Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hmmm . . .

Triangle in the sky, just before dark last night. (Photo retouched to reduce darkness.) Is it a sign?

Monday, July 26, 2010

10 things I never did in Indiana

As of August 2010, I've lived in Indiana for fourteen years. This was about ten years longer than I planned to live here - since, after all, my original reason for moving here was to attend graduate school. But life has a way of putting you in your place, so since 1996, I've called Indiana home. I never became an "official" Hoosier, but I came close many times. However, I have a feeling that Indiana would reject my application for permanent Hoosier status anyway if they saw this list.

I never . . . 

1. Went to Indiana Beach. But to be honest, since I'm originally from a coastal state, I don't believe Indiana has a beach. And you will never convince me. So there.
2. Watched the Indy 500. Not on TV, and not at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
3. Went canoeing or kayaking at Turkey Run State Park. In fact, despite doing some heavy-duty camping for a couple of years, I never even made it to Turkey Run State Park. Which is too bad, because it's supposed to be really cool.
4. Visited Amish Country. I always intended to go up to Shipshewana and also to Amish Acres in Nappanee, but just never made it.
5. Went to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. But Sandy did. (For the record, I did go to several Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, and Indiana Fever games. I even went to see the Indianapolis Ice. But not the Indiana Ice.)
6. Went to South Bend. So no, I've never seen the campus of Notre Dame University.
7. Attended a football or basketball game when I lived in Bloomington. I did, however, see Bob Knight a couple of times when I lived in Bloomington, before he, um, moved to Texas. Oh, and I also saw John Mellencamp twice when I lived in Bloomington: once at the Borders book store, and once at Subway, where he was eating lunch with his sons! 
8. Made it to the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival, the Covered Bridge Festival, the Maple Syrup Fair, Cockadoodle Days, the Feast of the Hunters' Moon, the All-American Country Hoedown, the Columbus Scottish Festival, the Frankfort Hot Dog Festival, the Johnny Appleseed Festival, the Mansfield Mushroom Festival, the Owensville Watermelon Festival, the Sassafras Tea Festival, or the Elvis Fantasy Fest. And darn it, I really wanted to go.
9. Went into any of the old homes in Indianapolis like the President Benjamin Harrison home or the James Whitcomb Riley home or the Meridian-Kessler open house thingie.
10. Participated in any of the Indy 500 Festival events, with one exception: I successfully completed the 2001 Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon as a walker. (And I haven't even walked to the mailbox since then. Ha ha.)

I could probably think of lots of other things if I put my mind to it. Clearly, there's a lot to do in Indiana that I never did. I suppose that means we'll have to come back sometime after we move. :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Classic cars

I've had so many positive comments about the red truck in the previous post, thought I'd share some of the other photos I took that Saturday night when we stumbled across a classic car show in Saint Pauls, North Carolina. I was particularly impressed with this beautiful Chevrolet Bel Air. Here's some of the other eye candy . . . um, not the guy. LOL.

One side of Broad Street was lined with old cars . . .

I saw some of my childhood favorites, like Chargers, Chevelles, Monte Carlos and Mustangs, as well as a really trippy pimped-out LTD and a couple of Novas. And then there were the really old cars, like this one . . .

Some of them had their hoods up so you could view the engines. They were all soooooo clean. You can tell these folks really love their cars!

They were still setting up when we arrived, and people were slowly gathering. A deejay was getting organized across the street, and country music was blaring through some outdoor speakers. I'm sure this blog entry would be even more interesting if we'd stuck around a bit longer, but we didn't. This time. :-)

By the way, I took all these photos with my iPhone. Despite the bright early evening summer sun, I think they turned out pretty good. Don't you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fire ants, fleas, and pick-up trucks

