Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My compost pile.

Jeremy has been wanting to turn the compost pile ever since the weather warmed up. Saturday night, I was dumping yet another pile of kitchen scrap into the compost when I tapped the side of the plastic contraption too hard and it sprung open. I guess it was a sign that I needed to turn the compost right at that moment. We are not very diligent composters, we don't turn it often enough and because of that, it is a little smelly. Therefore, I smelled.

My compost = vegetable scraps and shredded junk mail.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Star diner.

My parents took the day off today to look after the kids as I needed to be in at work today and Jeremy is off in the woods singing camp songs. This Monday, (well every other Monday) is known in the office as "count Monday" where your work for the past two weeks gets tallied and churned through the electronic bureaucracy and if your not there to keep an eye on the process, well some things that you worked so hard on might not get counted and there you go with less credit than you deserve/thought you had.

Since my parents were in town for the weekend, we tried out a new diner on Sunday morning and in order to beat the lines, we showed up at 7:30am. (We were not the first ones there). Here we are at Star Diner where we played a few songs on the jukebox and ordered chocolate chip pancakes.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Frazzled.

I'm overwhelmed today. Jeremy is going to be at an overnight work retreat (who knew that work ever had retreats, I wonder if they are going to making s'mores, grrrr) for the next few days, our childcare is uncertain as our nanny is going to orientation for her new job on Monday and Tuesday and perhaps be out of our employ starting Wednesday, Vince is still not well, Edda's school called last week about white spots on her tongue which they suspect is thrush and is highly contagious which seem to me to be how her tongue has always been, I'm moving offices and getting a new boss next week and trying to make a good impression and this buying-a-house thing makes me unhappy and on edge because I just see - instead of a lovely home with dinners, family and fun, I just see a big mortgage bill and property tax bills. We'll be fine, I know, all of it isn't a big deal one piece at a time, but it's a lot at once and I'm frayed.

Here's a tree in our neighborhood that got hit by lightning last week. I don't think the tree is hurt too badly, just strips of bark have been blown off the tree.

(edit: I just googled trees and lightning and found out that this tree is most likely going to die because it won't be able to protect itself from disease or from the winter weather. Sigh.)

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Ferry Ride.

Biked across the golden gate today. It was a beautiful day.

A lot of my brain power has been used up on my ex-gf these past couple of weeks. It's been really hard to push aside, considering all my friends hang out with her on a twice weekly basis and they jabber about her all the time. Anyhow, I've come to the realization that she's basically like my parents - that she'll never love me in the way that I want to be loved (as a friend i mean). How does this help me? Not sure, since I don't have the best relationship with my parents to begin with. Laff. At some point I suppose I'll have to change. I guess that's the rub...

Also a funny link.

Putting in the backyard swing.

All afternoon, it threatened to rain on us as we dug holes for the swing set.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Working hard and juggling.

Our wonderful nanny, who is now qualified to be a nurse, got a wonderful job this week. So now the juggling starts - there are 4 weeks until our au pair comes. Our nanny is still willing to help us out when she can, my job is getting more flexible albeit far away and Jeremy can work from home in an emergency, so with the three of us (and help from our far flung parents who are coming in to pinch hit) we are going to make it the 4 weeks. I started today by putting in a 12 hour day today - I left before the kids woke up and then I came home after they were in bed. I worked 12 hours today because I had to stay at home yesterday to hang with Vince who is sick and tomorrow I need to stay home with both Vince (who is still sick) and Edda (who may or may not have a case of oral thrush). And I will have to go in on Saturday if I don't want to exhaust all my sick leave and vacation time.

I wanted to post a picture of my tissue box. I got a compliment on it today!

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ruth and Yushan.

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Last night, we had 2 people over for dinner. Even though they both live in Southern California and they are both our friends, they did not know each other. You see that Ruth has purple curls in her hair and Yushan is wearing the standard engineer's uniform of a polo shirt in a single color.

Jeremy had neglected to tell me that one friend would be spending the night and therefore I neglected to clean out the bathroom of the guest room, which is where I take my daily bath and the ring around the tub was really gross.

Union of Concerned Scientists + NYTimes.

Eli Hopson, a coworker of Jeremy's got quoted in the NYTimes.

His connection to me is that he's a former Baker-ite!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Office and Work.

My training at work is almost over. I get to move out of the training area cubicles and into a real office. I went looking for my new office found it today - it has my name on the outside of the door like I really belong there and am contributing a bit. I am a little sad that my training is over, I really like being in school. I would love to be a student forever.

