Hong Kong

Rena and I have been in Hong Kong since September 26th, 2012.  We are here to celebrate the 80th birthday of Rena’s elder sister.  Besides us, there are a lot of their other relatives coming here from everywhere.  Logistics, I believe, is a big challenge for every one, especially for the hosts.

I can’t believe that we eat-out three meals a day – for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all the time and almost every day.  Sometimes, I simply sat there and was mindful of not eating too much.  Of course, food here is delicious and price is not that economical also.

Since Mom ranks pretty senior in her family, of course and according to Chinese tradition, all small ones in her family receive a red envelop from her.

I am heading back to USA on October 3rd, 2012 and ready to work at San Jose, CA starting October 8th, 2012.  Mom will stay on in Hong Kong and China for a while.

A new old bike

Everyone in the household has a “fun fund” – grown ups get $20 a week, kids get less – it’s money that you can use without anyone else giving you the evil eye saying that it was a silly purchase. I run my “fun fund” pretty low – I think I have about 45 dollars in my account now, because I like to spend my money on margaritas with my Rett mom friends or monogrammed stationary or yoga class or my poker buy-in – Jeremy is much more patient with his savings, he was almost up to $900 and had his eye on his first expensive bike.  I think that a $1000 bike is a pretty silly purchase for basically
riding the 1.25 miles to the Metro – but it’s all his to spend.  My brother, a bike enthusiast, will tell you that real bikes just start at 1K, but to me it just seems like a tremendous investment for non-racers like us. (Jeremy – for five years now – has been riding every day my brother’s old Trek that my parents bought  for him in 1988 or so – you can tell by the purple detailing).  For years, he’s been looking for bikes all around the DC metro area, obscure brands that no one carried and would have to special order. Every where we are near a bike shop, he wants to stop in and see if they have exactly what he wanted.

So last week, we stopped into a local bike shop and he ended up spontaneously buying a Trek which was used in a rental program for a song – they were clearing out last year’s bikes to get in an infusion of the 2013 models – it’s like buying a rental car. A used bike that was guaranteed not to have been stolen, included a U-lock, fenders, and to top it all off, faux leather seat.  I think he paid just over $200 for it and now still has enough money left to buy a flat screen TV he has been eying.

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Poker.

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Somehow I have found a group of friends that like to get together on weeknights (!) and drink and play poker – mostly women, they all have demanding jobs, they all have kids, and yet – they party like it’s 1999. So out of my normal milieu! As a policy, I try not to turn things that I’m invited to down, just because, you know, it could be kind of fun and interesting and it was (it was also a little boozy – nothing like being a touch hung over on Friday morning)!

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I learned all the good stuff, 5/7 card draw and stud, some variations like High Chicago. Lost like 7 dollars and was the first one to leave at 11 pm which is good because I have an anatomy exam in about 3 hours that I need to cram for.

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Special effort.

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Vince doesn’t want to play violin anymore. It’s really no surprise. It’s hard work. I told him that we were just going to go ahead and plow through it – that this was the one thing I was going to make him do. I told him the pay off was going to be when he was a grown up and could appreciate that he knew how to play some music. He replied that the payoff was going to be when he made his own kids play a musical instrument. I told him he was probably right.

Camping –

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Our last camp-out trip with the Cub Scouts happened this past weekend. Ruby was the doggie that got to go, she loves going on hikes with the kids, getting extra attention, looking for dropped s’mores and bits of KFC fried chicken. And she doesn’t run away when you drop the leash, BONUS!  Somehow, we are surrounded by a million cub scouts and their little sisters (all Edda’s age – bittersweet, but more sweet that night than bitter) who all swarm around and play with fire while the parents talk politics.

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I love when camping is car camping and only 20 minutes away. I means that Edda and I can pop in for dinner, bring the forgotten items like bug spray and skedaddle out of there in time for bed time in our own beds at home!

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Wig

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Watching Project Runway – so much crying! So many sequins! Edda is even inspired by the crazy fashions, she looks much, much better with longer hair and bangs.  We are patiently waiting for her hair to grow out. I am doing this while trying to study for my anatomy class on Friday. So many types of epithelial cells and my poor brain is so full, I can’t fit any more into it. Off to give Edda a shower. Kisses everyone!

Sewage

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In the past few days, I have repaired a broken window, shampooed three extremely smelly (and relatively remorse) dogs, replaced a wax ring on a toilet that was flooding semi-sewage water in one of our bathrooms and cut a hole in the ceiling of our living room through which I stuck my head which resulted in dirt smudge on my cheek which my neighbor saw and asked if my head was OK to which I responded that I was cutting holes in my house that I was not sure if I could repair. And yet, I am in a pretty good mood. I credit it all to the weather and the fact that nothing is really acutely wrong. We are all healthy and have each other and I am extremely grateful. Edda did cry and cry last Monday, but she has been unusually cheerful (or back to her usual cheerfulness) for the rest of the week and weekend, it was like a little miracle for me – having the good old Edda back. Life can be full of frustrations and unhappiness and sadness and I live everyday to try again to find the goodness and tenderness and comedy (which is always bubbling up to the surface), even elbow-deep in the guts of a broken toilet.

It just is!

So after the terrible, no good, very bad day on Monday with Edda – yesterday Edda was full of smiles and happiness – even at therapy and at a play date arranged by Se Hyun. Was yesterday any different than Monday? Well, school was in session which leads me to think that a regular schedule is what was missing, but again, I really don’t know. I understand that there are days where everyone gets to feel like they are at the end of their rope, I just wish I knew what triggered it for Edda.

Also, I get lulled into complacency, sometimes we will have 2-3 days in a row of Edda happiness and then I will feel good and optimistic think that heaven above has shone down on me and then I will get walloped with a day of 4-5 hours of crying and I will wallow in my ineptitude of being a mother who is unable to make her daughter happy.

Edda’s mood swings are not the only thing on my mind these days, things are crazy around here, the house needs some repairs including a leak in the ceiling, leaking gutter caused by a falling branch, a broken window caused by a little imp in the house. Work is also heading into the end of the fiscal year at the end of September which means I’m in a little bit of a patent crunch. Nonetheless – I found myself (out of necessity) driving around town yesterday with all three dogs in the van mid-day (Ruby is in the picture, you can make out her shadow behind the crates).

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I will not bore you with my dog saga – but thankfully it was a cool, cloudy day yesterday and I could leave them in the car while I tried on some crazy shoes designed by Jessica Simpson at TJ Maxx.

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