Sunday, February 28, 2016

Beautiful day.

Untitled

As our au pair experience winds down - we have about 6 weeks? 8 weeks? left, we are trying to put in place other childcare in place.  With the autism waiver, we are able to hire folks to hang out with Edda about 20 hours a week.  We were able to have Nat hired by the autism waiver provider and she worked a few hours on Sunday.  Ideally, we'd love to have three or four people in our regular rotation who know Edda, so we can have backup and backup for the backup.  Having live-in care has spoiled us for sure, we've been able to manage sick days, half days, random off days, snow days and Jeremy's travel and my clinical rotations with ease.  Now everything will involve off-site after school care which runs more on a regular school schedule, so these bumps in the school year need to be planned out more in advance.   Vince is also growing up, so we are going to start asking him to help out with Edda's care, which he's already offered.  It's tricky - asking Vince to care for Edda.  

Untitled

It was an incredibly beautiful day, everyone hung out on the porch and had a tea party.

Untitled

Vince took lots of photos and videos.  I don't really like handing him my phone because he loads it up with 10,000 images.



I loved this spoof:

Tax Time

I spent almost all weekend to prepare our 2015 tax returns.

Too bad. We owe Uncle Sam a lot, even though we have already paid a lot. The next step is to find some extra $$$ by April 18th (Monday) of this year to pay what we owe :)

I would like to have flat-rate-tax with different paying levels and with no deductions at all.  This is not only simpler but, more importantly, it is fairer. 

Marco Rubio

In my opinion, Marco Rubio is the worst one among all these presidential candidates, republican or democrat, religious or not, black or white, rich or not so rich, on the right or on the left.

The way it is going, he probably will not win any States and, yet, he is thinking he is the best one to be the President.  And probably, somehow doing Republican Convention dealings to get him in.  He is asking for a huge freebie - a handout.  If he can't win, just gets out.  I think Christie and Jeb are much better person than this guy.

Remember, he is one of those "gang of eight" to sponsor so called "Comprehensive Immigration Bill" to grant certain legal status for illegals and, right now, he is running away of his own bill as fast as can, just as President Obama said. Evidently, he has a big mouth and is a liar, a con man, not the other one.

The other day,  in the process of proving himself a common guy, he said he just paid off his own college loans. Right now, he is 44.  I wouldn't elect a guy like him to run the country because he is too slow to payoff his own debts, not to mention ours.

Not only that, he cashed in a lot of his 401K savings.  It is a very bad move for the common people and, evidently, he is SPECIAL.  Why all the media and newspapers don't report this in depth?  Because they are on the same king-size bed with a lot of milking to do, just continuously to fool those common people on the main street.  Or, people at Winnsboro, SC, an impoverish town. They are all part of the elites, representing one and/or being one. He is the last great hope for all these elites.

Every election time, the media would ask all candidates to present their plan's specific.  And after all these years, yes, all candidates have one with details.  But, none gets actually done no matter who is in office.  I suspect the elites use this as their screening process to pick and choose their favorite front man, with no regard to what ordinary people on the street really need and, indeed, would like to have.

In short, he is a perfect mirror to reflect all the illness that we have in our society today.  All our shortcoming in our society is deeply entrenched in this guy.  Just talking nicely and repeatedly - mechanically and repeatedly.  And doing nothing good.  

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Neighbors



Today, I walked around my neighborhood and played basket ball briefly with these three neighborhood kids. Somewhere down the street is this cemetery.

Winnsboro, SC is a pretty run-down little town with not much employment, a hospital, a CVS, a McDonald's, a KFC, a Pizza Hut, two Dollar Stores and numerous churches.  Of course, there are two Chinese restaurants.  I have been there.  But, my home cooking is simple and better for me.  It also has a BI-LO grocery store and another one called SO-LO :)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Kitchen Re-Arrangement



I just re-arranged my kitchen.  Show this to Mom :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

TMI.

Untitled

Big day today!  Edda got her period today!  Everyone is very excited.  Here's everyone's reaction:

Keyla:  Edda's a woman today!
Jeremy: I'd like to counter that statement with - she is no longer a little girl.
Vince: Mom, I really didn't need to know that.
Mr. Twigg (Edda's male teacher via text): Great!  Will you send in some extra pads?

I'm excited because I'm hoping it means that Edda is done growing - at 100 lbs and 4' 10", it's enough mass and height for me to handle.  Although all the people in the know assure me that she has 2 more years of growing left.  Today, we had the appointment to fit Edda's brace.  The orthesist (person who makes orthotics) was so fun and enthusiastic about the brace helping Edda.  She took about 30 measurements, it gets entered into a computer and the brace is spit out.  We'll get it in a few weeks.




