Also in my absence

A few other things that happened when I was gone:
  • I cut my hair. Probably about 10 inches off and above my shoulders for the first time since my first year of grad school. I had a serious case of hipster-hair and needed some new (although belated) postdoc hair. Of course, it has been 2 (+) months and I haven't had it re-cut but I want to keep it short and sassy for a while!
  • I started getting into awesome-physical-activity in a more serious way, getting all my own gear and making a commitment to a year of partaking in the fun. A-P-A really requires a lot of focus and thus, is worthwhile pursuing while I am in Postdoc City. Often I come home from lab, eat and open my computer to work some more. Now at least there are a few hours every few days that I am completely away from the computer and restricted from even thinking about work. It is good for non-work related life difficulties as well. Working through my A-P-A related goals helps keep me positive despite missing the Grackle and Company. Plus, my guns* are as sweet as ever!
  • I got a Mac. It was time to finally make the switch and time to have an apple in the family. The switch itself is still underway. Two important programs are missing from the new machine and I need to secure them asap. Other than that, I love the design and how it works. Luckily, my MS lab was mac and I use them currently in my lab so I am familiar with the finer points of using these things. My machine is great!
  • I got an iPhone. Continuing with the materialistic theme, this phone is amazing. I'm still in the honeymoon phase and hope that I don't continue to be that obnoxious girl with her phone. Or at least I hope I stop being self conscious about it. The best thing yet- I use it to take notes during seminars and lab meetings. My handwriting is atrocious and it is so nice to be able to make sense of my notes post meeting!

*'Please stop referring to your arms as guns'


Questioning your research

Today one of the senior grad students in my lab asked me if, when I was a grad student, I ever felt like my research was crap and questioned if the hours, weeks, years of effort put into the research was really worth it.
Obviously she doesn't read any blogs.
My answer was a resounding yes. Having not yet published my dissertation, I'm still half convinced that it isn't good enough! Anyway, I tried to reassure her that pretty much all grad students question their decisions and research at one time or another. Even the confident, brilliant, successful ones (I'm lucky to count some of them as my friends). At this point, another grad student, a 2nd year who is just starting to figure out his research plan, skeptically asked, 'Everybody? So you think I will too?'
Seriously, does no one read blogs?
My answer was, again, a resounding yes and that it would probably be when he and his fiance want to start a family but he has 2 field seasons left that will require long trips and long hours in the lab with no weekends off. The look on his face told me I nailed it.

Having dealt with impostor syndrome, questioning my research and thinking it is crap is pretty second nature to me. I want to know what these students are doing to get through grad school without second guessing themselves!


Moving forward!

Today, I finished a major step of my data analysis for the first project I have been working on for my postdoc. I've avoided the temptation of graphing out the data as I was analyzing it to avoid having to re-do it and get an incomplete (or wrong) picture of what is going on. The first glimpse of what my numbers are and how they are falling out with my treatments was awesome. Totally hot science! Getting through this tedious task helps me really feel like I am moving forward with my project as well. Finally!
Of course, moving forward = finishing something = moving on to something else. This final step is all wrapped up in its own little ball of strife, but we'll get into that next time...I got up ridiculously early to bake a pie this morning for a dinner party and need more sleep.



Just to make sure you know nothing has really changed around here today I worked from home (the real home in PhD-Town, not my apartment in Postdoc City) and planned to get a lot done. Including....
Finish getting old data
Start analyzing new data
Do laundry
Cook a nice, healthy dinner for the Grackle and I

What I actually did...
Didn't really get dressed all day
Read journals/books about new-research area
Started catching up on blog reading
Analyzed a tiny bit of old data
Discovered we are out of fabric softener
Am now waiting for the Grackle to get home with pizza and beer.


An overdue congrats!

During my blog absence, the Grackle successfully defended his dissertation proposal and advanced to candidacy!

Due to the timing of things, I wasn't able to be around leading up to the defense, which sucked. I really wanted to be physically present to help support him by lessening his work load around the house and with our pets. He was able to keep the pets happy, the house clean enough, not resort to eating only pizza AND put together a fabulous proposal and presentation!

Congrats Grackle!

back to blogging

So, it has been a while hasn't it. My absence was much longer than planned but I think I am ready to get back.

When I left, I had just returned from a conference. There was a big focus on my new work there and I didn't feel like I kept up or fit in or was well received whenever I tried to get my foot in the door or talk to bigwigs about my project. On top of that, I was in this competition and my talk didn't go very well. It was important for me to talk to some of the judges about my new work and I couldn't shake the feeling that they were judging me about everything. Because they were! Personally, it was a wonderful time catching up with good friends but professionally, eh.

Upon returning, I went into the field. It was a productive trip with a lot of pressure. It was on a new system that Rt-H hadn't worked on before. New places to work, with a different combination of students. There was one major blowout, which was due to my own leadership failings. 10 hours in the field + 7 hours driving + no food = unhappy Albatross. I got pissed at the actions of one student and the other had a compete breakdown. We worked through things and moved on with the trip and the work once we returned, but one of the students is still harboring some resentment about it all which makes it hard to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

After that trip (in July), with the students working away in the lab on our side project, I was supposed to visit to a lab for training related to the next portion of my project. This fell through and after a bit of floundering, I finally visited a different lab this past week to do the training. Things are starting to get back on track, some unbloggable situations have resolved themselves and life is becoming a bit more manageable again.

While catching up on my 1000+ posts in my reader, please feel free to let me know major happenings that I've missed in the comments. If anyone is still here reading, that is!