Thursday, July 30, 2009

Resolving conflict.

This week, I did a terrible thing, and I cut Vince's hair while angry. It is truly the worst haircut I have ever given him. It's uneven everywhere, if that is possible. I'm trying to convince him that I need a do-over, but he LOVES his new haircut and won't let me touch his head.

DSC_0054

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

DSC_0045

Last week, I suddenly realized that Ruby is no longer a puppy. She's about 8.5 years old now and it seemed like her whole life, we'd be getting comments like, "Oh, I thought she was just a puppy!".

She's more dignified now. Her movements are slower, she doesn't wake up right when I get up, she doesn't want to go outside if she doesn't really need to pee. She's getting to be an old doggie. Last week, she had an upset stomach for 3-4 days straight which is super unusual for her.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Home repairs.

On Saturday, Vince and I repainted part of the garage door. There is a metal part above the garage door which was starting to rust.

DSC_0069

I made Vince wear his bike helmet because no way was I going to deal with a head injury with Jeremy out of town. A broken arm or leg, no problem...

DSC_0068

Ahh, what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Vince actually asked to do this instead of going to the pool.

DSC_0077

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hoping for a bird.

For the past year or so, I've been thinking about getting a bird. I don't think I will really ever get a bird, I just like thinking that I might someday get a bird. A few months ago, I was reading a book called Alex & Me to the kids about an amazing parrot (who spent some time at MIT kind of around the time that I was there) who could count and recognize colors and do simple cognitive exercises - I think they said in the book that the bird had the mental capacity of maybe a 2 year old and I remember thinking that that damn bird was so far ahead of what Edda has ever been able to show us, I was jealous. I was jealous of a bird.

But, I was kind of determined not to let that thought depress me, rather, I was going to use some of the pedagogical approaches that they mentioned in the book and use them with Edda to see if she could learn in the same way. The author did mention that her methods of teaching Alex the bird had been used for special needs kids, so what the heck, maybe Edda could benefit from the bird model. After we finished the book, I hadn't really thought much about birds until today.

DSC_0063

We went to PetSmart today to get some Ruby supplies and we spent some time watching the birds. Edda seemed to enjoy watching them flit around which reignited my desire for a bird. My mind drifted to a fantasy image of a beautiful bird perched on my shoulder as I spent my day examining patents. The bird would poop in a designated spot and be somewhat conversational in a Polly-Want-A-Cracker type of way. (Some people dream of tropical vacations, apparently I like to dream about birds.) Then I got all sad and thought that my fantasy bird would be more talented than my daughter, that the bird could verbally ask for a cracker and also be potty-trained. A mild depression set in. Then I thought about it a little bit more. I realized that a bird can to more than any other child on the face of the planet. A bird can fly. Ha! I felt better immediately.

Who Acted Stupidly?

These days, a black Scholar, Professor Gates, Jr. , Police Sgt. Mr. Crowley and President Obama make the headlines together. Who really acted (and/or talked) stupidly? You be the JUDGE!

However, personally, there was a similar instance that I would like to share with you. Long time ago, when my parents were still around and lived in Los Angeles, on one early morning, I walked to their house from my sister Liz's place. It was just too early and they were all sleeping. In order not to disturb them, I climbed over their front gate on the right side of the house and sat in one of their lawn chairs and started to read their newspaper - Los Angeles Times. Suddenly, there were two white policemen approached me and asked for my IDs and the reasons of climbing over. I explained to them about my situations. They demanded my personal IDs anyway. Unfortunately, I didn't have it with me. Finally, one Hispanic neighbor saw all the lights on top of the police cars and us. He told the policemen that he knew me. Actually he was the one who called the police without knowing it was me who climbed over.

On that very moment, I thanked the neighbor for calling the police. And I also thanked the policemen for their quick response and their dedication with professionalism. I knew then that my parents were in the right place being safe because their neighbors and LAPD.

Everyone was happy, satisfied and ready to move on ... I hope in this case, it will have the same ending. It looks like, it will.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hold on, baby!

