Tag Archives: courage
May 5, 2015

Progress Report: May 2015

8. Eat Tai Ping Koon’s Portuguese Chicken, Hong Kong (my childhood favorite) – CHECK!

 

 

 

 

2015-03-18 12.56.14

 

 

It was still good! Food memory is such a powerful thing. It totally brought me back to my childhood eating that Portuguese Chicken.

 

 

23. Conquer the fear of doing a handstand – CHECK!

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Practicing handstand this morning before the library opens. Still not great at it at all. I could only hold it for a few seconds. But the fear of going upside down is pretty manageable now, which was the original goal.

November 15, 2013

Progress Update: November 2013

I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since I updated this blog. Time flies when you procrastinate. I have been updating the Facebook page regularly though, so please go “like” it.

Goal #1. Visit all 50 states in the US

In September, I presented at the Mountain Plains Library Association conference in Sioux Falls, SD, and then went on a road trip and visited North Dakota and Iowa.

3 new states in 3 days, that’s pretty good.

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Iowa

Just 7 more states to go to accomplish this goal:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Kentucky
  • Delaware

Goal #2. Set foot on all 7 continents

Now 1 closer. I went to the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the summer, and set foot on South America for the very 1st time. Now 3 more to go: Antarctica, Australia and Africa.

Speaking of Brazil…

Goal #4. See a football match at Estadio do Maracana, Rio, Brazil

It’s such a iconic stadium and it was just completed when I went. Loved it!

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Estadio do Maracana

 

Goal #23. Conquer the fear of doing a handstand

Definitely making progress, but there are good days and bad days.

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Handstanding in the office

 

Goal #39 Run a 5k

It was freaking tough! I am not built to run and I will never enjoy running. But I did it! With my yogi friend Lindsey’s support (who ran slowly with me the entire way), I finished it! In fact, we were both winners in our respected age group. I am not telling anyone how many people actually ran. 🙂

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Before. After. Winner!!

 

March 31, 2013

Jumping out of a plane and other progress updates

Goal #24 Jump out of a plane (preferably with a parachute) – COMPLETED!!

SKydive

Jumping out of a plane at 14,000 ft on my 41st birthday (with Bob). Deland, Florida.

All I can say about that 1 second when you jump out of plane for the first time is, it’s freaking surreal!

I wasn’t scared at all. I wasn’t even nervous. I was surprisingly calm for someone who’s about to leap off a flying plane for the 1st time. I felt that way mainly because of my complete trust in my tandem buddy, Bob Crossman (of Skydive Deland). He has jumped more than 9500 times, and he made me feel very safe throughout. I met Bob on a yoga retreat with his fiancé, Kathryn Budig. When I told him about this goal, he explained the whole process to me. By understanding what actually goes on really helped me dispel the initial fear. Bob was also so welcoming and friendly that I knew I want to jump with him.

That being said, when we leaped off, it was “OH MY GOD, THIS IS CRAZY!!!” and then, “oooohh, this is reeeeally cool….”. It was the most liberating feeling ever. The free fall was indescribably awesome. It was a complete sensory overload, but in a very good way. I was a like puppy sticking his head out of a driving car for the 1st time. I was like, “weeeeeeeee….”. I wanted it to last forever (so it was a good thing that Bob was strapped to me to open the parachute!). The gliding after the parachute was opened was actually more scary to me than the free fall.

This goal is listed under “Courage”. I think my perspective has changed after jumping off a plane at 14,000 feet. I actually do feel more courageous now. 🙂 Sometimes you have to take a leap to live your life. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I am so glad I did it.

Some thoughts on some of the goals

I knew when I made the list that some goals would be difficult to measure and there wouldn’t really be a “mission accomplished” state, such as Goal #31 Be aware of praiseworthy situations and efforts, and pay sincere compliments to people. I was willing to give it a go because I really did want to become someone who proactively gives sincere compliments to people. It makes people happy, you know. However, this is proving to be more difficult than expected, simply because I don’t always remember this goal, and it is not my habit to praise people often (hence this goal). I think this kind of behavioral change requires constant reminding, and I am not doing a good job of it. After all, it’s not as straightforward as, for example, visiting 50 states. or skydiving.

In fact, after more than 8 months of living this project, I am getting a much better perspective of how some goals are not set up the right way, such as this one, or Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people. In theory, it’s a good intention. But in practice it’s frustrating not to be able to “cross it off”, so to speak. Another one is Goal #21 Learn CPR. After listening to a RadioLab podcast about how low the success rate is of applying CPR (around 3%), and how often the person (the non-pros) who applies the CPR end up cracking the ribs of the patient, I am now having second thoughts of this goal. Is it worth learning something that is not that useful? And would I feel comfortable or confident enough to apply it after learning it? I think I will give the list a whole year before amending or changing any of the goals. But I am thinking about a few of them.

Other progress updates:

Goal #1. Visit all 50 states in the US

41st birthday road trip 2013

My 41st birthday/Spring Break road trip. (3/16/2013-3/23/2013)

On my week-long birthday road trip, I hit 3 new states: North Carolina, South Carolina and Mississippi. It was a LOT of driving. I also ate at 9 restaurants featured on the Food Network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives (it’s a mini-project of mine which started simply because I saw on the show a place called, Leo’s BBQ. I went that one and the rest is history. I have now been to more than 70!). I also met up with friends along the way, celebrated my birthday with them, which was the best part of the whole trip.

