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2004-12-03 - 9:38 p.m.

triptych of December activity

It is now December, and the end of a truly eventful week. I'm still ecstatic from the news of the acceptance of my paper in the journal Science. That paper represented a long hard road of effort beginning 2-3 years ago. Anyway, it feels a bit like a happy movie - hard work pays off in the end! Today I brought in a bottle of prosecco for the department. We toasted my paper, and Albert's $3.8 million grant (that he heard about last week). The office is usually rather deserted on Fridays, but we managed to wrangle up about 8 people, who enjoyed a reason to take a break and socialize. We agreed that we devoted Friday types should make this type of 15 minute celebration a regular occurrence.

Tonight I started with my Christmas decorations, and I haven't decided yet if I find them tacky or reasonable. Colored lights hanging in the window. I suppose in the end it doesn't matter that much - they make it possible for visitors to spot the house.


Got another strange email from a weirdo who has been sending me strange emails ever since I met him three years ago. All it took was a five minute conversation at his job interview in Germany. He launched immediately into questions about why I am not married. After he was hired (no one asked my opinion), the regular emails began. Every few months I get another invitation to lunch, and another declaration of how he understands me, how he knows me better than I think, how I am just like his wife...I'd get long involved descriptions of his thoughts, questions about my life, etc. Perhaps I am not conveying this well, but the attention was invasive and awkward. I never encouraged this, never replied to the emails, and in fact I took to being overtly cold in the office to get him to leave me alone.

There are long complicated stories in the middle of this tale, but the short version is that we are now both back in the USA (fortunately about 1300 miles apart), and he has discovered my new email address. His latest email arrived today, in which he confessed that he wants to build a life with me, except that God has already given him a different life, and therefore his only wish is that I become a mother so that I can fulfill my purpose on this earth and get the respect he knows I deserve.


***insert freaky twilight zone music here**

On second thought, maybe I'll take down the Christmas lights. Perhaps it's better if people can't identify the house.


What would a week be without adventures in college administration? (Fortunately I'm in a very good mood). It began Monday with another equipment order to get my lab up and running. I put in an order through a rather famous laboratory equipment company. In fact, probably the most famous company in the USA. The order was delayed by our contracts and grants office. "Does this company have a state contract??" "What is the contract number??" They managed to delay my order by two days while I found out this information. This company does approximately $200,000 worth of business with this college, through this very office, and office that really should know who the state contractors are. And yet, I had to reinvent the wheel for them. They can't surprise me anymore.

Even better was my circuitous search for the paperwork for my supplementary retirement annuity. I've been contributing to my retirement this past year, but apparently I must fill out the forms again this year, and today was the deadline. Only, I wouldn't have KNOWN that today is the deadline because TIAA-CREF mailed all of the paperwork to my parents' address in St. Louis. ??

Thus began the comedy of errors of discovering my true address within the City of New York system. It came down to the fact that no one knows the source of the St. Louis address (although not for lack of hypotheses: "well this explains why your paycheck is mailed to St. Louis." "...ummm, my paycheck isn't mailed to St. Louis." "Oh. well, it should be." ??? But even better, no one can provide me with a new set of forms. It seems now that my mother is the final keeper of the paperwork. They in fact advised me that it would be faster if she sent me the paperwork than if they were to try to do it. This I believe.

But you know, in this end, this does not build much confidence in these people who are handling my retirement money...

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...they are just words, Suzi... - 2011-08-29
...the nature of doing science... - 2011-07-22
....what is your place knowledge? - 2011-07-21's Friday... - 2011-07-15
...a small ripple on the big wave... - 2011-02-04

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