Monday, August 31, 2009

The school year has started!


The school year started today and I have no photos because I was already at work in Virginia with my camera, so instead of children heading off towards higher education making themselves into model citizens, I'm giving you a photo of Ruby eating a raw lamb bone. It's not a fantastic photo, but I do like that the raw meat is completely in focus - glistening. We really need to get a 2nd camera so Jeremy can document every single second of everyday when I'm not around.

All weekend, we prepped Edda, told her she was going to kindergarten with a new fabulous teacher and new fabulous school. This morning, she wandered over to the front foyer many times to wait for the bus. This transition was completely traumatic for me and not at all for Edda. Apparently it was so not traumatic that she spent a lot of the school day napping - or maybe it was traumatic and she was napping to avoid it all. She has been in a great mood for the past few weeks and it was no different today.

Vincent headed off to 2nd grade. Apparently he doesn't yet feel like a 2nd grader, he still feels like a first grader. No homework tonight, so he still got to play outdoors until dusk with his friends. One last taste of summer.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tone deaf.

I am not a huge music fan. I have owned at least 2 new and 2 pre-owned MP3 players and I have not been able to remind myself that I actually own them. I have a friend at work who is a huge music fan and she asked me if I knew Oasis and I had to make her hum the tune to Wonderwall to make sure I didn't totally miss the biggest band of the 90s (she claims, I have no idea who the biggest band of the 90s was).

Anyways, having kids is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of music. For example, I learned about Lady Gaga's Poker Face at a kindergarten - 2nd grade talent show. It was a little shocking because well, because it is a little, ahem, risque, but then I learned that Lady Gaga was admitted to Julliard at the age of 11, so then I got over how shocking it was to hear Poker Face in an elementary school (kind of).

Anyhoo, we have a new favorite song in the Lee- Martin household introduced to us because Vince has recently requested us to listen to Hot 99.5. With the popularity of Britney Spears, the boy bands, and American Idol, I thought that no one wrote their songs anymore (at least the young, beautiful performers) - that everyone had their own professional songwriters - but I was happy to learn that Ms. Swift writes her own material (and she is both the nerdy girl and the cheerleader in the video)!

We got our groove on today! Tomorrow school starts and I just found out 5 minutes ago that the battery has died in one of the cars. Probably needs replacing. Bring it on, baby.


Practicing My Night Shift Work

Well, Rena & I suppose to baby-sit the Diablo Canyon Power Plant during her planned outage about 2 weeks - day and night, 6 days a week.

Mom will on the day shift and I will on the night shift. With my old bones everywhere, it must be fun. To see whether I can be measured up. I woke up at 2:30 AM and came to work around 3:00 AM today :)

Oh, we just has one car. So, a rental car will be provided to us by the Plant during that time. I asked Mom to be careful on this winding road to the Plant. I am sure she will be alright. But, I am just concerned.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Eleven years ago, I married Jeremy! Thank you for making my life full of love, adventure, surprises and kindness. I can not imagine my life any other way.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Halloween prep.

School hasn't even started and we are working on Halloween already. Vince has been asking for at least a month if he could be Pikachu for Halloween and I said, no problem! no problem! And then when I went to order the costume in late July, all the Pikachu costumes were already sold out. SOLD OUT! He was heartbroken, just heartbroken. It took a little while, but we managed a compromise. He's still going to be Pikachu, we ordered a face mask from Asia off of Ebay (which isn't here yet) and then we got some yellow clothes.

Edda and Jeremy have coordinating outfits this year. I think Edda's getting a little bit old to be Blue - according to the age-appropriate meter, Edda should be veering off into Hannah Montana-land, but since I found Jeremy his "Steve" shirt, this opportunity could not be missed.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

I hate going to the doctor.

I generally don't believe in any efficacy of prescribed medication (Jeremy thinks I am crazy). I used to do research in drug delivery systems and I didn't believe in aspirin. I still don't really believe that Tylenol works, I mean it does say fever reducer on the side of the bottle, but when I give it to the kids with their 103 degree fevers, nothing happens. It's weird, is it all a hoax? I am just a terrible, terrible patient. I diagnose everything via Dr. Google and then I tell my office mates that I have black lung.

