Nearly 10

Yesterday we hosted a small party for the twins as they prepare to turn 10 on Monday. By prepare, I mean that they are eating lots of candy and bemoaning Roblox being down.

For their party, we invited their neighbor friends, their cousins, and they each invited one friend from school — altogether, that came to 9 kids. It was mayhem!

The party was going to be a movie party: they’d pick a movie to watch on the big TV, pop popcorn in our cute lil red popcorn maker, have snacks, and lounge in the movie room. They couldn’t pick a single movie so they ended up laughing uproariously at memes on YouTube instead.

On Friday I ordered their cake from our neighborhood grocery store, Reids. I was talking with the person in the bakery and picked “fun and festive” as their cake theme, because it sounded fine. Then I asked if they had any movie-themed decorations, since it was a movie-themed party. They said they didn’t, so I said that “fun and festive” would be great. On Saturday, Grant and I went to pick up the cake and they made it movie-themed! There was a picture of popcorn and movie tickets, and they piped a little reel in the corner with a film strip! I almost cried in the bakery right then and there. It was so unexpected and kind!

The twins loved it, and they had a blast at the party as well. It was nice to meet two of their friends from school, since we haven’t met really any kids in a few years.

Grant spent part of their birthday party at one of his classmates’ birthday parties, so he only got into a little bit of mischief (for him). He was very shy at the bday party he went to, and spent most of his time playing with me. But he participated in the piñata and really put his back into it (since we just had one the other week at the family Halloween party). He also participated during present-opening, giving the little girl his present to open, and showing her the card he so carefully drew for her.

Today we will do some light trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, and tomorrow we will give the twins the gifts we got them. So it’s been a very celebratory couple of days, and I am very tired. But it’s all worth it! It’s strange to see the twins transitioning from little kids towards teenagerism. They’re not not innocent and childlike, but they also are increasingly savvy. It’s a wonderous and weird stage. A mix of stuffies and memes. Talks about puberty (“will it hurt?”) and the Hunger Games (“they are being really mean and should stop that”). Talks about what the cats are thinking and goofy jokes. They’re very invested in the progress of the vaccine availability, and literally jumped for joy in my office when I said the initial approval had happened. They asked how soon they could get it, then Eleanor told me how bacteriophages are used against superbugs. I just love the people they are so much, and I look forward to seeing how they navigate the next year together.

Eleanor was in charge of candles.


A few months ago a bee broke into the house and visited me while I was working. I was absolutely thrilled and took a bunch of photos. This week I made this drawing from one of the photos, and I feel pretty good about it.

Bob at 41

So Bob isn’t quite 41 yet, but he is very close. In honor of his upcoming birthday, I took him on an overnight trip last weekend to Hammondsport, NY, to celebrate him. I was able to steal him away thanks to some amazing coordination from my neighbor Sara and my sister-in-law Jen. Jen even made the kids clean the house while we were gone!

I took Bob to his favorite winery, Dr. Frank’s, for a food and wine experience. This was fancy, and it felt really special. We tasted a mystery wine, guessed what it was (we were wrong!), had a tour, tasted wine out of the barrel, tasted wine and ate grapes in the vineyard, and returned to the 1886 house for a small tasting menu and more wine tasting.

The Finger Lakes are pretty.

After the winery, we went to our new property and chatted with the neighbor awhile, who seems very nice. We walked around the field together and talked about the future.

Our land!

Later, we visited a nearby brewery that Bob has been wanting to try, Broken Dreams Brewery.

Brewery of Broken Dreams

We checked into our hotel (the Park Inn, very lovely) and got settled in, before making our way to dinner downstairs.

Dinner at the Inn

In the morning, we had breakfast at the Crooked Lake Ice Cream parlor (which also serves coffee and breakfast), and walked down to Keuka Lake. It was so great to spend time just with Bob and to treat him for his special day!

Your guide to becoming a Happiness Engineer

My team is hiring great Happiness Engineers everyday, and we are thrilled to have this resource now to share with folks who are very close to being great candidates!

Happiness Everywhere

Welcome to the Happiness Engineer blog! Chances are you’re here for a specific reason… you’re interested in joining us as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

This post was written by a group of Happiness Engineers on a team called Sparta. We were really inspired by this post our brilliant colleague Sandy made four years ago on how to become a Happiness Engineer. Since our team comes from varied backgrounds and experiences, we thought we’d share our favorite tips and updated resources that helped us prepare for applying for the Happiness Engineer position here at Automattic.

Here on Sparta, we have team members who come from backgrounds in the restaurant industry, education, stay-at-home parenting, trauma therapy, marketing, and more. We’re living proof that Happiness Engineers can (and do!) come from all sorts of backgrounds.

“Just apply!” you may hear. Well, not quite. We would love to have you join us!…

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El Cap

In an effort to stop getting in my own way so much, I’m going to try to crank out little drawings more frequently.

I made a background and after it dried I thought maybe the copper could ape the color of El Capitan at sunset.

As the sketch came together (mistakes and all) it actually looked more like fire sky than sunset, particularly with the black ink in the background. So surprises all around.