Nasty things people say behind your back


Since I spend one-third of my day at office, something happens here keeps coming back, against my will. Americans are famous for being polite on the surface. You almost never see direct confrontations or any exchange of harsh words. No, they make sure they behave perfectly.

But wait to hear what people say behind curtain. I hear that a lot before I moved to another office in April 2014. Once one colleague at one clinic, a so-called well-bred one, commented on another colleague up north office, “Who does she think she is! She is nothing. Absolutely nothing! She doesn’t have any education, no education at all.”

I felt both shocked and speechless when I heard her making this comment, especially when I remember how friendly she was in front of that colleague.

Humans!



Reading the book, “Where Good Ideas Come From”


Where Good Ideas Come From, by Steven Johnson. I started reading this book on 12/15/2014, Monday morning.

“The argument of this book is that a series of shared properties and patterns recur again and again in unusually fertile environments. I have distilled them down into seven patterns, each one occupying a separate chapter. The more we embrace these patterns–in our private work habits and hobbies, ino ur office environments, in the design of new software tools–the better we will be at tapping our extraordinary capacity for innovative thinking”

“In the language of complexity theory, these patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you are looking at the original innovations if carbib0based life, or the explosion of new software tools on the Web, the same shapes keep turning up. When life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are emergent and self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents.”



We don’t come to the office to make friends, then what?


I remember someone at work said this “We don’t come here to make friends.”

True. However, since we spend one-third of our days or our lives here, friends can make a difference in terms of how happy we are at work or what mood we are in here. You don’t want your life spent in a hostile environment, which is detrimental to your health.

Hence, for your precious health, it is your responsibility to make your working environment as less hostile as possible, even if making friends is not an option.

Always remember your happiness is in your hand. Take initiative instead of blaming others.



Thought of the day — No need to care what others think of you


When my manager learned of my applying for the IIT protocol writer and CM Specialist positions, she called last Thursday to make sure that I knew I needed to use my vacation hours for these internal job interviews, which I had known.

I don’t really want her to know that I am applying for these positions, because I know she doesn’t think highly of me. She might think… Well, I don’t even care what she or others think of me. It’s totally irrelevant to me.

Life is too short to waste on that sort of stuff. Go your own way and let others talk their talks.



Thought of the day — Life is a one way journey, forward only.


Life is a one way journey, forward only.
Make each step a solid one.
Make everyday count.
If you waste your time, don’t even regret.
Because regret itself is a waste of time.



Reading William Shakespeare, thought on adult world


There have been plenty of writings on Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Lately I kept thinking of one event in the play, that is, the age-old feud between the two families, Capulet and Montague. They have fought for so long with so many lives lost that they even don’t remember why they fought in the first place. I think of the term that was used here, bickering. The more I think about it, the more I find it extremely absurd and irrational. While the adult world is full of deep-rooted hatred and prejudices, the children’s world is one of love and many great possibilities. The questions that bother me is, what is it that turn children into prejudiced adults? what is it good for people to grow up losing their once childhood purity? How can we grow up and still keep that child in our heart? That is, how can adults be as pure and prejudice-free as the children?

10 quotes from Shakespeare:
(1) Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
(2) If music be the food of love, play on.
(3) Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
(4) There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
(5) A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
(6) If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we no die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
(7) Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.
(8) We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
(9) Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
(10) It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.



Words posted on my office wall


These words are posted underneath a shelf against the wall that only one person can see it, that is me, the person sitting by my desk everyday.

(1) Use time to create value and to add joy to life.
(2) No matter what happens, never lose your sense of purpose.
(3) Life is too short to live other people’s dream.
(4) Write something every day. Never underestimate the effect of your contribution.
(5) Be a friend to all who know you.

I didn’t post them all together. In fact, it took me a year to post them all here, though I forgot what occasions that had prompted me to post each of them. It is funny that I go to my office every day, thinking of the day when I don’t have to.

Yesterday, the person who would come to this office starting next year came over. For some reason, I don’t have a good feeling about the new arrival. But it is what it is. While I can’t control my environment, I can adopt a positive attitude, yes, by going back to these postings.



Somebody else is lacking of self-confidence or what?


We had meeting at 7 AM this morning. Any time we have meeting the next day, I always try to go to bed early so that I won’t either oversleep the next morning or appear tired at the meeting. But the more I try to sleep early, the more I fail to. Like last night, I went to bed before 10 PM and stayed awake after midnight.

One colleague of mine seems rather awkward dealing with me. That person just doesn’t seem natural when it comes to me. I don’t know why. A guilty feeling for what she has done behind my back or something else that I am not aware of. She is keenly aware of my strong background, my potential and my publications.

The only thing I know is she acts like she has not noticed me every time I come in and keeps on talking with others or appears busy doing something, when she does not behave this way with other people. I mean she would interrupt her chat and rush out a quick “Hi” when others come in. If it happened once, I would not have noticed it as I am such a careless person. But it is this way almost every time. Strangely funny how adults behave so awkward and lacking of self-confidence. Today it came too obvious not to be noticed. She blurted out a “Good morning, [a person’s name]” to that person who came in about the same time as I did. Why ignores me? No idea.

Ha-ha! Do I care? Absolutely not. Life moves on, with or without it, ’cause life is too important to be wasted on trivial like this. I thought it too funny that I have to share it here. All kinds of birds in the forest indeed!



Because positive is the only way out


This week I have been waiting for words from the hiring manager. She told me a decision would be made during the first week of December. I began to lose hope as the week went by. I knew I would be contacted the first of the week if I got the offer. If not, I might hear from the hiring manager later this week.

Indeed, I got an email from the hiring manager today saying an offer was made and was accepted yesterday. Well, in fact, it came not as a surprise. I was sort of expecting something on this line. In fact, I was prepared for this.

Still the day seemed suddenly dark after I read the email around 1 PM today. I was at west today. The busy and somehow unpleasant experience there with the monitor enhanced the gloomy mood that I carried for the rest of the day.

