Getting ready for my daughter’s college years


I have been rather busy lately, not only getting my daughter ready for college but also getting myself ready emotionally for the time when she is away from home.

Every time when I think of the moment when I have to say goodbye to my daughter, like I did to my son 6 years ago, I feel a strong sadness coming over me. I know this time is different. When my son left, I still have my daughter around.

I will try to keep myself busy by enrolling in some free online courses via coursera. If that’s not enough, I also set some new goals for myself, like getting some certifications, leaving me no time to feel anything. Hopefully, I can go through the initial period and stay healthy, positive and even better productive.



Early morning walk… the benefits and the rest


A letter from a neighbor
After receiving this letter from a neighbor, I decided to force myself to use the sidewalk, even if I have to go through an active sprinkler system and get soaked after that, even if some part of sidewalk is too dark and unsafe for me to walk early in the morning.

I told my daughter that I might move my morning walk to the afternoon after I get back from work. She doesn’t think it a good idea. “You are always too tired to do anything when you get home. You won’t have the energy to take a walk. Beside, he just exaggerated. We seldom see cars when we go out in the morning.” That’s true. Plus, I see other neighbors not using sidewalk, too.

Still, I think I will buy myself a personal safety gadget, like a spray or loud siren when I walk through dark sidewalk.



One of those morning walks and chat on the grandparent


During one of those morning walks with my daughter, I shared some of my father’s stories with her. On the one that I posted on 7/11, she said, “Never said a bad word about someone? This is so rare!” That’s what I thought, too.

It could be because he was not interested in what was going on with others. He was a very introvert person. It could also be because he thought it morally wrong to say bad things about others. I cannot state explicitly or exactly the reason, as I had never asked him about it.

Both my daughter and I agree it is a good habit and rule to go by. Actually, I told my daughter she was very much like her grandfather in this aspect, better than I am.



An accident on June 22, 2013


My daughter planned to get her driver’s license this summer, that is, before going to college. It doesn’t seem likely now, thanks to a traffic accident on a Saturday, 6/22, one day plus 5 weeks ago.

On 6/22, at the intersection of Nall Ave and College Blvd, my daughter was driving westbound through the intersection on College Blvd. An elderly lady crossed red light and hit our 1997 green car. We bought the car in 1998. That lady was talking over her cellphone when she crossed the red light. She immediately stopped the car and came out full of apologies.

The car is considered total when the repair cost exceeds the car value. The estimate of repair cost is $3000. The insurance will have to cough out nearly $3500 when you add car rental. The car itself worthes at most $2500.

At first, the insurance company offered to pay the car’s market value, that is $2500. According to related law, the insurance company has this option. But after some bargaining, the company agreed to pay $3,000 and no more. We ended up paying for the car rental fee.



Friends coming over last Saturday


Last Saturday, 7/20, we invited a friend and her parents to come over. Her parents came to visit their daughter from Hunan.

Last Christmas, she invited us to come over to her house. My children had a good time playing with her dog. So I thought of inviting her parents to come over for a dinner.

It was a pity that her mother cannot speak mandarin and I cannot understand Hunan dialect. Her father had a good time, though. My daughter baked an apple cake, which went down well with our guests.



CPHIMS exam book arrived


Yesterday this book arrived home. I ordered it last week via Amazon as I was thinking of becoming Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS).

The book consists of 49 pages of index card with 6 cards on each page, totally 294 cards. At first, the task seemed rather daunting. I told my daughter that I was going to study one page per day and take the exam by the end of two months. She thinks it feasible.



“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”


I read this article on 7/19, The One Thing These Crazy Successful People Do Every Morning, which starts with a quote by Benjamin Franklin — “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Fast forward to today and rising early is still considered a common quality of highly successful people.

“Much has been made of the benefits of being an early riser — we’re told that morning people are more proactive and get better grades, and that many of the most powerful CEOs wake up by 6 a.m. Early-risers, the experts claim, might also sleep better and feel happier.”

And much more…



Addiction hard to get rid of. Addiction kills..


The death of Cory Monteith on 7/13/2013 of heroin and alcohol overdose at age 31 reminds me of another young actor, River Phoenix, who died at age 23, also of heroin and cocaine overdose, and another singer Whitney Houston who died at age 48 and also of cocaine use, and actually many more of them.