Monday, February 22, 2016

Good night.

Untitled

Don't stay up too late.  See you on the other side.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Maryland vs Michigan

Untitled

Vickey had an extra ticket to the Maryland vs Michigan basketball game today and invited me to go with them.  Maryland is doing well, so the stadium was hopping!  Packed, enthusiastic crowd - students all dressed up and cheering.  I wish I knew more about basketball to really appreciate what I was seeing.  Go Terps!

Duplex House, Passport Renewal & Tax Time




My working area is in Picture 1.  A brand new table with a chair.  My sleeping bedroom is in next picture.  I don't need a bed which causes me a lot of problems with my back.  And my dinning area also with brand new table and two chairs as one can see in the last picture.

Today, I started working on my passport renewal for our upcoming trip to Machu Picchu in October.  Time really goes by quickly.  I have hold my passport for almost ten years.

It is also my tax time.  I need to file our small business tax by 3/15 and, other more familiar one, form 1040 by 4/15.

I was locked out today because the old lock suddenly came back to life - popped open to lock the door inside.  I had to call my landlord and he made a special trip back home.  Really sorry for that.  But, he was pretty excited today and told me he just bought another house nearby.

Time to be landlord.  Hopefully, he can rent all his houses out to those people working in the new nuclear plant.  Besides that, nothing happens here.  No new employment here in Winnsboro, SC.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Coastal Flats

Untitled

Clinical for me ended early (surprise!) so I was able to pick Mom up at BWI mid-afternoon.  Vince is off somewhere camping, so the rest of us headed to Coastal Flats, a new eater near the Target in Gaithersburg.  This is a new "neighborhood" that has just sprung up with restaurants, bars, fancy gyms etc, topped with high-end apartments and then condos or single family houses that ring around the center of the "town".

We thought we'd beat the crowd by getting there at 5:30 pm, but alas, we did not.  We waited about 45 minutes to get seated - I'm not even sure the last time I waited in line for a restaurant!  But I had a lot of fun, I'm not often out in a crowded place having a drink on Saturday night.  Here's Edda having a sip of my cocktail - I was waiting for her to make yucky face but it didn't happen.  Yelp told us that the service was excellent and warm and I give props to our waitress for asking Edda directly what sides / drinks she wanted even though we kept answering for her.  Thumbs up!

IMG_20160220_184436

Here she is totally drunk.  No that's not true.  Here she is wiping her greasy lips on my shirt sleeves.

IMG_20160220_191227

Mom is packing and ready to leave


Mom is packing and ready to leave ):

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Glass Menagerie

Untitled

Determined to have a "real" date night last night, Jeremy and I went to see The Glass Menagerie playing at Ford's Theatre.  I'd never seen or read anything by Tennessee Williams - not A Streetcar Named Desire nor Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  It was delightful - I wonder why I don't see plays more often.  I like the exaggerated voices, accents, movements that come with live-action.  (Does live-action refer only to movies - as opposed to animated?)  I also like knowing that the actors do the same performance night after night and that this high drama repeats itself over and over again.  I just finished Life After Life by Kate Atkinson which tells a tale of a woman who lives her life over and over again and small decisions along the way lead to drastically different endings - so I've got deja vu on my mind.

It was interesting to go see it at Ford's Theatre - where Lincoln was shot.  Do you see the American Flag coming out of Jeremy's nose?

Untitled

Our balcony seats were right next to the presidential balcony - you can see it with all the bunting.

Untitled

My New Place



Today is my moving day.  Mom helped me to gather all my belongings and moved in this old duplex house. After moving in, we went to the local BI-LO stores to buy grocery to put them into my refrigerator.

At lunch, we went to a local American Buffet place called "Barn Express".  It was jammed packed.  The lady cashier thought we were from the moon or some strange place.  But, they were extremely polite.  She even handed me her business card and with handwriting on it about their business hours.

I even went to a local Wells Fargo bank to get some cash.  I also found a local Chevy car dealership where I am going to have my air bag recall fixed.

Winnsboro, SC is a world for Donald Trump and Bernie.  Their signs are everywhere.  No sign for other candidates though.

Too bad, Mom is leaving.  But, at least, last Sunday we had a wonderful Valentine's Day together :) with my budget Valentine's balloon, flowers and vase.  It costed a total of $5.00.  Not bad either :)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MISC

I am going to max out my 401K ($18,000,00) plus catch-up ($6,000.00) as soon as I can.  All is in stock funds. This will provide a lot of flexibility as well as prudent financial planning with less taxable income, upfront.