I guess no matter how much I have prepared, I still need some time to get over the disappointment of the rejection. I still need to remind myself “With or without an offer, I remain the same.”

I am going to reply to the hiring manager with a very positive note. Because being positive is the only way out.



With or without an offer, I remain the same


Yesterday, 11/18/2014, I went to have a job interview for a protocol manager position. The interview was set up for 30 minutes. Before we knew it, it was after 4 PM.

We had a good time chatting about our experiences as PhD. candidate. Both of us are PhD holders. Both had some circumstances which made it more difficult for us to achieve our goals. Eventually both have earned the degree within the given time frame.

It has been a long time since I talked to someone who has been there and who truly appreciates what I have been through in order to get that degree.

She told me it was going to be very competitive as there were three very strong internal candidates. I am not very hopeful that I would get this position. Still, I have enjoyed the process.

My daughter called tonight asking about the interview. I want to tell her that, for me, with or without the offer, I remain unchanged. I am still on the track with my plan.



Listening to “The Road of Life” filmed by David Lindberg


This is narrated in this short video clip.

Each journey requires an understanding of the essential:
what do we bring,
what do we leave behind,

what helped us soar yesterday,
that might hold us back today,
choices written and re-written,
changing by the second,
not that simple, external like destination.

These are the decisions of soul, character and essence. Because it’s not where we are going that defines us truly. It’s how we go there. From the first and the last of ….that is the epics of our lives.

And if we are lucky, there are special characters in this epic, co-conspirators that we share the spoilers of our great tasks, the partner of today, tomorrow and onward into the days beyond, for our best, our worst, … and the knowledge that together, we make each trip an adventure and enjoy every moment of the journey.”



A Chinese from Qinghua Living in One place for 23 years


I went to Leawood library today, trying to get some books on Python so that I could be of some help if my daughter needs. There I met another Chinese couple, who have a rather unique immigrant experience.

Her first name is Wei, the micro wei, last name being the same as my son’s girlfriend. They came to the United States with their 8-year-old daughter. Now the girl is 31 years old, working in Washington, DC as a lawyer.

There are many places that mark them as rather unique. First, they live in an apartment complex around 89 street and Troost in Kansas City, MO, where many Chinese, for the cheap rent, used to live when they first came to this area. Now they are the only Chinese family living in that area. In fact, they have been living in that place since they came here 23 years ago!

When looking back, I have moved from Texas to Ohio, to Indiana, to Virginia, then finally to Kansas, and I plan to move again after my daughter settles somewhere in a few years. I can’t imagine living in one place for so long, especially in this adopted land. Of course, people are different.

Secondly, Wei who has been here for so long can hardly speak English. How could this be? Well, I am surprised but passing no judgment. She told me how her husband switched major from physics to computer because he couldn’t find a job with physics, how he was laid off twice, last one in 2008, and now works at Cerner, and how he still was worried about his job security. She also said they only supported their daughter’s college expenses and let the girl go through law school with loan and other means.

Thirdly, she said her husband came to this library to attend a Qinhua alumnus gathering. A guy from Qinhua stays in that kind of apartment for 23 years and was struggling to keep his job. They look like near retirement age.

For a moment I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t able to link Qinghua graduate to what I am seeing here. To me, people who can get into Qinghua are very brilliant, like those people here who can get into Princeton or Harvard. I expect they will soar and fly high.

I can’t forget the encounter so I share it here. I know there are something wrong with my way of thinking.



Golden Rules, no matter where you work


Just do it
I will translate it into English later.



I met another first generation, over-educated Chinese at my workplace


Tim recommended me to Lai on 7/18/2014 when I was thinking of getting into cancer registry, a job where you can work remotely. I would like to be able to work from home.

I was told she had lots of grant and would be in much better position to get me in. I still remember SML, currently teaching at the department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health and the director of… Cancer Registry. She asked me for my resume on 7/28/2014, which I sent immediately and was waiting with great hope because of what I perceived as some “advantages.” She has my published articles and knows what I am doing right now.

Three months passed and I have not heard from her ever since when I thought she was like me in many aspects and would do much better than this.

Here are the similarities between us:
(1) Both of us are Chinese
(2) Both of us are first generation immigrants
(3) Both of us are way over-educated than our peers — she got her BA in economics in 1979, two master degrees from Ohio in Accounting and from Pennsylvania in statistics, and finally a PhD from Pittsburgh in epidemiology in 1992. Wow, a rare thing among Americans.
(4) Both of us, as the first generation immigrants, have undergone decades of struggle in our adopted land to gain a foot stand here.

She has been there and knows all the hardships involved in getting to where she is now. She knows my potentials and my skills, yet she chooses to let me pass doing nothing when she is in the position to do something.

People are different. So I cannot expect kindness from everybody. This I know. To say I am not disappointed is a lie. I will remember Sue— so that I will try to be different from her–helping out whenever I can. I will never forget where I come from.



Man proposes, God disposes. Don’t wait. Take initiative


Last Friday, 10/24/2014, a position was announced at our monthly meeting. I was excited over the news. I wrote to someone saying that I would like to write to the hiring manager to express my interest, even though the job has not been posted. I was advised not to appear too eager and that I should wait till it was posted online. So I didn’t do anything until this morning when I decided to go ahead and do something. I don’t think appearing eager can have any impact on the hiring. This is what I wrote to the hiring manager.

Hi …,
I have been thinking of writing to you since last Friday’s CTO meeting that announced the opening of a protocol writer position. I am greatly interested in this position and would like to know more about the responsibilities and challenges involved.
Thank you,

If nothing ever comes out of it, well, my bad luck and I am not going to lose sleep on this bet. Life just moves on and so am I.

Man proposes, God disposes. I have to take initiative to make things happen. Nobody can help but myself. It is already the end of October. Hopefully, there are some changes before year ends. Only two months left for this year!

I recorded this piece for my children. Don’t wait. Take initiative.



