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Friday, May 30, 2008


I'm 6 hours and 15 minutes till my flight. I need to finish packing still! I'm in a better mood about it all so that is good. No turning back now!

I think I will have some Internet access (it is remote, but even remote has to keep up with the times!). If I don't, I will be back and commenting very late on all your posts in about two weeks.

Oh- I have to say that I have the best husband ever! He took me to the 10:50 am showing of Sex and the City. I would see it some point in time anyway but wanted to see it opening weekend to avoid spoilers and also to support a woman driven film in the summer blockbuster season. If Sex and the City could have a bigger opening than Indiana Jones- I think that would be huge. As a plus- it was WAY better than Indiana Jones.

Ok, bye for now!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lonely lab

My advisor and lab mates are all gone for 3 weeks of field work. This would be awesome for labwork, if I had any to do. Instead, I am enjoying computer analyses, writing and reading. I thought this time would be super productive with all the peace and quiet, however, it really has been about the same but with different, nice weather related distractions. The Chronicle recently had an article about what it looks like to work. If you were to watch me work this week, it would be pretty pathetic. My computer and I are morphing into one and when not staring at the screen, I find myself staring out the window. Despite this unmoving display, I have re-analysed data, found about 100 relevant papers and most importantly-- done a lot of thinking.
Luckily, I am not too bothered by my lack of outward progress because....
I get to go into the field this weekend!!!!!!

Are you convinced that I am excited about that? Ugh. The main reasons I am soooo not excited about this trip: 1) Don't know if my methods will work. 2) Have to try to do experiments with no assistance which is going to be hard. 3) Camping alone for 2 weeks in temps that range from 98-102. 4) I really wish that I wasn't doing this replacement chapter in the first place.

I know it is time to suck it up and get down to work, I'm just having a hard time doing it. Usually I love field work, but this trip feels like a chore. Luckily, V is being very good about reiterating that being upset about it will do no good and it is getting close enough that I am past being too whiny about it*.

So far, reading other, similar studies has been helpful in getting in the right mindset and focusing on organizing the details has kept me moving forward. How do you get yourself psyched to do things you have to (but don't want to) do?

*My friends and family are awesome. I whine a lot. They listen AND even still like me despite it. Love them!


Sunday, May 25, 2008


  • As of Saturday morning, I can't move my head to the right. I hope the health center is open tomorrow but I doubt it with the holiday.
  • Our paper got rejected. Boo. The reviews were not that bad. They wanted some different analyses and more justification. Alright. That is cool and fixable. There are two parts that suck. First, I may have misinterpreted a paper. This was pointed out by (most likely based on the review) the author of that paper whom I admire and would like it impress. Instead, I look like a stupid ass. Second, I was docked for not knowing some current literature. Like a paper that came out AFTER we submitted. Geez! Given that the reviews weren't that bad, I will stop taking it personally and get down to reworking it soon. Just an unpleasant Saturday night email.
  • In anticipation of the impending anniversary, we went to play outside today! Part scouting field sites for V and part hiking in state parks made for a lovely day.
  • Our lives have been forever changed. We bought..................a vacuum. My small one was not doing its job with the pet hair problems around this place. Our new one even has special pet-hair attachments! The house has never been cleaner and I have never found cleaning more exciting!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008


With graduation fading in our memories, my lab is undergoing a change. One of our own is leaving. They are off to an assistant professor job. It is a position they seem happy with and we are all happy to see them off to succeed in the world. The Advisor, other faculty, other labmates, other students and myself have all had difficulties with this person* and I wish them the best in their new life.

Mad Hatter talked about the 'airport test' and how fit is much more than just personality. She actually says most of what I have been thinking about, and in a far more linear way so check it out if you haven't already.

So how does fit relate to a graduating student? Well, our lab has never run more smoothly**. Lab meetings are fun. It is a more supportive environment now. The person who left was never unsupportive or anything...but the entire atmosphere has changed and we are all a little more relaxed.
In addition to the huge influence of one single person, I find it interesting that as labs evolve what constitutes fit will change dramatically. Given that the rest of us get along well, what we look for in our incoming student is very different than when I started. A big part of my litmus test on my interview was how I would fare with someone difficult. I was put one on one with lab members and advisor was up front about potential personality conflicts. Our incoming student was thrown in with all of us to see how they would handle the possibly-overwhelming group of us.

Finally, this fit talk is everywhere. Between starting this post and publishing this post I heard from a postdoc acquaintance who just accepted a job. With three (3!!!!!!!!!, 2 at R1s) offers, the reason for their choice: 'it feels like a really good fit.' In all my postdoc hunting, I have kept my own feelings about where I fit in the back of my mind. The prestige or fame of PI or money issues have taken center stage but they really probably shouldn't.

* Which remain unbloggable.
**In my time there. Also, I am the only lab member on campus. I run smoothly all by myself but that is fodder for a different post. Possibly not with the usual 1o day interlude.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


A new BMW gets up close and personal with a old Buick. Guess which one was carrying the two grad students and which one was carrying the lawyer on the Blackberry.

There was surprisingly little damage- if it had been my car (instead of V's) things would have been much worse. The impact even knocked the inside cover to the sunroof back about 8 inches! We are both sore and I have a headache still (even thought this happened yesterday) but will be fine.

I'm working on actual content but will wait to post tomorrow for fear that well, it might not make any darn sense right now.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hooding done right

My first time being in the state for graduation festivities, for I found the hooding ceremony to be quite enjoyable.

