Saturday, October 31, 2015

Persimmon Fruits


There are a lot of persimmon fruits over this Korean Ancient Wall.  We have over a hundred on ours.  We are going to plant one or two on our would-be grass-less front yard of U Street.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Korea, China & Hong Kong Trip




The well-wishing scarfs for their relatives in North Korea are shown in picture 1 on the 38th parallel demilitarized zone, Korea. 

Picture 2 shows that we paid a visit to the birthplace of Dr. S. Y. Sun, the founder father of the Chinese Republic. This is the front gate of the museum which honors him.  His house is much more humble and it is inside.

The last shows the defunct "Huangpu Military Academy", the West Point of China, near Quangzhou, China. Many former administrators, counselors, instructors, students and others fought against each other during the Chinese Civil War on both sides - Communist or Nationalist.  


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Back to East Coast Home


Finally, we are back to our east coast home tonight around 10:00 PM, from Far East.  This time, we rode on an Airbus A380 from Seoul to JFK, New York.  The attached picture shows our A380 with a Boeing 737 side by side.  It is really big.  But, it only carried 260 out of 426 this time.  Mom was quite happy to have a row of 3 seats together to sleep on.

JFK was raining when arriving.  The connection plane to Washington DC was 1 1/2 hours late.  When arriving at Washington DC, there was no jet way available for deplane, about 1/2 hours just seating there, going nowhere. 

The house is in good conditions and there are a lot laundry need to be done.  It was dark outside, don't know how many persimmon fruits on our tree.  Will find out tomorrow.

Oh, while in Korea, all airport toilets go high-tech.  Unfortunately, not a single English word can be found on any push button. Don't know how to operate.  The seat was really hot with a stainless tube spraying something that who knows :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday.

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When Jeremy's gone, I can get a little mopey and introverted.  So I try and make some plans with friends to remind myself that I'm not alone in this world.  A little dramatic, but sometimes I think, left to my own devices, I'd be a recluse/hoarder/cat owner.   I saw a good friend and we went to the local Indian buffet for lunch.

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Edda came home and got herself into some makeup.

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We went to the IB open house at Richard Montgomery.  The county has a bunch of competitive magnet programs housed in different high schools.  Vince did not want to leave his home high school and/or his friends, but there is a very highly sought program right here.  Magnet programs are both appealing and not appealing to me in my own warped mind.  There is no other simple, short-cut way of outwardly indicating that you totally did it and achieved the upper-middle-class suburban Montgomery County excellent parenting award than to say - my kid goes to the IB program, Stanford, MIT, etc.  That fictitious award does have power over me.  However, I know it's not what Vince really wants (or for that matter, what I really want) and I know that it's the fake parenting award, it's not the one I'm after even though it's the shiny-est.  I do like shiny things.

Lots of parents asking all the questions - I made Vince ask all his questions (the main thing was what the difference was between IB Chemistry and AP Chemistry), I gently directed the teachers to look at him and not me when answering the questions.  We got an enthusiastic senior to tell us how he's taking three science courses this fall even though it's counter to the program's approach of creating the holistic student.  He got all his questions answered and we bailed before the formal program started with Vince laughing and saying - it's not for me!  let's go get some groceries and to the scout meeting.

Here are the stats for the program (I couldn't resist, because really, how can I resist?):  1000 people apply, 120 get in each year.  Of those 120, about 35 are National Merit Scholars.  Of the graduating class - 5 people got into MIT, 4 people went.

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Vince helped me get some groceries.



At the Giant.  My favorite grocery store.

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Then we played dodge ball with the scouts.  I did play a round, but I haven't learned how to really hurl a ball well.  All my throws are puff balls in a wide arc.

Monday, October 26, 2015

For you.



This is beautiful.

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Jeremy's in Chicago - I'm taking this opportunity to be asleep by 9 pm.  I'm already past my self-imposed deadline - sigh.  9:15 - I can make it by that time... <3

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Weekend wrap up.

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Finished the very last day of OB clinical on Friday.

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Drove a bunch of boy scouts (and Keyla and her pals) to Hershey Park on Saturday.

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Did a very Noel Lee / Donald Lee thing and took a nap in the van while the boys went up and down all the roller coasters.

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Went to my favorite toddler's birthday party!  Happy 3rd birthday Bert.  This is the only photo I took with my iPhone, but I took more than 600 photos on my big camera.  I hope some of them turned out.  Or at least are better than this one.

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Edda came to the party.  Ate and took a nap.

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Hosted Sunday night dinner for the first time since 2007 without Jeremy.  Turns out I can order Chinese food as well as the next person.  Jeremy left today for a week in Chicago...!

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Date night.

