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Goal-Free Living?

Have you ever asked yourself this question:
“I am doing everything according to the plans to pursue my goals. And I’ve achieved most of them. Why am I still not happy?” I asked this question many times in my 20’s.

I did a lot in my 20’s:

- Graduated with honor from college
- Attended Ivy League and finished grad school
- Got into a top notch IT Company
- Got promoted multiple times
- Bought a lot of houses
- Invested a lot of money

The list goes on and on. But, I felt miserable. I was so miserable that I even thought about life not worth living because of all the stress and the endless work. I didn’t have any friends; I had no time to think about what I liked to do and I absolutely had no hobbies other than digging into the financial books to make more money. After suffering a severe depression a few years ago, I backed down, ditched my goals and started goal-free living.

I no longer try to climb the corporate ladder. I don’t really care if I can get the job done perfectly or not. I do my best and tell my boss the truth if things can’t get done and deal with it. I no longer pursue the perfection in performance, stock market included. At age 30, I finally made a turn and started to search for things that truly excite me. That’s when I picked up my old time passions such as computer graphics and games and some new interests like mountaineering, salsa dancing and blogging.

I can’t explain this. But once I stopped chasing my goals and letting go of some expectations for myself, things start to pick up. I am a much healthier person now (mentally and physically) comparing with a few years ago. And my performance on the job is not necessarily going downhill. I recently took the “stress” test and I found out that I nearly don’t have much stress. Maybe it is because I am living in a “passion-driven” life instead of a “goal-oriented” life? Or is it because that I finally let go of other people’s expectations and live the way that I want to live?

Maybe Stephen Shapiro does have a point. In his new book titled “Goal-Free Living” which comes out the next month, he suggested to take your nifty five-year plan and your lifetime to-do list and throw them out of the window. In his words,

“The key to happiness lies in checking out the detours and back roads.”

Maybe it’s time to ditch the high paying job, grab $13000 and head down to New Zealand and Australia for 8 months like one of my co-workers just did. I don’t know if I am spontaneous enough to make such a move. But I certainly don’t mind trying something new every year… whatever my heart leads me to…

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Oops! I Pissed Off My Coworker

arguingOr worse: I pissed off my team leader.

I got a phone call from a client director last Friday afternoon about an emergency task we must complete early this week. So, I was heads down doing a bunch of stuff today while my team lead walked in and said, “Christine, I have big issue with you. Come with me. ”

Then, the guy started to get all upset about the work I took from the client director.

Him: You do what I tell you to do!!!
Me: blah blah blah
Him: Do you still not have a single idea how this management structure work?
Me: blah blah blah
Him: You are down there. You don’t talk to the client!!!
Me: blah blah blah..
Him: This is what you should do… (starting drawing charts)
Me: blah blah blah

If this conversation happened when I were in my 20’s, I’d go ballistic on him. And those “blah blah blah” would be

“Oh, don’t you tell me how to do my job! I am an architect too. I have the rights to talk to the client when there is an emergency. Did you check your emails? I sent you a few on the weekend regarding this issue. Don’t scream at me if you don’t check emails!!! Blah blah blah”

But now I am in my 30’s and I know being a hard head is a lose-lose situation for both of us. So, instead of confronting him, I tried to use questions. So back to that conversation:

Him: You do what I tell you to do!!!
Me: Oh. I thought we all work for the client. Is there any misunderstanding here?
Him: Do you still not have a single idea how this management structure work?
Me: Could you please elaborate on that for me since I don’t think we have ever gone through the charts.
Him: You are down there. You don’t talk to the client!!!
Me: How would you like me to handle this situation while the client executive was calling my personal phone on a late Friday afternoon?
Him: This is what you should do… (started drawing charts)
Me: If that is the case, it looks like there is a disconnect. Should we communicate with the client and our project management team to discuss our communication channels? You can let me know once the misunderstanding is cleared and how we should proceed in the future. As of now since we have done quite a bit of work already, how would you like to proceed?
Him: Ok, continue doing what you are doing if that’s what the client has agreed with his management

End of the story. And both of us went back to work afterwards.

