Friday, January 30, 2009


At the end of my first week in my new lab, I must say... I'm ecstatic. I love it! After having done much more applied than molecular work over the past few years for my PhD, I'm back to more molecular work. And I can't believe how much I've missed it. I've been home from work for about 3 hours now, and I can hardly wait to get back!

I still have to finish a couple of papers from my PhD work. I'd better get on those out quickly, before I get completely buried in this work.

The lab is fair-sized, roughly 15 people. That includes the principal investigator, undergraduate and graduate students, post-docs, and technicians. All sorts of backgrounds, nationalities, and personalities, but all very, very nice. I think I fit right in, although a week of work may not be enough to come to that conclusion.

I've made a fair bit of progress, and hope to get a paper out of this work in the next month or so. It's supposed to be pretty straightforward. I guess I'll find out for sure when I get a better handle on the data analysis. Right now, I'm filling in the gaps, figuring out what those who came before me have done, and analyzing some data. I'm almost sad it's Friday, I'll be up at the crack of dawn on Monday to get back into it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Has it really been 3 weeks since I last posted? I thought it was a couple of days ago. I guess I'd better get everyone caught up.

I've taken a nice break. From (almost) everything. The holidays were relaxed, although it was a bit challenging to entertain 3 kids with ages varying from 3 t0 13. I've had to take care of my plants for the experiment I'm trying to wrap up for publication purposes, and I did finish writing a paper by mid-December. I did a lot of little projects around the house that had been accumulating for more than a year. It's been nice to go from room to room through the house and do some of that.

I searched for a job by (literally) going from door to door (but being selective when it came to choosing specific doors) offering my services. On the first day I scored two maybe's not bad.

Job 1 is related to the research I did for my MS. I suppose the learning curve is somewhat smaller. But the funding isn't certain for several more weeks, and I couldn't afford to wait, largely because of immigration issues.

Job 2 is with a really high-energy professor in a neighboring department. It's less than ideal in that it's not a full post-doc with (health) benefits. However, the PI has agreed that if I make some decent progress on the two projects I'm assigned I can leave to pursue other options (presumably Job 1). Fair enough.

The really good news was that I could start today at Job 2, which I did. So technically I was unemployed for 20 days. Not bad, eh?

I got so caught up in science that I totally forgot to feed the parking meter all day. Luckily the parking police didn't stop by, and I got away with it. I'd better not try that again.

I really, really like the lab. There are 14 or 15 very friendly people in the lab, the PI works at the bench regularly, they have regular lab meetings (lacking in the previous lab I was in, which I didn't like at all), and one of the projects is in such an advanced state, I ought to be able to get a paper out of it in a couple of months. It might be hard to leave the lab for another job (with a higher salary and/or benefits). I was never in this for the money anyway. But the benefits account for a lot. I need health benefits badly, and cannot justify turning down a job with health benefits simply because I'm having so much fun.

Anyway, now everyone is back up-to-date. Dr Makita is employed!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Post-doc for hire

The break is over. For the first time since, well...., since eh, forever, did I have a real break. No deadlines, nothing to do that would make or break my life. Just getting reacquainted with the husband and the kids. It was good.

It was also challenging to keep the kids happy and occupied throughout their vacation. Every day we had to figure out something to do to get the kids out of the house and active. We made lots of trip to the many parks this town has. We even took them to the mall one afternoon, the museum, walks around the neighborhoods, you name it.

So, now they're all back in school and daycare, and the race is back on. I must say I was happy to get back to the lab, take care of some cultures. And now....

The Job Hunt

Yuck! Not going so well. A job that I had high hopes for received funding, but the budget was cut so much, that the principal investigator cannot hire a post-doc and has to get a graduate student instead. I do have another job offer, but it's 4 hours away, and because it's not really practical for me to move far away from here, I had to decline. Sadly.

No jobs are posted within driving distance from here. Now, I'm literally going door-to-door talking to people trying to find something to do. I would hate to become a stay-at-home mom. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I just think it's better for them and me if I work. Really.

The situation is rather desperate. If I don't find a job at the university in a couple of weeks, I'll have to pull F1-3 out of daycare. If I don't find a job within a couple of months, I'll lose immigration status. Consequently, I'll take anything. I'd rather be very excited, but I'm also very flexible. I can get excited about things I've never heard of before. In fact, following up on a distant possibility, I've downloaded some papers to read over tonight.

On the bright side, I should have more time for blogging for a while.

It's both scary and exciting to start up this new phase of my life.


This is finally demoted from the top of the page. It may very well be the last one with the "dissertation" tag. I can always hope, right?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


(hickup)... New... (hickup) ...Year.. (hickup)!!! All the best for everyone (hickup).