Thursday, September 20, 2007

Moving Day

As of this morning, you are now at the former home of On Being a Scientist and a Woman. That's right, I've got a new home in the cyber-world. From here on out, I'll be blogging at

I debated whether to accept the ScienceBlogs invitation. I don't want to appear a sellout, and I like the community feel of women in science blogs on Blogger. I'm a bit anxious about the greater risk of being prematurely "outed" now that I'll be playing in a higher visibility arena.

But greater visibility is ultimately what makes the ScienceBlogs invitation so enticing. I've been blogging here for almost two and a half years, and over that time I've probably had at least a dozen readers thank me for writing this blog, for talking about the real issues the women grad students, post-docs and professors face. My hope is that on the ScienceBlogs domain, I'll attract some readers who otherwise never would have found me - young women who wonder what it's like to write a dissertation while combating morning sickness and older men who wonder why they hear soft wooshing sounds coming from behind the closed door of their new woman colleague's office.

But I also fervently hope that you, my current readers, my friends, will follow me to my new cyber-home. You've been an incredible source of encouragement and support for the past two and a half years. Without you, I can honestly say, I don't think I could have done it.

Update: Just a little announcement to let everyone know that the RSS feed now seems to be working for the new website. To subscribe click the RSS button on the upper right or enter: into your feed reader.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Mommy Monday: the Pup and the Babe

Last week I opened up the Mommy Monday request line, and I'm putting all of your great suggestions in the queue. First up: "I'd love to hear how Minnow and Princess Pup get along :)"

We weren't too worried about bringing home a baby to the Princess Pup, although we did study up on how to acclimate a dog to a baby, and we are careful that they are never in the same room alone together. But the Princess Pup has always loved little kids - they are just the right height to lick. Licking, especially the face, is the way that Princess Pup expresses her affection.

And lick is what Princess Pup likes to do to Minnow. Every time Minnow enters a room where the Pup is hanging out, she'll get up and give her a few kisses. Mostly Minnow puts up with it, although sometimes she turns away if the kisses get too slobbery. When Minnow has her pacifier in her mouth, Fish and I let the kisses go, but if the kisses are getting a bit French, we'll intervene. Basically, the pacifier (and hiding against Mommy) are Minnow's defense against the Pup.

For her part, Minnow likes to try to pet the Pup. We are trying to teach her to pet with an open hand and not just grab a hunk of fur. The Pup has learned to quickly scoot out of the way if Minnow starts to get grabby. I actually wish she'd stick around a little more so that I'd have more opportunities to demonstrate proper petting technique with Minnow. So the Pup's defense against Minnow's grabbiness is her greater mobility. We've also been enforcing a couple of "no petting" zones around Princess Pup's bed and her food bowl while eating. Even though the Pup is the sweetest dog imaginable, we don't want to push our luck.

We had a problem for a while when Minnow would fall asleep on the car ride home from daycare. When Fish would carry her into the house still asleep, Princess Pup would come bounding up with kisses and a very jingly collar. We quickly learned to put the dog out back and take off her collar before bringing Minnow up to her bedroom to continue her nap.

The Princess Pup's greatest pleasure (besides sleeping on our bed) is going for walks - and we pick our neighborhoods in large part based on the dog-friendliness. Minnow has been on dog walks with us since she was two weeks old, and now, even when she is fussy at home, she'll calm right down in the stroller and silently stare at the trees, grass, people, and dogs for a half-hour or more on walks.

The funniest interaction between Minnow and the Princess Pup occurs around the water bowl. Minnow has decided that the water bowl is a great toy, and now that she has the concept of object permanence, she'll suddenly, spontaneously stop whatever she is doing and scoot across the house toward the water bowl. If she gets there unchecked, she proceeds to splash merrily in it, soaking the floor and herself. Meanwhile, Princess Pup hovers nearby hoping to sneak in for a drink of water without getting splashed.

Princess Pup is not so young (she's nine) and it'll be interesting (and maybe a little sad) to watch the relationship between dog and child evolve as they each get older. I wonder whether Pup will continue to be so patient with Minnow, and whether Minnow will have memories of an active Pup or just an old dog. Cognitively, too, it'll interesting to watch Minnow approach and even overtake Princess Pup in skills like understanding vocabulary. I've always argued that having a dog is like having a perpetual toddler (they need help making meals but not eating, going to the bathroom but not holding it in, communicating their desires but not understanding your commands). I wonder what the relationship between child and dog will be when they're equivalent to two toddlers cognitively and a toddler and a grandparent energy-wise.

But for now, they keep my hands full and each other entertained. What more could I ask for?


This week's installment of Mommy Monday is indefinitely delayed, because a whole list of other things is converging to make a very sleepy, very stressed ScienceWoman
  • Our anniversary dinner was great - but the payback has been a b*tch. Minnow's had three solid days of horrible gas and poops and inability to sleep. Hence the sleep deprivation on my part.
  • Teaching: write lecture for tomorrow, write study guide for exam, write practice exam and assignment
  • Research: work on draft of first grant proposal, correspond with people on others
  • and the usual stuff that eats up time (pump, meetings, errands)
Hopefully, I'll make a good dent on some of this today and I'll actually get to post tonight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Help my research!

I'm looking for readers that live in Hawaii, Florida, or the Caribbean to lend a hand with my research. You'll have to venture outdoors in your neighborhood or city and then stick something in the mail. Depending on how close you live to an appropriate site, it shouldn't take more than 5 to 30 minutes plus a trip to the post office. In exchange, you'll get to find out who I am and what I do. I'll pay you back for your postal costs. And you'll get some token of my appreciation.

If you're interested in helping and you live in (or are visiting) Hawaii, Florida, or the Caribbean, send me an email.

