Thursday, July 17, 2014

Small steps towards California

I want to tell you a bit more about my intention of spending some time in California.
So when I went there  two years ago, I absolutely loved it. Not only I loved the food and the weather but I loved the variety of things that can be done and I know we just scratch the surface.
In my area of research, the top scientists and major biotech companies are in California. So back then I started playing with the idea that it would be so fantastic to spend some time in some lab over there, even a company would have been great, but I know that being an academic that would be highly unlikely. Then all plans (which were purely in my head at that point) were stalled with the FET and Martina's pregnancy. Once Martina was born I returned to work after mat leave and it really took me a while to get back into the swing of things, I have a research group on top of teaching and you know, it's not like scientific ideas grow on trees, if you are quite distracted with family life, something gotta give. And I knew if I wanted to feel inspired again I had to start going to conferences and scientific meetings so I did (in moderation of course as family is in any case my number one priority).
This last meeting in Rhode Island, like two years ago is the creme de la creme. The philosophy is that everyone is basically campus bound and conversations are easy to start and everyone there works in the same field. There are many companies and researcher and the very best scientists in the field (the kind that make you realise how small of a fish you are!) and I know I'm nowhere near that level but if I could at least breathe the same air it would do me a world of good on many different levels.
When I came back I tentatively mentioned it to Mike, perhaps expecting a sort of a cold response, but he didn't! He was immediately enthusiastic about the idea and we had to verify a few things. First we needed to make sure that he could apply for an unpaid leave of absence and get back to his job an salary (check!) and that I could on the other hand keep my salary or it would have been a serious problem (check!!). Mike was so on board that he even said "maybe I can also do some work in some lab.." wow!! I immediately emailed the colleague in Davis and I mean, who wouldn't want a very experience, hands on post doc for free? He got back within minutes saying his colleagues would be fighting over him, no question! Apparently Davis is extremely family oriented and if Mike works then we have to look into childcare, but should not be a major issue. I would hope that my parents will spend maybe even a month there and could help. Renting somewhere should also be very very easy, I'm assuming renting a car should be doable too. We will have to house Carlito (our cat) but again it should not be a major problem.
So there you have it, tomorrow I will initiate discussion on a potential project to develop and will try to apply for funding too (every little helps!)
All this excitement makes me feel over the moon and very relaxed too, long may it last!

Ps: Kd if you read, send me an email, I have no way of contacting you as I can't find an email in your profile!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The business experience

I am back, I am so happy to say that my return journey was upgraded to business class! For me that I have always travelled in economy it was fab! Pity the journey was too short to enjoy a good sleep, but my God, what a difference, the food, the service, the lounge in the airport...

The conference was good, I networked a lot and it may be possible for me to spend a few months sabbatical next year in UC Davis in California. That would be another dream becoming true, I'll try and figure out this week what do I have to do at my university, but this gave me a very nice and important focus work-wise. The weather in Rhode Island was very good, warm but breezy so overall really pleasant. This is the last time at that location, this conference will be moving to Maine in two years time, looking forward to a bit more life and the ocean view! One highlight of the trip was meeting a cyberfriend and her daughter!! Really lovely afternoon with them and the time just flew by.

Health-wise I have had the usual abdominal pain, not good but not worse than normal, I have started joining a few boards on IBS and see how I can tame it a bit.

I don't know if you remember that two years ago I came back to Dublin and Oliver had been admitted to hospital after spiking a very high fever. Well, this year I came back to Martina with chickenpox! Not as dramatic thankfully and the worse was probably over, but the funny thing was that I was collected at the airport by the same taxi driver as two years ago!!

My parents flew back this morning, they had a lovely time and just as well they were here to help between the sickness and the Mike having to work, it was a great help.

Right, that's about it for now, I'll be back soon!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Almost Boston time

Heading off tomorrow and hopefully the hurricane will have lost strength and moved further north. I am very excited about this week away. I admit, I need some me time. I need to switch off the permanently on call button, I need to listen to my music and go back to a proper 20 minutes meditation, I need (desperately) to recharge my batteries as I am exhausted. I don't feel exhausted, I simply am. I may even be able to read a book. I realised it's been two years since I had a night to myself, when I went to the same conference after our amazing trip to California.

My parents arrived yesterday with great excitement on Oliver's part and a little perplexity on Martina's side who, I think, was wondering how it was possible that the people in the computer were now here in the kitchen. But one day in and she has already warmed up to the guests!
I have packed the suitcase (almost), found a few dollars from the last trip in a jar in the kitchen and charged my ipod, laptop and phone. I have packed a swimming suit as I want to go to the pool on campus during the week. However this may be a bit of an optimistic thought as my period has decided to be late again. So it'll probably start tomorrow or sunday, just as I am travelling.

I want to get back blogging a bit more often even if it's just for myself and my soul. It is good for me to be talking about life and feelings even if the original purpose of this blog has morphed significantly. It did me a world of good when I was going through infertility, I think it will help with the anxiety too, I have to write it down. I know it is less interesting for the wider blogging community, specially for those still chasing what may seem a chimera baby (and I wish you from the bottom of my heart that it will be a reality very soon) but it may still be nice for my long time cyberfriends to see how I get on and what we are up too (thank you Valery!). I know I miss a lot my old cyber friends, those that have stopped blogging altogether and those that are now posting very seldom. Maybe there is someone left out there thinking the same about me! Don't worry if you don't have time to comment, I know this is my life and not yours and you may have nothing to say, just let me know occasionally you are stopping by, I'll love it!

I'm considering changing the title of the blog, but I am so attached to it. What do you think?