"When you change the way you see things, the things you see change." - Author Unknown
 

      
 





Evah Pirazzi Gold again

Kindness is a choice

A great commencement speech to Princeton's class of 2010 by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. That was the first thing I shared with BT when she came home from school this afternoon.



As a kid, I spent my summers with my grandparents on their ranch in Texas. I helped fix windmills, vaccinate cattle, and do other chores. We also watched soap operas every afternoon, especially "Days of our Lives." My grandparents belonged to a Caravan Club, a group of Airstream trailer owners who travel together around the U.S. and Canada. And every few summers, we'd join the caravan. We'd hitch up the Airstream trailer to my grandfather's car, and off we'd go, in a line with 300 other Airstream adventurers. I loved and worshipped my grandparents and I really looked forward to these trips. On one particular trip, I was about 10 years old. I was rolling around in the big bench seat in the back of the car. My grandfather was driving. And my grandmother had the passenger seat. She smoked throughout these trips, and I hated the smell.

At that age, I'd take any excuse to make estimates and do minor arithmetic. I'd calculate our gas mileage -- figure out useless statistics on things like grocery spending. I'd been hearing an ad campaign about smoking. I can't remember the details, but basically the ad said, every puff of a cigarette takes some number of minutes off of your life: I think it might have been two minutes per puff. At any rate, I decided to do the math for my grandmother. I estimated the number of cigarettes per days, estimated the number of puffs per cigarette and so on. When I was satisfied that I'd come up with a reasonable number, I poked my head into the front of the car, tapped my grandmother on the shoulder, and proudly proclaimed, "At two minutes per puff, you've taken nine years off your life!"

I have a vivid memory of what happened, and it was not what I expected. I expected to be applauded for my cleverness and arithmetic skills. "Jeff, you're so smart. You had to have made some tricky estimates, figure out the number of minutes in a year and do some division." That's not what happened. Instead, my grandmother burst into tears. I sat in the backseat and did not know what to do. While my grandmother sat crying, my grandfather, who had been driving in silence, pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway. He got out of the car and came around and opened my door and waited for me to follow. Was I in trouble? My grandfather was a highly intelligent, quiet man. He had never said a harsh word to me, and maybe this was to be the first time? Or maybe he would ask that I get back in the car and apologize to my grandmother. I had no experience in this realm with my grandparents and no way to gauge what the consequences might be. We stopped beside the trailer. My grandfather looked at me, and after a bit of silence, he gently and calmly said, "Jeff, one day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever."

What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy -- they're given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you're not careful, and if you do, it'll probably be to the detriment of your choices.

This is a group with many gifts. I'm sure one of your gifts is the gift of a smart and capable brain. I'm confident that's the case because admission is competitive and if there weren't some signs that you're clever, the dean of admission wouldn't have let you in.

Your smarts will come in handy because you will travel in a land of marvels. We humans -- plodding as we are -- will astonish ourselves. We'll invent ways to generate clean energy and a lot of it. Atom by atom, we'll assemble tiny machines that will enter cell walls and make repairs. This month comes the extraordinary but also inevitable news that we've synthesized life. In the coming years, we'll not only synthesize it, but we'll engineer it to specifications. I believe you'll even see us understand the human brain. Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Galileo, Newton -- all the curious from the ages would have wanted to be alive most of all right now. As a civilization, we will have so many gifts, just as you as individuals have so many individual gifts as you sit before me.

How will you use these gifts? And will you take pride in your gifts or pride in your choices?

I got the idea to start Amazon 16 years ago. I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year. I'd never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles -- something that simply couldn't exist in the physical world -- was very exciting to me. I had just turned 30 years old, and I'd been married for a year. I told my wife MacKenzie that I wanted to quit my job and go do this crazy thing that probably wouldn't work since most startups don't, and I wasn't sure what would happen after that. MacKenzie told me I should go for it. As a young boy, I'd been a garage inventor. I'd invented an automatic gate closer out of cement-filled tires, a solar cooker that didn't work very well out of an umbrella and tinfoil, baking-pan alarms to entrap my siblings. I'd always wanted to be an inventor, and she wanted me to follow my passion.

