Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Dec 26, 2012

End of holiday, back to work, everybody

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:07 am

Alas, good time always rushes by faster than we wish. I still remember how I looked forward to my son’s homecoming and how we drove to the City Market to get his girlfriend back. Now both of them are back to their work in New York. And I, back to my office, after sending them to the airport this morning.

We got up around 4:30 AM this morning, trying to leave the house at 5. We actually left the house at 5:15 and still had enough time to get to the airport. My daughter went back to sleep after we got home and I went to the office.

The year 2012 is also coming to an end in less than a week. I talked to my children about the coming year and their plan the day before, and of course their New Year Resolution, just to keep the house tradition. They all agree it is a good one and should be kept.


1, Dec 25, 2012

Happy holiday season…for all

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:57 am

Today is Christmas. I know I should say “Merry Christmas.” Instead, I am sending out holiday greeting. You never know who is or who is not celebrating Christmas.

It is a happy day for me because my son and his girlfriend are home and I stay home with them. Of course, I stay home because the office closes today.

A friend family invited us to her house. So we plan to go there, even though I have told her that my son will leave early next morning to catch 6 AM flight back to New York and we cannot stay there for long.

I am going to enjoy my good time while the time is great.

1, Dec 19, 2012

Sending holiday greetings to two of my colleagues

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:13 am

On Monday I sent Christmas greetings to two of my colleagues at another site. To one of them I owed her an answer. To another, I owed her a thankyou letter.

One of them once asked me over the phone what I ate to keep myself in shape. She is one of my favorite colleagues, so I promised her that I would write to you in detail. That was about two months ago. I kept postponing writing to her, though I have not forgot my promise and have been thinking of this. Of course, now is the good time to both keep my promise and send my holiday greetings.

I wrote on my holiday card to her some steps that she can take in order to lose weight and how she should make a feasible plan, say losing one pound per week, and follow it through for a year. She was thrilled when she received my card.

Another colleague is a very nice and helpful one. I never hesitate to contact her if I have a question. She is so nice that I wish there is a medal for her. Of course, she was surprised when she received my thankyou+holiday greeting card.

I know holiday is for family reunion. As I look forward to my son’s homecoming, I thought I could add a little joy to someone nice, someone whom we are lucky enough to have met on our life journey.

1, Nov 27, 2012

Before Thanksgiving, office chat about Black Friday shopping

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:40 am

Normally I don’t get involved in conversation about shopping, but not this time. As my desktop pc is broken and my son is not home to fix it, and my 13 inch screen laptop seems too small for my eye, I am considering a large screen laptop.

I would like to have an 18.4 inch laptop, but the price is too formidable, around $2000. So I decided to go for the next biggest screen, 17.3 inch, under $500 Black Friday price. The reason I give myself for this expense is I will do more writing from now on. And I will do so at home instead of using office computer.

My colleague bought a MacBook Pro laptop for herself not long ago. She suggested that I go for a Mac. I told her I also bought a 13-inch Mac Air for my daughter because her Mac was broken, but I was not going to buy one for me. The 17-inch MacBook is also around $2000. I don’t have a good excuse for this luxury for myself.

With this new large screen laptop, I must work hard to make it worthwhile.

1, Nov 26, 2012

Black Friday, crazy shopping season started

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:11 am

Back to work today after four days Thanksgiving break.

Yesterday evening we watched evening news over dinner table. Holiday shopping frenzy has been top news for the past few days. We watched people crowded in the store with cartload of goods as if things were given out free. It is so crazy.

I don’t understand why people have to shop so much for the holiday. Do people need all these stuffs? For the record, Christmas present exchange is not a tradition in my household.

I stand firm against this materialistic part of American culture. There are too many wants in people’s life. Most people here shop not because they need but because of their endless wants.

1, Nov 23, 2012

Day after Thanksgiving see the holiday season shopping and giving…

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:40 am

1, Sep 9, 2012

Time to go home on September 9th

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:34 am

The song expresses the feeling of those who venture out of their hometown, seeking fortunes or a better life and how they miss their home and loved ones, especially on 9/9. Today people are supposed to get together with their relatives at home, yet they are still on the road…

Both of my children have a full taste of the song via me. Poor kids. The first time I heard this song was in Fairfax, Virginia in 1997 when we attended a huge Chinese gathering. I am wondering how I can remember the song so clearly.

1, Jul 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July, celebrating a day off

Filed under: Friend,Holiday — admin @ 12:10 am

It is Wednesday and it is a day off work because it is 4th of July. A few days ago, a friend of mine asked us to go to her house today, but I called her yesterday to cancel it as it is terribly hot today.

My sister’s son in Houston told me last week that those Chinese who had been in the country for a long time had still not assimilated into the mainstream American culture. He went to some gatherings there and found no Americans in these Chinese gatherings.

He said he cared about being accepted by others and by the society. I didn’t try to persuade or argue with him. I think it takes time for him to be mature enough not to care how others think about him or whether or not he is being accepted by American society when he should concentrate on following his own path regardless of what others think. One can argue that the whole purpose of coming to America is the freedom to follow your own path, regardless of the environment.

