Thursday, May 19, 2011

Goals, eh

I dislike goals. Being a (somewhat) high-achieving, driven person, you'd think I have a three-page bucket list broken down into personal, professional, & fitness goals. Not I. For me, having a goal means there is something I cannot do that I must work to improve myself at before having some event that declares me officially competent. No thank you!

The goals I set are typically ambiguous ones along the lines of "try to be nicer" or "don't get terribly out of shape." Goals like this don't involve a high level of commitment out of me, it works out well! I'm not accountable for performing up to a certain level at the blow of a whistle, and I don't have to take any steps in the meantime to try to incrementally "get better." Plus, everything is on a relative scale, so if I am not very nice to someone there are plenty of excuses available to self-rationalize my nastiness and to try harder next time. I'm not opposed to gaining new skills or learning things, but saying "I'm going to read 100 books by the end of this year," has never really appealed to me.

It's possible I'm just lazy & scared of failure. I am also averse to spending a huge quantity of time on any one thing in life, but that's kind of beside the point.

So it's probably a good time to set some goals. Fitness goals are usually the easiest for me, so that's what it'll be!

Goal #1- Be able to hike a 14er in 8 weeks when I'm in Colorado with my family. Ok, so that's kind of an ambiguous goal, but I have a concrete path I'm following. I'm following a 4 week fitness shape-up I saw in a magazine. It's two days of cardio intervals & two days of weight lifting each week. I'm supplementing with additional endurance cardio & yoga. And the occasional game of ultimate tennis which is WAY more fun than traditional (pretentious) tennis. In 4 weeks, the crazy-intense, 6:00 AM community workouts start which involve lots of running hills, lunges, and overall kick-in-the-buttness that is necessary for doing a 14er.

Goal #2- Do 100 pushups in 6 weeks. This is something Britt from Snapurly suggested. Today was day two of week 1!

Maybe if these go well I'll be more likely to set more goals. Who wants to do 100 pushups with me??!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Everything's Amazing & Nobody's Happy

But here are 10 reasons Everything is Amazing & I'm Happy!!!

1.) Great time spent with friends. Here's to you Tiffany & Tiffany! (thanks to the others too, but they aren't readers as far as I know)
2.) It's spring & things are green. My neighborhood has a ton of old trees. It's gorgeous!

3.) Miller High Life is indeed the champagne of beers.
4.) Song #1 I've been listening to non-stop.
5.) Song #2 I've been listening to non-stop when I'm not listening to Song #1 non-stop.
6.) My job rocks.
7.) I'm taking an online grad class & I think it's going well so far.
8.) Just finished "To Kill a Mockingbird" and it was great. I think I read it in elementary school, but reading it again was really good!
9.) I'm continually surprised that following medical advice really does help life. Eating fruits & vegetables & taking a multi-vitamin really does help with energy & mental awareness! I find that energy + mental awareness really contributes to having a positive attitude.
10.) "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day! Please pass the Mr. Collins

Mother’s Day is a beautiful time to celebrate the impact our mothers have had in raising us to be the people we are. Mothers teach us so much about life, love, caring, kindness, and responsibility; they deserve a special day of the year to be recognized for all they do. However, they are also used as a manipulative advertising technique.

I received a promotional email from eHarmony yesterday stating- “Give Mom the Greatest Gift of All- Find someone who's perfect for you!” It went on to read, “Your mother wants what's best for you. And we do too. That's why we're inviting you to get to know matches uniquely right for you at a Mother's Day discount.”

“Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I was going to get you a thoughtful present that expressed my appreciation for all you’ve done for me, but instead I thought you’d be happier if I got myself an online dating profile. Don’t worry, eHarmony is saving the day! I’ll be married soon & you won’t have to worry about me anymore!!!” I emailed them to say I think their advertising is in poor taste. My mother, to my knowledge, has skipped the stage of being a Mrs. Bennett, and fortunately doesn’t dump a load of familial guilt on me for being single. eHarmony, on the other hand, would like me to believe that my relationship status is somehow tied to how I’m valued in my family, especially by my mother.

