planting

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.26.40 PMmy grandma died early monday morning, and after i got home from work that afternoon, i hauled out my planters. the weekend before, i’d gone to the amish greenhouse down the road and gotten some flowers to plant for curb appeal, and they had been sitting in their pots waiting for an opportune moment. what better opportunity than to celebrate the life of a woman who kept more flowers than i could even imagine. 

my grandma’s house in st cloud had tulips lining the house, so every spring when the snow melted, the season was greeted with red and yellow tulips. her moss roses spread all over the yard, and her rhubarb was getting to the point of unwieldy. The front door’s walk was small, but my uncles had spent some time to dig it up and create more garden space for more flowers. 

she was the plant whisperer. inside her house, there were african violets in pots all over the surfaces next to windows, and big planters with large ferns, lilies, and other greenery lined her living room. and in the pots were little ceramic animals or a small bird or last easter’s palms or maybe a bird’s nest with some eggs in it. a large philodendron sat on top of her hutch, with its green leaves hanging over the edges. she almost always had starter spider plants in glasses on the windowsill in her kitchen, waiting for homes. her thumb wasn’t just green – it was the vibrant green of springtime and tree buds.

tulipsi dragged out my planters, some of which i’d gotten from her, and filled a bucket with dirt from my vegetable beds to set my flowers in their home. my tulips i’d planted last fall were up and blooming, heralding springtime, and i had moss roses waiting to plant down by my mailbox. of the many traits that my grandma passed to her off-off-spring, including a baking itch and the ability to enjoy shopping, i think the need for dirt under the fingernails in the appropriate months is my favorite. seeing opportunity in a seed, hope in a bulb. 

spring!

tulips

The grass is greening up; the tulips are blooming; the temperature is rocketing between 40ΒΊ and 80ΒΊ – it must be spring!

i love these tulips. they start off like the lower right, greeny and yellowy, and they turn into the pink. it’s my destiny to plant a bunch of good looking tulips and then move away from them, over and over again. 

i have to get out and take pics of these guys with my real camera and not just my phone cam. i also need to step up my blogging game. wow!

a tale of two job offers

lakesag

now that i’ve told the right people, i can stop being so vague in my posts. 

two job opportunities showed up almost simultaneously in the past couple months, both in st cloud, both at educational facilities. the first was when i got a job alert in my inbox saying there was an informational officer 2 position open in st cloud (i’m an info officer 1). i checked it out, and lo and behold, it was at SC tech. because i was already in the state system, it was easy to apply. i figured, why not? an info officer 2 makes more money than i do now, and it would be an easy-ish transition. 

the second was at the st johns school of theology – the only graduate program the university offers. i occasionally check out the csbsju job site to see what pops up, so i happened upon that one, and sent my resume on. 

a couple, three weeks go by, and i get a phone call from the search chair at st johns asking if i’d like to come in for an interview. yes! i schedule with HR, and am feeling good about myself. THEN, maybe two days later, i get a call from SCTech hr wanting me to come in for an interview there! well…sure! so, i have an interview scheduled for a monday, then another for the friday following. WhAT IS THIS SORCERY. i go to st cloud twice in the course of four days. (my poor pocketbook.)

i LOVE being at st john’s. it’s so calming and peaceful. the trees, the lake, the gorgeous buildings. it was good to be back, but i was extremely nervous! but i sat down with the search team, did the best i could do at the skills test, and left not feeling especially confident, but feeling ok about my interview. the chair told me that i’d know in a couple weeks. 

