Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you're day is filled with good food and those you love.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My kind of Sunday

  • Laying on the couch catching up on blogs and drinking coffee.
  • Breakfast w/ friends who are in town for a conference (haven't seen them in a year!)
  • Catch up on work
Oh, and it's pretty warm here. Would not know it's November.

What's up for your Sunday?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Couple of Updates

1. I noticed many of the links to the blogs I recommend were no longer active. I've deleted those that I know were deleted. If you are a follower and would like me to put you up there, please leave me a comment and I'll add you.

2. Work is still crazy, better with my colleagues back but still crazy and probably will be that way until COB on Wed.

3. I don't miss my supervisor. Project Director (who takes over when my supervisor is gone) is decisive and responsive Shit gets done when they're in charge and I am a HUGE fan of shit getting done.

4. I was so excited to be able to sleep in on Thanksgiving, then I remembered my nephew is playing in the varsity football game. So much for sleeping in, at least I can do it on Friday. :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I don't wanna be the boss

My supervisor is visiting home town far, far away for the next month.

My two equal status colleagues have been out of town for a work related meeting for the last two days.

We have a MAJOR, non-negotiable deadline close of business next Wednesday.

And I had jury duty yesterday (which I postponed from the time this project's first draft was due). Luckily, there were no trials needing jurors yesterday so I was out 1.5 hours.

My work life is insane right now. Everyone needs me every second of the day and I have a number of tasks that I need to complete (and can't delegate to anyone else) on this major project. Needless to say, I'm spending all my time troubleshooting everyone's stuff and getting none of my own stuff done.

My equal status colleagues return to the office tomorrow, I can't wait! I'm going to push the rest of the team off on them so I can get some work done. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I got home last night, it was a relatively uneventful flight except it was super foggy at home and I didn't realize we were landing when we did. Was glad it was just the plane tires hitting the ground and not the entire plane! :)

I've realized that traveling for work sucks. When I first took this job I thought it sounded like an adventure but the novelty has worn off. I primarily travel for conferences and each time has been with a different set of colleagues.

I went to quite a few conferences in graduate school and my experiences always equaled a really good time. It was an opportunity to learn new stuff, present my work, get some time away from the office and hang out with people I really liked. This is the complete opposite of my work travel experience.

  • Although some of the conferences I have learned a lot, it's not as intellectually interesting to me as the ones I went to in grad school and this last conference was not all that informative for me.
  • I always feel the pressure to both attend sessions and do some actual work (unfortunately the work does not go away while I'm away and there really is not anyone else to do my work while I'm gone). So I end up conferencing from 8am-7-8pm and then going back to my hotel room to work for a few hours and when I'm on the West coast, that is just a disaster for me.
  • I am very fortunate to have great colleagues... but they're not my friends. I have a good time with them sharing meals and having someone to hang out with during breaks but it still feels very lonely.
  • I've been a co-author on a few of the presentations that we've given but I it's not as rewards as presenting my own work. I've mentioned previously here, here and here about the crazy restrictions I deal with at work which takes away a lot of the joy of sharing what we do.
Moral of the story, I am so glad that right now I don't have any work travel plans in the future! I am working on a conference proposal right now but it's not until late next summer and maybe by then I'll be okay with traveling again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Not so swank

The hotel I am staying in wants you to think it's very swank, and the lobby and the fact that all the "taxis" that leave and arrive here are actually Escalades or Town Cars may have you fooled until you go to the room and you realize
  • The toilet seat is cracked in two places, and you wonder how it even stays attached.
  • There is a wet spot on the carpet in front of the sink for no apparent reason.
  • The lighting in here absolutely sucks, even when I have every lamp on it's still dark as hell
  • The TV doesn't have a timer and finally
  • There is a disco right next store and apparently on Friday nights you don't even have to walk over there because it's just as loud and base rocking in my 9th floor hotel room as it would be at the bar.
I am traveled out, can't wait to go home tomorrow and so thrilled I didn't forget my ear plugs!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


So much for my 30 posts in 30 days attempt. As it turns out I could not get onto blogger from my blackberry and I thought about writing emails to be posted when I got back from my trip but I was NEVER alone. I was traveling with two other people and just never found any alone time.

I was home for 2 days/3 nights and now I'm traveling again. I'll have more time to blog on this trip because it's for business and I have my own hotel room. But my lap top is about die right now so I'll have to post more later.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How do deal with rejection

Post Doc Mentor (PDM) and I submitted an abstract based on a manuscript we have in progress for a special issue of a sub-field journal. Basically the process was send and abstract, we'll review them and then pick our favorites to submit a full manuscript to be peer reviewed.

It was my idea to submit and PDM told me that they believed we were underselling the paper but that it was a good way to kick us into gear in finishing the paper so we submitted.

As it turns out they rejected us. It was a nice rejection letter, they got way more abstracts than they expected and encouraged us to send our work to this journal or another journal as they thought it was worthy of publication. I sent PDM the rejection letter saying bummer, we should submit to the other journal they thought was better suited for us.

PDM's response:

we should be relieved -- (name of journal we submitted to) sucks. it is always better to
spend the time getting the paper into a good journal that people actually read.

I was laughing my ass off when I read PDM's response. I should mention that PDM is extremely successful, amazing publication record, ivy league job, very well known and liked in our field so they kinda know what they're talking about. :)

I almost wanted to send PDM's response back to the Special Issue editor. LOL

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I hate them. Seriously, in this very pathological way. It all goes back to my need for truth, when someone surprises me all I can think about is the fibs they had to tell to keep it a surprise and it eats away at me.

My 16th birthday was a disaster, my parents threw me a surprise party and the entire time I was miserable.I kept thinking through the conversations I had with my best friends and boyfriend for weeks before the event and the many lies they told me in order to keep this secret. You should see the pictures from the party, I was miserable.

It even extend to an inability to throw other people surprise parties. I threw hubby a surprise party for his 30th birthday and it almost gave me a heart attack. In order to pull it off I had to tell hubby that I was planning a surprise and he needed to not ask me questions. :)

Now, I realize what I'm going to say next makes me a hypocrite: I love to surprise other people!! :) Hubby and I have made a habit of it after living out of State for 6 years we had to disappoint enough people who invited us to events that whenever we could we would show up and surprise them (don't worry not for weddings or events that a head count was really important).

Our favorite experience was showing up to hubby's BFF house for his New Year's Eve party. Nobody knew we were coming (we were not even invited because Hubby's BFF just assumed we wouldn't make it given we were home the week before for X-mas). The look on Hubby's BFF face when he opened the door to see us standing there was precious! He started screaming for his wife who came around the corner and also started screaming. :) Hubby's BFF still talks about it as his favorite surprise ever.

This weekend I get to do it again. My sister and I are driving 9.5 hours to attend a friend's 30th birthday celebration! We're leaving on Thursday and coming back on Sunday, it is going to be a blast. We're staying with another friend who RSVPd for 3 (see making sure we don't screw up the headcount) which birthday girl assumes was Friend, her hubby and son. I can't wait to see the look on her face, even if it does make me a hypocrite. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Work Travel

If you follow my blog at all you know that I travel a moderate amount for work, usually for conferences or conventions. I am traveling again next week and just found out that our coordinator forgot to book our rooms so we are not in the conference hotel!! As a matter of fact we are in a hotel that is 3 miles away with limited shuttles between the two hotels!

This fact alone makes me want to cancel the whole trip (alas it's not just me and I'm actually presenting so that would be super uncool). I will be there from Wed through Sat and I can already see what a huge pain in the ass this is going to be. Usually I go to my room often throughout the day, if I don't have a session I'm particularly interested in or if I need some downtime after an intense talk. I also usually have to work a bit during the day which means not only will I not have the opportunity to go back to my room and rest, but I'll also have to carry my lap top around with me. I am so not looking forward to this, something tells me I'll be attending less sessions than I usually do.

I have only stayed at the non-conference hotel once before in my career. Hubby came with me for my first poster presentation and although I liked the smaller boutique hotel we stayed in I vowed to never do that again!

Oh and god help them if they don't have a bath tub!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

30 posts in 30 days

I really do enjoy blogging but haven't been very good about it the last couple of months so I've decided to give NaBloPoMo a try. Thus ,today begins 30 posts in 30 days. It will be a challenge as I am traveling a lot this month but I believe I'll be bringing my lap top with me and can even post via my blackberry if I don't have a computer handy.

