Quiet.

It felt like Thursday’s news was quieter. I’m hoping that it’ll stay quiet through the inauguration, they are essentially shutting down the city. No one is headed to the city. We are all staying in our house, thank you very much. Fingers crossed.

Jeremy is still setting up his zoom background. He collected all our old phones to have museum of phone technology. I’m honored, it has the phone I used when I was a kid to call my friends (rotary. my parent still have a rotary phone in use at their house. don’t worry, they also have the latest iPhone 12s) and it has my first iPhone which Jeremy charged up and I held in my hand for a moment yesterday. So small! Such old apps.

I don’t think I’ll ever be fluent (or even slightly conversational) in Spanish, but it’s interesting to discover different ways of learning the language. I stumbled upon this approach this week: accelerated Spanish. I listen to the free podcast – they start by teaching the grammar first and not vocabulary/verb conjugations. They also use pictorial mnemonics which I find amusing. Scenes with bees and stuffed pandas and carousels.

I keep texting weird things to Vince. Yesterday, I suggested that he drive a bus around campus. And he was like, uhhhh….. I’m a nervous driver.

I’m getting ready for Edda’s 18th birthday which means I’m getting ready to sue Edda to be her guardian. I have to serve her papers and everything. And she’ll get a court appointed lawyer.

Maxi is still making enormous poops.

More news of no importance.

OK!

Jeremy loves his new Ugg slippers that he got for Christmas.

Oftentimes, Jeremy asks a yes/no question to me and I say – “I’m OK.” which, to me, means no. But to him, means “ambiguous”. This has been going on for 25 years. I’ve been driving him crazy in this way for a quarter of a decade. I’m trying to say “no” instead.

I’m trying to convince Vince to live with livestock.

Edda had a little seizure in the middle of the night last night.

We moved Edda’s room to the old au pair room and turned Edda’s old room into the guest room/study. (We need to rename all the rooms right now because “guest room” and “Vince’s room” and “Edda’s room” and “Doris’s room” all mean more than one room now.)

Maxi’s bloodwork came back all A-OK. So we don’t know why she lost 8 pounds. Unlike the rest of us, she lost weight during the pandemic?

Look, my babies! Usually, I miss Vince, but I don’t miss miss him. Yesterday, I missed missed him. I want him a toddler again, tucked under my armpit and showing me the world all over again with new, hopeful and optimistic eyes.

Inconsequential news.

Let’s keep going. This is not the Times nor the Post. We are reporting on things of no interest.

Jeremy continues to meet with congressional staffers. I’m confused by this as I think they should be very busy on other interesting things. Jeremy says – they are junior staff and actually most of them aren’t in DC anymore and there is WORK TO BE DONE. I tell him – you go! Go on and save us from ourselves in your weird complicated policy way.

What should I cook this weekend? A stew based something or other. I like white beans in my stews, but Jeremy finds them not appealing.

Vince mentioned that someone asked him to be a roommate next year. I didn’t think this was possible as Vince hasn’t really met anyone, but waving “hi” outside from six feet away 3-4 times seems be enough! They are thinking about living in the brand new apartments on campus here.

Edda’s skin is so dry. And then she scratches it with her sharp little nails. I think I need to find some nice lotion for her. Her acne (which has been bad at times) looks much better these days.

Maxi’s food recently changed and she now makes three enormous poops a day instead of only one. I don’t like this new food.

Relentless.

The news is just relentless. Things are busy here, but maybe I’ll just update you with low-stress news in the house? Nothing exciting here. Nope.

Jeremy lost his mouthguard. Where? We have no idea. It should be either in his mouth (night) or on his old-man bedside table (day). Did the dog eat it? Is it with the keys? No idea. I bought him a cheapo replacement at Walgreens yesterday.

I am dealing with a minor rotator cuff injury on my right shoulder which hurts incredibly a lot when I make the motion to hail a taxi. Thank goodness I don’t need taxis these days, but it is sore when I move it.

Vince has a “family” credit card which he is allowed to incur charges on which I pay for. Like when he traveled back and forth from school, he can charge Ubers, train tickets, some food, etc. But that credit card had a mysterious amazon prime subscription on it (that took me 4 monthly charges to notice). Vince insisted that he did not sign up for amazon prime. Insisted! Logged in and everything to check the account. So I spent thirty minutes on the phone with the credit card trying to reverse the charges. They wouldn’t reverse them. (Then I got into some irritated fight with Jeremy for no reason and he was like – woah, you are in a bad mood today.) Then I went through all the charges on the card more carefully with Vince and he made a more concerted sweep of his own amazon account and he said – ooops, I did accidentally sign up for Amazon prime.

