February 25, 2011

Crazy couple of weeks

Little did I know what was going to happen just 36 hours after my last post. Got up and went to work as I usually do. After taking a few calls and just going about my day, I check my email and notice I have a meeting notice from a manager that I spoke to back in December. Let's go back in time, shall we. We shall

Picture it; October 2010. I have applied for yet another position. This one would have been a pretty big stretch to go into but I would have loved the work as a business analyst. I had a meeting with the hiring manager (Director of IT for Transportation; deals with the cargo ships  and other areas for the company). By the end of that call (he is in Houston; I'm not) he tells me to expect a meeting notice from one of his employees here where I live. I met with him just 2 days later and he was only meeting 2 people from here (so me and one other). It came down to me and one other person; I didn't get the job. The guy I was against was already doing about 40% of the job already and is there in Houston (this would have relocated us). But I impressed the manager and his employee (who are both tough customers) such that the manager has now become my career mentor.

Shortly after this interaction, he had me get in touch with a manger where I live, which turns out to be his brother-in-law. I met with him in November and he suggested that I meet with 2 of his supervisors below him because they will need people "next year". Now I have heard that before and that usually means mid to late year. So I didn't act on those secondary meetings immediately. About a month later I get an email from the senior manager here stating that a position was just posted and that he was not aware that I had met with his supervisors yet and that they are filling 8 position from that one posting. I read between those lines and quickly made the meetings. About a month after those meetings, I received a call from one of the supervisors stating that they cannot get my employee profile to come down and if I could send it to them. I did so and didn't think about it again.

So I opened the meeting notice and all it said was "Corp Staffs job" for the subject and nothing else. So I just assumed that it was an interview meeting. I was wrong.

The supervisor comes in and we chit chat a few minutes and then she says "I am offering you the position" and mentally I thought, "Huh?" Seriously. The fact that she was offering the position was not even on my radar. So after I agreed to say yes (LOL!) I was informed that starting the next day (Feb 8) I was going to start working 1/2 day in my current position and then the other 1/2 of the day in her group until the new pay period started (Feb 16th) and then would be full-time in her area. And the reason for this is that the person I am taking over for is retiring at the end of the month.

I also learn that one of the applications I will be now supporting is currently in a major upgrade project. Needless to say that the last 2 weeks have been fast, furious, and mentally challenging/exhausting because I have had to pick up on applications I have never seen and the upgrade project is not going so well. And I am thankful for the opportunities that come from it and from whom they are coming from.

So I have moved into my new office. Who knew an office had color from wood grains and wasn't just slightly lighter/darker than the same shade of gray? I have the option to NOT pick up my phone if I am in the middle of something. I have a company card now for travel (and having to submit expense reports)as well as a company provided phone (OK, OK it is a Blackberry. And I like this one far better than I did Heather's when she got it). Now to some these things are not that big of a deal. But when you were not sure if an opportunity to move out of entry-level jobs and into one that has all of this, it is.

I think this is a funny situation:

5 phones; 4 members of the house; 3 old enough to have a phone; 2 each of a Blackberry and iPhone for the adults = 1 confused 6 year old on why one of these isn't hers

February 05, 2011

It's about to get interesting in here

We have recently started watching a show in Hallmark Channel called Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn (www.madhungry.com).

Lucinda is not just someone who loves to cook and got a show. Not by any stretch. She is the Executive Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining for Martha Stewart's empire.

We have really gotten into how and what she cooks. Everything in moderation and nothing is off limits. Yet her food is easy, approachable, and can uses ingredients that be found in most (if not all) grocery stores. Seriously. For example. Her Basic Tomato Sauce is:

2 T olive oli
2 cloves garlic, minced
A pinch of red pepper flakes (or more if you like some spice)
1 28-ounce can of low-sodium (or organic) whole plum tomatoes

In a blender (or using a hand blender), puree the tomatoes to the level of chunky or smooth you like. Get the oil hot in a pan and then throw in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook just until you can smell the garlic (about 30 seconds). Pour in the tomatoes and bring up to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Now I add 1 teaspoon sweet basil in the last 5 minutes of cooking and that is it. Now a tip I learned from her is when to add the herb. If you put the herbs in right at the beginning, you will cook out all of the flavor. Instead, add it at the end and then the flavor will perfume throughout the sauce. Huge thing to learn and makes a difference.

Anyway. I was watching her show on DVR, as my wife and I do every day, my 11-year old son came in and sat down about 3/4 of the way through. He was quite intrigued by what was being made. He grabbed the remote to see what the theme was. You can only imagine what his reaction was when he saw that it was an episode on bacon. 

Shortly there after, he restarted the episode and watched it completely. Once the show was done, he went into the kitchen and grabbed my copy of her book (http://amzn.to/hTbkVg).

Studying Lucinda's book quite intently
So when making the grocery list this week, he informed us that he wanted to make everything in that episode. So for breakfast - Bacon, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich (http://bit.ly/gdAaZq). And we are teaching how to properly clean the cast iron - now that we own some.

Making the eggs for the sandwich
The completed product
 Dinner was Pantry Bistro Salad (http://bit.ly/fqGgiJ) and the Spaghetti Carbonara (with whole wheat spaghetti - http://bit.ly/e9dWFA). I believe I could eat this salad with her tomato soup (http://bit.ly/eLdMkV) every day for lunch. Without question! This was a really good dinner. The recipe says that the salad is 4 servings and the pasta is 4-6. For us, the pasta is probably about 8 servings. But I ate quite a bit of the salad (which has a poached egg on it - part of the recipe).

The end results for tonights dinner
Even my 6-year old asked to try the salad and she does not do salads. I now need to get her other two books!