Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 31: Secret Codes

So, one of my good friends and one of the most talented and successful people my age that I know, has recently moved to London and began a career as an investment banker. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the going away party or chat with him before he left since I was already in Albany working away. Much to my delight, I recently was informed that my friend is keeping a blog about his experiences.

I try and inspire everyone I know to create a blog because I am in lust with them. However, with this friend, he got the brilliant idea on his own! He hasn't blogged too much yet, but today there was a new entry and it provided me with my new knowledge for today!

The stuff my friend is working on is potential deals and mergers and crazy important stuff in the banking world. He also notes in his blog entry that they do a lot of work on the go and read up on current projects via their blackberries. Confidential information + Blackberry + out in public = something that I find very awesome and cool.


I have a really exciting job and learn about a lot of proprietary projects and new developments that we aren't allowed to talk about publically. However, I think that my job would be 10x more exciting if we used code names. I also think that I would LOVE to be the person who comes out with the code names.

So anyways, thanks to my friend for giving me and hopefully you a little insight into the secret world of investment banking and the secret measures they go through to keep things private.

If you want to check out his blog, please do! This kid is brilliant.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Day 30: The new trend.

Today, my mom taught me the new trend in making promises. The general promise sealer in the United States is a pinky promise. People also use the "Do you swear on our friendship?" or swearing on some sort of thing of important to seal a promise as well. When I studied abroad in Italy, I had a friend from Japan who taught me that you press one of your palms to the palm of the person you are making a promise with above your head to seal the deal.

I learned a new promise sealer via my mom today called the "God slap." The "God slap" is similar to any sort of traditional high five, except that if you call it a "God slap" before you do it, it means that you must obey and adhere to whatever terms you have just determined.

The "God slap" I believe was made up by my mom today, on the stop, off the fly, to suit the purpose of what we was going on at the time. But I think it could be the new trend in sealing promises.

I recommend that the next time you and a friend are discussing something important and it is proposed to have a "pinkie promise" or to "swear on" something, instead you seal it with a "God slap."

Thank you and goodnight.

Day 29: Make new friends.

"Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the others gold."

So today, I learned that if you put yourself out there and you network the right way you can really meet great people. Thus far, as I've been in Albany I've been going to random networking events, talking to anybody I can, and doing my best to make friends and people I connect with. I've met a lot of great people but I've had a hard time continuing the relationships. Last night (I'm playing catch up right now), I originally had plans with a girl that I met at work but those fell through around 10:00 p.m.

I was already dressed and ready to go out so I was a little frustrated (at the situation, not at the girl I work with) and decided to text some people that I'd met at a young professionals networking event that I'd attended a few weeks earlier. I'd e-mailed with these friends and we'd all had the "Yeah, we should totally get together and go out!" talks... but one of the things I've learned through my experiences so far is that A LOT of people will say that but not actually mean it... and when you try and follow through they just look at you like your crazy. I was willing to take that risk by texting them, and to my surprise and delight I got a PHONE CALL (which I thought was so much more sincere than just a response text) from one of the girls saying that she was so happy I got in touch with her and that she was about to meet a bunch of her friends and she'd love it if I joined.

So I did! And I ended up having one of the best nights in Albany that I've had so far, aside from when friends have visited, of course :) My networking and reaching out REALLY paid off and everyone that I spent the night with was so nice and friendly and welcoming. We had great conversations and for one of the rare times, I met people that I really fell like are good people and people that I would be friends with outside from this whole "new city, no friends, befriend anybody" situation I've been in.

Yeah, it was only one night but we all talked about hanging out more in the future and I'm really excited about this group of people I've met. I hope I'm not jumping the gun, but I've learned that if you work at it and put yourself out there, it may take time, but you will find a group of friends that you relate to and have fun with.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 28: P.I.E. model

Today I attended a lunch and learn session at work about the "PIE" Formula for Leadership Success. "PIE" stands for Performance, Image, and Exposure. This formula brings together these three elements to demonstrate what is needed for advancement and success within an organization. Performance represents the actual work that you do and how well you do it. Image means what you look like, act, present yourself, etc. basically the message you send without words and the way people view you. Exposure represents the ability that others have to basically see your performance and your image.
Performance tips are to do every task that you are assigned as if it is urgent. Don't be sloppy. But get it done ASAP. If offered, accept the hard jobs. You will learn the most from those tasks. When you present new ideas or new ways of doing things be sure to always relate them directly to current business needs. Ask questions, but not just any questions. Ask the RIGHT questions. Think like a CEO before you get there. READ. Always be learning (woohoo go me). Develop your own style
The image that you convey to others can be an intentional image or non-intentional. Either way, it is important. Be sure that you look put together and prepared for things. Do not slouch. Be ready for any question or anything that comes up. Have executive presence. Demonstrate knowledge of the business and function you are working on. Maintain composure under pressure and don't show your emotions. Know what others are saying about you. Compare the way you act/look to top leaders in the business. Brand yourself and your stlye. Be true to that brand.
Exposure is active openness. It doesn't mean just having your door open but actively seeking and maintaining relationships. Performance multiplied by exposure equals career impact. We all laughed when the speaker said, "If you aren't performing-- don't get yourself exposed." but it is true. Exposure often means getting out of your comfort zone. When on business trips you may be tired and just want to sit in your hotel room, watch TV, and order in room service. But don't do that! Meet people, have conversations, sit with someone new at lunch, get a drink after work, etc. Make time for this and plan ahead. Do some homework... know what is going on in the world and in sports and music and entertainment so you can have some small talk conversations. Work to maintain and follow up on these connections you make.

The way that this system breaks down their importance is as follows:
This just shows you generally if you sit at your desk non-stop and do work, work, work than you aren't going to advance much within the corporation because you need both of those other aspects to be able to move up. We discussed taking advantage of opportunities to talk in elevators, run into upper management and be able to say hello and have a short conversation, and look presentable at the same time. We discussed that you really need to be on your game when you present to upper level management in presentations, etc.
The speakers at the presentation emphasized that these ACTUAL percentages don't really mean much... they are not exact numbers or anything like that. Where I work, making this sort of disclaimer is necessary, because we have a lot of technical people and they take these things very literally. One girl raised her hand and asked if the percentages were meant to represent how much time we put into each of these things while we are at work.
I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing because I was imaging someone spending 60% of their day riding up in down in the elevator hoping that someone important comes in and 30% of their day fixing hair and makeup... and then 10% actually doing work. Could you imagine?? The thought of that cracked me up.
Anyways, this is what I learned today... stay tuned for more thrilling learnings in the life of moi!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 27: $1 Necklaces.

So today, I learned that whenever you are at a jewelry store sale where everything is $1 you should definitely go out and buy as many things that you can find that are remotely cute.

