a string to connect pieces of my life

Sunday, August 31, 2008

NY trip

It really depends on my perspective how to describe my trip. I think it might be better to give the highlights.

The city we stayed is about 30 miles north of NYC. My husband's new company rent a temporary apartment for us, which is very convenient. It is more like a hotel room, so it is pretty nice. The location is great too. Everything is in walking distance. (For example, H&M store is just one block away!)
the view from our temporary apartment. The state of New York certainly has a lot of trees. Everywhere you go, it feels like driving in a forest, well, except in NYC.

Although it is near the train station, we could barely hear anything. Going to NYC is made super easy because the train comes almost every 10 or 15 minutes and it takes only 30 mins to get to the Grand Central station.

We have found a Chinese grocery store nearby, so at least my husband won't be starved to death when I am not there. They even sell one of his favorite food---freshly hand-made dumplings.

Woodbury outlet mall was awesome. You can find basically every single brand you see in the magazine, including Gucci, Burberry, Marc Jocobs, etc. Three hours there was in the blink of an eye. :)

Most of the time the weather was warm and sunny. One evening we drove to another city because there is a park there by the sea. They actually have a midsize playland there. We did not play anything, but it was very nice and sometimes humorous to walk by the shore, see the lights, listen to the music and people screaming on top of their lung while flying into the sky.
the beach was closed by the time we got there

but it was still nice to take a walk around

I found this game rather amusing

Two of my husband's friends happened to be in NYC this weekend for the US Open, so we managed to meet them there. We haven't seen each other for a year. It was really great to hang out together, eat, shop and joke around.
the place I wish I had been in when Dave Matthews was playing there

It is noteworthy that a close friend of our friends came to join us. We were told that his wife was in US Olympic table-tennis team this year. This was probably my closest contact with Olympics, although his wife is still in China with her family. He himself was originally studying fluid mechanics in ME department. Ha!

We did not have time to go to the central park, but I believe I will have abundant chance to do that during my next visit there.

Other than that, I am thankful that both flights were very smooth. I was able to finish reading the book "walking from east to west" by Ravi Zacharias (recommend it!) during my trip.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

gone too soon

I can't believe the summer Olympics is over! What am I going to do without it? Can we have it every year? Or at least every other year? :(

I personally think this Olympics was an awesome one. I enjoyed many moments and shed a tear or two. I am proud that we made it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

a little confession

For the past few weeks I have been slave to my worldly possessions. I tried, but I wasn't able to get out of it. I kept buying stuff, returned some and bought even more. And my mind was full of it. The only excuse is that I am very unsure of what's going to happen since a lot of things are changing around me. Maybe I am taking the shopping as an exit of my anxiety.

Here is my resolution. I will not buy any clothes or cosmetic products in September. I can't promise Octocber, but one step is better than nothing.

I picked up the cds by Brandi Carlile and Daughtry from the library. When I first heard Daughtry's "what about now", I thought he gotta be a Christian because there are too many Christian messages in it. So I read along his acknowledgements from which I usually can figure out whether or not a singer or a band are Christians. And yep, he first gave thanks to God. Awesome!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


This is the movie I took for one of the projects I have been working on. Basically the airways in human lungs are liquid-lined flexible tubes. When the liquid lining (or film) is thickened, or disturbed by ventilation, or both, some part of film starts to grow and could form a plug that blocks the airflow. It may cause the airways to collapse.

In another word, it is not good.

So I used a small glass tube (~580 microns in diameter), put some fluorescent particles in the film fluid and watch the film grow. Also, by tracking those particles, I can calculate the velocity field during the airway closure. Below is an example of the velocity vectors before the plug forms.

After the airway model is closed by the liquid, the plug starts to propagate along the tube. And there are pretty vortices in it. :)

That concludes my nerdiest post so far.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

things that I currently love but I know I will probably lose interest in very soon

1. Iced coffee.

2. Raisin Pecan bread from Zingerman. I can't get enough of it.

3. Christian Bale. Yep, still love him.

4. Take-out from Evergreen restaurant. They have a couple of authentic Chinese dishes now.

5. Calvin and Hoppes. I borrowed at least 10 books from the library. It is pretty much what I read everyday besides the Bible.

