Monday, October 04, 2010

Blogging 3:1

Sleep seems to be "optional" for me these days. Don't know if it's age or a consequence of the aromatase inhibitor I'm taking. In any case, I don't sleep that well. But at least I used my "free time" to catch up on twitter. A tweet from AbelPharmboy led me to this article about science blogging by women in Seed magazine. It shows that in the blogosphere,
Despite the fact that women are getting science PhDs in nearly the same numbers as men, they are blogging much less
I have a simple theory about this......time. Maybe I'm just "time-challenged" but if I'm going to blog about something, I need to find the time to read, organize my thoughts and write the blog. This has to happen (at least for me) very late at night or very early in the morning. You see, when I get home after full work day at my science job (usually after picking the kids up from afterschool), I walk in the door, drop my bags and go straight to the kitchen to make dinner for the family - SciDad, SciYing and SciYang. Now that SciKids both have homework, this is happening at the kitchen table while I'm cooking. When dinner is over and SciDad cleans up the dishes, I'm getting dessert. Then the kids go off to their thing, and SciDad sits down to do his stuff. I'm have school necessities, grocery lists, laundry needs, planning the next day's schedule, filling out all kinds of paperwork and forms for this and that (Girl Scouts, medical forms, school event tickets etc. etc) to handle. By the time I can actually sit down, there are work emails and such to answer or act on. If I want to read my RSS feeds, twitter posts or interesting blog posts, it's now 10pm or later. I don't usually get to bed until midnight and then it starts all over again early the next morning.
So I personally think part of the discrepancy in numbers of women blogging vs. men (and it's just my opinion) is that women with families don't have the time to blog. Many of the science women blogs I follow can have weeks or months between posts. If other women have a solution to finding the time, I'd be open to trying it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hitting my stride

Finally, I feel like I'm hitting my stride at work. I've learned an enormous amount about sequencing and targeted resequencing. I've got a handle on all the projects, what they need, where the problems are, and how to approach them. I have one manager that needs hand holding and one that doesn't. I've got a great group of 25 technicians who are happy and working hard. I feel like I'm contributing again to science which is really all that I wanted. There's a clarity in my thinking that was missing for the past few years. I don't know if it was part chemobrain or part being away from science but I'm glad the "fog" is lifting.
I also decided to play on the work softball team. I haven't swung a bat in 13 years, and it showed. But I had a blast and it made me remember how much I loved playing softball. Of course, it was 99 degrees and 90 % humidity and I almost heatstroked, but it still felt good. These are all the little parts of "me" that got lost somewhere in the last 10 years. I hope they're back for good.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Things have been fairly stressful at work. We are very busy, there are a lot of impending deadlines as well as large projects that are coming on line that we're not quite ready for. For the last two weeks there have been a bunch of emergency meetings, with messages on my phone saying "Things don't look good, come up for a meeting". In my position, what my group does somewhat dictates what the results will be, so the first place scrutiny is placed is with my group. When things are going well, it's great to be "the king"; when they're not, it's not so fun.

My biggest challenge these days is trying to manage the stress with a calm approach. I think what my life has taught me in the last few years, is that you have to take it one day at a time. Perspective is huge for me. The two people I work closest with go from crisis to crisis, like a sine wave. I can't do that anymore. I too want the kudos of getting a really important project through with terrific results and successfully competing against our closest rivals. But mostly, I want to be with my family, be happy, and live life to the fullest.

I hope this approach to life isn't perceived as "not caring" about my job, something I worry about in the environment I work in. I work very hard when I'm at work and most nights for some time as well. But ultimately, I won't define myself by my job - I never have.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Still Here

It's the wee hours of the morning and I decided to check back in with my blog. I want to get back to writing on this blog but quite frankly, most of the time, I'm not sure what I write is of any interest to anyone but me. Lots has happened since the last February post. SciDad is now in a high level administrative position - very exciting, but will take him away from the family a lot traveling worldwide, I had a bit of medical scare related to my tamoxifen treatment that required some outpatient surgery, we still haven't been able to finance the building of our new LEED certified house which is incredibly frustrating, we've hired a part-time nanny to help with the kids as well as errands during the week and I'm thinking about going back to doing some figure skating coaching. I'm trying also to help the Army of Women recruit for Breast Cancer Research projects but having trouble finding the time. Plus I'm turning 50 this year and with that comes all of those insecurities about aging. Should be a lot to talk about....even if it's just to help me sort it all out.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Today I spent writing parts of a grant under the gun - stressed. As I was emailing colleagues for information, fielding questions regarding the daily job I should be doing, and reading the 5th incomplete version of the grant to see where my initials have been put as owner of the words that should be there, I had this deja vu. Isn't this situation part of the reason why I left traditional academics in the first place?

At the same time, I just asked for my promised promotion from Instructor to Assistant Professor. Yes, I willingly demoted myself two ranks from Associate Professor to Instructor to take on my current job. I don't regret it in the least because I know I made the right decision in taking this job. But my ego tells me I should at least get back to Assistant Professor after all. But do I really want all the "stuff" that comes along with an academic position?
Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No......

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Army of Women

Today I'm going to one of the Avon Great Start Parties that they throw in preparation for their 3 day walk for Breast Cancer later this spring. I'm going to be volunteering at a table to sign women up for the Army of Women. What's this? It's a national effort by Avon and the Susan Love Foundation to sign up 1 million women who would be willing to participate in studies to learn more about the causes of breast cancer as well as women's health in general. Any women 18 years or older can join. So far 350,000 women nationwide have joined, including me! Many scientific studies are hindered by the inability to get together large enough groups of women to make a study's findings significant. And most importantly, you can choose to join or not join any study that you qualify for. You are in total control. Qualifications range from being in a certain city to being a breast cancer survivor or being a member of a minority population, for example. Some studies are questionnaire-based, others may ask for a biological samples such a blood. I've already been part of one that looks at the issues women face following treatment for breast cancer. These studies are all scientifically reviewed and funded prior to being accepted by the Army of Women. For those of us that have been touched by this disease, I ask you to consider joining this Army. For more information and to sign up, please go to: As a cancer researcher and a breast cancer survivor with a young daughter, I'm asking you to consider joining, for my daughter's generation and every women who will be touched by this disease.

Monday, August 03, 2009

There's humor in science - no really.

One thing I miss since leaving academia - science humor. Despite SciDad, who's wit often make me laugh, I appreciate the NCBI ROFL website, which I came across while reading A mad tea party's blog, where the wonders of scientific research are scooped from PubMed. Enjoy!