Saturday, February 28, 2009

Quiet weekend.

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After two weekends of being gone from the house, we finally have a relatively quiet weekend at home. Today was filled with laundry and ironing, straightening and decluttering - it is amazing how fast the house can get to be unruly and a little out of control.

We've all been a little under the weather this week with Edda and me the worst of the bunch. It was one of those lingering winter colds where you feel kind of lousy for a long time, much longer than you think you should feel bad, but then it's also too mild to stay home from school or work. I felt pretty terrible coming home on Friday night on the Metro and thought the weekend was shot, but it turns out, I feel pretty good today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obsessed.

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My husband is obsessed (really obsessed) with reducing our carbon footprint. Our conversations may start in many places (what's for dinner? how was your day?) and will end up at - "You know, there are now fluorescent light bulbs that look just like a regular light bulb - they squeezed the whole coil into the bulb!" One night this week, he could not sleep because he wanted to be awake at the time the furnace turned on to see if the auxiliary heater would turn on. (Apparently this auxiliary heater is EVIL).

He spent serious time this week talking to heating contractors about our heating system, which they all agree is brand new and totally the most efficient on the market - everything is well insulated and well installed. He wanted to take the next step and install a geothermal heating system meaning that they rip out your backyard and put in 1000 feet of pipes filled with some sort of fluid that makes the whole system more efficient. Right now, we could get back $20,000 in tax rebates for this "green" installation. So Jeremy really, really wanted it to be close to $20,000. I said no way was it going to be even close - I said it was going to be at least $40,000.

Get this, the quote was $55,000. Crazy. We are totally NOT going to get the geothermal system installed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lists

Things I should be doing:
Going to bed early.
Watching the Obama address.
Filing medical bills.


Things that I am doing:

Watching the movie Penelope.
Staying up late to wait for Jeremy.
Eating banana bread.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Route 66?


Today, it was pretty windy. After cleaning our apartment and passing the inspection to get our full deposit refund, we packed everything and drove back to Washington DC.
On the way back, our ropes snapped and everything on top of our car flew out and fell to the ground, littering the highway (interstate 295). Lucky enough, no significant amount of cars were nearby. Besides, the place was an ideal place for accident - wide open with unlimited eye sight and island along the road. We picked up the pieces, one by one, and put it back on the top. While re-roping them, several cars stopped and offered help. I guessed everyone thought we were jobless and/or even homeless. They were all very sympathetic. Indeed, we were jobless. We felt sort on route 66 with problems. It was windy and cold too. Yes, we were warmed up by all these kind gestures.
Approximately 25 minutes later, a pick-up truck stopped and handed over us two brand new packages of rope which were stronger than the one we used. We thanked him and asked him how much. He smiled at us and said "You can have it and I saw the stuff coming off your car". Then, he said "The Lord ask me to come back". I am not too religious but he, definitely, was a very nice and generous guy. He must saw things flew apart; bought some ropes; and came right back. What a nice person!
After almost an hour, we secured all our stuff on the top. Then we continued to drive back to our Maryland home without incident, only at a speed of 47 miles/hr.
Look, Mom had a big smile on her face. Me too :)

We love New Jersey.

It always seems to be New Jersey that we are traveling to. This past weekend, we went to the NJ Rett Clinic over at Rutgers University. This is the fourth time we've gone and we are pros now. I remember the first time we went, I was just so amazed at seeing so many girls with Rett Syndrome all in one place.

Here we are at a hotel the night before - relishing in hotel TV. Everyone wanted to watch HGTV. They all are fascinated by room makeovers.

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TV continues to enthrall the next morning.

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Finally at the clinic, we were in and out in less than 2 hours. They do the most complete and consistent body measurements that we have on Edda and then they ask how Edda's doing and then we ask questions.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saving the environment.

Jeremy is completely stymied by the fact that we may be buying a minivan in the near future. For 5 years now, it has not be unusual for us to drive 8 to 12 hours (usually to Upstate NY) in our trusty Honda Accord with the four of us and the dog. Ruby is a patient dog and usually spends the trip in the footwell being kicked by a child. OK, this makes it sound like we're going to buy a minivan so the dog will be more comfortable, but I swear that's not the case.

Edda is getting heavier all the time, Jeremy and I are pretty strong and can still lift her, but there is no way either of our mothers can lift Edda and I can feel the little twinge in my back when I lift Edda in and out of the car. We spent part of the weekend looking a turnout seating for Edda (which I have to say is fantastically cool) and thinking about what vehicle to put it into.

