Real winter finally arrived in St. Louis. It's about time.


public service message

A heads up any of you who might be considering going back to school. A Lady Scientist had a good post about choosing an advisor, and I have to say it echoes my sentiments exactly. I made a bit of a compromise on location for grad school so that Adam & I could live in the same city (in the past our record had been 6 consecutive months in the same zip code. In 5 years). I wouldn't have thought it at the time, but now I think I actually lucked out, because the person I'm working with is shaping up to be a fantastic mentor. Totally accessible but completely hands-off, good feedback and editing (sometimes too good...), and a good role model for what I consider to be two crucial elements of graduate school: 1. critical thinking skills, and 2. learning how to read through reviewers' comments on your work completely unemotionally and weed out the useful from the junk.* 

I mean, we're biologists, so there is very much of all of the requisite social awkwardness involved in it all, but that comes with the territory.  

My greater point is that you should go and read her post because she hit the nail on the head. And I think it is something to consider for a lot of other types of endeavors as well, including job searches in other fields. We can all get so caught up in the shiny glitz of status that it can get in the way of what is best for our personal and professional well-being.  

* i won't go on & on about it, but learning to weed through criticism & take the good and ignore the bad is a skill that I still do not posses, but one that I really need to work on. You have to have a good anchor down in your own sense of the worth and direction of your work, otherwise every comment from a reviewer will send you (me) off into a tailspin of doubt.  



in the mean time

I'm headed back to Brooklyn to see my very bestest this weekend. Rejoice!
I'd threaten to never come back, but in all honesty, I'd be out of money by Tuesday, so I might as well stick with my flight reservation on Sunday.

In the mean time, I've pulled a few things together to tide you over.
A few items that need no introduction.



civic duty

The thing about twitter, is that it is short. Short, and convenient.
And by convenient, I mean instant-access, which we all know is sometimes good, but usually bad. Especially when it comes to broadcasting the thoughts in your head to thousands fifteen people.
But there it is.
And, because the format is so short, it is great for all those little thoughts and ideas that are really too short to qualify for their own separate blog post, but too ephemeral to remember and catalog into one larger post. But sometimes (lots) all my thoughts are short & suddenly everything is going to twitter, rather than blogger & I wonder why I have a real blog at all.

But my point is that these past 2 days are proof why the blog & twitter worlds are separate, because if you are unlucky enough to follow me, you would have been subject to something along these lines:

-jury duty. juuuury duty. waiting.
-still waiting
-day 2. bah.
-the endless waiting of jury duty is eating my soul
-and now, on to day 3.

I guess my point is just to say that that is where I am.
Stuck in a room with a few hundred of my fellow STL citizens.

To stop me from any more complaining and to remind me that both Uncle Sam & Obama want me to do my civic duty, my dad sent this along: (hilarious!)


Just so we're clear on this

I did not put the dog bed next to the space heater. She did that all
on her own. Heat seeker.


getting to those resolutions

So, what's the big deal about vanilla-vanilla cupcakes, you ask?

Oh, not much. Just that they are vegan.
And filled with tart cherry preserves.
Also: delicious.


if you're going to do it, you might as well go all the way.

From: me

To: my dad
Oh, not too much happening around here.
maybe you've noticed, but it is COLD. everywhere. all the time.
i have cabin fever something fierce.
and it is the lazy-making kind of cabin fever where i am so antsy at home but i can't generate the will to go anywhere else b/c it is so cold and so dark.

wer're going to look at a couple of houses this weekend. i am torn between being excited and enticed by all the deals out there and my typical knee-jerk reaction to the idea of purchasing anything over $50-- which is stubborn refusal and an elevated heart rate.
anyway, i think A's biological clock is ticking. he is in nesting mode. he wants a house, wants 'to build equity', wants a workshop & new cabinets to hang.
i want to stick my head in the sand and rent for the rest of my life b/c it seems less risky & waaaay less responsibility.
I guess it is a good thing that one of us is aspiring to adulthood.

i just re-read that paragraph and realized how crazy i sound. ha. i think i might rip that whole passage off and blog it. but be assured, you read it here first. i'm not recycling blog posts into emails, just the other way around!