You people may be thinking, "Well duh! Where is this sale, I want to go now!" or possibly, "How realistic is a $1 jewelry sale? This is pointless."

Well, let me tell you... I've been at a $1 jewelry sale and I bought a couple necklaces. It was back in May when I was still in Syracuse and early one Saturday morning I got a text from a friend who worked at thus jewelry store in question. She informed us of the blow-out "we're moving locations and don't want to have to get frat boys to carry hundreds of boxes" sale going on. Now, none of the stuff there I could particularly see fitting into my wardrobe at the moment, but I bought a necklace anyways with the notion, "Hey it is only a dollar!" I was quite satisfied with my purchase at the time.

But then, days, weeks, months, went by when I never wore this necklace. I'd look at it sometimes and try it on with an outfit but it never seemed right. I started to get discouraged with myself and whenever I'd be strapped for a $1 I'd think, "If only I never bought that stupid necklace, I could [buy a coffee/pay the toll without using pennies/get a pack of gum/tip the bartender/do a load of laundry]." See, I love bargains. I also hate wasting money. Bargains can sometimes trick you into spending money that you don't want to spend. I thought that this was the case and that I had been tricked out of my $1.

Well, today, as I was getting dressed, I put on gray dress pants, a black tank top, tan/gold sweater over it, and black shoes (no, not the ones I bought from Wal-Mart last week either). I immediately realized that this $1 unworn necklace would look perfect with my outfit. I put it on and it legit looked perfect with my outfit! I wore it all day and smiled at myself whenever I saw it in the mirror.

This may seem silly and trite to some (especially any boys that are reading this) but I seriously get such a thrill out of buying things cheap and getting good use out of them. This particular case was even more exciting for me, because I had pretty much given up hope on it, and thus causing myself to doubt current bargain shopping purchases and think, "Am I ACTUALLY ever going to wear this? I think I am, but I did waste that $1 on the necklace..." So today, finding a perfect matching outfit for this necklace, months after its purchase, has reaffirmed my beliefs in bargain shopping alltogether.

I apologize for not having a photo up here. I went to the gym after work and changed my clothes/got all sweaty so I didn't want to take any pictures or put those clothes back on. However, instead of getting depressed about the lack of images of me and my clothes and cute necklace, I encourage you all to go dig through your closets and drawers and pull out any shirts, skirts, necklaces, etc. that you may have given up hope of ever finding the perfect companions for. I'd take a pretty fair guess to say that many of you have things in your closet that you bought once because the deal was just too good to pass up but you have never worn.


And then go buy more things :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 26: Hillary Supports Obama

So tonight at the Democratic National Convention there was a much anticipated speech by Senator Hillary Clinton. This speech means a lot, because anybody who has had at least one ear open for the past year knows that the Democratic party has been largely split between Clinton supporters and Obama supporters. The race between Obama and McCain has been tightening lately and much anticipation has been put on whether Clinton supporters will be swayed to Obama.

Tonight, as I'm typing this, Hillary Clinton is igniting the crowd and giving a powerful speech endorsing our next President, Barack Obama. Her words are heartfelt and truly feel sincere. Basically, Clinton is really doing an amazing job and hopefully her beautiful, powerful, and convincing speech will be influential enough to unite our party and vote Barack Obama into presidency.

Clinton and Obama have always had enough issues in common that I felt she was going to support him once she didn't win the nomination. However, tonight I learned for sure that Clinton supports Obama and that the Democrats are now on their way to a unified party and putting Obama in the White House. I personally have supported Obama over Clinton so unfortunately, I can't speak from a perspective of someone who needed to be convinced by Hillary and was really looking towards what she had to say to help sway their vote. If anybody has any comments on that... please let me know.

Some of my favorite parts are as follows, but you can read the full transcript here. PLEASE, at least read the following items from Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado on August 26th, 2008. I learned a lot about her strong support for Obama, as well as her personal and professional character. Hopefully you will too:

"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines. This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win."

"John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think that 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security. And in 2008, he still thinks it's OK when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.With an agenda like that, it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart."

"We need to elect Barack Obama because we need a President who understands that America can't compete in a global economy by padding the pockets of energy speculators, while ignoring the workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas. We need a president who understands that we can't solve the problems of global warming by giving windfall profits to the oil companies while ignoring opportunities to invest in new technologies that will build a green economy."

"Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down. He knows government must be about "We the people" not "We the favored few."And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time. Democrats know how to do this."

"No way. No how. No McCain. Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our next President."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 25: The man in my life.

Today I learned a little something about what men in my life I can rely on. In my life I have had a lot of ups and downs. I have dated, I have dumped guys, I have been dumped, I have made new friends, lost old friends, I have had long term fights, I have cried by the cause of others, and I have screamed.

Through all of this turmoil and rollercoaster of emotion, for the past 7 years there has been one guy who has been able to make me smile no matter what. There is one guy who has make me feel comforted in any situation. There is one guy whose words are always exactly what I need to hear and perfect for whatever I am feeling.

Last night I saw this guy again for the first time in 4 years. Last night was the 4th time that I have even been with him. An even after last night, I have still actually never met this man. Yes, thats right. This person who has helped me through every difficult situation in the past 7 years, celebrated with me in times of happiness, and very well could be the love of my life is also technically a complete stranger.

This man, is John Mayer.

Last night I saw him perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and I learned that he can still light me up like nobody else can and I learned that he has consistenly been the one man that I can rely on through anything.

The show was amazing and I sang along to every word of every song-- including one that I've waited years to hear live, Love Soon.

That being said, I must say that I am a little worried about John. He didn't look well last night. He was wearing baggie jeans, a LONG stretched out black t-shirt (it reminded me of the disgusting t-shirts that my little brother wears to bed that have no shape and are completely stretched out around the neck), and sneakers. He has a new haircut, new sleeve of tattoos, and looks INCREDIBLY thin. He didn't talk to the crowd or engage us as he has always done in past shows.

My theory? I think that he is on drugs. I also think that Jen Aniston broke up with HIM because of these struggles he is dealing with. Through the past 6 months, what I've been hearing in interviews, reading on his blog, and witnessing with my own eyes implies a man who isn't happy. My biggest fear is that he will be the next tragic loss of talent, the next Heath Ledger. I really do think that John is genuinely grateful and happy for his fans. In fact, I think that we are one of the only things that is keeping him going right now. I think John is feeling like a lot of people in their 20s and 30s or at any age of life can feel... lost, scared, alone, unsure of what to do or where to go next, and pondering the meaning of life.

Luckily for me, I've had John himself to be there for me when I feel that way. I've learned today that he has been one constant in my life that has changed drastically since I started listening to his music. We all need a person like that. I hope that John finds one soon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 24: 22 is Great.

