LoriB.me

Rambling On…

2011 — 12/30/2011

2011

In a word, 2011 has been CRAZY! I’ve had some crazy years in my time, and while this year is not nearly as crazy as some have been, it definitely holds a place on the “Craziest Years Ever” list.

A Brief Summary of 2011:

Moving

Karen and I gave up hopes of selling our house after waiting 3 years for the economy to improve so we could move to Baltimore to be closer to K’s parents and help them out. Lorena and Tess offered to live in our house, pay mortgage, etc. so that we could move. Thanks Lorena and Tess! Karen quit her long time job that she really loved (and found a new one in Baltimore), and in April we drove approximately 3007 miles away from Oakland, CA to Baltimore, MD to live in an awesome apartment that K’s friend Lisa found for us. Thanks Lisa!

Baltimore Life

Living in Baltimore has been a challenge to say the least. When we got here, we went to the local SSI office to officially switch from California to Maryland. While filling out the paperwork in the office, we found out that I am no longer eligible to receive SSI because we no longer live in our house. It is only okay to own a house if you live in it. Surprise! That was a pretty huge blow which has been hard to recover from. So hard, that we have not recovered from it yet. Karen had to take a large pay cut as well because jobs generally pay less here than in CA.

I still do not have a Maryland driver’s license, even after going to the Maryland MVA 3 times and waiting 12 weeks for New York State to clear my record in the National Driver Registry for something that was taken care of in 1984. One more trip to the MVA should do it.

Next was The Dentist. In August, I had an appointment for a “simple root canal” that would take 1/2 hour. Maybe I should have taken it as a sign that the day started with an earthquake, but I went anyway. It did not take 1/2 hour. It is 4 months, 9 dentist/endodontist appointments, and one emergency room visit later, and I am still dealing with the aftermath. I have 2 more appointments in January to (hopefully) finish the job. Some damage may be permanent.

Work has been pretty good. Luckily, my business is portable, and I can still work for my clients/colleagues in the bay area. Even more luckily, before moving here, I met an awesome woman on LinkedIn who has hooked me up with some jobs, introduced me to some people, and let me share her office. Thank you M!

It is not all hard. I love living here. I love the city. I even like the people. K’s friends are awesome and it is good to live near her parents so we can visit them and help them out. In general, I find that people are much more down to earth here than in the bay area. I like that. Our apartment is a block away from EVERYTHING, and I found a great place to do karate. I missed the east coast. It took me 20 years to miss it, but I am glad to be back. I love the changing seasons and the chill in the air. I am comfortable here. It is also nice to be so much closer to my family!

No year is complete without a few bulleted lists:

Favorite Apps 2011:

  • Komodo IDE 7 – I have been using Komodo as my main code editor/IDE since 2009. Both the free editor and commercial IDE get better with every version. Komodo 7 is in RC1 right now and should be released soon. Some bugs that were in the alpha and beta are fixed in this version and performance is improved. This version also includes my chalkboard color scheme as a system default called Dark_Chalkboard 🙂
  • Dropbox – There are not enough good things I can say about Dropbox. Now that I am working with 3 computers and an iPhone, it is hard to imagine getting along without it.
  • Moom – A relatively new window management app for mac. I have used several of these apps over the years, but Moom is my favorite one yet. Customizable keyboard shortcuts like the others, as well as a nice visual popup when hovering over the ‘maximize’ button on any window. Definitely worth $5.

Favorite Websites 2011:

  • WPCandy – Early last year, Ryan Imel relaunched WPCandy and it has quickly become my favorite place to keep up with the crazily fast moving world of WordPress news. Thanks Ryan!
  • Facebook – There are many things to hate about Facebook, but no matter what annoying things they do, it has still allowed me to have more human interaction than ever before in a way that does not overwhelm me (or if it does, closing a browser window fixes it).
  • Pinterest – I have recently discovered Pinterest and have been using it as an alternative to Tumblr. I like that it is limited to visual things.

Favorite Places in Baltimore:

  • Baltimore Harbor – I miss the San Francisco Bay more than anything else since we moved. It is really great that Baltimore has such an awesome harbor. Great place to walk around aimlessly and lots of fun things to do.
  • Charles Village Pub – One thing that always seemed to be missing from various places I lived in the bay area was a local pub. Now, we have one down the block. A great place to stop in and have a beer or to meet people at.
  • ETC – AWESOME place for the local tech and business startup communities. This is the place where the local WordPress and PHP meetups are held, as well as the place where I share office space. It is also the home of Beehive Baltimore, “… a coworking community of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and other creative professionals sharing a common workspace in Baltimore, Maryland”.

