Friday, January 28, 2005

Funny Leif stories

He is just becoming such a little man, and a complete riot at the same time.

A guy I work with who has his son in daycare came by the other day. He told me he couldn't believe how big he is. I know. Sad. Then he told me that he had a funny Leif story from the other day when he was picking up his son. Leif was laying on the play mats. Another little boy is about two feet away and waving around a brightly colored scarf. He flicked it Leif's way and my son can't help but have quick hands of course. Well evidently he grabbed the other end, gave it a yank and sent the other little boy rolling. A full roll and a half! The little boy let go of the scarf in his bewilderment and Leif reeled it in and played with it himself.

Leif has been offering Winny her doggy treats. We hand Leif a doggy treat and he seems to know that if he holds it out, that Winny will come to him. Which is just the most fun ever. Winny is SO gentle with her mouth. (Ok if someone actually saw this I am sure they would be comparing us to the Crocodile Hunter and his antics with his baby in front of the croc...) But seriously now, those of you that know Winny know how nice and gentle she is. Winny opens her mouth to take the treat about the time Leif will start waving it around. Making it difficult for Winny, but she is persistant! Finally she will get it, which thrills Leif. And she will ever so gently pull it out of his hand. Then show is over.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

No more nuclear life?

So maybe I won't glow green anymore? No kids with 12 toes?

I got the dreaded "boss walks into your office and closes the door" thing today. Talk about freaky, especially when I only see him when something is coming down. And well, something is coming down.

My group is a bunch (90) of nuclear physicists and radiochemists. Saying I don't fit in so well is an understatement. I am either scrambling to learn nuclear physics or continuing to find work outside my group. I have been far more successful at the later.

Anyways, my group has gotten so large, as have a couple others that they are reorganizing us. The vast majority of my group stays as is. All the nuclear physicist and radiation detection folks will stay in the group. The radiochemists will head off to join another analytical chemistry group. All of that moving leaves about 5 of us, me included tossed up as to where we belong. I am NOT, repeat *NOT* a wet chemist. My nuclear physics and rad detection is learned on the fly. News that I don't fit in is not surprising a bit.

One of the other TGMs has said fantastic stuff about my thin films work. I am really enjoying working with my current manager/team lead on this work. So word on the streets is that I probably belong working in this field. So I will be following my current manager and three other guys of different backgrounds out of my group and into the chemical and biological sciences group. A new boss, different projects, wow!

So maybe I can jump ship on some of the projects that seem to be getting me nowhere in my career and find more projects that are more in line with my current expertise.

My big manager kept it all in a positive light. I will be keeping my office, at least for the time being. Unless my new manager chooses to move me somewhere else.

Wow, I am just shocked. They like to reorganize things and then spring new things on us. I just wasn't expecting this at all. Bye bye nuclear world, in the literal sense!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

On buying jeans

I should be writing proposals. I have two that are due on Friday. Instead my brain has turned to sludge. So maybe writing about buying jeans will help.

I bought jeans last weekend. This is exciting. What is more exciting is that I bought them without trying them on (thank you Costco) and they fit (thank you even more). They are mens jeans. No, I am not getting a sex change. Leif will not have two daddies.

A few years ago Tanya introduced me to men's Silvertab Levis. I had already sworn off Levis because they are sized so dang small. When I was a size 7/8... yes it was that long ago I contemplated buying them, they told me some horrifying thing like that I was a size 11/12. Of course that is what I am wearing now, post-pregnancy and it doesn't seem that bad, lol.

These Silvertab Levis are amazing jeans. Why they don't make them for women I don't know. Nice sit on your hip fit, roomy through the thighs and tapered to the ankle.

We were walking through Costco on Saturday. Love that store. Hans needed jeans, so we were exploring the men's pants area. Well lo and behold there is a stack of Silvertabs for $19. Not knowing which size to get. (No, I don't know my measurements.) I bought a pair of 32x32's. Poor Hans didn't get any because there weren't any in his size. I swear he has to have the most common men's pants size. We can rarely find his size at Costco, only in Wranglers, which frightens the living daylights out of us.

We got home and I put on my new jeans. Excited that they fit. Hans says, "Are those your new jeans?"

