Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The job hunt.

Once upon a time I graduated with a degree in Archaeology. Remember, think Tutankhamun, Teotihuacan, and the Terracotta Warriors. Not Sue and Stegosaurus. Indiana Jones. Not Jurassic Park. Harry Potter. Not Twilight.

Never Twilight.
As you know, I got bored with that life. I wanted to be more than just a normal girl with a knack for the trowel and a passion for history. I wanted to do something hard. I wanted to change the world. Now people just think I'm a mechanic. Whatever. Next time I'll be sure to pick a more straightforward major...

As you also know, I was not the most sought after mechanical engineering graduate as I had humbly and not-so-secretly hoped. Well, there was that job I was offered in Rockford, IL after only a 30 minute phone interview but people shoot people over there so I politely declined. I'd rather not live somewhere that made Forbes' top 10 for "Most Dangerous Cities in America," thank you very much.

I extended my internship for 6 months past graduation hoping I would be able to find a more suitable location to serve out the rest of my singletude. You know, somewhere with killer alligators, venomous snakes, and giant mosquitos perhaps.

I flew down to Jacksonville, FL in May to interview for a position with a company called Biomet Microfixation. They make fixation plates for the sternum and cranium. They don't make cars. The full day of interviews went well and we decided to revisit the job opening in September when my internship ended. I spent the rest of my time there visiting St. Augustine and hunting alligators.
Summer came and went and I didn't have anymore job opportunities until August when I interviewed with Northrop Grumman located here in Salt Lake. They are a defense contractor specializing in unmanned aircraft, targeting, and navigation systems. They don't make cars either. They actually offered me a job too...but I was (and told them I was) doing this:
 and this:
 and this:
I couldn't be bothered by mundane details about jobs while touring Costa Rica with my family, are you kidding me? I also thought I had time. So imagine my surprise when I returned home and found out Northrop didn't think I was interested and had moved on to other candidates. Please, what other candidates??

And the truth is I wasn't interested BUT I was feeling obligated to take the job because, contrary to a long held hope, Varian (my internship employer) wasn't able to offer me a full time job and Biomet was putting their position on hold until January. Great.

And, well, you know the rest.

Until now.

A couple weeks ago, Biomet contacted me to say that the position I interviewed for in May is now available for December and wondered if I was still interested. I said yes. Now they're flying me down there again for another full day of interviews. I leave tomorrow. Which begs the question, did I not leave a lasting impression with them last time? ...doubt it. I'm hoping the interviews will just be a lot of reminiscing about the great answers I gave them before. "Remember when you asked me about my experience with validation and I told you about that one project which involved replacing accumulator quick disconnects? Gosh, that was fun, wasn't it?" To which they'll reply, "This is silly. You're hired."

Then I'll have to tell them how, at the end of last week, Varian called me up to say they also have a position for me. Of course they do. I went in, tossed around a few casual jokes with the General Manager and Product Line Manager, and then they asked me, "Soooo, do you want to do this?" "Sure! Wait...what...?" Point is, I think I have a job there if I want it. We're all just waiting to see what Biomet says. Oh Fridee, so much depends on thee.


I feel sick.

But wait! There's more! Northrop Grumman ALSO called me this week. "Laura, we think we may have a position you might be interested in. Call us back." Northrop, dear sweet inflexible Northrop. You see, the thing is, I didn't think you were I moved on.

Rockford, just in case you feel inclined to contact me again too, the answer is still no.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The winter of my discontent.

Two weeks ago I finished John Steinbeck's, The Winter of Our Discontent. That book has been sitting in my gut, a simmering head stew, since I finished it.

Ethan Allen Hawley, a man of scrupulous standards, decides one day to take advantage of a process set in motion by the honorable business-crooks of his town. In order to do so, he "temporarily [trades] a habit of conduct and attitude for comfort and dignity and a cushion of security." From store clerk to rich  respectable store owner, pushed along by the gentle tidewaters of 'the way things are', it is a descent into the steaming maw of the great amoral social machine.

"Sometimes a man seems to reverse himself so that you would say, 'He can't do that. It's out of character.' Maybe it's not. It could be just another angle, or it might be that the pressures above or below have changed his shape . . . . I think I believe that a man is changing all the time. But there are certain moments when the change becomes noticeable."

