Thoughts on Working from Home

daily life, dissertation

A couple months ago, at a friend’s wedding a college friend of mine told me that it must be nice to work from home. You do not have to get dressed. You do not have to go anywhere. It seems really easy.

I get it. And I admit to enjoying the advantages of working from home. I can decide when I work out. There is nowhere I have to physically be. The flexibility is wonderful.

Recently an aunt of mine showed up to my house as a surprise. It was 10:30am. I was still in pajamas and the house was chaos. I woke up, poured myself some coffee, and started writing. So, yes, I was doing something, but I was kind of embarrassed to be a 28 year old woman still in pjs on before lunch on a Tuesday.

But I do not love working from home. For one thing, even though being a productive writer makes me happy, sitting around in pajamas all day does not. Being in my house all day makes me agitated, anxious even. Then there is the work/home separation. I wake up. I go to my desk. I work. When I make lunch, there it is, just sitting there. I cannot leave it. It lives with me. There is no end of the day. Even when I’m not working, it is there reminding me that I could be working.

One of the things I’m trying to make more an effort to do this semester is work on campus consistently. Even though I try to do working hours at home, it just is not the same. I need physical separation. I need to have that feeling of coming home from work. I was at work, but now I am home.

I’ve never been one for procrastination or putting things off, but I think going to campus allows for a little bit more order in the day. When I’m home, everything seems to meld together. I’m writing a dissertation and doing laundry. I’m sitting at my desk, but I’m aware, all-too-aware that the dishes need to be done and the living room is a mess. Mental energy.

I have been working in the library for a week now and it feels better. When I go home for the night, I know I’m done for the day. It makes a world of difference.

xo, Ali

What I’m Loving Lately III

books, daily life, food

And yes, I will continue to use Roman numerals for all of these.

This is basically the last week of summer for us. Classes start on campus next week Wednesday which means come this weekend our college town will be filled with undergrads again. Summer hours for favorite coffee shops will be over. It will be harder to find a spot in the library (we are graduate students are a pretty studious school). And, most importantly, I will begin teaching for the first time ever. Hello, anxiety.

I have a few solutions for when I become a bundle of nerves. Here is what is making the end of the summer especially enjoyable.

Watching : I am about ten years late on this bandwagon, but I officially started watching The Office. I have tried to watch it before, but did not like the show at all. I would get second-hand embarrassment over the awkward situations. Bruno loves it though and has had it on as background (he’s watched it several times) while he does administrative tasks. Now I’m hooked. It took three times, but I guess the third time is the charm, right? I also now get this The “Oval” Office parody.

Listening : I’ve been listening to a audiobooks lately. Sometimes all I want to do is listen to podcasts, but sometimes I just get tired of them. I’m currently going back and forth between the classic book on the Charles Manson family murders, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, and the controversial 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. I’m finding them both interesting, although the Manson book can be at times dry and repetitive. I get it though. Some of the witnesses repeat information and there are a bunch of rules for prosecution and evidence that I do not understand. The whole situation is terrifying and definitely shows the danger of a breakdown of culture, which of course leads me to the Peterson book. In a strange twist, the biggest Peterson fans in my life are all married women. Go figure. I want to get the hardcover version so that I can actually take notes. It can be easy to miss things when you listen on audible. I do not find anything he says that shocking. I think he stretches some things (I’m currently on the chapter where he equates the ancient sacrificing to the gods to sacrificing our present desires for a better future well-being…I get what he saying, put off facebook today and work so you can have a better tomorrow, but how he gets there I don’t know), but I think his overall points make sense.

Reading : A lot of Ryan Holiday. I liked the Ego is the EnemyI am not too keen on the Obstacle is the Way. Both books contradict each other. I’m not sure if this is because they have different purposes. For example, Ego is the Enemy notes that Steve Jobs had to learn to get it together before Apple took him back. His ego was a problem and he needed to overcome it. The Obstacle is the Way seems to praise Jobs’ ego. It was Apple that was in the wrong for firing Jobs. They just did not appreciate his vision. So, ok, is it just ok to maniacal if you have “vision”? Where the first book is anti-workaholic, pro-character, I’m not so sure about Obstacle. Once again Holiday praises Jobs for his excessive demands on other people all in the name of getting a product out. Sure, they produced whatever technology on time, but at the expense of how many relationships, health problems, parents not home with children? Both are worth reading, but Ego is the Enemy is by far superior.

