Monday, November 05, 2012

Día de la VBA for Excel

Last Thursday Lesley and I had dinner at La Santaneca and went to the farmers’ market near 22nd and Valencia so she could buy marigolds for her Día de los Muertos altar. She’s the seventh person I’ve introduced to La Santaneca and, like all the others, she liked it.

I’ve always meant to learn Perl scripting and only extreme laziness and lack of initiative have stood in my way, but now I’m so enjoying learning how to manipulate data in Excel that I decided to look into VBA programming for Excel, and, accordingly, acquired a book: Microsoft Excel VBA Programming for Dummies, by John Walkenbach, which is very easy to follow, and also funny.

Whereas it always felt like kind of a chore to read a Perl book, in my spare moments on Friday, I was eager to get back to the VBA book, because I could do stuff right away, even if it was just causing the Developer tab to appear in Excel’s Ribbon. Exciting! This was on my work PC; my manager said early on that I was welcome to spend time on programming for Excel.

The version of Excel on my own Mac looked very different, and in fact didn’t allow for recording macros or using VBA, but Excel for Mac 2011 does.

In the evening, C. and I had dinner at We Be Sushi and went to the Día de los Muertos procession. C. wanted to go see a friend’s art but I didn’t want to miss the beginning of the procession, so we parted for an hour. A lot of the spectators have their faces painted to look like those of skeletons or corpses, and artistry abounds. It took the walkers an hour and fifteen minutes to travel the eight blocks from the beginning of the route to where I was standing, at 24th and Mission. At the front there were some feathery things raised high in the air, plus traditional dancers (or very au courant dancers performing traditional moves), and then it was mainly just plain old people shambling along, most not decorated, so this may not be worth doing next year. Maybe instead it would be better to go to Garfield Park and see the altars that people create, which are probably wonderful.

Back at my place, I bought, downloaded and installed Office for Mac 2011, and made a nice document to record what I learn. With a table of contents!

On Saturday I puttered around at home, and in the evening, Tom and Gen and I had dinner at La Santaneca and took BART downtown to see Argo.

Yesterday I did my cooking and had a rewarding interpersonal experience with C. Last week, we had approximately our millionth conflict, and the past several days have been a period of semi-estrangement. We’ve talked a bit and even seen each other, but he didn’t come to Howie’s, and things have just felt not quite right. By today, I’d started to think maybe the whole thing was just over, which seemed sad, and I sat down to do my journal, always a strong impulse at such moments.

First, though, I thought I’d type up my notes on what Ezra Bayda has to say in Zen Heart about relationships. In the course of that, I got even more inspired to just be with my bereft feelings, and also saw that here was an opportunity to feel goodwill toward C. even if he didn’t do what I wanted—even if I never saw him again. Then I discovered that I was starting to be genuinely curious about what had gone on for him this week, which I’d mostly spent assessing who was wrong and who was right (analyzing), deciding he was wrong (blaming), and fixing (I’ll do this or that about the entire relationship, I’ll leave it, I’ll tell him such-and-such).

Ezra Bayda says that when we’re having difficulty in a relationship, it’s always because we’re expecting something or someone to be different, and that while we generally think the barriers to love lie with the other person, these barriers are always our own. Accordingly, I made a list of what I expect C. to do and how I expect him to act, and it was embarrassingly long. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on that, the phone rang, and it was him, sounding a few notches friendlier.

We said a bit about how our days were going, and then he ran along. I didn’t press him to get together or to talk, but shortly, he called back to suggest a visit. After he arrived at my place, we ended up having a really excellent talk, which was not about why my feelings are more worthy of consideration than his, or why I’m entitled to always get what I want, or why I was right and he was wrong. It was entirely about here’s how I felt and here’s why I acted the way I did. It might not be the best way to act, but here’s why it tends to happen. We both shared those kinds of things, and ended up once again feeling that we were on the same side.

I don’t think we could have had this conversation several days ago. The breathing room was good, and Ezra Bayda helped incredibly much.

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