a string to connect pieces of my life

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

pinch point

The chance of me jogging outside is once per season. Today I happened to have finished my summer due.

What's interesting about running is that I would feel unable to go on at one point. I could hardly breathe and my heart ached so much. Many times I had to stop, walk some distance, then continue. Then there would be another point waiting there.

However, if I ignored the heartache and continued running, after some time, I started to feel refreshed and energetic again, like I could go on and on forever. It is just that not every time I was able to do that.

So is my life. Maybe now I am at one of those pinch points. All I have to do is to be strong and hold on.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Life ain't always beautiful

"Life ain't always beautiful" by Gary Allan is currently my favorite country song. It struck directly into my heart whenever I hear it. Give it a listen if you have chance. It has beautiful melody and great lyric.

Life ain't always beautiful
---by Gary Allan

Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin its sweet time

No, life ain't always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride

Life ain't always beautiful
Some days I miss your smile
I get tired of walkin all these lonely miles
And I wish for just one minute
I could see your pretty face
Guess I can dream, but life don’t work that way

But the struggles make me stronger
And the changes make me wise
And happiness has its own way of takin its sweet time

No, life ain't always beautiful
But i know i'll be fine
Hey, life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride

Saturday, August 26, 2006

things that made me happy today

1. I am in Michigan. My cell phone woke me up at 6:30am this morning because I forgot to turn off the alarm. As soon as I realized that I am in my own bed, I turned around and went back to sleep until eleven.

2. The season 8 of "Simpsons" arrived, which I pre-ordered a month ago.

3. Soymilk + cheerio is great for breakfast.

4. I hung out with Rui the whole afternoon. We had good food in Middle Kingdom and went shopping at a lot of places.

5. We stopped at DQ and Rui bought me the hazelnut moolatte.

6. I finished 3 baskets of laudary.

7. I met some friends at Kroger and played with their adorable baby.

8. "Big daddy" is on UPN. It made me laughed out loud.

9. I just had two awesome sweet corns from Belle Vino.

10. I got my first "colorado" quater.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

my first lap

It appeared to me that my biggest progress in this trip has nothing to do with my daily work. I just had my first lap in a swimming pool! And it was only my second attempt to learn swimming. Ok, I might be misleading people. I did put a life ring around my neck to keep me floating, but it was my feet and legs that did all the pushing and kicking.

Before coming to Memphis, the deepest water I have been in was a hot tub. One of the promises Brian made to me is that he will teach me how to swim in a real swimming pool. And he tried, not so hard though. The first time I got into water, all he did was to throw me a few words "get yourself comfortable with water".

Then today, thinking that I was more "comfortable with water", he started to show me something more technical by explaining swimming in a fluid dynamics point of view, which went pretty well. As soon as I knew that I was really moving instead of imaging that like the other time, I got pretty pumped. Finally fluid dynamics is doing something good to my life!

If I keep going under this speed, maybe I will be able to swim in the ocean if I go to Florida for the APS conference this November. I can barely wait!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

nineteen states

Brian and I had our first visit to Mississippi (the state) this afternoon. One of the LCC crew invited us to his home. It is a lovely house. Both he and his wife are very nice people. They showed us around, we fed the fish in the pond, and they fed us with delicious beef stew. I enjoyed the stay very much.

On our way there, I started to count how many states I have been to. Then it comes up with the number 19, which surprised myself because I only guessed 10. Then I thought it would be interesting to write a little blog about it. So here they are.

Michigan---is the first state I have been to and the one I love most. It is becoming a second home for me. I love its weather, I love my friends there, and I love my apartment. It will be wonderful if I can find a job there and really call it home.

Illinois---My impression of Illinois is pretty much from the city Chicago and the endless darkness in the country when Chinar and I drove down to Memphis overnight. I liked neither of them.

Indiana---Fort Wayne is where my husband is working. It's a alright place. Medium city. Not much traffic. Low living expenses. I wouldn't mind living there. But still, I love Michigan.

Ohio---I went to visit my cousin in Columbus once. The campus of Ohio State is nice, but the city itself didn't impress me. Also, I have been to Toledo twice. The gorilla there has some cool "personality".

