Saturday, May 31, 2008

Work!

We graduated from the "training" part of my job last week. These are the coworkers who started with me. We all work with patents that deal with chemical engineering issues. We are all nerds.

I did make the phone calls to the senators and congressmen that I mentioned a few days ago to ask for support for Rett Syndrome advocacy. I made three phone calls and someone (who sounds like they are 21) answers the phone. I make my request, "Hello, I'm Doris, I wanted to make an appointment with (so-and-so) to talk about an issue for the FY2009 Appropriations bill and ask for his/her support on this issue." Then they redirected me to the office scheduler who I need to email/fax to request an appointment. So I sent out some emails Friday night, we'll see what happens.

 
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Silk Road, China, More ...








  • Ferry boat made of several goat skins
  • Flowers & Mom
  • General Tso's Tree, not general Tso's Chicken - One of the trees that General Tso Planted when he was in NW China for Muslim uprising

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tired.

We are a little bit tired around here. Since Edda is sick and it's Yvonne's first week, we are still not working a "regular" work week, Jeremy's been going in late and I've been coming home early. And we've been staying up late chatting about various things. I've pretty much given up on reading/knitting on the Metro - it's just for sleeping now, it's a wonder I haven't found myself at the end of the green line with a bit of drool sliding down the side of my mouth.

OK, a little catch up here. Here's an article that Jeremy wrote for work "Land Use Changes and Biofuels".

I'm putting this out there that tomorrow I'm calling these people:

Cardin, Benjamin L.- (D - MD) Class I
509 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4524
Web Form: cardin.senate.gov/contact/

Mikulski, Barbara A.- (D - MD) Class III
503 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-4654
Web Form: mikulski.senate.gov/Contact/contact.cfm

Congressman Van Hollen
Rockville Office
51 Monroe Street, Suite 507
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: (301) 424-3501
Fax: (301) 424-5992

I'm going to call them about getting the $500,000 earmark for Rett Syndrome advocacy. I'll let you know how it goes. Do you really think a regular joe-schmoe can get an appointment with a Senator/Congressman just by calling their office? I don't know, but I guess I'm going to find out.

Silk Road, China
























































































































Brief Descriptions of the above pictures:
  • Skyline, Shanghai
  • Chinese Gardens in Su Zhou
  • Muslim Mosque, Chinese Style with Tibetan Decors on Top of the Roof (Fairly Unique)
  • Chin Hay Inland Salt Lake (Former Topedoes Testing Ground for Chinese Navy)
  • Mom on a Yak
  • Tibetan Temple where the Teacher of Dalai Lama & Panchen Lama lived
  • First Bridge on Yellow River at Lan Zhou
  • Jia Yu Guan, Western Starting Point of the Chinese Great Wall
  • Moon Lake in this Vast Desert - Exists since Day One of the Silk Road, the nearby Water Hole is about 400 KM away
  • Mosque and Bagels in Kashi, China

Mom and Dad enjoyed this trip very much. Next time, we plan to go to Tibet from the south from Shangri-La :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Au pair adventure.

Edda's been sick since Monday, so Yvonne's introduction to au pair-dom has been taking care of a non-verbal child who is extra cranky and home from school all day. Not the easiest way to start, but she's (Yvonne, that is) is taking it all in stride.

Yvonne is also quite the sportswoman, last night we played softball together at a pickup game in Silver Spring, we were on opposing teams, she was the catcher and I played right field. I love right field, no one ever hits balls out to right field, I could pick flowers out there and it would not place the game in jeopardy. Never, ever did I think I'd play softball again!

Weekend Update...

Well, I know it's been awhile since I've updated... Honestly, my life is more on facebook these days, but here's the round up...

1) Wedding weekend. This is the start of my wedding season. 3 in 5 weeks. A two day affair for this one. Saturday was the ceremony/banquet and Sunday was an informal BBQ. Too bad it was a dreary weekend weather wise. But it was really awesome to see a lot of people I haven't kept in touch with from college. It was pretty much a mini reunion. Fenney was in town, and of course, it was time to gang up on Joy once again. Laff. Good times.

