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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bah Humbug!

Interview Suit

I pulled out my old interview suit yesterday and tried it on/squeezed myself into it.  It's a size 14 dark green suit from Ann Taylor.  I still think it's the prettiest suit ever, even though it has those 90's power look shoulder pads.  I still look good in it, I just can't move.  I bought it almost exactly 14 years ago, when my first faculty interview was scheduled.  Sheila came with me and helped me pick it out.  I haven't worn it since 1997, but I keep it since I like it so much.
It didn't really fit, even though I am the same weight as I was when I bought it.  I'm not surprised - my weight has shifted around and more of it has ended up on my waist and torso.  To be honest, the skirt was a bit tight when I bought it - at the time Ann Taylor only went up to size 14, and there's been size inflation since then, so this is more like a 12, or possibly even a large 10 in the waist.  Nonetheless, it's definitely tighter now.  I blame perimenopause, soccer, swimming, and genetics.
Most women have one or more types of clothing that they just hate to shop for because it's hard to find things that fit properly. For me, that item is suits.  Weight goes up 5 lbs, it doesn't fit.  Weight goes down 5 lbs, it doesn't fit.  Add or remove a type of exercise - same result.  Go on or off the pill - same results.  Big shoulders = bad.  Big ribcage and fat/muscle around ribs = bad.  Long torso + short arms = bad.  Contrast this to men who can still squeeze themselves into suits they bought 30 lbs ago.  They get free tailoring too.  Not fair. Sadly, they do not make "athletic fit" suits for women like they do for men.  If I'm ever in a position where I have to wear suits frequently, I'm getting one custom made, and just to be safe, I am getting it made out of something stretchy.
For my interview nest week, I'll probably wear last year's interview blazer and a pair of slacks.  It's a bit too loose in the torso and tight in the shoulders.  Grr!  Net weight difference = -2 lbs, net workout difference = +swimming, - soccer, net hormone difference = no birth control pill this time.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I didn't keep myself busy enough this weekend.  I thought that I needed a lazy weekend. Bad idea.  I was pretty sad today.  It's a simple equation - my job and my relationship with T were very important to me.  Now one of those things is done and the other one is in jeopardy.  No wonder I'm a stress case.  I have no influence over the job situation, other than to look for jobs, and I don't even know what's going to happen.  Making matters worse, it's harder to distract myself from the T situation by working long hours, and I'm severely limiting the amount of retail therapy I do.  So I work out, blog and play Bejeweled Blitz way too much.  Usually it helps.  It's not an ideal solution, though.
Before the layoff announcement hit, I was starting to get motivated to do online dating again.  All that motivation went away once I started looking for jobs.  The two activities are too similar and all my motivation got funneled into the job stuff.  Judy's going to take some cute pictures of me in a few weeks, so once I have those and know what's up with work, I'll post a profile to and maybe some of the other sites.  In the meantime,  I could always get the naked handyman* to come and help me with my house projects..uh, no.

*the naked handyman advertises on Craigslist.  He wants to work in the nude while women watch.  It's sort of like the dude in Boston who used to want to do housework in the nude. Sadly,I did not have much house cleaning to do back so I used to joke around about having him come and clean my glassware in the lab.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Interview Blog, Week 3

So for the third Friday in a row, I had an interview. This time it was with the CEO of a company out in Colorado that makes custom reagents for the chemical industry.  It was a pretty low key interview. The real interview will come when I go out there.   I think that mainly he wanted to make sure I knew that this job does involve being in the lab.  It made me wonder what kind of candidates they get. 
Anyway, I could do this job easily, and it's a pretty cool company, but I'm not sure I want to move to Colorado, and I'm not sure there's any room for advancement.  I'll have a better feel for it after my real interview. 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday LOLcats

Friday, November 13, 2009

Calgon, take me away!

