Life, the universe, and everything

A decade in review

I love this idea from Jenny Trout of making a list of important stats from the past decade…not necessarily all positive or life-changing, just a simple, unbiased look at the past 10 years. So, in no particular order, here’s mine:

Tropical storms lived through: 2

States lived in: 2

Cities lived in: 3

Jobs held: 5

Jobs rage-quit: 1

Jobs fired: 1*

Kittens rescued: 1

Times downstairs neighbor has banged on my floor because the cat is too noisy: Countless

Times downstairs neighbor has threatened to call the police because the cat is too noisy: 1

Times downstairs neighbor has been offered a different apartment and has refused, despite the cat being too noisy: 2

Tall ships visited: 12

Tall ships sailed: 2

New hobbies cultivated: 5**

Cars bought: 1

Cars paid off: 0

Peer reviewed papers published: 2

Peer reviewed papers held hostage by PI: 2

Degrees earned: 1

Scientific conferences attended: 8

Oral presentations at scientific conferences: 2

Half marathons run: 13

Countries visited: 6

Dive trips: 2

Camping trips: 4

Words of fan fiction written: 710,132ish

Relatives died: 1

Melanomas removed: 2

Dead bodies discovered: 1***

*Not the same job.

**Working on #6. I don’t think 4 orchids count as a hobby just yet. Especially since I might have already killed one.

***Not the relative that died.





Day in the life · Life, the universe, and everything

November 5, 2019

Today is already one of those days…my grand plan to wake up at 5am and get my 2000 words knocked out first thing failed utterly. I woke up at 7, which actually isn’t too bad – until I remember that the time changed this weekend so my body still thinks it’s 8am. Whoops.

I spent half an hour checking work emails and setting up meetings (the joys of juggling multiple time zones…); then I went for my 4-mile run. I started a new RunBet on Monday, and since it will be extremely difficult to run on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I need to get my 4 runs done by Thursday. So of course, with half a mile left to go, my tracker app crashed. I restarted it to record the last half mile, and have asked Support if that will count for my four miles. If it doesn’t, and I have to squeeze an extra four-mile run in this week, I’m going to be super annoyed.

So, I started off the morning annoyed and out of sorts, but I really shouldn’t complain; my co-worker A’s car was stolen this morning, and when I called my other co-worker M to hear what her latest emergency was, she started out by telling me that she was calling from the backyard, where her wife had accidentally locked her out – and then went on to describe that latest client fuck up. Not my client, but she likes to complain to me because I actually listen lol.

She also told me that – what the fuck – last night our company was given the keys to the city. How on earth did that happen?? The best part is, my boss almost didn’t go, because he doesn’t read his emails and thought it was just some waste of time event that he was asked to RSVP to. The official notice went to our legal department (in Europe), who forwarded it to our office manager, who also doesn’t read emails and just told Boss that he needed to RSVP to this thing.

If he had blown it off because no one in this company reads their emails – omg that would have been the best thing ever. I’m just sitting here five states away and laughing to myself…

Anyway. On the slate for today: a call with a client, in which I will hopefully convince them to stop making changes to their proposal and just let me finish it; then I have to write an entire Research Strategy, that I’ve been procrastinating for an entire month, and is due by Thursday.

Procrastinate? Me? It’s like I’m a writer or something…

Life, the universe, and everything · Writing

Happy Nano-eve!

Until this morning, I had every intention of staying up til midnight to get my first 2000 words in; now it’s 10pm, and….I’m tired. I have no excuse for being tired, except that it’s cold outside. But I can’t deviate from my plan on day 1, hour 0; what kind of tone would that set for the month? Midnight it is, I guess.

The one good thing about this awful cold front is that the camping trip I had planned for this weekend (totally forgetting that it was the first weekend in November) is officially canceled. I was going to go with three friends who want to escape the motorcycle rally on the island, and head up to Caddo Lake State Park. There’s not much to do up there except kayak and look for alligators. Until last week, the weather was perfect for kayaking and gatoring. Now, not so much. Too windy for a kayak, too cold for alligators. Honestly all I want to do is curl up on the couch with blanket and a cat or two and write.

I don’t get my entire weekend back; the rally is still happening, so my friends are coming up to my place for an indoors camp-out, complete with tent and s’mores. As we were deciding this, I realized…I haven’t had people over, more than one at a time anyway, since I was in college, and had roommates who forced me to play hostess with them. Weird.

Anyway, I no longer have to shop for camping supplies, pack, or drive four hours to a state park, and they’re all leaving Saturday afternoon. That means I’ll have a bigger chunk of time on Friday, plus all of Sunday, for writing! This is more than I had planned on in my schedule, and it’s good because I volunteered to go help move the ship to another pier next Friday, thus losing yet another precious November day.

…I’m going to be spending three days in a row on the ship, between transit on Friday, training on Saturday, and instructoring at the make-up on Sunday.

Why do I do this to myself.

Life, the universe, and everything · Uncategorized

October 21, 2019

My favorite thing is waking up early when it’s raining, then just lying in bed listening. This morning I woke up at 530am – pouring rain, and the temperature was finally dropping below 80. So, I stayed in bed, and fell back asleep.

