Soft skills are hard

And hard skills are (relatively) easy.

I read this post in Bioinformatic Zen that discussed the development of "hard skills" (programming and other stuff) and "soft skills" (dealing with failure, self-discipline, etc). It is a very interesting post and I really couldn't agree more with it.

In my experience, the "bio" part is much more difficult that the "informatics" part for us bioinformaticians, even for people who came from a biology background. Things that can be measured and dealt with a logic way are relatively much easier, such as learning a programming language or developing a software package. For things that cannot be dealt with a pure logic fashion, such as what constitutes an interesting and important project or what does one do when a paper is rejected, no one can really teach you and you just have to bang your head against the wall until you somehow magically learn the lesson (if ever).

A surprise realization about myself

I had a long chat with my brother earlier this week, which is extremely rare between us. It was just a casual chat and we didn't really talk about anything specifically. One thing we talked about is that he's trying to find a way to organize all the digital photos that accumulated over the years.

So we really didn't talk about anything serious but when I reflect about our conversation I suddenly have a surprise realization about myself. I am a pretty self-confident person, at least much so compared to my brother.

When we were in school, both of us are kind of super-overachievers compared to our peers. I thought that we both have pretty high self esteem (if not arrogance) when we grow up. Over the years, particularly with my recent struggle with finishing my PhD, I started to have a lot of self doubt. I guess that's pretty normal for scientists in general, as we often don't know what we are doing exactly (based on Einstein's definition of "research activities") and just have to constantly assessing everything. Sometimes these self doubts lead to a decrease of self confidence for me. I don't know much about my brother's life but I'd guess that he is doing pretty well and should have a better self image than I do.

However, when we chat about his quest to "the best" solution to his problem, I realized that there's something fundamentally different between us. I don't really believe in the existence of a best solution to a problem, much less that someone would have this answer for me. I'd think that the best solution to my problem, if it exists, can only be created by me. In other words, I may be an arrogant bastard. So to deal with the digital photos, my brother is eagerly checking out all available software packages and trying to find "the best" one (has to be powerful, flexible, etc). In contrast, I don't think any of those would beat what I can do with some perl scripts that I wrote. As I think more about this, I realized that we are chasing very different things in our life and have very different world views. I have always suspected that we are very different persons and now I started to realize how exactly we are different. I thought this is very interesting.


Virtual epidemiology

This article from the Economist talks about how epidemiologists are thinking about to use online games as a tool to study the spread of diseases.

I think this is really cool and it also reminds me my countless hours spent on online games back in college. It's great that someone can come up with ideas to get something useful out of these wasted productivities.

Out of mind, not the body

I read this article in the Economist about the discovery of the brain region that is responsible for creating the "out-of-body" experience and how now these experiences
can be induced on volunteers in the lab. I think this is really cool because I've always been very curious about these "out-of-body" experience when I learn meditation. So basically these studies are suggesting that if you can control the brain (through meditation or other means), you will be able to create these experience at will.

Now we just need some scientific explanations for those out-of-body experience that people travel to places that they have never been to before but can accurately describe all the details upon return to body.

Graduate school reception

The graduate school held a reception today for the graduate students that received some award or fellowship from them this year. Dean and the invited speaker both gave a very good speech about how we should be grateful for what we have received to get to where we are at now and how we should think about giving back and make a difference. It is a very good opportunity for me to reflect on some things in my life.

Also I got a chance to chat with other graduate students from several different departments. It was very interesting to learn some really cool studies in the fields that I know nothing about.

One more interesting thing is that I found the evolutionary biology program at UGA was ranked 10th in the US. Now that's a pleasant surprise.

A silly conversation

Vivian: See Alyssa, I have legs.
Alyssa: Yeah, me too.
Vivian: And David has legs too.
Alyssa: Yeah I know, but his legs are chubby.
Vivian: Yeah, and his whole body is chubby too.
Alyssa: You are right, he is a chubby boy.


Kids as ourselves

Sometime ago I started to have this feeling that Alyssa is more like me and Vivian is more like Ann. These feelings often makes me unconsciously see the kids as myself or Ann and affect my interactions with them. Maybe it is not "fair" to treat them differently because my feelings like these. But come to think of it, is it really possible to be "fair"?

