Well, I'm finishing up my first year of school at Northwestern and since my final class isn't offered this Summer, it looks like I'll be back in the Fall. This year we did a little front-end programming, but the focus was mainly on UX/UI (User experience and User Interface) and Information Architecture.
I did a paper on Instagram this semester and as an avid Instagram user I was interested to find out so much about their history and changes they've made throughout the years. If you want to check it out, my paper is on Medium.
I've decided to make 2016 about making stuff and being creative. Last year was, well, not the greatest for me. We had some big changes in our lives and working through it, finding a new normal, was tough, but rewarding.
Now I'm coming out the other side (fingers crossed) and I'm ready to get back to all the things I love -- learning, making, creating.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my drawings from Lisa Congdon's daily drawing challenge. It hasn't even been two weeks and I'm already feeling more confident in my drawing abilities. The practice of drawing daily is almost like meditation and I hope to keep it going after January, and the challenge, have ended.
Maddie & I finally made some of these tied fleece blankets over the weekend. After a mild and damp start to the winter, we are starting to get some seriously cold weather, making these a timely timely crafting project. While cutting the strips in the edge of the blankets, Maddie & I spent a few hours together chatting, making this a nice mother/daughter bonding project. In case you were wondering, this is my blanket. Maddie's chose a MY Little Pony fleece for hers.
I even finished up a knitting project this January! Here - finally - is Drachenfels.
Way back in 1992, I graduated from University of Illinois with a degree in English Literature. Not the most useful degree, I suppose, but IBM was looking for liberal arts majors from U of I apparently (there were a bunch of us hired within 2-3 years) and I fell into finance. I guess I was good at my job, because they kept promoting me, but I was never really happy in the field. IBM had some pretty great benefits, including free tuition for those pursuing an MBA, so I briefly went back to school in the mid 90's with an MBA in mind.
Then I got promoted. This new job had me traveling full time and there was no way to keep attending school and I didn't really want an MBA anyway. Then I got engaged, got sick of travel, and decided to pursue the career that I had wanted since I was 10 years old -- I wanted to be a computer programmer.
I taught myself C (and html) and applied (again) to graduate school. I got in to DePaul (again) and in 1998 I quit my job, started working at a finance company that was within walking distance from my (new) house, and started taking computer science courses. While at DePaul I learned C++ and loved it. I eventually quit my "real" job, started working the morning shift as a barista and went back to school full time.
Then life happened -- marriage, death, moving, pregnancy, illness -- all the major life events and all at once. I forged ahead, but in 2002 something had to give, and that thing was school.
Last winter, Maddie decided that she wanted to give high school a try and I encouraged it. While homeschooling had been very fulfilling for us, we were having a difficult time finding teen groups and Maddie wanted to pursue more activities where she would be with other kids.
Jump to today -- I'm getting prepared to start school tomorrow at Northwestern University where I am pursuing a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Web Development. Yes, I'm 45. Yes, I'm nervous to be going back to school, but I've got to say that I'm excited too. I've always loved learning and I'm thrilled to be attending a great school to learn something I've always loved.
So, this morning I woke up at 4am from a nightmare. I'm a pretty good sleeper, but if I wake up after about 3am I can rarely get back to sleep -- especially when my back is bothering me, which it is.
I lay in bed, trying desperately to think calming thoughts so I could get in another hour or two of sleep, but all I kept picturing was my dream. In it we were at a pool -- probably on vacation. It was me, Pete, Maddie and another younger child which was mine (Maddie is my only child in real life). At some point, I look at the pool and the youngest child is gone. I freak out and start screaming for help, only to see the child on the bottom of the pool. At that moment, I awoke.
I Googled the dream and supposedly the death of a child in a dream means that your inner child might be dying (I don't think so), or that you feel your child is growing up and doesn't need you anymore (possibly -- Maddie is 14), or that part of your potential is dying (hmmmm), or that you are getting old and transitioning from middle aged to old age (I certainly hope not!).
Whatever the meaning of this nightmare is, I am loving coffee today... and Advil. Bad sleep never improves a bad back.
Holidays make me crazy. I'm very much a creature of habit and I'm very happy when I'm on a regular schedule. So in order to cope, I've taken to writing lists before any holiday or other event that might mess with my calm. After taking this photo, I realized that my initial holiday list was populated entirely with food concerns -- what to have for Christmas dinner, our family progressive dinner, Christmas morning and other various holiday goodies.
In other holiday news, the tree is up and decorated. Of course there was a last minute problem with the lights that resulted in Pete & I running all over town looking for replacements. I'm sure this doesn't happen every year, but it sure feels like it does. I'm happy with the new lights and they have a 2 year warranty, so I suppose next year the light situation won't be a problem.
So, yesterday I wrote about my latest internet TV obsession, and today I'm going to write about guitar a little bit. As you can see, it's going to take me some time to get back in the flow of things. Until then I'll just ramble until I find the track.
The past 2 years, I've been taking guitar lessons, which I absolutely love. My teacher is great and I feel like I've learned a lot. Some months I'm crazy about playing, but every once in a while I hit a little bit of a wall and feel like I'm in a funk. Now is one of those times.
When I'm feeling this way, guitar lessons are a great thing because they make me pick up the guitar and push through. After all, in a week or two I'll start learning a new song and be obsessed again.
That photo is my latest guitar acquisition -- a Taylor GS Mini. It's my first acoustic and while I'm finding it more difficult to play than my Fender (which is an electric), I think it's helping me build strength, which has been a big hurdle for me.
Now I better go figure out which song I want to learn next.