A while ago I went back through some old photos from my "artsy photographer" days, and was kind of stunned at how much I loved their intimacy and raw, unfinished-ness.
This was before I got into more staged work with volunteer models, during my "cross-process all the films" phase. At the time, I didn't think much beyond random experimentation, and regarded most of my work as amateur-ish (it was) and therefore unremarkable.
But something about this unpolished, rougher version of myself speaks to me now; time and distance has made her a stranger. It's a bit like peeking into the window of a friend's house. I know her, but I don't *know* her, so I'm not inclined to judge.
Christmas blew past in a whirlwind of food and family. We’ve had a wonderful time with my brother and sister-in-law, plus birthday festivities for Ellie. It’s been a great week, and I’m looking forward to a few days of solid R&R before the new year.
Ready for the Christmas thing.
Happy Birthday, Ellie! Cutie Pusheen from Uncle J. and Aunt J.
…this kid, I tell ya.
Cookie decorating party.
We’re pretty awesome at this.
Early Xmas gift from Tim; a Spooky and Scully ornament for the tree!
Time to light the nativity pyramid.
Christmas morning dawns a bit fuzzy; I think there was something on my phone camera lens.
OMG! It’s happening!
Stocking stuffs on point.
Santa was good to us. <3
Scully is so over your shit. Watching “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”.
Warm scarf love from hubby.
Workin’ on her LEGOs in her new Christmas jammies.
Adorable Polaroid Cube+ from my brother and sister!
Workin’ on the Grand Hotel.
Gwen got this handmade tulle skirt, and well…
…yeah. We’re goofy.
Cube+ shot from the hip family portraits over Christmas dinner.
For those counting, this is my third trip to the most beautiful state in the country. But as lovely as it is, this was a work trip; there was only one dip in the pool, one brief trip to the beach, and a tiny bit of sightseeing. The rest of the time I was head-down with my group, learning the ins and outs of Gutenberg and working on a new theme.
This is what I left behind, for your reference.
I found a KP at SFO!
The view’s alright.
Someone was interested in the remote work lifestyle.
Early morning walk, cute flower.
So many delicious breakfasts.
No filter necessary.
Sunset game on point.
Thai beef salad at TK Noodle House.
Team bonding over Thai.
Delicious plum liquor.
When life gives you ugly lemons, give them away.
Farmer’s market papaya
Obligatory beach selfie.
Theam in the water.
The life, I am living it.
Dipping the toes in.
Partial Theam portrait by Jeff.
A day out at the markets. (Photo by Jeff)
Cheers! (Photo by Jeff)
Dinner under a canopy of flowers.
Richard’s amazing Banyan tree
Time to say goodbye.
Hot tub Theam machine. (Photo by Allan)
The view and the company made up for the lack of time spent in the wild, though. I don’t use the word lightly when I say I’m blessed to have these opportunities. Thanks for a memorable week, Hawaii!
The week before last I met up with 570-ish of my Automattic colleagues in Whistler, British Columbia for our annual Grand Meetup — and what a Grand Meetup it was! I’m still tired and I should have posted this a week ago, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
Crossing the border
Coffee with Tim before my flight
My kids always send friends to keep me company
It’s all about the conference name tag and the endless coffee.
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!
The tree didn’t get decorated until Christmas Eve, but that’s normal.
Coooooookieeeessss om nom nom
Everything wrapped and ready to go.
Her face when we told her we had to eat breakfast before opening presents.
The big kids get LEGOs, too. 😉
Santa’s gift to our family. He’s good to us.
Someone got what she wanted! LEGO Elves.
Ready to get this party started!
Tim knows me so well.
Even Mom got in on the LEGO action.
Bunchems! She’s hooked (pun intended).
Breakfast of champions, with my new Pantone mug. Thanks, Automattic!
Father-daughter bonding over elves and dragons.
Fight the Future throw from Nana and Toom.
Wrapping up a successful Christmas; Santa was good to us this year. He seems to know how much we enjoy LEGOs, but he also came through with new card/dice games and expansions for old favorites, and sleds for outdoor fun.
We’re having quite the Classic New England Winter (TM) so far; lots of snow, regular pristine, white coatings of the stuff, which means a fair amount of plowing and shoveling and sending the kids outside dressed like waddling, hot-pink-and-purple marshmallows. In an effort to ward off the winter blahs, I’ve strung lights up to the point where our living room can probably be seen from space.
I scheduled an extra-long winter vacation, without realizing it would be almost as long as my summer break was. Not that I’m complaining, but I’m at a bit of a loss since I didn’t have any plans save for 1) surviving the holidays and 2) catching up on a backlog of fanfic reading. With the first one out of the way, I intend to start on the second, with a bit of writing of my own thrown in for good measure.
