Wednesday, January 31, 2007

RBO Motherhood

  • 2 nursing bras is not enough. They are both wet all the time.
  • Sure, minnow may sleep 3-4 hours at a stretch if undisturbed - but my breasts won't let her go more than 2 without serious complaint.
  • Waking a sleeping baby is the worst thing in my world right now.
  • She's got her days and nights mixed up. At night she fusses and has to be swaddled to sleep. During the day she sleeps for hours with no fuss at all.
  • Princess Pup was initially curious but is now just resigned. She won't give me any kisses (licks) even when I am nursing with one hand and petting with the other.
  • Barking doesn't bother minnow at all - but clang some dishes or a door and she startles.
  • Trimming newborn fingernails is NOT easy. I managed to do 4 before cutting her. Writer Chica suggests we try filing the rest. When I work up the nerve.
  • It's amazing how little you can accomplish in a day when you've got a baby in your arms. Not that I really mind.
  • I'm already more efficient about showering and eating and such. Otherwise it just might not happen.
  • Today we've got to give her a bath. Yesterday I was too exhausted by the time we remembered it.
  • The biggest adjustment: Not having any control over my schedule and not even being able to predict it more than 5 minutes out.

Oops. You missed it. Too bad.
  • This post brought you by the sleepy daddy-sleepy baby duo

Monday, January 29, 2007

happy birthday, minnow

I'm so pleased to share that fish and I are now the proud parents of baby Minnow. Minnow debuted at 3:20 pm on Friday January 26th and weighed 7 lbs 3 oz (~3260 g) and is 20 inches long. Minnow is healthy and we are so happy.

I'll try to post more details at some point, but expect blogging to be light while I get the hang of this motherhood gig.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

still pregnant

Leaving for the OB's in a few minutes for my weekly checkup. The next time I see my OB I'll either be well into labor or past my due date. I'm hoping for the former. As some of my friends and I have been commenting on lately - how many times in your life do you look forward to being in pain?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Project pre-doc post-doc: The real story

I’m supposed to be writing up a two page status report on project pre-doc post-doc (PPP) that summarizes my original hypotheses, the experimental realities, analyses and expected products, and opportunities for collaboration. I’m struggling with getting into the writing groove – in part because this project has not really been organized or executed in an orderly fashion. So maybe it will help, before writing the real status report, to get the straight scoop off my chest.

April 2006 – I beg my advisor for a post-doc; he asks me what I’m interested in; I mention PPP as a possibility. Two weeks later I’m on the plane to a planning meeting – joining in the discussion when much of the experimental design for this large, interdisciplinary project has already been completed. In our original formulation, data from PPP were to serve as a pilot study for further experiments to be conducted this winter.

June 2006 – I travel to the research site where I find the project to be behind schedule and not ready for my instruments to be installed. Every day there are meetings debating/hand-wringing how to proceed. Usually these meetings accomplish nothing. I am absolutely exhausted (6 weeks pregnant) and manage to miss the one meeting where a plan is decided. I stay for a week and have to leave before my instruments can be installed.

August 2006 – I am informed that the original positions of my instruments were not properly recorded when installed, negating the first month of my data collection. It becomes obvious to all involved that additional experiments will not be conducted this winter, because they require me to have extended travel around my due date.

October 2006-Experiments conclude. I arrange to pick up my instruments in person when I am in the area in November.

November 2006- Instruments are retrieved; possibility for additional data extraction is considered; “incident” occurs; additional possibility is lost; data are jeopardized; chaos ensues.

December 2006 – Data are retrieved. I take an initial look at the data and I realize that in order to make sense of my data, I’m going to need a lot of other data from the other people working on the experiments. Data coordinator avoids my calls and emails.

