Not every failure is a bad thing

Last Saturday I took Gregory (black foster greyhound) up to Burleson for a home visit. The couple had small children and wanted to make sure that the greyhound, which they have researched, was truly the right breed for them.

Shortly after we returned to Austin, I had an email from the family. They loved Gregory but felt he was too big at this time. I could have felt heartbroken, instead I saw a family that knew that while they keep looking for the right hound, their youngest would only get bigger. They absolutely loved Gregory. It was just the size. Gregory was gentle with their children, who were in turn very calm and gentle with him. So much so that Gregory followed them around while they showed him their toys. This “failure” to match Gregory with this family was a good thing. He won them over for the breed. That was the biggest accomplishment. And they won me over for a family who would be a good match for another hound. They’re even so patient to think that they could wait a while for the youngest to get bigger. Rumor has it that children grow, so I have high hopes.

Why does a story from four days ago resonate with me today? Job interview. A biggie. A 90-minute technical interview followed by 30-45 minutes of Meet da Peeps Q&A. If I bomb this totally or even just get a few scrapes of negative shrapnel, what I get out of it is success: I got an interview! No complaints there. I have technical interview experience. No complaints there, either. And if they give me feedback along with the “Thanks, but you’re not for us”, then skipper-do and whoo-hoo! I’m worried about me, but I’m not worried about them. They did not set off my jerk-radar.

So. Here I go. Not every failure is a bad thing. There’s no place like home. You’ll shoot your eye out. Wait. No. Not that last one.

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Code Rage

The plan was to have fun with Google’s speech API, but that didn’t happen. No. Totes not true. I had a great time with it over in; however, my own local host and Chrome duked it out in the “Who can be the biggest jackhole” contest. I tried settings on my laptop. I tried Chrome settings. I Googled. I searched Slack Overlord. I asked real humans in touching distance. Nuffink. I won’t go into it other than to say that there may have been emails, slacks messages, and tweets that were in all caps. RAGE AGAINST THIS MACHINE OR SERVER!

Why this sucked glass shards was that I couldn’t test the JavaScript functionality of it. Not without adding, committing, pushing, testing, rinsing, lathering, and repeating. What a waste of time. I have three hounds at home. Two of them decided to eat that (don’t know what that is) and my weekend was spent checking the Googles for answers between cleaning up squirts and steam cleaning carpets. I’m not a prissy woman, but even I get over cleaning up Satan’s pudding multiple times a day.

Not one hour of uninterrupted code.

So this is where I settled for now: Whisper sweet nothings to Divvie.

How happy am I with it? If I were to lighten up my inner Francis, I’d say very. It was a lot of fun and there’s so much potential. My frustration with the mic was a huge stumbling block. I’ll still work on why, but if I put this project to bed, at least I won’t have that poo-flinging monkey on my back. I would return to Divvie and DRY it out. Use object-oriented programming. OR address the need to do this again but DRYer and try something new.  I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW!! I have wanted to do a German “der die das” game. That would work for OOP. OOP there it is!

Silver lining? I realize how much I love to code and learn how to better code when I do this for fun even when I’m exhausted from being the hounds’ poo bitch.

That’s win.


A great Dane

I’m very proud of my housemate:

I am a woman who loves her space, so accepting a housemate was hard for me, but I could not leave a young person out in the cold. Okay. It’s August in Texas, but nothing chills like heartbreak, confusion, and feeling like you have to give up.

I will respect his privacy, but I am just so proud of him. Such a good human.

Here is what I posted about him on Facebook:

I am a proud not-mom: I have a great Dane with me. He’s a 21-yo dev student from Denmark. Why is he great? He lost his housing when he and his girlfriend broke up. He has no money for rent in Austin, so I told him and the dev school that he could stay. Here’s what I love about him. He is an excellent student. He just gets it right away. Instead of doing his homework and coming home to watch TV or improve his work on his own in his room, he stays at the school and helps his classmates, often staying until after 9p. And he loves it. He loves learning out to teach others and feels proud of his classmates when they do well. He feels guilty that he cannot pay rent, but he does. He pays it forward without expectation of recognition or reward, and that is his rent. That’s what makes him a great Dane. And he lavishes attention on my dogs, so … Winner winner kibble dinner.

When I was struggling with the speech API, he looked at my code and convinced me it was my computer’s settings. I cannot test my code on my own computer and have to commit and push every stinking time. Just my laptop. What have I done? I’d have lost my mind without his help. He tells me that he did nothing, and that my code was fine, but he sat with me and read and tested it. He didn’t walk by and go to bed. Sure, my code was fine, but my frustration level was not. I still have to commit and push, refresh, rinse, lather, repeat, but at least I know the API part works. And like I said above, that’s rent enough.

Oh, and he’s promised to help me pronounce “red porridge with cream” in Danish.