Other randomness from the wedding:

- It's funny when a wedding registry only has radiology textbook on it. :)
- pet peeve: I hate it when the officiant doesn't ask you to sit down after the bride comes down the isle. We're all just standing during the ceremony and nobody can see anything. Heck. I'm 6'0" tall, and I couldn't see anything from the 7th row. Look up officiants!
- At the banquet they had a camera and a printer setup, with costumes and props. So everyone got up during the wedding to take a funny photo and pasted it in a scrapbook, and signed. Nice touch. :)
- Love it when a gay man complements me on my clothing choice. Awesome.

2) Saw Indiana Jones. Spoiler -----------------------------------------------> eh.

3) Swam in the bay on Monday. It was good. Aquatic Park. relatively warm water. My wetsuit. Crap I need to wash it now...

4) Had a semi-date Monday night - went dancing. Kinda unsure how it went... She can definitely move, that's for sure. hahahah. Well I guess it's good enough for a second date this weekend. :) So. We'll see what happens.

That's it! Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I heart Chicago.

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The IRSF conference in Chicago was great! This year was my 2nd conference and a lot of the information was very similar from last year, but it gives you that extra kick in the behind that reinvigorates my optimism and purpose in dealing with the cards that have been dealt Edda. It was great to finally meet in person the folks I've been getting to know for years online, the internet is a wonderful thing, but hugging a friend in the flesh is even better.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sheets.

(I tried to email folks going to the conference, but I don't have your email address! It's not that big, we'll find each other..)

Tomorrow our au pair arrives, so I want to step back and declare victory over the past 4 weeks, we made it through a month without paid childcare. Thank you, gong gong, pua pua, kiki, emy and gene who traveled far and wide to help out. And a special high-5 to gene who got Edda to go #2 in the potty. Woo hoo, lucky guy! Also, heartfelt thanks to the public schools who kept the kids occupied for most of the day and to all the bacterial and viral infections that passed over our house during this month.

I count myself a bargain hunter, I look for quality goods on deep discount. This means that although things in the house are of good quality and nice to use, nothing in the house matches. (As I have been looking at real estate for the past few months, I understand that my non-matching habits do not lead to houses that sell well.) Anyways, after a day and a half of deliberation about what sort of sheets to get for her room, I went and paid full price (shudder) for a "bed in a bag" at Target (granted it wasn't even that expensive, but man, full price) - everything is so matchy-matchy. I looked into her room longingly last night, so neat, sparse and empty. I have to say I kind of want to move into that room.

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Just reposting from Digg.

But whatever. HILARIOUS.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Going to Chicago!

I'll be heading out Friday afternoon to Chicago to the Rett Syndrome annual conference. I haven't had much time to think about the agenda and I forgot to send a photo of Edda for the montage - but I just looked at the schedule and it looks great! Last year, I went with Jeremy, Edda and my dad. This year, everyone else is staying home to welcome Yvonne, our au pair, and I'm off to the Windy City.

I am a little nervous going because I'm going by myself and my online persona is a little more confident and outgoing than my "real" self and even though I am fond of all the Rett folks I know (both in real life and online), it's not like I really know everyone and so I'm nervous. So is anyone doing anything Saturday night? If you don't have anything planned, I'd love to hang out, maybe dinner and a movie? Should I post my cell phone # on my blog? I was all excited to see Sex and the City on Saturday with someone, but I found out that it isn't opening until the 30th and that left me with Indiana Jones, which just doesn't have the right giddy feel to it. (But it doesn't mean I'm ruling out Indiana Jones, if that is what you want to see).

I had planned not to go this year, as our fixed expenses are going to be quite high once the house is bought. So in order to save some money, we used up some frequent flyer miles and I'm not staying at the hotel, rather I'm staying at the lovely youth hostel a few miles away and I also decided not to go to the tribute dinner, both of which I haven't yet decided are good decisions on my part or not. It's pretty much too late to change any plans, so I guess I'm going with the flow!

