Friday, September 30, 2005

woo hoo!!

Now I have managed to schedule in a pre-happy hour drink with DA---so only 3 hours 41 minutes until this day is done!!!

5.5 hours until happy hour....

Solution to crankiness today: Count down the hours remaining until happy hour.

To do:
  1. Grade exams (so far in part I they are doing well...yea!)
  2. Write exam for class 2
  3. Organize outline for chapter project
  4. Deal with some data......

....5 hours and 29 minutes until happy hour..... martini is drawing closer.......

What is up with me?

It's going to be one of those days when I am going to have to close the door to my office and isolate myself. I have this incredible urge to lash out at everything today--so far only 2 other people in the office and almost every little word uttered has about pushed me over the edge. WARNING: Dangerous *statgirl* today--high alert!!

Note: I do think I may have done/said something to upset one of these people because she has been 'a little off' the last couple of days; however, this could just be my own emotional overload of the moment causing me to misread the world around me.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Horrible Haiku

It is obvious
Work shall not occur today
I am a big slug

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What does it mean that I stared at the same data file all day??

  • It means that I did not check off one single thing on my 'to do' list today.
  • It means that I was non productive.
  • It means that I had absolutely no focus.

It was like I was "frozen" and just couldn't get going on anything--everything was just buzzing around inside my head and nothing would stand still for even one moment for me to organize it, structure it, and get moving on it. Just a few days ago I felt like I was so on top of things and managing it all very well. How did it have time to pile up?? FRUSTRATION!!!

Now that I have revealed my absolute craziness, there were a few good things to my day. I located a friend whom I haven't talked to in a very long time. She is living in a different city and it just happens to be somewhere I am planning on visiting in the near future. Bonus!

This also happens to be one of the first days of the season that seems like fall---it even smelled like fall today. I love that smell and the sound of the dry leaves drifting across the pavement in the breeze. Yeah! Fall !

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Fun Stuff

Saw this over at Just Tenured and couldn't resist. I so loved the 80's. So this is what I got.....

Your 80s Heartthrob Is
Bill Gates

How about that?....if I just could have met him, I would be a gijillionnaire!!! But I know that money doesn't buy happiness and I'm happy in my little corner of the world. Oh, but what I wouldn't give to have a little nerd to love. :-)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Oh no....

Was it just 2 days ago that I posted about cleaning and organizing and going through the junk mail stack piece by piece?? Yes!! Then why can't I find the $150 rebate check from the new computer I just recently purchased?? It's just got to be here somewhere....I couldn't have mistaken that for junk mail during my cleaning and purging episode!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Should I worry that ....

1) less than 10% of my students have even picked up the practice exam questions less than 48 hours before the first exam

2) only about 55 % have turned in all 4 of the homework assignments due before this point in the semester

3) according to the few questions I have gotten---they are not seeing the difference between memorizing a definition and being able to apply the material to a situation. [Even though I told them knowing a defnition would be of little help unless they then knew what to do with the concept and all of the in-class work and homework assignment have focused on application.]

4) I worry too much about my students? Sometimes it seems like the more 'safeguard' things I put in place, the more they blame me when they do not learn the course material. Maybe I should try to transform into one of those 'hard ass profs' that just gives a midterm and a final -average the 2 scores --> voila final grade.

Dear Advisor, Thank you...

for caring enough to begin your weekend day by sending a long email about the manuscript I'm working on. Now you want me to direct it to a different journal than originally planned. This one has a larger audience (and accordingly, a higher rejection rate). I am so glad that you have confidence in my work and spend your "off hours" thinking about it. Although sometimes it's a little scary when you come into my office and say "I was lying awake last night thinking about your project and I think that....."
You have worked so hard to help me become a competitive job candidate. Am I going to live up to the expectations you have of me? What if no one out there likes anything I write and hates my research? What if everyone finds errors in my analyses? What if I never generate any discussion in my field and never publish another thing?? What if I get a job and then don't make it?

