Thursday, April 22, 2010

White People Like Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

I couldn't let this day pass without blogging because what kind of environmentalist would I be if I didn't blog about ways we can be "green." I hate to be so cliche, but as Asian as I like to be, I really am a white on the inside.

Just glancing down the list of StuffWhitePeopleLike, I'm pretty sure I'm just as white as some of the Daughters of the American Revolution out there. Just this week, I've had coffee (#1) every day. On Monday, my bicycle (#61) was stolen.  I've been to Whole Foods (#49) twice this week and will probably go tomorrow night. Today I drove my Toyota Prius (#60) to a specialty running store so I can get calf compression sleeves so I can continue training for my marathon (#27).

All of this to say: we should focus on #64 Recycling. This is what StuffWhitePeopleLike has to say about it:

Recycling is a part of a larger theme of stuff white people like: saving the earth without having to do that much.

Recycling is fantastic! You can still buy all the stuff you like (bottled water, beer, wine, organic iced tea, and cans of all varieties) and then when you’re done you just put it in a DIFFERENT bin than where you would throw your other garbage. And boom! Environment saved! Everyone feels great, it’s so easy!

The article gets much funnier after this portion, especially when it goes into the case study of what white people do when they think you don't recycle. You should read it. [ie. "Advanced white recyclers will uses these grocery bags as garbage bags."]

The truth is I do feel guilty about my wastefulness and the ways we are taking the earth's resources for granted. The other day, I was listening to NPR (#44 Public Radio) and they featured this author/environmentalist, Bill McKibben, who's book is titled Eaarth. He believes our planet is no longer the same planet we were born into, therefore, needing a new name. Here are some statistics he stated to demonstrate that Earth is now Eaarth:

The atmosphere holds about five percent more moisture. The oceans are about 30 percent more acidic. We just learned from NASA in the last couple of days that we've just come through the warmest 12-month period in history, the warmest winter around the world. 2010 is almost certain to be the warmest calendar year on record.

And here I thought global warming was over because of all the blizzards and snow storms we had this winter. I'm so confused...

I turn off the electric power strip my lamp, cell phone charger and Apple Products (#40) are plugged into whenever I leave for work for the day. I carry my reusable water bottle everywhere. I turn off the water when I'm shaving my legs, granted that doesn't happen very often. [Seriously, I just shaved because I noticed my leg hairs were starting to curl. Reason #429 why I'm still single!] What else can we do?!

Mr. Bill suggests that we all sign up to participate during his organization's,, Global Work Day on 10.10.10 so that all of our efforts on one day will make it clear to the world that we are ready to join Captain Planet and the Planeteers and combine our powers to plant a tree, install solar panels, bike to work, pick up trash and educate others on ways we can help Mother Earth get her groove back. So who's with me?

Let me just mark the date down in my moleskin planner (#122).

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
- Dan Quayle

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You know what they say about flat hands...

It seems obvious that Flat Kathy would also have flat feet. Since I've been struggling with shin splints since November, one of the first things people will ask is if I have flat feet. The answer is yes. There is nothing about me that isn't flat. Even the back of my head is flat, which is why I would never attempt to go for the shaved head look that Natalie Portman pulled off in V for Vendetta.

I recently got new running shoes. I am so embarrassed by them, but for one of the few moments in my life, I have decided to choose function over style. This means I'm getting old and maturing or I'm starting to just slowly let myself go. Please intervene when you see me walking around with a tweetie bird t-shirt on.

The shoe store I go to let's me take each pair of shoes I try on for a run outside. I could've gone with the sleeker looking Asics that you usually see on runners. But the stability and comfort of these bad boys...

... let's just say it was enough for me to break out the credit card. They appear more normal than they really are, but don't let the white shoelaces distract you from the nearly two inches of cushion all the way from the heel to toe. The special feature of this particular shoe is that the arch isn't scalloped like most running shoes, so it provides stronger support for my super large flat feet.

It was a tough choice, but I figured my self-esteem is already pretty low with my running abilities, so one more thing can't bring me that much lower than how I already feel.

When I got these, I had an instant flashback to one of my favorite movies in high school, Can't Hardly Wait! I don't know why, but I was obsessed with this movie back in the day. I just loved when Dharma the angel stripper tells Preston that you can't just rely on fate to make your dreams come true, fate only gets you so far. But it turned out to be fate that helped him win over Amanduh with this lost love letter at the end.

Sorry, my point is, there is actually another scene that is more relevant to my topic of the day. When Kenny and Denise are stuck in the bathroom and they start getting honest with one another...
Kenny: And those shoes!
Denise: What?
Kenny: Do they serve an orthopedic function?
Yes, Kenny they do. Not all of us are born with perfectly arched feet. At least I can find solace in a TV show that teaches us to have compassion for losers [except these losers can sing and dance better than I do in my own dreams.]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dancing through the examine life

This past week was super hectic for me. Many a-things in my life started to crumble, including my shins :(  Is it too early to start researching shin implants?

