Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving.

We are in upstate NY at Jeremy's parents' house now - waiting for Vince's best friend from kindergarten to arrive. They are coming from even further upstate (where they moved to in August) to spend the evening and night with us.

We drove from MD to NJ on Thanksgiving Day, Edda was still under the weather and spent the whole drive and most of the feast asleep. The Martin Thanksgiving is always huge, over 30 people show up each year and even though I've been going for over 10 years, it's still hard to remember how everyone is related to everyone else.

After dinner, we headed up to my in-law's house, where (while stopped in a parking lot to figure out why the GPS was telling us to go to upstate NY by going east along side streets) we got backed into by a very sweet teenage boy in a wood-paneled Chevy Caprice. The car got a bit of cosmetic damage, which is so mild that we aren't going to get it fixed - but it did add to the excitement of the evening.

I'm thankful for many things, too many to list - you all know who you are (yes, including you!). Thank you for your love and support always.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Edda's not feeling well.

She has a bit of a cold - stayed home from school today and will tomorrow as well.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

First tooth!

Finally! (you can see the grown-up tooth already peeking out)

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thank you!

We got the package! Loved the shirts - they have been worn this weekend already. The pants - well, we'll have to grow into them a little bit :P.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cha cha slide.

After the birthday bash, we (well Vince & me) went to Vince's school for a dance party. I thought we were going to stay the whole night, but Vince seemed a little worn out from the week. He also was really disappointed that he didn't win anything from the raffle and after that, he wanted to go home. We didn't even get to stay to hear YMCA.

The face painting was amazing:

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Boogie down!

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I spent the time reading. It's hard to read when the music is so loud.

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Taking Snow Leopards as Cute Kittens (II)

Sorry, I was told this was a hoax too.

Chinese food celebration!

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. We went to Bob's Noodle 66 (best Chinese food in the DC area) to celebrate!

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Edda fell asleep during dinner. She usually loves eating chinese food, but not last night.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hunkering down.

Sorry folks, on the relative silence. I'm overwhelmed at work. I have been warning Jeremy for a year now, that there would come a time when I would encounter a really difficult period and now I'm in the midst of it. The past 2 nights, I've gotten home well after dinner and just in time to put the kids to bed. I'm estimating about 2-3 months of this hectic work schedule. Can I tell you? By tomorrow I will have worked on 24 patents (7 first actions, 8 amendments, 5 restrictions, 2 attorney interviews, 1 advisory action). Of course, this had to happen over Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations.

A few updates:

Jeremy's having a ball at work. Here's a NYTimes editorial about stuff he's working on. His colleagues are trying to work on the bailout of the automakers. What else? I dunno, but he's really excited and has a lot to do, but thankfully he doesn't have so much to do that he can't be home by 6:15 to meet the kids.

Edda:

We had her IEP meeting, which was both fine and emotional. More on this later.

Vince:

He has a project due tomorrow. He had to make a building. This is how it was last night:

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Tonight he put a solar panel on the roof.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our fair city.

Jeremy and I spent the evening at our city council meeting. Jeremy has taken a few moments in the past few months applying and interviewing for a position on the local transportation commission. Tonight he was sworn in to a two year term.

Waiting for his big moment:

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Here's his unanimous 5 votes in favor of his appointment (Jeremy's sitting in the first row behind everyone, the lady with the red shirt is the mayor)!

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Now we are just counting down to the US VP nomination in 8 years!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Story time.

Jeremy hasn't shaved all weekend - during story time right before bed, Vince spent a lot of time fondling Jeremy's cheek, driving him INSANE! Edda chose the story, John Muir and the Squirrel. It was a little long, Edda got pretty tired of it by the end, hopefully tomorrow she will pick something else.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Taking Snow Leopards as Cute kittens




In western China, sometime ago, this man and his brother found two cute small kittens (see picture, one male and one female) in a very remote roughed mountainous area. After raising them for a while and one morning, he found one of his small bucks (or does) was gone and, apparently, was eaten and devoured in their common pen. First, he thought some wild carnivals did it. Then these two kittens keep growing and growing. Now, they weight about 30 lbs each. Not only that, every day they can consume 8 to 11 lbs of meat. He started to wonder that they were not really cats after all.

But what are they? There are snow leopard, the number one or two protected endangered species in China, even rarer than Panda. With this news, instantly, they became celebrities with whom everyone would like to associate. They are having visitors with cameras all the time. They are posted on numerous websites. I am sure they are having more headache than before.

Stay tune ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Parent teacher conference.

