Archive for the ‘Geology’ Category

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5 months

January 24, 2012

Yep, it is have 5 months since I have posted anything on here. Our move to a new place for a year has sucked up all my time and when I am not trying to get things organized or take care of the young ones, I am trying to catch up on work. One of my major jobs as a professor is to publish scientific research. I have been struggling to do that since Norah died. So, since I am on sabbatical, I have been working hard to get manuscripts out…I really close on two of them and kind of close on another one. With plans to finish at least 2 more before I leave to go back to my university. I am good at being effective with my time but I am also trying to take care of myself and exercise. Coach has been going to the gym almost everyday and is getting certified for kettlebells so he can train people. Since my last post, I went to India for a month where I did not exercise as much as I should have. I went to India for research to help one of my students collect data. Now my core feels about as weak as it ever did. I find it a constant battle to be able to find time for the kids and coach, find time for work and also find time for myself. I usually get left off of the equation because I am trying to fulfill the needs of my family and my obligations to work. I am trying to be content with just little blocks of time to take mini-workouts. I guess this post is about trying and to let people know that I am still around. Still here, just working hard.

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What?

September 16, 2011

This post is only slightly related to loss of my baby. I wanted to write something about communications. I write a little on my blog but I write many many emails a day to colleagues and students. I am getting the general impression that my emails are often misinterpreted.  I recently have received quite a few emails back from student s who appears to be hurt by my words or when writing a colleague feel like I am not explaining myself well. I accidentally sent an email intended for a colleague to one of my students in which I complained about the audacity of the student (who appear to me to be demanding certain things). That student was hurt and discouraged and I spent a good deal of time trying to explain myself over email. I can’t decide if my writing does not convey its intended meaning or if students are overly touchy when it comes to their emotions and their advisors. I know the students want me to respect and praise them but that can only be earned through hard work.  The student/advisor relationship is difficult to manage. I am pretty blunt when speaking to people. One of the effects of babyloss is that I have cut out all the chit-chat, all the extras because I feel like all the extra emotion and talking is too much. I know that my emails are quite terse also because I don’t have time to be effervescing with words. I already spend a least one to two hours answer questions over email everyday. I can not do much more than that. Recently, I was trying to patiently wait for a yoga class to start. The instructor was chatting with other people in the class. I was annoyed with the chatter and it was past time for the class to start. Part of that is a reflects stress, I don’t want my time wasted. This gets worse when I am stressed. Part of it was that they were blocking the quiet, maybe I was looking forward to the silence. I am not a great communicator. I barely speak to my family but talk to my best friend every other day. I try to communicate with Coach or else we both get hurt. My best friend tells a story about one time when she was livid with me. I kept my head down and continued to work as she talked. She said she was trying to explain to me how whatever I did hurt her.  But I was working and eventually she went away in anger. I don’t remember it happening.  I think I can safely say that I don’t intend to hurt people but it happens. I thought after babyloss that I had become more compassionate for people who were hurting. But maybe not, maybe I have deceived myself to make myself feel like something positive came from her death.

I am quite rambling now as I need to start working again but I can’t figure out how to end without sounding ….terse.

What are ways that you have employed to improve communications?

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Sabbatical

August 25, 2011

This will be interesting. I am using the iPad to post but I can not see the text. Maybe the color of the text is white? Why I can’t I see anything?

That means I’m not responsible if this instrument changes a word automatically.

Finally, after years of academia and the tenure process, I earned a sabbatical. I am somewhere very close the mountains but far away from where my home institution is. I am looking forward to hardly any administrative duties and the fact that students do not have access to me whenever they want, only over email.
I ride by bike to and from work. I can shop organically and from the farm very easily. I can recycle without having to drive our sorted recycling 10 miles. My kids have started school and like it. On the weekends we go hiking and biking. This place is everything that my home institution is not.

As an explanation as to why I have been sparse. It took me nearly a month to pack our house, move everything and everyone, and then unpack our house here. Then, I started a new job and am enjoying life near the mountains. 🙂

I intend to post more frequently but I intend to do many things….

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Frustration

June 25, 2011

I am afraid to do a search on my own posts which deal with frustration. I think maybe 50% or more of my writing on this blog deal with me venting about a particular subject or aspect of my life. I love my life but sometimes I get stuck in a rut. I’m in one right now. My job requires me to produce writing — original, scientific writing. Just putting words on paper is extremely difficult. When I read my “To Do” list, I start to feel overwhelmed. I know how to deal with it — I braek it down into small manageable tasks. However, I get thrown off when my personal life starts to feel overwhelming. It is summer, and yes, as a professor I work through the summer. I taught one class and have research grants that require me to  fulfill my obligations throughout the summer. I don’t have time to write during the school year. Everyday this week, there has been some small emergency that I have had to leave work for to attend to — someone has lost something, a child is hurt, I have forgotten something at home, the day’s plan changes because of my husband’s work, and/or the day’s plan changes because of the kids nap schedule changes. I really do try to be a flexible as I can but I need to learn to take advantage of small bits of time. Maybe a better plan for me, instead of large looming projects, is to take home small projects (1 hour or less) that I can work on at night or anytime I can squeeze an hour into our hectic day. I was exercising regularly but everyday this week, my plan has been thwarted by these small plan deviations.

