Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life is Changing

There's been so many things for me talk about lately that I just haven't talked at all. To be perfectly honest, I haven't had time because of the changes. Twitter has been about it lately and that has been sporadic. I haven't been writing but I haven't been reading either. It's chaotic, exhausting, busy, yet good.

Fiance is sober. 60 days sober today.

Life is changing. But life is good and getting better.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Research Coordinators Training

I'm in Research Coordinators Training right now. Yes, right now. You can see how much I'm paying attention. I started the training with sarcastic tweets. However, I had to slow those down because at the rate I was going the battery on my BB was going to be dead by lunch time. Then lunch rolled around. And I'm no longer pretending to pay attention. I turned my laptop on and that's what I'm using. I know how to do research and I know how to coordinate. I feel like I'm in a remedial class. Did you know specific aims are specific? And a protocol needs to be written so anyone can follow it? Yesiree!! Right now a woman is going through the computer system for submitting stuff for IRB approval. All the buttons you push, the steps you go through on the computer. Let me be clear, every single step in the IRB approval, renewal, modification process.  Even if I used this software system - which I don't - I wouldn't remember any of this. I'd have to learn it as I do it. Right now my distraction techniques are keeping me awake - they should be happy I'm only paying 5% attention. Which was enough to enable me to ask one question this afternoon, more than most people here. I promise to update you on this exciting training later today or tomorrow - I have one more day of this.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Missing Lab

Yep. You read that right. Missing lab. There. I said it again. But not for the reasons you probably think at first. Everyone who knows me knows I don't want to work in a lab anymore. Love science, love doing science, just tired of the laboratory bench work. Just not for me  right now.

But I now know, after being away from the lab for almost 2 year, that I was spoiled. Lab supplies are miraculous things. Kimwipes - gentle for cleaning lenses and mirrors, latex gloves - first aid and cleaning, cotton glove liners - great at keeping hands warm when working (just cut off the finger tips), parafilm - so many uses, and clean water - like distilled. Lately I have found myself wanting these things and irritated that I have to pay ridiculous prices at regular stores for it.

Two items I have needed in particular have been bothering me. I bitch and complain every time I have to take money out my purse to BUY distilled water. It's distilled water for goodness sakes and they're charging me almost 85 cents a gallon. OK, that doesn't sound like much but still, it's water!! And given that my doctor has prescribed those nasal washes twice a day for my VCD I'm using a lot of it. The other thing is latex gloves. I really needed them the other day and it was late so the only place open was Walmart. I couldn't find them so I asked somebody. I walked up to the first employee I saw, who just happened to be someone who I asked for help from about two weeks ago. I cringed inside, this wasn't going to be pretty.

Image Goddess: "Can you tell me where to find latex gloves?"

Employee: "Oh, I just started here. They stuck me in this section. I don't really know where things are."

IG: "Uh...." [Staring at employee, thinking that this was the exact same thing she told me two weeks ago, at the other side of the store in a different section.]

E: "You mean rubber gloves?"

IG: "Nooo, latex gloves. They come in a box. [me making a box shape with my hands] They're small. Not large rubber cleaning gloves."

E: "I'm sorry, I really don't know. They just stuck me here. They might be around here somewhere. Why don't you go ask pharmacy. It's right over there."

IG: [pausing, staring] "OK, thank you."

I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to walk up and down every single aisle until I found it. She was directing me to pharmacy which I already knew was closed. I couldn't handle the conversation that was a waste of my time that late at night. After 10 minutes of unsuccessful searching I went to another part of the store to find another employee who at least knew what latex gloves were and she had a general idea where they were so she helped me find them. At this point I'm tired, cranky, and irritated. Once I find the latex gloves my attitude gets worse and I miss lab even more. The cost is ridiculous for one box. One box! And what is this one size fits all crap for latex gloves. That is the most insane thing I've ever heard of. Fiance can't get these on his hands. I have short stubby fingers and they just fit me. One size fits all. Hmpf.

I guess the moral of this post is I learned my lesson. I'm going to have to order my lab supplies (for home) from somewhere off the Internet. Hopefully I will find a decent price with not-to-bad shipping. Does anybody have any websites they like to shop on for supplies like kimwipes, parafilm, gloves and stuff? For now, I'm just going to have to learn to deal with buying distilled water - but I don't have to like it. And I still might complain now and then, a little.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Virtual Faculty

I applied for a part-time faculty position today that's "virtual."  I've contemplated doing this for a very long time. I've always had my reservations about online universities - are they legit, will it look bad on my CV, is it really benefiting the students taking the online classes? So many questions. I used to think how could something be taught well if it's only taught online and only people who can't get real faculty positions take online faculty jobs. My eyes are opening though and I believe the world of virtual education might be changing. I think in the past most online degrees were hacks. They almost had to be because the technology just wasn't there to make the educational experience enriching enough for students or enable the kind of interaction between students and professor that there is today.  There are countless distance learning programs from legitimate, accredited universities and other learning institutions. I have friends that teach for online universities, or universities that are mostly online, and I see that now. And I'm excited about the prospects. I love my current job but it doesn't involve a lot of teaching which I also love. There's also the fact that Fiance and I are really in need of some extra cash right now. This would be perfect. I'm already on the computer a lot and it's something that I enjoy doing.