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Jeremy took me out on a proper date tonight.  Not the grocery shopping date or the Target run date, but a date with dinner and dessert in a place that we haven't gone to before.

We looked at expensive bikes.  We need there to be self-driving cars soon because I need to get rid of my car/van so we have more room in the garage for bicycles.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fixing glasses

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Turns out you need your glasses to fix your glasses.

Good night!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Things.

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Make up violin lesson today.  Totally forgot about it.  Usually I'd make Vince ride his bike there, but since we remembered three minutes past the hour we were suppose to be there, I drove him and stayed.  I haven't seen Kelly in a long time, it was nice to hug and catch up.



On the way home, we spied Edda and Keyla in the puffy jackets that my mom got for us...  cutie patooties.

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I went through some of the mail from the huge, unsorted, intimidating mail pile I posted yesterday.  I got Edda's mid-term report card.  The tiger mom in me is like, hell yeah!  Straight As, baby!  And then the other (mouse?) mom in me is like, WTF?  Advanced English?  Huh?  I don't get it.  MCPS, I love you - you taught me the ideal gas law (PV = nRT), which I love to this day - but you confuse me to no end.  With both my children.

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Ruth, boo to you too!

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Rett syndrome stroll-a-thon

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Vince, Edda, Ruby and I went to the annual Rett Syndrome stroll-a-thon in Virginia today.  We used to raise money for this event until we started Edda's birthday party extravaganza a few years ago.  I can ask friends to donate only once a year - so it's Edda's birthday and not the stroll-a-thon.  We had a nice time, very low key for us.  I met a few new people this year, including a girl who can TALK!  Unbelievable.

Curious, I asked the mom - so what does your daughter talk about?  What is she thinking about? Well, she loves to talk about her iPad, her movies and netflix.  And I said, I think if Edda could talk, she would talk about those things too!

Vince is the kindest big brother, making sure his little sister gets to eat all the regular snack food I'm reluctant to feed her.  Ruby is hoping for her share too.

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Other people will blog about their beautiful house.  I will blog about how our house is a disaster area.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Out-and-about

We have this extra childcare on Saturdays now.  Somehow the waiver that Edda just got on won't help pay for our existing childcare, but we need to use some of their childcare or else we get kicked out of the program - so a very nice woman comes on Saturdays to help take care of Edda for a few hours.  (There is hope that somehow I can get my act together and move over fully to the waiver childcare, but it's complicated and kind of inflexible and I'm not ready to face that yet with our crazy schedules.)

Anyhow, I thought I'd use this extra childcare to 1) plan some weekend getaways or 2) hang out with Vince and either do a) quiet things or b) physical things.  This weekend, we decided to play basketball with the dogs.  We are poor, poor basketball players.  We are quite good at sitting around with basketballs and chasing basketballs, but putting basketballs into nets is difficult for us.

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Vince wanted to show you that he could spin a ball on the tip of his finger.  Kind of.



Basketball playing quickly devolved into errand running, bubble tea and a game of connect four.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Today.

Well if you want to see Jeremy in action in local politics, here you go:

 
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I spent my day in a conference room.  I have never written so many papers or given so many presentations or done so much group work as I have in nursing school.  Ten page papers used to be my nemesis.  Now I can type them out in an afternoon with one hand tied behind my back.  The hardest part is the formatting.  (I'm totally jinxing myself here...)  Actually, the rubrics for the papers are so exacting, so precise, deliniating each particular paragraph, that the essay itself feels like solving a math problem.

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I admired this today.  I just might have to buy this.  Will I be brave enough to wear it?  I'm not so sure....


KOREA

Korea is a very clean place.  I wish China will learn from them.

I notice that, their economy depends on China a lot.  Commercially, their dependence on USA is seldom noticeable along their main streets and resort areas. I guess this is a sign that we are slipping away from our dominance in the world gradually.  Of course,  Several wars in the Arabic world have not helped us economically also, not even militarily.

We (USA) should think more about economical solutions, instead of military ones.  It is really bad for us to let immigrants fight wars for us.  If all politicians think it is good for us to fight, then their sons and daughters should be in the front together with mine.  If they think Obamacare is a good recipe for us, they shall join without exception.  If they think Social Security is working, they shall join too.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day is done.

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Edda's a little mysterious these days - her teacher went and had his first baby last week and has been out of the classroom - so the daily notes have not updated.  Hmmm, we wonder what she's so happy about when she is laughing getting off of the bus in the afternoon.

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Vince is learning exponents in school.  I'm still able to help out with the math without looking anything up.  I don't count looking up trig functions - but he's not there yet.

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Someone sent me pencils with my name on them!

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Jeremy is out on the town tonight, he's fighting the good fight in local politics.

Today.

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I was at the track today running around in circles when I found that a ladybug had stopped by to say hello on my water bottle.  It's a good sign, right?  Luck is on my side.

