Category Archives: review

Monthly review: January 2017

We took A- for her eye checkup at Sick Kids Hospital. She has 20/80 vision in her right eye, which is within normal range, and they prescribed safety glasses to protect her right eye as she becomes more mobile. We also took A- to the ocularist, who’s trying a new conformer shape in the hope that it will stay in. After a few weeks of A-‘s conformer getting rubbed out daily, things seem to have settled down a bit. We’ve also figured out how to put the conformer in solo, instead of it being a two-person operation – hooray! All the care and attention that W- had put into trying to make it a pleasant experience for A- paid off. He noticed she liked it when he swung her upside down, so we started swinging her after putting in the conformer, and now she sits still for the placement and doesn’t cry at all. Whee!

A- has figured out a few gestures to let us know what she wants. She squeezes her fist or curls her fingers if she wants to nurse, nods and bounces up and down to say yes, and closes her eyes and shakes her head to say no. She’s pretty comfy with the toothbrush we got her, although the fork and the hairbrush are still mysteries.

W- bought lots of used Duplo off Kijiji, filling in the gaps with a few pieces from Bricklink. We’ve all been having fun with the blocks. A- has also gotten pretty good at stacking wooden blocks. Our family home visitor introduced her to crayons, and she occasionally manages to touch the crayons to paper. The rest of the time, she’d rather crumple up the paper – our little agent of chaos!

She’s quite a good crawler now, and can even make her way up the stairs with supervision.

Jen and E- visited, and we visited them too. The weather has been a little more cooperative lately, so we’ve been going to the Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre.

Other little things: W- spent some time making a coffee table for the living room, including a jig for floating mortises and tenons. Also, Neko got stuck in a shallow bath, so W- rescued her. We’ve been doing a great job at eating more vegetables – roasting turned out to be pretty easy.

I reviewed all my sketches and blog posts and I sketched a few yearly summaries, but I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. I wrote lots of other stuff, though! Hmm, I wonder what the difference was… I started using Google Tasks to capture ideas and drafts. That helped a lot. Lately I’ve been more distracted by social media, but that’s okay too.

I managed to do a bit of consulting: extracting comments, building a little prototype for displaying data on another server, supporting simple A/B switching, and tweaking the Iframe snippet. On the personal side, I updated my evil plans code to work with the latest version of Org, issued a T4 and a T5 slip from my business, converted my QuickBooks file to Ledger, and helped my parents with their visa paperwork. I also went for my first eye exam in years – my prescription is actually a little less than it was before. I should probably order new glasses to replace the ones that A- accidentally messed up.

Getting ready for W-‘s return to work next month!

Blog posts

Sketches

Time

Category Dec Jan Diff h/wk Diff h/wk
Unpaid work – Childcare 36.3 42.4 6.1 71.3 10.3
Unpaid work 43.7 46.7 3.1 78.5 5.1
Sleep 35.3 38.2 2.9 64.1 4.8
Personal 8.1 9.2 1.2 15.5 1.9
Discretionary – Social 0.2 0.5 0.3 0.9 0.6
Business – Earn 0.3 0.7 0.4 1.2 0.6
Business – Connect 0.2 0.1 -0.0 0.2 -0.0
Business – Build 0.7 0.4 -0.2 0.7 -0.4
Discretionary – Productive 3.1 2.5 -0.6 4.1 -1.0
Discretionary – Play 2.6 1.5 -1.1 2.5 -1.8
Discretionary – Family 2.1 0.1 -2.0 0.2 -3.4

More childcare now that we’re back in our usual routines. Haven’t been particularly good at tracking the switch between childcare and other activities, so 71h/wk overstates it a little bit, but it’s okay. I still get a little time for other things, and I managed to do a fair bit of writing done anyway.

Weekly review: Week ending February 10, 2017

A- now has a pair of upper teeth to match her bottom teeth. Whee! She’s been chomping her way through cucumbers and clementines, and has even threatened their use in the defence of chicken drumsticks.

