Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Monday, August 28, 2006

Newsletter.

I volunteered to put together the newsletter for Edda's school. It has been more than 4 years since I used my computer for anything more demanding than surfing the web and wasting time. I'm such a luddite. (How could I possibly be an engineer? If I had my way, we would still be watching black and white TVs with TV dinners baked in the oven.)

Of course, the school has been very nice and not setting any sort of deadline, but I have a personal deadline of this Friday, I'm not sure if I can make it.

I spoke with the previous layout person who somehow managed to put the newsletter together (beautifully!) between chemotherapy treatments. Hmmm.. And I thought I my hands were full.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cooking

I have cooked week day dinner for three consecutive weeks. During the weekends, Mom cooks. She washes dishes during week days and I wash dishes during week ends.

Besides, cutting my finger on the first day and burning my finger on the second, so far so good. Well, right now, I still don't have the overall pictures on cooking. Like, time, amounts, flavors, intensity of the heat, what kind of sequencing that it requires?, etc. But, I believe I will familiar myself on that, hopefully, pretty soon. After that, I think then I can follow recipes more closely. The only recipe I am using right now is "better ingredients, better food [pizza]" by Papa Johns. It works. It can gloss over a lot of my in-experience on cooking. And Mom is gracious enough to finish her portions of my cooking and has never complained.

Our 36th Wedding Anniversary






On our 36th wedding anniversary, Mom said it was more practical to buy this pot of shrubs than to buy a dozen of gorgeous roses. I did just that and it turns into a pot of lovely flowers. Just look.

That evening, we went to a restaurant to have dinner together around 5:30 PM. It was pretty early for dinner. Anyway, there was a couple sitting right next to us and celebrating their anniversary too. They have married for, oh just 53 years. Time really flies.

Learning from my children.

There are many things I did not know about becoming a parent when I became a mother 4.5 years ago. One of the things I didn't know about was how much I would learn from the little goobers.

Vince is teaching me about becoming more social and not to take things too seriously when it comes to hanging out with other folks. I watch him on the playground and I see him fearlessly go up to kids and say hi and then try and corral them into playing with him. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and either way is OK with him. He's teaching me that you just have to try and hang out with people, you never know who will be your next friend.

Edda is teaching me that everyday that I am alive and well is a gift. She is teaching me that no one can predict the future - so each day you need to do what you think is important and good.

My two children are teaching me that I must not take for granted the people that are around me - they are what make my world interesting and meaningful. I have made an effort this week to make dates - going to the zoo, hanging out and having coffee, having a playdate - with people I've known and people I'm getting to know and people I don't know very well at all. You never know who is going to be your next friend or if a friend that you've known for a long time will move far away sometime soon and you won't be able to see them for a long time. I'm trying not to procrastinate or be too busy (or too lazy) for these things.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Who writes letters these days?

So it's been an interesting couple of days. I walked into the shop today, after not being there for 3 weeks, and I found this letter here waiting for me. Who writes letters these days?!! It's pretty cool actually. I've never had someone mail a letter commending me on my salesmanship. I was helping this girl out the week before I left. We must have gone thru 3 bikes. She didn't quite want the girlie pastel pink or pastel blue bikes.

Too bad, I'm thinking about sending a reply - after all she seemed cool and was kinda cute - but seems like too much a business thing, and it's a bit shady for me to cross that line.

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Zoo again.

Today we walked around the hot, hot zoo with J. and R., the kids of one of Jeremy's coworkers. Did I say it was hot? It was hot.

In the afternoon, Vince had his 2nd swim lesson.

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I was proud of my forward progress in knitting until I saw this mistake. Grrr...

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Vince days..

I try and make Thursday "Vince" days. It is one of the few afternoons during the week that we don't have therapy scheduled for Edda and we aren't trucking all over town. For two weeks in a row, I've invited a friend over and for one reason or another, we've had to cancel. I feel pretty bad, but Vince takes it all in stride.