So I applied. I'm excited. I hope to get a call. Or email. Or however they do it. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time for my performance review

I don't like performance reviews. Not at all. Who needs to be reviewed? Not me. Nope. No sirree bob. Whoever bob is.  Human resources came up with the these forms that are super general to fit every employee at the university, with categories such as work habits, initiative, self-improvement, leadership, planning and organizing, execution (wait - I must have missed this one, who do I get to execute? Can I choose?), decision making, quality of work, interpersonal communication, and blah, blah, blah - to which we must elaborate with examples.  Then there are the open-ended questions, or the self-appraisal part of the evaluation.

The reason I hate doing this isn't the same as most people, which is that it's a waste of time and who cares.  Well, okay, I do think that a bit, but I'll get to that.  The main reason is I'm normally my harshest critic. I have a strong work ethic and believe things should be done right.  I was hired to do something, I'm going to do it and I'm going to do it well.  And, by the way, I expect the same of everyone else, which is apparently a huge flaw of mine.  Anyway, I think I'm getting off topic.  I hate doing these because even though I'm my hardest critic, if I'm thoughtful and answer these questions honestly, well, I look incredibly awesome. And that just makes me uncomfortable.  Is that just stupid?  Why on earth should I feel uncomfortable for doing my job well?  I'm "tooting my own horn" but I feel like this is what I was hired to do so it's no big deal. So why should I have to fill out a review form showing that I "consistently perform beyond standards?"

My boss loves me, I know it. I also know she's extremely happy with my work.  But now we come to the who cares part. I also know the way the grant is and the way the University is right now. Though she loves me and what I do and my review says I'm fantastic, besides the regular cost-of-living the likelihood I can get a raise right now is very low.  So I then it starts to creep in my mind, why do I work so hard to perform so well when financially it's not going to make a difference?  What's the point?  Why don't I just "meet standards?"  But that road of thought can lead no where good.  I don't think I have it in me to do that anyway.  It's just not my personality. I remind myself that I'm not just working for financial reasons but that someday, an opportunity will open for me even though it may not be here now.  Right now, I just have to focus on doing what I'm doing right now good.

So - I hate performance reviews because they make me look awesome. But I don't like tooting my own horn when there is no reason too, and right now, there really isn't a reason too.

Did I mention I hate performance reviews?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Expect the look of my blog to change now and then. I haven't decided how I want it to look, but I'm bored with its old appearance. It's actually been distracting me from writing because when I come here to write I think "I need to redesign this" and spend all my time fiddling with it and never get to writing. Now, I will fiddle a little bit here and there, and start to get back in the habit of writing. Several times Geeka has said "You need to blog this" so blog I will!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I'm trying to find balance. I haven't been very good at that lately so I severely restricted non-work related computer use while I worked on other things. I think I'm ready to blog for myself again. My last few posts, also the first few posts of this blog, were rather intense and I had to step back and deal with things. "Get a grip." It wasn't really the way I wanted to start this blog. Change has come to my personal life, and for the better. I made a decisive decision and Fiance quit drinking. It hasn't been long, or easy. But he's trying, and that's all I ask. He's clear for the first time in years and he's saying things I've wanted to hear him say for years. It took a considerable amount of strength to do what he did and say the things he's been saying. I love him so much, I'm just so glad that he didn't give up on himself. And that it didn't happen too late.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I didn't go to work today.  I just didn't feel like dealing with people.  Well, I guess that's not exactly true.  I went in for 30 minutes to grab something to work on at home.  Fiance took today off and drove me so I didn't have to stand in zero windchill weather.  The way it is at work, if I show up for a least a few minutes, showing an effort, then I don't have to take a sick day.  I'll be honest though, I did intend to do work but I couldn't focus.  I ended up working on my blog pages and facebook.  I'm so unproductive but I really need to be working.  I have a year-end report due at the end of the week, half a book chapter due by Wednesday (well, actually today but moved it) for the other contributor to review before it has to be submitted Friday, another partial book chapter due Jan 15th, and a seminar series to organize which starts in 2 weeks.  I'm so unmotivated right now.  I'm also wasting time looking for a reliable used cheap vehicle and apartments.  I can't afford a car but I have no choice if I'm moving.  I haven't really figured that part out yet. Too much to think about.

I need a vacation from my vacation.  Between two flat tires and having to replace all four around Christmas, Fiance's stepdad passing away right before Christmas, the 4WD and ABS breaking on the way home from the funeral, dad getting pneumonia, mom getting a bad cold, and fiance problems I'm exhausted.

For two days at least there was nothing that went wrong.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went extremely well. 

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Well, as you can tell I haven't posted pictures. I'll catch up on Monday.  I've been dealing with other things.

