Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I was all ready to finally post today. My idea was basically to say, "hey, it's been a busy few weeks, but after my thesis committee meeting on Monday, things should slow down and go back to normal." That was the plan.

Things have been busy. My thorn-in-my-side first paper (that I wrote two years ago) got rejected again. Once again--no helpful reviews. They just didn't like it. It's got some results that go against some dogma, but we've really done the experiments to show it's not a fluke. Still, it's been an uphill battle to get people to listen to us.

So, that rejection came back last Monday. And the person I am working with on it decided we should completely revise it and send it to another journal within a week. Fine and good, except:

1. It was Thanksgiving week, so I basically had Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.
2. I also had my thesis committee report due this Monday. And I was in the thick of citing papers for background and outlining my experiments.
3. I had multiple experiments set up in the lab, and I really didn't have time to squeeze in the revisions in lab, so they'd have to happen at home.

But, I told him I'd get the revisions out. I really want to be done with this paper. I figured it was worth the pain.

So, lots of experiments, complete revision of a paper, and a thesis proposal. Good times.

And did I mention that I found out last Tuesday that they were cancelling enrollment for the insomnia clinical trial I was in? And that they made me come out to my visit anyway Tuesday morning, when I could have been working?

Fun stuff.

Still, we managed to visit family until we dropped on Thanksgiving. It was nice, but exhausting. And Sophie, Tim, and I were all coming down with these horrible chest colds. It really wiped us out, but none of us could sleep. Despite that, my sister stayed with us Thanksgiving night, and we were up at 5 AM to shop on Friday. We only did a few deals--Inkstop for cheap SD cards, CVS for the freebies (it took 3 CVS trips though, and we still didn't find anything), Kohl's for $10 jeans for Tim/clothes for Jen/shopping for my cousin, and Sears (although the shelves I wanted were gone by the time we got there). There were only crowds at Kohl's, and even then it was only to check out. The line wrapped around the inside of the entire store to check out, but even then we were done within 45 minutes of getting in line.

We didn't really have money to spend, and we're not doing gifts again (I think this is our 3rd year), so it was pretty low key. Tim's old jeans were at least 5 years old, so I got him 4 new pairs (and 4 pairs were still cheaper than 1 regular priced pair). I figured I could squeeze that into the budget.

I did buy Sophie's Christmas present today though. She played with a Little Tikes kitchen set for an hour at my Aunt's house on Thanksgiving. See:She just loved this thing. She carried all the fake food around in a little bowl. I had no idea she'd be interested in it--it says ages 3 and up. I looked for one online, but they are all waaay out of our price range, and there wasn't one on craigslist.

So, today I got a message about a deal at It's not quite the same thing, but it's a Hasbro Playskool rose petal cottage. It comes with a little stove, and you can get other appliances. It was marked from $80 to $30 (and I had seen it for $150 at Target), so I figured for $30, we could do it. Here it is:

It's more tent-like than the sturdier little tikes playhouses, but it's also smaller, and the two halves can nestle in each other to store it. It comes with the little stove in the picture, which is what I think Sophie will like.

Plus, they are selling all the extras (sink, washer, nursery set) for about $20 a piece on Amazon, so it gave me the chance to finally tell the grandparents what Sophie could use for Christmas. She doesn't even need that stuff--some fake food from the dollar store (big enough so she can't actually eat it, obviously) would keep her amused forever.

So, Sophie's done. We only buy for the two grandmothers otherwise, so I'm nearly done shopping. I do like not buying gifts--much less stressful, and easier on the wallet--but it does make getting gifts weird. I feel guilty when I get gifts--even when it's something like my birthday, when no one expects you to get a gift for them in return. It's a weird self-worth I-don't-deserve-presents thing that stems from my childhood. No need to get into all that tonight! But it's amplified when someone buys me a gift and I haven't gotten them one in return. Tim's much better with it--it's a person's choice to buy a gift, you can't tell people NOT to get you something, so enjoy it without guilt. I'm working on it.

Anyway, all of our time off over Thanksgiving was spent being very sick. We all still felt crappy on Monday, but back to work/daycare we went. Tim and I both came home from work/school and had stuff we needed to work on. And then yesterday I was busy after the VA with MSTP applicants. I hosted one student, who was very nice, but that took up my whole evening.

And then today at lunch, daycare called to say that Sophie was puking. I had to cancel my lab meeting and get someone to fast my rats, which I felt bad about, and Tim had to pick Sophie up and stay with her until I could get home. She puked again in his car, but by the time I got home, she was fine. No temperature, very playful, very interested in food. She never threw up again. I stayed home with her all afternoon, but she seemed totally fine. I figured the doctor wouldn't do anything if she wasn't either running a fever, continuing to puke, or not acting like herself, so we stuck it out at home.

And now, finally, Sophie's in bed, Tim's home from his class (he had a paper and presentation due today), my thesis proposal and revisions on the paper are both sent out, and I have a minute to myself.

Really, things have been nuts the last few months. Starting with the old lab drama in August (and honestly, even before that), I've been going at full tilt and beyond. It's always been, "I'll rest after I (fill in the blank): switch labs/go back to med school, get started in the new lab, get experiments going, having a thesis committee meeting, get this paper accepted, write my grant proposal, etc."

Since my grant won't be in until the end of January, I really don't think I'll have much of a break until then. After that though, I'd like to take a whole week off. I haven't done that since maternity leave--and I wouldn't call that a vacation, per se. We don't have the money or the time to do anything crazy fancy, but even just going up to his parent's cabin for a week would be nice. Or going into Pittsburgh or Columbus to see some of our friends--that's not a far drive. We just both need a break. Tim is finally taking his last class for his engineering degree this spring. Maybe we'll go away after he graduates. I promised I'd throw him a "congratulations on your second bachelor's degree, please take a break from school" party when he is done, which I will, but it'd be nice to do something just the three of us. We'll see. I'm sure something will come up between now and then that will continue to have me running around like a crazy person.

Other than being insanely busy, things in our little family have been good. There's been a lot that other people near to me have been struggling with, and it's not my place to air their issues (and it's not all the same issues that have been brought up in the past). But it's painful to watch people I love hurt. I'm a fixer--always have been--and it takes every part of me to not want to jump in and tell people how to fix their lives. But I've really be practicing the "healthy detachment" principle. It's not easy, but I know it's healthier for me. I've just got to find the right balance between letting people know I care about them and getting all up in their business.

Hopefully, life will slow down a little from here on out and I'll be able to update more frequently. I just wanted to let you know we're all still alive, generally doing fine, and just trying not to have panic attacks on a daily basis. But that's nothing new :)

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