Things I’m learning from YouTube.

A few days ago, I was contemplating cutting Edda’s hair. I always want to cut her hair to chin length, but I’ve been procrastinating for a few months. I send Edda to school with only the front bit of her hair in a little ponytail, but she always comes back from school with all her hair in a sloppy, high ponytail. I think someone at school really wants the hair away from her face. So I decided I should try French braiding her hair everyday. So I’m trying. I’m halfway decent at it, but not as good as our au pair Keyla who would do amazing things with Edda’s hair and it would stay together tightly against her head though the day. My braid starts the day pretty tight, but by the end of the day, it looks pretty frazzled. I’ll keep trying. I watch lots of youtube videos.

That’s the first thing I’m learning from youtube. I’m also learning two other things: handstands and Spanish. I decided that before I turn 50, I’m going to learn how to hold a handstand for 10 seconds. I’ve never been able to do this in my life and it’s helping me with my shoulder rehab. So for about 5 minutes each night, I throw myself upside down against a wall to try and find the balance. I’m learning to not to search for the balance by being lucky, but to try and create the balance by adjusting how I press against the floor with hands – sometimes more with the fingers, sometimes more with the heel. But I need to be strong enough to hold my bodyweight upside down for a bit to find it, right now it’s a combination of being unable to find the balance and being somewhat weak and unable to stay upside down for longer than 10-15 seconds. I’m also still listening to Spanish on youtube. Depending on the topic, I can now almost understand full conversations in the break room at the hospital from Spanish-speaking staff and more and more patients are waving away me using the translator phone and we stumble through our day with a mixture of bad English/Spanish (I always use the translator phone when I need detailed information to be conveyed).

Weekend update.

We are fine, we are fine, but it’s been a rough weekend in the neighborhood, but everyone is on the mend. At some point in time, we had two dogs from two different households and a feverish child (not mine, not covid) in the house. I worked at the hospital yesterday, I really wanted to call out, but I did not because Jeremy handled everything – it was a tough shift for a Sunday. A good nursing team, but a lot was going on and my mind was elsewhere. Unstable blood pressures, blood transfusions, doctors who were hard to get in touch with, etc. etc.

Edda got her booster on Saturday morning. Initially, I had scheduled it at the CVS at 7 am. I had some trouble procuring this appointment because since the kiddo doses came out, the appointments have filled again. But this CVS is 24 hours and I could have scheduled an appointment at 2am. Anyways, the mid-day appointments were all gone, so I scheduled it for the latest open morning appointment which was 7 am. That meant that Saturday, instead of a slightly lazy morning where we could sleep in until 7:30, it would be a regular get-up-at-6 am day. So we all woke up and got Edda up and as I was about to leave the house and checking my email to look up the appt details, I noticed that they cancelled our appt earlier in the morning. I guess someone called out. Anyways, I was sitting around a little grumpy that I had gotten up early (because Friday night was CRAZY and I could have used more sleep), but I hunted around a little and found a county run site at the local community college and they had appointments at 9:30. So we headed out there and got the job done. Edda did have a restless night on Saturday and was under the weather on Sunday. Eliana was here and took good care of her while I was at work. I wanted Edda to have her extra dose before we head into the holidays and travel. We are not hosting our normal 40-50 person Thanksgiving this year, but we are hosting 20. Sometimes I go around and say – we aren’t having a Thanksgiving! But then Jeremy reminds me that 20 is still a lot and it will be a lot (of fun). Even without covid, I’m not sure we’d get up to the 40 person event anyways, there are other reasons people can’t travel. I need to think of something to make – I want to make something!


Vince ordered something and accidentally had it delivered to the house. He told us to open the package and set it near some friends. Now it lives with all our squishys and Edgar Allen Poe.