So, today is my birthday. I turn 22 years old. I just had a fabulous weekend with some amazing people. I had some of my best friends from all aspects of my life... friends from home that I've had since the early days of childhood and friends from high school, friends from Syracuse, friends from my sorority, and friends I met while studying abroad. The girls traveled in from Connecticut, New York City, Long Island, and the Jersey shore.

It honestly meant so much to me that they all came to see me and I had a fabulous time with them. When they left today (with the exception of one who is on the couch with me now and staying until Tuesday) it was a really bittersweet feeling because I don't get to spend time with them every day. But I wouldn't have wanted to spend my birthday with any other people and in any other way. Well, we all could have done without one particular pony-tailed skeeze-ball bouncer being disgustingly rude to some of my friends.

But what I learned from this weekend and from today, my birthday, that 22 is going to be a great year. I have a really charming place to live and a new city to explore. I have a great job that allows me to grow and explore and deal with exciting programs. I have wonderful things to look forward to like visits to friends, my sister's wedding, and opportunities with work. And I also have incredible, amazing friends. I know I touched upon this earlier in my Boston post, but I am so fortunate in my life to have such incredible people in it. It means so much to have seen them this weekend.

What I learned today on my 22nd birthday is that this year is going to an exciting one in my life filled with self growth, change, excitement, opportunity, and of course, my network of supportive and loving friends that will forever be a constant my life.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day 23: Free stuff!

You know that saying, nothing in life is free? And that usually when you get something for free or get some sort of perk, you can trace it back to how you've paid for it in another form. Well, today I learned that SOMETIMES, you can get something in life for free!
Today, two of my friends that were visiting and I went and walked through the park that is right near my apartment. It just so happens that in the park this day there was a Latin Festival going on. Live music, booths of things for sale, food, sponsor tables (I reregistered to vote with my new address!), and lots of people. We also found a little lesser populated area with pony rides and face painting-- for free!!

I was surprised because I honestly have gotten accustomed to having to pay for EVERYTHING. I don't ever expect to get anything for free so of course, it was impossible for me to pass up this opportunity and my friends and I all got our faces painted.

We looked beautiful and I learned that sometimes, if you are lucky, you can get something for free.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 22: Cumberland makes good wine!

Today, I was given the fabulous gift of a bottle of wine from the Cumberland, Rhode Island winery. Who would have thought that RI could make a good wine? But it really was quite delicious!

I've driven past the winery countless times and thought to myself/commented to friends plenty of times about how I've wanted to try it. Today, one of my friends visiting for my birthday brought a bottle because she thoughtfully remembered me mentioning that I wanted to try it.

We had Blackstone Blush table wine (I hope they didn't use water from the Blackstone) from Diamond Hill Vineyard. The wine had 11% alcohol content, and something that I know from wine classes I have taken in the past is that the lower the alcohol content on wine, the sweeter it is. Now, for wine standards 11% is pretty in the middle... a 8 or 9% alcohol content on the wine would be VERY sweet whereas a 13 or 14% alcohol content would make a dry wine. However, for an 11% alcohol content, I felt that it was quite sweet. It would be good for a dessert wine with fruit (it had fruity notes in it) or even for a pre-dinner drink. You wouldn't really want to have more than 1 glass of it-- it was that sweet (to me).

So today, I learned that Cumberland, RI althought not known as a wine hotspot makes a really great wine. I am excited to try more varieties and it is great gift to give (and receive!).

Day 21: TRIPLE check.

What I learned today is that if you are going to the gym BEFORE work. TRIPLE check your bag to make sure you have EVERYTHING you need. I've forgot things like towel... bra... underwear... etc. but all of those are do-able to deal with. A combination of air drying and those hand blowers is acceptable if necessary. Wearing a sports bra under my clothes is acceptable if necessary. Going commando is (somewhat) acceptable if necessary (and nobody knows).

Today I forgot shoes. NOT OKAY.

Forgetting shoes sucks. My options to go with my dress were either sneakers or my dirty and wet shower flip flops. Neither of those is acceptable. Ever.

I go to the gym right next to where I work, which is 25-30 minutes from where I live. And I have a reverse commute, so if I were to have gone back INTO Albany at this time, I'm sure it would have taken me even longer to get there due to traffic so there was no way that I could return home to get shoes.

I started to drive aimlessly looking for a place that I could buy any form of a crappy black shoe to put my feet into for the day. I stopped at places like Job Lot and CVS looking for ANYTHING. All those stores had were stupid crappy knock-off crocs.

I started to make please to the shoe store gods saying, "Please, just let me find a shoe store and I'll go into work early for the next week." and "If I could just find a place to buy shoes I'll donate them right afterwards to charity and clean out my closet and donate everything I don't use."

FINALLY, I found a Wal-Mart, which was such a clutch move. I bought a pair of black flats for $9.88 and put them on at the check out counter and drove immediately to work.

I decided to make this a little fun and also to distract myself from screaming at the other drivers to get out of my way as I booked it to work, I created this little video for your pleasure...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 20: Three-for-one

So, today I learned a mix of a few different things.

1. Bridesmaids dress shopping SUCKS.

2. If your bathroom floods, clean the soaked stuff immediately.

3. Sucky friends make you appreciate the good friends.

First, I decided to skip the gym and go and try on bridesmaids dresses for my sister's wedding. She picked this designer and color from a web site and the bridesmaids are all over the country so we're supposed to just look up stores that have the dresses and go try them on and then we'll order them from the same place. I originally looked on the web site and 3 stores in Albany said they had the dress maker I needed... so I called them to ask if they had the 4 styles I needed to choose from. First, two of the places said they didnt have the dress maker and the web site lied. The other place the lady was a total jerk to me on the phone and hung up on me saying that she wouldn't tell me over the phone if they had the style dress I needed and that I had to come into the store to find that out.

I totally didn't want to go to the store after she was a jerkbut I figured whatever... I'm not ordering the store from that place anyways. So I went in yesterday and as soon as I got in the store and explained that I needed to try on these different styles so I could decide which ones I wanted to order. The lady is sort of oriental or something, has an accent, and doesn't speak english correctly. Conversation went as follows:

Jerk-- "You go over to her. You order dresses from her."
Me-- "Well, I don't want to order a dress yet. I have 4 styles to choose from so I wanted to try them on first."
Jerk-- "No try on. You order from her."
Me-- "Thats the thing though... I'm not ready to order until I know which dress I WANT to order by TRYING them on."
Jerk-- "We no have plus sizes. You order from her."
Me-- "Plus sizes? What? And I don't WANT to order a dress yet!"
Jerk-- "We no carry 12, 14, PLUS SIZES. Only average sizes. You no try on average sizes."
Me-- "Oh... well... (this is where it made sense to me that yes, this lady is a douche, but I am too fat to try on the dresses here) Okay... do you think I could just LOOK at the dresses in the different styles?"
Jerk-- "You order dress?"
Jerk-- "No try on. No order. No see dresses. You order from her."