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Thanks for all the good wishes for V! He aced the part that he was fearing and despite being a bit uncomfortable with the format (is being drilled questions in front of an audience ever comfortable??) did great. In the aftermath, we had much beer (anyone else familiar with Anderson Valley?)

We had a very relaxing weekend working on the yard. Last week, our courtyard was all gloom and doom and pink (ugh) flowers everywhere.

This weekend, we have cleaned up the beds and planted flowers*!

I am just happy to have my husband back!

*I *might* have overdone it with the marigolds...but so colorful!

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Friday, May 16, 2008


V passed his quals!


Details later...

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wait a second

Patience is not my strong point and I am not a fan of waiting. Today, however, all I am doing is waiting. My paper has gone from "Under review" to "Awaiting decision." AND my summer conference is supposed to email with talk vs. poster decisions tomorrow. I am anxious and just trying to not constantly check email/paper submission site. V has been good about waiting decisions with exams. He just keeps studying. I am keeping that in mind and plugging away on work stuff. As long as the weather holds, a run is in the works as well.
How do you deal with awaiting decisions?


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Quals update

After a long week, we got unofficial work on Friday that V passed the written part of his exams. Official word came yesterday. The time in limbo was mostly spent studying, relaxing and drinking. One of my labmates also took writtens with V. So on Friday, we joined the rest of the lab at Labmate's apartment to play Guitar Hero. That lasted 15 minutes and we moved on to Beer Pong. Neither V nor I had ever played before so Labmate was particularly excited to corrupt us older folks. We played males vs. females and my lack of distance perception did me no favors. Beer Pong = Ouch*!

The oral part of the exam will be this week. Everything is very rushed due to professors' field schedules. Labmate takes orals tomorrow evening and V is on deck for Friday morning. Can't wait for it to be over!

*Good fun though.



I am completely in love with this. I might have to go to the mall try it on and be reminded why I don't wear bikinis.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom is pretty fantastic. She does whatever she can to help me, and has taught me more than I can fathom. Given my field, she is pretty amazing in that she always tries to understand my work and learn from me too. All in all, I'm pretty lucky.
Love ya, Mom!


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Linky linky

This evening I finally updated my blogroll. Been meaning to do it for months. It seems like a long list but I got bored about halfway through my bloglines so I might have missed if I missed anyone who would like to be included, please leave me a comment!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

color figures

The research in my lab is not very costly in general. The money that we do get is from strange sources but it gets the job done. That is until we are getting ready to submit a paper and we realize that color figures cost money. Money that we don't have. Our options are pretty fantastic though:

Get it from a different grant
Beg the department
Ask for it for Xmas from our parents (although I have already asked my mom for a plane ticket to a conference for my graduation)
Tax returns
Bake sale
Car wash
Win a kareoke or other type of talent contest like in a movie or sitcom

Any other suggestions?

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

cut and run

I have been waiting (since Feb.) for comments on a paper from a very important non-author. Those comments came through last night and the biggest one suggests we submit to a bigger journal which is more likely to result in a(nother) rejection. Plus, it will require cutting almost half the word count. Ack.
I don't think I want to do it. Despite loving the chance for a bigger journal, it could be submitted as is on Friday to the smaller but solid journal I had in mind. It just needs to be over. There is a backlog of other projects, trying to figure out (and write?) a postdoc and the ol' diss. My advisor agrees with me. My labmate agrees with me. My coauthor? Wants to cut it down.
Why, oh why won't this project end?

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Monday, May 05, 2008

ummmm, right.

Alright, I know I was all ready to goof off on Friday but seriously. The faculty are worse than the students around here. If it isn't playing the bongo drums in your office, it is playing basketball. In the hallway. On a Monday morning. During finals.

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Good thoughts please!

Please send your best thoughts our way as V, one of my labmates and two other friends embark on their qualifying exams today! There are written exams then an oral. The way the exam is set up, it is not your typical comprehensive exam (that comes later). For most, it has very little to do with your research or area of study at all. The exam is based upon a number of pre-approved courses that you take. We are a diverse department so those courses are quite diverse as well. While all the courses are interesting, there is a big leap between interesting and qualifying exam intense studying. V has done a much better job of it that I did. He seems to have far more persistence for sticking with those 'interesting' courses. About 1/3 of my studying time was devoted to looking for industry jobs that I got apply for after I failed the exams. Not allowing for any lulls in excitement, I also had the closing on my house the day before my orals. Luckily I passed and my claim-to-fame story (my advisor makes sure we each have one) is that as soon as the committee came out of the room to congratulate me, I collapsed to the floor. The relief of seeing smiling faces and release of stress culminated in having to sit down in the hallway.
Any other good exam passing stories out there?

I have no doubt V will pass with ease but please wish him (and all the others) luck anyway!


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Derby day!

The Derby starts in an hour and I am still undecided about my choice of horse! At least I have narrowed it down...
Eight Belles: The first filly since 1999 and only 3 fillies have ever won. It would be nice to have a lady horse win. Plus, she is beauuuutiful...
Cowboy Cal: Shares a nickname with a certain pooch I know.
Z Humor: Good pedigree, good lookin'.
Big brown: Good name but I can't go with the favorite!

I also usually like the biggest horse but I can't seem to figure out the sizes of any of this years contenders....

Final call: Eight Belles it is! Off to watch!

UPDATE: She got second, broke both ankles and was immediately euthenized on the track. I don't think I like the Derby anymore...