Me: "Yeah, what do you think?"
Hans: "They look great!"
Me: "Yeah I think so."
Hans: "I am glad I didn't get any."
Me: "Why is that?"
Hans: "They are women's jeans! I didn't notice that."
Me: "No they aren't they are mens."
Hans: "Well they must be mislabeled then because they look far better on you then on a man."

So see now. All you women out there, check out the Levis Silvertabs. I am as curvy as they come, very hourglass shape. And these men's jeans rock.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Is it Friday yet?

Nope, it is Wednesday... and my butt appears glued to my desk chair. I am apparently not the only one since I have a long string of e-mail commentary going on.

And now it is the following Tuesday. We will try this again. Today is an alright day. I am trying to figure out what to cook for a dinner party for 8 people (3 other couples) on Saturday. I am leaning towards cod with Sambal vinegrette sauce and wasabi cream sauce. Chicken for the weirdos who don't like fish. Risotto on the side, salad and a vegie. Oh and then ginger ice cream for dessert. Hans hasn't made any other suggestions so unless I have a major revelation, that will probably be it.

Leif is almost 6 months old. How is that even possible? He is wearing the most adorable little shirt that was given to him. I had it in his future wear stack and it is a 9 month size. Welp, I am a dork. He has worn it exactly once, today, and is outgrowing it. Little turkey.

We have also bumped him up a size in diapers. Every BM is a blow out lately. Hopefully the 4's will prevent that a little.

And yes, I have become one of "those" moms. I haven't heard stellar things about the toddler rooms at Leif's daycare. So I have been checking out other options. We have finally decided to go with a local Montessori school. It is really close to my work and we had a great tour the other day. Well great, decision made, right?

Wrong. Evidently I should have had him on the waitlist longer than 7 months in advance. I felt like saying "but he *has* to get in!" Should I have offered a bribe?? LOL. How sad. Ok, Leif is a tough kid, he will probably be fine at daycare for another year and a half. He takes toys away from the bigger, older babies. He holds his own with them. Anyways, stay tuned to find out if Leif will lead a life of daycare center bully or well mannered Montessori student.

Work is... well work. I just can't seem to break the barrier with my manager's, manager's manager. Yes, he really is 3 levels above me. He used to be 2 levels above me. He was who hired me. But I can't seem to get anywhere with him. It is like we are in a room, just the two of us and he yells out "anyone know anything about semiconductor surfaces?" I am standing there waving my hands wildly and jumping up and down and reciting my dissertation. While he looks around, all the while avoiding me, then turns around mummbling that he needs to find someone who knows something. I just get that feeling from him that he either hates me, doesn't trust me, doesn't think I am capable... whatever. He just won't even give me a chance. A few years ago I gave a brown bag seminar talking about my background, the only opportunity I have had to show him my background. And he didn't show. So he essentially knows nothing about my background. Hans thinks it is bad enough and obvious enough that I need to go to HR about it.

I guess the reason that this came up is that once again my name has been "left off" a key proposal for him. He is really a horses ass.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Snow... errr... rain day!

Now this is how every Monday should be! I got up, got Leif and I ready, got him to daycare, me to work and worked my morning. At almost noon, when I am just about ready to go feed Leif, my manager comes by and asks what I would think if someone told me to go spend the afternoon with Leif. I told him that would be pretty cool. He then said, "go spend the afternoon with Leif". So I responded, "do I run out the door before you say just kidding, or stick around for an explanation?" Turns out it was raining and freezing, so a freezing rain warning. The roads were slick and getting slicker, so the lab was closing.

Wow! Talk about making my day! I came home and fixed a grilled cheese sandwich, played with Leif for an hour and a half. Then he went down for a nap and I updated our website. He has been sleeping for almost two hours. So hopefully that means he will sleep well tonight.

Hans called in the early afternoon and they were closing his office too. So he came home and has spent the afternoon working on installing his surround sound.

Leif is now up from his nap, which puts a quick end to this installment of my blog since Leif would have lots to add himself and would only be frustrated by his spelling skills. (Not that mommy tried to keep his little hands off the keyboard or anything like that.)

