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I woke up at 2 am Thursday morning because of both the ongoing leg discomfort and because there's too much on my mind lately. For a little while, my mind worked away at trying to visualize how the upcoming Seattle-to-Portland bike ride is going to go. It makes me a bit anxious when there are large groups of people to coordinate, and then suddenly other people start making a schedule for me and I no longer feel like I have much say over my own life, even when that schedule is well-intentioned and makes complete sense under the circumstances.

What I really needed to do was focus more on the things I am looking forward to, and the things that I know are possible that connect together and lead up to the larger, more impossible-seeming things. Interestingly, hundred-mile bike rides just aren't very daunting to me right now. You get on a bike and you pedal it for a long while, maybe pausing for some good food and water periodically, then pedaling some more and enjoying the sights and sounds of the world. And then eventually, you arrive somewhere.

Other thought-demons are trickier to grapple with. That Thursday morning, the most immediate ones were the need to get cricket injections completed in time to go to my doctor's appointment at 1:45 pm, plus ensuring that I could figure out how to get to the clinic and have correct paperwork, especially given that my dratted health insurance card hasn't shown up anywhere, which adds yet another item to my to do list (call health insurance people, ugh).

Keep in mind that cricket injections are stressful even on a good day, let alone on a day where there's a finite end point. I can't exactly go, "Whoops, got started too late, guess I just won't get enough crickets for these diet treatments after all!" And I'm reaching the end stages of the current experiment, which means every day is that much more important. If I don't finish before I leave for Seattle, I have that much more extra stuff I have to get lined up while I'm away. One of the undergraduates recently made a mistake with nine of the cricket samples from the previous experiment, which has only reinforced to me how precious those samples become over time. Two months prior to an experiment, a large batch of a given cricket cohort must be started. Then there's the daily cricket sorting, pulling out all of the newly molted adults and setting them up on the 13 diets. Then there are the injections themselves, a half-day investment, plus the following dissections. As a result, losing nine cricket samples represents the loss of at least a full day's work. It all unfortunately reinforces my sense of wanting to do everything myself, but I just don't and won't have time.

If I leave town mid-experiment, that means I have to ask others in the lab to sort my crickets and set them up on the different diets. This Wednesday, I originally had 32 crickets lined up to inject, in four boxes of 8 crickets each. When I went to start the injections, however, and counted crickets in the boxes, two of the four boxes were down to 7 crickets due to cannibalism. This is problematic for a diet experiment and put me back at square one with those two diets, so I set up a fresh set of crickets in smaller groups that will be ready on Sunday (2 sets of 5 crickets on each of the two diets). But will that really be enough? There's no way to know for sure, as I found with the last big experiment. So I made myself set up even more backup crickets yesterday evening, which will be ready to go on Tuesday, the day before I skip town. If this contingency doesn't work, I have to cross my fingers and hope that there are enough crickets left when I return from Seattle a week later.

So that's just one thing on my mind. To return to yesterday in particular, I managed to get in to work and get underway in a timely fashion, keeping myself to an exceedingly tight morning schedule. I finished the first phase before noon, so there was time to eat lunch and figure out how to get to the doctor's office. Then the clouds opened up and water started to pour out. So let's just say that I showed up to the doctor's appointment looking like a drowned rat.

The appointment was good, though, once I got there. In almost all regards I'm healthy - there's just this niggling leg issue. After inquiring about numbness and/or tingling (I'm not experiencing either) and checking for potential IT band and ACL issues, the doc said she'd write a referral for a physical therapist to do an assessment and work with me on stretches and strengthening.

I have the day off from cricket injections, although I'll still go in to work to get caught up on everything else that I've been letting slide. I am seriously wondering how all of the data are going to get analyzed and turned into manuscripts - I just don't see how we have the time, over the remaining 3.5 months. I hope I never, ever again have to do experiments with 13 different treatments.

I also need to figure out my entry and exit points for test-riding the second half of the brevet route this Saturday (the only day I will have time to do the test ride). I actually have time and energy to sweep the house this morning, finally, which is good because the crumbs slowly drive me mad. And so on. These experiments are sufficiently intense that most of what I want to do on a given evening or weekend is just lie in place and stare at the wall for a while. Thankfully, the view from the loveseat is nice, of the trees out front.


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