Things I wrote

  • Freshening up

    A few weeks ago as I was trying to fall asleep I got an idea for a redesign of this site. And I got excited about it. I promptly fell asleep and then woke up and was still excited.

  • Daily Drawing 2017: A quarter of the way in

    On January 1, 2017 I started the first month of prompts using the first set of materials, watercolor brush markers. Yesterday I finished the third month of daily prompts and materials, drawing with white, gold, and silver pens on black paper.

  • A quiet life in the fog

    He writes there sporadically, but it's always welcome when it hits my feed. And on Monday a post hit my feed and I read it and it's stuck with me since.

  • Resting to be productive

    But in the last several years it's been one thing, more than any other, that has increased my productivity and helped me get shit done. Rest.

  • Daily drawing 2017

    I'm doing Jennifer Lewis Orkin's Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way throughout all of 2017.

  • Car free life

    We've been car free for almost six months now and we're entering into the difficult season to be car free. It's not as fun to walk for necessities when it's raining and chilly. But in the time that we've not had a car, I've thought about car related things quite a bit (traffic, parking, etc).

  • Voting

    Ten years ago when we moved to Portland I experienced voting by mail for the first time. A ballot arrived, a voting guide arrived, I filled out the ballot, and I mailed it back in. That was it, I'd voted.

  • Writing my tweets

    I tweeted about this yesterday, but I figured since in my string of tweets I talked about putting my energy into this site, I should probably write about it here.

  • Performance and assumptions

    And in light of the work I did to write the talk on performance and then reading and listening to the discussion on JavaScript, I've been reminded, yet again, that we really like to make assumptions.

  • Ambition

    Elise Albert captures many of my thoughts about being a woman, work, and ambition.

  • The flag

    I've been thinking about that ever since it happened. The assumptions that were made by me having small flags in the flower pots that are lining our walkway. I put them there in June, in honor of flag day.

  • 100 days of small self portraits

    Well, this is it, another 100 day project is finished. And, to be quite honest, I'm so ready for it to be done.

  • Garbage

    A few weeks ago I listend to a 99% Invisible podcast about how garbage is handled in Taiwan. I found it absolutely fascinating. And to be quite honest, I've been thinking about garbage ever since.

  • Ten years

    On this day ten years ago G, Sally, and I arrived in an eastern suburb of Portland, we were here to stay. We drove that day from Billings, Montana through to Spokane, down through the Tri Cities, finally making our way to I-84 and the absolutely gorgeous drive through the Columbia River Gorge to arrive in Portland.

  • Style Guide, Pattern Library, Design System, oh my!

    How do you define a Pattern Library? A Style Guide? A Design System? Are they the same thing or aspects of one another? I've been working hard to come up with what those terms mean. Part of that is seeing how are others defining them. I've seen quite a few posts come into my stream doing exactly that; defining how they use these terms.

  • Sketchbooking

    And for the most part I've been doing all my drawing in sketchbooks. The exceptions have been cards I've made for people, but other than that, I stick to the sketchbooks even though I have some really nice stand alone paper.

  • Weight

    I've read several articles lately that talk about our bodies and how they work when it comes to weight and weight loss. I've been fascinated by them, because each of them is taking the advice we've been given for decades on how to be healthy and turning it on its head.

  • Another 100 days

    If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, then you've probably seen my latest 100 day project. I started on April 19 and am going into July and each day I'm drawing a small self portrait

  • Another year

    It's that time of year again for me, another year of my life is starting.

  • Taking a break

    I think by now most of use have read that balance and taking breaks are a good idea. But it still hits home when you actually do it and reap the benefits. And this past holiday season I was fortunate enough to get the time to take a break, as my company closes down for the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year's.

  • Discipline

    I've been thinking a lot about the word discipline. What it means for my day-to-day life, what it means as far as how I want to live a better life, and how I discipline myself.

  • Overcoming self doubt

    I still have moments of self doubt, over and over again, ten years into building things on the web.

  • Hope

    2015, for many reasons, has been really tough year for me. I've had a hard time having hope.

  • Success defined

    My friend Jonathan Snook recently wrote and asked what does success look like. He's also been tweeting quite a bit about it as well and it got me to thinking.

