Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving II.

It snowed a lot the day before Thanksgiving at Bard.

It was beautiful.  Especially since we didn't have to travel in it.

Look!  Kiki took a photo of all four of us!  Wonderful!

My most loyal blog commenter, Sheila and her husband, Scott.  And their soon-to-be-mechanical-engineer son, Josh.  They are from Texas.  There is nothing more fun than watching a bunch of Texans have a snowball fight.


I did run a 10K race Thansgiving morning in Troy, NY (about an hour north of Bard): 51:19 - just about 8:15 pace.  I negative split it which means I kept running faster as the race went on which is the most amazing feeling.  First mile at 8:30 pace, last mile at 8:00 pace and a little kick the last 0.2 miles.  Delicious!


Saturday, November 29, 2014


Happy post-Thanksgiving y'all.  The Martin gathering was up at Bard this year and even my parents and Donald all made it up to there despite the huge snowstorm centered on Bob and Katherine's house.  My mom made her traditional egg rolls which has been on the Martin Thanksgiving menu since 1997.

I didn't take many photos of Thanksgiving, but it was lovely with all the family and friends we haven't seen in a long time. I present here some photos that Donald took on their road trip up and back.  I look a lot like my mom, huh?

We are now all decompressing from the drive down today.  It was a mess.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

After driving 10 hours from Oak Ridge, TN to IAD (Dulles International Airport) to pick up Donald, I didn't drive at all yesterday from Washington DC to Bard College in New York.  Donald drove all the way, about 6 hours.

There, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with Jeremy folks and their friends.  It was snowing lightly outside and looked very pretty.

Today, we are going to drive back to Washington DC and I will keep installing some of the safety stuffs in the house that I think it is needed, such as moving sensing lights at entrance, door way & stairs.  And may install more grab bars.

Sunday, I will be back to work.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Vince went camping with the scouts this weekend.  It got to 15 degrees on Friday night.  Vince forgot his coat at school on Friday and was going to leave for this campout with only a sweatshirt in hand.  I had been bugging Vince all week about underdressing to go to school (shorts/T-shirt) but usually I let that go 99% of the time because 15 minutes in 30 degree weather in shorts isn't going to kill him, but I drew the line at going camping in below freezing weather with a sweatshirt.  I gave him the puffy jacket off of my back and when he got home, he admitted that the coat was very helpful.


Vince has been mucking around in the garage a bunch the past few weeks.  I'm not exactly sure what he is doing, but he seems to be enjoying himself.  Lots of sanding, hammering and spray painting.

He takes his PPE seriously.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Just for Mom

After having a nice dinner for Mom's birthday yesterday, today I am busy with things just for Mom.  

Since Mom hurt her left arm (due to her second fall this year), it is difficult for her to take the straight stairs down.  Of course, she can always use the curvy one instead.  But, just too in-convenient. Therefore, I finished an additional hand rail on the right (Picture I).  

She like to take a bath in the tub, but it is difficult for her to get in.  So, I installed a grab bar for her (Picture II).  

For the shower place, just to be super cautious, I installed a vertical grab bar also (Picture III).

I also replaced all the mats with anti-slippery ones (Picture IV).

Since I am going to remove all wooden boards in her garden, I did buy 30 bags of mulch today as re-placement.  

Suddenly, after I finished all these.  I really think I am old because our house right now is a senior-friendly type with all these bars, mats, etc.

Oh, for two toilets (one in her bath room, one downstairs), I have ordered two hand rails from Amazon two.  They haven't arrived yet.  I probably can put it up next weekend when I come back again.



Happy birthday mom!  Many, many joyous ones more.  Much love, xoxoxo.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Mom has been coming here for dinner the past few days.  She's trapped in her house because she really can not drive with her bum shoulder.  I'm glad that when I'm as old as my mother and have the same broken shoulder, there will be a car that exists that drives itself (with me in it).

A few days ago, Jeremy bought an amount of kimchi that was larger than the volume of his head.  I do not like kimchi, but Jeremy and Vince are big fans.  I wonder how long it will take them to finish off the whole bucket.

