Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Tonight, I'm going to give Edda a shower and then I'm going to dry her hair.  Then we will snuggle in her bed until she falls asleep.  If I'm industrious, I'll study via youtube videos while I'm in bed with her.  If I'm less industrious, I'll watch a movie on Netflix and fall asleep next to her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Someday I'm going to have to learn to start an IV.  I want to practice on Jeremy.  Look at these crazy veins.  And he doesn't even have a tourniquet on.

Monday, October 27, 2014


We hosted Sunday night dinner.  We did it the simple way and ordered four large pizzas - cheese, pepperoni, meat lovers and verde.  As the boxes emptied, I gathered them up and headed to the garage to throw them away in the recycling bin.  As soon as I opened the door between the house and the garage, Vince and Bryson rushed up and grabbed the boxes from my hands and told me that they'd be happy to take care of the recycling for me.  I squinted my eyes and asked them what sort of naughtiness they were up to.  They sheepishly admitted that they were using a power drill to impale screws into a plastic dinosaur.  I looked at the dinosaur and reminded them that they really should put on safety glasses.  A couple of safety glasses were promptly found and I left them to their power tool happiness.

Oh the poor dinosaur.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Marine Corp Marathon.

Went downtown to cheer on a friend.

Blew bubbles at the 19 mile mark.

High fives all around.  "Free encouragement!"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What happened today.


The queen-sized bed we bought a week or so ago was for Edda.  We'd been sleeping with her in a twin sized bed for 10 years.  She's 85 pounds now and takes up a lot of space.  You always ended up with a crick in your neck or your arm would fall asleep.  Now sleeping with Edda, the grown-up gets his/her very own spot!


Jeremy made a PB and J sandwich for his long bike ride this morning.  He managed not to hurt himself (on either the bike ride or making the sandwich) and for that, I'm thankful.


Vince and Edda watching TV.  Edda's cheeks are all red from her hand mouthing now, a sure sign that winter is coming and the air is dry.


Jeremy made hand-pressed hamburgers with tater tots for dinner tonight.  I always think the hand-pressed burgers have too much meat in the patty, so I asked Jeremy to slice my patty along the horizontal axis and I eat only half the burger.  Guess who got the 2nd half?  Why these two well behaved doggies of course.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Good morning.


Good morning Rockville!  I see so many sunrises these days.  It means that I go to bed really, really early.  I'm learning stuff like what to do for: heart attacks, hypotension, asthma attacks, COPD, heart failure, hemolytic blood reactions, hypoglycemia, kidney failure, AIDS, and spinal cord injuries.  I'm dutifully memorizing all the signs and symptoms of all the most commonly seen issues, all the drugs (generic and trade names), all the side effects and the antidotes of the drugs.  I'm able to rattle off all the normal lab values and what happens when the lab values go out of whack.  It's really interesting, but I consider this stuff almost secondary to the other important thing that I'm learning which is to touch people and do a full hands-on head-to-toe assessment: take their pulses and listen to their heart/lungs/belly and then really listen to what they are saying.  This is harder than you think it would be.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Date night.


Date night = Whole Foods + Old Navy.  One of my favorite places to have dinner is Whole Foods.  I like their salad/hot food bar because it seems like everything is possible.  Want to have Chinese food with collard greens?  Or do you want to have quinoa with strawberry cake?  Yummy.  No one else seems to like this idea.  But Jeremy indulged me tonight and took me there.


Then we headed to Montgomery Mall where I tried on many, many leather jackets on behalf of Edda.  We are trying to pull together an Amelia Earhart costume for Edda for Halloween.  I could not find any leather jackets at my favorite price point (eight dollars), but I did find a flowing white scarf for her to wear.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I love beets.

What's going on here?  Ummm.  Midterms are over for me.  Halfway done with the term.  Jeremy lost the cookie competition at work.  Heartbreaking.  Vince got his bike stolen at school and spent two hours (during class time ?!?) looking over security camera footage to see if he could find the thief.  No thief found, but the bike was found in the middle of the field on school grounds.  Edda went to Strathmore to see a concert yesterday.  We are eating a lot of vegetables.  Things are well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Can I still talk about the weekend?

Boys had a sleepover Friday night which segued into an 8 am soccer game.  Go Strikers!  (They lost.)


Monday, October 20, 2014


Donald flew to Portland this weekend to hang out with mom and to get a cup of coffee.

I went running on the C&O and it was beautiful.


Vince made me a BLT for lunch!


Jeremy is in a cookie bake-off at his work this week.  He wants to WIN.


Sunday, October 19, 2014


Both the kids had the day off on Friday and it was Edda's regularly scheduled OT appointment with Deb.  Deb hasn't seen Vince in years!  Deb has been Edda's therapist since she was three years old.

