Dinner party.

The last few weeks have found me slightly irritated at Jeremy. While the pandemic has been stressful (of course), nothing has been as calming for me as the steady presence of Jeremy. But as we are nearing the “end” (?) of the pandemic, I can tell, I want him out of the house more. I want him to find other people to talk to. I don’t want to be the only person he talks to about biking (omg so much data). I want the house back to myself (which isn’t going to happen because he’s probably going to work from home for the rest of his life).

On that note, Jeremy found gas on the Rockville Pike mid-day Friday and fuel-stress-free drove 100 miles to see his biking coach Dan and they biked around together and had dinner with his family. The dinner invitation was unexpected and last minute. I encouraged him, if he wanted, to have a few drinks and stay the night. It was alright by me and Edda (who when presented with a free night at home, indulged in ice cream and long phone calls with friends).

Jeremy acknowledged that he was a little out of practice having a dinner conversation, but it was fine! it was fun. omg. So exciting!

Spanish.

I remember, before the pandemic, I had a Spanish speaking patient who yelled at me the entire shift as if I knew Spanish. If I started dialing the phone to use the phone translator, she’d swipe the phone from my hand and said (in Spanish), you don’t need that! you understand! you can understand me! Of course, I couldn’t quite understand her, but I managed enough understanding (along with frantic and exaggerated hand motions) to move the table just so, arrange the bed to her desired height, set the bedside commode an inch higher than it was, to comb her hair and sweep it up into a chignon, and order her some lunch. After that shift, I was like – I kind of wish all my Spanish speaking patients did that. I would learn so much faster.

If I ever do learn Spanish, it will be because of Ana. Because on my first try of looking for a Spanish language exchange partner, I found Ana who lives in Cabo san Lucas, Mexico. Both of us beginners in each other’s native language, we’ve stumbled through almost a year of 30 minute sessions about 4-5 times a week, exchanging English one night and Spanish another night. We’ve spoken about our families and routines and vacations and neighbors using the simplest of vocabulary. She’s a dedicated student which encourages me to be a dedicated student as well.

The other thing I do is spend a bunch of time listening to full speed Spanish podcasts. Sometimes I listen to podcasts that are geared towards language learners, but just as often, I listen to podcasts which are meant for native speakers to get the rhythm of the language.

I’ve also tried paid teachers, I had one who lived in Ireland and now I have a new one who lives in Trinidad-Tobago who is in school to be a nurse. It’s an interesting adventure, I still can’t really say much and get tongue tied trying to talk. I still can’t quite understand quick exchanges I hear all the time at the hospital when people speak more quickly and probably more idiomatically and through laughter, yelling or whispering.

End of the pandemic?

Fauci tells us we can go maskless! Thank goodness! Is this the end of pandemic? Maybe. Maryland is opening up on Saturday. I invited Sofi over and we pulled out the half-finished puzzle from March 2020 and restarted puzzling.

She taught me to play mancala today.

A few days ago, we switched shoes for our walk. She in my Oofos (middle aged footwear) and me in her crocs (elementary school footwear).

We are starting to spot the cicadas. Jojo will eat them. Maxi ignores them.

There is no gas up and down the eastern seaboard. Jeremy is going to go on a 200 mile trip tomorrow. We tried to move gas from the van to the sedan. It didn’t quite work. I think he has 240 miles worth of gas. Hopefully he will make it home. If he doesn’t, he’ll have his bike and he can bike home.

Donut, shoulder.

Noah et al made these wonderful donuts for us on Mother’s Day. They were delicious. They delivered them after I had eaten a lamb dinner and the subsequent pineapple upside down cake, but I managed to eat my sugary ring!

At Sunday night dinner, Jeremy asked the table in general, would one of you please tell Doris to go to PT for her shoulder? She won’t listen to me, it works much better if one of you tells her to go. My shoulder has been injured since January – making it hard to hang IV bags, lift patients, pull on/off shirts, do chaturangas in yoga. It’s not bad! Really. It’s almost better. But who – Christine, Colleen, Seth all chimed in about their frozen/broken shoulders and how PT helped them. So I made six (!) appointments. They wouldn’t let me make just one. I made six. So I’m going today.

Mother’s Day.

I’m not the most natural of mothers. If I had to have a list of identifiers, the word “mom” would not be the first. But granted, I have issues with identity struggling with labels such as “Asian” or “female” because so often now, when I read things about the motherhood, Asian or female experience, I often don’t quite agree. I have my own wonderful and personal experiences which don’t often fit neatly or align with these stories that I read. Anyways, Mother’s Day is two days past which is, I guess, enough time to say thank you to my children. They are my greatest teachers and my loveliest loves. I am lucky to have you in my life. I always try to think about how you want to be mothered and blend it with how I want to mother and to try to err on the side of giving you both the freedom to be your own selves. Because, I think, you can only learn really by doing and trying and figuring it out yourself. And you both show me the way in my own life, to be the best I can be, to honor and show up for the people I love and care about. I try! I fail! But I try again. As Steve sings on Blue’s Clues and has been out family motto since circa 2005 – if something goes wrong, don’t give up, just go on! (We have literally watched this particular Blue’s Clues video every day since the fall of 2005. One of our favorites.)

