That Magical Feeling…

…when you are still at home and your phone buzzes to remind you that you have a meeting in 15 minutes with someone whose name rhymes with Brice Chovost and you’re not dressed and all the laundry’s dirty, so you grab the clothes next to the bed that you wore the night before but can’t find the underwear…OMG WHERE ARE THE UNDERWEAR!!!


Snitches Get….What??

I knew this in my previous relationship, but I am realizing this week how many cultural differences exist in how couples communicate. Looking back at that, that’s a crap sentence. I would scold anyone who wrote a sentence like that.

I’ve been thinking about what we feel we can share with friends about our personal lives and what we can’t. And, why it seems ok to share things here. My naval gazing introspection started with a conversation with two students in my lab the other day. One was remarking about the final she was giving, which she wrote one of the questions for. She asked her students to draw and label a diagram of the female reproductive tract. One student drew a penis. They were laughing and bantering about “drawing penises” with friends in high school and middle school and I added that I don’t think I’ve ever drawn a penis. The expressed disbelief, but I told them I think I’d be far too shy. I’d go through anxious iterations in my mind. If I did draw a penis, surely it would have to be based on one I’d seen and I wouldn’t want to provoke speculation about my personal life. That’s the part I wouldn’t be able to handle.

Then that night, Dr. S. had drinks with a friend and told me about it afterwards. He told me about how he had shared our relationship strategies and how we’re trying to negotiate this new life. He also shared about our debt free journey and I realized that I, again, felt uncomfortable. Dr. S. is proud of his accomplishments, as he should be. He wants to go see Dave Ramsey and do a debt free scream.

I have a hard time imaging doing it. It has been such a hard journey to be a new single mom and realize that your own student loan that you’ve had sitting around for 15 years is keeping you from saving to send your own babies to college. It’s been painful to really ponder that and it motivated me to scorch the earth around la casa de Isis so that my summer salary will finish paying off Sallie Mae this year. As long as the front of my car doesn’t fall off. But it’s been my private struggle.

Dr. S. really values pondering and discussion as tools for self-growth. He’s always working on growing relationships and I suspect some of that is rooted in his upbringing. The barrio culture I grew up in was very different. You didn’t talk about your family life outside of the four walls of your home. Violating that basic tenet violated La Familia and that was unacceptable. Even now, being on the outside of a family member’s four walls makes you a bit of an outsider. My father, for example, takes privacy to another order of magnitude and I only learned after visiting him in person that my future stepmother tried to poison her last husband.

So, having deep, personal conversations with people outside of my four walls makes me uncomfortable. Knowing that someone else who had access to the four walls is talking about my personal life makes me uncomfortable. “Why the blog then?”, you ask. Because the blog is like going to confession at church. There’s a screen between us and the people who know me in person have the good sense not to really acknowledge the crazy madness they read here. It feels like keeping a journal, which is not the same as having a deep conversation over a cup of coffee.


The Data Sharing Policy of the Isis Lab

Email as a mode of communication has expanded our ability to communicate with our lab members and has certainly allowed me to express my wishes quickly and directly. Knowing that there is a possibility that these emails could someday be shared a la Mu-Ming Poo or Kern, I have decided to pre-emptively strike and share them myself. Also, you should feel free to incorporate any of these sharings into your own lab policy. They’re gold. This is tonight’s email sent to all after a lab member tried to share data with me via Google Sheets.

Subject: Google sheets are not bae

I can’t access google sheets from my MRU account. It says I have to request access. Google sheets is not bae.

If we need to share information, we could use the Outlook365 through the MRU email system, but that would make me unhappy too. What I would prefer though is for you all to put your work on the [random letters the university calls the drive] drive. That’s our shared lab drive and you can access it from any computer on campus. I prefer that because it is backed up several times a day and our data aren’t at the mercy of a third party of Volt driving weirdos living on the other side of the country. You guys should create a folder on the drive and name it something identifiable that you can refer me to when you want to share stuff. Every electronic document and bit of data that we have should be saved there. Never store your lab work on a personal computer hard drive, personal drive or cloud. I know the future is the cloud, but I am stuck in the olden days and I like my old fashioned ways.

 I know that sometimes doing things exactly the way I ask is a challenge, but one thing I am confident in is that I am an excellent scientist and if you do this the way I ask, you will be excellent scientists too.  The cloud is your enemy. Insert sad face here.

