Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Small Rewards

I had an insanely busy weekend, an event Sunday night and last night and today I am just exhausted but have to work and plan for Thursday. So, I decided I was going to catch up on my blog reading as a reward for doing the really boring task I have to do today (proofing a gigantic spreadsheet). I am going to read one blog post in my reader after every column. We'll see how long my eyes hold up.

What rewards do you give yourself to help you push through when you're tired and the tasks are tedious?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

12 hours of meetings anyone??

Our "retreat" (we'll save the debating of whether a meeting in a conference room in the office down the street from our main office counts as a retreat), began today. We met for 4 hours today and we'll meet all day tomorrow.

So far it's been a good process. I really hope we're able to follow the work plans we laid out today for the rest of the year. If we can, I think this will alleviate many of the stressors we currently contend with. We can plan for our major projects, but it's in our contract that we'll take care of these other tasks that can appear at any time without notice, and most of them include a very tight deadline (i.e., "in 2 hours", "by the end of the day", when it came in at 2pm). As you can see those are very hard to plan for, but I think that having a solid plan for the things we know we have to produce will help us handle these other tasks with less stress and anxiety. Sorry to be so vague, it's hard to elaborate without spoiling my anonymity.

Tomorrow is mostly going to be a focus on quality control, which is necessary but could possibly be the most boring way to spend 8 hours, ever! I do look forward to the catered breakfast, lunch and cookies! Wish me luck for not falling asleep at the conference table.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Here is my Thanksgiving Menu so far: anything I'm missing?

Stuffing with cranberry, walnuts and cheese
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Sauce
Chocolate Cream Pie
Pumpkin and Apple bread
Apple pie
Pumpkin Pie

Any favorite recipes that you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Time to grow up

Apparently, to my DH grown up = new, matching furniture. So, today he and I went to the furniture and bought a new couch and dining room set. Here is the couch.
The funny part is that although it's a sectional, it might just be too big for our living room so the chaise may have to be separated. He's always wanted a sectional and I thought this was really pretty so be it.

And here is our dining room table/chairs and server (I already have a china cabinet, much to DH's dismay I refused to buy the "matching one").

We bought 2 extra chairs so we'll be able to seat 8.

We also bought a new 8X10 area rug for under the table.

So, aren't you impressed with how grown up we are?

The best part is that we are picking it up next Saturday and not telling any of our friends/family that we bought the furniture. So when they come for Thanksgiving, it will all be here! I can't wait to see the look on their faces when all of our old furniture is gone. How fun.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

RBOC: I'm cranky

This is a list of the things I'm cranky about right now.
  • NFL football is for Sundays, not for Thursdays before Thanksgiving, it's just not right.
  • The contractors doing some work here at my office took up 4 parking spots in our tiny parking lot, with 1 friggen van.
  • I can feel a cold coming on... now is not a good time!
  • I am hosting* Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people (in 2 weeks!!), the plumber hasn't shown up in 2 weeks and my dining room is torn apart.
  • I forgot to bring my oatmeal for breakfast this AM and had to stop to buy something or I wouldn't have had anything to eat.

Now that I've vented, maybe I can get some work done.

* Edited, it used to say hosing which I found funny but couldn't leave there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Veteran's Day!!

Technically ANJ is closed for today but I will be working all day to build up comp time for the day after Thanksgiving. Since I am actually working from home I decided today is a good one for a little work/life balance so here is the plan.

8:00-8:15pm- eat oatmeal
8:30-9:30- go for walk/run (I don't run regularly anymore so I need to intersperse)
9:30-10:00- shower
10:00-5:00- work, work, work. (with lunch thrown in there somewhere)
watch House

I'm really trying to work exercise into my daily routine so I need to take advantage of these days when they come along. Plus, I realized that I barely know my new neighborhood (and I've lived here for 1.5 months now!!) other than my routes to work and to the grocery store. Walking/running will help me to get the layout a little better.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend Working

I did not get together with my WP this weekend, but that doesn't mean I haven't done any work.

I have acquired a new love and appreciation for my lap top. I know the weekend is keen writing time for me given that I have to work on actual ANJ work when I'm at work during the week but I hate the isolated feeling of working when everyone else is relaxing on the weekend. So, to ease some of those feelings I spent yesterday sitting on my couch "watching" college football while revising my dissertation manuscript on my lap top. Sure, I can't do some of the heavier thinking writing/revising that I'd be able to do in the office by myself but I have a fair amount of low level revising to do that is perfectly doable while listening to the game and hanging out with DH and any other friends/family who may be over. I spent a few hours and revised a good amount of the introduction (which really needed it!) and the methods of Study 1.

This morning I am again camped out on my couch. Just finished writing a letter of recommendation for one of my outstanding summer interns and now I'm going to either do some more manuscript revising or do some data stuff for Post Doc project. My NFL team plays at 1pm today so I'll probably work on the data stuff and save the manuscript writing for after the game.

