Friday, October 31, 2014

"Ten Places To Visit Before You Die"

There is a list, "Ten Places to Visit Before You die."

Then, there is the list, "Hundred Places To See Before You Die."

Now I ask you: How many of us can afford the time, money, and energy to do this? Ten places, many be.

To me, just drive by the main thoroughfare of a city on a tour bus is not how to "visit" a place. 
Touring Ten Countries in Eight Days? 
No, thank you.

I lived in London for a year, and never really got to know most parts of that big city.
I lived in Hong Kong for eight years.
I grew up in Shanghai.

Now, I do have the time and money to do some of these suggested visits, I find them exhausting. 
Ah, advanced age. Life is not perfect.

Now, let's see. Suppose I have four or five years left for me to travel to some places, what would be my choices?

I have been to many of the places already - in some of them, I had spent many days, perhaps weeks or months. So . . .

I think I would like to spend few months in a farm house in Tuscany, Italy, or in Provence, France.
I could roam the market place, mingle with the locals. Be a traveler, but not a tourist. Be anonymous in a local restaurant - 
But, then I would miss my home. 

I could take a trip back to Hong Kong to visit family and friends. 
I could take a trip or two to some cities in the U.S. 

But, I don't think that I enjoy being a vagabond any more.
I would simply stay home - and try to discover the beauty around me, the beauty that I have been overlooking for many years. 
There are hundred of things that I have not noticed, many places that I have not been, right outside my doorstops.

So let me visit "them" before I die!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Following My Passion

I was approaching the conventional retirement age. But I did not wish to simply quit working. I thought I would slow down a little and do something which I always wanted to do - Painting. 
I had a little training in Chinese painting, but there was no one in Ada who could teach me more and perhaps take me to a higher level. 
I do like oil and watercolor paintings, but I really did not know much about either.
I needed to find a teacher. 

That turned out to be a difficult task.

I took some evening courses offered by the University Public Service Program. I tried to have some private lessons from a lady who lived some forty miles away from Ada. I finally settled on a lady who held regular classes in her studio closer by.
So for one afternoon a week, I would go to Carolyn's studio and try to paint. I purchased the necessary supplies and was eager to learn.

I told my associates that that afternoon would be my time. "Don't call me unless it is life or death."

Carolyn is a sweet lady, self taught, and quite talented. However, her style is not what I wished to follow. Also she did not teach theory but would merely show us what to do on our painting surfaces.

I needed directions, I needed theories, I needed to understand them . . .

My friend Mildred invited me to paint with her. Mildred introduced me to Bob Ross Workshops and she taught me how to enter art shows.
Bob Ross method got me started, but that kind of painting was not enough for me.

I did that for a while.
I felt that there was something missing.

Then, I went to Ardmore, a town some sixty or so miles southwest of Ada, and took a three-day Oil Painting Workshop. It opened my eyes.
Real working Artists teaching real art Classes - real art instructions! 
Still it took me another year or two before I figured out a way to attend Ann Templeton's workshops in New Mexico and old Mexico. For about eight or so years, I would go to her workshops once or twice a year. 
I had to unlearn my bad habits and my crafty techniques, and learn how to paint like a Painter.
Ann put me on the right path.
It was a slow process. Once a year with your teacher was not enough.
However, by then, I was hooked. I made time to pursue my passion for painting.
Meeting Ann was a beginning.

Since then, I have learned to research Artists on internet. I have learned by studying art books (of course, putting what you learn by books into practice is a different matter). I took classes in drawing and other art courses at the university. 
I try to find artists whose works I admire and learn from them. 
An on-going process.

After I finally retired from working when I turned seventy-five, I paint, I paint, and I paint.

I am still learning.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Painting Workshops

I did quite a lot of traveling after 1989. Almost every other year or so, I would take off and go to Hong Kong or London, England. 
I visited family and friends, and had my Fix of being in the Big Cities for a few days.
I would take in the sights. Shopping in Hong Kong. Going to the theater and museums in London. Yes, I was away from the ever demanding business of running a Real Estate Agency. 
I took time off. 
I was, however, still seeking out new sights, new sounds, new places, and perhaps new friends.

And my husband and I took some cruises in the mid nineties. We did the Panama Canal Cruise, the Alaska Inland Passage Cruise, and the Western Caribbean Cruise; during the last one, the ship hit a sand bar and we had to abandon ship, so to speak. That was that for cruising for us.

Did I enjoy them?. Yes, I did. It was great to be pampered for a week or two, with not a worry in the world. 
Good food. Great service. No housework. No phone calls . . .
Did I think it being the ultimate way of traveling? No.
There was something missing. 
I did not particularly like the many days on the water. I don't think it was that great to read a book on the deck. I could do that at home without paying $200 a day.
Did I enjoy seeing the sights? Definitely. But the stays were too short for my liking.
You might say that I was hard to please. 
Am I hard to please? Not really.

When I started to learn how to paint, in early 2000s I found what I had been looking for - Painting Workshops at home and abroad! Two glorious weeks in beautiful settings doing nothing but paint and sampling the local fare - nourishing my soul so to speak.  
I did not aim to produce master pieces, but I was totally happy.

Is this for everyone? No. Unless you are as crazy as we painters are, always struggling to capture the scene, or the essence of the scenes,- in blazing sun, whipping wind, sudden showers, and, sometimes, snow or blizzard. But you do come home with renewed energy and great memories. 
May be you made a new friend or two. 
And per chance, you did a couple of decent pictures.
And you would always have learned something.

That was reward enough for me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Another Pair Of Eyes

This month I have been busy entering Art Shows.

There is a lot of work going into this - getting the finished works ready to hang and so on. Not to mention the many trips I have to take to and from to where the show is.
It is not that I needed people's approval, although it is always a thrill to win, ribbons and prize money.

Why do we put our works out there to be judged, to be criticized, and to be rejected, sometimes? 

Painting is a lonely business. You do your work by yourself. Sometimes, it is difficult for ourselves to know whether we are doing well or not. 

In the beginning we tend to love everything we do. A masterpiece every time? We treasured what we produced and loved them to death - they are our babies! We are crushed when some one criticized our babies. 
We are blind to our faults.

However, at some point you need another pair of eyes.
You need some honest feedback. Why?
Because we don't always see our faults.
You may say that there is no right or wrong in making art - express yourself. Right. Still what has been proven throughout the years has some merit.

