Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The end of the fiscal year.

I'm sorry I have been quiet. It's been busy in many ways, both good and bad. I have been diligently trying to shake a gloomy mood I've been in for the past month. From my past experience, I fall into a real depression about once every 5 years, and it's not been 5 years since the last one, so I'm a little more stubborn about not letting this bad mood go out of control. It takes some effort, going out and seeing people and laughing is usually the best remedy, but it is hard work - getting out of the house.

Today is the end of the fiscal year at work - and I think perhaps for the whole federal government. I just passed my one year mark at work and I'm still loving it and learning more everyday (both legally and scientifically). It's a fun time! I love learning about flame retardants! I mostly work with polymer compositions with flame retardants. Bisphenol-A? Phosphate flame retardants? Everything you have ever heard of to cause cancer that comes mixed in plastic? Yeah, I read those patents.


I, like everyone else in America, am crazy with the election/banking meltdown/financial crisis and the SNL sketches. Jeremy comes home everyday with new tales of what they are doing on the Hill. I'm on assignment from IRSF to talk with Congressmen about the funding earmark, but I haven't made any phone calls and I don't think I will for a little while because they are all crazy busy with shoring up the global economy which I must admit just might take priority to funding basic genetic research at this particular moment in time.

AND SOMEONE TODAY STOLE MY BIKE FROM THE METRO STOP! No not the BMX bike, I bought a cheap bike from a neighbor and I didn't much care for it at first because it was a little too big and it had 10,000 shock absorbers, but now that it has been removed from my life, I've decided it was my favorite bike ever. Now I'm stuck taking the bus to work. Sigh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Skin Tags (Acrochordons)

Several weeks ago, I went to see my dermatologist to get an abnormal growth in my left armpit removed. He removed it and sent to the lab for biopsy. It was benign and the procedure was covered by my insurance companies.

Two weeks later, I found more growth with similar characteristics, not only in my two armpits but also on both sides of my neck. I went back to see my doctor today. He told me that the 1st time it was covered by my insurance but not this time because it was positively identified as skin tags (acrochordons) and no insurance company would cover its removal (i.e., classified as cosmetic surgery). I have to pay myself for armpit and neck both and it will cost me $400.00 each. And it will take two trips to his office to do it.

The doctor suggested to do nothing or do the armpits first - where it has three big ones. The fourth big one (biggest) was very irritating and I pulled it out myself with my bare hand the other day and it only bled a little bit. By doing nothing I have to pay my office visit out of my own pocket anyway which may cost ~$100.00 (?) already. The big ones in my armpits I can deal them later. I can pull or cut them out myself. Why not? This time, I am prepared and have more experience of doing it. Therefore, I told my doctor to do my neck first because there were a lot of them and with no big ones that I can pull or cut out myself. Mom was laughing at me after hearing my reasoning.

After the doctor removed about 20+ of them on my neck, he told me he had time to removed the ones in my armpit also. Guess what, I prepare to remove those three big ones myself while saving $400.00. My intention is to do myself on skin tags later on if it is possible. I think just to have a knife or scissor ready with some home sanitation procedure and close my eyes ...

Stay tune :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Trip To Finger Lakes, NY

The pictures are at water fall, enjoying ice cream, visiting her old office at Allentown, PA, in front of an mansion overlooking the lake, lake shore, pumpkin place for Vincent and Edda, on top of layers of rocks and wild flowers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Tonight I went to the local library to the first of a series of seminars given by the local agencies that service the community of people with disabilities. It was mainly an introduction and overview of the services and programs provided to Maryland citizens over the course of their lifetime. I don't often spend much time thinking about what Edda will do or where Edda will be once she's 21 and has aged out of the school system, but I was surrounded by parents of kids who are graduating from high school trying to navigate adulthood.

There were some frustrations, figuring out how to apply for appropriate day programs, how to get medical insurance coverange once the child has turned 18, how to secure expenses for vans/home modifications.

I've been working this past week on how to get funding for an adaptive van and a lift for the stairs. I do not need this right now, I think Edda will need them in a year or two, but I think there is no funding from the state for these kinds of environmental modifications. My guess is that beyond the cost of a regular minivan, the truly adaptive minivan will cost another 30K and then the chair lift, maybe 15K.

