April 30, 2008

Sugar and Spice: It's a Girl! Update

Just for Jen, some more details on the new baby girl who was brought into our world yesterday. I don't have a lot of details except what Mr. Bear has told me. And boys know very little about these things. Her name is Matea Ryan (not sure if that is spelled correctly) and she weighs 6.5 lbs. Sorry that is all this bear knows.

Yesterday, Mr. Bear went to visit during the day and they had an eventful day. Mr. Bear was holding her and then she started to turn purple, so they called in the nurse and they put her in NICU. They gave her some antibiotics and she is fine now from what I know, she just needed a little extra care. Luckily, our good friend's mom is a NICU nurse at the hospital and Baby M is being well taken care of. Mr. Bear helped out and picked up Big Sister (2 years old) from grandma's house and brought her to the hospital when all was calmer. Big Sister told Mr. Bear, "she's sooo tiny!" Mr. Bear totally agreed! He told me Baby M is so small with little toes and all. He had an exhausting day and he was so stressed out from the experience.

I went to visit this morning to check in on mom and Baby M, but they were not in their room, mom and dad were probably in the NICU with Baby M. I will have to go back to visit later. I am just dying to meet her.

Our Crazy Boat Adventure

Last weekend, Mr. Bear and I went to the river for some fun and relaxation. The weather was beautiful except for some wind. It was quite a busy weekend at Lake Havasu because of the Desert Storm Poker Run. That meant that there were a lot of fast, big boats zipping around. Mr. Bear loved it! I had a great time getting the opportunity to relax and do nothing but enjoy the sun and time with Mr. Bear.

Even though we were out there from Thursday to Sunday, we only got our boat in the water on Saturday. It was breezy, which isn’t the best conditions for our small boat but we went across the lake with no problems. We watched the Desert Storm shootout and then cruised the channel by the London Bridge. It was ridiculously packed; there was so much boat traffic it was crazy! Luckily, we found a good spot to park the boat and hang out in the channel for a while. After a few hours, we decided to head back to the other side of the lake where we were staying. The wind had really started to pick up a lot and it didn’t seem like it would be letting up anytime soon. This is where our adventure began.

The lake was crazy with huge wells! You would have thought we were in the middle of the ocean. People were coming back from the lake in boats larger than ours and more equipped for the crazy swells telling people not to go out there is they didn’t need to. Well, we needed to go out there, we didn’t have much of a choice, and we had to get back to the other side. So we headed out. We got about ½ mile out and the swells were so big we kept going up and down. Mr. Bear is pretty good at maneuvering the boat and was doing really well, then we came down pretty hard off of one of the large swells and the screws holding the foot throttle pulled out. Yikes!!! No power to the engine!!

Mr. Bear was calm and had to think fast, since water was going to come into the boat given that our boat was small and those swells were huge. I was ready to put my life jacket on and do what ever needed to be done. Mr. Bear told me to lie on the floor and hold the foot throttle in place and so I did and he drove the boat back to the channel. He says that he was almost ready to give an abandon ship order if he wasn't able to get the boat out of the lake. We actually didn’t take in too much water and I stayed pretty dry, but then again I was lying on the floor under the bow. Mr. Bear, on the other hand, did get wet.

Mr. Bear parked the boat and he was going to take the ferry to the other side of the lake, get the truck and trailer and drive it around and get the boat. There was no way to get the boat across without power. Of course, the ferry was shut down! Uh duh, the wind and the water was crazy. Luckily, Mr. Bear found a couple of guys in a boat better equipped for such conditions and asked if they would bring him over and they did. They got over to the other side of the lake with no problems. I waited with the boat for 2 hours until Mr. Bear could get around and we got the boat on the trailer and back to the other side.

What a crazy adventure! We had never seen the lake like that. While I was waiting with the boat, I saw other boats being towed back to the channel. It was still a great relaxing weekend with a little blip of adventure. And of course, when we left on Sunday the wind had die down and the weather was perfect to take the boat out. We always get perfect weather at the river when we are ready to leave.

April 29, 2008

Sugar and Spice: It's a Girl!

Early this morning a new baby girl was brought into our world! Mr. Bear's best friend had his second child this morning, a beautiful baby girl. This is their second girl and I can't wait to meet this little one. Last night we walked to the hospital, since it is across the street from our house, to check in with the mama and papa. At about 11pm, mama was dilated 5 cm. Mr. Bear got a text message a little after 3am this morning and all we know is it's a girl and she is healthy!

What a happy day! I can't wait to go and visit the little sweetie. After all the funerals that we have attend in the last 6 months, it is so nice to have new life brought into our world.

Yay for little girls!