Oh dear advisor, how do you deal with me everyday.....sometimes I'm a real mess. Am I going to be able to do this for my own students someday?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cleaning and Organizing

Why don't I throw out the junk mail immediately? No...I let it pile up until it takes over my desk and sometimes the dining room table. Then I have to sit and sort through it piece by piece to make sure something important didn't end up in the junk mail pile. Note to Self: Stop at trash can next to mailbox and throw junk mail away right away.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Reflections on a love lost

He was not the typical guy to whom I would normally be attracted. He was rather thin, and a sensitive type with no college degree, a child and the recent experience of a difficult divorce. He was the most romantic man I have ever met; in fact, he nearly crossed the line of 'trying to hard' but yet never quite fell into that status because he really meant everything he said and did so much for me because he cared and he liked to see me smile. He scared me away at first because he was so intense; but he won me over with his gentle nature and ability to share his thoughts and dreams. It only lasted a few weeks, circumstance kept us apart but the impression on my heart is everlasting. It was the biggest heartbreak I have endured and I thought that one day I would look back and say it wasn't real. But time does not a relationship make, he was the love that I longed for and the memory will never completely fade away.

People are surprised....

I saw this post on jo(e)'s page and it inspired me (as many posts there do because jo(e) is a wonderful writer and draws me in everytime I read a post).

Things about me that surprise my friends:

1) I love playing video games, not the car racing or sports type games, but the puzzle solving, character direction varieties.

2) My undergrad GPA is pathetic..actually really hideous (the freedom of college life was a bit overwhelming for me). Thank goodness that I am really good at standardized tests or I wouldn't be finishing a Ph.D.--no one would have ever believed I had the potential.

3) I am a complete "neat freak" at home even though my office always looks like train wreck.

4) My age....never met anyone yet that can guess it correctly. {Thankfully, everyone guesses too low...I'll start really worrying when the standard error is in the opposite direction.}

5) I do not intend to have children...while really facinated by the biological potential to create a "mini me" and I do love kids (I am the cool adult in my family that during holiday meals sits a the kids table...and it is because I want to, not because I am the "old maid" of the bunch), one of the best things about kids is that they go home to someone else.

6) I really dread social gatherings (of medium to large size). I'm fine once I get there and start mingling...but I hate the whole "find something to wear", worrying about if I'll know anyone, etc.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


So much to write, so little time to accomplish it all.

Seems like the writing projects keep piling up and the stuff I like to do (data analysis) is few and far between right now. Only one of the projects on the plate involves any data at all--unfortunately book chapters and lit reviews aren't as much fun for me. I wholeheartedly second Profgrrls post from a few days ago titled "Lit Reviews are Evil"--they are!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blackboard Thread of Terror

I suppose it does not bode well for the upcoming exam in one course I teache when I discover an entire thread on the course discussion board which starts with "I can't find the hypothesis in the qualitative study". So I shouldn't have been surprised by another comments later on in the thread "Do you know if anything from the textbook will be covered or is it just the lecture?" --Dude! Where do you think I get the topic for my lecture!!?? ---I am not one of those profs who "reads" the textbook to students and calls it "lecture"---but my lecture certainly parallels the assigned readings in the book and I choose examples that compliment and contrast with the examples in the text--so, YES, I assume you are reading the book. Furthermore, this is a GRADUATE level course---take some responsibility for your own learning.

OK--I'm irritated....I'm getting over it......but tomorrow will be another round.

UPDATE on "what is wrong with people?" post --I actually got a return call from the manager of the restaurant where offensive comments were made by our waitress. After wishing I would have left a note, I did call the restaurant and left a message expressing my concern that one their staff would say such things to customers. He apologized, offered a free breakfast to our group and assured me that the staff was informed that those types of comments were not appropriate and would not be tolerated. --- Small victory--I'm not usually one to stand up and speak out, but it's time I do.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Monday Mania!

Why do I feel like I accomplished nothing today...even though I was running most of the time? Two meetings this morning before 10 am and then 2 student appointments followed by a proofreading session for DA. I'm a terrible proofreader and so is DA so I guess she is hoping that in this case 2 poor proofreaders are better than no proofreaders (office was deserted today except for undergrad entering data). Not sure where my afternoon went? I remember reading 2 requests to substitute courses for a required course I teach and then skimming my notes before I taught my class, but the rest is a blur until my course. I was moving right along with material there until I tried to slip in the "area is probability" material in connection with the normal curve and z-scores. Suddenly I had several students who no longer saw any connection between proportion, decimal, and percentage formats of probability. They were so hung up on these elementary math conversions that they missed the whole conceptual picture I was trying to present. I love when you see the exact moment "the lightbulb turns on" and equally detest the moment when you see "the lightbulb switch off . . . and then tumble from the top of their head and shatter on the floor"--it's so evident in some students expressions.

