Picture a Day Project (Day 7) – Hair Cutter

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Today’s picture is of a hair cutter / trimmer. I bought this about a year ago for $25, and it was the best investment I ever made. I wanted to save money, so now I just cut my own hair, haha! I’m not a stylist, so I can’t fade my hair, or style it. I just cut it to the lowest point, and I like it. It’s low maintenance, and it’s good for running. It’s not super stylish, but I’m not trying to impress anyone or win a prize with my hair, so this will do. I save about $300 / year cutting my own hair, actually maybe even more depending where I go, and how often. But, yup saving money is a good idea.

Do you have any good ideas on how to save money, if so, please share below. Thanks!

Picture a Day project (Day 6)

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Today’s picture is of Upenn’s bookstore. I chose this picture because this was where I met my fiancee. I was waiting upstairs with a view of the front door, so I can see her coming in. I waited and Liz was easy to spot. She comes in as if she has never been there and that was one of the signs she was the one I was waiting for. The other sign was that she looked a lot like her pictures.
I waved to her from up top to, so she would know where to go to meet me. We talked a bit and we had a lot in common, and that’s how it started. She even showed me her plate spinning skills.

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This was the site where we she showed me her plate spinning. Unfortunately, the site is no longer a field of green. It has been filled in with concrete. We have memories to hold onto as the world changes. So my life moves forward, from being friends, to dating, to bf / gf, to engaged, and onto married. I’m enjoying this journey very much, even though at times it is filled with uncertainty. But, life will be so dull without surprise.

Picture a Day Project (Day 5) – This season’s worst enemy

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Today’s picture is of my worst enemy of the season. Poison Ivy. It’s been such a long time since I got poison ivy, but this year it was bad. I have scars running on both my arms, and it spread throughout my clothes, and into my left armpit. It’s such a bother, not because it itches, it’s because the oils are invisible and they keep spreading. You think it’s all gone, but then you end up wearing something that still has it. Or, worse, you get it under your nails, and your fingers don’t get the blisters, but whatever else you touch on your body and others get the blisters. I’m just lucky that I’m currently recovering from poison ivy. It was scary, when it first started spreading, and I had no idea where I got it from. That’s another downside to it, especially, when you don’t know what you’re looking for. But, luckily YouTube has helped me identify the plant.

1) Longer Red stem in the middle
2) 3 leaves, 2 on the side, and one in the middle, more extended than the other two.
3) The side leaves are shaped like mittens, or like the plant above.

This is a picture of the poison that’s growing rampant near the El, and it’s also on my neighbor’s yard, and it’s also growing in the sidewalk cracks. I encounter this plant numerous times on my way to work, and it got all over my work clothes without me know. It took a while to find out all the places, so now I avoid every patch of greenery, and stay to the streets. I don’t want to get poison ivy again, but luckily if I do, I know where to turn. Tecnu, I know it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. It’s able to suck out the poisons from your skin, clean your nails, and remove it from wherever else you have it on your body. You can use soap and water, or gasoline, anything that cleans oils away from your body, but this stuff has the added benefit of pulling it away from your skin. So, it’s definitely worth it.

Enjoy the rest of your summer everyone, but watch out for those skin irritants that could damper your summery. If you have any ideas / suggestions on how to deal with poison ivy, write a note below.
Thanks for sharing!

 