Vince FaceTimed on Mother’s Day and gave me a card via Instagram stories. He missed his second vaccine appointment last Friday by oversleeping and was profoundly regretful and apologetic (I might have done the slap face emoji as I was trying to text encouragingly but not too desperately when I was noticing his little tracking icon unmoving in his dorm past the appointment time) because we all talked about it on Thursday and had booked a zipcar and everything, but he did make it to the rescheduled Monday appointment. Really, a wonderful (and perhaps the best) mother’s day gift. I’m glad I am his favorite mom, he is, of course, my favorite son. I always hope I’m doing right by you, Vincie. Lots of love and hugs and can’t wait until you are home. <3

Edda (and Jeremy) got me a pair of sound cancelling headphones (earbuds) which I will use to drown out the sound of my treadmill as I run. I’m looking forward to that because I think I can turn down the music when the background sound is cancelled, thereby saving my hearing a bit. The first thing my new headphones did was to do a hearing test to optimize my sound profile.

Breaking quarantine.

With everyone vaccinated, we finally really broke quarantine and invited our families over for Mother’s Day weekend. We touched, hugged, kissed, shared food and laughed a lot. I am so grateful for this.

My parents were the first ones over on Saturday night. My mom asked to have lamb for dinner and Jeremy obliged.

My mom also asked for a pair of gardening boots. I bought three different pairs for her to try on and she picked the ones with the vegetable print on the shaft of the boot.

We belatedly celebrates everyone’s birthday with this crazy candle and I made a pineapple upside down cake which is one of my mom’s favorite. We started planning for my parents’ 80th birthdays later this year.

On Sunday night, we hosted the DC Martin’s first Sunday night dinner since last March. Jeremy made Peruvian chicken with his special green sauce. We also made a lot of chocolate chip cookies.

Mother’s day, Bette’s birthday all together again. At both occasions, we sang happy birthday, there still was the blowing out of candles, we did it all!

Maxi was so excited about the whole thing, running from person to person with enthusiasm and surprise. She was so excited that she had a little hyperventilating episode with a pee accident on my yoga mat (she hasn’t peed in the house the entire pandemic! – Hmmm, did I remember to take her out last night? I might have not. So maybe it was entirely my fault).

Nurses week, thank you Catherine.

Happy nurses week! Nursing is my <3. I’m so happy that I found it and it found me. I have never, never ever worked so hard in my life – even before the pandemic. I’ve had many, many shifts where I wanted to sit down on the floor and cry. I have cried (not in front of the patients) where someone has found me in the med room and said – I’ll help you, we’ll make it through the shift. I’ve met so many people that I would have never had the chance to meet and to see all kinds of crazy. I reminds me that I’m part of a community and that we are all crazy together. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. It’s easy to tell a nurse your dark secrets, I’ve listened to many and offered only what I could, usually a tissue of a squeeze of the hand. My patients sometimes (very infrequently) ask about mine. And depending on what is happening, I’ll tell them. I’m am so proud of myself for working through the pandemic. That I took care of covid patients and was brave (and terrified those early months) and that my family supported me tremendously through that time. I will be content if over the course of my lucky and fortunate life if that is the bravest thing I ever will do.

Edda was on TV! Catherine, the best buddies president, is the most amazing person. So committed to disability rights and to her friends at school. She’s been advocating for full ADA accessibility in all MCPS schools (including Edda’s which was my old high school which hasn’t been renovated for a long time). One of the things we missed the most about in-person school this year was being with Catherine and her energy and enthusiasm.

Packing.

I was in a grumpy mood yesterday. It was raining most of the day. I used to think that rain didn’t affect my mood, but I don’t really think that anymore. I was also really tired. But I helped Megan pack her apartment for a few hours. My shoulder ached which added to my grumpiness. I came home mid-afternoon and took a deep nap for about an hour.

Front yard feeder.

We have a bird feeder in the front yard which is entertaining us throughout the day with our various avian friend (both of our offices face the front yard). Yesterday we set up a squirrel feeding station where the squirrel has to jump and suction cup him/her/themselves to the ear of corn while it swings around. Based on the Amazon review, the placement is critical for maximum squirrel antics. Will keep you posted.

Getting out.

Argh. I had a hard shift yesterday, but I’ve had a bunch of good shifts in a row, so I was owed a subpar one. I’m off two weeks now, I’m hoping my shoulder gets better. I need to lay off lifting patients for a bit.

Jeremy had a virtual, indoor bike race on Sunday that turned out subpar as well. Jeremy has been taking training and biking very seriously for a few months now and I was surprised at how disappointed he was in his results. Honestly, I’ve never seen him so competitive, driven and singularly focused. He’s going to be fully vaccinated by the end of this week and he’s going to try to rejoin some of the biking groups around the area for training, etc. He tells me that they are regrouping with the caveat – if you are vaccinated, you are welcome to join in on the group rides. Jeremy has been great this whole pandemic, helping me and the family through it all – patiently listening to all my woes and tears and has offered nothing but encouragement, but he has been the most socially isolated, holed away in his home office and home gym and it’s time to bring it back. We had take out on Sunday after his ride.