Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Mom flew down last night.  She has a big smile on her face this morning.

Happy Valentine's Day to every one.

Saturday, February 13, 2016



I was at the hospital all day today taking care of a patient with sickle cell anemia.  I learned that if Edda was to have the spinal fusion done at Children's, she'd end up on the exact floor that I'm doing my clinical rotation.  A helpful nurse said - oh, you should talk to (nurse) Emily!  She just got a fresh spinal yesterday.  Hmmmm, I did not follow through on that suggestion, because, really, how much do I need to know before I will know?  It takes some willpower for me to function at clinical -  fumbling with people/paperwork/medications/documentation/machinery I'm not familiar with, and just gathering enough confidence to walk into a patient's room with the parent by his side with no real purpose except to "check-in".  I really didn't want to pile my own (or Edda's own) medical stressors into my day.  Maybe next time.  Speaking of things to know, I now know the super-secret code to get into the non-ending supply of grape Popsicles on the ortho post-op recovery floor.


Jeremy and Vince ended up spending the day with my mother.  They went to see the Rockville Chinese New Year celebration - complete with Monkey king and the crazy feathers that come out of his head.  Jeremy was thoroughly amused.  Vince enjoyed hearing my mom try to explain things.


The celebration indicated that there was to be free food after the performance, but my mother found out that it was going to be some lame sandwiches and the line was long - so instead of that, they went to A&Js and celebrated with real Chinese noodles.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday night dinner & report cards.


We had a nice dinner at my mom's house tonight.  We talked about gravitational waves, Einstein's riddles, and Schrodinger's cat.  Vince has been watching youtube TED talks (?) with riddles in them, so they are fun to think about and solve.


Edda, again, has kicked ass in school.  I expect nothing less from her now.  Vince took a look at her report card and groaned (again).


Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and I

Donald and Bernie have many issue positions on the opposite side.  But, I definitely will vote for Donald or Bernie, and no one else.

Why?  Let us (ordinary, silent and average American) get rid of those so-called elites from Ivy League School graduates, economists from Chicago University?, balanced and fair media (all medias including New York Times, Washington Post) and Wall Street. They have had their chance to govern for a long, long time, but with disastrous results.  Why?  With political correctness and nice, soothing words prepared for every one, nothing, nothing gets done this way. No pain no gain. It is about time to be governed by the Main Street, with majority, and above all, using common sense instead.

I would rather tell those poor, advantageous kids that their chance for success is just 1/10 of those on the other side of social spectrum.  Don't accept any free hand-out, just working extremely hard. Good days are coming.

If our kids have a little bit of marijuana and they get caught, they certainly have this criminal record with them in their whole life time. The Wall Street screwed everyone up and, yet, they got US$800 billions BONUS from all of us. And mind you, no one, absolute no one goes to jail.  Why?  It is the Wall Street and and Government Complex at its best.  Who care big banks fail?  The more the better.

In these days, be a talker (e.g., Marco Rubio) is much better than a doer (e.g., John Kasich, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush & Dr. Ben Carson).  You can talk your way to prosperity.  All establishment and their followers are.  All leeches of society are too.

Marco Rubio can't even manage his own 401K accounts.  And, yet, he says he can manage all ours successfully. Nothing but B.S.

Thursday, February 11, 2016



Two cuties in the backseat asleep while we were on our way to Hopkins this morning.  As we pulled up to Hopkins, Keyla asked if this was where Ben Carson had practiced as a neurosurgeon.  I'm impressed she's keeping up with US politics.  A few years ago, I met a woman whose five-year-old son about to half his brain removed by Carson.  It's called a hemispherectomy and it's to treat uncontrollable seizures.  I'm glad I didn't have to make that particular parenting decision.


The doctor we saw today was recommended to us by a number of DC area Rett families that have had various ortho ailments surgically treated (spine & hip).  This surgeon said that he thought Edda's back was already far too curved to benefit much from the brace, that it's already past the "tipping point" and will steadily get worse with age and gravity.  It's fine for now, not causing pain or unbalancing her mobility.  But the outcome of the surgery is much better when the curve is not as severe - the surgery is less complicated, the recovery is smoother.  He recommended finding a time within the next year that we can, as a family, manage the extra care Edda will need for about two months.  The surgery will mean about a week for recovery in the hospital and about 6-8 weeks recuperating at home.  I guess the good thing about orthopedics is that you can always try to fix something with hammers, nails, screws and cement.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ins & outs.

I will lead with the "ins" tonight.