The turnout seat salesman said that 90% of the seats go into minivans, and I'm like, OK, let's get the Toyota Sienna or the Honda Odyssey and be done with it. Jeremy looks at the 19 mpg on the highway that the minivans gets and gets all concerned. Remember, he is a professional environmentalist. All day he thinks about how to convince Americans to use less fuel, he talks to the EPA, he does his cute little gas calculations and comes home and talks to me about it all the time. So, I think we are going to go to a bunch of different car dealers and looking at some other, smaller, more fuel efficient cars. This is going to take some time. I hope Edda isn't 75 pounds by the time we decide, but whatever, maybe by then the minivans will all be hybrid and get 47 mpg on the highway and it will all be moot.

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Traveling again this weekend.

We are on the road again this weekend. Jeremy loves to pack - he is usually in charge of packing for the kids and for himself and I swoop in at the last minute and shove my clothes into the space that he's saved for me. We've been together so long that Jeremy knows that I always pack too light and he needs to add an extras of his own boxers/undershirt/sweatshirt that I'll need to use as PJs.

I don't know what happened this time, but I was trying to be "helpful" and co-packed the suitcase with him. As a result, neither of us knew exactly what the other person had packed. As a result, one of the four of us is going commando today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Right Side Up











Donald, thanks :)

Tackling Difficult

It is easier said than done. Recently, my high school class President passed away. He was very smart, intelligent and precise. I guess his passing away had not much to do with his illness (ear infection) but rather, in seeking his perfection, he tolerated less on his less-than-normal (not even perfect) conditions and refused to take good care of himself properly. His wife, a nice lady, probably couldn't persuade him to change his self-destructive mind either.

In his memorial service, I overheard someone said that his doctors always were not that good. I think that any illness needs good relationship between patient and physician. He, probably, wasn't patient enough to be a good patient. May be far from it.

Coming back to Edda, I think, she is improving a lot based on what I have observed. And this is a result of hard working of you and Jeremy on a 24/7/365 basis. But, even put a lot of work on her, being realistic and most likely, she will be far from self-sufficient. Of course, this itself will be very discouraging that is quite nature and understandable. If I were you or Jeremy, I would feel very despair too - but, it is okay and normal. Don't keep that feeling all by yourself, all the time.

But, doing your very best under difficult or impossible conditions is a big accomplishment itself and one should pat on his/her own back just for that. Not only that, one should be very proud. Everyone around would agree and appreciate. The desire to make thing bit better in one's mind then would become a huge reservoir of fuel that will carry a lot of heavy stuff (tangible or not so tangible) much further and farther.

Due to my childhood experience, I always see thing more positive than it should be since it can't go lower. I hope you and Jeremy will see that too - she needs a lot of work constantly but she is lovely.

Let me say that you are an excellent Mom to conclude this posting.

Love Always, Dad.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kubler-Ross model.

For the past few weeks, I've been going through (again) the Kubler-Ross model, aka the 5 stages of grief about Edda's disability. I felt like since I did it once already - cycling from denial, through anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance over the span of 2 or 3 years, I thought I would never need to go through it all again at least not with the same intensity. But, (woo hoo!), I'm cycling through it all again. Going through depression in late January and early February and now I'm firmly entrenched in the anger phase. Grrr. Let me say it again. Grrrr. I just walk around wanting to kick people in the shins. Grrrr. (PS, I'm never in denial. I'm a pessimist, so I don't go through that stage.) One of my co-workers says I'm the most cheerful grumpy person they've ever met, so I guess I'm holding it together...

Enough about me.

After the sing-a-long, we celebrated Emy's 29th birthday! She's almost 30! My youngest sibling-in-law is almost 30, which means I'm almost too old. Woo hoo! Have you met her dog, Bozito? He's missing more teeth than Edda which means that his tongue pokes out of his mouth all cutely.

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Here are her birthday cupcakes. The oven at Kiki and Kappa's died, so Emy had to take the uncooked cupcakes back to her own apartment, bake them, and then bring them back.

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And you can witness the death of the 50 mm lens.

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Donald's Woodwork





Today, I decorated our house using Donald's woodwork. The first one is a shelf which I mounted on the first floor bathroom. The second one is a bird house which I mounted on the wall between family dinner room and family room. On the bird house there is a green parrot and a little bit below there is red butterfly. On the living room wall, there is a clock which was part of Donald's woodwork also. I fixed it and it runs pretty accurate also. I also fixed a very old office clock which I mounted on the wall of our study room. Very proud of myself to fix those clocks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things To Do While Heading West & Afterwards

Well, we are plannning things to-do while heading west & afterwards. A few things already in my minds.
  1. Would like visit my brother and sister in the Chicago area.
  2. Promise Rena to have BBQ in Kansas City. I have to dig out the name of the restaurant that I visited before.
  3. Buy some furnitures for the house.
  4. Fix the dish washer.
  5. Install telephone and Internet.
  6. Hike along the Columbia River and fishing too.
  7. Visit friends there.

