Monday, April 30, 2007

Looking for a job, blanching and just regular fun.

I'm looking for a job. I did apply for nursing school, but it turns out they are full until next year, so I've decided to give engineering one more chance at bat. Here are some employers in the area:

Watervliet Arsenal: This is the arsenal responsible for making the cannons on top of the Army's main battlefield tank, the M1A1 Abrams. Yikes!

Knolls Atomic Power Lab: Both Mom and Dad are nuclear engineers, so maybe I could work here and continue the family business. They make the reactors on nuclear submarines here. I think this is a step up from making the cannons.

And last, but not least, Aquatic Development Group: These clever folks make water parks all over the world! Water rides, wave systems, movable floors in pools.

So, as you can see, I can go from super-serious life/death kind of employment to totally fun and frivolous. It's all here in the Capital Region.

Vince loved his first day of school:

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Then he came home and went straight to his computer and after a while I found:

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Apparently, he needed some "privacy". Hmmmm...

Also, I blanched some brussel sprouts today. You boil them until they are almost cooked and then you immediately immerse them into ice water to stop the cooking action. Then your sprouts come out bright vivid green. Still doesn't make them taste better - just makes them look more appetizing when you eat them.

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Serviceberry

Common name: serviceberry
Scientific name: Amelanchier
Location: New York

Fake Food.

Yi-Ling had her monthly sunday night themed dinner yesterday. This month's theme - "food that looks like other food" - in honor of April Fool's Day. I must say it's the strangest and most perplexing theme yet.

I ended up making "Pie a la Mode" which was really just a chicken pot pie with an ice cream scoop of garlic mashed potatoes. It turned out really well, tho I used 1 quart (yes a whole _quart_) of heavy cream for the filling.

Some other favorite of the night, was "Apple Turnover/Eggrolls" and Ronnie's strange "Meatloaf with Ketchup". Really it was kinda disgusting honestly. It was made out of walnuts and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And the ketchup was made from strawberry syrup. It amazingly looked like meatloaf tho when you put it on your plate.

Also of import was that it's definitely funny how many of my friends read this blog. Everyone is impressed by you, Doris, cause you post, with pictures, every day. It's something people aspire to. Of course, all my friends know everything about your life, but you don't know anything about their's. :P

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Outside, outside, outside.

Went on another little hike today. We were all a little grumpy this morning - but after a little snack, everyone perked up. Here's Jeremy in the middle of getting perkier.

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Vince found some new teeth in the cache.

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Edda and I shared an orange.

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Fixed gear bikes.

An interesting article about fixed gear bikes. Had never heard of them, I guess you can't really stop since there are no brakes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Getting out of the house.

I don't like exploring new places with the two kids when Jeremy's not around. I don't know about parking, the bathroom situation and I get easily flustered with the two kids in tow. But I was determined to get out of the house today, so we drove 40 minutes to Saratoga Springs to the Children's Museum there. I could be reasonably certain of easy parking and bathroom access and of course, the kids can touch everything and anything.

Vince spent the whole drive up telling me what a bad idea this was and how I never do anything that was his idea and how this new place was going to be terrible. Of course, as soon as we parked, he was gung ho about the place and spent 2 hours playing happily with all the kids (he is getting a bit old for children's museums, I think he was the oldest one there.)

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Edda had a good time too, just wandering around and I helped her with a few exhibits. She likes being where there are other people, she's just not that into playing with other kids.

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Edda did have a meltdown at 11 am when she usually gets hungry, I had to take her out of the exhibit area to feed her some Cheerios. I left Vince to his own devices. I know the proper etiquette of parenthood at these places is to kind of hover around the kids and be within about 2 feet of them, but I left Vince in the room by himself and I could hear through the closed door his kind of loud, authoritative voice above all the other noises in the room. I hope the other moms didn't think him too obnoxious. He has a bit to learn about interacting with American kids and the playground politics.

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Common name: Forsythia
Scientific name: Forsythia
Location: Saratoga, NY

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thank you! And the week is over.

It has been a stressful week. I do love change and thrive on the activity that it creates, but it does make for a bit more snappish behavior at home - especially now that I have the kids at home with me all day. Also, I'm trying to make an extra effort to lose the 10 pounds I gained last year in Singapore (mainly by reducing intake of pizza from 4 slices to 2 slices for dinner and not pouring ranch dressing all over my broccoli and switching my drinks to all water) and as a result I'm actually hungry for every meal, but it makes the hour before mealtime a very (ahem) sensitive time in family relations.

