Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I'm a software engineer - have been for 20 years now. I love to code, to create, to build things that work well. But I think I may approach my work differently then the men I work with. And I think that difference shows up in our blogs.

Now maybe it's just because most of the people I work with (and thus know) are men. But most of the blogs I am aware of are written by men. And they are full of programming tips, thoughts on the current state of the industry, and things like that. They are good reading, but that's not what I feel I have to say.

I wanted to blog - and I felt that was the pattern I should follow. But I just didn't feel I had anything I wanted to say on those topics, so then I didn't feel like blogging. Finally I decided I'd just try my own voice and see where it would lead. I still have no idea where, but maybe over time it will become clear.

I love my work intensely. But when I come home (and when I'm not still coding even there), I read novels and magazines, knit, and I just don't pick up a book on programming for entertainment. I love to *do* the work, but it ends there. I worry that makes me a less serious engineer than those around me. I love to code at work, but programming is not an extracurricular interest for me. I wonder if that is because it was not my college major.

I guess I'm also a heretic in that I view programming as an art rather than a science. I write my best code when I am connected to my muse - it's not after reading a book or about a particular technique (though I do look things up for reference). But it's an expression of a vision in my head about how something should work, what's the cleanest, most understandable path to make something work. And when I can factor something out to reuse - to make something general rather than specific, it makes me happy. I have never gotten over the sheer joy of seeing something work - it's an adrenalin kick.

So I don't know if this is a female approach to engineering, or if it is the approach of an untrained artist. But it works for me.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fathers and Daughters

I think my dad would have liked my new car. And it may sound strange, but I think he told me so.

When I picked up my car on Wednesday night, I sat down, adjusted the mirrors, etc, and turned on the radio. The song? John Mayer's "Daughters." Maybe I'm a bit too superstitious, but that told me that he approved.

It's Father's Day today - I feel a gap. My husband is a great dad - and I hope to make sure we all tell him so today. But I can't help thinking of my own dad, too. He died when I was 13 - and there's part of me that still misses him. I wish he could have seen (and occasionally disciplined!) his grandsons. I hope he sees them through my eyes, if not his own heavenly ones. And I want to wish him a happy father's day....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Retail therapy has its purpose

And I can't say that I didn't need a car. I've driven my 1994 Camry wagon for almost 11 years and 172,000 miles now. She has taught four sons to drive (so far), and is nary (well hardly) the worse for wear. The car (Blueberry is her name) is going strong, and is a joy to drive. But over the past year, there have been things to fix, all fixable, and I just feel that maybe she needs to stay a little closer to home. And with a new driver in the house (who hopefully will be staying close to home), I need to give her up once again to a teenager.

So what to do? Toyota has walked away from the wagon market, and I will never drive an SUV. But with kids and dogs and things to tote, I need more room than a sedan.

And ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted a Jaguar. Practicality has always won that internal battle, but this year, there was no fight. Jaguar makes a wagon. And on Thursday, Blueberry will have another wagon in the driveway.

Debt is evil, but it's a Jag :-) Life is short, it may as well be good.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

take a breath

So I've been silent for quite some time, though since I haven't mentioned this blog to anyone yet, I suspect that that has gone unnoticed. Work has eaten my life lately - where lately is way too long a time.

I did finish a chunk of work recently, topping it off with presenting to a very friendly audience of kind people last night. And today feels different. There is a measurable amount of work that needs doing, and I can even think about attaining some balance.

So part of that balance is to restart my blog. They say journaling is good for the soul - so I will try. Maybe I'll even tell someone I'm writing. First, I just need to remember what I was doing before I started working all the time.