Tag Archives: splits
April 1, 2014

Progress Report: April 2014

I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I came up with the idea for this personal project. Which means that I only have 3 years left to accomplish everything!

So, since November 2013 (my last blog post), I have done the following:

Goal # 1 Visit all 50 states in the US

I went to have a very nice lunch with my college girlfriend in Wilmington, Delaware when I went to Philadelphia for the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. The food was good, and we felt really youthful there, because I think everyone else in that restaurant was over 80 years old.

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Lunch in Delaware with Jen. 1/28/2014

Then in February, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Qualtrics Summit. When I got there, I just rented a car drove to the border cities in Wyoming (Evanston) and Idaho (Malad City) and ate at two local restaurants. The waitress at the restaurant in Evanston, WY was fascinated by my story. Or maybe she was just bored. She recommended a fried chicken dinner which was delicious.

I only have 3 states left: Alaska, Montana, and Kentucky! And I already have a ticket to Kentucky that I need to use before August. So, it looks like this goal could be accomplished very soon. It’s quite unbelievable how many states I visited once I set this goal.

Not that I need any convincing anymore, but setting goals does work!

Goal 13. Get tenure

Looks like I have passed my 5th year review. I will go up for the final review in October this year. We shall see.

Goal 14. Give a kickass presentation

I co-presented a kickass presentation on “Persuasion” techniques at the I2C2 Conference in Manchester, U.K., in March. Credits go to my awesome co-presenters, Isabel Gonzalez-Smith and John Jung.

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Interactive Workshop on “Persuasion” at the I2C2 Conference with Isabel Gonzalez-Smith, and John Jung.

 

Goal 16. Learn Thai massage

Signed up for a one-week Thai Massage course at the Thai Institute of Healing Arts in Arlington, VA in May. Can’t wait!

Goal 29. Mentor someone

This is actually quite exciting. Two people have asked me to be their mentor. TWO! And two of the most awesome people too. Now that I have 2 proteges, I will need to come up with some wise advice. And try not to be like George Costanza.

Goal 34. Create a photo-essay or a video-essay (amended June, 2013)

Ok, this was completed when I made my first travelogue video. But it all started when I decided to make film 1 second of video everyday for a whole year. This project has really taught me patience. I am by nature an impatient person, but the beauty (or the frustration) of this project is, you cannot rush it. You can only add one second each day. It will take 365 days to finish it. It was hard at times, when I felt like it would never be completed. By my god, when it was finally done, it’s a glorious result. I literally love every second of it. And it’s amazing how just one second of video could trigger the memories of so much more. During the year, there were many amazing, happy moments, a few not so great ones. And a lot of yoga, traveling, football, and friends. It’s amazing how just one second of video can trigger my memory for that day. I do not want to forget a single day from now.

And ladies and gentlemen, here is my entire year (41st birthday to 42nd birthday) in one-second moments.

One Second Everyday – My 41st Year (1SE) from 45before45project.com on Vimeo.

P.S. I love my friends. Watching the video really makes me smile.

Goal 37. Be able to do splits

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Top pic: 9/26/2012 vs Bottom pic: 3/21/2014.

It took me over 2 years to finally get into hanumanasana. It really is a great feeling to accomplish a goal after working on it for so long. It’s funny that I had this idea in my head way back in late 2011, that if I could the splits when I was 40, that would mean that I would be in the best shape of my life because I had never been able to do that. My original goal was to be able to do that by the end of 2012, which obviously didn’t happen. It’s funny that it’s this silly desire to get into the splits that led me to yoga, which has transformed my life in so many ways.

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On my 42nd birthday.

Goal 38. Completely revamp my wardrobe

Getting there, getting there.

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Sorted out another batch of clothes.

 

January 21, 2013

Splits progress 2013-1-20

Goal # 37 – Be able to do splits.

At the new year yoga retreat, when I was practicing yoga 3 hours a day, I could really sense some progress. But I admit I have been slacking off a bit lately, at least in terms of stretching. It is difficult when you have to work full time. When do people have time to do the splits?!

