Tagged: seattle

It’s on.

flower child    no pictures please

Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, green sunglasses, and blue shorts.

This post might not be a very good one; I’m writing it late at night, unable to sleep, after a day of flying across the country to visit my parents in Illinois. It’s such a long day of travel that always leaves me simultaneously buzzing and completely exhausted. I am not a good flier.

I was coming from Seattle, where Gabe and I were for a few days visiting friends. It was crazy to be in the city again after becoming such country bumpkins over the last year. Okay, Gabe was never really a city person to begin with, but it has been a big change for me, though a surprisingly easy one. It turns out I am a country person; I just never lived in the country before.

But as we drove into Seattle, I felt a sense of anxiety start to build, just looking at all the cars and buildings. I usually feel a little thrill when I get to the city, but not this time.

(Though I was still pretty jazzed to have not one, not two, but three grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment where we were staying [as opposed to having one tiny one that is a 15 minute drive down the highway away]. And I got to visit a fancy coffee shop and get served a great latte by a hipster instead of the hippies that I am used to.)

But my day of travel left my tired as always, even though I was actually able to work on the plane and not just spend the whole time trying to remind myself that thousands of flights happen every day and the pilot is very good at his or her job, etc etc.

It was pretty therapeutic to spend the time writing and planning instead of worrying.

These last few weeks have been really busy and crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime while I’m with my parents. Here are a couple of things that have gotten me through these busy weeks:

romeo is my constant

Romeo is my constant. On a particularly stressful day last week, he found our front door and let himself inside. Then he hopped into my bed and made like a rolly-polly.


Can you believe this place is real? Gabe and I stopped on our way to Seattle to visit friends who live on a farm outside Salem, OR. This is in their back yard. It is a lake with a dock with a picnic table on it. It was…perfect.

it's on!

Oh yes, it’s on. The star of my blog and I are getting full-on married next year. So that is a pretty great thing that has happened in the last few weeks too. 🙂

Birthday cake.

like a bridge over confused waters   my name is mike i like to hike - just kidding! my name is gabe.

Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, blue jeans, and brown boots.

All week it’s been raining in Humboldt County. As I write this, I’m sipping a latte and debating whether or not I can realistically leave this coffee shop and weather the rain that is pouring down. I know it’s just a short run to the car, but it’s so warm and cozy in here that, even though I don’t have any more work I can work on here, I don’t really want to leave.

And I like it that way.

When I moved to Seattle, I was disappointed by how much this supposedly rainy city didn’t live up to its reputation.

Everyone told me when I got there, “See! Everyone says it rains a lot here, but it’s actually really sunny! And in the winter, it’s just grey, not rainy.”

And I was like, “We are not on the same page about this.”

I was hoping it would rain a lot there. I considered that a perk. I didn’t want it to be sunny. I like the rain. I feel like if I’m going to have a grey winter day, I better at least get some good rain out of it so that I can cozy up to a latte and snuggle under a blanket at home. I want to fall asleep to the sound of raindrops and wind chimes blowing around. I want to wake up to a wet driveway and a sleepy town.

I like the feeling of having to stay inside and burrow down. Maybe it comes from growing up in the Midwest where sometimes it’s so cold in the winter that you just can’t go outside, and sometimes it’s so stormy in the summer that you have to huddle in the basement playing board games all night.

It’s nice to be safe and cozy inside when it’s less-than-nice outside. And maybe I like it to be gross outside so I can burrow down and feel like I have a good reason for it.

A few weeks ago I tried to figure out what my spirit animal was, and I decided it was probably a deer. But maybe I need to be some kind of burrowing creature? A tiny, hide-y, dig-me-a-tunnel-and-I’ll-see-you-next-spring animal? Not that I know what any of those are. (Taking suggestions in the comments.)

And if you’re wondering, Gabe’s spirit animal is probably a pelican.

Every spring, I visit my aunt in southern California, and I always fantasize about living there while we are there. I love being by the beach, and the palm trees, and the every-single-day sunshine, and the bathing suits, and the burritos…

But I think I’d miss the gloom and rain of northern California. We get enough sun to feel like we still live in California (I mean, it was 75 and sunny just a week or two ago), but every once in a while we get to snuggle down and pretend we’re having a cozy winter at home too.

Scrambled eggs.

can you believe he's still posing for me?   he can't either

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.

