Surviving a military move and loving it!

This past week I had the opportunity to participate on a panel of 4 scientists to discuss Gender in Science at Emory University. That was so exciting and fascinating. I could go on and on about it, and I will, I promise…just not today. Today is MOVING DAY. Today we are packing up all of our belongings into boxes, loading them into trucks, and sending them off. We’ll see them again in about a week in our new home in Narragansett, Rhode Island! This is a frenzied and somewhat traumatic process. How can I possibly have time to blog in the middle of all of this?! Here’s the best kept secret in moving – you can hire professional packers!

It’s not as though I can just sit back and do nothing. I have spent the past month purging our belongings, the last week cleaning, the last 24 hours packing up our cars with the irreplaceable stuff like documents and photos, and today I have been continuing those odds and ends (touching up paint, cleaning some more, throwing away food and so on). On the other hand, I am not responsible for putting everything in boxes and I do not have to lift anything heavy. DREAM. COME. TRUE.

Being married to someone in the military has its perks, and the PCS move is one of them! This is the first one that I’ve experienced. I did extensive Googling on the subject and found a LOT of horror stories. Based on the accounts we heard from military friends and from first person accounts I could find on the interwebs (it’s online so you know it’s legit), I thought this would be the worst…the Worst…THE WORST. Granted, we had our own share of shenanigans prior to the move. It took until last Friday for them to let us know our moving date. All that aside though, the moment has arrived, and I am pleasantly surprised (knock on wood!). Here is my review.

8:30am The packers arrived on time…three guys. Their mission? 2800 square feet packed and ready for the loaders tomorrow morning. Can they do it?

12pm They work fast. We have a lot of rooms, and a LOT of stuff. One guy has spent the entire day in the kitchen and it looks like he has a long way to go. How on earth did we accumulate so much kitchen crap?

4:30pm holy hot damn. There is still a whole floor to be done – are they gonna make it? They have packed up our mattresses and bedding. It looks like we are going to be roughing it tonight!

7:05pm They have been very careful with our stuff, and take time to show me every ding, scratch, and dent. They aren’t done yet, but I think they very close!

7:50pm 137 boxes packed. This doesn’t include all the boxes we had packed or the furniture. They labeled every box. They worked so hard. We tipped. They earned it!

This has been a crazy and long day. The hardest part was managing our 21 month old. Currently, he is being strolled around the neighborhood while I set up a makeshift “bed.” Tomorrow the movers come and we hit the road. It will be a week or so before we have internet access again. To Atlanta I say, so long and thanks for all the fish. Goodbye for now and wish us luck!


Getting your point across, plain and simple

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old you don’t understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein

Coming from Albert Einstein this point is particularly well made. Many more times I have heard this advice phrased as, “explain your project as you would to your grandmother or someone you just met at a dinner party.” The point is to first, keep it clear and second, engage the listener. Why is the latter as important? Because it is important for the listener to know your work matters. Oh…and your work should probably matter…if it doesn’t matter then why are you spending any time doing it, let alone telling me about it? A lot of stuff matters so chances are good that our work does too, and it is our not-so-easy task to explain why.
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Do student evaluations make it harder to teach?

Classroom with Three Figures by Lavern Kelley, painted white pine, plywood, brass, and plastic, 1979, 1984–87. Photo by Cliff,

Being back in the classroom – as the professor – has reminded me of one of the aspects of teaching I have always disliked, feared, worried over the most: “How will I score on my students’ course evaluations?!?” It is an unfortunate preoccupation to have when I am just trying to make sure that my class has the right balance of interesting content and challenging, educational assignments and expectations, but it comes back to haunt me from time to time. So when I came across this article by Anya Kamenetz on NPR Ed entitled “Student Evaluations Get an ‘F,’” I realized that I am not alone.
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Getting past procrastination

Procrastination is my worst enemy. This is to say that I am my own worst enemy. The thing is – and I know in advance this is coming from the part of my brain that rationalizes my procrastination – I am not lazy. I still feed and clothe myself and my son. I still keep our habitat clean and do at least a half decent job of teaching him some survival/life skills (like pooping in a potty…though it is a work in progress). It is not as though my procrastination began with domestic life, but at least now my means of procrastinating are more noble than binge watching Law and Order. Continue reading

The Love Bug

This post is dedicated to my husband, without whom I could be neither a PhD nor a mommy. In honor of the seven year anniversary of our office romance, I am posting a piece that I wrote for his amusement when we first started dating. The references are somewhat dated, but I think most of it still applies!

The Love Bug

It can happen to anyone at any time. Once it has, their life will never be the same. Love, also known as love sickness, elation, devotion, desire, or borderline insanity, is a global pandemic spanning throughout human history. The earliest poems about love date back 10 million years when pirates and ninjas ruled the world. Music, literature, and art have all been infected with the love bug. Scientists struggle to understand why. Continue reading

Homework! Oh, Homework!

It’s a necessary component of learning and teaching: homework. Oh, the dreaded word! The painful obligation! It must be the world’s leading cause of procrastination. Oh, that most delicious of clichéd doggy treats! The Jack Prelutsky poem sums up how most people feel about homework pretty succinctly.

But it isn’t just for students, is it? Continue reading