rebeccmeister: (1x)
General miscellanea:

I am making progress on the leafcutter manuscript. I go through these terrible emotional cycles, where one day I am ready to just quit in disgust, but the next day I revisit what I was working on and think, "Ehh, there's some good material here" and manage to keep moving forward.

Of course, there are two other looming agenda items this week, so we'll see how far I can get...one item is job applications. For some context, I've applied for four jobs so far. I have 14 more job ads that I need to look through and decide on. That doesn't include another 10 ads where I have already decided not to apply for various reasons. This *is* a full-time job.

The other item is the circadian experiment is starting to pick back up again, although this week is slow because cricket-rearing logistics got away from me towards the end of August. I grasped the reigns firmly after that incident because we cannot afford to have these kinds of gaps.

Regardless, I got to spend most of the weekend doing productive stuff, which felt so, so good. M and I went rowing on Saturday morning, and had a good row. When we got off the water, S was there and we got caught up on various boat happenings and logistics. The blue Hudson is out of commission while a hole gets repaired, but that's good in the long run.

Then I went home and made more salsa fresca, and got a couple items packaged up and ready to ship. On Sunday, I swept all the floors, glued a chair back together, and got to catch up with my friend and Scrabble buddy, SK. Oh, and got most of the supplies I need to re-pot the vanilla bean orchid.

Things I still want to get to:

1. My pants situation is getting dire. Socks, too.
2. Update my finances.
3. Find a dentist and make a dentist appointment.
4. Try to go back to a more professional hairstyle.
5. Re-pot the orchid.
6. Make some biscotti.
7. Assemble and send another package to another person.
rebeccmeister: (bikegirl)
Maybe I should have gotten more work done today. I don't know.

Instead, I spent some time rearranging the logs in the backyard and clearing the overgrown sidewalk to my back door. Then I hitched up the bike trailer and finally took a broken storm window over to the hardware store to have the glass replaced. I don't think I'll haul it home in the bike trailer, though - too risky. I also picked up a bundle of firewood, to see how I like fires in the fireplace as a way to keep warm.

Then I rode up to Whole Paycheck because I have discovered that they carry organic cotton underwear. They were even on sale. Such an exciting moment. They don't have superheroes on them, though. I also looked at the other foods in the store, because that's how I am - have to look at it all, even if I'm not going to buy any of it on principle. They had some cute Halloween-themed cupcakes going, and next to the cupcakes they sold tubs of real whipped cream, already whipped up for you. I guess sometimes it's too hard to pull out the eggbeaters.

From there, I went over to Big Box Pet Shop to look for food for Emma, who has only just now run out from the last bag purchased in Texas. Even with three whole aisles of cat foods, they did not have Taste of the Wild. Once again on principle I decided it wasn't worthwhile to try and shop for some other replacement brand of pet food (some of which appeared to be trying to masquerade as Taste of the Wild, interestingly). Instead, if I can't easily find Taste of the Wild, I might as well just go with one of the cat foods available at the grocery co-op, which ensures that, in the very least, my money goes where I want it to go.

From there, home to drop off the firewood and bike trailer, then to the generic grocery store for a handful of things, and the co-op for everything else. Then off to the lab to sort out and set up crickets, to the laundromat (yes, for laundry), and finally home, to cook up a large vat of curry.

It has been a long time since I've had a day like this.

Handy-man

Jul. 30th, 2015 10:34 am
rebeccmeister: (bikegirl)
Sunday's bike ride ran so late that I didn't have a chance to attend to all of my planned chores, argdarnit. To top that off, on Saturday night, just as I got ready to bake a loaf of sandwich bread, I discovered that the gas oven had stopped working. The last time this sort of thing happened was when I was living in the Farmer house, trying to bake some scones. That time around, we managed to save the scones by firing up the gas grill, but I don't have that grill anymore, so I just stuck the bread dough in the fridge and crossed my fingers that the replacement oven lighter would show up sooner rather than later.