January 2007 – I get in touch with data coordinator who agrees to arrange for auxillary datasets to be transferred to me. First such dataset arrives. I realize that there is a hell of a lot of number crunching to be done before I’ll have any results. Status report due at end of month. So is Mini.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Adjectival reviews

I've been soaking in a lot of music, movies, and books in the past few weeks, so I can't possibly begin to review them all, but I thought it might be fun to try to boil each one down to a few adjectives.

Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains (Mark Bowen): accessible, comprehensive, engaging, long
Mountaineering Essays (John Muir): inspiring, historical, picturesque
In a Sunburned Country (Bill Bryson): unerring, funny, evocative

West Wing Season 1: engrossing, frustrating, well-written, addictive
Lord of War: sobering
Idiocracy: indescribable, crass, dystopian, recommended
A Scanner Darkly: daring, dystopian, disappointing

Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple: worthy, engrossing, substantive

Guess this is just another way of saying that there's no baby in my life yet. That and I'm seemingly utterly incapable of doing any decent work or blogging.

Friday, January 19, 2007

calling on bloggy friends to cross your fingers

Mini and I are still here, pretending to work, at the office, and all that jazz. There are no bright lights that say s/he is going to arrive any minute, hour, or day and there are no medical reasons why Mini couldn't be happy as a clam inside me for another couple of weeks. But I just got a good professional reason that makes me hope that Mini arrives sooner rather than later. So for those of you still around on a Friday or that read this message this weekend, I'm calling on the power of the blogosphere to cross your fingers, send your thoughts my way, etc. -- hoping for a happy, healthy baby that arrives before her due date.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Question from a commenter

"Tethys...... said...

... I hope you wont mind taking a moment and helping me with an issue. I'm about to graduate w/my Ph.D. and am looking at post docs. I've been offered one in So Cal but think the salary is too low to live in that area. Can you tell me what you or anyone else might think is a good salary, its Orange County. Thanx!"

I've never lived in So Cal., so I have no idea how to answer this question. Can any of my readers help?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

everything but the baby

I'm now 10 days before my due date.Here are the blackout curtains I made to keep out the neighbor's flood lights. If there is a theme at all to the nursery, it's a primary colors/jungle theme. But what you see in this picture is about the extent of it.
When we pull the co-sleeper up snug against my side of the bed, I'll lose my nightstand spot. So the nightstand will go here next to the rocking chair and I'll have a place for a glass of water and a book.
Since we're planning to use the co-sleeper for the first couple of months, we've opted to use the crib as a changing table. The current crib sheet is one my mom used with my brother, but we just bought a couple of modern ones too. The boppy and the changing pad are borrowed from friends, and the quilt was made by fish's bowling buddies.
In other words, we're just waiting on Mini.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Restricting commenting

Due to a recent wave of comment spam, I've restricted commenting to registered Blogger users. If you would like to leave a comment but don't want to create an account, please email me and I will post it for you. You can find my email in the side bar. Sorry for the inconvenience.

maternity leave - my experiences so far and a call to help

I never paid much attention to maternity leave policies before I was pregnant. I suspect that most women don't. But we should. And what's more, we should advocate to make them better.

Here's why:
The federal family and medical leave act (FMLA) guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid leave after birth or adoption, to care for a sick family member or because of their own serious health condition. That doesn't sound too bad, until you pay attention to the fine print.

First, the leave is unpaid. If you are a low wage worker who is struggling to make it on her income as is (especially with all the additional medical and other expenses that a baby brings), how are you going to afford 3 months without a paycheck?

Second, who is an eligible employee? You have to meet all of the following requirements.
  1. Have worked at least 12 months for your employer.
  2. Have worked at least 1250 hours during the preceding 12 months (~25 hours per week).
  3. Be employed by an employer that has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
Those criteria exclude an awful lot of people. What if you work for a small business? What if you have only been working 20 hours per week? What if you changed jobs just before becoming pregnant or after you found out you were pregnant? Well, according to the federal government, you should just plan on coming back to work right away, because you are not protected.

