Already it’s August!?

Tallyho, true believers! Can you believe that it is already August? I’m continuously and consistently surprised when one month rolls over into the next. Upon further reflection, however, July was jam-packed! It feels like a decade has passed since Independence Day, instead of a measly 27 days. Time flies when you’re having fun, on the run, or drinking rum. July, for me, was mostly filled with the first two activities.

Blackbeard says: "Arrrrr ye be a sorry excuse for a pirate, Sam"
Blackbeard says: “Arrrrr ye be a sorry excuse for a pirate, Sam”

I’m typing up this post while sipping on electrolytes and munching a banana because I’m racing tomorrow!

20140801-062706-23226863.jpgLast week, I signed myself up for the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. This race is organized by the same fine group of fanatics that put on the marathon I ran in May. I’ve participated in this event before: last year I scored a PR and 5th place in my age group. It’s a fast and beautiful course, and we get to run over Galloping Gertie. I’m feeling a little trepidation this year: July’s training was thrown for a loop, courtesy of a brush with achilles tendinitis after the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon.

Gee...there seems to be a little gap in there
Gee…there seems to be a little gap in there

I like to use the first of the month to reflect on my goals from the past lunar cycle, and set a few intentions for the weeks ahead. Before I get to gazing at my own navel, however, I just have to share a helmet-cam perspective video from a Blue Angels pilot.

This weekend is Seattle Seafair, and the planes have been buzzing around overhead practicing since Thursday. I LOVE watching the Blue Angels, and I was devastated last year when, the sky-captains were sequestered. I admit that the whole ordeal is a loud, costly, carbon-fuel guzzling, militaristic spectacle that costs taxpayers $40 million per year, but, frankly, I couldn’t care less. This is one instance where I will put my white guilt on the back burner and allow myself to enjoy the sheer awesomeness of REALLY fast machines doing REALLY cool things.

 

Ok. Now that we’re all invigorated, let’s review our goals. Last month I tried to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Time-focused). Let’s take a look at what I aspired to do, and what I actually did:

20140730-153651-56211389.jpg
I, obviously, made MANY bananaphone calls

1) Ride the Lake Washington loop on my bike.

Alli, Sheldon, and I managed to spin around the south end of the loop, but I didn’t put in quite as many miles in the saddle as I was hoping.

20140713-191003-69003013.jpg2) See live music twice. 

One of my favorite bands, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, played at Woodland Park Zoo’s summer ZooTunes concert series.

The Chocolate Drops put on a great show, as always.

I also attended an America-themed drag, dance, and burlesque review called “Freedom Fantasia,” put on by DeLouRue Presents

I even met the stars! Lou Henry Hoover, and Kitten LaRue
I even met the stars! Lou Henry Hoover, and Kitten LaRue

1341259786-freedomfantasiapostcardhi-resA drag show certainly isn’t the same as live music, but the performance was incredible and hilarious. I would have liked to experienced more art during the month of July, though.

3) Make three professional connections at my conference. 

20140726-155442-57282267.jpgDNA disneyland was AMAZING. I met so many fantastic scientists. I definitely identified and interacted with several scientists that I’d love to work with in the future. Now the onus is on me to write a few follow-up emails. Networking is not my strong suit, does anybody out there have any pointers?

4) Read one novel.

I finished “Home” by Toni Morisson, and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple. I loved both of these books.

51q3XsAY6nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Home” is a story of violence, identity, and acceptance told from the perspective of a Korean War veteran. Toni Morisson writes BEAUTIFULLY. Typically her stories center around women. It was intriguing to experience her giving voice to a male character. I wouldn’t recommend it to a first-time Morisson reader, as it isn’t quite as mind-blowing as her earlier works (I fell in love with Toni Morrison after reading “Beloved,” “Sula” is also just a staggeringly gorgeous book). However, the elements that make a great Morisson novel are all there: compelling characters, elegant prose, and a subtle supernatural element woven within the plot.

13526165“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” was a FUN read, especially for a smug Seattle-ite. The book is narrated by a high-school aged protagonist attempting to piece together the events leading up to her mother’s sudden and shocking disappearance. It is told through a mixture of first-person narration, and “primary source” emails, articles, and passive-agressive notes. The story is set in Seattle; Maria Semple perfectly captures and lampoons all of our city’s (and it’s residents’) quirks, charms, and cliches. Even for readers who haven’t snagged your infinity scarf on a blackberry bramble, while dodging a bike-commuting amazon.com employee at a five-way intersection on your way to Starbucks, the book is a heartfelt, hilarious, and compelling mystery story of family dynamics and outsiders trying to fit in.

5) Select a goal race for the fall, and begin a formal training program. 

I have my eyes on a few fall marathons, but I haven’t formally committed to anything yet. I need to consult my social secretary and get my schedule set in stone.

20140730-144928-53368892.jpg
Your schedule is jam-packed with science, running, and taking me on walks

OK. I did pretty good on my goals for July. There certainly was some room for improvement, but there ALWAYS is. Here’s what I’m hoping for in August:

1) Four strength-training sessions

2) Develop an assay to directly detect DNA breaks at a particular region of the chromosome.

3) Go out to dinner at two Seattle restaurants that I haven’t been to before.

4) Go to the dentist. 

Ride ON, brave readers!
Ride ON, brave readers!

What are YOUR goals for August?

 

4 thoughts on “Already it’s August!?

  1. I busted up laughing seeing Porter on the banana phone!!

    Good job in July, my friend! I’m going to set goals this month too. I’ve never done that before.

    As for networking! Send a simple email that you’d be happy to receive. Doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just formal enough and friendly!? And send it sooner than later while the conference is in everybody’s minds. I’m sure you made a great initial impression! just tell them you were the guy on the bananaphone :)

    Have fun tomorrow and do great!

    Like

    1. LIZ! Maybe Porter could call Indy sometime? :)

      I never really started setting goals until I started blogging (and I shamelessly copied the practice from other bloggers I like). Now I really enjoy it, it’s nice to sit down and ask yourself what your priorities are from time-to-time. Having the blog keeps me accountable, which is both a positive and a negative.

      Thanks for the prompt and advice on networking- I feel like I’m learning a lot in graduate school, but missing out on a lot of important life lessons that other people learn in their twenties about how to be a functional adult.

      I hope you are well! Your instagram photos of beautiful produce (and your beautiful dog) make me SO happy!

      Like

  2. Liz is right on: send an email that you would like to receive. The email recipients are likely kicking themselves for not building their networks and so will be grateful for making it easy to get closer to their own personal SMART goal of connecting with three new contacts in September.

    Another key is to make it easy for folks to say yes, and also say no, to the next step. So be actionable and specific (I’d love to have coffee with you some time next month. Here are three time slots that would work for me. Or, if it’s more convenient for you, I would be happy to come by your lab.) But also give them an easy out. (I know you’re extremely busy. I completely understand if you don’t have time next month.)

    You can also join linked in and send a friend request, but that’s a necessary, but not sufficient solution. It’s a linked in friend acceptance is not a conversation about your career goals.

    Hi Liz! Indiana?

    Like

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