Picture a day project (Day 4) – Gluttony

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Today’s picture is of something that I enjoy eating, Crawfish. If you haven’t eaten these before, they taste like mini-lobster, but not as good. Kind of like a mix between shrimp and lobster. They grow abundantly in Louisiana. I had them down there a while back, in jambalaya 😀 Yummy! I love Crawfish. We decided tonight to go out to eat at the Chinese Buffet. That’s one of our likely spots to dine. It has a great variety of food. The quality is okay, but not so bad. It’s not gourmet dining, but the cost is somewhat affordable. The problem is, it’s all you can eat. Somehow whenever we go there, we always try to eat as much as we can. It’s strange, just because it’s labeled “all you can eat” We just have to try.
Now, be honest with me, when you go out to a buffet, do you try to eat all that you can eat? It’s weird; it’s like we’re wired to avoid the loss. You pay to eat all that you can, and if someone tries to take that away from you, you defend it vehemently. So, I wonder if we avoided places like these, can we avoid giving into sin, or giving into our vices.
I hope that today will serve as a lesson for me to be more aware of my weaknesses and avoid places that will prey on them. It is difficult, but it’ll take practice and some mental re-engineering. You almost have to re-wire your brain to not see it as a sacrifice, but see it as personal development. Because if you view it as a sacrifice, it’s not going to work.
It’s like dieting, you can’t say, okay if I stay away from sugary treats, then I’ll lose weight. It may work in the short run; but in the long run, you have to change the way you think and the way you view sugary treats.
Today, I gave into sin, hopefully tomorrow, I will be stronger to resist it. Are there any sins or vices that you feel like giving up, but noticing that you keep falling into? Let me know your thoughts. Thank you!

Please share, thanks!

Picture a day Project (Day 3) – Life on the Rocks

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Today’s picture of the day is the diamond ring that I bought before I met my fiancee, yes, you read correctly, the ring I bought [before!] I met my fiancee. I saw a great deal on the internet, I think it was for $20 or something, it’s a lab-created diamond, so real, not real, I guess you’ll be the judge on what constitutes as a diamond. Quality grade, I don’t know, nor can I tell. Actually, I wonder if I could pass it on to a real-life jeweler and get it measured, wouldn’t that be something.

Well, the reason why I’m posting this picture is because I bought the ring, and other jewelry in expectation of meeting the right girl, and hoping that I could save a few hundred $$$ bucks in buying jewelry, when the prices are good, versus having to buy jewelry in an over-priced superstore. Lo and Behold, I met a wonderful girl, a lovely lady, and she’s not into the mainstream jewelry type at all, so all my preparation was for naught. Well, actually, it makes a good story, so I keep some around, since she doesn’t want it, but maybe, someday, my daughter, or hey, sometimes they’ll make great Christmas gifts, haha!! So, sometimes in life, you can be prepared for what life throws at you, and sometimes, surprises come way outside your vision that it doesn’t matter, but you could not specifically prepare for what life gives you. Sometimes, you just have to count your losses and move on. This post represents my old life, and transitioning into my future life, with an amazing, wonderful, very unpredictable young lady.

Have you ever seen a girl cry, and she does not know why. Yup! That’s where my life is headed. I mention this, because I’m a very well-planned, thought-out person. When I go shopping, I know what I want, I go there, offer a price, or settle for a price and buy it. Usually, it’s on Amazon that I do my shopping. Or if I go to the grocery store, I know the price before I even get there. When you have to start thinking for two, and the other person doesn’t…. isn’t…. you, there’s no way to predict their behavior. Sure, there are some ways to be prepared, but at times, sometimes there isn’t, and for me, having to deal with variables can sometimes be difficult. But, this unknown is also part of the reason why I’m getting married and choosing to live my life with this single individual (my fiancee), because there are so many more adventures out there awaiting us. She brings what the Oracle brings to the matrix, while I’m the Architect; a balance to the equation.

Now, I’m learning how to live with another individual in my life, and they’re not like a close friend that if you needed space or you want to go off to college, you either take them with you, or leave them behind. Your wife is a part of you; she is the other side of your coin. Wherever you go, she goes with you. I’m learning how to live a new lifestyle. Some may say that it’s compromising, or sharing, or sacrificing; I like to see it as an adventure. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get angry with each other, you’re going to experience all these new and wonderful life events. No matter how much you prepare for life, you cannot prepare for it. All, you can do is live life, one moment to the next. (Look to Day 2’s post for how to live on 24 hours a day).