Since I've been employed at the patent office, I have not gone to very many of Edda's therapy sessions. On the one hand, I'm relieved that I don't have to take her very often because I've been to many, many sessions where Edda is crying and so unhappy. Also, the pace of progress (if any) is so slow and sometimes so unnoticable that it is intensely frustrating for a person like me who is more enthralled with results rather than the process. (I consider this to be a character flaw of mine, I'm working on it...)

Sometimes I think the source of Edda's therapy grumpiness is me - Edda picks up some grumpy vibe from me (because, really, why are we the lucky ones who get to go to therapy every week instead of on playdates at the park with other preschool pals) and she gets grumpy herself. But, on the other hand, I also miss some moments of triumph.

Edda's hand use is terrible. It's just the nature of the beast Edda wrestles with. Rett Syndrome is not kind to many things, but one of the hallmarks is the lack of purposeful hand use. She can kind of, sort of use her hands to swat at things, but really, there is no grabbing and no pointing. (Although, for whatever reason, she can grab with tremendous accuracy a toothbrush which is in her mouth and brushing her teeth.)

Last week, Deb, our OT, and Eliana saw that Edda could somehow rally enough of her forces together and use her hands to hold herself up in a swinging swing and they were both so moved by Edda's OT triumph that Deb called me at work and left a breathless message saying she wished I was there to see it and Eliana told me at dinner that night that she almost cried watching Edda holding herself up with her hands and swinging back and forth and back and forth.

This week, Eliana took some photos so I could share in Edda's efforts and accomplishments. Hold on, baby! The best is yet to come.

EDDA

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brotherly love.

There is only one rule for Vince when he is in control of Edda's wheelchair. NEVER, no matter what happens, never, ever, ever, let go. And to his credit, he has never, ever, ever let his sister go.

DSC_0047

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Plumbing. The saga continues.

My parents are seasoned DIYers. They know the Home Depot like the back of their hand. They've worked together on projects for over 35 years now (finished basements, exterior painting, various plumbing, tree trimming, etc, etc...) There is a rhythm to their back and forth and I think it's a comfortable working relationship. My mother is often the directing the action, my dad is often the person in charge of executing the plan.

DSC_0044

I think that my parents had a lot of fun this weekend trying to repair plumbing with the added component called "Jeremy". Jeremy thinks a lot like a Martin and very little like a Lee (that would make sense, huh?). I have had 14 years of making decisions with Jeremy, but my parents have far less experience actually working with Jeremy and it was nice to see them amuse each other with their different thought processes.

Martins are less impulsive and more thoughtful and willing to consider many options before finding the "right way". The downside of the Martin philosophy is that it takes a long time to actually start a project, and it's usually not the most straightforward approach, but it's usually done right. Lees are more prone to quick decisions and kind of half-ass fixes that are OK, but not very pretty. The upside to the Lee philosophy is that is usually gets fixed quicker and cheaper, but it sometimes it's a little clunky.

Anyways, it took a few hours to realize that the leak was in multiple places and in places that we could not see. Basically, I've been arguing that we need to cut a hole in the ceiling and Jeremy's been reluctant to do so. I argue that only when the ceiling is cut will we be able to see the actual leak and do something about it. Jeremy thinks that if we cut the ceiling, we will never repair the hole in the ceiling and even if we did repair the hole, we would need to get the whole ceiling painted and we would not do it for years because we are too cheap (so true) - so we should try to replace the gasket in the drain (which might, possibly, be the source of the leak but we don't know for sure because we didn't cut the whole in the ceiling) which would not involve defacing the ceiling and only after the gasket is replaced will we absolutely be sure that we need to cut the ceiling. And thus, we discussed:

DSC_0055

A consensus was reached that nothing would be done to jeopardize the plumbing this week because Jeremy and my parents both had to leave the East Coast on Monday, and leaving me with the kids and no plumbing on the 2nd floor was too dire a situation to even contemplate. So NO! the leak is still not fixed.

