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Exercising consistently April 26, 2009

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I’ve been feeling a huge lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in my life recently, which exaggerates my continued languor.  I don’t know if it’s because of my diet that I feel so tired or if because I feel so listless that I’m not bothering to eat well.  I guess both things kind of perpetuate each other, leaving me drained and nutrient-deprived.  Ok, it’s not that bad, but I do feel like my energy level has not been up to par with my old self.  Fruits and salads were so much more accessible back in the dining halls!  I know people tend to eat terribly when it’s a buffet, but I really did enjoy having a salad bar and baskets of fruits laying around.

I’ve been trying to convince myself to get back into the good old days, when a workout was routine and expected, but it’s hard when I don’t even have sneakers.  I also have this "need" to only work out when I can shower afterward, but I tend to feel like working out when I’m showering.  I hate to take too many showers in a day (why waste the water?), so I need to time it just right.  Perhaps this is why I prefer to do static exercises that don’t produce as much sweat as cardio would.  I’ve been telling myself to set aside half an hour each afternoon/evening to do some simple strength exercises, but somehow the time always flies by and next thing I know, it’s time for dinner.

I found a series of short videos online through the UCLA Rec Center, which leads me through some quick and simple "at your desk" exercises that can counteract the effects of sitting too long (something I am very much guilty of).  I did them once and it felt good, but I wasn’t able to remember to keep doing it.  Am I going to need to set an alarm to remind myself?  After all, it’s only 15 minutes – plenty short to fit into my schedule!  I always fare so much better when I have a set regimen, coach, and team to work out with.  This whole self-motivation thing is hard to do when you keep convincing yourself that your personal well-being can be pushed aside for higher priority things.  But, as many of the contestants in The Biggest Loser said, much of the reason they got so overweight was because they neglected to take care of themselves.

I have spent time reading books and articles for personal enrichment.  I play games here and there to destress and work my critical thinking and motor skills.  Yet, I do nothing for my physical health, in terms of strength, endurance, overall fitness.  So I think it’s time to get back into that mindset that everyone starts the year with and revamp my life.  I need to tone my core, I want to work on my triceps, and I should slim down ever so slightly.  Starfish brought in a machine that measures your BMI and fat percentage, which we all tried one night.  My BMI has always been within the normal range, nothing exciting, but my fat percentage is a tad on the high end.  That doesn’t come as too much of a surprise – I have very thick thighs that have quite a layer of fat on them and my belly’s got its fair share as well.

I really wish I could swim to work out, but I didn’t bring my cap, googles, or competitve suits.  Can you imagine me doing the fly in a bikini?  Especially one that has this strange flap that hangs down halfway to my bellybutton.  Let’s not even talk about how silly that would look or how easily a "wardrobe malfunction" could occur.  I was thinking that if the pool is deep enough, I could try just doing some exercises treading water.  Now I’ve just got to convince myself it’s worth it to look like a fool in a family style pool and get to it.

I want to try to do that on the weekends (or any nights that I manage to get back around dinnertime).  Days that I don’t get to do that I should be doing some basic dryland exercises.  There’s so much you can do with just your body and gravity, as I was telling Lorrie the other day, when he was asking me about how to burn away belly flab.  I still remember a lot from my years of training, but it’s no use if I don’t do it.  Pretty soon, I’ll start to forget everything I once knew, except that I once knew it.  Sometimes I get really nostalgic for those days when I used to compete and train with a goal in mind.  Always a better run, a longer jump, a faster swim, or more endurance.

I must motivate myself to work out again.


Random silly ideas March 22, 2009

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Today at dinner I was struck my the most fantastical notion of customized menus.  See, when the waitress asked me if it was ok that there is pork in my shrimp wontons, I started to imagine a place where the waitress would ask for any food allergies you may have before you order.  That idea then developed into having electronic menus that would update according to what items you could or could not eat and keep track of your favorite dishes as well as what you ordered recently.  Every first-time customer could then just input their own data and from then on they could be given a membership card to be scanned upon each visit, pulling up their personal data.  Cool, no?  A low-cost version of this could just be printing menus for people with certain nut allergies, seafood allergies, or vegetarian all the way to vegan preferences.

