Some tips for job seekers

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:23 pm

I’m currently soliciting a couple of undergrads to work as Student Instructional Technology Assistants. Some people don’t have the faintest clue how to apply for a job. One guy wrote an email saying that he knows we asked for a résumé, but none of his other jobs required one so he didn’t have one. Yeah, like we’re really going to hire for a tech position who apparently can’t figure out the résumé wizard in Microsoft Word.

Another person could barely write in complete sentences. She said one of her goals was to use this particular foreign language she’s majoring in, but she didn’t capitalize the name of the language.

Also, people, my name is not Aprill Clark. It’s so bizarre that they manage to get my email address right, which contains both my first and last names, yet they can’t get it together when they write their cover letters. Sheesh.

So, if any of you out there are job-hunting, let me emphasize the importance of making sure your résumé is immaculate. When I get 10 résumés for every one person I hire, you better believe that I’m looking for reasons to throw some of them out.

In other news, I have a new favorite beverage: Fruit Refreshers in Cherry Limeade. It is available at your local Kmart. It is delicious in one of the tall Tom Collins glasses that Ruby gave you over the crushed ice that comes out of your refrigerator door.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:05 pm

Congratulations to my wonderful, beautiful friend Sarah and her smashing husband Pete. I wish them many decades of happiness together.


Pre-congratulations, Sarah and Pete

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:38 am

I’m heading to Ames this evening after work because one of my oldest, dearest friends is getting married this weekend. I am thrilled to have been asked to be a bridesmaid, and my bridesmaid duties start tomorrow. It will be very fun, I think. I’m really looking forward to seeing Sarah and my other co-bridesmaid friends, and weddings are always a good time.

Sarah is the first of my really good friends to get married. I mean, I know I’m getting married myself later this summer, but Sarah’s wedding seems like a real bookmark in time. The next one will be my wedding, the one after that will be the next one of us to get married or even have a baby. Amazing.

There is pizza in the conference room, but we’re not allowed to eat it until the überboss comes out of her office and starts the process. I’m hungry. My stomach was growling audibly all through my last meeting with the tech people from the College of Law. Oooh, I bet I’ll eat and drink well this weekend. Weddings are always filled with gustatory pleasures, plus my dad’s cooking while we stay with them. I miss my dad’s cooking!


This got a little heavy. Sorry.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:08 am

I’m back at work now. It took me like an hour and a half just to look at all the email that accumulated yesterday. It’s amazing how much you miss by being away for just one day. Fortunately, my colleagues are a very competent set of individuals, and I think everything’s under control.

The funeral was sad but lovely. It’s such a shame when someone dies so young, and especially when it’s someone who has done so many good things for the world and would have surely continued on that path. The message the priest emphasized was to be an organ donor, because the donated liver Jim received continued his life for a few extra years. That’s certainly a valuable point, but I think it’s equally important to extend the metaphor to generosity in general. My friend John gave a very moving eulogy, in which he quoted his father’s belief that hard work will only take you so far; sometimes people just need a little help.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll do specifically to incorporate that into my own life. I feel like it’s important that I embrace lesson, and it seems like there must be myriad opportunities. It’s so easy to say, “Yes, but we’ve got the wedding coming up; I’ll donate money in the fall.” Still, I have 20 bucks in my wallet right now that’s not doing a damned thing; it’s just odds-and-ends cash in case I need to run to Osco or something. What a luxury to have a spare 20 bucks in this world.

Jim was a wealthy man, but he would have been a lot wealthier if he’d been greedy. He passed his values of generosity on to his children, and I have benefitted from that many times. They too would be richer monetarily if they didn’t have such generous spirits, but it seems like it must be worth it. With every generous act they perform, they continue to enhance their reputations as kind, giving people. That seems like it’s worth the investment, especially considering the old goes-around-comes-around nature of this world.

I don’t believe in karma or cosmic justice in a supernatural sense; I think that overall, things happen at random in the universe. I had a conversation with an old friend once that made me so angry. Several years ago (gosh, it must have been ten years now), a group of friends were traveling together, and two of them got into an accident and died. This seriously messed up the living situation of the surviving friend, who was planning to rent an apartment with one of the deceased. An aquaintance came to the rescue and rented the apartment with him, and the two of them became great friends.

So I was talking to the guy, the acquaintance-turned-friend who stepped in. He was waxing about the great friendship they now have, and he said, “Everything happens for a reason.”

What??? That seriously offended me. Was he saying that there was some great cosmic purpose for the horrible deaths of two bright young men, and that purpose was so that he could be friends with someone? There was nothing stopping him from getting to know the guy before or after. I’m glad that something positive came out of the situation, but to say that it was the reason for the deaths just sickens me.

