Ready to Jump. Now Where’s the Pool?

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated this blog, mostly because we’ve been busy moving to new MRU town. We’ve had packing and moving and all sorts of shenanigans as we headed to the new place, but everyone seems to be settling in to some sort of routine. The Isis children and I am currently co-habitating, while Mr. Isis focuses on his own job search and we wait for the house in old MRU town to sell.

At The ParkThey’ve really been far better behaved than I deserve.

The new place is great, the kids are great, my department is great, and all of my problems are of the “things that really shouldn’t be problems” variety. I think that when you get settled into a routine at a place, it’s easy to take for granted how much your interactions are facilitated by your knowledge of how the system and interpersonal relationships with the people that make things happen. 

I realized how many things I took for granted as second nature at my last position when I was sitting in my office yesterday and realized that I am sitting on a huge pile of money and I have no idea how to spend it. Not that I don’t know what I want to buy, but I didn’t the bureaucratic process of ordering supplies and equipment. While it certainly will be ideal to have a lab manager to delegate this to again, the timing works that I need some things now before the process of hiring someone will be completed. I then went to call our department administrator for help and realized I didn’t know which button on my new phone to place a call.

This morning I got this new pen from the general office supplies and absolutely baffled by how to make it work.

Red Pen

Pressing the end is not the answer. Pressing it for 5 minutes and swearing at it is definitely not the answer.

I know that I’m a good scientist and teacher, but it’s slightly disconcerting to feel the brakes applied by my current ignorance of how to navigate the system. I know that it’s temporary, but I’m looking forward to getting past this part.

I’m Moving On….

I remember talking with some scientists when I first had Little Isis, discussing the differences between mothers who worked and mothers who choose to stay home with their children. Some of them lamented that they absolutely could not stay at home with their kids all day. They’d “go crazy.” I agreed with them, commiserated that I would surely die if my brain wasn’t stimulated by science at least 8 hours per day.

The truth is, that’s a damned lie. As I have been planning my move to a new MRU (which happens this week), I have spent a lot of summer at home with my kids. In fact, I’ve spent every possible moment home with my children, enjoying them, and I have loved every second of it. I’ve been quiet on the blog because it meant more time with them. I know that my new job will mean a return to occasionally long hours, and occasional commuting back to my old MRU to finish a project. At 7 and 2 years old they are at such amazing ages. We’ve spent the summer doing all of the local activities we love, and a couple we hadn’t gotten to.


We played in the backyard and ate a lot of marshmallows in the kiddie pools. We’ve done some really amazing projects. If you follow Twitter, you’ve seen that Little Isis and I made weeping angels out of some cheap Barbies we found.

Weeping angelsAnd we’ve done some projects, making things for our new home.

birdhousesI could tell you that I really missed working and I went totally crazy being at home most of the summer, but that wouldn’t be true. I’ve loved it. I’ve loved being home with them and playing princess puzzles and watching MadTV and indulging in endless hours of shenanigans.

We’ve had a great summer and the truth is, I could totally see myself being a stay-at-home mom. Not to say that I am leaving science behind, or that I don’t still feel joy and passion for science, just that I also know that I could be home with these little wackaloons all the time and be very happy. I’m glad that I was able to spend so much time with them before I start work again and I hope that they’ll remember how much their mom loved being with them.


Trainee-Level Fuckery of the Worst Kind…

I won’t claim that the subsequently mentioned fuckery is a degree of fuckery that every graduate student or postdoc is necessarily guilty of, but it’s one that I see frequently and it chaps my ass in a spectacular way.

I think that it is important to have undergraduates in the lab. It gives them an opportunity to experience *actual* science, as opposed to their canned laboratory activities, and it’s good for more senior trainee scientists (graduate students and postdocs) to have the experience of mentoring someone more junior. But, sometimes these more senior trainees can be real dicks about it.

It really irritates me when I hear one of these folks comment about not having the time/it being an inconvenience/ to mentor their assigned trainees, or mention that something would being easier if they did it themselves, or talk about how much their trainee doesn’t know, or refer to them as minions as thought they shouldn’t have training goals. Sometimes these more senior trainees get all Lord of the Flies in their shit and try to establish pecking orders where their status in the world is defined by their superiority to these younger students.  The incredible irony of it is that their expectations for how they should be treated are completely different. They expect their mentor to be available “for 5 minutes…real” They expect their career trajectory to be nurtured and attended to and to receive an ever-loving amount of patience for the progress of “their work”.  At least here, I know that these students aren’t subjected to the kind of “use up and spit out” lab style that others talk about where success of the PI is predicated on burning through some grad students and postdocs without regard for their needs. So, I don’t know where it comes from.

That’s why when I see this little bit of insidiousness, the hammer must come down.

Science or Ciencia? Carolina’s Story

Isis the Scientist:

Cuando fui niña, mi abuelo limpió un hospital. Ahora tengo my propio laboratorio en un hospital similar..

Originally posted on ScienceSalsa:


Carolina’s ears started feeling really hot. It wasn’t because of the temperature inside the laboratory, it was because of her embarrassment. To Carolina’s classmates she was Carol, they had no idea that she spoke Spanish, or that her grandmother barely spoke English.

Abuela Rita wasn’t the source of the embarrassment. Carolina was proud of her grandmother, a single mother that raised a family by herself with a custodial job. But when her grandmother spoke in Spanish during the high-school field trip to the University and called her by her full name, Carolina felt as if her grandmother had left her naked in front of her classmates.

Carolina wanted to tell all the other students that she was very proud of her grandmother. Abuela Rita was the reason she got interested in science in the first place. Rita told Carolina many bedtime stories when she was a little girl…

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Tuesday Addendums

I rule.

That is all.