Visiting Minnesota State Fair

Today I spent the whole day at the Minnesota State Fair.

In the morning I volunteered for Mn/DOT booth in the Education Building, greeting visitors and handing out maps and fans, our two most popular items. This is the third year I have worked at the booth.

In the afternoon I visited the Fair with my kids. We went to see the displays of their winning art works and poems in the Education Building. I took some pictures.

We walked a lot. At the end of the day, we were tired.

As for the State Fair food, my kids had a hot dog, root beer floats, snow cones. I wasn’t interested in the junk food. I had fruits and veggies from home.

 Amy’s 1st place in poem collection

 Amy’s 2nd place in pastel.

 Andy’s 1st place in markers

 Andy’s 4th place in water color.

 Andy’s 4th place in poem collection

Volunteering at Woodbury Days

Today my kids and I went to Woodbury Days. We had fun volunteering for the info booth and visiting the business fair. 

Every year since we moved to Woodbury in 2001, we have visited this fun community event. We like to walk around and get to know the local businesses.

I found our home church Spirit of Life Bible Church through Woodbury Days in 2004. They were giving away Rick Warren’s popular book “The Purpose-Driven Life.” I singed up for the book drawing, went to the 10 week book study offered by the church in the fall, liked it, and stayed with the church ever since.

During the 2006 Woodbury Days, I stopped by at the Woodbury Bulletin booth and inquired about how I could become a regular contributor for this local paper.  A few months later, I became a columnist for Woodbury Bulletin.

My kids like the coin hunt, parade and other fun activities and games. There are usually a lot of goodies to take home. They have become less though as the economy tanked.

In the past I had volunteered for my church booth and the local Chinese school – Minnesota Jinglun Chinese School

Since 2008 I have volunteered for the Woodbury Days Info booth.

This year was the first time I signed my kids up for volunteering at the Info booth. I saw other junior volunteers who were younger than my kids. So I thought it’s time that they join me in volunteering. I think it was a good experience and we will continue next year. 

The 2010 Woodbury Days started Friday, Aug. 27 and will end Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010.

2010 Woodbury photo contest

Today I submitted a photo to the 2010 Woodbury photo contest.

I really like the change made in how the entries are submitted. In the past I had to get the photos printed, mounted and mailed/delivered to the City Hall.

Now I can submit the entries online, without any hassle. It is the advantage of technology.

The 12th annual “Focus on Woodbury” photo contest is accepting submissions through the month of August. Entries are due by Aug. 31. Rreaders will select the winner during the month of September.

The contest is open to people who live, work or go to school in Woodbury. Entries are limited to three per person. Photos may be submitted in the following categories: people and families; activities and events; landmarks; pets; wildlife and nature.

The contest is sponsored by Woodbury Magazine and the City of Woodbury.

In 2005 a photo of my son won the first place in the Woodbury photo contest. It is currently posted on the City of Woodbury Parks & Recreation Online Class Registration website.

 Woodbury photo contest 1st place winner in 2005.

Something to be treasured

Lake Middle School held its Back to School Kick-Off in the last three days. My son Andy and I went today after I got home from work. He is going to be a 7th grader.

Andy brought his school supplies, picked up his schedule, found out where the classrooms will be, and had his school picture taken. He also got his 2009/2010 yearbook that he missed at the end of the last school year due to our trip to China.
Every year my two kids get their new yearbooks at their schools. They like to look at their old and new yearbooks. Yearbooks are really nice and something to be treasured.
I wish I had yearbooks, but I don’t have a single one.
When I went to schools in China, we simply didn’t have yearbooks. Memory has faded over the years. Now I hardly remember my teachers and classmates from schools. I don’t have any pictures to remind me of my school years. They are history, gone, leaving no trace and no record.
It feels like my life was broken and lost for a number of years.
My kids are lucky to have yearbooks. I have kept all of their yearbooks safely for them to enjoy in the years to come.
Posted in Uncategorized

Winning at 2010 Minnesota State Fair

The annual Minnesota State Fair started today.

I was really excited to find out that my kids won several prizes at the State Fair.  My daughter Amy got the first place in her age group for her poem collection and the second place for her pastel drawing.

My son Andy won the first place for a marker drawing and two fourth places for his watercolor drawing and poem collection. I was especially happy for my son to win this year. Because last year my daughter won four prizes at the State Fair for her drawings and poems, and Andy didn’t win anything. He was disappointed.

I hope Andy got some encouragement with this year’s winning and will continue to draw and write poems.

 Amy’s pastel drawing

A love/hate relationship

Love and hate often go hand in hand in relationships. Some people also use the term to describe their relationship with food.   

Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Do you love and hate food at the same time?


We love certain food, but then hate what it does to our health and waistline. We love junk food because it tastes really good and makes us happy, but then we hate it because it makes us fat and unhappy.
Personally I don’t have a love/hate relationship with food, because the term is too strong to use for me. There is really not anything that I love so much or hate so much.

Yes, I like certain kinds of food better than others. I like to eat any kind of vegetable or fruit, and don’t like meat much. I won’t try any beef or lamb. That’s all.
But I can’t think of a better term or analogy for what I want to say. So let me just borrow the term here.
I am not fond of American food, because I am not used to it.
When my son tells me that he eats hamburgers and cheeseburgers at school, I often say to him: “Why do you eat that stuff?” 