It was another crazy week.  Here's the play by play.
Monday: VP of my group walks into my office,closes the door, and asks if I'd be interested in working on a certain project if it gets extended.  This would push my layoff date to March 31, if we don't get bought.  I say yes.
Tuesday: T IM's me and apologizes for not calling or emailing, that he'd been sick with the worst cold he'd had in years.  Whatever  I am relieved that he didn't find the blog, happy to hear from him, still annoyed with him and annoyed at myself for still caring so much.
Wednesday: We have our layoff meeting with HR and the placement firm retained to help us with career services.  Us old biddies and geezers are told to take graduation dates off our resumes.  I get back from the meeting and find an email from the startup where I interviewed last week, inviting me to come back for interview #2, this time with a non-disclosure agreement, real chemistry discussions, and meetings with the folks I didn't meet last week.  T lurks in IM but I don't IM him.  I begin to ponder the fact that if the project gets extended, but we don't get bought, and I get a job offer, I may not get my severance package.  hmmm.
Thurday: a relatively uneventful day.  I send in my resume for a job in Colorado doing synthetic organometallic chemistry.  This company does a lot of scaleup for the chemical industry. There's a strong possibility that catalysts that were first made by me are now being made in large quantities there.  Someone emails me to tell me that the company where one of my former bosses is working is hiring. This is the boss who kicked me out of his group in a hush hush manner a few years back.  Not many people know about this.  Even people who do know still as me if I'm going to aply there. I give evasive answers and forward the email on to coworkers who are not on old boss's shit list.  Meanwhile, I look at the ACS job listings, and guess what - my other former boss's company is hiring!  I email them my resume, which now has graduation dates omitted, even though they know when I graduated.  There are other local jobs too, one for an organometallic chemist and one for someone with experience in emissions catalysis.  Weird.  I have never seen so many local listings for people in my field.
Friday: I go for my second interview at the startup.  It's total 'holy grail' chemistry they're doing.  It could be entertaining but I need to read more of the literature to really understand it.  The interview lasts twice as long as planned, so I don't get back to work until 2.  The stress is starting to get to me.  Naturally, when I would like to IM T he is not lurking.  When I get home there is a  message on my answering machine from the career services firm, as well as an email.  No, I do NOT want to start the process now because I DO NOT HAVE A FUCKING CLUE and we only get one month of services so I want to use it wisely.  I send them a polite email telling them that so much is up in the air that I would contact them when I know more.  I go to the bathroom.  Period is here.  Woohooo.  Need to call tomorrow and make that IUD appointment.
So yeah, that's the short version.  I'm off to go swim/sit in the hot tub, but with a week like I've just had, I may need to start drinking and take a bubble bath when I get home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Painting Boondoggle, Trim edition

This weekend, my dad and I prepped and painted the trim on the house.  As usual, it took longer than expected.  The garage trim and the metal railings still need to be painted.  I am pleased with how it looks.  I had trouble picking out the trim color - the first was too brown ("babyshit green") and the second was too blue, and the third was too green.  I ended up having to rely on picking something that was in between all of those shades.  It didn't actually look right on the color card, but I took a chance and bought a gallon.  As soon as I saw it on the trim, however, I knew it was the right color. I'll take pictures and post them once the tape comes off.
As of now, I have painted, modified and/or replaced virtually single surface of my house, inside and out, at least once. OK, I haven't done the roof, but that doesn't count.  The exception is the garage trim, the fireplace and and the trim on the inside of my front door, and they're all at the top of the to-do list.
I got a lot of help from my dad. I didn't plan it this way, and didn't ask him to do anything, but he kept volunteering.  He's been working on it during the week, doing a lot of the odds and ends that didn't get done in our three day painting marathon.  Today is his 79th birthday.  I took him and my mom out for brunch and then we painted.  I apologized for having him paint on his birthday but he said he liked it.  He'll work on the garage trim this week.
My grandfather was a painter. He painted cars for Chrysler and did houses to make extra money.  Apparently,the painting gene is strong because my dad, my brother and I all have it.  I haven't gotten my dad to help with very much painting prior to this, since I mainly painted the interior.  My brother, who doesn't own a house, has even painted the exterior of a friend's house.  So yes, insanity is hereditary.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Interview blog: Startup edition

