Friday, January 31, 2014

Jane's birthday.

I know I'm going back almost a whole week, but last Sunday we celebrated Jane's 17th birthday and Gene and Bette's new home - their senior living complex. We ate at one of the restaurants and they do serve properly portioned meals and one is so used to seeing gigantic servings at restaurants that the smallness of a proper serving is pretty shocking. Gene, of course, is hot stuff at a retirement community. We asked him if he had been propositioned yet and he blushed so fiercely that we all had to blush in return and give him congratulatory slaps on the back.

Happy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Horse.

rena & noel  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Edda happy at therapy -

Of course, with Nat out of town, I got to shuttle kids around more than usual to their activities. My favorite one (and I think Edda's too) is her OT session with Deb. Of course, Edda worked really hard during the session, but Deb and I chatted and caught up with each other - so much fun.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Childcare starts tomorrow again!

So Nat told me that she'd be ready to work tomorrow (it's almost 10 pm and I haven't seen her yet, but I'm counting on a late arriving airplane) - I'm so happy that we will have childcare again tomorrow. The whole plan of making due without childcare hinged on the fact that Edda needed to not get sick. But today, the last childcare-free day, I had a couldn't-miss-first-day-of-lab class from noon to two and Jeremy was at work in DC doing the last emergency things on his massive project due today when ten minutes before noon, I got a call from Edda's school nurse saying that she was running a fever of 100.1. My parents had just left for Florida on Saturday - I felt like I had no choice but to call Edda's teacher and basically ask a huge favor and ask her to keep sick Edda for the afternoon. Poor Edda. Poor Edda's teacher. I feel like a heel. Ahhh, mother's guilt. Nothing like it really.


Success! Congratulating himself with a beer (Penn Quarter Porter) and the State of the Union


My scrubs for lab class. Learning how to assess a patient and properly document it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


This past year or so, Donald and I (after decades of not really talking to each other very much, not that we dislike each other or anything, it's just that we never really made the effort) have started Facetime-ing pretty much every weekend. (Although I'm switching to an non-Apple phone in April, so we'll have to figure out something else then...) This past weekend, he called at 4pm EST and told me he was just getting up in CA. I had already been up almost 12 hours.  Of course, the great pleasure of talking every week is that you actually get somewhere in the conversation - you don't have to spend time on the beginning pleasantries. 

I always thought that Donald and I had similar thought processes, but apparently, he's much more wants-to-know-how-things-work driven than I am.  For example, I don't really care how a car works, but if I had to, I could figure out how to take it apart and fix it and put it back together.  Donald likes to know how a car works in order, let's say, to drive stick shift better.  I think I give myself more credit than I should about being handy, mainly because I've married into kind of a non-handy family.  Which reminds me that I need to fix the kitchen sink soon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Edda's IEP meeting

We had Edda's IEP meeting today where we set goals for her for next year. I really love all the people who work with Edda, they really do a lot with her and expose her to so much stuff that we really aren't able to do here at home. It's hard to go to these meetings sometimes. It's been a long time since Edda's diagnosis, so I've been to a lot of these meetings and even though everyone is very professional and very nice and encouraging and we know all these people because Edda's been at the same school since kindergarden, it can be disheartening to hear that she's working on going up and down stairs, that she's trying to master picking from a field of three choices or trying to group objects with similar patterns. And even though she's working on all this stuff, it's hard to really know if she really knows.

Anyways, all the teachers really enjoy having Edda in the classroom and they are all enthusiastically trying to figure out ways to bring the best out of Edda, so I figure it's all good. A few years ago, I felt that I was attending these meeting by myself - without Jeremy. These meetings are scheduled months in advanced and maybe Jeremy just happened to go on a last-minute business trip or something and I was loathe to reschedule them because like 9 people from all over the county need to be there - those solo meetings can be tough for me. But now, Jeremy really makes it a priority to come to these meetings, he's the optimist, so usually he can keep my spirits up.


