Weekly review: Week ending March 3, 2017

A- has mostly gotten over her cold from last week, although we’re all dealing with a bit of a dry cough. Her appetite and energy level are back to normal, yay! I took her to Sick Kids for the usual 12-month blood tests. She had to put up with a lot, as the nurse couldn’t find anything in her elbow despite some digging.

It’s a good thing we went to the peer nutrition workshop despite the weather. The talk was on dental hygiene, and the speaker quickly checked all the kids’ teeth. There’s something weird going on with A-‘s teeth. There seem to be small half-circles near the tips where the enamel didn’t fully form. I’m taking her to the dentist on Monday. It’s just another thing that we’re going to deal with.

I made sure to fill her week with enjoyable things, too. She played with a few toys while I talked to an occupational therapist at the Let’s Get Started program, and we borrowed a few magnetic pieces from the Junction Family Resource Centre. We spent a little time at the More Than Child’s Play centre after Peer Nutrition, too. We checked out the TDSB Family Literacy Centre at Indian Road Crescent, and I picked up a few more songs. There are so many activity options, yay!

We’ve been kitting out home, too. exchanged a number of gifts for a shape sorter, a couple of Duplo sets, and a 7-pack of onesies. The shape sorter makes sense to get because the ones at JFRC tend to be missing pieces. The larger A-‘s Duplo collection is, the more combinations we can make. Standard onesies make dressing a lot easier, so that’s worth paying a little extra for compared to getting a variety second-hand. A- occasionally pushes simple shapes through the slots in the sorter, but she’s more likely to take the lid off and put the shape in directly. She also likes pretending to drink from the shapes, and enjoys it when you pretend to do so too.

More family conversations. I’ve been considering flying to the Philippines to help my parents while they deal with health issues, but the logistics of doing that with A- are a bit daunting. I’ve been slowly working through the different risks. My plans are on hold until I sort out this new uncertainty around A-‘s teeth, though, as she comes first. I hope we can make it over!

I thought I lost my library card and credit card outside the house, so I cancelled them, but it turns out they were just in a pocket that I failed to check until everything went through the dryer. Ah well! I’ve reactivated my library card, but I’ll have to wait for the replacement credit card.

I had a bit more energy this week, so I did some consulting and implemented a category feature people had requested. I also worked on our taxes and updated my ledger, which incidentally turned up an invoice that had fallen through the cracks. Yay ledger and tracking accounts!

Next week: dentist, parent advocacy workshop, Let’s Get Started workshop. There’s food in the fridge and stuff on the calendar. Let’s go!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (2.1h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 77% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.5h – 22% of Business)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (4.7h – 2%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (4.5h – 2%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.5h)
    • Writing (0.2h)
      • ☑ Find and start posting experiment summaries
    • ☑ Get dividend information
    • ☑ Parents’ Canada visa application
    • ☑ Reactivate US account
    • ☑ Try out Studiotax in a VM
  • Discretionary – Play (0.2h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (14.4h – 8%)
  • Unpaid work (83.6h – 49%)
    • Childcare (72.0h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.4h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

What did I learn from this experiment with semi-retirement?

I’m so glad I started this experiment! The timing worked out perfectly.

I was pretty happy with the corporate world, but I also wanted to learn about all sorts of things that don’t fit into the usual 9 to 5. I learned that I can have fun building very different kinds of businesses, and that people are wonderful to work with. Enterprise social business (prototyping, analysis, and consulting) was a natural extension of my master’s research and my work at IBM. I got the opportunity to work with my biggest client because a former mentor happened to read my blog when I was planning the experiment, so hooray for blogging. Rails development and Linux system administration let me help a friend out of a tough spot. Graphic facilitation, sketchnoting, and illustration helped me explore new areas and play with visual thinking. Answering people’s questions on Google’s short-lived Helpouts platform showed me ways I could help people learn more. Publishing pay-what-you-want resources opened up lots of conversations and exposed people’s generosity. And to top it all off, I found that I actually enjoyed the nitty-gritty details of running a business: updating my records, filing my taxes, forming agreements, specifying projects, delegating work, and even following up on late payments.

The most important thing I learned was how to have enough. I gradually shifted my balance away from work and toward leisure, freeing up roughly one day a week every year. I learned to trust the butterflies of my interest instead of being driven by the taskmaster of self-imposed deadlines. I learned how to sit in parks and have long conversations with friends, how to cook for crowds, and how to sew for myself. I learned how to get through fuzzy days and foggy days. I learned that I love the stillness and openness of quiet time.

