Prisoner of Sleep

I am a person who loves sleep. I also need a lot of it. I’m talking 8-9 hours is my optimum amount. Anything less than 8 hours means I’ll be slightly grumpy, with my grumpiness level increasing with less sleep. Late night studying in college? No, I was usually in bed by 11pm and would still have trouble making it to my 8am class. The only times I stayed up was if I was cramming for a midterm/final or trying to finish a paper. It was also the only time I actually sat at my desk. My usual place of study was…you guessed it, my bed!

When I first moved to Texas, I was really lucky and was able to telecommute for a while. This was like a dream come true for my sleep loving self, plus no commute. Back in September, I started a new job in downtown Houston, which on a perfect day with no traffic, is an hour drive from our house. Houston traffic is pretty terrible and starts very early, so I opted to drive to a park and ride, midway between Galveston and Houston, and ride the bus in. My employer pays for my bus pass, so that saves me a lot of money per week. With driving to the park and ride and riding the bus in, my total commute time ends up on average being a whopping 1.5 hours each way.

We are also trying our hardest to be a one car household, which in an area with limited public transit options, proves to be a bit difficult. You would think that with how flat Houston is and how much urban sprawl there is, a rail system would work great. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any big plans for that. I know cause I read the transit plan for the Houston-Galveston area, much to my disappointment. Ken has been on a funky schedule the past couple months, working a few days in between Galveston and Houston, and a couple days in Galveston. On the days he works outside Galveston, I drop him off on my way to the park and ride, which thankfully is not too much of a detour. On Wednesdays he has these meetings that start at 6am, so I’ve been trying to squeeze in a run before work since I get to downtown early.

Right now, I’m working 9 hour days, and take half days on Fridays. You can guess how much I love Fridays. In order to get to work at 7:30am, I have to wake up at 5:30am. I have been doing fairly well with this schedule, considering I have never had to wake up this early in my life. However, in order to be a functional human being, I have to be in bed usually around 9-9:30pm, especially on Wednesdays. Total granny status, which makes me very sad. When I get home from work, I only have a few hours to spare before I need to go to bed and repeat. Props to parents who have to go to work and still have enough energy to take care of their kids when they get home. I have enough trouble taking care of myself sometimes.

DIY Backyard Composting

After a failed attempt to do an open air compost pile (probably due to the constant random down pours in Galveston), finally found a little time and energy to set up my backyard compost bin for our leftover food scraps! No guarantees that it works since I literally just set up it up, but I’ll definitely do an update post. Here’s how to replicate in 5 easy steps:

1. Get a big plastic container. There are many different containers/set ups you can use for your backyard compost bin, ranging from old crates to chicken wire. This seemed the easiest for me at the moment. I am a little worried about chemicals leaching out from the plastic, but I figured I would set this up to see if it works first and perfect it later. You can use an old plastic storage container or go out and buy one for a few bucks.

2. Drill holes on all sides of your container (if you’re using a plastic container) for air flow. 20170919_1826501.jpg

3. Fill the bin 1/4 or so with dry brown waste (dead leaves, branches, shredded cardboard/newspaper, etc). We have plenty of dead leaves around our house so I mixed some of that with some shredded cardboard for my bin.20170919_192239[1]

4. Fill the bin with soil until it’s half full. We don’t have any excess soil hanging around so I just used potting soil that I had available.20170919_192305[1]

5. Mix your food scraps in with the dirt and add some water. I’ve been saving food scraps up for the past couple weeks in the fridge. Ken mentioned at one point that we had more garbage in the fridge than actual food. I added enough water so that the soil was slightly wet and spongy but not soaking. Put the lid back on and set it in a shady area. Then you’re done!

 

I intend to continue adding food scraps maybe once or twice a week. I have read that you should mix the new food scraps with dirt and add a little water every time, similar to the initial steps. I’ll let y’all know how it goes 🙂

 

