Thursday, August 28, 2008


At 3pm today I have a meeting with a PI on a postdoc I want to apply for. I was introduced to the PI by a friend two weeks ago. I feel really unprepared for this meeting and don't know what to expect! The postdoc position has a summary of the position but it is still up to me, under the supervision of the PI, to write an 8 page proposal (due in Nov). Hopefully I don't sound too uneducated during our interview. I have an idea of what I'd like to propose but I still not exactly sure how this process works. If applicants write the proposal under the supervision of the PI then it seems likely that the PI will pick only one or two candidates that he wants to work with. And it seems likely that he has an idea of what the proposal should contain. The summary of the position gives a few suggestions on how to solve this particular question, but one can't do all the suggestions. I think that is where the applicant comes in . . to narrow down what method to use to attempt to solve the question at hand.

Hm, I guess all these questions will get answered in the meeting today. Also, if he doesn't think I'm right for the position than that's fine with me. Tomorrow I have an interview for a consulting firm that does interesting science-opposed to most companies I see who only look interested in the cleaning up contaminated sites.

I would really like the post doc position but the applicants are not announced until spring and I'll need a job until then. Part of me also feels that if I get a career job, verses a post doc, I can start making plans about the future. Like buying a house, having a baby.

What's a gal to do?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blogger's mom

While I'm on the subject. . . . on my way to meet up with ScienceGirl I actually stopped by a bloggers house and met her mother and father-and I've never met this blogger before!! That was quite awkward but her parents were so warm and friendly the awkwardness quickly faded. She had us inside for juice and zucchini bread and we left with lemons, plums, applies, peaches, tomatoes and fresh bread.
I hope to visit with them again.

Meeting another blogger.

As ScienceGirl explained we met for dinner last night and brought our husbands along. I really enjoyed our meet up and was happy we were able to coordinate something before she left this area.

As I was heading back to my house I was thinking about how this meeting was quite different from my other blogger meet up, as described by Mad Hatter. When I met up with Mad Hatter, EcoGeoFemme and Academic it was the four of us. All bloggers. Our conversation was about blogging, other bloggers, the general topics we write about on our blogs and we got to know some about each other and like ScienceGirl said, we got to put a face and a voice to a friendship we already had.

On the other hand when I met with ScienceGirl we both had our husbands with us, both of them (to my knowledge) non-bloggers. Not only had we never met each other but we hadn't even e-mailed with each other's husbands. So what did we talk about? We talked about what most friends do when they meet up for dinner, our jobs (or lack of), graduate school, the cost of living, the weather, weddings, family, ect. It was great. The only reason I started to compare the two meetings was that I was planning on coming home and blogging about the experience but thought, hey we didn't talk about if it was ok to mention that we met and in fact we only briefly talked about blogging at all. I mentioned how I tried to explain to my husband's 87 year old grandma that I did know these people we were meeting for dinner and we weren't really meeting strangers. My husband described ScienceGirl as my penpal.

During the drive home I also thought about other items I wanted to discuss with ScienceGirl. For example, How is her running coming along?
So hopefully her and her husband will come back for another internship, fellowship or full time job and we will be able to have many more face to face meet ups.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wow, for little ol' me..

Seeking Academia decided I was deserving of two awards (although I can only get one image to upload).1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Add links to these blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.

And the nominees are . . .
A lady scientist
A mad tea-party
Curiosity killed the cat
I love science, really
Janus professor
Journey of an academic
The happy scientist
Unbalanced reaction

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's official

The Graduate School accepted my dissertation yesterday! I've even paid the $170 fee so they can't change their minds now :)

I mailed my first CD on Aug. 6. It cost $35 to overnight it and I didn't hear back until Aug. 8. Even though I had met with the grad school in June they still found a formatting error. I hate the details! What was most upsetting was that she wanted me to put my references at the end of the work even though the guidelines specifically state that one can choose to put the references at the end of each chapter or at the end of the document. You know what she told me? Oh, those guidelines are old. What! Why the F have guidelines if they don't mean anything. I also came to notice that these guidelines are 40+ pages while my undergrad institution has, oh, about 6. Why is life more complicated on the East Coast? I convinced her to let me leave my references at the end of each chapter plus I added a bibliography (which was a pain). On Aug. 8 I spent $25 and my dissertation arrived on Aug. 12. But it wasn't until yesterday that I was finally told it was accepted. What a stressful time. It's my own fault for waiting so close to the deadline, which is today.

