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2/17/17 // It’s a good week

Valentine's Day bouquetI’m trying to be better at marking the good things that happen every week. It can be hard, especially with the onslaught of alarming news over the last few weeks (months?), so as an act of self-care, I’ve decided to keep a list of good things that happen each week. Sometimes I’ll share them here.

  • This one is a slight cheat because it was published last week, but this interview I did with Nate Mell of Felt + Fat for Town Dish was fun. I loved looking through the photos of their custom porcelain tableware that’s all over great restaurants in Philly and elsewhere.
  • We finally made it to Bull’s Head in Lititz, and I had a delightful gin Old Fashioned. I’m headed back in a few weeks with some blog friends, but I wanted a preview!
  • We got take out from The Fridge for VDay, and ate our fancy pizza while watching Westworld. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
  • These flowers (pictured above) from Lavender Fox Florals. I have very strong feelings about those moody deep plum ranunculus.
  • I was finally able to snag the new Zadie Smith novel, Swing Time, from the library after a very long stretch of having it on hold. I’m loving it so far, and I’m realizing how long it’s been since I read White Teeth or On Beauty.
  • Cuddle Magic is playing in Harrisburg tonight! We first heard them years ago at a Lion Versus show at the Rotunda in West Philly. We’ve seen them a few times since, once as an opener for Anais Mitchell, and they are such a delight. Their live show is mesmerizing, and I guarantee that I’ll be questioning my decision to stop playing music after seeing them tonight.
  • Edited to add: The Gates Foundation will provide birth control to women who lose it under that man! 🎉

What’s good, friends? What are you looking forward to?

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Wannabe plant lady

cactus in front of blue wallMy plant collection (like many of us, tbh) has had a rough year. A bunch of them lived very happy lives on and around my desk at Urban Outfitters’ HQ, in a converted shipyard warehouse-type building, with floor to ceiling windows and a ton of light. The other cohort was pretty happy in our West Philly apartment, which was situated on a corner, so they had two sides of light. We were on the third floor, above most of the buildings around us, so nothing blocked the sun.

It’s been kind of hard to find the right spot for the right plant in the new (actually very old) house. I’ve already lost several, and sadly I think a few more are on their way out. One of my goals for February was to replace some less-than-attractive plastic hanging planters that the previous owners left with something a little more intentional.

I actually already have Magical Thinking Hand-Knotted Hanging Planter, and I really like it. It’s quite sturdy, and looks good. I got it while I was still working at UO, and could take advantage of that sweet, sweet discount!

I could definitely make them myself, but at this point in my life, I have to think about the trade offs of time versus money. Does anyone have a really fast macrame tutorial? Otherwise, I’m gonna buy a couple of these and be done with it.


February Small Goals

I skipped small goals in January. The world was all aflutter with everyone’s new plans and lists of things to do in the new year, and it felt like just too much to add on for the month, too.

But I do like the practice of it, and I like how it helps me frame the months. February feels practically over already (“why’s it so short?” she whined), but I’d like to come up with a few things to focus on. I’m having trouble picking, to tell the truth. There’s so much that I could do, and what feels like so little time this month. So I’ll try to keep it simple.

1. Make the plants beautiful. The former owners of this house left some plants here. They’re lovely, and they’ve fared well so far considering my hit-or-miss abilities as a plant mom. But they’re also in plastic hanging baskets like they came straight from the greenhouse, and replacing their pots with something nicer and gifting them each their own macrame hanger will go a long way in making them look less like ragamuffins.

2. Spend an hour every weekday learning. Document it. I started a GitHub repo where I’ll house all the tutorials or side things I do for learning purposes. It’s just called learning-2017, and inside will be directories of the tutorials I’m working through. Currently, that’s JavaScript30. I’m also wondering if I should add them to CodePen. Is that redundant? It is more exciting to look at. Please weigh in if you have thoughts.

3. Make this cake. I made it once before, and it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.

4. Make a plan for Chad’s birthday. I’m feeling like we need to do something or go somewhere for Chad’s upcoming 3-0, since we went to Reykjavik for mine. He may just want to staycation and work on his projects all day while I bring him food, though. Either way, we need to start planning now.

5. Get some frames. We now have quite a few prints we’ve collected that are frameless and in storage. And by “in storage,” I really mean gathering dust in corners of rooms that need to be tidied. I’d love to get them hung so I can look at them again and we can finally show them off.

What’s your February look like?


This is Not Normal, But Let’s Take Care of Ourselves

This Is Not Normal Illustration by Sarah Moore

The lovely Sarah Moore illustrated this piece for the Cry Babies Art Show. Shared here with permission.

It’s been a wild few weeks, hasn’t it? [EDIT: Correction. It’s been two weeks. Only two weeks. 👀] I’ve been wanting to write and share here, but I wasn’t sure what to say. I’m sad and angry, but I’m also grateful for the responses in places like Philly and Lancaster. I’m proud of and grateful for the amazing sanctuary city I moved from, and I’m reassured that Lancaster was a great choice for our move.