Yearly Update...

Well, I haven't updated in a long time, almost a year or so. I guess I can't really ignore Doris' call for support for the blog, so here's mine...

I started dating a girl last August, but we broke up in May. I'm not sure that we really got to the point of being comfortable with each other. I think we were both a bit guarded, and sort of our default modes of reacting to things made things worse. So things didn't seem like they were going to improve for either of us, so we ended it. Definitely learned a lot about myself tho, so that's good.

I moved from SF to San Jose in March. This is probably the farthest south I've ever lived in the Bay Area. Tho I'm living with my MIT friend Ronnie and Wasi. Honestly. It's been pretty fun again to live with people that you know. I'm really enjoying it. Ronnie's house has somewhat become party central. We've had a lot of games nights/dinners/parties here.

I'm back in the fold with all these single guys now. So I guess there has been a lot of girl drama around here. Not really involving me, but it involves a lot of my friends, so I won't divulge too much here publicly. But I do feel like I'm back in high school somewhat. Who like who, who's asking who out, who's not liking who. girl in in the group, girl out of the group. God. I can't even keep track anymore.

Oh also, I was being coached by a life coach. My high school friend Ted was getting into life coaching, an he's made some great strides in being a better person, and wanted me to try it out. I felt like I needed some direction in my life, and decided to take him up on it. He couldn't coach me simply because we're too close, so he recommended me to another life coach. I've been doing that since February. It's been interesting to say the least. Tho it's funny, how drama seems to follow everything. The drama was basically that my coach, was Ted's girlfriend, almost fiance, at the time. And she's cool. but, I guess you could see it coming (i didn't), Ted and her broke up around May also. And it was a pretty bad break up. So here I am, getting coached by Ted's ex-gf. I guess it was fine for a month or two, but like i said, it was a nasty breakup, and it didn't sit well with Ted... So anyhow, I'm not being coached any longer. :)

I guess I'm back into the dating world a bit. I have some prospects, but we'll see... I'm not promising anything Mom...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thanks for the encouragement!

Thanks for the encouragement for yesterday's post... I'm still going strong. Woo hoo!

About Edda's brace, we are using Benik's arm brace. I love it because unlike the other brands that I've tried, it actually stays on Edda's arm. We are using the hinged model, which theoretically will allow for a range of motion of her arm while keeping the hand out of the mouth. However, we have it set on the most straight setting without any flexing because Edda's desire for mouthing is so strong that she manages to overcome the brace when it's allowed any hinged movement. Even with it most rigidly set, Edda still manages to get the tips of her fingers in her mouth, however, the spit and drool is significantly minimized. I needed to get our OT to place the order and it was about $85.

It's hard to explain Edda's mouthing to someone who has never met her. I was talking about it to a friend of mine at work, and she told me that I could use cayenne pepper to stop the mouthing and I tried to explain it wasn't like that, it's more like a weird magnetic, unthinking force between her mouth and her right hand. It's not something she does to feel better, it just is a thing that she has very little control over. Sometimes I really have to pull hard to pry the hand from Edda's mouth.

As a side problem with all the mouthing, this week we are struggling with wound control. One of Edda's fingers has blistered and formed a little wound which we have been trying to keep clean and dry for a few days so it will heal.

DSC_0014

The combination of the Benik brace and regular band-aids weren't working that well, there was no progress on the healing and the band-aids kept falling off, the tips of her fingers still got wet during the day. Today I made a CVS run, where I bought the super strong bandages and the tape and did this:

DSC_0015

And then finally, we put on a finger condom to try and keep all the bandages on. I put a more rigid brace (the one which always falls off) and the Benik brace both on hoping that the two would remain on her arm and keep her fingers dry. Here's Edda saying "$*!$#@ you Rett Syndrome!"

DSC_0030

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blog anniversary!

