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目前分類:生活日記 (35)

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What Have I Been Up To?

 

I don’t know if you care. If you have been asking me questions or following my blog, you might find that it takes much longer now for me to post a response or an article. As my kids grow older, I am spending more and more time with them to monitor their schoolwork and to make sure that they have completed their school assignments. The time left after work and after being with family becomes less and less affordable for me to write an article or respond to any question. I do welcome all kinds of questions, as you can tell that I do love being asked. I will respond within my ability and if time permits, as long as you don’t mind waiting.

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My Summer Headache

Summer is approaching and I am getting a headache with where I can place my daughter when she is let out of school with 3 months of free time.  If you have been following my blog, you will probably get a glimpse of my daughter’s personality.  She is something.  She is so adorable, yet extremely hard to deal with.  She complains about boredom all the time.  You would think that kids at her age would be so excited when they hear that they are going on a field trip.  NO.  Not her.  When the school is off and I put her on the off-school care where kids go on a field trip, she gets upset with me.  Field trips are dumb and boring as she loudly proclaimed.  Not all field trips are boring to her, probably the ones that provide no educational values.  The field trips offered by the school are usually good because she learns something from visiting the Art Museum, the Science Museum or the Zoo.  A field trip to see a movie or a ball game offered by the off-school care is probably no fun for her.  Though she keeps telling me that kindergarten is boring, she feels it even worse staying with the after school care with all the free time she gets.  She is so happy that she gets to go to the Chinese after school program three times a week away from the after school care where free play is usually what kids do without any structure. 

 

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It’s never too late to learn a new skill - My experience in learning how to bike

 

This was first written in August 2011, published in the note in my facebook account.  I decided to publish this article in my blog as well.  The entire event took place in August 2011.

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A Scary and Bumpy Ride

 

It was a scary and bumpy ride this morning. The commute to work was pretty bad. We were basically sliding on a thick layer of ice, kind of like the shaved ice refrozen, bumping all the way to work.

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Something New

 

I am trying something new this year.  It is not a New Year resolution as there is not a goal attached.  About 2 weeks ago, I started doing 50 curl ups a day.  In about half a week, I increased the number of curl ups to 100 a day.  Then I set ten minutes aside each day before I go to bed to do the curl ups.  Why curl ups? Why ten minutes?  It is to ensure that I don’t break my neck or wreck my back.  In addition, we often find the following excuses not to do something.  We don’t have enough time.  It is too boring.  We are too tired.  It is too difficult and painful.  Starting with something small is easier to build up our confidence and maintain our interest.  I didn’t think of setting any goal. Just 10 minutes of curl ups a day for now.  It is easier to start slowly.  A little is better than nothing.  By the way, I am now doing 200 curl ups in 10 minutes.  Eventually, I will increase the work out time to 15 minutes a day if I feel comfortable.    

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Can you imagine that I have never ridden a bike?  Actually, I started learning new skills after I started working.  I started learning how to swim and started picking up the sport of playing squash and racquetball.  I started taking various dance lessons such as African movement, Jazz, Tap Dance, Flamenco and Arabic Dance.  I was having the time of my life until I have kids and all the lessons and sporting activities stopped.  It is a different kind of fun raising a family.  Seeing my kids and my husband riding bikes in the park, I started wondering if I should learn to ride a bike.  A few weeks ago, I told my husband that I wanted to buy a bike, short enough so that I could put my feet down if I wanted to stop the bike.  I got a 24” bike.  It helps to get rid of the fear factor.  

 

I thought that if a toddler can learn how to bike, so can I.  I will just do the same way as the toddlers do, gliding down the hill without pedaling, then gradually putting the feet on the pedals and starting to pedal.  I didn't realize that it was so easy to learn to bike.  It only took me 30 minutes to learn to bike.  I should have done it earlier.  I haven’t really mastered the skill yet as I still struggle to ride uphill being not good at switching the gear.  Anyway, I just want to say that it is never too late to learn new tricks.  Now, my problem is to get my daughter to bike with us.  She used to enjoy teasing me for not able to bike.          

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A Copycat

 

I am sorry that I have to bore you with yet another article related to cats.