I am also going to move into a duplex house tomorrow in the country side, less traffic, more room, and, above all less wake-up call noise everywhere in the extended stay hotel.  The land lord is one of our co-workers.  He paid $15,000.00 for the entire house and, yet, rents out a half with $500.00 monthly income. Good deal.  I told him that I am happy for him for his smart investment.  He is looking for the second to buy.

Mom turns my small hotel kitchen to a full blown one.  I am kind of amused what she can do. She also just finished a hand-kitted sweater for me.  And I love and wear it.

Too bad, she is leaving tomorrow (Saturday).  She will stay in China with her relatives about a month and will be back to our west coast home in Mid April.  I guess, there, she needs to take care of our "additional Master bedroom as well as the mud room" without me in the short term.  Hopefully, after my assignment and in the near future, I can join her.  As with respect to building permit, I have requested and got an extension from our City.

I plan to come back to Maryland in early Spring to do the grafting on our persimmon fruit tree.  I have ordered and got all ingredients (a grafting knife, grafting tapes and protective glue) to do the work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wed.

Untitled

Vince made grilled chicken sandwiches for dinner.  Excellent!

*****

Jeremy dressed up for work today.

Untitled

*******

Edda = happiness.  Don't ever forget it.

Untitled

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pub date.

Untitled

Jeremy's report was shipped from the printers today!  Exciting!  He's willing to send you an autographed copy if you are interested.

I was in class most of the day today - it was icy when I left the house, but beautiful when I headed back home.

Untitled

Monday, February 15, 2016

Snow.

Untitled

President's Day snow.  Vince was at a sleepover last night - pulled an all nighter and got busted playing Cards Against Humanity - which means I got busted too.  Sigh.

Vince came home and shoveled our walk and driveway.  Later in the afternoon, he mined for ice.   I don't get it either.

Untitled

Late afternoon violin lesson.  Turned out the late-night practicing was in preparation for the HS honors orchestra.  Ten kids (all Asian) tried out and only one kid got in and it wasn't Vincie.  Oh well.  Next time.....

Untitled

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday.

Untitled

Happy Valentine's Day - I hope that you got to spend time being with or thinking about people you love and people who love you.

Untitled

It's been a quiet weekend.  Colder than a witch's tit as the saying goes.  The upstairs heater is having a bit of trouble keeping up, but it's not too bad.  We've spent the day inside, keeping warm.

I'm having trouble finding a good book to read, I've started many and haven't finished a single one this year.  This includes two books which I got more than 50% of the way through and then I abandoned.

Untitled

Katherine sent us this chocolate dessert from Poland with instructions to serve it at Sunday night dinner.

Untitled

And serve it we did!  Though it had a lot of competition - this being Valentine's Day.  We also had chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate/mousse cake, ice cream and a box of chocolates.

Untitled

Valentine's Dinner


Originally, I would like to take Mom out for Valentine's dinner.  But, Mom suggested to eat at home and, tomorrow evening, we can go out together with less traffic.  She has magic touch, I should say.  With very, very primitive cooking facility, she can prepare such a delicious dinner with less than 30 minutes :)

Happy Valentine's Day


Mom flew down last night.  She has a big smile on her face this morning.

Happy Valentine's Day to every one.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday.

IMG_20160213_104100

I was at the hospital all day today taking care of a patient with sickle cell anemia.  I learned that if Edda was to have the spinal fusion done at Children's, she'd end up on the exact floor that I'm doing my clinical rotation.  A helpful nurse said - oh, you should talk to (nurse) Emily!  She just got a fresh spinal yesterday.  Hmmmm, I did not follow through on that suggestion, because, really, how much do I need to know before I will know?  It takes some willpower for me to function at clinical -  fumbling with people/paperwork/medications/documentation/machinery I'm not familiar with, and just gathering enough confidence to walk into a patient's room with the parent by his side with no real purpose except to "check-in".  I really didn't want to pile my own (or Edda's own) medical stressors into my day.  Maybe next time.  Speaking of things to know, I now know the super-secret code to get into the non-ending supply of grape Popsicles on the ortho post-op recovery floor.

********

Jeremy and Vince ended up spending the day with my mother.  They went to see the Rockville Chinese New Year celebration - complete with Monkey king and the crazy feathers that come out of his head.  Jeremy was thoroughly amused.  Vince enjoyed hearing my mom try to explain things.

IMG_20160213_115130

The celebration indicated that there was to be free food after the performance, but my mother found out that it was going to be some lame sandwiches and the line was long - so instead of that, they went to A&Js and celebrated with real Chinese noodles.

IMG_20160213_124501

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday night dinner & report cards.

Untitled

We had a nice dinner at my mom's house tonight.  We talked about gravitational waves, Einstein's riddles, and Schrodinger's cat.  Vince has been watching youtube TED talks (?) with riddles in them, so they are fun to think about and solve.

