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

1, Apr 2, 2015

The hot summer-like days in April reminds me of summertime

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 9:09 pm

The past few days have been unseasonably hot, especially when I drove back home around 3:30 in the afternoon. The summer-like weather always reminds me of some lazy summers in the distant past. It always links to some good times that I had either during summer break when I was young or with my children. It seems summer time means no school, no teacher, etc.

When I was at Bowling Green, Ohio, working on my dissertation or in Fort Wayne, Indiana or in McLean, Virginia, I always spent the summer with my children, sometimes even going back to China for the whole summer. I used to think that people should not work in summer. We all should have long summer break.

It seems like the most wonderful time that I had was always in summer. The hot days always bring back my memories of these summer carefree days. And the memories of the long gone past often make me sad and depressed. I must make conscientious effort to keep myself cheerful by focusing my thought on the pleasant things.

1, Dec 11, 2014

Reading William Shakespeare, thought on adult world

Filed under: Random Thoughts,Reading — admin @ 1:13 am

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.

1, Oct 30, 2013

Thought for the day

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:39 am

No, I have not forgotten this site. It is not that I don’t have anything to write about, but I simply don’t have the time to put them out.

Yesterday at office, I was listening to something while working on something else. I caught this part,

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they quit playing.”

1, Apr 21, 2011

Animals, Projections, and Reflections

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:43 am

A friend of mine sent it to me last year. I made my selections according to the instruction. The result was amazingly accurate. So I saved it for later reference.

First, you are asked to arrange these animals according to what you consider important from most to the least: cow, tiger, sheep, horse, and pig. Second, you are asked to describe the following: dog, cat, rat, coffee, and sea.

The idea behind the test is this – once we attribute values to these animals, they are no longer animals in our eyes; they represent what we value. And our choice and arrangement are in essence a reflection of ourselves. Here are their representations.

Cow represents career, Tiger honor, Sheep love, Horse family, Pig money. Your description of these animals are indications of yourself, of dog indicates your personality, of cat indicates your spouse’s personality, of rat indicates your enemy’s personality, of coffee indicates your understanding of sex, of sea indicates your attitude toward life.

1, Dec 18, 2010

Thought on a Cold Saturday

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:53 am

On 12/11, last Saturday morning, I woke up very early as I planned to take a walk from my house to the 95th street. I wasn’t able to because it was drizzling. The morning was wet and cold. Later that morning I went to UPS store to send out a package, then to Border’s to get a book for my daughter. In the afternoon, I took my daughter to Costco for her glasses and then to Wal-Mart for a heater.

The day was so cold and windy that I gave up the idea of any outdoor exercise. I asked my daughter if she felt anything different in weather like this. “Not much,” said she. I told her at least, the extremity of weather strikes to home the crushing power of nature and fragility and physical limits of human beings. We stopped on our way to her art lesson to let pass a medical emergency car. I told my daughter people in not-so-healthy shape had a hard time going through extreme cold or hot weather. That’s why we hear of people dying from heat or cold.

It made me think of those who attempt to challenge the physical limits of human being by venturing into either north or south pole. After we got home, we feel so blessed being sheltered in a warm house from the extremity of weather. Outside the shelter is controlled by Mother Nature, which seems a perpetual challenge to us all.

1, Jul 1, 2010

Another busy Summer Saturday

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:14 am

Last Saturday 6/26, I had another busy and also back-breaking Saturday.
–got up at 5:50 AM, took a long walk from 108th to 95th street on Lamar Avenue
–did an hour yard work after I got back. This is the back breaking part of the day
–took my daughter to JCCC for something she wanted to see, hot and humid
–did some cooking for the week
–took a long nap
–talked to grandma
–went to Michaels to buy some drawing stuff for my daughter
–took my daughter to her art lesson and stayed at HyVee till 7 PM
–did laundry and got bed sheet ready for my son. He will be home for the long week tomorrow
–talked with my sister in the evening
–read before going to bed

1, Jun 10, 2010

Beauty and Talent Went Unrecognized

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:28 am

This was a real story. It happened during the morning rush hour on January 12, 2007 at L’Enfant Plaza subway entry in Washington DC. A violinist was standing there, first playing Bach, then Schubert, next Mauel Ponce, Massenet, then back to Bach to thousands of people passing the station. Throughout the whole 45-minute playing session, only 7 people stopped to listen, paying him totaling $32.

