31 August, 2010

Pursuit #34: Moving picture shows

I never watch TV.

I should clarify.  I never watch live TV, er TV with commercials. Only shows on DVD (or what Comcast blessedly provides for me on On Demand). The little free time I have that I agree to partition to the viewing of moving pictures, I generally reserve for selective shows and/or moviesAnd I'm highly selective.

Now, I don't have any scientific evidence to back up this theory, so don't go publishing my findings or anything. But I hypothesize that 30 Rock is a healer.

Every time I have a crappy day or an exhausting day and I need a veg time out before going onto other activities, I watch 30 Rock. I equate it to a power nap. However, instead of lazing away in my bed for 20 odd minutes conjuring up bizarre dreams about becoming a surrogate mother to a baby koala in a parking garage (disclaimer: actual dream I just had), I can laugh, emote, veg almost brainlessly, and fantasize about how Tina Fey is my long lost mother. All that and a bag of popcorn! It's so much more productive than sleeping, and immensely *satisfying.
Tracy Jordan: I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?
Jack Donaghy: I've got two ears and a heart, don't I?

*Unless you're sleep deprived, then generally sleeping is a good idea.

27 August, 2010

Pursuit #33: Thai Herbal Massage. Get one NOW!

Best. Massage. Ever. 

Like assisted yoga mixed with heat therapy, aroma therapy, and tissue massage (gets out those knots and kinks!).

They do this:

And this:

And you'll feel:

Pursuit #32: On eating dirt.

I went running the other day on my favorite local unpaved, woodsy trail. Then...my foot caught a root or a rock and I ate dirt. I slid in the dirt like a baseball player.

On the plus side:

1. No one saw me fall (yay for secluded woods).

2. I have some cool battle scars. The first day I essentially had a 2nd kneecap on my right leg. But otherwise unharmed.

3. At least a fall in this context makes more sense than falling off an unmoving carousel.

4. I felt like G.I. Jane when I shook it off and kept running all bloodied (not too bad), bruised and covered in dirt.

5. For the number of times I've gone running in general and running on this particular trail, statistically speaking it was about time I suppose that I hit the ground running (bah dum chhhh!!!).

26 August, 2010

Pursuit #14-31: The UK...I approve.

So I'm going to have to cheat and just lump all the days I missed into 1 uber-post. I had a wonderful time in Englandia/Scotlandia. I will post pictures...eventually, however I had a mishap with a carousel in York that left my camera busted. (Who falls off an unmoving carousel?!?!? MEEE!!!)

My trip in a nutshell:

Stonehenge - cool, but also just how I imagined it would look from photos.

Salisbury - my first introduction into English cities outside London. Yummy Cornish meat pasty!

Bath - Victorian bed & breakfasts, Roman history, fancy English Afternoon Tea at the Pump Room, drank from the Roman Bath mineral water, but didn't get to take a dip in the new thermal baths though:(

Oxford - Harry Potter movie scenes everywhere!

Stratford-upon-Avon - city is so so, but the Royal Shakespeare Company production of As You Like It was phenomenal.

The Cotswolds - charming, quaint country villages with thatched roof houses:)

Warwick - Disneylandish Medieval castle where we saw some jousting; wasn't allowed into the Princess Tower because it is "an attraction for children" which I think is discriminatory...

Derby - pretty countryside of rolling green hills.

Chatsworth House - this house belongs to the Dutchess of Devonshire and I think I would be pals with her. The house is cool, but they have an awesome eclectic collection of art and some amazing grounds full of fountains, sheep, and roosters and of course pretty flowers.

York - Old city wall, more fascinating Roman history equipped with modern ghost stories when you explore the underground of the city from Roman times; The Shambles reminded me of a Charles Dickens novel.

Edinburgh -A city bursting with plaid and tricky to understand accents, but how cool is the castle on the mound and bagpipers playing for handouts on the streets??