Wish me luck.

If there is anything specific my readers would like me to talk about please feel free to add a comment to this post and I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rewriting Reality

I know that sometimes one persons reality is not another persons. I know that we enter situations with different expectations, perceptions and may focus on different parts of an interaction. However, I fail to believe that every single interaction that two people have leads to a totally different reality for each person. I believe there is some rewriting of reality that goes on between the original interaction and the recollection of that interaction.

As you may have guessed this rewriting of reality is happening in my interactions with another individual (an individual who has some power over me). The thing that bugs me the most about all this is that the other persons rewriting of reality leads to the accusation that I don't have the ability to do things. That things are not done, or are not done on time because I did not have the ability to do these things on time, correctly or sometimes at all.

I fully recognize that perhaps I could be the one rewriting reality, however I have discussed these "lack of ability" accusations with other people and they recall these interactions/situations in the same way that I do. I have confirmation that were someone not standing in my way I could have easily done things on time, correctly and completely. Also, when the accuser is pressed for details about how I did not have the "ability" to these things, the tune changes and all of a sudden it's "well I did not mean you didn't have the ability." Really? Because you're exact words were "I should not have expected you to do this given that you did not know how."

These rewriting of realities are driving me crazy. They're diminishing my motivation and lowering my moral. But when you're dealing with someone who is overly sensitive, insecure and passive aggressive what the hell do you do? Besides fester in frustration that is??

Monday, October 5, 2009

4 day workweek= 4 day weekend :)

I have a 4 day work week this week, hubby and I leave Friday for grad school town. Going to grad school's football game on Sat and visiting friends/colleagues the rest of the weekend. Really looking forward to our 4 day get away. I'm sure I'll need it after my meeting tomorrow. I haven't seen some of my friends in just about a year! I am so excited to see them all.

What will tomorrow bring?

Tomorrow is my annual review with my boss. It should be interesting. For the most part I have to let them direct the conversation so we don't go down the wrong (i.e., too sensitive to make progress) road. The one on one meetings are supposed to be a means of my boss getting feedback from everyone about how the team should be restructured.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mental Health Day

I've had a hard time adjusting since I got back from the West Coasts so I took a mental health day today.

Slept in
Had a massage (for the first time in 5 months: and made another appt for next week)
Sushi for lunch with my sister
Extravagant Pedicure (also with my sister)
Caught up on our household bills (feels good to have that under control)
Had dinner out with hubby
Ran a few errands with hubby
Going to bed in 15 minutes (@9:30pm)

I think that's a pretty good mental health day. Although physically I feel like I got my butt kicked (hold all my stress in my neck and shoulders and massage therapist tried to work a bunch of that out for me today), psychologically I am really glad I took today for myself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Home sweet home

My East Coast brain can not handle the West Coast time zone. I have been sleeping well but you would never know it too look at me, I look like a walking zombie. I'm at a work related conference which means I had to go to a session during every available time period (for both taking notes to report back to the team and because it was important to have a presence at this conference).

During down time I have been logging into work and troubleshooting what I can. The team has become increasingly more frustrated and their unrealistically (in my opinion) impatient with the fact that things haven't changed since I last week. The fact that I'm on the opposite coast, 3 hours behind has made all of this worse because I can't respond to them timely and help to simmer things down before they get all worked up. I am exhausted.

I never ended up using the bathtub. But I'm glad it was here. :)

I scheduled a big meeting at work on Monday, otherwise I may think about not going in. I feel like I am in serious need of some downtime. But at least I'll be able to spend the weekend in my own bed with my hubby and my puppies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Breaking News

There is a bathtub!! :)

My east coast body can't handle the west coast time right now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Update on the work issues

To continue on with this post, the project manager came to our meeting on Tuesday, it was good to have them there (and they got to see some of the issues I've mentioned pertaining to my boss on their own) and I hope these visits by the project manager will continue.

However, after the meeting there was a parade of sorts through my office of all my team members telling me how miserable they were, how much the week I was on vacation sucked and how they were all thinking about ways to either get off our contract or leave the company all together! This is the 2nd time I've taken a real vacation from this position and this is the 2nd time I've come back to this sort of parade. Mind you, there was not any sort of major event that happened while I was gone. It's just when I'm gone the team has to deal more directly with my boss and this pushes them over the edge.

So, on Wednesday I had a two hour meeting w/ our project director. I once again laid out all of the team issues with very specific examples of how these issues play out amongst the team. It was by far the most frank discussion I've had with the project director and I also shared the reasons why we needed to move quickly (i.e., major members of the team looking for new work!).Bottom line I told the project direct that things needed to change in a major way and quickly. Project director agreed, and we brainstormed some ways that restructuring could help the team. Then project director had a one hour meeting with the other senior member of my team who confirmed everything I told project director and project director said that the bottom line from her conversations with us was "The status quo isn't going to cut it and things need to change and change fast." We all agree that my boss is the biggest hurdle to issuing in the much needed structural changes and project director confirmed that it was up to them to get my boss on board. Boss and Project director already had a lunch meeting scheduled for Friday and project director was making plans for how to have this conversation with my boss and put things in motion for major change.

I saw my boss after the lunch meeting and boss didn't mention the lunch meeting which I think is good news because had project director made boss feel like the team was ganging up on boss then I think I would have heard about it. I haven't heard from project director -- they left on Friday right after the lunch meeting for work on the west coast and won't be back until mid-week. I'm headed to the west cost (but states south of where project director is) tomorrow afternoon and won't be back in the office until the following Monday. So, we wait.... I suspect I won't know anything for at least another week....

I feel hopeful though... not sure why but I do. I know feeling hopeful is half the battle.

Oh, and hubby had a job interview on Tuesday... he's not happy at work either... stressful times here in the PPD household, but things seem to be looking up... I think.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can't a girl get a bathtub?

Back in May I traveled for work and complained about the fact that the hotel did not have a bathtub. This past week on vacation, no bathtub (and even worse it was a 3 square foot shower)! I am traveling next week for work again, this time on the west coast... but I just received my hotel information and it's the same hotel chain as the May trip.

So help me if there is no bathtub this time I am done traveling. Luxury! Vacation! Not without a bathtub I say!

The job issues

I mentioned yesterday that I am having some issues at work and that I was hoping that I'd feel less frustrated after getting some R & R on vacation but I don't feel less frustrated, instead I feel pissed off and anxious <>

There are two main issues that have lead to these feelings about my job.

One of them I have alluded to in the past in my description of my job as a wedding cake baker here and here. Oh and I mention more here too. The moral of this story is that the person who coordinates the contract for the project that I work on (FC) is CRAZY and I'm not sure how much longer I can deal with this. In addition to the constant changing of their mind, they're also not letting me do anything Psychological in nature. They turn down all my ideas (even though my boss and project director think their fantastic) and the work I'm doing on this project is just not at all fulfilling.

The second issue pertains to the need for change on our team. Many of our current procedures are not working, people (me especially) are stressed, overworked and disgruntled. We've hired new people and have been given more money on our contract but neither of these will help the current situation. The entire team had a meeting to discuss our issues, everyone agrees on the issues. Then we brought up proposed solutions and everyone is on board with the solutions... well...except my boss. My boss pretends to be on board with the solutions given that the rest of the team thinks they're a great idea, and in theory the boss thinks that the solutions proposed really are effective ways to deal with the issues. But in reality my boss is totally threatened by the proposed solutions and is already (not even 2 weeks in) doing things to undermine the new procedures.

As one of the senior members of the team I have been one of the loudest voices pushing for change.The rest of the team agrees but they're less vocal. My active participation in pushing for change has begun to deteriorate my relationship with my boss who is one of those overly sensitive people that drain me of all my energy. My boss reads my complaints and suggestions as my own personal issues, and completely disregards any evidence of the team's agreement with me.

After many counterproductive discussions with my boss I have begun talking to the project management (those who oversee my boss and the entire team) about the teams issues and the complications I'm having discussing the issues with my boss. Before I game flamed I have not done this in any way that undermines my boss. Instead, I've made it clear that I'd like those above my boss to hear out the team (they've talked to everyone else on my team-- which is what I wanted my boss to do and they refused) and help me to maintain my relationship with my boss while helping the team institute the changes that are essential to our future success.

