Today was one of those fun days when the department was devoid of stressed out students and deadwood faculty, the number of emails and calls from students unhappy with their grades trickled off, and there was time to socialize with my favorite department people in a more leisurely way than is typical.
The halls were dimly lit but there were pockets of light and frivolity, including my office, where a group of us gathered to (1) celebrate with a junior colleague who was submitting a paper (she clicked the submit button, always an awesome event, from my computer, and we all cheered!), (2) compare the strange little gifts that some of us had given to and received from each other, (3) discuss and sign off on one of my grad students' papers, which she will submit next week and which is very great, and then (4) decide which cafe to spend the rest of the afternoon in to talk about science and other things.
The day was also particularly great because of the arrival of a friend and colleague from Europe. He says that he thinks that working with me has opened his eyes to some things that his department does that are very family/female-unfriendly, and I am of course happy to take credit for such eye-opening. He recently brought up with his colleagues the possibility of changing their faculty meetings from the evenings to the afternoons to make things easier for faculty with children or other commitments outside work, but his colleagues thought that was a bizarre idea. There are no women in his department, and the guys are happy with things the way they are.
8 years ago