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Well, when I leave work in a few hours, I’ll officially have survived the going-into-work-for-40-days-straight. Of course, the point of this was to have nearly all the work done for the paper that I would then spend January writing and editing. Of course, the Science Gods have other plans in mind, and something really cool has come up that, while being really cool, will require a bunch more work in January. I’m clearly never going to be finished with this job.

But it’s still finally starting to feel like the holidays. The parties and dinners with friends are wrapping up, and tonight John and I set off on the trek to Iowa, with the hopes that Chicago won’t have airport delays tomorrow morning.

All our Christmas shopping is done, mostly wrapped and shipped back home. A few packages that were delivered straight there are waiting for wrapping paper, and then everything can go under the tree.

Of course, before then, we both have to finish work, pack, and get on a red-eye flight and make it home! But the end is in sight! And it’s an official white Christmas end! Huzzah!

And the thing that I’m going to be celebrating most this Christmas is the advent of a NEW JOB!! That’s right, I was offered the job I really wanted, in the lab I really wanted to join, doing the research that I’m super excited about. And every indication I have about this new job as far as people and work environment and expectations and everything is good. It’s making me super excited. Gotta finish the new job first, but I can’t wait to start the new one, maybe in February or March. Huzzah!

I hoep you all get what you’ve been wishing for for Christmas, and that if you travel, it goes smoothly and safely.

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The holiday grind is gearing up, just as the work grind is slowing down.

Next Thursday, when I come to work for the last time in 2010 (not work for the last time, as I’ll be doing some off-site work, but actually, physically come to work), it’ll be day 40 of a no-days-off-since-early-November stint. Ugh. I could really use a day off!

And I’m so glad I get to celebrate the end of my last day at work by immediately getting on a red-eye flight to Chicago! (Now where is that sarcasm font when you need it?)

Because the last time I did that it was all fun and games. Including a call for medical personnel while we were somewhere about half-way between the Bay Area and Chicago. Yeah, fun and games.

Although my work-life balance is already out of whack, and I have basically no time to myself these days, I am looking forward to the next week or so of holiday parties. Tonight with Mark and Elizabeth. Tomorrow with a friend coming into San Francisco for the week. Thursday night with another friend. Friday to myself, just to be at home with John. Oh, and make tons of food for Saturday, which is the big annual holiday party thrown by James and Cara. Sunday is a smaller party with just us, James and Cara, and Nate and Shelly. And the baby, of course. Then there’s another two dinners next week before we leave.

Speaking of tons of food, one of the things I’ll be making Friday night is my traditional Chewy Molasses-Spice cookies. Best cookies ever. There are some ass-less moles wandering around…. Ha, I crack myself up. And John too. The rest of you don’t have to laugh. BUT! I’ll be guest posting that recipe over on the lovely Abby’s Bright Yellow World, possibly tomorrow, so go check it out!

I can’t wait to give presents and hugs and love to all my friends. I love finding just the right present for someone, and then getting to see their face when they open it. In fact, I’m so eager for this that I already gave John his Christmas present last Saturday. It’s a book that I heard about and knew right away that he’d love, and figured he’d need something to read while we fly home! And he loved it! Go me!

It’s a good thing I love my friends and family so much. This is the pick-up I need right now to get me through the next ten days–something to look forward to nearly each night. Something to make work not seem quite so dreary when I continue to come into lab for five days after the university officially shuts down for the holiday break. Yeah, research doesn’t do itself, sadly.

And although I plan to arrive home early, early, early Christmas Eve morning, have breakfast with my parents, then lunch with my in-laws, and then face-plant on a couch somewhere for a much-needed nap, the whirlwind of the next weeks is going to be worth it.

May it all be merry and bright!

I just planned out the next six-ish weeks at work, and it includes working about four of those six weekends. Including Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. Including Thursday this week. Not for long, but still.

I feel like I’ve been focusing so much on finishing up at the current job, and spending my free time either exercising or sleeping, that I haven’t had much time for myself lately. Probably why I’m also throwing posts together before collapsing in bed.

But here are some things I want to do, little things, when I have time time:

1. Finally write up my trip stories about Papua New Guinea, as well as Ecuador and the Galapagos.

2. Make an indentation on the stack of unread books on my bedside table. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of John’s comic books because the (a) don’t take brain power, and (b) I can read a few pages and put it down instead of getting sucked in and reading all night.