London - Wagamama and museums that are free but so full of treasures that it is just embarrassing to the rest of the worlds' museums. And Harrods. Holy cow. Like a mini-Vegas casino right in the heart of London...and what happens in Harrods, stays in Harrods;)

08 August, 2010

Pursuit #13: Englandia

I'm off to the Motherland today. I will be touring Englandia and Scotlandia for the next 12 days. I'll see if I can do any posts from over the pond, but we shall just have to see...Cheers!

Pursuit #12: A Reminder

The best days are those without real plans. See where the day leads you. That is all:)

06 August, 2010

Pursuit #11: W&OD Good Samaritan

Today is very hot. Approaching 90 degrees, plus the wonderful humidity which was approx 80% when I started my 15 mile journey this morning.


Somewhere around mile 13.5, I was sucking on the dredges of my Camelbak. I came upon an oasis on the trail - a water fountain - only to find that this oasis was more like a mirage, producing only a teasing trickle of water that wouldn't make it to my mouth.

Just a mirage...

A fellow runner was able to refill his fuel belt water bottles in the trickle and instantly handed me one, then another to polish off. I don't think I would have made it much further if he hadn't. He's my hero for the day. We were both struggling in the heat on the trail though he was pursuing a whopping 19 miles. For both of us at that point, it was a run/walk scenario. But I made it. Thank you good samaritan!! It's so nice to know that my fellow runners got my back. And vice versa of course.

05 August, 2010

Pursuit #10: The Omnivore's Dilemma

I am almost done with this book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. And it has made me run a gamut of emotions about the food I eat. 

The first portion of the book made me completely grossed out by the industrial food market, with its chemically processed ingredients that encompass most foods bought in the grocery store. Not only are they full of pesticides and antibiotics and the animals are treated horrendously, but on top of that, almost every ingredient in most prepacked food is derived from or indirectly stems from corn. We're just giant ears of corn walking around. Gross.

Then the middle portion of the book left me less than impressed with the organic food market and its big name giants like Whole Foods. It's an industrial food market in and of itself that may not be that much better due to the USDA's elastic rules as to what they consider "organic." We're still giant ears of corn walking around, just shelling out more $$ to have our exotic foods shipped in from the nether regions of the world.  

I was truly impressed with the farm the author does a mini-apprenticeship at and writes about. It's called Polyface Farm and it's right here in VA!

I was impressed with the science behind their farming techniques. It's so simple and logical since it is based off the intrinsic laws of nature and ecology - the interplay of the animal, grass, and insect species. I had no idea a field of grass was so complex and diversified as I found out through this book. Polyface runs a completely transparent farming operation that is open to anyone to stop by and check them out. They're beyond organic obviously. And they let their animals live out their animal characteristics in a humane environment. I was excited to see that they sell some of their food to some local restaurants near me, some of which I've even been to. I am thinking a visit to Polyface is in order! Luckily this farm is close enough to me, I could get goods from them. But not matter where I live in the future, I am convinced that going local, organic and sustainable is the way to go. 

Moo! Go local!

04 August, 2010

Pursuit #9: Pyramid Scheme

No, I'm not trying to sell you Amway. I'm selling you Pampered Chef!

Kidding, kidding. I'm simply selling you some more psychology:)

The Pursuit:
So onto the pyramid schemes that relate to our lives. As you may recall, there's ye olde Food Guide Pyramid (which has undergone some recent renovation it looks like) telling us what of each food group we should eat. And there's also a lesser known pyramid (though it was created in the 1940's) telling us about our needs. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, humans have a hierarchy of needs,  seen in his pyramid-shaped theory to explain human motivation.

According to Maslow, our basic needs start out as physical, then as people progress up the pyramid, needs become increasingly psychological and social. The first 4 basic needs are deemed deficiency needs  - Physiological, Safety, Love/Belonging, and Esteem - that arise out of deprivation. We work to satisfy those needs in order to alleviate any feelings of anxiety or stress we would feel from their deficiency in our lives.

The top need, Self-Actualization, is what he deems a growth need. This is not a need that arises from a lack of anything. Rather it is a need that arises from a desire to grow and develop as a person to achieve our own potential.

