Friday, December 19, 2014

Chinese. Party.

Vince's first Chinese essay:

I had promised Vince that I would look up a way to type in Chinese while he was at school on Tuesday and I found a few ways that were unsatisfactory.  He came home from school and I told him I couldn't figure out exactly how he could type his essay and he promptly went to youtube and typed in "how to type in chinese mac" and found a 3 minute tutorial and 5 minutes later he was typing this essay in MS word.  I'm almost more impressed with that than the essay itself.


Jeremy's work holiday party was Thursday night.  He went to work in a demure olive green cardigan which covered up (you guessed it) his favorite Christmas vest.


These are the people dreaming up national fuels policy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


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Look who is in town!  Sue!  I'm sure when we were 16, we talked about cute boys.  Now we talk about kids, child care, real estate and aging parents.  I got to hold a baby today.  Sometimes babies like it when I hold them, but often they don't like it (hmmm, maybe this doesn't bode well for the peds nurse idea).  Bradley didn't like it very much when I held him.  I showed him the most exciting part of Rockville - the kid section at the main library.  Sue hadn't yet been to the new library, we both remember the old library where we spent time going through the immense card catalog to do school papers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Festival of Lights.

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I forgot that it was the first night of Hanukkah, I had to rummage around to find our menorah buried under all the Christmas stuff.  We have a silver one which Bob and Katherine gave us many, many years ago.  I gave it a quick polish and we lit the candles and said the blessing, but dinner was already made - BLTs.  Oh well, I tried.

Monday, December 15, 2014



Winter concert tonight.  Vince is in the 8th grade class because he's taking Chinese which I guess is the same time as the 7th grade orchestra class.


Edda enjoying the concert in her way too small wheelchair.  The repair people still haven't answered our emails.  Maybe Edda'll be using this old wheelchair when she's 17.


Edda fell asleep to the choral rendition of Maroon 5's Maps.


After the concert, Vince worked the school store and sold Jeremy a Santa hat.


Post concert celebration at the local bubble tea place.  And we are studying Chinese!  A week and a half of study has pulled Vince's grade from a C to B.  Which is more than I can say for my Adult Health final which I got a C on!  I don't think I *ever* got a C on a final in college.  (Grad school, another issue - I remember getting a 17 on a test.  The math was getting really hard. So hard.) Nursing school is killing me.  I know I have a ton of other stuff I'm doing, but really, I could have studied another week and not done much better.  This is an example of a question:  You have a patient with a stroke who is unconscious and unresponsive.  He also has acid reflux.  What do you assess frequently? I know all the things to do for a stroke patient.  I know all the things you do for an acid reflux patient (you do too: Tums, don't lie down after a meal and don't eat spicy foods).  But what the heck do you do for a patient with acid reflux AND stroke.  I figured you'd ignore the acid reflux because you have a crap ton of other things to worry about.   Ha, ha.  No matter.  This term is done!  I'm done with going to school full-time and working full-time.  I was really lucky to have pulled this term off - the stars aligned.  Let the holidays begin.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dry Aging Chicken

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Well, I guess Rena's left arm is getting better.  I can see it, not from her directly, but rather from our credit card charges.  Our cards went to sleep for a while.  Right now, I am glad it gradually moves back to normal  - a lot of them from Dollar Stores or Dollar Trees.  But, few items actually come from Macy's.  That is good too.

Also, her activities increase a lot - sewing, harvesting potatoes, etc.  Look, here are some of her dry aging chicken in the garage.  Last year, they were hung everywhere, though tasty but not too neat, I thought. Therefore, I installed several racks. But, she still used those crooked paperclips.  It looked slightly better, but not much.

Right now, look, all those s-shape hangers (not paperclip).  They are very neat indeed.  I am very impressed. Well, "Happy Wife means Happy Life" :)  What more can one ask?

Health update.

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Edda: she's the healthiest of us all.  Well, as long as you overlook the Rett Syndrome, which granted, is something large to overlook, but I do it all the time.  I mean if you count the Rett Syndrome, then she's the sickest all the time which just seems unfair for a little girl with abs of steel and an immune system that kicks ass.  (OK, I've totally jinxed myself now.  She's going down with something soon.)


Vince: Missed school on Friday due to stomach issues.  Maybe due to the indordinate amount of candy he ate while making the gingerbread house.  Slept until 11am that day.  Missed the weekend campout.  Spent the weekend chillaxing.


Jeremy: Stomach issues too.  We'll leave it at that.  Not terrible.  A little queasy.