What I’m trying to say, is that life will give you unexpected events, and you’ll just have to deal with it. Those challenges are actually what makes you stronger, better because they push you pass your comfort zone, they get you out of your monotony; they make you learn and adapt. Some of my pre-bought jewelry turned out well, some of it didn’t. This one, I have no idea who will want it, but maybe in the future, I will find a use for it, or someone else will find a use for it.

So, in preparation for my life with my fiancee, I had to learn what her love language is (which also changes, as we grow together). I also had to purchase an engagement ring that costs a whole lot more than $20, then we have to spend money on a wedding, then I get a surprise, that there such a thing called a wedding band (aka another ring). Totally, a shocker, for me. But, that’s what life gives you. As you grow, your life will change. Nothing stays the same, and if you do not keep growing, or keep trying to better yourself. You will fall behind and life will pass you by, and you would not have really lived. I’ve experienced this loss of time in my younger years, now I know that life is ever-changing. The change needs to be embraced, not feared. So, I say goodbye to my prior life, and look forward to living my new life, which starts NOW! and NOW! and NOW! Darn it, life, slow down and stop changing 🙂 haha!!

Keep on living, keep on learning!

 

 

 

 

Picture a Day project (Day 2)

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Today’s picture is of a watch. Sometimes we may feel rushed, or there’s this great event that we’re waiting for. Have you ever started a week and can’t wait until the week is over, so you can go on vacation. What about when it’s the day before Christmas Eve, and you know that you will have off tomorrow, or what about July 15th, 2015 (Amazon Prime Day). Can’t wait for those sales to come and then it’s time to shop!! Woohoo!! Or maybe, what if someone you love is in the hospital and you’re waiting to hear that they will be okay, or they may not be okay. Does it feel like time slows down, when it wants to torture you, or time speeds up when you’re having too much fun and it’s over before you know it.
Well, how can you slow down time? Have you ever watch a boiling kettle, or a more modern version, have you ever waited for a the microwave to finish, and it seems that when it gets closer to being almost over, time drags on even more slowly? Well, the answer is right in front of you. By, being aware of time, you slow it down, to either suffer through it or enjoy it. Actually, by being aware of the passage of time; it’ll be you appreciate time even more. Now that I’m older, about 35, going on 36. I’m noticing that time does really slow down when you’re aware of it. I feel that I’ve wasted my youths, playing games, doing nothing productive, and just existing, having fun, of course, but not doing anything for society. It was only, in the past few years, did I want to be more productive and started to engage myself, challenge myself to do things that feel uncomfortable. Only when I started to do those things, did time seem to slow down so that I can enjoy them. Haha! Actually, since I’m doing things that feel uncomfortable, time slows down, so that I suffer through the awkwardness, but knowing that those uncomfortable moments are actually great experiences, I’m glad that time slows down so that I can enjoy them. Have you ever started on a run, or on an exercise path, and it seems like you’re not going anywhere? It seems like you’re just running in place and making no progress at all? Well, I felt like that for years, but lo and behold, all that time exercising and working out, was actually beneficial. Even though, the running & exercising wasn’t always fun; the results are definitely enjoyable. I’m glad that I had time to run. Nowadays, it seems that there are less and less time to run for myself, but ah, the truth comes out. I’ve lost sight of time, so to slow time down, once again. I must be aware of it; I must LIVE in the moment. Be aware of the present and appreciate the gift that God has bestowed upon me, called the “present” Haha! Sorry, I had to stick that in there… why do they call it the “present” (time), because it’s a gift, haha!

So, go out there an enjoy your present, let me know what you have decided to do with your time. Arnold Bennett makes a great point that, no matter who you are, rich or poor, you only get 24 hours in a day. You cannot borrow from the future, you cannot save up time to spend later. It is ever-flowing, the great equalizer. So how will you spend your time?

Picture a day project (Day 1)

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Ok, I’m taking on a new project. I’m not really into taking pictures, so I’ve decided to expand on a talent that I haven’t used in a while and that’s taking pictures. I’ve decided to take one picture a day and posting it online. One, as a journal to my journey through life, and two, as a practice for reflection, so I can see what is important in my daily life, that I’m willing to take a picture of it and post about it.