Then, as we were walking along, I thought I heard Marylin say something to me, but she hadn’t uttered a word, which made me think that it would be useful if we glowed or lit up when we talked so it’d be easier to tell if we’re just hallucinating.  She seems to hear me say things a lot when I’m just hanging, though for her this would be less useful, since she tends to be in front of me and not looking at me at the time.  However, for me, this would be a great ability for people to have!  Lol.  Of course, when I told her this, she just looked at me like I was indeed glowing and tried to pretend she didn’t know me as I laughed myself to pieces.  Gosh, I really crack myself up sometimes.  These are the random things I think about when I am happily fed Crystal Jade noodles and xiao long bao.  Yummy.  😛

Spicy foods: the battle between pain and pleasure March 4, 2009

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It seems that a conscious effort has to be made to find non-spicy foods around here.  I suppose the Singaporeans tolerate pain better than I do.  And yes, extreme spices can qualify as forms of pain – after all, capsaicin creates that burning sensation and activates nerves much like painful sensations do.  It’s no wonder my insides still hurt from ingesting those spices.

Despite this, I absolutely love certain spicy foods, like kimchi, shin ramen, and preserved vegetables.  They are so tasty and delicious, but I can’t get through eating any of them without gasping for a soothing drink.  It’s a strange predicament to be in, loving to eat something so much, yet not being able to do it without crying the whole way through.  It’s nearly a workout in itself, making me work up a sweat and making my heart race.

So what’s a girl to do when her brain craves some spicy food and her stomach is clutched in fear?  Get a very big drink (milk, if possible, since it soothes best) and brace herself!  It’s like drinking soda and the carbonation is just a little too much, but you love it anyway.  We’re so strange to develop taste for things that generally are supposed to turn us away.  Are we as humans masochistic or something?  What other animal gobbles up chili peppers?  But alas,  that is how it goes and we have countless strange habits and rituals.

My stomach is still burning up a little and it’s been twelve hours!  Yikes!  I’m chewing on some Riesen hoping there’s some milk content in there to help my tummy.  Gosh, I should not have gone for that kimchi ramen, but it was soooo good…

A black hole of a purse March 2, 2009

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I just arrived in Singapore a few hours ago and I’m having trouble sleeping, so I found myself mentally going through the contents of my suitcases, trying to remember if I brought that darned toothbrush or not.  I swear there are items that I specifically packed, but I was unable to find them last night as I was getting ready for bed.  I’m willing to bet that it’s not my memory playing tricks on me, but my luggage.  Smart buggers.  So, I will try again in a bit as Marylin and I get ready to start our first day at work together!  Until everything is unpacked and stowed away, I am not giving up on finding my favorite facewash and that silly toothbrush.  Thank goodness they give you a temp one to use on the plane, or else I’d be using my finger and gargling a lot.

So does this happen to anyone else?  You throw something into your purse and no amount of digging will make it resurface again.  You just know it’s in there, but minutes of feeling around for it yields no results.  You give up on the search and decide that it’s a lost cause and go buy another one or stop using whatever it was.  Then it’s not until you dump out all the contents that it finally emerges from the depths of the bag.  It’s really quite amazing to me how this manages to happen, even in a seemingly small and innocent purse.  But no, those suckers are like a vortex.  Sometimes something has been hidden away in the crevices of your bag for so long you have forgotten you had it in the first place, then suddenly one day you clean out your purse to find it there!

This is the reason I avoid getting a big purse to carry around, or else I’d spend way too much time rifling through its contents trying to find what I want.  I wish they had more pockets and compartments in purses to keep things from falling out of place and away from reach.  No matter how neatly I place things in, they always manage to shift around and I can never seem to pull out that pen or chapstick when I need it most.  It’s like when you try to find something you’ve misplaced – you only find it after you don’t need it anymore.  Now what’s up with that?  Murphy’s Law?

