If We Were Having Coffee…..

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this blog just turned a year old! I’m glad WordPress reminds me of these things. I knew it was sometime around now.

If we were having coffee, I’d want you to tell me all about your week. I hope it was a good one with lots accomplished and time for fun. I’m going to need to take a few sips of coffee to warm up my voice before I attempt to speak. Yesterday was the annual university conference where all the various vision research projects get presented. I had a poster to present on one of the studies I am working on. I got to show pictures of the retina and there was a 3D virtual environment involved in the testing procedure. It is definitely one of the cooler research projects I have presented. This is probably why the poster was drawing such big crowds. The talk I gave for the poster was only 5 minutes long, but I had to speak loudly so the crowd could hear me and I had to repeat it nonstop for almost two hours. Now, my voice is all crackly and keeps coming and going.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that despite the success of the poster and its award nomination, I’m still feeling rather low. I came home from the conference yesterday and just went straight to bed. I don’t know, maybe it is just exhaustion that is getting me down. When Hubby got home he brought in some mail for me. It was a package from my aunt. She sent some stuff that I had left at her place along with some new paint brushes and a new stencil. Very exciting! Check out the stencil..an eye diagram! Awesome! That cheered me up a bit.

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If we were having coffee, I’d probably tell you about a friend and a colleague of mine. I am really worried about them. The colleague was supposed to fly in next week to work on that grant proposal with us but he has had to cancel on account of his heart. He has a weak heart and went to the doc thinking he had the flu. It turns out his heart isn’t sounding good, so he has had to cancel the trip and do a full workup. He is not the only one with concerning health problems though. Hubby and I had dinner with our friend Lynne last night. She is scheduled to have her surgery to have her liver metastasis removed in a week and a half. Her latest CT scan shows a new tumor. We are hoping it popped up on the portion they were going to remove anyway.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my art class is tomorrow morning. I’m a little nervous. I hope it isn’t too clique-y. I’m also still doing the 30 Day Colouring Challenge from The Daily Marker. There is about a week left. I have been enjoying it. Here is a collection of this week’s stuff. Two of them are from colouring books. The rest I drew myself. I even used regular old crayons this week. It was fun to revisit childhood with a box of nice, sharp, new Crayolas.

If we were having coffee, I’d wish you a good weekend! Hope to see you for coffee next week!

This conversation coffee post is part of a weekly link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster

If We Were Having Coffee….

If we were having coffee, we would be having it at my house this week because I am too exhausted to move. Thankfully the apartment it relatively spotless. By relatively, I mean we still have cat hair. There isn’t much I can do about that with Ewok being the powder puff that she is. I hope you aren’t allergic to cats. So far I’ve been lucky. Only one of my friends is dating a guy that is allergic…and there is my sister. She chooses to bury her face in Ewok’s tummy when she comes over though, so I don’t worry much about her. Yes, Ewok is THAT loveable.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask how your week went and what was new with you. I hope you have some good news to share. I am hopelessly behind in blogging, therapy, art journaling and my Ph.D. dissertation. I’m not letting it get to me though. It was a really hard and busy week. I am hoping to lay low and get caught up on things this weekend. I am caught up on all the little side projects my supervisor like to throw at me though! I have been paranoid about how she feels about me lately. I feel like she has lost faith in me since I took a step back from my involvement in the lab. As if this grant she is preparing is to make sure my research idea gets done because she doesn’t think I am going to do it myself. I talked to her about it and she said that my research is still my own and I should look at this grant as my supervisor investing in my research. It’s a very nice answer to my concerns, but I don’t believe it. I think she is avoiding talking about what she really thinks because it is negative. She does this a lot with other people. She tells me about it. If this is how she handles conflict with other people, no doubt, this is the way she handles it with me. It is frustrating. One of her best friends and former Ph.D. students told me that I treat her too much like my boss and I should treat her more like my friend. Maybe it is worth a try.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I am glad #1000Speak has evolved into a monthly event. I think it’s a great idea. The last event was yesterday and the theme was “Building from Bullying.” I knew about it well in advance and was debating whether or not I wanted to post about my experiences with bullying. It is something I am sorting through in therapy at the moment. I finally decided that I did want to write something, but I ran out of time with this past week being so crazy. I am looking forward to reading the other posts though. If you are interested in reading some posts on “Building from Bullying” check out the linky at the bottom of Gene’O’s post.

