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The Laursonian Institute

An exercise in thoroughness

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Posts tagged garden

Sewing, shopping, digging, drilling, baking, working?

I’m feeling so accomplished today!   Lewis and I finished the sprinkler project (except to fill the trenches back in), and I finished sewing my robe (which I’m wearing right now)!  In addition to that, we got a whole bunch of supplies at Ace, and I did a little patch work on our bed to make it less creaky.  Think we’re going to try and get a little donation fund going for Christmas this year to see if maybe we can’t collect enough money to help us buy a new mattress / box spring.   But for now, at least I’ve gotten the bed less rickety.  Also managed to make pizza for dinner (thanks to having frozen half a recipe’s worth of dough a while back).  And last but not least – Lewis and I sorta got a job today!  We stopped by campus to pick up Lewis’ TA paycheck, and ran in to Hawkins, who apparently had just been talking about us to the Dean and had us in mind for a project he wanted to get done.  Already some money from a “seed grant” he has secured, and all we need to do is figure out how to give his project some “web presence”.  In academic-talk, what that really means is setting up some portal page that at least had some text, some pictures, and a place to download relevant papers.  Shouldn’t be anything out of our league, and any money is welcome money!

Lessons in Obvious

It’s been a most triumphant spring break kind of day.  Got up early to go to the doctor… turns out I have twelve kinds of stress.  Or at least I have enough stress I’m failing to do anything with that I’ve racked up three stupid body things this quarter – migraines, heart palpitations, and a knot in my neck that feels like a tumor.  Anyway, doctor checked everything out, and he’s going to do some routine bloodwork, but otherwise I’ve been prescribed some chilling the hell out.  So… yeah.  Like I said yesterday, I guess I need to take this seriously.  That’s a really difficult thing to get ones mind around – seriously needing to chill out.  It’s a lot easier to think you’ll get to chilling out at some point when all the important stuff is done, instead of the chilling out being part of the important stuff.

I’m making headway in that direction though.  I toured a gym today, and I think I’m feeling settled on joining.  It seems like a great place – a separate women’s workout room, classes are all free and are all drop-in, towel and locker service… they even put shampoo and conditioner in all the showers, have free towel service, don’t play any music, have the TVs all on mute, and give you two free sessions with a trainer.  The class schedule looks nice, the fees aren’t terrible, and there’s no contract.  The people in there today also seemed really reasonable – no crazy bodybuilders, no meat market feeling, and a surprising number of middle-aged folks and seniors… just the sort of folks I want!  Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from the Center (where I have a class, and will be doing research at next quarter), thus not far from the house, and also could be made to be on the way to campus.  I don’t see how there’s a downside, other than general gym-phobia.  But if yoga classes and some regular working out-type exercise make me feel better, and maybe teach me to release some stress… it’s got to be worth it.  And maybe I’ll stop having panic attacks and migraines!  I’m pretty excited, if somewhat aprehensive.

So post gym and doctor today, we spent the whole day working in the front yard.  I put together a little master plan for what I want to do with the front garden, and we got a really great start today!  I spread out the whole pile of dirt that was left over from the palm tree stump’s removal.  We’ve been letting the pile decompose for a while hoping to make dirt out of palm fiber, and it was looking really nice when I got into it today.  So I flattened all that, and trimmed the front hedge, and helped Lewis remove some small tree things.  It’s amazing how much nicer it looks already!  Thursday is going to be our big nursury trip, I think, to get the plants and vines and whatnot we’d like to put in.  I’ll post pictures as soon as there’s something more than excitingly flat dirt.  I’m very excited!

Same As It Ever Was

Another day like the last, which isn’t much to complain about, except that I acquired a case of ennui.  These things happen.

