Saturday, August 31, 2013

Family (My Side) Gathering at Milpitas, CA

Yesterday, I had a family re-reunion gathering at Miltipas, CA.  Very glad that Donald was also there.  The lady in green is Rena's college roommate, Mrs. Hung of Los Altos Hill, CA.

Today, we are going down to LA to meet my brothers and sisters there.  Will do the "tomb sweeping" of my parents' also.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cheapest (A Gloss-over Term: Most Economical) Hotel, Medford, OR

Today, we left Washougal, WA for San Francisco & LA.  Our first stop is at Medford, OR.  From the traveling discount booklet obtained at McDonald's, we found this hotel which we thought it was the cheapest ( a gloss-over term: most economical).  One night stay with a king size bed as well as breakfast plus taxes is below $40.00. not too bad.  It is situated at old Medford downtown (we think).  This neighborhood has a lot of empty Mom & Pop shops and very quiet & clean.  The hotel as usual is run by Indians, we think.  After having dinner in one of the nearby Chinese restaurant, we took a walk and we really enjoyed its surrounding.  So, not all those fancy hotels have attraction only :)

Well once again, Happy Anniversary to Jeremy & Doris.
Last night I stayed up a little later than usual to finish a book called A Fine Balance.  It was an Oprah book many years ago - usually I go running from Oprah books (the choices sometimes seemed a little too new-agey for me), but somehow I found recommendations of this book from other sources and I found out it had 4.5 stars on Amazon so I went ahead and ordered it from this paperback trading website that I use.  It's a long book and all the protagonists end up in dire situations at the end, but it is so beautifully written and the characters are so interesting and all the complicated plot lines are intertwined that after I finished the book, I just sighed this big sigh of sadness and melancholy.

On a happier note, today is our 15th anniversary!  Happy day to us :)  We had takeout pizza from our favorite pizza place and reminisced.  I hope to walk down the path of life with you for a long, long time sweetie!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Work Continues On Addition & Garage Sales Tools

Work Continues on addition.  There are two drain pipes installed and tested.  Mom went down to the crawling space several times with me to provide additional expertise on those drain pipes.  The blue line is the would-be floor height.  The big drain pipe in front will take sewage from the master bedroom's bath.  The smaller one in the back will take the water from the mud room and clothes washer.  The only preparation work needs to be completed is the extension of fire sprinkler system.

Besides, we have contacted the dirt & foundation people for quote.  The dirt excavation shall have the depth at least reaching the virgin soil of the lowest point.  Then the concrete people will put the forms first, after inspection, fill the forms with concrete.  This part will be sub-contracted out.  The framing part also will be sub-contracted out too.

Last weekend, I bought lot of tools from our next door neighbor.  She probably has the most tools for garage sales than any one I have encountered.  The new big red tool is about $63.00 in Home Depot.  So, I guess I have a good deal from her.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Everyone is sick today.  Well not everyone, just Vince and Edda.  I knew that on Sunday during the day when both children were sound asleep on the couch in the living room that there was going to be no real first day of school.

Here's Edda in slightly healthier times:


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Such a great summer...

Tomorrow is the first day of school - first day of middle school for Vince, but neither child is going to make it to school tomorrow. They both are running fevers and spent the whole day asleep under covers and moaning at the closest adult around. I'm thankful that Vince has learned to swallow pills and Edda can manage the chewable pills so now there is no sticky children liquid medicine in the house. It's been such a wonderful summer that maybe the kids are protesting that it shouldn't really end, that school shouldn't really start. I'm not that worried about Edda's schedule, she has the same teacher and the same paraeducators - but Vince! He missed orientation last week when he was in NY with Jeremy's parents (and the kids all got their schedules then) and now he's going to miss the first day of class - he's going to be totally clueless when he shows up on the 2nd or 3rd day of class. I hope he's not too lost when he shows up.

It has been a beautiful weekend, we got to spend part of it in the Catoctin Mountains with our pal, Carla.  Edda hiked about 0.4 miles with us on her own two feet, but then she got tired and we put her in her stroller and went on a wheelchair accessible trail - you can see it in the 2nd photo below.  They made a path with rubberized wood chips in a brown color so you can't really tell that it's made with space age polymer technology.

We were originally not going to take any dogs on this trip as they can be trouble, but Ruby somehow sensed we were going someplace fun and hopped into the minivan and pretty much refused to get out.  And she was right, it was a lot of fun - streams and mud galore.



Friday, August 23, 2013

The Additional Fire Sprinkler System Tapping Point

Here is the additional fire sprinkler system tapping point.  From here, a new line going to the roof of the new addition will be installed.  It uses the heat resistance PVC pipe.  

Today, Mom and I went  down to our crawling space beneath the floor to look for the water and sewage drain tapping points.  It is doable by ourselves, I think.  See what will happen.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Work Continues on Room Addition

Work continues on our additional master bedroom.  Picture 1 shows two water lead lines for hot (red) and cold (white) water.  These lines will feed all water needs to the entire new master bedroom.  Picture 2 depicts the two lines bypass the house corner beams because of uncertainly about the original weight loading distributions.  To be on the safe side, it is better not drilling holes on those corner beams.  Those two lines will eventually cover up by fixtures yet to be determined.  Picture 3 shows the tapping off arrangement from the existing lines.  Each line consists of a tee and a shut-off valve.

