Little things I like


I don’t feel like writing an essay tonight. So instead, here’s a random assortment of things that are making me happy right now.

My local library. It’s my second office. It’s open until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, which is my “late night” for work. I let myself wander around the stacks for 20 minutes, then I buckle down. The change of scenery does me good.

The fact that I can run to the post office. It’s shockingly satisfying to literally “run” an errand. I can run to the grocery store too, though it’s harder to run home with the groceries.

Kid pajamas. I am not a morning person, and it’s hard to get up early with the kids, but little footy pajamas with elephants on them sweeten the deal a bit.

Dark chocolate and sea salt caramels. Dark chocolate and almonds. Dark chocolate and pretzels.

Real cream in coffee. Also using ice cream instead of yogurt in smoothies. The fruit even it out, right? I like a little fat in my dairy.

When my husband makes a reservation at a restaurant for date night.

BYOB restaurants.

Taking one kid on an errand, so there is no possibility of sibling bickering.

The fact that Stitch Fix now carries pants! See the (headless) photo of the skinny leg black dress pants they sent me in Fix #3 (for info on Fix #1 and Fix #2, click on those links).

My warped sense of what things should cost that came from living in New York City for 9 years. The allegedly “very pricey” hair salon here (that I can walk to) charges $60/cut, which is what my totally mediocre place in Manhattan charged me.

Knowing that the magnolia in my front yard will burst into bloom soon.

Children’s books illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

Paintings of strawberries.

Girls Who Code. Though I will admit, I took a computer science class at a Northwestern summer program after 8th grade, partially funded by a scholarship I won for being the top scoring girl on the math section of the SAT in the Midwest Talent Search (and, ahem, the top math scorer overall) and…I didn’t like it. I  learned that just because this girl could code doesn’t mean she wants to. But I think it is awesome that other girls are checking out computer science.

What’s making you happy now?

18 thoughts on “Little things I like

  1. My sister didn’t like her summer camp coding experience either. I wonder why not. She loved proof-based geometry and it has the same logic. She still does programming for work, but it isn’t her favorite part. I took it in high school and liked it fine, though our teacher would complain about how he’d go to these conferences for comp sci teachers and the other teachers didn’t know what they were doing. (Also my boyfriend at the time was/is amazing at explaining things when I got stuck… he should start our son on Logo again.) I don’t have the patience for big programs, but I enjoy the problem-solving of the smaller programming I do for data analysis.
    Also, you beat me on the math SAT. I think I did the midwest talent search a couple of years before that though (6th grade?). I qualified for what they were offering that year (early algebra), but not enough other people in our community were interested, so it didn’t happen and I took Algebra at our community college after school instead. I would probably have enjoyed going to Northwestern more than going to McMurray that summer, but maybe it would have turned me off programming too.

    1. @NicoleandMaggie – yeah, the computer science course just turned me off for some reason. I took a geometry course the summer before and loved it. I still love geometry! I also took a literature and writing course the next summer and loved that more. It took me awhile to decide that I wasn’t selling out the sisterhood by becoming a writer instead of a mathematician (or economist – another interest!) We all have to live our own lives and do what makes us happy.

      1. It’s a shame though– I suspect that many people are turned off of CS and I know that they’re turned off of math (which is inherently beautiful and wonderful) because of bad teaching. Not that there’s anything wrong with enjoying writing more, but it’s good to choose writing over STEM stuff because one prefers writing, not because one dislikes STEM. It makes my heart sad.

        Our CS class taught programming through fun little games. We had a little robot that looked like a dot that we had to guide through increasingly more complicated mazes (picking up other dots along the way), introducing new concepts like macros and libraries and so on. Relatively painless and something one might do in one’s spare time for fun.

        1. I think this sounds like a great program, but I hope that people are strong enough to not pursue coding if they aren’t really interested in it. I get frustrated sometimes when I read about movements to push girls/women into STEM fields just because there aren’t girls/women in those fields. Sometimes girls/women just don’t like that field enough to devote 35-60 hours a week of their lives to it. I also prefer writing and literature but still appreciate STEM fields; I just don’t want to work in them at this point. There have been times when I was made to feel like I was “selling out the sisterhood,” to use Laura’s phrase.

          I do think this program sounds good and interesting though!