So yeah. I don’t believe in fate or karma or “everything happens for a reason.” But I do believe that if you live a life filled with acts of kindness and generosity, you will accumulate friends who are all the more likely to help you out when you need it.

I am by no means perfect in this area. I have been unkind, impatient, and stingy too many times. But I am going to make an effort to emulate Jim, both to honor his memory and to improve myself and the world.


Keep in a cool dry place, tightly closed.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:27 am

We got our wedding bands this morning. I’m really happy with them. Mine is so comfortable, it’s almost like I’m not even wearing a ring. It makes my engagement ring feel like it weighs 1000 pounds (it may also be related to the fact that the band fits a little better than the engagement ring does, so it’s not sliding around as much). Anyway, I think it was a wise decision to go with E-weddingbands.com. It was so, so much cheaper than jewelry stores, and also cheaper than other online retailers, but the quality is very nice. The engraving looks good too, better than what I expected from what they showed on the site. I don’t want to take it off!

I hit a major milestone at work today; the production server for ICON went live. For those of you who think about things other than my job, ICON is the new course management system (platform for online courses) for the University of Iowa, and I am the administrator of it. My colleagues and I have put in a lot of hours getting it to this point, and I would like to extend a formal shout-out to my fabulous coworkers: Jack, king of the integrations, general smartypants; Ken, webmaster par excellence; and Angela, co-administrator and general lifesaver. There were a lot of other people on the project too, but those are the ones I talk to the most.

We’re headed up to Wisconsin late this afternoon for our friend’s father’s funeral. That’s going to be sad. At least the drive won’t be as bad as usual; we normally go up there in January for the annual trivia contest, and let me tell you, a drive to northern Wisconsin in January is not for the faint of heart. It’s really too bad that it’s such sad circumstances sending us there this time, though. I associate that drive with having fun and seeing friends.


more cheerful today

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:31 am

Hello, everyone. I don’t normally post on the weekends, but just in case you were worried that it was all gloom and doom over here, I wanted you to know that it is a gorgeous day, our flowers are blooming, Denny planted new herbs in the garden (chives, cilantro, holy basil, sweet basil, sage, and some hot peppers, which are not herbs but you get the idea). Also, our neighbors had us over for a party last night, and they have the cutest little kid. His name is Isaac and he’s 20 months old. He’s very friendly and cuddly. He scrambled around on me on the couch for a while, and then he went over to his bookshelf, grabbed a book, and crawled into Denny’s lap in an obvious request for Denny to read him the book. Of course, Denny did. It was a good book, too. I eavesdropped.

The neighbors also seem nice. It’s fun to get to know people in the neighborhood. I’ve been seeing people around now that it’s been nice out, and now I actually know some of their names and have drunk homebrew with them. The dude, Kevin, is a homebrewer, which I thought my dad would approve of.


A day of bad news. And it’s only 1:30.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:32 pm

Wow, it’s been a sad morning. First I get into work and see an email from my dad telling me that Roosevelt Elementary is closing down. That’s right across the street from my parents’ house, and it was the site of some really great memories for me. I loved elementary school. I genuinely enjoyed learning, I had some great teachers and good friends, and it was just a really supportive environment (even when I had Miss Thunderbuns for a teacher. I hope she’s not reading this.). I’m very sad to see it go, because it was a real anchor for the neighborhood, especially with its playground. The playground is a real sight to behold, and I helped build it. I hope they at least turn it into a park or something. It would be a real blow to the neighborhood to lose that.

In even (much) worse news, I learned that a friend lost his father. They’re a private family, so I don’t want to write too much here, but the father will be greatly, deeply missed by many people, myself included. I am lucky to have known him.

Also sad: this poor, innocent baby is going to be beaten up every day of his life between the ages of 5 and 18.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:17 am

We ordered our wedding bands. They should arrive on Monday. I’m excited. I think I’m going to wear my wedding band on my left ring finger and my engagement ring on my right right finger. I really like the clean look of just a wedding band, and my engagement ring is actually a little too big, so it fits my right hand better. I’ve been practicing wearing it on my right hand, and it feels weird, but I guess I’ll get used to it.

I was reading the book Denny got me about Nevis last night. I’m really, really ready to go there. I haven’t had a relax-and-do-nothing vacation in, like, forever, and that sounds pretty great.

In other news, I was doing a performance evaluation for one of my supervisees today, and I spilled coffee all over her stuff (not directly on her, fortunately). I told her she’s getting a raise for sure now.


I’ll cous-cous you.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:01 pm

Oh, man, another busy day. It has been productive, though. I’m having fun (or at least as much fun as one can have while doing legitimate work) with OmniGraffle, which I’m using to make some flowcharts.

