Archive for » May, 2010 «

I recently started my two children in their first tennis lessons. It is a six week program. On the past few Saturdays, I drove the kids to a local city college’s tennis courts to meet their group and instructors.

Yesterday, as with most Saturdays, I joined a small group of other Moms on the bleachers by the shade to chit chat while observing our children’s lessons. I observed that each of my children would walk up the line very confidently during their turn and take an unusually strong swing at the oncoming ball–only to miss the ball entirely! I can vaguely hear their instructors telling them to slow the swing down a bit, and try to just hit the ball first. Other children do seem to take a more hesitant and slow swing at the ball, but they usually can manage to meet the ball with their racket.

On the drive back home. I heard my two children discussing their lesson.

“I am actually very bad at tennis.” said my baby, the 6 year old.

“Me too!” 9 year old.

“I thought I would be really good at it.” said the baby.

“Why?” Myself and my 9 year old asked almost simultaneously.

“I am so good at wii tennis! Remember I can get to first place?!”

wii tennis vs real tennis

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Category: Humor, Kids  2 Comments

I made a quick stop at Lucky’s today to grab some yogurt and gogurt for the kids’ school lunch. I strolled by the ice cream isle to see what’s on sale…and I hit gold mine! Dove Bar is on sale. That’s both of my kids’ favorite, and they are NEVER on sale. They are usually around 5 bucks. Today is two boxes for $6. I tossed two in my cart, checked myself out, and drove home thinking I should have picked up more.

As I was putting the Dove Bars into my freezer, something didn’t feel right. Why… while it almost looked the same, the box is a bit smaller than usual. Ugh…there are only 3 bars in the box instead of the normal 4!

I hope their VP of Marketing is proud. I feel tricked. I am going to boycott Dove Bars for a whole month.

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I had a nightmare last night. I dreamed that my children and I desperately needed to use the potty and found ourselves inside an absolutely dreadful restroom. The restroom was small and dark, the floor was mostly wet, and the toilets had no cover and were of full of disgusting matter that was about to overflow. I wanted to turn around and leave, but the children needed to go. I was in great distress. Thank goodness dreams lack the sense of smell. So today as soon as the children got home from school, I had them both practicing squatting.

We are taking the kids to visit Taiwan and China this summer for the first time. We are very excited about our upcoming trip, except for the authentic Chinese restrooms. I know we are going to be safe in our hotels, the major cities, and probably top tourist attractions spots, but we have an ambitious itinerary that includes small towns and unbeaten paths. That is where the danger lurks.

I decided to prepare my two children for this uneasy part of their trip, starting with a painful description of a smelly restroom, with no toilets, but trenches that you have to squat over, and with no doors or no individual stalls.

“So, people can see your butt?” my baby asked, looking anxious.

“That’s right! And you better remember to bring your own toilet paper.” I gave it to them straight.

Then I had them both practice squatting. They each took turns squatting over an imaginary ditch I drew in the kitchen and competed to see who can hold their position the longest. Of course, this had the unintended side effect of becoming funny business in the comfort of our home, and they proceeded to do creative things as they tried to master this new concept of answering nature’s call. My children are very creative, so the three of us ended up laughing and giggling through this whole exercise.

The children have thoroughly enjoyed their squatting lesson, and promised to squat some more in their free time. They are now well prepared, and even looking forward to facing the real thing in China. I am so proud of my parenting skill…

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An old roommate once told me that I come from a very old soul. He said that I had started out as a T-Rex. I liked the idea, as this explained why I am so carnivorous. I love meat!

I was thrilled when hubby took us to Alexander’s Steakhouse recently to celebrate a special occasion. They are one of the few steakhouses that serve real Japanese Kobe steak. People who have been there have highly recommended the place to me.

Upon entering Alexander’s Steakhouse, an impressive presentation of large chunks of meat and various cuts of raw steaks come into view through a very large window. The restaurant itself is rather massive, with many different rooms. It has a formal atmosphere created by an aura of dark wood, dim lighting, and quiet patrons, mixed in with a small army of expressionless fast moving waiters in their penguin suits.

We got lucky; we got a waiter with a charming English accent. I am easily charmed by English accents, as long as the accent is not accompanied by a snobbish attitude. Our waiter did not have an attitude, and was quite knowledgeable of their extensive menu. Best of all, he is not pushy. He lets us order what we wanted to eat.

The food did not disappoint. The Kobe fillet was out of this world. No wonder these Japanese cows are so prized. They ARE special!

