Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lazy Sunday meme

As seen at Mon's

I am procrastinating from both work and activities I use to avoid work (gardening, quilting)
I want to have more motivation to do something productive.
I wish that the thesis was magically written for me.
I hate that this dissertation process is still going on.
I love that is sunny and mid-60s out. Perfect for gardening or just contemplating.
I misshanging out with my college friends. And knowing that when I finished the paper/problem set/whatever, that I was really "done" with school work for the day. Now it never ends.
I fear that I will not be strong enough and kind enough to stay married my whole life.
I hearthe final seconds of the NBA playoff game that BusinessMan is watching.
I wonder what my life would have been like had I gone to a different college.
I regret not being more athletic as a kid.
I am notlosing weight. I must get my groove back.
I dance only in the bathroom before my shower.
I sing not as much as I wish I did.
I cry
more often than is seemly. I've had to choke back tears around my advisor. Totally not professional.
I am not always as on top of things as my advisor thinks.
I make with my handsbaby quilts.
I write far more on this blog than I do on my thesis.
I confuse The various permutations of sciencewoman that I have for logins, emails, etc.
I need this PhD to be done and then I need a really long vacation.
I should stop procrastinating and do something productive.
I start blog posts in my head all the time. Most never get written.
I finish almost everything I start. Except books lately.
I tag no one. Unless you want to join anyways, in which case, tag!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Suburban Saturday Soundtrack

Swallows chirping from my eaves where they are building their annual nest
The neighbor's dog howling with a passing train
Lawnmowers and a distant chain saw
Kids on bikes going to the park
Wind blowing the tree leaves and "cotton" from my backyard poplars
The Princess Pup in the backyard barking at dogs being walked in front of the house

It may not be the most productive way to work on a Saturday, but sitting in my home office with the window open sure has a nice melody.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Muddy

Jo(e) says that the word of the day is "muddy", and I immediately knew what I wanted to post. Here's a picture of me a few years ago after a particularly strenuous and soppy day in the field. But it was worth it - I was exploring a new field area - and it has turned out to be pretty important to my research. Plus, I've always just enjoyed the mud.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Women in science buzz

  • The National Academy of Science is kicking off a series of books and a companion website called "Women's Adventures in Science." The website has some cutesy animation featuring bilingual blue-haired "Lia", profiles of 10 prominent women scientists, a time-line highlighting accomplishments of women in science and some games. NAS is holding an event in DC on Friday featuring some of the women from the website.
  • The San Jose Mercury-News has an editorial titled: "Need More Engineers? Recruit Women." Belle Wei suggests: "The fact is that we cannot afford to ignore half of our population in our determined efforts to enlarge the technical talent pool. If women aren't attracted to engineering and computing, and don't come to us, then we need to start going to them. We have to develop and present engineering programs in a way that appeals to them." Sounds like a good idea, but while we're at it, let's get rid of some of the societal and structural impediments to women choosing technical professions.
  • Sigourney Weaver encourages women to study science: "We haven’t taken care of our educational system for the last 30 years," she said at the dedication of a new life science buiding at Syracuse University. "It doesn’t surprise me that kids are not ignited by what they are studying."
  • The Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology is establishing a new award for outstanding and promising women scientists.

blogging from craft nite

Right now 7 of us are sitting around S's kitchen table, talking and laughing. I just came out as a blogger to my friends here. And I'm in a better mood now than I was a few hours ago.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

All the news that isn't

(Suddenly, when I am completely overwhelmed by a dying computer, reviewer comments from hell, and way too much work, the blog post that I've been avoiding writing seems like the most attractive thing.)

When I returned from my interview at JARU, I was convinced that while I would likely be offered the job there, I absolutely didn't want it. So I talked to my advisor, with whom the subject of staying for a post-doc had been previously broached, and told him I wanted to stay here.
He said, "I'd love to have you and I should be able to come up with money. What would you like to work on?"
I said, "Of all the interesting things you have on the horizon, I am most excited about Newthing, because it will be really different from my dissertation work, but still draw on some of my 'expertise.' Plus, it will give me a chance to do experimental work that I have been interested in doing for a long time."
He said, "Funny you should say that. We have the opportunity to be involved in some really neat collaborative work. The only problem is that if we are going to be involved, we need to get to work right now."
I said, "I'm game."

The next week I got on a plane for Midwest to take part in an experimental design meeting. Experiments start next week, and I'll probably need to spend a few weeks in Midwest during May and then again in July.

