July Updates

I have been thinking about:

1. When I’m in a bad mood, it’s because I don’t like myself. (If someone else’s behaviour is irritating me and I like my own behaviour and everything is right in my world, it won’t affect my mood.)

2. When everything is good, it’s because I like myself.

3. I am a binge doer, which means I will burn out on whatever I’m doing. So if I want to consistently and regularly do something (like reading books), I need to force myself to only do that thing a little bit each day. For example, if I read a few pages of a book every day, then I stay interested in it. But if I keep reading because I want to know what happens next, I binge-read, then feel like I’ve lost a huge chunk of time to books, and then I feel like taking a break from books for a week (which becomes two then three then nineteen).

4. My problem with meditation is that I get ideas and to-dos when I’m meditating, but I can’t write them down, which short-circuits my brain. Freehand writing as a meditation allows me to write down those things (and put a symbol at the start of the line, so I can easily come back to them later) and then move on straight away.

5. There is a “look trap” for women, in life. // When I was out of uni, first jobs, I wore what I felt most comfortable in, because I didn’t feel like that made any difference to what ideas I had, or what work I did, or what I could do. A few years in, when I was frustrated that I couldn’t be more involved in the decision-making of projects, I was told that I didn’t dress appropriately for those kinds of roles – I had to stay behind the scenes, with other people making the decisions. This bogus rule did not affect the men, of course. They were able to wear hoodies, jeans and sneakers for any role. // As time went on, I got suckered into this “look trap.” If I wore heels and so on, surely I would be seen as a different kind of person, therefore I would/could be that kind of person? // As time went on, I became more the look and less the doing. // Until, I think, it can get to a point where you are an adult woman and you are spending more time on the look than on doing (what are you making? what are you enjoying? what are you doing with your time, with your life? how much time on your hair? how much time on your skincare? how much time on your nails? how much time on your makeup? how much time on your waxing? how much time choosing your outfits? how much time choosing new clothes? how much time caring for your clothes? how much time on your accessories?). (See also: 1, 2, 3.)

