One Year To Live


Great inspiration – thrive to bring out the best in us everyday.

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert
Vintage Dilbert
October 30, 2014

Anthony Burgess was 40 when he learned that he had only one year to live. He had a brain tumor that would kill him within a year. He know he had a battle on his hands. He was completely broke at the time, and he didn’t have anything to leave behind for his wife, Lynne, soon to be a window.

Burgess had never been a professional novelist in the past, but he always knew the potential was inside him to be a writer. So, for the sole purpose of leaving royalties behind for his wife, he put a piece of paper into a typewriter and began writing. He had no certainty that he would even be published, but he couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“It was January of 1960,” he said, “and according to the prognosis, I had a winter and spring and…

View original 158 more words

The Six Mantras – Art of Communicating

The subject of communication always fascinates me. In Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s latest book, The Art of Communicating, he talks about the 6 Mantras of loving speeches, and I know he is on to something very important – how to keep the door of communication open.

They come in this particular order, and before you say any of the mantras, perform 3 “breathe in, breathe out” to bring calm to yourself:

I am here for you.

Powerful statement to show you are present and you are there with the other person. Or say this to yourself to bring you to the present.

I know you are there, and I am very happy.

Say this after you have practiced the first one. This mantra is important to reaffirm that the presence of the other person means a lot to you, and they will feel they are loved.

I know you suffer, and that is why I am here for you.

When you sense that things are not going well with the other person, rather than trying to fix things for her or him, say this to offer your presence.

I suffer. I want you to know it. I don’t understand why you did or said what you did. So please explain. I need your help.


I suffer, please help.

When you get hurt especially by someone you care a lot about, you either suffer silently or get back at the other person. By saying this, you open a dialogue, and you immediately suffer less.

This is a happy moment.

You show the other person how lucky you feel when they are there, and you can enjoy happiness together right here and right now.

You are partly right.

This is the mantra when you are praised through the moon by someone, or when someone criticizes you. They see only a part of you and not the total you. You can use this when you look at other people too. Maybe you become more understanding.

Understanding – Compassion – Connection – Happiness

Delicious Banana Bread

I have never been a baker, and I stay away from gluten and hence bread.  I thought baking bread takes a lot of work.

However, this recipe from the Clean Eats Newletter by Dr. Alejandro Junger has inspired me to bake my own bread (and gluten free) for the first time!  I have also learnt about gut health and clean eating from Dr. Junger a couple of years ago and have realized that your gut is your second brain.  Your gut is where your immune system lies, and so you really have to treat it nicely by avoiding food allergens and eating clean food!

Banana Bread Breakfast Bake_Cropped

(photo courtesy of – I wish my banana bread came out as beautiful as hers; well, next try!)

Adapted from the Clean Eats Newsletter:

2 medium mixing bowls

fork or potato masher

1 medium loaf pan

Coconut oil to grease pan


2 spotted/mushy bananas (medium-large)

2 tablespoons of softened coconut oil  (extra virgin)

1 medium egg (cage-free)

1/2 cup gluten free flour e.g. cashew flour, coconut flour.

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder  (note you have to use both baking soda and baking powder and cannot just use one or the other)

1/2  teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pieces of nuts of your choice and/or coconut flakes


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease the pan very well with coconut oil. Combine wet ingredients (bananas, coconut oil, eggs) in a large mixing bowl until soft (use fork or potato masher).

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

3. Combine wet into dry. You can add any nuts (pecans, walnuts, almond pieces, etc.) or chocolate chips or coconut flakes at this point.

4. Pour dough into the pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (roughly 40 minutes). Keep checking and remove when the top is golden brown. Let cook for 8 minutes and then remove from pan, slice and serve. You can save it in the fridge for several days or freeze it for consumption for a couple of weeks.

The bread tastes even better after freezing it. You can toast it as well.  I highly recommend giving this a try.

Look for the Bright Eyes

Next time I do a presentation or if I need a response from a group, and if no one puts up her hand, I will start looking for bright eyes in the audience and solicit a different, more positive response.  From the New York Times article:

He (a Japanese colleague) continued: “In Japan, we don’t make as much direct eye contact as you do in the West. So when you asked if there were any comments, most people were not looking directly at you. But a few people in the group were looking right at you, and their eyes were bright. That indicates that they would be happy to have you call on them.”

We can all try to remember not to use our own lenses to interpret other cultures but to use many dimensions to understand cultural behaviour – to look for the bright eyes in the room.

You can read the fascinating article about cultures here.

Bright eyes


(courtesy of Pinterest)


Part of a Historic (Food) Movement

Got your attention, right?  I was heading to the Farmer’s Market this morning but was mesmerized by a Filipino Food Movement with food booths and entertainment on the way.   In San Francisco today, the Filipino Food Movement launched the first food event in the whole of the U.S. to bring the Filipino food to the main stream.  We eat Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and of course Indian and Chinese food, but it is true that we rarely talk about or eat Filipino food.  So I was part of this historic movement today.  The Filipino culture is  family-oriented, warm and fun, great at singing, and extremely food-loving (especially rice and meat).  I have many Filipino friends, and I believe you have quite a few as well; but this food movement really gets me interested to learn more about their food and culture.  Here are a little something of what I have found:

Adobo Chicken or Pork – one of their most well-known national dishes.

- meat marinated/cooked with the Adobo sauce: vinegar, salt, peppercorn, salt, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and oil; also popular in Spain and Latin America.

adobo - chicken

Courtesy of


- better than Chinese Spring Rolls

Lumpia - shrimp

Courtesy of, and they look even better than the Chinese Spring Roll; also try this recipe from Steamy Kitchen.

Sizzling Pork Sisig

- cooked with pork parts (head, cheek, liver, belly, etc etc ) that’s been braised in vinegar before being grilled, diced and served on a sizzling hot plate; served with chilli, calamansi and an egg in the middle.


Courtesy of the Hungry Excavator

Kare Kare – their famous oxtail stew – an appetizing recipe here.

- their famous oxtail stew, often served with tripe and pig or cow feet – an appetizing recipe here.

Kare Kare 2


Courtesy of The Domestic Man

Delightful Ube Ice-cream (purple-yam ice-cream, also used in their famous Halo Halo dessert.)

- everyone I saw had a cup in her hand, and so here is a nice recipe.

Ube icecream

Beautiful picture courtesy of Ang Sarap

On My Way Up

Exercising is so much fun when you can combine it with sightseeing.  Not too far from where I live is the Filbert steps in Telegraph Hill, one of the most famous stairways in San Francisco.  Along the stairs are beautiful scenery of the San Francisco Bay, gardens, and very old, classic San Franciscan buildings.  All these were a labour of love when a former resident, Grace Merchant, cleared the trash which used to fill the hills along the stairways and re-planted a public garden during a span of 30 years.  The Filbert steps and all its surrounding beauty is truly one of the free gems of San Francisco.

filbert steps
377 flights of Filbert Steps – all worth it!

Flowers filbert

Steps beautiful

The Art Deco Building - Courtesy of Map of Google
The Art Deco Building – Courtesy of Map of Google
Coit tower
Coit Tower
City view
Must be my most favourite City view.
The Alcatraz from a distance
The Alcatraz from a distance.
Perfect positioning of chairs!
Perfect positioning of chairs!