Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are you famous?


Every year, Jeremy likes to do a little science experiment for Vince's school. He coordinates with the teachers about what they are learning in science class and comes in and does a PowerPoint presentation and an experiment. This year Jeremy's topic is "How Grass Helps the Chesapeake Bay".  Basically, he talked about how plants prevent erosion and run off from getting into the streams and finally into the bay.  Here he is holding a piece of sod.  


Everyone raised their hands to be chosen as a volunteer.  I've never seen so many excited future scientists.


Jeremy did the presentation twice - a total of about 120 students. He answered many questions, including my favorite - "Are you famous?" All the kids wrote and illustrated thank you notes for Jeremy and he read each and every one of them. It's not often you get to see yourself drawn by other kids besides your own, so seeing Vince's classmates drawings (god, these possessives are killing me) of Jeremy was really enjoyable.  Notice the goatee and the cardigan! And he's yellow like a Simpson.


Monday, January 30, 2012


Someone superglued his fingers together.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wonderful weekend -

It is not often that the Lees are together.  We are far flung and all have demanding schedules. On a rare weekend together, we managed to celebrate my parent's birthdays. Both turned 70 a few months ago and we haven't been able to celebrate until now. We did get the parents matching iPads. I am still not sure how much they will use them - I hope they love playing Angry Birds as much as I do.


Uncle Donald came and it is always a good time when he is around. He is such a good sport, playing Wii with Vince, helping Edda with a bath and he is all around advice person for: bikes, electrical work, Mac adjustments, games, puzzles, things that are "cool" and dancing. In other words, there was not a still moment for him! Also, do you think we look alike? At least 17 people this weekend told us we look exactly alike! :)


Our 70th Birthday Party

Tonight (Saturday, 1/28/2012), Rena, Jeremy, Doris, Donald and I dined out to celebrate our (Rena & I) 70th birthday. Actually, our 70th birthday happened in November and December last year, respectively.

But, in November last year, we both were in China. Furthermore, last December, Rena was here and I was in China. So, it was a kind of catch-up birthday party for both. For this, Donald flew in from San Francisco specifically for this memorable gathering. And indeed, we enjoyed a lot.

In the morning hours, we also received our iPADs as birthday gift from Doris and Donald with their birthday greeting engraved on it. Really nice and, for us, it is a perfect gift and especially for Mom. She is going away in late February to work on AP1000 (Advanced Nuclear Reactor) Project as a short-term consultant. She needs a new one and this iPAD came just in time.

Vince is quite happy to see uncle Donald also. Edda is becoming very heavy for me to lift her upstairs to take a nap. But, she is as lovely as always.

Happy Chinese New Year to all - year of the Dragon :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012


We were delighted to attend Vince's 4th grade instrumental music concert on Wed. night. When it was time to pick what kind of instrument, I tried so hard to get him to play another instrument besides violin, which he has been playing for a year and a half already.  All the music they would have at the elementary school, even in the advanced class would be too easy for him. What about the baritone, sweetie?

I played the violin in elementary and middle school and I am wistful about all the marching band practices I missed out on. I should have played the bassoon. Actually, I'm not sure if bassoon is a marching band instrument.   I think I was a band geek in a former life. Alas, Vince did not want to practice another instrument, so violin it was.


This shirt/tie/pants outfit we purchased for Tony's wedding last summer is really our go-to formal outfit and has exceeded my expectations on the number of times we have been able to use it. Vince has had more dry cleaned visits than I have this year! I was really impressed with the music teacher, very sweet, but also very disciplined. The concert ended with a resounding rendition of Ode to Joy. Beethoven would have been very pleased.


Edda had a nice nap during the performance.  Poor girl, I know that she would rather be home in a warm bath or snuggled in bed during these night time activities, but somehow we take her along just to take her along.  She is a good sport.  I think she even went grocery shopping with Jeremy after the concert (there was desperate need of Popsicles (in January!) and bacon, I'm sure) - didn't get to be in her bed until 9 pm. 


On a completely different note, I found this to be hilarious - and so did my parents, they practically fell over laughing when they saw this --

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Dragon.

This time, I was in China to personally witness the mass movement of going home to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Practically, everyone that I know of is going home - near or far. All weeks, their eyes glue on the Internet Official Site of www.12306.com to buy train tickets inside China. It records billion hits almost every day. No wonder, the earth rotation rate might be affected due to different concentration of mass on top of it.

Well, I am also glad that I came back the USA on the Chinese New Year eve and stayed away from places that packed with a lot of constantly moving human heads :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jeremy's media coverage -

Today was a big day in the Lee-Martin household. Jeremy's interview (7 minutes long!) on NPR's Living on Earth aired today. You can listen to it here. I know I'm a little biased, but he sounds fabulous! So expert-like. I know he is an expert on this bio-fuels stuff, but the his voice plus the sound editing make him sound super fantastic. And now that he's had an interview on radio - he is, like, famous. I'm married to a celebrity. Ha ha.