I pulled this photo from another flickr user, this is what my office looks like - but I have a roommate and no window. I do have the space age chair, the brown furniture and the massive printer. And oh yes, I have will have all the random sheets of paper taped to the wall. Somehow the person who took this photo managed to crop out the huge twin monitors that make up the standard computer setup in the office.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Bike. Robotics. Neat.

I like Asian countries. They come up with some cool stuff.

Driving to work

Last week, Jeremy had a 2 day conference about 3 miles from my work. In order to take advantage of the HOV lanes, we decided to carpool. I've never driven to work, it takes me between 1h15m and 1h30m door to door and I do hear whisperings about people making it to work in 45 minutes and I wonder if I'm wasting my time taking public transit.

We did the drive together and the only place that there are HOV lanes is at the 270/495 interchange and it didn't buy us that much time. I think I could save about 15 minutes by driving, but it's a lot of stop and go and all over aggravating - also, it's more expensive and worse for the environment, so I'm pleased with my Metro decision!

Jeremy checking the oil before our epic cross-county commute.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunspot



There's a little black spot on the sun today.
It's the same old thing as yesterday

Delaware.

We drove to Delaware yesterday to see Jeremy's college friend, Dan and his family.

There was chatting.

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There was playing.

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And there was boating (OK, you can't see the boat, but you can see the lifejacket)!

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Friday, April 18, 2008

My favorite year.

Tonight, Vince and I went to my old high school to see a high school musical called "My Favorite Year". The last time I was in that auditorium was 18 years ago, and it is exactly the same - I even spied the infamous Mr. Brodsky, who I think did a double take when he saw me. Well, it's exactly the same except for the fact that the tickets now are twice as expensive.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

For once...


I'm uploading a picture from my nice camera. This was taken in the afternoon at Choon's place, back in the day, when I was housesitting. Ah the nostalgia! :P

Things have been a bit weird lately both work and life.

At work we are in the midst of hiring a new manager. It's been a long process, and it's definitely very interesting hearing people's perspectives on the candidates and what others see as pros and cons. I guess everyone thinks differently.

In life, I've been a bit moody lately. I know the reason for it, but I'm not at liberty to post it on the blog for now. Not to worry, but progress is being made in that department. I hope to have things more resolved in a couple days.

Other than that, hanging in there. Trying to have some fun in there. :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Au pair.

We matched with an au pair! She's from Germany and has experience with special needs kids. We spoke with her on two occasions last weekend and I guess we both had good impressions of each other and so we've agreed to live with each other for a year. What an adventure-y adventure we are about to embark on.

During the first phone call, she mentioned that she plays handball 3 times a week and after we got off the phone with her, Jeremy and I debated what exactly handball is. I argued it was like water polo without the water. Jeremy insisted it was like racquetball without the racquet. We mentioned to her on the 2nd phone call that it would be hard to find a local handball team since no one in the US (except for the 14 people that make up the Olympic team) plays handball. She laughed and said it was OK to not play handball for a while.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our computer died.

Our desktop computer died. It was 7 years old. Jeremy discovered that HP has a return program where you can ship your old computer back to them for credit towards your new computer. Jeremy entered the vital information about our kaput computer into the online form. They were willing to give us $4.50 toward the purchase of a new HP. Sigh.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Best friends.

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Vince's best friend K. came over on Saturday and together they made a big flour-y mess.

This is for you Doris.

Well, since I know Doris loves this kind of stuff... Dave and Xiaoli have decided on what stroller to get their soon-to-be addition to their family. Click here for the winner!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gymnastics

Jeremy's niece, S., turned 4 a few weeks ago and Vince and Edda got invited to her gymnastics themed birthday party. At Vince's age, I remember being enrolled in gymnastics and trying over and over again to do a back hand spring. I'm still hoping that someday I'll be able to do it - I can still do a mean cartwheel and each time we get invited somewhere with a sprung floor, I go ahead and try a cartwheel or two just to make sure I've still got it in me.

Vince had a fabulous time, but Edda didn't like it so much. Sometimes I wish she could enjoy these regular kid things a little more, because even though everyone is very sweet and accommodating and everyone wants her to have a good time, Edda just doesn't like it very much and wants to sit in a quiet corner and watch Dora on the iPod.

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Ah. City Life



Well, it's been an interesting weekend.

Friday was dinner with Choon and Xin and Shwe. Fine. I stayed over at Choon's that night for the last time in my "housesitting" adventure.

