Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This American Life, work, pasta.


I wanted you guys to know about a This American Life episode on Rockville.  Access it here.

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I commuted the 1.5 hours each way from home to work today.  Bicycle, subway, walking.  There is a two day team building training that's going on and so people flew in from all over the country to do this exercise.  I saw a lot of people I hadn't seen since I started working from home in 2009.  I met people in my group whose voices I've heard but never met.  We did the standard personality Myers-Briggs testing (Guess what everyone in my group is?  An SJ.  We are completely dependable, reliable, hardworking and detail oriented.  So boring.) and a scavenger hunt (why do these things always involve a scavenger hunt?).  Vickey and Karuna were there.  A long day, out of the house for just about 12 hours.

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Yesterday, I asked Vince to make dinner tonight and he asked me to shop for shrimp and heavy cream which I did at Giant last night.  I thought he was going to make some sort of alfredo, but it wasn't quite that, it was lighter than an alfredo sauce.  It really was the best thing he's made yet and it was ready as soon as I walked into the house.  And he made up the recipe in his own head without consulting the internets beginning with marinating the shrimp in a mixture for two hours.  He did use four sources of fat: butter, olive oil, heavy cream and cheese.  Delicious.  omg.

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Jeremy's having a good time.  He sends photos to me each day.

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Closing in on the 500 miles for the week, getting tireder and tireder.  He asks if he should go easy one day in order to go faster the next day.  I told him I wasn't entirely sure if going easy on an 80 mile day was really possible.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Lots of dishwashing.

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OMG.  Vince makes a lot of dishes.  Jeremy usually takes care of all the dishwashing.  I like to remain ignorant of dishwashing, but not this week.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

66, bored, flower bed.

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Jeremy rode 66 miles today.  Here he is with the rest of his people.  I'm surprised he's getting cell service up at the Finger Lakes.  But he's able to send some photos...

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Vince was up at 1 am last night which confused Max to no end.  Max got up and went downstairs and tried to figure out if it was mealtime even though it was completely dark outside.  There might have been some barking which woke Edda.  Now that Edda has the bed rails, I'll usually let her put herself back to sleep if she wakes up in the middle of the night, but last night I could hear Vince go into the room and check up on her.  Vince was home less than 24 hours before declaring that he was bored.  All of his friends are out of town!  I suggested pulling out some summer math packets, but he declared he wasn't that bored.

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Edda got a haircut from me today.  Clearly thrilled.

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Then we went to Baja Fresh where we got our new Totoro washcloth dirty with rice and beans and carnitas baja burrito.

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Nat said hi to Vince and they went through all the China and Japan photos on Vince's phone.

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While they were inside chatting about photos, I cleaned out one of our front beds.  I hate doing these things, but I feel I must reframe that feeling somehow.  I'm constantly reframing crap - I don't hate this, I actually like it!  Or, I should like it because I get to do it.  Or I like it because I can do it. I know, it makes no sense, but I can't go around hating everything which is my natural tendency.  Nat took a look at the cleaned up bed and asked if I bought new plants.  I lol-ed and said, oh, the plants were always there, I just took out all the weeds.

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Next stop:  The side jungle.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vince is home, Jeremy is not home, blog = 15 years old.

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Loves, Vince is home!  <3  He's asleep upstairs now, working off the jet lag.  This is the longest and the furthest he's been away from me, I feel like it's readying me for when he does leave the house which will be both terrific and terrible at the same time.  He tells lots of stories about the food and the people he met, but I know it will never be enough information for me.  I want to know about it all!  Donald, on the last night in Japan, took him to an extravagant sushi dinner - probably the best sushi he will ever have in his life.  Conveyor belt sushi at Tyson's Corner will never be the same again.

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Vince was pretty late coming off the plane; we waited an hour near baggage claim as people streamed out.  (People like the 4 wheel luggage now and no longer the 2 wheeled luggage).  Very sweet watching people reunite.

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The plan was to drive two cars to the airport and have Jeremy leave from there, but it turned out the time savings was negligible.  So we just took the van and came home and Jeremy made himself a PB & J sandwich and headed up to the Finger Lakes area for his biking tour.  It's going to be a tricky week, work-wise.  I have some training I have to attend in person for a few days this week, we have the childcare lined up, hopefully it'll go smoothly.