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Even Siri doesn’t know. Anyway, today, we did some good hamstrings stretching int the Yoga for Athletes class at Orange Sky Yoga. So after class, I just had to ask my friend Sarah to take some pictures of me  to check my progress.

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Hanuman progress (1/20/2013), after “Yoga for Athletes” class.

It’s getting close but not quite. My new friend Scott at the yoga retreat taught me a few useful stretches for the “home stretch”, so to speak. I am going to try them out, and I am hoping to get to full hanumanasana in the next few weeks. Stay tuned! 🙂

December 14, 2012

Splits progress

My Hanumanasana (split pose) so far. (9/5/2012)

My Hanumanasana (split pose) so far. (9/5/2012)

Hanumanasana on 9/26/2012 @ 6am.

Hanumanasana on 9/26/2012 @ 6am.

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Hanumanasana 12/12/12 6:30am.

The progress up to this point (12/12/2012) is “subtle”, and I must confess that I hadn’t worked on this pose much in the past month or so. Instead, I spent most of my stretching time on hip-opening stretches like single and double pigeon poses, and half lotus. Hanuman is a super intense pose for me, and I think I sometimes rather do other stretches because of that. Now that I have said it out, I recognize that it is an excuse. Of course it’s hard! The only way to achieve this goal is to practice it regularly. I am going to do just that! *pump fist*

From the pics above, it looks like I am getting just slightly closer to the floor, especially my back leg. I don’t see a lot of progress on the front leg though. The biggest improvement is I am able to hold my upperbody in a more upright position, which is the correct form of the pose.

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12/14/2012 6:30am. Either smiling or grimacing.

This morning (12/14/2012), I worked on only stretches that help doing the splits. After about 30mins of stretching, it’s amazing how much closer I was able to get to the floor. I was a bit disappointed 2 days ago about my progress, and doubted that I would ever be able to do this pose. I feel a lot more encouraged today. It just shows that targeted practice is so important in getting results.

Here is Kino MacGregor showing how to do Hanumanasana properly:

September 29, 2012

Progress Update: September, 2012

Goal #1 Visit 50 states (in progress)

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Kathryn Deiss, Michael Stephens, me, and Jenny Levine all loved R2!

I went to Telluride, Colorado for the Risk and Reward Library Conference (aka R2 Conference), which was hands down the best library conference I’ve ever attended. The entire conference challenged convention library thinking. Everything was planned and executed meticulously. It was such an exciting experience. However, while I was intrigued  when I first learned of the conference,  I actually spent quite a bit of time debating whether I should go or not because it would be an expensive trip (and Telluride isn’t exactly easy to get to). What pushed me over the edge was this goal #1 of my 45 things list. I had never been to Colorado before, and that did it. I was going! And I am so glad I drove 14hrs there (and 14 hrs back, in pouring rain no less!). Not only did I get so inspired by the ground breaking conference, I got to know so many cool people!

After checking off Colorado, I now have 15 states left to visit. Not sure which state I will get to go next though.

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Goal #10 Try vegetarianism for a month (in progress)

I’m still in preparation stage for this goal. Since as long as I can remember, a meal is not a complete meal unless it has some meat. And I love meat. So when I first set this goal, I thought it’s going to be a tough one. But as I gradually become more health conscious, this doesn’t seem as daunting as it once did. My plan is to do this in the summer next year.

I have been learning some new veggie recipes. And now I don’t absolutely need to eat meat for every single meal. Here are some of the veggie dishes I made in September:

Whole grain shell pasta with spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Apart from the Dutch oven, the immersion blender is my favorite kitchen purchase. I puree at every opportunity, and make a lot of soups now. 🙂

Curried Cauliflower and Carrot Soup

What I’d like to do is to learn how to cook more varieties of vegetables. It’s overwhelming to see so many different kinds of veggies that I have no idea what to do with!

