Archives for posts with tag: inspiration

As immigrants who later became US citizens, my parents (who spoke minimal English), never voted. They believed their votes didn’t count, so they never bothered. Growing up, voting was something other people did, just not us. We just didn’t care and I never saw the importance of it…until 2008, yes, very late in my “voting” life.

It’s cliche to say “it’s a different world now.” Well it is, almost every night during dinner my boys and l analyzed the local issues on the ballot, we learned more about the election process and of course we discussed the presidential candidates.

Tonight and in past elections, I took them to the polling place so they are very much aware of what the election is about and how important it is. It is a privilege, and not to be taken for granted. No matter how rich or how poor you are, no matter how old or how young (at voting age), everyone gets ONE vote. I explained to them many people had fought hard for us to so that our voices can be heard heard. So yes, this is a different and better world.

p.s. Thank you to all the volunteers at the polling place all over for your hard work and dedication.

May the best woman win!


Two great news to share!

One is Ah Lo made it to the basketball team (same team as his cousin) he’s been trying out. I know that he wasn’t the best player who tried out, but he does have the height advantage. We’ve tried a few teams/leagues in the past, but most of these teams don’t have many serious players. With a straight losing streak, there were self doubts and discouragements which often lead to performance blocks. There were times he didn’t want to play at all. My sister invited him to practice with her son’s team last year. Though there’s plenty of room for improvement on this team, but I can see the commitment dedication in the coaches and families. The coaches not only foster positive attitude, they also believe in each player and his abilities, maximizes their talents, and make each contribute to the team. With this team, I hope Ah Lo can improve his basketball skills and grow with his team.


Next great news was today a letter came in the mail from “Creative Kids” Magazine. A few weeks ago, I started sending Ah Lo’s poems to kids’ magazines and various publications. I have totally forgotten about it. Today the letter came and said they would like to publish one of his poems called “The Golden Grand Piano.” I was ecstatic even when Mr. Piggy opened the letter and mentioned “what’s this Creative Kids?”  Anyway, hope this encourages him to write more.

“The Golden Grand Piano”

A blur of fingers moving on black and white,

notes spilling out as fast as raindrops falling,

slower and faster again,

louder and softer as it nears the end,

but no, turning the page,

another sheet of music,

a masterpiece of art written to inspire,

memorizing as I go,

making no mistakes,

and ending with perfection.

Tonight was Back to School Night for the elementary school. By now, we pretty much know the drill, but the excitement still fills the mind. Though we know the teacher (and very grateful for having her), we still like to know everything that happens (or will) in her class. After the informational meeting, we were encouraged to walk around the class and see our child’s work. We saw art work, self portraits, crafts they’ve done so far, and then there was this poem.


Never been to a tea party but always thought about hosting one! Earlier the week I asked my middle school friends to see if they were up for a small gathering. This group of people are so hard to come together because of busy schedules. Surprisingly everyone could make it on this date and this time. So I bought some fresh flowers and decorated a tad bit to suit for this theme.


I made turkey sandwiches, baked banana bread and rose pastry for our little gathering. At the end, everyone thanked me for the party. However, it should be the other way around, I should be the one thanking them for giving me this chance to host a tea party, the friendship and the laughters.

Another crazy busy out-an-about weekend with the boys. After baseball practice, we grabbed a quick bite. Drove to a certified bike shop to check their bikes and helmets for their triathlon tomorrow. Unfortunately, one of the helmets had a crack and didn’t pass the inspection. We were disappointed because we purposely went a day early to this place to avoid the long lines tomorrow. Now we must show up a bit earlier to get another helmet checked so the boys can compete at the triathlon. The positive side was that glad the folks here didn’t take the inspection lightly.


After the check, we decided last minute to go the maker’s faire in that area. I’ve heard so much about this but never had the chance to check it out. Of course, with the last minute plan, we were stuck with paying the tickets at the door (which is always more expensive). At $45 (adult) and $20 (kids), it was hefty since we were there at 2pm. Still, I found it amazing as there was so much cool things to see, to touch, to hear and to learn! Many schools came out to showcase their innovative creations. There were many hands-on activities for adults and kids. A little crowded at certain areas, it was pretty fun to spend the afternoon. We left towards closing (and boys were exhausted at this point – from baseball practice and all the walking).


Note to self: Next year – plan ahead and try not to drive.

I am still teaching Chinese, 4 nights a week, right after dinner. Yes, it’s tiring and sometimes I want to skip it. Then again, it has become a routine now that the boys (Ah Lo, mostly) asked what’s for Chinese? This is the drive to keep going because he initiates it. There are nights when we have more time, like tonight, where lessons are longer. I’ve even learned a great strategy to teach Dai Bee first. Often times he is ahead of schedule because he still remembers many Chinese characters. Lately after teaching him, I ask him to teach Ah Lo. This helps Dai Bee review his material and also to help Ah Lo learn from his peer. I do chime in when Dai Bee is too harsh on Ah Lo, which he can be sometimes.

Tonight I am teaching them the measurements.


Boys have started with a new league this year (playing for separate grades). For Dai Bee’s team, so far, they lost 2 games out of the 7. Ah Lo’s team won once so far. The wins in Dai Bee’s team motivates him to practice more. To him, he feels that he’s the worst player in the team. So any chance he gets, he wants to practice, whether in the garage at home, or in the playground. Lately, he sets goals for himself when he practices at the playground. Today, he wouldn’t leave until he made 5 free throws in a row. Brrrrr….


Dai Bee’s determination also encouraged Ah Lo to hone his dribbling skills. On a dry day (even though it’s in the 50’s), you will find us at the playground a good chunk of time on any given weekend. The boys will practice while I freeze in the cold. That’s ok, that’s what mothers do, I guess.


A couple weeks ago, I received this in the mail:


At that time, I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t even know what this was for because I had totally forgotten about his SAT. Until recently, I received his SAT score from the College Board with explanations of how he did. Apparently, he did superb on his SAT, scored at the top 5% of his peers who took the test. For math, he scored higher than 84% of last year’s group of college-bound seniors, 70% higher than last year’s group of college-bound seniors in reading, and 42% higher than last year’s group of college-bound seniors in writing.

Does this mean he is ready for college?

Busy day in the kitchen for me on Sundays while the kids can play catch up with homework and house chores from a hectic Saturday.

Luckily Mr. Piggy has an addendum to the boys’ agenda in the afternoon to sway them away from video games. Mr. Piggy brought home a broken flat screen tv from his grandparents. The boys were asked to dissect it to see what’s inside. This project works out to be a great bonding time for father and sons.


Making soup, preparing meals for the week (chili), cooking dinner (bake pork chop over rice) surely take up a good chunk of the day!

We spent another Saturday morning finishing up the details with the reindeers to get ready for the Christmas countdown.


Yay! All 24 of them up on display. Every year, I’d ask the boys and the Girl if they want to do this, and yes, every year they would answer with enthusiasm, of course! So every year, I would think of something different for the countdown. It’s a lot of work, but that’s part of the joy.

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In the afternoon, I was tired of all the cooking and cleaning for the last two days, and so we went out and tried Puerto Rican food in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. It’s definitely different and absolutely glad we made the decision to try it. The food (roast pork) was amazing and prices are very reasonable. We should definitely come back.