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Feeling Guilty

 

One of the reasons that I have resisted having a pet is to avoid the feelings of guilt. If you have been reading my articles lately, you will know that a stray cat came to our deck two and a half weeks ago. It has been with us ever since the day that my husband let it in when asking if my son wanted to see a cat. We are keeping the cat since we couldn’t locate the owner. Even though this cat doesn’t demonstrate any trait of a feral cat, there is the possibility that he could be one, a descendant of a domesticated cat that has returned to the wild, rather than a stray cat which is a pet cat that has been lost, an explanation to why nobody came forward to claim him.

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In Denial

You can probably read between the lines that I am in denial.  YES, I AM IN DENIAL.  I have not totally convinced myself that I am ready to be a cat owner even though the cat has been with us for about a week since we found him wandering on our deck.  I am still patiently waiting for the cat owner to show up.  It is hard for me to believe that the owner would just dump the cat on the street.  If the owner no longer loves the cat or is able to afford to keep the cat, wouldn’t it make more sense to give it to the shelter?   At least by doing so, there will some traceable records about the cat.  The new owner will be able to know if the cat has been spayed/ neutered or vaccinated or if there are any medical conditions and treatments.   

 

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I decided to post another entry about the cat. 

 

The cat is still with us.  Nobody has approached us to claim the cat yet.  It has been more than a week since we found him.  We found the cat wandering on our deck around 10am on Saturday, 4/30/11.  I later found out that some other people had also seen him that morning as well.  One is our next door neighbor who saw him near our neighborhood and the other is a woman who saw him at the school while walking her dog.   That woman mentioned to me that she was contemplating of adopting the cat in the event that the cat is a stray but gave up the idea in fear that her cat would not get along with the newcomer.  Our neighbor who posted the fliers and kept him for two days also indicated that they could not adopt the cat because they have a declawed cat at home.  The mystery of a declawed cat!

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I have said in the past that nothing is absolute.  Now I want to say that unpredictability surrounds everywhere. 

Can you imagine running into snow shower as late as the end of April?  Can you imagine witnessing sleet in early May?  You probably can’t imagine all of that, but I did experience all of it.  We had a solid six months of winter, an extremely long winter.  Just two days ago, I was finally able to take off the outer layer of my snow jacket and wear the inner fleece jacket instead. 

Last Saturday, a cat dropped by our house out of the blue.  By the way, I am not a pet person. I did not grow up with a pet.  To be honest, I don’t think that I can handle pets.  I can’t stand the odor, the shedding of animal hair, the damage of the furniture, the peeing and pooping accidents, and etc.  The list just goes on.  We have walked away from adopting dogs when we visited the pet store to buy pet fish.  Yes, I do keep pet fish as a compromise.  It is easy and cheap to keep an aquarium.  You only need to clean half of the tank once a week and they are confined to a small fish tank.  You don’t have to take them to the clinic to get shots or worry about them getting lonely.  I am able to keep six tiny fish in a ten gallon fish tank.  In addition, you don’t have to worry about leaving them home alone for two or three weeks.    

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My rambling thoughts after attending the school concert

 

My son asked, “Do I have to go to the concert?”  We questioned, “Are there kids not going?”  My son replied, “XXX is not going.”  I argued, “If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to.  But you may miss out the fun.”  Above are the conversations we had with my son a few days ago.  The night before the concert, he told us that he wanted to attend.  By the way, our school’s concert is called “The Box”.  "The Box" is a musical celebration of the boundless imagination found in every child-imagination that can turn a piece of brown cardboard into a world of possibilities. 

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This is just a journal of our recent vacation.

 

The weather is so nice at this time of the year in this location. It has been years that I have not sat in the balcony under the starry night. The warm breeze feels so soothing. I really enjoy not so much of the view of where we stayed but the tranquility of the nature. We stayed at The Westin Kierland Villas. It is odd but probably natural that not a sound of insects was heard, neither a cicada shrilling nor a frog croaking. Maybe, this land is just too dry for most insects to survive. I often wonder why people would spend millions building golf courses in this location. Water is scarce and precious here. A waste of natural resource I would say to water the greens and maintain so many golf courses. But then that is just my own opinion since I am not a golf enthusiast.

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There is really not much to talk about in Minnesota other than the extreme cold, the snow and the ice when winter lasts about 7 months.    

 

This morning, extremely cold temperatures have pushed Minnesota into a deep freeze.  Temperatures, even without the wind chill factor, dropped to below zero double digits.  This morning, I have my kids bundled up in layers and myself in my snow boots which have warm felt liners that can protect toes down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, a thermal hat, my ski gloves and my snow pants, and get inside our car enabled with seat-warmer, ready to head out to the school.  Even though I have lived in Minnesota for so many years, I cannot leave the house without bundling myself up in this extremely cold weather.  Our kids are tougher than me.      

