Tuesday, August 25, 2009

快要開學了! The summer is almost over!

My children's school will begin the 2009-2010 school year exactly a week from today, on September 1. This is the first time in our school's history to have the first-day of school before the Labor Day weekend. Typically, schools begin the day after the Labor Day long weekend, on a Tuesday. So many of our neighboring school districts are still following this traditional and will begin school on September 10. My kids are mourning the end of their summer. I am worried about their morning regiment once the school begins. How am I going to get them to wake up at 7:30 AM again when they have been sleeping until 10 AM, and sometimes even until 11 AM?!

To get them into the swing of things, I took my kids to the library after lunch today. They have been reading over the summer, but nothing really challenging. My 9 year-old daughter have enjoyed the Beacon Street Girls series by Annie Bryant (http://www.beaconstreetgirls.com/) and the Camp Confidential series by Melissa J. Morgan. She has read all of the Beacon Street Girls books, except the two latest books (Sweet Thirteen and Ready! Set! Hawaii!). As for Camp Confidential, she also has read all of the Camp Confidential books that have been published so far. Two more Camp Confidential books are scheduled to be published in the next 7 months--Extra Credit (September 3, 2009) and Politically Incorrect (March 4, 2010). My daughter is waiting anxiously for our library to purchase these books.

Unfortunately, schools don't usually assign these books as reading material. Beacon Street Girls and Camp Confidential are fine for summer readings, but as my daughter is heading into grade 5, these books are not difficult enough to be on the grade 5 reading list. And hence a trip to the library was necessary today. I want her to pick out some books that are more appropriate for her grade level. I steered her towards the Newbery Award winning books (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newbery_Medal), but she wasn't going for them. Instead, she borrowed some Nancy Drew Mysteries. Those are books that she thought I would approve, but realistically, I still think she should go beyond these books as well. At this point, I am not going to push her too much. As long as she gets into the habit of reading, I am happy.

Going back to our library visit. I actually saw 4 families from my children's school at the library today. During the school year, once in a while, I would see only a family that I know every time we visit the library. So it was rare to see so many parents from our school at the library in one visit. I got to chat with them about their summer break and how everyone was doing. I guess all the parents are trying to get their kids back into the swing of things before the school starts next week.

時間過得好快喔! 再七天就要開學了。 兩個小孩已經開始感覺到開學後的壓力了。今天帶他們去圖書館借書。 我希望女兒能借一些有點深度的書, 符合五年級的小朋友該讀的書。 在美國, 沒有教育局指定的閱讀課本。 都是老師採用現有的兒童讀物來教學。 小孩子上了五年級之後, 老師就會陸陸續續的介紹西洋英文文學名著給小朋友做為上英文課的題材。 所以只要看得懂, 小朋友自己就可以到圖書館借一些西洋文學名著來看。 當然這種事, 我的女兒不可能會自願去做的。 從五月中, 加州政府的基測 (STAR test) 結束之後, 老師就不再積極的教學生新的課程。 小朋友就自由的等著暑假的到來。 就在那時候, 我幫女兒在圖書館找到二套系列的書-- Beacon Street Girls (Beacon 街的女孩), 作者是 Annie Bryant (http://www.beaconstreetgirls.com/) 以及 Camp Confidential (露營密事) 作者是 Melissa J. Morgan。 這二套系列的書籍非常適合閱讀能力較強的小三女生, 或者是給小學高年級的女生做為輕鬆簡單, 閒暇時可閱讀的書籍。 不愛看書的女兒就靠著這二套書過了一個愉快的暑假。

Friday, August 21, 2009

好康逗相報...蛋篇 Great eggs!

Our family has a history of cholesterol problem, so when I eat my eggs, I always just eat the egg white and throw out the egg yolk. Unfortunately, my kids see how I eat my eggs and they imitate me, to my chagrin! My son loves hard-boiled eggs, so we always have hard-boiled eggs in our fridge (easier for him to snack on). One day, we ran out of eggs and my husband happened to be at Trader Joe's, so I asked him to pick up some. He came home with these Sunshine Farm Grade A Jumbo eggs. I was mad at him. I said these are more expensive than the ones I normally buy. Why spend more money for something that's not going to make a difference?! My husband told me those eggs were the cheapest ones left on the shelves. Well, we did need eggs, so I let it go. It was really a $0.30 difference per dozen eggs!

