Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

This week has been very exhausting for me. I’ve lost two employees in the past two weeks, so I’ve been adjusting to that. (There are only 4 of us total so now I’m at half a staff.) I’ve hired some temporary help, but it’s still kind of exhausting to be doing basically everything. The jobs posted this week, so hopefully if all goes well, I can hire people by the middle of October, first of November by the latest.

So I’m happy that so far, today’s been a lazy day. We stayed up late last night after going to dinner with some friends and then going to the football game. So of course I ended up sleeping late too this morning. 

Crappiness at work means some crappiness in the home, so last week, I asked Taylor if we could each plan a date for this weekend. I planned Friday night after work…Hooters and go cart racing. This morning after I got up and got dressed, Taylor made us a picnic lunch and we went out to the riverfront and ate sandwiches and fed the (nasty) blackbirds the leftovers of our chips. It has been a great weekend, and I’ve still got the rest of the afternoon to enjoy alone, since Sunday’s are football days and Taylor goes to watch with his family.

So I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on some blogging for you…more Italy photos anyone? But in the mean time, I’ve thought of a few things I have really liked lately and wanted to share with you.

First. Buy this wine.


99% of the time I’m a cheap wine drinker, going for bottles in the $4-7 range. But I bought this one at my local Wally World and it ended up being really great. It’s a Petite Sirah (in case you can’t squint enough to make out the words on my shitty iPod photo) and I paid about $11. So, while I consider it in the pricier range, it definitely doesn’t break the bank. And it tastes really good. I brought it to a girls night and everyone kept asking where I got it and was really impressed. They also have Merlot and Chardonnay, but I haven’t tried those yet.

Second. Buy this album.

I first heard Grouplove about a year ago when they opened for Two Door Cinema Club at a concert I went to. (I love TDCC too, but this isn’t about them.)The songs Grouplove sang were just so energizing and fun. And then while Two Door Cinema Club was performing, the female singer, Hannah come out into the audience and was standing right next to me. She smiled and didn’t run away immediately when I shouted over the music that I liked their songs. After that, I immediately downloaded their EP album (just named Grouplove) and listened to the 5 songs over and over. Then when I heard their album was coming out, I marked the date on my calendar and downloaded it right away. So enough rambling, so I’ll try to wrap it up.

I think their songs are really good. Some are fun and upbeat but some really draw you into the song with emotional connection.  And one of the EP album songs is on a Chevrolet commercial (Don’t Say Oh Well). Colours and Naked Kids are both great songs and are on both the EP and the new album. Although I was happy they included some songs from the EP, I’m also glad it’s not the same old stuff with just a few other new songs. 

So anyway, that’s what’s up in my life right now. What’s going on with you? Any music, wine or other recommendations you’ve got for me?


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What a week

I know I don’t talk about my job in great detail here. It’s just a better idea not to.

But, two weekends ago was a really rough time for me. See, my job is a grant funded position. Last December, our school submitted the application for re-funding. I was really the primary writer since I’m the director of the program, though I did have a committee.

So we’ve been waiting 8 months to find out if I (and the rest of my staff) would have jobs come September 1st. Waiting is rough. Especially, when it’s 3 weeks until you’ll potentially be unemployed. Let’s just say, I was seriously lacking in the area motivation at work. I tried to keep the motto “business as usual” but let’s be real, what’s the point in busting ass, when you don’t know if your work will be for nothing.  

So two Fridays ago, Friday, August 6th, I decided to stay in bed a few extra hours and go in late to the office. When I woke up, I had a couple of text messages, one of which said the slate had been released, which meant that we’d be finding out the status of our jobs very soon.

From home, I contacted one of the congressman’s offices. They hadn’t received word yet, but would call me when they did. I hurried up and finished getting ready for work, and got there earlier than I planned. It was rough all day, just waiting. So I looked up an old friend on Facebook who I remembered had recently started working for a congressman’s office. We haven’t talked in a LONG time, but I still messaged him on FB to see if he could find out for me. No luck.

I pretty much sat at the desk and refreshed my email  (our new system sucks and only checks for updates every 2 minutes). I called another congressman’s office, and left a message. Then I actually talked to a guy at one office, and they still hadn’t heard about our program. In 09-10 there were 61 funded programs in Texas, but they had  only heard about the status of 7 programs. There was no way over 50 programs weren’t funded.

