Weeknotes 22:25

September 5, 2022

Week of August 28 - September 3

Afternoon at the Museum

My youngest daughter and I posed for a photo outside the museum.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon with my youngest at the Hunter Museum for American Art. They were having a special exhibit on fantasy illustration that we both were interested in seeing. It was also a special way to celebrate her sixteenth birthday, which happened the week before.

We really enjoyed looking at the artwork together and talking about it. Many of the pieces were covers for comics or books. They had a couple of pieces devoted to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which I am a huge fan of. My daughter loves to paint and draw and was inspired by what she saw.

There were a lot of different styles and different media. It was interesting to see how the choice of canvas and type of paint made such a difference in the look and style of the different works.

I had a lot of fun spending my afternoon with my daughter. It was fun to talk and to hear about what she was inspired by. We also enjoyed taking pictures and finding things to laugh about.

T-Shirt Reveal

While at the museum, I received a compliment on the shirt (see the photo above) that I was wearing from one of the museum volunteers. The shirt was designed by my son for the Gilbert and Sullivan show, The Grand Duke, which he also performed last year. The volunteer had studied graphic design and done some work in the t-shirt business.

His latest creation was printed this week. He created the branding for this year’s production of The Gondoliers, which my youngest daughter will be performing in. All three of my children have now been a part of the Homeschool Players. My oldest daughter’s first show was also The Gondoliers. It is the one thread that ties all of my children’s involvement together.

I really like how he incorporated new graphic design styles in this year’s design. I love the silhouette of Venice and the details in the border (which you can’t really see in my photo). On the front of the shirt, he created a contextualized version of the HSP (Homeschool Players) logo that looks like the ferro and the risso of a gondolier boat.

The arrival of container queries and :has selector in Chrome 105

Tuesday was a momentous day for the web development community. Container queries have now been implemented in Chrome 105, the first implementation in browsers. Support will soon follow in Safari 16 and Edge. And Firefox is currently working on an implementation. This has been a long-anticipated and much-wanted tool that the developer community has been asking for.

I first heard about the idea of container queries (also referred to as element queries) back in 2016 when I read a 2015 article from Mat Marquis. A year later in 2017, I did more of a deep dive into container queries, reading several articles and playing around with an experimental implementation called EQCSS (element queries).

I am also excited that the :has selector was included in Chrome 105. Safari implemented it in their browser a couple of months ago. The :has selector is going to be a powerful tool to look for conditions within a parent element and then write different styling and layout solutions.

Both container queries and :has are powerful tools that open up new creative solutions and less dependence on JavaScript to create responsive layouts. I have already created some solutions that utilize these tools in my current projects. Both of the solutions use these tools to progressively enhance the layout solutions in my projects.

My anticipation of these developments is similar to that of CSS Grid in 2017. I started playing around with Grid layout and learning how to use it before it was released in Firefox, and then later, in Chrome and Safari. And I implemented a couple of Grid solutions as progressive enhancement before there was support in the browsers.

In celebration of the release of Chrome 105, I updated the article I wrote about container queries back in April. I included links to recent articles that I will link below. For now, I am going to look for opportunities to use these new tools to progressively enhance solutions today as I prepare to use these tools on an everyday basis in the near future when they are in all the major browsers.

  • Container Queries – my article from April
  • Use the Right Container Query Syntax – Miriam Suzanne explains how the syntax for container queries has changed. This is a must read to make sure you are using the correct syntax. Many of the articles below will contain old syntax that no longer works.
  • CSS container queries are finally here – Ahmad Shadeed first wrote about container queries in April 2021. In this new article, he explains how container queries work, how we can use them, and what the syntax looks like, and share a few real-life examples and use cases.

Life Check

This week, I found myself very stressed about my project work. There were several things that were beyond my control and I reacted to them by feeling overwhelmed and looking for answers. And a bit freaked out.

In the midst of it, I had a personal struggle when I thought I might have to give up a project. I had invested a good amount of time in the project and wanted to be able to see it over the finish line. I really wanted to do the work myself rather than hand it off to a teammate, but I am involved in another project now that has a hard deadline and a tight timeline in order to deliver it on time. I didn’t want to be selfish. But I really wanted to be able to delay that first project till my current project was over so that I could be the one to finish it.

As I was able to take a step back and look at things, I realized that I could afford to take a week’s break from my current project without jeopardizing staying the course for the mid-October launch. I realized that several of the pages that remain to be built re-use blocks that I have already created and styled on other pages. I did not need as much time to build those as I originally estimated.

I was glad that it worked out so that I could finish the initial project. I came to a point where I was willing to give it up. But I needed to be able to finish it for my own morale going forward. I really appreciate the patience of several teammates who allowed me to wrestle through this and then come up with a viable solution going forward. I also appreciated another teammate who checked up on me. She had observed over a couple of days how I was feeling overwhelmed and freaking out a bit. She wanted to check in with me to make sure I was good.

