Thursday, February 25, 2010

Figuring stuff out.

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When I started teleworking, I was suppose to have all this extra time. Before teleworking, I was easily spending more than 12 hours a week commuting and with all "free" this extra time, I was going to be able to start a part time photography business, be more involved with the kids' school and fund raise for Rett Syndrome research, blah, blah, blah, oh yeah, and keep the house clean. In reality, all I have done is ended up working more hours. It's not really what I want to do with my time. Also, there is no question that working at home is a little isolating (I can go for days without leaving the house), so I'm reassessing and making more time to do more things - things like visiting Edda's school.

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Visits to Edda's school are both heartwarming and bittersweet. The all the people who help Edda through her day are kind, loving, patient and determined. These include not only the professional staff, but the kids as well. Up and down the halls, kids were waving hi to Edda. At an assembly, a group of the 4th and 5th graders crowded around her chair and the chairs of the other special needs kids. Of course, it's bittersweet because wouldn't it just be great if she could feed herself and talk and be a regular kindergardener? On that note, new research out of Dr. Bird's group just got posted on the RSRT website. It's an interesting read - MeCP2, the protein that is screwed up by Edda's missing guanine, was previously thought to be a regulating protein, something that turns genes on/off when they are needed. However, it turns out that MeCP2 is found in the brain at much higher levels than other regulating proteins and it's binding in many, many places throughout the genome, not just at targeted genes. According to Dr. Bird, this may make the whole Rett Syndrome problem not as complex as previously believed (although it remains complex enough that it hurt my head when I read Dr. Bird's interview with RSRT). Hooray for science!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Working, working, working...

Are you reading this and it's still Wed, Feb 24th? Then go to MSNBC.com and look for the IRSF ad on the right hand side. Donations made there will be matched 100% via a matching grant. Pretty cool, huh?

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I was so proud of my little blog the week of the blizzard, beautiful pictures day after day, there really was nothing to do all day except take photos. Well, there is now a lull in the blogging, all you get is a goldfinch. What's going on? Nothin' much. Vince is eagerly planning his birthday party. Edda's sleeping in more, which is awesome. Jeremy and I have a touch of insomnia. He can't go to sleep and I wake up early.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bad news from the BOE budget meeting.

Last week, the Board of Education unanimously approved the proposed budget cuts to next year's school system. This was the budget that I had gone to testify against passing. I was very disappointed because this most likely means that Edda's special needs preschool might not exist much longer. It has been very difficult, we love so many of the staff at that preschool, it just is so sad to see such a great program go away.

Vincent is doing some last minute homework at the breakfast table. It is something that I hope does not become a habit.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Hard fall.

I did not want to post about this until after I was for sure certain that everything is perfectly fine, but Edda had a pretty bad fall at school last Tuesday. I got a frantic call from the nurse and the teacher about Edda's bonk. Apparently another student crawled quickly right behind Edda and even though the aide was right there, Edda took a step backwards and because she has no reflex to save herself from the fall, she went straight back and hit her head on the linoleum floor. I wince even now when I imagine the sound. Ugh.

A huge bloody knot, bulging at least 3/4 of an inch from her skull.

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Anyways, I went to school, where she was happily watching a video and laughing. (They let her watch the video instead of going to art, because she ALWAYS falls asleep in art and they wanted to keep her awake until we figured out what to do). So as I'm driving to the school, I'm like, OK, I gotta take her to the emergency room because, well, mainly because of Natasha Richardson, but I get there and she's doing great. A lot of discussion with the teachers/aid/pediatrician about what to do next, I eventually headed to the pediatricians office - where Edda, again, is fabulously herself. So it was decided that we'd keep an eye her and not go to the emergency room, because I had completely forgotten that getting a simple X-ray would involve the whole ordeal of being under general anesthesia. Anyway, Edda's FINE, thank goodness.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ruby.

Queen of the couch.

