Monday, January 31, 2011

Grilled, not sauteed

I just hope I don't offend my Vegan cousin when I buy and cook steaks at his house. Most of you know how much I absolutely love steak, and that when I was working I had to have red meat at least 3 times a day. Things have slowed down on my steak-purchasing days as of late....and finally, I just had to splurge. One thing about moving across the country is not knowing what to bring, and sticking with my gut when it came to bringing certain things. I had this moment packing up my kitchen things where I thought I needed to bring my fake George Forman grill with me.

My thought process: "Oh, I should totally take my grill with me...Terrence moved everything around in my car and now I have room for my printer and my grill....SWEET! Wait...seriously, I am going to bring a grill with me. That is so lame. I am sure Eva and Steve have one at their house. C'mon Lindsey, you don't need that."

Well, today, I went to the grocery store for my long awaited...and earned, steak. I came home all excited to eat because Andrew and I had some peppers left over from our Ethiopian night that I was going to fry with white wine and basil, and a potato that I was going to also fry up with a little paprika and chili powder...mmmm. So, I get home only to discover that the Burton's don't have a grill! I haven't cooked a steak without a grill before. I had seen my dad do some frying of steak, but I had never done it. I know, I know...really not a life-threatening problem, but a problem nonetheless. So, I finally settled to cook my steak in a frying pan letting the balsamic vinegar, juice from a hand-squeezed lemon and Worcestershire sauce soak. It was actually quite decent. I was pretty surprised. The last bite of steak was.....perfect!

Call me spoiled, but I still prefer my steak grilled, not sauteed. But if I had to do it all over again, I would!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

And they think me dumb...?

I went to a career workshop put on by some lovely ladies who head the employment committee at church. I have been corresponding with one of them throughout this adventure, asking her questions about my resume, how to strengthen it, etc. During the year, I also got feedback on my resume from professors, educators, government employees etc. I thought my resume was good to go, incorporating a couple extra tidbits on how to get an employer interested in having me in for an interview just by the looks of my resume.

According to some of my sources, HR reps in government have suggested that people put pictures on their resumes. It was suggested that I add mine to that pile even though I didn't think it was appropriate for my industry. At first, this suggestion was absolutely something I would not consider. My arguments were:

  1. I know that organizations cannot hire based on any kind of discrimination i.e. age, gender, race, etc.
  2. I didn't want someone having me or not having me into an interview because of how I looked.
  3. I am a woman, and including a picture could set me apart as someone who is seeking to 'look good' rather than think I will be hired based on my skills.
  4. Most guys don't understand c, but the way a woman is perceived in any job is very different than the way a man is perceived. One might argue that because I have this bias, it will prevent me from getting those higher level jobs. However, it is not my attitude I am concerned with, it is the research behind the attitudes of others that concerns me. The way women and men interact, and how they are perceived in the workforce is something I have studied for a while, and is very real!
  1. Having a picture will get my resume to stand out from the rest....because I am sure these people haven't included their pictures.
  2. It allows the interviewer to personalize my resume, along with all my skills.
  3. My dad and other executives said it was OK.
So, today when I showed my resume to a current HR rep in government, a lobbyist and another career counselor at this workshop, I felt like an idiot. They all stared at my resume, open mouthed like...really, she has been sending this out. All of them were astounded that I even thought this was PC. Apparently, HR persons frown upon pictures for reason 1 listed above. Their reaction is not what gets me. My fear is that I have been sending out a resume with my head shot a.k.a. "glamor pic" to organizations and companies I REALLY want to work for/with.