          1. Sadly it was in Pascal which has long been retired. I don’t know what they replaced it with when they moved to Java. And I think Python is the learning language of choice these days.
            Personally my beliefs about math and CS and Science etc. are strong beliefs that everybody should learn and appreciate these subjects in order to become well-rounded and cultured people. I don’t care if people go into these fields, though knowing math (through calculus!) really does help critical thinking skills even if you never do another integral or derivative in your life. Similarly, although I do not do much non-statistical programming, it has been very useful for me to know what programs are capable of when I design projects and give instructions, or even when I’m dealing with other life things that might require computers. On top of that, the LOGIC to programming helps people think in other ways, in the same way that proof-based geometry helps people think. (And I think it’s terrible that proof-based geometry is phased out most places these days.)
            I’m also saying that having a good grounding in math and systematic logical thinking makes people better writers. Male or female.
            A really good reason to go into a male-dominated field is that they pay more on average. I make more than 2x what my partner in crime on the blog does ‘cuz I’m in the male-dominated social science (that also has more math). Obviously the monetary differential isn’t enough for everyone, and that’s fine. I’m an economist– we believe that people maximize their individual utility functions… we just don’t like it when people aren’t at their production possibilities frontiers because of bad teaching, structural inequities, and so on. There’s more positive surplus that could be gotten if sexism disappeared and someone waved a magic wand and fixed the US education system.
            In my ideal world, everybody enjoys math and logical thinking and has a basic competency and knows what’s available.
            Same with writing, which is also an important core competency. Even folks who are not professional writers need to be able to write clearly and logically. And it would be nice if they don’t hate it just because they had a lousy English teacher one year.

          2. @nicoleandmaggie – don’t worry, you’re preaching to the choir with me. I love math – calculus is one of the most beautiful things I’ve encountered. What I realized with many of these fields, though, is that the part I’d most enjoy would be writing books about (insert one: economics, chemistry, math). So it wouldn’t have made sense to try to climb up the ranks of business or academia to get to the book writing part when I can write about these topics that fascinate me anyway.

  2. My happiness right now is all about APRIL. The cruelest month? Dear T. S. Eliot, I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Also, $60 = a great deal, to my NYC-warped mind. I wonder if your warped sense of how much things should cost will ever go away?

    1. @Rachael – it’s kind of a cruel month at the moment because the thermometer refuses to go up. But at least it’s sunny!

  3. I’m happy about having an insane expectation of myself blown to smithereens by my more caring, understanding and patient side…Coming to my rescue makes me happy.

  4. Getting up early to exercise, and managing my time so that I am attaining maximum productivity in dissertation writing. (I am much indebted to your books for strategies on structuring both!) By the way, it’s encouraging to hear that you’re not a morning person (I had assumed you were), but you still make early mornings work…I am not a morning person by nature, either, but know that it is so important to enable early mornings for my schedule and sense of control.

    Love the pants…and top…and shoes! Stitch Fix is wonderful. I’m eagerly looking forward to my second “fix” in mid-April.

    1. @Sarah – thanks so much! I’m glad my books have been helpful. No, I’m not a morning person. But sometimes life conspires to turn us into morning people by default.

  5. Hmmm. What am I loving right now? (1) Dark chocolate in my lunch every day. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that if I have two squares of really good chocolate in my lunch, I can easily skip the greasy donuts in the break room. (2) Watching my daughters play together. They are at a good age for it. (3) Finally catching up on William Gibson’s last series. I love his attention to detail, and the way he can make characters seem so real.

  6. dark chocolate has high iron content so I give it to my kids when I want them to perk up in the a.m. lol — I figure that has got to be ok since it says organic across the label –it is also a weight management secret for women 101 …but most of us dont really get it until later when we need it.. like this post — nice …

    1. It’s one of them – I now own three of her strawberry paintings. But the one in that link is not *the* one — it’s a sequel.

  7. Hah, I am so glad you are not a morning person. Makes me feel like there’s hope for me yet to get up before everyone and get something done.

    Things making me happy:
    1. I may have found a job that fits my exact parameters. The only thing that remains is figuring out whether they can pay me appropriately 🙂

    2. The sun has come back to Seattle.

    3. Operation Baby Please Sleep in Your Crib is starting to work.

    1. @ARC – nice work on getting a job that fits your specifications! Here’s hoping the negotiations go well.

  8. 1) Going to church
    2) reading the bible
    3) seeing friends
    4) My family time
    5) The town that I live in, but that it is close to DC.
    6) A good cup of coffee
    7) A good book
    8) My work life
    9) The light that shines through the windows in my apartment so the apartment is always full of light.
    10) My new computer

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