Monday, July 30, 2018

Dance, Sari, Vince is home.

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Saturday night, I headed out to Virginia to see my friend's daughter's arangetram, or debut performance in traditional Indian classical dance.  She had invited me a few months ago and I kind of understood it to be a dance recital, but I didn't quite understand that it was going to be a 2 hour solo performance with live orchestra for over 200 guests followed by a catered dinner.  It was a beautiful, beautiful performance.  I have some exposure to classical Indian music by being friends with Vidya and Kiranavali, but I've only listened to music practice in their house, never an actual performance. 

Vibha's mom is Satya and she's here with Karuna.
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Vickey and Karuna.

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When I was walking up the sidewalk to the performance hall and I saw all these colorful saris, and suddenly I remembered that I do own a sari which was given to me by a friend in Singapore and I thought ah! I should have worn my sari, I have so few chances to wear it.  But then I couldn't quite decide if I was allowed anymore to wear a sari.  Oh well, it doesn't matter, I forgot that I had one so I'll have to wait another 10 years for an occasion to present itself again.

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I went to work at the hospital on Sunday (my first day on the floor) to find out that an old classmate of mine was charge nurse!  I said - Eunice!, you're charge today? And she said - today is my first day as charge, where everyone's problems become your problems too.  And then she asked, who talked you into having your first day on Sunday of all days?  I'm said that it was a long story which doesn't need to be retold here. 

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While I was at work trying to remember that it was Sunday and not Monday, Jeremy went to pick up Vince from scout camp.  He took Edda and got there by lunchtime.

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They ate at Jimmy John's.

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And they got home!  And then I got home!  And then we are all together again.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Adriana!

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We went out to dinner last night with Adriana and her boyfriend, Rakesh to thank her for her two years of being part of our household and caring for Edda in the evenings (mostly Monday & Tuesday nights) and to celebrate her starting her new position as a neuro ICU nurse on Monday.  I have a general rule of only celebration on the last day and no working, but she insisted on coming back to the house and going through one more bedtime routine with Edda.  She will still be close by, so we've set a future date to catch up with our new adventures. 

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lunch.

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Jeremy's making my lunch these days.  For a long time, Jeremy made only his lunch.  The kids liked to buy school lunch and I put together my own lunch at home.  But then Vince wanted to bring lunch in high school (to save his $) and now I want to try dearly to not eat any donuts, cake, chocolate, etc left at the nurse's station at the hospital.  That leaves only Edda buying lunch, but now she's entering high school, maybe it's also not cool anymore also for her to buy lunch?  That would mean that Jeremy would be starting a lunch assembly line in the fall once school starts.

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Jeremy is very good at making lunch.  He thinks about packing, timing, temperature and how that influences the integrity of the sandwich. For example, yesterday he packed the sliced tomatoes in another container so I could add them to my sandwich right before I ate it so it wouldn't soggify the bread. When I make lunch for Vince when Jeremy is traveling for work, Vince can tell just by looking at the sandwich that Jeremy is out of town even if I use the exact same ingredients.  I tend to not think about how well the sandwich is stacked and I'll put all the slippery stuff in the middle and then when Vince takes a bite, all the slippery stuff just squirts out all the sides of the sandwich.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

My week.

I'm working through a week's worth of orientation at the hospital - everything from how to put out (actual) fires, to what the retirement benefits are, from where to park, to how to document an admission onto the floor.  Infection control, organ donation, risk management, etc. etc. It's a lot.  I spent 8 hours today deep into a computer system called Cerner, which is the electronic medical record system that they use to keep track of patients, orders, medications, lab results, etc.  I've seen it used many times before, but I've never had the chance to really play with it until today and it's easy to see how things can be mixed up.  The software tries pretty hard to help you out by putting checkpoints in place, but you can still make many inadvertent errors.  And the charts are tied to billing, so any error in the charting can lead to errors in billing. Of course, there was an active shooter training and the training went like this: "If there is an active shooter in the building, what should you do?"  People said "run" or "hide" or "lock the doors" and the trainer said - those are all good ideas.  And then he went on to say, "if there is an active shooter, you do what you think is the best thing for you and after it is all over, you will know that you did the best thing that you thought you should have done." 