I had an interview at a startup company today.  They are very small (4 people) and are looking to hire a chemist with my background.  The CTO knows a lot of the current and former people from the company where I currently work, including all 3 of my former bosses.  (Hopefully, he won't talk to one of them!)  Not surprisingly, they had already talked to a number of my coworkers about the same position.  In fact someone else was being interviewed at approximately the same time, at another location. 
The CTO was a good looking, fast-talking guy of extremely confident, slightly shorter than average, slender but muscular, dark-haired variety.  They seem to be fairly common in academics but this was the first industrial one I've met.  In any case, I've known a few in my time so I felt about as comfortable as possible, considering it was an interview. The other guy was an inorganic chemist with approximately the same job history as myself (do postdoc, then go to tiny startup company and stay there for a very long time).  He'd just started there last week, although he and the CTO had worked together twice before.  I was assuming, since it's a startup , that they'd have people right out of grad school, but this guy was about the same age as me, and they'd also hired someone with 30+ years experience who starts next week, so at least they'd done their homework and realized they needed some experienced people.  Whether this translates into giving me a competitive advantage over my younger colleagues remains to be seen. 
Anyway, it's very long-shot technology.  They are going to need a good business plan to succeed.  Since this was just a preliminary interview, they didn't have me sign a non-disclosure agreement and couldn't tell me exactly which reactions they were targeting, so it's hard to judge how feasible the chemistry is.
I'm still in this strange phase where I'm not stressed about the reorg or the interviews.  Part of me thinks that the deal will go through and we'll get bought, part of me feels like it would be nice to get a fresh start, even if that means moving to another part of the country, and part of me is still burnt out from the stress of T breaking up with me that I'm guarding myself from feeling too much.  Nonetheless, it does help that I've already had two interviews and the job market for chemists seems to be picking up compared to the summer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This week's fortune

"A small lucky package is on its way to you soon"...(in bed)
hmm, i was kind of hoping for a large lucky package!
-from a fortune cookie I got at a lunch interview

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reorg Blog, 1 week

Things were pretty depressing at work last week.  No one got much done.  It's marginally less depressing now, but I feel like I have to be careful not to be too cheerful in my autoresponses when people ask how it's going.  Not like I really am very cheerful these days, just numb and unmotivated, but I have an annoying tendency to pretend to be cheerful.
Rumor has it that the acquisition is a done deal and it's just in the hands of the lawyers now.  I hope that's the case.  I had my lunch interview at the solar company yesterday.  I enjoyed talking with the manager of the group, and it sounds like a good place to work.  Unfortunately, I have neither the requisite skill set nor much interest in polymer properties, so it wasn't a good fit.  They called me to set up a full day interview, but after reflecting on it overnight I withdrew my application. It's not them, it's me;-)
I also have an interview at a startup on Friday afternoon.  It's a very long shot technology.  It will be interesting to see what they've done so far.  I am surprised and pleased to get interviews so quickly with so little effort.  There seem to be a lot of job listings for chemists as well.
I haven't told my mom about the reorg yet.  My plan is not to tell her anything until I have to.
I've discontinued Breakup Blog unless I have something that I really HAVE to write, and removed the old posts.  If I do post, it may stay up for a few days and then get removed.  Since splitting the blog in two it's easier to find this blog with a simple Google search, unfortunately, and not realizing this, I posted the link to the other blog on Facebook.  I won't post the latest things that would've made it into Breakup Blog, other than to say that if I don't get a polite response in the next few days, either by email, IM or phone, to my email describing what's been going on at work, I'm going to stop making the effort to stay friends.  To paraphrase one of you, I'm not wasting any more of my energy and emotions for the sake of his serenity.