Posts Tagged ‘habits’

Work preoccupation

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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I’ve been really preoccupied with work lately.  When I’m there, I don’t think about personal things, and when I’m home, I’m tired and just want to relax, which has meant the e-mails in my Yahoo account are piling up.  I’ve managed to go through them this weekend, but there are quite a few newsletters that will probably go unread for months.  I don’t follow my social networks the way I used to and I’m just barely pumping out posts here.  For some reason, I’ve been really tired during the time I’m at home.  Plus, the Olympics have been a nice distraction, which makes it easy for me to never think about turning on my computer.  Let’s not even go into the problems I’ve been having with my charger.  I’m about ready for a new computer.

It’s been a month now, so I hope that I can get into a better rhythm that fits work, sleep, meals, entertainment, exercise, relaxation, and quality time all in one nice bundle.  I don’t have much energy for cooking dinner, which hasn’t been good, so I really need to start getting more sleep.  The good thing is, one of the guys at the office told me about an app that lets you track your sleeping cycles!  I looked into it and found the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, which will monitor your sleeping pattern and wake you up during a lighter sleep stage so it’s easier to get up and you feel more rested.  It’s a really awesome app that you should go check out if you have trouble getting up in the morning!  I’ve only used it one night, so it’s still calibrating to my sleeping pattern, but it could be quite useful in the future.  For a buck, more energy and less time wasted pressing snooze is totally worth it.

Childlike wonder & curiosity

laelene Posted in general blog, video blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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I was watching this video of Aimee Mullins about adversity, and the thing that struck me, strangely enough, was not her main message, but the moment when she spoke of “childlike curiosity.”  I do agree with her message and the powerful way that language sets a precursor, as well as the strength of the human spirit.  So I suppose that’s why everything else she said didn’t hit me the way that the reference to curiosity being childlike did.

Why did that part stand out?  Well, because I wondered why attributes like wonder and curiosity and innocence are so often described as “childlike.”  It’s as if we no longer recognize that adults can be like that and when they are, it’s a rare thing.  What’s wrong with “adult-like” curiosity?  What has happened in our society that makes everything children do so great and everything that adults “grow into” so bad?  Actually, I think that’s exactly what happens because of society.  Because we have this sort of structure, at a certain age, things like responsibility and maturity take hold.  Expectations develop into more serious ones and we lose much of our freedom to do what we want, enjoy as we like, and not worry too much.

The good thing is that it seems our culture is more and more tolerant of “childlike” activities in adults.  After all, records of generations past make them seem rather rigid, but that could just be because what is recorded is not the playful silly moments shared, but the serious and “important” moments had.  Nevertheless, I still do feel that generally we are heading towards habits that allow more carefree expressions from older people.  I just hope that soon we can progress to such a point that people who sing in public because they are happy aren’t given strange looks as if they’ve lost their minds.  Or that fully-grown men and women can get child’s meals without feeling shameful.

Speaking of, why is it that small portions are only allowed to those under a certain age?  It’s like the problem with McDonald’s Super Size meals – when you offer larger portions, people will get them*.  And when they get them, they try their very best to finish the portions in front of them.  So why not just offer smaller sizes and alleviate this pressure that people have looking at their uneaten food?  I think we still stuff ourselves full much of the time because of our hunting and gathering days, when food wasn’t so easy to come by.  Nowadays, it’s far too easy to overeat, and judging adults who want to get a “child’s” meal is part of the problem.

Personally, I believe in expressing your joy.  People sometimes find me too enthusiastic or hyper when I am happy and excited.  Generally, they enjoy it, though they are wary and wonder if I’m just a bit cuckoo.  But why is that?  Why can’t I burst into song because it was playing in my head?  Why can’t I be giddy over the smallest victories?  Why can’t I jump around and share my positive emotions?  Well, I can.  Just not without being judged.  And that’s ok, I’m used to being judged.  When I’m happy, I’m happy and I’ll show it if I want to.  I think more people should.

I hope that people will learn to stop putting up the walls around themselves and open themselves up the way they did before society taught them otherwise.  I think that’s what people mean when they refer to those childlike qualities.  It’s freeing yourself from the bounds that society puts you in, even if just a little.  Let’s not become drones and make all the motions going through life without experiencing and enjoying the way we did before the clamps started to pin us down.

