Do you Remember…?

…the 21st night of September?

I’m trying to recollect this past month. Where did September go? It went by so quickly because I had so much going on: XOXO Festival, the Automattic Grand Meetup, a vacation to Hawaii for my 40th birthday.

Suitably, the above photo is a snap that I took on the evening of September 21st, on our way home from the airport. The sunset was gone as quickly as the past month. But what a great month it was!

XOXO Festival Thoughts

This weekend marks my third XOXO Festival. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of a wonderful event such as this.

So what is it, exactly? Contrary to what a current straight-to-streaming movie leads you to believe, XOXO is not an EDM festival. It’s so much more than an “arts and technology festival”, which is the short description that I hear the most. It’s even a whole lot more than what the official website describes, “an experimental festival celebrating independent artists who work on the internet”.

To me, XOXO Festival has been an inspiration, the catalyst for my creativity, and most importantly, the source of a lot of great new friends and a community that I have severely lacked in my life for a long, long time.

Ever since last year’s festival, I’ve been wanting to write something about my experiences there, since it has affected me so profoundly. But here we are a year later, well into the festival’s current iteration, and I’m only starting to write my thoughts out. Better late than never, right?

Part of my inaction has a lot to do with the strong presence of imposter syndrome amongst the attendees, as evidenced by this tweet by a fellow attendee:

Every single person I’ve chatted with during every XOXO fest I’ve ever been to says they feel like the most boring/uncool/socially awkward person there. Everyone wonders if they deserve to be at XOXO. I am definitely no exception, and I’m glad that I’m not alone.

I’ve written nary a word about my experiences because I thought that no one wanted to hear what I had to say. There are plenty of folks that have written about the festival, why would I want to add to the noise? Oh gosh, aren’t the folks who haven’t gone to XOXO so tired of hearing about it from their friends that have gone? I don’t have a cool creative project in the works right now. I don’t feel like a particularly interesting person. I don’t have a lot of faith in my writing skills. Add that all up and that equals complete blogging paralysis for me.

This community has taught me that my experiences are unique. That my friends do care about what I have to say and want to hear my perspective.

But for some reason, I still have trouble convincing myself of that. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I’m hoping to share more over the course of this year’s festival and well past the closing party. More soon.

File-o-phile

Tonight, I randomly decided to re-categorize and tag every single entry in my blog. It started with what I initially told myself would be a “simple” conversion of categories to tags, but of course, it ends up not being all that simple. I’ve found myself also paring down and eliminating rarely-used categories/tags, and merging similar ones.

I told Robert that I was doing this and that staying up way too late on a Wednesday night working on blog taxonomy seems a bit obsessive. His response was that it’s just as obsessive as his fantasy football hobby.

I suppose he’s right. 🙂

May 2016 in Photos

I didn’t do so well at blogging in May, but I was taking snapshots constantly. Here’s my May in photos:

  • Cocktails at Bit House Saloon, which is probably my current favorite spot for happy hour. They have great drinks, mellow atmosphere, and a tasty fried bologna sandwich (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!).
  • Spent Mother’s Day with my Mom-in-law and Mom, who came to visit for a long weekend. This specific shot was taken at the Oregon Garden, that we set up to jokingly caption it “Happy Mother’s Day, Birches!”
  • Enjoyed a beer at Bailey’s while the Moms shopped downtown.
  • Collaborated yet again with Halsted on a delicious dinner. She made a Chicken Tagine, and I made a Mediterranean-inspired salad. Cooking with a friend is one of my favorite things to do!
  • Went to see Tycho at the Wonder Ballroom. It was a great show and experience. The sound was really good, even from the mezzanine!
  • Enjoyed Matt’s BBQ with some XOXO friends. Coincidentally, this was on WordPress’ 13th birthday (WP’s founder is named Matt).
  • Planted our garden seedlings in the ground. This year, I have two types of tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, fennel, leeks, English thyme, French tarragon, basil, and nasturtiums. Hopefully they survive the excessive heat that we’re supposed to have this weekend.
  • Made a Strawberry Basil Pink Peppercorn Shrub with Hood strawberries, by Andrea‘s recommendation. It’s a tasty way to welcome summer!