Sunday, June 29, 2014


The Volvo, which we bought more than 10 years ago, now has more than 110K miles on it.  I had to get a special waiver because it no longer passes the emission testing.  Just this week, it sounds like a Harley because the muffler has somehow malfunctioned and the battery died.  It has lasted through 6 au pairs, 2 kids, 2 dogs and more than 10 years.

We are still driving the Volvo, but there will come the day when it is clear that we'll have to buy a car and we won't have that much time to decide what kind of car.  So this summer, we are trying out a bunch of cars.  Jeremy's interested in the Prius.  There are three versions, the hybrid, the plug-in hybrid and the wagon Prius.  We just wanted to make sure getting Edda in/out would be easy and that her wheelchair would fit in the trunk.

Edda loved the plug-in version so much that she fell asleep in the back seat.

The wheelchair kind of fits.  You have to take off the headrest, but it's not really going to be the primary Edda-mobile, so as long as it kind of fits, it'll be OK.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sent home from camp.

This year's camp theme is superheros.   Here's Edda in her superhero outfit ready to take on the world.   Edda got sent home from camp on Thursday for lice.  We spent hours Thursday night delousing her and the rest of the house.  Strange that I'm pleased for a call from the nurse about lice!  Past summers, the nurse has called for uncontrollable crying or seizures and then I slump into my office chair while I'm on the phone.  Lice is a regular kid issue, so I can just roll with it. We trimmed Edda's hair about 4 inches to help with the combing.  If you brush it just the right way, you can see the grown up Edda peeking out from behind the fall of her hair.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Hot & Tasty Dumplings Waiting for Me, Last Night

After work, I drove back to Washington DC to be with Rena for the weekend.  Surprising, upon arrival, I found out there was a bowl of hot & tasty dumplings waiting for me.

I guess it is very difficult for Rena to hand-wrapped these things with her elbow injury and it must take a long while for her to prepare.  Well, but it was good and tasty though :)  Appreciated.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Friends and French food.

Out late last night, we didn't leave the restaurant until 10:10!  Way past our bedtime.  I had to drive into DC for this dinner date. I planned on meeting up with Jeremy who took the Metro.  Because of the location, it would just be easier to drive home afterwards than to take public transit.  I can not parallel park for the life of me and DC parking rules are so difficult for me to understand; I parked half a mile from the restaurant.

The annual Rett conference is in town.  I'm not attending, but that doesn't mean I don't get to see (along with a few of my fellow Rett mom pals: Laura and Lauren) Duncan who flies in from England and has done a tremendous amount for our little community and break bread with him.

Monday, June 23, 2014


When we moved every year (all over the US and all over the world), we were always the ones to say goodbye.  Now that we stay around, other people are always saying goodbye to us.  Meghan - good luck on your new adventure!  Come back and see us, OK?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Off to Sweden. And our frat house.

Vince is off to Sweden.  He and Kiki left yesterday, late afternoon from Dulles.  I'm hoping to track him via Instagram, but do far, no sign.

Each summer, I try to schedule "just enough" for Vince.  I think it's important that Vince has some time just to hang out with friends and sleep late.  This past week, Vince had some down time and we hosted so many boys.  It's like a frat house here.  Well, minus the girls, the beer, the loud music and the sticky floors.  OK, maybe it's only like a frat house in the sense that there were stinky boys staying up late and sleeping in and eating cold pizza.

Hey - where are you going with that pizza?

Food only in the kitchen and dining room! This is Jeremy's rule. I am not good at following this rule either.  Only Edda is disciplined enough to follow this rule.

The handoff.

Watching a movie and playing video games.


Chicken tenders.

Three boys asleep.  Wake up!  The day is a-wasting.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Edda's going to Camp JCC starting on Monday.  We love Camp JCC.  Here's Edda with some returning counselors who stopped by to say hello.  I don't know who they are because I'm not really allowed to be at camp.  Edda has this WHOLE OTHER LIFE that I know nothing about.  I just pay the $; she has a good time and comes home tan and tired and makes friends and she tells me nothing about it.

We met Edda's one-on-one counselor on Friday.  We taught her how to fold/unfold the wheelchair, how to use her old Android phone to play videos and how Edda walks but does not go up and down stairs and does not use her hands.  It's always a little nerve wracking handing Edda over to someone for 6 hours.  It's not that I think Edda's going to have a terrible time, it's just that I hope the counselor has a good time!  I think I would collapse if I had Edda for 6 hours a day on the go-go-go, to the pool, to camp game, to sing, to do arts and crafts and to dance.  It already sounds tiring and I'm only typing it out. This is Edda's 4th summer, and it's always been great.