A-‘s sleep has been a bit irregular, with more fussiness and late nights. Probably related to the emergence of her upper teeth, or possibly a reaction to the chocolate cake we’ve been having as W- prepares for A-‘s first birthday party. Ah well! That’s all part of life. We’re adapting quite nicely to life with interruptions.

This week’s home visit focused on cruising, which A- picked up readily. She can now edge her way along the sofa in order to reach something she wants.

Also, all of a sudden, A- can stack rings on a pole. Not in order, but still! Neat. She hadn’t gotten much practice with it because we were focusing on stacking blocks. Every so often, I took it out and let her help me push the rings down the pole. This week, she started doing it all by herself, using a finger to help her centre the ring on the pole. By golly. Maybe she’ll be all right even without stereopsis for depth perception.

An impromptu experiment by W- also confirmed that A- can predict that stuff dropped into a tube should come out the other end. Neat!

W- took care of A- long enough for me to cook quinoa-stuffed peppers one night, shake and bake chicken, curry and roast veg another night, and biscotti on the weekend. I enjoyed making lots of food. It was a rare opportunity to cook for two hours in a row.

Also for party prep and general spring cleaning: W- managed to sell the large glass coffee table I’d bought almost ten years ago for my apartment. One more thing out the door, hooray!

My parents got the go-ahead to send their passports for Canadian visas, yay! The online application process was pretty convenient, actually. Anyway, W- tested a possible sleeping arrangement by bunking in with A- and me in A-‘s room. Not particularly comfortable, though, so we might need to switch things up a bit more. It will be nice to have them over. A- will probably be 18 months old when they visit, which is a great time for vocabulary acquisition and other good things.

In the meantime, life continues as normal. I managed to do a little consulting, updating some code and unearthing some other code I’d forgotten about. Someday I’ll be able to take on bigger projects, but at the moment, it’s good to do whatever I can.

Next week: taking A- to the cardiologist, looking into the Let’s Get Started program, and letting her explore all sorts of messy things during sensory play day. Whee!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.3h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.3h – 99% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.4h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.8h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.8h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.6h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (14.7h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (76.8h – 45%)
    • Childcare (65.9h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (65.4h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending February 3, 2017

Another week of big leaps. A- can crawl up the stairs, so we should probably look into getting baby gates soon. About half the time, she’ll indicate when she wants to nurse by squeezing her fist or curling her fingers. (The rest of the time, she just goes and helps herself.) The horse and the harness are definitely her favourite Duplo pieces. She picks them up whenever she plays in the living room. If they’re apart, she’ll look for both pieces and hand them to me so I can reassemble them.

The biggest thing I’m happy about, though, is that A- will let me reinsert her ocular prosthesis by myself, without any fussing or crying. This had previously been a two-person operation – I’d restrain her while W- put the conformer in, usually over her tears. Sometimes it took us several tries, since she’d turn her head, wriggle, and buck. W- started rewarding her with upside-down swinging, which is something she enjoys a lot. She eventually let us pop it back in quickly (promptly followed by a swing, of course). This week, he tried putting the conformer in by himself. He managed it, so I tried it as well, and I managed it too! That means that even when W- goes back to work, if A-‘s conformer pops out, we won’t have to wait for him to get back home. I can just clean it and put it back in by myself. Level up!

The nurse from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children came for another play evaluation. A- wasn’t interested in stacking blocks, though. Ah well! We’ll try evaluating feeding next. We also talked about developmental screening. I read some research on microphthalmia that said one in five people with it have learning difficulties, and that even if there don’t appear to be related symptoms in the first year, additional things often come up when the child is three or four years old. It turns out many children don’t get routinely seen by medical professionals outside the usual vaccination schedule, so a lot of developmental delays are caught only when school starts. Since I have limited experience with children, I’ll need to keep on top of what’s considered normal and what might be a cause for concern. The Nipissing developmental screens go up to 6 years old, so that helps. We’ll stick with the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program as long as they’ll have us. It’s so nice having that regular check-in with a nurse who can monitor A-‘s development, and the family home visitor suggests lots of great activities too. The Junction Family Resource Centre and the Ontario Early Years Centre also have people I can ask, and the parent advocacy workshop I just registered for will probably be quite helpful.

