Monday, July 5, 2010

live what you love: part 1

">Live What You Love: 50 Questions to Ask Yourself

"Probing into myself isn’t easy. I’m so thick-headed. I can adequately probe someone else, but when it comes time to ask myself, “what do I want?” I always come up blank. So as an exercise for myself and you, I’ve created a list of questions to ask ourselves to help define that passion. They are not in any particular order, except for my own random stream of consciousness. I tried to avoid common cliche questions, as I’ve never found them helpful and you probably wouldn’t either."

-Tia Peterson

1. How do you really feel about what you are doing right now at this exact moment?

Right now, I am updating my blog and reflecting upon my life in Phoenix that past 18 years. Thus far, it's been ... eventful. I have certainly come into my own here. I have learned here. I have made mistakes here. And now, I am leaving here. But I'm ready for the next part of my life to begin.

2. What is your fondest childhood memory? Who was there? What was going on?

Perhaps my fondest childhood memory is simply that of soaking up the wonderful summers: relaxing, swimming in the pool, playing at the park, and enjoying growing up with my sisters. I think strawberry soda may have also been involved :)

3. How comfortable are you in your home?

Being technically homeless, I am as comfortable as one can be. But if I choose to define "home" as my happy place, I live with the most amazing roommate, and I know that we can make a home out of any house.

4. How comfortable are you in your town/city? State?

I only recently began to feel somewhat comfortable in Phoenix, but I have always loved Arizona's natural beauty. My new city (Oakland,CA) is going to be filled with adventure. I hope I will rather love California.

5. What kind of weather do you like?

Sunshine. A rainy day. As long as the temperature stays above freezing... I like it all. I try not to let weather dictate my moods.

6. Do you believe you can have your cake and eat it, too? Why or why not?

Why not?? What torture it would be to have cake, but not be able to eat it. If I am working hard to have my cake, you bet I will reap its rewards by eating it, too.

7. What is one quality about your parent(s) that you really loved?

They allowed me to make mistakes, and be independent.

8. What is one quality about your parent(s) that you really do not like?

I wish I had more time being less "little mommy" and relinquishing my childhood.

9. Do you like what you are doing for money?

I love it so much that I would teach without a paycheck. (Now, if only we could remove all the bureaucracy, then I would really enjoy teaching!)

10. What do you feel is your greatest skill?

Easy: planning.

exploring Phx as a tourist

being (mainly) jobless throughout the month of July, i am considering it a blessing to have my last three weeks in Phoenix being full of seemingly endless free time. i decided to explore my hometown as a tourist, making sure to allow room for spontaneity to erupt, as it so often does in the summer. unfortunately, not working also coincides with a serious lack of money, so this list has been compiled of free, or nearly free, activities. events/activities already done are bolded.

thus, my to- do/-see list includes the following:

- visit the AZ Science Center
[free with Culture Pass]

- explore the Desert Botanical Gardens on a nighttime flashlight tour
[free with Culture Pass]

- go to the Heard Museum - which is something I have never done before
[free with Culture Pass, and also free certain Sundays each month]

- visit the Pueblo Grande Museum (another first for me)
[free with Culture Pass]

- go to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which happens to be free on Thursday evenings

- hike Camelback mountain -- in the early a.m. due to extreme heat!

- go to Barrio Cafe for their Sunday brunch, because they also have live music that begins at noon
[worth any amount of money you will pay]

- make one last final trip to the best sushi place in AZ, Moira
[worth any amount of money you will pay]

- eat at Postino's wine cafe and order planks of bruschetta [p.s., sign up for their email list and receive a coupon for a free plank of bruschetta!]

- go to Pizza al Metro for their delicious (and cheap) homemade pasta
[cheap! under $10!]


- vintage (window) shopping in the Melrose district
[free if you leave your wallet in the car :) ]

- a tour of Fashion Square to people watch and drool over the greatness that is Anthropologie
[also free if you leave your wallet in the car!]

- bar crawl (say what?!) along Mill Avenue -- best if you ride the lightrail there from downtown Phx
[lightrail pass = $3.50, one drink at each bar = $20, endless people watching = priceless]

- eat and shop at the Chinese Cultural Center
[cheap! lunch is between $5 and $10!]