My big goal for the weekend? Folding laundry. I'm pretty good at the washer/dryer part. But the folding part - that I'm really bad at.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Started nursing fundamentals today. By the end of the semester, I'll be able to dress wounds, give injections, insert a foley catheter and start an IV. Watch out!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snowed in!

It's been kind of a long week here in Rockville. The main thing is that Nat, our au pair, is on vacation all this week and half of next week (lucky girl, she's in Istanbul) - so we are without childcare for seven working days. I'd like to think that in a "normal" week, we'd be able to handle it all without too much trouble - just squeeze out a lot of down time, but this particular week has been challenging.  First, the kids had scheduled days off on Monday and Tuesday, but today school was cancelled because of the snow (so three days in a row without school) and tomorrow the kids have a 2 hour delay.   Again, I think it would be OK to be without childcare for a "normal" week (who am I kidding, is there ever a normal week?) but Jeremy's on some big deadline due next Tuesday so he's working all the time and I start up my spring semester of nursing school tomorrow.  It's one big time-scheduling mess.  Every once in a while, I think that we could do without childcare and save a ton of $, but then I don't have childcare for a week or a month or two months (oh, that was terrible) and then I remember that childcare is worth every penny and protects my sanity.

Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK day.

Enthralled and encouraged by my studio shots right before Christmas, I borrowed all the camera equipment again to do some studio shots of three kiddos - a 15 month old, a 2.5 year old and a 4 year old. It did not go entirely as planned and I forget that spending hours and hours with toddlers and trying to convince them to do something you want them to do when they clearly have other goals in mind is just plain exhausting. I think I took over 500 photos and although some of them are amusing, our main goal of getting one beautiful shot of the three grand kids for grandma might have not been achieved. Oh well - at least I tried and I got to spend time with good friends I don't see often enough.


Garage Attic, Stairway & Drain Pipe II


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Garage Attic, Stairway & Drain Pipe

The special hand-made stairway to our garage attic at its 5/8 height is almost complete (picture 1).  The only work left out is the supports for the stairway on its right (against the wall).  To support it properly, I need to find out the vertical stud locations inside the wall.  To this end, I used the drill on the wall to see whether it hits any stud.  After several trials, I felt that I hit something.  I thought it was a plastic electrical box. Suddenly, there was water on the garage floor, a lot of. Immediately, I knew I hit the water drain line somewhere inside the wall.

To learn more about what is really inside.  I cut open a ~ L-shape opening.  Of course, there was a drilled hole on the white plastic drain pipe (picture 2) as well as two studs.

To fix the leak, I used a half-inch-height section of the identical pipe (the only left-over pipe I have.)  I cut out an 90 degree section to form a 270 degree ring with enough spring clamping force when attached to the damaged pipe.  After gluing it (picture 3, purple color is from the primer liquid) and it works fine - no leaks.

Tomorrow, I am going to finish the entire stairway to conclude the Phase I work.  The attic floor & the reinforcement of the vertical drop beams attached to the garage ceiling will then be completed in next Winter.


I got to hold a baby for a long time yesterday. My arm muscles are all out of practice - not very much baby carrying going on here. It's so nice to hold a baby, it's like holding a little ball of light and joy! This little baby has an older sister with Rett Syndrome who is just 2.5 years old and we chatted with his mother for a long time about our desires for our daughters and how having a severely disabled child shapes and forms our lives. There is so much to learn from each other.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Middle school and midterms.

Vince had his first set of mid-terms in his life this past week. It was a little stressful - they actually rearranged the class schedule so that they have 2 hour exam periods. I don't really understand why an 11-year-old needs to have 2 hour exams, but whatever. They are over now and there is a four day weekend to reward him for his efforts.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Elizabeth & MIT

Jeremy's former coworker, Elizabeth, was back in town for some sort of transportation conference. She's now a grad student at MIT and I got all dreamy talking to her about the MIT buildings and the chapel and hearing about all the development on Mass Ave between MIT and Harvard. None of it was there 20 years ago. Now it's full of Whole-Food-Barnes&Noble-American-Apparel goodness. We had burgers - date night often means with another person and eating burgers.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Old photos.