Thus far all of this had yielded nothing more than what I consider to be lip service. I know somethings have been said to my boss but that led to more condescending and passive aggressive interactions between us. Before I left for vacation I had another frank discussion with someone on the project management side of our contract and it made it very clear that I was frustrated and angry and that the team itself was losing steam and feeling disgruntled.

Over vacation I have been thinking more and more about what I can do to be happy at work. What can I control? How can I make things better? I have some ideas but they all pertain to getting off my current project which sucks because I really enjoy working with this team and see the potential for the project to be great.

My last bit of hope is that our project manager is coming to our team meeting tomorrow (this is one of the suggestions I made when I had a conversation with the project manager prior to vacation), I don't know why they're coming but I hope it's going to be a regular thing. It sure would help me gain back some hope.

Oh and if things were better within the team, I'd drop down to less than full time on this project and apply for other contracts that would allow me to do Psychological work and then I could be fulfilled as as Psychologist and continue working with the co-workers I've grown to enjoy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

RBOC: back from vacation

  • Came home a day early. It was a beach vacation but today and tomorrow temps are only going to reach 70F which just doesn't work for sitting on a beach. I was content with my 7 days of vacation.
  • After practically growing up on the beach, I really, really missed the ocean when I was living in grad school town. I was thrilled to sit in the sand and watch the waves roll in for days on end.
  • Family vacations are great in theory but aren't all their cracked up to be in reality. There were 11 of us share a 4 bedroom cottage, need I say more?
  • Some people are incredibly selfish in every aspect of their lives, this really comes to light when you're sharing a small, not well insulated space with them for 7 days. I just don't know how they get away with it (especially when they have kids).
  • I really needed some R&R and I made it a priority to get some on vacation.
The reason I needed the R&R on vacation was to get some time and space away from ANJ and do some thinking. I just had my one year anniversary, and things have not been great for me over the past few months but I wasn't sure whether I just needed some time off (hadn't taken a real vacation since March and had been working 60 hour weeks for the past month or so). Unfortunately the closer I get to returning to work the more I realize that I was not just tired and strung out, because the negative feelings I had when I left have not disappeared with time away as I had hoped they might. A more detailed post about these issues and what I need to do about them to follow over the next day or two.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Vacation Read Recommendations

I leave next Saturday for a 9 day beach vacation! I have not taken any vacation time since March and I so need this time way. I am looking forward to 9 days of doing absolutely nothing.

So with that in mind I am looking for recommendations for mindless beach reads... please share anything you've read that fit this bill.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I don't want to work today.

I have to respond to feedback on a report my team wrote. I have to decipher these comments, write our response and offer suggestions for how we handle the feedback. It's rather irritating to be honest.

The commenter is supposed to be a professional in the field (I mean they are in title) and their comments fluctuate between self aggrandizing and inflamatory. Very few comments are actually helpful and you wouldn't mind but this person gets paid to do this. Worse than any article review I've ever received.

I have taken over this task for my team because I see it as a challenge. I work in a politically sensitive field and so we have to be very tactfull when we tell people that their feedback is shit. My personality is very blunt and confrontational so it's a nice challenge for me to respond to this feedback. My boss often tells me that she is impressed with my tact, perhaps I should have taken up acting!

In between each comment I am reading a blog post or two (with 400+ new posts in my reader this can keep me busy) to keep my blood pressure below the simmering point.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Negative talk

I woke up this morning thinking about how much weight I have gained, how crappy I feel about my body, how bummed out I am about the medical stuff I went through 2 months ago... and then I shook my head and thought why the hell am I doing this to myself?

I have no idea why I woke with such negative talk rolling around in my head but I'm doing what I can to get rid of it. I have fun weekend plans with family and I'm going to make an effort to enjoy myself and not beat myself up. Now if only my brain would cooperate.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Ah the joys of these new social networking sites and the new issues that come from them. I know Di Di and Mamabeek have talked about issues with FB and now I have a twitter issue.

I am on twitter to follow a particular band I'm a huge fan of, that is the only reason I joined.This may seem weird but it's something I don't want to share with other people. I never told anyone I joined and for a long time I had my tweets hidden. I took off the privacy settings a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to join in a public conversation, forgot to put it back and one of my not a fan of the band, real life friends found me tonight.

I sent her a DM saying she probably does not want to follow me, and I removed her from my followers. If she asks I'm going to just say I closed my privacy settings and it must have thrown her out when I did it. She's not savvy about twitter. I should have made it so I wan't identifiable at all, now I don't want to tweet anymore. Maybe I'll create another twitter account and stop tweeting on this one or delete the tweets I don't want anyone to read and just use this for my public account.

I should have known better. Such a bummer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Open Letter to My DH

Dear Hubby,

I'm writing this here because if I don't write it down here, I might just have to strangle you.

It's not my fault that you call two nights before you leave to find out what you need to wear for the various events you'll participate in while traveling.

It's also not my fault that you had to go shopping after work tonight because you did not have any appropriate clothing.

It's not my fault that you wait to pack for your trip at 10pm the night before your 8am flight.

It's not my fault that you only travel a couple of times a year and therefore forget which toiletries you ran out of the last time you did so (oh and again, not my fault you waited until 10pm to start thinking about this).

Yes, I travel more often than you do, I also think about what I need to wear months beforehand, pack at least 24 hours beforehand and always replace my toiletries before I even begin to pack (sometimes right after I return from my trip).

I will miss you while you're gone this weekend, but it's not my fault that I'll be slightly happy to be drop you off in the AM.

How quickly you forgot that I 1. went shopping with you, 2. let you borrow my suitcase and 3. took care of checking you in for your flight.

Much love from your running out of patience Wife.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How annoying can today get?

Let me count the ways (with messages for those individuals who made it especially annoying):

  1. Kept forgetting things upstairs this am, which make me run up and down the stairs and leave for work 20 minutes late.
  2. The most annoying staff meeting this AM. Team Member who is leaving in a coupe of weeks - Dude if I can't understand it and one of the other long time team members can't understand it, it sucks and needs to be revised-- just do it.
  3. Boss - I don't have the time or patience for your issues. When I said I did not want a new person to be aimless it was not a direct comment on your training abilities however, if you were not so blatantly insecure I'd tell you that you suck at it and it's the whole reason we took over the training to begin with. Please, do not tell me again how good you are at it.
  4. Internet explorer, thanks for crashing right when I was book flights for a conference. Lucky for you I waited it out and eventually got the email confirmation that the flights were actually booked.
  5. Dr's office receptionist- when I explain to you that the Dr tells me I have to sign paperwork to get copies of the blood tests just let me sign the damn paperwork so I don't have to hear the Dr complain about the fact that you didn't have me sign the paperwork.
I'm staying inside the rest of today. I'm done with all the annoying people.

Surgery follow up today-- clean bill of health.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's been almost a month...

since I last wrote. I didn't mean to stay away for so long. I have thought about writing often but coming up with the motivation to do so has been challenging. I have continued to move forward physically and psychologically (thank you for all your kind and caring comments on my past few posts, it really was a comfort to read your words). I have many more good days than bad a month out from my surgery. It seems I still don't have very much to say but it's getting better.

It's our busiest time of year at work so I have been working a lot and I've been itching to do some more academic writing so I contacted my post doc mentor about a call for papers. Thus, it seems I may have something to write about here in the not too distant future.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Thank you for all the kind comments on my previous post.

Physically, things have improved greatly over the last week. Had my surgery on Monday and everything went as well as it could have.

Spent the week working from home so I could rest when I needed to but at the same time not have to use all my personal time being miserable.

Emotionally, I'm getting there. I think overall I'm doing better than could have been expected.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Yesterday was the worst day of my life (so far and I hope, hope, hope for a lifetime). I have a medical issue that shattered my world both physically and emotionally (I don't want to get into specifics for a number of reasons). The good news is that it's not permanent or life threatening and I will eventually be okay. Things are going to suck physically for about a week or so and emotionally for well... as long as it takes I guess.

