Monday, September 29, 2014

Cookies. Infectious Diseases.

We made it back to the DMV in time for Sunday night dinner. I saw these cookies on the stove and I was excited, but we didn't get to eat them for dessert.  Maybe they were earmarked for other sweethearts besides us.


Oof, I should have done better on today's test on diabetes, respiratory and cardiac.  That's what I get for playing all weekend instead of studying.  Moving right along now to infectious diseases - stay away from birds, bats and cats if you are immunocompromised, OK?

Progress On Our U Street Addition

Last weekend, I was at Washougal, WA.  Before flying back to TN on Sunday,  the framing people were there working already. When I arrived at my apartment, Mom emailed me this picture - the roof was half done.  

This weekend, I will be at Washougal, WA also.  And I will work on the connecting deck on the backside of this addition to our existing deck.  Hopefully, this weekend, the weather will be fine.

Before we leave for the Winter in Washington DC (in late Oct and early Nov), the windows, an exterior door, roof, sidings and electrical box should be all in place and ready for the winter too.

Next year, when we come back (may be in May) we will work on the inside ourselves (DIY)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bard. West Point. Seth. Andres. Pip.

Quick trip to the Hudson Valley to take advantage of the 1.5 days off for the Jewish New Year. Jeremy, the kids and Nat went up first.  I stayed behind to do some school stuff and then took the bus/train up myself later in the week.

Jeremy worked for part of the time he was there, giving a talk at Williams and taking in conference calls.  He also cooked a lot.

Saturday, we went to West Point for a philosophy talk.  Bob was the only one who went to the talk, the rest of us had fun on the fields and went to the visitor center.  This hoodie game went on a little too long.

Hung out near Ike.

West Pointers on the right.  Bard students on the left.  But maybe you could have figured out that one on your own.

The highlight of our West Point trip was eating in the mess hall.  It's huge.  All 5000 cadets are in formation at noon outside the mess hall.  Everyone is seated by 12:10pm and lunch is over at 12:30pm.  It's here we learned that the penalty for missing class is to walk back and forth across a courtyard with a rifle and dress uniform for five hours.  If you are caught on a horizontal surface with a member of the opposite sex, the penalty is up to 120 hours of marching.

Emy and her boyfriend Seth cooked us a wonderful pasta dinner in their totally cute place in Tivoli.  Vince declared all of Tivoli "Instagram-able".

We said goodbye to Pip and Andres.  Thank you Nat for coming with us and working and giving up your weekend.  You were so much help, especially when I was in DC and Jeremy was working - we couldn't have done it without you.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rosh Hashanah.

New year road trip.  Synching the phone to the minivan.

Ruby gets a footwell.

Maxi gets her crate.  She was so excited when Jeremy put it in the van because she knows she's going someplace special.

Loading Edda into her spot.  Van full.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple. Laugh. Brownie in a cup.

Someone brought a bushel of apples to class today.  Do you know the thing that they do in TV shows where when the patient flatlines and then the doctor yells "Clear!" and then they take the paddles and shock them back to life?  TOTALLY WRONG. You can only shock a person into regular sinus rythmn if their heart still has some electrical signalling going on.  If they are flatlining (aka asystole), you are reduced to giving adrenaline with some CPR (and some O2 for good measure).  I guess I can't learn medical stuff from TV.  I do miss watching ER (1995!).


Vince and Edda hanging out this afternoon.  If you look close enough, you can see Edda's weird molar growing in her palate.


Vince made brownie in a mug.  Someone has a good recipe for this, but not Vince.  Yucky.  Maxi is interested.

Trusses Are Up for U Street Addition

Trusses are up for our U Street addition.  The master bedroom has vault ceiling.  The mud room at the back has 8' ceiling.  The outside wall columns are 2"x6" and anything inside is 2"x4".  The black elbow in the front is our radon vent.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Waiting for the bus.

Nat and Edda waiting for Carmen to pick her up for school.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Violin. Sunday night dinner.

I've not been good about taking photos everyday, so then the blog content suffers a little.  And we are so boring, sometimes it's hard to figure out what to take pictures of.  Jeremy and I worked/studied all weekend.  I mowed the lawn.  We spent a long time trying to figure out why our garage doors were possessed and sometimes would open and sometimes would not open or the wrong door would open or both would close and then refuse to open again (hint: the LED lights we installed in the garage door motor thing-y which automatically turned on when the doors opened were interfering with the remote.  This took a LONG time and some googling to figure out.  But it was mostly not very photogenic.  Oh and Jeremy had to go out and buy incandescent light bulbs to go all retro on energy savings.  The horror!)  Vince played a lot of video games.  Edda watched a lot of Ponyo.  That's almost as boring as taking pictures of a networking event.