I have to admit that I was trying really hard to keep my blood pressure low and my voice down. It was hard to do. But at the end of the day, everybody is just trying to get the job done. So there is really no need to get all worked up between the co-workers. I did find the “question” approach a lot more useful than using the “statement”. I get to direct where the conversation goes since my pissed-off co-worker was a lot more willingly to answer the questions than agreeing with me. Eventually, he said what I wanted to hear.

turtle bunny arguingIronically, right after my intense discussion with my team lead, Paco and I went ballistic on each other about the Eagles Tailgate post I did yesterday. The post greatly upsets the loyal Eagles fan which I totally understand. However, I completely forgot about my “question” approach and the “remain calm” advice.

A) Paco is a close friend. I can get away from yelling at him. B) Pissing off Paco today doesn’t mean I will lose my promotion or paycheck tomorrow.

I think we do this all the time to the close ones and we are much nicer to the strangers and the coworkers. Patience, logical reasoning, respect, and calm all get tossed out of the window when we are arguing with someone we are close to.

So what did I do after I pissed off Paco? I walked outside for about 20 minutes, came back and made peace with him. :-D

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Who Cares About Diversity?

Honestly speaking, after working for my company for more than 9 years, “Diversity Education” or related phone calls are the ones I always ignore. Although it is mandatory for every employee to go through such a training, I normally dial into the conference call just so that my manager can check me off the list and leave me alone.

So, when I was approached by a Denver University professor from the Education Department whom asked me to give a speech about corporate diversity and organization, I was scratching my head, “Coporate Diversity?! What the heck am I going to talk about?”

Well, I have to talk about something. So I figured it would be fun to see how these Ph.D and Master students react to the real world scenario. This is the slide I put on the projector tonight in the classroom:


The votes? Gay project manager and the Japanese born sales guy got the most votes followed by the female stock broker and the one arm technical writer. Only one student voted for the white straight male slacker who shows up late at work.

The purpose of the slide is that I want to make a point:

At the end of the day, it is not about who you are. It’s about what you can do and what value you bring into the room.

We will let go of the slacker regardless of the person’s skin color. My gay project manager absolutely kicks ass, so who cares if he plays on another team. Apparently, this concept is pretty foreign to the academic world. At the end of the class, I got the sense that the black students are indeed concerned about being black. And everybody is worried about gay guy’s fate out there in the jungle. Is this a perception disconnection between the academic and corporate worlds? Maybe .

I sometimes feel that the diversity thing is way over done in Corporate America. As a young female Asian engineer who has funky mixed Chinese and southern accent, discrimination is the last thing I worry about. But on the other hand, is that because we have done such a fine job in Corporate America to teach everybody to walk on the egg shells so that an “extreme-minority” such as myself doesn’t really notice being a minority? Hmm, again, this question is too deep for my little head to think about…

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My Car Is A Total Loss AND The Seat Belt Saved My Life

A few minutes ago, I got a phone call from the Farmers Insurance agent who was assessing the damage of my car. (Here is the post about my car crash two days ago) First, he told me my car was a total loss. Then he said to me, “You know your seat belt won’t track back anymore. I thought I would be talking to you in a hospital. You are a very lucky lady.”Then he told me that the impact was so severe that most of the internal structures of my car were damaged. I don’t know cars at all, but after listening to a long list of the auto-part jargons, I was pretty scared. Axel was broken; front wheel was almost detached; suspension was smashed and another dozen internal parts were not repairable anymore.

Now I try to rewind and think back the moment when the impact had happened.I only remember that the seat belt was holding me so tight on the seat that I wasn’t really going anywhere even though the car was slamming back and forth for a few seconds. Before the agent hung up the phone, he said to me, “This Honda did what it was supposed to do to save your life. I am glad you were wearing the seat belt.”

