I am, therefore I write

Random musings on my life and the world

The Search Is On

I am learning quite a bit about geology, and geology jobs, and what is involved in getting those jobs. I am not with Miss G this week so I have a lot of free time. I don’t typically spend my free time researching geology though.

Alison has been searching, and applying, but because she spends the majority of her days while still in this intern position either standing in a river collecting samples, or analyzing and documenting data, or doing whatever it is that geologists do after that, she hasn’t had a great deal of time to have a daily schedule of job hunting.

I have found that geologists seem to fall into three broad categories: those who are PhD’s and search for teaching jobs; those who have no qualms working for or around oil pipelines and petroleum companies; and those who simply want to do field work, document data and go on to the next project. This last category typically means a government job.

Alison is not at all interested in teaching. She has, in fact, nixed the idea of the geology MA. She knows that the push will be not a terminal degree but strong emphasis to go beyond. That is where the student money will lay and she is firm in knowing that she doesn’t seek out the title of doctor, or has any desire to be associated with published academic research. Signing her name to governmental data and research reports is fine. Forget the expectations associated with professorial positions.

Her principles take her far afield of helping big oil get bigger. Of course, those companies all hire geologists from ‘environmental groups’ whose sole job it is to monitor and direct the correct implementation of land use, and drilling, and waste water and such. I’m sure a geologist has been involved in issuing some of the 100+ fines that the Texas company, involved in the latest pipeline break/oil spill on the California coast, has routinely ignored forgotten to pay.  Personally, I am amazed at the number of jobs trying to recruit geologists for these positions. They make up the majority of geology jobs, and they are often disguised under the auspices of a title like Environmental Scientist or Geological Technician. I’ve found a few that work out of the Department of Ecology rather than the for-profit consulting companies that monopolize the job boards. Either way, it’s the same work.

So Alison is left with the sorts of jobs that she wants to do. Government jobs with advancing pay and responsibility levels. Benefits like healthcare and retirement. Field work. That one is the preeminent requirement for Alison. Those jobs are listed under many titles. Geologist I, II, III and beyond. Entry level, junior, or senior geologist. Most are simply listed as Geologist 1/2, 5/6, 11/12, etc. I’ve come to understand, knowing what I know about Alison’s work and experience that she is most likely a Geologist II, or high entry level-junior geologist, or a Geologist 6 to maybe a 9. I’ve also learned that full-time geology jobs with the government have pay ranges from $28,000 up to a whopping $160,000 for a Geologist 15, the highest level I’ve run across so far.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Bureaus of Land Management (BLM) often have geological job needs that offer geologists collaborative work with their own folks. I found a few of those that she might like. I’ve checked state government sites, and again found a few positions.

I have been directed to a few federal government job sites that have both recent graduate jobs and more career level positions. I got quite a list there. Surprising to me last evening, I ran across three or four archaeologist positions in the student section. Geological work was a plus in the requirements list for those jobs. Those positions were in Utah and Nevada and somewhere east. I was pretty excited to point those out to Alison, so I hope she applies. She literally met every requirement asked for. I think it would be rather ironic that her first planned career: archaeology could be an avenue to a geology job: her latest favorite career choice. Also, ironically again, she had once considered geoarchaeology so perhaps this is one of those karmic signs…

The US Geologic Survey (USGS), her current employer, had a number of jobs as well all scattered here and there, although most were for the experience and education levels that are just out of Alison’s reach. I suggested she try anyway. It can’t hurt and you never know. One of the last positions that I ran across, again so ironic, had just been posted four hours prior to my search. The aspect that caught my eye right away: the position is in her present office, doing exactly what she does now with the exception that they are looking for someone who has already taken leadership roles and been on the job a little longer. I think a nice way of saying it would be that they are looking for ‘maturity’ in the career field. I think the position was listed as a level 9-11. She was put in charge of a project when the original leader took some leave to be with his newborn, so that should count for something, right? I so hope that she is not intimidated and applies for the position anyway.