 Jeremy's report published today!  It's an exciting day even though Jeremy's a bit of a non-celebratory (aka exhausted) mood.

You can read the full report here.
And an article on Vox - here.


Jeremy was at our town meeting last night where Rockville decided to not accept the northern-most confederate statue.  Nice.  You can read about it here.


Now with the "outs":


We took Edda to Children's today to get an opinion on her curving spine.  The doc did a visual exam, her back didn't look too bad.  We went down to the x-ray room which was very cute. Children's knows how to make everything look like the inside of a Disney movie.  The x-ray machine is dressed up like a furry snake (?) with a money hanging from it.


So this is the x-ray of her back.  There is a greater than 50 degree "S" curve in her spine.  The doctor was surprised when he saw it, apparently Edda carries herself pretty well.  The plan is to see if we can try and brace it to keep it from getting worse as she grows.  She might tolerate the brace, she might not.  He estimates about 2 more years of growing. He thinks, most likely, it'll probably get worse as she ages and if it does, he would recommend surgery to straighten it.  But maybe it won't get worse.  I guess I could always hope.  We'll see someone at Hopkins on Thursday, but I suspect it'll be the same suggestion.


The last "out"?  Vince shattered the screen on his phone.  AGAIN!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super bowl!

Party #1: excellent artichoke dip & chili


Party #2: excellent meatballs & cookies


If football ever falls by the wayside, what sporting event will take its place?  Where will we see all our talking animal commercials?


Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Small Studio Apartment

This is my small studio apartment along Interstate Route 26 at Irmo, SC.  It is about 25 miles from the Nuclear Site where I work.  So far so good and, again, Happy Chinese New Year to everyone.

Happy Chinese New Year

Next Monday is Chinese New Year.  Happy Chinese New Year to All :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Date night.


Thursday is usually date night.  But Jeremy had an evening meeting in DC, so I took my mom out to dinner.  I took her to Cava Grill - the hippest place in Gaithersburg.  I know that isn't saying much, but we suburbanites want to still feel like we know what it's like to not drive a minivan.  The line was 30 deep, unheard of in the deep 'burbs.  My mom was a little astonished at its popularity.


It's a slightly fancier version of Chipotle - price point was 10 dollars each.


Ordering was a little complicated - I tried to explain tzatizki, hummus, falafel, harissa, and tahini to mom and she settled on some choices, but when we got to the front of the line and saw what each of the things were, she immediately changed her mind.  She got the spicy lamb meatballs.  I got falafel pita.


I took my mom to the Costco, where she bought large amounts of a few things.  Then I dropped her off at home and went to Home Depot because I'm still doing a side gig as appliance repair-man.  Our washer wasn't draining.  The pump was clogged with 7.5 years of crap.  According to a random person on the internet, I needed to purchase a wet/dry vac to repair it.


Vince and I followed the internet instructions and sucked out about 5 gallons of sulfurous smelling water from the pump.  When we started running the wet/dry vac, it was so loud, I went to get some foam ear plugs.  I gave Vince a pair and he stuck them in his nose at first.  I laughed and said - no!  They are for your ears!

After we drained the washer, we found mold/mildew, hair, a lollipop stick, pennies/nickels, a guitar pick, and sewing pins, a lot of glitter fallen from glittery clothing and it all smelled really bad.  Vince was interested only in operating the wet/dry vac.  As soon as that was done, he vamoosed.  I did the cleaning and ended up smelling like a rotten egg.  But it is fixed!  Just like new.  Not really, but it works.  And now we own a wet/dry vac.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wed already.


I'm relishing the regular-ness of the week.  Everyone is well, everyone is in a good mood.  We are all doing our regular neurotic stuff, but because it's all within the scope of a regular week, it's not so bad.  Jeremy's slightly anxious and can't sleep, I'm slightly mopey and become lazy and tend to sloth, Vince forgets sheets of paper all around the house and then sends us into a frenzy 3 minutes before he leaves for school trying to locate them, Edda is pooping on the shower floor, Maxi has diarrhea, and, finally, Ruby is perfect.  Because I know that our days with au pair child care are numbered, (3 months left, but who's counting?), I'm extra aware of all the help I get around the house because of Keyla's attentiveness and I'm trying to appreciate every moment of it.

Hmmm.... what else happened today?

Vince is trying in vain to help us keep up with teenage culture.  We hear little bits of sayings that we don't understand, yet know they are part of the youth vernacular and then we ask Vince to clarify the origin of the phrase and to help us incorporate it into situations and sentences.  It's hilarious to do this at the dinner table, with Keyla both trying to learn old idiomatic English phrases like "pushing my buttons" from us and then trying to learn new idiomatic phrases like "deez nuts" with me and Jeremy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What's up?


