I made this enormous lasagne for three people tonight – Edda, Kitachi & me. We ate about a third of it. I used the no-boil noodles. A little weird, but not too bad.

Jeremy took this tiny plane to Albany today.


My shift on Sunday was manageable, though I didn’t sleep well the night before and I didn’t sleep well the night after either. I had a lot of grumpy-ish people on Sunday, but the shift was manageable enough that I had time to make everyone less grumpy. (Which I oddly enjoy doing. I love taking report where the night nurse cautions me – this patient/family is grouchy, demanding, unreasonable, etc. etc. and by the end of my day, I’ve managed them to be calm, mostly reasonable & doing what I need them to do. It doesn’t always work and I can get frustrated too, but like 90% of the time I can de-escalate. Now that I’ve said this, I won’t be able to do it anymore.)

I had to miss Jane’s birthday party on Sunday afternoon:

Vince spent the weekend camping and participating in Klondike in which all the area troops gather together and compete in various events. You can read about it here. It was wet and cold, not ideal.

Jeremy is in Albany today – he left at 5 am? Will be back after dinner tonight.

I think this is the only photo of Vince inside of me. Still working through old photos.

My dad got diagnosed with a moderate-type of prostate cancer yesterday. PSA levels are low. He’ll undergo radiation for a few months. He doesn’t seem worried, I’m not too worried. We’ll see how it goes. My mom seems the most worried.

CNY – the year of the rat.

I’m having a particularly bad version of my Sunday scaries tonight. I have Sunday scaries every night before a hospital shift. Sometimes it’s not so bad and other times, I get all anxious and weird. When I was working full time, it was particularly terrible because I would usually work two days in a row and then have three days off and then two days back on and then maybe a day off and etc, etc. I could have Sunday scaries like three times a week (and it was worse because I was new and learning). I usually wouldn’t have them the 2nd day of two-in-a-row because I would be too tired to really care.

We had a quiet CNY celebration on Friday night at my parents. We’ll have a bigger one next week with more extended family. It’s my year! The year of the rat. My mom was like 36! and then I’m like -no! it’s 48! Mom, I’m 48! and she laughed. She really thought I was turning 36 for a minute there. It’s not auspicious that we are starting it off with the coronavirus. They’ve pretty much canceled CNY in China. My parents have cancelled their annual 2-3 month trip to China. My mom did her best version of a taro-based Chinese dessert. It was not bad. Not too sweet (<- this is the best compliment for a Chinese dessert. Not it’s delicious! nor It’s so rich!. Remember – it’s not too sweet.)

Jeremy is doing a herculean task of downloading all my photos from flickr and then backing them up on a hard drive and then to Google photos. It’s not an easy thing. There are 100,000 photos on flickr. They gave us over 200 zip files. I’m afraid flickr is dying and 99% of the photos on this blog are linked to flickr. There is a lot of back end web stuff I need to figure out for this blog. I do not like maintaining a website. But we get to see old photos like Edda on the inside of me. I look at this photo and think – young, naive Doris. You know so little in this photo. You think you know things, but really, Doris, you know nothing.

Edda learning to nurse:

Edda fell twice this weekend. We think she might just be starting to have little seizure-y things that are causing her to lose control and fall. And she falls like a cut tree in a forest. Like straight down and straight back. It’s scary for all of us. We’ve had such freedom letting her roam around the house always near her as in the same room, but never like a guard in a basketball game. If the frequency of falling increases, we might have to keep her in her chair more or something which would be bad for many, many reasons.

Jack got lanced.

Vince named his burn blister Jack. Vince was helping Sam do his Eagle Scout project at a local fire department. Vince borrowed the minivan today to shuttle 7 kids back and forth from the project today after school. The EMT at the fire station lanced his blister. I guess they know about burns.

Burn, quilt, traffic.

Vince burned his hand in class today with a hot glue gun. Not good. I asked him if he told the teacher about the burn and he said that he did not thinking that he could handle it. And I guess he’s fine. I told him not to break open the blister (even though I would totally want to lance it if it was myself). It’s good to keep the skin intact as long as possible to keep the germs out. Sometimes I get patients who have an enormous swollen appendage and I ask them what happened? And they say, nothing! I was as work and then my arm totally started swelling up. And then became infected. And now they need IV antibiotics for weeks.

Jeremy is biking in his closet. He’s trying to improve his positioning on the bike (which requires flexibility which he does not have in abundance) and therefore is taking a lot of video of himself riding and then asking me to look at the videos and to tell him if I can see if his back is any straighter. I can’t tell any sort of difference. His back has been hurting for a few weeks now (which he blames on the one time (just before the holidays) when he was trying to lower the handlebars to create a more tucked (and therefore aerodynamic position))- frustrating him with all new Christmas biking equipment just taunting him and his sore back.

This is my masterpiece quilt which I finished before the holidays, but only got around to putting the nameplate on this past week. It’s for Denise, so I shipped it off to Germany.

