Friday, January 18, 2013

Animals Are Gross

(I've been meaning to post this for a week, but couldn't get the photo to upload, so sadly - no picture of a giraffe licking it's nose!)

Sunday at the zoo I witnessed two chimps "grooming" each other. Yes, imagine one chimpanzee orally "grooming" the other's genitals. This was then followed by the troop patriarch exposing himself to the others, and then manually "relieving" himself. Yeah, just a bit awkward. These lovely acts were followed by a giraffe (in a different exhibit obviously) licking the boogers out of it's nose, which - in comparison to the before mention actions, seemed almost cute.

Of course I'm an adult and aware of what people and animals do, but I still have to say, I'd rather just not see it going on in the zoo. No, I'm not a prude, but I think my brain has been permanently tarnished in some way now! What I mean is, when I am at the zoo I tend to appreciate the animals for NOT being humans, and here they were doing very "human" behaviors (yes, I know animals breed too and that some have sex for fun, etc, etc...). Still, I guess I wish to envision the world's animals as majestic and not subject to human behaviors, whether they're good, bad or normal!

Needless to say, I did my best to avoid contact with the "oohing and ahhing" children that surrounded the scenes in efforts that I (as a volunteer educator) would not have to explain what was going on! Thankfully, no one approached me on those particular behaviours! Instead, when pointing to an empty turtle shell, I got asked by a small child to explain where the animal had moved to? And why didn't he like his current home? Sheesh.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Warmth, Chicken Shit and Chicken...

Warmth...
This past week and weekend were unseasonably warm for a Chicago January. Not that I'm complaining, however! Despite the warm and sunny week with temperatures in the 50's, I unfortunately did not get outside to enjoy it (not even for lunch) but, I was lucky enough to get outside in the surprising weather yesterday! 


Saturday I took part in a 5K race that I had been anticipating for nearly a year. I couldn't wait to complete this particular race as it was the third and final race in a series for me. The "pro's" of the morning? The race motivated me to get up and outdoors in the early AM before the weather turned cold (otherwise I might have been a snuggle bug and stayed in bed all morning). I got some exercise and only needed to wear a t-shirt and a light running jacket (how refreshing!). I'd like to say that there were only positive things to say about the race, but unfortunately for the first time ever (after having participated in over 50 events or so) there was a down side.

The "con's" of the morning were really, only one. The race was not the full 5K distance as promised. As I have run this particular trail more then once, I realized it was too short to be 3.1 miles during the run, but knew I had followed (along with hundreds of others) the path as it was marked. The fact is, the race organization messed up, and I'm wondering (as this is my first experience with something like this) what, if anything, they will do for their participants. I am waiting on a reply from their organization and am optimistically hoping that they will offer some type of credit towards merchandise or a future race...we'll see what happens.

Back to the positive though... I did cross the finish line and I did receive my medal, however it felt like a hollow victory. After having checked my jog tracker I had traveled 1.86 miles which is just barley over a 3K race distance versus the promised 3.1. Not to be defeated though, this optimist, post race, then walked the full length of Grant Park and hiked to the Red Line in order to surpass the 3.1 distance. Go "glass is half full" thinking!

Chicken Shit?
Yep, I am one. Despite my other blog telling me to do one thing every day that scares me, I couldn't bring myself to spray tan! Despite having a free option to do so, I mentally talked myself out of a free spray tanning session. All I could picture is a streaked and uneven tan resembling a zebra, and turning the color of the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! I know plenty of people who have had positive experiences with it, but, well... I guess I will leave that to them. What are you afraid of that you just couldn't concur?

Chicken...
I bought some. Not the real, live animal or the over priced, conveniently pre-cooked and ready to serve "short cuts" package, but real, raw and organic chicken breasts from my grocer's freezer. Why is this blog worthy? Well, I've joined a 30 day "Real Food Challenge" that is asking it's participants to eat only whole foods - nothing processed. Let me tell you, buying the chicken and knowing I have to deal with cooking it "the old fashion way" has been the hardest part so far. How spoiled I have become with life's overly processed, but super convenient, pre-cooked (with additives) cooking options!

This week's menu will supply chicken breast and grilled zucchini, chicken fajitas wrapped in a lettuce shell, and perhaps some mixed salads and strir-fry options while snacking on fruits and nuts. As a recent gluten-free goer, reducing the grains in my diet doesn't seem like a big adjustment, but of course I say this pre day 1 of the challenge (which starts tomorrow). I'm sure there will be a blog update somewhere along the way with me craving pizza or tacos or something. Have you taken on any challenges recently? If so, what were they and how did they turn out?

Happy Sunday Readers - I'm off to the zoo!

  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy/Unhappy

Things That Make Me Happy

An official end to my holidays and returning to a normal schedule... 