Now that you (and I) know more than we probably ever wanted to know about geology job hunting, the search is over for now. I don’t know where else to look and quite honestly I know that she is overwhelmed for the moment. I could see it in her face when she took me up on my original offer to help her search.

Fingers crossed, ask the universe to smile favorably on her, and then if we need to, we start all over again.

If Only…

I was on my way to do errands this morning (I have the week off as Miss G is on an extended vacation) and had the radio on in my car as usual.

The early morning DJ and staff always ask some sort of question of their audience for call-in responses. Sometimes the question refers to some social issue in the news. Other times the questions are just silly, or outlandish. Those always get turned into politically incorrect talk-show drivel that cracks up the radio staff, but sometimes verge on rude. Not Howard Stern rude and incorrect, but dicey and most commonly filled with sexual innuendo. This station plays songs from my teenage years so I overlook some of this crude airplay. While sexism rears its head at times, I can deal with it here.

Anyway, the question I heard this morning was fun. It got me to thinking about my answer and also about asking all of you what your answer would be, and why, after I share my response.

They asked, “If you could reboot any movie and star in it, what movie would it be and what character would you be?”

I knew my answer right away.

I would choose Jennifer Grey, who played Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman in “Dirty Dancing.”


I think that it would be amazing to play a teenager who grew up in the 1960’s. I was too little then, in my own real life to have any clue about what our society was like. I want to be one of those selfless, inspired youth who planned to change the world like Baby with her desire to serve in the Peace Corp. I want to do the right thing and stand up for my beliefs, no matter the price. Mostly, and here is where the true secret is revealed…

I have always wanted to dance.

Not bop around the barroom dance floor bump and grind crap from my youth. I know you remember those days and how your thigh, or your partners thigh for that matter, could fit oh so nicely in just the right spot… Not ballet, because strapping on ballet slippers with that pointy hard toe thing makes me think seriously of foot binding, and I’m also not too fond of tulle. Tap dancing is just silly and I could never move my feet that fast, and it does conjure up memories of Shirley Temple movies from my childhood, like the totally racist “Little Colonel” and Bill Robinson.

I want to dance like Baby and Johnny.

I want to learn to respect my partners dance space while feeling as if I am one with my partner. I want to jump into my partners arms and be lifted to the sky and not fear that he will drop me, or that I will look ridiculous as my chiffon dress lands over my head instead of modestly covering my legs. I want my feet to twirl while I dance on my toes in simple, but elegant dance shoes that match that chiffon dress. I want to toss my head the way Baby does, her curly hair perfect. I want to feel the electricity and the freedom and the body knowledge associated with graceful movement. I want to have the time of my life, just once, as a dancer.

What about you?

What movie would you choose and why. We have to know the why…

Needed: The Ability to Hold Still When Taking a Picture

I did a little color practice with the art this weekend.


I happen to have a kit that not only had the black pens typically used for these drawings, but also a few other colors so I thought that I’d pull them out. I don’t think that I’d use them often. For these sorts of swatches I actually like the black on white best. Color is great if you are doing mandala’s or purposefully trying to create drama. I’ve developed a significant library of designs so now I feel that I have great choices to draw from, but I don’t feel as if I have the knowledge to use color well at this point. I think I’ll stick with what I know for now.

These last two were fun, yet again I have to apologize for the blurry picture. It’ also really easy to tell when I’ve been working too long. My lines get wavy and my end points get sloppy, but sometimes it’s hard to stop once you get started.


Home Alone, and Sex

What do you do when you’re home alone?

I know that some of you have that privilege all the time. Many of you are constantly surrounded by others of various ages and species.

I am alone this weekend, except for senile Snowflake, who has acted much less senile lately. I wish she could make up her mind and settle on a purpose and behavior to stick with going forward.

The spouse is on a bi-annual camping weekend. Frankly, his being gone is noticeable only because he is not taking up space in areas that I would rather he wouldn’t take up space. There is no mess in the kitchen, no sound of repeated trips to the kitchen for snacks throughout the evening, no sounds of the breathing machine swooshing and whooshing, no body presence in the room with me. I am seriously thinking that a bed in the office/playroom/art room is needed. Of course, it would serve various grandchildren and may prove helpful in the future as well.

