Thanksgiving plans

With our families a 13 hour drive away, Grackle and I haven't been 'home' for Thanksgiving in about 5 years. Our second date was Thanksgiving dinner at a friends' house so we typically use it to celebrate our dating anniversary*.
The day is usually pretty relaxing. Grackle makes sure the kitchen is filled with good music so I can dance around while I cook, we eat our big meal (and usually too much pie), watch football and I usually do some crafting. It was after a particularly wine filled Thanksgiving meal that I decided to knit a cat sweater**...
Our menu is always filled with standards and Midwestern favorites: honey-brined Turkey breast, stuffing, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. This year I am also making a butternut squash side dish, baking bread from scratch for the stuffing and trying out a new pie. It is the first time I'm making pie crust from scratch. I doubt I'll knit anything crazy, as a friend has a baby on the way that needs a finished blanket. But I also have a strange desire to do some Origami...

I hope everybody (if there is anybody still around reading this) has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

*Despite being married we still celebrate this in addition to our wedding anniversary. I'm not one to get rid of celebrations.
**turns out, cats really do not like wearing sweaters.


Dr for a year

Saturday was the first anniversary of defending my dissertation.

This milestone seems pretty unreal but also worth mentioning. I never had any expectations that finishing my degree would translate into anything meaningful in my day to day life and it hasn't. Even in my daily life doing science. Compared to the last year or so of grad school, my first year as a postdoc has been more challenging intellectually and I've become more convinced than ever that I really know very, very little.
This isn't surprising given that I made a pretty big leap in subfield between grad school and postdoc. And I know that my degree gave the experiences and knowledge necessary to be able to forge ahead in these new areas.
But still, there is some sort of dark humor in that getting the phd establishes me as an expert of some sort in what I worked on but my postdoc requires that I become incredibly comfortable acknowledging my vast intellectual shortcomings in the new field.

At least it gave me a good excuse to cook a fancy dinner!


Ball dropped, again.

Alright! 21 days into InaDWriMo 09 and I have yet to update. It might not turn out so well this year. But things are still getting done- just different things!
The official update on projects:
1) Decent progress made. I've got 1700 words or about 5 pages of...stuff. Hopefully by Sunday night it will be in some sort of readable form since I am sending it to Rt-H at that point. It is really similar to a proposal that was funded a few years ago and I am struggling to make mine different at least in wording and structure. The best argument is x, y and z. But I have that other grant, which also sets it up as x, y and z. I feel like I am copying but there is no other way to say it!
5) Since this is the same as 1, I have made 1700 words of progress! Woo!
2 and 3) Haven't touched them.
4) Also haven't touched but should get to it this week.

So, what HAVE I been doing? There was another writing task that didn't make my list. A revision of 'paper with too many authors.' I am first author on this thing but my PhD advisor wrote it and is last/corresponding author. It is a weird situation but he doesn't want to be first and out of all of us, I had invested most in it. I get the paper, thinking that I would have to add a couple references and that would be it. Nope. It took over a week of re-writing to make sense of some new data that he added and negotiate how to say many of my critical comments in a way that will hurt no ones feelings. 'Paper with too many authors' indeed.

I also started working on a new project to get preliminary data for my grants. It has been so long that I forgot the voodoo that is bench work. It is really cool when it works though! I also gave an invited seminar (more on this later), spent a weekend doing awesome-physical-activity in a wild and wonderful state, applied for a bunch of jobs and am now working from PhD Town home for the rest of the month. Writing is always better when surrounded by pets, right?


Writing Month returns!

That's right it is InaDWriMo 2009! Last year was pretty awesome and it helped me graduate in time to start my pretty, pretty postdoc.

This year, I am going to
1) write a fellowship proposal- Due Dec. 1. and is 10 or so pages.
2) revise chapter 1 of my dissertation for publication- yikes! After writing it last year it is still not out. Been submitted and rejected once. Gotta get this baby out again this month!
3) revise chapter 2 of my dissertation for publication- Needs a few things- a new graph, an new spin and some references. Should be a gimmie!
4) write first major postdoc paper- I am working on analyses right now but that shouldn't keep me from getting the methods, and intro done!
5) write small grant- this will be very similar to the fellowship proposal so shouldn't be too big a thing

Even though it is the 3rd, I haven't done much. A page of #4. Hopefully I will rock some of this out the rest of this week!