Friday, August 31, 2007

old lady new job

I'm not entirely in a blogging mood right now, but I thought I should at least check in, because it's been an eventful week. I turned 29 on Tuesday, and spent a couple of minutes obsessing over my wrinkles in front of the mirror. I know I'm being a little silly, but I am feeling rather old. DWE took me out for dinner and jazz music, which was really lovely and relaxing.

On Monday I started my new job. We spent this week doing training and getting to know each other, and next Tuesday I start teaching students. There are five other new Math Empowerment teachers, all of whom seem really cool (and a couple of whom are young and male and way cute). I think I'm going to like this job quite a bit. It's a very supportive, progressive, and fun work environment, and from what I can tell working with the students will be both challenging and enjoyable.

Speaking of high school students from the greater Oakland area, has anyone ever heard of the slang term "bootsy"? Apparently it's a negative adjective that high school students around here use. Most likely several of my new students will think that math is bootsy.

I'll probably post again later this weekend, but that's all for now.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

the other love of my life

One thing about finding a job relatively quickly (and with shamefully little effort, unless you count worrying and feeling inadequate as putting forth "effort") is that I never got desperate or curious enough to really look for jobs anywhere outside of the Bay Area. Now that I have a job that I'm enthusiastic about, there's essentially no chance that I will be living anywhere but the Bay Area through at least June 2008. I made a conscious decision to move back to SF at the expense of other alternatives (and maybe "move back" isn't even the right phrase, because it still feels like my home as much as it ever did). And there was, quite frankly, only one other alternative: Portland, Oregon.

So here I am in Portland, and if I'm not exactly doubting the haste and blitheness with which I made my decision, I'm at least feeling palpably the costs of that decision. I love it here. It isn't just that I have so many good friends here, or that the weather is pleasing, or that I know the bus system. Those things I knew, and I remembered when I decided not to move back here. The thing I didn't remember was how much I love Portland in the same irrational and wide-eyed way that one loves another person. I just want to stare at Portland for hours. I want to ride over the bridges in Tri-Met buses even if I have no where to go. I want to wander the aisle of the Hawthorne Fred Meyer, and then when I get bored of that, I want to go to the Broadway Fred Meyer. When people mention Modest Mouse or The Decemberists or Matt Groening or Bruce Springsteen's first wife, I want to say, "They're from Portland, because everything great is from Portland, because Portland is the best city in the world." I want to pay $0.99, not $1.07, for something that costs $0.99. I want to go out to Beaverton and go to all the little restaurants we used to go to when I worked at the Employment Department. Then I want to ride the MAX from Beaverton to the airport. But when I get to the airport I don't want to leave.

Alas, I do have to leave, in just a few days. I already made my decision. I chose SF because I was already there, and I have good friends there too. I chose it because in theory it's one of the greatest cities in the world, and in practice I think it's pretty cool. I chose it because the buses are cheaper and run later. And, yeah, mostly I chose it because I have one particular friend there that I could probably stare at for even longer than I could stare at Portland, although he'd almost certainly get creeped out and make me stop.

Other than my hopeless pining away for the city itself, I'm having a really good time. MJ's wedding reception was a great party, and I found myself all emotional that my little girl is a grown-up married lady! She and her hubby (does he have a blog name? I can't remember...) are clearly incredibly happy and incredibly good for each other, so yay! It's been really great to see all of my friends. Everyone seems to have something interesting going on--exciting trips, new and/or growing kids, cool projects and career plans, etc. I'm hoping that despite working almost-full-time, I'll have more chances to come up here and visit (and more importantly, more money to do so).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

i got the job!

I was officially offered and officially accepted a teaching position with the Math Empowerment program at Making Waves. Yay! I start on August 27th, so it will be a nice one-day-early 29th birthday present. I'm a bit overqualified for the position (insofar as I don't need a master's degree to do it, and in theory I'm qualified to do other jobs that pay more), but the work is very appealling, and I will make enough money to survive. In fact, I'm starting at a higher salary than I would have otherwise as a result of my degree (of course, I'm also in a lot of debt as a result of my degree, so there you go).

