Weekly review: Week ending July 26, 2019

  • Us
    • We had our family portrait. A- refused to let the makeup artists do anything to my face or hair.
    • We attended Kendra and Yaiba’s wedding. It was fun catching up with Diane and Mark.
    • GG and AG had fun searching Lola’s room for magic things.
  • Sensory
    • A- had fun playing with the swiveling bar stool.
  • Language
    • “I don’t know. Let’s go find out!”
    • “I wanted to catch a ride.”
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- wanted to practise locking the door. She accidentally locked us out of the bedroom, but fortunately we could get back in through the shared bathroom.
  • Social
    • A- watched lots of videos on the plane. “Not by myself. I want Mama to watch with me.”
  • World
    • A- was curious about a toy car. I used Lolo’s screwdriver to open it up so that we could see how the gears worked.
    • We went to the zoo. It’s still closed, but Kathy has a special relationship with the zoo. A- gave a banana to Maali the elephant, and we saw a heron pounce on a snake that was sunning itself on the path.

Blog posts


Time totals were a bit off because of travel.

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 49.4 58.6 9.2 98.5 15.5
Business 0.2 0.0 -0.2 0.0 -0.4
Discretionary – Play 3.0 0.0 -3.0 0.0 -5.1
Unpaid work 7.6 0.3 -7.3 0.5 -12.2
Discretionary – Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary – Family 0.8 2.7 1.9 4.6 3.2
Sleep 33.2 35.7 2.5 59.9 4.1
Discretionary – Productive 3.9 0.0 -3.9 0.0 -6.6
Personal 1.8 2.7 0.8 4.5 1.4

Weekly review: Week ending July 19, 2019

  • Us
    • I helped W- wax the car while A- played on the sidewalk.
    • I adjusted the elastic on my dust mask so that it fits better.
  • Fine motor
    • A- made Duplo stairs.
  • Sensory
    • A- wanted some tent time, so I set it up on the deck.
  • Language
    • “You’re an old man. You know!”
    • “Such a rolypoly baby we have.”
    • “I promise to be careful.”
    • “I want to build and play.”
  • Art
    • We made a ramp ball machine. I tried to make a coin dispenser, but I ran into problems with glue and torque.
    • A- and I made drawers and boxes.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- used the glue gun by herself.
  • Household
    • A- hung up many clothes in her closet. “I organized my clothes,” she said proudly.
    • “Where’s the leash?” “Oh, I know, it’s here!” (hanging on a hook)
  • Social
    • We got to Trinity Bellwoods an hour and a half before swimming. I suggested going to the playground. A- said, “I want to do nothing.” So we just chatted and cuddled for that long.
  • Pretend
    • A- used her spray bottle to pretend to be a skunk detector and sprinkler.
    • A- was really amused when we pretended to turn a dial to adjust how much of a rolypoly baby she was.
  • World
    • A- was curious about the neighbours’ tent, so W- set up his tent in the backyard. She had lots of fun hanging out with us in it.
    • We took the pop bottle water dispenser to the wading pool. A- had fun playing with it, and H- was curious about it too.
    • We made a cardboard ball dispenser.
    • “You have to change the tires. It’s not winter any more, it’s summer.”

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 29.6 33.2 3.6 55.8 6.1
A- 46.7 49.4 2.7 83.0 4.6
Unpaid work 4.9 7.6 2.6 12.8 4.4
Discretionary – Play 1.1 3.0 1.9 5.1 3.2
Discretionary – Family 0.3 0.8 0.5 1.4 0.8
Personal 2.6 1.8 -0.7 3.1 -1.2
Discretionary – Social 1.2 0.0 -1.2 0.0 -2.1
Business 4.5 0.2 -4.3 0.4 -7.2
Discretionary – Productive 9.1 3.9 -5.2 6.6 -8.7

