Progress Report: 8 Things Down

7.28.2010 Comments: (1)
A little while ago, my mom asked me how I was doing on my list. And I felt like I had been doing OK, crossing some items off completely, and making some progress on others. But when I checked to see how many days I have left, I may or may not have freaked out. At that point, I should have had 16 items checked off (strictly going by 1 thing accomplished every 10 days) but I only had 6. And now, probably even more 'behind.' But, since it's my list, I'm going to stop freaking out about it and just keep plugging away.

#11 - Berry picking. It was hot.
#28 - Always take off my makeup before bed. Yep, I get back out of bed if I get in bed without doing it. That counts as done.
#34 - Transition from plastic to other materials in the kitchen - Done, and I'm so happy with it all. I thought it would be weird to use all glass storage because they're so heavy, but it feels totally natural now.
#80 - Find my professional organization home - Yes! I'm actually, finally, really getting involved with an association that I like. I went to a conference earlier this summer and had a bit of a revelation that this group was just my size. Because I'm a classic over achiever, I'm already on two different committees.
#97 - Dolores Heights stair walk. Reliving it makes me tired.

In Progress
#7 - Go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras - planning has now stalled. I'm lazy.
#12 - Plan a trip with friends - Orlando. Space Shuttle Launch. We'll see.
#42 - Bake 5 new kinds of cupcakes - 1 down, I made the Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Chambord Frosting. They were OK. Am taking suggestions for new recipes (no cream cheese frosting though).
#43 - Taste 50 things on the Big Eat lists - This is a most enjoyable goal. 30 items down, some new favorite foods discovered. (Secret Breakfast ice cream - vanilla ice cream with Jim Beam and cornflakes. wow.)
#46 - Learn to play chess - I have 1 game left to play! This has taken forever, I know, but I've found that I have to have a certain motivation to spend an hour racking my brain to play a game and then still get my ass handed to me by Dan. It doesn't come often. 

The thing we work the most on is #39 - Finish cooking our way through our seasonal cookbook. We make recipes from this one cookbook at least 2-3, usually 4, times a week. Since we've joined the CSA, we definitely have more reason to cook with vegetables, so that has really been helping. And honestly, I feel like we're learning how to really cook as we follow all the recipes, which is a nice skill to learn together. (cue: awwwwwwwwwwwwww).  But, even though this is one of my goals we focus on the most - we've only made 108 out of 308 recipes. So, this won't be checked off for awhile.

I'm curious what you all are working on as personal goals, regardless if you have any sort of list or not. Tell me, and I'll make them into a fun "let's celebrate each other's accomplishments" post next time around.

For starters, check out Ro's ultimate purse

City Walk: Dolores Heights (#97)

7.25.2010 Comments: (1)

This city walk is in an area that's sort of in between a couple of different areas that we commonly visit. Before we did this walk, we'd never been to this specific neighborhood. I'm going to guess that it's because it's on the top of a big hill. But since I went ahead and wrote out this ambitious list of things I want to do in a span of time that is ever growing shorter, we got our butts up the hill.

To be perfectly honest, this walk was pretty rough. It was a relatively warm day in SF, and the walk consisted of several stairways up, just to go downhill again. Not exactly a peaceful meandering stroll. The scenery was lovely, the architecture was great, and the views were breathtaking. My interesting information stops there though - this wasn't a walk full of rich history. Photos, though. Photos we have.

Sculptured redwood bench, because that's how San Francisco rolls. It was actually very comfortable.
So up near the top of the picture there, you can see that the house has what the book calls an "octagonal belvedere" and what I would call a "cupola." You should know that it is roofed in a pattern of blue and lavender tiles. That's right. These fools put a dome on the top of their house, and covered it with a mosaic. Friends, they need to find a new way to spend their money.

What you're seeing above looks like two streets but is actually the same street. In 1924, San Francisco "improved" the street by lowering the grade on just one side of the street (on the left there) and raising it on the other. What resulted is a street where some people's garages are now completely useless.
I want to live here. With a different car though.
Walk stats: 1.47 miles, 1.5 hours, same day that Spain won the World Cup!

A Day in the Life: Natural Disasters.

7.19.2010 Comments: (2)
So, I'm pretty sure that most of you reading this blog have no idea what I do. I think that a majority of you know that I work for UC Berkeley, maybe that I work in Student Affairs (maybe?) Some of you would get bonus points for knowing that my job title is "Resident Director" or describing it as either "a grown up RA" (my least favorite description ever) or as "the person who supervises the RAs."