Upon completing, no one applauded and no one paid a slightest attention to this violinist, who turned out to be Joshua Bell, one of the best violinists in the world who just played one of the most difficult pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. At theater, people on the average pay over $100 for his performance.

It turned out that the whole activity was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. It is an interesting experiment, though the result was pretty much anticipated, except the explanations might vary.

1, Mar 6, 2010

Personality Type: Learn to Be Different from Your Own Type

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:42 am

We had a a personality type test at office. I never took it before so I was curious to learn the result. I learned that I have type A personality. Well, nice to know A comes before B, so it should be better than anything comes after it. That was my first reaction. As I read more, I realize it is not very far from truth.

People with type A personality are said to be characterized by an exaggerated sense of time urgency, competitiveness, anger and hostility. People who share certain characteristics with you are often concerned with the acquisition of objects and generally dissatisfied with the world, including oneself. These people don’t know how and when to relax. People probably get tense around type A people, and they tend to feel threatened in presence of type A folks.

I like some part of it and I realize I need to make some changes. That is, people with type A personality need to learn to be Type B or C or anything un-A. The following is the advice given to type A person — Continuous stress and allowing unexpressed feelings to pile up are not good for your health. You should start learning how to relax, to let go, and enjoy life. Try to take it easy and be lazy sometimes. Yes, how people love to be lazy. Not on this wonderful Saturday.

The world is so much richer because of these different types of people and the endless mixtures of various types.

1, Feb 28, 2010

Challenge Yourself in Any New Year

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:44 am

Below are the captions of a powerpoint slide show of the cutest animals sent to me by a friend of mine on the eve of this past New Year. I didn’t have time to go through the slide until now. Yes, I know how much I can put off things. It is already the end of February, still I find it worthwhile posting here. Don’t attempt to try them all. You will deserve a gold medal if you can achieve at least one or two of your goals in any new year!

1. Practice A New Sport
2. Accept New Challenges
3. Dare To Be Different
4. Freshen Up Your Ideas
5. Take Care of Your Looks
6. Learn Another Language
7. Forget Your Troubles
8. Make Peace with Life and People
9. Fall in Love
10. Enjoy Nature
11. Make New Friends
12. Learn New Things
13. Dream!
14. Update Your Wardrobe
15. Listen to Your Elders
16. Laugh a Lot, and Above All, Smile at Life
17. Sing from The Heart
18. Kiss Like You Mean It
19. Take A Bubble Bath
20. Be Curious & Show Some Initiative
21. Have Fun With Your Friends
22. Cautious with Danger
23. Send Emails To Your Friends
24. Relax And Enjoy Yourself After A Hard Day’s Work

1, Jan 28, 2010

Be Thankful List from Our Company

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:40 am

This is from our company day before Thanksgiving of 2009. I planned to have it posted here, but forgot it. Now I read it again and still think it too good to let go. Here you are.

“Count your blessing instead of your crosses
Count your gains instead of your losses
Count your joys instead of your woes
Count your friends instead of your foes
Count your smiles instead of your tears
Count your courage instead of your fears
Count your full years instead of your lean years
Count your kindness instead of your meanness
Count your health instead of your wealth

1, Jan 12, 2010

Thoughts on My Observations and Experience

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:51 am

It has been a few days after I arrived home on 1/8/10. I spent a great deal of time chatting within family, interesting and thought-provoking at times. Here are some of my thoughts and observations that I think it worthwhile to share with my children.