Tomorrow is another day....I'm going to try to keep better track of time and stick closer to my 'to do' list.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

What is wrong with people?

Went to breakfast this morning with my usual group of Sunday Morning Brunchers. We went to a different location than usual. After we got our food and were into our meal talking and laughing and telling stories about what is going on in our lives and new jobs (all of us have the same former job in common--liked each other, hated the boss), the waitress comes to our table and says "Hey, I've a got question for you" and proceeds to tell two innappropriate gay bashing jokes. She didn't even seem to notice the looks of shock on our faces. She didn't know anything about us, if we were gay or straight, if we wanted to hear a joke (or how violent or non-violent we could be). She was in her mid-50's, I would guess---we didn't even know what to say--she had been perfectly nice up until that point. I really want to believe that she is just totally out of the loop and has no idea how offensive those jokes are. Is telling jokes really appropriate EVER when delivering food to strangers who have in no way engaged you any conversation other than placing orders. And why would anyone ever tell such inappropriate unfunny comments to a group of strangers?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Assessment....

I've been thinking about how much more I like my job this year....this is the same position that I really disliked last year. DA says it is just because I don't accept change well and now I'm finally getting "in the groove". DA is probably right...she usually is; however, I keep thinking that if this is true then I am just going to go through all this again very soon as I plan to find a tenure track job for next year (keep your fingers crossed).

Whatever the difficulties I have with change, that can only be part of the mess for me because there are still many things I don't like about this job. I don't fit in very well in my division or unit. I'm the crazy quant. person in a sea of qual. people. I like numbers and probability...give me a break...I'm a nerd.

On a personal note: I think I may have alienated my best friend this week. Humor doesn't travel well by email and I was misinterpreted which resulted in an outpouring of emotion from her and some statements that I found pretty extreme. Mostly she just said some things that make me think that she really doesn't appreciate me in the same way that I appreciate her. I guess I always believed she would be there for me.....but maybe she wouldn't. Hhhmmm...kind of a not so kind revelation to have about someone that you have counted as your closest friend for several years.

On the subject of friends (yes, I'm in a rambling mood tonight) friend turnover rate has been fairly high in the past few decision to go back to school and change jobs has essentially made it hard work to keep up with some friends. I think I've tried....but I need a little effort from the other side as well. So what's going to happen when I get old and crusty.....will I be that old lady who likes nerdy math books and has a million cats?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Day After....

Well, there was one last entry into the pool for NSP Day (celebrated yesterday) but I went to bed before 11pm so I didn't open the email until today......and this one just might be the winner:

Sorry I missed class tonight but first I forgot that we were meeting at the library so I went to the regular classroom. Then I saw your reminder note to meet at the library, but I couldn't find it. Sorry.

In my fantasy I would click reply:

Perhaps you are just not student material, after all , the library is the largest building located exactly in the center of our small campus and one of the few building that isn't sitting behind a placard bearing some benefactor's last name--the big stone sign actually says "Library". You most likely drove past it to get to the building where our class is usually held. (If you didn't then there is a good chance that you were driving the wrong way on a one-way street.) ---Statgirl

PS No need to apologize, it is not problematic for my learning and understanding that you missed class tonight, I already have a good understanding of the course material.

As for the rest of was good progress on the things I need to do list. However, I'm terrible at estimating how much time it will take to complete things and I don't get to cross much off the list. I'm thinking of listing things in smaller tasks so I than I can do some crossing off--it's mostly psychological, I know, but I want to feel good about finishing things rather than be so focused on what is left to complete and gets carried over to the following day.

One more manuscript to review and then sleepy time for statgirl........

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

National Stupid People Day...

It must be! Stupid highlights of the day:

A student contacts my colleague to find out if the test this week will be out of the 'required' or 'supplemental' texts---well, considering that the supplemental text for this course is the APA style manual and the lecture notes have been in reference to the required text as well as homework from the required text. . . -- What is wrong with this student?

