Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve.


Vince is hosting a NYE party at our house with a couple of friends, but first we took all the boys to dinner at my parents' house.  Vince requested hot pot.  My mom prepared lobster tails.


The boys had a fun time exploring my dad's garage loft.  And they had fun going through Donald's old collection of Transformer toys circa 1980.


Ruby enjoyed getting table scraps.


We will go to bed early.  Good night!  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hike & philly cheese steak.


We got everyone out of the house today and into nature!  We went to Lake Needwood, which is now infested with toxic blue-green algae, so no one touched the water.  Vince was grumpy to start off with, but warmed up and was happy by the end of the hike.  He perked up mainly because he was excited that we get Philly cheesesteaks for lunch.  Keyla had visited Philly last weekend, but failed to try a cheesesteak there, so we needed to hunt one down for her.


We tried this place in Bethesda that advertised a "Mis-steak" - a gargantuan Philly cheesesteak, big enough for four.  Edda enjoyed her Fanta.


We were a bit underwhelmed by the "Mis-steak", we probably should have ordered 4 individual cheese steaks.  But, we ate it all.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015



Vickey is turning 29 (again) and she wanted to go to saucy Rockville Chinese restaurant.  We went to Michael's Noodles (near the now defunct Blockbuster where I spent a lot of time as a 16 year old).  I hope it was saucy enough.  We did spend more time talking than looking at our phones even though the photo above captured only our screen time.





Jeremy has been spending some time replacing hard-to-reach light bulbs.  The newly installed LEDs have been flickering in the ceiling fans and just not working at all in our garage door openers.   Jeremy's not satisfied. We argued last night about light bulbs. Light bulbs!  How can we think (at the same time) that we are both trying to do what the other person wants and (at the same time) think that neither of us told the other one what to do?


We are decluttering like fiends.  Took the door off the hinges to get this out of the master bedroom.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Sunday night dinner.


Someone gave me Belgium chocolates for Christmas - like actually bought in Belgium and carried over on an airplane.  I brought them to Sunday night dinner where there were enough people to demolish the whole box.

Edda got a beautiful cupcake hat.  I'm hoping that I can borrow it sometime.  This photo doesn't do it justice.


Guests were in from London.  Gene is recovering well from back surgery (and being non-compliant with his walker).


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Lazy day and Ruth!


Jeremy loves his electronics and the wiring that goes with it.  He likes to keep a lot of it "just in case".  But maybe we don't need the chargers from 2007?  He spent the morning sorting through his beloved wire box and giving me old cell phones to take to e-recycling.


Our fabulous friend Ruth from LA came to visit us.  She's going to take me to see the LA athletic club the next time I'm in the vicinity.  She goes swimming there everyday and flirts with the men there.


Mom's Regular Mahjong Friends

These ladies are Mom's regular Mahjong friends.  Ladies in red is 85; in green sweater  is 83; in yellow shirt is 78 and Mom (with funny glasses) is 74.  They play together twice or, at least, once every week when Mom is in the east coast.

Basement Master Bedroom Framing Materials

Today, I purchased some of the basement master bedroom framing materials which include two 2"x4"x12' & four 2"x4"x8' treated wood for the based framing on top of the concrete floor, six 2"x6"x8' for three steel posts wrapped around and ten 2"x4"x8' for general framing (picture 1).  Why 12'?  It should be as long/straight as possible to keep all framing on the same straight line.  After all framing on top of it is nailed or screwed, then cut out the portions which are not required.

Of course, the first step is for fire safety and it is to seal off the existing small wood gaps on top of the wall insulation on two sides of its wall using the fire block sealant as shown in the second picture.  

This project probably will take a while and it may stretch to years.  Who know?  But, it at least keep me busy to do something.

Can't Quite Figure Out

Still can't quite figure out how to add an one way switch to a three-way switch.  These switches are almost on the same spot of each side of the wall as shown in these two pictures.

Any advise is certainly very welcome.

Eve and day.


Christmas Eve Day,  I went out with Vickey, Karuna and Bert to celebrate Karuna's birthday.  Chinese food!  And Sweet Frog yogurt (where the Frog stands for Fully Rely On God), but we just rely on sugar.


Karuna is studying acupuncture.  We talked about qi and how it should always be in balance.  I was hoping for some tips, but she said that it was part of next semester's curriculum.  I'll just have to wait.


Then we played a very competitive game of hungry hippos.  If you look carefully, you'll see that Karuna and I both were wearing wear toe socks.


Christmas eve, all the stocking were hung by the chimney with care.

Elf: The four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, syrup.


Christmas morning:  A smile!


Things for feet:


Orange things:


Family for dinner:


Merry Christmas!  From us to you.  I hope all your Christmas wishes come true.


Friday, December 25, 2015

To Celebrate My Birthday (74) - Start Working on the Basement

To celebrate my birthday (74) - start working on the basement for the first phase.  It is the master bedroom bath (picture 1).  The toilet opening is in front after the iron post.  To its right is the shower place.  Behind the shower along the wall is for vanity. And the bath tub to its left, just in front of the bench.  A pair of water take-off pipe (hot/cold) has already been installed several weeks ago.  

The tricky part, I think, is the fire-blocking design & construction at all basement ceiling to make sure there is no chimney effect when fire breaks out. 

