Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why not NOW?

Last night I attended the graduation of The Basics latest graduating class. A good friend of mine started attending these workshops earlier this year to help grasp the things she wanted in life and asked me to attend.   And because I want to show and give her all of the support I can as she carries on down her life path I went.

Not only did we cheer on this class that went through an intensive, emotional, boot camp weekend to figure out what they want and how they can get it via learning how they react and think when in situations, and how they can change those thought processes, we were also provided with an hour long presentation from a women who graduated 15 years ago and fully believes her life is the success it is now because of The Basics (and the follow up courses).

One of the main messages given was that you can have the life you desire and you can have it today, right now, not "some day." After the graduation, guests had the opportunity to network with those that have attended and sign up. Although at this point in my life, I do not see The Basics as part of my path, I do agree with the message that you create the life you want and you do it today.

Yes, it felt a bit like a sales pitch and that I was being recruited. But I know its because of my friend's desire to see me excel in my life. I feel right now I am taking steps and measures to create this life I want. And when I do decide on something, I just go out and do it. I do believe in NOW.

In a couple of weeks I will be posting my results for the goals I created for this quarter. And I am so pleased with the results so far. Because of that "now" attitude, I tackled those things I wanted to get done with a vengeance. Maybe I am not ready to spend the money on a weekend with strangers dealing with emotional roots to understand how I think and how I could think differently, but I am definitely ready to continue tackling these little challenges. They may not completely alter my life, but they are reminding me that I can finish things I set out to do and handle bigger and bigger projects. They are helping to create habits to form my own basics of personal development.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lost in the supermarket

I watched this video earlier this week and I was fascinated with the idea of Tesco creating a virtual grocery store in the subway system so that people could shop while waiting by using their smart phones to scan bar codes and put items into a virtual shopping cart, that  would then be delivered to them. Fascinated not only because this idea markets upon people feeling time pressed -- you are basically stuck waiting while in a subway station, so great use of time, but also because it feels like Tesco is doing a 360 on the idea of grocery stores, combining the notion of being self serving while going back to the roots of giving a list to the grocer who would collect all of your items, package them up and hand them to you. And it's interesting to see how a typically suburban venue is now making a home in a very urban atmosphere:

As I have alluded to in previous posts, I recently watched Food Inc. and have been obsessively reading up on our food chain. I have learned about the connection between starving third world countries and overfed first world countries. I have learned about the notion of turning fossil fuel into steak (through feeding lots that utilize corn, encouraging herbivores to gorge on a grain that their stomachs weren't made to handle). I am learning about various types of grasses that utilize the energy of the sun for our steaks to graze on. And I have learned a bit about grocery stores.

Like so many others, I am fairly disassociated with the process of a cow becoming my Sunday dinner. While loading my shopping cart, I don't stop to think about the ecosystem of a farm and how this is taken out of balance with the introduction of industrializing our food. To be honest, I never even stopped to think about how a grocery store or supermarket came to be. It was just always the place I went to buy the fuel needed to keep myself alive and running.

It turns out the Supermarket isn't that old. The concept came to fruition by Clarence Saunders in the early part of the 20th century as a means to make grocery shopping more self serving and cut down on labour costs. Originally,  one would create their list and bring it to a grocer who kept all of the products behind the counter and would fill your order for you, even measuring out the exact amount one would need. Saunders's idea had people file in one door and move around a maze-like venue filling a cart before reaching the check out and the out door (hello product placement!). This is essentially the layouts of the Co-ops and Safeways we utilize on a day-to-day and weekly basis. And we have furthered the self-serving more and more through out the years to the point where I don't even need to talk with anyone at the grocery store if I don't want to. I get my own cart (costs me a quarter to ensure I'll return it!), move around the bakery, the produce section and the meat department filling said cart before making my way to self-check out where a computer constantly asks me if I have scanned my clubcard yet and barks at me to put the item in the bag.  We have moved from a very social outing of visiting the grocer, giving him our list, chatting with neighbours while waiting for our order to be filled to an anti-social chore that many loathe and feel to be very time-consuming.