Now, to be honest, I am in a much deeper shock than I was 2 days ago right after the accident. I didn’t realize this could be the accident to severely damage my physical well-being if not taking my life. And the only reason why I am still here typing this post is because I worn the seat belt. I know we all beat this topic to death. I saw plenty of people on TV showing us the consequences of not wearing one. But this is BLOODY REAL to me. And to all the people who are reading this post at this moment, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT! And make sure your passengers are wearing seat belts too. You can save yours and other people’s lives.

I will go back to the body shop this Thursday to pick up my belongings and say good-bye to my Honda before they tear it apart. It’s sad … After all, the car has accompanied me for the last 2 years, moved me to Colorado, and gave a lot of people rides to the mountains after it arrived in Denver. As sad as I am right now, I am truly happy that I am not part of this “total loss”.

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A Can of Coke and A Piece of Freedom

coke and girlIt’s another normal day. No pages finally; a few questions from my client here and there; I am holding a can of coke while editing my posts on the site. Sounds pretty boring to you, yeah? But this is actually something unthinkable many years back before I landed in North America. Even in today’s world, what I am doing here on a daily basis is still a dream for billions of people in the world.

“Are you saying you can actually afford a can of Coke and bitch about whatever you want in public?”
“Gee… “

Regardless of the criticism of being excessive, arrogant, nosy, greedy, controlling, wasteful, United States is still the most generous country in the world when it comes to welcoming the foreigners who are seeking for better lives and freedom. I sometimes forget and take my good life for granted. So here is a post dedicated to the can of coke I am holding and the freedom I am enjoying.

The Coca-Cola story
It was early 80’s when I first spotted the refreshing looking brown color drink in a red can. It’s a symbol drink, meaning only the riches and powerful people could have access to it. At that time, my dad made about 60 Yuan (about 8 bucks a month) and a can of Coca-Cola cost 3 Yuan. So forget about drinking it.

July 1985, I took a trip to Canton in south China to visit my cousins. The economy atmosphere in Canton at that time was much more liberal than the east coast because of the influences from the neighboring British colony Hong Kong. I was staring at a bottle that had “Pepsi” printed on it in the store and didn’t want to leave. Yep, it sure looked just like Coca-Cola. Finally, my wealthier cousin spent his allowance and shared a bottle with me. That marked my first day of tasting the wonderful foreign refreshment. Ahh…

A few years later, I reunited with my mother in Nashville, TN. When she asked me what I wanted when we went for our first grocery shopping, I said, “Coca-Cola, ice cream and chocolate.” When my mom loaded a box with a dozen of red cans, a gallon of ice cream and tons of Swiss chocolate in the shopping cart, I nearly passed out on the floor. OK! Favorite-food-overflow Mom!

Do you want to be a Janitor?
Ever since I started school, this question was brought up at least a few times a week by my parents, my grandparents, uncles, teachers or any creatures that had tongues to speak,
“Do you want to be a Janitor? If not, study hard so you will have a chance to go to college one day!”

With only a handful Universities and millions of kids around the town, you gotta be dead smart to earn a seat in college in China. Without a college degree, the future is pretty much over. The scariest part is that the kids have only one shot to compete for this higher learning opportunity. That’s the National University Admission Examination which lasts 3 days in July each year. There are so many kids committed suicide after years of hard work but failed the tests on these 3 days… It’s a cruel reality that there are too many people and too little opportunities.

Kimmi and I were like 12 or 13 years old when we went to school together. Sneaking out during lunch time to watch half an hour cartoon was like the best part of the day ‘cause we knew the rest of the 16 awaken hours were dedicated to solving hundreds of math problems and writing a dozen of essays so we would do well on these 3 days when we turn 18. Luckily, both of us left eventually.

In the past decade-plus years in US, I finished college; I finished grad school; I work for a top notch software company; I earn good money; and I blog whatever I want. You could argue that because I work hard so I deserve everything I have right now. I’d say that although my years of hard work certainly deserve the credit, I’d have nothing if the society didn’t offer me the rich opportunities and the freedom to pursue the life and the career I want. Hey! I only need to take one test instead of ten to go to grad school! And I can take it again and again and again until I score something big! Wow!!!

