Friday, May 18, 2012

Chapter N: Playtime Is Over

(N stands for number or N = Number.)

Most of us experience a moment when a new chapter begins in our lives. We shake our heads and blink our eyes for a moment to realize that chapter starts now as if an “oh my gosh, what did I just saw” moment. We start to see with our minds instead of our eyes. Our hands feel responsibility. We start to communicate with intelligence. And we walk with our back straight and head held high. These are signs of confidence and maturity. It’s time to grow up.

The days of being lazy, being bored, and acting like a baby are gone. The days of having too much fun, being reckless, and goofing off are done. Naivety and being an idiot are unacceptable. The teenage and college life are no longer your lifestyle. The time is devoted to adult responsibilities, adult priorities, and adult choices. Life revolves around the world, not you. You must earn it if you want the world to revolve around you. Earn it.

My Chapter N is approaching soon. New choices and new priorities are coming to my life. I spend more time on work to complete my responsibilities and to continue learning new job skills. My new priorities are taking care of myself when I move out. The days of playing video games, wearing costumes to Japanese animation conventions, and watching cartoons are over. The days of working smarter, meeting new people and creating new relationships, and experiencing new experiences begin. I want to visit new places.

I expect my daily lifestyle to change. I wear new clothes, cook new foods, read new types of books, and follow new gym workout plans. I always innovate my life physically, intelligently, emotionally, and financially. There is always a better way living my life.

Out with the old and in with the new. Playtime is over. It’s time to grow up and be a mature adult. Never take life too serious. It’s okay to have fun—just not ridiculous fun. Live life being mature, responsible, and let your actions show who you are. Be confident and be brave to make mistakes.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My New Pillow

I like to sleep on my back. The past four months I have been sleeping on my side. I sleep on my back when I begin to sleep. I toss and turn two or three times before I fall asleep. I wake up on my side. Action must be taken to remedy the problem. I choose to buy a new pillow.

My old pillow was a Grand Horizon Back/Stomach Sleeper from The Seasons Collection. I purchased the queen size pillow at Bed Bath & Beyond for $80 on August 2011. I continued to sleep on my back the rest of 2011 using the Grand Horizon and another pillow below. The Grand Horizon is in good condition. I need more support to prevent tossing and turning. I need a pillow to stabilize my body.

I visited Sleep Train yesterday, the company I purchased my new mattress in Dec 2008. Sleep Train sells high end pillows I didn’t find at Bed Bath & Beyond. I entered the store with my girl. We were greeted with an employee. I told him I’m shopping for a new pillow. I explained I want to sleep on my back instead of my side.

The first question he asked was what mattress do I sleep on. The reason he asked was because he wanted to replicate my sleeping environment. I explained my mattress and he guessed what mattress I sleep on. He directed me to the mattress. His guess was pretty good.

The next questions were health related. Do I snore? My answers was no. Do I have sleep apnea? No. Do I have back pain? No. Do I have upper or lower back pain? No. The employee brought two pillows to try. I provided feedback on the two pillows. I told the employee I purchased my mattress at another Sleep Train. The employee said, “Let me look up your purchase in the database so you can test the pillows on an accurate mattress that matches yours at home.”

The employee directed me to another mattress which was very accurate to my mattress at home. I tried the same two pillows and gave him feedback. I reiterated my expectations I wanted to sleep on my back. The employee asked do I get hot or cold when I sleep? I get hot; in other words, I prefer a cool sleeping environment. I asked him, “Do you have a pillow that has more stability and less firmness? I wanted to try a pillow between the initial two pillows. The employee came back with three more pillows.

The first pillow was, if I remember correctly, made of cotton. I needed two seconds to reject it. The second pillow was a Tempur-Pedic. I liked it and it had potential. The third pillow was made out of latex. I liked it and it had potential. The difference between the Tempur-Pedic and the latex was temperature. The Tempur-Pedic was warmer and the latex was cooler. Another difference was the latex has a bouncy feel. Both pillows raised my head at almost exact heights. The employee said these pillows raise my head so I can breathe easier.

The employee gave me additional time to test the Tempur-Pedic and latex while he assisted other customers. I continued testing both pillows. I choose the Tempur-Pedic because the pillow provided better stabilization. We conversed one last time talking about how pillows need to be replaced every six months. I asked why because I never heard of pillows needing replacement; the cost is expensive replacing pillows, especially a Tempur-Pedic. The employee replied cheap pillows in the $30 range should be replaced every six months. Pillows are worn out faster. Furthermore, people who have health problems such as back and neck, pain around the body, and/or sleep problems should think about getting a new mattress and a new pillow, or at the minimum a new pillow. Save you money paying the doctor or chiropractor. These people should consider fixing their sleeping arrangements. Mattresses and pillows don’t last forever.

