August 17, 2009

Notes from my staycation

August 17, 2009 - Categories: life

We spent an industrious day preparing apricot syrup and jalapeƱo jelly, packaging fourteen jars of each. I did some calculations regarding shipping. It actually costs less to send multiple packages of 4-5 jars (< 2kg) to the Philippines than it costs to send one big one, thanks to Canada Post’s international small packet postage rates. I’m looking forward to putting together a number of care packages, although I’m still looking for a good source for boxes. We tend to get ours from No Frills as part of their recycling program, but there usually aren’t a lot of small, sturdy boxes.

I also worked on rehabilitating the front plant box. Most of it was just tangled root mass. It was hard work digging up and removing the roots. I shook the sandy soil from the roots and discarded the roots to one side, then amended the soil with some cow manure (moo poo). I transplanted the Thai basil there. They needed room to grow, and I figured that we might as well have some edible greens out front.

This is the second week of my staycation, and I’ve discovered a lot about how I actually spend unstructured time. The strongest pull is to spend that time with W- and J-, which generally means cooking, canning, or taking photographs. I also spend a little time on individual pursuits, such as sewing, blogging, and thinking about presentations. “The Shy Connector” is shaping up nicely, and I hope to spend most of tomorrow on it. I’ve gone out to more events, too, although I need to recharge at home (introvert! =) ).

Last week felt like a week of weekends. I deliberately didn’t impose a lot of structure on the time because I wanted it to be flexible. I hadn’t set particular goals for my time, and I hadn’t used it for longer projects like an e-book (although I’m slowly nurturing that Shy Connector presentation). This week, I think I’ll bring in more focus. I want to complete the Shy Connector presentation, and I want to review all of my blog posts for interesting kernels I can develop into other blog posts, articles, and presentations. That should also get me all revved up and ready to get back to work.

Teaching energy

August 17, 2009 - Categories: life, teaching

Maybe it is possible to teach energy, because I can certainly point to some teachers who influenced me–all the way down to that rocking motion I do in lieu of actually bouncing up and down.

That was what he did: rock back and forth, swinging his hands, whenever he got really excited about something: Linux, computer science, mathematics, the joys of algorithms, the search for Rachmaninoff sheet music, the trials and tribulations of his students’ love lives.

In all our classes, he always smiled. I don’t know how he managed to sound happy even while expressing exasperation over test scores or proprietary software companies’ antics, but he did. And one of the best things about being on the “computer science varsity”–the training team for the programming competitions–was training with him and the others during summers.

Advanced happy birthday, Doc Mana!