The toughest thing for me right now is that talking is the worst. I just can't do it, and as a psychologist I know this freaks everyone around me out. Even thinking about talking to other people makes my eyes fill with tears and frankly I've cried enough in the last 24 hours to leave my eyes swollen, skin raw and my head pounding. I'm not sure I can take much more of it so I've been avoiding talking to everyone.

Even my husband who really is a comfort right now, I can't talk to. I thought I was okay this AM given that I actually slept rather well last night despite my concerns that I would not. Then the minute I started to speak to him I fell apart. I sent him out for the morning so that I could just feel more composed.

So I'm going to be quiet for a while, maybe after the physical issues are dealt with the emotional distress will ease a bit as well. I hope everyone understands, I know I have their love and support and that really is a comfort to me, right now I just don't have a voice to express it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cover Meme

JLK has tagged me for the Cover Meme. I always have difficulties with these music memes because all the music I've ever known seems to go right out of my head when they come up. Although, I am happy to say that I could easily think of my favorite cover ever.

And the worst... I can't even listen to the whole thing

I haven't kept track of who has done this and who hasn't so if you haven't consider yourself tagged.

Monday, May 25, 2009

So wrong!!

There is no bathtub in my hotel room. Granted I am not a huge bath person normally but if there was ever a time to take one it's when you're in a hotel room all by yourself because you're traveling for work!

Otherwise the room is great. I am loving the king size bed all to myself, but seriously I don't care about the pretty tiled stand up shower, I want a tub!! There was nothing about this on their website either.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Apparently my blogiversary was April 28th. I totally missed it given my lack of blogging recently. Two major things have changed quite a bit since I started this blog.
  1. I have switched careers from a highly sought after post doc at a top notch institution to a researcher for a non-academic (at all) non-profit.
  2. DH and I bought a house and have begun to settle in here.
Even though ANJ has come with many ups and downs, I am feeling content with my decision although I am struggling with how to blog about my new position and my daily life without compromising my anonymity. I've had a bit of a breakthrough using the Wedding Cake Baker analogy but it does not fit for all the things I'd like to share.

My plan is to start applying for my own funding (to get out from under our crazy FC) and I hope to share that experience as it's different from grant writing and I'm sure many who are looking for non-academic positions would be interested in this experience so I'll do my best to find a way to share that with you.

I need to start revising my dissertation manuscript so I can submit it to another journal. I haven't had any motivation to start this but I am planning to make it a priority when I get back from my work trip.

I also hope to share my unbloggable personal situation soon.

Finally, I have a post brewing about reviewing articles for international journals.

So there's a preview of what's to come. I hope my readers remain interested and that some of what I have to say is helpful.

Long Weekend!!

I am so excited that it's a long weekend. The past few weeks have been intense with things gearing up at work for a busy summer and with my allergies skyrocketing out of control. It's been good to know I can get three solid nights sleep!

We're headed to a MLB game today, our anniversary (9 years) is Tuesday so I bought the tickets for my DH as a gift. It's been a rainy morning so we're crossing our fingers that it will clear up for the game this afternoon. Then we're headed to a BBQ tonight.

Tomorrow I think we'll be hanging out at home as I am actually leaving on a work trip tomorrow night. It's a bummer that it cuts into my long weekend but my meetings start early Tuesday morning so I had to fly tomorrow night in order to be there on time.

I'm looking forward to the work trip. The location is a cool place that I haven't visited before, I'll get to learn a lot and the company springs for a king room all for me. I don't know how much time I'll have to blog or to read blogs so I may not be around much for the next week. I'll be back Friday PM.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Sorry I've been Missing in Action as of late. There are a few blog posts I've been meaning to write, hopefully I can get around to it. I'm 230 posts behind in my reader too, I've been trying to catch up there too.

Non-bloggable personal issue has been taking up a lot of my time still. May become bloggable soon.

Also, last weekend was mother's day and DH and I hosted our in-laws for a weekend full of stuff (bday party, shopping, baseball game) culminating in a Mother's day brunch for 14. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad we did it, but man was I tired. I slept for like 3 hours after everyone left on Sunday.

This weekend I am sick. I thought it was allergies, I've been taking allergy meds (a 24 hour version) for about a month but since last weekend (when the pollen has just gone crazy) it just hasn't worked all that well. I started coughing on Friday and just figured it was allergies but I noticed today my glands are all swollen so I'm thinking maybe I have a cold. Either way it's not fun.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

RBOC: I seem to only write in bullets lately

  • I'm hanging out at home alone on a Saturday night. I really need it, my sister had a minor surgery yesterday and although I didn't think I was nervous I feel exhausted today and I'm pretty sure it was worrying about her yesterday that caught up with me (she's doing great by the way, so that's why I figure it caught up with me today when there is no longer any reason to worry).
  • Unbloggable personal situation has taken over my life. Hence, the lack of posting. I hope that it will become bloggable soon, or at least things will settle down a bit and I can find more time to write.
  • FC strikes again, my team has been working on this particular project (for which I am the project lead) for 6 months, and FC now claims it was never approved and they thought we were working on this complete other project that isn't due until next year. Although given my new plan, I am surprisingly not at all stressed by this. Actually, I've found it rather amusing. We have a meeting to discuss this on Monday, I fully intend to let those above me hash this out. Given that we have a wealth of evidence that this project was indeed approved and that FC is indeed an effin wacko I intend to enjoy a little bit of this meeting.
  • The ankle is much better. I wasn't going to wrap it today but it felt a little unstable this morning so I decided to just wrap it and not worry. Hopefully I'll be ready to start some light exercising next week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

RBOC: A few updates from recent posts

  • The ankle- is better. I made a stupid mistake on Wed by not wrapping it and driving to work. Apparently driving really hurts when you sprain your right ankle and it's been a bit of a step back. I've been much smarter about this since then.

  • The dissertation manuscript- is not touched. I am thinking about where I would like to send it next, I'll get to it, but it's been so beautiful outside this weekend there isn't any way I want to be tied to my computer.

  • The job- I've made some decisions lately that have left me feeling a little better about my job and like I can make this work long term. I am going to continue to work on this contract through the end of the fiscal year (Sept) and then I'm going to start looking for my own contract, well I'll probably start looking before then but do not intend to take anything on until this fiscal year contract is up. The ideal would be a small contract that allows me to do psychology work and avoid working full-time on anything directed by my current FC. Then I'll have independence in my own small contract and continue to work with my current team who I adore and with whom I want to continue my relationship.

I think that's it for today. It's beautiful again so I'm headed out to get my hair cut and maybe to my nephews lacrosse game after some grocery shopping.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Thank God for Baseball

I twisted my ankle today making for a pretty nasty sprain. I'm home while friends and family are out at a bar Birthday party that I was really looking forward to (but not much dancing with a bum ankle). However, baseball is on.... and somehow in my mind that makes it all okay.

Friday, April 17, 2009

RBOC: Up and Down Kinda Day

  • UP: It's warm, almost 70 degrees and I have on flip flops and Capri pants for the first time this season.

  • DOWN: It's going to be back to 40 on Sunday

  • UP: I got some very exciting personal unbloggable news today.

  • DOWN: It's unbloggable and I can't really talk to anyone IRL about it either.

  • DOWN: My dissertation manuscript was rejected.

  • UP: The reviews were fair and really quite positive in some spots.

  • DOWN: Have a major conference call with FC at 2:30 and I would much prefer to avoid that.

  • UP: It's Friday and I have a bunch of fun stuff planned for the weekend.
Never got to post this yesterday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I finished the data management task that I have been working on for Post Doc Mentor since October! This will really help this project move forward.

I'm sure there will be more work coming from the lab but I am so incredibly excited to have this huge task completed. I just sent PDM the data, I'm sure they'll be very excited to see it in their email.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How could it be...

Monday already? Where did the weekend go?

Saturday I spent all day at Nieces/Nephews soccer games and yesterday Hubby and I went to his parents (2 hours away) for Easter. So the weekend just flew by. I hope the week goes by just as quickly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My job as a wedding cake baker part 2

Following up from yesterday's post, here is the description of incident #2, that really lead to my current state of frustration and anger.