As me being me, more than half of my list is about food.


Calvin: "Sometimes when I am talking, my words can't keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we can speak."

Hoppes: "Probably so we can think twice."

Monday, August 18, 2008

The new world No.1 --- Rafael Nadal

"After Wimbledon, Nadal extended his winning streak to a career-best 32 matches. He won his second Rogers Cup title in Toronto and then lost in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio. These results combined with Federer's early round losses in both of those tournaments guaranteed Nadal the World No. 1 ranking on August 18th, officially ending Federer's record four-and-a-half year reign at the top."


Sunday, August 17, 2008


It might be just me.

NBC is talking about what happened in China in 1989. It is interesting to see how the US media act during the Olympics. When there is not enough negative things happening in the games, they are digging out the old dirt again.

We all have problems. But there is a huge difference between trying to help and being self-righteous plus judgemental.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

what I have been doing today

Alright, I couldn't get the video to work properly. Sorry Trudi! (although you would probably be super bored by watching it because it was about my current research. :D)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

postdoc survey

This evening Ying and I went to a postdoc survey hosted by NSF. I have to say that it was the most geeky environment I have ever been. And postdocs are more miserable than I thought.

It seems that we live in the shadow between the professors and the graduate students. No one treats us seriously. We don't get to use what staff can use. We probably work as hard as any student but produce much more. And yet we ask so little from the world.

When the inquirer asked what we expect from the PI. One of the participants answered "just a shred of respect". We all laughed, but at the same time we know how sad it means.

This is such an interesting community. :)

NBC commentators

I really want to tell them:

Man, you guys are annoying!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I thought I would not care much, but I was wrong.

I like how people were amazed by the opening ceremony. I ended up watching quite a bit games. I re-discovered the awesomeness of Olympics. When the players compete for their own countries, it gives sports a deeper meaning.

I am thrilled that we are having the opportunity to host it. It also gives the world an equal opportunity to realize the greatness of our country and people despite all the problems we have.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

picnic and beach volley

The lab where Ying and I spend almost half of our time belongs to another research group. Today they had a picnic in the Rolling Hills park. So I went there with Ying and her husband.

I was afraid that it was going to be boring since I don't really know how to talk to these people although I pretty much see them everyday. But it turned out to be really good.

There was all kinds of food. We played games. There were two cute little babies. Everyone was really nice. I was super proud when they were talking about how awesome the Olympics openning ceremony was.

Also, I played some beach volleyball. No one was super good at it, but it was a lot of fun to just participate, get some sun, hit the ball and laugh. I almost forgot I actually enjoyed playing that a few summers ago.

Good times.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes quotes

Calvin: "I'm a genius, but I'm a misunderstood genius."

Hobbes: "What's misunderstood about you?"

Calvin: "Nobody thinks I'm a genius."


Calvin: "The more you know, the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appearss. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing. (Throwing the book he was supposed to read) Being a man of action, I can't afford to take that risk."

Hobbes: "You're ignorant, but at least you act on it."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

loss and gain

I am still stressed by work. Last week has been bad, but this week will be much worse. I worked hard during the weekend, but the outcome wasn't satisfying.

After I left my office this evening, I was pretty down. So I started to think about what I have gained after I came back to Michigan. Was it worth it? I wasn't going to regret anything. However, this evaluation might help me make better choice next time.

What did I lose? Spending time with my husband. He had some really rough time there. So if I stayed, he might feel better. The good side though, is that he went through it and now the future looks quite hopeful. Also, he has learned a lot from that experience. So it wasn't all bad.

What did I get? A legal status? Monthly wage? No, I can obtain a visa through my husband. And the money is not really much. Well, financial independence is nice. So I can sort of count this in.

Things that matter the most to me are relationships. After I came back here, I mended a friendship that was important to me. I got to know some awesome new friends. I feel more comfortable around my lifegroup. I got more involved in the conversation group. Besides that, I think I have been keeping learning, from life and from my research.

If I were given the chance to choose again, I am not sure which way I would go. But it is clear that my time here wasn't a waste. I need to keep going and believe that God is going to bless my effort, in ways that I may or may not see.