Weekly review: Week ending October 11, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I decluttered many of my clothes and a large part of my fabric stash. It’s nice to have several empty drawers and boxes.
    • W- helped me tape up my phone screen to deal with the crack.
  • Us
    • I made a Tsuki rabbit out of clay.
    • Either A- or I put weight on my phone, so the screen cracked. Oh well!
    • W- edited our Borderlands 2 characters to bring them over from the PS3.
    • I made cabbage stew. It worked out nicely!
  • Gross motor
    • A- climbed up the net and went down the big slide all by herself at Grange Park.
  • Fine motor
    • A- was curious about LEGO, so W- started bringing up parts of his collection. A- liked the train set and the vehicles.
  • Language
    • W-: “This has just the right amount of crust – i.e., lots.” A-: “It doesn’t do it for me.”
    • A-: “What’s a trackless train?” Me: (brief explanation) A-: “What’s a roadless train?” Me: (brief guess) “I think she’s making up phrases, generalizing from the foo-less train pattern.” W-: “It may interest you to know that words that start with di mean two.” A-: “Diamond.” J-: “She’s too smart for you.” W-: “Okay. Not every word that starts with di follows that pattern.”
  • Self-care and independence
    • The doctor diagnosed A- with bacterial pneumonia and prescribed clarithromycin.
    • We went to the doctor to get another prescription so that we could try getting A-‘s antibiotics compounded with a different flavour. The pharmacy said that their bubblegum flavour expired, so we opted for Tutti Frutti. After mixing it up, the pharmacist said it needed tweaking, so they tried a different formulation. We picked it up the next day.
    • “I’m going to take the easy way today.”
    • A- easily opened the childproof medicine bottle. She set a teaspoon of ice cream spoon on her saucer, where she also had a square of white chocolate. After I gave her the medicine, she considered her options and decided which one to eat first, washing things down with coconut water.
  • Emotion
    • “I’m not so happy. The reason is because of my meds.”
  • Social
    • We had Jen and E- over. A- had lots of fun running around with E- and playing with him, although she didn’t like it so much when he pretended to be a pouncing cat. We worked on a ghost costume for E-.
  • Cognition
    • A- made a paper pumpkin out of shapes.
  • World
    • A- turned the phone away from her when she noticed YouTube was showing an ad.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 43.1 48.2 5.1 81.0 8.5
Discretionary – Social 0.0 2.4 2.4 4.0 4.0
Discretionary – Play 0.0 1.9 1.9 3.2 3.2
Discretionary – Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sleep 35.5 35.5 0.0 59.7 0.0
Business 3.0 2.8 -0.2 4.7 -0.3
Personal 7.2 5.3 -1.8 9.0 -3.1
Unpaid work 6.7 3.8 -2.9 6.4 -4.9
Discretionary – Productive 4.5 0.0 -4.5 0.0 -7.5

Weekly review: Week ending October 4, 2019

  • Us
    • I dropped off my laptop for the Windows 10 upgrade, and then I dropped by work to say hi.
    • I picked up my laptop and said hello to my coworkers.
    • I spent a long time trying to figure out proper retained earnings calculations for filing my taxes.
    • We dug through our camping supplies to find the lighter fluid for J-‘s handwarmer. In the process, we discovered a problem with mold in our basement.
  • Gross motor
    • A- ran and climbed so much while playing with her friends.
  • Fine motor
    • A- voluntarily traced letters with her paintbrush. We also painted lots of paper with orange and yellow paint. I’ll use that to make a hat for Halloween.
  • Language
    • A-: “Don’t duck into the kitchen! Come out!” Me: “I love your command of the English language.” A-: “Would you like to try Spanish?”
  • Art
    • We painted A-‘s rescue truck cardboard box. Acrylic gave much better coverage than tempera. After watching me mix gray from black and white, A- tried mixing up some pink paint.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- explored the indoor playground by herself. She liked feeding balls into the ball machine, and she figured out how to climb up to the big slide and the high crawlspaces.
    • A- and I talked about being bored and finding ways to challenge ourselves.
    • A- practically skipped into class today. Quite a difference from having to peel her off me last week.
    • A- mildly resisted the idea of school this morning. When I asked her for details, she said that it’s because teachers tell her what to do. I asked her for examples. She said teachers ask her to read after finishing crafts. I asked if it was because she didn’t know how to read yet. She said yes, so I suggested looking at pictures and told her maybe we can learn more about reading. She also said she wanted to sing other songs at circle time, so I coached her on how to ask the teacher if they could sing Wheels on the Bus. A- had lots of questions on the way to school (mostly about woolly mammoths). After a little playtime at the drop-in centre, A- cheerfully went into the classroom and headed to the play kitchen. Maybe we’re slowly getting the hang of things!
    • I contemplated signing up for a co-op preschool program after kindergarten readiness ends, since A- is doing fine and it would be good to keep that going. I like hanging out with A-, though, so not going is okay too. It might be nice to learn how to teach her more deliberately.
    • We went to A-‘s ocularist, who encouraged us to keep trying to get A- to wear her shell.
    • A- got her first library card and her first allowance ($3)!
  • Sleep
    • A- was so tired after all that playing that she fell asleep on my lap while waiting for W- to come home.
  • Household
    • W- was working on the porch, so A- borrowed the mallet and hammered together tongue-and-groove board offcuts.
  • Social
    • J- got a really short haircut. A- told W-, “I don’t know that she’s my big sister now.”
    • I asked A- why she sometimes didn’t participate in activities or answer teachers’ questions. She said it was sometimes not challenging enough. We talked about how it can be good to demonstrate that you can do something so that teachers can give you more interesting challenges.
    • We met up with Popo at McDonald’s, and she treated us to a snack. Then we went to the ROM and looked at dinosaurs.
  • Cognition
    • At the family math program, the teacher showed us two buttons and asked the kids to tell her what was different between them. A- said that one had two holes, and the other had four. No one else spoke up, so A- said that one was big and the other was small. After another pause, A- said that one was a circle, and the other was a “four… five… hexagon.”
    • A- asked for yogurt with 1 gram of sugar, so we used the scale.
  • Oops
    • I accidentally left A-‘s backpack. We retraced our steps and found it at the cafe, yay!

