Kids project: Micro-loans to women entrepreneurs

As part of many city-wide initiatives meant to encourage preventive behaviors, when the kids got their Covid vaccine they each received a cash incentive. So we started talking about donating part of that money, and Kiva came up as an option for investing for social impact (the 'investment' being in social capital, not profit). There's been much debate over the years over how impactful investing through Kiva really is. Middleman MFIs (microfinance institutions) who are on the ground provide micro-loans to populations otherwise considered too 'high risk' by traditional banking institutions. And Kiva offsets those risks for the MFIs. The pros and cons are discussed at great length on blog posts, business reviews, white papers and in … [Read more...]

I ran the 50th NYC Marathon!

What a journey! Fourteen weeks of training was quite the project - logging the miles, energy management, the mental aspect. I regrettably injured my knee 10 days before the marathon so my race strategy went out the window - pacing, fueling and hydration, and mental game. It was down to a mile-by-mile approach, where I was so focused on and favoring my right knee that I thought for sure all the compensations my body was making would cramp my legs up. I might've dropped out if not for incredible energy from the 26.2 mile cheer zone, drowning out any pain and moving me forward. It was ugly, but I crossed that finish tape at 5:32:42. And now I'm game for improving that finish time to redeem myself, if I can continue running on this knee! … [Read more...]

Bok l’hong with Margaritas or, memories from the Mekong

Dodged an off-leash dog today while running, and naturally I'd sustain a knee injury this close to the NYC marathon. Sharp pain to the right of my patella if I step wrong or run on elevation, uggh. It's just over a week away so I'm hoping it sorts itself out! What a summer. I miss the regular physical activity, hard workouts and training schedule. I've always been involved in competitive recreational sports, so intensive training on top of full time work or studies isn't unfamiliar. But even though I trained at the lower mileage threshold for this marathon (~30 mile weeks is all the time I can devote), it's still been quite rough. I blame the kids. LOL. So here we are. We visited friends and it is so nice to have some Khmer food. … [Read more...]

Getting the kids to like ampalaya (bitter gourd)

I can say I like this horrible thing now, as an adult, but as a kid there was nothing I hated more. I guess after repeated exposure - it's a staple food item in Asia - our palates can't help but adjust to it. Ampalaya (Filipino word for it) is a tropical vine, related to the squash. To blunt that sharp bitter taste, some people like to cut it up (remove the spongy middle and seeds), rub with salt, and leave it in salty water for half an hour before cooking with it. It's a great source of vitamin C, folate and antioxidants. There's growing evidence in western literature supporting what indigenous populations around the world use it for. It has cancer-fighting properties, helps lower cholesterol and controls blood sugar. This … [Read more...]

Gender differences in athletic training

Did you know that performance advice for athletes are mostly based on studies done on young white males, but are generalized to all other populations? How should those of us, from demographics who are not typically studied, approach the mainstream training advice? . So I’m training for a marathon this year. It’s been a while since I was on a training regimen, and I had coaches back then to push and help me do my best. These days I’m on my own to figure out my workouts, fueling, hydration, etc. There's a lot of new info! Below are notes from the various emerging research on gender differences and performance. At the end of this post I reference resource persons and podcasts where I learned these. Note this is specific to female … [Read more...]

Commuting and office work in the time of Covid

After nearly a year of working from home, 10 days ago I started that commute back to an office environment at the hospital. Rapid-fire emergent findings, compounded by active misinformation and sabotage by the trump administration, and now these variants(!) make it very difficult for the average office worker to make sense of how best to protect ourselves. So here I talk about what I use and what's recommended: masks (always outside the home), goggles (for public transport, grocery store runs, or other crowded spaces), fans (to maintain air flow in the office) and, if needed, a portable air cleaner with HEPA filter for the workspace. My commute is in the NYC subways where that 'rush hour' is still fairly crowded. In this age of … [Read more...]

Until Covid-19 messaging improves, who do you turn to?

It's February tomorrow - a snow day here, yey!! - and over a full year into this pandemic. It's frustrating that to manage every new situation, the general public still has to scour Twitter for a prevailing consensus. We don’t have better guidance on masks (like what type and where to get them) and managing risky situations like public transportation. I fully agree with this piece in the NYTimes: It's been ten months, and I still don't know when to replace my masks! "Quickly synthesizing emerging evidence and providing practical guidance for the public and communicating it well is what the C.D.C. should be doing, and should have been doing. The new administration seems to have hit the ground running, and I hope that this is what it will … [Read more...]

Filipino snack

It's Friday night, before Monday, 14 December when the electors submit their votes. The Supreme Court just tossed out the Texas lawsuit seeking to reverse the election outcome in four states won handily by Biden, saving the constitutional representative republic we know as the United States of America. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was clearly trying to obtain a pardon with this pathetic stunt, yet people and the media continue to give these people credibility. I know I have another bottle of champagne somewhere around here. Hard to keep them in stock when we keep winning all the time. (Where are trump and his seditious GOP followers? 1-57? They are has-beens and losers to the core and we all need to move on.) In the … [Read more...]