Something similar happens in bowls of soup too, particularly ramen, as my friends and I found when eating some for lunch recently… really, how does a piece of pork get lost in that bowl?!  They need to serve these things with strainers or we may never even know some of the food we missed out on!  It’s all fine and dandy when you’re drinking the entire bowl, but if it’s a noodle-based soup, you could be leaving a lot more left over than you intended to.  Oh the black holes in our lives…

Rose Parade Floats January 3, 2009

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This morning I was rudely awoken at 9 with my mother asking me if I was going to go.

"Go where?" I mumbled, squinting through sleepy eyes.
"To see the Rose Parade floats!" my mom exclaimed as if I wasn’t paying attention.  (What she doesn’t know is that her first sentence or two woke me up and I never actually "heard’ them.
"Ugggh." I grunted and closed my eyes, huddling under the blankets more.

With a swift tug, she pulled the blanket off and held out her hand.

"Come on," she gestured for me to get up.

Sure that I should go, I still hadn’t decided if it was worth the lack of sleep and suffering to get dressed in the cold air.  Soon she got tired of waiting for me and went back downstairs to continue without me.  I eventually resolved to get up and drag myself downstairs, shivering.  We piled into the car and headed off, with my mom happily sharing some of the dark chocolate covered cherries she’d bought and informing my dad that the way he was driving to get on the highway is not the most efficient way to get there.  Meanwhile, my dad went forth as he pleased, changing the radio station sporadically until he settled on a Spanish channel called QueBuena!  o.O  Of all the stations… he had to choose the one we wouldn’t understand?  Haha, I don’t get it.  But I can see how the other songs are a little grating to the ears if you aren’t used to it.  Along the way, I texted Panda because he lives in that area, so going that way reminded me of him.  🙂

So we got to Pasadena City College, parked the car, and got our tickets before boarding a shuttle to the site.  It was a bit of a gloomy day, but that turned out to be nice since we didn’t have to sweat it out in the sun and the flowers probably withered a little less.  I volunteered to decorate the floats a few years ago, so I kind of already knew how it worked, but it’s always cool to see so many nice flowers.  Strangely, I wasn’t in a picture-taking mood, so I just enjoyed looking at the floats as my dad ran around snapping shots.  About halfway through his camera died, so he moved on to my mom’s, lol.

One of the few pictures I did take with my camera, of my parents.
We were walking for a good two, two and a half hours before getting back to the car and navigating our way to a dim sum place on Garfield and Valley.  Our family friends also have their office there and we just happened to run into the husband coming backfrom a lunch break as we left from our own lunch.  We went upstairs, where my parents caught up with him and I wished I could be spending time with Panda.  It was a nice day out with my parents though – we don’t get to go that often and my dad is going back to China in two days.

Reunion January 2, 2009

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It’s not very often I get to meet up with my best friends.  In fact, we get around to it about once a year.  Tonight we finally managed to get together for a dinner (and dragged Gimp, Katana’s ex’s best friend, out with us).  Ah good times as we fell back into the old routine: the three deadly Asians threatening the attention-loving ginger.  See, back in high school, Katana, Elle, and I were quite the force to reckoned with.  It’s quite dangerous to spend time with the three of us if you’re a sensitive soul.  So, of course, we abuse those who can take it.  And Gimpy’s a big boy who can take a bit of a beating.

Elle and I shared a meal called the Love Boat.  Lovely, isn’t it?  😉

It was a fabulous time as we stole from each other’s plates, argued about who was going to pay (we volunteered Gimp), and stuffed ourselves full of Japanese food from Kabuki.  The Love Boat that Elle and I shared had an assortment of choices ranging from California rolls to shrimp and vegetable tempura and it came in that HUGE wooden boat pictured above.  I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever ordered.  It was also nice to get out and enjoy the company of old friends since I’ve mostly been staying at home since I finished up at UCLA last month.  Now Katana’s back to Kansas, Elle’s returning to UCLA, and Gimp is off to his job in Texas.  Meanwhile, I’m at home looking for a job and trying to convince my parents that this business venture in Singapore is worth a shot…