  • Paper by FiftyThree

    In the process of making Paper work for the iPhone, FiftyThree was actually quite daring, they rethought the entire app and so with the new version there were quite a few changes on the iPad version as well.

  • Old school

    Lately I've been putting what energy I have to give into some old school ideas on the web. Instead of jumping on the latest and greatest social media community, I'm reverting back to some things that have been around for a long time.

  • Thoughts on the 100 day project

    I did it, I completed The 100 Day Project. For 100 days, I've had a recurring TeuxDeux on my list: 100 day project. It's gone, it's over, it's been 100 days. And I thought I would share some thoughts about going through this process, along with some of my favorites from the last 100 days.

  • Communication is key

    I've been working remotely for several years now, either full-time for a company, or as a freelancer. I've worked remotely where there was an office, offices full of people, and fully distributed teams.

  • Robots, work, and money

    I recently listened to the Planet Money podcast series on robots. It was really interesting to me, especially in that it pointed out some ways robots could be used that I never would have imagined they would work (like for psychological therapy? wut?).

  • Changing culture

    I've been reading a lot of things lately about performance on the web. Much of the writing being done has been spurred by the release of Facebook Instant. And while I agree with what is being said by many smart people, I can't help but wonder something.

  • Experiences as ideas

    Two months ago on this site I wrote a bit about the way I think about work and life. This has been an ongoing evolution for me, pushed by a lot of what I've read on the subject of work life balance.

  • Hello Fictive Kin

    Today I'm happy to announce that I'm leaving the freelancing life for full time work with Fictive Kin. There is a lot that has gone into this decision, but let me say that I have been looking at and thinking about full time work for most of this year.

  • The 100 Day Project

    So now I'm going to add in another thing to my days to help me slow down and also get back in the habit of regular sketching. For my 100 Day Project I'm going to do a daily sketch journal.

  • Work and life

    I’ve spent the last several years thinking about work. It all began when I read The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work by Joanne B. Ciulla. A book that still has me thinking about what it means to work in the current US culture, along with how work has changed over history. Since Ciulla traces work from hundreds of years ago to modern times, it’s a look at many different ways of thinking about work.

  • Daily jottings

    I started a new intention back in January, and since I'm still doing it fairly regularly, I guess you could say it's a habit now. I began what I've called my Daily Jottings.

  • Little Susie

    Reflections on the past year and a glimpse of the little me as I turn a year older.

  • Success

    I got off the paved road a while ago, it just didn’t seem worth it to me. Because other things than what my culture tells me is success is what I feel makes me successful. But it isn't always easy.

  • Reputation not brand

    I only knew David Carr by reading his column almost every week. Since he died last week, I've read a lot of the various remembrances of him because he, now that I'm learning more, was a fascinating person.

  • Making a journal

    Last Saturday I got up and had an easy morning and then packed up a tote with supplies and headed to the southeast campus of Portland Community College to take a class on book binding, specifically learning to make journals.

  • Part time

    Part-time work doesn't seem to exist in the tech industry and I find that intriguing and perplexing. Why? Why are companies not filling gaps with part-time employees?

  • Boredom

    The other day I was making dinner and, as is my routine, I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR while moving about the kitchen. A story about boredom came on. If you haven't listened to it, the crux of it is that there is a lack of creativity because we are never bored anymore, thanks to our smart phones.

  • 2014 year end review

    2014 was a tumultuous year for me. What I was doing at the end of the year was nothing like what I expected when the year began.

  • Consistency

    My friend Kitt kicked off the new year of Pastry Box bakers with a great piece on consistency. I like the idea of consistency, it goes along with the idea of routine that I've written about before.

  • One year

    I can't quite believe that one year ago we were starting our last day together.

  • Speaking

    Last week I traveled up to Whistler, BC to speak at SmashingConf, giving my very first conference talk. It was a great experience, I learned a great deal, I met so many wonderful people, and I think my talk was a success.

  • Enough

    Lately I've been thinking about the word enough quite a bit. Mostly because I look around at a culture of excess and many aren't satisfied that they have enough, so I've been thinking about what that means. What is enough?

  • Pulling back

    Over the past couple of months, the internet has been a hard place to be in some ways. Twitter is a part of it, but for me, the whole thing has been difficult.

