Friday, August 31, 2007

Paddling with the Pirates

I have started going kayaking with a group that gets together every Thursday after work. I am hoping that I will eventually learn how to roll like them but I still haven't gotten wet. I really don't think my kayak is capable of being rolled by a beginner and I didn't feel like learning the wet exit last night. I am hoping to get a nicer, sleeker kayak. Something that is easier to paddle. The more time I spend in my kayak the more of a behemoth it feels like. While it is very stable in the water, I have a hard time paddling in a straight line without the rudder. I also have a hard time maintaining a good pace without tiring myself. Last night it got dark and I didn't think to bring a light so I was trying to keep up with the two guys who had lights. Good thing as the police boat stopped and talked with the other half of the group that had fallen behind. I need to remember to toss a light in my life jacket. I think I need to hit the gear shop and pick up a few other things too to round out my paddling gear.

I ended up not staying after the paddling was over. They normally go for burritos afterwards, but I had been up since 3 for some reason and was very tired. I managed a whole night's sleep last night and hope to get another full night tonight. I hate having to take sleeping aids because I have a harder time getting up in the morning and I don't feel that the sleep I get is as good. I should take up meditation or something.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Slow Week

What a slow week this has been. I really don't have enough to do at work. Because we have a new researcher who doesn't have much common sence, I feel like I have been babysitting and keeping an eye on everything to make sure stuff gets done and gets done properly. I will also have a new student coming in soon who will take over some of the routine tasks I currently do leaving me with more free time. My boss realizes I need more to do but it is a little hard to assign something until we get a new receptionist, and I am able to stop my babysitting duties which likely won't happen anytime soon.

I received my Amazon book order, finally. I placed the order about 2 weeks ago, just before the 'Queen of Candesce' was released. Somehow USPS didn't like the shipping address I gave and rejected my order. So I had to call up Amazon and figure out what happened. I ended up having them redo the order and send it to me for the same dates I would have received it. This meant they charged me for shipping, but they claimed it would be refunded. When I received my order, lo and behold, there was a shipping charge. I had to call again and ask that it be refunded. I don't think they would have refunded it if I hadn't called them up. But in the end, I got my order around the same time as was expected and for the same price. Now I have reading material to go through. I need another bookshelf.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Beer and 'yaking

A group of us went down to Phick Bay and paddled around before stopping for a quick lunch. Too bad the tide was out as it would have been nice to get further up into the salt flats. We did see some osprey and other birds. I think we might have been able to get further back if we had followed the shore line but the guy who was leading didn't think that was a viable route. He also thought that splitting up th elaunch into two groups was a good idea so three of us ended up sitting there waiting with no idea how long the other group was progressing in getting their rentals. He just sat in his kayak being anti-social while I chatted with the other girl. It was a shame to have the split launch. At least we could have chatted together as a group while we were waiting for the rental office to open.

I put some beer on today. I moved one batch into secondary and started an Oatmeal Porter. The weather was hot and humid and making beer was not a good idea but the yeast cake was ready for another batch so I just bit the bullet and did it. I did make quite the mess though. I definitely don't have the right equipment for doing all-grain batches of beer. My feet are tired and everything was covered in sticky sugar syrup. I managed to get the dishes washed up but I will have to clean the floor and rugs tomorrow. I am now relaxing to the chill of the AC in the bedroom. The weather is cooling down but I am so hot from watching boiling wort that I ended up turning on the AC and chilling the bedroom for later relaxing. I think the next batch will not be anytime soon. I did pick up a birch beer soda kit for people who don't drink, so I will prepare that for the next TGIF which I think will be in about 2 weeks.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Kayaking at the dump

I went kayaking last night with a group of kayakers. I ended up with a wet bum. I had a cockpit cover on my kayak to prevent rain from entering the cockpit and giving me a wet seat, this was so I didn't have to keep flipping the kayak over on the roof of the car. Well, it worked to a point but apparently the cockpit cover can only hold so much water before the elastic sides give up. So my kayak was full of water when I took it off the car. To give it some credit, it was able to hold up to some rain, but apparently three days of rain was more than it could handle. I will have to keep the kayak upside down on the car. At least the cockpit cover will keep the straps inside from flapping against the roof, and keep out bugs and rain when I have it on the ground.

On the rain note, due to the large amount of rain we received over the last few days, the Potomac was a little more odorific than usual. There was also more floating garbage than I am used to seeing. Normally I pick up the occassional bottle, but this time I picked up several Gatorade bottles, an Arizona Iced tea can, two tennis balls, a road hockey ball, a broken canoe paddle, small containers and the whopper was a whole tire, rim and all. Someone else took that on their kayak. It is pretty sad what turns up in our rivers and streams. I see lots of trash when I kayak but I notice that the woods are still relatively trash-free. I wonder if hiking is more of a barrier to the litter bugs than hopping on a boat or tossing something out of a car window. Well, in the end, I feel better for having removed some trash from the river, even if it barely made a dent in the amount still out there.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nice and cool

The weather has been nice and cool over the last few days. It has been refreshing and great sleeping weather, if only I could sleep. Still having trouble sleeping through the whole night. Apparently I have somehow decided that waking up at 3:00 every morning is a good idea. I can't seem to fall completely back asleep after that. The weather is going to warm up again but not to the high 30's that we had up until last week. I can't say I am happy about summer starting to wrap up, but the heat has been quite brutal. I will miss the long hours of light but I am looking forward to cooler weather.

