Friday, November 30, 2012

Even Better

You may have read about the fellow who died after winning a live cockroach-eating contest. I sent my parents a link to a news article about it and my father spotted that the grand prize was a python and wrote back, “What was the runner-up prize? Two pythons?”

I had noticed that my printer was trying to send through a second sheet even when I printed a one-page document (probably unrelated to pythons in any number). The second, completely unrequested sheet would invariably fail to emerge completely and cause a jam. This seemed like a Googlable symptom, so this past Monday, I did a search and found some instructions.

I am not a particularly handy person. Another thing I did that day was, per the manager of my apartment building, go look under a table in the back yard for a can of paint to use for touching up some things in my kitchen. Needless to say, I’m not going to do this painting myself, and I found just rooting through all the stuff underneath the table a somewhat enervating project. There were so many different kinds of things there, and I cut my finger.

I once had a construction-type job at PG&E when I was young and springy, and I have tools and stuff, but I don’t recall that I ever needed to figure anything out in that job. It seems to me that I received pretty detailed instructions before lifting any tool, so why I would think I would be able to fix a laser printer is a mystery.

But I actually did fix it! Which is so fantastic that it’s almost but not quite worth having spent an unnecessary $429.18—on having Peter “fix” the printer, two 2x4s, superfluous toner, the new printer, toner for the new printer, and expedited shipping.

Monday evening, I had dinner and took a shower and went online and, to make a long story short, took far more of the printer apart than necessary before I found the little thing that was the culprit. I had a picture that showed it clearly, but had to look at it five times before it dawned on me that it matched what I was looking at in real life, and then, just as the website had predicted, I yelled, “Oh my god—that?!?” One person said, “It took me 10 minutes to fix it! And half of that was the time I spent saying, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

The old printer is now working perfectly (even with three screws and a little piece of metal left over). However, to avoid paying double shipping charges, I plan to keep the new printer, which also copies, scans and faxes, and give away the old one.


Under the circumstances, I decided it would be appropriate to get part of my printer-fixing money back after all, and at lunchtime Tuesday walked over to retrieve it. I found Peter hanging around the shop. The cash register man was on the phone, so Peter and I chatted and I told him what I’d done to ungum things. He asked a couple of times, “You bought a new printer?” and I kept assuring him that it was the same old printer. Once the other fellow was off the phone, he cheerfully gave me a partial refund and joked, “Maybe we should have you fix our printer.”

I had to expend a good deal of effort on Wednesday convincing C. that he had not won a fortune in the UK lottery, despite the very official-looking email he’d gotten from a Yahoo address. By the time he first mentioned it to me, he’d already telephoned South Africa, but hadn’t handed over his credit card number or social security number. In his defense, he has little to do with computers, and is innocent of many things familiar to others. I felt bad for him, and for others who are victimized in such ways. Tom says that when his father was in his final years, he fell prey to a scam or two. (I heard on public radio that this is because people become sunnier in outlook as they age, and thus increasingly likely to assume that strangers are lovely and trustworthy people.) 

Now that I’ll be leaving my current job, of course J. has given me a long list of tasks, which all actually sound like fun things to do, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to them, so I’m feeling a bit stressed, also due to the full-blown clothing crisis now underway. While I was visiting Michigan, I ordered some stuff from Lands’ End and LL Bean, because before yesterday I owned precisely two outfits that fit the definition of business casual.
Lisa will be here from Seattle next week and we have drafted an agreement to meet for dinner on Monday, at which the likelihood of my dribbling something colorful and staining down the front of one of my few work blouses is 100 percent. What I need is a professional-looking adult bib, and fortunately, Amazon sells them. At least, they sell adult bibs, and I am going to get some.

