Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday feelings

(note: it's starting out pretty bleak but turning into more of a good feeling thing in the end, promise.)

It's this time of year when you summarize your year and then look ahead and make promises and thoughts and wishes for the future. Wait, that's for "after Christmas". Right now it's about frantically running around and buying gifts for family and friends. Getting on trains/cars/planes and travelling to said families and exchanging the gifts and hugs and happy times. Back in home country it's snowing, people are getting stuck in traffic and others are losing power. Here in new country people are dressing up as if it is super-winter-cold but it's really like a regular spring day in Europe.

And I miss it so terribly this year. The snow, the preparations for the three days holiday (off 24, 25 & 26th of December), my old friends, my family, the special Christmas cookies - you name it, all the silly things that aren't here.

I don't know if it is because I am older or that I have stressed pretty much all through December and am yet to realise that Christmas is two days away (where I come from the 24th is the big day)? Or that this year I am not celebrating with my family and I miss them a lot but there is really nothing I can do about it now. (And I will see them in a few weeks actually so....) Or the thoughts that I wonder, yet again, if I can really continue to live this far away from all that, "for the rest of my life"? (Not that I have to make that decision right today either. Silly.)

Of course, I know somewhere in my angsty brain and aching heart that it wasn't all that wonderful when I was living back home. Nor that my friends who live close to their families are having all that 100% loving time either. Nor that they are not stressing around like chickens without heads, looking for "the perfect gifts" and feeling pressure of having it all together. It's not perfect world, it is just in my mind right now when I'm feeling a little stressed about not having sent pressies nor holiday cards in time for the holidays.

I got surprised about all these feelings this morning when I woke up since I've been pretty good at staving them off this year (not thinking about it might be more the proper term). Then I spoke to one of my best friends and she is having a hard time about going home to her family for the holidays. She has to, of course being the dutiful daughter, but when we talked I realised that it sort of doesn't matter if you are in the same country or on the other side of the Atlantic. Maybe it doesn't matter even if you're in the same city (as your family). The excellent guilt and "why don't you call/visit more often" is apparently always there. I guess it is my cultural heritage of "love through guilt"? And the "unspoken yet more often nowadays spoken expectations that you haven't fulfilled" .... to which I am aware that you should just accept it's not your responsibility. You live your life, they live theirs and it is neither fair nor reasonable to expect your children/family to fulfill you.

But right now it doesn't feel that way.

I have to admit, I feel better after putting these thoughts down. Maybe I will stop feeling like an utter failure after I cook some of the traditional Christmas food and clean the house. After all, "idle hands make devil play" or as I have come to view it "too much time to ponder and think makes loopy sad thoughts"

Time to make some Jansson's delight, beet salad and meatballs. God Jul!

It's amazing what some cooking can do for the atmosphere and feelings. Two types of herring done, beet salad, meat balls are cooking and I'm sipping some "glögg" (mulled wine) and looking forward to a few gingersnaps with blue cheese for after dinner. Phone conversation with family across the sea and happy laughs later, maybe this can all be fixable?! Happy Yuletide!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I've slept with more people than K...

When you find yourself saying things like "I've slept with more people than Kim Kardashian" at work you might realise that it's going to take longer to explain than you previously planned. I.e. it might have been a little too complex a thought to use an analogy with to start with.

Then again, that's apparently how I am every once in a while - defending the right to be a slut and still be a good scientist. Or, since this was my main point of the saying, that speculating into someone's sex life to discredit them and their personality might not be anything I'm interested in doing... and especially not when it's a woman and the US election was coming up and it was all in all too many assumptions linked together without too much evidence. In short, I was simply too tired to hear about women being slutty and that it would indicate that they (we?) are "bad people" unless you are chaste and virtuous.

And sometimes the fastest way to get some people's attention are quick sound bites. Hence the "I've slept with more than her"; where 'her' = "the (slutty) woman with the sex video" and additionally the comment "she wasn't just with one football player, she slept with the whole team" (since we all know that if you do one thing you probably do the other too.... no morals at all, duh.) . I got tired and instead of trying to reason "just because you release a sex video with your footballer boy friend doesn't mean you sleep with his team mates" and the follow up "even if she would've slept with more than one boy friend does that make her a bad person, so how many are you allowed to sleep with before you're a bad woman?" I went straight for the "well, maybe I've slept with that many men. Would that make me a bad person/co-worker/scientist too?".

Not the most clever thing I've done. Nor the worst I guess. But I need to remember yet again to be more "appropriate". Since I was out of line... hm.

I was mainly fed up with the whole "women shouldn't have sex".... and "how many are the acceptable number of partners" (when you're a 35 something year old nevertheless). I blame the election and the climate leading up to it where it was clear to everyone who read the news that women were doing a whole lot of immoral behaviour and that it was in everyone's interest to help stop this. Or at least tell you that if you qauck like a slut, you are a slut and sluts are bad people.

I digress, as usual. I'll end the story by saying that I have no idea if I've had sex with more people than KK. Nor do I really want to know. I really only know that I haven't made a sex tape (the thought of me rolling around naked on video is scaring me more than I can say) but I might have kissed a few frogs along the way of trying to find that prince the fairy tales talked about when I was growing up ;)

Monday, November 05, 2012

changing your (long academic) CV into a snazzy resume (intended for Industry)

I had to look over my Resume yet again lately (OK, rewrite a whole new one is more like it) and realised (yet again) that it is SO hard for me to cut out all these smaller pieces of information in order to fit the resume on one (or maximum of two) pages. I mean, I have issues with Twitter using only 140 character for crying out loud ;) Taking my several pages with everything I've ever done and earned and made into .... 1 page? What is relevant? What is not? (Note to self, think of it as "someone else's life" - much easier. And Kill your Darlings!)

Instead of banging my head against the wall too much (I'm trying this for a different approach) I wonder if my dear readers have something to suggest in terms of "outline" and what on earth to call those smaller subparts where things end up after "education" and "work".
  • Languages (call it languages? is this something I'm just using to show off or would people really care about it? when the job specifics doesn't call for "speaking German or Japanese" is it relevant/good to add anything about languages really?)
  • Extra work (non-for-pay) - Volunteer work? (is it relevant to add? Am I trying too much* here again?)
  • Credits/Certifications/Accreditations for works shops within specific soceities (relevance, yet again. do people want this as it shows of "furthering your education when getting out of uni but into work life?")
Do people list skills under different subsections like: GMP/Bacteria/Viral/Cell culture/Other or is it more common with Laboratory skills/other skills and then list them in different subsections after that?
See, I have seen a lot of resumes and I should know "what works" but it's just hard to sift through my own skills and see "what can I leave out since it is really not relevant for this specific thing you're writing the reusme for". Right now, I'll take any suggestions or helpful hints. Starting to go slightly loopy here on the "how to shorten my life into short paragraphs without seeling myself too short".

Thanks y'all :)

*trying too much = trying to stand out as a stand-outish person.... you know, the one they recognize from the stack. In the end though, I fear that none of this really makes a difference since it's mostly about "who you know anyway" ... but I try here... I try ^^

Saturday, October 27, 2012

over-thinker, over-analysing, over-critical

I read Alyssa's post about body image and working out a few weeks back and thought about a post I wrote a couple of months back but never posted... partly because I thought it was TMI, partly because it was a little too whiny. Then I've realised that maybe it's becuase I'm an overthinker, a perfectionist and not good at grey. It's either black or white. You're either great looking, thin and wonderful; or you're not at all. nothing like "I'm ok and it's good".

I had thought about writing "You want a negative interpretation of that?" since that is indeed one of my best abilities when it comes to myself. Not when I hear comments given to others or view data from others - although, it is fairly common and I'm known for my analytical and problem finding abilities [most often at work they're considered a great assest though] - but when things are directed towards myself (comments, camera ... to name a few).

It has been part of me for a very long time, and trust me when I say that if I could boot one thing, it would be the "negative-interpretaion-perfectionist" in the back of my head that spends a little too much time chatting and mentioning things that really doesn't need space. For a while now, I've been good at tuning it out for the most part. I hear it once, but banish it and move on. No dwelling, and if someone was really upset they would tell you, right? Not wanting to put too much time on something that most likely is non-true. Of course, I fail miserable other times.

