Thursday, January 16, 2014

Checking In

Several of you have sent some very nice, very supportive emails. Thank you! You have also commented on my lack of posting. So let me give you a bit of an update.

Lots has been going on, but not a lot at the sewing machine.

Table of Contents:

Here's a bit of a summary...

A Day in the Life...

First up, there's work:

  • Work continues to be a massive learning experience. I like it, but sometimes I feel quite whelmed.
  • I have been learning Dart (of course), JavaScript, Git, App Engine, Markdown (the version we use is Kramdown), and CSS, to name a few things. And, of course, there are so many new processes and workflows to learn. Plus, there is all of the mandatory training one must take so that I understand how not to inside trade, sexually harass, or violate export law.
  • There are also so many acronyms, code words, product names, third party products, and concepts to learn, that I've started a file that I call "getAClue". In there, I save FAQ-style tuples, like "What is AWFE?" "What is Heroku?" "How do I create hover text in markdown?" "How do I request software?" It's already an alarmingly long file.
  • I sometimes wonder what the heck I was thinking to take on this career change in my mid 50s.
  • I have been really enjoying wearing my wardrobe to work. At first, I started with my more "tame" clothing but, as time passes, I have been letting my freak flag fly. No one bats at eye, which is nice.
  • Speaking of which, I enjoy wearing my Trippens to work about once a week. I learned that they work excellently on a bicycle. No problems whatsoever. In fact, the space between the blocks on the sole really holds on to a bike pedal.
  • My days are long. I leave home in the dark and return in the dark. I have been enjoying the gorgeous full moon of the last few days. I am also looking forward to longer daylight hours!
  • At first, I planned to document my wardrobe in a new (private) blog called "Sartorial Shams". HA. Leaving in the dark and returning in the dark makes that almost impossible.
  • At first, I planned to select my daily outfit the night before so it would be ready to go the next morning. HA. That idea lasted me ONE DAY. Seriously, by the second day of work I couldn't be bothered.
  • I have gained weight. The "Google 15" is real. In fact, for many it's more like the "Google 50".
  • I am working on developing better strategies to deal with the ever present and seductive food. Have you ever been on a cruise ship? So have I. You know what the food is like? This is worse. Or better, depending on how you look at it. Thirty cafes/restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and manned by real chefs? And it's all free? Yeah. There are even cafes that specialize in truffles, ice cream, or fro-yo (frozen yogurt).
  • My team (who is fabulous, by the way) has an ethos that we do not use the elevator. (I sometimes cheat.) We work on the 4th floor (on one campus, and on the 6th floor of another). As a result of the stairs, and the bikes that I ride when I need to travel to another building, my thighs are becoming rock hard in a way that doesn't happen with just walking.
  • I think that the exercise, coupled with the bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, is keeping me pretty healthy despite the weight gain.
  • There is a motto at work: "You are never more than 50 feet from food." This is true, though I don't quite understand the need. (Are we infants?) Most floors are equipped with two mini kitchens. These mini kitchens are quite impressive, and include attractive jars of cereals, several bowls of organic fruit, racks of snack foods, two stocked fridges, and at least two espresso/cappuccino machines. I learned yesterday that I love kumquats. There was a bowl of kumquats and instructions on eating them. Yum.
Yay! Kumquats!

My First Workshop!

I have mentioned several times in the last months that I was going to be leading a 3-day workshop in January. That happened last weekend for a small group in the Santa Cruz area. The theme was "fabric mixing" with an emphasis on making jackets.

I spent a lot of my free time in the last couple months preparing handouts and samples. Some of the information was from my blog, but some was specially prepared. I provided patterns for some elements that I created, such as some unusual pockets. I also brought some patterns for tracing that I had worked up over the years. Finally, I brought several Au Bonheur patterns that are now out of print. I also spoke at length about how I do FBAs, narrow shoulders, widen sleeves, and how I construct garments to ensure a good fit through the bust.

I also brought Margy along. She was my pillar of support and it was fabulous to see her again in the flesh. We hadn't seen each other in a couple of years. Margy took lots of pictures and will be posting some, I think. (She sent me the one I posted above.)

In a nutshell, I felt like it went pretty well. Some of my lectures seemed to be well received and others could definitely have been improved. This group of sewists are lovely, and many are more creative than I am, which is a bit intimidating. But they were wonderful, open, gracious, good humored, and took amazingly good care of Margy and myself. (This was an informal group of friends and are not affiliated with a store or a school.)

While at the workshop, I made 2.5 trips to one of my favorite brick-and-mortar fabric stores - Hart's Fabrics in Santa Cruz. This store just continues to get better! (I count the "half trip" as when two of the women in the workshop headed over, and I asked them to pick up a couple fabrics for me.) I have been buying less fabric in general recently, but I couldn't resist some of their tasty numbers!

Margy and I also visited CrossRoad Fabrics in the same area. (They don't seem to have a website.) They had some lovely Ralph Lauren black woven trouser-weight fabric for $12 a yard that came home with each of us, as well as a few other pieces. All in all, a good fabric haul!

It's a Long Weekend!

Now that the workshop is over, my weekends are my own again. This coming weekend is 3 days long and I am eager to get to the sewing machine. I think, for now, most of my sewing will be of the quick and easy variety, but I am looking forward to sewing at least some on each of the three days! So stay tuned.

By the way, I wrote this blog post on the bus to work. I usually avoid using the computer on the bus, as I like to meditate, listen to music, and watch the sunrise. Plus, I can get motion sick. But this worked out ok - I started it on the morning ride and finished on the evening ride. This is promising!