The day after the U.S. election, I flew to Barcelona for a team meetup. It was a bittersweet trip; on one hand, I was happy to have the distraction of travel, for the opportunity to escape to a foreign city and immerse myself in something that wasn’t U.S. politics.
On the other, I wanted to be with my family. I wanted to go home, curl up under a blanket and hide.
The election results were a frequent topic of conversation throughout the meetup, but we didn’t let it completely overshadow our fun. Besides, the trip itself threw its own interesting obstacles our way; lost (then found) wallets, viruses, a stolen laptop bag, and only one fluent Spanish speaker in the group, which made for some unique exchanges.
Hotel Praktik Bakery
Casa Sera, our home away from home for the week.
View from my room.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a…oh, right, it’s a bird.
The obligatory “We really do work on these trips” picture.
Barcelona’s architecture brings its A-game.
Catalonia Sq. at night
La Sagrada Familia
Cathedral windows lit by the sun.
I could get into church if it involved this many rainbows.
Ceiling or alien spaceship? You decide.
Gaudi was a busy guy.
View from the Nativity Tower.
Walking in the park.
The tile mosaics in Park Guell are my favorite thing.
Views of Barcelona from Park Guell.
The cool kids.
So much color!
Gaudi knows how to dress up a ceiling.
It wasn’t an easy trip, but as always, the people and the city made it worthwhile. Until next time, Theam!
I spent a fun and productive week with my team in Vancouver, BC last week!
Even the busses in Canada are apologetic!
Cute train stop park
My first impression of the city was that it smelled nice, unlike most cities, which either smell like pee or exhaust fumes or both. It also had the cleanest train system I’ve ever encountered. Well done, Vancouver.
Taking advantage of the nice weather
Stanley Park Seawall
Totems at Stanley Park
…but they actually weren’t?
Everyone talks about the rain, but it wasn’t as soggy as I expected (except for the last day, but that’s a different story). It was either cloudy, misty, or lightly raining. Occasionally we’d catch a hint of sun, which was a nice surprise.
Coworking at HiVE Vancouver
Discussing components and probably splitting hairs
Generators generating a generator
For an all-digital company, we appreciated this whiteboard until it knocked my laptop on the floor.
My team kicked butt on our project, a new iteration of Components. We worked on the first version as a squad in Lisbon, and similar to Lisbon, we broke into groups to tackle different parts. The idea is to bring everything together to create a starter theme generator that includes custom-built user-selected components as well as common theme types.
Granville Island giants
Big spinny arty thingy
Vancouver Art Gallery
My drink came in a take-out box.
Our waitress at Brix & Mortar was The Best.
When we weren’t working, we saw some of Vancouver’s many sights. We toured the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, saw the Mashup exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery, grabbed lunch and did some shopping on Granville Island, and walked around Stanley Park.
Totems at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Out and about in my usual work attire; sweatshirt, t-shirt, yoga pants, sneakers.
It’s hard to convey the scope of the landscape as seen from the bridge, but those tiny dots are people
No one lost their phone over the side
KP and Ola being as Canadian as possible
Hanging out over a 300-foot drop. Me, Richard, Thomas, Allan, and DK.
Watching everyone come together to collaborate inspired some serious proud Theme Mama feels. These people are amazing, and I’m honored to work with them every day.
Wrapping up my last major travel event of the year with a trip to Lisbon, Portugal, to spend a week with my squad.
The only way to fly…
So much color!
So many stairs
Sun in the sidewalk
The groups’ project turned out amazing; it’s not quite ready to be made public, but for now I’ll say I’m super excited about it and proud of everyone for pulling it off in four short days.
What lies beneath
Drogaria Alves Almeida
Delicious tomato soup at The Food Temple
View from the Santa Justa lift
Lisbon itself was a treat. The warm, sunny weather was a relief from Maine’s gray November cold, and the people were gracious and patient with us non-native speakers. I was shocked at how inexpensive things were compared to other city-based meetups we’ve done. Amazing food and lots to see, and we came in well under budget.
Theme Wranglers in Lisbon
View from the Santa Justa lift
King José I
Rainbow over Lisbon
Arco da Rua Augusta
We had two days to explore, and we didn’t cover even an eighth of what was there; to say it was a busy week was an understatement. We did get to see a beautiful view of the city from the top of the Santa Justa lift, and the gardens and architecture at the Jerónimos Monastery.
Cute restaurant at LX Factory
Flying bike bookshop
Selfie with Jerónimos Monastery
Oh, and Sarah dyed my hair!
Oh, and Sarah helped me put a purple streak in my hair! You never know what trouble fun Automatticians will get up to when they get together.
I had a great time, but it’s good to be home, knowing there’s no travel in my immediate future. Three months in a row was tough for this homebody.