That’s the time of night/morning when I always have the most vivid dreams. This morning I dreamed I was in some sort of sailing context, but we had to use inflatable ribs instead of actual sailboats, and my team’s had several holes that needed patching. From there it morphed into this bizarre period piece that I was a character in; a politician had engineered for my ship to sink, and then hosted a very sad torchlit funeral in the middle of Washington DC to honor all the crew that went down with the ship.

On the pretext of needing him to talk to a lawyer, I got him to follow me to a closed-in, crowded square. As we walked around the square, the supposedly dead sailors and people who were eyewitness to the sabotage started falling in with us, until we had a huge crowd assembled on the steps of a church. Then the crowd started singing a hymn, and the captain of the ship pushed his way forward – that was when the politician knew he was fucked, and I woke up.

The worst thing about trying to remember dreams is that they don’t make any logical sense; it’s the feeling of them that’s powerful, and the most hard to describe. I don’t know what it was about that dream, but it was super impactful, and I hope I can keep remembering it.

And of course, I’m already thinking of whether or not I can tie it in to one of my story ideas….

In other news, I spent the morning on Saturday trying to maneuver a 50lb steaming light into place, and strained my deltoid, which was already sore from climbing on Wednesday. I guess the good news is that I don’t need that muscle for running?

Life, the universe, and everything · Writing

October 1, 2019

It’s 330pm, and my focus took an absolute nosedive…about 90 minutes ago. I’m going to blame it on the fact that I’ve gotten up before 6am two days in a row now, which I think might be the second time ever?

I did some quick yoga followed by a 5.5 mile run in a fancypants neighborhood that I haven’t tried out yet. There were lots of little side streets to explore; the only problem was that the main street to get there was suuuuper dark at 615am, and on the way back, once the sun was coming up, it was suuuuuper busy trafficwise. So I’m conflicted about adding it as a regular route. Maybe it’ll work best for weekend runs.

Today is also the first day of Preptober! I legitimately did not know that this was a thing until a couple weeks ago. But it makes a lot of sense, and I’m going to actually do it this year. In previous years that I’ve done NaNoWriMo, it’s been more of a, oh yeah, I signed up for this thing, I guess I should start…wait, what was I going to write about again? sort of thing. Which, needless to say…does not work so well. I’ve only finished Nano once, and that was a fanfiction story that ended up being more of a collection of scenes than anything coherent.

So, this year: I’m going to spend real time planning an original fiction novel, with a super ambitious self-publication target date of March 10, 2020, and use Nano to push out that first draft. I have a story idea, I have characters, and I have lists and lists of things to prepare!

I do love a good list.

Life, the universe, and everything · Writing

On motivation

I was listening to an older episode of The Bestseller Experiment while on a run the other day, in which one of the hosts was sharing the story of his wife’s battle with cancer. He said something that really caught me off guard, and really hit me. I’m paraphrasing, but it was along the lines of We only have a finite amount of words in us, so we have to write them while we still have the time.

I don’t know why that stood out to me so much; I usually don’t get inspired by sentimental stories from other people’s lives, and cancer stories are especially annoying (I don’t even like working on cancer projects; so few of them actually turn out meaningful, translatable data. No offense, cancer biologists…it’s just not my interest. At all).

Maybe it was the timing of it. I just had a(nother) mole biopsy come back a little funky, and have an excisional biopsy scheduled for this week that I’m not too thrilled about. It’s not melanoma, just a clump of cells that are high risk for developing into melanoma. I’m not worried at all about the biopsy or even the surgery. It’s just, two weeks of having to severely limit my activity; two weeks of constantly worrying that I’ll tear my stitches; two weeks of bruised skin and just-enough-to-be-annoying pain.

But the show host is right. There is a limit to how much we can get done in our lives. I’ve been promising myself for a couple of years now that I’ll publish my first book and start a career as an author. I promised myself that 2019 will be the year that I actually, for real, self-publish.

And here it is, the beginning of July, and I haven’t made (or attempted to make) any progress.

Because excuses come up. Other things that take up my time. Are those things important? Some of them, yeah – but a good number of them are just time wasters. Procrastinating. Watching endless YouTube videos because the thought of writing down words that I’ll ask someone to pay for is terrifying.

Well, July is my month. I’m going to finish a first, word-vomity draft of my first original fiction novel. I know I can do it; I need to do it. Who knows when I’ll run out of chances to try?

In any case, I can’t run, swim, climb, or even yoga for the next two weeks – now really is the perfect time!

Life, the universe, and everything

It is risen (it is risen indeed)

Today is my first Saturday off in a long, long time, the weather is gorgeous, I’m full of pent-up energy…

…and there’s not much I can do about it, because I have a 1.5-inch slice on the back of my neck and sutures that I don’t want to tear.

It’s at that super tricky stage – it doesn’t hurt anymore, so I want to turn my head and do an hour of yoga and go for a hard run. But I can’t, because sutures.

So, I spent the morning doing yoga-lite and cleaning the apartment (slowly); now I’m baking two loaves of rosemary focaccia bread, because why not.

