Discover more from Elyse’s Sabbatical
Weekly Recap: Starting Sourdough, Changing My Running Plan, and Volunteering Adventures
Among other things!
Howdy! I had another busy week, so I thought I would do another weekly recap post. These might become more common since I am doing quite a bit and picking up the pace!
Getting Sick & Changing Up My Exercise
Although I started this week off with a cold, I accomplished quite a lot. Saturday night I started feeling icky and felt worse and worse on Sunday. I was scheduled to begin volunteering at the botanical garden on Monday and felt bad that I had to keep pushing it back, but I was not doing great. The rest was beneficial for me though, and I did a lot of reading, crocheting, and drawing from bed.
As a result of getting sick, I took this week off from exercise and have decided to reevaluate my running plans. Despite my enthusiasm and determination to run a half-marathon during the heat of the summer, I’ve decided I am going to focus on lighter running and cross-training for the next two months. Half-marathon training for my upcoming race will start in September, so there’s not much of a gap. I’m excited to focus more on biking and weight training, activities I have avoided diving into since I started running. I am thrilled that I followed the plan for so long, and I think the several weeks of half-marathon training with some attention on building strength will prepare me to go into this next training block feeling very confident.
Even though I couldn’t run, that didn’t stop me from reading about running! I finished Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I loved this memoir and it was a good companion over the last few days. I haven’t read any of Murakami’s other work (I will soon!), but I loved hearing about one person’s experience of a lifetime of running. He relates running to writing and vice versa, and there are a lot of good tidbits about life in it as well. It was a quick read and if you’ve been considering picking it up, you should!
I also picked up a new book from the library this week: Katy Hessel’s The Story of Art Without Men. I am a casual listener of The Great Women Artists Podcast, and I have been anticipating this book for a long time. I have added it to the book pile I carry around, and I am excited to return to learning about art history.
Volunteering & The Job Search
By Wednesday I felt better, so I headed out to do bird surveying. Nate came with me this week and photographed birds while I counted them on my phone. By the way, I use Merlin and eBird to help with birding. Merlin helps identify birds based on photos you take, their calls (Shazam for birds!!), or a step-by-step identification process. eBird is more for recording the birds you spot.
This was the first time I had been out without an experienced birder, so it took some getting used to. With the help of Nate’s photos and the apps, we identified 20 species! A few of them were new to me, so I’m proud that we figured it out without the help of a birding pro.
Volunteering continued on Thursday and Friday but at the botanical garden instead. On my first day, I helped water plants and toured some of the facilities off-limits to guests. I enjoyed watching the big bumble bees roll around in flowers while I watered, alone with my thoughts and away from my phone. At one point, a visitor asked me what a plant was, and I couldn’t identify it. Gah! So I decided to do some independent plant study and I later learned (using Seek by iNaturalist) that it was a Desert Willow. I also checked out two other plants I had been watering, and I’m looking forward to slowly building my knowledge as I go.
Friday was quite different as I volunteered more behind the scenes and helped with planting. I joined some experienced volunteers and prepared a bunch of Silver Ponyfoot from starters. While watering was fun, this was much more my speed and I learned so much from the volunteers. I’m so excited to continue helping with this and learning from them, and I’m loving these opportunities to work outside and make things with my hands.
After volunteering on Thursday I applied for a job and updated my LinkedIn and job application materials. I’m starting to develop a process that is easy for me, and I was excited to apply, so I’m feeling a bit more positive in that area. I have been struggling on LinkedIn because I’ve only received job recommendations for advertising based on my profile, so I changed my headline, cleaned up my experience, and followed several environmental pages. It’s improved my experience on the site so far, but I think it will take some time to start optimizing and feeding me what I want to see. As always, if you hear of any opportunities in conservation, environment, sustainability, or art that sound like something I might like, please send them my way!
Doggust is still coming along nicely and I am fleshing out the consistent look I want each drawing to have. I ordered some hard-core colored pencils this week, and I hope they help me achieve what I am going for. I only have soft-core colored pencils, but I can’t ever seem to make them achieve the look I want – so fingers crossed that this works out. More sneak peeks are below!
Once I get my Doggust drawings ready, I might switch over to #avianaugust since I’ve been eager to draw from the photos Nate took when we went birding. I think it’s a good idea to draw the birds and plants I’m learning about to solidify my knowledge and begin incorporating them into my art!
Sourdough Is Taking Over My Life
I have been up to some silly sourdough shenanigans. If you want to follow along, you can watch my stories on Instagram. My mom gave me some sourdough starter last weekend and over the past 48 hours, I have been a sourdough machine. So far, I have made biscuits and crackers using the discard, and I am working on my first two loaves as I write this. I am very nervous that I messed them up. Sourdough is scary. It is also my favorite bread. I will persevere.
I feel like I am starting to hit my stride and I am enjoying meeting so many people who are passionate about the same things as me. Filling my schedule with activities outside of myself that I enjoy has added a lot of needed structure to my days, and I’m so happy that everything is feeling right. I hope you have a great week ahead, and thanks as always for reading!