A Good 2016, A Better 2017


My year 2016 has been quite busy and productive, although I didn’t accomplish all the goals I set out at the beginning of the year:

  • Read 50 books. Done. I finished 50 books and here are the book reports: Q1; Q2; Q3; Q4. Interestingly, the average length of this year (2016)’s books is 343 pages, almost the same as last year (2015)’s 342. In both years the longest book I read was by Stephen King.
  • Visit 5 new countries. Done. I actually visited 8 new countries: Netherlands, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia.
  • Swim 80 times (average 1.5 times a week). Partially done. I swam 50 times, average once a week. But I started doing Hot Yoga this year and attended classes in a studio 7 times. On average I walked 5,080 steps a day, falling short of last year’s 7,000.
  • Publish 50 blog posts (on Saturdays). Not done – only posted 18 posts, even fewer than last year’s 28.
  • Lose 5 pounds. Not done – my weight at the end of the year was the same as the beginning of the year. At least I didn’t gain pounds.

Seems only the travel and reading goals were accomplished, same as last year. It is a clear indication of where my passion is. 🙂 Here is this year’s travelogue:

  • January. New York City, NY (work); Cruise on Windsurf, Caribbean
  • April. Charlottesville, VA
  • May. San Antonio, TX; Carlsbad, NM
  • July. Amsterdam; Belgrade; Montenegro; Dubrovnik; Frankfurt. Trip Brief
  • October. New York City, NY (work)
  • November. Mystic, CT; New England

Now here are my goals for 2017, not much different from 2016:

  • Read 50 books, 20 of which from shelves at home
  • Visit 3 new countries
  • Swim 80 times (average 1.5 times a week); yoga at home everyday
  • Publish 40 blog posts
  • Lose 5 pounds

I am looking forward to a better year ahead – closer to God, healthier, happier, wiser…


A Good 2014, A Better 2015

Thinking back, I accomplished quite a few things in 2014 outside work. I read 40 books and watched 36 movies; I published 50 posts here viewed by people from 35 countries; I visited a new country Argentina and it was the first time I ever set foot to the south of equator; I checked off 3 National Parks from my list; I started painting (Chinese brush, watercolor, Acrylic); and I lost about 5 lbs. All in all I am glad how the year turned out.

Here are a few things on my to-do list for 2015, in addition to the daily routine:

  • Read 45 books, at least 12 of them have to be from my book shelves at home
  • Visit at least 3 new countries and 2 new National Parks
  • Join a gym and swim twice a week, try to add in one class as well
  • Publish at least 50 posts on this blog
  • Do at least 5 paintings. Small exercise pieces don’t count
  • Learn to cook at least 3 new dishes that I feel comfortable sharing with others

Happy New Year, everyone! Looking forward to a wonderful and exciting 2015!


Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it is the last day of 2013 already. It is a good time to reflect on this past year and think about what I plan to accomplish in 2014.

I read 41 books in 2013. The top ones are listed below, for which I might write separate mini reviews later. Let me know if you are interested in seeing the full list. 🙂

  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
  • The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely
  • Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity by David J. Kent
  • Inferno by Dan Brown
  • The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith
  • Great Souls: Six Who Changed the Century by David Aikman
  • Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

Compared to 2012, I didn’t travel as much this year – only visited one new country Jamaica. But I did check off two National Parks from my list – Great Smoky Mountains and Mammoth Cave. I also  made a trip back to China in July for reunions with both middle school friends and college friends, some of whom I haven’t met for nearly 20 years. It was good fun. Counting in a few business trips to New York and London, all in all I spent 58 nights away from home this year.

In 2014, I plan to do what my blog tagline shows:

  • Read – likely 40-50 books, hopefully more good ones
  • Travel – to the southern hemisphere, visit a few more new countries
  • Play – more exercises (maybe lose 5 lbs), less time spent on games
  • Feel – God’s love, natural beauty, other people’s needs
  • Learn – professional expertise, Bible, Chinese brush painting

Happy New Year, everyone! Looking forward to a wonderful 2014!