2014 Blogging Review

Dear Readers:

Happy New Year!

Each year WordPress did a very impressive job of giving each active blog an annual report for the performance last year.  As I only posted on 4 of my 6 Blogs in 2014, I got 4 reports this time.  As the reports are quite comprehensive, but then I might be the only one who would read it, I determined to summarize and compare the four blogs instead of making the WordPress reports public.  The results are a big surprise for me, but will help me in crafting the future directions of these four blogs.

Healthy and Happy

My Notebook

Falling in love…with Arts

Food for Thought

I will give you a snapshot from WordPress’ report first, and then write my analysis at the end.  Thank you for reading and your continuous support.  I am posting this post on all my four blogs.




Summary by

Author of the Blogs 





Healthy and Happy


“A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 580 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

There were 6 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1 MB.

The busiest day of the year was September 9th with 17 views. The most popular post that day was Happy 90th Birthday! Mr. Low!.”




 My Notebook


“A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

There were 231 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 94 MB. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 29th views. The most popular post that day was My fourth book has just been published: Turkey and Greece Delights.”




Falling in love…with arts


A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

There were 8 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5 MB.

The busiest day of the year was March 29th with 41 views. The most popular post that day was Violin Concerto Butterfly Lovers, and Erhu Concerto Butterfly


Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto

Food for thought


“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

There were 28 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 11 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per month. The busiest day of the year was December 17th with 154 views. The most popular post that day was Easy Abalone Recipe Braised Abalone in Original Sauce



My Analysis

As I was extremely busy at work in 2014, I did not do as much as 2013 in terms of blogging.  Overall, I consider My Notebook as my primary Blog.  It is a travel blog and my primary interest in blogging is to share my travel pictures and experience.  Although I spent most of my time on this blog, the result was not outstanding.

Last year I hardly wrote any new posts on my Food Blog, except a few reviews of restaurants, but the results were exceptional.  Many readers came to look for stuff on this blog, primarily on my posts in 2013.

My passion is on Art but again like the other blo, the posting was infrequent and only had limited visits and comments. Whenever I wrote about art, I devoted my heart and soul on it. Although not too many visitors had visited this blog, I am glad there were quite a few post that stimulated some interesting discussion, like the post on David Hockney.

The biggest surprise which warmed my heart was the Healthy and Happy Blog.  I only posted a few posts in the last 2 years.  The results were unexpectedly good. The only explanation was that this is a hot topic.  Who would not want to be healthy and happy?

I understand the importance of marketing and the use of social media.  But i don’t have time!  With such a limited time I have, I think I have to thank myself for having a diverse “portfolio”.  My goal is just to learn and share.  I did have limited success last year.  It was not too bad for a full-time management person.

Well, what do all these mean to me? What is my 2015 blogging plan?

With the above ideas in mind, I think I will concentrate more time in writing about healthy cooking, conduct some marketing work on my cookbook, and to find out more resources on health and wellness subjects.  I will continue to travel, take pictures and post but will not spend too much time on my travel blog.  I will continue to appreciate art and culture, visit museums, attend concerts, opera and ballet.  Writing will be limited but I will continue writing about subjects of my passion.

That’s all for now.  I hope this is a good start on the New Year Night!  Hope to see you again soon!

Sincerely yours,



Longevity – What does it take to have a long and good life?

When I decided to write about healthy living that day (August 18, 2012), I heard about the news that Hong Kong women now outlast Japanese women in the life expectancy in the world.  I was shocked! I wouldn’t believe that Hong Kong which is so crowded and polluted, can be a place where people would be expected to have a long life.

Today I  found this post from CBS with a documentary of interviewing seniors living in the community. I would like to share this with you.

Women of Hong Kong outliving us all

“As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it’s hard to imagine how Hong Kong with its high intensity, stress and pollution could possibly add years to your life.

But it just so happens that its female residents have not only learned, but mastered the secret to aging.

At one of the city’s elderly community centers, 89 year old Lee Wai Fong defies age and gravity at a daily dance class. “From exercise and a healthy body,” she says.  “It should be this way”.

Mrs. Lee is not the exception, but the rule. A study by the Japanese government has found women in Hong Kong live the longest in the world with an average life expectancy of 86.7 years, overtaking japan which held the title for 25 years.

“That is good news for Hong Kong people! I think my observation is that female members are quite active,” Daisy Li, YWCA Supervisor.  “I think this is an important factor.”

Lee Suk Ching is testament to that.  At 101, she walks with a cane unaided, reads the newspaper with a magnifying glass and visits the center each day to catch up with friends and share a meal. “I’m healthy because I exercise”, she explains.  “it makes me happy!”

