Free Guy – A Fun Film!

I’ve just got to say that Ryan Reynolds’s Free Guy is my kind of movie! I saw it on the flight back from Florida to see my folks.

Glasses, Bifocals vs Progressives

Last year, I got presbyopia, a very common age-related reduction in vision. Now, instead of just being nearsighted with moderate astigmatism, I am essentially both nearsighted and farsighted. I need to wear glasses to see things close, and different glasses to see far.

I tried getting progressive glasses but, ARGH! it was impossible to get used to them! I asked several friends about it. Some said they love them, some hate them!

Here is a snippet of a post I made on Facebook while trying to get used to them:

Ugh, I’m having a hard time getting used to them! I’ll wear them for 20 minutes and rip them off in frustration. The close-up “in-focus” area is so freaking small! It’s like 1/3 of the width of any 8.5″x11″ paper I’m reading. I can’t wiggle my nose back and forth fast enough to read at a reasonable rate! And I can’t see well outside that area!
Walking around with them makes me dizzy. I’m not sure if this is going to work out. And looking at a computer screen is weird and frustrating, tilting my head up and down, left and right to try to catch everything. And stuff wiggles and shifts under my gaze in a slightly disorienting way. Not luvin ’em. I might call the place I got them from and ask for some help.

There a few different lens systems you can get. “Occupational lenses” from different companies have different fields of view. One friend told me about her progressives, saying, “Pretty much everything in a 1ft-3ft range (laptop, phone, or book range) is clear when seen through the bottom half of my glasses.” That is way different experience from mine!

Some possible fixes (though none worked for me)

  • have the optometrist make the glasses closer to your eyes – helped me a little
  • get occupational lens progressives – I didn’t try yet, there doesn’t seem to be any standard around what brands of lenses have larger fields of view.
  • wear them for a few days to get used to them – yeah, I tried. It was insane-making


How I solved my presbyopia problem:

I got an eye exam and a prescription for regular distance vision and an “add” for reading and such.

I got some clip-on readers that served me well during the pandemic when I didn’t want to go out. They are convenient in that I can flip them up and down for a full view of distance or near vision. I rarely wear them anymore though because they look at bit wacky and they’re a bit heavy on my head.

I got a pair of bifocals from my local optician. They work much better. It still take a bit of mental work to wear them but I often wear them for a few hours during my work day. I usually wear single vision readers when doing closeup work like sitting at my computer. I bought 2 pair from, one to leave at work, one at home. For general use I mainly wear my single vision distance glasses.


2021 Honda CRV Hybrid Manuals

Childrens Toothpaste

Recently we’ve tried some kids’ toothpaste. I’m surprised at the results!

Tom’s of Maine Children’s Fruitilicious Gel – The previous tubes we bought were great but the latest batch from Amazon has a chemically-bitter taste. I wrote to the company directly and they sent Tom’s of Maine Outrageous Orange Mango and Tom’s of Main Wicked Fresh. They both had the chemically-bitter taste, noted by both Abigail and I. We threw them out :-(

We tried Burt’s Bees for Kids Fruit Fusion Flavor – It has a kinda pasty-gritty mouth-feel, and somewhat chemically-bitter taste. Threw out :-(

We went back to Abigail’s favorite, Orajel Paw Patrol Bubble Berry. It has a moderately sweet, bubble-gum flavor and no chemical-bitter taste! We also tried Orajel Jurassic World Berry Blast. It has a fine flavor but Abigail still went back to the Bubble Berry.

What’s up with the chemical flavors? Here are the ingredients in Tom’s of Maine Children’s Fruitilicious Gel: Sodium Fluoride 0.24%, Water, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Benzyl Alcohol Sodium Laurly Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan, Rebaudioside A

I’m guessing stevia, which has a chemical aftertaste, is hidden in the ingredients under “natural flavor”. What do you think?



The Power Of Stories

(I initially wrote this post in June 2021 but it got lost in my Drafts folder. Here it is!)

Zee pointed out a great article about how Inuit parents teach their young. It covers how the Inuit culture handles anger and as a corollary, anger with children. And about how they use stories to discipline in an interesting way:

[on anger and scolding]

The culture views scolding or even speaking to children in an angry voice as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”

Even if the child hits you or bites you, there’s no raising your voice?

“No,” Ipeelie says with a giggle that seems to emphasize how silly my question is. “With little kids, you often think they’re pushing your buttons, but that’s not what’s going on. They’re upset about something, and you have to figure out what it is.”

[on stories]

… how do you teach kids to stay away from the ocean, where they could easily drown? Instead of yelling, “Don’t go near the water!” Jaw says Inuit parents take a pre-emptive approach and tell kids a special story about what’s inside the water. “It’s the sea monster,” Jaw says, with a giant pouch on its back just for little kids.

“If a child walks too close to the water, the monster will put you in his pouch, drag you down to the ocean and adopt you out to another family,” Jaw says.

“Then we don’t need to yell at a child,” Jaw says, “because she is already getting the message.”

