Friday, May 31, 2013

Saki night


Kiki is here for just a moment before she is off to Sweden and then Russia. I wish we could have shown her a better time, things are both hectic and very boring with work and school going on. Tonight we did get to go out and celebrate summer a little bit at our local sushi restaurant. Vince really likes sushi and Jeremy and Kiki both had some saki that was unfiltered. We are all keenly studying nutrition which talks about how fermented foods are beneficial to the gut. Saki is fermented, but usually alcohol is distilled which (I guess) takes away some of the nutrients, but the one we ordered was not filtered, so it was a creamy, milky white.

Vince and the rest of us were in a good mood - however, Edda did not have any of her chicken teriyaki.  My suspicion is that  she needed to poop, but when we scampered home to poop in the comfort of our own bathroom, we didn't get anything except peals of laughter from Edda on the toilet.  It has been hot recently, which I think has sent Edda into kind of a foul mood (yesterday at school and tonight at dinner).  I hope it's not something that lasts all summer like last year!


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gram postitive/gram negative.

So in order to start nursing school in the fall, I need to have two more pre-reqs which I'm racing to finish. Two intensive summer courses, squished into one month of craziness. I spend today in lab staining bacteria. This is all stuff that I think I should have done before, but I don't really think I've done before. Lots of stain on my fingers because the community college is too cash strapped to provide gloves. The summer students tend to often be kids from other colleges working on classes here because they are cheaper or because they want to have the pre-reqs for going to medical school. And because it's not a blog post without a photo, here's a photo of us getting ready to eat a mango.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial day parade!

Vince has marched in this parade three times.  All three times it was so hot - we could fry an egg on the sidewalk.  This year, I was thinking I'd be home and not watching the parade, but Nat really, really, enthusiastically wanted to go.  And I thought Vince had never seen the parade - one can never really see the parade if you are walking in it.  So we went, walking to downtown Rockville with our folding seats over our shoulders.  You have to remember that this was the day after the half marathon for me, so the walking was especially slow for me.



So what exactly is in a Hometown Holiday parade?  Apparently lots of dancers from Bolivia and also zombies.  Oh yeah, and a lot of candy throwing.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Half marathon -


Christine and I ran our first half marathon on Sunday, starting from my actual work office in downtown Alexandria. We were so lucky to have the beautiful weather - usually on Memorial Day weekend, it is sweltering. We are crazy people. My kind of goal was to run at faster than 10 minute pace, but Christine and I blew by that, I did it at 9:41 pace and Christine did it in in a crazy 9:29 pace. A little more than 2 hours of running. So proud of ourselves, we placed in the top third of our age group. I could not have done it without my running partner meeting up everyday at 5:45 in the morning.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



I've been slowly getting together the things I need in order to start nursing school this fall. It includes getting my immunizations up to date and getting my emergency responder CPR card. I found out that I am indeed immune to chicken pox although I never remember having had chicken pox. Today I got a phone call from the registrar asking why I had not yet registered for my fall classes. Truthfully, I just hadn't gotten around to it, classes don't start for another 3 months and since I'm going to nursing school at a small satellite campus, there is only one section of each class and I'm guaranteed a spot, it just didn't seem to be the most important thing. I have never, ever had anyone call me personally about forgetting to register in all my years of registering for classes. I guess it will be a very personalized experience.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Boy scout initiation.


Vince has graduated from Cub Scouts and now has joined Boy Scouts.  He went on his first camping trip this weekend, two nights away from us, Friday night and Saturday night.  He learned to shoot a rifle, a shotgun and a compound bow.  I think he also learned how to make a funnel cake and that he has the smelliest feet in the whole troop.  I was pretty happy that he spent more than 24 hours in a row away from any electronics.  The fact that we traded Minecraft for a rifle is a little amusing to me.  He brought home the target that he used for practice.  I do wish that someday I have a chance to shoot clay pigeons. 


The families were invited to the campsite on Friday evening where they cooked dinner for us and initiated the new boys into the troop.  There was a bonfire and scouts dress up as Indians.  The troop goes camping every month, should be a good chance to get messy and smelly.  You can see him in the photo below wearing my purple sweatshirt with the bright orange accents. With his long hair and my sweatshirt, if you took a quick look at him, you might think that he was me.  A much younger me for sure!




