Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hong Kong

Rena and I have been in Hong Kong since September 26th, 2012.  We are here to celebrate the 80th birthday of Rena's elder sister.  Besides us, there are a lot of their other relatives coming here from everywhere.  Logistics, I believe, is a big challenge for every one, especially for the hosts.

I can't believe that we eat-out three meals a day - for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all the time and almost every day.  Sometimes, I simply sat there and was mindful of not eating too much.  Of course, food here is delicious and price is not that economical also.

Since Mom ranks pretty senior in her family, of course and according to Chinese tradition, all small ones in her family receive a red envelop from her.

I am heading back to USA on October 3rd, 2012 and ready to work at San Jose, CA starting October 8th, 2012.  Mom will stay on in Hong Kong and China for a while.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A new old bike

Everyone in the household has a "fun fund" - grown ups get $20 a week, kids get less - it's money that you can use without anyone else giving you the evil eye saying that it was a silly purchase. I run my "fun fund" pretty low - I think I have about 45 dollars in my account now, because I like to spend my money on margaritas with my Rett mom friends or monogrammed stationary or yoga class or my poker buy-in - Jeremy is much more patient with his savings, he was almost up to $900 and had his eye on his first expensive bike.  I think that a $1000 bike is a pretty silly purchase for basically riding the 1.25 miles to the Metro - but it's all his to spend.  My brother, a bike enthusiast, will tell you that real bikes just start at 1K, but to me it just seems like a tremendous investment for non-racers like us. (Jeremy - for five years now - has been riding every day my brother's old Trek that my parents bought  for him in 1988 or so - you can tell by the purple detailing).  For years, he's been looking for bikes all around the DC metro area, obscure brands that no one carried and would have to special order. Every where we are near a bike shop, he wants to stop in and see if they have exactly what he wanted.

So last week, we stopped into a local bike shop and he ended up spontaneously buying a Trek which was used in a rental program for a song - they were clearing out last year's bikes to get in an infusion of the 2013 models - it's like buying a rental car. A used bike that was guaranteed not to have been stolen, included a U-lock, fenders, and to top it all off, faux leather seat.  I think he paid just over $200 for it and now still has enough money left to buy a flat screen TV he has been eying.


Friday, September 28, 2012



Somehow I have found a group of friends that like to get together on weeknights (!) and drink and play poker - mostly women, they all have demanding jobs, they all have kids, and yet - they party like it's 1999. So out of my normal milieu! As a policy, I try not to turn things that I'm invited to down, just because, you know, it could be kind of fun and interesting and it was (it was also a little boozy - nothing like being a touch hung over on Friday morning)!


I learned all the good stuff, 5/7 card draw and stud, some variations like High Chicago. Lost like 7 dollars and was the first one to leave at 11 pm which is good because I have an anatomy exam in about 3 hours that I need to cram for.


Thursday, September 27, 2012



Jeremy went to NYC earlier this week to give a talk. He wearing my favorite tweed jacket.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Special effort.


Vince doesn't want to play violin anymore. It's really no surprise. It's hard work. I told him that we were just going to go ahead and plow through it - that this was the one thing I was going to make him do. I told him the pay off was going to be when he was a grown up and could appreciate that he knew how to play some music. He replied that the payoff was going to be when he made his own kids play a musical instrument. I told him he was probably right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Camping -


Our last camp-out trip with the Cub Scouts happened this past weekend. Ruby was the doggie that got to go, she loves going on hikes with the kids, getting extra attention, looking for dropped s'mores and bits of KFC fried chicken. And she doesn't run away when you drop the leash, BONUS!  Somehow, we are surrounded by a million cub scouts and their little sisters (all Edda's age - bittersweet, but more sweet that night than bitter) who all swarm around and play with fire while the parents talk politics.


I love when camping is car camping and only 20 minutes away. I means that Edda and I can pop in for dinner, bring the forgotten items like bug spray and skedaddle out of there in time for bed time in our own beds at home!


Monday, September 24, 2012



Watching Project Runway - so much crying! So many sequins! Edda is even inspired by the crazy fashions, she looks much, much better with longer hair and bangs.  We are patiently waiting for her hair to grow out. I am doing this while trying to study for my anatomy class on Friday. So many types of epithelial cells and my poor brain is so full, I can't fit any more into it. Off to give Edda a shower. Kisses everyone!

