Warren/Harris, college.

Fantastic! I am beside myself with happiness that women are the frontrunners after the first two debates. I’m surprised at how happy I am. Personally, I don’t feel a strong affinity for identity politics mainly because I try to identify myself firstly as human – just like you are human and thus we are 99.999999% the same with minor differences that makes everything interesting. Being cisgender, a scientist/engineer, female, she/her, Asian, short, passive-aggressive, American, pro-choice, mother of a disabled child, child of Chinese immigrants, introvert, risk-averse, lover of mountains, hater of phone calls, doesn’t really separate me from you very much (I acknowledge this might come from a lifetime of privilege, but also my personality. Just ask Jeremy.) Actually, I think there are only two groups of people: people who are assholes and people who are not assholes. Most of us flutter between the two categories depending on the situation, but have a tendency towards one or the other. The worst are the people who are assholes but think they are are not assholes. I have a glimmer of hope that perhaps I will not be completely embarrassed to say that I’m American in a few years.

I’m looking forward to this movie (go Awkwafina!):

My own wedding was an excuse for everyone to see my dying grandmother.

I’m spending my extra time starting to delve into college applications for Vince. Like which ones are the common applications and what the general due dates are. Jeremy said – do not deluge Vince with college crap the minute he walks into the door. I said – I will try, I will try. This is very difficult for me. Vince is talented in many ways and I know this because (well, mainly because I see/talk to him a lot, but I do discount my own personal interaction with him because I’m clearly biased, how can I possibly have an unbiased opinion?) I have many, many other parents/teachers pull me aside and tell me – you know what Vince did? and they tell me some heartwarming story and then they say – he’s a good guy. But none of this is measured in GPAs or SAT scores which I care about TREMENDOUSLY for myself, but to Vince it’s something to work at, but not something to obsess over. Which is fine rationally speaking – I understand this and I’m intellectually ok with this, but emotionally and ego speaking, it’s really hard for me to be at peace with this. The only way I managed to stay out of this measurable crap and self enforce my own personal pact to not Asian-mom and hover over Vince all junior year was to be out of the house trapped in the bathroom with someone else’s grandmother who needed help so she wouldn’t fall and smash her noggin on the cold, hard tile (there is crap there too). I know if Vince had spent the time getting 4.0 with a 1550 on his SATs I would have been like – OMG, he spent too much time studying because there is no chance he’d get into any of the top 10 schools anyways and wasted all the time he could have used to have fun or make friends or fall in love, or we could have had the other problem which is that he hates school and didn’t show up and has no friends and is on the internet all day delving into who knows what trouble. Jeremy is like – we have no problem. And I know we have no problem, but it doesn’t answer the question for me about what college will take an Asian male who wants to study engineering from a wealthy/competitive school district who got Bs in hard science/math classes and has a kind of decent, but not standout SAT score which in my head seems like a big problem – but I acknowledge is not really a problem. (Did I mention that Vince, in a moment of high emotion, told me that he wasn’t going to identify himself as Asian on any of his college applications? That he was white and that’s who he was. I was shocked and hurt. (Did I just say that I didn’t care about identity politics?) Vickey was like what exactly do you want? I said half joking & half seriously, I want him to declare that he’s Asian and get into Harvard anyways. Do you think they have the asshole/not asshole category on college applications? They should.)

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up, well, I think only God really knows
I’ve sat upon the setting sun
But never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once
No never, never, never

I listen to my words but they fall far below
I let my music take me where my heart wants to go
I swam upon the Devil’s lake
But never, never, never, never
I’ll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

-Cat Stevens

I just picked up Vince from summer camp where he was the senior patrol leader and was in charge of corralling a bunch of middle schoolers for a week. I started talking about college even before we pulled into the driveway. As we walked into the house, he laughed because I had told him that Jeremy had told me to not do the exact thing I was doing at that moment and said – mom, I’m ready to do my own thing. I said to him – I hope I’m doing right by you. He gave me a big hug and lifted me off the ground and swung me around in a circle. He said – you are the best mom ever. Thanks for letting me live my own life. I’ll tell you guys all the stories when dad comes home tonight.

