My friend/housemate and I have agreed that I can rent the room I’ve been staying in for the next year and a half, while she’s up at Berkeley. It works out well for both of us: I’m paying considerably less than I’d pay for an apartment, and get practically the entire house to myself–she gets a housesitter she can trust, plus some income from the rental, and can pop down and visit whenever she wants to.
So I’ve spent most of the last few days moving–moving the stuff she was storing in my room back into her room, and moving a few of my things in. Instead of 3/4 of a single dresser, I now have TWO dressers entirely for my own stuff–luxury! And the boxes, furniture, and giant artists’ supply cabinet that were in my room are gone, and the snake cages are up off the floor, so I have oodles and oodles more room than before. I’ve been on a rampage of organizing, categorizing, and tossing out everything that doesn’t work. Going down to my storage space and retrieving things from the more accessible boxes.
In short, I am nesting. 🙂
Not much else to report at the moment–or rather, I don’t have time to go into the depth I’d like–I start my new job on Monday, AND my sample chapter is being reviewed in my writing class on Monday evening, so as you can guess I’m pretty frantic. I’ve spent today either cooking (a wonnnnnderful cream of tomato soup using dry-farmed tomatoes (intense flavor), top-grade manufacturer’s cream (super-heavy, non-ultrapasteurized whipping cream), milk, and a few spices), working on the book, or hemming pants. I have four pairs of pants finished so far and have another four to go. Dang, I wish I were taller!
But the short version of cool stuff happening:
- Interviewed the director of AIDS Lifecycle about the event, and got some really cool factoids (do you realize that they went through 11,000 gallons of water and 32,000 pounds of ice in just seven days? or that they needed seven forklifts on the event? 884 porta-potties?), plus a lot of great insights to how the ride works.
My favorite factoid: the advance road manager goes out the day before the riders go out, and removes all the dead animals with a shovel. (Dang, these people are organized.) Mystery solved! I had wondered how we could ride 600 miles in 7 days and not see a single roadkill. Now I know…
Anyway, I’ll write more about that later when I’m not so busy. However, I did make inroads on getting interviews with some of my more elusive subjects, and am getting ready to interview one of the Cycle Buddies and trying to set up an interview with the chair of the Board at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. By all accounts, he’s a really nice guy, and I want to use his perspective on Day One, to put the Ride into context. (He’s HIV+, by the way.)
- Wrote a couple of really good commentaries (don’t recall if I’ve posted it to the “Posts” blog yet–if I haven’t, I’ll do it once I have a chance to catch up) on unconscious prejudices and sexism. Very happy with that because it addresses something I’ve wanted to talk about for quite some time: sexism does not have to be overt or intentional to be prejudicial. In fact, most of the sexism I’ve run into are what I call “10% factors”: it’s not that they hate you and think you shouldn’t be there, but you don’t match their (internal) image of category X, so they don’t feel quite right around you, and you have to work 10% harder to convince them that yes, you *are* competent even though you don’t quite “smell right”.
But I’ve never been able to express that with precision before, so I’m happy about having written that. Like I said, I’ll post it once I have a chance to catch up. Several other women in science/engineering have already thanked me for pinning down so precisely the gender issues they’re struggling with.
- A small thing: discovered a really tasty, low-fat, and fairly low-effort meal. I needed to cook a turkey breast, but it was too big to pan-fry and would probably dry out anyway (it’s 99% fat-free). I was trying to figure out what to do with it, and eventually thought of cooking it en papillote! So I got a big sheet of parchment paper, put the turkey on it, got out some bacon/ham I’d bought at the farmer’s market, and sliced the ham thin and put it on the turkey for flavor.
Then I started thinking what else I’d want to cook with it–some kind of onion of course–and threw in a scallion or two. More fast-cooking vegetables–sliced up two carrots and threw them in. And then I peeled and added a few chestnuts, because I love chestnuts and thought the onions and other flavorings might cook in. Then I sealed up the parchment envelope (papillote) and stuck it into the toaster oven. Presto, maybe half an hour later I had perfectly cooked turkey, with a slight smoky flavor from the ham, the carrots and scallions were tender and tasty, and–bonus–the chestnuts were fantastic. They absorbed all the flavors and came out with this glorious bacon/ham/smoky richness, plus the natural sweetness of the chestnuts. It was glorious. (I plan to try it again this week.)
- Second best of all: my cycling coach (the one who got me ready for AIDS Lifecycle 2 in just seven weeks!) has agreed to train me for AIDS Lifecycle 4!! I was really worried about whether I’d be able to ride this year, since the knee is still giving me trouble, but if Curtis is training me, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do it. Not only is he a top-notch cycling coach, but he’s also a licensed physical therapist and an expert bike fitter. So whatever goes wrong, odds are that he’ll understand it and have a fix for it. I feel way better. And I am starting my training ASAP.
- And, the BEST of all: I get my cats back!! I’m flying out to the East Coast sometime in early to mid December, and taking my darlings home with me. The very worst thing about being unemployed has been being separated from my cats…but soon the Fuzz will be chewing on my phone cords, and Sweetheart will be bossing me shamelessly around, as usual. Yay!!
Anyway, that’s the short form…project-wise, I’m still doing the blackwork a bit, plus I’ve decided (yet again) to learn the Dvorak keyboard. Dvorak is supposed to be much more comfortable and often faster than the standard QWERTY keyboard–which was originally designed to *slow down* typists. (Back in the Stone Age, i.e. the age of manual machines, a fast typist would jam the machine, so it was important to keep the speed down to avoid mishaps.)
I’ve been fascinated by this, and keep trying to learn the Dvorak keyboard. Problem is, I type at about 110 wpm on QWERTY (and now you know how I manage to write such long posts! 😉 ), so going down to 20 wpm on Dvorak is just intensely frustrating. So I’m trying it again, but don’t expect to switch over this time, either; it’s just a fun thing to try. 🙂 I like having a stupid video game to play while thinking about what I’m writing, and it might as well be a typing tutor. 🙂
That’s it for tonight…back to work on the chapter!