...

Work Continue in the House

Work continue in the house in preparation of heading west - painted the front door; put a glass window in the laundry room; washed all the windows and sidings at the back of the house using pressurized water; installed a vertical blind in the basement door; wall-mounted some of Donald's woodwork in the family room and first floor bath room; cleaned up the exhaust duct of the dryer.

And there are still a lot of things need to be done in the house. Still have time, I think, to finish most items on the to-do list.

President's day weekend continued.

After sleeping in NJ, we headed to upstate NY. This was a special trip to celebrate the birthdays of Kiki and Emy.

Kiki, who's birthday was in early December, coordinated a sing-a-long. It was a lot of fun, we sang a lot of rounds and then ate a nice vegetarian Indian dinner. Yum!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

President's day weekend.

After the aborted dental surgery and the Valentine's day party, we immediately packed up the car and headed to upstate NY to visit Kiki and Kappa, via my parent's apartment in New Jersey.

In case you missed it, my parents (who are nuclear engineers) were laid off from their jobs in NJ a few weeks ago (which they did accurately predict would happen if Obama was elected since he did not include as part of his platform the building of 45 nuclear reactors by 2030). After they were let go, they moved back to MD, (it's been nice having them around, they get to go to the aborted dental surgeries and the valentine's day parties and we get some wonderful weeknight dinners). They still have a few more weeks left on their NJ apartment lease and we took advantage of free lodging on the way.

My parents did warn us that the only thing left in their apartment were 2 twin sized beds. I wondered if we should bring an air mattress or some sort of sleeping bag, but I was overruled. FAMILY BED was the consensus. Was it comfortable? Not really (I had not expected that Ruby would take up 35% of my twin bed). Was it worth not spending the 70 dollars on the Comfort Inn? Questionable.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

50 mm is toast.

Donald - the 50 mm is totally busted. The glass in the lens closest to the sensor is now tilted out of place about 30 degrees! I actually heard it go clunk when I held the camera in my hands and rocked it gently back and forth. Ack. What am I doing...

Valentine's day party.

Gong-gong, pua-pua and I attended Vince's Valentine's Day party last Friday the 13th.

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There was a lot of sugar. Is there any holiday that doesn't involve chocolate or sugar? Hold on - St. Patrick's Day, that has green beer and no sugar. Is that better than sugar? Not so sure. Do you get a green tongue from green beer?

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tricky Edda.

I've always known that Edda was able to sleep on command to avoid things she was not looking forward to, but I did not know that Edda could conjure up a cold on command.

Jeremy and my dad woke up early and went into the city to Children's Hospital for Edda's dental surgery. She was perfectly healthy when she woke up, but during the hours of 8-10 am while checking in, Edda ran a low-grade fever and had some congestion in her lungs. The anesthesiologist decided that since this was an elective surgery that it was better to cancel rather than go ahead with the procedure.

Of course, as soon as Edda came home, she was super happy and cool as a cucumber. Argh! Tricky girl!

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Happy Valentine's Day, Doris & Donald!

Happy Valentine's Day to Mom and Happy Valentine's to both of you and your loved ones.

I thought this year I am going to be thrifty enough and buy flowers for Mom in the supermarkets, instead of Fed/Ex to her on Valentine's Day, before noon. And, I also heard yesterday the stimulus plan,which consists of an addition $25.00/month for my unemployment checks, has passed. In addition, now, besides Mom and both of you I don't have anything that significant and even with no job to be routine. The feeling down with emptiness and realizing emphatically that I am really lucky enough to have Mom and you around me.

With that feeling, I went to the supermarket this morning and spent much more. I bought some gorgeous flowers and a large balloon with a red heart inside. It turns all by itself too. And, on it, it says "You are the center of my world". How true it is!

Again, Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lucky Friday the 13th.

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Edda's scheduled to go to Children's Hospital early tomorrow morning to get her cavities filled. We had originally scheduled the procedure to be done in late March, but the dentist called and told us that someone canceled and would we like to book our appointment on February 13. We said fine without thinking about it - but of course, tomorrow is Friday the 13th, which is probably why there was a cancellation. So I'm negating one superstition by doing another and keeping my fingers crossed that everything will go smoothly.

The dentist mentioned at the last appointment that during the cavity filling, she'd take out any loose teeth that might cause Edda trouble later on, but Edda beat her to it. (Note missing top teeth, one came out on Tuesday and one today.)

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Finally, one out of focus picture that is so cute:

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

70 degree day in Feb.

Jeremy took me out for dinner tonight for Valentine's Day. For anyone who is counting, it's our 14th one together - where does the time go?