As I came home from the dog walk tonight, I found a package from my secret pal! Nothing is sweeter than a little surprise package, especially when it's been a long week!

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It is all so beautiful - I do so rarely splurge on such nice things, it's clear how much thought you put into this package. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

So it's been a productive week - we found Vince a nursery school, he'll go half-days starting on Monday, ramping up to full time as I find a job and he gets used to it. We spent about an hour there today and he didn't want to leave. They have a kitchen that provides lunch and breakfast if we get there early enough and they are really flexible with the hours and there are a ton of kids.

The school district is going to take Edda's paperwork from Singapore and accept it as a transfer student, so we don't have to wait for another evaluation and approval, we can start as soon as possible. They are qualifying her for a full-day inclusion program which means that she'll be in school from approx 9am-2pm with other typical kids her age as well as special needs kids. I just have to find a spot for her somewhere and I have just found out that the most coveted preschool in the area is already full for next fall. I guess that's no surprise and I feel a bit bad because perhaps I could have called a month earlier or something. I just have to tell myself that there are other programs out there that have dedicated teachers, etc. etc, be optimistic that I can find something good for her.

I've had a couple of meetings with the school district all of which I've had to bring both kids with me. During one meeting, Edda went unnoticed out into the hall and fell down half a flight of stairs (she's OK! we saw the school nurse already) and then Vince disappeared on me and I had the whole school office staff looking for him - he had run out to the parking lot and was standing by the car. Apparently he had had enough of the meeting.

In the meantime, as I've been dealing with setting up the schools and figuring out Medicaid waivers, Jeremy's been working on bringing our cars back from Washington DC where they've been stored in my parents' garage for 2 years on jacks.

(I know - this is really exciting - hold your horses)

Jeremy in line at the DMV to get new license plates.

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Jeremy in line at Southwest to fly to Washington DC.

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Apparently, Jeremy made friends with his seat mate on the plane and found out that he lives in the same neighborhood as my parents so instead of taking SuperShuttle, the nice guy gave him a ride home. I'm super impressed with Jeremy - he usually hates talking to strangers on a plane. And last I heard from Jeremy he said that he reconnected the battery on my car and after 2 years of inactivity, it started right up! Hooray!

Oh, and on a little side note, I'm bummed that Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at MIT, resigned, although I concede that there really was no way she could have held on to her job. She recently got a lot of press about how the stress of getting into elite colleges was turning into some sort of weird neurotic frenzy and that there needed to be a way to turn the stress levels down. And she was known as an energetic and dynamic presence, bringing more women into the institute and making admissions at MIT a clearer process than many other schools.

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Common name: Norway maple
Scientific name: Acer platanoides
Location: New York
(apparently an invasive species)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Trouble with Love...


Well apparently the stars are aligned, or something...

Pei-Yean left for home about a week ago, but before she left, she gave me these 7 pink stones and told me to arrange them in a star pattern. Apparently they are supposed to enhance my Peach Blossom Luck, and send romance my way. It's supposed to be some Feng Shui thing. Don't keep it in the toilet or the kitchen, she says.

Also, Karen, my ex-gf from college, IMed me today, telling me that she had a dream about me meeting a girl soon. So she just wanted to warn me to be open to her.

I'm not overly superstitious, but somehow I'm taking this all somwhat seriously. More than I would have expected myself to. Maybe Mom will chime in with some advice here.

Crated.

Someone isn't pleased.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We have crossed over to the dark side.

Finally, after 5 years of not owning one, we have purchased a TV.

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We might never leave the house again.

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Christopher, our dog sitter in Singapore, gave me a bunch of photos of Ruby as we rushed to get to the airport to move back to New York. I didn't have a chance to look at the CD until today. The photos are fabulous! Thank you :)

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Light.

The light is so different here in New York, so sharp and bright and clear.

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I've been trying to find some schools for Vince - actually day care and then something they call wrap-around-care for after kindergarten lets out. We went and toured two programs today and I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find out that they'd be willing to care for Edda as well. I assumed that they would take one look at her and turn her away, but both programs said "no problem!". Totally cool. We found ourselves at the Jewish Community Center which runs a nice program. I've been on a Jewish jag recently, trying to play up the 25% Jewishness of the kids, thinking about Passover (not this year, maybe next!) Things are in the works for Edda's school as well, but it involves a lot more paperwork, appointments and evaluations.

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We still hate going grocery shopping with the kids. Ugh. Never again.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Beautiful weekend continues.

Still more hiking and geocaching. Today we weren't able to find the cache, but it was nice just to be outside. Ruby's so delighted to be back in New York and in the woods again.

