Week 1: The Kettlebell Experiment

While I’m adapting to the new workout schedule, I noticed that my appetite gets better. By reading The two year fitness program and chatting with ERE’s Jacob, I have changed my set.

In exactly this order, I repeat the whole thing 5 times:

  • 20 Swing
  • 12 Clean right hand
  • 12 Clean left hand
  • 20 Squat

The key here is to make every item exactly ONE MINUTE. i.e. do 20 swings in 30 seconds and rest 30 seconds. Do 12 right hand clean in 25 seconds and rest 35 seconds etc.

So the 4 bullets will take 4 minutes to finish. For now I repeat 5 times and it takes 20 minutes. I plan to push to 40 minutes, i.e. 10 times of it in the near future.

Also, I do this only every other day. I still jog, walk or bike when weather permits outside.


PICO IYER: The Joy of Less

In Paul Theroux’s latest book Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, Iyer was in the center of Kyoto chapter. Paul described him content, thoughtful, and very good at listening. He especially like the fact that neither of them travel with notebook computer.

Iyer talked more about his 20-some-years life in Kyoto on a June 7 New York Times Opinion piece, under the title, The Joy of Less.

It’s a great way to peek into one of the best contemporary travel writer and how he voluntarily lost his job with Time Magazine and the Park Avenue apartment, pursuing a way simpler life out of Kyoto, Japan.

Read it! It’s good for your soul.

PS: The writing generated more than 700 comments so far. NY Times has also published a separate excerpt page, Simplicity at a Price.

The Kettlebell Experiment

I have not exercised regularly for the longest time since the little one was born. Part of the reason is that I’m trying to come up with a cheap solution that will work both in snowy winter and sweaty summer.

I have no desire to spend couple hundred dollars for exercise, let alone “drive to work out”. How ironic is that sentence. Wouldn’t jog to the gym back and forth fulfill the workout, and one can save the gas, the car and the gym membership fee all at one?

I have also been very reluctant to fork out thousands for a home exercise machine. The sheer idea of comparing the functionality, price and then decide among tens if not hundreds of choices makes me freaking out.

Besides, when I have to move, I like to think that I’m still nimble enough to stuff all my belongings in a couple suitcase. The treadmill or elliptical will break that illusion for sure.

A couple days ago, I think I finally found the solution. I bought a 12KG(26 pounds) kettlebell and it cost me only $45. With a complimentary DVD, I’m very excited about my 20 minutes workout.

Kettlebell has the legend that KGB and Russian athletes train on it. The workouts “are intended to increase strength, endurance, agility and balance, challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total-body movements.”

I started doing 3 times of these:

I will post weekly reports, please check back. Better yet, you can subscribe to this blog through RSS or email.

The ABC Face

If you’re like me growing up in Asia, you probably notice that American Born Chinese(ABC) kids have different face. They may have the same Chinese parents, speak perfectly fluent Mandarin and love Chinese food, but their face are different from the kids growing up in Asia.

You can tell very quickly when you see the face, especially when they travel in Asia with their parents . You may have wondered just like me: what was that in their face and what was the difference.

Is it the food? Could it be the American born drink way more milk and eat tons of cheese and that’s the reason? Or is it the extra care their parents take, such as the sunblock, the car window sunscreen or the anti-UV hats? Maybe it’s the skin, exposed in the fresher air and from drinking better water?

It may very well be all of them, but I suspect there are other things.

Today when I see my girl Anita in Yorkdale Mall running happily, it suddenly strikes me that there are more than physical things. I see the face more innocent (or ignorant), and more willing and daring.

That’s the so-called ABC face, raising under lower pressure, using up more resources, and competing with way less crowds. The mall emptier, the park bigger, the physical exercises more rigorous and the face generally are happier.

I understand that later on they are going to face the ethnic confusion. They may even get discrimination depend on where they are(*). But they sure are more relaxed and that, often means a better childhood and more creativity.

(*) My thinking is that they may feel discriminated in some parts of North America, especially eastern and southern USA, or further away from big cities. They may feel at home in Canada, especially Toronto. They may even feel that they are superior when they travel or work in Asia. None of them are good though.

Blogroll Updated

You should be able to see the right hand side blogroll being updated. I will add the bloggers I follow in the coming days. The criteria for them are:

  • Unique. Posts created by owner. Represent a voice not found in other places.
  • English written.
  • Frequently updated. At least once a week.
  • The blog site has a good design. By that I mean it has to be easy to read on their website. The background color, fonts, links, columns etc. has to factor in the browser limitation and screen-reading awkwardness.

That’s it for now. Go have some good read!

5 Month Apart

Today marked our first meal outside on the patio. Usually that means Toronto is finally in the summer weather.

Meal on Patio

Meal on Patio

One of the advantages to be living in the 4-seasons climate is that you get free change of view. See how different they are.

Backyard in Winter

Backyard in Winter

Backyard in Summer

Backyard in Summer

My take is that without the cruel winter we don’t enjoy as much when it’s green and warm and lush in summer.

That applies to every aspect of life: without the inconvinience on the road, we don’t enjoy home (as much); without the discomfort of flu, we don’t enjoy healthy physical condition (as much).

40.5 Celsius = 105 Fahrenheit

Anita had high fever last night. It started at 40.9 Celsius and leveled off to around 39 after a strong dose of Tylenol. It was a sleepless night for us.

To give you some feeling of the night, here is our chronicle record:

  • 9ish PM: Anita goes to bed. She behaves normal except drinking unusual quantity of water since afternoon. She is not a water lover.
  • 11 PM: After we are in bed for about half an hour, she breathes heavily and with strange sounds. Dear Wife go take her to bathroom and find her forehead a piece of hot iron. Temperature reading: 40.9 Celsius.
  • 1130 PM: Struggling between taking her to ER or staying home, we call Ontario’s Telehealth to talk to a nurse.
  • 1230 AM: Give her a strong dose of Tylenol (2.5 mil) according to the instruction from the nurse. Anita complains headache and tummy ache. Starts to wipe her face, arms and legs with wet cloth.
  • 130 AM: The temperature starts to go down. She sweats a little. Eventually it stays at 39.
  • 230 AM: Read temperature.
  • 330 AM: Read Temperature.
  • 430 AM: Read Temperature.
  • …Continue…
  • 930 AM: I go to doctors office to make an appointment.
  • 950 AM: Take another strong dose of Tylenol because the temperature goes back to 40 Celsius.
  • 1040 AM: Take the girl to the doctor’s office. The temperature dropped to 37.9. She comes back to conscious and starts to talk and play.

Now that this is not the first time Anita has high fever, nor the first time she’s getting sick, the impact of a little sick child in the family is still high. In the morning my eyes see a big fog and my head heavier than my feet.

On the way back from doctor’s office, I once again am reminded that how lucky we are to be in a country with exceptional and accessible health care. I can not imagine people in the part of the world such as Africa to deal with kid’s serious illness with no doctor, no drug and no knowledge.

We’re truly lucky.

Take away: The temperature in the title shall send you a strong signal. Once pass that you should go to ER immediately otherwise you run the risk of damaging the brain.