Last week, I also said goodbye to Wicked the Musical. We had some great times together. We sang, we danced, we defied gravity together. Unforgettable.

Now I'm back to plowing through the Quantum Wellness Cleanse book. This is a really good example of how bad I would be if I were ever an English literature major. It takes me forever to finish a book, unless it's Confessions of a Shopaholic. With this book, there's just so much to soak in with each chapter and the plot is just so slow in unfolding. When will she finally get together with eating meat again??? 

On Day 19, Kathy Freston talks about Socrates' famous quote, "the unexamined life is not worth living."

That's easy for him to say. He made a career out of going around asking the tough questions in search of wisdom and truth. It's the end of the day and my brain hurts. It would be nice to be able to ice it like I'm icing my shins. Oh yeah, I sometimes can do that with an ice cold beer.

Like Fiyero, the hunky, charming prince character in Wicked, I say [or sing]:

Why invite stress in?
Stop studying strife
And learn to live the unexamined liiiife
Dancing through life
Skimming the surface
Gliding where turf is smooooth
Life's more painless
For the brainless
Why think too hard?
When it's so soothing
Dancing through life 

And we all know what happened to Socrates because he tried to get people to think and stuff. So why not just dance through life? It would burn more calories, that's for sure.

Are you dancing through life or are you living the examined life? If you're doing both, please video tape it so we can watch it on youtube. It could go viral like this one:

I digress. I sort of already touched on why I started my own personal food consciousness so I won't go there again. [If you missed it, or just miss it, you can read it here.]

Many of us are unsatisfied with just dancing through life, because frankly, who can even compare our moves to Kate Gosselin's show stopping Papparazzi number on Dancing with the Stars?

The good news is we are in a place where we would like to see the best of ourselves and the best for others. The not-so-good news is that we don't magically get there at the end of every song and dance sequence. I know my decision not to purchase meat has not even registered on any company's or restaurant's radar. No one cares about my decisions, but if I am able to stay true to my own principles with my smaller decisions, they will eventually add up with others who are on my same wavelength.  It also helps me to keep the ideals I value in the forefront of my life rather than just an afterthought.

And why does being conscious about what we choose to eat seem like insignificant choices? When you're ready to buy your next "toy" -- digital camera, car, laptop, dog -- how many reviews do you read? How many different retail outlets and online stores do you check out to compare specs and prices? How many people do you talk to because they have experience with owning these products?

How much more do we consume food than these products that we spend so much time carefully considering the particular brand and model we introduce into our lives?

People have a right to be concerned about where their car came from and if the engine was assembled in China by the hands of migrant factory workers working exhausting hours just to send what we spend at a movie theater back home to their families at the end of the month. Let us also be connected to where our food comes from and the different people and places that are involved with its production and final packaging as all white meat chicken nuggets for the unbeatable price of 99 cents. In other words:

Basically, conscious eating entails knowing where our food comes from and what goes into making it, and choosing to eat in a way that affirms our integrity and our most basic values. That goes for everything that we consume, of course, but with food, it's far more constant (we eat at least three times a day!) and our power to make better choices is far more profound here than with anything else we consume.               -k freston

Of course, I need to admit that I don't have all the right answers as to all the food choices I should make. Heck, I don't have any answers to the bigger life choices I need to make either. However, I know there is a sense of peace in aligning what I feel is best for my mind, body and soul. I can't change the bigger things that are throwing that particular alignment out of whack at the moment, but I can choose to eat healthy and consciously so that I'm not too bloated or unsatisfied with myself when it is finally the right time for me to dance through my examined life. Cue music...

 I'm pretty sure I'm doing the lawn mower, always a crowd pleaser.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I'm sorry Mama.

I never meant to hurt you. I never meant to make you cry, but tonight I'm cleanin' out my closet.

When I first envisioned doing the cleanse, I imagined I would also have this grand physical purging of much of what I possess. Like many things I envision [ie. zero calorie bacon, world peace], it hasn't happened yet.

In the spirit of Easter and the remembrance of our resurrected Jesus, I was motivated to also resurrect some of outdated wardrobe contents. It's a small start but at least I've started, right?

38 tops, 20 bottoms and 1 dress

It's been difficult for me to part with one of my most coveted items. If anyone is interested in becoming the proud owner of a cropped, long-sleeve black jacket, please let me know. You don't want to let this gem get away!

You can't see it in the photo, but the jacket has great detailing, including lace trim all around the bottom. It's also never been worn in public, so you'd be the first to break it in and show off yo' hot self! 

My cousins in China, bought this for me. I hope they don't read this blog...

The before and after shots of my closet don't rely convey the progress I made today. Maybe if this was a Highlights magazine you'd have fun trying to spot the 25 differences between the two photos. 

So obviously, there is still much work left to be done to rid myself things I no longer use. The clothes alone is a feat. I still have this dresser...

...and more bins in our shed and under my bed and also shoes! Oy. What have I gotten myself into?

I am a huge fan of Sarah McLachlan's "World on Fire." I know this song is so yesterday but it still resonates with me today. Especially the line: The more we take / the less we become / A fortune of one that means less for some.