We took A- to the JFRC this week. She mostly stayed close to me, although she was a little interested in the bin of musical instruments. She’s a bit keen to snatch things out of younger babies’ hands, so I redirect her with other fun things to explore instead.

We’ve been making an effort to incorporate more vegetables into our meals, and that’s starting to feel more natural now. Vegetable-heavy pizza, roasted vegetables, yum yum. A-‘s been eating pretty lightly, but that’s okay. As long as we keep modeling good eating and putting healthy choices in front of her, she’ll be fine. She likes feeding us whatever’s left on her saucer, and we don’t mind eating the extra veg and meat. We tried the pouch food we bought for emergencies, and we’re definitely not keen on it. Home-made food as much as possible – just have to keep exploring new recipes!

A-‘s bottom teeth are definitely out now, and her top incisors are beginning to emerge. Her sleep has been more messed up than usual – evening naps, late-night bedtimes – but we can adapt to that. I might try waking up with an alarm as a way of nudging her to keep a consistent bedtime instead of letting it get later and later, though. Anyway, this is temporary. I’ll get more time for thinking and writing later.

I still managed to do a bit of consulting – a small NodeJS server that parsed and displayed some content from a different system. I should probably follow up on that this week.

W- has been working on a jig for making mortises and tenons. He’s planning to replace the coffee table in the living room with one that’s a bit wider and with rounded edges. It’s more work baby-proofing than the usual “stick corners on the thing and call it a day”, but it builds skills, so I’m all for it. He’s getting a lot of good use out of the basement workshop he put together during parental leave, yay! Only a few weeks left before he goes back to work. It’s good to do what he can now so that woodworking can be an enjoyable hobby even in small chunks during regular weeks.

My discretionary time is all about the small chunks, too. Someday I’ll have bigger chunks to play with again, but in the meantime, this is cool.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.7h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.4h – 90% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 9% of Business)
      • ☑ Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Check out SimpleTax
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
    • ☑ Check RESP ledger
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.8h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.2h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.1h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (11.7h – 6%)
  • Unpaid work (80.9h – 48%)
    • Childcare (73.2h – 43% of total)
  • Sleep (67.7h – 40% – average of 9.7 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 27, 2017

I took A- to the ocularist to check the fit of her conformer, since she’s been rubbing it out pretty much every day (sometimes even twice). The ocularist thinks it fits fine and wanted to start working towards a painted shell. We’re more comfortable with conformers, though, because of the risk of losing her prosthesis and because it sometimes prompts useful conversations. We’ll revisit painted shells when she’s ready for school, or if the white conformer bothers her.

I flipped through the book “A Singular View” while at the ocularist’s office. There’s a useful chapter on practical adaptations for pouring and other tasks that are a little harder with monocular vision. The book’s pretty short, though, so it might be something I’ll review there whenever we go for a checkup instead of buying a copy myself.

A- is getting better at communicating. She lets us know when she doesn’t want any more food by closing her eyes and shaking her head (a little randomly, but we get her message). She often insists on feeding us any food left on her plate. She gestures at pictures in books. One time, she even handed W- a paper diaper and flopped onto the bed – probably telling us to get on with the bedtime routine.

She was freaked out by the blood pressure cuff that J- was measuring me with as practice for J-‘s nursing exam. W- and I reassured her that everything was okay, although she still shouted at it when J- removed it from my arm. So much courage.