Tonight, Jeremy's company had a party at our condo. Four of Jeremy's coworkers live where we live and one of them decided to have a catered party and invite 30 coworkers over to the function room. At the beginning of the party, Edda was starving and was screaming her head off, so she and Jeremy retreated to our apt while Vince worked the room.

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Back Home...

I'm at home. it's 6am.. sigh... :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Birthday party!

One of Edda's classmates had a birthday party at her house. I was in charge of driving the whole class over to the party. Normally, I don't like to drive anyone around - but what can you do when you have the only car and it's a minivan..

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I was looking at the map last night to find out where I was suppose to drive to and I was so confused - the address seemed to take up the whole end of the street. Could this one house actually occupy a whole street-end-worth of land? I mentioned it to Jeremy and I was so excited, I have actually never been to a landed house before - that is, a house that is sitting on it's own land with lawn all around it. (Our apt is about 1100 sq. ft. and there are a bazillion units in our condo complex which takes up a city block - typical singapore living arrangement.) So a house is very rare indeed. Imagine my surprise when I drove up and saw this:

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Beautiful old colonial house with verandahs and everything! You just need to sit back under the ceiling fans and drink your gin and tonics.

Lovely place and lovely party. Exploring the grounds, meeting the dogs, face painting and jumping on trampoline.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Haircuts and headphones.

Haircuts (10 minute haircut for 10 dollars (about 6 US dollars):

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Headphones:

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Donald is leaving early tomorrow morning. So tonight we fed him some ice cream.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Meat and lace.

We all were hung over from the fantastic weekend, everyone got up late and was late to school and work.

Tonight we had a lamb roast. Donald was the chef as he was the one who put the premarinated meat into the oven. (a hint for you dad! roasts are easy!) Edda for some reason has taken a liking to meat - I don't know what happened, but I'll take it! Vince, of course, is still our carb boy - plain noodles and rice supplemented with large glasses of milk/juice and carrots.

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I started the Icarus Shawl. It's going well - slowly but surely. I should join some sort of KAL. Hmmmm..

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

High Tech Grand Mom















Mom goes high tech!!! She worked on her iPod a lot recently. This iPod was bought in San Jose with Donald's help.

Look at her - she is enjoying herself and she is a 100% High Tech Grand Mom. Isn't she?

Power weekend continues..

We had dim sum at the Crystal Jade with Choon and his high school friend and his family. All very sweet folks and Vince was very smitten with their one-year old daughter. She was very interested in Edda's stash of Cheerios and Vince was very happy to feed her one Cheerio after another.

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We brought our headphones with us and Edda spent the whole 90 minutes at dim sum happily eating her oranges and listening to Abba. Dancing Queen rules! I was really impressed.

We ran back home to meet Gowri, our sitter, at 12:30 pm and then the big kids took off to the MacRitchie Resevoir Treetop Walk. We walked about 5 km in the rainforest, the highlight being this suspension bridge through the canopy of the rainforest. It was very hot but we did manage OK. We did sweat a lot - Jeremy took off his shirt because he needed to use it to wipe off his sweat - but it meant exposing his pale-white office worker skin to the blazing sun. We did have sunscreen, so his tender skin was well protected.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

What a weekend!

This is Donald's last weekend in Singapore. We are making the most of it. Today we went to Sentosa, Singapore's premier "amusement park". Vince loved the luge - with Donald driving - he went fast, fast, fast! Then we took a ski lift back up.

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Following the example of another family who has a daughter with Rett, we are bringing music along for Edda. Jeremy's setting up her stroller with a portable sound system and also Edda's going to have her own iPod and headphones. It really allows her to regulate herself in unfamiliar environments.

Vince has his first swim lesson today. It went just fine - much better than last year when he refused to go to the deep pool and was freaked out by the teacher speaking in Chinese to some of her students.