They are different individuals, have different personalities, and are of different ages. All the factors make it impossible to deal with them in exactly the same way. Maybe the "fairness" can be measured in how much I love them, but the problem is that I simply love them in different ways and it is impossible to measure love. My mom always likes to say how she is being "fair" about my brother and I. Now that I am a father of three I don't think that makes much sense.

When I go to pick up Vivian at school, I often have the feeling that I'm going to take Ann out for a date and I have this unexplainable happiness and excitement. In contrast, when Alyssa is back from school and eager to show me what she has learned I share her pride as if I have learned something great myself. I am more aware of these projections of image now but I still can't stop doing that (not that I wanted to). Anyway, I think this is kind of interesting. I don't have a strong feeling like these about David yet, it'll be interesting to find out what he'll be like when he grows up. Right now he's just a very happy boy that is capable of being silly at a very young age.

We are being watched

Sometimes after kids went to bed Ann and I will want to watch some DVDs just to relax a bit. David is still little and wakes up a couple times a night so Ann always brings the baby monitor downstairs to make sure that he's ok.

The funny thing is that sometime we'll hear David cry. If Ann stands up and takes a step toward the stairs, he'll stop immediately. However, if Ann decides not to go up to check on him, he'll start to cry again. As soon as Ann turns around he'll stop again. This has happened many times now, we are joking that maybe David has a "mommy monitor" set up somewhere in our basement so he always knows what we are up to.

Two little (and one old) upholsterers

Alyssa and Vivian helped me to replace the cover of Nina's bed.

Two years ago when we first got Nina I made a bed for her. It was a very simple design that composed of a piece of carpet stapled to a wooden frame made from 2x4s. She loves it a lot but always makes it very dirty (how surprising!). Over the years I replaced the carpet part a couple times but it has been a while since the last time I did that. So I had a very simple solution to deal with the problem, just keep the bed in our screened porch. Out of sight, out of mind.

Now that Nina is spending a lot of time in the house I think it maybe worth to move the bed back in the house. Alyssa and Vivian are both eager to help with the task so I made this a collaborative project after dinner today. I'm very surprised to find that Alyssa has gotten very well with the tools that she can help me remove the old carpet all by herself. I have Vivian helped me to staple a piece of fabric that left over from Ann's curtain project. Nina is not quite sure about this change in material but I hope she will learn to like it.


Board book surfing

David came up with a new idea to increase his crawling speed today. It started as an accident when he put his hands on a board book while crawling. Because the board book is slick on our hardwood floor, he can crawl without moving his hands. This makes his crawling somewhat faster and requires less effort. Pretty soon he worked out how to do it purposely and was very proud of himself to move around in this surf-like fashion.

Treasure box by mail part 2

Our little pirates are very lucky recently. Not to be outdone by Ann's uncle in Japan, Ann's parents sent the kids an even bigger collection of goodies from Taiwan. When we got the package today the kids are so excited they are totally out of control. They are indeed spoiled rotten by their grandparents.


New shelves for Ann

I finally finished the assembly of the shelves that I made for Ann today. Last year when I was doing a lot of woodworking projects, assembly usually is the relatively easy part that can be done right after cutting. This year I am so busy with all other things (both at work and at home), it has been more than a month after I have all the parts cut before I find an evening to do the assembly. I still need to find time to put the finish on, and I have not idea when will be the next time that I can get to my workshop again.

Pow Wow at Fort Yargo State Park

This morning we went to the Fort Yargo State Park to see their 2nd annual Intertribal Pow Wow. It is a very interesting event, although we only get to see one dance and a couple songs. We got there early in the morning and found out that they plan to start the main program after lunch, possibly because there are few people there on Sunday morning. The upside of this is that it is very comfortable and low-stress to just walk around, see the booths, and talk the the people there. This is my first time to see so many Native Americans and actually talk to them. All the people we met are extremely friendly. I'm surprised to find out that Native Americans are very soft-spoken, this is totally different from the "tough warrior" type that we usually see in movies.

Alyssa and Vivian both get a buffalo tooth that later Ann made a necklace for them. They are very happy about getting this and had a lot of fun brushing it using their old toothbrush. After seeing the performance we took a short walk in the park and had a very good visit there.

The hunt for new watches

It has been a week since Vivian started her school. So far she seemed to be adapting very well. She really enjoyed learning all the new things at school (and enjoy the snack time too).