TWO DAYS LATER (mind you, i haven’t even had my interview at tech), i get an email from the dean of the school asking me to call him that evening. i was a little nervous, as this was a position in a religious place, teaching theology, and the dean is a monk. i was worried he was going to ask me about my religious proclivities. (what a great word!). i called, and he offered me the job!!! OMG!! i was shocked. 

you have to remember: ten years ago, i tried to find a job for a year, went to 20 interviews (yes, i counted!), and got one job out of it. so this is pretty nuts. one theory? i lost a bunch of weight. another theory? i have 10 more years’ experience. 

unfortunately, the pay was low. like, significantly. and i asked to see the benefits at the colleges, and they were not great. you have to understand: state employees have it NICE when it comes to benefits. that’s why we stay at our jobs so long. i couldn’t justify going from my great benefits to so-so benefits at a higher premium and less pay. ugh. what a dilemma. i asked the dean if i could think about it over the weekend. i REALLY wanted to work there, but it didn’t make much sense in the professional and life sense. plus, i LOVE my current job and the people i work with. it wasn’t like i was trying to get away from a bad situation. 

in the meantime, i would go to my interview at tech.

which i was EXCITED for. i have never felt so comfortable going into an interview. maybe it was because it was basically my job, just a different location. i knew how 2-year schools’ marketing departments worked. i figured there would be a great group of people here just like at roch ctc*. so i went in. i must have had a good interview.actually, i know i did. i knew what i was talking about. i came prepared for stuff to not work with my presentation, and good thing because it didn’t. the admissions rep loved my photos! after i was done, i went back to the car where nate was hanging out waiting, and he said, they’d be stupid not to hire you. you’d just be able step in and go. 

too true. either way, i was told i’d know in a couple weeks. 

nate and i spent the night in st cloud, got back, had the weekend. i called stjohns on monday and declined the job offer, which made me nervous, but it went fine. if i didn’t get the SCtech job, i’d be fine where i was. 

then two days later, i got a phone call from stcloud HR. ANOTHER JOB OFFER. so what if charlie says these past couple weeks have been all about me?

WHO WOULDN’T FEEL GREAT AFTER GETTING TWO JOB OFFERS FROM TWO PLACES DOING THE THING YOU LIKE TO DO IN THE PLACE YOU WANT TO BE. 

if i could go back and tell my 26-year-old self to just hang out, it gets tons better, and go to those 20 interviews, i would. high-five, 10-years-ago me. high. five. 

 

anyway, we’re moving back to st cloud πŸ™‚ hello, happiness. it’ll be a stupid 4-6 months, i’m sure, with selling the house and figuring out housing, but it’ll be worth it. worth it, worth it. 

 

*notice how my acronyms are all over the place and weird? it’s so the monitoring software doesn’t pick it up! oh, what you learn while working with social media.

all about me

the other day charlie was having bad day (well, a bad week i guess), and he said, “what do you care – this week has been all about you.”

is that so bad?? sorry charlie, every once in a while a person’s entitled to some time that’s all about them. and it’s not like i was forcing him to feed me grapes while i was lounging on a yacht somewhere. this is some self work to better my and nate’s living situation. not quite sure why that’s entirely bad. (wait – yes i do know. it’s because if it pans out, it disrupts his life.) to which i said, “me before we, bro.” 

baconother than my busy traveling week last week and some good news and some tenterhooks i’m currently waiting on, things are progressing on the old homestead quite nicely. i’ve got a permit in for my deck, my community garden space is reserved, and nate and i spent $250 on food, so hopefully we shouldn’t be hungry for a while. oh, and my half hog came in at the meat market. i spent less on a half a hog than i did on food at costco and aldi the previous weekend. but pork is cheap. and now i have a lot of bacon. πŸ˜€

******

on reddit a couple weeks ago, i found out about this online freelancing service, upwork. i put my resume out in the intertubes, and now i have a freelance job! it’s pretty easy, i’m working for cheap, and they don’t pay out unless i have $100 amassed, but it should be a pretty nice way to make some extra cash (which i could use for that deck. and possibly gas money. bleah.) looks like i can make up to $200 a week, which is some nice mad money if i need it. 

that’s all i got!

