I’ve been seeing an overload of Facebook ads for something called HealthyWage. The premise is that you make a bet on your diet results. Pay in your bet amount, meet or exceed your weight loss goal, and get paid back your bet amount plus. I’d mostly ignored the ads until I went into my local kickboxing place to check out a “free” intro offer, and heard them make a pitch that over a 6 week period, I’d put up a (very large!) amount, and would then win it back if I achieved my goals. I walked out annoyed, and then checked into the HealthyWage thing again.

The premise of betting on yourself is one that I’ve seen listed before as a success tactic for weight loss.  Usually, the form has been, you put up an amount that you’ll contribute to some cause you otherwise would be strongly averse to supporting.  So, not only are you out money, but you’re mad at yourself.  I’m not going to give money to a cause I don’t find worthy, and we _do_ give money to causes we do find worthy, so that isn’t a good motivator for me.  But making some money?  Sure!

I ended up making a 6 month bet for a 25 pound weight loss.  I’d actually like to lose 30, but opted to give myself a 5 pound buffer.  I’d already signed up for a half-marathon in June – the running should help me lose the pounds, and losing the pounds should help me more readily get to the time goal I set for myself for the half- marathon.  Win win.  I’m paying in less money per month than I’d have been either as part of the kickbox gym “free” challenge or were I to pay for their monthly membership fees.  When (not if, when!) I win, I’ll collect a nice surplus to what I paid in, enough to let me feel richly rewarded for a bit, ready for a fun treat.

If all of that sounds good to you, too, use my referral link to HealthyWage.  You’ll get $40 added to your prize, and so will I.  More win win.  And then we can encourage each other through the weight loss journey.  I happen to have a “Black Card” membership to Planet Fitness, and would be happy to go with a workout buddy.

Life is busy. That seems to be a characteristic of how I do things, rather than a stage of life. In high school, I ended up taking a night class for typing, because it didn’t fit into the day’s schedule. Junior year, I convinced a teacher to give up her study period to teach me a math class that wouldn’t fit into my schedule any other way. In college, I at one point was a triple major, with a job, while captaining a rugby team, and fitting in some volunteering activities. Let’s just say I tend to fill the glass with _all_ the rocks.

The analogous activity of juggling is highly appealing to me. In juggling, everything gets held for just enough time to get something done, before moving to the next thing. It’s a game of synchronized holding: I can’t hold but so many things at a time, so the air holds the remainder until it’s those things turn. For Christmas, I received a set of spinning plates: there’s another saying beyond someone juggling – that they’ve got a lot of plates in the air. Right now, my set has three. I can get two spinning on sticks that I’m holding, and I can have the third on my head. That third spins when I do.

When I’m really on my game with those plates, I can throw them up in the air…. or both two spinning ones up in the air at a time… or once I even managed to throw between my two sticks and have them land and keep spinning… A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were passing spinning plates between us – timing and aiming our tosses so that the plates didn’t collide and could land solidly on our throwing partner’s stick.

It’s still a matter of synchronization. When I’m in control of all elements, the plates keep spinning. When I lose control, things drop. Or worse, things fly – traversing not just down but down and away, or down and oh my goodness AT. (I did just invest in some performer’s insurance, in case my things fly or fall in ways that might cause lawsuits.) . The dogs and cats are generally opting to be FAR away this evening. Thankfully, spinning plates are plastic.

I’m cheating and cross-posting my writeup of my KubeCon visit – hit my writeup on LinkedIn. Oh, and shoot me a message if you’d like to work for a company that sends folks to conferences – I was one of a group of 5 of us out there from ClearEdge. Never hurts to be able to compare notes with other folks from your company as to which sessions to catch the recording of and which ones to bypass.

It’s the evening of Christmas. Presents have long since been opened, and dinner weighs heavy in my belly. Many thanks to my wonderful parents-in-law (honestly, mostly my mother-in-law) for hosting us for dinner today. Today was a day of family. My kids enjoyed opening a “joint” present of a Nintendo Switch, and have spent the day playing with each other and even a bit with their dad and mom. Mom is a lousy Mario Kart racer – can reasonably be counted to come in last or next to last. The three kids are downstairs now playing something. I love to hear their voices as they laugh and goof around with each other.

Last night we all went to church together, the kids somewhat grudgingly, and attended service with our church family as well as Jason’s parents. I love church on Christmas Eve. As an elder, I got to help serve communion, which I always love, but _especially_ love on Christmas Eve as there are more folks there to participate in a lovely communal ritual. Christmas Eve’s evening service (only one yesterday) is also the candlelight service, which is a beautiful representation of the love and light of Christ being passed from person to person… Just gives me chills!

