.9 13.5 3.3
Unpaid work 9.5 17.9 8.4 28.1 14.1
Unpaid work – Childcare 0.0 3.8 3.8 6.0 6.5
Discretionary – Social 0.9 1.2 0.3 1.9 0.4
Discretionary – Family 6.4 2.5 -3.9 4.0 -6.5
Sleep 40.9 34.9 -6.0 54.8 -10.1
Business – Connect 0.8 0.7 -0.2 1.0 -0.3
Business – Earn 5.6 4.0 -1.6 6.2 -2.7
Discretionary – Productive 12.4 8.8 -3.6 13.9 -6.0
Personal 16.6 20.7 4.2 32.6 7.0

Monthly review: January 2016

January was mostly about planning, people, and preparations. I re-read my blog posts and reviewed my sketches as part of my annual review process. It was great to see the overall patterns from 2015, and from the past ten years that I’ve been here. =)

We had W-‘s family over for a holiday dinner, and we cooked lots of food. Unfortunately, our source for pork belly closed soon afterwards, so we’ve been checking out different places to find a new favourite.

I’ve been gradually transitioning my consulting tasks over to the team. They’re doing wonderfully, and will probably do even more awesome things than I can pull off. =D I’ve also been building little tools for myself, like a web-based interface that lets me use the tablet to review my sketches. Some sewing, some decluttering, some freezer cooking… Everything’s pretty much ready for the next step.

Let’s see how February goes!

2016-02-02c January 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.3 0.2 -0.0 0.4 -0.1
Discretionary – Play 6.9 6.7 -0.3 11.2 -0.5
Unpaid work 11.1 9.5 -1.6 16.0 -2.6
Discretionary – Social 0.7 0.9 0.2 1.6 0.3
Discretionary – Family 4.6 6.4 1.8 10.7 3.0
Sleep 41.4 40.9 -0.4 68.7 -0.7
Business – Connect 0.9 0.8 -0.1 1.4 -0.2
Business – Earn 4.6 5.6 1.0 9.3 1.7
Discretionary – Productive 13.7 12.4 -1.2 20.9 -2.1
Personal 15.9 16.6 0.7 27.8 1.2

Monthly review: December 2015

I’m pretty comfortable with my Linux setup now. Krita has held up well in terms of drawing index cards on my tablet PC. I’ve set up a few brushes similar to the ones I used with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and I have a script that makes it easier to import and scale a layer. Being on Linux has also allowed me to write a bunch of command-line tools that would’ve been more difficult to do under Windows, and I’ve been taking advantage of the automation possibilities.

It’s been a good month for Emacs-related things. I’ve been refining my workflow for collecting and organizing links for Emacs News. I also had a quickly-scheduled Emacs Chat with John Wiegley about life as the new maintainer of Emacs, and the Emacs Hangout went well despite the issues at the beginning.

The fabric I ordered from Fabric.com arrived in time for me to make gifts and send them off, and the package arrived in time for my family’s Christmas party during their vacation in California. I also sewed a few more clothes and accessories, organized my sewing materials, and turned some of my scraps into patchwork. I might actually be getting the hang of this.

Lots of cooking this month, whee! Baking season is in full swing. I’ve been making a pot of baked beans almost every weekend, and it’s become my standard breakfast.

I felt a little more tired than last month. I’ve been sleeping almost an hour more each day – almost ten hours a day, total. Ah well, such is life. It’s good to have the flexibility to sleep when I need to, and to be able to make the most of the other hours of the day when I can. I’ve been organizing my files, automating processes, and simplifying our life in preparation for even more fuzzy-brain times ahead, and I think this will pay off well.

2016-01-02b December 2015 -- index card #monthly #review output

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Less energy and concentration this month, but I still managed to get a lot of things done. Lots of cooking and personal projects, less consulting.