6. I keep coming back to this thought, but I don’t really know how to talk about it – I used to listen to a podcast by two men, and gradually, over the course of many episodes, it really got to me: one of these men, who I had previously respected and enjoyed listening to, rarely (if ever) mentioned women on the show. And a few times, he mentioned his wife, only in the context of her being the mother of his child. And then, one day, I was listening to the podcast, and he was talking about his wife nagging him for a moment, and then he stopped, and said something like: “Listen to me, women, don’t nag your husbands. Just don’t.” And… that was it. There was something so sexist about his comment, so… unenlightened. I couldn’t listen to the podcast anymore. I’ll try to explain why, in a really unsophisticated way, because it’s been taking me too long to try and figure out how to explain it otherwise:
– The first time this man decided to acknowledge me/women as part of his audience, he acknowledges us only in our role as partners of men – in our domestic lives – in an insulting, negative and profoundly condescending way.
And then, this is the more complicated part – my thoughts in regards to his instruction about nagging:
– Women are raised to be helpers. “Little Lucy, can you possibly hand me that cloth?” – and maybe, little Lucy has already been raised to enjoy more passive activities, so she’s right there to ask. Little Davy is running around, so he can’t be asked for a cloth.
– This is reinforced thousands of times, and perfected. Until mostly, only the girl is asked. She is proving to be so helpful. She feels good about being good. And the requests are built upon: “Lucy, can you squeeze out the cloth properly after you use it.” ––> “Lucy, can you wipe down the sink properly after you’ve washed something.” Davy hears these things much less. Other actions and behaviours are being reinforced for Davy.
– I am not sure how to comment about this next part exactly, but: the mum does more work for Davy. Davy, in return, learns to expect this. They have a different dynamic. If young adult Lucy is cooking dinner for the family, she wouldn’t think to ask her mum, who’s in the kitchen, to check on the food in the oven. She would think, subconsciously, “Who am I to ask my mum to do a task for me that I can easily do myself, in one minute?” Young adult Davy has a different dynamic. He asks for favours. He doesn’t wipe down the benches. His mum thinks, “Oh well, after all, he did just cook the family dinner! I can wipe down the benches.”
– This is reinforced thousands of times. At work, the office manager calls out, “Can anyone do me a favour and do a coffee run for the next meeting? I have a doctor’s appointment, I’ll just be an hour.” Lucy has lived her life being praised when she helps. The request hardly even registers with Davy.
– Until, eventually, Davy is living with his wife, Meg. And Meg lives with the mental load. And then they have kids, and the mental load gets so much bigger. And they’ve been living together for a while now, and there are some things that Davy does… never closes cupboards, never wrings out the cloth, never wipes down surfaces, never puts clothes away after wearing them, never puts the bathroom items (deodorant, etc) back In the cupboard… And Meg carefully chooses which behaviour is, objectively, very reasonable to want to change, and says, without any passive-aggression or aggression: “Hey Davy. If you don’t wring out the cloth, it gets gross and full of bacteria and stinks. Can you wring it out after you use it?” (What she doesn’t say is: “And then it creates more work for me. I have to put it in Napisan and put it through the wash.”) Davy says “OK,” but doesn’t really change his behaviour, because the request hardly registers with him, and he’s been doing it that way so long.
– So another day, Meg is sitting down to dinner with Davy, and says: “I would like to know if you think you can change your behaviour in regards to wringing out the cloth, because I really hate how it gets all disgusting and smells so bad. I came in the other day and thought the lid was off the compost bin, was walking all around the kitchen trying to figure out the stench – the cloth had been used to wipe up food yesterday, and hadn’t been rinsed or squeezed out, so it was festering and gross. If you don’t think you can change your behaviour, tell me now, so I can figure out some other way to use cloths – maybe we have to just use paper towels or something.” And Davy really feels like he’s being criticised now, and he says, annoyed, “We don’t need to use paper towels. OK..”
– But not much changes.
– So Meg has to: a) say, “Davy, you are an adult, act like one. Rinse out the damn cloth and then wring it out. This is ridiculous.” (an approach I have seen from someone-not-talking-about-anyone-in-particular-mum), b) say, “Please rinse and wring out the cloth, Davy,” c) have the same conversation (as above) over and over again, and Davy says that he will change his behaviour but doesn’t, d) accept that nothing will change and that she has to keep doing more work, or e) figure out a different way to clean up, or f) say, “Davy, I’ll do the wiping. I’ll do the cleaning.”
– 3 options are nagging. Because the woman is asking the man to change his behaviour, and he isn’t changing it.
– 3 options are the woman changes her behaviour AND/OR does more work. That’s what it comes down to.
– So, just like the angle of sexual assault and sexual intimidation and sexual harassment being “She asked for it,” and “She needs to change her behaviour,” instead of “That man’s behaviour is horrific and he needs to stop and change his behaviour,” the angle of this domestic conflict is “She is nagging,” rather than “He is unwilling to change his behaviour in response to a very reasonable request.”
– Which reminds me of: The winners in history get to write the history books.

7. I went to the zoo with the kids. I think the thing that interested *them* the most was being in a new environment, and the butterfly house, and the fact that I gave them juice boxes and a tiny packet of jubes (both new experiences!). BUT oh my goodness, I have not seen wild (?) animals in so long, and I was amazed and entranced. The giraffe is crazy beautiful. I don’t think I ever felt that, as a kid. I want to go back especially to see the giraffes!

8. This interview with the ex-Fashion Director of UK Vogue is worth a read – Will I Get A Ticket? – I love the last paragraph. Particularly, “It’s a shame that magazines have lost the authority they once had. They’ve stopped being useful.” (Yes!)

