I’m publicly committing to the 100DaysOfCode Challenge starting today!  #100DaysOfCode

I did my first coding in BASIC as a reader of 3-2-1 Contact Magazine in the late 80s and early 90s. My dad was director of IT at a law school in the early 90s and responded to every complaint I had about not having access to Prodigy or AOL by telling me that the Web was where things were happening, not there. I wasn’t sure I believed him, but in 1995 my mom bought me a book about programming HTML for Netscape and I started building websites, first for local non-profits, then as fan endeavors. Sure, I ventured into the world of WYSIWYG page editors like Geocities, Angelfire, Microsoft Publisher, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Homestead. But I always came back to hand coding. By 2001, I had a personal domain and was using HTML, CSS,  and Javascript to develop a whole suite of fansites. I installed and troubleshooted Greymatter for my blog, but all the other pages were handcoded. I learned the basics of PHP so that I could serve dynamic pages and only have to update the content within a page when I wanted to make a change, and have the header, footer, and menus all be consistent throughout a site.

And then came WordPress.

I love WordPress.

But it made me lazy. Kind of.

Using WordPress is, I realize now after helping others with it, its own set of skills; it is not without a learning curve. But it doesn’t require me to know or use much code.

And I miss code.

Plus, WordPress is so much more customizable if you can code; you can create your own themes and plug-ins. Instead of shaking my fist when I want a functionality that’s not there, I’ll be able to build it. And, obviously, getting the skills needed for front end development has many benefits beyond just customizing WordPress.

The web WAS my job until 2015, but since then, all kinds of amazing developments have occurred and become widespread. (CSS Flex! CSS Grid!) I don’t know how to use them, and I want to.

So. To that end, and because I actually find coding relaxing – I once spent several hours of a vacation working through Codecademy courses – I’m committing myself to the #100DaysofCode challenge. I’ll be going through freeCodeCamp’s Responsive Web Design certification, because I’m rusty and want to get back to basics.

If this is something you have always wanted to try, why not start now? Join me!

#AcWriMo: A declaration

Hi friends.

Here I’m declaring my intent to participate in #AcWriMo.

Here are my goals:

  1. Revise and submit an article I’ve been working on for a long time.

  2. Write the introductory overview to my comprehensive examination literature review package.

  3. Create preliminary bibliographies for my comprehensive examination literature review package to share with my committee.

I recently wrote a six-page prospectus of my dissertation study. While it grew out of all the work I’ve done so far, it means that the many words I’ve already written and the unwritten-but-outlined parts of my comps either won’t be used for this purpose or will be very much downplayed. I’m not starting from nothing, exactly, but there’s a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.

To determine my goals, I looked realistically at my time constraints.

I have childcare five days a week for four hours a day. The first 30 minutes of that is usually settling in and the last is settling out, so really it’s three hours a day. I have a standing weekly meeting for the grant project that employs me, and writing isn’t the only work I need to get done in my childcare time. Because of travel, Thanksgiving, and meetings, I’ve only got 15 guaranteed writing days in November. (Other writing days are catch-as-catch-can; occasionally a grandma will offer a few hours of childcare or W. will take a long weekend stretch to solo parent, but those times aren’t predictable.) So aside from my task-related goals, I’m setting a goal for 15 hours of writing time this month. I’m not sure how long this overview needs to be, which is why I don’t have a word or page count goal.

Anyway, you heard it here: I’m doing #AcWriMo, but on my terms.

What do I want to do with my life? Resources to help you find the answer.

I was talking with some fellow co-working moms about matrescence and how it kind of shakes up everything you thought you wanted to do and how to figure out what to do next. I mentioned that I know a lot of books to help with this. (I didn’t mention that I’ve never finished reading any of them… which is kind of symptomatic of the problem they’re designed to address!)

But ANYWAY. I thought a blog post full of them might be helpful to more people than just other parents acting as primary caregivers trying to figure out their next steps, so here they are.

How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up by Emilie Wapnick. Also check out her website, Puttylike.

Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams by Barbara Sher

The Firestarter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms and The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life–a Creative and Practical Guide by Margaret Lobenstine

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Blake – this one’s got a tie-in podcast!

On living a fragmented life

Saturday night, W. and I went to the tour of Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. If you like Final Fantasy, and it’s coming somewhere near you, you should definitely go. It was a magical evening. It’s a philharmonic with orchestra and choir on stage, and then three giant screens projecting scenes from the games. Arnie Roth conducted and bantered between sets; I think he’s delightful.

And the fans came out. There was that feeling of being among your people that happens at this sort of interest-based gathering. I have never seen so many cool t-shirts and gorgeous hair colors in one place before.

And then there were the cosplayers:

Nico Castillo on Instagram: ?Oh Celes… That is so… you! Traitor and trollop! @utopian_pigeon #distantworlds #finalfantasy #finalfantasyvi #kefka #celeschere??

Which reminded me that, oh yeah, about a year ago I said I was going to get into cosplay…


This summer, we went to North Myrtle Beach as a family. We stopped by Ripley’s Aquarium and saw their mermaid show. Leaving it, I thought, “Oh right! I wanted to take up mermaiding.”


My ambitions that aren’t obligations escape me, and I need to be able to achieve my obligations in fragments. This is life as a primary caregiving parent: any activity needs to be achievable in small bits of time, and preferably it shouldn’t be a problem if the activity is interrupted.

And let’s be honest: if the activity is interrupted, it might never get finished.


I left lemon juice on the counter overnight. I was using it to preserve apples for M.’s snack and lunch today, and I put the apples in the fridge. And my brain was like, “Okay! Done with this task!” I did the same thing with some almond milk last week after making a smoothie.


It might sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. I’m obsessed with my kid. I just was in the bathroom at our combo co-working space/Montessori, and the bathroom window looks out onto the play area, and I just watched him chase and pick up balls for a little while.

I love being with him. And in many ways, I’m most myself with him, more than I ever was before.

And in other ways, it’s really important to me to remember all the parts of me that are from before, because they’re all still here, and they need attending to, now and again.

I keep coming back to the idea that matrescence is like kintsugi, the Japanese art of using gold to repair ceramics.

Rural cooking pot repaired with Kintsugi technique, Georgia, 19th century. Photo by Guggger. CC-BY-SA

Having a kid shattered me. I still haven’t processed my birth story, and it’s been two years. I will. When I’m ready. I spent so many hours searching for resources on identity crises in the immediate post-partum period. But having a kid made me like this cooking pot. All the old parts of me are around. And I’m piecing them back together, slowly, with the new parts of me and the new parts of my life making everything more beautiful.

There are new pieces to come, too. I think the simile breaks down here.


This is life now. It will be different later.


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