Staring a photos from the beach (really? Who'd though that was ever a good idea, good self-image or not?), focusing solely on "that fat arm", "my chin really looks like a horrible triplechin", "there is NO waist there at all", culminating in "geez, how can I even show up outside without people lining up and laughing at me and telling me to join the circus". Not understanding when my family - as parents would do - tell me that I look lovely and it was such great photos and they're happy to print them and put them up at home (oh the horror!).

Yeah.... slightly problematic at times. Then of course, there are those lovely times when I look into the mirror and say to myself "wow, that's some hot awesomeness right there" and smirk at myself. Or, like last week at the gym, when a man oogled my weight machine and said "you're really strong, how much is that weight really?. I smiled and thought "yey" although my comment to him was - of course- was "Thanks but if i'm this big i might as well pack some muscle".Making myself a disservice if anything.)

One recurring annoyment of people close to me is that I wonder "how do I compare to her size" and mean people we see. They don't understand. I really have NO conception on how big I am, how I look etc. Half of the times I think I look pretty ok, even cute at times. Then I see the photos and my mind reels since there is NO way the woman in the photos would be considered even close to cute. Rather bad words come up...

Anyway, I am aware of the problem. I am working on it. And if nothing else, you know how much time and effort I wold save by not thinking all these thoughts every day? Geez, I could probably read another book or solve some real problems ^^

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

bingo for Presidental debate (USA)

I did my own Bingo brick for the debate tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll watch it since
a) I'm not allowed to vote
b) I will get angry at the TV
c)I will most likely get sad about the state of affairs (can't they talk about REAL things)

although, I do care about politics and I would like to see what they say and do....

I'll see what obvious words I missed - unless anyone out there in the blogosphere can tell me that right now of course?!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

stress-related frustration

It's very clear to me, it's crunch time. Like for many people I'm sure (hello grant writers!). There are some HUGE deadlines looming close in the future. Hard deadlines. Not the "oh I can be a little late and sneak in and take a 10% deduction on the points on the exam". No. The type of "you hand it over at date X time Y or not at all"... which is "not an option" by the way, in case you wondered. Neither is "handing in sub-par stuff".... which means that you have to increase the time and/or cost (The project triangle - quality/time/cost - if one decreases, the other two need to increase in order for the Project (area inside the triangle) to be the same. Problem arises when the quality is fixed, and so is the time... Fun times.)

My main concern with all of this right now? "The other people involved". Ah well, better get right to it and stop feeling frustrating about the road blocks thrown up by others, the snafus that keep turning up, since the time spent on fretting about it is taking away from what I should do effieciently and quick. And most of all, stop thinking that it would be easier if I just did it all myself since that will not happen! This is team work, and I need to stop working over time as much as I have lately. Guess I need to remind myself of that especially since I'm not that the only one who can do this [enter slightly cynical snicker since so far, there are some who have no problem going home "when clock strikes X" and leave work for next day... "surely someone will pick up after them/no my problem/it's there tomorrow too" I call it, The joys of group/team work.]

Thank goodness I was at the gym early this morning and worked out. Endorphines are kicking in, adrenaline got out, and tomorrow I will be too sore to worry about anything but trying to walk ;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

things I can't say

Things I wish I could say at work but since I'm in PC country it doesn't work well... But I still thing thek are funny and since the other blog posts I want to post are still in "development" and "processing" this is what I've got for a Friday like this.

I think it speaks for itself...

And then the one that's obvious if you know me...

And this one is just for kicks. I'm not as funny as The Hermitage on a friday (it's a new time going now, Fridays are not going to be as happy there) nor am I trying, but it brings a little joy to me on a day like this ^^

There is another one that I can't post since it has to have a big explanation to it, but it you look at e-cards and 'password'. I think it might be obvious (think bad gender biased in women and partners) but I find it on point, maybe because I think it is non-gender-specific in reality. Key idea "it's a password named password")

Now, back to watching 24 :) I'd forgotten that I never finished the last seasons...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm missing words, like 'småpåve' ...

Sometimes this "second language" business is more frustrating than others, sometimes I just miss my own language with the nooks and crannies of distinctions and nuances that I don't have in the English language. This especially not "right there on the spot" when I'm bubbling words and sentences and want the flow of words.

Swedish is one of those languages that has a wonderful option in which you can make a new word out of combining two or more other words... plus the fact that this historically has lead to that some words have one obvious meaning, but also that when you read the two (or more) words by themselves you see the root of the other word meaning. I'm not sure I am making myself understood, therefore I'll give an example.

Example of combined word: Swedish word for love - this wonderful word - could actually be translated into two words depending on how you use it.
(att) Älska - (to) love
Kärlek (-en) - (the) love

I'm mainly thinking about 'kärlek' since this is one of my favorite words (gah, I know, just bear with me) with this "hidden underlying context".

Kärlek can be devided into two words; kär (dear/loved) and lek (play/game). This to me makes a slightly different connotation than 'älska', which is the word traditionally used when saying "making love", "I love...", I ... wheras 'kärlek' is something more generic (as in floating around in the world....). Although, I guess it's more complicated since you say 'jag är kär' - for "I am in love" and not always 'jag älskar' since you need an object after 'älskar'...

Ah well, it's not really my main thing, just a little sidetracking of the thoughts I've had about some words I have been wanting to use the last couple of months but realizing that I don't know the English equivalents of (and when asking some of my fellow Swedes living in UK/US/Canada, they are stumped as well.).

I figured I'd give a few examples of these words that have come up lately, like a mini-'smörgårdsbord' of frustrations.

First, 'småpåve' (or plural 'småpåvar') - literary 'little Pope'. Meaning a person who thinks they are in charge and important but really doesn't have that much power in real life; like a regular worker acting as an CEO in terms of trying to decide stuff. Or trying to impose "this is the only way to do it", but it's really a choice on how to do it and they just want their way to be the only way. My guess would be that this Swedish expression might even stem back from the days of reformation and kicking the Pope out of politics/kingdom of Sweden. I'm not sure know what to use instead of that one? "Imaginary CEO" doesn't have the same ring to it, nor does Queen of Hearts (but I've thought about that one).

Second, 'lyteskomik' - crudly 'lyte' (cripple/disability/handicap) and 'komik' (humour/comedy). Maybe partly based on one of these odder (?) things in Swedish, one of the worst things are to be thought of as stupid/easily fooled. Traditionally insults in general are either invoking the devil on someone or calling them various versions of stupid/headless/pathetic and showing emotions (key concept; "not being in control" which is bad). Not many sex-related insults, apart from calling a man who can't keep it in his pants 'horbock' (whore buck/billy)... and the regular 'hora' as for women, but nothing of the sorts  of "ask your mother why I was late" etc...

Anyway, I digress, the 'lyteskomik' is a badly viewed part of comedy, much less common today since it's not funny making fun of a person who isn't aware that you're laughing at them. Best example might be, you do a skit about a person who is intellectually changed and then set up situations where they fail all the time and make fun of it, but you knew all along they couldn't do it.

Main reason for me thinking about this word now? A new reality TV show that's gotten a bunch of attention here in the US called "Honey Boo Boo". It's a reality show about a family with children, where the main star is the six year old girl who won a lot of pageants and now the show depicts her family in all their redneck glory.... And yes, if you think this is like Little Britain, it's fairly similar... but this is REAL and with children so... for me that's more of the 'praying on the week ones'.

Third and last example, 'skadeglädje' - 'skade' (damage) and 'glädje' (joy/happy). I know, the German Schadenfreude is an alternative, but I feel the Swedish word is so much better with its hard SKsound and the real implication that you are truly happy about the failure of someone someone else. Not the best example to end the smörgåsbord, since it sort of has a "word" I'll make the third example be two halfsies....

Therefore, the last third example is 'skenhelig' - 'sken' (shining/reflection light) and 'helig' (holy). The English words to use for this word are sanctimonious, canting or hypocritical. Usually you'd get an image of the fake halo that would burst around someone who is indeed holy... but it's a fake light... hence, it's not a truly holy person/thing but they would like to be viewed as one.