Tesco, who has combined the origins of providing the list to the grocer to fill while keeping up with an anti-social way of shopping for our food saves on building new brick and mortar stores (although labour costs would increase to fill orders). I feel torn on this -- we are becoming more and more disassociated with our food source to the point we can order through our phone, although the idea does save me time to do other things. No longer are we even greeted with the fresh smell of the bakery or get to poke and prod our fruits and vegetables or smell the meat to ensure we are providing the freshest available food for our bodies. Food is one of our basic needs though, we should enjoy taking the time to shop around for each item, speaking with those who are more knowledgeable about what we are about to put into our bodies, learning the best ways to prepare and feast on our essential fuel source.

I think that Tesco's idea is innovative and a reflection of how our society completes daily tasks now. I just feel somewhat discouraged that using social media to promote this idea, they don't realize they are somewhat taking the social aspect out of grocery shopping. Plus, you don't get to try any tasty samplers while shopping on your phone.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gonna Make You Sweat

Once upon a time, Rainman bought me a coupon from one of those daily coupon sites for hot yoga. An item on  my 30B430 list, I was excited and nervous to try it out. As the coupon is set to expire at the end of this month, I mustered up the courage last night and went to my first of five classes.

I'm normally pretty good at picking up a sport and I feel I have adequate coordination skills, so my nerves weren't so much about looking ridiculous, but more so about not knowing what to do next as the instructor calls out the poses. I arrived about 45 minutes earlier on the advice of a friend of Rainman's and was provided a tour of the facilities as well as tips to help me get the most out of my sessions. I was also able to talk with a few other girls that had arrived for the class to get an overall feel for the kind of people I would be around. Every one was so very helpful, polite and informative that my nerves calmed a bit.

I walked into the studio to claim a spot in the back, centered to where the instructor would be standing. The humid air hit me like a brick, but as one who loves the humidity (especially because of how awesomely big my hair gets), I figured it wouldn't be too much of an issue. The room was darkened so that you could lay back, relax and get your head focused and into the game. As I lied there, I tried to pinpoint the exact scent of the room -- musky, sweaty, a bit of a chemical cleaner type smell. Nothing really worth bottling and selling. I then realized they hold a minimum of 4 90 minute sessions in that room that holds up to 60 people a day. That's a lot of sweat. As my eyes began to adjust to the dim lighting, I focused on the fan above me, still trying to focus on breathing, positive mantras, all of those stereo-typical yoga type thoughts you read about. Except all that kept running through my mind were scenes from the Final Destination franchise -- if the bolts that kept that fan up were to come loose and give way, I was "dead" centre to its blades.Fun positive thought to start a class with right? I decided to start focusing on the guys who showed up in speedos to class. They were almost as frightening as thinking about a fatal accident, but much more humourous! Oh speedos, will you ever cease to amuse me?

So the instructor arrives, turns the light on, and acknowledges that I am new. At first concerned that I would be called out for faking it till I make it, I am relieved to find she is great at helping everyone improve their form -- from the obvious yoga junkies to the new and awkward like me. Things were going great. I was participating in loud exhales to really get those bad toxins out of my lungs, and able to follow those in front of me in each pose. The first 20 minutes were awesome!

I don't know what exactly happened. Suddenly out of nowhere I could feel the blood drain from my face and I felt so faint. I sat down and considered the consequences of leaving to get fresh air vs. the possibility of throwing up on my yoga mat and adding a new odor to the already pungent air. I kept breathing and trying to act as though it was completely normal that in a class of 60 red faced people covered in sweat, I was paler than a ghost and starting to shiver. My ever-so-lovely instructor even looked concerned and asked me if I was going to be okay and when the last time I ate was. She told me to keep breathing. After about 5, maybe 7 minutes, I started to feel normal again and stood up.