Coming from another part of the world, I realize the difference is that I am in control of my life here. I don’t have to know the right people or sneak into the backdoors (Ok, maybe I need it to the Oscar Red Carpet), and I don’t have to have a rich daddy. With some determination, a strong belief, and a few good choices, you can be whoever you want to be. And THAT’s the power of the freedom.

Maybe this country is wasteful, arrogant, greedy, excessive, nosy…whatever… But I love America from the bottom of my heart!

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Can Exes Still Be Friends?

Logical Analysis
If we ditch our personal experiences and opinions for a second and look at this question purely from a logical perspective, the short answer is NO.

And here is why:

  1. Mutual breakup is a rare case. Most of the time, one partner is the heartbreaker and another one is going to cry head over heals for weeks or months. As long as the feelings or rages/angers are still there, there is not a chance to get back to the friends’ circle.
  2. Here is a question to ask yourself, “What is your reaction if your ex introduces you to his/her new found lover?” If you feel like digging a hole and go hiding, or wanting to beat the crap out of your ex’s new lover, then forget about the friends thing. You are not over the heartache yet.
  3. Even if exes don’t have feelings for each other anymore, passion and sexual chemistry may still exist. After all, that’s someone you have spent so much time with. And sexual chemistry is a NO-NO for friends, unless you want to be friends with benefits. Well, then the whole ex-situation will just get uglier.
  4. Most time when the dumper flees the scene, he/she may not want to have anything to do with you ever again. So your best intention of being your ex’s friend even if you have successfully put the past behind you won’t do any good if there is no such a friend to be with.
  5. You still have to respect each other, care for each other and trust each other after the bitter breakup. What are the odds of that?

So unless the two of you were great friends and truly respect each other before; broke up because of the perfectly mutual agreement; both have no jealousy issues for either of you seeing new people, and both can still be totally honest with each other, I’d say forget about this whole friend thing. Delete him/her from your life forever and move on. If your ex is not the one, then you can certainly live without him/her and find your true happiness.

Still Stands A Chance?
OK, you still respect each; you don’t hate each other; you want to have one more friend to enjoy your favorite old movies with you; and he/she is a good listener when you need counseling and caring. So what do you do to turn things around and make it work? Try this guide. If you are lucky, you might be able to pull it off.

Real People Real Stories
Ok, enough of my logical analysis on this question. What happens in real life?

Here is a link to 21 responses from real people to tell you whether they think exes can be friends or not.

I also found some success cases when the exes do stick with each other (source: Chicago Tribune eidted by Cheryl Lavin):

Jane: “I’ve stayed close friends with two of the last three guys I was in a significant relationship with. (The third was not a safe relationship, and I decided not to continue a friendship.) We’re able to talk about our feelings. We’ve worked to find each other new matches. We still get together and watch old movies, eat popcorn and talk about the trials of dating. We’re there for each other.

Elise: “I’m fortunate enough to have been able to remain friends with several former flames. It wasn’t always easy, and there were weeks or months when we didn’t talk after the relationship was over. But once both of us got past the hurt or anger, it was just so much easier to remain friends than to waste time worrying about running into each other.

“The way I see it, if you like someone enough to spend time with them, get to know them, be intimate with them, it makes perfect sense to continue to see them on a friendly level if you can put aside whatever differences it was that made you break up. It takes so much less effort to continue to like the person as a friend than it does to waste your energy intensely disliking them. Life is too short.”

Final Thoughts
I personally only witnessed one successful exes-becoming-friends case. They are my parents. But it took them more than 7 years and sometimes I wonder if the bitterness still exists. So, I am not so optimistic about exes-being-friends’ scenario simply because the human nature, passion, jealousy and bitterness can easily outweighs the good will and reasoning. But like I said earlier, everybody has different experiences and opinions about this and you might find it worthwhile to re-connect with your ex. After all, the thought of having one more friend and one less stranger (or enemy at least) does sound pretty appealing. But do make sure that before you re-connect, you have no intention what-so-ever to beat the crap out of your ex’s new lover.