Sunday, September 23, 2012



In the past few days, I have repaired a broken window, shampooed three extremely smelly (and relatively remorse) dogs, replaced a wax ring on a toilet that was flooding semi-sewage water in one of our bathrooms and cut a hole in the ceiling of our living room through which I stuck my head which resulted in dirt smudge on my cheek which my neighbor saw and asked if my head was OK to which I responded that I was cutting holes in my house that I was not sure if I could repair. And yet, I am in a pretty good mood. I credit it all to the weather and the fact that nothing is really acutely wrong. We are all healthy and have each other and I am extremely grateful. Edda did cry and cry last Monday, but she has been unusually cheerful (or back to her usual cheerfulness) for the rest of the week and weekend, it was like a little miracle for me - having the good old Edda back. Life can be full of frustrations and unhappiness and sadness and I live everyday to try again to find the goodness and tenderness and comedy (which is always bubbling up to the surface), even elbow-deep in the guts of a broken toilet.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

School fundraisers.


Someone on the PTA decided to send home a fundraising brochure with pizza and chicken nuggets. Usually it is wrapping paper, but somehow one can order pizza a month in advance. So curious.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It just is!

So after the terrible, no good, very bad day on Monday with Edda - yesterday Edda was full of smiles and happiness - even at therapy and at a play date arranged by Se Hyun. Was yesterday any different than Monday? Well, school was in session which leads me to think that a regular schedule is what was missing, but again, I really don't know. I understand that there are days where everyone gets to feel like they are at the end of their rope, I just wish I knew what triggered it for Edda.

Also, I get lulled into complacency, sometimes we will have 2-3 days in a row of Edda happiness and then I will feel good and optimistic think that heaven above has shone down on me and then I will get walloped with a day of 4-5 hours of crying and I will wallow in my ineptitude of being a mother who is unable to make her daughter happy.

Edda's mood swings are not the only thing on my mind these days, things are crazy around here, the house needs some repairs including a leak in the ceiling, leaking gutter caused by a falling branch, a broken window caused by a little imp in the house. Work is also heading into the end of the fiscal year at the end of September which means I'm in a little bit of a patent crunch. Nonetheless - I found myself (out of necessity) driving around town yesterday with all three dogs in the van mid-day (Ruby is in the picture, you can make out her shadow behind the crates).


I will not bore you with my dog saga - but thankfully it was a cool, cloudy day yesterday and I could leave them in the car while I tried on some crazy shoes designed by Jessica Simpson at TJ Maxx.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Soldier on.


So yesterday was the Jewish New Year and we had a doozy of a day. The kids didn't have school yesterday, so I arranged for Vince to have a playdate, Se Hyun was on Edda duty for most of the day while I worked upstairs. Se Hyun took Edda to the park and Edda cried the whole time, then the two came home and I could hear Edda crying on and off for the next few hours while I raced through my day's work. I relieved Se Hyun at 3:30pm when I emailed in my last patent for the day and then Edda cried for me for three hours while I held her closely in her bed trying to get her to take a nap. Then took her downstairs and buckled her into a chair in front of the TV so I could get dinner going without having her follow me around the house crying and putting her hands onto the hot stove - grilled ham and cheese and broccoli. She cried a lot of the time. Then Jeremy came home and we served dinner and Edda cried some more. Jeremy and Vince went out to a cub scout meeting and Se Hyun helped clean up the kitchen.  Then 7:30 came rolling around and I took Edda upstairs (crying) and she went to bed peacefully (although without getting her teeth brushed, I can't bear to brush her teeth when she is crying.  Then I came downstairs to discover the leak in the ceiling has developed into a small deluge.  Then I wanted to cry - but I just ate some snacks instead.  Sigh.  I think I'm going to go get a snack now.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Best birthday weekend ever!

I partied like a pug in a belly dancing outfit!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Back to Work

I just received a permanent job offer by a company in San Jose, CA.  Though San Francisco area is not a totally unfamiliar place for me, I am still looking forward to work/live there for a long while.

This way, Rena has three places to go.  Beside San Jose, Washington DC and Washougal, WA, she can travel with her relatives and/or friends if she choose to.  Hopefully, she will spend most of her time with me in San Jose, CA.  Anyway, I guess I will miss her present many days of a year.  No matter where she is, we still can reach to each other fairly easy.  Of course, I am a grown-up and know how to handle :)

Most importantly, by working, I will feel much younger and be more productive.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, Doris

Happy Birthday Doris, Love, Mom & Dad

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vickey -

My beautiful pregnant friend. I can't wait to meet the little guy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Learning life skills.

