Friday, December 14, 2012


Nothing flies by as fast as a break.  And I still haven't cleaned my lab.

The weather in early December was crazy, like late spring temperatures, and a student who will be working with me on a project next term was still in town, so we decided to go do some field work while the weather was nice.  This took a few days, what with some equipment malfunctions, but it was a nice excuse to get outside. 

Then there was the mandatory office cleaning, which is almost finished, and the writing of grad school recommendation letters, which is halfway done.  My NSF MRI resubmission is also basically finished, even though the deadline has been pushed back, and I have some collaborative writing bits that just need gloss. 

All of this would be much easier to complete if my laptop had not been stolen from me by our computer services people for updating.  It had better be back in my possession tomorrow, or I will not be polite. 

I have also completed the great Winter House Cleaning of 2012, which this year included steaming all the rugs.  The first time we used the new steam cleaner I was horrified by the amount of dirt that came out after vacuuming.  Gross.

I may have also been making up for the lack of movies and video games and other down time activities in my life.  This month I finally figured out how to cook with eggplant, without deep frying it, due primarily to the fact that we received the Veganomicon as a gift from a friend.  If you are at all veggie, I highly recommend it.

Now, Partner is sick, and I am trying to get some things done before mandatory family holiday time arrives. Some stuff, like syllabus-writing, is just going to have to happen on the road.  

Monday, November 26, 2012


I would very much like another four days off with my husband; I think it's well deserved since I spent two of those days working and he spent one doing the same but out in the cold.  Also we visited family and some good friends, so the amount of actual down time at home was pretty low.

Gah writing!  I have a lot of grading to do this week, but pressing deadlines on two grant proposals and some manuscript stuff.  Also lab work that I have been avoiding, and a lot of clean-up to do from my lab-based course, and I should sometime soon start working on next term's syllabi.

I've also been doing at-home jobs, like getting oil changes for the cars and having work done inside on projects that we didn't have time to deal with until now.  In mid December I head out to visit my parents for a while, and right about now I'm realizing how close that is and how much I have to get done before then.

So, stress, as usual.  Today I also received a weird, spammily-worded email from a journal that I withdrew from in 2011, requesting that I submit my article by the end of the year, if that would be "fine with me."  Following up almost a year later, after blowing me off then?  Not instilling additional confidence in your abilities, editor.

That's the state of things.  I also finally cleaned up the links over there on the right; if for some reason you read this and want to be included, just let me know.  At this point it should at least be relevant to regularly (sort of) updated links.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Where the hell did November go, and why did I not notice until it was almost over?  This fall has been the fastest term so far - one in which I'm always racing to keep up.  And yet I'm sad to see it go. 

I think I'm becoming a pushover in my old age.  I give more extra credit, I'm kinder when I grade, I give fewer late deductions than I initially threaten.  I run multiple review sessions.  I'm not sure where this change came from.  But according to my TA I still give challenging exams, so there's that.

This month I'm way behind on writing projects, including an accepted article for which the same imagery I've always used for publication is suddenly not high enough quality.  I'm not sure what exactly to do about that one, except send the originals to the editor, which makes me feel guilty for giving him more work.  Guilt complex, you know.

At home, Partner is back at work for the year in preparation for a few years of school, which will begin next September.  So he's in "make all the money" mode, except that each time he returns to work we tend to spend his first few paychecks on things we've been wanting, so it doesn't actually go into the bank.  This year we paid for some of my conference travel, spent a decent amount on eyeglasses and chiropractic care, and then got some carpet we've been wanting/needing, so that's all very nice but is not helping very much in preparing for our future return to a one-salary household.  

Next up, holidays, and my very favorite part of the year in which it's cold out and dark in the evenings and I can pretend the rest of the world no longer exists once I'm home at night.  That probably indicates a personality disorder of some sort, but I hate daylight savings time and love December.  And now I have new carpet to keep my feet warm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Random bullets of random

- Every time I unexpectedly need to reveal my undergarments to a doctor, I find that I'm wearing the oldest and crappiest of my undergarments on that day.

- I'd like to know why every single week feels like the last one that will be this crazy; if I can only get through it, things will settle down.  Until the next one.  

