Monday, October 20, 2014


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Donald flew to Portland this weekend to hang out with mom and to get a cup of coffee.

I went running on the C&O and it was beautiful.


Vince made me a BLT for lunch!


Jeremy is in a cookie bake-off at his work this week.  He wants to WIN.


Sunday, October 19, 2014


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Both the kids had the day off on Friday and it was Edda's regularly scheduled OT appointment with Deb.  Deb hasn't seen Vince in years!  Deb has been Edda's therapist since she was three years old.

In first or second grade, Vince was having a lot of trouble with his handwriting.  Deb took him on for a few months to teach him how to hold a pencil and write the letters correctly.  It was not an easy thing for Vince.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Something for the U Street Addition

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Our U Street Addition is coming along fairly nicely.  The roof is up with several vent pipes.  The framing has passed the inspection. Windows are all up.  Siding is up for the north wall which is ready for the new electric meter. Mom's hard work pays off and she is pretty happy.

Well, she starts to collect things for the addition. At least, she has had two already - a clock and a phone. Clock is working, according to her.  The phone, I hope it is working too.

When I fly back for the last time of this year when Rena is around, I will put the fence back to its original place.

Mom is also very excited that Donald will be there this weekend. She looks forward to seeing him there.


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Date night = IKEA.  Jeremy is trying to convince me that this desk is going to totally change the workflow in the house.  A modern organizational miracle.

We misestimated that a queen sized bed would fit into the minivan.  Had to tie it to the roof.



Would it be remiss of me to not talk about Ebola?  This has been a crazy week to be a bedside nurse (in training) in a hospital.  I'm not immune to having my blood pressure and heart rate rise when I watch 15 minutes of CNN.  Yes, I have friends who work in ERs, I have friends who are nurses at NIH, and I have friends who have kids that needed to be in the ER this week surrounded by feverish people.  Yes, I have put on PPE equipment to protect me from C-diff and MRSA beacuse every third patient have these hospital aquired infections.  Yes, I've seen Contagion.  Please just go out and get your flu shot, OK?  They are at every Safeway, CVS and Walgreens.  There are flu clinics at school and work sites. Don't follow the red herring.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mt. Vernon

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Jeremy took the day off work to chaperone Edda's field trip to Mt. Vernon.  We talked about Washington crossing the Delaware at dinner tonight.  Vince's pal, Owen, was at dinner and he's a bit of a history buff and we wondered if we'd still be an English colony if Washington was unsuccessful in his Christmas Day attack.  Jeremy thought we'd still being an English colony today.  Owen said it would have only taken another year to get independence.

Edda boarded a fancy coach bus which did have a wheelchair lift.

Jeremy was bemused with the conversation on the bus which alternated between kiddie jokes and racy jokes.  Edda's pals were impressed that Edda had her own phone.  Most kids here have to wait until middle school to get their own smartphones, but not Edda.

I hate to even mention how busy we are because all the things we are busy with are our own fault and because we are excited to be doing the things we are doing.  We are busy!  Jeremy got up at 5 am to start work before he left for the trip and then promptly started work again when he got home at 3ish and he's still at it now.  He's set up a permanent workstation in the dining room with multiple screens.  It's close to the coffee.


Monday, October 13, 2014


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Foggy nights and warm beds.


Sunday, October 12, 2014


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Vince is back from the 2-night camp out.  He has new freckles and a new facial hair.


He came back filthy.  You can see the dirt on his legs.


No shoes.  But he has socks at least!


Two Interesting Statistics

1) There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.
2) An investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found more than one million counterfeit Chinese parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.
For the first one, no wonder the largest pork producing company in USA, Smithfield Foods, is looking to China for growth.  Evidently, there are a lot of pigs being consumed there every day. For the Chinese parts, we are not only using their counterfeit parts unintentionally but also using their genuine parts intentionally.  For example, Pentagon waives sanction rules on Chinese magnets on our Radar System, landing gear and other hardware for F-35 fighter. Or otherwise, the colossal program can not be kept on track. 
Btw, these days, we use Russian rockets to put up our satellites too.  With all these NATO sanctions, I just wonder why Russian still let us using theirs - not in our military purposes though. 
In short, we all become desk persons.  This, I believe, is the direct results of our brilliant MBAs from our elite colleges - outsourcing (remember this fancy term?).  They and US Companies make millions overnight without doing much but, as consequence, leave all American folk in the dust. 
Our President is still in his campaign's mood - running around the world, saying a lot, but not much can be delivered.
Not like President Nixon said "Speak softly, but also carry a big stick"

Saturday, October 11, 2014

U Street Addition Update


Donald just asked how is Mom's addition going on.  Look, this is the new north front wall with one of the bathroom window.  The new electrical meter will be placed to the right of window on this wall.

Mom hope the addition can be winterized soon with roofing, siding, electrical meter, windows and doors ready so she can take off to the east coast for Winter.

Due to my travel policy change, I will visit U Street every 4 weeks during the Winter time.  I need to store some water for toilet only and be ready to put on a lot of blankets.  For two-day short visit during the weekend, no shower, no heating to the whole house.  Just stay one night to make sure everything is okay and leave.