(Have you figured out yet why the defense-countdown ticker has disappeared from my page?)

So in the past two weeks, I've been getting myself spun up on Newthing (marveling at how easily its happening and disparing at the experimental time crunch, in turns) while simultaneously trying to deal with sticky reviewer comments (must resubmit by June 1), finish a draft of Chapter 2, and work on data analysis for Chapter 3 (which must be in a grant report by May 15, a poster by June 7, and a submitted paper by June 15). Chapters 2 and 3 ain't happening, and I feel like I am spending all day just hurtling from one thing to the next while slogging through molasses. Plus, I'm out of clean clothes.

I'm having second thoughts about my decisions. It appears that I won't even get the job offer from JARU (they had promised to call last Friday), so it's not like I have other options. First, I am not convinced the current collaborative experimental scheme will work for studying Newthing and which potentially leaves me several months into the postdoc starting from scratch. Second, if I can't defend by September 1, I'll be out of fellowship money, and grad research assistants get paid <1/2 as much as fellowships or post-docs. There's nothing my advisor can do to help me on this one; rules are rules. But spending the necessary time on Newthing may make it hard for me to defend this summer. Third, in less than 6 months I'll be starting the job search roulette wheel all over again. And that's totally unappealing right now. Fourth, a couple of people have pointedly remarked on how unusual it is for PhD students to stay with their advisor for a post-doc and insinuated that it might be harder for me to get a tenure-track job because of it. I too am concerned that staying here for a year will lead to needing another post-doc somewhere else before jumping on the tenure-track. But at this point, what can I do?

On the upside, it's really really great that my advisor is willing and able to fund me for another year and that I like working with him well enough for that to be palatable. I won't have to finish in a rush, move across the country, and start a new job in a new town right away. BusinessMan's got a promising new job here that maybe (hopefully) will turn into a real career for him if he can stay here >6 months. We've got friends and family in the area, and maybe after I've defended I can take some time off and play in the mountains and along the coast. There's a lot of trails to left to hike and rivers to left to run in this neck of the woods. And maybe I'm naive, but a post-doc hints at a little more time to do those things than as an ABD or a junior professor.

Being here for another year also means that we can continue to try to have a baby. I'll have great health insurance as soon as I defend, and BusinessMan will have great health insurance for us by the end of August whether or not I defend. I have a gynecologist I really like. I couldn't imagine being pregnant/having an infant in the first year on the tenure track, but it seems more doable as a post-doc (especially with an understanding boss).

Of course, trying to have a baby does not equal having a baby, as I know all too well. I've been on job interviews my last 2 ovulation cycles, I may have to be in Midwest doing experiments for newthing in May, and I'll be on the east coast for a conference in June. So the baby won't be getting made until late this summer at the earliest, which means that I could be in the third trimester or with a newborn during interview season...and that's a whole 'nother can of worms. Plus, as those of you who have been following the saga may remember, we'll likely have lower chances of conceiving even when I am around (low sperm counts). We could go the artificial insemination route to mitigate that, but I have a new worry now that I may have a problem too.
A couple of times my period has been a couple of days late and then started. Now that may seem like nothing to some of you, but I've been charting for over a year and I know that my luteal phase is always 12 days. So when my period hasn't started by 15-16 days after ovulation, I start to get excited. And then the pregnancy test comes back negative and then later that day my period starts. I take the pregnancy test even though I don't think I'm pregnant, and I don't think I'm pregnant because my temperature hasn't exhibited the classic triphasic pattern of pre-ovulation (low), ovulation (high), and implantation (higher) that pregnant women get. This temperature pattern is the result of the same hormone levels that the pregnancy test is measuring. So now I wonder whether I have a hormonal problem or a problem sustaining a very early pregrancy that would sabotage the AI efforts.

Yes, I know I could ask my doctor but those visits ain't cheap. Yes, I could go on some bulletin boards and ask other women TTC. But I get annoyed at the threads hijacked by happy mothers, irritated at the incomprehensible acronyms, and depressed by the stories of women who have suffered miscarriage after miscarriage or gone to extraordinary lengths to get pregnant and still failed to bear a child. I can't afford the time or the emotional rollercoaster that those bulletin boards would require. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I guess.

(BTW, anybody who tells me that we will get pregnant as soon as my stress levels go down will be shot [or at least banned from commenting]. Not only is that comment not the least bit comforting or helpful, it reflects a complete lack of understanding about the assorted stresses that will always accompany a woman's academic lifestyle.)