The morning was pretty triumphant.  I lept out of bed and into the kitchen and made Lewis some tasty waffles for breakfast.  I think waffles are pretty decent, but something about these mornings I don’t start off with a fruit smoothie makes it seem like my afternoon drags a bit.  I wonder how much of that is psychological and how much of that is nutritional.  One would assume a breakfast of yogurt and fruit is probably more energy-inducing than a breakfast of sugar and carbohydrates, even though latter breakfast comes with tea.  This didn’t stop me from at least getting our shower head switcharoo executed, at least, but that was about the last useful thing I feel like I got done.

This pile isn't very picturesque.

This pile isn't very picturesque, but I'm proud!

Lewis did manage to rouse me for a bit more garden work, so we did succeed in digging up the whole herb garden plot.  The soil there is really rich and nutritious, but so compact it was nearly cement.  I was fairly well exhausted by the time I was done with the pitchfork portion of the job.   Spent my requisite outdoor time this afternoon having lunch and watching the Boo fail to hunt a butterfly.  That was actually fairly sad;  I think he may have smooshed it but not killed it, so it was fluttering around our lawn seemingly unbothered but grounded.  Ridiculous cat.   He also had his first neighbors-yard adventures today after jumping up to the top of our fence.  He didn’t seem to care much about about the yards, but I think he’s rather keen on the Boo-highway that the fence boards provide.

Took a journey out of doors to try and find a bar stool like item to use as a work chair for my envisioned garage work space.  I’d like to set up lots of stuff out there, so I can do messy craft things at my leisure.  I’m not sure what these messy craft things are, but I do know that I need a work area to do them on!  I’ve already got the table part ready, so it’s just a matter of getting it all set up and cosy looking.  That might be a good thing to do with my day tomorrow, really.  I think the Lawyers might have a bar stool I can use, and we’re cat sitting for them tomorrow, so that would be a good time to check it out.  Also managed to hit up some thrift stores and found ourselves a nice three-cup tea pot for five bucks.  Score!

Rest of my night was spent talking to my parents and making chocolate chip peanut butter cookies.  They turned out pretty decent, but I wouldn’t call them stellar.  Not sure what they’re missing to make them perfect, but they certainly are pretty tasty.  It was good to talk to my parents, too.  They’ll be visiting here next month and bringing me the sewing machine, and my mandolins!  What luck!  I had given up on the mandolins already, so that was fairly exciting news.  The music room will be up and running in no time.

Green Thumbing It

Alien pod part, missing plant greenery

Alien pod part, missing plant greenery

It’s been really amazing having so much free time, and having gorgeous weather at the same time!  Today Lewis and I managed to move the mystery plants out of our soon-to-be-herb garden and into a shady spot below the tree in the corner.  It turns out our little plants (I do wish I had a name, or anything even google-able) have little root bulbs, like multi-rooted beets.  I was really surprised after I dug the first one up!   They definitely look like little alien creatures.  I hope they’ll do okay in their new location… they do look pretty hearty.

So that was the afternoon.  This morning we rolled out of bed fashionably late and got to our last welcome week seminar right on time.  It was an info session on using the UC library system, especially for the social science and humanities.  It was actually surprisingly informative.  It seems like the average incoming graduate student would know how to use a library, but either I’m rusty, or I never realized the extent of my privlages as an undergrad.  But there was also lots of good grad-specific stuff too, like how you can use the library for the classes you TA for, and what privliages a graduate student researcher gets (like getting a library proxy card for the professor you work for so you can check stuff out for them in absentia).  Another really sweet thing is that the way UCD runs things each subject gets assigned one of their librarians who is responsible for knowing generally their way around the resources of your field, so there’s actually a linguistics-ally inclined librarian just waiting to photocopy journals for me.  Yay!  The best part of the whole thing was perhaps that the librarians giving the presentation were really hilarious and entertaining people, and it made me really excited to start doing my own research.

