Published

NOW v5: He’s here

Updated my Now page, contents below for posterity.


Our son arrived about a month ago 🌱, so our lives currently revolve around figuring out how this tiny human works. There have been difficult moments, particularly when I had to go back in to hospital. And it’s going to get harder when Sam is back at work. But we’re slowly getting in to the swing of things, he’s opening his eyes a lot. His baby bird noises make me laugh so much.

I feel very one-dimensional right now, but that’s ok. I expect that other facets of life will slowly return or emerge as we settle in to some sort of semi-routine, we’ll see.

Work 👩🏻‍💻 is on hiatus right now, I’m on maternity leave till mid-autumn 🍁. I didn’t manage to wrap everything up before leave since he arrived suddenly and earlier than expected, and there are a few small remaining things I’m going to try to sort out during nap times, but I’m pretty happy with where things ended up.

Before leave, I pushed an update to the Modern Art site modernart.net to add Vimeo embed support and to integrate new fonts with flexible type sizes following design guidance by John Morgan studio. I also finished up some work with Nick Sherman on the Variable Fonts website v-fonts.com, he pushed the updates the same day as we spoke about it for Typographics 2021. And I finally pushed a big update to corridor8.co.uk which adds Gutenberg support and refreshes some of the front end components, with design guidance by Sam.

In terms of bigger projects, I built a new site for Danish art 🎨 school Det Jyske Kunstakademi (djk.nu) designed by Sara De Bondt studio (more to come…), developed a new website for Gort Scott Architects (gortscott.com) designed by Polimekanos, and built a new website for Alison Jacques gallery (alisonjacques.com) designed by John Morgan studio. That last one was perhaps the biggest project I’ve ever taken on. The front end is deceptively complex, the information architecture is extensive, and I ended up building a custom scraper in Python to migrate over 4000 entries from their previous site.

***

Recalling those projects just now was so strange, work feels trivial in this moment. But I really enjoyed working with those people and those projects, I’m particularly proud of them, so wanted to document them a little here. Hopefully more documentation to come, we’ll see what time allows.

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Related to work, I’ve joined Tiny Factories 🏭, though I haven’t been able to contribute much yet due to our son’s early arrival! What a lovely group, thanks to Brian Sholis for introducing me to them. Also still happy to be a part of the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group, though my involvement is pretty minimal at the moment.

What free time I have is generally spent on postpartum care and admin like applying for his passports—thank goodness for Sam’s photography 📷 capabilities and Photoshop, who knew it was so difficult to take a baby passport photo—and writing thank you notes ✉️. I thought I’d do a ton of reading while feeding and such but haven’t really had the headspace for it. Instead, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Parenting Hell (very funny!), Anwer Me This! (RIP), The Horne Section Podcast (so silly), and Unruffled (serious, but useful for a first time parent). Sam has been doing almost all of the cooking and baking recently, though I did manage to squeeze out a cauliflower, chickpea, and green pea curry last night 🥘.

Besides that, haven’t really had much extracurricular activity recently… Partly due to the arrival of our son, but also because the Delta variant 🦠 is on the rise. Such a huge bummer. I feel really fortunate to have delivered when I did since the hospital is again limiting who you can bring along for appointments and such. 😔 But I was just finally starting to make a few connections here in SF 🌁, and now it feels too risky to meet up with those people in most circumstances considering our little boy.

Sort of feels like an endless loop. But for now, I’m happy to stay in.

Published

NOW v4: Big personal news, frustrations about current events, a tiny bit of hope

Updated my Now page, contents below for posterity. This one contains probably the biggest news in my personal life since we moved. 🐣 Fewer emojis in this update because it just feels too casual considering the somber state of things right now.


It’s late February 2021. We’re coming up on a year since we hastily moved out of our flat in London a week+ early to avoid getting stuck in top-tier pandemic 🦠 lockdown without a home.

Personally, these past few months have looked largely the same as every other month since early 2020. I’ve been exceptionally fortunate throughout in that every sticky situation caused by the pandemic or current events has turned out alright. Sometimes this has been down to luck or timing, but more truthfully, it is directly related to the privilege of having very supportive family, friends, and collaborators.

Of course it’s been just more chaos in the wider news. Since my last Now update there was the election in November 🗳, an astronomical spike in Covid cases and deaths tied to winter holiday travel and celebrations, then the Capitol insurrection in January followed by a pared-back, pandemic-appropriate presidential inauguration. There was the very recent terrible freeze in Texas which resulted from a catastrophic combination of extreme weather and exceptional incompetence on the part of state legislators and the Texas Public Utilities Commission. How can we blame wind turbines freezing when people in Arctic territories manage to keep theirs running smoothly? And how did state regulators not see this coming considering the 2011 federal report explicitly recommending winterization efforts? Friends in Austin reported being without power for over 50 hours, indoor temperatures around 48F or below. Many Texans lost their homes or lives, a child in Conroe died of suspected hypothermia in bed next to his three-year-old stepbrother. The US coronavirus death toll just passed half a million. And all of these headlines are from the US alone.