Just returned from the Land of PAM, where we had many, many adventures . . . and a few misadventures. Let's see, where shall I begin? Should I start with the weak-to-nonexistent signal on my iPhone at my parents' farm? Or their temperamental satellite-based Internet connection that only works when it wants to? I have to laugh now, but it wasn't so funny at the time when:
  • I had to use my Dad's cell phone for a job interview (since mine wouldn't work) . . . and I had to go outside for the interview (for some privacy) . . . and while I was walking around in the yard, I totally forgot about fire ants . . . and I stepped on a nest during the middle of answering a question . . . and got stung. But the interviewer (who was in a comfy air-conditioned office out in San Francisco) never knew, since I was able to restrain myself from screaming bloody murder in her ear.
  • One of the companies I interviewed with asked me to complete an online profile prior to the interview, but Mom and Dad's internet connection wasn't working, so I had to drive into town and find a connection. Ended up at the county public library, where I hadn't been since, like, 1979.
  • I had a phone interview one afternoon, so I drove into town to use my iPhone. But it was too hot to sit in my car. So I went into a restaurant and asked the manager if I could sit in the empty section where they usually have group events. He generously complied, but then I missed the interview because the call went straight to voice mail for some unknown reason. Thank you, AT&T. I may well have missed out of a job just because I happened to be in the so-called 2% of the continental United States where you do NOT have coverage.
  • Later, another company I was interviewing with asked me to email them some information. Again, the internet connection on the farm was down, so at 10PM I drove into town and sat out in the McDonald's parking lot so I could 'jack their wireless. Thank you, McDonald's. I promise not to dis you so much anymore. In fact, I've taken a liking to your sweet tea, and will probably frequent you more often.
  • On our last day on the farm, S & I walked over to Uncle David's house (the vacant house on my parents' land) just to have a look around. Suddenly, we looked down and noticed that our bare legs (we were both wearing cropped pants) were covered with little black creepy-crawly-jumpy things. We raked them off, ran out of the house, and raked them off again. I didn't think much about it after that, but when I woke up the next morning and looked down at my thighs, it was like I had come down with the pox. I counted over 200 (or, more accurately, I lost count at 200) flea bites on my thighs. Thank goodness for Campho-Phenique.
Despite these, um, adversities, we actually had a great time. It was nice to "unplug" for a while - and even nicer to spend time with my parents. Usually when I visit, it all happens so fast: I fly in, I fly out. But this time, we actually got to spend some quality time together. Although it was really too hot to do much outside, we got up early one morning and "processed" chickens. It's kind of gross, and you have to put your head in that special place, but at least now I know what to do if I ever have to process my own chickens. (I would much rather buy them already processed, from a local farmer. Of course.)

I'm not really sure that I could be a full-time country girl. But I do like having at least a part-time connection to the land. I wouldn't mind having a nice old pick-up truck, either - if it were like the one in the photo above.

Still, I do like having a reliable internet connection. And a full set of bars on my iPhone. At all times and hours of the day.

I know that the question on everyone's mind is: Did you get a job? Well, the answer is: Not Yet. I won't know anything for a while, probably not until the end of next week. I'm not really worried about it, though, because I have complete faith that whatever is meant to be will be. We'll end up where we're supposed to end up. No sense worrying about it!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's got a lot

We took a quick trip to Charlotte on Thursday and Friday and both of us were very impressed. (Click the link on Charlotte and scroll down to watch a really cool short video and you'll see what I mean.) Charlotte, you've really grown up in the 24 years I've been away! You now have a beltway, a pro football team, a pro basketball team, several beautiful new "skyscrapers", and even a light rail system (OK, so only one line so far, but others are in the works.) Charlotte really does have a lot!

On Friday morning, I had a series of interviews with a company there. From my perspective, the interviews went very well. Perhaps the coolest thing of all is that I was interviewed by a panel of my peers - the people who'd be my teammates if I get that job. I thought that was a nice touch - I mean, how many times do you get to chat with your potential team members during the interview process? (Me, never before.) They work in a highly collaborative environment, so it's important for the "vibe" to be right between everyone. I certainly felt that I could work with them. I wonder what they thought of me?

I won't know anything for at least a week. That's just how it goes. It's nothing unusual. But if Charlotte is where we're supposed to end up, we would both be very happy. We'd just have another big decision to make: which neighborhood should we live in? There are so many nice neighborhoods in the Charlotte area. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, as my Mom always says!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The land of PAM

Nine days ago, we got the news we had been expecting: our time in Indianapolis (10 years!) is drawing to a close. That very day, I started sending out resumes and seriously looking for a new job in North Carolina and the Atlanta, Georgia area. At last count, I had responded to 26 postings that I found on Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn. The good news is that within a matter of hours, I got the first of several callbacks. I've already passed several "phone screens" and one interview with a hiring manager, and I have several interviews scheduled this coming week.

North Carolina is my home state and where my parents live, and that's why it's my first choice of a relocation spot. I lived in Charlotte a long time ago. I graduated university there and spent the first 2-3 years of my working adult life there and loved it. The city has grown by leaps and bounds since then, but I'm sure it would be fun getting to know this city all over again. The Raleigh area also has possibilities: it's the seat of state government, the Research Triangle Park and lots of excellent universities are nearby, and it's only about a 1.5 hour drive from there to my parents' house (as opposed to a 2.5 to 3 hour drive from Charlotte). I think we could be very happy in either place.

Atlanta is closer to where S's Mom lives, but still only about 5 hours from my parents. (By comparison, it takes 12 hours to drive from Indianapolis to my parents, and 8 hours to S's Mom.) I don't know much about Atlanta except that it's big and the traffic kinda sucks, but I guess traffic sucks in all big cities. At least Atlanta has MARTA (transit system) and a major international airport.

Turns out that all of these cities are located in an "emerging megalopolis" called PAM or the Piedmont Atlantic MegaRegion. PAM is one of 8 such regions in North America that is expected to be a huge growth area over the next 40 years. We would love to be a part of it!

We're really happy to see that there are so many jobs in our field in these places, and we're feeling confident that something will work out. It's an exciting time, but also a little scary. We'd both appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and good vibes as we head to the land of PAM this week to scout the possibilities. Stay tuned for updates!