Ah well... as usual I fail a little to bring the story home. I need to work on the ending, I think I've gotten the start and middle part done. It's the header and ending that needs work. Where do I want to go with this? What is the point of the piece? Now there's a good exercise for me. Writing a directed piece where I have the plot figured out before I start writing! :) All I wanted for now was to share my few words that have been missing for me lately. And see if anyone has suggestions for what to use in English for them?!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Six year anniversary

I don't know the actual date I started this blog but it was right about this time in the breakpoint between August and September six years ago. I was a brand-spanking-new post doc in a country far away from safe home. And my life was about to change in so many ways and I needed some advice, a venting ground where no one knew me and could identify me.

Now, a few years out of post-doc life, still living in post-doc city working away with science in a newish format (more paper work adhering to FDA regulations, less writing and publishing papers). I’m more surprised by the notion that I still live in post-doc city (PDC) since this marks the longest time I have ever stayed in one city since I moved away from home at age 19… My university experience was broken up between undergrad and grad school, going away to another far away country and when coming back having a “natural” break with old undergraduate friends and finding new normal as a graduate student.

The most surprising realization after noting the 6 year anniversary of the blog? Living here in PDC for six years?! Never would have thought it. Didn’t plan it. Didn’t really want it. Having this blog as the longest one address, apart from my old email address from 1996, since I’ve moved several times these six years… and by far the longest I have ‘resided’ anywhere (my IRL longest experience in a house/apartment is 2 years). When you think about all that, maybe it isn’t too strange that I am slightly surprised about the course of my life?

But I wanted to rant about the blog today. As I said, when I started it was a turbulent time. Lots of venting about the harsh climate as a post-doc (those lab meetings…) and the more turbulent and confusing private life (alone in a faraway country), and even then a little trickle of sports now and then. The more years added on the blogging experience, the less obviously identifiable people from the world of science (no more blatant lab ventings) and more generic things. Maybe more venting emo posts about life and the meaning of friendship etc… in times when the loneliness and confusion were running high. I’ve erased some of the more pathetic ones, it’s like re-reading your journal from teen years, no one should really do that, and tried to keep in line with the more sciency/politics/world rants.

I wonder where I will go now. I miss writing these more thought out posts, with a point in them. And I have started to second guess the meaning/enjoyment of the posts… are they read? Funny, in the beginning I didn’t care that much. It was more like sitting down in a bar, having a drink and opening your heart out for any stranger who was unfortunate enough to sit next by listening… and then some days getting a comment with some nice words (or sometimes a more ‘get a grip and get over it’ type of sentiment) which still meant that I wasn’t alone in the whole world… yes, emotions and I go way back ;)

I’m thinking about doing a little chore for the next couple of weeks/months, setting up a schedule to write more regularly and maybe even with a little more intent to be interesting/relevant? I’ll mull it over on this long weekend as we have here in the USA, Labor Day weekend and I would be happy to see what you think, in the kind of comments and feedback from the fold....

Happy long weekend (soon!).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fantasy Football League?!?!

It's almost the end of August and with that - FINALLY - comes a new season of American football. YEY for that! (I'm really not loveing the baseball season over here.... nor am I a basketball fan, although that hasn't been going on either so... And in  the football back home my team isn't doing spectacularly well either :( )

Therefore, I figured I needed to be slightly proactive and write this post about asking/begging to join in on a league. I want to play Fantasy Football with my fellow Science Bloggers as last year.... and the year before that... etc...  :)

However, I know that since many of you are on twitter (like Genrepair who were instigating a lot last time ;)  there might be something set up there, rather than through the blogs like previous years? If this is the case, and some of you nice people who hang on twitter and are going to be in a league have an opening for a person like me - I would love to join in again.

Email me or drop me a line in the comments section. please? (Yes, I might come off as slightly desperate but I really like the banter and the playing. I might even become a weekend twitterer if that would be a pre-requisite nowadays ;) .... [firewall at work]

(Yes, I can send an email to the old email-list but I figured I would do this less invasive begging first ;)

As for the NHL Fantasy I guess we will have to wait for another month or so IF the league gets a season this year...... I dare not think about yet another lock out season so for now I am ignoring that fear! And as far as people involved in the madness of ice I'm looking at you Cath, ScienceMother, Alyssa, and similar others for the ice loveing fun people :) Got to get that competition in there, even if I didn't come close to the top three last year either.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the patient has expired

Ever so often I get reminded why I decided in high school not to pursue the MD dream I once had. I don't deal well with not being able to do anything*. Sure enough, I would love to help people get better. But on the off chance (pretty often in reality) when you can't do anything to cure the person... well.... not my best moment.

I had one of those clair moments while looking through my options that last year of high school when you decide where to go after school's out - the college choice. Back home, you sort of decide the MD route right away. It's not like in the US where you do an undergrad and then choose med school. Nope. You can choose the MD program right off the bat, which entails more than 6 years at uni, and more significantly - you decide when you apply right off high school that you want to become a physician. (Of course, many people apply to the MD route after doing something else after high school and there are alternative application processes; interviews and equivalents of SATS.... but still, it's the way it's not a "graduate studies per se" but rather a whole different program from the start I was trying to mention.)

Anyhow, I decided then that I was not the kind of person who would do well with "trying to save someone and then see them die". I might know now, after my training and work in the hospice care that things are slightly more complicated, but still.... the main feeling remains. My inability of dealing well with my inadequacy of not being able to fix the situation. Although, my hospice care work with older people is giving me wonderful perspective on life and not only because many of them give me such wonderful stories about their lives.

I guess it's rather ironic that I find myself working in a place where we deal with patients on a semi-regular basis. After all, that's part of the job of being in a Phase I and II place. It's not really that much of a "patient based touch" - for the person outside we're simply testing some stuff from the trials, making sure all is ok and say "go" to the clinical people and then give them the drugs. Then again, for someone who thinks too much - it's more than that.

It's the time when we have a "transfer scheduled", early mornings and odd times, samples and tests to run and then we go for lunch or dinner... we never really know what happened straight away. We don't give the drugs to the patients, we just test it all out. But we do know when we have a scheduled transfer and it gets cancelled - usually only a few days prior the whole thing - and that the underlying reason is usually that the patient isn't fit enough to undergo treatment.

Sometimes though, we find out that the patient we have been a part of treating has expired. In layman terms, they didn't make it, they died. And since we are dealing with children most of the times, it a child who has passed. A child who is no more.

Today was a slightly different day since it wasn't "just an unknown patient". It was someone I've met, a family I've comforted (or what to call it since I highly doubt I made that much of an impact but I will always remember them) and a child I've seen up close and personal. They were so brave. They smiled every time I met them. I only wish I was that brave but after I've walked away from the ICU or their other room I usually cried. I couldn't do much to help. I could only wish that they would get better. That the tumour could go away, and that the drugs would help with that.

Well, as a little dark part of me thought when I read the chart a long time ago, the miracle didn't happen. They expired - that's to say that they died - today. I don't have anything uplifting to say. I couldn't make a difference. Nothing we did helped. It was all out of our hands.

And on a theoretical plain I realise that it has nothing to with me. It wasn't to me to fix, I could've never done that. But in my heart I feel that I failed. Oh so I failed. They will never grow to be 5 years old. They will never see their parents' happiness when they started school that first day. Or having a first love as a teen. Or what have you.

I guess on a smaller selfish scale I should count this as a blessing for me. I should take this as a reminder that I need to live my life to the fullest since you never know when the physican will say "we found a lump/mass/tumour" but today I'm not feeling it. Today I'm only feeling a large sense of failure and sadness. I really wish our treatment would've worked.

I don't want to see more dead children.

And I would have like not to feel bad about having these feelings since in the end, I didn't lose a child. Nor a family member. I'm just a working trying to help and maybe it's expected of me not to feel this sad and affected. I don't even know anymore. Am I supposed to just leave it as a "work thing"? As for now I've decided that it is alright to grieve for a day (or night) for a child who died and the family who was left. I won't dig any deeper, and it's not my loss to have. But just for tonight, it's hard to feel anything but sorrow and frustration that another child has died, just in the beginning of life.

