The road not taken, the path that differs…


During last weekend, 2/22-23, I happened to bump into the whereabouts of a college classmate, whom we last met in 1987. We were good friends at that time. She has been living in one place since 1996, the year she got her PhD.

In 1996, I was in Indiana, where my daughter was born. From there, I moved to Virginia, then to Kansas till now. I have changed jobs from a sociology instructor to a database developer, then to my current position with research team. I am still trying to initial a change at this point.

I am sure life would be a lot easy if I had stayed on one job at one place all these years, less moving, less turbulence and less vicissitudes of life. I might have more time writing and be more productive. However, I am not sure if I were better off this way or that way.

One thing I am sure, that is, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I would not stop writing and I would always pursue some goals, be it realistic or not. And whichever way I choose to spend my life, I would still be what I am.



When children appreciate what their parents have done for them…


Every time I prepare my lunch veggies, normally carol or celery, I think of the time when I prepare them for my children. They always say “Thanks, mom” and with a smile on their faces when I bring to them the prepared carrots or celery or fruits. Those are the moments that I miss most.

They always say thank-you to show their appreciation for what I do for them, even if I think I am just doing something every mother would do. It warms my heart when they do it and when they don’t take for granted the services that I willingly render at home.



Thought on Valentine’s Day


I wrote the following to my son prior to Valentine’s Day.

“There are many things in life that we take for granted, things we don’t appreciate when we have them.

On Valentine’s day and everyday, remember to appreciate the person who is willing to accompany you in your life’s journey, who accepts you as what you are or who might idealize you, who is there for you everyday when you are back to your quiet quarter, tired from work. For whatever reasons you can think of, appreciate that person for your mutual happiness.”



If our boss makes a mistake, should we point it out, privately?


If your boss makes a mistake, should you point it out in private? The answer is NO, not even in private, unless you have evidence that something illegal is going on. Here are the reasons.

(1) It is not part of your job description to point out your boss’ work mistake. Your job is to do your job well, not to watch how your boss does his/her job.

(2) Nobody asks your opinion. It’s a different story if your advice is sought for.

(3) Watch out the subtle difference between offering your advice in the name of work and showing off to your boss how smart you are. Your advice in the name of work could be perceived as a mere show-off, depending on whose ears your words go into.

(4) At work and at home, always keep in mind
–> nobody cares how smart you are (nobody but your mom, dad occasionally);
–> no normal person likes to be shown how stupid he/she is;
–> your boss is like all of us.

If, in case, you have a hard time suppressing the urge to show off your trophies, keep a book of high achievers on your desk. When you flip through their achievements, you will realize how insignificant yours are. And you should blush with shame for even thinking about it.



Sunday morning started with a great time chatting with my son


It is a cold Sunday morning. I have not gone out for a walk for a long time, first due to time crunch of last few weeks, then due to record high snow fall. I feel like in a real polar style winter hibernation. Not a good thing, I know.

My son called early this morning to ask if we have time to go on Skype and chat a little bit there. That we did and had a wonderful start for the day.

One of their college friends will get married in April in Hong Kong, so both of them will go there for the event. From there, they will go to some other places in Asia, including Shanghai, her parents’ house.
Skype_Dong02092014_2-2



Watching 2014 Sochi winter Olympics opening ceremony


Finally Friday came. It has been a rather long and rough week. By the end of weekday I felt more than ready to enjoy the weekend.

Yesterday evening I spent many hours watching the opening ceremony of the 2014 winter Olympics. I don’t normally spend this much time on sports, but Olympic games are different, especially opening ceremonies. They are often spectacular shows and I really expect this from Russian opening ceremony. Indeed, it has not failed me.

Olympic games provide an opportunity for a world level gathering of the best athletes from all nations in the world. It fills me with enthusiasm watching these young athletes parading around, reminding me of the pursuits of the honor and glory through competitions, which is as ancient as these games.

I feel I need something like this to re-energize me after a rather depressing week. I feel a lot better now. I am going to watch more of the games in the days to come — going to have a good time.



We succeed or fail by default, or rather by our default activities


What are our default activities? They are the ones that we start doing by default, without thinking. We do it when we allow ourselves to follow our habits down the path of least resistance, when we follow our daily auto-pilot to automatically reach our default location, wherever it may be.

Day after day, year after year, following the same process, same pattern, people become the end products of their habits. There is no miracle if people succeed or fail. They succeed or fail by default, depending on the habits that drive their days and that dictate where they spend their time and energy.

A serious person should examine his/her default activities at least on a biweekly basis to avoid the formation of any examined default behavior. Catch yourself when you start drifting aimlessly, before you are seized by unsuccessful habits.



Finally I found someone I respect at work…


Yesterday, 2/3, while I was at our west clinic, I saw an infusion nurse, in her early 40s, at break room. I met her at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. Other people were on their devices, she was reading a thick book, which looked like a textbook. While chatting with her, I learned she is trying to get her master degree in nursing and later to become an NP. “Awesome! Go for it!” I said.

Immediately I felt a respect for her. It’s not easy to make me respect someone nowadays. Of course, I respect everybody as a human being. But there is more to that. There are many nurses around here, but this is the first time that I meet someone who is willing to make efforts to advance her career. Why not?

With two young girls and a full-time job, plus she is not young any more, she certainly will have a bumpy road ahead. I have no doubt she will make it.



The team is shrinking…and there is no stop to the decline


Three of the best colleagues of mine left our department last December. Two others left last month, one leaving for retirement, the other for another company.

During our last department meeting on 1/30/2014, when I saw these two outgoing colleagues, I said to myself “This is their last meeting with the company. I hope this will be my last one with them, too.” You could feel an easy feeling going around the meeting, too much discontent. I was sitting there reading my own stuffs, unwilling to waste time listening to these useless complaints.

I can’t believe the department is shrinking so rapidly–with only 9 people holding the team, one project manager, one manager, 7 scattering in the 5 clinics. Everybody knows the reasons behind the decline, even though nobody talks about it openly–my first-hand experience of true democracy.



There went the first month of the year before I got serious on my New Year Resolution


Today is 2/2/2014. It looks like a lucky number. I can’t believe it’s already February. When I look back just a month ago, it seems like yesterday when my children were still home, filling the house with joys and laughing.

Yes, it’s true. Before I had time following my New Year Resolution, the first month of the year 2014, 1/12 part of the year, has rushed by unbelievably fast. It seems so crazy.

The last weekend when my daughter was home was 1/18-19. I used the following one, 1/25-26 on getting ready for two job interviews, and then this weekend on online tests, three of them, which I am going to take in the afternoon. This way I will still have time for android course work, which is due today.

It seems I always have something to keep me occupied. Still, I must find time to work on my resolution, before the year end is dawning on me.



Spending two weekends pounding the books


Last weekend saw me chained to the desk with my head buried in papers and books. I was brushing up my SQL skills to prepare for the two job interviews the following Monday and Tuesday, 1/27 and 28. I thought I’d kept almost nothing in my brain after over a decade of non-IT environment. I guess I still retain some after last weekend’s review.

Last Friday, 1/31, I received an email from the hiring company requesting me to take three online tests over this weekend. This means I have advanced to the next step on the selection process. A good thing, of course.

Oh boy, there goes another weekend, just like last one.


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