Eating : I have been trying to snack more. I felt kind of weird during a CrossFit work out last week. My head felt slightly woozy. I work out right before dinner, so I figured I was probably hungry and needed to eat more. Enter my two favorite snacks of the moment. From Aldi’s I buy Coconut Cashews. These are magical. I’m sure they are not the healthiest, but they are glorious and probably better than snacking on cookies or chips. Then, from Kroger’s we have been buying the Kroger brand beef jerky. Previously I did not like beef jerky. I thought it was too hard, too chewy, and kind of gross. This jerky has changed everything. I no longer feel like I am gnawing on a piece of dried meat like a dog. It is the perfect texture and I like the smokehouse flavor best thus far.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

Outdoors People

daily life

Growing up I always thought some people were outside people, some people were inside people. I disliked outside activities. I did not like sports (although I did love swimming). I did not like camping. I did not like fishing. My dad was a dairy farmer, so spending time outside was inevitable, but what I really wanted to do was be inside, preferably with a book. I think Nietzsche makes a joke about pasty intellectuals (if he didn’t, it sounds like something he would say).

I suppose that changed when I started running. I began doing all my runs on an indoor track at my college rec center. When my runs became longer than three miles, I started doing them on the treadmill. It was not until I went home that summer, deprived of rec center and treadmill, that I began running outside. At this point, the most I was running was maybe three or four miles at a time. That year, I trained for a half, so this thesis-writing college senior was forced outdoors. The treadmill became the dreadmill. I now train outside in the rain and in the freezing cold (hello, Michigan winters). Only storms and ice keep me inside.

I suppose this transitioned into other areas. Instead of reading at my desk, I started bringing my books outside on the front porch. Little things, but a big difference from my former self who could only be tempted into spending time outside if beer was involved.

I read Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run and while I remained far away from the ability to run an ultra, most ultra and trail runners seemed to be outdoors enthusiasts. I read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Jennifer Pharr Davis’s Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. I caught the bug. I wanted to go on my own adventure. Of course, I have no idea what I’m doing (still don’t), so we asked for basic camping equipment for Christmas and we took a wilderness survival class in the spring in the hopes that someday we will go on our own backpacking or remote camping trip.

But first, baby steps. I’ve gone camping before, but never on purpose. I went with my parents. I think the last time before this past weekend was a trip with my mom and step-dad to Wolverine, Michigan. I remember liking it, but it was not anything I would do on my own. So, this weekend was a “new” experience in its own way.

We went to a state park, so nothing super out remote or out there. Putting up the tent took us longer than the box said, but no meltdowns occurred. We learned that we may not be completely hopeless at this outdoors thing. I made sandwiches and s’mores over the fire. We were kept awake by loud bugs. I was bit up by mosquitos all over my feet, the only place where I forgot to spray off. Aside for the half-marathon, we did not really do anything exciting. Our legs were tired, so we just sat around and talked and not talked. We walked to the lake and cooled our legs off. Bruno practiced floating and swimming. I posted occasionally on Instagram, but because service was spotty, I mainly stayed off my phone.

Bruno said on the way home that he did not think about his dissertation the entire weekend. He told me it was the most relaxed he had felt in a long time. I felt similarly and was actually sad to come home on Sunday. I did not really want to get back to it. Usually periods of not doing anything, even shorter periods like a weekend, make me anxious, desperate for structure and the grind. Monday is my favorite time of year. Not this time.

So we’re back. It is baby step number one for what will someday be a longer trip. I’m not sure either of us expected that we would end up being the couple that does outdoors things, but now Bruno wanting to learn how to fish and I’m looking into a snowshoe race in January. I do not think the “call of the wild” is going away. We’ll keep making baby steps until we are officially really outdoors people.*

xo, Ali

*I’ll admit it. I feel a bit like a poser. I can’t even read a map, but man, I am so excited to learn.

Pond of Certainty

daily life, swimming, triathlon

This past weekend was a our first visit to my mom and step-dad’s new house. It is a beautiful red home out in the country. It feels more like a vacation lake house than a place where people day to day live. The part of the house I was most excited for was that it has a pond.

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Sun shining, hearts full, eyes squinting. 

