Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Well, we got the word a few months ago that we'd have to move to the new building, where there hadn't been designated space for us, so they had to move people around to make room. We also moved our offices, so now we're in the new Cubeville, two to a cube meant for one person - but that's how we were before.
All this sounds like a major pain in the ass, but it's been OK. In all seriousness, I take their efforts to mean the higher-ups intend to keep my PI on instead of jettisoning his research program in the face of tighter budgets. I still have a job for the moment, and for a contractor who is renewed yearly, that is a good thing, and I am thankful. Really, the job makes all the other stuff possible.
And the view - well, the building is nestled right against the first foothill of the Rocky Mountains, and Cubeville sits in a room with really high ceilings and walls of windows on two sides. The views are absolutely spectacular. I'll post some pictures. The bird virus PI has parked a spotting scope in the break area so we can look at ducks and things on the lake below.
I might not get much work done for the next week while we are putting stuff away, but it will be nice to get going again in our new space. I also scored the best working spot, all the way in the back. It just worked out that way, as that spot gives me good access to the equipment I use. Here's to being productive again!
Monday, March 29, 2010
No such luck, with my two charged cordless drill batteries, and my 3/4" drill bit, Mr W and I were able to drill exactly 1 and 1/2 holes before the batteries gave out. The drill is old (10 years) and the drill bit is part of an inexpensive set of about 20 that I bought when I moved into the house.
My questions are: Do these batteries get weaker over time? Can I buy replacements at a Home Depot type store? Also, are all drill bits created equal? Could I spend some money and get a good one that will stay sharp? I imagine the answers to these questions are all "yes", but was wondering if anyone who reads this blog has experience here. Thanks!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I'm pleased that Mr W and I worked together on it, and I will admit in hindsight that I held my breath as he sawed the pieces of the 1 x 4. It's probably taller than it needs to be, but we'll see. The stuff has weeks of growing to do yet.
I also received the brackets the I'll use to make my raised bed, and they looked bigger in the picture, you know? I can still get a 14" high bed out of them, and that will still mean plenty of dirt to haul to fill the thing. I might go out yet and get the lumber today, but otherwise probably tomorrow. There is still snow in the yard, but I'm eager to get going. I was hoping to grow some peas and cool weather stuff before summer hits in full force. This shouldn't be a problem.
I am going to try the lasagna approach, although I don't have as much organic-y compostable stuff as I could. My neighbor, on the other hand, has a big pile, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind me taking the leaves off the top. I want to have about 6" of soil, 4" of finished compost and and the rest will be the organic stuff in progress. Obviously I'm still mulling the proportions over, and I'll probably have some kind of minimum amount of topsoil and compost that I need to order for them to deliver it.
Yea! It's windy and cool today (although sunny at the moment) but we're slated to have some really nice weather over the next few days.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I'm not even going to reveal my ratio of emails sent to dates (OK, it's zero), but this week I had two of the nicest (really) "no thank you" emails ever. It gives me some hope, and I try to remember that this does not, by any means, represent the entire pool of available men, so I still might run into someone nice in the produce department at Whole Foods (right, Suzanne?).
This note, though is to toot my kid's horn a bit. I wanted to say how proud I am of my son, the one and only Mr W (that's short for Mr. Wumpkin, a name he acquired shortly after birth). I got his report card yesterday, as well as the results from one of the standardized reading tests he took lately. He scored in the 93rd percentile. I was surprised. They have him in the smaller, and I thought slower reading group (which was fine, and that's what his teacher thought was best), so I thought everyone else was reading like he was reading, you know?
For his part, he said he had to guess at some of the answers, and couldn't see what the fuss was about - just a number. I noticed in the last few weeks that his reading has made a jump. I noticed it because he was reading me a comic and read pretty big words pretty fast. Didn't stop or hesitate, he just knew the words. This seems to happen about once a year. He kind of goes along, and then ramps up in some kind of skill - it's cool to see.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
When I get my hair cut and colored, I really just want it cut and colored. I'm not, for reasons I'm not sure I know, into the "salon experience". If I wanted, I could have a paraffin wrap on my hands, as well as a scalp massage and a foot bath while my color set. I saw several people walking around with plastic bags over both hands and finally figured out that's what it was. The foot thing, I don't know, maybe it's all that Catholic school I had, but there's an element of servitude that I'm not comfortable with in someone bringing me a pan of soapy water to soak my feet in. These extras sort of took me by surprise the first time I went to the salon, but this time, the stylist asked, but didn't bat an eye when I said 'no, but thanks'.
It's funny, though. Product, it's all about the product, baby. It's an Aveda salon, and the stylist was saying how my hair looked so nice and shiny, and took the color so nicely, that I might consider using their $12 a bottle shampoo. I admit I really do like this spray stuff I bought last time that gives my straight and heavy hair some oomph. So I bought more of that and some shampoo, I think partly because she said it made my hair look nice!