While it is sad to see these talented and well-liked people passed away so young, it is also amazing how they could keep a clean public appearance while being hopeless addicts privately.

It was said the Monteith had struggled with addictions since his teens. Obviously addiction eventually conquered him. What a nightmare!



The most expensive places in the U.S.


Of course, we have both the cheapest and the most expensive cities in the U.S. here are 10 most expensives ones in the U.S.

10. Los Angeles
9. San Diego
8. Oakland, Calif.
7. Boston
6. Washington, D.C.
5. Stamford, Conn.
4. San Jose, Calif.
3. San Francisco
2. Honolulu
1. New York Cost of Living in NY: 125.4% above average (Manhattan only)

My son has been living in Manhattan since he graduated in 2011. I wrote this to him. “Everything has a cost. The ultimate cost is time. You use time to earn money, with money to buy convenience, health, entertainment, etc. How much you can afford depends on (1) amount of time you pour in and (2) value of your time.”



Places where you can live cheaply in the U.S.


I can’t say they are among the greatest cities in the U.S. but they are certainly the cheapest ones. Here it is from Kiplinger site — 10 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In. I am surprised that some of the southern poor states like Mississippi and Georgia didn’t make it to the list. I am curious to know how Kansas goes when comparing to east and west coastal cities.

10. Idaho Falls, Idaho
9. Conway, Ark.
8. Springfield, Ill.
7. Pueblo, Colo.
6. Wichita Falls, Texas
5. Fayetteville, Ark.
4. Memphis, Tenn.
3. Norman, Okla.
2. McAllen, Texas
1. Harlingen, Texas



That’s why we have stories about Heaven


Thats why we need stories about Heaven

One week ago, I posted one commemorating my father. After that, I shared it with a friend of mine who wrote back the above.

That’s why we have stories to comfort us. Reality is all socially structured, true as long as we believe it. Happy is he who truly believes.



The Fattest country in the world? Not the U.S.


Next time you hold a Mexican junk foodies with all the difficult-to-pronounced food names, remember this article — Mexico knocks U.S. off list of world’s fattest countries.

Yes, the news says Mexico has proudly overtaken the U.S. as the world’s fattest country in the according. This is according to the U.N report.

“Mexico is unlikely to boast about its newest global title any time soon. The United Nations announced recently that the Latin American country had overtaken the United States as the most overweight nation in the world. According to statistics, 33 percent of adult Mexicans are considered obese. When overweight Mexicans are included, the figure is much higher.”

Check out fat and calories before you eat these Mexican foods.



Tips fighting procrastination


I bumped into this article around 4th of July holiday. A Step-by-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating by Gretchen Rubin. Immediately I shared it with my daughter. I am not sure if they work for you, but some of them sounds good to me.

1. “Put yourself in jail.” The explanation is: “If you’re in jail, you have all the time in the world. You have no reason to hurry, no reason to cut corners or to try to do too many things at once. You can slow down, concentrate. You can take the time to get every single detail right.” Not sure if you buy this.

2. “Ask for help.” That is, if you are hopelessly and helplessly procrastinating. You are always better off when you ask for help instead of allowing yourself to rot away your life.

3. “Remember: most decisions don’t require extensive research.” Well, that’s not an excuse to rush through a decision without a good research. The point is not to delay this research.

4. “Take a baby step.” Do something even if it is a small step forward, which is always better than doing nothing. If the task is too formidable, divide and conquer.

5. “Suffer for 15 minutes.” I am not sure if that’s a good idea. I would put it the other way. See the bright side of completing the task, no matter how undesirable the task might seem. Think of the good things that come out of this accomplishment, which is a better incentive than treating it as a suffering.

6. “Do it first thing in the morning.” Get rid of the hardest task first thing in the morning. I like this one. In fact, this is what I have been pushing all the time.

7. “Protect yourself from interruption.” Shut down or put aside cellphone or any possible interruptions.