Vince also loves my mom's shrimp and last night we found out why.  It's because she puts an entire bottle of ketchup into the dish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



I know compared to some parts of the country, there is nothing to complain about, but it's crazy cold here.  Crazy.  Here's Jeremy dressed up for his morning bike ride to the Metro.  He left and had to come back because he forgot his phone.

This is what fall is suppose to look like:

Tea parties on the back porch.  Bring fall BACK!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Odds / ends.

Look how big Edda is getting!  So toothy in this photo.  Also dressed somewhat like a hipster farmer.  Taken just before heading up for a shower.  Maxi is barking her head off in the background because she's afraid of the big camera with the telephoto lens.  So any photo that you see on this blog in our living room/kitchen/dining room, just imaging loud, insane barking as part of the soundtrack.

Every week I try to fold the clean laundry before Maxi finds the pile and settles down.  I usually fail.  But I try ALL THE TIME.  This is one of my habits that Jeremy finds *slightly* annoying.  What's that? Pulling out an undershirt from the clean pile with ten thousand little black hairs on it is annoying? I am otherwise perfect.  Ha ha!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple carving.


Vince didn't get enough of pumpkin carving.  We've moved on to apple carving.  You see Ruby in the background?  She's waiting for the apple core.  She and Maxi fight over apple cores.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chinese take-out anyone?

Look carefully for the ping-pong paddle in the fruit bowl.  What the hell?  I don't think we even have a ping-pong table anymore.

My Retirement Plan

Next month, I will enter my 74 years of existence.  I talked to Mom and, finally, come up with a retirement plan.  See how it goes?

Very glad that I will be able to come home next week to see Mom :)  Hopefully, her left arm is getting better.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Home. Hassles.

Jeremy's home.  Good food is back in the house.

Edda's wheelchair is broken.  The left brake doesn't work which means it can't go on the bus.  In order to get this brake fixed, we are entering the dark hole of health insurance reimbursement.  There is a single weirdly shaped plastic washer that is missing from the mechanism.  If it existed and was available at Home Depot, it'd cost 35 cents.  But since it's a custom washer, I'm sure it's $30 + $450 for the visit/repair.  I think it might take us more than six weeks to get it fixed.  I was wondering if we'd have to drive and pick up Edda from school everyday for six weeks.  Luckily, I had forgotten we'd given Edda's school her old stroller to use, so they sent us back her old little one (the one we got when she was 3!) and she squishes into that one to go back and forth on the bus now which is better than nothing.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Clinical. Done.


Here's a photo of my white nurse shoe on my way to the last day of my med/surg clinical.  This is what I saw over the ten weeks I spent in the hospital:

  • A dead body
  • A heart attack
  • A stent placed in a beating heart
  • Inmates (shackled to the bed) seeking drugs
  • Regular folks seeking drugs
  • A stroke with hemiparalysis
  • A GI bleed
  • Irregular heart beats
  • People with end stage kidney disease who don't get dialysis for months because they don't have insurance (that's like not peeing for months).
  • Alcoholics detoxing
  • Poop.  So much poop. The indignities we all will face as we get older.  Nothing like having someone help you poop.  That someone who is helping you is me.  And someday it will be me needing help pooping.  Don't think it won't happen to you.  Stool softeners are your friend.
  • Bariatric patient - took 6 of us to move him.
  • Kindness and unkindness
  • I got to stick tubes in every orifice.  Oh, kind of not fun.  I hope that I get better at that.
I loved most of all my clinical instructor, Alex (amazing and brilliant, I'd bypass the doctor and just have her treat my congestive heart failure) and our little group of nursing students.  One of the many things I love about nursing is the diversity of my coworkers.  Look at this (youngest to oldest):
  • N, female, late 20s, BS Biology, Pakistani, phembotomist
  • D, male, late 20s, BS Information Technology, African-American
  • A, female, late 20s, BS Public Health, African-American 
  • V, female, late 30s, personal trainer, Ukrainian, mom 
  • M, male, late 30s, ex-military - can drive an aircraft carrier, Caucasian, dad
  • S, female, early 50s, middle school math teacher, Jewish, mom
How cool is that?  Totally cool.  And we were tight.  So tight.  That doesn't often happen in randomly assigned groups.

