Saturday, February 28, 2015

One More Full Size Bed & Two More Grab Bars for Bath

Mom thinks that our house needs one more full side bed and I think we need two more grab bars for the bath, especially one in my shower.  It is not fool-proof to get in and out.  The shower curtain with world map, I believe, it was a gift from Doris many years ago.

So, we spent all morning to look for a bed and then went to Lowe's to get two more grab bars.  Mom think white ones are better looking.  So, bed and bars are in white.

I spent the afternoon and evening hours to put them together.  Around 9:00 PM, I finished all.  Picture one is our new bed.  Picture 2 is the newly installed white grab bar for my shower place.  The last one is for the Prince Room.

Friday, February 27, 2015


We went to IKEA on Wed night for date night.  I like eating dinner at IKEA.  I was pleased to find out that they have started selling cupcakes.  I had a salted caramel cupcake.


Vince's broken foot got cleared by the ortho today.  No more rides back and forth to school for him.  He's going to have to walk.  Uphill.  Both ways.  In the snow.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


I'm blue for no reason.  Sometimes I fight the blueness and try really hard to lift myself out of the blueness, but tonight I'm just going to wallow in it for a little while.  Don't worry, if it goes on too long, I'll know to do something about it.


Maybe I'm blue because I'm going to so much group therapy.  I'm not really choosing to go to group therapy, it's part of my clinical rotation.  I don't say anything in group therapy, but I listen to hours of people talking about their very serious issues.  And, although everyone's exact circumstances is different, I've come to the conclusion that we all struggle with the same things:  how to respond to loss, how to react to disappointment, how to deal with anger, how to not feel hopeless, how to not feel lonely, how to accept love and how to do self-care.  I think some people are really good at this and don't dwell and go through life resilient and fine.  Other people have a harder time and stumble here and there and some just have a lifetime of intense struggle with it all.

Or maybe I'm blue because I'm a little tired and hungry and that it's still cold outside.


I take pictures of where I park in a garage so I don't forget where the car is.

The parking in the employee lot at NIH a mess.  They parallel park a row of cars in front of other cars.  They never block my car in beacuse now I know which side they put the row of cars, but what happens if your car is trapped on the inside row?  Do they do a complicated valet parking dance?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Our next door neighbors got a fence installed yesterday.  I think the contractors put the fence up in about 5 hours.  I could see the workers dig the holes, install the poles and then wrap the whole thing with a wire grid.  It's amazing to see how efficiently professional fence installers can put up a fence.  I think digging a single hole for a single pole would have taken me all morning.  

Now Tanner (the next door dog) has a great run-around playground that our dogs (Max and Ruby) can see into from my office window.  There might have been a lawyer calling me (seriously serious) while a pair of barking dogs three feet from my seat protested that Tanner was outside, so why couldn't they be outside?  Hmmm... not ideal.


Edda's liking her milk.  

May Have Family Guests for Our Huntington Beach Family Re-union this Summer

Mom has formally invited her brother and sister-in-law in Taiwan to join our family re-union.  Hopefully, they can come and it must be fun, especially for Mom.

I came from a big family with 8 siblings, she came from a family of two.  The age of her two is far apart.  So, I guess she is half of his mom, sort of :)

In Costa Mesa

I'm in Southern California now on a business trip. Today was a first day of a 3 day long meeting. It's the big final sales push and everyone has been working pretty hard for the last couple of weeks. Last week, I ended up working on both Monday (a holiday) and Saturday. Still it's been pretty manageable.

Today went well. A lot of big guns from our company are onsite as well. VPs and such. Every night there is a dinner where clients are wined and dined by our sales people. Of course, some nights I get to partake in said wining and dining. Other nights, the team has a lot of homework to do to prep for the next day's presentation.

