WordCamp Seattle 2014

WordCamp Seattle 2014

The first thing that struck me at WordCamp Seattle was the inclusive sense of community. People from all walks of life, hobby bloggers and coders, grandmas, hairdressers, and hackers, came together to discuss WordPress, how to use it, and how to improve it. People were so friendly, no snobbery, no cliques, no standoffishness…

wordcamp seattle 2014

I have attended small scale blog conferences before, but this was the first time to attend an event of this kind for me.

What is WordCamp?

WordCamps are non-profit conferences that are organized and run entirely by volunteers. No need to break the bank on wardrobe or ticket prices. This is definitely a come as you are event – be yourself, no one is there to see your shoes – and the amazingly low ticket price of $20 is offset by the many sponsors who make these conferences possible. I spent some time speaking to reps from the sponsors, and these people really get the community focus of WordCamp, and WordPress as a whole.

Nearly 700 people converged on the HUB at the University of Washington for WordCamp Seattle this year. It was huge, and so well run. There were panels for rank beginners and seasoned developers, and everyone in between.

So many useful sessions

The schedule was packed, so many talks from which to choose! Here are the sessions I attended (slides used by the presenters linked below):

So many great talks, and of course, there were four different talks going through most of the sessions. But the slide shows and video of the events has been made public, so you can see what you missed at a later date. A note about the videos, there is one long video for each of the three rooms that covers all of the talks that took place in the room, so get yourself a really big cup of coffee before sitting down to watch.

This conference was just so rich with useful information and resources that two weeks later I am still processing everything in my head.

But that was just day one. Day two upped the community aspect in a completely different way…

Contributors Day

I wasn’t really sure what they meant by Contributors Day, but it turns out they take the community built and open source aspects of WordPress pretty seriously.

word camp contributors day

Contributors day took place in a smaller shared workspace called the Impact Hub Seattle in Pioneer Square. Participants gathered together to  contribute to the WordPress product. The group divided into teams to work on everything from documentation to help desk questions, to directly addressing bugs, to working on updates. No need to have advanced programming skills. People contribute as they are able to, and there is place for everyone who wants to participate.



OK, so obviously, I’m new to the world of open source, but the more I learn, the more I want to learn. I’ve been using WordPress since 2008, but until now, I never bothered to learn much about how it was built. Now that I’ve seen that process in action, I want more.

WordCamp Seattle 2014 Contributors Day

I love this world I stumbled into.

WordPress Meetups

I learned that there are regular WordPress Meetups here in Seattle (also, around the world for those of you not in Seattle). I will be checking these out, so look for me at a Seattle WordPress Meetup soon.




Camp Sparkle

Camp Sparkle

gilda radner red door - camp sparkle

On the corner of Broadway and Union, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, sits an old brick building with a red door, and four stately white columns in front. Magic happens in this building.

This building is the home of Gilda’s Club Seattle, and Camp Sparkle.

When Gilda Radner was diagnosed with cancer, she learned first hand how lonely cancer can be. Gilda’s Club was created so no one else would have to go through the cancer experience alone.

Gilda’s Club is not just for the cancer patient, but their family members and close friends as well. A cancer diagnosis impacts the whole family. We all need a place where we can be ourselves, and it feels good to have a place where we feel normal, where others understand what we are going through. Gilda’s Club does this with support groups, lectures, and other helpful events for people with cancer and their loved ones.

Camp Sparkle

Camp Sparkle is one of the ways that Gilda’s Club helps the children of cancer patients.

Sometimes, the world turns upside down when Mom or Dad is diagnosed with cancer, or even dies from cancer. This is complicated when adults reflexively avoid conversations about cancer, life and death, or deep issues are distilled into platitudes that are more dismissive than helpful.

Camp Sparkle provides a safe environment for kids to talk about cancer, and helps provide kids with a toolbox of skills to name and discuss their feelings and to deal with this and other challenges life will throw at them.

And Camp Sparkle is FUN!