But to my surprise, these jumbo eggs had the greatest amount of egg white and the smallest egg yolk I have ever seen in an egg. Since we only eat egg whites, these eggs proved to be a better deal for us. For $0.30 more per dozen eggs, I'm sold.

I took some photos of these Grade A Jumbo eggs from Trader Joe's. That's a roll of quarters ($10) next to the single egg, so you can see the actual size of each egg. These eggs are a great deal at $1.79 per dozen!

我們家 (老公除外) 吃蛋時都只吃蛋白, 不吃蛋黃。 小孩子長久以來都看我只吃蛋白, 不吃蛋黃。 有樣學樣,他們也養成這“不良”習慣 (我老公很不能認同)。 可是我娘家有高膽固醇的基因存在, 所以有高膽固醇的食物能不吃我就不要吃。不愛吃肉的兒子喜歡吃水煮蛋, 所以我就時常放水煮蛋在冰箱裏給兒子當點心吃。

有天老公正好在 Trader Joe's 時, 他打電話來問說要順便買些什麼東西回家。 我說蛋, 家裏沒蛋了。 結果老公回家後,我發現他買錯蛋了。 他沒買最便宜的蛋。 正要問他時,他說我要買的蛋已經賣完了,所以他只好買貴一點的蛋。 沒辦法了,也只好這樣了。 結果沒想到, 陰錯陽差老公卻買對了。 這打Sunshine Farm 的 Grade A Jumbo 的蛋只有小小的蛋黃, 蛋白卻很多。 讓我這個只吃蛋白的人吃得很過癮。 其實這些蛋只比我平常買的蛋多 US$0.30, 一打蛋才 $1.79, 真的是物超所值! 好康逗相報!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

台灣加油! Devastation of Typhoon Morakot

Being a Taiwanese, one can not ignore the landslide disaster caused by Typhoon Morakot on August 8, 2009 in southern Taiwan which obliterated many remote hillside villages. The death toll from Typhoon Morakot stands at 160, with at least 500 people missing, presumed dead. This was the worst weather disaster to hit Taiwan in recent history. The political blame game has started and all the rescue operations have ceased and it's now in the phases of recovery and rebuilding. The tasks at hand are daunting and no one has any idea how this aftermath will resolve.

I feel tremendous sadness for those who lived (and suffered) through this disaster. Listen to the first-hand account of 3 survivors in a town where more than 400 people had vanished. It is a testament of the human spirit at its best!

今天看到8/20 的國民大會(天災無情劫後餘生), 非常感動。 于美人邀請了在這次受災最嚴重的小林村裡面倖存的47個人裡面的三位村民來節目中描述災難當天發生的事。 聽了之後,真讓人動容! 讓我非常佩服台灣人純樸、刻苦、耐勞的精神! 台灣加油!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

終於回家了! Finally home!

I have been inactive on this blog lately. I apologize. I have been away. I was in Vancouver for 3 weeks visiting my sister's family. I am in the process of uploading photos and updating this blog with all the fun stuff my family had done in the past 3 weeks. So be patient with me. My daughter took this photo of Mount St. Helen when we flew over it this afternoon.

終於到家了! 今天下午從溫哥華飛回洛杉磯。 我們在溫哥華待了二十一天! 女兒和兒子依依不捨的在溫哥華國際機場跟他們的兩位小表妹說再見! 想起來會有點心酸, 不過我覺得小朋友從小要學習怎麼說 goodbye, 因為世界上沒有不散的宴席。 一路小孩子都有點落寞,可是當機長提醒大家往窗戶外面看時,小孩子才暫時忘記離別的難過。他們在窗外看到華盛頓州的火山 Mount St. Helen。 女兒想到照相,隨手拿起我的相機,拍下這張照片。 到達洛杉磯之後,發現機場的車子好多喔! 下次絕對不要訂晚上七、八點到達的飛機班次! 還好有手機,行李拿到之後才通知老公開車過來接我們。他通常都會把車停在機場外圍的街道旁等我的電話。 不過我那有十年車齡的老車,在三個星期沒開之後沒電了。 老公只好開他的小跑車來機場接我們。我和小孩的二大件行李差一點載不回家,因為後車箱太小! 最後只好把比較小的那一只大皮箱放在前座,我和小孩坐後座。 這樣也拖了十多分鐘才離開機場。 才下飛機,狀況還真不少!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

