Published

Lullabies

A bunch of the songs I’ve been singing or would like to sing to B. From friends, family, Musarc, etc. Some are lullabies, many are not, but they all have a lullaby feel to me.

Links are to YouTube.

  • “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, here sung by Judy Garland
  • “Baby Mine” from Dumbo, here sung by Betty Noyes
  • “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, here sung by Audrey Hepburn
  • “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon, here sung by Helen Reddy
  • “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
  • “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner, and Geoffrey Parsons, here sung by Nat King Cole
  • “Yesterday” by The Beatles, here
  • “Danny Boy” or “The Derry Air”, here sung by Sinéad O’Connor
  • “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music, here sung by Bill Lee
  • Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 by Johannes Brahms, much better known as Brahms’ Lullaby or “Guten Abend, gute Nacht”, here sung in Hebrew, English, and German by Esther Ofarim
  • “Es wird scho glei dumpa”, here sung by the Tölzer Boys Choir
  • “Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf”, here sung by the Wernigerode Youth Choir
  • “Vent Frais, Vent Du Matin”, here sung by Veronique Chalot
  • “Ik ga slapen ik ben moe”, here sung by Jelske Ottema (I think?)

Would love to collect more.

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.

***

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

A new chapter

Our little one is here, and life will never be the same.

🌱

It has been a whirlwind month, really a whirlwind few months. I was trying to wrap everything up prior to maternity leave and just about got there, then was suddenly faced with a same-day induction following a routine prenatal appointment at 38w + 4d, three days before my leave was due to start. So close!

I’m not going to go in to detail about the birth in public here, it is too intimate of an event. I will say that besides the shock of the sudden induction and a few other blips, the birth itself went just about as close as I could hope to my “ideal” scenario. I’m so thankful for that. Remembering that the pain is temporary and intentional helped a lot, and Sam’s support was vital, as were our nurses Amy and Lukas and doula Taylor. “Ready, present, relaxed” was on repeat in my head.

The days following the birth involved ups and downs in terms of my health, including a readmission to hospital unfortunately, but have gone fairly smoothly otherwise. Not sleeping as well as we did previously, but that’s to be expected!

And most importantly, our little lad. He’s perfect, gorgeous, and so funny already. He won’t appear often in public photos on this site or elsewhere online, but like most parents, I’m happy to share copious pictures with friends and family via text.

The one-on-one conversations I’ve had with more experienced friends, family, collaborators, clients, and acquaintances about this stuff are some of the moments from my pregnancy that I hold most dear, small acts of selflessness and vulnerability on their part that made me feel so much more prepared for this process and what is to come. I’m thankful to have been able to ask so many people about so many things: what it’s like to be self employed with a young child, navigating how to divvy up responsibilities with your partner, the million different paths that feeding a baby can take, how your sense of identity shifts, what equipment is useful and what is pointless, and so, so many birth stories.

So thank you so much to those people that have reached out, and to those that have kindly opened up when I prodded a bit. It has meant everything.

Along those lines, an invitation: if you’re expecting or even just considering kids and want to talk about what it is like, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Published

“Who gets to be a revolutionary?”

“Who gets to be a revolutionary?”

Writer Dayna Evans asks this partway through her Eater article “The Women Erased From the Story of No-Knead Bread”. It’s a good question. Who gets top billing for a semi-simultaneous invention or a collective idea?

It reminds me of discovering Louise Brigham’s box furniture while doing some research on Gerrit Rietveld’s crate furniture.

Read more

Published

Sass + Eleventy, remember to opt out of using .gitignore

I’m working on an Eleventy site at the moment, the first Eleventy site I’ve done that’s been complex enough CSS-wise to warrant using Sass. I’ve turned to Phil Hawksworth’s Sass + Eleventy technique for the job. It’s a great, simple way of using Sass with Eleventy with a little bit of preprocessing courtesy of Gulp.

Hit a wall at one point though, it was smooth sailing and then my CSS updates just stopped working.

Turns out I had added /_includes/main.css (the compiled styles) to my .gitignore file since I prefer not to commit compiled files, but I forgot that Eleventy uses the .gitignore file + the .eleventyignore file to decide what not to compile. So Eleventy was just ignoring it. 🤦🏻‍♀️

I did this .gitignore change as an end-of-day commit, tidying things up before closing my laptop. When I picked the project back up days later, it took me longer than I’d like to admit to figure out what was going on!

To sort it, I just had to opt out of using .gitignore by adding eleventyConfig.setUseGitIgnore(false); to the .eleventy.js config file, and then adding the necessary files listed in .gitignore to .eleventyignore. Then I re-ran gulp watch & npx eleventy --serve, and all was well.

Separate but related to static site generators: Check out Astro. Would be curious to see a detailed comparison of Eleventy vs Astro since Eleventy is currently top-of-the-list for me in terms of static site generators.

Published

To read: “Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment” by Matrix

Another one for the list.

***

Read Making Space: Women and the Man-Made Environment by The Matrix Feminist Design Cooperative, published by Pluto Press in 1984.

Came across it via this article in the Guardian, wish I could see the exhibition currently on at the Barbican.

It’s long out of print so pretty pricey secondhand… but the ever-useful Monoskop has a copy online and supposedly Verso is reprinting it this year. Definitely one for the wish list.

Related to this, check out the Matrix Open feminist architecture archive online which includes a few texts and other resources.

