Selfishpression

Here’s a new COVID era term: selfishpression. When someone uses the excuse of self-expression to be selfish. Example: “I didn’t wear a mask because I’m just so ready for COVID to be over, and I want my summer back.”

You know it when you see it.

Plantain weed

Botanical prints are amazing, and I love them. I did a study based on a piece I found online, plus some looking at the many, many specimens in my very own yard.

Next I’m going to do a more delicate, better centered smaller version to refine the exercise.

Favorite parts so far: all the greens and greeny-browns, and yellows. I also really appreciate the way these little buddies flower. Most interesting challenge: matching colors across several days of work; even with an active palette, it’s tricky.

Remote Career Summit 2020

I’m going to speaking at the Remote Career Summit 2020 on Thursday June 25! Alongside other people at companies who focus on remote hiring, I’ll be participating in a roundtable discussion.

Here’s the event description:

Millions of people are now unemployed due to the global pandemic. At the same time, many tech companies have announced they will go remote permanently. Against the backdrop of these massive shifts in the workplace, we invite you to join us for this virtual event to discuss these challenges and plan for the future of remote work together.

Remote Career Summit 2020

The roundtable I’m participating in is titled “Working at the World’s Biggest All-Remote Companies: Automattic, Buffer, and GitLab” — which really says it all! I’ll be speaking with Kevan Lee (of Buffer), Darren Murph (of GitLab), and Laurel Farrer (of Distribute Consulting). I’ve been working on answers to some questions ahead of time, and I think the topics that will be discussed in the roundtable will be interesting to people on the hunt for jobs, people who are wondering about working remotely, and other companies who want to accelerate their remote programs.

If you’d like to register for the event (it’s free!) you can sign up here.

Recreational thinking

Something that I’ve found enormously helpful lately is having a sort of release valve and a way to for ramping up thinking and then diffusing the tension from work-time thinking. That kind of recreational thinking gives me a chance to puzzle over something that has low stakes, and high pay off in terms of satisfaction. My go-to is crossword puzzles.

I’ve been working my way through the Best of the Week series from the New York Times. I’m halfway through Wednesday. The books are collections of 50 puzzles from that day of the week, so they get increasingly difficult. The Monday collection was almost ridiculously easy, but still super satisfying to finish each puzzle. There was a rhythm and a similar level of expected cultural knowledge that made them varied enough to make me feel smart! Each successive collection, the rhythm changes again and the expectations around what you should be able to figure out rises. Of course, you can answer them all by Googling the clues, but it’s more fun to look up something and get lost reading about the topic for 5 or 10 minutes, and piece the answer together organically.

I’ve found that I will start to struggle with the clues and will wrestle with them for longer and longer late at night. Then I grab my crossword book when I first wake up (instead of reaching for my phone, on my better days), and I can zip through clues I couldn’t make heads nor tails of the night before. After I finish a work shift (I have basically two main shifts, revolving around childcare), I can work off the surplus buzz (and therefore not stress about work when I can’t log in and do something about it) by working on some crossword clues. It’s the perfect funnel for my overthinking. Likewise, I can help my brain get into prime mode by slipping into crossword mode for a few minutes before I go back to work. Fun and rewarding!

I’ve also been dabbling in cryptic crosswords, but they are a much bigger mental shift, and I haven’t gotten the rhythm down for how to identify the type of puzzle, and how to then decode them. It’s an interesting challenge, but I need more focused practice, and a lot of focused time isn’t something I have right now. Maybe when I’ve successfully gotten all the way through the Sunday collection I’ll be ready!

FD2020

The past 4 months have been hard on everyone. The enforced time together, the unrelenting juggling of work and children, and the constant worry. I couldn’t have a better partner at my side through it all. Bob and I are perfectly balanced. I could sit home all day, and he needs to travel. I get frustrated at the kids, and he reminds me that they are just kids. When I feel that something needs to give, he helps me find solutions. When I get mad about something sexist or misogynist, he also gets mad about it.