At lunch, on the last day, Alex spent some time sorting us into the specialties that she thought we were best suited for.  She thought carefully and I felt like it was the sorting hat in Harry Potter. People got placed into ICU, ER, shock trauma, and psych.  When she got to me - she thought for a moment and said: pediatrics - and not only pediatrics, but a subspecialty within peds.  Hmmm.  Not what I had been thinking, but it's what so many people have been telling me for years.  I'll have to do my peds rotation at Children's to see if they are right.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Communting to Cambridge.

Jeremy left Wed. morning for a business trip to Harvard.  He packed his bike with his roll-y-suitcase and rode to the Metro.  I did offer him a ride, but he declined.

He took a photo of himself outside Killian Court for me.  A sweetie.  He visits the old stomping grounds way more often than I ever do.

A Duracell :)

Yeah, I would like to pat on my own back for doing all these things in 10 consecutive days.

1.       Friday: after working 6 hours, drove to airport to catch transcontinental flight across the USA (one connection, east first, then all the way from east to west).

2.       Saturday & Sunday: to Home Depot twice to pick up 20 bags (50 lbs each) of wet mulch (rained several days already and still raining); put away all wooden boards on all walkways around the house and replaced them with mulch; cleaning up (by stacking them together) all construction debris of a master bedroom addition ( ~13 ft x 35 ft in size, engineered & sub-contracting by Rena) for earth work, foundation with drainage, radon gas mitigation system (DIY), framing ( vault ceiling, windows, closet, egress windows & door, door for crawl space underneath), siding , roofing with vent holes and electric meter relocation and its box addition; Installed door locks; planted a shrub on sale; buried ~14 feet of exposed new telephone wires (old one severed by electricians by accident, new old couldn’t buried due to debris all over) 6 inches deep; restored 7 feet long fence as well as 3 feet gate attached to it.

3.       Monday: Took transcontinental flight across the USA again with one connection.

4.       Tuesday:  Worked 11 hours.

5.       Wednesday:  Worked 11 hours.

6.       Thursday:  Worked 11 hours.

7.       Friday:  After working 6 hours, drove 10 hours (~ 550 miles) with pit stops only.

8.       Saturday:  did grocery shopping; vacuumed the house; did laundry; replaced all batteries (~20 for fire alarms, AC, remotes, garage door, clocks, etc.) inside the house; cleared the overgrown weeds, shrubs & trees around the house; removed all dwelling & food storage of mice under the car hood (on top of the battery was a nicely built home – very colorful and artistic & should be saved as a whole and input it into a glass enclosure as a house decoration, inside the air intake, on the engine block, etc.); charged the dead car battery; inflated all tires to 30 psi; to Jiffy Lube for oil change on the car driven.

9.       Sunday:  had breakfast with Jeremy, Doris, Vincent & Edda; drove another 10 hours (~ 550 miles) with pit stops only.

10.   Monday: back to regular schedules.

But, at my age (even look healthy), without waking up next morning is also possible J  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Where are we again, exactly?  Oh yeah, we are at the ortho's office again.  Guess who broke her arm again?  That's right.  My mom.  This is the story of her left arm:

30 years ago, sliced open her finger to the bone on a garbage disposal.
20 years ago, broke her wrist running away from a dog
this spring, broke her elbow rushing to dinner
last week, broke her shoulder gardening

Let's not think about where this is leading.  I told her perhaps she should just get it over with and cut off that poor arm.

It's fine, mom is fine.  No surgery.  No cast.  4-6 weeks of PT to prevent it from freezing up.  Should be good to go.  Good as new.  We are very lucky.

Loves, this is important.

Folks, read: THIS

Possible treatment for Edda.  Not a cure, but a promising treatment.  It's also being studied for Fragile-X and traumatic brain injuries.  It's an already approved drug primarily used to treat long term growth failure in children (IGF-1: insulin-like-growth-factor).  Rumors from Facebook indicate that the families who participated are excited about the results that they saw (improvements in hand use and attention span), but they aren't allowed to talk about it.  Exciting!  And the study was done on older girls, not little, little ones who are prior regression.