This is when I left the store and immediately went to the gym.

2.) My bathroom flooded a little while back and I hadn't had time to do the laundry of the towels that I used to soak up the water and the clothes that got hit in the flood. I did them today. Not that much of an improvement in smell and softness after being washed and dried. I'm going to try again... but I learned the lesson to just not put it off and wash them RIGHT AWAY.

3.) Not really a story that I want to elaborate on. But put simply, when you have a "friend" that treats you badly and not the way you deserve... it makes you realize that you just that much more lucky to have even one friend that looks out for you, cares for you, and is always there for you. I am extremely blessed (EXTREMELY) to have so many people like that in my life. I don't tell them enough how amazing they are... but I really do love all my friends a lot. And side note... I often say that my friends are a family to me-- but I should also say that my family is also my friends as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 19: Walk in Heels

Today I practiced walking in high heels. It is something that I've always wished I was better at but have never put in the effort to be better at it! So today, just while I was doing little things around the apartment and cleaning, etc. I wore the only pair of heels that I own! They are adorable and I love wearing them and soon I will be able to do it non-stop.

I looked up some tips online and practiced those as well.

First of all, I learned that it is often harder to just STAND in heels instead of walking. When you are walking you can shift your weight around and even things out however when you are just standing, you have to have all of your weight on the balls of your feet and have to balance A LOT. A short term goal of learning how to walk in heels is being able to wear them out this weekend for my birthday. A long term goal is to be able to wear them at my sister's wedding in May-- which will require a lot of just STANDING so I'd better get good at that. I learned while you are standing to never lock your knees because you could faint.

While in heels you need to really have strong posture and have your abs tucked in and your shoulders back. Work on balance and standing first and then start to walk. One foot in front of the next and don't be afraid to walk as though there is music playing.

I actually put some on while I was practicing walking... it helps!

I apologize for the horrendous pics but I'm too tired tonight!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 18: Boost Your Metabolism

So today I learned some tips to boost your metabolism and some about what metabolism is. I've been dieting for a few weeks now and throughout my lifetime I've been on and off dieting A LOT. So I've been pretty familiar with the term metabolism and with a lot of the following tips, but what I didn't know was what exactly metabolism meant and that these things actually BOOST the rate at which your body burns calories.

To start metabolism is a series of chemical reactions that occur in your body and it is a constant process that is essential to life. It is defined by the amount of energy that is required by your body to do the basic things it needs to do to be alive. And your rate of metabolism is the speed at which your body breaks down the food (energy) that you put into your body. Your metabolism is a process and can be affected by your behavior and it can change.

Some metabolism boosting tricks I learned are:

- drinking lots of water
- exercise
- eating breakfast
- get a good night's sleep
- eat fruits and vegetables
- eat spicy foods
- eating small meals throughout the day

Now, all of these things I knew were weight loss tips because drinking water and eating small meals and eating breakfast all help keep you full. And exercise? Well, duh. But what is cool and a new motivating factor for me now is that these things are also beneficial because they burn the weight faster.

A lot of times I get tired of drinking so much water and skip out on that or I try to go as long as I can in the mornings without eating so that I can have my snacks later in the day when the day is dragging. Also, it can be tempting to turn to a 2 point bag of chips instead of a 2 point apple. But knowing that drinking that water and eating that apple will BOOST my metabolism will keep me motivated to make the right decisions.

And some of the others like spicy foods? Who knew!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

17. La vie boheme.

So, today as I drove home from Boston back to Albany, I was rocking out to my music as per usual while I drive, and I decided that I wanted to put that time to use and learn something that I'd always wanted to. I've always wanted to be able to know all of the lyrics to "La Vie Boheme" and sing the song from start to finish.

For those of you that don't know, "La Vie Boheme" is from the musical Rent and it is a really fun and exciting scene where all of the characters are happy and celebrating and having a good time with one another. The song is making a toast to the Bohemian lifestyle and all of the things that inspire them. I love this and have seen the play/movie/listened to the soundtrack A LOT so I knew many of the lyrics already. However, I have a REALLY hard time learning the lyrics to songs and there are some parts of "La Vie Boheme" that I never could fully understand/sing along to. However, after listening to it over and over and over in the car during my 3 hour ride and rewinding the song to hear certain lines over and over and over... I learned to successfully sing "La Vie Boheme" from Rent from start to finish.

For the full lyrics you can go to any lyrics sites like this one. The full song is long so I'm not going to list them all here, but just some of my favorite parts.

"To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing,
The need to express to communicate,
Going against the grain, going insane, going mad,
To days of tension, no pension, to more than one dimension,
To starving for attention, hating convention, hating pretention,
Not to mention of course hating dear old mom and dad,
To riding the bike midday past the three piece suits,
To fruits, to no absolutes, to Absolut,
To choice, to the Village Voice, to any passing fad,
To being an "us" for once, instead of a "them"!"


"To hand crafted beers made in local breweries,
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese,
To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo,
To huevos ranchers, and Maya Angelou,
Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion,
Creation, vacation, mucho masterbation"


"Justice, revolution, screaming for solutions,
Forcing changes, risking danger,
Making noise and making pleas!
To faggots, lezzies, dykes, cross-dressers too,
To me! To me! To me!
To you, and you, you, and you,
To people living with, living with, living with, not dying from disease!"

Day 16: Friends in Boston

This weekend I went to Boston to visit two of my best friends that I've had since first grade. I've really wanted other people to participate in this as well so I told my friends that they each had to pick a day and teach me something new. I have really brilliant friends who are so smart, experienced, and have had seen incredible things in their life so I know that there is so much that I can learn from them. Things got moving pretty quickly and we were busy catching up and being silly so a formal "teach Katie something new" didn't happen. But I did learn some really great things in the meantime. Let's start with storytime and the lessons following.

One of the friends that I was with this weekend is currently on crutches due to a foot surgery she has recently. We tried to keep our travel around the city to a minimum and when we did have somewhere to go we took cabs. But at times we walked a few blocks to get to where we needed to go and anybody that has ever been on crutches can tell you that going long distances suck. My friend was seriously SUCH a trooper though... she didn't complain at all, but at a few points when she asked to take a break. Both myself and my other friend offered to help out by giving piggy back rides!

