Monday, November 28, 2005

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like ...BLAH.

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I don't know what it is about this time of year...the anticipation of Christmas, the dark morning skies, sneezy coughing people, or maybe having to layer my clothes...but it makes me lethargic and restless. I have no desire to attend class, no desire to study, and no desire to do much of anything.

Actually, that's not true. I would love to do nothing. You know, the kind of nothing where, at the end of the day, you reflect on your previous 24 hours and wonder what, if anything, you've accomplished. The type of nothing that involves lots of hot beverages, a comfy couch and warm fuzzy blanket, trashy celebrity magazines, Dr. Phil or the Food Network or DVDs of the show 24, and lapses into unconsciousness.

Another activity that rivals the nothing that I actually want to be doing, is shopping. For those rare moments when my lethargy is outweighed by my antsiness, shopping is the ultimate antidote. There is
something totally wrong and commercial and very alluring about shopping during the Christmas season. Maybe it's the the glittery packaging, or maybe it's the hustle-bustle energy of everyone at the mall. Whatever it is, it makes me want to be a part of it. I want to be perusing through the aisles and kiosks looking at stuff that everyone wants and nobody needs. I want to spend money on votive holders and seasonal dinnerware and specialty flavoured coffees and Christmas wreaths and chocolatey sweets and winter boots and snow globes and books I won't be reading and 2006 calendars and fancy bows and "Christmas Blow-Out" sale clothing.

Alas, this is but a dream. Reality means that I have exams to study for and projects to complete. It also means I have a home to clean and laundry to do, not to mention a body to whip into better shape before the holiday season really hits. That my invisible backyard is missing an all-important money tree also means that I cannot be spending limitlessly anyway.

My momentum was so inspiring at the beginning of the academic year. What happened? My excitement for school, for learning, for keeping house...this has pretty much disappeared. It has been replaced by a big bad case of the BLAHS. I feel so "off." I blame it on November and the time change and the cooling weather.

So today, instead of offering you my two cents' worth of thought, I am soliciting your two cents. How do I regain my momentum for learning, at least enough to carry me through exams? How do I get over this feeling of restlessness and lethargy? I welcome all suggestions, as well as all gift certificates to indulge my shopping impulses and plane tickets to exotic destinations. ;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Obsessive Compulsive Me

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I am ashamed to admit that I missed both of my classes today. I am even more ashamed to say that I was working on a Macromedia Flash assignment for 8 hours. I could have gone to class. I could have left the assignment until the evening, or better yet, waited until tomorrow, when I would be able to attend the class and seek clarification on the stuff I didn't understand/know. I could have, but I didn't.

Why didn't I, you might ask? One might say it's my stubbornness, and I might not argue with that. However, the real reason for my day-long assignment is that I suffer from obsessive compulsiveness. Not the DSM-IV diagnosable kind, which leads one to seek professional help and actually get better, but an even more sinister kind. The kind that makes people into workaholics. The kind that causes people to forget to eat meals or use the washroom (even when they *really* have to go) or look at their watches or notice that the sun has risen and set without them. The kind that makes people completely lose perspective.

This troubles me immensely, and with good reason. Many "successful" people in this world came to be so because of their obsessive-compulsiveness; that whole driven, Type-A personality is usually the one that climbs corporate ladders and excels in academia. It comes hardly as a surprise that my best performances in post-secondary have always been the times when I worked all night or for week(s) on end with nary a break.

However, this same kind of behavior also promotes unhealthiness (both physically and mentally), and creates imbalance in peoples' lives. It can potentially wreck relationships, and it causes people to misprioritize what ultimately matters most. The obsessive-compulsives are the ones who, at the end of their life, look back on their "achievements" with great regret because the time that should have been spent on their families, their friends, their health, and their God, were sacrificed so that they could finish one more project or get that extra certification/degree or do yet another task that ultimately proved to be meaningless and forgettable.

I don't want that to be me. From now on, I am taking time to metaphorically smell those roses, and I am going to make sure that my priorities really do reflect what is most important to me. Flash be damned! I won't be spending one more second on that, either. =)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Things I Miss About Hong Kong

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It has now been over a year since I've been back on N. American soil. I am very happy to be back to the land of Tim Hortons, quality deodorant, and open spaces. However, there are quite a few things I miss about my former "home" and the life I enjoyed there :

-cheap "professional" massages ($25 for 45 minutes!)

-authentic Chinese food & bakery just around the corner
-cheap clothes & stationery

-nice humidity (read: no asthma or dry skin for mrsloquacious)
-not having to drive

-no "really cold" weather
-daily shopping trips to Diamond Hill Mall (or Festival Walk)
-my former students & colleagues
-being able to walk everywhere
-giving assignments, not getting them
-pre-assigned seats at movie theatres
-chocolately popcorn at movie theatres
-being near the ocean & the harbour
-neon lights *everywhere* at night
-night market bargains
-drinking good coffee as a "luxury"
-travelling at every opportunity
-grocery stores that delivered to my door (for free!)
-egg-shaped waffles..mmm....

Yeah, those were some great times. Yet for all of the good things I miss about HK, I am sure glad to be where I am right now; my hubby, my family, my church, my friends....these are the biggest reasons why HERE is preferable to THERE. And cheesy as it sounds, home is where the heart is, and my heart is here. My home is here. And I'm glad to be nowhere else.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Weird, Gross...Brilliant

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Thanks to my friend Mr. Wolf at Fook, I came across a picture of this:

The website for this..thing..claimed it was a bio-engineered pet, complete with heart monitor and feeding tube, that would live for exactly one or three years (depending on the model). It also claimed that the "creature" was a cross between some canine, feline and lemur species. It also claimed that this Gen-Pet (as it's called) was going to be up for sale in N. America sometime very soon.

