The wish notebook

I’d like to introduce you to my favorite wish fulfillment tool.  It’s modeled on and inspired by a number of systems, but the way I put it together is my own.  I just think it’s so simple, elegant, and functional that I’m so proud I have to talk about it.

It’s based on three principles:  What you focus on grows, appreciating what you like invites more of what you like, and changing/improving behavior and thoughts requires that you acknowledge and celebrate successes.

Each page is a little foldout, so that on each split there are three parts: designated Appreciation, Celebration, and Intention.  Every day -for me it’s on the way to bed – I take some time to list the things around me that I appreciate.  This is known to be transformative and it’s a standby tool for life coaches and self-help gurus galore.

Next, it’s the celebration page, to write down all the ways, even the tiny ways, that you moved in the direction of your goals that day.  Research shows that acknowledging movement in the direction of your intention reinforces and helps accelerate progress.

Continue reading The wish notebook

Accessory shelves

Here are some little shelves we made for the kitchen.  So simple.

Curved piece of plywood with a little strip of Corex on the edge to hold stuff in, carved into the hard foam, and attached at one point to the window frame.  That’s all.

After it was all dry fit, I shot a squirt of expanding foam in the cut in the foam, then put the wood in to stay.  I figure since that stuff’s basically glue, it’s there to stay when it dries, and it oozes out around the edges and fills all the voids.

We made bigger ones on the other side anchored to the fridge side cabinet, and H.W. made a couple for his little zone.
The rest of the camper project

Woman seeks saddle for long-term compatibility

In preparation for potentially  bike touring Iceland, I’ve been riding regularly, trying to get my equipment all dialed in to fit my body and fit my needs.

I’ve never had any piece of gear be so finicky and challenging to refine. Funny thing, I don’t remember ever having any issues with the saddle of my road bike in my teens, which I did decent distances on, and certainly discomfort never crossed my mind on my BMX in my early 20s, which I rode quite seriously for hours a day.  However, recently exploring a new style of using a bicycle, for loaded, day after day long distances, has been an arduous hit and miss experience of seeking correct gear, especially the saddle.

The three places a bicycle interacts with you (hands, feet, and butt), are crucial comfort points.  If the weight distribution to your handlebars isn’t right or the right height, then one can get major aching and cramping in the shoulders and neck, like I do, which can also rapidly cause tension headaches.  The wrong shoes, or pedals, or pedal-to-seat ratios and alignment, can cause numb toes, sore feet, and all kinds of knee trouble.  Most serious of all, IMO, is the seat interface.  An uncomfortable saddle is just a recipe for several kinds of hell. Continue reading Woman seeks saddle for long-term compatibility

Sigh, the wiring.

I learned a few things at this stage too, surprise surprise.  Converters and Inverters are different things (inverters change power down from 110V to 12v, converters convert power up from 12 to 110).  Batteries are finicky.

We have a 155W solar panel, and a 12V, 4amp fridge, the kind for truckers and tailgate parties that run off a lighter socket.  We’ve got a charge controller that I got with the panel, and then the converter that came with the camper, that also has a shore line.  Two deep cycle batteries of dubious condition.  Then a generator.  And a 2amp battery maintainer.  And a standalone converter unit, also for running off a vehicle lighter.

Figuring out how to put it all together involved a great deal of mental anguish, time on the internet learning about electricity (I was all good for Ohm’s Law, but when it came to the PEIR wheel I hit overwhelm), and looking for people who knew more than me that could explain stuff.

I think I hit an electrical turning point this time though.  By the end of it, it just all seemed so simple.  It just all follows back to what’s hot and what’s ground.  For years, that has not seemed simple at all, but it’s not so bad.

So without all the many hours involved in the learning curve and emotions, here’s what I did.  The solar panel is wired through its charge controller to the battery.  The charge controller is awesome, because it reads out the panel output or the battery charge.  The converter is suspect, so that is not wired to the batteries.  It’s a glorified extension cord.  It’s wired to the battery maintainer, though, so any time the camper is plugged into the genny or shore power, the batteries will be getting a little bit.

Continue reading Sigh, the wiring.

Æ, þad mikið um að vera!

I’ve been learning Icelandic.  Rather, now that we’re going, I’m cramming with a vengeance, trying to make up for a year’s procrastination.  Less than three hours a day is nearly no progress, and I’ve spent upwards of six hours (up early/up late) trying to feel like I’m getting somewhere.  It is hard.  It is so hard (and I usually put an obscenity in that sentence), I don’t think I’ve ever done anything more difficult with my brain.  Nothing in school, nothing at work, not even writing websites in HTML in 1991.   It requires such a complete concentration that time just flies, while the subject matter and exercises do NOT.

Icelandic is so different and complex that it makes a passage of Spanish or French look positively relaxing to me now.  After hundreds of hours, no exaggeration, I am probably able to make a sentence as elaborate and clear as I was able to in Spanish on my first day “studying”.  There is a little improvement.  I’ve got a vocabulary learning system that shows me the words I knew last time I checked, and now, and every time I run through my list of words, there are more that have become naturally available to me.  I’m glad for that, at least, because my overall progress is positively slothish. Continue reading Æ, þad mikið um að vera!

Ground bees

Can you see the little bee head poking out of the hole on the right?

There are these interesting bees around.  They’re developing a habitation around the camper.  I’m not even sure that they’re actual bees, but they seem to be moving in here because of the abundant blackberries flowering all around us.  They live in the ground, and they build their tunnels fast.

Perhaps they are a kind of hoverfly, although they’re yellowish and grey and behave something like Mason bees – those bees that you can make bee blocks for.  At any rate, a pollinator.

All in two days, about a dozen entrances went up (down?), and initially, they were very noticeable because the little pea-sized holes were mounded up with loose moister dirt, like molehills.  Look closely in a hole, and you could see a little bee butt or bee head, and if you waited, you might see another bee come in for a light hovering landing and then slip down the hole, or one come up and push out a grain of dirt.  Get too close, though (about 10”) and the bee in the hole would retreat out of sight like a crab.

At night, they would close in their little mounds!  Each former hole would be a little cone of sandy soil with no hole at all, and in the morning the holes would open up again.  Now, they seem to have established their tunnels, and the mounds are gone, either kicked flat by us walking on them, or the bees spread their loose dirt farther around.

I don’t know what they do in the rain.

They seem to have particularly chosen where we walk all the time and where the wheels of the truck roll when we park, which must cause serious caveins and earthquake damage in their little settlements, but I think they chose the high traffic areas because the weeds and grass are suppressed there.  At any rate, we co-exist.  I try not to step directly on holes, although there are so many and we can’t help it in the dark, and they don’t sting us, thankfully.

Other Bees in my Life