Wednesday, July 30, 2014
So that's what I've been doing! I'll try to check back in before I have baby #2 (who should not be joining us for a couple of years at least. Gotta make sure I don't screw up this one first.) or launch my crafting empire, which on the surface sounds like the sweet life but is probably more like late nights hunched over a sewing machine and becoming besties with the staff at the post office. It may be time to revisit my life goals.
(Last-minute add: I was just hunting for previously used labels for this post, and it felt a lot like choosing hashtags. Has it really been so long since I've blogged that now I think in hashtags instead of labels/tags? #hashtagcraycray)
Sunday, September 30, 2012
This? This is my friend Kevin:
Fostering Tech Talent in Schools
A few years ago--like, after I knew him--Kevin needed an extra challenge on top of his day job, and he started teaching first period (actually, I think it was technically zero period) Computer Science at a high school near his apartment. Then he decided to use his master's in education (may we all make such good use of those graduate degrees that we feel so compelled to collect), and that other CS grads like him should be doing the same thing if we really want to continue matching the hiring needs of tech companies around the world. Then he found a way to make that his job while remaining a full-time employee at Big Company That Pays The Bills(tm) and using the company's resources (people and money) to grow the program. *Then* he was featured in the BCTPTB's recent yearly company meeting...and then in the New York Times.
I'm so insanely proud, you guys. To know someone who's stumbled on their life's calling, and then made it an official job, and then got a ginormous company to throw some money at it (maybe not directly related, but still a nice connection), and then got recognized in a world class publication? Add that to the variety of excellent people that I've met between high school, college, and beyond, and damn. We're good people, guys.
...And one of these days I'll convince my husband to start getting up early so he can join this program. Time to use that CS degree (in addition to your current job, whatevs), sweetie!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Yes, I do realize that I’ve been neglecting this blog. A few weeks ago I heard about a blogging service that emails you every day and you just have to hit “reply” to write an entry, and my level of laziness is such that I’d rather have my blog ask me for entries than actually remember to write them on my own. I am just that lazy. It’s a good exercise, though, and I’ve been treating it as a private diary where I can post anything from Twitter- to novel-length and not worry what my readers will think because I’m the only one. That said, I do have a very nice blog with very nice (if not plentiful) readers who would probably like to hear from me once in a while, and since I actually have something to report I will go ahead and do it now:
I’m changing jobs!!
I suppose I can provide some details now that I’ve officially accepted the offer and the wheels are in motion: Starting sometime soon (early June?), I will leave my current role as a marketer and become a recruiter for college/university applicants to Software Company That Pays the Bills, Inc. It’s a discipline change, but many of the skills (teamwork, juggling multiple projects, staying excited despite sleep deprivation) remain the same, and really it’s still kind of marketing, just to a different (and much more skeptical) audience. This is a shift I’ve been thinking about and actively pursuing for several months, and I’m a little apprehensive about the workload and especially the travel (I may have to take a choir hiatus ), but I’d much rather work my butt off for a job I love than pretend to care about a job I merely tolerate. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity—heck, I was lucky to have the first opportunity—and I will keep that in mind when I’m bumped off a flight coming home after weeks of travel and tempted to turn in my frequent flyer miles for a one-way ticket to a deserted island. (Okay, two one-way tickets. Future Husband can come, too.)
I’m thrilled, of course, but now the tricky part begins where I have to figure out how and when to tell the people I currently work with. My manager, his manager, and my manager’s peer who’s been following my job search (and trying to convince me not to leave, bless him) all know, but I’m working on how to tell everyone in person who needs to hear it from me before 1. the news leaks out on its own and 2. my manager sends the official transition email to the organization. One complicating factor that I can’t do anything about is that the Co-Worker Who Hates Everything (and who is not not a reason I’m leaving) just left town for almost two weeks, and poop will hit the fan when she gets broadsided by this news upon her return. I’m actually physically tense about how she’ll react, since she’s been trying to get off this team for years but isn’t getting interviews because people sense a toxic personality/lack of social skills. It’s a shame because she’s actually quite smart and has good ideas that she can execute well on her own; the problem is that she has no sense of how to work well with others and alienates anyone who tries, including our shared manager. And if you’re not with her (like I’ve tried to be, sometimes to my own detriment), you’re dead to her and she won’t hesitate to badmouth you to others. The stress of working with her has brought me to tears multiple times (once in front of my manager’s peer…sigh), so I’m both thrilled to leave and terrified of her reaction. I can’t do anything about that until week after next, though.
