- Date: Saturday, February 19, 2011 -- 6pm
- Location: East Lansing, MI
- Kitchen: Our House
- Dining Companions: Matty, Mike, Tim, Helen, Charles, Clara, and Mark
- Recipe Rating: C+
The recipe is here.
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Almost four years ago I was talking to a friend and he was asking me about my job. At the time I was a post-doc. One of the first things he asked was, "So, is it a five-days-a-week kind of job?" I was surprised by the question, so much so that I remember it still. I answered honestly, "Well, no."
It is very rare that I only work on five days of the week. During a semester when I am teaching, it never happens. That said, on the weekends I do try to take it easy. My usual policy is that on Saturdays I only do work that I want to do. If a particular task sounds unappealing (grading comes to mind) I don't force myself to do it on Saturday. Indeed I often take most of the day off to do something fun, and squeeze in a few hours of enjoyable work when I feel like it. On Sundays after church I try to get ready for the week ahead, which often involves lecture writing, grading, etc... in addition to research-related work. Sundays don't have the same leisurely feel as Saturdays, but I still work from home and enjoy the company of my special gentleman and my kitties. So while my weekends aren't exactly work-free, they are still relaxing and rejuvenating.
When I don't have them, I miss them. Weekend conferences are a common thing in math, and the last few weeks, said conferences have robbed me of my precious weekends. This past weekend, our university was hosting a graduate student conference in my field. Two hundred graduate students from around the world descended on East Lansing for a two-day extravaganza. The conference was organized by graduate students, for graduate students, so I had no organizing responsibilities. I did however have a speaking responsibility. The conference mostly consisted of talks by graduate students, but they also had three senior faculty speakers and four junior faculty speakers from around the country. My special gentleman and I were both asked to give young faculty talks, not about our own research results, but rather about open problems in our respective fields. The point was to be inspirational! So on Saturday afternoon, when normally I would be sipping hot cocoa on the couch, I was attempting to inspire a big room full of graduate students. My special gentleman and I also did some entertaining of people in town for the event so it was a busy weekend.
The weekend before that, my special gentleman was speaking at a conference somewhere in Illinois. He had been in Canada for another conference, and flew straight from one conference to the next. I drove down to Illinois to pick him up, and went to the conference with him. The conference wasn't in my field so I did get some work done while I was there, but it wasn't a relaxing weekend at home.
The weekend before that I co-organized a special session of a conference in Iowa City. It was really fun! One benefit of organizing is that you get to pick the speakers -- so not only were the talks super-interesting to me, but I enjoy all the people who were there! The conference went smoothly, but I arrived home late that Sunday night, exhausted.
The weekend before that my special gentleman and I were driving back from our Spring Break "vacation" to the East Coast, where we both spoke at MIT and he also spoke at Princeton. The weekend before that we were headed to MIT for our talks.
It feels like a long time since I have had a real weekend. I really enjoy conferences, and I have heard some great talks and seen a lot of good friends over the last few weeks. But I am tired. Luckily, I will be home for the next FOUR weekends! I don't have to give any weekend talks. I am not going anywhere. It will be awesome! Five weekends from now I have to give another Saturday talk, and for the following five weekends after that I will be traveling. But right now I am not thinking about any of that. I am only thinking about my upcoming weekends at home and how lovely it will be! Maybe I will even have some time to do some cooking...