Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Hope everyone is doing what they want. Wishing all my readers a great year!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


You woke my kid up. I needed another 30 minutes of no child time. FUCK you for calling me when I"m on the NO CALL LIST!

Fashion - a dysfuntional something.

Warning this is going to be rambling, getting back into the feminist fray type post.

I have ALOT of things going on in my little head. They all relate to fashion and its impact on us XX chromosome carriers. These thoughts have to do with a series of incidents over the last little while. I will just list them in bullet format as I think they illustrate my inner conflict quite well.

  • I have stated somewhere in my archives that I think of myself as pretty. I'm pretty damn hot if I do say so myself. However, I am physically lacking in certain areas - I'm no DD cup size. This used to bother me, but not so much now. I'm happy with my body and my cup size. That's not to say having a small cup isn't annoying. Certain styles of clothing just don't look good or adjustments must be made because dress makers think that a person with a 26" waist totes has HUGE knockers. During awesome BIL's wedding, a cousin remarked that a particular lingerie shop carried awesome push up / padded bras. Without thinking I remarked that wearing padded / push up bras was against my feminist beliefs. EVERYONE was like WTF?? I think this whole idea that you must have cleavage to be attractive is bullshit and I don't give a rats ass to spend triple the amount on a bra just to let people think I have huge boobs. I don't. I am happy with my boobs, so is monkey and so is his dad. Yes monkey likes my boobs, they did fed him for over a year.
  • While christmas shopping for my niece, I totally annoyed the sales lady because I refused to by mix and match fashion type toys for my not yet 4 year old niece. Nor did I want to buy a kit that allowed her to make different types of lip gloss. Nor did I want to be shown anything remotely makeup / fashion typy. Why the fuck does a NOT YET FOUR year-old need to worry about make-up and clothes? I'm not saying I didn't love to dress up my barbie, I did. I was EIGHT!!!. Right now, all she needs to do is play with stuff that makes her creative, teaches her to ask questions, peaks her curiosity and imagination. NOT fucking CLOTHES! FYI she cared more about monkeys trucks on Christmas day than anything else. She made her aunty proud!
  • I was at swimming with awesome inspiring friend when I told her she inspires me to not give a shit about what I look like. Which really came out like I was implying she looks like crap, which is totally not what I meant (I know you know that JV!) My friend JV is a total surfer girl who put very little effort into fashion or makeup. She places more importance on who she is than what she looks like. I love that. I think a big part of my emphasis on looking good had to do with my inappriopriately placed emphasis on judging someone on their appearances. Putting greater emphasis on what they looked like instead of who they were. Consequently, I put emphasis on my appearance because I felt that was how I was being judged. JV really has changed me to a more balanced emphasis, I care more about who I am and who my friends are then what I or they look like.
  • I watched Legally Blond 2. I love Reese Witherspoon and the message that she is sending about not judging someone because they like fashion. Yet in the movie, she would make-over the not into fashion smart girls so they could catch a man. Again emphasizing that how a woman looks is more important than who she is. Whether you're the pretty one or not you get judged on looks. Basically I felt the movie was saying you have to look pretty, even if you're smart, too get noticed. But hold on, don't look too pretty because then you can't be smart. WTF!!!
  • Then I read the latest F-word blog post and Isis's latest post.To which I say I fucking hate fashion!!!!! and the color pink

I'm torn because I love fashion and I have to admit I had a love affair with pink. Yet I don't want my niece to be a slave to it. I'm torn because the idea that I shouldn't be judged because I am into fashion is an OK message to send but the idea that fashion doesn't matter is considered insane. In Legally Blond 2, smart lawyer wasn't noticed until she was made up, there is more pressure on moms' to lose that baby fat and be MILF because some how mothers are not inately not fuckable. Oxymoron since obviously I'm fuckable since I've fucked to have kids.

The idea that something has to be girly to attract girls drives me batshit crazy. Don't worry you can be sexy AND smart because you know, being sexy is way more important. NO! NO! NO! or that you can be SMART and sexy because you know whats the point in being smart if you're not sexy.

Yet the idea that being girly is somehow negative also annoys me. What is wrong with being a girl? Why is being girly such a derogatory remark? Being boyish isn't considered a bad thing. Which is when I realize that its the FUCKING JUDGEMENTS that piss me off. Its the emphasis on the appearances and image as apposed to who were are that is wrong. I love fashion because it allows me freedom to express who I am. I hate fashion because it put emphasis where it shouldn't be. I wonder if we put more emphasis on who are, like my friend JV, would we as a society have a better understanding of the complexity of people? would we finally realize that you can not label someone girly or not girly because those labels only touch a fragment of who someone is?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

It feels like its been FOREVER since I last posted, but according to blogger it was only 10 days. Yet 10 days in the blogosphere does feel like forever, especially since I have not been posting with any sort of regularity.

I'm taking some inspiration from DrdrA and will attempt a year in review, christmas lettery type thingy.

The year started off pretty stressful with Monkey starting daycare on-campus. Our campus daycare has a very good repuation, easily in top 5 daycares of our province, but monkeys first daycare was at the other Universities daycare and its the BEST. It is the Royals Royce of the daycares for Western Canada. On top of having go from that to a Mercedes Benz / Beamer type daycare it was also a pilot project. Instead of separating kids under 18 months, 1-3 years and 3-6 years, they have them grouped 18 months - 6 years. The pros of this are obvious in that sibling can stay together, less pressure for potty training, greater ability for youngers ones to be exposed to slighty higher skill sets. This last one is really great if you have an advanced kid, they can easily move up in their play / learning abilities. The other benefit is that for kids over 3, its a better adult to kid ratio. In traditional 3-6 groupings the ratio is 1:8, whereas now its 1:6. The con is that the younger ones can get lost in the shuffle as they would traditionally be in a smaller setting with a 1;4 ratio.

I have to say that the transition was hard for a number of reasons. Monkey was used to his original place and loved the kids. He had friends and had a hard time adjusting to the new center, but this would've happened regardless in that he would be moving into a new place when he turned 3. I had a hard time adjusting to all new kids, parents, care givers. Completely different system ie I had to bring in Monkeys food and diapers and take back the dirty laundry (Old daycare provided cloth diapers, all food AND did the laundry (except toilet training laundry -- Royals Royce I tell ya!)). Then the caregivers themselves were trying to figure out how this new grouping was going to work. How to work with each other as they had not worked together previously. Plus they had to figure out all the kids personalities and the parents. There were no systems in place, it really was trial by fire.
Eventually it worked out and monkeys is happy. Although the other place was awesome and had perks like being close to home. Having monkey with me on campus gives me flexibility in terms of after work life and gets me to work sooner.

Lab life is OK. I started the year with a committee meeting and a project idea. The project has hope, but between microscopes not working, Ab's fucking up and TAing my progress has not been as fast as I would like. Our awesome Lab Manager thinks I'm doing OK but I was really hoping to have more solid data by now. Being at the preliminary stage is really really frustrating. However, I am happy to report that lab life is OK because I am not moving fast enough. Not because of lab politics or crazy PI's. My PI is pretty freaking awesome. I LOVE her. My labmates are all pretty cool too. I enjoy going to work. If I didn't have to make an awesome crab bisque* and stuffed mushroom caps for Christmas Eve dinner, I totes would've been there today.

On the personal side things are at a steady state too. Which I am happy about. Mr.SM is back to being around and we've readjusted to living with each other. We both get stressed with the sheer volume of work we have between monkey, our careers and the house, such that we sometimes forget to be affectionate or appreciative of one another. We're working on it. Carpooling is helping with that. He's down in the office working on some analysis and I'm sitting in front of the Christmas tree, enjoying our house. We were up until 12am putting together the firetruck, so its nice to chill before the craziness that will be my parents house tonight.

Monkey is well a monkey. You've all heard lots about him and I need to save up stuff for his birthday post. He is very excited about Santa Claus and Reindeer this year which is fun to watch. And I let him help with the Christmas Tree decorations. Y'all are probably not aware of my anal retentive, must have perfectly decorated with gorgeous ornaments such that my tree looks like something out of a Marth Stewart Magazine tendencies. My husband and friends, however are. They were shocked that I let monkey help. Let me tell you it was HARD. I may or may not have re-arranged things after he slept. I will never tell.

The last semester has been go go go go, with the wedding, TAing and then Christmas preparations. The 30 minutes its taken me to type this, while drinking my chai, has probably been the first time I have been able to sit and just "aahhh" for the last month. I'm not going to bother saying I going to try and post more often as that would indicate that I don't try right now. I do think about, I just don't have time to get to a computer and sit. I'm thinking I should just start twittering. What do you think dear reader? would you follow me?

