Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year - 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

rena & noel

The rest of the vacation.

So I'm just going to document the rest of the vacation because I don't actually like blogging about the past too much - I like documenting day by day and I'm talking about stuff that went on days ago. We brought ornaments from our mad dash to Target and Katherine found a branch and we had our Christmas tree.

Edda's daily walk - weather was beautiful each day - we are in front of the Gila River, the last undammed river in the West(?)

Christmas Eve dinner - brussel sprouts and other things that were not as photogenic.

Christmas morning run with Bob. I'm so impressed - we are at 5000 ft elevation - he ran 4 miles with me at a good clip.

Christmas stollen:

Wi-fi! Streaming youtube.

Boxing day housewarming party - all the neighbors and folks who helped with the construction of the house.

Donkey rides (with the donkey RUNNING AT FULL SPEED) with the neighborhood kids - another good thing I didn't plan on, there was an 11 year old boy about a mile down the road. There were playdates EVERYDAY for Vince - most included a donkey ride.

Edda's donkey ride. She is not well camouflaged.

Last day - last hike. Edda is not impressed.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Driving to Gila.

After arriving in Albuquerque, we still had to drive another 5 hours in our rented and slightly dented Chevy Impala.  We were all a little grumpy.  Vince especially in hour 5 of the drive when Jeremy and I insisted on singing One Direction songs at the top of our lungs.

Then we inflated our air mattresses (bought last minute at Target - thank god for small miracles and last minute good decisions) and went to sleep.

As predicted, Edda woke up at 4 am, started making noise (which everyone was a very good sport about and as we all suffer a little from insomnia or not sleeping that well anyways from sleeping on the hard floor (we rotated spots on the air mattresses) was not really that big of a deal) - we all woke up to see the sunrise outside.

And got to admire the house in the morning daylight. Food! Coffee! All nice things.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Back from Gila, NM

We just got back from Katherine's off-the-grid dream house in New Mexico.  Even though I felt like this before we left:

I had the most wonderful, relaxing time.  99% of my vacations, I'm so ready to come home on the last day, but this vacation, I could have stayed out there another week easily.  Actually, the whole experience made me kind of wish I was a famous, reclusive, family-free author in which I could split my time between my apt in Brooklyn and this house in New Mexico and just write all day.   That'll just have to be another life.  I'm hoping of all the after-life scenarios that reincarnation wins out because there is simply not enough time to do all the interesting things.  I promise promise to work on my subject/verb agreement issues and really, learn, how to use, commas, in the, famous author life.

In my defense about not being excited about this vacation, I present the following pre-vacation facts: 1.  800 sq foot, 1 room house - 7 people and there is no making Edda sleep past 4:30/5 am,  2. composting toilet in which you do your business and then pour sawdust over any deposit, 3. - the mattresses that were ordered had not yet been delivered and thus we were to bring our sleeping bags/pads, 4. got a heads-up email from Katherine that the house was cold - probably 62 degrees and finally 5. the source of heat was a wood stove which I imagined I would have to guard Edda from its insanely hot surface every 15 seconds.

So it was with that lack of enthusiasm that we boarded our flight to Albuquerque.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sharp Shooter, Rena

The trophy in the top picture is the Rena's championship trophy.  At college, she was the first among many, many competing sharp shooters - all of them were boys.  Since our yard has many wild deer (to prove, on top of the glass box is an shaded antelope), she decides to use bow&arrows to hunt.  See, you bought a bow with many arrows.  Right now, the tips of those arrows are for practice only.  When ready, she will equip them with real arrow heads for hunting.

I would rather buy a deer clover-trap ($150.00 - $200.00) or build one myself using existing fence (bottom picture).

Stay tune and see what happen.

Happy Birthday to Me :)

Today, Rena and I celebrate my birthday alone at home.  Around 5:00 AM in the morning (a record?), Rena prepared me a full breakfast, after that, hand-made this beautiful and delicious orange cake.  She also hand-knitted that hat and sweater for me.  Very warm indeed.  

Noon time, Rena is going to prepare for me a tradition long-life noodle with soup as well as a chicken drumstick. However, for health reasons, I opted out one egg in the soup because I had two already in the morning.  For dinner tonight, since I like junk food and chips (potato), so we are going to "Burger King" (if open, otherwise McDonald's) with coupons (not for McDonald's) and enjoy our birthday dinner celebration there.

Btw, yesterday, After Rena's Mahjon game,  we ate out with all those old ladies.  The restaurant was packed and I had no idea that they were so many people there during X'mas eve.  But, the food was good and those ladies almost cleared all the plates.  Evidently, we did enjoy ourselves.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Photography fun.

I had a chance to borrow some photography equipment from a professional photographer friend and have a bit of fun this morning. I haven't spent a lot of time doing studio shots (actually never), I generally favor travelling light and using natural lighting and wide apertures, but somehow this weekend, everyone wanted a head shot. So much fun - I could have taken photos for hours. It's actually a lot of fun taking photos of people who want their photos taken and you can spend time just chatting and relaxing them in front of the camera. You can get photos like this:

Here's the lighting set up that I used. A single strobe with a radio from the camera.

