Worst flu in recent memory

So here in Missouri, around February, is also the worst of the flu season. This year is the worst for a long time. I knew I got it at the New Year’s eve, and about 4 weeks later, I am not fully recovered. The problem was I had to work in the Saturday night/Sunday morning after new year (Feb 4/5 weekend), though it did not made my situation worse, it did not made my life any easier either. My two daughters also got it. They were off school in the week of Feb 6 for 3 and 4 days, respectively. I had to work from home, and did some juggernaut, and tried stay in the game. I did get flu shot, but my girls did not. I had some fever on Feb 3 and 17. My old daughter got fever again this week, started Sunday night/Monday morning. My wife think one reason was we did not dry her hair after swimming. Oh well, this is the worst flu season I have seen for a while. I heard many school kids and teachers got sick, naturally due to their environment. Work place may work better if we can issue a work from home memorandum.

My coworker also mentioned the V8 and advil to fight this off. Not sure whether this is effective or not, as I am not a V8 fan (tomato juice).

Montessori, Reggio and Waldorf schools in St. Louis

Those schools are considered speciality schools, because they have their own philosophy, which is NOT exactly the same as other private schools (both sectarian and non-sectarian).

Pre-school
Schools that care and educate the younger ones, some even have infant class.
A growing place: it’s located at Forsyth and Big Bend road, next to Washington U. Danforth campus. It’s a small school, but I heard very good things about them from two people (one montessori teacher, and one parent).

Faith Academy of Montessori: Housed in a historic 19th century train station in the heart of Webster Groves, Faith Academy is a Montessori preschool and kindergarten serving children and their families since 1982.

Hope Montessori: they have many campuses but our favorite is the original one Creve Coeur. Also noted the infant toddler community. My old daughter attended there for 3 years (from 1.5 years old to 4.5 years old; from toddler to preschooler). The only downside I can see is the cost, the environment and teachers qualify is the best in STL.

Kirkwood Children’s House: founded by Florence Kramer in 1985, is a Montessori preschool dedicated to the care and education of children ages 18 months to six year old.

Visitation Academy: Viz is an independent, Catholic school offering a co-educational Montessori program in Grades Toddler through Kindergarten…

RainTree school: emma reggio themed pre-school. I heard from my coworker. It’s a fairly new school, and they emphasize the outdoors (if you don’t mind wash kiddo’s clothes). Also they have some discount if you pay the whole year tuition in advance.

The Waldorf School of St. Louis: the only Waldorf school in St. Louis, located in a Webster Groves neighborhood (residential area). They also have elementary school.

Elementary schools
Schools have elementary schools (or higher grades).
Chesterfield Day School: Beginning in our Toddler program through First Grade, Chesterfield Day School’s premier Montessori School bridges to a strong and distinctive secondary school preparation program with personalized methodologies woven throughout.

Chesterfield Montessori: “Chesterfield Montessori School was founded in 1981 as a private school serving children ages three to six. Today CMS is a well-established, non-profit school recognized by AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) offering authentic Montessori programs at all levels from toddlers (16 months) through 15 years…” Six years ago I toured the school on a sunny day after snow, a gorgeous view of the school, and wonderful facilities. I learned the “mixed ages kids in same class” from that visit.

St. Michael’s School (about us): reggio approach is used. This may sound a bit surprising to some but note Visitation academy (catholic school) offers Montessori (see above)

Which school to choose?
This is very personal (individual family has to make this decision). Note there are many excellent public (Ladue, Clayton, Lindburgh, Kirkwood etc.), and private schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Also see the link here, here and here.

To be continued…

Asian restaurant near O’fallon MO area

So far I went to 3, listed below.

