Karst

Karst

I went caving today! I decided about two weeks ago (maybe less) that I should try it, and found the IU Caving Club and they were having a trip, so I signed up immediately. I did it to build up my outdoorsy resume, mostly – or, at least that’s the only reason I was brave enough to just do it on a whim by myself.

We went to Buckner cave, which is about 20 minutes from campus. It’s a dry condition cave, which I appreciated for my first time caving. It’s privately owned which is why it’s not totally closed like the DNR caves are. I’m glad there were only four of us because it made the journey into the depths of Mississippian Indiana go way faster.

I’m not sure how I feel about caving. When you first enter the cave, there’s a big room that you walk straight into – but then you have to crawl through this tiny opening into the crawlway to the rest of the rooms. The tightest spot was the first thing we had to traverse, and it was only about 10 feet long, but I almost panicked. If the whole trip was going to be like that, I was not going to be okay. But I held it in and tried to calm down, and then it was okay and most of the time we could roll or crawl or crouch through the first 700 feet. Then, I made sure the rest wasn’t going to be that panic-inducing and I soon felt comfortable underground.

It’s totally weird to think that when I go hiking down here I’m probably walking right over the top of caves. Okay, probably not probably, but they’re not that uncommon and you’d normally never notice. I think I would go caving again, in one with sweeter formations, but I definitely like being on top of the earth where there are colors and sounds. I couldn’t do more than three hours in a cave unless it was SUPER sweet. Today’s trip only took 1.5 hours. I’m definitely interested in caving and wish I had come out loving it, but there’s a certain level of comfort that I’m used to that I didn’t have there.

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Pictures didn’t really turn out well down there with all the dust.

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Sweet, sweet sunlight. Today was gorgeous!

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Some other things:

1. Caves are really dirty

2. Baby cave salamanders are adorable

3. Tiny bats are tiny – I’m used to big brown bats, not little brown bats.

4. I hit my head a lot.

5. Geology is way crazier than I gave it credit for before

 

Then I made a trip to Bloomingfoods for more bananas and quinoa. I’ve never made quinoa, and it was good but not great. I’ll have to tweak my recipe. I fried tilapia instead of baking it, and it was really good. I should have left it longer so it got crispy, but I’ll know to next time. THEN I was really excited, because I was roasting chickpeas (I have 4 cans in my pantry and have since sophomore year…), but when I left the kitchen I got distracted by a blog and left them in probably an extra 45 minutes. I didn’t remember until the smoke alarm went off. HUGE can of beans wasted. At least they’re not in my pantry anymore!

Til next time!

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Thinking Thursday: The Look of Love

Today I have a special Valentines Day edition of my weekly science post.

Have you ever looked at someone you love and been able to see their affection for you in their eyes? I know I have. When Steven looks at me his eyes sparkle and he looks like a kid with a new puppy.

From Science Friday:

“Psychologist Bruno Laeng, of the University of Oslo, says our pupils don’t just respond to light, but to thoughts too. Studies show that our pupils dilate when something captures our attention, including when we feel strong emotions. Laeng discusses how psychologists are using “pupillometry” in the lab.”

For some reason the video won’t embed in this post, so if you’re interested you can check out the original article here!

Hope you get that look of love from someone today! Happy Valentines Day.

Valentines Weekend

Valentines Weekend

Steven and I don’t really celebrate Valentines Day. It’s too close to our anniversary and Christmas/my birthday for it to make sense to spend more money on gifts, so in high school we’d go get half off teddy bears and hot chocolate gift baskets, but after we were long distance there wasn’t any point any more. I got my two favorite teddy bears that I still sleep with that way, and there’s no room in my heart or my bed for any more.

I like to fight the man, so I’ve always tried to be against the selling out of love to capitalist America.

Then last year, I thought it might be nice to get some attention while everyone else was, and hinted that I wanted flowers. Steven hinted that maybe I’d get some. I didn’t. I was pissed. Apparently I care.

So, this year I wanted to do something. No gifts, no flowers, but maybe meet in Indy sometime during the week for a movie or dinner. Steven wanted to make a weekend of it. So, this was our weekend!