Tonight - unfortunately - I missed out on the nice, free meal. The grunts are back in the hotel room, working on slides and running thru demos again. Of course, I get to take a web break. :)

Monday, February 23, 2015


Edda is very particular about what she likes to watch on TV.  We've seen Finding Nemo, Dora the Explorer and Totoro ten billion times.  It's very rare for Edda to add a new movie or TV show to her repertoire.  But I think we (we meaning Nat) may have managed to add Frozen to the mix.  It's a good thing because Frozen is an excellent movie and I will be happy to watch it ten billion times.  Adding Hi-5 in while we were living in Singapore was a mistake.  A mistake we never live down at 5 pm each day when Edda gets a little stir-crazy and insists on watching it.  Low-budget children's TV means lots of dancing around with brooms and aluminum foil hats and repetitive and slightly annoying songs.  Edda's almost 11 now, so that's 9 years of Hi-5.


There was snow on Saturday.  Jeremy shoveled Sunday.  It got to 50 degrees on Sunday, so I was hoping that it would all just melt away without anyone doing anything, but only I did nothing.  Jeremy did all the shoveling.


Edda's a little crusty heading upstairs for a shower.   She's happy though and there is nice light.  That's all one really needs.


We watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Saturday night.  We've been watching them every other weekend or so.  Because they are so long, we usually only get through half in the evening and then we watch the 2nd half the next morning.  But I often miss the 2nd half, so I only know half of what goes on.  It doesn't really prevent me from understanding the plot of the first half of the next movie.  I mean, you just have to know that Voldemort is terrible, Dumbledore is good and Harry Potter is going to save the day, right?


I'm teaching Vince to use my very large full frame SLR with the big lens.  I still lug the thing around everyday.  Sometimes I think I should just give it up and just shoot with the iPhone like everyone else. I've just been taking snapshots with my big expensive camera.  Nothing so demanding that the iPhone can't keep up.   Vince wanted to learn to focus so I'm in focus and the background is out of focus.  I think he was just procrasinating.  You see the box on the floor next to me?  That's his box of Chinese vocab words - he owed me 10 new words and 30 review words.  But instead, he asked to learn how to use all the buttons on my camera.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thanks, Jeremy for Shoveling the Snow, Apprciated

Jeremy, really appreciated for shoveling the snow.  I am really afraid of Rena being slipped again. I am sure with your help, she has been taken good care of.  Many thanks. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snowy Saturday.

It's snowy here.  They predicted 2-4".  We got 8".  The dogs loved being outside.


Edda's here trying out a new tire swing.


Jeremy showed me the photos from his business trip.  You see the power point slide on that huge screen with the graph and Jeremy's sitting on a bench with a thought bubble floating from his head?  I took that photo!  I think that might now be my most looked-at photo now.

Oh yeah, and they might have talked a little bit about the renewable fuel standard and/or the low carbon fuel standard. You can listen to Jeremy's talk: here.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cold week.

I start this entry with a terrible screen shot.  Jeremy's home after being gone the 2nd half of the week in Texas.  He got in late to his hotel and the only room they had left was the Presidential Suite.  We got the full tour (via video)!  The room was bigger than the first floor of our house.  It had a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances, a dining room table for eight.  A leather sectional sofa, a million flat screen TVs, and bathroom with a big tub and shower with eighteen jets.  Very nice.  I asked if he got a valet to go along with the room, but alas, there was no valet.


I hung this heart that came home in Edda's backpack on our front door.  I had to weigh the bottom down with pennies because it's so windy outside.  It's a beautiful heart, no?


Mom came by today to drop off some meatballs.  Notice Ruby asking, "For me?"


Vince is "loosening" Edda's boogers.  I think he's just bugging her.


Dragonfruit to remind us of the tropics when it's 2 degrees outside.  They delayed school for 2 hours today because of the cold.  A little silly in my opinion because at 7 am it was 0 degrees, at 9 am it was 4 degrees.  Do 4 degrees really matter?  I think not in this situation.  Cold is cold.


Because it's so cold, Vince's campout got changed from outside to overnighting in a church's basement.  Vince is bringing his own mattress.


Thank you Scott for designing Edda's birthday party logo.  It's time again to celebrate all that is Edda.  And to make a lot of bacon.  Join in, mark your calendars, it's going to be on March 21st.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


With my clinical partner at the NIH library.  I spotted a 3D printer in this library.  I think I need to take a one-hour orientation and then I could print out anything I want to.  Hmmm, what to print?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Phones / wheelchairs / when things fall apart.

