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Fall Friday Fill-Ins!

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Mostly in the interest of not having two back-to-back Caturday posts (because who am I, a Crazy Cat Lady? Only almost, friends. Only almost), I bring you…Friday Fill-Ins! And some miscellany down at the end. Get excited.

1. My back yard is home to a little family of opossums, who have taken up residence in our persimmon tree. I think they likely live there year-round, but I can only recall seeing them last winter when we moved in and then again last night as I was pulling into the driveway. They are the creepiest-looking animals ever, and I am not excited that they are going to be eating my ambrosial persimmons. Maybe they’re only there at night? Does anyone know anything about opossums, other than that they are horrifying?

2. On our second night in Yosemite, when I heard actual coyotes (wolves? some other species of wild dog?) yipping in the Valley, I knew we were truly in someplace wild. Now, I am not a city girl by most definitions, but the fact that we were sleeping in a tent cabin that was full of bear warnings and hearing wildlife sounds all around us was simultaneously sort of cool and a little bit harrowing.

3. Leaves are falling all around, particularly up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where we went this afternoon to go pick up some wine. There are seasons in the Bay Area. Who knew?

4. Now that I’ve synched all of our paper and online calendars, I can no longer pass off my procrastination as forgetfulness. We have a lot of stuff to do before we head off to London! (In three and a half weeks! Yay!)

5. Healing is…time consuming. That is all I have to say about that.

6. Soup-making and baked-good plotting is what I’ve been up to lately! In the kitchen, at least.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to watching the Giants beat the Padres (come on Matt Cain, it may be 5-0 right now, but let’s end strong, ok?), tomorrow my plans include a little wine pick-up and picnic as well as some very necessary schoolwork, and Sunday, I want to sleep in, and make sure to catch Mad Men. I am crazy in love with this season, it’s official.

And now the miscellany: remember that job I was interviewing for? Well, even after two successful interviews (that I had thought went fairly well), I didn’t get it. They gave it to “the other candidate,” who I can only assume is a Super Ninja Assassin Librarian, because I am actually pretty great. Back to the (slim pickings) drawing board… Sigh.


What (not to?) wear

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When it comes to clothing, I generally know what I like, and have a fairly solid idea of what suits my body. All of this confidence (such as it is), though, is apparently completely useless when contemplating what I’ll be wearing to a second (!!!) interview at an academic library tomorrow. For the first interview, I wore a shrunken black blazer, red ruffled tank, and black pants; the shoes, though adorable, gave me a record number of blisters as I took an unintentional tour of the campus on my way to the interview. I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited back for a lunch interview (we’ll be eating somewhere on campus, I assume), but am in quite the pickle: what the heck am I going to wear? GP and a librarian friend have cast their votes for two separate outfits, I have my preferences, but…I need some validation. Or whatever you can call it when the internet is voting on what you should wear.The options? [Apologies in advance for semi-terrible pictures. I’m still afraid I’ll drop the Nikon when photographing one-handedly.]

Blue pants, a black and blue tie-neck top, to be worn with a low bun and black flats. How very librarian-y.

Brown pants and a flowery top, probably topped with a red or brown shoes?

Glen plaid pants, a light pink tank, and a long open ivory cardigan. Likely with bone-colored flats.

Red tie-neck top and brown undecided.

Brown pants with a salmon square-neck top

White linen button-down with blue pants

Please to keep in mind: this is an art library, and it is supposed to be 85-95 degrees tomorrow. No pressure or anything, but if I don’t get the job, I’m pretty much going to hold y’all responsible.

Dial A for (over) Achiever

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With one minor exception (that I won’t count because I didn’t actually want to succeed), I haven’t ever interviewed for a job that I didn’t get. To make this a statement without qualification, let me say that I haven’t ever interviewed for a full-time job that I didn’t get (for the record, the one “failure” was an “audition” for Cold Stone, who can go jump in a lake). The first job that I got right out of undergrad– nailed it! (And it was a group interview. How much does everyone hate these?) The next one, that I found through a friend who worked at the company? Not a problem. And my current, not-full-time-but-have-still-been-there-for-two-years, slowly working my way up in hours job? Got it. Part of it is that I know my strengths and have no problem talking about what I don’t know or do so well, and another part can probably be attributed to the sorority girl in me, who has no problem being “on” (which is not to say fake) and fully devoting herself to the conversation at hand (ask me about my 100% recruitment return rate!).

Why am I telling you all of this? Not just to brag about how awesome I am, oh no. See, after months and months of sending out resumes, drafting cover letters, and crossing my fingers until they cramped, I’ve finally been able to set up a phone interview. Now, this might just be the first of a series of seven interviews, but I’ll take it– after all, it’s the first thing I’ve heard out of anyone other than, “Thank you for sending in your resume. We’ll let you know.” I. Am. Pumped. Oh, and also? I am nervous. It’s a regular, pre-interview version of nervous, but nervous all the same. I can meet all the requirements they have in the description, and then some, and, goshdarnit, I’m employable! Really, they should just hire me now.

At any rate, friends, I’m somewhere between elated and terrified, so send me some good vibes at about 1 tomorrow afternoon (PST!). Couldn’t hurt, right?

What I won’t miss about my job

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I was reminded by a friend and former colleague of one of my least favorite parts of my job: all the menial stuff that is in constant competition with much higher-level tasks. (Note to Boss: Do you want an admin, or do you want someone who will help your business work better? You don’t necessarily even have to pick one, just don’t be surprised when the more sophisticated tasks get higher priority, mmkay?) I laughed out loud for real when I read this email today:

“Also keep in mind that training is a good time to create and perpetuate myths/legends/lies/exaggerations…For example, you could tell her that the reason [Swedish girl that used to work here] went back to Sweden was because one day [Bossman] wanted a diet coke and there weren’t any in the fridge (even though there were some in the locked room) and he had her deported.”

