what’s goin on!

thunderstorms woke me up this morning, so i was awake about an hour earlier than i wanted to be. so now i’m sitting on my couch in my log cabin living room watching a weather front come in and listening to the wind in the trees.

have i mentioned how much i like my new house?

anyway, some life updates for everyone.

running

i’ve been getting really fatigued lately while i’m running, and i’ve gone from “this is tolerable” to “this is miserable.” i did some research online, and it seems like i might have low iron, which apparently is a common thing for women who run. so i have started taking some iron supplements, and i actually might go in to the doctor to get my iron levels tested. in the meantime, we’ll see if the three days of supplements i’ve been taking affect my run tonight.

oh, and i guess i’m running a ragnar race. :/

work

summertime is always a little less hectic at work, which is nice. it’s a time when i can focus on things that’ve been sitting on my desk for months and work on bigger projects. i’m also working 4 10-hour days, so i’ve got a 3-day weekend every weekend. unfortunately, i always feel rushed in the evenings – i get home at 6:30, try to eat supper right aways so i have some time to digest before i go on a 45-min run and get in before sunset (i run on a 55-mph highway, so that’s almost imperative). i don’t want to eat supper late in the day, so that’s what hanging me up there. not sure what the answer is. 

one thing that’s happening that’s kind of cool is i’m helping present on an eorientation project we did at a national conference in washington dc. so this wednesday, i’m flying out to DC for four days. we’ll go to some of the conference, but we’ll also make sure we see some of the big stuff – monuments, smithsonian stuff, museums, etc. i’ve never been out there, so this will be exciting!

(actually, i’ve never been east of indiana [thanks liz], so this will be a real departure from my regular vacay destinations [westward ho!])

garden!

garden is blowing up! i love that it’s RIGHT THERE and it’s LARGE and i have tons of stuff in it. probably too much. we’ll see how the squash does. i planted four potato plants just because i like the occasional potato from the garden, but i don’t really keep them over winter. 

let’s see, what else: broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, carrots, radishes, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, onions. butternut squash and pie pumpkins. that’s a lot. oh! and green beans. we’ll see how it all does. i’ve already got to get in there with my tiller to get rid of weeds.

i also got rid of my two “cemetery” trees that were next to the house. last fall, an ice storm pretty much ripped them in half and they were dead. i was like “ugh, where am i gonna find a chainsaw,” when i was out for a run and heard/saw (haha) my neighbors two doors down chainsawing in their backyard. i came back and they had moved to the front. i introduced myself and asked about some chainsaw services. they happily agreed! he even pulled out the stumps with his truck, which helped a TON. 

took them to the city compost and now i’ve planted two lilacs in their places. MUCH better.

(i also got two raspberry bushes while i was at the nursery and planted those on the end of the garden. excited for that!)

that’s all i’ve got. i might try to blog about DC, but we’ll see how tired i am at the end of the days. the weather front is closer, but it’s still rumbling thunder, so i’m not sure how long this will take. we need the rain, though! 

something to think about

today i was asked by a dean at work if i’d be interested in teaching a class spring semester 0.o

it’s a fundamentals of web design class, which i feel like i should TAKE, not teach. some of the stuff i do know; ok, a lot of it i do know. but, there is a lot of newer stuff, like dealing with responsive sites and advanced stylesheets, that i do not know. at this point in my life, i let web design websites take care of business, like wordpress. it’s been a long time since i’ve made a site from scratch. 

another thing is the time. this owuld be on top of the job i’m already doing at the college, which takes up 40 hours of my week, and my coworker has moved on to a different job, so i am it for the department. thinking about having to teach and assess 24 students’ web design work on a daily basis is kind of overwhelming to think about when i’ve got to deal with all the other stuff that’s happening in the next five months. (i’m working on content for an all-new eorientation for the school, and we’re migrating content from our old website to new in february or march.) (on top of all the other stuff that needs to be done.) (and it’s just me. did i mention that?)

but, the dean told me to talk to my boss and see what she says, and to think about it. i’m not sure what they’re going to do if i decline. it’s flattering that she (the dean) thought of me to teach this class, but i really enjoy my free time, and i also don’t want to be working every second of every waking moment. what if i want to just laze about in my pjs all day and let my brain be free of work thoughts? 

anyway, that’s the thing i have to think about. 

driving

one of the more annoying things about this commuting thing is that i drive home and think “man! this is great running weather!” and by the time i get home, it’s too dark to do anything. bah.

speaking of driving….

compared to the last time i did this stint, i am saving a crapton of gas money. i still need to drive to and back from st cloud every week, but the distance to work from where i’m staying is actually less than my commute was down here to roch. so that’s a plus. last time i was doing this, i was driving 90 miles a day to get from austin to rochester for work. on top of the 175 each way back home. instead of filling up twice a week, i can get up there, go to work four days, and get back home on one tank of gas. huzzah!

ALSO. gas is not $3.95 a gallon like it was four years ago. (knock on wood.) that was heavy. so not only was i filling up twice a week, but it was at $70 a pop (i have an 18-gallon tank). 

to compare: $600/month last time (just for commuting – not any driving i did on the weekends). $160/month this go round for commuting. i was spending half that on just to and from rochester every month from st charles. that is fantastic. plus, i have been getting some killer gas mileage lately. 35 mpg this last tank, and that was mostly 70mph+ freeway driving. 

all this to say, i hope i can go for a decent run tomorrow. 

so it begins

for some reason, this commuting thing is already worse, and it’s only been six hours. it could be because i have a nasty sore throat that’s really dragging me down, but i miss my kitties and i miss my hubby already!! πŸ™

so tomorrow i start my new job. i’m hoping i feel better than i do now. i remember being really anxious before i started at roch comm & tech , but i am not feeling anxious at all for this job. maybe tomorrow morning, but i feel like i’m just heading to another branch of mnscu, so it’s really similar. i hope i find coworkers as awesome as mine at roch comm & tech πŸ™ wah i already miss my department.