Happy father’s day to Bob, and all the dads (including mine!) out there, especially the ones in our extended family and friends!

Here are some of my favorite Bob photos from the past year (click to see full size).

Anti-racism

I’ve been reading How To Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, and it seemed the day I downloaded it, I started seeing the phrase “anti-racist” everywhere. To be anti-racist is to actively be against racism; not only the individual acts as committed by individuals, but also the policies and systems that have shaped our entire country here in America. If it sounds radical, think it through: because the entire country was built on stolen land on the back of stolen humans, it has always bent to protect and benefit white people, and white men especially. Racism baked into policy may seem a side effect, but it’s real, it’s damaging, and it’s on-going.

Something that was really interesting and eye-opening for me was that Kendi explains how “not racist” is, actually, racist. I’ve considered myself “not racist” for … ever? But if you’re just “not racist,” you’re passive about racism. You may not commit an individual act of racism, but you aren’t doing anything to remove systemic racism or challenge racist policy. Your passivity is perpetuating the racism, which makes you part of the system that approves of racism, which is racist.

Well I don’t want to be an accidental racist anymore. Fuck racists, and fuck racism.

For the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been donating to the ACLU on a monthly recurring basis. Last month I added a recurring monthly donation to ActBlue’s bail funds program. If you have money, donating to organizations such as these is a good option. One-time donations are great, especially when there’s a lot of publicity for a specific organization and they can raise a ton at once. But recurring donations are what keep the lights on, and lets the organization plan their budget for the year. If you can, set up recurring donations for the anti-racism organizations that speak to you — or that people you trust are donating to. If you don’t have money, research the policy-makers who focus on anti-racist policy and volunteer. If no one in your voting district is anti-racist, demand that they become anti-racist. Write letters, write emails, and call. Remind them that they can eat your farts if they aren’t inclined to be anti-racist, and then take your vote from them. Run for office.

The past three years have been absolutely fucked, and we’ve all been so numbed by it (while the ignorant and racist misogynists have been thrilled) that when an outrage isn’t met with indifference it means something. At a time when people are seriously struggling with the ongoing gaslighting about literally everything that’s happening, that we are able to protest in gorgeous masses and hold onto these men and women, to say we haven’t forgotten them, and we don’t want any more of our young people to grow up victimized by a system that is unerringly brutal and over militarized, that means something. I don’t know that all white people will be able to get our heads out of our collective asses and dismantle the racism that’s been in our system since before the first day, but I’m cautiously hopeful.

Lately, I’ve been trying to protect my limited mental bandwidth. I spend my day taking care of 3 kids, while having Zoom calls with co-workers, and then I flip from childcare to work-mode whenever my husband gets home, and continue the calls and the tasks until I eat dinner, then I go back to it. It’s a lot of context-switching, and it takes a toll. On top of that, the pandemic turned me into an avid Twitter user. I was scrolling Twitter constantly. But a few weeks ago I had to stop. It was more context-switching from the political to “my cute puppy” tweets. I had whiplash, and the surging emotions were like a bowl of water being carried by a toddler. More water was sloshing out of the bowl than was being retained. Just another mess without any benefit, and ending up less instead of better. So I took Twitter and Facebook (same problem) off my phone’s homepage. They’re buried in the app list, but I can’t open them by rote any more. It helps. But that alone is “not racist” instead of “anti-racist.”

In the void, I’m listening better. I’m reading books by black authors about racism and their experience in a racist America. I’m filling the space I filled with non-productive, hurtful-in-its-volume chatter, with substance that can help me to change, and to then use my privilege as a white woman to amplify that change. We can’t wait for “them” to fix this and make the change we need to see. We need to be that change, and not just for a week or a month. We need to demand that equality actually means something for always. Black lives matter. Question. Vote. Donate. Show up. Volunteer.