Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am still blogging about the long weekend.

My mother told me that I would never find myself a husband because I didn't know how to cook. Now I know how to cook - I learned most everything I know about cooking from my husband! Jeremy cooked so much this weekend and he loved every minute of it (including the part where he melted plastic wrap all over a brand new turkey pan).

These are sticky buns for a brunch we hosted:

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That hair.

Off to the Joffrey Ballet's nutcracker. Vince's hair is insane. Everyone in plaid.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey day continues!

Mom making her famous egg rolls, a Thanksgiving tradition!

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Tables in action...

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Family Dinner & 2011 Family Re-union















Last night, we had a much quieter family dinner following the house-packed Thanksgiving Dinner with all the Martins, all the Blooms, all other relatives and many friends. Oh, of course, that delicious one at Gene & Bette's place right after Thanksgiving Day. Rena and I enjoyed all three very much.

It was awfully good to see Donald around. He is the one that Rena and I haven't seen enough of after he took off to college. From time to time, we visited him in the Bay area while passing by. But, fortunately, we kind of have an annual family re-union, on and off. At least, this way, we can all get together once a year. Therefore, Rena and I would like to keep this yearly re-union on going.

Yes, this time, in the dinner, we all decided to hold one for next year (2011) in the Pacific Northwest around Washougal, WA area, during the later part of August. Rena and I are very excited and look forward to seeing them all there in August, 2011.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey prep.

45 people = 3 turkeys. Jeremy sliced up the turkey into dark and white sections even before they went into the ovens.

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Ruby is excited! Meat smells in the morning...

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Table setting...

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Many thanks to all the people in my life. Without you guys, I am nothing. XOXOXO!!!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Modern medicine sucks sometimes.

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Edda (and by extension, her parents as well) is still not sleeping well. She's usually up at 3:15 (sometimes because of a seizure, sometimes not). Then she's up for an hour watching TV while one of us sleeps in her bed and then at 4:15 or 4:30, when the soundtracks of Dora and Nemo are too much for me, I wrangle her back to bed for mmaaayybe another hour of sleep before Maxi starts barking at 5:15 am.

Then she ends up sleeping at odd times during the day, for longer than usual.

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We are kind of at a cross roads with her seizure medication. We are at the full dose for Keppra now (albeit at a relatively low therapeutic dose) and Edda's noodle-y side effects do seem to be diminishing, however, Edda's still getting seizures on an every-other-day basis. The neuro wants us to increase the dose of Keppra. We kind of want to back off the med completely and reassess her baseline seizure level again. It's where you kind of look at each other and shrug a little bit... which way to go? Dunno. It's just kind of sad to have Edda bear the brunt of our little drug experiment. She's not happy having seizures, nor is she happy with the side effects of the medication.

Blah.

(I just reread this post and I'm actually in a much better mood that this entry implies, I am very excited about Thanksgiving - it really is one of my favorite holidays. And Edda is happily waiting for her dinner to be ready. We are all good.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gearing up for the big turkey day!

Jeremy is very excited to finally be hosting the huge Thanksgiving feast this year. We are expecting over 40 people at the house (I hope they all can find parking within a block of the house). As we do not have ample seating, we are actually procuring rental tables and chairs and turning the living room into a mess hall. This past weekend, Jeremy has been focused on those little crepe paper turkeys that can be used as center pieces for the tables; we haven't been able to find any but it doesn't mean we won't stop trying to locate them. Might mean a dreaded trip to the Party Store (I don't like the Party Store - whenever I go there, I feel like I'm at a party no one else wants to come to.)

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I have been in a leaf blowing war (in the nicest way) with my neighbor. He has blown our leaves at least twice this season and as we live in the middle of the woods (not really, but you should see the amount of leaves that fall on our property), it has been no small pistacios. We have reciprocated with a bag of apples, but it's all getting a little embarrassing.

We actually don't own a leaf blower , we own rakes (OK, maybe just one rake). I have thought about asking for a leaf blower for Christmas, but Jeremy says we have to get the 4-stroke one and they're so loud and create a lot of noise pollution and kick up soot from vehicles which we'll then inhale and maybe we should just rake. So he's not entirely thrilled about getting a leaf blower. So when I found my neighbor blowing our leaves for the third time this season on Sunday, I tried to yank his leaf blower out of his hands and I was determined to do this final leaf clean-up. He did not let go of his leaf blower and shooed me back inside my own house.