So, having seen the initial post and then the Gen-Pets website, I got really disgusted. I mean, who would actually do that?? Who would go around bioengineering animals to sell as TOYS?!?

Then I dug a little deeper, and realized that, as with many things on the Internet, this was not real. The "creatures" are made of some sort of polyurethane foam, and this whole thing (the website, the phony ads) is a project for some Canadian artist named Adam Brandejs. The 19 packaged creatures are actually part of an exhibit that he had put up in a storefront on Queen's St. in Toronto, and I guess his purpose was to get people to think about their consumerist attitudes and what sort of crazy biotechnology is actually taking place *right now* to satisfy these marketplace demands (you know, like the rumours about those 4-winged, 4-legged KFC chickens).

Then I realized that this disgusting little Gen-Pet display was actually *brilliant.* It is a powerful way to drive home a message about how people are now messing with nature to make things more convenient for themselves. Sadly, it's true, too - nobody bats an eye at genetic engineering anymore, and certainly even cloning has lost its appeal in the media. We're desensitized, and the result of this is that one day, someone probably will make a "Gen-Pet" and there will be people lining up outside the stores waiting to buy them. And then what?

I hope I won't be around when that day comes. It's a prospect even scarier than the Gen-Pets themselves.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nanoclothing

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Recently I discovered, much to my horror and dismay, that my parents dropped several digits' worth of money to buy underwear, sheets, a blanket, and some shirts. Designer clothing? Not quite. Nanoclothing.

Digging a little deeper, I discovered that nanotechnology, which is based on the theory that people are healthier when they are exposed to greater amounts of negative ions in the atmosphere, has had its electric little fingers in the garment industry for a few years now. The nice non-stain, non-wrinkle pants from Eddie
Bauer & Gap? Nano-treated.

Some folks back in Asia decided to harness this negative ion energy by "weaving it" into fabric and sell it for crazy high prices to very gullible folk back in the Americas. My parents are among those folks. So are, apparently, my grandparents, my uncles, and myt aunts.

Why would anyone spend this much money on negatively-charged garments? Well, if you were to ask my grandma, it's because it miraculously heals bad knees. She "proved" this to me over Thanksgiving by practically leaping off the couch and strutting around like a spring chicken. Previous to her purchase of nanotech knee braces, she agonized whenever she tried to stand up, because her knees were in a lot of pain.

I asked Grandma, "So, nothing else has changed except for you wearing these knee braces?"
Grandma responded, "Well, I *did* get cortisone injections in my knees the week before I started wearing the braces...but I am sure it's the braces."

According to my parents (and a few of the articles lauding the benefits of FAR-infrared clothing online), exposing your skin to negative ions apparently improves metabolism and circulation, detoxifies, aids in digestion, and energizes otherwise tired blood cells, thereby improving one's immunity to disease. Plus, it sucks away odors and bacteria. Oh, and it heals soreness and wounds and acne.

I like the idea that it speeds up metabolism. Maybe if I use the tummy wrap on my gut, I'll be able to lose weight and tone up without exercise? =D

My parents are waiting with anticipation for their order of "goodies" to arrive. They can hardly contain themselves when they talk about how great they're going to feel once they start wearing their nanounderwear and sleeping under their nanoblanket.

As for me, with my skeptical attitude and penny-pinching ways, I'll just keep eating healthy and getting my energy and metabolic increases and improved circulation from good ol' fashioned exercise. At least, for now. ;)



Thursday, November 03, 2005

Weight a second.....! What Happened Here?!

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Ya know, I used to be thinner than what I see in the mirror these days. I was reminiscing about the "good ol' days" of thinness (2-3 years ago) when I actually *wanted* people to take pictures of me and I liked looking in the mirror (okay, I still like to do that, but just not as much!). I mean, this pic of me (from around Hallowe'en 2 years ago?) is one that I quite like. I was about 20 pounds lighter than I am right now...maybe even 30.

What happened here?!?

I could blame it on moving back to this continent, and all of its glorious baked goods. I could blame it on the fact that everything is so far apart that one *has* to drive, instead of walk, to purchase their groceries. I could blame it on my great family, my man, and my in-laws, all of whom enjoy a nice hearty meal on a pretty regular basis.

However, I really only have myself to blame. My routine in the past was a religious one that involved some seriously rigorous workouts 5-6x/week. My eating was regimented and I not only watched my portions but my choices as well.
There was self-control and there was a goal. There were no excuses for me to "cheat," to be lazy, or to reduce the intensity of my workouts.

There are still no excuses. I have "let myself go," something I promised that I wouldn't allow myself to do after finding love and getting married. Many a woman has fallen into that "get married, get fat" trap, and I am becoming one of them.

No longer, I say! Following in the footsteps of my man, his colleagues, my sister, and many others who are no longer content with the condition they are in, I am making this blog part of my accountability process in my resolve to restore my body to its former glory.

My goals are simple: I want to work out, eat healthy, and lose weight. I want to be able to wear the clothes in my closet again. I want to be able to reflect on my day and my week and not feel bad about the choices I have made with regard to my nutrition and my health. I want to have my picture taken again =)

So begins the journey today. I am not announcing my weight, I am not announcing my size, but I am announcing my commitment to making it happen, once and for all.

No more excuses. I am ready.