Category Archives: review

Weekly review: Week ending September 2, 2016

It’s been a week of seeing people. A- was somewhat fussy during dinner with W-‘s family. She might have been tired, overstimulated by the noisy Chinese restaurant, and a little intimidated by relatives wanting to pick her up. She preferred to stay with W- or me. Totally normal. Anyway, since this might be the usual stranger anxiety starting to develop (yay! W- is not a stranger!), I’ve been making an effort to take her to more activities at the Ontario Early Years Centre and the neighbourhood family resource centre. We finished the Peer Nutrition program, and we’ll check out the drop-ins that follow up on that program.

A- has been working on expanding her vocabulary. Recent addition: “Ba”. She’s also getting pretty good at sitting on her own, although I still stay close enough to catch her during those random topples.

The pediatrician is no longer that concerned about A-‘s weight gain, since she’s been growing faster. Enough to inch back over the 5th percentile curve, yay! In addition to nursing, she also self-feeds a wide variety of solids. She’s particularly fond of egg (breakfast), yogurt (evening snack), and raspberries (any time, especially with yogurt).

I finally got around to printing a photo of A- so that the family home visitor can include it in the laminated foot print memento.

A- has a passport now, whee! Got travel insurance that will probably cover things related to her heart, too. Next trip-related steps: sort out pet vaccines and boarding.

In preparation for possibly leaving my laptop behind on our trip, I’ve been experimenting with drawing my daily journal and thoughts on index cards instead of on my laptop. Drawing is relatively unfussy except for dealing with wet spots, and I feel more comfortable drawing on paper around A- than having my laptop out. Deskewing and tweaking the image is a bit fussy, although I can do some of that on my phone. I might need to use different-coloured pens instead of adding colour in post-processing. Still need to tweak my workflow. It would be neat to figure out something that I can pull off with mobile devices and SSH, but it’s also okay if I decide to stick with my digital index card workflow instead. Good to experiment, though.

Also moved my library video tracking script online, so I can check the availability of new releases from my phone while we’re out on a walk.

I’d like to see if I can help my consulting client with something new. Might need to shuffle around my discretionary time activities in order to make space for it, or adjust expectations if this is what we have to work with.

A- has been settling into a pretty regular routine. She wakes up around 9ish. Aside from nursing, we usually have breakfast, lunch, merienda, dinner, and an evening snack. We go out for a walk almost every day, and there’s usually some kind of activity too. She settles in bed at around 10pm, although she tends to nurse on and off until about 4 AM before settling into a longer sleep. She usually has 2-3 naps during the day, although sometimes it’s just low-power nursing mode.

I’ve been prioritizing daytime activities that are stimulating for A-, so we’ve been going to neighbourhood resource centres. I feel less comfortable working on my laptop while she’s awake, since it’s important to interact with her and help her learn. I’m somewhat more okay with setting her down on the floor while I tidy or do other chores, since I can narrate those without verbal interference and it contributes to the household. If W-‘s around, I’d rather spend time with both of them than go off to do my own thing. Drawing on paper might let me move daily journals to our after-dinner or before-bed play/reading session, because I can review the day out loud with A-. So my main computer time for writing, coding, or consulting tends to be between 1 AM to 3 AM. If I nap when she nurses/nap, that helps a little with energy and focus. I’ve been averaging 2 hours a week of consulting, which was enough to fill up the pipeline of stuff they wanted from me. The new thing I want to help with might be a bigger chunk of focus and energy, though, since it’s something I’m less familiar with. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.

Next week: cardiology, carpet-stretching, and lots of Toronto Public Health stuff: Make the Connection, the family home visitor, and a follow-up with the dietitian.

2016-09-07a Week ending 2016-09-02 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.3h – 0%)
    • ☐ Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Earn (1.2h – 94% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 5% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (5.3h – 3%)
    • ☑ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☑ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☑ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☑ Check if hydro debit went through
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Print family photos
    • ☐ Check out follow-up session
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.2h – 4%)
    • Drawing (5.7h)
    • Emacs (0.8h)
    • Coding (0.4h)
      • ☑ Add movie script to web
      • ☑ Fix website
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (17.5h – 10%)
  • Unpaid work (75.5h – 44%)
    • Childcare (69.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (57.6h – 34% – average of 8.2 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 26, 2016

A- turned six months old, hooray! She weighed in at 6.026 kg, so she’s slowly catching up although she’s still quite small for her age. Maybe she’s just naturally small. =) We’ve been applying Ellyn Satter’s approach to feeding dynamics and a little of baby-led weaning. A- has been self-feeding with gusto. She loves raspberries, grapes, and Greek yogurt, and gets along well with rice, fish, chicken, pasta, and other things we eat.