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Season's Greetings!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm the best mom EVER!

Not to toot my own horn, but I just purchased this for the monkey as a christmas gift. I rock! However, I did not buy it from Amazon because they suck.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Canadian Christmas Music

A friend of friend is in the this band. Since everyone else always posts you tube videos of cool music, I figured I would too!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wishing ScienceWomen well

Alice and ScienceWomen are closing shop. Although its a sad day for us in the blogosphere, I'm choosing to look at this as a lab mate moving on. Of course I'm sad they're gone and sad that I won't see them everyday. That sadness is tempered by my happiness for them. Its sounds like SciWo and Alice are in good places and are happy with where life is taking them. I wish them well in their lives and I hope you will go over and do the same.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I remember

On friday I had a call, as part of the women in science volunteer work I do, from a TV station on the other side of the country. They were looking for someone to do a post on Women in Science discussing challenges, change and the work that needs to be done. It was a mostly positive phone chat about how things have improved. When I hung up, CBC radio was playing a documentary on Polytechnique. It was an interesting juxtaposion for me. All I thought was not far enough. Not fast enough.

I remember.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I lied

OMG did I ever lie. Either that or I just am really unlucky in sorting out papers. When I first received the reports, I separated them (randomly) into piles of 5 as that were the number I was originally supposed to do per night. Hahaha that didn't happen, procrastination queen that I am. Anyway, I digress. The point is that on Sunday after marking 15 of the papers, I was impressed with how non-horrible they were. Most students were averaging >70% and I was impressed by the lack of nonsensical English.

Oh how I was wrong. So wrong. I just get the joy of marking all the bad assignments in the last batch. URG.

Killing. me. slowly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Media direction of Research Dollars.

I'm not a vascular person or an MS person, but this story in the Globe and Mail irks me. I read the original news article on Saturday, thought it was interesting and was looking forward to how the MS treatments would eventually change. I will note, that as I read the original newspaper article, I noticed there was no mention of the studying being published. I thought this was odd as normally news stories will make a big splash and state which science/medical journal would be publishing the study. I was impressed with the caution and restraint that the not-for-profit MS Societies were showing.

Now it appears that the MS research focus may change and significant dollars will go into what may or may not be a valid research avenue. I say may or may not because I have no experience with MS research, I know nothing of about the validity of the original paper. I have not read it. I do not know what is the basis of the methodology was, what are the peer reviews saying? How was the recovery defined? How long were patients followed?

What I find interesting is that the MS Society is putting money into this avenue, not because it can answer those questions or because a push by the MS research community but because of hype from a investigate news journal and a newspaper.

I'm all for open access to research; a researcher must be able to example to the lay public what is going on. However, I do believe that science policy needs to remain above public opinion. There is a reason why good policy does not make good politics. Good policy can be a bitter pill to swallow. Which is not to say this guy might not be on to something. He may, but the treatment needs to be well studied, repeated etc.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In Marking Purgatory Again

Though its not as bad this time around, only 31 reports and not many horribly written ones. I'm half way through my first batch and am taking break for some nice chai and to read some blogs. Must go back now.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thank you Mr.Bus Driver

Really, thank you so much. You are awesome!

Remember those beautiful shoes I purchased back in February? Well I needed to take them back to the store I purchased them from as the heal has already cracked in the boots and the ballerina slippers are falling apart. I don't know about you, but I do not believe Franco Sarto boots should have a cracked heel less ten months after purchasing them. Especially since I did not wear them during the 4 months of summer.

Anyways, monkey and I took transit to get to the particular store I purchased them from as I felt they should be thhe $55 to have the heel repaired on the boots. On the way back from the store, I left the bag with both pairs of shoes on the bus. I realized this within a minute of getting off, but it was too late to flag the bus down. I ran inside the house in a panic. Was the bag even in the bus? Did I leave at the bus station before getting on the bus? What if I left in the Gas Station when monkey went pee? I knew I had then. Frantically I called the gas station, the bag wasn't there. What do I do??? The lost and found for the company was bus company is closed.

OMG those are $300 shoes!!! I was panicking and not focusing on the solutions (which is uncharacteristic of me). I was so not thinking clearly when I grabbed the keys to our uninsured vehicle to try and catch the bus along its route, which I don't know. I drove the uninsured vehicle for about 7 minutes before realizing that I was being an utter and complete moron. $300 shoes were not worth the risking what could be lost if anything happened while I was driving uninsured. 15 minutes after leaving the house, I was home and focused on the solution. The bus stop is across the street from my house and comes every 30 min. There were 15 minutes until bus that dropped me off maybe returning in the opposite direction. If its not the same bus, we can ask the driver to radio the other buses. What to do while I wait? Look up transit company online to see if there are any 24-7 numbers. Yep, okay lets call that number and file a report. Find out that the next bus will be the exact bus that I was on. Run outside to wait for bus. The driver has my bag. Whew. Thank you sir! I knew there was a reason why I always let the buses in when I drive.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What would you say?

I do love my mother. Really I do. She was the first feminist I knew. Always told me to stand up for myself, never to depend on anyone etc. I just don't really like my mother. She is selfish, unforgiving and unempathetic. She can only see things through her lens and I don't know if I should just give up on her, or keep trying to see things from other perspectives.

Or maybe I get upset for no reason.

Imagine, if you will, an isosceles triangle. A three sided shape, with all points an equal distant from one another. Now imagine that my parents, myself and my inlaws all live on one of the points, all of which are a 45 minutes from each other.

The other night I was supposed to go with Mr.SM to my parents house for dinner. I was under the impression it was just my siblings and I going.

Mr. SM's grandfather has been in the hospital for X number of days due to illness P a consequence of event B. Mr.SM had recently gone to see his grandfather and we were under the impression that everything was OK. Illness P was mild and expected, grandpapa should be going home shortly. The day of the dinner, Mr.SM received a call from his dad, whose was worried because according to him, grandpa had taken a turn for the worse . My FIL did not understand what the doctors were doing and was confused as to why the family doctor wasn't going to the hospital. Mr.SM told me what the symptoms were that led my FIL to believe that Grandpa was getting worse. With the limited information I had, I couldn't determine whether it was serious or not.

Words can not describe what Grandpa means to my husband and his brothers. This man raised them, taught them about compassion, forgiveness, charity, love, respect. Every good trait that my husband has, can be traced back to the influence of his grandfather.

One look at my husband after that phone call and I knew I had to go to the hospital, located at the other point on triangle. I refused to leave the hospital until I spoke to specialist that had been called, as the nurses could not/were not able to answer any of my questions. It took >3 hours for the dr to arrive. 1.5 hours in and my husband thought I was being pig headed. I probably was. To be fair his grandfather was looking a lot better, but I was getting all sorts of different assessments from the family. No one could answer basic questions about his treatment, I wanted to know what was really going onMr. SM worried about whether my parents would be upset about missing dinner, he thought we should just leave as the dr wasn't coming and it wasn't worth upsetting my parents. I. Did. Not. Care. This was his grandfather. The most important person in his life until he met me.

I spoke to the specialist, I got the answers. Grandpa has some complications due to illness P caused be event B. The turn for the worse was most likely due to a blood clot as he has been sedentary in the hospital bead. The Dr. is putting Grandpa on blood thinner and thinks as long as they are able to keep complications to a mininum, there is a good probability that they can, Grandpapa will be OK. It will take time. He will be in the hospital for awhile, but he should be OK. Mr.SM came to pick me up after I had spent >3 hours at the hospital, then we went to his parents house, gathered to the family and gave the laymans summary. I answered all their questions and the look of relief on everyones's face at understanding what was happening was evident. We were all very happy and relieved to know this was not the beginning of the end, as was feared. At the end of this, I was tired and did not feel like driving to the other point on the triangle. I just wanted to go home.

I should point out that only Mr.SM and one of his brothers have a post-secondary education. No one is familar with anything medical related. I am the only in that family who would know, for example, that cold feet could indicate a circulatory issue, therefore lets confirm the other treatments are not going to adversely affect our grandfathers blood pressure. The rest of the family would just listen to the Dr and would not be able to connect the dots to ask the follow-up questions. The would not be aware of the alternative procedures to ask about the pro/cons of the treatment route being taken. The only reason I can, is because I have studied physiology for so long. It is the same in my family (the difference being my inlaws recognize and respect me for this ability).