On Friday when Steven got here, I made him dinner (pesto pasta and tilapia) and then we went to see Silver Linings Playbook. Steven is usually down for chick flicks but was giving me a hard time about this, but he really liked it! It wasn’t really a chick flick like I let him believe.

On Saturday I made whole wheat buttermilk pancakes and we headed to the dog park. I was a little disappointed with the pancakes because it’s my favorite recipe, but the only flour I had in my pantry was whole wheat, and they’re just not the same that way. Still delicious, but not the flavor I’ve grown up with.

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Captain played at the dog park for two hours, got super muddy, had a bath, and passed out.

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Steven ran some errands and then decided it was too nice outside to not go for a walk to a late lunch, so we walked downtown to get some Chipotle. We brought along a couple hopslams, which made the walk much more fun.

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After Chipotle I was still a little hungry since we split the burrito, and we wanted to save our get one free for a late night snack, so we went to Hartzell’s for a chocolate basil ice cream cone. It was delish. I wanted something a little more savory, but my tastebuds were shot after the beer and spicy barbacoa burrito, so chocolate it was.

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Then we headed to Lennie’s Restaurant and Brewery. I’ve heard good things but never been even though it’s about three blocks from my house, so since they are the home of Bloomington Brewing Company, I convinced Steven that was where we should have our Valentines’ dinner. We got a sampler of beer and then ordered a pint of Simcoe Kid IPA to share. We had crabcakes (omg YUM-new favorite appetizer!) and ordered pizza. We had a half and half California and Blue Apple – oh. my. goodness.

[This is where I talk only about pizza ingredients and how awesome they were.]

This pizza is so good. We got the traditional crust which is amazing, and both of our combo choices had a pesto sauce which is always awesome. The California was a regular mozzarella, spinach, black olive, sun-dried tomato, avocado and feta combo but it was still phenomenal. That half was probably my favorite. The Blue Apple half had apples, bacon, walnuts, onion, and gorgonzola. I think the only reason that wasn’t my favorite was because the bacon was a bit overpowering and the apples could have been a better variety. Still, it was an amazing combination and I love the idea of walnuts on pizza now – such a fun texture! There are so many other kinds I want to try there. Good thing it’s half off before 6pm!

We ventured out to The Tap and the Bluebird and Brothers for an evening with friends. We even topped it off with a few minutes of dirty dancing at Dunnkirk – not something Steven and I usually partake in anymore. When we got home we got to eat our chicken burrito and go to sleep.

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On Sunday we had our leftover pizza for breakfast and headed to Kilroy’s to watch the Ohio State game. It was totally dead, which was kind of weird, but we were joined by a friend and sat in comfy chairs in front of the TV. We celebrated a good road win and then went to the grocery store to pick up things for dinner and also Steven’s new healthy lifestyle. We had mashed potatoes, yummy apple salad, and bacon-wrapped steak for dinner. Steven waited til my sister got home from South Dakota to leave so he had a late drive, but I was glad to have a couple more hours with him.

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It was a pretty successful Bloomington weekend.

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Thinking Thursday: 2 Minute Thesis

If you don’t know or don’t realize, a thesis is basically a person’s life’s work. I mean, not really, it’s the beginning of their life’s work, but still, your average thesis probably takes 6 years of difficult research to write.

So, this guy (the guy from the TED talk video I posted last Thinking Thursday) is a cartoonist who animates researchers’ description of their thesis – in 2 minutes. So, it’s a really cool, entertaining way to learn something you didn’t know.

Check it out – it’ll take 2 minutes of your day and you might find yourself really interested in stick bugs afterward! There isn’t actually that much stick bug content, but I’m more fascinated by the author’s decision to study them.

This is how science works. You find seemingly insignificant things that no one has bothered studying before, and if you’re lucky, you’ve discovered gravity.

Not As Planned.

Not As Planned.

I didn’t wake up having the best day, but even though I woke up late and decided not to go to class (shame on me!) I was productive in the time I spent at home. I had a good meeting with a professor about my future (not so promising) and got a new plant out of it!