As for me, while we've scrimped and save and could do without a paycheck for a while, I am not an eligible employee so I don't qualify for any leave. While I've been at this university seemingly forever, I was on a fellowship for my PhD. So while I received a paycheck from the university, I wasn't technically an employee until September. Hence, the FMLA does me absolutely no good. And it probably doesn't do many grad students any good, since here (and most universities?) restrict TAs and RAs to 20 hours a week or less, nicely excluding them from a lot of benefits including FMLA protection.

What about other policies and laws?
  • This state has their own version of the FMLA with a more generous protection. You don't have to work for your employer for 12 months - only 6. But that still excludes me. In fact, other than finishing my Ph.D. earlier and abandoning my last fellowship paychecks, there's no way I could qualify for any FMLA.
  • Some employers offer their own unpaid or paid leave plans. But at least at this state university there are no provisions for family leave other than the state FMLA plan.
  • Some employers automatically grant short-term disability insurance or offer it for their employees to opt into. Short-term disability insurance will give you ~2 weeks of partially paid leave, since you are disabled after giving birth. However, in my case, I had to opt into the insurance and there was a waiting period before I would become eligible for benefits. I didn't get to enroll in benefits until November 1 (despite starting employment in September) and the waiting period was 4 months. By March 1st, I'll no longer be immediately post-partum and thus wouldn't be able to claim the disability. So I didn't even bother to enroll.
  • California is the only state with paid family leave. They do it through their state disability insurance and pay you ~55% of your normal pay for up to 6 weeks with no requirements about length of employment, etc.. Finally, there's some reason to move to California. Too bad I didn't.
So where does that leave me? My only option is to use all of my vacation and sick time that I have accrued since I started the post-doc. Fortunately, we get ~2 days vacation and 1 day sick per month. So in the ~4 months I've worked here, I've accumulated about 90 hours of leave. (Of course, almost half that hasn't been properly credited to me because of paycheck screwups). I'm reducing my FTE to 25 hours/week starting February 1, which will get me ~3.5 weeks. Of course, if the baby arrives early or on time rather than almost a week late, I'll burn through that leave time faster because I'll still be full-time. I could have reduced my FTE earlier, but then I wouldn't accumulate all my leave this month. I could reduce my FTE more, but if I cut it under 20 hours per week, I'll lose my (and the baby's) health insurance.

So officially, I'll be coming back to work less than a month after my baby is born. But I won't really. There is a saving grace to my situation. Remember how I worked on the post-doc stuff while I was still a grad student? Actually, I did quite a bit of work (>3 weeks), including several trips, while I was being paid off my fellowship. Basically, I unofficially banked that time. I told my boss that I am using that time as maternity leave time, giving me another 6 weeks off. And because I have the most understanding and fair boss I can imagine, he didn't even bat an eyelid.

Thanks to the work I did last spring and this summer, I'll be taking ~9 weeks off when Mini makes her big appearance. I think I agreed to be reachable if the need arises (our project has very demanding funders) while I am on leave. After that, I'll be coming back part time for at least a while. We really want to avoid having Mini in daycare while she's so little, so I think fish and I will try to juggle our work schedules for a couple of months more.

But, while the end is reasonably happy for me, my experiences have really opened my eyes to the inequities of our family leave system. How can anyone expect a woman who has just had a baby to go back to work in a few days? (See the horrifying story at the bottom of this post for someone who's situation didn't work out as well as mine will.)

So it was entirely appropriate last week when I got a call to action from Moms Rising. I'm going to use this blog post to form the basis for my comments. Please share your own experiences and concerns. Here's what Moms Rising has to say:
Now the FMLA, even though it's unpaid leave and only applies to those who work
for bigger companies, is at real risk of being scaled back when it actually
should be expanded. As you may know, the current law is actually quite weak in
comparison to the rest of the world. A Harvard study of 168 countries found that
only 4 don't offer some form of paid leave for new mothers--Papua New Guinea,
Swaziland, Lesotho, and the United States of America.