Weekly review: Week ending July 12, 2019

  • Kaizen
    • I rehemmed W-‘s shorts. The twill I had was heavier than the original fabric, so we’ll just have to see how it works out.
    • I think I fixed my link quoting when generating Emacs News.
    • I notice that when I feel time-stressed, I get scatterbrained, and I leave things unfinished instead of putting things away neatly. But slow is fast, so if I slow down and take the time to put things away, it will work out better for me. When I catch myself feeling hurried, I should breathe and slow down more.
  • Us
    • I put together our paperwork for the upcoming trip.
    • I used some babysitter time to do errands on my bicycle. I returned most of the library books, bought some fabric and elastic, and bought toiletries for our upcoming trip. It was pouring when I finished at the pharmacy, so I waited for the rain to lighten a bit before heading home.
  • Field trip
    • We went to the science centre today. A- played a lot with the water pipes, even building them up. She was also curious about building arches and rolling balls down ramps.
  • Fine motor
    • A- had fun with the playdough extruder.
  • Sensory
    • “What’s that funny smell? Is that chocolate?”
  • Language
    • W- asked if A- wanted to see the garbage trucks. She said, “I decide not to.”
    • W- asked A- a question a few times. She said, “No answer.”
    • A- wanted to know why we weren’t going to take the cats with us on our trip. I told her stories about bringing Neko to Canada and how Neko climbed on top of my head as we went through security. A- found that very amusing and kept asking questions about it.
    • A- was pretending to be a baby helping W- make coffee. She said, “The baby’s first word is ‘tare!'”
  • Art
    • A- wanted bath paint, so I mixed up a small batch of yellow bath paint.
  • Self-care and independence
    • A- opened the bathroom lock all by herself.
    • A- hung up her clothes on hangers. She said, “Hey! I’m busy organizing my clothes.”
  • Eating
    • W- and I had circumspectly talked about having watermelon after dinner, but we didn’t want to spoil A-‘s appetite, so we had just referred to it as a colourful thing in the fridge during our pre-dinner planning. We focused on our main dinner, and A- ate lightly. J- came home and A- ran to greet her at the door. A- announced, “Come in! Come in! I’m just about to have watermelon.”
  • Social
    • A- deliberately poked me. I asked her not to, and we kept playing. Then she said, “Mama say sorry.” I was a little confused about what she wanted me to help her say sorry about, so I asked her why. After some back and forth, she explained, “I pushed your arm.”
    • I used A-‘s Swiss knife to work on the cardboard ATM. She remembered that Lolo gave it to her.
    • We went to the last workshop session. A- wanted to play with me, though, so she stayed close all the time.
    • A- helped me build a helicopter using the Little Engineer set. She handed me the parts I asked for.
    • We made it out to the playground and wading pool. A- had lots of fun sliding down the firepole and also going in and out of the water. She eyed a group of five kids who were playing rIng around the rosy. I showed her how to stand close to the group, and I helped ask for permission to join. She played a few rounds with them, and then one of the kids got tired of the game and decided to run to the wading pool. Another kid from the group (probably his big sister) ran after him and brought him back. Halfway through another round of ring around the rosy, he ran off agan, and she brought him back. That repeated quite a few times.
    • At bedtime, A- asked lots of questions about why a little kid kept running away from the ring-around-the-rosy game they had been playing earlier. It turned into a long discussion about the games people are really playing.
    • I checked in with A- regarding the frequency of babysitting sessions. She prefers once a week instead of twice a week, so we’ll switch to that after we get back. Also, 9 AM might be a bit early, so we might go back to 7 hours.
    • A- and the babysitter improvised stories one line at a time.
  • Pretend
    • “Now I’m testing the acidity.”
    • A- was pretending to be a baby. She asked W- to pick her up. When W- carried her, she said, “The grownups have to support my head.”
  • Cognition
    • We built on A-‘s familiarity with Baa Baa Black Sheep with a pretend activity where I bought wool (cotton balls) with money (sticks). Lots of counting and fine motor, since she used tongs for the cotton balls.
    • A- remembered the names she gave the notes. We used those names when we tuned the ukulele.
    • I talked to A- about counting by ones and counting by tens.
    • A- counted by tens with just a little help remembering that 30 comes after 20. She remembered on her own that after 90 comes 100. At dinner, she was very interested in words about numbers, talking about ten groups of ten and so on.
  • World
    • We made the magnetic switch part of the cardboard ATM.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary – Productive 4.9 9.1 4.2 15.3 7.0
Discretionary – Social 0.0 1.2 1.2 2.1 2.1
Unpaid work 4.4 4.9 0.6 8.3 0.9
Personal 3.0 2.6 -0.5 4.3 -0.8
Sleep 31.1 29.6 -1.5 49.7 -2.5
Discretionary – Family 2.3 0.3 -2.0 0.5 -3.3
Discretionary – Play 4.2 1.1 -3.1 1.9 -5.2
Business 10.3 4.5 -5.8 7.6 -9.7

