We’ve had a jam-packed few weeks! I’ve been on vacation since the beginning of August, and have spent much of that time outside with the kids, playing Pokémon Go and supervising at the lake or the park. In the past I planned activities and set goals (because vacations are all about goal-setting, duh), but this year I’m winging it. I haven’t done much creating, although I’ve taken many photos while out and about.
We just returned from a few days in Boston, where we managed to fit in all sorts of fun, visiting with friends, hanging out at Comic Con, and setting the kids loose on Legoland. The whole trip left me feeling a bit nostalgic and melancholy, even though we had fun; there are so many people I only see for a few hours each year, and I miss them!
I’ll write more about everything once things settle down; in the meantime, here’s a sneak-peek of our adventures:
Vancouver was the filming location for the first five seasons of The X-Files, the second movie, and the latest season. I had a late flight out on Sunday, so I wanted to spend some time getting to know the city as an X-Phile.
I relied on moviemaps.org, and pinned locations that were within walking distance of our hotel. On our last day, Tammie, Thomas, and I walked around the city, and occasionally stopped so Tammie could take dorky photos of me standing in front of various X-Files filming locations.
Orpheum Theater from Young at Heart
Vancouver Art Gallery from multiple episodes, including Conduit and Young at Heart
Christ Church Cathedral (foreground) was under construction, used in Conduit
Channeling Sad!Mulder in front of a picture of Christ Church Cathedral
Scully’s apartment exterior from Squeeze
Channeling my inner Scully – “Mulder, it’s me.”
Alleyway from Founder’s Mutation
Sidewalk from opening scene of My Struggle
Not on the list was the Vancouver Aquarium (used in Fearful Symmetry), which we passed during a tour of Stanley park, and Brix & Mortar restaurant, which was one of our group dinners. I couldn’t figure out which episode it had been used in, though.
Cates Park was the only location that was significantly out of our way, so we hailed a taxi from Gastown, and I paid a cab driver named William (!!!) an inordinate amount of money to haul us there, keep the meter running, and take us back to the city. The things I do for fandom.
Tammie made me make faces. I think this was supposed to be skeptical.
I am not entirely sure what I was doing here.
Arch Alley from Home Again
Ovaltine Cafe from Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space”
It was really fucking cold.
Two very tolerant colleagues in the rain at Cates Park.
Log at Cates Park from Home Again
By this time, it was pouring rain — not cute, drizzly Vancouver rain, but pissed-off, stormy, blustering rain — and we got soaked during the scant five minutes we spent at the beach, all for a shot of the iconic log from Home Again.
Tammie and Thomas have my eternal gratitude for accompanying me on this spiritual journey of sorts. I can tell they were also moved by my unending devotion to this godforsaken show:
“Caroline, we hate you.” – Actual quote from my teammates as we stood in the pouring rain. I don’t think they meant it.
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.
Something magical happens when this company gets together. It reminds me of summer camp; you come away from it having changed, but it’s difficult to describe the experience to others. Suffice it to say, I work with some wonderfully smart, talented, and fun people.
Most of all, I love that I can be myself at Automattic. I’ve thrived over the last three years, thanks to an environment in which I feel safe to take risks and tackle challenges, knowing I’m supported by my team and my lead.
I was sad to leave, but I do so with many new ideas and forged connections. It felt like a week with friends, particularly the time spent with my team. My brain is full, my body is exhausted, but part of me has been rejuvenated. I’m ready to see what the next year has in store.
I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at ThemeConf in Keswick, UK this last week. It was quite a trip; I think I covered all manner of modern transportation to get there — planes, trains, buses, and taxis — but the conference, the people, and the scenery made the journey worth it.
Black bean burger at the Lancrigg
ThemeConf in Keswick
The conference was generally about forward-thinking web development, with a bias toward WordPress. Attendance was small, but that made it more intimate and easier to socialize. I learned quite a bit from each presenter; the level of each talk reminded me of CSS Conf, but without the massive venue and hefty price tag.
As for Keswick itself, the town is adorable. Small enough to be walk-able, with lots of cute shops and restaurants. People had a lot to say about the weather, but I had no complaints; I got re-acquainted with my sweaters.
(I did not enjoy coming home to 80-degree temperatures and suffocating humidity, but that’s a different story.)
We had a great time in the city last week, seeing the sights and hanging out with my brother and his fiancée.
Unfortunately there was no Comic Con for us, as Gillian Anderson canceled her appearance, but we had plenty to do; the aquarium and the science museum were big hits with Ellie, who demanded “more science!” Cheap tickets from a good friend meant we were able to stretch our budget, and the kids saw their first IMAX show.
But their favorite part of the trip was the Legoland Discovery Center. Most of the attractions are for little kids, but it was worth the price of admission just to see the city of Boston made entirely of LEGOs. Gwen plopped herself down in front of a bucket of bricks and basically didn’t budge until one of us prompted her to look around, while Ellie ran from activity to activity with glee.
We had lunch with E, the girls’ former sitter, and they were so excited to see her I thought they’d try to stow away in her car when we said goodbye. It’s amazing how a person can be part of your life for such a relatively small amount of time, but have such a great impact. I keep coming back to how lucky we are — and how lucky the girls are — to have the village we’ve had.
I only wish so many of our family and friends didn’t live a 7+ hour drive away. Ahh, the price we pay for living in the boonies. 😉
Tim and I spent last week in Park City, Utah, for our company’s annual grand meetup. After much discussion, laughter, food, and games, I am feeling both energized and exhausted by the experience — a pretty common post-meetup feeling.
Couple on a plane selfie
Season 1 Agent Scully demonstrates how to access your life vest…
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.
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.
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.