radio silence

I’ve been working on a post about fanfic writing and how that’s coming along, but it’s pretty uninspired. Ironic, given I’m feeling otherwise inspired about writing; I guess writing about writing is too meta for my muse.

Pink shirt!The last month has been a bit crazy with travel, which is why the blog has been quiet. After Miami in May, Tim traveled to Saratoga Springs for a week, then I had a barely-two-day fling with Florida, this time for CSS Conf.

The conference itself was great, but the next time I say I’m going to fly to the opposite end of the country for a one-day conference, and fly back at 6 the next morning, just slap me. I’m claiming brain damage from a too-long winter and sunlight deprivation, because who in their right mind takes a “day-trip” across the country and back with two connections? Me, apparently.

But I did get a bright pink t-shirt out of the deal, so I’m calling it an overall win.

Haircut!This week, Tim’s galavanting around in Scotland with our colleagues while I try to work around the kids, both of whom are home for the summer. This amounts to 100% less getting up at ungodly hours to get Ellie on the bus (win), and 100% more whining about all the random things five-year-olds whine about (lose). This is the part where I thank my lucky stars for our amazing nanny and the abundance of parks within driving distance.

Oh, and Ellie got a haircut!

As for the two-year-old, she’s requested Cheez-its for breakfast every morning for the last month.  “Accept no substitutes” is Gwen’s motto, and she applies it liberally to every aspect of her life. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered the joys of cold-brewed coffee, and am dominating the DVR with David Duchovny movies and old X-Files episodes since Tim’s not here to roll his eyes at my weird and/or obsessive taste.

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Hello, Miami

I just got back from six days in Miami for a work meetup with our squad. This is the first squad event I’ve planned, so I was a bit nervous — mostly about the location, and driving in the city. Thankfully both things worked out (as they usually do).

The hotel wasn’t anything special, but it was affordable, clean, the internet worked, and there were a few restaurants and a Starbucks within walking distance.

We drove through the city and out to the South Beach area a couple times, and I was a surprisingly calm and competent driver (this coming from the woman who learned to drive on teeny back roads, and a highway where you’re more likely to hit a moose than another car…) We would have been totally lost without Michelle, my trusty navigator.

The food was especially great; a big win, since we had an array of unique dietary requirements in our six-person group. Lots of Cuban and Latin influences, and a couple Japanese restaurants stood out (I have a newfound appreciation for sushi/maki after this trip). It was usually possible to find something for everyone, and a couple of the dinners were particularly amazing. We also did a food tour activity on the last day, and that was a hit.

And there was the beach! We spent a couple hours just hanging out in the sun. It’s been such a long winter, the ocean breeze and sub-tropical scenery were a welcome change.

I completely forgot to take photos of everyone working; suffice it to say we did work, and you’ll see the results in the next couple weeks. All in all, it was a successful, engaging, and fun week.

With that in mind, I’m glad I don’t have to plan another one for at least a year. :)

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Charleston in photos

Charleston was an adventure! We visited during the ice storm, so the area where we stayed shut down for two days, and the majority of our division’s European contingent got stranded in Florida/North Carolina due to flight cancellations. We spent a lot of time inside. I suppose when I wished for a winter trip to a warmer climate, I should have been more specific. It was warmer than Maine…but not by much. :)

That said, our team pulled together and made lemonade out of lemons. Sure, the lemonade may have been spiked with sweet tea vodka, but it was pretty damn delicious.

2013 in review

2013 was rough–stressful in both good and bad ways, and looking back I’m floored at the amount of stuff our family has been through. There’s been travel, moving, new additions, injuries, and work–we’ve run the gamut, and I’m proud of all of us for making it through with relative good humor and patience. Hopefully 2014 will go a little easier on us.

A rough timeline of events:

  • A work trip to Hawaii in January made for a picture perfect start to the year
  • In April, we adopted Atticus. I had no idea one puppy could be so much work! But he is a sweetheart, and he’s calmed down quite a bit since we first brought him home. He likes to lay on my feet on the couch at night while I write or work.
  • In May, I traveled to Italy for work. Our team stayed in a rustic countryside villa in the hills outside of Florence, which was as amazing as it sounds.
  • We sold our condo in central Maine and moved north (the nearest Starbucks is in Canada, if that tells you how far north we are), back to my childhood home, to be closer to family. Easily one of the best decisions we could have made. The girls are thriving, and we’re loving all this space.
  • Gwen turned two in September, and boy, did she ever turn two. She owns her two-ness. She climbs, she runs, she’s maniacally happy and sad in one breath, she’s persistent and driven, and she wants to do everything by herself. Yep, definitely two.
  • Speaking of Gwen, we had that burn accident in September, which landed her in the hospital for three days and scared us all pretty badly. Thankfully everything turned out OK, we held it together, and she came out mostly unscathed. Though now she likes to tell everyone, “Mama spill hot coffee on my monkey shirt! Hurt. I cry.”
  • Another trip, this time to San Francisco and Santa Cruz for the Automattic company meetup.
  • We were without regular internet access until November, which made things difficult for working at home, but we managed. Got pretty familiar with the very few free wi-fi spots in town, and drank a lot of Tim Horton’s coffee.
  • I wrote not one but two novel-length pieces of X-Files fanfic, completing my first NaNoWriMo! Woohoo! I’m in the process of publishing the first novel here.
  • November also marked my second European trip of the year, this time to London, and I really want to go back; I feel like I could have spent weeks there.
  • I worked a lot. I may have spent more time in pajamas than is considered socially acceptable. I continue to marvel at how lucky I am to work with the people I do, and to get paid to do the stuff I do. From home. In my pajamas with the Ninja Turtles on them. Yeah. I love my job.
  • I struggled with depression, and it took a lot of time and convincing for me to acknowledge it, but with help from an SSRI and therapy, I’m ending the year from a happier, more balanced place.
  • Ellie turned five in December, which feels like a personal milestone for me. When she was a newborn, I remember thinking of five as some magical, mystical age in the distant future, and now it’s here, and I am so proud of my smart, funny, beautiful little girl. She drives me crazy, but I love her to pieces and I can’t wait to see what the next five years bring.

Upcoming in 2014? More travel. Potty training (redux). More fanfic writing. Working. Family. And hopefully a happier, more positive outlook on the whole.

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London in photos

This post is only two months late in coming, but I had the good fortune to spend a week in London for work back in November. Here are some highlights, including yummy food, sights, and pics from a street art tour: