Saturday, June 30, 2018

Sewing machine, 2nd helping of rice, napping.

I'm enjoying a quiet weekend.  A weekend where the most pressing thing I'm thinking about is the next sewing machine I'm going to buy.  My $150 sewing machine has gone through five quilts in the past year and the tension setting on it is giving out causing my stitches to be uneven and wonky.  Sometimes I can nudge it back into the correct tension by fiddling around with the three things I can fiddle around with, but the problem is becoming more frequent and more unfixable.   I think it's telling me that it has reached the limits of what it was designed to do.  It was designed to be a disposable sewing machine.  I'm having trouble deciding how much I want to spend on the next machine.  I went to my local quilt shop today and a very nice lady tried to sell me the $1200 sewing machine.  I think I want something between $150 and $1200.  The lady said that the Janome SkylineS5 makes very accurate seam allowances and that you have total control over your piecing.  It's hard to explain to a professional level quilter that I need my machine to be slightly uncontrollable because I want the seam allowances to be just a touch inaccurate and mismatched.  If everything was exactly even and precise, then I think it loses whatever homemade/handmade quality it has in the first place.  Part of the loveliness of my homemade quilts (I feel) is that there are mistakes, crookedness and unevenness in the effort.  And so I need a sewing machine that matches that philosophy.  I want a machine that is reliable and not complicated.


Because we've been trying for a long time to enforce (exemplify) good eating habits with Vince, we rarely have snacks for no purpose in the house and we also rarely indulge in indulgent things at the dinner table while he's at home.  Since he's been gone, we've had some desserts after a weeknight dinner at home.  I've had 2nd helpings of rice with butter and soy sauce (gasp!, I feel so reckless).  I felt like I went crazy today when we went grocery shopping and bought fruited yogurt. 


Don't worry, Edda is still toeing the line.  She refused her ice cream cookie sandwich after dinner on Friday.



Saturday was a hot day.  Me, Jeremy & Edda went to A&Js for lunch. 


We went to REI.  I wandered around the sale section where I found this down coat - original price $250 ish, would be below $100 on sale.  I did not buy it.  I already have a winter coat. 


Then to Whole Foods where Edda napped and I resisted buying a cookie.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vince called, US home, Rasika.

And the world keeps spinning... sigh. 


Vince called last night. If you want his summer phone number to text him, you can text me & I'll give it to you. I was surprised to hear from him, but his night off was last night and he decided to call us!
He told me a number of things:

* He's the youngest counselor, in charge of kids his own age.

* He's one of 4 junior counselors (under 18).  The other three are named Jack, Jackson and Jeremy.  So he got nicknamed - "Jay".

* As a junior counselor,  the main rules that separate you from the senior counselors are 1. you can't use power tools and 2. you can't climb ladders.  This leads to shenanigans where Vince is going to the fridge to get a snack and someone says - hey!  that's a power tool, you can't use that.

* When they have free time to go to town, he can't be wearing any scout clothing.  He packed only scout gear.  This resulted in him going to Walmart and buying a shirt with an American flag that says "Born to be Free" and a pair of ratty gym shorts, I think he spent 5 dollars on each item of clothing.  He asked us to ship him some clothes.

* He asked us to ship him: new shoes, new clothes, a phone charger, a solar phone charger. We threw in some extra cables. 

* He says he is showering everyday and doing laundry.

* He says he has enough underwear.

* On his mountain biking duty, someone flipped their bike and broke their wrist.  He helped splint it and walk the kid out of the woods.

* His scout troop is coming next week, he's hoping to coordinate his day off for July 4th to hang out with him

* He sounds good and happy.


All my Usual Suspects are home.  Everyone got home a few days ago and everyone is on the mend. If you need any pulmonology advice, forget about going to an MD, you can just text Lauren or Soojung.  They know everything about suctioning, pain meds, intubation/extubation, bipap settings, chest PT, etc, etc, etc.  Every once in a while - they'll say, check with Doris, she's a nurse and I'm like I've seen the words that you are using in the text chat, but I have no idea what happens clinically so - woah.  I'm out of my league.  This was my favorite exchange on yesterday's chat:



I went downtown today to Rasika to meet up with coworkers.  I didn't get fabulous photos, but it was lovely.


The last time we were all together was more than three years ago.  We talked about doing it every quarter, but that seems ambitious.  Maybe twice a year?  That would be an improvement.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Jeremy volunteered to hand out flyers for Julie Palakovich-Carr in front of my old high school this morning.  Election day!  He was there from 7-11 am.  He thinks he got one vote. 


Here's Edda's camp counselor!  I think they are a good match, fingers crossed it'll be a nice summer.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Camp JCC, ATV, 100 years of solitude.

Now we enter the "regular" summer schedule.  Edda's at Camp JCC for the next seven weeks and I'm always nervous the first day because it's the first time we all meet Edda's one-on-one counselor.  I want to make a good first impression. The counselors are high school kids and lots of them don't have prior special needs experience though they make up for that by having big hearts.  Ning (our morning caregiver) woke Edda up at the late hour of 7:30.  Since the morning routine is different than the school morning routine, I worked with Ning this first morning from 7:30 to 8:30 to make sure all the swim attire, sunscreen application, lunch supplies were packed.  Then Ning went to her regular day job and I drove Edda to camp for drop off.  Edda's counselor seems great - she just graduated from high school and is headed to Whittier in the fall.  I asked why Whittier?  She shrugged and said - I love California.  We bumped into friends and said hello to lots of people.  Edda knows many people at camp as she's been going for a long long time.  Lots more people say hello to her than hello to me.  Though Violet said hello to me and we hung out for a bit.  Edda had a nice first day, swimming in the pool, a poop (hopefully in the potty and not in the pool) and all smiles when she came home.  Adriana did pick up for me.


Mid-day, we got a text from Vince.  The first set of campers have arrived.  His initial job is to man the mountain biking & ATV "outpost".  He has no experience in either activity and tells us that he keeps falling off his mountain bike.  Here he is with his ATV helmet.


I chose this book for our book club and I'm regretting it.  I put it down for a week because of craziness and now I can't remember what all the characters have done.  There are six generations in this book and they all have the same names.   Arghhhh...  yet we will forge ahead.  Vickey is 200 pages ahead of me.  I'll get there.  We should have read Love in the Time of Cholera.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Maxi, playdate, haircut.

Today is Maxi's birthday!  She's 8.


Our next door neighbors, Chris & Kate are moving out today (well, they moved all the furniture out yesterday, today they are moving the loose stuff) and they asked Vince to look after Grafton for the day.  I texted back and said that Vince was gone for the summer but Grafton could hang out with me, but I was very boring.  They said - he loves boring! and presto!  I had a toddler for the day.  In self preservation, I went to the other next door neighbor to ask if their slightly-older-than-toddler child was free today and she was and so I had an all-day play date for children who are not related to me.  It takes a little bit of remembering to revert back to 3 year old and 7 year old parenting.  One has to remember to vigilantly watch the stove while making all white food (pasta, eggs, butter & cheese), one has to remember that toddlers don't know about traffic and that they need help getting milk.


I was a babysitting genius and set up a mini-water park in our driveway with a metal tub, hose & small sprinkler.  I provided squirt bottles and bubbles.  They played there from 1-4 pm.


It was enough time for me to give Edda a summer 'do, to sweep and declutter the garage and to mow the lawn.


It's fun to see kids having fun.


I wish I could learn to have more fun.


Edda's summer haircut!  She looks good.  Ready for camp tomorrow.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

SIM card, voting, ice cream...

Vince got the sim card!  I got a simple message this morning from him.


And I can see where he is!