The stuff from Lands’ End arrived yesterday, so I tried it all on, and ran down to Sunny Launderette with three blouses to be washed and ironed. I now know what pants and blouse sizes I wear, which of course are not sizes that exist, but precisely between two sizes. In the evening, I saw Brigitte for an emergency haircut and walked home in the lovely, blustery evening, admiring the Christmas lights.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


During my trip to Ypsi, I made a point of consciously feeling my body quite often (for instance, my feet on the floor), which I think allowed me to do less of something that bugs my mother: ask annoying questions. In fact, I was so successful that, after nearly 50 years, she was finally able to move on to her next gripe: my inattentive listening. She led into this subject by cordially asking if I think I might have ADHD. I guess this wasn’t the first time I’d heard about this, as she has often likened me to her mother’s mother, who would listen to an entire anecdote, and then say, “Eh?”, indicating that she hadn’t heard a word.

Certainly it’s efficient (for me) to ignore someone speaking for three minutes and then request the two-sentence synopsis, but I can see how that could be annoying after half a century. Here, then, the opportunity to take on the practice of wholehearted listening, which will probably also come in handy in my new job, so I wasn’t offended, but just glad it had finally sunk in. I thanked my mother for her honest feedback. Who else will tell a person such a thing?

She gave me an additional gift in the form of her new mantra: “The faster you can accept the unacceptable, the happier you’ll be.” As soon as I find myself thinking, “Oh, no—what if such-and-such happens?”, I say to myself, “I accept that such-and-such might happen,” even if it’s something really terrible, and there is an immediate feeling of relief. It also saves the time formerly spent strategizing about how to arrange things just so.

The day after Thanksgiving, Amy and I had a great lunch at Seva. It was 37 degrees when I drove by Arborland, which is chilly, but still warm enough that if there is any precipitation, it will be rain of the yucky and cold variety, which soon fell. By the time we left Seva, it had gotten cooler still. We went into Sam’s, where I used to buy overalls and t-shirts 40-some years ago, and while we were there, it began to snow in earnest, so I bought a warm coat to leave at my parents’ house. We finished with tea at the café across from Café Zola.
Friday evening, my parents and sister and I watched the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I haven’t seen the Swedish one, but I thought the American one was excellent.

I’d had the idea to record Mom’s and Dad’s voices on this trip, but they didn’t seem enthusiastic, so, attempting to be a semi-considerate guest, I dropped the idea and put the voice recorder back in my suitcase. However, on Saturday morning before I left for the airport, Dad asked if I was still interested in doing this, and he recorded a couple of anecdotes, sounding quite relaxed and natural.

Mom followed suit, and she had actually prepared some remarks and unearthed visual aids. Though not having consulted each other, they both had a story about the exact same thing, so it’s starting to look like their relationship was meant to be.

The reading material I brought along on this trip was Karl E. Wiegers’ Software Requirements, and in case I got through all 500 pages, I brought along a reward: Wiegers’ More About Software Requirements. I finished the first book during the plane trip home, and started the second. This may come in handy in my new job, but even if it never does, it was interesting reading, since I’ve worked in software development for more than a decade, and I also appreciated Wiegers’ tremendous clarity of expression.

I got back Saturday afternoon, and in the evening, C. made us dinner at his place, even lighting candles. On Sunday I did my weekly cooking and completed a massive number of chores, one of which was to decide posthaste on a new printer and order it, along with a spare toner cartridge.

Yesterday I finally solved the 25-year-old problem of the lamp with no lampshade—by taking the lamp back to the same thrift store where I got it. Now it will just be a little darker, or I’ll get another lamp that has all its parts.

I found out my new job is starting next Monday instead of a week later, and exchanged friendly emails with the group’s administrative assistant and with my one peer who reports to the same office, Igby. The administrative assistant sent a note entitled, “Welcome to the TEAM!”

Inevitably, my current and new job have begun to overlap a bit, which has occasioned somewhat of a feeling of stress, but it’s nice to know that at least a couple of the people at the new job are friendly and welcoming.

Red and Orange

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ultimate Sacrifice

I found out on Wednesday a week before Thanksgiving that I got the job! While I’d felt calm about either prospect—either I got the job or I’ll continue to look for one—I was delighted once it was confirmed.

