Wanken Chiropractic

Shane has had some pain issues going with his shoulder. Pretty common problem for swimmers.

He was fine, going full steam ahead, and after finishing the Australian Nat’l Championships in April, he took a two week long, much needed break from swimming.


That is when the pain started. It was like he finally relaxed, and could feel the pain. Kind of like the rest of us, we go on vacation and get a cold, right?

I took Shane to physio and the chiropractor here in Singapore, but he found no relief. As soon as he would get in the pool, he would feel pain again. He was getting out of practice early, skipping sometimes even altogether. So once we landed in the USA in June, the first thing on my to-do list was to take care of Shane, get him back at 100%.

And that’s where Dr. Jay Wanken entered the picture.



He’s a swim dad on our USA club team, a strokes & turns official and he’s a chiropractor. When I took Shane to see him, he immediately connected why Shane’s shoulder was hurting, and he knew how important swimming is to our family. He knew that he had to get this taken care of for us, and there was no messing around. Shane had some big meets scheduled for the summer, one of the main reasons we even came back to the states for the summer.

To make a long story short, we saw Dr. Jay almost every day, all summer. Shane would go to morning & afternoon practice, and then go straight to Dr. Jay’s. He would do some adjustments on Shane’s spine,


then his shoulder


and then use the low-level laser therapy on him. This is the newest technology, and if you haven’t heard of it yet, you should read up on it. I’ll add a link to the info at the bottom of this post for you. I have searched high and low here in Singapore for chiro, physio, or doc who might use this laser in Singapore, and I even called the company. It’s just not here yet.

The last thing that we used was this Voltaren gel, it’s an anti-inflammatory gel, that we rubbed into his shoulders. I don’t know if it worked or not, but Shane seemed to think this helped, and so we will continue to use it. And yes, I was able to get a year supply approved and paid for by our insurance. (In Singapore we can get some of the same medicines that are dispensed in the USA, they may not quite the same, but somewhat similar at least. I just couldn’t take the chance of not being able to get this gel, so yes, I loaded up!!)


And this combo of adjustments, laser therapy, the voltaren gel, and getting some technique work with his coaches worked wonders on him!! As soon as he get back to the USA, we’ll be back to our daily visas with Dr. Jay!



Sharing the road with motorcycles

Sharing the road with motorcycles. That’s what we do here! It’s about constantly looking in the rear-view mirrors for motorcycles that are coming up on you. They overtake the cars & trucks, passing right on the dividing line, sometimes with barely enough room to squeeze through. They weave in and out while at high speeds, risking their lives, and everyone else too. It’s terrifying.

I completely understand their need to drive the bikes … they are more economical, in many ways. If I was a long time resident, I’d have a bike too. But, it’s like the wild west here. The bikes rule the road, and yes, there are many fatal accidents here.

When I took my driving test to be a licensed driver here in Singapore, there was not one mention in the study booklet about the motorcycles. Not. One. Word. Why?? A lot of them are Malaysian, they drive into Sing for the day and return home at night. I suppose that since they are not registered vehicles in Singapore, it’s like they are treated with indifference, they are invisible.

My friend Jackie and I went to our kids “Meet The Teacher Night” at school last night, and it just so happens that the Singapore American School is right near Malaysia. So on our drive to school, I took a couple quick videos to show you all what it is like driving here. These are small snapshots of driving in Singapore!! Enjoy!! (btw, Jackie has the same crazy outgoing nutty personality that I have, so when we are together, look out!!)

Oh, and YES, I did pass my written driving test, back in April. I had waited so long to sign up, that by the time I was able to get it scheduled, I had to wait for 6 weeks, and so then I HAD to pass. If I would have failed the test, then there would’t be time to reschedule and retake the test, and then I would have lost my insurance. And that, my fiends, is something I cannot live without. I studied the book, and I used the apps.


Yes, I passed the test!!



And for everyone who knows my smarty-pants husband, I just want to put this out there … He missed two questions on the test and I only missed ONE!!





I have been so lucky to have to opportunity to live in another culture, and experience new things, new ways of doing things. Most families in Asia, including expats, hire a live-in maid. A “helper”. I had no intentions of participating in this, as I have never had help, nor have I ever needed it.

But after a few months I changed my mind, and hired Leny. She has been living with is since October 2013, and is such a blessing to our family.

She does the laundry and cleaning for me, a good part of the cooking, and watches the cats for us when we are away.

