Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cruising Around New York City

After a gruelling 20-hour flight, jet-lagged and bleary eyed, J & I decided that the best way to stay awake on our first day in New York was to go on the Circle Line Cruise. A bit of fresh air was just what we needed to combat the 12 hour time difference. So off we went to Pier 83, West 42nd Street, NYC to purchase our tickets. Whilst we were queuing at the ticket booth, a local who was ahead of us approached the couple in front of us and ourselves to offer a discount coupon he had cut from the newspapers. We were pleasantly surprised by this stranger's kind gesture and thought that it was a wonderful welcoming gift. (Later, I decided to pay this gesture forward and gave away my Woodbury coupons which I didn't use to strangers who could use it. Isn't it amazing how one person can affect so many others.)
We opted for the 3-hour cruise which took us around Manhattan Island on the 3 rivers (Hudson, East and Harlem). We cruised pass the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx), below the 7 major bridges (including the famous Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges) and saw over 25 NY icons, including a close up of the Statue of Liberty. As we were there when the New York City waterfalls (designed by Olafur Elliasaon) were on display, we were able to enjoy these four man-made falls close-up. The river cruise also offered some unique sights which we would not have seen on a bus tour. (Check out the picture of the train carriages). What a lovely way to spend a lazy day in New York city.

New York City waterfalls

Manhattan Bridge

United Nations Statue Of Liberty

New Jersey

All forms of water transportation

Fancy a cruise???

Need a water taxi to cross over the river???

How about a ferry across to Staten Island???

Old train carriages are laid to rest...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career"
Gloria Steinem

I guess it's true. It's usually the women who grapple with this issue, especially if they have kids. Maybe it's in the genetic make-up of a woman, or perhaps it's due to society's expectation of a woman's role in the family. Whatever the reason, I believe each woman has to choose her own path.

I have known women with children who work full time and known others who gave up their careers to look after their children. Some have gone back to work after their children are grown. They have struggled to re-learn skills and acquire new skills before re-joining the workforce. Some countries have a system in place to assist these women. In other countries, you have to do it on your own.

It's tough. But women have prevailed. Eleanor Roosevelt puts it aptly when she said "A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sanity Tips For Working From Home

I came across an article from the News Straits Times on working from home tips. I've extracted and posted it below:

1) Get Out
Getting out of the house once a day is a great way to energize yourself and prevent boredom.
Comment: It is easy to be be stuck at your desk when it's a busy period. I'm glad that I have Kess. Going for walks with her gets me out of the house twice a day for exercise.

2) Workspace
Keep your work place separate from the rest of the house. By keeping the area you work out of sight, it is easier to relax when you're not working. It also prevents family members from picking things up or moving projects you could be working on.
Comment: This tip was the reason why I decided to designate a separate room as my home office as opposed to working in the living or dining room. Besides, it also helps put me in a working frame of mind without the distraction of the TV.

3) Take Short Breaks
By taking a few minutes off to load laundry, read the papers or do the dishes, you will be able to relax and come back refreshed.
Comment: Taking short breaks applies whether you work in an office or at home. Our brains and body needs a short break to recharge. Of course, the infamous long tea breaks typically associated with certain organisations does not fall into this category.

4) Hours
Decide on number of acceptable hours to work each day and stick with it.
Comment: I agree that one should be disciplined, especially when working from home. However, the beauty of working from home is having the flexibility. So, if something else pops up, I would just make up for it another time - as long as I can meet my deadline. One just need to be sensible with time management.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Words of Wisdom

For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Unknown

Last week, I was busy reorganising my study to become a proper home office. This required planning the most efficient work area and acquiring new bookcases for filing. At the end, I felt a satisfaction knowing that the time spent organising was well spent.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Best New York View - Empire or The Rock?

I have always had a soft spot for the Empire State Building ever since I watched the movie Sleepless in Seattle. It was such a classic scene when Meg Ryan's character was supposed to finally meet with Tom Hank's character at the top of the Empire State Building after a build-up of near misses through out the movie. So when we went to NY, I really wanted to go to the top of the Empire State Building.

In the end, I opted for Top of the Rock based on visitor reviews on Frommers as well as recommendation from a New Yorker friend. Whilst the Empire is higher than the Rock, you get the best of both worlds with the Rock. You get to see great NY views as well as front row seat view of the Empire itself (see photo on the top left).

To top it off, there was hardly any queue to get into the Rock, unlike the Empire. Our friends who opted for the Empire queued under the hot summer sun for 3 hours. We were in and up in less than 15 minutes! The ride on the lift is really cool. You have to ride it to believe it.

Entrance of the Rock

Magnificent chandelier at the staircase

Souvenier shot to remember our visit

A little bit of history

View of Central Park

Friday, October 3, 2008

Perfect Timing

Ecclesiastes 3:11
"He has made everything beautiful in its time..."

God's timing is always perfect. Just as I was ready to end my self-gifted sabbatical, He provided me the job that I was looking for. Now, I'm working from home and am happy that I don't have to get stuck in traffic commuting to work. Truly He has made everything beautiful in its time!