In first or second grade, Vince was having a lot of trouble with his handwriting.  Deb took him on for a few months to teach him how to hold a pencil and write the letters correctly.  It was not an easy thing for Vince.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Something for the U Street Addition

Our U Street Addition is coming along fairly nicely.  The roof is up with several vent pipes.  The framing has passed the inspection. Windows are all up.  Siding is up for the north wall which is ready for the new electric meter. Mom's hard work pays off and she is pretty happy.

Well, she starts to collect things for the addition. At least, she has had two already - a clock and a phone. Clock is working, according to her.  The phone, I hope it is working too.

When I fly back for the last time of this year when Rena is around, I will put the fence back to its original place.

Mom is also very excited that Donald will be there this weekend. She looks forward to seeing him there.



Date night = IKEA.  Jeremy is trying to convince me that this desk is going to totally change the workflow in the house.  A modern organizational miracle.

We misestimated that a queen sized bed would fit into the minivan.  Had to tie it to the roof.



Would it be remiss of me to not talk about Ebola?  This has been a crazy week to be a bedside nurse (in training) in a hospital.  I'm not immune to having my blood pressure and heart rate rise when I watch 15 minutes of CNN.  Yes, I have friends who work in ERs, I have friends who are nurses at NIH, and I have friends who have kids that needed to be in the ER this week surrounded by feverish people.  Yes, I have put on PPE equipment to protect me from C-diff and MRSA beacuse every third patient have these hospital aquired infections.  Yes, I've seen Contagion.  Please just go out and get your flu shot, OK?  They are at every Safeway, CVS and Walgreens.  There are flu clinics at school and work sites. Don't follow the red herring.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mt. Vernon

Jeremy took the day off work to chaperone Edda's field trip to Mt. Vernon.  We talked about Washington crossing the Delaware at dinner tonight.  Vince's pal, Owen, was at dinner and he's a bit of a history buff and we wondered if we'd still be an English colony if Washington was unsuccessful in his Christmas Day attack.  Jeremy thought we'd still being an English colony today.  Owen said it would have only taken another year to get independence.

Edda boarded a fancy coach bus which did have a wheelchair lift.

Jeremy was bemused with the conversation on the bus which alternated between kiddie jokes and racy jokes.  Edda's pals were impressed that Edda had her own phone.  Most kids here have to wait until middle school to get their own smartphones, but not Edda.

I hate to even mention how busy we are because all the things we are busy with are our own fault and because we are excited to be doing the things we are doing.  We are busy!  Jeremy got up at 5 am to start work before he left for the trip and then promptly started work again when he got home at 3ish and he's still at it now.  He's set up a permanent workstation in the dining room with multiple screens.  It's close to the coffee.


Monday, October 13, 2014



Foggy nights and warm beds.


Sunday, October 12, 2014



Vince is back from the 2-night camp out.  He has new freckles and a new facial hair.


He came back filthy.  You can see the dirt on his legs.


No shoes.  But he has socks at least!


Two Interesting Statistics

1) There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.
2) An investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services found more than one million counterfeit Chinese parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.
For the first one, no wonder the largest pork producing company in USA, Smithfield Foods, is looking to China for growth.  Evidently, there are a lot of pigs being consumed there every day. For the Chinese parts, we are not only using their counterfeit parts unintentionally but also using their genuine parts intentionally.  For example, Pentagon waives sanction rules on Chinese magnets on our Radar System, landing gear and other hardware for F-35 fighter. Or otherwise, the colossal program can not be kept on track. 
Btw, these days, we use Russian rockets to put up our satellites too.  With all these NATO sanctions, I just wonder why Russian still let us using theirs - not in our military purposes though. 
In short, we all become desk persons.  This, I believe, is the direct results of our brilliant MBAs from our elite colleges - outsourcing (remember this fancy term?).  They and US Companies make millions overnight without doing much but, as consequence, leave all American folk in the dust. 
Our President is still in his campaign's mood - running around the world, saying a lot, but not much can be delivered.
Not like President Nixon said "Speak softly, but also carry a big stick"

Saturday, October 11, 2014

U Street Addition Update

Donald just asked how is Mom's addition going on.  Look, this is the new north front wall with one of the bathroom window.  The new electrical meter will be placed to the right of window on this wall.

Mom hope the addition can be winterized soon with roofing, siding, electrical meter, windows and doors ready so she can take off to the east coast for Winter.

Due to my travel policy change, I will visit U Street every 4 weeks during the Winter time.  I need to store some water for toilet only and be ready to put on a lot of blankets.  For two-day short visit during the weekend, no shower, no heating to the whole house.  Just stay one night to make sure everything is okay and leave.


Donald is such a good brother.

Calls me almost every weekend, which is really nice.  We've never been in such close contact as we've been the past 5 years or so.  His last day at Oracle was Friday, he starts his new gig on Monday.  I don't know the company's name.  I only know that it's in SF proper.

Friday, October 10, 2014


At the Montgomery College track.

At the top of Shady Grove Hospital parking garage.