I stayed home from work today, I went to my doctor - sat in the waiting room for 30 minutes while patients who came in after me got called into the examination area while I sat in my chair wheezing and coughing. Then I got prescribed an antibiotic and an inhaler - the antibiotic itself was $46 for 7 pills. Then I looked up the antibiotic on wikipedia, apparently it's presribed for severe or life threatening bacterial infections. I felt pretty crappy today, but I did not think I was on the verge of death when I walked into the doctors office. I crossed my mind to not take the antibiotic as a protest to how expensive it was and how I didn't think I had a "severe or life threatening bacterial infection". I'm such a terrible patient.

Jeremy made me some chicken soup.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I don't have the swine flu.

I'm pretty sick, but don't worry, I've been to the doctor who assures me that I do not have the swine flu. But still, I feel pretty bad. So I have nothing to say except that I wish I felt better. I ran through a course of antibiotics and I feel worse than when I started (ahh, modern medicine, how the hell are they going to find a cure for Rett Syndrome when they can't even figure out my weird congestion? Sigh.)

Anyways, I spent a few minutes between coughing spells writing to Oprah:


Monday, August 24, 2009

John Adams.

I corralled Jeremy into teaching a Sunday School class about John Adams. He's been reading Adams's biography as well as the history of Unitarianism, so I figured he'd like to teach a class to the 2nd - junior high kids.

I didn't realize that I had also signed up to volunteer in the nursery at the same time - so I needed to take Edda with me to my own volunteer activity. I usually don't take Edda with me to church (or Jeremy for that matter), so this was all new to me. I was a little concerned that Edda would be fussy or unhappy and I would have to abandon my post in the nursery, leaving the other volunteer to deal with 8-10 toddlers - I don't like abandoning my assigned post.

We buckled everyone up in our own little parade:


As it turned out, Edda had a fine time for half of the service (she was a little loud, but the 2-year-olds took it all in stride). For the other half of the service, she fell asleep on the floor.


Bike Morals.

Well, I'm trying to get back into shape, as I have both let my fitness and my weigh go a bit the past couple of months. Anyways, As a measure of my fitness, the other day I went and did a well known local climb Old La Honda. I did it in my worst time in probably 6-7 years - 32"27" - meaning, I'm out of shape. This was a far cry from my personal record. I had tried to set a hard pace up but I couldn't sustain it, so I blew up about 1/3 of the way up, and struggled to find a rhythm again all the way to the top.

Anyhow, flash forward to today. I decided to go out for a ride, and what the heck, I decided to go up Old La Honda once again today. 29'27". Not bad. I didn't blow up until maybe 2/3 the way up. but managed to hold on to come in under 30'. But then on the descent, I remember Steve posting something on my facebook status, mentioning that he was climbing King's Mountain, and I just thought, why not climb it too? So yup. I went up King's Mountain as well. 47'01" which is the worst time I have every gotten on the mtn, but I wasn't trying very hard and I also probably bonked. (This also wasn't close to my PR.)

Anyways, I do have a couple of bike morals for you:

1) Eat breakfast before you ride.
2) I probably should pack more than one GU packet if I'm going to do this ride again.
3) It's fun descending 84 twice.

I liked the course. I'll do it again in the future...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


We are dog sitting for our cousins, Eric and Colleen who are spending the week at the Outer Banks. (Lucky ducks.) They adopted Joise the pug from a rescue group about 3 months ago. Josie has a gimpy leg which makes it hard for her to get up from a resting position which was not apparent 3 months ago when they brought her home. She doesn't seem to be in intense pain, but she takes a pain pill everyday wrapped in a slice of American cheese.