Alison, who isn’t here much anyway, is pet sitting while Miss G and family are in San Diego for a wedding.

So, do you want to know what I do when it’s just the cat and me?

So far I have briefly gardened yesterday (Friday). My neck is protesting this morning. I renewed a prescription. I have to pick that up today while I am out buying food. I made the grocery list yesterday as well. I did some exploring on Amazon and added to my wish list. This is my ‘pricey’ book list made up of mostly textbook-like texts that interest me. It’s rather gross, weather wise today, so some art is likely going to happen. As will some wine. And some laundry. Quite obviously, my alone days are much the same as any other day.

However, last evening I decided to watch a series on sex. I caught some interesting discussions about sex and sexuality in early Egypt, and ancient Eastern cultures.

I learned that some Egyptian women found interesting uses for their vases. A lengthy discussion was had by an enthusiastic scholar who highlighted Egyptian pornography from scraps of papyrus. I also learned that Egyptian artists were VERY generous when they depicted men who were also interested in women using vases in unusual ways.

We moved on to the Eastern cultures who were very open with their sexuality. However, I learned that Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism all employed clever language to describe body parts in their sex guide books. Jade towers and crimson flowers were depicted in numerous places, doing any number of things, often with numerous people involved. Of course Indian sexuality was not forgotten. The Kama Sutra was highlighted. I did not know that Hindu beliefs in cosmology weigh heavily in their views on sexuality as well. Professor Singh enlightened me on enlightenment, and the similarity to human sexual climax, cosmic fluids, and universal orgasm. Tantric sex anyone. I am now thinking of Sting, as in the singer once associated with The Police. I saw an interview once, and Sting was extolling the virtues of tantric sex. I cannot hear those words without thinking of him.

Finally, have you ever heard an Australian academic say the word sex? It sounds like ‘six’ and, especially if you find the distinct Australian accent intriguing to begin with, hearing that one word, sex/six, can sound quite erotic.

The show began moving into sexual taboos and away from the ancient porn discussion. Suddenly I woke up in the middle of a story about modern-day incest and decided it was time for bed, alone. The entire bed to myself. The cat crashed on her blanket. I slept like a baby.

Ramble On…

Here’s a story that I haven’t told before. I’m not sure that it needs telling, but it seems only proper that I continue to share stories of my past because I’m unsure of my future. As with many stories, old stories, memories fade and details are lost. Conversations especially. I wish that I could make this story something more than a narrative, but it is not fiction, and to place dialog into this story would create a work of fiction. It simply is an event from long ago.

A few years before I met my now husband I was engaged. I had a wedding dress. If I remember right my fiance and I were discussing a May wedding, or maybe it was September. His name was Tim.

I met Tim through a mutual friend just after high school ended. I hadn’t dated much in high school. One boyfriend in my senior year and a few other guys who were off and on dates during my sophomore and junior years. Yes, I was pretty naive. I was definitely a virgin. The sexual revolution hadn’t quite caught up to my personal feminist beliefs in 1978. The good girl still prevailed, but I was working diligently to change that.

Tim may have been just as naive. I don’t think he dated much, or maybe at all, before meeting me. I remember him as sweet, and kind, and funny. Quiet, maybe even shy. He was missing a lower front tooth so he wore this little flipper thing connected to a orthodontic retainer. I wish I could remember why the tooth was missing, but I don’t.

Tim and I did things. No, I am not referring to sexual things here. We actually did things, like taking trips on the weekends, or outdoor activities like hiking or horseback riding. I wish that I could remember more about the good things, or what we talked about, because I know we talked a lot. However, what stands out is that things fell apart, and one day after we had lived together for about a year, I found myself moving out and into an apartment, alone.

