Author Archives: Will Yang

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First week of 2020

Just like that, the first week of the new decade is finished.

I’m going to start a new act with my kids this year called Monday Message. I’ll leave a message to Serena and Griffin every Monday morning for this year and see how that goes. This week’s message was a quote from Dr. Seuss:

“You will never get bored when you try something new. There is really no limit to what you can do.”

I’d also like to be more organized this year and hope to continue throughout the 2020s. I’d like to read more and continue to exercise on a regular basis.

I have high hopes for 2020. I look forward to grow together with my family. I want to do well in my job so that I can lay a good foundation for my career in the new decade.

I think it will be a good year.

Fruit Trees

From May 19 to June 12 this year, my Dad visited us in Victoria. One of his objectives of his stay was to plant some fruit trees for the kids and generations after who would stay in this house. I just took all the tags off from the trees as they are getting bigger. In order to not lose the names of these fruit trees, I’m recording them here so that I can keep referring back to them.

Grafted Four-way Combo Pear Tree

  • Anjour Pear (Pyrus)
  • Red Bartlett Pear (Pyrus)
  • Bartlett Pear (Pyrus)
  • Conference Pear (Pyrus)
Pear Tree

Green Gage Plum Semi Dwarf

Features – Medium, round, greenish-yellow fruit with an excellent, sweet flavour. Great choice for eating fresh, canning or cooking. A self-fertile, European variety.

Exposure – Plant in full sun for best results

Fertilizing – Apply a general purpose fertilizer in early spring and again in midsummer if soil moisture can be maintained.

Watering – Pay close attention to new plantings and maintain moist, but not soggy, conditions. For established plants, be sure to water to avoid drought.

Cherry Tree

Lapin Cherry Gisela Tree Semi Dwarf

Features – The fruit is quite large with a deep red colour and lighter red flesh. This variety is self-fertile. Ripens early to mid-season. Well suited for the home orchard or urban garden.

Average Size – 15 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide

Fertilizing – Apply a general purpose fertilizer is early spring and again in midsummer if soil moisture can be maintained.

Watering – Pay close attention to new plantings and maintain moist, but not soggy, conditions. For established plants, be sure to water to avoid drought.

Pink Lady Apple

Features – Pink lady is a premium eating apple, known for their crisp, sweet-tart flavour with whitish flesh. Pink lady apples originally came from Australia, and is a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, two durable and popular varieties.

Average Size – 18-20 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide

Exposure – Plant in full sun for best results

Fertilizing – Apply a general purpose fertilizer is early spring and again in midsummer if soil moisture can be maintained.

Watering – Pay close attention to new plantings and maintain moist, but not soggy, conditions. For established plants, be sure to water to avoid drought.

Honeycrisp Apple

Features – Sweet, exceptionally crisp and juicy fruit. Ripens in late September to early October. Stores well, up to five months. Its explosive crispness, flavour, and texture make this a must for your home orchard. Blooms mid season.

Average Size – 12-15 ft. tall and 12-15 ft. wide

Exposure – Plant in full sun for best results

Fertilizing – Apply a general purpose fertilizer is early spring and again in midsummer if soil moisture can be maintained.

Watering – Pay close attention to new plantings and maintain moist, but not soggy, conditions. For established plants, be sure to water to avoid drought.





Discipline Without Damage by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe

I finished reading the Discipline Without Damage – How to Get Your Kids to Behave Without Messing Them Up book by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe.  It was a good read.  Coming from a very strict and disciplinary family and background, I needed new strategies to discipline my kids.  I do not want to apply what I went through on them, but the whole Western culture is just too “loose” in my opinion.  I needed a balance.  This book was perfect.  I want to share the nine key stepping stones to discipline without damage in the moment:

  1. Respond with connection: Have children feel your intention to understand them and do right by them.
  2. Stay low: Respond with calmness and control in an intensely caring way.
  3. Drop a flag: Provide a very quick and simple direction of what needs to happen (aim for 5 words).
  4. Maintain firmness with kindness: Hold your line and have compassion.
  5. Give no explanation: Avoid explaining your position to children.
  6. Choose your moments: Be mindful of your children’s zone of need and set boundaries intuitively.
  7. Exit gracefully if needed: Maintain control if you need to abandon the boundary.
  8. Keep relationship as the bottom line: Do nothing that will interfere with the relationship you are cultivating with your children.
  9. Debrief the incident once calm prevails: Start at the beginning and move through to the safety of the ending.  Avoid blame or shame.

How to Win Friends and Start a Conversation

I presented a speech today at my Belmont Babblers Toastmasters Club.  It was Project #1 – Conversing with Ease from the Interpersonal Communication manual under the Advanced Communication Series.  I borrowed Dale Carnegie’s fame and titled my talk, How to Win Friends and Start a Conversation.

Below are the feedback I got from my club members on little note papers that I got to take home:

Will,

  • Really interesting topic, very relevant and very well presented.
  • Really good intro. to the presentation, nice job setting up how the presentation will be structured.
  • Very well prepared!
  • I noticed a couple of “um”s as you were conversing with Willow – I think all of us do that in conversation.
  • Great job!

Congratulations Will! Ambitious topic & good information. Could have shown more of your usual enthusiasm & energy.


Well rehearsed. I didn’t quite catch the distinction between art + science. Perhaps could have been summarized at the end.