Helping a miserable being…


This is what happened yesterday after work when I was at the gas station on Holmes a little north of highway 435. An elderly lady with her car hood popped up was moving around and her car parked at one spot where people normally fill the gas. She kept popping up and down the car hood. I thought there might be something wrong with her car, that is, her car would not start or something on that line.

I drove in front of her car to take up another spot. While I was filling the gas to my highlander, I heard her talking over the phone to her child, loudly.

This is her story. She was obviously handicapped when she moved around. Her face reveals a life of hardships, miseries, poor health, anything you want to avoid. Her husband was admitted into hospice, dying of AIDS. She spent all the money on her husband’s medical expenses. Now she ran out of money after she spent all on her car. She didn’t even have money to buy grocery. There was a toddler in her car, whom she also kept talking to. She was talking and crying, and kept going to grab car wash paper towel for her nose and eyes. She is a total picture of sadness and dejection, reminding me of Hugo’s novel les misérables. I kept thinking “How could anyone fall into this wretched state of living in today’s world?”

I knew I must do something before I drove away from her. I reached out to my purse and gave her a $20 bill that I normally kept for emergency. She grabbed my hand to express her gratitude. Honestly, her hands looked very unclean.

As I drove away, I saw her starting her car and was leaving, too. My heart was too full to think of anything. Now when I looked back, it was obvious that there was nothing wrong with her car. Most likely she was there begging for help.

There should be many government agencies that take care of people like them. At least I know there are many food banks serving them who cannot put food on the table. What else does she need if food is not the issue? Drug or what? I don’t want to think about it. I can’t imagine people can mess up their lives so miserably.



“You are most beautiful when you smile”


My heart sank when I went there again,
When, a year ago, my daughter insisted,
“Mommy, get yourself a new clothes.”

“Me? No,” I told her,
“Old and ugly needs no new clothes.”
“Uh-uh,” she protested,
“You are most beautiful when you smile.”

A daughter’s bias took me back 20 years, when
My sisters asked my son, 5-year-old,
“Who’s the most beautiful of us three?”
“My mom,” he answered without looking.

“I mean it,” my daughter kept saying,
“I wish I had your smile. I do.”

“Keep smiling,”
Now, she reminds me from her Boston dorm.

“My sweetest daughter, I will, because
Forever, your word will warm up my heart.

PS. when I shared it with a friend of mine, he said, “Your daughter is right, smile is beauty… You know it for long, but when it comes from your daughter’s voice, it tastes better.”



The Power of Reflection … key to high achievement in all domains


On 9/14/2014, one day after my birthday, I thought I would spoil myself a little bit by spending an afternoon at Barnes & Noble’ bookstore. I often visited this place when my daughter was home. This was the first time that I went there since she left. A strange feeling.

Among others, I read this one “The Power of Reflection: Insight into our own thoughts, or metacognition, is key to high achievement in all domains,” by Stephen M. Fleming, on Scientific American Mind 25, Sept-Oct 2014. Here are the main ideas.

1. Metacognition is the ability to make judgments about our own thoughts—for example, assessing whether a memory is accurate or a decision is appropriate.

2. People vary in the accuracy of their metacognition. Certain psychological disorders, including dementia and schizophrenia, can impair this ability.

3. Several strategies appear to shore up metacognition, including meditation and taking breaks while studying to reflect on one’s own learning.



Whatever your goals are in college, do something to make it happen


Reading Time magazine, 9/22/2014 issue, “10 Questions, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.”

Q: If you are stuck picking up dry cleaning, what’s the best way to ask your boss to take you more seriously?
A: Say, “I love this company. I love this job. I am willing to do anything, because I am that kind of person. I do want to make sure I am progressing and taking on things that are going to challenge me more. Can you walk me through the things I need to demonstrate so I can earn more responsibility?”

Q: Why do you think women are so afraid of making mistakes?
A: When men make mistakes, they don’t internalize it as their fault, so it doesn’t hurt them as much. Because gender makes us overestimate male performance and underestimate female performance, we have more tolerance for men’s mistakes.

Q: How should college women balance exploring different interests with focusing on career goals?
A: It can be either, but you have to be explicit. Maybe you want to use college to …. But don’t let life happen– make it happen.

In other word, no matter what your goals are, do something to make it happen.



Pray is to focus, to trust, and to surrounder yourself…


When you are disturbed by something or somebody, focus on yourself, instead of on someone or something that disturbs you in the first place.

When you find yourself helplessly locked in a seemingly hard-to-change undesirable lifestyle, the best tactic is pray. Pray is to focus, to trust, and to surrounder yourself. It forces you to look inward and connects you to your inner self.



“Keep a Poem in Your Pocket” By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers


I wrote it in my notebook a long long ago, so long that I even forgot when I ever copied it. I must love it at that time when I copied it. My handwriting was still neat and clear. Here’s the whole poem. Hope you like this one.

“Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.

The little poem will sing to you
the little picture bring to you
a dozen dreams to dance to you
at night when you’re in bed.

So–
Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.”



A simple division of labor in the world…


I am not busy at office, which is a good thing. Because I will have more time for myself to do what I enjoy.

I used to enjoy helping people at other sites, but I have changed my mind after I learned from the manager that one colleague of mine complained of the mistakes that I made while helping her, saying that I had created more work for her than not doing it at all. This is of course a very unfair judgment. I made no attempt to argue with her. Peace, this is all I want.

I finally figure out this simple division of labor under the sun: your job, other people’s job, and God’s job.

The world would be a wonderful place if you only focus on your job and let others and God take care of theirs.



How a man should treat his wife


This should be nothing but common sense to all men. The fact it is posted online in Chinese and passed around as a popular post emphasizes the severe and sad lack of it. I translate it to English for my son and will forward it to him someday.

A man says to his wife.
“I am thankful to you, because
— you agree to be part of my life. You might not be the perfect one in my life, but you are the only one.
— You agree to allow me to be part of your life. I might not be the perfect one in your life, but I will try my best.
— You love me. You might not be the first one I fell in love, but you are the last and the best one.
— You allow me to love you. I might not be the first one you fell in love, but I am confident that I am the last and the most loved one.