Gene and Bette are moving and are going through a million old photos and dispersing them to interested parties. Saw photos of Bob as a 7 year old. Lots of photos of baby Jane and George. I think we are going to try to send them to a service to scan them.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Old house run.

Did a three mile old-house run today. Ran to the house I consider my "real" childhood home. Look! A Z4 parked in the driveway - certainly an upgrade from the Duster and Gremlin we had. I remember sock fights with my parents in this house. I remember climbing the trees in the front yard. I remember playing with all the neighborhood kids - hide and seek in the dark. And I remember the woods in the backyard.

I ducked into the woods in the middle and looks for our old trails - places where Donald (who apparently can now run 400m in 1:04. Not bad!) and I fished for minnows and crayfish with our kitchen strainers. I had to schooch over a log to cross a stream (and convince Maxi to come with me).

Finally emerged and ran past the house that we lived at when Donald was born. This house I have fewer memories - I remember playing on the swingset in the backyard and the neighbors two houses down. They've built an addition - I wish I could go inside and see it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Rainy day outing.

It's hard to get out as a family these days on the weekends - often Vince has plans and Jeremy, Edda and I drift to our respective computers and work or watch TV or putter around the house. So it was with great effort that we all headed out this weekend in the pouring rain to the movies. We saw Frozen - recommended by friends - and Edda loved every minute of it. Laughed at all the jokes - had the best time ever.

Ate at a Korean chicken place right before the movie. Rainy days have the best light.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Old friends.

Our friend, Vidya, came from Philly to spend Sat. night with us. When he walked in the front door - he couldn't recognize Jeremy without his goatee.  Vidya was a few years ahead of me in grad school - helped me out on my slightly disastrous research project. We stayed up late, late, late talking about Indian politics. Diplomats, conspiracy theories and LGBT rights. Reminded me that I should read Son of the Circus again.  Seems like just yesterday we were all sitting around grad student housing watching Friends and Seinfeld.

Storage Space in the Garage

Mom asked me to erect racks for her dried-chicken legs.  I did.  One of the rack can be seen in the second picture.  

After that, I started to rearrange stuffs in the garage.  Finally, to make more room, I decided to add some storage space half way up in the air.  Picture 1 shows the middle support columns for the storage space hanged from the existing ceiling beams.   Also shown in the picture, on the right hand side, is the wall supports for one side of the storage space.  And the far (other) side is supported for the existing columns (picture 2).  The storage space is slightly recessed & elevated to make the room for the car antenna and future garage door opener (only one side has the garage door opener).  Some of the horizontal beams, to be installed, are just laying there to save space.

In picture 3, two white air-bubble pads were taped on each side of the horizontal beams, just in case extreme tall guys walk underneath it.  May be Donald can bump his head,  but don't think so.

Mom would like me to finish our basement master bedroom and bath too.  May be before the storage space for the garage :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Orchestra concert.

Went to Vince's orchestra concert last night. Three groups - orchestra, band and chorus. I was preparing myself for a long, drawn out concert in a hot stuffy room because that's what they were like in elementary school. But the teachers in middle school had the good sense to make the whole thing 45 minutes long and everyone played/sang popular songs. Katy Perry, Star Wars, Beethoven all made appearances.

Vince and his fellow orchestra pals.


Vince is going to my junior high alma mater. It does give me a strange and happy feeling to watch Vince play violin in the same gym where I played violin concerts as well. Actually, I think he is using my old violin. I did manage to find my photo on the wall in the 1986 class photo.

Re-arrange Garage

Today is a bitter cold day.  However, this morning, I had to drive Rena to have a mammogram and a sonogram done as part of her annual physical.  Afterward, doctors said that "everything is fine."

With respect to garage, ours is a two-car garage.  The red car, a vibe, is always in the storage insurance policy (not driven) and parks on the right, closed to the entrance. The white one, a CR-V, is used all the time when we are back to Washington DC area. 

The first picture shows the newly installed spot light, for the work bench, plugged in to a newly installed wall socket (on the right with the white wire, behind the box) which connected to the "Study Room" wiring on the other side of the wall.  The mirror and the red ball are for easy parking.