I should have listened to my gut. I now fear that putting my picture on my resume was a huge mistake. So, now that my resume is being floated all over DC (hopeful this is the case), what can I do? I can change my resume here on out, for sure. But, how do I replace those others? I feel so stupid.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Quiet on the Eastern Front....But Not For Long

Things around here have been quiet lately. Every morning I wake up and the first thing I do is read the Washington Post. I have become quite a fan of it. I then proceed to write blog posts for my newly improved education policy forum blog Then I check my emails for any responses from the days previous regarding jobs, networking or other opportunities. So far, nothing has really happened on the job front yet....but then again, I have only been here for 2 weeks....and I have made a lot of great connections. Here are some of my thoughts:
  • People here are so welcoming and willing to help. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they moved here without a job too, and how things have worked out so well for them. It gives me hope that I am in a place where jobs are more accessible and applicable to what I want to do.

  • Every day I feel that if I am not giving 100% to the job search that I won't find one. I have been a little MIA lately and my aunt and uncle once commented that I didn't need to seclude myself to my bedroom all the time. The fact is, once I get going, I get going and can't stop until I finish.

  • I think I have at least 7 drafts of my resume...that is a lot! But hey, it is worth it. Some include my new professional pic...thank you Jamie. I also posted all my professional information on my Linked In site, which I have had for almost 5 years, but have only recently been able to fill it completely.

  • I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every lesson has been focused around keeping the faith (specifically from the Book of Ether) and maintaining hope. I have had some pretty unique growing and spiritually-building experiences already, focusing on what I need to hear. In addition, I was able to attend the Washington D.C. temple with my stake last Saturday. It was amazing. I have never been in such a big chapel area. It was amazing to see a line of sisters as we waited and prepared to do a session. Elder Quentin L. Cook, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve apostles, is coming this weekend for stake conference. The temple gave us the perfect opportunity to think about and prepare ourselves for his arrival.

  • My family here in McLean (from now on referred to as VAfam) has been amazing. They have made me feel so welcome and I already feel like I have been living here for a while. They have exposed me to some amazing things like food, the sites of McLean, the mall, but most importantly, they have exposed me to a quiet lifestyle. After dinner, quite often the family will go to the family room and sit together, not necessarily talking. My uncle will play the piano, my aunt will read or follow up with emails on her computer and my cousin will too. I started joining them...and am now reading The Count of Monte Cristo over again (unabridged)! I love reading for fun!

  • Ah, the cat. This following section is dedicated to Sarah Huber. My VAfam has a cat. All of you who know me, know that I am deathly allergic to cats. Prior to my coming here, my father prayed that my health would be sustained. I would like to think this is God's little blessing for be able to live with a cat with rarely any problems. I was touch and go for a while, but now I am doing much better. I have tried to avoid the cat completely, making it clear that he should avoid me too. Unfortunately, this little cat gave me this look of wanting that I have never experienced before. It reminds me of the cat on Shrek who looks with his BIG EYES and everyone falls for it. I am not saying that I am in love with cats or anything, but the idea of living with one isn't as repulsive....especially when it joins us for dinner at the table, literally, he has his own chair. In the meantime, my new friends have to forgive me for being doped up on allergy meds. I get really silly about 11:07 p.m.

  • I just joined the local rec center. YAY for pools and swimming and weights and elliptical machines. YAY for not being lazy.

  • My aunt and uncle are gone for a while, so my cousin Andrew and I are tearing it up here at the house. We got creative the other night and made Ethiopian food. Andrew may say that we 'attempted' to make it, but I feel that we were very successful....except making the Injera. That was just wrong.....

  • I know, I know...all of you want to know about my dating life. Let me just put it this way. Yesterday, I pulled up the online magic 8 ball by asking if I was going to marry a certain someone this year (who doesn't know that we are supposed to get married...but he is my soul mate ;) I checked with 5 different online magic 8 balls, asking questions know in order to skew the stats. The funny thing was the answer to my very specific marital question was always, "Probably Not." Don't worry people...I am not letting a magic 8 ball persuade or undermine my dating/marital status. In fact, I am now determine to prove it wrong...hee hee. On the other hand, I also asked the online magic 8 ball if I would get a job this month and the answer was "Definitely Yes."
So, there you have it people...the adventure of Lindsey Blau just keeps going.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adventures of Lindsey Blau - The Beginning

I dedicate the following post to Heidi Buchanan - couldn't have made it here without you!

