Getting through a hard day #

The vast majority of the time, I feel good about my life and the progress I’ve made in the past couple years in regards to my mental health, my impostor syndrome, and my day to day feelings. However, sometimes, a perfect storm of events occur that cause a bit of an imbalance in my life — a combination of work stress, personal stress, and apartment stress have been my reality this week and on Friday night, it all came to a head.

Here are steps I’ll be taking to help me process my feelings now and to build up more tools to help me in the next couple days to feel better. Note that these work for me, but may not be the best solutions for you!

Get out of the house. A change of scenery helps a LOT when I feel stress and sadness. Whether it’s a walk outside, driving to an event, or running some errands, leaving the house helps. So much.

Have a good cry. Until recently, I didn’t know what it was like to have a healthy, cleansing cry. These days, I’ve found that it helps a LOT to process emotions. To help this process, I put on some music, go on a drive, and let the tears fall. It may be a tiring process, but I feel WAY better after doing this. (Also, this goes along with leaving the house, so win win!)

REST. As I mentioned above, after a good cry, I’m usually really tired. So, what’s important if you can do it? Rest! It’s okay to rest, I promise. You may have family obligations or things you NEED to do, but if you can, take some time out of your day to take a breather. I know it helps me, so I’ll be spending the day listening to music and watching TV in between getting things done around the apartment.

Shake up my routine. One thing I’ve noticed recently is that I’ve been going through the motions in the mornings and evenings more than I’d like. I’ve been eating the same foods for breakfast, been reading the same book for a month or two, and I’ve been sitting on my couch and knitting every single night. It’s time to switch it up a little! Maybe I’ll try a new meal for breakfast. Maybe I’ll write at night instead of knit, or I’ll start a new knitting project. Maybe I’ll take a walk at a different time during the day. Either way, switching it up a little bit helps me feel better as well.

Embrace creativity. Making things always helps me feel better. Writing in my blog (hey, I’m doing this right now!), journaling, listening to music, and playing with my fountain pen inks are some of my favorite things to do to inspire creativity and to keep me moving forward. I’m thankfully never bored!

Since Friday, I’ve done a few of the items on this list, and I’m already feeling better. I’m glad I know what helps me when I’m feeling down, and I’m grateful for those in my life who support me as well. Thank you, everyone!

Five things I want to do in 2023 #

I know, it’s March and I’m just now writing about things I want to do this year! I don’t like calling them ‘goals’ so they are ‘things I want to do’ instead. If I do them, great, and if not, that’s fine too! Here’s my little list.

Run a half marathon. I consider the day I ran my half marathon one of the best days of my life, so I’d love to run another. At this point I can run about 30 minutes without stopping to walk, so I have to start training once the weather warms up enough for me to run in the mornings again.

Listen to full albums. I love listening to playlists, but I really miss listening to complete albums and falling in love with an artist that way. In the time of streaming music, album listening has fallen off my radar, but I’d like to change this in 2023.

Decorate my apartment. I have lived here for a year and a half and I’ve hung a few things up on the walls, but most of my apartment is pretty empty. I want to blame it on the fear of ruining my plaster walls, but no, I just don’t know how to decorate because I’ve moved every couple years my entire adult life. This changes now!

Roast a chicken. I’m 42 years old and have never roasted a chicken. Yep. I need to have my family over and just do it—I’m a decent cook, so I can’t screw this up! Hopefully. Those might be famous last words…

Get out of my head. I’m notoriously both hard on myself and overthink every word I write. Guess what, this combination sucks! I’m much happier with both my writing and my life when I’m not trapped inside the box I make for myself, so in 2023, now that I’ve done so much work on myself in other areas, it’s time to focus on this particular corner of my brain. Challenge accepted!

Florida DrupalCamp 2023 #

A couple weeks ago I finally attended Florida DrupalCamp, a camp I had wanted to attend for years! Not only was it the first time I attended, but it was my first time speaking at this conference and my first time speaking at any conference since New England Drupal Camp in 2019! It was such a fun camp and I got to see some of my favorite people in the Drupal community.

Thursday: Arrival#

I flew in on Thursday afternoon and immediately got drinks to kick off the camp—it was great to catch up with some people and enjoy a tasty Florida beer in a low key environment! After a couple other coworkers arrived, we all made our way to a Korean BBQ place and we enjoyed so much delicious food and sushi. I ended the evening by going to the same ‘low-key’ bar I had gone to when I first arrived, but it turned into a college student drink haven at night! We shouted at each other over music too loud for this old lady and got back to the hotel at a reasonable hour.