Edda's secret talent: eating and sleeping at the same time.  Bet you can't do that.

The house is crowded now with our cousins living in our basement, so when guests come to the house (like Kiki to take Vince to Sweden), we bring Edda into our room and let the guest stay in Edda's room. Good night, Edda!

46th Anniversary of Our Engagement

Today, before Vincent  & his grand mom Katherine taking off to Sweden, Rena and I celebrated our 46th anniversary of engagement two days earlier.  We had a wonderful family dinner together at Founding Farmers restaurant (one of Doris' favorites?) in Potomac, MD.  Before & during our dinner, no one (except us) knows we have a celebration.

After dinner, Vince ordered a slice of cheese cake.  I guess he has the same DNA taste buds as Donald's. Both of them like cheese cake and I do too.  May be, everyone likes cheese cake, just like everyone loves beacons, even Ruby does.  Just don't know.

I am glad that Rena's left elbow and hand are getting much better and she has been trying to make 水饺 (dumplings) for me, at least, for past several days.  Since it requires a lot of coordination of both hands, I think her should not over work her left hand until it gets completely healed.  Too few exercises are not good, too much is bad also.  Though her dumplings are delicious, but I can wait.

Well, Happy Anniversary :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Going to Sweden.

Katherine is in town to take Vince to Sweden for two weeks.  Lucky Vince!  We still need to get Vince a haircut before his flight leaves tomorrow.  Hopefully in the am.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Headshots. Headshots.

I love taking portraits. Especially of people who want to get their portraits taken.  Do you want a portrait?  I'll take your photo.  With portraits, I think I'm a one-trick-pony.  All the photos look the same - off centered with eyes focused using the Rule of Thirds, natural light (find the light!) and bokah for the background - but the people!  Oh, the people make the photo interesting!  Everyone, stop being so beautiful and easy to photograph.  You are going to slay me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


I raced a 10K on Saturday morning.  51:41 - 8:19 pace.  I still can't believe it really happened.  It was hot and sunny and a lot of running on exposed sun-baked pavement - but it was not half as bad as it was the week approaching the race and not at all bad as it is right now.  I think it's almost 100 degrees outside now.

I fully intended to take a sweaty selfie to put on the blog, but right after I finished the race, my phone was able to send a quick text, a quick email and then it promptly died.  I think all the water I spilled on myself during the water stops made it to my phone and shorted it out.  So all you get it is an at-home post-race photo with the shoes that I ran in and Maxi who is looking at me and wondering why I don't take her running anymore (Because it's crazy hot and humid and I barely make it through my runs and I actually sweat whereas you, my doggie friend, can only pant.  It's inefficient and you will keel over.)

I was doing well until mile 4 and then it became very difficult and then I realized, my God, I have to keep this up for another 2 miles.  No wait! It's actually more like 2 and a quarter miles!  Argh!!  It's like another 20 minutes - how the hell am I going to do this for another 20 minutes!?! But I did and it was over and I was very happy.  I woke up Sunday completely sore all over, even my intercostal muscles were sore (those are the muscles that run between your ribs to expand the rib cage so you can breathe).

Mom is worried that I might be training too hard - my knees in particular.  Mom, there were 799 people who ran the race faster than me.  I was the 800th runner to cross the finish line.   There are at least 799 people who are running faster than me who still can use their knees.

With the end of this race, I feel like I'm truly on a break now.  There's no running for a few weeks so I can rest this old body of mine. My quarter at work closed the day before the race, school for the kids ended at the same time. I'm not doing my own school.  Jeremy's home and his big work obligations are easing up (kind of).  That means I'm left only with what I consider my core responsibilities of work, family and the house.  Somehow I can insert back in 20 hours a week of "found time" and then everything expands to fill the time; these things always do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Happy father's day.

I'm such an awesome daughter.  I took my dad to McDonald's on Father's Day.  And not even to one of the fancy remodeled ones with the McCafe in it.  A plain, old, regular McDonald's.  It was very early in the morning because Dad wanted to head out promptly to drive back to TN.  To balance out the fact that I spent very little on the food (I think my mother bought the food), I did buy Dad a nice wallet.  I've always known my father to carry around a fat wallet, so I did get the larger size from the store.  Secretly, I was hoping that the new wallet would inspire my father to declutter his wallet into a more manageable size.  But my fantasy did not come true.   I watched my father stuff 217 loyalty cards, 17 ID cards, 36 one dollar bills and three keys into the new wallet.  He did hand the one twenty dollar bill to Vincent.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!