Shortly after incident #1, FC asked that my team assemble yet another wedding cake for the a smaller but still very important wedding that was coming up. This wedding is not outdoors (so no problems there) however, we once again inform FC that the requirements laid out by the bride and groom make it very likely that our cake will not be chosen as the primary wedding cake but our cake exceeds the expectations for the grooms cake but they give us the go ahead. At least we knew about this wedding in advance so we had plenty of time to come up with a LCC and sent the sample off to FC a few weeks before decision day.

Once again, feedback from the FC comes on decision day (due to intense prodding from us) and FC loves the LCC, suggests a minor tweaking, we make the change and inform FC that they (or someone they designate from flour company) have the opportunity to be added to the guest list if they would like. They thank us but decline the wedding invite and say that only a couple of members from my team (and me of course) need to be added to the guest list.

We show up at the cake tasting with the tweaked LCC and it is chosen as the groom's cake. The bride and the groom love it, their wedding planner thinks it's wonderful. I send notice to FC letting them know that the cake has been chosen as the grooms cake.

FC's response ... what, wait, did you tell me you were making a cake for this wedding, and why do you think it's okay to just make a groom's cake rather than a wedding cake?...
(my internal response: are you fucking kidding me), my actual response is to we send FC the previous chain of communication in which we warned them about the requirements of the groom and bride and the potential of being chosen as groom's cake, sent initial sampling, they offer their suggested tweaking, we re-submitted tweaked submission and their ok of the tweaked version.

FC's response... ignore proof that they did indeed know that we were submitting a cake and that we'd probably get choses as grooms cake and not wedding cake...and say even though this is only a groom's cake, you need a date from flour company to come with you, why wasn't I or someone from Flour Company added to the guest list

(my internal response: Seriously, you must be fucking kidding me). My actual response is to send FC the previous communication in which we ask whether they (or someone they designate) want to be added to the guest list, and their subsequent decline.

FC's response... ignore proof that they declined opportunity to be added to the guest list and say they'll see if there is anyone from corporate office that received an invitation and might be able to accompany me. I'm left waiting for 2 weeks and an email appears that says "Nobody from corporate office received an invitation, thus we can't provide the flour for a wedding we weren't invited to, and besides and it would be completely inappropriate for you to make a cake for a wedding for which we did not receive an invitation even if we could provide the flour.

So once again I have to withdraw LCC and of course my this is yet another ding to my reputation given that a different but connected set of bride, groom and wedding coordinator are wondering why the hell I would enter my cake into a competition if I were going to withdraw once it was chosen.

FC doesn't care. Has even said they are "sorry I'm disappointed that I can't attend the wedding'. Um... yeah, I'm not disappointed, I'm pissed! This is my reputation on the line and it could have serious implications for my professional life down the line.

The way in which I hope to salvage my reputation is by outing flour company to the respective brides, grooms, and wedding coordinators and letting them know that this was indeed out of my hands and did I have ANY control over the situation I would indeed be attending both weddings and proudly showing off my LCC. My immediate supervisors have suggested that perhaps they should write these withdrawl letters so that it's even more clear that it's out of my hands. We have a meeting next week to decide how we want to approach this.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My job as a wedding cake baker part 1

I think I've found a way to blog about my job issues mentioned here and here, without giving away more of my identity than I would like.

So, I am a wedding cake baker, I have my MS in desserts and my PhD in Nuptial baking. The organization I work for does a wealth of cooking with teams of chefs and bakers. My position is the only wedding cake baker on a team of fellow dessert makers and my team of dessert makers work as independent contractors to a major Flour company. The person in charge of our flour contract (Flour Contractor if you will, or FC for short), is thrilled that my team now has a PhD in Nuptial baking and shortly after I begin my job FC requested that I make a Wedding cake for the wedding of the century, about 2 weeks before the bride and groom must make their final decision.

My team and I look over the requirements laid out by the bride and groom for their wedding cake and mention to the Flour Contractor (FC) that although we will give it our best shot, the requirements laid out by the bride and groom make it very likely that our cake will not be chosen as the primary wedding cake but our cake exceeds the expectations for the grooms cake.

FC says to go ahead and we'll see if we can't jut get it chosen as the primary wedding cake. My team and I pull together and make a cake that I am very proud of, we send pictures and samples to the FC. FC does not respond until decision day, 12 hours before the cake is to be decided on to be exact. FC thinks the cake is delicious but doesn't want anyone working on one their flour contract to promote this flavor because it is controversial to mix such flavors in one cake. FC demands that the cake is re-done with a much less controversial flavoring, my team and I rush to meet the 12 hour deadline and show up at the cake tasting with the less controversial cake (LCC), with 1 minute left on the clock.

Low and behold, our LCC is chosen as the grooms cake. The bride and the groom love it, their wedding planner thinks it's wonderful. I send notice to FC letting them know that the new cake has been chosen and the date of the wedding. FC says, oh, well we here at Flour Company can not provide flour for a cake for a grooms cake, especially one at an outdoor wedding. And my organization can't pay for the flour because the bride, groom and wedding planner already know that we used flour companies flour for the LCC and the wedding would still be outdoors and therefore it would be inappropriate for a Flour Company cake to appear at the wedding regardless of who paid for the flour.

I have to withdraw LCC and of course my reputation takes a ding. I'm sure the bride and groom, and WEDDING PLANNER are all wondering why on earth I would enter my cake into such a competition only to withdraw once it was chosen.

This is the first incident... I'll tell you about the second one (the one that pushed me over the edge) tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

RBOC: Not a Happy Camper

  • I have been screwed over at work (in a way that may do a bit of damage to my professional reputation... but I think I can stop that) and there is NOTHING I can do about it except refuse to do anything else that will allowed me to be screwed again.
  • My supervisors at work are "as outraged as I am about this situation" and although they've put on the face of sticking up for me to the powers that be it's useless. Although they told me they would "make this right", they actually can't.
  • This situation has made me less than enthusiastic about work as of late. I haven't been volunteer to be the project lead on new projects, and on Friday I basically escaped an hour early because I just could not stand to be there anymore. I'm not sure what to do about this but it can't go on forever.
  • Getting out of bed to go to work last week= a total bitch, I was later than I would like every day.
  • There are no research jobs for me to apply to right now, trust me, I've been looking. And I obviously missed the faculty job opportunities for this year (not that there were more than a couple in my field that I would have even considered).
  • Hubby has been sick all weekend and basically didn't want to do anything but sit around the house. It happens to coincide with a weekend in which everyone I know has been busy so I too have done nothing but sit around the house.
  • Now I feel anxious about the fact that it's Sunday and I have to go to work tomorrow. Even though I've sat around the house all weekend, the time has flown.
  • Hubby wants to go to his parents house for Easter. It's 2 hours away and we have to decided whether to bring the dogs and go out on Saturday (huge pain in the ass) or do not bring the dogs (drive 4 hours for a 2 hour dinner on Sunday). I would prefer to stay home and go to my sisters (5 minutes away) but we almost always go that route.
  • I haven't done any data management for my post doc project. I am almost done, just need to work up the motivation to get it done. However, the way I have been feeling thanks to the job situation just doesn't help me feel motivated.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vacation Pics

My life is full of unbloggable infuriating work situations right now, so here are some long awaited vacation pics to hold you over until I am no longer as angry and find something I can actually blog about.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am sitting on my upper level deck....(the one you can see on the right hand side) in the sunshine, with my laptop and dogs just the way I imagined I would be when we bought this house. I couldn't be happier. I have been anxiously awaiting Spring and coming back from Florida's 80 degree temps to 20F did not help with my anxiety. Thus, although it's a bit chilly out here and I have a bunch of work I could be doing for post doc mentor or in my house I am not moving from this spot until my nieces and nephews get here and we go to the park and do kid things.. I am happy and I am going to do everything I can to remain in this state as long as I can.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm baaaack!

Sorta. Lots of catching up to do (still around 300 posts in my reader, I'm working on it though).

DH and I had a fantastic time! 2 days of beaches and 2 days of baseball = a great vacation.

Here's a picture to hold you over, I'll be back with more later this week.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What is it good for?

Want to know what my new phone is good for?

  • Entering notes about what I KNOW I'll forget to pack such as my new phone charger and beach towels
  • Entering the need to check in to my flights 24 hours in advance into the calender which nicely alarms me at the right time so I don't forget to do this.
  • Reminding me to post a blog about how I leave for FL and Spring Training tomorrow. Yippee.