You are lucky if you have a friend with a good eye and a friend who is honest with you. You may not agree with him. Buy I tell you, you need to value his advice and then make up your own mind.

My friend Mildred was the one who guided me many years ago. She told me to enter shows. 
I said, "I don't have anything to enter. "
She said, "Yes, you do." She then told me to enter some of the works I did.

Lo and behold, I won!

That was the beginning of me getting into painting.
Mildred, thank you.
So I am doing this with some young friends of mine. I am their Mildred now. 
One of them is a student of mine who has only been painting in oil for a year. She is doing so well and she is beating me. I am proud of her. Of course, I am not her only teacher. But still . . .

When she wanted me to take her on last year, I was reluctant. I did not wish to waste my precious time on giving lessons to someone who merely wanted to paint to pass her time or to "visit."
Not so with Sunkyung, she is passionate about painting. It overwhelmed me. On top of that, she has talent.

Teaching has taught me more than I ever learned in classes. I am glad she made me her teacher.

I am her other pair of eyes, and someday, she will be mine.
Thank you, Sunkyung.

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Mother

My mother's life is a story itself.

Mother was born during Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty, when the Dowager Empress Xici was in power - seven years before China became a Republic. China became a Republic in 1911.
she was orphaned when she was six or seven. She and her widowed mother lived with the extended family. 
I do not know how my grandfather, her father, died. What of? What did he do? I have no picture of him.
She escaped from bound feet because of her forward-thinking uncle, Number Three. Number Three was like a father to her.
I was told that she had wanted to be a teacher, but my grandmother would not let her leave home. She had a high school education. She was not particularly well read but well spoken, she was good with math, and excelled in sewing and knitting. She was a good manager of a large household.

She and my father married for Love, which was quite unusually in those days. You would say that she married well - she married the First born of a wealthy family. 

All through her life, there were riots, revolutions, and wars (wars between war-lords, wars between the revolutionaries and the dynasty, wars between communism and the republic). She went through Japanese occupation, World War II . . .
Throughout her life, she had many, many ups and downs. But she never talked about it.

Mother was in her early eighties when I went to see her in Hong Kong in 1987.

She was frail but not totally disabled. She had had a minor stroke.
I found her in an old folks' home, in a very congested area of Hong Kong.
She lived in a room not much bigger than my walk-in closet in the U.S. All her worldly possessions were in that tiny room.
She had some sort of a hot pot which she used to cook chicken soup with ginseng, a supplement to her meals at the Home. Her eyesight was very poor, she was legally blind with macula-degeneration. She was wearing a beautifully knitted white vest which she made for herself not long before I went to see her.
She could knit even when she could not see.

There were some ten or twelve women in that home. The home was privately run. I did know if they had any trained nurses there or not. Most likely not.
Mother did not like to live in the dorm like area, so she had a room of her own. Though it was small, it was at least hers.

I was in Hong Kong for a very short time.
I went back to see her again at the beginning of l989, after she had a massive stroke. She was not able to move or talk then. 
Mother had lost her husband, seven of her thirteen children, and alienated most of her other children by then, namely two of my brothers and my sister. 
With the help of mother's cousin, I had the very unpleasant task of taking care some of her personal matters for her - preparing for her death in a manner. 
She could not talk, but I could see the anger and the sadness in her eyes. She was no longer in control of her life.
I returned to the U.S. after a short stay.

Mother passed away four months later.
                                 Fu      father   mother  me   2 ahmas

                                        mother            me

Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House"

While we are on the subject of building houses, I would like to tell you about a book called Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House by Eric Hodges.

Mr. Hodges had a never-used degree in engineering from M.I.T. Instead he worked with the Atlantic Monthly group of publications. He later became Fortune's publisher  and vice-president of Time, inc.

"Mr. Blandings is a story of everything that happened between the time Mr. and Mrs. Blandings decided to buy an old farmhouse and its acreage for $11,000 and the time they shelled out the last of the $56,263 their dream home eventually cost."

The initial cost of the land and the farmhouse was actually $11,550. The restoration of the house was estimated to be for around $11,000. 

The biological laboratory warned Mr. Blandings that the waters were unpotable.
"He had better drill a well."

All the bids were in. "The hideous figure was somewhat in excess of $45,000."
The cost-cutting job begins.
"You could cut the cost of a $31,000 house somewhat - at the sacrifice of everything you wanted most . . . "

Then, some day no one was on the job.
"Where is everybody today?"

 And so on . . .

You will find that you are reading about yourself.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is an universal experience. 

I had read this book before I built my house.

Believe me, it helped me keep my cool during our construction period.

It is a good read!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A New Home

By 1985, S.C. and I were "empty nesters." The old house was feeling a bit too big for us, plus the fact that it needed work done constantly.

The two older girls got married, and our youngest one had one more year at the University of Oklahoma.

I had acquired a couple of building lots across the street from our home by some unexpected turn of events. So we started thinking about building a smaller home there.

The following year, we sold our house, without even putting it on the market.
I convinced my husband that we should sell while we had a good buyer. 
So, we moved into a rent house temporarily.

It took us almost two years to design and had a house built to suit us.
We designed the home so that we have a self-contained down-stairs. The upstairs are reserved for the girls and their families when they come home for visits.
S.C. said that he needed three things for the house -
  - a garden to grow vegetables in
  - a room for his fishing and hunting gears
  - an urinal!
If he got what he wanted, then I could do whatever-else I wanted with the house. 

A Deal!

So I used whatever knowledge I had learned from being in the Real Estate business, and designed an home to suit us, with the special half-bath that has a urinal in it. He also got his Hobby room, with a sink to boot, for cleaning fish.  And, he had plenty of garden space for his vegetables.

As expected, we encountered numerous problems and had a lot of frustrations. When building a house, there are hundreds of decisions to made and problems to solve almost everyday. But neither of us lost our cool over any problems. 
We made many trips to Oklahoma City to purchase lighting fixtures and other things to hold down the cost.
I am usually good about making decisions quickly and stick with my choices. So did S.C. 
Besides I think that I had the idea that I would like to have a house built someday. I was always drawing floor plans, like a want-to-be architect. So I already knew pretty much what I wanted. 
Pleasant and comfortable! Lots of windows! Lots of storage spaces! Lots of wall space for artworks!

Believe me, the satisfaction of having a home built to suit your needs far outweighs any problems. 

We did not get a divorce over building our home.
We moved into this house in 1989.

