2017 in Review

A collage of scenes from Mexico City, Paris, a wedding, and New York City

Street art in Mexico City; Musée D’Orsay in Paris; my sister’s wedding; NYC architecture.

Someday the world will be at peace and won’t feel like a three-ring circus of horror and I can write about the positive personal stuff that happened and not feel weird about it. A girl can dream.

Highlights

  • Joined the W3C CSS Working Group as a part of my role on Microsoft Edge. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and while I feel like I’m just getting started there, I hope to contribute more in the future.
  • Made a couple minisites: a collection of book highlights and my bucketlist.
  • Gave my first real tech talk at the Microsoft Edge Web Summit on CSS Grid.
  • Spent quite a bit of time with family this year, despite the long distance: one of my sisters got married in the fall.
  • Traveled to a couple new-to-me-places: Mexico City for a wedding, and Paris for work. Really enjoyed the vibes of both cities, and still daydreaming about a couple meals…
  • Attended the reboot of A11y Camp Seattle. Met great new people, learned new things, and all around had a really lovely time.
  • Had the pleasure of meeting a couple internet buddies IRL on a trip to New York.
  • Built a(n appropriately visually-conservative) pro bono site for Courthouse Dogs Foundation. They help set up programs where dogs comfort children and other vulnerable victims of crime while testifying in court or in a similiarly-stressful situation.
  • Got to do some freelance dev work on the side for a talented design shop here in Seattle. I love the chance to switch things up and work on a client site again.

Bye, bye birdy

A few weeks ago I quit using Twitter cold-turkey and started hanging out a bit on Mastodon. Leaving Twitter was something I’d kind of been mulling over for a bit, despite having made many friends on the platform and getting quite a lot out of it in the past. One more stupid T— scandal made me throw up my hands and say, “yup, I’m out.” It was a combination of reasons for me:

  • Not agreeing with how they were handling abuse of their platform. Given their track record and corporate imperative to satisfy shareholders, I didn’t have confidence in that changing anytime soon. In a way, I felt that my continued use was akin to tacit acceptance.
  • The firehose of despair was not the best for my mental health. It’s good to be aware of and involved in the world, but do you need everyone’s take round the clock? Do you need to express a take on everything? Or just roll up your sleeves and get to work?

I have to tell you, it feels really really good not being on Twitter anymore. I’m sure there are really good folks working for them and doing the best they can, and there are of course tons of good folks who are still on there and who I’ll need to find other ways to chat with, but it’s just not for me anymore.

Mastodon is pretty similar in structure to Twitter, but from the beginning has prioritized safety structures and finer-grained control over your experience. All social media has issues, but thus far it feels like a gentler place to be. Such a simple thing that I really love is the “content warning” feature, where you can type in a warning label, and the main body of your message is hidden behind a toggle. This is really nice because it means I’m not sobbing right before bed at some speculative nightmare that popped up in my feed when I wasn’t prepared for it (yes, this happened). If you’d like to learn more about Mastodon, check out this guide.

Books

I read 57 books this year, out of my goal of 52. Among my favorites were, in alphabetical order: Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Mari Kondo, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota, Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi, White Tears by Hari Kunzru, and You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. See the full list on Goodreads.

My raw reading goal for next year is also 52 books. Of these, I’m aiming to read 35 books that I owned at the beginning of the year. I have an embarrassingly large backlog of books I own but haven’t yet read…time to make a dent in that backlog.

2017 Themes

1. Do the most good. Definitely stepped up my game when it comes to contributing time, money, expertise, and other resources to the common good. Of course, “the most good” always means there is more to do. One thing I’m working on right now is being better at participating on the local level. A lot of the local actions tend to be along the lines of, “omg attend this meeting tomorrow at 2pm on a workday over an hour away from the office!!” So it can be challenging, but there are activities where it is possible to plan ahead.

I hope to keep this level of contribution in times of greater “peace”, not just when it feels like the whole world is particularly on fire (acknowledging here the privilege that allowed me to not feel that way my entire life).

2. Connection. I said that I wanted to “deepen my connection to people, planet, and time”. I suppose I would characterize the outcome here as a lot of stopping and starting. There was a blog I was setting up and decided felt weird. I’d do something to pursue connection and then get distracted. This focus would benefit from supporting routines, as well as journaling to check in every week or so. For theme #1, I was doing a monthly “what did I do for the world?” and something similar would probably work well here.

3. Focus. I think this will always be a struggle. I’ve been better about not working on 600 personal projects at once, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement in other areas where multiplicity doesn’t necessarily serve me or others well.

2018 themes forthcoming in another post!

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