But the vaccine 💉 distribution also started towards the end of last year, and the curve is dropping. Even though there’s some uncertainty surrounding the vaccines’ efficacy, particularly in preventing transmission or against new virus strains, even though there have been problems with efficient distribution, it still gives me a bit of hope. It’s a drop in the bucket when you consider all of the broader problems, but it’s something. Sam’s parents got the jabs a while back, then my grandpa, then my parents. I should be eligible for the vaccine in less than a month according to California’s current schedule.

The reason I’m eligible so soon is that we’re expecting. Some very happy personal news. 🙂

Perhaps it’s an odd time to have a baby, but it’s not like we’ll be disrupting a busy social calendar. They’re due to arrive this summer, possibly right around when we can start seeing people again. At least I really hope.

Navigating self employment and maternity leave has been interesting. I plan to get back to work when I can, I really like what I do and the people I get to work with. And it’s going to be very stressful not earning for a bit! But I’m under no illusions that it will be easy and am planning to take a solid few months completely off. Will probably have to find childcare ASAP, which I hear is a tortuous and expensive undertaking in SF… Talking to friends and collaborators that have been through this has been essential. It’s reinforced my feeling that planning and flexibility are two sides of the same coin. The unknown aspect of it (did you know that only roughly 5% of babies come on their due date?) makes it a little difficult to figure certain things out, but we’ll get there.

Work-wise 👩🏻‍💻 I’m currently focusing on wrapping up big preexisting projects before my maternity leave and fitting in maintenance work to pre-empt requests that otherwise might have arisen while I’m out for a few months.

My bigger projects include: working with Nick Sherman to add some exciting functionality to the super-useful Variable Fonts website; developing a new site for Danish art 🎨 school Det Jyske Kunstakademi designed by Sara De Bondt studio; helping out long-term collaborators Corridor8 with some major website improvements; developing a website designed by John Morgan studio for a major London-based gallery 🖼 including the automated migration of over 4000 entries; developing a new website for Gort Scott Architects designed by Polimekanos. I’m still collaborating with Bec Worth on the WIP 🚧 open-source WordPress theme that powers this website, though that project has been dormant for a bit due to maternity leave prep busy-ness.

I’m still offering free 30-minute open office hours sessions on Wednesday mornings Pacific Time for anyone that has web-related questions, but am now just using email to schedule this. Dropped Calendly for scheduling since it felt like unnecessary admin. My most recent sessions included walking someone through how I worked with the Are.na API on Gemma Copeland’s site and discussing how best to make content adjustments to a personal site for SEO purposes with a lovely former collaborator who is embarking on some exciting new personal projects.

Limited free time at the moment is mostly taken up by mindlessly watching feel-good shows like The Repair Shop and Taskmaster, and by anxiety-driven research. That all needs to change. Some of the research has been dedicated to wrapping my head around the blockchain and NFTs since so many of my colleagues are now jazzed about it despite prior misgivings. But most of the research is made up of learning more about what on earth having a kid is supposed to entail in 2021 and beyond. If anyone has tips on teaching kids about social media safety let me know, I’m already worried.

Besides that, I’m still contributing to the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group. Cooking and baking 🍲 used to be my main pandemic pastimes but that fell seriously by the wayside due to first trimester woes. I did successfully bake my MIL’s top-notch lemon drizzle cake 🍋 recently, which was a big win. Sam and I have been doing a little more walking and exploring outdoors, not enough. And we just started making some furniture based on Rietveld’s crate designs. More on this to come soon. I haven’t kept up with my anti-racism reading recently, nor other reading, so need to revisit the reading list 📚 I set for myself a while back. And I need to make more effort to make IRL friends in the SF Bay Area. I put it on the back burner since lockdown measures combined with being extra-cautious due to pregnancy made seeing people in person seem unfeasible. But that is changing as numbers go down. Have had a lot of luck reaching out to people on Twitter though, every one of those digital encounters has been really nice. Still looking for a new choir 🎵 in the Bay Area, though I’m not expecting to find anything that rivals Musarc in terms of breadth of repertoire and experimentation. We’ll see!

Am I allowed to say that things are maybe, just barely, looking up? 🤞 Don’t hold me to it, time will tell.

Published

NOW v3: Adjusting to US life, fires in CA, poll worker training

Another Now page update. Contents below for posterity.


We’ve been in SF 🌉 for four and a half months now. The first month or so was strange but it was beautiful in the city, we went for a huge walk and I went swimming in the Pacific 🌊 for the first time in probably a decade. Then the Bay had an intense dry lightning storm and the fires 🔥 started. We started checking PurpleAir every day, and on 9 September it was if the sun never came up, like we were stuck in Blade Runner 2049. Have very rarely been able to meet up with old friends between the pandemic 🦠 and the air quality 🌫. But it will get better at some point.