New Jersey---one of my best friends used to live there. I drove all the way from Michigan to New Jersey to visit her. Her apartment was close to the beach. So after dinner we would take a walk along the shore. It was a good summer vacation.

Massschusetts---Boston is where I visited. I liked the food there. You can have fresh lobster with cheap price. It was also thrilling for me to check out Harvard and MIT.

NYC---I am not sure if it belongs to the state New York, so I am listing it here independently. I bet a lot of people love this city, but it is not where I want to live, for sure. It will kill me if I have to live in Jersy City and take the cruise to work every single day, like what my friend there is doing .

California---two years ago, I took a vacation there and went to LA and San Diego. Honestly, I hated LA, but the food in chinatown was so good. San Diego is a very nice city. I really don't mind going there again. After all, I still need to visit the zoo.

Neveda---I can't believe that I have been to Las Vegas twice. That's more than enough.

Arizona---next time I hope to go hiking in Grand Canyon. That should be fun.

Washington---I was there for a conference. It was very depressing to stay in Seattle around Thanksgiving. It's cold, and raining all the time.

Geogia---I took a one-stop flight from Memphis to Detroit, which gave me one-hour stay at Atlanta airport.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Kentucky---they are just the states I drove passing by from one place to another. Among them I really like Connecticut. It looked very neat.

Mississippi---I have to admit that the first visit to Mississippi is almost the best day ever since I have been down here. It's like a getaway from Memphis.

Tennesee---I have talked about it too much in my last few entries. Yeah, I have been here and I am here.

something about Memphis

Everyday on our way to work we drive by the riverside of Mississipi. The view is so beautiful that I always wish I could just stop and sit by the river for a while.

It doesn't happen often, but when we got off work early, we were able to pass by the river during the sunset. The color of the sky and its reflection on the water was indescribable. Moments like this make me think that living in Memphis might not be a bad idea.

Speaking of which, this city is infamous for its high murder rate. However, this is not what I want to talk about here.

Driving in Memphis is kind of challenging and entertaining. For a big city, its traffic is not bad, but it challenges your patience because people here basically drive their own ways. It is entertaining because Brian would make a lot of funny comments about it on the road.

Once Brian asked Laetitia (a French girl who was helping us here for one month) if she found any difference between people driving in US and in France. She said "yeah, in France we use the left lane to pass." Well, Laetitia, believe it or not, this is what people are supposed to do here as well, but we are now in Memphis.

Also, people here like to ignore the lines between lanes. So it's not very supprising that one day 19 car accidents happened in the morning just because it was raining.

Friday, August 18, 2006

still alive

I have lost track of everything down here working in Memphis. Everyday is almost the same, mixed with all kinds of strong emotions, though I am pretty sure that I am going to forget pretty much everything after going back to Ann Arbor.

Days are long. Brian and I have been totally drained out. Fortunately we are still able to point out to each other every little possible entertaining factor. Like today, one of our professors was patiently fighting to seperate two buckets. It gave us a good laugh.

In the morning, it becomes a little chilly. I can't believe the summer is going away like this. But, fall is my favorite season. I am looking forward to it and I will be back then.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

combination of towels

Brian just told a funny story about towel in his blog, which reminded me of my curiosity about how our hotel manage their towels.

I am currently living in Ramada Inn, Memphis. When I first checked in, there were three complete sets of towels in my room, including 3 small square ones, 3 medium rectangular ones and 3 bathtowels.

Well, I didn't know that was the only day I got to see them together. Ever since then, the number of towels varied from zero (yesterday) to nine (last Monday) and the intriguing part is that the combination never repeated itself. Like today, I have 3 small towels, 1 medium one and 3 bathtowels.

I know it can be calculated how many combinations there could be, but I am too tired to do that. And I believe I won't stay here long enough to see all of that happens..

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Since LCC can't afford the day-time electricity rate under the heat of Memphis, we are going to change our working schedule to 4am ~ 4pm. Effective today!

My first thought was that it should be ok for me because I am Chinese. Wait...this is not Chinese time either. Hmmm...maybe I should pretend that I were in Paris. If Laetitia were still here, she would be happy about it, I guess.

My only concern (well, besides the test, you know) is how I am going to arrange my eating time. Should I just move everything 4 hours earlier? Could be a solution.