Friday, October 31, 2003

Whiff. This week has been rather exhausting. I know I must seem like I'm chronically pooped, but this week was really a doozy. Note to self: do not go out on weekends. Stay home and SLEEP. Nothing is worse than starting off a workweek tired. I had one good night of sleep, on Tuesday, wehn I got to bed at the delightfully early hour of 11.

Last night was the ORIENTED Taipei happy hour at the American Club. I must say I thought it was a rather successful event. In any case, I was ready to go home at 11 and collapse, but Christine and I thought we should go down to Sigi's and check out how many folks were left. Of course, Christine spotted some old friends, who were very charming people--and whose names I cannot think of at the moment because of the above mentioned fatigue--and we all a nice chat, but these pleasantries happened way too late in the night for me.

I can't complain. We just finished the last stretch of earnings season. One of my co-workers was at work till 1:30am, and my boss and two other analysts were apparently still going strong at 3am in the morning.

Over and out, the party girl with a 30's Shanghai look today.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Today's session with my trainer--my second session--has convinced me I have found the perfect one for me. Besides being approachable, knowledgeable, and ENCOURAGING, I learned today that he's not interested in the traditional gym routine of cardio and weights. He's also into mind-body movement methods. Today taught me some core-strengthening and flexibility exercises I haven't already done--which I find impressive, since I've taken a number of fitness classes. Apparently my lower spine is a bit flat, and that, coupled with my really tight hamstrings and lower back muscles, has caused a number of back problems.

Hmmm, as I read through this, I realize I'm probably boring you terribly. But in any case, I'm rather excited about all of this, because I'll be learning something new that makes me feel good. Improving my flexibility has long been a desire of mine since I have the worst flexibility; despite stretching regularly, I still barely make it past the bottom run of the "needs work" scale at my semi-annual fitness evaluation (although, I have gained 12cm of flexibility in my back in the past year and a half). Eventually, eventually I hope (keeping my fingers crossed, although I supposed I should be doing the downward facing dog instead) to be able to move up into the "fair" scale.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Wow! I just published my blog! The reason why I've been posting so infrequently these past couple of weeks (besides being busy at work) is that I thought I could no longer publish from work. After one day's futile attempts at publishing, and an email to Blogger Help, I was told my my work's FTP settings no longer worked with Blogger and that I should ask my ISP to change their settings. Yeah, right, like the IT folks will make a change so that I can blog at work. Not that I blog all the time at work, obviously. But being able to snatch moments to get out thoughts on my mind is a great outlet.
Thanks to Felix for rounding up a gaggle of us to participate in the Terry Fox Run last Sunday. Bonnie and I were feeling pretty good after what we believed to be the first half (we were told there were 3km and a 6km runs), so we embarked upon the second part. Gosh, we agreed, the run seems a lot longer when we aren't darting between crowds of participants. Of course, later we found out the first part was only 2.2km. Thankfully, the twice-weekly runs I had taken at the gym in the couple of weeks leading to the Terry Fox Run ensured I wasn't sore the next day.

However, I've been feeling really tired. I think it's the change of seasons. Plus, I tend to run myself ragged during the summer, dashing about here and there, doing this and that. Autumn is a time of recuperation. The weather is really quite beatiful now: today the sunny skies are blue, and there's just a hint of crispness in the air.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Yesterday was a day of reconnecting with friends I haven't heard from in awhile. At lunch, I was sad as I realized that I haven't really talked to Galen since he left Taiwan. While he was here, we'd talk nearly everyday. Now that he's finishing up his last semester of school at Berkeley, we rarely talk. Joy, then, when he got online in the afternoon and we had a satisfying instant message chat. Galen always makes me laugh.

Later, I thought to myself how unfortunate I missed meeting Andy on one of his business trips to Taiwan, as I had been to Hong Kong. I'd hoped he'd still be here when I got back, but I hadn't heard from him. Lo and behold, as I was walking back from the CAPT EC meeting, Andy called--he had missed the clearly written line in my email reply to him that I had changed my mobile number, and had called me on my old number. Thankfully, he re-read his email and caught me on his last night in town.

What else is a girl to do but to meet up with her bud? So good catching up--Andy remembers all my life's minutae from the last visit and asks for an update--but as I arrived home at 1:30am with my eyelids drooping, I knew I'd be hurting in the morning when my alarm rang at it's usual time of 6:30.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

random acts of kindness

It's moments like these that make me so thankful that I live in Taiwan. This afternoon, I thought I would take a break and get some blood flowing into my legs by scurrying out to get a mango smoothie from my favorite juice place. It's just down the street, so I figured I would not heed the changeable weather we've had lately as fall blows in and just bring some cash and my phone.