We got a used car 🚗 about a month ago. I’ve learned more than I ever expected about cars and can recommend a great mechanic in SF. Now that we’ve got a car, we’re spending a lot of time at my family’s place in Nevada to escape the smoke and be a bit more active in general. We’re incredibly lucky to be able to spend some time out of a city. It’s pretty interesting to experience both SF 🟦 and rural NV 🟥 politics and pandemic approaches in the run up to the November election. In SF it’s considered super rude (and borderline illegal) not to wear a mask around others at all times. In NV, it’s considered very rude to wear masks around others unless you’re in a store. The contrasts are… stark.

Speaking of the election, I’ll be a poll worker 🗳 in SF on November 3rd. Just finished my poll worker training last week. It will probably be equal parts exhausting and fascinating. I’m thankful that I don’t live in a swing state considering how dicey everything feels.

Work-wise 👩🏻‍💻 I’m currently: helping out long-term collaborators Corridor8 with some website improvements; rebuilding a website for NY-based visual artist reps Camera Club 📷; developing a bilingual website designed by John Morgan studio for a London-based gallery 🖼; developing a new website for Gort Scott Architects designed by Polimekanos; collaborating with Bec Worth on the WIP 🚧 open-source WordPress theme that powers this website; and consulting with a few orgs and individuals in North America and Europe 🇪🇺.

The most recent sites I’ve developed are the Open-weather 🛰 site with Sasha Engelmann and Sophie Dyer, the new Open School East ✏️ site designed by Sam Baldwin, and “Eternal Return” designed by Jules Estèves for artist Elizabeth Peyton. Read a little bit about “Eternal Return” in the New Yorker.

I’m still settling in to life in the US, but I’m very open to new projects and particularly teaching / talking opportunities. Get in touch if you’d like to learn or work together.

Limited free time is currently taken up by: walking and foraging 🍄; working harder on how I confront obvious and not-so-obvious racism in myself and others; catching up with distant friends on FaceTime and Signal; figuring out how to make friends in a new place during a pandemic 🤷🏻‍♀️; contributing to the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group; cooking, baking, making drinks; remotely contributing to the choral collective Musarc 🎵; and finding a new choir in the Bay Area.

Published

NOW v2: Moved to SF, not much else b/c pandemic

Updated my Now page. Here’s the contents, for posterity.


After a tumultuous few months, we’ve landed in San Francisco 🌉. It is both wonderful and strange to have ended up in the exact place that I left when I moved to the UK 10 years ago. I’m more than a little melancholic—about the friends and family we’ve left, about the complicated state of the city, and more—but I’m also excited to reconnect with old faces and meet new people. As the virus 🦠 allows!

Work-wise 👩🏻‍💻 I’m currently: developing a bilingual website designed by John Morgan studio for a London-based gallery 🖼; developing a new website for Gort Scott Architects designed by Polimekanos; collaborating with Bec Worth on the WIP 🚧 open-source WordPress theme that powers this website; working with Sasha Engelmann and Sophie Dyer on an archive and online community for people that collect NOAA satellite 🛰 weather imagery; and consulting with a few orgs and individuals in North America and Europe.

The most recent sites I’ve developed are the new Open School East site ✏️ designed by Sam Baldwin and “Eternal Return” designed by Jules Estèves for artist Elizabeth Peyton. Read a little bit about “Eternal Return” in the New Yorker. Writeups on the build process for these sites coming soon, hopefully…

I’m still settling in to SF, but I’m very open to new projects and particularly teaching / talking opportunities. Get in touch if you’d like to learn or work together.

Limited free time is currently taken up by: navigating what it means to be an adult in the US; working harder on how I confront obvious and not-so-obvious racism in myself and others; finding a used car 🚗; walking and foraging 🍄; catching up with distant friends on FaceTime or Whereby; figuring out how to make friends in a new place during a pandemic 🤷🏻‍♀️; contributing to the Feminist Open Source Investigations Group; cooking, baking, making drinks; remotely contributing to the choral collective Musarc 🎵; and finding a new choir in the Bay Area.

Published

NOW v1: Hunkered down in Yorkshire, prepping for US move

Added a NOW page to this site. 👍

Here’s the first version, for posterity when it gets changed in the future.


We moved out of London in March. Originally we planned to live with family in West Yorkshire for two weeks before moving to the US 🇺🇸, but that’s been quite delayed by the virus 🦠. Now we’re living in temporary accommodation until moving to the US is more feasible. This move will mark the end of a 10 year period that I’ve lived in the UK 🇬🇧. I’m looking forward to a new adventure, and I’ll get to show Sam a few of the places I spent earlier years. But I’ll miss a lot, particularly the friends and family I love.

Work-wise 👩🏻‍💻 I’m currently: adding some new functionality to the Modern Art website; wrapping up a bunch of coding-for-designers workshops for the LCC MA GMD students; developing the WIP 🚧 open-source WordPress theme that powers this website; chatting with folks about tech and other stuff in free weekly digital coffee sessions 🤖☕️; and consulting with a few orgs in the US and UK.

Limited free time is currently taken up by: sorting through belongings to prep for the move; Animal Crossing 🐻; walking and foraging 🍄; catching up with friends on FaceTime or Whereby; cooking and baking with a limited subset of kitchen tools (challenging!); and remotely contributing to the choral collective Musarc 🎵.