Friday, January 14, 2005


The Bad:
I have worked the past few weeks with one of the senior scientists on her proposal that is a show in for funding. Well it is only a shoe in because she has made it through all the other hoops. It is right up my alley, so I am on her "short list" of collaborators. Wheee!

Why then is the draft ready to go out and I am not listed as a primary investigator then? In fact, one woman is listed who said she does not have the time. I have two choices, I can let it be. Or I can call her on it. So I called her on it.

The reason why my name was left off? Unfortunatly it wasn't just an oversight. Nope, she doesn't want to mess with Tony's recommendations. Tony recommended Jana and Cari as collaborators, even though I sat there and expressed an interest and stated my background was relevant. Mary is honest to a fault. So I knew she would be honest with me and that was what I wanted. I value that and respect her for telling me why she left me off. But man that steams me.

Tony is my team lead's manager's manager. Follow? He opposed my initial hire as a post-doc. But then turned around and offered me a full time scientist position a year and a half later. Confused yet? I am. He and I are not close. We are different personality types, but I respect him. Why then would he not want me on this proposal? That is the $100,000 question.

The Good:
So reading this you might think that I am not doing so well in my field. Wrong. I am rocking on my one project that I like. My research has lead to a lot of buzz and two patent filings. I had a meeting this morning with the people on this project - all outside of my group of course. It went outstanding. So well that this group has offered me lab space and funds to buy stuff to do my work. My own group won't even give me my own lab space. Then to top it off I loved this comment today in the meeting... "If April's stuff proves to do what we think it is going to do, they are going to be jumping up and down in California. And I can retire on royalties."

How can I have one project going so wonderfully, yet be struggling to prove myself?

The rest of it:
Well it is Friday and I am thrilled. I have a few things to finish up here. We had plans to go out to dinner for Hans' birthday, but they were thwarted by a sick babysitter. Oh well, we will go next week. I am excited for the weekend.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Wednesday that feels like Monday

It is Wednesday and it feels like Monday. Which is far better than it being Monday and feeling like Wednesday of course. But it is also disconcerting that I only have a few days left in my week and I still have so much to accomplish.

I have to say that I hope I didn't sound whiney earlier. I really don't care that my birthday doesn't always get remembered. I more just get tired of people making up excuses. But this one was my favorite this year, "it's just too close to Christmas to remember". Well hold on a sec... let me change that for you... Just because I remember birthdays in no way means that I expect others to do the same for me, if that makes sense. I am just anal that way... or should I say that my "analytical analytical" self comes out.

So I found out on Monday and Tuesday that I am "analytical analytical". Give up? Me too. I spent 2 days in social skills class. It is supposed to teach all of us inept scientists and engineers how to interact with each other. Umm yeah, I learned a lot. (Me=cynical? Never)

So analytical category means that I use "ask" instead of "tell" in my communications. Basically I don't bark orders, I might ask a lot of questions and say pretty please a lot. Not so far off I suppose... Couple that with me being "task oriented" and not "people oriented" and I am analytical. Evidently in my personality I can take that to an extreme and that makes me "analytical analytical". Or A^2, as I like to call it.

All of this was gleaned from 5, or in my case, 4 evaluations provided by people I know. My mistake, most of them came from people I work under. So maybe that's why I was more "ask" since I always ask them for things. And maybe why I was more "task" than "people" since I work on tasks for them. Whatever.

In asking around most people seem quite surprised with my classification. I am not overly surprised necessarily, I think I am analytical, but not A^2. What struck me as funny is the number of people who disagree that I am not people oriented. This kind of cracks me up... I have evidently fooled many people. Yes, I love to throw parties, entertain, get people together... but I do this rarely. I am far more comfortable sitting at home with Hans and Leif.

I think the one thing that the social styles class showed me was how "off" it was in how I respond to stress. I can be and tend towards extremely confrontational. So much so that I need to watch to not make a fool out of myself. People who avoid confrontation drive me crazy when I am in that pissy stress mode. So how can I then be A^2? The model must be wrong.

Friday, January 07, 2005

All in one day

What a day.

It was snowing this morning. It never snows here, roads were slick, so I was piddley.

Got Leif dropped off at daycare just in time for me to run to my office and then run to my first 9am meeting. Got that done.

