Saturday, April 21, 2007

Random pieces of what's up?

Once again it has been a while. Good days and bad days have come and gone along with thoughts and ideas for blog entries. I don't know how you guys who blog every day do it. I find it next to impossible to keep up with 9 hour work days + commute time + cramming in a bit of exercise a few nights a week + keep the bare minimum of contact with friends and family + not let the household fall completely to pieces (Fiance is already taking more than his fair share during the week) + have quality time with Fiance and yet find the time and the energy to blog. I soooo wish I could blog from work (since I'm at the office all day anyway), but for one I really don't have the time when I'm there and second, I'm afraid it could eventually cause me trouble if anybody found out. So back to square one. I miss blogging when I don't find time for it and I still think about ways to write about what happens in my life, so don't despair I'm not about to quit, just organizing my thoughts.

So what have I been up to:

I'm back at work in full force after the South America adventure and Easter break. It is surprisingly good to be back. I am really in two minds about this job. Sometimes I feel endlessly frustrated about the character of the institution, the lack of freedom in deciding where and when and how to work and the outdoorseyness and small town-feel of this city. Other times I am hopeful and excited about the research projects that are growing around me, the initiative and success coming from the group and the way I've been given responsibility and freedom to develop more than just research skills. Right now I'm in the positive mode. Things are happening, projects are getting done, the group is happy, people do not seem to hate me although I'm their manager.

I've figured out how to follow European job advertisements in my field via e-alerts. As my European readers will know the job market on this side of the pond is completely fragmented and I hardly ever hear about open positions outside my immediate geographical area. With the very few universities here and limited number of candidates It's almost known in the community who is next in line to get a position. I don't think I am at the end of the line, but I'm not first either and with me doing the postdoc at a respected research institute people tend to think I am not even considering switching to a university. With the help of a few dear friends I have finally figured out where European jobs are announced (at least some of them) and having a lists of vacant positions pouring into my inbox on a weekly basis is extremely liberating even when I am not planning to act on it right now.

I have finally made myself go back to the gym and I don't hate it yet. Or I never really hated it. I like it when I'm there, I just don't like having to leave the house again after I get home at night because I'm lazy and tired and feel like doing nothing. But since we are going together now it's been fun and it's nice to feel better and get some exercise.

We redecorated the home office and it looks really nice and professional. I rarely work at my desk at home. Usually I bring all my stuff to the living room table where the view is gorgeous or just sit in the sofa or somewhere else where I'm comfortable, but with the new furniture the room seems much brighter and more appealing. I think I'm going to spend more time there now. And I have room for all my stationary, pens and other work stuff and don't have to keep it in a cardboard box anymore.

We are going to start a blog in one of my research projects at work. This is really weird and surely deserves a blog entry of it's own. My colleagues are the least tech savvy people you would know and they are obviously not the kind of people who reads blogs at home. I am trying to steer them away from the worst beginner's mistakes without admitting to having a blog of my own. Maybe I will eventually just come out and tell them. At the moment I am the magic blogging wizard who out of the blue knows one thing or another about the blogosphere. So far I have been given the task of writing the information letter to the other subgroups who will be participating in the blog because, as they say, "I have so many ideas". We'll see.

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At 2:49 PM, Blogger post-doc said...

Magic blogging wizard? How wonderful - I wish I were a magic blogging wizard. :)

I'm glad to hear life has been going so well (and busy!) for you.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger Propter Doc said...

It is funny that you mention research blogs. I just set up my PI's research website using blogging technology (wordpress) and I am viewed as all-knowing on the subject. Fortunately I use my personal website (also a wordpress site) and Dr R's research website (yep, its wordpress too) to deflect the curiosity. As yet, no one has asked to see my personal website...they are too polite.

At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saxi,

I know what you mean. When I set up my blog for my office I thought I would post something every day, however small. Now I've vowed to do it once a week and that was a struggle some weeks until I decided to post on the blog these weekly reflections that I prepare a month at a time and send out via e-mail. It's cheating but it keeps my blog moving along a little.

If I had a personal blog, I know I wouldn't be able to write every day. Some days there is neither time nor energy. Plus, I seem to get it out talking with friends or occasionally in my journal. I probably wouldn't want the journal stuff to be public and I'd hate to replace my friends with a blog. So, no personal blog yet.

All this to say that I think you should feel great about your blogging habits :-) Besides, I LOVE the floral background you have.

I could use some blogging tips. I started with wordpress but couldn't figure out how to customise my heading or moderate comments so I switched and built it in blogger. Super easy. Still wish I could figure out how to make my banner the header but I can't and it's not a big deal. I can't put captions under my photos either and that's fine too I suppose. I do what I can. My colleagues and the people interested in my office aren't really familiar with blogs either. When I started and shared the idea with my counterparts in other cities I got a few "what's a blog?" responses! It seems about 6 people visit my blog per day. Usually only one or two for long enough to read anything so I suspect it's the same people and they only stay if I've posted something new. It's okay. Maybe it will catch on and maybe I'll be inspired to make it more interesting soon.

I would like to comment on your work situation but I have to dry my hair and leave the house! We'll chat later :-)

At 7:12 PM, Blogger saxifraga said...

Thanks for your comments. Sleek, I was thinking about you and your workblog when we were discussing this research blog. It's interesting to hear about your experience with work blogging. I'm also a bit afraid that we won't be able to post often enough, but we're a big group of people and the project has some publicity so if we manage to create a readership we might be able to keep it up. I would be interested in following your experiences with your work blog.

I am not really a blogging wizard. It took me ages to get the background right here, and the reason I haven't switched to the beta template yet is that I'm afraid I won't be able to set it all up again ;-) So much for being at the forefront of technology compared to my colleagues.

and sleek, I hear you on the arguments against a personal blog. I have really grown to like this space and for me it's a great way of getting my thoughts together. But sometimes I just work through things when I talk to people and then don't really feel like writing about it here as well. It's sort of a balancing act between working through personal thoughts in writing and getting response from wonderful people around the globe and still keeping real conversations with family, friends and colleagues alive. As an introvert I often find that I need/ do one or the other, but not necessarily both.


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