Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Momma said there'd be days like this

Today was just one of "those" days.  It started when I stepped out of my car this morning and realized I was wearing black shoes with my navy pants.  My first thought was to turn around and drive home but I had a pretty busy day on campus and starting a 1/2 late didn't seem like the best idea.  I confessed my fashion faux pas to my Facebook friends who began chiming in that it really was not that big of a deal and I quickly went about my day.  Thanks, friends!

Fast forward to my afternoon, about 15 minutes before I'm scheduled to do a workshop on Interviewing skills to our students in an Internship Prep class.  I hear what sounds like a pretty pushy individual insisting on seeing the "Career Services Person."  Oh great, that's me.  I invite this individual into my office and explain that if she is interested we can schedule an appointment to go over whatever it is her needs are.  The rest of the conversation goes something like this:

Her: So what is it exactly that you do here?

Me: I explain to her the variety of services that we offer, that we can assist with developing her cover letter, resume, interviewing skills, job search strategies, job vacancies, networking with other alumni and area employers, etc.

Her: Do you do placement?

Confession Time - College career professionals hate the word placement, we are not about placing graduates in jobs but rather teaching students the skills that they need to do a successful job search.

Me: No we do not do placement, career centers don't do placement, we teach you the skills you need to do a successful job search.

Her: Well I can find all that out on the Internet, so what does the college need you for?

Wow. THANKS for THAT!     I guess the only comfort I can take from our little exchange is that she graduated several years ago and is still looking for a job.  I guess you can't learn it all on the internet.  Yet at the same time I'm pretty sure I could help this individual, but because I am not willing to do the work for her I will probably never see her again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 My one word - Gratitude

I love that on January 1st we are bombarded with ideas to make our lives better for the new year. You know things like eat better, work out more, watch less television, spend less, save more.  The problem with resolutions is that after a few weeks we forget about them and just go on living our lives the way we have prior to the calendar flipping to January 1. 

This year however instead of making a resolution I am committing to focusing on one word throughout the entire year.  The idea comes from the book My One Word: Change your life with just one word.  My friend Kathy introduced me to this book and this idea a couple of years ago and while I've certainly thought about the idea I had never committed to a word, until now.  So for 2013 I have committed to thinking about the word Gratitude and what that means for my life.

I certainly have plenty to be grateful for and look forward to seeing how focusing on the idea of gratitude will change the way I look at things. Once I chose my word I wasn't at all surprised that my devotional reading from the day included the following.  "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His love endures forever."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Deep thoughts from a 6 year old

It's been exactly 4 months since my last blog post, I'm sure plenty has happened in those last 4 months, but apparently I haven't felt the need to blog about it.  Two weeks ago my younger brother Matt and his beautiful fiance Kim got married.  Their wedding, quite frankly has been the highlight of the year.  I love them both and am so happy for them.  Lots of family and friends traveled to Chicago to celebrate their wedding and what a blessing it was to be with extended family for an extended weekend.  My niece Quinn was the flower girl and since her dad was also serving as the best man and was somewhat preoccupied helping the groom she and I were able to have some sweet one on one time. Getting our hair done, getting dressed for the wedding, taking pictures and hanging with aunts, uncles and cousins.

The day before the wedding she and I were having breakfast together in the hotel restaurant when she asked if I would share my bacon with her.  Of course I obliged and then the following conversation took place.

Quinn:  I love bacon, I don't think I know anyone who doesn't love bacon, do you Aunt Mary?
Me: Well I have some friends who are vegetarians who probably don't love bacon.
Quinn: What's a vegetarian?
Me: Someone who chooses not to eat any meat, because it comes from animals.
Quinn: So what animal does bacon come from?
Me: Pigs

Quinn is now looking at her bacon a little differently, and I'm wondering if I have scarred her for life or if she's just formulating more questions.

Quinn: So what else comes from animals? 
Me: Well chicken comes from chicken and fish comes from fish, and steak, and hamburger comes from cows.

Again, she's quietly contemplating something.  Finally she looks at me and says "It's wrong to kill animals, but they taste so yummy. 

True.  And my apologies to my vegetarian friends. They do taste yummy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Reading

It's the end of June, and lots of magazines, blogs, websites have created their summer reading lists.   At the beginning of the year I typically set a goal for myself regarding the number of books to read this year.  Several years ago my very ambitious goal was to read a book a week, I failed miserably, it was not a realistic goal. I have a full time job, other hobbies, family and friends and I do like to sleep.  One of my favorite blogs is that of a woman who reads a book a day.  That's right a book a day, 365 books a year.  Is it possible to both love and hate someone at the same time? 

At any rate my goal this year was to read 30 books, I'm at 13, we are 1/2 way through the year so I am a bit behind but I have some serious summer reading planned. Here's what I've accomplished so far this year.

Whistling in the Dark
Night Road
We need to talk about Kevin
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Let me stop here and say that I realize I was pretty late to party when it comes to The Hunger Games trilogy but when people described it to me, I just kept thinking, that's not my thing.  I was surprised by how much I liked them, although I will say that with each book my enthusiasm for them diminished a bit.

Rush Home Road
My Korean Deli: Risking it all for a convenience store
The Forgotten Garden
A Circle of Quiet

And now a brief confession, (hanging my head in shame)
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Free
Yes, that's right I have read the Fifty Shades trilogy, a family member who recommended the Hunger Games also recommend Fifty.  She did smile and give me a bit of a warning, "there a little risque" A little risque?    Dang!