This is a lot harder than when we were younger but both of us took turns hauling her around! Now, what I learned from this experience is that if you want to get attention and make friends on the streets of Boston, all you need to do is give your crutch-ed friend a piggy back ride. So many cars were honking and slowing down to yell out the window "WHAT A GOOD FRIEND!" or "THAT IS FRIENDSHIP THERE!" It really was quite hysterical. My friends and I are used to making a scene in public, as we did a few other points throughout the weekend. But at this time, we really weren't even trying, we were just trying to get from point A to point B in the most effecient way possible... which involved piggy back rides!

Through the day/night with my friends I also learned that I am not as good at relationships and keeping in touch with others as I thought. Sometimes I get really caught up with the "woe is me" mentality and while I'm not living in the same places as my friends, I get busy with my own life and only call my friends during MY times of need. The problem with that is that it doesn't give me the chance to check in with others and take the time to hear about THEIR problems and what is going on with them. I learned that the hard way for me and for my friends, who I should have been there for and because issues were brought up that I should have known about but didn't. The reason that I didn't know was because I didn't ask. I should know after over 15 years of friendship that some of my friends don't always reach out when they need help, as I do, but that doesn't mean that they won't respond when ASKED.

So some important things I'm taking out of this weekend is the knowledge of how to impress people and make some friends in Boston and that I need to take more time to make sure my friends are doing well instead of always thinking "woe is me".

Documentation of the piggy-back process below:

**** Also, please note the cardboard cutout of Papelbon in the window of the apartment beyond us. Have I mentioned that I love Boston?


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 14: Julia Child



This is just so amazing that I can't even handle it. I've been a longtime fan of Julia and this is something that I DID NOT know. Why am I a Julia Child fan you may ask? Good question. I am a Julia Child fan because of a little old game called Compatibility. The game Compatibility, for those of you who don't know, consists of a deck of 52 cards with random images and words on them. Everything from a picture of fruit to a picture of a globe to a car to a beach to a baby to the one and only, Julia Child. This was always my favorite card, long before I even knew who she was. She just looked so friendly and happy, like she wanted to be my friend and cook for me forever.

Once I learned who was in the picture and learned about her philosophy on life and all the breakthrough things she has done, I loved her more. My friends and I all sort of love her after playing Compatibility for so many years and when we traveled to Washington D.C. together many summers ago, there happened to be a special Julia section at the Smithsonian, which was PERFECT for us.

Well, I thought that I had learned all I could learn about Ms. Julia Child. However, today it was revealed that she was a part of an international spy ring, put together by the Office of Strategic Services (an early verion of the CIA). This was just released this morning and other members of the spy ring included White Sox catcher Moe Berg and Supreme Justice Arthur Goldberg. Check out the full AP article on this story!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 12: My sister.

Hey All,

Today's entry is short. I learned some really important things about my sister today. Things that will hopefully help to IMPROVE our relationship in the weeks and months to come. What YOU all can learn from my lesson today is that you can never underestimate the value of honesty and communication. Don't wait. Listen to me (and John Mayer) and say what you need to say.


P.S. I was offered by someone today that they would like to "guest blog" one day on A Lesson Each Day because they liked the project and felt they had moments of "Wow, I never knew that before" every day. I thought it sounded like a really exciting idea and might be fun/useful for days when I am maybe traveling or have something going on? AND, even with someone else posting for a day... I'd STILL be learning something new and so would all of you so it wouldn't break the integrity of the project. Pretty cool, huh?
I also have a lot of friends who are in the same position as me... out of school, in a new city, with a new job, meeting new people, etc. I'm sure they'd have really exciting stories to tell and lessons they've learned. If you are interested in guest blogging, let me know!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 11: Palm Reading

My roommates have a book about palm reading and I've briefly glanced few it a few times but today I actually sat down with the book and went through and learned some about myself via my palms. The book is called "Palm Reading for Beginners" by Richard Webster in case anybody is interested in checking out the full thing... but, a few highlights that I learned today are as follows:
  • Traditionally, from your dominant hand you will learn about things in your life that you have done for yourself. Your lesser dominant hand will tell you about qualities, skills, and talents that you were born with.
  • My square palm (as opposed to oblong) are the hands of people that are down-to-earth, capable, and practical people. They enjoy a challenge and are prepared to work long and hard, when required, to achieve their goals. They have plenty of stamina and energy.

  • A square palm combined with long fingers means that you are an "Air Hand", which is what I am. The other options are an earth hand (square palm, short fingers), fire hand (oblong palm and short fingers), and a water hand (oblong palm and long fingers). "Air hand" people are inventive, innovative, thoughtful, and practical. They are conscientious, good with details, and need constant challenges. These people are more intellectual than others (ha!), enjoy expressing themselves, and are easy to get along with. They have an inquisitive nature that keeps them perpetually young. They are refined, express themselves well, and are interested in travel, communication, freedom, and anything out of the ordinary (I'd say thats pretty darn true).

  • Your "heart line" is the major line that runs across your hand from your pinky towards your fingers. Sometimes it curves, sometimes it doesn't. I have a "physical heart line" that ends between my first two fingers. People with "physical heart lines" (one that curves) find it comparatively easier to express their innermost feelings and needs. They can express themselves in a confident and assertive manner. Ending between the first two fingers means that you have a strong balance between idealism and selfishness and have a very healthy balance between thinking about yourself and thinking about others.

  • Your "head line" is another clear and well marked line on your hand. It starts on the side of your hand between the base of your thumb and fore finger and crosses the palm towards your little finger. It can be different lengths and have different curvatures. The longer the line is, the more detailed and involved the person's thought process is. People with short lines are shrewd and think quicky. My line basically goes across my whole hand and is really long, which probably is why it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to make decisions-- I think SO much about everything. The more the "head line" curves towards your wrist, the more creative and imaginitive you are. Mine curves a good amount. This line also tells a lot based on if it forks at the end, has a sharp bend at the end, or if it meets the "heart line" at the beginning.

  • The "life line" is thought to be the most imporant line on the hand and although it doesn't have to do with how long you live, it tells about the passion and energy you live life with. It starts between the first finger and thumb and swoops around the thumb. If your "life line" swoops far away from the thumb that means that you have a great deal of stamina and energy and are adventurous, take chances, and make the most of every opportunity. Someone whose "life line" hugs the thumb lives without energy and lacks enthusiasm about life.

  • If you have breaks in your "life line" those represent periods of change in your outlook on life. Major periods of dramatic life-altering mindsets. I have a pretty far out (but not ridiculously far) "life line" with quite a few breaks, except one major one.

Well, thats all I'm going to get into... there is SOOO much in this book I could literally reprint it all for you. If you are intrigued, check it out even more, but for me and my "air hands" we're going to bed.


Day 10: Giving makes you happy.

Alright, so last night my computer wasn't working right and today at work I was busy all day, so right now I'm playing catch up and writing an entry for what I learned YESTERDAY. After I finally decided that I was so frustrated with my computer that I might actually throw it at the wall, I put it away for the night and just ripped out the page of "Self" magazine I was reading and shoved it in my purse.

