Monday, March 29, 2010


I broke down, and I went to the doctor, and I got a supporting opinion that I actually have a stress fracture. This is shitty. It's not so painful that I can't get around, any more, but with the nice weather it's going to be hard to avoid a run or two. Maybe in a few weeks. Perhaps this will motivate me to FINALLY go swimming at SLAC, which I have been intending to do since my first term here.

Today I designated a lab manager = senior doing a lot of work in the lab. Not much for them to do as part of this "position", but at least now someone who is actually in there on a regular basis will be keeping an eye on things.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm as bad as they are

I put off my lecture-writing this weekend, until after dinner on Sunday night. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except that I discovered at this point that I did not bring the textbook home with me. So. While I will have a lecture for tomorrow, it may or may not actually cover everything that they were supposed to read. Although, since they probably won't read, I guess we cancel each other out.

I may not have done any lecture work this weekend, but I got a lot of housework and garden prep done - the person who lived here previously was apparently a big gardener. I love the fact that we have perennials arranged artfully behind stone borders, and I didn't have to think about it. I don't like having to haul all the dead woody materials out of the beds every spring and make a lame attempt at keeping those borders looking nice. We tore out a lot of the garden space previously to do vegetables (and will now have to import our own lead-free dirt to continue doing so - probably not this year, which makes me sad because that means we have to cut out the potatoes). I would like to maintain the rest of it as flowers just to help us sell this place when the time comes - as much as I'd love to have a stress-free yard, I'll probably be keeping it as is for now, spring annoyances and all (although it is a nice garden, once the work is done and things have grown back).

Also, I am becoming addicted to my wedding registries - not because anyone has looked at them yet, or because I even expect to get the stuff I put on there. It's just fun to make a wish-list. I should really stop.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

back to work

Break is over! How did that happen! And why am I always surprised? This one was not bad - I took a few days off and still did most, though not all, of the work I wanted to do. I unfortunately did not get to some revisions and a review that I will now have to squeeze into a weekend somewhere. A weekend that will likely also have a field trip, because this spring is going to be field trip-tastic, for better (sunshine! seeing stuff!) or for worse (planning! orchestrating! stress!). On the plus side, my lab is now more functional, since I had time to set up some equipment. Fun equipment. That, at least, will be entertaining.

On the home front, we are not accomplishing any much-needed yard work, Partner has been ill for several days (which seems likely to continue), and I am about to give up and go find out whether I did something worse than I thought to my foot, which continues to make me a gimp. As a result, I have not done much cleaning, despite the spring-cleaning bug, and I've been on a yoga-only regimen. Which is ok, except that I'm starting to get antsy for something more...raw. Or maybe, something that takes less mental effort. This may be a sign that I should keep it up, because I have not previously run into this mental resistance to yoga, and it's very interesting.

Also, when it's nice out, it's rough to be limited to the floor of my living room.

Spring is going to eat me alive. Bring it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I run, therefore...?

For some reason I always think as "runner" as a mindset more than a description of an activity...and I don't count myself as a runner, even though I occasionally do go for a run. My insane friends who are always signing up for races and worrying about times - those are runners. They do it because they love it; I do it because I'm addicted to exercise and sometimes it's nice to go outside.

This week was the first week for running outdoors around here, and I was curious to see how it would go. My winter (and middle-of-summer) workouts are primarily elliptical work, weights and yoga, and even though I think those do a pretty good job keeping me in some kind of shape, these runner friends of mine had me doubting that elliptical workouts were really up to par with a run. I was therefore pretty happy to find that a 5k was no problem my first day outside...definitely a transition in terms of impact and a few particular muscle groups, but cardiovascularly it was all good.

It's too bad my second time out ended with weird foot uninformed opinion is that I did something to a peroneus tendon. I guess it's ok that it's snowing then, because I might be doing a lot of seated yoga in the near future.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I was always comforted, as a graduate student, by the idea that my research was so specific to a particular place, and in general obscure, that no one was really going to care beyond my immediate group of colleagues who are also interested in this place and its problems. Finding, now that a few things have come out of this work, that other people are paying attention, I find both flattering and surprising. Maybe this is the way to go - no disappointment on finding out that I'm not a superstar; instead I'm thrilled that three strangers give a crap.

