Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Milonga

Rose is right, for someone such as a little devil like I am I'm incredibly lucky to have an angel watching over me. Everything is falling into its places. I've settled in, made friends and progressed in my professional life. I'm thankful for it all. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Purdue Milonga

Carpooled with my new tango friends to Purdue this evening for the pre-Halloween milonga. Wonderful people, wonderful dancers. 

Monday, October 17, 2011


Saw two movies this weekend. One of baseball and statistics and the other of the legendary Formula One driver. Movies, despite being mostly passive experiences, can nevertheless shift how we think and feel about certain things. We think we can distinguish fiction from reality but our brains are terribly inefficient at it. We flinch when we see something jumps out on the screen, we say ouch when someone gets hurt and we experience a full range of emotions and feel moved by them as if in first person. It's not our ability to relate but rather our inability to disassociate.

I was terrible at statistics while studying economics but the subject completely intrigues me. Money Ball, Liar's Poker, Bringing Down the House were all books we talked about in Stat class so when the movies came out I knew I had to see them. My current work really doesn't have anything to do with economics but the process of obtaining that degree has permanently changed the way I perceive things. Everyone knows that investment decisions can't be made based on emotions. That's easier said then done because not many people with stock shares can look at the market movements and feel completely emotionally detached. That's why I only look at my portfolio a couple of times a year. Econ has taught me to look at things more objectively, cut out the noise, evaluate opportunity costs and when the stake is high so can the reward. Fortune favors the bold in econ term means high risk high reward. Of course, risk tolerance is a very personal thing. Don't expect big rewards if you play it safe, don't expect to loose small when you play big, and definitely don't expect different outcomes when you do the same thing over and over again.

The documentary I saw this afternoon was completely opposite of cold stats except that we human beings can only cheat death so many times before our luck run out. The movie was extremely intense despite lack of suspension. The director masterfully waved interview clips, race footage and family videos to portray an extraordinary individual and the complexity of Formula One world. Everyone who walks in knows exactly what's going to happen at the end yet we sat there and watched a fatal crash in slow motion and all the meanwhile developing a deep spiritual and emotional connection to the main character almost involuntarily.

I'm always drawn to strong characters who pursue their passions with such drive, conviction and madness. Perhaps it's to compensate for my own lack of persistence. Passion is infectious. Consistent hard work is like running the last two miles of a marathon over and over again. A person can achieve mediocre success with talent and a little luck. There's no shortcut for persistent success.

The biggest flaw of mankind according to the ancient Greeks is hubris. To me hubris stands for arrogance, entitlement and the false belief that one is above life. We can have strong spirits and be physically fit but we're also undeniably frail. I'm not a religious person and I don't live everyday as if its my last. I have however developed more gratitude over the years for each day I'm safe and healthy and for every piece of the puzzle that put me where I am today. Life is more enjoyable when lived in gratitude.

I realize this is turning into a terrible blog. I'm not trying to write movie reviews here, just some thoughts and I feel like I'm rambling on. It's late, another week awaits. Time to catch some zzzs.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Beautiful Saturday Morning

Saturday mornings are for Market at the Square and Common Ground Food Co-Op. Beautiful little bundles of broccolini from Tiny Green Farm. How can you pass them up? Happiness is Indonesian butternut squash spinach soup with a hit of coconut curry, garlic and ginger from Common Ground and the individually packed quiche slides are the perfect little meals. Best of all everything is freshly made from locally sourced organic ingredients.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Body Attack

Went back to the gym after work today to take pain to a whole new level. I don't recall ever having so many different areas sore at the same time. I walked for a mile to loosen up a bit and then it was a whole hour of intense cardio, jumps, kicks, lunges, squats, push-ups, sit-ups and finally cool down and stretch. I'm in so much pain now I can barely move. I thought about going to another Body Pump session tomorrow but I'm not sure if that's really going to be a good idea. Maybe I need to mix it up with a slightly less intensive workout and more stretching. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

On a whole separate note, I came home today to kitties toys scattered all over the place. Teddy and Ernie have lots of little toys but most of them just stay in one of the kitty beds all the time. Did they have a party while I was gone today? Very strange. Still, they're cute little fur babies. I love them. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Body Pump and Health Kick

I don't typically partake in group fitness classes but I decided to take advantage of the complementary gym at work today and try out the Bodypump class. Wow, what a workout! It totally kicked my ass. One hour of weights, cardio, strength and endurance training! I was running so low on energy towards the end I thought I was going to faint. Note to self, next time I need to have a protein bar before the class to get through it properly. Now I understand why this format has been rated the most efficient weight-loss workout around.