I continued the rest of the class without any problems and was so proud of myself at the end that I completed my first attempt at yoga -- in a tropical environment no less. I still have 4 more classes to attend to get full value from my coupon and I am actually looking forward to it. I feel really stretched out (which I suppose is the point). Who knows, I may even become one of those people who take part in 30 day yoga challenges. If anything, another item is taken off of 30B430 list! Thanks Rainman :)

30 things to do before I am 30

1. Get boudoir photos done DONE! February 18, 2013
2. Finish my BA
3. Run a half marathon (on my way! Ran a 5km August 5, 2011, ran 10km April 1, 2012) DONE! Harvest Half, September 29 2012
4. See the opera
5. Take swimming lessons
6. Try yoga DONE! June 6 2012, 90 minute hot yoga class
7. Crazy carpet down a mountain
8. Challenge nanowrimo ATTEMPTED in November 2012.  just under 10,000 words written, lost interest in my subject. It was definitely a challenge.
9. 200 hours of volunteer work (on my way! 2011  saw close to 75 hours and so far in 2012 I am over 100 :))
10.Vacation in a tropical place DONE! Jamaica November 11-17, 2011
11. submit a piece of writing to a magazine in hopes of being published
12. Redecorate living room (get a kitchen table too) Kitchen Table DONE! Bought 3/4/11 -- This is kind of changed as we are moving to a new place in September, and it will be a joint effort of decorating :)
13. Complete a coloring book (a wicked one like the hip hop one at dick and janes)
14.See a movie in 3D DONE! 12/27/10 Tron: Legacy
15. Make the ultimate wish at 11:11 11-11-11 DONE! But can't share what it is or it won't come true. UPDATE: This came true -- I wished that Rainman would propose to me and he did August 18 2012 :)
17.Go to shooting range and learn to fire a gun DONE! 01/22/11
18. Attend an event a day during wordfest 2012 FAIL
19. Visit corn maze
20.Visit gopher museum DONE! 07/17/2011
21. Complete a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle
22. Sip wine at a look out while watching sun set
23. Have a picnic breakfast from a look out while watching sun rise
24. Go on a ghost tour
25. Get old fashioned photos taken
26. Read 62 books (30 non-fiction, 32 fiction, 1 per week)
27. Beat Buffy the Vampire Slayer (don't judge, I have been playing this game on and off since xBox came out, I refuse to let anyone help me and I get frustrated and stop playing for months at a time. At this point I have 3 levels left).
28. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
29. Save $50 for every item completed (so I  have $1152.92 in my savings bond, just $347.08 short of my $1500 goal, even though I won't have completed all 30 things. I'll take it!)
30. Throw myself a wicked 30th birthday bash complete with a dinosaur cake - DONE! All of my friends came to the pub and Jason made sure there was a dinosaur birthday cake :)

I gave myself until the end of my 30th year to finish these. #16 is an open goal. Not sure what to put in there yet...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

 “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” Ana├»s Nin

Everyday I feel a little more struggle, a little less tired of being comfortable, a little more willing to take a risky leap. Maybe by putting this out there, it will be the kick in the butt I need to just do it (how Nike of me). My life is demanding a change - a big one. And I can't ignore it anymore. 

It's time. I am about to end this summer in a new phase of life -- living in a brand new home with the man I adore (and we are talking about the next steps in our relationship). I will be closer to finishing some goals in education and I think I realize which way I want my career path to go. And it's time to start pursuing that path.

By September 1, 2012 (this gives me the summer to map it out), I want a firm plan in place on my next step, the next 5 years and where I want to end up career wise. This feeling of treading water is painful and I am ready to show the world what I am made of. First check in point is July 1. second check in point is August 1. Big decisions happen September 1.

I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I am terrified that I won't be able to handle whats about to come. I just know that I am in the best place possible to finally take this dive into the deep end.

Friday, June 1, 2012

May Volunteer Hours

Team McAwesome:
Brainstorming session: 3 hours (and came up with some fun ideas for this summer and future meals!)
Scheduling of brunches for rest of the year with RMH and updating/monitoring facebook/twitter: 2 hours

Mission/Vision statement meeting: 1 hour

Organizing use of community booth in the mall (contract w/mall, getting insurance, staffing of booth, picking up promotional pieces to be used in booth): 3 hours
Promoting event/selling tickets/asking for prize donations: 1 hour
Working community booth: 3.5 hours
Committee Meeting: 1 hour
Collecting silent auction items/ putting together silent auction forms: 5.5 hours
Working actual BBE event: 5 hours

May Total Hours: 25
Total to date Hours for year: 50.5 (right on track to meet my 100 hours for the year!)