Last week, only a few days after our last phone upheaval, Jeremy accidentally dropped his phone on the ground. There was only a slight crack on the glass face, but something internal was malfunctioning so it would start rebooting itself all the time.  We are using T-mobile, so it means we buy the phones outright and pay a reasonable amount for the data plan, but it also means that when a phone breaks, we need to buy a brand new phone.  Jeremy wanted a phone that was either $500 or $700.  Oh, it makes my frugal heart cry.  But as Jeremy pointed out, he spends more time with his phone than he does with me.  He was all ready to buy a new phone when he discovered that the broken phone was still covered by the year-long warranty for another three days.  Woo hoo, I felt like it was as if I found $700 on the ground.  For a few days while he was waiting for the new phone to arrive, he used Vince's old, old LG phone.  So light, so small, no apps loaded, nothing but what Jeremy needed.  He kind of liked it.


Edda's wheelchair's brake stuck again today.  OMG.  The total frustration.  I'm not the maddest at how long it takes to fix (which I am mad about) but I'm maddest about the actual design of the brake!  Those engineers!  I need a good engineering design here.  This is an important piece of equipment in our house.  But I managed to fix it with some WD-40 and a good whack with a hammer.

Happy Chinese New Year - the Year of the Goat

Happy Chinese New Year - the Year of the Goat.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


It snowed last night.  Yesterday, some white chocolate chip cookies were made because my students were suppose to have their first big exam in Adult Health today.  Our recitation would have come right after the mid-morning test, so I wanted to give them some comfort food to celebrate (and not commiserate).  But school was cancelled for me too.  Where do you think all the cookies for the class went?  Straight into my tummy.  I must have eaten at least 10 today.

Monday, February 16, 2015

4 day weekend.

Today was a holiday for some dead presidents.  It's frigid out (8 degrees!) and leaving the house did not seem like a fun idea.  Jeremy and I put in a full work day.  God, we are so boring.  Maybe someday we'll learn to have more fun - skiiing or bobsledding or ice skating or whatever it is that people do for fun in the winter.  The kids were bored. Vince tried to entice some friends over, but no one was free or willing to brave the cold weather.  Vince decided that he wanted to make fried chicken for lunch and this is what happened:

It was delicious.  Vince is a good cook.


It's good that we got some extra insulation blown into the attic a few weeks ago.  Listening to the wind howling outside while paying last month's electricity bill and thinking about heat transfer can make a person think that dollar bills are just blowing off of the roof.  Even with the extra padding upstairs, the heater can't quite keep the upstairs at 68 degrees.  At 9 am, the upstairs was 65 degrees.  I was working at my computer with a bulky sweater and some cozy slippers and I was just fine.  Jeremy was shivering under 2 down blankets and reading some documents.  Jeremy thinks he might have screwed up his metabolism with his fasting diet.  He's cold a lot.  Even when it's not 8 degrees outside.

MCPS called a snow day for tomorrow.  We are relaxing into the last bit of our impromptu four-day weekend.  I'm hoping that the heater can keep up, that the pipes don't burst and that the electricity stays on.  Stay warm everyone!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy year of the goat!

My father is in town this weekend.  We went to Far East to celebrate both Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year.  It's the year of the goat.  I asked what people who are born in the year of the goat are famous for and I didn't get a clear answer.  We went to dinner with cousins of mine; the woman, Xiao Yin and I have a common great grandparent.

Edda enjoyed her Peking duck burrito.


Last night, Edda woke up at 2:30am which is a little early for her to call for us.  I went into her room and found her tangled in her blankets on the floor.  She was not hurt or unhappy, but she was immobile and seemed to tell me that she'd rather be in her bed.  I lifted her back into bed and pulled the covers straight over her and went to sleep next to her.  We slept until 7 am - a little Edda miracle.


I do love Boba the best, but there are some drawbacks.  He is a dog, so there is the whole interspecies challenge.  He's blind.  He's also unemployed.  And he likes to pick up shoes and put them in different rooms of the house so when you are looking for your shoes, they can be anywhere which can be a little frustrating.  Other than that, he's perfect.  So many shades of grey!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

True love.