I am hoping that 2012 will be an easier year for us. I am happy to be here and glad we made this decision and finally got to make it happen. For the most part, we are very lucky! We have jobs, an awesome apartment to live in, a great city to live in, close proximity to our families, and are surrounded by great people.

Happy New Year everyone!

107 Degrees — 07/22/2011
Busy Bee in Baltimore — 05/19/2011

Busy Bee in Baltimore

Baltimore Row Houses
Baltimore Row Houses - Photo by mariozama

Things got off to a rough start, but I think I am starting to get used to living here. I thought I was busy in Oakland, but somehow seem to have gotten way busier here. It is wearing me out.

Business has been great since I got here. Working on 2 projects now, one from a new local business woman I met here and one from San Francisco. I still have not found the geek/webdev community here. It makes me kind of sad, but hopefully I will find it eventually. There is a WordPress meetup that I would really love to go to, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is organizing any meetings.

Besides from my todo list being about a mile too long, I think I like living here. It is a beautiful city with lots of things to do. I love all the bricks. I found a karate school that I really like. The pizza is much better than in California. My friend Kim lives here. Karen’s friends are great and the people here seem to be very friendly in general. K likes her job. It is also nice to live so close to Washington DC.

I am glad we can be near K’s folks and help them out. Also nice to live much closer to my family. I think I will adapt to living here someday. Right now, still feels kind of surreal. There is not much time to explore. Walking around aimlessly is how I usually adapt to new places, but even though there is hardly any time for that, things are starting to become more familiar and I am feeling less lost in general.

Have to get back to work. One of these days I will post some links, videos, and code snippets that are hanging around in my ‘things to post on lorib.me’ list.

Rejected, Dejected, but Relatively Unaffected — 04/14/2011

Rejected, Dejected, but Relatively Unaffected

Maryland State Flag
Welcome to Maryland?

Things started off so well. We made good time to Baltimore, got here to find an awesome apartment, a great landlord, and a neighborhood that has everything you would ever want within a few block radius. What could go wrong? Glad you asked. Please, let me whine for 3 paragraphs…

If I were more paranoid, I would think that the Maryland government hates me. That actually did cross my mind for a moment, but in reality, the events of the past 2 days have nothing at all to do with the fine state of Maryland. On Tuesday, Karen and I went to the DMV (aka MVA). On the first try, we didn’t realize that we needed 2 proofs of residency, so had to go back home and get them, then go back to the MVA. We registered our car, got our new plates, and Karen got her Maryland driver’s license. I was not so lucky.

24 years ago, I had my license revoked in New York due to getting 3 speeding tickets. Very shortly before it was revoked, I got a driver’s license in Florida.  I paid my giant fine in NY and assumed everything was taken care of. 4 years later, I moved to California, got a driver’s license and renewed it 4 times with no problem. I have had that license for 20 years, and it is still valid today. Still, Maryland would not give me a driver’s license because the record from New York and Florida was never cleared from the system. In order to clear it, I must mail a $25 check and a letter requesting that they clear my record to NY. There is a 10-12 week wait time for processing it. When that is done, they or I must fax the clearance to Florida, and Florida must fax it to Maryland. Not exactly sure what the point of having the whole country hooked up online when you still have use snail mail and fax to get anything done. Thank goodness my California license is good until 2013!

“What else could go wrong?”, you may ask.  Yesterday, I lost my SSI because I don’t live in my house any more, so now it is an asset. I have been trying very hard to get off of SSI for several years now, but was hoping to do it when I was making a more steady income and could afford health insurance (and rent). Luckily, Karen’s new workplace has benefits for domestic partners so I will still be able to get my medicine.

Yesterday, both me and K were in pretty bad spirits. Maybe it was all the red tape and rejection, or maybe it was because we went to both the DMV and Home Depot 2 times, but things were looking pretty bleak and we were completely exhausted. I think we are both in better spirits today. Our bed and furniture from IKEA is assembled and we can now start unpacking for real. Best of all, I can start to set up my office and hook up my big computer!

It will be good to start working again. Suddenly I feel the need to re-market my business to focus on things that bring in steady monthly income, like web hosting and website maintenance. I still have job requests coming in, so predictable income will have to wait. Hopefully I will hook up with the web development/geek communities here soon. Luckily, most of my business is done on the internet, so I will still be able to work with my current clients and colleagues. Karen will be starting work in a couple of weeks, and I am guessing that is when I will really find out what it is like to live and work in Baltimore day to day. Until then, I am hoping we can have some more fun times and adventures before we are both crazy busy again with work/life/etc!

