Five Things Friday Vol. 48 (on a Saturday)

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

Hi friends, I thought I’d pop by on a Saturday for a few notes from this week. I spent this whole week doing fieldwork (a GPS survey) in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I am truly lucky that I get to work in some beautiful places. Fieldwork always means early wakeups, long days, and late nights, but if you’re working with a good group of people (which I do!), most of the time, it is also a lot of fun. Our team approaches fieldwork with the motto “work hard, play hard”, so at the end of an intense, but successful work week, we always find a little time to play (which came in the form of an awesome hike through a fissure slot canyon near Mono Lake yesterday) before we all headed home.

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When I passed from the east side back over to the west side of the Sierra Nevada, I drove through an area of thick smoke from the Mosquito Fire that is burning here in Northern California. It’s become the largest wildfire this year in California and is only 20% contained at this point. Air quality in the Tahoe region and into Nevada has been horrific. We got very lucky in Sacramento so far and weren’t impacted much (because the winds were in our favor and didn’t blow the smoke down into the valley), but that could change anytime. I don’t understand how people can still think that this is not related to climate change. Yes, California has always had wildfires, but intensity and size have evidently increased in the last few years.

* * *

I had to completely skip my workout schedule for the last 5 days because there literally was no time to fit in 30-60+ minutes workouts when I was in Mammoth (besides the fact that I had no access to a bike). Instead, I did 10 min Standing Yoga sessions in the morning to get a little bit of movement in to start the day, and I kept reminding myself that it’s okay to tweak your schedule when life gets in the way.

I got back on track with an 8-mile run this morning and I am not going to lie, the first 1-2 miles were tough (whether it was because I was just tired from this week, or because I hadn’t run/cycled since last weekend, I am not sure, but man, my heart wanted to jump out of my chest). Luckily, I kinda fell into a groove after that and was able to complete the run just fine.

* * *

I watched a couple of minutes of TLC reality shows (90-day fiancé, Sister Wives, and My 600 lbs life) at the hotel to wind down when I was getting ready for bed this week, and while I wouldn’t call myself a reality TV show junkie by any means, I find it surprisingly relaxing to indulge in some (probably heavily scripted) drama every once in a while. Which reality TV shows do you (occasionally) watch? Do tell!

* * *

Jon’s turning 40 in a month and I have no freakin’ clue what to do to surprise him for his birthday (he’s not easy to shop for, not to mention the fact that there is a chance that I might be gone on yet another fieldwork trip during his birthday week). “Gifts” are not his love language, so I know he doesn’t expect – or even want – any extravagant gifts for his birthday, but I do want to make his birthday memorable and special for him. I know you can’t be of much help, since most of you don’t know Jon personally, but maybe I can get inspired by some birthday surprises that you have come up with for a big birthday of your significant other or a friend? Help a girl out! Please and thank you :)

Happy Saturday!

  1. Sonnige Grüße aus San Jose! Ich lese deinen Blog schon eine ganze Weile, vielen lieben Dank für die netten Blogeinträge!
    Plan doch einfach einen schönen Hike mit Picknick. Seid ihr schon mal im gewesen?

    1. Hallo Bettina, schön, dass du hier vorbei schaust und heute auch mal einen Kommentar hinterlassen hast :) Vielen Dank für den Tip mit dem Hike und Picknick – im Uvas Canyon County Park waren wir tatsächlich noch nicht.

  2. The field trip photos on Instagram were so fun to see. What exactly does a gps survey mean?

    If you are gone gor Jobs bday maybe prepare a little treasure hunt in the apartment with notes and a few little presents…

    1. GPS is short for “Global Positioning System” and we survey benchmarks (survey markers) by satelite to measure the “elevation” of the benchmark. Over time, you re-survey the same benchmarks and measure “subsidence and/or uplift” in the area.

      Thanks for the suggestions with the treasure hunt. I love that idea!

