Month: December 2010

Year in Review: What Got Shipped

It’s easy for some of us to pass by each minor, or even major, accomplishment and, instead, revisit the list of what still hasn’t been done. Or started. Worse is doing what’s not on the list. That is, if you want to be able to check something off.

The year 2010 was one of self-generated projects. It was a year of deliberately stepping back a bit from work, for better or worse, to reassess who I was doing business with, what kind of work I was doing, and where I wanted to go. It seemed natural, if not exactly planned, to follow where my desire led. Which meant allowing ideas to flourish just a little before tromping all over them. We creatives are masters at self mutilation.

At Seth Godin’s urging, I put together a partial list of what I accomplished this year. According to Godin:

Doesn’t matter whether it was a hit or not, it just matters that you shipped it. Shipping something that scares you (and a lot of what follows did) is the entire point.

In no particular order, a baker’s dozen:

1. Worked with 3 new clients.

2. Became a partner in a new business venture, responsible for branding and marketing strategy.

3. Took the World Changing Writing Workshop and got exposed to some daring, authentic, interesting writers. It left me inspired and supported, if virtually.

4. Had a story published in Smithsonian magazine’s Food & Think blog.

5. Developed communications and helped plan events for AIGA Portland’s Sustainable Design Initiative.

6. Contributed to the collaborative book “The Portland Bottom Line“—sustainability stories from small businesses. Profits support MercyCorps NW.

7. Started a yearlong personal project of illustrated logs of my fresh produce purchases, comparing how I spend my money on local versus non-local produce.

8. Wrote 8 blog posts for the Portland Farmers Market.

Hearty Greens 8 Ways to Sunday
Hazelnuts: A Complete Nut
Solace of Soup
Sponsor Profile: Food Front Cooperative Grocery
The Frenzy of Late Summer Eats
Love Ripens at the Market
Getting Raabed
Kids Cook…If You Let Them

9. Wrote 31 blog posts on design, food and the meaning of life.

10. Finally retired my old G5 Mac that has served me well, and committed to a laptop so I can work everywhere, all the time!

11. Created 15 paintings, mostly abstracted nature, something I haven’t done in years.

12. Gave myself an end-of-year gift to attend Compostmodern conference in San Francisco in January 2011, covering sustainable design practices.

13. Attended WordCamp Portland, which got me excited about redesigning Allegro Design using WordPress. I only got as far as a face lift that puts News and Featured Projects on the home page—a major accomplishment for the self-employed!


What did you accomplish? Give it a shot, publicly or privately. Make a list of 13 things you shipped in 2010. If you don’t know what they are, ask a good friend or colleague to point them out.

May 2011 bring even more. Cheers!

Year of Produce: November

Getting November’s produce log done proved to be a bit of a struggle. And I can’t blame it on having to draw romanesco, the amazing whorled cousin of cauliflower (My rendition at left is proof that an accurate drawing was not the hold up.). A vendor at the farmers market was selling darling palm-sized ones and I couldn’t resist. Then I got home and remembered I had to draw it. Romanesco has a mild taste partway between broccoli and cauliflower.

My brother was the source of two tips this month. He said he once jazzed up a Christmas party crudité platter using romanesco. If you pull one apart, you’ll know why it was the perfect vegetable to use. Each spiraled cone-shaped floret looks like a miniature Christmas tree! Throw something red in there and you’ve got a festive display.

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Bright New Day

Insomnia. Like a hopscotch board, each square filled with failures, flaws, doubts, insecurities, hopelessness, that your mind hops back and forth upon. A cruel game you’re forced to play over the endlessly strung-together minutes. Insomnia doesn’t care what the coming day has in store, like the need to create a masterpiece, or at least an annual report. It doesn’t care if you planned a morning business call. Or if you’ve cut out caffeine and so cannot turn to that curative, even if its effect is only temporary. Insomnia doesn’t care about that stabbing back pain you hoped might have gone away by now. It also doesn’t know you live in the northwest where waking up on endless gray mornings is enough of a challenge.

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