“I respect
— your way of thinking, even if you think differently from I.
— your expression of love, even though it might not be the best one.
— your family, even though I value my family more than do yours.
— your privacy, even though I want to know more than you want to share.
— your friends, even though I don’t know them.
— your hobbies and interests, even if I don’t enjoy them.



10 Principles for problem solving


Continue note sharing.

I know there are many ways of attacking a problem. Here’s something that I wrote years ago. I think they still help.

1) Don’t underestimate
2) Don’t exaggerate
3) Don’t wait
4) Don’t aggravate
5) Do illuminate and describe what it is
6) Do motivate
7) Do set date for keeping problem under control
8) Do communicate
9) Do insulate and isolate
10) Do Divide and conquer



The Promise of America, …


“To every man his chance, to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining golden opportunity–to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him–this, seeker, is the promise of America.”
from The Promise of America, Thomas Wolfe



A man is what he thinks about all day long


Continue my note sharing.

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind. — William James

A man is what he thinks about all day long. — Emerson

The first step towards philosophy is incredulity.” –Diderot

There will never be another now–I’ll make the most of today.
There will never be another me–I’ll make the most of myself.

For winners, life consists not in getting more but in being more and knowing more.
Winners do not get their security by controlling others. They do not set themselves up to lose.

There is never a scarcity of opportunity; there is a scarcity of resolution and determination to realize your dream.

I have many responsibilities, but I don’t worry about them. I plan, I work hard, but I don’t get anxious about results.

Children who grow up without hearing no from their parents will be terribly brittle when they have to take no from life itself–and worse, they will have a hard time saying no to themselves.

The very best way to change someone is to begin with your own example. You behave in the way you expect others to behave.

“To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons” or cook dinners or clean their bathroom. — Marilyn French



Never think of yourself as failing…no matter how badly things are


Continue from sharing my notes.

Have a self you respect.
Turn disappointments into strength.
Enjoy life’s process, not just life’s rewards.

Marx’s favorite maxim — “Nothing human is alien to me.”
His favorite motto — “One must doubt of everything.”

Become involved in something bigger than yourself.

Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade…Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image…always picture success, no matter how badly things are.

If your mind tells you that you are tired, the body mechanism, the nerves, and the muscles accept the facts. If your mind is intensely interested, you can keep on at an activity indefinitely… By supplying attitudes of faith to the mind, it can increase energy.

Do what you love; Focus on what you do. But be detached from the results while you are doing it.

According to your faith in yourself, according to your faith in your job…this far will you get and no further.

The greatest factor in any undertaking is one’s belief about it.

Keep calm. Tension blocks the flow of thinking power. Your brain cannot operate efficiently under stress.



Happy birthday to the best mom!


Happy birthday 09132014

On 9/9/2014, I told my daughter that “I must do something that will make both of you proud of.” Yes, I am still trying to be a good mom to both of them.



Men fail because of lack of dogged determination, from lack of dauntless will


More from my previous reading notes,

“Man ultimately decides for himself! And in the end, education must be education toward the ability to decide.” — Viktor Frankle

Achieving autonomy is the ultimate goal in transactional analysis. Being autonomous means being self-governing, determining one’s own destiny, taking responsibility for one’s own actions and feelings, and throwing off patterns that are irrelevant and inappropriate to living in the here and now.”

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear of newer and richer experiences.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.” — Henry Adams

Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.” — T.W. Higginson

“The man who has daily inured himself to habits of concentration, attention, energetic volition and self-denial in unnecessary things, will stand like a tower when everything rocks around him, and when his softer fellow-mortals are winnowed like chaff in the blast.” — William James

“Most men fail, not through lack of education, but from the lack of dogged determination, from lack of dauntless will.” — O.S. Marden

The secret of Victor Hugo is his stupendous energy and self-confidence, enabling him to hurl the whole of himself into whatever he has on hand.

No doubt his egoism was monstrous, but a man who thought less well of himself could not have risen,…to heights at which he seems to be expressing.

We build up the feeling of insecurity or security by how we think.

Practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what…

“They conquer who believe they can.” — Emerson



Karl Marx, still a hero in my mind


I felt excited when I read this paragraph during my youth years. Today, the paragraph still serves as a reminder. That is, I should not waste time, my precious life, on trivial in life.

“Man’s dearest possession is life, and it is given to him but once. He must live so as to feel no torturing regrets for years without purpose, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, when dying, he can say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world…” — Karl Marx

“Man’s mind stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.” –O.W. Holmes



Einstein on reading


how to read

When you read, try to find out the part that can challenge you to think deep and get rid of the rest. This way you can unburden your brain and avoid distractions.



Things you should avoid doing when you are sad or depressed


(1) Clean your room or house. The old stuffs can remind you of the past which is here no more. It can only aggravate your sadness. The best thing to do is to leave the place that is associated with the past and get into a place totally new and unrelated.

(2) Look at old pictures. In fact, stay away from anything that is associated with the past. Don’t do this unless you think you are not depressed enough.

(3) Keep everything to yourself. Instead, find some outlets, like sharing your feeling with your friends or someone who faces similar situation. A great camaraderie is very essential here.

(4) Lock yourself in your room. The isolation only serves to make you more focus on your sad sorry existence, which is suicidal. Don’t do that.

(5) Writing can be cathartic and therapeutic to some people, but essentially writing is a lonely act. It sometimes makes me feel worse. If you are like me, stay away from writing until you think you feel better.



Reading Russell’s The Philosophy of Logical Atomism


I had nearly the whole weekend doing cleaning both inside and outside the house. Yard work is back-breaking, made especially miserable under the hot weather. Indoor cleaning is physically comfortable but emotionally painful. I am more dreadful of indoor cleaning because the sight of old stuffs brings back memories of the past when both of my children were small and with me. I’d rather either leave things as they are or throw them all out of door. But I can’t do either of them.