It finally showed up last night, so instead of working on an overdue manuscript review I took apart the oven and installed the replacement while thinking about how I don't really make enough money to afford to hire a handyman to do this kind of work for me (and no, I don't trust the apartment management to get this stuff done in a time-efficient manner; they always want me to stay home from work). It took much longer than necessary because I didn't think I had a wrench of the correct size and so I removed most of the tiny bolts with an adjustable wrench that kept slipping off of one stripped bolt in particular. Eventually I determined that the socket wrench set did indeed have the correct metric size and finished up the job. Now I want a handy-man merit badge for fixing the oven. The loaf of bread is really flat on top, and more sour than usual, but edible. I also made muesli and more yogurt, chores that I can usually wedge into everyday activities more easily. It's hard when they all pile up at the same time.

I also had to deep-clean the litterbox. On Monday, I noticed a tan smudge on the lid, which upon closer inspection was a full-blown mite infestation, the same kind of mites as we get infesting our cricket and ant colonies. They love dead and decaying material. I think the humidity just finally caught up with the wheat-based litter I prefer. So, time for a major cleanup. If it happens again after this deep-cleaning and complete replacement I may need to switch over to something else instead. The humidity has really been something else this year.

This morning, it was the worm bin that needed immediate attention. I'd hoped to empty it last Sunday, but had put it off, but too much new compost material has been accumulating. It's still kind of in experimental mode at the moment, but at some point I might go through to try and describe how I'm maintaining a worm bin for apartment living because there aren't enough good explanations of this stuff on the interwebs. My apartment method involves giving away a lot of worm dirt to various gardening friends because I'm producing more than I can use for my small collection of potted plants. I'm pretty sure my bin size is large enough for my personal vegetable consumption rate, but I'm less sure that it can accommodate both myself and [livejournal.com profile] scrottie. I also haven't been keeping it at quite the right ratio of vegetables to worm bedding because it has been on the smelly, moist side. Hopefully I can generate enough shredded paper to balance things out better.
rebeccmeister: (bikegirl)
At the farmer's market yesterday, I encountered one farmer selling sour (pie) cherries, one farmer selling interesting peppers for a reasonable price, some rhubarb, and some potatoes, and then I was out of cash. There were beefsteak-style tomatoes, but zero interesting heirloom varieties in sight.

At the grocery store, the shelves containing paper bags of "Tired Produce Discounted Just For You" had bags with slightly unhappy tomatoes, barely unhappy apples, green peppers with small bad spots, pears, and mushrooms that were just starting to dry out. It was also "co-op member discount weekend," and I finally got to cash out my green card discount stamps (totaling $5 off).

Goodwill had some sort of "Dollar Discount" thing happening, so elements for my pirate costume were even cheaper than usual. I might wind up looking like an Office Pirate, though, as I found a nice-looking business vest and the blouse I found doesn't have poofy sleeves. It's a start, however.

Then I rode out to Ben Franklin to see what they have in the way of devices that can punch a hole in the cap of an Eppendorf tube. That store was simultaneously horrifying and interesting. I like it much better than its other big-box craft rivals (JoAnn's, Michael's), and it carries certain odd items I hadn't had a reliable source for (envelope templates, glue pens). But it still made part of my soul shrivel up and die.

And they had punches aplenty, but nothing nearly sturdy enough for my project. Fortunately, there was an Ace Hardware next door that had a leather punch, which works fantastically. They also had popcorn. That reminded me of trips to Ernst with my parents when I was a kid, back when the University Village contained shops worth patronizing. What's the history of hardware stores offering popcorn, anyway?

Then I did my daily cricket work, rode home, and made calzones stuffed with mushrooms, green pepper, onion, tomato, and unhealthy but delicious quantities of mozzarella cheese.
rebeccmeister: (Acromyrmex)
One of the greatest benefits of working with my current boss is that he's quite good at pinpointing ways to improve my academic writing, and we work well together as writers. Last week we met to discuss a current manuscript-in-progress, and he suggested spending a bit of time with two books while thinking about and working on revisions to the manuscript's introduction.

