Monthly Archives: March 2011

Why I Love: Baseball

The state pride!

The noise of the fans!

The Captain!

The awesomeness of the game! (ok, and yes, men in baseball uniforms. Sue me.)

Happy Opening Day people! Beyond the start of baseball season, it’s also a glorious sign that summer is around the corner. My interest in baseball started as a boy-crazy middle schooler who watched the games on TV because I thought the 2nd baseman was cute.  It blossomed into a true love and respect for the sport and it has weathered salary strikes, losing seasons, and just average-looking 2nd basemen. I even kept the stats for my high school varsity team, which is ironic seeing as I dropped a statistics class three times in college before accepting that the psychology minor wasn’t going to happen.

These pictures are from a playoff game last year, but *one day* I will take off work to spend the Rangers home opener at the ballpark. So get up your antlers, do the claw, and brush up on your singing, it’s time to go out to the ballgame. Best of luck to the Rangers (Cliff Lee who?) and to your team of choice.

Unless it’s the Yankees.

Does baseball opening day mean anything to you? Any special memories related to baseball? And if you want to read about other things I love, here is a movie and and here is a teen-focused, country cross-over star.


Why I’m Addicted To My Computer

For someone who doesn’t cook, I read several food blogs. Sometimes I file them away in my “recipe” folder in case I feel the urge to create. I have yet to look in that folder.

But anyway, food bloggers often share what is inside their refrigerator or what products they buy. If I show you the inside of my fridge, you might think I’m a 25-year-old bachelor, so I’m not going to do that. But when a friend and adoring fan recently asked me if I would write about what was in my Google Reader, I considered this my “inside the refrigerator” moment. I actually think you can learn a lot about a person based on what they choose to read. And it’s a great way to identify the areas that energize you.

(A little background: If you are not familiar with Google Reader, it is a feed for following blogs. Instead of them being emailed to you, they just show up in your reader for viewing at your leisure. It is a great tool if you follow gobs — that is actually the synonym I chose when I looked up “many” — of blogs like I do.)

My Reader is divided into categories, so for those who dare to peak, let me break it down for you:

Category 1: Of course, my friends’ blogs. A wonderful way to stay caught up, coo at baby pictures, and be reminded that I have really smart, funny, and quirky friends who do smart, funny and quirky things.

Category 2: Blogs about blogging. It’s so meta. As a new blogger (or even if I ever become a seasoned one), reading the tips, advice and encouragement from these blogs have helped me develop as a writer. While sometimes they are more geared toward those monetizing their blogs, many of the posts are applicable to a blogger or writer at any level. My favorites are copyblogger, Daily Blog Tips, ProBlogger and Daily Writing Tips.  Since I use WordPress as my blogging platform, I also follow its blog to stay updated on new themes, server issues, etc.

Category 3: Career and Gen Y blogs. I have to throw in some professional-related blogs so I can justify being on my Google Reader during work hours! But seriously, reading blogs about your industry is a great way to stay up-to-date on trends, research and the big players in your field. Commenting on those blogs is a good start for becoming one of those big players and building your network. I follow way too many to list here, but some big ones that I enjoy are: Dan Pink, Corn on the Job, The Work Buzz, Keppie Careers, and Gen Pink.

Category 4: Lifestyle and entertainment blogs. My favorites are the local ones, like D Magazine‘s arts blog and food blog. I stay current on the latest arts events and restaurant openings in the city even if I rarely actually attend them. But following these blogs gets me *this much* closer to being hip!

Some blogs are just fun because they are personal and written well. I guess they are the type of blog I aspire mine to be. Dooce has probably cornered this market. I found out about I Hate Green Beans because of the blogger’s Bachelor recaps, but beyond that, it’s an amusing mix of personal stories and pop culture. Similarly, The Healthy Everythingtarian combines the journal style of blogging with food recipes and tips.

Another one of my favorites in this category is What Makes Them Click. From the blog, it is about learning how to “apply psychology to understand how people think, work, and relate.” It draws on research, but is presented in a non-researchy way. Which is good for people like me who words like “non-researchy.”

Category 5: Balance blogs. You have to read about what you write about, people! I love reading stories of other people looking for balance. As you may have read, doing this lead to my opportunity to guest post with Balance in Me, so if you blog, I definitely recommend reading and commenting on blogs like yours. The blogosphere is all about community after all!