Background information, so you get the joke, too– I am “training” my summer replacement (wow, wish I had had some training when I started…), and refrigerator stocking is an Essential Part of My Job. Feel free to laugh or cry as needed.

Note: there will, of course, be things that I do miss, but I had to share this because I thought it was too hilarious to keep to myself. All for you, internets.

The countdown

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It has officially begun– well, that’s a lie. It began officially about a week ago, when I realized that the date of our departure for our New York/Paris odyssey was just over three weeks away. Officially, it is time to completely freak out about my Big Summer Trip, which marks more than a passport stamp for me.

I am entering the last days of my employment at Current Job, which is just fine with me. For what it’s worth, I learned a lot here, and we all know I love to learn. Coming in, I knew that this wouldn’t be my career, but I never suspected I would have as much trouble with the structure, expectations, and communication here. Since my previous job had been so structured and choked with bureaucracy, I looked forward to working for a small company, one in which there was “no hierarchy,” and one in which everyone worked so closely together. What I found was a bit different, and I will be leaving having made some great personal friendships, but feeling like a big disappointment because I couldn’t meet “goals” that had no business even being on my plate. I don’t want this to be about work, though– frankly, not enough exciting bad stuff happens here for it to be a compelling read, and I want you people to be entertained.

So, on to the entertainment! Friends, I am leaving for New York (GP’s sister’s Big Fat Armenian Wedding) and Paris (GP’s parents’ and our Big Parisian Non-Honeymoon) in two short weeks. I am losing hair over how excited I am. Have you any suggestions for things I Simply Must Do while I’m there? I have only ever been before on day trips when I was visiting London, so really have only covered going up the Eiffel Tower and walking on the Champs Elysees… Oh, and if you want a postcard, I may be able to arrange that. Just give me your address, and I will try my best to find something appropriately cheesy.

Also entertaining? What I get to do when I get back! This is more nerd-entertaining than actually entertaining, but I will be starting my internship (woo, libraries!) and back at Previous Employer, only this time as an instructor. I will have so many exciting and weird kid stories for you!

Now, if only “two weeks from now” would just hurry up and get here…

Just keep swimming

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This poster hangs on the wall in my office, and serves as a more stylish reminder than, for instance, a “Hang in there!” poster, that I need to keep plugging away at the interminable phone calls and emails that constitute the majority of my job. Now, for instance, I am in a tangle of CC’s, unreturned phone calls, and multiple scheduling conflicts, and I want the hell out! Good thing the British Empire is there, encouraging me to maintain the stiff upper lip of my forefathers (well, Granny, at least).

I told my boss last week that I’m going back to school, and that I had been searching for library-related internships so that I can have some experience in the field even before I begin school in the fall. He took it pretty well (maybe there was some degree of relief? At any rate, he knew that what I am doing for him is not something I want to make a career of), and gave me a good reference for the internship woman, who called the day after I broke the news. The reference, along with that of a former boss (who is now a friend), sealed the deal– I am starting an internship in a special library after we get back from Paris in July! That’s not “special” as in “needs to wear a helmet at all times,” just “special” as in, “a very specific collection and management system.” I am pretty excited, but a bit apprehensive about being in over my head…I hope there’s someplace to hang my poster at the internship place.

What I did on my Thursday evening

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A thing you need to know about me is that I use my cooking skills, primarily baking, to get people to like me. You’d be surprised at how many people can be won over with a single batch of oatmeal raisin cookies– I am that good. Also, modesty. I’m good at that.

Anyway. A pineapple arrived in the mail today at work. Yes, you read that correctly– a pineapple. At the office. In a box, shrouded with packing foam. From Harry and David, as part of a fruit subscription that one of our clients bought us for Christmas; I think the pineapple was supplementary because we had already gotten our allotted fruit (plums) for the month. Although we have knives and cutting boards in our “kitchen” in the office, I wasn’t feeling quite like dismembering a pineapple, and my boss suggested I take it home and “make something delicious” with it.

And so, hoping to make him like me, just a little bit (the man is so hard to read, it’s really insane), I suggested that I would make a pineapple upside-down cake. Because what else am I going to do with a pineapple? That I’ve never attempted upside-down cake-making wasn’t even an issue here: I like a good challenge, and with the help of Epicurious, I was soon armed with the know-how and ready to get to business.

First, dismemberment. I vaguely remembered watching at least one Food Network show about the proper way to do this, but mostly, I improvised.

With the tough skin and core thus dispatched, I made quick work of what amounted to a large bowlful of pineapple chunks (bonus: there are totally some left over for snacking!).

The cake mix itself is a fairly simple affair, with the usual creaming method of butter and sugar, then adding milk and dry ingredients in alternate batches. With everything layered– the pineapples studding the bottom of the pan, which had been covered with a brown sugar/butter mixture (hey, cake is not healthy, ok?), then the batter poured over the top, we were ready to bake.

After about 45 or so minutes of baking time, the tester that pierced the bottom (soon to be the top!) of the cake came out clean, and it was ready to emerge from the oven. With a bit of cooling, the cake came very easily out of the pan, and thus became an upside-down cake (note the absence of maraschino cherries– they do not belong in baked goods! Only cocktails). Think this will curry some favor with the bossman? I mean, even if it doesn’t work, at least I will get to have some cake.

And now, friends, I am off to catch up on The Office and 30 Rock– I missed last week because of the Braves. Thaaaaanks, Chipper Jones.