We decided to get both girls a watch so that they can learn a better concept of time and know what to expect at school. They both have an analog type that we got for them last year but that's still difficult for Vivian. So this time we decided to get them a digital one. To my surprise, this task turned out to be much more complicated than we expected. We want to find something that's not too expensive, not too big, not too fancy, does not have princess or other cartoon characters on it. I thought these are not unreasonable criteria but finding something that's acceptable to all of us turned out to be tricky. Alyssa is old enough now that she wants to have the Dora or princess one and Vivian just followed her sister's lead. Ann and I couldn't tolerate those toy-like things because they are so ugly (to us) and probably will stop working soon. We both feel like buying things like that is a waste of money, even though those cartoon watches are really cheap compared to the ones we liked better. Anyway I think this is a good lesson for kids to learn and I am very glad that Alyssa and Vivian happily accepted our explanations of why we want them to choose from the ones that we picked out from the shelf.


Rich kids part 2.5

Five days after Alyssa made her decision, Vivian, our little zoo keeper, decided to get a duck with her allowance this month.

Now that's a new species added to the collection.


Three steps towards the ball

For the first time today, I saw David walked for 3 steps all by himself to get to the ball that he dropped. Maybe he is going to start walking soon.


Edible bills

I like to read articles in Wikipedia, there are always some things that are interesting to know.

Today I learned that konjac was once used in making paper bills in Japan back in late 1800s to prevent counterfeiting. I wonder how this works. But they have to stop doing that because rats would eat the bills. Not a very good way to make it biodegradable.


Learning violins by karaoke

It never occurred to me that one can use karaoke to learn violins. But as usual, Alyssa can always come up with new ideas to surprise us.

Alyssa has been learning violin since January this year. She was doing very well and seemed to enjoy it a lot. This semester she got a scholarship that paid for all her private lessons and we are all very proud of her. As a reward for all her hard work, we decided to buy her a CD player so she can listen to the Suzuki CD in her room whenever she wants (this is what they recommended in the Suzuki Method). So we went to the store and tried to pick out a CD player for her. Alyssa quickly noticed the CD karaoke machine that's right next to the regular CD boom boxes. Intrigued by the microphone in the picture, she asked us what that is. After we explained it to her, she asked if she can get that instead. Since the price is about the same, we decided to let her get the karaoke machine.

So we went home and I taught her how to use it, gave her a Suzuki violin CD, and send her back to her room where she can have some fun. Then we heard that she was singing the violin notes "A-A-E-E-1-1-E" (twinkle-twinkle-little-star") to the background violin music. This seems like a good way for her to memorize all the notes of a song, but I've to say that this is definitely not a "normal" way for kids to learn violins.

Rich kids part 2

Alyssa decided to use her allowance to get a dog doll from Home Place this month. The stuffed animal costs $11.77, good that she still have some money left from last month to pay for the extra $1.77.

Vivian still couldn't decide what she want and will save her allowance for now. We are very happy that she can learn the idea of saving and not to buy something just because her sister did. I think this is pretty difficult and I'm amazed that Vivian can learn this lesson at 3 without much difficulty.


Earthquake or tsunami?

The elevator in our building has an "Earthquake" button on the operating panel inside. Since we moved into this new building last year that button has been an endless source of jokes. Everyone speculates what'll happen if we press it but we haven't gotten a brave soul to try that yet.

This morning someone put a sticker on the button and changed it to a "Tsunami" button. Looks like more jokes are on the way.

Speaking of the elevator I've to rant a little bit about it here. Our building is the newest one on campus and everything is state-of-art. However, the elevator is not working about two days a week, one for "preventative maintenance" and the other time is simply "unscheduled breakdown". I thought the elevators are a proven technology and can be made more reliable than that. Yet even space shuttles have better reliability than our elevator. Maybe I should stop complaining here, at least it haven't exploded yet.


If there's only 24 hours left

I had a strange dream last night, in which I was dead at the beginning and then was sent back to life and told that I only have 24 hours for this "second chance". This of course makes me think very hard about what I really wanted to do with these 24 hours. Pretty soon I came to the conclusion that I just want to hang out with Ann and the kids but have no specific things that I wanted to do. So we just have some fun together, not sure what we did exactly but something like a walk in a park and some play time at a playground. The 24 hours were up in the end of my dream. I have a very sad feeling about that I've to leave my family when I woke up. But as I think more about this, I find that I should be pretty happy. Basically I am very satisfied with my current life and there really isn't something that I feel "I've to do this before I die". The only thing that comes close to this criterion but not really in my control is that I'd want to spend some time with my grandchildren, hopefully from all my three kids.