Of course, the sky always rains when I forget to bring an umbrella. No matter, I thought, as I was sprinkled with a drop here and there. As I approached the intersection, though, the rain began to come down more determinedly. A young woman next to me offered to share her umbrella. Serendipitously, she was going to buy some fruit at the stand across the lane from the juice place. After I purchased by juice, the proprietor lent me an umbrella for my trip back to the office.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I've just had two indulgent, albeit different, weekends. Two weekends ago, I did absolutely nothing -- puttering about the house doing personal projects, getting plenty of rest, taking my aunt and uncle out to dinner at Shao Shao Ke (mmm, Shaanxi food -- fish in citrus sauce, roasted pork ribs), and having lunch with the lovely Mike Co and Ming.

Mike has always reminded me of my college crony, Kuo: both good, solid, mid-Western guys who are always patient with and look out for me. And now that Mike is with Ming, the similarities grow. I've always felt so cared for whenever I go visit Melissa and Kuo; and when I had lunch with Mike and Ming, I found the two of them so complementary to each other, and just wrapped in warm, fuzzy, soft cashmeres of feelings.

Last weekend was quite different. For the Double 10 long weekend, I flew to Hong Kong, where I met up with Melissa (along with one suitcase of her belonings), and my cousins Pei and Yuan-yuan. We girls had quite a weekend that included lots of catching up, dim sum at Victoria Seafood, crab (both the traditional and the "hairy" kind--the English translation doesn't sound very appetizing, huh?), tea, divine chocolate banana cake, colon hydrotherapy treatments, and shopping. Pei, Yuan-yuan, and I realized us cousins hadn't had a meal together in months, and seeing Melissa before she ventured off to big, bad Beijing was ever so good.

So, one weekend like a cashmere blanket, and another like a sparkling glass of champagne.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Melissa left yesterday to eventually end up in Beijing, where's she's accepted a new job--yet another friend made in Taiwan who moves on. That doesn't mean our friendship is over, of course. I have some friends whom I stay in touch with with more when we're in different countries than when we are actually in the same community. Thank goodness for email and instant messaging systems.

P.J. Hamel, the editor at King Arthur Flour, wrote this in the latest Baking Circle newsletter:

Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, Katharine S. White (that would be E.B.�s wife) and Elizabeth Lawrence� While each of the women in these two famous letter-writing pairs considered the other her closest friend, they spent very little time together, meeting only occasionally. Instead, letters flew back and forth regularly, taking the place of face-to-face (or telephone) conversation in an era when communication wasn�t nearly as simple as it is today.

Perhaps it isn�t communication that�s simpler these days, but merely the technology that carries it. Has it ever been easy to speak what�s in your heart? Or to put down on paper what you truly feel, and then mail it to someone? Opening your hidden self to the scrutiny of others can feel dangerous. What will she think of me? Will he still like me?

Here are some things I�ve learned over the years. Set fear aside. Tell the truth about yourself. Admit your shortcomings; we all have them, why pretend otherwise? But don�t criticize your friends. (As a line from one of my favorite movies has it, �Only God can point the finger.�) Take care that your own garden is well-weeded and watered before hopping the fence and working on someone else�s. If you�re invited into the garden, however, make your pruning very gentle; advice doesn�t necessarily need to be preceded by criticism.

At work, praise lavishly, and deflect kudos onto your co-workers; but take responsibility for failure onto your own shoulders. Do more than what you think is your fair share; the other person is probably doing likewise. Accept different work styles; there are many paths to reach a common destination. If it crosses your mind to criticize a co-worker, think before opening your mouth; if, after thinking about it, you still feel like opening your mouth�think some more. And, above all, work willingly, and with a smile on your face. Imagine how stress in the workplace would disappear if we all just looked happy!

And this, I promise, will be the very last on a series of musings on friendship. For a while at least, anyways.

Friday, October 03, 2003

It's funny how things work. I long suspected something--my intuition has always been good at telling me what is going on, although I'm not always good at listening--but instead I pretend to ignore it. It festers in my mind and my heart, and gnaws at me day by day. But finally, after I acknowledge, instead of denying, and bring it out to the open, it ceases to bother me.

Lately my focus has been on healing myself, of holistic improvement. So I've been going to acupressure/Chinese tuina massage, and I started an acupuncture series. I've been trying to do slow down, to spend more time at home to recharge myself. It's a natural process, after all--a cycle of activity followed by inactivity. Restoring after depleting. I am also trying to do more yoga and belly dancing. Bryan Kest, whose yoga class I was able to take while I was in L.A., has the *best* philosophy:

Re-activeness creates tension. Discomfort is a part of life. Unwanted things happen, and wanted things don't happen. Our comfort zones get trampled. No one, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can escape discomfort. Yet within our discomfort, we actually have a choice: Shall I accept it or not? Accepting discomfort is intentional passivity. Non-acceptance is resistance.


The less reactive we become, the more accepting we are of ourselves and others, as well as experiences, and the more peace (balance) and harmony pervades our life.