Swine flu.

Yvonne, our beloved au pair, is ending her year with us in mid-May and going back home to Germany. I preparation for her departure, about 2 months ago, we decided to match for a 2nd au pair who would take over after Yvonne left. We decided on a very sweet person from Mexico who was scheduled to arrive in about a week and a half. I bet you can see where this is going. Now that Mexico has pretty much shut down to try and staunch the spread of swine flu, our au pair will not be allowed to leave Mexico and enter the US until August! I spoke with the coordinator on the phone today and she asked if we had a backup child care plan and the answer is no we don’t! Anyways we are scrambling. We have a few leads which look promising which I hope won’t put us in the lurch for too long. Life is never dull.

And the Capitals won! One of my best friends at work has season tickets and so she fills me in on hockey details. I try and amuse her by reading the first 2 paragraphs of the news reports of the game and then I can say, “oh how about the goalie, wasn’t he amazing?!” or “look out for so-and-so, he’s off his game”. And then I can sit back while she talks for 20 minutes in response to my Cliff Notes version of the game. The Metro was filled with fans last night, all happy on the way to the game while I was heading home from work. The lady reading the book is making some funny face, maybe she doesn’t like hockey.


On the cusp of genetic drugs.

There is an article in this week’s New Yorker talking about new cystic fibrosis drug therapies which enable broken proteins to restore normal function. I hope this is just the beginning of a long a fruitful path which will show that all types of broken proteins can be fixed. Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common rare genetic diseases. Their national organization is well funded and is spearheading a lot of great drug trials and research.

Summer is here.

Less than a few weeks after I declared spring officially here, I’m now going to declare that summer is here. I’ve aired out the heavy down comforters and put them away. I washed my parka and put it away. I’ve switched to wearing flip-flops during the weekends. Jeremy’s tender skin burns within 10 minutes of being outdoors. Vincent is finding every excuse to be outside playing in a sprinkler. I’m dressing Edda in cute, cute summer clothes.



We won! Woo hoo!

I find it very amusing that my parents and my husband both work in the energy field. My parents work in the nuclear industry, my husband works for an organization first founded in opposition to nuclear weapons. Anyways, they both work in low carbon fuels. Hiss and boo to coal and fossil fuel! (However, we are still getting the minivan.)

Yesterday, the California Air Resources Board approved the new super duper low carbon fuel standard. Jeremy’s been working and talking about this for months now and I still had to ask him to clarify the main point at dinner tonight. Boo and hiss for me being a super duper attentive wife. Could have been paying more attention for months now, but I love asking Jeremy to talk about low carbon fuels standards so I can fall asleep to the sound of his earnest voice.

On the opposite coast here in DC, Jeremy’s boss was talking to Congress about the comprehensive climate bill.

If anyone is interested, here’s a link to hearing, go to time stamp 27:00 or so to see Jeremy’s boss in action (feel free to watch the whole 3 hours, riveting, I’m sure.)

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant & The Place We Work

This is the Diablo Canyon Power Station. Rena and I come to work everyday by the winding road in the right upper hand corner. The plant is 7 miles away from its gate. Those two round structures house two nuclear reactors and its steam generators. The square brown building in front is the turbine building in which the turbines are turning by steam to generate electricity. The water discharge in front of the building is the discharge water to cool the exhaust steam from the turbines and re-use it as the feedwater to steam generators. The intake water structures are at its right beyond the intruded small hill peninsula.

Our office is in a temporary one-level structure which is to the right on the straight line of those two domes. The large white building in the back close the road is the warehouse. The white building adjacent to the turbine building is PG&E office, its simulator, etc.

Our parking lot is to the right of the warehouse. Therefore, we have 80 stairs to descend or climb every day to get off and on our car. Good exercise indeed!

Boy, it is pretty safe to work just right next to a nuclear station. I would rather in or around a nuclear plant than any fossil plant. In a nuclear plant, one knows exactly what are in there. No exception at all 🙂

We would like to work on a normal 10-4 schedule. But, they would like us to work on a 10-5 schedule instead. We agree because the plant is schedule-driven. But, it looks like a 10-6 week is looming this week.

Happy Earth Day!

Vincent came home today and told us that in order to properly celebrate Earth Day, we needed to turn off the lights for 10 minutes and use candles for light to “save energy”. I told him that we celebrate Earth day everyday by biking to work and school (Edda is the only one of us that commutes via gasoline). He got a pine tree at school in honor of the occasion and before I got home, he had already planted it. He planted it right in the corner of the lawn that we run over every day when we back out of the driveway (oh, I forgot, I just said that we don’t drive which is true, so how can we be backing out over the lawn every day? Hmmm… a conundrum). I might have to go and save the poor tree tomorrow somehow.


Edda’s front tooth is coming in nicely. I forget how goofy an adult tooth looks in a little kid-sized mouth. We had a really nice evening tonight, the bath was fun, the brushing the teeth was a delightful experience, and then suddenly during storytime, out of nowhere comes a tsunami of fury and crying. We held her and rocked her and sang her favorite songs to no avail. Jeremy said she must be in pain somehow she was so upset, Edda often melts down when we go out, but it’s quite rare now (especially at bedtime) when we are at home (thank goodness). But then we pulled out the DVD player and watched Bob the Builder and all was right with the world. It’s a little trying that parental tenderness is trumped by a 2-dimension guy wearing overalls when it comes to feeling safe and comfortable.


On a third, completely unrelated topic – since Jeremy and I are the only people among our siblings who own a house with extra space, we are starting to get various family possessions that need a little bit of space to store them. Today, finally, after a bit of wrangling, we got a Gould family heirloom, an old German bureau? sideboard? delivered. It takes up one car’s worth of space in the garage. It weighs 700 pounds and we need to figure out where to put it and we’ll need to hire 4 strong guys to move it somewhere. I have often told Jeremy that I prided myself on only owning enough stuff so that I could put it all in my Volvo and move in one day, but apparently, I have entered a stage in my life where this is no longer possible. I’m so curious what this looks like…


Irish dancing.

I went to a bar in DC today.


One of Jeremy’s former coworkers is a flutist in an Irish band and they were performing as a fundraiser for their upcoming trip to Ireland for a competition.


Vince came with us and we bought him a beer. (OK, it’s really milk in a Miller light cup.)


We did some Irish dancing, which is a lot like square dancing with different music.


We don’t often leave Edda behind when we go adventuring, but this time we left her at home with Yvonne. Of course I felt guilty, I have always had this image in my head that we’d do everything together all the time. But it was clear that Edda wouldn’t have liked to have been there and actually Vince spent most of the time like:


and in retrospect, we should have left him at home too.