Doris:  I've devolved into a flare-up of mouth sores (which I've had for my whole life on/off) which prevent me from eating happily.  I've noticed that for the past few years, whenever these flare-ups happen - it's usually because I'm stressed and then it is painful and completely wipes me out.  So I've been sleeping a lot.  I have my big, last exam tomorrow.  I'm trying to study, but I keep closing my eyes.  I'm trying not to worry about it.  I hate being underprepared, but it is what it is.  It's not the end of the world.


Ruby:  I really thought she was on death's door last week.  So much poop.  She didn't want to get up.  She didn't want to wag her tail.  But then we got a batch of prescription food and some antibiotics for her and it cleared right up.  She's back to her old self.  I hate wet food.  It makes me nauseous.  In order for me to spend the least amout of time with the wet food, I served Ruby's food to her like this:


Maxi:  She had the same thing Ruby had, but it cleared up on its own.  She was jealous that Ruby got wet food and she got only kibble.

Potatoes from Mom's Veggie Garden

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These potatoes are from Mom's Veggie Garden.  Looks great and taste must be good.

Mahjong Game

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Yesterday afternoon, Mom called me and, evidently, she was very excited in the phone because she was the only winner in their old-lady Mahjong game.  I guess she rarely wins anything - good job.

I always think that Mom's characters and personality don't belong to those types of persons that can win games (cold, calculated, expression-less, etc).  Of course, this is just my thought.  Oops!  what did I just say ...  I am in trouble already :)

But, I think in a way it is a great compliment - she is nice indeed.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gingerbread house.

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I want to be a person who loves December. I don't love December - even when I tell myself it's all about hope, joy and love which I'm perfectly capable of successfully reminding myself the other 11 months of the year (mostly). I'm trying all the things: eating carbs/not eating carbs, exercising/not exercising, napping/not napping, working more/working less, more social/less social (which means curling up under the covers). Gah. The shortening of the days and the forced holiday joyfulness makes me moody and melancholy.


But!  Holiday cheerfulness still abounds in the house.  Sam and Hannah were over today making gingerbread houses.  Note:  I did not coordinate this fun.  It was all Vince and Nat's idea and Sam and Hannah just happened to stumble by because they accidentally locked themselves out of their house.

There was even a youtube fireplace going on in the background.


Here's Donald having some fun at his work holiday party.  It's a proven fact that people have more fun in California.  Jeremy's work party is next week.  I'm pretty sure we won't be having this much fun.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


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Thai food tonight with mom.  So far we've also tried Indian and Moroccan.   Ethiopian and Korean next.  Yum.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Finals week.


Finals!  Almost done.  This was a doozy of a term.  Loved it, but NEVER again am I taking on this much work.  It seemed like I worked every waking moment.  I want my weekends back.

Monday, December 8, 2014


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My mother brought over some take-out roasted chicken this past weekend.  I ate a bunch of chicken parts and I thought to myself, this is the most delicious chicken EVER!  So juicy, fatty and savory! When has chicken ever tasted this good? I was very happy eating my chicken and then I got to the bottom of the take out container and found a duck head looking at me.  Chicken is really tasty when it's really duck.


We got a real, live Chrismas tree from the firemen down the street.  Vince can't ever remember having a live tree in the house.  We are having a blowout Christmas extravaganza this year - it's going to be memorable.  You are going to have to wait and see how awesome it's going to be (hopefully).


I did wear my sequins again on Sunday.  Here I am doing my best impression of a Hong Kong tai tai.


Ruby is still having gut issues (so much poop.  so much.):

We took her to the vet today.  I hope it's nothing.  Or something we can do something about.  I hope it's not something we can do nothing about.


I would be remiss to not post a picture of the amazing garage clean up Jeremy did this weekend while I studied.

Sunday, December 7, 2014



Went to see the Harmonizers yesterday.  I think we may be outgrowing this tradition as well.  Santa was a good sport and let my heavy kids sit on his knees.  Edda's asking for her missing guanine like she does every year (location on the X-chromosome, the long arm, not the short one, MECP2 gene, exact location: 806delG, 4th and final exon - causing frame shift and resulting in an early stop codon. I think Santa tries pretty hard every year for her, but it's hard to find and often out of stock.)

Here we are in our Christmas glory.  Red and green all around.  Not too shabby.  I'm even wearing sequins.  And guess what?  I'm wearing it again today!

