The truth:

I got stuck on functions. I’ve used them in the past with success, but never actually created my own entirely on my own. It has been suggested by someone very wise (and devastatingly handsome 😉 ) that I may be overthinking them. Whether or not my husband is right, my Python course progress has stalled a bit. As this is not a requirement for work, or for anything actually, I am taking my sweet time and allowing myself to daydream about other things instead.

Other things:

I’ve been floating a few possibilities for how to apply the code I’m learning. One idea is to build an application for streamlining scheduling that I can enter the date of a somewhat unpredicatbly recurring event and have it automatically return follow up events based on that date. Practical use for this could be, for example, workout routines and nutrition. If you get to your hardest workout on a Tuseday one week, you’d enter that Tuesday and the app would spit out the preconfigured future events that need to take place (increased protein intake, recovery days, etc.). It would also be useful for female cycles and things like nutrition, rest, exercise, scheduling, etc. And for anyone taking intermittent medications. Another idea relates to all things associated with travel. I’ve been nerding out on how to pack lightly for long trips (I heart Travel Fashion Girl and her capsule wardrobe lists. Brilliant!) and there has to be an application that can tell me when, how and what to pack based on when and where I’m traveling. Automate. Automate. Automate.


I’m slowly suspecting that I’m more of the idea person than the execution person when it comes to coding in Python. We shall see… I’m not giving up yet. Perhaps having a goal for all the code pads the reward in the end?

Was able to complete another module today. When I take too long of a break inbetween modules I require more review time to catch up. It is the same with my German or French lessons (, highly recommended, free and super fun). So, I will try to keep a more consistent schedule with my python course for my own sake. Although I had to review past lessons, the information was in my brain and relatively easy to access so not all is lost! Here’s an example of the test code I just submitted for an end of module test:

def how_many():
requested = input(‘enter how many you want: ‘)
return requested

number_needed = how_many()
print(number_needed, ‘will be ordered’)

*The ouput looks like this:

enter how many you want: 3
3 will be ordered

Success! Erfolg! Succès! Woop!

No time for Python this week. Watched a UN meeting recently that made me desperate to learn French so I did that instead. Also watched a Senate hearing that took a really long time so I did that as well.

Au revoir! À bientôt!

I’m at a point in the course where I need to complete a final set of code to demonstrate all the stuff I learned in the module. I have done and redone the practice exercises and might be able to do the final piece with my eyes closed (but prob not). However, I keep pushing it off. Tests are something I usually enjoy so I’m not sure what I’m doing with this. Thought maybe procrastinating some more by blogging here would be a good idea. Maybe I’ll find that motivation at the end of this post. Once I finish the final piece I’ll be on to the remaining modules which are all less comprehensive and therefore shorter. And there’s probably some stuff in those modules that is more interesting and useful than the big review module I just got to the end of. Alright, I’m not leaving this coffee shop until that final piece is complete. It’s happening. Right after I finish my millet muffin. And my tea. And maybe check my email………..

1 hour later,

it wasn’t so bad. And I got it on the first try! Woop!

Note on finding time: It really helps that I’m not working at the moment and am able to use the time my kids are in school to study. But outside of that time, I have snuck in some tutorials here and there while my family was busy doing other things. This is not always without frustration because I’ve noticed that I tend to get deep in thought while I’m working on my class work. No fun for me or my family when I’m jolted out of that for a question about socks or dinner. So it is ideal to have some free time when I’m alone to study.

Programming is coming back to me. I suppose like any language, if you don’t use it, you lose it. I am feeling good that it is not entirely unfamiliar, but also I think the tutorials in this program are pretty good. 

A student who is brand new to programming altogether might benefit from this: Don’t get overwhelmed by what it all means. These terms and methods are all tools for coding meaningful things later on. So a new concept now is only a tool for later. I would have appreciated that bit of perspective when I was first studying as I used to feel stressed that I wasn’t understanding the whole picture right away. Now I know that I should just keep going and that it will all come together later, when I work on an actual project.

In case this reaches anyone who is working through the same exact courses, I found a resolution for my code not populating in Jupyter Notebooks. I found a q&a online that said it helps to always keep a blank cell beneath the one you are entering your code into. It has worked flawlessly for me so far, although I still do not understand the underlying cause.

I’m looking forward to applying these tools to something useful. In that way, programming can be very gratifying. And there is creativity in figuring out what that “something useful” is. So many people have created useful things through coding, things I use daily and feel dependent upon. The possibilities are endless and I am inspired to think of what else is possible, especially from people with all different backgrounds and experiences. Collective brainpower. Wow!

Coming right along. Have had to troubleshoot an issue where my input code was not rendering. I guess I could seek help within the course but instead I triple checked my code then restarted my notebook program. Worked every time. 

Just successfully created this output with minimal code: 

Name: Bob  Age: 106  Wants email?: No

Woop! Seems like a pretty low standard for success but it feels like I’m re-creating the entire world wide web all by myself ;)!


name = input(“enter name: “)
age = input(“enter age: “)
get_mail = input(“yes/no: “)
print(“Name: ” + name, “Age: ” + age, “Wants email?: ” + get_mail)

Day 2:  print(“I am a string.”)

After finagling a glorious block of time (aka more than 3.5 minutes) at a coffee shop (no kids in sight!), I am finally able to focus on my courses. This first unit contains videos, text summaries and exercises that define and describe the tools and terminology for basic programming.

Ex. Strings, Integers, Variables, Run, Comment.

All of which my brain stored away somewhere in a hidden and dusty corner so I am very grateful for this basic review. And… my first Python code was written. Although maybe not a triumph for the ages, it did work, and for that I am happy. 🙂

Day 1: Python

Spent 45 mins moving through intro material and got confused by the order of the material. There was a video introducing us to the Windows Azure Notebook area where we will be doing our work, but the video skipped a click so I got lost. I played around by pushing all the links until it finally matched the page the instructor was on in the video.

Lesson learned: When all else fails, push all the buttons!!

Also learned that it is not fun for anyone to try and focus on new technological material when your children need you. 🙁 Going to stop now until after bedtime (it is a holiday today after all).

I’m about to begin my Python coding classes. I’ve chosen to try edX Microsoft: DEV236x Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner. The edX courses are created and taught by industry professionals and esteemed higher education establishments like Harvard and MIT. 

The course series I’ve looked into is part of edX’s Microsoft Professional Program in Entry-Level Software Development. It covers Python and Java. Each course looks like it should take 5 weeks at 3-4 hours per week.

One can choose to pay $99 per course to receive a certificate as proof of their participation and grade. I’m opting not to do this because I already have an advanced degree in an IT field. I think an employer would assume I can program proficiently with my advanced degree. What an employer may not consider is the amount of time I’ve spent away from IT by staying home with my family, or that my advanced degree did not focus in-depth on any one language. Therefore, I really do need these courses!

My Goal:

Complete Introduction to Python in less than 5 weeks.

As my first course, I really don’t know what to expect. Maybe I’d need more than their average of 3-4 hours per week to understand a topic. Maybe I’d need less. Let’s find out.

Initial Challenges:

Finding quiet and uninterrupted time is equally essential and incredibly difficult when at home with children. I will have to try different time slots throughout the week to see which ones allow enough focus time without outright neglecting my kids ;).