I had to spend the better part of last week working on two other manuscripts, so it wasn't until Friday afternoon that I cracked open one of the books, Physiological Ecology: How Animals Process Energy, Nutrients, and Toxins, by William Karasov and Carlos Martinez del Rio, and promptly found myself nodding to sleep. It's a well-written textbook, but I just couldn't focus, so I decided to cut my losses and work on sorting out the materials collected in Arizona instead.

Here are two examples:
IMG_3611

IMG_3615

Interesting stuff - in the first example, there are a bunch of mistletoe flowering/fruiting stems on the left-hand side. After looking at everything for a while, I determined that the tiny, seed-like items are actually mistletoe flowers.

Flipping my to-do schedule meant that I could go home at a reasonable hour and try to work on reading Physiological Ecology on Friday evening, instead. Of course, I didn't get as far as I would have liked. Hopefully I will manage to get myself to focus more today, instead.

--
Which brings me to the weekend. Saturday morning, the Aggies hosted the Lake Bryan Sprints. Originally, they'd hoped to rope in three teams, Baylor, St. Edwards, and UT-Austin, but Baylor and St. Ed's backed out at the last minute. It was great to have UT-Austin there, though, because the Aggies needed some good competition. UT won every event they entered, but A&M had some solid and very close (one-foot) second-place finishes, so there was a lot of good racing for everyone.

The A&M Open Women's 4+ had the same problem they always have - no one to race against - so I challenged them to a duel against me in the 1x at the very beginning of the regatta. They won, but not by a huge margin, and the race was good practice for all of us with keeping our heads in the game. After the 1x, I hopped in the launch and spent the rest of the morning aligning boats at the start and chasing after the boats as they raced.
--

The rest of the weekend mostly consisted of chores: groceries from Brazos Natural, a recycling haul and several more groceries from Village Foods, then cooking up some aged vegetables on Saturday night (note to self: don't buy discount eggplant from Farm Patch ever again, it's just not worth it). I played Pancake Factory on Sunday morning, although it's kind of a depressing game when I'm the only one to eat them. Then the sink and bathroom got good scrubbings, things got vacuumed, stuff that migrated across the house got migrated back, and the worst of the weeds got pulled in the garden. I have a feeling that the snails are going to eat almost everything I'm planting, but I just can't seem to make the time to give the garden a proper going-over.

I tried to invite people over for crafts on Sunday afternoon, but nobody made it, so I sat out back and worked on painting an oar until I got too cold and it was time to stop, and then I knitted a bit on a vest I will most likely frog, while C worked on crocheting some blanket squares.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Today's Christian Science Monitor features an article about the return of the clothesline, which makes me happy. (I think I encountered another such article a few months ago) I love clotheslines. Dryers are notorious electricity guzzlers and in most of the places where I've lived they are utterly superfluous.

It's funny to think that dryers are considered the norm in so many places, considering that they're unnecessary--especially somewhere really dry, like Arizona. Even if a clothesline isn't an option, there are lots of great clothes-drying racks out there if you are willing to look for them. Perhaps part of the problem is that as a culture we are encouraged to own a lot of clothing, which encourages us to wear something once and then wash it (instead of wearing it 2-3 times), which means we generate a lot of laundry that we then can't manage.

The clothesline is one of the things I like the most about where I live. We have a nice washer, but the dryer is pretty crappy and won't run unless the door is wedged shut. But I don't mind--I think I've only used it 2 or 3 times over the past year because it takes about the same amount of work to hang everything up to dry in the Arizona sunshine.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
I woke up this morning really motivated to work on the Manuscript of Doom: The Sequel. But I didn't work on it. Hopefully the motivation will carry over. My thoughts were along the lines of, "I need to get more papers published." I am so lucid in the mornings. Towards the end of my "productive" time on Friday (in other words, before I started teaching), I started making progress on some more of the data analysis for that manuscript. My adviser finally pointed out that I've collected too much data to fit in just one paper, and I'm inclined to agree (seeing as I've spent a good 2 years trying to analyze bits and pieces of it and still don't have a handle on all of it).