3. Work on some of the recipes that I’ve been reading and drooling over in the Fine Cooking that my parents send John for his birthday. They all look so fabulous and tasty, but the last thing I want to do when I get home at 7:45, sweaty from the gym and exhausted from the day, is start in on a big meal.

4. Find some new running routes, either by poking around online or by driving to some different locales and then just running. I know this kind of falls into exercising, but I’m thinking more in terms of the long, casual runs on the weekends. The ones that are about time and distance rather than speed, that are about getting out and enjoying the day rather than making it through a workout before the gym closes. Same goes for bike routes, though it’s getting cold so those are maybe a bit limited by weather, seeing as how they’re longer than a run.

5. This sounds silly, but catch up to where John is on a couple video games. He has a bunch, and I play a few of them, and it would be nice to, say, finish editions I and II so I can start on III, which looks awesome.

6. Declutter my house. It needs it and I need it. But then again, we’re looking to move in the next six months, so maybe I leave the decluttering for the packing and unpacking process? But I feel like I need some change in my living environment.

7. Spend some quality one-on-one time with various friends. For example, Cara. We see each other fairly often, but mostly with John and James in tow. It’d be nice to get in a girl’s night. Throw in Shelly and subtract one-third of the alcohol (she’s pregnant) and it’d be a pretty awesome time.

8. Go scuba dive for fun. I haven’t done this in Monterey in forever. It’s all been classes, which have their own rewards, but are not about me, underwater, blowing bubbles and making friends with fish.

9. Watch more hockey and college basketball. I’ve got to soak it all in for the next however many months before the summer drought (and baseball) settle in.

That’s it, off the top of my head, but I’m thinking I need to make some time to do some of this. Even if it maybe means a few less workouts. Or a few days longer at the current job. My mental health could probably use some or all of the above, just to make me feel happier and more centered and more grounded in my life.

1. My cat, who was the biggest Mama’s Boy until a couple days ago, suddenly wants nothing more than to cuddle with John. Instead of me. In someways it’s a relief from his constant neediness the moment I sit down, but it’s also a bit sad. My baby doesn’t love me anymore!

2. Work is making me so angry these days, mostly because I’m spending a ton of time correcting/working on some stuff that theoretically the person I asked for help should have done. And they’re the sort of person who you can’t yell at, or even tell them you’re angry, because they’ll take it personally and take retribution. And they’re in a position to take retribution.

3. Brussel sprouts baked in a bit of olive oil, some pepper and some salt are delicious.

4. My grandmother-in-law is back in the hospital, but doing much better, and they aren’t going to send her anywhere for awhile. Glad they’re keeping an eye on her!

5. John is going to Las Vegas for the day Saturday. I’m going to see family. We both win, in very different ways.

6. I need a good savory stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. My mom makes the best stuffing, but she says uses a different recipe every year. They all seem the same to me, and are so good.

7. I’ve been reading the comic Fable (highly recommended as a great comic story for adults), mixed in with the writings of Malcom Gladwell (interesting guy, great at getting a point across). Both a commentary on society in their own way. Both very good.

8. Tina Fey is really funny. Really, really, really funny.

9. In all the years I’ve bought running shoes, I’ve always bought them in some form of blue. My new ones are tangeriny-pinkish. I’m loving them.

10. (Geez, c’mon, I can get to 10, can’t I?) (Ummmmm…..) Peach tea is yummy.

11. Oh! Wait! Today officially opened the Stanford men’s basketball season, and Arizona opens tomorrow. Hockey and basketball are both back in my life–I love this time of year.

It’s been a long day.

Ten hours at work.

Most of it spent standing in a little box of a room, babysitting a big cranky machine that is being cooled to 0 degrees Celsius (that’s freezing, literally) by a tank of liquid nitrogen. And thus freezing myself.

I was feeling pretty beat when I got the following texts:

From James: Indian food with Cars and I?

From John: Indian food. I already said we’re coming.

How is it that he knows exactly what I want after a day like today before even I know what I want?

Genius. Or ESP. Take your pick.

