Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today I feel like this

only I am not anywhere near as cute (via cuteoverload)

The birth story of my mini-me (aka adventures in high blood pressure)

This is a long detailed story but the important points are:

1) Being at a birthing center, with midwife-centered care, was the most awesome fantastic wonderful decision I ever made. I fully believe that if I was at any other facility I would have ended up with a C-section.

2) I love doulas, I loved my doula, everyone should have a doula

3) Having a well prepared, well educated, partner to advocate for you during the many decision making points during the birth process is critical

4) I wanted a natural birth but was prepared to roll with the punches, which was good, because NOTHING went as expected

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I am being tortured

We went on our first family vacation this past weekend to a little city on the coast. It was supposed to be beautiful and fun and relaxing. We were interested to see how the mini-me was going to do in the car for 3+ hours. She was a champ! The rented house was beautiful, everything was perfect, until that night when the mini-me spiked a fever. When the mini-me is sick she wants nothing and no one else besides her mom and her boob. So since Friday night I have been rocking and nursing one sick baby who refuses to sleep any other way. The result is that the mini-me is getting better and I am in some state of sleep deprived insanity that five cups of coffee can't even make a dent in. This has got to end soon, hopefully without me getting sick or accidentally tripping and killing one of our cats.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love your vagina song

Ladies it is important to love your vagina, also, it is important to laugh 
(from Jezebel)

How can I justify buying this?

Buying a cute plus-sized swim suit is always a challenge. I really liked my maternity swim suit but now that I am not pregnant anymore, it still makes my chubby butt look pregnant. Which is generally not the look I am going for. I had a bathing suit that I loved but it is literally coming apart at the edges so I technically *do* need a new bathing suit. However, I am not sure if I need a $100+ bathing suit. That being said, how awesome is this suit from La Grande Dame? What say you friends, is it worth the cash?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sharing is caring

We do western blots in our lab. The process, from the time of sample collection to the time of developing the blot, takes a week. Recently, people have been unable to get some of their western blots to work. Now you would think I might know this because they brought it up at lab meeting or perhaps because graduate students and other post-docs in my lab talked to each other, but you would be wrong. No one said anything to anyone else. Apparently, in our lab we do not believe that sharing is caring.

Things that could have been said but were not include:

"Dear PQA, do you know why the westerns are not working?"

"Excuse me, PQA, resident expert that has done 3,000 westerns, do you know why my blots are not working?"

"Dear lab, I have noticed that this very common procedure we all use is not working, anyone know why?"

Instead everyone started repeating their westerns, over and over and over again, and shockingly they continued to not work. I learned on Friday that this has been going on for three weeks. THREE WEEKS!

I learned this because I am collaborating with another post-doc in the lab and when I asked him to run the westerns he told me they were not working and he didn't know why. So after talking to various lab members and learning exactly what part of the process was not working for everyone, and then double checking our stock reagents, I realized that someone had ordered the wrong antibody. Everyone has been using the wrong antibody, without checking the tube, because it was in the right box and hence everything had stopped working. This took me about 30 minutes to do.


30 fucking minutes to fix a problem that four people in the lab were struggling with for three weeks!

WTF fellow lab members? How hard is it to talk to each other?!?!? Are you all really this scared of admitting that a mistake might have been made? Is it really preferable to having non-working experiments for weeks on end? If your shit isn't working, why aren't you trouble-shooting? Why are you all repeating the same experiment over and over again without changing/testing any of the parameters? Am I really this smart or are you all really this stupid?


So yeah, ordered the correct antibody, it will be here tomorrow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If I was a baker...

I would buy these from thinkgeek 

and then I would make these cookies and fully enjoy my nerdy deliciousness.

Morning mush

My husband started a job this summer that requires him to wear a suit everyday to work. I love him in a suit, I think he looks very dapper and sexy, plus he usually puts cologne on and I love me a good smelling man.

Sometimes, to let me sleep in an extra few minutes he will entertain the mini-me in the living room. Then he will come into the bedroom while wearing his suit and carrying the mini-me to wake me up. This is my new favorite thing ever, getting extra sleep and then being woken up by a handsome good-smelling man in suit holding a cute baby.

My life is just awesome sometimes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I don't want to punch you in the face...