I am still in the house, and I still love it.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"China Journey"

Today, I was working as a volunteer at our Public Library's  annual Book Sale.

We had a great number of books for sale at a most reasonable price - paper backs for fifty cents a piece, hardback and a dollar each. There were CDs, tapes, and so on. If your local library has similar functions, you should go there. It is a great way to buy some books.

I came across Malcolm Purvis's "China Journey, a Winter Impression."

Macolm is an architect with a love of fine arts. He worked in Hong Kong for a number of years. While in Hong Kong, He and his wife, (who is also an architect) took a trip to China, they visited many of the places I mentioned, Beijing, Chengde, and Shanghai; and other parts.

"From the splendours of the Forbidden City and the collapsing houses lining the Grand Canal to the dusty wooden temples of Chengde, the author's sketches and narrative give a tantalizing glimpse of the experiences open to those who undertake the China Journey."

Malcolm's sketches are outstanding.

It is also a good Read.

You can be an arm chair traveler.

Home Sweet Home

Our return trip to the U.S. was much shorter. We did have less stopovers.

Most of us were pretty tired. Even Pat. He stopped talking as much. We all got some rest on the flight home.

You know I love traveling. But I am always happy to come home.

People sometimes say that they travel to get away. I travel mostly to see new places and meet new people. It is always interesting to me to learn about different people and different places. 
Life is interesting.

However, there is no other place in the world I would rather live in than this good old U.S. and A. 
Believe me, this is the best place to be.

I know lot of people who are dis-satisfied about this and that and the other.

People complain about the government.
People complain about health care. 

People complain about the pot holes in the streets. 

People complain about minimum wages . . .

Of course, there are always things that are not to our liking. No one is perfect. No place is perfect. No government is perfect. Perfection is a perception, not a fact.

But -
Try to live in a place with no clean water.
Try to live in a place with no electricity.
Try to live in a place with no security.
Try to live in a place with no freedom.
Try to live in a place with no opportunities. 
No hope?

You will stop complaining.

I always have at least one room, or one corner of the room, that you can call your sanctuary. 
My home is my sanctuary.

Surround yourself with things you love and people you love. You would want to come Home to it always.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

From Summer Palace To Shanghai

We were taken to the Summer Palace, some eight miles or so northwest of Beijing, originally built by Emperor Qiang Long. It was reputed to have 3000 buildings for the Emperor, his wives, his eunuchs, his servants, his many soldiers, and so on. 
It was the playground for the royalties.

Much of the place was destroyed in 1912, and was rebuilt in l924. 

But the marble boat and the lake survived the revolution.
The marble boat was turned into a gift shop.

History told me that The Empress spent the money on the Marble Boat and other luxuries at the Summer Palace instead of building the Chinese Navy, and that was the reason we lost the Opium War to the British. 
Was that the truth? Would the Chinese have won the War with a better Navy?
I wonder.

We had the renowned Peking Duck at its original restaurant near the Forbidden City. It was every bit as good as it was reputed, if not better. 
They had the best plum wine in the world!

Then off to Shanghai!

I had not been back to Shanghai since I left there in 1949. I did not know what to expect.
Of course, it had changed greatly.
But it was still crowded. A populous city always!
The harbor was still busy as ever.
New buildings sprout up in the ares across the  harbor where there were fields when I lived in Shanghai. And they were building the future tallest building in the East.

Many street names were changed.
I did not recognize most of them.
The famous horse-racing grounds were turned into a park.
The home where I grew up was not there anymore. Along with many of the houses, they had been razed to make way for a Flyover (a highway of sorts). 

The Bund (the water front) was still there. 
There was some attempt to restore some of the colonial buildings along the Bund. Some European companies had started to move back into the old financial part of Shanghai. The buildings were there, but they badly needed renovations.

It wasn't until 2001 when I revisited Shanghai that I saw a great deal of improvements. 
Of course, Shanghai has really developed and it is booming these days.

in 1986, most of the private buildings and homes were in disrepair. The nation was still struggling. 

There was serious air pollution. 

Of course, we were taken to the best places. 

We visited a Children's Academy, housed in a former mansion that needed paint and repairs. A selected group of children were being groomed, artistically and so on. But for the majority, the standard of education was noticeably underdeveloped.
In the evening, we were taken to a Chinese Acrobatic Show, which was entertaining. But it was nothing like the old Peking operas - like the difference between Crafts and Fine Arts.

Soon we had to leave, heading back to the U.S.

Like the Blind man and the elephant, we merely touched a very small part of this vast country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Slow Train In China

Much of our activities were restricted. We were not allowed to 'wander' in Beijing. We went where ever our guide took us.

The Chinese money we used was different from the local money. We shopped at the Peoples Department Store where only visitors were allowed. In the restaurants, we were seated in the Visitors area where there were no locals. It was 1986.

There was a young woman from New York in our group. She and Pat did not heed the advice about not wandering around the city by themselves. They would go out early in the mornings, and shot a lot of pictures of people going about their daily lives. Pat even visited with some of the locals. I am sure they had taken some very interesting photos.

We were scheduled for an overnight visit to Chengde, where the site of the Mountain Resort was. 
That morning, we were having breakfast, I overheard our French guide having an argument with the local guide. They were speaking Mandarin, which I knew. There was something about the train. I had a feeling that we might run into some unexpected delay. So I asked the waitress to get some sandwiches and some fruits for me to take on the train ride. She got me four or five little sandwiches and some shriveled up oranges. I took the sack.

We each took a small bag with us, leaving our large luggage in the hotel since we were only going to be gone overnight.

It was during Chinese New Year time. The street was crowded with people, so was the train station. I believe, many people were going home - the rare time that they were allowed to visit their families.

We got on the train. We found some seats.

I noticed that it did not look like a first class car. There were merely rows of hard seats. There were lots of people trying to get on the train. So, we took what seats we could find. Soon the train pulled out of the station.

Our journey was to cover no more than a hundred-fifty miles, I believe.

We soon found out that our train was not an Express Train.

We stopped every twenty or thirty minutes or so. Every time the train stopped, more people came on board. People with boxes, presents they were bringing to their families?
People came on board with live chicken.
People came on board with crying children.
People with large bundles of 'heaven knows what.'
Soon we realized that we should not get out of our seats for whatever reason - because it you did, you would not get your seats back.
Pretty soon the train was so crowded it felt like some of the people were sitting in our laps.

