rebeccmeister: (Default)
As with the Seattle-to-Portland, the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party starts out in the parking lot at the University of Washington at the crack of dawn. We couldn't ask for a more convenient location, really.

I am always nervous about early-morning starts, for two reasons. The first reason is they tend to involve riding with large packs of unfamiliar riders who seem to enjoy pulling unpredictable tricks at the most inconvenient times. The second reason is that [personal profile] scrottie has an especially hard time in the early mornings, and somehow manages to figure out his own new exotic methods for getting into trouble.

On top of both of those factors, I was piloting the Opus IV out of the gates. To my great relief, the starting line was a roll-through start, so riders weren't all trying to clip in to their brand-new clipless pedals at the exact same time. Nonetheless, we found ourselves in a sizeable bunch at the first stoplight. My dad and I managed to avoid the worst of the chaos as the light turned green, by bombing along on the left-hand side of all the stopped cyclists. As we reached the other side of the intersection, right as the light started to turn yellow, I heard some crashing noises behind me. But given everything that's involved in keeping the tandem upright and moving forward, I decided I probably shouldn't add to the carnage by turning to look, so we kept moving up and around a hairpin turn onto the Burke Gilman trail.

Eventually, [personal profile] sytharin, [personal profile] slydevil, and [personal profile] scrottie managed to catch back up with us. At our first restroom break, we learned that the crashing noises were [personal profile] scrottie, who was on the Jolly Roger. Apparently someone had traveled through the intersection and then stopped suddenly, which caused S to slam on the brakes. Since S doesn't usually ride the Jolly Roger, he wasn't familiar with the Jolly Roger's brake configuration, where the rear brake has a whole lot of travel while the front brake is grabby. The end result? An endo. S suffered some sizeable scrapes, and the Jolly Roger lost a bar-end, but all things considered these seem like fairly minor casualties under the circumstances.

One-horned Jolly Roger

This minor mechanical inconvenience turned into a sign of things to come. Overall, we enjoyed a wonderful ride along the Burke-Gilman and Sammamish Trails, as we headed towards our first big climb of the day, up Woodinville-Duvall Road.

One of the things we addressed during our visit to Angle Lake Cyclery was a problem we'd experienced on the Seattle-to-Portland, where the smallest chainring was so small that we couldn't shift into it and use it for hill-climbing. I don't know if the teeth on that old chainring were intentionally angled funny or just bent out of shape, but it was nothing but trouble for us. We requested and received a slightly larger replacement for the RSVP, and during our parking lot tests it seemed to be much better.

Heading up that first big hill, I shifted down into the small ring, and my dad and I started to try and establish a comfortable hill-climbing pace. Just as we were finding our groove, I heard a very loud BANG! [personal profile] scrottie, who was riding right behind us, observed that the tandem's rear tire had gone flat. Drat!

We pulled over into a nearby driveway, halfway up the hill, and pulled off the rear panniers to inspect the damage.

Two things quickly became apparent: (1) the rear axle was a bolt-on axle and I hadn't packed any crescent wrenches, and (2) the cause of the blow-out was an ageing tire with a worn-out sidewall. Once again I found myself wishing I'd spent more time going over the Opus IV before departing for the ride. I'd been giving that tire the side-eye but thorough tire-checking is clearly not my strong suite.

Given the lack of crescent wrenches, I walked back to the side of the road, and commenced shouting, "I need a crescent wrench for a bolt-on axle!" over and over again to all of the passing cyclists who were chugging their way up the hill. I got some amazing confused looks from people. A couple of people were kind enough to pull over, but none were carrying crescent wrenches for their carbon-fiber racing bikes.

Eventually I spotted a rider that I'd noted at the starting line because he was wearing a Seattle Randonneurs jersey and was very clearing riding a randonneuring bike. Among my shouting, I said, "Hey, you're a randonneur! We need a crescent wrench for a bolt-on axle!"

[personal profile] scrottie says he thinks the guy pulled over mostly because he heard my shout about randonneuring. Thank goodness for that, because the randonneur was fully prepared, and magically had the correct wrench size! After leaving his phone number with [personal profile] sytharin, he said we could hold onto the wrench until we no longer needed it. Hallelujah.