9. This wonderful post by Andre Torrez – Bonking with jelly beans.

10.  I did not get my half-day off this weekend. I was too sick yesterday to leave the house, and my partner was too sick today to mind the kids. By the end of Sunday (now), I felt trapped, chained to children/house. I was frustrated, my business work has hit a big snag, and little things my partner did (like putting.a white singlet on the baby, not putting on a bib, then feeding her blueberries) added up and up, until c.8pm, when there was a last straw, and after I put the baby to bed, I cried. I rarely cry. I think that’s the second time this year,* and that’s a lot, for me.

11. This talk by Anil Dash, Towards Humane Tech, is good. I think maybe I will not use Uber (or similar – Deliveroo, etc?) again.

12. This TED talk by OK Go, How to find a wonderful idea, is very good. My toddler often requests OK Go videos at “TV Time,” and the more I see them, the more I’m impressed.

OK.

Go.

x

 

* There were three other times, but they were when I got hit in the eye by my toddler, got hit in the mouth by my toddler, and jammed my fingers in a door. Ow.

Brand Design Exercise

The inspiring/fantastic designer Dani Hunt is about to launch a new part of her business, and as part of the launch, she’s invited a bunch of people to do a week-long branding exercise in a private Facebook group. (I think maybe quite a few cool things happen in private Facebook groups!)

It’s been a welcome tiny project, because after getting my last trial products out the door for customer feedback, I felt kinda cold-feety and bummed. But anything to do with design is like super-fun-play-time! for me, so day 1 (brand personality), day 2 (magical customer), day 3 (today – mood board) – have all been fun so far. I’m using this week to recharge, and will get back into products next week.

Here’s my mood board so far.

 

 

Oh boy, it looks really eclectic and weird. I had to furiously cull to get down to 20 images (it was supposed to be 10-20 images). You should see some of the other mood boards – they are amazing! People who just totally know their vibe, their colours, everything. I mean, look at this one and this one!

Every time I tried to cull an image, I ummed and aahed over it, because I pretty much love every colour there is (even for my business) and had way too many happy pictures that (I felt) added to the moooooooood.

But. There I am, finished up at 1.30am with 20 pics. That don’t look particularly themed or consistent. Oops. Onto tomorrow!

Zen MF Progress, Cont.

A little more on this

I had an assumption that the greatest challenges to being a zen motherfucker (as a parent) would be about things like: the child breaks your coffee cup, then spills cereal everywhere, then does a poo on the lounge room rug, then treks the poo through the house, then puts your car key down the heater vent. You know?

But I was wrong. All those things are fine.

I’d prepared myself to let go, to an extent (and I had a long time to adjust to it – from the day the cute little baby does a little piddle on a bath towel) – for example, I can be bummed about a coffee cup breaking, but I know that it’s only a coffee cup, and I know that my kid didn’t mean to upset me, and I know that from now on, I need to push everything further back from the edge of the kitchen bench. I might get annoyed, or be fed up with cleaning up messes again and again and again and again and again, but I can still keep my cool.

Nope, it’s something else that’s the big threat to my Zen MF intention: it’s the inability to proactively and healthily address your issues with irrational toddlers.

Like – if you’re in a relationship, and your partner is doing a bunch of small things that grate on you, you can unhealthily bottle up your frustrations and then bam!, one day you explode. Stupidly and unhelpfully. Or you can figure out a way to proactively address it, maturely and calmly.

Or in the workplace, if you keep being given excuses about why you can’t get a raise to go with your recent advancement in job title (and job responsibilities), and you keep being put on projects as a project manager instead of as a designer (your actual role), you can get all passive-aggressive about it and do rubbish work and surf Facebook all day and furiously bad-mouth the company to everyone you know, or you can proactively and healthily draw a boundary as to how you’re being treated, and choose a path like: a) I will work here for one more year to get a brilliant portfolio and then go for a job at this other company I really like, or b) I will quit and find a better place for me.

But with toddlers! Hahahhahahahah, no.

