San Francisco is hosting Super Bowl 50 which has turned our downtown into Super Bowl City. Because of the tourists, traffic and rerouting, I have to leave work an extra 30 minutes early to make sure I’m on time to catch my ferry home. I don’t really like watching football. Basketball’s more my speed. So I haven’t been interested in checking out all the hoopla, but I did make sure to stop by the Puppy Bowl because I had to get my animal fix! Animal Planet is sponsoring a makeshift puppy bowl with adoptable dogs at Super Bowl City. Too cute! It made my day.
Have you heard of Regina Spektor? She is one of my favorite singer songwriters, right up there with Adele. Regina is less popular, but equally talented. I have been a fan since she began her career. You have to check her out.
Her song Laughing With especially resonates with me. Here are some of the lyrics:
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor
No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yet
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Regina admits that her views on religion are mixed and constantly changing which is what is so universal about this song: that our views on life, purpose, religion, or God can be completely predicated on our circumstances.
That said, this song especially resonates with me, as someone who identifies as a religious Catholic. People often ask me to pray for them or for a loved one, which I do, but I remind them that they too can pray to God. He is not blocking your prayers!
Catholics: 8 days until Ash Wednesday. What is your Lenten goal?
Evangelical Christians: Are you voting for Ted Cruz?
Atheists: Do you detest my posts on religion?
I was really sick this past week, wasted away to nothing. When the nurse checked my weight, she practically jumped back, she couldn’t believe the scale. I frowned, “I know, I have no appetite. But I’m also only 4’10”!”
I have been run down at work with no ability to take time off. Well the ickies got ahold of me and I was in bed sick for several days. What’s worse is that Franco has been sick off and on since NYE. He has had every cold/flu symptom possible. Then he started taking antibiotics for his ear infection and had an allergic reaction that turned him into a 20 pound strawberry. I want to cry every time I hear him hack a lung or see his red bumpy face. My poor baby!
Like I said, I haven’t had a chance to leave my desk, let alone get lunch at work. After I got sick, I vowed to get myself to acupuncture ASAP. One of the few good things about moving out of San Francisco was finding an amazing acupuncturist, Bao Ping Zeng, in Oakland Chinatown. I’ve done a lot of acupuncture in my lifetime, but nothing compares to her sessions.
First, some commentary on typical acupuncture. You meet and chit chat with an acupuncturist. They check your pulse, look at your tongue. You lay down and they start pricking you. Then they leave you alone and set a timer or give you a bell to ring if you want out. Sessions here in the Bay Area are $75-150. Sometimes they try to sell you on some herbs.
What’s unique about Bao Ping Zeng is that she doesn’t leave you. For 90 minutes, she’s putting needles on your head, arms, legs. She makes you do a complete 360 as she works different parts of your body. She applies HOT towels. She does light massage. And she does cupping all over your back. Her rate? A mere $40 for 90 minutes of intensive acupuncture. At that rate, I can’t afford not to go! She is an acupuncture guru. I tell my parents, “If either of you get sick, I am dropping you off at my acupuncturist so that she can heal you.”
While I feel I found a neighborhood gem, I am certain there are miracle acupuncturists all over the world. Especially here in the Bay Area, people rave about their go-to acupuncturists.
Acupuncture is proven to help with a slew of health issues, including infertility. My UCLA-educated reproductive endocrinologist handed me the business card of an acupuncturist and said to start doing acupuncture regularly. I was already a believer, but the validation of a doctor sealed the deal for me.
- Relaxing, very zen.
- Even bad acupuncture is good. In other words, I’ve always benefited from every session I’ve gone to. Sometimes I felt I could find a better practitioner, but acupuncture still works.
- Honestly if I could find the time (which I need to) to see an acupuncturist regularly, I would not get sick, not need antidepressants or sleeping pills, and would generally be in a better, more peaceful mood.
- Can be very expensive.
- Can be hard to fit into a busy schedule, but so is anything. Brushing your teeth is hard to fit into your schedule, but you still do it twice a day.
- Takes time to find the right acupuncturist. Ask family/friends/doctors for referrals. Read the reviews on Yelp.
- Sometimes acupuncturists can be pushy, trying to sell you on Chinese herbs.
What do you think of acupuncture? Would love to hear about personal experiences.
Who wasn’t dreaming about winning the Powerball lottery of $1.5 billion, the largest jackpot in world history? But can you imagine how stressful that would be? Hiring lawyers, financial advisors, and bodyguards! I read that someone matched 5 of the 6 numbers, and was awarded somewhere around $600,000. I thought that was perfect. Not a crazy amount of money, but a welcome chunk of change.
