My Professional Life

It’s very exciting, my blog is now carbon neutral!

A blog with an average of 15,000 visitors a month emits about 8lbs of CO2 per year.  The CO2 absorption of a tree is around 11lbs per year.

A team of people in Germany have started an initiative called “Make it Green”.  Their goal is to raise awareness of the impacts of carbon emissions and to contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint.

Sometimes we aren’t aware of what parts of our lives contribute to our carbon footprint and how much.  This was new information for me and as a web developer, I imagine that my footprint is quite a  bit larger.  I am happy to know that my carbon footprint just got a little smaller and I look forward to learning more small steps that I can take to further reduce the carbon emissions that I output.

In return for helping them spread their message (by writing this post and adding their very nice badge to my site) they are going to plant a tree in the Plumas National Forest in Northern California. Over 88,000 acres of this forest were affected by wildfires in 2007 and the “Make it Green” folks are helping this forest to reestablish itself.

Learn more about the project

Do you have a blog?  Participate in the Project

This has inspired me to take it one step further.  I develop websites for small businesses and I now plan on making a donation to plant a tree in their name upon the completion of their projects.  This way every site I produce will also be carbon neutral, at least until they get super successful and we have to plant a few more trees!

I encourage you to take this time around Earth Day (April 22) and find a way that you too can make an impact around you.  Happy Earth Day!

The Nest - Flexible Hourly Child Care - Woodinville WA

I am proud to announce the launch of my latest professional project

The Nest provides flexible hourly childcare in Woodinville WA.

The Nest is owned by two mothers, who are both savvy business women and stay at home parents (or should I say formerly stay at home parents :-D ).  I am so proud to know them and to have helped them to create a really nice online presence.  I wish them best of luck in their new endeavor.

I also can not wait to become a customer.   As a stay at home parent, I know I often struggle to plan appointments or meet a friend for lunch, because I always have the kids (or at least one) with me.  I don’t need a regular child care provider, but could definitely use someplace safe and fun to drop off the kids when I have something I need to do that they can’t attend.  This flexibility could be just what many of us are looking for.

They will also offer evening care for the occasional dinner out or a movie.  Finding a babysitter can be quite a challenge and even if you have a great one they are not always available.  This could provide a safe place to drop the kids that turns into a night out for them too.   I have heard a couple of whispers about the great activities they are working on and I am really impressed.

Can you tell I am excited about this one?

As far as the site goes, I collaborated with designer Michelle Poole on this one.  She created the beautiful banner, images and basic layout and then I worked directly with the business owners to turn it into a cohesive product that we are all extremely pleased with.

Like many of my sites, I used php includes to separate the code from the editable content.  This simplifies maintenance and provides an environment that the owners (should they ever decide they want to) could update themselves.   I also used php to create unique seo friendly meta data for each page within the site.   I used W3C valid css and xhtml to create a strong foundation for the site and the jquery ajax library to add a lightbox popup.

This has been a really fun project to work on.  If you live in the area, The Nest will be opening in September.  I recommend checking them out.

I am excited to say that I am finally officially “hanging out my shingle” and have launched


I am available for web design and development services on a freelance basis.  Please take a look at the site for all the details.

I have been on quite the journey over the last year and I feel really good that I am finally at a place that I feel I have the time, energy and enthusiasm to take on new clients and start to build my business and reach my goal of contributing to the monthly family budget by the end of the year.  

I am excited about the opportunities that lie before me and look forward to helping small business owners take advantage of all that the internet has to offer.

I would like to introduce you to, my latest project.

Marnie Valenta - Seattle Massage Therapy and Birth Doula

Marnie has been my massage therapist for years and acted as our doula for Ada’s birth.  

She is a dear friend and I was so happy to be able to give her a professional web presence to promote her business.

If you live in Seattle and are in need of a good massage or compassionate and strong labor support, I recommend you give her a call.

Marnie was interested in being able to edit her website herself, but with such a simple site and being a savvy woman she wasn’t in need of a full content management system, just an easy way to edit the copy on her site.    

To accomplish this I used tableless HXTML and CSS for the layout, which removes much of the extranneous code from view, and php to insert the header and footer.  This created simple pages of text which are easily editable and separate from the bulk of the sites code, leaving little room for problems to occur. Now marnie can maintain her own site, saving time and money.

