Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring break road trip #2.

Sorry - everything is out of order as we are getting photos from three sources to the Flickr account.  Easter morning, we took Edda swimming and tried out the hotel swivel seat.  I'm always impressed when hotels have these things.  Edda also went hot tubbing.

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We went Easter egg hunting on the Haverford campus.  Jeremy hid the eggs and then the kids were off to find the chocolate.

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(These photos were taken by the big expensive camera.  You can totally tell.  Sigh.  I want the big, expensive camera to fit in my pocket.)

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Keyla was rewarded with the golden egg!

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That evening, we did visit Vidya.  Vidya and Jeremy show off the frozen sweet options for our friend Dave who is reviewing all sorts of ice cream flavors.  Vidya & Dave are the smartest people I know.  You just toss them some complicated math thing and they can throw the answer right back at you without pencil and paper.  They were what I had before I had Google.  Me?  I gotta take a few minutes and re-figure out Vince's algebra homework.

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Monday morning, I headed back to Rockville.  Via a bus from the hotel (1 hour) to Philly.

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Then the megabus (4 hours, Philly -> union station), then the metro (1 hour, union station -> rockville), then walking home (20 minute).  Made it home for under $30.

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Meanwhile, the rest of them headed to Bard.  There is a pull/push for where to stop on the road trip.  Jeremy and I would like to go to historical sites and read all the signs.  The kids want to go to the mall, especially if the mall right next to the hotel is billed as the largest mall in the US based on lease-able space and has the largest Target on the east coast.

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And it turned out the historical sites are closed.

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And they made it to Bard by Monday night.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Spring break road trip.

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We first headed to Delaware where we met up with Yushan and Xiao-tsen (friends of ours from grad school) and their kids Emily and David.  Emily is in the middle of her freshman year at MIT (when did it happen that our friends' kids are going to college?!?).  Emily indulged me by telling me all her courses this term by number - 18.03, 8.02, 10.10 and 7.013 or something like that.  Makes me all nostalgic. Did I just say I was going to quit talking about MIT?  Anyways, it pains me a little to hear that consulting is the sexy thing all the grads want to do - careers with words like "impactful", but it's OK, I guess.   It also pains me to hear a that Greek life has taken over the female population on campus.  When I was there, boys certainly joined fraternities, but girls mostly did not.  I did hang out with some frat guys the first 2 years of school, but then it got a little tiresome for me and I ditched the whole scene for a more dorkier subset - which is saying something because all of MIT = dorky.  Also - the whole place is an Apple ad.  I was hoping there would be a small group of people who would hold out to program and customize Android phones and build their own PCs, but that isn't true either.  I think I need to go outside in my pajamas and yell - Get off my lawn! - right now.

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Emily, home for spring break, dismissed her mother's suggestion to go to a Chinese restaurant and instead suggested the Cheesecake Factory - to which all the people over 40 groaned and all the people under 40 high-fived each other.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory.

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Then we drove to Philly where we found a very nice parking place - but needed quarters to pay for it.  No one has quarters anymore.

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Vince ran up the Rocky steps.  Da-da-daaaaaah, Da-da-daaaaahhh.....



We walked down by the boat houses - it was a beautiful day!

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We got to our hotel and ordered cheesesteaks for delivery for dinner.  Jeremy marveled at a new app which showed him exactly where the cheesesteak was while in transit.  Like on a map with a little icon for the car moving down the streets to our hotel.

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Vince wanted to tend to Edda at night.  Somehow this didn't work out so well.  Edda tends to get up in the middle of the night and since all 5 of us are in one room, we all wake up.  Usually Jeremy's good at rocking Edda back to sleep, but Vince wanted to do it instead.  But there is one problem - Vince is a heavy sleeper and won't wake up until you are yelling at him and shaking him a lot.  Even Edda right next to him and hitting him with her braced arm won't wake him up.

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Keyla - not used to the US pagan Easter traditions allowed us to indulge out sweet teeth.  We also dyed eggs in our hotel room.

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We hid all the eggs at Haverford.  And ran the hurdles.



Well Edda skipped the hurdles and opted to walk a 400 instead.

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That evening, we visited Vidya (also a pal from grad school).

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Birthday week.

A whirlwind recap of Edda's birthday week!

Rearranged the house for the party the night before:

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Jeremy made enough pancake batter for 512 pancakes.

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And bacon (30 pounds) was pre-cooked the night before:

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Then the party started.  A lot of people came right at 9 am.  We had so many toddler guests.  Jeremy works with a lot of people who have a lot of babies.  Ruby was perfect, although it's been a long time since she's entertained so many children.  By the end of the party, I could see Ruby hiding under a chair with her rear half still accessible to children who wanted to pet her, but she could nap in peace at the same time.

