Washington DC, the Best City to Raise Kids

The other days, I just learned that Washington DC was voted to be the best city to raise kids. I guess I need to ask Doris & Donald then πŸ™‚

Here in China, we have this big National Holidays (Oct. 1 – Oct. 7) coming up. Too bad, I have to work all these days because our data center is moving from Houston to Shanghai. Not only that, I probably need to work on wee hours. But, hopefully not. Gladly, my English class for locals are going to be over soon. Next year, probably, I wouldn’t like to sign up for it.
Hopefully, this Thanksgiving time, Donald will be able to travel toward west (Hawaii, Japan, Korea ??) so we can have a mini-family re-union there. If with two, then we will leave them alone πŸ™‚ Of course, next time, Mom think that our family re-union is much better on a cruise ship. May be Alaska Cruise. Not sure yet.
The weather is getting cold here. This place is great for summer – nice and cool. Winter, hopefully, will be moderate also. A lot of people told me that up north, just across mountains, there will be a lot of snow, but not here.

Shana Tova

Happy Rosh Hashanah to everyone!  I love new year celebrations – a sense of renewal and starting again.  Vince and Edda were lucky enough to have the day off of school – why MCPS celebrates Jewish holidays and none other is always a bit perplexing (I always want to have Chinese New Year off – I think the number of Jewish folks and the number of Chinese folks in the public schools are relatively comparable).  As we were not going to new year services today, I was clever enough to schedule the kid’s flu shots for this morning – more than a month in advance.  I love to pat myself on the back for small successes that show off my scheduling prowess, I’m not good at very much, but I love to keep the household well scheduled.

When I made the appointment, they mentioned that they were out of the flu-Mist vaccine, the one that is sprayed up your nose like a backwards sneeze.  So I could not confirm Vince’s anxious question – am I going to get the shot, or can I get the nose one?  So he was on pins and needles the whole ride over.  Edda, on the other hand, doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about shots.  Also, I’m not sure how I would tell her to suck up the nose medicine into her sinuses.   Anyways, they had the Mist in stock (thank goodness) – Vince was able to get his up the nose and hilarity at the doctor’s office ensued.



Mom Has Been Away for 2 Days

Well, Mom has been away for 2 days. First day, I ate one of her dishes stored in our refrigerator. The second day, I was invited to a dinner hosted by one of my colleagues from Shanghai. Tonight, I need to teach English (boys, mine is just so-so) to locals. Tonight, my teaching subject is, this year, Ms. Tu YouYou (81) received the prestigious US Lasker award for discovering a Chinese traditional medicines – sweet wornwood shrub, to eradicate malaria in Africa. The program of using this medicine on the small island of Moheli, off Africa, has proven a huge success.

Well, for day 3, I am going to have more of Mom’s stuff inside my refrigerator.

Life at Haiyang, Shandong, China

Pictures to share:

1) Mom caught a big Jelly Fish. Of course, it ended up in our dinner table.
2) Mom on a beach in front of our expat village along the Yellow Sea. The stick is, just in case, to chase away a lot of guard dogs probably with rabbit but no rabbit shot. Those guard dogs are used for guarding numerous fish ponds behind the beach.
3) My expat village apartments. Mine is about (~1,200 ft*ft, with two bedrooms & two full baths, and solar-powered water heaters are on top) which is on the second floor, first row closed to the gate, on the very right. This gate is guarded 24 hours a day. The guard house to on this side of the gate (not shown). Mom needs to have a pass to get in. But, she has a lot of friends at the gate. She, from time to time, gave away some chocolate candies to them.
4) Our door and kitchen facing the opposite side of the gate.
5) Our living room windows facing the Yellow Sea and the gate. Guard house is at the left.
Well, Mom is heading for Shanghai today. She probably will not be back for a month. But, she left a lot of cooked food in the refrigerator πŸ™‚
ltyl and stay tune …

Girl Power 2 Cure gala!

Friday night, Girl Power 2 Cure hosted their first Gala ever in Georgetown to fund research for Rett Syndrome.  It was a lot of work for everyone and it was a lot of fun!  The Martin clan showed up and led the dancing – we ended up having at least 40 people on the dance floor.  We also had the chance to invite Edda’s team from her school to join us and it was really very meaningful to us to have them there for the evening.


I didn’t take a lot of photos, there was a professional photographer there who captured the evening beautifully if you’d like to see more photos –

Here is Vince enjoying his Georgetown cupcake from the Gala first thing the next morning.


Vince feeding Edda.


Last night was Vince’s back to school night. After years of ignoring his schoolwork – we are buckling down and trying to make a good go of it all. School is so hard for a 4th grader – I think he easily does an hour and a half of homework each night. He is rapidly making progress on all the math I know in the world, luckily, I still have a handle on 4th grade math, but in 5 years when I have to help with 10th grade math (ha ha!), I’m not too sure.


Finally, I found a way to get in to our family blog. Very good. I can share several pictures we have during the weekend.

Mom is ready to leave for Shanghai, Chong Ming Island and Taiwan. These days, she has cooked a lot of food for me to have while she is gone. Too bad, our refrigerator is much smaller than the one we have back home.
She and I are having allergic reactions to our place here in Shandong, China. I guess this is an agricultural area with a lot of chemicals around. Just like at Richland, WA, USA. Mom almost takes a walk along the beach of Yellow Sea every morning.
Btw, I just heard that Chinese Government to tax us (expats) more, as much as 11%, for joining their social security and health programs. I believe I have never had a chance to use them anyway, but it is mandatory.

Seizure cat.


Edda’s seizures are coming back. Slowly but surely. I need to call the neurologist. I don’t want to call him, I just want them to go away by themselves. Such is my life. Living in my world involves some denial. I think that is OK. I’d like to have a cat, but I really can not take care of one more thing right now – even though I know cats almost just take care of themselves. I found this lovey cat outside our garage the other day – paused enough for a little pet.

Look at these beautiful photos taken with a large DSLR camera. Can’t compare to an iPhone. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” – I’m raging against the inevitability of owing a phone with my camera in it. That day will come.


The devil dog

Maxi has been a thorn in my side.  I do not know how we ended up with such a naughty dog, but somehow she is the most trouble of all my children.   She eats everything (toys, food, plants), she sniffs your butt when you walk into the house, she barks at everything!  She is cute though – although it doesn’t make up for much.


Jeremy is home again, finally, after another long week of travel.  This time he went to Minnesota –  it’s really not the same in the house without him.