Here’s to you, my Great Dane! You’re awesome inside and out.

It only took 48 years

Last night I stayed up playing on Codecademy, Khan Academy, JSFiddle, and CodePen; reading about Angular and React; and taking notes on ideas for apps for when I have more free time. Why didn’t I take Computer Science in college? No. Let me rephrase: Why didn’t I double major in German and Computer Science. While now I see coding as another family of languages, I did not in the late 80s. Doubling up with German and French confused me, but I don’t think doubling up on German and Computer Science would have. Far too different.

I just read about GenXers and their midlife crises. Maybe this is mine. Finally finding what I would love to do as a job. I still love to do a lot of things, but to discover at 48 what makes you want to get up every day? Don’t ask about returning to the classroom. Teaching, if it were really about teaching, will always be number one, but I do not think anyone believes teachers get to teach more than they get to dance the admin-parent dance.

I’m okay with this late discovery. What if I had learned that what I really wanted to do was be an Olympic gymnast or an opera singer? I am not limber, but I am still quick witted and a killer smart ass.

Now let me ride my bike to work so that Saturday I can have my cake and snarf it, too.


Language Buffet

Adjustments. Oof. I feel like I’ve finished my Thanksgiving meal and am hitching the waist of my jeans over my full belly. So much oof.

I have a short-term job for a month. Not only will I be working 8:30-5:00, I’ll have a 45-minute commute (bicycle) to and from. You do the math. I’m left with too little time for my original 100 Days of Code plan: an app a day.

What to do?

I am having trouble letting go of the app-a-day version, but I have also lamented the lack of time I’m giving to learning new languages. It’s a swap. A fair one at that, too. I’ve returned to Codecademy and have a goal of completing PHP and Python while repeating JavaScript and jQuery to make sure the new knowledge doesn’t shove out the old. I majored in German. I remembered taking Italian after I finished German. English didn’t creep into the Italian, but the German did. I believe that had I returned to German as I started Italian, I’d not have been as mixed up. Nothing’s proven. I do not have enough Katys to publish a peer-reviewed article on how I learn.

Wish me luck.


No. Three. Three ways to kill mojo

Silly me. Why stop at two when three is a possibility?

Third way to kill mojo: bite wound on foot.

I foster greyhounds for two organizations in Texas. I love it. It makes my life a mess, but I do not care.

I also have my own hound, Fabain. He’s older than my two fosters, Gregory and The George. The only thing that makes hound mad is when he’s on the couch and they get too close. He doesn’t care if they are on the couch and he is not. He doesn’t care if one is on the couch as long as they’re butt to butt. But if they get close to his face, he growls.

This morning The George (the youngest) got too close to Fabian. He’s pretty but a slow learner when it comes to personal space. I blame his previous life:

He was kept in a pen and knew no boundaries. Never had to. He also knew no toys, so at the age of three, he’s learning all of this. It’s wonderful to see hounds from cruelty seizures improve, but there are hiccups along the way. And punctured feet.

I’ve tried to come up with something to code on my own. My favourite way of learning is starting and stopping in a day with a completed mini-app, but when I try to think of something, my mind just loops “My foot hurts. My foot hurts. My foot hurts.”

I think 100 Days of Code will take a nap while “3-10 days of code tutorials” takes over. If I watch a video and do what I’m told to do, I forget my pain. But … I’m coding. I’m just not coding the way I want to code. My code; my rules.

Two ways to kill code mojo

Break my motorcycle. Break my quadriceps.

Thursday: I read about coding, specifically Ember. I had plans to hit the EmberATX meet-up with some pre-knowledge. I knew that I’d be a kindergartener listening to Ph.D.s, but there’d be things I’d pick up. No one quizzed me. This was not mojo killing. It was mojo filling.

It’s walking out to your motorcycle and seeing that someone knocked it over, buggered up the paint, broke mirrors and lights. To really kill my mojo, they left a note with a false number. I did not ride home from the meet-up, and run inside to read more about Ember and fiddle with my Color Palette. Nerp. I rode home cautiously without functioning mirror. I covered up P.J. Soles (my bike), and went inside to look at mirrors online and think about the $$$ whooshing out my accounts.

Tomorrow. Yes! After a bad day, I’ll enjoy a Friday in and code.

Then this happened when tomorrow became today:


I accepted a short-term assignment and proceeded to cycle to the wrong office (10km), then back UPHILL to the correct office (15km) and back home after work (11km). We all know why motorcycling was not an option.

I’m knackered. There’ll be no coding. Not unless I can have an event listener toss my dead ass into bed. I’m even too tired to eat. At least I’ll wake up knowing that I can have frozen scoops of deliciousness for breakfast.

I am hoping that reading about coding will count. Of course it counts. My blog. My rules.