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This week marks the 15th anniversary of the blog.  I never thought I'd keep it this long.  No one keeps personal blogs anymore, everyone is mostly on Instagram or Snapchat.  I like the longer form though, it makes me happy somehow.  I used to more freely give out the blog address because it was mostly about the kids, but these days, I don't give it out unless people really seem interested and I made it a little harder to google, but, really, not by much.  It just seems like too much information to give to someone you just met.  Here's to another 15!  That'll take me to almost 60.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Home from Japan, off to bike, Dresden plate.

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Vince is boarding his flight in Japan right now!  He'll be home in the morning.  I did a terrible thing and I bought him all his favorite processed food items - hot pockets, kraft mac & cheese, chicken tenders and (gasp!) ramen.  Jeremy is leaving right after Vince arrives to go on his week long bike trip; we are driving two cars to the airport so Jeremy can leave straightaway from the arrivals gate area & baggage claim.  I have photos of all the bike prep, but I'm too lazy right now to upload.  Edda is having a great summer, Aurora, her counselor at camp, is awesome and will be Edda's one-on-one next session as well.  I haven't seen Edda so happy during summer in a long time.  I made a Dresden plate for my next quilt!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

131K, insurance, despacito.

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Edda's hospital bill came in for her spinal fusion.  Submitted charges, almost $131,000.  Our plan paid most of the negotiated rate of $72,000.  We owe $350.  We did get a separate statement from our surgeon - almost $20K which we owe about $2000, but I'm hoping Edda's Medicaid will kick in there and cover that.  At $131K, it was well over $1000 an hour at the hospital.

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This is the song of the summer for me.  Sexy!  I'm going to have to learn to do a dance to this.  Good night!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Vince, Donald, Japan.

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I love my brother very much.  We weren't super close as kids (four years apart meant that we were never really in school together), but as grown ups we talk a lot more.  We try to talk at least once a week, usually at 10 or 11 am EST on Saturday or Sunday.  I credit this all to Donald who, a few years ago,  decided that he was going to call every week and followed through.

Donald, single cool dude, lives in the Mission in SF and does all the hipster things.  Nice fancy dry-clean-only clothes, trips to Napa, cool bikes, knows all the places to eat in SF, waits in line for Apple products (I can't believe he still does this.)  And he has lots of friends that he travels with, all hipster-y people with standards!  Standards!

So it makes me so happy to think of Donald and Vince as travelling companions because Vince can be a lot of fun and doesn't really have any standards.  I mean, of course, Vince knows all the hipster things, but he's bringing Donald down to his goofy teenage shenanigans.  Like wearing an Asian rice hat in the Kyoto train station or randomly throwing pottery in kimonos..?

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They've been playing Pokemon go in zen gardens across Japan.

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Last night, they went to dinner in a restaurant filled with Japanese businessmen all smoking cigarettes.  There was no English menu, so they ordered randomly and ate all the delicious things.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Grocery store, BBQ, Eliana.

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Grocery store date tonight.

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Eliana's here, managing Edda's morning routine.  She's staying here at night and doing the 6-9 am pre-camp shift which really helps us out a lot.  After she drops Edda off at camp, she heads back to VA to work her afternoon gig.  Work & house stuff goes so much more smoothly.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

pH, dairy, date night.

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It's been a weekend full of lab values and medication names.  I'm hunkered down in Edda's room and I moved my sewing machine off of my craft table and replaced it with a calculator, laptop and lots of scratch paper.  Edda is here with me watching TV.  Maxi is also here on the couch.  We are a study-cram team!  I wish I had a bag of chips to eat.  It's also almost 3pm and we are all still in our pajamas.

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Vince called this morning from Japan.  He's with Donald in their little hotel room in Tokyo and everything is well.  He had a great time in China.  He longs for dairy.  Of the camp participants, a few people are staying in Guilin to continue the program, one person is going to Beijing, two people are headed home and Vince headed to Tokyo. He can really do it: he can go through foreign airports & customs, haggle with vendors in another language, budget some money, be friends with girls, figure out how to get cold medicine in a different country & live with another family.

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Jeremy did take me out on a date last night.  We rarely go out on Saturday nights because I'm loathe to ask Edda's helpers to work weekend nights because they are all young and I feel like those nights belong to them.  When we do go out, we'll usually go out on Tues, Wed or Thursday, but lately we haven't been even going out those nights because usually something has happened during the week that makes the designated "date night" seem like too much trouble or, more likely, we'd both just rather have dinner at home with the kids.

