Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tidbits Resembling Brain Bubbles

* We saw a HUGE slug on our terrace. This was the biggest slug I have ever seen, I am sure. Fewer slugs, more snails, please.

* And speaking of the terrace, there's a bit of mystery out there. The first are the bulbs that were left in our windowbox. One of them is finally going to bloom and we will see what the heck they are! Maybe irises. The second is the disturbing black'n'oozy animal poo we found out there yesterday morning. Now I only took scat identification once or twice in school on trips to the forest, but this one doesn't look like anything I can identify, and I don't think the thing that left it was exactly healthy. I am quite disturbed, wondering what is prowling the deck (and how I'm going to clean it up). A German blackpoo fox? A very ill and potentially deranged feral cat?

* On that vaccine I was fussing about a while back: there's a long waiting list to actually get it, so, there goes that worry. I can just say the decision was made for me, eh?

* What do they put in the bottom of juice boxes to make them feel like they still have some juice left in them even though they are empty? We keep hopefully putting empties back in the fridge.

* Today after bombarding my brain with the Macro from Hell in SAS, The Postdoc I Work With (TPIWW, pronounced, uh, tee-pyoo) left me to my own devices. Rather than continue to pound myself with the macro I did a little homework. Go figure this was the first time he ever came back to check on me! Then TPIWW decided to bring up something he thinks I really need to decide pronto: Whether I want to try to continue on in the department as a Doktorandin - a doctoral student. Let's just say I was hoping I could put this one off a little more. When I started out, jumping straight into a PhD wasn't an option because I didn't have enough background. Halfway through my master's now, I could probably go ahead. I have wavered over and over about whether it is worth it. Of course, if the cards are all in my favor and I can do it with minimal trouble here, and definitely faster and probably cheaper than in the US, then it seems I might as well just get the degree - why not? So what if I'm overeducated or never get to use it? But committing to continue on here means another few years in Germany beyond the current solid plan. We might stay anyway, but we don't know now, and it's quite a lot of pressure thinking that I might force us to stay longer for a degree I'm not 100% I will make use of. Not to mention actually deciding on a career path means I'm shutting down all the other possible ones. Kind of like ...not being a kid anymore. Oh lawdy.
TPIWW didn't seem too happy with my wembling. Maybe it's a little insulting when someone isn't jumping to follow your path instantly. Maybe it seemed like I didn't like the work we are doing. I really do like it. I tried to explain that overeducation is more of an issue in the US (epidemiologists are desperately needed in Germany, on the other hand) but I'm not sure he believed it. I don't know him well enough to have even started to dive into the issue of being a woman who hasn't ruled out having children.
I've got a few song lyrics for these situations.

"Everyone is going fetal! Just get down under your desk, it feels like your mama's nest!" - Eels
"In the days, the golden days, when everybody knew what they wanted - it ain't here today." - Portishead
"I am disabled by fears concerning which course to take, for now that wheels are turning, I find my faith deserting me..." - Dead Can Dance


  1. If you are on the ground level, that black and oozy animal poo could be from a hedgehog (Igel) or a marten (Marder, Baummarder, Steinmarder). If you're higher up, then I'm fresh out of ideas!

  2. You could always become a Doktorandin and if it doesn't feel right, you can quit. I don't know too much about careers in epidemiology or if you even want one, but in statistics, not having the PhD can limit your career by making it difficult for you to have any kind of management position or lead projects in industry, and almost completely rules out an academic career. That being said, I've quit as a PhD student/Doktorandin twice now, once in the US and once in Germany, because the situation wasn't right.

  3. Seriously, deciding on future stuff is exhausting! I say keep working on your Master's and let the chips fall where they may, leave that decision for another day!

    (there's an impromptu cheer for you!) Go team!

  4. I agree with Christina. Dropping out of a PhD program is not a crime. (In fact, it's something many people should do.) If you start one, you can always your mind if it's not for you.

  5. Martina, you have no idea how excited you have made my husband at the thought that he might see an Igel around!! :D

    Christina, epi is a funny field...there's a lot for people with just an MS/MPH but there are also lots of people (in the US) with that degree! But in some research areas you really need an MD so a PhD wouldn't help. Interesting about stats - I would figure something so applicable like that would be useful no matter what your level!

    Michelle: Right! Let's plan vacation instead :)

    Sara: You plan vacation too. To Germany.

    Mary: I take it you know some people who should have quit ;)

  6. Stats is useful and I have no problem getting a job, but I would have problems getting advancement at some point. I know a lot of MS statisticians who eventually went back to get PhDs so that they could get into management-level positions in their companies.

  7. To see an Igel, all you need to do is set out a dish of cat food (they prefer canned to dry) when it starts turning dark and wait. Believe me, they're out there.

    This time of the year I see their poop all over; they gorge themselves on cherries, pits and all.

  8. The black poo could be a hedgehog. We get quite a bit of it in our garden. But the good news - They eat slugs! :)

  9. Christina, I think I've heard of this in other fields, too. Though it's funny, because getting a PhD doesn't usually involve management training ;)

    Martina, I'm afraid that would make this cat that's stalking us even more stalkerish! But, we might still try it...Damon wants to see that Igel! (They are cute...)

    Haddock, no way! That's pretty cool!

  10. In theory Igel/hedgehogs eat slugs, but if you've got tastier things in your garden then they won't. And apparently our cats' food is tastier than slugs. Duh.


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