Somewhere late in that final year together he started using drugs. Pot for sure, and I suspect other drugs as well. He also came to realize that being married wasn’t what he wanted. I didn’t like that he had turned to using drugs. Part of me wasn’t surprised. Many in his family were heavily into all sorts of illegal substances, although I don’t think it was really any of them that encouraged him to start. I slowly managed to learn that a guy on drugs wasn’t who I really wanted to be with. The break up didn’t happen in a nice way and I fought it for a while, but it happened none-the-less. Close to the end, he once played me the song ‘Ramble On’ by Led Zeppelin. He probably said it was his theme song or something stupid like that. Still, over thirty-five years later, when I hear that song I have to stop for a moment and think, and remember. It’s actually playing purposefully in the background right now.

We had so many mutual friends that we continued to see each other, and be around each other. I refer to this time as my sexual revenge period. I was determined that what Tim and I could barely make work during our time together was going to change, and in the process I was going to make him jealous. I don’t think I have to say more. You can all imagine how that plan worked itself out. There were moments when I believe Tim was jealous, or at least I kid myself that he was.

I learned that being on my own wasn’t so bad. I had a new career, I was dirt poor, but life was okay. Then I met the man I am married to now, and of course IRONY jumped into the story. As I was beginning to grow closer to my now husband, one night there was a knock on my apartment door. You know who was standing there. Just for a moment I almost let him in, but I stopped myself and said no. I do remember clearly closing the door and feeling slightly smug because I had told myself so many times that one day he would realize…

I saw him twice more after that. Once at a mutual friends wedding. It was brief and awkward. Some time later I met him at another friends. He was with his then wife, who was largely pregnant. That moment happened. The one where you see yourself changing places with the person standing in front of you.

“That might have been me,” I thought as I looked at her. I felt sorry for that child, anticipating how drug use had, and would continue to play a role in its life. I also felt grateful that it wasn’t me. I had been devastated when Tim chose drugs, and decided not to choose me. When I saw him that final time, I really wanted to say thank you, but I didn’t. By then I was well established in my new relationship. I was in love. I thought that I would be in love forever. I probably thought that very same thing when I was engaged to Tim. Now I have to wonder if I ended up on the receiving end of that irony after all.

Postscript: Many years later, through a friend on Facebook, who was also friends with Tim, I came to learn that he had divorced, remarried and had become a very conservative Christian. And yes, I did ponder one more time what might have been and I knew that the outcome and life he lived now still had never been intended to include me.

First Jobs

I’m not sure that it ever gets any easier to mask the disappointment reflected in a child’s face when life screws them over.

One might anticipate that as teens move into adulthood their disappointments and failures would not cause as much pain to a parent. If you are a parent, I know very well that you have agonized over your child not being picked for the premiere lead in the school play, or felt twice as down as they did when they just weren’t quite first base material, but sent to the outfield instead to stand and wait and contemplate if they would ever get to play in the infield.

The pain may lesson some, but your child is always your child rather they are two, or twelve, or twenty-two. Youngest daughter Alison is just about done with her two-year internship with the USGS. A position came up for a post-Bachelors two-year position in her office. She applied. The decision was not left to her supervisor, but forwarded to someone higher up in the government chain of command. She has been waiting over a month for a decision to come down. Today she found out she didn’t get the position. She was well over qualified by about four governmental grade levels. The position was given to a veteran. The second veteran hired by this office recently.

I am all for this veteran getting this job. I am even more for the honest assessment of Alison’s level of competence and responsibility gained by working in this office for two years. She has learned skills that will be valuable to her next position. The work done in this office isn’t the type of geology that she really wants to do, but two more years there would have provided her with an adequate income and the ability to take some time to search for her ideal place. It was a safety net of sorts and familiar I’m sure. It’s easy to relate to that nervous anxiety, that unease when we find we have to start over.

Even though she didn’t want this to be her forever job, I know that she was looking forward to the independence it would allow. I think that is the biggest disappoint she is facing right now, and I’m sure it feels as if she will be stuck at home forever.

We both know that isn’t the case, and the right job is out there. I have always had this notion that she would not be long for our home state. She is an adventurer, and I still think that her true path is somewhere else, somewhere that will offer her even greater experience and responsibility.

Knowing that she will come out on top doesn’t make the look on her face today any easier to deal with.

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