All the stress from last month combined with an abrupt stop in weight training have made me drop 5 pounds in just a couple of weeks. Back in April when I first started to workout more seriously I dropped weight and putted it all back on in a month from weight training and high protein diet. It was great to feel my body responding to the workout. Unfortunately with the weight loss this time I'm probably loosing nothing but muscle mass. My weight has never fluctuate this much. I don't have a problem with my current weight or how I look but I'd prefer to be more toned and strong.

When I was younger I could eat anything and maintain the same weight. Now I'm relieved to find out that being healthy can be a choice. Everyone has their own interpretation of what it means to eat healthy and there are no shortage of different dieting plans out there. My focus is not to diet or to loose weight but rather to eat food that I can feel good about both physically and ethically.

There's nothing wrong with eating meat. Our ancestors have done it for thousands of years but it sure doesn't sound natural to be eating meat grown like commodities in tiny cramped stalls while being fed with corn based feed that's not natural to the animals' diet. The drawback is of course the big premium price tag for meat produced from hormone-free grass-fed free range farms. For the first time I feel like this is a luxury I can now afford. From now on I will make a point to buy organic yogurt, milk produced from farmers' owned dairy farms, fair-trade coffee and meats and vegetables from local farms whenever possible. People can do whatever they want and they will. I'm only doing this for my own sanity and hopefully a little bit of healthy. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Back on the Grid

It's been a beautiful week with temperature in hovering the low 80s and today is no exception. Got my internet installed this morning. Yay! No more stealing wifi from cafes in my car! Now I'm waiting for my parents to come visit from Indy...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Still no internet at home yet. Comcast is going to come to install on Saturday morning. For now I have to get my wifi fix at cafes. Tonight it's Aroma in downtown Champaign. A great place to plug in: free wifi, nice atmosphere, good music with lots of small tables and outlets. I also felt like coming here to order a cafe con leche just to be able to say those words. It was definitely my drink of choice while in BA. I still miss it sometimes late at night especially after a milonga. There something extraordinarily enjoyable for having a warm caffeinated drink after a meal or late at night. No hurry for bed; no hurry for tomorrow. Enjoy the moment. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Locked In

Only Ernie came up to say hi to me when I came home today. Seconds later I heard Teddy meowing from the spare bedroom and my heart dropped. AH! I locked him in all day! The rental lady made a big deal about my cats when I signed the lease now only a few days after I moved in I have to get the carpet repaired. I dreaded opening the door but there were no other options. Teddy tried to dig his way out of the room only to leave a 2X12inch hole on the carpet by the doorway. I was furious and the cats knew it. I held Teddy by where the carpet was scratched open and yelled at him. I knew it wasn't his fault but I couldn't help it that their mommy have anger issues. I should be thankful that Ernie wasn't trying to rescue Teddy by digging from outside of the door too like they did before when I lived in Pittsford. I love my two fur babies but I'm always worried about them. One more reason I shouldn't have kids. They'd probably be taken away from me by child services.

Renters with pets are the last group of people that can be openly discriminated against. I know the kitties can have accidents from time to time when they're sick or when I lock them in somewhere but kids can easily outdo any pets. Having been a renter for all of my life I'm obsessed about keeping my living space in good condition. Last thing I want is to have money deducted from my security deposit. I'm cheap like that. I suppose that's one of the inconveniences with rentals. Nevertheless I not one to own anything significant. Having leased two cars already I can't even commit on purchasing a vehicle.

