Friday, April 27, 2012

Inspired

I'm always inspired by this one.
This week went by fast. I have lots of catching up to do both at home and work this weekend. But I enjoyed the trip, both the conference and seeing my friends. My talk went well and in spite of the early start time on Tuesday morning, the room was full. I met up with some colleagues I hadn't seen in years and had fun catching up. Coming to these meetings makes me realize just how many connections I've made over the years and how important they have been to my career success. It is a wonderful reminder of the positive side of this profession and just what I needed.

This week I was inspired on two separate occasions.

I listened to a lecture in San Diego by a woman from Harvard. Her data was exciting and extensive and she was given an award by our research society -  only the second time a woman has won this annual award. There are very few women at the top of my field and the fact that she made it to full professor at Harvard is impressive. She ended the talk by thanking her family and showed a picture of her three young children. She even choked up a bit when she showed the picture, saying that she wouldn't normally include the picture but felt it was appropriate for this career achievement award. It was refreshing and encouraging - an excellent scientist and a happily married mother of three. She is far from the norm, but I'm glad to know she exists. If I get the chance, I will tell her just that.

My second occasion for inspiration this week occured once I returned home. I attended a noon seminar given by another woman at the top of her profession and had the privilege to take her to lunch after. She was sharp, funny, easy to talk to and full of wisdom. As she talked to the mostly female audience about how she blazed her path in academic medicine over the years, she asked a couple questions that really got me thinking. She said, when you think about your career ask yourself "What are you known for?" and "What do you want to be known for?" Hmmm. Both questions require some introspection and the subtle but significant difference between the two could be revealing.

On the home front, an update on our baby birds! Two eggs hatched and the babies are thriving in the nest. We know for sure they are cardinals because once the babies hatched, the dad came back. The mom still sits in the nest most of the time keeping the birds warm, but every once in awhile the mom flies away and this beautiful red cardinal comes to the nest with food for the babies. It is the coolest thing ever - right at eye level we can watch the dad put small pieces of food directly into the wide open, hungry mouths of the baby birds. Charlie is pretty excited about it and checks on the babies first thing in the morning and when he gets home from school - but I might be more excited. We didn't see the dad the entire time the mom was sitting on the eggs, and suddenly there he is. So cool.

And finally, I have a new project. Last weekend we purchased a 'real' camera! I'm so excited.


I've been wanting to learn how to take really good pictures and do justice to my favorite subjects (C & Iz, of course!). I know it is going to be a long and slow process but I am excited to learn something new and creative. And the best part? This camera was essentially a gift. While cleaning and organizing my desk at home, I came across a savings bond given to me by my grandfather when I was born. Turns out they can be worth a lot of money after so much time - what a nice surprise. So this camera is a gift from my Grandaddy G and I will think of him when I use it, capturing pictures of his great-grandchildren. I know he would have loved it.


And while I am learning how to use my camera, I can find inspiration from so many beautiful sources. Paris is my favorite city and this book reminds me why.

A few more pictures from my trip to San Diego here, have a great weekend!

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