Saturday, I managed to go out on a ride by myself. It was wonderful really. It's been such a long time since I've had some time to go at my own pace, at my own speed. It's good to clear out the head. On my way out I had to stop by the bike shop to buy a couple supplies. I found an old coworker was back working there on the weekends, so I was pleasantly surprised. Chatted her up a bit. When I went to the counter to buy something, the guy in line ahead of me wanted to buy something with a gift certificate, and apparently the cashier was a new guy. So I was telling him how to redeem it in the computer system. I think the new employee was pretty confused... :)

I managed to get home, pack all my stuff from Choon's house. Haul it up to SF. I got a great parking spot. unloaded all my stuff. Went out to dinner with Brian, who is back from Singapore. We hung out for a bit, and then Hilda texted me. Apparently she was going out for her birthday at some lounge in North Beach. Of course she didn't tell me it was her birthday until I got there. But it was fun. She got a good bit drunk. I met my ex's current bf. He seemed cool. Also Hilda's friend got pretty smashed and was half flashing people on the way into a restaurant after the club had closed. I also am proud to say that my tolerance is improving by leaps and bounds. I had a drink and 2 shots, and was pretty much fine for the night. Yes. I have a hard life.

of course, I came back, parked my car, and slept in tonight, but when I woke, i decided I would drive somewhere, got in my car, and noticed all this glass all over the passenger seat. Fun. So. Had to take care of that. Nothing was stolen, cause there was nothing in the car. I honestly don't even think that they opened the door even. Ah well. just some dope wrecking things. I'lll fix it tomorrow.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MIT.

I can't believe that there is a movie out about MIT nerds who went to Las Vegas to count cards. And I also can't believe that it's the #1 movie in the country. Who knew that it would be popular. I chalk it up to the alluring "winning at gambling" aspect and not that MIT students are sexy or anything. OK, so since the movie was set in the mid-90s when I was a student there, I want to tell my tiny little connection to the MIT blackjack team.

During my first 2 years at MIT, I hung out with a now-defunct fraternity, Delta Pi. This was a strange little fraternity, they had no national organization, but they were a fun bunch of guys. One weekend, I noticed that one of the brothers was concentrating on a deck of cards in the corner. He was trying to cut the deck of cards exactly the same number of cards each time. I watched him for a while and I asked him what the heck was he doing. He mumbled something about blackjack and Las Vegas and I thought he was lying or crazy.

Then, few weeks later, I remember a brief conversation he was having in the hallway with another person about having to "looking the part". Apparently, he had a whole back story about how he happened to have $50,000 to gamble. I guess maybe he dressed up in expensive suits and watches and said he was some sort of European prince which is hilarious because he, like the rest of us, was an awkward, pimply, nerdy post-pubescent MIT student.

Anyways that's all I know about the MIT blackjack club, but I guess I have a little claim to fame because I'm only 4 degrees removed from Kevin Spacey which is what I really care about. What a cutie! But I am married and he is perhaps, "playing for the other team", so I might have to give up on my little fantasy. Is there anything more alluring than playing an MIT math professor?


Hanging with Lynn too

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hanging at Choon's

All quiet on the blogging front.

Twice this week, I fell asleep at 9pm. I really feel the need to get a proper eight hours of sleep during the work week, it leaves very little time for blogging in the evening.

I'm not sure what I am doing with my little blog anymore, I'm at a little bit of a loss on what to blog about, so much of my life is wrapped up in little details at work, child care, keeping up with the house, there isn't so much "action" to blog about. Also, I haven't been in the photo taking mood, I guess it's just a lull, it will pick up soon.

Today Jeremy and I spoke with an au pair from Germany, who hopefully will have a chance to check out this blog tonight or tomorrow (hi!). Jeremy is a whiz at telephony, he figured out a calling card and how to conference my office phone and the call to Germany.

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More Golden Gate Park photos

Doris and Vince catching a wave.

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Edda - happy as a clam.

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Kiwi!



There's been a rash of BBQ's lately. Once at Ann's 2 weeks ago. My birthday BBQ last weekend at Choon's. And once again thursday night, there was a mini BBQ over at Ann's again. Phew... Anyhow, last night was really bridge night with a BBQ tacked on. I brought over my bar that I collected from my party, and we had girlie drinks, round two. Here Ann got to muddle some kiwis to make a kiwi daiquiri. It was pretty good. Ann was a little tipsy and kept wanting to make more and more drinks. We had to cut her off. Hahaha.

Other than that Choon's back, and I'm back in the city. Done with housesitting, so sadly, no more cat photos! :( I'm going back down tonight to have dinner with him today. Maybe we'll go for a ride tomorrow.

Oh and another BBQ is happening next sat. Should be fun!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Golden Gate Park.

I still want to post photos of our vacation last week, as nothing photographically interesting is happening this week.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Star Wars.

