Archive for » September, 2010 «


Both of my children attend a large Chinese school in the area with a well deserved reputation for being ferocious. The school packs in a rigorous weekly lesson all in 2 hours every Friday night and then the students are sent home to digest the lesson with a week’s worth of intense daily homework. Three times a year, the students endure a painful final exam to gauge how well they absorbed the curriculum.

Unbeknownst to me, my baby’s 2nd grade Chinese class started a weekly “spelling” test since the beginning of this school year. Since I didn’t know about it, practicing for a “spelling” test didn’t make it into our daily homework routine. If you know a thing or two about taking a Chinese character test, you can image what the test results would look like if a student is caught unprepared–especially if the student is a little kid.

Both of my children have been spoiling me with good grades, and we are unaccustomed to such utter defeat on a piece of paper! Yikes!!

When this was finally brought to my attention, I kept quiet and did not make it into a big fuss, but took immediate actions to correct this unfortunate little embarrassment. Everyday of last week, I had my baby practice all of the Chinese characters a whole bunch of times, then we took practice tests, then more writing, more practice tests, more writing… By Friday, we were confident that the baby knew all the characters by heart, and would pass this test with flying colors.

So, last night, as I was walking my kids to their Chinese school, I happily put my arm around my baby, and said proudly, “Tasterbach, your Chinese teacher will be so surprised! You are going to get an A+ on this test.”

“Yeah. She will be so surprised. Because I did really badly on my tests before.” The baby agreed happily.

“What’s really bad? Like an F?” said my 10 year old.

“No. Not a F. My children would never bring home a F.” I covered for the baby.

“No! I did worse than an F!” Tasterbach boldly exclaimed.

“What’s worse than F?!” asked my 10-year-old.


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I am a serious creature of habit. Every Friday night, after I drop off the kids to their Chinese School, I drive to my favorite local Mexican restaurant and order my favorite burrito to go.

I order my favorite burrito like this: “I’ll have the Deluxe Carnitas Burrito. No beans, no cheese, no sour cream, and no burrito skin.” I wait for my momentary stare from the server/cashier, and then insist, “Yes, just dump everything in a box for me. Please”. Then I will go home with my “burrito” in a box and eat it with a fork.

This restaurant is a popular local eatery that offers authentic Mexican food for Dine In and Take Out customers. The restaurant has a great ambiance. It is spacious, always clean, with a simple décor mixed in with bold Mexican paintings, and rich pastel colored walls.

This busy restaurant is usually only staffed by two people (plus a couple of cooks in the back kitchen). One is tall and skinny, who usually takes the orders, delivers the food, and even buses the tables. The other one is short and round, who prepares the food behind a window panel in open view of the customers. This striking duo is always expressionless, fast moving, and non-talkative. I admire the pair’s efficiency. But I get this feeling that they don’t care much for me. Whenever I order my deluxe Burrito, I sense the two expressionless women exchange a glance that sends a mutual complaint of me.

My sense of their disapproval was finally getting to me, and I began to feel bad for the way I order my burrito.

One Friday night, as we were getting ready for bed, I fathomed to my husband, “I feel bad for going there now, and this is beginning to disturb my perfect Friday routine.” No comment from him. So, I continued, “Maybe I am just paranoid? Why would they be unhappy with me? I pay the same price for a deluxe burrito, and they get to save a whole bunch of ingredients!”

Hubby just smiled and said nothing. He is annoying in that way sometimes. So, I cut to the chase, “What do you think? Maybe I am imaging that all this is torturing the ladies, or do you think they actually don’t like the way I order my burrito?”

Finally, he spoke, “Okay. Just image that you own an authentic little Chinese restaurant, and this Mexican lady keeps come in once a week, and orders your Fried Rice, WITHOUT the rice!”

I weaned myself from my burrito since that conversation. I settled on a substitute. I found the taco only has meat, salsa, onion, and cilantro, which is very close to what I wanted in a burrito, plus or minus a couple of fixings. Now, on just about every Friday, I order a carnitas soft taco and a chicken soft taco, and then buy a side of guacamole to go. At home, I smother the guacamole onto the two tacos myself and eat them with great satisfaction that I offended no one. I also discovered that the expressionless ladies do smile occasionally.

Friday Taco

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Category: Humor, Parents  One Comment

I was driving the kids to school this morning, and my radio was tuned in to a local News station as usual. We were just turning into the main road, when the radio announced, “President Obama made an unprecedented plea to the Quran-burning Pastor. Coming up!” then it cut into commercials.

“What’s a Quran-burning Pastor? Mom” 10-year-old asked from the back seat.

I had to think this question over for a quick moment.

“Today is September 9th. In two more days, it will be September 11th. You kids know about September 11th, right?” I decided to put the explanation into context first.

“We do.” both kids replied.

“Well, on every Nine Eleven, we mark the anniversary, remember those who died, and remember what had happened to our country”, I continued on, “ But there is a crazy group of people, that wants to do crazy things on this September 11th. Do you know what they want to do?”

“They want to build a Mosque on Ground zero!” 10-year-old shouted out.

“Well…. that’s a different group of crazy people.” I chuckled. “This crazy group is actually on the opposite side from that group. This new crazy people are a Christian group lead by a Paster down in Florida, and they want to remember September 11th by burning the Quran, which is the Islamic bible.”

I paused for inputs from the kids, and was met with silence.

“If they burn the Quran, it will piss off a lot more terrorists. And when the terrorists are pissed off, they will want to kill more Americans. So everybody is asking the crazy Pastor to PLEASEEE don’t burn the Quran!”

“Oh!” from the back seat.

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Category: Kids  One Comment

Earlier in the week, my baby and I sat under a tree and were watching my 10 year old’s soccer practice. Then the baby turned, hand an empty snack wrapper over to me, and said. “Here. I am done.”

“Tasterbach, do I look like a trash can to you?!” said I, while crossing my arms.

Tasterbach turned and gave me a good look with wide open eyes.

Then came, “Yes, you do!” “So, here.” shaking the empty wrapper at me.

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Category: Humor, Kids  Leave a Comment