Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Motivation Conpunction

is my latest woe. The bad news is that with no shortage of things to do, It seems like I haven't been able to concentrate lately. But the good news is that I have found a more productive procrastination device in sleeping and since this Monday, my skin has been looking very well.
What do you do when you're in such a rut?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Update AT LAST

Photos have been added to my rooftop excursion on 5/1/2008. Finally!
Thanks for checking in :)

I've moved into a new apartment and am making it cozy. Some sort of nesting for winter, I suppose. Only thing I'm missing now is a good closet. So I'm converting one of the rooms into a walk in one. Going to do this conversion project right after I get all my work done. Very excited about that.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The bliss of lazy mornings

is so inviting that I decided to stay an extra hour later in bed than I did yesterday. And yesterday I stayed in bed more than 4 hours later than I have all summer. That, my friend, has got to one of the most blissful things in life. Sweet indulgence of a lazy morning. Can't be beat. Can't be duplicated.

I spent all night watching reruns of SATC, season 2. And was munching on chocolate covered fruits by the Davenports, a long line of chocolatiers and patissiers who go way back with their craft, and, oh, the crown heads of Europe.

The back panel reads:

"Dilettante Chocolates
Cherries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Apricots
in Premium White, Milk & Dark Chocolate
Here at Dilettante, third generation Master Chocolatier Dana Taylor Davenport creates our cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and apricots in premium white, milk and dark chocolate in special revolving kettles using only the finest couverture quality chocolate and premium dried fruit.

The master formulas used to create Dilettante chocolates are selected from the notebooks of Dana's grandfather, Earl Remington Davenport. Master Candymaker, and his great uncle, Julius Rudolph Franzen, a Master Confectioner and Pastry Chef to the crowned heads of Europe."

Only problem was that little old myopic me spilled some on my sheets and then didn't realize it until this morning, when I found an orange one under a pillow. Let's just say that I'm no modern-day princess and the pea.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Of Olympic-sized Weights, Million-dollar Wait Reduction, and Missing Pictures

Life has been pretty decent lately.
Summer is in full swing. My work is winding down and shifting gears. I’ll be engrossed in a bit more book learning. And the Olympics are on :)

One of my friends from college said it best, “I’ve watched more TV in the past two days than in the past two YEARS!” Watching the Olympics can seem like full-time work. When I last checked the medal count, China was ahead in both number of gold (9) and total (14), but that will probably change as the track and field events start, or so my dad says. It struck me how China’s medals in weight-lifting are all gold.

But then again, it makes sense when I think back to how I was lifted up Emai Mountain in Sichuan when I used to weigh 150lbs for one of my trips to China. There were these tiny little southern Chinese men, scrambling up the greenery-plentiful mountain with a bamboo-stick chair, on which I sat, with the chair creaking all the way and my muscles tensed anticipating the moment when they might lose their footing climbing the steep incline carrying such a heavy load as me. So maybe Chinese people are built for carrying heavy loads. But maybe heavy also runs in my family, as bamboo chair carrying my dad actually broke and the porters carrying his dad said in the Sichuan dialect, “Woah, that’s a big load.”

So besides the Olympics, I had a doctor’s appointment today to certify that I am properly immunized for the major infectious diseases that I might catch from patients of my own. I had to wait a whole hour before seeing this doctor. I knew the wait issue was bad in the clinic where I worked this summer. But I really had no idea that this problem was so pervasive! I really hope that I won’t have to make anyone wait that long for their appointment. One thing I absolutely can’t stand is late. Punctuality, I think, is a matter of respect.

Surely, these people who are late can’t all be doing it on purpose. After all, they can’t leave until they finish with all their work, so maybe it’s the system that’s bad.

As I sat in the car on the way home from my appointment, I was thinking, maybe if someone came up with a way to decrease wait time or inform patients ahead of time about the wait such that they could plan around it, it might be a million dollar idea. And the concept of increased punctuality wouldn’t only apply a doctor’s office, but could extend to waiting for buses, restaurants, and anything else that doesn’t respect starting precisely at the time of appointment.

So give it some thought, will you? And with the collective brain power, we can work out a wait reduction.

Also today, I looked for pictures from my roof-top adventure to secure a new home for my basil plant. No such luck. I’m still a-searching and hopefully they’ll turn up so I can share them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mid-Summer Day in the City

It has been too long since my last visit here. Thanks for still checking on me :)

So yesterday, several somethings unusual happened.

Item 1:
On the morning train, the world's most shriveled-up-looking little old man tapped me on the shoulder when I reading my BRS. He said, are you studying psychology? Turns out that Little Old Man's brother studied psychology in New York and then didn't finish the degree but ended up as a cop. The little old man was quite happy for me that I am in school and encouraged me to finish so that I can pay back all my student loans. True story.