I also got a third visit from Peter, and again the printer fell into line while he was here and became insubordinate after he left. The place that deploys Peter had said that if the printer doesn’t end up fixed, you get your money back, but, egged on by my mother, I decided to let them keep the $115 ($110 being the cost of “fixing” the printer and $5 being the amount I insisted Peter take for two unsanded 2x4s that he thought might help by giving the printer’s underside more clearance). After all, maybe it just can’t be fixed. Likely I broke it myself, and Peter did make three trips over here. When I told the fellow at the computer repair place that I didn’t want any money back, he reacted as if that doesn’t happen very often.

Now that I have a job, I need a mug to drink tea from while I’m there! At lunchtime the next day, Thursday, I walked up and down 24th St. in Noe Valley and went into any shop that seemed likely to contain a large and comely tea vessel, and saw some pretty things.

After spending half an hour hoping to stumble into the right object, I considered what would constitute a beautiful mug and thought of a lovely Japanese bowl I own. It would be nice to have a mug that looked like that. On my way home, I went into Scarlet Sage on Valencia St., a shop C. frequently mentions. It’s a wonderful place, full of gorgeous little items, soap, herbs, books, stuff for tea. Lo and behold, they actually had some saucers in the very pattern I’d thought of, which seemed rather cosmic. I bought two to use as coasters and told the counter lady that a friend of mine often visits there: C., who looks like Santa Claus? “Oh, yes, we know C.,” she said.

I researched the bike parking at the office building where I will report to work and it seems that this building is quite a wonderful place, very environmentally friendly, with a rooftop garden, and where bike parking is advertised as one of their many amenities, so that should be fine, though I called the building manager to see if they ever have bikes stolen from their racks. She said she’s never heard of such an incident.

I got a call of congratulations from Dwightly, my career coach, and we had a nice chat.

On Friday evening, I packed, and on Saturday flew to Detroit for Thanksgiving with my parents and sister in Ypsilanti. The trip was uneventful except for the grim family sitting in front of me on the plane. At first I took the person compulsively running her fingers over and over through her long, beautiful, red hair to be a teenager, but she was a grown woman sitting with her young daughter at her side, while her husband sat a row ahead with their baby girl, who was crying loudly for her mommy. Later the children traded seats and I heard the father berating the young girl, speaking to her in a sarcastic, belittling way. When we were deplaning, the child happened to stand near me and I was shocked to see the dead look in her eyes. If that’s how the father behaves in public, what is their home life like? So sad.

On Sunday morning, C. was back from El Salvador and we spoke on the phone. He said his stomach felt tender and that he was thinking of going to the emergency room. I said he might feel better after a nap, but that if he really thought he should go to the emergency room, then he probably should, and the next day he called and reported that he was just back from a night in the hospital and an emergency appendectomy! Sunday evening, Mom and Dad and I watched a documentary about the Dust Bowl.

Monday was a nice reading day, Mom and me together in the living room.

On Tuesday, Dad and I went to Knight’s in Ann Arbor to have lunch with some of his high school friends, and then we went to see his childhood home and the site of his erstwhile one-room schoolhouse, the latter at the northwest corner of Knight and Scio Church Rd. (two Knights in that day, I just realized). The house has fallen nearly into shambles, and only the fence remains of the school. Then it was on to take a look at my childhood home and back to Ypsi. In the late afternoon, my sister came over.

Ginny and I had lunch at Seva on Wednesday, which was very pleasant, and then Mom and I read in the living room all afternoon and evening.

On Thanksgiving, my sister came over and we had a beautiful, colorful meal, mostly made by Dad: vegan nut loaf, stuffing, gravy, Mexican bean salad, avocado slices. Mom made sweet potato biscuits and Dad served canned fruit and pomegranate juice. As for dessert, there was none, whereas usually there are several homemade treats. Because I don’t eat sugar anymore, everyone else skipped dessert without saying a word about it! Of course, it would have been fine with me if they had had dessert, so I was very touched by that thoughtful gesture.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bordering on the Not Quite Mannerly

Last Friday I got a company IM from the internal recruiter who had set up my recent job interview. He wanted to know if my current manager knew about the interview. I said he did, and that he had wished me luck. The recruiter said, “Looks positive,” at which point I knew I’d probably gotten the job, since I’m sure they don’t hint at a favorable outcome unless it’s pretty certain.

