Dad and the basement.

My father is finishing the basement at the house. He got Vincent, Ruben and Jeremy to move about 100 sheets of drywall into the house after it got delivered from Lowe’s over Christmas break. Then he’s moving the drywall himself into place and then doing all the nailing/mudding, etc. A few years ago, he asked for a drywall “lifter” which hold the drywall in place for the ceiling ones. It’s nice to see that in use :). A few years before, he asked for a snowblower for Christmas, I’m sure we got him a nice one that was a four stroke and not a two stroke engine and ever since then, it hasn’t snowed any appreciable amount.

Various items.

Jeremy watching Edda have an early morning seizure on the monitor. They are still infrequent, but they do happen. Sometimes it’s Pip snoring and then Jeremy awakens thinking that Edda’s having a seizure and then I have to mumble, it’s not Edda, it’s Pip and then we slip back into sleep.

Rachel has covid – she’s showing me her packet of Paxlovid. She’s good, though she got covid during the week that she was planning on going on vacation. As is usually the case…

Beth, Sofie, Lego.

I had lunch with Beth yesterday! She’s working at MC Rockville and has since 2017 and since she’s so close, we’ve always been kind of looking forward to seeing each other, but this is the first lunch we’ve been able to arrange – crazy. Time passes very quickly. She is so tenacious – she’s a professor in counseling now, a position she applied for four time and got it the fourth time – same people, same dept. She just keeps going undeterred. Ahhh, she is a good counselor – I wish she could be my therapist – she gave me a bunch of good ideas to implement in my life.

Sofie and Elka helped me to start putting together a Chinese New Year Lego set that Christine gave me last week. I’ve not put together a Lego set in a very long time, but here we are.

Hair and love.

If you had asked me when I was 20 if I would ever love my hair again, I would have said no. I probably lost about 1/3 of my hair between the ages of 17 and 25 and it was really hard! Jealous of all those girls who had long beautiful, thick hair that gathered into a ponytail that you could only twist the hair tie around twice (not three times). So jealous! But I love my hair now as it’s turning grey – I have this grey streak that I want to show off all the time. Like Susan Sontag or Claire Saffitz, I’m leaning into the grey.

I haven’t gotten a haircut in months! Since May – though I think around thanksgiving time, I insisted that Jeremy trim my hair a little bit. I went to see Linda, my favorite (and only) hairdresser at the Hair Cuttery in Congressional Plaza and I showed her this photo (maybe I should consider the cat eye and red lip too) and then we spent an hour hilariously catching up (her 9:30 cancelled – so I spent more time in the chair).

I ended up with this: a little more gender fluid which is what I like. hahaha. I spent this past weekend trying to explain to my parents about they/them pronouns – Vince’s partner is they/them – and my parents were like – why? I don’t understand? But they should understand because in chinese there is no gendered he/she/they. My face is so dry! I’ll need to find some moisturizer.

Ning, baby and the usual suspects.

On Saturday, I had wanted to stop by a kayaking store in Poolesville and I realized that baby Tristan was less than a mile away from the pile of new/used kayaks I was interested in taking a look at. I had not yet gone to visit them (either the kayaks or the baby), given the craziness of the holiday season, so I took this opportunity to pop in and say hello to Ning and the baby. Tristan looks like an Asian version of his father, he was super cute and did not fuss or cry during the hour that I was there and let me hold him and poke him gently on his pudgy cheeks. Ning was in fine form – it was an easy delivery and she is a natural mother. I did manage to also go to the kayak store, but it was a very strange experience and I did not buy any kayaks.

Saturday night, the usual suspects came over to the house for take-out A&J’s. The four of us have a tough time coordinating schedules – for four people who text most days and live within 40 minutes of each other, we see each other very rarely. Our ideal night out would be at a restaurant for dinner – no partners and/or kids, but that hasn’t happened for a long time – the last time, we were still trying to avoid covid and had dinner in my garage with the door open. This time, Laura was home managing a sick Violet (who is feeling better today) and so it was fun, but subdued. Jeremy wasn’t home, so we could have gone to a restaurant, but I would have had to take Edda, so to make it easier on me, Soojung and Lauren came to the house for takeout. Lauren baked a delicious apple pie.

Jeremy, in the meantime, is living his best life – I’m just seeing photos of him wandering around SF (we share a common stored photostream) at night having beer with young people and going to instagrammable places.