Here's Jeremy's head shot - who is that old man?

And because I never get any photos of myself, I gave my camera to my friend who took some photos of us.

Friday, December 20, 2013

6-Star Plate Hung On the Kitchen Wall

The 6-star plate is now hung on the kitchen wall, along side with Coca Cola and Morton Salt.  Look nice.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Her 6-Star & 4 Times Cleaner

Since I am at home and there is no job prospect for me in a short while, I volunteer to cook dinner for every other week.  And washing dishes is included.  In that week, almost every morning, I wake and find a lot of plates piled-up in front of my kitchen table seat which is on the opposite side of hers.  At first, I don't know what is really going on.  After closely examining those plates, of course, they all fail the inspection by my boss.  I have to say some of them aren't too clean in her eyes apparently.  As a pay back, this morning around 5:00 AM, I did the same trick as she did to me.  Except, there is a slight deviation.  See :)

Also, since I start to wash the dishes by hands every other week, Rena keeps reminding me that the detergent lasts pretty fast, at least 4 times faster than it should be.  The other day, we had a family dinner together at a local restaurant.  I asked my son-in-law next to me, what is my reply to her about the consumption of detergent.  Without hesitation, he replied "4 Times Cleaner".  Guess what, that was exactly my reply to her.  Except I probably have to add several words to it.  It should be "Same Amount of Energy, But 4 Times Cleaner" :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Talking Too Much

Mom says that I talk too much :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gift of time.


Nursing school ended (well at least the term) on Monday night and I feel like I've been given the best gift every back - the gift of time.  This fall has been so busy, the thing that I cut out the most was socializing with and just "being there" for all my friends.  I used to take long dog walks during the day with pals, go out to lunch, meet up to go shopping, drop off stuff because they were sick - but with so many things crammed into the fall, I really let all those extra things go.  Which is a shame because there really is nothing like keeping up with someone day-to-day and not just once every three months or so.  Last night, I got to spend some time with some of my youngest friends (well, I was babysitting for their parents) and I got these amazing cookies in return!   As I showed up when all the kids were asleep, somehow I feel like I got the better end of the deal.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow days II

Snow days.


Snow days here in MD.  No school on Monday or Tuesday.  Just cold, snow and ice.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Alexandria Harmonizers


Went to Virginia today to see the Alexandria Harmonizers' annual holiday concert.  A coworker of Jeremy's (also named Jeremy) is a member - we went last year and had a great time.  So funny, festive and goofy.  And, of course, beautiful music.


All we ask from Santa is peace and love for all - <3. 


Friday, December 6, 2013

Mid-week date night.


I've been trying to get Jeremy (as the primary grocery shopper) to go to the new grocery store in Germantown called Wegman's that opened three months ago and he's been reluctant to go - granted, there are at least 12 grocery stores that are closer, but really, it's no further than 15 minutes from the house.  It's a mash-up between Whole Foods and a regular grocery store - so you can get organic chicken AND honey-nut Cheerios/Oreos at the same place.

So on Thursday, I dragged him to the grocery store for date night.  We were going to eat just at the hot buffet bar at the grocery store (I know, I know, this was a really exciting date that I'd planned) - but Jeremy had a long, tiring day at work and just really wanted a beer.  So we went to the burger joint next door.  Jeremy had to do a presentation that day which required him to get all dressed up and since he's lost so much weight this year, he's just swimming in a suit that is four sizes too big.  We are about the bite the bullet and spend about $1500 for two nice suits from Brooks Brothers when they go on sale in January which is insane - but since the suit that he was wearing on date night was bought in the early 90s and still looks great (except for it being too big), I'm hoping the new suits will also last 25 years.

If money was no object and he could buy a new suit every year, I'd totally encourage him to buy a skinny suit with a vest a la Justin Timberlake.  Now if only putting on a skinny suit would enable someone to dance like JT - that would be fabulous.

Oh!  And truffles - only $1K a pound.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The last night.


I ran out of the regular kind of candles. Had to scrounge around for birthday candles to celebrate the last night.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Charging stations.

One class done, one more to go. I've been floating on air all afternoon from some compliments from my classmates.  So there you go - you know how to pull me out of a funk?  Just throw me an earnest compliment and I'll take it from there.


Less than a block from our house, they've installed an electric vehicle charging station.  Right next to our favorite pizza place, ice cream place, dry cleaner, dentist and vet.  This charging station is 17 times closer than the nearest gas station.  It's actually closer to our house than the pizza.


I like how the connection kinda looks like a gas pump. 


And here's the pizza I had for lunch - on the house today because I go there so often. 


Monday, December 2, 2013

One more week!


Semester is almost over...  One group project and one exam left.  Working on the group project in the hallway. 

Jeremy, Ben and Bob on strike!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pancake breakfast.


Sunday morning pancake breakfast.  Last day of Donald's visit.  Boo.  At least there was bacon.