*The issue of portion size and the poor eating habits is up for discussion in a future post – ironically, I just watched another TED video, this time about America’s (and now the world’s) eating problem.

Eastern vs. Western cooking

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It seems to be an Eastern cultural thing to cook based on feeling, rather than using measuring cups and step by step instructions.  At least that’s how we do it in my household.  I guess that’s why we never quite know if our food will turn out like that one time when it was perfect and wonderful (and usually it doesn’t, pity).  But hey, it’s a lot more fun that way and when you get enough practice, soon enough you can cook pretty consistently.  It’s a good way of testing your culinary skills!  Besides, having that variation allows for unintentional discoveries that can be quite fun.  I personally enjoy never knowing what my food will end up tasting like.  Makes meals just a little more exciting.  😛

The relationship

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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I realized that I don’t speak much of Panda except mentioning him here and there.  But in terms of our relationship, I haven’t delved much into it.  I thought I’d write more about how our relationship developed, but it’s one of those things that’s nice to just do and not have to reflect on.  So, to meet my expectation in setting up this blog that I would at least cover our relationship somewhat, here are some thoughts…

It’s been a year and a half since we met and things have changed tremendously.  We managed to make things work around busy schedules and even a couple of months apart.  I was a little nervous coming back from Singapore, wondering how things might have changed after so long of only interacting virtually.  Thankfully, we quickly eased back into each other’s lives and had a painless transition.  He taught me to use coupons and pay attention to the price of food I buy and I taught him that life should just be enjoyed sometimes.  We’ve built a rhythm and style of interaction that only we share, with plenty of inside jokes to be remembered.  We’ve shared laughs and cries and hugs and kisses and plenty of food as well.

It’s hard to imagine a life without him and I certainly don’t plan on it.  I can tell him every little thing and I often admire just how cute he is.  He’s got the gentlest soul and so much heart that it touches me deeply.  He’s done a lot of behind the scenes things to take care of me and is usually cleaning up after me.  I’m not a very neat person.  I am organized in my own messy way.  We’ve learned to compromise on some things, change for others, and still many have to be worked out.  We developed a pattern for many of the things we do and we’ve created so many memories already.  We’ve made a variety of loose plans for the future, both for ourselves and for us as a couple.

Of course, things are not perfect and he hasn’t had much experience with what high maintenance a girl’s emotions can be.  The way I interpret things is not something he can think of naturally, so it’s a challenge.  I have high standards and I let him know exactly when I am not pleased with him.  He always cares so much and wants to do right by me, but often just doesn’t know how.  I have been extremely demanding at times, not giving him a break.  But the good thing is, we almost always want to talk it out and don’t just stop speaking to each other.  And with a lot of back and forth, I think we both learn a lot in the process.

So all in all it’s been a great ride and I’m excited for the years ahead.  And now that I’ve covered the relationship, I probably won’t really talk about it again.  It’s probably the only thing that I like to keep private.  🙂

Grazing

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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Recently, in an effort to save money, I’ve been limiting myself to eating a few large meals throughout the day.  I’m the type of person who loves snacks and usually spends the day munching on smaller portions.  Apparently, experts studying eating habits call this “grazing” and find that it’s not as bad as people have been led to think.  Being a lifetime grazer, I certainly know that that is true, since I’ve always been extremely healthy, despite my so-called “bad” eating habits.  Plus, it has played a role in my relatively steady weight by keeping my metabolism up.

snacksI’ve found that I’m so used to eating small meals throughout the day that this change in eating patterns has really disrupted my body’s rhythm.  Since there is so much time between meals now, I feel ravenous much of the time and even woke up on occasion to be so nauseatingly hungry that I grabbed the nearest snack to scarf down while still lying prone in my bed.  I could barely open my eyes for how tired I was, but I could taste the bile creeping up and I knew I and to something so save my poor stomach.  It was not a pleasant experience and I certainly don’t want to have to deal with it on a weekly basis.

So, I have decided that I really should adhere to my original philosophy of eating when I want, which is nearly constantly throughout the day.  After all, I’m not at the point where I can’t afford to eat when my body says I should, so that attempt at saving money just wasn’t a good idea, considering how much my body had suffered for it.  Therefore, I’m going out to the store in the next couple of days and stocking up on snacks again.  I guess I just can’t live without my little munchies to sustain me every hour or so.  Bah to all those who think that three meals a day is the way to go.  At least for me, it’s just about the worst thing I can do for my health.