Edda got this amazing silver puffy jacket from Louisa for Christmas. I kind want to steal it.

Conan, grouchy, quilt.

Jeremy showed this to me last night as we were going to sleep (it’s great – he said, and it’s only 7 minutes. just watch it..). I feel much better now that the Terminator has given me a pep talk. Jeremy laughed and laughed at my facial reaction when he brought out Conan’s sword.

I don’t know what happened today, but I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I’ve already sniped at Jeremy a couple of times and also gotten frustrated at some poor customer service people (we have a mysterious amazon prime membership on one of our credit cards. 30 minutes on the phone with no resolution…)

I think I was in a bad mood yesterday as well. I can tell when I’m more easily irritated by my patients for no good reason. What is going on? I spoke all three languages yesterday – English, Chinese and Spanish which I was pleased about – a hat trick. Although I haven’t been able to pluck words that easily in English for the last few days which always worries me regarding acquiring any other language. I think I’m in a hormonal trough right now. I’m grouchy, I can’t remember English, hot flashes, poor sleep.

We spent Saturday rearranging the rooms again. We had a chance to put up my mom’s and grandmother’s quilt.

Terrible, Molly, emmymade.

A terrible week. Just terrible. I try to ignore the news because it’s just so bad for keeping myself on an even keel. I’m sleeping more (I find myself tucked into bed midday or for hours on a weekend after a long bath which, as a stand-alone behavior, might fall under the auspices of “self-care”, but for me, these behaviors are a tell that I’m not doing well), I’m reading more self-help books (also a tell) which have veered from “regular” self-help books into reading “The Myth of Sisyphus”. Gah. I need to stop. I need to start getting up again at 6am at first alarm. I started reading a Lee Child book – easy to read and the bad guys get it in the end. Always. (the last time I went through all his books was the year Edda was diagnosed in Singapore. Thank goodness he’s a super prolific writer and there are 10,000 of essentially the same book out there). It doesn’t really help that I can sense some (many) friends sliding from their moorings too. My closest confidants seem well and listen to me. Mostly Jeremy seems well and that is a big help. On Wed night, he started a sentence – something like – I’m still optimistic that… I’m glad one of us can be optimistic! I need to reframe and regroup – while the administration will turn over soon, the pandemic will not be over soon.

I did get my first dose of vaccine on Monday. My arm hurt and I felt pretty run down for a couple of days. This did give me some selfish happiness and relief. I hope the distribution can pick up soon.

If any of my readers would like to help Molly out, the family would appreciate it. Molly is one of Edda’s rett syndrome sisters here in DC. She’s been in the PICU since mid-December. It’s been tough for all of them.

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/love-support-for-molly

Jeremy and I are trying to find conversation topics that are far, far away from the news. Last night we spoke about oatmeal and the surrounding insta-pot conundrum for at least 20 minutes. Jeremy and I get along really well, we hardly ever fight, but it’s hard to think about light/happy/interesting/funny topics these days. There are only so many shuffling videos/oatmeal conversations/youtube discoveries, etc that you can go through. But! But!

Look at emmymade! My friend Vickey found her on her feed and said that she really reminded her of me. Vickey did make me laugh because she said – the way she dresses reminds me of you and her mannerisms are just like you! And her hair is what your hair would be if you cared at all about your hair. Jeremy didn’t see the resemblance and was confused, but Vince said immediately, oh yeah! I know her and she is just like you. I’m actually honored, I like emmymade. Let me know what you think. (sherah! I know I said that everyone is using an induction plate, but she’s not! she’s using a gas burner. lol. oh well. shows what I know).

Seizures, sadness and handstands.