But before that, an extra structure for hanging the clothes (paper towels too) has been completed (picture 2). Also, a regular switch for the stairway leading to the loft, bundle in physically with the three three-way switch box (picture 3), is being installed. It should be completed by tomorrow because all DIY stores are closed for business today.

Btw, Mom took me to a restaurant for long noodles (symbolized long life) last night.  She also cooked me a big breakfast.  Noodles again for lunch and, today, I don't have to wash dishes :)  Great!!!  I ought to have 27,010 birthdays.  Why?  Because 74x365 = 27,010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A little miracle.

I logged into work this morning and I couldn't get any of the applications to load.  Called the help desk, there was a recorded message saying that there was a power outage at main campus and they were working on it.  I went to run some errands thinking that it'd be up in a couple of hours.  I came back to my desk and found out the following:

A major power outage at USPTO headquarters occurred last night resulting in damaged equipment that required the subsequent shutdown of many of our online and IT systems. This includes our filing, searching, and payment systems, as well as the systems our examiners across the country use. We are working diligently to assess the operational impact on all our systems and to determine how soon they can be safely brought back into service. Status updates will be issued on our systems alert page ( as they become available, as well as on our Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts.

 They don't expect any of the systems to be back up until after Christmas, the patent office has basically ground to a halt. I think a lot of people at the patent office are working furiously to get everything back on line, but those people don't include me.  I'm officially off until after Christmas.  There isn't even a possibility of working, which is a good thing.  No work, no school, no travel, no one extra staying in the house for the holidays.  A real break.


We saw How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the old one).  There was no room for me on the couch!




We celebrated Dad's 74th birthday a little early.  Noel = born on Xmas, but we thought we should give it a little bit of lead time and not fold it all into the craziness of Christmas.  We went to a restaurant in downtown Bethesda.


We got dad a nice winter coat.  But it's going to be 70 all week, so I'm not sure when he's going to be able to use it.


Happy birthday dad!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Piano piano.


First, admire Edda's hair.  A true masterpiece by Keyla at 6 am.

Second, admire this computer setup.  A true masterpiece by Jeremy, also at 6 am.

We have this eye-gaze computer that we got about 6 months ago.  An eye-gaze computer has a camera which can follow your eyeballs.  You use your eyeballs like a mouse instead of the real mouse. Which is good because Edda's hands are no good for mice-ing.  We had some hopes that the school would take the lead and help us out a lot with the programming or using it, but there are complications.  It's a consumer product and not an educational institution product and so then the rep which usually supports the school district with this brand of equipment balked at providing support for our device for the augmentative communication team.  Because it's our own personal device, they can't use it with any school bought software or equipment.  It's a little bureaucratic mess.  But no matter, Jeremy spent the weekend making up some communication boards for Edda.  He started with one of Edda's favorite topics - breakfast.  So Edda gets a bunch of choices for breakfast.  Eggs, cereal, oatmeal and juice/milk.   This morning, Jeremy made all the possible choices for breakfast.

For ten years now, every morning for breakfast, Edda has had oatmeal.  Jeremy makes a week's worth on Sunday in our largest pot and packages them in little glass jars that line the back of the second shelf of the fridge.  Over the years, he's changed the recipe to add fruit and change the consistency. It's a lovely food ritual that Jeremy likes and Edda, for a decade, has seemed to enjoy her morning oatmeal.  So what does Edda tell Jeremy he wants for breakfast on the first day she can tell us a preference?  She wants eggs and cereal.  So she had eggs and cereal.  And the oatmeal was left on the counter.



One thing I love about texting my mother is that I can send her photos of Vince's Chinese vocab and ask her for help.  Vince is taking Chinese II.  I'm starting to lose my understanding of the vocabulary (I know, so lame), so I need my mom to help.  This week's vocabulary is all about illnesses, resting, headaches, hospital beds.  And then I came across this vocab and sent my mom the photo.  Mom?!?!!  What the hell is an abnormal growth of fresh (meat)?  I do not understand.


Closing out the year.


I'm not usually a sequined girl, but I wore this Christmas sweater/scarf combination all weekend.  I'm trying to enjoy the holidays more - even though I am grinch-like.  It's hard to turn these things around, like changing the direction on the Titanic.  Anyways, it was a nice weekend, very holiday-like with relatively good cheer.  We went to two parties on Saturday night.  One party where my sequined sweater was one of the dullest outfits around and the other where my sequined sweater stood out like a pimple on a teenager's face.  When did "festive" attire mean black/blue/grey/silver? Oh well.  I managed to have conversations without feeling too awkward.

On Sunday, Jeremy wanted to go on a long bike ride.  Usually on Sundays like that, I just bum around the house with Edda.  But this time, I planned a whole road trip around the DC area.  Edda and I drove to Woodbine, MD, Tysons Corner, VA, Clifton, VA, Silver Spring, MD, Bethesda, MD and then all the way home.  I was out from 10 am to 8 pm, which really is some sort of endurance record for me and Edda.  I got to see Caroline, just for a moment,  - who looks fantastic - and Caroline got to make fun of my sparkly crazy Christmas sweater.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Finished Garage

The garage work is completely done.  Pictures 1, 2 & 3 show the first bay (car parking), second bay and loft.

The Three-Clock Post

This afternoon I gave Rena a surprise to show her my three-clock post in the garage.  It would remind me the time all the time while working inside the garage from all angles.  

I think it is pretty cute and originated.  But, I don't think we need the fourth one :)