Loose socks

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
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ankle socksIt’s one of my greatest pet peeves.  Well, first of all I don’t like socks.  I only use them when I have to because if you don’t with sneakers, they get nasty.  Second of all, when I do have to wear them, they must be ankle socks.  And perhaps that is where my problem lies.  Those little things don’t get much clinging space when trying to hang on to your ankle without succumbing to gravity and friction.  With wear, they inevitably get loose and then start to droop off my feet until I find them in a little scrunched ball at my toes.  Hardly protecting my feet anymore!

What I need is ankle socks made from material that can stretch as needed, yet never get too stretched out.  Those don’t seem to exist.  When they’re new, they’re fine, but with use, socks get useless pretty quickly.  I also don’t like them too thick, so the sturdier ones are out of the running.  Guess I’m stuck with what I have now.  Why do I have to be so picky about my feet?

Family time

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , ,
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I got a chance to spend some quality time with my dad today, showing him some of things I did and saw while I was in Southeast Asia and even going shopping with him.  We’re a family of few words and often it is difficult for me to small talk because that’s not what we do.  So today, I used the pictures I take as a medium for sharing my recent life experiences, mostly in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

It was nice to tell my dad what I had been up to and hear from him the projects he’s been working on.  Over the years, we haven’t shared much.  Usually he’d just ask me about how classes were going and discuss career stuff.  And I only ever went to him if I needed some thoughts on jobs or something along those professional lines.  We talk business, and then we stop talking.  Because of that, I know just the basics of what’s he’s up to – working in China as VP of an environmental consulting firm.

Today, however, there was a bit more of an exchange.  We’re awkward with each other when it comes to conversation because we’ve spent 20 years not talking much.  Not every family functions the same way and a big part of my nuclear family is the individualism we have.  I do my own thing in my own room and my parents do their own thing in their own spaces.  They only come to my room occasionally to find me if it’s time to eat or wake up and I haven’t gone downstairs.  Sometimes I feel the pressure to try to be more like a normal family and interact more, but who’s to say that’s better?

I never understood the people who talk to their parents on a daily basis.  It was always a mystery to me what they had to talk about.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that it’s really nothing.  They talk about absolutely nothing, really.  Boring things like the weather and meals and unimportant general statements here and there.  Recounts of days with some thoughts thrown in.  Yet that is exactly what makes it so nice.  They’re not talking to really learn anything most of the time; they’re talking just to converse with each other, share with each other.

That’s what I found today.  I learned a lot of random things that won’t matter in the long run, like my aunt is looking for skincare gift packages.  He, in turn, learned a lot of random mundane things too, like how I think sting rays would be great pets.  In a few weeks, I bet we won’t even remember this stuff, but it’ll have created a deeper sense of connection that can last.  It seems that those families that are constantly in contact can be close just because they exchange so much with each other over the years.

I guess there doesn’t always have to be a lucid point to each interaction.  I’ve never liked pointless conversation, at least not via a device (hence why phone calls rarely last over 2 minutes).  Unfortunately, most of the time that’s the only way to connect with my parents.  Another reason why I just don’t talk to them.  It’s too much effort, it’s too awkward, it’s completely pointless.  Now I’m seeing that it may not be – not entirely, anyway.

Our tradition

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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The routine we generally follow whenever we get to see each other.

Step one: take pictures of each other.

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Step two: take pictures together!

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Standard "in the car" shot.

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The more challenging vertical shot.

Step three: take pictures of the food.

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Step four: do something non-food related and take pictures!

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Yup, our lives revolve around food, photos, and fun.  Don’t be jealous.  😉

The benefits of being a night owl

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,
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I came across an article that yet again confirms my sleeping habits as not bad, if even good!  🙂

Hahaha this was just too funny.  Lighting has changed our way of life!  photo credit: gearfuse.com

Hahaha this was just too funny. Lighting has changed our way of life! photo credit: gearfuse.com

Sure, there are all those sayings about how sleeping early and getting up early is good for you and certainly that’s how people have lived for centuries, but it’s a new age now, with new rules.  After electricity became common and staying up past sundown was no longer an issue, a whole world opened up to us humans.  We can now operate continuously throughout the night with little inconvenience, thanks to our friend the light bulb.  Artificial light allows us to do things at night and I see no reason why we shouldn’t take advantage of it if our biological clocks don’t complain.