Some of us decided that there were good photo taking opportunities. Some of us had Polaroid Instant cameras! Soon we were swamped by the crowd. Everyone wanted to have his or her photo taken. They also wanted to keep the pictures.
They were fascinated with the instant cameras.
We were mobbed by the children particularly.

My husband shouted, "Don't leave your seats."

It took a good seven hours for the hundred some mile journey. A Slow Train In China!

We had no water. 
I shared my pitiful looking sandwiches with my husband and our four friends. the others in our group shot us with looks of envy - they wanted to know how we manged to have something to eat?
I shared my shriveled oranges with some of them. But there was not enough for everyone.

And, no restroom breaks.

When we got to Chengde, it was getting dark.

Our French guide emerged. He had been in hiding throughout the train ride.

Several cars took us to the hotel, a big four story tall Art Deco building that looked like it came out of by-gone days.

The whole hotel staff were lined up at the front door, receiving us, as if we were royalties. It took some of the Sting out of the Slow Train Ride.

We were ushered into the huge dining room and ballroom combination, where they fed us with a lot of fresh vegetables - treasured dishes in the wintertime in this part of the world.

The hotel looked like it was built in the thirties. But we found out it was only seven or eight years old, built by the Russians. Beautiful examples of Art Deco details but so run down.
The plumbing was not in good condition. The walls were dingy and there were big cracks in many places. 
But the Staff was wonderful.
They had prepared for us to dance after the dinner. None of us did. We were worn out by the Slow Train ride!

The next morning, we met our guide for the historic Chengde. It turned out that he was a scholar and knew a great deal about the history of the place. He was tall and lanky, extremely well-mannered, and soft-spoken.

I forgot about the Slow train and the dingy hotel.

Chengde is near the border of Inner Mongolia and Liaoning Provence (Manchuria), where I was born. 
It was exciting for me.

I tried to remember the haunting scenes I saw from the train. I remember seeing the cabbages being dried on the flat roof tops.
They never tell you about these things in the history or geography books. 
I remember the little mud houses, the few corrals with some animals in them, the vast distances between homes, the flat lonesome looking prairie . . . They looked surreal.

Chengde was mainly a mining town. But the Mountain Resort was the summer palace and hunting grounds for the royalties.
Building of Mountain Resort started in 1702 and was finished in 1790. The Resort covers an area of 5,649,000 square meters. Wow! 
It was the largest royal garden in China. The wall of the Resort was over ten thousand meters in length. 
It had lake areas, plains areas, and hills areas.  There were 8 lakes at the resort. And there were hundreds of palaces and temples.
Empress Dowager Xici held horse races and the emperors hunted in this Resort. The royalties came here to escape the summer heat in Beijing.

This was a multi-ethnic culture area - Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Tibetan, and others.
There was integration of the different beliefs - Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and others. 
The buildings were of a combination Han and Tibetan styles of architecture. 
The buildings were integrated into the natural environment, beautifully done. 
Much of it was in disrepair, yet the beauty was still there. I loved it.
I loved the mountains.

We were taken to Putuo Zongchong Temple, which resembled the Potala Palace in Tibet. There were a number of buildings around the temple. All of them were most intriguing.
I said to myself that I would like to go to Tibet.
Till this day, I still would like to go to Tibet.

Our train back to Beijing was an Express one. We had little white lace edged table clothes, hot tea, and different snacks. The ride did not take more than a couple of hours.

Back at the Hotel, Pat and Mayra, our New Yorker, found that all their films were gone.

They did not make a fuss over it though.

                           S.C. and I  in front of the Temple

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Earth Dragon and The Ming Tombs

It is said that one of the wonders that is visible from space is the Great Walls of China. Even Ripley's Believe It Or Not said so. 

Neil Armstrong proved it wrong. No man made structure is visible to the naked eye from space.

The poetic name of the Great Walls is the Earth Dragon.

These walls, made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, were first built around 3rd Century B.C. by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Hungdi (the one buried in Xian with all those terracotta soldiers).
A series of fortifications, with towers walkways, built along east to west line across the historical northern borders of China, in part to protect the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups, in part for border control.
It was said hundreds of thousands of people died building the walls. Much of it, now-a-days have eroded, or fallen to disrepair.

The Great Wall was not discovered by the Europeans as a tourist spot until the 17th century.

The part that is open to the public is the part near Beijing, built by Ming Dynasty Emperors (1368-1644) and restored by the Peoples Republic of China.
Visible from space or not, it is one of the many wonders on earth. And I had the chance to walk on part of that 5500 miles wonder, at Badaling, not too far from Beijing. 
The atmosphere was haunting. You could almost see the poor souls who helped build these walls. Much of the vista was desolate, mountainous, yet beautiful. 
Some parts of the wall were so steep, it was difficult for me to climb up or down. 
And you could see for miles from the towers. 
You could certainly spot the invaders approaching if you were on the watch.

A wonder it was!

Some thirty-one miles northwest of Beijing, there is a collection of imperial mausoleums built by the Ming Dynasty Emperors.

Built at the foot of Yanshan Mountain, there were memorial archways and gates. We saw stone ramps carved with dragons sporting in clouds in bas relief. There were marvelous, huge stone animals standing guard on both sides of the walkways leading to the underground palace. We descended into the underground tombs. A bit eerie. 
Much of the real treasures buried there had been removed. It was interesting nevertheless. 

We had lunch in a nearby restaurant. Lunch was good.

There were a couple of English ladies in the group.
My friend Bee and I and the English ladies decided we would abstain from going to the restroom until we return to the hotel.

I will tell you the reason why, in case you have not been to the parts of China outside the big cities. It is the way they were built! We had no problem in the hotels. Although you did have to make sure that the compartment you enter was providing modern styled commode. Because there were some that were not.
But outside the hotels and good restaurants, watch out!
The restrooms! What should I say? They were not made for us ladies. 
A hole in the ground!
And Bring Your Own toilet paper!
We did not think that we could survive if we had to visit the countryside everyday.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Ancient City

We met up with our group, some twenty plus of us from the U.S. and Europe. 

We arrived in this fabulous ancient historical city.

Beijing (Peking), one of the most populous cities in the world, one of the most intriguing one. 

Capital of China.

I had seen pictures of the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, and the many other famous sites . . . 
I had studied Chinese history and knew about the Dynasties . . .
But nothing had prepared me for this phenomenal sight.