Camp Sparkle 2014 Gildas Club Seattle

My girl turned 5 a few months ago, so this year she was old enough to go to Camp Sparkle. She had so much fun. She came home with piles of artwork each day of the week, and at the end of the week she brought home a journal. She went on a field trip every day. She made new friends, learned about compassion, and respect, and self care. And I am so impressed with the questions she’s been asking since camp. Thoughtful questions about things it never occurred to me to bring up with her.

She’s a happy camper, and I’m so glad she got to go to Camp Sparkle.

Gilda’s Club has clubhouses across the country, and Camp Sparkle is free for the children of all Gilda’s Club members, ages 5-18.

coffeejitters border pink

You can find more on the How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting Series here:

manage cancer and parenting
Blogging in a Coffee Shop

Blogging in a Coffee Shop

Every once in a while I get the opportunity to do my work at a coffee shop, my favorite place to settle in and get some writing done.

blogging in a coffee shop

My wallet on the table? That is strategically placed. It’s holding the cord into the computer. That one spot seems to be the first thing to fail on laptop computers. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to MacGuyver a powercord fix on your laptop.

cafe vita - coffee shop

Coffee shops aren’t just for getting work done; they are wonderful places to do some people watching. The diversity on Capitol Hill makes it one of my favorite places for people watching. I just watched two girls who, from such different outward appearances, looked like they might never otherwise interact come together to rescue a baby bird that fell from it’s nest.

coffee shop iced latte

And don’t forget the coffee. That’s really why I’m here.

Sunday Football – honoring breast cancer survivors

Sunday Football – honoring breast cancer survivors

I had one job when I walked out onto the field during halftime at the Seahawks game Sunday: walk in a straight line, wave, and don’t trip.

Oh, and don’t pee your pants.

Why was I out on that field? I had the opportunity to join several other survivors in representing the thousands of women who have battled breast cancer in the Seattle area.

view of football stadium from under the stands

Of course, moments like this always seem to involve a lot of waiting…

football stadium with pink balloons and breast cancer survivors

And, a lot (A LOT) of walking.

Just to keep things interesting, I stepped on a piece of broken glass two days before the game. I drove myself and the little one to the ER and ended up getting seven stitches -and then all that walking in the stadium, and across the field, took place wearing this gorgeous bootie.

foot in protective bootie

Don’t worry about the foot, it will be fine.

When I walked out on the field, I wasn’t worried about my foot at all. I had other things on my mind.

As we lined up under the goal post in the end zone, I suddenly realized that I had to pee. Fortunately, we were encouraged to dance. So that was me doing the potty dance to Katy Perry’s “Roar”  as we walked across the field from one end zone to the next. Whatever works, right?

century link field and the seahawks

I also managed to get on and off the field without actually tripping, but at the first 20 yard line, I turned to look at my friend Pam who was walking behind me, and the guy in front of me stopped – so I walked right into him.  I’m pretty reliable on these things.

the 12th man flag at century link field

I’m not the world’s biggest football fan, but I do love the celebratory feel of sporting events.

seahawks blue thunder drummer at century link field
seahawks blue thunder drummer at century link field

And the views…

view of high-rises from century link field
century link field

But my favorite part of sporting events is the people watching. These were the people sitting right in front of me.

heart hands
seattle seahawks fan
seattle seahawks fan

also, apparently some football happened.

seattle seahawks at century link field

How was your week?

Salt Water

Salt Water

Isak Denison once wrote that the cure for anything is salt water: tears, sweat, or the sea

Gem and Daddy at Golden Gardens

Personally, I’d much rather take my cure from the sea, than sweat or tears.

Gem at the beach

We really should get out here more often.

Gem at the beach

This wasn’t Gem’s first trip to the beach; last time she was just a few months old, so it’s unlikely she has a memory of it.  But she took to it like it was already her favorite place in the world.  We didn’t tell her where we were going, but when she saw the water she immediately started trying to unbuckle herself, and yelling “Beach! Beach!” Either that, or she was calling me a bitch, but I don’t think she’d be quite so enthusiastic if that was the case.

Gem at the beach

My little girl definitely inherited her parent’s love of the sea.

Gem at the beach

Every day since she has asked to go back to the beach. Perhaps it’s time to go get some more cure.