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.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Delurking week....

Or it might have been last week... there seems to be some debate, but either way come out, come out wherever you are and leave me a comment.

If it helps you can ask me a question and I'm happy to answer in future posts, but no pressure a hello will do just fine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I think I'm experiencing a little too much empathy lately.

A close friend lost one of her parents (after losing the other parent shortly before the second) another friend's grandparent is dying. I keep thinking about how I'd feel in their position and I'm a bit overwhelmed with sadness. I wish I had the power to make things easier for them. I don't really have much else to say...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

For me???

Much thanks to MeaningGrrrl over at Meaningful Revisions for this beautiful award.

“This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

And I bestow this award to the following amazing bloggers, who just happen to be some of my favorites. Seriously, they deserve it and therefore you should check them out.



Katie (who is on a blogging hiatus but could not possibly left out of this list)

Seeking Solace


Unbalanced Reaction

Southern Grad Girl


So, what are you waiting for? Check them out!!

Progress and Productivity wk 2

1. Work:
- started to work on next deadline despite Boss still working on late items.
- talked to others about the situation to brainstorm ideas for how to make it better.
I realized I may not be able to talk about too much of the progress I make here because it's so job specific but I'll share whatever I can.

2. Research
- Worked on my Diss manuscript a bit today, had to enter some new analyzes and now all I need to do is write 1 more paragraph and then do a thorough proof read and I can submit.

3. Health
- made Drs appointment
- looked into gym options
- brought lunch to work everyday I was in the office.
- made 2 different soups this weekend so I can take it to work with me.
I really should have joined and gone to the gym... but I promised I'd keep it positive here so no beating myself up for not doing so.

4. Home
-Went through some of our gigantic piles of backed up mail. We have a habit of just moving piles from place to place and today I went through a bunch of them and guess what I found??? A CHECK!!! For $750. Talk about motivating for us to stay on top of the mail! We overpaid our grad school city escrow account last year, needless to say I took that right to the bank.

5. Finances
- brought lunch to work every day I was in the office.
- talked to DH about student loans, we agreed he'd pay about 20% of my loan payment as we took out some of these loans to live on while he looked for work in grad school town.
- got reimbursements from work for professional memberships! I did not even know this was possible but it saved me $75!
- Oh, and I found a check for $750, that helped.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


After receiving bad customer service so many times I'm paranoid when things seem to go too smoothly.

I had to revise our rental car reservation for our trip to Spring Training because we're flying into a different airport and arriving earlier than the original reservation. I called the local number I received from the baseball teams destinations package group, they asked my name, when I'd be arriving and to what airport, told me it would be $X more and that I was all set...

It was probably less than 1 minute on the phone!

I am a little worried we'll get there and not have a rental car. I guess it's not a huge deal, like they'd be out of rental cars and if our reservation wasn't there I could just call this number again. We should get all our reservation materials in the mail a couple weeks before the trip so I'll just check it then, but isn't it weird how rather than relieved the ease makes me more worried??

RBOC: Ready for Spring

  • The weather sucks today, snow, rain, ice... right now we have 1.5 inches of new snow with a shitload of rain on top. That is going to be just great when the temperature drops later and it's all ice. I am really grateful that ANJ let's me work from home so often, getting to the office would have been more of a nightmare than Monday!
  • I got DH a trip to Spring Training for our favorite baseball team for X-mas, I booked the flights last night, I'm ready to leave now.
  • I want to start running again and I know I like running outside way more than on a treadmill, and I'm much more likely to actually run if I can do it outside...but see the first bullet.
  • I want to have a garden in my new yard and grow herbs on my deck. I can't even get on the deck right now because it's covered in ice.
  • X-mas is over, there is no more need for snow.

Ok, so bring on Spring!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Should have stayed home...

This morning I wanted to hit the road early knowing that the post holiday vacation traffic would be a nightmare... instead...I locked
  • my keys
  • my purse
  • and most importantly MY COFFEE!!
In my car.

While it was RUNNING!

DH had to come unlock the vehicle and then it took me 50 minutes to drive the 20 minutes to work!!

Luckily, nothing else happened the rest of the day but I was cranky after that beginning to the day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009- Progress and Productivity wk 1

As I mentioned yesterday, I have come the realization that I have stalled in a number of really important (to me!) life domains which has left me feeling overwhelmed and disappointed in myself.

