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Headshot of me wearing red lipstick Kara Babcock

About Me

I’m a passionate teacher, avid reader, amateur coder, and so much more.

The Elevator Pitch

Selfie of me in a blue denim dress and lighter blue cardigan

I’m Kara (Car-uh), a 32-year-old teacher in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Currently, I teach math and English at the Lakehead Adult Education Centre, where adults can earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. In my spare time, I mainline books like they’re an illicit drug. I knit. I spend way too much time online. Occasionally I say something interesting. I’m aromantic, asexual, and transgender. My pronouns, incidentally, are she/her.

Other Important Details

More than anything, I like to be cozy. That time my bestie had me hiking to the top of the Sleeping Giant was an anomaly! I much prefer to be under a blanket, drinking tea—not coffee—and reading a book or knitting in front of the TV. My other best friend, who ironically likes hiking even more, joins me every Sunday—what started as a way for her to watch Doctor Who with me has turned into one of my most consistent and enjoyable routines.

Name Policy

Please always refer to me as Kara, and use she/her pronouns, even if you run into content that uses my deadname (my name prior to transitioning). As someone who has spent her entire adult life Very Online, my deadname is still around quite a bit—but that doesn’t mean you should use it. Thanks in advance!

Photo of the Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay, ON as seen from Hillcrest Park

Where I’m From

I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, a settler on the lands of the Anishinaabeg of Fort William First Nation and the Robinson–Superior Treaty of 1850.

I have always loved books and learning, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a teacher. As a wee lass, I would prop a blackboard up against the window and teach lessons to an imaginary class. Yep, I’m that kind of nerd.

I earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Education degree, with a double minor in English and philosophy, from Lakehead University. After I graduated in 2012, I taught math and English in England for two years.

Living in England was a great experience, although teaching there was tough at times. I moved back to Thunder Bay in 2014 and shortly thereafter began teaching high school to adults.

Photo of my front door from inside the front porch. The door is red. On either side hangs a pride flag: the asexual pride flag on the left, and the trans pride flag on the right.

Where I’m Going

Four years ago, I bought a house. At the time, it seemed like the height of ambition for a millennial who otherwise doesn’t want a romantic partner or children! How was I going to top that?

Since then, I’ve discovered plenty of new horizons for growth. I realized I’m transgender. Not only has my transition brought me happiness simply by living as my true gender, but it has also given me the opportunity to experiment with my appearance, my style, my entire self! I’ve discovered a whole new aesthetic, and I feel so much more comfortable in my body and among my friends.

I started not one but two podcasts, and I built a separate website for my book reviews. As my confidence in myself grows, I feel more prepared, more ready, to put myself out into the world in many forms.

At the moment, I’m bolstering my informal expertise in editing by taking courses and considering freelance copyediting work. But mostly I spend my free time reading, knitting, and spending what money doesn’t go towards my house on dresses and shoes.

My Knitting

I’ve been a knitter as long as I have been a teacher—I learned how to knit in my final year of university, in 2012, starting on the same day as a career fair that propelled me to teach in England.

Since then, I have gradually improved my skills with each project I took on. Here’s a small selection of some of my finest achievements. If you want to see more, visit my Ravelry page.

I love that knitting has taught me patience. I love that it occupies my hands while I watch TV. But most importantly, I love making beautiful things for myself and those I love.

Rainbow blanket
Double-sided winter blanket
Stuffed panda
Thrummed mittens
Red entrelac skirt

About This Site

In March 2004, I taught myself HTML and built the earliest version of this site using the now-defunct GeoCities service.

From the basics of web design with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript I graduated to server-side programming languages—specifically, PHP. Not knowing that WordPress was a thing, I coded my own primitive blog from scratch. Eventually, I graduated from unreliable or ad-supported free web hosts to paid web hosting, with my own domain.

My bespoke “Very Simple News System” survived several iterations before I became frustrated with its limitations. By that point, I knew WordPress—and other blogs and CMSes—existed, yet I was reluctant to abandon my claim to bespoke backends. For a time, Symphony CMS powered some of my site (but not the blog).

Around 2015, I switched from PHP to Python and learned Flask. At first I only used it to rebuild my blog, but over time I expanded that app into one that powers both this personal site and Kara.Reviews. You can view the source on GitHub. Most recently, I started using Tailwind to help me lay out the design as efficiently as possible.

Design Retrospective

Screenshot of the homepage of my website from 2008. There is a blue celestial-themed background. The main content and sidebar are on a white background.
c. 2008
Screenshot of the homepage of my website from 2013. Socks and sandals on a vertical rectangular banner at the top left. The text is green on a beige background. There is a cup of tea in the top right corner.
c. 2013
Screenshot of the homepage of my website from 2018. Square banner of socks and sandals in the top left. The text is black on a graph paper background.
c. 2018
Screenshot of the homepage of my website from 2021. The text is black on a graph paper background. My name is at the top, no banner.
c. 2021