If we were having coffee, I’d want to tell you about another great idea I heard about this week. This one is from Nerd in the Brain. It is called “There is Beauty in All of Us”. Basically, you send in a selfie, she will post it to acquire comments from other people..positive ones!! Then, all the photos will be put into a video showing how diverse beauty is. It’s a really uplifting project. Visit her blog and participate, or at least check it out. I am actually thinking of sending in a real selfie…not a drawing. You’ll have to guess which one is me when you see the video! haha.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m still plugging along with the 30 Day Colouring Challenge. It has been a comfort this week, knowing that I can set aside 10 minutes from working to colour something. I did them mostly myself. I used my Steampunk colouring book from Dover one day. Dover Publishing colouring books rock! These are my entries from the past week.

If we were having coffee, I’d wish a happy and productive weekend. I am off to get caught up on all my projects. I think I will start with the colouring challenge. I always feel better getting something checked off my list. It gives me the motivation to tackle the bigger things.

This conversational post link-up is hosted by Part-Time Monster, join the fun!

If We Were Having Coffee…..

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a happy Pi Day! You’d probably give me a strange look and then I would change the subject by asking how you were and how your week was.

If we were having coffee, I’d say I worked a lot this week. There are several studies on the go, a grant proposal in the works, a poster to make, student posters to edit, another presentation to make and my own research on top of that. My own research always ends up being at the end of the list. Everything else has an upcoming deadline or someone else depending on it. Those ending up getting pushed forward and my research trails behind.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been communicating with an industry rep this week. I contacted him about using his product in my research over a year ago. We’ve been talking on and off since. Currently, he is having trouble entering the market here and thought I’d have some insight. I am all kinds of nervous about talking to him. When I took a moment to rationalize my anxiety, I realized it was because I thought he was better than me. He is a grown up with a real job, a title, a salary and he represents a company. I always see myself as some incompetent kid, but I’m not anymore, am I? I am almost 30 and a Ph.D. candidate. I know the field, I know the right people, I understand his product, why wouldn’t he want to talk to me? I just feel like a fraud, about to be seen through at any minute.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you work has been bringing me down lately. I’m not really sure why. There are some things on the go that I like, some that I don’t. Isn’t that the way work usually goes for everyone. I’ve been trying to lift my spirits with the 30 Day Colouring Challenge hosted by The Daily Marker. Colouring always soothes me a bit. Plus, I have new Neocolors and Gelatos to play with. Today is Day 11. Here are my entries so far.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I came across a rather nice surprise yesterday. I was starting a page in my art journal, trying a new technique. This technique required me to turn my book upside down to let paint drip down the pages. When I did this, two stencils fell out! One was dragonflies (my favourite!!) and another was a bird on a branch. I knew right away who put them in there. It was my aunt. I checked and sure enough, she was guilty. The last I saw her was at the beginning of February though. That would mean they were hiding in my journal for over a month!! She’s sneaky! I never would have been able to keep quiet that long if I were her.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you another one of my friends is having a birthday this month. She lives far away and is having a really rough time. I want to do something to cheer her up a bit, but I’m not really sure what to do. I thought of sending her a care package or some happy mail, but I’m not sure what to send. It can’t cost too much and should be small to keep the shipping costs down. I tried to think of her hobbies, but she doesn’t really have any. She spends time with her family and goes to church. I was thinking of making something. Maybe some cards with inspirational quotes or some of our favourite memories. I’m just not sure. Would you enjoy getting that sort of thing in the mail? Do you have any suggestions?

(This conversational coffee post is part of a weekend link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Join in the fun!)

DLP7 – Going Under Cover

The Documented Life Project – Journal, February 14th (week 7)
(For more inspiration or more info on this week’s project, visit Art to the 5th)

Art Challenge: Cover Up Good Stuff

Prompt: Going Under Cover

The exercise this week was about covering up the good stuff. They didn’t specify what the “good stuff” was, so I looked at some of the examples they provided. Some artists started their pages and then covered up doodles or layers that they liked with other layers while some did some journaling and then started layering over top of that. I decided my “good stuff” would be my research notes.

When I am writing a paper or something along those lines, I make notes from the research articles that I read. Writing it out in my own words helps it sink in better and I don’t have to worry about plagiarism and what not. Sometimes I draw diagrams to help explain things to other people. I also work with our lab’s data via paper and pen. I guess I am really a visual learner and it works best with pen in hand rather than typing it out.

I grabbed a bunch of my old notes. I tried to get a good variety; words, numbers, diagrams and different colours of pens. I tore them up and glued them into my journal with gel medium. I got the art challenge down but I still had to figure out the prompt. “Going under cover” makes me think of a disguise. Putting that and my research notes together got me thinking about how I feel at work. I feel like a fake and at any minute everyone is going to see through the confident, intelligent show I put on. I am constantly interacting with the experts in my field. I have authored a couple papers. I have even presented at conferences. I just don’t feel like I know enough to be doing all these things.

