Three houses on one skinny lot

This is a lot I’ve been watching since 2015. I used to ride by it regularly as I bicycled to work. The lot was sectioned off from the house next door and sold during that time. Not much has happened since then, though that fence is new.

Today I was interested to notice this for sale sign which not only advertises the price of the lot as just south of $300k, but also has already drawn plans for a three-unit modern condo development. My mind boggled a bit trying to mentally fit three houses in here so I spent some time studying the renderings.

This seems to be an example of vertical living. On the main floor is the kitchen/dining area, followed by the living room/office on the second floor. Then you climb to the third floor to get to the first set of bedrooms and then to the fourth floor to get to the master bedroom.

I did the math and the square footage works out to 376–441 square feet per floor. That’s a little bit bigger than the footprint of my studio apartment.

This is an interesting development in infill housing. It doesn’t provide parking, which I still feel should be at least a small priority for each lot. I do rather like the idea of three normal-sized houses on one lot, rather than one big one.

I’ll keep my eye on this property and see what appears.

Christmas Eve Eve 2018

The MAunts and Matt’s mom Linda gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve Eve. (We celebrate Christmas Eve Eve not on 12/23, but on a random day in early December to kick off the holiday season.)

We ate the traditional Christmas Eve Eve meal of soup and bread and then we played a round of Uno. Aunt Pat won, with Matt being the first person to crest over 350 points.

We were playing Uno to kill time because the Miracle of a Million Lights didn’t open until 6 p.m. This Christmas lights display is just down the street from our house at an event rental space with a big old house. I’ve seen it for years, but this was the first year they put up a sign of what it was called. I could then Google it and find out information.

It was pouring. Though we were properly outfitted with umbrellas, I forgot my camera and didn’t bring my phone, so we have only these photos Matt took on his phone.

Here is everyone (Aunt Carol unfortunately in shadow on the right) amid the million lights.

We also got to tour the historical house. On the top floor were cutouts of many superhero cutouts including actual people portraying Shuri and Black Panther. Matt was very excited to get his picture taken with them.

We returned to the house to have gingerbread brownies and ice cream for dessert.

10 Years of Sentinel Damascus Collins

Sentinel joined our household in December of 2008. I adopted him on December 7, a date I remember because it also happens to be Pearl Harbor Day.* If you want to read his introduction post, it’s here.

Reading that first description, I can report that Sentinel still follows me around all the time. I’ve often thought about how accurate the original description of him at the Humane Society was. It said something like, “he’s more like a small dog than a cat.” He’s very much a companion animal.

He’s not a fan of posing for photos, as evidenced by his ears in this picture.

Sentinel is 14 now, and this is the first year he seems like an old cat. This year he had to have a bunch of teeth pulled. He’s now missing upper incisors on both sides, not just his right side. And he now takes a half tablet every other day that keeps him from throwing up regularly. His fur isn’t as thick as it was, but other than that, he’s the same cat as ever.

Sentinel is a marvelous cat, the kind of cat that friends look forward to visiting with, and that I’m sure I will think fondly of for years after he is gone. We’ve been lucky to have 10 years with him and here’s to another good length of time and a happy rest of his life.

*Antares was adopted on a random January day in 2010, and thus we never celebrate him properly. I’ll probably commemorate the occasion next Pearl Harbor Day, as it looks like we brought him home in mid-December 2009. Here’s the first siting of him on the blog.

The 60/30 Rule Final Report

I came up five hours short of my time goal. But I still got 56 hours of work done that I wouldn’t have otherwise done.

This was a very good exercise and it’s gotten me much closer to getting 3SMR in shape for publication. FFI, hasn’t progressed at all. Lesson learned about how much time it takes to start a website.

Books read in November 2018

This is month two of my 60 minutes per day for 30 days, plus I’m still restricting my sleep which means I didn’t read a ton this month. But it was good reading, what I did read.


Picture Books: A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Young Adult: Dry is my top recommendation, though they were all good this month.
Grownup Nonfiction: Anything You Want

Picture Books

Juan Filipe Herrera
Read for Librarian Book Group

This is a good story from a migrant’s perspective and an inspiring story for anyone. I didn’t personally connect with the illustrations, but they were good.

Unfortunately, this picture book did not work for me. At first there seemed to be a scheme for how things would go. There were four pages ending with “Imagine” and then one page with “Imagine what you could do too.” I assumed this would continue through the book and when it didn’t, there was a tension built that I found off putting.

There was also one page I didn’t understand what was being said.

The Field
Read for Librarian Book Group

A picture book with many short sentences, this aptly conveys the excitement of a neighborhood game with great use color. Plus a nice author’s note.

A Big Moon Cake for Little Star
Grace Lin

Delightfully limited color scheme and a great origin story of the phases of the moon.