Then maybe Edda can get a point or two on inane forms like this that I still have to fill out:


Monday, November 10, 2014


Dad was in town in the am to get the house ready for Mom who came back into town Sunday afternoon.  Jeremy was kind enough to send Dad on his way with a whole roasted chicken.

Sunday evening we went to Eric and Colleen's for Sunday night dinner.  Attendance was down from the usual census, but there was great food and good snobby wine.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014


We went to the celebration dinner of Vince's soccer team on Saturday night.  Jeremy and Edda checked out the BMW i3 electric car we parked next to.

Getting Vince to play any organized sport thing is quite difficult - he just doesn't really like doing it.  We've tried soccer, basketball, swimming, ping pong, gymastics.  All the things. The only way I got him to play this season was because three of his very good friends were already on the team.  They were completely defeated this season and Vince whined a bit before every practice/game, but I think he secretly liked it.

Edda and Jeremy thinking about pizza.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Going away. And coming home.

Jeremy's home.  For a moment or two.  We met up at Meghan's birthday/going away party in DC.  She's joined the foreign service and is going away to her assignment soon.  I'm so excited for her, it sounds like a great adventure.

I drove into DC on a Friday night - this is a huge accomplishment for me.  I won't do it for just anyone.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


This wasn't today.  Whatever day it was, it was beautful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


We got a little overzealous with the candles at dinner tonight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Seattle / Portland.

Jeremy's traveling this week.  Left this am.  Back on Friday.  So, as Vince laments, who is going to cook us dinner?  It's going to be a week of fish sticks.  And low vegetable intake.  I used to be better at cooking - and I did do most of the cooking when I was a full time stay-at-home-mom.  But it's not something I'm particularly good at - I can't just rummage through the pantry and whip up something new.  I'm a recipe follower...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bert is 2!

We headed over to the wilds of Virginia to go to Bert's 2nd birthday party.  Jeremy made his peanut butter cookies which were a big hit.  We admired the amazing birthday cake.  Vickey and I decided this morning that this cake must have taken the cake lady more than 10 hours to make - we thought maybe upwards of 15 hours?  I dunno.  It was beautiful and delicious.

Bert is the cutest 2 year old ever.

Jeremy biked the 50 miles to Vickey's house.  He left the house at 6:30 am and made it there by 10:30 am.  He'd always wanted to ride on a particular trail in Virginia.


I feel like I'm living a lie on this blog.  For more than a decade, I've been documenting what I consider to be what I'm mostly thinking about, what I'm concentrating on, or what is really going on in the family.  What is on the blog these days is NOT AT ALL what is preoccuping myself with.  Snapping a picture and writing a few words about it really freezes something like 30 seconds out of the whole day.  And what does my whole day look like these days?  It looks like a lot of work.  I'm either hunched over my work work.  Or I'm hunched over my school work.  Or I'm going to school work. Or I'm procrastinating - which looks a lot like work work or school work, but really it isn't any work. Besides the crazy work work or school work, there is the incredible clinical work (which I'm playing the most bottom rung role - I get coffee, change sheets, clean people while I'm learning to give meds and provide appropriate interventions when a patient is decompensating in front of me) that just has story after story about death, health, blood, epidemics, obesity, drug abuse, etc, which has just been incredibly moving and stressful and full of humanity that I kind of have to shake my head and clear it every time I leave the hospital.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Work work work.

Vince in the early am.  Doing homework 15 minutes before he leaves for school.  Not the ideal time - IMHO.

He is wearing delicious socks.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I think this is the year we've outgrown Halloween.  Oh well.  I loved you pumpkin patch, I loved you school parades, I loved you trick-o-treating at twilight.  Vince went to a sleepover last night where they went tricking - trying to scare people.  I hope they didn't throw eggs at people's houses. Edda's last Halloween parade happened.  We still managed a couple of pumpkins on the porch.  The turnout was low.  Maybe 10 groups total....