Thursday, June 28, 2012

I don't have TB, but maybe my dept is sick

I guess I'm one of those people that routinely test positive for TB, so my Dr. changed his mind and let me start Enbrel. My husband did my first injection one week ago. It's hard to tell if there is any instantaneous effect. All I can say now is that my neck doesn't hurt at the end of the day anymore. Tomorrow, I do the injection again.

On a separate topic, things haven't been going well for my department for the last year. We have lost several faculty, for better and worse. And now, several of our best staff have announced their resignations. It makes me sad that things are going on such that even staff are leaving. This department will be totally different in the next two years as replace staff and faculty, but today does feel like a low point. I wish I could describe it more in this blog, but it isn't appropriate.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Can my body get any more ridculous

I tested positive for TB, so I can't start Enbrel until I take months of antibiotics. I was so angry when I found out. What else is my body going to do to me? But Mr. JP cheered me up as we joked about who could have possibly exposed me to TB.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What My Weekend Looks Like

Weekends are more exhausting than weekdays because of all my dang chores and my two "spawn", as my friends call my kids. I spend the entire weekend grocery shopping, cooking meals for the next week, doing household laundry, washing dishes and baby bottles, and wrangling children. I usually manage some time to take a bath. If I'm lucky, I can squeeze in some time to hang our with girlfriends. As for work, I only have time to check my email once on Saturday and once on Sunday night. The idea of working on papers or proposals is in the forefront of my mind, but there is no hope of getting to them. And where is my husband during all of this? Let's just say that he does what husbands do. He's had great difficulty lately, so at times I feel as if I am taking care of three dependents instead of two.

As for help around the house, I've got maids and a mother's helper who comes once per week. I've thought about outsourcing laundry, but that is something I don't want to spend money on. Mr. JP does all the yard work and takes out the trash. We try to split child care, where one person either takes both kids or where we each take one kid. 

I wonder if my inability to work on weekends negatively impacts my career, but that thought is always accompanied by the realization that a few years ago I thought my career was over. I am thankful just to have one, but shouldn't I be kicking scientific ass out there?  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

To Qual or Not To Qual

One of my best students failed their qualifying exams for the second time, meaning that they must get a masters degree. I am upset because they are fantastic in the lab, and it is a disservice to deny them a chance at a Ph.D. The student made an "A" in the subject in which they failed their qual. I argued their case as much as a could before the faculty and the compromise was that the student could reapply to the Ph.D. program when they neared the completion of their masters.

This case led to the general agreement that our department needed to reevaluate how we do our qualifying exams. Apparently we didn't have them at all in the past, and now we do. I personally see quals as a mechanism to fail out students who perform really badly, and my student doesn't fit that criteria at all. I agree with the idea of quals, but not with our rules as they stand. A mechanism that siphons low-performing students to a masters degree is certainly needed. Others may disagree that quals should be black and white, but I think there should exist an in-between where the advisor can provide input on the student's lab performance to push the decision one way or the other.

I am especially upset because both students accepted into my group last fall have "failed out". The first one made D's in their grad class (!!!). And, now this.

Monday, June 4, 2012

No Good Very Bad Day

Nobody in this family had a good day. It started out with Mr. JP getting a mean-spirited rejection for his manuscript. Then, I got another proposal rejected. It hurts because the person who got it is always the person who gets it over me (sigh). And, when I went to pick up Sparky from montesorri, his teachers told me that he hit 2-3 kids. I asked him about it, and he lied to me. Time for some wine in a box.