“It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season – like all the other seasons – is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them, and that’s the end of this particular story.” ~Daniel Handler
In one sense, I cannot believe that I am typing this on New Year’s Eve 2014 already. I was not yet done with 2014, but like so many pithy editorials on the relentless advancement of time, there is nothing to do but welcome what comes. So, Happy New Year, 2015 to family, friends and colleagues in all corners of the world. I am grateful for you and your love.
2014 has been an amazing year in retrospect. It started off with some incredible lows coming out of 2013 and through hard work, luck and more than a little granted grace, it turned out OK. In 2014, we added a new member to the family, a wonderful little tabby named Poppy. She makes me laugh every day and for that I am grateful. I am also grateful for the team that H and I have. We’ve done some amazing things this year, but have not had a vacation. That needs to change in 2015 and I think there are plans afoot for that.
On the professional front, 4 grants were submitted which seems about the norm these days, a mix of private foundation money and federal money to make up for the shortfalls in NIH funding. I hope for a pendulum swing back to times of sufficient funding for science and that Congress decides to return to investing in science for the good of the country and society. I don’t think it will happen in 2015, but we can hope that the groundwork will be put in place this year for a correction later when more sane thoughtful members of the House and Senate can have a say. As a lab, we’ve had 9 publications or abstracts, we’ve won awards for imaging (more on that later with a big announcement in March), we were featured on the NIH Directors blog, not once… but twice! We had our work featured on Science Friday which was for this long time listener, pretty awesome. There was more travel than I expected this year. I gave talks in Wisconsin, at Janelia Farm, at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, the University of Tennessee at Memphis, Berlin and the University of Tübingen. There was also another visit to Janelia Farm where I made some new friends and had a righteously good time visiting. I helped dear friends plant some more apple trees in Torrey, Utah, attended an apple festival at Stray Arrow Ranch, traveled to San Francisco for the ISER 2014 meeting, Amsterdam for the first time, Berlin to see friends and give talks and Paris to see a woman about a microscope. Photos from some of those trips are yet to come as the day job has kinda gotten in the way of photo editing for the last few months.
The year ends with work at all hours on 3 grants due in January, neuroscience graduate student applications and interviews, 3 manuscripts due in the first half of the year, an R01 to renew and lots of new science to do. I’ve never been more excited and more scared.
More than that, I am grateful for the people in my life. I thank you for your love, grace and friendship. You have no idea how much it means to me.
Oh, the photo above? It is perhaps one of my favorite ceilings ever, a vault in the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung in Berlin, Germany. I’ve been to this place once before and now it might end up becoming a pilgrimage site for every time I visit Berlin. That and the Museum für Naturkunde.