Friday, December 18, 2015

The Light

"When you think all is forsaken
Listen to me now
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light"
- "The Light" by Disturbed

Dear friends, it is December 18th, just days away from the darkest day of the year. I can't help but think of my friends at higher latitude in Europe and the Arctic, who have even less light than me right now. I think spending last winter in Norway has actually given me a bit of a different perspective - somehow, the days at 43 N don't seem so short this year. We're getting close to the winter solstice, but I'm finding ways to focus on the light.

Christmas lights and a star from my friend in
Germany adorn a doorway in my apartment.
For starters, I received an early Christmas gift from a good friend in Germany this week. She sent me a string of lights and a paper lantern in the shape of a star, with a note saying "Friends are like stars - you don't always see them, but they're always there." Receiving thoughtful, heartfelt gifts from the other side of the world is one of the many things that make me happy.

This week at the lab has been productive despite some ups and downs. High point: when the librarian left dark chocolate bars in everyone's mailboxes with a note saying "Dark days call for dark chocolate." Low point: when one of the lab freezers broke, and the spoiled Dungeness crabs inside made the whole hallway smell like death. High point: finding out the post-doc's DNA samples weren't ruined, despite sitting in the broken freezer at room temperature for several hours.

I have to say, though, that the ultimate high point for the week actually came this afternoon. At about 4:30 pm, just as the campus was emptying for winter break, I finally finished writing my dropstone manuscript. Well, "finished" is perhaps not the correct term, because even though I now have a complete draft together, the manuscript is far from its final version. It still has to undergo revision by my four co-authors, after which it will be submitted to a scientific journal and edited one or more times before publication. Still, getting a complete draft together was a victory for me.

Tomorrow, I fly from Oregon to Michigan, where I'll spend Christmas and New Year's with my family. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them and spending the holidays together. I'm not sure how often I'll post while in the Midwest, but if nothing else, I'll be back at it in January.

Merry Christmas, friends!

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