- visit Char's Has the Blues on a no-cover night -- monday through thursday
[free unless you want a drink]

- take a mini-adventure to Besh-Ba-Gowah Park and explore the ruins
[$4 each person]


- consider myself a true Phoenician by having a parting meal at Garcia's Las Avenidas
[cheap! about $10]

[no cover on wednesdays!]

- do yoga in the park at the Biltmore on a Sunday morning

- visit the African American Multicultural Museum, which is always free

- go to the Bead Museum, which is free on thursday evenings

- float down the Salt River
[$15 per person, which includes tube rental]

- watch the Diamondbacks
[tickets start at $6]

- people watch and art shop at First Fridays

- visit the Phoenix Art Museum, free (donations only) on Wednesday evenings

granted... there are many other things worthy of doing in Phoenix (as a tourist), but i only have 20 days left!

**also, visit a local library and check out a Culture Pass, which grants free admission to most of the museums listed!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


in anticipation of the big move, my mind is (excitedly) running wild with decorating ideas. i've been reading decorating blogs, decorating magazines, and flipping through decorating websites. [house beautiful, anyone??]

i've also been looking through current furnishings of mine and of lisa's to determine what materials we already have and what materials we could add to our new space. i have concluded the following theme would be fun:
coastal africa [definitely NOT safari]

apparently, this is a decor inspiration which has not been done much before (yay!), but that poses some interesting challenges. so, after racking internet pictures - and my brain - i have created the following list of what i think coastal africa should encompass:
  • neutral colors (browns, tans, golds, cremes) with shots of "sea" colors (blues, greens) and a hint of red
  • texture, texture, texture [grass, wood, stone, wicker, textured paint (like sand) etc.]
  • interesting and culturally-relevant artwork [lisa's batiks, one tribal mask]
  • stone or hardwood or concrete flooring with sea grass/sisal rugs
  • tribal patterns on pillows and chairs in neutral colors
  • less is more
  • and, of course, sustainable fabrics/materials, etc. [especially when combined with the use of refurbished vintage/flea market buys]
and, lastly, i developed the following inspiration and design boards. the first is room design, and the second is overall inspiration.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

garbage week

i am stealing a trend from my sissy's blog, and am enlisting myself in the following challenge:

to buy ZERO groceries this week (other than some apples and oranges for snacks) and participate in garbage meals. the idea behind garbage, or kitchen pantry, meals is to use only what is already in your kitchen. being that my roommate is out of town (and that i'm a little on the broke side of things), i figured this week would be an excellent experiment.

stay tuned on my recipe blog, here!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

dia de la Tierra

in honor of Earth day (honestly one of my favorite days), i am stealing the following "green" Earth day tips from the NY times - see the full article, here - to share:

1. debate whether addressing climate change is good or bad for the economy (don't forget to READ and teach yourself the facts, first!)

2. go paperless (at least for today!)

3. reflect on what you already know about Earth day, and then commit to make it better

4. plant a tree

5. design an Earth-friendly invention

6. watch Planet Earth, or this documentary, or read poetry about Earth

7. make an effort reduce your carbon footprint (calculate your carbon footprint, here, first!)

8. consider the politics behind climate change. where do you stand? why?

9. examine/research different types of energy sources and pollution. (a good place to begin may be here)

10. track our government's environmental policy - you could start here

**THESE will take time. perhaps vow to do one of these today? i'm going paperless :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

friendship gratitude.

me & my bestie

last night was our friend's, Anu, birthday. what a lovely celebration with friends Top Chef style:
  • Anu-inspired dishes (we made blueberry pancakes with warmed apples and strawberries as per The Notebook)
  • amuse-bouche contest with veggie burgers
  • Erin's excellent raspberry mojitos
  • lots of laughter
**to see my award-winning amuse-bouche veggie burger bite, check me out on twitter: here!