Packing up my belongings, not knowing how long I was going to be living in DC, was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. Flo, my kleptomaniac bureau, revealed that one black shirt I had been looking for since April...and I shoved it in my last packed box before I was ready to head out the door on my new adventure. Now all I need to make this day more exciting are a couple of boys knock
ing down my door begging me not to go and professing their undying love for me, I thought. Would it have stopped me though? Hmmm....depends on the boy ;)

Regardless, I am hoping to be in this for the long haul. I made the decision to move to DC a long, long time ago, but wasn't able to follow through because of timing. I had great jobs, loved my schooling opportunities, absolutely loved the friendships I have made, enjoyed being so close to my fami
ly, and wouldn't take back my time in Utah for anything. But the thought of moving away to seek more job opportunities was always somewhere in the back of my mind. So, one day, I decided that once I graduated with my masters, I would go. How, when and where were not determined until one month ago. Even then, it was talked about, but not planned. I really didn't start thinking about the next step of my life until I got back from San Diego on January 3rd. I had one week to get everything done and prepped for my trek out east.

My friend, Heidi Buchanan heard this crazy plan of mine and volunteered to come with me. I thou
ght she was just saying it to be nice, but the next day she talked to her manager who informed her that the days she requested off were the only days she could have anyway...which indicated to her and to me, that it was a sign. With that sign, we made arrangements, I packed, laughed, cried, danced and anxiously awaited Sunday, January 9th, the day it would all start. And so it has....

January 9-13

Sunday: Went to church one last time, was surprisingly released from m
y calling (way to stay on top of it Bishopric), had a couple blank stares from people who thought I would a). already be gone, or b.) had no idea I was leaving, held it together saying goodbye to some friends and lost it as my 10 minutes of saying goodbye after sacrament were nearing a close, kissed and cried with my roomie once more, held hands one last time from my pre-moving crush/boyfriend, gave him several kisses in the parking lot and left with Heidi to go to my prepacked car...thank you Terrance. We jumped in and started our infamous drive across country...over the mountains and through the snow. We left at 4:00 p.m. and arrived in Denver at 12:30 a.m. One thing is certain...we do not suggest I-25 in the snow.