This particular missive is not directed at the originators of this discussion, per se. It’s merely given me an opportunity to express my deep-seated beliefs on data to all. I am CCing other key members of the lab on this important directive from your captain because data is our livelihood and without data we are nothing.   You all are awesome and do amazing work. You should have data. Messing with my data is like messing with my emotions. No one should take your data away. Trust no outsiders. Soylent green is people.

Peace, love and data,
Dr. I


Saving it all for Wal-Mart

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, basically decimating the Dewey Decimal System of my local library, and have some great finds to share with you soon. In the meantime, a little reflection – I think my kids save up every little fucked up thought that runs through their brains to share in the check out line at Wal-Mart.

As an aside, I don’t want to hear any commentary from you about Wal-Mart. I’ll be paying Sallie Mae off in July and I don’t want to hear any lip about my grocery shopping habits in the mean time.

Yesterday, against my better judgment, I took both kids grocery shopping. They were generally well-behaved, except for the frequent fisticuffs and protests that the other was the worst sibling ever. Still, the bright side of shopping at Wal-Mart is that you can threaten your children’s lives and it doesn’t even cross the other parents’ radar. Those parents are not the same as the co-op and CSA parents. They know that the struggle is real.

parents of walmart

Finally reaching the checkout line, the kids had a little time to stand still, immersed in sea of other parents and children. and ponder life’s finer mysteries. Little Isis began the unsolicited commentary..

Mom, I’ve really been thinking a lot about this. Santa is basically a pervert. What normal guy watches children when they sleep? I mean, “I see you when you’re sleeping..”. That’s just creepy.

Fair enough, son. While I found his statements insightful, those around us were less amused.

creepy santa

I attempted to change the topic of conversation, asking Tiny Diva if she would like to go canoeing on Friday.

Oh yes! But, we’re going to need to get some sunscreen and towels and swords and guns.

Swords and guns??

Because there might  some cannibals there and I don’t want them to eat you and Little Isis and Dr. S. They won’t eat me because I am too cute. But, if they did eat me, I’d be really tender because I’m little (insert creepy wide-eyed stare).


End scene.

A la Doogie Howser, MD…

The first dream of an adult nature I ever had was about Doogie Howser. I was 12. You’re welcome for that little tidbit…

Neil Patrik Harris

I was thinking about Doogie Howser today. Not in a sexual way, but in terms of where I see my writing going. I’m not quite the innocently indignant Isis that opened this blog in 2008. This Isis has seen some shit and, frankly, I’m a little worn out of indignation. I mostly just want to sit at a glowing blue computer screen and write some stuff and hope my best friend comes through the window. In my story, she’d have a bottle of wine.

Life is so god damned weird. If you’d asked me at 20 years old where I’d be at 36, this is not what I would have expected. I’ve been married, divorced, and am allegedly getting remarried, provided Dr. S does leave me at the altar. How does a person even have a second wedding? I don’t feel like the person who started this blog anymore. In the last two years I have certainly gotten more hermit-y. There are a lot of feels associated with some of the stuff that’s gone down and I’ve never been much of an in-person sharer, which I realize is weird given how much personal stuff I’ve written here. There’s still a lot of sadness in my heart and I don’t know if those broken pieces ever get fixed. Maybe you just have to start your new life with the parts of you heart that are still left. The ones that didn’t get broken.  I felt so lonely for so many years. I miss the twenty-something year old Isis who hoped and loved with abandon. I fear sometimes that she’s gone forever.

Along with gaining the experiences of the last two years, I’ve also gained about twenty pounds. It’s hard to keep the workout schedule now that I’m a single mom of two amazing, but very active children, teaching, trying to get tenure at a new MRU, etc.. Also, I’ve eaten when I was sad. I’ve eaten when I was happy. I’ve eaten food that is less than great as I’ve struggled to pay off the student loans I’ve carried since I was undergrad. I’ve developed very strong feelings about the student loan crisis. I’m close to finally being rid of mine, I think. But, at the root of it, I hate the doughy, old woman I have become and I pine for the strength I used to have. I keep trying to get back at it. Maybe it’ll stick this time.

So, I don’t know where I’m going with this. I renewed the domain name a few months ago thinking I might have something to say and I think now that I am just going to use this place as my own personal blue screen to leave my thoughts and feelings and hopes.

Only, Dooigie Howser didn’t post his thoughts for thousand of people on the internet…