I am proud to announce my latest project.

This wonderful little school is my daughter’s preschool and my son will start attending here in the fall as my daughter goes off to Kindergarten.  I am proud to be able to contribute to my children’s school by using my skills to help them create a whimsical yet professional website that helps them to grow their business and take away the headaches and expenses of maintaining a website.

This is a custom themed WordPress implementation used as a simple content management system using pages and custom navigation.  Although WordPress is usually used as a blog platform, as it is on the redesigned mom, it lent itself nicely to this application.

The director’s goal was to be able to easily update the content on her own site without having to worry about coming in contact with the structure of the site.  Wordpress enables her to update the text, images, downloadable documents, photo galleries and school closure information at the touch of a button in a “word-like” environment that she felt comfortable with.  I was even able to provide her with quick reference tutorials using draft posts that are available right on her administrator dashboard.

There are many content management systems available and I looked at drupal as well, because it is the other one I am familiar with, but for this simple site there just wasn’t the need for a more complicated and robust system like Drupal.  Wordpress in all it’s blogging glory was just what this little static site ordered.

Last night, I was going to use my brand new Cuisinart Food Processor and when I turned it on…. Nothing. Doesn’t work. Damn! If that’s not bad enough, check this out…

So I go onto the internet to see if there is something that I’ve missed during setup or some secret. My first reaction is always to look it up.

By the way, there was nothing to find. The stupid thing is just broken. Ahhh, I digress.

Anyway, I do a search on google, I click on something and land on a blog, much like any other blog you’ve seen and BAM! Windows opening, sounds, I swear I heard some woman laughing at me and all in all general mayhem on my computer. I go about shutting everything down and return to lamenting about my brand new, not working, very fancy, Cuisinart.

Later, Karli calls me into the kitchen and he’s all “What’s this all about?”. I look and low and behold a virus has my computer. Crap!

As our resident computer technitian, this falls squarely into my court. This is what I see.

I see what appears to be a blue windows system screen telling me to reboot and install an anti-virus program because my computer has been “shut down” to avoid total devastation. I’m shitting my pants at this point, since it has been fully two years since I have backed up the family photo directory, which is really the only important thing we use the kitchen computer for.

So, I hit the power button to kill the computer. When I reboot, there is conveniently a license agreement for the installation of a spanking new Antivirus XP 2008 program waiting for me. Hmmm. Red Flag! Red Flag!


This is why I am writing this. This thing is nasty and gets nastier, but is fairly easily taken care of if you don’t fall for many of its tricks.

some of the symptoms that I experienced are…

  • it took over my desktop and replaced my background with a blue background with a spyware warning in the middle.
  • That blue Windows system notice was actually a screensaver. If you hit a key on the keyboard, it just goes away.
  • It disables the screensaver and desktop tabs on the appearance settings popup
  • It deleted all system recovery points prior to its infection. This one chaps me.
  • it launches its own installer with no way to cancel or back out. I have even heard of certain instances where it goes ahead and installs it without you doing anything. Do not touch this, do not accept the license agreement and do not try to close it.

The following instructions are what I used to get rid of this. It turned out I was lucky and aware enough not to let it get too far or do too much, so it was pretty easy to get rid of. This is not always the case, so if this doesn’t work for you, try the link at the bottom of this article for more tips and detailed information or search the internet for even more info.

You need to get a certain Malware program to get rid of this. I found many people who had many different programs that were not successful at removing this and I ran McAffee (on my computer) and Housecall and neither were able to get it. This program worked first try for me.

Download Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

Install it and make sure to check update on the last screen of the installation process. This will ensure you have the latest and greatest.

Run a full scan and wait for it. It took about 45 minutes on my computer.

When its done, view the results and make sure everything is checked to be cleaned/deleted and then have it remove all the bad stuff. Restart your computer.

This may be enough, it was for me. I just had to go in and change back my background and screensaver.

If this doesn’t work for you, then check out the following article.  It’s what helped me.

Precise Security – Threat Center

There are many many places on the internet to look to more information as well.  When in doubt, google it.