(1) The only unconditional love that you can expect and experience in your life is the one from your parents. Parents are too ready to forget and forgive any wrongdoings of their children, and giving and loving without a thought of any return. On the other hand, other type of love, especially the one behind the forming of a marriage is the most fragile one, regardless how beautiful that kind of love is cherished and articulated. That is why one in two marriages in America ends up in divorce and we see this trend happening in China now.

(2) It is interesting to notice two of my cousins, brothers to each other, are going farther apart because of their different social-economic status, with one being a factory worker, the other being a mid-level manager. True meaningful happiness and interactions, even among siblings, are seldom maintained between people of unequal footing. So sadly true.

(3) Let go of control because the more you control with your tight fist, the less you will find in your hand. I never realize its importance until after I have learned more about one of my relative’s family. It actually makes sense regarding any type of human relations.

(4) Treat others the way you want to be treated. Or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I am not sure if it is written in Bible or some kind of classic reading. I keenly feel there is so much wisdom in this saying yet so easily forgotten in real life.

I love truth just as I love hamburger and pizza because they give you fat and energy in this cold winter Beijing.

P.S. I miss my children greatly, especially when we talked about their time in China during their childhood.

1, Jan 4, 2010

Holiday Season Ends Today at Least For Some of Us

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:44 am

Today the house is strangely empty, a nice break though. My daughter resumes school and my son goes back to college. Two relatives are out in the Southeast touring the States for one week. Less housework, less cooking, less noise, another kind of blessing.

I am so glad that my son made a winter break plan and made efforts to follow through. For both of my children, I have to emphasize this again — No plan means plan to fail. If we don’t want to fail, we always plan ahead.

Here’s the New Year Resolution of one person.
(1) Complete phase I of the project and start phase II this year
(2) Exercise at least three times every week
(3) Continue looking for better ways working with the youngsters
(4) Continue working on self-improvement

Here’s one from another person from my work place:
(1) Lose 25 pounds
(2) Save 10 percent for each paycheck
(3) Exercise daily

I never forget one of my colleagues in 2005 before I moved to the clinic site. She blamed all of her relatives for her obesity when I observed with a silent horror how she devoured a whole huge chocolate cake. I see this blaming game all the time, including myself. It is almost natural for most people to shift responsibilities to others when something undesirable happens. On the other hand, it is sorely funny that we maximize the power of others when things go wrong and celebrate that of our own and give ourselves full credit when things go wonderfully. What a great shame!

For many of my dear friends, when we make excuses for not taking good care of ourselves, we know deep in our heart that we are responsible for ourselves and there is absolutely no excuse for failing in taking care of ourselves first. We are the ones who fail.

Here’s one from C. Darwin, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

1, Jan 2, 2010

If It is a Good Thing, Start It Now

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:37 am

The New Year’s day is gone like a flash. Now day after New Year, I am thinking of implementing New Year Resolution. To be sure, we all have one for this year, just as we did for the past few years.

This is what has happened at my office, which makes me think again. A few days before New Year, I heard a few colleagues of mine talked about weight control starting right after New Year. “I will start over with a clean slate with the New Year.” It sounds a bit ridiculous when you think of the fact that if they start controlling their food intake during holiday season and gain less weight, they will have a relatively less weight to lose after the New Year. I can find no reason for not starting weight control right now.

“New Year New Me.” I heard this kind of talk too often to believe it, especially from my children. Experience has told me that chances are they won’t stick to it for long. Because New Year is a once-a-year occasion and self-discipline and self-improvement are constant nonstop demand on ourselves, a long term commitment that recognizes no time frame and no spacial limit.

For anyone who wants to make a change to his life, there is no better time to start than this very moment.

P.S. last night we went to a friend’s house for New Year’s day dinner — another extra load of food for the holiday season. This is the last weekend before my son leaves for college and before I leave for a 20-day trip to China.