Vince is learning to cook - the sous chef of Jeremy.  Spinach no less.  Vince will actually eat the spinach.  Often Vince cooks and then refuses to eat the food that he cooks. 


A few weeks ago, Vince accidentally broke a window in the house by throwing something he wasn't suppose to throw around the house.  I had just come back from the glass place and told him that it was going to be more than $200 to repair the damage.  He acknowledged my comment, but then instead of apologizing or offering to pay for some of the damage from his allowance, he immediately asked if he could buy a new deck of Magic cards.  I told him that one of the life skills that one needs to learn is that you have to have your mom in a good mood before you ask for something.  So in order to get me in a "good mood" he started flitting about, feeding Edda, clearing plates and laying the charm on thick. 


Monday, September 10, 2012

Gave Boba a haircut today.

I have never had a dog with hair instead of fur. With Boba's parent's blessing, I went ahead and groomed Boba myself. I thought I'd save them fifty bucks or so. Now I understand why most dogs go to the groomer. Boba now looks a little like a large rat and I got our deck covered in little poodle curls.







A Trip to Kumming, China and Hong Kong

Rena and I are going to travel to Kumming, China for 6 days on the 18th under a program that we only have to pay US$99.00 each for local hotel room, meals and transportation.  But, we have to pay our air tickets from here to Kumming, China and back.  The only condition is that besides sight-seeing, we have to participate their fixed number of shopping trips - you don't have to buy and do have to go.  They are some additional expenses such as tips as well as gate tickets.  But, they are minimum.

After that, we will go to Hong Kong for Rena's eldest sister's 80th birthday celebration.  Together with her gangs, Rena will continue her journey to Shanghai to celebrate and I am heading back to USA on Oct. 3rd.  from Hong Kong and she will stay in Chong Ming, China until end of October.

Since I was back in June, Rena and I have almost worked unstoppable to tidy our yards and, I believe, besides the "Deer Fence Phase III" at Washington DC, everything should be in place - at least, for now :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

John Cage.


Emy was in town for a John Cage festival and we attended a concert last night at the Freer Gallery. Margaret Leng Tan played a piece that involved singing into the open part of the grand piano. Apparently Ms. Tan is also known for being a virtuoso at the toy piano - which I find very interesting.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

One big itch ball.

So my poison ivy is spreading and I'm turning into one big itch-ball. I think I even have some spots in my arm pit. The spot between my fingers is particularly annoying. I think I will be less cavalier next time going into the pit of our backyard to do a little "cleaning up".


We spent today putting in Jeremy's birthday garbage disposal. It took us only like 6 hours and 2 trips to Home Depot, but we managed.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Happy birthday!


Jeremy turned 44 today. Happy birthday sweetie. I hope you like your new garbage disposal!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Who is Grumpy?

We have enough people and dogs in the house to give each person their own Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs nickname. I would like to be Grumpy. Isn't that a good nickname for me? Grumpy Doris.

When I get grumpy, Jeremy (who is Doc), hauls us all out for a walk around the block.


It usually is pretty successful in getting me less grumpy - although not enough to change my name from Grumpy.  OK, maybe I could go from Grumpy to Sleepy.

I have been doing some gardening in the back yard and have gotten a little bit of poison ivy. This also makes me grumpy.


But Maxi could also be grumpy because it appears that Boba, the blink cockapoo, is alpha in the house. Maxi spends a bunch of time looking longingly at the doggie bone that Boba has in his mouth.  Maxi thinks, "Hey, that used to be my bone.  And now it's not.  I'm not sure I like this new situation."



Jeremy talking

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First law of thermodynamics

I often think that our family has our own version of the first law of thermodynamics. The first law talks about the how the amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created or destroyed - basically if something gets more energy, than something else in the system must be losing energy.

For example, I have run three miles almost every day this summer. In exchange for this awesome triumphant achievement, Jeremy has lost all ability to walk up and down stairs. If Jeremy is really thrilled about something, it is inevitable that I will be down in the dumps.  

In exchange for me giving Vince the awesome-est home haircut ever (not too shabby huh?),


we have sucked out all the good haircut karma out of the house and given Edda the worst haircut ever:


In a good mood, I can call it very French. In a bad mood, it is a little, as my little brother says, like a Romulan.