*anything - what I now would refer to "fixing it to be all good"

Friday, August 03, 2012

Planning fail...or "All days are the same, right?"

First premise: bacteria grow on the weekend (all days are considered the same from the bacteria's point of view)

Second premise: cell cultures grow on the weekend (all days are considered the same from the cells' point of view)

Third premise: certain assays have set times, i.e. "take out sample after 72 hours" (all days are considered the same from the assays' point of view)

Fourth premise: A planning tool with a calander function is needed to make things organised and great.

Conclusion: Choose a planning tool where a 'week' is defined as five days since that's the definition of a work week.


This leads to interesting things, considering that a "week" is seven days and not five* least from a bacteria/cell culture view of things. I know, even if 'we humans' don't 'normally' work on the weekend (here in our work place). 'We humans' sorta kinda need to look and consider those three things I listed in the beginning. Promise. It's not because I'm trying to be complicated or a know-it-all or a stick-in-the-mud.

Regardless of this, since it's another part of the fun, I don't really think Thursday the 22nd of November** will be a good day to start that Part F on. Just sayin'....

* it's even more complicated once you reliase that there might be confusion if 1 day=24hours or 1 day=the part with sunlight=12hours (aka 'work day'). I think there might be a whole post in the potential pit fall in using "days" when talking about assays. Especially if you don't recognize the difference in "sampling/injection/infection day is Day=0 and not day=1... Yeah, it's a whole heap of fun with definitions.

**it's called Thanksgiving. And it's sorta kinda big around here in the US....

Friday, July 27, 2012

TGIF - but wait, I have to go to work tmw and Sunday too....

It's been a pretty intense week and I was looking forward to a relaxing summer weekend; watching some Olympic games (like the opening later on tonight) and resting up for another busy week.... alas, it seems like this week will end at work and next week start at work.

I wouldn't have complained about it two years ago, no I was still living in my "post-doc place" with all the odd hours and work days. Now? Well, I guess I've gotten used to resting on at least one weekend day ^^

I'll stop complaining, think about a real blog post to write (I have some fodder but have to choose a little on what and how to write it) and go to the gym. A little pre-Friday relaxing time run hasn't hurt anoyone before, right?

Tata for now! Happy weekend to the rest of you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

visit to the white room

Today I had to visit the white room* and stay there for about three hours while taking some samples. I'm feeling exhausted now. Three hours are a long time for me to sit and stare at white walls and letting my brain work. The samples got taken though. However, the computer program and I aren't really agreeing on the output data ... so there will be some talking to tech people and emails to write to sort it all out.

I think for me though, the hardest part was to stay focused enough at doing 'nothing' while waiting for the samples to get added into the machines. The white room is one of the cleanrooms, it's painted white (go figure) and while in there you have added clean clothes and face mask, gloves, overalls, head gear etc....And while taking samples you have to be in the room.

One person asked me why I didn't work on one of my reports while "doing the waiting". I stated that would've been wonderful, apart from one caveat... there are no computers in the white room. Nor is there a data port for "external use". And before you ask, no - there is no wireless network since it is in 'that part' of the building. I did bring my kindle my work this morning, and for a second I thought about brining it with me (after wiping it down and putting it into a clean bag for safety regulations) but got sidetracked when I prepared to go into the room and it got left in my bag. Maybe next time? Maybe...

One flip side of this was that in a conversation with 'someone who decides things' I could mention that it was slightly wasteful to let people sit and do little to nothing apart from thinking while waiting for the samples to get collected in sequence. And before you ask, no - it is not possible to let the machine do a sequence without interferring.... based on the method of sampling there has to be a manual adjustment at a specific timed intervall.

The other flip side would be that I now know that it needs to be redone and doublechecked since it's not working right now... Always something, isn't it? When troubleshooting leads to identifying the problem. Now, only getting the company techs to sort out why the machine isn't doing what they thought it would be doing.

Ah the joy of waiting for solutions!

*if only it could have been like the white room in Angel/Matrix/other scifi reference can be added. I would've loved that. As of now, I started wonder what it would feel like being in isolation or in a mental ward.... no sharp objects or contact with the outside.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm not a girl

I'm not that picky and think I have a fairly thick skin.  (I've touched on the 'girl' subject before.) However, I am also too much of a feminist I guess? to be really "accepting it". I just don't like being called/referred to as "one of the girls" at work. In a work situation. From someone who is "in charge". Talking about the "underlings".

Sorry. But no.

I could get into it with the whole feministic spiel about "girls are females who are not adults with a sexuality and therefore considered to be 'less of a threat' to men, whereas a woman implies more forceful wills and sexuality and an equal to a man". Or simply said "girls are young women, whereas males are referred to as 'men' and not boys; 'men and girls' would be inconsistent". As I said, I won't get into it.

I'm just sayin' that I have no problem being "one of the guys" (guys being one of those words I use in general with direction to both female and male friends), "a person", "a team member", "a scientist", "research tech" or maybe even "a PhD/doctor" but I do have, at my current age (not over 50 since I checked around and many women over 50 seemed to be ok with being referred to as younger), a huge problem being referred to as a "girl" in the workplace.

And yes, it might have to do with the fact that many of the 'girls' referring is usually someone 'they' (the people saying it) thinks being slightly (hm) beneath them.

Sure enough, I might just not have any sense of humour. Or being thin-skinned and oversensitive. Or it's just all about that I am a feminist which sort of explains the latter two sentences, right?

Thank god for it being Friday and wine.... Maybe I can become a better* person over the weekend?

*"get with the program and not care

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If only the assay had this correlation…

Maybe one of these things I end up with, my fascination with histograms, data and conclusion to draw from it. This is my electricity bill, with correlation to the heat/cold temperatures the last year.
Apart from the obvious waste that my place is heated/cooled with the help of electricity and not with hot water radiators as I grew up with (and no AC), I do find it charming that I can see a correlation between outdoors and indoors and my electricity use. (I wonder a little of impact of the washing machine/dryer use since in the warm weather I do end up with going through way more clothes since I have this scare about being smelly and stinky due to sweat etc… Then of course, I have never gotten used to washing unless I have a full machine so maybe not as much of a problem? Plus the fact that I still “hang dry” most of my clothes and therefore not use the dryer as much. Oh the questions I can think up when I am fleeing taking a break from the latest report writing….)

I guess I can also draw the conclusion that my home is not as insulated as it should be since it’s clearly very affected of the temperature outside. Leaky heat outside in the cold season and leaky cold air toi the ouside heat in the summer... and heat finding its way inside all these days... Granted, the coldest temperature was -17C and the hottest +38C (without heat index and in the shade… in the sun with heat index we’re talking more than +45C). Still though, if it was my house* I’d do double (or triple) glass in the windows, increase the insulation around said windows and maybe invest in some solar panels on the roof since boy, they would be able to collect some sun there.

On another note, I did get a rejection letter in a very decent time frame from the position postings so I can stop wondering how badly I fit the mould… ^^

I have a hope to be able to write something more interesting and thoughtful in regards to working environment and group management but for now I would like to leave you with this tidbit.

If you are applying for a job that requires a Bachelor degree but also mentions that a Masters degree is preferred… Would you really think lying about a Masters would be better for you, since you actually have a Bachelors degree? If you wonder, nope! You do get moved to the bottom of the pile though, since “if you are fudging on that thing, how would I believe you in the lab not fudging some other things??” Sometimes this whole job application process makes me wonder even more on why my truthful, good friends aren’t finding a job since clearly there are many people ‘fudging’ their resumes/job experience etc….

*If I thought I would be a)staying in it for a longer time (but why buy a house otherwise?) b)own an apartment complex and save some money (although, that would save money for the tenants, not me as an owner) c)just saving the world, one place at a time…..

Monday, June 25, 2012

can I get an SOP for what?

Sometimes it's interesting to meet people halfway in the way one does when we talk about 'compromise'. And then again sometimes it's a little frustrating trying to explain to someone that biological system might not be all the "simple and controllable" as say... chemical components... not to mention that cells, bacterial cells and virus all are very different in the whoel "controlled growth" and "expected outcome".