On Monday, the first day back to school, Edda had a record-setting-number of seizures. Seven. One almost every hour starting from 9 am. It was not very much fun watching her suffer in this way. Kitachi was caring for her, but we all rushed down to be together to soothe Edda through each one. We had just, on New Year’s Day, talked to Jeremy’s college friend, Eric Marsh, who incredibly coincidentally grew up to be a pediatric neurologist running a Rett Clinic in Philly. And we found this out only this year when, right before the pandemic, Jeremy was at a college track reunion where the conversation between Eric and Jeremy went something like this – J: “So what have you been up to?” E: “Well, I’m a pediatric neurologist.” J:”Don’t take this the wrong way, but I hate neurologists and I hope to never see one again in my life.” So! Awesome! Lol. (Edda had juuuusst started to exhibit the beginning of seizures in Jan/Feb of 2020 and we were slowly realizing that neurologists were going to be part of our lives again.) I like Eric very much, we are hoping to head to Philly to have a day’s worth of visits with various specialists including Eric. Of course, when we talked to Eric, Edda had been seizure-free for almost two weeks, so we were feeling good and confident that we would find the “solution” to Edda’s problems. I was at the hospital yesterday (Tuesday), Jeremy had important meetings all day and Edda had no seizures. But at dinner, she seemed to have forgotten how to eat. Jeremy spent 2.5 hours trying to get her to eat something (esp. the Keppra). Usually, when I show up at home at 8:30 pm, Edda’s long been put to bed, but last night, when I came home, I found Jeremy and Edda at the dinner table covered in all the chocolate pudding that Jeremy had tried to coax her to eat, but Edda had just tauntingly held in her mouth for a long time to only let it dribble out the sides of her mouth. We are figuring it out.

I’ve been reading and crying: Ann Patchett’s essay in Harper’s about friendship, Jamie Raskin’s eulogy to his son.

I have also been practicing handstands. Someday. Maybe. Or never. It’s all good.

Bike, fire pit, vaccine story continues.

Jeremy went biking outdoors yesterday. He hasn’t been outside on his bike in months? It’s really easy to ride indoors. We’ve all been exercising indoors rather than go out, thought I think it’s better for one’s mental health to exercise outside. He had a wonderful ride – though now he’s upset about some adjustment on his bike that makes it less than optimal. I’ve had my Peloton treadmill for almost three months now and I love it much more than I thought I would. It’s so convenient to have a treadmill in the house. I use it a lot for running, but incredibly, I use it more for yoga. The screen on the Peloton might be one of the largest screens in the house and I take a yoga class almost every night and I enjoy working on some of the challenging balance poses. I don’t think I ever particularly liked yoga before, I’m not a huge fan of the yoga studio ambiance, but it turns out if that if I can do yoga at home with no one watching, I enjoy it immensely. Actually, what I really like is gymnastics. If I could figure out a way to learn to do a backhandspring in my house without a spotter or crash pads or, you know, an entire gymnastics gym, I’d do that. Hmm, I like the uneven bars & the vault too. Someday! (OK, really never. I don’t think I will ever be able to do a backhandspring.) I have no interest in the balance beam. Jeremy spots me on my yoga handstands which I’ll get someday.

Vince hosted a farewell party last night as he’s on a plane now headed back to school. I am nervous about him traveling. We had a long discussion about whether he should have come home at all. His school essentially closed down, dorms locked, no food service. We could have put him up in a hotel for 2.5 weeks in California. Classes start tomorrow back in Davis. Vince hosted a fire pit in the backyard and I had some sparklers hanging around so we had Sofi come over and light them too. Jeremy’s phone camera is amazing. Vincie’s covid test came back negative last night, so that’s good – ready to travel.

He’s happy to be headed back and is excited about starting school work again, but it is bittersweet. He did see his friends here (all in the middle of the night, all outside, all masked, all small groups) and he does not have that in Davis. I will miss him. I know that he’s more interested in seeing his friends than hanging out with his old fuddy-duddy parents and he did spend more time with his friends than us, but we did have many nice conversations about summer plans, life, funny things, serious things, etc. I feel good about it, I hope he does too. A little shift in our relationship – more adult to adult than adult to child. Though he still needs help making appointments at the minute clinic at CVS…

Can I still go on about the vaccine rollout? So I got an appointment on Monday, the 4th at 8am. Super excited. But then yesterday (Saturday), I got an email saying that some employees had forwarded the appointment making link to family and friends and they had forwarded it on to even more people and the system was overwhelmed by people in the community signing up to get the vaccine (the appointment making website does not require any proof that you are an employee) and then actual hospital employees were unable to make appointments. So they cancelled all the appointments next week (probably well over 1200 appointments) and made us all reschedule. So then I opened up the NYTimes this morning and said vaccine distribution in chaos and I said – sounds about right.

Hair, Max, vaccine.

I cut Jeremy’s hair on Wed (I think it was Wed). I’m not a bad hair cutter, but I like to procrastinate. Jeremy’s needed a haircut for a couple of weeks (maybe 3?) and has asked politely many, many times. Many times I’ve answered sure! and then it didn’t happen. So we made an appointment – 3pm. And look, we are watching our new favorite youtube channel. Vince and Edda were hanging out with us while I did this. Don’t pay attention to the weird pants I’m wearing.