Vince is a funny, funny boy. He’s getting the hang of things – figuring out friends, figuring out how much to study, how to fix his bike & go grocery shopping. All good. But for weeks now, I’ve been reminding him to get his flu shot – it’s mandated by his school and the deadline is next week. I said – just sign up through the school or walk into a Target or whatever. It was a mixture of kind of forgetting and also casually looking and finding no appointments available within walking/biking distance from school. I kind of couldn’t believe it that there were no appointments, but we stepped through the web sites last night and, lo and behold, there were no appointments anywhere right around campus (probably also because kiddos 5-11 are getting their first shots). So I pulled out my computer and set the search wider and made him an appointment on Monday in the same town he got his COVID shot about 8 miles from campus. This will require a car. I turned to Jeremy and said, well I guess no one in Woodland is getting vaccinated because that’s the place you go to get any vaccine availability.

Late birthday present.

Jeremy got me a new laptop for my birthday. He eagerly awaited the announcement from Apple (a few weeks past my birthday) and then ordered it and then tracked the package with the tracking info (they missed us one day – how I have no idea because we were both home) and then hand delivered the box to my desk. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I do – sometimes I have issues with having “nice things”. I feel like I don’t deserve them or that they are for other people. So, even though I really needed a new computer, I left the box unopened all afternoon on my desk. Jeremy peeked in and asked – so aren’t you going to open it? I demurred. I said that he could open it – he said he’d only open the cardboard box and leave the rest to me. He gently pulled the pull tab on the cardboard box and the whole thing bloomed open to reveal the box. He *wowed* at the cardboard box design. (There is some team of engineers out there kicking ass on cardboard box shipping designs.) I had been to Sunday night dinner and the other people around the table were saying that they had used their old computer for the longest time ever without replacing it and they gave years of 2017, 2018 (granted Seth and Eric both use their computers for way more than I do – including programming, gaming (I guess?), video editing, etc. – I just read blogs and watch youtube) and my old computer was purchased in 2013! I’ve been using my old computer for 8 years. There was no space left on that poor thing – it couldn’t update anymore, it maintained its battery life for about 10 minutes. But I loved it and it took me through nursing school and then limped along with it for a long time.

Scarlett, the dog, is so quiet in the house – I can hardly tell there is another living thing here in the same room as me. I was like – was Maxi this quiet? Jeremy was like – no, you remember Maxi sang and whined and barked at everything. Scarlett does none of these things. Scarlett does the designated dog job very well though – the job is to eat all the food that Edda drops on the floor. Of all the dogs we’ve had in the house, Scarlett might be #1 at this job. She does eat the food, but she doesn’t race on over to eat as soon as it falls, she ambles. And she also doesn’t stand right next to Edda with her head in her lap almost eating the food right from Edda’s mouth. Maxi did this – she would see Edda chewing a broccoli half in/half out of her mouth and decide the half out was as good as hers and ease her head to be like 8 inches from Edda’s mouth and we would have to shoo her away.

Gym, Scarlett.

We went to the gym for the first time in – well you know since when. I had been a member of two gyms – the rockville city gym and the earth treks climbing gym. They served two purposes for me – the city gym is full of 70 and 80 year olds still getting their workout in. The climbing gym is full of 20 year old Asian women doing 5 pull ups. Both are incredible inspirations for me. I kind of refused to join my age appropriate gym. I gave them both up and thought I wouldn’t go back. But we are back (at least at the city gym). Incredibly, it was pretty much as full as the day I left it and the same people were there and we did the same thing like nodding at each other without knowing anyone’s name (not quite true, we did bump into a good friend there…). Even though (I think) the indoor mask mandate was dropped a few weeks ago, everyone was masked – including the dude in the blue shirt in the photo below who was doing a full on running workout with huffing and puffing and sweat flying everywhere. Why he wasn’t outside or on the track was beyond me, it was a beautiful day outside.

Why were we in the gym? For the squat rack which is pretty much the last piece of equipment we don’t have at home. Jeremy has decided he needs to add heavy weights to his training. And that means squats and deadlifts which also runs into another problem which is that he’s really inflexible and can’t squat more than 4 inches down without his heels lifting up off the ground. I went with him to film. I’m the opposite (as many Asians are) and I can wait for the bus in a deep squat. I find squatting very comfortable. He might hire both a bike coach and/or a strength coach.