Mammogram, menopause, KST.

I made my appointment for my mammogram for next Monday. I hesitated. I procrastinated. This is why one needs good friends – ones who nudge you ever so slightly in the direction you know you should go in. Towards 3D advanced imaging which may lead to unknowably perhaps unnecessary treatment which will line the pockets of the medical industrial complex or to really save my life. Spouses are in no position to make you do things that you are hesitant to do because generally once one’s spouse tells you to do the thing that you already don’t want to do, you don’t want to do it even more.

I read an essay about menopause. I like this line: You haven’t even begun. You must pause first, the way one must always pause before a great endeavor, if only to take a good breath. I’m not sure this is true. Somedays I feel like I if I get to live to my expected age that it will certainly be enough and I will feel lucky, that I will have had my chance and I did with it what I could. And some days I think, it is not enough time at all. I will not be able to see/do all the things I want to see/do. Already things that have not been done which are becoming clearer and clearer are not going to be done are being crossed off the list at an alarming rate.

I should listen to Kristen Scott Thomas (I’ve been binge watching Fleabag, slightly depressing, but entertaining enough. I have too much time on my hands) :

You’re free! It’s horrendous, but then it’s magnificent.

E. Warren & E. Martin.

I’m watching the debate on my phone as I put Edda to bed. It’s a pleasure to hear full, coherent sentences out of the mouths of many people. Jeremy & I were on the talking on the phone last night and roughly sketched out the next 5-year plan for our lives which includes getting Elizabeth Warren elected (oh yeah, it also involves helping Vince leave the nest). The last 5-year plan got flushed down the toilet when Hillary lost – I’m hoping this one turns out.

I have a plan for that. Jeremy loves nothing more than complicated plans.

Eliana was out this afternoon, so it was me and Edda in the afternoon. We watched TV, had dumplings for dinner and sewed together.

Watching TV.
Quilting together.

Car seat, kombucha, running!

And my summer vacation continues. I’m sleeping so well – night after night of uninterrupted sleep. I’m constantly surprised at 5:30 am when I wake up naturally with the sun and birds without a pressing, oppressive schedule. I love it and feel #blessed. A gift from heaven. I have very simple desires. They are simple, but money can not buy them.

Edda ready for field trip!

Paul is starting to coach me in running again. I told him that I am dreaming of running a 5K under 25 minutes which I think is a reasonable goal that is achievable well into my 50s, but really, I want that feeling where you are running at a good, hard effort and you feel like you can sustain that feeling for 3-4 miles. Preferably in the woods on a fall day.

Trying to embrace summer running, the worst season to try to get back in shape.

Jeremy setup his bike trainer on the sun porch at Bard. Packing is still going well.

He forgot there was a overhead fan.

I went to Virginia yesterday to meet up with Satya, Karuna and Vickey. Vickey brought her homemade kombucha. I’ve never had kombucha before, it was delicious. Vickey is also reminding me to set up my mammogram appointment which I have been procrastinating on.

Pomegranate, plain and mango flavored.
Full from fried chicken sandwiches from Matchbox and ice cream.

This is the photo of the day from Bard.

Bob with his 70+ race awards. Did he keep these? Or did he toss these? I didn’t ask.

Max is 9, packing days at Bard, JCC is starting, home from Northern Tier.

Today is Max’s (fake & totally made up) birthday. She is 9! I guess I can’t consider her the new dog anymore. I picked up Vince from the airport at midnight-ish and we made it home by 1:30 am. I have not been up that late on purpose for a very, very long time. Vince was tired, but full of stories and excitement. I went to bed as soon as I came home because at 6am the next morning, Jeremy and Vince woke up to 1) drop Vince off at his regular troop’s summer camp and 2) drive to Bard to help Bob and Katherine pack.

Early departure and birthday doggie.

They got to packing straight-away. Emy was there to help out. Dishes were boxed, tape guns were purchased.

Living room packing.