Today is my 7th anniversary of starting this blog. When I started, I didn't really think that I would still be doing almost daily updates 7 years later. Sometimes I feel like blogging is a lonely sport because even though I know I have a number of dedicated fans, it sometimes feels like I'm talking to no one. But also, sometimes I feel like I'm talking to everyone in the sense that I do censor myself, I don't talk a lot about my true fears and frustrations, of which there are many. Also, as we've become busier, I feel like the blog represents something like 0.1% of what I'm dealing with and thinking of each day. Also, with the advent of Facebook, sometimes I feel like personal blogging has become irrelevant, that the blogs of note are all big, commercial or sponsored blogs.

Many times in the past year, I've thought about stopping simply because I have nothing to say, I usually stop for a few days, and then I start up again. I didn't know 7 years ago that I'd be here today, I wonder where I'll be in 7 more years? Will I still be at Just Regular Folks? I don't know. I'll just have to wait and find out.

DSC_0053

Funny Excerpt.

Laff. Okay, so I went to a friend's wedding over July 4th weekend, and I ran into Mom and Dad's family friends, Ching-Mao and Li-Pei Zin at the wedding. Apparently they knew the parents of the bride, with whom I am friends with. Here's a funny post from Yi-Ling's blog:
My mom kept wanting me to setup my cousin with Don - and I told her in response that I thought I may be just a tad busy on my wedding day. She continued on this train of thought the day after the wedding tho after she found out that D's parents are friends with our family friends as well. So now he is a properly approved taiwanese boy. Don't worry D, I keep telling her that I don't think you guys are a match but maybe she'll find some other girls to throw at you.

Hahhahah.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fannie Farmer.

I was suppose to present a lesson on Fannie Farmer today at Sunday school to the 5-6 year olds. I signed up to teach this lesson because I figured that I could just get the kids together in the church kitchen and bake something. Yesterday (as a trial run), I made 2 batches of "Fannie Farmer's Famous Fudge". It never turned into fudge. It ended up more like chocolate frosting. Apparently, fudge is candy and candy is hard to make without a candy thermometer. Vince decided that before I threw out the fudge, he wanted to play with it a little, I didn't realize that he meant he was really going to play with it. Sigh. The things I let my children do...

DSC_0031

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Plumbing.

DSC_0016

My parents are in town. My parents are professional plumbers in a way - they design piping systems for nuclear power plants, so they know all about stresses and damages on piping systems. My dad spent a good part of today looking at our own (non-radioactive) piping problem and going to Home Depot for supplies. It is still not fixed. Tomorrow - phase 2 of the repair involves my mother, the other piping professional (who was busy today playing Mah-johnn with her pals to deal with a leaky tub).

DSC_0002

Mom, Chong Ming Island, & "Tu Long (Muddy Dragon)" - Chinese Alligator

Mom, as a native of Chong Ming Island, must pretty excite about the story below. She probably can tell us a story or two about "Tu Long" and her childhood there :) See article below:

Reintroduced Chinese Alligators Now Multiplying In The Wild In China

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2009) — The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that critically endangered alligators in China have a new chance for survival. The WCS's Bronx Zoo, in partnership with two other North American parks and the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Management of the State Forestry Administration of China, has successfully reintroduced alligators into the wild that are now multiplying on their own.

The alligator hatchlings—15 in number—are the offspring of a group of alligators that includes animals from the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo. The baby alligators represent a milestone for the 10-year effort to reintroduce the Chinese alligator on Chongming Island, located at the mouth of China's Yangtze River.


The announcement was made at the International Congress for Conservation Biology, convened by the Society for Conservation Biology in Beijing, China (July 11-16).

"We are grateful to our Chinese partners for their commitment to reintroduce Chinese alligators back into the wild," said Dr. Steven E. Sanderson, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "WCS has championed careful wildlife reintroductions for more than a century. The reintroduction of Chinese alligators is a great example of how WCS partners with governments and local communities around the world to save wildlife and wild places."
"This is fantastic news," said WCS researcher Dr. John Thorbjarnarson, one of the world's foremost experts on crocodilians and a participant in the project. "The success of this small population suggests that there's hope for bringing the Chinese alligator back to some parts of its former distribution."


