Weeks of December 19 and 26

We spent Christmas in Ohio. We left a day early to avoid the major snowstorm and single digit temps, but the weather during the drive was still pretty rough. It snowed for the first four hours, then rained for the second four hours. With very little traction, we narrowly avoided hitting a car that had spun out on the ice and the police car that was trying to stop and help it. There was no snow on the way back, but there was rain and thick fog for the final two hours after dark, which made visibility very low. What crazy weather… 1F for a couple days, then 60F a couple days later. My sinuses were going crazy.

Charlie is a completely different baby from this time last year. He is running around, learning to say words, understands a lot more, and is a lot of fun. It was great to see him interact with more people, including some of his young cousins.

One big thing this week is that Charlie is learning to walk down stairs while holding someone’s hand. He is trying so hard and making a lot of progress. A big step for him!

Charlie played in the snow for the first time!

This year’s Christmas ornament. (My Dad has been making them since 2006.) This year he did something new and laser etched a sign similar to the one we saw in Lake Placid earlier this year, onto real birch bark!

We started what might become a new tradition: Learning a new card game the week after Christmas. We chose Pitch. Blog post coming soon.

We made red beans a rice with domingo rojo beans (Rancho Gordo), andouille, and some of my tasso ham. It was easier to make than gumbo, so I think I’ll make it for Mardi Gras this year instead of gumbo.

On the way back to NY, we stopped overnight with some friends in Pittsburgh who had a baby this year. It was great to connect with them on a different level now that we are all parents. Charlie had a great time meeting their cats, trying to pet their dog, feeding and chasing their chickens, and playing at the playground.

This trip’s audiobooks were both by Mark Kurlansky: Salt and The Big Oyster.


My Dad is interested in making biodiesel from used vegetable oil to heat his barn with. So we went down the rabbit hole tonight of trying to figure out which combo of alcohol and catalyst is the cheapest and highest yield. Options are methanol, ethanol, or isopropyl for alcohol, sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide for the catalyst. Looks like he’ll need to set up some small-scale (quart-sized) tests of each combo in various proportions once the weather warms up.

A friend mentioned that biodiesel might be overkill for heating, and that if the goal is to clean up the the used veg oil to make it burn better, treating it with bentonite clay might work.


I spent some time after Charlie went to bed each night working on a WordPress plugin that fetches posts I’ve starred from my RSS reader and outputs them as Likes on my site. I’ll publish the code later this week.

Since posting Likes is kind of a pain on mobile, I want to do the something similar for posts I’ve come across online outside of my RSS reader and think that I’ll do bookmark app -> cron job -> Like post. Most of that is already written for the other plugin and I just need to adapt the source.


While in Ohio my Twitter feed was completely swamped by sports betting ads, which was sad. Especially so because I have family there with gambling problems. It is also interesting to me that sports betting online is legal in New York, but I don’t recall ever having gotten ads for it on Twitter. Billboards yes, Twitter no. What was so stark in Ohio was the huge number of ads I was bombarded with immediately.


I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s year-end blog posts and I wrote a couple of them myself. I’m adding a lot to my To Read list from people’s reading roundups.


New Year’s Eve was low-key. We were completely worn out from the car ride (we got home around 7pm), put Charlie to bed, then watched two episodes of The Crown and went to bed around 10:45pm.

Charlie got up at 5pm, so we went grocery shopping around 9am and had a sweet moment by the bagel shop as we shared a breakfast sandwich outside on a bench and he waved at the dogs out for their walks.


Some neat things I came across the past two weeks:

A reminder to back up your cloud content because it could go away at any time.

Also, ditch LastPass if you haven’t already.


2 responses to “Weeks of December 19 and 26”

  1. Have you given “Micropub” a try? It’s an open protocol for posting all sorts of post types (including “likes”) to any back end. There’s a WordPress plugin, and mobile apps, and you can (through responses to “config queries”) “tell” clients which post types your site supports (and more).

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