This morning we all opened gifts. I love to buy presents for my family. I love to see my kids enjoying giving gifts to each other. Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of year – not for stuff’s sake, but for the love shown through stuff. Oh, and I got (stuff’s sake) spinning plates and a diabolo – more fun toys for Clementine! And, of course, I got to see the kids’ faces for the Switch. It’s definitely a more expensive gift than our norm – I explained to the kids that my employer graciously gave we employees a tech bonus this year and that I was happy to share that with them.

I even got to talk with my dad this evening – a rare treat.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I am wonderfully grateful for this day, and recognize it as a gift. I hope your day had its own elements in which you saw blessing, and if not, that God blesses you in the upcoming days through those He blessed today.

I got an email this morning from Ebates, one of the cash-back apps I use when online shopping, with the heading ‘Late shoppers rejoice’.  Late shoppers?  It’s the third of December!  I’ve begun shopping, catching deals on a couple of key items, but I haven’t even aspired to be done.  Part of the joy of Christmas shopping is getting to spend time contemplating what might be a joyously received gift.  Whether I buy in a local retail store or online, I love shopping a little at a time, seeing if I can find that ‘oh, they’d love that!’ kind of item.  Last year I gave each kid a unique pair of socks that I’d tripped across on a shopping adventure; this year an ad or two which hit my email inbin made me think of a new avenue for gifting.  If I were “done”, I’d miss that joy.

Quick note: the link above includes my referral code for Ebates.  Enjoy (or not) the post with (or without) clicking on the link.  But it and Ibotta have so far worked out well for me in my personal shopping.   Always nice to get a check or a gift card back as a “rebate”.  And simpler than couponing, which I also do…

 

I’m talking with a group of young ladies this week about software development. They’re part of a HowGirlsCode group, which seeks to “provide[..] computer science and engineering education designed to inspire young girls in computer and engineering sciences”.   Women apparently only earn about 20% of the computer science undergraduate degrees and then often leave the field, so that only some 13% of folks in the field are women.[1]  I wish that didn’t ring true but it does.  It’s rare and exciting when there’s another woman on my team.  I make a point of trying to recruit women in particular, just so we can amass a core group of gals to show the world how it’s done.

The talk this week focuses on the fun in software development.  I love it – tried to leave the field in my mid twenties and finally realized this is where I was meant to be.  It’s provided well for me and my family and given me lots of opportunities.  In what other field could I build out conference talks about Furbies (twice?!)  I’ve gotten to travel, both in the US and around the world.  I’ve _never_ been without an opportunity to learn something new.

When I first dreamed of doing software development, I thought I’d go into artificial intelligence.  When I graduated college in the mid 90’s, AI seemed far away, something that only PhDs were thinking about.  While we’re still not where I thought we’d be when I was in high school (and earlier) contemplating a career, researchers in the UK recently announced the world’s largest computer simulation of the brain.  There’s software now in my phone.  There’s software in my car.  I bought Christmas presents this evening through a web browser hooked up through the Internet to an e-commerce infrastructure, undoubtedly hosted in a cloud infrastructure somewhere.  Heck, if I cared to, there could be software in my refrigerator!

I’m really looking forward to talking with the HowGirlsCode young ladies on Thursday.  Computers and software are ubiquitous as far as they’re concerned: they may not even realize how software infuses almost everything they touch.  But I’m looking forward to showing them the opportunities that opens up!

 

 

Home sick today.. It’s a lousy day to be sick, as tomorrow I’m supposed to run a half-marathon and today is the day most of the rest of my software team is off. Read that as: no meetings, great day to code day. Instead I’m home, laptop in my bed, puttering away whilst keeping my head not quite upright so it doesn’t feel like it’ll explode.

So, what’s a gal to do in such a situation? Clean out her email backlog! I’m not an inbin zero kind of gal… I file some emails away, delete a good number, but somehow the pile still generally stays. There’s too much useful info there, and I long since discovered if I tried to file things away, I’d have to clean out however many other files, rather than one big inbin. So instead my goal is to just keep it below some threshold number. Over time that number’s changed. For my personal email bin (the worst offender), right now the target number is 7700. Every so often, I’ll try to decrease it by 100. The number used to be 8000 something before, so I’m making progress.