Sometimes I wish I could peek in on Edda's life when she's 20 or 40 to know that somehow we will make it to that point in one piece, to know that she will have found her place in the world and that she is happy.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Losing weight.

Trying to lose weight. If you care to join me: extrapounds.com. I can message you about what my username/handle is.

Our lovely friend Ruth.

Ruth, a friend of ours from the Los Feliz area of LA, came to visit us this weekend. She came via NYC from which she bought us yummy breads/cookies/croissants.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Susan Kim's griddle.

We have not used this grill/griddle in a long time, but we are loving it this weekend. Pancakes for breakfast Saturday and Sunday!


Monica Pie

Today, Rena & I passed by a locally famous pie place called "Monica Pie" along Keuka Lake, NY. Too bad, their pies need refrigeration and we didn't have one while traveling. Some local people told me that one time, this place provided pies for State Dinner in the White House. I saw one guy in front of us bought five boxes. I guessed it must be good. May be next time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ballet, again.

Vince had his 3rd week of ballet this week. I took Edda with me to the 10 am class. I came home feeling a little sorry for myself because there really is nothing like being surrounded by a thousand very cute 4 year-old ballerinas swarming around Edda's wheelchair to make me feel a little sorry for myself.

I came home, Jeremy gave me a stern pep talk and I tried to pull myself out of my mucky-mood.

At 2 pm, we went back to the ballet studio with Edda for her first class this fall, very much prepared for Edda to be the most disabled person there (which is often the position I find us in), but it wasn't the case. And Edda really enjoyed it. Which is great! (But I'm still feeling a little sorry for myself. I'm not too worried, I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon.)



Are you using your iPhone?

Found this link on digg

Friday, September 19, 2008


We are trucking along here in the Lee-Martin household, hoping that we are not heading into the 2nd Great Depression (Jeremy is obsessed with the fed and the roiling of the markets this week, so our dinner time talk has been less than uplifting). Last week at my parent's house, Vince found his uncle Donald's old Star Wars monopoly game...


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Halls of Congress

This morning I went to Ted Kennedy's office to ask for money on behalf of Edda and all the other folks with Rett Syndrome. I did not do this one by myself, I went with folks from IRSF and took a back seat in the meetings. I passed John Kerry's office along the way. Wow, I still can't believe I'm traveling the corridors of Congress. There was lots of talk about politics - things are very busy and exciting.

They also had arranged a meeting with Clinton's folks later in the afternoon and I really, really wanted to go (Hillary's office!), but I had to hoof it on back to work, I had only arranged half of a day off and the end of the fiscal year is coming up at the end of September and I have a boatload of work to do at work.

The Halls of Congress, originally uploaded by mikeanderson720.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flu shots.

Str-e-e-etched thin this week. I hate complaining, my schedule is no more crammed than any other family, but what can I say? There is a lot going on including the meltdown of the banking sector in the US - which we had nothing to do with - I swear!

Last week, the kids' pediatrician called me and told me that the preservative-free flu shots were in and did I want to make an appointment for Edda. I had never heard of preservative-free flu shots before, but since they called and reminded me that the kids needed flu shots, I scheduled sppointments for both kids.

Vince is such a wimp when it comes to shots - he freaks out and then he tenses up which makes the whole thing much more painful. I have had to practically have my whole body clenching him in a burrito roll so he doesn't punch the nurse. So I specifically asked for the "backwards sneeze" flu shot - the Flu Mist - cost ten bucks more, but oh, so worth it.

I was feeling guilty that Vince was getting the up-the-nose shot and Edda was signed up for the jab-in-the-arm shot. Would Edda hold it against me? Treating the two kids to different amounts of pain? Turns out she didn't make a peep from the shot, didn't yelp, turn her head or look at me with indignation. I tried telling Vince that Edda didn't think it hurt much, but he said that he liked his way of getting the flu medicine. Thank you very much.

A little IRSF gossip...I heard from the Virginia rep that next year's conference over Memorial Day weekend is going to be in Leesburg, VA. I had always thought they picked large cities and Leesburg is not a large city, although I believe it has great outlet shopping, this is a suburb of DC right near Dulles Airport. Right in my neck of the woods!