I’m also attempting to make a sourdough starter, for the first time in a few years. The last attempt…did not go well. Failure to thrive is probably the kindest way to describe it. This time around, I looked up a ton of instructions and tips first. I mixed together the ingredients, added them to a glass mason jar, and set it out on the counter to rise a bit before putting it in the fridge.

Half an hour later – it rose. It rose up to the lid; pushed the lid off the jar. It rose out of the jar, and allll over the counter.

Maybe next time I won’t add double the amount of yeast…

Life, the universe, and everything

Weekly wrap-up

Do you ever have those weeks where all of a sudden it’s Friday, and you can’t say what you’ve done all week because you have absolutely no idea?
I think I’ve spent the past two weeks doing nothing but emailing and having calls…but I’m not really sure. I wasn’t even that busy – I’ve been able to leave work on time every day – but the days have been so packed that by the time 5pm rolls around, I’m just tired and have accomplished nothing. Then that spills over to the evening, where all I want to do when I get home is veg on the couch and watch Netflix. I’ve written a grand total of 26 words this week, and even that was a struggle.
We’re barreling towards the April NIH grant deadline, so I have a ton of projects to set up and kick off; next week will be spent on the boring admin side of things.
I’m doing my taxes next week – with an actual accountant. I’ve technically had three different jobs at two different companies this year, and I’m hoping that my taxes aren’t as much of a mess as it feels like they are; but they could be a disaster, so. Biting the bullet and actually paying an accountant to help me with them this time around.
I also set up an eye doctor appointment to finally, finally get a new pair of glasses – I’ve had these since halfway through grad school. Time to upgrade and not look like a broke-ass grad student any more!
So, next week is shaping up to be just as packed as this week. I actually get President’s Day off for once in my life; but, just like in grad school, I have so much to do that it’s a holiday in name only. I can at least fit in my 9-mile long run in the morning, since Saturday and Sunday will taken up by sail training. Oh darn.
I need to make more of an effort next week to write whether or not I feel like it, and to make time for it. Because I’m never going to magically have tons of time or tons of energy at the end of the day. It’s either a priority or not, and I need to treat it that way.
So, happy weekend, and happy writing!
Life, the universe, and everything

I started this blog with such good intentions – I had posts written and scheduled, a whole backlog of haikus, so many plans!

I also had so much more time, having quit my awful day job for a freelancing gig.

Since then, I’ve taken on a new (and way better) day job, but with that came, well, a whole lot of work. Fun and interesting work, yes. I still have a super flexible schedule. It’s just taken me forever to settle into a routine.

Actually, I’m not sure I’m quite there yet.

I’ve also done a ton of traveling this fall: a trip to Miami to talk about my contract in person; New Orleans with some friends for amazing food and jazz (although I spent the entire car ride home on my laptop trying to finish up some proposals for a deadline); a quick work trip to Madison (my first time in Wisconsin); a trip up to Boston and Cape Cod, which was supposed to be for a half marathon – but just days before I came down with a terrible cold and couldn’t run. I would have tried to walk it, except a nor’easter blew in on race day with forty degrees, six inches of rain, and 30mph gusts. That was a recipe for pneumonia.

Deciding not to run was actually a super hard decision – yes the weather was shitty, yes I’d totally slacked off on training – but it was going to be my 14th race in my 10th state!

In the end I’m glad I made that decision, because I might actually have died otherwise; but during those three hours I spent sitting in a warm, dry coffee shop coughing my lungs out while waiting for my running buddy to finish the race, I thought a lot about what exactly I want to do with my future.

I felt like I’d given up on this blog and my dream of a writing career, just like I’d given up on the race. Never mind that I had perfectly legitimate reasons for not running, and that it was the best decision.

The truth was that I hadn’t been prioritizing running; and I haven’t been prioritizing writing.

If I really want to do this – and I do – then I’ll make the time. I won’t worry about having a perfectly curated blog with intentional, regular posts. I’ll just write. Build that habit, get that consistency going.

Apologies in advance for the mess that you all will be subjected to!

In that vein, I am also doing Nanowrimo this month. Do I think I’ll actually manage 50,000 words? Probably not. But I’m going to do as much as I can, because every word will get me closer to finally finishing that first novel.

I won’t post any of that word vomit here, don’t worry! I will do regular updates on my progress, however, as well as some travel posts. I’m traveling a ton more in November and December, and maybe a couple people will find it interesting?

Maybe not. Who knows.

Next post: a quick review of my trip to Boston!

Tonight: planning a trip to San Diego to crew the oldest sailing ship in the world, and some add-on days to my work trip to Madrid (I honestly don’t know which trip I’m more excited about!).

And then – writing, writing, writing!

Health and Fitness · Life, the universe, and everything

Just keep climbing

Any time you’re embarking on a new project, it can feel overwhelming. Your goal is lofty, far away, and the path to get there is steep and challenging.


While it’s important to always keep your goal in sight lest you lose your way and forget why you set that goal in the first place, just stick to your path. It’s a long path, so learn to enjoy the little things along the way…


And when you eventually reach that distant summit, you can look back and know that the journey was worth it.