Friday, September 5, 2014

The continued desire for packs, pledges, and other hazards

I stopped blogging mid-way through the Savage Minds writing series. I'll be doing the fall series again (1 hour/day) and I haven't really stopped writing this year. I'm currently in a heavy editing phase where I am no longer generating new manuscripts but working on revising and revising existing manuscripts and grants. Again, I'm hoping to get a few more out over the next few weeks, so post-wedding I can get the decks cleared and get back to writing instead of revising.

My other pacts however, are a continued passion. I did the Academic Muse Writing Group, and decided that it was too pricy for me. I wasn't getting what I wanted out of it, even if I did get a paper submitted during the month. I was just as productive the next month on my own.

I'm currently doing gympact, everymove, walgreens rewards, and Achievemint. Also, CharityMiles, and currently, the #RunAnnaRun pledge of 0.1 miles per day EACH for Wounded Warrior Project and Red, White, and Blue. I'm accomplishing these through a midday sanity walk, that breaks up writing and forces me to move and think. Lifehacker had a great piece on the need to unplug and reconnect with nature (Darwin did it!), and I am finding it really useful.

With EveryMove, I've personally saved $25 off new running insoles (which I like, but don't love), and donated $30 to charity.

Walgreens Rewards gives us money off purchases. We'll easily save $5/month just from what I was already doing.

Achievemint continues to plug along. They've modified what is accepted and balanced out the points a bit. But I can still regularly gain 200+ points per day, towards my $50 visa gift card. I'm at 38,000 thus far - and for a long time, not a lot counted.

Gympact is the stick, if Achievemint is the carrot. Everymove and Achievemint are just rewards. You earn what you do. They are essentially giving you money for your data, which I am okay with.

But gympact is a stick. A big stick. I do 4 gyms, 3 food logs, and 8 veggies a week, each at $5. I pay $5 if I don't complete the pact. I get much less for completing the pacts - usually around $2/week. But man, does it get me moving, eating, doing.

Overall, I suspect by the end of the year, I will have donated $400 to charity between all the apps, and earned around $100 for myself. Not bad for being healthy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Week 2 - Sabbitical

Blogging fell by the wayside. I can barely keep up with the research blog.

But I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, and reboot myself during year 4. Year 4! I've been TT for 3 full years.

What's going on? Training to run a 10k after injury after injury. I am down to a 9:43/mile for a 5k, with a goal of 9:40/mile (under 30 5k) for my last 5k of the season. According to runkeeper, I've logged 304 miles so far this year, significantly under the target goal. But, I spent May in an ankle boot after a fall and was not back to regular miles until July.

Writing - 3 papers in review (woohoo) with a revisions to a book chapter due mid-month. Two other papers are out for comments. We're halfway done with the lab analyses on two more.  It has been a mad, mad summer of productivity.

I'm also turning into a DIY wedding freak. I'm wrapping vases, making my own invites, maps, info cards, designing the website, and making favors. Plus spray painting welcome bags in my spare time.

Tomorrow is the last evening race of the summer series, then a 10k and 5k and my season is over. I'm planning on doing group runs Thursday morning, so we'll see how that goes. Probably will fade as the weather cools.

Current count
Miles: 304!Only 538 left to go! Probably not going to make this goal - but I am doing a minimum 1.5 miles each day, with long runs on T, Th, Sat.
Meal/dishes: 54. Only 30 left to go! Today was a tasty "science of cookies" experiement. Link: I also think this goal is possible.
Writing: 4 in review; 2 of which are accepted with tiny edits needed. 2 others out for comments. Well on track to make 8/8 this year.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sunday check in

Another week, and the first with all my pledges and the semester running simultaneously. It was a long week; revisions submitted Monday, revisions to other draft sent Tuesday, full lab days Tuesday and Wednesday,  comments back on Thursday and the Monday revisions accepted, and grant writing Friday and Saturday,  with the grant sent to collaborators just before midnight. We've started the next set of analyses with great success thus far.

The weekend started off rough,  but a nice walk as a lego Ent cheered me up. I am still struggling with balance, as my fitbit can attest - not a lot of sleep. Some of that is fueled by a respiratory infection. The rest was service commitments. 

Role call:
Miles: 10.2! Now under 800!
Recipes: 1. Pear hazelnut muffins. We had way too much pizza this week.
Writing: manuscript accepted! 1/8.

Goals next week:
Revisions, revisions,  revisions.
2 days in the lab.
2-3 new recipes.
10 miles, 3 gym trips.
The week is going to be busy, and as part of my "be kind to yourself", I am being honest with my priorities next week. I am also going to try to prioritize sleep, so I can shake this cold.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My fixation with groups and pledges

In an attempt to motivate myself and reinforce accountability, as well as maintain some semblance of work life balance, I have signed up for no less than 3 challenges/accountability groups for the new year. The first was FitPursuit, 4 weeks, 9 miles/week with proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation. Easy, since my personal running goal is 10-20 miles per week.

Next, I signed up for 3-30-3 at the gym (3 times a week, for 30 minutes, for 3 months). This was the logical progression of the above - given the weather and my headaches if I run in the cold, I'm going to the gym 3-4 times a week to run. I might as well commit to doing it for the next 3 months.

Most recently, I signed up for the Savage Minds Writing Group, pledging to write 1 hour a day for the next 10 weeks. All of these, of course, directly address the challenges I have set for myself this year. I have been, however, really bad at tracking my mileage for my personal goals.

I did however, finally cook a meal worth counting towards the 84 recipes: oven roasted amaretto sour chicken (recipe here: with mashed parsnips and carrots. Tonight, I plan to make hummus.

The "Accepted with Minor Revisions" piece was submitted yesterday, marking my first submission of 2014, even if the bulk of the work was last year. Maybe it can be the 0.42 of the 8.42 papers?

Current count
Miles: 39.9!Only 802.1 left to go!
Meal/dishes: 1. Only 83 left to go!
Writing: 0.42. Only 8 left to go!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Behind, already

It is only Jan 10, and as expected, I am already behind. The January Cure is sort of happening - at least, I think the 11.5 inches of snow will have melted enough that I can move the brewing and baking supplies, in their new airtight tubs, from the kitchen to the outside store room. Once this is done, I can probably do the rest of the Cure and get the kitchen semi-functional for the semester.

I received another rejection email, for a paper submitted in November. I was actually quite surprised by this one. The review was thoughtful and mostly helpful - if nothing else it certainly identified the problem I thought was going on. I just have to think critically about how to resolve this issue. I suspect the best answer is simply more - read more and write more. But it was not a good week writing wise. I made no progress with this goal.

It was a good week running wise -
Monday  - gym closed, massive snow and cold.
Tuesday - 6 miles
Wednesday - 3.5 miles
Thursday - 4.5 miles
Friday - zero
Saturday - goal is 6 miles. 
Total: 14 miles (+ 6) = 20

Cooking. We ate old recipes. Nothing to report.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year, New Goals, New Format

I'm revisiting this blog this year, and really repurposing it in many ways. It will be become a bit more personal than most of my online presence. My research blog,, is the place to go for my take on milk science and breastfeeding research. Here will be a bot more personal, a bit more of putting together my life and personal goals for another year on the TT.

Here are the 2014 goals:

Run 842 Miles.

Cook 84 dishes, 75% of which are new recipes. 

Publish 8 articles.

Submit 4 large grants.

Finish 2 new lab protocols.

The personal goals: 
Get my house organized.
Keep my house organized.
Go on a small trip somewhere.
Get married.
Have a nice wedding without going crazy trying to plan it and keep it affordable.