Other randomness:

Uploading figures to editorial sites takes friggin FOREVER. I would rather be making a chocolate cake. Soon, soon.

Today we picked up a new toy for Partner. Hint: it has wheels, and doesn't fit in the house.

I would like spring a lot more if it didn't also bring out all the barking, whining dogs that live near us. I don't hate dogs, but I'm getting closer to that feeling as I have to listen to them bark all the time.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I get the feeling that this break, like all breaks, will fly by. So far I'm off to a decent start, though, with lots of grading accomplished, some lab maintenance stuff done, a grant review submitted, and my house cleaner than it was last week. I even took Sunday to do nothing useful.

I also get to step back and think about my personal life. I'm finally starting a retirement fund. This makes me feel really, really old. We're going over some work we want done on the house in the next few years, and trying to prioritize. I might paint something (always a bad idea, yet necessary).

Things to look forward to:

- sun, and the ability to bike to work
- tax refunds
- outdoor labs and projects
- drying laundry on the line

Maybe I will buy some deck furniture. Or maybe that's spring fever talking.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I'm having a bad week with electronic doo-dads and software. This may be related to the fact that I'm teaching two technology courses this term and they all have projects due pre-break. So they are panicking and trying to do things that they shouldn't be trying to do. I'm pretty much burnt out on this particular topic right now, so it's good I won't be doing it again next term.

Maybe it's just bad luck that I also have a very expensive piece of equipment that stopped working, and some imaging software that isn't doing everything I need it to do. Both the tech support people for these various items seem to be traveling and/or otherwise unavailable -- considering that my tech support for the very expensive item is over in another two weeks, these dudes had better call be back asap.

Sigh. Maybe I should just turn off my computer and go sit in the sun, lest I break something else.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Up too late, revisions, grant deadline planning. Getting things finished...finally!

Contemplating a summer of insanity (schedule-wise).

Reviewing a grant that is super awesome and makes me wish I was doing something more super awesome. Except that I can't handle anything that awesome right now...but I can dream, I suppose, about having the time and resources for awesome.

I never realized that would be a trade-off. SLAC, or awesome. I guess I should have seen it coming.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I had a very enjoyable, very irresponsible weekend in which my only work-related activity was turning off the lab oven at an appointed time on Saturday morning. I had plans to finish revisions (yes, those same revisions, which are now mandatory for tomorrow) but work-related plans somehow were not foremost in my mind.

Instead, Partner and I did wedding stuff, like registering for presents (which is far more fun than I had anticipated, and I had expected it to be fun) and ordering invitations. We also had our very belated Valentine's Day dinner, since Partner was gone over Valentine's Day and this was his first full weekend home. And, finally, we had a fabulous Saturday night with good friends, which we don't do often enough. Between all of that, grocery shopping, working out and sleeping in...there went the weekend.

I hate meeting burn-out...a week full of meetings makes me tired and grumpy and ready for a break, even though I haven't actually accomplished anything useful. The result is continued procrastination on things that would be productive and relevant to my career.

Tomorrow I will have to try to balance the two, since there will be meetings, but I'm really pushing the edge of how long I can hold onto this stupid manuscript.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Meetings have been eating my life these last few weeks. If the break wasn't coming I would be in serious trouble even in my lectures, since what I've been spending the majority of my time on lately has been oriented toward curriculum development, study abroad, various student issues and search committee stuff.

Every once in a while I wish I could see what I'd be doing right now if I was at a large university - I'm definitely happy to be free of the more pressing stress of needing external grants to keep myself viable, but I get the sense that I wouldn't be sitting in meetings talking about what students do in their free time, either.

Speaking of that free time, some of my students have friended me on Facebook, which I accept while putting them on a filter. They, however, seem to have no concerns regarding the fact that I can read what they post. TMI, students. TMI.