  • The newspaper

    We get a newspaper delivered to our house every day. I know, an actual physical newspaper. After we get it off the porch, we make breakfast and sit down to eat and read. Yes, we are the fifties couple of yesterday, but living in 2014.

  • Star gazing

    The summer of 2014 will go down as the summer of star gazing in our house. Not that we won't continue on with it, but because this was the beginning.

  • XOXO

    This past weekend I was in a large warehouse in inner SE Portland with several hundred other people, listening to brilliant talks, seeing old friends, and making new friends. This was my second XOXO and it definitely lived up to my expectations after attending the first one in 2012.

  • Writing and learning

    A few months ago I wrote a post on CSS Audits. It was definitely one of those things where I figured no one else would really care, but a wise person told me to write about the things you enjoy doing so people know. So I dashed it off, put it up, tweeted about it, and went on with my day.

  • The phone

    In the midst of the announcement this week I went for a run. While running I began to think about how much longer we will actually need phones. When I say phones I'm talking about the dialing a number, hearing a ring, and someone answering so you can talk. The least used feature on a smart phone these days.

  • Designer or me?

    A few months ago I asked some friends for recommendations for a designer. I was feeling like my site needed a little help. it needed a fresh set of eyes to maybe spruce it up. I still wanted it to center on type and words, but I wasn't sure what else.

  • Twitter and me

    Frank Chimero wrote about the way Twitter has been changing lately, it's a good piece and if you haven't read it, I recommend you do that before you continue on here. Ever since I read it yesterday morning I've been thinking about it. Not just the changes that are happening currently at Twitter, but also the role Twitter plays for me.

  • Summer's end

    This week was always bittersweet for me as a kid. In Minnesota, public school began the day after Labor Day, so this week was all about squeezing the last of summer freedom for everything you could.

  • Odd person out

    Lately, whenever I am in a conversation with a team regarding mobile, namely native app or responsive web, I usually end up feeling like the odd person out. Yes, I have a device, but the most used "app" on my device is actually a good old browser.

  • My summer vacation

    Last week I was on vacataion and in true grade school form, here are a few photos from my week. I spent part of it in Sunriver, OR and the rest at home, staying off line about 90% of the time, reading lots of Fables, some novels, and drawing. All-in-all, a good week.

  • Do the work

    It all started with the Mad Men episode this past spring where Don is upset at having to work under Peggy, his protégé.

  • Chloe

    Many people have written about Chloe and as I've read them I've learned so many different things about her personality. They are all wonderful tributes to her.

  • Retaining value

    Yesterday on The Pastry Box, Ed Finkler wrote a piece called The Developer's Dystopian Future. I read it while eating my brekkie and it struck a chord with me.

  • Busy is a decision

    I have written about my dislike of the word busy and especially how it is used in our culture. The cult of busy and the need for people to out busy each other, along with it being a rote answer to the question "How are you?" is something that continues to bother me.

  • New section: Reading

    This past weekend, I finished reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It was a great read with lots of tidbits I immediately wanted to record somewhere. And then the problem came up, where to record them?

  • In honor of Rebecca

    My site is a little different today and will be for about a week or so. This site has gone purple, in honor of a little girl who fought bravely against cancer.

  • Reading

    The last month or so has seen me reading voraciously. I've been spending most, if not all sometimes, of my weekends reading books.

  • CSS audits

    I've been fortunate in the last few months to work on quite a few different projects and each one has had unique needs. I've refactored and cleaned up code, I've added on to an existing application, I've created a layout system and taken care of front ends needs for an application, and I've done a CSS audit.

  • Flexbox: porting a float layout

    Recently I tweeted a lot about flexbox, both asking for resources and then later, professing my love for it. Before my most recent project, I had dabbled in flexbox just a bit, mostly using it for any side by side layout I needed on this site.

  • Refactor

    In my first months of freelancing I've been juggling two very different types of projects. One is working with a startup and creating their front end layout system and all that goes along with that. The other is refactoring an existing site. While both types of projects have been enjoyable, I gotta say, I am starting to love the refactor.

  • Style guide links

    As a follow up to my article on A List Apart I thought I would put together a list of links that have been extremely helpful to me as I've thought about style guides.

  • Writing with an editor

    I was just published for the first time; it was also the first time I worked with a professional editor to get an article in tip top shape. The entire experience was fantastic and I learned a lot about writing, word choice, and how to shape a piece.