[Aside: I didn’t understand the distinction of “toddler” before I had kids. I didn’t really know anyone with babies and I lumped all babies together as “babies” and then every other small child was “little kids” and then I guess they eventually looked like “school kids.”]

Toddlers – these cute little energetic balls of curiosity and impulse-driven-behaviour (and love and destruction) – are no longer babies and also not yet ready for kindergarten/preschool, so they’re not preschoolers. You think maybe they can understand things on a logical level, a rational level (“If you pour your water on the floor, I’m taking you to your room, do you want me to take you to your room? No? Okay then, don’t pour your water on the floor.”) – but their curiosity and impulses gets the better of them almost every time, and then they do whatever the heck they want to do, for the 1,207th time. And the 1,208th. And you take them to their room and they cry like THEY NEVER EXPECTED AND NEVER WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN AND HOW CAN YOU BE SO MEAN and then when you let them out maybe they tip some water on the floor for the 1,209th time and then run off happily to up-end a bucket of Lego and hit their sister on the head with a toy saucepan.

So, I can plan to take my breaks. I have (maybe) a couple of hours break every day when the kids are sleeping. If the day’s been hard, then when James comes home from work, he can take over, and I can go for a walk outside. I get my Saturday mornings off. But sometimes you have a certain prepared amount of patience and resilience, and something else comes along – the kids are sick, you get sick too, you can’t take them to play group or occasional care or do the usual activities that would get everyone out of the house and legs-stretched. And then, maybe, you feel like you need help, but you feel silly for asking for help – come on, surely you can deal with the kids, at home, for just one more day? And you’ve all only got the common cold, it’s not that big a deal? And while the younger toddler is having a nap, you can give the older toddler your tablet to play games on, so you get a break for an hour? Like, you can deal, right? It’s hardly a huge deal, compared to so many other possible tough situations in life, right?

And then maybe the younger toddler wakes up from their nap, and the older one has had enough of playing with the tablet, and your down-time is O.V.E.R. and now you are faced with several hours with them and getting everyone lunch-fed (but they’re refusing all their normal foods because they have colds) and then your older toddler takes his toddler headphones apart (they’re not even broken – just taken apart – no big deal, really) and for some reason, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. It doesn’t make logical sense. But you get upset. And the older toddler runs over and bops you with a egg-flipper from the kitchen and the younger toddler is eating a book and then the older toddler grabs you from behind and jumps on your back and strangles you and says, “I WANT A PIG BACK RIDE!” and you pull them off and shout, “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR ONE MINUTE,” as you take the parts of the headphones and try to put them back together, and the older toddler runs and jumps on you, “I WANT A PIG BACK RIDE!” and you walk to the bathroom and slam the door shut (I know, what? Am I a teenager?) and they run and grab their step stool and open the bathroom door and you hold the door knob and shout, “JUST LEAVE ME ALONE FOR ONE MINUTE,” and they look stunned as you’re shouting, and you close the door in their face and sit down and try to put the headphones back together with your back against the bathroom door, so they can’t open it, and you can hear them crying and yelling and crying…

And you take a few minutes to calm down.

And then think, what the hell just happened. 

And, how can I make sure this never happens again.

And you go back out and start finding some lunch food for everyone (which will be rejected and rejected and rejected and eventually they will eat two pieces of popcorn each and 1/4 banana and a handful of cereal and sultanas) and think, my goodness, really, how did that happen.

So – all I can think is, if I can see that things might be harder than usual – if everyone is sick, or activities are cancelled or prevented from happening, or whatever – I need to pre-emptively ask for help. I need to ask my family, ask my partner, and say – I am running out of resilience and patience and mind-space at the moment. Maybe?

Slow Work

I am kind of… doing design work for the first time in about 15 years. Very basic design work, for now.

BASICDESIGNWORKSETUP.

I already had Pixelmator and I’m using the trial of Sketch. When the trial runs out, I’ll decide whether or not to continue with Pixelmator and Sketch, or whether to jump to Adobe.