Everytime I see Josie, I want to call her Pugsley (and sometimes I do call her Pugsley - shhhhh, don't tell Eric or Colleen). Josie likes to sleep in a bed, so the first night, she slept in our bed. The 2nd night, she slept with Edda. Now she's just asleep on the carpet next to me.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Thank goodness it's Friday.

Last week, Vince came on a run with me. We made it about half a mile. Then we walked half a mile.


San Francisco Airport, Gigantic Squashes & Blackberries

Rena and I have paid-home-trip each month. To get to Portland, OR from San Luis Obispo, CA by air, San Francisco Airport is the natural place for us to make connecting flights. Therefore, Donald and us take full-advantage of this situation by gathering at the SF airport, and having dinner together, chatting.

Yesterday, we did just that and had a lot of fun together. This year, fortunately, we see Donald more often than any other year after his high school years.

But, I can never figure out why sometimes the long layover in the airport costs much more. And sometimes, it costs less. On the high end, it is about $150 difference per ticket between 1 hour compared with 3-4 hour layover. I kind of figure it has to do with the outbound traffic patterns from San Francisco to Portland, OR. during evening hours at summer time. What is it? Really, I just don't know.

Oh, when I was on the plane yesterday, a lady flight attendant came by and served us drinks. She asked us whether we would like to have some wine/liquid. I said "No Thanks". The guy, sat next to me with the military uniform on and, evidently, just coming back from Iraq, lamented that he won't spend $6 dollars for a drink. The flight attendant smiled at him and said "it is on us" and gave him two bottles of liquid. Several minutes later, she handed over another two. Just before landing, she gave him a gift bag. It had 10 bottles in it. He drank two right away and put all other bottles into his numerous pockets on his uniform.

I wonder how the flight attendant could expense it. She must have a way. This instance couldn't stop me thinking about everyone's bail out money out there and the proposed government sponsored public health care option. It is the Obama-nomics grinding its gears.

Another subject, when we woke up this morning, Mom went to our yard right away and found several gigantic squashes. She planted them several months ago. It grew to its gigantic sizes even without Mom around for almost two months. Has she a remote green thumbs? I think so. Too bad, I took several pictures with my phone but didn't know how to download it into my computer. I will figure it out and show you next time. They are really big.

She also picked a lot of blackberries grown in the protected public natural drainage area along our backyard. They were big and delicious.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not getting my own office..

Well remember I mentioned that I was getting my own office? Well, it looks like I'm not moving anytime soon. The fiscal year is coming up at the end of September and the PTO is trying to make their budget this year, so office moves have been temporarily suspended. I heard it costs a couple hundred dollars to move someone, mostly for the IT work that needs to be done, but also they have someone move a few boxes for you too. I had even started cleaning the "new" office, dusting the furniture and wiping down walls. Sigh.


Old Photo from the Vacation in Marin.

Just looking thru some photos of mine on my computer. I came across some funny photos of Vince playing with my Macbook's camera. This is one we took with Johanna and Felix and of course, Vince.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Power Wash Transmission Towers Using Helicopter

Today, during our noon time walk around the plant, we saw a helicopter flew over and started power washing an electric Transmission Tower close to the nuclear reactors.

I checked with one of electrical engineers here. The reason is to wash away the dirt accumulated between insulators (ie., ceramic rings) so they will not become conductors. But, he said, it is very unusual using helicopter though. He also said, his dad used to wash a lot of transmission towers in California deserts. Maybe, I just didn't notice that for the past zillion years.

Oh, the helicopter is back and Mom just went out :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wearing a helmet.

Yesterday afternoon, Edda fell a few more times than usual and bonkered her head on the floor. I'm hoping it was because she was exhausted from the trip to the Mall and not anything more serious. Edda falls sometimes, but most of the time she can avoid hitting her head and so the helmet is not part of her normal everyday attire. When she fell 2-3 times within an hour yesterday and seemed at bit dazed, Jeremy went ahead and slapped on the bike helmet. Wearing a helmet inside does nothing for Edda's cute factor, even when it's orange and covered in Dora pictures. (Also, perhaps we could remember to take it off while eating at the table. I think the chance of a head injury while strapped in a chair and eating a banana is quite low.)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fully loaded weekend.

