Thursday, January 16, 2014

Checking In


Several of you have sent some very nice, very supportive emails. Thank you! You have also commented on my lack of posting. So let me give you a bit of an update.

Lots has been going on, but not a lot at the sewing machine.

Table of Contents:

Here's a bit of a summary...

A Day in the Life...

First up, there's work:

  • Work continues to be a massive learning experience. I like it, but sometimes I feel quite whelmed.
  • I have been learning Dart (of course), JavaScript, Git, App Engine, Markdown (the version we use is Kramdown), and CSS, to name a few things. And, of course, there are so many new processes and workflows to learn. Plus, there is all of the mandatory training one must take so that I understand how not to inside trade, sexually harass, or violate export law.
  • There are also so many acronyms, code words, product names, third party products, and concepts to learn, that I've started a file that I call "getAClue". In there, I save FAQ-style tuples, like "What is AWFE?" "What is Heroku?" "How do I create hover text in markdown?" "How do I request software?" It's already an alarmingly long file.
  • I sometimes wonder what the heck I was thinking to take on this career change in my mid 50s.
  • I have been really enjoying wearing my wardrobe to work. At first, I started with my more "tame" clothing but, as time passes, I have been letting my freak flag fly. No one bats at eye, which is nice.
  • Speaking of which, I enjoy wearing my Trippens to work about once a week. I learned that they work excellently on a bicycle. No problems whatsoever. In fact, the space between the blocks on the sole really holds on to a bike pedal.
  • My days are long. I leave home in the dark and return in the dark. I have been enjoying the gorgeous full moon of the last few days. I am also looking forward to longer daylight hours!
  • At first, I planned to document my wardrobe in a new (private) blog called "Sartorial Shams". HA. Leaving in the dark and returning in the dark makes that almost impossible.
  • At first, I planned to select my daily outfit the night before so it would be ready to go the next morning. HA. That idea lasted me ONE DAY. Seriously, by the second day of work I couldn't be bothered.
  • I have gained weight. The "Google 15" is real. In fact, for many it's more like the "Google 50".
  • I am working on developing better strategies to deal with the ever present and seductive food. Have you ever been on a cruise ship? So have I. You know what the food is like? This is worse. Or better, depending on how you look at it. Thirty cafes/restaurants serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and manned by real chefs? And it's all free? Yeah. There are even cafes that specialize in truffles, ice cream, or fro-yo (frozen yogurt).
  • My team (who is fabulous, by the way) has an ethos that we do not use the elevator. (I sometimes cheat.) We work on the 4th floor (on one campus, and on the 6th floor of another). As a result of the stairs, and the bikes that I ride when I need to travel to another building, my thighs are becoming rock hard in a way that doesn't happen with just walking.
  • I think that the exercise, coupled with the bounty of fresh vegetables and fruits, is keeping me pretty healthy despite the weight gain.
  • There is a motto at work: "You are never more than 50 feet from food." This is true, though I don't quite understand the need. (Are we infants?) Most floors are equipped with two mini kitchens. These mini kitchens are quite impressive, and include attractive jars of cereals, several bowls of organic fruit, racks of snack foods, two stocked fridges, and at least two espresso/cappuccino machines. I learned yesterday that I love kumquats. There was a bowl of kumquats and instructions on eating them. Yum.
Yay! Kumquats!

My First Workshop!

I have mentioned several times in the last months that I was going to be leading a 3-day workshop in January. That happened last weekend for a small group in the Santa Cruz area. The theme was "fabric mixing" with an emphasis on making jackets.

I spent a lot of my free time in the last couple months preparing handouts and samples. Some of the information was from my blog, but some was specially prepared. I provided patterns for some elements that I created, such as some unusual pockets. I also brought some patterns for tracing that I had worked up over the years. Finally, I brought several Au Bonheur patterns that are now out of print. I also spoke at length about how I do FBAs, narrow shoulders, widen sleeves, and how I construct garments to ensure a good fit through the bust.

I also brought Margy along. She was my pillar of support and it was fabulous to see her again in the flesh. We hadn't seen each other in a couple of years. Margy took lots of pictures and will be posting some, I think. (She sent me the one I posted above.)

In a nutshell, I felt like it went pretty well. Some of my lectures seemed to be well received and others could definitely have been improved. This group of sewists are lovely, and many are more creative than I am, which is a bit intimidating. But they were wonderful, open, gracious, good humored, and took amazingly good care of Margy and myself. (This was an informal group of friends and are not affiliated with a store or a school.)