Went straight from the library seminar to try out the ol’ UCD wifi network on my beloved lappy.  No glitches to speak of!  Got signed in, got on the network, and was off and running.  This makes my “things that I might not know how to make work on my linux lappy” list satisfyingly short.  I know networks can be a real beast, but I’ve had nothing but luck on my machine, and it’s been a total trooper since I got it.  Even managed to get streaming audio up and running last night, though I’m still stuck at getting flash in Opera (my own fault for using not-Firefox but I’m completely addicted).  All I’m saying is, as soon as we get Colbert Report videos working on this thing (actually they don’t work in Firefox for me either) I think I’ve got no “major” hitches left.  And that’s a pretty damn low-level major hitch.

The plant parts - I remembered!

The plant parts - I remembered!

A short run to the Co-op later, and we were home eating brie and apple sandwiches and contemplating our gardening triumph du jour.  I should remember to take a picture of those silly plants for the blog tomorrow, though they won’t be nearly as amusing now that they’re planted and you can’t see their little tuber-sacks.  Gardening pretty much sucked the life out of me this afternoon, so I read for a while on the lawn.  I’m really getting into my Flaubert, though it took me a while to warm up to it.  Cutest moment of the day happened about then, too.  We’ve been letting the Boo out in the afternoons to get his fill of fresh air and outdoorsiness, but he was distinctly less curious than he has been for the last few days.  I think at heart he’s an indoor cat that craves people more than he craves adventure.  Anyway, he had mostly been sniffing around for a few hours and seemed to have gotten pretty bored, but as soon as I sat down in the lawn he trotted right over to me making those little Boo blurts he does.  He sat down on my blanket, curled up against my leg, and was asleep mere moments later.  It’s as if he were waiting all day for someone to be doing nothing outside so that he could do what he wanted most – nothing.  With someone watching over him so he didn’t have to be nervous.

Which reminds me of the sort of sad event of the day, even if it’s only sad in a doting-parent sort of way.  Lewis was watering the newly relocated foliage, which is about as far from the hose spiggot as possible.  So the hose lives in this roll-up-house device for storage, that requires a lot of pulling to unravel.  The little plastic house isn’t secured to anything, so you end up pulling it across the yard a bit while you’re trying to get yourself more hose.  Anyway, the Boo was sitting nearby the hose house when Lewis pulled on it and it made a scary cement scraping noise and moved at him.  Our kitty panicked, like he always does, and tried to run inside.  Sadly, he was too scared to be paying enough attention to the door and ran right into the closed portion of the screen!  Nearly did it a second time, and then finally found the open part we had left for him for just this sort of emergency.  He was so mortified he didn’t go back outside all day.  Poor embarrassed and scared kitty!

Tomorrow should be great.  The only welcome week thing left is a coffee and bagels social, which sounds pretty tasty, and has flexible attendance hours.  After that, it’s major garden tackling time – I think we’re going to prep the rest of the beds in the back yard for planting, and if I’m still feeling frisky after that, maybe even move some of the herbs into their plot!  And with any luck, the Boo won’t be terrifying himself into any more silly predicaments.  All I could do was watch and go, “Aww.. oh no!”

Two Days In One

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been up (as in, slept the preceding hours) before four am.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had to be up that early, really.  This morning the Lawyers were headed to Hawaii and Lewis nicely offered to drive them to the airport.  Guess they had a 6 am flight, which meant we needed to leave Davis just after four.  Surprisingly we got to bed last night at a decent hour, and the 3:45 alarm didn’t seem as ridiculous as it could have.  We made some tea, drove to the airport, drove home, and promptly slept through the remainder of the morning.  Boo seemed confused about the going-back-to-bedness, but after a little jostling we all were sound asleep.