Finally, an explanation for the title: One nice feature of my new blogging platform (which has not totally replaced this one, I promise) is that the daily emails include a past post for me to mull over as I work on the current one. Right now I’m getting posts from a month ago, and the one I received last night was all about how miserable I’ve been in my current job and how the best-case scenario was that a recruiting job would just land in my lap so I could live happily ever after. I wouldn’t say this job was quite that easy to get—I did have to interview and there was much gnashing of teeth as I prepared and then waited for a decision—but life has changed a lot in the past month. The job appeared, the team invited me to interview, and they unofficially offered me the job within days of my last interview. This happened fast, even if it seemed excruciatingly slow at the time. (There were some emotions yesterday morning as I nearly convinced myself that the weeklong delay between unofficial and official offer was a sign that they had changed their mind. The official offer materialized within hours.) Lesson learned: Patience! Few things are really as slow as they seem.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Well, I was going to start rereading the first Harry Potter book tonight, but when I opened to the first page I found myself daydreaming about where I was when I read each book and saw each movie, and how much my life has changed since I first discovered the books in college. After a couple of minutes of thinking I put the book down and started writing for real, and I ended up with the brain dump/essay below. I hesitated to share this here as it includes a lot of navel-gazing and it’s not my best writing, but I figured if I managed to voluntarily write a two-page essay, I might as well let a few people read it.
[TL; DR: I read the first Harry Potter book a really long time ago. The final movie comes out this summer, two days before my wedding. Things have changed a lot in those eleven years.]
The Boy Who Lived
I’m restarting the Harry Potter series tonight. I’ve read many of the books more than once (especially books 1-4, which featured prominently in my college senior thesis), but this will be my first time reading the entire series straight through. I’m doing this in parallel with three of my best friends with whom I’ve traded theories and imagined endings over the past several years, and our goal is to have each reread the full series by the time the final movie opens in July.
So, just how much has my life changed since I first met Harry?
Early spring 2000: I’m nearing the end of my freshman year of college, and I’ve just pulled one of my first nearly all-nighters finishing some sort of paper. It’s a Friday afternoon and I’m trying to stay awake to get back on a normal sleep schedule, but I’m definitely taking the rest of the day off from schoolwork. It’s a cold, windy day, so I borrow my suitemate Sara’s copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and spend the afternoon in a coffee shop with my good friend Colette. She sketches the people around us for her art class while I finally dive into this book that I’ve been hearing so much about. By the time we head to dinner a couple of hours later, I’ve finished most of the book and I’m hooked.
Summer 2000: I land a semi-regular babysitting job for a family friend’s nine-year-old daughter. Celeste and I enjoy our evenings playing games and watching movies (including “Mystery Men,” which is highly underrated), and at bedtime she likes to be read to. Mostly we read fairy tales, but she’s a Harry Potter fan and we discuss Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, which I borrow from Colette during what turns out to be my last “normal” summer. When Goblet of Fire is released, I read a couple of chapters out loud to Celeste before begging her to let me read from any other book so I don’t spoil the story for myself. (This is when I begin to realize I have a problem.)
Skipping ahead a bit: I acquire my own paperback copies (including South African editions of books 2 and 3) of the series to date by fall 2002, when I hit upon the idea of making a senior thesis out of the Harry Potter series. I’m majoring in religion, so I figure I can draw some religious ideas out of the lessons Harry learns, and for good measure I throw in the Left Behind series as kind of a fundamentalist-Christian parallel to Harry’s world of witchcraft and wizardry. While my ultimate argument feels somewhat weak (Harry Potter espouses morals that are just as “Christian” as Left Behind, so churches should stop banning it!), I’m graded well and my advisor points out that a religious scholar will be giving a talk comparing the very same books at an upcoming conference. It seems my idea isn’t totally unfounded.
Skipping ahead some more: Order of the Phoenix is released the summer after I finish college (and of course I put my name on the waiting list for friends’ copies), Half-Blood Prince comes out the very night of my last day of work before beginning graduate school (future wedding officiant Danielle and I annoy our fellow hotel guests by reading aloud at breakfast from the book procured at a midnight launch party in Pennsylvania during the first of six yearly amusement park road trips with Matt and Kat), and my pre-ordered copy of Deathly Hallows arrives, courtesy of Danielle’s parents, as I am unpacking and procuring furniture for my brand-new apartment in Seattle. I’m so busy setting up my apartment that I implore my visiting mother to scan news sites before I’ll look at them, just in case CNN or the New York Times has accidentally posted a spoiler. It takes me several days to get started, but once I’ve sent my mom back to California and opened the book I spend hours in a new favorite coffee shop finishing the series that I’d begun in a coffee shop seven years earlier.
Along the way, I’ve been going to see the movies shortly after they’re released. Some I watch in the first few days, some I see at midnight on opening day, and one I watch on Christmas night with two childhood friends since there’s nothing else to do. And now the very final movie is coming out just two days before I get married. Let’s look at that again:
Spring 2000: When I first meet Harry, I’m an 18-year-old who’s still vaguely afraid of boys, sitting in a coffee shop on a cold day in Connecticut with one of my oldest friends. I have two living parents and only the slightest idea of what I might major in, much less what I’ll do after college, much less what I’ll do after that.
Summer 2007: The final book is released as I’m embarking on what for me is a huge life step. My now-widowed mother is helping me move into my first solo apartment in a city I barely know, which I’ve moved to because I’ve managed to land a job at a company I knew next to nothing about just a year earlier. I’m scared and lonely, but for several hours over a couple of days I’m in the company of familiar characters, and when I finish the book I discuss the ending with close friends across the country whose emails remind me that I’m not alone.
