Apple’s Watching

new_shiny_toys_I’ve been a Fitbit fan since the beginning. Five years of tracking steps and movement, and I’m definitely a more active person because of it.

That said, it’s time to move on. When Apple announced the new Watch with GPS support and a future Pokémon Go app…yeah. Sorry, Fitbit. It’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve been saving my pennies to buy an Apple Watch, and it arrived a couple weeks ago. I even splurged for a colorful band.

My watch and I are still in the getting-to-know you phase. I appreciate the regular nudges to move around, and Apple has incorporated mindfulness into the routine as well with the Breathe app. I like that I get notifications without having to open my phone, though there aren’t many apps I use that are supported by the watch yet. That’s OK, since I’m mostly using it as a fitness tracker.

The most useful non-fitness-related app is the integration with Todoist; being able to walk through the grocery store and check items off my shopping list without opening my phone is cool. I’m not interested in browsing Instagram or Twitter from my wrist. No big thing.

One of the primary complaints from others is the watch’s size, but I have a large frame; it doesn’t look preposterous on me, and it’s smaller and much prettier than my Fitbit Surge. The screen isn’t as hard to read and interact with as I thought it would be, and I love that I can use Siri to send messages while I’m on the go.

The biggest downside I’ve discovered is an inconsistency with Apple’s Workouts app recognizing “exercise” minutes in the Activity app.

For example, if I set up a workout for a brisk walk (30-40 minutes at 3.0 mph or greater, sustained heart rate well within my target zone) and get only 10-15 exercise minutes.

Whereas if I don’t use Workouts and do the same walk (or even a less intense pace), I’ll get 20-30 exercise minutes. I’ve calibrated the watch twice now, but this happens regardless.  I’d have to run to get Workouts to recognize my activity as “exercise-worthy”, and everyone knows I don’t run unless I’m being chased by a large, hungry animal.

Until Apple can make their own apps play nice, I’ve scrapped using Workouts in favor of just walking. It’s not as exciting as logging my walks in an app, but I get a greater sense of satisfaction from seeing exercise minutes that I sweat my fat butt off for, thank you very much!

The other thing that bugs me is the lack of support for sleep tracking; I wasn’t doing that with the Fitbit because the band irritated my wrist if I didn’t take it off at night. The Apple Watch’s band doesn’t seem to irritate, so I’d love to be able to wear it all night, but the battery wouldn’t hold up. It seems like such an obvious thing, and I wish the batteries were up to the task.

But the truly terrible thing about the Apple Watch? Niantec still hasn’t released the Pokémon Go app! I’m awaiting the announcement with baited breath, ie. obsessively checking Apps for an update. I can’t wait to be able to walk my eggs without holding my phone.

I’ve been eyeing the Watch ever since it was first announced, and I’m glad I waited. They don’t have all the kinks worked out yet, obviously, but I’m pretty happy with it.


Teeny tiny tats

I may be addicted to tiny tattoos.

After my first tattoo last year, I knew I wanted more, and this year’s meetup was as good a time as any. After much deliberation and experimentation, I ended up with two designs, and I couldn’t choose between them.

I knew I wanted a skeleton key of some kind. I love old keys. I also wanted something small behind my ear, but the key idea didn’t fit there.

I also wanted to acknowledge that Tim got his first tattoo this year — a Celtic knot on his wedding ring finger — and finding a way to incorporate that connection into the tattoo, whether directly or indirectly, was important to me.

After much iteration, I decided on a heart-shaped key on my right wrist to balance the tattoo on my left, symbolizing the love part of “amor fati”, and the Celtic knot behind my left ear.

I’m so happy with the new work, and now I’m having all sorts of new ideas for more tattoos. I didn’t believe Tammie when she said tattooing is addictive, but she may be on to something…


Automattic Grand Meetup, Whistler, BC

Where's Waldo? Credit to Donncha for the photo.

Where’s Waldo? Credit to Donncha for the photo.

What an amazing week.

I didn’t take as many photos as in past years; I blame Pokémon and soaking in the experience rather than trying to capture it. But my friends and coworkers took lots of photos and I have plenty of memories to share.

I walked a 5k, I got not just one but two tattoos, I saw coyotes and beautiful mountain scenery, and painted my own version of said scenery. The afterparty included tasty drinks and dancing. There were lots of meetings (so many meetings) and lunches and dinners and discussion, and now my head is full and I want to sleep for a week.


I did the WWWP5k!

Automattic runs/walks/hops

Where’s Waldo, #wwwp5k edition.

And it begins!

And it begins!

I’ve never been a runner. I will probably never be a runner. I tried Couch to 5K once and got about a week into the program before I decided to save my knees and walk instead.

But I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately (thanks Pokémon!), and my endurance has improved. Each year, Automattic does this world-wide WordPress 5k, and this year they’re donating to a good cause, so I figured what the heck; let’s do it!

Scenic Whistler

Scenic Whistler

I was with a small group of other walkers, and I had my trusty Pokémon to keep my mind occupied when I wasn’t chatting with my walking buddy (who was also playing Pokémon). It was chilly and rainy (45℉/7℃), but the scenery was beautiful and the company made it so much fun.

I may have found myself a new Grand Meetup tradition. 🙂


Post-5k Soggy Walkers selfie. Photo by Jen Hooks.

Post-5k Soggy Walkers selfie. Photo by Jen Hooks.


Summer adventures

The end of a season is always bittersweet. On one hand, I adore fall and all the wonderful things that come with it; on the other, it feels like summer flew by. The hottest days were relatively few and far between up here in the north, there was not nearly enough lake time, and I could have taken a few more weeks’ vacation and not felt the pull of work.

The kids are clinging, driving both their father and me nuts, so it must be time for them to go back to school. Tomorrow we’ll put them on the bus and restart the school-year routines. I feel entirely unprepared and frazzled. I may be in a bit of denial, particularly with regards to Gwen, who turns five in two days. So many mixed emotions!

September also begins a three-month-long string of events that will probably make the rest of the year fly by. There are work trips planned to British Columbia and Spain, my brother’s wedding, more home improvements, birthdays, and holidays.

It was a good summer, a solid summer. Looking back on these photos and thinking about everything we’ve done, it’s clear we made some new memories. Bring it on, autumn. We’re ready for you!