In one corner, I found a notebook that I wrote in 1994, exactly 20 years ago. Oh boy, time flies! To be sure, the notebook is filled with reading notes. Here are one of them.

“…I think on the whole that the sort of method adopted by Descartes is right: that you should set to work to doubt things and retain only what you cannot doubt because of its clearness and distinctness, not because you are sure not to be induced into error, for there does not exist a method which will safeguard you against the possibility of error.”
–Bertrand Russell



How to live with less material, part 3


7 habits that help keep things to minimum

1. Don’t take. If it is free, it is perhaps not valuable.
2. Don’t buy. Impulsive buy seldom bring long-lasting joy
3. Don’t store.
4. Abandon. Old books, magazines, beautiful packaging, etc.
5. Replacement. If you only use it once a year, don’t buy it. Create a temporary one to avoid another addition to the house.
6. Borrow or rent. If you cannot make it by yourself, consider borrow or renting.
7. It’s ok not to have it all. Before any purchase, ask yourself if the new purchase makes real difference in your life.



How to live with less material, part 2


Here are more details from yesterday’s posting.
26 ways to a life unburdened by materials. Note I only copy 24 of them.

On material and money,
1. Simple and creative. Don’t allow materials block your vision.
2. Beauty of nothing. Say goodbye to useless materials and to your past.
3. Going minimum. Get rid of the habit of storing stuffs
4. Pay forward. Give your stuffs to those in Get rid of the habit of not wanting to give.
5. A little makes a big loss. Small purchases build up a mountain of hard-to-removed stuffs
6. Avoid impulsive buy. Listen to your clean soul. Do you really like and need it?
7. You are what you buy. It’s not the matter of thrift but of choice.
8. Choose natural beauty instead of using accessories.
9. Choose minimum life cost instead of constantly seeking for higher living standard.
10. Find your best fit instead of chasing fashions.

On work
11. Make your time creative and learn to find point of creativity in your work. Leave the job you are not good at.
12. Focus on the task on hand instead of trying for multi-tasking
13. Look at yourself. Don’t over- and under-estimate yourself.
14. Sing for one if that’s the right one, instead of following the crowd.
15. No change, no future. Don’t use other people’s rule to restrict you. It is you who eventually restrict you.
16. Trust your instinct, instead of relying on the old map.
17. Now is the time. Now is the chance. No procrastination.
18. Be a specialist instead of a jack-of-all trades and good at none.

On health,
19. Rise and shine. No midnight candle burning. The key of a day is in the morning
20. Be hungry and rest. Avoid poor quality slumber.
21. A hungry dog hunts best. Don’t overeat.
22. Be yourself. Don’t be a slave of other’s opinions.
23. You are what you say. Get rid of profanities.
24. Studying is a tool. Do not study for the sake of study.



How to live with less material


duan-she-li

Going minimum
A little makes a big loss
You are what you buy
Make your time creative
Focus on the main task
Look at yourself. Don’t overestimate yourself
Sing for one instead of following the majority
Follow your own pace
You are the only restriction on yourself
Trust your instinct
Now is the time. Don’t procrastinate.
Be a specialist, not an all-arounded
Rise and shine. Avoid staying late
Be hungry and sleep well
A hungry dog hunts best
Be yourself
You are what you say. No dirty language
Studying is just a tool, not an end
Don’t take.
Don’t buy.
Don’t store
Give up
Replace
Borrow
Ok to do without

— More details tomorrow



Take a break and leave room for your brain to think and imagine


On the evening of 6/29, I was reading while my daughter was on the computer doing her project. It was this way for many evenings. Before I left for bed, I told her, “You need to give your brain a break after some times. If you spend all the time on the computer, you leave no time for your brain to think, digest, create and imagine…”

This is what I want to say to many people, especially younger generation. Their time on the computer is way too long to be good and healthy to them.



Use your time to create value, to add joy to your life


Use your time to create value and to add joy to your life.
I post these words on the wall in my office, initially to remind myself not to waste time. On 8/26/14, I looked at these words again and found it extra helpful when something unpleasant cropped up.

I shared something on patient locations with a colleague of mine, thinking she might need it. Instead of showing gratitude, she wrote back, “Do you seriously think I don’t know where these patients are? Give me a break…” I wrote back, “…I don’t know, so I dug them out and just thought of sharing with you…” Obviously, sharing is not always welcome and offering to share can be a slap on your face.

I don’t know how that colleague of mine feels after saying these words. For me, I feel like totally wasting time when I thought I was creating values and adding joy to my life by helping others. I guess I have made a poor judgment when I was trying to be nice and helpful.

In this culture, the best route to happiness is to focus on your own happiness, keeping your eyes and nose off anybody else… Call it selfish. You have to be this way in this extremely individualistic culture.



Key to happiness — void of too many desires


what is happiness

I will get back to this later with some explanation.



A father sending his son off to college


If you feel a sense of loss or overwhelmed with sadness when you have to say goodbye to your child, you will find many parents, be they famous or not famous, share your feeling. I read this piece today, Rob Lowe on sending his son off to college. It is a very touching one, well articulated, though a bit long when the author keeps flashing back to his childhood.

It is nearly a week since my daughter left for Boston. I still could not hold back tears when this morning I opened refrigerator and found blueberry that she likes and we bought for her. Everyday when I drive back home, passing their high school, the memory of going there always come back, hurting me. I don’t remember how many times I cried when I entered an empty house after work.

I told my son “No worry. Time will heal it all.” But as we age, the past is so much present and that past is no more. It seems time won’t do the trick, unless we lose memory of the dear-departed past.

Of course, that will be a terrible thing because that means senior dementia. It’s better to be tortured by the past memories than by any disease of this type. For now, I try to behave well as I know what my children expect me now.