  • Flexbox, hello

    This past week I delved deeply into the world of flexbox for the very first time for a client project. Finally letting go of floats for layout is the biggest change to the way I'm writing CSS since I started this whole thing.

  • Settling into freelance

    If you follow me on twitter, than you know I've gone freelance. I haven't written about it in this space yet, because I've been busy — which is a good thing. But not sharing this news in this space doesn't feel right, so here I am talking about it.

  • RWD and design and frameworks

    When we worked together, framework free, and he pushed at me try new things, we weren't constrained.

  • RWD and design

    Coming from the front end dev world, where I am taking the design and making the responsivey good things happen, I've experienced both good and bad in this process.

  • Yoga and me

    Many times in our lives we make a decision, and at the time we make it, we don't even really think about it; it is just another in a long string of decisions we may make in any given day. But years later, you look back, and you realize; that decision was a big deal.

  • The long game

    I read Ethan's piece two days ago where he mentioned being in the long game when creating for the web. That phrase "long game" then proceeded to follow me around in my head.

  • Making stew

    I have been cooking a lot of stew this winter. I am finally getting comfortable enough in the kitchen to go without recipes for some things, and stew is one of them.

  • Goodbye Editorially

    These past few weeks have been difficult ones, working on words and code to say goodbye to Editorially. All the while realizing that I was also saying goodbye to a team and a product that I have grown to love.

  • How buildings learn

    Just recently I was scouting around Powells and found a book that Ethan has recommended, so I picked it up. How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand is a fascinating read.

  • Breaking systems

    Before I started at Editorially, I was a big believer in Object Oriented CSS. It was my preferred method for building out a site. I have to say that I still really like a lot of the components, but now I also see that there are valid reasons for coding things a bit differently as well.

  • Space to wander

    I live my life surrounded by tech. It is all around me all the time. Usually I have at least one techy gadget around me, be it the iPad, iPhone, a laptop, or when watching movies the mac mini that we use to stream. But lately, I have felt a need to walk away from all that tech. I want to be alone with my thoughts.

  • Marketable skills?

    Some blog posts over the past few days have been going around talking about marketable skills and what it takes to be a front end developer these days.

  • Doubling down

    Recently I read a post by Frank Chimero and I felt the same way. I would like my one home on the internet to have all the things I am doing on it. As a start towards this, I have redone my site again.

  • Community

    Last week, in spite of the holiday, was an extremely difficult week around my house. But it was also a week that taught me so much about community...

  • Goodbye my girl

    I grew up with dogs, but the reality is they were my mom’s dogs. She was the pack leader, rightfully so as she took care of them and did everything for them. When they died I had already moved out, so I didn’t experience the day-to-day loss of their presence.

  • Thankful

    It is that time of year, at least in the US, where people are thankful. At least, I hope, in the midst of the crushing craziness that is the start of the holidays there are at least a few moments of peace and quiet.

  • RWD, connectivity, thoughts

    This week has been a great week for reading on the web. There have been good old fashioned blogging back and forths going on between Ethan and Luke, with Peter-Paul chiming in as well. It has also been a week where the idea of Offline First came out and received quite a bit of attention.

  • Brooklyn

    I spent last week in Brooklyn. It was my first time being there, and as a Portlander, I had heard how similar the two are time and again. I went for work meetings, finally met my coworkers (hooray!), and attended Brooklyn Beta with the horde of webbish people in a large hangar on Friday.

  • No internets

    I recently got back from a beach vacation. What made this unusual is that I went on vacation and took zero internet capable devices.

  • Style Guides: Why I love them

    I gave a talk at RefreshPDX on Style Guides.

  • How to Tell When You're Tired

    I’ve recently been really interested in the ideas of work. It all started when I read The Working Life a few years ago and it has continued to be something I am drawn to.

  • Remote Work

    I’ve been thinking a lot about remote work lately. Mostly because I have been a remote worker since the end of last November with two different companies.

  • Transition

    A few weeks ago I got an email from a local friend introducing me to someone I have long admired in the web community. Then I got an email from that same person asking me if I wanted to work with his start up.

  • Writing

    Several years ago, I either read or heard a story that Jeffrey Zeldman told. He was looking for a designer on short notice to step in and finish a project. The person he found had a blog and that was a key factor in Jeffrey hiring him.

