Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine flu.

Yvonne, our beloved au pair, is ending her year with us in mid-May and going back home to Germany. I preparation for her departure, about 2 months ago, we decided to match for a 2nd au pair who would take over after Yvonne left. We decided on a very sweet person from Mexico who was scheduled to arrive in about a week and a half. I bet you can see where this is going. Now that Mexico has pretty much shut down to try and staunch the spread of swine flu, our au pair will not be allowed to leave Mexico and enter the US until August! I spoke with the coordinator on the phone today and she asked if we had a backup child care plan and the answer is no we don't! Anyways we are scrambling. We have a few leads which look promising which I hope won't put us in the lurch for too long. Life is never dull.

And the Capitals won! One of my best friends at work has season tickets and so she fills me in on hockey details. I try and amuse her by reading the first 2 paragraphs of the news reports of the game and then I can say, "oh how about the goalie, wasn't he amazing?!" or "look out for so-and-so, he's off his game". And then I can sit back while she talks for 20 minutes in response to my Cliff Notes version of the game. The Metro was filled with fans last night, all happy on the way to the game while I was heading home from work. The lady reading the book is making some funny face, maybe she doesn't like hockey.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On the cusp of genetic drugs.

There is an article in this week's New Yorker talking about new cystic fibrosis drug therapies which enable broken proteins to restore normal function. I hope this is just the beginning of a long a fruitful path which will show that all types of broken proteins can be fixed. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common rare genetic diseases. Their national organization is well funded and is spearheading a lot of great drug trials and research.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Check ups and physical activity.

Setting: Dr's Office.

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Time: This morning.

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Event: Vince's 7 year old check up.

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Question: Is he getting enough physical activity, maybe through some sort of organized sports?

Answer: We don't do any organized sports, but I'm not worried about him becoming a couch potato.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer is here.

Less than a few weeks after I declared spring officially here, I'm now going to declare that summer is here. I've aired out the heavy down comforters and put them away. I washed my parka and put it away. I've switched to wearing flip-flops during the weekends. Jeremy's tender skin burns within 10 minutes of being outdoors. Vincent is finding every excuse to be outside playing in a sprinkler. I'm dressing Edda in cute, cute summer clothes.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Edda's ballet demonstration.

Today was Edda's last ballet class for the year. All the parents gathered to watch the final demonstration of the year. When we started the year, I did not know if we would make it to today, I'm happy to say that Edda's performance today was no less than BRILLIANT.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

We won! Woo hoo!

I find it very amusing that my parents and my husband both work in the energy field. My parents work in the nuclear industry, my husband works for an organization first founded in opposition to nuclear weapons. Anyways, they both work in low carbon fuels. Hiss and boo to coal and fossil fuel! (However, we are still getting the minivan.)

Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board approved the new super duper low carbon fuel standard. Jeremy's been working and talking about this for months now and I still had to ask him to clarify the main point at dinner tonight. Boo and hiss for me being a super duper attentive wife. Could have been paying more attention for months now, but I love asking Jeremy to talk about low carbon fuels standards so I can fall asleep to the sound of his earnest voice.

On the opposite coast here in DC, Jeremy's boss was talking to Congress about the comprehensive climate bill.

If anyone is interested, here's a link to hearing, go to time stamp 27:00 or so to see Jeremy's boss in action (feel free to watch the whole 3 hours, riveting, I'm sure.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant & The Place We Work














This is the Diablo Canyon Power Station. Rena and I come to work everyday by the winding road in the right upper hand corner. The plant is 7 miles away from its gate. Those two round structures house two nuclear reactors and its steam generators. The square brown building in front is the turbine building in which the turbines are turning by steam to generate electricity. The water discharge in front of the building is the discharge water to cool the exhaust steam from the turbines and re-use it as the feedwater to steam generators. The intake water structures are at its right beyond the intruded small hill peninsula.

Our office is in a temporary one-level structure which is to the right on the straight line of those two domes. The large white building in the back close the road is the warehouse. The white building adjacent to the turbine building is PG&E office, its simulator, etc.

Our parking lot is to the right of the warehouse. Therefore, we have 80 stairs to descend or climb every day to get off and on our car. Good exercise indeed!

Boy, it is pretty safe to work just right next to a nuclear station. I would rather in or around a nuclear plant than any fossil plant. In a nuclear plant, one knows exactly what are in there. No exception at all :)

We would like to work on a normal 10-4 schedule. But, they would like us to work on a 10-5 schedule instead. We agree because the plant is schedule-driven. But, it looks like a 10-6 week is looming this week.

Happy Earth Day!

Vincent came home today and told us that in order to properly celebrate Earth Day, we needed to turn off the lights for 10 minutes and use candles for light to "save energy". I told him that we celebrate Earth day everyday by biking to work and school (Edda is the only one of us that commutes via gasoline). He got a pine tree at school in honor of the occasion and before I got home, he had already planted it. He planted it right in the corner of the lawn that we run over every day when we back out of the driveway (oh, I forgot, I just said that we don't drive which is true, so how can we be backing out over the lawn every day? Hmmm... a conundrum). I might have to go and save the poor tree tomorrow somehow.