Plans to reintroduce Chinese alligators started in 1999 with a survey conducted by WCS, the Anhui Forestry Bureau, and the East China Normal University in Anhui Province, the only remaining location where the reptiles are still found in the wild in what is a small fraction of the alligator's former range. The results of the survey were dire, with an estimate of fewer than 130 animals in a declining population.

An international workshop on the species was held in 2001, followed by recommendations for the reintroduction of captive bred alligators. The first three animals released in Hongxing Reserve of Xuancheng County in Anhui in 2003 were from the Anhui Research Center of Chinese Alligator Reproduction (ARCCAR).

To ensure the maximum genetic diversity for the effort, project participants imported 12 more animals to Changxing Yinjiabian Chinese Alligator Nature Reserve from North America, including four from the Bronx Zoo. From this group, three animals from the U.S. were released in 2007 along with three more alligators from Changxing. The alligators were given health examinations by veterinary professionals from WCS's Global Health Program and the Shanghai Wildlife Zoo and fitted with radio transmitters for remote monitoring before being released.

Experts reported that the reintroduced alligators successfully hibernated, and then in 2008, bred in the wild.


With a former range that covered a wide watershed area of East China, the Chinese alligator—or "tu long," which means "muddy dragon"—is now listed as "Critically Endangered" on IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species and is the most threatened of the 23 species of crocodilians in the world today. It is one of only two alligator species in existence (the other is the better known, and much better off, American alligator).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Speeding ticket!

I got my first speeding ticket this week. Surprise, surprise! I am not a speeder. I am a grandmother-type driver. A little awkward and certainly a little slow. I'm often on the highway being passed on both the left and the right while I enjoy cruisin' at the posted 65 MPH.

I got caught in a camera trap going 45 in a 35 MPH zone. I totally defend myself (while it is certainly true I was going faster than the posted speed limit) - look at the photo, it's a four lane road divided by a grass median and there are no other cars around me. I think that 45 was a perfectly reasonable speed in this type of situation. Sigh. Forty bucks down the toilet.

DSC_0001

A 9 Dollar Lunch Box

Today, we flew back to Washington DC from San Luis Obispo, CA. We had only 30 minutes of connection time in Los Angeles airport. The plane was 10 minutes late already. Therefore, there was no time for McDonald's or brought some food up and "into the thin air". Mom prepared 2 bags of peanuts (no salt), 1 bag of cranberries and 2 nectarines. But, she didn't tell me in which bag, mine or hers. Also, we happened to sit in the center seat on different rows. This time, rows were super close to each other and I even couldn't reach my space underneath the seat in front of me when the front seat was in inclined position. Besides, one of two toilets was out of order. People lined up in a long line on the aisle just for that. It was jam pack!

Lunch time came, and I thought 9 dollar a lunch box was just too much. If it is too much for me, then it must be super expensive for Mom. But, anyway, I struggled getting up and squeezed myself toward the back where the service kitchen and toilets were. I bought one for her. Then, I struggled backward toward the front and gave it to her. Sure enough, Mom didn't bend her trend and just sat there without a lunch box but enjoyed some candies instead.

After deplaned, she asked me about the lunch box. She thought it was expensive too but was happy nevertheless. Yes, someone was thinking about her all the time :)

I told her "This is what a husband for" and, then, joked "If some one else, not me, pampers her, then I am in real trouble." She laughed with a hearty smile. I liked that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving on up in the world.

I'm happy to report that since I've been doing well at work and slowly moving up the seniority levels, I'm going to move into my very own private office, hopefully next week. It still won't have a window, but at least it will be MINE, all MINE! Muhahaha!! I do enjoy having a roomie, especially my present office mate who is a true sweetheart, but when we heard we both had the chance to get our own space, it took us only 30 seconds to decide to ditch each other.