And I started this next one…. I did not work on either Sat or Sunday – though I was at the hospital on Monday (which was fine – surprisingly). Since I can work a lot and I do work a lot, I find it helpful to declare certain days as days I don’t do any work (well any paid work) for my sanity and to rest and regenerate. Jeremy, though, worked all three days of the weekend preparing a talk for tomorrow.

Vince did not get into Pitt honors. So I guess there goes the batting 1000? I can’t quite decide. Jeremy thinks it counts as ball whiff. Though I think I would love being in the honors program, Jeremy thinks it’s not really Vince’s scene. Vince actually said – I don’t care about honors, I think it’s just more work.

Jeremy’s been making me watch these city building videos with traffic simulations. Vince actually has bought this game. Jeremy asked if Vince was planning on bringing his gaming computer to college and he said that he was going to leave it at home and then Jeremy’s kind of weirdly excited to try this out. Or else just keep watching other people try it out on youtube.


I didn’t mean to stop posting on the blog. Is this my longest unintentional pause on the blog? Maybe. Often I make an intentional decision to not blog and take a break for a week or so, but this time I let the days just slip by. If I reassess why, it’s a few things. Over the last two weeks, I’ve made a trial excursion into the duolingo app for learning Spanish. I’ve often felt that I shouldn’t even bother learning Spanish because there is no way I would ever become fluent. (I’m losing words rapidly in English, both because my mind can’t find the right words when they are on the tip of my tongue and because English is rapidly changing from under me. Vince keeps coming to me and saying new words – simp was last night’s new vocab. And I know I’m constantly screwing up noun/verb agreements blahblahblah when I write). But I’ve been reconsidering the goal of fluency. Maybe it’s enough to offer someone apple or orange juice in their native language? I dunno. Anyways, that takes up about 15-20 minutes of my day. And I’m entertaining myself at the hospital. I’m amusing the housekeeping staff when I tell them in Spanish – I need to buy an expensive cat, but my favorite store is closed. And then they laugh and say cat? You need a cat? And then I tell them, I have only 10 vocabulary words, I gotta rotate through them all. And yesterday, my intro to my patient was good enough that they asked hopefully – you speak Spanish? I shook my head no with an apologetic smile and went to dial the phone translator’s number.

I’ve also added 15-30 min of strength training during the day. Also an app-based activity – I found an app called fitbod which just makes up a gym routine based on your equipment and time available. And it slowly increases your weights. So I just click on it and it whirls around and settles on the exercises and then I do what it says. And then you realize that the things you thought you could always do and would forever be able to do you haven’t done in a long time. Like a box jump. You put an 18 inch box in front of you and then you look at it for a few moments and contemplate – by golly, when was the last time you jumped that high? And then you replace it with a 12 inch box.

Also, I’m working more hours (at home mostly) to try to make more $ in advance of the big college bills, so that takes away from blogging time.

And lastly, I’m trying to stay off the computer at night just to have time to wind down and get ready to sleep. Sleep is harder to come by these days, so I’m doing what I can to help it along.

And lastly finally, I’m binge watching Cheer on Netflix.

American flag in my living room.

Jeremy did buy a Minnesota sweatshirt for Vince – sized L. But somehow it’s the smallest L anyone has ever seen. So it’s mine. We had to tell Vince that the more prestigious the department, generally the worse the undergraduate learning experience is because the department gets famous for producing famous research so then the faculty’s main job is to produce the famous research and maintain their labs and tend to their funding and graduate students and then undergraduate classes are the last on their list of priorities. And then Vince asked me if all my teachers in college were terrible and I said that I had a bunch of teachers that were quite good and the classes were great but I also had many many classes that were just terrible and incoherent and I wished I had youtube in the day because I did not want/need to learn math theory which was pretty much all I got in class. I just want to know how to do the math problems. Jeremy had the experience of being a TA at Caltech and watched his advisor prepare for class and the professor would intentionally skip over the introduction, overview or review because “these were Caltech students and that would be too easy for them” which resulted in me sitting in class totally lost from the very first line at the chalkboard. I have never felt as stupid in my life as sitting in graduate classes where the first equation contains 17 greek letters and I had no idea what any of those letters meant. Jeremy piped up and explained to Vince – that is the argument for a small liberal arts school – the professors are there primarily to teach undergraduates. You still have a few days to apply if you want to. Haverford’s deadline is the 15th. Vince said that he’d think about it.

Me and my Large sweatshirt.

Vince asked if I would make him go to any particular college and I said generally no. He would get to pick it himself. I said there are thousands of kids at these universities, you only need about five really good pals. You’ll find five good friends anywhere. Vince laughed and said – mom, you only need five, I need about twenty five. And I said – really? And he said – I need 25 because I need three groups of friends. The goofy/fun set I can just relax with, the deep conversation set who I can talk to about my problems with and the the smart set who will help me with my schoolwork/classes.