BUT.

this is what i want. this is good. i just have to do this weird commuting thing for six months at most, and things will settle down again. rinse, repeat. 

maybe i’ll be able to blog a little more! now that i’m not cleaning 24/7 and running around like a chicken with my head cut off. watch for details!

on the plus side, i’m going shopping after work tomorrow (if i feel up to it), which should remind me how much i hate st cloud traffic. exciting!

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.

so here i sit

dreary day here in southern minnesota. the rain just sort of drizzled its way across the hours, and the sun never made an appearance. it wasn’t so cold that it was scarf weather, but with the rain, a jacket was called for. good there was no wind.

my endeavors to get back to central minnesota stalled out. i feel better about that part of the state; the lakes are calling to me from their far away places. but i have to keep telling myself that home is not necessarily a place; wherever nate and the cats are – that’s home. 

so continuing to do a little poking around here and there, maybe a nudge up and over. this obviously wasn’t meant to be. i sound fatalistic in ways, but i’m trying to carpe that diem as much as i can. 

in the meantime, i will reverse my exit behavior and get myself in gear. i do like what i do. 

and done

my adrenaline levels may have dipped close to normal levels. close.

after months of planning and worrying and anxiety over my job and others’ jobs and logistics and etc. etc., the big event for my work is done. last week was just nasty. we had an event on monday, thursday, friday, and saturday. i worked 11 hours on saturday alone and had almost 30 hours of overtime on that timesheet. the last timesheet also had overtime on it. 

the past two days, our office has closed ON TIME, which has been practically unheard of in the past two months at least. possibly four. it’s just weird to leave the office at 4:30 and have it be completely empty. 

so, i’m finally able to do my actual job for a little while, which will be super nice! 

eventually i should have a weekend to do nothing, also, but that’s not happening any time soon.

this weekend my sisters and i are antiqueing down the mississippi river, and i’m hoping we can hope to wisconsin and check out the laura ingalls wilder museum in pepin. i’m excited for this!

next weekend is liz’s oktoberfest party, which i may or may not go to (haven’t decided yet).

after that is NERDCON which i’m SUPER SUPER excited for. two days of writing stuff!

the 17th is the zombie pub crawl, which i also haven’t decided if i’m going to yet. charlie’s willing to go, and i’m trying to get liz to go, too, even though she thinks she’s going to have no fun since she can’t drink. her costume would be epic, though!

meanwhile, it’s pumpkin season even though this month has been peculiarly warm. it hasn’t even gotten close to freezing at night yet, which is bizarre for late september. the forecast is looking out into october already, and the lows at night are mid-50s. i’m not complaining since i’m not a fan of cold, but it’s just weird.

and, on a final note, as a reward for all my overtime i put in this past month or so, i’m expanding my tree tattoo to include some sumac and pine trees. got to make an appt! 

on hashtags

last year i wanted to livestream tweets at commencement, but by the time i thought about it, the time was getting crunchy and the little research i did do elicited some very expensive options. 

so this year, i started early and bugged people often. and we did, in fact, livestream tweets at commencement. 

the setup was a little wonky – i had one person typesetting and one person gatekeeping the tweets. (meanwhile, i was out taking pics.) it also was put directly into the video program, so you had to be able to work your way around video editing software.

but it worked! and i was absolutely amazed at the amount of people who used our hashtag that night. we had 260+ unique tweets with the hashtag and 60+ retweets. there were a few instagram uses, but since we couldn’t put photos up, that wasn’t as big of a deal. 

it added a fun element, and it made the night go SO quickly, when the handing out of diplomas usually is so long and boring. 

i’m planning on this for next year, but it always comes down to if people will still be using twitter at that point. we’ll have to re-evaluate come february or march!

i missed my calling?

i enjoy video editing, which i guess doens’t surprise me. i’ve been putting together the holiday videos for rctc the past three years, as well as some additional videos (including a fun halloween one this pas october).

here’s this year’s holiday video. i edited it and took the closeup video cuts.

meta takeaways

here's a photo of a cat to keep you entertained.

here’s a photo of a cat to keep you entertained.

this is going to be a blog post about blogging. how meta.

i went to the minnesota blogger conference today and learned stuff about blogging. here are the top takeaways i got from the conference.

1. your blog post needs to be at least 300 words for google to index it. not 280. not 299. 300. THAT is the biggest thing i learned, and i believe the most useful for work, where i just started a news blog. the more we can get out on google, the better. 

2. another useful thing i learned that i will apply to work: it can take at least 9 months for a blog to really take off. i’ve gotten more than one comment about how no one’s reading the blog (they are) and it’s useless (can’t say that yet!) so why are we bothering? if we are still getting the numbers we are getting now, which are not horrible (the most read post is 500 views), then i will put a kibosh on it. 

3. i found out a useful wordpress plugin that gives a calendar view of posts versus a listing.

4. a personal thought process from novice to expert: “this is neat. -> i might be good at this. -> i’m a _______.” 

5. find 6 characteristics you value and use them as a filter for everyone and everything you work with. does content serve your audience? does your content fit your values? don’t dilute your message with extraneous crap. be the guardian leader of your blog. *

6. be the best answer. what can i be the best answer for? what is it i’m best at? what do i want to be known for?

* what are my 6 values?

1. eat well, but remember to eat socially as well. 

2. pay attention – beauty is in places you least expect.

3. be cynically optimistic. or optimistically cynical.

4. it’s ok to be excited about weird stuff.

5. be an environmentalist. we only have one earth.

6. still working on this one!