Lately I've been feeling like a stranger to myself. Have you ever felt that way? Like you are neither the person others think you are nor the person you yourself think you are? You've slowly slipped away from the "you" you knew and it wasn't a result of some conscious doing...but it may very well prove to be your undoing. Because it is a descent itself. A descent perhaps initiated by one terrible catastrophe or a cluster of calamitous events but perpetuated through endless exhausting recovery.

"Men don't get knocked out, or I mean they can fight back against big things. What kills them is erosion; they get nudged into failure. They get slowly scared ... it's slow. It rots out your guts." Wormwood has found a pernicious hold on your soul and his shackles are malignantly sweeping out your insides. You have become your own doppelganger.  The sinister harbinger kind.

Dramatic? Maybe. INXS understands.

In a desperate attempt at finding the truth labeled 'ME' I have, instead, lost. I have neglected my duties to the inherently divine and fallen into the sinkhole of selfish thought. In the dark pre-dawn, comfortable in my morning bed, I have lethargically waited for someone to start my day. I'm not quite sure what it will take to exorcise my self-possessing double: resolution instead of diversion, a relentless trying, daunting tenacity, terrifying vulnerability. Above all else, the losing must come first. For, "he that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. 10:39).

Until I can fight my way back to a better me I will preoccupy myself by helping middle schoolers with math 3 times a week. Only for 20 minutes a day though, I don't want to make that much of a difference. In addition, to prove I didn't graduate Summa Cum Laude for nothing, I got a part-time job with the Sylvan Learning Center tutoring high math. And ACT prep. Yay for math! Am I right? Am I right or amIright or amIright? Right. Right. Right.
I'm also going to start recording songs again. Until then, enjoy these numbers I recorded this spring.

Baby Mine, Dumbo
Boats and Birds, Gregory and the Hawk

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Forgive my sentimentality.

The only job I’ve ever loved has come to an end. As of Friday, I am no longer employed by Varian Medical Systems, Inc. – world’s leading manufacturer of medical devices used for treating cancer. In fact, I am no longer employed by anyone...this again? I spent one unemployed summer sweating indoors and watching as much tv as the internet could hold. I also read The Count of Monte Cristo and other short stories.

It was depressing. 

And hot. 

Maybe sometime I'll tell you how exactly I got here. But not today. Nope, today I will merely be grateful that at least it will be cooler this time around. That's a change. Perhaps I'll work for Alta again.
Remember this?
I spent my last day at Varian sort of wandering around distracting people. I had already had two farewell lunches that week and couldn't believe anyone still wanted to go out again. I felt somewhere in the middle of this-is-a-big-deal and I'm-not-sure-this-matters-that-much. Several of my coworkers were generous enough to bemoan the fact that I was leaving. "Why can't they hire you?" "This is just stupid." And I would shrug my shoulders and say, "Oh well." And, actually, I would love to get hired on there. Well, I mean, if staying in Salt Lake is my future, Varian is the only place I want to work. There and Alta. So when I left on Friday, I half expected to pause at the door, take one last longing look around, and then walk to my car with eyes brimming with emotion. Instead I felt exhilarated. Like I could do anything. Like I was free. FREEEEE!!!!

Then, twenty minutes later I realized that come Monday I had absolutely nothing to do.

Do you ever wish you could stop time so you could get yourself in order before the clock starts ticking again? I've wished for that often lately. My life in stop motion animation. I feel like I've passively let so much time slip by as I've half-heartedly tried to escape the overwhelming doldrums of my indecision. I need to move on. Be proactive. Hitch up my one pair of skinny jeans and find a place to belong. I just don't. know. what to do with myself. 

You see, there's this part of me that feels beyond restless. That part of me would pack up and leave tomorrow, if possible. It would run and escape and disappear. But I'm not sure that's the part of me I want to listen to...or rather, to which I want to listen. Another part of me wants to move closer to my family. To reinstitute Thanksgiving and Easter in my life. I could establish myself as the favorite once and for all. I would definitely take the opportunity to start claiming some of my parent's possessions. It could, and most likely would, be awesome. Then...there's yet another part that thinks maybe I should stay here. Here I have friends that know me and cousins and mountains and babies and ex-colleagues that like me and fake families and SO many singles and...and...and...Baaaaaah!!

So I vacillate between this:
and this: 
and this:
 and even some moments of this:
But, one thing is for certain: I am one confused orangutang. 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

August the Glorious.

I only worked 12 days in August.