Pooh's Thoughful Tuesday: Doing Nothing


April 28, 2008

So many blogs, so little time

Since I have discovered the world of blogs, I have found myself mildly addicted to blogs: my own and other's blogs. I have subscribed to many blogs using Google reader. Google reader is a great tool to manage your blogs, it allows you to subscribe to your favorite blogs and it automatically updates those blogs. No more having to bookmark blogs to your favorites and constantly checking a blog to find out if it has been updated. It also allows you to sort or organize your blogs based on different topics so that it is a one stop place to read your favorite blogs. All you need is a gmail account. The only thing it does not allow you to do is to comment on a blog without having to go to the actual blog. But Google reader provides a direct link to the blog to make your comments, so it really isn't that big a deal.

On many blogs you will see the RSS symbol, like the one I have on the top left-hand corner of my blog feed. Click on that icon allows you to easily subscribe to a blog feed. Or you can easily subscribe to a blog on Google reader by directly typing in the URL, which is what I did before I learned about the RSS icon. I talk about Google reader, because that is what I have but there are many other readers/feeds out there from Yahoo, MSN, AOL, etc.

In addition to my friend's personal blogs, I follow many other topical blogs. There is quite a wealth of information on blogs, it is a great way to share information and to learn about many different topics. There are blogs on food, personal finance, fitness, frugal shopping, photography, fashion, and there are blogs on how to blog. I have learned quite a lot from many blogs, especially from the personal finance blogs, I have found some great recipes on food blogs, and I have enjoyed reading tips from health and fitness blogs. I have so many interests in so many areas and blogs are a nice way to get some information and learn about new things. (My disclaimer: Of course, one needs to realize that the information on blogs are not necessarily written by experts. As a researcher, I do take a critical eye to the information out on the web. Not all the information on the web is accurate and reliable.)

But I think that I might be developing a problem, I have 104 blogs that I subscribe to in my Google reader and I keep adding new blogs all the time. I am having a hard time keeping up. I need to figure out a better way to prioritize my blog subscription lists. Each day, I have over 200 new blog posts waiting for me to read in my Google reader and I never get through all of them. I was away from my computer for the weekend and I came home last night to close to 400 posts! Yikes! I want to read them all, but with work and life there is just not enough time in the day. I need to learn to let go and realize that I can't possibly read every single blog out there. Oh bother.

Photo Source: Microsoft iStock


April 25, 2008

I am socialized to eat and eat at parties

At parties, eating right is such a struggle for me. A part of it might have to do with my upbringing (that's right I am blaming my parents, who I truly love, for my issue). I was always taught it was rude to refuse food. Coming from a Filipino background, food is highly intertwined with the culture and social interaction with people. Food is a big part of every celebration, birthday, and social gathering. I remember my childhood birthday parties with the tables filled with food. My grandmother and mama bear would start cooking early in the morning and even began preparing food days ahead of time. Having lots of food was a normal part of each celebration. It is very difficult to separate the two and to not partake in the yummy Filipino food that is available at every celebration. Don't get me wrong, I love my family and my Filipino heritage and I absolutely love Filipino food! That is part of my problem, I tend to overeat because I love food. It especially hard to say no especially when family is constantly telling you to eat and to refuse would be disrespectful. My daddy has dietary restrictions due to his heart problems and he has become reluctant to go to parties and events (especially Filipino parties) because of the temptations and difficulties of refusing food.

It seems that parties and food go hand in hand and because of my upbringing and socialization, I find that I am a social eater who is unable to refuse food. On an every day basis, I am able to exercise willpower and discipline, but when it comes to parties that willpower and discipline seems to stay at home. It is so ingrained in me that in order to be social I have to eat and not eating is a sign of disrespect.

What's a girl to do? Somehow I need to be stronger. I am quite disciplined when it comes to exercise, if only I can apply that same discipline here. Here are some tips I have found that I will have to try.

Don't go to a party on an empty stomach.
If you eat a light snack before you go to a social event or party you are less likely to overeat and you are better able to resist the temptation of eating higher fat and higher calories foods.

Set a game plan.
Think about where you are going, who you will be with, and what foods are available. If you are going out to a restaurant take a look at the menu on the Internet beforehand. If you are going to a party, survey party buffet before filling your plate. Make a plan of action before diving in. By being cognizant of what you are doing, it will be easier to make better choices and not eat mindlessly.

Watch your portions.
It is okay to treat yourself a nice drink, dessert, chocolate or sweets without guilt, but watch your portion. Moderation is always the key. If you go for small portions you can sample all the different foods.

Choose your drinks wisely.
If you choose to drink alcohol, realize that alcohol is high in calories. And, watch out for calories in soda and fruit punch as well. Remember to practice moderation and drink plenty of water.