Random coincidence: Apparently Pluto Press was located on Torriano Ave. in the mid-80s, the same short street in Kentish Town where I lived when I first moved to London. Looks like the Torriano is now the Rose & Crown, but it sounds like it was a relatively gentle change, as far as pub refurbishments go. Pluto Press is now up in Archway, just up the road from the old Byam Shaw School of Art building. Wonder what CSM is doing with that space now…

Published

“I firmly believe in stressing the *fun* in *fun*gi”

Cover of the book “All That the Rain Promises and More...”

I picked up All That the Rain Promises and More… A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora at Alley Cat Bookstore and Gallery a few weeks ago. It felt a little silly considering we live in maybe the most concrete neighborhood we’ve ever lived in, and since foraging isn’t allowed in most of California, but how could I not get it. Look at the absolute maniac on the cover, the title.

The rest of the book lives up to the cover. The format is great, truly pocketable. Before you even get to the title page, it starts with a super straightforward flow chart of how to identify a mushroom with gills. The back endpapers are the same, but for mushrooms without gills. The bulk of the content is densely packed information about mushrooms, of course. But peppered throughout are anecdotes, recipes, personal stories and more from the author and many other smiling fungi fans.

Honestly, it’s been nice even just as bedtime reading, as strange as that may sound. 10/10

Now I just need to get myself out to Point Reyes or Salt Point State Park. For more on ethical / legal mushroom foraging in California, I found this article useful.

Get the book used or new on Biblio

Spread from the book “All That the Rain Promises and More...”

Spread from the book “All That the Rain Promises and More...”

Spread from the book “All That the Rain Promises and More...”

Published

Music notation software

Just came across StaffPad via SB, music notation software for tablets. Looks very cool.

I used Sibelius pretty heavily in college, dabbled with Finale a bit as well. Looks like Sibelius is now a subscription app à la Adobe CS 😕 so I probably wouldn’t reach for it now. There is a free tier, but it’s pretty limiting. Finale’s not a subscription app, but it’s an eye-watering $600 for the most recent version. I’m all for paying for software when it’s worth it, but that seems steep.

StaffPad is $89.99 in the Mac App store as of right now, which seems very reasonable considering the features it offers. The handwriting recognition in particular looks pretty nifty, though I wonder how accurate it would be in practice…

My music notation needs are generally very intermittent (nonexistent at the moment…), so I’ll probably stick to LilyPond for now. It’s free, open source software that’s a lot like LaTeX but for music, does the job and can achieve some pretty complex notation. I do wish it was easier to control the text and notation fonts, but you can’t have everything. A huge upside of using LilyPond is keeping scores in version control via Git, which I think I’d miss if I moved to something with a more traditional UI.

Published

Identity wrangling

A hand cupping some water from a stream

Cupping the water in Spicey Gill coming down from Ilkley Moor. Photo taken a year ago today.

“You are not your emotions.” Well you are, but you are not only your emotions. And you can choose not to be controlled by your emotions.

Life is made up of micro and macro decisions, and their consequences.

I chose to move back to the US, and now I am grappling with the reality of that decision, amongst other things. It has made life easier in some respects, and harder in others. Do I regret it? No. Will we be here forever? Magic eight ball says 🎱 “Concentrate and ask again”.

Read more

Published

Encounter with vaccine hesitancy

Had my first IRL encounter with vaccine hesitancy in SF yesterday.

I was grabbing an Uber back from a blood test and got chatting with the driver about all sorts of stuff. He was a perfectly lovely guy, probably around the same age as me. He asked if I’d had the vaccine and I said yes, that I’d had the second about two weeks ago. I asked if he had had it, thinking that maybe he asked me because he’d just had his. He said he wasn’t planning to get it, alluded to being skeptical about what was in them and whether they were safe.

He said something like 40% of the US military wasn’t getting the vaccine. I didn’t really really know what to say to that. I knew it wasn’t quite right, but was too tired to question it.

(Back in February it was reported that about one-third of military personnel supposedly were planning not to get the vaccine, but that was based on an extrapolation from survey data from the rest of the US population at the time, not on any major survey of the military itself [more on this]. We don’t actually know how many members of the military are getting the vaccine since it isn’t being tracked, it could be way higher or way lower. And the broader numbers across the US have changed since then, though there is still a good chunk of the population that is hesitant.)

Anyways, the conversation moved on. We got talking about how dire it was early on in San Francisco, tough for him to drive then. About how nice it is to see things gradually opening up, how it was nice to be seeing so many more people out and about even though it meant bad traffic, about how it will be great when we can stop wearing masks outside at least. He mentioned that he was planning to keep wearing his mask inside and while driving for a long, long time. So he was vaccine hesitant, but in no way an anti-masker or anything.

I mentioned how impressed I was by the vaccine efforts going on at the Moscone Center, about how I’d never seen anything like it, so many kind and qualified people coming together to help so many hundreds of other people every day. Figured it was the best I could do short of actively trying to convince him to get the vaccine itself.

When we parted ways, he said he was feeling positive about the whole situation, with so many people getting vaccinated. Said to stay safe, then I was out the door.

I need to figure out how to respond more proactively in that sort of situation. I think that his rational was probably “there are plenty of other people getting it, so I should be safe without it”. But we can’t realistically get high enough immunity within the population that way, and it isn’t a very community-minded approach. How do you get that across without being accusatory or making someone defensive?

I’m glad he’s feeling positive, but unfortunately I left the car feeling a bit lower than when I’d gotten in. We have such a massive mountain to climb in terms of the quality, efficacy, and breadth of our public health communication.