8. “Remember, work can be one of the most pernicious forms of procrastination.” This is to say: don’t use other work as an excuse for yourself to avoid doing the hardest one. I remember a relative of mine would spend a lot of time cleaning the desk and the environment, delaying starting until time ran out for the serious work.

This is one of the best line, “Pay attention to the amount of time you spend working on tasks you dislike.” That’s why I keep telling my daughter to use a timer when she does something she dislikes, knowing she can take a break when the timer rings instead of beavering endlessly on something very dreadful to her.

“If you feel like your life consists of nothing but going from one dreaded chore to the next, you might be better off figuring out a way to avoid some of those tasks altogether.

On the other hand, novelty and challenge, as uncomfortable as they can be, do bring happiness. The chore that feels onerous today may give you a huge boost of satisfaction tomorrow, when it’s behind you. Keep that in mind, too.”



It is scary to read what those doctors have done


Can you trust your doctor this time? Read this article if you are not convinced and not scary like me — “Surgical errors rise in Mass. despite new controls. Many preventable mistakes cited, but few of them caused serious harm”
By Liz Kowalczyk, 7/7/2013

“Massachusetts hospitals are reporting more errors during surgery and invasive procedures, even after an intensive, decade-long campaign to reduce these mistakes — called “never events” because they’re preventable and, with reasonable precautions, simply shouldn’t happen.”

“Errors disclosed to state health officials since 2011 included anesthesia injected into the wrong leg, a guidewire left inside a patient’s vein, and a catheter threaded into a patient who didn’t need one, according to hospital safety leaders.”

Read the article in its entirety for more stories.



Use your brain to fight mental decline


This is nothing new. Still, as if this were the first time that I learned this, I love keeping these articles here for my friends and my relatives. —Active brain ‘keeps dementia at bay’, 7/1/2013, by Helen Briggs

“Keeping mentally active by reading books or writing letters helps protect the brain in old age, a study suggests.”

“A lifetime of mental challenges leads to slower cognitive decline after factoring out dementia’s impact on the brain, US researchers say.”

Also, “the best way to lower dementia risk was to eat a balanced diet, exercise and stay slim.”

Even though, “More research and bigger studies are needed, … in the meantime reading more and doing crosswords can be enjoyable and certainly won’t do you any harm. ‘The best way to reduce your risk of developing dementia is to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.'”



“Your body needs magnesium for many tasks…”


This is what we are told via Harvard Medical School newsletter. Magnesium is “involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Muscles need this mineral to contract, nerves need it to send and receive messages. It keeps your heart beating steadily and your immune system strong. Most people get enough magnesium from foods such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fish.

“Magnesium supplements are sometimes marketed as super pills that can fix a long list of ailments such as muscle tension, low energy, and trouble sleeping. But think twice before you reach for a magnesium supplement.

“According to the National Institutes of Health, most older adults in the United States don’t get the proper amount of magnesium in their diets. But Dr. Bruce Bistrian, chief of clinical nutrition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, says magnesium deficiency is very rare. ‘The kidney has an extraordinary ability to reduce magnesium loss in urine, and thus achieve magnesium balance on a wide variety of intakes,’ he explains.”

Magnesium-rich foods
1 ounce of dry roasted almonds –80 milligrams
½ cup frozen spinach (cooked) — 78 milligrams
¾ cup bran flakes — 64 milligrams
1 medium baked potato with skin — 48 milligrams
½ cup canned kidney beans — 35 milligrams



Today in History, my father left us 26 years ago today


My father (10/30/1929 – 7/11/1987) was still young when he left us 26 years ago.

This year when I went back to China, my mother talked to me again about my father. Most of the stories are not new to me. My mother told me my father was a real kind-hearted man. She had never heard him say unkind words about others, not a single one, either in front of or behind that person. If he heard others say something along that line, he would only smile.

Honestly, none of his three children are like him in this aspect. We all gossip and indulge in endless exchanges of nasty words behind people’s back. Strange enough, both of my children are like their grandpa. They would correct me or my prejudice when I behave this way.

When my father died, I couldn’t understand why he left so young because I still believed at that time that good people would have a happy ending. Not really. In real life, good people often die early probably because they have been too nice to others and too unselfish to give themselves a break, break from being nice to others. Also in real life, selfish people way outlive unselfish ones. Why?