Dr. Bernard Kong, President of the Hong Kong Geriatric Society, is not surprised by the results, citing a good public health system that looks after its senior citizens. “For the last few decades we have very good scientific and medical advances in Hong Kong and also we are keeping our tradition as basic Chinese culture.”

But, Hong Kong men lag behind their women, with a life expectancy of 80 and this gap doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.  “We depend on people who look after us, women! They are the ones who take care of us and when they disappear our chances of mortality are much higher,” says Dr. Kong.

Most of these women have outlived their husbands and for 94-year-old Yeung Wai Hing, the past is painful.  She lived through war and has loved and lost more times than she’d care to remember, but her positive attitude has gotten her through it.  “I live happy no matter what” she says.  “You will live each day, why not be happy?”

Whether it be diet, genetics or medical advances health professionals agree that one key factor that sets Hong Kong’s elderly apart is the importance of family within the Chinese culture.

An overwhelming majority live with their children or grandchildren, with only around 10% living on their own.”


It is nice to know that family is so important to our lives.  However, I believe apart from genetic factors, the lifestyle and diet of individuals are the most important factors that affect longevity.  My next post will be my encounter with two Japanese American elderly ladies last weekend and the Okinawa studies that I am very interested in.

Meanwhile, please enjoy these two pictures that my friends took during our trips to China.  The first one is a picture of seniors doing Tai Chi in a park in Shanghai.  The second one shows seniors hiking at Huang Shan.   We all should realize that exercises are very important to our health.

“Healthy and Happy” and the Symbolism of the Lotus Flower

Why “Healthy and Happy”? 

This is the sixth “active” blog that I have created since mid May, 2012.  The reason why I am interested in this subject  matter ” healthy and happy” is simple.  Like most people, I want to have a healthy and happy life.   Exploration and sharing are the motives behind this blog.

I am not an expert in this field but I do have some work related connections to this subject.  My curiosity to seek for knowledge to become healthier has driven me to create this blog. Whatever I write in this blog is what I have learned from friends or public information (like published researches) via the web or other sources.  If you are interested in similar topics, please read and participate.  I will refer to some researches that I have come across, and some evidence-based findings which may be of interest to you.  I sound academic here but truly I am not.  I am just an individual interested in exploring and sharing.  It happens that I have recently found a new hobby, which is… blogging!       

Most likely, the readers who are interested in this blog will be the mature group.  However, younger people should also be aware that a healthy life is the goal of everyone, of any age.   

What is the meaning of the lotus flower?  How does it relate to “Healthy and Happy”?

To celebrate the birth of this blog, I am posting a few beautiful pictures of the lotus flowers from my dear friend Terry. The beautiful picture on the header is also Terry’s.  

Although I am not a Buddhist, I love to study Buddhist art.   During my study (mostly self-study), I have come across the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism.  I found it very meaningful and appropriate when we are discussing how to live a healthy life here.

Here’s an article I read in the most recent post of Buddhism.org, about the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism:


“The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. It   grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

The second meaning, which is related to the first is purification. It resembles the purifying of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers. 

The color bears importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. A white lotus flower refers to purity of the mind and the spirit. If a lotus flower is red, it refers to compassion and love. The blue lotus flower refers to the common sense; it uses wisdom and logic to create enlightenment. The pink lotus flower represents the history of Buddha and the historical legends of the Buddha. A purple lotus flower speaks of spirituality and mysticism. Finally, the gold lotus flower represents all achievement of all enlightenment, especially in the Buddha.

The stage of growth the lotus flower is in represents a different stage of enlightenment. A closed lotus flower represents the time before a Buddhist follower found Buddha or enlightenment. A lotus flower fully bloomed and open represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.

The mud represents an importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is a vital part of the human experience; it makes us stronger and teaches us to resist the temptation of evil. When we banish evil thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water and become one with the Buddha. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to choose the right path over the easy one.

Finally, the lotus flower represents rebirth, both in a figurative and a literal sense. The rebirth can be a change of ideas, an acceptance of Buddha where there once was none, the dawn after one’s darkest day, a renaissance of beliefs or the ability to see past wrongs. In a literal sense, the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism represents rebirth as a reincarnation, such as in the Buddhist religion, when a soul leaves this world in its present form to be reborn in another.”

I do not intend to go into a big philosophical discussion of the symbolism of lotus flower, because I am not knowledgeable enough to lead such an intellectual discussion.   However, I would like to use the symbol of the lotus flower to  request you to consider this question:  ” how can we empower ourselves to grow out of the mud, but not be polluted by it?”