Jeremy promised me that I’d get new rugs for Christmas. (I got new rugs and a blood pressure cuff for Christmas. I’m so old and boring). We went to IKEA last week and picked out rugs for the living room and the bedroom. (Look at photo below.) I now have a gigantic American flag in my living room. Sometimes I can be very oblivious. I did not do this on purpose. And then I thought I should somehow fix this because are we really patriotic in this way? Is this what I want my guests to see when they first walk into the house? And then I decided it was fine and I’m going to leave it and not feel self conscious about it. After we put the rug down, Edda tripped on the edge of the rug and fell flat on her back and hit her head. Ugh. We kept an eye on her and she seemed fine and we readjusted the rug to hopefully prevent future tripping. And then, later this weekend, when I was lifting her off the toilet we almost both fell again – I was wearing slippery socks and she tilted a certain way and I thought for sure I was going to drop her and send her slamming into the corner of the sink, but somehow I did manage to slow the tumble, so she did come in contact with the sink with her cheek, but by the time that happened, she was moving slowly enough that it was just a gentle tap and I was able to re-right her from that position.

Snow & Go Gophers.

In theory I should be able to sign up for a hospital shift while Jeremy is out of town as Edda has morning & early evening care and regular school and after-school camp. That’s coverage for all of Edda’s waking hours Monday through Thursday. But I almost never do because I can never tell what is going to happen that’ll need me to change directions in the middle of the day. We had an early dismissal for snow on Tuesday which meant that her after-school camp was closed so I picked Edda up at noon and texted Kitachi (our early evening caregiver) to not pick up Edda and instead stay home to avoid the snow. And then we had a two hour delay the next day where I told Ning to sleep in and not bother getting Edda ready because it would overlap with her own work schedule. Edda slept until 8:15 on Wed morning!

My parents came over on Wed to cook dinner for us.

We are still spending the cold evenings puzzling.

Vince is still batting 1000 on college decisions. He got into Minnesota ChemE this week. He found out via email while Jeremy was in the air flying to the Twin Cities. We (Jeremy and I) have a soft spot in our hearts for Minnesota. We love all our Minnesotan friends. The Chemical Engineering program is top notch, like #5 in the country after MIT, Caltech, Stanford and Berkeley. I didn’t think Vince would get in. He applied on a lark because they had an application fee waiver for early action and we told Vince – they have an excellent ChemE department. And then he got in and now he’s super excited & really interested. I said it was cold and he said I can do cold.

Jeremy & Dave and the gopher.

Jeremy spent the week working in Minneapolis but also spent time asking colleagues about the school and the Twin Cities. Lots of crazy cold activities. Stories about outdoor camping over the holidays with three feet of snow burying needed firewood and a tent that transforms into some kind of igloo. Camping was balmy this year at 0 F. Last year it was -35 F. Jeremy hosted a happy hour on Tues or Wed night and someone biked to the event over sheets of ice on the streets. How is is possible that someone biked to the event I asked? They bought studded tires – Jeremy replied.

Looks cold there. Like really cold.

And Jeremy met up with Dave (one of our favorite Minnesotans) to cruise the campus and buy Vince a sweatshirt.

No work, Eagle, Adidas tracksuit.

I do work most days including Saturdays and Sundays (at least a few hours, sometimes a whole shift) and I worked everyday through the two week holiday including all the holidays (some at home, some at the hospital), but on Saturday I declared it to be a work-free day. Though Jeremy and I did spend the morning hashing out financials for the coming college years which earlier in the week Jeremy declared – it’ll only take 10 minutes, but in reality it took the bulk of Saturday morning. That was stressful because I don’t really like taking a close look at the financials because Jeremy and I think of money very differently and even though I balance the books every month, Jeremy will ask me questions when we are trying to work out complicated financial things which sound to me like he’s accusing me of not doing a good job, but to him sounds like he’s just trying to clarify a situation. Anyways, we know this dynamic after years of working on this together, so we accommodate each other but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t stressful. Money is always stressful.

I spent the rest of the day quilting, reading at napping with Edda and we went to a lovely court of honor for the recent Eagle Scouts of our troop. Now that college applications are over, Vince is working on his Eagle scout requirements which need to be done by his 18th birthday, so about 8 weeks.

Jeremy received his matching Adidas tracksuit in the mail today. Vince had invited 3 boys over for a sleepover last night and at about 10:30 this morning, Jeremy put on the tracksuit, popped his head into Vince’s room and asked if they wanted to see something cool and then he walked in with this outfit. The boys laughed appreciatively. We got childcare for Edda today and we went to IKEA to buy my Christmas presents which are new area rugs for the bedroom and for the living room. I wonder how long it will be before Maxi pees on them all. I give her about a week. Jeremy is off to Minnesota this week. I used to grumble when he travels, but these days I’m a little happier when he leaves because it means I didn’t sign up for a shift a the hospital and I get a little break.