Tuesday, January 06, 2015


I really want to blog-fade. Is that the term for it? I know when podcasters disappear and never put up a next episode it's called pod-fading. The blog design here hasn't changed in almost 10 years and blogger is really an old-school platform. I have other projects right now. So I'm going to fade a bit, but still be out there on Twitter and other places. I'm just feeling introverted right now.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Then we bought a house

Well, I feel like it's less that we bought a house and more that we're now paying off a 30 year debt. We are still going to be in Oakland and are still in the same church ward. Everywhere is still as bike-able and walkable as before. So that's a plus!

I was originally hesitant to say that it's a fixer upper because it's livable. But a friend told me, "It has emerald green carpet. It's a fixer upper." It's small, less than 1000 sq feet. It has lots of growing potential and a 2 car garage that we definitely don't need that can transform into living space in the future.

Some "before" pictures! I took these last Saturday, which was the first time I saw it without the previous tenant's belongings in it. I was a little overwhelmed with how much work needs to be done.

Master Bedroom. Fancy green carpeting.

Large, walk-in master closet. Look at that particle board closet organization system!
We took out that particle board shelf and this is the carpet directly underneath it.

Gotta go buy a washer and dryer that'll match the 1980s linoleum.

The bathroom has been updated more recently than the rest of the house

It could still use some love, though.

Tiny kids room, featuring vertical blinds!

The living room also has vertical blinds and cable hookups. The kids' room and master bedroom also had cable hookups. And I think the dining room does, too. Not sure who needs that much cable.

Aw... look at the baby kitchen! We plan on expanding it out when we save up money.

This is the kitchen window from the outside. It has shelves for potted plants! Yay herb garden!

Gigantic yard! The best part of the house. We have lots of plans for this place.
We won't move in until we have every inch of the walls and ceilings painted and the carpet taken out and something else (not sure what) put in. The previous tenant had been there 10-12 years and had a dog, so these steps are all necessary. I'm guessing our move-in date will be later in January. Painting is happening as I type and we still need to find a flooring solution. The next big project this summer will be a new roof (it's on its last leg, but at least not leaking yet!)

It's a lot to handle right now with school, nannies, a house, and kids. My knitting is going on a back burner for a little bit. McKay keeps thinking I need to take more off my plate, but I'm not sure what I'd take off. I like teaching YW at church. I like taking LLL phone calls and emails. I like knitting. I like my programming class. What am I supposed to take off? I'll just keep pushing through. That'll work. And if it's too much, my body will give me mastitis or something; it's generous like that.

We just hired a new nanny to replace our other 3-day/week nanny who is moving out of the country for half a year. So that'll be something new and fun. She's from Brazil and speaks fluent Portuguese. Now I'm wondering if we should switch Margaret from Spanish to Portuguese. Hmm.

I really need to get a job once my schooling is done to pay for all of this.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Here's my special announcement!

A couple of months ago I sent a pattern to knitty.com. They wrote back saying they thought I was crazy, but they loved it. It's published now!!

If you are looking for a skirt to wear on Pi Day (3/14/15) next year, go find your needles!!! STAT!

Saturday, December 06, 2014

How My School Stuff is Going

I don't know whether to call this bootcamp a "school" since when I tell people I'm going to school full-time, they imagine midterms and finals and breaks between classes. This is 9-5 M-F. You don't do those types of hours in high school (you get out by 3!) and you don't do those types of hours in college (classes when you feel like scheduling them and sometimes whole afternoons or mornings with no classes!). Even when I worked, I worked at an elementary school I didn't have a 9-5 schedule. I think maybe calling it "job training" is more accurate? I don't know. It's a programming bootcamp.

I think it's going well, despite my own inner battles about identity and purpose. I have a bit of a leg up in that I've taken Intro to Programming classes in a couple of different languages before. I know a bit of the vocabulary and I'm a pretty mean google searcher. No really, I'm a fabulous google searcher. It's why I tried applying to the 100 Hour Board at BYU back in the day. If there was "Professional Google Searcher" career, I'd be running Google Search conferences.

