Adventures Automattic

Above the Clouds in Madeira

I went to Madeira for a team meetup and on our free day, we went hiking. The clouds didn’t let us see the ocean but gave us a different type of sea. It was beautiful.

There was also a Madeira wine tour, good food, and of course, some work.

The day after coming back, I opened a drawer in my desk and found a welcome present from child #2 with my favorite candies (one baby jelly and one ourson guimauve)

Plastic bag with 2 candies

Other random things I liked:

And tomorrow I officially start my sabbatical, 3 months of paid time off, after 5 years working at Automattic. I am really grateful for this benefit and so is my family.


Reading a Manual Can Change Your Life

When I was a kid, my father bought me my first computer: a ZX Spectrum.

To play games you had to plug it into a cassette player and a TV set.

Kolossos, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The ZX Spectrum came with a BASIC programming manual, that I read beginning to end, and started making small programs, with many lines, GOTOs, BREAKs, and little output. You could change the colors in the screen and play some sounds.

Museum Rotterdam, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can still find the BASIC manual thanks to the Internet Archive.

I really liked that, and ended up studing Computing Engineering years later. So there you go, reading a manual, can change your life 🙂

Other random things I liked

  • Kumquat jam, the one my father in law makes, with kumquats from his garden in Spain, is delicious. It is tart, bitter and sweet. More delicate and aromatic than orange jam. My favorite by far. I have never found it in a store, it feels like a total luxury to have it for breakfast.
  • Alex from work recommended me this song and the solo albums from Mark Lanegan, and why didn’t I listen to them before?
  • I have been doing weekly pair programming sessions with Rodrigo (also from work) and what a wonderful experience. We are being productive, learning from each other and having fun.
  • And Paul recommended the blog from Jamie Todd Rubin. It is a treasure cove of inspiration. I have updated this list, indexed my journal papers a bit like him, and started being more organized and consistent with my notes.
  • I watched the Argentinian movie ‘El perro que no calla‘ on the plain coming back to Spain. It is very surreal, I really liked it. There is a scene where the protagonist is dancing so badly and intensely that you can’t avoid feeling embarrassed for him but you can’t stop laughing. And then my husband, sitting a seat away from me, looked at me with a very serious face and started dancing like him.

Antiques on Pierce

Antiques on Pierce reminded me of treasures from my grandmother’s house. A multiplication and concentration of grandmother’s houses.

We had fun exploring the three floors and showing Inés how to use a rotary dial phone.

I bought two big serving dishes. My favorite is deep green with a spinning pattern ($12). Inés chose a goose box ($6.5) for her bedroom. The box is in fact a sugar bowl but she doesn’t mind.

And here are the serving plates living a new life.

Other things I liked recently

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown: I found this book very inspiring. I have downloaded the list of values and have been working on it for days, it is really hard to reduce it to two. I am driving my husband crazy with questions about it.

Don’t look Up: A comedy that scares you because it feels so real.

My Neighbor Totoro: Magical.

The Food of Sichuan: A beautiful book not only about food. And this interview.

BRUCE (XIAOYU) LIU – final round (18th Chopin Competition, Warsaw): This competition totally hooked me up. I don’t usually listen to classical music and know very little but I have been watching and listening to this on repeat.

How to be useless: I liked the book recommendations at the end.

No Such Thing as a Fish. Episode 409 for a great lesson on tardigrades.

The Witcher TV Series: I haven’t read the books. I liked this series.


Bisa Butler Portraits

This summer I went to The Art Institute of Chicago. I was mesmerized by Bisa Butler Portraits. They are powerful and delicate at the same time. You can admire them from the distance, with their bright colors and striking composition, and from very close, where you see the fabric layers, the different material and threads that she uses to paint.

Random Stuff I Liked

Heavy: An American Memoir A great book. I think I got the recommendation from The Audacity newsletter from Roxane Gay, that I also enjoy reading.

This song from The Jesus And Mary Chain with Hope Sandoval.

Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix.

Another book that opened my eyes to the nature around me and put me to sleep many many nights because it can be oh so boring and so good at the same time.

Life goals now that my 45 birthday is in a couple of months.

Art Outings

MAM: Americans in Spain

Another visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum, for an exhibition about Americans in Spain.

The kids think that all the women in the painting from the tobacco factory look like me. That painting was one of my favorites.

Here they look very interested but I think they were making fun of something. I have a Manila shawl similar to the one the second woman from the left is wearing.

This small watercolor reminded me of the south.

Same woman, two different paintings.

The painting of a bullfighter from Mary Cassat

I am planning to come back, without the kids.

And a picture of the museum.

Other random things I liked

A podcast: The creation of the first modern postal system.

A movie: The Trial of the Chicago 7.

A song: Wet Leg, Chaise Longue.

Making a postcard dear data style.