So I snapped some photos of Vince walking to violin lessons.  Which resulted in:

So Vince didn't want to be the subject of any photos, so I took some photos of Inky, the dog who plays violin.  How's it going Inky?  Maybe someday I'll get a nicer shot of you.


We hosted Sunday night dinner.  Right back at you Sarah.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ready for Trusses

The frame of three walls is ready for trusses.  Once it is in place.  It will become a solid structure - should be pretty sturdy.  The contracts of roofing and siding have already been signed.  Next Wednesday, Rena has appointments of three electric companies to estimate the cost of moving the electric box & meter from existing side wall to the front new wall.  Hopefully, they are reasonable.  So far, we have estimates which have a differential of 10 times.  Amazing!  Two of three of these companies are local.  I really would like to give local company the work simply we are all living in a small town.  Economics is important for everyone there. Therefore, recycle the wealth within a community is important to us.

Oh, the bathroom will be able to accommodate the handicap persons.

Chinese food.

Last night we had dinner with Kelly (Vince's violin teacher),  Shy-Luen (Kelly's husband and a conductor), Erika (a bassoonist - which is the instrument I would pick now to learn if I had to learn a musical instrument) and Wei (Erika's husband and an opera singer).  So much music! Lots of talk about cooking and Chinese food.  Wei is singing with the Washington National Opera and his speaking voice is incredible.  So buttery and smooth and deep - I wanted to keep asking him questions just to hear his voice more.


Then today, I went to another Chinese restaurant with Joan, Christine's mom.  I needed to do an interview for a gerontology paper and Joan was up for it.  Joan is amazingly independent for an 86-year-old.  She travels, keeps in touch with many friends, and hopes to finish writing a children's book soon...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nerd humor.

Jeremy came back from MIT with this shirt.  I love this shirt, but Vince grabbed it before I could and wore it to school today.

You guys get it, right?

E = mc2

i =   -1  


The last equation, the ideal gas law, is the most beautiful equation I have ever learned.  More beautiful than F=ma and a2+b2 = c2.   I think the most beautiful equations are the ones you learn first. Last night, I even remembered that the gas constant R is 8.314 after so many years of not thinking about it.  Of course, it is the ideal gas law meaning that gasses in real life don't adhere to the equation perfectly because it assumes that there is no attraction between the gas particles.  I remember being a bit upset when I had to learn the modification to the equation to take into account the deviations from ideal-ness.  

Lady Hercules and/or Modern Lady Mover

I was really anxious this afternoon, especially around 3:30 PM.  I knew at that time, Mom supposed to be home with her 4 ordered windows from Home Depot loaded on our 2005 Ford CrowVic.

Sure enough, at 12:30 PM (3:30 PM my time), she called and everything was fine.  I was relief.  Before that, I tried to help her by asking assistance somewhere but wasn't unsuccessful.

Glad she was safe at home with her windows.  I asked her not to unload the windows until framing workers show up. But, kind of doubt, she will wait that long.  Will see.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Was summer a dream?

I didn't have a chance to take any photos today, so I'm posting some photos I took this summer.  It hardly seems possible that summer was just a few weeks ago and now we are knee deep into the beginning of the school year.  It's been wonderful to see Vince, Edda and their friends start to look like the adults they are going to be in a few years.

Monday, September 15, 2014


Jeremy is at MIT today for business.  This is the tip of building 66, the ChemE building where I spent a summer working on drug delivery polymers.  It was the first and last time I did any sort of animal experimentation.  A little hydrogel disk loaded with caffeine was implanted into a bunny rabbit (which I think a professional bunny surgeon did because I certainly did not do it) and then I was responsible for taking periodic blood samples from their ears which seems not so bad as animal experiments go.  The interesting thing (from our lab's standpoint) was the hydrogel - how it time released its loaded drugs into the blood.  But I didn't know how to draw blood from a rabbit and it was excruciating to keep poking the poor rabbit who was squashed in a tiny bunny jail/restraint.  The summer ended and I do not know anything about what happened to the data or the bunnies or if any of it got published anywhere, I just wanted to leave the lab and not think about it too much.

Jeremy looked for hotels for his business trip, he could not find ANY in Cambridge for less than $500 a night.  It was more expensive than Boston.  We couldn't figure out what was going on in town to cause such a need for hotel rooms.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Last night, Jeremy made me birthday porkchops with Dave's famous Butt Rub.