  • CSS Frameworks

    Last week while at CSS Conf, there were two frameworks announced and discussed during two of the talks. The first was Topcoat, which is spearheaded by the folks at Adobe and the second was Pure, developed by Yahoo.

  • CSS Conf

    Just over a week ago G and I made the trek from Portland down to Amelia Island, FL. We went for a few days of sun on the beach, but also because I attended the inaugural CSS Conf.

  • Progress

    Well, it's happening, I am making progress on a goal that I have had for several years. I am really learning JavaScript.

  • More on Style Guides

    Last week I journeyed back to the frozen tundra that Minnesota can be at this time of year (and yes, it delivered on the cold) to do a Primer at my work headquarters on Style Guides.

  • Thirties

    Today I enter the final year of my thirties. I am optimistic about this last year of this decade of my life as my thirties have been incredibly good to me. In many ways they allowed me to focus, figure out what was important and not be afraid to implement changes to make the important stuff rise to the top.

  • Learning

    Lately I have been thinking a lot about learning. A lot of that is because I'm currently trying to expand my skill set into programming, so I'm around other people who are learning as I got to user groups and at work it training and developing as a developer has been a hot topic on the internal forum.

  • Style guides

    When I started my job about 2 months ago I went through their standard Front End Developer training and in it we talked a whole bunch about modular CSS and reusable patterns, it was super awesome. But in the course of it we also talked about style guides.

  • On Creativity

    Quite a while ago I put a video that my friend Nishant recommended on his blog into my Pocket queue. It's a lecture given by John Cleese and it is wonderful, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it, it is worth the 30 minutes or so.

  • Contributing

    For a while now I've wanted to contribute to something open source, but I really didn't know where to begin or what would be a good fit for me. So I joined Github and just kind of hung around, watching some projects that interested me, but other than that not doing too much.

  • Learning Programming

    As many folks who know me or follow me on Twitter or what I write here know, JavaScript and I have long had a combative relationship. I've sought advice from so many different people on the subject that many folks are probably sick of me talking to them about it.

  • Disconnect

    Now that I've been working from home for a bit over a month at a full-time job, I've gotten into a new habit each work day that has become one of my favorite times of day. Each day after I finish work, I log off, close the computer, get Sally and we go for a walk.

  • New Job

    It has been one month since I started my current job. Many folks have been curious as to why after freelancing for such a short period of time I decided to go back to a full time position. I have to say, it was not at all my plans, but there were several factors that led me to this position.

  • Sally

    If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Flickr, then you have seen my dog Sally. She came into my life 11 years ago at the end of a summer of major transition.

  • New site, again

    So I have redone my site again. From the point of view of what you see when you look at the site, it really doesn't look like I've done much at all. The design was slightly tweaked, but really, the site looks the same. So, what did I do?

  • Tablets, tablets

    So G and I have been trying to figure out a computing solution for a family member whose computer has come to a slow, sad death. We have batted around the idea of a tablet and have been researching if that could be enough with no other machine. The only thing it needs to do besides email and browsing the web is the ability to store photos and load them from the SD card.

  • Introvert

    I just recently started reading the book Quiet The power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I've only read the preface and the first chapter, but I'm already incredibly intrigued by the book.

  • Tweeting and Posting

    I've been reading about all the changes at Twitter lately with a bit of sadness and also a bit of understanding. I can see the point of view of the company as they want to own the product and profit from it, but as a geek I also see the point of view of the developers and many others who have spent countless hours to make Twitter what it is.

  • Programming

    I just read a fantastic article on learning to program by Bret Victor, Learnable Programming. I've spent the last few months really concentrating on learning more about programming. I've been reading books and doing exercises using both JavaScript as the language and I've dipped my toes into Python as well. I've talked about this on the blog before, my quest to become a better JavaScripter and to really understand how to program.

  • XOXO

    I spent the past two days in an old building in SE Portland with an absolutely amazing group of people, hearing passionate people talk about doing what they love. I am still amazed that I was there and feel so lucky that I got to attend XOXO. I went into the weekend not quite sure what it was going to be like, but super excited not just for the speakers and fringe events, but excited for the attendees.