I stayed up late finishing Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow which was so, so fantastic – it hugged the shore of the timeline of my own growing up – MIT (central square) & Harvard (yard) in the early to mid-90s and then Los Angeles in the early 2000s and video games (I didn’t play them, but I did hear about them!) and lifelong girl & boy best friends and it was an incredible read. I’m on a roll, finishing a bunch of good books in a row – sometimes I feel like a child again when I read more voraciously than I do now. When I was a kid, I was quieter and didn’t seek out friends a lot and I spent a lot of time in my closet (not the metaphorical closet, I mean my literal closet) dreaming of when I could really start my life. I kind of feel the same way now, somehow a little bit trapped or stuck and waiting for my life to really start again – it’s hard to explain. Before, I kind of felt trapped by being in my parents’ house, now I feel trapped by being in my own house. I remember a friend of mine who has no partner and has a brand-new baby granddaughter and I asked if she ever wanted to move to be closer to her daughter and granddaughter who are on the left coast – and she shook her head and leaned into me and said – you know, I really enjoy being responsible for no one. And I totally get that. I picked Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and another book – Lessons in Chemistry for my white elephant gifts for the two gift exchanges I participated in during Christmas. I had read neither, but I felt like those were the two books I was most interested in that were published last year. Neither of them delighted anyone at either gift exchange (I think no one had heard of either of them), but now I’ve read them both. I did enjoy Lessons in Chemistry (about a woman chemist and TV star), but TTT took my breath away.


Jeremy with a relatively new person. I have no information about this baby except that they probably live in Northern California and their parents enjoy plaid.

More animal photos. Pip always sleeps with me. Elka decides nightly if she is sleeping with me or sleeping in her dog bed on the floor. If she sleeps with me, I need to roll her up in a burrito with the quilt, otherwise she stretches her arms and legs straight into me in the middle of the night and it’s all pokey.

Here’s Ivy (and Edda) working with me. Ivy is up to no good like looking for pens to mess with with or nuzzling up to my computer screen or walking across my keyboard.

SF and app use.

Jeremy’s day yesterday in SF. Beautiful day – he did see his boss at his house and met his wife and kid(s?). In addition to the special meetings he has arranged, he also took his regular weekly zoom meetings on various things, but he’s been doing it with another person sitting next to him – I guess either in the office or maybe with his boss at his work-from-home station. And Jeremy finds it so incredibly helpful to have just another human to interact with, to mute and confer to discuss the meeting afterwards, to enjoy going to lunch with. This work-from-home is great in many ways, but it’s a tremendous loss in many other ways.

So I have started meditating and the main goal is to increase focus and decrease distracting voices in my head. I’m also trying to not pick up my phone as much, so I installed this extra big widget on my home screen.

I’m actually not trying to minimize phone use as I use it to read books and learn musical instruments. I don’t set a time limit on anything, I just want the music lessons and the reading to peek out as one of the top six apps listed. The most surprising thing is that I actually spend a lot of time texting during the day. I would have said I’m a low texter, but the time suggests otherwise – I probably spend 45 min to an hour every day texting (Yikes!). Pokemon go is my go-to distracting game – it’s not very addicting, but it’s something to do when you are waiting around and also – it encourages a walk outside. So the time spent on Pokemon Go is *usually* walking time (though not always).

Pizza and poop.

Jeremy had a chance to host dinner in Davis on Monday night for Vince and his friends. A pizza party starting at 8 pm, 11 pm east coast time – wayyyy late for Jeremy, but he was game. Jeremy got to meet Vince’s partner, Dani (sp?, I’m not sure, sorry Vince!) and that was, of course, very interesting to Jeremy and me. A pile of ChemE students is a lot of fun for Jeremy. And pizza too. The California trip is going well.

Here on the East Coast, I was taking advantage of a beautiful day to go hiking with my friend Kristen who was prepping to do her first night shift shift in a long time. We were about a 30 minute drive from our respective homes and then an hour into the hike when she started getting text messages from her daughter about not feeling well and could she come pick her up from school. As she was trying to coordinate that effort with her husband, I got text messages from Edda’s school saying that she was having bouts of diarrhea, and at first they couldn’t reach me because I was having fun and slightly ignoring my phone – they had had to call Jeremy in California and he tracked me down using the location tracker and found me in the middle of the woods and told the teacher – ummm, I’m in California and Doris is hiking with a friend. So both Kristen and I realized we both had to go and turned around and 90 minutes later, Edda was in the car with me and Elka (our non-human hiking partner).

Edda, of course, just to make it extra, had another loose stool in the car (she had already gone through her extra clothing that we provide and was now wearing lovely pink leggings that I think personally belonged to one of her teachers) and because Elka loves all kinds of yuck started nosing around in all of Edda’s nether regions to investigate (I had to pull a bunch of horse poop out of her mouth on the hike) and I was then yelling at Elka to stop trying to eat Edda’s poop.