I’d forgotten that one of the toughest things about NaBloPoMo wasn’t necessarily remembering to blog every day, but rather coming up with something to blog ABOUT every day.

Plus, today was a long day at work, though things are moving forward, so I’m not necessarily feeling motivated to do anything other than sit on my couch and eat dinner when John’s done making it. But I had a good meeting with my boss and some experiments are looking good.

Not much happened today. So some random thoughts as they drift through my overextended brain:

I didn’t make it to the gym today. I’d planned to run a couple miles. I blame work. Why is work-life-exercise balance never easy? And missing today means, since I skipped Sunday, I have to go every day for the rest of this week to hit five of seven days. Man, I wanted Saturday off too! But I’ve rediscovered a love of running that is really helping the process.

I did vote. Just not today. By mail. Several weeks ago. I wish there was a way to let the campaigns know you voted so they would stop calling and emailing and snail mailing and putting ads on TV and the radio and just leave you alone! I’m fed up with a lot of politicians in this country, but I voted, and I voted the way I always vote. Millions and billions of dollars in advertising didn’t change my mind. My party may not be the best, but I still think it’s way better than the other party. I’m sure you probably feel the same way too. So long as you’re reasonable about it, I have no issue with you, regardless of the side you’re on.

Mmmm, steak and asparagus for dinner. Made by John. For me. Mmmmm.

The Sharks lost to Minnesota tonight. On a 5-on-3 power play goal. But I’m still impressed with Nitty, our new goalie.

Our neighbor, whom we already suspected was certifiably crazy, apparently has a warrant out for her arrest. A policeman stopped us last Saturday to ask if we could verify that the warrant picture he had was, indeed, for our neighbor. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to look it over and determine why. WHY??? This is now a vague obsession of mine. And it would be really nice if she were kicked out. Or just moved. So I may or may not have mentioned this to our apartment manager. Whoops. Does that make me a bad person? Oh well. Maybe our neighbor shouldn’t have been so annoying at all hours of the day and night.

My cats are getting old. One is in the early stages of kidney failure. The other has diabetes. They’re both doing okay on a new wet food, high protein cat diet. I’m not ready for them to be anything else. They’re ten years old, but I still want them to be around for awhile.

Except, maybe can I get a dog too? Puh-lease???

So maybe can we move and get a dog? That’s the plan!

Hrm, so it’s been nearly a year. Maybe I needed a break. Maybe I felt like I didn’t have much to say. Maybe it’s been nice just to not be tied to posting. I don’t know what it’s been, but I just haven’t felt like writing.

So I’d been thinking for awhile that November NaBloPoMo might be a good way to get started again, and lo and behold, it’s freaking November all ready. Yikes!

So, I’m diving into the deep end head first.

Here’s some things that have occupied me since I last wrote:

December: A wedding and a 90th birthday in the family! What fun to get everyone together and celebrate throughout the holidays. Very joyous, although the 5 year anniversary of the date we lost my cousin did dampen the spirit a bit at times.

January: Another massive neck/shoulder injury. Ugh. Xrays, several specialists, and back to physical therapy. Happy times.

February: We found out that there was going to be a baby! No, not mine, but my best friend’s! So excited for her.

March: Massive last push for data in the lab begins and ends. I basically decided what would and wouldn’t be in my thesis and went from there. Not much sleep occurred.

April: The Cough of Death and thesis writing were not a good combination. Too much sleeping, and the rest of the time was spent writing. Thank goodness for cough medicine!

May: I DEFENDED MY FREAKING THESIS AND EARNED MY PHD!!!

June: I GRADUATED! ALL OFFICIAL LIKE! THAT’S DOCTOR SARAH TO YOU NOW!

July: Month o’ Travel! We went to Ecuador for four days and the Galapagos Islands for eight. Massive amounts of fun, and stories to come. Promptly upon arriving home, we drove the 18 hours to Wyoming for a massive week-long family reunion that my mom organized for her 60th birthday year. Then, as soon as I got home and did laundry, it was off to Salt Lake City for a conference. Ugh. But I did get to see a friend who lives there now. Oh, and a snake. Never going back. Ever.

August: Oh crap, you mean I have to find a job? Two interviews, two job offers. Neither is perfect, but both work.

