Tag: needtotravelmore

Month in Review: May

So we’re officially entered June, and within a blink of an eye—the year will be half over. May has been helpful slightly in that I’ve realized that I need to do a “reboot break” some time soon. One of the books I finished reading this month was “Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break” by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith. It showed me that sometimes “quitting” something is the best thing to do, in order to figure out what it is you really want to do. So sometime between now and November (when my job contract is up), I’ll be starting my reboot break (more on this in additional posts).

But while I’ve realized that I need to take a “reboot break”, the things I realized over the course of April still hold true: 1) I still have no idea of what I want to do job wise (though I have a couple of ideas). I also realize that this statement can be taken literally, and it isn’t meant to be—all I mean is that I haven’t decided which direction I want to go as a “specialist” and which direction I want to go as a “generalist”. 2) I still have yet to find a good balance between things—I seem to be either all in or barely in at all; and 3) I really need to work on getting the anxiety and stress under control.

But as we head into the final month of the second quarter, it is time to reflect back on the goals that I set for May. Again, as I’ve mentioned previously—the goals are going to be staying the same (more or less)—that way I can continue trying to reach them monthly, and once they become an habit—then I can switch them up.

So the goals for May included:

At least 434,000 steps (again breaking down to 14K/day)

Continue with the photography challenge

Start back on a workout schedule (potentially alternating between weight training & cardio).

Read (or finish) at least 3 non-fiction books

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep a money log)

Continue to try to interact more on linkedin

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

So how did I do with each one?

At least 434,000 steps (again breaking down to 14K/day)

            I managed to surpass my goal of at least 434,000 steps (even though there were several days that I was below both 14K and at times 5K). My final step total for the month was 466,661 steps. This brings my yearly total to 2,240,365 steps.  In terms of my yearly goal of 5 million steps, I’m 2,759,635 steps away and there are still 201 days left in the year. That means I only need 13,730 steps per day for the rest of the year to reach 5 million.

            In terms of my 1001-day goal of reaching 14,014,000 steps that I had originally set last year (which would end approximately Sept 28 2020)—I’m at 7,519,336 steps. There are ~472 days left in my first 1001-day challenge. I’m 6,494,664 steps away (which breaks down to again 13,760 steps a day to reach the goal). So I’m good on this goal as well.

Continue with the photography challenge

            I had to post a couple of days together (or several on the same day) due to the wifi being down in the evening at home. I had to post four days worth over two days (instead of doing three at once—I did two on Friday, and then two on Saturday morning). I’ve managed to keep up with the challenge (even with having to do catch-up posts). This only happened twice in the month (one long post for days 80-82; and then for the end of the month and beginning of June).

Start back on a workout schedule (potentially alternating between weight training & cardio).

            I will admit that other than walking and trying to get my steps in daily I haven’t been doing a real workout program for the month of May. This is one of the things that has really made me stop and look at how far I’ve let both my mental and physical health slide the past couple of months.

Read (or finish) at least 3 non-fiction books

I actually managed to finish four books this month, and I’ve written a book review for one of those books (“Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break”). The one by Devin Thorp was okay—since I don’t have kids, own a house, or and things like that, there were several chapters that didn’t pertain to my life.

The two that were basically career/networking guides just helped to remind me that I do need to try to spend more time networking and figuring out what I want to do with life (there are still questions in one of the books that I need to go back and continue working through).

So the full titles and authors of the books that I finished reading during May were:

925 ideas to help you save money, get out of debt, and retire a millionaire by Devin Thorp

Reboot your life: energize your career and life by taking a break by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, and Jaye Smith

Next Gen PhD: A Guide to Career Paths in Science by Melanie V Sinche

Navigating the path to industry: A hiring managers advice to academics looking for a job in industry by M.R. Nelson

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep a money log)

            I managed to go maybe two days a week without spending money on campus this month. I’ve realized that part of my problem is that I turn to sweets to help deal with irritations at work (also it’s one of my excuses for getting my steps in). I’m hoping that I will do better during the month of June (especially if I figure out how to “forget” my wallet at home a few days a week).

Continue to try to interact more on linkedin

            This is something that is up and down throughout the month. Mentally I feel drained in the evenings and weekends—therefore I focus on things that help me mentally regroup before the next week. Interacting on linkedin right now isn’t one of those things. Again—I know where my problem is, I just need to figure out the best method for starting to deal with it in a way that isn’t going to backfire on me in long run.

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

            I’m slowly working on things—but since I’ve realized I need a “reboot break” I’m trying to figure out how to fit that into the whole plan as well. I want to mentally recharge and find my footing again—but at the same time I don’t want to be wasting time that I could be spending on job searching either.

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

            Have totally forgotten about doing this during the month—my bad. Need to get the pages to almost pop up as my home pages to remind me to scroll through things and start “acting” like an adult.