I have been thinking about getting another keg. I wanted to make rootbeer for the Journal Pub TGIF thing. Apparently rootbeer has such a strong flavour that it affects the taste of things put into the keg afterwards, so I was thinking about getting a keg that I can dedicate to soda. I thought this would be fun since there are a few people who don't drink, and at least one who can't due to wheat allergies, and I don't always like the selections I have on tap so sometimes I don't drink.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Busy Weekend

I had a nice long to do list of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend. I managed to get most of my list done. I did do all the dishes until I started cooking supper and messed up more. So I still have dishes to wash. I also really wanted to get some mead brewing but didn't have enough honey so that is on hold still. But I did get groceries, put on a batch of beer, went kayaking, and picked up a spray skirt for the kayak. I also managed to finish another cute fruit cap which wasn't on my to do list.

One thing on my list is that I do have to clean out the apartment of junk. I have stuff that I don't use and haven't used that I should toss or give away but I just don't want to part with. I also don't feel like opening and going through boxes of stuff. The weather has not been conducive to heavy indoor activities. I should get a box and put things in it, if I haven't used anything in the box after several months, I should get rid of the box. Can't miss it if I haven't been using it or haven't looked for it. I would clear out lots of space if I pare down my stuff. I also haven't been painting in a long time so I am giving the supplies to my father. I really only seriously kayak, brew, hike, knit and read. So if I have stuff outside of those hobbies, I should part with them.


An easy IPA

I put on a batch of beer today. While the weather was much cooler than it has been in a while, I didn't want to spend over an hour watching a pot boil then mess up a ton of equipment to cool and move wort around. So I pulled out the cans of hopped malt I had bought on a whim (they were on sale) and diluted them in some water and brought it to a boil. I added a small amount of left over hops I had from another recipe. I combined the hot wort with more water then let the whole mess cool in the carboy before pitching in some yeast. I was a little disappointed to find out that one of my expensive yeast packs had somehow expanded on its own in my fridge but luckily I had a backup package of dried yeast. I am going to run two batches back to back on the same yeast cake. So next week I will be making a Porter. I hope the weather cooperates with me.

Come September, I will be starting up the beer TGIF's again. There has been some demand now that classes have started, but since I haven't brewed in a while, my stocks are a little low. I have two spicy beers and very little of the non-spicy beer and one empty keg. The next TGIF will be in three weeks and the IPA will be ready by then. Carbonating in kegs makes things a lot faster. The Porter will be ready shortly after that, then I need to think about what I want to make next.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Queen of Candesce

I found out the other day that the second book in the Virga series I was reading is about to hit book stores. It is called "Queen of Candesce", and is the sequel to "Sun of Suns" by Karl Schroeder. I have been reading some of the books recommended on BoingBoing lately and have been happy with the reading list. Not all books match my reading style, but the ones that have have been great reads. I have taken a few chances on other books I wouldn't normally read and they have also been great reads. I don't think I would have read "Devil in the White City" if it hadn't been for a review I read. I find I haven't been reading as much as I used to. I am not sure if this is because I am busy or just haven't taken the time to go to a bookstore or library. I actually have been meaning to go looking for the local library but haven't taken the time to do so yet. I received a gift card for Amazon recently and will pick up a few books, but when I finish them, I should track down the library.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Lots of kayaking

In two days I managed to go kayaking three times. If I have gone Thursday night like I planned it would have been 4 trips in 4 days. Saturday morning was relatively relaxed, it mapped out to about 3 miles, so 6 miles round trip. Saturday afternoon was a little more stressful as I was helping be a guide on a group trip with people who had little to no experience paddling. The trip mapped out to about 1.2 miles one way but after paddling around to various people to help, I am sure it was much more than that. I ended up giving paddling pointers and trying help keep the group together. I made a little money from it, which was cool but unexpected. I would do it again. I then went out again Sunday morning. We went further than Saturday morning and it mapped out to about 3.7 miles, about 7 miles round trip. This was not as leisurely as Saturday morning and we went further upstream. Far enough that we made it to the bottom of the rapids along the Potomac River. I was quite tired from the two trips on Saturday, tired enough that I had a little trouble unloading and paddling back. I also tried to learn how to use my paddle in the flutter position rather than the flat position I normally use.