Monday, April 12, 2010

what's your story?

the political fellowship i am completing is huge on messaging. and by messaging, i mean story telling.
[to really understand what i am talking about, watch this video where obama shares 2000 stories in 19 minutes.]

it took me some time to first (a) establish an issue i wanted to persuade people about and then (b) decide on a personal story to use to persuade. i eventually went with education and persuading people to vote for Arizona's one cent sales tax increase to support school funding (please vote may 18th phoenicians!).

once i settled on my issue, i had to decide on a story. so, here goes another round of practice:

"my name is joanna and i'm a teacher. last year, i had a student named jezzie. jezzie was your typical 8th grade girl: she was into fashion, she liked to flirt with the boys, and she secretly was a hard worker. you know those eighth graders, not wanting to appear nerdy so to lose their "cool" reputation. unfortunately, jezzie did not grow up with the same opportunities as some of her classmates. jezzie entered my classroom as an eighth grade student reading on a second grade level, and performing mathematically on about a fourth grade level. due to having many other needy adolescents, i did not have the opportunities i needed to be able to sit one-on-one with jezzie, like she needed. however, jezzie is not alone. in arizona, roughly thirty percent of all students are like jezzie - they need that extra time or attention, mathematics manipulatives, and class sizes under thirty. thanks to your yes votes last year on the bond override, i was granted the opportunity to attain a teaching assistant to work with jezzie, and the other jezzies in my classroom. together, working one-on-one and utilizing the resources we were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to acquire, we were able to bring jezzie to a sixth grade mathematics performance. without those opportunities, jezzie may have been left behind. without opportunities such as teaching assistants, classroom materials, and technological resources, all of the jezzies may end up falling behind in arizona. that's why, today, i am asking you to vote YES on May 18th for the one-cent sales tax increase in arizona. we need to ensure that students, like jezzie, are receiving the education they deserve. the education that grants them the opportunity to succeed in school, go on to college, and become productive members of our society. please vote yes on may 18th."

thoughts on where/how i could improve? did i convince you to vote yes?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

the clean program

i decided - after watching an episode of martha stewart a while back - to detox my body and allow for me to discover which foods don't interact well with my system. i bought this book, CLEAN, to help me along such a journey.
essentially, the program that i am completing lasts four days of intensive cleansing: breakfast and dinner are liquids (home-made fresh juices, smoothies, soups) with a solid lunch only eating foods on the "good" list. the "good" list avoids foods which have been known to have negative interactions with people's bodies [things such as: citrus, soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, certain types of meat, and processed foods].
i am officially on day 2. after day 4, you slowly (one-by-one) re-introduce foods that you would like to add back in to your diet and journal to see how your body reacts. currently, i am thinking about not adding back in wheat, eggs (at least, not in copious amounts), and processed soy. i already avoided most dairy and all meats except fish.
as far as day 2 goes, it's not a fast, so i haven't been too hungry. and i woke up this morning feeling quite refreshed. the juices and smoothies have been better than expected - great, actually - and the food has been flavorful. i could definitely keep this up!

i would definitely recommend that anyone who has gastrointestinal issues to try the clean program (if you would like, i could send you the list of foods to eat and to avoid and the links to the recipes so that you do not have to buy the book), or anyone open to adjusting their diet for the advantage of their health. i have already convinced my roommate, my friend, and my friend's roommate to do the clean program with me!

i will keep updating about which foods and/or meals i really enjoy and which foods i will begin to avoid.

new beginnings

have you ever looked at something that you have been looking at for years and finally realized how awkward/weird/awful/interesting/wonderful/your choice of adjective, here it was? that was what i did with my blog. i'm in this program hoping to find myself and to discover happiness, yet my blog kept calling me insane.

i'd prefer not to be insane.

thus, a new beginning. i gave in to the blog background bandwagon (like the alliteration?) and changed my title from the line marked insane to the meditation space.

you may wonder what the meditation space means. i could, of course, give you the dictionary definition of meditation, but that is so very 10th grade English papers. to me, however, the word meditation captures what i am attempting to do with my blog. share my thoughts. share what makes me wonder. share what, i hope, could make someone else think and meditate about what i am writing.

i hope you enjoy my meditations and enter into this new beginning with me.