Stay away from temptations.
It is okay to indulge yourself once in a while, at parties we tend to keep eating simply because the food is there. To avoid grazing, be conscious of what is on your plate, eat slowly, and stay away from the food table to keep yourself from overeating.

Enjoy good friends and family.
Parties are about being social and gathering with friends and family. Focus on this aspect and away from the food aspect. It is okay to taste some yummy treats, but remember it is about balance and moderation.

Maintain perspective.
If you do overeat, it is not the end of the work and one day won't make you gain weight! Just get back on track and put that one day behind you.

Here are a couple more of online resources and tips for eating at parties.

(I am going to a pot luck party next weekend, so let’s see if I can apply some of these tips.)

April 24, 2008

Recylcing Plastic Bottles

The other day I received a comment on my Water Bottle Safety post from the president and CEO of SPI, the plastics industry trade association. I couldn't believe that my little blog caught the attention of a president and CEO. It is important to get as much information as you can, so I post his comment here as it provides us with additional information on plastics and it recyclability (I think I made up a new word).

The numbers found on plastic containers are not meant to indicate the safe or intended use of a container or product, so they should never be used for that purpose. Different types of plastics must be separated before they can be properly recycled and reused, which is why the U.S. plastics industry created the numbering system in 1988. The resin ID codes were designed simply to help us properly sort our household trash for recycling--that's it. The resin codes do not signify whether or not our local towns will recycle those containers. For more clarification about the numbering system found on plastic containers, please view the plastics industry video recently posted at http://www.youtube.com/user/SocietyofPlasticsInd.

William Carteaux
SPI President & CEO

Thanks William for your comment! I think this is important, especially since we just celebrated Earth Day, that we know what we can recycle. Many plastics can be recycled, for example shampoo and conditioner bottles. So don't just throw away those plastic bottles, look at the number on the bottle and recycle if possible!

So the main point is that the number in the triangle does not indicate anything about the safety of plastics, unlike the story that the Today Show reported, which said to stay away for #7 bottles. Rather it only indicates the type of plastic and whether or not it can be recycled and that is its only purpose. I have noticed that REI has pulled Nalgene bottles them from their shelves. Not because of the #7, but because of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is the chemical that may have harmful effects on humans. While there does not appear to be conclusive evidence of the harm, I did notice that there are other #7 plastic water bottles being sold at REI that boast being BPA-free. It is hard to know exactly what to do with all this information, but I do think for me it might be better to err on the side of caution. I may not be giving up all my Nalgene bottles right away but I will be giving other alternatives a try. Plus, I will be recycling all the other possible plastic bottles that I can.

Update: Here are a few other online resources (courtesy of Robyn)
from The Consumerist Article
from The New York Times

Photo Source: Microsoft iStock


April 23, 2008

Get an exercise buddy

A big tip from many health gurus and health magazines is to find an exercise buddy. Working out with someone else increases your commitment to exercise because of the social aspect so that you are more accountable. Plus, an exercise buddy can also challenge you to workout more intensely. I have never been very successful at finding an exercise buddy. For the most part, I often exercise alone. Mainly because I haven't found anyone who wants to exercise with me (or maybe it is really because I am a little more obsessive about exercise than most people I know).

Well, I have finally found a running buddy. She is my running buddy for the 10K that we are running in 2 weeks! We just began running weekly, we ran together for the first time last week and again yesterday afternoon. As I mentioned before, I have never exercised with a buddy so let me tell you: a running buddy is great!!! It makes the time go by so quickly and I feel like I can run for longer lengths of time and distances than I usually am able to when I run by myself. She also keeps me motivated and challenges me to run longer. I actually enjoy running and I look forward to our weekly runs. Since we chat about different things while we run, I am learning to keep a comfortable pace and learning how to breathe better so that I am not so out of breath all the time. This has been a great experience. We haven't been tracking our miles but we have been running a little over an hour or so each time. I am guesstimating that we have been running about 5 miles. Not bad for this non-runner. Maybe even after the 10K is over, we can continue to do these weekly runs. I may not be a runner but I am enjoying running more than ever before with a running buddy!

Photo Source: Microsoft iStock

April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as hopeless.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
In celebration of Earth Day, here are 10 facts about why we should make an effort to care for our planet:
  • The U.S is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
  • About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is just 28%.
  • Plastic bags create pollution and kill wildlife in the USA every day of the year.
  • If just 25% of U.S. families used 10 fewer plastic bags a month, we would save over 2.5 BILLION bags a year.
  • One ton of carbon dioxide that is released in the air can be prevented by replacing every 75 watt light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs.
  • Recycling just one aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
  • If we recycled all of the newspapers printed in the U.S. on a typical Sunday, we would save 550,000 trees--or about 26 million trees per year.
  • On the average, the 140 million cars in America are estimated to travel almost 4 billion miles in a day, and according to the Department of Transportation, they use over 200 million gallons of gasoline doing it.
  • Americans are exposed to 70,000 chemicals, some 90% of which have never been subjected to adequate testing to determine their impact on our health.
  • Over 40% of all tropical forests have been destroyed and another acre is lost each second.