I guess I am thinking about these things unconsciously because the recent passing of Ann's grandpa, and this resulted in this dream. It also reminded me a Japanese movie that I watched last year, 黄泉がえり (Yomigaeri) . The story line is that hundreds of people are brought back to life in a small town. These people just appeared out of no where in the state when they died. They were given this second chance by a mysterious force from a meteor and know that they would disappear again in a couple days. The movie follows the story of several people (all somewhat related in the end of course) and they all went back to their family and friends to spend time with their loved ones. It may not be a "great" movie in terms of production or other criteria people often use to judge a movie but I do enjoy it a lot.

First day of the school

Today is the first day of the fall semester at both UGA and Athens Montessori, and Vivian was away from us for the first time of her life. She had a very good start at school today and seemed to be enjoying being a "big girl". She was very very happy when I picked up at the playground. Alyssa's class went back to their room early today so we stopped by to say goodbye before we headed home.

Alyssa is also very happy about getting back to school. Staying at home for the whole summer is becoming boring for her, some school works to keep her busy is good for everyone.


Vivian's orientation day

Vivian is going to start her school at Athens Montessori School tomorrow. I took her to the school this after to meet with her teachers and had a little orientation.

Ann and I were both kind of worried because Vivian is the shy-and-quiet type. Much to my surprise, Vivian behaved almost like Alyssa (very out-going and self-confident) the moment she walked into the room and everything just went very well afterwards. Even the teachers were surprised to see a little girl acting like that.

Looks like we had a good start, hope tomorrow will be good too.

Getting ready to ride!

David asked to wear my helmet today. He crawled over to the shelf, pat on my helmet, then pat on his head, and repeated the gesture until I put the helmet on his head. The helmet is about as big as his whole body and it was a very funny scenario, almost like what you see in a cartoon. Too bad the camera wasn't handy, I will try to take a picture next time.

He seems to know that he is being nutty and had a big silly smile on his face. Alyssa helped him to put on my riding gloves as well and they are all very happy.

Treasure box by mail

Every once in a while Ann's uncle will send us a big box full of goodies from Japan. Those Japanese snacks are amazingly good everytime.

We got another big box this week (11.5 kg!). Kids are thrilled when I opened the box and we had a great snack party after lunch.

It is funny to see some little personality differences through some very small things. Alyssa would look through all choices before making a decision (about which ones she's going to pick and which one she'll have first). This is just like me. It can take me a very long time to make a decision about buying anything. I just have to make sure that I've made "the best" decision at all times.
On the other hand, Vivian is just like Ann that she can make some very quick decisions and be happy with whatever decisions they made afterwards. I don't think that we've ever concisely taught them about these decision making business and yet they just turned out to be like us. Parenting can be a good mirror and sure is full of surprises.

Home alone (with 3 kids and a dog)

Ann started to take an English class today and I had all 3 kids (and a dog) to myself for the whole morning. This is probably the longest time ever that I've to take care of all 3 kids by myself. Fortunately I made it to lunch without any problem and everyone stayed pretty happy for the whole morning.


Old faces in a new book

Upon the invitation of Yung-Yao, I (hesitatingly) joined the facebook.

Being a not very sociable person, I am not a big fan of the social network craze (the bust of Friendster doesn't help either). Plus I am much slower at adapting new technology compares to the younger GenYer. Maybe we GenXer should move out of our text-based BBS from the 90s to keep in touch with each other.

Also got into contact with Szu-Wei Chen ("The Priciple"). It is a lot of fun reading his blog, the broccoli story is a very funny piece.

Bubble gum kiss

Every morning when I leave for work I get a "hug-and-kiss" from my daughters. This routine was first created by Vivian and subsequently adapted by Alyssa. It is very sweet, but actually I prefer the non-sweet version.

So far I've gotten regular kisses (I like these), milk kisses (don't like these that much), candy kisses (very sweet indeed), jelly kisses (sweet and messy), peanut butter kisses (not so sweet but still messy), and chocolate kisses (the ones that I dreaded the most). Today I got the bubble gum kisses, which fortunately weren't too sticky.


