Well, my moving of the Rose of Sharon shrublets doesn't seem to have gone as well as I had hoped. I moved four baby shrubs and all of them are dropping leaves badly. I am going to hope that the moving stress is just causing them to shed leaves earlier than the shrub which is still in the original location (and is still green and leafy). Because I was traveling at the beginning of last week, I wasn't able to water them daily, but it did rain at least one day. Perhaps lack of water right after transplanting was a problem anyway.
At the meetings last week, I once again continued my pleas with higher ups for projects to do since I'm only working at 20-30% capacity and spending most of my time filing paperwork. This was again largely met with blank looks, rolled eyes, changes of subject or sudden needs to be somewhere else. It has now been two years that I have been asking the higher ups if I could participate in projects and asking for some guidance/mentoring in how to translate from grad student to working professional in my field. These requests have been e-mailed to three people who are still in the organization. For the most part, these requests have gone unanswered. I had one little nibble, but then something else came up and subsequent pings received no replies. It was frustrating to see the research and other projects being done by people at the central office. *THAT* is the sort of stuff that I want to do. I desperately want to make a substantial contribution to the organization and to be recognized for my work (or at least to get some idea from *someone* that I'm doing something useful/beneficial, not just taking up space). I know that I shouldn't care what other people think, but I guess I still do. It doesn't seem to me as though I'm doing anything particularly meaningful and I'm definitely not using any of my training. From conversations I had this week, it would appear that my frustrations are found among other persons in my position all across the state. This does not give me much hope for having this problem be solved.
I would like to help people out in my office. I have said repeatedly in the past few weeks that I can help the people who are currently overloaded. My co-workers say "Ok.", but that's all the further it goes. I don't know how to communicate that I can actually help them and share the load. I don't want to harass them and be a pest, asking every 5 minutes if I can help yet, but perhaps they think I don't really mean it when I say I can help. As I have commented before, this frustrates me and doesn't do much for my attitude which, in turn, doesn't really make it likely that anybody will approach me for help since I know I get really prickly and unpleasant. (OTOH, Friday I was asked twice to help a colleague who rarely asks me for anything and it went very well. I was very pleased. I would be very interested in having that interaction continue. It's nice to actually be working as part of the team, rather than isolated in my corner.)
On the Job Front
I did have a phone interview last week that went very well. They asked if they could contact my current supervisor and I said yes. And then I promptly forgot to say anything to my current supervisor. So I got a call late Friday afternoon from said supervisor indicating he'd received a call from the interview chair. Oops. Supervisor knows that I'm not entirely happy with things at work and that I feel underutilized, but I feel like I just blindsided the super. I should have mentioned it before the phone call arrived. I did apologize, but I do feel bad about it. They said they understood when I indicated that I was looking for more responsibility and greater workload. Of course, there's also the part about my not being a good fit in this office personality-wise, which can't really be fixed.
One thing the interview did was boost my confidence in my knowledge and it also caused me to realize something interesting about the interview for my current position. When I interviewed for my current position, I was asked no questions to establish what I know about the field I studied in graduate school. There did not appear to be a pre-set series of questions. It really seemed rather ad hoc and unstructured. This may just be a perception on my part, but could have been an early sign that they weren't sure what to do with me once I got my main job task done two weeks after I arrived.
I have set myself a goal to completely apply for at least three positions each weekend and at least two positions each week. You see, I have a tendency to start an application, then get bogged down with a detail or three and fail to follow through completely before the position closes. This, of course, results in my application not being considered. Faxing in supporting documents (transcripts, etc.) seems to be a real problem that needs to be overcome. It would be easier if the various application sites were better designed. Why should I be required to both submit a resume *and* key in all the educational and work information from said resume into a clunky user interface? Why does this stuff have to be duplicated? That's a tremendous time sink and incredibly inefficient. It also makes me wonder about the abilities of the company's HR or IT folks in getting the information from both sources.
The Last of the Garden Bounty
The eggplant plants have gone insane. I always thought these were summer/warm season producers, but apparently they are not. They set few flowers during the summer. Right now there are seven fruits growing on two plants with another six or eight blossoms. The pepper plants are also going crazy. The tomatoes are winding things down. Soon I'll need to decide if I want to pick green tomatoes again this year. Temperatures have been down in the 40s at night so I suspect the future of ripe tomatoes is quite limited at this point. The basil harvest hasn't even started yet. Of course, I never did quite use up the basil I coarsely chopped and froze last year, so part of me doesn't want to bother with harvesting and freezing this year. The other part of me feels bad about "wasting" the basil. I could try trying some basil and giving it away over the winter.
On a whim, I purchased two pineapple sage plants in the late spring and planted them at the back of the house. I figured they'd die out pretty quickly, but I really like the scent of the leaves so I went ahead and bought them anyway with my weekly allowance. I was wrong about the dying out part. They're as tall as I am now (65 inches) and just past the peak blooming time. Pineapple sage blossoms are incredibly attractive to moths and butterflies. I haven't been able to decide about harvesting leaves or what to do with them if I did harvest the leaves. I have a recipe for sage cookies which might be very tasty with pineapple sage rather than regular sage, but I don't know if the fruity overtones would be lost in baking or not. I really should try drying at least some of the leaves and see how that works. If nothing else, perhaps I could make some sachets or potpourri.
Soon I'll need to till under the garden and plant garlic for next year. Yes, I may be moving in the next six months, but that doesnt' mean I won't still plant garlic. (And yes, I am stressing in the back of my mind about what to do with moving plants again when I move. I don't want to give up all my irises, esp since a large chunk of them came from my late buddy DZD and remind me of her whenever I see them. Then there's the Rose of Sharon, though I could still get seedlings from the original Lucky-donated plant if I had to. And the blackberries and raspberries and the coreopsis, though I have about 5 quarts of seed from this year too. This is becoming an exercise in practicing to only worry about things which are NOW, not things which are in the future and might never even be an issue.)
As chilly as it's been, I'm definitely baking this weekend. Of course, I'm also out of bread, so that's extra incentive. I'll do the usual Oatmeal Toasting Bread. I also would like something a little sweet and fruity to eat, so might try Raspberry Lime Bread from the former Bakingsheet blog (now Baking Bites). I will, of course, use Blackberries instead since I have oodles of them frozen. I'll probably also use whole wheat flour for a bit of extra flavor. I'll keep you posted how things turn out.
Cookie baking season is about to kick into high gear. I am the annual unofficial cookie supplier to the SCinet crew at annual international supercomputing conference, SC08. My best friend is the fiber chair again this year. He and his crew will spend a week setting up the world's fastest network, let it run for a week and then tear it all down. As you might imagine, this makes for some rather long, stressful days (and nights). I usually send a couple boxes of cookies for the set-up week and one for the week of the conference. This has been widely regarded as a great boost for productivity and morale. I even take requests for what to bake. (I don't really care what I bake and sometimes it's nice to have someone else make the decision.) The overall SCinet Chairperson, Patrick, likes oatmeal raisin cookies so I'll make those and the fiber infrastructure database developer/keeper, Jon, likes all cookies but favors chocolate and nuts so I'll throw in something special for him too. Staging is the week of October 27th. Setup is the week of November 10th, with the conference starting November 15th. The tentative cookie list for this year includes: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, brown sugar, and possibly peanut butter.