Instead of working, I got other Saturday chores done, like laundry and some bike tinkering. Then, apparently [livejournal.com profile] michaelbluejay is pretty diligent about following through when people link to his website, so he pointed out that he had already answered my question about toaster ovens versus gas ovens for toasting (you'll have to locate the information yourself because you will also learn some other things along the way). His comment led me to wander through his site to read about moving one's household belongings by bicycle and various other random, amusing activities. It gives me hope to know that people like him exist in the world and maintain quirky and informative websites about low-impact lifestyles.

And now it's time to get ready for a lovely Saturday morning bike ride, which will hopefully finish before it gets *too* hot.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Well, I'm in the process of writing a grant that's due next week. So I spent the entire day (at least, up until now) doing chores outside. First, I pruned some of the trees in the back yard and mowed the front and back lawns. I also worked on a massive pile of garbage/recycling that has been cluttering up our back patio since early August. This led to the discovery of one of the hiding places of the American Cockroaches that keep on sneaking into my house. I terrorized them a bit, but then left them alone--they were in a box that had some food items/etc. in it. I also found a mouse hole and a whole bunch of plastic shopping bags stuffed into various boxes. So now I have trash can liners for the next while.

This brings me to something I've been pondering a lot recently. Lots of people buy trash bags--how odd that our culture has reached a place where we buy things strictly to throw them away. I pondered this quite a bit while going through many parts of the back patio trash pile; there were so many packages and boxes that were designed to contain things or show them off before purchase, all abandoned and left to be thrown away (or sorted out and recycled, which is what I was up to). I consider packaging a lot because I'm making a number of concerted efforts to reduce my personal waste production--weaning myself off of paper towels, for example (surprisingly, it was easier than I thought it would be), and remembering to bring plastic bags for fruits and vegetables when I go to the grocery store.

But the vast majority of waste occurs well before most things are purchased. Many of the boxes that have piled up on our back patio contained IKEA furniture. My contributions were fancy boxes designed to show off expensive electronics--an Apple laptop and my printer box, for instance. And take a look some day at the amount of packaging that goes into childrens' toys. You remember the boxes, the ones that show Barbie holding all of her accessories, or some action figure encased in plastic encased in cardboard. Oh, we buy so much just to throw it away.

I didn't make it all the way through the pile--there is still a lot of cardboard on the patio, because the recycling bin got full. There are also still a couch and television that were abandoned by the previous occupants of the back house; by now, they have been rained on a couple of times, and who knows how many cockroaches have held tea parties on the cushions. It was a valiant effort, in the least.

But I did do a few loads of laundry and hung them out to dry; then I biked to the library and dropped off a book and picked up a couple of bike maps. I mailed off an overdue package to [livejournal.com profile] sytharin, bought a garden hose and nozzle and groceries, and used the freshly purchased hose to wash my bicycle. As I washed my bicycle, I thought about the importance of taking good care of what one owns. Sure, my bike isn't a $2000 fancy-pancy road bike, but it's what I've got and if I take good care of it, it will last longer. I try to take this philosophy with everything I buy; often, things that cost more up front turn out to be more durable and are more worthwhile in the long run, if one takes the time to take care of said items.

There are so many things to do when one is procrastinating, non?
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Well, I believe I have determined one of the factors contributing to my foot troubles (metatarsalgia, you may recall--if you're my mother). Biking. Yep. That's right. My foot hurts again after all of the biking I did last week. On the other hand, I know what to do to make things better--I just need to put a little bit of padding in the shoes that I wear whilst biking. Or I could just get the foot amputated.

I was going to work on a sewing project yesterday, but ended up doing all sorts of other odds and ends instead: cleaning and lubing my bike chain (only had to scrub and de-grease 3 times before the chain was clean--yeesh); cleaning the shower (lots of buildup on the glass--pretty gross); talking to my brother, yadda yadda yadda. But it was a nice day because I rested as well.

Now it's time to run around the lab and organize and such. We finally have permanent furniture in there, so we can actually move in (only a few months later...). Whee!
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Today has been windy, but cool, so we were able to keep the windows open all day. I did a number of chores that I have been putting off for a while. I'm still tired from yesterday, but at the same time I feel restless and don't want to do much in the way of work. I keep telling myself I shouldn't feel guilty for not working this weekend.

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