Then, decisions. My dad said there was a bike shop right at the top of the hill, so we sent [personal profile] sytharin ahead to see about obtaining a tire from them. Meanwhile, do we wait, or do we try to boot the tire and continue forward? I opted for booting the tire and continuing forward. Randonneuring has taught me to always go for relentless forward motion, and in the long run it seemed better to me to keep rolling than to wait for one person to ride up, sort things out, ride back, and then deal with the matter.

My instincts were vindicated when we reached the top of the hill, because it was only 8 am and the bike shop was decidedly not open yet. There was nothing to do but roll on to the first rest stop, at Maltby Park, where there was a mechanic on duty.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Okay, so. Tuesday evening of last week, we caught the Coast Starlight on up to Seattle. The train trek usually takes around a day, but things were running behind a bit, as they often do. The overall trip northward was uneventful, and we enjoyed the scenery, arriving in Seattle late Wednesday evening. Southern Oregon is still very smoky and feels apocalyptic as a result.

Thursday morning, my dad and I set out for Angle Lake Cyclery on the light rail. In contrast to our experience two years ago, we were able to hop on the light rail at the University of Washington, and rode it all the way out to the Angle Lake stop. So civilized!

If anything, Angle Lake Cyclery is in even more of a state of disarray than two years ago. The owner has resorted to just working on the various bike tasks on the strip of sidewalk right in front of the shop. He had the tandem out before we arrived, and while we worked on various adjustments, he would pause to help other customers with things.

When we arrived, the upright seatpost on the Opus IV was difficult to move, but eventually we managed to work it free and adjust it. I'd forgotten that I brought along my own saddle the last time, and forlornly noted that the one on the bike was a very wide Sella Royale Respiro. It's the same model as what I normally ride on, but way too wide and squishy. Noting my skepticism, D said, "I've got the next model down in the shop, if you'd like me to put that on instead."

Little did I know that there's yet another wide and squishy model of intermediate size between the fat one that was on the bike, and the almost normal one on my bike. By then, we had spent enough time fiddling with things that I was getting tired of dealing with it all and just wanted to leave, so I threw up my hands and declared it to be good enough.

The return trip on the light rail was also uneventful, thank goodness.

I spent Thursday afternoon biking up Capitol Hill on the Jolly Roger to visit Elliot Bay Books, and then rode back down the other side to stop by REI for a couple of things. It was so nice to get to ride the Jolly Roger around Seattle. My mom's bikes are fine, but just not quite as comfortable as the Jolly Roger.

Thursday evening was then devoted to preparations for the Friday morning start of the RSVP.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Train was 9 hours late getting back to Emeryville last night. We were absolutely on schedule up until the southern edge of Oregon, where we got stuck waiting for an Amtrak Throughway bus that was caught in traffic. The bus delay was so long that the Amtrak crew ran over its schedule work hours, so then we had to wait again for another crew to reach the train before we could get going again.

Southern Oregon is still insanely smoky. I hear that small towns in Oregon were running out of running water because there were so many people who came to the state to view the eclipse. I also hear that in places with total eclipses, the crickets started chirping and the birds became active because they were confused by the sudden darkness.

I have an overdue manuscript review.

In addition to the snapped-off bar end, the Jolly Roger has a skip in the rear wheel that needs to be looked into.

I still need to figure out what I am going to do for a boat for the Petaluma Marathon Row on September 3.

I need to get to the next step on job applications.

Time for a meeting that was supposed to happen 30 minutes ago.

Also: the RSVP was an adventure. The Opus 4 is crazy. Handlebars were like managing a jiggling console.

Oh Seattle

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:15 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
The actual amount of free time to roam the streets of Seattle on this trip is very limited. Still, I'm glad I had a chance to ride up Interlaken Boulevard and drop in at Elliot Bay to pick up a book or two. Seattle in August smells like lavender and sweet, ripe blackberries.

I also jogged down (by bicycle) towards REI. I see that parts of that area are still completely and utterly torn to bits with various construction projects.

The REI trip was motivated by a desire to get a "sport top" for a HydroFlask water bottle that was recently given to me. I also wound up doing some bike part shopping, specifically for a new bike rack. Everyday pannier use in combination with my previous Blackburn rear rack has led to a lot of wear and tear on the Jolly Roger's rear fender stays, to the degree that the fender now rubs against the tire anytime I attach a pannier to the rear rack. Fender stays just aren't meant to provide lateral support to panniers.

I struck out at the Montlake Bike Shop, but I think the Topeak rack I got from REI is the exact same model I have on Froinlavin, so I am pleased and optimistic that it will help in the long term.

