Week In Review – 28 Oct 2018

It is no secret that I like running, and I am doing it for my health.  I can run just about anywhere and the benefits outweigh the costs.  Surely there will come a day when I won’t be able to run, but I will try as long as I can.

Running year round, I vary my routines and outfits depending on the seasons.  Besides training for marathon, running has been a staple in keeping my stress in-check.  This is particularly useful as the midterm election getting near.

One of the things I do when running with someone is small talk.  If you haven’t had much luck with it, maybe these tips can help.  It’s a skill that is quite handy and only gets better with practice.

Lastly, if you are planning to get your flu shot, here is what happened to me.  I made the mistake of getting my flu shot along with the shingles vaccine this week. It was a double whammy and wiped me out for a day and a half.  For whatever that’s worth.

Have a nice week.



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Small Talk Is Big Deal

Small talk may seem trivial, wasting time, or gossipy.  Any self-respectable person would not be caught in such low conversations.  Right?  The truth is that small talk is the secret sauce in establishing relationship in business, social, or personal realm.

Because small talk can break the ice, replace the awkward silence, and find the common ground.  Google the term “small talk” and you will get the following definition, “polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters.”

What is unimportant or uncontroversial?  Surely this can be subjective particularly when it comes to strangers.  But the classic topics of weather, entertainment (e,g, movie, music, book, travel), and hobbies are fairly safe and nonthreatening.

Armed with this information, anyone can be good at making small talk.  All they need to do are being prepared [to make small talk], have something to say, and practice.

What are your favorite small talk topic?


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Countdown To 2018 Midterm Election

The midterm election is an even dozen (12) days away.  What’s at stakes you may be wondering?

All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, and 39 state and territorial gubernatorial elections,  as well as other state and local elections will also be contested (source: Wikipedia).

If you are a political junkie like me, the website Roll Call provides a ringside seat of the arm wrestling with a Readers Digest version of the contests broken down by race and area. I find it easy to read and a good reference to see where the battle-lines lie.

And if politics is not your thing, no problem.  There is always the NBA games you can follow.  In any event, if you are eligible, remember to vote, because it may just tip the balance of power for the coming years.

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How Was Your Day?

My son likes to ask that question when he comes home each day.  May be it’s habitual but my guess is that he is also curios about what I do in my retirement.  Am I sleeping in, having late brunch, taking a nap in the afternoon? etc.

My answer usually is the same: good, how was yours?  Not too many things I do cross-path with my son, or the rest of the family for that matter.  I run, blog, or volunteer at various community functions.  None of these catches the interest with my family members.

Don’t get me wrong.  Many things we do as family. But when the kids get older, they become less and less available.   My wife reminds me frequently that we should treasure our family time together before my son takes off, like his brother did.

In a way, I think it’s good to have independent activities outside of the family time.  It fosters a diverse conversations at the dinner table and encourages a well rounded perspectives with each other.   Life is full of interesting stuff, often beyond what I can manage.

And lastly, my son’s question also serves as a reminder for me to no slip into a passive retiree mode.

How was your day?

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Live Long & Be Happy?

The life expectancy in the US is 78.7 years.  If that number surprised you, welcome to the club.  For some reasons, I thought US being the world’s superpower with the advanced technology and standard of living would have it higher.

But as it turns out, the American life expectancy is below the average for the developed countries by 1.5 years.  As a comparison, the Brits has a life expectancy of 81 years and Canadians 82.3. Why do we Americans live shorter?

One word, despair, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.  All the advances made in US can not overcome the issues we are having with drug, alcohol, and suicide.  It seems the richest country in the world is having problem dealing with the burdens associated with its material success.

Despite the fact that we have more food to feed the hungry and more medicine to treat the sick, the issue is the quality of life, or lack of, we face.  This is a real wake up call to me. Drug, alcohol, and suicide.

Maybe it is time for us to take these problems seriously instead of bickering over our political differences.

What did you think about your life expectancy?

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Run Report for Late October

The chill in the air gave me second thought about if I dressed warm enough.  You see I was prepared for my run today.  But the sun looked warm and inviting.  And I hated to be overdressed while running.  Not only it’s bulky and uncomfortable, overdressing also takes the fun away from running.

Today, I opted for a pair arm sleeves with my normal shirt and shorts and left my vest behind.

As a rule, I rather under-dress when running.  After two miles, my body warms up regardless.  So starting out a bit cold works well for me.  It just the month of October is such a transition time weather-wise.  It always has me guessing on how to gear up appropriately before stepping out.

And, yes, there is the sun screen. Never forget.  As much as I appreciate the warmth the sun provides like today, it’s the UV lights that I had to watch out.

A few other notes – days are shorter and get dark early and stay dark late in the morning.  So the available daylight for outdoor running is less this time of the year.  I do not recommend running in the dark for safety reason.  But if you must, reflective gears and light are good ideas.

How is your run today?

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Week In Review – 21 Oct 2018

Equilibrium is a word that evokes a sense of balance and how I would describe my week.

In spite the mid-term election being only 15 days away, and the Washington air buzzing with speculations of possible outcome, I manage time to reflect on where I am, what I value and nature of things.

It has been six weeks since my Erie marathon.  And my transition to the off season has made running a less of priority.  Instead, it is time to restore balance in my body, mind, and life.  This also means I have the luxury to contemplate on deeper topics.

Topics like where are the answers? Is there justice in the world? How to say good bye? are all my favorite navel gazing themes. They have a calming effect on my mind in the midst of chaos.

Have a nice week.


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Say Goodbye

Just as surely as the earth evolves around the sun, season changes and our life goes on.  Everything is good until we have to say good bye, to someone or something we love.

It is human nature that we grow attached to things, people, animals, etc.  This invested feeling makes saying good bye harder but more necessary.  The sense of lost is real and needs to be addressed.

Some people may question: Why? Can’t we just not talk about it?  What good is saying good bye do when the object of our love ceases to exist?

The answer is that saying good bye helps channeling our emotions and energy in a productive way.  If done right, it symbolically and psychologically ties the loose ends.

The operative word here is “if” done right.  I claim no expertise on this subject.  But like to share what I have learned.

While the suggestions of leave on positive note, be gracious, and keep it brief are valid, the actual handling of saying good bye requires sensitivity.  Greater the lost the more significant the healing needed.

Memory is what remain and sustains us.  So do not run away or avoid the issue.

What advise would you give on saying good bye?


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Live & Learn

Learning and experiencing are part of life’s choices.

As infants, we start with a blank sheet of paper.  No knowledge, no rules, no nothing.  But it wouldn’t be long before we learned about mother’s touch, crying for help, first step, etc.  The process continues through school and beyond.  Way beyond if you let it.

That last part is important, and I repeat, if you let it.

Some think when they are done with formal schooling, the process ends.  No more “fooling around,” time to get serious, and get a job – they say.  But is it really so?  Well, maybe if you let it.  Just like the noted author and lecturer, Dr. Barbara De Angelis puts it,

First I was dying to finish high school and start college, and I was dying to finish college and start working, and then I was dying to marry and have kids, and I was dying for the kids to grow older so we can travel, then I was dying to retire, and now I am dying, and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.

On the flip side, endless opportunities on new things, people, or experiences await us everyday, if you let it.

To live and learn is a choice we have.  What is yours?


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There Is Justice

Yes JUSTICE!  Not the DOJ, government kind, if you follow my thoughts.  I am referring to the broader sense of the word.  In that a good deed deserves recognition and a bad one punished.

The article I saw had me breathed a sigh of relief finally. Tiny met his match in Stormy was what came to my mind.  For the traditional Washington decorum might kept average Joe politicians in line, it held no sway to the POTUS.

Maybe it is lonely at the top.  But Lord Acton was on point when he wrote, “power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  I am glad that Stormy is keeping Tiny evenly matched.

There is justice after all.  Hail to the individual power, freedom of speech, and social media.

Do you believe that justice prevail?

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