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Lauren made a beautiful cake for Edda - I love the blue and the flowers.  And I loved eating three pieces, one right after the other, after the last guests left.



I like this photo because Edda is eating someone's hoodie.

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The pancake station.  The party was nice, a reminder that I have a whole community around me helping me out.

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After the party, Edda had a few more days of school before spring break.  I sent this video in to Edda's teacher to tell him how to put on brace.  I don't often see video of me, so it's interesting to see how I look to other people, rather than how I think I look to other people in my head.



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Spring break started on Edda's actual birthday (24th) - we had a family birthday breakfast.

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Pardon Vince, he's a little sleepy as we made him get up at the ungodly hour of 8 am on the first day of spring break to sing happy birthday.  The rest of us had to get our day started - 8 am was already late!



Lana's flowers that she brought over for the pancake breakfast were perfectly in bloom on Edda's birthday.

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Jeremy made blueberry oatmeal muffins (healthy b/c of the inclusion of oatmeal), but not really that tasty as evidenced by a few of them still remaining under the glass dome a full day later.

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And fruit salad - Edda's favorite type of salad.

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Nat came by to give a gift!

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Today I took some time off and saw Deb at OT.

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Edda <3s Deb.

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We went to Panera's for lunch where we bumped into some friends.

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Finally to top off the week of birthday - we went to Kenwood in Bethesda to see the cherry blossoms - peaking today!

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Finally, we did have cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake, but no photos.  They were eaten too quickly.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Are We Getting Better or Just Using Political Correctness to Cover?

Are we getting better or just using political correctness to cover?  I think the latter is true.  This is an useful tool used by those elite and establishment to cover and justify what they are doing and, in the meaning time, taking advantage of the general public.

Here, just posting a few questions to reflect upon:

1) Our country's economic is improving. Right? But, ask regular folks on the street.  Majority of them don't think so.

2) Is our race relationship getting better?  A lot of people, on all sides (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.), don't think so.  It is just getting better on what one can see, but, not on what one can feel and dwell upon. Inequality of our society is everywhere and is prevailing in secrecy.

3) We consider ourselves is the guardian of human rights by all accounts.  Yet, we have an unarmed youngest got killed by 100+ bullets while walking.

4) Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Bill Cosby probably have been on the same boat for a long, long time. I am very sympathetic indeed.  But, just wondering what they stand for and stand up for women's rights?

5) Why both political parties convention rules are so undemocratic in our supposedly democratic society? Yes, as far as voting is concerned, we are very democratic. And, after voting, things are far from transparent and democratic as advertised.

6) The other day, teachers of the school district of Detroit threatens to go on strike if no satisfying raise is coming.  It already is the 4th highest paid school district in our nation.  Yet with its dismal graduation and attending college records one should pause, wonder and ask.  And if it is asked, because it is run by a black majority, is it a racist comment?  Detroit School District is not alone.Congress is even worse - doing nothing but raising their salary by themselves every time and all the time.  There is no check in place.

In short, I don't believe a lot of things said by Donald Trump.  But, I am definitely going to vote for him in order to shake up the status quo - good, better, best, bad, worse or worst.  Doesn't matter.  Just like President Obama said we need "CHANGE" - discard Political Correctness and say what it really is.

In conclusion, I think I am a very moderate person.  But let those elite and establishment classify me as a white, male, uneducated, poor and disgruntled person :) 

Buttermilk.

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Prep is underway for Edda's pancake breakfast on Saturday.  Jeremy ordered all the buttermilk from the creamery and we got all the bacon this year from Costco.  Edda's birthday always sends me spinning out a little because I get a little weepy about all the things a typical 12-year-old girl should be doing that Edda's missing out on.  I tried explaining my feelings about it to Keyla this evening - she was trying to coach me - be happy that she's healthy! be happy that she's happy!  I know, I know.  I try, believe me, I try.

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We are not pulling Ruby's tooth.  I drove extra far today to a vet - highly recommended - who will do only reasonable things for reasonable prices.  He was great.  We'll do the wait and see.  Everyone was impressed at how well Ruby was doing.  The receptionist even was like - you wrote she was born in '01 - is that right?  Yep.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kara!

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Kara's (Edda's camp counselor past 2 summers) in town!  She's not able to make this weekend's big birthday bash, so she stopped by for dinner tonight.

She brought my absolute favorite dessert.

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I spent some time waiting in this room for Edda's wheelchair to be repaired.  I can't quite tell if they repaired it correctly.  I think they installed the brakes wrong - the tires seem ever so slightly misaligned.

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I failed to post that Edda got her back brace last week.  We are slowly upping her hours in the brace until we get up to the 21 hours / day in it.  Sounds uncomfortable to me, but Edda doesn't seem to mind too much.

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Mom Is In Chong Ming Island

I called Mom this morning.  She is fine and is in Chong Ming Island - her birth place.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Monday. No it's Tuesday. Take two.