We went on a couple of good walk this week: to the High Park zoo to see the llamas up close, to Best Buy to check out the Jot stylus (no palm rejection means I’m not yet comfy drawing on the Android tablet, so maybe I’ll use paper instead), and the usual trips to the supermarket and library.

The Healthy Babies Healthy Children nurse introduced us to the family home visitor who’ll be seeing us weekly. She’ll bring different activities for A- to explore, which is a great way for me to pick up ideas for the rest of the week. =)

We also had a home visit from a case worker at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. She took our details and told us about a few things we can check out. There’ll be an assessment at some point, and maybe a family support worker can help us navigate other resources too. A- is probably pretty low priority for them because she appears to have good vision in her right eye. Still, I hope they can help us learn more about ways we can support her. I found some tips on helping children with monocular vision, and it’s been good to read about other experiences. Anyway, the CNIB person said that when A- becomes more mobile, we should watch out for veering, cutting corners, bumping into things, and so on.

It would be great to be able to ask questions about things I need to coordinate. I got slightly stressed sorting out the proper signatures for the assistive device program funding (needed Dr. Mireskandari, not our pediatrician), and also searching for a travel insurance provider that’s okay with A-‘s congenital conditions.

I’ve been falling behind in terms of journaling. Some nights I work on my consulting project, and some nights I catch up on sleep. I catch up with my daily journal every few days or so, although this weekly review is a week late. I wonder how I can tweak this…

My consulting clients are happy with the add-ons I made for them, and there are enough add-ons in the pipeline to keep them busy for a little while. Not bad for roughly two hours a week.

Also, I cut my hair to slightly below shoulder-length. Turns out to be a non-scary process. One less service I need to pay for!

W- and I have been discussing the possibility of travelling without our laptops. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from my laptop for that long. It’s an interesting challenge. I might be able to do most text-based things by typing up notes or SSHing to my server. I’ll need to fiddle with my journal workflow, and maybe catch up on scanned stuff when I get back. Emacs News will probably be on hiatus for a couple of weeks, or I might set up the code I need on my server. Hmm…

2016-08-27a Week ending 2016-08-26 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.9h – 99% of Business)
    • Build (0.0h – 0% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (2.1h – 1%)
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Decide on travel insurance
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
    • ☐ Get eye report from eye doctor
    • ☐ Check if hydro debit went through
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.7h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.1h)
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (1.7h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (23.9h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (71.7h – 42%)
    • Childcare (65.8h – 39% of total)
  • Sleep (60.2h – 35% – average of 8.6 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 19, 2016

I bought a second-hand Manduca carrier. It’s been a comfortable and secure way to carry A- on our many walks this week. I don’t worry about A- slipping out of it, as I sometimes did with the ring sling. I’m back to holding hands with W- on walks, whee! (It’s all about the little things in life…) The carrier came in handy when Jen and Ewan pinged me for a walk in the park, and when I visited them to help out with E-.

We’ve settled into routines for enjoyable mealtimes with A-. She sits in her high chair and eats at the table, and I can usually wrangle all the things needed so that she and I eat at roughly the same time. The self-feeder that W- got for her has been great for avocado, peaches, and plums, and we’ve been loading purees and mashes onto spoons for her too.

I’ve been staying up to 2 AM or 3 AM, since that usually gives me a few decent chunks of focused discretionary time. I used a few of those chunks to code an add-on for my consulting client, and now I’m waiting for feedback from them. That worked out well, although the downside of coding late at night is that my brain gets a little squirrelly and takes some time to settle for sleep. Drawing and writing work out a bit better, and stretching would probably work out well too.

There’s been a hiccup with the Assistive Devices Program funding for A-‘s ocular prosthesis. The program will cover 75% of the expense, but they require the signature of a family doctor or opthalmologist to certify that the prosthesis is medically necessary. I asked A-‘s primary care provider to sign the form, but it turns out pediatricians are no-go. Weird! Anyway, I’ll work on getting this straightened out next week. We’ve got home visits from CNIB and the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, too.

I was getting a bit stressed over travel insurance and pre-existing conditions, but I was probably just being too anxious and things will work out just fine. Ah well, them’s the breaks.