We had Vince's parent teacher conference today. He's doing well in the 4 areas - reading, writing, math, social studies (where's science?). Hold on, I have to find the report card and see if they are teaching our children science in school anymore. Oh yes, it's 5 areas, it includes science. Whew.

He's struggling a little with writing - the goal is that by the end of 1st grade, the kids should be able to write an 8 sentence story. Can you believe it? I don't know how they are going to squeeze 8 sentences out of him.

Are my blog posts even 8 sentences long? I think not (OK. this one might be a little longer, but my grammar is not very good.)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Jeremy spent the day at IKEA trying to buy a kitchen. We are trying to convert our basement into an apartment to rent out. After getting a bunch of quotes from various contractors for sums of money which would take us 5 years of rent to recoup, we figured we would try and do a lot of it ourselves (famous last words, I'm sure).

Jeremy is designer extraordinaire, he has spent many hours drawing, measuring, redrawing, looking at IKEA catalogs, looking at higher end catalogs and then returning to the IKEA catalog. His actual hands-on experience is a little bit lacking. (Jeremy's a theorist.)

My background in building stems from watching my parents put in basements in our various childhood homes. I also spent a summer working for Habitat for Humanity in Austin where I apprenticed for a plumber who helped me learn all about indoor plumbing (PVC pipes and vents and soldering and sewer lines and city inspections and gas lines). I would like the kitchen to look nice, but I'm not going to spend any a lot of extra time thinking about colors and/or design. (I'm decidedly not a theorist.)

So armed with nothing more than youtube videos, my dad's expertise and suggestings and a jigsaw, hopefully, the kitchen will be put in sometime soon. We had an original deadline of Dec 31, 2008. Well I'm pretty sure we are not going to make this deadline as the trip to IKEA revealed that they did not have what we needed in stock, so we are waiting another 2-3 weeks until they have it delivered.

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Man of the Day




A Nice Picture


Monday, November 10, 2008

Flare!

The hip thing in professional photography these days is flare! I do troll wedding photographers' blogs and everyone loves the flare. (Vince is a little grumpy and underexposed.)

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We are trying out a new routine in the house. Usually Jeremy and I both put the kids to bed together, which usually means that all 4 of us are in the family bed - which is fine, it's actually great, but it also means that both Jeremy and I secretly hope the other adult person will get the sippy cup of water for Edda or get Vince to floss his teeth while we both try and surf the web for: political analysis, industrial tricycles, or kid's pants on ebay. So this meant that bedtime often crept from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. We were not being efficient.

So now we are trying it a different way. Since Jeremy gets the kids up and dressed in the morning, I'm going to be in charge of the night time routine. So tonight, the whole thing from putting Edda in the bath to tucking Vincent in was 45 very short and efficient minutes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Edda's party.

Last night, we headed off to Southern MD for an informal gathering of local girls afflicted with Rett Syndrome and their families. There was a pizza and conversation and also a lot of snuggling.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fridays are my favorite days.

Fridays are my favorite days! I love the idea that the weekend is coming more than I actually like the weekends - mainly because I still like the routine of the weekdays plus the added anticipation of not going to work the next day.

Somehow this Friday evening is off to a rocky start. Jeremy and I got into an argument as soon as we met to bike home together after the subway ride home, which is the main reason that this Friday is off to a rocky start, but I've just discovered that many of Vince's new winter pants are totally worn through the butt and the knees and it's only November and also that his first adult tooth is coming in behind a baby tooth that is refusing to fall out and pointing kind of backwards toward the base of his brain.

All I can think about is the cost of new pants and also the cost of straightening out that first insanely crooked tooth! Oh, of course, the house is also a mess - as usual.

I don't know why I'm in a funk, this is actually a great, great week!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wike!

While I was at the ballet gala, Jeremy and the kids went for a bike ride to the town center for some hamburgers.

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I wanted to highlight the transformation of Donald's high school bike. Note the yellow milk crate attached to the back of the bike with flashing lights bungee corded to the outside of the milk crate. He is saving his pennies to buy fenders for his beloved commuting bicycle. Jeremy has actually gone grocery shopping with his crazy bicycle. We are still commuting back and forth to the Metro on our bikes, it's my one source of exercise, my 10 minute bike ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night.

Well... I suppose it was quite an exhillarating night. I know all y'all are east coasties, but I thought I would share some of the going ons over here in Cali-forn-i-a. Most of you are spared from the insanity that are the California Proposistions, but somehow, somewhere, the politicians decided it would be wise to let the public vote directly on laws. Of course, it's not like californians really understand the impact of the laws that they are vote for/against. What's 10 billion in bond payments for a high speed rail system?

Anyhow I'll make two comments here...