Although the sky was very gray, the air was badly polluted, and the so-called modern but drab apartments mushrooming all over the city, over-shadowing the ancient hutongs and lanes; still the beauty of the ancient architecture shone through.

There were thousands of bicycles. There were crowds of people on the road.  

In 1986, there were not as many tourists as it is today.
And, we were there during off-season.

Our first stop was the Forbidden City, now A museum.
This was the Chinese Imperial Palace for the Ming Dynasty and the Qing (Ch'in) Dynasty. A massive Palace complex!
9,999 rooms!
Home for 14 Ming Emperors, and 10 Qing Emperors (one Empress, Xici),
The many Halls - Hall of Supreme Harmony, Hall of Earthly Tranquility . . .
Can you imagine the eunuchs, serving the Emperors? Can you imagine the many concubines who saunter through the many halls. The Manchu women did not have bound feet. They also wore platform shoes.

Those wonderful carvings! And the vivid colors!
Everywhere you turn, you would see some treasure. 
We saw the Emperor's collection of Clocks, from the enormous one powered by water to the bejeweled one for the mantel.
I saw the biggest chunk of carved jade in my life. It must be five feet tall and almost as wide.
Can you see the thousands of soldiers in the huge courtyard, kowtowing to the Emperor?
The miles of marble walkways and balustrades!

Did you see the movie The Last Emperor? It was filmed in part of the palace.

At the time we were there, we could go into the throne room and even touch the throne and feel the tapestry.
When I went back to Beijing in 2001, they had roped off many of the areas. The tourists could only view the many treasures at a distance.

Then, we visited the Temple of Heaven, where the Emperor went to pray for good harvest and worship God. 

This gigantic place of worship sits on top of a hill. When you are approaching it, you have no idea how massive the building actually is.

That Lapis Blue tiled roof took my breath away.
They say that there were no nails used for this round building. I saw intricate carvings on the gigantic columns and the huge carved golden dragon with five toed feet on the ceiling. The Temple made me feel insignificant. You have the feeling that there is a power larger than you are in this world. 
How did the architect do this?
The temple of Heaven was built in the 15th century.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Redeye Flights

Pat and his wife had never traveled overseas. They were really excited about the trip.
Pat especially. 

So the six of us - Pat and his wife, my friend Bee and her friend, and my husband and I - flew out of Oklahoma City. Our first stop, New York, a short layover.

We had a few hours in New York. Pat insisted that we should go to the top of the Empire State Building to view the Big Apple. 
Now, how much more obvious could you be, hailing a taxi from the airport and ask to be taken to the Empire State Building? 
We were out-of-towners!
We had the word TOURISTS written on our foreheads!  
Like the saying, "They see you coming."  We were definitely taken for a ride. It took more than the usual amount of time for the taxi to get us to our destination. But what could we do?
The return trip to the airport was noticeably shorter.
Pat did not notice the difference.

The view from the Top was impressive though. New York is always exciting. Pity, we did not have enough time there.

We had a long flight going to London. I was planning to sleep. Like a child, Pat was so excited that he would not quit talking. I had to threaten him that I would get even if he would not let all of us sleep. 

But it was his first trans-Atlantic flight!

We got to London the next day. 
We checked into our beautifully-appointed hotel. Turned out the hotel was just a few blocks away from when I lived when I was in London thirty years before. It reminded me much of my students days.

Those four-story tall town houses used to be private homes at one time. When I was in London in the fifties, a number of those homes were converted into apartments. I had rented one of them. Now, someone had taken several of those homes, designed some connecting passways, put a charming British touch of decorations on them, and turned them into beautiful and cozy hotels. The location was great. The service was wonderful.

London had changed quite a bit since I was there last. But the major attractions were still there. We did some sight seeing. And managed to get some tickets to see the musical Les Miserables! London theatre was the best.

Leaving London, we had a short layover in Zurich, Switzerland; then, we headed towards middle east. We made a stop in a small city in the United Arab Emirates (I don't recall its name) - a heavily guarded airport, with armed soldiers. We were confined to a small limited area while waiting for the plane to continue its journey. They had some nice shops though. 
All the passengers were body searched before boarding.

I did not know that was included in our itinerary!

Now, the reason why we had to make so many stops was because I booked the Cheap Fare for us, therefore, we were doing a lot or red-eye flights. 
Me and my bargain hunting!

It was a good thing that none of my fellow travelers complained, neither did my husband. I was relieved!

We made it to Beijing, China.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Plan For A Trip Abroad

People often say to me, "I would love to go to China with you."

How disappointed they would be if they only knew how little travel I had done when I was in China. True, I was born and raised in China and did not leave China until I turned twenty. 
The truth was, in my days, we did not travel for pleasure like people do in this part of the world.
My father would take an occasional trip, usually it was for business. He did it by himself.

I remember vaguely, about a short trip to Sochow where my maternal grandmother came from. I was very young. I don't remember how the city was at all. I only knew there was a canal. The place where we stayed was not up to our Shanghai standard.

I traveled to Hangchow where the famous West Lake is for a few days, where my older brother was at the University there. I had to really convince my parents that it would be a great educational tour for me. I think I was still in my teens then. 
I did visit Dragon Well where the most famous tea was harvested; the beautiful well-known man-made lake - the West Lake; and the majestic high mountain. My brother and I actually climbed to the top of the mountain. It took us half a day to get up to the top and half a day to get down. I was surprised at myself for being able to reach the top.
We had lunch at the monastery. 
I stayed with some family friends - because it would be unthinkable for a single girl to stay in a hotel. I really think my father wanted someone besides my brother to keep an eye on me. 
We did not venture to most parts of the city. It was not advised.

As far as Shanghai goes, remember we had so many wars, civil and others. Besides, Shanghai was under Japanese occupation for several years when I was young. We children did not go about the city by ourselves. Usually, we would make some trips to my relatives' homes. We made very few outings, not even many dinners out. We had a cook at home.

My knowledge of Shanghai was less than what you would read in a travel book. 
I learned a lot more about the city after I came to the States.

After working hard for a number of years and after China was open for Americans tourists, my husband and I, and some friends decided to make the trip.

You know what a bargain hunter I am. Right?

One day, I saw a small 3-inch ad in a magazine, 12-days in England and China for less than a thousand dollars each, including hotel and some meals! Of course we had to pay extra to fly there, still . . .
What a bargain!

So in 1986, six of us from Ada, made plans to take the 12-day trip.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


I want to share with you some of the things that I have learned from Life -

Life is a struggle and complicated, but you don't have to be distressed and confused.