I have been reading homework assignments from my students --I have 62 students in 2 sections of a course I teach. Of these 62 students, 8 of them missed a question in which the answer to the question was given in the first sentence of the abstract of the article, and was also repeated in the first paragraph of the article--> They didn't even have to read the article to get the answer, it was right there! I used this format so it was equivalent for the other articles where the answer was not directly stated and students had to formulate a response. Needless to say...these 8 students didn't get those right either.

Next, another colleague was swamped with emails this morning from a list serve she belongs to--2 of the messages were from people asking for help about how to get off of the list so they wouldn't get so much email. Like most listserv's, this one has instructions for how to remove yourself at the bottom of each email sent out. So these people are getting those instructions appoximately 10 times each day. Can people not read???

Received phone message from student who missed class last night asking if they may take the quiz which was given. "I know your syllabus says that make up quizzes will not be given, however I was really tired and just couldn't make it to class"--- Wow..too bad I can't skip class when I am tired!

Student email received today: "I was wondering if we could use the 5th edition of the text instead of the 6th....that one is much cheaper online. " --What has this student been reading for the last 4 weeks of class while she was deciding which edition to order?? Note: The exam is this way you will get that book in time to read 6 chapters and prepare.

I give up........

One more just in..... email exchange with student:
Stu Dent: Can I come to your office tomorrow morning to go over some of the material covered in class last week?
Statgirl: I'm sorry, Stu Dent, but tomorrow I am booked all morning and will not be back in the office until my scheduled office hours starting at 3:30. If that will not work for you, my schedule Thursday is fairly open.
Stu Dent: OK, I understand, however, my Thursday is pretty full. So , I hate to ask this, but how about tomorrow in the afternoon around 2:30 instead of the morning?

OK....what is unclear about I will not be in my office until 3:30???

Monday, September 12, 2005


Now that the only break we get until Thanksgiving is's 5 day weeks for a while. So now it really feels like the school year has begun. Of course, since I took the entire weekend off from work I am starting out this week already behind does that happen? How can I be behind already this early in the semester?

One problem with my overall plan for the semester is that I had the brillant idea that I would stay over a week ahead in my new class preps. Works well insofar as I don't stress about not being ready...but now I spend an hour or so before class going back over the notes I made 2 weeks ago..refreshing myself on what I planned to do. This is only with the class that is a complete new prep--so I suppose after I teach it this semester, it will not require the "refreshing stage" for course modifications the next time around. I just need to decide if this really a better use of my time or should I just prep in the few days ahead of the class period and stress about it.

A positive note as I was leaving the building this evening---I ran into 2 former students in the computer lab who stopped me to tell me how helpful the class they took with me last fall has been in their subsequent coursework. (These were not top students nor students who "needed" to suck up because they will have to take another class with me.) It's nice to hear this occasionally....especially since I teach the classes everyone loves to hate-- research methods and statistics. Believe me, it is far more common to over conversations of "why do we have to take THAT class".

To do list for tomorrow:

  • Finish article critique
  • Book airline ticket
  • Put together z-score lecture notes
  • Grade stat homework
  • Organize writing plan (reorganize the whiteboard and timline)

    Need to get a little "for fun" reading in tonight.....

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Weekend regroup.....

Ahhh...Saturday! Usually, I spend Saturday at the office organizing and planning for the weekend ahead. However, after a day full of meetings yesterday, I decided to take a well deserved day off. Faculty meeting Friday's are especially the meetings tend to drag on and on.....yesterday was extra long becuase it started an hour early with a "welcome back" breakfast. Great--welcome back to faculty follies--please welcome the new cast: 5 new tenure-track, 6 or so new staff additions, and some adjuncts. These will be the only ones who show up on time to the rest of the faculty meetings---and we will sit waiting patiently to begin each meeting until we have a quorum so we can vote on some ridiculously tedious item on the agenda. Well, at least the new chair put the agenda on cute paper so I have figures to add to my doodles.

After faculty follies...the rest of the day sailed by. Spent the evening with friends and laughed a little which was overdue. Today some miscellaneous errands were completed and I have clean sheets waiting for me on my bed. Time to go curl up with a book and contemplate the rest of my weekend.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Is this all worth it?