1, Dec 31, 2009

Time Flies Regardless What You Do With It

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:15 am

Enjoy the last day of the first decade of the 21 century.
This is written on the eve of the New Year for my children and for all of my dear friends and relatives. My children hear me repeatedly pounding into their heads the value of time and they still act as if they didn’t know they were 14 or 15 only once.

The story goes like this. A man is suddenly gripped by the desire to learn drawing. But he cannot make up his mind. Hence, he goes to ask a primary school teacher, “You see, I will be 44 years in 4 years. Do you think I can learn it?”

“Why not? You will be 44 years old in 4 years even if you don’t learn drawing,” is the answer. Indeed, time flies even if you don’t learn or do anything. Just as flowers will blossom, even if nobody pays attention to them.

People seldom save time with the same zest as they save money and other tangible valuables. Common sense seems to give them the illusion that time come by freely and endless of it without their ever putting an effort, but they have to earn money which is gone and spent so fast. Alas, people seldom realize the fact that while they can earn money but time, once gone, is lost forever. No amount of gold can get back a second of it.

Once again, I have this for my children — show me how you use your time and I will show you your future.

1, Dec 25, 2009

Doing the Good, Our Attitude Makes the Difference

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:49 am

During the weekend of 12/5/2009, after my daughter left SAT test center at SME, we went to Whole Foods, where she ordered a tiny small cup of gelato and started consuming it. Before we checked out, she had completely finished it. We could just trash the container without paying for it. She left the store first. When I returned to the car, she asked me, “Did you pay for gelato?” I showed her the receipt. “Good,” said she. That was an expensive little cup. Much as I hated it, I still paid for it because I knew I should. Next, our conversation turned to this subject.

There is a difference between these two attitudes — (1) You think it a good thing and you do it because you want to do the good. (2) You think it a good thing and you do it because you think you should. Very often we adopt the second attitude and still believe we are good persons. Actually we are not as good as we believe. If we are really good, we should love doing the good thing regardless of should-or-should-not.

In essence, a little bit self-reflection often serves to curb our overblown ego. Yes, self-reflection seems so incongruous to this commercialized religious holiday. We had a friend family coming over just to catch up with each other. Nothing commercial and nothing religious.

1, Dec 15, 2009

First Impression and Things To Learn

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:35 am

Five days have passed since the arrival of one of our relatives from China and so much have unfolded before me and so many puzzles have been answered, at least according to me.

So far the first impression has been overwhelmingly positive — warm-hearted, fun to be with, open personality, eager to serve, help and to give advice, hard-working at cooking and cleaning, constantly doing and moving without a moment of stopping, admirably carefree, money-wise, exuding endless energy and enthusiasm, having a wonderful memory for thing she cares most.

In many aspects she provides a sharp contrast in comparison to me. She said I worried too much. “See I don’t even worry one tiny bit even when my son is nearly 30, no job, no a girlfriend,” said she. Regardless of what, she remains a proud and upbeat mom. I wish I could be as relaxing and carefree as she is. I wish I were as energetic as she is. I ask myself if I could be this diligent if I were a guest at other’s house. I am not sure if I can be up to the task.

I always believe one of the sure ways to really know a person is to know his/her parents, which throw strong lights on how a person is raised and brought up. There is seldom an exception to this rule. In fact, I told my children not to make any commitment to their significant others before they get to know their parents. In this case, it is interesting to see the young man is almost the exact copy of his mother in his attitude toward life and the whole world view.

So far, I am glad I get to know her better. Or maybe there is other side of her that has not been revealed to me, which is very likely. At least I have come to a better understanding of how her son become what he is now.

1, Dec 10, 2009

Count Our Blessings During Holiday Seasons

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:41 am

This was from a friend of mine, which I am sure is not new to some of the readers. Yet, we all need to be reminded from time to time, especially during holiday seasons.

If you have never experienced the danger of war or the solitude of imprisonment, the agony of torture and hunger, you are much ahead of the 500 million people who live in this world.

