So Far This Year…


Photography Improvement counts as  an achievement, right?
Photography Improvement counts as an achievement, right?

It’s quite difficult to believe that we’re already approaching summer. Where has the time gone? Today’s prompt has asked about how the year is shaping up for us so far. I will have to say, it’s been busy but at the same time, it’s been interesting.

The new year started off with me watching the Tournament of Roses alone, no surprise there. My aunt was too busy sleeping while mom was watching something on the computer and my cousin, as usual, hid in the basement.

In February, we finally said goodbye to them with one final buffet lunch at Golden Corral. After they left, we spent a couple days cleaning up and then everything began to quiet down. Not really though. School was busier than ever with the need to take an exam every weekend not to mention volunteering to do people’s taxes. I cried when I did my own taxes but who wouldn’t when you find out you owe more than 2000-dollars of taxes. 😦

April was a busy month with finals approaching and the A-to-Z Challenge. It was one hectic month.

Now, it’s May. I just completed my translation work for the month and I am on the verge of completing another project today for my other job. After that, I may just work one day a week while spending the rest writing and studying. Oh, that reminds me, I have to register for the test.

Challenges and Achievements…

Challenges:

I think the biggest challenges so far this year has been finding the time to write. Though I don’t think it will be a problem now since most of the shows I enjoy watching ended last week.

I made quite a bit of progress on my novella in the recent days. I am trying to finish the first draft before I have to start the translation work again next month. So that’s 15 days? After that, it will be the editing phase but hopefully not the rewriting phase. I don’t want to rewrite this for the fifth time.

Ugh, I feel like I’m so close to the end of the story yet the end seems so far away. A problem I’m facing with the story is my brain is constantly debating the conclusion, about whether to write a happy ending where the villain loses or a sad ending where one of the heroes dies. Either way, it will be final.

Achievements:

My biggest achievement this year would have to be my grades. I don’t want to jinx it but I just have to say, they are so many times better than my engineering days. Why didn’t I just go into accounting in the first place?

As for my other achievements, at the beginning of the year, February 3, to be exact, I wrote a post for Blogging 201 and that is to set three goals. Those goals were:

  1. Get a decent job that is does not involve self-employed paychecks
  2. Write at least 5 1000+ words short stories
  3. See my daily views increase 10 to 20%

Although I haven’t exactly achieve the first goal. Yes, I have a new second job but it’s not decent and that job doesn’t pay my federal and state taxes. So it’s basically the same as a self-employed paycheck.

I think it’s safe to say that I have not achieve goal #2 but goal #3, on the other hand, I can say proudly I have achieved it. Just look at this…

Capture

That is more than a 50% increase from week-to-week. It puts a smile on my face to see how many people are visiting my blog on a daily basis. 🙂 Thank you so much and thank you so much for the nominations!

…and that’s a reflection on the year so far. It’s been a good year and hopefully it will stay that way. 🙂

All or Nothing?


“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” — Sylvia Plath

Which do you find more dangerous: wanting nothing, or wanting everything?

I find both ends of the spectrum dangerous. Wanting everything can put a person in desperate situations that can lead a person to stealing, fights, and a whole lot of other things. Wanting nothing can mean a person is depressed and needs help. It can also mean this person wants no any sort of object whatsoever. It can just mean they want money.

I find a person healthy when they want something in between.

Horrible post for a horrible prompt and it’s not linking!

Got an exam to study for, later.

Drum roll please, 100th post!!! Need to brag on my accomplishments and bag on my frustrations


Before I say anything else, I would just like to say, this is my 100th post! I know right? It feels like a whirlwind. After two straight months of constant blogging, I’ve reached my second major goal! The first was of course 100 followers.

Well technically, I have been blogging for more than a year but don’t forget the 5-month hiatus not to mention I’ve only managed to publish less than 10 posts a month from September to April. So really, I’ve only been blogging for 2 months. Honestly, I thought it would take me a lot longer than that to post 100 articles.

On another note, I would also like to brag on myself a little bit. Last Saturday, during my club meeting, I was nominated and awarded the coveted “Outstanding Toastmaster Award”!!! Of course, I knew that because one of the Sergeant at Arms spilled the beans during the last meeting in May but still, it’s not always the Club President gives a specific member recognition. It almost feels like my 5th grade award assembly, except without the surprise. Aww, now I’m making myself blush.

Anyway, onto a more serious note. For the past week, I found myself feeling uninspired to write. 😦 Not only blogwise but in general. It’s like my imagination’s shutting down on me. I am even stuck on the 5th re-write of the novel I’ve working for the past year. I don’t know what’s happening.

Maybe it’s the test and my classes burying down on me? Maybe after next Tuesday, when I can finally take a breath, then my imagination and creativity would come back to me? Right now, the best is to hope.

Liebster Award: First Nomination!


liebsterblogaward-2

First of all, I just want to say thank you Artfullyadelie for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Aww, I have to blush a little. It is currently the second achievement I’ve gotten since I started blogging. At this point, I should probably put up an achievement page. Last year, I was nominated for the Sunshine Award. I am extremely honored. It’s not everyday you get nominated. Of course, I was going to write the post yesterday but excuses, excuses, excuses!

I had a large weight loss shake yesterday, then a large bowl of grapes, and finally, a large bowl of Ramen noodles for lunch. Of course, Ramen noodles are no good without the soup base which by the way is full of MSG. Not soon after I finished, I was exhausted. I stumbled through work, thank god I work at home 🙂 and I wasn’t completely awake again until a few hours ago, after I had dinner, a shower, and begin fiddling with some of my old short stories (I’ve posted them too! Click here to check it out!).

Now, it’s 11:30, planes had stopped rumbling outside (long story), my computer’s off and I can’t sleep. Great!!! Oh well, at least I have my tablet handy, might as well take the time to get this started and finish it in the morning. So, according to Adelie, I’m supposed to:

  • Write 11 facts about myself
  • Answer 11 questions
  • Ask 11 questions
  • Nominate 11 other fellow bloggers.

So first things first, 11 facts about me:

  1. I do NOT know how to write a happy ending! If you’ve read my flash fictions and short stories on my other blogs (Click here), you’d know that none of them has a happy ending. I don’t know, maybe a sad ending just tricks people into thinking there might be sequel?
  2. Two of the most annoying sounds in my ears is a baby’s cry and a child crying. It just make me want to scream and throw things. So if you don’t want me to go insane, control your child! OR keep your child away from me! 😦
  3. I am the most awkward person at parties and gatherings. 😮 I don’t know what to do there. Everybody’s talking to each other at the same time and everywhere’s crowded and full of plastic cups. Maybe I just need to be go to more parties and get used to the atmosphere.
  4. I can either be the loudest, most social person you’ve ever met OR I can be the quietest, most invisible person you’ve ever met. It all depends on the place, occasion, and the familiarity of people and topic.
  5. I have a very severe case of stage fright. Even now, after I’ve joined Toastmaster for almost 3 years, my heart would pound and I would forget everything the moment I hit that podium.
  6. I love to cook and travel but I don’t have the money or the time right now. Maybe someday.
  7. I used to play the  piano and a little guitar but without practice for 7 years, I forgot it all. 😛
  8. I used to want to be a singer, a director, and an actress. But I don’t have the look, the voice, and the emotion. So oh well, I

    A Maglite
    A Maglite

    still pretend the maglite is a microphone and sing to my stereo for fun though.

  9. I am extremely old-schooled. I didn’t start listening to music, using a computer, and watching Tv until 2002 when I was 11. I’m still using a flip phone when everyone’s got a smartphone and tapping away. I dislike texting too!
  10. I wanted to be a website/graphic designer but my mom’s friend wanted me to be a civil engineer. Naturally, she listened to her friend and pulled me along with it.
  11. I went to three different high schools in 4 years after moving from California to Texas to Utah. The moves were adventurous but meeting new people is hard.

Now, 11 questions from Adelie:

  1. What is one thing you have been meaning to do but haven’t seem to find the time? I’ve been meaning to finish the two 1000-piece Ancient Chinese painting jigsaw puzzles my mom’s family brought with them when they visited two summers ago. Wow, two summers? Has it really been that long? Anyway, my mom bought these for me when I was 6 and I do not like to leave things unfinished. I said I was going to do them two winters ago, then last Summer, then last Winter. Well, someday, I’ll get it done.
  2. Finish-Line-Full-HD-Image-8Are you motivated by fear or hope? Of course, I’m motivated by hope, if a person’s motivated by fear, how are they going to get things done? I believe that everything has a start and an end, you just need to get over that hurdle to the finish line.
  3. If you could invent an ice cream flavor, what would it be? I’m not very creative but if I could invent an ice cream flavor, if would probably have all the things I like and probably all the things my mom hates. Yes! We are completely opposite when it comes to ice cream. It might be plain vanilla with mint, fruit (probably strawberry maybe peach), plus marshmallow swirls. NO nuts though.
  4. What is the one word you love for people to describe you? It all depends on the situation. I had people describe me as lovable, tolerable, stubborn, and even lazy. Obviously, lazy is a horrible word to describe people. I do like it when people describe me as stubborn though because it shows I’m persistent. It shows that I’m not the kind of person that give up easily. However, I would love to be described as fun and cool because I’ve never been those things. So being described as fun and cool will definitely make my day.
  5. Who do you most look up to and why? Well, there hasn’t been a lot of people in my life because I don’t really stay long enough to get to know them. Like my dad and step-dad, my dad passed away before I could properly register his voice in my head and my step-dad, well we talk but most of the time, it was about him teaching me stuff or we’re just having fun. So the person I look up to would probably be my mom because she’s hard working and cunning. She wants me to be like her everyday and I try very hard at it too.
  6. If you could master one dance style, what would it be? Ha Ha 😀 If I can master one dance style, it would be ANY since I do NoT know how to dance! I’m the most awkward and clumsy dancer you’ll ever see. So don’t expect me to dance at parties.
  7. If you were a superhero, what would your name be? Hmm, I’ll have to think about that.
  8. What is the one thing you’ll never regret doing? Coming to the U.S.! That is the one thing I’ll never regret doing. If I am still in China, I would’ve never gotten my diagnosis and been a goner at 33! Besides, I would have never discovered the joy in blogging and be blogging in my bed at 4 AM in the morning! Can’t Sleep! Darn you, fluctuating temperatures! 🙂
  9. What’s one word you always second-guess yourself when spelling it out? Lately, that list seemed to be growing! I used to be a whiz at spelling. Maybe I’m getting old. 😀
  10. What’s the nicest thing anyone’s has ever said to you? Hmm, I don’t know. I love you, you’re adorable? We express our feelings very differently in Chinese.
  11. Fill in the blank: In a perfect world, love and peace would be everywhere.

Now, for my 11 questions:

  1. If you won a free airplane ticket to travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  2. What is the one word you dislike when people are using to describe you?
  3. If you can change the name of a food, what would it be?
  4. If a stranger hands you a hundred dollar (pound, euro, whatever your currency), what would you spend it on?
  5. If you’re a reincarnation of a famous person, who would you want it to be?
  6. If you can have any job in the world, what would it be?
  7. If you were a pop icon living a double life, what would your pop icon name be?
  8. If you can have an ice cream flavor named after you, what would be?
  9. What is the one word you like people to describe you?
  10. If you can time travel to any destination in time, what year would it be?
  11. If you can wake up to any sound, what would it be?

Now, for the hard part, nominating 11 fellow bloggers. It’s going to be very difficult, real difficult.  Also I cannot guarantee that any of these bloggers hasn’t been nominated.

So here it is:

  1. Brainstorm
  2. From Pickles to Paris
  3. bluchickenninja
  4. Wake Up Your Luck
  5. Osomann
  6. P.s Meganelizabeth
  7. VintageDahl
  8. Release the Mind
  9. Older Than Young
  10. Gwenism
  11. Fortiesgirl

Well, there you have it, my total of 11 facts, 11 answers, 11 questions, and 11 nominees! Looking forward to hearing for you! 🙂

My Journey to Blogging


blogging-is-a-journey

This picture is so right, blogging is a journey.  After more than a year and 50 posts later, I think I should dedicate this single post to tell about my journey to blogging.

It all started with an idea…

One day, I was in the university’s coffee shop having lunch.  I noticed the guy sitting next to me was eating a bagel.  Of course, at the time, I thought about food and eating more frequently than usual.  Then a completely unrelated thought hit me.  My mom always said that bagels are the most traditional American food she’d known.

At once, I opened my laptop and googled “bagels” and clicked on the wikipedia link.  As I read the article, I was surprised that bagels came from Poland and not what my mom said at all.  I immediately opened Microsoft Word and began typing.  I didn’t know what I wrote at first but after a short while, it was starting to come together like a jigsaw puzzle.

After researching two more different foods (Fish and Chips and Pizza), I became convinced that this was my 7th speech for my Toastmasters Competent Communicator.  The different varieties of foods influenced by different cultures. (Need reference? Look back at my very first article from last February!)

I was beyond excited and believe me, in those days, I don’t get excited about writing.  So I finished my speech about two weeks ahead and all of the sudden, I wanted to write MORE!!! But what should I write about? Also, I wanted to not only write everyday to improve my writing and communication but I also need some feedback from someone other than myself, from total strangers perhaps? 😀

A few days later, while I was doing my homework, my mom came in and asked me about microblogging, you know, what it is, how to set it up, and whatnot. The term blogging collided into my brain like a meteor.  This was it! This was how I was going to get my feedback.  I’m going to share my writing with the world!

As I waved my mom away, promising her I would research it later, I quickly googled “blogging websites.” A bunch of links came up but the one that caught my attention was wordpress.  It sounded familiar like I used it before and I was right.  I had to turn in a blogging assignment more than two years ago for my American Economic History course.

I signed a blog and posted the essay I wrote about food.  Within a couple days, I noticed people were liking it and some even became my followers.  Not a lot, I might add but it was progress because I never had anyone like anything I did before.  I’ve been told I’m flawed at many things but maybe I’ve finally managed to find something I’m good at.

The bumps along the road…

However, with my busy full-time schoolwork and two-hour exhausting commute trips between home, school, and work, I didn’t have the time to keep writing.  So I went into a long blogging hiatus until last September when I suddenly thought of blogging again while sitting in my empty classroom.  I began writing again.

Since then, although I’ve been spotty with posts, I managed to keep up, writing about my observations, my daily life, and most importantly, about what I know.  As I posted my own articles, I was reading other people’s posts to get a sense of how can I improve in my blogging and writing.

It was a good journey for me to be able to reach 50 posts and more than 100 followers in a little more than a year.  For the past three weeks, I have been persistent with my blogs and writing almost daily even though I’ve hit many bumps along the way.  Like work and slight writer’s block now and then but I have fun though and I’m looking forward to reaching my next goal.

Next goal: 100 posts and 500 followers!

Graduation


I can’t believe it.  Today is exactly a month from my graduation.  I am so excited! Also, in three weeks, I’ll be at last done with school.  Wow, how time flies by! I can’t believe it, it’s been 5 years since I first enrolled for my first course, Calculus I.  It has not been an easy journey and that includes preparing for graduation.

I applied for graduation more than two months ago and my adviser asked me if I was planned on walking.  I wasn’t sure at the time.  Then when I asked my mom whether I should attend my graduation ceremony, she was like, “There won’t be anyone attending.  Why don’t you wait for your aunt and walk next year?”

I would’ve thought that confirmed my decision because for one thing, I won’t know anyone.  Most of the people I know had graduated last year.  For another, I cannot beg my mom to go to my graduation ceremony.  I remembered the last time I asked her to go, she blamed me afterward because she missed a meeting and didn’t get her promotion.  So, this time, I’ve learn my lesson.

However my friend, Laura, insisted that I go, that it was once in a lifetime and that she will go as a support.  So now, I have two
voices in my head.  One is telling me to do it and the other one was telling me to wait and see if I have another chance in the future.  For the past two months or so, those two voices have been battling non-stop that is until two days ago.

What happened two days ago?

My friend, Laura, came over to my home to study.  We began talking about the graduation because come on, let’s face it, our brains can get tired and need some time to absorb the knowledge.  She showed me pictures of her graduation ceremony from last year.  Don’t even ask how she’s still in the same class with me after she graduated, the answer is we had a horrible professor last year.

Anyway, I saw what a big deal it was.  By then, that tiny voice that is telling me to go was starting to take over and soon it took over.  I began having visions and daydreams of what my graduation ceremony would be like.  Then in one breath, I’ve decided.  It’s once in a lifetime and I should attend my own graduation.  So, today, I have officially purchased my cap and gown and a stole of gratitude for my mom for all her support over the years.  I don’t know if she’ll keep it since she’s not sentimental like me but I will still give it to her as a thank you.

Preparing for the Big Day

To prepare for my momentous day, there are several things I am going to try to achieve in order to fulfill my picture perfect moments.

1. Lose at least 10 pounds.  At this moment, I’ve already successfully lost 2 pounds and since my mom left for her training
yesterday, I have put myself on a diet where I do a protein shake in the morning, a light lunch (maybe), and a light dinner as well as an average 500 calories loss in exercise daily.  I think if I have an important goal, I can probably stick to it.

2. Buy a dress and new pair of shoes.  I think since I now have paychecks, I can afford to buy myself a more age appropriate dress and a pair of high heels but at the same time, I can’t get something that is over $50 since I’m still saving up to buy a car.

3. Beautify my appearance.  Right now, my face is breaking out for some unknown reason.  I’ve been using astringent every night and it gets better but somewhere else would start breaking out.  I don’t know what to do about it.  I have these white spots that’s popping up all over my nose area.  I guess when the time comes, I’ll just have to cover it with makeup.

Now, a question for my readers, yesterday, an email was sent to me saying Commencement is May 1 and Convocation is May 2.  I’m not sure what it means.  Can anyone tell me what’s the difference between Commencement and Convocation and do I need to go to both?

Thanks for reading!

Club Goals for 2014: Start Building


Please Help!

Toastmasters Energizer Club #2439

Since 2014 has arrived, I believe it is time to make some new goals myself and even for our beloved homeless Toastmasters club.  At the end of 2013, we have gained a club coach but lost three members in the process.  As the VP Membership, I can’t say that I’m pleased at the result of a club coach.  After all, a club coach is supposed to help the club gain members, not lose members.  However, the lost of our club members is not the club coach’s fault.  Our beloved members left for a reason, they left because of jobs, school, and family matters.  Due to the lost of those three members, our club is now down to five members and a coach and our goal for distinguish club is now nowhere in sight.  That is why we need to set some goals for the new year.

Goals:

#1 Reach Distinguish…

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