Tag Archives: travel
January 2, 2017

About 3 months left!

It’s the beginning of 2017, and it’s about 3 months or so away from my 45th birthday, so this is a good time to have a review of my project so far. Of the 45 things:

  • Completed: 30
    Tango in Buenos Aires (completed: 18th March, 2016)
  • See a football match at Estádio do Maracanã, Rio, Brazil (completed: 14th August, 2013)
  • Practice yoga in India (completed: 17th November, 2013)
  • Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark (completed: 10th September, 2014)
  • Eat Tai Ping Koon’s Portuguese Chicken, Hong Kong (my childhood favorite) (completed: 18th March, 2015)
  • Try vegetarianism for a month (completed: 1st March, 2013)
  • Get tenure or promotion (completed: 1st August, 2014)
  • Give a kickass presentation (completed)
  • Learn Thai massage (completed: 9th May, 2014)
  • Be confident (and proficient) in driving a stick shift (completed: 5th March, 2016)
  • Learn how to iron a shirt (trousers and jackets would a bonus) (blog posts) (completed: 18th May, 2015)
  • Be comfortable at at least one ballroom dance (completed: 18th March, 2016)
    Learn CPR (completed: 24th April, 2013)
  • Conquer the fear of doing a handstand (completed: 5th May, 2015)
  • Jump out of a plane (preferably with a parachute) (completed: 21st March, 2013)
  • Give camping a try (completed: 23rd December, 2014)
  • Give Thai massage to at least 5 people (for free) (completed: 6th, June, 2014)
  • Give money to RadioLab at least once a year (completed: 11th December, 2012)
  • Mentor someone (Started and now ongoing)
  • Volunteer for worthy causes (blog post) (completed: 21st October, 2015)
  • Be aware of praiseworthy situations and efforts, and pay sincere compliments to people
  • Create a photo-essay or a video-essay (amended June, 2013) (completed: 14th June, 2013)
  • Be able to do splits (completed: 21st March, 2014)
  • Completely revamp my wardrobe (Completed 1st, January 2017)
  • Run a 5K (completed: 31st August, 2013)
  • Play Football Manager for 80 hours (=2 work weeks’ worth) (Completed 2nd, January, 2017)
  • Hold a baby panda while wearing my panda t-shirt (and take a picture of this special occasion) (completed: 21st October, 2015)
  • Value chance encounters and take initiatives to get to know interesting people (Completed)
  • See Leo Messi play in person (completed: 10th June, 2016)
  • Have my portrait painted Have myself 3D printed (amended May, 2015) (completed: 21st July, 2015)

Planning to complete before 45th birthday: 4

  • Create my own gourmet 5-course meal and serve it to friends
  • Compete in a cooking contest
  • Record an audio book.
  • Achieve and maintain ideal weight

Planning to complete during my 45th year: 6

  • Visit all 50 states in the US
  • Visit parents’ hometowns
  • Earn an additional graduate degree
  • Become an expert in multiple disciplines – Publish articles or present at conferences in 5 different fields.
  • Learn 150 interesting words
  • Skiing

No idea when: 5

  • Set foot on all 7 continents
  • Publish a short story
  • Write a screenplay
  • Write a book
  • Successfully start a slow clap

 

 

 

March 31, 2016

Goal #3 Tango in Buenos Aires and Goal #20 Be comfortable at at least one ballroom dance – DONE!

For Spring Break 2016 and my 44th birthday, I went to Buenos Aires and took 2 hours of tango lessons each day for 5 days. At the end, I was nowhere close to being good, but I was comfortable enough. I even danced at a Milonga!

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Here is my 3rd 1-sec everyday diary. From the day after my 43rd birthday to my 44th in Buenos Aires, I filmed one second of video everyday. Here is my year in about 7 mins.

One Second Everyday (My 43rd-44th birthday) from 45before45project.com on Vimeo.

September 29, 2014

Goal #7: Dine at Noma – CHECK!

Goal #7. Dine at Noma (Chef René Redzepi), Copenhagen, Denmark – COMPLETED September 10th, 2014.

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It was the most amazing dining experience I’ve ever had for sure. 25 courses, about 10 glasses of wine and champagne, and a fruity espresso later, it has completed transformed the way I think about culinary art.

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I even got to tour their kitchen and their R&D Lab!

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.

 

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!!

