Mary Dickson Diaz

Code, Life, Learning

Month: December 2016

where do we golang from here

go gopher

The Golang gopher, because every blog post needs an image

When I was getting ready to go on leave, I asked some colleagues what languages and programming skills they recommend I study up on in my free time. The company that hired me was acquired one week after I started working there, and just before I left we were in the process of merging engineering teams and technologies. As the new products and systems development shift to other programming languages (ugh, Java), I won’t get to use Ruby on Rails as often.

One senior member of my team (with two small children) wisely rejected the notion of “free time” during maternity leave. Beyond that, I can’t for the life of me remember what anyone recommended. I’m pretty sure “who knows what tech we’ll be using, learn what you want” was the consensus.

So I’m using the rare programming time I have to focus in three areas:

  1. Code challenges in Ruby (I did about half of this year’s Advent of Code and sponsored a Code Fellows leaderboard for students and alumni)
  2. React, a JavaScript library for building user interfaces — mainly through Code Fellows new 501 level professionals course
  3. Golang, a compiled, statically typed language used for systems development (like Java, but not stupid Java)

I’ve wanted to learn React for awhile — it’s hot right now and a lot of places that would have used something like Backbone or Angular are switching to React. With my friend Emily teaching the class and my mom in town to help watch baby, the timing was as good as it gets. My work is looking at Go as a replacement for certain Java-based API endpoints. And code challenges are just mommy’s brain candy, so I do them in the language I’m most comfortable with (Ruby).

Here’s a little checklist of learning resources for my own reference (and yours, if any of this sounds interesting):

Code Challenges:



There, it feels good to have a list so when I have precious minutes to program I can just plow through it.

Why am I using my time away from work to do work-related things??

  1. I enjoy it.
  2. I’m building skills so I can do work I enjoy for my current job and future opportunities.
  3. I want to stay “fresh” (and not forget everything I trained for).

This little guy doesn’t mind as long as I get lots of snuggles in with him:

leo four ways

Bedtime and besos,


hurry up and sleep

Dear Readers,

Happy December! It’s December now, I think. I don’t know about dates or days of the week or time anymore — I just go where the calendar tells me, which is usually to a doctor — but I know it’s cold, and the baby needs a hat, and I know when he ate last and when he will probably want to eat again (immediately).

Readers, our son is two months old tomorrow and I am here to tell you that the first two months are HARD TIMES. So tough that honestly I am inclined to beg you child-rearing couples to please reconsider. Traveling the world is wonderful and very rewarding. So is going to the theater and museums and dance parties and restaurants and not seeing four different doctors to treat “severe nipple damage” and sleeping more than 3 hours at a time and not spending 75% of one’s income on childcare.* Every single parent I know says the same thing: these are hard times, but you will get through them, and it gets better — not easier, but better. Many of these parents have gone on to have MORE children, which tells me one of two things:

  1. They have all experienced permanent brain damage from 2+ months of no sleep;
  2. They’re all right.

Look my money is on the brain damage, but I’ve been in a lot of physical pain for a long time and that colors one’s world view. The alternate title to this blog post was going to be “oh honey, you’re brave” — which is what the last lactation consultant said before my angel baby child chomped down on the aforementioned severe nipple damage.

The days are shaped by a sense of urgency bookmarked by feedings and sleep. When the baby goes down for a nap, I usually get between 20 minutes and three hours to pump, eat, go to the bathroom, do chores or sleep. This means that whatever I’m doing that’s not sleeping is compromised because I’d rather be sleeping, and the sleep sucks because I’m racked with guilt about not doing all the other things.

Fun fact: missing a meal now means not only do I go hungry but also my breast milk supply will probably dry up and I will no longer be able to feed my child. So eat/drink up!

My mom is here to help and I’ve taken advantage of her presence to take a course on React. Yes I know I just told you I have zero free time but I needed something to remind me that I am more than a (flawed) feeding machine, so we’re making it work — and I’ve wanted to add React to my developer toolbox for some time. So maybe one of these days I’ll write about that. Maybe in month four. I’m holding out big hopes for month four.

I should probably end this post on a positive note so I don’t bum you out, or at the very least give you a cute baby picture. I mean, the kid is really very sweet and cute and I love him, but that does not make these times less tough. And, this blogging is taking away time when I could be sleeping.

So toughen up, readers.

Yours in hanging in there,


*Did you know that to hire a nanny you have to become that nanny’s employer what with the health care and sick days and the whole nine yards? So get on the daycare waiting lists, parents to be. Do it now even though you don’t want to.

© 2023 Mary Dickson Diaz

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