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The Christmas Aftermath December 26, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, family, younger son.
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Christmas presents are better when they have an element of DIY. The younger son is learning how to replace a laptop screen…

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Wordless Wednesday: True Happiness October 29, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in pets, photography.
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Real men… July 3, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, family.
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Mike spent all day at work waiting for some smart-alek comments to his shirt.  Nothing. Apparently we both thought the shirt was much funnier than everyone else.  Regardless, I’m still giggling.

Not married to my work May 4, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, family, research, work.
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A few weeks ago, I posted about the difficulties that go along with working with my husband.  That is no longer an issue…not because I’m not married anymore but because Mike has since changed jobs.  He’s back to working in industry, and enjoying all of the fun of a more stable job.  (As an aside, he must be type A because all of the anxiety about the job situation at work has now transferred into unfinished remodeling projects at home.  I suspect we’ll have an entirely new house in about two years.)

We are adjusting to spending a lot less time together, and I’m getting to hear all about the joys of an industrial job.  He has me convinced that is not the route I want to go.  The primary reason for this decision is that, by leaving academia, I would no longer have unfettered access to research journals.  That sounds like my personal idea of hell.

Married to my work April 13, 2014

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, family, personal, societal commentary.
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In the past two weeks, I have been introduced as Mike’s spouse twice in professional settings.

I usually view this as something akin to the Kiss of Death: the person receiving this news is likely to consider me an appendage to my spouse and therefore rather useless.  It’s not that I mind people know I am married to Mike.  He’s very competent and he’s a nice person, so I’m certainly not ashamed of it.  It’s often the reaction I get that bothers me.  We have both noticed that some people will make a point of talking to him and ignoring me entirely, even when the project is mine and has nothing to do with him.  (Of course, people do this even when they don’t know we’re married…)

In the first case, I found this rather interesting because it had a couple oddities relative to other introductions of this nature.  First, the person I was being introduced to had no idea who Mike was, and in fact, never did meet him.  I’m not sure why my marital arrangement was the first thing that came up, but I just sort of sigh and roll with it.  Second, I think one of the people we were with was more annoyed about the way I was introduced than I was.  While I just sort of shrugged and carried on as though nothing happened, shaking hands with the visitor, one of the other people who knew me repeated my name to the person two or three times.  As much as I’m resigned to this sort of thing, apparently other people are not, and my inner voice yelled, “Huzzah!”

The second situation was very unnerving.  Mike and I coauthored a paper which was accepted at a fairly selective conference.  The introduction to our presentation explained that we were a husband and wife team, and I inwardly cringed.  I was expecting the fallout to be very awkward for me.  What was odd is that, for the most part, this didn’t seem to make a difference to anyone.  Or maybe they already knew so it didn’t matter.  Mike has had a paper accepted there before, and I was invited to give a presentation last year, so we’re not complete strangers to this group of people.  With perhaps one exception, there wasn’t any noticeable difference in the way anyone treated him versus me.

While the “being married to my coworker” thing has it’s problems, it seems like some people aren’t letting it be as big an issue as it used to be.  It’s kind of nice to be considered a colleague and not an appendage.

It’ll make my day when people regularly introduce him as my spouse, though.  (It has happened once or twice, but not nearly as often as the reverse.)

The Dynamic Duo December 6, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in career, engineering, family, papers, research.
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When I was doing my MS, I ended up getting a research assistantship working in the same place as Mike (which is, of course, where I now am working).  There was one person higher up in the ranks who would occasionally see us having lunch together and would exclaim, “There’s the Dynamic Duo!”  This person was rather tickled that Mike and were interested in the same field of engineering.

At the time, it kind of peeved me.  I was already getting a bit of a feeling that people viewed me as his shadow, and this comment didn’t help to alleviate that concern.  Now I think about it, however, and it actually was much better than I thought because there was no implication that either one of us was better than the other: we were peers.

We both take this view when we’re doing research, and we really enjoy collaborating on things.  We’ve found that our strengths are complimentary, so it’s very easy to talk to each other about a topic and get good feedback.  We also have several projects that we’re doing separately, but we almost always (especially on our drives home) talk about what we’re doing and asking for feedback.  (Well, admittedly, it’s volunteered whether we want it or not.)

