Monthly Archives: December 2019

2019 in books

According to Goodreads, I read 51 books this year (so far).  Several 4 star books stood out:

Sapiens – I didn’t love this whole book, but I loved the first couple chapters about our forebears (you know, early humans).  It’s so interesting to me to think about how “cavemen” lived – people just like me, but with a totally different life experience.

Evvie Drake Starts Over – This was just a fun, feel-good easy read.

Educated – This is a memoir of a woman who was raised in a highly unusual manner in Utah.  It has been fawned over by critics, probably with good reason.  I found it engrossing from start to finish.

Becoming – Michelle Obama is almost as interesting as her husband.  I loved the first half of this book.  The second half which describes her time as First Lady, sadly, read like political propaganda, but that’s to be expected.

Me Before You – Another easy, fun read about a woman who falls in love with a disabled man

Little Fires Everywhere – Thought-provoking, original fiction about an adoption gone wrong and a first-gen girl coming of age

I’m continuing to read to the girls every night.  It can be tough with pregnancy, babies, etc., but it’s often my favorite time of day.  This year, we read lots of Beverly Cleary.  Ramona the Pest was my favorite.  The girls love them all.  We’re currently finishing off Ramona, Age 8.   The girls also fell in love with Roald Dahl this year.  I’ve read his books to them before, but perhaps they were too young to fully appreciate them.  They LOVE Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Isla must have read it three times, and Bri loves to look at the pictures.  Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was also a huge fan favorite.

aerospace and software

I can’t believe NASA would even consider a crewed flight without another uncrewed flight.  The awesomeness of autonomous spacecraft is that you can fly them until you get things right.  My old company has flown its spacecraft numerous times without any major issues, but they’re still doing missions to make sure everything is safe before putting a person on.  Boeing had a MAJOR issue, and what’s troubling to me is that it’s the sort of fault that should have been avoidable with proper ground simulation.  Some things are hard to test on the ground, like getting high confidence in aerodynamics, for example, but proper timing should have possible to ground test.

This also just makes me wonder what is going on with Boeing.  Are they capable of making safe aircraft and spacecraft?  Their recent track record is just not great.  I’d love to know more about their software development process for spacecraft.  I’m familiar with the approach used here in Seattle for aircraft.  It’s industry standard (for aerospace), but I honestly feel it’s flawed, as was obviously demonstrated by the crashes.  I think a lot of the approaches used in software today made more sense when software was far less complex.  The complexity that today’s powerful computers allow calls for rethinking some of the verification approaches.  I think we should be moving away from verification that’s focused on unit testing and moving towards more emphasis on simulation.  Both are obviously done, but my experience has been that as the rigor of verification increases, the emphasis shifts from simulation to unit test, to the detriment of the system’s overall reliability.


a few words

So many things to say.  The first few weeks of S’s life were just so hard, I didn’t have time to come up for air, and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it.  The reality made me sad, and I didn’t want to document it.  I took no photos those first few days in the hospital when we were the most scared.

Now, though, S is doing great.  She was 7 pounds 3.5 ounces yesterday, up from a low of less than 5.5 pounds.  She takes more than 90% of her food by mouth, 95%+ most days, so I think we’ll be able to get rid of the NG tube in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  She’s also started sleeping at night, which is giving me my sanity back.  Feeding her is very time-consuming, and I’ve had virtually no free time, unless you count pumping as a leisure activity.

It’s been harder than I expected, but I know these early difficult days will pass soon enough.  It’s reassuring to see how solid and big and strong her older sisters are.