Bruno does not know how to swim, so Saturday we hung around the “beach” area. I tried to explain (badly) to Bruno how to float and once he was able to do that, kicking, using his arms. By the end of the session he could do a free strokes free-style and a few strokes backstroke. It was not pretty, but I was proud of him and I think he was surprised at himself. He described swimming as “teleportation” because he would close his eyes (no goggles) and find himself in a different place.

After, I planned to do a swim workout in the pond. I did not know how long (meters or yards) it would be. The plan was to set a timer and focus on trying to swim continuously. No big deal.

Unlike Bruno, I have goggles. For me swimming is not like teleportation. I can open my eyes and see where I am going. And I could not see. The pond is clean, but it is still a pond. It is murky. There are plants to swim through. And then, when I made it to the middle of the pond, I could not see to the bottom. First, I thought “how eerie” and then I panicked. Work out abandoned.

It was not until the drive back to Michigan that I even told Bruno I became scared. And truly, I still don’t understand. I used to do this all the time.

I started training for a triathlon to work on fear. At that time, it was my fear of cycling. But it seems that I have been presented with another fear to work on, one that does not quite have a name. I don’t think I am scared of swimming in ponds or lakes. The pond plants do not bother me. I like the fish. I suspect it is more fear of the unknown, looking down and not being able to see, looking to the side and only seeing more murk.

Next year, I have no idea where we will live or where I will work. This is it. The last year I will describe myself officially as a “graduate student” (in life, “student” will always apply).  I cannot see. I only see murk. And as I mention, this causes a lot of anxiety.

I told Bruno yesterday that I just want certainty. I like knowing, planning, and the assurance of “if this, then that.” I get it. Nobody’s life is really like that. Still,  I think when I was swimming and looked down and saw only the “unknown” in my small family pond, I was fed up with it. I could not handle just one more thing of not knowing.

It will take baby-steps (or strokes?) to try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable again in the pond, just as I’m trying to be comfortable, excited even, about not knowing what will happen next year. At the very least, I am certain I will get there, wherever “there” may be.

xo, Ali

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately II

books, daily life, food, music

After what felt like a long hiatus, this week I have been hitting the dissertation hard. I have been waking up at four in the morning, so that I can start writing close to five to try to get anywhere between one and half hours (if I run in the morning) to three hours (if I don’t) of writing in before I get ready to go to work in the archives for the day. Evenings are spent reading and taking notes. I’m hoping to turn chapter four in by Monday, which also happens to be the day after my one year anniversary. We’ll see.

It has not been all work, excuse me, I mean leisure. Aside for Rousseau, there are a few things that have piqued my interest.

Watching : I haven’t really watched much tv lately, but Sunday night Bruno and I watched the first two episodes of A Very English Scandal on Amazon prime. We haven’t yet been able to watch the third and final episode, but it is well done.

Listening : My current writing music is Pixies DoolittleGouge Away might be the perfect editing song. While at work, I’ve been listening to Bad Blood : Secrets and Lies of a Silicon Valley Start-Up by John Carreyrou on audible. Holy shit. I am obsessed. I am trying to avoid going down an Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos google rabbit hole. I am only a couple hours into it, but I’m already sure it will be a five star book. Also, it is the reason why this song (not Taylor Swift!) has been in my head all day.

Reading : I’m still making may way through the Odyssey. I’m almost done. I started reading Sarah Perry’s The Essex Serpent. As Bruno bluntly put it when he opened the book and started read a few pages, “Sarah Perry can write.” I have two history books I am working through. The first is Daniel Walker Howe’s tome What Hath God Wrought : The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 and the second, Jon Meacham’s American Lion : Andrew Jackson in the White House. I’m loving the first a little more than the second. For whatever reason, I find Meacham biography kind of tedious, although it is interesting to compare Meacham and Howe on Jackson. I was hoping for more on his political thought, particularly on nullification, and less on scandals involving “wanton” women. I’m half-way through Howe’s book and I love every page, even during the long discussions of internal improvements and the bank.