I know that working endlessly is not even close to the ideal work/life balance but I'm getting there. I only work outside of the office when DH is working on the house and I generally do not work after I leave ANJ for the day. Oh, and if I take a weekend day off, I don't feel guilty. See, that's got to count for something right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Today was a strange day for me in terms of interactions with former (and therefore probably current) advisors.

First- I got feedback on my diss manuscript from my Grad advisor (GA) who told me to take their name off the manuscript. Before you think it's because they think the manuscript is shit, I should tell you that the feedback is actually very positive. They said they felt like this project (being my dissertation and not at all really related to other stuff they do) was/is my baby and I should be sole author on it. So I'll thank GA in the acknowledgements but take them off the paper. Now let's hope it gets published when I submit it. I'm thinking I'll go back to working on this manuscript this weekend rather than FYM, I am really anxious to get it submitted.

Second- I had a meeting with Post Doc Mentor (PDM) tonight about the projects that I was involved in and want to continue working on. PDM was going on about how they missed me and quickly it became clear to me why-- they've made no progress on these two major projects since I left. And the lab manager doesn't even know where to start because she's so overwhelmed with new projects that she hasn't even had time to go through all the notes and directions I left her with. Basically, I have to pick up where I left off if I want to move these projects forward, and I do want to move them forward. I'm a little disappointed that some important follow up was not done, it probably resulted in quite a bit of missing data. But at the same time I can totally see how it happened. PDM was out of the lab for a full month after I left and the lab manager only started about a month before I left. Without me there to take the lead, things feel through the cracks.

Also, while I was there lab manager was asking me a bunch of questions and then when I went into the lab area a new grad student (that I know from when I worked there) was asking my advice about her lab protocol. Um... I don't work here anymore. I have to admit that my brain felt really fuzzy when I was there. I haven't really thought about this work for 2 months and there is this bad vibe around my post doc experience so I feel off when I'm there.

In the end, both of them left me with a bunch of work and none of it associated with ANJ. So much for feeling disconnected from my subfield.

Should hope lead to productivity?

I worked a half day yesterday planning to go go vote and then work from home for a few hours.

I voted and then went home to read blogs and scan the web for info about voter turnout and preliminary polls. Then at 7pm I started watching the numbers rolled in and didn't go to sleep until the tears stopped falling at the end of Obama's speech.

I am thrilled about the election outcome. It's going to be a long hard road to get things turned around but I feel like the people have really come together and that makes me optimistic and hopeful.

Now, I've been at work for 2.5 hours and I've done nothing but read blogs and newspaper articles. Now that I've been filled with hope, shouldn't I also be filled with the motivation to get some work done??

Maybe I need a good nights rest given that I haven't really slept in a couple of days. Maybe the formula is Hope + Sleep = motivation and productivity.

I'll have to let you know tomorrow.

Monday, November 3, 2008


About the election tomorrow.

Optimistic.... but nervous. I was totally optimistic 4 years ago, so now I'm cautiously optimistic.

I was very upset for a long time after the last election, I really want this time to be different.

Get out and Vote all my U.S. readers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

InaDWriMo 2008: update 1

I decided that my InaDWriMo project would be revising the manuscript for my first year project. Thus, I didn't get any writing done yesterday but I did make progress. It's been 9 months since I received the reviews along with the rejection so I had to read through the reviews again and think about some ways that I might address some of their comments. Then I read through the last draft of the manuscript and made notes throughout about where I thought I needed to address various comments.

I'm not resubmitting to the same journal but the reviewers were amazingly detailed and supportive so I really want to try and address whatever comments I can before resubmitting. The topic of this paper makes it likely that at least one previous reviewer may get it again so I also want to show that we're respectful of their time should that happen.

Oops, just hit publish before I was done.

Today I hope to have some time to do an updated literature review so that I can start reading some additional articles. Given that ANJ is not academic I'm not going ot have much time during the week to work on this so it's going to be my weekend/downtime project.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today is HEAT day....

After 31 days of owning this house we will finally get heat!! You can read about our lack of heat here and here. I can't tell you how happy I'll be to get up in the AM and not see my breath when I breathe!

I am heading out soon to get my massage. I am really looking forward to it. I think I'm going to make it a monthly appointment. I need to start taking care of myself, and this is one step in the right direction.

After my message I am meeting my WP to get to work on InaDWriMo. I've decided to go with revising my first year project, it's closest to publication given that I have a complete draft and really good comments about revising. I have to think about how I'm going to make the word counter work for this project. Any suggestions I'd love to hear about it.

On a different note, yesterday was the shittiest day I've had at ANJ. I can't decide if I should blog about it or not. Something happened that made me really angry on behalf of other people but I don't know that I can post it here without giving away enough details. I'd love to blog about it as a way to vent so I'll think about it. Maybe once I have a little time away from the incident I'll be able to blog about it with less emotion.