Sunday afternoon art time

…while the husband and some play Mario Party in the other room. 😍

This is a kit from Let’s Make Art. They send you instructions, a reference image, watercolor paper, paints, an outline (where appropriate) and provide a YouTube tutorial so you can paint along.

There are things I’d like to be different about this painting, but I’m overall pretty pleased with the result.

Beans and greens and ham

I make this in the Instant Pot, and it’s delicious. If you don’t have an electric pressure cooker, you could easily to do this in a slow cooker, or on the stove. It’s less a recipe than a game plan. You will need: 

An onion
A bell pepper
A carrot
A bunch of kale or chard, leaves separated from stems
A couple cloves of garlic, smashed
A pound of dry beans
A smoked ham hock
A few bay leaves
Some extra ham (the kind you cut off a ham, not deli ham)
6 cups of some combination of water and stock (if you only have water, no worries; it’ll still be great)

Dice your onion, bell pepper, carrot, and kale/chard stems finely. Turn the Instant Pot on “Sauté” and heat up some kind of fat- I use bacon grease here, but you could easily use some kind of oil or even butter. Throw the vegetables and garlic cloves in with some salt and pepper and toss them around until they start to to cook down a bit.

Add your ham hock, your pound of beans, your 6 cups of liquid, your bay leaves, and your extra ham. You could also add some red pepper flakes here, or some hot sauce or vinegar, but I’d avoid adding salt at this point because the ham is going to add a lot of salt and smokiness. Taste for salt levels at the end. 

Seal up the Instant Pot and set it for 40 or so minutes of pressure time. Wander off and do something else. When it goes off, maybe let it sit for another 20 minutes or so; there’s no rush here. 

Open the Instant Pot and taste what you’ve got. Add any seasonings you think it needs. If it’s super watery, ladle some out, but this should feel like a soup or a stew at this point. Add your greens in and stir them around so that the heat wilts them. 

Ladle all this into a bowl, and serve with whatever fixings you like- more hot sauce, maybe some cheddar cheese melted on top. 

The Hour of Tiff

When I started my new job at Automattic a couple weeks ago, I went from having a lot of time on my hands as a never-busy-enough freelancer to suddenly being at my desk for 8 hours a day during my Happiness Rotation. (On rotation, I have the freedom to decide my own schedule for doing support work, but the best time to do it is while everyone else is at work and school.) Suddenly I felt like I had no time for anything- I’d get the kid off to school, do a full a day of work, and then it was time to head out to pick up my son and have evening family time. 

Looking at my color-coded schedule (a post about my planner is coming another day), I realized that the only way I was likely to get another hour in my day is to get up an hour earlier. I can do that and still get enough sleep, but I’ve never been a morning person, so this is going to be a hard habit to establish. 

I read recently that the only way to establish a habit like getting up early is to tie it to something you’re excited about doing instead of something you “should” do- if you’re getting up to clean the house or work more, you’re never going to make yourself do it. But if you’re getting up to do something you like – reading, catching up on your favorite TV show, making art – then you’ll be motivated to actually get up out of your comfy bed and get moving.  (It sounds obvious, but this was a little bit of a revelation to me, after reading a million profiles of tech dudes who swear that they only need 5 hours of sleep and get up before the sun every morning to walk the dog and meditate.)

Anyway, partway through week I declared The Hour of Tiff, AKA, Time for Doing Whatever the F— I Want. Here’s how it went:

Continue reading “The Hour of Tiff”

Dammit Jim, I’m a MacAdmin, Not a Web Developer: WordPress Basics for Mac Admins

I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2018 Penn State Mac Admins Conference this year. The idea for this talk came from trying to help out some IT consultant friends with their clients’ WordPress emergencies. Often what happens is that a developer will build a site for a client, and then the engagement will end with no further support provided, and then there’s no one to help when something breaks, so IT gets brought in to troubleshoot something that’s outside their expertise. This talk is about giving IT folks the basic knowledge needed to address some common WordPress problems.