Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back for More

I've been so busy for the past two weeks that I haven't had time to post here. Did you miss me?

So much has been going on that it's hard to sort through it and put it all down "on paper" (on screen? Ya got me!).

First of all, I decided to make some changes in my life at work. I felt kind of lonely and isolated, mostly because aside from the secretary, I am the only woman in my department and on the entire first floor of my building. I don't think that anyone is actively discriminating against me or anything like that, but I do think that "male culture" is slightly different than "female culture." In particular, my colleagues were always going over to the cafeteria without inviting me along. That was okay with me most of the time anyhow, because I usually bring my lunch from home. But I realized that I was missing out on a lot of the informal interactions that lead to formal collaborations. So I decided I'd just invite myself along. So I've started going to lunch with "the guys" on a regular basis, and I think it's working out really well. They don't mind me there; in fact, I think they like me. I talk some, but mostly I just listen and ask them questions when I don't understand something.

Second, I was asked to review a prospective journal paper on optimization. It was very nice of the editor to think of me as a person to review it. The editor is the man from whom I once received the nicest rejection letter ever. He's a lovely person with a very good sense of humor. Whenever I talk to him I get the sense that he really likes me and is very supportive.

Third, for the past couple of weeks we have had an endless stream of visitors. We had interviewees for our special postdoctoral fellowship as well as for a joint lab/university position. It was hard to remember who came for what and who talked about what. We had to attend their seminars every day. By the end, I had found the optimal chair to sit in: it's this chair that's right on the air conditioning vent, which kept me cold and therefore awake during these (boring) seminars in this completely dark room. Out of all the candidates, there were no women interviewees for the postdoc, but two women interviewing for the lab/university position. My boss was the committee chairman for both search committees, so he was extra busy with hosting these visitors.

Fourth, we bought a new car! It's a brand new, blue 2006 Chevy Impala. We named it Priscilla. We still have Gundar, too, and I will continue to drive him to work every day. Except maybe this summer, when it's really hot and I'm feeling particularly miserable because...


Yes, amazingly, the better half and I are reproducing. I personally did not believe this was possible. I figured that one or the other of us was infertile, but evidently not. It's due at the end of September/beginning of October. I didn't want to say anything on this blog until I let my boss know. I told him last week and now he knows that I'm going to have to take some time off in the fall. He was totally cool with it and very understanding because he has three children of his own. I was paranoid about telling him (it's hard being the only woman in the department!) but it all worked out fine.

Anyhow, that's about it from the news department. Stay tuned next time for some more math!


Ginger said...

I had missed you! It has to really be hard being the only woman at work.

rachel said...

Glad your boss was cool with it! And glad I can broadcast it to the whole internet now! ;-)

Susie said...

Congratulations!! So exciting!!

Laura said...

yay, glad you're back on the blog!

congrats on the new car and better relating to work people!

oh, and on the pregnancy too, but I already told you that in person. :-)

Anonymous said...

CONGRATs on your impending duplication of your genetic material. We all know that the really smart people in our society (as a rule) breed very little. Thank you for improving the gene pool. There should be some award (opposite the Darwin Awards) that recognizes improving the gene pool by addition rather than subtraction.

Kate said...

Congratulations on the baby news!

Also -- good job with the whole social time/work thing. Sometimes you really do have to invite yourself along. It always makes me nervous when I do that, it but it always pays off.