"It might blur," Friend warned when I snapped the photo. "It's a little windy."
I shrugged in response, disappointed that there weren't more flowers out. They came in waves of loveliness this year - one type of tree at a time filled with blooms before the leaves crowded them out and the next group of trees would blossom. I was bored today (and sad - so heavy with the sadness lately) and decided to redo my header and sidebar graphics. I was flipping through old photos and came across this one, wrinkled my nose, then pronounced it perfect for blog images.
I've become - through necessity rather than natural talent - quite good at picking out the pretty parts of the picture. Data has been hard to acquire for various reasons throughout my career so I analyze and ponder and read before plucking out the components I think are useful. It's like drawing the selection box in PhotoShop and scooting it around until the right amount of pink flowers and green grasses are contained within it. Avoid the dead branches, tighten the focus, ignore that which isn't interesting. Frame the tiny selection with the proper colors and emphasize certain elements of the composition. And bask in the glory of a blog (or paper or abstract) that made something pretty from raw data which was less than impressive.
Friend is struggling through a large dataset at the moment. I vary between being envious of her and grateful her problem isn't mine. It's hard to find those patterns. And frustrating to develop a methodology on the fly when you're doing something new and different. But it's good to feel useful. And when you finally figure it out, that rush of 'how smart am I?!' is rather delightful.
I'm thinking through two papers at the moment and think I've reached the conclusion that there's just not enough there in one case. We've submitted it to two journals and they have very valid concerns that I just can't fix. And at some point, I tire of trying to spin something into something that it isn't. I think case reports (or papers on small datasets) are important and can illustrate excellent work. But I don't know how to fix this particular collection of points. It's very novel and important and with an additional 10 subjects would be a Big Deal. But I can't get additional data. Which sort of breaks my poor, sad heart.
And while I'm still tweaking details and waiting for feedback on another paper, I'm tired. Everything on my list was started at least a year ago. I'm bored. And worried about where I'm going next. And there's just not enough going on to splice a piece out to make a good blog post.
So, look! Click over and look at the pretty header! That's all I have right now.