If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes to wear, a roof on your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than the 75% of the people who live on this Earth.

If you can go to your place of worship without being threatened, arrested, tortured or killed, you are luckier than the 3000,000,000 persons of this world.

If you have money in your bank account and your wallet and some loose change in some little box, you are one of the world’s 8% well-to-do population.

If you are able to read this message, you have just received a double blessing…one, someone is thinking about you… two, you are not one of those 2000,000,000 people who are illiterate!

Work as if you have no need of the money.
Love as if nobody ever made you suffer.
Dance as if nobody is watching you.
Sing as if nobody is hearing you.
Live as if the Paradise were on this Earth.

Now happy? Indeed, life is so darling.

P.S. the mother of the young man came yesterday evening, jolly and boisterous, an interesting character so different from most of the people that I know of, new experience, sure to provide plenty food for thought and lessons to learn.

1, Nov 15, 2009

A Blind Man and His Guide Dog, A Touching Ending 2

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:45 am

At this moment, the blind man smiles, turned to the Angel, saying, “Finally I bring my dog to the Heaven. What I am worried most is he doesn’t wanted to go to Heaven, just wants to be with me. That’s why I want to make this decision for him. Please take care of him.” The Angel was dumbfounded.

The blind man looks at his dog with a longing eye, saying “This is the best way to get him to Heaven. He will be in Heaven if I tell him to go a few step further. Yet, he has been with me for so many years and this is the first time that I ever see him, I wish I could have more time watching him. That’s why I have walked so slowly. I would like watching him forever, but he should go to Heaven now. Please take care of him.”

With that, the blind man tells the dog to go ahead. The second the dog reaches the gate, his master heads down to the Hell as light as a feather. Seeing this, the dog makes a sharp turn and chases his master. The Angel, eaten with deep remorse, attempts at catching the dog. But the dog with the purest and kindest soul in the world runs faster than the Angel. Eventually and happily he is with his master again, protecting him even in Hell, leaving the Angel behind who realizes the two souls are forever inseparable.

The story is so lovely and touching. I am as speechless as the Angel, not this one though.

1, Nov 14, 2009

A Blind Man and His Guide Dog: A Sad Beginning 1

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:46 am

Thanks to a dear friend of mine for this interesting story.

Once upon a time, there are a blind man and his guide dog. Both of them, being hit by a truck, died tragically. As they were on their way to Heaven, an angel stopped them with this,
“There is only one spot in Heaven, therefore one of you must go to Hell.”
“Since my dog does not understand the meaning of Heaven, can I decide on his behalf?” the blind man asks.
“No, all souls are equal,” says the Angel with contempt. “We decide this through a race, whoever reach the gate first can go to Heaven. Now that you are dead, you won’t be blind any more. He who has the purest soul and kindest heart goes fastest.” says the angel.

Thus starts the race. The angel thought the blind man would make a desperate dash to the gate. But the opposite turns out to be true. The blind man walks slowly. And surprisingly, the guide dog walks by his master at an equal snail pace. It suddenly dawns on the Angel that the guide dog, being in his profession for so many years, has got into the habit of being closeby its master. Even worse, this devilish master takes advantage of his dog’s loyalty. When they are near to the end, he will tell his dog to stop, then he will be the first to reach the gate. The angel feels sorry for the dog, calling out loudly, “You have devoted all your life to your master. He is not blind now and does not need your guide. Run, run to the gate.”

As if her words fall on deaf ears, both of them walk as slowly as before, just like they were walking on a street. Exactly as the angel has expected, as they are just a few steps from the Heaven’s gate, the master tells his dog to sit. The angel looks at the master with aversion, … expecting the worst will happen.
To be continued…

1, Nov 6, 2009

Justice will rule with a Funny Modern Twist

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:17 am

This is too funny to be passed without sharing — A happy ending or a justice has done with a modern twist. You have all heard of this ancient story of golden ax. This time it is thimble that slips into the river by accident. The tailor’s cry touches God who first retrieves a gold one with precious pearl, to which she negates, next a silver one with jade, turns down again. In the end, for her honesty, she is rewarded with three thimbles — gold, silver and her own bronze one.