I took this picture on 6/1 this year when I went to Ba-bao-shan with my daughter this year.
Words on My fathers tombstone



Not to be like this…


Thanks to Reuters coverage on “Most obese countries.”

Need to widen the pass

Still eating...

Still eating

The chair needs to be adjusted to the new trend



Heart Attack and Water


Below was from a friend of mine.

Heart Attack and Water
I asked my Doctor why people need to urinate so much at night time.
Answer: Gravity holds water in the lower part of your body when you are upright (legs swell). When you lie down and the lower body (legs and etc.) seeks level with the kidneys, it is then that the kidneys remove the water because it is easier. This then ties in with the last statement!

Correct time to drink water
Drinking water at a certain time maximizes its effectiveness on the body:
2 glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs,
1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal – helps digestion,
1 glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure,
1 glass of water before going to bed – avoids stroke or heart attack
My question: How much should I drink before exercise?

Drinking water at bed time will also help prevent night time leg cramps. Your leg muscles are seeking hydration when they cramp and wake you up with a Charlie Horse.



Understand our next generation — the Millennials


I read this one on 7/3 and I strongly recommend it to today’s parents. How Millennials Think, and What To Do About It by Brian Halligan.

Money vs. Mission
What we wanted: When most of us graduated from college, we wanted a steady job that paid well.

What they want: This new crop of employees is far more motivated by their mission than by the money they make. They want to transform a broken industry, save the planet, feed the starving, etc.

What to do: If your mission this year is to improve earnings by 5% by either gouging your customers or gouging the planet, that’s just not going to get it done with the Millennials. Think again.

OCD v. ADD
What we did: Our generation worked diligently for our boss in hopes of being tapped on the shoulder one day to move up the next step on the almighty ladder. We typically stayed at a company for more than seven years. If we had a collective psychological condition, it would be OCD.

What they do: This new generation works diligently in hopes of learning as much as possible and moving on to the next challenging project. They typically stay at a company for 1.5 years. If they had a collective psychological condition, it would be ADD.

Place v. Idea
How we thought: We thought of the office a place you went from 9am to 6pm, had four grey walls, and was someplace you took vacation from three weeks out of the year.

What they think: For the new generation, the office is an “idea” that you work at whatever hours seem natural, wherever you are the most productive. The idea of vacation is (unfortunately) antiquated when you are carrying around a phone with more power than the Apollo space mission had.”



“More women are dying from prescription painkiller overdoses than ever before…”


Here’s another one that I read recently on overdosing of prescription drugs. Again, I can see the role of doctor in this trend and again patients should be well-informed regarding prescription drugs– “Drug overdose deaths spike among middle-aged women” by Fatimah Waseem, USA TODAY 1:01 p.m. EDT July 2, 2013.

“Their drug of choice is usually prescription painkillers.
More women are dying from prescription painkiller overdoses than ever before, highlighting what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls a growing public health epidemic.

The CDC study shows that while men are still more likely to die of overdoses, the number of deaths among women increased five-fold in the last decade, four times more than deaths in women from cocaine and heroin combined, says CDC director Tom Frieden. About 12% of these deaths were suicides, CDC experts said.

The rate of prescription drug overdose deaths of women increased 400% from 1999 to 2010, compared with an increase of 250% for men. More men die of prescription painkiller overdoses — about 23,000 in 2010, compared with 15,300 for women.”



Can’t trust doctors to do the right thing for you all the time


When it concerns your health, you have to do your own research. You can never trust your doctor to do the right thing for you all the time. This is what I just read lately, “Doctors prescribe narcotics too often for pain, CDC chief says

“Narcotics should be reserved for severe pain, otherwise patients run the unnecessary risk of addiction and overdoses, CDC chief says.”

“Drug overdose is one of the few causes of death in the United States that is worsening, eclipsing fatal traffic accidents in 2009. The CDC put the spotlight on the problem in 2011, declaring the surge in deaths an epidemic, and it has been escalating its efforts to reduce the toll ever since.”

“The nation’s top public health official on Tuesday sharply criticized the widespread treatment of aches and pains with
narcotics, saying that doctors are prescribing such drugs too soon, too often and for too long — putting patients at risk of addiction and overdose.”