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Donald is such a good brother.

Calls me almost every weekend, which is really nice.  We've never been in such close contact as we've been the past 5 years or so.  His last day at Oracle was Friday, he starts his new gig on Monday.  I don't know the company's name.  I only know that it's in SF proper.

Friday, October 10, 2014


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At the Montgomery College track.

At the top of Shady Grove Hospital parking garage.


Jeremy is home from a successful CA trip.  Vince is off camping this weekend.  We are both working /studying this weekend while Edda hangs out.  I've been experimenting with my phone's camera for the blog because I now find myself in places where I don't want to bring my big camera.  But the camera on the phone frustrates me to no end because I like taking photos of people moving in low light which is the worst thing you can ask a cell phone camera to do.

China Just Overtook the USA as the World's Largest Economy

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This is based on just one measurement - PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) among many others.  But, nevertheless, it is a great achievement that I, as a Chinese-American, am very proud of.  However, I still believe it will take a long time for the average Chinese to have our average living standards today.

This achievement, I believe, is the result of collective efforts by every Chinese worldwide and hard working always pays off, eventually.

I still remember my childhood days in China that I didn't have enough to eat, went to school with barefoot as well as with wet clothes on (just one and no dryer, of course), etc.  I am sure that I wasn't alone at that time because Rena experienced the same things as I did.  I am also sure that, even today in China, there are a lot extremely poor people.  But, their number should shrink rapidly.  That is very good news too.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


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Vince got Donald's hand-me-down iPhone 5.  It's nice to have an uncle who likes the latest and greatest.  Then you get stuff that's better than the crap Android phone your parents buy you.



This is Alex our clinical instructor.  She's fabulous.  I'm learning a lot.  So many, so many stories to tell.  But I can't talk about it here.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


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Waiting for the bus with Ruby.

Even though it is cold, flowers are still trying to give it a go in the garden.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rett syndrome awareness month.

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October is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month.  Edda's doing well - healthy (except for the Rett, if that makes any sense) and happy.  Edda often gets up at 4:30 am.  Usually one of us wakes up then and crawls into bed with Edda and cradles her back to sleep until a more reasonable 5:30 am.  We switch nights so I only get up super early every other day, but I've become so good at this that I can pretend I'm still sleeping when I walk over at 4:30 am and then go back to sleep promptly as soon as Edda's body curls around mine.  Since Jeremy's been traveling this week, I'm keeping Edda company every morning.  If I can't get her to go back to sleep, then I'll turn on a little TV on her dresser and she roams the room while I try to sleep some more.  This is when she'll often come back to the bed and sit on my head.   I do still hope for a cure for Rett, but as she gets older, it all seems to fade away.  It's as if I can't see it anymore, that the borders are fuzzy and I can never get it smack in the center of my field of view.  

Monday, October 6, 2014


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On the left coast, Jeremy saw Ben and Maryann and watched the 18-inning baseball game between the Nats and the Giants.

Then to the Mission, where he stumbled upon a riotous dinner party thrown by Donald in his tiny apartment.  Delicious homemade pasta was served.

On the right coast, Vince sorted through and organized a three-inch-tall pile of schoolwork.   I try not to cringe when I look at his binder.  Nothing in life gives me more pleasure than a well-organized school binder.  Apparently, Vince did not inherit that gene.

Max, on the other hand, has tendencies similar to me.  Every once in a while, the world will overwhelm her and she just wants to hide out under the bed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


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Logan slept over last night.  Pizza and popcorn all around.

After he left, Vince made himself some ramen.

I dressed Edda fancy today in a fur vest.  It's cold here.  Brrrr.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Flu shot.

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Jeremy is out of town for the week.  Dropped him off at the BWI shuttle bus at 6 am today.  He's not usually gone for the weekend, but he wanted to see some friends in SF, so it makes it an extra-long trip.

Vince is dressing like a lao gong these days - oversized white undershirt and ill-fitting slippers.  Now he only needs an upside-down bucket to sit on while he reads the newspaper and grumbles about politics.

Took the kids to the flu shot clinic at our pediatrician's this morning.  Get your flu shot!  That's right, you!  Don't turn around and think that I pointed to the person behind you.

Vince introduced Edda to another flu shot clinic client.  Her mom recommended that we try out Special Olympics bowling (which is where they were headed to after the flu shot).  I'm loathe to sign the kids up for anything new because I don't like to drive them anywhere on the weekends (because I'm lazy that way), so I kind of hemmed and hawed and mentioned that Edda can't really use her hands.  She said brightly that they use these bowling ball ramps and they have volunteers to coax the kids to do amazing things.   I don't doubt that.  I'm sure Edda would bowl if I took her bowling. Her daughter, the girl in the yellow shirt, is on the competitive bowling team and is hoping to go to regionals next week and then maybe states later on.

Vince actually watched the needle go in.  I can't do that if I'm getting the shot myself.

Dora says corn = eating smart.

Vince pumps his first tank of gas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014