Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mushrooms, mushrooms, on the hiking trails

Joan and I met at Trader Joe's parking lot at 8:00 AM this morning.  Then we car pooled to the Hilltop parking spot where we would meet up with Rosy and Florence at 8:30 to start our morning hike at the Patapsco Valley State Park again.  We started from the Barzard Rock, connected a bit on the Sawmill Branch, cross over the creek to the Charcoal Trail, and found where there are cabins and campers..  From Charcoal trail, we went down the Glen Fire trail, which linked us back to the Tunnel, and looped unto the Barzard Rock trail back to our cars.  It was on the Charcoal and the Glen Fire trails that we saw a lot of mushrooms.  Some were quite colorful.  And we were delighted!

Those vulnerable emotions

I did not feel loved by my parents when I was growing up.  There was too much confusion, anger, and sadness for my young and tender heart to handle well.  I was, however, convinced later that my Father did love me very much.  The conviction came rather late in my life, after he had passed away, and after I had a better understanding of myself, life, love, and loss.  And then I learned that when at the end of the day, driving home from work on a summer day, I would come to tears looking at the beautiful blue sky, and think of the people that had loved me and the life that was once shared.  It has been almost close to 20 years.  But the blue sky on a summer day still could break my heart.

What a wonderful feeling on the way to work

Tuffton is the back country road I take to work in the morning around 6:30 AM. The tranquil scene of the farm, the beautiful horses, the trees, the fog, the sky, and the grass, every bit of it cleanses my soul from inside out.  I know I will miss this drive every early morning after I retire. Each morning I am reminded by this road to ask that may my life be pleasing to the Master of the Universe and beneficial to others.  My own frailty may fail my wish, but I truly have the humble intention in my heart.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

One fabulous day at the Baltimore Zoo

On one hot Saturday in July this summer, I was able to get the whole group, with the exception of Elizabeth (who went to a friend's shower), to visit the Baltimore Zoo.  We did the walking, talking to animals and the ranger, chasing each other, making faces, posing for pictures, riding the train, and lastly, sucking on colorful snow balls.  David said that the snow ball was not cold, it was cool. It was one fabulous day all right.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cascade Fall Hike - Again

When one loves hiking, one shares it with friends.  So I recruited Rosy and Florence to join Joan and I to venture out to the Patapsco Valley State Park today.  We walked through the Barzard Rock trail, the Cascade  Fall trail, and came back to the parking spot through the Sawmill Branch Trail, which is by the creek with the view of rock filled creek bed, and the sound of water running through rocks.  Very pleasant indeed! The entire distance of this morning's hike was only 5.1 miles.  But there was no breeze with a temperature of 88 F.  We surely gave a good sweat.  We saw someone, perhaps a young couple in love 41 years ago,  had carved their names  on the trunk of a huge tree (don't know what kind).  1969!  I was a freshman at national Taiwan University, and had a whole life ahead of me.  Joan asked me what I have done in the last 41 years.  Well, graduate school, and work.  After school, it was all work.  And family and friends.  I guess I never left what I value the most in life: family and friends.

And again, we combined hiking with a buffet lunch.  This time we went to the Panda by Lotte in Ellicot City.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recipe for a good start (of retirement)

Retirement has been such a preoccupation to me for quite some time now.  I have used numerous "calculators" from various on-line sources, read up on all one needs to know about retirement, social security, health care cost, etc. etc.  I even estimated that I probably will live to 93.  My secretary Anita said "I did not know you are such a control freak!"  The thing is that now is probably the first time in my life that I am planning what I want to do instead of just following a path that is in front of me, chosen by someone else, or appeared by chance.  If I have learned anything from life, it would be "make an effort".  One needs to make a good effort in ones life, as one is held accountable for it.
A master has given three servants $500, $200, and $100 respectively.  The servant with $500 used the gift and earned another $500, the servant with $200 used it and earned another $200, but the servant with $100 had a negative attitude, who did not make use of $100 to achieve anything.  The Master was pleased with the first two servants, but not with the last servant.  I was not born with great talent ($500), but I was born with probably medium talent ($200).  Have I used my $200 and made a difference in the life of others?
At least I am so grateful to the $200 given to me.  Help me to make my retirement days pleasing to the Master.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Challenge your faith

One objective for my retirement years is to learn more about history: Chinese history and world history.  Would I change my mind about my faith after I gained a better understanding of history? Was my faith a result of my ignorance? I like to believe that my faith was a blessing from God's grace.  But let me challenge it.
What was God like before Christ?  Changan became the eastern terminus of the silk road connecting to Europe at 190 BC.  Observation of silk evidence could trace back to 3630 BC. And I know so, so little about history.  Let me be teachable moving on from the age of 60.

Tyson Buffet

Tyson Buffet is a convenient restaurant for the Class of 68 at Greater DC area to meet, eat, and chat usually on a weekend afternoon.  This past Sunday we (ShanShan, Sony, Kathy, Joan, Lily, Julia, Joanna, me and Joyce) met again from 11:30 AM till 4:30 PM.  Joyce being in town was the main reason for this gathering.  Shu-jen, Su Tai, Paoching, and Yvonne were unable to attend due to business, vacation or other commitment.  The topics usually cover health, ageing, travel, retirement, worries about the adult children (girlfriend, boyfriend, spending habits, etc.).  We came from a very similar background, and had little trouble understanding each other.  There was an unsaid appreciation for the friendship.  The group started in 2001, when our lives were not connected. Let your heart open to new opportunities.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Patapsco Valley State Park

Take Rolling Rd. (By H Mart), right turn on Frederick Rd, left turn on Hilltop, and the road will take you to the Buzzard Rock trail head, where Joan and I found the hiking delightful yesterday.  We both have lived in Maryland for 20 years, she even longer than that.  But yesterday was a first time discovery for both of us.  At the age of 60, to be able to feel completely delighted was a good achievement for the day, not to mention the health benefit from the 8 miles walk. We crossed the river through the Swinging Bridge, then found the Cascade Falls on the other side of the river.