Saturday, August 22, 2015

When romance catches up with the runaway girl

You can never predict what life has in store for you.  That's been my experience, anyway.

By the year 2000, I was firmly entrenched as a single mother.  My life was my children and my career.  I spent long hours on the job and was a very involved parent.

Dating stayed on the back burner. To be honest, the flame wasn't even lit. I didn't have time, or perhaps I didn't want to make the time.  After all, my life was already pretty complicated.

I found comfort in being single.  Sure, it would have been nice to have a second income in our household, and my life wouldn't have been so hectic if I'd had a husband who was willing to share family responsibilities.  But that would mean making time for building and maintaining a relationship, and eventually giving up singlehood for marriage.  I wasn't there yet.

The longer I remained single, the more comfortable I felt with it. I'll never forget the day my grandmother told me I should find some "nice widower" to marry.  I looked at her as if she had three heads -- and I steered clear of all men who expressed an interest in me.  My life remained crazy, but I had gotten used to it.

Then a stranger unexpectedly entered my life.  We were both people of a certain age.  We met on a dating site, and neither of us had any experience in this area.  He had been married for decades when he lost his wife.  After a grieving period, he was hoping to marry again.  I think my only reason for being on the dating site was that I was curious.  I wasn't looking for a date, and I certainly wasn't looking for a husband. The gentleman has a more interesting reason for being on a dating site.  One of his granddaughters, who was 14 at the time, signed him up, posted photos, completed his profile, and then told her grandpa what she had done.

The man initiated our first conversation online.  Communication was guarded at first.  I wanted to be
certain of his identity, and I'm sure he felt the same.  Once we got past that point, I found the gentleman to be smart, polite, charming, and easy to talk to.  We learned that we had several things in common. We communicated by email and phone.

Oh, boy, I thought.  I've found a new friend.  We lived in different parts of the country, and that made me feel even more comfortable because, as I saw it, he couldn't just show up at my house and expect to take me out.

One day he called and said he wanted to fly out to visit me. A visit?  No, no, no!  I said to myself. Over the phone, I offered excuses.  It was too soon.  I was too busy.  Maybe in six months.

"How do you know I'm not an ax murderer?"  I asked him.  He laughed.

My efforts to discourage him failed. He informed me that he had booked a flight, and gave me the date and time that he would arrive in my fair city. He asked for my help in booking a hotel.  I started chewing my nails.

On the appointed day, he arrived but got lost after exiting the highway. He found himself in an industrial area where street signs were few and far between.  We determined that he was able to make it to a nearby landmark, and he stayed there until I arrived.

First, I took him to lunch.  Then I had him follow me to his hotel.  Later that day, I took him to meet my son.  He met my daughter later after she got off work.

That evening, a Saturday, we went out to dinner.  It was our first date, and everything went smoothly. We spent the day together on Sunday, and those moments also went well.  He flew back home on Monday.  While I had had enjoyed this new friend's company, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was sure there would be no more visits anytime soon.  I could resume the life I had grown accustomed to.

Once my friend returned home, the emailing and calling resumed.  He had enjoyed his trip.  It wasn't long before he invited me to come out to visit him.  Once again, I got nervous and started making excuses.  When he wouldn't take no for an answer, I asked him to give me a little time to think about it.  I finally made the decision to go.

He was the perfect host.  He cooked for me, and I introduced him to some of the latest pop music I had brought along.  We got to know each other better, and I found myself feeling less nervous. The next thing I knew, he proposed.  I stared at him for a long time, saying nothing.  He just smiled, waiting for my answer.  After a long pause, I said yes.

All of this happened several years ago.  Happy Anniversary to my persistent husband, the rhyme in my life's poem.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Google restructures under new company called Alphabet

Credit:  Google

Eleven years ago, the original founders of Google wrote, "Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.”  So far, the founders seem to be living up to their word, and they proved it more so on Monday in an announcement.  The parent company will now be known as Alphabet.

The Internet giant that has brought you products such as Android, Chrome, YouTube, and Google Maps is taking on a new identity -- sort of.  In effect, the move marks major restructuring and rebranding.

Chief Executive Officer Larry Page wrote, "Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet ( I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey [Brin], as President."

(Note:  Pay attention to the web address for Alphabet because typing in a search engine will not get you to the site of Google's parent company.  Learn why.)

By rebranding, Google seems to be positioning itself far beyond its humble beginnings as a first-class search engine. Alphabet will act as the tech giant's holding company.  In his blog post, Page wrote, 
"We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represents language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search."

Google will become a subsidiary of Alphabet with a new CEO: top Google executive Sundar Pichai.

So what exactly is Alphabet?  Page explained.

Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related. Alphabet is about businesses prospering through strong leaders and independence. In general, our model is to have a strong CEO who runs each business, with Sergey and me in service to them as needed. We will rigorously handle capital allocation and work to make sure each business is executing well. We'll also make sure we have a great CEO for each business, and we’ll determine their compensation. In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

If you find the announcement a bit confusing, you're not alone.  On the positive side, analysts believe Monday's move will allow investors to better track how the company's money is being spent. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Birthday wishes to a member of blogging royalty

April 5 is SAJ Shirazi's birthday.  I've crowned him "King for the Day."  If you're new to the blogging, you may wonder why I'm singling him out. Shirazi is one of the most talented online writers in the blogosphere. 
He publishes several sites, including his cornerstone blog, Light Within, and  He's the go-to expert on all things about blogging. Shi, as I fondly call him, has taught me a great deal on blogging best practices.