We went out to eat fish head curry and we found a nice playground at the local mall.

Edda loved it.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Hello, my friend, hello.

There are always so many things to do and not much motivation to do them.

This has been a week punctuated with friends and family and bits of lost sleep. Donald's friend Choon is in town and I'm living vicariously through them to experience the night life of Singapore.

We are all daytime creatures, unknowing of dinners out and what happens in the dark in Singapore. The kids are in bed by 8, so we hang out at home. This week, Donald's been out at night, so when he comes home the next day, I ask what it was like and I remember what it was like for me to go out at night.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Thank you SP!

A wonderful package arrived today from my SP, hooray! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Inside there were so many things, a beautiful necklace, squirty toys for the kids, wind-up toys (Ruby loved the jumping frog), a smooshed up hand towel.. All these things brought a smile to my face, but I present to you the knitting content:

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This is the shawl I've been invited to knit with my SP, she provided the pattern and the yarn and also the motivation! It's a beautiful thing, so wonderful and I am so overwhelmed by it. I'll have to go rummaging for some needles and then I'll take a deep breath and start.

I have been a bit down recently. Looking into the uncertain future and feeling melancholy - nothing too serious. Here's Edda and Ranjit - her speech therapist who comes to our house, she's one of the most upbeat, encouraging and cheerful person. Actually, most of the people I've met who work with special needs kids are irrationally optimistic.

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It's been raining and Vince loves the puddles, it makes walking to the mall a bit wetter and slower.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Started Cooking Dinner Tonight

I started cooking dinner tonight. I hope I can cook five times a week, from Monday to Friday and Mom will cook during the weekends.

I told Mom I only complained about her cooking twice for all these years. Hope she will not complain too much. She didn't.

As a matter of fact, she saw I was very busy tonight and offered to wash the dishes. It was awful nice of her. BTW, I cut myself. She even didn't know.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

the path ahead

Jeremy and I went on a walk at MacRichie resevoir. We talked about work, houses, furniture, genetic testing, biking, dogs, aligators and flip-flops.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Remote Green Thumbs
















We went back last weekend to Washington DC and surprised to find three melons hung there. Ms. Ling already took three. There are four additional ones there. Not bad for remote green thumbs.

The bitter melons are from our apartment patio in Aiken, SC. Not bad at all too.

Heathrow.

Our intrepid investment banker friend, Susan reports in from Heathrow airport. I hope she won't mind sharing...

At the counter, the lady didn't even question why I was checking in so early. I showed her all the things I wanted to take with me, my wallet, my passport, a 7 page document I wanted to review and a pen to write comments on this document. She gives me a clear plastic bag and points me to security. Another very long line despite that it was moving faster that usual because no one had all the carry-ons to deal with. I make it through security and then they take my pen away - so much for trying to do anything work related on my 15+ hour crusade of trying to get back home.

Go speed racer.

When I saw Kate in her hotel room right before she left, she had a huge suitcase full of stuff that she wanted to give away and since it had a bunch of neet-o things in it, I took the whole suitcase.

The best thing that was in the suitcase was this fabulous remote control car that Vince loves! It drives really well and fast too.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Inner Texan.

Vince is somehow picking up a Southern accent here in Singapore. The only thing we can come up with is the Dixie Chicks and Iris Dement on the CD player in the car. It's pretty funny. Maybe it's his way of telling us we should go back to Texas.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bye Kate!

My friend Kate is going back home. We both came to Singapore the same week and she's leaving tomorrow. I will miss her terribly. I have many friends all over the world, but during this stressful year, she was the one here in Singapore who I'd see every week. When I was down in the dumps, Jeremy would kick me out of the house and tell me to go see Kate. Kate and I would hang out and I would always have a good laugh and feel better when I came home. Thank you! I miss her already and she's not even gone yet.