Subtle differences become a big deal over time when it comes to rack design

Three of the crucial but subtle differences:

1. The rear supports on the Topeak are flush with the edge of the rack. On the Blackburn, the rearmost supports are recessed and don't provide any side support for panniers. As I looked around, I noticed that multiple rack brands have recessed rear support, and I have no idea why anyone would do that other than for aesthetic or manufacturing reasons. The Montlake Bike Shop had a couple of racks for touring purposes, but they lacked hook points near the rack base for hooking my Overland panniers in place.

2. The total height of the Topeak is shorter, which means that I can hook my antique Overland panniers onto it properly.

3. The Topeak has a rear bracket that perfectly fits my rear rack light. On the Blackburn, I had to find a pair of metal clips to attach the light, and then had to add zip-ties to keep the whole arrangement from rattling like crazy.

I may still have to do something about the pannier-fender situation, but I am pleased with the rack.

Tomorrow, we ride. To Bellingham.
rebeccmeister: (1x)
On Friday night, M accidentally locked herself out of the lab, and was thus unable to complete a small project that required collecting hemolymph from crickets at midnight. The net result for me was that I didn't have to plan on running crickets yesterday evening, which also meant that I could go to sleep at a reasonable hour and get up to row this morning.

The more consistent rowing schedule is starting to pay off, which feels very rewarding. One of the elements of rowing that I have found very difficult if not impossible to replicate off the water is its effects on some of the deep postural muscles of the lower back and hips. In particular, when one reaches the release, one sits with straight or nearly-straight legs and a tall back with a slight bit of layback (leaning back towards the bow).

I believe this position requires good strength from the iliacus and psoas major, which then initiate the forward motion on the recovery as one comes up to take the next stroke. It takes a while to get these muscles firing correctly, to ensure that one's weight is rock-solid and centered in the bottom of the boat, and that one comes out of the bow well. It's important to maintain as low a center of gravity as possible to help stabilize the boat. There's an understandable common misconception among many novice rowers that it's the shoulders and oars that determine the boat's balance. Those things matter, too, and so does timing, but top priority should go to the low center of gravity. You can feel this difference quickly if you ever have a chance to sit in a boat with an experienced rower, where somehow the boat feels magically rock-solid. It isn't the boat - it's that rower's body and muscles holding the boat in the ideal position so that all the rest of one's energy can be channeled into moving the boat forward. The experienced rower will get fatigued if you are making the boat flop all over the place, so all rowers should work to help contribute to that aspect of balance.

I would love to see an x-ray of my spine at some point, because I'm certain it's weird (scoliosis at least), and made worse from those years in high school when I only rowed starboard. For whatever reason, rowing helps it tremendously, and that's one of the fundamental reasons I want to keep rowing for as long as possible.

On Sunday, at one point while I was heading towards the BRPC dock, I noticed that the bowman of the Old Man Double* was filming me. Two seconds of film and I know that I need to keep working on my catch speed. He said that they had rowed 180 km the previous week, in an effort to shed weight before Master's Nationals**, and that all the rowing had done wonders for their balance.

I was actually able to best The Brit this morning during longer intervals pieces (two sixteen-minute sets of 90 seconds on, 30 seconds off). He says he's a wimp in the wind. We shall see. He'll have an extra week to train on his own while I'm up in Seattle on a bicycle. Now I am tired. Ka-whumph.

*He should really get nicknamed The Captain. His partner will be Marathon Man.
**Argh, I just hope they are being careful about this.
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
I had three undergraduates to supervise this afternoon. One is M, who has been a trusty sidekick on more than one project this summer and who is making good headway on a couple of her own projects. The second, F, has been critical in keeping everything going on the home front while we were off at Sedgwick, and is just now starting in on his first project that he can assume ownership over (vs. helping other people on their projects). The last, O, just began his first real day in the lab, and is learning how to grab and pick up crickets. I forget that this is something that people need to learn at first.

It's a bit of a handful, managing three people at three different stages. Students need a large up-front time investment when they first get underway, which is fun but requires extra time and patience.

There's also C, who has been working long-distance this summer on a video analysis project, and A, who is wrapping up an intense year-long project on cricket flight. Five undergraduates is a large team, for me, but I feel good about what we have been able to accomplish here.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
I can't believe I only just recently thought to try disassembling my craft punches. Since I use them to punch through very thick reflective material with a strong adhesive backing, they get gummed up quickly and become difficult to use. Disassembling not only allows for much better cleaning, it also allows for much better punching. Behold:

Craft punch deconstruction

Craft punch deconstruction

Hooray for better leverage!

