Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday morning dread

I'm laying in bed awake at 4 am, dreading going in to the lab today because I've fallen behind schedule again and don't want to admit it to my PI, who will be expecting an update.  It's been about 3 weeks since we last spoke, and I've only managed to write about 450 words in that time. I'm not sure why this always seems to happen...whether it's my neuroses or his added pressure or some combination thereof, but I feel the need to make excuses for my lack of progress. I haven't been depressed, per se...it's more of an anxiety about moving into uncharted territory:  I've never written a discussion section before. And lots of personal stressors have had me completely distracted and unable to focus on my work...so maybe I'll just blame the ADD...but then why don't the anxiolytics and stimulants help?  I even tried Hemingway's advice to "write drunk; edit sober" a couple of days last week...that's how I managed the 450 words I did get drafted.  So not only am I ashamed of this lack of progress, I'm also doubting whether I'll be able to finish the rest of my dissertation by the late-January deadline. Hence, my desire to hide under the covers and stay in denial & avoidance mode. :-(

Friday, December 6, 2013

Brainstorming blog topics

I'm having an off day, meaning absolutely no productivity. I'm still in the throes of dissertation writing, and it's still miserable. Every day I go through this internal struggle, never wanting to get started, but getting more and more discouraged as the day drags on. As I mentioned in the last post, I have a billion thoughts running through my head, distracting me, and stressing me out, and I need an outlet. I don't even know where to start, so I thought I'd just brainstorm some of the various topics I'd like to explore via this blog. I hope it will help me simply put the deliberations on hold for a while, knowing I'll come back to them later, but I also hope it will give anyone who stumbles across the blog a reason to stay, if they're interested in my thoughts on any of these. Ideally, once I do write a post on each one, I'll come back and add a link to this post.

  • my struggles with adult ADD / ADHD, depression, and anxiety
  • productivity skills I've learned, and resources for others struggling to complete their dissertations
  • the life-altering career decisions that will have to be made soon
  • trying to live a value-driven, meaningful life
  • achieving some semblance of work-life balance
  • self-improvement and family-improvement
  • marriage, compromise, and co-parenting
  • my science-minded opinions on birth, parenting, education, and anything else I feel like exploring
I'm pretty sure most of these will merit more than just one post, so maybe they'll end up being content tags instead, but anyway, hopefully that gives you a vague idea of where I'm going with this blog revival.  If you're interested in anything in particular, feel free to ask in the comments, and I'll try to get to that topic sooner.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Aspiring...to come back from the dead

Sorry about going dark for so long...it turns out having a kid is very time-consuming! ;-P My precious first-born is now 3 years old, and I'm anxiously awaiting my PhD defense this coming March, after which hubby and I will start trying for #2! This has been a long, hard slog, which I will probably go back and share some of the stories from, but the reason I've come back to restart the blog is that, similar to when I was debating on having the first child, I have a thousand and one thoughts running through my head, trying to decide what to do next. More later.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

32 weeks, 5 days

I was reminded yesterday that it has been a ridiculously long time since I posted, again. I'm in my 8th month of pregnancy and still doing well...starting to get a bit more uncomfortable, from the baby riding up against my ribs and causing reflux, to the weight of this big baby causing pain in my pubic bone and the summer heat causing swollen feet and ankles. But overall, the pregnancy has really been treating me well. No complications - my "low-lying placenta" resolved itself completely and the baby has been head-down since my 25-week ultrasound. Hubby and I took a 12-hour roadtrip a couple weeks ago to go back to our hometown for 2 weddings and 2 baby showers, and I had no trouble with that either. We got a ton of loot from the showers - so much that we had to return a bunch of bulky items to re-buy when we got home! So with all that taken care of and a couple more people to take up on their offers of hand-me-downs, I think we're pretty set for gear and clothes. Time to start stocking up on diapers and wipes, I guess.

The more worrying thing that I have yet to figure out is childcare...I've really been dragging my feet on this because it's very anxiety-provoking to be trying to find the best possible person/place to care for your precious infant but to be restricted to such a ridiculously minuscule budget. So far, I've surveyed the field online, finding a dozen or so home childcares and centers that are on the lowest end of the price range, since that's all we can afford. I mean to call the other NAFCC accredited home childcares in the area to check their prices since they usually don't have websites...but somewhere between web/email and phone/in-person-visit is where I hit my brick wall and start making excuses like needing to take time off work to make calls and visits during business hours, etc. Any advice on getting over that anxiety and getting my ass in gear would be much appreciated!