Sat in my office for about an hour doing stuff until my 11am meeting. 11:15 Jim makes it to the 11am meeting. I had to leave at 11:30am. 15 whole minutes for a meeting. Wow.

I ran to feed Leif at 11:30 so he wasn't screaming bloody murder the whole time. I get there and he is sleeping. So I hold him for 30 minutes. Still didn't wake up. The management was out trying to shut off the water to the building as it was flooding in the toddler rooms. Ugh. I left to meet Hans.

We were meeting at Children's Garden to see the place. It is a Montessori school that we are looking at putting Leif in once he turns 1. Huge waitlist, they encouraged us to look elsewhere, but we got him on the wait list. We will go back on the 21st for a tour.

Went and ate at India Palace for buffet lunch. Yum. About halfway through the lunch, daycare calls. Water main is broken and they are closing. Come get yer kid.

Hans decides he can more easily take the afternoon off. I have WAY too much to do this afternoon.

I get back out to work and start on my stuff. I need to pump. I get all hooked up, shut my door and start pumping. Pow, the lights go off and alarms start ringing. Ok, this is like my worst fear. Pumping and alarms. Well of course that I am not pumping anymore because the power is off. I have an internal office, so it is pitch black. Nice.

I am in the process of disconnecting myself when my wonderful coworkers start pounding on doors. "I am coming!" DUH, I mean the lights are off, power is off, I have no computer, I know I need to leave. I walk out, boobs leaking, boobs swollen and uncomfortable. Do I stay around or go home?

Well my wonderful manager decides we are standing around, so we might as well talk work. Rolling my eyes... Oh but this is good. I am one of 6 people tasked with designing a complete lab, 600 square feet due next Friday. Oh yeah, I even got a work package. This will likely be my lab and I am given 4 hours to design it. Wow, what thought.

Finally power comes back on, just before I decide to bail. Oh well. I am here. I work another hour and I am outta here.

I get to go learn how to be social next Monday and Tuesday. I am taking a class that everyone I work with should take, social skills. Greeeaaat.

Can I go home now?

Thursday, January 06, 2005


So I guess I should reveal my new years resolutions... if I can still call them that.

1. Eat/cook healthier. Shouldn't be so hard, we used to do so good. This does mean (my wonderful husband) that when I DON'T buy cinnamon rolls at the grocery store, that it wasn't just because I forgot and that you should go back and get them! ;)

2. Cut back on the soft drinks. I have horrible heartburn and soft drinks have been linked to that, which can then eventually cause esophageal cancer. I don't want that, so I need to cut out the pop.

Ok, there really was a third... but I can't remember it. Maybe I put it out of my mind for a reason...

One week almost down

Ok Leif, tell me what exactly is funny about my walking across the room without any clothes on... hmmm?? Military school for you!

2 days until I am 33 and I feel nothing. I could really care less about my birthday for some reason. Few people remember, which is fine. I will appreciate that more as I get older I am sure. ;) Those people who do remember, no one actually sends anything to arrive on time. I think I will just declare my birthday being from January 8th to February 8th from now on. I know, people are busy with the holidays, and no I don't want to inconvenience people. But some part of me (even though it really doesn't matter) still thinks that if a person cared they would make an effort. Ah well. I am not a kid anymore, birthdays aren't supposed to matter. Which sends me back to the first line in this paragraph.

It is Thursday. One more day left in the week. And Fridays are always kind of nice. Relatively few people work on Fridays, so it is quiet. There aren't many deadlines set for Fridays.

Tomorrow we are going to go and check out the local Montessori school for Leif. We hope to have him start there at age 1. We have heard, and I have seen first hand, that while the infant rooms at Kindercare are quite good, the toddler rooms leave something to be desired. It is "survival of the fittest" and chaotic from what I have heard. Then there is the snobby side of me that is going to come out and say that if I am paying full tuition price, I want my child to be around other children whose parents are willing to pay full tuition price and not use government subsidy.

Tuition will not be cheap. It will be less then we are paying now for infant daycare. But significantly more than toddler daycare at Kindercare. But from what I have heard, I like the Montessori philosophy. I am looking for strict discipline, well mannered and respectful children.

