Headed South

We are leaving in about 9 hours for the research trip. I've got a sweet rental van, all my equipment and the promise of bad weather. Now if only I would finish packing...

I hope everyone has a great week! See you when I get back!



  • An rboc post is better than no post, right?
  • I have been trying to write a post about students, their hang-ups, anxieties and how to deal with them. I have my own as well, but they have never kept me from doing my work (they'll keep me from submitting my work, but even that gets done- see next bullet). Really, I just want students to take responsibility for their own work. I don't care if you are afraid of driving in any type of weather. If you have experiments to do, you better figure out how to get over it and show up. 
  • My first paper from my dissertation got rejected today. It wasn't even reviewed. I suppose I should follow my own advice- figure out how to get over it and resubmit the thing. This won't happen for at least 3 weeks.
  • I leave in less than 36 hours for my research trip. Things are not exactly ready. Tomorrow is going to be a long day of arranging details. Methods for the intensive research scheduled for after the trip are also not ready. I thought I had ironed out all the details last week, then trying to replicate them today was a total disaster. 
  • These two previous bullets are serious bummers. Getting out of here and getting some research underway will be a major improvement!
  • One little thing I haven't mentioned yet-- my PI is pregnant! This is the real reason I am leading the research trip on my own. Rt-H is due in a little over a month. It is really inspiring to see how it is possible to be pre-tenure with a young family (this is her second in under 2 years) on a day-to-day basis.  More on this in the future. 
  • I have to get back to packing! 



EcoGeofemme was kind enough to interview me. 

  • You’ve mentioned that you are very tall.  What’s that like?  Name the best thing and the worst thing about it. 
  • I really enjoy being tall (I am 5 ft. 10.5 inches) and I have no issue wearing heels, as the Grackle stands a mighty 6 ft. 5 inches. The biggest perks are practical. Being able to reach high shelves and being able to see over other people at concerts. The worst part of it is when people in front of you on an airplane try to recline and finding pants that are long enough. I wish I could say something deeper about how my height has shaped (ha!) me as a person but while it describes me, it has never really defined me. It never really hindered me. I could still blend in when I wanted to and was fine dating shorter or at least, not much taller guys (Grackle was my first over 6 ft boyfriend). It didn't help me that much either-never facilitated a fabulous sports career or anything. While I did play volleyball in middle school, I was a setter! 

  • Is it harder or easier than you expected to be in a long distance relationship? 
  • This is a difficult question, so I am going to focus on the specifics of our current long distance situation vs. previous since the Grackle and I are in our third stint as a long distance couple*. I'm pretty sure you have to talk yourself into thinking it will be easy, otherwise no one would ever do it! This time it would be easier for a number of reasons: 1) We are closer (170 miles vs 3000 miles) so visits are more frequent. 2) My schedule is a bit more flexible. 3) We have more available technology (internet with video chat vs. no internet). 4)  We are in the same time zone. Now, whether or not it is actually easier- it is too soon to tell. Seeing Grackle with the cats on the video chat just fills me with happiness every time. On the other hand...new challenges  continue to blindside me and make me want to pack up and move home.   

  • Do you ever imagine doing a different kind of science?
  • Not really. I was crap at the only other sciences I took in college (Chemistry and Physics) and more importantly- wasn't inspired by them. Perhaps, I just didn't find the alternative science that would make me happy. I could conduct research in a related subfield but would never want to deviate too much. If I couldn't do my kind of science, I'd probably do something related to the application of or public outreach for my kind of science. 

  • What’s your best-ever Halloween costume?
  • Overall, I think the best Halloween costumes are homemade. My favorites would include a mermaid (198?) and Glenda the Good Witch (high school). Here are a couple recent favorites...
    Keiko the Killer Whale (2005) and made by my mom.
    Bee Girl from Blind Melon video (2008) made by me!
    • Suppose you are offered two jobs with equally interesting science/colleagues/prestige/etc.  One pays really well but is in a crappy location and the other has lousy pay but in a fabulous location.  There is a position for the Grackle at each of them. Which do you choose?    
    Well, I think we have managed to live pretty well as grad students and honestly, I am not really sure what we will spend 'real' salaries on!** Based on this, I would pick the fabulous location. We don't need a lot of stuff if as long as we are together- being in a great place is even an extra bonus! 

    If anyone wants me be interviewed- let me know in the comments!

    * Only six months after we started dating, I moved to PhD town and it was 8 months before Grackle joined me. We had another 8 month stint while I was doing field work and were married 5 months into that separation. 
    ** I lie. We'd go on vacations, get jeans without holes in them and probably more pets.



    I drove home to the husband and pets tonight. I'm surfing blogs and finishing a beer before collapsing into the most comfortable bed ever*.

    I love being home so I can catch the Grackle when he does things like Google "What is your freaking problem, Facebook?" and follows it up by clicking on "Monkeys ride giant rodents." ** He says...."if monkeys can ride giant rodents, why can't we all be happy?"
    He knows I'm blogging this and just made a Grackle sound.  

    * seriously, my bed in Postdoc City stinks. It is small and not soft. Home bed is a king with a pillowtop. 
    ** it is worth watching just for the music.


    We are officially underway!

    This past weekend, I went on my first research trip with the new lab. It was me, Rt-H and a second year grad student on a 36 hour trip, 22 of those were spent driving. The others were pretty crappy sleep and hard labor. I've been on research trips with Rt-H before, and we get along great so it wasn't too bad. The grad student kept to herself, listening to her music most of the time. She will be the topic of another post this week. 

    For me, this was practice for later in the month. I will be taking 2 grad students on a ten day long research trip into the deep South. We will be doing a lot of driving, physical work and camping. It is the first research trip of its kind for both of these students and only one of them has camping experience. Should be interesting! 
    In addition to the firsts for them, it will be my first time really being in charge of more than myself. I've had field helpers in the past, but they were other grad student friends (and often my husband) or undergrads tagging along with professor friends of mine. The big difference is that I am responsible and really leading the trip. I guess this means I have to be on my best behavior, set a good example and say, for example, not try to scam 5 more minutes of sleep in the mornings. The increased responsibility goes not only for the day-to-day aspect of making sure things run smoothly and paying for stuff but also for the work. It isn't just my research and graduation date depending on my abilities this time. It is my PI and all the students in the lab who depend on this work. Having the pressure turned up is actually a pretty good motivator. I am more prepared for this trip than any other and am planning on kicking ass.