Haha, it was a day. Actually, while I was going to bed, it was actually a very nice day. Edda doesn’t seem all that sick and didn’t have any more GI issues for the rest of the day. I got like 70% of my planned hike in. Edda’s teacher wasn’t in a huge rush and walked us to our car and we were able to chat amicably. Mike and Sofie came over for dinner bearing a homemade quiche and fed us and Ginny and Joab.

Pets, rain, coffee.

There are a lot of animals in the house. We have Elka, our doggie. We have Pip, my in-law’s dog and we have Ivy, my sister-in-law Emy’s, dog. Pip and Ivy are long-ish term boarders in the house, they moved in at Christmas time and I expect them to be here until mid-March. In the past, I’ve taken care of both Pip and Ivy for weeks/months very happily – though never at the same time. I love Jeremy’s family. I would never say no for this ask. The care is not entirely straightforward, the cat is diabetic and requires insulin shots (Emy has gotten the blood sugar steady enough to get rid of the preprandial glucose check which did involve a kittie version of a finger stick and glucometer which I have done previously) and the last time Pip was here, we were worried about a cough that cropped up and had to manage that and also, it’s almost impossible for one person to walk Pip and Elka at the same time. Elka will walk briskly and basically heels on the leash (though now Jeremy walks her on an extension leash, while I still prefer the six-foot leash, so she’s worse for me as she expects more freedom when I walk her). Pip is a mosey-er, sniffing and peeing every 4 feet and can be a stubborn walker where you end up spending a lot of time coaxing him to walk about 20 feet. We don’t have a fenced back yard, so there is no “letting the dog out”, there is always a walk. So it means a separate “going outside” about 3-4 times a day. Anyways, I was irritated that Jeremy assumed that I was going to take care of all the animals all the time (which is what I had been doing in the past), so he promised me that this go around, I would not have to do anything with the animals. And so I haven’t! Whenever someone barks and whines at night, he gets up to let them out. When someone pees in the house or has diarrhea or throws up a hairball, I don’t clean it up. He manages the insulin shots – though the first week, he was waving a used syringe around in the air gesticulating while talking to me which really freaked me out, so I taught him how to properly handle sharps and make a homemade sharps container. So when he left for a business trip on Sunday night, he kind of asked me – uhhh, so should I hire a catsitter or dogsitter for the week I’m gone? and I laughed and said, no no no, I got it.

I went out into the woods on Sunday morning for a long run. It was 35 and slightly rainy. It’s almost the kind of weather that I eschew running in because it’s miserable. If it was raining any harder, I would have been miserable, but it was just drizzling and I enjoyed being outside on the trail with the 3-4 other grizzled runners. I try to remember to bring a whistle on these runs, just in case I break an ankle and need to whistle for help. When it’s this cold and wet, I worry I’d get too cold too fast if I stopped.

Jeremy decided to take the new Silver line to Dulles. It took him about 2 hours to get there instead of a 30 minute car ride. He is a funny guy. We do spend entirely too much time together, this trip to California will be good for him and good for both of us. It’s a weird business trip, there is no more “California office” – I mean, there is physically an office, but no one is there. Well I think one day there is a retreat there and that’s why he’s going, but he’s basically doing social things, strengthening ties to people he wants to be in touch with. He is meeting his boss in person there at his boss’s house. That’s both very weird and very of-the-moment. Jeremy’s seen the inside of a room of the house for years now and he’s been Jeremy’s boss for many years, they are friends, but it’s the new way, I guess. He’ll see Vince in Davis tonight.

I actually had a very nice weekend. Saturday especially, I had that outing with Rachel and I also went to a pool rolling session for kayaking in the late afternoon and, unusually, I had a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks which tasted exactly like warm, melted ice cream at about 2 pm and I felt very alive and happy the rest of the day (though I didn’t sleep well Saturday night). I told Jeremy about this alive/happy feeling and he’s like – yeah, that’s why the whole world loves coffee, you silly person. Haha. Jeremy is so particular about coffee that at least 15% of his carry-on luggage is coffee or coffee-making equipment. I was like you are going to San Francisco – they have coffee there? (the Asia travel does have Starbucks, but often they don’t open until 10 am. Asia is a culture of late coffee, not morning coffee) and he’s like – I want to make it first thing, before I go out of the room and then I ask, there is a coffee maker in the room? and he said that is bad coffee.