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I’m working from the field today, and at the moment the field happens to be Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda. Yes, I’m back here, although earlier today I was in Walnut Creek, which is where I actually did most of the work that I’ve gotten done so far, working before and after lunch at the Pyramid Ale House. I’ve closed two tickets out of five I need to work on, with another two being pretty trivial and the remaining one being… well, less trivial.

When I was reading The Four-Hour Work Week a couple months ago, one of the “worksheet” exercises there was just listing things you’d like to do and be: to be a good (or better) cook, to write a film, to drive the entire Pacific Coast Highway. At the time I did that, I checked Sur La Table’s web site to see if they had any upcoming cooking classes, specifically something useful for a beginner like “Essential Knife Skills.” They didn’t have that one then. I checked again, on a whim, on Tuesday, and they had that specific class that evening. After a bit of waffling, I signed up then and left work a little early to get to the class. Was it worthwhile? Probably. It was fun, and while I’m not sure I was told anything that I hadn’t read somewhere, there’s a difference between reading and having hands-on instruction. There’s a few other classes there I’m going to be interested in pursuing, I suspect. I don’t have any professional chef aspirations, but I do want to kick my own ass into doing more in the kitchen than I have been. On Wednesday, I did cook—just a simple pasta primavera type dish, but it worked. I have a vague intent of using some leftover cooked pasta for pan-fried noodles, although given that it’s past six-thirty on Friday as I write this and I’m fifty miles from home, I don’t know if that’ll be tonight. We’ll see.

I did get to drop into a couple apartments on Alameda today, and I persist in having an attraction to Shoreline Drive there, the road that runs along San Francisco Bay. The apartments, as usual, really aren’t cheap, although given that they may be facing the bay, or at worst just a block away, they’re surprisingly affordable. (Again, by area standards—in most other areas, they’d be blanche-worthy.) These are in part because they’re, well, old: most of them are 1960s-era, don’t have air conditioning, don’t have laundry connections, may not even (gasp) have dishwashers. They’re mostly all independently-managed, so maintenance, office hours, and so on could be highly variable. Many of the buildings have character, but one man’s character is another man’s dilapidation, and I’d certainly have to think about where on that side of the line I fall for a given unit.

All of this is moot while I’m still in debt and without the resources I’d need to not only pay a deposit on a new place but buy furniture, since I’m without most of the basics beyond bedroom stuff now. Even so, my debt’s lower now than it’s been in years, and I expect to knock another big chunk out soon. (I’m realizing just now I’m failing to account for the still outstanding car A/C repair, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.) As fall approaches, I’ll have to take stock of where things are in my life in terms of savings and job security.

From: (Anonymous)
Thank you for sharing your life with your writings. Mylife parallels yours in many ways. I might share that I called all my creditors and I'm paying what is agreed upon, but, it is nowehere near being lower. I too want to learn to cook not to be a chef, but, for plain old pleasure and showing off. I'm looking for a Japanese cooking teacher. I'm also, searching to find a condo or villa, in the South, that I can afford. The condo I found is pretty expensive, but has good amenities. Like you I'm starting to write for others to share and partake in my life experiences. I wish you great fortune in everything you do. Signing off:
"The Wisest Woman in the World"

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February 2018

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