Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween treats

I have a costume party (slash "game night") to go to on Saturday. For awhile I had been wanting to try my hand at "candy sushi" which I saw Rachael Ray make once. It turned out ok, really cute in fact, but I don't like the mess involved. Rolling the log of Rice Krispies was a sticky mess. Once that set up for a few minutes, the wrapping and cutting of the "Fruit by the Foot" was so much easier. Inside there are strips of licorice. On the ones that they call "nigiri" I put on a Swedish Fish and cut the Fruit by the Foot into strips for wrapping.

As desert number 2, I made a key lime pie and simply decorated it with a spider web and spider. Didn't want to go to much expense with the decorating stuff because I will not be making a hobby of this. So I simply got the icing that is already in a small tube. It didn't come out perfect, but certainly passable.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


On Monday I received the offer to work for a company named AON. They are pretty large and have a dot com site if you care to look into it. I will be a senior benefits analyst. I understand the data processing part I will need to use and they will just have to educate me on the benefits aspect of the job. One of the things this company does is put together benefits packages for other companies. They work with the companies to define what they will offer to the employees, then gather the payroll information, convert that to a format that is understood by their software, and open up web sites that allow the employees of those other companies to manage their benefits online.

Having worked for a company that had benefits administration online, I am a little famiiar with some of the processes as a user. I have database experience and have written plenty of data conversion programs over the years.

The nice thing is that I will work in a real office building with LIVE people. I feel that teamwork and comraderie are very important, and you just don't have that working at home. The office building is just a 15 minute drive. It will probably be long hours to begin with, since this is the busy part of the year (benefits open enrollment time) and I have a lot to learn up front.

Starting date is Nov 17, so I have time to do other stuff around the house too.

Monday, October 13, 2008


No, it isn't a member of a's a gem stone!

On Saturday I joined approximately 20 other people for a trip to a town called Hiddenite, NC. There is a gem mine there open to the public (Google'll find it easily). You do one or more activities to collect stones. The most popular is sitting at a bench and "sluicing". This is putting dirt into a screen and brushing that along with a stream of water. They can pretty much guarantee that you will get gem stones. Another activity is wading in a creek, where water has moved dirt and stones off the mountainside, revealing the gems.

I got a nice little collection of stones while sluicing. Maybe nothing spectacular. I did not step in the creek because I knew the water would be cold and I didn't want to take off my shoes and socks. But from the side of the creek I spotted two interesting stones, and a lady friend went and picked them up for me.

Now I have a little container with various colored stones. I don't really know how to identify what I have, but one thing I would like to do is grind a little material off a small one as a test. Not that I will become a diamond cutter. The only diamond cutting I will do is if I get hired to mow the lawn at the local baseball field.

Including a picture of the variety. I'm hoping the light green one is Hiddenite and that the dark green one is emerald. Don't know what the light blue one is but I kept calling it "bluejeanite" because it was exactly the color of a friend's blue jeans. The penny is just there for a size reference. Maybe some day I will have someone cut and polish these. Or maybe I'll just put them away and never think about them again. A bit blurry as it was taken indoors without enough light.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hurry up and wait.

Job hunting is maddening. I find all these positions open and submit my resume. 9 times out of 10 there is NEVER a reply, even though an email address is required. I don't get why a canned response of "You do not fit our critera" would be so difficult.

Of the 1 in 10 replies, 9 out of 10 are to say that someone else has already gotten the position..."but keep searching..we may have another position you'd fit".

I find it amazing that jobs are posted, and just sit there seemingly inactive. I have seen them listed as "open until filled" and for some reason they don't call on me for an interview. How are they going to fill the job? Or why post it if it's going to sit around?

But 2 weeks ago I did have an interview with a local company. It is a job that I am certain I can do, but would need a few weeks to come up to speed for them. Two days after the interview the HR rep called me, said the manager really liked me, and sent an email with an invitation to submit an online application. One cannot get there without the interview and access codes. So that seemed like a step in the right direction. At the interview I was told that since this is their busy time, they want to fill that position quickly, but that it would take 2-3 weeks. Is that quickly? Aren't we in a technology age?

Well, something should happen pretty soon. Just a matter of what the definition of "soon" is.