For me, I am going to enjoy my day off today. I am happy as long as I accept myself.

1, Jun 1, 2012

Celebrating International Children’s Day

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:15 am

I have so many fond memories associated with this holiday — childhood, carefree, roaming around in summer. They come back every year on this date. The above song is one of them. This was during my elementary school years, we sang this song on June first International Children’s Day.  And we sang it while we were in a boat! I don’t remember the detail, but I do miss the complete joy that I had at that time. Alas, it’s been half a century since then.

Happy International Children’s Day to all children!

1, Mar 8, 2012

Celebrating International Women’s Day, A Long Way to Go

Filed under: Holiday,Women — admin @ 12:32 am

The recent national debate on contraceptive and the ranting with extreme language by Rush Limbaugh against Sandra Fluke, a student representative serve to remind us that women still have a long way to go before achieving full equal treatment.

Whether it is contraception or abortion, the burden always rests on women, as if there were consequence only for women and nothing at all for men, as if only women need to act responsibly but not men. That partially explains why there are so many single-parent families headed by women, and so many of this type living in poverty.

The assumption behind this belief is erroneous at best, pernicious at worst. It calls for awakening of more women and their continuing fight for more gender equality.

1, Jan 31, 2012

A New Year Resolution from Office

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:32 am

On 1/10/2012, I saw this New Year Resolution at our clinic. I thought it funny, though it suffers from lack of specification. I add my comments in brackets.

(1) Lose weight (how many pounds)
(2) Exercise more (how much more, 3 times per week?)
(3) Drink more water (how many cups?)
(4) Quit smoking
(5) Go to bed earlier (how earlier?)
(6) Pay off credit cards
(7) Phone mom (how frequent)
(8) Remember birthdays (nice thought)

1, Jan 24, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year, the Year of Dragon

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:15 am

Yesterday was the first day of the dragon year. I went to work as usual without expecting anything out of ordinary. We had a site initiation meeting at another location. So I didn’t get to my office until 10 AM.

The first email came from a friend of mine from another clinic, wishing me happy new year and asking me how I would celebrate it. It simply warmed my heart when I heard from a friend whom I have not contacted for a long time. I also felt guilty when I thought how often I fail to remember friends especially during holidays. We had a few email exchanges like old friends, though it has been a long time since our last exchange.

In the evening, two friends called, making the day more like a festival. I let myself indulged in a chatting mood. Later, a friend came over for the same purpose, with some gifts. I was simply speechless, feeling even more unworthy.

Now, I truly feel that no festival is complete without a bunch of friends, who are thinking of you and sending you good wishes, just as a good friend of mine said “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they are always there.”

1, Dec 22, 2011

When the Children Come Back Home…

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:24 am

This is from a friend of mine back in Ohio years. Here’s my translation.
“My heart is filled with joy when the festival is drawing near and the days are full of parties, with year end bonus, colorful gift box, and the children coming home. I feel nothing but content and grateful when we all sit around for family dinner, when we play ping-pong or games, when I hear children’s footsteps going up and down the stairs or their laughter in their chasing around…, even though everything is pretty much the same as last year.”

Now when my son and his girl friend came back, I feel exactly the same simple content and pure gratitude that she feels over her children’s return.

1, Jan 1, 2011

New Year, New You and Me

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:01 am

Another New Year kicks in with another new resolution, nothing dramatic any more. Yes, we have this brand new resolution because we always want to be a better person today than we were yesterday, last year, last decade, which is only yesterday.

I keep New Year Resolution short and lean not because it is not important but because it comes so quickly that I feel it happened only yesterday when I wrote one for last year and the year before last.

Still, I try to treat it as an epoch-making event at least in my life for this time of the year, the time point to reflect upon the road thus covered and the path ahead. I know it is important as long as I treat it as such and will act upon it.

Both of my children have worked out their resolutions for the new year. Instead of going through the motion of writing, I have noticed that it has become a thought-provoking process for them as they become mature. I have no doubt that they will greatly benefit from it after they have learned to be responsible for the promises they make to themselves.

1, Nov 25, 2010

Count Our Blessings Today and Always

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:23 am

1, Nov 23, 2010

Be Thankful: The Week Before Thanksgiving

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:35 am

On 11/17/2010, last Wednesday, nearly one week before Thanksgiving, I started the day at SW clinic at 6:30 AM and ended at SM one. I had to stay late in the office trying to wrap up many things as I would not go back to SM until after Thanksgiving week. I needed to go to our west clinic on Thursday and SW clinic on Friday and off the whole Thanksgiving week. Anyway, the day seemed long and tiresome. I had to drag my feet out of the office.

When I drove back home, an uncomfortable feeling crept up as it was gloomily dark and cold and wet with rain. The thought of a warmly-lit home was very attractive. On the way back I noticed some construction workers still hard at work on the highway, under this weather condition.

The sight of these people brought immediate relief to whatever uncomfortable feeling that I might have at the moment. I bet they would rather be in my shoes in this early winter evening. I remember a Chinese couple living 5 blocks from our house don’t return home until after 10 PM everyday for over a decade, the husband working at a Chinese restaurant and the wife at a grocery store. Sometimes, it takes some comparison to be thankful and to realize how blessed we are.