For me, Chinese food is the best in the world.
Interestingly, when we were in China visiting different cities, we were invited to many banquets and dinners at the restaurants, excellent restaurants with delicious food. Lots of seafood, because seafood is considered the best and is the most expensive food in China.
During those meal times, having in front of us the big round table full of yummy dishes, my kids usually complained: “There is nothing good to eat. I am hungry.”
They didn’t like the delicious food on the table. McDonald’s and KFC would be much more desirable for them.
What we eat as kids affect what food we like and don’t like.
When it comes to going out to eat in the US, my favorite place is Chinese buffet. Any time I choose, it’s the Chinese buffet.
I like it because it’s cheap and fast. Not need to order, no need to wait. The moment you walk in, you can start to load your plate and eat. It’s faster than the fast food at McDonald’s.
I can try different varieties of food. If I go to a conventional restaurant in the US, I have no way to try different things. I get stuck with one or two dishes ordered, even if I don’t like them. At a buffet restaurant, I can pick and choose, taste something and get more if I like it.
I can try and have everything I want, from drinks, soups, appetizers, hot and cold dishes to fruit and desserts. Everything included in a reasonable price.
The only problem is I tend to eat too much, way more than I normally eat at home.
Today a few colleagues in my office went out to eat to celebrate a retirement. That was my idea, so naturally we went to a Chinese buffet.
I ate two plates of rice noodles, veggies, salmon, shrimps, and one plate of fruit. I was stuffed. I knew I had to skip dinner. That’s usually what I do.
I “love” Chinese buffet, but “hate” it afterwards when I feel the effect of eating too much. My tummy feels overloaded and overworked. It gives me an unusual bad taste in my mouth. I have to drink more water, because the food makes me thirsty.
So I have a love/hate relationship with Chinese buffet.
That’s why I don’t go out to eat much. I usually have home-cooked meals, light and healthy. It’s good for my waistline, my health and my wallet.

IBC – what every woman should know

IBC (Inflammatory breast cancer ) is a kind of breast cancer that not many people know about. A friend forwarded me the following video link.

Please pass it on to the women in your circle of friends and influence. This is something every woman should at least have heard about and know something about.

Also check the following links for more info.

National Cancer Institute


Mayo Clinic

IBC Research Foundation

IBC Foundation

IBC Association

IBC Support

More school days

Lately several people have asked me casually: “Are your kids ready for going back to school?” 

My response is: “I am more than ready for them to go back to school.” 

We spent seven weeks in China this summer. When we came back in mid July, we still have almost eight weeks to go before school starts on Sept. 7. 

My kids have been staying home with grandparents, sleeping in almost every day, playing, reading, doing some homework. They are watching more TV than ever before.  

For me, three month summer break is a loooong break without school. It’s too long. It’s getting boring for them (or maybe not, because my daughter said she likes to be home). But honestly, I am getting tired of them wasting time in watching more TV, playing video games and fighting with each other.  

More importantly, I want them to spend more time at school learning. That’s why I want a longer school year (read my Woodbury Bulletin column 9/5/2007).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Too many school supplies?

Summer is almost over. It’s time to get ready for the new school year which means to buy school supplies. 

My daughter is going  to be a 5th grader this fall. There are about 20 items on her school supply list. Among them are: 

  • 10 single subject spiral bound notebooks
  • 10-12 colored pens 
  • 4 dozen #2 sharpened pencils 
  • etc. 

Since my son started school in 2003, I have to deal with school supplies. My impression has always been that schools ask for too many supplies. It seems excessive. When kids have too much, more than they need, they become wasteful. 

I don’t know how many used notebooks, pens, pencils, markers, etc. I have at home. My kids bring them home at the end of the school year. Some of the notebooks are like new, or used only a few pages. Pen and pencils are still fine to use, but they are abandoned. When a new school year comes, we have to buy everything new again. 

No, I don’t have any problems buying school supplies. They are dirty cheap. In fact, they are literally cheaper than dirt. You can buy notebooks, papers, pens and pencils for pennies when they are on sale in August.  

But I do have a problem with wasteful behavior.  

How can a student use 4 dozens of pencils in one school year? Kids learn nothing but wasteful behavior when they have too much. 

Two years ago, my son helped a kindergarten teacher do cleanup on the last day of school. When he came home, he brought several packs of colored pencils and markers. They were practically new. He said the teacher was giving or throwing supplies away. I was surprised. Why didn’t the teacher return the supplies to students? 

For people who can’t afford school supplies, here is a tip. Visit your kid’s school on the last day of school, you can find lots of supplies in the trash. 

I didn’t make this up, I actually read the tip somewhere. 

Every year, my kids ask me to buy them new backpacks, because “everyone gets a new backpack and new supplies.”  

My son has used his current backpack for at least three years. It is still in good shape. I keep telling him: “You don’t need a new one, just because everyone else gets a new one.” 

It bothers me. Not that I can’t afford a new backpack once a year, but I don’t want to buy a new one while the old one is still in good shape. 

I don’t know how long I can hold my ground. 

When I was in school, things were simple. I didn’t have any school supply list. My parents definitely didn’t buy me a new backpack every year. I don’t remember, but it’s safe to say, I probably used the same one for several years. I probably just had a couple of pencils and a bag to carry books and notebooks. I used everything till there was nothing left or totally worn out. We had no extra half used notebooks and pencils in the house. 

I do remember once I had to stay in line for a long time to buy new erasers that were not the plain kind and just came on market. I was so excited to get a new eraser that looked pretty with some design on it.  

Nowadays, we have so much extra in everything, from school supplies to clothing, shoes and food. No wonder every house is so cluttered.  

And I don’t think school age kids in the US will ever get excited to get a new eraser. The bar is much higher now.    

A lot of waste is going on in our society, not only in our schools, but also in our offices and in our own homes. 

That’s a concern for me.