I’m in the “off season” of running which I’m enjoying tremendously. I’m running less, deliciously gaining some weight (buttered bread and ice cream), and thinking about what to do next. My right shoulder is not perfect and will never be perfect, it’s been almost a year injured, but I think I can get it back to almost OK – I’ve had on/off trouble with it since I was in my 20s. I’ve been spending time rehabbing – some youtube person recommended doing dead hangs – which I’m working on up to doing for a minute. I don’t want my shoulder to do anything fancy, but I would like to lift a gallon of milk from the back of the fridge without pain and also to do a push up (both not quite yet).

I’m almost at the end of my self imposed increased work stint at the hospital to learn the new computer system. I really love it, I feel like I don’t wrestle with it each and everyday which is what I was doing with the old computer system. It streamlines my workflow, I don’t need to take as many notes. I finish my documentation by the end of the shift and I can also see documentation that other people miss and help gather that information. There was an ICU nurse who floated to our unit yesterday and worked next to me. I asked about the COVID situation downstairs and he said it was about 9 out of 30 beds and that while most people were not vaccinated, there were still some people there who had been vaccinated. I tried to get him to work on our unit, but he laughed and said – I like having two patients who are intubated and sedated – these talky-walky patients are weird, they have questions and ask you for stuff.

We are dog sitting Scarlett!

Dentist, larynx.

We took Edda to the dentist yesterday and she spilled out of the kid-sized chair. This was a reschedule to last week’s appointment because I need Jeremy at the appt and he was traveling. As Edda has gotten older, she’s less able to clear her mouth of food and big chunks can stay in her mouth for a long time, leading to more cleaning issues for all of us. And oddly, she’s gotten strangely stronger and fights the dental cleaning more and tends to gag now much more than years ago. At least this time, she didn’t throw up. But it seems that the two teeth she pulled out last year are going to stay in her head as long as she doesn’t repull them out again.

I have long talks with Alice about what is suffering. (She’s in a chemo clinical trial.) and sometimes in the middle of a walk, she will turn to me and tell me – but I’m suffering now! And then I say something like, but there are so many good things – perhaps worth the suffering? Some days she gives me a withering look and telepathically I can feel her say to me – you have no idea. Other days she smiles and nods her head and agrees with me. And then it occurred to me that maybe Edda is suffering everyday. I’m not sure. I’ve always comforted myself thinking that she isn’t suffering, but these days, I’m not sure. Sometimes I cry about this.

Jeremy was on NPR – here. There is a thinness in his voice that he’s been having for a few years now that you can hear in the clip. Sometimes when we are having an intense discussion, I feel like he’s yelling at me because in order to talk with conviction, he has to force his voice more to get more intonation and the forcing of the voice adds a feeling of “yelling”. (I know this is a low bar for yelling, but we don’t yell in our relationship, so this is what I work with.) When he added a symptom of a slight cough a few months ago, I did go a little crazy and thought he was going to die on me (which I readily acknowledged was crazy-talk and told him it was a psychological thing because one neighbor has lung cancer and another neighbor is getting his immune system obliterated right now because of leukemia – everyone with young kids) and annoyed him a lot to get it checked out. Anyways, he’s not dying of cancer, he probably has laryngopharyngeal reflux – he larynx is really inflamed. He might have to give up coffee which pained him especially yesterday (he had a hard day yesterday). He loves coffee (I don’t understand this world-wide coffee love) – a big part of our falling-in-love story centers around him making a hand-ground cup for me everyday in 1995 (when we didn’t yet understand pumpkin spice latte) and me pretending to like it. I would like the richness of his voice to come back.

Halloween weekend.

Jeremy was tired this weekend, so I went to Sunday night dinner – just me and Edda. It was a low turnout because various family members wanted to be at their own home to welcome the trick ‘o treaters instead of going to Gene and Bette’s which was fine. I often like the various mix of people who show up for dinner, different combos lead to different conversations. I thought I left Jeremy to rest in bed, but I think he left the porch light on inadvertently and we had some candy in the freezer (which I had bought for myself) and so when I returned, I found him handing out candy to the neighborhood kiddos. Ning, Brian and Noah contributed this fabulous jack ‘o lantern.