Thursday, February 27, 2014
I wish I had had a video cam going during my meeting with my adviser today. We were talking about the data from a study that I ran last summer, and Adviser had had it in her mind that the results were not what she had expected because I had done something wrong. I mean that was no surprise to me, because as soon as she saw the data – I mean the very first time she saw the raw data, not even the transformed (standard procedure) data – she decided that I had f*ed up step 1 of the experiment. In the past I did not press the issue because it is not my thesis project, so I was trying to choose my battles wisely. But she insists upon me making it my battle, so I said, “You know what? You have no basis for saying that the data aren’t valid because you haven’t even looked to see the stuff we did to verify my work! So let’s go take a look.” (Obviously that is paraphrased! Haha)
So we pull out the raw data. And there it was, proof positive that I had done a bang-up job. Like a BOSS! And it was pretty obvious that Adviser was completely nonplussed. Like I could tell it had not once crossed her mind that POSSIBLY I had done [what I have been trained and instructed to do]. It was like in When the Grinch Stole Christmas, when it starts to dawn on him that Christmas isn’t about packages, boxes, or bags…etc. Except with more bemusement.
Like really? First, if she didn’t think that I was competent to do Step 1 of a high-risk, high-reward (high $, too) project, she had (in my opinion) no business trusting me to do it without her being there to supervise me and make sure I did it correctly. Second, Step 1 happens to also be the fundamental skill, the bread-and-butter, of the very tough, quality lab I earned my MS in. If I didn’t know how to do it in my freakin sleep I would not have graduated; it would be like if I told you I won Olympic gold on the ice without being able to stand up on skates. She has known my MS adviser and been observing him and his students for years (we are a small campus)! She should know that there was no way I went through that lab without being beyond competent at that particular task. Third, really, is that the kind of message you as a mentor want to convey to your students? That you don’t trust them? That you give them tasks that you believe they can’t handle from the outset? Fortunately, having survived my master’s lab/adviser, I know that my skills are beyond flawless and did not doubt for a moment that I had done exactly what I was supposed to do, but not every student has that kind of confidence; I only earned it the hard way…by failing many times and being mercilessly corrected until I succeeded. Because of that, and because I have really good support from my friends who work with me who really keep me grounded, I don’t take it personally. But not everyone has that kind of experience and support. You are supposed to be able to trust your mentor to train you not just at particular tasks but at the job of being a scientist – stuff like evaluating what is and isn’t going to pay off in terms of getting good, publishable data…like when you have reached the point of diminishing returns vs when you shouldn’t give up.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I am now 2 days into my crazy schedule!
Last night was TurboKick. It was a special class (open to public, not just campus people/fitness center members) in honor of heart health month...we had to register ahead of time and wear red. There were a couple new people, which was fun. I always have to give it up for the people who come in for a class every once in a while and manage to follow along & get a good workout out of it! The instructors say it takes about 5 classes till most people start to get the hang of it...well, I took a lot longer lol. So I am pretty darn impressed by people who "get it". I also like the energy that "new blood" brings to the class: fortunately, most people are not like me so they have a blast even when they mess up. It is pretty cool when I see people experiencing the class for the first time...the moves and the music and the sound effects (whip crack, siren lol!). It is an hour class (if you include the abs/legs afterwards) but I stayed just for the cardio (about 50 min) then my cool-down was walking back across campus to my office where I checked my stuff and then stretched in my office. ahhhh
Today I did 30 min on the elliptical at the fitness center. One of my friends came by while I was wiping down the machine post-workout and said, "Every time I see you in the gym you have a huge grin on your face!" I think that pretty much sums up how I feel during a workout, especially on days (like today) that I haven't really listened to music all day...and then I go to the gym, I got my tunes, I got my endorphin rush, aw yah baby it's all good!