Those conversations have, more often than not, been incredibly helpful in moving projects forward.  However, this leaves us in a bit of a bind because, as I said, some of these projects really aren’t involving the other person.  When this happens, especially if the project results in publication, we always have to make a decision: do we add the other person as co-author or mention them in the acknowledgements.  When it’s been nothing more than conversational input, particularly when we proofread each other’s papers, we choose the latter.  This does lead to some interesting possibilities for entertaining acknowledgements.

I would like to thank my spouse for suggesting such a nifty title.

or

I would like to thank my spouse for catching that diagram that was completely bass ackwards when proofreading the paper for me.

and maybe even

I would like to thank my spouse for the helpful input in developing the concept of this project, despite the fact that they laughed at my hokey acronym.

I know.  It’s totally unprofessional.  But it’s a lot of fun to imagine doing such a thing.

I wonder where that came from? October 15, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, science, younger son.
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Mike was helping younger son study for a science test.  After they were finished, Mike turned to me and said that younger son seems to have a very good handle on the subject.  The younger son, in response, said that he really likes science and thinks it may even be “his talent.”

I smiled at Mike and said, “Gee, I wonder where that came from?”

Younger boy, apparently not realizing that the question was rhetorical, said in the most definitive tone, “You, Mom!”

I sure wasn’t expecting that but I certainly appreciated it.  For the record, however, I’m guessing Mike had a little something to do with it, too.

Math illiteracy at the bank September 29, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, math.
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The older son received a check, and we went to the bank to cash it. He was supposed to put half in savings and keep the rest for spending money. The check was for $53.50.

When we got to the window, Mike told the teller that half should go into savings and the rest should come back as cash. We were in our car, so said that $26.75 needed to go into savings, but he didn’t pass that info to the teller. After a minute, she asked if we wanted the $.50 back as cash. I could only roll my eyes because I knew what had happened.

The teller had deposited $26 into savings and returned $27.50 as cash. Apparently it was a bit too intimidating to take that $1.50 difference and divide it in half. We just took it and left because it wasn’t worth getting upset about it. However, I told Mike that he needs to stop overestimating people’s math skills…even if the person is a bank teller.

running update: 23 months September 22, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, older son, running.
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I went for a run today for the first time in a month.  It was nice, particularly since I could actually feel my feet the whole time.

Yeah, that sounds strange, doesn’t it?

I haven’t run the past month because I ended up in the hospital.  Some of you may recall that about a year ago, I had a bad reaction to some medication.  Some of my doctors have been dubious that this was the case, however, given the reaction was extremely rare.  (By extremely rare, I mean I-managed-to-find-a-whole-three-medical-case-studies-on-pubmed rare.)  I was given the medication again, and this time I had a similar reaction, only it didn’t stop when I stopped the meds…and I ended up spending some time in the hospital.  Some of my (two) readers may have noticed I didn’t post much a couple weeks ago.  That’d be why.

As an aside, while the hospital food wasn’t all that bad, I was very ticked that they put me on a ‘heart healthy’ diet despite my complete lack of metabolic disorder.  I suspect I may have gotten some gluten contamination while there, as well.  My husband has been informed that any future trips to the hospital will require him to cook and bring me food, which he thankfully said he’d do…although it may just be a lot of gluten free egg rolls and scrambled eggs.  🙂

The good news is that things are getting better…I can stand long enough to teach my classes without getting dizzy and, as I said, feel my feet again…most of the time.

Needless to say, this is putting a bit of a damper on my race plans.  I had planned to run a 10k next month with the older son, but I’m trying to take it slow.  I’ll probably just try the 5k.  I was initially rather upset that I’ve been running for almost two years now and am having to start over.  However, after my run this morning, I came to an important realization: I ran more than I had planned because it felt good to get out and move.  My body knows what it’s doing now, so I’m really not starting over…just giving myself some space.

Wordless Wednesday: In honor of national dog day August 28, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in family, pets, photography.
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