This birthday morning, I got the most beautiful day ever for a gift and an opportunity to spend 1.5 hours of it outside with family, friends and their kids.

Vince ran around the soccer field wearing non-regulation BACON socks.

Doris, Happy Birthday

Doris, Happy Birthday  -  Mom & Dad

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Side Wall (w 3Ws) Is Up for U Street Addition

Side wall is also half way up.   The first window is just above the bathtub.  The 2nd and 3rd windows are both for the master bedroom.  They are big and low enough to qualify as egress windows.  Beyond that is the mud room or Mom's Mahjon room :)

Sub-Floor Is Up for U Street Addition

Mom was pretty excited to watch the sub-floor of her addition gradually taking shape.  Beneath that, I have already made the sewage connections and placed the 6 mil plastic sheets for ground cover to channel the possible Radon gas emission and to keep the ground moisture out.  The plastic sheets are there but not completely fixed in place. I guess after plumbing work (DIY) and insulation (by others) I will put them in place properly with a staple gun.

This year, it seems that Mom can finish framing, roofing and siding parts.  The rest is for next year.  The first thing on the list for next year is new deck to connect the old one at the back.  This way, it will make in-and-out much easier through the back exterior door of the addition.

And the last thing for this year is to put the fence in front back to its original place.  I don't think it is hard.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Clinical. Back to school night.

First clinical today.  We are a group of good looking nursing students.  I was nervous, but it was a fantastic first day.  My instructor is great, my classmates are smart.  The nurses on the floor seemed to like working with each other and with their patients and did not seem burned out.  And!  I did a head-to-toe assessment on my very first patient.  


Back to school night for Vince.  His science teacher has 70 snakes in his house.  Here I am with Dr. J, the school mascot.  I told Dr. J I was JW class of '86 and he gave me a high five.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thai. Shoes.

Look at this beautiful postcard Nat wrote.  Such nice handwriting.


Thanks for the shoes, Donald.  They are fantastic and beyond my wildest dreams.  I will take them out for a spin on my acutal birthday.  xoxo.  <3.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Ms. Maureen.  Edda's 5th grade teacher.  We love Ms. Maureen and had a nice chat with her at back-to-school night.  Edda's been doing well with holding her fork full of pancakes and bringing it to her mouth.  Thank goodness for school, they make Edda do all the things we are too impatient to do at home.  We are lazy and just feed her ourselves - just waiting for her little mouth to open like a bird.   One day during gym, she decided that she was done and had had enough so she whirled around and she went up three steps by herself while holding onto the railing to exit the room.  I don't think I've ever seen her clear more than one step.  We also discussed holding Edda back a year - she's in 5th grade now and technically would move onto middle school next year, but it'd be fun to be in Ms. Maureen's class one more year.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Eating ice cream. School.

Jeremy lost 9 pounds when he didn't eat anything for three days.  I'm happy he's eating again. Especially ice cream.


We had our first lecture today on Adult Health. This is a photo of the review session held right after class.  It took the prof the full THREE hours to go over the syllabus.  I know, how is it possible to spend three hours going over a syllabus?  How much work is there?  Well, all of us were paying full attention for the whole three hours and constantly asking questions to clarify the confusing parts. Because we spent the whole class time on logistics, we didn't actually get to any class content that was suppose to be presented during the first class, so after three hours, we all herded ourselves to recitation where students who took the class last term presented the actual real lecture - very quickly (we were not there another three hours, thank goodness).  The first class of adult health isn't about respiratory issues, it isn't about cardiac issues.  It's about diabetes.  The first thing to learn in adult health is to manage diabetes (!).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Birthday pie.

Happy 46th birthday Jeremy.  Enjoy your pie!


Vince wanted to watch a movie starring Robin Williams.  He wanted Aladdin.  I wanted Good Will Hunting.  The compromise was Dead Poets Society with a bowl of popcorn.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Gravity Falls.

Edda usually has total control over the living room TV.  We've had about a decade of Blue's Clues and Dora in the background of our home life.  It's hard to watch other things on the family TV because once you turn on the Olympics, Ferris Beuller's Day Off or Dirty Jobs, Edda gets mad and sad and she follows you around the room and gives you no peace.  Sometimes we try to set up a second, little TV right below the main TV to keep her happy.  Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn't work.  Vince has decided to just hold her in his lap and he just whispers in her ear, "This is a really great show.  Just wait and see."