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Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Happy 41st Birthday Singapore

Today is National Day in Singapore. Everyone had the day off of work and school. We wore our patriotic colors (red shirt) and did our patriotic duty (went shopping). We got a therapy ball for Edda and Vince got a craft book.

Donald left today for Malaysia, he'll be back soon.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

By myself.

In the middle of the afternoon today, I took one look at Donald and asked if he needed some "alone time". He had picked up Vince from school at 10 am and watched him ransack the house and then took him swimming. By the time I got home with Edda at 12:45 or so and had made lunch for all of us, Donald looked a bit weary. I now have had 4 years of parenthood experience and I have slowly built up my tolerance to all things children, but he is suddenly plopped down in the middle of chaos, well, it's a bit like being plucked out of your neighborhood and put onto Mt Everest without any mittens. A bit of shock to one's system. Donald put himself in time out in his own room behind his closed door.

I got some of my own "alone time" at Edda's school today - I hid out in an unused speech therapy room. I knit for the first time in a while.

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I finished a sock for Vince a while ago, my first attempt at short row toes and heels, it's working out OK, but I wish I had a local SnB to hang with, I think I'm doing something a bit wrong and I want someone to eyeball what I'm doing. But I have no pals around - so trial and error..

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And finally we went to the Night Safari! And even though it was past everyone's bedtime, no one cried or flipped out! And we had ice cream too.

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Monday, August 7, 2006

Bowl-a-rama

Since we had no appointments this afternoon, we needed to get out of the house or else we'd all get H-A-G (house-aided-grumpiness). Our adventure was to go bowling. We got to the bowling alley which was empty except for a school group out for bowling lessons. We got the bumper bowling set up, got the rental shoes on and we bowled. At some point Edda was beating the pants off of all of us. Vince was more interested in the ball return system and video games than the actual bowling, but I'm please we all left the house.

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Sunday, August 6, 2006

Well, look who the cat dragged in..

I didn't even hear the doorbell ring at 1:30 am last night, but thank goodness someone did, because when I woke up, I saw my dear brother having breakfast at my kitchen table! Hooray for uncle Donald! Jeremy and Donald love to talk about computers (boring) and cars (even more boring), but we did manage to stick a rendition of the Singapore National Day cheer in the middle of random breakfast chatter.

We showed him the wonders of our neighborhood - the sand park (which has lots of sand). Vince finds friends. Edda eats sand and drives a firetruck.

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For lunch we went to a hawker center filled with a million people selling a million things and got into the longest lines figuring that everyone else knew what was good.

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Jeremy showed off his fruit prep skills. He's enamored by the fruit lady at his work, he's trying to be as skillful as she is with a knife. This spiral cut allows you to cut off all the spines without losing a lot of the fruity goodness. (God, Jeremy looks a lot like Vince in this picture.)

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Saturday, August 5, 2006

Pictures, finally.

Busy day at the park.
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It was hot, hot, hot in the sun today, but we stayed out for almost 3 hours in the morning. Pretty much a record for us.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Off!

To Singapore! Tally Ho!

Big day for Vince.

Vince went on a field trip today. His first one! This is what he has to say about it:

We went to the Discovery Center on a small bus and we go to the army camp to see different kinds of armies and buildings. Won't you see the Discovery Center with me? You like me and I like you. And something new is happening tomorrow. And I like to go upside-down. Won't you come and see me upside-down.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Electrical storm

So the neurologist told us that Edda's brain exhibits the classic EEG of Rett Syndrome. Basically her brain is awash in misfiring neurons and crossed electrical pathways. Edda has not shown the clinical signs of seizures so we are not medicating for now. She suspects that the seizures will start when Edda is 5 or 6.

It was kind of a bummer visit with this neurologist. I was not surprised with the news, I was just surprised with her bed side manner. We had been to this neurologist before and I was impressed with her style and her eagerness to help. Perhaps she was just having a bad day (a fight with her husband, an upset stomach, sick kid) , or maybe she just felt bad delivering this news because there was basically nothing for her to do about it.