Most of the time I am too happily busy with work to spend more than a few minutes mourning the arrival of another period. With so much changing right now and so many demands on my energy, brain, and emotions, I think I am feeling it more acutely this time around. I promise that in a few days (weeks?) I'll be back to my normal, happy scientific self.

And maybe by then the reviews will dealt with and my computer will be fixed.

2 flavors of patriotism?

Flavor 1: This a web cam in BC, Canada that is looking into an Eagles nest. She's apparently sitting on two eggs and she and her partner have been switching all month. The babies are due between the 28th and the 30th and this is their 19th year having babies.

Flavor 2:

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wikipedia birthday meme

Sticking with the birthday theme this week....I got this one from Writer Chica...

Here's what you do: Go to www.wikipedia.org and type in your birthday without the year. Choose 3 events, 3 births, and 3 deaths and post.

My birthday is February 27.

Events:
Births:
  • 272 - Constantine I, Roman emperor (For better or for worse, Western Civilization was irrevocably changed when he legalized Christianity).
  • 1807 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (d. 1882) (I learned about Longfellow's birthday as a child when I got an anthology containing an excerpt of the Song of Hiawatha.)
  • 1897 - Marian Anderson, American contralto (I've always been amazed that she had such a successful career during a period when the US was deeply mired in racist problems.)
Deaths:
Events:
International Polar Bear Day (How cool is that? Celebrate it while you still can!)

Attn Teachers: Free Temperature Probes

"In celebration of Vernier’s 25th anniversary, we are giving away a FREE Go!Temp with Logger Lite software to every elementary, middle school, and high school in the United States."

Go to http://www.vernier.com/giveaway/ for details.

Monday, April 24, 2006

happy birthday blog

First off, if you are reading a feed, come check out the new look.

My baby here is one year old. It's interesting moment to pause and reflect how far I've come in the past year...so much is still the same (ABD, no children) but some things feel subtly shifted (I can now envision my defense date and what I'll be doing afterward).

I don't often look at my archives; I find the writing awkward and the memories, in turns, teasing and unpleasant. I also think to the things that are not recorded in the blog - too personal, too professionally revealing, or just too mundane to be recorded here. But for now, here's a sampling of the archives, with emphasis on popular posts, recurring themes and/or decent (maybe?) writing.
So what can you look forward to in the next year of this blog?
  • Dissertation struggles, defense jubilation, post-doc and job search round 2
  • Who-knows-what on the family front
  • Continued focus on issues of women in science and women in academia
  • Continued side focus on science communication and education in society
  • Probably somewhat less science writing. Those posts don't seem to generate comments and they take a lot of time. There are good science blogs out there already.
  • The occasional meme or completely fluffy post. I always reserve that right.
  • Some cosmetic changes to the page (new banners, TTLB, site meter, creative commons license...)
  • Things of interest to my blog readers. Believe it or not, if you have suggestions for post topics or even recurring features, I will listen to you. So please comment or email me.
Stick with me. This baby is just getting her feet under her.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Earth Day PNW style

It's a beautiful sunny warm day outside - the perfect day to celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day, to me, is about honoring our responsibility to the Earth's human and non-human inhabitants and natural systems, past , present and future. This year, I'm not celebrating Earth Day in any organized fashion. But I am celebrating in my own independent way. Let's call it PNW style.

After doing some online calculators at myfootprint.org and stopglobalwarming.org (join the virtual march), I decided I really needed to do something big about my resource use.
So, I just finished offsetting my and Business Man's carbon emissions by making a $150 donation to carbonfund.org. I took some time to use their calculator and estimate our emissions (cars, miles, electricity, natural gas) based on our (paper-less) bill histories.

Later this afternoon, I will swing by S's house and pick through the leftovers from the Naked Ladies clothing swap that I missed this week. Anything that isn't claimed will go to Goodwill. Then I will head over to our wonderful local cooperative grocery (I'm a member) and buy some bulk foods, organic produce, and local milk and yogurt in reusable containers. Then Princess Pup and I are going for a hike and rejoice in the wonders of springtime in the woods. This evening Business Man and I will cook dinner, composting the remains. Then I'll do some laundry in our energy efficient washer and hang most of the clothes to dry.