A forgetful zoo keeper

Vivian has a great love of all her stuffed animals. Every night before going to bed, she will carefully arrange her huge collection of animals on the bed I made for her. We often joking call her a zoo keeper and her bed "The Zoo". Unfortunately, she is only good at remembering which animals she has but not where she had put them during the day, so I always have to hunt for the animals before kiss her goodnight.

Naturally, when we are planning an over-night trip to Alabama this week she asked to bring a couple of her stuffed animals with us. Although we know the headache involved in hunting stuffed animals in unimaginable places, we approved her request in the hope that this trip will be easier for her.

Not surprisingly, one of the animals eventually gone MIA. Just after we checked out of the hotel this morning and everyone is buckled up ready to go, Vivian sadly announced that her little pink puddle ("Babw") is missing. And of course, she didn't remember where she put it or when did that happen. Fortunate, Alyssa is very good at noticing things that no one else would and remembering every tiny event. She quickly told us that she saw Vivian hiding Babw under the pillow when I asked them into the bathroom to brush their teeth. Knowing that the house keeping was waiting for us when we left the room, I quickly ran upstairs for a rescue mission. Luckily they were just about to finish the cleaning and didn't throw out Babw. The cleaning ladies all had a big laugh when they hear the whole story of a traveling zoo keeper. They all said it's amazing that a 3-year old can remember to ask for her little pink puddle, but I think the truly amazing girl here is Alyssa.

Giraffes big and small

Today is our second day in Birmingham for our weekend vacation and we went to the Birmingham Zoo. They have a baby giraffe turned one this month and that was one of the main attractions. So we went for the giraffe feeding time and had a lot of fun in the zoo.

It turned out that the baby wasn't too interested in interacting with people but the mom is very eager to get some treats from the visitors. This is the first time that I've ever to be this close to a giraffe and the animal is stunningly beautiful. It is very interesting to see what it can do with its 18"-long tongue too.

Overall we enjoyed the zoo a lot, much more so than the bigger (and supposedly "better") Atlanta Zoo. On the way back Ann and I were talking about this and I feel that this has some connections to the Many Moons story. A couple years ago we are more focused on pursuing the "bigger and better". But our value and world view changed a lot in the recent years, possibly because of the kids and our change in life-style. Now we learned more about to appreciate and enjoy whatever small joys that we have. Maybe this is the secret to a great life.


Old friends and very old motorcycles

Today we got together with Kate and Robert at the Barber Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. Kate and Robert are among the first people we know when we moved to Iowa. Ann and Kate both started their graduate program in Landscape Architecture in the same year and become best friends with their countless hours together in the studio. It has been four years since the last we saw each other in Ames and they have moved to Mississippi shortly after our move to Georgia.

So this weekend we decided to meet half-way in Alabama and I get a chance the visit the Barber Motorcycle Museum. The museum is really great in almost all aspects (other than that you don't get to ride the bikes there). The building is beautiful and the collection is amazing, from the earliest to the latest motorcycles in history. I'm also very happy to see that a Kawasaki Ninja 250 is included in the exhibition.

Although a Honda NSR 150 is nowhere to be found, they do have a Honda NSR 125 in exhibition.

There are some very interesting bikes in their collection, such as this one with a beautiful wooden sidecar:

This one for riding on icy road:

Two from Michael Jordon's team (I don't know he was into motorcycle racing):

Folding scooters:

This one that I've no idea how to ride:

One more great thing about the museum is that you can see a part of the racing track next to the building (a tight U-turn). They happened to have a event going on today (don't know if it's a race or just a track day) and we get to see a lot of bikes racing down the track. All kids got very excited to see that, David keeps jumping up and down in the stroller whenever a bike passed by. He also complains a lot and keeps pointing to the track whenever we moved away from the windows. It's great that he's showing such good potential, we probably can have our track days together pretty soon. :)


Highchair on back order

David can climb up the highchairs that I made for Alyssa and Vivian all by himself now. Whenever he sees one of his sisters gets down, he will crawl over chair and climb up on the empty chair. He looks so ready for one now I probably has one more item to add to my to-do list.


Many moons

"Many moons" is an very interesting children's book that I read today. In the story a king promised to get the moon for his daughter, so he called all the wise men in the kingdom to help him with this quest. However, everyone told the king that it is possible and argued how far away the moon is and what is the moon made of. Of course, the king got very confused and mad. Finally it is the jester that suggested the king to ask the princess and see what the moon really is in her mind.