My chest hurts, my stomach muscles hurt, I tried to eat but I felt nauseous.  I look in the mirror and my eyes are bloodshot with bruises under them.  It's all from crying so hard, and crying almost all night.  I slept on the sofa last night.  I couldn't bare to be in the same room with him.  It hurt too much.   My cats haven't left my side side for the past 24 hrs.

It took only 3 days for him to break his promise.  I can't handle these ups and downs anymore.  I feel lost and broken.  The decision I made kills me and tears me up inside.  But I told him how it is and why it is.  And my timeline for change.  I made myself give a deadline this time.  More for me than him.  I've been with him for over 13 years.  Almost half of my life.  I feel like I'm losing my life right now but the way it is now, it's not healthy for either of us.  Yes, the good times are getting more frequent than the bad - but the bad times are really bad.

I'm just so torn up inside I don't have words.  I'm not going to think about the deadline.  Hopefully he'll get it together and I won't have to let him go.  I know he loves me which makes this so much harder.  We both have things to work on but we can't work on anything until he gets himself under control.  Maybe it will be okay.  Maybe my world won't be ripped away from me.  I'm not going to think about the deadline - I can't handle it.  What happens the next few months is up to him and I can't control it so I'm choosing not to think about it.  I'll live my life everyday as if the deadline doesn't exist and we'll see what happens.

I'm just so tired. And so incredibly sad.  Love, no matter how strong, isn't always enough.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Project 365 (1)

I read a few tweets today about a Project 365. I'd never heard of it before so I looked it up. Apparently, the idea is to post one picture everyday so at the end of the year you will have a record of pieces of your life in pictures. I like the idea, mainly because I love photography. It's a serious pastime of mine. I also like the modification Preppy Chemist decided to use. Post a picture everyday, but it doesn't necessarily have to be from that day. Mainly, this takes pressure off of me if I get busy. I don't want to post a random picture just because I feel I have too.

So here is my first picture. I know the date says January 2nd, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so technically for me it's still January 1st.  It's not a beautiful picture, or even a good picture, but one I took with my BB on an experience today. D.H. my cat, stomped on my laptop to get my attention.  In the process, he hit a magical combination of buttons that flipped the orientation of my laptop upside down.  Only it wasn't just the screen that was reversed.  Everything was, including typing and the way the mouse moved. I had to use another computer to google how to fix it because restarting didn't work.  So this is what I was looking at this morning, wondering how on earth D.H. managed to do something I didn't even think was possible.  Notice the Start bar is at the top of the screen, upside down.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Common Sense of a Woman Scientist

There is a short back story behind the title of this blog.  As I've mentioned before, I work in academia.  I'm not a post-doc, faculty, or student anymore.  I don't want to call it administrative, but it's an odd, blended position given my background.  A bit of research, teaching, and administration combined.  I'm happy where I'm at but unclear about my future, which I'm okay with. 

One thing you need to know about me is that I've taken a non-traditional track.  I worked years in a research laboratory setting and decided to step outside of the lab and move onto something else, but stay in academia.  This was a foreign concept to all the faculty in my old department.  They didn't know what to do with me.  As a result, I've been blazing my own path. 

The people where I work now aren't sure how to handle me.  I can't be categorized which I like.  I have an odd position.  I socialize with the faculty and the administrative personnel.  As a result, I see things from everyone's perspective, and I often understand it.  I get along with everyone.  I'm the only administrator with PhD from a research laboratory setting.  I'm defining my own role.  

It does have it's drawbacks however.  I've learned that a lot of people (i.e. researchers and other academics) take themselves and their research too seriously.  Many of you know what I mean.  I may get along with them, but I have a different attitude than most of them.  I also have a completely different  background than the administrators.  As a result, I don't always feel like I fit in anywhere.  I like that I'm unique in my position, but it also sometimes leaves me feeling out-of-place.  No one there can really relate to my situation.

Luckily, there is one person there who I get along with very, very well.  She has my attitude, even if she doesn't have my life experiences.  I've been able to talk to her, and she understands my motivation.  I'm looking for happiness in what I do and my life, not specific career goals. 

And finally I get to the title of my blog (I guess this wasn't a short story after all).  She was in a meeting with some investigators and came into my office almost bursting.  What she had to tell me doesn't really matter, it's what she started her conversation with "You are the weird exception. Most educated, smart academics have no common sense." She summed up my feelings quite nicely, so I chose to use this perspective as my title.

Again - enjoy.

Image Goddess


Welcome to my blog.  I was going to try and write a nice, articulate description of what this blog will be, when I realized I really can't.  Because I don't know.  Basically, I'm a woman in academia, recently graduated with my PhD.  I've entered a new phase in my life, which I feel justifies a new blog.  I don't feel the need to repeat myself, so you can find why I'm doing this in my old blog post "Time for a Change".  And you can get a good understanding of where I'm coming from, the new stage of my life, from my old blog post "I Am Free".

This is a place for me to talk not only about my experiences in academia but in life, now that I'm no longer a student.  I've been in school my entire life, now I'm experiencing the world from a different perspective.

If you stick around, I hope you enjoy my journey.

Thanks - Image Goddess