For dinner tonight: pork, Granny Smith apple, and red onion kabobs with apricot mustard glaze. I imagine I may throw in some grilled peppers and maybe a little couscous. I’ve grown enamored lately of Near East brand grain products. They’re fast, healthy, and round out a meal well.

Tomorrow night: tilapia with pineapple-plum salsa. Maybe some asparagus too? Hm…that sounds good.


There are fireflies outside

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:49 pm

I had a very busy day today and didn’t get a chance to post. I just got back from grocery shopping and am currently watching the Britney Spears reality show. It’s a bit of a train wreck. She doesn’t use language very well. Plus so much of it is filmed on hand-held cameras that it’s making me a little nauseated. In fact, it’s much like The Blair Witch Project in many ways.

A lot is going on in upcoming weeks. Next weekend is Denny’s cousin’s baby shower, the weekend after that is my friend Sarah’s wedding in which I’m a bridesmaid (which I’m really looking forward to–Sarah is the first of my close friends to get married and it’s very exciting), the weekend after that I have no plans (yet), the weekend after that is my first bridal shower, and two weeks after that is my second bridal shower. Yowza.

OK, this show is grossing me out. Did Kevin never happen to mention to Britney during their early courtship period that he had a pregnant girlfriend? And if he did mention it, did she just not mind? That’s something that would bother me.


Outfits galore

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:25 am

My parents brought my wedding dress to town when they came for my brother’s graduation over the weekend. I missed it so much! The last time I tried it on was at Christmas, I think. It needs a little bit of altering, as I’ve shrunk a little since Xmas, but it was still very fun to try on.

I also tried out some of my accessories, and when it all comes together, I think the general look is going to be kind of a vintage/Great Gatsby/glamorous Daisy Buchanan sort of vibe, especially with the tuxes Denny’s chosen. How exciting.


Hooray for Tyler

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:32 pm

Congratulations to my smart, muscular, very accomplished brother Tyler. I’m proud of you!


Chemical sheep

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:24 pm

I’m sure you all will be delighted to learn that I got my lab results back, and I am, in fact, immune to rubella, mumps, and measles. That means no shots for me! Whoo!

We got our first wedding present in the mail yesterday. It was very exciting. It’s a lovely duvet set that we had registered for. I decided it’s ok to open presents as they arrive if I’m diligent about getting thank-you notes out right away.

Note to self: get thank you note sent out. Ahem.


Pfizer cares

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:39 pm

I was getting my daily 7/8 Diet Coke 1/8 Cherry Coke from the fountain over at Kum & Go today, and a young woman in front of me asked for berry-flavored chewing tobacco. I found that very strange. Since when does tobacco taste anything like berries? I admit (proudly, even) that I have never tried chewing tobacco, due to it is vile, but if I had to guess, I would say that it tastes something like blacktop in July. Does adding some berry flavor make blacktop in July somehow delicious? If so, this is a serious feat of chemistry that really needs to be exploited in other areas. For example, Phillip Morris (or whoever makes the stuff) should make dulce de leche flavored cauliflower. Mmm…dulce de coliflor.

Also, is chewing tobacco in style for fancy college girls? Weird.


Springtime, glorious springtime

Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:49 pm

Have I ever mentioned that I am strongly in favor of springtime? Well, I am.

I made a cute, very springtimey skirt, and I’m wearing it today. I’ve gotten several compliments on it. I saw a skirt in the window at Express that I really liked (flouncy, gauzy white layers, trimmed in sequins), but it was expensive, so I made a copy of it. I think it turned out very well.

My coworker Jack and I were having a chat about how we would make better money in the private sector (at least Jack would; he has more valuable skills than I do), but it wouldn’t be worth it because we’d have to put up with the uptight crap that comes with it. I do complain about my job, and it has its downsides, but it has some serious upsides, too. So, just because I’m feeling positive and sunshiny today, I will list them.

  • 5 weeks paid vacation a year. Woot!
  • More sick leave than I could ever possibly use (in part because I am not much of a sicko, but even if I were, it’s still a lot).
  • Flexible and trusting work environment–nobody’s looking over my shoulder to make sure I’m not shoe shopping online. And you know what? Sometimes I am shoe shopping online, but as long as I get my work done, nobody gives me crap about it.
  • Nice coworkers, almost exclusively.
  • Occasionally, my work is really satisfying.
  • Very good benefits.
  • A Mac-friendly office environment, and a chance to play with cool software and hardware.

So hey, life’s not so bad. Heck, it’s pretty good. I saw a cute baby at lunch today.


Creepy guy in my proximity

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:53 pm

Pierre Pierce is using the computer lab right outside my office. That is so weird. I feel like my office is Home 2, and it’s really strange to have a violent criminal in “my” space.

