July 29, 2005

Perfect summer days

The last three days have been the weather that all Wisconsiners live for. Perfection in mid-70s, clear air, blue, blue skies with the most ideal little puffy clouds drifting by.

In the past week I’ve had sweet corn on the cob, twice. Last night, after an evening of sailing, the temperature dipped to that summer time cool, where a sweatshirt and shorts becomes the only attire.

Here I am, looking out at my backyard of yellow cornflowers and lush green leaves. I’ve just come from a lazy morning of sipping coffee and reading my never ending book, System of the World, on the outdoor patio of a coffee shop.

This is exactly what I dreamed my July would become.

July 21, 2005

New Toys

I recently bought a MacMini for my new life of working from home. So far I’ve been very happy with the Mini. I won’t be able to upgrade it like the standard tower, so in some ways it seems like a throw-away unit. However, for now and for the next year or two this machine should meet and exceed all my needs. I also love how impressively small it is. I missed out on the Mac Cube and this feels like the next best thing.

Now that I have a new machine and some time on my hands I’ve been researching some small apps that I wouldn’t otherwise have time to explore. Plus, the new machine shipped with Tiger and I’ve been having fun exploring the new interface features.

To help me track my time spent on freelance projects and to produce accurate invoices I found this great little program, Sambucus. It allows me to itemize the task and track time spent on each one and then it goes through and produces reports. It is small and slick.

I’ve also found the Macworld Macgems to be a fun source for little Mac improvements.

July 19, 2005

Finding Rhythm

Now that I’m floating free, totally in control of my day, it’s up to me to determine my schedule. Hmmmmm….. So far my self discipline has been weak to medium.

Here’s the thing. I told myself that July was about letting go of routine. It is supposed to be an exercise in freedom and a chance for me to recover from all those years of structured work.

And yet, I have a million things to do. If I spend my days sleeping, reading and cooking I will be disappointed that I didn’t do all of those projects I’ve been meaning to get to. But then, if I have too structured of a day then I’ve defeated the whole purpose of taking the month of July off.

Add into this whole dilemma, the fact that it is looking most probable that I’m moving on August 1. Ofcourse I’ve hardly begun to pack… What’s a girl to do?

July 18, 2005

Small Talk

Yesterday SB and I traveled to Kenosha to celebrate the one year anniversary of my friend Maureen’s marriage to the reserved Austrian, Wolfgang. They’ve made their home in Graz, Austria, and came stateside to celebrate with her family and friends.

The room was filled with strangers. The table at which we were seated was circled with the unknown. It was immediately obvious that some truth stretching was in order. I am not at a point in my life where I can easily answer the basic table talk questions. Frankly I don’t even know the answers.

Q: What do you do? / Where do you work?
A: What I said: “I’m a web designer for the University.” What I meant: “I used to have a full-time job but I stepped out. Now I’m taking a non-conventiional break and I’m not sure what I want to do next. I might do some freelancing to fill in the gap. I just don’t know.”

Q: Where in Madison do you live?
A: What I said: “We live on the near south side.” What I meant: “Currently I live on the near east side, where I’ve lived for many years. In two weeks I will move-in to SB’s place on the near south side. This may seem like a big step in our lives but frankly it is one of the simpler decisions we are facing.”

Even the closer to truth answers are still skimming the surface of the vast unknown that SB and I are grappling with. We have more solid answers to other questions, questions that will not be asked in conversations between strangers. Questions about happiness, about truthfulness, about fun. Those standard concerns of work and home will come together later.

In the coming weeks we will attend two more weddings and I will continue to refine my answers to the most basic chit-chat. And maybe, maybe, I will have more concrete answers to some of these questions.

July 15, 2005

Photo Stream

As you may have noticed, I now have five little photos running down my side bar. I decided it was time to do something about putting photo albums on-line. After exploring options for using someone else’s code, instead of continuing to use my cumbersome code, I decided to go with Flickr, as cliche as it might be for bloggers. I like how easy it is to have a stream of recent photos display and I like how it integrates with iPhoto.

So far I have two albums up:
My recent trip to Portland
and
My trip in May to Austin

I’m still mainly shooting with 35mm film, so updates to photos will still be sporadic. I’m really considering going to the “dark side” and buying a digi-cam…

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