2016-08-21c Week ending 2016-08-19 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (4.7h – 2%)
    • Earn (4.5h – 96% of Business)
    • Build (0.1h – 2% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (12.2h – 7%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
    • ☐ Figure out ADP form signing
    • ☐ Pick up A-‘s Canadian passport
  • Discretionary – Productive (5.5h – 3%)
    • Drawing (3.9h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Coding (0.7h)
      • ☑ Check free space on server, consider backup solution to there
      • ☑ Set up lastpass authenticator
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.7h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (25.4h – 15%)
  • Unpaid work (61.1h – 36%)
    • Childcare (53.4h – 31% of total)
  • Sleep (58.5h – 34% – average of 8.4 per day)

Monthly review: July 2016

(Finally, a little time to catch up on my writing! =) )

Ah, July. Many of the medical uncertainties we’d been working on over the past few months were wrapped up, at least for now. A- got her first artificial eye – a scleral shell that will gradually be enlarged to help her skull grow symmetrically. The anomalous finding on her abdominal ultrasound turned out to be a benign hemangioma according to the MRI. Cardiology at Sick Kids got a closer look at her ventricular septal defect through an echocardiogram under sedation, and they’ll continue to monitor it along with our first cardiologist. It feels a little strange to have medical appointments scheduled months out instead of practically every week, and to not get a referral to yet another department, yet another section of the Hospital for Sick Children. In the five months that A-‘s been alive, there had been five weeks free of medical appointments, and even those were under the shadow of the next thing to research, plan for, and accept. It’s starting to feel like we have a bit of a handle on things.

We’re so lucky that parental leave was an option for W-. It allowed us to take shifts in consoling A- when the procedures upset her. W- made delicious dinners: pesto and bun from the summery abundance of our planter boxes, juicy rotisserie chicken when it was too hot to cook indoors, and even more yummy things I didn’t have the attention span to do. He even got into the habit of ironing and pre-folding the large flannel squares that we use as A-‘s diapers. That way, she wouldn’t be bothered by any doubled-up hems. Lucky girl, and lucky me.

I reacquired Philippine citizenship and included A-, so she has that option. I hope I don’t end up regretting the paperwork. Sometimes dual citizenship is helpful, and sometimes it makes things trickier. Anyway, might as well.

Lots of social stuff, too. Tita Gay and Tita Myra drove up from the US to meet A-, and it was great to catch up with them. I’ve been going to a peer nutrition program conducted in Tagalog in order to learn more about feeding the baby and also to find out about Filipino community resources. We met another family with a baby who has left-eye microphthalmia, and we swapped notes. Slowly making new parent friends!

A- has gotten much better at rolling, and she likes spending time on her tummy. She can reach her toys from the rocker’s reclined position. She loves playing with water from the hose or streaming down from a cup with holes. We’ve been introducing her to lots of different kinds of food, and she’s gotten quite good at putting things into her mouth. Growing growing growing!

2016-08-06b July 2016 -- 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 -0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.0 0.5 -0.5 0.9 -0.8
Unpaid work 41.6 40.2 -1.3 69.9 -2.3
Unpaid work – Childcare 34.0 34.3 0.4 59.6 0.6
Discretionary – Social 2.3 1.5 -0.7 2.7 -1.2
Discretionary – Family 1.4 1.2 -0.2 2.1 -0.3
Sleep 33.4 36.8 3.4 63.8 5.7
Business – Connect 0.1 0.1 -0.0 0.2 -0.0
Business – Earn 2.4 1.4 -1.0 2.5 -1.6
Discretionary – Productive 5.8 4.8 -1.0 8.3 -1.8
Personal 11.8 13.1 1.3 22.8 2.3

Turning 33; life as a 32-year-old

The first half of this year was like winding up a spring, and the second half was about letting it loose; pulling inwards and preparing, then A-‘s birth in February and an explosion of learning and activity.

2016-08-12b Delta between 32 and 33 -- index card #yearly #review

This time last year, I was heading into the second trimester of pregnancy. As nausea and vomiting receded, I regained a little energy. I helped W- tile the laundry corner and the bathroom in the basement. I sewed diaper covers and wet bags from PUL, and serged flats from thrift store flannel sheets. I filled the freezer with lasagna and lumpia.

When fatigue returned, I retreated into hermit mode: long walks, lots of video gaming, and generally luxuriating in the quiet and the autonomy. I got a lot of practice in saying no and going with what I felt comfortable with, and I found out that I liked it. =)

I used some of that time to sort out my tech, too. After finding out that Krita had all of the sketching features I needed, I switched back to Linux and started tweaking my setup. I won the Toronto Public Library hackathon with a tool for visualizing library search results on a map. I wrote little scripts to stalk videos at the library, check grocery flyers, visualize data, and automate other things. Also, John Wiegley asked me to start summarizing Emacs community updates, so I put together Emacs News: a filtered, categorized list of links from Planet Emacsen, Reddit, and other sources. That and consulting have been handy ways to keep a toe in the technical waters.

Consulting-wise, I turned over most of my tasks, and the team’s doing way better than I could have with my much fuzzier brain. I’m still working on migrating some old code into a few add-ons for them, but fortunately they’re super-accommodating in terms of time, and other people take care of the bits that require more attention or coordination.