This is my first vacation without bringing any work in 8 years!! No work = no computer so I'll be sure to check in when I get back next Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why do I bother?

On Sat I received a bill from the lab that did my blood test ordered by my doctor as follow-up to my physical. The bottom of the bill said they had tried to bill my insurance company but insurance company had denied the claim.

I check my benefits statement (relatively new insurance from ANJ), and it clearly states they cover blood work diagnostics 100% as long as they're ordered by my doctor.

I call insurance company... nobody there until Monday.

Forgot to call yesterday. Call this morning.

Call goes right through to Bubbly Brianna (BB) at member services:

Me: "I got a bill from the lab that did blood work ordered by my doctor that you guys denied"
BB: "Please give me a list of all your personal information so I can find you in my computer and confirm that you are indeed who you say you are"... "oh and give me the date of service".
Me: "rattle off list of personal information to prove that I am me" and "oh 2/13/09 is date of service"
BB: "We don't have any claims submitted for you after January"
Me: "um.. would you if you denied the claim"
BB: "Yes, and we'd have a claim rejection code that would tell me why we denied it, so call the lab and tell them to send it to the right insurance company."

Call Lab Bill Services

Wait on hold for 20 minutes (yeah, really happy about this)
Finally reach Smoking all my life Sue (SamlS)

Me: "I received a bill from you that said that my insurance company denied the claim, I called the insurance company as instructed on the bill and they have no record of the claim"
SamlS: "what's the claim #"
Me: "claim #"
SamlS: "you have Big Insurance Company plan right?"
Me: "yes"
Samls: "oh yes, we submitted that claim to them today for $29 less than the bill I received"
Me: "That's weird because the bill I received says you sumitted the claim a few weeks ago and it was denied oh and that it's $29 more than the quoted amount "
SamlS: " Oh yeah, I see that we did send it a few weeks ago and they paid $29, so we submitted it again today, so don't worry about it, I'm sure they'll pay the rest"
Me: "um.. you're sure? Shouldn't you check to see you have the right member # or spelled my name correctly"
SamlS:" I guess, go ahead and tell me"
Me: carefully read off "member #" and spell "my name"
SamlS: "yeap we have it, don't worry about it, they'll pay the rest"

So.... how many of you think I'll be making at least two more phone calls in about 2 weeks when my insurance maybe makes another $29 payment (less than 1/4 of the bill!)??

Monday, March 9, 2009

Progress and Productivity Week 10

1. Work- Had a long working lunch meeting with my boss last Thursday, it was positive however I suspected I had just heard a bunch of lip service as there weren't any concrete plans for change that came out of the meeting. Then first thing on Friday those suspicions received some strong support. Today, more of the same. Ugh!

2. Research-Still coding data for my Post Doc Mentor, I'm guessing I can probably get it done by the end of this week. Yippee.

3. Health- Went dancing on Saturday which was good but the pain I was in on Sunday was yet more evidence that I really need to get some regular exercise.

4. Home- No home organizing this week.

5. Finances- Got my reimbursement $$. Still need to really look at my budget to start meeting my financial goals.

It did not last...

Remember here on Sat when I said I hoped all the snow would be gone and we'd be able to see the dirt and grass?? Well, it was! My husband and I both remarked how nice it was to be able to see the back yard.

Well... this is my backyard now, when I woke up this morning.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

RBOC: Finally a Nice Weekend Edition.

  • We have the windows open and the heat off, it is going to be in the 60's today!
  • DH and I have a birthday party this AM/early PM, a dinner and dancing date tonight, and another birthday party tomorrow.
  • The dogs are at doggie day camp today. We're test driving this place for when we're in FL for spring training.
  • We leave for our spring training trip in 11 days!!
  • I need to shower and get presents wrapped before DH gets back from having his hair cut.
  • Here is to hoping that all this snow is gone by the end of tomorrow and we can see dirt/grass once again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Letter

Dear City that I drive through every morning to get to and from work,

Thank you for filling in the post holes uncovered by this last major snow storm. I (and my low profile tires that are so screwed up that I'm contemplating buying a new car in order to stop paying for new tires) thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Just one teeny, tiny suggestion though... perhaps (just maybe) you shouldn't plan to do this during morning RUSH HOUR. Because
  1. The poor public works guy has to run out the middle of the street with a shovel full of hot asphalt and almost get hit by oncoming traffic and
  2. Cars drive over the asphalt that hasn't been pushed down and knock it right out of the pothole, which means we're back to #1 again in a week or two.

Thanks again.

PPD, her car, and the car's tires.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Progress and Productivity Week 9

1. Work- I don't even know why I put this on the list since everything is unbloggable. I'm back to feeling frustrated and wondering how long I can last here. Every time I think I'm making progress, I realize I'm nowhere near where I thought I was. And it is insanely frustrating.

2. Research-Still coding data for my Post Doc Mentor, I'm about 60-70% done.

3. Health- Not a great week last week. I did go for my monthly massage though. That was great. I ate out a lot and didn't get any real exercise.

4. Home- No home organizing this week.

5. Finances- Turned in my reimbursements forms at work so those checks should be coming any day now. Need to examine my budget closely so I can figure out a way to contribute more to my retirement fund and I'm waiting for DH to turn in our taxes so I can use that cash to pay off a credit card.

Over a foot of snow today!!

I am NOT happy about this.

I just keep telling myself... "only 16 more days until Florida". I'm not sure I can make it with 16 more days of this.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Progress and Productivity wk 8

1. Work-Lots of stuff going on at work this past week as my boss was out sick. I really tried to step up to the plate and move forward a project that the boss was essential in but needed to get done and could not wait for her. We ended up with a finished draft on Friday and the big boss and I both agreed to read it over the weekend. I found lots of little edits that need to be made I bet my team will be so grateful that they hired someone who used to teach research writing! :) Overall, I think it's good. I hope my boss is impressed so that maybe they'll let go of some the control that has been causing many of the problems at work.

2. Research-I've been coding data for my Post Doc Mentor all week (taking Friday and today off). I also downloaded a bunch of articles for my thesis follow up paper. I am hoping to finish the coding this week and then get down to work on the paper.

3. Health- I got my blood work results, all is good!! Yippee. I took my lunch to work every day but Friday. And, I've been better about bringing nutritious snacks to work so that has been good. No real exercise this week, the weather has been crappy! More snow today (ugh!).

4. Home- I fizzled out a bit this weekend. I did buy new throw pillows for the living room but didn't make any more progress on organizing... maybe next weekend.

5. Finances- I collected the $$ that people owed me, and I also filled out the reimbursement slips for the $ that work owes me, but my boss was out so I need to wait for boss to sign them. Hubby and I also started filing out the paperwork for refinancing our two hours. Interest rates have dropped quite a bit since we bought and we just made enough payments to be able to refinance this house and we're looking into rates for our grad school town house. Lowering our payments on both would be amazing.

Not a bad week, I think .

Friday, February 20, 2009

Single Girl Weekend

Hubby is off visiting family and friends so it's just the dogs and I this weekend.

I don't have any actual plans for the rest of the weekend. I might go get a massage on Sunday and I have some Post Doc data coding stuff to do. Other than that I think I'll just aim for a whole lot of R & R.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


It's snowing out!


It better turn to rain, the snow piles just finally melted enough so that you can see my first floor windows from the street.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Questions from Readers III

Remember way back here when I said I'd answer questions, we'll I'm back at it as promised.

Caroline was next on the list and she said

"I was surprised that you continued your own research when you started your non-academic job. It sounds like it's a lot of work, but that it's worked out for you. I'm sick of research. So I guess my question is ... what keeps you interested in continuing your research? How do you keep motivated?"

I don't even know where to begin with this question because I can't imagine not continuing to do my own research. One of (probably the only reason), I hesitated applying for and eventually taking a non-academic job is because research is my love.

I still worry about this, if I do leave ANJ this will be the #1 reason. Although, my bosses at ANJ know how important my research is to me. They made promises to me during my interviews regarding integrating my research into some of the stuff that what we do at ANJ. So far, we have not been very successful as all of what we do is dictated by those who provide us with funding. And And although they really wanted a Psychologist on my team, they haven't really embraced the stuff that would be most interesting for a Psychologist to work on or the directions I've wanted to take things. I'm still trying, but some of this has been really frustrating (and to be honest if it wasn't as frustrating to my immediate supervisors then I'd already be looking for a new job).