While at the workshop, I made 2.5 trips to one of my favorite brick-and-mortar fabric stores - Hart's Fabrics in Santa Cruz. This store just continues to get better! (I count the "half trip" as when two of the women in the workshop headed over, and I asked them to pick up a couple fabrics for me.) I have been buying less fabric in general recently, but I couldn't resist some of their tasty numbers!

Margy and I also visited CrossRoad Fabrics in the same area. (They don't seem to have a website.) They had some lovely Ralph Lauren black woven trouser-weight fabric for $12 a yard that came home with each of us, as well as a few other pieces. All in all, a good fabric haul!

It's a Long Weekend!

Now that the workshop is over, my weekends are my own again. This coming weekend is 3 days long and I am eager to get to the sewing machine. I think, for now, most of my sewing will be of the quick and easy variety, but I am looking forward to sewing at least some on each of the three days! So stay tuned.

By the way, I wrote this blog post on the bus to work. I usually avoid using the computer on the bus, as I like to meditate, listen to music, and watch the sunrise. Plus, I can get motion sick. But this worked out ok - I started it on the morning ride and finished on the evening ride. This is promising!

49 comments:

  1. Let me be the first to say....welcome back! We know that you've been super busy, with lots of new happenings in your life. Sounds like everything is going well, I'm so proud of you!!
    Love,
    Margaret

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  2. Congratulations on a wonderful start to an amazing new year! Enjoy your three day weekend - you deserve it! And sew to your heart's content!!!

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  3. What a fun post! I just watched the movie The Interns. It was fun to see pictures of the campus from real life. Enjoy your sewing weekend. I can't wait to see what you create!

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  4. I can just sense the excitement as well as the fatigue going into this weekend. A bit of the machine and you will totally rejuvenated, I'm sure. This sounds like such a wonderful career opportunity and if that is where your focus is required, so be it. It is great to have your posting again and I will be looking forward to whatever you decide to share. Congratulations on your fabulous new job! Oh, all that food would do me in, real fast!

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  5. So glad to have a blog post! And you are WAY too modest about the excellent workshop you led...I know, I was there! And I hope everyone notices the halo over your head in the picture....:D

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  6. You are awesome! Thank you so much! If you give another workshop in the Bay Area, I would be honored to attend!

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  7. It is kind of strange that Google thinks that food should be so ever present and close at hand. 30 cafes? How many people work on the campus? Too bad there isn't a low calorie cafe.
    Your jacket class sounds like a wonderful weekend. Once you get past your training period hopefully you'll be able to get in some sewing again.

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  8. Aw, though I miss all your sewing posts, I am happy that you are enjoying your new digs!

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  9. What a fascinating glimpse into your new life. While we all miss your insightful and frequent posts on sewing, it is the work that supports each of our ability to enjoy our avocations. I so wish I could have been a fly on the wall at your workshop, as I would learn soooo much from what you have to teach! as some of the topics and alterations are exactly the things I find challenging. I am glad that part also went well for you, and that you had a chance to spend time with your pal Margy too. Wishing you well always...

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  10. Your insights and observations are always a treasure so thanks for the update. I would find that sort of food availability a challenge since I think part of my own healthy eating is just having a "clean house." And I love the Trippens on the bike. Congrats on the workshop as well. I'm sure it was terrific. (Isn't it fun that I get to comment as a "Google Account."

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  11. MISSED YOU! And asked husband about Git. He uses it, and I got an earful. So glad life is good for you, despite the LONG days, and too much darkness. - Heather

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  12. Nice to hear from you--Sounds like an exciting time in your life! New challenges are fun--and exhausting.

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  13. It sounds great! I have been a big believer in google from the beginning even though they screwed up the way they handled google reader!

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  14. thanks for the update and hope you have a great relaxing and rewarding weekend.

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  15. Pretty soon you'll be giving juggling lessons! You're doing great keeping all the balls aloft. You are obviously hitting your stride. Hang in there and yay, the hours of sunshine are increasing. Happy sewing. BTW, I loved your Tree House post with the Ugly Sweaters.

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  16. What a life you're living! Enjoy your weekend! I hope you do find time to turn on your sewing machine!

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  17. You are looking just so happy, and healthy ~ obviously being on the go doing '100 and 1' different things really suits you ... J

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  18. Wow...it sounds super busy but also so much fun. Enjoy!

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  19. Thanks for the update! I was just thinking of you. And darn, I'm sorry that I wasn't invited to your seminar.

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  20. Great to see you posting even if not sewing (and it is clear why you aren't sewing!). I am glad that you seem to be well settled at your new job. At least some of the food is fruit!