- Having recently (and continually) had need of a chiropractor, I find myself cursing the fact that chiropractic care is considered something less than actual medical care in this country, particularly by my insurance.  If some guy can put things back in place and make the pain stop, I'm not arguing.  Not all of them are into weird alternative techniques, and I kinda wish we'd acknowledge that fact.

- My cat is a jackass who has decided that all unapproved variations in her nightly schedule will result in punishment, which for her means pooping on our carpet.  We go out, she poops.  Not good. See point two above.

- Fall beers are fabulous, and make all of this far more manageable. 

Friday, October 19, 2012


Today started out fairly crap, with the last of my most recent three-a-week chiropractic visits.  These have not slowed down but have instead become a prolonged game of "things are staying approximately the same so let's try something new again" in which I have now been x-rayed in hopes of figuring out wtf is going on.  I am mostly frustrated because three weeks ago I was almost back to normal and then I wasn't any more; I hate back-sliding.  I also hate handing over large percentages of my paycheck for things that are not helping in an obvious and immediate way, and feeling way too young to be having these problems.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering what I put my back through most summers.

The rest of the day was better - I had some good interactions with people, crossed a few things off my to-do list and ended the day with an article submission.  Then I went home and cranked up the heat for dinner and a movie; I particularly love a movie night when it's cold and dark out.  I like winter; I'm a freak, maybe, but I do, and this transitional 70-degrees-to-40-degrees-in-two-days weather in the Midwest drives me a little crazy.  Stay cold, damn it!

A mixed bag, maybe.  But not a bad week. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Done teaching for the day, no meetings scheduled, so much blank space on my calendar!  I'm grading exams, and fighting very hard against the voice in the back of my head that tells me I could go home and grade these on the couch; I know going home would lead to doing something else instead, even if I did eventually get some work done.

I have a new to-do list post-it system that is working well - a long post-it note lives next to my computer, and I write down all tasks as soon as they arrive in my in-box.  Then I cross them out as I finish, and it's always nearby reminding me what has to get done.  Like all the things that I should be doing instead of going home this afternoon.  Perhaps a new rule: no leaving early unless the post-it is clean.   

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Holy crap, it's October.  I don't know where this term is going.   Suddenly I'm giving midterms.

September was insane, in a way I have never experienced insanity.  I'm not even sure right now why I was working 14-hour days and not getting weekends, but that's how it was.  Even with that schedule, a manuscript revision went in this week even though it should have been done in early Sept; I was almost late on a grant reviewing deadline, and I still have a pile of things on my to-do list that are left over from two weeks ago.

In the meantime, I've been trying to put my back in order, as the occasional problems I was having with my low back during my summer fieldwork escalated enough that I finally went to a chiropractor, which is something Partner does regularly but which I had never done.  I'm getting used to it, and it has taken me from a lot of pain to zero pain (with some minor reversals) pretty quickly, but I'm still not a fan of the sensation of having things cracked and relocated.  I'm also not a fan of paying for tri-weekly visits, though I'm hoping that will slow down now that things are a little better.  Mostly, I find this situation to be proof that I am now old.  I'm trying to get back into a workout routine, since not exercising drives me crazy, but most aerobic things are causing stiffness and setbacks, so I'm not sure how to make it work.  Maybe I'm just being impatient.

Partner has been dealing with his own irritations; he had previously decided to go back to school, and was admitted for the current term.  Then his temporary summer job offered him a one-year position, and since he is one of those who worries about not making money, he decided to defer his school admission and work for one more year, which would allow us  to pay off the last of our car loan and put something additional in the bank.  But, of course, as soon as it was too late for him to enroll for 2012, the one-year position was revoked; he applied to a traveling position instead at that point, and was only recently hired.  So, it looks like he will be working until next fall, and he might be traveling for several weeks at a time until next August.  He will be making more money this way, but it's been an irritating wait and I would have been happier with him being home more often.  At least we know it's a short-term situation.

That's the summary of September - it's been a little bit of a roller-coaster.  Right now we're taking down some ancient wallpaper and painting our foyer, and thinking about putting in some carpeting now that we'll have the cash to do it.  We have a tendency to sink money into our house, even though it's probably not the smartest use of spare cash.  I'm loving the colder temperatures; I am a huge fan of winter, though fall is my favorite.  This weekend I finally have two full days to do whatever I want.  Can't complain about that.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I just cleaned my kitchen, at 10:30 pm, while wearing my pjs.