I had called my brother prior to leaving the hospital to say I'm going to straight home. This morning my mother called "to ask about my grandfather". Right after she asked about him, her next question was to ask when I got home. She then commented "We did not start eating until after time X, had you called after you left the hospital you would've known to come over"

Now I don't know about you, but since she knows how much my husbands grandfather means to him, maybe she would ask how he was doing. Or perhaps she would think I am TIRED after being at the hospital. She knew that I was at the hospital as I had texted both siblings to say I was going to be late. She knew I was waiting to speak to a specialist, which is why she called this morning. All she cared about was that I missed her fucking ass dinner. If I was being so fucking ass stubborn as to NOT leave the hospital until I spoke to someone, that would be a pretty high indication that I am concerned about something???

I don't really care anymore. I care that I know Grandpa is going to be OK. I care that my husband is able to be relaxed and isn't freaking out that his grandfather might die. Mr. SM was so happy that I was pig-headed and stayed. Annoyed as he was at the time, he was grateful for knowing what was really going on. If my mom doesn't understand that, its her loss.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ramblings of a Scientist Mother

Okay, so its been God knows how long since I last posted. Well actually thats not true. I attempted to post last week from my iphone, but the app ate it. Its been a crazy semester so far, what with the 2 courses I'm TAing, the family wedding and the regular grad student committments. Thankfully the family wedding is over. It was full of the usual dramas and family politics (ie my MIL forgot to invite my sister to an important function), but overall it was fun. My awesome BIL is married to a most wonderful person and I am so happy to have her as part of our family. One of the courses I'm TAing is almost over and it wasn't as time-consuming as I thought it would. Yes it sucked having 2 of my 5 afternoons taken over, but the prep wasn't too hard taking only about 1-2 hours per week. The second course is half over, only one more assignment to mark but there are not alot of students.

Whats really been keeping me away from the blogosphere has been my science (other than the child). I am finally getting some cool and totally unexpected results. My images are publication quality and I finally feel like I can participate in scientific discussion as my knowledge base as expanded, mostly because my lab mates have been so awesome in helping me learn with journal club.

Life is good. I get hugely frustrated with Mr.SM, but its only because he's a workaholic. I think its a pretty good sign if the biggest problem we have in our marriage is my desire to spend more time with him. I would be a bit more worried if I didn't mind that he wasn't around. Too be honest my frustration probably is partly due to my workaholic tendencies. If he wasn't working so much, then I would be able to work more. I also find that when I am around my family to much, I get more frustrated because they have such regular lives, working 9-5 and weekends free. Yet when I spend time with my academic friends, people with spouses in academia who are also career driven I realize my life is not un-normal. We have chosen this life, both Mr.SM and I. My father thinks that if I wasn't doing my PhD, that if I was only working I wouldn't be this busy, but its not true. I would be trying to achieve and excel at my job, because that is what I am doing now. They just don't understand that I am ambitious. Eh, what can you do.

I apologize for the rambling, unfocused post, but I just needed to get random thoughts out. I've been keeping up with reading blog posts, just not commenting :(. Eventually I will get back to a more engaged level of participation. Right now I feel like one of the slacker journal club attendees, you know the ones that semi-read the paper but never participate in the conversation.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Freaking fruckin apps!

I just spent 15 mins writing a post on my iPhone with the blogger app and it got eaten. Sorry folks, you'll have to wait for an update:). Ooh but did any of you watch V. I saw bits, it's PVR'd and looks good!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

iPhone blogging

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TV excitement

I love Glee and OMG they're redoing V!!!!!!


things are busy, but well. The wedding is coming up fast, which means family politics, stupid issues and frustrations are sprouting up everywhere. I am trying not to give a shit and not take things personally but its hard not too. Especially since hubby gets really really defensive when I say "your mom's is a hypocritical idiot sometimes!!" Yes I know not the nicest thing to say, but its better to vent to him than freaking out on his mom. Plus if he simply agreed and said "yeah I know and I love how you always just ignore it and I love you for looking past those annoying tendencies of her" life would be much easier.

Got cool data at work. yeah! if only I could get a scholarship so I didn't have to TA and could spend more time in the lab...I never thought I would say those words.

Not doing to shabby in the hockey pool.

that is all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Prison Break Preschool Edition

We had an incident yesterday where my little monkey decided to wander off without telling anyone. He was found just outside of the building and all is well that ends well, but I am still recovering from the feeling of having my child vanish. He's bee cuddled alot yesterday and today by mommy. To lighten the mood, I've decided to finally tell y'all about that time he escaped from daycare..


I may or may not have mentioned before that my little boy is the stereotypical boy. Fully obsessed with trucks, cars, dirt and all things bugs. He must have his McQueen at all times. From the toilet to his bed, a car or truck must be in his hands. At daycare, if there is no truck out when he arrives, he will hound and hound the caregivers until they bring out a truck or car.

One sunny morning this past summer we walked into the yard and there were no trucks, cars, ride-ons or bikes in the play-yard, ditto inside the center. I asked the Center Supervisor what was up with the lack of typical boy centered toys and she responded that she would like my monkey and a couple other stereotypical boys to expand their play, as such she wasn't going to put out any trucks, cars, ride-ons or bikes. "Okay, good luck with that" was my doubtful response. I dropped off monkey and went to the lab

I ended my experiments early that day and instead of enjoying some quiet time to myself, I decided to pick my little monkey up early. I drove over to the daycare, parked the car and walked upto the center. I was a bit confused as it was sunny, definitely past snack time yet the playyard was empty. This is strange I thought to myself, and proceeded to walk into a center that was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. As soon as I was seen, a very frazzled and upset caregiver looked at me and said "I need to talk to you now in the office now". WTF! I thought to myself as I quickly started looking for monkey. All the other caregivers quickly jumped up to say "he's here eating snack, he's OK". Okay, what is going on? I walked into the office and found out:

My child had escaped. He broke out of the daycare.

He had been casing the fences all morning, eyeing the trucks in the other play yard. He had is eye on the prize and all he had to do was figure out how to get that truck. He watched the care givers to figure out their habits, found the smallest gap in the fence - between the building and the end of the fence. Now he just had to wait for the perfect time. It was after nap, when everyone was busy with getting the kids peed and fed. He snuck out of the center into the yard, quickly to the fence before anyone saw him. Squeezed himself between the fence and the building, yeah "I'm in" he thought as he ran to the truck in the other play yard!

Except the caregiver for the other center was watching the whole time and busted his delinquent ass. She brought him back over to his center, freaking everyone out that he had gotten out, hence the quietness. All the children were lectured on the importance of telling someone before they went outside.

Normally I would be quite upset at the situation, but after talking to the caregiver it was very clear that this was not something that had happened before on her watch, she was very upset and was not taking the situation lightly,

This next morning we arrived to the center to find wind chimes on all the doors. You have to love it when your child instigates new policies.

Oh and I asked the Center Supervisor if she was happy about the new ways monkey found to play. She responded that all the trucks, cars, ride-ons and bikes that the center owned would be put out for monkey.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I"m totally frustrated

He had two accidents in less than 2 hours in public. The second one I can take the blame for, as it had been about 1 hour since his last accident. But the first one? I had JUST taken him to the toilet. He swore he didn't have to go. Not even 2 min later he was peeing in middle of the kids book store. Seriously!!! FUCK!! FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know I can't force him to pee and I normally don't get mad at him for having an accident, but he just refuses to give a shit and it is really really really getting under my skin. He has complete control, he knows he's supposed to go potty in the toilet. But he is refusing. I don't want to punish him for having accidents but seriously he needs to indicate to me when he has to go.

I try so hard not to get mad, to not turn this into a power struggle but fuck it is hard.

Friday, September 18, 2009

is it too early for Doritos?

Scholarship application is due Monday. I need to give a rough draft of my proposal to advisor today. I am presenting in Journal club this afternoon and had to present in lab meeting yesterday. I didn't think it would be too hard as I had put a proposal together for my committee meeting earlier this year. Except do you know how hard it it to pair down a 5 page proposal to 1. hard..

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Inspiration or Despiration?

I made a resolution to try and submit something for Scientiae every month as I really do believe that its a most awesome carnival. Unfortunately, due to the crazy semester I have coming up, I am not going to be the most articulate.

Normally every new semester is inspiring. Its usually starting new classes or projects, coming back from some time off so I am relaxed and have "fresh eyes" to look at a problem with.

this semester, not so much. This semester is feeling a bit desperate, but I'm going to try and put a positive spin on it.

Its Canada people, we're straight up here

My SIL is from the "old country" and plays those stupid idiotic old school indian politic games. Me, I suck at them. She drives me fucking banana's. I used to think that she wasn't the brightest bulb in the bunch, but had a good heart. Now I think she's a total selfish bitch. Which really really sucks because I can not be fake. At all. If I don't like you, I don't talk to you.

My MIL is also old school. Normally I can deal with such stuff, but sometimes she pushes my buttons, gets me to agree to things I'm just not happy about.