THE LOWDOWN: After years of corporate opposition, the U.S. Department of Labor is now seeking comments on the FMLA as it reviews the law. The FMLA could be scaled back if supportive citizen comments aren't plentiful. We need you to put
your tennis shoes on for a "volley" of typing in support of the FMLA.

TELL THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO RETAIN & EXPAND THE FMLA: Submit your comments via e-mail to
*And, after you've sent in your comments to the Department of Labor, please also
post your comments and share any stories at
...We need as many mothers--and those who have mothers--to let the Department of Labor know the FMLA is good policy for families and businesses. Share your support for the FMLA, and any personal experiences, with the Department of Labor. Tell them the FMLA is a true success story that should be retained and expanded, not scaled back. Instead of reviewing a program which is already working well, the
Department of Labor should be putting our energy into expanding the FMLA to
cover more workers, and into making paid family and medical leave available to all.

SOME POINTS TO TALK ABOUT: Want to support the FMLA, but not quite sure what to say? The National Partnership for Women & Families has terrific detailed
information available for you to check out at And, we at MomsRising have some
talking points of our own to share:

- The FMLA is a good start, but we can do better. The ability for parents to
take leave without fear of loosing their job is important. That said, "Paid
leave significantly decreases infant mortality, while other leave has no
significant effect. This suggests that if leave is provided without adequate
payment and job protection, parental leave-taking behavior may not be very
responsive.... As a result, other leave does not have a significant effect on
improving infant health," notes an Economic Journal report. In other words, it's
paid family leave that makes the big difference.

- Instead of reviewing a program which is already working well, the Department
of Labor should be putting energy into expanding the FMLA to cover more workers (only 46.5% of private sector workers are currently covered under the law
because it only applies to those who work in companies with 50 or more
employees), and into making paid family and medical leave available to all.

*A special note about a common misconception regarding who pays for paid family
leave: Paid leave need not be a burden for business. In California, the only
state with paid family leave, the funding for paid leave comes from a small
employee paycheck deduction, not out of the pocket of businesses.

YOUR SUPPORT & COMMENTS ARE NEEDED: Please send in a note of support for the FMLA today to the Department of Labor at (And then also cross-post your comment and any stories on the MomsRising blog at


*Excerpt from The Motherhood Manifesto, Chapter 2: Maternity & Paternity Leave
(Paid Family Leave). You can read all of this chapter online for free at:

The OB put Selena on a fetal monitor, found out she really was in labor, and
then tried unsuccessfully with several different medications to stop the early
labor. Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early the next morning.
Their baby was rushed out of the room and up to the Neonatal Intensive Care
unit, Selena's husband rushed up with him, and Selena found herself alone in a
hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. She
had a tough decision to make.

After their son stabilized, Selena's husband James came back down to her room.
They had another difficult talk about finances and Selena's leave from work.
They couldn't afford for her to take more time off than the couple of weeks
originally planned, but both wanted Selena to have the most time possible to
bond with her son. With her son stable in the hospital, but not knowing how long
until he could come home, the choice was between Selena taking time off when he
was in the hospital or waiting to take time off when the baby was released from
the hospital and could come home. "There was no way we could afford for me to
take off more than we planned," recalls Selena.

They made a difficult decision: They decided it would be best if she waited to
take time off until the baby came home. So after Selena had the baby on
Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on
Monday morning. "It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life," she says
recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son and the rigorous family
schedule at that time.

Selena shares a fairly common experience with new mothers across America—one of financial difficulties and time stretched too thin with the birth of a child.
This experience isn't as common in other nations. In fact, the United States is
the only industrialized country in the world that doesn't have paid leave other
than Australia (which does give a full year of guaranteed unpaid leave to all
women, compared with the only twelve weeks of unpaid leave given to those who
work for companies with more than fifty employees in the U.S.). A full 163
countries give women paid leave with the birth of a child. Fathers often get
paid leave in other countries as well—forty-five countries give fathers a right
to paid parental leave...