The second picture shows the rack that I just installed for Mom to hang her seasoned chicken parts for drying during the Winter time.  It is very delicious and tasty.  Before installing this rack, however, I have to move the existing soda shelf to the back wall in order to make room for this dried-chicken rack.

I will work on other garage re-arrangements later on.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Headed into deep freeze.

The arctic blast is headed our way tonight. We'll see how cold it gets here. It'll get cold, but not as cold as a lot of the country.

Vince had to write an adventure story for school tomorrow. He is so handicapped by his slow handwriting, poor spelling/punctuation ability and slow typing speed. The rough draft which he worked on at school was maybe eight sentences long - a lot of them unreadable as many of the words are misspelled and everything is more poorly punctuated than this blog. As soon as I volunteered to be his typist, a whole, fully formed wonderful story with metaphors and plots twists and details spills from his mouth. I handled all the spelling and punctuation. Since he didn't have to worry about punctuation, all this funny and complicated dialog between the characters appeared (dialog is the worst thing for Vince to punctuate correctly or anyone for that matter). Is writing the direct act of putting pencil to paper or finger to keyboard? Or is it the actual story buried beneath the mechanics? I'm hoping that the story is the most important part and that the mechanics will catch up sooner or later - either by Vince getting better at typing or computers better at editing.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Year - back to the craziness.

Edda's counselors, Izzy and Sarah, from Camp JCC came by to visit yesterday.  We had a rollicking good time - lots of good talks about music (Izzy is a french horn player) and speech therapy (Sarah is working on a speech therapy degree). This was the first time we really had a chance to talk to them, Nat usually did the drop off and pick up at camp so we never had a chance to chat before. They even got to put Edda down for a nap. They are holding Edda's Peter Rabbit, the last toy that she could really hold on to - up until she was about 18 or 20 months old before she lost her hand use.


Sliding into the new year now - I feel with the snow day on Friday, we never really got going. Now school for me starts in less than 20 days, so I have my own work that I have to get into some order before school starts. Last term, I didn't really realize how much work it was going to be. This term, I'm a little scared to balance everything I want to do because I pretty much know exactly how much work it's going to be. But the term is only three months (OK maybe really like 4..., but three sounds so much better). Jeremy has deadlines at work (we've turned into people who work on weekends now, when did that happen?) and Nat is going on vacation for 10 days at the end of January. Going to be fun times.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Video / snow

Jeremy and I are knee-deep in talking about video/lighting/photography equipment.  Jeremy is starting to produce video at work, so he's gone to Home Depot and IKEA over and over again getting his homemade lighting system to work and then shlepping the whole thing over to K Street on the metro.  Then, at night, I get to go downtown and do mock interviews with him  (he asks me a biofuels question, I answer with what I ate for lunch that day) and tweak the lighting and sound instead of eating at my favorite burger place - Shake Shack (date night! - no burger!).  The playback of the mock interviews revealed to me how much I actually do look and sound like Donald - something that I have denied for my whole life and now I see I am totally wrong and I'm really just Donald in a female and height-challenged form. 

I'm getting ready to upgrade all of my photo equipment - I'm reluctant to spend $ on something I consider to be just a hobby.   So there is a lot of talking and not a lot of purchasing.

DC got a snow day on Friday.  Kids out of school; our whole schedule thrown.  Not as bad as NYC or Boston, but enough to make it a pain.  Our neighbors skied cross country in our backyard.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Dinner to celebrate the New Year... Long noodles and all...

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Jeremy and the kids spent part of New Year's Eve at the zoo. Very exciting news at the National Zoo - a white-tailed deer jumped into the cheetah exhibit with the natural consequences occurring - poor deer.  Jeremy saw the cheetahs a few days afterwards and reported that they appeared smug and self-satisfied.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy new year!

From the kids room at last night's NYE party. We left at 9:30 pm, Vince stayed until the bitter end and spent the night. Have not yet heard a peep from him yet.

To my 17 loyal blog readers, happy new year! May 2014 bring you happiness and love all around. xoxo.