Thursday, July 30, 2009

Maybe I will be a farmer.

Suvi's adventures in the career search continue!! Yesterday, she trekked to the country, yes indeed, scenic Stony Brook in Long Island! In a car! This was a reunion tour with Ryan and Emily (from the Nauvoo trip... which i think i failed to blog about... but it was fun and we bonded, so much so that we had to get together again). In any case. Ryan is a gardener. Well, he is a grad student at Stony Brook, but in this summer he decided to plant a community garden, which i highly approve of. He grows all sorts of treats, like tomatoes, green beans, radishes, lettuce... you know, the usual goodies. Unfortunately, no one else seems to want to work in the garden with him, so Em and i finally made our way out there to get our hands dirty and help him out.

We spent the afternoon finding sticks in the woods to act as support stakes for the tomato plants and tying them to these beams of wood. I kind of felt like an Old MacDonald sort of McGyver, gerryrigging twine and old t-shirt to sticks to hold up a tomato stalk bearing a bounteous harvest.

No pictures of that though, because we were too busy working.

The thing is, after spending weeks sitting in front of my computer (yeah right! I know you are thinking that, but really, I am very selective in the information i share with you-- trust me, you don't want to know how many hours i spend staring at a computer screen!), I absolutely loved being there, getting dirty, being productive in a very obvious way, helping plants to grow. It felt good to work with my hands and be outside. I read books like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and The Omnivore's Dilemma and learn about food policy and eating local... It feels good to know where your food comes from and to be part of that process. I was talking to the plants, thanking them for growing and providing me with sun-ripened goodness. It feels natural, and healthy. Part of me really wants to just go work on a farm for the rest of the summer and fall-- go harvest corn or something. But could I do it for a career? I wonder. I enjoy a lot of other things and might get bored. but then again, I think of my friend Jackie and she has a garden and just got chickens and is well on her way to having a cow... little by little she is growing closer to her food and loving it. it seems strange, we had the industrial revolution that changed the world from subsistence farmers to allow for all sort of other professions. I'm grateful for that, but do you think that maybe we moved too far from it? We are so distant from the land and what keeps us alive, and as I learn more about food, the closer I want to be to the process. Regressing, progressing...

I went to the movies last night with Melinda to see Food Inc. It was really good, even though it didn't share much that i didn't already know from past food policy research about the agro-industrial complex, farm lobbies, evils of Monsanto, food access... it was just a good reminder that while it seems impossible to go up against the corn industry, with their high fructose corn syrup in everything, we vote every day, three times a day for what food we want. And it makes a difference. I mean, Wal-mart has organics. It's frustrating to see fresh produce, hormone free milk, and non-feed lot raised meat so expensive, but i think that there are so many things that we can do, for our own bodies, for the environment, for our kids future. Sounds crazy, but eat less meat, eat more veggies, cut out some of the non-essentials like eating out and snacks so we can feed our bodies what they really need and want. I'm not awesome at this by a long shot, but it is something that I think about a lot, and feel strongly about. I know that i feel better when i eat veggies and less sweets. I want to raise my babies like that, because I feel like that is how I was raised to a certain extent. In fact, i think that's a deal breaker.

As for being a farmer, maybe not this year, but don't be surprised in a few years...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Someone has been beating me up in my sleep

I discovered this bruise on my foot yesterday morning. Well, I noticed
it a few days ago but just assumed that my feet were dirty (a
reasonable assumption in the summertime). It doesn't hurt at all, just
looks kind of funny there. And with a bruise like that, you would
think I would remember.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One day, one job

I know I'm not the only one looking for a job. Turns out that only 20% of graduates had a job lined up. Many of my friends are in the same boat that I am in, so i don't feel too bad, but it is still a struggle to figure out how to do this whole job hunt thing right. This website, sent to me by a friend, One Day, One Job, is a nice little advice/place to go during the hunt. Check it out!

when I grow up, I want to... beg for money.

This week, i've decided that I do want to be a development officer (aka, fundraiser) because it would be useful for any further positions in the nonprofit sector. Sure, it may have something to do with the fact that that is the ONLY thing people seem to be hiring for these days. But I really do think it would be useful, especially right now, since I just finished up creating a fundraising plan for WOW, and I can honestly say that 1) it was kind of fun and I'm excited to see it put in motion, and 2) I wish i knew what I were doing. Now to just figure out how to word a cover letter that would help me sell my complete lack of experience in this area to an organization that wants someone with 3-5 years of experience.... hey, if I can't sell myself, how on earth am i going to manage to beg for money from potential donors?

If anyone has any experience creating a fund-raising plan, give me a holler and i'll send this one to you to take a look, I could use some help!

I went to the library and checked out a stack of books on the topic. By golly, I'm going to be an expert at this. Or at least able to use the right words. I figure i might as well gain a useful skill of sorts while i'm doing this whole job hunt thing. i can't always be meeting friends for brunch in Williamsburg. Although, it was rather delightful to catch up with Elly and tales of her wedding, and to ride through Hassidic jewish Brooklyn on my bike.