She is my age, only a year older than me, and hails from the Philippines. She left her home country 23 years ago, leaving behind her 15 month old baby girl, in order to support her large extended family. When she was finally able to go home for a visit, after 5 years away (remember, this is before skyping, FaceTime, even cellphones… All she had was a five minute phone call home on Sundays) her little baby, now 6 1/2 years old, didn’t know her or recognize her. She didn’t know her own mom. Leny was devastated.

She sends every paycheck home. Every month, saving only a little for herself to live on.

In 23 years, she has lived with 3 other families, raising their children, tending to each family members every need. With one family she shared a room
with the kids, and with another she only had the storage closet for herself to sleep in.

In our home she has her own living quarters, with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen. Trent bought her a flat screen tv with a subscription to the Philippine channels. We treat her as an equal, she is respected in our home. She sits at the dinner table with us. She gets every Saturday and Sunday off, and we include her in family activities.

Sadly, not all helpers are treated this way. There are constant troubling stories about maids being abused. I see these women in the markets, buying food for their families, usually with one or two small expat kids in tow. These ladies leave their own children behind in their home countries to care for and raise other children. It’s sad, and shocking, and I’m not sure that I will ever become immune to their sad faces.

I have had the opportunity to get to know a few of these helpers, through my Leny. And I am fascinated by their stories, their endurance, their resilience, and ability to survive cruel circumstances.

Would you like to hear more about these women and their lives? I have a few ideas in the works, so I am looking for your feedback.

Summer 2014 in the USA

June 5th was the last day of school for Maria, Shane & Cale, and on June 7th we were on a flight home to the USA. After a 24 hour commute, we were so excited to be on American soil that I thought my kids would kids would kiss the ground. From the airport we ordered from Papa Johns, our favorite pizza ever, all of us craving a thick crust pizza. We sent our 12 suitcases home with a hired driver, and off we went, straight to Super Walmart for supplies, eating our pizza in the car!

Yes, I had troubles driving, in my jet-lag groggy daze, I could hardly remember which side of the road to drive on, constantly turning on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signals. After some screams from the kids and a few panicky moments, I felt like I had things in control, despite driving at 70 mph for the first time in a year. In Singapore, the fastest you can LEGALLY drive is 90 kmp, which is about 55 mph.


I can neither confirm nor deny that I have drive faster than 90 kmh in Singapore. Just sayin’.

It was so nice to get back to our home, only to quickly realize two things:

1. The mice had moved in while we were out. I never saw a real live mouse, but I felt like I spent a good part of my summer cleaning up after him (and all his friends). Apparently our mouse-renters are completely immune to poison, traps, and all the other ways I tried to get rid of them. In the end, I do believe I lost the war with them, and will let Jazz and Jayda take care of the them when we return in June.


2. Our old barn had collapsed from the sheer weight of the snow during the winter (we knew this) but after looking through the rubble we realized the basketball hoop was crushed. I then spent the next three days putting together a new hoop for them. I mean, we couldn’t have two 13 year old boys going 8 weeks without playing basketball, could we? It literally took three days to put this thing up, and I only had these parts left over:



Anyhow, our summer experience can be summed up into the following:

55 Days in the USA

35 trips to Dairy Queen for Blizzards & Peanut Buster Parfaits

21 Days with my dear mum

18 Days of Swim competitions

17 visits for with Dr. Jay Wanken, the best chiropractor in Hudson WI! Will write more about him in another post … stay tuned!!

14 nights in hotels

10 new ear piercings (between myself, mom, niece, and daughter … it was girl bonding in it’s finest)

6 days with my beautiful niece

5 Rental cars (and only ONE was returned with bumper damage, one curbside rescue due to the keys inside the locked car, and one near emergency when the door wouldn’t shut and Coach Jen had to jimmy-rig the door with a bungee cord)

4 visits to Dr. Jacob Lang, Maria’s eye physician. She adores him, and I’m pretty sure he feels the same way about her. He saved Maria’s eye, literally!!

4 days with ice cold well water (tankless water heater went kaputt and we had to wait for a new mother-board to be shipped in. I had to boil water on the stove, no kidding)

3 Solid days assembling basketball hoop

2 new tattoos

1 black bear in the yard

1 broken toe

The kids had countless sleepovers, there was a constant stream of kids coming and going at my house, even a surprise party for Maria. There was kayaking, tubing on the river, air-soft gun wars, a day at Valley Fair Amusement Park, drive-in movies, numerous trips to the Mall of America, dinners with our swim coaches, a 75th birthday celebration with my Dad, visiting with my sister and my five nephews (yes, she has FIVE boys), and even a bit of poison ivy rash for me.