Young Adult

The Lady’s Guide to Pirates and Petticoats
Mackenzi Lee
Read for Librarian Book Group

Mackenzi Lee continues the story started in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, this time telling the tale of Monty’s sister Felicity, who longs to be a doctor in a time when women are most decidedly NOT supposed to be doctors. Her quest to become one has her throwing her lot in with a pirate (the daughter of a pirate king) and traveling all around Europe.

This book is chock full of women things: adventure, friendship, and an examination of women’s place in the world. It’s full of great quotes about friendship, and work, and making decisions. 

The author also includes a very good note at the end addressing the historical fiction charge of “modern-day character, set in the past.” She includes a list of women in history who inspired this story.

Long Way Down
Jason Reynolds
Read for Family Book Group

This was very well received by the Family Book Group; the kids gave it an 8.833 and the adults a 9.281 for an average of 9.089.

In addition, the novel-in-verse format worked very well for discussion as we could flip through and find things to discuss that caught our eye. That, combined with the gripping plot, made this a great book for discussion.

Shusterman & Shusterman
Read for Librarian Book Group

Southern California, after years of drought. One day, the water is shut off. The taps are dry.

So begins our story, which follows several people: Alyssia, the soccer-playing regular girl; Garrett, her little brother; their neighbor Kelton, the son of a “prepper,” a man who has been waiting his entire life for the moment the world devolves into crisis and he and his family can survive. 

As people become thirsty, they also become desperate. And desperate people make life dangerous.

This book has incredible pacing, does a great job with separating the kids from the adults in an organic way, and I never could predict the twists and turns. My one problem with the book was that I was regularly confused about who was talking due to lack of distinct voices, but that was a minor quibble.

Neil and Jarrod Shusterman have written a taut novel with high stakes that will have you turning pages, and also heading to the store to make sure you have your emergency supply of water. 

Hey Kiddo
Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Read for Librarian Book Group

A graphic novel of Krosoczka’s growing up years living with his grandparents due to his mother’s drug addition. I enjoyed his story, especially the way he pointed out the differences in your life when your grandparents are your parents. The color palette was great even before I read the note at the end that explained the inspiration and that same note had a good plug for counseling/therapy.

The grandmother was the one so-so part of the story. Krosoczka seemed to give her a pass for her (mostly) functioning alcoholism. Perhaps the love that’s apparent on every page blunted some of her behaviors for him. They were plenty unsettling for me, though.

If You Come Softly
Jacqueline Woodson
Read for Life’s Library

I tend to prefer books with a romantic plot be told from one person’s point of view because it’s more interesting to me to have a limited perspective and wonder along with the character what the heck is going on with the other person. Woodson uses two narrators, but uses different points of view for each of them. We learn about Ellie’s story directly from her, and Miah’s narrative comes in third person. This was very interesting.

I loved how spare the writing is. Jacqueline Woodson is a master at painting a mural with a handful of words. The book also is a sweet romance, and captures the tentativeness and awkwardness of adolescent love. There’s some good stuff about dating outside of your race and general hazards of being black in America.

This is a short, calm, quietly beautiful book that is worth reading.

Grownup Nonfiction

Anthing you Want
Derek Sivers

This book was designed to be read in about an hour and delivers on that promise. It’s the story of CD Baby, an online music store that gets the music of independent musicians to fans that want to buy it.

Derek Sivers is not your standard entrepreneur which makes reading about his business–now former business–very interesting. He’s a man who knows what he wants, and is willing to go about getting it in unique ways. It’s also a story of what not to do once your business gets successful.

The 60/30 Rule Report 11/25

Ah, Thanksgiving week. The week where I was going to catch up the hours I missed because I was going to take off work if it wasn’t busy.

But it was busy. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I was planning on getting 3 or so hours done per day, and I did not.

I did do 10.5 hours this week (Thanks, Thanksgiving and the day after!) and feel good about that.

First off, I got my new monitor before Thanksgiving. The new monitor makes everything much easier. I also learned that visiting Jantzen Beach on the day before Thanksgiving means excellent service because no one is there!

This week was a big Mailchip week. I made a popup to get people to subscribe, I made a campaign that should send an email every time I post, I made a campaign that should send birthday greetings.

I also made my affiliate and subscriber blocks into reusable blocks. No more typing and linking. I just choose the block and it’s populated. This is a very big win. Thanks WordCamp, for having someone who mentioned this in passing, otherwise, I’d still be typing them for each post.

I also did some poking around to see if I wanted to do content management for social media. I decided I would not for now. I also learned how to post to Instagram from my desktop computer. It’s very tricky and involves using Google Developer Tools.

I’ve got one more week that is really only a Monday–Friday. Will I catch up with my hours?

Fifteen minutes trying to take a good picture of myself

I need a good picture of me for the new websites and so I spent some time in the backyard attempting a timer photo. There were a lot of medicore results. Photos are hard.

This was perhaps the best one, but I got annoyed at several things: the background, my shirt, the shadows on my face, the fact that I’m not 20 anymore, etc.

I did some test photos while bundled up, adjusting the zoom and the tripod and such. For those I made funny faces, this being my favorite.

A photographer will have to be called.