Extended Time Off Report

What I got up to over the past month! Because I relax by learning and doing.

Assumed audience: Mostly, future me. But also: anyone who is interested in my shenanigans.

Courtesy of LinkedIn’s very generous time off policies (“unlimited discretionary time off”, up to three weeks at a stretch as long as you and your manager and team are all good with it) and our annual week-long shut-down over the 4th of July holiday, I was able to take off basically all of July. This was a delightful bit of respite and rest after a very stressful first half of the year. And, being me, I mostly recharged by doing, because that’s how I roll.

  • The first week, Jaimie traveled for important goings-on in her family, and then we hosted friends. I did little bits of writing and programming, largely as means of mucking around with Jujutsu and Nova and BBEdit. I made a little bit of progress on my long-stalled-out project of building a perfectly-tailored-to-just-me website builder along the way.

  • The second week, Jaimie graciously agreed to do extra running-point-on-the-kids work so I could focus on composing. Courtesy of her kindness, I was able to write several minutes of a large orchestral work I have been slowly but steadily plugging away at over the past couple years.

  • The end of that week, we all went up to Copper Mountain, where I rode with my dad and uncle in the Courage Classic: a two-day fundraising bicycle tour for Colorado Children’s Hospital. For my part, I rode almost 90 miles in the two days, and it was wonderful. I expect to do this fundraiser ride as long as it is held: one of my daughters and a solid majority of my nieces and nephews here in Colorado have been treated there — sometimes for life-threatening situations, one as recently as a week before the tour. (This year’s fundraiser is still open, so if you would care to donate, I would be honored and kids would benefit!)

  • After a day back at home, Jaimie and our girls and I headed out to California, where we spent a week alternating exploration of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and chilling at an AirBnB where the girls could indulge their love of playing in a swimming pool. Along the way, I took a few hundred photos, of which I kept maybe half or a third — but I also managed to edit them then in contrast to my photos from our Disney World trip last year… which I still have not finished editing. (Whoops!) On the down days, in addition to photo editing I also managed to make a ton more progress on my site builder project, and significantly improved my knowledge of finicky corners of Rust along the way. I also, unfortunately, mildly sprained my ankle.

  • On our return, I got to the point where the site builder can actually generate content end-to-end, including some pretty finicky details of in-content template language replacement mechanics (without the kinds of finicky bugs that tend to plague such things, and which have plagued my current 11ty-powered site from the start). I am really quite pleased with what I have, and while it is far from being ready to use as my actual website builder still, it is now in good enough shape that I expect I will be able to get my website working using it sometime in the next 6 – 12 months (depending on how much time I allocate to it).

  • Off and on throughout, I also wrote: a lot. The sum total of everything I wrote this month (some of them still in draft at the time I publish this) comes out to well over 20,000 words. More importantly, I am happy with all of that as representing at least productive-for-me thinking-in-public, and at most making some small — but hopefully real — contributions to how we ought to think about software development.

  • Last but not least in my daughters’ estimation, I played a solid bit of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

As I put it to Jaimie earlier while reflecting on this month: it was rather less restful than the last time I did this, two years ago — because it was much more full of activities and travel. It has, however, been really joyful and I feel thoroughly recharged. I am profoundly grateful!