What 'having it all' feels like. Part 1.

I kind of have a running thread in my life where I have settled a bunch of major issues, and then some other shoe drops, or some goal presents itself as unattainable.

But let's jot this one down as a placeholder.

So, I have been living in the East Bay for a year. The most incredible thing that happened is that I started working at Berkeley Lab as a full time employee, which is one of those things that I penciled on a bucket list shortly after graduating from Berkeley because as someone who navigated the orbit of prestigious researchers it seemed like the thing to do once you had a PhD. But I never actually thought it would happen, and in this context of leaving academia and finding new purpose in life as a 'data scientist'.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with an old Berkeley friend. She was gushing about her recent engagement and her life in New York. She asked me how it feels to be here again while I was walking through Gourmet Ghetto looking for a bite to eat.

I told her that it still feels weird. The physical environment has not changed very much. The lab still has gorgeous views. The people are amazingly smart and interesting. I feel so rewarded in my patience in finding a good job and I feel like I am being challenged, which is great. However, I naively expected that the same people would be here upon my return, but instead my core group of friends has moved far enough or forward enough in life that I can't expect to grab a bite with them to eat here on a regular basis, and this makes me a little sad.

Six months

I have been in Oakland for half a year now and life is good.


-RIP Lola: My stalwart Toyota Corolla companion was in a horrible wreck. Even though she insisted on staying alive to her final resting place in the garage, I had to part ways with her and find a safer ride. I bought a hybrid with a plug-in component. I like my new car, even if I wish I didn't need to own a car.
-Ciao Blue Planet: I quit my job in May. I have a cheap housing situation and it allows me to live off of my savings for an indefinite period of time, so I took the plunge and told my boss and co-workers that I was going to look for a job closer to home. I had already been searching for a new job for many months, but the increased energy I put into job searching and learning how to program better helped me locate a new position.
-Drug pusher: I'm starting a new role at a famous brand name drug company. I gained the position based on my extensive analytical experience and I will probably be doing some fun projects. It's a welcome career pivot and most importantly it is not at a start-up so I get a different perspective.
-Community Engagement: As soon as I moved to Oakland I joined East Bay For Everyone and quickly ascended to secretary. I have been working on community engagement, transit, transit oriented development, and repealing the dreaded prop 13. I am writing this at a time when I feel like California is very crucial in the fight against the current administration but my hopes for a speedy end to all the suffering fade with each passing day.


I logged in after a few months of not checking anything and livejournal forced me to manually check the journals of everyone who still updates and I found that to be annoying. I suppose I should quit this thing eventually.

Things in my life as of recently:
-Moved in with my boyfriend who happens to live in Oakland. Leaving the South Bay after 11 years was a huge deal and I am still in disbelief.
-Went on a 1.5 week whirlwind tour of Japan and Thailand where I ate all of the things and then walked them off.
-Still have same job--still looking for a new job
-Attended two weddings, went to New Orleans, went to Portland and Washington this summer
-Ran a marathon in SF
-Ran a 50K and did not die

I hope to do more things in 2018 but those things are contingent upon me finding my bearings in the East Bay.


I returned to work after a week in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah checking out parks and running a race. Things at work have not changed. Furthermore, a huge player in the company who has been there for ten years is leaving, not necessarily because he found a job, but his wife did. He is converting to consultant status, and since the CEO is notoriously bad paying consultants, he is probably leaving.

I am still looking for jobs.

My last interview never contacted me back and now I have a new phone interview for a job I applied for several months ago. Things might get more difficult at the current job, but I am hoping to still get a paycheck.

Freaked out

In the past two weeks:

*I gained two roommates who are much better than ex-roommate from hell. (This is in addition to one other roommate, so we are a full house now)
*Trump became president.
*I ran 22 miles, fell, and busted my shoulder kinda bad
*Women marched. I stayed home licking my wounds.
*I interviewed for a new job at a company that I can be proud of, and even if I don't get that job, it is a step in the right direction.
*The EPA was silenced, Muslims were detained at the airport, and congress was passing bills to cut health insurance for 20 million people.
*I hiked to the top of Mount Diablo and THERE WAS SNOW!
*I watched Purple Rain with Dave. I miss Prince.
*My shoulder is getting better.