*begin rant*

I am not prepared to move out of my geographical location to pursue my academic career. I do not stand in judgment of people who do this, I think everyone has good reasons for choosing the paths that they do and I also firmly believe that there are many right paths to success and happiness. But for me, moving away is not an option, and these are the reasons why:

1. I want to live near my family and friends. I love them all, I love spending time with them, I love watching them spend time with the mini-me and I want the mini-me to grow up having a large extensive family and friends as part of her daily life. I have lived thousands of miles away from my family and friends and I hated every minute of it. My family hated every minute of it. We missed each other terribly and were miserable. My family is the most important thing to me.

2. I need and love the support. While I know I could raise a family and have a career with just my husband and I, I wouldn’t be very happy doing so. I love having the support of my family and friends when I need it. Baby is sick, but I have an important experiment, call Grandma! Need an extra car and person to move furniture call Uncle! Don’t have time to plan a birthday party ask Auntie! Having a rough week, go out to drinks with the girls I have known since college! I am an extremely extroverted affectionate person and living amongst a community of people who care for me and who I care for is essential for my happiness. I do not want to give this up. It is not an easy thing to build/find/create and I do want to have to spend the time&energy to create a new one.

3. I do not want to force my husband to relocate. Just to be clear, I am pretty sure that if I really really wanted to move somewhere for my dream job my husband would make the sacrifice because he loves me that much. The thing is, I don’t think he should have to make the sacrifice. I don’t think uprooting him from his career and his friends and his family is worth my career. I don’t think a job, no matter how amazing, is worth it. I know he would suffer at some level and I am not okay with that at ALL.

4. I love the weather and geography here. I do not like real winters. My bad knees get achy in the super cold weather. I love green things. I love riding my bicycle year round, I love trees and oceans and mountains and greenery everywhere that I go. Winter makes me sad, I do not like being sad.

5. I love the diversity and politics here. It is not fun to be the only ‘other’ in a situation let alone in a city or university. I like living somewhere that has so many ‘others’ that no one is sure what normal is. I like have tasty cuisine from around the world at my fingertips. I like celebrating everyone else’s holidays. I like that I don’t have to constantly explain my ‘otherness’. I like living somewhere liberal and progressive, even if it means having to put up the occasional sanctimonious hypocritical hippy.

I realize that this decision limits my possibilities for a job, any job, at any level, in academia immensely. I know things will be more difficult for me but I think the sacrifice is worth it. I am hopeful that although more difficult, I can still have the career I have dreamed of. I have a plan, sort of, well… maybe more of a general idea. But that is a post for another day.

For now I just wish my professor would stop assuming that I am willing to move to Timbuktoo and beyond for a job, especially since I have repeatedly told him that I WILL NOT RELOCATE (to another state) for a job. Professor you are awesome in so many ways, and I am grateful for that, but you hate your family, have no friends, and no life outside of science. Your idea of a good time is to get drunk while reading grants, your emergency contact is our lab manager, your best friend is a blind deaf cat that shits on your bed. Relocating repeatedly to advance your career was no big deal to you. It is a big deal to me. I don’t expect you to understand it, but can you at least try to respect my decision?

Okay, okay that is asking too much... how about you just stop getting that expression of total and complete horror every time I have to remind you that I WILL NOT RELOCATE (to another state) for a job.

Because, seriously, it makes me want to punch you in the face.

*end rant*

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Driving vs Flying

This is kind of fun, now you can calculate travel costs of driving versus flying while taking into consideration time, money, and C02 footprint. I was wondering whether driving or flying between two west coast cities would be cheaper/efficient and now I have my answer. Of course when traveling with a mini-me you also have to take into consideration your child's patience for being strapped into a car seat.

Baby Towing

This morning the mini-me and I rode our bikes into work. Well, I biked and the mini-me sat happily in her trailer and was towed. She didn't seem to mind the helmet or the bike trailer much. I could hear her babbling to herself as I biked. It was really nice to get a smidge of exercise in my day and I am super happy that she seems to be taking to it so well. Now we can bike all over town and not be so tied to the car or stroller. Walking for some reason has always been kind of annoying to me. Such an inefficient method of getting from point A to point B, plus in 90+ degree weather biking is so much more tolerable then walking.

The mini-me's helmet is pink because her grandmother bought it for her and it is against the rules of grandmotherdom to purchase anything for your granddaughter that is not pink. Since my baby has a gigantic head like her father when I put the helmet on she kind of looks like this...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't poke the post-doc

My laboratory has multiple rooms and offices spread across the floor of a rather large building. We also have a large number of students who have taken the flex-time nature of graduate school to heart and are here on an intermittent basis. My office is located near the three main rooms our laboratory and holds our lab manager, research technician and myself. Crazy workaholic that I am, I actually work normally hours (8-5) and as such get interrupted all day long by people trying to find other people, people trying to find things in the lab, people trying to find our professor, and sales rep trying to find someone to sell too. 