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

            I’ve read the abstract of several different papers over the month—but that has been as far as I’ve gotten on this one. It’s hard to do, when you’ve realized how close to total burnout you’ve gotten.

So the major thing I managed to accomplish this month was realizing that I really need to take time for myself—get my health (mental and physical) back on track, take care of a few other things, and then also focus on my job search. While I know that there are people who will disagree with me—currently I’d rather not have a job and be able to sleep well at night, then have a job, sleep miserably, and not enjoy what I’m having to spend 40 hours a week doing. I’m also 39 and just realizing that it’s time to sit and really try to figure out what I want to do with the second half of my life (though I’m sure I’ll live past 78).

Therefore the goals for June include:

At least 420,000 steps (14K/day)

Reading (or finishing) at least 3 non-fiction books

Continuing with the photography challenge

Working on planning my “reboot break”

Aim for two weeks of no spending (keep a money log)

Continue to try to interact more on linkedin

Start back on a workout schedule (potentially alternating between weight training & cardio).

Continue working through the various e-courses/groups and transition plan (making notes, narrowing down on cities, looking into companies, and figuring out my superpower trifecta)

Read at least one article on FiercePharma and/or FierceBiotech (weekly and work up to daily) and make notes so that I can do a blog post (or weekly recap of what I’ve read).

Read at least one scientific article a week and write a 500-word summary for a potential blog/science post.

I’ve added in one additional goal—but I think that could be the goal that really gets me to focus more on the others in the second half of the year. Because I need to keep reminding myself—that every day is a new start, and when taking everything into account, we only live once. I’ve put work and being in a lab center in my life longer than I should have–now I need to pull it back and see what else could benefit with being the center of my life for awhile.

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Playing catch-up on the photography challenge. Days 80 to 83.

Well today’s post is actually going to be several posts combined into one to play catch-up on the photography challenge. Since the weather has been rainy, cloudy, and then slightly sunny—our internet/wifi has been the same—down, down, up, down, down, oh you can have access for about three minutes and then down again over the past few days.


This unfortunately is why I didn’t get pictures posted after Tuesday (yes, I could have tried to find the time at work to post—but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that) night. Therefore today’s post is going to be a mix of different things. So let’s get started on the photography challenge catch-up.

The winner for day 80 (Wednesday) is the hummingbird at the back feeder. We usually try to get our hummingbird feeder out in mid-April to feed the hummingbirds as they migrate through—though the ruby-throated hummingbird does summer in Oklahoma. It looks like either it’s a female ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder, or a young male that hasn’t molted into the bright red throat.

Ruby-throated hummingbird has made an appearance in the backyard.

What are some cool facts about the ruby-throated hummingbird?

This is basically the only hummingbird that is seen in the eastern United States; as it is the only breeding hummingbird east of the Great Plains.

It can beat its wings approximately 53 times a second (that means its beating its wings almost 3200 times a minute).

Due to having extremely short legs, it shuffles along its perch (it doesn’t walk or hop). But it can still scratch its head & neck if needed.

It’s either a female or a very young male–I don’t see the red throat.

It belongs to the order Apodiformes (along with swifts), and the name means “without feet”—mainly because in flight it doesn’t look to have feet.

While they mainly feed at flowers (or feeders that have sugar water), they will occasionally eat small insects as well.

Depending on the number of broods, the female may start building a new nest while still feeding the nestlings in the first nest (as the nest will stretch as the young grow).

They can migrate a long distance (for example from Canada down to Costa Rica), and often fly over the Gulf of Mexico during migration (either way).

It seems to be thirsty today.

As much as I’d love to get a picture of one trying to shuffle along a branch–they usually perch extremely high (sometimes I can get a picture of it sitting on the power lines), but I doubt I’d be able to catch it close to its nest where it’d most likely be shuffling along a branch.

References:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Ruby-throated_Hummingbird/overview

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/ruby-throated-hummingbird

The winners for day 81 (Thursday) are the squirrels hanging from the birdfeeders in the backyard.

Someone doesn’t want to hunt for seeds…

So we had to buy a new birdfeeder after the squirrels had chewed a hole in the lid of the one I’d bought a few years earlier from the national wildlife foundation. This is a birdfeeder we have hanging in front of the window in the living room, where the cats can lay on the back of the loveseat and watch the birds, and anyone sitting in the recliner across the room can also watch the birds.

Since we live next to a small creek, and not that far from some wooded areas, we have quite a few squirrels in the neighborhood. These little critters also like to help themselves to the birdseed and bird suets in the backyard, so we try to get the birdfeeders that claim to be “squirrel proof”.

They’re doing an upside down “hug” to stay on the feeder.