1) Sadly, Prop 8 seems to have passed by a 52-47 margin. I don't know how gay marriage affects any straight person's lives... So I was surprised that it passed.

2) SF has it's own propositions too. Here's a funny one. Complete with arguments/rebuttals. Ha. It was defeated 70-30. :)

Well!

Last Saturday night, I went to the ballet school gala (I did wear the burgundy dress). I had a nice time - I wanted to showcase Christine's centerpieces:

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As I said before, I had never gone to a gala before. I went mainly because I wanted to support the effort that went into making the centerpieces, but also I wanted to spy on a gala and see what it was all about. I learned that cool lighting can really change a room - that a live auction is pretty fun if you have a couple hundred or maybe a thousand dollars to spend on stuff. (I did win a bud vase at the silent auction, which was much, much less than a thousand dollars. Woo hoo for me!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election night!

We are staying up on election night - all watching the returns (well, all of us except for Edda). Jeremy took the day off and spent the day canvassing and manning phone banks in Northern VA. We just heard that PA is called for Obama, which I'm sure was due to Jeremy's diligent 4-hour volunteer effort there ;).

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Here's what it looks like at our election tracking headquarters, Vincent is the most manic of us all.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Backing off from a busy schedule.

As one of our last big road trips before turkey day (only 3 weeks away!), the four of us ventured to New Jersey to visit my friend Ingrid (who works so hard fundraising to find a cure for Rett Syndrome and runs Girl Power 2 Cure and helps to run RSRT) and to meet her family, in particular, her daughter Sarah who also has Rett Syndrome.

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Edda got to go to Sarah's school and was her "share" at show-and-tell. It was really sweet and touching.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's a lipoma!

About 5 weeks ago, when I was in the midst of a cloud of grumpiness, I discovered a small lump on the side of my neck. Do you know when you google, "lump on neck", it pretty much means that you have lymphoma. So my heart sank, not only was I dealing with fundraising, my job, the kids, the house, I was going to have to find out that I had lymphoma and that it was going to be bad.

So I trundled off to my family physician who said that it's one of three things: 1. a benign growth, 2. a response to an infection or 3. cancer - and he said all three with equal weight in his tone of voice. So he said that we could do three things - wait to see if it got bigger, take a course of antibiotics or see an ear, nose, throat guy. I asked if I could do all three. So the antibiotics did nothing, it took me 5 weeks to schedule the ENT guy, so in essence I was waiting to see if it got bigger and on Halloween, I finally got to see the specialist - who assured me that after feeling lumps on necks for 35 years and my particular lump for a few minutes, this was a lipoma - a benign cluster of fat which has probably been there for a million years. And he said if it was cancer, it would have gotten bigger over the course of the 5 weeks I've been poking at it. (It has gotten some intense poking over the course of 5 weeks.)

I'm quite relieved and happy, of course. Sometimes I think life is like dodge ball, you see all those balls coming at you, ready to knock you over, some of them miss you and some of them hit you full force on the noggin (or lymph node).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Miscellaneous

  • We, without consulting each other, casted our votes in Washington State already. Our votes probably don't mean that much either way since it is a blue state.
  • Rena & I are definitely not going to Denver this winter. Our project will restart pretty soon, sometimes in Nov or Dec. Hope the new guy coming in will not screw up things more than what we have had right now. For nuclear energy, the field that we have been working on, I like John better. He is for more of nuclear energy. I am not sure about the other guy on this.
  • I just kind of wonder why our government, under the requests of so many governers + legislatures, refuses to loan GM, Ford & Chrysler 10 billions. Those workers, I am sure, are not going to a scenic CA beach for a $440,000.00 spa trip.
  • I may have three deer tick bites on my legs. Will check out with doctor to make sure. But, for the time being and taking no chances, I am on anti-biotics medicine.
  • I have a lot of skin rash plus those skin tags that I have had for some time. Just don't know the cause.
  • We don't have the internet at our apartment. So you visit our office everyday, including weekends.
  • Last night, we went to One53, the food is okay but the service was quite horrible. Probably this was the last time for us.
  • No kids showed up at our apartment for Halloween. It was kind of lost, or relief? Mix feeling!
  • Rena & I are planning to have a tour trip overseas soon. Hope Doris (with plural sss) and Donald can come along, but kind of doubt due to their schedules. Not like us, they are quite busy and we are quite free now.
  • We are very happy that Mom's blood pressure has been pretty normal for a while. No need for medicine and that is good.
  • Well, this Saturday, Mom decides to go to Princeton University's meseum this morning, and public Lawrenceville Library for free movie. So, we go!