Item 2:
After work, I walked to Red Line Chicago stop like always. While waiting to cross the street at the intersection of Chicago and Michigan, I noticed this guy in the front passenger seat of the car in the right lane staring at me and smiling. He was a young guy. Brown hair. Medium build. No glasses.

I didn't think anything of this at first. Maybe he was just looking at something else in my direction and not me. So I looked away into the traffic in the distance.

When I glanced back, he was STILL looking at me. And I'm thinking, maybe I have something on my face or clothes. So I look down and pull out my cell phone to check.

Then the light changed and the car could turn onto Chicago from the right lane. The guy rolled his window down and made a 'W' with his hand and said "Wash U! YEAH!!!!"

I chuckled a little and said hi back.
Turns out he was fixating on my RED ALERT t-shirt.

Go Bears.

Item 3:
Not so much of an unusual thing. But, CTA, you really need to work on your public announcement system in your train stations. Yesterday there was a very long delay during rush hour and some announcer came online to explain to all the people who were waiting. A silence fell over the large crowd of people waiting on the platform as the announcement came on. But with all the pops and crackles and the muffled voice, all I could hear was "Red Line" and "emergency." And the guy next to me did no better.

Yesterday was a good day though apart from item 3. I got all my work done on Tuesday and got some good reviews. And even got to take some photos on the train.

Speaking of that, there's another item.

Item 4:
As I was sitting on the train (window seat, next to last car) going home, a girl walked really fast and sat down in a huff next to me and whipped out a journal and started scribbling furiously. I was reading at the time, but was REALLY REALLY curious about what she was writing about. I've definitely seen my share of lunatics on the train, so I had to proceed cautiously. I pretended to look at my book's left page and then looked at what she was writing out of the left corner of my eyes. I caught only bits and pieces, including words like "f*** you?" and "she came in and sat down," and "he looked at her cleavage."


When I had to get off at my stop, I put on my BEST smile and said excuse me. I was quite grateful that she smiled back as she moved aside.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

With warm weather

[Updated photos on 11/12/2008, with no more warm weather, but better late than never :)]

come longer days for the Northern Hemisphere, exams for me, and opportunities for people to parade outdoors championing their favorite causes. In just the past week, there have been 2 such groups walking by my window.

I've hit on a good stride in my studying, the pattern of which renders me every bit the vampire -- of the non-blood sucking variety.

I study best under the dark cover of night and in solitude. As I said in an earlier post, that's when everything is nice and quiet. Uninterrupted time is precious.
I sleep a bit during the early morning and evening. The sleep has been averaging 5 per 24 hours.

Exercise has completely gone out the window. I had been swimming 3 times a week, but now all my exercise is walking really fast outside when I have to go or to whichever restaurant I decide to eat at. I don't regret the sedentary lifestyle though. It seems that vigorous exercise makes me eat a little more, which I can do without.

Last weekend, I was snooping around school while on study break and went up to the top of the building again. The top is equivalent to something like the 11th and 12th floor -- two levels as the top is not 1 flat level. I arrived there by taking a spiral staircase from the 7th floor to all the way up and kicking open the door for roof access. At the rooftop I took some gorgeous photos and will post them shortly.

Meanwhile, I think I'm going to sleep again.
Nothing makes me happier than sleeping and eating.
Getting up to study is okay too because things can always be worse.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

2:21 in the AM

and I'm not sleepy. I've been on and off this weird sleeping schedule for awhile now. The other day when I was awakened from my 3-hour nap in the afternoon for a scheduled work out, fast as lightening, I just snatched up my blanket over my head and blocked out the world. And sleep reclaimed.

Maybe this sleeping cycle is what has been giving me some of my weird dreams lately?
But then again, I regularly remember my dreams. They're usually unusual and in full Technicolor.

I have a feeling though I won't be dreaming about cooing turtledoves soon. I closed the windows extra tight just for them :)

As an aside: If ever you are trying to remember your dreams in the early morning right when you wake up, try not to move! Staying still is key. Besides, surely we can all use a little more rest in the morning. I read that a very famous chef of our times (who is known for his cursing and very deep wrinkles) eats his breakfast before bedtime to save himself 15 minutes of shut-eye in the morning.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Crazy Dream This Morning

Around 8:45am today, some stupid turtle doves woke me up with their rather loud cooing on my window sill -- windows were open but screen up, thank goodness. I was still tired, so I fell back asleep. Betwen then and 9:30am, I dreamt that the turtle doves had babies on my sill and they were cooing too. The cooing so disturbed my-dream-self that my-dream-self flicked off the dream baby turtle doves from the sill, where they left big wet spots. When I woke up to my cell phone alarm, I was kind of worried and so I went over to the window sill to look. No babies on or below :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

No more raw!