What does THAT say about me?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


During the past month a conversation with my husband included the following phrase from me:

The problem is, I like my job.

That about sums up the situation in our household these days. 

Monday, September 10, 2012


I could almost be convinced that the weather doesn't suck any more, except that I know it's a lie and the heat will return soon.  Damn you, summer, go away!

How is life already so crazy that I'm eating dinner at 8? 

Partner is waiting, as usual, on news regarding his job situation for the rest of the year - until then we can't make many plans for the near future, since his schedule will be very different depending upon the outcome.  I'm waiting to see what happens before scheduling weekend activities, which is kinda irritating.


Fighting the urge to snark at insane manuscript reviewers in my response.  Who, I ask you, has the time to submit pages of line-by-line inane commentary on a manuscript?  This person needs to get a hobby. 

Rewriting an NSF that might actually maybe perhaps have a chance of being funded.

Debating: Sewer Line Insurance?  Probably a good idea.  Overly expensive, though.

I'm an idiot and decided to up my field trip count for my fall course, which means that I need to go scout some field trips and then take students on said field trips.  Whose bright idea was this, again?  But, I otherwise have a bit of a slower year this year in terms of travel, so that will be nice - one conference, maybe two if I get ambitious, this fall, and NO FIELD WORK this winter.  It's insanity.  I don't know what I'll do with myself.

 If I can get myself motivated enough to finish these damned revisions, that will be a good first step.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Summer, it is over, and I've been really out of touch.  Thankfully my return to normalcy includes regular internet access.

To sum up about two months of life:

First, I had my very first hit of serious sexism-in-academia, a very negative resulting week, and a lot of rage.  Luckily I was too busy to really dwell on things in the immediate aftermath, but I will say that I have some fabulous peers who encouraged me to seek some support against false accusations that could potentially come back to bite me.  I also have an amazing Dean, which is another great benefit.  I will be stepping away from this entire situation in the near future, despite the science that won't be pursued as a result.  Not worth it. 

After this debacle, I was off on eight weeks of field work with people I really enjoy working with, and I appreciated that even more after such a negative beginning to the summer.  It was a great season, though insanely exhausting and a lot of work.  We laid a lot of groundwork for future seasons, and I now hold a key to our project apartment abroad, which is a strange thing to me but a good sign of stability.

I had brilliantly arranged for a very physical vacation post-summer, so Partner and I were off a few days after I got home to walk through the woods and hang out on the water.  It was great, but I was a little worn out after the summer and my body did not particularly appreciate sleeping on the ground.  Still, good times, and nice to spend some time with Partner after such a long absence.

Now, back to the office, manuscript revisions, frantic prep for lectures that I am not ready to give.  But, it is nice to be back to a different kind of work.  A few weeks of yoga and I may finally feel like the summer is behind me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

conference time

I've taken a short side-trip to attend a conference right before my field season begins.  Insane, yes.  That is how the past few months have been, so why stop now?

Today I spent a lot of my time wishing that the older, very accomplished, very well-respected scholars giving talks here would please, please, please learn how to use Powerpoint.

Also, I have been traveling via two different countries whose languages I have absolutely no experience with, not even a little bit in high school.  It's been a really long time since I've traveled somewhere without at least some small familiarity with the language and/or alphabet, so this has been kinda fun.  It seems like the world is filled with jibberish. 

Monday, June 18, 2012


I have arrived, after only three months away from this place (I was here during my winter leave as well).  Mother of god, is it hot here right now.  Especially since it was pretty cold when I was here last; it's strange to be back without Partner, with a completely different set of colleagues but a few carry-overs, with many more undergraduates around.

I have a few days to hang out with friends and de-jetlag, which I hope will be easy since I actually got a good night's sleep last night through the  magic of melatonin (Trader Joe's version has something special in it, and I don't even care what it is, but it works much better in smaller doses than anything else I've tried).  Other project colleagues are arriving one at a time, but for now there's not much to do.  I've been editing the syllabus for a fall course and filling in my fall calendar instead.