You can do very simple things to be green in celebration of Earth Day and every day! Here are a few green tips. (If I can do these things, anyone can!)

1. Recycle. We get the local paper daily. I make sure that after we have read the paper that it goes into the recycle bin along with plastic bottles and any alumnium cans we have. Many food packages are also recyclable (e.g., cereal boxes and plastic containers), so I am also trying to be better at recycling these food packaging too.

2. Use re-usable shopping bags. I make sure to always keep my re-usable bags in the trunk of my car plus some extra bags so I don't forget them when I go grocery shopping.

3. Use green cleaning recipes. Many cleaners contain a lot of chemicals that are not good for us or our environment. I have been transitioning all our cleaning products to be green. There are many green recipes on the web. Basically all you need is baking soda, vinegar, and castile soap. Good for you and the environment, plus it good for your wallet by saving you money.

(I previously wrote about a green fabric softener recipe. I gave it a try but I found that the baking soda didn't always mix very nicely with the vinegar. I used the rest of the batch I had but now I am using just plain vinegar in my rinse cycle. This actually is much easier to deal with and works out great.)

4. Go paperless. Save trees by paying your bills online and signing up for paperless statements. I signed up to recieve paperless statements for all my bills and I have been using online billpay with my bank for years. All my fears about going paperless were unnecessary. Paperless has been great, less paper clutter and very easy.

Here are more good online resources with great green tips:
Earth Share
Environmental Protection Agency
National Geographic The Green Guide
Planet Green
Tree Hugger

Photo Source: Microsoft iStock

April 21, 2008

Yoga - Wherever You Are

Last September, my yoga instructor, Monica Mathews, filmed a yoga video, Yoga - Wherever You Are, and I am a cast member in the DVD (I'm in the back row, far right). It is now available for sale on her website along with her book!!

Monica's website also has some great information on yoga and your health as well as a student photo gallery (Hint: I am in some of the photos in the photo gallery too.)

Monica is an excellent yoga instructor, definitely one of the best I have ever had. The DVD reflects her great instruction and she has devised a well-rounded Vinyasa Flow yoga practice that is appropriate for yogis at all levels, beginning to advance. She includes modifications and great cues through out the practice. The DVD also has chapter buttons so you can customize your practice by navigating to various sections and poses. If you are new to yoga or an advanced yogi, check out her DVD, it really is a great Vinyasa flow practice.

April 18, 2008

A Thought by Pooh Bear

I thought I would share with you a thought by my favorite bear, none other than Winnie the Pooh. He is so wise for a bear of little brain.

April 17, 2008

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Guest Blogger on Cash Money Life

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April 16, 2008

I don't do diets

Last week, I had a doctor's appointment and as they do at every visit they weigh you. I was not very happy with the weight I saw on the scale. As Mr. Bear and I approach our first wedding anniversary, I realized that I have gained some weight. I know that I am not overweight or fat by any means but I had worked so hard to look good at my wedding. It seems like I have always been trying to lose those stubborn 5 pounds for the last several years and I did so for the wedding, I was so happy. I think I got a little too happy and comfortable and that weight came right back and brought along with it a few more friends. That is not good!

I know that being healthy is all about a balance of nutrition and exercise. I exercise regularly so I know it is the nutrition part of the equation that I have a problem with. Being in my 30's I have definitely noticed a change in my metabolism. I used to be able to eat anything and just workout like crazy to counteract the extra calories I consumed. Not so much anymore. Now it is truly about balancing the exercise with nutrition. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. This eating machine can't eat the same way she has been eating and stay healthy.

Notice that I use the word "nutrition" vs. diet. I don't do diets, I have never been able to stay on one and I don't truly believe in many of the diets out there. Diets fail and the word "diet" has become somewhat of an evil, negative word. It seems to imply a temporary way of eating (e.g., going on and off a diet) rather than a lifestyle of eating nutritiously, which is what it is supposed to mean.

I believe that life is about balance and moderation and being healthy is about balance and moderation. Most diets operate on deprivation principals and I know that depriving myself eventually ends up in binging and overeating. For that reason, I don't do diets. Like the Weight Watchers commercials say, "Diets don't work." And I think they are right, diets don't work and they never work for me. Long-term healthy lifestyle changes work; balance and moderation work. So that is what I need to do, I need to learn about what constitutes healthy balanced nutrition and how I can change my eating habits for a lifestyle change rather than for a temporary weight loss fix.

