The beginning of big things

We had the excellent experience last weekend of going to our nephew’s high school graduation. It is more fun going to a beloved nephew’s event because as an aunt and uncle, Jim and I can enjoy being supporting characters. Also, we didn’t have to put together the post-graduation brunch.

Our nephew went to a very large high school up in Northern Virginia. Like many local high schools, his commencement exercises were held in the arena located at the university where I work, so it felt a little bit like deja vu from a couple of weeks ago.

I found a large person to sit behind

The ceremony itself was well organized. There was an interesting speech from a member of the school’s security team (“I didn’t know he ever said anything other than ‘Why aren’t you in class?'” remarked Nephew later), and some sincere reminiscences from one of the graduates. As all 680 graduates made their way across the stage, I had time to think about the work that goes into an event like this, as the school tries to balance the students’ (and parents’) desire to get that diploma and get out of there with the need for some solemnity to make the event meaningful. By the time they’d gotten to the second bank of students, some in the stands were leaving their seats and coming back with popcorn.

Afterwards, my sister and brother-in-law hosted the family at their house, and visiting with those folks was obviously the best part of the day.

Nephew is a bit younger than our two kids and the day felt like we were saying goodbye to the kid part of our lives. But despite being (typically) Anne-nostalgic for some of those memories, it really does feel like a commencement. That guy will soon be off to a large university with large adventures ahead. I can’t wait to see where it takes him.

Why, hello there.

Good afternoon.

I’m Anne, and I’m here because I’m an old dog thinking about learning a few new tricks.

Let’s address the “old” part first. In November, I turned 50. This, I think, was a momentous enough event to motivate a few life changes. No new tattoos or piercings, but when I stumbled on an article about learning to code, I┬ádecided that a middle-aged woman is JUST the kind of person who should take on such a challenge. Plus, the people in my office who code are very, very cool.

At a Ruby Retrocession event this spring, one of the speakers suggested blogging to record the journey to coding proficiency, and here I am. I’m an old fan of blogging but more about that another day.

My goal is to work on Ruby this summer, a little every day. And play around with some Java Script, too (I did some exercises yesterday on the Code School website), and HTML. I’m going to learn as much as I can this summer and this fall, when the high school senior is back in school, maybe take the leap into a bootcamp.

I will let you know how it goes.