The house was very quiet today.  Just me, Jeremy, Edda and Maxi all day.  I worked a bunch and tried to re-right myself.  With all the action the past few weeks, I'm chronically under-slept and all out of my regular routine.  This makes it difficult to for me to self-regulate throughout the day - I can alternate between weepy  and annoyed and happy all within the span of an afternoon.  I thought last night I'd get a good night's sleep, but at 4:30 am I woke with a start and realized that Jeremy was not in bed.  I found him downstairs with the lights on working on planning a bike ride from Pittsburg.  He had woken up and couldn't go back to sleep, so he decided to go do some work.  We spent some time working on our absentee ballot which is due on Tuesday.  This took quite some time (and is still ongoing).  We look up endorsements, call friends and try to suss out the local political landscape.  It's not entirely straightforward.  For county council, there are 33 people running for 4 spots.  We both wished that we could use rank choice voting.

To celebrate that it's Saturday night, we went out for ice cream.


And looked forward to folding laundry.


Missing, African American museum, companionship with Adriana.

I miss Vince more than I thought I would.  Every few minutes, I want to knock on his room door and tell him something, but then I remember that he's not home.  I'm ashamed to admit that it is because he's out of cell phone range, so I haven't been in touch with him since I dropped him off on Wed.  When he was in China last summer, he texted/called daily with updates and fun stories.  It's funny how Virginia can feel farther than China. Jeremy went out on Thursday morning and bought a Verizon sim card and FexExed it to him (even paid a few dollars more to have it delivered on Friday am), but we haven't heard anything from him yet.  We don't even know if the package got to the camp because Jeremy promptly lost the tracking number.  We spent a few minutes last night looking for the receipt, but it was nowhere to be found.  I did email the main counselor person (who has cell service) to keep an eye out for the envelope, but all I got in response was a quick "will do!" and nothing else.  We can see on Google maps that Vince was in the nearest town last night with cell service, but he didn't text us!  Oh well.  I'm sure he's trying to rescue his Snapchat streaks or whatever kids do these days...





While I was dropping Vince off at camp, the boys went to Mt Vernon and spent an incredible 5 hours there.  Then they looped to National where they picked up Johanna in the early evening.



Thursday was the only full day with the whole Westeson family.  Johanna really wanted to go to the African American museum, but because it's so new, it still has timed ticketed entries.  We still haven't gone yet.  If you go on the website right now, they are ticketing for October, 2018.  But every morning at 6:30 am, they have a limited number of same-day tickets available online.  Jeremy managed to get 4 tickets for 3:30 pm.  Jeremy drove them downtown and went paddle-boating with them in the early afternoon before the entry time.  Though they could see all the monuments, it was very hot and they were there mid-day, so it was a challenging outing. 




Thursday night we had takeout Chinese and Friday morning, everyone packed up and Jeremy drove them to Baltimore to catch a flight to Phoenix to see Kiki and Kappa in New Mexico.  I always wish (as with everyone I love to spend time with) that they were closer and we could seem them more often.  I think there is much to be said about daily/weekly low-key interactions for becoming close to a person.  I have only sisters by marriage and I wish I could spend more time with all of them!  We are planning on seeing them in Sweden summer of 2020.  There is a big world orienteering meet then and Ruben just took up orienteering and Sweden is the center of the orienteering world, so that's the plan.  I hope to come in respectably last and not embarrassingly last as I've been doing the past few big meets I've done.  That is my goal. 


I wanted to thank Adriana who was Edda's companion this whole week.  She worked more than 40 hours and allowed us to be incredibly flexible with each day's plans.  Edda came to the climbing gym (to watch) and to the conveyor belt sushi lunch (to eat), but to almost nothing else.  It was very hot this week and having Adriana work meant that I didn't have to take her on my 12 hour odyssey to non-cell-phone camp, nor did Edda have to brave hot weather and long museum tours.  Edda got to go shopping for summer shorts in an air-conditioned mall, Adriana studied a lot for her nursing boards.  Ning also stepped in to cover the baseball game on Tuesday night because Adriana had an unmovable commitment.  It meant that Jeremy and I could squeeze in the tiniest bit of work & exercise that needed to be done during bits of found time during the week.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Outlet shopping, Dave & Busters, Baseball game, Lenhoksin.


