Quiet

It’s so easy to fall out of the habit of something, and then it becomes even harder to start it up again. Easier to keep up than to catch up (wait, I’ve written that here before).

I deleted the wordpress app on my phone in a fit of ‘there isn’t enough memory to take this photo’ rage a few weeks ago, and that was a mistake.

Work, work, work, summer, work, summer, etc.

I do miss it.

I hope to be back soon.

 

Updatey update

  • I’ve sort of fallen into a blogging rut. This is ironic, because I just took a wordpress ‘how to’ course (as part of my summer of CODE [this course has nothing to do with coding but it helped me understand webhosting etc etc]) and I was all I WANT TO BUY MY OWN DOMAIN NAME AND PAY FOR THE PRETTY THEMES YASSSSSSSSS. At least now I will be able to make changes to my lab website, which is also wordpress, but more fancy. So I won’t have to email the 19 year old every time I want a sentence changed. Sweet.

 

  • Speaking of summer of CODE, I’m about 1/2 way through python, and S and I have become pro Scratch.jr ‘programmers’. Highly recommend this app (and Scratch as a site) if your kids are into learning to make stories and games as an intro to coding – really intuitive and fun. I even did a mini-coding session for S’s kindergarten class, talking about how coding is instructions for the computer, and then we coded each other (giving each other instructions) and then we played with Sphero which is a very fun robot that my brother so generously gifted us, also based in visual programming. The kids just loved to drive Sphero and a few of them volunteered that they knew their sister’s ‘passcode’ but I think I got the gist of the singular coding = instructions message I was giving. Not bad for a bunch of 4-5 year olds (and one very tiny 3 year old). If this whole academia thing doesn’t work out I can be a software developer HA HA HA NOT. But it’s fun to do something different with my brain and learn something new that has zero relevance to the high stakes tenure track.

 

  • Speaking of which, I got the other grant I applied for, so that was a relief – good news when I needed it. It’s for something that doesn’t really exist yet but that’s OK, I can make it happen. And I can buy out of my teaching this fall, which is excellent.

 

  • Freya had her first swimming lesson yesterday – thank goodness there were only 2 kids as she jumped into the pool when the instructors back was turned. I yelled FREYA!!! and jumped up and the instructor turned around and scooped her off the bottom while holding the other kid in his arm. Freya did not sputter. Yeesh. The other 99% of the time she did excellently with the concept of waiting her turn.

 

  • My brother had a colonoscopy today and a biopsy – waiting to hear the results. As our father and grandmother died of colon cancer, and he’s been having some issues, this is really worrisome. He just told me today, after the fact. I get it, but I wish he would have told me earlier. When people try to protect you  for the best reasons it can leave you feeling hurt that they don’t need your support. I know that’s not true in this case and he’s just scared but I wish I could have offered it before hand.

 

  • I am taking summer both uber concentratedly (this is a word? really) and also slow. Being very driven to get things done and also very grateful for time and time with the kids. Trying to do both work and play to the best of my ability.

 

  • I’m sure there is more – soon, hopefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing

That was the title of a recent sermon at my local UU church, about dealing with constant sources of distraction in our lives, and how addicted we have all become to these distractions.

I’ve caught myself been whispering it, thinking it almost unconsciously, remembering it when I am falling asleep and having it pop into my head as I bike to work.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

I’ve been struggling lately – with just how hard I am working, with just how hopeless and subject to arbitrary randomness success on the tenure-track appears from here, so close to the starting gate. With how the fear of failure feels in my stomach and tastes in my mouth. With how omnipresent the anxiety is, despite working hard, not procrastinating, and feeling fairly confident that I am doing as good as job as can be expected, that I am not missing some key thing that other people have or know – despite trying to keep the comparisons with my peers positive instead of negative.

I don’t know. It’s all just so draining. I just shouldn’t be waking up in the morning and my first emotion is anxiety and fear.

I think: what if I give my everything to this, and it doesn’t work out? I’ll have traded these years – these amazing years of my children’s early lives – for nothing.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m dramatizing a bit here. I see my children. I am present with my children. But there are late nights, there are Saturdays when I need to be in the lab testing, there are the times when I am with them but my mind is somewhere else, somewhere where fear lives, at the bottom of a marshy pond, and I’m down there, stuck in the weeds, instead of up in the light where they are.