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Edda's front tooth is coming in nicely. I forget how goofy an adult tooth looks in a little kid-sized mouth. We had a really nice evening tonight, the bath was fun, the brushing the teeth was a delightful experience, and then suddenly during storytime, out of nowhere comes a tsunami of fury and crying. We held her and rocked her and sang her favorite songs to no avail. Jeremy said she must be in pain somehow she was so upset, Edda often melts down when we go out, but it's quite rare now (especially at bedtime) when we are at home (thank goodness). But then we pulled out the DVD player and watched Bob the Builder and all was right with the world. It's a little trying that parental tenderness is trumped by a 2-dimension guy wearing overalls when it comes to feeling safe and comfortable.

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On a third, completely unrelated topic - since Jeremy and I are the only people among our siblings who own a house with extra space, we are starting to get various family possessions that need a little bit of space to store them. Today, finally, after a bit of wrangling, we got a Gould family heirloom, an old German bureau? sideboard? delivered. It takes up one car's worth of space in the garage. It weighs 700 pounds and we need to figure out where to put it and we'll need to hire 4 strong guys to move it somewhere. I have often told Jeremy that I prided myself on only owning enough stuff so that I could put it all in my Volvo and move in one day, but apparently, I have entered a stage in my life where this is no longer possible. I'm so curious what this looks like...

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Big week for Jeremy.

It's a big week in Jeremy's world. Congress is looking at new climate change legislation - a few of his coworkers are going to stand up and testify in front of Congress and do their thing. The California Air Resources Board is figuring out the low carbon fuel standard out in Sacramento.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Irish dancing.

I went to a bar in DC today.

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One of Jeremy's former coworkers is a flutist in an Irish band and they were performing as a fundraiser for their upcoming trip to Ireland for a competition.

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Vince came with us and we bought him a beer. (OK, it's really milk in a Miller light cup.)

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We did some Irish dancing, which is a lot like square dancing with different music.

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We don't often leave Edda behind when we go adventuring, but this time we left her at home with Yvonne. Of course I felt guilty, I have always had this image in my head that we'd do everything together all the time. But it was clear that Edda wouldn't have liked to have been there and actually Vince spent most of the time like:

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and in retrospect, we should have left him at home too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

San Luis Obispo, CA

Finally, Rena and I are at Qualify Inn Suites of San Luis Obispo, CA. It is about 3 hours drive from San Jose.

Yesterday, we had dinner with Donald as well as his friends (8 of them). We dined at Maggiano's. It was fun and we enjoyed it very much. Donald's friends all said he looks like Mom.

Tomorrow, with help of an old colleague working at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Station here, we are going to look for a more permanent place to stay. For our monthly trip home, we probably will either fly out from here or San Jose International to Portland, OR.

From the back porch!

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What a perfectly beautiful Saturday! All the windows in the house are open and everyone is enjoying being inside and outside at the same time. We've met neighbors who we haven't seen in months - all outside enjoying the weather.

Vince set up the water games. It's still a little cold for this, but 3 other sets of kids joined in when they saw the plume of water in our front yard.

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I spent a lot of the day inside tackling Mount Paperwork (mainly filing medical insurance claims), but a lot of it is done now and I'm enjoying the last bit of the day!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Heading for San Luis Obispo, California

Yesterday, we picked a twin size mattress to fit our bunk bed from Fred Myer (a local chain story). It was the last major piece of furniture in the house besides a digital TV set. I also cut out a hole for an extra bedroom sink to be installed later in the hall way bath room. Mom was the design engineer who also marked the hole to be cut. I did the cutting with a drill and jack saw.

Also, Mom would like to reel in her garden hose in the backyard in a home-designed-&-made reel in stead of ready-designed-&-made one. She said a ready-made one in the hardware store is too expensive for her purpose. I see what I can do today.

Every major thing in our three bedrooms, loft, study, living room, family room, dining room, kitchen, laundry room and garage was put in place after three weeks of continuously shopping, installing and decorating. For that, I have put so many screws on. My hands and shoulders are aching a lot. Glad there is no more of that. And we did almost all the shopping across the river with smiles on Mom's face because there was no sales tax there. Of course, I bought tools too!

In addition, there were a lot dinners with friends here together. Tomorrow noon time, it is our turn. We will take our friends to a Japanese style seafood buffet restaurant before leaving for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Station around San Luis Obispo. It should be fun!

On our way, we will stop over in San Francisco to see Donald. It should be fun too! We will start working there next Monday. We have already had so many forms to fill out to get our access to the Station :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back to regular programming.

I went back to work today! Something about being on the regular schedule just makes me feel good. My co-worker kicked me in the rear end and got me to go to a noontime yoga class where I managed to do a lot of downward dog poses.