Where is the guidebook for how to negotiate all of these stressors? It is summer; I want to spend time with my children. How long have I had that paper to do revisions on it? When is that student supposed to graduate and why is it that his/her graduation hangs on my ability to read and provide feedback? Why did I agree to review that paper? How do I get that colleague to work on that paper (guild doesn’t work, tried it)? What is that student up to on the thesis and why haven’t I heard from him/her? All day and all night, these work questions are pumping through my head. This doesn’t include all of the family/kid unknowns. I think I need a vacation.

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Another conference

May 27, 2010

Months ago I agreed to go to a conference at the beginning of June and give a presentation. I’m a professor, presenting data and ongoing work is part of the job. I knew that I would have a new child at the end of April and that at most, that child would be 6 weeks old during the conference.  I would not have agreed to go except that this conference is related to my regional specialty — the Himalaya and Tibet. It is a yearly conference but not often held in the United States, so I feel obligated to go. I summitted an abstract months ago and unearthed it yesterday to figure out what I said that I was going to talk about.  After reading it, I’m not enthusiastic about putting together a presentation.  I think my new little one, sleeping here in the office, has taken possession of my brain. Everytime I think I can work on it a little bit, I just can’t think. My brain is cloudy and my body is tired. I’ve been drinking a bunch of caffeine to compensate for my brain but that isn’t working either. It just makes my little one grumpy. I said I wasn’t going to drink any caffeine today and I’ve already given in. I have time to do the work; I’m sitting at my desk but I can not get motivated.

It is always hard to get back to work after having a baby but I’m having a particularly rough time this time. Maybe because it is summer….but honestly I have so much work that needs to get done this summer that it may just be work paralysis — you know, you have so much work that it is too intimidating to begin and it is just easier to ignore it. I’ve been doing that with home projects for years (and it is starting to catch up to me). Usually I combat the paralysis by just doing something and scratching it off my list. But…I don’t feel like it. But…I have to do something for this conference so my peers do not laugh at me. Yes, I do plan on taking the littlest one with me and into the talks and meetings. I hope it will work out. He is kind of quiet until he gets hungry. He starts to grunt in his sleep when he is hungry and trying to wake up. Then, he is noisy. I’ve traveled internationally with little ones and take them into meetings here at my office but I’ve never tried to take one to a conference before. And I’m procrastinating with this blog. I was sitting here staring at a blank screen on my computer and then thought, Oh, I could update my blog. I’m supposed to be doing some serious critical thinking and I can’t really get to step one.

What are you doing? Are you procrastinating?

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February 22, 2010

Days like today feel like wasted days. At night I am dreaming of manuscripts that I am writing but then I come to work and have meetings scheduled and no creative time. Now, the day is nearly done. My mind is trashed and I would like to take a nap. I feel like I’m losing my creative juices….some days it is just so easy, today it is not. I’m frustrated by the lack of time. Doesn’t the world realize I only have 9 more weeks to finish everything???? I’m starting to feel the stress of only 9 more weeks. That is where this post stems from….panic, fear, anxiety.

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Optimism

February 14, 2010

Today I received an email for a conference at the beginning of June. “Congrats, you’ve been accepted for the ……”. I feel a little naughty even thinking beyond the birth of this baby. I had to a lot of field work shuffling this summer because I had 3 international trips scheduled and needed to nix them all. I say things like, “Once this baby is here safely, I can do….”   With my last one I had a mental block and could not think beyond the birth but for this one, I have to or else….or else what really?  My students will not get any work done. My work will grind to a screeching halt. My family will go the summer without seeing family. There are worse things (as we all know). The point being is that I have been thinking beyond and accommodating the birth of a child. I will have to get a passport and visa for this baby. I need to check on flights to make sure I pay the taxes for a baby in the lab?  How do I give a talk at a conference with a baby wrapped to me?  I am enjoying the challenge of thinking up solutions but I’m really amazed that I can think beyond. Is it optimism or is it just being naive?  I know what can happen; I just pray that it doesn’t happen again.

I also scheduled a conference 3 weeks before my due date. Why? Because I promised colleagues that I would do it before I knew I was pregnant. In fact, 7 weeks before I am due, I’m chairing another conference in Baltimore. Why?  I thought it was a good idea. Now, all the conferences and committments I made before I was pregnant are piling up. So, I will do it. I’m going to take the train to the one where I’m 37 weeks pregnant so I don’t have to drive. I can sit and do work and get up and walk. I’ve never taken an Amtrak train. I’ve traveled all over Europe on the train but never in the US. I’m looking forward to the experience.