Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Garage L-Shape Storage Deck

Yesterday, after driving Mom to her Mahjon game, I started working on the L-shape storage deck of the garage. Besides some cosmetic details and more nailing, it basically is done.

The first picture shows the auxiliary deck which is about 36" deep.  Some boxes are already on it. The next picture is the main deck as well as its only stairway.  Picture 3 shows some of the details of the stairway. The last two pictures are for deck floor.  Btw, Mom said I can sleep on the deck corner to the right :)

Oh,  the stairway light (Picture 2 : inside the louver panel which I installed several years ago) doesn't work and I can't figure out where the switch is.  Of course, Mom is amused and laughs a lot.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Under the weather.


Vince was sick last week and gave it to me over Thanksgiving.  Then, I gave it to Donald who took it back with him to the west coast.  I still feel a little crappy - but not crappy enough to stop all the regular things.  I gave part of the service at UUCR on Sunday, I tried to avoid touching anyone but it's hard to do when pals haven't seen you in two years and want to give you a hug.  I haven't been to church in about 2 years, but maybe it's time to go back.  Keyla is on vacation this week, so we are child-care-free for five working days.  Always a challenge, but we are up for it.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Storage Decks in the Garage

Today, I installed the handrail for the stairs going to our storage decks in the garage.  This handrail is made of oak. Pretty nice.  I also installed a new light facing the garage wall (in between and handrail and stairs in picture 1).  A new light is needed because the storage main deck blocks all ceiling light.

The auxiliary deck (just 36" wide) was completed several days ago.  And the main deck is now about 1/3 done. Tomorrow, I believe I can finish the main deck also.  After that, cut out dry wall needs to be repaired.

Renwick & Ramen


On Saturday, we went to the Renwick Gallery.  At the Thanksgiving feast, a few out-of-towners raved about the new installation exhibit "Wonder".  I had never been to this gallery, the installations were interesting (although after seeing the whole exhibit on someone's cell phone less than 48 hours prior led to a few fewer surprises going through the gallery).


It was a beautiful day.  A little too warm for November.


Then we went to a hip ramen place in Adams Morgan.  The neighborhood known for bars and nightclubs.  But if you show up at 11:30 am at any hip place, there is no waiting for lunch.  Everyone declared it super spicy and delicious.  Precarious for Jeremy and Donald's backs  as they lifted Edda's wheelchair up and down about 5 steps to get to the restaurant located below street level.


iPhone & Storage Space in Our Garage

Doris and Donald, especially Donald, have spent a lot of their time to teach us (Rena & I) how to use iPhone.

Ironically, in my working life which ended only 7 months ago (may work again if job becomes available), I was an IT manager for many years.  One time, I had 7 different kinds of communication gears with me and was reached 24/7/365 all the time.

May be, these days, managers of all kinds, don't actually know anything :) - but just claiming to know personnel, schedules, budgeting, trends and big-picture stuff. Who knows?  Better BS, better manager?

Since iPhne is very similar to iPAD, I guess, Rena is the better iPhone user than me.  I, too, have an iPAD, which is a gift from Doris & Donald also, I seldom use it.  Rena uses a lot.

Tonight, for learning purpose, we together had a field trip to McDonald's for ice cream cone using "Apple Pay".  It was cool. Before going, Mom would like Donald to make sure that the setup "Apple Pay" charges to our joint account, not only charging to her own account :)

And, Rena, tonight, even hand-made a iPhone bag, with nice cushion inside, for me.  It is nice looking and very practical.  She is quick and, surprisingly, possesses a lot of different kind of expertise.

Oh, now, I am working on our garage storage space.  Will be completed soon.  Stay tune.

Saturday, November 28, 2015



Is is only Saturday?  The weekend is going on forever.  Donald switched the parents over to their first smart phones.  It's 55% amusing and 45% frustrating.  Turns out my mom is an expert texter.  Within 6 hours of acquiring texting capabilities, she's sent emojis, photo texts, group texts and texts in Chinese.  We are impressed.

On Friday, we went to my parents' farm in PA.  Vince did not want to go.  I need to bribe him with all-you-can-eat-sushi-conveyor-belt lunch.  He was a good sport.  I also found out he knows what "Netflix and chill" means.


Donald drove. Nothing is more SF hipster-y than manning a minivan with the license plate "MINIVAN".


I was a beautiful day.


Friday, November 27, 2015



Jeremy hosted the 35-person dinner.  It really is a Martin gathering with a handful of Lees thrown in (although my mother does play a critial food role).






iPhone 6Plus

Yesterday (Thanksgiving Day), Doris & Donald gave Rena and I an iPhone 6Plus each as our birthday gifts. Today, Donald took us to a local Verizon Store to put SIM cards in and activated the phone.  Almost, all afternoon, we received crash courses offered by Doris and Donald on iPhone 101.  Donald said we are at least two years behind everyone, kids?