The two anecdotes I found really exciting and interesting and wanted to share are as follows:

"To be a kinder person, think positive thoughts. Practicing a technique known as compassion meditation can increase empathy. It works by activating the insula, a brain region that governs emotion, a study at the University of Wisconsin at Madison indicates. To try it yourself, picture someone you care about free of suffering. Let the good vibes roll."

I thought this was really cool because I am currently at a point in my life, as I know a lot of others are, where I am in a new city and most of the people I care about are far away. I think about everyone a lot and I decided that I'm going to start some "compassion meditation" and send my loved ones good vibes and happiness while becoming a more empathetic person myself! So if you all of a sudden feel really carefree, cheery, and insufferable-- THAT WAS ME!

The second thing that I learned from my magazine laast night is:

"Those who spend money on others report feeling happier than people who buy something for themselves, the journal Science reveals."

This is a totally awesome fun fact that Science has dug up for us. I could have probably named many instances of my own where I felt better about getting something for someone else than for myself, but it is really fun/exciting to hear that confirmed by a scientific source!!

That was Sunday's entry-- I'll see you all later tonight hopefully!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 9: Tie a Tie

Something that I want to do is involve other people in my lessons. Any time that someone ELSE can teach me something, I think would be really great. Today, I was home with my family, and as I'd planned throughout the whole week, I decided to have my brother teach my how to tie a tie. There are a lot of other things that my bro-man could teach me and I'm sure I'll be coming back to him in the future months, but to start-- today I learned how to tie a tie!

First of all, the entire time that you are putting it on you need to keep the knot as close to your neck as possible and keep the knot tight. Try to get the steps down first and then try it again, being sure to tighten the knot every after each step. The steps from my brother are as follows:

1. Put the tie around your neck so that the skinny side of the tie is a lot shorter than the fat side, so the fat side is on your right, and so that the fronts of the tie are facing outwards.

2. Cross the fat side of the tie OVER the skinny side so that the fat side is now in your left hand and the skinny is in your right hand.

3. Tuck the fat end of the tie through the loop by your neck (from the bottom), as if you were tieing any sort of knot.

4. Pull the fat side of the tie towards your left.

5. Cross the fat side of the tie UNDER the skinny side so that it is now in your right hand and the back of tie is now facing upwards.

6. Take the fat side of the tie and again tuck it through the loop at the neck, this time from the top, like you are tieing a knot.

7. Make sure that the fat side of the tie is now on the left, the back of the tie is still facing upwards.

8. Also make sure that the tie is pulled tight by the knot and it makes, what my brother calls, a "V-heart". Be sure the "V-heart" is tight.

9. Cross the fat side of the tie OVER the "V-heart" so that it covers the "V-heart" and the fat side is in your right hand.

10. Put the fat end UNDER and through the loop by your neck.

11. Loop the fat end of the tie directly through the triangle knot it lays above (the fat end basically goes between the "V-heart" and the little wrapping you just made around it).

12. Straighten, neaten, and tighten your tie.

I would love for people to try these tips and see if they actually work! I tested it with a few people and they are so/so. Any advice? I def. learned something and hopefully you did too!

P.S. Thanks bro-man!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day 8: Compliment v. Complement

You know, I was doing pretty badass and having consistent commenting on my first few posts which really made me feel good, but the past few entries must have sucked since everybody stopped commenting. The only people I know for sure are reading are Kimber and my mom (hi mom!).

Anyways, as far as boosting up the number of readers and the number of commenters, I don't think that this entry is going to do much for that because it is pretty dry.

Today, I learned the difference between the words compliment and complement. I don't think that I realized that there was a different prior to having something I wrote reviewed by my boss. I always knew that there were two meanings to the word, but what I didn't know was that they were spelled differently.

Compliment with an I refers to:
1. an expression of praise, commendation, or admiration

Comlement with an E refers to:
1. something that completes or makes perfect

And thats your something new for Friday, August 8!

Happy Olympics!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 7: Maid of Honor

So, recently (as in last Saturday-- woot woot!) my older sister got engaged and graciously asked me to be her Maid of Honor! OBVIOUSLY, I said yes and I'm totally excited/honored/happy/grateful, etc. that she asked me to take on that roll. All I really knew about being a Maid of Honor (I'm going to capitalize it this whole time to make me sound more important) is that they are super awesome and that they plan a bachelorette party? I think? Even that I wasn't sure about.

I decided to look up the responsibilities and duties of a Maid of Honor so I can learn more about my role. Now, what I looked up were the TRADITIONAL roles... I don't know if my sister will want me to take on all of these roles. But I will ready, willing, and able to wrap my little party-planning, organizing hands around any of the following, that I learned today, are the traditional roles of a Maid of Honor:

- Assist with details of the wedding planning such as shopping for a dress, addressing invitations, and picking out flowers, or whatever the bride wants help with

- Host and plan the Bridal Shower

- Host and plan the Bachelorette Party

- Be "in charge" of the other bridesmaids and plan fittings, instruct them of their duties, and organizing getting the bride a gift

- On the day of the wedding the Maid of Honor should assist the bride in getting ready and basically being their bitch and doing whatever they need

- Maid of Honor signs the wedding license as a witness

- Maid of Honor holds the bouquet during the ceremony

- Make sure the photographer takes a shit ton of pictures

- At the reception, Maid of Honor stands right after the Groom in the receiving line

- Dance with the best man!

- Make a toast or speech during the wedding party!

- Basically know everything about everything that involves the wedding so if need be, she can handle logistics, make sure shit is in order, people are where they need to be, and everything else so that the bride can just have a perfect day and not have to think about any of that

As for a little history, bridesmaids are believed to be from Roman law that required ten witnesses to be at a wedding ceremony and dress in identical clothing to the couple getting married to TRICK the evil spirits. AKA my roll is to attract all the evil energy in the universe to me and not my sister.

This seems like a pretty cool and interesting role, and I'm excited to take on every one of those things (except for being the magnet for all the evil in the room). However, knowing my sister, she probably will want to keep a lot of the planning and decision making for herself and might note dole out all of these tasks to me. Or trust me to take on a lot of these taks on my own. So for now, I'll make it my role to make sure she knows that I'm AVAILABLE for all of these different things.

SO for those of you who have never been a Maid of Honor, I hope you learned something as well! And for those of you who HAVE been a Maid of Honor-- leave me comments if there is anything my research has missed!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 6: Olympic symbols.