After this one, the fire sprinkle line needs to be tapped and extended to the outside also but at a higher elevation.  It should be fairly straight forward once the tapping point is determined.

The last and most difficult preparation work is those drain lines with vents.  It needs to be investigated and tested thoroughly because it works only by gravity, nothing else.  Elevation and slope are very important, especially the elevation is not high enough.

Wedding Anniversary

Today, the 22nd, is our 43rd wedding anniversary.  Rena and I got married at a cafeteria of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore.  Volunteers, most of them were our classmates, played piano, prepared reception food, baked cakes, helped us to dressed up, drove us to cafeteria, etc. The total out-of-pocket wedding expense was ~ $300.00.  Our honor moon, very exciting, enjoyable & memorable, consisted of several half-day drives to the nearby places in our used (pre-owned) yellow car (an impala).

Before Rena got her PhD in Fluid Mechanics (on Air Turbulence Flow), she was pregnant with Doris.  At that time & after, three of us all depended on Rena's meager scholarship income.  At that time, almost no job prospect for all aerospace graduates including me - aerospace industries were in very bad shape.

Today, while celebrating our anniversary, Rena and I are very grateful to what our family consists of, especially on the human side.

Pictures below show our anniversary celebration - Rena & me with my super omelette (3 eggs) with all home-grown ingredients (tomatoes, egg plants, green peppers, spring onions, potatoes, etc) except eggs and 100% and hand-picked home-grown assorted flowers from our garden.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hiking -

At the Billy Goat Trail!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Jeremy's college roommate, Alan, just moved with his family to Long Island. So on the way to Bard we stopped by and said hello. They live so close to the beach - it was fun to dip our feet into the water.  A few of us (Vince and Ruby) might have dipped in a little too much. 



Sometimes Edda can really enjoy the beach and love it a million and one times over.  But this was not one of those times, she was OK with it, but not entirely thrilled.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Up to Bard...


We drove up to Bard College this weekend to drop Vince off at Kiki and Kappa's house for a week of Kiki Camp. Both Jeremy and I took Friday and Monday off for travel - so it meant that we spent 2 full days with Jeremy's family which made for a very nice weekend.  We didn't do much - cooked, walked, found some cows and ate some farm-stand fruit.  Oh - mainly we played with Jeremy's parent's new puppy!  Pip (short for Phillip) pretty much stole the show.



Old Acquaintance of Ours

Rena and I were extremely happy to meet our old acquaintance at Washougal, WA.  They are Mr. & Mrs. Hung.  The husband was our college classmate and the wife was Rena's dormitory room mate.   At that time, due to various constraints, 8 students shared just one room.  Both our kids and son-in-law also know them well.

They flew to Portland on Saturday(8/17/2013) and stay with us until this morning (8/19/2013).  After that, they will continue their journey into the Pacific Northwest for about a week before returning home.

Yesterday, we took them to visit Washougal downtown, post office, library, hardware store, McDonald's and Dollar Store.  After that, we drove them to see Cape Horn scenic spot, Bonneville Dam, Mt. Hood, Multnomah falls (OR) and rose garden in Portland.  We all had fun and tiring too.

Hope they as well as our friends somewhere else can visit us more often.  And every time, while we are in San Francisco, we stay in their place.  Very nice couple indeed.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Edda ran!


Who's super excited about finishing her first three-mile run with her new wheelchair with air-filled tires?  Apparently not Edda.


Harvesting at Washougal, WA

This morning, to Rena's surprise, she found all kinds of veggies grown in our garden (see picture attached).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Montgomery County Fair.


I guess since we are working at the fair, it would have seemed unfair to not actually attend the fair at all.  I generally find it too hot and crowded, but this year, I found the family day (which meant that it was the quietest day of all (Monday)) and this was the day we decided to go.  It was not so hot nor so crowded and Nat came along, so Jeremy, me and Edda could leave after we saw our favorite chickens and had our ice cream and funnel cakes and leave the boys and Nat to ride the crazy rides into the night.



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Quiet/busy day.


Jeremy and Vince were parking cars at the fair today, so Edda and I spent quality time doing things around the house. Dishes, laundry, mowing the grass. Here is Edda helping me mow the lawn - I have a very similar photo of Edda helping me do the laundry. Edda's been in such a great mood, so happy and cheerful, I've been very lucky to have her like this.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Picking lettuce.


