Grab Bag Urban Race:
Ever seen the television contest show, The Amazing Race? Well, this is that show… for the rest of us. If you’ve ever fancied yourself a contestant on such a show but would rather pass on the global travel with a backpack, the camera crews, and 3 weeks out of your life, have I got something for you!
Click on the logo here to learn more about GUR
Coming to a city near you, the Great Urban Race wants YOU and a partner (or a “family” group with 1 member under the age of 18 forming a 2,3 or 4 person team) to team up and solve 12 clues to reach the finish line. As they say, “part adventure, part party”, these events are focused on fun, but offer some challenging and entertaining puzzles to solve.
Link to the website by clicking the logo above to see the schedule, look at sample puzzles, clues and challenges like these:
Top 25 finishing teams qualify for the National Championships on November 10th in Las Vegas. There is money involved ($50 per person entry fee, $300-$100 prizes for 1st three finishers, chance at $10,000 grand prize).
I gotta say, I am tempted.
How about you?
Grab Bag Tunnel Vision:
Metaphorically speaking, when we close our vision to everything but one goal, one target, we “lose sight” of “the bigger picture” and other possibilities that may lie on the horizon.
Here is an example of how our brain does just that, in a very literal sense.
Below, click on the image, and you will link to a page where you will see this image as a rotating array of blue crosses and 3 yellow dots. Fixate on the center (watch the flashing green spot). Note that the yellow spots disappear once in a while: singly, in pairs or all three simultaneously. In reality, the 3 yellow spots are continuously present, honest!
You can play with background color changes, size of dots, speed of rotation… and you’ll be surprised at how even large dots can disappear entirely when we have “tunnel vision”.
Metaphorical moral of the exercise…
Occasionally lift your gaze from your target and scan the horizons of life, or you just might miss something really obvious 🙂
Grab Bag Nutrition Tips:
Quoted here before, I will again pass on some wisdom from Michael Pollan, award winning (multiple and prestigious) author and UC Berkeley professor. Here, fitness coach Chelsea Bush adds some clarification and interpretation to some of Pollan’s most important rules:
Rule 13: “Eat only foods that will eventually rot”
Sometimes things become such a staple in our diet that we forget they aren’t actually food. When we stop eating real, rot-able food, it seems that we—just like the major food manufacturers—only care about the bottom line. But in our case, it’s the wrong bottom line… we go for the cheapest, fastest food we can find, with little regard to how it lowers our quality of life, or how much time and money we’ll pay later to fix the damage.
A few more rules of thumb for finding real food: “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t” and “shop the peripheries of the supermarket.”
Rule 48: “Consult your gut”
Pollan finds that we are visual eaters: we dish up according to the space we have to fill on the plate, not in our stomach. We also eat everything we’re given. That’s why dishes and portion sizes are getting bigger without protest from us. We’re being tricked into consuming more.
Today I stopped at a frozen yogurt place for a cup of frozen yogurt with fruit, but there were no cups—only 24-oz and 32-oz buckets. (A tricky way to get customers to take more, since they charge by weight!) I considered Pollan’s observation and put only a cup’s worth of yogurt and kiwis into my gigantic bowl.
When dishing out, Pollan says hunger, reason or hand size should be your guide: “eat when you’re hungry,” “stop before you’re full,” and “never eat a portion of animal protein bigger than your fist.”
Rule 60: “Treat treats as treats”
Food marketers want us to believe that we get pleasure from eating foods that are bad for us (the old “you deserve it” trick). Having one “cheat day” a week helps curb overindulgence.
Pollan also offers a more structured variation of the rule: “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets except on days that begin with the letter S.” If you must snack (I must), have dried fruits, granola or a handful of nuts. NOTE from LK: I snack a LOT… but always on nuts, dried cranberries, etc.
Grab Bag Tips and Tricks Part 2:
1. How to fold a fitted sheet:
2. Use hotel shower caps as impromptu shoe bags to keep dirty soles from rubbing on your clothes.
3. Add plastic cups into a muffin tin, securing with magnets in the bottom of the cups to prevent tipping, and you’ve got a great little arts and crafts caddy.
4. Label the mess of stereo or computer cords with bread tags:
5. Part cupcake, part ice cream cone, all fun… bake cupcakes directly in ice cream cones, top with ice cream:
6. There’s no magic to microwave popcorn…. put some kernels in a brown paper bag and nuke that bad boy… cheaper, healthier:
7. A tension rod can be installed in a closet or under a sink to hang spray bottle containers, saving shelf/floor space:
8. Make your own cookie bowls… flip over a muffin pan and place cookie dough over the tops and bake.. fill the cookie bowls with fruit or ice cream.
9. As summer approaches, if you still own an ice cube tray, fill with aloe vera gel and freeze to use to relieve sunburn pain (but all you readers are surely getting appropriate sun exposure and using healthy sunblock when needed, right?).
10. Go to your local home improvement store and grab some rain gutters, affix them to a sunny wall and enjoy a harvest of great veggies, safe from most pests and easy to tend.
Grab Bag Group Effort:
Gotta think THIS took some practice…
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Vocabulary is always a great thing to exercise, and the SAT prep is one of the best lingual workouts you might find. It’s not pretty and exciting… no bells and whistles… but it’s certainly worth some of your time to brush up on the richer side of vocab, without the stress of looming SAT scores haunting you at night.
Grab Bag Funny Stuff: