Monthly Archives: September 2007

Words of wisdom from my stylist

As I was getting my hair done for Shirley’s wedding, my stylist (Edward) enlightened me with the 4 rules men should follow to have a successful relationship:
1)  Do what she says *when* she says it.  There should be no delay between her request and your execution
2)  Don’t make any mistakes but always admit to them all.
3)  If you want to be right, admit you’re wrong.
4)  A mother-in-law can be an idiot’s last savior, so be nice to your mother-in-law.
Maybe in a really successful relationship, BOTH men & women follow these rules.  =)

It’s all about the journey…

This seems to be a recurring phrase in my life the past couple weeks.  Started with a conversation w/ J about how it’s not always getting to your destination but enjoying the road you took to get there.  Then it came up in the book I started last night.  And just now I got email from a developer who interviewed me in my current group who just announced he’s leaving MSFT to start his own biz and his amongst his parting words "It’s all about the journey…" 


I couldn’t sleep last night so I started reading a bunch of books looking for answers, looking for inspiration, looking for something better than the Amy Tan book I can’t seem to finish or really even start.  I finally settled on "Happiness Sold Separately", a book about a married couple who struggles through infertility and infidelity. 
An interesting line stuck with me:  "It seems that the spam filter for their life has broken, and all kinds of junk is pouring through…"
Being an email-aholic, this metaphor really hit home for me.  I’ve never felt that way personally, but I thought it was a great way to describe life when you realize you’ve lost control of it and it’s not what you wanted for yourself.  In the midst of all the junk, it’s hard to see the things that are important, the things you need to pay attention to, the things that are real and genuine.  In life, what serves as your spam filter?  What helps you stay on your path and keeps the "junk" out? 

Borrowed blog entry…

I saw this and had to steal it because it helps put your life in perspective.


When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and wordlessly picked up a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was  full.  They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar as full.  The students responded with an unanimous "yes." 

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed.

 "Now," said the professor as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.  "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner.  Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.  Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand."
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee presented.  The professor smiled.  "I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend." 

Something to think about…

This is an article about a professor at the university I used to go to.  At age 46, he has incurable cancer and only months to live yet his spirits are high and strong.  While he doesn’t feel his duty in life is complete, I think he’s grateful he got to realize his childhood dreams in one way or another.  His last lecture (the first 10 mins is below) is on achieving your dreams and how to enable others to achieve theirs.
When you think about your life — what you did yesterday, today and what you will do tomorrow… are you doing everything you can to live your dreams?


"Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted."

"When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore that means they gave up."

She’s married!

Saturday, I watched Shirley, one of my closest friends, get married and start a new journey with her husband.  Shirley is like the sister I never had — she tells it to me straight even when it’s a hard truth for me to accept but she’ll support whatever decision I make in the end with unfailing loyalty.  I was truly honored to not just attend her wedding but be a part of it and be with her throughout the day just to witness the glow of a woman truly in love and truly happy.  I have been to a handful of weddings but this was the closest I came to crying because I knew I was witnessing something real, something that will last forever.  Watching Shirley come down the aisle and seeing Derrick’s espression as he greeted her made my eyes well up.  As they exchanged their vows and rings, I felt nothing but absolute, unadulterated happiness for them.  I know I don’t have to wish them luck because they have love and their love is the kind that doesn’t fade but instead grows brighter and stronger. 
It’s been a roller coaster year for me.  I’ve witnessed and experienced things that have made me question love and marriage and whether in this day and age it can last forever.   But whenever I see two people as in love and as committed and dedicated to each other as Shirley & her new husband, it renews my faith again.  Love is out there; you just have to open your heart to it let it in.  It’s worth the risk of getting hurt if it means a lifetime of happiness.

New Year’s resolution – progress check

I had a few goals for this year:
1) Do something impactful to the world beyond myself and my immediate circle of friends & family
2) Follow my dreams and don’t compromise
3) Get in better phsyical shape
4) Enjoy the things I love and be good to the people I love
So, how am I doing…
1) Do something impactful to the world beyond myself and my immediate circle of friends & family
I joined the VNSF ( board and it has been quite a rewarding experience for me.  The work I do not only helps needy, deserving children in Vietnam but also builds awareness here in the states to a cause that can shape the future of Vietnam.   That, I think, is the most exciting thing to me.  But in addition, I’m finding that I’m learning a lot about myself as well–my weaknesses, my strengths, and my limitations.  Some of the things I need to work on:  patience and understanding, going out into left field and bringing them back in with me, and asking for and letting people help.  I’m confident that my continued involvement will help me to strengthen my weaknesses, share my strengths, and broaden my limitations.
2) Follow my dreams and don’t compromise
To some extent, I’ve always followed the dreams of others… helped them (or at least try to) make their visions into reality.  While it’s been useful for me to cultivate lessons learned from their experiences, I need to focus on my own aspirations.  Towards that end, I’m taking baby steps to further my coffeeshop idea.  I’ll do as much as I can before I leave for China and hopefully while I’m in China be able to come up with a good execution plan to make it happen.
3) Get in better phsyical shape
Always a good goal to have.  I don’t think I’m necessarily in better shape but I do feel more active.  I’ve been playing volleyball year-round and played to the brink of addiction this past summer.  I’m hoping to bring the gym routine back into my schedule.  I’ve already blocked off time on my calendar to ease this back in.  Beyond that, I’m still hoping to learn how to swim by the end of the year.  It’s not looking good so far… swimming might yet again get bumped to next year’s resolution.  <sigh> 
4) Enjoy the things I love and be good to the people I love
I thoroughly enjoyed volleyball and summer time.  It was a great way to stay active, stay close to my friends, and enjoy life.  It’s always my goal to treat the people I love well to show them I appreciate their friendship and the impact they have on my life.   It’s a lot easier to do that with my friends locally here in Seattle but I haven’t risen to the challenge of maintaining that with my friends across the country.  I also need to do a better job including my family in my life and keeping in touch with them.  I don’t want to schedule calls home as though I’m scheduling a meeting for work, but if that’s what it takes, maybe that’s what I have to do.
So, all-in-all, I think I’m doing ok towards my goals.  I’ve made progress in all of them, some more than others, but there will always be room for improvement.  The point is to learn, aim high, make progress towards my aspirations, and be happy.