Look at this amazing heart in a slice of bread.  Who is the crafty baker who pulled this bit of magic off?  Hmmm...

Boba is staying with me on Valentine's Day.   Jeremy is complaining because I shove him over to the side in bed so Boba can sleep in the crook of my arm.  What can I say? I love Boba.  He's my main squeeze; he's even hypoallergenic!

Friday, February 13, 2015

All you need is love.

Edda says, "Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you got a lot of chocolate.  If you didn't get any chocolate, I have lots, you can share with me."  She also says, "What's the big to do about Valentine's Day?  Everyday should be about love."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Broken foot.

Vince fell down the stairs last night while reading his phone at 9:45 pm.  He came into our room crying that his foot hurt.  The thought of going to the ER at 9:45 pm for a slightly sprained foot made me exasperated.  I was already in my PJs thinking of my head against my soft pillow.  And even though I think of myself as a compassionate person, I also am kind of a suck-it-up kind of mother.  So I gave Vince an ice pack and Motrin and sent him to bed.

This morning, I was gone early and wasn't back until after school let out and Vince's foot still wasn't feeling good.  I found an after-hours ortho office that was open.  He brought math homework that was freaking him out to do in the waiting room.  It was basically a whole afternoon freakout about math/foot/testing anxiety.   It didn't help that I was sure that the foot wasn't broken and that it was all in his head and Vince could tell that I was impatient.

Anyways, the joint is very point tender and they couldn't quite tell if there was a fracture on the film.  If there is a fracture, it's right on the growth plate of the fifth metatarsal and so we got the conservative treatment.  We got a two week stay in a boot for our trouble.  And I think he understands his math.  Gah, now I feel badly.  A little mothering guilt.  Anyways, if we had gone to the ER last night, we would have had to go to the ortho today anyways.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I think Vince's Chinese spelling is better than his English spelling.

Thank you for the shirt, Kappa!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


It was a busy and satisfying day.  I still feel like I haven't yet gotten a handle on the new semester, I'm not working entirely efficiently.  It will come to me - hopefully sooner rather than later.  I'm learning more about how to fly by the seat of my pants.  I want to go into things 100% prepared (or even overprepared), but I'm learning I can do things without being super prepared and still do OK.  This is a weird post.  A little vague, but it will have to do.

I do not have a beautiful photo today.  I do not even have a decent photo.  I just have this bad photo of Maxi eating a roll of smiley face stickers and getting tangled in a ball of yarn.  Sometimes it's just like this.

Monday, February 9, 2015


I know it's hard to tell from this photo and I know that it's an extrememly low bar, but this Sunday was the day that Vince is officially taller than I am.


Vince's newest toy, it's a gaming keyboard and mouse?  Those red and blue lines?  They glow.  So strange what the heart desires.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


After three weeks of fighting the flu, my mother is back to her old self which means that she is cooking dinner for us again.  Hooray for Friday night yummy-ness.


Vince found a pair of mirrored glasses for Edda.  Edda says don't mess with me or I'll kick your ass.  Or at least I'll bite you and never let go and have you screaming begging for mercy (true story.  it has happened.).


Vince is learning how to say how much something costs for Chinese class.  We had to go hunting across town to find things and document how much they cost.  This is made extra difficult because Vince really knows only about 10 Chinese nouns in of things you can find in a store.  One of the nouns he knows is dictionary, so he insisted on going to the bookstory to find out how much a dictionary costs.  I wondered, do they even sell dictionaries anymore?  Why yes!  They do! For $27.95


Last night, the MD/DC/VA Rett moms had dinner in Bethesda.  I'm so happy I found these women and their families.  So much sadness has been eased by knowing that I do not go down this path alone.  We always say that we are club that no one wants to join, but here we are having sangria together, laughing a lot, crying not so much (maybe not at all!) this time.

Heading Back to East

Last night around 11:00 PM, I arrived at U Street.  Every thing is in good order, very good.  And I will check the yard this morning.

I woke up around 3:30 AM local time and watered the plants, write a couple of letter and went to McDonald's around 6:00 AM.