On Tuesday, Jeremy showed the boys his biking closet and his virtual biking world.  After breakfast, I took the boys to the Clarksburg Outlets a little north of us to shop for running shoes and flip flops.


I hung out a bit at the Disney store where I seriously thought about buying these pants.


After the outlet stores, we sent Ben downtown on his own to have some solitary museum time.  We took the kids to Dave & Buster's for an afternoon of arcading.  This was the only game that I played - a skiiing one.


We all reconvened at Nationals Park to see part of the Beltway series (Nationals vs Orioles).  It's a little confusing to me, I guess I'm a Nationals fan now.  When I was growing up, there was no DC team so we rooted for the Orioles.  It was an exciting game - Nationals won 9-7.  The weather was perfect.  It just felt like summer.  Cousins came also! 


Hats were bought.



On Wed, I spent the whole day (!) driving Vince to his summertime gig.  He's a counselor at Lenhoksin, a camp at Goshen Boy Scout Camp.  He has his very own tent with a cot and mattress.  It took me all day even though the campsite is only 3.25 hours away because 1. we needed to stop at Dick's to buy fishing line and a fishing license 2. we needed to stop at Target to buy gum and bic lighters (I told him I did not want any late night calls about non-good-judgement use of said lighters) and 3. I got very few instructions on how to find people at camp and our cell service doesn't work at the campsite so it took some time finding and asking people to make calls, to figure out the phone numbers, etc. and 4. there was an hour's worth of delay on the way home because of accidents and it was raining heavily and I'm a nervous driver.   Vince was a little nervous, I could see it ramp up as we got closer to the campsite.  I was nervous because they seem very disorganized, but I was less nervous as I left because the two other counselors I met had been there 8 summers and 5 summers respectively.  I feel like anyplace that has people coming back summer after summer is fine.  Regarding cell service, we have T-mobile because we are cheap.  It works well in urban areas, but does drop out in the forests.  I think Vince is a little disappointed to be out of cell range.  It's especially hard because the Verizon people all have service.  Hmmm, I think we might try to get him a new sim card for the summer.  He'll be gone until the end of July.  5.5 weeks.  I'm practicing letting him go.  He practicing being on his own. 


Monday, June 18, 2018

Ben, Felix & Ruben.

Jeremy came home Friday night, in time for all of us to have dinner together (spaghetti).  Then Saturday morning, we went our separate ways.  Edda & I went to see the Incredibles II and the boys went downtown to see the Museum of American History. 


Edda's caregiver, Arietni, arrived at noon and I headed downtown to meet the boys at Shake Shack. 


Then we went to the spy museum where Ruben worked with the enigma machine to crack some codes.


Then we headed to Silver Spring to join Colleen's 50th birthday party.


Sunday morning, we went to the climbing gym and had lunch at the bubble tea place.  Then the boys went to town center where they got soaking wet on the splash pad.


We hosted Sunday night dinner, which was unusually hilarious with discussion about conjoined twins, pooping etiquette and fish pedicures.


Monday morning, our crooked tree got cut down.  We were going to leave it where it was because it had fallen in such a way that it had wedged itself between the forked trunk of an adjacent tree.  It didn't seem like it was going to go anywhere.  But a neighbor complained (don't know who it was), and we got cited by the city.  So we took it down.


It fell because it was infested with termites and was pretty hollow at the base of the trunk. 


Monday, the boys went to the Air & Space museum in Virginia.  The boys are really great museum goers, especially Felix.


We went to Tyson's for conveyor belt sushi.


And looked at the Lego store.



I'm now hanging out with Molly at the PICU at Children's.  In some cosmic clusterf*ck, 2/5th of the Usual Suspect's daughters are in PICUs.  Send good vibes our way.