You know what’s better than winning the lottery? Supporting a good cause!
Here’s an update on fundraising for the International Rescue Committee on behalf of Syrian refugees. We raised over $700! Thank you to the following for the support:
Darrell Wright: Hi Darrell, email me if you want me to add a link to your blog or site.
Local Adventurer: This blog is focused on finding adventures both near and far. There are a lot of travel blogs out there that I can’t stand because they generically regurgitate the same information you’d find in Lonely Planet. Local Adventurer is the only travel blog I follow. The writing and the photos are top-notch. And in addition to the adventure posts, there are also posts on blogging, gratitude, and meeting your goals.
Kiss My List: I have been following Dana’s personal blog for what seems like years. She cracks me up, but not in a slapstick kind of way. It’s more sly, so when I read something, I’ll giggle, “she’s so funny.” I wish I had that talent. She muses about daily life and reads books as if it were a profession. She read 50 books in 2015. How is that possible? Book reviews are on her site as well.
Dr. Jennifer: Jen was my bad ass college roommate who watched TV during her spare time and was Phi Beta Kappa, whereas I was in the library 24/7 and barely managed to pass my science classes. Jen saves lives and brings babies into the world. If you are looking for an obgyn phenom in the Bay Area, she’s the doctor for you. I couldn’t have survived my pregnancy without all of her support and advice!
Also thank you to Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen who donated $1 million to aid Syrian children and refugess through the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children. I was so pleased to read that on the news.
After putting most of my mental energy into work the past two weeks, I decided to tick something off my self help list with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday yesterday. Floatation. Have you heard of it? It’s sensory deprivation while you float in a tank of epsom salt. The experience is gaining popularity with float centers all over the San Francisco Bay Area.
Floatation is part of the famed basketball player Steph Curry’s regimen. He walks you through his experience in this video where he says it helps him relax and forget about everyday stresses.
Dean and I went for simultaneous 75 minute sessions at Oakland Floats. Usually the sessions are $75/each, but they run a special on Mondays. Two for $99.
Here’s what happened. The floatation tank is in a private closed door room. You shower prior to and after your session. Then you put in ear plugs, step into the tank, close the tank door, then float for 75 minutes. There was a button in the tank to turn on a light which I did because I was too much of a scaredy-cat floating in a pitch black tank of water. I was like, “Oh no, no, no. I am not a Navy Seal.” Light switch on.
For most people, if you are used to running around all day and then suddenly are left alone with your thoughts, it can be very hard to relax and chill. It took me a few minutes to get settled. Then I tried to zone out. I questioned what I should be thinking about. Should I think about problems I want to solve? Or should I try to be in the moment and truly feel the experience of floating? Are my fingers tingling? Is there any body part that feels strained? Breathe in, breathe out.
For 60 minutes, I drifted in and out between thoughts of being in the moment vs. what’s going on in my life right now. I also napped a little bit. Apparently one of the benefits of floatation is well-restedness. If you are jet-lagged, you should head to your closest floatation center because it has been said to cure jet lag.
At almost 60 minutes on the dot (I knew this because I checked my watch), I had had it with my experience and wanted out. Instead I sat up, stretched, then tried to relax again. Ambient music turns on to indicate your time is up.
Dean was pretty enthusiastic about his experience. I was less so, but conceded that maybe I needed to do it another time to really get into it.
- That morning I woke up feeling extra crabby because I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, but the float really did make me feel well rested, as if I’d gotten 8 hours of sleep.
- If you want to practice true mindfulness, I can’t think of anything better than sensory deprivation. This is clearly an area where I need to work harder.
- 75 minutes was way too long for a first float. That’s the shortest float at the center we went to, but other floatation centers have 60 minute floats which I think would have been better. There’s also a floatation center in San Francisco that says your first float should not be longer than 75 minutes.
- I got salt water in my ear. I don’t know how since I had ear plugs on and I wasn’t splashing around. I was only dipping my ears below the water. I didn’t notice this immediately, but later on in the night, I noticed this slight crackling in my right ear, which the floatation attendant says happens if you don’t wear ear plugs. Well I wore my ear plugs and now I am going to have crackling in my ear for the next few days. Argh! I read several FAQs and some floatation centers provide a solution of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide post-float to help. But of course that wasn’t available at our float center.
I could certainly try floatation again, but honestly there are other experiences I would rather try or do. I told Dean I’d rather be in a steam room for 60 minutes and he said that’s just not the same. Obviously not! Maybe next time I need to try a different center, go for 60 minutes, and be prepared if water does get in my ear.
What alternative experiences are on the docket for you this year?