“…doctors are relying on these powerful drugs to treat chronic pain when physical therapy, exercise and other remedies would be safer and in many cases more effective.”

“Prescribing an opiate may be condemning a patient to lifelong addiction and life-threatening complications.”
“…there is a growing awareness…that physicians’ prescriptions play a significant role in fueling addiction and overdoses.”



Postpone retirement for lacking of retirement savings


I read these “5 Shocking Retirement Facts” on 7/1/2013, written by Christian Hill.

“…millions of Americans still have a dismal outlook when it comes to their own ability to retire. Consider these five statistics:

(1) 46% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. (Employment Benefit Research Institute)
(2) 40% of baby boomers now plan to work until they die. (AARP)
(3) 36% of Americans say they don’t contribute anything at all to their savings. [CNBC]
(4) 87% of adults say they are not confident about having money for a comfortable retirement. (Lifehappens.org)
(5) Expected retirement age is up to 67 from age 63. (Zero Hedge)”

That’s a rather depressing picture of one’s senior years. Why didn’t people save while they can so that they can retire early like this Mr. Money Mustache, the man who retired at 30?



Happy Fourth of July: eat and be happy, Obesity In America


When I think of 4th of July, I think of America.
When I think of American, images of obese figures emerge. Therefore, ironically, celebration of America seems like celebration of obesity.

Thanks to NPR National Public Radio, we have these facts and numbers on obesity in America — “Obesity In America, By The Numbers” May 19, 2011. I know these figures are two years old and we surely have much more of them now. Still, isn’t that something that Mississippi has the highest obesity rate and also with the highest percentage of people living in poverty? This article presents many useful figures and facts on obesity in America.

Also, if Long John Silver’s is your favorite restaurant, read this one -‘Heart Attack On A Hook’: Meet America’s ‘Worst Restaurant Meal‘ – and think again next time you want to visit it.



Inflammation and cancer


Avoid inflammation. Here’s why. “Inflammation is the Fuse that Ignites Cancer

“Despite popular belief, less than five percent of cancer is solely genetic (in the sense of being directly inherited by family members). Most cancers have a cause and those causes bring about chronic inflammation as part of the process. New research suggests an emerging link between infection, epigenetics and cancer. Changes catalyzed by pathogenic inflammation can transform cells into cancerous tumors. According to ScienceDirect.com, ‘Several types of inflammation—differing by cause, mechanism, outcome, and intensity—can promote cancer development and progression.” [1] A study by the Cancer Research Institute also agrees, saying, “Chronic inflammation plays a multifaceted role in carcinogenesis.'”



A party at a friend’s house


Last Saturday, a friend of mine invited us together with 5 or 6 families to gather at her house as her parents were here and would leave soon.

One family is going to send their son to medical school, from there we talked a lot about the cost of going to college and beyond. My impression is most Chinese parents are willing to invest in their children’s future.

More than one people complimented my daughter’s Chinese. Some even asked where she grew up. They were surprised to learn that none of my children had gone to Chinese school, yet they all could talk like native.

We had plenty of good food there. Next morning we had to go extra miles to burn them out.



“Cancer is Fueled by Sugar and Destroyed by Oxygen”


Afraid of cancer? Read this article. There are some bold statements about cancer. Plus, learn some biology, too.

Go here for more details.– “The Important Role Oxygen Plays in Cancer Treatment

“One of the most important things to remember about cancer is it is NOT a chemotherapy disease, it is NOT a radiation disease and it is not a Vitamin C disease. Cancer is actually a metabolic dysfunction tied to genetic mutations, and the first step in fighting it is on the metabolic level. This approach is what has helped our team achieve a unique and successful treatment strategy. Let’s learn how oxygen plays a role in the development and treatment of cancer.”

“Every cancer has a trigger: infections, chemical toxins or heavy metal toxins are a few of the main ones. Early changes are seen through metabolic shifts that ultimately cause mutation, continually pushing genetic changes, growth and spread throughout the life of the cancer. Let’s take a look at how changes in oxygen metabolism are some of the first metabolic signs of difficult cancers.”


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