How do I have 7700 emails worthy of keeping, you ask? Well, I don’t, I’m sure. I have 7700 emails that were mostly at one point worthy of keeping. Many have degraded in value since then, but the effort to go clean out the ones that aren’t valuable is more than the cost to me of having 7700 emails. I have emails in which I get told my grandmother passed away and what the funeral arrangements are. That’s now 4 years ago. My memory’s faulty, but my email history isn’t, so I can go back and check the timeline and particulars. I have emails in which I get back acceptances to speak at conferences. Again, my memory’s faulty, so I use those emails to go back and remind myself – what year, what topic… I have emails that have information I meant to read sometime and never got around to. Some of that information is now stale, some isn’t, etc, etc.

So I accept my email pile. I actively prune both new and old emails. Since I started writing this post, I’ve gotten 6 more messages, which push me over 7700. I’ll prune back down below, and go back through the old pile and try to give myself some headroom by pushing it down to, say, 7650. By later today, though, I’m sure I’ll have to compress it again.

It’s my own email garbage collection strategy. Trading off the cycles required to do the collection and cleanup for time to do more useful things.

October 20th, a scant 76 days away, I’ll toe the line of the half-marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival on behalf of Back on My Feet Baltimore.  Saturday was week 2 of a 12 week training program, and involved a 4 mile run.   I got out there at ~8:30 and started the two miles down the trail, two miles back that would comprise my 4 mile run that day.  As I didn’t want to carry water, I planned the run to turn around at the ranger station, which is nicely equipped with water fountains and bathrooms.  All I wanted to carry was my key, which I put on a carabiner and carried around my knuckles – self-defense measure at the ready were I to need it.

I was moving a bit slower than planned, as of course in my brain, I’m still as fast as I was when I was doing these things ten years or so ago.  But I made it to the turn around point, stopped for a bathroom break, and then headed back up the trail.

A little over a half mile from the ranger station, I realized that I no longer had my knuckle device – that I’d left it back in the bathrooms, hanging on a hook.  A half mile back, and then a half mile again meant an additional mile…  compared to the distance of the half-marathon, not a worry at all.  Compared to where I am as yet in my training schedule, a not-too-fun surprise.

It occurs to me that not-too-fun surprises are a fact of life for the folks Back On My Feet serves.  Bad weather, grumpy folks, a missed timeline for a chance to eat a hot meal or a hot shower, the challenges of finding transportation to a potential job or to a potential bed for the night… all very real not-too-fun surprises.  Back On My Feet seeks to be a dependable portion of these folks lives, and its own dependability, to set an expectation and goals of dependability and accountability for the homeless community it serves.

Would you consider sponsoring my run for Back On My Feet?  I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the race line, and Back On My Feet will keep providing support and a way out day after day for the folks they serve.  Your dollars help make it possible.

Just in case any of my faithful readers (meaning, dear hubby) is looking for birthday ideas (hint, hint)…
– new kickboxing gloves from my gym. I originally bought the starter gloves and now want a heavier pair
– I set up a wishlist on ClownAntics for fun clowning toys
– there’s always my Amazon wish list

 

Question from one of my teammates on my new work team:

“Did you just learn techA & techB in the 3 days since you’ve joined the project?”

Well, enough to make things work for this portion of the project, anyway.  And thank you for noticing!

My teammate and I have been “pair-programming” remotely, by which I mean: we talk over the phone about the approach and occasionally screen-share / present to show what we mean.  Oh, and of course, commit at regular intervals into a shared git branch.  When I joined the team, the story (uh, work unit, I guess, for those of you not well-versed in software) was written such that the work would have 4 subtasks.  I proposed doing it differently, based on some prior experience I had with techC, which is the end-result of our efforts with techA and techB.  The team bought in, and off we went!

Challenges:

  • neither my teammate nor I had much experience with techA or techB
  • my teammate doesn’t have much experience with techC
  • my teammate and the rest of the team are in Minnesota, which means: no whiteboard drawings, an offset of an hour in schedule, we haven’t met each other in person, …
  • I’m brand-spanking new to the team, so am still navigating getting all of my accounts, figuring out how not to break other folks’ work, figuring out how to prove things _do_ work, …

It looks like by not too much longer today, I’ll be putting in my first merge request for a significant feature for the new project.  Woot!  Good first (real) week.

For those techies interested in the secret decoder ring for the technologies:

  • techA = Ansible
  • techB = Salt
  • techC = Kubernetes