So Vince and Jeremy are both out of the house this week. I’m manning the fort with Edda and Ning (& baby Noah) and Eliana this week. Edda starts camp JCC and with it, the morning and afternoon pickup runs & packed lunches and wet swimsuits and swim diapers. I did the morning drop off with Ning & baby Noah and then afternoon pickup with Eliana – so everyone should be ready to go tomorrow on their own. I did meet her lovely counselor, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll stay the summer.

On the way to camp pickup this afternoon.

I thanked Barry (the adult leader of the troop from Atlanta) profusely for letting Vince come on the trip to Northern Tier. It’s not easy planning this big outing and it makes it even harder when you are trying to tie in another scout who you don’t know and from a totally different part of the county. I see how much work Jeremy is putting in for their own trip to Philmont, it’s no easy task. And it can be hard for teenage boys to mix and make friends on trips like these when many of the boys had their dads in attendance. Vince had a great time, he says he wants to work at one of the high adventure camps – the staff person who canoed with them the whole time said that Northern Tier was the best one to work at, the staff was most like a family there and that there is no question to work there in the subsequent summers. We’ll see. There are many plans.

At the Minneapolis airport heading home.
The secret handshake.

Vince is back, Jeremy is hiking, Edda is eating.

Vince has been off the grid for the past week canoeing in the Boundary Waters in Canada. I sent him to the Northern Tier high adventure scout camp with a troop from Atlanta who was willing to take on an extra scout. I never spoke to the troop leader – we arranged everything via email and text. As I was dropping Vince off at the airport on the last day of school, I was thinking I hope it all works out as I have never spoken to the grown up in charge and maybe it wasn’t the best parental decision. Vince sent us a text when he left cell service and he sent us this photo when he got back into cell service late this afternoon. “It was the best” was the short, descriptive text we got. I can’t wait to hear about it when he gets home at midnight tomorrow via a 5-6 hour drive and flight home from Minneapolis.

Drying out after a week on the water.

I have been enjoying a tremendously reduced work schedule. During the summer, I’m working about once a week at the hospital and I’m still part time at my regular gig for another 4-5 weeks. On the one hand, I feel like I’ll get out of practice with the nursing skills, but on the other hand, who the hell cares? It is so luxurious – granted the $ is no good at this rate, but I don’t care very much. I’m sleeping a lot, I’m puttering around the house eating cheese and wasting time by watching TV. I also enjoy such things as watching the grass grow tall and then think about mowing it and then pretending that I am going to mow it, but then go scrounging in the fridge to look for interesting things to eat instead. Edda and I hang out in companionable silence which (I think) indicates the depth of our relationship and make outings to eat Swedish meatballs at IKEA where the most difficult decision is whether to get gravy on the french fries. Excitingly, I pay the water bill on time. It makes me realize how hard the past year has been on me which was caused entirely by my own doing.

As I relax into a blob of contentment, Jeremy’s anxiety is ramping up (I have this theory of all things in a marriage where there is a finite amount of anxiety, stress and/or happiness or whatever property that is constant in the marriage between the two people, it’s just that the amount in each person shifts all the time. So if one person is super happy, the other person inevitably is happy for them, but really super pissed about all other things – the same hold true for anxiety). It’s less than 3 weeks until Philmont where he’s responsible for hauling a busload of kids into the NM wilderness and back. He loves the hiking part (as evidenced by his 7 mile hike this morning with a 20 pound bag of rice to test out his new backpack), but the admin part is killing him. He just had a phone call with the troop treasurer to account for all the money and now he has to manage all the paperwork – permission slips, insurance, frequent flyer miles, health forms, medications etc, etc.

Happy on the trail.

Edda starts camp on Monday. There is already a slightly ominous (ominous is too strong of a word) beginning to it all. We get an email from the camp saying – come this day to meet Edda’s counselor and then we get another email saying – oh! don’t come, Edda’s counselor is quitting and then another email saying – oh no! she decided to stay, come and meet her! So it’s going to be that kind of summer. Now we’ve been through so many summers at this camp, you know that some years, it’s fantastic – the kids and counselors are well matched and everything goes smoothly and other summers there is shifting of staff and kids and schedules and no one ever gets into the groove. It’s all OK, Edda seems mostly happy no matter the swirl around her, I’m not worried. I hope she enjoys the swimming and gets a bit of a tan. We’ll see.