So now that I know the problem, what am I going to do about it? Well as cautioned in the comments in yesterday's post, I am certainly not going to try and tackle all of these every day or in a short amount of time, that's how I got here in the first place. Instead I've decided to make my 2009 theme- Progress and Productivity. Really, I don't need to be perfect, I don't have to reach my goals in a set amount of time, what I need is to feel like I am making progress and in turn feel productive. I am at my happiest and healthiest when I am making progress.

My plan for doing this is to tackle small measurable tasks related to each one of these areas every day and then report back (as a way of keeping myself accountable) here once a week. I am going to do my best to list my accomplishments and not dwell on what I haven't done, as one of my amazing readers mentioned yesterday it's really important that I don't beat myself up or I'll never feel like I'm making progress.

So here's what I've done this week.

1. Work: N/A this week
2. Research: I've done about 5 hours of writing on my dissertation manuscript this weekend! I am hoping to do some more tonight and do a good read through this week to send it out next weekend.
3. My health: Went to the eye doctor this week, weighed myself on Tuesday (OMG!) to get back on track with the weight loss program I've had success with in the past and even logged what I ate 1 day, and have been bringing left overs for lunch so I can make sure I'm making healthier choices.
4. My new house: Cleaned up all the X-mas decorations and DH stored them in the attic.
5. Finances: Logged on to my student loan website and got my payment information so I can take a look at my budget and see whether I need to restructure my loans or fit the current plan in my budget before my first payment which is due on the 20th. As mentioned in #3 I've been bringing my lunch to work to help save money.

I think that's a really good start. Already feeling better.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stalled out...

Lately I have been feeling ... well... "blah" is the only thing that comes to mind when trying to describe it. I wasn't all that jazzed about the holidays, have wanted to just sleep in everyday and getting up to go to work has felt like a chore. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out why I feel this way and it's become increasingly clear that part of what has me down is that I've been beating myself up about not making progress in any aspects of my life.

1. Work: It's hard for me to make progress at ANJ because those above me are overworked and short on time. We've missed a couple of deadlines as of late on projects on which I am the lead. Although those we report to are okay with us missing those deadlines as other emergency stuff came up that took precedence,psychologically this doesn't sit well with me. I hate missing deadlines and I hate working my ass off to get something done so that it can sit on someone else's desk until they get to it, well past the deadline. It eats at me, and I've now been in this situation for a couple of months and therefore have sat in a state of frustration and haven't felt like proactively approaching any of my upcoming deadlines.

2. Research: I am backlogged with research stuff to do, writing papers, writing conference presentations and data processing. I am thisclose to sending out my dissertation manuscript, but haven't dedicated time to do it. It's one of those situations where I have so much to do that I feel overwhelmed and don't do any of it. I need to remember that I love my research and when I'm making progress on it, I am happy. Also, I've come to the realization that ANJ isn't my forever job so I need to start thinking about this years academic job market. Again, all I need to do is just start working on it and that alone makes me feel better and of course increases the chance my work gets published, and increases the chances I'll get a job I want next year.

3. My health: I am seriously overweight. At the end of grad school I was running regularly, eating well. going to the doctor and getting my health on track. Then I started my post doc and spent all of my time in the lab, not exercising, not eating the right foods, incredibly stressed out and my weight spiralled back out of control. I know what I need to do to turn this around, and I know that once I start doing the right things I can make progress. Of course it's the actual doing that is stalled out. I need to kick myself in the ass and get back on track. And I know if I take care of this, other things start to fall into place.

4. My new house: I have two rooms here with boxes that haven't been unpacked (one of them is my office). I feel unsettled and unorganized which makes it hard for me to work. I want to be able to use those rooms (what the hell did I buy this house for if I can't use them??), so I need to get in gear and get them cleaned out.

5. Finances: I have a lot of debt and no savings. Although I make good money at ANJ, with buying the house, new furniture and then the holidays I haven't had a chance to catch up. I make enough to start paying down my debt and to start putting money aside, I just need to organize my finances so I can do that. Once again I feel overwhelmed and frozen, I just need to dedicate a few hours to figuring out my budget and then it will take care of itself, and I know in a few short months I'll feel much better about this.

In sum, I'm stalled out. I let all these different aspects of my life overwhelm me and just stopped doing anything which lead to more overwhelming feelings and less and less progress. So, what am I going to do about it? I've been thinking a lot about it and my plan will be the the subject of my next post... 2009 = the year of Progress and Productivity.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009

Just wanted to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year.

I've had lots of ideas for blog posts lately, but for some reason I'm not feeling like posting them. Maybe I just need to get through the holidays.