On the other hand, I'm not so sure about the skull-and-crossbones punch yet:

Craft punch deconstruction

(also the ceramic otter in the photos is [personal profile] sytharin's work).
rebeccmeister: (1x)
First, regarding Charlottesville. I am angry about how these events draw media attention, but on the other hand they shouldn't be ignored, should they. One thing I see that is important is this article on how to talk to your children about the violence in Charlottesville. How about you?


This weekend I did something I may come to regret. I went rowing Saturday morning with The Brit, as that would follow the training schedule I'd outlined. Then I burned the candle at both ends went for a long row this morning to prepare for the Petaluma Marathon on September 3.

The long row went pretty well. The BAP was more rowable than it has been since before July. There are still several areas with large patches of decaying algae, but it was possible to row in a circle instead of in a straight line. There's just one spot where I had to break through a line of algae for a stroke. The main benefit of the circle is that multiple people can be out without the extreme risk of head-on collisions. In addition to the standing patches, there are occasional small chunks and floating islands that move around in the wind, just to keep things interesting.

I have been testing out a set of Concept2 Bantam oars, which were originally designed for young rowers but have been co-opted by the grown-ups, too. They are shorter than the oars I've been using (Smoothie2's), which takes some getting used to, and they have the green grips instead of the much older Azure blue grips. But they didn't tear up my hands, so I was able to achieve my main goal of continuing to build up callouses for the marathon.

Two hours after I got off the water and returned home, a sunburn showed up.


I am feeling burned out on cooking. I used up most of an enormous bag of spinach yesterday by making a huge batch of spanakopita. All of the spanakopita exploded open when I baked them. I should figure out what I did wrong. I also tried to work away on the zucchini by making chocolate zucchini bread, but I don't feel like I made much of a dent in the zucchini supply. But that's how it goes with zucchini. The garden produce is overwhelming given that we have very little freezer space to work with, and given that I'm not home early enough to do much cooking on weeknights. Maybe I would feel differently if there was a more uniformly appreciative cooking audience. I don't know.
rebeccmeister: (1x)
Tuesday morning, there was one other rower out when I got to the boathouse, but he was headed for the dock. After I finished my paddle around the BAP, I found a note by the logbook that said, "Rebecca: Let's train!" with D's e-mail address (D will henceforth be nicknamed The Brit, to go along with the other various rower nicknames).

I've seen The Brit out and about periodically, and I think he's even participated in one or two scrimmages with the Serious Double, so a training partner sounded like a great idea to me.

Apparently The Brit used to row in London, back in the 1980's. He took a break starting in 1988, and has spent the past year getting back into things and figuring out sculling.

While it's nice to let the Serious Double feel good about themselves, it's even more fun to have another 1x to row with. And that will also keep me on the hook in terms of showing up consistently to train.

When I got off the water, another newish rower was there, E. She seems like a super sweet person and seems to be learning a lot in the singles, so I asked if she'd be interested in taking a double out for a spin at some point. Seems like it could be fun.

I'm going to miss the BAP and BPRC when I leave. A nice spot, and good people.

Also, check out this lineup of algae piles removed by the weeding machine. This isn't even the whole set of piles!

Algae piles at Berkeley Aquatic Park
rebeccmeister: (Default)
My cat is a funny creature. Whenever I live by myself, she can become almost intolerable because she doesn't get as much attention as she'd like. She becomes dog-like, sleeping all day and then greeting me at the door when I get home, meowing and making a big fuss of things for about 15 minutes before she settles back down. In Lincoln, she was very insistent that evenings were Kitty Lap Time, so we worked out an evening routine where I would sit in a chair and read/knit/surf the 'net and she would sit in my lap.

She does not seem to like it at all when I leave to go rowing early in the morning, or when I am at work late and she doesn't get her lap time. At least, that's judging by how she resorts to crying in the middle of the night during such periods.

[personal profile] scrottie is concerned that I am inadvertently rewarding the crying by giving her attention. I can see how this could be the case: he pointed out that dog owners who neglect their dogs then have dogs that are outside, barking at night. When the owner goes outside to tell the dog to be quiet, the dog interprets it as a social reward for barking, and the cycle continues, and we, the neighbors, don't get enough sleep.