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I noticed I hadn't put up much information about Edda recently on the blog.  Edda is well and moving into puberty before I'm ready and enjoying middle school.  She remains healthy and happy.

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The past month, with all my happy birthing experiences at the hosptial, I have spent many hours thinking about Edda.  All the good things and all the sad things.  When I'm strong and happy, I feel like - as a very good friend always tells me - I'm living the life I'm meant to live.  When I'm weak and sad, I resent every accomodation I've made on behalf of Edda's disability.  I very rarely feel sorry for Edda, although sometimes I think I should feel that way.  Edda, herself, is pure joy and living in the moment.  There is very little suffering, she is very happy with her life.  She has fun, she has people who love her, she loves other people.  I don't think she thinks much about her limitations, she is making the best of her situation.  My own sadness is a selfish one, one in which I want all the things that I can not have.

A few months ago, I was upset at some arrangment that needed to be made to take into Edda's various limitations and I was crying to Jeremy about the two clear choices and that I wanted neither of the two.  Jeremy took me aside and gently told me that what I wanted was for Edda to not have Rett Syndrome and that that was just not possible.

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I'm sure I'll jinx it now, but I think I can say that Edda is finally sleeping through the night.  At age 11.5, we now both find ourselves in the same spot we fell asleep in more nights than not.

I haven't posted this before, but look at Edda's graduation class picture from 5th grade last year.  They did a great job, not just sticking Edda in her wheelchair on the side totally away from the other kids.  They put her in a chair in the middle of the crowd!  Look at that!  Sure, the kiddos next to her are leaning ever so slightly away from her and she's a little grump-faced, but I'll take what I can get.  I mean this more kindly than snarky, so hopefully, you'll read it that way.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SHOPPING DIPLOMACY

Rena and I have been in Korea for two days.  Everywhere we went, there were a lot of
Chinese shoppers.  Properly, more than all other nationalities combined.  Their buying power is unimaginable.  Just wondering that recent stocks drop in their markets properly has been overflown.  The effect was seldom felt at least here.

A lot of stores even advertise that they have Chinese speaking clerks ready to help.  There are not a whole lot of advertisement of foreign language here.  But, Chinese is probably an exception.

After they reformed their written language, not using Chinese characters, they pick it up at their schools.  I guess $$$ talks more effectively than anything else. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

All things Chinese

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I've had some upper back pain for a few weeks now and I've been trying to ignore it.  I didn't really notice it most of the time, until I tried to change lanes on the freeway (during the day) or I wanted to see what time it was on the clock located behind my head (in the middle of the night) and then a sharp pain would radiate down my neck and along the right edge of my spine.

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I went to see George, the acupuncturist, who in the span of ten minutes quickly twisted my back into at least six different configurations and levered his bodyweight against my spine.  It was incredibly painful.  He just kept repeating, don't be scared, don't be scared.  I was scared.   But today I feel much better.

I'm trying not to be scared, but sometimes I just am.

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We used to have a smaller neighborhood Chinese grocery market until the Great Wall mega-supermarket moved a couple blocks away from it.  I did the not-so-Chinese thing and kept shopping at the old market even though I knew it was being sucked dry by the new-shiny market.  My excuse was that the small store still had my favorite frozen dumplings and the big store didn't carry my favorite brand, I had looked.  The small store is gone now. And I had been mistaken, the big store does carry the good dumpling brand, I guess I didn't look hard enough before.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

First OB exam.

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I think if youtube existed when I was in college, I would have managed to solve some differential equation problems.  Lecture was all theory, problem sets were not and I didn't understand and didn't care about the theory.  I just wanted someone to show me how to do the problems; I probably should have asked someone how to do the problems, but I was shyer than I am now, more embarrassed to admit I don't understand something.  But I will say this now:  I do not know differential equations.  And I blame it all on those damn theory based lectures which I slept through. I'm sure the khan academy has a whole series of videos with people solving all kinds of differential equation questions.

I spent the day learning about fetal circulation.  My clinical OB experience has been good, but it's left me melancholy.   So many lectures about preterm labor, fetal screening, maternal blood screening which I thought I wouldn't be sad about, but I am.   Why is an amino done at 16-18 weeks gestation? The reason given in class is because that's when there is enough amniotic fluid to pull out without damaging the fetus.  Which is true, but why not at 21 weeks?  Not a whisper about how one would be pressing up against the legal limit in many states for a late term abortion.  We are traveling through all of OB class without talking about abortion which amazes me.