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Then off to Friendly's for a post-hike burger and a nap for Edda.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Beautiful day.

Emy's up for the weekend to hang out. Today we went geocaching and found a cache about 100 feet from our front door.

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We also went to the Cohoes Public Library. There is a mastodon presiding over the stacks.

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Moving in.

Yesterday, we started at Jeremy's parents' house. Took a morning dog walk.

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Edda, Vince and I played a harpsichord. So cool.

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Then we moved into our apartment.

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I can not escape my responsibilities any longer. Starting Monday, I must find the kids schools, I have to find us a house and I need to look for a job. I'm nervous.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Music, music, music!

Since I've been back, I've already been to two classical music concerts (free and open to the public!)

First was the Chimeng Quartet with members from the Bard Conservatory. They are in the finals for next week's prestigious Coleman Chamber Music Competition which is held at Caltech!

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Tonight, I went to see Soovin Kim and Jeremy Denk play sonatas by Charles Ives (who was an wealthy insurance salesman during his life and his music was largely ignored).

Finally.

I've finally done it. I've loaded all my photos into Flickr. Man what a pain in the butt! But I'm liking the photostream orgtanization now. Too bad they don't have Smart Sets tho - sets that you can auto sort based on a certain tag - kinda like filters or Smart Playlists like in iTunes.

The other highlight of today, was that Josh invited me, and Pei-Sun and Pei-Yean over for the much vaunted Google lunch. Yes he did blow past the more than 2 per month limit, but whatever. It was a really good meal. Salmon, really tender beef tips. grilled artichokes. A spread of bread, cheese, meats, a spread of 4 different frou frou spreads. Even the water wasn't just plain water, but have lime and oranges mixed in for taste. All in all, probably better than most meals that I have eating out. If I ever worked for Google, I can see myself weighing 10 lbs more.

The highlight of the day came after lunch tho. Josh works about 1/2 a mile away from main campus. So we all hopped on some free bikes provided by Google and rode on over to the main campus to take a tour. They were fun cruisers with coaster brakes and spray painted in different crazy colors with orange safety flags. Neat. Reminds me that I should bring my camera with me all the time. I missed the photos of everyone riding around. :)

The heat is on, the heat is oooo-n!

Jeremy been spending his days in Albany moving into our apartment. I have never seen the apartment, I only have a vague sense of where it is located. This, I guess, is marital trust. The kids and I have been struggling with jet lag.

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The poor soybean, Edamame, is not sleeping well and spent all of last night wide awake and all of yesterday asleep. I swear, she was making backward progress on the jet lag, falling asleep at 9 am (9 pm Singapore time!)

The highlight of my day was the cheese aisle of the supermarket. Drool.

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Vince and Katherine manned the shopping cart.

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Edda was asleep.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let Go Oakland!

Laff. So tonight I went to my first baseball game ever. The Oakland A's vs the Anaheim Angels. JT was the main organizer and most of the people were from his church. (I'm finally starting to remember everyone's names from their church.) Anyways, it was a nigth game, and it was freakin' COLD. 50's and windy. I had 3 layers on and a winter hat, and I was still freezing. It was a good thing that tonight they gave away fleece blankets to the first 10,000 fans, cause everyone needed them.

Honestly, I didn't watch the game that much. I was mostly talking to people and eating food. Apparently, eating food is such a big deal at a baseball game. We had everything, nachos, 10" hot dogs, pretzel, soda, garlic fries, chili fries, churros. Even some insane people bought frozen malt thingies. Ouch. We had to stand in line for the garlic fries forever. They were good tho.

In the end the A's won 4-1 off a 3 run homer in the 4th. Here's JT celebrating the homer..

 

And here's Sandy after a food run:

 

I must say, I'm beginning to really start liking the photos that are coming out of my camera now. I think I'm getting the hang of the digital thing - After only 4000 or so photos. :P

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The adventures continue!

We made it over the Pacific Ocean and met up at Jeremy's parents house only to discover that their basement has been flooded due to the recent rainy weather. Now this is normally no big deal except that the flooding incapacitated the water heater in the basement. No heat and no hot water and it is freezing outside! We are wearing our winter coats inside the house. No one has taken a shower and even doing dishes in the icy tap water is no fun. Of course, this hasn't stopped Vince from playing with the sump pump discharge in the back yard and getting himself all wet in the 38 degree weather.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Leaving on a jet plan.