Yoga...

Hugs from friends just because...


The length of sunshine and daylight per day is getting longer by the minute...

Easy to maintain, low maintenance hair styles!

Sunflower seeds in my salad...


Clearance sales...

Warm weekend forecasts (in JANUARY!)

Fitting into a size smaller pants (no matter how tight they are!)

York Peppermint Patties...

Things That Make Me Not So Happy

Craving a York Peppermint Patty...

Still needing to take down my overly, abundantly, decorated Christmas tree...

Uncooperative people...


Not enough hours in the day to workout or have as much fun as I'd like...

People who gripe about Facebook while using Facebook...

Still craving a York Peppermint Patty...


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Does One?

How does one be happy and maintain that new year's glow when you have to go to work versus staying all cuddled up in a nice, warm bed?

How does one maintain a healthy resolution, when the cafeteria at work is plotting against you by selling your ALL TIME favorite candy in mass? (Damn you, York Peppermint Patties!!!)

How does one be nice, when all one wants to do is yell at an internet company who has not yet shipped an order placed on 12/21/12 and, to add to the frustration, won't accept phone calls and states their turn around time for email inquiries is 72 hours?

Believing in the motto of, "If you don't like it, change it" how does one keep their mouth shut when all one wants to do is yell, "Shut the hell up!" at people who complain that their lives are "pathetic"?

Come on people...help me out here!

 
PS) This "One" is going to afternoon yoga to try to maintain some new year chi. What do you do to stay on track?



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First

It's the first day of a fresh year, or if you will, a fresh page in a new book and I plan on writing a very interesting adventure story. My story, that is. What will your book look like this year? Would your story be a best seller, or a pamphlet that no one would want to read? My book is going to contain a lot of pictures, and here's some to start it off!

I am happy to report that I rang in the new year healthfully with a restorative yoga session and dinner out with great friends. Last night as I slowly dozed off to the noise of fireworks, I thought about the fresh year ahead and was excited for the first event of the year. Today I participated in the Commitment Day 5K. It wasn't a resolution, it wasn't a race. It was a commitment to move and be active. A commitment to live healthier. I initially thought I could live satisfied without signing up for a new year's day activity, but the more I prolonged registration, the more internal arguing I heard in my head. Now, I don't know about you, but the only way I can shut down my inner voice is to usually give in to it. So I did. I registered, I walked, and I soaked up the beautiful and soul warming sunshine on the coldest, thus far, day of the winter season. Of course, I got a good workout in along the way, and am happy to have started this year off on the right foot (literally) to a healthier and even more active me.
 

Instead of getting caught up in the competition (real or imagined), I actually stopped along the way to take some photos. The day was staggeringly bright, yet grey and some how bland. The cold North wind ripped through my clothes and tore at my eyes, enough to make them tear but I still managed to appreciate and capture the beauty of the day. Some people stopped along the way to take photos of themselves, but I decided to try to capture the brightness and hope of the day. I love the reflections in the water, the detail of the lamp post, and the lack of color yet overwhelming brightness and light of this photo.

Post photo session and 5K, I headed to my car. On my way back to the parking garage, I decided to take advantage of my proximity to the Field Museum. I had been wanting to see the latest exhibit, "Maharajah" but hadn't made the time. Since I literally had to pass the entrance of the museum to get to my car, I headed in. I showed my zoo volunteer ID, got free general admission, and added on the extra exhibit. There was no time like the present I figured, and how could I not take advantage of one of my volunteer perks? I learned a lot about the history of India and how it intertwines with that of the British. I learned about the different traditions of the Indian royalty and it's progression through history. In all, the exhibit was small, but I was glad I went. It is one more thing I can scratch off my "to do" list.

After the Maharajah, I grabbed brunch and then walked around the rest of the museum. Having been amongst live animals at the zoo all season long, seeing the lifeless exhibits of stuffed animals was odd and macabre to me. I couldn't help but think of the animals I have come to love at the zoo, their names, their personalities and how full of life they are in comparison to what was in front of me. I pray that  the future does not allow museums to be the only place that we will be able to see examples of such majestic animals on display.  

Ironically in the photo to the left, I love the warmth of the bronze bones that Sue the T-Rex provides against the stark white walls of the museum.

In wrapping up my day, I headed home for a much needed nap, errands, chores and home made chicken fajitas. It's hard to believe that today is a Tuesday versus a Sunday! In closing, I am glad I took full advantage of the day today, got active despite the weather, and treated myself to an exhibit that I had procrastinated seeing. Now, I'm off to pack my gym bag for an early morning workout tomorrow. Good night for now, readers.

I think I'm off to a good start in my book so far, what is your first chapter looking like?