Following protocol:

Obligatory DISCLAIMER: The contents of this Web Log are solely mine and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On our importance in this world . . .

This gives us a good perspective to keep in mind while waiting to serve in the Peace Corps.

Something to ponder . . .

(I am having problems adding links, so you need to copy the above address and paste it into your browser address bar)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A little diversion during "The Great Wait"

Here is something to occupy your mind while waiting to hear from PC regarding your application status - - -

Take your time; after all, you have plenty of it. Ponder on each question. Don't rush to check the answers at the end. Why rush and have nothing to do but wait?

A Quiz for Bright People - ?????

There are only nine questions.
This is a quiz for people who just might know everything!
I found out in a hurry that I didn't.
These are not trick questions.
They are straight questions with straight answers . . .

1. Name the one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends.

2. What famous North American landmark is constantly moving backward?

3. Of all vegetables, only two can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons. All other vegetables must be replanted every year. What are the only two perennial vegetables?

4. What fruit has its seeds on the outside?

5. In many liquor stores, you can buy pear brandy, with a real pear inside the bottle. The pear is whole and ripe, and the bottle is genuine; it hasn't been cut in any way. How did the pear get inside the bottle?

6. Only three words in standard English begin with the letters ' dw' and they are all common words. Name two of them.

7. There are 14 punctuation marks in English grammar. Can you name at least half of them?

8. Name the only vegetable or fruit that is never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form except fresh.

9. Name 6 or more things that you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter 'S.'

Answers to Quiz:

1... The one sport in which neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends: Boxing.

2. North American landmark constantly moving backward: Niagara Falls .
(The rim is worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute.)

3. Only two vegetables that can live to produce on their own for several growing seasons: Asparagus and rhubarb.

4. The fruit with its seeds on the outside: Strawberry.

5. How did the pear get inside the brandy bottle? It grew inside the bottle.
The bottles are placed over pear buds when they are small, and are wired in place on the tree. The bottle is left in place for the entire growing season. When the pears are ripe, they are snipped off at the stems.

6. Three English words beginning with dw: Dwarf, dwell and dwindle...

7. Fourteen punctuation marks in English grammar: Period, comma, colon, semicolon, dash, hyphen, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, quotation mark, brackets, parenthesis, braces, and ellipses.

8. The only vegetable or fruit never sold frozen, canned, processed, cooked, or in any other form but fresh: Lettuce.

9. Six or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with 'S': Shoes, socks, sandals, sneakers, slippers, skis, skates, snowshoes, stockings, stilts.

There, now wasn't that an interesting, challenging, educative and over-all a great way to spend some time while waiting to hear from PC?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Good fortune

So, as I scanned the official PC web site a few weeks ago to see what 'events' might be available on-line, I happened to notice that the PC was going to have a presence at a career fair at Villanova University and follow-up with an information session the next day at the same place. In addition, the PC would be represented by the same recruiter who had interviewed and nominated me way back in June, 2010. What luck! I happpen to live about 20 miles from Villanova and my sister-in-law is the Assistant Director for Systems and Marketing in the Career Center at Villanova. I immediately asked my sister-in-law if she would be there those days and, if so, would she help me with parking on campus and entry into the event. I also wrote to my PC Recruiter and asked if I could have some one-on-one time during those events.
What a great time I had this past Tuesday and Wednesday. The recruiter gave me extra time beyond the formal sessions to discuss lots of things that had crept into my mind during the past nine months since receiving my nomination. Thngs such as the impact upon the Placement Office of the relocation of PCVs from countries experiencing political turmoil (e.g. Niger) and the huge increase in the number of applicants at a time of reduced budgets from Congress. Additionallly, listening first-hand to the discussions with others interested in applying to the PC added to my understanding to the timing of the PC application, screening and invitation process. Especially the behind the scenes activities in the invitation process.
All in all, two days comprising several infornmative hours. An enlighteneing insight was obtained when the recruiter shared with me that the PC begins to assess the depth of an applicant's interest / passion according to the promptness with which the paperwork is submitted and also the nature and quality of the communications initiated by the applicant. I was informed that I had been pegged from the beginning as being sincerely and highly motivated to serve in the PC (!). What could have been better?
Well, I soon found out when I returned home after the second day of meeting with that recruiter to find an email from the review nurse who had been so helpful a few months ago with my medical clearance. The email was to ask me if I needed any further help. That was the strawberry on top of the whipped cream on the treat that I was still savoring.
RAS? Only a little right now.
I continue to wait, but with a whole lot less anxiety.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Area 202 called again - - - great timing!

It had been 230 days since I received my nomination from my PC Recruiter and I was on my way to the gym yesterday. While I was in a parking lot, my phone rang and the Caller ID indicated it was from area code 202 (!). It had been only four days since that previous not-PC call from area code 202, so this time it was surely from the PC Placement Office. Several thoughts shot through my mind as I answered the call; 1) Okay, THIS time it HAS to be the PC since I already got that other call from area code 202 last week. 2) Is this a pure coincidence that the call was coming the evening before I am going to meet my PC Recruiter at an event at nearby Villanova University? 3) Since having that false alarm call last week, I am more than ready to receive a call from a Placement Officer.
Dismay and practically total disbelief fogged my mind and I could barely manage to utter an intelligible response when the caller identified herself as calling from the Washington, DC National Headquarters of the National Association of Social Workers. She informed me that NASW was calling again because they wanted to give me recognition for 34 years of active membership. She offered me a free annual subscription to the professional practice journal of my choice (IF I renewed my membership). I politely informed the caller that I was not going to renew my membership and before I could explain why, she said "Thank you" and hung up. My mental fog became displaced by disappointment and even some resentment - - - disappointment because this call was (again) not from PC and resentment because NASW tried to praise me for my career-long support of the professional organization, but didn't even ask why when I informed them that I was not going to renew my membership.
I consoled myself with thoughts about meeting my PC Recruiter at the Villanova University event the next day. The call last week and this one yesterday both caused me to focus my thinking and give serious consideration to what I might ask and how I want to respond when I actually do receive a call from the PC Placement Officer.
So, false alarm times two, but beneficial nevertheless.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Area Code 202 called - Phooey!

While I was caught up in a phone conversation with our tax accountant, my phone gave me a signal that another call was waiting. I looked at the caller ID and almost jumped when I saw that the call was from area code 202 (!). I couldn't abruptly end my current call, because our taxes have been something to behold for the past two years. My wife had been transferred to work in Europe for a year by her employer. We have had to deal with two governments regarding taxes because of that and we are just now getting everything resolved and thus the need for a tax accountant and the need to continue this call. As soon as the conversation ended, however, I immediately attempted to listen to whatever voice message was waiting for me.

Nada. There wasn't a voice message. -?- . I re-checked the missed calls list and sure enough, I had missed a call from area code 202. Why would the Peace Corps not leave a message? Was it because the PC Placement Office was not going to give me an invitation and they didn't want to leave that news as a message?

I took a deep breath, held it, and called the number. I exhaled much as a full balloon deflates when you let go of it - - - the number that had called me was the Washington, DC headquarters of the National Association of Social Workers and they had called me to remind me that my membership was due for renewal.

And, we're waiting . . . maintaining PMA and waiting.