Sadly, the fish are not going to be moving with me. Two days ago, I changed the water in exactly the same way I've been doing for weeks and then yesterday, I came into the office and they were both belly-up. Whatever happened, it was totally my fault. I buried them at sea and hummed Taps while I flushed the toilet. I'm sorry, they were good fish.

DSC_0014

Best Obama's Speech Ever

President Obama said [No one has written your destiny for you,” he said, directing his remarks to “all the other Barack Obamas out there” who might one day grow up to be president. “Your destiny is in your hands and don’t you forget that. That’s what we have to teach all of our children! No excuses! No excuses!”] during a NAACP Convention.

It is about time that one takes one's responsibilities seriously and doesn't blame other for anything and everything. One can see, in upscale places or gathering, there are fewer and fewer of them. Why? Most likely, it is due to economical reasons than race. I hope they are going to do better and better. I hope they are compatitive enough in our multi-racial society and can leap forward further and further. But, this has to come from inside of oneself. No laws, no quotas, especially no excuses can help them to achieve their dreams, which is my dreams and every one else' dreams too. Hard working will do the trick! Furthermore, cover-all excuses of racism is going no where, except holding them back, and therefore is no good to them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fish Head Stew

Yesterday, as usual, we walked along the beach after dinner. There were three persons there fishing. Nearby, several fresh fish, caught by other people, was laying on the beach. Their fish fillet parts were cut off and gone. But, the remaining parts were still there, including the HEAD.

Mom picked them up with the dog poop bags provided by the city along the beach. Those three knew what Mom was doing. "To prepare fish head stew" they said.

Today, a day before heading back to Washington DC for our monthly trip home, we suppose to eat out. But, Mom would rather stay home and prepare her "Fish Head Stew" tonight.

I saw she was so excited to pick up fresh fish heads on the beach. I joked to her "You look more excited to pick up fresh fish heads on the beach than to pick up your husband in the church" :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Asleep.

The patent office has a serious budgeting issue this year, but Congress has passed a "bailout" which will help us out at least until the end of the fiscal year...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I run a tight ship around here.

Sunday morning. My house. 9:21 am. Do you see what Vince is doing? He's doing the "Edda block", a move he has developed from years of practice. If he doesn't stand right in front of the TV, inevitably Edda will plant herself right in front of the TV thus preventing any digi-entertainment from entering the eyeballs of anyone else in the room - so the "Edda block" move is a defensive tactic against lack of video entertainment.

He has not learned that in most households, one watches TV from a distance of approximately 10 feet or so, so whenever we go to someone else's house to watch TV, he has to be reminded to not stand within 2 inches of the screen.

DSC_0001

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quiet weekend.

Most weekends, the house is a loud mess - mainly because we have kids from both next doors and a kid from across the street running in and out of all the houses all weekend. However, this weekend, all our neighbors seemed to have timed their out-of-town-ness on the same weekend. This is just fine with us, because we are all slightly sick and we still need this weekend to recover from the "best vacation ever".

Jeremy kept his word and worked all day today. This meant that I had a day very much like my days circa early 2004-late 2005 when the kids were home most of the time with only me as a companion, and I have to say, I pretty much suck as the lone companion to small children. (Are my kids still considered small? I dunno.)

DSC_0022

Edda, who is not really much of a snuggler, followed me around today like a lost puppy (and somewhat sounding like a lost puppy as well) and I could not figure out what she wanted until I picked her up and sat her in my lap and within 5 minutes she was asleep. She did this to me at least 3 times today - very unusual (both the following around and the sleeping schedule). She's still under the weather, not really feverish, but not herself. (Note Motrin stains all over her shirt.)

DSC_0004

Vincent, who usually relies on entertainment provided by neighbor children (and found me sorely lacking in playing skills), was a little at a loss of what to do with himself, spend some of the day entertaining himself with disposable and recyclable products. Watch out! Will attack with deadly noodles!