Perhaps they have a point though, especially when greater society is concerned. This ad arrived several weeks after a friend told me that her father tried to fix her up with a gentleman specifically so he could carry on the family business, but all in the name of her future happiness of course. Furthermore, another friend told me of a grad school classmate who was complaining that single women in the workplace are taking jobs that men need to provide for their families. I was under the impression that society had evolved past the stage of viewing the single as a drain on the economy. Apparently, we are dually the embarrassments of our families in addition to single-handedly (ha) ruining the economy.

So single women are supposed to sit around their parents’ houses and crochet lace doilies? Should my father still be financially responsible for his twenty-something daughter simply because I’m not married? Good thing some single woman didn’t take his job in the workplace so he can still provide for his family! I guess I thought that being a financially independent, tax-paying, law-abiding citizen was a positive thing. Nope, it’s not good enough. In the eyes of eHarmony, I’m still stressing out my mother. For shame!

Alright then society, you win. Now where is Mr. Collins when you need him?

Na, just kidding. I’ll at least wait around for Wickham ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tea & Blood Duty

Vomit is the only bodily fluid I cannot handle under any circumstance. Since everything else is fine for me and, having not had intercourse with a man who's had intercourse with a person who lived in Timbuktu with an exotic cow from the UK for a time amounting to less than 3756 days, I am an ideal candidate, I consider it my civic duty to donate blood as frequently as possible.

If you've never donated blood before (and thus are totally confused by my previous paragraph), each donor must answer a series of questions regarding habits or circumstances that could affect whether or not their blood could be used for a transfusion. Then each donor has to go through a mini-physical to again make sure that their blood meets certain standards. One of the tests is a finger prick to check hemoglobin (iron).

The last three times I've tried to donate, my hemoglobin has been well below the acceptable range. FAIL X 3.

Typically, I can approach things in life from a logical standpoint where doing AB&C results in successes in XY&Z. Thus, for most of my life, I am WINNING more than Charlie Sheen. In the case of iron, I usually consider myself to be health-conscious & a nutritious eater, and so I should have no problems whatsoever with having perfectly acceptable blood. Unfortunately, getting rejected three times for donating blood means I haven't been doing the right AB&C things. Arg, I might actually have to CHANGE something!

The phlebotomists are always very nice & offer suggestions about how I can improve my iron level. Eat more almonds, red meat, & spinach. But you have to eat all that for about two weeks before your blood donation. Sigh, almonds are expensive, I don't like cooking red meat, & I'm not a huge fan of spinach, raw or cooked.

And then they ask, "Do you drink tea?"

"Why yes!" I reply. "It's one of my favorite beverages! I drink 1-2 cups a day."

"Hmm. Yes, tea inhibits the absorption of iron. You should probably stop drinking tea about a week or two before trying to donate."

Oh dear. Not only am I not eating iron-rich foods, but my beverage of choice is blocking me from absorbing what little iron I do take in. I love tea. Ok, I'll start taking a multi-vitamin at night! I'm already taking my calcium supplement then, so it won't be hard to add a step to the routine. And then I won't have to give up tea!

After a discussion with my mom about this, she passed along this article. Guess what is another iron absorption inhibitor? Calcium.

At least now I know what AB&C things I would need to do to be able to donate successfully. The question is though, am I willing to actually do AB&C? Is the XY&Z goal enough of a motivator? The analogy extends to a lot of things in life. We know what we need to do to make something happen, but are we willing to change to achieve the goal?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cooking for 1: Mexi Mash

Most of the time, I eat rather unglamorous food. I don't like spending a lot of time cooking if I'm the only eater, so if it's just me, I tend to just throw together stuff in my fridge. Mexi Mash is one of my favorites since it's basically embracing the concept, "Here, let me just fancy up some basic food with SALSA!!!"

Random tangent: I come from a long line of salsa users. My great-grandmother used to pack a jar of Pace in the crocheted basket on her walker whenever she went down to meals at her retirement home. She passed down her love of the zesty.

Back to Mexi Mash.

Combine several of the following ingredients in a bowl. Top with cheese or salsa or whatever (here's a recipe for homemade salsa). Heat & eat.

Rice (my fav: microwaveable brown rice)
Beans (my fav: refried black beans)
Ground meat (for fancier, make it with taco seasoning)
Scrambled Eggs
Leftover veggies