So, I'll stay with this stylist, decline the extras and use the product.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I purchased some of these brackets, which were sort of expensive, but I figured if I got them, I could make one really nice bed that will last a while. One of the emphases yesterday was on reusing materials, but I find I usually don't have the patience to sift through the freecycle and Craigslist stuff for more than a few minutes. I feel like I'm wasting my time. I know I should work on that more, and thought maybe if I could find an old bathtub with feet, it would make a fun planter for the raspberries I'd like to grow (image).
One of the techniques mentioned yesterday, which is very appealing to me is called Lasagna gardening. It's so very simple it seems like it wouldn't work, but the instructor assured us that it does. You start by soaking old newspapers (think 1/2" thick or more) or pieces of corrugated cardboard in water long enough for them to get really wet. You lay those down and overlap them a lot so for weed control. Then you layer uncomposted organic stuff - a mix of anything you'd normally compost. Then you add actual compost, and top it with a layer of topsoil. Sounds like it's worth trying.
In other news, I'm back doing the online dating thing. It wears me out, but I told myself I'd devote some effort to it before the weather go too nice, in addition to trying to get out and join things, attend things and do things. This past week I met someone, exchanged some good emails, and finally talked and Skyped with him last night. It was only when we were more or less face to face that we both realized there's no chemistry. Is it effort wasted? In the big picture, no. You have to be willing to have that happen a few times. I figure I've got really no more than two of those in me before I take a break. It is draining. He had such a cute smile... but we inhabit different worlds.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
We've communicated largely by email, with week-long pauses between emails, and me finally asking (via email) if he was still interested in the project. The answer was yes, come by and see the project he was working on to get an idea of the quality of his work. All well and good. I email him several days ago, saying that Wednesday (today) would be good, and that I'd call him to confirm.
So I call today, and he's got the gall to say I could come by, but he wouldn't be there because the floors are being installed. And I sputter just a little and say the point is for him to show me his work, and maybe next week would work? OK, next week.
I thought about this a little, and it's just too much damn work. It feels like I'm pursuing a relationship with someone who's not interested, as opposed to someone I'd like to pay a few thousand dollars to do some work for me. No thanks, there must be some decent workers around who can do this relatively simple project. Back to square one on this.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
From dropping off the bike, Sal and I went to the hardware store, where I bought myself a boxcutter. I felt a little like I should repeat often that I just wanted it to cut boxes, but no one at the hardware store seemed to care. I've ordered enough stuff in the past year or so that has come in cardboard boxes that there was a small mountain of them in the basement.
I felt like a total dufus, though. I'm all set to start slicing up my many boxes, and I can't get the cutter open to install the blade. I squeeze, and I pull, and I push and twist, and spend about 20 minutes, thinking, "I am NOT going back and asking them how to operate a utility knife!" But I did, and as it turned out, part of the packaging was caught. The nice guy at the hardware store freed it and I was on my way. I cut, bundled and got rid of about 30 lbs. of cardboard at the recycling center - yea!
I like being able to patronize local businesses. It's funny, between those two things, I feel like I got a lot done.
I also washed several thrift store sweaters that smelled kind of old and musty, and I just remembered they are still in the bathtub and will need my attention here before too long. I still need to grade some school stuff and do dishes, but it's been a good day.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I grew up in Ohio, and remember the fruit orchards near Lake Erie. The family of one of my x's coworkers at the time owned an orchard, and the memory of being able to walk up to a sweet cherry tree and pick this amazing (it was a good year, 1988) piece of fruit that the tree just GREW is still vivid to this day.
I've been thinking lately about what it would take to be a small farmer (small, as in less than 5 acres). It's totally a pipe dream at the moment, but beside me right now are books with the following titles: "Rebirth of the Small Family Farm", "Starting and Running Your Own Small Farm Business", "Changing the Way America Farms", "Making Your Small Farm Profitable", and The New Organic Grower". I haven't even gotten past the "first, you need to examine your motivations for wanting to farm" parts of these books yet, but the idea is so darn tantalizing. It's fun to think about.
For the moment, though, I will have to be content to manage my current piece of land (she said with a snicker), which is my yard, measuring about 20 x 30'. And that is fine. I love where I live, and don't want to make the mistake of taking on too much and then being overwhelmed. It's funny, though. Since I've been able to make the choice, I've always chosen to live in a house with a yard, partly because I wanted to be able to have the space to grow food if I needed or wanted to.
So, the fruit thing. Well, with my little micro yard, and the fact that this part of Colorado is rather limited to fruit tree options, I've decided to grow a few trees in containers. There are varieties grafted onto dwarf rootstock, and apparently having the roots/tree confined this way mildly stresses the tree so it fruits earlier and a bit more prolifically. And, having them in pots allows me to move them inside if there's a freeze warning, as well as keep them a manageable size for the yard. I'm still planning on having the deck built sometime this spring, and will likely place the trees on the west side of that, in full sun.
And the choices right now include apples and apricots, two of each.