Any, how do I stay motivated... well it is hard sometimes given that I work at least 40 hours/week at ANJ on totally unrelated stuff. During down times at ANJ they do not mind if I work on other research stuff. They are very supportive of professional development, however I haven't had much down time since August. :)

One of the nice parts of not working directly in the field (and not being a grad student or post doc and therefore obligated to an advisor/mentor) is that I can work on whatever is most interesting to me at the moment. For example, I have some obligations to my post doc mentor that I was not all that motivated to work on so I finished editing my dissertation (which is research that I love!) and put the post doc stuff aside. When I'm finished with these obligations to my post doc mentor I have 2 other manuscripts I need to get out.

Of course when I say NEED, I really mean want. I do not need to publish to keep this job or even to move up with this organization. But I want to publish the work that I've done. I just can't imagine walking away. I am really big on follow through (hence, fulfilling the obligations to my post doc mentor). So, once I start something I am somewhat obsessive about finishing it. I want people to comment on my commitment level in my letters of recommendation. I want that to be clear on my Vita.

I can not say no to an interesting project. I just can't do it, it got me in a little trouble in grad school as my advisor worried about me getting overwhelmed but I knew I could do it. I wouldn't say yes if I wasn't totally enamored with the project. And if I am enamored, then I'm in and it will get done. So not only do I have the manuscripts from grad school, the stuff with my post doc mentor... I also have two other brand new projects that collaborators have started data collection on this semester. :) One is a follow up to my masters thesis and dissertation research and the other is stuff I haven't done in a long time.

The last thing I wanted to say is that I love collaborating. The two new projects are only happening because they're with two of my favorite people. The dissertation follow up is with someone I've collaborated with all through the research process before and we really compliment each others working style, the 2nd is a collaboration with one of my best friends who is also someone that I click well with professionally and so both projects are just fun to work on.

I feel like I did some meandering through this post but I hope it answers the question Caroline. Please feel free to ask follow up questions if there is more you want to know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Progress and Productivity wk 7

1. Work- There is so much going on that I wish I could blog about. I alluded to steps I've recently taken (over at Minor Revisions) that would indicate that I'm sticking around this job for longer than I would have thought. I'm not unhappy about the steps I've taken and if they result in real change I could see myself sticking around and being happy about that.

On the other hand something really shitty has come up (unfortunately this too is something I can't blog about), and I'm pissed about it but completely unable to do anything to change it. It could have been completely avoided if our big boss would pull his/her head of of their ass and really read the shit we send them. In the end it resulted in a lot of stressful, at the last minute work for me for nothing, and may have some professional consequences I'm not happy about (but ultimately shouldn't hurt me in any major way).

2. Research- Turns out my conference presentation was not given... long story but not a big deal. If anyone was interested in it they could always email me. I just wish I had known as I would have had someone put a note up in my space.

I have been working on data coding for my post doc lab. It's slow going but I'm getting there and at least I'll have an update when I speak to my Post Doc Mentor at the end of the month. This brings up all sorts of resentment, but seriously it's the only way this project will move forward and I put too much into it in the beginning to not have it go anywhere.

3. Health- I had my blood drawn this week for the follow up tests for my physical (I put it off for a bit because I didn't want any lasting stomach bug stuff showing up). I also did my best to get out and take long walks, it's nearly impossible to do much more here with the ice on the ground. I'm trying to get out during work so that it's still light out and warmer than it is when I get home. That has been working okay, I fit in two ~30 minute walks this week and we took the dogs out yesterday too. And I brought lunch 3/5 days last week but we've been ordering out too much.

4. Home- I finally made progress here. I started organizing some of the stuff in my home office, and I unpacked a couple more boxes. This is slow and steady but it's working.

5. Finances- no progress to report this week, although I really do need to get those reimbursements in for work and get on the people who owe me $$. You would think this would be a priority. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So much for Valentine's Day

We had big plans yesterday that included
  • taking the dogs for a nice long walk at the local park
  • going to the movies
  • having either a late lunch or early dinner

What we actually did
  • We headed out to the local park with the dogs and every path was covered in ice so it was dangerous just to take a step, plus one of the dogs kept coughing (he never does this, I have no idea why) and my husband started to feel "off," he thought he was just hungry but... we got home and he ate a little, feel asleep almost immediately, woke up a half hour later and started vomiting. Yeap, stomach bug had found it's way to him 10 days after it hit me.
  • He spent the rest of the day in bed.
I spent the rest of the day:
  • Doing some data management stuff I promised to my former post doc advisor
  • Troubleshooting my lap top that keeps crashing, hoping all the scans I did worked....
  • Trying to download a game from EA, of course with a crashing lap top that did not go well.
  • Watch DVR'd Dog Whisperer and House episodes
Not exactly how I expected to spend V-day. Although DH seems to be doing a lot better today so I am glad that we got home and he was able to rest the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Progress and Productivity wk 6

1. Work:- Well, the three hours I spent in the office this week went well :) I worked from home most of the week thanks to illness, but we're really busy right now so it's just been trying to help the team move forward.

2. Research- My presentation was given...not by me, but by my co-author. Next up is some much delayed data coding for my post doc lab. Promised my post doc mentor an update at the end of the month so I would like it to be more than "yeap, still haven't done that"

3. Health- I did not die from that stomach bug. :) Actually, I've been slowly recovering (amazing how quickly it hits but how slowly it leaves. I have been taking is slow but my husband and I did take a nice long walk with the dogs this afternoon which was good exercise for all of us.

4. Home- N/A

5. Finances-N/A

For next week, I need to go get my blood drawn for a follow up from my physical, I need to get reimbursed a bunch of $$ that work and other people owe me, and I would like to do some organizing of our junk room. We'll see how much of this gets done given our big deadline at work this Friday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

RBOC: Recovering

Signs I'm getting better
  • I showered today!
  • I felt hungry
  • I am able to sit upright for more than 1 hour without complete and utter exhaustion
  • I actually wanted coffee for the first time in 2 days

Signs I'm still not quite there

  • I was still too tired to get in the car and go into the office
  • My coffee didn't taste right
  • When I eat the food still feels heavy in my stomach (even if it's just applesauce)

I'm still really sad that I can't be in a sunny warm place with my friends but getting on a plane would have been the worst decision yesterday so at least I made the right choice.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So Bummed

I should be in warm, sunny location tonight, presenting at a conference. Instead, I'm on my couch snuggled in blankets against the single digit temperatures in my home town recouping from a serious stomach bug that hit me like a truck yesterday morning. It left me in no shape to fly today and so I won't be going to the conference.

I was really looking forward to seeing all of my grad school colleagues, some of which I haven't seen for over a year.

What terrible timing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Progress and Productivity Wk 5

1. Work:- was okay. Seem to be making a little bit of progress. Had a presentation accepted for national research organization and submitted another one.

2. Research- Finished the presentation I am giving next week. It's with my co-authors right now.

3. Health- Brought left overs to work every days this week. Had my Dr's appointment, wasn't too bad. She did recommend I get more Vitamin D so I'm trying to do that.

4. Home- N/A

5. Finances-Brought lunch or lunch was brought for us at work every day this week. Closed the credit card that had the highest interest rate and we're getting ready to file our taxes.

Not a bad week, I really need to work on the health stuff and when I get back from conferencing I am going to need to tackle more of the house stuff.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Travel is on my mind...

As seen at Phizzle Dizzle here are the US most visited places I have been to.