Category Period 1 % Period 2 % Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Business – Build 0.9 0.3 -0.6 0.5 -1.0
Discretionary – Play 8.9 6.9 -2.0 12.0 -3.3
Unpaid work 7.9 11.1 3.1 19.2 5.3
Discretionary – Social 0.6 0.7 0.1 1.3 0.2
Discretionary – Family 3.1 4.6 1.5 8.0 2.5
Sleep 37.8 41.4 3.6 71.7 6.0
Business – Connect 1.5 0.9 -0.6 1.6 -1.0
Business – Earn 10.7 4.6 -6.2 7.9 -10.4
Discretionary – Productive 12.1 13.7 1.6 23.7 2.7
Personal 16.2 15.9 -0.3 27.5 -0.6

Monthly review: November 2015

Lots of coding this month, and lots of tech-related blog posts. =)

Consulting-wise, I’ve been learning a lot about NodeJS and Angular. I’ve been refining the internal command-line scraping tools and dealing with new requirements. I’ve also been working on a mobile prototype that uses ng-touch and a few other niceties. I’ve been making good use of the Q library for promises, too. Good thing I spent some time last month learning more about asynchronous programming.

The Emacs News series I’ve been publishing every Monday was well-received, and I’m gradually creating little tools to make it easier to summarize the news from various sources. I’ve also been using it to queue up some tweets for @emacs, so there’s regular activity over there. We had a fun Emacs Hangout, and I’ve scheduled another one for next month.

I’m glad I came across the poster for the Toronto Public Library hackathon. It was a good opportunity to learn about neat things you can do with the library’s web interface and data. They’ve posted a recap, and I’ve also braindumped a bunch of notes on the hack I made for visualizing search results by branch. Boggle of boggles, my userscript still works. =D

I’ve been thinking about how I want to use my time during this phase of the experiment, since I have more energy these days. Spending more time consulting means building up useful skills and prototyping cool stuff that my clients find helpful, so that’s good. It’s also good to take some time to explore other interests and skills, and to prepare for what’s likely to come up. Playing it by ear seems to be the way to go. I keep a long list of little ideas to work on for consulting, and I’ve been cleaning up my Org Mode agenda files to make it easier to see the personal stuff I want to work on. Since the weather is nice today, I’ll go for a walk to the library. Maybe I’ll do some sewing this afternoon.

Also, I filed my business taxes. The dry-run I did last month paid off. All I had to do was update the numbers and double-check my calculations. Yay! I might actually be getting the hang of this. I’ve taken more notes, so next year should be even easier.

I’m back to dual-booting Linux, hooray! I’m still figuring out parts of my new workflow. I think I’ll get it all sorted out over the next few weeks. I’ll probably still boot into Windows for things like Quickbooks and TurboTax (unless I feel like manually crunching the numbers for business taxes – wouldn’t that be something!), but everything else seems to be just fine.

Still feeling pretty much in hermit-mode, although I did make it out to a few low-key things. Next month is probably going to be complicated, but we’ll see.

In December, I’m looking forward to catching up on the cool things that have been going on in the Linux world since the last time I checked. I’d like to document and automate more of my processes, too, in preparation for possible fuzziness. Onward!

2015-12-02a November 2015 -- index card #journal #monthly #review

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Daily sketches: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 27 29 30

Time

Category Last month % This month Avg h per week Delta (h/wk)
Business – Build 3.2 5.5 9 3.9
Discretionary – Play 6.9 8.9 15 3.4
Unpaid work 6.3 7.9 13 2.7
Discretionary – Social 0 0.6 1 1.0
Discretionary – Family 2.6 3.1 5 0.8
Sleep 37.4 37.9 64 0.8
Business – Connect 1.1 1.5 3 0.7
Business – Earn 11.2 10.7 18 -0.8
Discretionary – Productive 11.2 7.5 13 -6.2
Personal 20.0 16.2 27 -6.4

Huh. More drawing, more Borderlands, more cooking, actually a little
less consulting, and less time on personal projects and routines. More
time on coding, though. Didn’t expect that. Two and a half days is
still more consulting than the one-day-a-week pace I’d been keeping
before this recent intensification, anyway. Anyway, time still feels
pretty good, so I’ll carry on.