A Birdday Thanks to the People in my Life

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So I have eaten some chocolate-glazed marzipan cake, a few slices of home-made sourdough-rye bread (hot out of the oven, squeeee!) and now I am drinking some hot Glühwein while watching HP4 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), and thinking about how magical the past few months have been for me.

In the previous few months, my life has changed in just about every way you can think of;

  1. I went from being sued on a fairly regular basis for half a dozen unpaid medical bills to having all those bills finally paid off
  2. I went from being broke, unemployable and wondering how much longer I'd be able to stay housed to living in the most beautiful apartment I've ever lived in
  3. I moved overseas to live, as I always thought (wished) I'd do, even as a child, but had lost hope years ago that such a thing would ever happen for me
  4. My life is filled with plants and animals, writing and friends at long last
  5. My brother, whom I'd not spoken to since I was 15 (because the parents wouldn't allow it when they threw me out of the house permanently), found me and we remain in contact to this very day. I am part of his family and this gives me joy such as I've never known before, joy that was beyond even my wildest imaginings
  6. I married a scientist whom I respect, and a man who is silly and witty and wonderful beyond my expectations (I can't believe how lucky I am, in fact)

Why and how did all this happen? My blog. I find it endlessly fascinating how something as simple as dedicating myself to writing a blog about science has had such a pervasive and positive effect on my life. Science is more than my career, it is my passion and until I met my spouse, it was the sole love of my life. Writing a blog was my little way of remaining in science despite being locked out five and a half years ago.

After I was unable to find a tenure-track position or a second postdoc position, I only ever thought about how to stay alive so I could fight to regain my rightful place in science, although the best I managed was to remain "there" in a purely peripheral sense, "translating" the original literature for the public. I never thought my ongoing (and public) battle to stay in science would allow me to realize a few dreams I've deferred since childhood, and reawaken a few more that I'd given up on ever achieving. And I never ever thought I would marry, and I never thought I'd reclaim the best part of my childhood family (my brother) in the process.

But writing a blog is not something I would have done in a vacuum: I did it for my readers. Like everyone who writes, I want to be read. But you, my precious readers, have done so much more than that for me; you've become my critics, my allies, my mentors, my friends and yes, my family. I owe you all so much for keeping me alive with your comments and emails and gifts. I owe you everything for keeping me feeling hopeful and appreciated so I continued to write for you. Really, I owe you my life.

Thank you.

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Since I live in Germany, all the stores, shops and pubs are closed today (Sunday), meaning I cannot go out to relieve my birthday depression by spending the day in a state of giggly inebriation with my NYC drinking pals. But, thanks to my beloved spouse (whom I love more with each passing day…

You do realise that now you can't wiggle out of taking us out for coffee if we're ever in your neck of the woods, don't you. :) AND I'll make you speak Finnish!

But other than that, it's been a pleasure and a privilege to read about all your travails (and, finally, your triumph) this past year.

AND I'll make you speak Finnish!

Don't worry, I'll teach her the important words: the ones beginning with p, and v, and s, and the one I mistranslate as "God's ferry".

Well said. People are important parts of everyone's life, and friends are absolutely essential. Keep writing, keep making friends.

And if you and Mr Grrlscientist ever get to our neck of the woods, we'll treat you to coffee (at least). As long as he doesn't try to get us to play Mornington Crescent...

By Albatrossity (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

And boy am I glad I bumped into your blog (a great one, indeed), all thanks to bipolar disorder. I am in a bipolar relationship and am doing research for all I could find on this topic so that I could support my bipolar partner. That's how I found your blog. Keep up the great work! :D

Happy Birthday, Grrl! Sounds like a perfect night.

By Isis the Scientist (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

Happy birthday, G/S!

By biosparite (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's great to hear you're happy. Settled in yet?

By MadScientist (not verified) on 31 Jan 2010 #permalink

As a latecomer to your blog, may I add my best wishes for your future happiness and a belated Happy Birthday. And thank you for sharing your life with us.

Thank you, in return, for letting us all share a little of your life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May you have many, many more just as joyful and filled with gratitude as this one. :D

I hope the post-birthday headache, if any, has faded, and you still have some of that cake left. Best wishes for the next year, rb

Shorter GrrlScientist: Finally got a bunch of those damn boxes unpacked!

Congratz, GS - here's hoping it just keeps getting better...

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 01 Feb 2010 #permalink

Happy birthday & best wishes for the future!

As a long-time reader, occasional commenter, and definitely not a birder (it if's not a duck it's probably a goat, or sometimes a "black smoker" deep-sea vent  ;-) ), who is on the same continent as you now are, congratulations and best wishes and please feel free to contact me if you're ever in the South of France.

What blf said, but for Paris. And goes for you and your main squeeze, too. If anyone deserved to have things turn around since 2008, it was you.

and the goodness continues .. today has been remarkable. so many good things happening. i will be able to tell you more about it on thursday ...

Grrl Scientist,
It's regrettably belated to open and read your birthday message only today. You put it concise and well; I'm glad to know that you seem to have found nearly a matching spouse (if not 'married up'), who helps you centered and grounded.
Your life's journey will not be as tumultuous as had been for past few years. He, being a scientist and another photographer as you are one, seems to meet an immediate prerequisite very nicely. And then, he is sharp as you are, tall, handsome, warm, gentle, considerate, comfortably wealthy, ... I wish you keep prosper, live long, and be happy as days to come!


Sorry, AriSan. At "handsome" I knew you were deluded.

Please, seriously. See a psychiatrist. Preferably one who still uses handcuffs.

P.S. the photographs are either luck or fake.

Hi! I wish I'd been around to wish you a Happy Birthday but herewith a belated, though heartfelt, one! Really look forward to your blogs and photos! Sorry I couldn't help you with your book..... With warm regards, Murray

By Murray Hansen (not verified) on 01 Apr 2010 #permalink