And so it goes. Another year. I’m going to try this holiday letter thing again- because hopefully I can only improve upon last time- so here goes.
We’ve had a busy year in the DrdrA Laboratory. A few high points included securing our own independent funding, publishing a few nice papers, putting in the tenure package, and graduating our first Ph.D. student. These were community efforts, if ever there were such, with everyone pulling 150%. My trainees now understand that my crazy-burning-the-midnight-oil hours have helped to keep them in their jobs for a few years more. In return, they know that I expect a lot from them this coming year. And I do mean A LOT.
But there are always a few low points, and to those I think we should confess- lest I repeat the same mistakes again in 2010. I’ve got to get faster about reading/editing and otherwise turning over manuscripts that come across my desk. There are still too many piled up here and they should be out, out, out the door. 2010 will be the year for this. Second, mentoring. Since I am shifting away from grant writing, I’m shifting back toward mentoring- and not necessarily more mentoring- but better, more effective mentoring. I realize I have trainees with all different personality types and that one size does not fit all for them. I’m going to enjoy getting to know them all better and figure out what works for each of them, and they are going to get pounded- each in their own way- to work on their own set of skills –bench, written and oral presentation. Data- and troubleshooting, do you ever find that you don’t look at the data enough? I just haven’t had enough time to ponder the data. And I need time for that. I’ll gladly reclaim that time in 2010.
As for the life part of the work-life balance, well, we’ve had quite a year there as well. BigA is a mid-career 6th grader with a 16 year old attitude. We are riding the roller coaster of teenage personality, wondering what happened to our quiet, well-behaved and ever-agreeable 5th grader. But we’ve been told that could even itself out in the 7th grade. BigA is very bookish (which we encourage), musical (which we also encourage), and full of interesting and mostly useless factoids (just like her dad, and of course he encourages that) that will someday make great cocktail party conversation. She likes mythology and the clarinet. Anyway, we are trying to teach responsibility, politeness, inquisitiveness, two languages, and a strong work ethic… she’s learning and we love her. She reminds me of myself at her age, a champion debater.
LittleA is, well, LittleA. Ever into mischief- can be the most loving and the most naughty child all at the same time. She’s the sporty one, playing the soccer goalie and really loving it. Fortunately for her parents she’s been pretty well behaved in school this year, and she seems to fit in there better than in the last couple of years. I suppose that was only a matter of maturity. Both girls love cooking, being outdoors, reading, pets (of which we sadly have none), and traveling.
As for me, well, I continue to work like mad, be a good parent/spouse, blog when I can, monitor my own aging parents, keep up with my sister and with friends. I do the best I can to balance all of these areas, and I think this usually works out. When things falls through the cracks once in a while I’ve stopped beating myself up about it- or at least I’m trying to. I’m older, and maybe a little bit wiser, and generally content with our state of affairs. DrMrA and I have our goals for the next few years set out in front of us and I feel like we are working on them together. We have solid jobs/careers that we enjoy, we have great family and friends, and we are all relatively healthy. I wish all those things for you now and in 2010.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all!