Photo Source

April 15, 2008

Skin Care Product Review: Boots No. 7

Last month, I wrote about my search for an anti-aging product to keep those evil fine lines at bay. I had heard a lot of hype about the Boots No. 7 product line and I decided to give Boots No. 7 a try. I have used the following products for 4 weeks.

Restore & Renew Beauty Serum (retail $21.99) - This product is a light, non-greasy serum that quickly absorbs into your skin. There were definitely noticeable differences in my skin. My skin feels silkier and my fine lines appear softer. I am definitely happy with the results. It's not a miracle serum by any means and my wrinkles have not disappeared but it did make a difference. That is all I can hope for. From this point forward it is all about preventing those wrinkles!

Time Resisting Night Cream (retail $19.99) - I really liked the texture of the night cream, it is nice and lightweight - more like a lotion than a cream - yet provides enough moisture for me. I have combination skin that is a little more on the oily side, so this product is just enough to not make my face feel oily, rather it makes my face feel softer. I really like this product, it feel luxurious to put on. I put this on after cleansing my face and using the Restore & Renew Beauty serum. Prior to this product, I had been using the Arbonne night cream (retail $79) and I definitely prefer Boots No. 7 for the texture of the night cream and for the cost.

Time Resisting Day Cream (retail $19.99) - This day cream contains SPF 12 which is very important in preventing wrinkles. It is thicker than the night cream and I think it does a decent job. I do not like it as much as the other two products but I do not dislike it. I guess I am ambivalent. It does the job it needs to do but I don't find it to be anything special.

There is no "quick fix" or fountain of youth, however, after a month of using these 3 Boots No. 7 products there are noticeable differences in my skin. My skin appears smoother, the tone has evened out, and my fine lines are softer. I find that I am using less make-up because my skins looks better. I have switched from using foundation to a tinted moisturizer. So all in all, I am happy with the Boots No. 7 products, it works well for my skin and it is less expensive compared to other products that I have tried. A little seems to go a long way and I still have plenty to last me a few more months.

The verdict? The best thing about Boots No. 7 is the price tag. Boots No. 7 works as well as other more expensive, high-end products that make similar claims for a fraction of the cost. I will stick with Boots No. 7 and I highly recommend it based on it is a great price and the results.

April 14, 2008

I am so not a runner

I am so not a runner and I have never considered myself one. I remember having to run the mile in high school and I could never ever run the entire thing; I could barely run a small stretch of it. Running was just not my thing and I was just not an athletic person. It has taken me years so that I can run at a decent pace and I am still pretty slow at running. It was in boot camp last year that really taught me to better appreciate how running could be effective exercise. I probably will never run a marathon, but I have run several 5Ks and now I have less than a month to train for a 10K!

In boot camp, one of our monthly assessments was to run a timed mile. I remember when I first started I thought I was going to die running a mile. My mile run time was awful!! I considered myself in decent shape but I was not a runner. I went to the gym regularly and did a lot of high impact step classes but running was not something I liked to do. I was pretty stagnant in my exercise routine and not seeing a lot of results and with the wedding approaching, it was time to jump start my workout routine and boot camp definitely did that for me. Over several months of boot camp, there was dramatic improvement in my mile time as well as my strength and endurance. There was improvement each month and just before our wedding last May my mile time was under 10 minutes, which is the best time of my entire life. For the Race for the Cure and because I was training for the tri-fitness competition, I started running again and although I haven't been able to run a mile in under 10 minutes again, I am running about a 11 minute mile and I am happy about that. I think that is my happy pace. For me it is the fact that I am able to run an entire mile and have started to enjoy running that is pretty awesome. I've come a long way since high school.

So the 10K is fast approaching and I have to build my endurance and get my butt into gear. I slacked off last week because I was at a conference and wasn't feeling so great (I know too many excuses), so this week I will have to get serious. The good thing is I am not doing this alone, my co-worker is doing this with me. It will be nice to have a partner to train with. I usually workout and train on my own for the most part. I haven't been able to manipulate, I mean talk anyone into working out with me until now. :) We will have our first run together this week, I'm a little nervous since I don't know how fast she runs and I just hope I won't be keeping her back.

April 11, 2008

Water bottle safety

The NBC Today Show featured a story on the safety of plastic water bottles. I use my Nalgene bottle regularly and have many water bottles made of the same plastic. I have one in my office, I bring one to the gym with me, and I have one at home. It is one way for me to drink lots of water and stay hydrated.