I"m tired, i'm frustrated and I don't want to see my SIL tomorrow and I have too.

Sorry this isn't very clear, but unfortunately its a combination of not knowing how to explain indian family dynamics to a mostly non-indian readership and not wanting to reveal too much.

I hate politics. I am a straight forward, non-passive aggressive person that can be slightly opinionated. I hate dealing with the passive aggressive, hidden meaning type people..URGHHH!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

WTF Mekentosj???

You seduced me with the easy of your Papers program, the sweet discount you give for students and the fact that you recognize enabling a license to be used on two computers makes sense, since not all of us of have laptops we have a work and home computers. Why then are you charging me $14.99 to have the iphone app? I knows it only $15 buck but I'm a starving student paying $1000/ month in daycare, my ass is broke! Can't it come with my original license or is this some Mac money grab?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Out of the fry pan into the fryer

The summer is slowly coming to an end, which means that single motherhood is also ending. As happy as I am about that, it feels like I'm jumping from the frypan into the fire.

The start of the new semester means the beginning of the comprehensive countdown. Our department chair is very adamant that students write their comps in time. He strongly believes meeting the set deadlines helps keep students on track, the advisers and committees accountable, ultimately enabling students to graduate in reasonable time. I totally agree with this. I am terrified of my comps. I am terrified of the amount that I have to learn, how little I feel I have learned in the past year. I have less than 8 months, which just does not feel like enough time to learn so much.
On top of the having to prep for comps, I am TAing two courses this semester. My scholarship runs out at the end of the year and I have no idea if I will win another one. Since I only want to TA one course next semester (as that will be the hard core comp prep time), I need to double up this semester to make up for the lost income of my scholarship.
So I am in the early stages of comprehensive prep and TAing two courses while raising a kid. Definitely puts the hold on any plans for a second child. If this wasn't enough, totally awesome BIL is getting married this semester and I have been asked by him and his fiance to help with the planning. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, I have often mentioned that BIL is freaking awesome, is always there to lend a hand AND will drive around the entire city to find me sushi after I give birth. I could not say no. Since traditional punjabi weddings are week long affairs, to say that the planning process is intensive would be an understatement. Its prime indian family politics! Suffice it to say that blogging will continue to be light, probably until I am in the midst of hard core comps studying and will need the breaks/encouragement.

I do promise to post the story of my little monkey breaking out of daycare in the next few days and will try to keep up with his antics. He is getting too smart...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Confession from a Skinny One

I just read Mrs.Spits post Clique and I couldn't leave a comment. I couldn't leave a comment because I was reading that post and thinking but they're thinking the same thing! I couldn't leave a comment because I read Mrs.Spit to inspire me to be a better person. A more caring, considerate person. A person more like her. I read what Mrs.Spit has gone through, what she is going through and I think, I could never so gracious in that situation.

Dear Mrs.Spit,

I am probably one of those woman that you would consider:
tall and skinny and are seen as "achievers" within the organization. They are movers and shakers, and can wear whatever they want. A skirt that lands mid calf has never daunted them, and they've never tried on something and looked like a teal patterned stuffed potato.

I am that woman. The skinny one that looks good in anything, eats whatever she wants. Confident, smart, happily married. Apparently I am part of the "it" group. Hmm, then why don't I feel comfortable? why do I feel like I will get laughed out of the building if I say the wrong thing? That I am not accepted for who I am but who they think I am?

Well that is what everyone keeps telling me anyway. Apparently I am articulate and well spoken, and carry myself with class. Really?? Because every time I open my mouth I think its either coming out as very mousy or very bitchy. I am clutzy and so not lady like.

Oh and that whole looking good in anything. Totally not true. I have no boobs or hips. How I wish I had boobs and hips. The mid-calf skirt, sure we can wear that but all anyone will see are my stick legs.

Oh and you're hair. You're beautiful curly hair. How I wish mine wasn't such a frizz ball!

My point is Mrs.Spit is that we all have our insecurities. We all have ways have dealing with them. We all have our amour. For me its wearing a nice pair of heels. For you its clothes and for others it may be jewelery. I guess what I'm saying is that you're not alone in your feelings. And those tall, skinny women are thinking the same things you are. They may or may not be better at hiding it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reality check Ms.SM

I've wasted an entire saturday. I was supposed to go into the lab, flip my fly stocks and do some staining since the monkey is with his dad. Instead I watched Miss. Congeniality, stupid TV, slept and now am watching the US National Gymnastics Championships. Total. Waste. Seriously, its after 6pm and I've finally taken a shower and changed out of my PJs.

Now I know your faithful readers will be like, you deserve this. Part of me agrees. I deserved to waste a morning, an afternoon or an evening. But an entire 12 hours where all I've accomplished is cleaning a house and laundry?? What about doing something for myself? Like going for a run? Doing a little shopping? or perhaps not playing iphone games for an entire hour? I guess I would be ok if this was one day but I'm not working smart. I work hard, but not smart and I need to work smarter, and if I'm honest a tad harder. I need to actually read science papers at work instead of blogs. I need to focus on doing the little things that make life easier, like folding the clothers while watching TV at night instead of sitting like a lump on the couch. That way I'm getting rid of the clutter in our small house, while still doing something I enjoy. Seriously fold the sheets is not stressful or work. Its mindless and easy to do while watching So You Think You Can Dance. I need to wake up at 6am and go for a run. I have to. My body and mind need it. I need to realize putting myself first doesn't mean giving myself an excuse to sit on my ass, but a reason to be efficient. If I had gotten off my ass and gone in today, I wouldn't stress about trying to figure out how to do it with the monkey on Tuesday. See taking 4 hours to do some work today would've saved me stress next week. Working smarter. Thinking about how to best use my time so that I am not exhausted and to tired to go for a run. Because if I don't start working out, my energy is just going to go down.

Sunday is a new week. I'm going to try and put myself first properly. Which also means letting myself waste a day without guilt.

What I did do today:
  • Clean the washroom - so much easier now that I use biodegradable wipes to clean on a daily basis
  • Did laundry
  • Tidied the house
  • Folded laundry
  • Cleaned my car
  • Relaxed!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A challenge to say the least

Many of you have read my first Scientiae offering which details why Summer is no longer happy happy joy joy for me. To add to the challenges, Monkeys campus daycare is closed for this week and the next. Taking a full two weeks off, when our microscope is finally up and running is not feasible, plus I work with flies. I'm constantly setting up crosses to obtain specific genotyps and doing dissections. With the genotype creation, its usually a series of crosses. I can't just put the procedure on ice. Oh how I miss cell culture!

What has my solution been? To bring the monkey with me to work. Which has been a challenge to say the least. However, what has made it feasible and non-stress inducing is that everyone has been supportive of me having him there. From my PI and my lab mates to other PI's and students in other labs. Everyone has assisted me in watching him while I start an experiment or have a discussion with someone about a science issue. I have also been considerate. I'm not coming in till around 10 am. I do some washes, set my primary and/or secondaries and then I take the monkey out for a long campus walk and some lunch. We come back for his stroller, what ever procedure I have to do and then off to walk him in his stroller for nap. I am physically exhausted, am not working at 100% but I am getting some stuff done, 1 experiment a day. This is what a supportive environment is about.
Not once has some grumbled that he shouldn't be here, not once has someone indicated that the mr should take time off. Nope everyone has been great about exclaiming the stupidity of closing daycare for 2 weeks in August. Its grant time for PI!

Anyway blogging will be lite for the next little while. Hopefully when i get back I'll remember to tell y'all about the time monkey escaped from daycare...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lazy summer days?

This is the first time I've been able to get it together for Scientiae, which I think is a tres awesome carnival. This month's carnival is being hosted by Abel Pharmboy and he's wondering whether summer is just another season for us or whether we're actually able to get outside and enjoy it.

This brings me to a confession, I'm starting to hate summer. It never used to be like this. Summer used to be my favourite time of year. I love camping, hanging out on the beach and just kicking back. However, since I've married, summer is slowly becoming the worst time of year. Why? Mr.SM is still involved with his family's business and summer is the crunch time. He is working almost 24-7. At least 3-4 times during the week, he goes straight to his parents after he's put in a full days work and he's gone all weekend as well. Most weekends he tries to take the monkey with him as he misses his son, but during certain times its just not feasible. With the mister gone so often, I'm in single mom mode. Which is fine, but now monkey is at an age where (a) he misses his dad (b) he misses his dad. He doesn't always understand why Daddy's not home.

