... the journal

The Guest
Refrigerator Door

These aren't exactly magnets, but they were off of a wonderful wall at my friend diane's house in England...and there are a bazillion of them.

db-fishing.jpg (19289 bytes)

* Discussion *

Talk about it here.


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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette


The Guardian


Samples of two of the
slide shows I've been making
can be downloaded from
this ZDNet page

and four more are posted at Beechbrook Cottage

Pictures from our The England and Orkney trip are on my own Club Photo page.

Not to be missed:  Steve has uploaded some of his new songs to the web.  Check 'em out

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That's it for today!



17 October 2001

You may have noticed that this journal seems to have lost a bit of its pizzazz. I'm still writing every day, but some entries bore even me. As Steve said, there's only so many times you can say "Well, I sat here all day long and looked at the mess on my desk."

So I've been stretching things a bit trying to keep this journal interesting, but basically, I've come to realize that it's time I got out of the house. It's been very easy to build this little cocoon around myself in the last year or so. For some reason, I don't seem to be doing as much volunteering for Breaking Barriers as I used to--I'm not really sure why. Initially, I used to drive people two days a week; now it seems that I've stopped getting new clients and continue to drive the same two or three women. Which is fine. I love all three of them, but it doesn't give me the chance to get out, get lost in Sacramento, have adventures.

And so....here's one of my big secrets that I haven't told anybody yet......

Before we left for England, I started thinking about possibly going back to work. Walt hasn't pushed me to get a job but I know that two trips to England in the same year have put quite a strain on the budget and the few tapes I transcribe during the week don't really add all that much to the coffers.

But, quite frankly, the idea of looking for a job has been terrifying. The last job interview I had was in 1963, when I got my first "real" job, working for the Physics Department at the University of California. I interviewed for three different jobs, and ended up at the Physics Department. It was a wonderful job. I loved that job, and I held it for four years, until I left to become a mother.

Every job I've had since then is a job I've just kind of fallen into. I started doing fill in typing at home for a typing service that ended up hiring me full time. Then when I left that job, I went to another typing service. That company taught me medical transcription and had me rotate through all sorts of medical offices here in town, filling in when the in-house transcriptionist was out sick or on vacation. Through that, I ended up getting hired full time for the ob/gyn office, a job I held for 10 years. So it was 4 years at UC Berkeley, 7 years at each of two typing services, and 10 years for the ob/gyn office--and now several years here at home doing nothing.

So I don't even know how to interview! Not in today's market, and that terrifies me. I also did not have a "good" end to any of my last 3 jobs and there is a very real fear of rejection--especially with my age and weight. Would people really want to hire a 58 year old morbidly obese woman, no matter what her job skills were?

Then there was my feeling that I didn't have the skills that jobs today are looking for. Every ad that I read asked for Word and Excel. I could learn Word if I had to. I know WordPerfect very well, but I hate Word so I never use it. And I've never had the need to use Excel, so it's a skill I'd have to acquire. I could learn, of course, in preparation for a job hunt, if I decided to go on one, but there didn't seem to be any pressing need.

Still, I kept glancing at the want ads from time to time just to see what was available.

And then, just before we left for England there was the perfect ad. Someone was looking for a part time office manager for a gynecologist office. I thought of applying, but knew that we were leaving on the vacation, so felt that the timing was just wrong. But the ad stayed in the paper and stayed and stayed and stayed. So I finally wrote a letter applying for the job.

The doctor who had placed the ad called me to let me know that he'd just hired someone the day before my letter arrived, but we chatted. It turns out that he used to work for the office I managed, but he was a fill-in doctor and only worked in the hospital, so our paths had never crossed. We had lots in common, especially with our feelings about HMOs and patient care (he does not take patients with insurance because he doesn't want to deal with insurance companies).

We both agreed that it sounded like a good match, but the timing was wrong. "Well, keep my letter in case your new office manager doesn't work out," I said and I wished him well. Then I never thought any more about it.

Until earlier this week when he called to ask if I was still interested. It turns out that the new manager isn't working out and he's letting her go. We talked a bit and he told me a bit about the position. "Office manager" is a bit of a misnomer, perhaps. It's a two person office--himself and his employee. He doesn't even have a nurse. The person he's looking for does everything, but the practice is small and his hours are only half day four days a week, mornings 2 days and afternoons two days.

We made arrangements to get together on Saturday, but he would have to call me because he didn't know his schedule. I sat here all day waiting for his call but he never did. I still hadn't even let Walt know I was even thinking about going back to work, much less that I actually had an appointment to talk with someone about the job.

The doctor called yesterday to apologize profusely for not contacting me on Saturday and we made arrangements to meet this afternoon. We also talked more about the job, and he practically hired me over the phone, sight-unseen. We never even discussed salary, because the job sounded so perfect.

I called one of his former employees, whom I know (it seems we know all the same people) and she couldn't say enough good things about him and about the job. She had left because she was looking for full-time work and went back to her old job with Sutter.

So this evening, I got in the old clunker car ('cause Walt's in San Francisco at the opera) and drove out to his house. We had a delightful chat and he stopped short of hiring me on the spot, because he wants to check references. I projected a lot more confidence than I feel about my ability to keep his books, and said that sure I could learn how to take blood pressures. But mainly the job is dealing with patients...and I'm great at doing that. Or used to be, 5 years ago, when I last had to do it.

He wants to check references, but plans to get back to me tomorrow or Thursday night and perhaps I'll start going through orientation next week.

Gleep. A job. A real job. There goes hours of Free Cell and Marbles. There go my little week-long jaunts hither and yon. But in comes salary. And that's very nice. And with any luck, I'll soon have all sorts of wonderful tales of the workplace to spice up this journal.

See what sacrifices I make for my readers?

One Year Ago:
To Everything There is a Season

Some pictures from this journal
can be found at
Club Photo

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Created 10/15/01 by Bev Sykes