Saturday, August 6, 2011

More baddish grad student

My grad student on Wed. sent me an urgent panicky email with some of her "data" attached and her effort at analyzing it.  She wanted me to look it over "when I got a chance."  But because she was clearly freaking out, she was hoping it would be ASAP. 

I was in meetings and didn't get her email until Wed evening.  Told her I'd look it over Thursday and get back to her.  By Thursday AM she had talked herself down from the ledge and figured things out for herself.  But she wanted to meet with me on Friday.  I told her I couldn't come to campus, but she could come to my house, which is about 12-15 minutes drive from campus.  Then I put her on my schedule and structured my Friday around that. 

By Friday mid-day (one hour before our meeting), she decided that she really didn't need to meet with me yet and what she should really do is keep working on her proposal. 

She is a very nice person.  And clearly anxious about the things that made many of us anxious in grad school.  She thinks she is doing me a favor by canceling our Friday meeting.  But really, I wish she wouldn't make the appointment in the first place.

I think what I will do is have her make most appointments during my office hours once school starts.  She is free to cancel those, but she must call me to cancel.  And any meeting outside of office hours she is obligated to keep, except under a real emergency.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I want that!

I met with a colleague to talk about the (small) center that I now run on campus. He also runs a center and we are members of each other's centers.  We are also both Associate Professors and both have had similar grants and pubs.  But we are in different social science departments.

But in his office he has two huge flat screens and an iPad!  And I don't.

Plus, his office is brand new and has a beautiful view.  Many of our colleagues are in offices that don't even have air conditioning!

There is such inequity in the distribution of resources on this campus.  Honestly, I'm surprised there is not even more bitterness and complaining here.  His department also gets enough graduate funding to fund all their graduate students to the max.  But another and closely related dept only gets enough to fund at 60%. 

(But I have to remember to ask him how he justified getting an iPad with his research money! I want one.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bad Grad

I'm working closely with two students right now.  One just graduated with her B.A., the other is a grad student finished with coursework and almost ABD.

One shows up to meetings a few minutes early.  The other (the graduate student) shows up 10 minutes late.  I can't believe anyone would make an appointment with someone to talk about their own work, and then be late. 

One follows through on everything she says she will do, taking care not to promise more than she can realistically handle.  The other has done less than half of what she said she'd do this summer--and this after a near-disastrous fieldwork stint last summer when only a fraction of her promised work was completed.  Might I add that her fieldwork was funded by my own internal grant--$4k down the drain.

I've committed to being the grad student's adviser.  But her faults are so obvious when compared to this incredibly mature (and smart) recent BA who has been sooooo easy to work with. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wine, coffee, and now mixed drinks--much ado

When my partner and I were first together, he got me interested in wine tasting.  We spent a good bit of money, learned to act pretentious, and took a trip to Napa-Sonoma.

That ran its course somewhat.  Then at a cafĂ© I frequented, the manager tried the same thing with coffee--again, major pretentiousness over (less than) minor differences between this Costa Rican bean cultivated on this side of the mountain versus that side....

Then I got a job and had kids.

My graduate student who is about to defend and then hurry to her new job tried to convince me recently that I just had to go to this new restaurant because they make amazing mixed drinks.  All about infusions of lavender and blah blah blah.

I find these trendy drink obsessions a bit irritating.  I'm not irritated that other people get involved in it.  But I get irritated with the idea of ME doing it.  For me, looking back on it, it was a sign that I needed a job to focus on, and/or kids. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Houscleaner, cleaning solutions, and mini-strokes

The house cleaner I hired to clean all the things the regular weekly cleaner has been missing just called.  She missed our appointment yesterday. I called to see if she wanted to reschedule and she didn't pick up.  Part of the work is organizing, and I need to do it with her.  So it is pretty inconvenient to have her not show up, as I had scheduled my day around the appointment.

She called just now to tell me that she had been in the hospital with a stroke!  She is young, around 30.  And she trim and seems in good shape.  So it is all the more shocking. 

She says she collapsed while cleaning someone's home because of the fumes, especially bleach.  She qualified the diagnosis a bit further, saying that the doctor had called it a mini-stroke (which doesn't cause permanent damage).  And it isn't clear whether the doctor had said it was because of the cleaning products.  It started to seem like her roommate had made that diagnosis. 

Regardless, she experienced temporary decreased blood supply to her brain, and she passed out.  I haven't seen any mention of cleaning fumes in my quick look through the internet medical sites.  But I do see mini-strokes associated with cocaine use and alcohol.

I like her personally.  We've done a good bit of talking.  She is so smart.  But I also know her to stretch the truth regarding her previous work (said she had worked as a professor at my university).  If she does indeed have the law degree that she claims to have, one has to wonder why she is cleaning houses. I still don't have the heart to ask her. 

We've rescheduled for next week.  And she won't be using any "non-natural" cleaning solutions.  Just vinegar, baking soda, water.  Let's hope that's all it was.  But I suspect her problems go deeper.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Biking for ice cream

My daughter is 6, and it is definitely time for her to learn to ride her bike.  She really really wants to ride it.  But at the same time, she never quite committed to it.

She's been doing well with the pedals off, just coasting with her feet out.  So we put the pedals back on and off she went, almost without even thinking about it!

That was two days ago.  As incentive, I proposed that we ride our bikes to the ice cream shop.  It is mostly down hill, but not too steep.

Ideally, I would have ridden my bike too.  But she still needs me to run alongside her.  So I got a pretty good workout on the way to the ice cream shop. 

It was lovely.  Daughter was so proud of herself.  Son was actually quite supportive of her.  Ice cream was terrific.

Nephew as entertainment

There is a one week gap between summer camp ending and the kids' school starting. Too hectic to fit in a good trip the week before school starts.  I thought of going into the mountains for a week. But decided to fly out my older nephew (12yo) instead. 

Kids will have a great time, especially my son.  And this nephew has been very bummed because his mom and dad just told him last month that they would be moving out of their (nice) home and into the (very small) house that they own as a rental.  This entails moving schools.  My sister and her husband had led both kids to believe that they'd be going to back to their neighborhood schools with all their friends up until June, when they dropped the bomb. 

Not sure that's the route I'd have taken.  But hard to say what I'd do if I were defaulting on my house.

So hopefully he can forget his troubles for a week.  We'll pack in a bunch of fun kid stuff while he is here.