Category Archives: Trent Blinkman

Happy Birthday Daddy!

So blessed to be with my dad on his 75th birthday!


He’s been the Mayor of Zelienople Pennsylvania since 1996! And for years prior to being elected Mayor, he served on the town council. 100% volunteer, no perks, no benefits. For a few years he was President of the Pennsylvania Mayors Association. He knows everyone in that state, oh yes he does!!

Here’s my sweet momma selfie, because behind every great man, there is a great woman!


Of course we spent a good portion of the day at a swim meet.


This is Shane in 60 years …




Marine Ball

We were graciously invited  to the Marine Ball here in Singapore to celebrate the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corp.  Scott and Susan both work at the United States Embassy, they were able to invite guests, and we are so happy that they chose us!

Having never been to a ball before, I set about trying to find a nice gown to wear, which I quickly found to be a near impossible task, for several reasons.  

First, I had no idea where shop for a formal dress.  There are no big department stores here like in America, instead each store is an individual owned independently.  So I had to look in a directory and see many stores with names that are completely unfamiliar, it was like looking for that needle in the haystack.  

Second, there are a ba-zillion malls here, each with a ba-zillion stores in them.  I spent many hours walking through malls, looking in stores.  I am not a shopper, and so I found this to be exhausting.  

Third, when I would finally find a dress that I liked, I would be shooed away and out of the store from the owner, with them saying to me that I was “too big lah”.  Yes, I have broad swimmer shoulders, and not once in my life have I been considered small, but I am in no way big. And when I would find a dress that fit, but I didn’t like, the shop owners would become aggressive with me when I didn’t buy it. One lady even chased me out into the mall, yelling at me to come back. I managed to get on the escalator, and when I looked back towards the store, there she was, waving her arms at me, to come back!

I was considering not going to the Marine Ball, just scrapping the whole affair, because the effort of finding something to wear was overwhelming, when I had a brilliant idea:  Use Maria as my personal shopper!!!  So, after one of Marias eye check ups, our sweet eye physician, Dr. Fu, was talked into giving Maria an excuse from school for a full day!!  She wrote “Maria is certified unfit”!   And with that note, we used the rest of the afternoon shopping on a school day!  

With one mall stop and three shops later, Maria had me try on nearly 20 gowns, and then wah-lah,  we found it.  Maria made it easy, and with her keen fashion eye, I knew I couldn’t go wrong.  After all, this wasn’t the first time I had used my sweet daughter as my personal shopper. Ever since she was a little girl, she’s had a clear fashion sense of what looks good and what doesn’t. She just gets it.  

I randomly picked a place to get my hair done, because the name of the salon sounded American to me … Sweeny’s.  Armed with a photo that Maria cut out from her Seventeen Magazine, I bravely walked into the salon, and let a Chinese man with a long pony tail do my hair.  When I showed him the photo, he exclaimed, “Seexieee!” and then began chattering with his co-workers. After a bit, my curiosity got the best of me, and after asking what they heck are they talking about, he said , “you hair real?  black?  you no dye?  everyone talk about your hair”.  So funny, they love my black hair here!! IMG_1566IMG_1568Anyhow, we attended the Marine Ball last Friday, and had an absolute blast.  Here is a picture, taken by Maria,  of the four of us, before we left. 

The evening began and ended with “free flow”  … meaning open bar.  Which meant loads of fun!  There was dancing, and carrying on, until the wee hours of the night.   I was determined to get a couple selfies (photos taken of myself by me, it’s all the rage, the kids do it all the time.)  Here are two :




Trent and I both agreed that it felt like we were in America that night, and we were so honored to be there.   We especially loved the 20′ x 40′ American flag!









Thank you Susan and Scott for such a fun, memorable night!!

Race The Dead 5K Zombie Run

First, let’s make this clear: I am NOT a runner. Oh, I try to fake it at the gym, and a couple of times I have run outside. I’ve always said, my entire life, that I don’t run. I will only run if a monster is chasing me. And even then, I may just drop over and let the big bad monster have me.

Well, I guess I put it out there … and this past weekend it came back to me. Race The Dead 5K Zombie Run on Sentosa Island, Singapore … a 5K on the beach, chased by zombies. When I first saw this, back when we were still living in the states, I thought that it sounded like fun! But registration filled up within a couple of hours, and we didn’t get in. Then, lucky for Trent, they opened up a second day, and this time we got in!!!


A few weeks ago we picked up our race packet, and, after waiting in the queue, and I finally get to the front of the line to get my size medium shirt, I ask the gal, “how do I survive this run? how do I not get caught by zombies?”

Her answer?

“You no worry. Zombies go after smalls. You big. You survive”

I walked away from that table, thinking, what just happened? I asked a question, and was in turn, insulted? Of course, when I take into consideration that the tee shirts for this race vary in size from XXXS to XL … my medium is on the big end of things. Too funny!


Anyhow, the zombie race was this past weekend, in 90 degree weather, on the beach, wearing black tee shirts. And being chased by zombies. Here is a quick description of what happened:

Trent and I arrived early, queued up, got registered, and were bussed to the starting point of the race, where we waited for our wave of runners. Every 5 minutes another round of 100 runners would start. My heart was pounding, and by the time we were scheduled to start, it was nearly noon and the hottest part of the day. I felt like I was already dehydrated, but I didn’t want to drink. I know how I am. But it was so hot, so I did drink some gatorade. And then a little bit more, I mean, it was really hot, and I was thirsty!