After checking the yard, I will go to the airport and ready to get back to the east coast.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Following my Florida business trip, I made a stop over in Denver to see Ted and his girlfriend, H. Here we are walking in downtown Denver, going to visit some open houses. You'll notice Arif and T in the background, with their kiddo. Yup. They made the trip out from SF. We've been just sitting around, shooting the shit, and having a grand old time. 

I actually haven't been out to Denver in a long, long time. I think Ted's moved like twice since the last time that I've come out. Ted's no longer a freebird - he's expecting a kid in May. Arif and T are training him in what to expect in the coming months. 

Volunteer to Be Re-routed Again

Today,  I volunteered to be re-routed back to Portland, OR.  Instead of arriving at noon time, my flights will take off at 2:00 PM here and arrive there around 10:00 PM.  It will take me to Atlanta & Minneapolis and then to Portland.  That is okay.

For that, I got two vouchers.  One $7.00 for lunch and other $500.00 for future air.  Not too bad. After a good night sleep without shower (not available) and to do some yard work in the morning, I am ready to fly back to Oak Ridge, tomorrow noon.

Last time, at Portland, I got a $400.00 voucher without lunch.  I guess at small towns, people are nicer :). For example, at local McDonald's, I have been treated very well every time without exception and all I need is a senior $0.76 coffee.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I should just give up on ever having a "regular" week.  This whole blog is dedicated to regular-ness.  I like being regular in all the ways it is possible to be regular.  But whatever, it was an unusual week this week as it is every week.

I made it to the Metro early this am and joined the in on the regular DC commuting scene.  It's fun to commute every once in a while when you never really have to ever commute.  I got snacks at Au Bon Pain (so many delicious things to pick from) and I read the free paper they give out on the Metro.

I commuted to NIH today.  It's the site of my clinical this term and today was the first day.  We meet one day a week instead of two like last term which is less insanity for me.  This lighter schedule makes everyone around me happier!  Everyone in the house appreciates this lighter schedule.  NIH is interesting because they only run research protocols there.  The nurse to patient ratio is luxuriously high (almost 1:1) and there are no late night emergency admissions.  It's a great place to work.  I'm doing a psych rotation specializing in addiction and alcoholism.


Jeremy is home which means that we are back to full household staffing.  Between Nat's vacation and Jeremy's traveling, my schedule has been thrown for a week.  But now everyone is back and it's great.

Now there are cooked dinners (Jeremy) and beautiful hair (Nat).  Hooray!


Happy groundhog day!  Look at these cute groundhog cookies:


On Superbowl Sunday, Edda was snuggled between me and Christine on the couch just waiting for Katy Perry to show up.  Edda tucked her icy barefoot feet into Christine's lap.  Christine was shocked that her little toesies were icicles.  Edda's toes are always icicles.  We kept Edda barefoot in the house because 1. wearing just socks would sometimes make her slip and fall or do the splits and unable to recover, 2. street shoes seemed uncomfortable (and also just for outside (Chinese habit and all)) and 3. all slippers that we tried would never stay on and the leathery soles always became too slippery anyways.

Christine suggested the obvious: get her a pair of Uggs.  To which I was like - Oh!  Of course!  I don't know why I didn't think of it myself as I have a pair of Uggs that I sometimes wear around the house because they are so warm and slipper-like that I sometimes forget they are street shoes.  So I went out and bought (full price, which for me is a big deal) Edda her own pair of Uggs and now her feet are toasty and she is very stylish.  OK, maybe stylish circa three years ago because we are just always behind the times.  Thank you Christine for your suggestion.  Edda's feet are toasty!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fort Walton Beach, FL

I'm on a business trip. It's cold here. I was expecting it to be in the 60's or 70's and it's more like in the 40's. Here's a tropical looking photo outside my hotel room.  The Gulf of Mexico is over the sand hill towards the left. I have yet to go over said sand hill. I'll try to do it tonight - perhaps in the rain.

Also, my friend/boss - M - got her iPhone stolen at the hotel cafe. There was only a 30 minute window in which the incident occurred. It was while the cafe was closing, and we were the only hotel guests in the cafe. Remind you that this is a beach town in the middle of winter, so nobody is staying at the hotel. Suffice to say, M was very bitter about the hotel not recovering her phone, and totally blames the staff for its disappearance. Here, she is at the local Best Buy, buy a new gold iPhone 6 for $799 + tax. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cristina Yang.