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Where to ski in or near Minnesota?

 

Some of you might have known that my son has enrolled in the Ski School this winter and gets to go skiing at different ski terrain parks each week for the entire day.  He is having a lot of fun skiing.  Here are the ski terrain parks that he went to for the past few weekends.  If you happen to be in Minnesota in the winter, you may want to check out those ski terrain parks.   

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Can you guess what awaits us this weekend?  Can you imagine a foot (30.48 centimeters) of snow dumped in a day?  Starting from Friday midnight, we will see an inch-and-a half snow falling per hour throughout the night.  In addition to the snow, there will be gusty wind whipping flakes all around, making it a white-out condition, creating near zero visibility.  We will also see temperatures falling to as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the gusty wind, it feels more like -39 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 °C) counting the windchill factor.  Can you imagine ice crystals glittering on your eyelashes and nostrils frozen from breathing in the cold air that you can't stop coughing? 

 

 

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Yesterday, we woke up with ground covered with ice, so we stayed home all day.  Our driveway entrance is right at the cul-de-sac's inlet with the wide expanse of the tarmac circle right in front of our house.  If you follow the street without turning onto another street, you will head into our driveway and into our garage. 

 

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that since we live on a cul-de-sac, we are able to see everything that happens in our neighborhood on the street that leads to our house right in front of us as we sit on our sofa in our living room.  That day, we saw a young couple, who moved in earlier this year, sitting their toddlers on the sleds and sliding down the street all the way onto our driveway.  There was only one car on the road.  The driver was delivering the newspaper.  He was pretty late since it was really slippery on the road.  Though it might seem fun, it was somewhat risky to slide on the road where cars might skid onto the kids.  My son wanted to go out and play but I discouraged him. I am not a daredevil to try stunts like that.  A couple hours later, I saw another neighbor with four kids riding on two snow sleds on the street again.  They stopped short in front of our driveway. 

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Lost in Translation?

 

A term can differ in meaning used by people speaking the same language but from different regions or in different strata.  Last Saturday was the first time I ran into a situation where the difference in usage can create such a huge misunderstanding and commotion.  Maybe I should just speak English the next time. 

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Gone with the wind

  

I am kind of sad to see two of the mature evergreen blue spruce trees vaporizing in thin air.  They were planted 40 years ago to mark the borders between our house and our neighbors’.  They had grown to roughly 3 ½ stories high.  The wind on Tuesday, as strong as a category two hurricane, knocked down both trees and pulled them up from the roots.  The tree closer to our garage had a huge base in which many small animals like to hide.  We have seen chipmunks, rabbits and turtles hiding in there.  Since they were planted to mark the borders of our houses, they were owned by us and our neighbor.  One of the tree fell down on top of my neighbor’s roof and the other fell down on our drive way.  Luckily, they didn’t create much damage.    

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An analyst assigned to my project came to see me today to discuss testing and installation.  She was intrigued by the family pictures that I hanged on the wall.  The beauty of the gorge, valley and mountains in Taroko National Park captured her eyes.  I told her that they were pictures taken in Hualien, Taiwan.  She told me of her first trip outside of her home town when she was seventeen years old traveling alone to Taipei, Taiwan.  I was surprised to learn that she does not speak Mandarin but she could read the traditional Chinese characters without problem.  My thoughts went astray.  How could she have poor command of the English language, yet does not speak Mandarin at all?  How could she understand the traditional Chinese characters, yet has no knowledge of the spoken language, Mandarin?  I know.  I am so bad.  I shouldn’t be so presumptuous.  Looks can be deceiving.  She has a facial feature like a Chinese.  You would not think of her as someone from other ethnic groups. 

 

It was interesting to hear her claiming to be the descendant of the royal family of the Song Dynasty that moved to Korea.  She further stated that she kept her last name “Song” as her middle name to carry on her heritage.  She went on with the story of how the royal family tree only kept a record of the sons but not the daughters, so her name was not recorded.  Anyway, she sure pulled a prank on me because I suck at Chinese History.  If she was not pulling a prank on me, she must also suck at Chinese History.  Don’t laugh at me.  I only vaguely remembered that “Kuangyin” was the founder of the Song Dynasty. 

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