Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wrimo Wednesday!

As everyone who has frequented this blog should know, I am attempting NaNoWriMo while also being a mom and PhD candidate. This is an absolutely insane undertaking, yet almost 2 weeks in I am ahead on my word count (about 2 days). To accomplish this I am crafting my novel similar to what I am working on, with some of my masters thesis work sprinkled in, and taken several theoretical steps down the road. With that in mind, I thought I would share the background of the novel and how it partially relates to what I am actually doing.

In the novel, the main character (Beth) is running a lab at a new genetics research company. She is investigating how to make soybean more resilient to low water. Basically she wants to create a transgenic soybean that will survive even under drought conditions. Preferably not just survive but also thrive, and at the very least not change the crop yield. Right now she has created her modified soybean and is testing it. Soon she will find out that it has a downside (this is the part I'm still working on) and learn that her employers are not as interested in the science but the profit.

How does that relate to my research? Well I'm glad you asked! ;) I am currently investigating soybean but looking at cold tolerance, not drought. Soybean is cold intolerant, it tends to suffer and die when the temperatures drop. It seems to have components from the cold tolerant pathway yet it doesn't work. So we're looking to find out why, what part is broken and perhaps can we fix it?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Family Friday!

This was the first Friday night in 2 months we have not been driving to my parents. Instead we are staying here. We had pizza for dinner and popcorn with a movie! I decided it was time Boo saw Aladdin. I had forgotten how dated some of the Genie's references were! For a while I could not tell if he was enjoy it or not. Then after the Prince Ali song, the Sultan rides the Carpet around and he laughed and laughed and started imitating it.

When the movie ended, he stood up and announced "I am a genie! You get three wishes!"

"I wish my son would brush his teeth, take his medicine and go to bed!"

"Sorry, I'm a genie not your son. Wish again!" 

"OK, I wish my living room was clean!"

He looked around, looked at me and goes "That will not happen." 

.....

I think he missed the concept of being a genie. ;)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NaNoWriMo - Day 6

Wow keeping up with NaNo while juggling everything is actually working! I've found that I can write in a note app I have on my phone during the random wait steps that come with molecular biology research. 5 minute incubation here, 10 minute centrifuge there, 40 minute gel assay, etc., molecular biology is a lot of hurry up and wait. So while I wait, I type on my phone (autocorrect fails will be fantastic to dig through in December..) and it's working. Currently I sit at just over 11k, which is day 7 pace, so I'm a day ahead for the moment. I need to try and bank more ahead time as the weekend of the 16th is Boo's birthday party and then the 18th I have my next exam. I do not see my writing statistics being impressive in those time frames. This a technique I would recommend to anyone who wants to write but does not feel like they have the time to do so. Grab the 5 minute breaks here and there and use them for writing. Treat them like sprints. You'll be amazed how many words you can generate through out the day that way!

My group for class had our big presentation today. Last night I had everyone over for dinner and practice session. I made homemade Alfredo sauce with chicken, mushrooms, and broccoli over rotini pasta. It was delicious :) The presenters went over the talk and we talked about the strengths and weakness of paper we were presenting. It was a weak paper, just a simple 2D gel with no physiological data to back up their claims. Today things went smoothly, I had to answer some of the more technical questions since the paper did fall under my actual PhD research. Now the web side of the team will do their magic and Friday we will be officially done with this project!

Had a Mommy fail moment tonight. While reading bedtime stories to Boo I realized I had not sent his library books from school back to school. He, of course, suddenly remembered I was right and he would going to miss recess until I got them turned in and started to cry. I had to find the books, reassure him that he was not in trouble and I would tell his teacher it was my bad, and then get him settled down enough to fall asleep. Between the presentation for class, NaNo and the mice last week (which i have not seen a mouse or any evidence of mice since Monday!) I have been so scatter brained. Need to refocus quick. Speaking of focus.. time to get my word count padded up and my lecture written for tomorrow.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Destination Dissertation

Yesterday one of my labmates successfully defended a PhD. The public defense lasted about an hour and the closed door committee defense lasted another 2. But success was granted and after the paperwork is completed (revisions to the dissertation, filing all the forms, etc.) Dr. will be added before and , PhD after name for eternity. After all the formality we did a little after party in the conference room. Cake, champagne and pats on the back! We all signed a card and the champagne bottle as mementos. Due to the timing of the event, Boo came along to the after party and was absolutely wonderful. So well behaved. When he went to say congratulation, my labmate asked if we would be doing this for him next. To which I jumped in and said hey hey me first! and everyone laughed.

But watching the whole event from the sidelines made me realize how much I want to be there. To have added to the world's scientific knowledge and presenting my work. Ready to move to the next phase of my career. Right now I'm at the very beginning of the destination. I don't even have a project fully laid out. The one I am working on right now does not seem to be going anywhere. The data is inconclusive and messy. I don't know if it will show anything we can use, and if it doesn't I'm not sure what to do from there. But here we go, off to the races. Dissertation Ho!