DSC_0012

Also, we solved the mystery of the leaking ceiling (this photo is trying to depict a veritable rainstorm in the middle of the living room - note at least 1 inch of water in the pan):

DSC_0021

Before our vacation, we had called a plumber, who declared that it was the caulking and then refused to do the caulking because it was handyman's work, so then I went to Home Depot and ripped out the old caulk and put in the new caulk about 30 minutes before we left for our vacation (talk about being rushed..). I told Eliana (who's bathroom the leak is eminating from) that she needed to wait 24 hours before taking a bath/shower which she did and then discovered that the bathroom still leaked. Sooo, to make a long story short, it is in the pipes - for all those who love plumbing, it's in the overflow pipe, there is a joint close to the bottom of the tub which fills when the filled tub is drained and there is a leak... Anyhow, I'm kind of mad that the plumber came already and didn't solve my problem....

Neverland Ranch, Los Olivos, CA




















Today, Rena and I went shopping at Santa Maria, CA all morning. After lunch, we went to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. It is not too far from Santa Maria and is in Santa Barbara County. At the gate, some people were there already. People even brought flowers with them.
But we just went there to see and to experience...
Rena posted for two pictures; one at the gate and the other in front of a guard house at the gate. Jackson's family school and farm land are just across the street on the other side of the road.
After that, we went to a man-made lake, Chumash Lake. Chumask was a Indian tribe who used to be around this general areas - Morro Bay, Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, Oceano & Santa Barbara, etc. Before Spanish expeditions from the south, they used to live along the ocean. After Spanish established several Missions and occupied the land along the coast, they gradually moved inland. That was the beginning of the end for these people. Sadly, most of them died of diseases, brought in by the Europeans. Their history and cultures were almost completely lost in the process.
Today, this area is very sensitive to their cultural sites. I think it should be this way out of immense respects to our ancestors who once lived and called here their homes.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Someone is feeling better.

DSC_0009

Vincent is better. I'm getting better. Edda is mid-way through so she's presently the sickest one. Our au pair, Eliana got sick today. Jeremy has a little twinge-y cough that he's insisting isn't really becoming sick.

Jeremy needs to work on a report all weekend, so I'm on main parenting duty this weekend. We cleared out our weekend schedule so that we are just sitting around recuperating.

Hmmm, anything else interesting? Not really.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Walloped.

We are all sick (well except for Ruby, Jeremy and Eliana - but really, it's only a matter of time). I knew we were going to be sick this week because on the last day of our vacation we snuggled and played with our snuffly, coughing and slightly feverish cousins Felix and Ruben. There was really no way to reschedule the visit, nor did I want to cancel since it is so hard to see them, so here we are, all a bit ill.

DSC_0009

In addition to being sick, it's been kind of a crazy week. On Tuesday, I went with my friend Jane to the Alexandria Animal Shelter to put down her pet cat that she adopted four days earlier. It was a pretty emotionally draining experience, Jane is very tender-hearted when it comes to animals and it was very difficult for her to realize and come to the decision that Walter had health issues that were rapidly becoming worse and should be put to sleep and once she had decided that that was the right thing to do, she didn't want to go to the shelter alone. Needless to say, I did not go to work on Tuesday thinking that at the end of the day, I would be hold a cat paw in one hand and a friend's hand in the other.

DSC_0011

Jeremy's been doing a lot of the night-time sick childcare, and he's stayed home 2 days this week and he's feverishly working on an important report. I've been dragging myself to work because I'm taking this intensive Patent Law and Evidence Course which is hard to make-up.

Anyhow - it's just how it goes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sick day.

I took today off to tend to Edda's teeth which involved physical strength on my part and some hearty yelling on Edda's part. She needed to get a tooth removed which had died (long story) and the dentist did with with a shot of novacaine and just 20 minutes in the chair. I don't think the actual extraction bothered Edda at all, she just hated to be held down so tightly in a burrito roll. I did many other errands today which were not very interesting - however, I managed to get Vince a new 20 inch bike with hand brakes, gears and shocks for the impressive price of $25 at the Goodwill! Hooray for me :).

DSC_0004

Finally, I get to go back to work tomorrow for some peace and quiet. ;)

Dulles.