How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger

I was thinking to myself that the attitudes about anger were good but the story-telling idea wasn’t anything I would ever use. And Zee wrote about how she didn’t think storytelling like that would be so manipulative as to be damaging. I was unconvinced. And then it struck me! I had used exactly those kinds of stories with Abigail yesterday! Let me tell you…

Megan and I were teaching Abigail how to write her lower-case letters and… well, she can be rather strong willed. She had been working in her letter workbook and I suggested that she write the letter “e” the way the book shows and I got this long, heated rant as to how she couldn’t, wouldn’t, and won’t.

I went looking online for a video about making letters to get her started. I found this video about writing “cannon pop” letters (update: that video is gone but here’s another from the series). The instructions they give for making letters are built-in to these crazy, non-sensical songs. For example to draw “q”, the little character, “…q taps two clouds, curls ’round, leaps up, then way down, and tosses her crown!” Well, Abigail ate it up! She watched the whole 5 minute video with rapt attention! And she insisted on watching it again! Later, she was writing her letters in the book and I could hear her reciting the lines from the video! The thing is, she wrote her lower-case “q” better than she had ever done before, all because of stories!

I’m going to make sure to add more story-telling to my teaching repertoire!

Happy Spring! errrr Happy Rainy Season!

It’s springtime… errr… rainy season here in northern California!


I’m so happy we got Mexican Marigold. It blooms in the winter here and… POW! Color!


This is one of 4 beds of wildflowers I planted at our house. I’m thrilled at how the rains have made it explode in the last few weeks. We’ll see if it survives the winter! I’m optimistic!


Another Mexican Marigold. And… see all those little leaves? They are all volunteer Exotic Love Vines! I’m gonna have to transplant them or something since every plant in this pot wants to get to be huge!


Year #2 of Exotic Love Vine volunteers at our neighbor’s house!



The Skirtboot Game

Charlotte and I invented and played this game in San Francisco in 2007-2009. It was great fun!


The rules are simple, if you see a person with one of the attributes on the list, you get a point!

  • Wearing a skirt and boots (the titular “skirtboot”)
  • Holding a Yoga mat
  • Bald gay man
  • Parka and bare knees
  • White person with dreadlocks
  • Guy in a suit riding a skateboard (added by Charlotte’s friend John the chocolate maker 7/09)
  • Moon boots (optional rules, added by Lee 11-1-09)
  • …and…
  • -1 point for your opponent: wearing a hoodie and riding a fixie. It’s worth negative points because no one wants to see that

You can earn a tremendous number points when you see someone with several of the items above. Points awarded are the square of the number of attributes seen on one person. IE: 1, 4, 9, 16, 25

So if you saw a bald gay man wearing a skirtboot and carrying a yoga mat, you’d earn 9 points in one go!!

Hurray for hipster San Francisco!

Todo App: Dynalist

I’ve been looking for a good Todo app to keep all my many projects organized. I think I found one, Dynalist.

Maybe it’s too simple, or maybe it’s beauty is in its simplicity. I’ve been using it for 2 weeks and it’s been a help!

It’s free for the basic version but I’ll pay the $8/month for Google Calendar integration. The referral link above will get you a free month of Pro :-)


I considered several other systems:

  • Google Keep is where I started this journey. Trouble is, it feels like writing notes on Post-its and flinging them down a flight of stairs.
  • I’ve been using a Google Doc to track things for a long while but it’s rather unwieldy!
  • Workflowy is very similar but I liked Dynalist better. The Android and IOS interface is a little better (I can drag things around more reliably) and the Google Calendar integration works well.
  • I tried to get started with but it looked like a bear. It’s a team app, not a solo app.
  • Looked at OneNote but the lack of calendar integration and… I don’t know… “sitting flat” didn’t excite me
  • Evernote might have worked. I tried it a few years ago and it seemed to want to push me into their system instead of adapting to me. Maybe I’ll try again someday.
  • Checkvist might have worked but it seemed to be very (a little too) shiny-new.
  • Obsidian is nice but doesn’t have calendar integration. It feels like it’s more for creating and managing information webs. That’s rather useful but not what I need.

Right now, I’m still getting used to using Markup language instead of… I don’t know what you call it… “enhanced” text? For example: a link looks like [this]( instead of this. And I’m still learning all the keyboard commands;  the graphic interface is very good but I want to use keyboard commands for their speed! It seems like all the commands are there but.. fingers! It reminds me of EMACS a little. Go ahead and try hitting Ctrl-Shift-Backspace multiple times in a row!


Old School Nslookup Humor

For the adventurous among you.

Start nslookup. Set the server to


> set querytype=txt
> set domain=adventure

and then:

> 1

Press enter and follow the interactive adventure!


Zoom Backgrounds for COVID

Here are some pro-vaccination backgrounds for your Zoom meetings.

I work with many families that aren’t vaccinated because… well, I don’t know why. Maybe they’re feeling overwhelmed by the information out there. I want to help make the choice easier for them by speaking the truth.

Grab all of them in one zip file here: COVID Zoom Backgrounds


The COVID vaccine saves lives!

I am vaccinated to protect our families from getting very sick

I’m vaccinated to keep my family, my students, and their families healthy!

I’m vaccinated because it’s not too late to die of COVID-19

In Spanish: The COVID vaccine saves lives!

In Spanish: I am vaccinated to protect our families from getting very sick