But of course, I might just be a little lazy not wanting to commit to a written procedure on exactly how to measure and determine the confluency of cells (and committing to a number of cells for this specific cell line). It wouldn't be because it is really hard to determine something that specific without having any measurable things like say, a camera and a grid..... It's doable of course, but I'm seeing a lot of variances* in the future.

*variences = industry speak for 'deveations that shouldn't have happened'

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I have one medal at least ;)

Sometimes I think that maybe I'm not too good at things. Then again I think I'm pretty ok with certain things. Don't worry though, I know I'm the best of the best with "you-want-a-negative-interpretation-of-that?". If ever a medal is to be awarded, don't worry - it'll be in my hands in laser speed ;) .

I'm trying to plan and think a bit about the next step in my career (aka "industry world"). And the fact is that I sent an application to a new place a while back. I'm a little apprehensive, since I think I've overshot (then that would be in line with me and my present thinking about my abilities but somehow my *überjag* thought it was appropriate and in line with what I would be good at doing) but there is no loss in applying, right? And practice makes perfect?

I wouldn't think too much about it if it wasn't for the fact that I need to do a phone call I've put off for a few days now... If nothing else, I don't want to lose more sleep due to pushing it away since I am more and more nervous about it. But I don't know what was wrong with the "other application"* so how can I make better for this next one? (oh the glorious second-thought-brain that I've been equipped with.)

It's not getting easier applying to jobs when you never ever get any feedback from the ones you applied for. It's the dreaded "black hole that sucks up your application and never to be seen or heard from again". I know; "It's nothing personal". Although, it sort of is since if you were really a candidate for the job - you would have been contacted. However, you might have been a candidate partly because HR knew your application was coming through and sifted it to the "interesting candidates to look at". Or because you were "Outstanding and Wonderful"[tm]. Yeah, well. It's true though, it might not be anything wrong with you, they just looked for a better fit... Ah, all these wonderful rationalisations that we give each other.

Good thing though, I'm quite happy in my job while looking for the "next step". Despite this, it still makes me annoyed getting a "we have decided to award the job to someone else"- email 7 months (!) after the position was closed and the "we have received your application and will contact you soon". I mean, is it really that hard to send something out a little earlier than.... 7 months? You don't think I figured it out somewhere in month three? Duh. Although, I guess this means hope for the application that has been in for more than 6 weeks and counting? hhmmm.....doubtful. My little scientist brain sometimes equivilates with the rejection/acceptance letters from editors - not always a good analogy.

I know this post is pretty sad, but bear with a post post-doc who's trying to hack it in the 'real' world - where, on a good day the work is stacked with "development reports", "final reports", "project manager planning" and the actual lab work.

Thank you for your attention. Normal venting on sports, weather, nature experiences and feministic issues will resume shortly ^^

*Quite possibly there wasn't anything wrong per se. Maybe I was just not the strongest candidate, never mind the flaws on my CV and "my greatness shining through". I would just love to know who got the blasted job so I could know where in the ranking I end up in this little game of getting the matching tiles together without having light on when you turn them over....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer heat

The summer heat is cranking up. 
Alas, where I am it's more humid and not dry 
heat like Texas (pictured above).

How's your summer looking?  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Bradbury is dead, long live the books

I had some ideas about posting a little more regulary but then I got side tracked... andthen today I read in the paper that Ray Bradbury is dead. If you haven't read him, go read. There are lots of books to choose from, some are great some are good and some might even be mediocre.... but most of them are very good (imho). There are some novellas that always keep me happy when I pick them up.

Of course, he might be most famous for "Farenheit 451", "Dandelion Wine" and "the Martian Chronocles". An interview from a few years back can be found here. For the inerested, the Dark Carnival is painting he did in 1948 and then in 2009 it was made the cover of a collection of a number of novellas.

As a side note, I'm currently wondering if I might have gotten migrane.... I've never had it but yesterday I lost my vision, it became blurry with white and black specks all over one eye, moving to both. After resting and not doing anything for several hours the splitting head ache started... I managed to go to bed and sleep, woke up with head ache but it felt managable. Until I sneezed and then though - for real - that my head was going to split open and/or fall off. Very weird. I wonder if it is prolonged stress and some other issues that collaborate to make migrane appear? Or, I'm just making a hen out of a feather? Little nervous since the vision thing made me weary...ah well, at least I can see well enough now to type... always something ^^

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fight fire with fire

[and all I really wanted was to post a photo from the awesome weekend vacation.... maybe one at the bottom of this post, as a prize?]

Next time you see or hear (where I work and live I hear a lot of these) any more about Leviticus and the homosexual sinner and damnation just reply to the wonderful [supposedly] Christian person and repeat one of these gems.

I personally love Ez 25:17, but that’s due to other reasons (*cough* RPGs) but Romans 12:19 or Leviticus 19:18 (close proximity of the famous homosexual line) work well. If not, try the Hebrew 10:30, and if they are born again and supposedly loving the “Jesus saves” idea; point them to Matthew 5:38 (after all, it’s before the Matt 18:20 that many protestants/small churches rely on as a faith statement since it points to less need of a ‘educated’ priest but all people can talk to God/Jesus/Holy Spirit)

I am still amazed that there are so many people in this little world who focus so immensely much on others and not on themselves, in terms of behaving “correctly” and “right”. If I was rude, I’d start with just throwing Matt 7:4/Luke 6:42 in their faces. Funny enough they all seem to know John 3:16 so… what’s the problem with this “judging others” and pointing fingers. YOU can’t save others, you can only help others save themselves (by showing that there is a choice… and that FREE choice is on them …. And that you as a person are not judging them….) Similar to the old adage about AA, you can’t help others… they have to want it themselves.

Ah well, off I go to remember yet again that the State Church I grew up in was way more busy with working on installing the Wrath of God and “we as a people have a responsibility towards each other”, than ever telling us to hate the sinners and wreak vengeance on them. After all, aren’t we all supposedly going to be judged on the End of days? You think it would be good for you if you have helped killed some of those ‘sinners’ that Jesus so obviously hung around and tried to show “there is a life with love after this”…. Not to mention, it’s not a “pick and choose game”, it’s about the overall message.

Here endeth today’s lesson :)

[I have to get it out somehow since it is EVERYWHERE in the news and it’s so annoying/scary/frustrating that there aren’t more vocal Christians who talk about what the deal really is; love others as thyself and be a good shepherd of the world. Ring a bell anyone??]

List of qoutes:
Ez 25:17: I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.'"

Romans 12:19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Hebrews 10:30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also

Matt 18:20: For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Matt 7:4 :How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? (It’s taken from this longer part, which actually has a pretty harsh attitude about this whole ‘clean your own backyard before messing with others’. Not to mention that all of these “sulfur preaching pastors’ should really worry what will happen to them since they will be treated as they treat others… how about that adultery now? Huh? Matt 7: “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. 6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.)

Luke 6:42: How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Two bonus ones that paint a clearer picture…
Ezekiel 18:20: The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

the beach :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

not that kind of doctor

Think Geek

My present to myself for Memorial Weekend! I fell in love with it when I saw it. Not sure my work place will be ok with it... but maybe on a casual Friday? Or just me being me? (after all, it was this or the shirt, which would be more offensive I'm sure.)

Weekend; There will be books, sleep, food, resting, lax time and maybe maybe maybe even a visit to the beach!!! That would be AWESOME! :) Can you tell I am happy about 3 days off???

Tally hooo. I'm off for now. Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

relaxing day - alone time

There is something in that "being alone in your space" that's so different from being "sort of alone" or so... it's not that I want it all the time, just sometimes... very limited. Although, a wise person once said "it's the difference between being alone and lonely; the choice and non-choice".

Like this weekend starting Friday when I went from work to the gym. 2.5 hours later I left to go home, ate some nice dinner-like food and relaxing, some sports on TV while snoozing on the couch before moving into bed and turning off the light without an alarm for Saturday. And when I woke up in my bed without any alarm, the next day - after 8 hours of sleep - I stared at the ceiling for a little while before rolling out of bed, opening the blinds and one of the windows for the air to swoosh in, climbed back into bed, grabbed a book from the night-stand and made both my pillows stick on top of each other, snuggled under the blanket and started to read. Ignorance of time or musts, just me and the book until my belly growled and wanted something in it.