Now I have to say the mister is really good at trying to balance. He always tries to get home before monkeys bed time and 9 out of 1o he does. He spends time with him in the mornings etc. Plus he's takes time on weekends to have a nice breakfast and coffee with us. But I miss him. And I miss doing the summer time type things like camping and hanging out at the beach. Yes I take the little one out to do it on my own, like many single moms out there. But I get tired and then I get cranky.

It is hard on our marriage and with a little one running around, its made it that much harder. Part of the reason its hard is that Mr.SM wasn't that involved when we met, while we were dating or even after we were married. He was very ambivalent about his involvement and I (sometimes I think stupidly) encouraged him to stay involved with something that was such a big of his life for so long. Now the business has grown much bigger than I ever imagined it would, yet not big enough to support us. He works so hard and gets little in return except for family appreciation and the enjoyment he gets out of working with his brothers.

I know I did the right thing by encouraging him to stay involved. I see how much it has improved his relationship with the siblings he wasn't close with and strengthened the relationships with the siblings he was close to. That is huge. You can not put a price on that. Its just hard. I want to be put first.

Oh well. Such is life. I think I'm just crankier then usual because our microscope has been down for over 2 months. Its crazy hot outside and I'm not moving as far forward with data collection as I had hoped. Troubleshooting seems to be never ending. I finally get one western working, then the second band I need to stain for doesn't work....I know this is science. This is how it works. I'm just tired. I need to study for comps and I miss my husband. Aaah lazy summer days.

I need some happiness:

  • We have a beautiful new backyard and those damn raccoons have be vanquished!.
  • We have a pair of awesome Adirondack chairs that are super comfy to sit in with a nice glass of wine.
  • We have a wicked garden, a beautiful house and an awesome little boy. (who escaped from daycare....)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Marking Purgatory

I am marking again. I need a break, so perhaps maybe you do as well? Well if you're at all geeky you'll appreciate this. I did.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Go Read and then link to Mrs.Spit

Especially if you're American. She has it down pat. DOWN PAT I tell you. And as always, she does it so articulately.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Breath in, Breath out, Breath in, Breath out

I have to remember that. Getting mad at monkey does NOT help with potty training. Its just OM FUCKING GOD frustrating. I just put you the toilet, like literally you just got off, I was digging for your clean underpants in the just washed basket and you let it rip onto the living room. WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I asked you to push for pee.

Banging head against the wall.

Breath in, Breath out. Breath in, Breath out.

You can figure out how to unlock my iphone but the whole potty in toilet you can't?? WTF?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blinded by the whiteness of it all

This week I asked readers to “delurk”, to give me an idea of who you are and why you read this blog. It was interesting to me that most of my readers are scienc-y types. Not all are scientists per se, but all have an interest in science, whether it be as students, post-docs, PI’s, or science-fi writers and gals just interested in science Which is cool because science is a big part of my life.

Funny enough, its not a big part of this blog. Yes I ask for help on lab things, from troubleshooting to figuring out how to manage my PDFs, but the majority of my posts are about the antics of my child. (Did any of you hear about this? I totally felt for the parents, as they have my childs' doppelganger. I had visions of monkey doing the exact same thing after reading it).

Yet, no one from the mommyblogging community comes here. I read the mommyblogs. They are what got me into blogs. My first readers, clicked through from comments I left on them. As I scan through comments on these blogs, it strikes me that the majority of commentors / blogger are white. When they have blogger meet-ups or talk about attending BlogHer its with they’re white friends. This is not to say that any of those bloggers in my sidebar are racists or even prejudice. Far from it, I believe them to be totally open-minded, everyone is equal, multiculturalism is awesome lefties. Yet when I read their blogs and look at the pictures they post, I can not help but think that I don’t belong. When I click through Canada Mom Blogs, I don’t see myself (as in someone that is non-white).

Which is how I feel about life in general lately. Despite living in city that is truly multicultural and where it is celebrated and embraced, when I walk into my research building. The racial diveristy that is so evident on the street stays on the street (or in the undergraduate buildings). Why has diversity stayed at the level of the street and not moved into the upper echelons? CEO’s, University administrations, professors these disciplines do not reflect the mixture of our communities.

Nor does the blogosphere.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Last replicate, Hahahahah!!!

In support of my dear bloggy buddy, Ambivalent Academic, I will explain that 2 week absence form thy internetz (not that y'all noticed)...

How many times do I need to remake a stupid buffer before realizing that the buffer is too viscous not because I am incapable of making a 50% glycerol stock. No no, that would be too easy. It is to viscous because I am unable to calculate how many grams of NaCl I need to have 137 mM in 100ml.

That would O.8 grams not 8 grams, in case you were all wondering. Stupid freaking decimal points. That only wasted a day and half.

I then proceeded work on doing a particular IP the last time. I figured out all the issues with my western blot staining (my secondaries were no longer working). I was very diligent on the experiment.
  • I calculated the protein concentration in my lysate
  • I ensured that I took out 50 ug of protein to run in my control lane
  • I calculated / double checked all my antibody concentration to ensure that it was all optimal for the pull down
  • I ran my gel super slow to ensure nice clean bands
  • I used fresh new antibodies solutions (took abs out of aliquots that I had shown work)
Yep I was very diligent, focused and was looking foward to a nice publication quality result.

And if blogger was working properly right now, I would show you an lovely Licor western blog, nice sharp bands, beautiful specific binding. It would've have been a beautiful publication image.

Except for those damn bubbles in the transfer...grumble grumble grumble. Expletive, Expletive Expletive!

As a side note awesome PI thinks its hilarious and pointed out all the useful data we were able to get from the experiment. Which is positive. Then she told me how she had to redo a western 6 times to get it looking nice enough for publication....

stupid transfer...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Protocol for peeing?

Monkey is in full toilet training mode. No more diapers, except at sleep time. Although it has not yet happened, what is the protocol if he pees in the middle of the store? Should I be carrying out roles of Bounty in addition to the multiple changes of pants and underwear?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

And you would be??

I have been wondering about who my readers are for the last week or two, so the relaunching of the who are you? meme at DM's place is kinda fortuitous. I think I am a science blog, so I'm considering myself tagged. I do science, but I tend to focus more on the monkey than anything else...

So who are you? Why do you read? Great to meet you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oh why hello officer! How are you today?

Actually that is not how I greeted them. Yes, two RCMP officers showed up at my doorstep this evening. I saw them approaching as I was sitting at my kitchen table. They appeared to be doing a walk around my house, which of course freaked me right out so I jumped up and ran to the door swinging it open, asking OMG why are you here? What is going on???

Which in hindsight probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. I mean seriously folk, if the cops are poking around the outside of your house and you didn't call them, perhaps you may want to stay inside.

Luckily they were just checking to make sure everything was OK, cuz you know the 911 call followed by a hang up and no answer when they called back. Kinda makes the police nervous.

Yep, I'm one of those parents. Yes I begged forgiveness. Yes please come in my house, look all over. Yes its a mess. Yes I have a screaming, damn it I will be independent 2.5 year old. Gosh no, I'm not sending him outside in the rain barefoot and pantless, that would be bad parenting.***

To be honest I am a bit confused because I swear I did not hear a phone ring, nor was the phone actually on when I found the boy with it. But sure enough, there were THREE missed calls. Guess the monkeys screaming was louder than the phone. Or perhaps I was distracted by overflowing kitchen sink? How does a sink fill that quickly? and how does a barely 2.5 year old figure out how to plug the sink, in less than 5 minutes? Or maybe it was the the pee all over the kitchen floor that made me miss the call? or the fact that I was cleaning poopy underwear and pants? How did the poo get all over the inside of the pants if he was wearing underwear???? Did I mention I was trying to make dinner at the same time?

I am sorry RCMP. I know better. You have way more important things to be doing then having to come make sure I am safe. Plus it took you away from people who actually need your bad.

***Well yes I was sending him outside in the rain in nothing but a shirt and diapers. However his dad had just come home, seen the two officers and ran into the yard to find out what was happening. Guess he's not too smart either. Anyhoo, once Mr.SM saw that I and the monkey were OK, he went back to his vehicle to get his things. Which is just when the monkey came to the front door. Well seeing his dad walking away initiated a cry for daddy and I really just wanted to deal with the cops so I said "go follow daddy, it OK". After which the RCMP Officer looked at me and said "its kinda of wet out here". Oops...

because a little rain really hurts...

Monday, July 6, 2009

An open letter to monkey

My dearest little demon.

I love you. I really do. And for once I am actually happy you didn't listen to me. Had you actually listened to me, we wouldn't be having as much fun as we are. I totally dig listening to you tell me about your day. How you fell over the bike. Or how you need the yogurt bar or you need this. You really are a riot. The way you stop at the sound of siren and whisper, with you hands up in the air, police car. Even when you scream for your daddy because I won't let you have your way, I love you. Really though, do you think you're going to when the battle of wills? I am your mother. Although, I'll never admit to another human being, where do you think you get that determination from? Your mama ain't no push over.