Let's hope Leif gets in and isn't given enough time in the Kindercare toddler rooms to turn into a wildebeast.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

My geeky sense of humor

So we are talking to a theoretician about what kind of data we would like to get out of his models. Mary said that she would like to see vibrational modes, sensitivity, excitation states, etc. Then she paused.

He asked, "anything else?"

My stupid response, "well if you could give us position and momentum simultaneously that would be nice".

Took him a minute to respond and then he said, "well I suppose that would mean the project was over then?"

My response, "Is that a bad thing at that point?"

Him, "The Nobel works for me".

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Back in the groove

Well today I took the dive back into work. It took a lot of mental work to make that dive into the past few months and figure out where I left off on projects.

I had a great meeting today. One I like... meeting at Starbucks with a couple of women I know. That's my kind of meeting. We planned for a proposal we are writing together.

Speaking of this I have to select a mentor for a development program I am participating in and I think I have selected my mentor. It will NOT be my original post-doctoral mentor, not surprising. Nor will it be my close friend here at work who has provided a lot of good advice. I think he will be disappointed. But I need someone who I can relate. I have chosen Mary, she has a son and has been through successfully the rigamaroll of what it is to be a woman from a different background in a nuclear field. Fighting with the men, securing your own space, and raising a family. I think this is a good choice for me.

I jumped back into my main project with both feet today. Since before maternity leave I have spent the majority of my time on another project, by choice. So this is the project where I started my post-doc. I am getting more and more the impression that as soon as I can make the leap from here would be good. I am just not into the boys club. I have tried and tried to fit in, but it just isn't working. And yet they wonder why they can't maintain new people and why people are consistently swayed away.

Well time for me to start wrapping things up for the day. I have no idea what I am cooking for dinner. Any ideas for me? I can't wait to go pick up Leif. If only he wouldn't scream the whole way home. It just breaks my heart.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Starting on a high note

It is now 2005 and 5 days until I turn 33. Lots of good things happened last year, the first of which is the birth of Leif John. He is the coolest thing.

Leif is now 5 months old, about 18.5 lbs, 27 inches long and a bundle of energy. He is rolling from the back to front in a seconds notice. He has been known to roll from the front to back but would rather whine for mommy or daddy to come help him rather than expend the energy that should be stored up for propelling himself forward. Yes, you heard right. Yesterday Leif figured out that forward movement can be accomplished by pulling his knees under him and pushing off. Note to self, keep all toys out of his forward field of vision. If this fails, Velcro him to the carpet.

Leif is just about the most smiling, happy baby ever. If he is fussing you know something is seriously wrong. Seeing those smiles and his eyes sparkle is the highlight of my day.

Work, well it's good. I have a lot to be thankful here. I have a job with benefits, I make good money, I am working in a field I never thought I would be. But somehow I still feel compelled to complain and whine. I have done a lot of that lately and I need to work hard on getting past it all.
Life is good. I am going to start out the year being positive about the things going on here at work and try not to dwell upon the negatives.

The holidays:
We survived another Christmas away from home. As much as we love our family, it is just hard to always travel over the holidays. Even though family helps out with our plane tickets usually there are a lot of other expenses... a dog sitter for Winny for example, or the cost to ship 3 boxes of Christmas gifts. In the coming years Leif will be becoming more cognizent of the holidays and Santa will be visiting OUR house. Which consequently means that we will not be travelling for the holidays.

We got so many wonderful gifts. I got ruby and diamond earrings from Hans. (Ruby is Leif's birthstone.) I also got two stemless Reidel glasses, a butter keeper, a few cd's, some books, a Kangaroo Pouch for carrying Leif. Hans got some clothes, the Spiderman 2 DVD, and a golf club. We bought a Kodak digital camera with Christmas money. And to ourselves for Christmas and birthdays we bought speakers for our surround sound system.

Leif got lots of cool gifts also, blocks, a plastic ring stacker, the cutest ever swimsuit, a robe and a variety of noise making, movement making toys which I take as payback for supplying related kids with such gifts when I had none.

Thanks to all for everything. We love you and enjoyed seeing you at Christmas. Happy New Year.