Another confession, I don't like to start things and not finish them.  During book one I thought there is no way I am reading 2 and 3, but I did at my cousin's insistence and hoping that perhaps there might be some sort of redemption for Christian Grey.  I also decided to pass along to her a few books that my book club has read.  I want her to know what a good book really looks like. She's enjoying them.

So on to my summer reading list which by the way I probably could have finished at least one book in the time I've spent reading blogs, magazines, and book lists to actually come up with said list.

Home Front by Kristen Hannah
The House at Riverton by Kate Morten
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Gallloway
Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
Arcadia by Lauren Groff
Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (this is actually a re-read, as I'm thinking of requiring for my freshmen class this Fall)

Even as I look at this now, I think it may be a bit ambitious but it's a goal.  Enjoy your summer and your summer reading.  I probably will not be blogging again till all my reading is done.

Tales of a Career Stalker

I finished my annual report!!  You have no idea how happy this makes me.  As the director of a college career center one of my responsibilities each year is report on how our graduates are fairing in the wonderful world of work.  It's even better if they are working in their chosen field and not asking "would you like fries with that?"  Well guess what?  93% of them are working in their field.  That's a huge relief for me, not that I can claim credit for this, I  only provide them the tools they need to get there, they have to figure out how to use those tools effectively. But there is a lot of pressure on colleges these days to provide a return on investment. So for another year I am able to take a deep breath and give myself a small pat on the back, whether I deserve it or not. 

Of course tracking down this information is a nightmare and my deep breath is really about the fact that I can stop stalking people.  It's true I am a super stalker, for the last 3 months, it seems all I have done is emailed alumni begging them to complete my short online survey. It's so simple!  My former student worker who watched me last year torment other graduates PROMISED she would not be one of those students who didn't complete her survey.  Guess what?  Nope, no survey from her!  She laughed when I called her, telling me she had both my mailings, had actually done the survey and it was sitting completed on her desk.  Seriously?  Do you know how to use a business reply envelope?  Stick the survey in the envelope, walk it the end of the driveway and wait for the mailman to take it away.  Really!  It's that simple. Or even easier click the link on the email I sent you answer a few questions and BOOM! You're done.  On a side note, I taught an adult class a few weeks ago and every time I made a comment that a student in that class liked he shouted "BOOM!"  It was amusing and annoying at the same time.

So besides emails and phone calls to alumni, their parents, their former roommates, I have spent a great deal of time searching Facebook, Linkedin, company websites, blogs, you name.   Google truly has become my best friend.

My evenings  once again belong to me and I am giving up my stalking for at least 9 more months.  I'm creating my summer reading list.  Coming soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Adventures in the Kitchen part 5

Yes, that's right I found my way back to the kitchen today. I blame Pinterest. That and my new love for quinoa. It's hard not to look at all those beautiful pins with wonderful recipes and not be at least somewhat motivated to try one out. So today was the day. And before anyone gets overly excited about me actually cooking, making quinoa essentially requires one to boil water. That I can do. So water boiled, quinoa cooked a little olive oil, some grape tomatoes, fresh basil and some mozzarella and I've made myself a very delicious meal.

In other news, my friend Kathy and I attended the Michael W. Smith concert last night at a local church. We both posted Facebook updates from the concert since we were both so excited that although it was general admission, and we were in a line that seemed to snake through the entire building we actually wound up sitting in the front row. "Front row at the Michael W. Smith concert" is what each of has posted from our phones. Within moments a mutual friend of ours responded "I'm so JEALOUS, Kathy is the best person to go to a concert with." And it's true, she was giddy with excitement that we ended up so close and the two of us giggled, sang and worshiped throughout the night. The only problem, everyone else at the concert seemed so subdued. Kathy and I wanted to be on our feet, to dance and celebrate, but no one else did. At the beginning of each new song we'd look at each other "Surely they will get up for this one!" Finally we couldn't sit any longer we were up on our feet, arms in the air, worshiping and singing right along with Michael! A few others joined us. Aside from that it was a fantastic night, and as I said to Kathy as we walked out MWS could have performed for six more hours and I'm sure there would have been favorites of mine that he missed.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dinner Conversations

My younger brother got engaged about a month ago! I am so excited for him and his fiance Kim who I love. When they called to tell me about the engagement it did not come as a surprise, in fact I actually predicted the date. Kim is a sweetheart, she's been married before and has a 14 year old son Ryan, who we also love. He is a great kid.

I should tell you that my brother has not always been the best at communicating with the rest of the family, weeks can go by before he will return a phone call, until this Christmas he refused to set up a Facebook account, he was marginally better at returning emails. Recently however I have figured out that he will answer my text messages immediately. Go figure.

Kim went dress shopping yesterday and tonight sent a message along with a picture to which I responded immediately. She and I continued to have a text message conversation when she shared that she, Matt and Ryan were out for dinner and that Ryan made a comment about how much he missed not seeing my dad. Sweet. A few minutes later text messages start flying in from Matt and the three of of us are having regular dinner conversation. Strange but true. Finally Matt sent me a message that says "Hey you've occupied Kim during all of our dinner, I think she likes you more than me." Maybe?

I suggested tomorrow night they eat at home and we Skype together during dinner. Kim wanted to know what I was making. I'm thinking chicken.