Update: Thanks for the volunteers. If you haven't already gotten an email from me, I think I'm covered. I'll let you know if I need more help. You all are great!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The best and worst day of my week

Wednesday mornings I've been staying home with Minnow. It's my morning to sleep in until she wakes up, enjoy some mommy time, take a walk with the dog, and maybe introduce a new solid food. Minnow usually takes a 1.5 to 2.5 hour nap, and that's when I grab a quick shower and then try to be as productive as possible on my laptop. When Minnow wakes up, depending on the time, I'll feed us lunch or not, and then take her to daycare. I usually arrive at school around 1.

I love my mornings at home. They recharge me.

But they also stress me out.

By the time 3 pm Wednesday afternoon rolls around, I am a basket case. I've got a lecture to prepare for the next day, undoubtedly some new administrative demand, and the ever present desire (and need) to get some research done. And I feel like I just lost a whole lot of time. Even though I tell myself that I really only lost about 3 hours and that time with Minnow was totally worth the lost time at work, I find myself wondering how long Wednesday mornings "working at home" is going to be sustainable. At what point in the semester am I going to say that I just can't give up a morning? And after I do give up a Wednesday morning at home, will I ever go back to them?

But I *know* it's worth it. She's growing up so amazingly fast and time is just flying by. She gets a bit caught up on her sleep (she doesn't nap well at daycare), and I get to watch her play. She's so independent - pulling everything off her shelves and crawling after objects that catch her eye. And I won't be able to do this next semester when my teaching load is heavier. So I should just enjoy it while I can and not let Wednesday afternoons beat me up.

Remind me of that next week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Teaching Tuesday: Students, Technology, and Being a Nice Person

Oh, internets, help me with a Teaching Tuesday quandary.

I'm teaching a large intro-level course, mostly to non-majors, and mostly to freshmen. They recently had an assignment due. The directions were given on Blackboard, and they were supposed to submit their work on Blackboard. The nature of the assignment was conducive to submitting digitally, plus I didn't want forests clear-cut unecessarily.

Recognizing that some students come to university decidedly un-tech -savvy, I repeatedly told them that they need to make sure they can access Blackboard. I referred to the university tech support line numerous times. I told students having difficulty that they need to call the tech support people or try a different (campus) computer. Any student that emailed me prior to the night before the assignment was due was also given step-by-step directions from me or other help in getting their assignment properly submitted. (Usually it's just been a matter of them not figuring out the blackboard interface.)

So, why am I not surprised that the morning the assignment was due, my in-box was clogged with submissions and a few people tried to turn in a paper copy in class. Freshmen, sigh, they just can't seem to follow directions.

So, my question is whether and how much I should penalize students who turned in the assignment to my email or on paper. I didn't specifically say that I *would* penalize them, but I also did say (in bold on the syllabus) that the assignment needed to be turned in on Blackboard.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mommy Monday: Moving Up

I haven't got much to say for Mommy Monday this week, because my brain has been fully consumed by preparing for lecture, a reading & conference session, and my research seminar for tomorrow. Teaching Tuesday, indeed!

Have I mentioned that she's pulling up on things? She'll even pull up and then stand leaning against a table and pick stuff up with her hands. But she hasn't yet figured out that if she's holding on to something, she can move her feet and actually move sidewards. Often, one foot will step a little, but the other is firmly anchored to the ground. It actually reminds me of rock climbing...when you've got all your weight on one leg, your hands are in decent positions, and you've got to move the weight bearing leg. You know you can support your weight on your hands/other leg, but your mind just doesn't want you to move the anchor leg. Or maybe that's just a problem I run into. :)

Does anyone have a request for next week's Mommy Monday? What would you like to know more about?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Blogroll clean-up

On the rare occasions that I clean up my links, I am always amazed to discover how many blogs have gone out of existence in the past few months - either removed completely or simply not updated anymore. And then there are the resurgent blogs, ones that I assume are dead, but can't quite bear to remove from my blogroll, that suddenly have new life breathed into them.

But along with the demise of some blogs, I know there are a zillion more good blogs that have come along, full of energy, ideas, wittiness, good writing, or a fresh perspective. And I can't keep up with all of them.

So I need your help. If there is a blog that belongs on my blogroll, please leave me a comment and I will be sure to stop by and add it to the list. If you are a regular reader here and want to be on my blogroll, by all means, leave a comment on this post.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Rockin' Girl Bloggers

Eons ago there was this meme going around the blogosphere, and I got honored, but I didn't play along. Not because I didn't want to, but because I just didn't have the energy/time/hands-free all at once. But tonight, it's time to thank Elli and Addy N for calling me a:

Thanks! It's always nice to get a compliment.

And it's also nice to pass it along (plus, it's the rules). So here are five more rockin' girl bloggers:

Am I a Woman Scientist?: I love her mission: "I am on a global quest for that egalitarian utopia in which I can work in blissful ignorance of my gender. " She's navigating the crazy world of research funding and publishing in a foreign country. And in a foreign language. Plus, she's pregnant.

Mommy/Prof: A new-to-me blog that I found through someone's rockin' girl awards. Another mom trying to get tenure while breastfeeding. Right now she's getting ready to submit her Notebook and whipping the new graduate students into shape. Oh, and joining the PTA.

Twice: I found Twice through Addy's awards. Mom to twins, just back from sabbatical, and taking on the facebook generation and the Dora generation all at once.

Dr. Mom: The first woman-scientist blog I started reading, but she made me laugh so hard today that she just has to get an award for surviving last night. Her latest post starts out: "There are many reasons that I love my job, but I never thought that avoiding vomit and excrement would be one of them."

See Jane Compute: The second woman-scientist blog I started reading and another new mom. Jane obviously cares deeply about her students, especially the women. I love how she celebrates computer-free weekends, which, given her field, must be something of a rarity.