But lets focus on the fun bits. What a little personality you have! I love how you tip your head to the side when you're asking for something you know you're not allowed to have. How have you learned so soon in life that a tip of your head and a bat of those eyes will get you far? You've managed to wrap daddy around you little finger with that little maneuver. It is amazing how such a little package can turn your dad to mush. Underneath his gruff exterior, I knew your daddy was a softy, but really you've turned him into a pile feathers. You really do own him. He can't stand to see you cry. Which in part makes me love him and in part aggravates me to no end. Maybe that is why you've become daddys' little boy. Its him you want at bedtime, him that you want to stay with on the weekends. I admit I'm a tad jealous, but seeing the two of you lying together on the couch, really makes me a happy lady. It reminds that really it is just science.

I know now that you have to keep growing. Fair enough, I know with every stage I will love you more. I know you want to be independent (damn those genetics), how about we a deal. You cut down on those 15 minute temper tantrums and I won't suffocate you with hugs and kisses? Actually, you know I can't stop doing that. I love you too much. How about you just cut down on those temper tantrums?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest in Peace MJ!

He has alot of controversy around him but I can't remember a time when I didn't listen to Micheal Jackson. I was shocked.

He had a crazy life, today we've lost a amazingly talented musician and a whole lot of crazy as well.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Animals are NOT your children

I went to our local HomeDepot yesterday to get some non-toxic pest repellent. Two annoying raccoons have started rolling up our new sod looking for food. Since I was up at 6am rolling out that sod and forked out >$200 for it, I'm a tad protective of it. While I was roaming the aisles, I had to save monkey from a dog. A HomeDepot employee then informed the owner that the dog had to be on a leash.

I am may be on the fringe here, but why the fuck are you bringing your dog to HomeDepot?? While fuming about stupid urbanites and their infantization of dogs, I started thinking about Dr.J's stand on the use of cats and dogs in research. I started thinking about DogTown. And then I got angry.

I'm pissed at both Dr. J and the rest of the urbanites (its mostly urbanites that hold this opinion on pets) that cats and dogs are some how equivalent to children or humans. They are NOT. I love dogs. Between Mr.SM and I, we have owned 3 dogs. We loved them. I still expect to see my rotti X every time I go to my parents. I treat my dogs well. I wash, brush, feed and walk them. I do not dress them up. I do not take them out with me everywhere I go. I keep them outside - where they belong.

Unlike many claim, dogs and cats were not domesticated to be our companions. They were domesticated because they had jobs to do. Cats caught the mice and rats, dogs assisted in huge variety of farming / hunting chores. Why do you thinks they have herding, retrieving, pointing tendencies? Why do think they are classified as water dogs or sled dogs?

This is not to say that animals should not be respected or cared for, but we really have to remember they are animals. They do not have emotions the way we do. As nicely stated in Life of Pi, we have disneyified our animals. We have given them human emotions that they just do not possess.

Dr. J stated of cats: They have a superior intellect, they reason, they feel, they love, they care

Sure they have superior intellect, but they do not reason or love or care. If they reasoned, loved and cared the ferrel cats my colleague rescured 10 years ago would not be ferrel still. It is so aggravating for me, when I see people treating animals better than they do humans. Or when when someon claims that the animal is equilivalent to children. HELL NO! Again, I'm not saying to be callous, cruel or inhumane. Can we remember that they are animals?

Dr.J compared a cat to a baby, which always pisses me off. Cats and dogs are not dependent on us like a baby. You can't just come home late and take the baby out later like you can with a dog. If you get drunk the night before, you can't just sleep in and take the baby out later. Their are HUGE difference between having a cat or a dog and having a baby.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I have no idea why I am so irritated with the fact that my mom is giving my son a bath. Its probably because I do not like my mother. I love her because she is my mom, but I do not like her. She annoys me on so many levels, and I find she is very jealous of everything related to my son. She does not respect boundaries. She did not ask, my dad just told her to go do it.
I don't know why its pissing me off. Probably because I haven't spent any time with him today and he was more excited to see her than he was me. Totally being stupid. I know.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Pandora's Box of Sharing..

We have successfully ingrained into our little monkey that certain items are off limits to him. Mommy computer is mommys'. Daddys computer is daddys'. Ditto for Mommys and Daddys' phone. But now what do we do??

Scene: Mr and Mrs.SM have spent all day (literally since 6am) fixing the yard. Awesome BIL has been at our house since about 9:30am assisting in repairing the yard and making it child safe. We are tired. BIL et all come in at 9pm. BIL sits down and opens up Daddys' computer. Suddenly monkey is running in from the otherside of the house

Monkey: No!NO! NO! ChaCHA! (punjabi for Dads younger brother) daddy puter daddy puter!
SM: its okay sweetheart, daddy is sharing his computer.
Monkey wide-eyed and bushytailed, looks up with big brown eyes and says very very sweetily: my turn??

Mr and Mrs. SM think to themselves OH SHIT!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lets get even more personal!

So I have to laugh at the TMI alerts in the comments of yesterdays post. We're talking about birth control options, is there such a thing as too much information on a topic like that? Isn't that too much info in the first place for some people?
On a brighter note, I totally appreciate how awesome and forthcoming you ladies are with the information. Very helpful.

After reading some of your comments about how birth control either just doesn't work or creates devastating side effects, I'm thinking of staying off the whole synthetic hormone bit. It doesn't really make sense to me to try a bunch of different types which may take months to figure out, only to go off of them because we'd like to have a second monkey yes I am insane. Which brings up the topic of alternative methods. I'm not a huge fan of the condom. It really really reduces the sensation that are so important in a healthy sex life. What methods do you use other than the pill or condoms? How has your success being using methods such tracking your cycle, spermicide, IUDs? Realistically is an IUD worth the cost if I'm taking it out less than 12 months later?

I have an appointment with my totally awesome family physician on friday, so any decisions will be made in consultation with her (and of course!), but its always great to know different perspectives. I like to be armed with information.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A question for the ladies

What birth control pill are you on, if you take them? I am currently on Tri-cyclen and it sucks ass. I not only become really really emotional (which I can handle, Mr.SM not so much) but I become exhausted. Like slept in my car for an 1.5 hours this morning tired. Drank 2 cups of coffee yesterday and still could not function tired. So I think I need to switch. suggestions? Yes I know I should see my family doctor...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Silence is the Enemy

I have no revenues to donate to this cause. One of many important causes. I am lucky enough to say that I do not know anyone who has been sexually assaulted and I hope that I never do. Please visit, Isis, Tara, BioEphemera, Neurotopia, DrugMonkey, Janet, Mike and anyone else who is donating their ad revenues.


I needed to open up my reader today to read this. I had a "bad" morning, which consisted only having to drive back home 2x and then forgetting the monkeys lunch. Not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

RKRunnerLite for iPhone sucks

Just so you know. VXWYNot has recommended RunnersLite, but its 99 cents. I know its only 99 cents but if you have try a bunch of differenet 99 cent apps, it adds up pretty quick. Next on the list to try is GPSlite as recommended by PiT..lets see how its goes.

FYI running in middle of the day, before eating because you're that pissed that a simple BCA assay did not work is a very SMART thing to do.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Seriously, I just want to crawl into a bed and go to sleep

but instead, I will it up and go for a run prior to picking up my monkey boy. Who is totally not listening to me and is growing up way to fast. Oh it makes me cry just to think about it...

so excited about this:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Must not freak out

Its just a committee meeting. Nothing more. It is NOT a test. They are here to help me. To make sure that I have a viable project. There is not reason to freak out.

repeat ad naseum

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Can someone explain to me

why it is that all week, monkey will sleep in past 7am. On some mornings I can barely get him to wake up. Yet on saturday morning, when I am looking forward to the fact that I will be able sleep past 7am, he wakes up at 6:45 raring to go?

Friday, May 15, 2009

iPhone applications anyone?

Okay since you all did freaking amazing sorting out the PDFs issue, I figure I'll throw out another request for applications. I've been madly prepping for my first committee meeting on Tuesday so have had NO time to play with the my new phone. Yet I need to play with it. No seriously, I have to figure out how get the most out it. Right now, I've been using it mainly as a phone and ipod. I really would like to take more advantage of its capabilities. Like getting an application that will be tots awesome for running - ie tracks my runs, tells me when to walk run (yes I do the run 10 min walk 1 min intervals), all those wonderful things. However, I have ZERO time to read through all the reviews and test different applications so advice on the things that you have had or have not had success with, would be AWESOME.