This week I’m writing my post in advance because at the time my post usually goes live, I am going to be working in a sweatshop of my own creation, hand-packing and shipping Spark Notebooks to everyone who ordered one during our Kickstarter.

So I’m writing this on Sunday night, while trying to pack a full week of work into 1 weekend day and 2 weekdays before I leave for Seattle on Wednesday.

I’m driving up — it’s a 10 hour trip that I kind of love to do — and I’m staying with my Popforms cofounder from that night until whenever we get the last notebook mailed out.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We had originally set up production so that the notebooks, once printed, would be sent to a fulfillment center that would ship them out for us. But then they delayed the project. And then they delayed it again. And again.

So that suddenly, the notebooks we had promised by early January weren’t going to go out until maybe February.

And that’s when we decided: we’ll just do it ourselves. And in a way, it feels kind of right that it happened this way. Not that we wanted to spend several full days assembling boxes, printing labels, and hand-packing thousands of notebooks from Kate’s living room during the middle of a work week, but it actually kind of matches our history and who we are as a company. We have always been bootstrapped, doing things manually and keeping our hands on as much of the finished product as possible so we could make sure it was exactly what we wanted to deliver.

So I’m driving up to Seattle to pack a couple thousand notebooks into boxes.

And I don’t know when I’ll be back.

But it will be a good trip. I hope I’ll get to see some friends, but a change of scenery is always nice for me, regardless of what actually happens while I’m away.

I just hope my plants don’t die while I’m gone. Someone who I won’t name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about, didn’t water my plants while I was gone for two weeks for Christmas (his defense: “I forgot.”) and now one of them is in very rough shape. I’m hoping for a miracle while I’m away.

What should you do when every leaf on a plant has wilty brown edges? It’s very sad.

For now I’m trimming the obviously dead leaves off, giving it good light, and trying really hard to resist the urge to overwater it.

Send positive vibes our way and maybe, just maybe, when I come back from Seattle I will be a few thousand notebooks lighter and in possession of one beautiful, healthy Dieffenbachia Compacta.

Move on.

b-e-a-utiful!   t-h-o-ughtful

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, a green t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.

This week I got a new computer. Yay! The best part is came for free via work.

I had to send my old computer to our new content writer, and so I had to delete everything off of my part of it so she could start fresh without having to reformat the blah blah and lose all the programs already on it.

And the process of transferring my old computer stuff onto my new computer has made me remember the thing that always comes up whenever I am moving or otherwise doing something arduous involving getting things from one place to another — it has made me remember that when faced with the task of transferring anything from here to there, my first reaction is just to leave it all behind and start over.

Just forget it. Leave it. “I don’t have time for this.”

I told myself this time would be different.

And yet, on Monday night, I found myself watching my old photos slowly (gut-wrenchingly slowly) upload one by one to Dropbox — my fifth attempt to get the last year or so of photos transferred to my new computer, after a failed Mac migration attempt, a failed zip drive attempt, a failed emailing-a-folder-to-myself attempt — thinking this thought over and over:

“Let’s just leave them all behind. Start fresh! Forget it.”

I had started the process on Friday. It took 3 days before I reached that point. Longer than usual, but here we are.

I am good at leaving stuff behind. I don’t feel sentimental when it comes to things — I guess I like to see something that has sentimental value if it shows up, but if keeping something will cost me more time/energy/money/thought than leaving it behind will, I will almost always choose to leave it behind.

I have no photos from college because my computer crashed at the end of senior year and I said, “Oh forget it” to all of the music and photos that I had accumulated in the previous four years.

And I didn’t really feel sad about it; I didn’t come to regret it later. The most that ever happens is a, “Hey where’s that song? Oh, it was on that mixtape that was on my old computer.”

I have one photo of my senior art thesis, and I have no idea where the actual physical components of my thesis went. I missed the deadline to take it down from the gallery and the gallery manager got mad at me, and I decided the prospect of dealing with her further was not worth getting the pieces of my thesis back. And so I never got it back. And I never regretted it.

Because, really — what am I going to do with my art thesis? Put it in a box and store it in a closet? For how long? I hate the idea of transferring something around that I’ll only end up throwing out later.

But this time — I want these goddamn photos.

The last year has been great. Great! I have so many photos of Gabe (thanks in no small part to this blog) and the two of us doing fun things together in Seattle and Humboldt, plus pictures of France and trips to La Jolla and Peoria, and just a lot of things I’d actually like to see again in the future.