Last night, Jeremy's college roommate, Alan and his family arrived. So today, we went back to the National Mall for Tourism - part deux.

Here we are at the Metro - somehow I liked these photos the best from the day. At the Metro, we are not yet hot, not yet exhausted from walking for miles in the 90 degree heat.



We went to the Natural History Museum and the kids had a nice time.


After the Natural History Museum, the kids headed home with Jeremy (all three. I know, I can't really believe it either.) The rest of us, we went to an art museum and then we trudged to the Capitol and then to the American Indian Museum. Then we headed home. I am so tired, I'm looking forward to going to work tomorrow, so I can recuperate from the weekend.. Ha!

New Pictures to Share

What Mom was doing? She was picking wild apricots along a county road which was 35 miles away from our place. We made a special trip for that on a Sunday morning. And see she had a full bag.
Avocado on our neighbor's trees. Probably it will take too long for us to have that. We probably will move away before it is ripe.
Two pictures of Sequoia National Park and the scenery on Route 41 toward Sequoia National Park.
Mom with three wild deer on Route 41.

Honor System, One Bag for A Dollar

Yesterday, we went to Sequoia National Park. One the way back at Orange Cove, CA., we stopped by a fruit stand with no one tending. It was a honor system with one bag of different kinds of fruits for a dollar.
Look, Mom was pretty good at that. A bag full :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

National mall.

Edda went to the NJ Rett Clinic today with Jeremy. Her appointment was in the late afternoon - so they just got home 45 minutes ago. Her appointment went fine, she's doing well, we are all happy.

Nicholai, Vince and I headed down to DC to see the museums. It was so incredibly hot - it was a wonder we all didn't melt. I decided that I need a gem like this. What would I do with it? I'm not sure, it's just so pretty!


Vince's Sponge Bob Square Pants ice cream was melting faster than he could eat it...


Friday, August 14, 2009

Visitors and plumbing saga continues.

We have a full house this weekend. Two sets of visitors who are overlapping as well as a trip to NJ to the Rett Clinic. Our first visitor is Nikolai, a visitor from Germany, who is a distant cousin of Jeremy's. He's in the US for 5 weeks, spending most of the time in upstate with Kiki and Kappa - he's swinging by DC to do some sightseeing. We went to dinner and out to ice cream.


Here's Edda doing her pirate imitation - Arrrr!


Gold's Gym was doing a class outside and Vince pretty much did 50% of the workout. Lots of lunges and pushups.


And look. We finally did it! We cut a hole in the ceiling to figure out the plumbing problem. We are such chickens, such lame DIYers. What can I say, it took us months to decide to cut a hole in the ceiling, it's a wonder I can even manage to decide what to have for lunch.


And what you all are waiting for - it's a complete mess. I don't know what that blue goop it, but there is a huge leak at the joint. We are trying to figure out the history of this, but I think we'll need to take out both more of the ceiling and get a plumber.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ethanol groups call for increase in amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline

Jeremy got featured on Nebraska public radio today.
Link: here.

The dull-drums of summer.

I have been battling seasonal allergies this month, everywhere I go, I'm a little sniffy and itchy - I've been a little off kilter either because I'm taking allergy medication or I'm not taking allergy medication.

This morning, I sat for my three-hour certification exam - a hurdle I need to get over in order to start working from home.

And, to top off this blog post of no interesting information about Doris, I got a new boss, aka the Director of the USPTO. This photo was taken at his swearing in today outside the patent office. He's the guy with the shaved head and the blue blazer. He's an old IBMer, just like me. Go Big Blue!


My life is pretty uninteresting, but everyone else is having a great time, even though I consider August to be the dullest month ever. It's hot, no one is in school or camp. Jeremy's been taking some time off and working from home some. The kids have been at the pool, library, zoo, you name it, they've done it. But since it's a pain to lug around my big camera and it's the only camera that the family owns - there are no photos of fun things. You only get the photo of the back of my new boss's head. And photos after I come home.