Today is a day where I planned to learn something. During my lunch break I attended a "lunch and learn" session that discussed the culture of China, specifically related to Beijing and the upcoming Olympics. I wanted to attend because I am seeking out interesting and new opportunities, as well, I thought this would help me with my career as I've recently been doing a lot of work with our offices in China and working to create a plan to communicate to the people of China. I came across a lot of new information from that session that I found in intriguing and I think you will too.

So, Friday at 8:00 p.m. is the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympic games. 8:00 p.m. on August 8, 2008. 8 p.m. on 8/8/08. In today's session, I learned that this date was selected especially because the number 8 is very symbolic and meaningful to Chinese culture. "Eight" is pronounced as "bah" which is very similar to the pronunciation of the word that means "to make a fortune"... hence, why "eight" is an auspicious number for the Chinese and the Olympics are beginning on a day that consists of all 8s.

This is the Olympic emblem. Looks pretty, right? But did you know that it was designed very carefully and that everything means something. Well, the rings, of course, we all have seen that before. And above that "Beijing 2008" written to look like traditional Chinese characters. Above that, the red emblem is very significant. I learned that red is the most favorable color for Chinese people. It symbols happiness and luck. I probably would have chosen to associate the color red with the country of China before today's lunch because of their flag and the whole fack that it is a Communist Nation, but I didn't realize what the color symbolized.

The white shape in the middle of the red emblem means a few different things. First, it clearly is shaped like a person. A person in motion. You can interpret this person to be a participating in a sport, running, or dancing. Either way, it is a person in motion and that is supposed to symbolize the energy of human beings. The figure has wide open arms to represent the openness and welcoming of the Chinese people into their country. The design was also created to reflect the second character that makes up the Chinese symbol for the word "Beijing". Neat, huh?

The slogan for the 2008 Summer Olympics is "One World One Dream". That is a pretty literal translation and the meaning is pretty obvious, but the official Web site says that:

"'One World, One Dream' expresses the common wishes of people all over the world, inspired by the Olympic ideals, to strive for a bright future of Mankind. In spire of the different in colors, languages, and races, we share the charm and joy of the Olympic games, and together we seek for the ideal of Mankind for peace. We belong to the same world and we share the same aspirations and dreams."
We also learned about the mascots of the Olympics:

I've read a few blogs that have completely dissed this years mascots and I have felt sentiments agreeing towards that until today when I learned about how much they represent and symbolize. The mascots are titled "Fuwa" which means "lucky children" in the Chinese language. What is most noticeable is their color and the fact that each Fuwa is the color of one of the Olympic rings. What I would have never known without attending today's lecture is that each Fuwa represents one of the most sacred animals AND one of the sacred elements of nature in Chinese culture, with the exception of the center, red, Fuwa which stands for the torch/flame which has always been the eternal symbol of the Olympic games.

The blue Fuwa stands for the fish and represents the sea. The Black Fuwa stands for the panda bear and represents the forest, or wood. As I said, the red Fuwa represents the torch/flame/fire. The Orange Fuwa stands for the antelope and represents earth. The green Fuwa stands for the swallow and represents sky.

Each Fuwa also has a carefully selected name that consists of a repeating two-syllable word. Repeating a shorter name in this way is the traditional way of showing affection towards children. From left to right, the Fuwa's indivual names are Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, and Nini. If you take the single syllable core from each of these names and combine them to "Bei jing huan ying ni" it means "Welcome to Beijing!"

I was really excited to learn all of this because in the next few weeks these symbols, slogans, and mascots are going to be seen EVERYWHERE and it is really nice to know the background of how these things originated. I love the Olympic games and I always have. Learning this new information has made the 2008 Summer Olympics even more beautiful and intriguing to me and I can't wait for them to get started on Friday!

I hope that this was some new/interesting information for you and hopefully you can wow some people as you're watching the games on television by casually dropping a fact you learned here into conversation!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 5: Good posture.

Today I learned a fun tip from a friend on how to work towards better posture as well as strengthen your core. We e-mail during the day and swap ideas to help us stay on track with our diets and just little extra ways to burn a few calories or make ourselves healthier.

The tip I received today was to set my rear view mirror in my car while I am sitting up completely straight. That way, throughout my whole commute and times in the car I am forced to sit up straight and hold that position. I tried this on my way home today and it really helped me to sit up straight! I can't say that my "core" feels any stronger but I'm definitely going to keep up this little change so that I can improve my posture.

I have always had terrible posture and slouch over while at a desk. When writing I arch my back way over and bring my face very close to my paper. While standing my shoulders hunch. I'm not really sure why these habits have developed but my diagnosis is that I have such bad posture because:

- I'm lazy and it takes less energy to slouch
- Because I never got into the habit, it is more comfortable for me to slouch
- My boobs weigh me down
- Years of swimming gave me strong shoulders that roll forward

Sooo I don't know how accurate any of those things are or how much they play into my bad posture (especially the swimming one... I don't know how I got that reasoning into my head, but it has stuck). However, now I'm going to do something about it. I recently was told by MY JOB to alter the way that I write (hunched over with my face close to the paper) because it isn't very professional looking. It also isn't professional looking to be slouched at my desk and have someone stop in to check with me on something. I really think this is going to help because a couple times as I was driving home I went to check my mirror and it reminded me to sit up straight!

Try it on your commute to work tomorrow and see for yourself!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 4: Makeup Application

Last week I was contacted by a woman that I met who sells Mary Kay cosmetics. After talking for a little while on our initial encounter she asked for my e-mail address, which I gave to her. A few day later I received an e-mail from her asking me if I would volunteer my time and be a "face model" for her products. AKA can I try to sell you some of my goods.

Normally, I would have said no since all I do with makeup is put on a little eyeliner and mascara. Black eyeliner when I go out and charcoal eyeliner for during the day. Thats all I do and thats as much as I vary it. However, with this new project I'm doing, I figured, why not? I like having other people do my makeup and I am not opposed to looking pretty-- I just don't know how to wear makeup or feel comfortable doing it myself. Sooo... why not take this opportunity to learn?

I met her at her house and she took me through some different hand and face products that they sell and literally... when I washed my face with the product that she supplied, my skin REALLY looked fresher and cleaner right away. I was pretty impressed.
She then took me through how to put on eyeshadow and how to use highlighter, midtones, and accent colors. I learned the correct way to put on eyeliner (something that I've wanted to know how to do since high school!) and learned that for my eye shape and size, it is best for me to only wear it on the lower eyelid. I learned techniques to make my eye "pop" and I learned what colors work best for me.

