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backyard duck farm


This is a snapshot from my morning, which was spent mucking both the duck house and run for the first time, as well as the usual chores. The bad news: wet poo, unexpected scorpion, and frightened ducklings. The good news: not that bad, clean-fresh duck house, and soft duckling noises to serenade my work.

Our venture into backyard farming, if you want to call it that, has started to pay off. We are well on the way to a successful garden crop this year, starting with peas, eat-all greens, strawberries, radishes, carrots, and scallions this spring. Tomatoes and peppers are a little behind on their game, but the onions, garlic, shallots, fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries, a variety of herbs and edible flowers, and whatever else I’m forgetting…. oh yeah, a multitude of squashes… are all doing great. Nothing heals my soul and energizes my spirit like growing things. I am very lucky to have a green thumb.

More on this as the summer develops. Until then, I have other more pressing projects to deal with. Stay strong, and garden on, folks.


I’m unintentionally famous?

My blog hits have been blowing up lately and I have received a half a dozen emails in the last week from people who found me on my blog. What is going on? Well apparently some folks out there have been linking to this entry from 2012 entitled:

NCIDQ I’m in ur base, pwning n00bs

Yeah so thanks, dear Internet. That’s sweet of you. Glad to be of service to my fellow professional interior designers. I never intended that piece to be more than a personal celebration of my triumph over one scary two-day-long exam. It’s cool to know my heartwarming story continues to touch lives.

But that was 2012, people, and a lot has changed. The whole dang test has been reformatted! It’s about time for an update. As long as you insist on linking to this outdated reference, I’m thinking it’s time to create a revamped and updated section of my website dedicated to this topic.

So, if you happen to be a fan of my NCIDQ post and you also happen to be reading my blog at this time why don’t you take a moment to comment below and tell me what you’d like to see added to this new section? Let’s open up the floor to some new ideas, and I promise to let you know when the next generation of this exam guide is ready. And as always, it will be free to all. Share the love, people. We’re all in this together.

Feels to all of you studying for the NCIDQ exam right now. Stay strong.

When I’m Dead No One Will Remember Me for This

The past couple of weeks have been full of adventures, including sickness for both the kiddo and me. Illness really saps my energy and concentration; I can rarely get anything useful done. My research slowed. The blog stopped. The laundry piled up so high it ate the cat. Just kidding, we never had a cat. ::shifty eyes::

The key takeaway here is that none of that stuff is really important compared to taking care of myself and my family. When I’m dead, no one will remember me for my blog. I doubt whether anyone will recall my contributions to academia or design theory. They may remember my impressive ability to fold a fitted sheet and wonder if it involves black magic.

In this life, family comes first. I’m actually kind of surprised that I have chosen family over work. Before my son was born I was one of those driven, high-achievers whose spouse probably resented my late nights at the office and frequent weekend workdays. Who could blame him? Now that we have a kid, though, work has clearly taken a back seat. My “life” is now at home and work is just… well, work.

Pre-baby me would feel really ashamed for letting my blog slip for a few weeks. Post-baby me is just wondering if it’s really worth blogging at all. I have 600+ followers and when I’m dead none of them will remember me for my blog. So what really matters to me?

Well, today’s “standard productivity” agenda is to make some revisions to a journal article while the kiddo is napping, run a few errands once he’s up, and then answer some work emails during nap #2 (if I’m lucky). My more important goals, though hard to quantify, involve snuggles, crayons, and plastic animals.

The kiddo is up from nap #1. GTG.

Growing Ideas in Your Backyard

At home I have a small backyard garden where I grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. I choose what to grow by asking myself two simple questions: Is it interesting to me? and Will it grow in my backyard? If the answer is yes to both, I'm in. It may not work for everyone, but I've found that I prefer to find success through playful exploration of different seeds in different areas of my backyard. And that's how I grow ideas.

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No Carrot and No Stick – Staying Productive Off-Contract

Summers are tough for me because the risks and rewards of my work seem far off and irrelevant. Sometimes no one is around to dangle that carrot or hit you upside the head with a stick. When you're left all alone it may become harder than usual to produce, especially when you really loathe the task at hand. If you are ultimately held responsible for what you produce, not for the time and effort that went into the work, you're not wasting anyone's time but your own by being less productive.

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