Later this week I do a little regional travel that will force me to actually deal with this situation, which I am not looking forward to, but which is probably necessary.  At least I will get to visit a new place, which is always fun.  If I'm lucky, by the time I get back the heat will be back down to "friggin hot" instead of "god-awful".

Saturday, June 16, 2012


I failed at blogging this spring - too many unbloggable goings-on, I guess, plus being very busy.  Today I'm off for two months of field work, to be followed almost immediately by a vacation and then a return to the classroom.  So, a fabulous summer to all of you, and we'll see if I get a chance to post anything prior to August. 

Monday, June 4, 2012


So far: some resolutions, some unresolved issues still to deal with, but I'm getting over it.  I have plans, at least, and that always helps.

Grades are finally, finally all finished - I ran out of motivation and waited way too long to get them in.  I'm also realizing that I leave very very soon, and I have therefore been attempting to see people one last time before I head off for the summer, and seeing people takes a lot of effort as it turns out.

Tomorrow: meetings, chores, errands.  Probably irritation that campus is closed for no good reason.

Friday, June 1, 2012


I am very bad at waiting for things that I want.

I've been told that this is a good quality to have, since it's part of the reason why I tend to get the things I want instead of waiting around and hoping that they happen.  But when changes take time I get frustrated and ornery, so there's that down side.  I also have a very small transition period between "dealing with stuff" and "no longer dealing with stuff", which makes it hard to make the adjustments needed once I've decided that I refuse to live with whatever hardships/irritants/situations have pushed me over that edge any longer. 

Add to this the fact that I get antsy when forced to stay in one place for any significant length of time, and you should have some serious sympathy for my husband.

Currently, we are trying to decide what the next few years should look like from a lot of angles - housing, educational opportunities, etc.  The fact that every decision we make hinges on a phone call or piece of information that we need to wait for is driving me nuts.  Also, Partner is working again, which means that all of my desires for change impinge upon his minimal free time, and I'm leaving soon for my summer field season, which really limits the time frame available for making decisions and/or puts him under a lot of stress.

The sources of last week's anger have largely been dealt with, but we're putting off one opportunity for financial reasons, which I always find irritating and against my idealized world-view.  Realism be damned.

We'll see what June has in store.  One manuscript submission for sure, so it can't be all bad. 

Monday, May 21, 2012


I have a lot of anger for several different aspects of life right now, which makes it unsafe to blog and unsafe for others to be around me or piss me off in any way.  I did however enjoy a great weekend wedding in a different state - seeing good friends from college does a lot to disarm the anger bomb.

I'm hoping this week will resolve some things.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Status: waiting. 

For more senior scientists to read manuscripts.  For more senior scientists to get their shit together.  For more senior scientists to respond to email.  For more senior scientists to place any of the above as equally important as other things they're up to, before they go on vacation.

For funding decisions.  For feedback on rejected grant proposals.  For pilot data that would make the receipt of these grants much more likely.  For permission to sample museum collections.

For students to come get help.  For students to do their work.  For students to get their independent project disasters out of my lab.

For my fourth-year review feedback.  For constructive criticism.  For action items based upon a recent external review.  For tenure. 

For a salary that would let me buy the house I want to buy.  For the ability to live outside of town, since town makes me crazy.  For a sustainably employed husband.

Belated spoiler alert: I'm disgruntled and whining today. 

Today: tired of the perpetual waiting. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Every peak has its slump, I suppose.  Partner is home again, but with an injury, so while it's nice to have him back I also now have someone to take care of, in addition to re-adjusting my schedule to normal dinner times and more regular hours out of the house.  I've felt overwhelmed lately with PLANNING, which seems like a ridiculous thing to take up entire working days.  But between campus service, a fast-approaching summer field season, and a role organizing the upcoming meeting of my professional society, there are several hours spent on emails and online forms on some days. 

Other near-end-of-term activities, like advising, also steal hours, and then I get crappy news, like the fact that one of the reviewers of a recently rejected grant proposal objected to the fact that the name of the research team under which my project would take place did not seem to have much to do with the topic of my proposed research.  If this is considered a valid reason to tank my proposal, I'm giving up all hope of ever receiving outside funding.  Is it so unreasonable to expect that members of interdisciplinary projects be evaluated independently, no matter what the team itself might be called? 

