This has been a really tiring week.
First, the foot. It is still weeping. Not much blood, but quite a bit of clear fluid. The podiatrist said that the edges are having a hard time closing for healing. Well, my (internal) response was: Why did you people cut this thing out? It wasn't giving me any trouble and similar ones have solidified and then dissipated. So it's an iatrogenic problem. I really don't know what to do. It's frustrating, scary (will I have to take antibiotics for 6 weeks only? 9 weeks? 12 weeks? Until the cows come home? Will it heal eventually? When is "eventually"?), and annoying. Today is Pride Day here in London, and we're staying home because I couldn't march or stand for a long time. This is the fourth or fifth year I have missed London Pride. And, in this year where great strides have been made in LGBT rights (gay marriage in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Iowa; same-sex sexual activity legalised in India, and many that I have missed) and some steps backward (California), I want to be out there marching, demonstrating, and showing that gay men aren't all twinks and gym bunnies and that we don't automatically self-destruct when we reach age 30. I can't. My feet and body are not cooperating.
Monday we had the last of the Fairer Shares meetings for the deanery. These meetings set the rates at which parishes pay money to the diocese to keep everything (mostly clergy salaries) going. The deanery made out OK this time around, I think, with some parishes taking a hit because their collective income was higher and some benefiting because their collective income was lower. Raises in quota are capped at 10%. The Fairer Shares system works because it is not only fair, it's perceived as fair. Long may it continue.
Tuesday I went to the Diabetic Clinic for two appointments I hadn't been aware of before I left for the United States: one with a lipid doctor and one with a dietician. I dutifully turned up, had my height and weight measured (weight down 2 kg, height the same) and my blood pressure checked: 127/78 (I think). I was amazed. My blood pressure hasn't been that low in years when taken by a health professional.
I saw the lipid doctor and he wanted to redo tests that had been recently taken, and the dietician conceded that my problem was portion control and not necessarily what I eat. The dietician made me wait for an hour before he saw me. See my previous long blog entry for the rant
Wednesday through Friday I attended an Electromind
course called "Rapid Software Testing", conducted by Michael Bolton
, one of the gurus in the neglected art of software testing. I found the course helpful but a bit chaotic (I think Michael might say that as I'm a Meyers/Briggs J, as opposed to his P, that's exactly what I would say.) There are lots of handouts (on a USB key), and slides (boy, has he got slides). There were lots of valuable ideas and methods introduced during the course. I would say that the people who need to take this course should be carefully selected. Test managers don't necessarily need to take this
course, but would perhaps benefit from a course in managing rapid testers and the rapid testing methods. But, that's just my own personal opinion. The other 9 attendees seemed to enjoy it (as did I, I hasten to add) and got a lot out of it (as did I).
I suppose I have two reservations about it, having to do with the venue. The conference room was almost the furthest away from the front desk as you can get in this hotel (Crowne Plaza, near St. James Park). You needed a twenty-mule team and a 3-day supply of rations to get there—and my tongue is only partly in my cheek. Second, the lunch. When taking courses like this, the idea of lunch is to get it into you as quickly as possible so that those who have to keep an ear out for problems at their workplace can call in or take calls. On Wednesday, once we found the lunch restaurant (they hid it) we sat down, ordered as if we were dining out, and then took 1-1/2 hours to get served and finish up. When we got there on Thursday, they had the same menu as Wednesday. As lots of it was fish, this was particularly sad for me. The chef whipped up gnocchi and tagliatelle for those who didn't want the same old choices from Wednesday. Friday's menu was promised to be different and, lo! it was. Smaller. However, it took 1-1/2 hours to eat on Thursday and Friday. This put a crimp in our day, as Michael went on to 5:30 pm rather than ending at 5 pm as promised. On Friday this created a difficulty for me, as I had to get somewhere at 6 and Michael continued on until 5:40 pm. I just barely made it.
The place I had to get to at 6 pm was Piccadilly Circus, where HWMBO was waiting for me. We did dinner at Hamburger +
on Dean Street, which has changed its sign to "Hamburger +" but, apparently, not its website. We have had some sad experiences there but we were trying to eat quickly in SoHo to get to the next event. The burger wasn't bad, and the onion rings were very good indeed. Full marks, Master Hamburger.
While HWMBO was ordering I was sitting at the window idly watching the street scene and who should come walking down the pavement toward me but Ian Hislop
, who looked rather cross. I don't know whether that's his public face (look fierce to keep the adoring public away) or he was really cross about something. On Have I Got News for You
he almost always looks cherubic. Anyway, I winked at him from inside the restaurant and that was it. The reason he was walking down that particular street is that Private Eye
's office is a bit further up. And, oddly enough, as I was sitting there before he came along I wondered (again, idly) whether Hislop would walk by and there he was! I shall now wonder whether we'll win the lottery tonight.
We then walked to Wardour Street for a showing of some of Creative SINergy
's short films in honour of Pride. They all had a LGBT focus (even if that was only because the director is gay or lesbian). They were all very good. The evening was titled "Short Circuit
" and we enjoyed all the films immensely. The first one, "Summer
" was especially good.
We had a drink beforehand in the screening room lobby and, of course, there were goodie bags included. Thanks to Brian Tan
for getting everything together and straightening out our convoluted payment methods.
Today is the Fourth of July. My father used to ask "Do they have a Fourth of July in England?" and a few times I fell into the trap and started to explain that Independence Day wasn't celebrated here as we were on the other side. The answer, of course, is "Yes, one every year."
I have in the past talked about renouncing my US citizenship as I intend to remain here in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future, and I see myself as British now rather than American. However, there is a part of me that won't ever leave the United States, really. For all the hassle that US taxes, getting my vote counted, and trying to get into the country without being cross-examined by the Rottweilers who staff the immigration counters, I guess that I really can't give up US citizenship now without feeling very sad and unsettled. I belong here AND there. While this is not unique, for me it's important to separate the hassles put in my way by silly US laws and ignorant immigration officials from the very great experiment that is the United States, one that is still going on 233 years later. It's fallible, it breaks every once in a while, and it's not always the best place to live, especially if you are not Caucasian, not straight or not US-born. It's not always a beacon to the world—heck, sometimes it's not even a beacon to itself. But, I can't escape it. When I hear The Stars and Stripes Forever
, expecially when played at Trinity Church Wall Street by Cameron Carpenter
something wells up that I can't explain here.
Today is also Pride Day here in London. I guess I'm proud of being HWMBO's husband (legally), being gay, being American, and being British AND American. Being all of these are the greatest blessings one can have, and I'm grateful for every one of them.