  • Thank you community

    So I recently purchased some more books on JavaScript, specifically things that Rebecca Murphey recommended to me via Twitter and on her site. (As a complete aside, she's become a coding hero of mine.) I've been making my way through Eloquent JavaScript and it is the one book that is starting to make sense to me.

  • Interesting things (to me)

    I've spent a lot of time this week listening to things and reading things so I just thought I would share some of the things I'm finding interesting in case you missed them.

  • Going deeper into responsive

    This week I read Tim Kadlec's Implementing Responsive Design. It's a great read and I think the perfect book to pick up after you've read Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte.

  • Read and heard

    I've been spending a lot of time with my head down in the weeds of learning python and improving my JavaScript skills over the past week or so, but I've also been taking breaks to read and went to an online conference, so here's a few tidbits that have been making me think over the past few weeks.

  • JOMO

    Anil Dash wrote a post recently entitled JOMO, Joy of Missing Out. He talks about living in New York City where there is so much going on and you are always missing something great, but that there is a certain joy in realizing you would rather be doing other things.

  • Humility, passion, hyper(links), history

    I just finished the third issue of The Manual. I tried really hard to savor it because it is so good, allowing myself only one essay per day. But yesterday I broke down and read all that I had left. It is such a wonderful publication and if you haven't checked it out, I really recommend that you do, now, immediately.

  • Agonizing over code

    The past few weeks I've finished one project and then worked on a mini exercise to hone my skills with a particular CSS style. In both of these situations I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I'm coding. Sometimes I have to tell myself to loosen up and just get the work done, because I'm almost agonizing over what I'm writing.

  • How I learn

    So I have been working on a project for the past several weeks and it's been a challenge for me in several ways, but by far the biggest thing I've had to adjust to is that I am it. I am doing this thing on my own. For most of my development career I've worked in teams.

  • Busyness revisited

    Yesterday I was quite lazy and spent my Sunday watching some things on Netflix and reading my twitter feed and anything interesting that was linked to. I think about five people linked to an opinion piece on The New York Times site, The 'Busy' Trap. It was no surprise to me that so many people really resonated with the article.

  • SMACSS Workshop

    Just one week ago I rose a bit earlier than is normal for me, made my way across the river to the NW section of Portland in order to attend the SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS) workshop that Jonathan Snook put on. In a one word summary of the day, fantastic.

  • Responsive is hard

    I'm working on a new project that is all responsive. It's the first time I've worked on a responsive site with a designer as my experience has been limited to my own site. A week and a half into coding this site my conclusion is that this stuff is hard. I know there are many who are probably thinking, umm, yeah, we already knew that.

  • Interlink Conference

    Last week I drove up I-5 and got to Vancouver to attend Interlink Conference. I was excited to attend because all the speakers were people I had followed a long time on twitter or on their blogs and I was finally going to hear them speak. All I have to say is that this conference was fantastic.

  • Shape of Design

    I just finished reading through The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero. I took my time with this book, even though it is a slim book and I could have read it in one sitting, I split it up over the course of a week - reading a bit each day and then chewing on what I had read.

  • One Hour

    Recently I started adding a new thing to my work day routine and it has turned out to be a great addition. I take one hour when I'm done with my coding/sitting at a computer work and I go into a different room, I sit in my favorite rocker and I read or sketch or do a bit of both for one hour.

  • Digital Magazines

    I am a big magazine reader, in fact I have one subscription that is now 20 years old; although sadly I'm letting it go this year, Newsweek's quality has dropped since Daily Beast took it over. When I got my iPad a year ago I was interested in trying out reading some magazines on it.

  • Head First Mobile Web

    I have spent the last week or so slowing reading through Head First Mobile Web by Jason Grigsby and Lyza Danger Gardner. I have to admit that at first I was a bit turned off by the whole format of the Head First series, but after reading through it, I am a believer.

  • Respect

    My last post was on the culture of busy that I think is ingrained in most of our lives, but I looked at it from the perspective of the web world and how it is affecting me when I go out and talk with potential clients about work.

  • Cult of Busy

    I've been thinking a lot about the word busy lately. It is used all the time by most people these days. The typical response when two people greet each other and ask "How are you?" is busy. And if you do not say you are busy, you are most likely seen as strange. As I've become more established and reached out to more people about working with them on projects one of the interesting things I've had to figure out is setting expectations.