But it's done! and I will never read it again :)
On the home front we have a place of our own that we love. It is a 2 bedroom 2 bath plus garage, in a four plex. We have a bottom unit and an awesome desk and small back yard. We pay $1600 plus utilities. Way expensive, but all the less expensive places were in crappy condition or way to small. A one bedroom would have been fine but we didn't see anything we liked. Also this place has a stackable washer/drier.

Now we need jobs so we can afford this place, and of course so we can afford to buy all the local, organic produce we want, and coffee.
We met my USGS friends for lunch this week. The lab I worked in is hiring a lab manager and my old boss encouraged me to apply. I met with the scientist in her group (a guy I never worked with) who is the one actually hiring for this position. I am excited about the projects he is working on and would love to be in charge of a lab and all the college students that come in and out of it. However, he wants someone with a lot more microbiology than I have. What I have is, um, zero. So he would have to train me on mostly everything before I could train the students. Sounds pretty inefficient. What another women in the lab told me was that this guy wants a microbiology person but my old boss wants a soils person and they have been arguing about what type of person to hire, and this is why my old boss wants me to apply. So she can get her way. Alright by me :) However, I am worried that I won't really like this position if I have to use methods to identify microbial communities. Doesn't sound very exciting to me. But I'm applying and what "other women" said was that if I make the first cut I can ask to be shown more about the methods and see if I would enjoy the work.

I am also applying for a USGS postdoc. I met informally with the PI this week and he seems really nice and said encouraging things. We will meet formally at the end of the month after I can read some of his publications and think a little about a proposal for the project he has. I didn't have anything exciting to say our first visit but that, um, I think your project is cool :) and I told him very briefly what I do. It was good that someone I use to work with and that has coauthored with him brought me to his office for the introduction.

I've been sending my resume out to consulting companies and been getting people I know to forward my information around. Everyone I've talked to has been impressed but don't have jobs. So now I'm trying to apply to companies that have job openings, where the first round of resumes where through people I know.

I'm hopeful. There are opportunities around and I'm staying busy searching for jobs and working on manuscripts.

OH, I can't believe I almost forgot. I got a publication accepted. I just need to approve the proofs and it will be complete. I have to admit I wasn't very ethical when I did the revisions. I never let my adviser see the publication. We did talk about the suggested changes and I showed him some plots I made from the model the reviewer suggested we used. Even though I feel a little bad about this, the total time for revision was only 2 weeks and I'm certain it would have been longer had he read the changes. Will my manuscript karma be ruined now?

Monday, August 11, 2008


I've always really loved food. Once in college I started buying my own food and making educated decisions about what was good to buy, for my body and for the earth.

I'm not good at remembering how much I paid for the local, organic strawberries (for example). I just buy them and love them and feel good about my purchase. I've mostly shopped with my stomach and conscious than my wallet.

I've never had sympathy for people who say they can't afford organic or local products. However, moving back to home state where both my husband and I are unemployed is a very humbling experience and I will never again judge people who say they can't afford this or that.

Fortunately we have a few choices of farmers markets to go to and some great local grocery stores. The choices here for organic and sustainable are vast. But sadly shopping now feels like a chore since I have to try and keep a running tally in my head of how much things cost. Hm, we paid $2.99 for local-ish, organic strawberries at the local grocery store but here at the farmers market they are $4 and look smaller. I HATE doing this. I really miss going shopping and just buying what I love.

We also loved to go out to eat and there are so many great restaurants in this town. It's also a fun social event to go grab a cup of coffee or some beer with friends.
I haven't been drinking coffee! We have so much tea, from my husband's obsession, that I've been drinking tea to save money.

I thought this post would be more reflective on my humbling experience of how hard it is on a fixed budget to buy good food but with that coffee statement it sounds more like whining.
Our main goal is to try to stay with very unprocessed foods and I think we should manage to stay within a small budget for two people.
What is really motivating us to find jobs, besides the desire to work, is our $1600 a month rent price!