Monday, May 20, 2013

Bette is 75!


We have Sunday night dinner with the extended Martin family every Sunday night from 5-7pm. There are 4 households that we've dubbed the DC Martins and we rotate in a very casual manner, everyone seems to sense when it's their turn to host. We are the newest members of the DC Martins, having arrive here in 2007, but surprisingly, these dinners started only a few months before we got here. I remember the first six months we were here and both of us jobless and looking sad at each other all day, these Sunday night dinners were an anchor for us. Something to look forward to and something to hang our hats on as the weeks passed us by with maddeningly slow job news.  Whenever my parents (the Lees) are in town, sometimes they join in and sometimes they host.  It's really a lot of fun.  Most of the time, people cook dinner which range from spaghetti, to fancy seafood with fancy sauces, but everyone has hosted a dinner where pizza or Chinese food was called in.


Of course, there are always birthdays and celebrations, and we've never gone out to a restaurant.  We've always fielded special requests for dinner or dessert.  Until this past Sunday.  We all took Bette out to celebrate her 75th at Founding Farmers.  We bought flowers and a pirate balloon.  And Jeremy ordered a flight of beer - so I drove home.  We all had a good time.  Of course, I don't have a photo of Bette, I ended up giving my camera to Vince who took pictures of his nostrils.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hiking in the name of science

We didn't really just take Edda hiking on Saturday just for the fun of it. We did it in the name of SCIENCE! Jeremy's coworker, Doug, lives on a large property to the north of us and he is an ecologist and has been doing plant surveys of his property for over a decade now. There are a number of observational experiments going on and the one we went to yesterday involved counting herbaceous plants in various 2x2 square meter plots. This is Doug:


We tromped through a meadow which had just been farmland only ten years ago and it was interesting to see how the landscape changes from farmland into woodland. So this is about waist to head-height tulip poplars, the type of tree that is in our backyard, two or three times the height of our house. These tulip poplars have been hit with some disease that first turns the top leaves brown and will eventually kill the tree. I was very sad to confirm my suspicion that the dogwoods in our area are also dying off slowly. I've noticed that a few houses in our neighborhood have dying dogwoods in the front yards and the ecologists on our trip told me that it was true that in a few years - the most likely scenario is that most of the dogwoods in the area will be gone.


We (Jeremy, me and Edda) actually did very little counting since to us, everything looks pretty much the same, but it was fun to hear the names and to learn a few of the plants growing up in our own backyard.


And here's Natasha, our research dog. I think I should have picked an area of science where I could have a research dog along, I guess that would be ecologist, geologist or forester. I guess I do have my dogs with me all the time these days, but I don't think it's very much fun for them sitting under a desk at my feet.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

The end of the week.


Jeremy's been out of town for the past week, he's headed home tomorrow night. He's been in California. The CA office is in Berkeley and he had stuff to do in Sacramento as well so he's been all around Northern CA.  Often he tries to do his business trips all on public transportation, but there were too many meetings in too many places - so he had to rent a car.  I know how much it must have disappointed him, there is really nothing he likes better than figuring out public transportation options.  Traveling with Edda, he almost seems to relish the extra challenges that Edda's limited mobility brings to our travels.  Me, I just hope she doesn't need to poop mid-flight.

I can't remember the last time I was in California. It's been a long time since I've felt like a traveler. Sometimes I think that I will never be a traveler again - actually, I think I live within a 5 block radius of the house. Just recently I decided that the Target (which really is like 2 highway exits away) is too far away, now I just buy to toilet paper at the grocery store. But, in a fit of optimism, I did renew my passport because the old one is expiring. I have this policy to always have a valid passport because if it's the apocalypse, I'll need my passport to get in/out of the country. But I really think that this passport that I'm renewing - might never have any visas in it when it expires in ten years. Is that too pessimistic? Actually, I don't think I would be able to stomach the price of traveling overseas anyways, so maybe it's all a moot concern.

