A couple of days late, but it’s been a busy weekend, as you’ll see if you read this week’s update! I probably should’ve split this one up.
- Blog – I blogged and posted to the wiki about mental focus. That was last week’s main project. It took longer than I expected because even though most of the wiki article had already been written, it was long and took a lot of reading time to organize and revise.
- Wiki comments – No progress last week, as I expected. This week doesn’t look likely either, so I’m taking it off the agenda for now, though I may randomly decide to work on it. It can be a surprise.
- Math relearning – No real progress last week on this either, but I’m squeezing it in a bit this week because I absolutely don’t want to lose sight of it. Math is important for so many of my projects and goals.
- Cognitive science – And nothing here, except that I’ve decided to collect a bunch of cog sci links on the wiki to get a sense of the field.
- Daily routine – I mentioned this briefly as an afterthought in last week’s update, but on Monday I set up a schedule for my weekday evenings, and it’s turning out to be one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. I’ve been able to keep up with my routine, and to my surprise it’s significantly shaping my outlook on life. It will be the subject of an upcoming post.
- Diet – The low-carb diet is rolling along. It’s hard to believe I’ve been at it for only three weeks. But I feel like I could keep it up for much longer. And even though weight loss isn’t my main purpose, it’s nice to see I’ve lost about 5 pounds since I started. It makes me think the diet is doing something. I managed to cook something this week, a low-carb version of the chicken tikka masala I make periodically, substituting cottage cheese for the yogurt and chopped cauliflower for the rice. It worked well.
- Easter – Every year at Easter I ditch my usual church to visit an Anglican church in the area that knows how to do Easter better than just about any church I’ve seen. My brother, Michael, comes too. Now that he lives far away, he even flies in to do it. Here was our Easter weekend this year.
- Friday – I picked up my brother from the airport early Friday afternoon. On our way to our annual Good Friday Taizé service, we had lunch at a Brazilian place, which was good but rather slow getting us our food and made us slightly late. It’s a crowded place, and we ended up sitting apart. The church that holds the service is beautiful, like a miniature cathedral. Afterward we thought about trying for my church’s Good Friday service, but that would mean constant driving and service attending for the rest of the evening, since Michael was planning on yet another one later, so we decided no. With that off the agenda, we even managed to go on my regularly scheduled walk.
- Saturday – Saturday we had lunch at Chick-fil-A, partly because I know how to eat low carb there, and then made our way to an installation art exhibit we’ve been looking forward to for about a year, Presence by David Wallace Haskins at the Elmhurst Art Museum. It’s there through May 8, so if you’re in the Chicago area, I recommend it. It will mess with your mind. My favorite pieces were Void Room, Time Mirror, and Soundcube. Void Room is best experienced without spoilers. Just know that the first room you enter isn’t all there is to it. Actually I didn’t think that much of Soundcube until the artist demoed the other tracks for us and told us his plans for it, which got me thinking about its possibilities as a sound environment. By the way, David is at the museum a lot, and he likes to talk about his work, so introduce yourself if you see him. After the exhibit, I gave my brother a tour of the board game store I visit, and then I dropped him off at the very long Easter Vigil he attends each year. They go all night now, but he came home after about three hours.
- Sunday – I made Michael my typical low-carb breakfast of eggs with cheese and an Atkins shake, and then off we went to meet Jeremy and Heather and their family at our Anglican church. It was energetic as always, and I was even in a better mood than usual. After church we had lunch at Olive Garden, where I managed to find something low carb to order that wasn’t a salad. Jeremy’s mom even got them to adapt an appetizer for me, which was nice of her. And after lunch we were off to the airport for Michael. Heather drove, for reasons that will be explained shortly, but Jeremy came along for the ride, so the airport trip was basically a social event.
- I never got much cleaning done. Oh well.
- Car – The reason my friends gave us a ride to the airport was that on the way home from the board game store Saturday, I slowed down at an intersection, and my car started shuddering and sputtering, and the check engine light started flashing. Soon the engine returned to normal, but the light continued flashing, and the shaking continued intermittently whenever I drove it, along with a sporadic accelerating and decelerating, getting worse as the weekend wore on. AutoZone read the check engine code for me: P0300, random cylinder misfires. Something like this happened last year, and that time it was so worrying that I got it repaired right away. This time I had to wait a couple of days, but the Internet didn’t seem worried about the condition, so I just tolerated it and tried to drive as little as possible. It’s frustrating and embarrassing to have a car that visibly shakes while idling and struggles to accelerate through an intersection. I finally got it fixed Tuesday. Car mechanics are such a relief. And so are kind coworkers who drive me to and from the shop.
- Dentist – My teeth are in need of a cleaning, so I’m on a quest to find a dentist! This feels more challenging to me than finding a doctor. I seem to have gotten a lot more ads for dentists than doctors in the mail over the years, and somehow that makes these dentists and the whole profession feel a little shady to me. Why do they have to tell me how great they are? Shouldn’t everyone just know? What are they trying to pull?? Fly-by-night street dentists, the lot of them! Yes, it’s silly, but it still makes me more cautious when I’m looking for one.
- Finances – Thursday night I got an email from my bank, a credit card fraud alert. I looked at the activity on that card, and it had been compromised for about two weeks. Shows how much I pay attention. So instead of tidying up the apartment for my brother, in between trips to the laundry room I spent the next morning sorting through many months of receipts to clarify which of the recent charges were mine. Then I called the bank, went through some rigmarole to confirm my identity, and got my card canceled. So now I’m waiting for the new one and living on cash. Fortunately, last time this happened, I decided to get a separate card for online transactions, and that one’s fine. Maybe I should get a third card as a backup so I don’t have to wait next time. I decided against it last time. In any case, the incident motivated me to address some of my financial projects: updating my budget, actually using my financial software (or finding an easier one), catching up on my freelance invoices, investing, and looking into charity giving. I definitely need to do my taxes soon. That’ll be this week’s main project.