Dear internet, please tell me I am not the only one curled up on the couch at 6:30 on a Wednesday, trying to decide between continuing to nap, starting to drink, or eating myself out of house and home.  

Every year I go through a small bout of what I like to call my February Doldrums.
Only this year, it seems to have started in January.
I blame the cold.  And the dark.  
And the broke-ness.
But it is always cold and dark in January.
And I am always broke. 
So what gives?  Why do I have a persistent sense of dissatisfaction and mild grumpiness?

I have a whole list of little fun projects and big important work that I need to be attending to, but today I came home and it was so cold in my house that I had no choice but to sit down on my couch, with my jacket, hat and scarf still firmly in place, and watch the end of Charlie's Angels until I warmed up enough to make a cup of tea.  Charlie's Angles! I despise Cameron Diaz and her shockingly evident ribcage.

I'm not trying to be picky.  I'm not wishing for 70 degrees & sunny.  I just want it to be warm enough to take my dog for a walk in the park before we both lose our minds.  I was trying to take a bath yesterday and she kept barging in to the bathroom and sticking her head over the rim of the tub until she'd had enough of my dallying and threw her toy right into the water. Lovely.

I know it is cold where you are as well.  I'm wishing you warm thoughts, hot toddies and a seat by the fire until this cold snap breaks.  Then, we can all meet in the park.  I'll be the one running in circles with a jackrabbit on a leash.


when's my next party?

Because honestly, can you think of anything more fun? 




Originally uploaded by gigirose


big plans for 2009

1. More yoga.

2. More cupcakes.



... deep in the folds of my brain is a long philosophical post about the highs & lows of 2008, and how I like to memorialize all I accomplished in the past year, rather than establishing unattainable & stress-inducing goals for the next one. However, instead of getting to finally writing that this weekend, I worked on our finances instead. Probably more personally productive, but you don't get much of a window on my brain that way. So, I'll just give you a primer.

The highlights of 2008 are basically as follows:

- decided to switch to Ph.D. track, a decision fraught with much emotion, hair pulling, long talks with husband, introspection of biological clock alarms & big deep breaths and pep talks that I won't blow this opportunity.

- brief, yet meaningful, obsession with 43 folders that helped me get a grip & reevaluate my list-making. the key element: I am allowed to keep my grand "Projects" list, but I am not allowed to look at it every day. Instead, every day (or so) I must create a list of things that can actually be accomplished in a day/hour/fifteen minutes. "Create presentation for conference" cannot be done in one hour. "Outline presentation" can. Viola. I'm crossing things off lists like it's my job (well, not presently, but I will get back on the horse soon).

- mind blowing realization that I associate productivity with being stressed. As in, if I am crossing things of lists like it's my job, but I am not walking along the cliff of an anxiety attack, then I must not be working hard enough / be obsessed enough with work. Do you see the paradox in this? I did not, until one day this fall when I was being particularly productive and stress-free (for like, all of five minutes, but still) but I had this nagging feeling that I realized was the phantom limb of stress. This is crazy making, this obsession with stress. I got so caught up with it that I began to think of it as my baseline condition. I am working hard to beat back this tendency.

- it is hard to admit this to oneself, but in 2008 I had to face the cold, hard reality that sometimes I am a big brat. Mostly to my husband. It is something I am working on. It is humbling.

- accepted that I don't just bike for the smug sense of superiority it gives me. No, I am actually happiest while on a bike. Therefore I need to be on my bike more often.

So, what of 2009 you ask? I'll save that one for tomorrow.


starting 2009 with a whimper

After spending all of yesterday recuperating from my overly enthusiastic consumption of Rose Champage the night before, I am here to report that today's effort level is also startlingly low.

Today has gone a little bit like this:

-wake up. stare at ceiling.
-roll over. "listen to the news" in bed
-stumble to coffee maker
-eat breakfast, get half dressed
-seriously consider going back to bed
-stumble around for a while
-RIDE TO WORK! the crowning achievement for the day.
-check email
-read blogs
-check email
-get coffee
-open & print document for editing
-decide to read some papers instead
- fall asleep with head on desk (no joke. it's insanely quiet around here this week)
- check email
- eat lunch

here's hoping the rest of the day works out a little better.
Happy Friday!

.. i'm working on a 2008 retrospective... more soon.