Saturday, 11 February 2012

Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away

Had a nice day today, even though it involved about six hours of marking exams. My housemates took me to St. Jacob's Market (which is largely Mennonite, hence the horses and buggies on the road). I bought super garlicky hummus and red pepper jelly and lots of berries. Then we had apple fritters and coffee, and they took me to buy groceries (no hauling them home on foot!) So nice to get out of Guelph, even for a few hours... it was cold but sunny and I was so happy to get some fresh air. I don't even notice that I spend all my time in my room or at the lab until I finally get to do something else.

I'm halfway through long answer question 3 out of 6 - still hoping to have this all (or mostly all) out of the way by Reading Week so I can take the week off from TAing at least.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

In which I am not quite THAT youthful

Two people in the last week told me they thought I was 25. I'll take it, I guess! It weirds me out a bit though. When I actually was 25, I was in Scotland, living an entirely different life - in some ways, I feel like I was an entirely different person. Odd how that goes. Never mind, it's been a fun ride one way or another.... even if the (cute) new departmental hire is a mere year older than me, with a solid academic job and a star-studded career.

The new post-doc, on the other hand, is 26 freakin' years old and gunning hard for a tenure-track position ASAP. He might do it, too. He has four times my paper count and a million NSERCs and whatnot on his record. He is hard-core.

Somebody remind me that it's not about competition and that I'm pretty freakin' lucky to have the most fun job in the world... even if it means living below the poverty line (at my age!)

That said, having a pretty fun semester so far. The big news (to me at least) is that I handed in a thesis draft last week. I was mad because it was a month later than I had hoped, but it is a huge weight off. Of course, this is only the start of the process - first my supervisor will make me change it all, and then we will send it to my committee and they will make me change it still further. Then the external examiner will tear it to shreds and then I will have to (gulp) defend it. But for the moment, it is Not My Problem until Mark sends it back. Hallelujah!

In the meantime, I am keeping myself busy with five piles of marking, four students to supervise, three side projects, two seminars to teach (and a partridge in a pear tree). I have an honours student and two internship students whose projects I'm responsible for, and one of the volunteer RAs just expressed an interest, so I've designed one for her as well. The more the merrier! I am still collaborating with Yale on a couple of things, and my labmate Tyler and I have a side project on the go that is looking really good right now. I looked at the pilot data today and am quite excited, so full speed ahead with data collection and we will see what we get.

Teaching is going pretty well too. I have two seminars and don't hate teaching them as much as I feared. They all just stare at me blankly the entire time, of course, but they do seem to be paying attention and I've just finished all the marking of that first assignment. It was kind of fun teaching them experiment design, since it's pretty much my favorite topic right now.

In other news, the new postdoc (despite inciting extreme CV-related jealousy) is totally awesome. He has single-handedly instituted Thursday/Friday Pub Night every week and for the first time in three years, I have actually met some people in the department who are not in my area. I had literally never seen these people before - sad. He also keeps inviting me round for games nights and dinner and this and that. It is glorious. On Tuesday I was at the grocery store when I ran into him and his wife, who scooped me up, bought me fried chicken and cider and entertained me until midnight before giving me and my groceries a ride home. Amazing how having ONE PERSON (okay, technically two people) in this stupid town who appear to enjoy my company and will actually go out of their way to hang out with me can have such a huge effect on my quality of life.

And the best part? One week till Reading Week, mega Del time and roadtrips! Cannot wait. I'm going to push through and work the weekend, in the hopes that by the time Del-time rolls around, I can actually take the week mostly off. Glorious!