1, Nov 26, 2009

Ten Things We Are Thankful on this Thanksgiving Day

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:26 am

I sent this picture to a colleague of mine, challenging her to come up with 10 things that she is thankful. She is a cheerful soul, a joy to be around. I wanted to know how she can keep her cheerful mood all the time. She replied, “Yes, I can think of more than ten — My family, Freedom, Home, Food, Car, Job, Health, Co-workers, Friends, Clean water to drink, Paved roads, Air we breath, Electricity, Gas, Oil, Schools, Electronics, Astronauts, Military”

I am so glad I have asked. So I learn her ingredients of being happy and cheerful. Indeed, there are so many things that we take for granted in our daily life and seldom count our blessings for their presence.

A friend of mine at work sent me this list, “Family, Friends, Communication, Laughter, Memory, my home, animals, technology, transportation, love.” Here are mine, “family, friends, my health, wisdom, maturity, intellectual power, and ability to articulate intelligently, ability to lift up spirit for others when needed, and the mood and ability to appreciate the beauty of this world.” In fact, we will have a gathering with a family friend this weekend.

Thanksgiving allows us the time to stop, reflect and be grateful for all that we have. Hopefully, we can do this exercise more often so that we will be more content with what we have instead of longing for more and more, especially in the month following Thanksgiving.

PS. I am thankful for my daughter. Very often, when everybody, except me, is at the table over some delicious food, my daughter always calls out, “Mom, come and eat.”

1, Oct 3, 2009

Mid-Autumn Festival in America

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 12:02 am

This is the 25th moon cake festival that I spent in America, of course away from my family in Beijing. There are tens of thousands of Chinese here in America, who are like me, doing whatever entertaining for ourselves on this day. Good thing the festival of this year falls on a weekend.

We have invited a Chinese family, whom we have known back in Ohio in 1993, for a dumpling get-together. They bring moon cakes and we prepare some dishes; their eldest one is the same age as my youngest one. Both of them go to volunteer at the same community service center on Saturday morning. My friend in New York told me they would have a little party today with the girl that both of us know of.

My daughter called her brother, giving him good wishes on moon cake day. He was in a meeting.

I am sure most of us once in a while feel the same way as the poem very well describes. Yet, as thousands of our country folks here, we are so resilient and we can always create a home away from home and enjoy each other’s company on occasions like this.

1, Jan 26, 2009

Happy 2009 Chinese New Year — the Year of Ox

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 11:42 am

Today is Chinese New Year. The little nephew asked me to do something special on this day. He must be thinking of the Spring Festival in China. “Not a holiday not in US. We only have day off on holidays defined here, like Thanksgiving, Xmas, US Labor Day, US National Day, etc. We have to do in Rome as Romans do.” I explained to him. My children all grew up here without experiencing any Spring Festival celebrations, a part of Chinese culture that they had missed.

In fact, the bi-cultural children miss more than this. We do not celebrate the traditional holidays that average Americans entertain, like Thanksgiving and Xmas, even though we have day off on these occasions. Yet we cannot celebrate Chinese holidays when we have to work and kids have to go to school. On the invite-grandparent-to-school day, my children could only see other people’s grandparents but never their own. My daughter used to ask me for grandparents. “They are all in China, if they are still alive.” Yes, they grew up with only two parents and no aunts and uncles and grands, so much deprived in term of relatives.

After my son left for college, he made friends with some Asian students there and started enjoying those Chinese holidays there with these friends, having much more fun there than at home. I am glad he is bilingual in term of speaking and listening, which facilitate his interactions with other Chinese at school. It would comfort me a lot if this might compensate to some extent for whatever missed in his childhood at home.

1, Dec 24, 2008

Christmas Gift Suggestions

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 2:12 pm

Call me hopelessly optimistic or idealistic if you will.  How I hate myself for sounding so corny.  Besides, my memory might fail me occasionally when I quote from that part of my brain.  Still, I cannot help sharing this Christmas gift suggestions with the readers. 
To your enemy, your forgiveness.
To an opponent, your tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, your service.
To all, your charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect. 
             -Oren Arnold

To my readers, much more than the sum of all the above…

1, Dec 23, 2008

Holiday Season and Expression of Good Wish

Filed under: Holiday — admin @ 10:58 am

It is holiday season now with talks about presents and shopping all the time in the office. Although I do not go with the flow, I am not a party-pooper either.  Plus, I would not want to miss this chance to express good wishes.

Therefore, I gave some Xmas colors self-made origami products to some people in other department whom I see on daily basis. I distributed a bottle of chocolate candies to those whom I have contact with, not a regular chocolates but a rather deluxe ones.  Not too much but a little gesture.

I have found this practice of giving away a little something since I came to this company. People never give anything big or expensive.  It would make your look like a fool if you give lavishly.

I gave one colleague a Xmas card with a cloisonne-lid mirror, although I doubt if she understands what art it is involved in the making.  I feel like “Do in Rome as Romans do,” on the surface, though.

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