It's full-blown Fall in Portland with clear blue skies, changing leaves, and crisp mornings. Last week we had the first rain of the season. We enjoyed a fire in the fireplace. I baked an apple pie. Last night, we walked down the block to a weekend popup, feasted on oysters, and chatted with the chef about what she learned competing on "Chopped".
This time last year, Fall felt very different. After months of quarantine, we knew we were heading into a winter COVID surge. Business was sluggish — and so were we. We missed traveling. We wanted to be with family and friends. We longed for "normal." There was nothing to do except keep going. One foot in front of the other. Doing the best we could, one day at a time.
And here we are, a year later. We made it. Post-vaccination, life feels (almost) normal again. We're still cautious when we go out. Masks hang on the doorknob where we can easily grab them. But we're back out in the world. Business has picked up. We've been able to travel (some good, some bad — see below) and visit loved ones (all good).
This morning, the Portland Marathon route ran in front of our house. Neighbors stood on their porches, cheering as the marathoners passed by. Towards the end, we watched as the crowd of runners thinned out. At that point, many people were struggling — most were walking, some were obviously in pain. But they didn't quit. They kept going. One foot in front of the other. Doing the best they could, one step at a time. They headed for the finish line while we cheered.
Working from the road
Like lots of people, we caught up on some long-delayed travel in the past few months. Two trips to visit family (one at the beginning of the summer, one at the end) stretched our rusty, work-from-the-road skills. Some takeaways:
"Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore." In June, masking was pretty universal where we live. It was a shock, mentally and emotionally, to land in a place where zero masks were in sight outside the airport. By September, when we traveled again, it didn't feel so strange to go maskless. Progress? Maybe, maybe not.
Pay extra for the mid-size. We were pleasantly surprised at the generous size of our rental car — until the Hertz attendant came over and said we'd placed our (heavy) suitcases in the wrong (mid-size) vehicle. Our car was in the next row, and compact is an understatement. It was tiny. Minuscule. A clown car. Next time we'll pay for one that doesn't hide behind all the normal cars in every parking lot. In the rain.
Not every hotel is great for working. Hilton describes its Tru brand as "energetic, relaxing, yet unexpected." We expected a desk. And a closet. And a comfortable chair. We didn't get those things, but we did get a pool table in the lobby. Next time we'll stick with our all-time favorite hotel for working on the road, Hyatt Place.
A bright spot at ORD If you're flying through Chicago, don't miss Tortas Frontera (created by chef Rick Bayless) in Terminals 1, 3 & 5. The Smoked Pork Cubana, guacamole, and margaritas make a 12 hour layover tolerable. Ask us how we know.
Charge it. Both of our trips were working vacations, so we traveled with lots of gear: two laptops, one iPad, two iPhones, one Apple watch, two sets of AirPods. And a bag full of cables and chargers. We planned ahead, but weren't always sure when and where we'd be working on a given day (remember the 12 hours at ORD?). It was essential to have devices fully charged and available at all times to make sure client projects weren't interrupted. Here's the equipment that kept us going:
Keep cables and cords organized, accessible and tangle-free.
AnnouncingWe redesigned our website — again.Yep, you heard that right. We launched our new website this weekend. And may I (Jan) just brag about my partner's amazing work for a moment? Susan designed the site in Webflow and she'll tell you all about it next week. Her vision, determination, and creativity inspire me every day. Yay Susan!!
Webflow for the winEvery once in a while, a new product comes out that knocks our socks off. This time, it's Webflow — a no code website builder with crazy-amazing customization options.