I had my first set of classes today - pediatrics and a class called co-morbidities in which they give you a case study of a person with a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gall stones and breast cancer - and they come in with a severe case of the flu.  How do they present?  What hormones are released? What happens to the heart rate?  What happens to their electrolytes?  The classes are going to be fun (I think), though I miss having good friends at school.  I do love school, but it's much nicer when you are going to school with a bunch of your good friends.  I'm determined to not let this semester spiral out of control - sometimes I get overwhelmed and have that constant anxious feeling and can't think straight for weeks at a time - though I suspect no one notices except me.

Jeremy's report is at the printers.  It's really, really done.  It's going to publish next Tuesday.

Vince is in the middle of picking his high school class schedule.  This being crazy town - the guidance counselors are telling all the kids to get ready for college and freaking them all out.   I don't want to think about college, because then he will leave me and go somewhere else and I'm not quite ready to let him go out into the world with my credit card at his side.   As for classes, he's continuing with Chinese and he's going to audition for chamber orchestra.  A few weeks ago, he asked if he could practice in his room instead of in the middle of the kitchen.  We said 'sure' not thinking too much of it.  But it turns out that after electronic curfew, when he's faced with nothing to do, he'll practice violin for a while. Like really practice, going over a single measure over and over again until he gets it right.  Interesting.  We are trying to lay low on this and not make it a big deal.

Edda, the poor girl, has major medical updates to report.  She has two appointments next week for her  curving back - two people for us to consider.  One at Children's, one at Hopkins.  I'm also in the middle of arranging dental surgery for her mid-April.  She has a tooth growing in the middle of her palate that needs to be pulled and we are going to pull her wisdom teeth too and get some sealants in there.

Sunday, January 31, 2016



I spent Saturday at Children's Hospital for clinical orientation.  I'm thankful that I get to do clinical on Saturday because I get to avoid a lot of traffic.  I'm on a post-surgery floor - a good mix of GI, urology, ortho surgeries.  My instructor seems great, my classmates are relaxed and fun.  Hopefully, I won't cry too much.


Today, I went running on the only plowed trail in the DC area.  Even though I showed up right at sunrise today, I said hello ten million people: people running alone, people running in couples, whole groups of people training together. I think everyone who wanted to get in a run today went to the Capital Crescent Trail. I have never run with so many other runners except for in a race! Usually when I run, I say hello to 4 people max.   I ran into Amy - my college marathon running friend and we ran for a few moments.  She warned me about an aggressive owl that might attack you if you are a lone runner.  Lucky for me, I saw no owl.  My hamstring is still on the fritz.  What did I do to it? Ack.


Edda and Ruby napping together.  Edda is ready to go back to school.  She is off her schedule.  Ruby may be ready for Edda to back to school as well.  Given that Edda sleeps on top of her.


Jeremy cleared the deck because he wanted to grill for Sunday night dinner.


Happy birthday Jane!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Noel, a Builder

Noel a Builder - with hard hat, safety glass, reflective clothing, a hand-knit sweater from Mom and, of course, a big smile :)

I used to worked on two first Westinghouse AP1000 units in China for Shaw Groups several years ago. Then CBI (Chicago Bridge & Iron) bought Shaw Groups and, recently, CBI sold its construction group here (VC Summer) together with Vogtle Plant to Westinghouse just at end of last year.  So, I still have the CBI hard hat.  COOL!

Nuclear Power Plant Access Safety Training

This week, I have received ~20 different kinds of safety training , such as "safety cultures", "excavation and trenching safety". "portable power tools", "hot work", "look out and tag out", etc.

Most of them, I am very familiar.  But, part of them is new to me.  To get trained in this way is very good.  It is extremely helpful not only for Nuclear work but also in one's daily life.  Happy to have this opportunity to get trained.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The last snow day.


Kids were home one more day (again).  This is the last snow day!  It's going to be 60 degrees next week - we are all going to be in shorts and t-shirts then.


We had dinner tonight with Debbie and Dennis. Dennis (I say the next bit with sherah's Texas accent), bless his heart, snowblew (? snowblowed), my mother's driveway Monday morning - even before any plow had touched their street.

We had Friday night dinner with them as (tremendous) thanks.


I wanted to give Dennis something nice for his trouble, Debbie told me he liked brandy.  So I shuffled off to the local liquor store with Edda.  I don't understand alcohol, I don't drink, I don't even drink enough water - nothing there looked quite right.  I texted Jeremy to rescue me.