Making the coffee in the machine, while taking a shower, putting on those comfy clothes that no one really sees you in... letting the hair dry on its own, hanging down on the sides of your face, putting lotion on the face and taking deep breaths. Making some sort of brunch (not lunch but way too late for breakfast), grab the coffee and move to the couch... having a movie in the dvr to enjoy. Still no clue about the time, no need to bother about it since there are no musts today - all floats. It's just resting time. Just me. Nothing that has to happen on a specific time or place. After the movie, cleaning up, making the bed, doing some laundry and ending up on the balcony with more coffee and another book (the first one ended before brunch). Hearing the birds sing in the trees... feeling a nice wind, smelling spring (ok, here it's almost summer) and flipping the pages of the book. And all the time just relaxing. Keeping the head away from work thoughts. Avoiding without even thinking about it, the anxiety about the stress that will happen next week with all the deadlines.

Just be in the now. A friend called from home country, chatting for long time about everything between heaven and earth... almost like being there, so close but yet far away. Many reassurenaces that we'll see eachother soon. And after ending the long call, feeling stomach growling. And then, to end the alone resting day, getting picked up for a dinner and some hockey :)

Sometimes the weekends are just amazing. And the head aches are gone...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

visas.... post doc running out... things change... quickly?

It's been a pretty intense spring so far... Involving a few things at work that not mentionable, some that are. There has been a few deadlines of assays that needed to be "fixed", reports needing to be written (as people wanted them to be) and production snafus that needed "sorting out". And in the middle of that, me - with my little stress heart of "wanting to do the right thing and not really feeling that everyone was doing their best for the team". The last part has been something I've tried to work on, mostly since it means I've spent a lot of time processing the "why not do more?" and "what is really enough?". Well, you can't change other people. First rule, but I always seem to slightly forget that.

Anyhow, last week was a good thing. I got results from another source "proving" my results were accurate. That was good since I've been banging my head against the wall trying to show D and it didn't really happen. Results from other source proved that my results weren't wrong but in fact... we needed some tweaking and a new type of reagent.

Then the "non-me" issue happened. A friend of mine, post doc from another country, really found out that it's too late to renew the visa... the work contract as a post doc is up in the fall time but even if there was an extension, which I sort of thought would happen all alone, that wouldn't help. The visa will only be extended if there is a longer contract. Somewhere in this I should've known. They should've known. I blame not thinking too much about that time three years ago when my visa was up, and my contract wasn't prolonged (at the time in spring, come late August with my paper - a whole other story)... then again, my visa was different since the embassy corrected an earlier mistake and I actually got a visa for longer than my contract. On a side note, it's been pretty scary realising now that it could've been so much worse at that time since then I would've been in their situation.... It was a superstressful time for me even if I wasn't completely thrown out with the water (I wonder if English have that wording; throw the baby out with the bathwater?)

Anyhow, I have such a hard time with this since my friend is not the first, nor I bet the last, to go through this at my place of employment. After all, they knew when they entered the "last year" of postdocing that the visa was going to be an issue.... and they are not even EUcitizens (made it slightly easier for me since I could apply for jobs all over Europe, and certain types of jobs in the US). AFAIK, from my own experience, there are a limited number of jobs to apply for outside of research academia in the US as a non-citizen/non-green card holder... many of the industry jobs I looked at then was limited to "not applicable for non-green card holders" since the companies didn't want to sponsor the green card (or bother to help with the process since the sponsor process isn't all about money but time as well, if the applicant is good enough).

The only thing that I know for sure though, is that since a couple of years it is way easier to apply for a green card as a "visiting researcher" than it was say 10 years ago. It might cost you a fee for applying, $500, and maybe a lawyer fee of up to $4000, but in the end that is not as much money - imho - if you think you are going to stay in the US. That said, I only paid the smaller fee and then I did the GC application on my own (had a few helping things from professional people and a job offer that helped of course). It involved asking x amount of "distinguished professors in the world" for a letter of recommendation (I think I got 6) within three weeks though... It helped immensely (for my self esteem if nothing else) that my former post doc mentor wrote a glowing letter that I never thought I'd see about myself. (Seriously, I'm not used to seeing "bringing novel knowledge to the field" and "being an important part of moving the field forward with her research".) All though, in the bigger picture not untrue, I just don't normally see my papers in that light... and I am in research so, there is a bigger picture there too (the GC was partly into the "important for the research of US in the future" - non of which made less impact on my self image, which wasn't the biggest important person in the world at the time...)

My post doc mentor was important, but the other five were as important (I just got very happy and proud my mentor did that for me, long story). Their letters were equally glowing, as you would expect for an American Immigration audience to read. * I mean this is in a sort of "reality check" point since not only do I come from a place where the Letters of recommendations seldom have words of "excellence" in them but rather toned down and good, but not well... if you know what I mean? By the way, it's sort of tradition back home to add a section of "not so good performance" in the Letters of recommendations since no one is perfect... in America I'm still not convinced this happens?!

Anyhow, this turned to be a bit of sidetrack. I'm still reeling a little from my friend and their future.... and I will try to make the best of my help. But regardless, it leaves a slight tummy feeling that this all "post docing in another country" isn't really all that since you end up at mercy of your post-doc mentor way more than if you were safe in your own country without the harrowing need of a visa to even apply for the future of your career. I'm sure I'm not saying anything people haven't thought about before. And I'm not even sure I should be surprised. What I do know though, is that it is a tough situation to be in (maybe especially if you have no one else around you, i.e. spouse, so you're all  alone with the fears, doubts and scary thoughts?)

I guess I needed to vent since I'm losing a good friend very soon and I had been very good at pushing it away since I thought "it was going to sort out with the extension"?

Friday, May 04, 2012

what I want

I would really like one of these... I think the blue one is nicer than the white, but maybe the white would be better? What do you think?!?

On a side note, it's looking like a bit of a touch week coming up. Dead lines looming. People chasing their tails. "Don't touch" buttons in every room. (well, not really but you know what I mean). It's like a grant submission but really very much worse, "Govermental Agency X do not grant another reschedule" and I do not want to be the "cause for hold up". Hence, I was up and not sleeping at 4 am this morning. Not by choice mind you, but my brain has decided to go into stress mode de luxe :( I have some other thoughts about that but maybe, just maybe it will all be cured with 1h/day at the gym....

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Planned Parenthood = terroristorganisation.... in Texas... according to Judge and others...

You know, there are things that make me really really angry. And very upset and actually sort of make me consider the first amendment, and the second one too for that matters....  And why I would have to say one HUGE reason I didn't apply for the job in Texas that came up a while back since, well let's be honest, I wouldn't be able to live there. (Granted, the state I live in now has done a fair share of following Texas and making some headlines themselves.... so I'm not grandstanding too much. Not to mention that I am certain that the future will not have me living here forever too much longer .)

In short, the argument that Planned Parenthood (the clinics that are involved in the State's Women's Health Program, i.e. 8 in Texas) is comparable to "First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to 'humanitarian' activities performed by terrorist organizations". The humanitarian actions would be the 'breast cancer screenings, pap smears, STD testing and birth control'. It gets even better though.

NONE of the PP clinics in Texas, the eight I mentioned, are performing abortions.

Wonderful. Now... these people DO understand that when women die, fall out of work from disease, spread disease to men who sleep with them (who might go to sleep with their wives too... in certain cases I'm sure) there will be an effect on society, right? [Or maybe this will only 'cleanse' society from the less desirable.....]

Or are we all just doomed to hell and therefore really, it's not as bad as if these services were provided?

Sometimes I wonder why the Bible I read isn't what 'they' read. And that my view of 'republican' and 'keeping the government out of my personal life' is so very different from these 'protectors of life and privacy'. But I forgot, I am just a mere woman. I really need to leave all this thinking to the men who govern and in certain cases wear black robes and have a gavel...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

always a little late...