It seems to me that her crying in the middle of the night may take several different forms, though. I'm still not sure. Right after I moved to Texas, when I was living by myself, she would come and cry for seemingly no reason, and I found that I could get her to stop by saying, "NO!" accompanied by a squirt from a spray bottle.

Maybe the problem now is that she's being more sneaky and crying in other parts of the house where I can't find her, and I am making the mistake of thinking that she can correctly interpret verbal warnings without the physical deterrent. I wish there was a way to use positive reinforcement (rewards) instead of negative reinforcement (punishment), but I don't see a workable method for the case of night-crying.

also, it's very difficult to carefully think this matter through either while mostly asleep or after a night of poor sleep due to a crying emo cat.

Meanwhile, now that we have given her full attic privileges, she has been delighting in using the attic ladder as part of a display run.

Cats, man.
rebeccmeister: (1x)
I just got the e-mail that my entry was accepted for the Head of the Charles for the Women's Club Singles!

Hmm. I'm going to have to get more serious about my rowing training.

Can you tell I'm excited?

rebeccmeister: (1x)
The algae on the BAP is now decaying extensively, and the weeding-machine has helped to clear enough open water to make things passable by rowing shell again. There are still some patches with disruptive islands that startled me as I rowed through, but I am now confident again about putting in hours on the water.

It was good to get up early and hear the morning birds and quiet as I headed down towards the water. Yesterday I received a message from my father that his latest chemotherapy treatment has not been successful in slowing liver tumor growth. Moreover, the latest scans now reveal that his cancer is following the expected natural progression and there are now worrisome spots in his lungs.

I am feeling that I really want to return to Seattle in 2018. I feel this sense of direction more strongly than I feel any sense of direction with regards to an academic career. I want to focus on writing and thinking for a while, and I want to feel the damp drip and mushy moisture underfoot.

One of the wonderful rowers at the BPRC loaned me a book, Bijaboji*, about a woman who rowed a dugout canoe from Port Angeles to Ketchikan in the 1930's, up through the Inside Passage. So far it contains the kinds of adventures that make me chortle. It relieves a certain degree of weariness of the soul.

*This is her boat's name, created from the first two letters of her four brothers' names: Bill, Jack, Bob, and Jim.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] scrottie had a friend in town for a visit, so on Saturday night we engaged in the time-honored tradition of a whole bunch of back-and-forth on what sort of expedition to go on on Sunday.

Eventually, S said that there was a Vintage Computer Festival happening this past weekend at the Computer History Museum in Palo Alto. An expedition out to the Computer History Museum sounded intriguing to J, and while we were chatting [personal profile] sytharin also happened to mention that one of her favorite parks could potentially be included along the route.

And so the plan was born: we took BART to Union City, disembarked, and headed towards the Alameda Creek multi-use path. The path made for extremely pleasant riding that reminded me of riding through the Danish countryside.

Alameda Creek bike path towards Coyote Hills Park

We eventually arrived at a gravel turnoff into Coyote Hills Park, and turned off to ride among the marshland.

Marsh view, Coyote Hills Park

S had recommended a brief stop in the park at the visitor's center to hike up a hill and take in the view, so we did:

Marsh view, Coyote Hills Park

Hilltop view from Coyote Hills Park

Hilltop view of the marshland in Coyote Hills Park

Hilltop view, Coyote Hills Park

Hilltop view of the salt flats from Coyote Hills Park

Scrutinizing the map, we determined that it was possible to ride out through the saltwater flats to meet up with the bike entry ramp onto Dunbarton Bridge, so we did.

That was an amazing landscape and I highly recommend it for the sake of adventure.

Riding in the salt flats, Coyote Hills Park

Riding in the salt flats, Coyote Hills Park

Eventually S suggested that we might want to pause for another photo. I suspect he had ulterior motives.

Stopping for a quick dip in the salt flats, Coyote Hills Park

The plunge, Coyote Hills Park

Come on in, the water's fine

We reached the Computer History Museum in time for a late lunch, and then pondered our options: Vintage Computing Festival, or the museum proper? We sent S on ahead to scout out the Vintage Computing festival, and his facial expression when he came back made our decision clear.

I have to admit, vintage computers aren't really my scene. On the other hand, it was cool to see all the people who were totally into it, and how they interpret their hobby. It was also way more interactive than the museum proper because the displays consisted of things people had brought with them to show each other and us.