:Long pleased sigh:

Instead I met my family in Costa Rica where we saw crocodiles, humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles, iguanas, sloths, howler monkeys and cute little steal-your-shorts-while-you're-swimming monkeys, caimans, toucans, poisonous frogs, poisonous spiders, poisonous hummingbirds...probably. We went zip-lining, hiked to a 600-ft. waterfall, surfed, played on the beach, caught sailfish, crashed a wedding party booze cruise, kind of went snorkeling, went to the crater of an active volcano, waited for it to erupt, and got stuck at a souvenir shop for an hour while our driver fixed his car. It was awesome. Except that last part and except the part where my surfboard gouged my lip open when it smashed me in the face. Whatever. Can't have it all, I guess.
There were 27 crocodiles hanging out by this spot. And those were just the ones we could see.
Pocket-sized parents.
Shredding some gnarly waves. Like a boss.
Whalefish. The only good thing to come out of the booze cruise.
It's a minkey!

After that I drove down to St. George for the weekend so I could see Les Mis for the first time. It changed my life. I've already convinced my family to spend Thanksgiving in Chicago this year so I can see it again. The first night down there my friend and I didn't have a place to stay. Surely we could find someone to let us camp out somewhere, right? Our friend's family didn't trust us with the security code to their vacation home but they kindly let us inflate our air mattress on their back porch. In order to go to the bathroom they suggested we sneak onto the golf course in the backyard and break into the facilities there. Which is exactly what we did...kind of. Thanks, guys. The rest of the crew, including a friend from California, met up with us the next day and our time was spent hanging out at the pool, taking The Color Code, and eating peaches and vegetables (gross...).
Oh, and we pretended to be adventurous for about half an hour.
For Labor Day weekend, my cousin ran my hometown marathon while my dad ran the half. I decided I might as well go home too. So I did. Some extended family members came up from Wisconsin as well to join in the fun. It was great family times. I showed my cousin around, we kayaked amidst large waves, sailed on Lake Superior in a double-masted sailboat from 1933, went cliff jumping, cheered on the runners, went cliff jumping again, played MadGab, and briskly hiked 6 miles along Pictured Rocks -- a National Lakeshore (who knew those existed?). Way fun after a marathon, right??? 
Even my grandma went sailing...she was worried she was going to get tossed overboard the whole time.
 Yes, again, this is my home.

Most notably, however, one of my friends had a baby. Little Miss Clara Jane Harcourt. She's going to be an equestrian someday. Or a British author. Probably both.

Here's the little elf at 1 day old.
Her dad did a little photo shoot with her after about a week. Makes me want to poke my fingers (gently) into those dimples. Now that she's starting to smile more I will definitely have the opportunity. 

What a great month. 

Now if I could just find myself a job...

Monday, July 23, 2012


For some reason I still don't fully understand, I got 2 huge puzzles for Christmas last year. I mean, I like puzzles. Easy puzzles. 300-500 piece puzzles. Preferably 100 piece Looney Tunes puzzles. Puzzles I can work on socially. Methodically. For brief-ish periods of time. 

None of this adds up to a propensity to tackle a 4 x 2.7 foot puzzle...but that is what I got. So in January I started my preventative measures against early-onset Alzheimer's:
I was able to complete the top third -- buildings and sky -- (with help) before my family came out to visit at the end of January. They finished the crap out of that titan in one brief weekend. Puzzle wizards.
Riding the wake of their wand waving gusto, we decided to immediately start on the next behemoth:
I decided to do a better job at documenting the progress on this one. And by better, I just mean I decided to actually document the progress of this one. I present to you the following:

February 5 (Day 7):

February 13 (Day 15):

March 12 (Day 43 -- after another puzzle blitz [weekend] with the family):

 April 20 (Day 82):

 May 8 (Day 100):

May 27 (Day 119):

 June 21, 5:14 PM (Day 144):

  June 21, 11:32 PM (Day 144):

Two days later I moved out of my now, instead of gluing the puzzle together like I was seriously (SERIOUSLY) considering, it had to be packed up like everything else:
Had I been at the house when it was taken apart, I probably would have made sure it was just folded in half 15 times and tucked neatly back into the box. That's ok, though, the next time I put it together it won't take nearly as long. Now I know where all the pieces go.

My family has now set their superhuman eyes on this masterpiece:

End note: the number of hits on my blog have gone way way up in the last month. Blogger claims it's a result of the way they count hits now. I think it's due to my use of  the word "impropriety" in my last post. Now that I know the secret to web-wide popularity, you better believe my posts are going to be way trashier from now on.