Cost comparison:
Pixelmator and Sketch $165 ($30 and $135 AUD)
Pshop and Sketch $291 ($156/year and $135)
Adobe Suite $792/year

I’ve been saving lots of image files – pictures of design styles that I like, packaging design/email design/web design, fabulous font faces, colour inspiration and ideas, and assets that I might be able to use at some stage (fonts, patterns, icons), etc. I don’t know whether to save them into Apple Photos, or just into desktop folders, or to use some other software. If anyone has any tips, please tell.

One difficulty has been with getting colours right – sometimes I’ll see a colour that I’d like to use, and I try to approximate it in the software, but it’s very different once printed. So I’m going to buy the Pantone Color Bridge Set (second-hand or new, not sure yet) at some stage, and in the meanwhile, I’ve bought a Palette Cube, so I can grab colours accurately.

NEWCOMPUTRA.

I bought a new MacBook – my old one, from 2010, was struggling if I had a few design files open, and only held battery charge for about an hour.

Pros: It works! Backlit keyboard. Thinner, lighter, better resolution, smaller, even more portable. USB-C means I’ll be able to get a battery pack and not have to rely on wall outlets in the future.

Cons: The keys are noisy. There’s no way to type quietly anymore. No MagSafe, so I bet someone will trip over my charging cable and haul the MacBook to the floor. No charge indicator on the charging cable, although I’ve read that another company is making cables that do this.

MYBIZ.

I’ve been working on Product 1 for about 9 months. It has a lot of artwork, and Alison is creating all the wonderful illustrations while studying and working (her butt off).

I’ve been working on Product 2 for abut 1 month. It only needs me. I’m aiming to send out the trial run next week, to get prototype feedback.

I try to work for an hour a day. I should call the business Snail Mail.

INOTHERNEWS.

This week, I found out that CMD + Shift + Left/Right Arrow moves you through Safari tabs. For years I’d set up my own keyboard shortcuts! But they were there already! Dope.

End of May

I’ve been tired/sick, so only posted music for a while! I’m so behind on my to-do list.

On Friday, James had a day off and I slept most of the day. Oompf.

I had my morning-off today. It was lovely. It makes such a difference to how I feel (like my own person, not a person who just exists for les children) and how easy it is to parent (I have more patience, attention, ideas, resilience, energy).

//

I’ve been thinking about how ~ ~ ~ ~ you will inevitably get better at whatever you do everyday, so what do I want to get better at?

I’ll be getting better (hopefully) at being a parent. Can’t kick that daily habit. I would like to get better at graphic design, maybe? And supporting myself with my own business. The latter one is a priority, so I’m working on that every day. I’m toying with the former. Trying it on for size.

//

I’ve recently appreciated these articles:

You should’ve asked by Emma

Fathers pay more attention to toddler daughters than sons, study shows – The Guardian

Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future by Tim Urban

And this video – Hank Green on “Redefining What it Means to Matter.”

I don’t know why I wasn’t into the Vlogbros a million years ago. Michelle has loved them since the beginning. My sister loves them. I am late to all the parties.

ALSO. I didn’t think I was a fan of Chris Martin or Coldplay, but I was watching carpool karaoke videos last night and I found this one seriously dorky and delightful. Martin sure seems like a happy fellow!

//

I started reading Infinite Jest, read it for about a week, then didn’t pick it up for about a week, no, two weeks… and thought, heck, I’m not enjoying this. Let’s move on.*

So now I’m reading Jumper and Tools of Titans.

//

I’m still working on my small business. I knew it would take a long time to get off the ground, and I knew that everyone underestimates how long something like this takes, and yet I still did. Oh, human! We’ve been working on it (as our side project) since October last year. We’ve come a long way… and yet. Still so much to do.

//

* Jeepers, I got sidetracked and just read this amazing review of Infinite Jest!