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More Pictures To Share





































There are more pictures to share here:
1) San Francisco Piers.
2) an Alcatraz Cell.
3) Looking at the City of San Francisco from Alcatraz.
4) Million Dollar View from Mom Mahjon friend's daughter house up in Oakland Hill, overlooking at Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, etc.
5) Big waves along the Central California Coast inside the PG&E's northern gate of Diablo Canyon Power Plant.
6) Trail swallowed by the sea.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Year of the Tiger!

We celebrated the Year of the Tiger at church tonight.

Our dragon dance:

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I ordered some sparklers online - that was my contribution. I thought that it wouldn't be a proper CNY celebration without children playing with fire.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Good news!

Remember the movie Extraordinary Measures? Remember I asked you guys to vote for the Rett Syndrome video? Well, we WON! The $10,000 is ours! $10,000 to spend on critical research. :) Thanks to all who voted! May this bring us just a little bit closer to a cure!

On a different note, I started knitting again.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

$1.88 Lean Cuisine

After so many feasts, it is about time to eat light. Mom and I started our $1.88 lean cuisine frozen food routine for dinner several days ago. Not bad at all. It is very convenient to cook in the hotel using microwave oven. It also keeps my glucose level low and have more time for something else. Eat out, sometimes, consumes a lot of time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wow! Obama Goes Nuclear

Wow! Obama goes nuclear in a tough winter for enviros. One newspaper headline said.

Really, I don't think so. Nuclear is very "GREEN" and good for the employment. But, he just released 8 billions out of 18.5 billions that has already been approved before him. I hope he will go further and continue to release more, up to 85 billions as he has promised. But, he has promised a lot. Hasn't he?

But, most importantly, "nuclear" is good for employment, much better than others. Without "employment", nothing else will happen. In math jargon, "employment" is the necessary and sufficient condition for "GREEN" to grow.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blue and Gold Banquet.

Last night, Vince's cub scout troop held their annual dinner to celebrate the oldest cub scouts moving onto boy scouts. In the past, they had the event catered, but this year to save money, the parents cooked a spaghetti dinner - a record breaking low per person cost of less than $3 for basically all you can eat pasta, rolls, hot dogs and cookies. I think it was almost half as much as they spent the previous years on food.

Jeremy made a cake:

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and served it:

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Jeremy and Edda holding up 2 fingers which means "be quiet and pay attention". Everyone is suppose to notice and put up their own two fingers and be quiet. It didn't really work that well.

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The actual ceremony was a little hokey - but what can you say? They had an old-fashioned fake fireplace fire going. No pictures of Vince, he was moving too fast to capture on (digital) film.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Feel the Flutter.

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After the White House tour (which took only 30 minutes), we headed to the Natural History Museum. They have a live butterfly exhibit!

Wake up Edda, you are missing the butterflies... (do you see Vince's tie? - he dressed up for the White House, you know, just in case we saw the president).

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Icy!

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Mom. Learning to use the GPS



I consider teaching the parents how to use a GPS a success. I think they really find it really useful. We used it to drive from Li-Pei's house to a restaurant in SF. Also Mom & Dad used to drive back to Li-Pei's place. Pretty much with minimal input from me, they were able to navigate in both directions. Yea!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

White House visit.

Went to the White House today, very exciting after a spending nearly a whole week in the house being all snowed under. It is not possible to just show up at the White House and go on a tour - I think you have to ask three months before you want to go; I got to go through my alumni organization who managed to get 150 tickets which were distributed among the members. Saw the China Room, the Red, Blue and Green Rooms, East Room, the State Dining room. Jeremy and Edda got extra lucky - because Edda was in her wheelchair and couldn't manage the long staircase up to the 2nd floor, Jeremy and Edda got to go through part of the cordoned-off West Wing. Turns out, they got to go through the White House kitchen - something that Jeremy always loves to check out. He said that they were not very busy and it was very clean. I told them that he should have asked for a snack. Sorry no photos! I was not allowed to bring my camera (although I was a little bit miffed by this rule because cell phones were allowed, so we all had cameras, just very little ones.)

This evening, in celebration of the Olympics, we moved a little dining room table to right in front of the TV. Our massive 19" TV.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shoveling.

