Goals and Targets (see what I did there?)

It’s been a busy start to 2017. As I always do, I set myself a few goals at the start of the year. Unlike ‘new years resolutions’ which people just pluck out of the air then break anyway, I set myself a handful of discrete, quantifiable, achievable aims every year on my birthday (which just happens to be right at the beginning of the year). One of my goals this year is to try something new every month – perhaps not the most original idea, but still very worthwhile. I love trying new things, meeting new people and learning new skills, and I’m hoping this will help me shake things up a bit.

January: A friend and I tried fencing at a UoM introductory session. It was fun but much more physically demanding than I expected. The kit was pretty pungent too, but I can’t complain since the session was free.

February: While looking for local physiotherapists to take a look at my foot injury, I came across one at the UoM sports centre who was offering a free treatment for people willing to let her practice a new technique. So I went a long not really knowing what to expect. It ended up being much more a spiritual treatment than a physiotherapy one, but it was still very relaxing and pleasant. And hey, it’s a new experience to add to the list.

March: I’ve taken up archery as a hobby after enjoying a beginners course my dad got me for my birthday. As with most sports, I suspect, there was a lot more to archery than I thought. I do have a modicum of natural talent for it though, and so far all the other archers I’ve met at the club seem lovely. It’s a great arrangement really, we all get a key to the clubhouse and can go whenever we want (24/7) unless there’s a specific event running. Most of the equipment you need is kept there and the rest I have already bought or made for myself.

archery beginner

Trying my hand at archery

In other news, my contract at the university finished. It’s a shame it was so short-lived because I loved working there, but in science sometimes there just isn’t any extra funding. I knew it was only for 3 months when I accepted the role. I took in a lemon and poppy seed cake on my last day and after work we all headed out for a few leaving drinks. I received a card from everyone in the lab with what I like to think were heartfelt words. But Angie, the postdoc I had been working directly with, gave me a card of her own and a beautiful necklace. I felt a bit choked up as I read it, to know how much she had valued and would miss me. It’s always nice to get that validation and know you were doing a good job. They’re keeping me in mind for future vacancies so I may not have seen the last of that lab group.

Towards the end of February I was still working full time but also had to help get the house ready for a new lodger to move in. I’m no master craftsmen but I can handle some DIY, so I took our dryer apart (to discover it wasn’t fixable unfortunately), re-caulked the shower, fixed the driveway gate, touched up some paintwork, put a new hook up and fixed one radiator. Plus, we had to clear the room, move some furniture around slightly and clear space in the kitchen. Jasmine ended up only staying a month because a friend offered her free accommodation in return for cat sitting for a while – and who wouldn’t take that deal! But she was a pleasure to have, and we’ll probably get another one in soon.

So what else am I up to at the moment? I’m continuing my role as writer and editor for IFLC, have done some proofreading for the RSPB’s new red list summaries, I’m starting to be able to go on gentle hikes again as my foot improves, and have got around to making some of the science inspired craft things I thought up while working at the lab. Including a new brooch design where the back is just a button, so you can wear it through a buttonhole and not have to poke a hole through your favourite jumper. It works best with designs that don’t have to be a particular way up (like the serotonin molecule above), but it can be weighted to help it stay upright.



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