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  21. So good to hear from you. I knew you must be very busy with the new job; happy to hear you are enjoying it even tho it is lots of training and new things to learn. You will be great! Wish I could have been at your sewing seminar; I'm sure I would have so enjoyed it and meeting you and Margy would have been such a treat! Look forward to your next post - whenever time allows!

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  22. I have REALLY missed you! You have been such an inspiration to me. It sounds like you are doing great, plus a few little pounds, and I am very happy to hear that. Can't wait to see whatever you post...simple or not! Blessings to you on your new journey!

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  23. I miss your sewing blogs, but understand completely. Good luck with the new career move and keep us posted.

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  24. Welcome back, we've missed you. But I so enjoyed your post and your description of your lovely new job. So exciting! When you mentioned the food on cruises, I like to remember I generally lose weight on a cruise...I lost five pounds on my last cruise...it's all about choices, and anyway I owe it to you because you are the one who first told us about ETL. So you see, you are giving on many more venues than you know.

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  25. Kumquats, with instructions--they really do think of everything! I must say that I am one part jealous of your exciting transition and an equal part glad that I just get to read about it rather than experience it. You are so generous to give us a peak into your new endeavor, and I for one find it just as fascinating as your sewing. All the best!

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  26. Shams - I read this last night and had to come back and comment - I think you kick ass! Especially integrating yourself into a field that is known to be a bit sexist and ageist, and rocking your personal style to boot! Glad to hear you're doing well!!

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  27. Great post, made me realize how much I look forward to hearing what you are up to.

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  29. Shams, I'd love to hear more about the culture at G. Your posts are so interesting.

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  30. Oh. My. You are SO AMAZING! I'm awestruck at your display of superpowers! All that programming stuff just makes my head explode. Not to mention riding a bike wearing Trippens. Please post when you can, Shams, and it doesn't necessarily have to be about sewing.

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  31. I have missed you and am very glad to see your post. I knew you must be very busy working at such a demanding job. You look like you are enjoying yourself so keep calm and sew on.

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  32. what a fun post! I love your new life, but must confess you make me tired. I recently learned I am so efficient with wearing sunscreen I have become vitamin D deficient, so when that gets fixed maybe I will have more energy, but never as much as what you have.

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  33. I'm glad that you are doing well! Count me among the many who miss you! I appreciate the update!

    Rose in SV

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  34. Gosh, you've been missed! LOVE that you've started this new career at 50! Why not?! And Google, of all places...nothing like diving right into the big pond :) Have fun with the culture - lol at the food everywhere :) But, hey...bikes are everywhere, too, right? I'm excited for you:) Can't wait to see what you create in your spare time! All the best to you in this new and stimulating world :)

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  35. At least they have bicycles to match your classy style! With so much food available you need not cook at home weekdays, which can free up time to sew once you settle in to the job. Now that's a real perk.
    Miss your posts (no pressure!). Am sure you were an amazing teacher at the workshop.

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  36. So good to hear from you! It sounds like you're really enjoying this new road you're on. And, I LOVE your bike!! So colourful!!

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  37. I loved reading about your daily life and all the new experiences. It looks like hard work but also a challenge and so much fun sometimes!
    Keep us posted!

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  38. This post cracked me up. Thanks for the update!

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  39. shams--loved this post! You sound busy and happy and you look great. What do you mean what were you thinking starting a new career now? You rock! Why shouldn't you? All that food must be hard to resist tho....

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  40. I'm super impressed with your job at Google. Love the pix of life on the inside, especially all that fruit! How totally convenient, and no more squished bananas.

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  41. New job is really keeping you occupied! And why not a change in your mid 50's? Good luck in getting back to the sewing machine :)

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  42. Wonderful to hear from you. I'm sure the creative workshop was a raging success and life at Google sounds full on too... in a good way. Such an amazing opportunity and achievement! Have a great long weekend :)

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  43. Thanks for the update! Enjoy the long weekend of sewing!

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  44. You know you've hit a wider audience when my nerdy teenage son read this post! He also will work for free!

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  45. So glad you are liking your new job, as overwhelming as it might be.. I had to do a double take on those boots,, wow, never seen soles like that,, .. but neat...

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  46. You are so freaking BRAVE! I am so impressed by your career change and workshop leading. Glad you shared it with us, and I look forward to reading more about your "new" life.

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  47. Whoa, you sound so busy! I'm glad you're in high spirits, though, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your new job!

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  48. I, too, have missed your posts but you have certainly been very busy! I so admire you tackling a new career move and wish you the best. Hope you've been able to see this weekend. It will do your creative mind good. Congrats on your workshop.

    Karen

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