Pillows Are Complicated

We think a pillow is just a pillow. I could have purchased a pillow at Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, or even a cheap store. A pillow is not just a pillow. Shopping at Sleep Train is another example specialty stores provide information and advice a common person probably doesn’t know. There are criteria involved to choose the perfect pillow including hot or cold, durability such as number of months before replacement, the head’s height and angle, and different materials. I never knew pillows can be made from latex. My pillow knowledge before buying at Sleep Train was one type of pillow for back/stomach sleepers and a second type for side sleepers, and Tempur-Pedic brand. A pillow (and a mattress) are like a car. A car has an end life in terms of miles driven. A pillow (and a mattress) have an end life in terms of hours slept.

The employee said there is a six week breaking in the pillow. There is a new pillow foam smell. He recommended I bend and fold the pillow before I sleep to assist in breaking in. I purchased a pillow protector for $20. The cotton made protector is waterproof, provides a cooler surface, and prevents dust mites. The Tempur-Pedic has a three year warranty and the pillow protector has a five year warranty. Sleep Train has a 100 day return policy. The pillow protector has an added protection in case I want to return the pillow in near new condition. I sleep on my new pillow about two hours after I posted the blog.

Side note: I shared my experience buying my new mattress. Click here to read "My New Mattress".

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, May 10, 2012

SOMT: I Remember The Trapper Keeper

Blogger’s Note: SOMT stands for Sign Of My Times, an occasional blog sharing my thoughts how time changes life from when I was young to today.

I had two thoughts the other day. The first thought was going to Office Max in August 2009. There was a back to school coupon for a pack of gel pens. I wanted to try the gel pens to experience the hype. I entered the busy store filled with parents and their children from grade school to high school. The parents talked with the children discussing what to buy from the green sheets. I saw shopping carts and baskets filled with typical school supplies such as pencils, pens, makers, and paper. I also saw calculators, pocket dictionaries, and blank CDs.

I found the few remaining gel pens on the shelf. It took a long time finding because of the huge crowd and walking around to avoid hitting people. I looked at the long cashier line. It wasn’t worth the long wait for a pack of gel pens. I walked out of the store. I was happy walking out because I saw the families shopping together for school supplies.

The second thought was my elementary school years from kindergarten to third grade. My parents didn’t buy me school supplies. The school supplied pencils, pens, crayons, and paper for classroom use. My parents did buy school supplies for home use; although I rarely used them because my primary school teachers didn’t assign homework.

I was in fourth grade when my parents started buying school supplies for school. The first purchase was the Trapper Keeper. Most of my classmates carried the Trapper Keeper. My parents purchased my first backpack in sixth grade. One of my backpack straps broke. My dad fixed it by sewing fishing line to connect the strap and the plastic tab. Clever. I was never taught to wear the backpack with both straps. Everyone wore the backpack on one strap in junior high. I think students today wear their backpacks with both straps because the textbooks are heavy, less strain on their backs, and parents want to avoid buying new backpacks as long as possible.

Fourth grade was also the year my school stopped supplying basic school supplies to the students. Students had to provide their own school supplies to bring for classes. I stopped receiving school supplies provided by the school in fifth grade. I remember buying two pencils for $.25 from a small vending machine in seventh grade. It was an emergency because I forgot to bring pencils from home.

There is a cost attending public schools. I hear teachers solicit money from their students for art supplies. My sister paid a quarterly fee to ride the junior high school bus. Parents, it takes money to raise children. Remember to add school supplies as a high priority to support your children.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Evaluate Your Life Daily

The National Basketball Association (NBA) officials are reviewed for each game they officiate. Every call is evaluated and graded by a third-party observer employed by the NBA. Each observer watches film prior to the game to understand their officials’ style of game calling and past performance. The observer often talks with the officials after the game to evaluate and analysis their performances.

My performance review was yearly when I worked at Colliers. The office manager assessed my performance, assigned me goals, addressed criticisms, and suggested improvements. The entire staff and I took the performance reviews lighthearted. We listened to the office manager, agreed on everything spoken, and signed off. It was business as usual the next day.

I don’t believe in yearly evaluation and reviews. I believe everyone should evaluate and assess daily. I believe everyone should observe and be self-conscious all of our actions, behaviors, attitudes, performances, knowledge, and wisdom every day. The evaluation applies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The evaluation is anywhere and anytime regardless of working at a job, attending school, or staying at home. Be aware of yourself. Find something, anything that needs improvement, change, and innovation. Don’t wait for New Year’s Day, next month, or your birthday. Do it immediately.

Managers should evaluate their workers daily, not yearly. Don’t wait for an error to be addressed at the yearly performance review. Address the problem now, think of solutions, and fix it. I believe workers should evaluate managers, too. Strong management is important for worker satisfaction. Workers concern on management weakness should be corrected immediately.

I agree with the NBA’s policy on evaluating and reviewing officials every day. There is no delay on correcting errors and improving their officiating. I remember the days after Sat Oct 4, 2008 when I realized I must grow up. The changes were immediate. I purchased new clothes, started to read fiction books, improved my gym workouts, and created a new blog. There were more changes months afterwards.

The Personal Side Of Me Finding Raymond Mar