The rice bowl (Korean): yelp. Address below:
7895 Mexico Rd
St. Peters, MO 63376

Thai Kitchen: yelp
3899 Veterans Memorial Pkwy
Saint Peters, MO 63376

KiTARO Bistro of Japan: (website, yelp)
4551 Hwy K
O’Fallon, MO 63368

I will add more as I find more :-)

Also, some new Chinese restaurants I recently visited:
Cate Zone
Chef Ma’s Chinese gourmet
Corner 17

Remembering my middle school teacher 周国夫老师

今晚在高中群里突然听到我的初中班主任数学老师,省劳动模范周国夫三年前已去世。下面的博客中有周老师的照片。我从初中到镇海中学住宿读书,一个月回一次家,从某种意义上讲,周老师就是我们这些住宿生的父亲。我也受到周老师很多影响,尤其是学习(自学)方法和态度方面。他的数学课布置很多讲义(作业),他会讲解一些题,但主要是要自学。记得我们初一自学初二内容,以此类推。他有时又很大方,比如说数学课以后是英语考试,他说你们看英语吧。刚到镇中不久,有一次我发烧,有点严重,他和一些同学带我上医院,忙前忙后。现在想起来就像我对我的小孩一样。

这里有一个关于周老师的简短介绍

我说美国大选: II

这可能是我写博客以来隔得最久的两篇相关文章。我说美国大选: I在这里。时隔八年,从上一次Obama”Yes We Can”到这一次Trump”Make America Great Again”. 从Google Search Engine Optimization(打败希拉里的主要原因之一,当时Facebook只是起步阶段)到这次Trump基本上垄断Twitter(参考12)。引用第一篇文章的一句话:

But if the presidential election was a Twitter popularity contest—and thank God it’s not—one thing is clear: Trump would win by a landslide.

其实Internet和Web从2004年就被采用,当年HOWARD DEAN用的Tool是Meetup,这个网站有点不温不火,现在还是一个IT User Group常用的聚会工具。

这一次Trump居然赢了。其实我认为核心原因还是美国选民思变,奥巴马8年执政,在很多方面推行过于Liberal的政策,比如说这个学校LGBT学生上哪个厕所,他老人家(他手下的教育部的人)要公立学校允许LGBT学生挑选她/他们认为合适的厕所。这个事引起很大反响/反感。当然还有经济上的原因。这十几年,说实话,中产阶级,尤其是蓝领,工作被外包,日子江河日下。这个是关键(从小布什到奥巴马)。新媒体有影响,但应该是次要的。

Fitbit is losing momentum

Why I am saying that?

I am the only active person among my “Fitbit friends”. So I assume it could means a few things:
1) All my friends stopped wearing Fitbit;
2) All my friends did not sync (or their Fitbit could not sync, which I admit is a real problem for Fitbit);
3) All my friends got Apple watch (or something nicer, good for them :-)

IMG_5651

The stock (NYSE:FIT) has been absolutely horrible YTD, or to be more exact since its IPO about 15 months ago. I am glad my trades worked out this year though :-)

FIT_trades

I am speculating one reason is Apple Watch is taking off. Although I tried to stay away from that $300+ “need to be charged daily, always on” gadget, it seems it’s the inevitable with the so called “series 2”. I feel the nike+ version with the swimming is the way to go. Now if I could offload a few items on ebay to make the $300 bucks…

Transition to first grade

Serenity started 1st grade this fall. Same school. I have some ideas on first grade, mostly around the homework, “more serious school” vs. the kindergarten which has more play time. I learned from fellow parents last year when they talked about it after MFS (I volunteered there).

Seeing is believing. Serenity now has been in 1st grade for over a month. Some impressions:
1) More work, either schoolwork or the work we gave her.

2) More seriousness, definitely, she got a tardy slip (her first) because we were late in the morning, we were probably late for 2 or 3 minutes (but still late, no excuse here), as I saw we were the only car in the car pool lane which is the only time like this.

3) More pressure, or expectations, besides on time, they were expected to listen more carefully when the teacher talks, and follow directions quickly, etc.

Those are my initial impressions, after a bit over a month school.