I taught my first recitation today.  I was nervous.  It was fun.  I was tired (really: exhausted) afterwards.  I taught cardic - the first lecture of adult health which really makes much more sense than diabetes which is what we learned first last semester.  They totally revamped the course and the slides weren't posted online until 9pm last night.  Do you know how much brain power I have at 9pm?  I have just enough brain power to watch an episode of Friends.  So I scrambled to prep this am:  hypertension, hypotension and dysrhythmias.  You know when you are a student and totally bored in class? Your teacher can tell that you are totally bored.  And when you are surfing Facebook on your laptop?  Yeah, your teacher can tell that too.  But my partner and I got some positive feedback, so that was nice.  But more interestingly to me, I think about five people came up to me and told me I look, speak and act exactly like Cristina Yang - like down to how I hold my dry erase marker.  The first person who told me this actually just came up to me and held my hand and just said - "Cristina Yang!" and I'm like who is Cristina?  This is Cristina:

Can I be flattered that I remind people of some badass fictional surgeon?  Ha ha, if only I was so sassy.  I guess I should start watching Grey's Anatomy.

Here are some articles on Cristina Yang:

A Eulogy for Cristina Yang, the Baddest Bitch Around

Why Cristina Yang Leaving Grey's Anatomy Is So Devastating

27 Reasons Why Cristina Yang is Everything you Aspire to in Life

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tricky day.

Jeremy is traveling to California this week and Nat is on vacation until tomorrow.  So today was the day I had to cover everything.  Covering everything meant that I had to cut work short and sneak out of class early to meet the bus.  This was the first time I've ever asked Vince to be my back-up child care.  I asked him to come home right away after school and told him that I'd probably be home in time to meet the bus, but if for whatever reason, the bus came early (as it does sometimes when kids are out sick and there are fewer kids to drive home) then he'd be responsible for bringing Edda inside.

He was up to the task, but I got home in time and Edda's bus was home at the regular time.  Max and Ruby waited for the bus with me too.  I sat at the foot of the stairs with some plants and knitting and a glass of warm water.  Is it terrible that these past few days that Nat's been on vacation have been the first days of the school year that I've chatted with Edda's bus drivers?  I brought Edda inside and took her to the bathroom and close-maneuvered her around the little room, I could smell the perfume of her aide that helps her out at school.

I cooked dinner at 5 pm.  I like having dinner at 5 pm.  Vince made fun of my cooking (that was expected and it was deserved) and we listened to Bach's cello suites while cooking which is different than the usual Uptown Funk we've been listening to for the past few days.

Saturday night.

With Vince gone at the slopes, Jeremy, Edda and I headed to Whole Foods for a buffet dinner and to do some grocery shopping.  The eating area was full of families with toddlers.  I guess if you have toddlers and you are hungry on Saturday night, the first place you think of hanging out is the buffet line at Whole Foods.  So many toddlers.  So many people looking tired at 7 pm on on Saturday night.  I think I've forgotten how quickly toddlers can suck the life force out of you. And then I thought OMG, I'm older than all these tired looking people.  I'm like at least 5, if not 10 years older than all these people who surround me.  And then I thought, I really want a cookie.  Am I going to go get up and get myself a cookie?  Mmmmm.  Yummy.  Then I spent ten minutes trying to expunge the thought of a cookie when Jeremy showed up with an oatmeal raisin cookie sandwich with creme filling.  As if he read my mind!  How did he know?

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Vince went snow tubing with his scout troop yesterday.  Brrr.  Cold....

Handy Man

This weekend, Mom and I stayed at home, almost doing nothing.  Except, I fixed Mom's desktop light and Donald's clock.

It took me a while to fix the clock because I need to have a central hole slightly larger than the old one.  It is difficult to re-center it without ruin the whole thing.  Finally, I drilled a template and clamped both together before drilling the clock.  It works wonder and now it is working again.

After this blog, I am driving back TN - a ten hour drive.  Not too bad.  Stay tune.