  • Great structure
  • Great eye contact + body language + use of space
  • Maybe for next time, give the handouts before the speech.
  • Loved it! Well done!

Will was very comfortable and he asked the guest good questions.


Will, very interesting and informative. Very well presented and organized. Tough presentation to give. Only comment is I felt the conversation section 2 could be shorter – you also said “ya ya”, which may cutoff the other person. Loved your set up for timing! Well done. Thank you.


Will, covered requirements for converse with ease. Presentation was monotone – not very engaging. Picking a topic other than TM for interview may have been more interesting.


Great presentation full of useful information & practical examples! I would suggest enunciating a bit more, esp. when improvising as you tend to speed up/mumble when nervous. Overall wonderful!


Will,

  • You mentioned 3 sections to the speech, but only elaborated/listed the first two – the science (4 levels), and the interaction portion. I think the third piece simply got forgotten.
  • The conversation flowed easier after the first few questions, which always seems to happen.
  • Might’ve been worthwhile to mention techniques for having a conversation with someone who isn’t responding well.

Great job!


Will,

  • Good presentation overall
  • Liked moving/presenting the stage the way you wanted
  • A couple similar questions
  • Could have been more back-and-forth conversation/small talk
  • Well prepared, interesting topic
  • Good eye contact with group

Wonderful job Will. I really liked how you weaved in both art + science + even showcases through real examples. Very informative. Thanks.


I think they liked my presentation, but I’ve got lots to improve.

President

I returned to my Toastmasters club in April.  My goal was to complete the four remaining speeches in my Competent Communicator manual.  I don’t like unfinished projects.  My plan was to stop attending Toastmasters when that manual is done.

My club, the Belmont Babblers, is facing a low membership problem.  Every year, the first week of May is election week to elect a team of executives to run the club.  We barely have enough members to meet the minimum, which is having three executive positions filled.  Instead of having an election this year, we opted to have members volunteer for positions.

In Year 2010/2011, Leo and I shared the President role.  It was a bit challenging, but I enjoyed it.  Since I’ve been on and off from the club and I did benefit from attending, I decided that this was a calling for me to pay back and contribute to the club.  I volunteered to be the next President, pending club members’ approval.  This afternoon I received an email saying that it has been approved that I’ll be the next President from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.  Below are the members of the executive team:

  • President: Will
  • Vice President of Education: Carol and Amir
  • VP of Membership: Amanda
  • VP of Public Relations: Bart
  • Treasurer: Lyn
  • Secretary: Dalia
  • Sergeant at Arms: Jay

It will be a good year to improve our communication and leadership skills.

1440

There are 1440 minutes in a day.  How do you arrange your minutes throughout the day to accomplish your goals?

Math

I have been reading The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley.  Just have to share a paragraph from the book here.

“Math is a language of logic.  It is a disciplined, organized way of thinking.  There is a right answer; there are rules that must be followed.  More than any other subject, math is rigor distilled.  Mastering the language of logic helps to embed higher-order habits in kids’ minds: the ability to reason, for example, to detect patterns and to make informed guesses.  Those kinds of skills had rising value in a world in which information was cheap and messy.”

Well said!

February Summary

February went by very quickly.  It felt like it was faster than January.  Chinese New Year.  Mt. Washington trip.  Family house drama.  It was just a busy month.

Here is February’s stats:

  • Reading: 20/29
  • Writing: 8/29
  • Exercising: 24/29
  • Meditating: 5/29

I really fell off the Meditation bandwagon in February.  I think it largely has to do with me being tired every night.  I remember at the end of most nights all I wanted to do was just to lay down and close my eyes.  Anyhow, no excuses!  I hope to pick it up in March.

I didn’t write much last month.  I admit that I was trying harder in January to write.  I think writing often is a good habit to have, so I hope to write more this month.

Since finishing Think and Grow Rich, I’ve picked up The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.  It was recommended by my colleague, David Crow.  The book is very easy to read, so I didn’t have any problem reading in February.

Exercising was fun this month.  Brian and I really made some progress in the gym.  I worked out every day when I was at work last month, and it felt great.  Exercising keeps me sane.

February 29th

Four years ago, today, February 29, 2012, we took possession of Crownwood.  Anya and I moved in this big, empty house, had takeouts for dinner and champagne after, and slept on our mattress in the kitchen.  It was a tiring and exciting day.  Four years ago seems like forever ago.

Today is the first 29th of February since the last one.  Another leap year.  Boy, how things have changed within this gap of four years between the two 29ths!  I wonder how things will be when the next February 29th comes in 2020.

Four years prior to that, we were new graduates, engaged, and planning for our wedding.  Isn’t time a tricky thing?  We don’t feel it, but life just keeps on rolling.

 

Why

Serena is in this “why” phase.  She just can’t stop asking, “why?”

“Serena, please stop moving around.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m trying to put your shoes on.”

“Why?”

“Because we are going to the park.”

“Why?”

“Because you wanted to go to the park.”

“Why?”

“Okay, stop asking why?”

“Why?”

The following conversation happened after bath today.  I finally broke the unending whys.

“Serena, I need to dry your hair.”

“Why?”

“Because it doesn’t feel good going to bed with wet hair.”

“Why?”

“Because you asked why.”

“Ooooh.”

Yesss!

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