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 36.1 43.1 7.1 72.5 11.8
Sleep 30.5 35.5 5.0 59.6 8.4
Discretionary – Productive 1.7 4.5 2.8 7.5 4.7
Unpaid work 4.2 6.7 2.5 11.2 4.3
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Play 1.1 0.0 -1.1 0.0 -1.8
Personal 8.5 7.2 -1.4 12.1 -2.3
Discretionary – Family 4.2 0.0 -4.2 0.0 -7.0
Business 13.8 3.0 -10.8 5.0 -18.1

2019-11-04 Emacs news

EmacsConf was a blast! Recordings may be available by next week – stay tuned. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, r/orgmode, r/spacemacs, r/planetemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacslife.com, YouTube, the Emacs NEWS file and emacs-devel.

2019-10-28 Emacs news

Nov 2: EmacsConf 2019 Schedule (Reddit)

Links from reddit.com/r/emacs, r/orgmode, r/spacemacs, r/planetemacs, Hacker News, planet.emacslife.com, YouTube, the Emacs NEWS file and emacs-devel.

Python, Org Mode, and writing Org tables to CSVs so that I can read them back

I’ve been getting deeper into Python so that I can model our personal finances. I really like using the pandas library to manipulate data. All those years I spent trying to juggle increasing complex spreadsheets… Working with Python code in Org Babel blocks is just so much more fun. I like being able to keep my assumptions in tables without having to fuss around with naming cells for easy-to-read formulas, slice and summarize parts of my data frames, organize my notes in outlines and add commentary, and define more complicated functions that I don’t have to squeeze into a single line.

I haven’t quite been able to tempt W- into the world of Org Babel Python blocks. Still, I don’t want to give up the awesomeness of having pretty tables that I can easily edit and use. So I have a bunch of named tables (using #+NAME:), and some code that exports my tables to CSVs:

#+NAME: tables
| Table         | Key                 |
| assets_w      | Description         |
| assets_s      | Description         |
| tax_rates     |                     |
| disposition   | Asset               |
| probate_rates | Asset               |
| basic         | Client information  |
| base_expenses | Category            |
| general       | General assumptions |

#+begin_src emacs-lisp :results silent :var tables=tables :tangle no
  (defun my-tbl-export (row)
    "Search for table named `NAME` and export."
    (interactive "s")
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (let ((case-fold-search t))
        (when (search-forward-regexp (concat "#\\+NAME: +" (car row)) nil t)
          (org-table-export (format "%s.csv" (car row)) "orgtbl-to-csv")))))
  (mapc 'my-tbl-export tables)

and some code that imports them back in, and formats tables nicely if I’m displaying them in Org. The in_org block doesn’t get tangled into index.py, so I don’t clutter command-line use with Org table markup.

