Weekly review: Week ending April 7, 2017

My copy of Clinical Ocular Prosthetics arrived. I made an index card of the chapter on practical living tips. It covers mostly the same ground as A Singular View, with the addition of some tips on cleaning the prosthesis and selecting glasses. The illustrations aren’t as nice as the other book, though. I also read the chapter on psychosocial effects and checked out the pictures and profiles included in the book. Looks like it’s a bit of a toss-up: some people can pass off as normal or embrace their situation with a sense of humour, and other people were badly affected by bullying and low self-esteem. I look forward to digging into the more technical chapters.

After some discussion with W-, I’ve signed up for the toddler music classes offered by the Royal Conservatory of Music. I hadn’t been too keen on the other music classes advertised on posters around our neighbourhood, since I wasn’t sure how much value they added beyond the circle times we often go to, playing with music at home, and singing. The RCM classes are part of ongoing research into the neuroscience of early childhood music education, though, so I’m more interested in that than in, say, a franchised program that might be mostly run out of a manual. Rhythm, enjoyment, and ear training seem to be among the things that benefit from early attention, so we’ll give the classes a try.

A- woke up early on Wednesday, so we made it out to the PFLC in the morning. It was so busy, though, and she didn’t relax enough to venture forth. I guess we’re both a little slow to warm up. She felt more comfortable at the JFRC. We went to an early literacy workshop conducted by Dave Page. It was a small group – four babies – and she was the oldest baby there. She was totally fine crawling around, playing with toys, flipping through books, asking for more bubbles, and so on. We chatted about child development and I picked up a few new songs.

Neat language development of the week: A- fake-snores to signal that she’s tired or when she’s prompted by us talking about sleep or bedtime.

Lots of gross motor development, too. She’s been working on standing independently, and can do so for a few seconds if you set her on her feet. She had lots of fun walking on grass, and she even climbed up an inclined mattress. She walked up the stairs with us holding her hands for support.

She likes splashing her feet in the sink and pouring water from one container to another. She leans in to hug her stuffed lamb or our cat. She likes sprinkling herbs and salt when we cook, but don’t ask her to sprinkle cheese on pizza, because she’ll eat it instead.

We went to the ROM and caught the Gems and Gold tour. We also checked out the gallery of Canadian history, which had a section on the Franklin expedition. Their collection of early Canadian furniture was interesting, too. There were a few people walking around while singing – members of a choir on a school field trip, maybe – so it was an unexpectedly wonderful experience.

W- started cleaning up the garden. He disassembled the cage we used to protect the tomatoes and strawberries from squirrels. First step towards making the garden more toddler-friendly!

Lots of posts on my blog, since I took the time to publish a few drafts I had on my phone. A bit of ledger updating too, and time for a few movies.

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (3.2h – 1%)
    • Earn (2.5h – 79% of Business)
      • ☑ Earn: E1: 1-2 hours of consulting
    • Build (0.6h – 20% of Business)
      • ☑ [#A] Prepare invoice – State “DONE” from “TODO” [2017-03-01 Wed 02:16]
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (0.0h – 0%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (7.1h – 4%)
    • Drawing (2.6h)
    • Emacs (0.6h)
    • Writing (1.4h)
  • Discretionary – Play (0.8h – 0%)
  • Personal routines (16.0h – 9%)
  • Unpaid work (78.9h – 46%)
    • Childcare (70.1h – 41% of total)
  • Sleep (62.0h – 36% – average of 8.9 per day)

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

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)

2017-02-13 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.

Past Emacs News round-ups