But, at least, I just did three mobile deposits to my bank account.  And, I also texted a lot.  Sounds pretty advance to me :)

Together, all Lees went to our PA farm to look for the boundary markers - iron pins, pile of rocks, paint, etc.  The weather was nice.  On its way, for lunch, Vincent had all-you-can-eat sushi for $15.00 which, according to him, was okay but less tasty than the other night's sushi which is 8 for ~$25.00+.  I guess, in general, price can tell the difference :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happiest of thanksgiving to you.

 Yesterday I took Mom and Dad to Edda's school for the annual Thanksgiving feast.  Edda's school has seven special needs classes and every year the kids put together an early Thanksgiving feast for themselves and their teachers and para educators.  I think although parents aren't really invited, we managed to score some seats.  I don't often go to Edda's school, so when I have a chance to hang out, I try to go and chat with all the people Edda works with every day.


As other special needs parents know, it's a crap shoot whether you are going to feel miserable or eternally grateful/happy when you go to these things.  I ended up being more on the grateful / happy side yesterday.  My parents enjoyed themselves, which made me happy.  Edda ate a lot and promptly fell asleep.

I met and spoke with Edda's OT. She spends time with Edda in art, getting her to grab things or do art things.  I told her she has a very difficult job as OT is Edda's worse subject.  But, special needs teachers are an optimistic bunch, and she said that she was impressed with Edda' progress.

After lunch, my mom grabbed a little girl's hand (a classmate of Edda's) and they walked out of the cafeteria, presumably headed back to the classroom and I kind of laughed because I thought neither of them knew the way back to the room.  But they both managed to work their way back to the right room.

The happiest of thanksgiving to all of you, my loyal readers.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Home sick


Vince stayed home from school today - he was not feeling well.  I think it's one of those illnesses that if it was Saturday, he would have found some way to power through the fun.  But faced with American history, he wilts.  This was a photo of him yesterday - runny nose plugged by a tissue.  We are doing work in the photo, he just got my phone and started taking selfies.


Sunday night dinner - a quiet one pre-thanksgiving.  Revving up (or quieting down depending on your frame of reference) for the 35 people coming to the Lee-Martin household.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Birthday dinner.


We celebrated Mom's 74th birthday (I mean her 29th birthday!) last night at the Hamilton in DC.  Dinner lasted an unprecedented 2.5 hours which may be a record for the Lee family as we can usually have dinner in 7 minutes.


I got my mother to drink a mixed cocktail.  I told the server to ask the bartender to light on the vodka - I think he ended up putting just a thimble-ful in the rather large drink.  Edda had a sip - she seemed to enjoy it.




Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Rena

Happy Birthday to you, Rena :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday nite lights.


Edda's straight A certificate.  Boo ya.  Vince found it on the kitchen table and told Edda - you are making me look bad.


We ran the minivan down to its (almost) last drop of fuel.

While we were filling up at the gas station, Jeremy showed me some graphs.


And he let Maxi drive the van.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Date nite.


Jeremy took me out for date night last night.  We did not celebrate alone.  Jeremy was hosting a happy hour for a co-worker who is leaving UCS, so I went and joined in on the festivities.  We had drinks at the Science Club (which is a a bar) and its ode to science was the beat-up old periodic table on the wall and drinks served in test tubes / beakers.  It's interesting to go to dinner with Jeremy and a person who he knows well and who I don't know very well.  Something about that really makes me look at Jeremy, as he's talking, in a new light.  I look at the way he gestures and talks and I try to see them for the first time again.  To try and remember if those same gestures and mannerisms were there when he was 27 and I first met him.  Mainly, I look at him and see all the grey hairs and wrinkles and think - wow, we really are growing old together.


I went to lunch today with a good friend of mine.  Is it OK to be good friends with someone that you only see/talk to every 6 months?  Really, we've tried to schedule this lunch for months.   Ethiopian food shared.  I like talking to this particular person about religion and God.  As I grow older, I'm starting to envy people who believe in God.  I would like to believe - what comfort would that be! - but I know I will never.  Well, maybe I will in 20 years.  I'm believe in so many things now that I thought I'd never believe when I was 20.  Who knows what I will believe when I'm 60.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015



Took my parents out mid-day to Japanese food and to see the Martian. They got to try tempura and stadium seating.  Nice!  Matt Damon - dreamy and age-appropriate for me - though not so dreamy in this scene.


Vince made dinner last night, asked Keyla if it needed more salt.


Louisa is learning how to knit and mailed Vince this adorable hat!