I'm on LinkedIN, come find me and be in my network!

Friday, July 24, 2009

get down, get down, yeah

My friend Sassy Sarah is getting married and she recently posted this video on her blog. I had to steal it because it was just a blast. If I weren't so keen on getting hitched in the temple, I would totally do something like this. Hmm, I wonder how they would take to someone busting this song out when entering the sealing room....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I will find a job, yes I will

Guys, this job hunting things is.... well, I'm not going to lie, it is a challenge. I'm not sure that I am doing it right. i know what it is that I want to be doing, but I think that I keep expecting the perfect job to just land in my lap. Which, unfortunately isn't the case.

- searched on no luck.
- searched on the wagner career website: one possible job at human rights first. researched the org for a while, finding a job as a fellow developing policy for Iraqi refugees, which I would love to do but I don't speak Arabic and don't have 5 years of middle east experience (this is a fellowship! an opportunity to LEARN supposedly!) and decided to apply for the now less interesting job i initially found
-spent hours staring at the word document on my computer screen trying to come up with the right words for a reasonably non-lame cover letter. came up with something but didn't submit it because i now have to find a suitable writing sample.
- went to a picnic b-day party for a cute 1-year-old, became jealous of his accomplishments.
- rode my bike around and around prospect park, willing endorphins to flood my body so i wouldn't be too depressed. nearly swallowed a lighting bug.
- reviewed the LDS employment leads list and emailed a friend who had a lead, even though I am not an MSW and thus not qualified for the job. Email may have sounded slightly desperate.
- blogged until way past my bedtime. Blast! I was supposed to be in bed by 11.

-Started all over again this morning.

Friends, how have you found a job? What am i doing wrong? Am I maybe doing something right? Any words of wisdom here?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

I'm going to make you all jealous.

One of the best things about summertime in NYC are all of the fantastic free concerts that they have here in the various parks. It is closely followed by the fantastic, if not so free, concert by amazing musicians played here that I've gotten to attend. Summer evening sky, fading from bright blue to red to gray and then dark blue with tinges of orange on the edges of the lights from the city reflecting skyward. If you're in Prospect Park, there are fireflies that come out just at dusk, lighting the field like stars darting around, as well as some real stars shining their brightest to reach us through the light pollution. It's on nights like those, laying on my back, listening to beautiful music played by the NY Philharmonic Orchestra in the grass, that I wouldn't trade for anything. i live in the best place in the world. Especially when i can ride my bike home after the fireworks display (friends, we get fireworks more than just on the fourth of July).







Fireworks!!! Best part of the night. I love them so much!!

I also wouldn't trade having a picnic with my sister Meri and some fantastic friends while listening to the Met Opera perform in Central Park (yes, even the battling old people pushing in line). I was reminded of how incredibly romantic opera can be, as Paulo Szot (star of South Pacific) sang some love songs for all of the swooning women in the audience. I think I just about managed to convince meri to move here just for him...

Meri giving me her usual expression

Beautiful singing by beautiful people

Or the giant mosh pit I was trapped in on Pier 54 while dancing to Brooklyn's own Matt & Kim (luckily, I had two strapping young men, Misha and Josh, to protect me from the rowdies. Only my poor feet were subjected to a beating).

My heroes, Misha and Josh

Or the Philharmonic again but in Central Park this time with a view of tall buildings behind the trees, with Tyson while trying strange berry pills that changes lemons into lemonade in your mouth. Even if the fireworks were canceled due to rain.

Or experiencing the Bowery Ballroom for the first time in my life with Josh and shaking my booty to the incredibly shakable Harlem Shakes, a fantastic little band everyone should see. Bowery Ballroom, we shall meet again.

I also wouldn't trade seeing an actual Beatle performing Beatles songs. Yes, you heard it right, thanks to a friend with some good hook-ups, I was invited to go see Paul McCartney and see a fantastic show, complete with pyrotechnics! There is nothing quite like hearing Paul singing Hey Jude, and the crowd going completely nuts. he kept talking about the first time he played Shea Stadium, and how they couldn't hear a thing because of all the screaming girls. Of course, that set off a hoard of screaming girls in his honor (well, actually mostly middle aged women in capri pants) and he quite enjoyed it.

(that's Paul playing the piano. you can't see him, but he is there).

Music makes my ears and my heart so happy. Especially outside. .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tweet, tweet

One goal completed! Follow me on twitter:

yeah, i'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with this now...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ladies of leisure pick berries

As I've mentioned before, i have a very weighty responsibility as an unemployed to fill my time with the things that all of those who are currently employed would rather be doing. You think this is an easy task, do you? Well, watching television just doesn't cut it, no sirree, not with the employed friends I have. They would rather be taking trips and writing books and going to museums. And there are only so many hours to the day (oh you'd be surprised how these weeks are flying by!). Really, i don't know how people have time to work, when there are bike rides to be had, museums to visit, and berries to pick. But dear, friends, everything I do, i do it for you.