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But this weekend, Adriana volunteered (or strongly suggested she wanted to work on Sat night) and we took her up on it.  There was never a crystallized moment in the past decade or so that I suddenly realized that I would be giving up going out on Saturday nights with my husband (I do often go out on Sat nights with girlfriends) for much of my adult life, so I never had the chance to really mourn it, and also, it's such a small thing - a little luxury even that how could one feel badly about not having when there are bigger and sadder things to fret about giving up? But yesterday's date was so much fun.  I can't decide if it was funner because I so rarely get to do it, so if I could do it more often, it would lose its fun-ness quickly or if it was fun because it was just so much fun and I could do it every weekend for the rest of my life.  The movie (The Big Sick) was great (highly recommended!  go see it!) , the dinner was cheap and quick at Chopt and Jeremy told me all about biking and the bag he covets from some German company that he showed me at REI.  But besides hanging out with Jeremy, I re-remembered how fun a weekend summer night outside in a bustling downtown can be, women wearing tank tops and flowing dresses, music & dining outside, a full theatre with a recently opened movie full of laughter, the sun setting after a hot day, the temperature and humidity having done their work in the early morning and mid day now easing into a comfortable chair and relaxing a bit, a bit of sangria, just enough to loosen anxieties and worries (one glass for me) and that's it.  Fun.

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And finally, of course, ice cream.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Tent, boards, Big Sick. Tokyo.

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Jeremy is getting ready to go on his week-long biking trip at the end of July.  It's a supported ride, meaning that they'll take your stuff in a van/car/bus as you ride and bring it to where you'll camp for the night.  This means that Jeremy is packing for comfort and not weight.  There'll be a roomy tent and a heavy cot to lift the middle-aged back up off the ground.  They'll provide food & entertainment too.  He was going to go with his friend Ben, but Ben got a new job that starts next week and couldn't really ask to take his 2nd week off of work to go bike riding.  So Jeremy is going to go by himself.  He was thinking of cancelling because now he's friendless on this bike trip, but inspired by Vince's summer camp experience where we sent him friendless into a country halfway around the world, he decided that he loved biking enough to make some new friends.  We'll see.  He just checked, they are suppose to ride 480 miles.  He's trying to figure out a way to ride 20 more on his own to make it an even 500 miles.

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I'm studying this weekend for the nursing boards.  My exam is next Tues.  There is a practice app I'm using to study, but I can tell I'm not really studying.  It all feels a little pointless as I have no job, but I'm trying to be chipper about memorizing a lot of lab values and medication names and side effects.  It's harder for me to memorize these days, both hindered by my aging brain and also my sense of un-urgency and lazy summer days.

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Jeremy is taking me out on a date on Saturday.  It has been a million years since we've gone out on Saturday night from the house.  We'll do the classic dinner & movie.  The Big Sick, I think!

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We texted Vince tonight.  China was so fun, he reports, but he's getting over a cold right now.  He's ready to travel back with the group of girls to go to Guangzhou for one more day of sightseeing and shopping and then on to Tokyo where he'll meet up with the coolest uncle ever who took a whole week off of work and purchased a week of unlimited wifi hotspot on his phone so they will have excellent service all over.  Watch out owl/cat cafes & capsule hotels & bullet trains - Vince & Donald are headed your way.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Camp, stairs, done growing!

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Edda's spending her days with her counselor, Aurora, at Camp JCC.  Aurora is the daughter of a former coworker of Jeremy's, so Aurora has been to our house for Edda's birthday pancake breakfast and we've been to parties that her parents have thrown.  Aurora and Edda just happened to be matched up with each other this summer.  I didn't recognize her at first!  I see her only once a year, and I usually concentrate on her parents and everyone changes so quickly when they are teenagers.  So far so good.  They both seem very happy.  Camp can be hard for both Edda and her counselor.  Edda (I think) is a reluctant summer camper.  She likes air conditioning.  She dislikes hot weather and sports with balls.