Friday: Training and contribution day#

I didn’t attend any trainings on Friday, but I did want to attend the camp to work on my session, learn how to contribute code to Drupal using merge requests, and of course, talk to people! I ran errands with my old pal and former coworker Mike Herchel, and he showed me and my current coworker / session co-presenter Adam Varn the ways of the merge request! I finally got the hang of it after Mike showed me, and it came in handy on Sunday during the contribution day. We ended the day with a couple drinks and great conversation.

Saturday: Session day!#

After a fun couple days hanging with coworkers and Drupal friends, it was time for the camp to officially start! After picking up my badge and attending the opening announcements, I attended a lot of fantastic sessions.

Working with Layout Paragraphs: an Easy-to-Use, Drag-and-Drop Content Editing Tool for Drupal by Justin Toupin#

I’ve used Layout Paragraphs in a project before and I’ve liked it, so I was interested to hear how others used the module and any best practices to follow. To be honest, I don’t remember much about this session because this was right before our session, but from what I can recall, I thought this session was pretty informative.

Read more about Justin's session and watch the recording.

New things we love and more things we want in CSS by Adam Varn and… me!#

Adam Varn and Aubrey Sambor giving their CSS talk at Florida DrupalCamp.
Picture courtesy of

I had so much fun giving this talk and nerding out about CSS with Adam and the people attending the session! We talked about awesome new CSS goodness such as container queries (supported in all modern browsers as of February 14th, 2023!) and :is and :where, and things we want such as subgrid and color-contrast. We ran into a technical difficulty with our slides, but we recovered (fairly) gracefully and continued on with the session. I’m so glad to be back in action speaking at conferences!

View our slides and watch the recording!

Accessible JavaScript In Action by Andy Olson#

I met Andy a few years ago at Design 4 Drupal Boston and he started working on my client team the week of the camp, so of course I wanted to check out his session on accessible Javascript! He talked about accessible navigation and modals and I really want to use his navigation techniques on our project.

View Andy's slides and session recording.

Next Drupal admin UI improvements by Cristina Chumillas#

Cristina Chumillas talking about Admin UI improvements in Drupal 10.
Picture courtesy of

Cristina spoke to a full house about new improvements in Drupal’s UI and ways to contribute! She discussed an initiative to create a new dashboard for the Drupal admin pages and urged people to help out with the CSS modernization initiative. It was a great session and I came away from it excited for the future of Drupal.

Watch Cristina's session and find out how you can help!

The 10 Most Useful Libraries in Drupal 10 Core by Andy Blum#

Andy Blum wrapping up his talk on 10 useful libraries in Drupal 10.

Andy’s a great speaker and I always enjoy attending his talks! In this talk, he listed some useful libraries in Drupal core such as once() and debounce(). I absolutely loved his slides, too, and it was a great session to attend at the end of the day.

Learn about all the libraries by watching Andy's talk.

Lightning talks#

We ended the day with lightning talks! People who wanted to participate wrote their name on a whiteboard and each person spoke for about 10 minutes about pretty much anything. One person talked about ChatGPT, another showed off a cool robot, and Mike Anello discussed his grievances with Drupal. It was funny and fast paced and I really enjoyed it!


After the lightning talks, we all headed over to the afterparty, a venue with bowling, axe throwing, corn hole, beer pong, and many other games! After a few hours of fun, we ended the night by checking out a dive karaoke bar in what felt like the other side of town. It was a great way to close a pretty fun day.

A group of Lullabot employees posing outdoors after an evening of games and karaoke.
The Lullabot crew after games and karaoke. We clearly enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday: Contribution day#

On Sunday morning I got up, checked out of the hotel, and made my way to the venue. I spent the majority of the day participating in the CSS Modernization Initiative, updating Drupal’s 10’s CSS to be more modern after dropping IE11 support. Now we can use CSS custom properties, logical properties, and even nesting with the magic of PostCSS! I was super jazzed to be refactoring code and using some of the techniques I had discussed the previous day.

A group of people seated around tables with computers, attending Florida DrupalCamp contribution day.