I ended up working at a Catholic hospital, which I thought was a minus to accepting the job offer.  As I said before, I had put constraints on the job which limited where I applied to and truly, I would have preferred an academic hospital with no religious affiliation (long commute) or a hospital which downplayed their religious origins (they didn't want me, sniff).  If I had taken this job in my 20s, I would have thought the religious stuff was ridiculous.  Prayers at 8:30am / 8:30pm, every meeting starting with an intention and a cross in every room.  Though I no longer think it's ridiculous (I've softened on religion over the years, mainly because I like to believe that children who have died are all well and in heaven hanging out with Jesus and waiting to see their parents again and because many religious people have taken care of Edda over the years and I'm forever grateful for that), I thought I would find it to be a little too much for me.  But you know, it was incredibly soothing to me right now to have it said over and over again that one their core values is a commitment to the poor.  And that this core value guides them in all the decisions that they have to make.  It was so nice to not pay one bit of attention to the news and hear that the place that employs me doesn't turn anyone away and that everyone gets the same service no matter their ability to pay.  Maybe the Catholic thing isn't a minus.

With this job, I've restarted so many "regular" things - like a car commute.  The last time I commuted to a job by car was in 1999 or 2000.  It has been almost 20 years since I've had to be in rush hour traffic.  I've had jobs in the past 2 decades, but either Jeremy has carpooled with me or I've taken public transit or I've worked from home.  My commute is reasonable enough that I just get a small taste of traffic where 270 and 495 interlace, but I suspect that will disappear with nurse's hours.  I also joined a 24 hour gym right where the two freeways meet in an effort to maintain my exercise routine and I walked into the gym today at 6 am fully expecting it to be quiet and relatively empty, but it was humming with a loud-music supported boot camp complete with an encouraging and enthusiastic trainer and at least 50% of the treadmills/elliptical machines in use.  These are my people - middle aged, suburban folks getting a workout in before work.  Ha ha.  I'm exhausted.  And I haven't even started yet.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Nursing.

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I started a real full-time hospital nursing job today.  (No scrubs, not yet - all HR stuff today).  I went half time at my regular job.   I looked carefully for this job.  I wanted a short commute, days only, and as diverse a patient population and nursing staff as I could manage.  Even though logically I know everything will be fine & I will be fine, every time I settle on the fact that in about 6 weeks I'll have 5 patients who I'll have to take care of on my own, I feel like I'm going to throw up.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Vince, new neighbors.

Vince texted this photo to us today. He climbed to Viewing Rock with his friend Jack.  Ignoring the first rule of scouting - "be prepared" - they failed to bring water and Vince hiked in his Vans sneakers.  Hmmm.  This summer has reinvigorated his desire to be able to work at other scout camps including Sea Base which means he wants to do a bunch of things like lifeguarding and boat safety. 

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Our newest across-the-street neighbors invited us to their housewarming party.  They are approx. 20 years younger than us and the invitation indicated that the evening's activities were going to be ping pong and video games.  I was concerned that they were still in the furniture-acquiring phase of life and that it might be hard to find a spot for Edda to sit down.  But first, in order to find that out, we had to go through the pouring rain and up about 12 narrow and steep steps.  Challenging, but doable.

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Jeremy looks good in a floral backpack.

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They are still acquiring furniture (the whole living room is fabulously filled with only the ping pong table), but we found a seat for Edda to sit down which just happened to be the closest to the food.

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It was delicious even though Edda wasn't sure at first.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Missing Vince, gagging, brave & strong.

Happy 16 years of blogging to me!  I know, I know, no one blogs anymore.  Only me 😊

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Vincent called mid-morning today.  I missed his call on his first try, I was outside admiring the coolness of this summer day.  I spend a lot of time at home, often I feel the need to step outside for a moment to remind myself that I'm not trapped in the house constantly attached to a computer.  I returned his call after stumbling to find his summering Verizon number and not his regular T-mobile number.  He had called to arrange for his ride home as he had warned us when we visited that the original planned date wasn't firm.  The call was brief and he said, "I'll call again tomorrow to really talk." Last night, as Jeremy and I tried to fall asleep (as we age, our sleeping skills are deteriorating at the same rate as our eyesight), we spoke about how we both missed him but that we had gotten used to the quieter rhythm of the house.  Jeremy said that the house is ridiculously large without Vince.  His presence fills the house, expanding to every corner.  Without him, we could cut the house down to 2/5 size and be fine.

