Monday, January 28, 2013

2 PI's and $100k per year give you nothing

My collaborator and I are writing a proposal to NSF together. I wrote the program director to ask about the budget, who then indicated that the total proposal should be $100k per year for the two of us together. I was shocked because I knew that $100k/yr can barely cover a single student and a single PI, but to stretch out twice as thin? That's just crazy talk.

I asked for clarification, and my fears were confirmed. It wasn't crazy talk. It was reality. Now how does NSF expect us to do collaborative research with one of our arms tied behind our back? The era of single PI-grants is coming to an end, so the budget model provided by the director doesn't jive. This can't be real. Anyone had this happen?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Kids, A Research Group, and Where My Time Goes

I've been missing because I've been busy!

Between two kids and running my group, I find very little time to blog! Papers are coming out, I have a grant coming in, and I am enjoying this moment and hoping it is steady state. My life is full and brimming with things to do. I get little time to myself.

Upon resuming meditation and mindfulness, I have come to realize that my "me" time is spent editing papers and writing grants… and I have realized that I actually enjoy doing these activities. Therefore, my "me" time is actually work time. That's sick, no? I am always working, so it is appearing that my work time should also present opportunities for enjoyment.

My group is bursting at the seams. I have 8 group members excluding miscellaneous undergrads. I manage them by meeting with each member for 1 hr once every 2 weeks. We have weekly group meetings. I go up to the lab every day to make sure no one is dead.

Sparky v.2 turned 1 yr. old this week. He is amazingly fantastic. He can walk and kind of say Mama and Dada. I love him so much I want to eat him. Sparky v.1 is 4 yr. old and amazing as well. We dance Gangnam style all the time.

I spend every spare moment editing papers and working on proposals. But, I no longer resent it. I enjoy it. I find it rewarding to take something awful (from my students) and turn it into something worth showcasing. As a new faculty I was very disappointed that my students' papers were so unpolished. Now I am over it. I just edit while watching X-files. FYI, I'm on season 8 so that's a lot of editing.

The arthritis is OK. Exercise helps, but I still have bad days. Enbrel is a miracle that allows me to live almost like a normal person. But I still run out of energy at around 9 PM. I recite to myself that "this is the best I can do"given the present circumstances. If it is not enough then everyone else can go f* themselves.

Anyways, I'm not dead. Just running around as busy as ever.