Eating : Chocolate Vega powder and cherry smoothies. I do not like fruit. I do not like cherries. But for whatever reason, when they are mixed with some protein powder, almond milk, and some ice, magic happens. Also, I restarted my sour dough bread starter this week (is it weird to name your sour dough starter? mine is named Sebastian), so definitely looking forward to eating some of that.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

 

Morbid Conversations

daily life, death, dissertation

Our “office” has been the sunroom in my parents’ home today. I worked on editing an article for a professor and did some reading. We walked up to the local pizza place at noon to meet up with some of my mom’s family who were gathering because a relative’s in-laws from Taiwan were in town. It has not been the most productive day, but I think being away from campus has been good for my anxiety.

Anyway, you know the rules in conversation: avoid politics, money, sex. You know you are close with someone when all those taboo topics are discussed. You know you are really close with someone when you discuss the topic that is not even on that list: death.

You know you are comfortable with someone when, as if discussing the purchasing of curtains you can say, “If it happens sooner, I would want to be buried here, but if later and we have a family, a home, an established foundation somewhere, then I would want to be buried there.” And then, the person, in this case, my husband, responds back that he would like a mausoleum because that way none of our kids have to worry about where they’ll be buried (dream big, honey). Then we went back to our work. I went back to editing. Bruno back to writing his dissertation.

Maybe we are unusual, but brief conversations like this happen. I mean not all the time. I can be macabre (once, for a twelve hour drive to Connecticut we only listened to Lore — did not sleep so well that night!), but Bruno not so much. Yet, I think it is normal and probably one of the more healthier tendencies I have: knowing this can’t go on forever.

I think about it when I am wasting time (and I mean wasting time, not just relaxing, not doing something productive). Do I really want to be eighty and have devoted most of my life to Mark Zuckerberg-created methods of socialization? Do I really want to talk about that chick I barely know just because of some picture she posted on facebook? Do I really want to waste the last few years of my twenties spending Saturday mornings catching up on sleep (being hungover) or creating something, being someone, giving to someone?

I do not have a memento mori and while I do think the avoidance of death is unhealthy, being fixated on it is equally so. But I think these occasional morbid conversations, if they are even really all that morbid, help me maintain quality in life, even if quantity (in the grand scheme of history) is short.

xo, Ali

 

 

Thoughts on a Hometown

daily life, dissertation, graduate school

We are back in my hometown for the next two weeks. Even though I think I know this area pretty well, things have changed since I left for college back in 2008. Bruno and I decided to do some exploring and ended up at a new (at least new to me) coffee shop that a reviewer claimed had “the best chai tea latte in all of Ohio.” I have not had every chai tea latte in Ohio, but it is the best chai tea latte I’ve had.

I was voted most likely to never come back when I graduated from high school. I don’t have the yearbook for that year — 18 year old Ali was “too cool” for that — but there’s a picture of me in a yearbook rolling a suitcase with my superlative written underneath. I was really proud of that superlative at the time, but in hindsight I suspect it had more to do with my willingness to hate the “provincialism” of the area. I’m not proud of that.

Hometowns are complicated places. Not everyone really has one. I’m talking about the type of place where everyone knows everyone. Your teachers taught not only your siblings, but also your parents, your aunts and uncles, and all your cousins. When you tell someone your last name, they say “you must be this and that” because your last name means something to people. Its the type of place where a stranger says “you look/act so much like your mom/dad” because, yes, they know them. I do not remember my graduating class number, but I do not think it was over seventy. I knew most of them since kindergarten. That can be stifling. It was stifling.

I spent much of my life wanting to escape. And yet, strangely, it is still a place I refer to as “home.” As in, “I’m going home this weekend” or “I’m back home for the next two weeks.” And while I do not want to move back (hard to imagine any political theory jobs popping up around here!) it is no longer a place I want to escape.

Part of it is because I see how much this place made me. I have a college friend that joked about me that you can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl. This is probably true. I cannot imagine knowing how to work hard on my dissertation if I had never worked on a dairy farm. The high school experiences — getting busted by the cops for having a football party when I was a sophomore, regularly skipping class, regularly partying (often in barns and cornfields) in some ways led me to run arms wide open into discipline and routine. But they also made me empathetic when other people mess up. I get it. I was there in high school. Time spent working in the local factory (and my father) gave me a blue collar sense of humor and I know that. For every delicious foodie meal I’ll ever have, I’ll never be too stuck up for the local greasy bar pizza.