Bold the places you have been to. The numbers are probably the average amount of people per year.
1. Times Square, New York City, NY - 35 million
2. The Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, NV - 31 million
3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington DC - 24 million
4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA
5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL - 17.1 million
6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA - 14.9 million
7. Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA - 14 million
8. Niagara Falls, NY - 12 million
9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC - 9.4 million
10 Navy Pier, Chicago, IL - 8.6 million
11. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, AZ/NV - 7.6 million
12. Universal Studios/ Islands of Adventure, Orlando, FL - 6.2 million
13. SeaWorld Florida, Orlando, FL - 6 million
14. San Antonio River Walk, TX - 5.1 million
15. Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT - 5 million
16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, PA/NJ - 4.8 million
17. Universal Studios Hollywood, CA - 4.7 million
18. Metropolitan Museum, New York City, NY - 4.5 million
19. Waikiki Beach, Oahu, HI - 4.5 million
20. Grand Canyon, AZ - 4.41 million
21. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa Bay, FL - 4.4 million
22. Cape Cod National Seashore, MA - 4.35 million
23. Sea World San Diego, CA - 4.26 million
24. American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY - 4 million
25. Atlantic City Boardwalk, NJ - 4 million

10/25...once again this indicates I really need to do some more traveling.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Progress and Productivity Wk 4

1. Work:-eh, another one of those weeks.

2. Research- I submitted my dissertation manuscript! Next, I'll be working on a conference presentation that I am giving in 2 weeks.

3. Health- Bought groceries, including healthy snacks for work (which I didn't actually take to work HA), had my monthly massage. My dr's appointment was canceled by the dr and rescheduled for next week.

4. Home- N/A

5. Finances-Brought lunch or lunch was brought for us at work every day this week. Went through our credit cards and made some changes (i.e. balance transfers) to maximize the benefits we're getting from our cards and lower our interest.

With the progress made on research this week I am thrilled and not really worried about the lack of progress in other areas.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I did it!!

I submitted my dissertation manuscript for publication today!! I am so excited, I plowed through my lathargy and worked all morning.

It's at the #3 journal in my field and I think it's a really good fit for that journal.

I was nervous to submit this paper in a way I have never been. First, it's my first sole authored paper so that's huge. Second, I have had a dry spell with pubs lately (so think good publishing thoughts for me).

Last it's the work I feel most attached to so letting outsiders review it critically is a little nerve wracking (mind you, I have a think skin and have never really be upset by even the harshest reviews I've received). And I presented it at a conference and it got a ton of attention and people seemed really excited about it so I do not logically have a good reason for the nerves.

I just hope I don't have to wait 6 months for a rejection like I did with the last paper I submitted to this journal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is going on with me?

Can you be both restless and lethargic all at the same time? Because that is how I feel lately.

I want to leave the office as soon as I get there, especially if I see the sun out my window. But I don't even have the motivation to do anything.

Things have been super slow at ANJ lately (part of that crazy busy then nothing to do cycle that I'm getting tired of trying to break), and I decided a while ago that during these time periods I would do other work while in the office. I am thisclose to submitting my dissertation manuscript, and I have a conference presentation to prepare for early February, but do I work on either of these things in the office? Nope, I just sit there and stare at my computer, check out facebook, or read blogs.. for like 6 hours a day!

I really want to get back into running. I looked up gyms around work and home and found one that has locations close to both so I could use either one, and the membership fee is really reasonable. When I'm sitting in the office I really wish I could be at the gym but as soon as I leave the office all I can think about is getting home to change into my PJs and sit on the couch.

I think part of it is the weather, seriously this snow can melt away any day now. But that is not all of it, I hope I can snap out of this soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Where I've been in the US

As seen at the Happy Scientist.

I only counted the states I've spent at least 1 night in. I need to do some more traveling I guess. I have an opportunity to go to Washington and to Montana this year, perhaps now I'll think more seriously about that.

visited 19 states (38%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

Monday, January 19, 2009

Progress and Productivity Wk 3

I'll start by saying this post is 1 day late because I didn't make that much progress this week and was therefore procrastinating on posting about it. However, I promised myself that I would no dwell on what I didn't do so here's the post focusing on the things I did rather than all the things I should have done.

1. Work:- eh, it was a crappy work week.
2. Research- NA this week (but I'll have an update next week).
3. Health- Brought lunch to work every day but Friday. My Dr's appointment is this week, can't wait until they ask me if I should see a nutritionists, ugh.
4. Home-NA
5. Finances- brought lunch to work every day but Friday.

Next week will be more P and P! :)

Questions from Readers II

In my delurking week post a number of readers asked me questions that I am answering in a series. This is post 2 with a question from JLK who says...

"One question that I love to ask other psychology buffs is what study/theory captured their attention and imagination to such an extent that they decided it was the career for them, regardless of whether they pursued that line of research in later study"

For me it wasn't a particular theory or study or even a specific class... although I was about half way through my first Intro to Psychology course (there were 2 for my undergrad degree) when I declared my major.

There are a couple of things I should point out first to help you understand my wonderment with Psychology. First, I am a first generation college student (none of my family members, including extended have gone to college including those who came before or after me ... although I do have one cousin who is 10 years younger than me in school right now).

Second, I had no idea what I wanted to study when I went to college. I was a liberal arts major my first year and just took intro courses in every area I could.

Third, I went to a major research institute for undergrad. I don't know what would have become of me if that were not the case. I like to think I would have branched out to other universities to get research experience but I was really naive about that stuff during undergrad so who knows.

There are two things about Psychology that convinced me that becoming a Psychologist was the right career for me. First, was the fact that Psychology was relevant to my life in a very tangible way that I just did not feel with my other courses. I felt like I could see, hear and touch psychology in every aspect of my life. Many of the things I learned were ah ha moments for me where I went "oh, so that's why so and so reacts that way or that's why we see things like this happen".

Second, I felt that Psychology was very cutting edge, always evolving, and that there was still so much left to be discovered. It was exciting to realize that many of the articles that I was reading for my Psychology courses had been published just months and maybe years ago. Although I now know this is true for most areas of study, Psychology felt really fresh to me and I was easily convinced that I could contribute to this field.

I had never even thought about "contributing to a field" before that Intro class, originally my mind was wrapped around getting a job when I finished school. I didn't even know graduate school existed, I knew that some people went to medical or law school but before meeting college professors I had no idea that people who were not MDs or lawyers did "even more schooling" than college.

Psychology opened all kinds of doors for me. Made me realize that there was this side of me that I hadn't tapped into at all previously. I did not see myself as creative or curious before I found Psychology, and now I look back and laugh at how clueless I was.

So, that's what spurred my love for Psychology and my decision to become a researcher.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Question From Readers I

In response to my begging for comments yesterday, a few readers have asked me questions so I thought I'd answer them in a series. First I'll start with Katie who asked me the following questions...

"I remember you writing that you would consider going back to academic research. Do you feel your current role has built helpful skills should you decide to return? Or did it just make you appreciate the academic environment more"?

I have to admit that I pretty much knew I would want to return to academia, which means that I probably didn't commit to this job as much as I would have if the return wasn't in the back of my mind.

The short answers to your specific questions are yes and yes.

I am gaining valuable experience in ANJ that I think will be helpful for a return to academia. First, I am learning a whole new way to write, for lay persons and for policy makers. These are things that academic jobs in my field want new research faculty to have experience doing. There is a big push to get the word out to the general public and to politicians about the importance of my field and the research that we do, having these skills will be a big selling point. I think it will also help me when applying for funding from both NSF and NIH.

Also, the content of the research I do for ANJ will help as well. It's a nice bridge to my previous work, using new methods and analysis strategies that psychologists of my background generally do not use but may make publishing easier (and faster).

In terms of my appreciation of academia:

I really miss academic freedom regarding what you research and how you do it. I don't have that freedom in ANJ, a number of my proposals have been shot down by the powers that be (despite my direct supervisors LOVING these ideas) and I am becoming increasingly more frustrated every time that happens. I sometimes wonder (sometimes even out loud) why they hired a psychologists if they won't let me foster the psychologists part of myself.

I also miss the experimental part of research, this isn't necessarily a pining for academia per say but I know if I had an academic job I could do more of this.

Finally, I hate the 9-5 part of my job, having to be in the office all the time and having to account to others about when I'll be where, and not having the choice of which projects I work on when. And seriously, ANJ is really awesome about this... they let me work from home whenever I want pretty much, and I make my own hours as long as it's 8 hours a day.....I just have a really, really low tolerance for this I guess and want to be able to work 4 hours on Monday and 12 hours on Tuesday if that's what I feel like doing. :)

Oh, and I really miss teaching. This doesn't really have anything to do with ANJ but it's one of the things that makes me miss academia and want to go back.

I'm happy to respond to follow-ups about this topic if I neglected to answer something.