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This past week's trip to Long Island and Maine made me realize how hard it can be to manage Edda in unfamiliar places.  I can care for Edda completely and with relative ease in our house and going to places such as Target, movies, grocery stores.  But once we start visiting other people's houses, it gets really tricky.  When we were at Alan's house on Long Island, we didn't shower Edda even once because there really wasn't a walk-in shower.  While were were at Julia's house, I showered Edda only when Jeremy was around because I could walk into the shower with Edda and wash her and then hand her off to a dry Jeremy waiting in the bathroom.  We were fortunate that in both places, there were bedrooms on the first floor of the houses.  In Maine, Jeremy would go on a long bike ride and I'd think, oh!  I could go get some groceries or toiletries in town, but there were five steps from the elevated porch to the ground and I didn't think I could manage to get Edda down them myself.  I couldn't ask our host who is into her seventh decade to help.  I guess I could have gone next door to ask our host's niece and nephew-in-law, but I had just met them and I can be shy about these things (actually I know people will jump up and help when directly asked). So we just sat on the porch until Jeremy came home.  Jeremy acts very confident when easing Edda down the stairs, singing to her, or talking to her in a happy voice while Edda awkwardly bends her knees to go down each step.  But when I told him about my fear of going down the steps towards the end of the trip, he admitted that he felt pretty precarious too.  He can't see his feet or the steps or hold the handrails.  And his feet are always entangled in Edda's feet as they go down the steps.  I'm not quite sure how this crept up on me, I think we haven't traveled with Edda in this way for a while (hotels are easier and you can ask for an accessible room).  Thank goodness Edda is done growing.  With her spine fused, I think she's at her max height and max weight.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Full time, perimenopause, birthday!

Well this has been a week back to routine except that since Vince is still out of town, the house is much, much cleaner & quieter.  Edda has camp all week, we have childcare at the beginning and end of the day - so this marks the first week since Edda's surgery that I've been back at work full time.  And not unexpectedly, I'm a little blue.  I applied for only one nursing job that I thought for sure I'd get, and I didn't get it.  Also, a visit to the gyn early in the week confirmed my segue into perimenopause as my estrogen levels have started to dip.  Ack.  Anyways, it's all fine, of course.  When I got my period in middle school I couldn't believe then that I had to put up with it for decades (into the 2000s!) and now that it's about to disappear in the next half decade or so, I'm getting all nostalgic.

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Kitachi's birthday is on Friday, but she's working only tonight and tomorrow night this week.  Jeremy's out tomorrow night, so tonight was the night to celebrate!  We made her favorite dinner - tacos and had a brownie cheesecake.  Yummy.  Kitachi is moving to Texas in a few weeks, she's been with us for over two years now.   We'll miss her a bunch.  I'm always both happy and sad when our care providers move on...I know they gotta do other things, but they've become an extension of our family.   Sometimes I think they know Edda better than I know Edda.  Maybe Edda lets them in on her little secrets that she doesn't tell me.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Purple tie & group photo.

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Jeremy wore a nice purple tie to work today!

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OK, one last bit about vacation...thank you to Julia who let us spend a week at her house!  It was wonderful to meet her sister, Liz.  We got a group photo at the end of the week, but I'm still learning to use my new camera, so I mistakenly got a fun series of photos of us trying to get the group photo.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Bike, lobster, Wonder Woman, Pip!

Let's finish off this vacation in this blog entry.  Vacation pictures are mainly fun for the people who went on vacation, I think they make for boring blogging.

Jeremy biked.  A lot.  He biked 300 miles while we were on vacation.  He's a little obsessed (as soon as we arrived at home, he spent $30 to get access to live streaming of the Tour de France and started watching that all day on Sunday giving me the blow by blow.  Or should I say crash by crash?  It's not really comforting to me, that TdF.).

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There was ice cream almost every day.

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There was a lot of napping.

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And beautiful 5am sunrises.

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Julia's friend Kendall was there the first part of our vacation.

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There was movie watching - Wonder Woman.  I'm very happy this movie did so well but I did have some issues with it.  Diana was a little too clueless at some points in the movie and more dewy eyed than I prefer for my female leads.  I liked Rey & Sarah Connor.  I want my female leads to have more engineering backgrounds, lol.

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A game of corn hole.

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Sunset.

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Lobster.

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We split the drive home into two days, stopping off at Bard for the night.  Neither Bob nor Katherine were at home, but Pip was.

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And we took him to dinner with Emy and Seth.

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Now we are home!