The future is scary. Any positive news comes with a deluge of negative news and I can't really be optimistic about anything. I hurt for my Muslim friends. I hurt for my Mexican friends. And I fear for my own safety as a Jew (even if it seems ridiculous to do so).

Fuck this president and fuck everything about the next four years, because even if he leaves with the trail of destruction close behind, he will be replaced with another lying son of a bitch.

Who will inherit the community?

In 2016, we saw many of our beloved celebrities die, but we also saw businesses die as people decided to retire after many years of service. I made plans to get Chanukkah donuts at a bakery in Oakland this year, and on Christmas Night, as Dave and I were strolling down Grand, making our way to a Chinese restaurant that had its lights on, we saw that bakery was open. They were having a shut down party because the owner had decided to retire after several years of running the bakery. Sadly, they did not make any donuts this year. I told Dave that I would buy that bakery in a heartbeat if I had the money. I don't really have money to invest or a house to back it up on. Also, I just moved and the cost of moving into a three bedroom house (albeit one I will eventually share with people) is enough to drive me into debt, but luckily I already have savings. And yet, instead of making a nest egg of my own, I am giving most of my money to some wealthy benefactor landowner in some trust who barely maintains their dilapidated 1960's era home.

This bakery is not the only business I see closing. A lot of businesses will probably close in the future, but very few people can afford to buy them and set up their own businesses. Many people in the bay area can't even afford to regularly go out to eat or buy things at a bakery so maybe it doesn't matter, but it makes me wonder how the next generation of people will be able to find and enjoy an independent business let alone be able to run one.


I have been living in the new house for a few weeks.

I enjoy it much more than my previous place, except for the fact that I made a terrible mistake. I let a quiet looking sextagenarian Japanese woman move in about a week before because we needed a person and she had only intended to stay until February. She moved in a week before me and left a massive pile of her stuff in the garage and refuses to take it back to storage. This made me completely stressed out when I had to move all of my stuff out of my apartment last Saturday (1 week ago) and I could barely move through the garage. She has been here almost a whole month and the pile of boxes persist. It is almost like she is making me engage her about it, which is really inconsiderate. She also makes me feel incredibly uneasy, to the point where anything I say around her makes me feel like I am constantly walking on eggshells and I don't know how to predict her reaction. In my mind, the drama stems from me realizing that she would make a cool person to know, but a terrible roommate and it makes me dislike her even more. I hope she is able to move in with her friends in February, and that they enjoy each other's company, however, I can't wait until she leaves and I find someone else.

Much ado about moving.

I moved down the street. I cleared out an apartment worth of items accumulated over my ten years of South Bay living, and it ended up involving two dump runs and several donations. I spread-sheeted my books. I got rid of some more clothing. I threw away expired food. I still have two carloads of stuff, but I think I am approaching the end of this slog, which is good because I can turn in my keys before midnight on Saturday. My new place is in a 4-plex. I have two roommates. One will be moving out soon so I will need to find a new one. I am the master tenant. I was skeptical about living here, but so far, the noise level is much more improved from the previous apartment. It also has hardwood floors, which will make it easier to live with my furballs. I may have to sleep with them in my bedroom for the first time, which should be interesting.

On the job front, I stopped applying for stuff through the holiday season. The job hunting will pick up again after New Years. My company appears to be humming along with certain deals, but I am pretty sure that if nothing closes in February people will start leaving. My co-workers tend to be more pessimistic and more depressive with each passing day. I am skeptical about our ability to succeed when we keep meandering down different pathways. I also don't like the idea of carbon sequestration very much anymore.

Trump was elected president a month ago. Just writing that sentence made me feel ill. I find solace in the fact that other people are equally terrified. Maybe we can find some common ground, because the next four years will be a horrible fight to preserve everything we value.

An artist space in Oakland burned down during a party this past Saturday. 36 people died needlessly in a fast blaze. While I never went to that particular venue, I have been to similar events, including one at NIMBY in Fruitvale and American Steel Studios. These places hold the hearts and souls of the artist community but some of them are unfortunately not being maintained properly. I cry every time I hear about another victim on the radio. I cry for a society that has taken to eating its young, because it can't sustain itself anymore. I cry because people have to be adversaries in a litigious society. Knee jerk reactions often lead to bad policies and ultimately no one wins.

2016 sucks. 2017 could be rock bottom, but I am hoping for the best.

Near Death and Life.

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.