  3. We do a lot of homemade things in our house because we’re forgetful, short on time, and a tiny bit lazy. So I would do a thoughtful homemade card and maybe a homemade dinner. Also, if there’s something little you notice he might like/need, sometimes it’s nice to see your spouse acknowledge your lack. My husband is forever putting holes in his socks and I find that replacing them on his birthday/holiday is just an easy way to show that I notice. On my birthday, my husband noticed I was having a hard time seeing the alarm clock on his side of the bed (getting older is not great for your eyes!) and he bought me one for my side of the bed. It was just a small thing, but it was so sweet that he noticed it was something I could use!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions – great ideas!

  4. Your fieldwork sounds interesting, and is certainly in a beautiful area!

    I wonder if you could surprise your husband with a night away or something? Like a mini-romantic getaway?

    I don’t watch much TV but my husband loves this show that has people mining for gold in Alaska. I cannot understand his fascination with it but he loves it!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Nicole – I actually thought about a little getaway, but have to wait and see if I’ll be around that week/weekend or if I have to plan it for later. But great idea!

  5. Why is it that reality shows are so relaxing? I completely agree. The ones I watch are usually Naked and Afraid or Dr. Pimple Popper.

    What about a special hike with a picnic or dinner at the end? I love doing urban “hikes” with my husband (although we haven’t done any in a long time) — in Europe, we do Rick Steves walking tours, but when we moved to our city we bought a book of urban hikes that was really fun to do. Probably I feel so warmly toward them because we did a long urban walk in Montreal the night my husband proposed.

    Happy birthday to Joe!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Suzanne. I appreciate it :)

  6. Hmm. Gifts are not my love language either and I struggle SO much with giving gifts.

    Experiences are a great suggestion, but it sounds like you might be away and want something tangible.

    I usually try to give something fun (for my husband a LEGO set!), something to wear (usually a pair of really nice sock), and something to eat (a block of his favourite cheese or a hot sauce or his favourite chocolate bar).

    1. Thanks for the ideas, Elisabeth. I think with all the great suggestions you guys had, I’ll be able to come up with a little surprise!

  7. I am glad you had a good work trip overall, and that you cut yourself some slack and didn’t make yourself fit workouts into an already very very long day! It just can’t happen sometimes!

    I was thinking about climate change on my walk by our empty/dry creek on Saturday. This is the 2nd summer in a row that the creek has gone dry due to the drought. I wonder how people can think it’s coincidental that things like this are happening. Our droughts are not as severe as CA but it’s hard here since farming is a big part of the economy here in MN. It’s frustrating to see so little being done at the national level, but how can things be done when a huge % of the population doesn’t believe in global warming? It’s really hard.

    Like Jon, i am not a gifts person. My husband isn’t either. So that’s why I planned rounds of golf for him for his birthday. If Jon is a sentimental person, maybe a list of 40 memories or 40 things you love about him? I would have done that for Phil if he was at all sentimental but that is soooo not his vibe. A friend and I did something similar when a friend turned 30 and she was so touched!

    1. Thanks so much for the suggestions, Lisa – I love the idea of 40 memories/things I love about Jon for his birthday and I’ve been working on a list! Psst ;)

  8. Reality shows are about all I’ve been able to handle lately. I don’t know why I love them so much but maybe because I’m not trying to follow a story?

    I don’t think I have any advice about gifts. I am not a great gift-giver myself so I always find it hard to find that great gift for people. But it seems like you have gotten great advice from other people!

  9. I’m so not going to weigh in on the gift-related question – I stink at giving gifts! And I do not like getting them, either, so there you go. :) Not to mention, I am so late to the party that Jon’s b-day is likely done and in the past.
    Your work trips are in truly beautiful locations! I’m glad that smoke didn’t impact your ability to do your measurements, as it sounds like it’s been even worse than I’d heard. Question – do you stay overnight in the work location? I am assuming yes but realized that may not be the case for all trips, maybe? And does this count as “in office time”?

    1. You don’t like to get gifts? Aww, that makes me sad, Anne. Gifts are not my love language, but I still think it’s a nice gesture :)

      Thanks for asking these questions about my work trips. I do stay overnight in the work locations (usually – sometimes there are day trips!) and yes, it counts as “in office time” … which means, if I am gone for field work during a normal week, I don’t have to make up the “in office day”.

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