Friday, January 15, 2010

What do you want to be when you grow up?

So recently my daughter asked me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I skirted the question by answering that I was already grown up. But at 6 years old my daughter is quite smart. As absurd as it is, this is a question that has been on my mind lately.

I guess there are a few things making this the current question in my life. It's been over a year since I stopped working due to a layoff. I had in my mom's words, always been a "career girl". Even after I had Gigi, I continued working full time and climbing the corporate ladder. We managed our house well and I enjoyed "having it all". But in the fall of 2008 that all changed. I figured I would enjoy some time off, after all I had held a full time job for 24 years, a break was not unreasonable. But this is where the limbo set it, because that's what I saw it as, a break. I didn't really want to get involved in anything, such as going to school or a volunteer program because sooner or later I would get back into the full time work groove and would have to bow out.

Now after a little over a year of being home and incorporating some volunteer work at Gigi's school into my schedule, I realize getting back on the HR corporate full time horse is not for me. In fact, I would be happy never to be involved in human resources management ever again. I would say some of that is burn out, being in HR through a year long trickle of layoffs is super awful. But also maybe because I never really sought out HR as my career choice, it just happened that way through opportunities that opened up to me. I guess that's what happens to many folks. I always wonder if Laura Tums (a girl I went to school with) ever became the marine biologist that she set her mind to early in school. Since the memory has stuck with me I guess I envied her drive to purposely create her own destiny.

Anyway I've been floating around the house for over a year now, and when the layoff happened I thought a year off would be nice. And that year has come and gone, working on year two right now. It's been good being home. I get so much more time with Gigi and more importantly she gets so much more time with me. I'm not ready to trade that in, not sure if I'll ever be ready to trade that in.

About a week ago there was a story on the news and there was a high school girl talking about her goals in life and she said something that really struck me (these kids are so smart). Basically she said, if you are not working towards a goal (set of goals) you are just floating through life. That's what I am doing right now and maybe that's OK for the short term, but not for the long term, no way.

So Gigi's question is very timely. If I don't want to go back into HR, what do I want to do? Well right now the answer seems to be one that many moms come to, work in the school system. I've enjoyed my volunteer work and like the atmosphere in the school, I also like the possibility of having a work schedule that is close to my daughter's school schedule. Doing what, I am not sure, but it's a good start in the process and the first step is that I will need get my educational house in order.

I have hesitated on going back to school for many reasons over the years. Not because I don't like it, I do, I love school. But once I got into management and then especially after having a child I felt I was already stretched too thin to continue working towards my degree. Plus I was doing well without it, always had.

Yesterday, I reapplied to school and in the next few days I will decide how much I want to take on in my first semester back. I am looking forward to putting some new goals in place and stepping out of the floating limbo that has become a little too comfortable.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oysters Mexicana

The most important thing about this dish is to use fresh oysters, if you have never shucked fresh oysters don't let it intimidate you, it's not very difficult.
  • 1 1/2 dozen fresh oysters (or enough for 6 per person)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup salsa
  • 80z Monterey jack cheese, cut into slices
  • Pickled sliced jalapeno peppers
  • Saltine Crackers
Shuck the oysters. My method is to first scrub the outside of the oyster thoroughly with a brush, then wrap the oyster in a small towel with the "hinge" tip sticking out, this will give you leverage. Use an oyster knife (or some other thick, pointed, but dullish knife) and wedge it into the "hinge", I find just to the side works better than right in the center of the "hinge". Once headway is made twist the knife to pop the shell open. It won't open all the way, the oyster is still holding on inside, take your knife and slide it along the inside as close the shell as possible to cut it away from the shell on one side. Leave it attached to the other side. Once you have the oyster on the halfshell, give it a good sniff to make sure it smells fresh, then rinse it if you think any shell particles got inside. If you rinse it, make sure you shake out all the excess water.
Place the oyster in it's half shell on a baking sheet and repeat with all the oysters. Once all the oysters are shucked put a small spoonful of salsa on each oyster then top with a slice or two of cheese and one slice of jalapeno. Usually I make these ahead of time so at this point I cover them in foil and put them in the refrigerator until I am ready to cook them.
Preheat oven to 400. Remove foil and place pan(s) in oven to cook for about 12 minutes until the cheese is melty. Don't over cook, you don't want to cook up the oysters.
Serve immediately with crackers. Take an oyster, slide a fork under to dislodge oyster and set it on top of the cracker and enjoy. These are SO good.