I need to find ways to deal with this because it’s not like this is going to go away. I mean, I hope I will have successes, but I know I will have more failures too. And the truth is that things that we strive for never make us as happy as we think they will make us. We always just want more, more, more.

I’m reading a great book right now that speaks to that very issue and that reminds me that relationships, hobbies, people, life are the things that matter. And I know that’s true. But it’s like holding two opposite truths together at the same time: on the one hand, if I don’t work hard, I will lose my career in about 5 years; and on the other hand, everything else.

It is what it is. For the most part I love it, I don’t want to be doing anything else. But I’m also anxious and fearful, and that part has to be dealt with. Soon. It helps to talk to other academics, it helps to read some academic blogs, it helps to do the work and to stop the work and do something else, to be resilient (which I am) and optimistic (which I am) and to persevere (which I do).

It helps to put this out there.

I’m just feeling extra down tonight: news of the increasing number of migrants drowning trying to reach Europe, the misogynistic, shaming,  outrage against the mother of the boy who climbed into the gorilla’s enclosure (where’s the outrage against parents who leave guns lying around for kids to shoot themselves with?), reading about how student evaluations of teaching are so biased against women instructors, and just generally being consumed with bad news. It will pass.

Thanks for listening.

 

 

 

Rejection, thoughts of doom

Really struggling with recent news that I didn’t get the grant that I worked so hard for and really wanted, nay, NEEDED to get. This was a small competition, for new investigators in my area. I mean, if I can’t get that, what chances do I have?

I don’t have the comments back yet, so depending on those they may cheer me up/depress me further. Right now I’m just really wallowing in some extreme self-pity/anxiety/feeling like I let everyone who helped me – and a LOT of people helped me – down.

Spent the morning planning out my next steps. I have hope but I have no money. Without money it is hard to produce anything that will convince funders to give me money. It’s a vicious cycle and I feel like I’m so behind at the start and I hate myself for it (i.e. not negotiating for more start-up funds).

It feels like everyone else is so far ahead (not the reality, but that’s what it feels like). And the latest hire, a male, got a research assistant as part of his start up when I was explicitly told this wasn’t allowed. Going to talk to my Chair next week – this smells uber, uber fishy.

I’ve experienced rejection before and I know to expect it in this field, but this one just really, really, really stings.

 

Bullet-y bullets

  • Thanks muchly for weighing in on my last post. Your perspectives were so helpful, as always! We have decided not to move.

 

  • We were away last week for a much needed trip to my in-laws  – much running around in the fresh country air was done by all. The drive wasn’t horrible, though we did rely a tad too heavily on the electronics for Freya (“My need Paw Patrol! My NEEEEEED it!” [repeat ad nauseum].

 

  • I have some summer goals related to learning to code. These goals stem from relying heavily on my undergrad Engineering students for some Arduino-based lab projects and having no idea what the hell they were talking about. I’m under no impression that I will become an electrical engineer any time soon, but I’d rather not be the one who says ‘I want this thing to do that and the other thing to do that when the first thing does the other thing. Make it so!’ I’ve started by learning HTML – I’m taking an awesome (cheap!) online course from the Women’s Coding Collective. I made my first webpage yesterday! I can’t describe how fun it is to learn something new, especially when I am mired in anxiety about being in charge of my lab and the likelihood that I will never get funding and that all of my research ideas are a) stupid or b) already being done by someone better and well-established. Ugh. The anxiety. Anyway, HTML is the first step. Then maybe I can update my own lab web page instead of emailing a 19 year old to do it for me.

 

  • The pregnancy and termination in January completely threw me off my diastisis recti exercise routine and I have floundered ever since. I’m going to make it a commitment again – especially since it only takes 10 minutes. And I’m dusting off the 30 day shred video too. I started this morning, doing it despite Freya waking up early and yelling – take a guess – MY NEEED PAW PATROL!!! – approximately 8000 times at close proximity to my ear.

 

  •  I snack WAY too much. This is the problem with having your own office. No-one to keep you accountable. I can exercise all I want but nothing is going to change if I keep mainlining animal crackers and pita chips at 2pm daily.

 

  • Despite many uber-smart suggestions on a previous ‘wracked with guilt over not speaking French with the kids’ post, I’m still wracked with guilt over not speaking French with the kids. Must revisit post for smart suggestions. What is WITH me on this? Usually I do whatever I set my mind to do (which can be a bad trait when it comes to something like finishing the dishes instead of playing with the kids). There is something deep here related to my father, I know it. Something throbbing with pain that I am just kind of keeping covered over with a band aid. Ugh.

 

  • I keep catching myself fantasizing that I will get both of the grants I applied to in March. Fuck grants. You have so much time to imagine what it would feel like to be successful and then you get shot down. There’s only so much feeling like shit one person can take. Dreading getting the rejections.

 

  • In better news, I have about 10 really smart students lined up to work in my lab this summer, for FREE. Yes, FREE. And a project we’ve been working on all year is looking like it is finally going to be testable. Of course I’m super anxious that it is the worst idea ever.

 

  • I’m almost regretting biking to work now because the subway commute was my podcast time. Loving ‘the west wing weekly’. Am watching each episode again. That show! So good.

 

  • Hoping to get back to a more regular blogging time – there’s only so much self-discipline to go around and I’ve been using mine up on work shit, to the detriment of self-discipline about self-care. No bueno.

 

 

 

 

To move or not to move?

I’m torn. A big part of me wants to move to a different apartment, and a big part of me thinks it would be more reasonable to stay. A list:

We should move because:

  • Rent is too expensive.
  • Utilities/heat are very expensive, especially in the winter (windows are old and crappy).
  • There is Mold in the bathroom that the landlord has said he would fix but hasn’t fixed.
  • The kitchen and bathrooms are yucky and every time I am in them, especially when I am cleaning them, I think, ugh, uck, yuck, no, uncomfortable, hate it, YUCK. I’m not being a snob – I don’t need stainless and granite. Trust me – these are not places that you want to spend lots of time. (I am the only person bothered by this).
  • Now that we are more familiar with the neighbourhood, I am comfortable living in parts of the area – parts that cost less and that are less convenient and amenable – that I wouldn’t have considered before.
  • I am ready for a change.

We shouldn’t move because:

  • It’s unlikely that we will find a place that suits our needs that is more than 1oo-200$/month less.
  • Moving will actually COST us money: for movers and for a rental broker fee (1 month’s rent).
  • We live below our landlords and they are nice, making us feel as if someone has our back.
  • The apartment is a great size and everyone has their own space.
  • The backyard and front porch are amazing.
  • The location is amazing. It’s perfect.
  • Moving is stressful and takes lots of time and effort.
  • Kids will have to share a room (I don’t have a problem with this at all, but K does).
  • Any other place that costs less will likely be on the 2nd or 3rd floor and will not have outdoor space.
  • Any other place that costs less won’t have driveway parking.
  • I might just want a change to keep things exciting/have something to look forward to, not for any other reason.

Thoughts?

 

 

My children’s personal space

I’ve been thinking a lot lately – every time I grab one of my incredibly kissable, huggable, ticklable children – about how little I actually respect their personal space, and what I am teaching them about consent when I do so.

It’s just – they are so FREAKING CUTE. And I want to kiss their cheeks! Their bellies! I want to grab and hug them tight and cuddle and lift up their shirts and tickle them and I want to just hold them close and have them be mine, forever, always lift-up-able, always grabbable, always huggable, always ready to come running when I ask for a hug.

Is that so wrong?

On the other hand, I get really pissed when my Aunt grabs the kids and tells them that they have to kiss or hug her. I say politely that Aunt so and so would like a hug or a kiss, but they don’t HAVE to do it.

I want to make sure I teach them that no-one has the right to touch their body without their consent. And we do talk about saying no, and respecting when someone says no. But then I have to remind myself to stop when they say no. I’m not making myself sound good here, but I think you get what I mean – of course I don’t keep doing something when they ask me to stop – but I mean I have to remind myself that my children’s bodies are not extensions of my own body. That it applies to me too.

Freya is still nursing, and I love it, and don’t have any plans to stop that soon, and actually I’m pretty sure it will soon become a situation where *I* need to teach *her* to respect *my* body. So that will be interesting.

Anyway. Just something I’ve been thinking about lately, as I stare at my kids and sit on my hands to keep from holding them to me and yelling mine, mine, MINE!!! in this, their absolute CUTEST age.