*******

Edda, again, has kicked ass in school.  I expect nothing less from her now.  Vince took a look at her report card and groaned (again).

Untitled

Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and I

Donald and Bernie have many issue positions on the opposite side.  But, I definitely will vote for Donald or Bernie, and no one else.

Why?  Let us (ordinary, silent and average American) get rid of those so-called elites from Ivy League School graduates, economists from Chicago University?, balanced and fair media (all medias including New York Times, Washington Post) and Wall Street. They have had their chance to govern for a long, long time, but with disastrous results.  Why?  With political correctness and nice, soothing words prepared for every one, nothing, nothing gets done this way. No pain no gain. It is about time to be governed by the Main Street, with majority, and above all, using common sense instead.

I would rather tell those poor, advantageous kids that their chance for success is just 1/10 of those on the other side of social spectrum.  Don't accept any free hand-out, just working extremely hard. Good days are coming.

If our kids have a little bit of marijuana and they get caught, they certainly have this criminal record with them in their whole life time. The Wall Street screwed everyone up and, yet, they got US$800 billions BONUS from all of us. And mind you, no one, absolute no one goes to jail.  Why?  It is the Wall Street and and Government Complex at its best.  Who care big banks fail?  The more the better.

In these days, be a talker (e.g., Marco Rubio) is much better than a doer (e.g., John Kasich, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush & Dr. Ben Carson).  You can talk your way to prosperity.  All establishment and their followers are.  All leeches of society are too.

Marco Rubio can't even manage his own 401K accounts.  And, yet, he says he can manage all ours successfully. Nothing but B.S.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Hopkins

Untitled

Two cuties in the backseat asleep while we were on our way to Hopkins this morning.  As we pulled up to Hopkins, Keyla asked if this was where Ben Carson had practiced as a neurosurgeon.  I'm impressed she's keeping up with US politics.  A few years ago, I met a woman whose five-year-old son about to half his brain removed by Carson.  It's called a hemispherectomy and it's to treat uncontrollable seizures.  I'm glad I didn't have to make that particular parenting decision.

Untitled

The doctor we saw today was recommended to us by a number of DC area Rett families that have had various ortho ailments surgically treated (spine & hip).  This surgeon said that he thought Edda's back was already far too curved to benefit much from the brace, that it's already past the "tipping point" and will steadily get worse with age and gravity.  It's fine for now, not causing pain or unbalancing her mobility.  But the outcome of the surgery is much better when the curve is not as severe - the surgery is less complicated, the recovery is smoother.  He recommended finding a time within the next year that we can, as a family, manage the extra care Edda will need for about two months.  The surgery will mean about a week for recovery in the hospital and about 6-8 weeks recuperating at home.  I guess the good thing about orthopedics is that you can always try to fix something with hammers, nails, screws and cement.




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ins & outs.

I will lead with the "ins" tonight.

*******

 Jeremy's report published today!  It's an exciting day even though Jeremy's a bit of a non-celebratory (aka exhausted) mood.

You can read the full report here.
And an article on Vox - here.


******

Jeremy was at our town meeting last night where Rockville decided to not accept the northern-most confederate statue.  Nice.  You can read about it here.

*******

Now with the "outs":

Untitled

We took Edda to Children's today to get an opinion on her curving spine.  The doc did a visual exam, her back didn't look too bad.  We went down to the x-ray room which was very cute. Children's knows how to make everything look like the inside of a Disney movie.  The x-ray machine is dressed up like a furry snake (?) with a money hanging from it.

Untitled

So this is the x-ray of her back.  There is a greater than 50 degree "S" curve in her spine.  The doctor was surprised when he saw it, apparently Edda carries herself pretty well.  The plan is to see if we can try and brace it to keep it from getting worse as she grows.  She might tolerate the brace, she might not.  He estimates about 2 more years of growing. He thinks, most likely, it'll probably get worse as she ages and if it does, he would recommend surgery to straighten it.  But maybe it won't get worse.  I guess I could always hope.  We'll see someone at Hopkins on Thursday, but I suspect it'll be the same suggestion.

Untitled

The last "out"?  Vince shattered the screen on his phone.  AGAIN!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Super bowl!

Party #1: excellent artichoke dip & chili

Untitled

Party #2: excellent meatballs & cookies

Untitled

If football ever falls by the wayside, what sporting event will take its place?  Where will we see all our talking animal commercials?

Untitled

Kouign-amann, pancake practice, bacon.

Ohhhh, I love these Kouign-amann.  It's like a croissant covered in a crunchy sugar coating. I'm eating poorly these days, snackin...