He's also quite happy with this blog post: A Swift Kick, or a Polite Tap on the Shoulder

And a blog post is not a blog post without a photo. I had my eyes checked. No need for bifocals yet!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

A suburban dog.


If reincarnation exists, I think I want to come back as a suburban dog. Warm place to sleep, enough to eat, every once in a while some table scraps. In the mornings, when I have time, Ruby and Maxi meet up with a bunch of other suburban dog for a good romp. Well, Maxi romps, Ruby runs around trying to catch balls before the younger dogs get to them and trying to find out who has the doggie treats in their pocket.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ruby is 11!

Ruby turned 11 on Monday.  My first baby is 11! We fixed her and Maxi some extra-special goodness of chicken meat and some of that chicken gelatin that forms on the bottom of the pan when you refrigerate it.


Someone is super excited to be fed her breakfast. Ruby is the best dog ever - gentle, kind and loyal - she also has aged incredibly gracefully, all her parts seem to be in order and although she would rather sleep in on most days, she still chases tennis balls around the dog park. Sometimes the older dogs (and even some of the younger dogs) at the dog park seem to have a litany of ailments, we had lung cancer, breast cancer, knee replacements, hip massages and glaucoma which Ruby has somehow hit the genetic jackpot and avoided all of these ailments. Although, I must admit, she still smells pretty bad especially when she gets wet.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday night dinner.


We have been having Sunday night dinner with the cousins for more than 4 years now.  It's amazing to see how big the kids have gotten.  We hosted at our house last Sunday where Jeremy did a roasting cook-off between "organic" chicken and "cruelty-free" chicken.   The results were not disputed,  the organic chicken was more tender and tasted better and the cruelty-free chicken, well, does not taste better and is a little tougher and is more expensive, but that is because presumably it got to run around outside some for some parts of its life. 

My mom came and brought 17 million pieces of assorted clothing that she got on super-duper sale for the kids from TJ Maxx or Ross:


This past weekend, Tilli, our new au pair, arrived from Germany - I do not have a proper photo, but you can see her in the background with the black scarf.  Much to my chagrin, the kids were at their best crazy, shirts were off - lots of yelling, running around the house, and barking from the dogs - there was also spirited demonstration of booty dancing and various other things that I'm sure convinced Tilli that the Martins are indeed CRAZY!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Devin came over!

Little (or not so little) boys and sleepovers. Parents pack pajamas - they get ignored in favor of just sleeping in boxer shorts. Endless electronic games. Can a friendship be maintained just by talking to each other over strategies of little avatars?  I swear - these two boys spent 24 hours together and all they wanted to do was play video games and eat junk food.   I had to actually camp out in the room until 11 when they both fell asleep, which is like an hour and a half past my bedtime.  And they were up by 7 am, TV on and bed heads all around.


Lunch: Tater tots, ravioli and peanut butter sandwiches.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Change is in the air.

We went a week without childcare and survived. Since I work from home, I often toy with the idea that perhaps we do not need to hire childcare as it is a large expense of ours and I would love to spend the money to replace thread-bare and stained sofas (which are starting to be an embarrassment when pals come over) and paint the house (which is still contractor white) and a nice beautiful leather purse. But it usually takes only a week of juggling, getting less sleep, calling in favors, being behind on work and cancelling appointments to convince me that, indeed, childcare is money well spent. It just that Vince is quickly approaching the age where he does not need very much supervision - while Edda still very much does.

I spent the morning filling out a form called the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Test for Edda because she needs to be categorized within the school system. Pages and pages of check marks indicating the severity of her disability. No, she cannot point to three major body parts when asked, nor does she tell lies nor does she hold a part time job. I don't really no what the point of this test is - but dutifully I fill it out.

Of course, I am not really doing well on my quest to lose 5 pounds - here is an exquisite caramel/chocolate/sea salt cupcake I ate on a girl's lunch out last week. Yum!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thank you Denise!


Denise worked her last day on Friday - we are sad to see her go, but she is off on bigger and better adventures. Thank you for taking care of the kids - we celebrated her last working day by going out to our favorite pizza joint, the Slice of Rockville!

Friday, January 6, 2012



Vince loves sushi. Well, he loves avocado rolls. I'm the one who loves eel.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our friend the philosopher.


Alan, our friend the philosopher, stayed at our house over the holidays. He was in town for a philosophy meeting. We discussed the prevalence of black turtlenecks at the meeting. Can't you just imagine all the people sitting around in black turtlenecks philosophizing? Vince asked what exactly a philosopher does. What does a philosopher do? Read, write, and teach. Philosophers also enjoy eating cupcakes!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My mom and pizza.

My mom surprised me today and asked to go to lunch! Pizza and tomato soup. Yum. DSC_0867.JPG

Monday, January 2, 2012

Poughkeepsie Children's Museum.

I took the grandparents and the 4 grandchildren to the children's museum on Christmas Eve.  Vince and Edda are getting to be a bit old to be at the children's museum, but we ran around and kept ourselves entertained for at least two hours.