Flu shot anticipation (feel the tension...)


Monday, September 15, 2008

Ruby - the big test.

Our town allows you to walk a dog off leash anywhere within town limits if you and your doggie pass a test given by the local police department. This Saturday, Ruby and Jeremy are going to head down to the local pool parking lot to take this test. This is pretty much equivalent to walking in to take your drivers license test without practicing parallel parking. I think Ruby will pass with flying colors the part where you follow commands without distractions - sit, stay, come, heel. I think Ruby can a pass with the following distractions - kids, cars, horns, bicycles.

Ruby will go absolutely crazy and not follow any commands when faced with another dog and all hope of passing the test will be gone if the police officer whips out a squirrel from behind his night stick.

We will see.

Ruby likes to help out with laundry.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy birthday to me!

My parents came down from New Jersey to celebrate my birthday. My mom made the most fabulous dinner - enough to feed 17 people.


Long life noodles!


Cake! (It's good to be 36..)



Our Office

Well, here in Princeton, NJ, we have one car, live in a one bed-room apartment and share the same office. In this office, we are pratically doing the same type of engineering work and we almost stay with each other on a 24/7/365-basis closely. I had never dreamed of that would be this for us for the past several years - in Denver, in South Carolina and here in Princeton.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Jeremy spent the day in East Berlin, PA helping out the Obama campaign, trying to register folks to vote and to get people interested in Obama. We have never volunteered for any political campaign and as Maryland is solidly Democratic, it was either go to Virgina or Pennsylvania - a "battleground state" - to volunteer. The part of Pennsylvania Jeremy went to is 80% Republican and the voter registration drive was happening at a town fair, very crowded and happening - it was quite an eye opening experience.

While Jeremy was off doing his civic duty, Edda and I spent the morning eating a blueberry muffin at a farmer's market.


Edda is getting bigger and bigger all the time - which is a great thing, as a lot of Rett girls have huge issues with keeping on weight - and she's getting more and more difficult to move around without her wheelchair. I applied for the handicapped parking tag more than a year ago and I thought I would have little use for them because at that time, Edda was a breeze to get in and out of the car and into a typical toddler stroller. Now I use the parking tag quite often and Edda seems to be outgrowing the wheelchair we got less than a year ago (do you see how her knees are kind of raised off the seat? we already lowered the foot rests to the longest setting). We need to seriously look into those adaptive vans soon.

Look, a perfectly blue blueberry muffin.


Crumbs on the lips.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Benches to sit on.

I had an extra hour today between work and home commitments, so I went to the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, which was dedicated yesterday.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thinking about the past.

Has it been seven years already? I remember we were living in Austin, I was pregnant with Vince. I was working (as a computer programmer) on the 18th floor (the very top) of the UT Austin clock tower. I remember thinking that a Cessna had accidentally flown into the World Trade Center. As soon as we (the folks on the 18 floor) realized that it was a jetliner that had flown into the buildings, we all made a pretty quick decision to leave work early and get down off of the tallest tower in town. We all returned to work the next day - with security checks in place and I think by the end of the following week, there were metal detectors installed at the base of the tower.

UT Tower, originally uploaded by VictoRevolution.

Car Ok

Well, the check engine light on my car, Milli, is on once again. This is the second time in practically a month. The first time was some VTEC thing - basically because I'm lazy changing my oil. This time it was an O2 sensor heater. Not a big deal... It just has to get replaced. I was a bit nervous because I've been driving to work lately, because my commute bike is being sent back to the manufacturer because the frame was cracked. I was wondering what I would do if my car was going to go into the shop. Glad she's OK.

And yes. I did take the picture while driving - only talking on a cell phone using your hands is illegal in California. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birthday remorse.