I think it was pretty easy to see by day 3, yesterday, that I cannot handle the raw food diet. At least not now. I've been getting so very antsy with the huge restriction on food. The worst thing was I thought about food even more than I normally do, which is a lot!

I am a little sad that this diet died so quietly. Maybe the lesson here is that I am an adamant creature of comfort, at least food-wise. Rather than telling myself that I can't have stuff, maybe I'll allow my body what it craves and live to 100 rather than 125 :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day 2 of "Raw" Food

got a raw deal. I didn't actually eat any raw foods :) That was a smile for guilt, not pleasure. Well maybe guilty pleasure since it was really good cooked food. But all that food was cooked food I already had that I was supposed to have anyway. Oh boy. That sounded like guilt if I ever did hear of any! Well, since my stock of cooked food is dwindling, I suppose only time will tell whether there will be day 3 of raw food or this diet is already over. Oh boy oh boy!

So today, I had

No breakfast = forgot to eat breakfast due to early morning meeting)
11:00AM Brunch = 2 cans of hearty beef soup (240x2=480Cal)
6:00PM Dinner = 1 slice of yellow cheese (70Cal), 1 cup of noodle soup (290Cal), 1 bag of steamed veggie buns (600Cal)

1440Cal is total intake.

Tune in again tomorrow folks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 1 of Raw Food

I got up nice and early at 7:30am. And thus started my first day of raw foods.

~8am Breakfast = 1 medium-sized banana
12:30p Lunch= 1 large Golden Delicious and 1 small red, pie apple
5:30p Dinner= 12oz of tomato and eggs, 18oz of asparagus and pork, 1 cup instant Lunch maruchan noodles and 0.5oz Stella parmesan cheese.

Yeah :( Dinner didn't go quite as planned. Even though I was planning to finish the rest of the cooked food from my fridge, the load was much more than appropriate. I just got so hungry in the afternoon. Looks like I gotta pack better snacks than just apples. The first apple was great, crisp and sweet. The second apple was alright -- after that larger than fist-sized Golden Delicious apple though, I could not eat anymore apple, especially since the apple was warming up to room temperature from fridge temperature this morning.

I also had another weak moment at lunch, when I dreamt of dancing gyros with big fat mounds of sour cream and toasty warm pita bread. Oh boy!

So my score on this first day was one temptation conquered and one succumbed.
Onwards to day two!

Moral for day 1: There's a reason that the just ONE apple a day keeps the doctor away. It seems like that more than one may spur a rebellion from the body and yield a tummy ache! VARIETY is the spice of life.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Season, New Times, New Habits, New Crowds

It's SPRING!!!
Yay for longer days and more sunlight. I can already see my hair sun-bleaching to a cheeky shade of deep auburn.

I'm getting out of hibernation as the weather is more inviting. And going outside definitely is a morale booster. Perhaps the best thing of all is going into stores again and seeing what things I'd like to buy.

I had always like clothes shopping, but after such a sedentary spell of sitting and working at a desk, I've gained much more weight than I should ever be allowed to. So much so that clothes shopping is no longer the shiny sparkly motivator at the end of a long tunnel of work.

That said, venturing into the shops also has a motivating effect of its own.

Because I truly do enjoy swimming between the racks, I've decided to go on a raw food diet to make the swim more enjoyable. I will start after I've finished eating the cooked food in the fridge. No definite end date in sight. We will see how I survive it.

My inspiration is Carol Alt, retired mannequin and recent reality TV star, who is looking fabulous at 50.

According to what I've read online, the raw food diet consists of
- veggies
- fruits
- nuts
- nothing cooked above 116degF (which rules out usual meats and eggs)

Out of all the articles that I read about eating raw foods,
this one offers the most advice -- from one who has tried it for 30 days
this one is the funniest -- "microwaved bacon" anyone?

I anticipate that my little food adventures will begin sometimes between middle of this week, which is rapidly approaching, to the weekend. And for as long as possible, without developing noticeable health deficits, I will continue my raw food experiment and hopefully report the results here :)

Here's to hopefully some happy eating. According to some sources, one can eat ~8.5 lbs of food per day on a raw food diet. That sounds like a lot of food to me. And a lot of food is just fine by me! Just looking at the images below makes me drool a little, which seems like a very promising start to me :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Bewitching Hour:

It's late at night again. And I'm up again :)
I truly think there is something magical about being up all alone while my part of the world sleeps. It's the kind of magic that makes you go pause and savor when you see a spider's web or take in the crispness of a cool, clear autumn day.

Now, more practically, I'm up because I'm studying. That also makes me take pause. But in a good way too. It's interesting stuff. Just like the spider's web or the autumn day. You can see it once, and see it again, but everytime there seems to be something a little more to see.

The moon over the Swiss Alps matches the tranquility of the bewitching hour perfectly.