Then it snowed the most beautiful I’ve seen it snow so far this year and I walked around in it for about half an hour before class, and when I got out of class (which taught me a lot even though I didn’t want to be there) the sky was blue and it was perfect out, and I decided I had to go to the firetower for my winter trip. I was in a great mood.

I wanted to go while there was snow on the ground for the full winter effect, and I was afraid it wasn’t going to snow after this all melts, so when it was a beautiful blue sky I knew I had to go. I had already asked my sister if I could borrow her car since it has four wheel drive and would do better on the snowy gravel road, so I borrowed it and went on my way.

I should have known when her radio was locked since her battery died awhile ago that it was bad news. I didn’t have my awesome 20 minute joy ride out there like I normally would since I didn’t have music. Bad omen. But that was fine, silence is good, right?

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Wrong.

So I get there, and am halfway down the gravel path, when there’s this jeep going what looked like 30 miles an hour on basically one lane road. We got past each other okay, but we were both clearly slipping a little bit, so I was definitely wary of the next curve. It was on a steep slope, so I knew I had to be extra careful, but it was to no avail. For about 15 agonizing seconds the oncoming suburban and I tried to dodge each other, but my car slid too far to the left and his was sliding too, and though he tried to throw his car into reverse, it went into park instead, and my back end finally gave up and spun into his bumper.

I covered my face with my hand as soon as we hit.

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I’m not the type to freak out, cause a scene, and cry while on the phone with my dad or boyfriend after a wreck. I’m cool and collected, pissed, but what can I do? He was surprised by how together I seemed. Still, I think my calmness is probably not the greatest, because it means I go with the flow a bit too much and didn’t even get his make/model/plate number. I had his phone number/business card and license number, but still, I’m an idiot. He seemed like a nice enough guy – he even told me to call him on his cell if I got into trouble down the road – but I don’t know if I’m the best judge of character. Hopefully I am.

Luckily, once I actually saw my sister in person she had come to grips with the fact that I ruined her car and was glad I was okay and gave me a hug – trying not to be mad. The dent is only on her one back door, and the window, lock, and door all still work so she’s not going to even place a claim with insurance. The paint isn’t even cracked. It could have been a lot worse.

It still ruined my outing though. Not only did I wreck her car, but it was also taking study time and dinner out with friends time out of my day. Lose-lose. I spent about 10 minutes or less on top of the tower because I was crying and pissed. I half wanted to stay til sunset at first, because – duh – that would have been gorgeous, but maybe I’ll wait til the road is dry to do that. As it was getting dark I was thankful I didn’t have farther to drive out there.

At least I completed something on my bucket list. And no one got hurt. And I have a couple pretty pictures even if I didn’t enjoy the view from up there at the time.

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I tried to put a positive spin on this but it didn’t really work, did it? I’m gonna have to listen to some Mika to make myself feel better – and you should too! Mika has probably been the main reason for my positive outlook lately. I’ve been feeling pretty on top of the world – to the point of when it snows or the temperature drops to the negatives I’m ecstatic. It’s pretty nice. =)

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Out of the cold

Out of the cold

There’s a kitty in my neighborhood who just loves going through open doors. Naturally, I let him in. At first, he would come in for a couple minutes and then want to go back out again, but as winter came, he stayed for longer and longer, taking naps on our beds and begging for food.

He clearly has a home, because he’s well fed and well groomed, and also smells a little like cigarettes. I don’t know why he comes over here so often (well, I do-we let him in, and once my roommate gave him a can of tuna.) but he’s started coming over around midnight a couple times a week and he sleeps with me til about 6am.

It’s perfect, because I get my fuzzy fix and he gets a warm bed for the night. I always wake up when he gets up and he’s usually ready to be let out. Today, he meowed at my window at 5am (for some reason I heard him) and I let him in, and he was done sleeping at 8 but didn’t want to go outside. Unfortunately, I had to kick him out. It was sad, but he doesn’t have the greatest manners and my house isn’t cat proof.

I probably should have gotten out of bed for the day with him.

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