Friday, September 5, 2014


Clinicals start next week.  Met my clinical instructor today.  I'll be on a "step-down" floor which is between an ICU and a med-surg floor.  The nurse to patient ratio is 1:4.  My instructor said that the hardest part is to get comfortable with touching a patient.  When I'm a patient, I always expect doctors and nurses to touch me and invade my personal space and I think nothing of it.  Last term, when we had actors be our patients, I realized that it's a weird feeling to be invited into the personal space of a stranger.  I suppose I'll get used to it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Being grounded and fasting

Vince has been grounded for the past two days.  Labor Day night, he left the house on foot intending to see if any of his pals were home.  I reminded him to bring his cell phone with him and I gave him two instructions: 1. Text us to let us know where you are.  2. Come home at 6 for dinner.  Neither of these things happened which resulted me texting the whole neighborhood mom network and I still couldn't find him.  Jeremy was about to get into the car to scan the neighborhood when he came home almost an hour late.

So he's grounded for a few days.  It involves only one punishment, no screen time.  Without a little glowing screen, Vince is scrambling around trying to find something to do.  He talks to us more.  He marinates chicken and cooks us dinner.  He reads a book.  It's nice.


Jeremy is doing an experiment.  He's fasting for three consecutive days to throw his metabolic pathways into new, uncharted territory.  Jeremy's been fasting once or twice a week (not in a row) for over a year now, it's how he lost more than 40 pounds.  He did gain a few pounds over the summer and he's always been interested in a longer fast, so this is the week to try it out.  I guess I shouldn't be too freaked out about it, it's not any more crazy than the 7 day juice cleanse that so many people like to do.  Today is Wed?  So he hasn't eaten anything since Monday night.  He reports that the 2nd day isn't so bad - he hardly notices.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rett mom's night out and follow-up!

I arranged a Rett MNO on Saturday night at our favorite celebratory restaurant, Founding Farmers.  I always fail to get a good photo at these events.  Even though I consider these ladies practically my sisters, a wave of shyness creeps over me and I can't bear to stop the conversation to get everyone to pose for a good photo.  We had 10 moms, a good turnout (an an extra baby and husband, but we are neither ageist nor sexist).  I used to do these every quarter, but it's been over a year since we've gotten together.  Our girls are doing well and no one was holding a new, new diagnosis, so even though we talked about seizure (medication and weekly ER visits via school), puberty, clinical trials, scoliosis and g-tube surgeries and various Rett charity gossip, the tone was light and we laughed a lot.

At one point during the evening, I realized that I was the only one who had not procured Edda a Tobii device.  This is a computer eye-gaze system that Edda could use to make choices on a screen just by looking at what she wants.  All the other girls seemed to be using one (maybe not so diligently at home, but at least school was pulling the huge device out of the computer bag once a day) and folks have found success recognizing sight words or choosing songs or playing games.  Maybe I've become a little too lax in my parenting duties.  I've had to let go of so many (OK, maybe all) of my original hopes and dreams for Edda that maybe I've slid too far in the the other direction, content to just stay where we are in my little cloud of denial.  It's not only Edda, but I've also done this with Vince.  One of the reasons that Vince didn't do his summer packet was because I looked on the web site and saw 5 different math packets - "Math 6" "Math 7" "IB Math" "Algebra" "Geometry".  I had no idea which class he was in.  I guess I could cross out "Math 6" because he's going into 7th grade and no one emailed me that he was failing math, but the other choices rendered me confused and, not only was I confused, but I had no idea the ranking of the math classes.  If my younger self could look at my self now, she would be utterly aghast at my okayness of having one child who is illiterate and a second child who I can not accurately place his level of math competency.  Maybe I should reassess my priorities.

To round out our Rett-centric Labor Day weekend, we gave our WIKE to Alice.  Jeremy went on a garage cleaning frenzy this weekend and this WIKE is really hard for Edda to use now because it's so low to the ground and Edda is a giant and hard to convince to bend at the waist and knees.  Although the trip was to give the WIKE away, Jeremy really wanted to touch base with Kichul (his IT guru) to figure out why we are getting a weak wifi signal in our garage and at Edda's bed.

Rett siblings:

I'm starting nursing school up again tomorrow.  Because of a curriculum kerfuffle, I'm taking 12 credits this term and for all of you keeping track, that is a full time load which is something I tried very, very hard to avoid.  But sometimes you can't avoid kerfuffles. Whatever.  I'm already letting go of a lot of expectations and settling comfortably into my little cloud of denial.