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...