And now I look ahead to summer 2011: I’ve made new friends (and kept the old), and one of those new friends turned out to be someone I’d like to spend the rest of my life with (and he picked me too, which is awesome). Eleven years ago I spent an afternoon reading with Colette; this summer she’ll be a bridesmaid at my wedding. Nearly six years ago Danielle and I read out loud to each other from the second-to-last book; in a few short months she’ll be making my marriage official. Almost four years ago Kat, Matt, Danielle and I discussed the full series in great detail; in July Matt will be an usher and Kat will be my maid of honor. I am very seriously considering potentially ruining my sleep schedule shortly before the most-photographed day of my life so I can watch the very first showing of the final installment of the Harry Potter series, hopefully surrounded by all of these people. It just seems fitting.
Part of me thinks it’s silly to draw parallels between a book series and standard life events. Lots of college freshmen have no idea where they’ll end up a decade later, and it’s certainly not unusual for someone to move to a new city and find a life partner among a new network of people. What’s unusual, though, is for a series of stories to have such longevity that it spans life stages. In the past eleven years I’ve matured from an awkward, directionless college student to an awkward, somewhat less directionless adult with one fewer parent but a future husband who embodies many of the qualities I miss most about my father. And as Danielle has pointed out, kids who first encountered Harry as pre-teens in the late 1990s will be viewing this final movie as college graduates. I seriously doubt JK Rowling had any idea how significant her modest character would become, but I’ve grown up with Harry. I’ll probably be emotional when the final movie ends, not only because it doesn’t have the happiest of endings, but also because I’ll be reflecting on how much has changed since I opened the first book. As in the series, I’ve lost some of my favorite people, but I’m ready to move forward with the ones I have left.
Monday, February 21, 2011
I forgot I had one of these. Quickie update, then:
I’m getting married! The planning continues, as it will until the very last minute, and I may very much regret this in the coming weeks but at the moment I am totally looking forward to making the invitations (mostly) by hand. I get to play with fonts, wording, and pictures, and last weekend I spent an inordinate amount of time in a paper store picking out the perfect combination of colors. I even got a fancy hole punch and a tape gun. I was a crafty child (I liked making things, too), so my inner 12-year-old is downright giddy that I get to play with paper and shapes and glue and even a paper cutter (which I was never allowed to touch as a kid). My outer 29-year-old is pretty thrilled, too…or she will be until the first paper cut. Pre-emptive ow.
I’m a member of the arts community! Well, so things were getting better after the disastrous choir rehearsal a couple of weeks ago, but then I skipped rehearsal two weeks ago because I felt vaguely crappy, and then I got way sicker the following weekend and barely made it through half of the next rehearsal (as an observer, even, since there was no voice for singing) before I had to go home and crash. The choir’s probably getting better, but I’m still at square one in terms of sightreading. Sigh. (Cough.)
I bring home the bacon! (Well, I bring home some bacon, but much of it gets paid out to various college loan agencies. Meh—worth it.) Work continues to be work, but I seem to be gaining some traction with other groups thanks to a well-placed friend who is awesome about passing along job postings. Even if the possibilities currently on the table don’t work out, it’s nice to be considered (seriously) and I’ll have made connections who might think of me next time. We’ll see how this one works out.
Friday, January 21, 2011
I’ve been feeling the urge to blog but haven’t had anything significant (that I wanted) to blog about, so I’ll just give you a snapshot of vaguely interesting things that have happened this week.
1. Choir rehearsals started again this week after a holiday hiatus, and it was great to see the group again but learning new music is tough. I’ve always struggled with keeping my confidence up when sight-reading, and this rehearsal was no different. Our repertoire last fall was quite easy, so it’s been quite some time since my brain has had to work so hard. It’s a good workout, but very frustrating. My fingers are crossed that we can turn last Tuesday’s mess into enjoyable music by early April. We will see.
2. Work is…work. Back in “ugh” mode. I was looking into this one thing a few weeks ago and was holding on to a little bit of hope that it might work out, but I got the official no Sunday night. So…back to square one.
3. I’m rocking a brand-new (and my first!) pair of Tom’s shoes today. They’re not the most attractive shoes I’ve ever owned (including some monstrosities in college…ah, the late nineties), but man are they comfortable, plus I get the added selfish benefit of knowing that a poor child somewhere in the world is getting their own pair because of my purchase. I noted a few days ago that Payless is starting a similar program with (what else?) Tom’s knock-offs, and I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it. I mean, it’s great that even more kids will get donated shoes, but did Payless have to directly copy their model, and (of course) charge less? It’s one thing when they copy shoes from a big company like Nike (and I’m sure I’ve bought some of those knock-offs), but I feel like the smaller companies—especially philanthropic ones—should get a break. Anyway.
It’s after 5pm on a Friday and I appear to be the last person left in the office, so I’ll end this here. Happy weekend!