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How To Breakup With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend

I just got off the phone with a crying girlfriend of mine. Her boyfriend hasn’t returned her phone calls for more than a week and emails were as short as girls’ mini skirts in the late summer.

“Why wouldn’t he call me? … He made all the excuses to cancel our plans…”

Hmm… When we (the girls) are not in the relationship traumas, this question is too easy to answer, “Honey, he is breaking up with you… Can’t you read the signs…?”

As Cindy Chupack, writer and executive producer of Sex and the City wrote in her book Between Boyfriends,

Men are good at a lot of things. Breaking up is not one of them. When a woman wants to break up with a man, she invites him over for dinner, cooks his favorite dish, and tells him she is seeing his best friend. It’s all very straightforward and diplomatic. But men have this weird aversion to endings. They prefer to take the passive mode, allowing the relationship to end itself. Men can’t be bothered with dramatic farewells, the questioning of motives, discussions. They are bored, they want out. Good-bye!

Every girl probably has gone through at least one of those mysterious endings. There are no reasons and no answers. The anxious waiting of never-returned phone calls or emails only left you hanging there for ages and wondering what went wrong. Even those sweet nice guys could pull a Long Ranger stunt on you and left you wondering if he’s possessed by his evil twin brother.

My real good friend Paco (alias he used on the site) is one of the sweetest guys I have ever met. He’d do anything for his friends; he loves his family very much; he is one of the most responsible co-workers I’ve worked with; he has a big heart; He even offered to chip in when I lost bet to the Million Dollar Homepage. Anyway, a top notch citizen like Paco also left his ex-girlfriend hanging and never gave her an answer.

“How could you do that to her?” I once asked him.
“I was burning out. I needed to get away from EVERYONE and EVERYTHING. It was a rough time for me.” He said.

Ok, I have to accept the fact that this is part of the Male DNA “flaws” that guys just hate confrontations. Period.

Now, how about us? How the girls deliver the bad news?

Although I made the rule not to talk about my private life on a public website simply because I have revealed my true identify (stupid me used my real name and real photos.. Durh!!!), I’d break the rule for once since this happened long time ago even before the Weblogs were invented.

When I decided to break up with my ex-fiancé, he was ready to come to Los Angeles to spend a weekend with me. I felt too guilty to ask him to cancel the trip. So I let him come anyway. I figured I’d do it by the beach. At least it was a good setting with perfect ingredients such as the ocean and the sunset. Well, I ended up pissing him off the big time.

“Why did you drag my ass all the way here to break up with me?!!…” He just couldn’t believe it. I felt so guilty and couldn’t stand seeing him heartbroken, especially after he got kicked out from his law school. So our breakup process got dragged on and on for a few painful months until he dissapeared with a full bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of wine. I finally found him alive and we drove back to his hometown in Texas. I said my final goodbye and never saw him since. I did google him many years later and found out he finally finished the law shcool and now works as an intellectual property lawyer in Texas.

Ok, my story is a little dramatic but I know plenty of my girlfriends do the similar things. We plan the “perfect scenes” for breakups. Then, we feel so guilty so we go back to check on the heartbroken puppies once a while only ended up hurting the guys even more.

Ok, so it seems like our traditional breaking up methods don’t work so well. So here is a better “Breaking Up 1-2-3-4-5” guide based on Cindy’s original suggestions:

  1. You have to have a reason. Before doing the real deal, get a piece of paper and put down the reasons. If you write “ She sings Itsy Bitsy Spider 50 times a day” or “His nose looks like a penis.”, you may want to borrow Seinfeld’s “it’s not you, it’s me” line. But I am sure most of us can come up with something better than Itsy Bitsy Spider or penis nose.
  2. Pick a good day to do the ending. For guys, check the calendar and make sure it is not Valentine day, her birthday or your anniversary. If you have no idea what these dates are, make a quick phone call and ask her. For girls, do pick a big event date like a football Sunday or boy’s poker night out. If he’s pissed, he’s got his games, his boys and his beers.
  3. Round 1 action, make a phone call and read the lines you wrote in step 1. Boys, be prepared that you may stay on the phone for a while. Girls, as soon as he says, “I better go…I will talk to you later”, let him go. Don’t hang around because you want to make sure he is alright. He is not. So let him go.
  4. Round 2 action: For those deeper relationships, you do need to talk in person. Although I personally don’t think talking in person could change any outcome, it is a proper and respectful way to end a long term relationship.
  5. Leave each other alone. This is the hardest part, but constantly reminding each other’s presence does more harm than good especially if one side feels strongly about the other. So, delete his/her phone numbers, emails and just leave each other alone.

My crying girlfriend then asked me, “You think we will still be friends?”

It’s a good question. Can exes still be friends? Well… I am going to bed now so I have some energy to climb the wall tomorrow. I will write something later cuz I have a lot to say about that topic.

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No Goofing Off On New Jobs

3 weeks ago, a real good friend of mine, John (alias used) told me he found a new job with 35% pay raise. We work for the same company but different field offices. I knew he was fed up by the travels and the long hours for a very long time. Although I was a little shocked to see him leaving so quickly, I was really happy for him to finally have a steady high paying local job.

Yesterday, Beth (alias used on this site) told me an even more shocking news: John got fired by his new company already!

“What happened to him? Did he over slept again?” I figured this must be the reason.

We all knew his sleeping disorder problem. When John worked on his last contract, he showed up mostly around noon and sometimes at 4pm. Because of his long years of services and a solid reputation within the company, everybody tired to work around his schedule to get the job done.

After he started his new job, he showed up on time on the first two days and went back to his old irregular schedule. Unfortunately, the new employer doesn’t have much of tolerance nor flexibility. So they kicked him out with no mercy. Ouch!

I feel really bad for John’s career tragedy. But it is a good lesson for him and many other people who are starting or about to start their new jobs. We always think that landing on a new job is the hardest part. But sometimes, to re-gain and re-build your reputation from scratch on the new field can be even tougher.

I am starting my new project on Oct 1 in Colorado Springs. If I blog my days away on the new job like what I do now, I probably would get my ass fired in a split second. Being said, if you guys seeing me posting less and less in a month, you know I am just trying to keep my head above the water on the new job.

After all, when there is a conflict between my career and my hobby, I have to take a hard look at the cold reality and pick the one that pays the bill, until one day that hobby becomes my career. Whoa! That’d be nice to get up at 3pm, work in my pajama and write all kinds of stuff all day long… And best of all… nobody can fire me! Well, that’s my ultimate goal I guess…

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A Climber’s Paradox

Risk of Dropping Dead
Last week when I was buying snowboard bindings, I met my climbing partner Rick’s friend Rachael. I was surprised that Rick hasn’t turned her into a climber after knowing her for so long since we all know Rick tries to turn everybody into either a climber or a snowboarder. So I asked him later, “Hey, how come you are not turning Rachael into a climber?” Rick said, “Oh, because she won’t climb. Her good friend died when he was climbing Gardens Of Gods.”

You may be surprised that most of the serious outdoor rock climbers don’t think about death that much, myself included. But I can’t deny the fact that the risks are high up there. The scale of the risk increases drastically when we move through the climbing categories( e.g. from top roping to lead, from lead to trad, from single pitch to multi-pitches, from rock to ice, and from outdoor sport routes to alpine climb. ) I have only been climbing for about half a year and I’ve already had some scary moments.

Why Do We Still Climb
I was camping and climbing with a few climbers this weekend near Deckers area. When we were bullshitting by the campfire at night, we started telling each other our worst-outdoor-experience stories. One guy told us that when he and his buddies went for a snow camping trip, they had to wake up every other hour to shuffle the snow outside of the tent for an hour and then woke up another guy to guard the tent from being buried by the snow. “It was miserable.” He said. So I asked, “Why the hell did you do it then?” “To test myself and know myself better.” He in turn asked me, “Why do you climb? You know you can die.”