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I have been feeling nauseous recently.  Most notably every night when I wake up at 4 am and have to take my beloved mouthguard out in order to fall back asleep because I can't suppress the urge to gag.  At my six month cleaning today, I mentioned this to my dental hygienist and she said that she didn't have a solution, but the last person who mentioned to her that her mouthguard made her gag turned out to be pregnant.  I laughed and said there was absolutely no way I was pregnant.  I usually love my dental cleanings, I find it relaxing to have plaque scraped off my teeth.  I had to hunt down a hygienist whose technique I liked. Sometimes I think I should brush less well just to have a little extra time.  But this time, the cleaning also made me feel a little gaggy.  I'm not sure what is going on.  Apparently this is slow news season here in the household.

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Chinese takeout tonight for dinner.

hahahahahaha!
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Weather, puppy, Celeste Ng.

The weather has been so delightful the past few days.  Low humidity & warm but not hot temperatures make for happiness in DC.  Now that the solstice is well past, I'm looking forward to fall (my favorite season).  But there is still a lot of summer left in which to arrange Edda-care. Other people think of summer as fireworks, summer camp, easy grilled dinners, lounging around and I think it as the season in which child-care is difficult with a non-regular schedules for anyone and everyone (Edda and caregivers alike).  I thought I should reframe and think less about the hassles of summer and focus more on the grilled burgers. 

I have given serious thought to getting a puppy in the fall.  Max is well in her middle-aged-ness and I want to get a puppy while Vince is still living in the house.  Vince is desperately campaigning for a corgi.  Jeremy, with the same enthusiasm, wants a lab.  I kind of want a cockapoo. I think Maxi will be unhappy with the new addition.

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I love my two-person-book-club and we're reading Little Fires Everywhere.  Now that I've been spending more time reading, there is less time spent on other things (like quilting). 

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Staff photos.

They take their staff photos at scout camp seriously.  In the lounge, there are photos going back decades and when we first showed up, it was one of the very first things that Vince & I admired.  Vince sent us the link to this year's photos which are all on Facebook.  If you want, you can search "Facebook Lenhoksin" to see the whole series, it's kind of amusing.

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Here's Vince's staff photo with the following caption:

V*ncent M*rtin of Troop 447 in Rockville, MD is serving his first summer on staff as a Mountain Sports Instructor.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Vince, Waffle House, Vidya.

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I spent a lot of time in the car this weekend.  Saturday morning, Edda and I packed up and drove three hours to see Vince.  I set his tent as the final destination on the GPS.  Meanwhile, Jeremy set off (at about the same time) on his bike to cover the last 50 miles of his three day biking adventure.  We did finally converge on Vince's tent!

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It was great to see Vince.  He says being a camp counselor is a lot of hard work and that he's working basically 24 hours a day.  His voice is hoarse from yelling chants, singing camp songs and telling stories.  He's had to unclog toilets with giant poop. He's had to convince kids to go caving even though they are scared to go into the cave from hearing about the Thai soccer team.  He's gotten "favorite counselor" evaluations from at least four different troops.  It's nice to see.  I didn't know he knew how to unclog toilets.

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Now that he's seen at least 12-15 different scout troops, he can see how varied the troops can be.  And he's come to the conclusion that even though he own scout troop can be disorganized at times, it's not a badly run troop.  He's also noticed that each troop generally has the same kid types in them - the super studious kid, the kid who always makes jokes, the no-fear kid, the slightly awkward kid.  He met the 23rd highest ranked person in geography.  Ask this kid any geography question and he knew the answer.  I asked him what is the hardest thing and he says to be a really good camp counselor, one has to remember everyone's name!  There are so many kids going through, it's tough to remember who is who.  He's resorted to calling everyone - hey, you!

We were hoping to see the outposts where he works, but there was a giant bee nest at one of them (I hope they were figuring out how to get rid of it) and then they are a little far and Edda can't manage the trails.  So we did what he wanted to do which was to head into town to eat at the Waffle House.

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These are Vince's friends at camp, Jack, Jeremy & Jackson.  I think I don't need to go to Waffle House again.  The service was excellent tho.

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After Waffle House, we dropped them off at Walmart and then we bought tickets for them to see Antman & the Wasp in downtown Lexington, VA.