For those of you outside the University of Iowa community, Pierre Pierce is a charming young gentleman who allegedly raped a woman, pled guilty to a lesser charge (aggravated sexual assault? something like that), and managed to keep his basketball scholarship. Mr. Genius then went on to (allegedly) burglarize the home of a woman and (allegedly) assault her. He also violated a no-contact order more than 80 times in a 17-hour period. His basketball scholarship finally did get revoked, when apparently Coach Alford got the picture that it’s not cool to give a bunch of money to this Prince Charming, even if he’s a really good basketball player.

In more pleasant news, it was a nice weekend. Best of No Shame was really good, and on Saturday we went to three parties. I ate so many chips and dip I almost barfed. It was great!


Good news on the wedding

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:27 pm

Denny and I went out to the reception site the other day with reps from the tent-and-other-stuff-rental company. We figured out that we really only need 1 40×40 tent, because there are only two possible situations:

1. The weather is good. People spend some time dancing and hanging out under the tent, but they also roam around the grounds and by the river.


2. The weather is bad. People hang out under the tent or in the Atrium, and the combination of those two areas is plenty of space.

So, there’s really no reason we need more than one tent. Today I called the rental place to confirm the reservation and put down a deposit. We had included three different tents in the quote, because that was back when we were going to have the reception on the patio, which meant no Atrium access during the reception. Now that we’ve moved everything, we have both spaces available to us. When he gave me the quote, I was very pleasantly surprised. Cutting from three tents to one tent makes a HUGE price difference–it cut off about 1/3 of the price, and that’s still including all the stuff like tables, chairs, linens, etc.

Yay! More room in the budget for food and wine!

I am a registry stalker

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:26 pm

So I was scanning through one of our online registries today, and it turns out that someone got us the square plate and bowl sets! I’m so excited, because I really, really love those. Whee! It’s a little creepy of me that I’m going through the registries, scanning to see what’s been purchased. Oh well, I guess I’ll just be creepy. It’s handy, because we have some items that are basically duplicates at a couple of different places, so if I see that it’s been purchased at one place, I can take it off the other list.

Can you believe that people used to do this all by hand and in person? Yikes.

This is cheering me up after the dress incident. Oh, also I am going to make banana bread. I just found out that Denny loves banana bread. I, too, love banana bread. I had no idea we had that in common. I already knew we both love morels, and we’ve been enjoying that particular pleasure over the last couple of days. Banana bread can mesh nicely into my healthy eating plan, because the bananas are moist enough that it can be very low-fat.


Fashion crisis

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:45 pm

TRIPLE UPDATE: I took the picture away because it made me sad. But I’m happy to know that someone who really wants it has it. It reminds me of the time my mother tricked me into giving up my pacifier when I was two by telling me that a very poor little girl couldn’t afford her own pacifier, so I had to give her mine.

Only in this case, the girl is richer than me. But whatever.


DOUBLE UPDATE: I quit bidding because it was getting too rich for my blood. Oh well. I hope the new owner enjoys it.


UPDATE: the price has gone up a bit. I’m not the highest bidder. I may make one more bid and then quit. I like it a lot, but only if it’s a bargain, and it won’t be if I drive the price up much more.


Oh my lord, I found the most gorgeous dress on Ebay. I want it. I want it a lot.

The problem? It’s basically a wedding dress, but it’s not right for my wedding. Besides, I already have a wedding dress. The only time I can possibly wear it is my rehearsal dinner, because that’s sort of like a wedding-lite. The auction ends in 5 hours.

What should I do?

Oh, she’s so pretty. I should mention that, based on the measurements, I think it would fit me perfectly, and (at least at the moment) it’s very reasonably priced. Not dirt-cheap, but a good buy for a vintage silk dress with beading that’s in excellent condition.


Otitis? Oh-no-itis!

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:30 pm

I have a bit of a pain in the ear. It hurts when I yawn or burp. Strangely, I wasn’t a very ear-infectiony child, but I’ve grown rather susceptible to them in my adulthood. I hope it goes away without requiring antibiotics. I’ll take some decongestants and hope for the best.

In other news, the chicken with curried apple stuffing was a big hit last night. It turned out really well. A few notes to add: this was based on a Cooking Light recipe, and their recipes never have enough salt. I salted and peppered the raw chicken before I cooked it, and I think I added some extra salt to the sauce. So I do recommend that. Also, I forgot to mention that you should remove the string before serving, but that’s really just common sense, isn’t it?

Tonight we’re going to the Farmers’ Market (first sale of the season), where I hope to find some morels. They’re expensive but deeply, deeply worth it. It would be even better to find them for free, but I don’t seem to be very good at that. I hope the frosts from the last couple of nights haven’t killed off this year’s crop. After that we’re going to see Gunner Palace at the Bijou. I’m a little sore from running last night, so I’m going to take a night off from exercise and just relax.

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