Goal #12 Earn an additional graduate degree (in progress)

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Human Nutrition with an emphasis on Sensory Analysis and Consumer Evaluation at Kansas State University. Here is a description of the programs:

“Sensory Analysis & Consumer Behavior emphasizes issues affecting eating and other consumer product behaviors, and understanding methods for evaluating products from a sensory perspective. Students will integrate food science, physiology, psychology, business, and statistics to help provide insight into consumers’ needs and wants for products, services, and information that enhances their lives.”

I’m taking 1 -2 courses per semester while I work full time. It’s a balancing act, but I’m enjoying it. Expected completion date: 2016 Spring. A lot way to go…

Goal #14 Give a kickass presentation (in progress)

At the 2nd National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color (JCLC) at Kansas City, I co-presented at a pre-conference workshop with 2 very well-established library deans, past-ALA President Camila Alire, and Dean of Marquette Library, Janice Welburn. It was a great experience to work with two such respected leaders of my profession.

I was ecstatic to learn that many people seemed to like our workshop and my presentation a lot, and the reviews I heard from other people were excellent. However, I’m using the best Ted Talks as my benchmark  for “kickass presentations” (so I’m setting the bar extremely high). With that in mind, there is obviously still plenty of room for improvement.  Also I’m keeping this item on the list because I feel that I need to give a solo “kickass presentation”.

Yay! Thank you, friends!

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

I have presented on film studies, library science and popular culture at conferences in the last few years (I’m still on the fence about pop culture counting as a “discipline”. Well, I supposed it could be considered cultural studies). In any case, I am now working on developing a sensory research project. The plan is to have something to present at next year Pangborn Conference in Rio, Brazil! This also ties in with my goal #4 See a football match at Estádio do Maracanã, Rio. I really hope the stadium renovation will be done by then.

Goal #18 Learn a new word every week and use that word at least 5 times that week (on-going)

1. Fabulist – 1. a person who invents or relates fables. 2.a liar.

Usage highlight: “I’m thinking about writing a screenplay called Fabulist Fabulist. It would be perfect for Jim Carey”.

2. Bathetic – displaying or characterized by bathos.

3. Harridan – a scolding, vicious woman; hag; shrew.

4. Ataraxia – a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety;tranquillity.

Goal #23 Conquer the fear of doing a handstand

September 26. 5:30am workout. Smiling upside down for the camera. 🙂

I have been to the Thursday Handstand/Inversion/Arm Balance workshop at Orange Sky Yoga 3 times now. The first session was all handstands. I was quite determined and made some progress. I managed to get upside down against the wall a few times.

The 2nd session also focused on handstand, but for some reason, the fear of hurting my shoulders kept creeping back, and I regressed. I couldn’t even jump up against the wall the entire time. Every time I tried to jump up, my shoulders would resist and hunch. It was very frustrating.

The 3rd one I went to was focused on Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance), which is a difficult pose. Most people find it more difficult than handstand, but I am actually less fearful of it. But my goal isn’t to do pincha (damn it!), but handstand.

I began to incorporate some inversion practice into my Mon/Wed/Fri 5:30am workouts, and noticed some tiny progress. At least my shoulders can occasionally be relaxed enough to let my body rotate up. I can get some air time every once in a while, and getting my legs up against the wall is much easier now.

It is going to be a long process before I can do it in the middle of the room. I am still not confident doing headstand away from the wall. Baby steps at the moment.

Goal #36 Achieve and maintain ideal weight (in progress)

My starting weight: 243 lbs (on December 27, 2011).

Target weight: 184 lbs.

Current weight: 213 lbs (on September, 29, 2012)

Weight lost: 30 lbs.

I still have 29 more pounds to go before reaching my target weight, but I’m officially more than half way there!

Goal #37 Be able to do splits (in progress)

Hanumanasana on 9/26/2012. Progress is very slow.