Keep the spirit up…


“What I like most about change is that it is a synonym for hope. If you are taking risk, what you are really saying is ‘I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.‘”
— Linda Ellerbee, an American journalist



The more they walk, the farther away they are from us


The more they walk the farther away they are.
A friend of mine emailed me this 4 characters.
Indeed, the more the children walk, the further away and the more independent they are from us. We will have to live with the reality of a life without them being close by like before.

When I tried to focus on the future, I realized the future would not be as joyful as the past and the past has passed forever. Nothing’s the same. The older we become, the more we realize the past is more present than the present, determined by the biological based matter, which is our past-dominant memory.



My daughter has spent this summer with us, a true luxury


This morning we left for the airport at 7. My daughter would fly to Boston, where she would meet two of her college friends. From Boston, she will go to New York City on 8/19 to stay at her brother’s apartment. She will go back to Boston on 8/28.

Even before she left, I realized it was a true luxury to have her at home this summer, one that I don’t think I will be able to indulge next year and the years after. I am so glad she has decided to spend this summer with us, more than three months, even though this is not her first choice.

The fall semester won’t start until after September. I let her go early because I know she will have a great time with two of her great friends and of course with her brother and his girlfriend. I understand how young people are, that is, they will have hugely more fun with their friends than with their parents. I remember how things were when I was her age.

I miss her so much now.



It is hard to trust anyone you don’t know, really?


Never-trust-writing-to-anyone-that-I-dont-know
Yesterday I sent this email to someone who is doing the same work but at another location of the place where I work. Since both of us have to prepare for the coming audit and they have this kind of audit before, I thought I might learn something by reaching out to see how they prepare for it.

After a few hours, my boss called me regarding this email and inform me how improper it was for me to write to that person instead of directing any question to my boss, making me feel like having committed a big blunder. To say I was mildly disturbed is an understatement. This morning I wrote to that person, cc my boss and the senior director of the whole department:

“I am sorry that I wrote to the wrong person yesterday.
I want to make sure there is no misunderstanding regarding my email to you. Please understand there is nothing personal and entirely professional.

I want you to understand the reasons I wrote to you:
(1) You are the first … on the research contact list. I am your counterpart on the … side. I was asking my counterparts on … sides work related questions.

(2) I thought people at WW had experience with … audit and I might be able to learn something by reaching out to my colleagues. I wasn’t expecting anything more.

(3) There WAS some confusion on our end. Don’t worry there IS no confusion NOW.

Please, next time, I would appreciate it tremendously —
(1) if you don’t know the answer, simply reply to me by saying “I don’t know.”
(2) please INCLUDE me in the Cc.. line if you decide to forward MY EMAIL to anyone else. I appreciate a culture of openness and integrity above anything else.”

Guess what? This person wrote back saying — “No need to apologize to me” He truly believes I was apologetic and even offers to help next time. Yeah right, I still trust writing to anyone at all. What a joke! What a culture! I get into trouble even by asking someone in the same work place some work related questions. A disgusting workplace!



They will provide you lifelong benefits


two of each

Frequent two places throughout your life: playground and library.
Able to go through hardships and endure grievances.
Possess both dreams or goals and the will power to reach your goal
Two best doctors in life are: exercise and optimism
The key to good health is in the morning; the key to success is in the evening.



Tips on shoe buying


I got this from Harvard Medical School newsletter. I might have posted this one before as it was published on 7/11/2013, over a year ago, “8 tips for buying shoes that are good to your feet.” Still, before I delete it from my inbox, I’d like to share it here, even if it means second time around.

“Buying the right shoes is an investment in foot health. But how do you find ones that fit properly and provide adequate support?

Start with your own feet, and look at what’s already in your closet. Stand barefoot on a piece of paper or cardboard, and trace the shape of each foot. Now take your shoes, one by one, and place them on top of the drawing. If you’re like most people, your “comfortable” shoes will closely match the outline of your own feet.

Identify the shoes that cause pain. If you’re a woman, most of these will be shoes with narrow toes or high heels. Check to see if the toe of the shoe is narrower or shorter than your own toes.

When you’re ready to replace some of that uncomfortable footwear, these tips can help:
1. Wait until the afternoon to shop for shoes — your feet naturally expand with use during the day and may swell in hot weather.

2. Wear the same type of socks that you intend to wear with the shoes.

3. Have the salesperson measure both of your feet — and get measured every time you buy new shoes. If one foot is larger or wider than the other, buy a size that fits the larger foot.

4. Stand in the shoes. Make sure you have at least a quarter- to a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

5. Walk around in the shoes to determine how they feel. Is there enough room at the balls of the feet? Do the heels fit snugly, or do they pinch or slip off? Don’t rationalize that the shoes just need to be “broken in” or that they’ll stretch with time. Find shoes that fit from the start.

6. Trust your own comfort level rather than a shoe’s size or description. Sizes vary from one manufacturer to another. And no matter how comfortable an advertisement claims those shoes are, you’re the real judge.

7. Feel the inside of the shoes to see if they have any tags, seams, or other material that might irritate your feet or cause blisters.

8. Turn the shoes over and examine the soles. Are they sturdy enough to provide protection from sharp objects? Do they provide any cushioning? Also, take the sole test as you walk around the shoe store: do the soles cushion against impact? 9. Try to walk on hard surfaces as well as carpet to see how the shoe feel.



Healthy lifestyle helps you stay young even under stress


This is from medpage today, “Healthy Behaviors May Help Stressed Cells Stay Young”
8/2/2014

“In healthy women followed for over 1 year, accumulation of major life stressors predicted telomere attrition. Women who maintained relatively higher levels of health behaviors appeared to be protected when exposed to stress.

Major life stressors appear to be associated with significant acceleration of cellular aging over a relatively short period of time, but engaging in healthy behaviors such as eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may mitigate that effect, a study showed.

While telomere length did not change drastically over the course of the year in the majority of women, there was still a significant amount of change and that change was predicted by life stressors and modifiable healthy behaviors.

