The trip to the east coast

Alas, I have returned.  After ten hour traveling days, I have arrived back at home.  The cat is certainly happy to have me home (she’s sitting in my lap at the moment.)

Really had a good time out in DC.  Spent some time at the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress.   Then on to the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Definitely a highlight of the trip, something that I have wanted to see for quite some time.  The next day we went on down to Mt Vernon, Washington’s estate.  That place is pretty damn cool.  Washington, being a self taught architect, designed the house and all of the out buildings.  He was also into “technology”, things like a rope and pulley system that rang bells in the kitchen to inform the workers (they were mostly slaves) that one of the guests required assistance.  There were also 13 fireplaces in the house… can you imagine keeping 13 fireplaces running in the winter time in northern Virginia?

From the house, we drove on down the road the Washington’s distillery and grist miller.  As I mentioned before, Washington was into technology, and his grist mill was cutting edge for the day.  There is a 16 foot water wheel, that was fed by a two mile long ditch fed by a pond at the other end.  From the pond to the mill the land dropped eighteen feet, to make sure that there was constant water pressure to turn the wheel.  His distillery, at it’s peak, produced almost 11,000 gallons of rye whiskey, which in 1799 made Washington the largest producer of whiskey in America.  If you find yourself in northern Virginia, and are interested in history… and spirits, I highly recommend you stop by Washington’s distillery and gristmill, it will be worth the trip.

After leaving Mt Vernon, we drove out to and through Shenandoah National Park.  Plenty of wildlife around for those who look.  We saw several deer and a black bear.  Definitely one of the most beautiful places this country has to offer.  The history of the valley is interesting as well.  ” Employing audacity and rapid, unpredictable movements on interior lines, Jackson’s 17,000 men marched 646 miles (1,040 km) in 48 days and won several minor battles as they successfully engaged three Union armies (52,000 men), preventing them from reinforcing the Union offensive against Richmond.”  excerpt taken from wikipedia.  Needles to say the place has some history.  Before California was considered the “breadbasket” of the US, the Shenandoah valley held that distinction and to this day, it is one of the most fertile locations.

After Shenandoah, we drove on through to the observatory in Green Bank WV.  NRAO, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.  The “GBT” or great big telescope is the main dish at the facility as well as the largest man made moveable structure on the planet.  It stands 485 feet tall and the collection is is 110 meters by 100 meters… the thing is huge.  My girlfriend is working at the observatory for the summer, so we got a tour of the place… pretty cool piece of equipment.  They are scanning the Orion nebula, checking the composition of compounds that are floating in interstellar space, which just so happens to be one of the greatest star making regions in our galaxy.

I have said it already, but I do mean it, if you find yourself out on the central east coast, I highly recommend you check out a couple of the places.  It really helps ground you, knowing a little more of the history of our country, and seeing some of our own “state of the art” equipment in action.



Time for a little R&R

Going to be flying out the DC area in a couple of hours for some much needed R&R.  This past week with other people being out on vacation from work, it has been absolutely nuts.  To top it off I haven’t seen my sweetie in almost 5 weeks, I am chomping at the bit.  Time can’t move fast enough.  After checking out the archives or whatever else we decide to do, we will be heading to the NRAO in Green Bank WV to see where she is working this summer.

I hope everyone’s summer is going well.

See ya’ll in a week!

Catch up week with Bikram

This week is going to be a catch up week.  After taking as much time off as I did, I have to work in an extra class.  Tonight’s class was unbelievable better then Monday’s.  Monday, I thought that I just might not make it through the class.  My head was pounding, I had to kneel out of a couple of posses.  To say the least it was a bit frustrating.

Tonight’s class was almost 1,000 times better.  It was quite 1,000 times better because my balance seemed like it just didn’t want to hang around very long.  I didn’t have any dizzy moments tonight, which was much appreciated.  Not sure who is responsible for the clarity tonight, but I thank them for it. My flexibility seemed to take a step forward off of the plateau I had been on, except for my left knee.  the left knee, always late to the party.

All of this adds up to a class that passed by rather quickly.  In order to keep this up, I am going to head back for a third class this week.  This, I believe, will be the first week I have gone to three classes.  Hopefully Friday will be better then today!

Preparing for the loss of a loved one.

I know this topic will probably turn a lot of people off solely with the title.  But this is a topic that really needs to be addressed before something bad happens, because the loss could be you, and you family may have to make do without you.

Keeping track of your finances is something that you should be doing regardless.  Knowing your financial status allows you to be a smarter consumer.  It also will help take care of your loved ones if something were to happen to you.  If the loss is not you, it will make taking care of all issues much easier.  Putting together a budget, with plans for savings, will allow for a more “normal” life is something happens.

What will become of your possessions?  Your properties?  Do you have a will, does your significant other have a will?  Are there any trusts set up for any children you may have?  Is everyone aware of them?