Why do I climb? Hmm… a good question.

Initially, I climb because of the joy after conquering a route. It’s the greatest feeling of the achievement that motivates me to climb. Now, It’s because of the 4 big letters: RISK. Because of the RISK I take, I am getting so much closer to not only the beautiful Mother Nature that only the climbers can enjoy, but also the ugly and the beautiful sides of my own nature. Because of this closeness to the truth, I have learned so much wisdom about living my life. If you have been following my rock climbing journals, you know that I’ve learned how to conquer the fear, how to be persistent, how to say NO to quitting-acts, how to believe in myself and how to be supportive and patient with others. Such wisdoms I have acquired and applied have been the greatest rewards.

I think the excitement of the RISK and the reward of taking such a RISK has to be the top reason why the extreme sport lovers do what they do.

Where Is The Equation?
So, I know I can die because of the nature risk comes with rock climbing. But this is what I love to do. So where is the equation?

Paul Shultheis once said, “Until you know the worst that could possibly happen and the best that could possibly happen… your equation is incomplete.”

Hmm… Maybe I still choose to believe that as a top roper and a moderate lead climber, the worst that could possibly happen to me are some nasty scratches. However, if I start to raise a family , or moving through the higher climbing categories, I am sure the equation will be rebalanced.

For now, let’s climb on!

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Ordinary People With Extraordinary Spirits

A regular day hiker conquers the highest peak in mainland USA

Mount WhitneyMy best friend Beth (alias used) is just an ordinary girl next door. Although she exercises regularly and hikes whenever she can, she has never done anything serious in her entire life, not even a backpacking trip before this summer. After she met Rob (alias used), a hardcore mountaineer in North Carolina, she decided to give it a shot to climb Mount Whitney with Rob and his friends. With 14,494 feet elevation, Mount Whitney in California is the highest peak in the 48 contiguous states. When she told me her decision to climb Whitney, I thought she was out of her usually-f$#@ing-smart mind! I really worried that she’s going to kill herself out there considering a) she’s not a rock climber nor an ice climber b) she’s never done a 7 day backpacking trip before and c) she is only a day hiker.

On July 8th, 2005, the boys and the gal took off and started their incredible journey to the summit of Whitney. Well, I am not going to talk too much since Beth came back with these extraordinary photos they took. A picture is worth thousands of words. So check out the rest of the story here.

Here is a photo of our lovely brave couple Beth and Rob when they were on their first date. They are getting married in April the next year!!! Whooohoooo!!! AND I AM THE BRIDESMAID! I can’t wait to eat their wedding cake. :-D

Anita’s journal of being a Katrina Volunteer in Houston
Anita TaylorFirst time I met Anita was at the Mudd Volleyball. Yes, she is the bikini babe in the Mudd. We then casually hung out afterwards. She is a beautiful fun and smart girl that a lot of guys would probably think she is too good to be true. Especially her party spirit just make you wonder when this girl is ever going to slow down with all the fun she is having.

When Katrina struck New Orleans last week, she couldn’t stand the thoughts of not doing anything. So here she wrote about how she came up with the decision to leave Denver and travel down to Houston to help out.

She finally arrived in Houston and started volunteering for the Red Cross to help the refugees. Check out her first day on job experience and her encounter with a 5 day old baby named Katrina.

Now she is finally back in Colorado and she is still in the state of shock of what she saw down there. Here are her thoughts about the unexplainable experiences on her blog.

My hat’s off to Anita Taylor! You have a big heart!

And yes, she is still single. So to all the qualified bachelors, go ahead, visit her blog site and drop her a note!

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About Free The Cow Project

Purpose : Achieve real financial freedom by stop working for others.

2006 Project Overview

Starting Project Size: $26,400
Current Project Size: $32,929
projects Required Fund Size: $50,000

eBay ID: acmekwglobal

Current Project Net Income: $81.18

Months In Project: 1

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