Well as you can tell from the picture—the squirrels have figured out how to get around the “squirrel proof” byline and get to the birdseed. This particular feeder is suppose to be weight sensitive—to where if something heavy is on it, the bars slide down and the animal can’t get to the bird seed.

A young raccoon had broken the lid earlier this spring—I’d found the feeder on the ground and the lid pulled off, and since then the squirrels have figured out that if they “hug” the feeder they can distribute their weight and still get to the bird seed.

So yesterday would have been day 82 of the photography challenge. This is the day that I usually try to also share some of the fish pictures I’ve taken over the years–making it a FishyFriday post as well. So in addition to that–it’s also a FlashbackFriday post to one of my trips to the New England Aquarium.

I’ve realized that one thing I should start doing when I go to aquariums/zoos/museums and am taking pictures—I should also try to get pictures of the plaques that state what animals are in the exhibit (or time period if I’m in a museum).  It is quite difficult to google “black and white stripped fish new England aquarium” and actually get a good hit on what that particular fish actually is.

Thankfully, I have managed to identify all three of the fish (though it took quite a bit of time to be able to do so).

A French grunt swimming in the large ocean tank at the New England Aquarium

The yellow-striped fish is actually a French grunt fish (Haemulon flavolineatum). This fish species is actually native to western Atlantic ocean and can be found basically from South Carolina down into the Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean and then downwards towards northern coast of Brazil.

They feed primarily on small crustaceans and mollusks that they hunt for during the night. They stay in close proximity to coral reefs (probably to be able to dart to safety to escape predators) while hunting.

Their name comes from the noise they make when they grind their teeth together.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haemulon_flavolineatum; https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/haemulon-flavolineatum/

A fish that is known by many names: pufferfish, balloonfish, and blowfish

The second fish is the balloonfish. This fish is also known as the pufferfish, blowfish, and bubblefish (just to name a few of the other names).

The habitat of the balloonfish, are the warm shallow coastal waters; more specifically coral reefs, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds. They stay hidden for the most part during the day—though I’m sure they’ve given plenty of scuba divers and snorkelers a shock if they’re accidentally awoken in their hidey-holes.

They are nocturnal feeders, going after clams, snails, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and other mollusks that dwell on the sea floor.

If something comes upon them (and they think they could be eaten), balloonfish will puff up to almost three times their normal size; this puffing also allows for special scales to stick out, and they then look like a spiked football, which most predators will then leave alone. The bubblefish will then float away, and may wait awhile before releasing the air (or water) to shrink back down to its normal size.

References: https://www.scienceandthesea.org/program/201008/balloon-fish

Honeycomb cowfish swimming in the tank at the aquarium.

The final fish is the honeycomb cowfish. This fish gets its name from the hexagonal scales that cover most of its body.  This is one of the ways that the fish is able to blend in with the coral reefs it calls home, though they are also found in seagrass beds as well.

This fish is found in the western Atlantic (east coast of the United States), the Caribbean, and then down towards Brazil. While it isn’t found in the Gulf of Mexico, it can be found around Florida (mainly on the Atlantic side and the Keys).

They feed on shrimp, algae, and sponges during the day.  Another way that they protect themselves from predators (aside from the hexagonal scale like armor) is the ability to change their color to blend in with their surrounds as well. Once they sense a threat—they can change their colors, and then remain stationary for quite some time.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeycomb_cowfish

Now we’re finally up to today’s photography challenge winner, and it’s one of the hundred or so I took last year on our small vacation down to New Mexico. One of the places that we went to was Carlsbad Cavern National Park.

One of the many formations one can see in the grand cavern at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

. While we only spent a short time in the caves, I managed to get over a hundred pictures of the caves. Because no matter which way you turned, there was a new angle to take a picture, different lighting, and so forth.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the caves, showing the “draperies” of the caves. As one of the signs stated: “Draperies form where water containing dissolved limestone runs down the ceiling leaving traces of calcite. Over hundreds of years, calcite crystals accumulate. When water stops flowing, draperies stop growing.”

The proper name for the draperies is actually “speleothems”. Since we only spent time in a small part of the national park (the main caves and then a small drive through one of the canyons), I’d like to go back at some point—but maybe actually signup for a tour of the inner caves—which is basically a five hour round trip in and out (which is one of the reasons why I didn’t do it last time). I know that I need to be in a little bit better physical (and possibly even mental) state than what I currently am in.

So I’ve managed to catch up on the photography challenge, and hopefully the wifi connection will behave and I won’t have to many other multiple post days. Though while in a slight enforced ban on electronics–I was able to get some other things done (there will be several posts coming over the next few weeks on this)–so that was one small bright spot. Until the next picture–remember to try to find the beauty in the everyday.

No Comments bird watchingNational ParksnaturePhotographytravelZoos/Aquariums