Poor Teddy was traumatized by all the yelling and hid under the bed for most of the evening. Later I apologized to him repeatedly and tried to appease him with treats but he was still very skeptical. I see more treats for him for the next few days. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Settling In

The kitties and I are settling in. I made my first meal home today. We love our new condo. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011


This is the kind of thing that's only funny when it happens to other people. I've been known to keep things from my parents more for their benefit. They probably would have heart attacks knowing even half of the things I've done. Some of the things I keep from them for my own sanity even though them seem perfectly harmless.  When I moved for my last job in Minnesota I didn't tell my folks until a month after I moved there. I was much more forthcoming with my relocation here since it's so close to them and I've already seen them when I had the interview here. Still, with so many things going on and me on the verge of reaching my tipping point with the China trip I intentionally told my parents the move was a week later than the actual date. I know how absurd this sounds but today that decision was unfortunately justified.

Having been here a week already and got everything set up I phoned my parents and informed them I'm just now driving to Champaign. Last night I assured mom that I drove in safely and have checked into the hotel. Although I've never done this before I asked if she had any plans for the weekend, to which she answered no.

Before all this move took place and before I even interviewed for the job I've made it clear to my parents that no matter how close I live I won't have time to visit them all the time and they shouldn't insist on visiting me if I have other things going on. In order to get me to agree to move here mom reluctantly agreed.

I called her this morning but she didn't answer.

10:30am I get a call from mom and this was the conversation:
 "Where are you? We're here."
"Where? In Champaign?"
"Yes, We're here. Where are you? We can come meet you."
"That's ok. I've already got plans for the day. Besides, we've already agreed that I'll invite you guys over once I get settled in."
"We just want to see you. We can help you find an apartment. There won't be anything for us to help once you get settled."
"I don't need your help. I've got a lot of things to do today. I'm not going to argue with you on the phone. We've agreed on all this before. If you want to visit you make sure you call me ahead of time."

Mom was furious. She handed the phone to my stepfather. He tried to talk me down to have lunch with them and allow them to be part of my apartment tour but there's no talking through my hard head.

I don't need your help or your opinion. What a wonderful daughter I've become!

From their perspective I've just gotten into town late last night and now I need to look for apartments and start a new job on Monday. Who in their right mind would think this as an appropriate time for a visit???

People this is precisely why I delayed on telling them about the move. I can't imagine having them do this to me had I actually arrived in town last night. I probably would have had a mental breakdown. There is no changing people. You can only anticipate and do what you can to mitigate the issue. The problem here is my mom acting like a crazy stalker.

They called a few times in the afternoon but I held my ground and never met up with them. I know it's terrible but I've got to draw the line now to make my life tolerable for the next couple of years. The last thing I need here is to have my parents randomly show up on my driveway when I'm not expecting them. Anyone with kids knows that you can't reward bad behaviors. The same goes for parents. I'm sure they'll get over it and I'll get settled and actually invite them over.

Healthy Start

I’ve done a lot in the last month except to eat healthy or to workout. I’m only getting older. With 30 not far away I want to be as healthy as I can both mentally and physically. A lot has been said about industrial farming and meat production. There is a significant national movement for not only organic products but sustainable, locally sourced and ethically produced foods. Since the chance for me becoming a vegetarian is as slim as a saber tooth tiger the next best thing is probably to purchase exorbitantly priced meats from local free range farms where animals are grass fed and not subjected to growth hormones. A coworker recommended a meat club where members can sign up to place orders via email to get monthly delivery of qualify meats at 20% discount from retail. It didn’t take much convincing for me to pull out the checkbook and placed my first order. People are economically motivated. Hopefully there will be some price sensitivity to eventually make me eat lesser meat.

Farmers market in Urbana runs every Saturday morning until end of this month. I got up at a reasonable hour to pick up my meat order and some local produce. The brisk morning didn’t discourage the market goers. Here is food you can feel good about physically and ethically. I walked by every stand and purchased a variety of peppers and onions. Since the kitchen is still not organized enough to make a decent meal I pickup some some quiches at the co-op next to the market. Great little meals with all organic ingredients. Afterwards I stopped by the Chinese grocery store on 5th Ave for some much needed tofu. Ironically I can't live without meat or tofu.

I wanted to checkout the gym near my condo in the afternoon but no one was at the reception desk. After waiting around for 5 minutes I decided to just jump on an elliptical machine and get a work out. Didn't do anything too strenuous: 30 minutes cardio, light weights for shoulders, tri/biceps and squats. The read some great reviews for the gym online but it's really not all that impressive especially having had membership at Midtown before. I'll have to checkout the free fitness center at work next week to decide what will work best for me.