September: Realized I wasn’t as close to being done with the old job as I thought. Another interview, again not quite perfect. Must I make up my mind?

October: Hrm, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel to finish this job, plus some exciting job prospects–two tentative job offers that I’m super duper excited about! Things are looking up! Except for that downer where my grandmother-in-law shattered her femur and got shingles and had an allergic reaction to morphine that swelled her throat closed. Needless to say, we traveled home for an emergency visit just to be on the safe side. She’s hopefully starting to recover. And I have two tentative job offers

Now: The San Francisco Giants won the world series. Huzzah! And I started blogging again. Huzzah!

One down, twenty-nine to go!

Yes, I know I promised trip stories, and they’re in the works, but I had to first take care of a ton of stuff upon arriving home–mail to sort, scuba classes to deal with, birthdays of friends to attend (gee, tough, that one!), getting stuff together for this festival I’ve been invited to attend in a month or so, getting things at work back up and running. You get the point.

But I do have a good excuse for why I didn’t start yet.

Because last night, I was celebrating! My first paper about some of my PhD work was accepted, after a round of editing and then a round of rebuttals about extra experiments. But accepted nonetheless! For publication! By me!

Huzzah!

There was champagne, and this morning was a little fuzzy.

It was lovely. 🙂

But yes, the stories will start soon.

I had my day all planned, and theoretically was going to be able to leave right after a meeting with my boss. I was going to go run an errand or two, then go to the gym.

Things never go as planned, do they? Especially in the life of a scientist. Especially one who is cloning.

*insert heavy sigh here*

But!

The good thing was, when I went to go move my car around 7:15 or so, who should I run into by Sydney!

She was also leaving work, and gave me a ride. We chatted and caught up–she’s been on three vacations lately, to Florida, New York and Puerto Rico, and has been pulling a lot of shifts at the hospital in-between to make up for it. So she’d kind of disappeared off the face of the earth.

Of course, we’re about to leave and disappear for awhile, but it was still nice.

And we’re definitely getting together when we’re all back in town.

So, things at work ended up working (just taking 3-4 extra hours), and I unexpectedly ran into a friend! Not a bad outcome, I’d say.

Hope you all enjoy your Labor Day weekend!!

It’s been an interesting week. Lots of random stuff going on, and all I want is a good night’s sleep.

All my co-workers are away for a conference, so it’s been mostly just me in the lab, with the exception of one or two other people. It’s been nice, but I’ve gotten some cool data that I need to talk to people about. And I have a kick-ass experiment in the works that, if it works like I hope, will be super kick-ass! But I have to wait until next week at least to get the results.

Also, the reviews came back for my paper, and provided I can answer the reviewer’s concerns and change/correct/whatever what they had problems with, it should likely be accepted. But there’s been no one to celebrate with in lab, even if the celebration would be for a not receiving an out-right rejection as opposed to an acceptance. Such is life. In any case, HUZZAH! Not rejected! (Yet.)

On the flip side of work, we’ve got a weeknight scuba class going on right now with a bunch of kids in it, which I’m super excited about. So lots of fun there, although I’m discovering more and more that I love working with our staff when Greg and James lead things, but Ben’s lack of logistical planning makes me want to climb the walls. Luckily, he doesn’t do much leading.

The sticky part of this class comes in when all these kids, and the other students, get in the pool tomorrow night and the staff could really use the four extra hands and eyes that John and I provide. Especially with Shelly ill and James out of town for a week.

However!

My parents are coming to town tomorrow and staying for a couple days during their Great Road Trip of Western America 2009!

As Amy pointed out, this is probably the first time they’ve been able to wander where they want and stop and look at all the little brown jobies (i.e. non-descript birds, or LBJs if you’re in my family) with Amy and I in the back seat fighting or being bored or complaining about something. Or at least for the last 25+ years or so. So I hope they’re enjoying it.

So far they’ve visited a lot of the northern states, and angled into California yesterday and today. They’re staying with my grandparents tonight, then coming down here tomorrow. So part of me feels an obligation as a staff member to be there in the pool and help out, and part of me feels that my parents are only in town through the weekend, and thus I should spend time with them.

Either way, I’ve been working on cleaning the house like mad. And either way, I’m super excited.

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