On another note,
I am really confused about this whole filing papers by endnote number??? Seriously? I must be missing something, but why would you file a paper by the endnote number and not just alphabetically? OR do you mean electronically you filed by endnote number. That would make sense to me.

FYI - this is why I have avoided the whole saving PDF's until now...
What is this SKIM you all talk about in relation to papers? How did you find these things? You have all really made me feel my age as there is still something quite comforting about curling up with a research article and a cup of coffee on my couch. Curling up with my laptop just doesn't cut it for me..

Monday, May 11, 2009

How do you manage your PDF's?

Okay, so I have always printed out my journal papers and read them. I will continue to do that, because there is something about reading a paper, writing notes all over it, with a nice cup of tea which makes the information stick. However, putting together a proposal I still need to quickly glance over the paper to ensure that I am describing the data and/or its implications correctly, that I am referencing the right paper etc. Which means I either have to drag a crap load of papers back and forth with me or I can actually save the pdf on my laptop...since I am of the weak lazy type I will be saving the pdf from now on. The question becomes how do you name the files? Normally I file my papers by the first author, however many first authors have more than 1 paper so I can just name the file after the first author? I'm thinking first author and year? Or maybe first and last author, but that would be long. What do you more technologically advanced folk do? I use endnote as my reference manager, in case that information is needed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

American Science Women - help a girl out!

I just got my first advice email, which I unfortunately can not answer 100%, so I need you readers to provide your opinions!

Here is the letter:

My 16-year-old daughter wants me to help her identify colleges with good science programs, but she is not interested in medical school. It changes day to day, but most recently, she informed me she wanted to be a science professor. Incredibly grateful she is not interested in following into my profession (law), I want to help her as much as I can.

As for her potential admission options, while there are no guarantees, with her current top 1% rank at a competitive suburban public high school, and pretty good SAT scores (including a 740 in math), she should be competitive for most colleges (ok, Cal Tech, would be tough, but Harvey Mudd, yes). I am thinking that the large universities with huge classes, would not be as good for her as smaller schools where she might actually get to know her professors, maybe get involved in their research projects etc.
Most importantly, what I hope to have her avoid is some place so unfriendly to women in the sciences, that she spends all her time and energy just fighting for a place at the table, instead of advancing her knowledge. (Please don't tell me there is no such place, please don't).
So, if you need a handy excuse to procrastinate, any thoughts and suggestions for schools, or just as to the process I should use to help her identify potential schools, would be much appreciated.
Awesome mom (thats my pseudo for her:)

My thoughts are obviously what an awesome mom for thinking about the pros & cons of a big school vs small, instead of the prestige associated with going to a big school. In regards to the actual school? Well, IMHO you're right on the money about the big name universities having huge classes with little interaction from the profs. I did my undergraduate studies and masters degree at Comprehensive University - which is the Canadian term for a university without professionals schools (ie medicine, law), but that still carries out research. I loved it there, I knew the department really well (I was involved in the departmental association) but also an emphasis is still put on practical learning. Science courses actually have labs associated with them, so students learn not just the theory of science but how to actually do it. This is in contrast to the LargeUniversity where I am doing my PhD. Here biology students NEVER enter a lab unless they are volunteering, doing co-op or an honors thesis.

In terms of female friendly? I think the best way to look at that is to look at the faculty and see how the distributions are. In the past my undergraduate department has had alot of issues with sexist or inappropriate behavior (which I was aware of only after I started working in the labs). Some will say that it was not surprising since most of the faculty were older, white males - which is not to say that just because the faculty is older white males it is unfriendly!
The department that I belonged to as a masters student had a pretty even split between young and old (a good sign that its attracting new scientists) as well as a large percentage of women on the tenure track. At the time I was there, it had not yet reached 50% but most of the faculty were very progressive and wanted as much diversity as possible. They truly worked together. The department head (an old white guy, that reminds me of a bug collector) was truly awesome, probably one of the staunchest advocate for women in science that I have met. As I am not in the states, I couldn't recommend any particular university or college, but I am sure my readers will! Hopefully the profs our there,DrdrA PLS, Isis, PiT and Arlenna are going to pipe up quick!

We now return to regularly scheduled programming

Of funny monkey stories.

In January, monkey started daycare on campus which meant that he was in the car with me for my entire 55 minute one way commute. Which was fine when he wasn't very talkative or into repeating EVERYTHING you say. However, over the last few months his vocabulary has improved greatly and he becoming a little echo. Which is awesome - unless you're a tired mom at the end of the workday, who becomes a little frustrated with idiot drivers or bikers that aren't safe....
Essentially I used to have a fondess for saying FUCK alot, until my child repeated it back to me in question form as "fruck??". As we were always driving when this happened, I was able to redirect and say yes monkey that is a truck over there (which led to monkeys obsession of trucks) and he has not used the other word.
Until yesterday...

Last night Mr.SM was watching Hometeam play Evil Opposition Team in game 3 of the series. Evil Opposition Team scored a stupid goal which led to hubby getting quite agitated and yelling out FUCK NO. Since monkey is a little echo and was in the room, the repetition began. fuck no? fuck no??
10 minutes later when the third period starts, monkey points at the TV and say fuck fuck fuck!!!!

lucky for me, hometeams name ends with uck, so we will be redirecting monkey again...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Oh yes eggs are sooo much better than spray paint

EthidiumBromide, I read your blog and you seem like a nice person so I really don't want to get in a pissing match, which I why I waited all night to respond to you comment. I was hoping that after some time I would not be as angry, but I am.

just because my parents went to college and I had original art in my home did NOT mean that I lead an idyllic little childhood

First - I am not so naive to think that money = idyllic childhood / life. Discrimination, abuse, death, tragedy and all other horrible things know no class or racial boundaries.
Why the hell are you approaching this in such a defensive manner? This post wasn't about you. But since you've made it about you, look around your lab, how many of your fellow graduate students come from blue collar families? I'm in my 3rd lab, 2nd university and I've worked in multiple buildings and science organizations. Do you know many students I've met whose parents are blue collar? One. My experiences are VASTLy different from yours. Thats a fact. Doesn't mean your life is perfect. I never said it was.
I never stated that I was poor either. I was going to do the privilage meme. I have had alot of those privilages. My parents always owned their own home, and paid for my undergrad. We went on family vacations. Despite going to a somewhat "troubled" high school and having some questionable parental experiences, I am lucky enough to know that I have parents that love me whole heartedly. They would do anything for me and have given me a good life. But those comments only really irk me.

What made me lose my shit was how you tried schooling me. You actually compared you're experience to mine! They are not comparable. AT ALL. Stating they are not comparable does not mean that your experience did not impact you or effect you. They did. They are no more or no less worse then what happened to me.

"The most humiliating part was that we couldn't even immediately change the garage doors, like you can wash off eggs -- we had to leave it up for days and days"

We can just wash off the eggs so its less humiliating? Its less hurtful? Its less violating?? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?
Let me explain to you how your experience is different.
You were not alone. You lived on a block of Jewish families, who could support and understand. Your family and community have money.Whether you recognize it or not, that brings power. Which is not to say that you did not feel violated. I know how much having others around make give you strength and power. When more Punjabi people moved into our community is when things started to change. When our community started having enough money to contribute to politics - literally buy power and votes, is when things changed.

Did your grandma freak out every Halloween because she was scared of what might happen?
Did your parents move because they felt unsafe in their home?
Did you have to watch and listen as your dad did yard work, while the neighbors kids called him a Hindu and their parent did NOTHING?
Did you have beer bottles thrown at your head as you're working on your family farm?

Don't come to this blog and try schooling me on discrimination. I know it exists. It crosses every color and class boundary. Nor did I ever state that having money = happiness. I specifically did NOT use the word idyllic.

Like I said, I don't want to get in a pissing match, but your comment was just not cool.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Heres some privilages for you fuckers

The privilege meme is going around. Its great to see how many of you had parents that went to college, or had original art in your home. You had tons of books and generally appear to have a significant amount of privilage. Well except for microXX who was the only person I related too. Most of you have read my little rant on PLS about growing up in a not so picket fences and sunshine area. Well this has reminded and I off of alot of shit. So why don't all you try these privileges on:

Every halloween eggs and racial epithets were thrown at your house
Your house was broken into and vandelized with the words Pakis' go home sprayed on the walls
You were called a paki (or other racial epithet) and when you stood up for yourself, you got in trouble.
You are constantly asked if you had an arranged marriage because the 1 punjabi person that the asker knew had an arranged marriage - 25 years ago.
You were told your house and food stink.
You were made to feel ashamed of who you were, because the color of your skin is different.
Because attitudes have changed in the last 10 years, you are the one with issues for still seeing things through a color lense - because that how you treated for 20+ years
In 6 years of research work, you have only met 2 other punjabi persons (or like individual) doing research
People think its OK to make jokes when your ethnic community is in the news - good or bad.