So at the end of the day, we still hadn’t heard. I let my staff go early, since nobody was really getting much done anyway. The rest of the weekend, there was no word. I worked to keep myself busy, hence the closet cleaning. I also went grocery shopping and made some gazpacho, chicken for lunches, lunch salads, and a few other things. If you can imagine, it was pretty stressful waiting.

On Monday (a week ago), I was looking forward to just finding out if it was yes or no.

In the past few months, I’ve wavered between being confident about our application and not believing we’d be successful. I had to be real with myself, that there was always a possibility that out of more than 1,200 applications, that we wouldn’t be chosen. That there could potentially be something wrong with our application. That I’d have missed something major from the instructions. In my head, I was prepared for the worst. That I wouldn’t have a job anymore. In a way, I was sort of looking forward to having a few weeks “off” while I searched for a job. In reality, I know that isn’t ideal, and it honestly would have been tough for me to find a job where we live.

When I got to work, after waiting all weekend, I thought I was going to throw up. I tried to wait past 9AM, just because I didn’t want to be a pain to the congressmen’s offices, even though DC, where I was calling, is an hour ahead of us. Nonetheless, when I called, the aide who handles education issues, looked up our school, and congratulated me on behalf of the congressman for receiving funding. I couldn’t believe it. I even asked about our sister school, who also applied, and which happens has the same name, but ends in “institute of technology”, just to make sure they weren’t making a mistake.

I called Taylor immediately to tell him the good news. He said he teared up a little bit. He was hoping for good news too.

I couldn’t think of exactly  how to tell my staff of the good news. So I went to the restroom. Then, another congressman’s office called while I stepped out. My administrative assistant answered the call. I walked around the corner and heard her asking to take a message. They already told her who they were and what they were calling for. I stepped in just in time to take the call, just to hear the words again, and make sure it was for real.

She asked me if I already knew. And I told her yes, but that I was trying to figure out a way to tell everyone.

So, long story short…I still have a job. We still have jobs. For 5 more years, if we wish.

Since I couldn’t figure out how to tell everyone, and my admin already knew, I stepped out into the hallway between our offices, and said something along the lines of, “Hey y’all, guess what? We got it!” We screamed like little girls. And hugged each other. Myself, a girl my age, and two women my mom’s age. I teared up too. 

I’m very lucky and feel very fortunate. It was very stressful waiting.

And, I assure you, this past week has been very productive!

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As the week wraps up, I’m sitting here sipping on a glass of Merlot. Although it is a “Bella Sera”, please be warned about buying wine from the convenience store. You might be a little disappointed with the taste and quality in comparison to the usual grocery store bottle of wine.

Anyhow, I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been going on.

  • Still waiting to find out if I have a job in a couple of weeks. Please send good vibes my way.
  • I’ve been reading the Twilight books (I somewhat shamefully admit). I’ve read all the Sookie Stackhouse books except for the last one, and completely love the show True Blood, but have resisted Twilight for a while. I’m on book 3 (Eclipse) and like the story so far, except as a psychology major, I find the Edward/Bella relationship a little too controlling/obsessive and a touch unhealthy.
  • Books read this year total 12 (Sookie and Twilight). I’m also halfway through Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and A Taste of True Blood. That’s more books than I’ve read in a couple of years combined.
  • I started tracking my food intake again. I’m trying to be more healthy, and I’ve found the best way I can do that is by tracking what I eat. I use the Livestrong.com MyPlate which has tons of different foods already listed, which makes it easy for me. I like that if we eat lunch at Jason’s Deli, Schlotsky’s, or Chick-fil-a, I don’t have to hunt down the nutrition counts.
  • I also am getting back on track with exercising. After I did the 5K in May, I kinda haven’t gotten back in the groove. I’ve gone walking /jogging three times this week, and plan to go at least once more this weekend. You gotta start somewhere.
  • And I bought a Nike SportBand. It comes with a sensor (my regular tennis shoes aren’t Nike+ so I also bought a little pouch that holds the sensor) and the watch, which you use on your walks/runs to track your speed, pace and calories burned. Then you can upload to your Nike+ account online, to track your miles and set goals if you want.
  • I’m also getting a hair cut. Don’t know exactly what style I’m going for, but I know I’m going a few inches shorter. Still, I want something fairly low maintenance. I’ll post pictures soon.