Turning 36; life as a 35-year-old

On the surface, this year looked much like last year did: drop-in centres, playgrounds and field trips, trips to visit family, and a little bit of consulting and Emacs. It felt so different, though. Of course, A-‘s a whole lot different at 3.5 years instead of 2.5. But since this is my yearly update instead of hers, I’m going to think about how I’ve been growing and what changed.

Last year, I said, “Bring on the ‘why?’ stage!”, and it turned out to be amazing. I’ve learned more about science thanks to her questions, and I’ve learned more about engineering thanks to watching How It’s Made videos and building cardboard machines.

There were many moments when I found myself thinking, “Wow, I like spending time with A-.” It’s great watching her grow. We can talk about so many things. She’s slowly becoming more independent. Sure, there were also times when I thought, “Darn, she has to learn about this the tough way,” but I’m getting better at setting my own boundaries and taking care of myself, and I’m getting pretty good at embracing the tantrums.

I’ve also gotten better at accepting the limits of this phase. I add more things to my list than I can cross off, even with focused time from the babysitting experiment that we restarted on A-‘s request. I often pick sleep instead of working on my computer, because I get grumpy if I’m tired. It’s okay. There’s next year (kindergarten is just around the corner!), and there are other people who can do things too. For now, I’m learning how to be here.

Or there–we squeezed in a trip to the Netherlands to visit my sister and her family, and another trip to the Philippines to see everyone. A-‘s becoming quite a seasoned traveller, although she still doesn’t sleep much on airplanes. It was good to spend time with people. A- had lots of fun playing with her cousins and with Lola, hooray!

Last year, I wrote:

I’m also looking forward to learning more about pedagogical documentation, drawing, taking pictures/videos, and other ways I can share things with her and with other people. Making books for A- is fun, so I’d like to do more of that too.

I really like the way my journaling workflow makes it possible to capture lots of little moments. I’m still not good at taking a step back and seeing trends over time, and my weekly review often falls by the wayside. It was nice remembering little moments in the process of doing this yearly review. Hardly any drawing, but I came to terms with that being a low priority for now. I started categorizing photos using albums in Google Photos, but it’s not quite as smooth or as regular as I’d like.

I made a few more children’s books for A-. “I Am Turning 3” organized highlights from her first three years. “Let’s Make Popcorn” was the sequel to “Let’s Make a Smoothie.” “Going on an Airplane” helped us get ready for the trip, and she loved that I illustrated it with her favourite stuffed toy. For my sister, I drafted a book called “Magic Books”, but I haven’t illustrated it yet. I improved my workflow, so now I can theoretically make longer books with better layouts. I look forward to trying that out as we move into more complex stories.

We’ve been using some babysitting time to work on household projects and useful skills. W- taught me how to use the sliding compound mitre saw and the table saw. We repainted and trimmed the insides of the upper kitchen cabinets, replaced the drawers, and built organizers and shelves. We decluttered and organized, and we even donated old bicycles. In terms of cooking, we’ve been shifting more towards fresh food instead of cooking in bulk, more towards vegetables and other recommendations of the new food guide, and more towards higher-quality groceries. We’ve been learning how to work with a sourdough starter that we brought home from my sister’s neighbour in the Netherlands.