Also, students, I would like to note that if you put me down as a reference without ever asking me whether I would be willing to act as one, and without explaining the position you're applying for, you can be fairly sure that the resulting letter will be even worse than the mediocre letter I might have been willing to write for you if you had asked.

Ok, May, time to show me some good times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

good days

I've been getting ridiculous amounts of work done, both in some house projects and at the office.  Being too sick to interact with people, yet still being mostly physically functional, over a rainy weekend really helped with this, as does my two-days-a-week teaching schedule.  I never realized how much impact a teaching schedule can have on productivity - my Tuesdays and Thursdays are really packed, but the rest of the week I manage to find time for class prep AND writing.  Unfortunately, this particular combination of non-lab courses will probably never occur again, and I'll definitely be back to five-days-a-week in the fall.

Also, of course, not having a significant other at home, while more lonely, certainly frees up a lot of evening time for working late and exercising late and eating late, which I would not inflict on others but which works pretty well for me.  I'll have to curb the late-night activity once Partner is done with his travels.

I've also had a few students stop by this week to tell me how much they're enjoying my class, or how interested they are in pursuing my subfield, or just to work extra hours on projects.  I'm not sure whether it's the near-middle-of-term status of this week or the weather, but I've quite enjoyed the positive feedback as I ride my productivity wave.  Good timing students!  As always, the students make or break this job, and I'm currently feeling gratitude for their awesomeness.  

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Today I loaded up on supplies for a few home projects that I will probably never find the time to finish.  But, at least I have mulch for some potential 10 pm mulching sessions, I guess.  During my short drive I noticed a house that we had looked at when we were buying four years ago.  The new owners have installed red light bulbs in the outdoor lights and placed several garden statues of the Virgin Mary in the front yard.  Interesting combination.  I am also amused, for some reason, by people who mow their lawns at an angle.  I would imagine that takes a lot more planning.

Last week I overheard the following conversation on campus:

Student 1: Do you want me to email you later?
Student 2: No, I'll just be in a movie, so you should text me.  I'll be able to text.

Students, this is why old people hate you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I am so sleep deprived this week, I looked like hell when I finally dragged myself out of bed at 9:30 this morning, and I am currently shoving leftovers into my face four minutes before class starts.

I am very behind, and I have a presentation to make next week at which I will be judged by my faculty peers, for which I am completely (as yet) unprepared. I'm also now dealing with blow-back from a particularly fabulous collaborating colleague, who is now in full-on "passive-aggressive four-year-old" mode and is pissing me off. The fact that this is somehow seen as my fault by other people is not making me happier. Note to old scientists: I am not going to kiss your ass, and when I don't, please behave like a friggin adult. Thanks.

Four minutes are up!

Monday, April 2, 2012

money money

I am currently wishing that I had just gotten a more expensive house in the first place and sucked up the higher mortgage payment, instead of dumping several tens of thousands of actual dollars into the house I bought, which keeps dying and being fixed in ways that are not adding to the overall value of the place but instead just makes it a more efficient and functional old house.

I would really love to have one year where my tax return is not swallowed by some larger house-related bill.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


March was going to be the month of insanity, I knew this already, and it lived up to my projection. After getting back from our time abroad I had two days before heading to a workshop, and then I attempted to catch up with friends between teaching and finding a dress for my sister's wedding, which is now over. So we're home again for a few days, and then it's off to see the other set of parents before Partner does some of his own Spring traveling and I stay home with the cat.

All of the writing I was making such good progress with has been sitting unloved in my laptop all month, not to mention the course prep and manuscript review I still have to do before the 1st. I can't believe it's almost April. I really need to get some work done this week.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I was never informed that there would be an actual DAY on which I would have to decide between things that would make having a family impossible from a practical/scheduling standpoint (a) and things that would make having a family the default primary goal of the next few years (b), since the only reason to say no to (a) would be to pursue (b).

This choice cannot be unmade, and will not be available again if I say no to (a). Given that (a) is something I always thought I wanted and was working toward, I am currently feeling that life as a field scientist can be very unfair.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

home again

My trip home was the least well-organized thing ever, thanks to United and their decision that merging with Continental should mean reinventing their entire computer system and then not training any of their employees in its use. Awesome times for us, but I shouldn't complain, since we are home now and nothing really bad happened, assuming that the bag I'm still missing does arrive at some point in the future.