The findings support the idea that stressful events can quickly lead to acceleration of immune cell aging in adults and that healthy behaviors can protect cells from this assault, Puterman said.

“In our sample of participants who were eating well, sleeping well, and exercising regularly over the course of the year, the amount of stress they experienced did not seem to impact telomere length,” he told MedPage Today.”



A few things that you can do to boost your energy


This is what I just read today from Harvard Medical School newsletter, just as I was getting tired and feeling the need for re-charging.

Want more energy? Here’s what really helps
We all get tired from time to time, but fatigue tends to become more common as we get older. Assuming your doctor has ruled out medical causes for persistent fatigue, there are a few basic steps you can take to feel more energetic day to day.

(1) Pace yourself. Instead of burning though all your battery life in two hours, spread it out between morning tasks, afternoon tasks, and evening activities — with rest and meals in between.

(2) Take a walk or a nap. A short power nap can restore energy, but if you struggle to get enough sleep at night, napping can make insomnia worse. Rather than take a siesta, get moving. Get up and walk around the block, or just move around. If you are not an insomniac, though, enjoy that 20- to 30-minute power nap.

(3) Skip most supplements. There is no evidence that energy-boosting or “anti-aging” supplements work. In particular:
— DHEA. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that’s naturally produced by the adrenal glands. There is absolutely no evidence that that DHEA provides any benefit. And you especially shouldn’t be buying it from ads in the back of a magazine, because you don’t know what’s in it.
— Iron. Iron is only beneficial if you are clearly deficient, which a doctor can check with a blood test. Unless you are low in iron, you don’t need to take it, and getting too much iron can be harmful.
— B vitamins. It is true that B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, B12) help the body convert food into the form of energy that cells can burn, but it’s a myth that taking in more B vitamins supercharges your cells.

(4) Eat long-lasting fuel. Your body burns through sugars and highly processed carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice, or prepared bakery goods, more rapidly than protein and the carbohydrates in whole grains. Instead, try low-fat yogurt with a sprinkling of nuts, raisins, and honey. Your body will take in the carb-fiber-protein mix more gradually. To really sustain yourself over the course of the day, eat a breakfast and a lunch that include complex carbohydrates and protein.

(5) Don’t skip meals. It’s better to evenly space your meals out so your body gets the nourishment it needs all through the day.



College “should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life”


I read this article not long ago, “Ivy League miseducation,” by By Anthony Zurcher. Here’s part of it.

“In a lengthy article in the latest issue of the New Republic, former Yale associate professor (and Columbia graduate) William Deresiewicz says that the prestigious private colleges dotting the US, particularly in the Northeast, are creating a class of entitled ‘zombies’.

The author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to Meaningful Life, writes:

Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.’

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them.’ William Deresiewicz The New Republic.

Ivy League colleges and their ilk, says Deresiewicz, have created an education-industrial complex that processes the children of privilege from cradle to diploma and beyond.

‘The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them,’ he writes. ‘The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk.’

College shouldn’t be this way, Deresiewicz writes. Instead of four years of career training, it should be preparation for a thoughtful, well-examined life.”

It is a very good article, much worth reading and thinking…



More on strength training… how to get more out of it


Focus on form, not weight.
Good form means aligning your body correctly and moving smoothly through an exercise. Poor form can cause injuries and hinder strength gains because you aren’t isolating muscles properly. Start with very light weights because I want them to get their alignment and form right. “It’s good to start off using light to moderate weight when learning an exercise routine.” Concentrate on performing slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group. You isolate a muscle group by holding your body in the position specified for each exercise while consciously contracting and releasing certain muscles.

Tempo, tempo. Control is important.
Tempo helps you stay in control and avoid undercutting gains through relying on momentum. And sometimes switching speed — for example, lowering for three counts and lifting for one count instead of taking two counts for each — can enhance power.

Breathe.
Blood pressure rises if you hold your breath while performing strength exercises. Exhale as you work against gravity (when you’re lifting, pushing, or pulling); inhale as you relax.

Challenge your muscles.
Choose a weight that tires the targeted muscle or muscles by the last two reps while still allowing you to maintain good form. If you can’t do the last two reps, choose a lighter weight. When it feels too easy to complete all the reps, challenge your muscles again by adding weight (roughly 1 to 2 pounds at a time for arms, 2 to 5 pounds for legs); adding a set to your workout (up to three sets per exercise); or working out additional days per week (as long as you rest each muscle group for 48 hours between strength workouts). If you add weight, remember that you should still be able to do all the reps with good form and the targeted muscles should feel tired by the last two reps.

Practice regularly.
A complete upper- and lower-body strength workout two or three times a week is ideal.

Give muscles time off.
Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. Muscles grow stronger as the tears knit up. Always allow at least 48 hours between sessions for muscles to recover. You can always do “split sessions” — for example, you might do upper body on Monday, lower body on Tuesday, upper body on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday, etc.

From Harvard medical school newsletter.



Reading on how to write well, part 2


You want to engage your audience, not completely overwhelm them, … The more you write, the more you will learn to walk this fine line between effective display and use of your writerly knowledge and simply showing off–something that is likely to turn off your audience and not help you in achieving your ultimate goal.

The trick, as a writer, is to know for whom you’re writing and what it is you’re trying to convey.

One of the most important factors in good writing is the writer’s understanding of the nature of his or her audience. Perhaps even more important is understanding what particular information you need or want to convey to your audience…you have to know what you want to say, how to say it, and why you want to say it.

When you write, you construct not only an authorial persona, but you also construct an audience.

When you write essay, you want to make your opening as effective and engaging as possible so that people will keep reading.



Reading on how to write well, part 1


Here are some notes that I took on how to write well.

Great writers are always great readers.

The elements of successful writing are insightful reading, careful research, and rigorous analytical thinking. Successful writing requires us to develop active-analytical reading strategies as opposed to passive-receptive reading habits.

Active, insightful reading empowers us to more effectively evaluate and interpret the meaning of what we read.