So if you see me kind of sitting in the back of the room by myself (or if I'm lucky with someone else), come and say hi! I'd love to say "hi!" back. I'm the Asian lady with the short black hair.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Customer Service..

While I have never ordered anything from Zappo's before, I found this article and subsquently, this blog post to be fascinating.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Embassy Row.

I was planning on going to work today for a few hours, but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful breezy spring day, that I decided to forgo the examination of patents and go outside with my family.

Today, 28 embassies in DC held open houses, so in the space of an hour, we visited Paraguay, Madagascar (in which they were showing the animated movie by that name which happens to be one of Edda's all time favorite movies) and Korea. We tried to get into Japan, but we needed to make reservations and we are just not that organized.

In Korea, Vince played the traditional drums and Edda spent some time admiring the Samsung large flat-screen TV. I swear she was telling us that we needed one of those gracing our walls.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Enjoying Mother's Day at Chinese School.

Video watching.

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Chicken dance with Emy.

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Jeremy had to see if he could guess which one was Vincent by feeling all the children's hands.

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Finally asleep.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fairness.

I think Edda's starting to have seizures. I have always put "seizures" in quotation marks because I am the Queen of Denial and I think, oh, she can still drink water, she is still looking around, it's not a seizure, it's just a hiccup, a little bump in the road, she's daydreaming! But I have to admit now that - even though she's having episodes only every 2-3 days - I think something is going funky in her noodle. All her teachers see it, all her therapists see it, I don't see it so much because perhaps I'm in denial. So I asked around and found a recommended doc and we are going to see her.

This is what I predict - 24 hr EEG and then medicate with Depakote if we want. The appointment is in a month, we will see if my prediction is right.

(I love diagnosing a la the internet. I've been having some jaw pain over the past few weeks, I typed in "hurts to open my mouth wide" and I found out I have temporomandibular joint disorder! Who needs the doctor!)

A few notes:

I've decided that waking up at 4 am is for the birds, I'm back to my waking up at 5 am and if I don't make my 40 hours at work, I'm taking vacation.

We didn't get the house we put a bid on - they wanted more $, we wanted to pay less $. You know how it goes. I am kind of relieved.

A few great articles to remind myself that great medical miracles can happen everyday.

Gene therapy for childhood blindness in first clinical trial. This I am excited about because they use a viral vector to insert healthy genes into retina cells which were unable to function correctly and it works! They can see better.

A Child, a Bizarre Tumor and a Perilous Operation. This is completely not genetically related, it's a surgical solution for a tricky brain tumor, but I just love stories of little girls (and their amazing doctors, didn't I just say who needs a doctor?) triumphing over seizure disorders.

Classic Edda move. This is how she goes from standing to sitting on the floor, she sits on the couch and then oddles down to the floor.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's day.

I thought I would go back in time and grab some photos from the day that I first became a mother and Kiki and Pua pua first became grandmothers! (Don't I look a bit bewildered? Sometimes I still feel that way.) Happy Mother's Day to all mothers past, present and future!

Delivery Room

Vincent and Rena

Feeling much better.

I am feeling much better this morning, just in time for Mother's Day. Yesterday I went to work and finished up some things which, of course, took more time than I thought it would. Also, Emy came by train from NY to help babysit on Monday and I picked her up from Union Station which I consider a great accomplishment on my part because I dislike intensly driving into downtown where one way streets abound, the traffic lights are on the corners and not hanging overhead, and I don't know my way around and I haven't yet splurged on a GPS system which I think is so fabulous, but I only need once every 3 months.

Also, last night when I was going to bed, Jeremy mentioned to me that whenever I post about housework, I always post in the first person implying that I am the only one who ever vacuums, launders or cleans the bathroom. For the record, Jeremy does more than his fair share of the housework.

We usually split the housework into our own preferences:

I like to: take out the trash, declutter magazines & papers (which I have learned over the years, is best done without asking too many questions), loading the dishwasher, loading the washing machine and cleaning the bathrooms.