Today we got so much done - cleaned the house (it wasn't bad, but I apparently have higher cleanliness standards than most people), did piles and piles of laundry, went shopping for all the food and cleaning staples that we had used up in December, set up the home computers, went through some of the mail, etc etc. Tomorrow I have to head to the office, but we're mostly unpacked now, which means I should have plenty of time.

I got coffee and showers, and will be enjoying that Midori martini this evening. Things I notice about my house, now that I've been out of it for a while:

- we have really hot water, and should probably turn the water heater down a bit
- we get nothing but junk mail
- we live in an amazingly quiet place
- my old house is really creaky. I apparently got used to this, but now I'm noticing again.

The cat was very happy to see us, and has been very cute in her neediness. I'm waiting for her to decide that we should be punished instead of loved.

Monday, March 5, 2012


The time to fly is rapidly approaching. I would like to know what law of the universe decrees that no matter how long I'm gone, where I go, or what I buy while I'm abroad, my bags are always, always, always stuffed completely full and are barely within the weight limit. It's one of the great mysteries.

This morning we headed out on the town one more time to take some photos and to find a gift for one more friend. Then we packed, showered and ate, and are now just killing time before we try to get to bed early, an effort which I'm sure will prove to be a complete failure.

We will be up long before dawn to attempt a final passage through this insane airport, where I will count myself lucky if I don't have to unpack every single bag to show security some piece of equipment that I won't be able to describe in the local language anyway, so that they will eventually just ask me whether I'm checking the bag and wave me through. I always have this dread that they'll confiscate something at the last minute, despite the fact that I've dragged most of this gear through this airport many times before. Last time we left we just had to account for our laptops, so I hope tomorrow is equally painless.

Hot showers and coffee are still at the top of my cravings list, so Wednesday will be extremely exciting.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Bad weather means bad internet here, and we've had some bad weather for the past few days. Stuck inside, with limited connectivity, the pages that load semi-well are Facebook, Blogger, and Yahoo. Those that load poorly include Twitter, Google, all library sites, and my work email. Guess how productive I've been?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Time to start looking forward to home. Field work is done, report is drafted, I still have things to do but I'm slowly checking them off my list. So I'm starting to keep mental lists of what I'll get in just under one week. Here's what I want, not in order of current cravings:

- a HOT shower with good pressure. I should be happy that I have a shower here, every day, and it's warm to warmish, but I'm really missing my own bathroom.
- not unrelated: the ability to flush toilet paper
- COFFEE. Good coffee made in my awesome coffee maker.
- the ability to have a morning routine that does not involve interacting with other people. Eating breakfast here requires a public appearance, so I can't really be the grumpy person I prefer to be for the first hour or so of the morning.
- A variety of foods, which include tacos, salads and Midori martinis.
- Reliable internet

In other news, I'm working on a manuscript draft with my graduate adviser. In this new paper I'm including parts of an old paper that we wrote when I was a student, submitted for publication, but did not revise and resubmit. I enjoy that my adviser is currently attacking her own old text as much as my new text; I feel much better about my own writing now.

Friday, February 24, 2012


We have just under two weeks left before we head back to the lovely Midwest, which now appears to be re-inventing winter just for us. I'm about ready to head home - my 6-week window of being content with research abroad apparently extends to all types of research, and not just fieldwork. I'm just as burnt out on the food and the close living arrangements as I usually am at the end of a field season, despite the fact that I've had it much easier these past few months than I do during the summer.

Before we go, we have a few touristy spots to check out and one more day of real fieldwork. I have to write a report, ideally I will finish one more manuscript, and I will give a talk on what I've been doing. Given that my proposed project degenerated into a pilot study, this talk will not be particularly exciting.

It's been nice to have a chance to do the time-intensive jobs of academia without worrying about my overall schedule. I've had more journal and grant review requests so far this year than I've had during any previous term, and luckily I've had the time to spend on them. I've also prepped a little bit for next term's courses, and I'll have a manuscript to submit as soon as I get back to finish a few details.

At the same time, I'm a little burned out on writing all day and am looking forward to teaching again. I should never apply for a publication fellowship - some days I end up spending no time on my writing projects because I'm sick of looking at them.

