Summer Day One

June 11 was my first day of summer since Friday, June 9th was my last day of work. After working a year outside the home, I decided that where I really wanted to be was at home. This summer I am just planning on having fun with Raegan – freelance work will take a backseat until the fall.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping. Exciting stuff I know but it had to be done. We did play Skylanders for a few minutes as we had gotten some new figures and Rae noticed a rattle when you move them. She wanted to test them out to make sure they worked and they did.

The first day was pretty quiet. But I do have a few things planned for the week.

The Summer List 2012 Edition

Last year, we made a summer list of all the stuff that Raegan wanted to do. Here is the list and I will comment on what we did and didn’t do –
Inspired by Amy at Mom

, I thought this year we would make a summer list. This will be all the activities that Rae wants to do over the summer. This will be her last summer before she starts school in the fall. Here is the list so far. All of these are Rae’s ideas.

1. Play, Play, Play (check)
2. Plant Flowers (check)
3. Play racquetball outside
4. Call me Princess everyday (well it doesn’t have to be everyday)
5. Let Shally(our cat) comes inside and give her a toy mouse (check)
6. Eat some snacks together (check)
7. Go to the Audubon Zoo (Check!)
8. Meet the Wild Kratts
9. Try to catch caterpillars and then set them in free in the wild (inspired by her Wild Kratts thought with that last statement)
10. Crochet some toys for kids without any money
11. Play games (check)
12. Give Pandi (imaginary panda) some bamboo juice
13. Play some more
14. Make up a song
15. Collect some rocks
16. Start a unicorn collection (check!)
17. Watch Wild Kratts (check)
18. Collect worms
19. Play games on the computer (check!)
20. Go to park and have a picnic

While there were a few items we didn’t get to, this year we hope to do better. Since last year I let Rae make the list, this year it is my turn. So here is my list.

1. Go to the Beach
2. Stay at a hotel for two nights
3. Go camping
4. Go to free art class at the museum
5. Go to library and join the summer reading book club
6. Go swimming a lot
7. Go to waterpark at least once
8. Do some crafts together
9. Play board games
10. Go to movies at least twice (Half done! Saw Madagascar 3)
11. Ride bikes on the bike trail
12. Go to both Children’s museum in our state
13. Visit the natural science museum
14. Play in the park
15. Go to Audubon Zoo

I will add more to the list as I think of things. We are planning to have a great summer.

No More Teachers No More Books…

Last Sunday was our last Youth Faith Formation Class for the year! Next year I have decided not to teach. It seems two years is my stint with teaching Sunday School. Before when I have taught, it has been a maximum of two years.

So I am excited because this gives us back our whole weekend. It is very hard to find a substitute since there are so few people who volunteer. Also these same people are involved with other church activities and might be committed to something else that weekend. I’m just glad to be done with it. Last year we did it because they really needed someone and it was Raegan’s class. This past year we did it because we had a good spring and wanted to do more with the class. But we only had two students – so depressing. The activities go by really fast and you have a lot of time left over. An hour and 15 minute class with four-year-olds seemed like three hours.

Also we will possibly be moving out of state this summer. It’s not a done deal but could be very likely. We will just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Right now I feel like I should be de-briefed from teaching Sunday School. It will sink in probably in a few weeks that we don’t have another lesson to teach. I will miss it some days but probably not enough to do it again – well at leave for a few years anyway.

Learning New Skills

Now that I have been doing a good bit of functional testing, I am ready to branch out and learn more. One area that I know very little but have a ton of curiosity about is security testing. I do have a small slither of experience. It’s not really even worth mentioning although I find myself wanting to share it right here right now.

When I was in college, the Internet was a much smaller place. I went to a college that had a healthy community of computer geeks. I found my way into their lives on a whim. I was taking a required basic computer class when our teacher told us about the campus BBS. My first thought was, “that sounds like a great way to keep up with what is going on campus.” While BBS did stand for Bulletin Board System, the computer version is way different than the one posted in the school student center. So I logged on my first time expecting to see a virtual bulletin board with events and such but what I found was chat rooms, subject boards(think early forum posts), and some files you could download. I also found many wonderful friends from that BBS – so I’m glad I was curious enough to log in and brave enough to stay logged in after realizing this was totally different than what I had expected.