Jeremy likes to: wipe horizonal surfaces, fold and iron (although lately he's been doing all the loading too), cooking and grocery shopping

In terms of paperwork: I tend to do all the medical insurance and reimbursing paperwork for child care/medical expenses. Jeremy does the bills and the taxes.

We are a rockin' TEAM!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A little weepy.

I am lucky that my job is flexible enough to allow me to basically determine my own hours and it's coming in awfully handy right now. I know that lots of people work different shifts so that they don't have to pay for childcare - but I have to say, after 2 weeks of this and looking at 2 more weeks, I'm running on fumes.

This no childcare thing, plus the fact that I moved offices and switched computers which has led to one software nightmare after another (hours and hours of walking back and forth between two computers - outside in the snow, uphill both ways, calling the help desk and waiting and waiting and losing hours of work into the ether of cyberspace), plus the fact that I had my first attorney interview this week to discuss the "merits of my arguments", plus the fact that I'm getting up at 4 am, plus various other crazy things in the background behind the blog, has led to some emotional moments where I just want to sit in my chair and cry.

Nothing terrible has happened, it's just that everything just seems little overwhelming to me (including the huge pile of laundry that needs to be done).

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Looking for something.

I think I'm about to join a church. Do I believe in an all powerful being (a.k.a. God)? Not really - but I believe in community, hard work and the miracle of human interaction. I'm looking for a group of people who get together, have potlucks and help each other through good times and bad times. I figured out that that is pretty much what church is, so I went off looking for one that I would like.

I started looking for a church about 6 years ago, right after Vince was born. I went to the Unitarian Universalist church and the Quaker church, both in Austin, TX for a few weekends - it kind of wasn't the right fit or the right time.

The UU Austin church talked too much, the Quaker church didn't talk enough. So I stopped going. I didn't do any more searching for 5 years.

Now that we are back in the States, I found the local Unitarians. I went to a a month of Sundays by myself; they were a fun mix of family, singing, meeting and greeting - lots of kids, lots of families, lots of older folks.

Last week I brought Vince to Sunday School (!) and sat in on his class, where they talked about ecology, recycling paper, saving the Earth and did a Maypole dance.

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He wants to go back.

I have to say, the other reason I'm looking for a church is so I can find some folks who will be part of Edda's community of friends which is separate from her school friends.

Everyone has been enthusiastic about Edda joining Sunday School, I just have to work on my own nervousness.

Monday, May 5, 2008

At least the kids are having fun.

With our new work schedule (otherwise known as, trying to keep it together with no childcare), we are not getting much sleep or work done, but at least the kids are enjoying more time with us (the swing is finally up, thank you kiki and kappa and gong gong and pua pua for your support in this endeavor.)

Duck Crossing

Friday, May 2, 2008

Unbelievable!


MOV00491, originally uploaded by I am Doris.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two jobs, two kids, no babysitter.

I called our babysitter on Tuesday night, hopeful that her two day orientation was done and that she had determined her night shift schedule. I hung on to a little bit of hope that maybe she could still help us out 2 or 3 afternoons a week, but alas, she needed another full day of orientation and instead of doing night shift work (11pm - 7am), they needed her on swing shift (3pm - 11pm), so basically any hope of afternoon help during the month of May has evaporated. I'm happy for our babysitter, nothing like getting a good job that pays a bunch more, but we are in the lurch for childcare during May.

Jeremy's going to go into work after the kids are off on the bus and I'm going to catch the 5am train and be at work at 6. Then at noon, I'm headed home for the afternoon dropoffs from school. Then I have to work a full day on Saturday to make up my hours.

I'm crossing my fingers that no one gets really sick and that the Metro remains my trustworthy mode of transportation!

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Mysterious Reality

This year, Mom is confronting a present mysterious reality. Her allergy is gone almost completely. I am sure that her immune system is working fine because she has mild arthritis.

Mom thinks it is because:

1) staying in China for six months which was equivalent of having allergy shot everyday
2) or, eating a lot of different kinds of mushrooms recently
3) or, having a lot of sour creams.
4) or, any combination of the above three.

I think, however, there is one more - an old but new-and-improved partner :)