He was just about to leave his office and said, don't worry, I'll take care of it.  He walked into a nice liquor store downtown and picked up a fancy bottle.  Dennis was pleased - said he thought he got the better end of the deal which was sweet to say, but I'm sure that I (and my mom) got the better end.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Feeling incompetent.


I tried to do some errands today, simple ones like buying spaghetti sauce and black bean soup, but I failed at this task.  The shelves are still empty at the local Target. This mid-day failure set me up for the rest of the afternoon, like setting up a the T-ball stand and just knowing you are going to whiff the next swing.

Though between my feelings of failure, I did have an excellent ox tail for lunch.


My second feeling of failure came from attempting and failing to make an ortho appointment for Edda's back at Johns Hopkins.  This has been on my list for many months, but I've been putting it off because I like to be in denial.  I called the Hopkins # - they said they need a referral in order to make the appointment.  I called my primary care physician - they said they don't do open ended referrals, they need the exact time/date of the appointment to make the referral.  I called back Hopkins, they said they *really* didn't make appointments without the referral.  They suggested I change primary care physicians.  Sigh.  In the end, I got the two of them to talk to each other!  Success.  Kind of.  The primary called me back and said - who diagnosed her?  we have nothing on the chart that says she has scoliosis.  I admitted that I diagnosed her.  (I know, I'm not an expert or anything, but I can tell with my eye/fingers when things are two inches off center.)  Primary says - I gotta check with the doc.  I said I was willing to come in so they can see Edda's back and also that I feel like I needed to compensate them for all this phone tag I'm making them do.  Anyways, primary called back and said  everything was straightened out (ha ha scoliosis pun) and all I had to do was call Hopkins again.  (This is such a boring story.  In the hands of a better writer, I know this could be riveting.)

So I call Hopkins back.  I can't make the appointment because they can't find the referral.

Argh.  AAAAHHHHHHHHH~!!!!!1!@@!$@#R$%^$%^.  I give up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snow. It continues. We are trying to not go crazy.


Hello loves,

We just got an email saying that school is cancelled for tomorrow (Thurs.) - it's a real mess.  The roads are pretty clear here, it's just that some schools still don't have their parking lots plowed or bus access cleared.  In our neighborhood, the sidewalks are still sketchy, especially the parts where no one claims as "in front of their house".

Vince has been taking advantage of the days off of school - the storm blew in just as he finished his last final of the semester, so there is no schoolwork for him.  He's been seeing friends or just chilling out watching lots of TV.

Edda has been in the house for days, though yesterday we took her to Montgomery Mall where we ate at full food court and ran into many interesting people.  We shared a table with a lady who lives at Ingleside who said they did an excellent job during the storm, though she was relieved that finally she was out and about.   Edda ran into a camp counselor at JCC who ran up to her and gave her a big hug.  That was nice.


It's always a little strange for me to see Edda walking without anyone touching her in a public place.  It happens so rarely, but I suppose it could happen more frequently.


Last night we watched Zoolander in anticipation of its sequel coming out this summer (?).  It's a bad movie, but it had Donald Trump, David Duchovny and David Bowie making cameos.  Jeremy and I both sighed when David Bowie came on screen - to which both Vince and Keyla asked - who's David Bowie?  Ha ha.  Oh well.



Today, everyone was so bored, we channeled a little bit of David Bowie into Edda's eyebrows.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sound Sleep

Yesterday, I went back to my hotel around 3:30 PM, watched some TV, had a honey ham sandwich as my dinner and went to bed at 7:00 PM.

This morning, I woke up around 4:30 AM.  In between, I slept all the time.  It was a sound sleep with 9:30 hours continuously.  I have seldom slept this way - usually wake several times during my sleep :)

Monday, January 25, 2016

There is still a lot of snow around.

There is still a lot of snow around.  Kids were home from school and will be again tomorrow.  Jeremy stayed home as the Metro only opened the below ground stations today.  I worked - no snow day for me.  This was suppose to be my first week of class, my classes this semester are on Tuesdays (tomorrow) - those are cancelled too.

We haven't driven since Friday at noon.  Trying to stay off the streets so roads can get cleared.  I haven't even really walked further than the end of the block.  Jeremy did make it to town center on foot today - he reported that the elementary school was still buried under a beautiful white blanket.

We are slowly eating down our food supply, collecting all the compost and waiting for something.  I'm not sure what I'm waiting for because no way is anyone shoveling the backyard walk between the house and the compost pile.  I guess I'm just waiting for spring.