All in all, it was a good weekend for exercise and fresh air, not that the air on the Potomac is fresh but it is still outside. I am a little sore and my wrists are tired and a little sore too, but I am doing well. I expected my knees to hurt more than toey did as I was squatting down to help people out of kayaks. Guess the exercises are paying off again. I wanted to get some groceries on the weekend but that didn't happen. I was just so exhausted that I decided to wait. I ordered some stuff from REI and I am expecting it sometime this week. So I will take the time to run out and get it after work when it arrives and pick up food at the same time. I think I will also be going out on Thursday after work.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Surprise Visit

My brother came for a surprise visit. He called me Wednesday to say he was arriving Thursday. I took Friday off and we went down into DC to see a few museums and do some sights. We ate lunch at a place called Frank&Stein, hot dogs and beer. We also caught a movie, Rush Hour 3. It was good comic relief, a little light on plot. At least it was cool in the theater. The weather was really hot when he arrived, it was a scorcher on Friday when we were walking around downtown. Thankfully it started to cool down. I managed to get another AC unit in the apartment which helped a lot. I took him kayaking Saturday morning. I also ended up going kayaking Saturday afternoon. I hope I don't kayak myself out. He will be leaving tomorrow morning and I have another kayaking trip planned then too.

I asked my brother to bring his external hard drive with him. We started watching the 5th season of Alias since I haven't seen it yet. There are a lot of shows on the hard drive that I want to see so I will have something to watch when I finish StarGate. I am now on season 9.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Sore from backpacking

Okay, so I forgot to stretch but there must be something more than that. My outer leg muscles are really sore, and I don't remember using them enough to warrant such pain. Oh well. I guess I am out of shape. I just haven't been getting out as much as I used to. And sitting in front of the computer knitting and watching StarGate does not count as exercise.

It was very hot today, still is. I have been trying to bring shorts to work to change into for the walk home, but I forgot to bring them today. Walking in this heat is really hard to do. I have been turning on the AC so I can sleep at night but sometimes it walks me up when it kicks on. I haven't been cooking much as it is simply too hot. The kitchen is small enough that the heat builds up quickly. I basically boil some pasta and dump some sauce on top. And I really don't want to eat hot foods when it is this hot. I wanted to tuck into the ice cream the other day but that would have been stupid. I don't want to be sick and hot.

The weather is expected to be hot most of this week. I will have to remember shorts tomorrow. I also switched back to my shoes as my feet were a little tender after the hiking. I am cooler in sandals but my feet need a break. Hopefully I can switch back to the sandals soon. Just thinking about socks in this weather is making me hot.


Friday, August 03, 2007


I went out last night with a few friends to a weekly Thursday night happy hour. I didn't know that many people in the group so I didn't stay long. Also, with the loud music, it was hard to talk to people. I did chat with my boyfriend. He was in the hospital after getting a love tap from a car. He was sore but otherwise physically fine. He was really pissed with the driver, the police had been useless and he was madder than hell when I called.

Today I hosted another TGIF homebrew happy hour and again not many people showed up. I am going to wait a few weeks before the next one. At that point the semester should be staring and there will be fresh faces. I will also but up some flyers and try to drum up more people. The more the merrier. The few of us brainstormed some ideas to improve on the event. Someone suggested talking about science but that was blown out of the water right away. This is more social than work. But the food idea is worth trying. I think cake and beer might work.

Although turn out was low for the TGIF, we stayed until 7:00 and I got home late. I have all my hiking stuff piled up and it is a matter of pulling out the frozen water bottle and packing tomorrow morning. I am sitting down and knitting more baby caps while watching more Stargate. I have modified the design of the pattern I am using and have made a watermelon coloured cap. It is so much cuter than the other caps I have made so far, so I am making more so I can sell them. I will have to post a good pic when I take one. Everyone at work really liked them.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007


It is time to go out on a backpacking trip. I realized I haven't been out in a while and I have a small back log of gear that I need to take out for testing. At least the number of items I currently have out is small and multi-purpose. I can't wear the rain gear anymore as it is simply too hot, but the shorts and bug dope I can use while day hiking and kayaking.

The trip planned is a small 9 mile over night trip. 5 miles in, 3 miles out. I am trying to see if I can get my pack weight below 20 lbs. I keep hitting that mark but I haven't been able to go below. So with summer here and no need for heavier winter gear, I am going to see how low I can go.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Kayak shopping

I was randomly looking around on Craigslist and came across what looked like a really sweet deal on a custom-made wooden kayak. So I drove out to take a look at it yesterday and it wasn't what I was looking for. Oh well, I guess that is a good thing. More money staying in the bank account. I also have been trying to evaluate the condition of my car. I have to decide if it is worth repairing or if I am better off selling and getting something newer. After looking at the rather long list of repairs needed and how much they are going to cost, it looks like a newer car is the best option. The repairs that the car needs is about how much the car is worth. So I am starting to look around and I have to evaluate how much I can sell the current car for and how much I can afford to pay for a newer car. While I really want a car that can keep up with and go over dirt roads, I don't want to have to spend that much money on something right now.