This week we were assigned mentors. I met mine on Monday and we did get some "get to know each other" chat in, but it was also loud at the mentor event and so I think I'll know more about our mentor/mentee relationship as it progresses.

In class we have a main project that we all work on individually with the same specs as each other. There are also warm up exercises with some algorithmic practice work. Also, we have to develop an app of our own design and purpose. I have an idea of what I want mine to be and I've already contacted a couple of companies about their APIs.

The majority of the Colorado class that graduated recently have gotten jobs in the past two weeks. It's a little bit of hope that we'll be in the black after paying for the bootcamp and the nannies. I know whatever future income I do have will cover childcare for the kids, but the fact that we're paying for childcare while I'm not bringing in income means it'll be tight for the next 4 months. Looking forward to April.

Homeschooling while being gone full time is going great, too. We still need Margaret to produce samples of work for the charter school and those aren't being done at the ideal rate, but at least my unschooling mind is totally fine with her not having structured schooling. One of the nannies this week mentioned how much of a sponge Margaret is about everything. She wants to know all the things! Isaac has been picking up a little Spanish. And Linda has been busy learning English.

Meanwhile I'm still juggling a few things. McKay thinks I need to drop at least one of them (ok- he thinks I should drop a lot more). I actually think I'm going to drop being the email-sender for my visiting teaching group. I kind of already dropped the ball on that this month anyway. I try to finish all my classwork at school and not bring it home and I've been successful in that so far. When I do bring it home, it's usually a tough problem and after the kids are in bed, I ask McKay to listen to me talk it out, "So I have this, and then I do this and this and I want this... Oh." Problem solved.

I was listening to this this Marly Bird episode and they were talking about how having limitations imposed on you helps your creativity more than having total freedom. I think having time restraints actually helps me be more productive. I have to prioritize the things that are important and I get more done. Of course "more" does not include laundry or cooking or tidying; that's why I have McKay!

ALSO- I have a big announcement next week! At least, I hope it's next week. If not, it'll be the week after. I'm so excited and I just can't hide it. But it also makes me nervous and I want to hide in a hole and pretend it's not happening at the same time as wanting to share it. Putting yourself out there is hard, yo. I'll be announcing it everywhere, so if you follow me here or on other social media, you won't miss it.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

November Shmovember

I promised on Twitter that I would do a life update this weekend. So here I am!

I have just completed my third week of the bootcamp. I am keeping my head above water and I think it helps that I've taken programming classes in the past and that my brain thinks in math-y/science-y ways. In fact, a couple of weeks before class started, I took my kids to the park, trying to get as much park time with them as possible before I'd start being gone full-time. I remember watching Linda walk across a bridge at the park and thinking, "I remember that's not a parabola, but a catenary." And then I laughed at myself that even as a SAHM taking my kids to the park, I can't not think about math. It was a sign that I needed to be in tech somehow and reaffirmed the decision to do this coding bootcamp.

Now, while I'm keeping my head above water, I'm still learning lots of things and it doesn't all come easily. I'm still unsure if I'll be ready to be a full-on developer in just 6 months (is that really possible?) but I'm ready to be surprised.

The kids have gotten used to the nanny routine. Because his workplace is just a mile away, McKay goes to work after I've left in the morning and he comes home before I get home, so I don't get to interact with the nannies directly to ask if Linda had a nap and how things went. I'm having to let go a lot of control. McKay has been fabulous in picking up all the slack. He's now doing all the laundry and cooking and kids stuff. To be honest, I feel like I'm not doing much except for grocery shopping and nursing, nursing, nursing. When I get home, Linda wants to make up for our lost time by cluster nursing all evening. This means I can't get any programming done at home and I don't get a lot of knitting time. Alas!

Also on the breastmilk front is pumping at school. The instructors were very accommodating in finding a private room that is not a bathroom for me to pump. I only pump at lunch and only do it for myself. Linda doesn't "need" the milk like an infant would; I pump so that I don't get clogged ducts or mastitis. I do leave the milk in the fridge for Linda to have the next day in a cup at lunch, but she doesn't always drink it. In fact, Isaac is the one who probably drinks more of it. Margaret asked to try it, but decided she didn't like it. Ha!