 

June 14, 2013

Goal #34: Create a photo or video essay – COMPLETED

I have been recording video clips everyday since March 2013 with the intention of compiling  a video diary of the year between my 41st and 42nd birthday. That would be my video essay for this goal #34. However, as I capture these moments, I want to experiment with them in different ways. Hence this “Travelogue” video (and hopefully it will become a series of videos that documents my travels).

I used the most basic tools for this video, iphone camera, Windows Movie Maker editing software, and free Creative Commons music. Perhaps I will try something more sophisticated in future videos, or maybe not.

What do you think?

Travelogue I (in one-second moments) from 45before45project.com on Vimeo.

This goal was originally just to create a photo-essay, but I amended it later to include videos. As I was traveling in Rome, I actually got an idea for a photo-essay. I was on a rather long tour of the Vatican Museum, and I got a bit bored towards the end. So, to amuse myself, I started photographing other people photographing everything in the museum. It turns that it’s actually really interesting to see what other people  find “picture-worthy”.

I am calling this series “Through Their View Finders”:

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Vatican Museum 1

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Vatican Museum 2

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Castel Gandolfo, Italy

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The Coliseum 1

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The Coliseum 2

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Pompeii

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. 

January 17, 2013

2013 New Year Progress Update #1 – Travel Goals

Travel:

Map_45things_jan 2013

Place I visited between 10/2012 and 1/11/2013.

Since my last progress update in September 2012, I have visited Jersey City (NJ), New York City (NY), Chicago (IL), Charlottesville (VA), St Louis (MO), Philadelphia (PA), Dallas (TX), Miami (FL), and Norman (OK). However, those were all states that I had already been to before, so I couldn’t take any states off my 50 states list (Goal #1 – visit all 50 states).

The good news is, I will be going to Portland (OR) for the first time next week before driving up to Seattle (WA) for a library conference. Although I will only be in Portland for less than 24 hours, I am already look up local restaurants to try and maybe even a yoga class at Yoga Pearl.

I’m thinking about trying this place, Pok Pok, :


Any other recommendations?

At this point, I still have 15 more states to visit to achieve the goal:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota (possibly in the fall if I present at the South Dakota conference)
  • Oregon (soon!)
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota (possibly in the fall for a library conference)
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

In terms of Goal #2 – Set foot on all 7 continents, I went on a wonderful yoga retreat (more on that later in another post) in Tulum Mexico over the new year period, and then visited Mexico City (and went on a couple of awesome tacos tours). My knowledge of geography is so limited that I actually had to look up which continent Mexico belonged to (it’s North America). So, no progress on this goal. But it was a fun fun fun trip:

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About to climb the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan , Mexico. (1/6/2013)

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Taco tasting in Mexico City.

I still have 4 more continents to visit:

  • Africa
  • Antartica
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • North America
  • South America (likely in the summer)

Some promising news for goal #4 – See a football match at Estádio do Maracanã, Rio, Brazil. The stadium is under major renovation right now, and I was really worried that it would not be open when I go there this August. (I AM GOING TO RIO THIS SUMMER!!!, for a sensory science conference). I just read that the stadium is slated to be the venue for the Confederation Cup in June. Phew. Now I just hope that there will be matches there during the week of my visit in August.  

Why do I want to go to that particular stadium? You see, when I was a football mad kid, The amazing Zico was my idol. I wanted to be him. I wanted to go to Brazil because of him. He played for Brazil (a key member of the brilliant 82 World Cup team that didn’t not win the tournament) and Flamengo, which both use Maracana as their home stadium.

Zico at his mesmerising best:

How could I go to Brazil and not go see a football match? Just look at the atmosphere!

Since I am going to Brazil anyway, I am seriously considering making a short trip to Buenos Aires and take a few tango lessons, and perhaps even a Milonga outing or two. On one hand, this is a great opportunity to accomplish my Goal #3 – Tango in Buenos Aires, on the other hand, Argentine Tango is a dance I’d really love to learn, and I have always dreamed to spending a consider period of time in Buenos Aires to learn it probably. Taking just a few classes would not really do it justice. So I am still on the fence about this one. It would be great if I could start learning the dance now and then I could get much more out of it there, except that there isn’t a single tango teacher with 60 miles of  Manhattan, KS! I need to come up with a plan soon, as learning to dance is going take some time (especially for someone like me!) , and my goal #20 is to be comfortable at at least one ballroom dance!

In the meantime, a couple of lovely tango scenes from Sally Potter’s 1997 film, The Tango Lesson:

 

September 29, 2012

Progress Update: September, 2012

Goal #1 Visit 50 states (in progress)

2012_09_11_165103

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. 🙂

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