I’m so glad I experimented with making my life more flexible in terms of time and energy. My time stats show that childcare now takes up ~34% of my time these days, or 57 hours a week. I still manage to get a little more than eight and a half hours of sleep, but it’s a bit more broken up and less under my control. Still, I don’t feel exhausted or too stretched out. Discretionary time is down to about 2 hours a day (which is still pretty good!), although that’s mostly just after she goes to bed, so that affects what I can do. I’ve been using it for keeping my journal up to date, and doing a little writing or coding when I can. I do a few hours of consulting a week, too. Anyway, lots of things are on hold. Past Sacha decided this was an excellent use of time, and I agree. It’s worthwhile and temporary. =)

Thanks to A-, I’ve been learning more about health and public resources. She was born with left-eye microphthalmia, with no vision in that eye, and she has adapted well to the prosthesis that will help her skull grow symmetrically. She also has a ventricular septal defect (a hole between two parts of her heart). It’s not quite large enough to clearly need surgery, but not small enough to rule surgery out, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Abnormal results from her liver ultrasound turned out to be a benign hemangioma instead of cancer (whew!), so that’s one concern off our list for now (although I think we’ll need to monitor it with an annual ultrasound). W- started parental leave in June, and that’s been wonderful for both the big medical things as well as the little moments and memories.

What’s the difference between 32 and 33 for me? There’s A-, of course, and the host of changes that accompany her. I’ve got a deeper appreciation for W-, and for various things (libraries! health care! the Internet! people!). I’ve had a lot of practice in equanimity and Stoic philosophy. I’ve seen lots of preparation paying off, and I have new plans to put into place. I’m learning a lot, and I’m looking forward to even more.

Weekly review: Week ending August 12, 2016

Somehow the following week ended up being too busy for writing, which is why I’m writing this entry almost a week late. Anyway, the week ending August 12 was one of checking things off and getting things done.

We bought a second-hand Tripp Trapp high chair in the hope that the flexibility will make it good long-term value. A- has been getting lots of practice in self-feeding. It’s still a super-messy process, but she seems to be getting better at manoeuvring the business end of the spoon into her mouth. We have a wipe-down ritual now, involving a small mixing bowl with warm water and a washcloth: wipe her face, let her wash her hands (and maybe do a little scrubbing for her), wipe down the chair, wipe the table, wipe whatever the cats haven’t eaten off the floor…

The twinginess in my wrist turns out to be de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a condition so common among new mothers that it’s also known as mother’s wrist. I wasn’t too keen on the physiotherapist I saw, as he seemed more interested in selling me thrice-weekly ultrasound treatments and a custom brace than in discussing behavioural changes and self-care techniques, even though I mentioned that the pain was only mild and occasional and that I was more interested in making sure this didn’t get to be a problem in the future. Can’t blame him for trying to rustle up business, though. Anyway, I bought an over-the-counter brace from the drugstore, I’m using the non-prescription cream that my doctor recommended, and I’m being careful about the way I lift A- or use my thumb. So far, so good.

W- walked around with A- while I had that 45-minute assessment with the physiotherapist. I think she got a little anxious and overtired, as she cried all throughout the (thankfully short) walk home. Good thing I didn’t go for a massage.

Oh, and I turned 33! We’ve settled into a comfortable routine of not making a big fuss of our birthdays, although I took some time to reflect on the past year and draw a summary. I haven’t gotten around to writing it up yet. Coincidentally, the Ontario Early Years Centre that A- and I have been going to had organized a free field trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario, so we took advantage of the opportunity to wander around there.

We set up A-‘s college/university savings, booked flights to the Philippines, and applied for A-‘s Canadian passport. I decided to pay extra and take the time to apply in person so that we can pick up the passport in person, too, since personal experience has taught me that it’s a big hassle if Canada Post loses a passport. Anyway, I can always think of it as a small donation to the Canadian government. Slowly getting our act together!

2016-08-17a Week ending 2016-08-12 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.3h – 72% of Business)
    • Build (0.5h – 26% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (11.1h – 6%)
    • ☑ Set up RESP
    • ☑ Book flight by calling the call center
    • ☑ Look for high chair
    • ☑ Apply for passport at the Victoria office
    • ☑ Call cardiology to check follow up date, appointment info
    • ☑ Contact Dr. Selvi’s office and see if we need to schedule a follow-up with her
    • ☑ Call in 72 hours to see whether bassinet has been approved
    • ☑ Ask about Living and Learning with Baby
    • ☑ Simulate A-‘s RESP choices
    • ☐ Check on RESP to see if it’s been set up; transfer if so
  • Discretionary – Productive (11.5h – 6%)
    • Drawing (8.5h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • Sewing (0.3h)
    • Writing (1.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.9h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (17.3h – 10%)
    • ☑ Book doctor’s appointment
  • Unpaid work (68.5h – 40%)
    • Childcare (57.9h – 34% of total)
  • Sleep (56.8h – 33% – average of 8.1 per day)