We took a little trip out to a farm in NJ with the Relief Society ladies last week to pick berries. The farm was so dreamy by this sleepy river and tiny little town with a cute antique shop.

I adore blueberries!!! YUM! Half of these made it into my bucket, and the other half into my belly. I had to try them all to make sure that they were ripe, right? NJ blueberries are different from he berries that i am accustomed to picking. As a kid, I would traipse in the woods in Finland collecting little blueberries from plants near the ground and they stained my fingers and teeth blue. These NJ blueberries were much larger, with a white center and grew on bushes. Upon further investigation, I came to discover that the berries that I've always picked and called blueberries were actually Bilberries, related to blueberries, but harder to cultivate and usually grown wild in sub-Arctic areas (that explains why they are in Finland). All these years, and I never had any idea. What else is there in my life that I've been completely mistaken about?

Well, with Trina and Kamilah (and Tess and Sarah), we still enjoyed picking these blueberries.

I brought home a whole bucket full!

And belly-full as well.

We also managed to find some of these. They weren't quite ripe yet. But I still managed to enjoy them :)

My phone/camera died in the middle of the day, so i didn't get any pictures of the pallet of strawberries I brought home with me (SO. GOOD.), but all in all, a good day for this lady of leisure. To celebrate a successful day on the farm, I whipped up a fresh veggie dinner of sweet corn and roasted potatoes with carrots, with a Finnish swiss roll full of berries and cream. Luckily i had a few willing eaters in Laura, Tyson, and my darling roomies Maren and Rachel.

I also don't have pictures of the leisurely lady activities the following day, which consisted of Melissa and Sindri coming over for some baking with berries fun. WE washed and cut and mixed and tasted and pressed and poured and talked and talked and ultimately concluded the day with a pile of strawberry rubars and blueberry cupcakes to share with the world. Made with lots of love.

Really, I do it all for you. Such a torturous summer, such hard work. xoxo.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The other day, a friend recommended that since I was unemployed (thanks for reminding me, Josh), i should blog more. He pointed me to a great article for recent journalism grads with a list of things to boost their professional cache while unemployed this summer. Like I need that! Ahem, well, even though I'm not a journalism grad, I thought I'd pull a few of the recommendations from the list and try them out because really, it can't hurt to actually figure out how to post the interviews i conducted last summer. These are some of the things on my list (and you can hold me to it):

1. Post on my blog at least twice a week (purely for professional reasons, not narcissism).
2. Join Twitter (yes, you watch me josh, i'll do it. one of these days).
3. Actually learn why and how to use Twitter.
4. Create a podcast-- conduct interviews, edit audio, etc for a podcast. I actually have two that I've been working on for the last few years. One is The Love Story Thief, with stories about love and how it works, and the other is Refugee Voices (or something like that) with interviews with exiles from various conflict regions explaining their perspective on how peace could be achieved.
5. Finish book project with Haifa.
6. Become a guest blogger on Segullah and other blogs I read regularly.
7. Take more pictures, good ones.
8. Explore and review media and advocacy organizations, such as and others.
9. Take chances and try out new projects with my incredibly talented friends.

That is actually quite a time consuming list, but I'd really like to stick with it, especially if this whole job things takes some time. Who knows, it might even lead to a change in my career path (goodbye policy analysis, hello Cooking with Rockstars!)

What Suvi thinks about on the beach

Yesterday I rode my bike to Brighton beach with Chris. Yeah, we figured if we have to be unemployed, we might as well do stuff that everyone else wishes they were doing instead of working. It was a PERFECT day for a bike ride, and especially since the ride there from my house is pretty much an eight mile straight shot on a bike path, lined with benches of old people watching traffic.

We lay in the sand discussing Chasing the Flame by Samantha Power about Sergio Vierra de Mello, a career UN diplomat who was the Special Envoy to Iraq killed in the car bomb at the UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003. We're both interested in humanitarian affairs and this particular book was brutally honest in it's depiction of the UN and world political affairs, from the perspective of a very imperfect man. But it was also hopeful in the direction of committed individuals to a new brand of global diplomacy where human dignity and human rights are respected first and foremost. Read it! It is sad and fantastic.

As we were discussing (and watching an older Russian man lather sunscreen onto EVERY SINGLE INCH of his much younger wife's(?) body), I asked Chris what he would rather be doing than sitting on the beach. Obviously not many things would make that list. Definitely not an office job. Perhaps it was due to the discussion on how we could use lessons learned from Sergio's life and tragic situations in much of the country, but his response was that rather than sitting on a beach he would love to be working in the field somewhere. You know what? i would have to concur. When I think about what i want to be doing with my life, the jobs that most appeal to me are the ones where i would be working in the field, in some crisis situation, working with women and helping them access basic needs.

So what does that mean for me? No, I haven't signed up for a UN mission to Afghanistan. But that doesn't mean that I won't either.

That my friends, would be better than the beach. unless, of course, the beach has an amazing number of old, Russian men with hairy backs in speedos. Ah, Brighton Beach, you never fail to please.