Today’s picture is of a squirrel in Franklin Square Park. There were a bunch of pigeons there as well, but I picked the squirrel because he / she was quite dominant on the scene. The birds were eating drops of food, but the squirrel jumped onto tables, scared the birds away and even dove into trash cans. I may have fallen prey into taking picture of something that wants to be the center of attention, like one of those crowd pleasers, or “look at me” type of person. But, that’s my picture for today. I love nature and the outdoors. I love how sneaky animals can be, and even if we’re living close to them, they are still wild and we need to be aware of them. I like that feeling, because it makes you feel more aware of your surroundings. I wouldn’t like to live like that always, but every once in a while. I guess that’s what people are describing when they’re taking about, getting in touch with nature. That we share this world with other creatures and other living beings; that we “share” this world with God’s other creatures.

Life without a car (in the suburbs)

Hello Everyone,

Hope you’re all having a great, wonderful day!! I’m carbing up here at Franny Lou’s in Fishtown. Nice place to relax and enjoy some good iced Chai tea.

So, it’s been about 3 months since I gave up having a car. I think it’s been a pretty decent choice. No more insurance bills, no more gas bills. No more maintenance bills. No more parking bills. It’s all been replaced by a $91.00 Septa monthly pass. All these seem to be good reasons, but here are some of the negative reasons from not having a car.

Grocery shopping has gotten a lot more difficult. I don’t have a shopping cart to take to and fro, so I’m limited to just what I can carry in my hands. The other issue is the weight limit. I can probably carry 30 pounds of food for the 0.5 mile commute. This gets more difficult when its iced tea, milk, or liquids, by the time I get home on this sweltering summer day, I would have drank most of the drinks already. It takes me about 5 minutes to run it, but about 10 minutes to walk it. So I also have to be cognizant of time when buying cold goods, like ice cream. Luckily, I don’t buy ice cream, but cream cheese, yogurt, or iced tea are on my shopping list.
Going to work has also been challenging since it’s so hot. I have to walk the 0.5 miles to the El, but after that it’s okay. I guess the trade off is walking in hot weather, rather than paying for parking. I’ll make that trade off, since it’s about $20/day to park in Philadelphia.
I haven’t had to move furniture yet, so I haven’t had to face that challenge, but if I needed to, I can rent a car.
It’s been harder to visit my sister, who is 1.2 miles away. She’s also uphill, which makes running it harder. I would like to visit more, but it’s about a 20 minute commute each way.
My girlfriend, I mean fiancee is being bothered by my not having a car, so I can readily be available for her. So there are some headaches with not having a car, but you definitely save a lot of money. I think I’ll continue this lifestyle for a bit longer, or until the fiancee says differently 😀 haha!

Teachers have a challenging vocation, not everyone can teach right away

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TeacherA few days ago, I was riding the El home late at night, and was approached by a homeless man asking everyone in the El train for money. Now, this is a common occurrence. Usually, I will encounter one or more persons asking for money, so my response has been, “Sorry, I don’t have any to spare.”

Now, on this occurrence, someone spoke up, and announced loudly “Sure! I’ll give you some money…, but, answer this question first, and answer it correctly, then I’ll give you some money.” (I thought that was a strange way to offer money – For me, giving is without conditions) The homeless man didn’t know how to respond, so he said “Okay.” The question was “What are you going to do with the money, I give you?”

Simple question, right? A fair question, but it never got completed… then he went on to say “Be careful how you respond because if you answer incorrectly, I won’t give you any of my hard-earned money”. Then he spoke to the crowd that was listening in. “I work hard my money…” (blah.. blah…blah…) That’s when I turned off to his tirade. It was obvious that he was lecturing the homeless man.

From then, he kept on lecturing, saying things: like how much learned from life, that you have to keep going, and get up after life knocks you down. People will stand in your way, and you have to take what you want, sometimes life will throw surprises at you, but you have to keep moving.

