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I almost had a bad accident on Saturday. I was taking the I-5, with plenty of time to kill, having left around 8 in the morning. I was in the right lane, trying not to be next to any cars. I had just finished a random phone conversation with my new property manager and I was peeking over to the left and I noticed an SUV about to merge into my lane, only it did not bother to check and see if I was there. I was probably traveling around 65 miles per hour. In any case, the SUV forced me off the road onto the gravel and I proceeded to slow down. The problem was that I had hit my brakes reflexively and my car began to fishtail. It spun back into the freeway directly into the path of other cars. Luckily for me, most of the cars behind me had stopped--maybe they had seen me swerve. I quickly pulled over to the left side and let all the cars pass, but I was incredibly panicked and I just sat there for about fifteen minutes freaking out and crying. I had to get gas and no one was going to help me, so I waited for a lull and I got back on the freeway, and I ended up getting home around 2pm. That was the biggest event this weekend, aside from having some family time.

I am moving down the street. I will be paying significantly less rent, and I will be trying to save some money for the future.
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It is Sunday night. I am in my Silicon Valley apartment. The only audible noise besides the typing of my keyboard is my neighbor watching a film downstairs. Last week, we elected a man for president who lied about who he was. We all lie sometimes. Maybe it is to save face, make a story sound pretty, or to make an employer not dismiss you immediately. Lying is American. However, this man's lies were allowed to escalate into a movement of destruction. What it will destroy, I am not sure, but our taxpayer dollars are being grifted into many bad things.

How did we get here 2016? Many opinions exist, but there is no nail on the head when there are 125 million people involved in any decision. My confidence in the power of government to solve problems is waning, even if my voice becomes louder. I still have hope that we can build housing in the Bay Area to include everyone, but I see people taking on their own agendas in something that should be a huge human effort to keep people from living in tents in one of the richest cities in the world. This might be the safest place to be for immigrants, for transgendered/queer individuals, for minorities of all kinds, but this is also a place that builds a wall and blocks people out. The selfishness gives me nausea.

My job, yes, I still have the same job, is in carbon capture. My CEO has turned the company into many things, probably one of the signs of the apocalypse, but one of those things was making a product for energy efficiency/cool roofing. I spent a good two weeks at my job in existential dread because I do not want to be a part of coal mining's revival, but part of my energy efficiency role might be spared if I am allowed to collaborate with a national lab on the roofing granules phase 2 study. Many people have been confident about our success in this area, although it was not the intent of the company. Meanwhile, I am still looking for a new job but it is hard to control those circumstances. However, I may have found a new place that is still close to work but will give me back my quiet and my hardwood floors.
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Bay Area prices make rash decisions pretty hard.

While things deteriorate at my job, I have been applying to jobs at a rate of 2-5 per week to try to flee to a more financially secure place. Some of these jobs have been nice enough to reject me with a form letter. I have not had an interview since the big one at Livermore National Labs in June. My ideal count for jobs applied to would be 10 except there are not that many jobs, or they are in the category of not overlapping with my skill set at all.

I have also been studying programming. It is a welcome break from thinking about work, but I would eventually like to go full time on studying.

Last night it took me two hours to drive from San Jose to Oakland. I am tired of living far away from my boyfriend and tired of living in San Jose in general. He seems to be a good sport about it (he is mostly busy with homework). I am wondering why I am making my personal life so miserable at the expense of staying employed. I can't quit my job without a life raft but I wish that it was not a central part of my life.
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Life is really strange right now. Things are moving slowly, and I am not really sure what is going to happen.

A co-worker left for paternity leave last week. We are now down to three scientists. I wonder if there is any science left in us that will make us successful. I keep applying for jobs and hoping for successes. Sadly, job applications are a numbers game and there are not that many great opportunities right now. My current job isn't bad bad. It just isn't stable and it pays terrible for this area. It also gets harder when you become the focus of why the company isn't doing as well as it should. Sometimes, business is beyond your control.

There are many solutions I am exploring and one of them is trying not to leave. I have many important relationships here, one weighted more equally than others. That being said, it is hard not to wonder what it would be like once outside of this Bay Area bubble.

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My high school intern brought in what turned out to be a majorly contagious cold. Note to self: be more assertive about kicking out sick people at work who don't need to be there. I fell ill on Friday and I have not been able to shake the symptoms all weekend. Unfortunately, I had to miss the Grand Avenue bar crawl that was planned for Friday. On top of that, I missed the camping trip to Point Reyes that my friends planned a few months ago. On Sunday, I skipped a baby shower that I was invited to a week ago. All was not lost, as I managed to get some movies, some brunch, and some mini adventures in with Dave. We watched an old school Kung Fu movie called "Come Drink with Me" on Saturday and then a 1980s Japanese sci-fi anime called "Harmagedon" on Sunday. In an effort to get out of the house, we also walked through the Mountain View cemetery after discovering that the gates were actually located all the way down Piedmont Ave. We ended up overstaying our welcome by at least an hour and a half according to some annoyed security guards mostly because the cemetery is an expansive and fascinating place to visit. I am still sick and hoping that this sniffling and congested feeling does not continue much longer, but I guess a little downtime has to happen sometime.
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I am not sleeping.