What kind of person I like my daughters to become

1) Confident, independent (not blindly follow other or influenced by others opinion), strong (not easily quit, grit, or perseverance) ;

2) Empathy, humility, know how to wear other people’s shoes and feel other people’s pain (同情心);

3) 不卑不亢(english translation? It seems bullet 1 covers this too. List it here as this is my father taught me, likely from his own life experience.);

4) Grounded, down to earth. Don’t take self too seriously, have a sense of humor. 平易近人, 幽默感。

Switch to Ting wireless, mistake on car insurance

I decided to switch my wireless carrier again, from H2O wireless to Ting. I stayed with H2O for over a year, mostly satisfied, except recently I started using its per minute data, which seems burn my money quickly. I heard about Ting from friend before, but I forgot to do the referral. :-( Anyway I switched my wife’s T-mobile prepaid to Ting last week, and I just did mine this evening. The only thing Ting needs is the IMEI number of iPhone, the account number or the pin from the older carrier. In the case of t-mobile, it’s last 4 digits of phone number; the the case of the H2O, it’s the last 4 or SIM card number. Here is how to find it on iPhone: Settings => General => About => ICCID number. IMEI number can be found in similar fashion.

By doing this, essentially I combined my phone and my wife’s phone into one account. Besides that, my wife also gets some data usage, which she does not have previously.

Car accident and the rental coverage in car insurance
I used to have the rental coverage in my car insurance. But in recent review, I decided not to keep it for my 2012 Sienna to save some money (about $13.25 per 6 month), as I thought the extended warranty (service contract) will cover in the case of repair. A mistake on my side. Yesterday my wife got into an accident while driving sienna, and I need to bring it to car bodyshop, which also means I need a rental car. The cost is about $30 per day from Enterprise. So I think I will shell out about $200 (assume 7 days) while trying to save $13.25. :-(

Also, looking back I really should not have bought the extended warranty (EW) for the used certified Sienna. For 3 years besides the routine maintenance, the main cost is to fix the squirrels chewing the cables, and replace four tires. Both were not covered by the EW. Obviously they don’t cover accident either :-( I would put my money in my own pocket next time.

PS: the minivan is already in shop. It’s a bit surprising that I mostly used the Geico app for appointment and status checking.

PS2: it appears Ting is using T-mobile network, the signal is not as good as AT&T which is used by H2O wireless. There is network degradation or no signal near my work place :-(

That sinking feeling 真的是狼来了坏事了?

Talking about tests exams and realized I made a big mistake, this happens quite often when I was in middle school. My solution to that was not talk about or think about it after a test. But that did not work for Gaokao. As we had to estimate how we did after the test, then decided the schools we wanted to apply (or realistically speaking, they will accept us). In Chinese it’s called 估分和填志愿。

Working days 开始工作: leaving work and on the car thinking about the automatic job running could have issues, and don’t know where I can find a useful wifi hotspot (like this afternoon). This is a bit like second guessing myself, which in many cases turn out my 1st attempt was good (including this afternoon). This is also a bit like in an exam, when I had time to review and was not sure about the answer to some question, I could make some change and basically changed some “correct” answers to “wrong” ones. Also keep in mind even in a few cases it did turn out I made small mistake initially, the mistake was mostly harmless, excepting waste some of my time or slow down other teammate (one example was the integration job during ugs/Siemens days). On a related topic, about working after hours. Try to stay away from those unless absolutely necessary. I know we are knowledge workers, in a sense we never stop working, we can think about work related stuff all the time. Don’t. Don’t pull out work laptop and start coding (or something else) if we think of some good idea. Instead put a note to yourself on a phone. We can pick it up the next day. That’s called work life balance.

Other situations (family related), when I call my parents at regular time and they were not there, I would start worry: are you getting sick, or something; once I missed the call from my daughter’s school bus driver, I was really worried kid may have issue on the way from school to home. Other kids related topic, I recall once I dropped my daughter on the ground (on her back, or back head), I heard her cry, and was very worried and felt guilty did not holding her tight enough 很遗憾没有把她抓住. After talking to a doctor, she reassured me in most cases a kid would still be ok. :-)

This reminds me for my on call (pager duty), many times when alerts go off, the wolf did not actually come. The real situation usually is not as bad as we initially thought :-)