When I’m here I feel reconnected with the important things — faith and family. While the anxieties of dissertation writing, planning to teach my very first college class, the really shoddy academic job market never really truly leave, they seem like lesser problems. The important thing is to make sure I spend time with my younger, still in elementary, middle, and junior high school sisters. The important thing is to make sure I stop by and see one of my best friends who just had her fourth baby and let her know she is a total bad ass for becoming a mother again. It is watching my nephews for a week because their babysitter is on vacation. I’m not too busy for loving people when I’m home.

While we were driving to this coffee shop, I told Bruno, “I just feel so relaxed.” We were driving along the country roads listening to the John Denver song of the same name. I’ve been working hard and getting back on a routine. The fourth chapter is swinging along. This was not the relaxed state of doing nothing on a beach. It feels like the relaxation of having your priorities straight. Time spent in a  hometown can do that for you.

xo, Ali

 

Recipes I’ve Been Loving

crossfit, daily life, food, training

The times they are a-changing. Or so says, my favorite singer/writer/philosopher/poet Bob Dylan. And so they are. Usually I call it a day around 5, relax for a bit (some La Croix, book, and porch sitting time), make dinner, and read some more. With Crossfit evenings have become more busy. Three nights a week, I’m back home a little before seven, which means later dinners, and later bedtimes (not too late..10pm..).

With the time crunch planning dinner has become more important, especially because when we come walking through that door after working out, we are usually hungry.

Here are a few of the things that have been on regular rotation.

Meat and potatoes. This is the easiest, simplest thing we make. Usually I boil up some sweet potatoes and Bruno cooks up some ground beef or pork sausage, carrots, zuchinni, and summer squash. After sweet potatoes are boiled, I add some ghee and mash them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is delicious. We probably make this twice a week. Maybe more.

One pan chorizo. From a Carrots ‘n’ Cake recipe. Confession: Typically I cook. Bruno does the dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher. One pot dishes are key. One pot dishes that are not bland and taste exceptionally delicious, especially key.

Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole. If I can remember to start this recipe ahead of time it is a game changer. It is nice to not have to worry about what to make, but just stick the pan in the oven and go. Also, sweet potatoes and plenty of cheese. Need I say more?

Shredded chicken salad. On Sundays, I stick a bunch of chicken breasts in the crockpot, add salt, olive oil, and probably way too much lemon juice and put it on for eight hours. I typically add it to salads or sweet potatoes (is there such a thing as too many sweet potatoes?). I’m thinking I might do this recipe for my next batch.

Recovery quinoa salad. This one is from my most-used cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow. Instead of recovery though, I usually make this one on Friday’s as a pre-long run dinner with some salmon. I love it. Bruno loves it. The only thing wrong with the recipe is that it can take forever to chop everything up, but it makes plenty of leftovers so its worth it.

Do you have any favorite recipes?

xo, Ali

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately

books, daily life, dissertation, graduate school

I’ve been making some changes lately, swapping coffee for tea (most of the time) and my lunch-time sandwich for a lunch-salad. My work outs are different. I’m only running three times a week, with swimming, biking, and CrossFit thrown in. I quit working at home and now try to make it to the library every single day. I bought a new planner that I’ve loving. I’m trying to be consistent at practicing reading/speaking French again. Life is good.

Here are some things I’m loving right now.

Results tea from Tea Forte. Once upon a time, before I got hooked on coffee I was a real tea junkie. I even had a blog called “SocraTeas” because I was not a coffee person…yet. Then I hit that liquid ambition hard. With my stomach problems, I decided to mostly give it up, even though I still think and will forever think coffee is like a warm hug in a mug. I was drinking some rooibos tea from Kroger’s, and that was ok, but I figured if this was going to stick I would need to bring out the big guns. Results is delicious. I do not miss coffee at all when I drink it. It doesn’t seem to ever get boring (like rooibos) and I think it will be my standard morning drink for awhile.

RomWod. You might have noticed this addition to my workouts the last couple of weeks. I want to work on mobility, but sometimes I just need someone to tell me what to do for the day. These videos are usually only 20 minutes (aside for Thursdays) and they are effective. Bruno and I usually do them post-dinner when we are both super sore from our work outs and they usually help get me into the mindset of “ahh, the day is over.”