  • UI Iteration Done Right

    I have been doing the Codecademy Code Year courses for the past three months and during that time Codecademy has done some really wonderful tweaks and changes to their UI. This post is a review of what I've seen as far as the changes to the user experience doing the courses and not about the actual course content (although I may say a bit about that at the end).

  • Device Ponderings

    I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. Most of them have been quite geeky and to be honest, it's been Jen Simmons on The Web Ahead. She's lately been interviewing a lot of people about mobile, Jason Grigsby, Luke Wroblewski, and most recently, Lyza Danger Gardner. As I work on different projects, I've been thinking about all these devices and what it means for what I build.

  • A bit of freshening up

    So I've done a bit of freshening up around here, well really, it's a completely new design. Most of the look and feel changed at least a bit on this site, but the real news for me is the code under the hood. I've been using Wordpress for almost a year now and when I created my original theme last year I have to admit that I cheated quite a bit.

  • This is it

    Well, this is it, today is my last day at my steady full time position. Tomorrow is my first day as an LLC; Susan Jean Robertson Development, LLC to be exact. I know, I can't believe it either! I am excited, scared, and nervous all at the same time. This idea has been in my head for years but the timing has never seemed right; that all changed in the last several months as the pieces came together.

  • World changing?

    This past week I was fortunate enough to attend the PIE Demo Day at the Bagdad Theater. I was excited to see what the first class of PIE had been up to and what was happening in the start up community here in Portland. It was a fun event and a new experience for me, I'd never heard anyone pitching their business looking for funding, so I learned quite a bit by watching.

  • 3 Things

    This past week I began the concrete moves toward a fairly risky and big change in my life. I'll talk more about it later here, but if you follow me on the Twitters, than you probably know what I'm talking about. But after I finally did the first concrete thing toward my goal, amazing things began to happen to me. And I relearned 3 very important things.

  • Hey, I'm learning

    Many months ago I wrote about my frustration in trying to learn JavaScript. It has been my difficulty and my secret for far too long. So for the holidays I took vacation time and the week between Christmas and New Years I studied JavaScript. I am loaded up with books and I am also using a few online resources.

  • The Manual, Issue I

    This post is incredibly long overdue, but a while back I made my way through The Manual and enjoyed it thoroughly. I read it in various chunks, some on the bus, some while relaxing at home; but no matter where or when I stopped numerous times to reread a sentence and just ponder the idea presented to me. The authors are all excellent, all people who I have followed online and admire.

  • Conferences and Tribes

    A few weeks ago after I attended Web Directions South, I read a great post by Mark Boulton, Being Together, that got me thinking quite a bit about conferences and why I make it a point to attend and what I would really love to see happen.

  • Web Directions South

    I just returned from a lovely vacation in Sydney where I also happened to fit in a few days of geekery by attending [Web Directions South](http://south11.webdirections.org/). I wanted to attend this conference because I was excited about the people I could meet being on the other side of the world and I have never done a Web Directions event before and I have heard so many good things about them. Plus, who wouldn't want to go to Sydney?

  • Joys of Starting from Scratch

    Many may think that this post is odd, but when you toil in a large, bureaucratic organization, starting and working on something new, from scratch is a treat. Recently I got to do it three times. Instead of maintaining a five year old code base and just fixing and updating it or adding on a feature here or there, I was given new mock-ups and told to go wild.

  • The Working Life

    I recently finished reading a book that has gotten me thinking about a lot of things. The book, along with a couple of online conversations, have made me seriously wonder about what work is in relation to a job and how does work fit into our lives.

  • My dirty secret

    I have a secret, it's not a shocking one, don't worry. And yes, it does have to do with front end web development. Well, here it is, I really dislike JavaScript. When I say that, I don't mean that it's just not my favorite thing to do in my job, I mean to say it is at the very bottom of the list.

  • Access for all

    Last night I attended the local meet up group of Portland Web Designers. I went because I wanted to actually see a blind person use the web and the whole evening was all about accessibility. I admit to being slow to learn all the ins and outs of accessibility, I've read some about it, but recently with a new project I've been working on, I've become passionate about making sure it is accessible.

  • I've gone responsive

    So this weekend, with Ethan's book in hand, I sat down to tweak my blog. (See my previous post for a review of the book itself.) When I launched this design back in March, I had used the A List Apart article to set it up and prep it for a liquid layout ...