Apparently if I am sitting at my desk, with my headphones on, typing on my computer, this is the international sign for NOT WORKING. As the interruptions pile on during the course of the day I get progressively more bitchy. Case in point this conversation at the end of the day…

British post-doc “Do you know where the lab manager is?”

Me “He went to lunch.”

BPD “Do you know when he will be back?”

Me “No”

BPD “He usually gives me an aliquot of this highly restricted drug that is kept under lock and key, can you get it for me?”

Me “I don’t know who you are, who you work for, or what you do and I don’t know what agreement you have worked out with our professor regarding highly restricted drug so NO.”

BPD “Excuse me?”

Me “I suggest you return in 20 min to see if lab manager is back from lunch or call him on his cell phone if this is important”

BPD rolls eyes, sighs, and leaves.

Moral of the story? If you want someone to get you an aliquot of a restricted drug it is best to call ahead, and upon arrival, introduce yourself and maybe use a please or thank you somewhere in there too. Although to be fair, even she had asked politely, I probably still wouldn’t have helped her.

This past Friday after a sales rep wouldn’t stop asking me questions after I repeatedly told her that I was busy and put my headphones back on and returned to working on my computer, I actually turned to her and said “either you can leave your literature on that desk and leave or you can just leave, I don’t really care, because I am done talking to you”

Later I am going to go home and yell at the kids to get off my lawn.

Raising skeptics

So I have been totally digging on this song since it played on my Pandora - Abiola by Ellis Paul. The lyrics are below. But it made me think about how much I want my mini-me to be that kind of skeptic, to not believe things just because we or any authority figure says so. And then I thought, well how the fuck do you raise your kid to be skeptical without being a totally pain the ass (because in my head I swear a lot).

So being a nerd I went searching for some books. I found these two books and have ordered them. The first one arrived this weekend, "Parenting beyond belief", and so far I find it kind of lame. It seems geared more towards non-religious people who have never given any thought to the fact they are non-religious until they have children or to people living in highly religious communities. My little western hippie city is most definitely not highly religious and I was raised atheist so not going to church isn't exactly a surprising desire to me. I haven't gotten all the way through the book yet though so maybe it will redeem itself.

Friday, June 10, 2011


These new sequined Converse shoes are awesome and I wish I could afford to purchase them as my new closed-toe lab shoes.

Etiquette & Manners

So yesterday at our annual department BBQ our Chinese post-doc (let's call him Jon) let out a loud burp in front of myself and one of our graduate students (let's call her Lauren). This particular graduate student wrinkled her nose, said "Gross! Excuse you!" in a rather rude way.

Jon, who has a limited grasp of the English language was very confused and asked "Why excuse me?".

Lauren said "Burping is gross"

Jon said "But soda make you burp?"

Lauren said "It is rude to burp."

And then the conversation awkwardly stopped. I don't think Jon knew at the time what the word rude meant but he definitely took away from Lauren's attitude that she was a bit annoyed. I stepped in at this point and told Jon very calmly and with a smile that in American culture burping is considered not polite. That to many people burping is similar to farting and it is not something you should do in front of anyone other then close family or friends. It is definitely not something you want to do in front of other important scientists, say at dinner meeting for example. If you must burp, you do so quietly while covering your mouth and say "excuse me" afterwards. Jon was still surprised that burping was rude, thanked me for the explanation and the conversation moved on to other things.

Later, Lauren told me that I didn't need to be so mean to Jon.

Umm.... WTF?

Rolling your eyes and saying excuse me rudely to someone who isn't familiar with our culture is mean and arrogant. Gently and politely explaining a cultural difference to a foreign person who is not aware of it IS NOT MEAN. I don't get this at all. I have also had other graduate students tell me I am mean/rude when I pause in a one-on-one scientific conversation with Jon to define a word for him when I can see that he hasn't understood what I have said. Apparently, addressing the fact that Jon is from a different country and isn't a native born english speaker is *gasp* horrible!! How dare I try to teach someone! How dare I actually address the fact that they do not know something! I mean what kind of place is this... a university or something?