There are several references to this story circulating the internet. Basically, the story talked about the dangers of plastic bottle that are categorized as #3, 6, and 7 (You can find that information on the bottom of them bottle inside the triangle). Many water bottles, like Nalgene bottles, and even baby bottles, have the triangle with the #7 on it. The problem is that the plastic is made of polycarbonate (PC) which is composed of a hormone-disrupting chemical called bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical has been linked to health problems such as as cancer and may even influence infertility. Now that is pretty scary. Some say the chemical is only released when microwaving the bottle or heating it and other say that it is unsafe period.

This article will of course effect the sales of Nalgene bottles and such, since they are in this category of plastic. Some government agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, says that their review of the research shows BPA to have no risk to human health. Nalgene cites this information on their website regarding the safety of their bottles.

Hmm, do I want to take the risk, especially with the incidence of breast cancer in my family. I don't know about that. I think I might have to switch to a different type of water bottle, a Sigg bottle, which is made of aluminum. This one is pretty and I have heard keeps your water cooler. They are a bit pricey but they are more environmentally friendly since they are completely recyclable at the end of their long lives. I do have some dividend money from REI that I need to spend, now I know what I can spend it on, wohoo! Now what do I do with my other plastic bottles, I don't want to toss them, that would not be good for the environment.

April 10, 2008

The Last Lecture

Back in September, my father-in-law introduced me to a lecture given by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. There is an academic tradition called the "last lecture" in which a professor is invited to speak as if it's the last lecture he'll ever give. For Randy Pausch, this was truly his last lecture.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and has not been given very long to live, his prognosis was very poor. His last lecture, Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, was inspirational and everyone should really watch the original lecture, it is 76 minutes long but well worth it. Click here to download the full length lecture on the CMU website or it can also be found on YouTube. I watched the entire original lecture totally mesmerized by his words and his message. I can't say that about many lectures. There are several shorter versions found on the Internet, such as the YouTube video above and he has a website with many of them posted. He has been getting a lot of press, he was on Oprah and he was interviewed last night by Diane Sawyer in an ABC New special. He also has a book that will be published soon.

The lecture was not only about achieving your childhood dreams but also about how to live your life. Although his lecture has gained so much popularity and inspired so many people, he had only intended his words for his 3 young children. It was meant for them to watch when they were older and better able to understand his words and message. You can see in his face and in through his words how much he loves his children and adores his wife. I watched that entire lecture with so much emotion. It touched me so much and truly inspired me. What a truly amazing man.

He is fighting the horrible disease with various treatments to slow the progression of the cancer, but his health is slowly deteriorating. He makes regular updates on his website.

April 9, 2008

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I've been seeing a lot of talk on many blogs about Revolution Money Exchange. You can earn $25 for signing up for an account. I just signed up today and already received $25 in my account!

Revolution Money Exchange is an alternative to PayPal. A great review of it can be found on the Cash Money Life blog. Basically, Revolution Money Exchange doesn’t charge you transaction fees. You only pay fees if you request a check or paper statement. This is great since PayPal charges you a percentage of every transaction. So it is PayPal without the fees.

Although PayPal has the market cornered on in this area, I think that Revolution Money Exchange will catch on and many merchants are accepting RME and the list is growing. So now is a great time to sign up and take advantage of the $25 sign up bonus before it expires on April 15. They also have a referral program, you receive $10 for each referral. So please click on the link through my blog so that I can receive credit for the referral. If anything it's free money!

I'm a crafty bear

A beautiful friend of mine is having a baby boy and I recently went to her surprise baby shower last weekend. It was a total blast and she was so surprised. She looked so cute with her baby belly, I can't wait until this little one is in our world!! She is going to make a wonderful mommy!! I love baby showers and I love making something special for the baby. I made this no-sew fleece blanket (it is actually quite easy to make and there are several websites that provide instructions):

Here it is all wrapped up lazy girl style:

Every new mommy needs diapers, it is inevitable since babies poop! I also made a diaper cake for my friend covered with baby toys with a baseball theme since they are big baseball fans and I am sure this little boy is already a fan! Also, quite simple to make and there are several different "recipes" on the internet. This one actually uses a combination of "recipes," the middle layer is different from the top and bottom.

April 8, 2008

Gotta Run!

Since I decided not to participate in the Women’s Tri-Fitness Competition, I've been thinking about a new motivating goal for my continued fitness. I don't want to stop working out and being fit. But I know that I do start to slack off without a goal or something to train for. I had been quite sad about my decision but I also know that it was the right decision at this time. Training for the competition really kept me in check and before that the wedding was another big goal to keep me healthy and fit. So, I needed something new to train for.

I found a local 10K taking place next month. I decided to sign up for it and convinced a friend to run the 10K with me as well. It is always good to have a partner to train with you to keep you motivated. So, I am going to run a 10K! I've never done one before, I've run plenty of 5K races in the past but never a 10K. This will be the farthest distance I've ever run. I don't have a whole lot of time left to train, 4 weeks will be here before I know it. I am definitely excited for the challenge! I better get off the computer and off my butt and move it. Gotta run!!!

