Well, true to form I entirely missed writing here in April and am on to May. I have three half-started posts and no all-finished posts. I am caught somewhere between accepting that I just don’t write here regularly and where I actually want to be (Anne Lamott’s instructions: Butt in chair. Just do it.) But binge watching M*A*S*H on Netflix every evening has won out lately. (Full disclosure: Moonstruck is streaming on my phone as I type this post on my computer, but I sort of feel like as long as I finish this, it is okay).
I am starting to feel more settled. In mid-April I finally moved my things out of storage and into my new house. Unpacking has been more than a little like seeing long-lost friends. A dear friend helped me pack back in January when I moved back to the city. Unpacking all of the meticulously wrapped glasses and kitchen items, seeing all of the carefully labeled boxes so I could tell what was in each one, it made me realize how incredibly lucky I am to have a friend like that, someone who didn’t think twice about dropping everything and driving 100 miles with me to spend 18 hours packing up all of my worldly belongings and cleaning a house that wasn’t hers and then turning around to drive 100 miles back. I have learned a lot about friendship from her in the last few months.
It seems like every time I start to get in a groove with my running something happens to throw me off. March was going really, really well. Then one morning after a great 6 mile run I was in the shower. I reached for the shampoo. That’s all I did. My upper back was in exquisite pain for nearly two weeks. It was the kind of pain where I could only fall asleep for about ten minutes at a time and then would wake up because of the pain when I moved in my sleep and just cry because I couldn’t figure out anything at all to do to make it better or to be able to sleep and my god, all I wanted to do was get a good night’s sleep. It was not the most fun I have ever had. After about two weeks of this it slowly started to get better and now I am more or less back to normal, glory be. Grad school killed my upper back. (I want to call grad school a bad word, but I won’t.)
I almost always start a blog post with a bulleted list of things I want to include and then fill things out from there. As I was doing it this time, I realized that just about every single one of those bullets could be a blog post of its own. Butt in chair, J-Dubes. Come on, now.
For tonight, because I am also a firm believer that sometimes you just have to put something out there in the world even though you know it isn’t finished, I’m giving you some short bullets, along with pretty pictures.
So here is the abridged version what I have been up to in the last month and a half:
I’m a regular blogger over at the Leica Birding Blog. In early April I wrote a post about taking my nephews birding for the first time. I meant to share that back when it happened, but I procrastinated and then they published another post I wrote about local patch birding. So I guess that while I haven’t been writing for my own blog, at least I have been doing a little bit of writing somewhere.
I babysat my friend’s accordion for four years and finally was able to give it back to him. It was a beautiful instrument, but too big for me to play. I was really glad to be able to take care of it for him and give it back, even though he didn’t give it to me with any expectations of getting it back.
We found out that we received a Heritage Fund grant from Arizona Game & Fish to put together a series of monthly field outings for young birders in southern Arizona. Here’s a picture of a trip we took to Pima Canyon last month–everything was in bloom. Amazing.
I took a tile paver workshop at Santa Theresa Tileworks. Everyone was so complimentary when I shared the pictures that I feel compelled to explain: I didn’t make the individual tiles. I did do all of the design and…I don’t know what you call it–construction? Once I decided on the design I cemented it it all in place and did the grouting.
I traveled to San Diego to the Trilateral Committee for Ecosystem and Wildlife Conservation in San Diego. I gave two presentations, including one to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Director of the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the Director General for Wildlife for the Mexican Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources–more than a little nerve-wracking, but I think it went well. I also got to spend an afternoon/evening wandering around the San Diego Zoo–I have mixed feelings about zoos, but this one is pretty special. I got a little goofy with some of the statutes. #flystyle with an extinct prehistoric bird. Fun times!
My management board met in San Diego right after the Trilateral. There are some major changes on the horizon for my program, but I feel fortunate to get to work with a lot of really amazing people, doing a job that I love.
I took an incredible science communications short course from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC). I definitely have a longer post coming about this experience. The workshop days were long and full, but we still had a bit of time for some evening and early morning birding.
NCTC has an Eagle Cam for the nesting pair of Bald Eagles on their property. My friend Danielle and I went birding one morning before class started and saw this guy (gal?) and it’s mate come into the nest with a fish, as well as an interloper young bird that this one chased away. Digiscoped with (Danielle’s) Leica APO-Televid 65 + iPhone 5s + Phone Skope Adapter.
I’ve been in a good place with running for the last month. I hit my monthly mileage goal for the first time this year in April. May is also off to a good start. My travel and field work schedule between now and September is ridiculous, but I’m looking around for some races to put on the calendar. I got in two runs while I was back east last week, including a gorgeous seven-miler along the trails and roads at NCTC. (I stopped for a quick picture with the Potomac River behind me.)
So that’s the medium-form version of what I’ve been up to lately. My goal for May? Butt in chair. Keep on running. More writing. Less Netflix. Bird by bird.