I have mixed feelings about my environmental responsibility score-card. Sometimes when I go to other people's houses (not yours, Chica) I feel very virtuous when I see the amount of waste. But then I think about what I could, relatively easily, do better. I could take shorter showers, bike or bus to school, and stop printing out journal articles to read. I try to remind myself that no one is perfect and that the work I do is pretty applied to natural resource issues. But on Earth Day, I find myself wondering whether I should be celebrating or pushing hard towards change. I think a bit of both are in order for me, and I know the world needs to join me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Women in science buzz

A few snippets seen around recently:
Want this to be a regular feature? Help me find the buzz. Email sightings to science dot woman at hotmail.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

science writers meme

Here's a very biased selection of popular science writing. I've tried to include some classics and some new releases. I started with my bookshelf and wishlist, perused a few Amazon lists, and check the blogs of a few of my favorite scientists. If you decide to adopt the meme, please add your own favorites and let me know.

Instructions: Bold the books you've read, and italicize the books you've been intending to read (when you just have a bit more time). Cross out the books you've no interest in reading and put ? marks around the ones of which you've never heard.


Mark Bowen - Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains
Rachel Carson - Silent Spring
Marla Cone - Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic
Charles Darwin - Voyage of the Beagle
Devra Lee Davis - When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution
Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene
Jared Diamond - Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Society
Paul Ehrlich - The Population Bomb
Kerry Emanuel - Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes
Richard Feynman - The Feynman Lectures on Physics
Stephen Jay Gould - Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
John Gribbin: In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality
Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time
Elizabeth Kolbert - Field Notes from a Catastrophe
Kevin Krajick - Barren Lands
Luna Leopold - A View of the River
Jon Luoma - Hidden Forest: Biography of an Ecosystem
John McPhee - Control of Nature
Madeline Nash - feature articles in Time magazine
Gregory Paul - Dinosaurs of the Air
E.C. Pielou - After the Ice Age
Stephen Pinker - The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language
Michael Pollan - The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World
David Quammen - Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction
Marc Reisner - Cadillac Desert
Matt Ridley - The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
William Ruddiman - Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate
Carl Sagan - Cosmos
Dava Sobel - Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
Peter Ward - Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe
Samantha Weinberg - A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelocanth
E.O. Wilson - On Human Nature
Simon Winchester - Krakatoa
James Woodford - The Wollemi Pine
Gary Zukav - The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics

Friday, April 14, 2006

winding down, spinning up

Actual text of an email I sent this afternoon:

"So let's say you were flying halfway across the country next week to participate in an interdisciplinary, collaborative project and let's say that you were expected to be the expert on [insert appropriate jargon here]. Let's say further that your knowledge of the subject matter consisted of overheard snippets and your intuition. What would you read on the airplane?"

Participant list for project identified me as "grad student doc?"

Things are changing really fast around here. I'd like to tell ya'll more but my head is needed other places. I promise that I will explain once I'm back from Midwest this time around (next weekend). In the meantime I may post inanely or sporadically as the mood strikes me and time/internet is available.

doing science on the radio

Last night I caught a segment on All Things Considered about what happens when you put Mentos candy into a Diet Coke. (Hint: the results are explosive). Rather than just talking to an expert, the NPR staffers recreated the experiment themselves and explained the science behind it. It was an entertaining and informative story, and they also included a short amateurish video on the website. While the video did illustrate the phenomenon, the science and the excitement were well-conveyed by the radio segment alone.

It got me thinking about how rarely we hear "exciting" science on the radio. Most NPR science stories involve interviewing an expert, with some layman-translation provided by the interviewer. There are the NPR/National Geographic Radio Expedition segments which often feature interviews with scientists in the field and have great background sounds of birds chirping, water rushing, etc.

Unlike public television and cable where there are a number of differerent science shows and approaches to sharing science with the public, public radio seems to have largely limited itself to talking heads (disembodied voices?). Is that because science is fundamentally visual? (But how about the really neat science that goes into understanding microscopic or even subatomic phenomena? Is that because humans are fundamentally visual? (If that's so, why the persistence and popularity of radio at all? Not to mention dense pages of journal article text.) Or is it because we haven't yet figured out good ways to transmit the excitement, and the facts, of scientific discoveries in an oral/aural medium?