April 7, 2008

Monster of habit

Chase Monster is definitely a creature of habit. Every night we have our bathroom rendezvous. Every morning, I wake up to a fat cat on my head purring very loudly. He has pretty much stolen my pillow by that time and is watching me very intently, just waiting for me to finally get out of bed to feed him. As soon as I sit up he is meowing at me to feed him and once I get out of bed he rushes to his food bowl, ready and waiting. Once he has had his meal, he heads over to the litter box and does his business then lays at the foot of the bed to rest and watch me get ready for my day. While I have my breakfast he makes his way back onto the bed for his morning nap. Every afternoon, I come home to be greeted by my monster cat meowing and demanding me to feed him. He has his dinner and then goes back into the bedroom for a late evening nap. He wakes up and comes back when we are having dinner to join us and then waits until it is time for our bathroom rendezvous. When I get into bed, he plops onto the bed ready to end his exhausting day of many naps and meals.

As you can probably tell my Chase Monster loves food. If I am eating he wants to eat. In fact, he love crackers, especially Cheez It and Goldfish crackers, and chips (Doritos are his favorite but he is not a fan of Cheetos). He will stare at you as you eat and he will actually lick his lips. He never misses a meal and if you are eating he is there, hoping that you will share some food with him. You would think that he was a dog begging for food, well he is in fact bigger than some dogs so maybe this isn't so surprising. Maybe I will sound like every doting parent, but there is no cat like my monster cat. You just gotta love him!


Let's get physical

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states. ~Carol Welch
Last week, I wrote about life expectancy and leading a long life. Many of the questions that the life expectancy calculator focused on had to do with healthy habits and family history. Keeping your body physically healthy boils down to exercise and diet. For the most part, I think I do pretty well with the first half of that equation. I workout 4-5 days a week and I actually like to exercise. It has become so much a part of my life that when I go several days without working out, my body feel awful. It is like I go through withdrawals. I always feel better after a workout, it is like a high.

But, I wasn't always an active person. I was never an athletic person by any means and never did anything active on a regular basis. It wasn't until I was in graduate school, back in the summer of 1998, that I decided to join a gym and try it out. I am not totally sure why I did it. I think part the reason was as a way to relieve stress from being in a doctoral program (it was my first year of grad school) and then the other part of it was dealing with depression (my boyfriend at the time broke-up with me after 6 years of dating).

I guess unlike other people I didn't start to exercise because I wanted to lose weight nor was I an active or athletic person, rather I did it for mental and emotional health reasons. Keeping the mind and body healthy are definitely interconnected. Starting to become active was one way to help me deal with my loneliness and depression and it was time for myself to let go and relieve some of the stressors of grad school. It did indeed helped and got me through grad school with some sanity! By having a regular routine of going to the gym and working out, I began to build my self-esteem and developed more confidence in myself. I also became less depressed over time and I was better able to deal with my stress. The benefits of exercise truly went beyond the physical part of me, it also impacted and improved my mental health and well-being.

It took time for me to make exercise a regular part of my life. I had to start off slow since this did not come naturally to me. I didn't know how to use any of the equipment at the gym at first, so I started off by trying out a few classes. Even though it took me a while to feel comfortable in the classes, I found that I really liked step classes. Over time and practice, I started to feel a sense of accomplishment in each class and so I kept going. Now it is 10 years later and I am still taking those step classes, not just for my body but for my mental health as well.

April 4, 2008

Long Life

My friend shared with me a very interesting website on our world's population. This website also has a life expectancy calculator. Through a series of questions you can find out your life expectancy and your virtual age. I thought it would be interesting to give it a try. After a series of questions pertaining to health and family history, this is what it told me:

My life expectancy is 92 and my virtual age is 15. Wow, I guess that I will live a pretty long life if I believe this little calculator. My grandmother is 85 and is still going pretty strong. She has her ailments and she often tells me that is ready to be with my grandfather who passed away 10 years ago. But then again, she also told me last year that she was holding on until my wedding, which she made it to, and now she is holding on until I have a baby (I hope she won't be holding on too long, but I guess we'll see). My grandmother keeps on holding on and I hope that she will be with us for a long time. My great-grandmother, her mother, lived to her 90's so I think it is entirely possible for my grandmother as well.

So, maybe I shouldn't be so concerned about my mortality as I was a few days ago. Or maybe it is because I have been working on leading a healthy lifestyle and creating healthy habits that according to this calculator I will live to 92. Who really knows how long we have and who really knows if a calculator can really predict the future (probably not, since I could die from an accident). It is best to live each day to the fullest and to continue on my journey to be healthy. Family history is still strong with heart disease (my daddy) and now osteoporosis (my mommy). Being healthy is a life long commitment, it's not worth it to stop being concerned, but there is no need to be obsessed.

