Get Rid of Belly Fat with Smart Food Choices
Battling belly fat is an uphill task. However, smart food choices can help to whittle it away and it’s all in the food.


Fat-Burning Tips to a Slimmer You
How to eat your way to a slimmer you with smart food choices.

Carnegie Hall, Here We Come

 Carnegie Hall, credit:

Carnegie Hall, credit:

It’s not everyday that one gets to play at Carnegie Hall.  So, when we learned that our son, Aaron has been chosen to represent his school wind ensemble to perform at the Band Festival, we couldn’t keep the joy to ourselves.  This will be the most memorable Spring break ever!

My husband made sure that everyone in his family knew, his close friends too. I try to diffuse this “proud” syndrome by only disclosing it to my immediate family.  You must admit that it’s very good restraint–not shouting it out on the mountain top.

The preparation started in earnest.  From booking our airline tickets to making little google searches on things we can do while in NY.  Empire State buidling, city tours, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockfeller and if it rains, which is pretty common, there’s Broadway shows, if you can afford it.

So, from the 4th to the 9th of April, we left footprints all over New York.  Such a place for walking–we walked from 53 rd street to Carnegie Hall.  Crazy- you bet.  In the rain, too–stupid?  Definitely, seeing that the wind chill factor together with early nipppy Spring temperature was enough to make you huddle in the warm of the ever-busy subway.  But no, we walked and enjoyed the views , especially the interesting mix of human traffic.

From the eclectic food to a Chinese opera singer in the subway to the bird-feeding lady (yes in purple and red), New York buzzed with excitement.

As for Aaron, he had his own program with his school.  We hardly saw him.  We watched his wind ensemble performed with our hearts beating away–Carnegie Hall–what a place and what a Spring break.

Go Green with Tea

Goodness of Green Tea

Goodness of Green Tea

Drinking tea may be an art form, hence the birth of  tea houses where you can order a cuppa and sip more than stress away.  Tea promises many health benefits–fights cancer, controls weight gain, reduces stroke and now–fights bad breath and gum disease.  Right, sounds too good to be true?

In a study of 940 middle-aged Japanese men, the m0re green tea a man drank, the less likely was he to have gum disease.  The researchers involved noted that the high levels of polyphenols, antioxidant compounds found in tea may have hindered the strength of the bacteria causing gum disease and crippled its destroying power.

So, sip away your gum disease and bad breath.  Just don’t use that as an excuse for your slack in dental hygiene.

For a wholesome cup of green goodness, just brew some green tea leaves in hot boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes or if you prefer, toss a green tea bag and allow it to steep.  If you prefer it cold, make it as you make the hot version, with half the amount of hot water and then top it with ice.  Spruce it up with a teaspoons (or two) of honey and a slice of lemon.


The Teacher Calls

Your child calls you in the middle of your work day, “Mom?  My Chemistry teacher wants to talk to you?”   Talk to me?  Oh, no, can’t be good!

He gets on the phone and asks, “How are you today?”

Ok, I’m really leary now.  Get to the point.  Tell me what my kid did that warrant this call.

I return the pleasantry and said, “I’m good.  How about you?”

Alright, now tell me.

“Well, I just want to let you know how proud I’m of Aaron.  He received an A in this Chemistry test, one of the three to do so.”

What, come again?  Am I hearing what I’m hearing or is this my supposedly inner voice placating my anxiety?

“Yes, you should be proud too.  Maybe you want to consider celebrating his good work.”

Right. Thank you.

It turned out I wasn’t dreaming.  The teacher did call and I did manage to stumble out my pleasantries despite the whole surreal conversation.

Now, if I were to get these kind of calls more often, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did and that wouldn’t have made my day.  It would be ordinary and quite expected.

I thought of all the years of school my son has been through  and this is the very first call from a school teacher who cares enough to call.  He knows the power of praise.  He knows the power of motivation.  He is one of a kind.  The rarest kind.

If more teachers were to act that way and be genuinely interested in motivating kids, we would be very rich.  Our future would be very rich and bright.

Celebrating Chinese New Year as an Overseas Chinese

I am miles away from home.  Home where Chinese New Year is celebrated with so much gusto and enthusiasm.  The sounds, sights and smell of Chinese New Year is nowhere to be found.  My kids go to school and I’m left to reminiscence about the good old days, typing away.  Just another ordinary day.

On this day, I replay my many memories of Chinese New Year spent in Singapore.  What else do I have to go back on? Days of anticipation before the actual day.  The shopping frenzy, the food hoarding — walking on the crowded streets of Chinatown in search of the best barbecue meats and preserved ducks.  Haggling with food sellers over a bunch of pussy willows, picking through the ginkgo nuts and fussing over the auspicious banners with its sayings. Maybe the right sayings will bring a happier new year.  Well, pretty skeptical but still, red banners are synonymous with ushering a happier year.

My mind goes back to reunion dinners.  The table invites,  with heaps of dishes, some, only served at this time of the year.  The tossing of “yi san,” heralding plenty of luck and the ubiquitous dumplings (don’t they look like gold nuggets?) — every dish has a significance and invariably they revolve around luck, prosperity and goodwill.

What did I have for my reunion dinner here?  A miserly roasted chicken.  Fish is synonymous  with prosperity, so what’s an overseas Chinese to do?  Broil some good luck charms — I hope fish sticks will do. As for dumplings, I have a full mind to wrap some fortunes in those wanton skins but hey, I ran out of time and motivation.  I sure hope it’s the thoughts that count. And oh, I  make a salad.  Well, my mom would cringe at that.  Now, what kind of reunion dinner is that?

It’s not just the food I’m drooling over.  I miss family and friends. All  miles away.  Even phone calls are a far cry from being physically there.

So when my group of overseas Chinese friends call for a celebration, I didn’t hesitate.  We’re going to a Chinese restaurant that features the lion dance today.  Maybe, that will help with this longing for the good old days.

Height:  Does it matter?


Try telling your daughter height is not a problem.  So you’re only 4 feet 7 inches at thirteen?  No big deal–you’ll grow, you see.

No amount of words or goodwill can soothe that out.  Try mixing with thirteen year old girls.  Most over 5 feet tall, boobs quite out there, sometimes, too out there and strutting is their favorite sport.  Boys gawk when they pass and life is truly the cream with the cherry on top.

There she stands, wondering when her game is up.  Or will be ever be up?  Conscious ever of her size.  Dimunitive or petite or dainty is not a pretty word, not in this country where tall and lean is the rage and being precocious is a precious commodity.

So I sign as I drop her off at the curb.  As she talks into the morning throng of middle schoolers, I wonder, when will her puberty gene shows up? A small dainty girl going into the harsh reality of “popular girls” rule and exclusive sub-groups.  Will she survive?  Will she find it in her to take it all in her strike as she strikes up the stairs to her school?

Too many questions and too few answers.  I don’t know.  I was five feet one. The pain I once suffered as taller, prettier girls seem to steal all the limelight and I languished in the shadow of them all. Or maybe not– I did grow resilence and inner resolve, needed to survive the peer pressure game.

I’m still 5 feet 1 inch tall.  With 92 pounds on my frame, I’m small by any measure and when I go and pick her up, they think I’m one of them.  So maybe, there’s a up side to this height game.  At high school reunions, my taller counterparts complain how age is catching up and they look at me, and say, “It’s not fair.  You look young because you’re so small.”

I smiled and thought, “Who would have thought?’  Me, the envy.

So maybe, I should tell my daughter, don’t sweat it.  Time will show you up, for the better.