The internet has not been a comforting or healthy place for me to spend too much time, and I want to acknowledge that, while also noting that it’s been key in connecting with others who are working so hard to improve things (shoutout to Tuesdays with Toomey!).

So for today, I thought I’d compile lists of encouraging things that are happening (mainly around Lancaster and the huge numbers of refugees this little city welcomes and has been welcoming for years), resources for how to keep going, and a few self-care tidbits. This list is just as much for myself as it is for anyone else. Maybe I’ll add to it later.

Encouraging things:

I think I’m gonna start publishing a post every Friday detailing a list of good things from the week. We could all use a little more of that these days, yeah?

Resources for resistance:

  • Sarah Kendzior, who studies and writes about authoritarianism and so far has called all of it
  • The FourFiftyOne, a podcast for #theresistance, by Summer Brennan, Jonathan Mann, and Jesse Hirsch
  • Resist Tinyletter is a daily newsletter with an update and an action you can take.
  • 5Calls.org makes it super easy to call your elected officials
  • Fax Zero has made it really easy to fax your senators. This is great for those of us whose dear senators have gone totally missing or just taken all their phones off the hook (ahem, looking at you, Pat Toomey)!

Take care of yourself! This is hard stuff!

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2017 Goals and Plans

Hello, 2017I’ll be the first to admit that, especially after last week, the NYE/New Year’s goal/planning appeal is starting to wear off. I wonder how much of that is due to the rapid consumerist marketing cycle of advertising to the next holiday. I saw Valentine’s Day stuff in stores immediately after Christmas.

But it’s still the beginning of the year, and it’s helpful to acknowledge the things you want to accomplish. I’m mainly doing this for me, as a record of my goals and plans for the year, with the full knowledge that saying I want to do something won’t make it happen, but with the hope that recording it will solidify it in my head a little bit and encourage some level of accountability to myself.

I had a bunch of things I wanted to do in 2016 that didn’t get done (but I still did a lot of great things!). Here are the carryovers from last year, with commentary:

  • Find community — I think I need to find a few communities, really. A group of Galentine’s Day type ladies, local tech ladyfriends, a church, and the type of friends we had at the end of college.
  • 52 CodePens — This was doomed once I got behind and gave up on doing any. I think I’ll halve it and shoot for 26 this year. I can then pleasantly surprise myself if I surpass this.
  • Echo App — I think the idea is still cool. And I need projects to put on GitHub. So I guess I’ll keep it.
  • Blog series — I mainly added this so I’d blog more regularly. That still applies. Maybe I’ll call it an editorial calendar/plan.
  • Make a quilt — I started one and hope to finish in 2017.
  • Etsy shop of found and vintage home goods — Holding off on this one for now. I have too many other things going on, and it’s clear I want to spend my time on other things.
  • Establish a writing practice — This didn’t really happen, I think mainly for scheduling and mental health reasons. Which is unfortunate because that’s when I need it most.
  • Inbox Zero — Yep. I’m so close.

Things I want to add:

  • Write and share a lot of code
  • Write and share a lot of words
  • Make another bra. I took a Bra Making with Madalynne class in December, and it’s such a rewarding project that can be done in an afternoon.
  • Continued work on the house, both large improvements and small ones that make it feel like home.
  • 12 dinner parties — this one scares the crap out of me, but I really want to intentionally try to forge some relationships in our new city.
  • Learn a little every day
  • Continue to be visible
  • Feel hireable and like I can contribute — or, feel like I’m adequately prepared for the next phase of my career, whether it’s freelance or remote employment
  • Find real, meaningful, tangible ways to resist everything that’s wrong with the present administration
  • Do something musical again. Low pressure, but with some structure. Maybe revisit voice lessons?
  • Book a weekend writing retreat
  • Take scheduled digital breaks
  • Feel strong and energetic — food, running, trying a barre class, yoga, lifting
  • Be well and regularly fed
  • Invest and be invested in in Lancaster — Find my people and make time to explore greater Lancaster County. Lancaster City is so wonderful I rarely leave, and I know there are so many hidden gems in this beautiful place outside of the city.
  • Make time for Philly — for friends, fun time, and professional connections. These three are often one in the same for me!
  • Lisa Eats Cheese — site launch and more videos!
  • Look for a local acupuncturist I like
  • Be steeped in tech, creativity/writing, good friends both new and old, and a church/spiritual community.

These don’t feel like particularly measurable goals. For some reason this year I’m gravitating toward broader themes of how I want to feel, mixed in with a few pretty actionable items. There’s a big difference between 12 dinner parties and feeling strong and energetic. But my hope is that a goal like “feel strong and energetic” leads me to do concrete things I’ve wanted to do, like try a barre class, light lifting while watching TV, and consistent meal planning. At the end of the year, I’ll know if I feel that I invested in and was invested in in Lancaster, even though it’s vague. So we’ll see how that goes.

What are your plans? Are you still feeling that New Years goal glow?