Why don't you think about that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I have an iPhone

and I love it, and I love it. Got it yesterday evening, which means I wasn't able to play with it until the monkey was asleep (unless I wanted him to grab it). By the time he was asleep, I was pretty tired, but still I have it and I'm loving it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What your base criteria for data?

When reading a paper, how do you evaluate other peoples data? Do you look at an image and say, yes what you’re saying is obvious? Or do you look at the image and say, what you say appears obvious, but the quality of your image is not very good, so I don’t really trust it?

I am reading a paper that is quite important in my particular subfield. As I read the paper, I examined the microscopy images in detail as they were the first to demonstrate “colocalization” of my proteins of interest. IMHO, the images are not very good. As the authors used confocal microscopy, they either had too much ab, the detector pinhole set to > 1 airy disc or the pmt gain and offset settings were too high. They also stated that the 2 proteins colocalized without providing information on the voxel (a 3 dimensional pixel) size used to collect the images. Yes the 2 signals overlap, but is that because you used a 100 nm X 100 nm X 250 nm or because you used something greater than that? because if you used something bigger, I don’t care that signal from 2 proteins share the same space it doesn’t mean they interact. Heck signal from 2 proteins can occupy the same 100nm x 100 nm x 250 nm and that doesn’t mean they interact. In another set of images, as expected the images collected using GFP-tagged protein is much cleaner then images collected wheere an antibody was used to detect the protein. For those of you who don’t know, there will be additional noise with an antibody because of non-specific binding. It is for this reason, that is why you always take images of your cells, tissue, etc with no antibody (account for auto fluorescence), secondary only (non-specific ab binding) and / or an isotype control. I say and/or as I’ve heard legitimate arguments for an and against it – I just haven’t decided which side of the fence I sit on. These control images are used to remove “noise” or background (which should be stated in the methods section!!!)

As I explained my critique to a fellow lab member, they became somewhat defensive** and stated that when critiquing someone else’s data I should ask if it passes the bloody obvious question before slamming the quality of it. I don’t agree with this, because I know if MSc advisor had seen those images, he never would have let me publish them. Plus the images coming out of our lab do not look like that. Which brings me to my question for you dear readers? How do you evaluate data?

**although this individual was strongly annoyed with me (probably because they think I was being overly critical and they know how hard the first author worked), they were perfectly normal with me 10 minutes later. I love that we can be strongly opinionated on a subject and then be totally normal on the next topic.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An aunt twice over today!

Or at least in the next 24 hours. My sister just had a baby boy and my SIL is in labour and has gone to the hospital this morning. I am so excited!!!

I also have a whole bunch of emotions that are not happy, but I am trying to put those aside. These negative emotions stem from a whole bunch of family drama that was going on during monkeys birth, which resulted in alot of tension and a lack of celebration on my side of the family. It was really hard because when my sister had her first child I flew oversees to see them and I was annoyed that none of them could put aside there differences to celebrate in a traditional indian manner. I am not going to get bitter that the birth of her second child will be met with that celebration because they have sorted out their issues (which had nothing to do with me). Mr.SM's family was and always has been awesome. I love my sister and am super happy for her. That is what is important. Eventually I will get up the couragous to get to a therapist and deal with all the issues I have with my parents and family...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I am really am that pathetic

It is a beautiful sunday afternoon. The sun is shining, its warm and the monkey has gone with his dad for the day. You would think that I would be outside, enjoying the weather via reading in the sun or gardening. But nope I am in the lab, in dark room, deconvolving images. Why? Because I couldn't drive all the way out to campus and do nothing. Why did I drive all the way out to campus if I did not have to? Because I left the power supply to my computer there. Which shouldn't be that big of a deal since it is a nice day and I could be spending it outside without having to be eagle to keep an eye on the monkey, except the inability to check my email, read blogs and look up random shit was making me nuts. Yep, I am pathetic. On the plus side, I am finally looking at images that were collected a while ago...

Friday, April 24, 2009


I know that setting up a committee and having committee meetings is an important part of grad school. Your committee can provide guidance and support on a variety of issues ranging from whether to quit, change supervisors to ensuring that you are not stuck with high-risk, impractical project, troubleshooting and fresh eyes. Yet I am terrified of them. I know they are there to support me and want me to succeed, but I still avoided setting up a committee or setting a meeting. Well after some gentle nudging from my PI and a slap on the hand from our department chair, I have done both. I have a thesis committee and will have my first meeting with them on May 19th. Freaking out is putting it mildy.

I also find it hard to troubleshoot experiments and do literature review (ie learning all about my field) simultaneously hard. I'm trying to get some critical data together so that I can put together a mini-proposal by May 6 (2 weeks prior to sending it committee so that PI can review and edit).

The boy is not listening to me. He is continuing to grow and change at exponential speeds. He is so cute and interactive, but totally independent and frustrating at the same time. Stubborn to the core...he gets that from his dad. Also his circadian rhythm is totally in sync with the sun, so we are entering that time of year where waking up at 6am raring to go is the norm and bedtime does not happen till after 9pm. Good time. The fall/winter sucks because my child goes stir crazy in the house and drives me bananas. The spring / summer sucks because my child can.not.wait. to get outside, and thus drives me bananas....

I have hit the age where if I don't run for 2 weeks I can literally see and feel the weight on me. I hate that. It means my hollow leg is filling up.

I am sitting on the toilet reading blogs while the boy baths. He has a new water gun and he squeals in utter and complete joy every time he shoots water at me. Unfortunately, water and Mac ibooks don't go together well.

I get to go get an iPhone on wednesday.

My parents are totally annoying me.

that is all.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One plus years

Its been over a year since I started blogging. Wow! I've hit some cool milestones: >163 posts, >50 regular readers, AND I'm just shy of 10000 page hits. Its nice to know that I've had some success in this blogging thing because when I started, I didn't really now what to expect as I didn't know the "type" of blogger I would be. My introduction into the blogosphere was thru the "mommybloggers" who got me hooked onto some political blogs (we had both US and Canadian elections going on!). I had no idea that there was this whole world of science bloggers. So when I started, I totally thought this would be all about my struggles as mom going through school, with the focus being on monkey. Thanks to Bean-mom and Mel, I discovered this awesome science blogging community. All of whom have encouraged me to (1) put myself first and find a new PI. (2) how to find myself in a better situation (3) trouble shoot experiments (4) get me through some hard sick days (5) cheer me on. (6) and most importantly, enjoy those monkey stories!

Thanks everyone. Thanks to your encouragement, I am in a new lab, here on a sunny saturday and not grumpy. I'm in a place where the fact that I am an adult and intelligent is acknowledged and respected.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Experience doing Westerns with Licor anyone!

If so do you know the answer to this Q:.

I was told by the rep that if I dry my membrane after staining with my secondaries, I will get a better signal, however I would not be able to strip and reprobe? does that mean I will also not be able to just reprobe?? I use nitrocellulose membranes

Saturday, April 11, 2009

3 nights and 2 days

I have survived. 1 night and 2 days left. Its hasn't been too bad. Thursday we hung out at a friends out, we got home a bit after monkeys bed time, so a quick sponge bath and half a book later, he was out.
Friday he (WE!!!!) slept in, then off to a science museum thingy with a blog buddy and her son for the morning. They had a GREAT time together. Home before nap and then off to my sisters for dinner.
Today was harder. But he asleep. It was tough bedtime, largely my fault for thinking my child would actually watch KungFu Panda OR fall asleep with it on. Why would my child who rarely watch TV actually watch a movie???
Oh well. I can do 2 more days, the hardest part for me as been the lack of adult conversation and coming to bed alone.
I'm off to eat some popcorn and have beer while I watch the rest of KungFu Panda

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bad community member

So lab work is crazy busy, the monkey is thumbing his nose at my request and REFUSING to slow down and I'm a single mom this four day weekend. Yep Mr.SM is gone away during the FOUR day long weekend. To say I am terrified of having to be "ON" all weekend, with no help is an understatement. Single mom feel free to laugh at me now.

All of this is to say that I am going to continue to be a bad member of the blogging community. I've been reading all you gals/guys listed there in my blogroll, I'm just not commenting as I have no time. Sorry.

I'm sure you all understand. most of you are either PI's or grad students that are finishing up...

I really really deserve another vacation. must go to sleep before midnight....