The Chief Archecture Designer of the World Fastest Supercomputer for Past 18 Months

Prof. Dr. Yutong Lu, Director, System Software Laboratory, School of Computer Science, National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), Changsha, China

"Prof. Dr. Yutong Lu is the Director of the System Software Laboratory, School of Computer Science, National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), Changsha, China.  She is also a professor in the State Key Laboratory of High Performance Computing, China.  She got her B.S, M.S, and Ph.D degrees from te NUDT.  Her extensive research and development experience has spanned several generations of domestic supercomputers in China. During this period, Prof. Lu was the Director of Designer for the Tianhe (Note: Milky Way)-1A and Tianhe-2 (Note: It can perform 33 thousand trillion calculations per second (petaflops) which is twice as fast as the next one, #2 in the world).  Her continue research interests include parallel operating systems (OS), high-speed communication, global file system, and advanced programming environment.


Designed by Dr. Yutong Lu, the system designer of multiple iterations of Tianhe supercomputers, the Tianhe-2A is an upgrade to the Tianhe-2, using novel architecture to work around the lack of Xeon Phi cores from trade restrictions (Note:  The US government bans Intel from selling this kind of chips to China). Using this technique, they have managed to create a design that gives the computer the extra 45 petaflops it needs to reign at the top of the computing world."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Leaky Valve Has Been Replaced.

This morning around 5:00 AM, I replaced the leaky valve.  Right now, everything is fine until next time :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thanksgiving early.


Late Saturday afternoon, we went to Boba's house for an early Thanksgiving.  Turns out that Boba is a great host!  (well, ok, Boba's parents).  There was a lot of wonderful food and very nice people hanging out.


We had finished eating and socializing and I went down to the basement to get Vince.  Thu (Boba's mom) is ten years younger than me, so all of her friends have kids that are ten years younger than my kids.  I leaned over to Vince and whispered that we were ready to go and Vince looked up at me and said - but I'm waiting to get a balloon!  I was like, really?  And he said yeah, totally.  But I gotta wait for all the three year olds to get theirs first.  Ha ha ha...


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tid bits.


I went to a scholarship luncheon on Friday.  I got a scholarship this fall which covered about 40% of my tuition which was a wonderful surprise.  I always think I'm at the bottom of the list no matter how good my grades (which, to my tiger-daughter dismay, are not all As) are because I've already got a BS, I'm going part time and I have much less financial need than a lot of the other applicants.  The lunch was planned and catered by the hospitality students at the UMD Eastern Shore - that was impressive as well.  It was a buffet lunch and it was quite good given how those things usually go.

On Saturday, Jeremy and I played the - if we had a bazillion dollars and didn't have to work game - and talked about what we'd buy, where we'd live, what we'd do.  If it happened tomorrow and the kids were still in school, we'd just hire a house person who would take care of all the house things - the kaput dryer, the non-draining deck, the mold growing within the double paned windows, the car oil changes, the growing puddle in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, the invasive species taking over our lawn, etc.  But if we really had a bazillion dollars, I'd love to be able to give full scholarships to folks who are first in their family to go to college.  At the scholarship luncheon, a few students who got the full ride scholarship got up to talk about how much it meant to them.  A lot of tough situations, a lot of hard work - getting weepy about being able to become and accountant or special needs teacher.  It's hard to think of other things which have a greater return on investment.


Jeremy and I took Maxi to Sugarloaf Mountain on Saturday for a hike.  The kids were occupied elsewhere.  We didn't take Ruby because, for the first time, we thought she wouldn't be able to keep up.  I can play favorites with the dogs, I will admit that Ruby does lots of things without Maxi because Ruby is better behaved and easier to manage.   But Maxi did well on this hike, she clamored up rocks and went over ravines, only growled at one other dog.  We stopped off at a farm stand to get some apples and I threw Maxi an apple core which she usually devours.  But this time, she licked it and then ignored it.  I glared at her - Max!  You only eat apple cores because you don't want Ruby to have it.  Such a younger sibling...  Ha!

Water Pipe Extensions with Stop Valves

A basement internal cold water supply and the water pipe extensions (two pairs for two future baths, one for Master Bedroom, one for common living area) have been completely installed.  However, the left hand side valve in the 2nd picture (for Master Bedroom) has a small leak through its gasket and it needs to be replaced or re-conditioned.

The first picture shows one pair of hot/cold water supply for common living area.  The 2nd picture shows the other.  Without attached to the wooden framing, they aren't straight enough.  But, once the wooden framing becomes available, they will be two parallel pipes.

The 3rd picture is for the cold water take-off for internal use inside the basement.  This way, I don't  have to go to outside (backyard) to get water.  Of course, it was installed first.  Or otherwise, with those two pairs, it is kind of redundant.  This line can also be shut off independently.

In this 3rd picture, the first pair is near the right hand side wall straight ahead.  The second pair is just off the sight in this picture on the left.