I was working at a financial firm in New York City with a bunch of very smart people, and I had a brilliant boss that I much admired. I went to my boss and told him I wanted to start a company selling books on the Internet. He took me on a long walk in Central Park, listened carefully to me, and finally said, "That sounds like a really good idea, but it would be an even better idea for someone who didn't already have a good job." That logic made some sense to me, and he convinced me to think about it for 48 hours before making a final decision. Seen in that light, it really was a difficult choice, but ultimately, I decided I had to give it a shot. I didn't think I'd regret trying and failing. And I suspected I would always be haunted by a decision to not try at all. After much consideration, I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I'm proud of that choice.

Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life -- the life you author from scratch on your own -- begins.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it's tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!

(Source & Image Credit: businessinsider.com)

#2017SolarEclipse

From NASA, this is the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. since Feb. 26, 1979, and it is like a special gift for the U.S. only (since all other countries cannot see it), how exciting! Every student at MHS was observing the phenomenon starting at 1:45pm with a pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses - only a partial eclipse was observed because Ohio is not in the path of totality. The next total solar eclipse over the continental U.S. will occur on April 8, 2024. And if we're still in Ohio we'll be able to see the TOTAL eclipse at that time. Wait 7 years!

(Image Credits: eclipse-maps.com, eastbaytimes.com)

1st Day of a Junior!

She seems to feel glorious about being an upperclassman in high school now. And she drove to school/back home (with me by her side of course) to practice her road skills.

Let's Zumba!!



That was like BT and me! We were doing it again for BT's going back to school :)


Never Wait for a Ship @Airport

It's not February when the season is right yet. But this interesting quote makes a great life lesson for all.

(Image Credit: AuntyAcid.com)



Bye-bye Braces!!!

That was our last appointment, also the end of BT's orthodontic journey, or mostly so considering she still has to wear the retainer for years or may have the check-ups once several months. It took us about one and half hours in the morning today but it was the happiest appointment of all!!
Our warmest thanks go to Dr. Logeman and his team, for all the attention and care over the past 18 months!!

The funny thing is, I cannot remember how many times I have already asked her today, "My darling, could you give me a smile?" xD


Meet the Sea!



It was mostly a cloudy day, which actually made me happier because it was not as hot and I didn't need to worry about the sun damaging my sensitive skin. I felt we had to do something before we left Providence - meet the sea!

And we did. That was from the Goddard Memorial State Park, about half an hour of driving from our rented house.

Friends!

Resilience & Forgiving

This is a flatworm (called planarian) under the microscope, photographed by BT. Planarians are found in saltwater and freshwater rivers and ponds. One amazing thing about planarians is that they have the ability to regenerate lost body parts. If you cut them in half, they will gradually grow back their heads and tails.
That was one of the most meaningful messages I received during the trip. Get it?


Hands-on!


A sweet moment...


Summer Week @Brown




Finally we are home!



The first thing I did when we arrived home from the triangular round trip was rushing to see these guys sitting by the window. They are my sure love and I kept worrying about their dehydration from hundreds of miles away. It had been a while since I had watered them when we left. To my joyful surprise, each one looks healthy and they are growing and beaming, see?!!


Easy Zumba!!!



BT and I now have a new way to burn our calories together.
My favorite time of day!!!!!


A Big Heart :)

Guess what I was doing today... Dissecting a pig heart in the anatomy lab! The objective was to identify and observe the chambers (atria and ventricles), arteries (aorta and pulmonary arteries), and veins (vena cava and pulmonary veins) of the organ.
A completely new experience!!



'I Wish You Bad Luck'

This is an excerpt from the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' unconventional speech to his son's graduating class last month. It is meaningful and striking. Love it!

"Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I'll tell you why.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don't take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you'll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. Whether I wish these things or not, they're going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes."

(Source: time.com/4845150/chief-justice-john-roberts-commencement-speech-transcript/
Image Credit: Time Magazine online)

Laparoscopic Surgery

(Reference and Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laparoscopic_surgery )

Bach Sonata 3 Largo


Red, Rhythm and Boom!

TURBT



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