#+begin_src python :results silent :tangle no

#+begin_src python :results silent :exports code
  import pandas as pd
  import numpy as np
  import orgbabelhelper as ob
  def out(df, **kwargs):
    if 'in_org' in globals():
      print(ob.dataframe_to_orgtable(df, **kwargs))
    return df

#+begin_src python :results silent :var tables=tables :colnames yes
  for row in tables:
    table = row[0]
    index = row[1] 
    if row[1] == '':
      index = None
    globals()[table] = pd.read_csv(table + '.csv', index_col=index).apply(pd.to_numeric, errors='ignore')
    # print(globals()[table])

Then I can use C-c C-v C-b (org-babel-execute-buffer) to update everything if I change the table in my Org file, and I can use C-c C-v C-t (org-babel-tangle) to create an index.py that W- can read through or run without needing Org.

Reflecting on the kindergarten readiness program

A- has been going to a two-hour kindergarten readiness program three times a week. It’s a drop-off program, so it was a good opportunity to test how she would do in a group situation. I knew that she could separate from me because she was happy to play with babysitters, and she was familiar with different activities and centres because I’ve been taking her to the EarlyON drop-in centres. I wasn’t sure about committing to preschool or daycare, though, so the 10-week kindergarten program I found was just the right thing for testing things out. It actually runs four times a week, but we skip Mondays to go to music class instead, and that’s been all right.

The first week went smoothly, but the second and third week were tough for A-. She cried at drop-off and didn’t want to go to school. I had to peel her off me a couple of times. Still, it was a good opportunity for her to learn how to calm herself down. The teacher was amused by how she quickly got the hang of the “cooldown couch,” going there when she was crying and joining the class when she had calmed down.

When I talked to A- afterwards, she told me that she didn’t like school because teachers sometimes told her what to do. She wanted free play time with Mama instead. I told her that life is like that. Part of the time, you need to follow other people’s instructions, and part of the time, you can do your own thing. The better you get at doing what people want you to do, the more freedom you get to do what you want to do.

I really liked the way A- and I can talk about how she feels about school. When she said that school is boring, I asked her why. We talked about what she found easy or hard, and how doing what the teachers ask her to do shows them what she can do and can lead to more interesting challenges.

Another time, A- told me that she didn’t like school because the teachers told her what to do. I asked her what they tell her to do, and she said that when she finishes the craft, they tell her that she can go and read. “But I don’t know how to read yet,” she said. I clarified that it was okay for her to look at pictures. We also came up with the idea of donating one of her books so that she had something familiar to look through if she wanted. She picked “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” so we gave that.

She also mentioned that she didn’t like school because they didn’t sing Wheels on the Bus during circle time, so I coached her on speaking up when teachers ask if anyone wants a particular song.

The following week, A- mentioned how she didn’t like it when teachers called her name and told her to do something. After a bit of probing, I found out that she was talking about when they’re being called one-by-one for pick up – she didn’t want to interrupt her playing to see me!

A- generally liked snack time. Asking what she had for snack and if she liked it was usually an easy way for us to start talking about her morning. She could sometimes tell me what they did for craft time or if they sang her favourite songs at circle time. If I asked her how school was, she just said, “Fine,” so it was good to ask about specifics.

We’re 8 weeks into the 10-week program, so the teachers have been doing evaluations. The main teacher told us that A- is highly verbal and happy to contribute to conversations. She understands the games and activities that the teachers explain and is usually one of the first to join in. They’re working with her on getting better at tracing letters on worksheets.

I feel pretty confident that A- will adapt all right to kindergarten. We have a morning routine that gets us out of the house at a reasonably early time. She’s been great at giving her ocular prosthesis to the teacher if she takes it out. She can talk to us about what’s going on and how she feels about it. We haven’t tested what it would be like for her to be in a group situation the whole day, although she’s happily been with babysitters for eight hours at a time. She’ll probably get the hang of it quickly.

As for me, I’ve been using the time to read parenting books and resources, take notes, update my journal, write down or draw my thoughts, run errands, chat with other parents, catch up on email, and compile Emacs News. It’s not quite long enough to get deep into programming or consulting, and I don’t want to lug my laptop around anyway. A Bluetooth keyboard makes writing things like this post much more comfortable, though. It’s been nice having a frequent 2-hour break to do those things.

Time to start planning what to do after the kindergarten readiness program ends. I’m okay with not doing worksheets. Going to drop-in centres usually results in lots of interesting new activities that I can sneak math or science into. A- is fascinated by books and asks me to read quite a lot of them, so I’m not worried about that either. I think we’ll do fine by just going to drop-in centres, with Saturday babysitting and maybe the occasional extra babysitter session if I need to catch up. We might do another kindergarten readiness program during the summer before school, since there are a few full-day options then. I want to get better at scaffolding A-‘s learning and appreciating her growth, and I’m glad I’ve been able to read more about early childhood education while A- was in class. I’m looking forward to trying out those ideas!