A few years later while the tailor and her husband walk by the river, her husband slips into river by accident and is going to drown. God shows up again upon hearing her cry. He fishes out a famous male movie star, to which the woman claims as her husband. “You lie! He is not your husband!” the angry God said. “God, please forgive me for lying. I have to lie because you will fish out another big movie star if I don’t lie. I am not strong. I will be exhausted to death if I have to serve three men.” God accepts her reasoning and get her husband back.

Suddenly the husband pushes his wife into river and asks God, “I am strong, please get my wife back.” To which, he is punished with three women, supposedly being the most unwelcome ones.

1, Oct 26, 2009

A Good Customer Service Brings so Much Joy

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:31 am

Last Saturday 10/24, while my daughter was doing volunteer service, I went to the bank, then to a Sprint store for a problem with my cell phone. The person who served me was extremely nice and kind, explaining to me some technical details about cell phone and radio frequency safety. After that, I asked him if he was a technician. Yes, he was. No wonder he was so clear in his explanation. Thus happily I left the store.

Later my daughter and I went to Sutherland to buy a box of apples. As we left the place, my daughter left a negative comment on the customer service of the store. “People don’t even bother to talk to you when I ask a question.”

I reflected upon these experiences. The technician at Sprint store could have saved a lot of breath by not saying anything to me, not even a “hi.” Of course, he did a lot more than that. He did it not out of job responsibility, but because he wanted to be nice. People at Sutherland store were expected to serve the customers, yet they were too lazy even to greet the customers. There seems so much negativity going around there. I am not sure if it is because people don’t want to be nice or they don’t care.

I told my daughter a good customer service was very important in making somebody’s day. At my work place I treat everybody, colleagues, auditors, monitors, and PM as customers and exhibit good customer service to all who deserve it. It really doesn’t take much. All you need is being nice to people you meet at work or everywhere. And that’s one of the ways for you to feel good.

P.S. the experience at Sutherland reminds me so much of the old socialist state where customer satisfaction was never the priority. Funny witness the same thing here in capitalist state, as if history repeats itself in another land.

One of my colleagues asked me again for my weblog. I told that person “My writings are more on parenting which is a boring topic to you.” And no again, but will be yes when the third time comes.

1, Oct 19, 2009

Learning Chinese from the Blogs

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:39 am

My children once asked me why I did not write in Chinese. Fancy asking this. “So that both of you can read it,” was my answer. “It will be an incentive for me to read it if you write in Chinese,” I was told of this. I do believe they will read the Chinese blogs, don’t I?

As I didn’t want to dampen any upbeat enthusiasm that the child might have at the moment, I promised to post some Chinese occasionally. Here’s part of an email sent to me from a friend of mine. Part of the difficulties of posting in Chinese is that I have not made it possible to posting in Chinese.

As the quote sounds a bit mawkishly corny and sweet, I will simply extract the main idea of the quote. That idea is, if you can be nicer with someone, don’t be just nice. Be nicer than nice. If you can be together with someone, don’t separate lightly, well, unless both agree to be together.
Be nicer than nice

1, Oct 18, 2009

Nobel Prize in Economics but not in Mathematics

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:38 am

This year’s Nobel economics prize goes to Elinor Ostrom and another American economist, the first time that a woman is thus awarded. This brought up an interesting fact about the history of Nobel Prize, that is, a question that many people have tried to answer — why we don’t have a Nobel Prize in mathematics so far.

There have been some explanations for this question, many of them are romantic in nature regarding the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel. A look at the history of prize in economics will invalidate any explanation of this kind.

So far we have Nobel in Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economics. Award to economists started only in 1969, not one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895. This is to say a prize in mathematics or in any field is always a possibility if a mathematician has prove him/herself worthy of it.