It seems that this is something that always happens. Every time I have a vacation time coming up there are these "last minute things" that need to be fixed before leaving.... hence, awake late at night and not because I was watching hockey (although I did), nor packing (I sorted through what to pack) but finishing that last work related report and those last results... not to mention that an opportunity reared its head a few days ago and needed response "right now". huh. I'm not sure what that will mean in the long run, but I can not not try so... here goes a little ;)

Time to go to bed and then up in early morning to go exercise. I thought about saying no to that since it is "my optional thing" (aka not work and therefore not mandatory really) but remembered my promise to myself not to dodge work out since it does help me relax and remember that work isn't everything and my time in the gym is important for me and my health...

Here's to "fixing all that really needs fixing"; then - vacation time! woho!

addendum in the morning.

I gave up the gym idea after no falling asleep until it meant I would've gotten 2.5 hours of sleep. I guess I solved all my problems, or at least my head did since it wouldn't turn off.... now, to work and hope to function somewhat on too little sleep. I had really hoped to start my vacation not being exhausted. Ah well, you don't get all you want in the world. Clearly I need some time off though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Equal pay day = Tax day in the US this year...

This day symbolizes how much more women have to work into 2012 to earn as what men earned total in 2011.... as can be read here

I have my own thoughts on the inequality of pay... and especially the last couple of months it's been very obvious to me that the average US worker has little to no rights. And especially compared to the "socialistic Scandinavia" I grew up in and worked in before. And even if it is sort of "genderless" on the "little to no rights, it's a fact that many positions around here are low wage = women and youngsters, high wage= males.

Alas, I will not go into details (I can tell you though, that back home it's open how much you make, so your co-workers do know... at some private corporations you can't really know, unless you ask IRS for details - and yes, that's completely legal) but it's sometimes very mind boggling here.

On the wage gap though; The National Women's Law Center reports that bridging the gender wage gap would give the average full-time working woman's family the money to pay for an additional 4 months' supply of groceries, 5 months' of childcare, 3 months' rent and utilities, 5 months' health insurance premiums, 4 months' student loan payments, and 5 tanks of gas.

As for me, I'd think I am one of the privileged women who earn fairly "equal" to my male counterparts. That is, until I actually found out what they made. Ha. Guess who was a little bit in the red? (Yes, me.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

alphabet soup and shameless self-promotion

I thought it might be interesting to read something little about the alphabet soup I'm currently trying to meddle my way in.... At the wonderful Lablit site, here is a little piece about the GMP/CAPA/SOP that's currently filling the world :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

funeral and some random thoughts

Well, today was funeral day. As in, I had to leave work to go to a funeral for a friend. Not expected, nor super unexpected, but still unexpected since it was fast. I guess that's what you say when someone is over 50? But still, it ended up a fairly different time for me. I though I was a good Swedish woman, no crying and making a scene unless it's family (which is wasn't obviously since I was here in post-doc city) but I managed to keep it cultural enough until the time when I locked eyes with a close friend of mine, who was a close friend of the one we buried.... and it got to me. Yeah, I'm not a good cryer. It was a mess; red eyes, tears and bad singing with breaking voice (note to self; sing softly and quietly next time).

Going for beers afterwards, since the wake was a dry one, and talking to random people - thanks for them not being the 'usual' "you're not blonde swede" conversation.

And now... hm... writing that report that I need to finish very soon. That report, which has been eluding me since there is a certain aspect of "the sky isn't green however much you want it to be but I guess I'll redefine blue as green to keep you happy".... It's a time when I should remember the saying of "it's not a conversation when one person tells you to do something, it's a directive."

So, in other terms - I need to get this done very soon (two days max) and then in the next week be OK with taking vacation and leave and not check work email while I'm on vacation (yes, it's a hard one for me) and just let time take its course... wish me luck.

Back to the graphs and variance reports. No rest for the people (who grieve or think about loved ones who get ripped away fast and unexpectedly).

And really, it shouldn't be this hard. It's just a lot of thoughts, as always with me ^

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Leafs are green.... and on the way up (hm, how about that hockey...)

Well not really, they're blue and they are falling*... They have broken my heart yet another season. They are falling and fast decending in thier conference. I can not even say I'll be surprised if they fall to the last plae and kick Canadiens out of there (even if they've been there solid for a long time).

What Is making me happy though, is not my other teams that I cheat with (only two, Canucks and the Sweidsh team Red Wings) but this table that I'm posting here. These are the Swedes in the NHL. A whopping 48 of them (remember, there are only like 9 million in total so it's pretty good in my book). And the best one right now? Is a 21 year old who is looking very impressive and will hopefully have an awesome time and career, Erik Karlsson. Living and playing in Ottawa, which I guess is partly why my Leafs are worse for wear since they share the division. Then again, I'm a sucker for Canada when it comes to the play offs. And I've been told I'm a bit of a mushy one for "teams that haven't been good for a while to make it to the play offs" - Although, that's pretty obvious since I love the Leafs... and they haven't been there in a while. And right now, Vancouver is looking fairly alone in the Canada vs US game, unless Winnipeg Jets (another one of these 'new/old' teams) makes it, still hope there!

So, Ottawa might make it - I need to step it up and watch those games. St Louis ! is making it to the play offs too, and in the lead in their conference, ahead of Vancouver and Detroit... all in all, I guess I'm happy as long as:
  • Ducks don't make an apperance (not looking likely)
  • if Leafs not end up dead last in their conference (jury's out on that right now)
  • Blackhawks get a 'little' penalty for an elbow in the face of someone who wasn't even close to the puck (I'm looking at you Kevin!), especially since it looked like concussion....
  • I get to sleep this weekend and not see work even a smidge! And get to work out a little of the frustrations... it's been a long month so far....
Here is the table; for all the fellow geeks :)

*the Toronto Maple Leafs - NHL - sports - hockey!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you have nothing good to say...

...just stay quiet.

If you aren't sure you can keep the resentment and sarcasm away from a so called work conversation; just stay quiet.

If you realise that people talking aren't really looking for a solution, but someone to blame; just stay quiet.

If you feel a little abandoned in the mines of "endless slugging around"; just dig in and keep quiet.

But when someone tells you "it will all be ok in the end, sweetheart"; don't be quiet, smile and say "thank you sweetie". Because really, the rest is just smoke and fog to what really matters.

(I'm having a tempted time of going to the place where I don't want to go, i.e. "not caring as much" but since this would mean I'm not really doing as good of a job I need to find a happy medium of "working enough" and "sleeping through the night and not staying up tossing and turning until 3 am thinking about work and what needs to be done and protecting yourself etc etc etc". Now go and read Monday madness if you haven't, that might make a better Tuesday Tiresome story?

UPDATE: I think this article really shows how complicated things are and that indeed these laws being passed all over the US are more than "just unfortenate" or "to protect the unborn children"... )

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday madness

I guess I can get happy to be stracted from reading the news since I'm running around like a dog trying to catch its tail. However, some news still trickle into my brain when I'm eating lunch and trying to take a shorter break. Oh how I wish I hadn't.

{feministic spin with links to some of the suggestions last week. You know, we're in a recession - people don't have jobs, US is involved in several wars, the budget isn't balanced, middleclass people can't afford sending their children to university: well to be fair; the universities have trouble keeping up with the bills and teaching - but don't worry, we'll keep the debate where it needs to be; remove women's rights and ban homosexuals. *head desk* }

From HuffPo: "The Life Defense Act of 2012, sponsored by state Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough), mandates that the Tennessee Department of Health make detailed demographic information about every woman who has an abortion available to the public, including her age, race, county, marital status, education level, number of children, the location of the procedure and how many times she has been pregnant. Each report would also have to include the name of the doctor who performed the procedure." They do acknowledge that it might lead to dangers for both the doctor (abortion provider) as well as the woman, but I'm not so sure they really think it is a bad idea to be in danger. After all, it's a sin, you're immoral and you know "if you really cared about it you would just stop with your errenous ways".

It's not as good as the gem from last week from Georgia, in which I as a woman am compared to a cow and/or pig and therefore I should have to keep my stillborn inside of me until it decides to come out 'naturally' ... it's certainly not that far away. (It's a video from the floor of the house when the bill is discussed... so I'm not making this up.)