sense of place

last weekend, nate and i drove up to st cloud for an undisclosed event. we spent the night, only having a little more than 24 hours in the town. it was pretty weird seeing the transformation not of the land but of nate as well. friday afternoon we took a little driving tour, swinging out to st joe for lunch at bodiddleys, then seeing what the old homestead looked like (the same). drove through st cloud to downtown, then back again, seeing what was the same and what was different. what used to be and what’s going to be. after checking in at the hotel, a visit with my grandma, and a visit to the grande depot, nate and i went to granite city for supper, watching the sun set about 15 minutes later than it does here. and the whole time, nate exclaimed over and over: “what is it about this place.”

indeed. what is it about this place?

is it familiar? the trees? the fact that farmland is mixed with pastureland, mixed with woodland, mixed with urban areas? there is no abundance of corn? the horizon is never technically seen, always obscured by trees? the lakes? the fact that you might see a lake from the highway, then another over there? the openness of the town? organization? the atmosphere? 

i don’t know. but i miss it. 

a day for land ethics

today i went to eagle bluff environmental center in lanesboro for a land ethic workshop that was put on by the land stewardship council. a couple years ago over give to the max day, i found the LSP and donated money to it, hence becoming a member. i get mailings and general info as well as invites to events.

i’m not the average LSP member: i don’t own acres of land; i don’t work for a conservation agency of some sort; i’m not going to college for a degree in environmental science or forestry (as tempting as that is…). i’m just your average joe schmo city dweller who’s concerned about the land and the environment. if there’s one thing that attending these type of conferences enforces, it’s that i’m not nearly the hippie i think i am. and that is something i need to work on.

since april is the home of earth day, i’ll just do a quick overview of the event, then focus on specifics throughout the month.

the day started with some nice snow and ice on the roads, as well as some fierce winds. i made it to eagle bluff just in time. the first speaker of the day was jen from the aldo leopold foundation, who spoke about leopold and his land ethic. 

after that, we were charged with a silent observation outdoor activity, and i went and did some listening next to some trees and brush that was starting to bud out.

buds

 

back inside for some small-group discussion time on our observation and on a reading. 

lunch was fantastic! most of what they make is organic and/or local, with minimal waste. chicken, spaghetti squash, mixed veggies, and some apple crisp.

during the afternoon, i went to a session on forestry management and how to take advantage of programs that will help bring a landowner’s vision to fruition (with trees). 

next was a session on organic food, and i should have gone to the session on prairie restoration. the organic session was old hat, and i feel i could have benefitted learning about pollinators and how to help them out.

our final speaker was a professor at winona state who got a fullbright scholarship to help out farmers in panama, just to hammer home how global the land use epidemic is. 

and of course, supper was the finale – rabbit, veggies, asparagus salad, potato soup, irish soda bread, and lemon cheesecake. my first time eating rabbit! (seriously, it tasted like dark meat chicken.)

during april, i’ll try to post about each session i went to and see what else i can learn about each of them.

and i ended the day driving down through lanesboro for gas and coming up from the south through preston. good choice on my part, because i saw the spectacular sunset.

IMG_1829

deck time?

it’s almost time for deck time! what a great time. i have a couple of things happening next week that i’ll divulge later if i can, otherwise, onward and upward with the deck! my tomato and pepper seedlings are doing well (so far), and i’ve got a garden meeting on tuesday about the plots. that is almost as exciting as a deck!

in other, unrelated news, i lost my domain for a short amount of time, which is annoying since the host was supposed to pay for it. i went and paid for it so i didn’t lose it, and now i’ m waiting to hear if i get a refund. what a waste of time. 

know what else was a waste of time? driving to the tmobile store to see what would happen if i wanted to upgrade to an iphone SE. i’d have to pay $350 for my current phone and then enter a new monthly payment plan. i guess i’ll stick with my 5s. it works. (except sometimes the edge letters on my keyboard don’t register my fingers, which is weird.)

tomorrow is my land ethic workshop!! i’m excited. i’m taking my camera and hopefully having a fun time. i got a scholarship, so i’d feel horrible if i went there and decided to leave in the middle because it sucked. here’s hoping it doens’t suck. πŸ™‚