如何取個好的英文名字 The Naming Game

Over the years, I have noticed some strange naming of English names by parents in Taiwan. It wouldn't be so bad if they translated their children's Chinese names phonetically into English. But a lot of parents, in their eagerness to give their children English names, came up with strange names, thinking that those "names" are legitimate English names. A lot of those names looked like mis-spelt names or impossible to pronounce "English" names. Worst names are those of cartoon characters. Just because a parent likes a certain cartoon character doesn't give them the right to name their children after cartoon characters. Well, it's their right to name their children however they want, but think of your children 30 years down the road. How would they feel when foreigners look at them funny at business meetings when they introduce themselves as Snoopy Tsai?!

So I have come up with a few rules if you are Chinese and want to give your child an English name.

1. Use the phonetic translation of your child's Chinese name.
For example, 蔡傑熙 can be translated into Jai-Xi Tsai.
2. Use an English name (those on the top 500 of U. S. census names) that sounds similar to your child's Chinese name. For example, 蔡傑熙 can be translated into Jessie Tsai.
3. Use an English name that you like. It doesn't have to sound like your child's Chinese name at all.
4. Use an English name that has the same meaning as your Chinese name. For example, if your daughter's Chinese name has the following character:
愉、悅、樂, you can use the name Joy which is what those Chinese characters mean.

If you still have trouble coming up with an English name for your child, you can leave me a message and I will see what I can do for you.


1. 用中文名字直接音譯成英文。請用護照上的正式拼音。有漢語拼音法(中國大陸) 或 羅馬拼音(台灣以前的拼法)。

因為大陸人口的優勢,全世界的趨勢是用漢語拼音法。 例如 “張”是拼 Zhang。在臺灣以前是拼 Chang。 漢語拼音是有一定的拼法。每個字有個統一的拚法及念法。學過中文的老外看了這種拼法也一定念得出來。

利: 本來就是自己中文名字的音譯。

弊: 怕拼出來,沒學過中文的老外根本念不出來 (尤其是 ㄓ、ㄔ 、 ㄕ、ㄩ 的音)。而且報上名字時, 還要順便報上怎麼拼。會很煩喔!

2. 用中文名字直接音譯成英文,可是採用了類似中文名字的正統英文名字來做為翻譯的基礎。所以是中文名字英文化 (anglicize)。

利: 外國人看了都會念,也比較會拼得出來,然後又跟自己中文名字的音很像。

弊: 會被人批評說不需要取英美式的名字,用自己中文名字的音譯就可以了。太矯情了!

3. 取個跟自己中文名字完全不一樣的英文正統名字。

利: 外國人看了都會念,也比較會拼得出來。自己喜歡啊!

弊: 會被人批評說不需要取英美式的名字,用自己中文名字的音譯就可以了。太崇洋了!

4. 取跟自己中文名字同意思的英文正統名字。 例如: 中文名字裏有愉、悅、樂 的女孩都可以用 Joy 做為她的英文名字。

利: 外國人看了都會念,也比較會拼得出來。有意義!

弊: 大概沒有吧!

如果要音譯, 千萬不要自己亂拼,寫出來的英文字母可能念出來的跟當初想的不太一樣。 有時候還會因為文化不一樣而鬧出笑話。

在英美國家, 家長幫小孩取名字都不會無原無故的取名。基本上, 英美國家的父母親會採用下列幾個命名原則:

1. 先人的名字。有紀念性。 家族要求。(跟父母、祖父母、親朋好友同名)
2. 地源、時事關係 ( Paris 、April 、June 、 Dawn、Hamilton、Diego)
3. 父母喜歡什麼名字就取什麼名字 (畢竟小孩子長大後,家長說得出來小孩為什麼會叫這個名字。)

取英文名字沒有對錯。只要不要鬧出笑話 或 在二十年後造成兒女的困擾就好。 大家做個參考吧!