My hospital clinical rotation is essentially over.  Labor and delivery is a very desirable placement for new nursing grads and I can see why.  It's not only because babies are so cute and lovable which is why I initially thought so many people are drawn to it.  It's because it's really easy to take care of women in the prime of their lives doing something that is suppose to happen pretty naturally.  It's a world away from the floor below where I did my med-surg rotation where the patient load was higher and there were drug-seekers, people who needed 14 meds every 2-4 hours and one had to know all the drugs for cardiac, renal, respiratory, etc.  and the patients were heavy, stinky and rude because they are scared.

First exam tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Out of Country for 3 Weeks

Will be back to Washington DC on Oct. 28th.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Terminology for Defected Wood

"COLD" - that it is.  I just found out :)

Toilet.

Our toilet has been leaking.  For a few weeks now, it's been getting stuck in the "open" position after flushing and then it keeps running until someone notices.  We've "fixed" it temporarily by leaving the ceramic tank lid off and then if you notice it stuck, you can just use your finger to nudge it down.  I've gone to Home Depot twice already to fix this toilet.  The first time, I was so excited and bought a dual flush apparatus to have low water use for pee and high water use for poop (I did this because I knew Jeremy would like it, and I wanted to transfer some of that affection of water savings to affection for me), but it didn't fit the tank.  Then I went back and bought the standard repair kit.  Tonight, I really broke the toilet trying to fix it and I found out that the replacement part isn't sold in Home Depot and wasn't the one I bought - it's sold online.  This toilet was part of American Standard's "we can flush 18 golf-balls down the drain" line and had super fancy toilet innards. Now the toilet is out of commission pending the two-day Amazon prime delivery truck.

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Vince's Halloween costume is something I do not understand.  It's a "Doge meme".  Whatever that is. I'm reminded everyday how old I really am.

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We spent some of the morning doing our duty for local politics.  It was a beautiful day, Jeremy and I are supporting Team Rockville.  A little rally -

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A few speeches -

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On to signage -

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Traffic Jam in Beijing on Golden Holiday (National Holiday)



Foggy weather plus 50 -> 20 lanes.  Of course, too many cars also.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Chinese University Tops MIT in Engineering Rankings

Rena, Doris and Donald: I guess you all have something to do with MIT personally.  Our revolutionary uncle (deceased) in Beijing is a graduate of Tsinghua Unviersity majoring in "Physics".  But, later trasferred to major in "History" to believe that it would provide him with more perspectives to fight Japanese in WWII. I find this article in Wall Street Journal pretty interesting.




China’s prestigious Tsinghua University has bested the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become the top school in the world for engineering research, according to a new U.S. News & World Report ranking, in a development that has renewed debate within China over the country’s educational system.
Tsinghua, which is often called “China’s MIT” and is renowned as one of the country’s top schools for studying sciences, came in first among 250 universities ranked by U.S. News in a report released this week, with Cambridge-based MIT ranking second.
Each school’s score is based on its number of publications and citations as well as its global and regional research reputation. U.S. News has released rankings of U.S. colleges for more than 30 years, but 2015 marks only the second year that it has scored universities across the globe.
In China, where school rankings are closely followed by the media and the public alike, some trumpeted Tsinghua’s victory as a sign that Chinese institutions of higher learning are gaining ground on their foreign counterparts, in a sign of Beijing’s growing global clout.
“Tsinghua’s progress is a microcosm of China’s rise,” one user wrote Thursday on China’s Weibo microblogs, while another exulted: “Not only Tsinghua alums but also all Chinese should be proud.”
Xu Haiyun, a Tsinghua graduate and chief engineer for the China Urban Construction Design and Research Institute, told the state-run China Daily newspaper that in recent years, China has “constructed the most tall buildings, bridges and railways in the world, and we educated the greatest number of engineering students, all of which requires advancement in engineering technology.”

Car Accident


The other day, some one hit my car from the back at nearby "STOP" sign.  I stopped and he stopped. I pulled out and stopped again to see whether there are cars coming from the other direction.  He hit me at the back.

After several days of reviewing by his policy holder GEICO, the accident is not covered.  And I don't have collision insurance either because it is a 1996 Windstar.  Finally, his wife and I settled the claim ourselves.  They will pay me a total $400.00 with two payments.  One for the lights, they will FedEx me the check of $200.00 right away.  The other for the bumper, they will pay me on Friday, Oct 23rd. 

Since he is between jobs and his pay checks are unpredictable, I offered them to pay me just once by the end of this month with regular mail.  That will not affect me at all (because we are out-of-country for 3 weeks) but it may help them somewhat.  This way, it is good for both sides, I believe.

What am I going to do?  Next Spring, I will buy the light assembly online.  It costs about $40.00 and replace the damaged one myself.  With respect to the bumper, just leave it as it is.



Walkway (Update)



Well, this is the latest about our walkway.  I ran out of defected wood materials.  Just wait for the next Spring.