Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Yesterday I got to bottle-feed a 6 week old kitten who is being hand-reared by a friend. Teeny crazy fluffy grey thing with pointy tufts on her ears just like a lynx, she was rescued at one day old and the shelter passed her along to my friend for bottle feeding and much TLC. She kept ten adults completely entertained for hours just by running about, chasing a toy and batting at our hands and feet.

In other furry-things related news, I am now on the foot part of my first ever sock. After I complete it, I will either make another one as like it as I can manage (maybe minus the small hole where the heel flap meets the foot), or I will find a one-legged person to give it to. A friend of mine has taken up spinning, I have told him that if he spins the wool, I'll knit him socks out of it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Done for

The final exam of my epidemiology class was on Monday, I think it went well; though the article review assignment dragged my A- down to a B, the final might boost it back up to the land of A. Everybody did poorly in the article review. The online grades posting tells me my scores, and the averages for the class, and I'm above average on all but one assignment, though not spectacularly above average. Either way, it's DONE, I have made it through my first university class since 2001, next stop GRE review and writing the personal statement for my application.

Meanwhile, on the job front, I think I can now clarify the to-and-fro I've been hinting at for months, which will probably also help explain the DEF CON 4 stress levels over the past year. My supervisor/boss is relocating to a university in Philadelphia, where she will get her own lab space and extra money for grad students and staff members like me. I was offered a position there, but neither Matt nor I want to move this year. Oddly, Philly is on my list of potential cities to live in for the future, but I was thinking 10+ years kind of future, like after grad school, with a kid or two, wanting a house with a yard and to be close to the in-laws. So, I had to figure out what to do to keep me in cat food and hand-dyed yarn in the interim. The university I work for is pretty good about finding positions for staff members left without a lab group, but there are a lot of research groups here, and I was concerned I wouldn't be able to find one that worked on stuff that interested me, or, worse, that I'd end up stuck in a group with unpleasant interpersonal dynamics. Scientists can be a bit of a mixed bag, and NONE of us get people-management training, not even the supervisors. I lucked out, I will be working with a bunch of very bright and straightforward people, the whole group is very low on drama, as the two professors in charge of it wouldn't stand for interpersonal nonsense and ego wars. They know about my plans to pursue an MPH, and will be supportive of my taking classes, which is essential as some of the MPH classes are in the middle of the day, so creative rescheduling will be required.

My current group wraps up the very last week of June, so we're in the last few weeks of experiments, focusing on finishing up a couple of projects before my boss and the grad student head off to Philly and start setting up there. It is hectic. I'm making a lot of to-do lists so that I don't miss anything I have to do each day. It's especially hectic because I'm taking this Friday off, and the next Friday, for a group trip to Idyllwild, and then May War in Potrero, the only condition for me being able to take this time off is that I have to get 5 days work done in 4 each week so my absence doesn't set us back. Whew.

So far the antidepressants seem to be a big force for good. The first week, on a half dose, I had a pretty bad sore throat, but that went away as soon as I went up to the full dose. I have been calmer, I have so much more mental and physical energy, and no nausea or crazy appetite stuff like the other AD I was on in 2001. I have still gotten stressed out periodically, but it's just so much less than before, and it's been a stressful couple of weeks, so it would be odd if I hadn't got upset at any point. Plus, I recovered fast from each upset. I think this is going to work out that they do just what I want them to do: take the edge off and enable me to take actions that will help my mental well being naturally, actions I was struggling to even begin because I was struggling to overcome the depression and anxiety in the first place. It's harder to take good care of yourself when you really don't see the point. It's harder to concentrate at work and do a good job when you're convinced it'll all fail anyway.

Speaking of work, I think my 40 little samples of homogenized brain have now thawed, so it's time for me to start doing my thing.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

You will awake...

Originally uploaded by Rosemary Grace.
...Feeling perfectly refreshed, and remember nothing of this conversation.