Random Tidbits

Just five random tidbits that I wanted to share 🙂

  1. My favorite place that I’ve visited in the area so far is the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge. It’s not exactly close to us – we have to take a ferry to Bolivar Peninsula (which is free), and then drive about an hour to get there. Though it was smaller than I imagined, it was pretty cool. There were so many different birds and alligators. One of the volunteers said they saw an otter earlier in the morning. We weren’t so lucky, but we did see a pretty big gator. Planning to take my parents when they visit in September.
  1. Everything molds here. Ken and I went to Portland for a couple days without leaving the AC on, and we came back to a moldy office chair! My suede shoes also were moldy. Of all things that can mold…so annoying. Now we leave the AC on all the time, even if we set the temperature really high.
  1. I have learned that I will totally be a helicopter mom, if and when we decide to have kids. How do I know? Because I’m trying to grow some vegetables for the backyard at the house and I watch over them like a hawk. It makes me really happy to see them do well, and I get very worried when they are not looking too good. I imagine that’s what it’s like to have kids, haha.
  1. We have the option of picking where my energy source comes from – yay wind power! The energy market is deregulated here in TX, so I can choose what company to buy my energy from. In the Bay Area, there is only one gas and electric provider, PG&E. Here, since there are multiple companies, you have to do your homework to see which companies offer the best rates. Many energy companies here offer 100% renewable energy options, so our house is currently being powered by 100% wind power, which is absolutely awesome. Makes me feel less terrible about leaving the AC on. Did you know TX has the largest electricity market in the US? Think of all the renewable energy possibilities.
  1. We have no curbside recycling. Yes, you heard correctly, NO CURBSIDE RECYCLING. So, if you have curbside recycling available, you better use it, because it’s so annoying to remember to load all your recyclables into the car and bring it to the recycling center. Very difficult for me to come from a place with both curbside recycling and composting, to nothing. I have plans to start a compost pile in the backyard. Stay tuned to see how it goes.

A Month In

So it’s just a little over a month since I’ve been in Galveston. That’s essentially 1/12th of a year, which is pretty crazy if you think about it. I would say I’m adjusting fairly well, all things considering. I do miss home and not sweating every time I go outside, but it is really nice to see Ken everyday (after 5 years of seeing him every other month or so). I’ve been extremely lucky since my employer is letting me work remotely for a few months, so that keeps me fairly busy, but also gives me time to cook and clean and job hunt. This has also taught me that I would probably go crazy if I didn’t work, as much as I say how much I do not want to wake up for work >.<.

Our apartment is currently a few blocks from the beach, so it’s nice that I can go take a walk along the beach when I have time and mental power to withstand the heat. I usually go in the evening when it’s less hot, though it’s starting to heat up. It doesn’t beat beaches in California, but I suppose it’s better than having no beach at all. One thing I’ll note is that I have never seen a beach with so many trash cans available, yet so much trash along the shoreline. Ken knows better than to ask me to go jogging at the beach now because I get all distracted picking up trash. I find a lot of plastic bottle caps and plastic utensils, and after knowing about how much plastic is ending up in our oceans, I cannot with a good conscious just leave them in the sand to be washed into the ocean. I end up bringing a plastic bag with me to the beach to put all the trash I find. Breaks my poor little heart.

Ken and I have also been house hunting since I got here, and we are closing on our house this week! That took up a lot of time and house hunting is definitely not as fun as I thought it would be. I am super excited and nervous about owning our own house. Seems pretty surreal. Pictures and details to come!

Goodbye Long Distance

Ken and I met in college coaching gymnastics. I taught the little tiny kids how to do forward rolls and cartwheels, and Ken taught the older boys somewhat cooler things. I don’t really believe in soul mates, but I do believe in fate, and I am positive if my family never moved to Maine, if I got accepted into UCLA, or if I never saw that job posting for a gymnastics coach and thought “Oh what the heck, I’ll apply,” I would not be marrying Ken next July.

When I was in elementary school, my family moved to Maine for a few short years. My parents signed me up for gymnastics classes when we were there. I was an active, tomboyish child, so I’m sure they thought gymnastics would be a good outlet for my energy. It quickly became my favorite thing, and I spent a lot of time practicing at home. My dad even made me a baby beam for me at home and installed a bar in the doorway, where I remember doing pull overs and back hip circles. We moved back to California a couple years later, and that was the end of my gymnastics career. The great thing about being young and learning new skills is that they tend to stick with you, especially physical skills. Without these two years of gymnastics training that I had ten years before I went to UC Berkeley, I’m sure Ken and I would have never crossed paths.

After undergrad, Ken went off to med school in Dallas, and is now almost done with the first year of his five year residency. It’s been five years of long distance at this point. Right now, as I’m sitting on the plane headed to Houston, I look back at our relationship, and I can’t help but be proud. I think we have handled long distance with such commitment and grace that not all people are capable of. It took me a long, long time to feel ready to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, but I’m really excited for the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and live in a new place (we’ll see if I still feel that way in a month). Most of all, I’m excited to be together in one place, and hope that he doesn’t eat all of my cereal (inside joke between one of my bffs and me). Goodbye long distance, and hello new life in Texas.