The best part about everything and something I didn't even expect was that she had ME put all of the makeup on MYSELF so that I actually did learn how to do it. I've had people try and teach me before and had people explain what they're doing as they put makeup on me, but it has never helped. Working with her really made me feel comfortable that I could repeat what we did.
I'm not really interested in wearing foundation and blush and all that other junk because I have clear skin and "nice rosy cheeks", as my grandma tells me. I know that you can still wear foundation and blush to even out skin tones and whatever... but I feel healthier, prettier, and cleaner without a clogged up/make-upy face. I've really just always wanted to learn how to play around with my eyes. I really liked everything that she taught me and felt so confident about it that I purchased the eye shadow set and also the facewash and face moisturizer (it is legit amazing). I've attached some pics that I took of my new look. Enjoy! And next time you see me in person with my pretty new makeup on, make sure you tell me how gorgeous I look!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 3: Mario kart

So today, during a game of Mario Kart on the Wii (where I always choose to be Peach) I learned that when you get the golden mushroom, you can press the weapon release button and it will make you go SUPER fast. I also learned how to play Mario Party and use the Wii a little bit better.

Today's "What I Learned" is a little bit different than the others I've posted so far, but this blog is going to be a mix of both serious and silly, planned and spontaneous, big learns and little learns. SO GET USED TO IT! :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 2: Massage

So this project is becoming much more developed as I go along and much more a real thing that will become a part of my life instead of just a silly blog idea I had. At first I was thinking I was going to write about things I learned randomly throughout a day... and I'm sure I will continue to do that sometimes. However, today as I took part in a local massage school's exploration day, I realized that is dumb.

The whole point of this thing is that I love to learn, am no longer in school, and don't want to stop. What I realized is that not being in school gives me even more freedom to learn the things that I want and not have anybody else have to dictate a schedule, a selection of courses, or a list of requirements that I have to touch upon. It makes no sense for me to NOT seek things out that I want to learn about and make them happen via classes, books, museums, interviews

Today I began a list of what I want to get out of this and things that I want to learn how to do or learn about. I tried to brainstorm everything I have ever asked someone to do for me because I didn’t know how, anything I’ve ever been curious about, anything I’ve ever had a desire to learn about but haven’t had the time/resources to be able to do it.

I’m not even more excited about this than I was before. I’m also more excited about life as this project develops. I’ve been really concerned about my time in Albany and finding a network of friends and build a social calendar but I’m starting to think that maybe this 1-2 year period that I’m living here doesn’t need to be about that. Maybe this time could be about ME and developing myself and doing what I want to do. Through some of my efforts to learn new things, I’ve been meeting people in the process and having great conversation and great experiences. Would it really be such a terrible thing to not have a huge network of best friends in this area? I’m going to do my best to document things as well via photos and videos.

I want to call on you all to help me develop my list of things to learn. If you ever in your day find yourself wondering about how something came about, why something works the way it does, or anything that you wish you knew—PLEASE e-mail me or leave me a comment about it. I’m going to need everybody’s support on this and I think that this has the potential to be a really cool thing.

With that off my chest, today’s new thing I learned was about how to give massages. I attended a local massage school’s “massage exploration day”. We first had a science class where we learned all about the way that the heart works. I didn’t even realize that licensed massage therapists learned all of these things!

Also, did you realize that the heart beats over 2,000,000,000 times in a person’s lifetime?

Or that your stomach sits right below your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is basically the bottom border of the series of organs and internal body parts that protect your heart. When you overeat, your stomach expands and pushes upon the diaphragm which pushes upon the heart and that is why when you have eaten a HUGE meal (something I am familiar with) you sometimes feel like you can’t take deep breaths in!

We also learned what exactly your “blood pressure” is and what the numbers mean. When you say someone’s blood pressure is 120/80, the top number refers to the pressure of the blood coming out of left ventricle against the artery and the bottom number refers to the pressure of the blood against the artery when the ventricle is relaxed. I think I explained that correctly? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

We also learned some actual massage techniques and about Shiatsu massage. Shiatsu is an Eastern form of massage that is big with traditional Chinese medicine and is all about holistic healing and being able to center yourself. A Shiatsu massage will begin with the therapist evaluating your balance of energy by checking your “hara” aka poking around your belly. I was picked to be the person that our teacher demonstrated on and it felt AMAZING but before she started she poked around my belly a little which was awkward, especially with the whole class watching. Afterwards I asked what my “hara” said to her and she said she “was getting energy from my bladder” which meant I was drinking too much water. That was kind of funny because I actually really had to pee and while she was poking my belly I was thinking how awful it would be if I peed my pants in front of the whole class.

I learned some different techniques for Shiatsu massage, which I’d be happy to try on anybody in person! As well, I learned some traditional Swedish massage techniques and a lot about the transfers of energy that take place while giving/receiving massage.

Note to everybody: if you ever give/receive a massage and you feel you have picked up some negative energy from someone, or I guess if you just feel like you have negative energy in your life—you can cleanse that with the help of the herb sage. Our teacher was so convincing that I decided I am going to go to an herb store and pick up some “sage spray” which I guess you can use in your office/bedroom/home/car/wherever to erase all those nasty vibes. Pretty cool, huh?

So that is all for today! I hope everyone out there in internet world has a fabulous day!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 1: Summer Vacation

So far, this blog's ONLY entry has received more comments than any of my entries in my other blog. Which signifies a few things:

1. There is a lot of pressure on me for this to be badass.
2. You people don't comment enough on my other blog.

So, in regards to #1: screw you all, this might possibly suck and you are just going to have to deal. And #2: I apologize for saying screw you, I actually love you all, I'm just nervous. Please forgive me and comment more? Thanks.

Today at the gym, I grabbed a copy of Time magazine to put over the treadmill's screen so I wouldn't be able to see how long I'd been running for or how far I'd gone (otherwise I'd be looking down every 2 seconds). Now, lets face it... I can't run very long without stopping to walk, so while I was walking I flipped through the magazine and what I learned today via an article titled "A Brief History Of: Summer Vacation" is that (drum roll please)...

Back in the day in the United States, schools didn't have summer vacations. We used to have a summer and a winter term so that little kids could help out mom and pops during spring plantings and fall harvesting. And kids that lived in the cities and didn't have to do that bullshit instead had to go to school for 48 weeks of the year! That is revolting.

Luckily, around the 1840s a nice lad by the name of Horace Mann came around and decided that this system was totally whack and that "overstimulated young minds could lead to nervous disorders or insanity." They picked summer for the vaca time because they thought the sweltering classrooms would promote the spread of disease (I would think that the frostbite and diseases picked up from walking miles to school every day in the winter would have been a concern?).

But yeah, thats how the current U.S. school system came into place, which I think is pretty interesting. The system has a lot of critics though and it should be no surprise to us now that other countries kids are way smarter than ours since 1906 was the first time that an official complaint was made about the school system and the "summer setback" having an effect on retention and learning. Not that I would have wanted to give up my summer vacation-- but they've got a point.

So, I hope that everyone else learned something new along with me! See you all tomorrow!