  • Progressive Enhancement and Responsive Design

    Wow, what a week to be a working on the web. Two fantastic books came out recently and they both arrived in my little hands in the last week and I sped through them. What they both have in common is the small, compact, not a wasted word style. They also go about explaining the concepts in humorous, fun ways. What books am I talking about?

  • Mobile Portland Notes

    So last night I made my way down to Mobile Portland. I was so excited about the event as the topic was the exact thing I have been thinking about over the last couple of weeks, The Myth of Mobile Context. The panel did not disappoint.

  • Mobile Context

    But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in observing people on their mobile devices, it’s that they’ll do anything on mobile if they have the need. Write long emails? Check. Manage complex sets of information? Check. And the list goes on. If people want to do it, they’ll do it on mobile -especially when it’s their only or most convenient option.

  • We are the minority

    On the heels of the post from the weekend, I have been thinking more and more about how to implement a single code base that works on all devices. When talking about this at work with a coworker, he was skeptical. I described what I have heard about the Boston Globe redesign and he said, "nirvana, it doesn't exist." Then he said, "when I am on my mobile, I want to complete my task quickly and easily and be done." I pointed out to him that not everyone is like him, that many people are using their mobile devices to read on, to dive deeper.

  • Assumptions

    Lately I have been thinking a lot about an image that I saw at An Event Apart in Seattle. It came at the very end of [Jeremy's](http://adactio.com/) talk and he was standing on the stage in front of the screen and the slide he was showing just kept adding in more images of his website on several different devices, such as the iPad, the iPhone, the Kindle, a large monitor, and even a very old version of IE.

  • Screens

    I have been thinking about screens a lot lately. Part of that is surely because I just finished The Winter of our Disconnect. It's a really interesting read about an American woman living in Perth, Australia who decides her family, which consists of 3 teenagers, needs to take a 6 month break from screens in their home. This means for 6 months no smartphones, no computers, no TV, nothing which has a screen.

  • Follow the Links

    Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle, reinvent. Build a tangled bank.

  • Balance

    For the past several months I have been thinking a lot about balance. I am sure that the fact that I started practicing yoga last November is part of the reason, so much of it is about balance, and not just in keeping your balance as you hold poses, but also in being balanced in mind and body.

  • The Gadget Review

    So it's been just over 48 hours since it arrived. By it I mean the iPad. First impression? I like it, a lot. I can already tell that I will be using it a lot more than my 3.5 year old laptop.

  • THE Conference

    This past week I traveled up to Seattle for An Event Apart. It was my third year doing this and I really look forward to the speakers and information that I know will be top notch. But this year was also different in many ways for me. For the first time I was going not as a contractor, but a full time employee and they paid for my registration (woo hoo!) and a coworker was there with me.

  • I'll be back soon.....

    I'm in the midst of getting away from the awful GoDaddy and to another host. My data and posts will be back, it's just taking a bit longer than I thought.

  • Healthcare system?

    We prescribe and we operate as much as we can. That is our healthcare "system." The more diseases individual doctors can diagnose or invent, the more they make from the insurance companies that pay your bills. In reality, our system wasn't designed to keep you well; it was designed to profit off your sickness.

  • Serendipity

    By compressing their intake into a matter of days, they give new ideas additional opportunities to network amont themselves, for the simple reason that it's easier to remember something that you read yesterday than it is to remember something you read six months ago.

  • iPad

    I admit it, I've been thinking of getting one of the iPads. It all started when my computer started making funny noises. You know the ones, right? The ones with clicking and weirdness, the ones where you start to hear them and you think, oh no, it's on its way out.

  • Interesting thought

    Digital publishing, it turns out, isn't so much a second print run (as it seemed at first) as a whole other ecosystem, with a unique atmosphere, strange new rain patterns, and its own troubling signs of pollution and climate change. Diving into it means learning how to breathe all over again.

  • A Blog

    Yes, I've started a blog. The reasons are many and varied, but it mainly boiled down to two. The first is that I wanted to have a place to put links, quotes, images, and other stuff that I find on the web - somewhere it would be stored and I could have a record of it.

Monochrome still life of tulips
Monochrome still life in my largest sketchbook, February 2017, watercolor and gel pen.