On this special day, I woke up fairly early around 4:00 AM and reflected upon to the fact that being a father is easy - get marry and have kids.  Or, just have kids :).  But, being a "good" father probably is not.  First, how we define "good"? In what sense? How to measure it?  There are a lot of important things which are not measurable by any means.

The only person that I can compare to is my father.  As I remember, he is a very strict person with bad temper.  In my mind, he is very hard to deal with.  Or, even talk to.  But, I never loss the fact that, in his heart, he would like all of us (8 total) to excel, even though his methods are much debatable.  In short, a man with good intention but with very limited bad approaches.  Even with all these, I still think my father is a father that just trying to do his best with good intentions.  With all these years passing-by, I know that my father loves us but just doesn't know how to deliver it.  But as "how to deliver", that doesn't matter to me too much after I grow up.

Now, am I better than my father?  Probably, not.  I just follow his steps to do what I think it is the best of being a "good" father. That is all.  No one really knows, even myself.

Again, Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Last day of school.

Last day of school means selfies with the teachers and a promotion to Tenderfoot in scouts.  The teacher above teaches Vince orchestra.  Vince is using the violin I used at the same middle school and likely in the same room.  His orchestra teacher came just as my orchestra teacher left, they overlapped careers for a few years.  The tradition of hating to practice continues in an unbroken chain of teachers to student tied together by the actual violin.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pool is closed.

Nat wanted to take the kids to the pool yesterday.  It's been really hot and humid here in DC.  But the pool was CLOSED!  What's the pool doing closed on a hot day in June?  So they improvised.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


My super fancy camera takes video. We (meaning Jeremy, I'm a still photo person all the way) are trying to figure out how to set it up.

 Attempt #1 - out of focus, but the most funny one.

Attempt #2 - I'm talking about my dogs.

Attempt 3# - Jeremy talks about his love for Power Point.  (Notice dust motes floating in the background).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Day with Mom.

Mom had a bunch of appointments that she needed to go to today, so I took the day off and filled the empty spaces between appointments with things that she's never tried before.  She got her first pedicure:

Had her first Indian buffet with mango lassi for a drink. Do you remember the first time you tried chicken tikka masala? Yum!  My mother agreed.

And finally, I took my mom to my acupuncturist.  She had never been.  As I opened the door of the office to introduce my mom to George, the acupuncturist, they exclaimed that they actually knew each other.   George turned to me and said, "I knew I knew you from somewhere!"  I do look remarkably like my mother.  George has a beautifully labeled herb cabinet, but all the herbs are old.  He hasn't maintained them in many years because it takes up too much of his time.

I'm hoping George can loosen up some of the scar tissue in my mom's elbow so she'll be able to do the PT exercises more efficiently.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Jeremy is finally home tonight!  Thank goodness.  We need someone competent to captain the ship so I don't run the whole thing aground.  Mainly in terms of food. We are down to the dredges in the freezer. If he doesn't come back soon, we all may get scurvy.

Vince managed to bandage his minor skinned knee in this large monstrosity.  He's being a bit of a baby.

In a moment of mindless multitasking inspiration, I've decided to knit hats during phone calls or online training at work.  I've already made one hat last week.  We'll see how long this lasts.

Forget the app Coffee Meets Bagel to meet girls - just try the tactic that is taking middle school by storm - it's called "zap".  You set up your pal by writing "zap" on his hand and then a time - in this case "6th period".  Then, on the palm of your pal's hand, you write the girl's name.  Vince would not let me take a photo of the girl's name.  So at the proper time, the owner of the hand has to ask the girl out.  So Vince asked the girl out during 6th period.  To which the girl answered, "Are you serious?" To which Vince showed her the palm of his hand.  I think then she said "oh" and then walked away.  Ah, middle school can be tough.

Edda went with her school to Breezy Point on Thursday.  She walked the whole day and got sunburned a bit on her back.  She brought home these shark's teeth for me.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Thursday night is usually date night, but Jeremy's still away, so I took my mother out for a date.  We went to the Bethesda Crab House.  We took the Metro to downtown Bethesda.  My mom hasn't ridden the metro in 30 years, so that alone was an adventure.  I'd never been to the Bethesda Crab House, but it had good reviews on Yelp and I thought my mom would like it.  As we were walking there, we both agreed that we'd have the crab cake sandwiches because how could my mom possibly dig and hammer into a crab with her broken wing?