After a long, fun day of coding, chatting, and eating pizza, I flew home, returning to a harsh New England winter after a few days in sunny Florida. I’m so glad I finally attended Florida DrupalCamp and I hope to attend (and speak!) again next year!

Challenge accepted #

Note: I posted about this on Mastodon a couple days ago, only because I couldn’t make myself sit down and write a blog post about this due to getting in my own head about my writing. Well, tonight I decided to just sit down and write, perfection be damned!

I haven’t ever picked a yearly word or phrase, but this year, one popped into my head: challenge accepted. I don’t know how I came up with this word and why it didn’t appear to me until late February, but it fits for where I am now in my life.

After a couple tumultuous years (The pandemic! A breakup! Impostor syndrome! Mental health stuff probably due to all of the above!), I spent 2022 spending a ton of time by myself, taking it easy and resting and writing and learning what I want out of life. Maybe this also came from turning 40 in 2020, but after taking this time in 2022, I feel more myself than I have in years and I feel more ready to take on the world, both easy and hard.

In the past, when faced with difficult things, my impulse was to hide or cry or criticize myself. Now, after a year of self reflection, I face difficulty with curiosity and wonder and take it as an opportunity to learn even more about myself and why I react to things the way I do. it’s hard but in a different way, the kind of challenge that feels good on the other side. Instead of hiding from difficulty, I face it head on. Challenge accepted, I say, because I know I’m strong enough to face almost anything.

2022 year in review #

This took me a million and a half years to write, but finally, here's my 2022 in review!

The good!#

I started running again. Yes, I've started running in both 2020 and 2021, but in 2022, I stuck with it and completed Couch to 5k over the summer! I even ran two 5ks this year and I'm happy to be back at it.

I danced in a recital! Yes, my sister and I signed up for adult hip hop classes at my niece's dance studio, and we danced in our first show right before the holidays! I am not the greatest dancer in the world, but it's fun. I can't wait for our big show in June!

I'm finding things to do in western Massachusetts. I've joined a few Meetup groups, one for women in the area, a knitting group, a board game group, and a craft beer group. I've been staying busy with all these groups and I hope to continue attending these groups in 2023!

I traveled! In 2022, I traveled to Palm Springs for the Lullabot retreat, Portland OR for DrupalCon Portland, Charlotte to see my brother, Des Moines for work, Providence to visit friends, Portland ME for an extended weekend solo trip, Rhinebeck with my knitting friends, and New England Drupal Camp. I knocked a new state off the list--Iowa! I'm glad to have started traveling again.

I took care of myself. In 2022 I started getting manicures every two weeks with my family, and that relaxation time helped me a lot. I meditated, did yoga, wrote in my journal, practiced gratitude, and took walks. I spent a lot of time by myself this year, to learn more about who I am and what I want. I'm grateful to have that experience in 2022!

My career grew leaps and bounds. Related to the above item in regards to taking care of myself, I became much more confident at work. In 2022, I started working towards a lead developer role, which means more meetings and less code, but this move feels right to me. I'm still coding day to day, but I'm stepping more into a mentorship role and assisting other developers on the team with tasks. Things finally fell into place career-wise in 2022 and I'm excited to see how I grow professionally in 2023!

Bye, Twitter. Earlier in the year, I created a Mastodon account on my friend Tom's server but didn't use it much until Twitter was bought in late October. Since then, I've not posted or looked at Twitter and I don't see myself going there again. It's too bad because I met many fantastic friends on the site, but Mastodon looks to be a great place to continue meeting even more people. That's what matters to me.

The not good#

The hardest thing to happen this year was the end of my long-term relationship. We had gotten back together at the end of 2021 but we both quickly realized that it was over, and we split at the start of 2022. Yeah, the beginning of 2022 wasn't fun at all!

Unfortunately, I got Covid in 2022 after my trip to DrupalCon Portland. Thankfully I didn't feel super horrible and I don't have any long-term effects from it--I'm grateful for that.

I'm gutted about the overturning of Roe v Wade and all the unnecessary mass shootings that happened in this country this year--those are more than 'not good' but they fall in this category.

Speaking and writing elsewhere#

I didn't do a lot of speaking or writing in 2022:

Wrapping up#

This post has taken me an eternity to write. I hoped to get this out on the ol' blog before the new year, but here we are, January 12th and I'm finally posting it. I hope everyone's year's going well and I hope to have a post with my 2023 goals up soon.