Home Coming, Windy, Damp, Cold and Lonesome

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Last Friday (12/5), I flew back home to Washington State at noon time.  It was a very windy, damp and cold day (41 F).  Our house had no water (shut off to save a minimum monthly charge of ~$40.00 ?) & no heat (turned off during the Winter time intentionally).

A couple, friends of ours, were graciously enough to feed me two hot meals and asked me to stay with them, one night. I was kind of feeling of not bothering them too much.  So decided to stay in my own place.  I had two dawn blankets on top of me, a form blanket underneath me.  It was very warm indeed in a 41 F environment.  Of course, before reaching home to bed, I went to a nearby Safeway first to use their rest room.

Next morning (Saturday, 12/6), when I woke up around 4:00 AM, it was very, very cold and I rushed to Portland Airport (PDX) without any delay.  At least, it was warm there and equipped with many rest rooms.  Boy, was I glad when I was there after returning my rental car.  This airport at that moment, was the best airport that I have visited - nice, warm and with hot water.

I imagine that there was something wrong with me NOW because when I was a kid - no heat, no hot water year long. Dawn blankets?  Forget it.  Well, while staying in bed, I did feel the night was just windy, damp and cold. On top of that, I did feel lonesome :) and almost called Rena (too bed her time would pass midnight, swapping geographical locations?).

Btw, in my outbound flight, I almost collect $500.00 for voluntarily yielding my seat for the next flight.  Finally the airlines thought I wasn't that overweight.  They could take one more passenger.  In inbound flight, I turned down an offer of $300 taking the next day flight.

Also, I liked to write this blog in my house but my fingers were too numb to type.

Next year in January, I will take the same journey.  Hopefully, it will be warmer with clear sky.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sleepover. Blue.

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Vince arranged his own sleepover last night.  Texted his friends and then they showed up at the door at 9:30 pm.  Practically my own bedtime.  Vince also made breakfast for them this morning.


We are wading through an impassable swamp to fix Edda's wheelchair.  It is really frustrating to work with the people who are suppose to come and repair it.  We call and leave phone numbers and email addresses and don't hear from them for weeks because they are calling us back on an old phone number that hasn't existed for five years.  We are told that brakes will be shipped in three days because they are under warranty, but then it turns out that they aren't under warranty but they really don't have an idea how long the ordering will take.  And then the prescription that was written from our pediatrician to the repair place might have just said "repair wheelchair" and not "repair wheelchair and parts" so we might need to get a new prescription in order for them to order the parts, but again, no one can find the prescription to figure out what it said.  Jeremy and I are capable people, we have all the resources necessary to perform this efficiently and it's driving us crazy.


Edda fell at school yesterday.  She hasn't fallen in a long, long time.  Of course, when she falls, everyone feels terrible.  It's happened on my watch, on Jeremy's watch, on all the au pair watches and at school where there is practically one adult to every kid.  There is a dent in our own living room drywall from the last time Edda fell in our house.  It's a tricky balance to allow Edda enough freedom to walk around and then to protect her too.


I was looking at Edda's hands and feet today.

I've been better at putting lotion on Edda's feet at night.   I just want her feet to be beautiful.  We've noticed that Edda's toes and ankles are kind of permanently splayed out because she inherited my duck walk - I'm going to try to make an appointment (hopefully before the new year) to get her some AFOs (ankle-foot orthotics).  Maybe they can be like how braces work on teeth and gently move (or keep) her feet back to "normal" or just have them be less "not normal".

Friday, December 5, 2014

Eyes. Vest. Good night.

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We got our eyes checked at Costco a few days before Thanksgiving.  Both of us have noticed our prescriptions changing.  Our eyes are old and tired.

Jeremy got his eyes dialated.  I did not so I could drive us home.  Jeremy has freakishly long eyebrows.


I can't decide if getting our eyes checked at Costco is a good deal or not.  On the one hand, the exam and the resultant progressive bifocal glasses were amazingly cheap.  But then we spend a gargantuan amount of money on gum, toothpaste, Christmas decorations, juice boxes, thermal underwear and aluminum foil while we think about getting the largest TV known to mankind (No XL TV.  Sorry Edda.).


Jeremy shows off his red and green plaid vest that he ordered for himself for Christmas.  Who is this man?  Is this really how we amuse ourselves these days?  Apparently, the answer is yes. It is.


Edda says good night!  Good night, Edda.  Sleep well.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

2nd Thanksgiving.

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Because we didn't have a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with Nat and also because Jeremy wanted a Thanksgiving where he was in charge of the WHOLE menu, we had 2nd Thanksgiving on Tuesday night.