I don't want to go to work tomorrow. Talking to people about my job makes me feel even more annoyed about my job.

I am tired of looking for pockets of money under couch cushions. I should be glad we exist, but I am starting to look at our existence as some horrible joke.

I need to find some way out, but getting laid off might be a sweet kind of release?

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I am experiencing restlessness at my job. I really dislike my apartment. I can't imagine staying in Los Gatos for the rest of my life.

I don't know what the alternative is. If there was a psychologist with a pen and paper sitting in front of me, they would probably tell me to be content with my situation. However, all I want to do is to go back to graduate school and try again. And yet I don't because I am already very behind on retirement moneys and I don't know if I should even be in chemistry anymore.

I have been watching tons of Breaking Bad. I can't believe I put it off for so long. I am hooked. I sympathize with Walter White's need to be number one in something. R&D sometimes makes you feel like you would be better off as a meth lord.

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Today I read about a multi-million dollar acquisition in East Palo Alto. The last time this happened in East Palo Alto, the company purchased my building and began to make up for the lack of rent increases over 20 years of residence for many of the tenants. When they raised the rent, the tenants were forced to move, but then the company went bust in 2008 when the real estate market decided that it had other plans. The rents stayed the same because the people had already moved on.

I was in the market for a different place at the time. I had the intention of finding a roommate, but I was rejected by several people that I interviewed with from Craigslist. I was working for a start-up and things were starting to look bleak for venture capital funding. They were scrutinizing companies, and it led to some layoffs in cleantech. I did end up finding roommates in a house for $600. It worked out well until the landlady decided she did not want to fix the electrical situation in the house.

I keep thinking that the valley is going to experience another bust like in 2008. I do not work for any unicorns. My start-up is mostly independent of the success of the tech industry, unless you count data centers, which consume a surprising amount of energy (from fossil fuels) to run. Our CEO is talking to all the investors that are not in Venture Capital, and they are pretty strict with their demands. The political situation is volatile, but members of both parties are realizing that we need to do something about the carbon positive future. I am hoping for change. I am also hoping for a raise but I should be wary of layoffs. I was hoping for a new apartment, but I do have the best one bedroom deal in town, so I am not going to complain.
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Before I take 2016 by the reins, I should write out all of the accomplishments that I made this year, even though I did not make a list of goals.

1. Ran two marathons. My goal was to finish the LA marathon and to maybe get under 2 hours on a half-marathon (did not do that). I ended up signing up for Chicago's lottery and making the cut, so I decided to run that marathon too. My conclusion is that I like certain aspects of running marathons, but I hate the training. My goal races next year will be a little different, since I want to get into trail racing and running more trails. I also feel like Go Far Run group has been very instrumental in making me more committed to my running.
2. Camped a whole lot more. 2015 was definitely the year I opted for the campground rather than the hotel room. Camping is not only cheaper, but camping under the night sky affords you some of the best views of the Milky Way. I visited three major national parks in the US (Joshua Tree, Lassen, Inyo Forest) and I climbed to the top of the largest peak in the contiguous United States: Mt. Whitney. I also backpacked on the Ohlone Trail, which has been a half-hour drive from me all of this time. New Zealand was incredible, and I managed to do so many things while I was there that I can't even complain about not making it to the south tip of the Island. Camping there was in many ways better than the US.
3. Lived alone. 2015 signaled the start of my lease. My apartment is expensive, it is in a boring neighborhood, and it picks up outside noise pretty easily, but it is mine and mine alone.
4. Left the country. I went to visit New Zealand. I stayed with Brady in Wellington and then I toured the South Island and much of the North Island alone. Traveling alone had some scary moments, but I felt safe most of the time. The worst part was catching a ridiculous sea sickness on the ferry across the Cook Strait. Luckily, I did that in a place where no one will remember me.
5. Held on to my job. 2015 has been financially tough for my company and for worker morale. In 2016, I will be looking for (and may have already found) a new job, but my company has not fired me. Even if I do not switch jobs next year, I am still in an okay place with my employer and I will make the best of my situation.
6. Saved! 20% of my post-tax income. That is still not enough to buy a house, but my aggressive squirreling is paying off. I am now a member of freecycle and buy nothing groups in my community. Both have been a huge help in reducing the amount of stuff I have as well as introducing me to new things.

This brings me to some 2016 goals.

1.Get my financial house in order.
3.Trail races.
4.Find a new job.
5.More Camping and Road Trips

Also, on the agenda for next year, I will be visiting Portland and Atlanta.
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Last week, I had a weird job revelation when I expressed the desire to become sustainability director at a huge company (i.e. Google) to my coworker. Immediately after saying that, I started looking at MBA programs, but the time and money commitment does not seem necessary based on my experience. After doing some research and having some conversations with some people, I decided I don't need an MBA program but I should look into MOOCs with specific goals in mind as well as maybe writing a statement of intention that I can insert into my cover letter. I should also start applying sooner rather than later.

My job will still be around, maybe months, maybe longer. I don't plan to quit, but the reality of needing a new job soon makes me a little tense and a little excited.

I have been absent from this apartment for three weekends in a row so it was good to have a low key but social weekend. I did some much needed catching up with the important people and important places in my life.
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