Monday, January 15, 2007

here now...real post later

Just in case anyone was suspecting that I had my baby over the weekend, I didn't. On Friday afternoon I was so uncomfortable I was convinced that I would go into labor at any hour. But nothing all weekend. Just lots of time sitting around reading and watching football (Go Pats!), as now walking waddling more than ~50 yards is darn uncomfortable. We're meeting with our doula in 45 minutes to practice labor positions, but by this afternoon I'll be back to just watching the clock.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

snow day

What you can't see in this picture is that the Princess Pup has just launched herself 2 feet in the air to catch a snowball thrown to her. She loves the snow. So do I - when I don't have to shovel it. And I didn't this morning.

When we first moved to Utopia, we were told that it only snows here about once every 10 years. In the five winters we've been here, we've had snow the last 3. This winter it has snowed twice. It never lasts very long, but it reminds me how beautiful snow can be.

I'm especially fond of snow on trees. This is a view up from my back deck.For those of you on the east coast, where I hear the cherry trees are blossoming in NYC. Here's an explanation of how we can have a snowier winter simultaneously with you having a warm winter, and what might be behind it all: Is Mild Winter a Sign of Climate Change?

post-doc life: starting new projects vs. finishing old ones

I guess I've officially been a post-doc for almost 4 months now, starting on the day of my defense. In that time, I've managed to do the final edits to my dissertation, take care of some publication production issues on a paper that formed my 2nd chapter, and get my 3rd chapter revised and submitted for publication (as of yesterday). I've also done a lot of data processing and archiving for some datasets that were collected during my PhD but never used. I guess I could say that I've gotten good at getting things wrapped up and finished.

But starting new things? Like the bulk of what my post-doc is supposed to be about? I'm not so good at that right now. Sure, I've made small pieces of headway on the major and minor projects I am supposed to be working on. I've managed to do enough to meet external deadlines and to have something (small) new to share whenever I am asked how things are going. But I have not succeeded in really shifting my focus to the new project. When I have a couple of unstructured hours or days, I find that I still prefer to work on "old" stuff rather than new stuff.

I've been trying to come up with some excuses reasons for this phenomenon.
  1. The pregnancy and associated wanting to get old stuff out before baby arrives and not seeing the point to getting really involved in new stuff before taking maternity leave.
  2. I haven't moved to a different research group, so my boss (aside from being a cool guy) also has a stake in me getting my PhD pubs out and letting them occupy a significant chunk of my time.
  3. I didn't have any new data that were exclusively "mine" for the major project until early December.
  4. There's much more of a sense of professional accomplishment at the wrapping-things-up-stage than at the beginning stages of a project.
  5. Getting publications taken care of looks good on the CV - which is important when on the job market.
These reflections caused me to think about my experiences in contrast to that of the majority of post-docs - those who leave their PhD institutions shortly after defending, move somewhere new, and start a completely different project. I feel like my situation has some definite CV advantages (like getting the pubs out in a more timely fashion) and some big disadvantages (now there will be a bigger time gap between my PhD pubs and my post-doc pubs). My situation also has some work-life balance advantages (getting to work on PhD pubs during work hours rather than on evenings and weekends).

Now, four months into my post-doc, I'm definitely ready to dig in and fully immerse myself in the literature and data of my new projects. But I wonder how much I'll really be able to accomplish by the end of my post-doc funding. I'm pretty sure I can get a lot of data analysis done, but I probably won't get much paper writing done by September (even aside from maternity leave). And unless another year of funding miraculously appears, this means next fall I'll be experiencing what so many of my peers experienced on their first post-doc go-around: starting a new job with a lot of unfinished business hanging over my head and no dedicated time to do it. And I'm guessing that cycle starts, it just follows you for the rest of your career. Shouldn't there be a better way?