I would suggest it is the latter. Maybe we need to see more stories produced in the way that the Diet Coke-Mentos story was produced. I'm not suggesting that public radio dumb down its science, but maybe it can be more explosive.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

word counts and related things

Profgrrrl got a bunch of us diverted by calculating our manuscripts' readability statistics earlier today. Along the way I glanced at the word count for my paper in review: 8200 words not counting refs and figure captions. This comes out to ~30 pages double spaced + 12 figures, tables, and an auxillary dataset. And it feels like a monster. One of my reviews even commented about its length (as in, publish it even though its long).

But just now I got curious and did the word count for the paper I am currently writing: 3700 words and I need to add to the introduction, and write discussions and conclusions. So I can see it getting quite a bit longer before its done. Of course, this is the first draft and it will undoubtedly get tighter as I go through the editing process. So let's estimate that in the end it will be about 6000 words and 5(?) figures.

I went to my professional society web site and looked at all the instructions for authors, but I couldn't find anything about how long a manuscript should (or shouldn't) be. And I'm not going to sit down and count someone's published article.

What is a typical manuscript length in your field?

SCIENTIFIC EQUIVALENTS

(via volcanogirl. thanks volcanogirl!)

1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi

2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton

3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope

4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1
bananosecond

5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram

6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour =
Knotfurlong

7. 365.25 days of drinking low calorie beer because it's less
filling = 1 lite year

8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

9. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon

10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz

11. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower

12. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line

13. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

14. 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone

15. 1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

16. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle

17. 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds

18. 10 cards = 1 decacards

19. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 Fig Newton

20. 1000 grams of wet socks = 1 literhosen

21. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche

22. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin

23. 10 rations = 1 decaration

24. 100 rations = 1 C-ration

25. 2 monograms = 1 diagram

26. 8 nickels = 2 paradigms

27. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale
University Hospital = 1 I.V. League

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

spring cleaning

I'm noticing some new readers (or just delurking commenters) lately, and that's great! Welcome.

For my new readers and my dear friends, if you have a blog that isn't already linked from this site, and you would like it to be thusly linked, please leave a message in the comments or send me an email. If you know of any other great blogs or resources for women scientisits, do the same. If you happen upon a broken link or one that hasn't been updated in months, please let me know.

I don't use a site counter or any other such fancy technology here (mostly too busy to get one set up), so I'll also encourage my new readers to share how they found this space. I look forward to hearing your stories.

And, yes, I am still sitting on some news, but I do promise to share soon. And it's not what you think.

mentoring question

One of the side projects to which I have gotten myself committed is nominating one of my committee members for an outstanding graduate mentor award. It is a university-wide award, comes with a pretty sizeable chunk of cash, and thus has a fair amount of work necessary to put together the nomination packet. I think I should be committed if I take on any more projects before I finish my PhD.

But in putting together this packet, I have gotten to thinking about what characteristics make a good mentor (advisor, committee member, role model, sounding board) for graduate students. I feel like I know good mentoring when I see it, but trying to define exactly what this person does so well is hard to articulate. So I wanted to put it to my readers:

What makes a good mentor for graduate students?
Are there different characteristics of good mentorship for MS and PhD students?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

metaphor for my day

My goal was to swim across a river. First, I got my feet wet and lowered myself gingerly into the frigid water. Then I took the plunge and set out dog-paddling for the far shore - visible in the distance. Then I hit the real current and it caught me by surprise with its intensity - pushing me downstream, scraping me on a few a rocks, and through the rapid. I washed up in an eddy, resting for a few moments to catch my breath and then, once again, set out stroking for the shore. I made it, but I am in a much different place than I had seen from the opposite bank. I know I don't have the energy to swim the river again, so I can't return to where I started, but I can explore this new environment.

One of my very favorite cartoons.
I'm going to work hard today, so this is all I'll give you for now. But I promise better posts in the future.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

to there and back again

I’m pretty sure I’ll get the job at JARU, the department chair practically pleaded with me to wait two weeks ‘til the other candidates had come to campus (there’s a formal process, you know). They must think I have loads of other offers on my plate. But if I had loads of other offers, I can’t imagine that I’d accept JARU’s offer. In fact, I think I will turn their offer down in favor of post-doc status and the uncertainty of another job hunt.

