New favorite

I found this picture in Eleanor’s school journal. Obviously, she is now the favorite. Just look at the neck she gave me! 😍

Other important details to note: I think I’m feeding the baby? Henry (I think?) has no outline, but is sitting in a chair. I have the right number of fingers. I’m wearing my Hello Kitty mocs. Eleanor is the best at replacing letters with emoji.


We have a problem.

I read this article about the amazing Serena Williams over the weekend. Simply, I am enraged. Not just for Williams, who I deeply sympathize with as a mother who has just recently delivered a baby, but I’m also screaming at the top of my lungs for every mother we have. To quote the article (which you must read):

With a shockingly high maternal-mortality rate (several times the levels of other rich countries), Williams’s story will likely sound familiar to many women and all the more to black American women, who are three times more likely to die or suffer serious illness from pregnancy-related causes than white women, with at least 40 deaths per 100,000 live births on average, compared to 14 for white mothers.

I’ve written about these statistics before, here. What kind of shithole country lets this happen? America, that’s which one. This nation has the resources to level the proverbial playing field, and it refuses to. This isn’t a problem with money. It’s a problem with priority.

Women, and the rights of all people, who aren’t The Default have never been given priority. The very best option women have had is usually as Object. Something interesting to look at, but not something you’d devote real resources to. Politically, we have spent the last two hundred and forty-odd years selfishly protecting the rights of men. It turns out, that’s what the great experiment is – how long and how effectively can we make sure that straight white men take priority?

Right now, we have two Americas. One where a racist, misogynistic bigot who is also either deeply mentally damaged or simply a spoiled man-child is president, and the rights of straight white men are not in jeopardy in the least (particularly if they are wealthy). The other is the Upside Down, and that’s where all the rest of us are. Best I can tell, the president would like to cut ties with the Upside Down, rather than fix the problems that caused it in the first place.

As I’ve said before, the big problems aren’t the only problems. Yes, it’s a huge problem when the government makes it difficult or impossible for women to get birth control. But we are also each living with a thousand paper cuts. Statistically, if I can get a couple bandaids for my papercuts, my black counterparts can’t even get in the door of the pharmacy.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. day.


Yesterday Henry was one of the Superbees at school. Superbee is a program where kids who have all the traits that they learn about get celebrated on Friday, and eat lunch with the principal. They also get a slap bracelet that says they are a superbee, and a special shirt with cape to wear all day.

Eleanor was Superbee already, and she and Henry were asking me on the drive home if their dad was a superbee when he was a kid. I said no, because the program didn’t exist. Eleanor then said that when Bob was little they also didn’t have color (all the world was black and white), and anyway in 1974 they didn’t even have kindergarten. Bob is not that old. And of course we had color. Anyway, we are super proud of both our sweet Superbees!

Dvorak, revisited

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a little about using Dvorak, and how I came to switch, my recommendations for how to make the transition, and so on. The past few days, for whatever reason, I’ve had in my head the thought that I need to make a post on using Dvorak. I think partly it’s because so few people know what it is.

This is a Dvorak layout:

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 1.59.10 PM
Public Domain,

It looks uneven, if you’re used to looking at how centered QWERTY feels. But it’s a better distribution of keys.

I have a keyboard cover that is Dvorak, but I was already proficient when I got it, so I don’t use it for my keyboard (although I would sometimes use it to see where a key should be, for typing in long, complex passwords, for example), and my computer keyboard layout looks like this:


At an event in Portland last summer, we were doing a workshop where people split up into groups and used Slack to communicate specific things to each other. I was sitting next to a woman in my group who didn’t have her computer with her, so I slid my computer over to her, and within about 3 seconds she looked at me in a panic and whispered “I think I broke your computer.” Switching between keyboard layouts is super easy on the MacBook – it’s just ⌘ + space. It’s so easy to switch, that my children and cat routinely switch my keyboard for me while I’m working.

I’m always excited when people want to try a new keyboard layout. I know that I’ve benefited from it – my hands don’t hurt after a long day of typing – and I like to see others shake up their basic habits. It’s a small thing, in the grand scheme of things. Your keyboard layout choice isn’t going to be the defining thing about you, ever. But it’s something that you can challenge about your every day habits. It can be the starting point to rethink other habits. At Automattic, we have nearly 30 people who use Dvorak, and just a handful fewer who use Colemak.

Although, truthfully, in the future, we’ll all be typing in emoji, anyway. On a recent flight with the kids, Henry wanted to type on my phone, so he created a Simplenote that is as follows:

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 2.10.15 PM.png
Courtesy Henry R. Ring, age 6

If you’re not draw-searching your emojis, are you even really living?


So, I still advocate switching. I think it’s a great challenge, and it gives you a chance to evaluate habits. But don’t forget them emoji đŸ™ŒđŸ»

PS – Do you know how to use emoji on a computer? On a MacBook, hold down control + ⌘ + space, then let go. An emoji picker will appear.


Henry and Bob made a snowman last night. It’s hard to tell, but he is holding a snowball, ready to throw.

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