Now it’s time to start the race, and we are queued up. Again. They countdown the seconds on a loud speaker, and we are off. All 100 of us start to jog a bit. But it’s really too hot to run. So after about 200 meters, we all start walking. Not knowing what to expect, there was some light chatter in our group, but mostly everyone was quiet. The anticipation was killing us.

Then, up ahead, we see a zombie. Then another. And another. Everywhere. Behind trees. Behind trash cans. All over the beach. And we realize that that we now have to face the zombies to continue on, while the zombies try to pull off one of our “lives” (sort of like flag football, we had two tags (lives) hanging from a belt). We all stood there, paralyzed with fear and uncertainty.


Then two kamikazes in our group took the lead and ran ahead of us .. and we all stood there and watched them, darting this way and that way, trying to get away and past all the zombies. Once they made it through, we all knew we had no choice to but to get moving, after all, another wave of 100 runners would be right behind us.

Slowly, one by one, we started off. Then all at once, we all realized that we were safer in a group, and so our 98 strong group moved towards the zombies together … until the zombies became aggressive. Oh, they were out to get us. It became everyone out for themselves. Look out for number one, me, myself, and I.


There was full body checking, there was tripping, screaming, people getting knocked over, wipe outs in the sand. Loose shoes, lives lost.

Trent made it through that area of the 5K with both of his lives. I lost one of mine, and I also lost a bit of my sanity. All of my nightmares of running in a crazed, mass crowd came true. And I drank too much gatorade pre-race. My fears of peeing my pants came true too .. but just a little bit. I quickly gained my composure, and carried on, and lucky for me there was a water obstacle next where I was able to clean up, if you know what I mean.

Now the unlucky thing about a water obstacle … is now we have soaking wet shoes, and we are running in the sand. Oh, it was pretty yucky. And I decided right then and there that I was going to be a survivor. I was going to end this race with a life. Come hell or high water, I was going to get a “Survivor” tee shirt. Size Medium, thank you very much.




So I cheated. Yep. I tucked my remaining life tag in my waistband, and I carried on.

My warrior husband also decided that he was going to be a survivor, and he dug in and did what he had to .. he jumped, hurdled, sprinted, did some moves that would have made his sons proud, and he knocked over a poor little gal when she got in his way (she wore an XXXS tee shirt). And Trent did me proud .. he finished with both of his lives!!





So did our friend Scott … although I believe that he was one of the kamikaze dudes from his wave that took off in front of everyone.






Driving with Trent & Siri

Trent is a pretty good driver here in Sing.  He’s downright mastered the aggressive driving piece of it.    But, he has no sense of direction whatsoever.  Well, to be fair, neither do I.    It’s almost comical.   Our brains are so twisted with British style driving,  the traffic,  and all the newness & strangeness of living in a foreign country, that if it weren’t for Siri, we would never find our way anywhere.  

I’m not sure how our good friends Mike & Sue managed to live here without iPhones & Siri helping them.  It must have been a true nightmare.  

Funny story about Siri … we bought our iPhones here in Singapore, and so Siri speaks to us a a man with a British accent.  One of the first days here, when we were so jet-lagged and lost, we were asking Siri to give us directions.  He kept coming back with the answer “I don’t know of that, but I can search the web for you” .  You know what I am talking about, right?  

Trent was so frustrated, and he started yelling to Siri, when suddenly it occurred to me that he needed to ask Siri using a fake British accent.  Once our home address “Woollerton Park” became “Woooollllertin Paaark” , Siri easily helped us find our way home.  

Oh we had the giggles for a long time after that.  We have since reprogrammed our iPhones to the American female Siri, but when I feel like jabbing Trent, I will secretly change Siri back into Mr. London.  

by the way … I have a growing list of places in Singapore that I can get to without using Siri:  Swimfast practice pool at the Anglo-Chinese school, the Giant Hyper (grocery story, love the name right?) and Ikea!!  And that is after a month of being here!!  I’m telling ya, Singapore roads and traffic is overwhelming!!  It feels like this to us:





One day.  Trent has one day yet here in Hudson, then he takes off for Asia.   He won’t be home for 7 weeks, and even then only for five days, the end of June.  He will come home one more time after that, to go the the Minnesota State Swimming Championships and the National Zone meet in Topeka, to help with the final closing of our house, and then we will say our final goodbye to the states for a bit.   This picture of him was taken for his work permit for Singapore.  All five us had to have “angry face” photos taken for our application for a “pass” in the country.  I’ll post the other photos later, they are pretty funny looking.


On Tuesday we packed up his office at 3M World Headquarters.   It was an emotional experience for us both.  We have done this before, back in 2002 when we moved from St. Paul to Chicago.  But that time we knew where we were going, what to expect.   This time we really don’t have any idea what to expect.   But Trent has worked for 3M for nearly 22 years,  and this will be our 5th move with them, and so we know that this will be a great experience for us.  It may be crazy for a few months, but things will settle down and we’ll find a new normal.

Trents new official title is “APAC Sales Excellence Area Leader”.  His objective is to improve sales performance for all of 3M in Asia Pacific.   Basically, sales in Asia are not growing as fast as they need to be, so he will be helping them to focus on selling “value” to convert competition.   The economy in Asia has been growing so fast that they are not accustomed to taking business away from direct competition, so they need to be taught how to be more aggressive.

He has a big big job ahead of him.  He is excited to get started and looking forward to making a difference for 3M.   We completed all our errands this week, were crazy people running around trying to tie up loose ends, and we managed to get it all done.

Tomorrow we will start the day with worship at our church, and then we will spend the day together, enjoying each others company and loving & treasuring each other.   We are so proud of you Trent!  I love you!!   Laura