If you are still reading this, then I have to imagine you are a prime candidate for a robust Google Reader. To find blogs about topics of your fancy, Alltop is a great place to start. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your favorite blogs in the comments so I can spend even more time in front of my computer!

Lost in the Brackets (and my guest post!)

The suffix “-ology” is commonly meant to denote the “study of” or “science of.” Archaeology, psychology, geology, etc. Of course, it’s a national pastime to butcher our language (I do it too, that’s not literary snobbishness) so we like to add that suffix to words that are not very scientific, like mixology or of course, the buzzword for the next two weeks, bracketology.

I’ve never been a March Madness kind of gal, not like this girl. I did enter an office brackets pool once. I picked completely at random as many people do and if I had to guess, probably had Duke going all the way. But the second you make something a science, I’m out.

However, I was a little curious to see how my life and decision-making process played out in brackets. Below, please see my Morning bracket.

Checking my phone has really had a Cinderella kind of year this season. And of course, representing what I did tonight, the Evening bracket.

And this explains why, though exhausted, I am writing and posting my new blog entry at midnight. But spending time with the girls is an easy decision. On normal nights, that bracket might read “Catch up on DVR” instead. When that goes up against checking email and Facebook, it’s anybody’s game. If I put all my time and decisions into brackets, I think I could really see where I get off track in terms of productivity!

While we’re on the topic, March Madness is a perfect time to talk about individual hobbies and interests and how they can strengthen relationships. As it turns out, I wrote about this very topic in my first guest post for the Balance in Me blog I mentioned in my last post! I am excited to be contributing to a great blog. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s your turn to brag — where are you in your office pool? Have you flunked bracketology?

Balance in Me Contributor Blogger

Hello readers! This is a quick post, but I just wanted to let you know that I have been given the opportunity to contribute to a great blog, Balance in Me. Here I will be able to share my individual strategy for finding balance in different areas in life while building community with other writers and readers doing the same thing.

The author introduced the guest bloggers today in her post “7 Awesome Strategies to Live a Balanced Life” so check it out when you have a chance! My first post should run early next week.

Thanks for your support!

Guilty Pleasures

First of all, I have to begin by thanking everyone for their support of my last blog post. The moment I hit “publish” I wondered what in the heck I had done. I’m an open book, but I realize not everyone cares to read the serious chapters. However, from my parents to colleagues, your encouragement, questions and personal stories have been awesome. Thank you!

But that said, I think we are due for something a little lighter. Let’s face it, I work best when I’m extolling the virtues of Taylor Swift or The Bachelor, so to keep in that theme, The Daily Post series at WordPress gave me a great topic: What can’t you say no to? Referred to many times as guilty pleasures. I think these indulgences are certainly necessary for a balanced life. Following are just a small representation of my own.

When it comes to work, I can’t say no to: holiday popcorn tins. I am usually pretty good at avoiding dangerous snacks in the break room — muffins, leftover Halloween candy, the Girl Scout cookies I put in there to save me from myself share with my colleagues (I kept a box or two as well, I’m not a robot). But where I am completely defenseless is when the popcorn tins arrive around the holidays. It’s like the appetizer to the gorging that will soon commence. The different flavors (my favorite is the cheddar popcorn) captivate me and I find myself walking back and forth to the break room throughout the day. I always get a little, thinking it will satiate me. I should just fill up a big bowl because that’s what it amounts to ultimately.

Here was my nemesis this holiday season. For some reason, it’s still on our table in the break room. Taunting me.

When it comes to TV, I can’t say no to: emotionally exploitive programming. A couple of years ago, I had to stop watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The family getting the makeover of course has a tragic and often inspiring story and it made me tear up. And then the last 20 minutes would happen. Ty and his crew would Move! That! Bus! and I would sob uncontrollably, usually alongside the father who had lost his wife and was caring for 4 kids and 7 foster children on his own with only his policeman and/or school teacher salary. The next morning my eyes were still puffy and I was emotionally exhausted.

But then last week, apparently thinking I had grown more mentally stable in the last two years, ABC aired the series premiere of The Secret Millionaire and I watched it. In this show, a millionaire visits different non-profits under the guise of filming a documentary about volunteering and then reveals at the end that he/she has a lot of money and he/she is going to give some of it to these organizations.