We also pulled out our old favorite games. Somehow we convinced Vince to play Trivial Pursuit circa 1996. Jeremy and I played this endlessly the winter of 2000-2001, twenty years ago when I was in a terrible mood. Jeremy would drag me out of bed and basically force me to play games of Trivial Pursuit. We gave Vince a slight advantage of having a few more tries per turn which I think is fair given that the questions were about M*A*S*H or football from the 80s. But even with the handicap, Jeremy and I totally thought we’d kick his ass and Vince was like – I’m not going to know anything. But Vince kicked our asses and I was 2nd with 5 pie pieces and Jeremy ended up with not a single pie piece. The most interesting thing we found out was that Audrey Hepburn used as pseudonym at times, the name Edda. She was Edda because she wanted a more German name and less of an English name.

During the game, Jeremy said to me – your hair looks funny, who did that to you? And I laughed and laughed because right after I cut Jeremy’s hair, we changed spots and he cut my hair. I think it looks great for a pandemic haircut.

I know there are tons of articles about this is the best year for your dog, but for whatever reason, Max’s anxiety is clearly affecting her more than it ever has before. And it is killing me. I don’t mind (though clearly Maxi minds) the daytime anxiety attacks where she stands literally 12 inches from me, tail tucked between her legs quivering and looking at me with sad, sad eyes as if she’s afraid that the world is collapsing (which it is, but I don’t tell her that). What kills me is that at night, she insists on sleeping next to me with a gentle pressure against my rib cage (which she has never done in the 10 years she has lived with us. For 10 years, she has looked for the emptiest room and then the furthest comfy spot corner to sleep in), but if I stir at all, she bolts off the bed and skitters away to only 5 minutes later come tip tip topping across the wooden floor and then she stands next to the bed and then pauses looking at me for 30 seconds and then leaps onto the bed on all fours. Standing next to me, she hangs out there for what seems like a few minutes to think about it and then turns in place like a small furry slightly unbalanced merry-go-round 4 times and then flops down next to me. But then keeps her head up, looking around all tensed up as if a fox will cross the room and she will have to go into full beagle mode. But then after 15 minutes, I feel her put her head down and then relax, but then I’m like I can not move at all otherwise I will send her shooting out from the bed and restart the whole process all over again. Add to that Vince’s comings and goings in the middle of the night that Max has to alert us to with incredible loud barking, Edda’s random wakings where we are like – is it a seizure? is it just a dream? is she just laughing her head off? and the return of my hot flashes, it does not make for the most restful night. Last night, I couldn’t take it anymore and moved into my office (which has a twin bed) to sleep. As I lay there trying to go back to sleep, I wondered if I was being kicked out of my marital bed for the foreseeable future by my dog. Jeremy is not at all disturbed by Maxi’s antics and when he wakes in the morning, Jeremy is only mildly surprised by the presence of the dog instead of me.

So yesterday, Jeremy took Max to the vet to try and get a prescription for Xanax (just kidding! only a little bit.). Turns out that Max has lost 8 pounds without trying (61 to 53), so we are running bloodwork to figure that out. And the vet didn’t give out Xanax pills, rather they gave us brochures for supplements. We laughed at this one because it comes in a diffuser form! It will treat the whole house by pumping something soothing into the air! Maybe we’ll all be able to better deal with stressful situations.

It is with some satisfaction (satisfaction is not the right word. hmmm. personal understanding?) that I read the news articles about the slow rollout of the vaccine. Remember I was number 4200ish? The first emails I got about our rollout indicated that they were planning on doing only 500 a week at my hospital! 4200/500 is a big number if you convert it to weeks. OK maybe 3500/500 because people are declining the vaccine or getting it with their other employers (lots of people work two jobs). But it’s still a big number. But somehow they managed to step up the pace and my email came up and I have an appointment! Monday morning at 8 am which is approx 2 weeks after the first shots were given at my hospital. I think they are trying to get everyone done before the 2nd doses are due!

Soul

We watched Soul last night. I had to resubscribe to Disney+ because we had given it up for subscribing to YouTube without commercials. Sometimes I’m like we subscribe to too many things! And then Jeremy & Vince look at me and ask is there anything else to do this year? No. I loved Queen’s Gambit. I hated Midnight Sky even though I love sci fi stuff. I loved Away. I loved Gravity.

We made it outside for a bit as a family. This never happens. It was a delight!