In the early 2000s, Shi emerged as one of the premier English bloggers in Southeast Asia. Little did I know when we discovered his site nine years ago that we'd become great online friends. 

Through Shirazi, I have met other outstanding bloggers.Over the years, Shirazi has developed a strong online presence.  Even so, he's a pretty humble guy.  He's caring, resourceful, and incredibly smart.  He's my blog crush.

SAJ Shirazi has fame and legends of fans.  His contact list is a who's who of blogging and business.  His colleagues hold him in high esteem, and he has a beautiful, loving family.  

Everyone likes a good celebration, even Shi. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A man without borders

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, first observed on January 20, 1986. Were he alive today (January 15), King would have celebrated his 86th birthday. During the coming holiday weekend, millions of Americans will remember the civil rights leader and human rights advocate.

King was a husband, a father, and a preacher. He was also the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world. One of the twentieth century's most influential men, he lived an extraordinary life.

To truly understand King, this writer believes that one should read his writings. Scholars and casual researchers can now gain access to these important jewels of history. Two years ago, for the first time, a major portion of King’s papers went public.

Computer access to the documents, which have been digitized and cataloged, are available at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. Click here to gain access the collection.

The documents include many of King’s speeches and personal writings from 1946 to 1968.
Journalists, historians, legislators and community leaders continue to examine whether King's appeal for peace with justice is as relevant today as it was when he was alive. A few years ago, an editorial in the Houston Chronicle attempted to place King's philosophy into present-day perspective. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Although he rose to national prominence fighting racial segregation in the South, many of the issues roiling the United States 38 years after his assassination would be very familiar to Martin Luther King Jr.

Before his death, the Baptist minister had denounced America's involvement in the Vietnam War, a daring stance that fueled the growing opposition to the carnage in Southeast Asia. He was bitterly criticized in the media and by government officials for venturing beyond the sphere of civil rights, as if that were the only area in which he was entitled to an opinion.

With the country now split by the bloody, open-ended struggle in Iraq and by the mistaken justification for going to war, it's not hard to predict where King would stand on the matter.

Americans debate the revelation that their government is conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans inside the United States. King had plenty of experience on that score. He was relentlessly wiretapped and trailed by the FBI. Then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that King was a communist sympathizer.

Just as he stood with refuse workers in Memphis in the last days before an assassin's bullet struck him down, King would championed the dispossessed evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, potent symbols of a race-based economic underclass that persists as a legacy of slavery and discrimination. The New Orleans nightmare that Katrina exposed indicates that the vision King enunciated in his "I Have a Dream" speech is not yet realized.

Like his role model for nonviolent protest, Mohandas K. Gandhi, King grew to be a world figure by embracing universal humanitarian concerns that surmounted ethnicity and religion. As he once said, "Evil is not driven out, but crowded out ... through the expulsive power of something good."
That's why the celebration of his life today cannot be limited to a single community or issue. African-Americans are justly proud that he rose from their ranks, but his life is significant to all Americans.
It's been four decades since King's death in 1968. For years, many scholars have suggested that King faced the same fate that has befallen many a historical figure - being frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message.

Six years ago, Barack Obama took over as the country's chief executive officer. Many believe that with this historic presidency came the "thawing" of the King legacy.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Remembering the Christmas miracle and the treasure of friendship
During this joyous season, I remember the prophesy of peace - and the reason for the season of Christmas. It is also a time to be thankful for friends.


Dear Lord,
Thank you for a special gift,
one that cannot be bought
for any amount of money.

Thank you for a gift wrapped in beauty,
that is wonderful in all seasons and times.

Thank you for a gift that is always near
in times of need
and brings great joy.

Thank you for the gift that sparkles
with freshness every day.

Thank you for my friend.
May I never take this gift for granted.

(by John C. Maxwell)

C H R I S T M A S !

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Remembering that infamous day

December 7 is the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan.  Pearl Harbor survivors have met at the site every five years for four decades. But they're now in their 80s or 90s.  Many of the survivors aren't able to participate in a 73rd reunion. Still, others have made every effort to report for one final roll call.

A few hundred survivors are expected to make the trip to Hawaii to recall the shocking air raid destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft. The attack killed two-thousand, 390 people, wounded nearly 12-hundred others - and plunged the U.S. into World War II.

Related: Photos at, After Pearl Harbor

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Thursday, December 04, 2014


I may have spent all of my adult life writing for a living, but education has been the other constant in my life. I spend much of my time now as a tutor -- to adult immigrants wishing to improve their English skills, and to public school students studying reading and language arts.

Teaching English as a Second Language comes with great rewards. Shortly before Thanksgiving, one of my former adult students, Isabel, became a naturalized citizen. I was thrilled. She worked hard to become a U.S. citizen. She didn't just study the exam on her own; she tutored her husband, too, so that they could take the vow together.

 While Isabel was polishing her English skills with me, she was also studying for her plumber's license. She and her husband now run their own plumbing business, and Isabel manages it. Somehow my friend also manages to raise two delightful children. In addition, she serves as a volunteer English tutor to immigrants in her neighborhood. Getting to know Isabel -- and watch her pursue the American dream -- has deeply enriched my life.