It's been a pretty uneventful week, the kids have been well, work and school not especially stressful. Vince spent the morning visting the middle school that he's going to be going to in the fall. I asked him all about it and he is most excited that you can have a slushie and hamburgers and fries everyday for lunch. They actually gave all 400 incoming students visiting a free slushie. I'm not sure that was the best introduction to the middle school, it's suppose to be the place where one learns algebra, I wish they gave them all bookmarks or rulers.. I'm a little stressed that he will eat so poorly at school. I guess I could pack nutritious food everyday - but I have a suspicion that it would just get thrown away in favor of the fries.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lots of violin.


It was a very musical weekend. Vince had his violin recital this Sunday - Kelly, his music teacher found this beautiful space in the Strathmore Mansion which was very reasonably priced and looked fantastic. Jeremy's dad, Bob, came down to visit for less than 24 hours to see Vince play. Vince is not an enthusiastic violin student. Every three minutes he asks when he's allowed to quit violin. It's tiring for all of us. He was playing so raggedly the last lesson before the recital that Kelly decided that he needed to come to her house every day after school to play. So everyday after school, he walked over to Kelly's house (which in and of itself was a feat because he has to cross a major street with a traffic light) and played for 30 or 45 minutes. And you could totally tell the extra work paid off at the recital.


We were all so pleased, none more than Vince himself who allowed himself for a moment to feel proud of his accomplishment. Even mentioning that he might be willing to join a local youth orchestra in the fall. We'll see.

It just happened that some of Bob's collegues were playing at the Hungarian Embassy on Monday night so I invited Kelly out to dinner to thank her for all her extra help for Vince and to see these amazing musicians play.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Glad to Be Back

Rena and I flew back to USA on May 2nd, 2013 from Shanghai, China.  We are glad to be back.  Yesterday, it was Rena's class re-union.  Tomorrow, it will be another class re-union for Rena and myself in San Francisco.  Afterward, we will drive up north and be back home at Washougal, WA.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Doggie friends.

This is the regular morning dog walking crew. Maxi, Ruby and Lizzie.


Hey Lizzie, where did you go?


Lizzie's human, Sharon, moved away this week.  Lizzie is still in the neighborhood, but now our schedules are totally off and I'm afraid there won't be much walking together anymore.  We need to find some new walking partners.


Thursday, May 2, 2013



I've been trying since the beginning of the year to get to the middle of the normal range for my BMI, which is (to me) an incredibly small weight of 123 pounds. I have not weighed that little since Edda was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome over 7 years ago now. And that was not the healthiest way to lose weight - I basically stopped eating due to all the stress around me. Around Thanksgiving of last year, I weighed 140 which made my pants just too tight and I coincidentally started taking a nutrition class as a pre-req for nursing school which was amazing and made me want to eat better and feed the family kale and liver. Anyways, with all the running and the eating well, I'm down to about 131 which is great, I never weighed this little and felt happy at the same time. I've really never been in better shape in my life than I am now.

I'd still like to lose another 5-7 pounds, but about a month ago, after running 10 miles in the Cherry Blossom, I've just started eating so much! And so many sweets. And once I start, it's hard to stop eating a lot. Also I'm running a lot training for the half marathon, so I'm just constantly hungry. I just have to remind myself to eat more veggies and lean meats and not something like a pear tart I just had 15 minutes ago.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


OK! OK, so maybe someday we can take Edda hiking in the Rockies. We've come up with a chariot design for her wheelchair and we have to find a good old wheelchair to convert to a mountain hiking machine.

Did I mention that I'm training for a half marathon? Somehow in the past year or so, I've become a pretty serious running. Serious meaning that I get up at 5:30 am to go running at 5:45 am in the cold and dark of winter. I can only do this because I have a good pal a few houses down and we get each other up and going. Anyways, we started to do some neighborhood races, 5Ks and then 10Ks and finally a few weeks ago, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.


We walked not a single step of this crazy race and we did well considering that for the few weeks before the race, I had gotten really sick and basically stopped running for three weeks. So since we did so well at the 10 miler and it's only another 3 miles to do the half marathon, we are training for it now. We'll do it in a few weeks.