Karen and Lori’s Big Adventure — 03/10/2011

Karen and Lori’s Big Adventure

We are moving in 18 days! I can hardly believe it. In honor of the occasion, I did what I do for just about every occasion and built us a website to track our drive across the country and further adventures in Baltimore. Karen and I will both be posting stories, maps, pictures, etc.

There is not much there yet, but if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and visit us at KarenandLori.com 🙂

2011: The First 9 Days — 01/09/2011

2011: The First 9 Days

Baltimore

Even though we are only 9 days in to 2011, this year has been pretty crazy so far. So crazy, that 2010 is already kind of a blur. Karen and I are trying to get ready to move to Baltimore in April and there are so many things to do, it boggles my mind. We are both crazy busy with work, cats, packing, cleaning, and about a million other things.

I have not had much time or energy to post here on LBnuke other than the ‘Please vote for AWN’ series. Thank you so much to everyone who voted! We came very close a few times, but did not win. As it turned out, we made lots of good connections and will be able to do many of the things we wanted to do with the contest money. I think 2011 will be a great year for the Autism Women’s Network 🙂

2010 was the best year ever for BeeDragon, my business. I have been crazy busy and am now working on 2 large projects that were not supposed to overlap. It seems to be common in this business for clients to be very late with their content. Thankfully one of the projects has been sticking to the planned schedule. I still dream of having some kind of  partnership, network, whatever, where I am not a one person shop. My ideal team consists of me doing general web development, an awesome graphic designer, and a business manager. I don’t know anything at all about the local Baltimore web dev community, but hopefully I will find it quickly!

LBnuke 2011: I am in the process of adapting LBnuke to be a little more Tumblr like so that it will be easier for me to post things here. Right now, I am running an early release version of WordPress 3.1 so that I can play around with ‘post-formats’ and learn how to work with them in theme files and templates. As usual, WordPress makes this pretty easy.

Time to get back to work now. 2011 will be a big adventure for me and K. My current plan is to avoid going insane while so many things are going on at once. So far this is going ok except that I fall asleep a lot. At the end of March, either me and Karen or just Karen will go to Baltimore to find a place to live. At the beginning of April, we will pack up our cats and drive across country.

Next Year in Jerus… I Mean Baltimore — 06/11/2010

Next Year in Jerus… I Mean Baltimore

Moving to Baltimore

Way too many things. Last month was the first month I haven’t posted here since July 2005. Probably wouldn’t have even noticed except for the missing link on the Archives page. Very busy with work. I am enjoying my projects, but wish I was working on them when there wasn’t so much else going on.

Our trip to Florida and Baltimore was nice. Good to see the families. Karen and I are moving to Baltimore next year, probably in March. Almost did it a few years ago, but the economy crashed and we got stuck here. Thanks to K’s sister offering to rent our house, we can now go for real. It is a huge move. I have lived in California for 20 years and K’s been here a long time too. I like Baltimore a lot, but do not have enough experience there to imagine what it will be like to live there. We will be near K’s parents and that will be good. They can use our help. I really like all of K’s friends there. It is very easy to hang out with them. It will be awesome to live near my friend Kim again. Will also be nice to be on the same coast as my family again!

There are so many things to do. Karen has to take her licensing test for being a social worker in Baltimore. We need to find a place to live. K needs to find a job. I need to get hooked up with the Baltimore web development community that I am assuming exists. There is tons of stuff I need to do for my business. Have not had the time, money, or brain to do what needs to be done. AND, we have to pack up our house and somehow manage to drive 4 cats across the country in a Corolla.

Part of my business plan is adding some work/business stuff here on LBnuke. This site has about 1000x more traffic than my business site. It is the site I like to work on and the site that people I know visit. Of course I will keep my business site. I don’t want to connect that site to this site. Too personal. When I have bits of free time, I have been adding little changes to this site. The theme is new. Same design as before, but wider and better organization of information. I will be working on it until at least the end of the summer. Got some great suggestions from Lou Anne at Be-Found!. If you need some SEO services, I would recommend her highly.

The summer is turning out to be busy as usual and things will only get busier as we get ready to move. I will miss it here, especially the weather! Baltimore will be a new adventure. I think I am ready for it.