I think Partner is more than ready to go back to a place where he has useful things to work on and his own plans to make. He's been very supportive and good at entertaining himself, but I can't blame him for being anxious to get home. I'm glad he got to see this place, though, and I think he'd agree that it was worth it.

Back to work, self! I'm hoping that admitting the end of my time here will motivate a little bit more of a writing work ethic for the coming week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Back to my primary research activities, in a much colder place. I miss the sun, and T-shirt weather. I can at least be happy that I'm still beating this mild Midwestern winter by about 10 degrees. It figures that the one year I'm out of town is the year I wouldn't have had to shovel much snow.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

sharing data

A colleague worked with me last year at this project, but was unable to come this year. Before leaving for the field, I asked them to share their notes with me, as I would be collecting data necessary to complete this project and they had some of the information that I had not collected last year.

This colleague refused to share their notes.

This attitude is very much outside my experience - I'm accustomed to working very closely with a team, sharing all our data, and fully expecting to be cited or included whenever my contributions have been part of a publication, talk, etc. I've written before about being taken aback by colleagues insisting upon publication order discussions prior to even writing a manuscript, and other similar situations - I am apparently not paranoid enough.

So, I've completed my data collection for the year, and I'm writing up my report. I find myself rethinking what I'm going to include: in past years I've included all of my raw data and a discussion of what I think it means, with figures to support these ideas. Should I not be doing this? Isn't this the point of collaborative work - we all contribute ideas and build off of them? Or should I be holding my cards closer, as this (perhaps important to note, more senior) colleague chooses to do, to the detriment of our joint work on this project?

I suppose I should just feel lucky that I haven't been so burned that I feel the need to hide my data. But I also can't help but feel annoyed that this person is so uncooperative, particularly when this is a site-specific project that would be impossible to "scoop" or to publish without our names being included.

Back to report-writing, where I will probably be far too open about my own intellectual "property".

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Off to a new country for a few weeks, which is exciting but really puts a big dent in current research progress for now. Language lessons are on hold, I won't be working on this project for a few weeks, and we're saying goodbye to some people who have become good friends over the past month and who will be leaving soon after we return.

The good thing is that I'll have a chance to collect the data I missed out on last year, which should give me a publication. Provided that all goes well with project #2. We'll see - in any case, Partner will get to see yet another new place and some amazing tourist sights.

Once we get back, we have a few days of travel planned right away, and then we edge toward the end of my fellowship period. Not enough time! As usual, I guess. We'll try to make the most of it.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm done with one article, and now I'm back to literature reviewing, which I don't enjoy as much as writing every other part of a manuscript. So, boo for new lit reviews, particularly when it's on a subject that at least four other people have reviewed in excellent detail. Can't I just put those references in and move on?

This week: One page of writing per day, and enough reading to get that one page, minimum. Also, language review. Then we'll spend a few days going to a major tourist site, which Partner has never seen. Hopefully I'll get more motivated with the writing, instead of switching back to the internet every ten minutes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


So, I've been in Foreign Country for just over a week, and I cannot BELIEVE how much work I'm getting done, without even trying. This is despite about three days of jet-lagged semi-uselessness. So far, I have:

- written almost all of a manuscript that I've been trying to get myself to write for the past year
- reviewed a paper for a journal
- edited a grant proposal
- written a letter of recommendation
- had my first tutoring session in the local language
- spent most of a day doing touristy stuff in the big city
- exercised for at least an hour on most days
- slept a lot
- found all the local grocery-shopping options
- spent some time with the Pimsleur language program on my ipod
- sent out various "connection" emails and done other logistical work I never have time to do

Holy crap, I am officially temporarily jealous of all you people at research universities who get more writing time. I hadn't written in so long that I completely forgot that I really ENJOY writing when I get into it. It's really nice to feel that again.

Tomorrow I get a chance to go out and do some of the data collection that I'm here for, which will mesh fairly well with a little bit of out-of-town tourism and a good meal at a restaurant I like to frequent when I'm here during the summer.

I need to start making more use of the library here, which is part of the reason I came, but it will be really nice to have this manuscript written and done and off my plate for a while before I dive into some reading. Hooray for being on leave, at least for now. I'm waiting to see how long it takes for me to get excited about my next class - I'm sure it won't take too long.