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When Ruby turned 15, we had decided that she had outlived her expected life span - for God's sake, she was 105 in dog years!  And because she was 105, I had really psychologically drew the line in the sand that we would do no more extravagant dog surgeries/treatments/etc if anything came up.  She has been the healthiest of dogs - the most money spent on her was her travel to Singapore and we didn't even pay for that.  I was ready to let her sleep more and more of her days away until she didn't wake up one day with no medical intervention from me.  Now she has an abscessed tooth which swells up her face every few weeks.  I think we gotta pull it.  She appears to not be worried about it.  She's still eating, pooping, walking and sleeping on the side of the rotten tooth.  We got a course of antibiotics while I figure out who is going to pull the tooth.

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I usually hide the fact that I went to MIT.  We can go into the reasons later.  But today was a banner MIT day for me - 4 unrelated MIT conversations:

1. Edda needs a new arm brace and ankle braces that our orthotist recommended we get while we were getting her back brace fitted.  In order to do that, I needed a script from the pediatrician.  I was wearing my beat up old MIT track pants - the pediatrician said - you went to MIT? So did my brother!  and then we chatted about course load and double majors.

2. I had an interview with an attorney on a case that I'm working on.  After the interview, he asked - so you went to MIT?  I said - yes, how did you know that?  Oh, I googled you.  I'm like you googled me?  No one googles me!  I'd like to think I'm a little unfindable on the internet - D**** L** is a pretty common name, but D**** L** P***** E******* brings you straight to my paltry LinkedIn profile which lists only the p*t*n* e*a*i*e* and the MIT in my CV.  Turns out the attny went to MIT in the early 2000s and studied nuclear engineering.  Interesting!  I thought no one did that anymore.  But they do.

3.  I met up with Stephen Hau - a pal from MIT who I haven't seen since 94.  He looks good.  He just got married and had a baby, barely skirting the half your age + 7 rule.

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4 And finally, we went on date night tonight where I watched Jeremy speak at length with a Yalie whose dad went to MIT and he's considering going to MIT for grad school.

Enough MIT to last another 20 years!!

Mom Is Flying

She is flying to China and making the connection in Chicago.  She will be gone for a month :(

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Weekend.

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I've not been sleeping well this weekend.  Vince's party kept me up late on Friday night.  Saturday I had to get up at 5 am to go to clinical which lasted until 5 pm.  Then I went out to dinner with a new Rett mom.  Those dinners are tough because I gotta go back in time (exactly 10 years now) and remember how terrible the beginning years were to re-understand what to say her.  And I see in this other woman I don't know physically embody my intangible memory of who I was then.  This did not lead to a peaceful night's sleep.

I've been having trouble finding books to read, but I've settled on "A Little Life".  I told Jeremy that it was beautifully written and he said - what's it about? - and I answered - oh, uh, child sexual/physical abuse.  (Jeremy's like - why Doris, why?  what's with depressing stories? ... oh well.)  One of the central characters in the story has a typically developing child who is diagnosed with an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disease at age 4 and dies about a year later...

"I admired how she knew, well before I did, that the point of a child is not what you hope he will accomplish in your name but the pleasure that he will bring you, whatever form it comes in, even it if is a form that is barely recognizable as pleasure at all - and, more important, the pleasure you will be privileged to bring him.  For the rest of Jacob's life, I lagged one step behind Lisel: I kept dreaming he would get better, that he would return to what he had been; she, however, thought only about the life he could have given the current realities of his situation.  Maybe he could go to a special school.  Okay, he couldn't go to school at all, but maybe he could be in a playgroup.  Okay, he wouldn't be able to be in a playgroup, but maybe he would be able to live a long life anyway.  Okay, he wouldn't live a long life, but maybe he could live a short happy life.  Okay, he couldn't live a short happy life, but maybe he could live a short life with dignity: we could give him that, and she would hope for nothing else for him."

Hope.

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The next generation!

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Birthday party!

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Vince hosted his after-school birthday party today.  First up - card games.  You know which one.

Next, Coke and Mentos geysers (no photos of that).

Then we launched rockets.  This, I loved.  I could launch rockets all day.  These had propellant that made that WHOOSH sound as they pushed off the launch pad and then a little pop to force out the parachute.  Then the boys would run after the rocket and try to catch it as it fell to Earth.

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At the rocket launch, I saw all manner of shattered phones living out the last day of their lives...  I can not believe that these phones still work, you can see the SUBSTRATE which all the electronics are layered on top of.

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Shaving cream fight.

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Pizza.

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Ver-monster (a Ben & Jerry's inspired dessert).

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And happy birthday!



It's 10:30 and I still have four extra boys in the house - where are their parents?!!?  I want to go to bed....