Exercising in the late afternoon (on this work schedule, so far at least) really helps me get my focus and energy back just when I am starting to feel like I want to do just the bare minimum to get myself through the rest of the day. For example, when I got back from the gym today I sat down right away and did a whole bunch of spreadsheet stuff without making any errors or feeling tired or distracted. I guess part of it is the fact that I'm taking a break from work to clear my mind, and part of it is that the physical activity keeps me going...it isn't (usually) until I sit down for more than 10 min at a time that I start to feel tired or worn out. (The project involves going up and down a hallway and flight of stairs at least once every hour, and a lot of other walking around in between.)
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I havent been able to use SP as much as usual at work since apparently there is something different about the site...or the network....or the computer...that makes it take ages to load (w/bonus freezing!).
I am making this entry because I feel absolutely wonderful after a challenging (lots of physical activity, very little down time) at work, because I took the time yesterday and today to do half an hour on the elliptical and 10-15' streeeeetching. Feels so good to stretch out after the past 12 days of walking up and down the stairs and hallways at work for 9-10 h each day, not to mention the squatting down, standing on my toes, and all that delightful stuff. ;) all in a day's work!
I will be working 13-14 hr days through about mid-march, six d/week starting Monday. (In a rare act of common sense I gave myself tomorrow off! Haha) my goal is to do 30 min aerobic exercise each and every day throughout. I know that that is what keeps my hives under control and that I will be so proud of myself when it is all over!
So this entry is to help me remember how great I feel now that I have worked out and stretched for 40 short minutes, even though when I lef the lab today I really felt like I was dead on my feet. I feel so relaxed and all the aches are just gone, and my muscles feel so warm and relaxed. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
So over Christmas, I didn't gain any weight, even though I had a short course (5-d taper) of prednisone. But since then I have gained 6 pounds. Last week I thought that it was because I got my period, but the weight hasn't gone away even though my period did. I am watching my food and working out much more than I did in the fall. Please comment with any suggestions you may have. I am trying to taper off my anti-depressant and one of my anti-histamines, both of which contribute to weight gain, but other than that I don't know what to do.
A second weird thing that has happened to me 2 Wednesdays in a row is that I felt like crap while I was having a very moderate/easy workout on the elliptical. Both times the workout went like this: 5 min warm-up (last wednesday on the rower, yesterday on the elliptical), ~20 min abs (planks and some exercise I found in fitness mag), followed by (intended) 30 min moderate cardio on the elliptical. Both times, I was trying to take an easy day...just barely keep my HR in the cardio/weight loss zone...and by 25 min my ears were ringing, my head felt like it was in a fog, and my legs felt like jell-o, like i could hardly move them. Again last week I thought it might be because something weird happened with my blood sugar due to my period, but then what about this week? The one thing I have considered is that both times, I was drinking crystal light instead of plain water while I exercised...maybe the artificial sweetener caused my blood sugar to drop because the sweet taste triggered insulin release, but then because there was no burst of sugar (as there would be from a glass of juice eg) the insulin took my blood sugar way below normal. I don't know. Again I'd appreciate any ideas anyone can offer.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
One of the members on a non-SP forum I belong to has the following quote in her signature:
"Let the storm wash over you, because somewhere beneath, there is your balance and wisdom."
This tagline really spoke to me in relation to a number of different situations in my life, but I just wanted to talk about it as it relates to my hives. The day after Christmas, I woke up with some bright pink hives on my arms, legs, and back. They weren't itchy, but they looked pretty bad (a lot worse than they felt), and they didn't really fade during/after exercise either. However, I was determined not to let them ruin my time with my family, even as they expanded (diameter) throughout the afternoon...and by the time I went to bed they had started to recede on their own! The next morning I woke up all clear and have been fine since.
The moral of the story in my opinion is that I just have to accept that sometimes my skin is gonna look funky and even itch. Actually just repeating to myself "it's ok to itch" seems to help stop it from getting worse...my theory is that this could be because if I do let myself get agitated about a little itching, my body's stress-response system is activated and makes the hives worse. (The same applies to times when I notice a few hives or feel a little itching and think, "Oh no, I am going to break out all over...shoot, what am I gonna do," etc etc.) It reminds me of that song, I believe by Whitney Houston, that goes, "It's not right, but it's ok!"
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