But as soon as we saw the packed restaurant and the plates overflowing with steamed crabs, my mother changed her mind and we got a dozen medium sized crabs.  I entertained myself by watching how delighted my mother can get eating crab.

I find the work to food ratio for crab a little high.  But my mother disagrees.

Today, we went to the 2nd PT session.  The therapist remarked that mom is doing great, all her numbers for flexion/extension/etc. have improved markedly.  My mother is an overachiever.  Slowly but surely.  My mother is eager to get back to the west coast to tend after 20 tomato plants.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Skinned knees.

Vince and I are sporting matching skinned knees - his is slightly newer than mine.  Vince fell off his bike.  I tripped and fell while on a run.  We both agreed that there is a moment when you first fall when the shock of falling renders you aware of having fallen, but not yet aware of the pain.  Then you think, oh, this should really hurt and then that's when you feel the pain.  After that, our experiences deviate.  Vince sprang up amid a gathered group of classmates who were rushing to his aid.  I got a text from a neighborhood mom who saw him fall and tried to give him a ride home.  He got back on his bike and went quickly home.  I, on the other hand, lay on the ground for half a minute doing a silent head to toe check to see if I broke anything - which, thank goodness, I did not.  Then I lay on the ground for another half minute thinking - oh,  I wish someone would text my mom and then give me a ride home.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lunch date.

I took mom out to lunch today.  We split an apple pie.  My mother does love a good apple pie. Remember when McDonald's apple pie was deep fried?   That's mom's favorite.

Then we stopped off at Target.  I needed to buy Vince some AXE deodorant (with scents like Apollo, Phoenix, and Black Chill).

Some PT moves:  supination

and ulnar deviation.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Love all around.

Gotta love a boy and his dog.

Monday, June 2, 2014


If one is lucky, there is a brief (or if you are even luckier, extended) moment in mid-life where your kids are old enough to make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and your parents are young enough to travel and be independent and enjoy all the benefits of their years of hard work.  I think that moment for me is right this very minute.  I'm trying to do so many things before this window of opportunity closes - I'm so enjoying everything right now (especially if I get enough sleep).

This week has provided just a tiny taste of what taking care of my parents will really mean.  I actually uttered the words, "Are you sure you don't want to move in with us for a few weeks?"

Took mom today for her ortho follow-up after the surgery.  My mother is very trusting of the doctors.  I asked, are there screws? plates? in your arm?  Do you know if the metal is going to come out later?  Are you going to have PT?  No one is really sure.  Hmmm.  So I saw the x-ray today.  There is one huge plate running down the proximal ulnar bone with about 9 screws holding it in place.  There is one screw that appears to be going in diagonally through the joint.  I'm not even sure what that one is there for. Mom shattered the elbow end of the ulna into a million pieces.  Thank God it wasn't her hip.

Ten days in the splint has rendered the elbow and wrist both stiff.  So we made it to PT where flexion, extension, range of motion were all measured.  Mom's going to do PT exercises every hour (!) to try and regain the full range of motion.  So it means PT sessions 2-3 times a week for 2-3 months.   So dad is working in TN and I'm here handling PT sessions with Mom.  I love you, Mom!  It's no trouble really.

Mom did invite me out to lunch after a morning full of bone-related appointments.  I declined citing that I actually needed to do some work.  You know, to pay the mortgage.

You are totally buying me a very nice dinner somewhere for doing your half of the driving.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Afternoon with Vince and Edda.

Jeremy's out of town for 10 days.  He's rarely gone for the weekend, but this weekend he's not here.   It's just me, Edda and Vince.  The weekend was so beautiful, all the windows in the house were wide open to bring the outside to the inside.  Vince likes to make sure Edda is well hydrated.

I'm trying to teach Vince how to study.  He is falling behind in Chinese because he's having trouble remembering how to write the characters.  We got an app for flashcards and I'm teaching him what it really means to study efficiently.  He kind of groans, but he puts up with it.   It does take 40 minutes to go through the stack.  It's not easy for Vince to understand that these things take diligent work and that work is sometimes tedious and boring.  I'm actually going through the flashcards at the same time with Vince.  Maybe it means that I'll be literate in Chinese someday.  Vince does score better than I do on being able to recall the characters.  It's been many years since I've written any Chinese words, it's interesting to see what I can still remember.  Of course, I know only the complicated characters and Vince knows only simplified.

Christine introduced Vince to ketchup flavored potato chips.  Gross.  Blech.