Jeremy's a little sick (sore throat - but not strep (remember when we were kids and they swabbed your throat and then put it on a plate of agar and you had to wait overnight for the buggers to grow? - I was so surprised to learn of the rapid strep test last year)), it's been a sickly winter - no one got incredibly ill (no emergency trips anywhere) but it seemed like one of us was always a little snotty or achy or grumpy or just no fun to be with.

Edda and Vince had their last day of spring break today - they were both a little grumpy and off today. Jeremy saw on the way home today a gaggle of kids who had gone to the White House Easter Egg Roll. What fun!

We found the golden egg today!

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy easter.

There was a lot of candy. Maybe too much candy. Apparently there was one golden egg. It was not found. It's still in the backyard, probably the raccoons are having it as an Easter snack right now...

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Vince was the last one out looking for the famous golden egg.

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Did Edda like going Easter egg hunting? Not so much. Maybe next year (but, shhh... next year we are doing a seder instead of Easter)..

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter dinner.

We are hosting Easter dinner tomorrow. The first food item we bought for Easter dinner was 17 different kinds of chocolate.

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The 2nd food item that we made was a bunny cake, inspired by one we had six years ago.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Good friday.

Edda is now happy watching Madagascar - one of her favorite videos. She seems back to her old self and we are under orders not to let her drink anything through a straw. I asked Jeremy what that was all about and he said that maybe the suction or the poking would dislodge something or other and then I asked well about the fact that she shoves her whole hand in her mouth all the time?!? He looked at me and shrugged.

OK, while Edda and Jeremy were at the hospital having dental surgery, Vince and I were suppose to do something fun and exciting. I thought maybe going to see Monsters vs Aliens in 3D would be something fun and exciting, or going swimming or going to the library or going on a bike ride. We did nothing of the sort - we basically stayed inside. Well we did make it out for 15 minutes on our neighbor's swing.

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Edda's home.

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Awake.

She's awake and headed home.

Dental surgery done -

The actual cavity filling is done now. She's still sleeping from the anesthesia everything is fine, she squirms when you touch her nose.

Edda's having dental surgery now.

Hi folks - Edda's under at Children's right now having her cavities filled. They left at 5:30 this morning, hopefully they will be back by 2 pm.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Errand day.

Snow tires off.

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Ice cream:

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Stay-cation (day 3).

Went to the National Zoo today. I'm enjoying this stay-cation. Usually the weekends are too packed with errands and various scheduled kid activities, I often feel that we don't have much time to just hang and be a family. It's been nice these past few days to see the local attractions with no huge rush to go anywhere. Edda was doing a low moaning and whining lot during a good deal of the trip, not entirely thrilled at looking at the animals. After a little while of this moaning, we usually pull out the DVD player and let her watch a little Dora or Blue's Clues to kind of center her and calm her down.

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But the past few days during our outings, Vince has discovered that if he sits on Edda's wheelchair and plays peek-a-boo or pretends to be a chicken, not only does he get a free ride to where ever we are going, he also gets Edda out of her funk and gets her to laugh her head off. Of course, it's intensely loud and obnoxious (especially the chicken noises) but what can I say? It's better than the low moan from Edda telling me that I'm torturing her by taking her to see the elephants...

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After the chicken routine, Edda was in a great mood.

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And so was Vincent:

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And here's an animal picture - cheetah eating frozen rabbit:

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jeremy's paper.

Jeremy just got his first paper published in global warming and transportation stuff. He is especially proud of the equations (what a geek). He is now officially a concerned scientist who is now concerned about global warming instead of low-k dielectrics or polymer physics.

Spring break (day 2).

Originally we had this idea that we would go to the Shenendoah National Park and stay at the Skyline Lodge which is the only place that you can stay at an still actually be in the park. We figured that we could make reservations on Monday (yesterday) - because we thought all hotels were being underbooked this year and we didn't have to make plans so early, but perhaps we should have make plans a little earlier than 24 hours because they were completely booked. So this stay-cation is a real actual stay-cation, because we are not spending the night anywhere but in our house.

Today we went to the newly renovated American History Museum.

Metro ride:

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At the mall:

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The first Honda Civic:

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Barbie.

I bought Edda a Barbie today. Barbie's hair is amazing.

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Spring break (day 1).

Jeremy is actually at work today - something about an all-day meeting and a road map thing-y, I'm at home with the kids. I'm a little bit rusty at the stay-at-home mom thing, I don't often have to do it for longer than 4 hours at a stretch now that both the kids are in school.

This morning, I got up and thought I'd take the kids to the pool and then to some sort of museum type-thing, but then I realized that I'm a little lazy today - the rainy weather not helping my laziness. Also, Edda has not gone #2 in 2 days and I am a little hesitant to do the whole change into the swim diaper thing because, well, because I'm a little worried about pooping in the pool.

So, I convinced the kids that a mid-morning bath was just as good as the pool and we did have a fun hour or so in and out of the tub. (Yes, I almost always still get into the bath with the kids).

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Two wheelin'

On Saturday, Vince learned to ride a bike. Note rain boots.

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