Of course, my pile of outdated and outworn apparel isn't a fortune to any one of us, but I am aware that I have more than I need while others face a daily scarcity of basic necessities.

And of all days, Easter helps me to remember how much I have been given that I haven't worked for and surely do not deserve and the daily gift of being able to renew ourselves and reclaim our lives. Like Lazarus, I hear God's call to get rid of my "grave clothes" and be clothed with Love. That's right - love is more comfortable on the skin than any poly/cotton blend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Last week, one of the trainers at my gym called and asked if I'd like to have a fitness assessment done. I agreed because I really just wanted to know what my body fat percentage was and hopefully to learn a few tips to not make me look like a total tool bag at the gym. The trainer even called me on Wednesday to confirm our appointment for Thursday. I run out of work Thursday afternoon, embarrassed I might be late for our scheduled meeting.

He never showed up. I got stood up at the gym. fml

One of the other trainers there felt sorry for me, and he rescheduled me for Friday. Keith and I talked about my fitness goals. I really wanted to just bring in a photo of Tenley from the Bachelor to show him that I just want her body, but I couldn't find one. This is all I have:

The rest of her is just as toned as her arms. Bitch. 

The goal that I really set for myself was to run the San Antonio Marathon in November. I originally planned on running the marathon here in New Orleans but I ended up with shin splints and had to stop training. I seriously cried because I put in so much time and effort to not accomplish my goal. No one in their right mind runs 12 miles just for fun. I only did it because it was almost halfway to 26.2.

The weird thing is that I was never really interested in running a full marathon. I thought I'd be happy with just doing the half. I've always been a half-asser, so it just seemed appropriate to not want to even consider running a full. I honestly just didn't ever think it was possible.

Even now that I've started running [jogging, really] again, I started feeling what I thought were shin splints again. Ugh, maybe I'm just not built to be a runner. I was just made to be an eater and viewer of the Real Housewives of New York.

Thankfully, the trainer took a look at my legs and determined it wasn't shin splints or a stress fracture, but actually just a sore muscle, which means I've actually worked out a muscle! Horray! I'm so relieved and because of that I decided to sign up, and give up half of my paycheck, to have a personal trainer work with me to achieve my goal.

Obviously, I was incapable of meeting my goal the first time around. So instead of inappropriately training, thinking I can get all the information and tips I need via Google search, it just made sense to me to invest in a professional to help me get to where I want to be. My brother always talks about the value you place on your health and lifestyle. People will stretch their wallets and sometimes even go into debt to treat an illness or injury, but will people go to such lengths to prevent it?

Not that I'm going into debt for this, I just may need to get a second job! But you get my drift, right? Investing not just money but also time and consciousness and getting the resources I need in order to achieve the lifestyle I want will hopefully pay off in the long run [pun intended].

So I may never be getting cable or a phone that's secretly a tiny laptop, and I will only be drinking miller high lifes, but at least twice a week I have a date with a man. Wait, I mean, I get to meet with my trainer who will kick my flat ass from here to 26.2 miles in 7 months. I'm excited! Sometimes, I imagine that my trainer is actually Bob from Biggest Loser and it just makes my day.

 I'm on the left and Bob's on the right.

Today: 30 min. strength training & 2 miles.

"Exercise is for people who can't handle drugs and alcohol." - lily tomlin

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm singing. I'm in a store, and I'm singing!

I finally got to witness the musical spectacular that is known as Wicked tonight! Most of you know that I absolutely love love love musicals. As someone reminded me this past weekend, I did write a college entrance essay about how I would love for my life to be a musical. Obviously, I didn't get into that school but my deep desire for pivotal moments in my life to be played out and expressed through synchronized song and dance still remains.

Tonight as I was watching Wicked and my heart was giddy with glee [yes, musical tv show reference here] by the combination of dancing and singing, I found myself wondering if I was a good enough person if I could be reincarnated into a Broadway actress. Right now, my performance skill is not even as good as Buddy the Elf. My bad singing is "just like talking, except longer and louder, and you move your voice up and down."

And there are so many moments in life that have its own soundtrack built in. Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" was my first dance with my biggest crush ever. That was also the same summer that I learned REM's "It's the End of the World" because it was the camp anthem. Salt N Pepa's "Push It" brings me back to in Corral Canyon, when we'd each pick a part to sing in the song:

Lauren: Ahhh push it. Ahhh push it.
Morgan: Dun de dun de dun dun de dunenan
Missy: Oooh baby baby. Oooh baby baby.
Kacy: G-get up on this! Ow!
Ali: Salt N Pepa's here!
Kathy: P-push it real good!

That's talent, baby.

Beyonce's "Single Ladies" is still played almost anywhere I go. Anytime I'm out and the song comes on, my reaction is just like the little boy in this video:

Or the opposite. I get excited that I'm single but then I realize no one liked it enough to put a ring on it... wahhhhh! Not yet, at least ;)  [Insert intro to Defying Gravity]

So who's ready for Glee to return on April 13th?!