W- kept A- occupied while I went for my own eye exam. I hadn’t had my eyes checked in years, so I figured it would be good to update my prescription before ordering a bunch of glasses online. A- had broken one pair of glasses and scratched a lens in another pair, so I’m wearing my backup backup pair. Gotta be firmer about keeping A- away from my glasses!

Managed to squeeze in a little computer work. I dusted off and improved the first part of an A/B testing prototype for my consulting client. I also did some more work on using Ledger for my business books so that I can get a tax-line summary. I even set up a Ledger file for the investments in A-‘s college fund. Whee!

The world’s getting a bit crazy, but I remain optimistic.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.7h – 51% of Business)
      • ☐ [#A] Prepare invoice
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.5h – 46% of Business)
      • ☑ Get bank balance to agree
      • ☑ Do GIFI mapping
    • Connect (0.1h – 1% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.5h – 1%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (3.4h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.7h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
      • ☑ sleep/wake toggle
  • Discretionary – Play (3.5h – 2%)
  • Personal routines (16.7h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (76.9h – 45%)
    • Childcare (70.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (61.8h – 36% – average of 8.8 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 20, 2017

The ocularist is trying a different style of conformer. It has a ridge and a curve to catch her lower eyelid. The new conformer has been coming out a little less frequently, but it’s still every day or so. I try to keep A-‘s hands away from her face, although sometimes she really insists on rubbing and scratching when she’s sleepy or just waking up. I also took A- to the eyeglasses store to try on pairs. She’s in between sizes in the Miraflex line, so we’ll try again in a few months.

I took A- to the JFRC and the OEYC for socialization. She’s back to being comfortable in those spaces, I think. I also took her to the breastfeeding clinic to check her weight. 7.84kg puts her comfortably over the 15th percentile curve, yay her!

Since A- has been so interested in our forks and spoons, we got her a fork, which she enthusiastically mashes into her saucer and manoeuvres into her mouth. Sometimes she even manages to pick up food with it. We also got her a toothbrush and a hairbrush. She seems to enjoy using the toothbrush after meals. We haven’t added any baby toothpaste yet – it’s more for getting her used to stuff in her mouth. I brush her hair after brushing mine. Sometimes she tries to imitate me, and sometimes she just plays with the brush when it’s her turn. She’ll get the hang of it eventually.

We’ve been encouraging more physical activity as a way of helping her build up her appetite and take in more nutrients. This usually takes the form of hide-and-seek, which gets her crawling after us at a decent clip. She’s also been working on fine motor control: stuffing Duplo into various containers (including sleepers and pant cuffs), emptying and filling the toy egg carton, and playing with books. She was a little interested in the crayons brought by the family home visitor, although she doesn’t seem to deliberately make marks yet. Anyway, since we want to model what to do with them, I’ve been able to sketch a little – mostly the back of her head while she plays with W-.

I’ve been drawing more on my tablet PC, too. This little experiment of drawing a memory in more detail and colour is helping me observe more carefully, and it’s fun. We’ll see if it’s worth the additional 10-15 minutes or so.

I did a little bit of consulting – a couple of SQL queries and a little Node script to analyze a thread. Thought about a bigger project, too, but I’m not sure I have the brainspace to build something custom for them.

I’ve been working on moving more things off Windows so that I can stay in Linux more often. After looking into alternatives to TurboTax for my corporate income tax returns, I decided to convert my QuickBooks records to Ledger. I’ve been using Ledger for my personal finances for more than a decade, and I like how manageable plain text is, especially with report command lines and commentary in Org Mode. I found a Perl script to convert QuickBooks data to Ledger format. After modifying it to deal with Canadian spelling, I converted my data and started reviewing it. So far, so good. My bank balances match up, at least. There are a bunch of other things I want to pay close attention to (year-end entries and so on), but overall, it looks promising.