Writing, when it’s done well, is never just words on a page–good writing invites interaction. The reader engages with the words, interacts with the language and ideas of the author.

Moving beyond the initial reaction (like or dislike) can allow you to appreciate even writing that you might not really like. It can help you recognize the writer’s skill, appreciate the effort the writer made, and admire the emotions he or she is able to make you feel.

A useful thing to remember when you are composing your own writing is that …your audience can’t immediately interact with you in the present moment, so above all you should strive for clarity. You should anticipate questions or moments of confusion, and you should consider the self-image you’re conveying to your audience. How are they going to interpret you and your personality based on what you’ve written?



Two keys to sharp brain in old age


Here’s a free advice from Harvard Medical School newsletter. Trust me, such freebies are getting less and less. Enjoy!

“Two ways to stay mentally sharp
Regular physical activity helps keep your heart, lungs, and muscles in shape and can stave off the effects of aging. In much the same way, exercising your brain can help keep your mind sharp and your memory intact. Here are two ways to activate your brain.

Keep busy and engaged
The MacArthur Foundation Study on Successful Aging, a long-term study of aging in America, found that education level was the strongest predictor of mental capacity as people aged. The more education, the more likely an individual was to maintain his or her memory and thinking skills. Other research has shown that people who held jobs that involved complex work, such as speaking to, instructing, or negotiating with others, had a lower risk of memory loss (dementia) than people whose jobs were less intellectually demanding.

It probably isn’t the years of formal education or the type of occupation itself that benefits memory. Intellectual enrichment and learning stimulate the brain to make more connections. The more connections, the more resilient the brain. That’s how a habit of learning and engaging in mentally challenging activities — like learning a new language or craft — can help keep the brain in shape.

Stay connected
Establishing and maintaining close ties with others is another way to maintain mental skills and memory. There are several ways that social engagement may do this. Social interaction and mentally engaging activities often go hand in hand (think volunteering or tutoring schoolkids). Social relationships can also provide support during stressful times, reducing the damaging effects that stress can have on the brain.

Social support can come from relationships with family members, friends, relatives, or caregivers, as well as from a religious community or other organized group.

Meaningful, socially engaging activities may prove especially helpful. In a study conducted with the Baltimore Experience Corps, volunteers were assigned to either a waitlist (control group) or a group that helped elementary school children during class and library time. Early results suggested that participants who remained engaged in the program for many months improved their executive function and memory.”



Not that many ADHDs, try behavior management


Is it ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or behavior problem? Parents, try behavior management before heading to the doctor’s office. Medicine may seem an easy solution, but good discipline will last longer.

Behavior management/self-management:
(1) Daily routine, having boundaries and consistency in expectation
(2) Positive reinforcement for the effort made not just for the result
(3) Clear rules, instructions, and expectations
(4) Consistent consequences to unwanted behavior



Happiness is not defined by the size of your house…


Happiness is...
1. Happiness is not defined by the size of your house but by the sweetness of the laughter in the house.
2. It is not demonstrated by the luxury car that you drive but by the fact that you drive home safely.
3. Your abundant savings in the bank won’t bring you happiness. Instead, your freedom to do what you please every day is what makes you happy.
4. It is not the beauty but the beautiful smile on the face of your loved one that makes you happy.
5. Being in a high position won’t make you happy. Being praised as a good person wherever you go makes you happy.
6. Being free from illness and disaster makes you happier than simply being well-fed and well-clothed.
7. Happy is he who receives encouragement when in defeat, not he who is loudly applauded in victory.
8. Happiness does not come from the too-often heard sweet talks. Instead, it is when you are sad and weeping, someone tells you, “That’s okay. I am here.”



A family man met his death at the hand of a high-priced call girl


I read this piece of news on 7/9 about a Google exec’s overdose death on yacht.

The 26-year-old high-priced call girl Alix Tichelman and 51-year-old google executive Forrest Hayes “met on SeekingArrangement.com, which according to the website is, for sugar daddies and sugar babies seeking mutually beneficial relationships and arrangements.”

They had met a few times before their Nov. 26 encounter on Hayes’ 50-foot yacht, Escape, at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.”

The “SANTA CRUZ Police have arrested the call girl from Georgia who is suspected of injecting heroin into a Santa Cruz tech executive on his yacht and then fleeing when he overdosed.

“Tichelman, who allegedly worked as a call girl, had an ‘ongoing prostitution relationship’ with Hayes, who was married and a father of five, police said.”

“Hayes, originally from Dearborn, Michigan, worked in the auto industry early in his career. He lived in Santa Cruz for years and worked at technology giants such as Sun Microsystems, Apple and Google, according to his friends and family. He is survived by his wife of 17 years and his five children.

“Forrest will be remembered above all as a loving husband and father. More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat,” according to a January obituary that his family wrote for the Sentinel. “His brilliant mind, contagious smile and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family.”

Family man–Hayes’ co-workers and friends described him as intelligent, a family man with a great sense of humor with a penchant for impulse buys.”

This is a big joke or what — a loving husband and father, a family man with 5 children messed up with a 26-year-old high-priced call girl and lost his life? Would he be still alive if he were a truly family man? Of course, he would. Someone got to come up with a new definition of a family man , that is the one with “ongoing prostitution relationship” to convince me that he was one of them.

I know I shouldn’t be too harsh to a “dear departed.” Still, truth be told, he got himself in this ending. A lesson for all is, no matter how rich and successful you are, be good and don’t do what Forrest Hayes had done to himself and to his family. What a shameful ending!



A happy family is the key to one’s health


A happy family is the key to ones health and happiness
I will translate this later.



Remembering my father, July 11, 1987


I searched flowers for my father. There were so many of them that I would like to gather them all for him, which was, of course, not possible. Here are some of them. I know he would like them all. It is 27 years since his departure.

To my father 07112014



People die of what? Anger?


people die of what
Again, I will translate this later, that is, when I have time.



The highest level of …


The highest level

I will translate it later…

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