The experiment helped me gain the confidence to take on the challenge of raising a tiny human. I’m not worried about a large gap in my career. That won’t matter if I can come up with a business that fills a need. I’m not worried about being starved for time or autonomy. I got to enjoy so much of it up front, and I can wait a few years for more. I’m not worried about my finances. I enjoy a frugal lifestyle and I manage the numbers well. We’ve got probably one of the best starting points for another experiment, and I’m looking forward to exploring that adventure.

Also, because I didn’t need to take parental leave, W- got to take all the paid leave, so A- got extra time with both of us! Awesome.

What’s next? Another long-term experiment, this time with a more conventional label. I’d like to see what it’s like for us to have at least one parent at home with A- during her preschool years. That will most likely be me, but it could be W- if circumstances require. Children become eligible for kindergarten in the year they turn 4, so we’re already a quarter of the way there. I’ve learned so much about human development in the past year, and I look forward to learning even more. I might even get to incorporate some of those ideas into whatever businesses I end up starting in the next phase of this experimental life.

Weekly review: Week ending February 24, 2017

It was A-‘s birthday last week. W- made so much food for the party with his family, including a devil’s food cake with coconut-pecan icing (recipes from the Joy of Cooking) and two rotisserie chickens. Yum yum yum! Everyone cooed over A-, especially when she gave our cat Luke a big hug. She was totally uninterested in the cake, but she loved having yogurt.

The timing worked out pretty well. The weather was nice and sunny. A- got sick with her first serious cold the day after the party: sniffles, sneezes, fever, diarrhea, even a bit of throwing up and spitting up. She eventually got over it, although we did end up calling Telehealth to ask what we should do. W- also bought two thermometers: a forehead thermometer for easier measurement, and a large-display thermometer for general use.

W- went back to work this week, so we’re getting the hang of new routines. Between that and us being under the weather, I was mostly focused on childcare and sleep. We’ll see what normal life will be like when we recover.

I took A- to the pediatrician for her 12- month vaccines. At 8.015 kg, she’s above the 15th percentile curve for weight, and generally doing fine aside from that cold. I got a prescription for her next conformer, a form for blood tests, and a note about scheduling A-‘s next ultrasound (keeping an eye on her liver hemangioma).

The EnzoDate glasses I ordered for A- arrived, and we’ve been practising wearing them for a second or two at a time. One of the demo lenses has some print on it, but it’s still fine for the purpose of getting A- used to glasses. Eventually I’ll get her proper glasses with polycarbonate lenses. I checked local stores for prices for fitting the glasses we just got her with proper lenses, and things seem to be set up so that it’s cheaper for me to buy the frame with included lenses than to get lenses fit into this frame. We’ll check the numbers again when she can keep these on.

Language: A- seems to be working on “ha” and “ta” sounds, and she’s also babbling a lot more now compared to last week.

I had a morning appointment for dental cleaning. A- was still asleep by the time I needed to head out, so she stayed at home with W-. They were both perfectly fine. They had breakfast and everything. It was my first time going outside the neighbourhood without A-. I felt so unusually light that I couldn’t help but jog part of the way home.

I’d been trying to find a place that would let me do two units of dental scaling so that I could come three times a year while still having things mostly covered by W-‘s insurance. Fortunately, they agreed to my request. Whee! Let’s see if this works out.

My dad was in the hospital for an operation, and is now recovering. Yay medicine!

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (0.0h – 0%)
  • Relationships (4.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Get glasses for A-
    • ☑ Get added as a tax representative for W-
  • Discretionary – Productive (2.1h – 1%)
    • Drawing (1.2h)
    • Emacs (0.4h)
    • Coding (0.0h)
    • ☑ Get dividend information from Adphoto
    • ☑ Help with Parents’ Canada visa application
    • Sewing (0.0h)
    • Writing (0.3h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.5h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (19.0h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (83.9h – 49%)
    • Childcare (71.9h – 42% of total)
  • Sleep (58.0h – 34% – average of 8.3 per day)

2017-02-27 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.

Past Emacs News round-ups

Weekly review: Week ending February 17, 2017

A- was not at all happy during the exam at the cardiologist, so they couldn’t get a clear reading. Still, it seems that both her ventricular septal defect and muscle bundle are relatively stable, so the cardiologist there and the one at Sick Kids are okay with doing the next follow-up in August. We’ve borrowed a toy stethoscope from the Junction Family Resource Centre so that we can help A- become more familiar with it. Maybe that will make next week’s 12-month pediatrician visit a bit better, too.

I took A- to the sensory play day at the Junction Family Resource Centre. The facilitators had prepared bins of water, cooked pasta, jelly, applesauce, and dough. A- liked splashing in the water the most, although she also checked out the pasta and the dough. She wasn’t too keen on the jelly and the applesauce, and even made a face when I smeared some applesauce on her lips. Not a fan of very sweet things, maybe.

We attended the first session of Macaulay Centre’s Let’s Get Started program, which focuses on helping kids with special needs. The program normally covers kids 2 to 6 years old, but I called ahead and asked if it’s okay to go even if A- is only a year old. I’m glad they let us in. The first talk was by a speech pathologist, and I picked up lots of great tips for language teaching through labeling and modeling. It was also reassuring to learn that gestures count as words when it comes to developmental milestones. A- doesn’t say much, but she’s definitely picked up the signs for nursing and more. She passed the newborn hearing screening and responds to sounds, so we’re not too worried, but it’s always good to try to apply best practices. Besides, even though it’s true that most people learn how to speak sooner or later, there’s quite a range of expressiveness, and we’d love to help her enjoy language as much as possible.

A- seems to understand more words now, and she connects more concepts too. She seems to smack her lips after mentions of yogurt or breakfast. If I hold a sock, she sticks out her foot, and if I give her one of my socks, she puts it on top of my foot. She’s quite good at cruising left and right along the sofa, taking a toy along with her instead of needing the toy to be an incentive. She’s also definitely partial to W-, which is cool.

Speaking of communication, I’ve been experimenting with letting A- signal when she wants to sleep, and just enjoying some quiet time until she settles down. A couple of times, she took the hint and rolled into bed, snuggling under the blanket. Other times, she had a hard time settling until I put her in the sleep sack.

Lots of preparation for A-‘s birthday party so that the actual day could be smooth instead of harried. W- made more chocolate cake, bringing our total up to three frozen layers ready to be used for A-‘s birthday. He also made lamb korma and beef stew, since both are yummy entrees that can be made far in advance. He’s so awesome. I tried a white cake recipe, but it turned out a bit denser than I expected. Lemon pound cake was a good way to use up the extra egg yolks, so it all balanced out.

W- found the old audio recordings we’d made of things like A- snoring. (Such tiny snores!) He converted the WMA files to Ogg, and now they’re part of our long-term backups. I selected and printed out an album of A-‘s pictures, and I experimented with some ways to print out my index card sketches of yearly, monthly, and weekly reviews. It’s been quite a year!

Jen and Ewan needed some emergency babysitting help, so I headed over there on Friday to spend a few hours with E-. It was surprisingly manageable, although there were a couple of moments when both E- and A- were upset and needed soothing. Most of the time, they were perfectly fine playing with books, balls, blocks, and ramps. After their afternoon snack, I took them for a walk around the neighbourhood, and they quickly fell asleep. Yay!

I spent a little time making a web interface for something that I used to run on the command line for my client. Nice to finally get that done.

Since it’s the completion date of my 5-year experiment with semi-retirement, I started reviewing all of my experiment-related blog posts. I’m looking forward to writing about it in more detail, but since time is probably going to be a little scarce as we get used to new routines, I should post whatever I have now and then just add to it later.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (1.9h – 1%)
    • Earn (1.6h – 87% of Business)
    • Build (0.2h – 12% of Business)
      • ☑ Amend T5
      • ☑ File federal annual return
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (3.6h – 2%)
    • ☑ Return clothes, help with E-
    • ☑ Call Sick Kids re schedule
    • ☐ Get glasses for A-
  • Discretionary – Productive (6.4h – 3%)
    • Drawing (2.9h)
    • Emacs (1.7h)
      • ☑ Do another Emacs News review
      • ☐ Do another Emacs News review
    • Coding (0.9h)
    • Writing (1.0h)
    • ☑ Learn more about Ledger
    • ☑ Figure out printing sketches
    • ☑ Try out Simpletax
    • ☑ Buy flannels
  • Discretionary – Play (2.5h – 1%)
  • Personal routines (19.9h – 11%)
  • Unpaid work (80.7h – 48%)
    • Childcare (63.7h – 37% of total)
  • Sleep (53.1h – 31% – average of 7.6 per day)

Huh. Less sleep. Oh, right, I stayed up late learning more about Ledger, catching up on my journal, and doing consulting.

2017-02-20 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.

Past Emacs News round-ups