I was most upset about her phrase "buying time". That all we can do is just prolong the time that Edda has before her brain turns into mush. Hey, Edda is learning stuff every day and she's learning to climb up stairs and she's learning to make choices in what she eats and does. Her brain is making these connections through the massive electrical storm going on inside her head. It's a tough thing, but she's doing it her own way.

Anyways, life is terminal. We are all buying time until our brains turn to mush.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Yelling

Wednesdays are hectic for me. There are two afternoon therapy appointments, so I have a lot of planning to do, a lot of eating on the go and a lot of praying for naps to happen right on schedule.

It puts me on edge. I'm hauling kids around and I'm cranky. I snipe at Vince when he dawdles getting in and out of the car. Edda has been in a two-week long screaming-her-head-off-for-no-apparent-reason phase. It's really hard to keep yourself together with a two year old screaming into your ear.

Anyways, a therapist was at our house and I took Vince to the local McDonald's so we could split some fries. (yummy!) Vince was running all over the place. I finally sat him down in front of his fries and I was enjoying my first relaxing moment of the day. It lasted about 2 seconds.

There were 3 girls (maybe 13 years old) sitting across from us and they were having a grand ol' time. They were pelting French fries at each other. Now I'm no party pooper. A few thrown fries are OK. But then it kept going on and on and on. Fries were flying everywhere. It was getting into a baby's pram, it was threatening schoolbooks, it was making a huge pile on the floor. The McDonald's was crowded. No one was making them stop, everyone was annoyed.

I finally yelled at them to stop. The kids stopped promptly and then picked up their bags and left. I would have never done it in the US. I'm sure US teenagers would have flipped me the bird and yelled some obscenity.

I used to think that I would never yell at my kids in a public place. Today I've sunk to a new low. I've yelled at other people's kids in public place. Sheeze. Never say never.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

SSRIs

I started taking antidepressants a few months ago when it was clear that my regular and unmedicated brain chemistry was resulting in many immobilizing boughts of irrational and obsessive thoughts. I know I have a tendency to be a depressive person and this whole thing with Edda was starting to slide me down into a dark hole. Needless to say, my abilities to steer my half of the Martin-Lee ship were diminishing quickly.

Now that I've been on them for a while, I feel very even keeled on most days - capable of making prudent decisions for my family and even enjoying myself in the process. Woo hoo! Thank goodness someone invented SSRIs! Yeah for science!

Anyways, I go to a psychatrist in Singapore to get my prescription and I saw him for the first time a few months ago and I didn't have either kid with me and I mumbled something about Edda being developmentally delayed, but I don't think he really heard me. I didn't have Edda's Rett diagnosis at the time. Anyhow, he sized me up as a directionless housewife whose husband travels a lot and the kids/cleaning/cooking are being taken care of by household help and gave me a few months of pills.

When my pills were starting to run out, I went to see him again. Here's how the conversation went:

Psychiatrist: So you are looking good!

Me: Thanks! I feel good too.

P: So are you interested in doing some volunteer work? I can put you in touch with some organizations?

M: (thinking, huh? but always optimistic that I can squeeze some volunteer work into my schedule) Umm. Sure, are there any you recommend?

(insert 5 minute talk about volunteering in Singapore)


P: So are you sleeping well?

M: Well, I would be sleeping better if I didn't have any kids.

P: (looking at his records) Your kids are 4 and 2, they should be sleeping well by now.

M: Oh, my daughter has Rett Syndrome, so she doesn't sleep that well.

P: (blink, blink) Oh, that's very rare.

M: Well, not in my house.

P: With the hands (he flaps his hands) and the autism?

M: Yes...

P: I'm a child psycologist and I've only seen one other case, you know it's a life long affliction?

M: (!!) Yes, I know! Why do you think I need antidepressants?!?

P: How many pills do you need?

He told me to forget about the volunteering.