The haircut is fine - it'll grow out, hair always does. But now that her hair is totally out of her eyes, I can see that when she is crying for hours, her eyes seem fixed and dilated and she seems more far away than she used to be. Now I can't remember if her eyes have always been dilated and I'm just imagining these things. When we traveled that last week of August and Edda cried every night in other people's houses, many of our hosts (who we have not seen in over a year) mentioned that either Edda seemed the same to them, or even better and more interactive which is totally not how I feel at all these days and I wonder if I myself am going crazy.  We still haven't been able to get a fix on her unhappiness which is making everyone stressed out (although as I write this, we are on the 2nd night in a row where I don't hear any crying, maybe we've come out of this 3-month-long episode, keeping my fingers crossed).

We've finally got an appointment with her neurologist in mid-October - he recently switched jobs so he's not taking appointments for 6 weeks while he settles into his new role at Children's Hospital. I don't want to see him, I don't know if this is Edda's brain just going crazy or what - I'm not sure he will know what to do, I think neurology is often just a shot in the dark with crazy-strong meds.

I have let go of so many "normal" things for Edda and I think that I am at peace with much of it, but the one thing I have held on to is that I knew that she was not suffering and generally a happy, carefree girl.  Isn't that what we all want for our children?  I knew that this was not always the case with Rett girls, so I was grateful that we had a happy Edda, so the last three months, I feel like that last little remnant that I hold on to to keep my sanity is slipping away.

I'm quicker to be jealous of friends who can just drop kids off at pools, friends houses, etc and not worry about changing facilities, accessibility or uncontrollable crying.  I know I'm lucky in many ways, and usually I can focus on the many things that I do have. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Vince has never played in organized sports. We are not a "sporty" type of family. No one watches sports on TV, no one went to a college with football, no one understands the "off sides" rules of soccer. Jeremy mentioned to me this summer that he though that Vince should get involved with a team sport - to which I groaned because we live in an area which all the kids start all their sports when they are 4 years old and there is no way that Vince would be able to catch up in any sport such as soccer/football/baseball/basketball/tennis/lacrosse/wrestling. I actually proposed fencing or ping pong (sorry, table tennis) as a possible sport for Vince because I think those sports are a little underrepresented and maybe Vince would have a fighting chance to not be humiliated on the first day. Anyways Vince (and Jeremy) scoffed at my fencing/ping pong idea and Vince said that he wanted to play soccer and I signed him up for the local rec-league soccer and we showed up to the field - knew no one, it was hot and he was outplayed and it all ended in tears and frustration.


I scrambled around and backed out from the local rec-league and found a co-ed league run by the city and we went today and Vince had a great time. Still knew no one, but it was in the shade and Vince's level of play was fine, got lots of ball action and I felt like the coach was better than the more competitive team I had first signed him up for. I like that the team is co-ed and the best player by far was a girl.



Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy labor day!

Happy labor day to all you hard-working folks out there. I do love labor day as it not only pays homage to my union/socialist tendencies, but it also means the end of summer (my least favorite season) and the beginning of fall (my favorite season). It has been chock-a-block of regular-life craziness in the house, I'm trying to ride the tide and take care of things one at a time and not go too crazy. I think if I did enjoy drinking, that I would be imbibing in a glass of wine two-three times a day.

I didn't think life was too crazy last weekend when I agreed to foster Boba - a 6-year-old blind cockapoo (special needs!). Super cute. Boba is a dog from the 'hood - his family is going through a rough patch and the neighborhood decided to band together to take care of Boba for a few months. But Boba is mainly at our house because I'm the one working at home all the time - so here he is in all his glory.


Two days after agreeing to take in Boba, Ruby slipped on the hardwood floors and came up lame on her back right foot. Wouldn't put weight on it - this resulted in us carrying her up and down the stairs (thank goodness she's weighs the same as Edda - so we've been practicing, but one does have to start lower to the ground which places one's back at greater risk). We tried to figure out how to rejigger the stairlift to accommodate Ruby, but in the end, we are confining her to the first floor and she has to wear traction booties, which she hates, but are cheaper than the vet's suggestions of carpeting the whole house. The vet seemed to think it's just a pulled ligament, which seems to be right as Ruby is doing better all the time, but still hates her booties.


And right after Ruby came up lame, then Jeremy came up lame. Jeremy's been battling some Achilles tendon problems for the past year or so, and this week, it has decided to flare up so much so that he's limping around the house. He's taken to using the stairlift to get up and down the stairs. I told him that at least I get to divide the cost of the stairlift by two, which makes it much more economical per person. And if we figure out how to get Ruby on the stairlift, then I can divide it by three! Even more savings ;)


My two loves who can't do stairs, sharing a ride together.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Enjoying K-Pop

Loving this K-pop video (even though I have no idea what they are saying):