The Findings: 
I made a list of 3 significant activities that I have participated in during the last month that fit each category, either an overt activity or a covert behavior like a thought. Then using a rating scale, I rated my level of satisfaction in each of those categories based on how well those activities are meeting my needs. Nothing complex, simply did I feel slightly satisfied, generally satisfied, totally satisfied, or perhaps totally unsatisfied?

What I found was revealing about my priorities in life. Our ratings can fluctuate from day to day obviously, but it's interesting to account for where our focus is. Maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on my social well-being and not enough on my personal growth. Or maybe I'm satisfying my basic needs, but not to the extent that I would like to be (i.e. not sleeping enough, not eating healthily, not exercising enough etc). It's a good self-inventory practice that keeps us on the right path to becoming more self-actualized. Now go on with your bad self!

03 August, 2010

Pursuit #8: I need a j-o-b

I'm looking for a part-time job. I hate looking for jobs almost as much as having them. Just kidding...sort of. But really, for me searching for jobs is right next to, or quite possibly even superior to, grocery shopping as one of my least favorite activities.

As I was doing my reading for psychology, I came upon this tidbit in the textbook about job satisfaction:
"Obviously, job satisfaction depends largely on the job itself, including the interest level, the pay, coworkers, and management. It also depends on the worker's personality. Some people are just easier to please than others...if your close relatives say they are happy with their jobs, you probably will be also...You don't inherit your job, but you inherit your disposition...People who are prone to unpleasant feelings become exhausted with their work faster than others and are likely to complain of 'job burnout.'"
So now I know who to blame for my dislike of jobs! How do I become easier to please? How can I fight you, genetics?!


02 August, 2010

Pursuit #7: Morrie-ism

Sometimes the stars don't align for me - things don't go the way I envisioned them in my fantasy world (it's PG-13, don't worry) - and that frustrates me.

Sometimes I get really stressed out - all these little things keep mounting until I feel suffocated under this giant steaming ball of...poop - and that frustrates me (cause who wants to be suffocated by poop?)

Sometimes I feel like I just wake up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed -  I feel like that giant steaming ball of poop, but I don't know why - and that frustrates me.

And that is just reality.

I remember a snippet from Mitch Albom's book Tuesdays with Morrie, which I read quite a few years ago. It has really stuck with me since. When Mitch is interviewing Morrie, who is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease (a progressive neurodegenerative fatal disease), he asks how Morrie can stay so positive each day. Morrie responds by saying some mornings he wants to cry and feel sorry for himself. So he does. He lets himself feel pain, sadness, grief or whatever the negative emotion is. But then he tells himself, "Ok, that is what sadness feels like. Now it's time to move on." (I'm paraphrasing).

Just have to remember to let myself feel, but not dwell.

01 August, 2010

Pursuit #6: The Pursuit

The Pursuit:
A lot of people move to LA or NYC to try to make it big or get discovered. You find them working as waiters/waitresses at California Pizza Kitchen, working at FAO Schwartz and cowboy boot stores (Nashville only) and the people wearing signs out in the street handing you coupons to broadway shows...And for like 99.99% of these people, their big break never comes. So it's easy to be cynical when someone has such dreams.

The Findings: 
But for this girl Christina Perri, it actually happened. Working as a waitress in LA, writing and recording songs in her free time, she had a Rockette friend who slipped her demo to a radio exec who asked Christina for a recording to use on So You Think You Can Dance. After it aired, within a whirlwind month, she got a record breaking number of downloads of her single Jar of Hearts before she even had got her record deal, and an offer to tour with Jason Mraz. Who knows how long this roller coaster will last for her, but I think she has talent...and I am the final say when it comes to that, obviously. If I could sing, I wish I had her voice - deep, dark, sultry. I enjoy her blog cause she's very honest and raw and she has posted some videos of her singing. As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like I can hear the passion in her voice. My favorite is this one:

Now I feel like such an underachiever and need to go do something with my life...But seriously, I like seeing hard working people with talent achieve their dreams much more than I do seeing a factory-molded pop artist churned out by the record label. Way to go, Christina!