The next project, then, is to find an apartment. Since I will be working in Richmond, which is over in East Bay, I'm considering living in Berkeley or another BART-adjacent place that might be cheaper than San Francisco. Berkeley isn't exactly cheap, but it's at least potentially cheaper than SF, and my commute would be just about 15 minutes instead of more than an hour (not that I mind a long commute too much...I can always read, listen to music, etc).

Anyway, it's a huge relief to know that I have a job waiting, and it's nice that I don't have to start for another two weeks (especially since I really can't start sooner than the 27th, since I will be in Portland all of next week).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

yucky heat, yucky bugs, pretty dress

Not that I expect anything different in Bakersfield in mid-August, but I feel the need to complain: it is freaking hot. My mother has become much less stingy about the AC, but in the absence of her enforcement, I've developed my own internal sense of guilt about wasting money and resources (see, her brainwashing--I mean upbringing--worked perfectly), so I don't turn it on very often. And quite frankly, the heat isn't very noticeable if you're watching TV with the ceiling fan on, and I do quite a bit of that these days. I'm only whining now because for the past couple days I've actually been working: organizing all the junk in my room, sorting through piles of mail and paperwork, packing up clothing and books to take back up to SF, and doing a few chores for my mother. I'm going to take as much stuff as possible with me on my next trip up to SF, because hopefully I won't be coming back to Bakersfield for a little while, because hopefully I will have a job. I haven't heard from them yet, but they told me they'd get back to me in between a week and a week and a half, and it will have been a week on Tuesday. So it will probably be at least another day or two. I've been really bad in that I haven't been looking for other work, even though it is very possible that I won't get this job. But I suppose if I don't get the job, I will be highly motivated by my lack of income to start looking again.

I'll head up to SF sometime during this coming week, and then on Friday DWE and I will drive up to Oregon to visit people and to attend MJ's wedding reception. I bought a dress today to wear to the reception; it's just a little cotton empire-waisted peasanty-looking thing that I got at Old Navy, but it's cute and it's a really pretty burgandy color and it was on sale for 50%, plus I had a coupon for an extra 20% off my purchase, so it was an absolute steal at $12. (Bonus math question: what was the original price of the dress?) I'd actually tried it on weeks ago in San Diego, and then I'd seen it again in SF, but decided not to buy it both times (which is a sort of shopping-related self-restraint that I usually don't practice). And then they only had two left at the Bakersfield store, and one of them was in my size. Very exciting (well, it was exciting for me, anyway...).

Anyway, poor DWE is in Oregon right now, dealing with the discovery that his house in St. Helens is infested with termites. He said that they are pouring out of the walls like liquid, and that inside the walls (he is starting to tear out walls in the bathroom in order to get to them) there is basically a two-foot-high pile of writhing insects. Apparently many of them are at least two inches long, and more than a few of them can fly. (For those of you who've seen it, I imagine it's a bit like that bug scene in the second Indiana Jones movie.) A friend of his, whom he described to me as "a pretty tough broad" (and I believe it, because she has a bunch of foster kids) ran screaming from the house when she saw them. I told him that I was impressed with how brave he was being, and he pointed out that he doesn't really have much of a choice. I suppose that's at least partially true, but I think most of the time when people are brave it's when they're forced to be, or at least strongly encouraged to be.

Anyway, this is just one more reason that I don't own a home, or a car, or anything else of value other than my iPod and my computer, and my computer isn't even valuable anymore because it turns off for no reason all the time. Which is why I'm using my mother's laptop right now, which is why my mother is looking at me impatiently because she is supposed to be working.

Monday, August 06, 2007

one step closer to no longer being a shiftless drain on society

I'm still here in partly-cloudy San Francisco, crashing on S's inflatable mattress and watching his Sex and the City DVDs (can I just say that Harry and Charlotte are the most adorable and romantic thing ever?). I've been waiting to hear back from the folks I interviewed with on Wednesday, and they called this morning to set up a second interview, so yay! That presumably means that (1) they liked me and (2) I didn't make a bunch of stupid mistakes on the math test I had to take as part of the first interview. I'm irrationally happy about having done well on what was generally a very easy test; maybe it's because I've been scarred by my hopelessly mediocre performances on the GRE math section, but I was very worried about messing up.