Today is one of those days when I am not seeing any joy to nearing the finish line of this degree. So what is really going to change when I get my PhD? I'm going to move to another U where I will feel like an outcast just as I do in my current spot. Even though I really hope that is not a realistic thought...what if it is? Some of these thoughts were triggered by a conversation going on over on Dr. Crazy's page other feelings are just coming from personal unrest. It didn't help having lunch with DA who made me feel like any potential job I will get will have the same negatives.

Need to find some positives and focus on those.....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Information please?

Just sat through the most disorganized informational meeting ever organized by any university....Dissertation Formatting. Hey! There are some things I actually need to know ...can you give me that information, please?? Apparently not. I did learn, however, that there is a reason that they keep a person closed in an office proofreading dissertations and theses--marking them all up with notations about using triple spacing, correct headings, inverted pyramid titles, and following the Chicago Manual of Style--this person has to be kept away from human contact--she has no social skills and is completely incapable of even organizing a simple presentation (Instead she is using overhead transparancies from at least 2 editions of APA style previous to the current edition). She has one shining smile moment when she shows a page which has been obliterated with proofreading marks and remarks like a proud mother "I did this one." Please, please....someone put her back in her office and lock the door.

No Progress Day

My day has been messed up from the beginning...couldn't come to work at my usual time because of a dentist I went to the grocery store this am. Never been to the grocery store before on a Wednesday was kind of scary. It was senior citizen shoparama and a few guys from the fire department. Not a real engaging crowd. Hhmmm....and I though my usual Friday stop at the grocery after work was sad. Finally got to work this afternoon but just can't seem to get going on I have been surfing the internet and vacation shopping. Looking for a getaway during the semester break. It's kind of sad that I really don't have any place here in the US that I am just dying to visit--I'm fairly well traveled and really alway aim for Europe (I speak fluent French and like to practice.) Went to Montreal last year......where to go next? Ideas?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Credit/Debit analysis of the day.....

Accomplishments today:

  1. Completed IRB communication and clarified miscommunication
  2. Lunch with new colleague (she seems OK)
  3. Cleaned office and organized papers
  4. Graded student papers (wanted to beat head against desk multiple times)
  5. Talked with students who came to office hours this early in the semester (wow!, of course, these students are not the likely candidates to actually NEED to be at office hours)
  6. Taught class (went well...good participation by students)

Failures today:

  1. Unable to reschedule appt (going to have to go at inconvenient time tomorrow)
  2. Did not complete lesson plan for next week
  3. Did not finished review of conference proposals due very soon
  4. Should have responded to some emails I'm avoiding

A busy, but mostly productive day. Tomorrow must deal with some of those failures.......

Monday, September 05, 2005

I am not a miracle worker!

I checked my work email account tonight in preperation for the workweek ahead and here is what I find (a "nutshell" paraphrased version as you wouldn't want to really read every word): "Dear Statgirl, X highly recommended you to me and says you were a great help with her data analyses. I'm doing an experimental project which requires some very simple analyses. I need help figuring out the program and analyzing my data. I was hoping you could help me. -Doc student" --Thus far, I'm OK, this is typical email for me....but then, a second email immediately following the first "Dear Statgirl--I just found out that the deadline to submit for graduation this semester is in October, so I need to have a draft of my results completed by next week. I HAVE TO graduate this semester. Thanks! --Doc Student"
Good planning, Doc Student----so how long have you been at the university and just realized there are deadlines for submitting things??? Maybe if finishing was really this important to you, you should have considered getting help sooner? Maybe mapped out the due dates at least and planned a little?

I'm a cranky statgirl.....time for some sleep.

Blogging Beginnings.......

OK...I have been reading lots of academic blogs and have several regulars that I like to visit and decided maybe I could do this too! Hey, my academic life is at least as nerdy and dull as the rest of them! Actually, I find that that stereotype isn't all that accurate---very few of my academic friends qualify as dull ---now, nerdy is another story (I am a stat person and 'nerdy' is hard to escape).

The secondary reason I'm joining the blogger world is to keep record of the transition of my career from grad student to tenure track position (keep your fingers crossed!). After having watched others go through the process--I'm pretty sure that a year or two from now I will be able to look back on this time and enjoy the stress being over. I'm also hoping maybe to gain some support and job hunting tips from my fellow academic please feel free to offer advice to this novice academic.

So here I am..... now I should get back to that literature review I'm plugging away on. :-(