One step forward, isn’t it not too far from truth if people can always come up with some explanations when they have not convinced the world with their achievements as economists did in 1969?

For me I know it is always tougher to blame ourselves than blaming others.

1, Sep 27, 2009

Celebrating Activities with the Children

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:23 am

Last Friday evening, my daughter and I volunteered for Light The Night Walk organized by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We worked hard at preparing lighted balloons for the walkers. There seemed over a thousand participants in the walk.

On Saturday morning I took my daughter to attend an interesting science seminar at Union Station. It was given by Dr. Perry Alexander from KU, EE & CS department. The title of his lecture was “A Just Machine,” in which he looked at the history and the future of computing technology.

Saturday evening, skating practice, 7 – 10 PM. While she was on the rink, I went to a Chinese friend’s to attend a 2-hour seminar on market America business.
Saturday evening after skating, we put together an outline for her resume.
Sunday morning, an art exhibit at Plaza.
Sunday afternoon, skate lesson.
The big nephew came back this weekend, thus the other adult was busy preparing meals.
So much for a fun weekend.

1, Sep 14, 2009

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:29 am

You might very well laugh at the absurdity of putting the cart before the horse as if you were better than this. Yet, if you stop for a second and take a close look at yourself as I did on my birthday, you will find we are doing it all the time. That is, any time you spend your time on things of less value and postpone doing things of real significance or lose sight of perspective, we put the cart before the horse.

Last weekend, I talked to a senior Chinese student at my daughter’s last art class at that location. She is almost 70 years old. She told me most of people that she knew of spent a good part of their lives making money. Now they have become rich and wealthy, yet they don’t have much time left to enjoy their wealth. Some of them don’t have the health and energy to do what they’d rather do. Why did they make money?

It is sad, certainly. They put the cart before the horse when they forgot to enjoy themselve for a large part of their lives, having been single-purposed in their pursuit of money. Or did not they lose sight of the true purpose of life? How do we balance the need for money and the purpose of life? When we don’t see ourselves as money-making machine, we should have a more enjoyable purpose in life than this.

Just a thought. No easy answer.

1, Sep 7, 2009

Carry On — A Song that I Learned in College

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:46 am

It’s been over two decades since I first heard it and I simply cannot get it out of my mind. Even my children can sing it. Well, they sing my version of the song, which, I am sure, has deviated from the original version.

Carry On
In younger days, I’ve told myself my life would be my own
And I’ll leave the place where sunshine never shone
For my life’s too short for waiting when I see the rising sun
Then I know again that I must carry on
Carry on till tomorow, there’s no reason to look back
Carry on, carry on, carry on

Beyond the shadows of the clouds and onward to the sky
Carry on till I find the rainbow’s end
For my life’s too short for waiting when I see the rising sun
Then I know again that I must carry on
Carry on till tomorow, there’s no reason to look back
Carry on, carry on, carry on

Drifting on the wings of freedom, leave this stormy day
And we’ll ride to tomorrow’s golden fields
For my life’s too short for waiting when I see the rising sun
Then I know again that I must carry on

Carry on, carry on, carry on

And when the heavy journey’s done, I’ll rest my weary head
For the world and its colours will be mine
For my life’s too short for waiting when I see the setting sun
Then I know again that I must carry on

Carry on till tomorow, there’s no reason to look back
Carry on, carry on, carry on.

How good can that be! You can imagine how practical a person can be with a head stuck in songs like this, trying to find the rainbow’s end. It is after all just a song.

1, Sep 5, 2009

Two Men with Two Different Attitudes and Aspirations

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:31 am

I know of two men with vast difference in personality and aspiration. One is around 30, the other in mid-50, a generation apart in age. You would expect the younger one has more drive and ambition while the old one is more laid-back, accepting, and reconciling ideal with reality. Well, the opposite is true.