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Jeremy drove the kids back to their tents after the movie at about 9:30 pm.  Vince said they were planning on staying up all night because it was Jeremy's last night working.  I asked him what they were going to do.  He said he was hoping to get Jeremy to do his summer pre-calc homework that he had made me print out and bring to him.  Apparently Jeremy likes talking about calculus in his spare time.

We had a hotel in town.  Edda fell asleep peacefully.

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We drove home Sunday morning.  I hung out at home for a few hours, long enough for Jeremy to get some groceries and for me to pick up Maxi from the Ellerby's.  Then I headed out for another 3 hour drive to see Vidya and family near Philly.  I'm sleeping over tonight, though not in a tent.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Carmen, biking, Maxi.

Jeremy is missing out on his free gelati today.  Carmen's has listed Doris, Vince and Jeremy in the past few months.  If they have Edda's name come up, I'll be amazed.

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Jeremy made it the 2nd hundred miles.  Now my boys are close together, but far from me.  Jeremy saw a mama bear and her cub this morning.

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I dropped Maxi off at Dennis's.  She was so excited to go. 

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Biking to Goshen, salmon for ez dinner.

There he goes!  He's crazy.

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But in a good way (I guess.) 

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Had this lunch at noon.

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Made it to this luxurious motel room in Front Royal (which is 75 miles from home, but Jeremy did some extra looping to make it a 100 mile day).

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I explored simple dinners - I steamed frozen peas in its packaging for the first time.

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Baked some salmon in the toaster oven. 

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bike to Goshen.

Jeremy's ready to start his bike odyssey tomorrow.  He's located all the gas stations where he's planning on stopping at to buy snacks and they are spaced just so.  He's got chafing lotion partitioned in individual ketchup-like packets to dispense as necessary.

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He packed everything he needs for two days in this special baggie.  I'm suppose to follow in the van on Saturday morning.  But we still don't have the van back from the shop.  We are waiting for a new driver's seat. 

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Van, scout meeting, Vince.

We took the van in for service today to look at: a whispering wheel, an unadjustable seat and a flappy air conditioner.  The whispering wheel turned out to be bad rear brakes/rotors.  We got that replaced.  The a/c is not a problem, it just sounds bad.  We left that alone.  The unadjustable seat (which is the driver's seat) is because the motor busted for the front/back movement of the seat and in order to replace the motor, we have to replace the entire seat.  The repair shop guy was like - you don't want to spend the $, it's not that important.  But I'm very short and I'm a nervous driver, so I like everything just so, so we asked him to replace the seat. And I need to drive six hours this weekend. I love a frugal repair guy.

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I went to the scout meeting tonight while Jeremy was giving testimony in support of the MoCo master bike plan.  The scouts need merit badge counselors, so I thought I'd sign up to do some.  The boys in the troop went to Goshen last week which is the camp that Vince is working at, but they chose to do a non-hiking program which is not where Vince spends his time.  But Vince had a chance to meet up with them to watch fireworks for the 4th of July.  The boys from the troop did not have a very good time, which is unfortunate, but one of the troop leaders pulled me aside tonight and said that Vince seemed very happy and well adjusted.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Vince update, orienteering, oven, generous & kind.

I got a phone call from Vince today.  He's doing well and very happy.  We are planning on visiting him this weekend (his has Saturdays off from when the last campers leave until the next campers arrive).  He has been bouncing around two different outpost assignments during the week, the mountain biking one and the caving one.  He's enjoying the caving and wants to come home and boulder in the gym with me.  That would be fun.  The outposts are little stations that are connected by loops of hiking trails.  A troop spends the week hiking the trails and they get to a new outpost everyday where they do the activity and also set up sleeping tents for the night.  They start and end the week at the main Lenhoksin headquarters where there is a dining hall and air conditioned office/meeting space.  Vince has been in charge of the meals at the dining hall which he says is a lot of work.  He wants us to bring his violin (!).  He says everyone there plays their guitar and he wants to play something too.  He also wants us to drive the van in so we can bring his counselor friends to town where we will eat at Waffle House.  I've never been to Waffle House before, so I'm looking forward to that.  Inspired by nothing more than having weeks and weeks of extra vacation time and watching hours and hours of the Tour de France, Jeremy is taking off work at the end of the week to bike to Vince.  It's over 200 miles to the camp from here.  I'll follow in the air conditioned van on Saturday.  As I was confirming the trip with Vince to make sure that he was expecting us, I mentioned the extended bike ride and Vince said that his dad was insane.  Jeremy is insane, though I know it's only a temporary insanity brought about by the state of the world and the futile feeling of his efforts away from biking.