We went to DC's famous Ben's Chili Bowl where we sat just 2 feet away from where Obama sat when he went there to eat the day after inauguration. Our brush with fame!

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We are the big spenders - had a scoop of ice cream to finish it off and got home in time to tuck the kiddos into bed.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In town center getting ice cream!

It was very warm this weekend. We went to the ice cream shop in town center. There was only 1 guy working the shop - they figured that business would be slow in February, but there was a line that was slowly creeping out the door!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Blogger's block

I'm here watching Obama's news conference. Actually, I'm half-listening. I'm not envious of the things he has to do, I'm afraid the global economy is slipping quickly out of control, I'm not sure how much this stimulus package is going to help folks who need to find a job now. It feels like we are circling around a dark, deepening tunnel.

I've been quiet the past week or so. It's not that I haven't been trying to blog, I love my blog - but I'm finding that I'm speechless much of the time. For the past 6.5 years (!), my general policy was to blog what we actually did each day. This model is breaking down a little bit. We don't actually do very much that is very different from any other day or week.

The kids are getting older - there are so many cute things and so many aggravating things and so many embarrassing things that are happening now, but they seem to be their stories and not mine, so I don't think I can divulge them on my blog. Jeremy is also sensitive about airing things that happen to him, so that leaves me my own thoughts and neurosis. I'm not sure it would be interesting to read about my craziness day after day! (See? It's already boring..)

Jane's 12.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vincent.

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Senior Coffee at McDonald's

We have a McDonald's and a Starbucks just around the corner and they are within walking distance. The other day, I was pretty excited to learn that stuffs in Starbucks are not even ranked as among top ten. Of course, McDonald's coffee as expected is not ranked either.

But, at McDonald's, senior coffee is 52 cents each which is very affordable these days or any other day. I did enjoy myself to have a cup of hot senior coffee at McDonald's, sitting in a warmer place than those in our house and reading newspapers. No rush at all.

After all, Starbucks is not built or catered for me, not at this time, or any other time. Above all, McDonald's coffee is good coffee. In addition, I will be able to slash their (McDonald's) price of coffee even further, in half - ask for a refill before leaving :)

A Funny Game with Edda

The other day, I was amazed to be able to play a funny game with Edda. Together, we played it for about 20 minutes. After that, I was really tired and, I thought, so did Edda.

This was how we played. In an relatively open space in her house in front of her TV. I called her name "Edda" continuously. She sensed someone was making a noise (or calling her?). So, she turned, sometime with her body, sometime with her head, sometime moving forward and sometime tracking backward. She kept turning and wobbling around for a while until we faced each other and made eye contact. Then, I made a lot of noise with funny gestures, of course, with my hands and feet. She laughed and giggled and so did I. Then, we started it all over again ... It was repeatable and predicable routines for us.

I just didn't know how much she knew exactly or approximately. But, the most important thing at least for me, was that Edda and I had fun together.

In addition, I was equally proud that she pooped in her toilet that day. I saw she struggled on her toiler set and really proud of her too. Right, Edda? :)

Junk Removal

Since we came back from New Jersey, we have spent a lot of time to tidy the house, cleaning up our accumulative junk in the house. Rena and I have moved around for several times. Each time, we almost had an identical but different set of stuffs for our daily usage. Boy, all the stuffs we have is simply a lot. I have made several trips to Goodwill already.

The biggest one is all our papers over the years. I spent almost 5 full days to go over all of them in the study and in our master bedroom. Right, study, master bedroom and garage all are in good order. The biggest one left is the basement. There are more stuffs there.

I hope that we can finish it up before heading to the west coast for our spring & summer there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

A note from S.

I found this in Vince's backpack a few days ago.

Vincent is my friend. He is very funny. He is very special and he is kind.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thwarted.

I was thwarted today by clever Edda. Sunday afternoons are usually a down time for us. Nothing scheduled, nothing urgent (except for the laundry, house repairs and grocery shopping), so I though it would be a great time for Edda and me to go swimming. I've been encouraged by memories of Edda's love of swimming while we were in tropical Singapore and other parents who've had fantastic luck swimming with their daughters, I thought I'd give it a go.

After lunch, I tried for an hour to convince Edda to take a nap - no luck. Then, I spent 30 minutes trying not to talk myself out of going swimming because it's still winter outside. Finally, I get Edda dressed in a swim diaper, a swim suit and finally a wet suit and street clothes, then I put her on Jeremy's lap while I go change into my own lovely swimsuit. Five minutes after I put her on Jeremy's lap, this happens:

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Yup. Slept for an hour and a half. Too late to go now! Oh well. So much for that good idea.