Monday-Wednesday: Waking up to a winter wonderland, I was able to hang with Allie (my n
iece) and my sister Jamie. It was nice to have one last snuggle from Allie before I had to leave. I ended up having to go back into the house because I kept forgetting things, and apparently Allie finally settled down from crying because I left, and didn't want me to go. That is SO sweet. I remember smiling. And so, here are my thoughts during the rest of our winter/snow-covered journey cross country.
  • Peoria - has some pretty cool buildings. From the freeway we could see a couple of churches that had the same kind of Gothic style as the churches in Barcelona. I had no idea Peoria was so cool.
  • Illinois has some wicked-awesome rest stops that are decked out with playgrounds, hiking trails, vendor machine rooms and classy bathrooms
  • I love Nauvoo in the winter. Not only were Heidi and I the only people there, all the workers gave us their full attention and sometimes strayed off the script in order to make the visit more personal for the both of us. The only drawback was that sometimes in the winter, if it snows really hard, some of the sites are closed down. I may not have gotten to see the inside of the Mansion House, but being there I couldn't help but feel the spirit of Nauvoo. It was a pretty unforgettable experience. Seeing the temple was my favorite part.
  • Nebraska is not as boring as I thought it would be. In fact, almost every exit had some kind of art or sculpted statue that could be seen from the freeway. There was one exit that had this arch-type building across the freeway. We don't know if it was a store or a restaurant, but it was pretty cool. I am certainly going to stop there on my next cross country trip!
  • Thank you 24-hour BP gas station for being open! Most gas stations in podunkville close at 9 p.m. It is also scary not finding gas when you have 20 miles left of gas in your car and it is snowing outside. Blessed be the name of BP!
  • Our GPS, who we named Fran, got lost a couple times. Sure enough she showed us that we were driving in a couple lakes. We also followed her when she told us to get on and off the freeway because she was a little confused.
  • Boston and Journey are good pick-me-up bands when driving drowsy. It is not hard to go fast and to the it is maybe not the best snow-driving music
  • By the way, your anti-freeze will freeze at sub-0 temperatures, just be prepared to wash windows with the squeegee at every gas station and be sure to kick ice off your car so you can turn your tires.
  • I decided that I need a travel masseuse.
  • You can never have too many apples.
  • Always carry an Atlas just in case your Fran forgets that I-65 does turn into I-34, and you don't stray into a neighboring city where you can't ask for directions because everything is closed.
  • There really is a silent beauty of the Midwest.
  • Crashing at the houses of random people ROCKS!
  • There is nothing that a pack of peanut M&M's can't solve.
  • Most people in Illinois will speed up just enough to tail you for 1 mile and then pass you.
  • When both parties in the car are screaming "Run, Katherine, Run....!" you know your book on tape was a genius idea.
  • More often than not, it is quite acceptable to go 55 mph in a 70 mph zone when there is 2 inches of snow on the ground. From Omaha to Ft. Madison, we saw 16 semis that had slid off the road and about 10 cars. Needless to say, we slowed down.
  • I smile when I put my ipod on shuffle and Cindy Lauper comes on.
  • I get random spasms when other people drive my car through snow storms.
  • Because my feet are often cold, I burn out my driving mate.
  • It is amazing how far one can go on adrenaline and 4 bottles of water without needing to go to the bathroom.
  • My favorite billboard advertised "Buses Welcome," at the interstate Subway restaurant. Well, of course they are.
  • Sometimes driving on unpacked snow is better because of grip. My motto for driving in the snow "grip, not slip."
  • I wish I knew where the largest ball of yarn was, I would have probably stopped to see it.
  • I loved the cute older missionaries in Nauvoo feeling inspired to tell us that we are like bricks and diamonds. Being pressed, fired and shaped into something beautiful is what life is all about. I love my new Nauvoo brick!
  • When the option to drive is not available, I will sing instead.
...and this is the beginning.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

All about the babies!

"Don't worry....Brendon and I talked about it and we know that Jamie is the favorite because she has Allie," I said to my parents over Christmas break.

"Um nope, Allie is the favorite," they said in unison.

You know what, I LOVE that answer...and it's true, she is. Christmas this year was all about the baby...and we loved it.

I am sad that it is over. The brea
k was it always is with my family. We ate and ate and ate and played as many games as possible. We thought that since Allie has come into the family and more babies will be expected, we would start some new traditions. Reading Christmas stories before bed, singing carols around the piano, each person taking a night and cooking a meal and matching pajamas are only some of them. We also did a games bracket this year for New Year's. It was pretty amazing to see my parents do Xbox adventure games - jumping around to avoid hitting obstacles. HILARIOUS. Here are some other highlights:
  • I got really into jewelry making. Jamie modeled them for me. I see this being a GREAT hobby. Just need to get me one of those job things so I can start paying for my hobbies ;)
  • We went to the San Diego zoo....and got to watch more people than we did animals. There were so many people there that most of the animals were in hiding.
  • Hung out at Coronado Beach...a family tradition. At first, Allie was scared of the sand for an hour, but then got used to the idea and decided that eating it was pretty fun too.
  • Went ice skating. I watched the baby who loves the outdoors and not so much the cold.
  • Saw Tron with my mom. We love Jeff Bridges...particularly the old version of him. Not as much as Sean Connery, but a pretty close 2nd.
  • Playing games like "Curses" and "Quelf" where people have to act out during the dad's favorite. It was pretty hilarious to see my dad sticking his fingers in his nose, mouth and ears at the same time.
  • Bryan turned 12 and was ordained to be a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. How weird that my brother can pass the sacrament is crazy!