Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Can't be cuter

I always believe that when there is love in people's heart, they feel the happiest and look at their best.  Just look at the five of these young folks:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Dim Sum at Asian Delight

Rosy was very kind to invite Ed, Tom, Janice and me for Dim Sum at Asian Delight in Silver Spring yesterday.  She has not seen Tom, Janice, and Ed for quite a while.  It really turned out to be a Dim Sum feast for all of us, because Rosy ordered 27 items!  Retirement, vacation, traveling, hiking, grand kids, and family reunion were topics around the table.  We all can't help to feel how times have flied over the years.

Rosy and I have known each other for, good grief, 38 years! I met her at her 18th Birthday celebration.  Lydia from Midway invited the Bible Study group to Rosy birthday party, when we dropped her off at Midway after the Study. On one snowy day of that same year, Rosy and Helena knocked at the door of my apartment in Lexington, seeking help to find a place to stay when they moved from Midway to Lexington.  That started the long relationship between Rosy and me.

Florence gave me two pairs of socks with very cute cats.  To have a sister in the Lord is a blessing in my life.

Christmas eve with Joshua

It's Joshua's first Christmas eve, spent with his parents, his YeYe, his Yau Yau James, and me, the Grand Yau Yau.  He has been in a good mood all day.  He loves to be held, and walked around to look at people and things.  Elizabeth and Dan took him to the Mass later in the afternoon, and reported that Joshua has been really good and quiet.  Dan said that after the Mess, many people commented on how good and beautiful is Joshua.  The smile on Dan was delightful. The smile simply says "we know!"  Elizabeth is nursing Joshua, and would talk sweetly and humorously to him when he enjoys the "meal".  Both Elizabeth and Dan are becoming more and more "confident" with their parental roles.  I am so happy for them!

Ed played with Joshua quite a bit.  Joshua definitely liks music.  Ed was teaching him "conducting" the music.  They both enjoyed it tremendously!

James asked me if he would then be Joshua's Yau Yau.  Ed and I told him yes he definitely is Yau Yau James.  The youngest uncle to Joshua in Huang's family.  I always liked my Yau Yau title - the youngest aunt in my family.  I hope James likes his new title and would allow Joshua to call him so.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Love me, love my cat

James moved to Berkeley and we have not seen each other for quite some time.  He seems to have grown more mature.  We had a nice dinner together.  He got a kick out of the glamours pictures I took in Taipei.  Ya, those pictures that made me look 40 years younger, but only vaguely resembled me. Anyway, we had a good laugh with it.  Bowtie was happy to see James, and be stroked by him.  Bowtie really needs to lose some weight.


Today I drove Ed to Elizabeth and Dan'd place to visit.  I was able to hum a lullaby to get Joshua to sleep twice.  (He woke up after a VERY short sleep twice in a row though).  I was able to tease him to smile and even tried to talk a bit!  Wow, just 1.5 mo. old.  He is going to grow up really smart!

My First Class

Yesterday I went to the Parkville High at 2600 Putty Hill Avenue to talk to 26 of 9th graders (14 years old) on "Achievement Counts".  This is a volunteer work through McCormick.  My mission is to teach these kids about their transcripts count; setting goals; the relationship between salary and expenses (can you afford it); and Maryland Scholar. Maryland Scholar is a program that a student must have a GPA.  When a kid studies hard, and meet the criteria to become a Maryland Scholar, he or she can have a better chance with college or job applications.

I tried to engage the kids.  I guess it's always the case, you win some and lose some.  As long as that I can make a positive impact on one kid, it would be worth it!  According to the feedback, all together 22 of them, 10 marked me as "exceptional", 7 marked "good", 4 did not mark anything, and 1 marked "not helpful".  I guess I did okay.

One kid, Rachael Baxter, asked if I would remember them. Before I could answer, their teacher, Mr. Miller said that "Rachael, please don't make Ms. Huang lie".  I told Rachael that I would wish them all to be successful in life, as an older person telling the younger persons.  And I really meant it, even though I know some of them likely will not be too successful.

I also remember this young black student , Elijan Woantee, as a very nice young man.  He knows his stuff and wants to do well.  I would definitely wish Elijan be successful with his life.  I just wish that his teacher would give him more encouragement. Mr. Miller strikes me as such a frustrated middle aged man who simply lost patience with all the kids he has to deal with everyday.    Obviously he does not see teaching as a calling.  The first thing he told me when we met was "This is a rowdy class". I just did not see the kindness in him that  I had experienced with my teachers when I went to school in Taiwan.  Such a pity.

I asked to take a picture of the students.  And of course some were very happy to pose for the picture, and some were not interested at all.  That's okay.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Last Performance Appraisal

Today I handed in my last performance appraisal to my boss.  I said to him "shall we go right to the bottom line?"  (After all the rating on goals achieved, personnel's attributes, etc, there is at the bottom of our PA form, the Employee's Comment, The Manager's Comment, and the Next Level Manager's Comment.)  Before he reacted, I said that my Employee's Comment is that "I am grateful for McCormick & Company, Inc. and its people."  I skipped the whole part with rating numbers and stuff.  He looked at them briefly, and said he agrees with what I put down.  He said that he appreciated that I took upon other projects (meaning my help with Lyny's projects.) He said that he would have more to say at my retirement tea. .....about the legacy I built in China......  I said to him " Just don't embarrass me, or make me cry."  We were amiable. It was an amiable exchange.   And then it was all over, a five minutes event.  I would expect nothing else.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Most precious the affection from a child

Meghan was performing as a mouse in the community play of Nutcracker ballet during the weekend of Dec. 4 . Her first public performance.  I enjoyed the show and of course most of all the excitement of the big event.  Elizabeth brought Matthew to join Tom, Janice, Alexander, Margaret,  me, and the big Meghan to see the show.  It was Matthew's first too.  David is still too small and was staying home with his Grandpa Joe.

When a child smile at you from its heart, be grateful for the moment and the opportunity to build a special bond.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fiscal Responsibility

My secretary Anita thinks that I am an utterly control freak when it comes to fiscal responsibility of retirement.  I used almost every free calculator available on InterNet to estimate if I have enough net worth to sustain myself by retiring next year.  I used calculators to do a budget on my projected monthly cash flow.  I planned out for the next five years how to allocate money to the three buckets:  (1) ready cash and laddered CD, (2) funds for year 5-10 (value stocks, laddered bonds, etc.), and (3) funds for after year 10 through 30.  I also estimated the risk of longevity (use calculators to project when will I die:  it turned out I will live to between 83 - 93.  I guess I did everything I could think of so far trying to be responsible.  Then I am going to leave it to God for the rest of my life.

Now I need to stick to my cash flow budget, and see if the projections and my plan works out well!  Other than that, I just have to be thankful and enjoy life.