Find true peace of mind through contemplation not meditation.
  - Contemplation is thoughtful observation.
  - Meditation is the act of meditating, a devotional exercise of contemplation.

Be open-minded.

Change in ways big and small is a way of life.

Life is constantly changing.

The only constant is change.

Try to change with it, but proceed at your own pace.

Do what you love, and love what you do.

The only way to have a true, lasting solution to a personal problem is to work at it, resolve it, learn from it, and apply what you learned to the future.

Voltaire said' "Work keeps us from three evils, boredom, vice, and poverty."

All living things acquire marks and scars over the course of time.

Trust in what you love, continue to do what you love, and it will take you where you need to go.

We awaken ourselves to the life we are living.

Anything we fully do is a lone journey.

I am alone but not lonely. 

I am getting to know myself through my own stories and the voice that told them.

May you always have Peace of Mind.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Love Your Work? Hate Your Work?

I moved into my renovated office in the winter of 1980/81, I believe. And what a difference the new office was, compared to the little windowless one that my associates and I had been in!

My artistic friend who helped me design the office did a wonderful job! It was a most pleasant place to work in - airy, cheery, and modern. Windows! New furniture! A pretty restroom to boot! And Air! (Central Heat and Air, at last.)
My associates and I were really proud of our new Home.

Nothing excited me like being in the Business of Real Estate. I always considered it as a Problem-solving business. I loved the challenge. When the job was well done, and knowing my clients were happy with their new home, it gave me a High.

For many years, I concentrated on working. 
I had no time for anything else. And I loved being in the business world, believe it or not. To me, it was exciting. I was still my own secretary, bookkeeper, and janitor. I watched over my expenses carefully.
Some weeks, I would be on the job for 60 or 70 hours each week. When you have a business, you are really On, 24/7.
I took no vacations. The only time that I was away from the office was when I took advanced courses in Real Estate. I became A Residential Specialist and a Certified Brokerage Specialist. 

While my career was taking off, my marriage suffered. Partly because I really concentrated on my work - neglecting everything else including my family. Partly because I was "running away' from facing the facts -  My husband's declining health; his depression; his cynical attitude toward life, me, and the world. 

Instead of facing my personal problems, I turned a blind eye toward them - hoping the problems would go away. And, of course, they did not.

S.C. spent a number of years fighting the government, he filed a suit for discrimination, injury to his health, and so on. For several years, he was consumed with his Fight and with his ill health. He did win eventually. 
I was glad for him, for his sake.
But till this day, I don't have a clear idea of what really happened? Did he hate his job that much?

He recovered his lost wages and retired on Disability. 
The day his back-pay came in, he proudly gave me a lump sum of money, he said that was paying me back for the years that I supported him. I did not expect the money. I had already told him that he had supported me for many years, it was totally all right for me to do that for him. He did not agree. 
From then on, he always paid the bills at home. I would buy the extras.
That was the Chinese or the macho in him.

I think It probably would have killed him if he had lost the suit.

Anyway, he took a long trip to HK and to China by himself (I would not take off for a long period from my work, nor would I spend the money at that time). 
He said that he wanted to make his last trip home. 
He was singing that song of "I will be dead soon."

Some friends asked him how long would he be gone. He told them that he did not know. After he was gone for about three weeks, one of the lab wives took me to lunch - she thought that S.C. had left me. She tactfully asked when S.C. was going to be home. I told her that I just received a letter from him and he was coming back the very next week - he had to take this trip to get it out of his system. 
"No, he was not going to be gone forever."
And, of course that was not his last trip back to HK or to China. We made a couple trips to HK and China in later years.

The girls all went to higher education and got their degrees in their respective fields. We had, at one time, all three of them at one university or another. We somehow managed.

In the meantime, I started buying rental properties, hoping that they would provide me with an income in my retirement. Well, it became true to a certain point. I accumulated a little Nest Egg when I sold them. 
S.C. did not want to have anything to do with my rentals. He said that since I was the one wanting to have the rentals, they were mine to take care of. 
Take care of them I did, with the help of my handyman, my plumber, my electrician, and some other expects in their fields.  
Managing rentals was part of my business those days. I managed properties for Banks and out-of-town owners. Sometimes, I acted as a Receiver for some Institutions (that is when a property was going into fore-closure). Commercial properties were much easier to take care of than residential properties. 
It gave me a steady income.

I eventually sold off all of my rentals except one which I turned into a studio, when I sold my business.

I did not retire from work until I was seventy-five.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We Are All The Same, We Are All Different

The other day, someone asked me how do I find some thing to write about everyday.

I thought about it for a while. 

I said that since I am writing about my life, and since I have lived a long time, I have much that I wanted to tell. Actually I have so much that I want to say, I often have trouble deciding what should I say first.

Every one has a story to tell, believe me.

We are all the same, yet we are all different.

We humans all have two eyes, two ears, one nose, one mouth, two arms, two legs . . . Yet our eyes are different, our ears are different . . . Right?

We are all the same!
We are all different!

We probably have a lot of the same experiences in our lives, yet we react to the events differently. 

Or, we simply wish to forget about some of the experiences. We want the world to know that we are perfect. But the reality is not so. Don't you agree?

Of course, my dysfunctional family is a story in its self. But then, I believe most of us have some family secrets.The only difference is that some of us don't want to admit it.
I was not the most observant person. But I do have some sort of sixth sense. I may be perceived as self-centered by others. The truth is, I do try to be open-minded, have empathy, have some understanding of human behavior, and be flexible. 
Take the fact that I made the choice to live in the U.S., I have to adapt to a different way of living and so on. That does not mean I do not remember where I came from.

But not so with my husband.

My children confided to their friend's father, who had been very much like a close relative to them, "Pop doesn't want us to date Caucasian boys, but we live in Ada, and there are no Chinese boys around."  

Truth from babe's mouth!

My husband disliked the British when he was in HK - yet he was born British.
MY husband chose to immigrate to the U.S., yet he held on to some unreasonably old-fashioned ways of thinking as a person of Chinese origin. 
He, at times, "protested" too much.
He defended the supremacy of Chinese cooking . . . He did not think that a meal was well-prepared unless your slaved in the kitchen for hours on end.
He lived to eat and I eat to live.

Sometimes, I wonder if he defended himself on being Chinese a bit unnecessarily? Life becomes miserable if you are on the defensive all the time.

