Saturday, October 20, 2018

Parents' Weekend

Me to a pair of middle aged parents who have shown up for 8 am biology: "And where are you visiting from?"
Them: "San Diego."
Me: "Oh, that's a lovely place to live. What do you do there?"
Dad: "I'm in plants."
Me, internally: I would NOT have predicted THAT!
Me, externally: "How nice! I really enjoyed the botanical gardens last time I was in San Diego."

(If you know where I work it's even funnier.)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

American Horror Story

Last night I had a dreadful nightmare and woke up in a cold sweat:

I dreamed our new health insurance had no out of pocket maximum.

(I only wish I were making this up.)

Monday, October 08, 2018

Ten-Minute Blogging: Flail, Flail, Flounder

Hello, I am briefly back!

I have gotten myself into a pickle next semester wherein I am teaching two lectures and four labs (yes, this is a totally unreasonable amount; no, I cannot now gracefully extract myself without making everyone angry, so, something to look forward to.)

My professorial partner in crime and I finished our outlining and grant-writing around Making This Class Suck Less - and it does suck less, even already!  I'm not sure the students really get the point - they mostly lack a frame of reference - but it will be better for them, truly.  I estimate I spent about 50 hours on it so far.  On the bright side, the front-loading was highly efficient!

Now I have several free hours a week without work to fill them...

Also, I'm still flailing professionally.  What am I even doing with my life?  Redesigning Science Course A to be more interesting and useful has starkly highlighted how Lab Course B (which I teach three sections a term of...) is... not any of that.  What's the point?  How much longer can I be cheerful about this darn lab? I feel like the answer is 'a very short time' and it's time to bow out.  But slowly.

A colleague has mentioned to me the possibility of a future job opening and I am deeply conflicted.  Is it better than nothing?  How much?  I don't know...

Meanwhile, the kids are old enough that they have lessons and games and parties and social engagements and it's a lot of work

On that note, a bell just rang (literally), and I must go pick up the smallest child and meet the others for a social engagement. 

Yours in confusion until the next dispatch-


Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I am presently up to my eyeballs in just-in-time delivery of alligators, but I've been thinking a lot about identity formation. Partly because I proofread a friend's grant proposal a couple months ago, on identity; partly because a pal and I have started our own teeny tiny Sunday/Hebrew school, mainly to form a progressive Jewish identity in our kids; and partly because, for Reasons, my job has suddenly changed a great deal and its content now aligns better with my professional identity and corresponding values around science. (I am happier, but... this is just a little too much. But not bored! Nope, not even a little.)

(This is to remind me to write about it later, like after my grant is due...)

A brief anecdote, thought: I was with a group of women pals at the park, ignoring my children, and a pseudoscience topic came up. Let's say it was... essential oils. This person is a Licensed Llama Herder, which takes a good four years of higher education after a bachelor's. I said something to the effect that studies showed real essential oils and synthetic, fake essential oils had indistinguishable effects. "Well, I've seen them really help sick llamas sometimes," she said, "and besides it can't hurt, right?" And in that moment I realized  that, although Llama Herders take many years of science classes, they don't have what I consider a science mindset: that physical phenomena and living things have testable properties, and that if the data show it doesn't work, anecdotes don't mean it works only sometimes. That's not how any of this works.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

English is Hard

A propos of the upcoming Gender Studies Picnic:

Dr. S: "Remind me... so sex is biological and gender is....?"

Me: "A social construct, dear."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Beginning of Term Goals

  • I will prep for the following week's classes at least one day in advance
  • I will work some weekends (the online class tips it over the edge!)
  • I will buy more packaged food when it's convenient
  • I will figure out what is going on with the Competing Possible Jobs by December
  • I will sort out what is wrong with Bad Ear, so help me. 
  • I will strike a better balance between "bored" and "on fire" than I am currently enjoying, which is best described as all fire and no boredom. 

Friday, August 17, 2018

GOOD EVENING and welcome to your insomnia! Please choose as many causes as apply:

  • Drank coffee one minute after 3 pm
  • Didn't drink enough coffee
  • Had dessert
  • Stomach hurt, didn't eat enough, now too hungry to sleep
  • Stabbing pain in stomach, not otherwise specified
  • Ear is maybe going to explode
  • Ear isn't going to explode, but you wish it would
  • Afraid to take effective medications because everyone is a fucking idiot about statistics
  • Afraid to take effective medications because of the risk of accidental combined overdose
  • Afraid to take effective medications because already so sick
  • Afraid of catching norovirus from infected children 
  • Afraid of never sleeping again
  • Worrying about how many antihistamines you can REALLY take before doing liver damage
  • Forgot to take one of the antihistamines, probably
  • In bed trapped in a doom spiral about being sick forever
  • In bed trying to manage own complex care using only pubmed
  • Who knows, maybe aliens from space
  • Read the news this week
  • Read the news, now having flashbacks to asylum- interview translating
  • Worrying about youngest sister's abusive marriage
  • Worrying about dad's crabby retirement seclusion
  • Job inspiring feelings of trapped anger
  • Children inspiring feelings of trapped anger
  • Trump. Just Trump
  • Pecked by a macaw.