I use a cheap hand pump that I bought a year ago when I was pumping for an adopted baby. I'm able to get 4-5 ounces in about 10 minutes, which is great success especially considering that I'm 21 months postpartum. Not bad at all! Since Linda doesn't drink it all, I've considered donating it to the San Jose Mother's Milk Bank, but that means having to buy storage bags and I haven't gotten around do doing that.

Other life updates? We put an offer on a house a couple weeks ago, but it was turned down. The owner thinks she can get another 100k for it, which we can't offer. Oh well.

Trick-or-treating by bike! The glowing shawls are knit with reflective thread which is shining due to the flash on the camera.
This weekend we are going to start applying for a kindergarten for Isaac. Margaret is still on wait-lists for schools. I think Isaac will actually have an easier time getting into a kindergarten, which should bump Margaret up on the lists for having a sibling in a school. On the other hand, I'm really liking that Margaret can still homeschool while we are both gone all day. She has a lot of classes and opportunities she wouldn't get in school. If I do get a developer job at the end of this, maybe I'll make enough to hire a full-time nanny and keep homeschooling. And next year, we'll get money for Isaac to take classes. How fun would it be for them to take fun classes together?!
Linda as a cat. And McKay.

I can't see that far in advance, though. Just one week at a time. My plans for NaNoWriMo are going to be unfulfilled because of class. Maybe I'll do it next year. Enjoy the Halloween pictures!

Squid Girl and Spider-man

Also, since I'm not updating much here, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter as TopHat8855. I'm also blogging at the Exponent on the first Friday of each month. Here's yesterday's post. I'll still try to post here when I can. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ghost Cats

Quick question Internet:

I have a baby who likes to pretend to be a cat (meowing, crawling, etc), so we thought, "Let's make her a cat for Halloween!" We already have cat ears and can make a tail. But we don't have black pants/shirt.

HOWEVER, whenever we say, "Halloween" she pretends to be a ghost going, "OOOooooOOO" while wearing a blanket.

So... She's 21 months and doesn't really understand Halloween to tell us, "This is what I want my costume to be." What would you have her be? Getting a white sheet for a ghost costume will be about as easy/cost effective as a simple black shirt.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Another life update

So things are slowly coming together. We've secured 2 nannies to split up the weeks taking the kids to their things. That will last through December. One nanny is a close friend and the other is another unschooling mom. I'd like to keep it going through next "semester" to, but just in case, I've been touring schools/day cares.

Because of having no car, we are limited to schools that are either 1)close to our house, or 2) close to McKay's work. There is one school near us and I toured it this week. It's the school I see all the neighborhood kids walking to. Well, it's the school I see all the brown kids walking to. I don't know where the white kids go. I mentioned to my friend who works there, "So Margaret would be the only white kid?" And she said that there's another white kid in the school. This boggles my mind because we definitely have more white kids in our neighborhood than just 1. Well, of our neighbors that are Margaret's age, one goes to a private school and the other goes to a charter school across town, so I guess that's where the white kids go. This school I toured was a charter school (public school is too far away) and so there's a wait list I put Margaret on it.

I still have to tour the two schools near McKay's work. One is a public school, but it's not an Oakland public school. The other is a charter.

Yesterday I toured a daycare for Isaac and Linda. It's nice and play-based. They warned me it's not heavy in academics and I guess some people prefer academics? I'm ok with not pushing academics on my 1 year old and 4 year old! I like it, but again it has a wait list and I don't know how long it'll be until there's a space.

So at least we are covered until January. We'll be still homeschooling and our nannies/babysitters will be taking Margaret to Spanish class and Lego class and such.

Isaac is now 4 so he got to start Hacker Sparks with Margaret, and the Waldorf class we had Margaret in last year is allowing both Isaac and Margaret to go even though neither are kindergarten-aged. They'll love it. That starts next week.

Oh, and I did a triathlon last Sunday. I never got to the "I can't do this anymore" point, but I was being really lazy in the swimming and running sections. I did the bike as hard as I could, but I just didn't care about the others.