It’s not that the people were unpleasant, on the contrary they lived up to the fabled Midwestern “nice.” And the starting salary would be acceptable. The course load would be interesting and I’d potentially have some latitude to shape the program. But I’d be spending ~15 hours per week in the classroom (quite high for the sciences), have an office smaller and dingier than my current cubicle, have no graduate program (and none likely in the future), have essentially no startup funding, no research facilities (although the teaching facilities were better than expected), and no time or expectation for research. And despite JARU’s ideal location near the family, the job conditions are a deal-breaker for me. Without the ability to maintain some semblance of a research program, I probably wouldn’t be able to move to a different uni. So if I took the job now, it would be my job 30 years from now. And I’m not ready to make that decision. Maybe if I had a kid it would be different. But I don’t.

Speaking of kids, I had a lovely visit with Writer Chica. She’s got her hands full with her two little ones, but it was such a pleasure to see Toddler and meet Chicita. Toddler’s growing up so fast…talking and running around, and Chicita is so tiny and smiley. With the help of Chica’s dear husband, I managed to sneak Chica away for a pedicure…and she was a pedicure virgin. It was actually more fun to watch her experience the delights and tickles of her pedicure than it was to get my own. And I really enjoy my pedicures. Of course, my Got the Blues for Red is an awesome color; I can’t wait for sandal weather.

I spent the weekend in hometown visiting the family. Got to see the tremendous work my mom’s been doing in the early days of her retirement and to see her vision for the next few years of activity. It’s pretty cool stuff…I wish I could tell you more. Brother and I got a bit of a chance to talk before he rushed off to a dance with his girlfriend, and I had the usual perfunctory though pleasant lunch with my father and his wife. After carefully watching my food intake for weeks, my mom insisted on taking me to a soda shop for desert on Saturday. I think my ice cream sundae probably undid substantial effort. It was yummy, but I don’t crave ice cream like I used to. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is always on my mind.

Whenever I arrive in PNW airport I feel like I am returning to the land of my people. (I don’t feel this way when I enter home state). Here I can get a fancy coffee-type drink at 7 pm and no one looks at me funny. The wireless internet is free and the passengers are often clad in fleece and raincoats. People are friendly and polite. The air smells of moisture. And I am home. Any wonder I am not ready to leave?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

airport blogging

Just because I can. And because it is 7:52 am and I am already on a layover.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

email gems

This morning has seen back-to-back wonders of the modern world.

Subject: Because we love dorky stuff like this

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00
am, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.
That won't ever happen again.

Subject: (No) hot water or heat
[We've] been having problems getting the bills paid so they could be cutting us off until the bill is paid.Either way please keep your windows closed.
(Note: I work in a federal building!)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Linky Here

Cleaning out the to-blog folder...I've got a real smorgasbord of woman and sciency tidbits for you.

As seen over at inkycircus ages ago, a quiz from the Science Channel that purports to tell you how brilliant you are, but really asks some questions about the laws and discoveries of physics. According to the quiz, I am "not too shabby" (5 out of 8 correct, am totally embarrassed by this).

Bitch, PhD had a great post titled "Don't like abortion? Become a feminist."

Anthonares has a post "EPA loses the battle over TCE, so does public health." I'll admit that I haven't read this one yet, but I want to.

When it rains, it pours...Disgruntled Julie is having a really really rough week. Go on over there and remind yourself why it's good to be you.

This issue of Tangled Bank has some more good stuff (which I haven't yet read). I always feel tremendously guilty when I realize how little sciencey blog-writing I actually read. But I have read 3 of the featured posts. I'll let you guess which ones.

(Advance warning: Posting here might be limited for the next week or so, during this round of interview-travel madness.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Reflecting and looking ahead

Where in the world did March go?

Oh, it went mainly to stressing out over my post-PhD dilemma...and a little work. Here's what I got done:

  1. talked with advisor about post-doc plans…no definitives but let him know what I was (and wasn’t) interested in working on
  2. began earnest work on draft of 2nd chapter
  3. reached 152 pounds
  4. took 2 consecutive weekdays off just for me (although did go to school on one of them, but didn’t do any work)
  5. interviewed at the Big School, phone interviewed with Just Another Regional U., scheduled campus interview with JARU, did a lot of soul searching
  6. got reviews back on my paper in review
I didn't reach a lot of my goals for March. Some of them were still lingering on from February, but I sure hope these are met by the end of April:


  1. make post-PhD plans
  2. weigh 148 lbs
  3. write complete draft of 2nd chapter, get comments from advisor, revise
  4. complete analyses for Grant-on-the-Side
  5. start writing G-on-the-S paper
  6. finish final field work (as sites melt out)
  7. submit revised paper
  8. celebrate my blog's first birthday