One of the reasons that I had gotten so stressed was that there were about 3 other projects that were slated to start later this month and all be due around the same time – the middle of October. I think I took on too much responsibility in thinking about those projects. I need to trust our project management team and leaders to figure out how those projects are going to happen. I did not feel like I had the capacity to do them with my current load. But I also knew the rest of the development team is running at capacity right now and into the near future.

The experience was a positive one in the end. It helped me to see that I needed to set better personal boundaries and be able to say, “that is not my problem.” I can tend to take on more responsibility because I had to in the past to make sure a project made it across the finish line. I had to own that responsibility as a freelancer and I had to own more of it in my early days with LGND. But things have changed and we have teammates with project management skills. I need to utilize them more and I need to let go of feeling like it is my problem.

I reached out to my teammate several times later in the week just to say that “I am still okay.” I was able to focus on the things in front of me that I could do or solve. I was able to let go of the things I could not control. And I hope that I will be able to continue to move forward with my hands open and not clutching to things that are not mine to solve.

Road trip to Kentucky

Together with my four kids in Murray, KY. We enjoyed bowling at the Corvette Lanes.

This fall has been a season of transition as our son moved up to attend Murray State University in Kentucky, and our oldest daughter, who studied in Nashville for the past 4 years, made a permanent move to Nashville and started teaching in Wilson Country. My son’s absence from our home has left a bigger hole than when my oldest left home four years ago. We no longer have multiple kids at home and I no longer have another male to relate to in our home. My son and I have built a much closer relationship over the past year so that makes the hole feel even wider.

I was really looking forward to this weekend. Initially, I had planned to travel up to Murry with our oldest daughter to visit my son, but my youngest wanted to join us. So I got to spend the weekend with all three of my kids. We started out late Friday afternoon, picked up my oldest in Nashville, and then made it to Murray at about 10 0’clock local time. It was so good to see my son again and give him a big hug. We took him back to our hotel and hung out for a bit before calling it a night. I drove him back to campus and was able to spend some individual time checking in with him.

Our time together was a gift from God. It met some emotional and relational needs that I had in ways that I could not have orchestrated. We laughed together and cried together. More laughing than crying but I am so glad we were able to be together to give love and comfort and be a family. I think that brought us together in a way that could not have happened otherwise. And it was real life.

The highlights of the day were:

  • Getting breakfast together at Murray Donuts. We spent a lot of time asking my son about his college experience so far.
  • Taking a tour of campus (the girls had not seen it before) and got to visit one of my son’s favorite spots to hang out.
  • Eating lunch at Culver’s. It is my new happy place. We enjoyed the food after walking around campus and were able to avoid the rain.
  • Seeing an Amish horse and buggy emerge from a gas station parking lot. Still trying to figure that one out.
  • An afternoon nap. After lunch, we hung out in our hotel room. We posted pictures from the day and all ended up taking a nap
  • Bowling at Corvette Lanes. We had so much fun together cheering each other on and comforting each other on our misses. We had not been bowling together in about 10 years. It was a great way to cap off the afternoon.
  • Dinner at Fazzoli’s and then watching fireworks just outside the restaurant to end the day.

I really enjoyed the chance to connect with both my son and oldest daughter, who both are away from home. And I really enjoyed the first phase of the trip as my youngest and I talked the whole way about various things including Marvel and Star Wars movies/series.

I took one last picture of my kids in front of my son’s residence hall before we hit the road to return to Nashville and Chattanooga.

On Friday night on the way back to the hotel, I had a run-in with the local law enforcement. I had made a left turn into the far lane and not the near lane of a four-lane road. It was late at night and there were not that many people out. I understand that what I did was wrong but it seemed pretty minor to be pulled over for.

The police officer was very nice throughout the whole experience and he let me off with a warning. The experience left me a bit shaken up and I was glad to get back to the hotel. It is ironic because the only other times that I have been pulled over were in Lawrence, Kansas, where I attended school.

Articles I read

Books I am reading

  • The Storytelling God – I read a really good chapter this week about parables in the Old Testament.

What I watched

  • Light and Magic (Disney+)
  • She-Hulk (Disney+)
  • CSI: Miami (Ion)
  • NCIS: New Orleans (Ion)
  • CSI: New York (Charge!) – The series set in NY was my favorite of the CSI shows. I really loved the cast as a whole on this one.
  • The Empire Strikes Back (TNT) – We watched a bit of this one on our road trip. But it was too late to watch the whole thing.
  • Gorbachev Pizza Hut commercial
  • Making the Cut (Season 3)

What I played

  • Wordle – I thought that I got one of the puzzles in two tries as I revealed all the letters I guessed right. And then I did not get it till the fourth try. Four tries has been the norm for me recently.

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