April 3, 2008

A new look

Sher's corner has received a blog makeover. I hope that the few readers I have will enjoy the new look of my blog. Let me know what you think.

April 2, 2008

Being a healthy bear

Health is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I am not overweight or sick or anything but people close to me have had health issues that has caused me to be more conscious of what it means to live healthy. In particular the following have deeply affected me:

1. As you might remember, my sister-in-law passed away in December from breast cancer and that forever impacted me and my thoughts of mortality. She was only 39 and way too young to be taken from our world. In addition, two of my maternal aunts are breast cancer survivors, so it does run in my family as does other types of cancer.

2. Several years ago, my daddy had a mild stroke and we later found that he had a 80% blockage in one of his arteries. My daddy is unique in that he was born with only 2 main arteries rather than the 3 that most other people are born with. So 80% in one artery when he was already missing one artery was not a good thing. As a result, he had to have a metal stent inserted into his artery to help clear the blockage. This was a very frightening event, my dad was not even in his 60's at the time. My daddy, my superman, for the first time was vulnerable. My daddy is a man with such a big heart and it was just ironic that he was at risk of a heart attack. His father, my grandfather, passed away before I was born due to heart disease, so this was something that is in our family history so I too need to be cognizant of it. As a teen I had high cholesterol. Some people think that occurs with unhealthy and overweight people. I wasn't overweight by any means, but both my mommy and daddy have had high cholesterol. Through proper diet and exercise I was able to bring it down to normal levels but it is something that I inherited from my parents and I need to continually monitor with my doctor. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and as a woman I have to do my best to live a heart healthy lifestyle.

3. Recently, my mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis, something that is most common among Asian women, making me also vulnerable (being an Asian woman and now having a family history). I believe that this is also found on my dad's side of the family as well. Luckily with treatment it can be reversed and there are many things you can do to prevent it.

Knowing that I have a pre-disposition to these illnesses, I can work to take steps now while I am still young (yes 33 is still young!) to prevent their occurrence. All of these things together have made me realize just how fragile and how important our health is. How fortunate I am to have my health to be able to run in a 5K to benefit breast cancer when my sister-in-law can not. I need to appreciate my health and live in such a way to keep myself healthy, I am lucky to be alive, so I have to treat my body in the right way. The way to do that is to educate myself and to strive to live a healthy lifestyle.

April 1, 2008

I'm not always the Fool!

I am usually the fool rather than the person who does the fooling. My friends love fooling me and making fun of me. I can sometimes be gullible and I am a little too trusting. It is like I am this little kid who wants to believe in people and great stories. I want to believe in fairy tales and happy endings, there is nothing wrong with that. But I am equally as bad at fooling people probably because I am also awful at telling jokes. I never get the punch line right, I must be missing some joke telling gene or something. But, there was one time where I did do the fooling. I do well when I am involved with others to fool people, I am a great team player. It wasn't an April Fools day joke but it was probably the only time I was ever able to fool Mr. Bear. And boy did I fool him!

Several years ago (before Mr. Bear and I were married or even engaged), Mr. Bear's best friend and his wife just found out they were pregnant with their first child. Naturally, we were among the first to know and they wanted to tell Mr. Bear in a very special way. That evening we were getting together to watch a movie. They picked me up and we were going to meet Mr. Bear. While in the car they showed me a picture of the sonogram to announce that they were pregnant (so I knew before Mr. Bear!). I was so ecstatic for them. They hadn't told Mr. Bear yet but they had come up with a great idea where I would be the one to tell Mr. Bear. Basically, I would pull him aside and show him the picture of the sonogram without saying a word, somewhat implying that the sonogram was mine.

So when we met up with Mr. Bear, I told him that I had something to show him and pulled him aside so we could be a little more private. With a look of worry and uncertainty on my face, I then showed him the sonogram and did not say a word. The look on his face was priceless. He asked, "You? Me?" and had a look of panic, uncertainty, and confusion. After about 30 seconds or what seemed like a lifetime for Mr. Bear, Mr. Bear's best friend and wife came to the rescue and said, "It's mine! We're having a baby!" There was a sign of relief on Mr. Bear's face. Although, he was ready to step up to the plate and deal with having a baby if that was what was to be. So that was good to know. Probably not the nicest joke to play on someone (especially your boyfriend) but we definitely got him. Mr. Bear is not easy to get either. He, unlike me, is not gullible at all. Mr. Bear was extremely happy for his best friend (especially since the baby wasn't his). They had a beautiful baby girl who is now 2 years old and they are expecting their second baby in a few weeks.