Vintage Computer Festival Exhibition Hall

I found this one especially intriguing. This person has collected original prototypes of various computers and calculators, which are encased in transparent plastic so you can see all the guts.

Vintage Computer Festival Exhibit

All of the other stuff was fascinating and creative, too. For example, another person displayed a collection that highlighted the evolution of different storage formats, from the original 8-inch floppy disks to the various terrible flavors of zip disks. Someone else was working to feed modern media images to old Commodore 64s, working within the Commodore's graphics capabilities as a creative constraint. Another table was hosted by members of the Apple II's fanbase, who put together a poster illustrating ongoing current projects for the Apple II. There were also lots of Ataris to ogle and interact with, and S got sucked into chatting on a Unix workstation with other users, among whom was a user whose handle was "GhostOfSteveJobs", heh heh heh.

Many of the booth creators were standing by, excited to explain things even to a total newcomer such as myself.

We had to fight some headwind on the ride home, but once again the route and landscape for the return ride were wonderful. It was also good to get in at least some training mileage in preparation for the upcoming Ride from Seattle to Vancouver to Party.
rebeccmeister: (Iheartcoffee)
Ratatouille, to me, is the quintessential taste of summer because it should consist of all the summer garden vegetables as they ripen together. (thanks to my Mom for getting me started on this at a young age). Eggplants don't seem to grow very well right here, so I missed out on ratatouille last summer. Lesson learned: stock up on some eggplant when the zucchini start to show up in big armloads.

Pesto. I think I learned about dandelion pesto when Crooked Sky Farms included some in our CSA share. I should really make more and freeze a bunch, except we have very limited freezer space here.

Last night, I had a fresh peach sliced up with some vanilla ice cream, chocolate sprinkles, and blackberry sauce. Heavenly.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
I finished reading Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande last night. I'd been hearing about it on several fronts, including from our former Farmer House neighbor, who is a wonderful thinker and atheist coping with her own imminent mortality from cancer. My mom had also requested that we kids read the book because she is someone who wants to have that series of tough conversations about how to go through the process of dying.

I can understand why: we have the stories of my great-grandma D and my grandpa W to reflect on, in addition to the stories of my Aunt Penny, and Grandma and Grandpa C. In addition, there's the looming spectre of my dad's cancer, where even if he has a 10-year horizon, we should still all think about how to spend that time well. I am grateful for parents who seek out these conversations.

Anyway, the book shares a whole series of insights about how we treat old age and the act of dying, and offers up a series of ideas and examples for things that seem to help make those experiences as good as they can possibly be. Given that we are all mortal, everyone should spend at least some time thinking about how to cope with the end stages of life.

But there was one thing I deeply appreciated while finishing the book: in the Acknowledgements section, the author not only talks about all of the people who helped with different aspects of the writing, but where he also slips in a comment about how he has NEVER found writing to be an easy process. This is especially comforting coming at the end of a well-written book.


I took a break from writing, while working my way through this last cricket circadian experiment. It's impossible for me to write while conducting that kind of research, where I am constantly trying to stay mentally ready to run experiments at all hours of the day and night. But now I need to return to writing on two fronts: job applications and manuscripts. I think the author's comments are a comforting reminder to be compassionate towards myself while I work on these projects. I'm feeling a whole host of emotions about writing right now, but the ones that stand out are guilt over leaving things to sit for so long, severe anxiety over whether I will manage to get things done and over the sense of vulnerability that accompanies job applications, and anxiety over how to carve out time and quiet space to write productively, while living in a loud, chaotic house and working in a loud, chaotic lab. I also miss my grad school writing buddies. But I have a feeling that I can't just wait for more writing buddies to show up. I need to buckle down and get to work no matter what.
rebeccmeister: (1x)
I'm working through the stress by putting myself in dragon-slaying mode: one dragon at a time, all energy towards that thing until it's at a stage of completion. Slowly, slowly, I feel like I'm crawling back out of the hole.

The gas samples from the field were safely analyzed. Whew. I haven't had a chance to examine all the data just yet, but in the very least we have data and now I can start to plan out my next steps.

I went to the BAP this morning to check out the status of the weeds. Status: still weedy. I wasn't feeling especially motivated, so I decided to just paddle one of the plastic kayaks around so as to have some time to myself out on the water. It was a good decision. Tomorrow I'll probably just erg.