The young one is my co-worker, going about his days without any personal agenda, engaging in small talks like school girls whenever opportunity is found, commanding nothing but jokes, as if his whole life is a standing joke that fails to entertain. The older man, whom I have known back in China Daily before I left for America, just earned his MBA and decided to quit his current job, embark on a new path on his own. He is full of ideas and energy and ready to roll up his sleeves and plunge into action. “I admire your courage to beat out at this point of your life,” was what I told him.

For some reason, the older man did not start out in his 30s. Yet, it is never too late to start doing what you want. After all, we only have one life to live. Why not make most of it?

I can hear back in my head some people would say “That man won’t get somewhere at his age.” I would think the man in his mid-50 leads a much richer and interesting life than the younger one. At least he goes about life with goals to pursue and ideas to cherish.

1, Aug 31, 2009

The Tomb of Geese and Their Life-Death Bond

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:42 am

Yesterday I mentioned the behavior in animal world and the fact that we are not any better than some of them. This reminds me of a ci by Yuan Haowen in Jin Dynasty. Yuan Haowen wrote a preface, like an explanation of the ci. You will be able to appreciate the emotional bond among animals after learning this story. It is something like this —

On the way to take an exam, Yuan Haowen met a goose-hunter with two geese. He told Yuan what happened that day. “This morning I captured two geese, one escaped from the net. I killed the other one. The free one refused to fly away, mourning over the dead one with a sad crying sound, circling above them, then committng suicide by plunging its head against a rock.”

Yuan who understood the inseparable emotional bond between geese bought the dead ones from the hunter, buried them together and called their tomb “The Tomb of Geese” [yan qiu]. Hence this famous ci. It is a beautiful work. I wish I could translate it but I dare not try for fear of grossly distorting the beauty of the original work.

1, Jul 20, 2009

July 20, 2008, The Day They Arrived in America

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 9:02 pm

Exactly a year ago today when my sister and her son came to America to study English. Things did not turn out the way my sister planned. So the boy went back in March this year.

The good news is my sister worked very hard with her son and finally caught up with the class so that the boy can successfully move up to the next grade. I am so glad for my sister. Hard work eventually paid off.

1, Jun 23, 2009

One Year Anniversary of Mom Write Part 2

Filed under: Random Thoughts — admin @ 12:45 am

Continue from yesterday’s celebration. But no more home-made candle today.

(4) Writing is the most intense brain activity, according to a Japanese neuroscientist. This means keeping the blog alive is as good to my brain as keeping an old baby from getting old. So lovely. An old acquaintance of mine so kindly commented “You have aged gracefully.” Thanks to my blogging and no thanks for his comment.

(5) Since its inception I have shared it with some of my former classmates, current and former friends, a relative, and a colleagues who has left the company and another one who does not work in the same clinic as mine. I don’t think they are ever interested in my writing or even my life, but in case they ever are wondering about my current status, here’s a window. Not sure anyone ever peeped through, though. In fact, I am not sure if I should list it here at all.

What actually happened rather unexpectedly is the site has been haunted overwhelmingly by over-zealous viagra sellers and pernicious porn hawkers, who swarm over MomWrite like toxic flies, leaving tons of links and nasty comments. Sometimes, I have to spend tremendous amount of time cleaning their presence from my site, blocking their IP addresses one by one, leaving me extremely mad, so mad that I feel like breaking somebody’s neck if I could grab that somebody! I am positively sure that they have patronized MomWrite more than any of goodwill readers. I have to disable comments and tracks a month after the postings. One day I had to manually block a few hundreds of IP address like the following, only much longer than this list.

Some people are over-nosy, checking the whois of momwrite, that is, the identity of the owner. Here’s the answer: the site owner will remain anonymous to protect the privacy of the owner’s children.

So much for reflection. Now looking ahead, what do I see? Nothing in particular, no plan, no framework or outline or idea where the site will head for, what format, what topic that the site will touch. So nice to know. Now this is the perfect moment to end the day.

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