I called my mother to tell her things were looking hopeful.

“Does this mean a big-screen TV in the future?”

“Yeah, now I can buy a lot of stuff!”

“No, I meant our future.”

“Trust me, that never leaves my mind for one second.”

“After all,” she continued, “this couldn’t have happened without me and your father.”

“How so?”

“If we hadn’t given birth to you, you couldn’t have gotten this job.”

I’ll tell you who this actually couldn’t have happened without: the friend who said she thought I’d be a good business analyst and who lined up the very helpful meeting with the bracingly clear senior business analyst, which led me to focus my resume on that kind of role and then to apply for such jobs. Thank you, incomparable benefactor!

Friday evening C. and I had dinner at La Santaneca, and on Saturday, we lunched at Esperpento, getting along very nicely and finally solving our spicy potatoes problem by each getting our own order, plus we split some grilled asparagus.

Between the fellow building the trillion-dollar house and the city park in the center of the block being completely redone, the view from my living room windows is now considerably fancier. For years, I looked out at a shabby little abandoned wooden bungalow, and beyond that, an expanse of grass often populated by Latino soccer players.

It took many months for the park to be redone, and now it’s gorgeous, with lovely green turf, the two tennis courts sparkling new, and a splendid children’s play area with colorful, fanciful play equipment. However, the Latino soccer players largely seem to have disappeared, which is kind of sad—a lot is lost when a place becomes hospitable only to well-to-do white people—but there also seem to be a lot more organized activities happening, which is good, as many of them are for children. It makes me smile to hear 20 little girls screaming on the ball field.

Not so much the obnoxious fellow who shrieks something like “Patitucci!” every time there is a change of fortunes in his tennis game—I’d hoped he was going to move away during the months of refurbishment—ditto the blared instructions of the tennis coach who has started to ply his trade here.

On Sunday I did my cooking and watched I Heart Huckabees, which features everyone from Mark Wahlberg to Lily Tomlin to Isabelle Huppert. It wasn’t very good. I mainly watched it because Mark Wahlberg is in it.

This past Monday I made my biennial visit to my primary care provider, had my annual vision exam, and went to the hardware store for epoxy. In the evening, C. and I had dinner at La Santaneca and got into a fight, which was absolutely to be counted on, since he was leaving that very evening for El Salvador. There are certain things we don’t do well with, including impending time apart, eating, and any kind of stress whatsoever. However, our goodbye at the airport was pleasant. I took him there in a City CarShare. After we parted, I waited to see if he’d turn to wave, but he didn’t, so I got back in the car, and then, just as he was about to walk inside the terminal, he turned and waved.

Yesterday morning, Peter the printer fixer came over to see what he could do with my laser printer, which has been misfeeding consistently ever since there was a paper jam and I pounded the paper tray back in when it didn’t want to go. Peter has been fixing printers for a long time and came highly recommended. When he arrived, I buzzed him into the building and waited for him to knock on my door.

When that didn’t happen, I opened my door and stuck my head into the hallway and heard Peter calling, “Where are you? I can’t find you.”

“I’m in number four.”

“But I only see five through seven.”

“You’re on the floor above me. Come down one flight.”

“I only see five through seven! Where is number four? Help help!” And so forth.

At this point, I was losing faith in his powers of deduction and was about to yell, “I’ve changed my mind about having my printer fixed!” and slam my door, but couldn’t quite bring myself to do that. And perhaps being great at fixing printers doesn’t translate to being great at finding a given apartment in (ahem) a seven-unit building.

Peter proved to be older, very hard of hearing, and quite affable. After I told him about having forced the paper tray in, he examined the printer, found the problem, fixed it, demonstrated that it was no longer misfeeding, and left, after which it misfed again. He returned shortly with a few additional theories, including that the problem was that the toner was low. That hardly sounded plausible, but I went to OfficeMax and bought new toner ($91.13!), which of course didn’t help.