Jeremy took us ladies out on a date tonight.

Lots of stuff.

Sorry, I have been remiss in updating. Lots of things going on, blogging got dropped. Last week was the last week of school and Jeremy was out of town, blah, blah, blah. The regular stuff.

I did go to my reunion. It was both exhilarating and disappointing. I do have very fond memories of going to college there, but I do have complicated feelings about who I was back then and who I am now and I think it, unfortunately, overwhelmed me in my typical weird ways where I retreat socially and my various attempts to join in on class activities were thwarted in odd ways. I managed to sit down at a table full of finance people who were all very nice, but there is only so many conversations I can make about Bitcoin. Is it weird to feel out of place and feel like you totally belong at the same time?

It was a beautiful weekend in Boston and I loved showing Vince all my special places. He was a good sport trekking across campus on a Saturday morning and I was pointing out some meaningful place and he smiled and then I was like – isn’t this cool? And then he said – honestly mom, it’s just a building.

Went for a run along the Charles River. So many happy graduates and their families.
The front door.
My spot at the library. Vince asked what I did at school. I told him I studied. I studied a lot. Almost always from this spot. I’m glad I got to see this – they are remodeling the library this fall. If they do what they did to my other favorite library, they will take out all the books and install a cafe and put generic co-working furniture in it. And a ton of outlets. This is exactly the same as I left it except for the power strip that they installed on the table.
Vince at the top of the stairs near building 4.
Dragon boat racing.

Then Vince took me on his own tour of Boston. We went to the Magic gaming store where it seemed like 100 boys were in the basement on Saturday morning starting a tournament.

Now this is real nerd-land. 😉

And we celebrated Pride! The final note on Boston – Vince made it to Boston on his own from the house. I left early in the morning and he left later in the afternoon. He walked from the house to the Metro, then took the Metro to the BWI bus at Shady Grove. Got on the bus to BWI and then checked in, boarded the plane and then got to BOS. Took the silver line to the red line to Kendell Square and finally walked to the student center where I met up with him late in the evening.

Gathering beads at the parade.

Meanwhile on the left coast, Jeremy went early for a work trip and got his bike to travel with him. He saw some pals and did a planning week for work. I have no idea really what order these photos go in, but here they are.

Hiking with Ben and Steve.
Biking to the work retreat.

Vince and I came back on Sunday to prep for the last week of school. Jeremy was still on the West Coast.

Edda and her teacher Mr. Pat. They are on a train celebrating the last few days at school.
Edda and I went out to celebrate her last day of freshman year.

Vince had a big week. Now that I’m working less, I’m trying to fit all the appointments in that I can. Vince got new glasses to help him read distance. He took his driving test (he didn’t pass). And then he had his hair dyed by Ella with Sam watching on.

I told them to do it in the garage to save our bathroom.
The end result.

Part time, GoPro, reunion.

I’m done with being a full-time nurse! Thank goodness. It was/is a lot. I’m still learning about human nature and medicine. It certainly feels like meaningful work. I’m happy I’m doing it, but I’m also very happy to go part time now.

We got a GoPro camera for Vince’s many outdoor adventures this summer. We hemmed and hawed over the purchase of it because I think it might not be used very much – we have a long line of photo equipment that hasn’t been used enough to justify the cost. But at least it’s fun to check out.

GoPro with head mount.
Our life when set to a soundtrack.

I’m going to my 25th reunion tomorrow. Still gotta pack. Vince will come with on a later flight. Jeremy is headed to California to bike and do some work. Edda will be home with Kitachi.

The internet is can be evil. But it can also be a wonderous thing. You can see me graduate from college at the 1:17 mark. What the hell am I wearing? It looks like white socks and sneakers? WTF?

And it goes on.

I’m not entirely thrilled by this new blogging software. I’m a little afraid that I won’t be able to make the transition well and my blogging life will be over. I’m nothing if not a pessimist. One post at a time.

I worked at the hospital over the weekend. I have two more shifts left before I go part time – tomorrow and Wed. Wish me luck.