The princess replied that the moon is a tiny golden disc that is smaller than her thumbnail and hangs just a little bit higher than the tree top. So in the end this seemingly impossible quest was easily solved by the jester to climb up on the tree outside of princess's window and pretended that he got the golden disc made by the royal goldsmith from the tree top.

The moral of the story? I guess sometimes it really doesn't matter what the "truth" is, because everyone has their own reality. This is true with kids, and true with grown-ups too.


A very sad news

Ann's grandpa passed away today.

The good thing about leading a double life

People always say that cultural diversity is good. In my case of embracing both Taiwanese and American culture, sometime that means I can get twice as many holidays.

August 8th is the Father's day in Taiwan (in Mandarin 8-8 has the same pronunciation as father), so in addition to the American Father's day in June, I got another one today. Isn't that nice? (poor Ann, Mother's day seems to be the same day everywhere in the world)

Alyssa and Vivian both made a card for me and I picked up a couple DVDs from Circuit City for myself.

Monkey business indeed

There are so many things that people want (and can!) smuggled onto an airplane, now even monkeys are being added to the list. This is totally ridiculous.


AQ = 32

I found this Asperger's test on Reed's blog. I think it is funny that they associate geekiness with autism. They define geekiness as poor social skill, attention switching, communication and imagination, and an exaggerated attention to detail.

Anyway, I get an AQ of 32, the diagnosis is:

Scores over 32 are generally taken to indicate Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, with more than 34 an "extreme" score.

I probably should reduce my attention to details and work on improving my social skills.

Bioinformatics is REALLY hard

Saw this post on Bioinformatics Zen about it is hard to be a bioinformatician, mostly about the importance of self-discipline and self-confidence. I guess it's double hard to be a graduate student in bioinformatics because graduate students in general do not have a whole lot of self-confidence about what we are doing. We always have to ask if we are doing things right and if we are working on something that's important. And the worst of it is that we never get answers to these questions.

Anyway, I just presented the paper that I'm working on now (lineage-specific genes in Apicomplexa) in Daniel's lab meeting. Got a lot of useful comments on what I should do to refine it. I'm really glad that I finally started to write this up. I got a much better idea about what I'm doing when I need to write and talk to people.


Google is taking over the world!

Well, mine at least.

After years of hesitation, I finally moved all my emails to gmail this week. It took a bit more than 1 day to move all my 200k+ emails accumulated over the last couple years. It took some tweaking to get everything right but I finally got a way to preserve the timestamp of all my emails when uploading them to gmail (something that gmail loader can't do). The trick is to setup an IMAP account, upload all emails on my hard drive, and let gmail to fetch them through POP access.

Compares to Apple Mail, there are both good and bad things about the gmail. I like to use labels to tag my emails, which makes organizing a lot easier. But gmail sometimes gets the grouping (they call it "conversations") wrong and the help say there's no way to fix that. This is very annoying but I guess one can't ask too much for such a great free service.

Several people asked about this so I thought it's worth to clarify how I uploaded my emails to preserve the timestamp.

The key is to setup an external email account (NOT gmail) that allows both IMAP and POP access. I did this using my web hosting service (1and1.com). After this external account is ready, I set up my Apple Mail (Mac OS 10.4) to access this IMAP account, drag and drop all emails on my hard drive to this IMAP account. At this point, I am just moving the emails from my hard drive to the external server (the gmail account is still empty).

After this is done and I verified all the timestamps were correct, I setup the POP access to this external account in my gmail. When gmail downloads the emails through POP access, all the timestamps were preserved.


Inks: Noodler's Forest Green

I got a new bottle of ink to use with my fountain pen. It is a Forest Green color Noodler's Ink that I bought from the Fountain Pen Hospital. The color is a very rich (but not dark) green. I like the color a lot and the ink seemed to be of very good quality. They also make a lot of other interesting color that I'd want to try sometime. For now this replace the Royal Blue ink made by Montblanc as my favorite ink.


David's armchair

David has been very interested in joining Alyssa and Vivian when they work on their craft project in our living room. The problem is that all the benches I made are not stable enough for him (well, they are not designed for standing and jumping up-and-down anyway). So I made an extremely stable armchair that's almost impossible to tip over for David last weekend. I still need to find time to do the finish but that seems unlikely now. I just have too many things going on both at work and at home. Alyssa and Vivian helped me today with sanding to make sure the chair is smooth and has no sharp corners. I guess that's good enough for now. David seems to be thrilled.