In the evening I went to Howie’s. One of our sangha members has commented a couple of times on my weight loss in frankly disapproving terms, as if it’s something I’ve done on purpose to offend her. This week, she asked whether I’d had dinner or not and asked, almost angrily, “Have you lost even more weight?” I said, “I don’t know,” and she said, before storming off, “Well, check it out—you look peaked.” This is starting to displease me. If I’d gained weight, I doubt she’d say (to my face), “You appear to me to be bordering on the corpulent.” It’s rather bittersweet to have finally lost weight and not feel good about it myself, plus basically have other people telling me I look terrible.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Premium Misinformation Service

Last week Howie said we were to come to sitting group on Tuesday evening despite it being election day. I planned to do that, but then found out I had a telephone interview for a job the following day, so instead stayed home to “prepare for my interview,” but of course spent most of the evening watching the election returns online. Like many, I feared there would be some snafu that would drag the whole thing out for days or weeks, after which the Supreme Court would install Romney. I called my mother and found her watching TV with my father and sister. I gave her some election-related fact or other, which she was glad to hear, but then I added that only 11% of precincts had reported for that state, and she grumbled, “I’m getting misinformation from this cell phone.”

Being a person with a pre-existing health condition—having been treated last year for DCIS, or Stage 0 breast cancer—I was tremendously relieved that Obama won, and delighted at how long it didn’t take. I called my mother back and she asked if there was screaming in the streets. I said there was. San Franciscans never miss an opportunity to scream in the streets, whether or not this service has been requested. “This does call for screaming in the streets,” my mother agreed, “or at least banging a pot lid with a wooden spoon.” She conferred with my father and sister and reported, “Well, I can’t get my staff to go out with pot lids.”

Then I called David and Lisa in Seattle and we hung out on the phone, which was fun. The next worry was about whether Romney would concede or not. His seeming delay aroused some anxiety, but finally he did give his concession speech—I gather he hadn’t bothered to write one, which might explain the wait. His speech was quite gracious, and then Obama gave his victory speech.

I was shocked at how many people voted for Romney. How could they think they even knew what his actual positions were, and did they really trust him to hold their concerns as top priorities? I mean, other than very rich people? The latter would certainly have felt they were in good hands with Romney, and I feared he would win because of the vast sums he was able to spend and that were spent on his behalf, so it was great to find out that trainloads of cash still can’t quite buy you the presidency.

Wednesday was my job interview on the phone, and also a day of complete fasting in preparation for my first colonoscopy. I considered asking to reschedule the interview, but seizing the moment seemed more prudent, and it turned out that I felt all right during our conversation, which I think went well. I liked the person who would be my boss, and it sounds like they’re only interviewing a couple of other people, so my odds sound fairly good. This job is at my former company; please disregard all that blather about not wanting to work there. The job itself looks genuinely great, right up my alley: gathering information, analyzing it, working with all kinds of different people, organizing and managing information and projects, providing technical support and training. It’s not a pure business analyst role, but a step in that direction.

I did fairly extensive preparation the morning of the interview, practicing over and over for the question I was most worried about, which didn’t end up being asked. I taped a lot of pieces of paper to my walls at eye level so they’d be at the ready, but, also due to having prepared for the interview for my current temporary job not so long ago, found I really didn’t need them, which means I might actually survive an in-person interview if I ever have one.

After not eating all day, I drank a bottle of extremely yucky stuff at 5 p.m., and let’s leave it at that, except to say that it paid off to undertake the fasting. I gather that if you eat anything the day before your colonoscopy and then drink the yucky stuff, you’ll be up many times in the night running to the bathroom, which I wasn’t.

However, when I got up at 5 a.m. yesterday, I was feeling dizzy and extremely lousy. I could barely stand up, and drinking the second and final dose of that really dreadful-tasting stuff was a misery. Every cell in the body doesn’t want to take it in, even with the fake fruit flavoring. I went to my appointment by cab and everything from then on was perfectly delightful: one is fawned over by a nice nurse, goes completely to sleep, and wakes up when it’s all over. Before I left the endoscopy center, my doctor—she was totally darling—said everything looked perfect and that I don’t have to come back for ten years. By that time, there will probably be a mobile app for bowel cleansing.