On the morning walk:

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Jeremy shoveled a lot today. We have a pretty big driveway, our street is narrow and there really is nowhere left to put the snow. So Jeremy made a ramp to the middle of the lawn and started dumping wheelbarrow loads of snow in the middle of the yard.

You gotta get a running start:

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Then up the ramp and dump!

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The pile is a good 8 feet high (I know I look pregnant in the photo. Please disregard. I am not pregnant.):

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Yes or No on California Proposition 16, 2010?

The official ballot summary prepared by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of California says:

"Requires local governments to obtain the approval of two-thirds of the voters before providing electricity to new customers or expanding such service to new territories if any public funds or bonds are involved. Requires same two-thirds vote to provide electricity through a community choice program if any public funds or bonds are involved. Requires the vote to be in the jurisdiction of the local government and any new territory to be served. Provides exceptions to the jurisdiction of the voting requirements for a limited number of identified projects."

PG&E's (Diablo Canyon Power Plant is part of PG&E) response:

...
...
...

As California learned during the 2000-2001 energy crisis, when government takes on the added responsibility of serving as an electricity provider, customers and taxpayers can be forced to take on billions of added debt that can take decades to repay with no assurance of any benefit.

We are encouraged by the backing Proposition 16 has already received throughout the state. On November 16, 2009, the committee supporting the initiative turned in more than 1.1 million signatures to local registrars. On January 12, 2010, the Secretary of State certified it for the June 8 ballot.

In the months ahead, we expect that support will continue to grow as more taxpayers learn about Proposition 16. We hope this will include every member of the PG&E team, and we encourage you to help get the word out about the importance of this measure. You’ll be hearing more in the near future about opportunities to do just that. In the meantime, for more information, click here for frequently asked questions, or click here for a link to the Taxpayers Right to Vote Web site.

Thank you.
Peter Darbee
Chairman, CEO and President
PG&E Corporation

Chris Johns
President
Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bizzard.

Well, this snow storm was a doozy. I got up and worked a little - then I thought I'd take Ruby for a walk. We made it about 7 houses before we turned back. The snow was going sideways because of the wind, pelting my poor eyeballs. All day, we could barely see out our windows because the snow/wind was so terrific. Went back to work. All day. While the rest of the government was shut down.

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Birdfeeders outside my office window were busy all day with birds that didn't know what hit them and had to find food fast. I finally got a woodpecker to visit my suet.

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Jeremy's downtown office was closed, but he was on a conference call at noon.

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The amount of homemade bread made in this house in the past week has been insane.

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Yawn. I'm tired too. Going to bed. Tomorrow shoveling. Good night!

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When flexibility backfires.

The federal government has been closed for 2.5 days now - I suspect it will be closed tomorrow, but since I telework, I get no weather related leave. There has been some grumbling among my fellow teleworkers, but I'm very happy to trade in a few days of working at home under a blanket of snow for the flexibility that working from home affords me.

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Luckily the power and the internet connections have held up and Eliana has been very helpful on the child care front. Oh yeah, schools have been canceled for the rest of the WEEK!

Here are the troops this morning. Still in PJs. Edda's hair has a cute little curl in it today for some reason.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Morning dog walk!

Out on the street:

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Through the woods:

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Over the bridge:

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After Jeremy spent most of Sunday digging out our driveway - the plow came by last night and dumped a whole bunch of snow in front of our drive.

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Our beautiful shoveled sidewalk; reburied under boulders of snow:

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More snow pictures coming tomorrow - 10 to 24 MORE inches predicted for tomorrow!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Running on fumes.

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There was a lot of crying today and grumpiness as Vincent is playing, playing, playing in the snow without a lot of food or rest. It's a little bit trying on all of us. They have canceled school on Monday and Tuesday, so we are in for at least 2 more days of being trapped in the house. Weather reports are forecasting for more snow on Tuesday.

We did manage to go to Welsh Park for a round of sledding:

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Yow-za!

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We were very lucky - neither power, heat nor internet (we know our priorities) went down. Lots of trees in the neighborhood went down - snapping lots of above ground lines:

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