Luckily, the Dropbox method [seems to have] worked. I got everything loaded, and deleted everything off the old computer. I have yet to download the new photos from Dropbox, but you know — I’ve been busy.

I have been basically tethered to my new computer since it arrived, since it came right in the midst of launching our newest product at Popforms. Morning til night, I am staring at its bright shiny new screen, making slides, writing copy, editing content, and otherwise being completely plugged in.

The end is in sight, though. Maybe even this weekend!

I’m going to eat a vegan cupcake and go for a hike. And then probably remember halfway through that there’s actually this big huge important thing I really need to get done before Monday and rush home to stare into the screen again a little bit longer.

But at least I’ll get the sweet first half of that hike in.

Maybe I’ll even take some photos.

By ways.

model strike   sitting down on the job

Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.

You guys! As this post goes live, I am on the road to Seattle to give a talk at WordCamp Seattle this weekend. Yay!

Since I moved to California, I’ve had to go up to Seattle a couple of times for work and talks and stuff, and when I tell most people that I’m driving 10 hours from Northern California to Seattle, most people cringe.

“10 hours? Geez. What are you going to do?”

But to me, this drive is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I don’t really know why — maybe it’s the undivided alone time, or the so-boring-you-can’t-help-but-contemplate-life scenery of basically all of Oregon, or just the chance to listen to podcasts and audiobooks at full volume for hours on end.

Now that I’ve done it a few times, I know the roads. There are highlights that I look for; places I like to stop for coffee; landmarks that remind me of things I was thinking about the last time I was driving through.

For some reason, it’s really fun. I love having a professional excuse to take a day off and go for a long drive.

Of course, a few chunks of time on this particular drive are going to be dedicated to reciting my talk out loud to no one, which will probably be a low point. However, I put *a lot* of energy into memorizing and perfecting this thing, so despite having to listen to myself recite the same now-boring-to-me stories and lessons, it gives me a little twinge of satisfaction every time I run through it completely without mistakes.

We’ll see if I do that well on Saturday at the conference.

Then I’m going home to Illinois! For a spontaneous trip. It looks to be about a million degrees, 100% humidity, and thunderstorm-y, which is just what I was hoping for. (No seriously. I’m sick of this mild west coast weather.)

And for this week’s big finale, here’s an update from the world of cat news:

planet planter

This week, I came across a tiny black and white cat sleep in the planter outside my door. It was the greatest.

That is all.

Ice cold.

my mustache is now longer than my mouth!   hallelujah!

Today Gabe is wearing a teal jacket, a brown sweatshirt, khaki pants, and black shoes.

Just before we dive into this week’s post, I’d like to take the opportunity to use this blog post to publicly shame someone in my life. I won’t name names, but let’s just say it’s a man and he’s wearing a teal jacket today.

So anyways, this unidentified man came into the kitchen the other night, made himself 1-2 cocktails, and then put the ice cube tray back in the freezer — empty.

Or so I thought.

And so, I was preparing for an “of course you did/men are impossible/I’m always right” sigh as I eyed the empty ice tray from afar. That is, until I attempted to pick up the ice cube tray and noticed that in fact it was not empty but it had been placed back into the freezer with ONE ice cube in it.

I don’t think it needs to be said how much worse this is than just putting an empty ice tray back in the freezer. So I’ll just leave it at that. Public shaming complete.

This week I started training for an 8K that I am going to be running in May. For most people, this doesn’t sound that daunting — an 8K is about 5 miles, which I think most people feel like they could do without any training at all, or at least very little training beforehand.

I, on the other hand, discovered during my first training run that doing a mile and a half felt like I was at the brink of death. So sweaty. So red-cheeked. So wobbly.

Or I should say, re-discovered.

Here is the twist — two years ago, in May, I ran a half-marathon. I did the Vancouver half and it was awesome. I remember running it and having this mindset like, “Just keep running! You’re doing great! Look at how far you’ve gone already! You can totally do this! Maybe I’ll do a marathon next year!”. I got my medal, ate some snacks, and took a leisurely walk around downtown Vancouver from the finish line to my hotel.

Then I got back to my hotel and took my shoes off. And then I saw my left foot big toenail — purple, wavy, on the edge of falling off. Turns out my second toe had been crossed over it for the nearly 3 hours I had been running, and had basically destroyed it.

