Our new van.

Edda’s good appetite and growth has been a blessing, we have not had to struggle very much with one of the hallmarks of Rett Syndrome, poor growth. She is fast approaching 60 pounds this year and this is the first year that I’ve noticed that I’m really having trouble lifting her in the car, up the stairs and out of the bath. Finally, after years of thinking about it, we finally have a minivan in the family with a mobility seat installed.


Lien Jian (Connecting River), Quang Dong, China

Mom and I joined a Hong Kong tour group to this new, lesser known, tour route. It lasted for 3 days at ~US$100.00 each. The food and hotels were excellent. Our hotels had free, 6 hours unlimited long distance call inside China and, of course, free Internet. The only problems were the heater didn’t work and it was unprecedented cold at this latitude together with smokers almost everywhere. They were unstoppable.
Pictures to share:
1) Chinese rural high rise highway system.
2) with Miao minority youth.
3) rural high school – just couldn’t believe it was housed in this modern building.
4) stone pots – too bad, can’t take one back home.
5) Mom & I, in front of a stone with this Chinese character (ie., pre-destinated relationship?) on it. How true it was and still is.
6) dried meat for human consumption – far left were several field rats and a dried parier dog?
7) two modern buildings among many old ones. Our blue tour bus on its side.

Macao (A Special Admin Zone), Quang Dong, China

Today (1/14/2011, Friday), Mom & I just came back from a 3-day tour to the west side of Quang Dong Province. Pretty interesting, old and new structures coexist in odd settings. But, most people remain what they were before. It probably will take them another generation or two to catch up the modern world. But, surprising, it seems to me that people from Hong Kong are always in a hurry that they seldom yield walkway or seat for seniors 🙂 People in China and Taiwan are doing better in this respect.
Last Monday (1/10/2011), we took a day trip to Macao, China – the Gambling Capital of the World. What we have in Las Vegas, Macao has them also, but much cleaner. It is a very clean place, I think it is cleaner than Hong Kong. The ferry boat was fast but I thought it was quite expensive (~US$20.00 one way). One the way out, it had senior fair. But, when coming back, there was no senior rate available. Couldn’t quite figure out why?
Anyway, there are several pictures to share.
1) The front end of a Portuguese church, built ~400 years ago and it survived after three big fires.
2) Mom in front of a slot machine, quite enjoying herself.
3) & 4) Inside casinos.
5) Macao skyline.

Chinese motherhood!


I was with a hilarious, enthused and happy Edda at Occupational Therapy yesterday – happy that she was happy at swinging, knocking wind chimes and spinners with her hands when Deb, our OT asked me if I had read Amy Chua’s excerpt from her new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. It makes for interesting reading about the “Chinese” approach to parenting, basically yelling at your kids for not being the best at academics and piano and/or violin. Of course, my parents were not this extreme, and I’m really way, way not like this – I am your standard Western coddling mother in which I say “Good job!” to everything my children do because they are already brilliant and perfectly behaved in all situations (except when you need to use a fork, because neither child really knows how to use a fork).

Waiting for the bus.


I’m sitting on the stairs waiting for Edda’s bus. The kids have a 2 hour delay this morning because of the 1.5 inches of snow that fell last night. We have a case of the grumps this morning – Ruby puked up a pencil (she’s relearning her puppy antics from Maxi, it has been YEARS since she’s chewed anything), Maxi may have peed on top of the puke, Maxi chewed up my Xmas slippers right in front of Vince who did nothing to stop it (I count him as an accomplice), Edda spit up her seizure meds, Jeremy shoveled the walk and changed out the car’s snow tires. And I tried to work through all this chaos.

Here’s a pic of Maxi pooping in the snow and the subsequent poop bags.



King’s cake.


Vince, at the urging of his grandfather, insisted that the Christmas tree not be taken down until the Three King’s Day – which is something I kind of sort of had heard of before and when I researched it, I started understanding the connection of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Twelfth Night, etc. etc. I know, I know, I’m a little religiously-impaired, but I’m making up for it now.

Anyways, Three King’s Day, or Epiphany (which is a name that I love) marks the beginning of Carnival season and to celebrate, I make a King’s Cake in which I hid a baby Jesus. (OK, it wasn’t really baby Jesus, it was a quarter, but next year, it will be a baby Jesus when I have a little more prep time). If you get the slice with the baby Jesus, you will be king for a day! Unfortunately, I made the cake out of bread flour instead of all-purpose, so it turned out a little chewer than expected, but I’ll fix it for next year.

Wrapping paper.

I went a little crazy this Christmas and bought myself a bulk roll of silver wrapping paper. I did not realize it would be very heavy. I did not realize that it would be made even heavier by my husband making me a wooden silver wrapping paper dispenser with a scotch tape dispenser screwed into the base (so you never have to go looking for the tape!). I am questioning if this was a wise move because I think I’m saving money per square foot of wrapping paper, but now it no longer fits into any sort of reasonable size storage area. I am hoping to never buy wrapping paper again.


QuangZhou, China

Last Friday, we took the CRH (China Railway Harmony at 250 miles/hr, but not high speed train) train from Hong Kong to QuangZhou, China where Rena spent 6 months as senior consultant there. The city just finished hosting Asian Games. Its dramatic transformation is everywhere.

The company where Rena worked was relocated to an ultra modern Technology & Industry Park on the east side of the city. Its more expensive cafe (about US$7.00 each) is comparable to those of 5 star cruise ships.
Saturday, Rena and I spent the whole day with some young engineers to answer their questions. Saturday night, we had a dinner with Rena’s former colleagues. They are much younger than we are. We had a wonderful time there.