On Loving The X-Files

Each year at our company meetup, we’re asked to give an up-to-four-minute-long “flash talk” about any subject. The fact that I hadn’t done one about The X-Files in my 5 years of meetups is either a crimeΒ or a miracle, depending onΒ who you ask.

But last September, I let my freaky Phile flag fly. Here’s the result:



Summer Doodles

After looking at everything I accomplished during summer sabbatical ,it’s fair to say the majority of my time was spent drawing and working on my shops.

I’d set a goal to draw three things per week, but the final tally shows more than twice that! For all this work, I still feel quite slow as an illustrator, and not very prolific. But I’m proud of what I finished and learned along the way.

Here is a sample of the work, not including the (many) drawings I didn’t finish. Everything is posted at Calobee Doodles if you want to follow along!


Sabbatical Recap

There’s only a few days left in my summer sabbatical! Where the heck did the time go?

I accomplished some of the things on my list of goals, although the more expensive activities (mostly travel) were dropped or cut short after working an unexpected septic system replacement into our budget. I made up for that by mapping out and budgeting for a family Disney vacation during the kids’ upcoming winter break, so we have some fun travel to look forward to. Knock on wood nothing else in this house explodes before then. πŸ˜›

Most of my time was focused on drawing or working on my print-on-demand shops; I’ll make a separate wrap-up post about drawing later. We took a fun trip to Freeport and Saco as a family. I tackled some minor organization projects that I’d been putting off for a while, decluttering and cleaning out closets that hadn’t been looked at since we moved in. I also continued practicing meditation and French, and caught up on reading and TV.

We spent a couple days at the lake with the kids, and Ellie had a fun week at camp (while Gwen enjoyed a fun week as an only child). After all the drama at the beginning of the summer, things calmed down a bit.

So, what have I learned over the last three months? I’d like to continue to make time for my hobbies (new and old) outside work, and that’s going to require rethinking my work/life balance. I could be better at taking time for myself and not waiting for a summer sabbatical to do All The Things.

Am I nervous about going back to work? You bet. I haven’t checked in beyond the absolute necessities for HR, so I have no idea what I’m coming back to. I’ll no longer be a manager; I’ll have to figure out how to be a regular worker bee. And I haven’t touched code since I logged off back in May, which should make for some “fun” theme bugs while I re-learn how to WordPress.

But I’m also looking forward to seeing my colleagues, and to our annual grand meetup next month. I’m eager to get back into the routine, back to some semblance of normalcy. I am so glad I had the chance to take the time off, though, and I already look forward to doing this again in five years…minus the head lice and septic system woes. πŸ˜‰


Adventures in crafting: Chalkboard wall

When we first moved into our house, I knew I wanted to do something with the basement enclosure. That wall gets a lot of traffic, between little hands and paws and chairs bumping against it. It was originally painted to match the rest of the walls with a light yellow in a matte finish, making it almost impossible to clean.

I thought I’d cover it with chalkboard paint, but I loathe painting, even for a small project like this. I’m messy and I’m likely to give up halfway through. We’ve been here four years. If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s not gonna happen.

Then I discovered these convenient rolls of peel-and-stick chalkboard vinyl and the crafting gods smiled upon me.

So I bought three rolls (18 inches by 6 feet each) and went to work. This stuff was so much easier to apply than paint. The above probably took me an hour from start to finish, between measuring and cutting and making sure it went on without bubbles. I was initially concerned about the seams, but they barely show.

The only problem was one of the rolls of vinyl was slightly darker than the others, and it became very obvious when you put them next to each other; not sure why, since they came in the same shipment, but I put the darker pieces on the shorter side of the wall where it’s less visible.

Each roll came with chalk, but I also bought chalk markers to cut down on the dust. The kids have already covered their new “board” in scribbles, and I don’t care how dirty it gets because it wipes clean with a damp cloth.

Wow, I’ve reached “peak parent” with that last sentence, huh?

I have plenty of the vinyl left over for smaller projects; I may work on some simple chalkboard frames that I can doodle on or use for note-taking.

Above all, now I can say I did something for this house before my sabbatical ends!