These are all good sayings, but in the tone & manner that he was speaking, nobody was really listening. The homeless man was silent and unsure on how to respond. But, he finally responded and said that he only wanted some money, if someone can spare it. After that more lecturing from the supposed giver, so the homeless man walked away. Then, the supposed giver, turned his attention to the crowd, and kept lecturing. Fortunately, his stop came by, and he left the El.

I bring this up because as a teacher, myself, I know that respect must be given to students before they’ll listen. Sometimes, we get ahead of ourselves and start teaching without listening to others, and when we think we’re teaching, we’re not. We’re just being “know-it-alls”. I hope that teachers out there will also agree that we (teachers) are not more intelligent than our students, we may have more specific knowledge about the course, but we are not smarter than our students. The person in my story, has forgotten that fact, and may have believed that he was better than the homeless man. Either because he made more money, or because he works hard for his money. In either case, he was disrespecting the homeless person, and I was about to speak up, but decided against dragging out a discussion that probably would have not been productive.

So please, take a moment, the next time you encounter a teacher and observe their teaching style. See how much love and patience they give their students. Also, when you start to lose patience with someone, take a step back, and realize that if you lose your patience, the teaching ends, and now you’re just venting, which isn’t really helpful to the listener, in-fact, it’s probably turned into a harmful tirade. I hope that man who was lecturing will learn how to see things from the other side, and to take time when he teaches someone. It takes to people to learn: One a teacher, and one the learner. If one is absent, there is no exchange of information. Also, the teacher is learning from the learner. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from my students, and how they’ve taught me in their diverse ways. I find it quite amazing how different people can look at the same thing and see it with a totally different perspective.

Be proud if you’re teacher (and most of us are) because it takes a lot of energy and can be very challenging at times, but we try our best and exercise love for students who take us past our boiling part at times. Remember those irritating students, the ones we learn to love only after they’ve left our classes, but they will forever be in our thoughts, because they’ve taught us valuables lessons that we could not see until we took a step back, away from the annoying, torturous, insipid banter they vomited our way (oops… too much?? 🙂 haha! )

Have a wonderful evening everyone, and please exercise a little more patience with the people that are stressing you out, because in their own strange way; they are trying to teach you patience 🙂

Happy Lunar (Chinese) New Year!

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Everyone,

Happy New Year! This year’s mascot is the Sheep / Goat. There’s a whole philosophy behind each animal, just like Zodiac in Astrology, the Chinese culture has their 12 mascots, which occur every 12 years. Since this is my year, I am at an age that is a multiple of 12… hehe, I’m not going to reveal what it is, but I’m guessing you already know.

What does this mean? Well, they say that because it’s my year, something BIG! will happen, it could swing either REALLY, REALLY good or REALLY, REALLY bad! Haha…  I think it’s just made up to keep things entertaining, like fortune cookies. But, some people do prescribe to this belief, and I say, the year will turn out to be exactly how you want it. So make this your year, regardless of what the horoscope says, and you can easily interpret them favorably. It doesn’t matter even if you get the “You will Die!” fortune. Oh, you never had one of those? Well, as a prank when I was younger, I would switch out the fortunes as we ate Chinese food, and what a surprise when someone got that one 🙂 haha!! Ah, nostalgia, oops, showing my age (again).

This year so far has been filled with lots of adventure so far for me, and it hasn’t even been two months yet. I gained a niece, a fiancee, and the best burger deal ever!!!

PYT Groupon Deal
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Haha! Also, I’m running in the Broad Street again. I have a mini-triathlon scheduled this year, and may even be training for the Disney World Dopey Challenge. WOooo!! I can’t wait for the training to actually begin, since it’s so cold outside here in Philly. (-9 degrees Fahrenheit)

Don’t let this year past you by; you can reset your goals that you had back in January and start-over again…haha!! Thank you everyone for reading. Please spread the word about my blog and keep checking back. I’m really going to get this blog more attention. I even got my first gig up on Fiverr.com , check it out!

Thanks! Have a wonderful new year!
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