Babysitting freed up some time to work on some personal coding projects for continuous improvement, too. I wrote functions to make it easier to prepare Emacs News by getting feed items, checking for duplicates, and assigning categories with a few keystrokes. I started hosting planet.emacslife.com after the server at planet.emacsen.org went down. I finally got around to setting up SSL. I moved my sketches from Flickr to my own sketches.sachachua.com, and I wrote a tool that rewrote most of the links in my old posts. I started using Docker to contain some of my services, including a new version of my library renewal script. I contributed patches to Org Mode and to Termux.

I got into sewing again. I experimented with a custom-printed headband that had letters, numbers, days of the week, and other useful things for preschool education on the go. I found out that W-‘s old jeans fit me quite comfortably, so I hemmed and patched them. I serged cabinet liners and washcloths. I made fuzzy hats in winter, and shorts and underwear in summer. I started to feel more comfortable sewing. It was even fun.

So yeah… A- grew a lot, and so did I.


Category % 34 years % 35 years Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 46.7 42.7 -4.0 71.8 -6.7
Sleep 31.2 33.8 2.6 56.8 4.4
Personal 6.2 6.3 0.1 10.5 0.2
Unpaid work 5.4 6.1 0.7 10.3 1.2
Discretionary – Productive 3.5 3.4 -0.2 5.7 -0.3
Discretionary – Play 0.7 2.8 2.0 4.7 3.4
Discretionary – Family 3.3 2.8 -0.5 4.6 -0.9
Business – Earn 1.1 1.1 0.0 1.9 0.0
Discretionary – Social 0.9 0.8 -0.1 1.3 -0.2
Business – Build 0.3 0.2 -0.1 0.3 -0.2

Huh. That’s interesting. Actually, most of the time change this year was about me getting more sleep. I like having more sleep. And I gave myself permission to play Borderlands 2 with W- in the evening, since it’s good to hang out as a couple too. I did a smidge more tidying, too.

Babysitting helped me shift consulting from late-night sessions to daytime (more alertness! occasional chats with clients!), improve my sewing, coding, and woodworking skills, and check off actual projects. That was worth it, although I’m not going to scale it up too much because A- prefers to spend time with me. She wants to have a babysitter once a week instead of twice or three times a week. If I can count on 6-7 hours of focused time a week, then, I’d like to spend an average of 2 hours a week on consulting, 2 hours on household prep, and 2-3 hours on continuous improvement. I’m not entirely sure how that time budget works, but we’ll figure things out. It might be more household prep until we can get things running smoothly, which should free up more time and energy for other things.

36 to 37: Looking ahead

A- will be old enough for kindergarten shortly after I turn 37. Big changes are up ahead! I’d like to stay flexible and be involved in the school community, since that seems to make a big difference. That’s for later, though. For now, I can focus on making the most of this phase and what I can do to prepare for the next one.

I want to make a children’s book about microphthalmia that I can share with A-‘s kindergarten teacher. I hope it will help answer questions and demystify things.

I want to put together a session for the Emacs conference in November, and to help with facilitating and following through. I also want to continue posting Emacs News.

I’d like to continue consulting, since I like my clients and I like solving the kinds of problems i do. I’ll probably focus on prototyping, robotic process automation, and analytics, since those are things I can squeeze into small time windows.

A- is starting to show interest in reading, socialization, and how the world works. I also want to help her develop physical literacy and emotional regulation, and I want to involve her more in preparing food and tidying up. I’ve got my work cut out for me in terms of doing preschool at home. It will be fun!

I want to learn more DIY skills so that I can help improve things around the house. I’m not sure how the time budget works out, though. Learning woodworking is definitely more of a nice-to-have compared to the other things we need to do to keep the house running smoothly.

I’ve got an even longer list of ideas. As always, priorities: sleep, self-care, taking care of A-, and so on. Let’s see how this year goes!

2019-08-26 Emacs news

EmacsConf 2019 (Nov 2, online): Propose a session: https://emacsconf.org/2019/cfp (before Aug 31) Share ideas: https://emacsconf.org/2019/ideas

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.

2019-08-19 Emacs news

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.