Jeremy and I have birthdays one week apart, he goes first and then me. Jeremy and I had an agreement that since we bought the house just a few weeks ago and now every weekend we are basically taking our wallets out and shaking them upside-down at the nearby Home Depot, that we were not going to get each other any gifts. So Jeremy's birthday on Sunday passed quietly, no huge gifts, no big TA DA! And then on Monday, my coworkers looked at me with disbelief, "You mean you didn't even take him out to dinner? Did you get him anything?" Well, no I did not. So then I went back in my photo archives to check up on something else and I discovered/remembered that the day before, I was with him when he went to DSW and bought himself some work shoes because his old pair had holes in them and was letting in rain water by the puddleful. Can I retroactively count these as a birthday gift?


Monday, September 8, 2008

It's only Monday.

I over scheduled our weekend. I enjoy being busy, but you know, when you stick try and stick that one extra thing in, then it just results in a meltdown of one of the family members. Our town had a doggie swim day, the last day before they drained the pool. Vince basically screamed his head off all the way to the pool. As soon as he got there, he was fine and happy.


Vince has not been eating well. I can't believe that my non-Rett Syndrome kid is the one who is not willing to eat! He basically eats about 6 glasses of milk a day and plain white rice (and of course, anything made out of sugar). He will just sit there and purse his lips and then burst into tears! And he's running around all day, neighborhood kids, swinging, swimming and then when he has to change gears and sit down and eat/do homework/pick up clothes, the tears come again which is caused by his exceedingly low blood sugar.

Tonight, after work, I made him his favorite dinner - ravioli, and finally (after days of not eating well) he ate 2 full plates.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy birthday.

Jeremy is 40 today! Happy birthday babe - welcome to middle age ;)


Saturday, September 6, 2008



Vincent started ballet lessons today. Why ballet you may ask? Why not soccer or cub scouts or perhaps even gymnastics? It is both a long and short story. The short story is that Vince is a dancer, he's got the moves and the enthusiasm and the lack of self-consciousness that has me standing at the side of the room wondering if he is related to me and Jeremy. (Jeremy specifically asked that there be no band or dancing at our wedding and I readily agreed.)

The long story is that he loves his cousin, J. who is 11 and dances at this particular ballet school. This ballet school is far from our house and takes its dancing seriously - a number of students have become professional ballerinas. Normally, I would not venture this far from home and perhaps the seriousness of the ballet is a little bit intimidating for me, but this year, J. is helping out during a special needs class that she was eager for Edda to attend. So I asked Vince if he wanted to join up, thinking that the classes would be at the same time and he was really excited and so we are doing ballet! But, of course, the classes are not at the same time so this ballet adventure we are on is taking much more of our Saturday than I thought it would. (Edda's class starts in a few weeks.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I've gained weight.

I've gotten into the habit of buying my lunch and various vending machine snacks at work. And as a result, I've gained a little bit of weight and also I've been spending money a bit too freely - I find that small little purchases like daily pretzel sticks inexplicably lead to bigger ones at Target. I'm trying to wrench myself back into bring the good old PB&J to save some $ and ditch the weight.

The velvet cake? My coworkers seemed to enjoy it - it was more than 80% gone by 10:30 am and I helped myself to only the tiniest sliver.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Velvet cake.

When I first met Jeremy (now more than 13 years ago), he already owned a whole cake shop's worth of baking equipment. He owned the Cake Bible, he introduced me to cake flour and also to the concept of weighing baking ingredients rather than measuring them out in a measuring cup.


We have not baked in a long time. All the baking tools have been packed away for over 3 years. This Labor Day weekend, we spent a few days making a red velvet cake. We tried making this in Singapore for Emy's birthday, but in the middle of baking, the power went out for 3 hours and the oven turned off, so I never got to try the red velvet cake in its full glory.


On a political note, I was relieved to hear that Trig is not the grandson of Sarah Palin as first rumored by various bloggers. I think that Ms. Palin will prove to be quite appealing to a good number of people, lets see how she does tonight.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor day party.

We went to a lovely Labor Day Party thrown by Andy, a fellow patent examiner. Andy and I did not meet each other at work, we met via Bookcrossing, which celebrates the love of books and the love of recycling at the same time. Andy's house is set up perfectly for a party - 4 flavors of slushies and a cotton candy machine all ready to go.


Edda loved the huge trampoline.


Monday, September 1, 2008

3 day weekend!

Every weekend should be three days long..