Working on campus. I am struggling with distraction lately. Being home has made it easier for me to say “ah, well I’ll just take the day off” and then I’ll sit on the couch on read…not Rousseau and not anything to do with an Introduction to the Constitution class. We decided we were going to start going to campus in May and for the most part it has worked out. I’m still struggling with desperately wanting to use the internet (I’ve already broke my goals to avoid social media during the week) and I suspect I still waste a lot of time internet surfing, but I definitely have gotten probably more done in the last two weeks than I normally do. So it is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

Soup for breakfast. So here is something strange. When I was having all my problems back in March and April I was eating a really restrictive diet and a lot of bone broth. I started having soup for breakfast because I could not eat anything else, usually ground beef, bone broth, green beans, and plenty of olive oil. I’m still doing it, although I’ve been adding more veggies and the ground beef is grass fed, local, and (my favorite) raised stress free. This week is it ground beef, bone broth, carrots, turnips, and green beans. Its good and I feel satiated the rest of the morning.

The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaWhat I consider a relative miracle, Bruno and I managed to buy around 10 brand new, some hard cover books for less than $100 over the weekend. We bought them at some bargain book place and it was heaven. I was not expecting to find much, but I wanted everything. This book has been on my to-do read list for awhile. I’m not a Twilight person, but I love Dracula and I read Anne Rice in high school, so you could say I like the vampire stories. This book is so beautifully written, that I do not think one would even need to be a fan of horror to love this book. Sidenote: it explains academic life pretty well. There are some great lines about dissertation-writing.

Anything you are loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

To Build a Fire, Pt. 2

daily life

Back in February, I mentioned I was taking a Wilderness Survival course. Part of my interest was a desire to return to the outdoors. We have a few camping trips planned this summer, but I’d like to be able to hike, to see more, to be really out in the wild. The other part of my interest was to be comfortable with failure.

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Preparing to leave the comforts of a messy kitchen into the wild.

 

Today was the culmination of the course. We had a practical exam: in twenty minutes build a fire, boil water, and make a shelter. And a written exam: 25 questions, short answer. But of course, as Bruno said, we’re never really done.

It was not my best. I mean I did it. I lit my fire, I boiled water. I made a killer trucker, hitch, and slip knot to set up my shelter. But my fire was ever expanding, with the instructor having to put part of it out (this might not be me, but the wind) and I burned up my ferro rod in the fire, so if I were in a real wilderness survival situation I would be…as the kids say…S.O.L.

The written exam was worse. My sense of direction is still non-existent. Given that I was sick on the navigation day, I still have no idea how to use a compass. On the plus side, I do know what declination is. Also, in full disclosure, with the dissertation being the priority, I only prioritized studying for this exam about as much as you could expect. Still. As a normally A student, probably not my best work.

As I left, I began to fall into a “that was not perfect, or even remotely good!” meltdown. I began to fall down a shame spiral. Me: “I said EAST and it was WEST. I am such a moron! I probably seem so careless with my fire. If we were in California, we would all be totally screwed right now.” Bruno: “I thought we were doing this for fun?”

But I caught myself doing it. And I stopped. No more ruminating.  I don’t feel perfect and I’m definitely going to have to pull out some Brene Brown after this, but I feel ok.

Practical knowledge is hard for me. I’ve always been much more of a theoretically minded person (thus the Ph.D. in political theory). That saying about book smarts and street smarts is basically made for me. I can read you Rousseau in French, but common sense skills have always been a struggle.

By my own measurement my “street” or rather “wilderness” skills have improved by leaps and bounds.

Before I started this class, I could not start a fire. I would have thought food would be the first thing to look for in a survival situation (first things: climate control and water). I would have no idea that blue is the best color for a shelter due to its visibility and how map north is different from true north (theoretically, I still haven’t figured out how that works in practice yet except that it involves drawing lines). The only kind of knots I could make prior to this class is the knots that form by not properly putting my necklaces away, and now I can do three different kinds. Not only can I use a knife, but I’m a proud owner of a “survivor” knife that I keep in my Kate Spade purse (balance in all things).

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Look ma! Emergency shelter!

 

I could not find my way back from a bad situation (to do: sign up for a navigation/map reading course), but I think my chances of doing ok in a bad situation have significantly improved beyond what they were in January. And that, my friends, is a success, no matter how I mucked up the test. What is not lost is my enthusiasm.

Onward!

xo, Ali