I found out that this is actually a common feeling among Ph.D. students. That’s what studies say at least. I am skeptical. The other students I work with seem confident, arrogant even. It’s called Imposter Syndrome. I defined it on my page.

DLP2015_wk6_imposter

Just in case you can’t read the photo, Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.

This spread started with my research notes. I glued a few strips of paper from my stash on too. I did a light layer of white gesso over top and a layer of blush pink acrylic paint over that. I was pleased that you could still see the lined paper and my writing through the paint. I used bubblegum pink acrylic to paint some blobs on the page. I used a large stamp with circles on it and pink ink to randomly stamp all over the page. I got stuck for a while at this point.

I decided to draw an eye in the middle of one page. The eye represents my research and my fear of people seeing through my act. The eye was done with watercolour pencil crayons and Neocolour II.

DLP2015_wk6_eyeDLP2015_wk6_iris

From there wrote the Imposter Syndrome definition in black signo uniball pen. I doodled a DNA strand above that and did some stamping with a butterfly. I have to work on my stamping, it is still coming out blotchy.

DLP2015_wk6_DNADLP2015_wk6_butterfly

I figured I had to do something with those big pink blobs, so I started writing words related to work in them. The blobs that were too small to write in were turned into atoms…Rutherford-Bohr diagrams of Carbon. Why? I don’t know, I don’t really think about that type of science anymore, but that’s just what they made me think of.

It turned out to be a very pink spread. I like pink, so that’s ok.

DLP2015_wk6_goingundercover

If We Were Having Coffee….

If we were having coffee, I’d say let’s go to the coffee shop down the street. The street I live on ends at a little village. It’s a really cute place in the summer because you can see the details of all the old stone buildings and the water lies just behind them. In the winter, I start to miss it. We can drop into Bilboquet. It’s primarily an ice cream shop, but during the winter they get most of their business from coffee and treats. I usually opt for a mini cupcake…or two. They have such fun flavours.

bilboquet

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you how your week was. My week was relatively stressful and I am exhausted, but it was a good week overall. The stress was brought on by my boss’ great time management skills. She gave me some instructions, sent me a list of references and asked me to make a presentation. Normally, I enjoy this sort of thing, but I got all out of sorts for a couple reasons this time.

  1. I hadn’t read most of the journal articles on the list yet which meant a lot of reading
  2. The journal articles were old and I couldn’t access a lot of them
  3. Her instructions and the content of the articles were conflicting
  4. The presentation was to be long, an hour at least.
  5. She gave me less than two days notice so I had to drop all the things I was supposed to be doing in order to get this done.

Being the head honcho, I think she sometimes forgets how long it takes to put things like this together. Plus, I am a perfectionist so I make a lot of trouble for myself. That part isn’t her fault. I finished making the presentation with enough time left over to go figure out how to plug my laptop into the big screen TV in the conference room. Anyway, the presentation was a hit, so much so that I’m going to be presenting it at a conference in the fall for continuing education (CE) credits. This is awesome. When your talk qualifies for CE credits you get your flight, conference registration and two nights in the hotel paid for. While we are on the conference topic, I’d also add that I completely lucked out and was awarded an ARVO travel fellowship! ARVO is the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. They have a huge conference every year that I go to. I always apply for the travel award, but never get it. This is good. Really good.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I spent one night this week on FaceTime with one of my dearest friends. Even though we live about 6 hours apart, she has been one of my best friends since the 6th grade. It was nice to catch up with her and her daughter. I helped her set up a blog on WordPress. She has decided to try blogging as a way to cope with all that’s going on in her life. She is one of the few people from my real life that knows about my blog. Her blog is Sparkles and Darkness. I’m sure she would love it if you stopped by to say hello.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that #1000Speak took place yesterday and it gave me the warm fuzzies, lol. I know people value compassion and wish there wasn’t so much hate and violence going on in the world. Despite this, I still see so little empathy, nevermind altruism. I was comforted to see all these bloggers, people like me, who are conscious of the lack of compassion and try to practice it as often as possible. It has restored some of my faith in humanity. I learned a lot doing some background research on my post, It All Starts With You. I focused on human compassion in society, but other posts talked about self-compassion, which I think I needed a reminder on. How can you continue to be compassionate towards others when you are being so hard on yourself? You can only give so much before you have nothing left. Being kind to yourself prevents that reservoir of compassion from getting too low.

speak for compassion

If we were having coffee, we would probably have finished our coffee and goodies a while ago. I’d thank you for the company, bid you happy weekend and we’d be on our merry way until next time. 🙂

(This conversational coffee post is part of a weekend link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Join in the fun!

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