I did not want to give up, I went to the neighbor on the other side (neighbor #2) to borrow his leaf blower. In addition to a leaf blower loan, I got this:

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Custom made sugar cookie for Edda. Awwwww... so cute.

Then Vince saw the blower and he wanted to try:

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Lots of leaves moving around, not much central collection though.

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Ruby Is Celebrating Too


Ruby is celebrating too!
Ruby likes Mom. Every time, Mom prepares large meat balls, specifically for Ruby. Look at this picture, Ruby was anticipating something big that was going to happen.
Minutes before, we all went to the nearby O'brien Pit Barbecue (a local family restaurant where Rena, Doris, Donald and I often dined together when they were young) at Gude Drive to celebrate. The "Montgomery Donuts" used to there also. At that time and almost every night, Rena and I bought three fresh donuts there for Donald. Too bad, I think it is out-of-business today.
Btw, my birthay cake was tasty. It was good, I think. Happy Birthday again, Mom!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Night-time routine.

Sweaty from a school dance:

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Getting ready for bed:

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This is what Jeremy was reading to Edda!

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at;
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman,
But generally seems to lack

The energy to clamber back.

Happy Birthday, Mom










Today is Mom's birthday. She smiles.

Yesterday, I made the birthday cake (an orange cake) for Mom, of course, with Mom's help.

This evening, Jeremy, Doris, Vincent, Edda and us are going out for a family dinner to celebrate. After that, I hope, my cake is edible & okay :)

When Donald comes back to the east for Thanksgiving, the Lees as well as Jeremy will have a formal celebration dinner together.

Mom said when my birthday comes in December, we will be on the road and far away from home. She suggests to celebrate mine together at the same time :). This way, it is GREENer to save the time, effort and energy. The following picture shows her "GREEN" approach :). Not too bad :-)












Saturday, November 20, 2010

Knitting.

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I have been so busy with work and household/family obligations that my hobbies have been shoved to the side - this includes photography and blogging, knitting and reading for pleasure. I am a firm believer that I should carve out a few minutes a day to enjoy these hobbies, they don't need to be ambitious or serious. However, I've been going down the ambitious path - starting War and Peace 17 times, or knitting projects that involve careful counting of stitches and referencing charts. This leads to no progress and pretty much no pleasure. I haven't been able to finish a knitting project in a long, long time - so this week I decided that I needed to do a project with 100% chance of finishing. So I hauled out the chunky yarn and basically knit a circle. Then I took a photo of it. And for kicks, I read a book this week too. Eating Animals by Jonathon Safarn Foer. It did make me think that I should become a vegetarian. But I haven't become one yet. Maybe after Thanksgiving.

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Weddings.

Most of my friends are solidly in the late first or early second decade of their marriages, so I don't often get the opportunity to go on wedding dress shopping expeditions. Actually, to tell the truth, even when I was going to 4-5 weddings a year, I never did go wedding dress shopping with any of my girl friends. I barely went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding ;). Looking back, if there was one thing I would have changed about my wedding, it would have been to splurge a little more on the dress.

It was nice to take an afternoon off this week and help my recently engaged friend Darcy try on some wedding dresses. This is my favorite one - the one I would have picked if I was getting married again, but it wasn't Darcy's #1 choice, so I don't feel like I'm doing to big reveal on my little blog. (Also, Darcy said it was OK to post).

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Raingutter regatta.

The agony of defeat. Vince was out the first round.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

White balance.

I figured out how to correct for white balance in camera. Look, indoor pictures that don't look yellow!

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Parent / teacher conference.

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We met with Vince's third grade teacher this week for a regular parent/teacher conference. I very much like his teacher, very business-like and a little on the stricter side than his previous teachers, which for a wiggle-body like Vince is a good thing. He loves to be with people and loves to learn and be in the classroom. His big stumbling block is that he still reverses a lot of his letters and numbers (the big culprits are "5", "6", "k", "b" and "d"). I did not know that this was happening, but they had started pulling him out of class twice a week for 15-30 minutes to work one-on-one with a reading specialist.

