The end of the week, the year, and the beginning of another one…


It is Saturday, 12/28/2013, near the end of the holiday week, the end of my vacation week, and also the end of the year.

The week went by with some parties, gathering with friends and, most of all, time spent with the children.

Now the children are leaving one after another, with one already left on the day after Christmas, one leaving tomorrow, one next Tuesday, and the last one still having two weeks before leaving.

I am so grateful that they all have come and have filled my days with joys and laughter that no occasion can replicate. I am so happy to see them happy and having a good time here.

I have learned to enjoy and appreciate the good times that I spend with the children because I know too well that good times are never long enough and are gone too fast. And all that’s left is the memories of the good times. In fact, I have already started relishing the jokes they cracked at each other. And instead of laughing with them, now I laugh alone.

Now, no more jokes. Get serious, get ready for another new year and another beginning!



Don’t be a permanent fixture in your company


I read this article by Alex Kecskes on 12/13.

“If you’ve been working at a job for several years and seem to be going nowhere—no promotion, no challenging tasks, feeling like a drone—it’s time to re-evaluate your situation and get out of your rut. Being stuck in job limbo can happen to even the best employees. And the sooner you take steps to move beyond this career roadblock the better.”

Being trapped and stuck in a dead end job. This is exactly how I feel now. He offers some suggestions.

(1) Don’t stop at job descriptions
Many workers fall into the job description rut. They get so used to performing the perfunctory tasks outlined in their job description that they never “go for gold.” …

(2) Don’t stop “connecting”
This one can be particularly tough for introverts. If you are one, break out of your shell and talk to more people—people outside your “drone zone.”

(3) Don’t stop being creative
Offering creative solutions to problems at work can be a real career booster. …Focus your creativity on solutions that improve productivity using existing resources. To improve your creativity, check out Start Being More Creative at Work.



Get moving, reducing stress, for body and mind


A few weeks ago, I read this article “To calm body and mind, get moving.” Too bad I forgot and have not saved where I read it, though I saved part of it.

“A burst of physical activity after the stress response is triggered — let’s say by sprinting away from an oncoming bus — burns off stress hormones just as nature intended.

But you don’t need an imminent physical threat to use exercise as a way to take the edge off every day stress. Just about any form of motion helps relieve pent-up muscle tension. And certain activities, such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, and rhythmic, repetitive exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, bicycling, and rowing, elicit the relaxation response, too. All of these things are especially helpful if you do them regularly.

To boost the stress-relief rewards that come from being physically active, it helps to increase your awareness — what and how you’re feeling, your environment, etc. — during exercise. This small shift in focus can leave you feeling calmer and more centered.

This approach is as effective during strength training as it is when you’re on a nature walk. As you lift and plant each foot, or as you raise and lower the weights, coordinate your breathing with your movements, keeping mindful attention on the sensations in your body.

Once you get under way, become aware of how your breathing complements the activity. Breathe rhythmically. If you have a focus word, phrase, or prayer that you use when meditating, use that word now as you breathe. When disruptive thoughts intrude, gently turn your mind away from them and focus on moving and breathing.”



Winter is the best season for me…


I often hear people talking about winter gloom or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), that is, when winter brings the blues, with the dark affecting their moods as well as their days.

According to Harvard Medical School newsletter, SAD is one form of depression affecting about 1% to 2% of the population with more women than men being that impacted and more young folks are more than older ones.

There is legitimate reason for people suffering SAD when the days get shorter and we stay indoors and are not exposed to daylight as much as we do during summer season. This lack of sun and light, of course, causes changes in the chemical makeup in our bodies.

The symptoms include “lethargy, loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, interpersonal problems, irritability, inability to concentrate, and changes in sleeping patterns, appetite, or both.”

For me, on the contrary, winter is the best season. For one thing, nothing stops me from venturing out. For another, as the year end draws near, the climax of the year is coming.

It is the season of joy and festival, all because of the children’s homecoming.



Friday the 13th, can’t wait for the weekend…


I was at the office today, Friday the 13th, supposedly working on something that was piling on my desk. But I kept thinking what I would need to buy after work and what I needed to do this weekend, the last weekend before the children get back home.

I left office at 3 pm today and headed for Costco directly. The store was not as crowded as I expected. I guess not many people are expecting four grown-up children like I am. Good for me!

I brought back some junk foods, nuts and cakes, chips and dips, and some frozen dessert kind of foods. I remember my son and his girlfriend go to bed late, which means they will need to have some snacks late at night.

While I was shopping at the store, for some reason, scenes from my childhood came back, scenes when we were busy preparing for Spring Festival, Chinese guo-nian, the busy atmosphere when my grandmother and my mother were busy with cooking. Of course, shopping was never part of this.

I know this is the meaning of guo-nian for me. This is the eve of my festival when I am expecting and getting ready for the children’s homecoming.



The festival is coming…


Other people call December holiday season. I call it a festival in line with what Chinese people call jie or festival.

I have been in a festive mood ever since I learn of the exact dates when my children will be back. My daughter will be home next Tuesday, my son and his girlfriend next Thursday. My sister’s son will visit us next week, too. The four children will certainly bring home lively laughter and immense amount of joy, boosting the festive mood to the highest level of the year!

I was happily cleaning the rooms, towels and sheets, preparing for their arrival. This weekend I will do some shopping, making sure there are plenty foods and snacks around the house.

Excited and looking forward… I told my son, “I can’t wait…”



Tips to improve your memory


Here’s a short list, easy to remember and to follow.

1. consume a little bit of caffeine and chocolate
2. sleep on it. Got a good night sleep.
3. work it out, aerobic exercise improve memory
4. eat the right food for brain power, omega-3 fatty acid
5. challenge your brain



The way to get ahead and go above and beyond…


If you can run, don’t walk;
If you can walk, don’t stand;
If you can stand, don’t sit;
If you can sit, don’t lay down.
If you face two choices, always take the harder one.
In life as in everything, the best defense is offense.
That’s the way to get ahead and go above and beyond.



Be nice if you want to live a long life


I read this article long ago. In fact, I am sure I would not let it go without posting it here, which means most likely I have already posted it before. Still, it doesn’t hurt to read it again just to remind people: How Being a Jerk Shortens Your Life by John Cloud, Feb. 28, 2011.

I hope it works this way. Here’s an excerpt from the article.
“Beware jocks and mean girls: you may be more popular in high school, but according to a new academic paper, it is the smart kids and conscientious glee-club types who will live longer. Not only that, they will suffer fewer diseases before they die. Only the good die young? Guess again.

The paper, which was published recently in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, summarizes data from millions of people studied in dozens of academic articles. The bottom line is that people who are smarter and more conscientious acquire fewer illnesses and die later than those who have the opposite traits.”

It is an interesting read.



“a woman a decade younger than him — and she’s as ugly as he is! #jackass.”


It seems more like a lifetime nightmare than a bunch of tasteless jokes when Jofi Joseph, former White House Official on national security, lost his plum job — after it was discovered where these sarcasm and snark tweeted out.

Jofi Joseph spit out whatever in his mind like an idiot when he thought he was anonymous under the name of @NatSecWonk, when he had no clue that nobody can truly hide his true identity on this seemingly innocent cyber world.

It really doesn’t take much effort to dig him out. Now that his identity is revealed, “it’s fair to say Joseph has pretty much burned bridges with everyone in Washington.”

For the rest of us, it’s lesson to be learned.


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