Toward the end of my meal, our waiter stopped by to give me a resume grade piece of paper. It was a certificate that showed my steak was real Japanese Kobe. This was a Rainforest Cafe moment for me in this very serious eating experience. I tried really hard to keep a straight face as I examined my certificate, but unable to contain myself, I burst into laughter, and said to our waiter, “Now I can prove to my friends that I really did have Kobe, perhaps I should frame it.” Our waiter didn’t budge, kept his straight face and proceeded to point out the great lineage my steak had come from. Indeed, this certificate showed my cow and his family tree all the way to his great grandfathers. My steak had a name, a royal like name: Kotofuku V.

As we were leaving the restaurant with the certificate in my hand, I was worn down by a bit of guilty conscience. I had eaten many steaks before, but this is the first time I knew the victim’s name. I no longer recalled my juicy steak as a 8oz piece of meat, I had the whole cow in my head.

At home, I was still studying my certificate by the kitchen island. “I wish they didn’t give my steak a name,” I said half to myself and to anyone else who might be listening. “The nose print, the ID number, and where it was raised would be good enough.” I added to myself. “Why do they have to give the poor fellow such a fancy name?”

Finally, my husband came over and leaned over my paper, “Well, did you enjoy Kotofuku the V?”

“Yes, I did.” I said without hesitation.

“Maybe next time you go there, you can tell them that you really enjoyed Kotofuku the V, and you would like to try a piece of Kotofuku the IV.” Hubby suggested.

“….oh….so when are you planning to take me back there?” I asked.

Hubby turned and left…I didn’t get an answer.

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Category: Parents  4 Comments

Hubby has been working insane hours these past few months. So much so, that we haven’t seen much of him during the week. Last night, he came home early to surprise us. The four of us enjoyed a family dinner together. And since it was still light out, we even went out for a walk. Hubby and I put the kids to bed at their usual school night bedtime at 8:30PM. Then we claimed the rest of the evening to ourselves. We shared a glass of wine, fired up an artichoke, and watched a double feature of previously recorded CSI and The Mentalist. It was so relaxing… We felt like couple of nerdy kids on a Friday night, enjoying a cheap date.

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Category: Parents  Leave a Comment

“Mom! I think Mrs. Caldwell would be horrified at what happened in our Chinese class tonight!” My nine-year-old shouted out as soon as we got into our car last Friday night.

“What happened in your class?” I asked rather calmly.

My nine-year-old leaned forward, and said, “Mom, last Friday, we had a VERY difficult test. And as it turned out lots of kids didn’t do well on that test. So, today, our teacher came in with a stack of the test papers, and she called all the kids that didn’t do well to stand up one by one, and showed the whole class their test papers!”


“A third of the students stood up! I was so scared that she would call my name. I didn’t want to stand up, and have the sitting-down-kids think I am a dumb kid!”

“Did you have to stand up?” I asked.


“Why do you think Mrs. Caldwell would be so horrified?” I asked.

“Mrs. Caldwell never shares our tests with the whole class. And she is not happy with you, if she finds out that you have been talking about test scores with other kids even during recess,” my nine-year-old replied.

I was mostly amused by my nine-year-olds’ shocking evening. I like Ms. Jiang. She has a kind face.

Ms. Jiang is actually a caring teacher, genuinely interested in seeing her kids learn Chinese, and learn it well. She often brings a bag of treats with her to her class. She uses these treats as rewards to encourage her class. Her treats aren’t the kinds that feature age old Halloween candies. Ms Jiang brings in those cute erasers, pens, pencils that are especially appealing to children. Usually, around 9:00PM on Friday nights, Ms. Jiang’s class would have the most wide-awake kids, with their hands high up in the air, some waving for a better chance to win a prize from her treat bag.

On the drive back home, I told my two children about the difference between their everyday school and their Chinese school. I told them that Chinese schools can be vicious, because they deem it okay to use humiliation, peer pressure, and fear as proper learning tools to motivate children. So, they should be careful, and always be well prepared for their Chinese tests.

Then I told my kids that here in America, privacy is highly regarded and requires our deepest respect, even the privacy of small children, and especially the small children’s test scores. So, the teachers like to keep these grades in secret and only share them with the people that matter, which would be the parents. And parents behave much worse than the classmates if they see their children with poor report cards. So they should be careful, and always come home with A+ grades.

“You know, I was a dumb kid…” with a smirk on my face, I was prepared to just ramble on and on until we got home, but then I was interrupted…

“What do you think Mrs. Caldwell will have to say?” My nine-year-old wanted to get back to the original question.

“Hum…..why don’t you just ask her on Monday and find out?” Realizing that no one asked for my opinion on the matter, I opted to support my child’s curiosity, and to seek the answer from the direct source.

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