I have 11 more states to visit to complete this goal:

  1. Alaska
  2. Delaware
  3. Idaho
  4. Iowa
  5. Kentucky (going there in August to present at a library conference)
  6. Montana
  7. North Dakota (possibly in the fall when I present at the South Dakota conference)
  8. South Dakota (going there in the fall for a library conference)
  9. Utah
  10. Wisconsin
  11. Wyoming

My target is to visit 3 more states by the end of the year. Most likely they will be South Dakota, North Dakota, and Kentucky.

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Clockwise from top left corner: at Penguin Drive-ins in Charlotte, NC; South Carolina Welcome Center; North Carolina BBQ; in Mississippi.

Goal #5 Practice yoga in India

The news is, we (the sensory analysis group) will be going to India during the Thanksgiving week this year!! That’s all I know for now. But, soooo excited!!!

Goal #7 Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark

Oh I tried. I wanted to go to Copenhagen before my Rome conference. So I tried to make a reservation when their online reservation opened.  The tables on the dates I wanted were booked within minutes. Ugh! I read that there were cases of food poisoning at Noma recently. I was really hoping for cancellations. No such luck. This goal is proving to be quite difficult.

Goal #13 Get tenure

I got my official reappointment letter for 2013-2014! So, yippy! I still have a job.  Two more tenure and promotion reviews to go. If everything goes smoothly, I will go up for tenure in October 2014.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word at least 5 times that week

I have been a bit lazy on learning new words. But, still some interesting ones.

hypnopompic (adj) – Of or pertaining to the semiconscious state prior to complete wakefulness.

lollapalooza (noun) – an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event.

bibelot (noun) – a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity.

This is another goal that I am thinking about modifying. I keep forgetting to do it every week. Routine doesn’t work well for me on a long term basis. I am considering changing it to something like, learn 100 new words by my 45th birthday. What do you think?

Goal #19 Learn how to iron a shirt (trousers and jackets would a bonus)

I haven’t started learning it yet but I am starting my research on good tutorials. And I found this awesome one.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight

As of March 14, 2013, I weighed 205.5 lbs, which means I have lost 37.5lbs since Dec.,27,  2011.  The weight loss has slowed down a lot, but I feel that this is the healthy way to get to my target weight range of 180-190lbs.

Disclaimer: I stepped on the scale before my week-long birthday/Spring Break Diners Drive-ins and Dives road trip. I didn’t practice as much yoga since 3/14 because of the crazy schedule of late. It’s very likely that I have to gained a few pounds back. I plan to step on the scale once a month, which will be the week of 4/18. I still have a couple of weeks to get back in shape. 🙂

Goal #43 See Leo Messi play in person

When I was younger, I never got to see Deigo Maradona play in person, and it’s always been a regret. There have been great players since him, but it is only until now that we have Lionel Messi, who could really be compared to Maradona. Messi dribbling in full flight is thing of true  beauty, and I want to see that in person. This goal is listed under “no regrets”.

I will be presenting at a conference in Rome, Italy in June. Messi plays for Barcelona. Barcelona play their final home match (vs Malaga) on June 1st. Most likely, they will have won the league before then, but I think there will be a great celebration at the stadium after the final whistle of the season. Therefore, I am going to Barcelona before my conference (ticket booked!!!). Now, I just need to find a ticket for that match (it’s not easy to come by), and hope that Messi stays injury-free.

February 4, 2013

2013 Progress Update #2

Goal #10 Try vegetarianism for a month (happening right now)

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Day 1: apple; beans soup, tandoori paneer masala, gulab jamam, veggie burger with grilled veggies.

This is happening right now! Feburary, 2013 is THE month. Of course I would pick the shortest month in a non-leap year to try this, despite many friends telling me to pick a summer month to get better and more variety of vegetables.

I grew up eating meat or seafood as the main component of any meal, and I don’t think I have ever gone more than 3 days without either. So this is a challenge for sure. I am on day 4 right now, which means I have already broken my own personal record! So far, it’s hasn’t been that difficult. (It’s definitely easier than quitting smoking). I think it’s because for the past year or so, I have really been trying to live a healthy lifestyle, especially since I started practicing yoga regularly. It is only when I look at the menus of the restaurants in town that I really realize how difficult it is for true vegetarians to eat out here. 

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Day 2: banana; fruits & Luna bar; pad see ewe with tofu; Thai spring rolls.

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Day 3: oatmeal, veggie pizza, broccoli & tofu panang curry.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight

I think this is the most difficult goal of them all. Losing weight has never been easy for me. I have said that it’s more difficult than quitting smoking (which is my benchmark of doing anything difficult). If I could achieve this goal, I would rank this as the greatest accomplishment of my life.

Since 12/2012, I have lost 33 pounds, which is absolutely amazing. But I lost most of those pounds at the beginning, in the first 6 months or so. The progress was so much slower, if at all, towards the end of the year. I am still about 25 pounds off my target weight.