Jeremy is home from a successful CA trip.  Vince is off camping this weekend.  We are both working /studying this weekend while Edda hangs out.  I've been experimenting with my phone's camera for the blog because I now find myself in places where I don't want to bring my big camera.  But the camera on the phone frustrates me to no end because I like taking photos of people moving in low light which is the worst thing you can ask a cell phone camera to do.

China Just Overtook the USA as the World's Largest Economy

This is based on just one measurement - PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) among many others.  But, nevertheless, it is a great achievement that I, as a Chinese-American, am very proud of.  However, I still believe it will take a long time for the average Chinese to have our average living standards today.

This achievement, I believe, is the result of collective efforts by every Chinese worldwide and hard working always pays off, eventually.

I still remember my childhood days in China that I didn't have enough to eat, went to school with barefoot as well as with wet clothes on (just one and no dryer, of course), etc.  I am sure that I wasn't alone at that time because Rena experienced the same things as I did.  I am also sure that, even today in China, there are a lot extremely poor people.  But, their number should shrink rapidly.  That is very good news too.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


Vince got Donald's hand-me-down iPhone 5.  It's nice to have an uncle who likes the latest and greatest.  Then you get stuff that's better than the crap Android phone your parents buy you.



This is Alex our clinical instructor.  She's fabulous.  I'm learning a lot.  So many, so many stories to tell.  But I can't talk about it here.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Waiting for the bus with Ruby.

Even though it is cold, flowers are still trying to give it a go in the garden.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rett syndrome awareness month.

October is Rett Syndrome Awareness Month.  Edda's doing well - healthy (except for the Rett, if that makes any sense) and happy.  Edda often gets up at 4:30 am.  Usually one of us wakes up then and crawls into bed with Edda and cradles her back to sleep until a more reasonable 5:30 am.  We switch nights so I only get up super early every other day, but I've become so good at this that I can pretend I'm still sleeping when I walk over at 4:30 am and then go back to sleep promptly as soon as Edda's body curls around mine.  Since Jeremy's been traveling this week, I'm keeping Edda company every morning.  If I can't get her to go back to sleep, then I'll turn on a little TV on her dresser and she roams the room while I try to sleep some more.  This is when she'll often come back to the bed and sit on my head.   I do still hope for a cure for Rett, but as she gets older, it all seems to fade away.  It's as if I can't see it anymore, that the borders are fuzzy and I can never get it smack in the center of my field of view.  

Monday, October 6, 2014


On the left coast, Jeremy saw Ben and Maryann and watched the 18-inning baseball game between the Nats and the Giants.

Then to the Mission, where he stumbled upon a riotous dinner party thrown by Donald in his tiny apartment.  Delicious homemade pasta was served.

On the right coast, Vince sorted through and organized a three-inch-tall pile of schoolwork.   I try not to cringe when I look at his binder.  Nothing in life gives me more pleasure than a well-organized school binder.  Apparently, Vince did not inherit that gene.

Max, on the other hand, has tendencies similar to me.  Every once in a while, the world will overwhelm her and she just wants to hide out under the bed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Logan slept over last night.  Pizza and popcorn all around.

After he left, Vince made himself some ramen.

I dressed Edda fancy today in a fur vest.  It's cold here.  Brrrr.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Flu shot.

Jeremy is out of town for the week.  Dropped him off at the BWI shuttle bus at 6 am today.  He's not usually gone for the weekend, but he wanted to see some friends in SF, so it makes it an extra-long trip.

Vince is dressing like a lao gong these days - oversized white undershirt and ill-fitting slippers.  Now he only needs an upside-down bucket to sit on while he reads the newspaper and grumbles about politics.

Took the kids to the flu shot clinic at our pediatrician's this morning.  Get your flu shot!  That's right, you!  Don't turn around and think that I pointed to the person behind you.

Vince introduced Edda to another flu shot clinic client.  Her mom recommended that we try out Special Olympics bowling (which is where they were headed to after the flu shot).  I'm loathe to sign the kids up for anything new because I don't like to drive them anywhere on the weekends (because I'm lazy that way), so I kind of hemmed and hawed and mentioned that Edda can't really use her hands.  She said brightly that they use these bowling ball ramps and they have volunteers to coax the kids to do amazing things.   I don't doubt that.  I'm sure Edda would bowl if I took her bowling. Her daughter, the girl in the yellow shirt, is on the competitive bowling team and is hoping to go to regionals next week and then maybe states later on.

Vince actually watched the needle go in.  I can't do that if I'm getting the shot myself.

Dora says corn = eating smart.

Vince pumps his first tank of gas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Early morning walk.

U Street Addition Status

Today, Mom & I have chosen our electric contractor to move the meter to the front and add an addition electrical box.  This is our next to the last.  After DIY on plumbing and wiring next year, we will find a contractor to do the insulation and drywall.  Then we will DIY again with sink, cabinets, vanity, toilet, shower bathtub, etc.

Should be completely ready by next, next fall.  If I have no job, it will definitely faster.