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.

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