Regardless, I haven't been really great at really describing to others what my job is about - what it is that I actually do. And also, why I do all these things. So, every now and again, I'm going to describe a day in the life - at least the interesting ones. Every day in my job is different - while I have the same core duties, my job is basically to respond to all the stuff that comes up in the  lives of the 500 students and 10 staff members I work with. Yeah. Sometimes it gets hectic.

For example, while I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago, one of my buildings (I supervise two residence halls - this one is not the one I live in) caught on fire. ON. FIRE. As in, they are still repairing the fire damage. Luckily, the flames were confined to the basement storage area, but the smoke was thick in the entire building. Let's just say it took a few days for the hallways and rooms to air out. Another, extremely different example would be when a student breaks up with their partner, fails a test and comes home to find their roommate has eaten all their granola bars. This pushes them over the edge into a hysterical crying fit. You know where they end up? My office. I stock tissues.

I also thought it would be handy to keep a record of what's going on for me during the year. I mean, the number of topics I'm trained on is always expanding - because we never know what's going to happen each day. I try not to get freaked out by it.

So, last Wednesday was my third day of professional training for the year. (Sidenote - every year, before we start the two week extravaganza that is RA training, the professional staff also have a couple weeks of training to prepare for the upcoming year). Yesterday started off with a discussion about the newest supplies that we would be adding to our emergency supply inventory. This is an ongoing discussion for us because the threat of earthquake is extremely high in this area - and what are we going to do for our students in the case of a really devastating quake? My unit alone houses 1400 students and Bay Area emergency services tell residents to be prepared to care for themselves for 5-7 days with no assistance in the worst case. So we spend a fair amount of time discussing questions like: Where will we go if a building collapses? What will we eat? How will we care for injured students? What if, what if, what if?

New supplies for our RA staff included matching helmets and bright green vests. We got the same PLUS crowbars (awesome!), first aid supplies AND handheld radios. Without feeling too ridiculous, we learned the protocol for the radios: "Kristin to Laura" "Go ahead Kristin" "Kristin to Laura, your bedroom color palette is aMAzing!" "Copy that Kristin" and so on. (Sidenote: We also have another set of radios that are actually police issue radios, connected directly to our university police department, which is...nerve wracking.) We're always adding to our supplies in an effort to feel like we are as prepared as possible for any given emergency.

Lunch break.

So, for all of our discussion about earthquakes or other disasters where we would be forced to evacuate our buildings - we realized we didn't have as much planning done for events that would require us to stay inside. Active shooters, for example. Chemical or hazardous material spills, for another. We realized we didn't know the difference between lockdown (a police order stating no one can enter or exit) and shelter in place (a safety recommendation where you go inside the nearest building, and shut the windows and doors). So lots of planning ensued - how to let students know about the situation, what to do if a student wants to leave the building anyway, how to know when the restrictions have been lifted. Etcetera. The number of questions that come up for us in these situations is sometimes overwhelming - because everything we discuss is one more thing that we need to mentally prepare for, and also train our staff for.

Even though emergency preparedness isn't what I went to grad school for, it's a huge part of my job here, and part I bet you didn't know about.

Maybe next time I'll talk about the stuff you were expecting, hugs and feelings and stuff.

**I started this post last week, but tonight, no joke, there was another fire. Outside of my building, luckily, and this one much more suspicious, but maybe five more minutes and my other building would have been on fire again. Awesome, right?

On Standing...

7.07.2010 Comments: (4)
Hi there. So, we were on the East Coast for a few days recently, so the blog has been a bit slow. I'm sure it didn't help that the last time I was here, I was a bit feisty. But, you should be happy to know that I have lots of ideas for upcoming blog posts, so hopefully things will pick up here for a bit.

Anyway, I saw this list on a blog I read, so I'm repeating the idea.

Places I have stood:
+Inside of a very large tree
+At weddings, watching friends and family walk down the aisle
+On the Golden Gate Bridge, in the Sydney opera house, and inside the Capitol Rotunda
+In a crowd of several thousand, listening to them sing me "Happy Birthday"
+At the edge of a doorway on a plane, right before jumping out of it
+On a water trampoline in Mexico, laughing my ass off with Dan, Missy and Franklin
+At the Flight 93 memorial
+On a fault line
+In a line waiting for the next Harry Potter book to be released

Now you go.