Finally, have you prepared yourself mentally for this eventuality?  I think this is the part that people have the biggest problem with.  We as humans do not naturally think about our own end.  If we open ourselves to the inevitability, we can make the process easier on everyone.  Just like going through mental exercises to prepare yourself for a football game or for a challenging hike or a race, having taking the time to envision what we will do or what types of decisions that will need to be made will give us confidence in our everyday lives that we are not going to be left, or leave a loved one, stranded.

Take the time to talk with your family.  Don’t leave to regret not saying what you feel or how you feel to your family.  Putting off these things will lead to regret.

Garden update

It has been a while since I posted about the status of the garden.  Just about all of the lettuce, spinach, arugula and coriander has bolted and gone to seed. All of my beets went straight to seed and/or died, which is weird, because beets aren’t supposed to go to seed until their second year.  Most of the carrots I planted did not get enough sun and died shortly after sprouting.

For once, I have onions that are actually forming a bulb and are not going straight to seed.  The shallots that never came out of the ground last year have all multiplied and appear to be doing well.  I have some Italian Rose beans, as well as Blue Lake bush beans all going strong.  The tomatoes that were volunteers in mom’s garden are doing extremely well.  One is a beefsteak type and the other appears to be a cherry.  Two of the bell peppers that were planted two years ago refuse to die, they have some small peppers on them.

My hops are looking pretty good.  I think I over fertilized a couple weeks ago because they all but stopped their growth (maybe they were putting energy into root growth, ahead of a big push above ground)  I know that you shouldn’t expect to get much, if any, of a harvest from you first year, but it would be really cool to make a beer with home grown hops this year.

The fruit trees are doing ok.  The Blood Orange has a couple fruit on it, the Honey Mandarin is going gang busters, grapefruit is putting on some leaves (it needs them), the pear looks good (probably won’t get any fruit production until next year), the apple… the apple… darned neighborhood kids.  I have close to two dozen apples on the tree earlier this spring.  Now, there are 5.  I think they kids thought it would be fun to use them as projectiles… or food. Grumble…. And last but not least, my Kumquat is working on it’s third crop in a year and a half.

All in all, not bad, but I should put more production into the raised beds…  As with everything else, it’s finding the time.  I have to put that drip system and timer in this weekend.  That should help out.

WOW!!!! back to Bikram… I don’t remember it feeling like this…

So today I took my lazy butt back to yoga.  It has been six weeks since I was last at class.  Life had gotten crazy and just didn’t have the chance to get to class.  I knew it was going to be a little rough, and I wasn’t just going to step right back in where I left off, but….

It is really amazing how tight ones back can get from staying away from the yoga studio.  Right off the bat, with half moon, I knew that my body was not going to cooperate tonight.

So, I go at it with the intention of “taking it easy”…. which lasts all of about five seconds.  I’m pushing for the limit… and it’s only 10 seconds into the 60… oh boy, so this is how my first class back is going to go…

Make it through half moon, awkward pose… amazingly strong.  Excellent, maybe this won’t be as bad as I thought.  Eagle pose, piece of cake, confidence is building.  Standing head to knee, I’m not the greatest, but I can hold my own for a big guy… not bad.  Balance is a little off, but I pull through.  Standing bow… right side ok… left side… umm… I think my foot is supposed to come over the top… I think… Oh boy, heart rate is really starting to climb.  Hmmmm, this could be trouble.  Balancing stick, I’m still here… Standing separate leg, breath… and of course everyone’s favorite! Triangle pose!… oh crap, legs are shaking… I really don’t remember this being this hard… come on, come on, let me switch!!!!! ok, switch… oh crap, now I’m doing this to the other side.  Phew, made it through that, standing separate head to knee… wait… this is normally an easier pose… awwww crap… this really is going to be one of those nights.  Tree pose and toe stand… balance is wobbling, please don’t fall over.  And then one of the best parts of the night, Savasna… dead man’s pose… I’m on my back trying to catch my breath.

The rest of the night was manageable.  I made it through.  But my arms were feeling the strain.  I think it will take another two practices to get my back back to straight. If someone had told me it was going to feel like this, I would not have taken a month and a half off.  Moral of the story, do not take a long time off and expect that you will come back where you left off.

Dealing with burnout

Seems like I have been burning the candle at both ends recently.  I don’t feel like I am accomplishing everything that I need to get done.  This week feels like I have hit a wall.  The day just seems to come to a close before I am ready.  Today’s post is the 41st post for me.  Has it really been two months since I started penning these thoughts?  For someone who was never really fond of writing, I was more of the numbers/science/history types, this experience has been quite educational.  It is another way of working through some of the myriad of information in my head.  Just putting these thoughts down tonight, seems to have eased some of the tension.  This project was somewhat forced.  I am testing a theory that goes along the lines of the old saying, “if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger”.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

One of the things I have learned these past four years is, that feeling burnt out and losing motivation, is normal.  Everyone has doubts sometimes.  When it happens, we need to double up out focus on what is important to us, and what our goal really is.

Tomorrow is Friday, and this weekend is mother’s day.  See you tomorrow!