Many friends I met were into computers – which make sense that you would find those interested in computers logged onto and chatting with other computer users. One person I met was a guy who was in grad school at the time and super good with computers. He already had a high tech job and had written his own BBS. It was through him that I conducted my first security test – hacking into another friend’s fake BBS account.

One friend had an alias – well he had several but he had one I really liked. Her name was Ginger and she was flirty and fabulous. Females on the BBS system were a rare thing – so chances are if you were talking to a sexy, flirty female, that was really a guy who probably had some deep-rooted issues. But back to Ginger. She was cool and fun. It was also an account he would log into a lot. So I thought it would be fun to log in – pretending to be Ginger when he was on his real account. He would have no idea who it was. at one time I knew Ginger’s password but he had changed it without telling me the new one. So my other friend helped me pull this off by cracking Ginger’s password. I remember he used some software (maybe password finder…who knows) to get into the account. The program seemed to run through many different password options and it took about 30 minutes to break in. Oh but what a feeling of accomplishment! It was a lot of fun. Some days I think if only I had been more interested in the technology behind the BBS and not just chatting for hours then I would know all this stuff I am trying to learn years later.

So to begin learning, I am reading a lot of books. Then I hope to work through the exercises and then move onto more books. Then maybe I can get some real-world experience. If only I had paid more attention back then, I could be some sort of Software Testing Superstar today.

What happens in Sunday School…

Our biggest challenge with teaching Sunday School is our small class. We have two pre-schoolers – both boys. They have different personalities. Most Sundays come and go without any trouble. The first part of the year one little boy barely spoke. I was wondering if he even spoke English(he is Vietnamese) But since Christmas, he has been talking more – and acting up more in class. The other little boy is a talker but always polite. This past Sunday we had a situation that I wasn’t sure how it would end.

It all started off innocent enough. Class began and we went through our lesson. As I was getting the craft ready, one little boy(the quiet one for the first part of the year) hits the other boy. It was in a playful manner but we just can’t let such things go. So my husband asks the little boy to apologize to the boy he hit. He refuses. What? You can’t apologize? Are you serious? How do we handle this? So after a few minutes my husband put him in time out. Then once that was over the little boy didn’t want to come out of time out and was quiet the rest of class. This behavior isn’t like him – so I’m chalking it up to something happening outside of class that we do not know about. He was playing when he hit as he has brothers and is likely they play rough. I think each week he gets more comfortable around us. I have seen him outside of Sunday School and he is pretty active -doesn’t like to sit still.

Or at least I hope next week is better. After this year, we are taking a break from teaching as we have killed the attendance for any class that we have ever taught. Last year we had two – that is including our daughter! When we taught high school, we would have three – five would be an almost full house.

So the Sunday School incident was enough to unnerve us but then our daughter was really defiant about attending church. Thank God for Children’s Church though. Next Sunday will hopefully be better. It seems some Sundays you can tell when the kids have had something sweet to eat for breakfast. Maybe that is what happened. What a terrible idea to give your kid a doughnut before they go to Sunday School to sit and listen for an hour. Just don’t do it. We don’t give your kids sweets right before you pick them up.

Only a few more weeks and we will be civilians again. No more Sunday School for a good long time.

Old Skills Needing Updating

In the fall of 1998, I went back to college to study computer networking. I finished a two-year program where I learned a lot about computer networking with Novell Netware, some Windows NT, a little programming with Visual Basic, and some classes using the IBM’s AS/400. When I graduated, I felt confident that I had a good, solid start to any job. I was able to find a job and use my skills. Then I found another job and then I got pregnant(a glorious blessing). After the birth of my daughter, I stayed at home with her until she started Kindergarten. For almost a year now, I have been working.

Now I am ready to make another change and I am seeing that I cannot make a change until I update my skill set. This is where it gets tough – deciding which direction to go. Do I go back to school to learn or do it my own? I think I will compromise and learn online. I won’t be going for a degree but there are so many websites with good information either for free or a nominal price. It will take me longer to do it this way since I have to overcome my procrastination tendencies. That is one good thing about school – it helps you keep a steady pace.

It is frustrating to know a lot but that the knowledge is so dated it’s really useless. This shows me that you should never stop learning. Hopefully I can regain my collegiate learning ability on my own. It will be cheaper and work better with my schedule. If I take too long, then I may have to go back just for the discipline.

“Working” Again

After the birth of my daughter, I decided to stay at home. It was the best time of my life. While it took some adjustments getting use to one income again, it was worth it to be home with my daughter.

