I am riding the train back up north after a conference this week and it occurred to me that since I am not sitting on the highway yelling at all the other drivers I have time to write to you!
Conferences are a funny thing. Possibly it is not like this in all of the sciences but conferences in atmospheric science leave you overwhelmed with input in every possible way. Not just new knowledge and questions, but also coffee, food, and alcohol.
This morning I chased the cup of coffee and half bagel I ate at home with a piece of pumpkin bread covered in chocolate ganache, a fruit cup, and another cup of coffee, then went on to share a sun soaked outdoor lunch of chicken and mozzarella crepes with friends. Yesterday I had a muffalatta and a beer after my talk, then still managed to eat a large soft pretzel with extra mustard and an enormous chocolate chip cookie. Then I went home and made myself some scrambled eggs and a huge glass of wine.
I also made a four-page to-do list based on all the great scientific talks I went to and the (probably more influential) great conversations I had with people at my poster, my student's poster, at meals, and in the hallway.
The last day of talks was definitely the most important one for me to hear. I have like five paper ideas now and somehow have to gather all of this information into some kind of useable form while also planning the entire semester for two classes.
Should be no problem since I have like five hours to work tomorrow before a three day weekend with the kids.
Ryan has been managing things at home better than I ever have. They have been eating great meals and getting places on time and last night he found a stray dog and returned it to its family. I am loving having this conference in town this year because going home every night and starting the day with the (often incredibly crabby) kids has been really nice. It also eliminated one opportunity each day for overindulging so I feel refreshed instead of like I just endured a week-long science bachelor party.
On that note, I did go to a networking reception for the Earth Science Women's Network and got to talk to someone who I really admire (in a slightly fangirl kind of way, she's kind of a big deal). I was so proud of my ability to appear to be a normal professional adult and did not accidentally discuss bodily functions or swear (man do I sound like fun at parties).
I followed that with another university's alumni reception, because I am a fun gate crasher and my friend is the department chair. I always have a great time at that party because small Midwestern meteorology peeps are SUPER nice and fun and talented.
And the next night (after my poster which went greater than my wildest expectations and for whom the snack offerings were sliders and grilled cheese sandwiches, had both) I went to my own university's alumni dinner. I met a few new people there and it was gratifying to have three interesting research projects to talk about since word got out that I had a thousand kids and started working at a SLAC (small liberal arts college) and I think most people assumed I spend my days making soup and knitting and having long conversations about books (also true).
My poster went really well and my talk was good and my student did amazing and there was a giant wall of pretzels so really it was the perfect week.
Now to retrain my body that we do not need a cup of coffee and a snack once an hour.
Also also the temperature has dropped 20 degrees since I left my house this morning and it is super windy and IT IS TIME TO GO PUT ON MY JAMMIES.