Yesterday I bought a new iPod (the old one, which was on its last leg anyway, was among the items stolen in Ghana). I'd decided a few weeks ago on the red 8 GB Nano, but I was debating whether to buy it at a store or order it online so that I could get free engraving on the back. In the end, I couldn't think of anything I really wanted engraved on the back of my iPod, so I opted for the instant gratification of in-store purchase. I also bought a nice case for it as part of my attempt to maintain this iPod a little more carefully than my old one (although, for all it's many scratches, dropping incidents, and minor problems, that iPod lasted an impressive amount of time).

I'm off on another shopping trip this afternoon, since I only brought one interview outfit with me to SF. I was going to wear my suit pants again with a different top, but I accidentally left my suit hanging in DWE's closet, and he is in D.C. at the moment. I suppose since I'm (hopefully) entering the grown-up working world again, it wouldn't hurt to invest in some more dress pants.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

my recent whereabouts + cruising eharmony

I think that I have emerged from the worst of my post-Ghana malaise, and I feel like communicating again. Yay.

The last two weeks have not been terribly exciting, but here are the highlights anyway. I got a new driver license (I don't know if you've noticed, but in California at least, it's actually called a "driver license" rather than a "driver's license") with a new picture on it (thank God, since the old picture was from 1997). Amazingly, the new picture is actually really good. I dare say I look slightly glamorous. Monday of last week I took Amtrak down to San Diego to visit DWE, then stopped in L.A. to visit Muffin on my way back. This past Monday my mom had a minor-ish medical procedure, so I tended to her for a bit. Last night I took the train up to San Francisco, and this morning I had an interview in Richmond (which is in East Bay sort of near Berkeley) for a position with a non-profit teaching math to disadvantaged high school students. I think the interview (and the math test I had to take afterwards) went well, and I will find out by the end of the week if I get to continue to the second round of interviews. I would be ecstatic if I got this job, partly because I really want it, and partly because I would love it if I didn't have to look for a job anymore (not that I'm looking that hard right now...I should be but I'm not).

Other than my flitting around the state and sort of job hunting, I've been reading a little, watching TV a lot, and trying to find novel ways to entertain myself. For example, I'm currently conducting an experiment to see if DWE and I are "scientifically" compatible. The website will now let you complete your profile AND see your matches without having to pay (I know this because I've seen the commercial a zillion times), so I signed myself up and took their exhaustive personality test. I also forced DWE--under more than a little duress--to also sign up and fill out the personality profile (basically I commandeered his laptop and refused to do anything else until he answered all of the questions). We've been getting matched up with people for a week now, but have still not been matched up with each other. As far as I can tell, there's no technical reason that we shouldn't get matched up: we both said we live in SF, we're both in each other's acceptable age-ranges, etc. Apparently we just aren't compatible on Dr. Neil Clark Warren's 29 Key Dimensions of Compatibility. So I broke up with him. Dude, it's science. You can't argue with science.

Just kidding, of course. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we haven't been matched, but I sort of am, because I think of him and I as being very compatible. I sort of wonder how much of the matching is based on similarities vs. opposite-but-complementary traits; for example, DWE and I are polar opposites when it comes to expressing our feelings (I do it compulsively, he avoids it almost entirely), but it works out: he's a tireless listener, and I can usually intuit what he's feeling without him having to verbalize it.

Perhaps their whole matching system is bullshit. Or, more likely, perhaps it works for some people and not for others (my sister-in-law observed rather keenly, after I explained the site's exhaustive process, that perhaps it brings together people who love answering questions). I can see the appeal of "deep compatibility", but I also think it might be a bit overrated. Yeah, I want DWE to "understand" me, and in some ways he does (in other ways he doesn't, but there are generally other people in my life that understand me in those ways). But I think there's a lot to be said for practicality, too. We may not be "scientifically" compatible, but check this out: he has hereditary hearing loss, so while the rest of the world finds me loud and obnoxious, he thinks that I speak at a reasonable volume. It's like we were made for each other. (Because love means never having to say "You don't have to yell, I'm standing right here").

On the plus side, there seem to be a lot of nice, intelligent, single men in their early thirties in the Bay Area, so maybe if DWE ever dumps me I'll try it out for real.

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