About a year ago, I went back to work full-time. The stress of getting behind on bills and seeing no way out was getting too much to bear. Landing a full-time job helped us get back on track financially while relieving a lot of my stress.

Now that I have been working, I am beginning to feel more stress again from several sources. Money will always be a stress but now I feel stress from work. My job isn’t very challenging and I have a lot of down time. Maybe too much down time as I daydream of all the things I need to be doing at the house. While working has helped us financially, I have gained back nearly all my weight I previously lost. Eating out and little time at home has left us getting fatter and our house messier. I would much prefer just the money stress than all of this – hence the reason I really want to earn money at home.

I was earning money at home but when you work for yourself, you are always searching for the next opportunity. It can be frustrating because you will apply for many jobs but only get a few. We will make it work – we did it before. This time will be different with less bills and a money plan that is reachable on just one salary.

So working has been a blessing but not a complete one. There will always be life stresses. I’m happiest when I’m at home even if it stresses me just to have to depend upon myself to make money.

Runaway Employee

Today I was thinking about my job and how I probably still wouldn’t be here if I had not worked here before my daughter was born. Being back in the workforce is difficult. I miss being at home for my daughter but I do like my job.

I had tried going back to work at year ago but left a few weeks into the job. I just couldn’t stand it. I missed my little girl and did not like this interruption to our lives. Now I am at a much better point to return to work as my daughter is in school but still it’s hard to be away from home.

Going back to work is hard as it takes up way too much time. There is so much that I could be doing. I hate to admit that going back to work has made me less productive. Oh the irony. I do more “work” at home than at my job.

So I do feel the need to have my time all to myself again. But for now I will stay put even though some days I feel like running. It does make for a nice daydream.

The Neophyte Tester

One of my unspoken New Year’s resolutions was to not start any new blogs. I’m addicted to starting new blogs – sadly I’m not that committed to writing content for them. So I decided that I wanted to blog about software testing. Being a newbie I wanted a place to put my thoughts, experiences, etc – hence the reason for the new category Neophyte Tester.

Right now I am doing a lot of functional testing but hope to branch out in some direction. This I’m not sure which direction to go. I figure I will do some research and decide which area appeals to me.

Each month I also plan to read at least one book on software testing and one on development. This month I bought Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software that is so far pretty interesting. It almost seems like a book you would give someone who wants to understand testers and their role. But it is good for me since I’m so new to the testing field. I haven’t decided on which development book I want to buy although I’m leaning towards something to do with Android.

My regular job is changing. We are implementing a new software project and saying goodbye to the one in development. It’s bittersweet since I was drawn to this job for the testing aspect but also excited about being part of the implementation team for this new product that will also have plenty of testing opportunities.

My freelance job is going great. I’m getting a lot of good experience with testing and I can tell that what I’ve learned from it is helping me at my full-time job. And with my freelance job I have been making some extra money – which is awesome considering I just wanted a chance to test and not too worried about getting paid. But the pay is great and makes me think that I could do this part-time making good money.

How Not Getting a Job Changed My Life

Ok, that may be a little dramatic to say that not getting a job changed my life but in a way it did. A year ago, I applied for a job that I desperately wanted – mainly because I wanted a job. I needed a job and was hungry to return to work. After not getting this job, I bitched and moaned about said job for quite some time.

Now that I reflect on that job, I know that it wasn’t right for me but did lead me to a rewarding career. How is that possible if I didn’t get the job you might ask? Well, I will try to explain. See, the job was in software testing – something that sounded interesting to me. I had beta tested games before and absolutely love it so I knew that I would enjoy testing software. What I didn’t know is what testing software really meant. Sure, I figure it meant using unfinished software and looking for what doesn’t work. But beyond that, I really didn’t have a clue and it showed in the interview. I thought of software testing as a way in with this company and that I should aspire to be something other than a tester. Now I see the error in my ways of thinking.

Software testers are not developers looking to gain experience and to get in with a company. They are doing a job – one that requires it’s own special skills and talents. This I have learned since taking a job as a tester. I no longer believe that software testing is just a stepping stone to something else. Also I’m glad I am learning software testing through my own ventures than through a company’s. This way I will be exposed to more opinions, methodologies, etc.

So even though I was sad that I didn’t get that job last year, it worked out for the best – in fact better than I could have imagined. Finally I am doing work that I love again.