I have a similar problem at work... Things have been going fine, generally. I've pretty much wrapped up the experiments I wanted to complete before I got too incapacitated by my big belly, and my undergrad assistant is back from a 6-week summer trip so she can finish up the rest of it without much assistance from me. The problem now is I have 2 papers I'm supposed to be writing (one of which I tried to get out of, but my committee "strongly encouraged" it, so 5 against 1 wins). There's still a load of histology and data analysis to wade through on both, in addition to the actual writing, so I just don't exactly know where to start. I've always had anxiety about starting writing projects, so this is nothing new, and probably partially explains why I'm beginning my 6th year of graduate school with no publications to my name (but there is a 4th author paper to be submitted any day now, whoohoo!). The other part of that equation is the fact that I chose a wildly ambitious project involving setting up a new technique in a lab (and in fact, at a school) where no one had done it before. Crazy naive me...but really, I wouldn't trade it for a thing. I learned so much more through that painstaking process of troubleshooting every little thing than I ever would have if someone had just handed down all the protocols and tips and tricks of the trade. Well anyway...speaking of work, I better get to it!

ETA: Oh! I completely forgot to mention a very important point! My project (and in fact, the whole lab) is now completely funded! We got both R-01s renewed, plus I had that other foundation grant I mentioned last fall, so we're all covered now. Whoohoo!

Monday, May 10, 2010

24 weeks, 3 days

I'm not sure I have anything particularly interesting to report on today, but I figured I'd pop in and say hi. I'm still feeling pretty good...my only complaint is some hip pain when I wake up in the morning, but it's different from whatever I was experiencing earlier in pregnancy. It doesn't seem to be related to pressure, since it only shows up in my right hip, regardless of which side I spent more time on overnight. It's not alleviated by sleeping with a pillow between my knees or under my right hip. But it's not that bad and tends to go away eventually after I've been up and around for a few hours, so things could certainly be worse.

Hubby still hates Bradley class...a little more each week, in fact. He thinks the instructor is a sadist for enjoying seeing the dads pushed out of their comfort zones. But he's still suffering through because he knows it's important to me. He's a sweetheart like that. He also demonstrated his sweetness with the surprise I found on my nightstand yesterday morning. It said "Happy Mother's Day, You're Almost There" and had one of our 20-week ultrasound pictures with a bubble coming out of the baby's mouth, saying "You gestate great, Mommy. I love you." :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

21 weeks, 1 day

Hi blog-world. Long time no see...sorry about that. Everything is
going well with my pregnancy. I'm showing clearly enough that
strangers feel comfortable making comments now! :-P I've been
feeling the baby move a lot more lately, so it's been fun trying to
learn his likes and dislikes and sleep-wake patterns.

I found out last week that I'm having a boy, and I think we've decided
on a name for him... I wish I could ask you what you think, but it's
a very unique (and totally geeky) name based on a famous case in the
development of my field of life science, so it would give way too many
clues to my identity. Most lay people won't recognize the person, but
the name is recognizable and pronounceable despite it's rarity, and
the nickname we would call him by is popular enough to be in the top
500 on the social security baby name list. Of my colleagues who know
the story behind it, half of them think it's awesome that I would name
my kid that and the other half think Hubby and I are on crack. :-P
The grandparents-to-be all seem to be on the side of thinking it's a
bit odd, but they like the nickname. I've been feeling sort of torn
about it myself, but I can't seem to think of anything else that
sounds right and means something to us... Maybe we've just been
thinking about it for so long that it has kind of stuck. So, like I
said, I guess we have a name!

Let's see...what else is going on? Hubby and I started our Bradley
Method natural childbirth prep class last week, and so far I'm loving
it and Hubby feels a bit put upon, in that he has been assigned a new
set of duties (including nightly massage to help me practice relaxing
during labor, but we haven't been doing that anyway) on top of working
more than full-time and doing most of the housework. But he seems to
be giving it a fair chance, which I appreciate. We'll see how the
next one goes, tomorrow night.

So anyway, just wanted to say a quick hello to let you know I'm still
alive and well. :-)

--
Sent from my mobile device

Monday, February 22, 2010

13 Weeks, 3 Days

Yeah, like I said...I suck at this blog thing. I haven't even been reading the other women in science blogs lately. And now that I've gone fully public about my pregnancy, I have much less motivation to post about it on this anonymous blog. I suppose I can use it to complain about some of the more embarrassing pregnancy symptoms (OMG the gas is AWFUL!). But I'll go ahead and update you few loyal readers anyway. :-)

My first trimester screening tests came back perfectly normal and healthy, and the angle of the genital tubercle suggests it's a girl. I did some Pubmed searching and those early ultrasound gender detection methods seem to be about 80-90% accurate. I'll be thrilled if it is a girl, as will my mother-in-law (who has no daughters or granddaughters), but I'll have to be on guard for all of the pink frilly gift outfits I don't want to dress my daughter in... :-P

Alright, that's all I have time for now. Drop me an email if you miss me! ;-)