Wednesday, November 28, 2007

1,000 emails

Apparently 1,000 emails is the capacity of my AOL email account.

Today I had 1,137. After I deleted the first thousand, I was able to view the next 137. An additional 30 were marked as spam.

I read one of the emails. Which was a forward from a high school friend.

Perhaps I should check that email address more than once a month.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

In celebration of this holiday I post a picture that Nephew gave me when I visited last weekend! He is so smart and creative for a 4-year-old (and he is very high on my "I am thankful for" list!!)!
Happy Turkey Day!

Big fun in the Little CITY & Buffalo!

Last week, Ry & I travled back towards my hometown for something very exciting for Ry -- an "interview" for a postdoc position at a well-respected university!

I put "interview" in quotation marks because we were all quite confident that Ry would be moving to this Little City and will begin his post-degree work in late January. So confident that I spent my time looking at 80-million apartments for him while he smoozed with the academics in his new department! (I say this all lightly, but it was still very stressful/exciting for Ry because he had to present all of his awesome work and he is being considered for a training grant (which would award him more money, opportunities and a computer!))
But it all was awesome! His new advisor is perhaps the opposite of his current advisor (though both are extremely brilliant) and the advisor's family is so nice! And I found Ry his very first apartment -- which we will move him into next month! All-in-all a very successful 48-hours in the Little City that Ry will soon call home! (And will be my home-away-from-home during my frequent visits!)

And the best part of the week was being able to drive just one hour from the Little City to visit my family!! My mom threw together an amazing Thanksgiving dinner for my whole family on Saturday! With all of us now having significant others -- and my brother has a son -- it is a tight squeeze in the house! Especially with grandparents and friends also stopping by!

There was so much fun to be had with my family! Nephew is now 4-years-old and is the highlight of my life. He is so smart and funny! He played my little bro's Wii bowling game with Ry, my little bro, and my grandfather. So the age span was 4 to 78! And it was my grandfather (not Nephew) that "accidentally" threw the Wii controller across the room in the 10th frame!Nephew was much more amused with "accidentally" throwing the Wii bowling ball at the people to make them jump away and then we all laughed and laughed!

A very crazy few days, but a wonderful time in the Little City and a great weekend with my family & friends! I can't wait to be back in Buffalo for Best Christmas Ever!

Enjoy the photos!

Ry's Postdoc Building!

And his new campus!
And his very first apartment!
Notice the pretty black counter tops!
Future-sister-in-law K cuts up some of the 4 different desserts!
My little bro enjoys the whipped cream
I do love cleaning!
Big bro, Nephew and sister-in-law opening up some early birthday gifts!
Little bro helping Nephew with his gifts (because I am an awesome aunt & bring him gifts every time I see him!)!

Perhaps next time I won't give Nephew post-it notes
(or at least I will keep them away from Ry & Little bro)!
Nephew used them to make us all name tags (he even made one for the "Dog", "Cat" and each of the dozen "Fish")!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A potential labmate

In the middle of my craziness, I was also asked by my advisor to host a potential graduate student.

This happens quite a bit this time of year -- students come to visit the Little Town and our University because, in my field, my advisor is somewhat of a "well-known guy" and we usually get half a dozen people each year that are looking to maybe join our lab.

And, because I am my advisor's go-to-pushover (see previous posts), the most recent potential labmate stayed with me for 3 days.

She seemed nice and smart, but, as any of you know that have ever had "company", I got nothing done and my house is still a mess. Oh, and she invested my house with germs, so I have been fighting a cold all week (though I should have guessed that, given my horoscope (Thanks, Hamster Grrl)).

Here are some pictures from a super fun evening, where my advisor gave me and the labmates some cash to show the potential "a good time"!
Joe & I with our matching drinks
(notice who has the "big girl" drink & who got the baby margarita!)
Dancing Fish with our potential labmate (who is all bundled up because of the frigid cold of the Little Town).
I managed to freak-out the waiter by knowing his name, so he made it a point to learn ours!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Take Luck!

Ry & I were very happy to catch up with our good friends Dr. D & his wife ("A") a few days ago over the phone!

They're doing well in Wisconson! They're both very happy with their new jobs and are loving the house and getting ready to become a bigger family and being so close to the football stadium!

To celebrate their big move, Ry & I sent some gifts their way (after a few weeks of "forgetting" to get to the post office ... opps!).

We sent some GB football paraphanalia for Dr. D & the little one (to pay homage to the great football parties Dr. D & A always throw!)!

And I made a scarf for A! A few months back, as part of the monthly book club that A and her friends organized, we tried to do some knitting. While I am sure A could have picked up on the knitting, she decided to leave it to me!

So I took her pretty yarn and awesome size 10 bamboo needles (LOVE THEM!) and (with some size 15 needles of my own) knit her up this super fun scarf!

We miss them very much and can't wait to visit the whole family next year!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Constructive or DEstructive Criticism?

Below are a few comments that my advisor sprinkled throughout the latest draft of my proposal:

o.k., I am lost here

while [why ‘while’]

K’mon, give us some decent wording here!

I don’t get it.


sounds erudite but I don’t understand

Wow. Those are helpful. Really gives me some direction so that I can change my proposal to make it better.

I figured posting his comments here would be better than me emailing him back with "Thanks, Asshole!" Or "Thanks for the comments, but I just don't get them". Or "K'mon, haven't I changed enough already so that it sounds erudite?"

I can take criticism just fine, but I would appreciate something constructive that I could work with.

Another lesson of "How I will NOT be as an advisor".

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Proposal Lows & Manuscript Highs

I know all of you out there are thinking "Why hasn't Sneks been blogging lately?"

Well, various reasons. Two of which are my dissertation proposal and a manuscript on a side project.

The dissertation proposal has been (as you could probably tell by the title of this post) kicking my butt. I am floundering (ha) with it for many reasons. Like, I am not that excited about it, a tenured professor refused to be on my committee (because of his experience with my labmate and my advisor) (which then leads to further doubt about this research on my behalf), my advisor has given little feedback other than "I hate this part", and I am a perfectionist when it comes to writing, so each word is carefully chosen. Sigh.

But things are going well this week and I have a pretty decent draft in to my advisor that I am happier with. So, the low is getting less-low.

As for the manuscript, it's on the project I did with Dancing Fish my first summer here. We wrote up a short communication (you will not believe how difficult it is to write ONLY 800 words) and sent it off somewhere big. Somewhere BIG. Yes people. The BIGGEST journal (that takes short communications). Yes, that is right.


I kid you not.

Of course, I honestly think it will get rejected (not because I doubt our research or our writing ... the paper just needs more data that is literally impossible to collect). The chance of us actually getting published is like less than 7% or something. But, it's been 6 days now and we haven't heard anything (usually, papers get rejected within 48 hours of submission). OK, so there was a weekend in there, so technically it has only been 4 days. But still, a good sign. I have gotten other papers rejected much more quickly than this!

So, please keep your fingers crossed for me as I work on the proposal and as we wait to hear from Science (OMG -- I actually have a paper submitted to Science ... CRAZY!)!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lots to Celebrate!

Happy 28th Birthday Ry!!

And even though he is on the west coast for a big conference, he still managed to call me multiple times and get me flowers for our
2-year Anniversary!
(I know, it is crazy! 2 whole years!)

Lots to celebrate on this 5th day of November!