Waiting for the fall...

If you haven't seen 500 Days of Summer, I'd highly recommend it. It's funny, charming, if not painful at times. You're right Yi-ling, I enjoyed it. Oh, I should also mention that I'm bitter towards Ronnie. After promising to see the movie with me when it first came out, he proceed to watch not once, but twice, without me. While members of the opposite sex were involved, and could be blamed, I still put the brunt of it on Ronnie. pssshaw!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My work pal, Vickey, just got a new puppy. Charlotte is a Cavachon, half King Charles Spaniel and half Bichon Frise.


Charlotte and Vickey came by on Sunday - mainly so Vickey and I could go out to lunch, but also so we could play Charlotte. Charlotte is not yet 100% housebroken, so when we left the house, we crated Charlotte in one of Ruby's old crates. I think Ruby thought it was strange that she was on the outside and someone else was on the inside.



"On the eve of his receiving the nation's highest civilian honor, poll results released this afternoon show that a majority of Americans have a favorable view of Senator Edward M. Kennedy", Boston Globe reported.

No wonder, all these big city newspapers are all in deep trouble, financially :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our future.

We were driving down the freeway the other day and saw a glimpse of our future - a fully loaded Toyota Sienna with bikes packed on top...



Monday, August 10, 2009


While Vince was in NY and Edda and I were camping out at Johns Hopkins eating mac 'n cheese, Jeremy had a chance to be a bachelor for a few nights. He told me that it was pretty weird to be in a house which was completely silent all the time. He spent some time in the evening fixing our many bicycles which always seem to need fixing. The garage no longer houses any cars - only 6 bicycles...


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Various tests...



pH probe:


Ahhh, asleep:


My small moment of triumph, after many years of inconsistent potty training (which is still ongoing), Edda managed to pee into the collector bucket that I put in the toilet for a urine sample. Hooray for us! You have to celebrate the little things in life.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

We love McDonalds.

On Sunday (8/2), Jeremy, Edda, Ruby and I got into the car without the Vince-meister and headed to Baltimore where Jeremy dropped me and Edda off at the Ronald McDonald house.


It's a very nice place, they gave us all a tour - (including Ruby who the director of the house decided was going on the tour as a service dog so she didn't have to stay in the hot car). People stay in the house for as long as three months at a time while undergoing treatments at Johns Hopkins. Thankfully, we were only staying 1 night. There were volunteers who served us pizza and we went to bed watching Legally Blonde. Jeremy left right before the pizza to head home and get back to work the next day.

The next day, we checked into the hospital for three days to do the 2nd half (we did the first half two years ago) of a Rett study (Pathonegenisis of Rett Syndrome with Dr. Naidu). Look it's just like House - doctors all taking about Very Important Things.


Here's our bed (I slept here too. Sigh.)


Friday, August 7, 2009

Vince is home!

He made it home OK! Thank you Kiki, Kappa and Emy!

Vince is coming home!

Vince is coming home from Kiki and Kappa's today! Jeremy's on his way to the airport and Emy and Bob are just about to put Vince on a plane. Vince, the intrepid traveler, flying by himself - he's not afraid of turbulence, he's just really, really scared about the flush of the airplane toilet.

OK, to continue our vacation story - on Saturday (8/1) we celebrated Tivoli day by seeing Emy's awesome new apartment - high ceilings, hardwood floors, big windows and right in town...


Emy needs to set up a natural light photo studio in her apartment:


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Parliament of Reality.

Friday night, after we reached Bard, I wanted to see a new art installation called The Parliament of Reality. It's a little island which is surrounded by a moat. I always love art that has water.


The crazy bridge:


Resting on a rock:


Ruby decided to swim in the art (and Vince too almost):


Ruby getting busted by Gilbert - the trusty Bard security guard. Bob is making up excuses. Hee hee - we always get busted for swimming in the art.