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Vince's new love is Star Wars legos. He spends a lot of his time watching stop motion movies on youtube of other people building their Star Wars legos. Who knew that people spent time videoing themselves building Legos that you can go to Target buy for 14.99 and put together yourself, but what the heck do I know?

I thought it might be nice to actually watch Star Wars, so I checked Star Wars III (I'm sorry, I forget the subtitle) out from the library and we watched about 2 minutes of the movie until Vince insisted that it be turned off because it was too scary and declared, "I'm not a fan of Star Wars, I'm only a fan of Star Wars Legos."

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Looking for a house.

We are looking to buy a house. My parents, generous as they are, would like to have their house back so when they walk into their kitchen they can find their knives, peeler, and frying pans where they left them.

We are not so eager to buy a house. There is something about handing over all the money you have spent your whole life saving to buy this one thing that is made out of wood and drywall and if you kick it hard, you will make a hole in it.

We have put off buying a house through 10 years of marriage, 2 kids and a dog mainly because we have moved around the world so much, but also because we have different ideas about what a house should be.

Jeremy grew up in a crowded house, 1200-1500 square feet 4 kids, 2 parents and at least 1 dog and sometimes a foreign exchange student. Jeremy has slept in garages, closets and living rooms. Everyone in the Martin house talked very often and since you didn't have much privacy, everyone pretty much heard what you said.

I grew up in a house where there was 1 extra bedroom where you put random stuff like boxes of old photos and the extra twin bed. There were always the formal living room and the formal dining rooms which were rarely used. We talked not very often and since you had your own room, pretty much no one needed to hear what you said.

So we are at an impasse about how much space do you really need for 4 people and a dog? I would say a little more, Jeremy would say a little less. Throw in a few physical accommodations because of Edda and basically we have a negotiation that will last until the end of the summer.

Here's a banana slug that we saw in Marin over spring break. I bet he has a nice house that isn't too big or too small. Lucky guy.

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Beige

Friday, April 4, 2008

Trapped at Costco

Well. Tomorrow I'm having a birthday BBQ at Choon's place and I'm
stuck in the huge Costco line. Ugh. Bleh. Argh. It's times like these
I appreciate my phone.

I swear. This woman in front of has 18, one gallon jars of cashews. Their family must really love nuts.

Happy 4th birthday Edda!

Last year at the Rett Syndrome Strollathon's silent auction, my mother-in-law won a birthday party performance of Miss Belle, a local children's singer songwriter. Since Edda's birthday was spring break last week, I arranged for Miss Belle to come to Edda's school today to perform.

I was a little nervous because I had never met Miss Belle before or seen her act before, but she was a smash hit, perfect for a bunch of special needs kids.

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Here they sing Happy Birthday to Edda...

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Vincent, who has been bugging me all year to spend time at Edda's school, played hooky this morning and also had fun seeing Miss Belle.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Looking for a match.

So our wonderful nanny is leaving us. During spring break, while we were away, she took her nursing exam and passed and already has hospitals clamoring for her talents. We are very excited for her, but we are sad to see her go as she helped us through the some critical work transitions which were nerve-wracking for us.

Now that we have settled down a bit and our jobs are more steady and flexible in a predicable manner, we thought that we might match with an au pair. I spoke with the placement manager from the au pair agency we are working with and I gave her this blog address to give to folks who might be willing to live with us and look after Vince and Edda, so if you are here reading for the first time and are considering being our au pair, well, welcome to Just Regular Folks!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Traveling light.

Jeremy travels heavy and I travel light. Years ago, when we first met and I was living in San Jose and he was living in Pasadena, we used to take the 1 hour Southwest flight to see each other for the weekend. He would actually pack a suitcase. I would pack an extra pair of underwear.

This has continued on throughout our marriage, I have been accused to swiping sweatshirts, PJs and shampoo when I have run out of the things I have packed. Since the children, Jeremy has taken over the family packing and carefully considers the required items for each trip.

Because the spring break trip required me to travel alone with the kids and Jeremy had flown first - I was in charge of the packing and thus I did the exact opposite of what I normally do and I packed all the clothing I could find. Jeremy just about had a cow when he saw the 2 monstrous packs that I had stuffed full.

On another note, my parents, with the best of intentions and trying to help me with luggage and the kids and wanting to delay saying goodbye, made it almost all the way through to the X-ray machines going through two or three ID/security checkpoints.

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Caught red handed making a mess

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy birthday Donald.

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Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Donnnnaaaaallld.
Happy birthday to you!

(And many more!)

Happy Birthday, Donald

Enjoying your dinner tonight & BBQ on Saturday. Love always, Mom & Dad :)

Lemon dropping