So needless to say, we missed our 9 am bike tour of campus appointment, but I’m not too bothered.  My theme this week has been to try and not worry about non-mandatory things.  All of this welcome week stuff is voluntary, so though we’ve signed up for lots of stuff, it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth stressing my last week before classes.  We did, however, make it to campus for our first seminar – an introduction to funding.  Just on time, too.  The funding situation for graduate students is really bizarrely complicated, and it feels so much better to hear the finance officers explain that it’s just really complicated.  It’s not that anyone is being a masochist about it, it’s just that all the grad programs are patchwork funding quilts and we just can’t expect that this stuff is going to be centralized.  So a sigh of relief there, and a double sigh to see that both Lewis and my tuition got paid right on time – yesterday!  I apparently owe them the “typical remainder” which I can feel satisfied not freaking out about now, since I know that if I’m going to be a TA they’re going to expect I pay this two hundred dollars of tuition.  I have no idea why.  We bought our books, too, and checked out the student union eateries for lunch.  I’m starting to feel like a real student!

King of his lair. Sort of.

King of his lair. Sort of.

Super productive afternoon after we came back.  I finished weeding the back yard gardens, and mowed the lawn.  Seemed like it was a good time to let the kitty out, so I watched him in the yard for a while. He’s really surprising outside, because I figured until yesterday that he would be off like a shot when we finally let him outside. I don’t know what gave me that impression, given his general nervous temperament, but he has completely proven me wrong. He sort of keeps an eye on us the whole time he’s out, and he didn’t even remotely try getting out of the back yard today. He actually seemed to get bored after poking around a bit and came and meowed at me to be pet.  Silly boy.

At any rate, the weather was really wonderful today, the perfect temperature for sitting out and reading, so I spent a while doing that to give Boo a chance to feel like he could hang out for a while.  We also trimmed up the front garden, and it’s really starting to look nice around here.  I can’t wait to plant some plants!  Made a delicious cobb for dinner, called my parents, and I’ve been chilling out and watching Mythbusters ever since.  I’m going to call this day a total success.    Anyway, here’s my picture du jour… my adoreable kitty poking around the newly trimmed back garden.  Yay!

This place…

I keep thinking I’ll get back to posting tonight closer to bed time, then I screw around on the internet for ages and realize that I’m already tired and I really do intend to keep blogging nightly… so here I am, bleary-eyed and with nothing to say but “i did chores today”.

Which is true.

It’s acutally been rather productive today.  This morning after breakfast I wrote up a huge list of stuff I want to get done in the near-ish future and completely covered our minuature white board.  But I have made a little progress, and none of it is particularly critical.  Just stuff I want to get done to feel like I’ve “finished” setting up the house.  It’s crazy how much stuff there is to do when you have all this extra space and outdoors to take care of in addition to the regular gettin’ business done sort of stuff.

This morning I spent a while digging out mystery overgrown plants in one of our flower beds.  I’d like to start planting soon, thinking that maybe it’s a good time to get stuff in before the winter, and before we can do that we need to dig up all the old crap that’s here and prepare our beds with something better than wood chips and dirt.  Lewis got a compost bin for his birthday (from his parents!) which we’ll set up pretty soon and finally have something to do with our food scraps and lawn clippings and such.  Anyway, it was rather gratifying working in this dirt this morning, and it’s looking a little better out there already.

I also put a little dent in the filing that needs to be done.  We finally got ourselves (rescued from the Lawyers’ garage, at least) an honest-to-goodness filing cabinet and it’s high time I got all our disparate files in one place.  It’s really oddly telescopic seeing your life through the lense of the paperwork you generate.  Why do we have 15 different accounts in our “finance” section?  What the hell has gone on that two kids can generate 15 different bank and credit accounts in this amount of time?  It’s also really funny finding uber-important documents like your diploma right after you’ve spent the last few minutes deciding whether I need to keep set-up instructions to items I don’t even own any longer… Sadly, I only managed to put away the files that were already somewhat organized and still have all the more important, less sane papers scattered all over the desk to get through.

After a day like that, there was really nothing left we could do but forage in the fridge and watch the remaining two Monty Python episodes I haven’t seen in our collection.   And of course, uploading pictures to the blog, and the aforementioned screwing around on the internet until I realize it’s already getting late.  I’ve got orientation to start in a few days, here!  This is no time to get in a stay-up-way-too-late-doing-nothing habit!   Jeesh.