Oh, and if you've missed this gem too - in Arizona - ("you can only used contraceptives for medical reasons") where a coorperation are people. However I'm starting to doubt women are people? (Although, it is worth noting thar former president candidate McCain is opposing the latter one, even if he is a staunch republican.... and from Arizona...)

Someone who seems pretty upset too: Over here

Well, let's see... I think that pretty much sums it up. I am even less sure on why I ended up in this place of the world but... well, maybe there is hope for the future? If only people could tell these presidential candidates that running for most extreme isn't going to make things better for the country. Although, I guess the [word escapes me at the moment but if anyone knows what I refer to I'd be happy] 'index' might be what they're aiming for. After proposing that we should limit rights to a minimum, everything else seems agreeable??

Monday, March 12, 2012

it's not a "woman/women issue only" (and some sports)

Reading for a Monday - before the basketball craze* starts tomorrow.

Here's a link to an article I read this morning: Where the boys aren't . Never mind if it is eloquently written or not but it's one of the few articles I've read where there are some men who make a comment that "women's right to birth control and/or health screenings is not only about the women". right. Mind shattering.

(Well, after reading that more than half of ppl in two states here in the South think that the president isn't a Christian I don't know. Maybe ppl are just way way way more clueless that my little positive me thinks?!)

*after looking at the hockey stats right now, I'm thinking that maybe March will end better if I focus on that college March Madness basketball tournament since the Leafs are not going to the play offs, Red Wings are moving downwards and St Louis Blues are in a solid lead in the West... what?!?!!? Now, only to decide which teams to pick, I've been parcial to the names Gonzaga and Belmont before so... any suggestions rfom US based (or march madness interested) readers?! :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

IWD post this March 8th 2012

From feMOMhist: "The posts in this blog carnival are intended to inspire girls to decide for themselves what they want out of life and to encourage them to believe that they can achieve it."

I'll start with my disclaimer, since it seems to be a lot about balance in life as a parent/mother, and I am not a parent.... but I have a PhD and I am a woman and I have some ideas about the having happiness and pursuing my dreams and hope... so in any event... here goes...

The first time I realised that maybe it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought was when I got told a bit in my graduate studies that "maybe you should consider this research deal. Are you sure you want to become a professor/involved in research". Up until that point I hadn't really given it much thought after my initial decision of scurrying up the TT lane (down the rabbit hole) and "of course I wanted to finish my thesis and then do a post doc". I didn't think too much about it, but went at it and worked on my PhD title. Yeah well... fast forward a bunch of years (now I feel old), got myself a post-doc and later on an "industry" job where I currently reside in. I realise that I most often than not am pretty happy with my present life. Content would be a good word, since I am still trying to get more happiness and balance in there but I'm working on it. And I can look back at my choices and life and feel pretty good about them in hindsight. And most importantly, I'm very happy having the opportunity to talk to young women (girls) since I never had the thought that I couldn't do this and that because I was a girl. Maybe I couldn't do things because of other things, like I'm not a sports pro since I wasn't good at sport... etc... But study wise it never occurred to me that I couldn't do subject X 'because I was a girl' but rather it was a question if I found it interesting or not. Of course, some outer pressure probably didn't help keep me at the math department (previously mentioned here), but I usually think it was more the inability of saying what I could do in the future apart from being a researcher for life in the department, not the "girls can't do math" but... Anyway, I digress.

I've found one important thing to remember, is that you (I) need to know where you are going if you are going to go somewhere. At least have some notion because otherwise it's likely that you start moving in circles and that can be both confusing and disruptive. However, it's important to remember that you might change where you want to go halfway and then you need to take bearing and move in that direction.

I need to remember that every so often since I tend to dig myself into the hole and keep going "since I had decided to go there and I'm not stopping just because it gets hard. I am hard... etc...", i.e. not really thinking about whether or not I want to still keep going that way. (Suggestion one; be OK with changing goals and dreams.)

Of course, since this is 2012 and I currently reside in the United States of America (there is an election year and everyone wants to become president) it would be impossible for me not to mention one of the biggest reasons I am where I am today; access to birth control. Now, I don't say that I am a slut (as in the debate pathetic slugger comment by some radio talk show host), but rather that it made it possible for me to go through undergraduate and graduate studies without becoming pregnant, since I* didn't want to at that time. And that there was a time when this was not a choice for women and among other things firmly divided women into "mothers" or "pursuing their dreams/careers/studies/what have you". There are obviously other factors and the division wasn't always as strong as some people (mainly "people who love the 50ies as described in the media") would have you believe, but it is one of the most potent factors for "liberating women to have more choices and options in what they want their lives to be like and keep pursuing that".

I'm also truly happy that I grew up in  a country where I not only could be dressed in pants when I went to school, nor the mere notion of going to school, getting access to university studies if I so wanted (which I did), play sports, decide whom to marry (as much as anyone can decide these things I guess?), own a business and property, not to mention have control over my own money and numerous of others things, but for today I would like to remember those few key things that make it possible to sort of "have it all" as much as anyone can have it all**

All of these factors (and a bunch of unnamed ones) are the reasons why I have ended up where I am today, and that I have had the opportunity to do them. And I am a woman. And I don't think I'm that remarkable so therefore goes, if I can do it then you can do it (it = 'whatever' you want to do). Make sure though, that you are not alone, seek friends and collegues everywhere, and talk to older women and see if they can't give you some suggestions, inspirations and support. I know that it was immensely important to me. And still is.

The last part of this very long post would be the family part that I mentioned in the disclaimer.

I'm not a mother; that part of my life is not written yet. It might never be written, I don't know. Even if I feel ancient, I know I'm not.... so that is part of the hole digging and taking bearing that I have to do in the future. I have though, some experience in the "sharing life and household" with someone and I would be the first to say that being very conscious about "divisions of chores and work responsibilities" did lead to many a discussion (OK, we can call them arguments) but in the end those are the other key things to help you keep your goals and dreams (i.e. not get caught up and hindered because of someone else's dreams and hopes and you getting redirected into something where you don't want to be). The sharing and giving up some things, the planning and remaking (who really likes cleaning the bath room?) of expectations and everything likes. Communication about what you both want, need and all that jazz inbetween is really key.

If you made it all the way here, thank you. I thought I had a good ending but as usual my thoughts wondered. All in all, there is not anyone who can tell you not to try and pursue what you want. It is up to you if you want to try and pursue your happiness and life, and if you never try; how would you ever now if you would've liked it in the first place. Reality is usually much different from our dreams, but different doesn't have to be bad.

And these "factors" that I talked about, the rights we women now have compared to darker times, some long times ago, some not so long ago. Those rights are precious things that we (obviously) still need to fight for, as in not take for granted or give up pointing out that they are not up for debate anymore. It is something that I occasionally am lulled to sleep about, the 'keep pressure on them', but if nothing else these GOP presidental candidate election debates point out in so harsh light, Nothing is ever sacred from being ripped to shreds (pun intended) and especially not the right to be equal to everyone else. And it is up to us to remember to protect what we have and point out that the world is a safer and better place when women are considered first class people just like men, and men benefit from that too.
I'll stop proselyting now.

* could be exchanged for 'we' since the man in question didn't want to become a father while studying and finishing degrees either. And that might be one of the things I hate mostly about this whole campaign about "no birth control"; men benefit from this too. It's not all about single women going around having loose sex with married men and being Jezebel, it's about married [or monogamous] couples having sex and not having to worry about becoming parents at that specific time of thier marriage/togetherness. I understand that many of these haters don't like "living together without marriage" but I didn't really understand why they hate having nice sex with their partner that much... ah well, side note.

**I'm a firm believer that "career men" who are now in their 50ies/70ies might want to portray that they 'had it all' but when you lo0ok at it the description of 'father' and what many like to say is a 'mother' are so vastly different that it's fairly obvious that they might be 'fathers' but not necessarily 'good, present fathers with a close connection to their children' but since 'mothers' imply 'good mothers who are there for their children' you are indeed setting it all up to fail since then women nowadays (and men for that matter) strive to get something that no one really have gotten before...