When I first heard the title of Sinead O’Connor’s song, “I do not want what I haven’t got”, I thought that she had identified the secret to happiness. Reflecting a bit, though, I realized I’m one of the happiest people I know and I want lots of things I haven’t got.

The secret isn’t not wanting what you haven’t got but rather being satisfied with what you have. This might sound contradictory, but it’s not.


Someone who is obviously much smarter than me made the comment,

“Young people are always thinking they will be happy – IF.  If they get a better job, make more money, finish this degree. What they don’t realize is that it’s their choice to be happy now.”

For a long time, I was afraid that if I was satisfied with what I had and enjoyed life that would make me lose my drive, that successful people have to always be somewhat unhappy. Let’s skip over the contradiction in that sentence ….

I can think of four couples I know who I am sure are happy most of the time.

One couple is older, has a very lovely home in an upscale enclave, with his and hers Mercedes in the garage. They are really nice people. After both having very successful careers, they retired comfortably, although he still does a bit of consulting to keep his hand in. They traveled a lot for a while and now they mostly chill out at home, with regular exercise at the country club.

One couple is in their forties and doesn’t own a car. They are really into biking everywhere. They live in a pretty nondescript apartment in a pretty boring part of town and both work at pretty mainstream jobs – that is, enough to pay the bills but nothing to impress the sort of people they don’t care to impress anyway. When I asked what they’d like for a present they both agreed,

“We have SO much. We really don’t need anything!”

While I (and the first couple) certainly have a whole heck of a lot more than them, they look at it in terms of how much the average person in the world has. By comparison, a couple of really nice bicycles, dozens of dishes, even more books, a computer, cell phones and all of the paraphernalia of American life seemed an embarrassment of riches.

The next couple that came to mind is younger, have good jobs for someone starting out, just bought their first car, expecting their first child, and live in a nice-enough apartment in a nice-enough part of a big city.

While none of those couples have children, The Invisible Developer and I have four. We don’t have matching Mercedes. We have a 10 year old mini-van and a new Prius.

What we all have in common, though, is that we think a lot about what we have rather than what we don’t. Today, I received two email messages from people who appear to be only slightly smarter than a rock. I was irritated for 10 seconds before I thought how lucky I am that the great majority of my life is spent working with really intelligent people and how good it is to have a career, family and circle of friends that are so intelligent.

2013-04-06 16.59.13


I am always a tiny bit annoyed when it is a lovely day on the weekend because then the traffic in Santa Monica is such a pain that it is way less trouble to walk than drive. The beach is crowded. The mountain trails are crowded.

So …. I work on the weekend and take Monday off. Except that tomorrow, I have a student who needs help with her dissertation, plus I need to get information to my accountant for the taxes so I’ll end up hiking in the mountains on Tuesday. In the same situation, I can name you six people off the top of my head who would be lamenting and wailing,

I didn’t get to go to the mountains this weekend because it was so crowded and I worked and now I can’t go on Monday, either!

So what? The mountains aren’t going anywhere. I live in Santa Monica close enough to everything I want to go to that I can walk when it’s a lovely day. I have the flexibility to take off during the week.

That’s why I’m happy, right? Sounds great. And it IS great. My point is that I have not once mentioned the things I haven’t got. I certainly don’t look like I did 30 years ago. Some days I think I am the only woman on the westside with her original face. I didn’t look like a twenty-year-old model when I was twenty and I sure as hell don’t now. I could spend all day listing the things I haven’t got, but what’s the point? I’d rather focus on what I do have and be happy.

I will tell you two things that all four of the couples I was thinking about have in common and that is love and work. They are all happy with the work they are doing/ have done and happy with the person they are with. Being happy with the work you are doing doesn’t mean you don’t want to do more, bigger and better things ever – or even tomorrow. It does mean you recognize the good in what you are doing now.

Be happy now. That’s the secret to happiness.

And that is #17 of 55 things I have learned in (almost) 55 years.

On a related note, see #9 – Don’t trade your life for stuff.





In a Dilbert cartoon, the pointy-haired boss tells Dilbert,

We need to give our customers what they want.

To which Dilbert replies

What our customers want is better products for free.

Upon reflection, Dilbert and the boss agree to give them a fish bowl screensaver

It has been said before that SAS is just offering on-demand for free to compete with R in the educational market. That may be true, but Microsoft and Adobe want to compete in the educational market, too, and they aren’t offering me free stuff so I say, “Hurray for SAS”.

The three biggest problems I would say SAS had in attracting student and faculty use were:

  1. It was a pain in the ass to install and update
  2. It was too expensive
  3. It only ran on Windows and Unix machines

SAS On-demand was the beginning, with a free version of SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Enterprise Miner. It was pathetically slow over wireless, though, so much so that I took to recording the instructions in my office  where I had a wired connection and putting the movie on line for students to watch, or playing it in class. Students would try to do the assignments in class, but again, the wireless connection was a major bottleneck. Also, many of my students had Macs and SAS On-Demand with SAS Enterprise Guide only ran on Windows NATIVE (not virtual machines). It was less of a pain in the ass to install but there were occasional problems.

Enter SAS Web Editor. The drawback is that you need to learn programming, but personally, I have come full circle to considering that an advantage rather than a drawback, and so, I believe will my students.

Not only is the Web Editor free but there is nothing to install. It runs in a browser. Before you get all excited, let me point out that the version I am using is free to FACULTY AND STUDENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Registering as a professor took me a few minutes and I was approved that afternoon.

If you are a student, once you register and log in here


You can select the course at your university for which you need a SAS On-Demand license. If your professor selected SAS Web Editor, once you have registered all you need to do is click


Run Client and SAS Web Editor opens in a new window. Not only does it run on a Mac or Windows machine but it also runs on an iPad.

Not one to take anyone’s word for anything, when I was stuck in the theater yesterday, I pulled out my iPad and tried it. The Spoiled One and her friends had gone to an R-rated movie and since she needed a parent to get in, I paid for a ticket, walked in with her and walked out back to the lobby before the movie had a chance to rot my brain. (Suffice it to say that we have different tastes.)

So, here I am with no wi-fi and the original iPad. I figured if it would work on this it would work on anything. First, I started the web editor, just by logging into my account at the link above and then clicking on Run Client. Popped up fine. At first you’ll see your list of projects.

I opened a project I had run before. See below.webeditoripad

Click on the BROWSE button at top left of the screen to see your list of projects again.

I clicked on the little running guy to run my project. It ran in a few seconds and the results popped up. This was a very small job, as you can see, with only 634 records.  I did two frequency procedures, a proportional random sample by strata with proc surveyselect and a proc print – not exactly high intensity programming, but very similar to the type of assignment a student might be doing.


Since I was still sitting there waiting for The Spoiled One’s movie to be over, I used the Web Editor to analyze some dummy data similar to a problem a student was working on, run a one-sample t-test

proc ttest ho = 11 ;

var score ;

in case you were wondering and answer her question.

So, for what the average students would need to do and what the average professor would need to help them, yes SAS Web Editor is a better product, for free.

To my disappointment, no fish bowl screen saver was included.




Accept Waste

April 4, 2013 | 4 Comments

In new product development, in research, you WILL go down some dead ends. Accept it.



We don’t perfect design in our programming until we’re sure we’re going to keep it.

Here is a link to the article from 2003 that impressed me, which I mentioned in the video.

« go back


WP Themes