I try to stay true to myself. If you don't like it, too bad. Your loss, not mine.
I don't see the need to defend myself.
We are all different, that does not mean you are better than I or I am better than you. 
The world would be a boring place if we are totally the same, with the same looks, the same voices, the same thoughts, the same mannerisms . . .
We would be robots! 

Give me my individuality!

Give me my idiosyncrasies!

Let me be me!


Monday, October 13, 2014

My Brother Michael

A few months before S.C.'s heart attack, I received a phone call from a stranger in Chicago.
"Are you Michael Chang's sister?" he asked.
"Yes." I said.
"My name is Goldberg. I am sorry to tell you that your brother Michael passed away," he said.

I could not believe it. What happened? How did he die?
Michael was my baby brother, ten years younger than I. 
Goldberg did not give me any details of his death. He asked me to go to Chicago, because I, being Michael's only kin in the U.S. had to identify him. 
Michaael was not under any doctor's care at the time of his death; officially, he died of unknown causes, the authorities had to do an autopsy . . .

S.C. and I went to Chicago immediately.
I was glad that they showed me a picture of Michael on the screen for identification . . . We did whatever we had to do and made funeral arrangements.

I believe Michael had AIDs, though it was not known at that time. 

Michael grew up during all the War years in Shanghai. I don't remember any significant events concerning him when he was young. My ill-tempered tyrant of a brother, Henry, dominated all of us. 
Michael was only about nine when he went to HK. He was a good-looking and smart boy. My parents were very proud of him. We all thought he would make something of himself when he grew up. But it was not to be.

For whatever reason - I believed when he was older, he and Henry had great conflicts and he would not take Henry's bullying and threats, they probably had physical fights - my parents sent him to England for schooling when I was in London. He was a teenager then. But it was not easy being a Chinese school-boy in an English school. He could not take the taunting and the hazing. So father sent him to school in Germany instead. I don't know how long he was in Europe.
When I went back to Hk for a visit in l966, he was back in Hk. I found him in utter depression, not working or going to school. He looked like a lost soul. But no one could help him.
My parents told me very little of what was really going on.
My visit to HK was short. 
I merely found out that Michael was in love with someone when he was in Germany. She got pregnant. Michael wanted to marry her and my father forbid it. 
You wonder why he did not simply break away from home and follow his heart. Well, you have to understand that all of us were Citizens of the World. My family did not belong to any countries at the time, except me, since I married a British Citizen. Michael would not be able to live or work in Germany. My father probably had threatened to disown him if he married his love.

Eventually, Michael went to work for my father. My father had always said that Michael was a great salesman, but he was not at all good as a manger.

Michael's downfall was women. He had three wives. He had four boys by the three different wives. 
The oldest boy went with the mother after she divorced Michael. The second boy was raised by my mother. The two young ones went to Chicago with Michael and our mother after Michael's much too complicated life in HK. Their mother did not want the boys.

After my father died, Michael ran the business in HK For a while, he did well. He lived high and recklessly. He made a great deal of money at one time and then he lost it all. My mother tried to bail him out and failed, and lost all of what my father had left her. 
He and mother and the three boys went to Chicago, a few years before his death. Apparently Michael had been ill for sometime, and eventually he was not able to work. A few months before his death, my mother had a fallout with him and left him with his boys and went back to HK - she then went to live with Henry for a while in Malaya.

Eric, the older boy, was a senior in high school in Chicago then. The two little ones were under school age. Apparently Eric had been taken care of the little ones and their father. The apartment told a sad story.

Goldberg said that he and Michael had been business associates and good friends for a number of years. He probably knew more about Michael and Michael's many wives and children, better than I did.
He said that he would help Eric go to college after he graduated from high school. He would take care of Eric. But he did not know what my mother would want to do with the two little ones. He said that some family he and Michael knew would love to have the boys and wanted to adopt them, if my mother would not object. I wondered if he and Michael had talked about this.
My mother did not object to the adoption. So the boys went to their new adopted family. I was not given their names. I hoped that the little ones grew up in a loving family.
Eric had never contacted me. I hope that he has a family and is happy.

Michael was not even forty years old when he died.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

LIfe Is Not A Bowl Of Cherries

"The sooner you start to number your days the better you'll live the days that you have."  

I am trying to do that now. I try to make everyday of the rest of my life count, at least for me personally. 
Every one's life is numbered. The difference is in the numbers.
My husband did not feel the same way.

Memory - "We do not remember the same things, not in the same way."
How true that is!

"Conquer worry and fear."  
It is certainly easier said than done.

If I had come across some these wise sayings in my younger days, would my life be any different from what they had been? 

One day, not too long after I started my Real Estate Business, I received a phone call from my husband's secretary.
"Now, don't be upset," she said. 
If someone says that to you, what he or she means is: whatever he or she is gong to tell you is something that you should or would be upset about.
She then told me that S. C. had a heart attack. 

S.C. had gone on a job in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. On the second day after work, he felt bad. He blamed it on the food he ate. The next morning, he could not get out of the bed. 
He was able to call for help and was taken to the hospital.
The doctor said that he had suffered a severe heart attack.
I told my girls the bad news; then I left them by themselves, and drove the two or three hundred miles up to the hospital. I made it up there, but I don't recall much about the trip. 
He did not look good.
He did recover from the heart attack. However, he never worked again.
I cannot remember exactly how everything happened - the long and short of it was, the section he was in had problems, the group had difficulties with their supervisor, and the section was in the process of being eliminated - which meant that he was again being RIFT. He was under a lot of stress.

Having a heart attack impacted him so severely the he was in a constant state of depression. 
The fact that I had come out of being a mere housewife and started my own business also did affect him. He was old-fashioned. He did not want me to work.
He did not like the fact that I had my own bank accounts. But how could you run a business without a bank account? I also needed my personal account.
He did not like the fact that I bought a car without consulting him.
He told the girls, "Mama doesn't need me any more."
Mostly, he did not like being known as Loretta' husband. But I was known simply as his wife for many years. Did he not remember?

His ego was deflated. He felt that he lost control.
I told him that I was trying to built up a business and I was doing it for both of us. I did not think he listened.

The idea that he was going to die soon was not only on his mind constantly, he talked about it all the time.
I said that we all die eventually. We just didn't know when. But even the healthy ones could die unexpectedly any time. He would not listen.

