Links of Interest: December 2022

Reading time: about 4 min.
links  tech  mental-health  stationery 

It’s been a busy month around here.

Day job is pretty busy and I’m building some cool stuff. It’s not all technical debt!

I’m doing some more formal learning about the different kinds of code I write and have learned that I have the fundamentals of Vue.js down pretty good. Now, when it gets complicated I kind of flail a bit.

Google also decided to eat my medical appointments calendar which is the exact reason I keep a paper backup. I just ordered a small-ish (B6) planner to keep track of appointments and of symptoms. I’ve been having a lot of problems with falling asleep and then when I wake up, being groggy from the medication (I think I need a smaller dose).

I also need to start making other changes in my life, mainly down to diet and exercise in order to manage my mental and physical health a bit better than a handful of pills.

But! BUT! I am taking my very last Provera tomorrow and I’m so excited about it. That stuff, man, it turns your brain into a tangled skein of mohair yarn at high doses and when you make your living with your brain…it is very challenging to remember that you are under the effect of a medication.

Anyhow, on to the links!

Anna Havron: Schedule ONE Daily Thing, That is Not Work-Related This is really important, y’all. you gotta take care of you. When you’re talking with your grandkids or grandniblings, do you only want to tell them stories about that time at work where John screwed up the template so badly everything ground to a halt or would you rather tell them about how you and your spouse took walks around the neighborhood and all the things you saw? I guarantee you that they are not going to care about John and the template. Here are some suggestions from Anna:

Consider what you might like to do on a daily basis, to refresh your spirit and give you a mental re-set, a re-boot.

Something you are not doing now, that you would like to do regularly.

Common activities: journaling, walking, meditating, doing some reading that sustains your spirit (poetry, scripture, philosophy).

The Satisfaction of Practice in an Achievement-Oriented World Tara McMullin talks a bit about learning to use Procreate, a digital drawing app, and how it has become the process–the practice of drawing–that has become important to her, and not necessarily being good. This really resonated for me because, well, I’ve stopped painting. My last project was about 2/3 of the #100 Day Project and I got too caught up in how many likes I wasn’t getting and not paying that much attention to the process. It became a chore, to figure out the layouts and the colors, and drawing the templates every day, and not a practice. I miss painting.

For most of my life, I’d avoid anything that didn’t come easily to me. If I tried a new activity and didn’t get better-than-average results in short order, I simply wouldn’t do that activity again. My identity was wrapped up in being a person who is good at things. If I wasn’t good at something, I couldn’t do it and retain that identity.

Just call me out, Tara.

What is the Small Web? I find myself more and more interested in smaller websites, ones with idiosyncratic designs and that really reflect the person who owns it. After a while, sites built with Wix or Squarespace or even WordPress start to look alike. I want to see the people behind the sites, you know, that someone really likes cats or rainbows or taking apart old computers to make them work again.

Our greatest usability challenge on the Small Web is making the ownership and control of your own web site or application as seamless as possible. It must be done in a manner that does not require any technical know-how whatsoever. Our goal is to make owning and maintaining your own home on the web as easy as renting from a Megacorp without all of the toxic ramifications the latter entails.

As the author points out, we’re not yet there. I cannot even begin to tell you the difficulty I’m having with figuring out how to set up Eleventy in such a way that when I publish a post to GitHub it posts to a server that I pay for–as opposed to GitHub Pages (where I’m currently hosting) or Netlify.

Maria Popova on Bruce Springsteen on Surviving Depression and His Strategy for Living Through the Visitations of the Darkness:

In his memoir, Born to Run Bruce Springsteen writes about his father’s “long, drawn-out depressions,” often so debilitating that he could not rise from bed for days, and about his own tumble toward the edge of the abyss quarried by his genetic inheritance and the darknesses of his childhood, and about what kept him from falling.

I don’t think I knew that Springsteen was, as I say, a fellow traveler along this lonely road. Depression has been a part of most of my life and it wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I finally got into therapy and was able to learn better ways of coping with both it and anxiety. I am nowhere near perfect, but I think I’m going to copy this quote from the Boss into my journal as a reminder:

Just naming it [helps]… What most people tend to want to do is, when they feel bad, the first thing you want to do is to name a reason why you feel that way: “I feel bad because…” and you’ll transfer that to someone else “…because Johnny said this to me,” or “this happened.” And, sometimes, that’s true. But a lot of times, you’re simply looking to name something that’s not particularly nameable and if you misname it, it just makes everything that much worse.

So my “skill” is sort of saying, “Okay, it’s not this, it’s not that — it’s just this. This is something that comes; it’s also something that goes — and maybe something I have to live with for a period of time.”

But if you can acknowledge it and you can relax with it a little bit, very often it shortens its duration.

(italics mine)

All this said, I hope you all have a wonderful 2023, one that is better than 2022 was for so many of us, this years that was a continuation of the one-two punch of 2020 and 2021. And a tiny hope that people will continue to get vaccinated. Please.

I have my own, private hopes for the year, but one which I’m willing to share is that I am hoping, very much, to not have any surprise new medical conditions appear or any old ones coming out to play. I dislike being in the hospital, particularly my local one.