Edda and I are at Changi airport (woo hoo for free internet access)! Vince, Jeremy and Ruby left last night. I am truely homeless now. I have no car, no apartment, no hotel. We live in limbo. It's kind of exciting. We slept well at the hotel last night and had a good breakfast and we will be boarding in a few minutes. Can't wait to be back home.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Saying goodbye.

Ah, the kids had their last day of school today. Vince's class had a field trip to a nearby hydroponic farm - it was a nice way to end our Singapore school experience. It was a day of goodbyes and good luck wishes.

We went to Harini's house today and said goodbye to S.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Still packing.

The movers came today and took everything that is going by sea. It'll take 2 months to cross the Pacific Ocean, and I guess our stuff will go through the Panama Canal.

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The house still feels pretty full. Granted, all the furniture is the landlord's but there is just a lot of stuff lying around that will have to go on the plane with us. Remember Vince's new drum set? One of the drumsticks didn't make the boat trip. We found it under something after the moving guys left.

I'm trying to squeeze in some last minute socializing. I went to Lay Hoon's house today and met E., her three month old baby. Such deliciousness - getting to hold a newborn.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Last therapy sessions.

Today, we had our last sessions with two therapists, Diane our physical therapist and Ranjit our speech therapist. I have such tender feelings towards Edda's teachers and therapists, they are like family to me. They showed me how to see Edda's great potential and for that I am grateful.

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Ruby is going to miss Ranjit too!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We are really packing.

Look! Some stuff piled together.

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Jeremy is the packer-in-chief. I'm the subordinate packer and in charge of throwing things out. Vince is the unpacker. And Edda is quality control.

We are trying pretty hard to relieve ourselves from some things we don't use. Luckily we have many people willing to take our old stuff, some of Jeremy's cast off clothing is going to the Philippines, Edda's too-small cute outfits are going to the baby girl two doors down. We're also giving away a few of the electronic things that we purchased because the voltage is different here.

Look and just 5 days before we leave Singapore, I get a package from Secret Pal number 9 - Chez Clutter! I knew that the last package she sent was lost in the mail and I really didn't expect a replacement! So it was a nice surprise when the postman stopped by today!

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I'm excited about the pom-pom maker and the Knitty Knitter (knitting a hat without knitting needles! How cool!) and I need to think of a cool project to do with ribbon yarn... Hmmmm.. PS, the chocolate and the popcorn got squirreled away by Vincent already, hence they are not in the photo...

Oh, oh, but the best thing was the Ann Budd sweater pattern book (which I've been eyeing for over a year now) is actually signed by the famous woman herself! Woo hoo!

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Pretty cool, huh? Thank you! Thank you!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Arif is Gay...

Well not really. But perhaps he thinks I'm gay. Laff. I went to have milkshakes with Arif in the middle of the afternoon, in downtown Palo Alto. It was fine, but he wanted me to meet his coworker Dave, since he's a big triathlete and I'm into cycling yadda yadda. But it was sorta strange cause he didn't start off on that topic. He was, like, trying to bond us over the fact that we were both single guys on the prowl. That was a weird moment. Laff. Of course we talked a bit about tri's and we found out that both of us were ministers for the Universal Life Church. So it was a match made in heaven ... except were were dudes ... looking for dudettes ... not other dudes ...

...

...

Ice cream social.

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SWAK-a-licious

Laff. Thanks sister for the awesome birthday present. Sorry it took me a couple days to post it, but I got a care package from SWAK. I laughed when I found the box outside my door. For those of you who don't know, SWAK is where my sister and I worked for the summer after... 7th grade? It was a funny place to work, since all the girls got to work in the front office where there was air conditioning, and all the guys worked in the warehouse fetching toys to put in packages or taping up boxes. I credit SWAK for helping me to properly use a tape gun.

From right to left, here's what in the birthdy package:

Sky Rocket - You slingshot it into the air and it twirls down like a helicopter.
AstroJax - kinda a weird bolo/chaos guy like thing with 3 balls. the middle ball moves along the string. you can do yoyo like tricks with it. it's hard.
Orbitball - Dad will like this. basically a bouncy ball with a bag of rubber bands to put around it.
Texas Hold'em kit - Laff. Perfect!
Buzz Magnets - These are kinda cool. they make noises when they come together.
SWAG bag - i guess to put everything in?

Also there's an alien head with some goo? in it? I'm not really sure, since it didn't come with any packaging or instructions. It's kinda cool as a desk piece. and oh also, a Happy Birthday banner, that's no shown, but taped up over my window. :)

I must say the quality of the gifts has improved. :)

 
 
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