I have known for a while that his handwriting/spelling was atrocious and homework was pretty much unreadable, but I kind of brushed it off thinking that the kids will be typing and using spell-check soon enough, but I kind of forgotten there are *years* between when you learn the letters and when you can hand in a typed-five-standard-paragraph papers.

So I have been sitting down with him more to work on homework together. I am mainly the neatness police, trying to keep the letters more or less going in the same direction and not too squished or too spaced and to make all the reversed letters going the right way. Vince complained I was too picky. He doesn't know that I could have easily been at least 3 times pickier than I was being! My inner-third-grader can be a perfectionist.

On another note, I had to look up prime factorization this week to make sure I was helping Vince do it right Sheez.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

No one likes Keppra.

Keppra. We do not like you. Edda is just like a little noodle when she's on this medication, a more unsteady walker - like a drunk college student, only shorter, wearing fuzzy cartoon print pajamas and not puking at 2 am on a dark street. She has been doing the most amazing acrobatics to keep herself on her feet, each time she looks like she's about to careen into something, she catches herself and re-rights herself without falling. I guess at least she's working out those ab muscles.

And, we haven't noticed any decrease in the occurrences of her seizures. So we are getting all of the side effects and none of the benefit. Grrrr...

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knife Skills.

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Vince learned how to use a pocketknife last night.  It just about killed me to hand over a brand-new-extra-sharp Swiss Army knife and just watch him go after a bar of soap with said sharp knife.  Vince is kind of fearless with a knife.  It took a lot of willpower for me to let him finish carving out his bear from soap.  I know this is just a taste of the fear I will feel when he learns to drive (only 8 more years!  halfway there!).

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We did have a chance to move to wood and the assignment was to turn the square profile into a round profile.  Unfortunately, Maxi found the stick and chewed it up before any home whittling was done and maybe it's just as well.

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I have been watching this over and over again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dog mania continues.

Notice chewed-through leash on cute dog.

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Maxi is a handful - it's a little louder around the house (she likes to bark more than Ruby ever did). I will not lie, I do not like standing out in the front yard in my pajamas in the cold and dark waiting for a dog to pee. Before Maxi, Jeremy and I would alternate nights we would take care of Edda. It guaranteed you at least a good night's sleep every other night - if you wanted to display your selflessness and get some extra credit in the marriage luuuuvvv bank, you could do a double shift (two nights in a row). Now that we have a puppy, each night you get to pick between Maxi duty or Edda duty and no one is getting any sleep. Then grouchy-ness set in from both sides and it is no good! No good! You need at least one fully-rested person to be the one who tells the jokes, makes funny comments and purposely wear mismatched socks as a means of rebelling against the corporate tyranny/political morass/general-life-unfairness so the days don't slide into one complaint after another.

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Edda just loves the dog park. Makes me think that we need to adopt 17 dogs and get more land and just have animals around to nuzzle up to Edda. Not only did Edda commune with the animals, she even did some self-imposed physical therapy and spent some time slowly making her way up the hill at the park (can you see the white speck in the photo below? Edda likes to exit, whenever we are in a room, she always walks towards the nearest exit, so really, she's just trying to find the exit door of the park.) Now if we could only get the dogs to stop peeing on the wheelchair/stroller when we are not paying attention.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Determination.

I tried to convince Jeremy that going to Costco at noon on Sunday was not a good idea. However, he was determined.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Maryland Science Museum

Singing patriotic songs on the way there:

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On a bed of nails:

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Trying on coats that are standard issue for the folks who work in Antarctica!

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@ Washougal, WA




























































All summer this summer, Rena & I worked very hard to tidy up the house inside & outside - washing, caulking, planting, landscaping, window shading, making furniture, etc. Though hard work, we enjoyed a lot.
The air is good and the water is fresh. Mountain trails with shade are almost everywhere. It is pretty much very "green".
Here on the east coast, we enjoy too, especially with Vince & Edda :)

Kouign-amann, pancake practice, bacon.

Ohhhh, I love these Kouign-amann.  It's like a croissant covered in a crunchy sugar coating. I'm eating poorly these days, snackin...