C. took a long bus ride across town to come and fetch me, which was very sweet of him, and we took a cab home. I can only remember one brief snippet of that ride. I made us lunch and then took a long and wonderful nap. C. went somewhere or other and returned later for dinner.

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.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

In Need of a Project

Last Monday evening C. and I watched the final presidential debate together.

The next day, N. and I met for burritos at La Cumbre in the late afternoon. At Howie’s afterward, I told him that reciting the Five Remembrances daily—I can’t escape sickness, old age, death or being separated from everything and everyone I love; my actions are my only true belongings—was starting to make me feel gloomy. It has also been leading to some poor decisions: I’ll be dead one day, so I’d be foolish to miss this chance to do such-and-such. Howie said we’re not supposed to stew over the Five Remembrances, just use them as a reminder, and that if I’m dwelling on them during the rest of the day, it’s a sign I’ve lost touch with reality.

Wednesday evening I was feeling unusually depressed (probably because of the Five Remembrances), and C. came over to keep me company and patiently listened while I explained why nothing in this world is any good.

Thursday I went to see Brigitte for yet another haircut, to fix what Max did to me, but there’s not really anything to be done except wait for it to grow out. Brigitte did sympathize very sincerely, which made it all the more clear that it looks pretty terrible at the moment. Spooked, I asked, “What would I do if I had an important meeting tomorrow?” and she said sadly and despairingly, “I don’t know!”

“Wear a hat?”, I suggested, and she considered and said, “Yes, perhaps a hat.”

On Friday, C. and I had dinner at El Majahual.

This past Saturday was Open Studios in the Mission. C. and I visited some artists near my place in the mid-afternoon, and then walked in the direction of Developing Environments. In the course of our stroll, vigorous antipathetic feelings developed and we agreed to part and stalked off in opposite directions. I felt very good about this for about one block, but then decided it wasn’t really going to be that much fun to spend the beautiful afternoon by myself, and turned around to look for C., but there was no sign of him. I walked up and down one block of Mission St., and just as I was about to give up, I spotted his halo of white hair as he trundled along in the direction I’d headed when we separated—he’d come to the same conclusion, and we soldiered on.

Good moods restored, we saw some art, and sat chatting outside a café for a while, and walked over to the Sun Rise restaurant to use the gift certificate I’d won at the benefit. C. had tilapia, which was the entire fish, not omitting eyeballs and skin.

When I got home, there was still time to watch HappyThankYouMorePlease, in which a woman declines to date a man who she says is very immature and going to cause her a lot of problems. In reply he asks, “Don’t you need a project?”

On Sunday I did my cooking. The Giants won the World Series that night, causing a tremendous ruckus outside.

Awhile back, I spoke on the phone with the recruiter who helped me get my first technical job many years ago, and on Tuesday we talked again. I have been meaning to pursue a business analyst position, but had begun to fear it was just too much of a stretch. Plus, I’m having such fun learning new stuff in Excel and writing for-loops that I was thinking I might just enjoy a technical job more.

Chatting with Ann Marie turned out to be a very good idea. She looked at my LinkedIn profile and offered some suggestions, and pointed out that not everyone can speak both English and Computer fluently—that this is a desirable skill—and she also mentioned that a business analyst job would be less subject to offshoring than coding jobs. It was an encouraging conversation.

In the evening, it was off to Howie’s.

In my current temporary job, there are four SMEs—subject matter experts—for network traffic hubs that are being decommissioned and will be replaced with new, virtual ones. The project underway is to find the owner of everything—routers, switches, servers—that’s sending data to these and get them to switch to the new hubs.

This week, someone said she was pretty sure she had pointed her stuff to the new hubs—could we confirm by checking in HP Network Automation? I sent a request to the four SMEs, waited a couple of days, and finally decided just to do it myself; I recalled someone had showed me this in my first couple of weeks on the job. I was able to validate the new configuration without further delay, and the woman was delighted.

I’m also starting to run meetings with the owners of the equipment and can now explain a lot of stuff the SMEs used to have to provide information on, which is quite satisfying.