P.S. The Princess Pup has made a full digestive recovery. Thanks for your well wishes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

starting on a different foot

Yesterday I had a really productive day at work. Yes, I still work, even if the work-related blogging has been rather light lately. When I left in the afternoon, I was all jazzed to come in today because I am *this* close to getting that paper submitted. I got comments back from all the co-authors and I just need to make some minor text and figure changes and then I can hit the submit button. And I really want to do that because I want it done before Mini arrives and I've got a couple of job apps that are waiting to be mailed until I can add that paper to the "in review" heading rather than the (always suspicious) "in preparation" heading.

But last night I didn't get any sleep. The house was too warm, the belly was too big, and the dog is sick. And when she's sick she goes in and out of the house at half-hour intervals. All night long. Finally, at 6 am she didn't make it outside in time and she puked on the rug by the back door. The poor dog. So I got up for good. We've got a vet appointment soon, and I'm hoping that the vet can make her feel better or at least tell me what's wrong. I'm afraid it could be a recurrence of pancreatitis, which she had a couple of years ago and which could cause her untimely end if we're not careful about what she eats. On Monday, she snuck out of the yard while fish was working in the garage and he thinks she may have eaten a bunch of cat-food (high fat - the pancreatitis trigger) because of all the outdoor cats in our neighborhood. She was "off her feed" Monday night and Tuesday morning - just taking occasional nibbles for hours rather than wolfing it down. But Tuesday she seemed to be doing better - my mom took her for a multi-hour hike and she came home happy and hungry. By 2 am though...

On top of that, the other thing keeping me from work this morning is the weather. It rain and froze last night and now it's snowing. I haven't gotten any emails from S and she's not answering the phone. I'm guessing schools are closed, so if I do go into the office I'll be the only one there. And that makes me feel less guilty for starting this morning on a different foot than I had planned.

Updated to add: Nothing definitive from the vet ("digestive upset") but don't let Princess Pup have food today in case it is pancreatitis. Then tomorrow and Friday give her smaller, more frequent, even blander meals and keep an eye on her. Call back on Friday and let the vet know how she's doing.

After the vet trip, I dropped the Pup off at home and she looked so so sad that I was going to leave her. But I had to take the car to be inspected for proper installation of the baby car seat - which took an hour! (mostly waiting time). And now it's noon and I'm finally at the office. I have to work on my figures while I am here (network-licensed program), but I am going to try to go home as soon as possible so that I can be there for the dog. Plus, I am *so* tired.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

10 things I'll miss about not being pregnant anymore

  1. All the attention from friends and total strangers
  2. Getting to eat all the ice cream I want using the excuse "I'm craving it."
  3. Not feeling bad about not getting a ton of vigorous exercise
  4. Not doing housework because I don't want to be exposed to chemicals
  5. Rubbing my big belly
  6. Feeling a knobby part stick out from belly, rubbing it and having it disappear
  7. Feeling Mini's every kick, punch, and squirm
  8. Feeling her hiccups
  9. The sense of anticipation
  10. Knowing my baby is with me and in the absolute safest environment possible for every moment of every day

Huh, this list was a lot easier to make than the other one.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Random bullets of late pregnancy