Honestly, I didn’t even like the show that much. It was kind of boring and I thought it was a little self-congratulating for the millionaire. But man, did I weep. Again, by the end of the episode, I was spent. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cathartic cry and especially when it comes from TV and not my own life, and that is why I get caught up in shows like this. But I think it’s best to keep it to Grey’s Anatomy. The real-life ones are just a little much.

When it comes to sports, I can’t say no to: Tiger Woods. Let me be clear — I think Tiger is a jerk of a man for the selfish, dishonest and reckless behaviors in his marriage. But when it comes to golf, I can’t help but root for that jerk. I used to want Tiger to win because he was the only golfer I knew. But through dating JB, I know all about the different players and their personalities and I even have a few favorites (usually the cute ones). But the reality is, as many people have said, the sport is just more fun when Tiger is playing like Tiger. I’m much less likely to pout about having to watch more interested in watching a tournament with JB when Woods is playing and I always find myself cheering when the golfer (not the man) does well.

Tiger Woods of the U.S. reacts to a missed birdie putt on the 17th hole during the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships golf tournament in Marana, Arizona, February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

When it comes to pampering, I can’t say no to: pedicures. I know some people have issues with strangers caressing and massaging their feet and legs. Call me crazy, but if someone at Starbucks right now offered to massage my feet and then paint my toenails, I would probably let him/her. I love sitting in the massage chair having my toes painted all pretty. I refuse to read or talk on my phone during a pedicure. I like to focus solely (no pun intended) on the enjoyment of the experience. It’s a great excuse to zone out and de-stress. I love massages too, but my wallet doesn’t, so they are a rare treat. But pedicures provide regular pampering without debt.

I could continue with the list, but I suddenly feel like eating some popcorn and getting my nails done. I think what’s really important when it comes to guilty pleasures  is that we don’t feel guilty about them. None of the things above are breaking any laws or hurting anyone, and we all need to indulge the pleasure part of our brain. I know sometimes I should say no, but it’s much more fun to say yes. 🙂

So what are your guilty pleasures that you don’t really feel all that guilty about? What purpose do they serve for you?

2011: A Religious Odyssey, Part I

There are taboo conversation topics that are off-limits when you first meet someone, topics like religion and politics. Since we’ve been together for about three months now, readers, I think it’s safe to venture a little deeper. So if you care to, please come along with me on my religious journey of late.

There is no bigger search for balance than trying to find it in an interfaith relationship. As our partnership grows stronger and talks about our future together become more frequent, JB and I decided to meet with an interfaith coach to help facilitate exploration and discussion into what our religious home would look like and how it can honor all of the traditions we both value.

In our initial meeting with Coach, we focused primarily on how each of us viewed religion and how we envisioned it in a family one day. While I was brought up Jewish and JB Catholic, neither one of us would consider ourselves “religious.” I am active in the Jewish community here, but it’s usually at events that happen outside of an actual synagogue. And JB plays golf on Sunday mornings.

But still, here we were for 1.5 hours at a table in Central Market discussing how we would like a religious foundation in our home. And a lot of it was me describing to Coach that I consider myself culturally Jewish, but not very religiously Jewish. Clearly she has heard this one before, as people say it all the time.

She didn’t let me get away though with only this declaration. I had to try to dig a little deeper. I kept saying I want a “Jewish home”, but what exactly did that mean for me? For us? The interfaith dialog is more than just whether or not there is a Christmas tree in the house. JB and I settled that issue over Thai food on our 3rd date. While I will never speak for JB in this blog, I think it’s safe to say that this journey will force both of us to explore religion not just in terms of us as a couple, but first and foremost, in terms of ourselves.

What is culture versus religion? How do you separate what is good for you now from just what you have always known? How do you move forward and feel comfortable with what you might be leaving behind?

I have no idea the answer to any of these questions, but I hope to figure them out along the way, and I’m sure that many, many more will arise. I am realizing that with this journey, balance will likely not mean “equal” and that’s okay, as long as it is a decision that we come to together.

After our first meeting, Coach gave us a homework assignment and like the high school salutatorian that I was (am?), it has already been completed. We were charged with visiting different places of worship, Jewish and Christian, together to start to determine where we feel comfortable and to stimulate conversation between us, which it certainly did — in a very good way!

That part of the odyssey (melodramatic much?) deserves a blog post to itself so I look forward to updating you in part II. In the meantime, I hope to hear some of your thoughts! Are you in any type of “odyssey” right now?

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