A Coming Light

The long, dark days of winter are slowly giving way to a brighter, more tangible time of year. It’s light until almost 530 now and my room begins to brighten around 645. I’m excited for the coming light.

I’m currently sitting here in bed, just finished drinking some coffee, reading Steinbeck, and watching it snow. I went out yesterday for a two hour walk in the warm, spring-like air. What a difference a day makes. We have at least four inches of new snow on the ground, with another three to come. I don’t ever grow tired of the snow, but I do like December snow the most I think.

This post is just a quick update on the progress of my resolutions. I got back in the gym four times this week. Ouch! I forgot what being really sore feels like. I really got after it after almost a month off. None of my old injuries hurt, so the time off did the trick I suppose. I also did personal best on weights all week, which was such a welcome and unexpected accomplishment. I guess rest is critical after all.

My walk yesterday was meant as a way to jump-start my birding adventures for the year. I initially set out to find the Eastern Screech Owl that has been reported at Spring Canyon Park and quickly found it. But I turned a 30 minute trip into a 2 hour trip. I scoured the area for birds, but also for simple experiences in nature. I searched nearly every conifer (>100) in the park for other wintering owls, but no luck. I came across a large flock of over-wintering(?) Red-Winged Blackbirds. I was a bit surprised to see them here this time of year and was even more surprised to hear the males singing. Another sure sign of increasing daylight.

While on my walk I decided that I am committing myself to a Colorado big year, but with a twist. I will do it by bike. I will only count species that I see/hear while I travel to and from sites by bike. This will certainly limit my opportunities, but I’m pretty excited about it. Why? First, my truck is getting up there in mileage (+245,000) and it doesn’t do well at all in the winter. Second, I’m a conservationist. Something seems wrong with travelling the state at 14 mpg just to see birds. Last, exercise and sounds. By travelling on bike, I’ll get in even better shape, which will help my fitness goals for the year. Also, I’ll hear and see more via the quiet solitude of bike travel as advocated in ‘Listening to a Continent Sing’ by Don Kroodsma.

As far as adding 100 new life birds for the year, well that took a big hit this week. I decided against travel to Trinidad in March. I need a new vehicle (see above paragraph) and I am hoping I can eek out the money with savings from cancelling the Trinidad trip, not taking a big summer vacation, and selling my truck. We’ll see. Let’s hope my other finances hold as well. It’s funny, I haven’t even parted with her yet and I already miss her.

I also gave up online dating this week. Apps are deleted. It’s time to forget how to swipe and remember how to converse. I’m not going to lie, I’m still not overly thrilled about dating, but there is something to this that feels filled with potential. I don’t care how mainstream online dating has become, it still seems like a cop-out in some ways. It’s a way to not have to deal with rejection face-to-face. I kind of look forward to embracing those moments as a way to prepare for and learn how to respond to rejection in other areas of life, such as my professional endeavors.

Speaking of professional endeavors, I got to work on ‘Science in 60’ this week. I have a good portion of a script written for the first episode. I need to work on the refinement of the messaging, language, and audio mixing potential, so I am still a ways off from releasing the first episode. But there is some momentum building, which is something I long for.

I miss the feeling of pure, uninterrupted, almost machine-like discipline. The last time I had such focus in my life was during the fall of 2014 when I was training for my half marathon. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as focused, except maybe with the exception of the last 60 days of my dissertation work. My hope is that these podcasts get me started back down a road into a similar mindset. My fitness goals should piggy back and get me the rest of the way there. I can’t help but think that reading Steinbeck’s journals from when he wrote ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is further motivating me, and that’s ok. I like the human connection he and I could share.

As a way to jump-start this discipline, I started meal planning last week. I am cooking all of my weekly meals on Sunday, so that I can devote more of my time during the week towards my personal goals. I think it was a success this first week. I purchased some meal planning Tupperware to help with this process and they just arrived yesterday. I’m actually about to head upstairs to start prepping my meals for the next week (very excited!) before heading out to play some pool with friends. Conversing, not swiping.

Looking for that laser sharp focus.

Currently listening to ‘Oh Wonder’. Can’t get enough of this duo.



New Year’s Resolutions Part 2

Well here we are, the second year of Gaviaimmersion, which means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions part II! I’m a little late posting these, but I’ve been so busy with holiday and work travel. However, I’ve had these goals in mind for a few weeks and I think they are totally achievable this year. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. The fitness trifecta!

First, increase my weight to more than 200lbs. I’ve flirted with it for some time, but I’ve fluctuated from 185-195 for the last year. It’s time to cross that barrier in a healthy way that will let me age gracefully. Ideally I’d like to settle in around 215-220lbs.

Second, run a sub 5 minute mile again. I nearly did it in 2014 with a time around 5:10-5:15, but because of a stress fracture in my shin I wasn’t able to quite complete it. I ran a 4:50 mile in high school and to date I view this as my peak physical/athletic accomplishment. Surely I can do better at 34/35.

Third, increase my vertical jump by 4″. I’m at 24″ right now, which is up from 22″ from earlier last year. I can dunk a basketball, but I really want to throw down like I’ve always wanted to. Get ready to be posterized!

    2. The birding trifecta!

First, get 5 new life birds in the United States. Rosy Finches and Sage Grouse have teased me long enough! Prairie chickens, I’m looking right at you! Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you Whooping Crane!

Second, see 200 species of birds in Colorado. I thought I would attempt a Colorado big year this year, but I just have too many other things I want to do with my time. So instead, I’ll just try to increase my birding activity by maintaining a list and seeing where it takes me. I would like to limit my efforts to Larimer County or maybe only species seen by bike travel, but we shall see.

Third, add 100 life birds overall. A trip to Trinidad in March should take care of this!

   3. Give up online dating.

I’m over it. It’s pretty much the worst thing ever. And the worst thing of all, I think people justify it as a means for their busy lives, when in actuality it’s likely a justification for not having the courage to face rejection. It’s time to get over that and do this the old fashioned way.

    4. Learn two songs on the guitar and banjo apiece.

I failed at this one last year, so let’s give it a shot again. I’d really like to learn my scales, but that’s a bit intimidating. Maybe I’ll try that one while I learn the songs. This again is the resolution most likely to fail, but I can feel a little momentum, so there’s always hope!

     5. Create two meaningful writing projects.

This is the next step to taking my writing seriously again. Last year creating this blog was an attempt to jump start my writing productivity. Now that I feel better about writing in general and my confidence has increased, it’s time to turn my attention towards writing that is more meaningful towards my career.

I have ideas for two audio podcasts that should propel me into a more formal writing mode. I need to sit down with a good bottle of scotch (thanks Emily!) and flesh out the details.

One of the ideas is to capture the power of sound as a memory tool. The idea is that sound and smell are the strongest eliciters of memory, even moreso than vision. And since I’m particularly interested in sound, I want to create a podcast that deals with people’s memories that are tied to specific sounds.

The second idea is a podcast called Science in 60. I am less sure about the direction I want to take this one, but I do know that I want to create a digestible weekly pill of a meaningful discovery in science. Most importantly, I want it to include messaging that is influential and memorable so that easily discussed talking points can spread to water coolers across the country (a. do water coolers still exist in offices? b. Mom, do you have one because that’s probably the furthest these efforts reach).

I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of these projects!

So there they are, Resolutions 2018. Time to get started!