Vince has been teaching us about "hand hugs" for the past few weeks.  A hand hug is where you both take you right (or left) hands and place them palms together and gently wrap thumbs around the other person's hand giving a little squeeze so your hands "hug" each other.

I thought he made this up himself - or at least his pals made this up.  But I sitting in the hallway right before an exam on Monday and I saw some 20 year olds give each other the "hand hug" for good luck right before the exam.  I guess it's been around for a while and I just didn't know about it.

Jeremy did not make the whole turkey again.  He just made a turkey breast.  He also didn't have mashed potatoes - the only starch was stuffing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ruby and Monty.

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Before Thanksgiving, our friend Cindy came with her family and stayed a few days.  (This is not the best photo.  Sometimes I get beautiful photos, sometimes there is just a photo to say that something happened.) We took them to our favorite Chinese food place.  Their daughter, Melanie, LOVED the dogs.  I don't think the dogs have ever gotten so much attention within a 48 hour span.


Cindy got her first dog, Monty, just a few months after we got Ruby.  This was way before any of us had any kids, so the dogs were our only children.  Cindy, Jeremy and I (and Ruby and Monty) would spend every Saturday morning at at local, hidden Austin swimming hole just watching the dogs play in the water for hours.  It was great fun.  (There was a golden named Hoover who would dive in two feet of muddy water for rocks that were 8 inches across.)

Once morning in December 2001, Cindy called us and said that we absolutely needed to go to Petco to get the dogs a picture with Santa.  While they were here visting, I managed to find mine!  2001!  Ten thousand things have happened since 2001, but both dogs are still alive and happy.


Both dogs are sick now (meaning Maxi and Ruby).  Ruby refused her dinner yesterday which is unheard of in the history of being a laborador.  Being the pessimist that I am, I concluded that she must be on death's door and I made a "just in case" appointment for next Monday to do a chest x-ray and labs if she didn't perk up.  But 2 hours after the appointment was made, she's feeling (and acting) much more herself.

I know exactly what labs I want to see: WBC, Creat, BUN and Liver enzymes.  I know what the #s should be for a human, but I don't know them for dogs.


Now let the stream of odd gifts that make us happy start:  fancy orange socks.


And the dorky-est digital clock ever.  This is going to be hung in our kitchen for all to see.  Can we be any more not-stylish?


Tuesday, December 2, 2014


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Advent is here and so are our Advent calendars.  We have chocolate ones we got for $1.50 from IKEA and Edda has a special wooden house one that we've had for a few years.   Last year, we went to New Mexico, so this year is suppose to be a grand staycation year with lots of decorations at home.  Hmm.  I'm not sure that that vision going to happen, you'll have to ask me after the 15th.  Vince's enthusiasm for trees and decorations has peaked and now is sliding down the other side of the monomodal curve - he's still keen on gifts, but not as keen to hang 100 ornaments.  Edda, of course, is our Buddha - fully enlightened and not needing any of this extra stuff to know what is important.

Someone sweet sent us a real wreath.  With the nice seasonal smell to go along with it.

Monday, December 1, 2014


I'm in bed now and I'm too lazy to go get my camera to download today's photos, so you get only commentary today.


Vince is struggling with his Chinese class.  He gets really stressed right before exams and he was very pleased that he managed to get a C last quarter.  But now we are at almost the end of the next quarter and he's stressed again.  He says half the kids in his class are growing up in Chinese speaking households and the other half have parents who have hired one-on-one tutoring.  I have to admit, I have not provided either amenity.  Now that my workload is lifting a little (amazing that as I slide into finals, I think that my workload is less because I don't have to go to the hospital two days a week anymore), I think I'm going to try to help Vince out each night for 15-20 minutes.  I guess I can learn Chinese too.  My accent is so terrible and now any remnants of an authentic Chinese accent is going to be further diluted another generation.   I think they are only 200 characters in - not completely insurmountable, I suppose.


I can't believe that Thanksgiving has turned right into December.  This is the most stressful time of the year for me.  I'm grouchy and unreasonable and generally a grinch.  I'm hope that I'm less so each year, but sometimes it's hard to reach that goal.


Maxi is sick.  She has diarrhea from the seventy thousand treats that people fed her over Thanksgiving.  This means we are getting up in the middle of the night (once at midnight for me and once at three am for Jeremy) to take her for a walk around the neighborhood.  And her farts are really smelly.  Sigh.