Home with kids today

Sara is going for a hike, and I’m home with the kids today. Mostly, they’ve been playing pretty quietly, with a few squabbles here and there. I feel as though I have a lot to do today, as I often do on a Sunday. I’ve been working on my Beeminder studying tasks, trying to get ahead on everything. Also, there’s a bit of laundry to wash, dry, and fold.

Last night I visited a friend’s house, and it was so nice and neat that it made me feel envious. Somehow we can’t manage to keep the house neat and clean for even one day, even though we have cleaners come once a week. I’m not sure how one does that, especially not with two kids (my friend only has one — maybe that’s the secret).

One rule my friends use is, “put all the other toys away before you get out a new toy,” so theoretically the kids would play with one toy at a time. But, though that rule sounds sensible, it’s actually rather hard to enforce. I feel as though I’m spending all my time enforcing the one toy rule. Isn’t the point of the rule to make my life easier?

Anyway, one of my Beeminders is to do more cooking, so I’m thinking of taking the kids to the store so I can get ingredients for home-made pasta sauce. I’ll start small.

What I did today, in reverse

  1. Followed what’s going down in Boston, Cambridge, and Watertown, MA.
  2. Went to a NERT recertification class.
  3. Met with my mentorship student: I’m mentoring a middleschooler at work, as part of a volunteer program we’re doing in my office. We’re working on a text-based adventure game.

The smart phone of the future

I was thinking about what features I would like to see in a phone. I realize that as I’m coming up with these, they’re probably not imaginative enough. From the perspective of 2020 or 2025, the phone I describe will sound ridiculously old-fashioned, just an incremental improvement upon what we have today. Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun to get down some ideas I’ve been having about phones.

  • It should be unbreakable — bye bye Otter Box.
  • It should either be safe to wear close to the body, or it should have some built in way to wear it at a safe distance from the body.
  • It should never run out of batteries when you need it. Maybe it could pick up energy from the environment, from movement, from solar power, or from body heat.
  • It should be aware of context. For example, it should know enough about movement patterns to understand that I’m running, and start a Runkeeper session. Similarly, if I forget to turn off activity recording, it should realize that, for example, I’ve boarded a bus, and stop recording.
  • It should be able to apply passcode lock only where needed. Viewing archived data should be considered private, and subject to passcode lock. Essential functions should be left unlocked. For example, when I’m using Runkeeper, I have no reason to keep the controls for recording my current run private, and it is an annoyance to have to unlock the phone to look at my current run’s data or use the controls. The same annoyance holds true for audio controls. The phone should be able to figure out what applications require privacy controls in what contexts
  • It should have a “guest mode,” where things that the user is comfortable sharing are available, but private things are not.


I spent most of the day at work, quite busy.

This evening we had a PTA meeting, getting ready for our big culinary event,

Now I realize I still have a lot of personal stuff I want to do before I get to bed.

Things I’m noticing today

  1. I’m having a hard time getting things done now, because it’s late, and I’m tired.
  2. I’m probably not getting enough sleep. I’ve been getting about 6 hours a night, and either I’m one of those lucky 3% who can get by on that little, or I’m chronically sleep-deprived.
  3. I’m nervous about getting sick. My daughter has a stomach bug, probably norovirus, and although she’s getting better, I’m worried about getting the same thing.
  4. I can still write on demand, even if it’s drivel. No writer’s block here!