DSC_0055

We made it home last night - started the laundry and cleaned up a little. On our last day, we went to San Francisco and met up with Ben, Johanna, Felix and Ruben. I failed to get any photos, I'm sorry, it will have to wait for the next trip. Their new place is fabulously cute as are the kiddos (of course).

Back to the grind, we've got dental appointments, therapy, ESY, science camp all starting today. Edda is apparently all over jet lag. Vince is still sleeping on the couch, he needs to leave in 30 minutes. Ack.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

BB Gun & Oil Country


























Today, it was a nice day and we drove out to the east and right into a California oil country.
On our way back, while we were driving in a bi-directional two-lane highway on route 166, a BB gun shot from an approaching car hit our wind shield and broke the glass. It hit with such a loud bang. Fortunately, our car windows were all shut and no one was hurt.
Today, we started our driving along routes 58. In this area, along routes 58, 5, 119, 33 and 166, it is an oil country in California. Oil extracting machines were everywhere. Oil pipes and tanks dotted the landscape. The Elk Hills Petroleum Oil Reserve is here too. I guess the oil company doesn't do this job with "GREEN" in mind. The landscape is pretty ugly and litters with rusty junks.
When going out on route 58 east bound, there noticed that there had no service place for the next 82 miles. By that time, we had traveled 40 miles already. So, we had to make an emergent pit stop just along the road. Luckily, no one was around. After that, about a-minute-of-driving later, Mom said with a big grin on her face "Boy, your bladder is big and inside is all black".
Guess what, we found an oil spill which formed a small steady stream along the road side. We had to stop few miles away at a local hotel and alert those people. They suggested us to talk to the local Fire Station just a couple of miles away. However, we never found that Fire Station and, hopefully, they will call the oil company or Government Officials (???).
It is pretty amazing that it can let this happen under the beautiful Californian Sun with nobody noticing it. I believe, Nukes have never had this type of problems before. And it will not have in the future either.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family Re-union, Southern & Central California Coast































Jeremy & Doris decided to have their summer vacation in Southern California and Central California Coast. Donald, Rena and I were very glad to join them to have a Lee's family re-union in California. During their stay in Los Angeles, they hosted a Lee's Dinner gathering in Arcadia, CA.
Together, we visited Los Angeles, Lego Land north of San Diego, San Luis Obispo and its surrounding areas. Here are several pictures to share:
1) Doris chatted with my niece (Carrie) and two sisters (Jane and Liz) during Lee's Dinner.
2) & 3) Family BBQ picnic at Shell Beach, CA. Rena and I live nearby. Maybe, fifteen blocks away. Diablo Canyon Power Plant is on the other side of the mountain on the upper left.
4) Two big boys [i.e., Jeremy and Donald] at play, Lego Land
5) Grand mom, Rena, Daughter, Doris and granddaughter, Edda in front of Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument made of Legos at Lego Land.
6) Roses, my Mom & Dad at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Los Angeles. I believe, my Mom loves red roses.
In short, we had much fun together. Donald and Doris left today for San Francisco.

Being outside.

We've gone to a million and a half beaches this week - all of them with pretty cold water, all of them very sandy. Going to the beach with kids is way more fun than going with just other adults. Vince and Donald sunburned a little bit. Jeremy managed to protect his delicate skin with enough gloopy sunscreen so he still looks like he spends all of his days inside a windowless office.

DSC_0030

DSC_0140

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bubblegum alley.

After Legoland, we drove to San Luis Obispo. Visited a place called Bubblegum Alley where people have been leaving their ABC gum for over 45 years. It's both fun and totally disgusting. We added our own gum contributions.

DSC_0121

DSC_0124

DSC_0122

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Legoland!

DSC_0113

DSC_0114

DSC_0108

Edda climbed on the jungle gym (don't look too hard at my lovely backside)

DSC_0005

And rode one ride, which scared the living daylights out of her.

DSC_0026

Finally, Barack's inauguration rendered in Lego bricks.

DSC_0044