Goal #42 Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people (on-going)

I met many awesome people at the R-Squared Conference and at JCLC. And I’m really glad I got to spend some time and got to know Michael Stephens, Jenny Levine in Telluride, and Azusa Tanaka in Kansas City. All very intriguing people that I’d love to stay in touch with.

with Azusa, who also has her own 50 states goal, at Woodyard BBQ. My favorite BBQ place in Kansas City.

 

Goal #44 Have my portrait painted (in progress)

I don’t think this counts. 🙂

September 7, 2012

A lighter, healthier me

 “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it hundreds of times.”  

~~ Mark Twain

I quit smoking on February 27th, 2007. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done. It was also a turning point in my life. Not only did I got rid of a nasty and expensive habit, I actually accomplished something really tough by shifting my mindset and by being perseverant. That experience might very well be the genesis of this 45 things project.

While my lungs were definitely better, other parts of me were not so great in 2011. At the beginning of the year, I hurt my back and the pain never seemed to want to go away. Then I caught an eye virus that was making the rounds in my city. It made my vision blurry for about 3 months. Imagine staring at an out of focus computer screen all day for 3 months. That was nothing my eye doctor could really do, since it was a virus, and we just had to let it slowly get better. He was comforting though – at least my eyes weren’t bleeding, like some of his more serious patients!

Blasted kidney stones. And a stent and a tube inside me. Not a pleasant experience!

As my eyes slowly got better, my back pain was getting worse. It turns out that it wasn’t a muscle strain or anything like that, but kidney stones! Yikes. We blasted the stones. Twice. The whole process was, let’s say, a character building exercise.

That December (2011), after all the holiday feasts, I had the courage to step on a scale for some reasons.

243lbs!

While there’re many good things about being a non-smoker, the one drawback was the inevitable weight gain.  In the 5 years since I quit smoking, I had gained at least 40 lbs! That number was both depressing, and ultimately uplifting (more on this later). It was depressing because it was the heaviest that I had ever weighed. For my height (6 feet), my healthy weight range should be between 140lbs and 184lbs. Since I have a large body frame, my healthy weight should be closer to the upper range (which was my college weight).  Even so, I was at least 59 lbs overweight! No wonder my blood pressure and cholesterol level were high.

I had tried exercising. In fact I was doing P90X earlier in the year when I thought I hurt my back (but it was the kidney stones causing the pain). But I had never enjoyed working out – all the jumping around makes me mad. So it’s not a surprise that I could never stick to any exercise routine consistently. But that simply had to change. I was going turn 40 in 2012, and if I didn’t do something about my body, it would only get worse. So, the objective is to get into the best shape I’ve ever been (since I have never been in really good shape, it’s not as tough as it sounds).

Goal #1: Get my weight down to the 180-190lbs range. Since I was at the weight range in college, it wouldn’t really constitute “the best shape ever”,

So Goal #2: Be able to do the splits, which I have never ever done in my life, therefore if I could do it in my 40’s, I would be in my best shape (at least in terms of flexibility) ever.

And Goal #3: run a 5K. I am bad at running. Very bad at it. I blame in on my flat feet, underpronation, and well, laziness.  I don’t think I have ever run 3 miles continuously without needing to stop. So, if I could do that now, then I could claim the “best shape ever” description.

Hitting 243lbs was certainly depressing at first, but this number actually became the engine to drive all these goals for me to become a healthier person. So, it actually an uplifting number. 🙂

I want to be able to do that. “This woman is 93 years old and lives in Changzhi, a city in Shanxi, China.  According to her, she stays healthy by exercising regularly every morning”.

Do you have any health or fitness goals? How do you stay in shape?

Update: I was 243lbs on 27th Dec., 2011. I started doing yoga in mid-January, 2012. As of 9/6/2012, I weigh 214lb – which means I have lost 29lbs in 9 months! Going to that very first yoga class was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. (Big thank you to my friend, Lis Pankl, for encouraging/insisting/pestering me to do it!). More about yoga in later posts. 🙂

My Hanumanasana (split pose) so far. (on 9/5/2012,very early in the morning.)


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