  • I'm still here, just not managing to compose a decent blog post.
  • I'm now past 37 weeks, so whenever Mini makes her big debut, she will be considered full-term.
  • I'm now too big to comfortably watch dishes (belly gets in the way), do downward dogs, carry laundry baskets, or any number of other things that I used to take for granted.
  • I was looking at a picture of me from a couple of years ago, and I thought "my god, I was skinny." Then I realized that I simply wasn't pregnant when the photo was taken.
  • This weekend we got a lot of stuff ready for baby. We finally bought and assembled a crib - which we have decided to use as a changing table while baby is in the co-sleeper. We ordered a mattress that should arrive by next week. We went to Target, spent a $50 gift card and got a bunch of little stuff that we need right away (cotton balls, Lansinoh, random stuff).
  • The two things I still need to get before Mini appears are nursing bras (can't find a bravado that fits properly) and a diaper pail. And I can get both of those in town. I'll do those errands tomorrow. And I'm sure once we have the baby we will think of a whole lot more stuff we need, but that can wait for later.
  • I think the baby way have dropped. I can't see a difference, but I need to pee *all* the time and I'm finally waddling. In first time mothers, the baby can drop up to 4 weeks before labor, so it doesn't mean anything except that I am uncomfortable in different places.
  • At night lately, as I lay awake on my side contemplating whether another position would be more comfortable, I notice that my arms ache for something to hold. It's probably just that all my joints and tendons are loosened up, but it also feels psychological - like I am wanting a baby to hold in my arms.

Top 10 Things I am looking forward to about not being pregnant anymore:

10. being able to take a deep breath - though this seems to have improved with the baby dropping
9. getting clothing catalogs and not just recycling them
8. being able to go into REI and actually find something in the store that applies to my life. - My mom needed to go to REI this weekend, and I ended up just sitting in the car for 1.5 hours.
7. being able to sleep on my side without my ribs or hips hurting
6. caffeine without water retention, wine
5. sleeping on my back - I've been wishing for this one since about 12 weeks
4. being able to go more than an hour without a bathroom stop
3. not going through 10+ Tums every single day
2. not having people tell me "your life is going to be completely different." as if they were actually telling me something I didn't know
1. Having Mini!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2007: welcoming opportunity

Following the lead of my esteemed colleagues, I am adopting a theme for 2007, rather than setting resolutions. Resolutions seem so petty when there are themes to be seized. Plus, I feel like my life is pretty uncertain right now, and a theme seems much more comfortable than a hard-and-fast resolution.

My theme for 2007 is "welcoming opportunity."
  • I will welcome the opportunity to delight in the birth and babyhood of my child.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to redefine my relationship with my husband and my role in our household as we move from being a couple to being a family.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to explore other facets of myself that motherhood and a reduced workload allow me to discover.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to draw upon the strength and support of my friends and family and to give back to them as best I can.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to continue to do interesting research with people I really like.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to move on to a more permanent position or another post-doc.
  • I will welcome the opportunity to think about what a non-academic career might look like for me.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

While you were out...(women in science)

While many people went on holiday over the past two weeks, a few people kept their regular blogging habits going strong. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite women in science posts from the past few weeks, for those of you that might have had too much eggnog or champagne to catch them the first time around.

The inkling has a nice Q&A with Ursula Franklin, a metallurgist and Canada's first female professor. She sounds like a pretty cool woman: "Q: People have described you as a radical. Do you agree? A: I hope so. I think a radical means one can look and think without being prejudiced by existing structures, and remove what is unnecessary or atrophied."

Lab Lemming follows up on a series of posts about the difficulties of searching for publications by women who changed their names when they got married. This time he rats out Google scholar.

JF, over at A Natural Scientist (a great newish blog) shares modern fairy tales of misogony and good ole boys at work, relating the story of two faculty on the tenure path in her department. I'd share a highlight here, but the whole post is too good to pass up.

Lady Monchhichi continues to enlighten us on our scientific foremothers. This time she teaches us about Merit Ptah, an ancient Egyptian physician.

Dr. Shellie confesses about the boys who intimidated her in high school and college science classes: "When I went to college, my father warned me not to go to MIT, because the boys from Bronx Science would be way ahead of me."

FairerScience alerts us to an interesting essay about how girls are disempowered as technology users, and a commenter seeks volunteers to help wikipedia with their "women, girls, and technology" article.

And going out on a good note, Brazen Hussy tells us about the first six months of her post-doc. "I love my job. I am ridiculously happy here."

Welcome to 2007! May the women in science stories get happier, the job market become more fair, and each of us advance in the ways we personally and professionally desire and deserve.