I suppose that I did not fully understand the Worry and the Fear he had. I know many a heart attack survivor had the fear that they would die any time. But any of us could die any time. Am I right or wrong? 
You would say the odds are not in their favor.
I do understand. But do we need to be obsessed about death and dying?

For a while, after he recovered from his heart attack, he could still do a little fishing and some hunting. In time, he had to give up his hobbies. His diabetes was affecting his feet and sight. Life was not pleasant for him.
I cannot remember how many times that he had to have surgery - the aneurysm, the gall bladder, the heart (in later years). . .

But life is not a bowl of cherries, is it?

I was even more determined that I was going to Make It in my business!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How Do You Fire Somebody?

I have heard that there were ways to terminate an employment without saying, "You are fired!"

I had this associate who was not only not producing, but he was causing some problems in the office. On top of it all, he drank a bit too much, though I did not catch him doing so on the job. 
So what was I going to do?

It was said that you could transfer someone out. That would not work. Because I had no place to transfer him to.
You could make life in the office miserable for him. That would mean scheming, right?
Give him hints. What if he "doesn't get it?"
Send him off to some where on some assignments?  Where to? And what kind of assignments? Selling real estate in Siberia? Did I have to pay the Fare?
Get someone to do this dirty job . . .

I wondered if any of that would work?

Bur then, I did not have employees. 
He was an associate. 
I told myself - Just tell him not to come into the office any more
As Simple As That!
But I was a coward! I had never fired anyone before!

Mind you, he was physically bigger than I was. He was older than I. He was also a retired military man.
I knew that he would be totally humiliated and angry . . .

After agonizing over this problem for days, I decided I simply would tell him to find himself another Broker. I told him.
Of course, he was greatly upset and angry. 
I was glad the office was so small that people were within ear shots of all this happening, and he decided to just leave the office without making a scene.
I got off easy!

I understand that now-a-days you cannot fire someone without proven cause or you would get sued. There was this thing about wrongful termination and there was the issue of Unemployment compensation .
But my associates were independent contractors! I guess this did not apply in my case.

I was glad the incident was over and I survived it.

Throughout the years, I had to do this letting go of someone from time to time. It never got any easier.
May be someone should have told me that I needed a course on the Fine Art Of Firing, that should have come under Learning How to Run A Business.

I was in that tiny office for less than two years, and my landlord told me that he was wanting the space back for himself. 
I needed to find me an office space to rent!
A Rental!
This time, a commercial one!
Nothing was available, especially not any place for seventy-five dollars a month.
I decided to purchase a property since I intended to be in this business for a while.
Yes, by then I had learned that you could use other people's money to do business - Get a Loan! 
Believe it or not, I did not know this simple fact before.
I found a place on a major thoroughfare for sell. The location was good. The  price was right. It did need  major renovation. I could make the office to suit me. That was exciting! So, I took the plunge.

Those days, women were not usually the principal borrowers for loans. 
When I went to talk to the banker, I was asked to have my husband come in. 
Well! Was that discrimination or what?
I told the loan officer that my husband was NOT the one needing the money for the business . . .
In the end, the owner of the property agreed to carry for me for a lesser interest rate and no hidden costs. He trusted me better than the banker!

Still, later, whenever I needed a mortgage for any rentals I purchased, my husband had to sign the papers as well as I did. It's still a man's world!

Of course, I worried about the mortgage payments.
But I was determined to make everything work.

When you are in a business, such as having a real estate office, you have no guarantee that you will make enough money to pay your bills every month. The bills come in regardless, sales or no sales. But then, taking Risk was one of the Given in Doing Business. Isn't it?
I never missed a payment.
I had my ups and owns throughout the years. But I always paid all the bills and paid into my retirement account even if it meant not paying myself. 
Some years were not easy to say the least. 
Feast or Famine! 
It is the Real World!

Remodeling was definitely easier than firing somebody.
It was a whole lot more fun!

I took the risk. I was glad I did. 

Everyday I was learning!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Do You Have What It Takes?

Where shall I begin?

So much happened during my first years in the real estate business - personal and otherwise.

Some of the happenings I had tried to forget for the last several decades.
Some of them I could not forget even if I wanted to.
Some of it helped shape me who I became today.
And, some of of it I wished had not happened.

Do you ever feel that way about some part of your life?

I did make it through my first six months in my new business!
I did better than I expected. 
I did have lots of help from my "angels." 
My banker friend advised me to save for retirement. My business owner friend advised me on some decision-makings. 
My lawyer friend helped me "toughen-up."
"Don't let the turkeys get you down," he told me.
"You can't survive in this business if you cry," he said. No more tears.

I did not have to go and work for someone-else.

Several ladies joined me as my associates, one of them became not only my associate but also my friend. She stayed with me for more than fifteen years.

When June and I made our first sizable commission, we celebrated by buying two decent office chairs for ourselves! You see, the chair I bought from the previous owner of the office was so worn out that it often would fall down the shaft without warming. Many a time I almost fell to the ground unexpectedly. And it was not funny when that happened while you were in the middle of a serious transaction.

June and I  became partners in being landlords - we bought several properties together. We also invested in some oil wells together. That was not a smart move. We had little knowledge about the oil business. There were lots of Operators, some good, some not. But that was the time when oil business was booming in Oklahoma. We joined the crowd. A mistake definitely. Luckily I did not lose any money. Neither did I make any. 
A lesson learned.

June had been widowed not long before she came to work with me. She and I both wanted to "make it" in the business. She was a classy lady, dependable and trustworthy. We are still friends. She lives in Texas. I often would visit her when I go to Texas.

I was under Stress without realizing it. And I became ill. The doctor could not find anything wrong with me. I was hospitalized for a few days.

After a bit of serous thinking, I realized what was wrong, and tried and eventually succeeded in adjusting to my Real Life World. 

It started me thinking.
What a burden most young men had to face?
In my days, the man was the bread-winner. When a young man marries and has a family, he takes on an enormous burden. I, being a girl, was not trained to be a bread-winner, or to run a business. I did not have the mentality to be a business owner - I had to learn as I went.
I told myself, I could do it. 
There were sacrifices to be made though. 
we women were trained to be caregivers. We took care of our husbands, we took care of our children, we took care of the household, and we, sometimes, forgot to take care of ourselves.
I just needed to make adjustments.
Balancing Home Life and Business Life is a tough act to follow.

You do know that the president of General Motors did not have to leave the office at five and go home to prepare dinner for his wife. Right?