I figure that, like most people, I tend to have more will power, or motivation at the beginning of the year, so I must take advantage of it. The New Year yoga retreat that I went on definitely made a positive impact. It was so great to practice yoga almost 3 hrs a day and ate such healthy and yummy food (and had them prepared for you every single meal). It was the perfect kick start to this year to get this goal back on track. The yoga challenge at Orange Sky Yoga (going to at least 5 classes/week) gives me extra motivation. Not that losing weight is the reason I go to yoga. It’s just a very nice bonus.

I am hoping that this month of vegetarianism is going to help too. But all in all, I am very pleased with the progress so far. I mean, look at the 2 pics below. The photo on the left was taken on April 7, 2012, when I went to Tiffany Cruikshank’s yoga workshop in Wichita the first time. At the time, I just started going to yoga classes, for maybe 2 months. The photo on the right was taken on Feb 2, 2013, when I went to Tiffany’s workshop again. Maybe I should set the deadline of getting to my target weight by the time Tiffany visits Kansas again next year, and take another picture with her. 🙂

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April 7, 2012 vs Feb 2, 2013

Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people

Tulum

Tulum yoga retreat

Over the years, I have grown to really enjoy meeting new people, as often as possible. I think it’s partly because I was so shy as a kid and that I feel like I need to make up for lost time.

One thing I have learned this past year: I really like meeting yogis. Albeit with a small sample size, almost every yoga person I have met is kind and supportive. And I love getting to know them. For example, I went on a one-week new year yoga retreat on my own, not knowing anyone there. (That’s something the younger me would never do). I really didn’t know what to expect (which was part of the fun). I ended up meeting the most wonderful group of people there (picture gallery of the trip here). As a naturally curious person, I like to hear other people’s stories, especially stories that are unexpected or different from mine, hence this goal. And I got to hear many interesting stories there in Tulum. How often do you get to meet 19 strangers that you actually like? 

With the internet, I see no reason not to keep in touch with people nowadays. I even reconnected with my first girlfriend recently after 22 years of not knowing where each other was! But that’s another story. 🙂 The point is, I hope to keep in touch with this group of new friends and see them again in the future. Another New Year retreat would be great!

Goal #15 Become an expert in multiple disciplines – Publish articles or present at conferences in 5 different fields.

I have presented on film studies at a screenwriting conference; cultural studies at an American culture/popular culture conference. For my day job,  I have also published several articles and presented at various conferences on librarianship. So, I need to present/publish on 2 more disciplines to accomplish this goal. I am currently developing a yoga and emotions research project that could be appropriate for either sensory science or sports science/kinesiology. It’s still in an early design stage. The good news is when I mentioned the concept to several yoga teachers at the yoga retreat, they all showed interests in possibly participating in the research. I am hoping to have the design ready by summer time. I am actually very excited about this project! It’s fun to research something you’re actually interested in.

Goal #23 – Conquer the fear of doing a handstand

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Practicing at home

I definitely had a mini-break through at the yoga retreat in Tulum with Kathryn Budig, who gave us plenty of useful tips. The remaining part is of course practice, practice and practice. I am at the point where I’m getting more comfortable kicking up to handstand against the wall. Balancing is still a problem. The fear of kicking too hard and go from handstand to savasana is still very much there. The Tiffany Cruikshank inversion workshop helped, and I learned more about the mechanics of the pose. The game plan is to keep practicing close to the wall until I get the balance right.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word 5 times that week

I have to admit, sometimes I forget. Either I forget to pick a new word for the week, or use it 5 times. That’s the difficult part about having a goal that is “on-going”. But still, I am growing my vocabulary much more than if I hadn’t set this goal. I think that’s what counts.

Here are some of the words I have learned:

Franchise – the right to vote.

Disbosom – to reveal; confess.

Potvaliancy (noun) – Brave only as a result of being drunk.

Empurple – To color or become purple or purplish.

Algid (adj.) – cold; chilly.

Compotation – an act or instance of drinking or tippling together.

Exordium – the beginning of anything.

Pseudology – Lying considered as an art.

Kibitzer – a giver of uninvited or unwanted advice.

Goal #1 Visit all 50 States.

Visited Portland on 1/24/2013. Even though I spent less than 24 hrs there, I was able to try a homemade chai soda at Blueplate Lunch Counter and Soda Fountain, grilled cheese at Byways Cafe (#60, and #61 Diners Drive-ins and Dives I visited); went to a refreshing noon-time vinyasa yoga class at Yoga Pearl, and had coffee at Prasad; walked around the Pearl District and the Alphabet District for hours. I would say it was a good, productive travel day. I didn’t get to eat at Pok Pok like I planned to, cause it was a bit too far away. Maybe next time. With Oregon crossed off the list, I now have 14 more states to visit to accomplish this goal.

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Clockwise from top left: Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain; Byways Cafe; Yoga Pearl; Prasad.

Goal #13 Get tenure

Final tenure review is fall, 2014. I just had my 4th year reappointment interview on 1/31/2013. I should find out soon whether I will still have a job or not. Fingers crossed. 


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