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Sunday late afternoon, Jeremy Edda and I went urban orienteering on the George Mason campus in Virginia.

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Jeremy wanted to come because they advertised an after-orienteering meeting at a restaurant that served craft beer and Chinese "xiaochi".  Jeremy's always wanted to open his own restaurant called Bao & Beer which would serve Chinese dumplings/buns and beer.

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I ran around the campus while Jeremy pushed Edda to find little flagged controls.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.

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Being middle aged and generally well compensated means that shopping has become dull for me.  I never really need anything because I usually already have it.  Do I ever reach into the closet for pants and don't find any?  No.  Do I have clothes for weddings, funerals, job interviews, graduations, Christmas parties, baby showers, BBQs, swim parties, girls night out, girls night in, sporting events and/or costume parties?  Yes.  I have all those clothes.  Even my hobbies, I generally have to wait for things to break to by the next thing (see recently purchased sewing machine).  I don't like collecting things, I don't need one of every color.  I'm still running in running shorts I bought before Vince was born and I was puttering around Town Lake in Austin, TX.  I'm patiently waiting for the elastic waistbands to give out on those, but they seem invincible.  Anyways, Jeremy has the same problem, but more kitchen focused.  As a poor grad student, he'd wander the Williams Sonoma dreaming about all the kitchen stuff he wanted, but couldn't afford.  Now we have all the kitchen things that he's ever wanted so he doesn't pay any attention to WS anymore.  Until the toaster oven broke this past week.  So he spent some time (when he wasn't watching the TdF) dreaming and ordering the next toaster oven.  He picked this one which is basically a true oven but just mini-sized.

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In which I roasted a turkey thigh in tonight.  I left it in too long because I'm of the age now where I can't look at a new fangled thing and instantly figure out what all the buttons mean and I couldn't get it to turn off at the right time and also I couldn't remember to check on it earlier because I was distracted doing something else.  Even though it looks burned, it tasted just fine.  Still juicy.  You gotta get the higher fat thigh meat.  It's more forgiving than the breast meat.

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Vickey and I are reading Chip's book for our two-person-book-club.  Of course, it's devastating.  Vickey is watching the Handmaid's Tale at the same time which I know is good, but I refuse to watch. Our crazy dystopian world, it'll take us a full generation to figure it out.  It's hard to be kind and generous when all the forces are pulling the other way.

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Ant man, world of beer, quilting.

The tour is on!  Which means that Jeremy is watching it while I'm blogging.  It's a gorgeous weekend here in the DMV, we tried to take advantage of it.  I often try to put in a few hours of work on Sat, but not today.  Today was for a true, no work summer weekend.  Edda and I went to see Antman & the Wasp.  I have, for years, gotten emails about sensory sensitive showings of movies in Rockville Town Square (1 mile from the house) and paid zero attention to them, but I went this past winter to see Coco because I had heard such great reviews of Coco and now I love these sensory showings.  They are at a great time for us (10:30 am on Saturdays), they usually happen the day after opening day, they reduce the price to 6.50 a ticket and they keep the lights ever so slightly lit and the volume is quieter.  And because it's geared for special needs kids, I don't have to worry about Edda yelling the the middle of the movie because there are a lot of kids yelling.  Someone told me yesterday that there were two "shorts" at the end of the movie that we had to stay for - one mid-ending credits and one end-ending credits, so we hung around to watch those.  Edda had a better time than this photo indicated.  Even with the sound down, I still wanted to protect my ears and I had forgotten my foam ear plugs, so I had to make makeshift ones from the inner absorbent layer of one of Edda's extra (clean, unused) diapers. 

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Jeremy had gone on a long bike ride in the morning, but he finished as the same time as the movie let out, so we met at World of Beer to have lunch (tour on TV.  also world cup.  also wimbledon. lots of sports activities to keep track of. )

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My quilt came back from the quilters this week.  I need to do the edging.

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I got the new sewing machine threaded and worked on some quilt blocks.

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