What have you been up to? Any recommendations on reading material once I’m done with my current books?

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Of course I have time to blog

Even though I should be finishing up some homework for my class in just over 2 hours.  I’ve got one assignment completed, and just need to finish one more, a short journal entry.  My professor knows I’m a slacker, but am not the most slackery in the class. 

The past two weeks have been brutal.  I’ve worked through lunch nearly every day, had days booked solid with interviews for our program. Thankfully I’m not having to interview for staff positions. I also had my performance evaluation which turned out better than I expected, not that I thought it was bad, but the ultimate score was more than 20 points higher than last year, and I got several 5s which are the top rating. Some of the stressors of the past year actually helped me get such good ratings (think trouble maker, unsubstantiated complaints, countless meetings with the boss, 2 hour meeting with HR…thank heavens for my novels of documentation!)

Things look like they might calm down by the end of the semester, right after I have to submit a grant proposal and annual report to the government.

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Step 1.  Take the day off work.  Play hooky if desired.

Step 2.  Arm yourself with massive (pre-wedding/honeymoon/other) to-do list and credit card. (Note: You can feel much more accomplished if many of the items are online purchases!)

Step 3.  Make appropriate online orders, send emails, do research, etc. 

Step 4.  Leave the house to run a few errands.  Shower not necessary.  Brushing teeth is.  Sunglasses make a great headband in a pinch.

So….following my own steps, what did I accomplish today?

1.  Purchase tickets to Aquarium and Alcatraz for the honeymoon.
2. Email potential hair stylists.
3. Research rental cars for honeymoon.
4.  Go to the bank to deposit a check.  Forget PIN #.  Drive to another bank to make deposit. Luckily remember PIN. 
5. Go to jewelry store to find out if they would be able to attach a broach to my veil.  They said yes. 
6. Order makeup sealant to try out so wedding day make up doesn’t run or smear. 
7. Order the last of the bridal party gifts. 
8.  Almost order wedding flowers.  (got scared because I couldn’t find a place to enter the deliver by date… I certainly don’t want those delivered this week.)
9.  Mail something for my dear, sweet fiance’.
10.  Email with mom and members of bridal party. 

And the day’s not even quite over. 

See, you too can get lots accomplished, if you follow my simple plan.  The key is…TAKE A DAY OFF!

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When I last left you, I was down on South Congress at Uncommon Objects.  Not to far from there, were the greatest places to eat.  I just have to share, and hope you can go there and/or that I will be able to go back during my wedding weekend. 

First a gratuitous photo of the Austin Motel sign.


The night before my conference began, my colleague/friend and I had a chance to wander.  So we walked around 20+ blocks from downtown to the area. 

We knew we had to get a cupcake from the silver Airstream trailer.  Hey Cupcake! had a variety of cupcakes.  I really wanted a Michael Jackson (chocolate with sour cream icing) but they were out, so I got a vegan strawberry cupcake.  It was tiny compared to the other regular cupcakes.  I was sad, but the cupcake was tasty. 

After a while, the line got longer.  While enjoying our cupcakes, we enjoyed the sounds of a guitar player/singer.

After the cupcakes (I know, dessert first!) we decided to eat dinner.  Doc’s Motorworks isn’t terribly far from Hey Cupcake!  or Uncommon Objects.   

I chose the delicious Chicken Fried Avocado.  It’s got a chicken and cheese mixture inside a 1/2 avocado, battered and fried, then covered with a tomatillo cream sauce.  It was SOOO GOOD!  The picture definitely doesn’t do it justice.

That was it for that night.  But during our trip we also enjoyed Home Slice Pizza (the margarita slice was huge and had tons of toppings.) You can dine in or get it to go.

We also REALLY enjoyed the Magnolia Cafe.  The spinach artichoke dip was the best ever! The food was very reasonably priced and had a huge selection.  It’s also open 24 hours a day. 

I’ve got one more restaurant to tell you about.  The experience was so great it gets it’s own post.  Hopefully work and life will calm down a little so I can get to posting a little more regularly.

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