I didn’t run for 6 months after that while I waiting to 1. stop feeling grossed out and 2. let the toenail heal and grow out healthily.

And I lost all of the momentum I had gained.

And it was hard-earned momentum at that. I am a bad runner. I don’t like it; I find it challenging to keep going; I don’t ever achieve that zen-like state that real runners get where they are just at peace with their thoughts and bodies.

I am forever challenged by running, and taking this long break after training myself to not only keep moving forward for 13.1 miles but to even feel happy while doing it, has ruined me.

Well, not ruined. But I’ve lost just about everything I built up during the 4-or-so months of training I gave to the half marathon. The only glimmer of hope I have to cling to is that yes, at some point in my life I was capable of running 13.1 miles continuously and feeling not desperately unhappy about it.

I run purely because it’s an exercise I can measure and complete. I like running because there are races, and that gives me the sense that my running has a purpose, which is the only way I can get myself to keep doing it. Plus, it’s free and makes me super fit.

But getting back into the groove has been hard. I am remembering early 2012, when I would head out to run around Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and every run ended sooner than I had expected and with me limping, heaving, holding an aching side cramp. I am there again now; holding my aching side cramp, only this time slightly sweatier because now it’s in California.

The memory of crossing the finish line in Vancouver is fuzzier. It is harder to remember what that felt like, from here, where running is still just something that feels like a punishment. I’m chasing that feeling, though. Hopefully by May I will have caught up to it, or at least will be a puttering along a few paces behind it huffing, wheezing, and sweating.

Crazy eight.

i am a woodsman?   i am a woodsman!

Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, filthy blue jeans, and brown boots.

There’s  a spider in my apartment.

It’s one of those fast ones too. It’s small, but speedy, and has the kind of totally black body with short weird legs that just screams, “Try to catch me, and I will drop into your hair.”

For the last day, it’s been hanging out on the line where the wall meets the ceiling in various rooms. Yesterday, it was in the kitchen. Today it was over by the dining room table.

When I was in high school, while becoming the vegetarian-maybe-vegan that I would one day grow into, I stopped squishing spiders and started taking them outside using the classic cup-and-a-sheet-of-paper method. In recent years, though, out of apathy, I usually let spiders that are inconveniently located just hang out.

If you’re on the floor of my shower, you’re getting removed. If you’re on the line where the wall meets the ceiling, and where I’d have to get on a chair to get to you, it’s your lucky day. We are now roommates.

To be honest, it is such a relief to be back in my house after not being here for 9 days that I basically can’t be bothered about anything. Spiders can stay if they don’t make a mess (or fall into my hair).

My trip to Seattle was great, but long, and then I stopped off at Gabe’s parents’ house on my way back into town and so am only just now getting my first night’s sleep back in my own room and bed tonight. And it will be glorious.

While in Seattle, I had a slightly less terrifying public speaking experience and today I realized it was the deadline for another conference I wanted to pitch, so I had to spend all afternoon getting my ideas together and writing up a proposal. It is a big one, too. I mean, I probably won’t get it because it’s so big (even though I think my idea is really good!) but it is kind of crazy that I keep doing this to myself and hoping I get the opportunity to do something that basically terrifies me.

It is a good thing to do; this I know. But it is also so scary, and while I know I will keep getting incrementally better at it, the increments are still really small at this stage.

But maybe this is all a lesson — spiders used to be a source of extreme fear. I used to see one in my bedroom and get flooded with terror; I’d back out of the room, eye always on the spider, until I could bring in my dad to eliminate it. And look at me now! Growing some kind of spider factory on the seam where my ceiling meets my wall. What growth!

As a child, my parents hammered into my head the phrase, “Spiders are our friends!” and at some point, it stuck. I can’t see a spider without that thought running through my mind, which is ultimately why I couldn’t squish them anymore. It seems so wrong to squish a friend in a paper towel.

Maybe I need some kind of public speaking mantra, which, after repeating it to myself for — oh, let’s say 15 years? that’s about how long the spider thing took — I will be a completely casual, couldn’t-be-bothered public speaker.

Let’s see, so where to begin:

“You won’t forget everything you memorized.”

“Your mouth isn’t bone dry; that’s just fear.”

“No one else can tell how much you’re sweating.”

“You absolutely will not be exposed as a fraud.”

Hm, this will take some workshopping. This incremental growth is exhausting! I’m going to go check on that spider instead.