I also cleared out the tablet I was using as a baby monitor, replacing it with W-‘s old phone. That works just as fine as a baby monitor, and it works out better than the tablet did as a backup device for when my phone’s battery runs out. The phone is easier to hold and type on, and it’s less glaring. More writing, yay!

While I’ve been taking care of A- and writing while nursing, W- has totally taken over cooking for dinner, which is awesome. Pad thai, pasta, shepherd’s pie (with ground lamb, even) – yum yum yum. Life is good.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.9h – 2%)
    • Earn (1.9h – 48% of Business)
      • ☑ Thread analysis
      • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (1.2h – 30% of Business)
    • Connect (0.8h – 21% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Print prescription for A-
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.3h – 2%)
    • Drawing (3.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Writing (0.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (1.8h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (21.6h – 12%)
  • Unpaid work (73.2h – 43%)
    • Childcare (63.6h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (63.1h – 37% – average of 9.0 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending January 13, 2017

I took A- to be fitted for another conformer, since we lost the previous one after two weeks of it popping out almost every day. Her current one appeared to fit fine while we were at the ocularist, but it’s been popping out a lot too. We have another appointment next week. Maybe we can get a better fit, or maybe we’ll have to consider the trade-offs of putting her under sedation so that a new impression can be taken.

A-‘s two bottom central incisors are both emerging, whee! She’s been having fun gnawing on chicken drumsticks and biscotti. Her sleep has been a little disrupted, but that’s fairly common when teething.

W- bought two lots of Duplo off Kijiji, and now A- has a pretty good Duplo collection. We all have lots of fun playing with the bricks.

We’ve resumed home visits from the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. We’ve been working on stacking blocks, and A- finally got the hang of it! We also went to the JFRC and the OEYC for some socialization, since it’s good for A- to get used to seeing and interacting with other kids. She’s a little reserved, but that’s okay.

This week and last week had quite the spike in childcare hours, although part of that is probably sloppy tracking. I’ve been focusing on playing more with A- during daytime hours, sometimes away from my phone. Might try tracking other activities like meals and tidying up a bit better this week to get a clearer picture of my time. Also, A-‘s been waking up after an evening nap instead of staying in bed, so that’s been changing up our routine a little.

Lots of good stuff on my end. So much writing! My Google Tasks + org2blog workflow is working really well. I can write while nursing, which is much better than spending all that time going down into the rabbit holes of the Internet. I went from a somewhat monotonous rhythm of Emacs News and journal reviews to a full week of scheduled posts. Unexpected benefit: more blog comment conversations, too!

I’ve been working on my yearly review. I’ve looked at all the sketches, summarized my monthly reviews, and analyzed my expenses. I also want to look at time and write my overall reflections. It’s been a good year.

Going through all those sketches from 2016 reminded me that a little effort can make drawings more expressive and fun, so I’ve been playing with drawing again. I figure that picking one moment and drawing it in more detail in my daily index cards will let me exercise that skill, and it’ll also motivate me to pay attention to or cultivate at least one vivid moment a day.

I did a little bit of consulting, too – tweaked some code and answered a few questions. Also, I filed my corporation’s T4 and T5 tax slips, yay! Keener. Our personal tax returns are probably going to be a little more complicated this year because of W-‘s parental leave and my child benefit, but I’ll figure it out.

I signed up for the PC Plus program and associated it with my old PCFinancial points. We’ll see if it’s worth it, considering we shop at No Frills all the time.

Next week: another trip to the ocularist, more socialization, and maybe some writing and digital decluttering.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.8h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.2h – 69% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 25% of Business)
      • ☑ Issue T5
      • ☑ Issue T4
    • Connect (0.1h – 5% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.1h – 0%)
    • ☑ Try another conformer
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.5h)
    • Emacs (0.9h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
    • Writing (1.6h)
  • Discretionary – Play (3.2h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (15.3h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (83.0h – 49%)
    • Childcare (75.1h – 44% of total)
  • Sleep (59.1h – 35% – average of 8.4 per day)