We got Edda's new wheelchair just a few weeks ago and I have not yet had a chance to take it out for a test drive. Not that it hasn't been used, Edda's counselor at camp apparently became adept at driving it with one hand. Nat has taken Edda out a few times, it's just me who hasn't had a chance to drive Edda around. Well it's bigger and heavier than the last wheelchair we had as Edda is also bigger and heavier - but what I'm most excited about is the nubby - air-filled tires. The front wheels lock in place and then maybe I can run around (like with sneakers and sweating) town with Edda in her wheelchair. I pushed her around the neighborhood today to find my friend's patch of lettuce that was growing so much lettuce that seventeen million salads could be made from it. We picked some lettuce and then headed home. No running, not yet.

Project of Our Basement

This time, Rena and I came back for our family reunion, also, doing some babysitting.  Besides these two, we would like to start finishing our basement with one master bedroom plus bath, one additional common bathroom and the rest.  In order to use as a bedroom, we need to have a closet (which will be put together later on) together with an egress window with < 44" high from the floor.  We are thinking to let contractor do the egress window and bathroom rough-in.  And later, Rena and I can do the rest with leisure.  We thought these two should be completed before we take off next Monday (8/12/13). Unfortunately, it didn't.   Well, it certainly should be finished in late October or early November when we come back.

Picture one shows the boarded-up egress window frame (this frame won't fit the window).  Picture two is the plan for the bath in the master bedroom.  On the right is for a 40" x 60" tub.  At the corner is for 42" x 32" shower cabinet with bypass door.  Vanity is against the wall.  And the toilet is on the left hand side of the shower.  Dotted line is for the door.  And picture three is the dead bolt (recently installed) entrance to the basement.

This will keep us partial occupied while staying in this house.  Hopefully, it will be finished within 2 years.

Parking cars.


I have reached the pinnacle of my summer holidays - I'm taking acutal vacation time to help park cars at the Montgomery County Fair. Vince's Boy Scout troop goes to the fair every year to help direct cars so they park in a straight line and not scattershot all over the grass field. Each scout has to work about 40 hours and each family has to contribute another 40 hours. For all this hot weather work, our reward is to be paid a handsome amount of pirate booty (cash) and have no substantial dues and no fees for camping/food and, perhaps best of all, no selling of random crap like caramel popcorn to our already overextended and overfed social circle.

I can not say that I've gone into this experience with a good attitude. I'm am a grumpy parent - a poor team player. I do not particularly like the fair (which is loud, hot, crowded, full of yucky food and expensive - which is the exact opposite of everything I really, truly love (a night at home with home-cooked food with my family and friends)), nor do I like to spend hours and hours in the hot sun next to exhaust fume, yet, this is what I have chosen to do. Also, if you know me personally, I actually dislike parking my own car - so the thought of parking thousands of cars sends me into a tizzy.

Also, the thing with boy scouts, is that the troop is boy lead, so do you see the boy pointing? He's the head scout, so I take my directions from him - it's been a long time since a 17 year old has told me what to do :)


My main job yesterday was to flag cars that are coming straight at me to make a right hand turn. I turned my flagging into a little dance/lunge thing to get a little exercise and not be incredibly bored. Turns out most people going to the fair are easily entertained. I will need to get a video of my little dance.

It is 8 am and I should get up out of bed to try and get this household running. Jeremy just landed at Dulles from CA (our anniversary trip hitchhiked onto his business trip) and so nothing is going to get done this morning unless I get my sorry butt from out of this bed and really, I'm procrastinating by writing about parking cars, but there is only so much one can say about parking cars. Of course, Jeremy and I split the 40 hours of adult parking - he chose not to take any vacation time, so he's suppose to do a weekend shift today - but the poor thing had a six hour delay for his flight, so he ended up taking a red-eye in the center seat. I'm not sure if he's going to be able to stand in the hot sun for 6 hours today without sleep. OK, OK I really need to get up now.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Our 15th anniversary.

Of all the decisions I have ever made, the most fortunate one was to decide to hitch myself to Jeremy 15 years ago. Of course, I think one can never really know when you get married how the marriage will work out - you look for the basics - kindness, a willingness to work hard, a willingness to forgive and a sort of balance a yin to your yang - but you never really know how it's all going to turn out because when you get married, you kind of don't really know what you are signing yourself up for. I don't really think that we thought we'd never have a vacation away from the kids for 11+ years, but that's what happened and so it was at the airport where I was giddy with excitement of our little CA adventure.



I didn't take many photos - I'm just trying my hardest to remember all the moments in my own head because I don't know when we'll be able to have a vacation like this again.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lots of good news!

My friends seem to be in good place now - having babies, thinking about new jobs, traveling here and there, squeezing the marrow out of summer.   I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life - HDT . I listen to all this good news with such happiness - for there are certainly times when it seems like all my friends are just having a tough time of it all. I can tell I've been good in a good mood because it was with great happiness that we finally got Edda's new wheelchair. It can be a bit of a conversation stopper; my friends telling me all their wonderful news and I come back just as enthusiastically - Hey! Edda's new wheelchair came today! and then for a moment I realize that that may not sound like such an exciting thing, but because I'm happy, Edda's new wheelchair gives me something to smile about.

It's all tricked out, has pneumatic knobby wheels, with front wheels that lock into place, so I'm hoping that Edda and I will go running soon together.  That'll be fun.