I managed to keep myself moving enough last night to do a quick Jolly Roger cleaning and to replace the cassette and chain. I can't figure out what's causing the trigger shifter thumb return lever to jam. I can shift okay, and I can reposition it manually, but that's cumbersome. It's probably just grime buildup inside the shifter, but I'm not sure how to go about dealing with it.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
So far, this week has mostly felt like fielding other peoples' stuff.

Even at 9 am, the lab is crowded and loud. I showed up, dropped off my pannier, and fled to the library to hide.

I just want to do some basic things.

I badly need to update my finances and sort out travel reimbursement from fieldwork.

I want to enter in my meters from the River City Rebellion on Sunday.

I want to look at the results from an undergrad summer student who has taken on the labor of love of working with my leafcutter task allocation data.

The data analysis and manuscript backlogs are worrisome.

It's time to dust off job application materials and get to work.

We're going up to Seattle in the middle of the month for the RSVP, and I have barely ridden my bicycle this summer.

I still want to row in the marathon in Petaluma over Labor Day Weekend, and haven't been getting any exercise at all, aside from the regatta itself - hardly the best time for training.

It is incredibly tempting to tell everyone to back off, and just go somewhere to be by myself for a while. California is just too busy and crowded.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
On Friday, [personal profile] scrottie and I tried to run off and check out the retooled "Tour de Fat" in downtown Oakland, which essentially looked like a show in a venue.

When we got there, after following some weird and random directions, a sign at the entrance said "No backpacks" among the other banned objects. S brought his backpack because he hadn't seen backpacks listed on the venue's website. So after a couple minutes of dithering, we gave away his ticket and left.

It looks like the reinvented event no longer includes much of anything having to do with bicycles or bicycling, aside from still benefiting a local cycling nonprofit.
rebeccmeister: (Iheartcoffee)
When I returned from the field, [personal profile] scrottie reported that the freezer was FULL. I have been stockpiling a lot of berries in there. Whoops. So it was time to roll up my sleeves and start canning.

For now, just some brief notes:

-The strawberry-rhubarb jam recipe from the Ball canning book is WAY TOO SWEET. But that could be because I was working with perfectly ripe strawberries, which are already quite sweet. For my second batch, I increased the rhubarb and cut the sugar. But I should also just try to find a better recipe.
-Meanwhile, the blackberry liquor syrup recipe is HEAVENLY. [personal profile] sytharin will be pleased.
-I tried out a raspberry cocoa jam recipe, and cut the sugar for it as well, and it's also delicious, even if S's first remark was, "I prefer fruit that isn't doctored with other stuff." Harumph. I am pretty sure that any and all recipients of raspberry cocoa jam won't complain.

We also whipped up a batch of dandelion pesto, and basil pesto.

So many jars.


Jul. 28th, 2017 09:27 am
rebeccmeister: (Iheartcoffee)
So, I may or may not have a slight obsession with chocolate sprinkles. I love the texture.

While we were out doing fieldwork, I managed to find not one but TWO kinds of chocolate sprinkles. One of the varieties is from a Seattle-based company that specializes in fancy, expensive forms of sugar, India Tree. The Sur la Table in the open-air shopping mall near the BAP has the India Tree sprinkles, but they are so expensive I balked at the price. But for some reason, the grocery store in Santa Ynez also had them, and had large containers for the same price as the small containers. Okay, fine, sold.

On the second trip to Solvang to do laundry, we stumbled into a fancy imported foods store, and I found that they had authentic Dutch sprinkles, so logically, I bought some of those, too.

When I finally got home Wednesday evening, [personal profile] scrottie said he had some presents for me. Not only did he find me a Rock the Bike t-shirt (!!!!), he also found some amazing gourmet sprinkles online!

Oh, and we had also picked some up while we were in the Midwest in June.

So, um, yeah.

Chocolate sprinkle selection

So there may be a sprinkle tasting sometime in the near future. We ate a bunch of the India Tree sprinkles on ice cream while out at Sedgwick, and they were fantastic. No big surprise there. On Thursday morning, S and I ate some of the Callebaut sprinkles on our oatmeal, and I have to say that, hands down, they are the best and most chocolatey out of the bunch. They also melted quickly, though.

Having too many sprinkles seems like a good problem to have, altogether.


rebeccmeister: (Default)

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