I’ve always been a night owl, staying up until the early hours of the next day, then sleeping in until the afternoon.  It’s just how my body functions and I, as a fan of what is “natural,” feel that I should just listen to my body.  It’s nearly impossible for me to get up in the early morning without multiple alarms and a few minutes of extra napping.  I also tend to tire out in the middle of the day and have a lull after eating lunch.  I also can’t fall asleep before about 1 AM, tossing and turning impatiently if I try.  On the flip side, sleep comes easy by 2 or 3 and I wake up on my own around noon (or even earlier at times).  My body is happier with me, I feel well-rested, and I can stay active through the night again.

Now here's a fellow who looks mighty alert!  photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

Now here's a fellow who looks mighty alert! photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

This study confirms this behavior, where early birds tend to crash earlier after waking up than night owls.  Those who naturally wake up early got tired ten and a half hours after getting up, whereas those who naturally wake up later got more alert!  Late risers’ circadian clocks gave them a boost around that time to keep them going, but early risers didn’t get that.  So certainly if you’re naturally a late riser and forced to be up early in the morning, you’re going to be crashing sometime in the afternoon as you fight your circadian rhythm and the afternoon heat (and likely food coma from lunchtime).  I also found an article explaining why some people may be night owls – it’s a mutation of a gene.  It seems that night owls are on a cycle longer than a 24-hour day (mice that exhibited night owl tendencies were found to have up to a 27-hour day).  Yet another thing that supports the idea that night owls’ energy levels last longer.  I guess we just weren’t made for the rotational speed of this Earth!

All in all I’m not looking to say that getting up later is better, but I just like when I find justification that it’s fine for me to go on my own schedule.  Where did this whole idea that early birds are healthier come from anyway?  The only way I can see that is that when they wake up, the air is cool from the night and more encouraging for exercise.  By the time I wake up, it’s far too hot out to reasonably work out outside, so then I’d have to wait until after dinner sometime, when I get lazy.  Other than that, does it really matter?  Feeling well-rested and alert is what is most important, whatever you need to do to obtain that.

Posture

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: ,
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photo credit: made-in-china.com

photo credit: made-in-china.com

I have some pretty terrible posture, especially when it comes to sitting.  I tend to hunch my back and lean in a lot, usually over bent knees drawn in to my chest.  If I’ve actually got my feet on the ground, they’re probably not flat and at nice 90 degree angles as ergonomically recommended, but more likely to be crossed in strange twists or off to the side.  Recently people have been noticing how I cross my legs, then wrap the ankle of the top leg around back behind the calf of the bottom leg.  I guess not everyone is able to intertwine their legs quite so much, but it has been a pretty standard sitting position for me for years.  Then there are couches, which absolutely were not designed for people to sit well in.  There’s nothing that encourages a slouch quite like a sagging cushion.  All of this doesn’t do much for my poor weak and sore backside.  As of late, even short amounts of standing or walking leave me in slight pain and rather sore back there.

photo credit: rei.com

photo credit: rei.com

One of the solutions I came up with for this dilemma is a yoga ball.  A few years back, my roommate had a yoga ball in our room that we started off using as a guest “chair” but quickly began to use ourselves.  We discovered the benefits of just sitting on a yoga ball, which requires a certain level of balance.  Plus, it was low enough that we had to sit straight to be able to type on our computers while sitting on one.  The perfect way to “work out” and work at the same time, isn’t it?  Well, after that experience, I decided that I needed a ball of my own.  For quite cheap I got an entire set at Costco, including the ball and some other equipment to use with it.  I haven’t stuck that well to using the ball, but when I do it really helps.  It’s no wonder they’ve come up with this new chair that takes that very idea and makes it into a so-called product so they can mark up the price like crazy.  I guess it’s fair enough to say that their model really does look a little more professional, though I still don’t know if it’s acceptable office furniture.  Personally, I still prefer a good old normal yoga ball.

Maybe I should look into a back brace to keep me from slouching the way I do.

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