Puppy Elka.

Thursday morning, I picked Jeremy up from almost Poolesville because he got a flat tire while on a long bike ride. I was amazed how far he had travelled. I felt like he was gone only an hour, but I had to drive 35 minutes to get to him. The scenery got greener and greener as a made my way to him. He’s trying a new tubeless tire system where there is no inner tube in the tire. Usually, he’s fine fixing a flat tire with an inner tube, but this new system has learning curve – you have a tire and you partially fill it with a liquid latex. So when the tire gets pierced, the pressure in the tire will force the liquid out of the hole and it’s suppose to self seal itself with the particles suspended in the liquid. It works well with small holes, but if it’s a bigger hole, you can stuff it with something called a bacon strip (see below) to help it along, but that didn’t work either. It’s suppose to be better than an inner tube somehow, but not on Thursday. He’s been running experiments all weekend regarding the flat.

Thursday afternoon, we picked up Elka, our new 5 month old puppy. I worked with an organization called K-9 Lifesavers. Someone else adopted the first dog I chose, so now I got to talk to the coordinator and I said – I want a puppy, good with kids & other dogs and then said – will you please be the dog whisperer and tell me which one to pick? And she looked through the list carefully and then picked Elka – she’s a good one. I kind of hesitated a minute because she looked so much like Maxi and I urged her to recommend a 2nd one, but as she was looking through the list (kind of having a hard time picking a 2nd one out of a list of 125 dogs), Jeremy walked into the room and took a look at the photo and said – I’m sold! Let’s get her. So we got her and the house has been full of puppy energy which is welcome because we are so old. We are keeping the puppy name which we all like, but is very close to Edda. And then sometimes I call her Maxi. She’s from Alabama, but now here in Rockville.

She may look like Maxi, but she behaves nothing like her.

She’s curious, relaxed, loves to snuggle, but is not needy. She doesn’t know her name yet – she does not feel the need to come when called. Does that mean that Maxi was uninterested, uptight, didn’t like you to touch her, and needy? Kind of. No, she was curious too and not needy, but she was uptight and very much not a snuggler. Haha. There might have been moments in Max’s life where I thought we weren’t well matched, but we all love Maxi so much and miss her terribly.

She likes going to work with us, here she is at her inaugural zoom meeting saying hello to all of Jeremy’s coworkers.

Thursday night, I went to a ceremony for Edda’s teacher Megan who was awarded the special education teacher of the year award. It was held in a TV studio because, I think, it was mainly to be televised, but I snuck past two bouncers who asked my name (my name was not on the list). It was a long ceremony, and I had a really (surprisingly) good time. Of course, I was very happy for Megan, but it was also quite moving to hear about all the work of various educators over the past year who are taking care of our children. Someone said – it’s easy to advocate for your own kid, but what about a dozen kids? 200 kids? 150,o00 kids? I’m so happy we have such hardworking people looking out for our children.

Of course, as soon as I got the puppy, I left town to have Jeremy manage Elka (me – you know, as soon as I pick up the puppy, you will have to take care of her by yourself for a couple of days. him – whatt?!?!? oh yeah, you are leaving town. i hadn’t quite made the connection that I’m on puppy duty.)

I went to see Kiranavali in Philly where she is spending a few months with her daughter Akshara.

We went shopping at the impressive King-of-Prussia mall where there are fake fiddle leaf figs everywhere – west elm, pottery barn.

And then I went to visit Bob and Katherine where I got to help with computer installation and installing window shutters and visit with folks from their community. It was very, very nice and very, very hot! I headed back Saturday afternoon.

And I came home to Jeremy!

Fiddle leaf fig.

Last week, I was outside playing pokemon go on a dog-less walk (which honestly, is a ridiculous thing to be doing), I found that one of our neighbors was throwing away a fiddle leaf fig tree (price tag still on – $50 from home depot). I’ve always wanted a fiddle leaf fig tree (they are all over instagram), but I thought they were too expensive and also, I kind of knew my house was too dark to support one and I have a terrible gardening thumb – so I never bought one. But now that there are no small children in the house and I’ve placed our plants strategically around the house so they look like “decor” and not random wilted pots with brown leaves that are shoved all together in the front foyer, I thought I could do something with this fig tree which is way taller than me and has only two leaves at the top.

Every time I’m interested in anything, I’m fascinated by youtube and the information it can give me. There are literally thousands of channels regarding fiddle leaf fig care. At least 2 channels that only talk about fiddle leaf fig plants. That’s like a whole channel devoted to talking about my left big toe or the lint in my dryer trap. I think I enjoy the plant youtube community more than the luxury purse youtube community. Everything is cheaper and there is more gender parity. Anyways, I quickly learned that this fig tree probably didn’t get enough light in the spot it was placed in, and all the leaves dropped and then it got placed out into the trash. So I found it, as I suspected, needs light all day, but not direct light or else it will burn, so it’s perfect for my mostly shaded porch.

So I plunked it outside and I’m so happy to report some new growth. It’ll be OK out there for the summer, but once winter rolls around, I probably need to buy it its own light. If it flourishes this summer, I probably will spend more than $50 on a grow light for this free fig tree.

Beans and fun.

I think I finally feel good from having covid a month ago. I’m not quite sure if I had another illness the last week (which I might have) or if my covid was “sticky” or if I was depressed and sullen or if the weather turned better, but right now, I’m feeling like my regular self again. Maybe it will not be true this afternoon. I was nowhere close to being hospitalized, but if it indeed was the residue of covid, I’m not looking forward to being that sick every 4-6 months.

I’m trying to add more protein to my diet these days. After I train for this marathon in the fall (which is not going well due to missing a bunch of March running with shoulder pain and April due to covid), I think I’ll need to work on some strength training. I’d really like to do three things everyday – some cardio, some strength and some flexibility. I usually manage only 2/3. If I had all the time in the world, I’d add some explosiveness training (like jumping on a box – recently I tried this and omg, this is is impossible now) and some balance training. There is only so much time in the day.

I wanted to add more plant protein to my diet, so I’m adding my favorite beans – chick peas and some white beans (both of which Jeremy is not very fond of), but he made some in the instant pot from dry and now our beans are right next to each other. OMG we are so boring.

Vince sent some photos of his college life to us yesterday. He usually doesn’t do this, so it was a nice surprise. I don’t think he’d mind me sharing. It seems a lot of fun there. We texted him our bean picture as the most exciting thing of the day and he texted back – that’s fun too! lol. Not really.

Weekend update.

As we were falling asleep last night, I asked Jeremy if he had a nice weekend and he said yes. And then I said – I hope so because you got to bike for 10 hours this weekend (adding an emoji lol to the tone of my voice). Then he looked at me and said – it wasn’t 10 hours! And then I said – what are you talking about? It was 4 hours on Saturday and 6 hours today! And then he paused and laughed – it wasn’t 10, but it was more than 9. (100 km on Saturday, 100 miles on Sunday). He asked if I had a nice weekend and I said – yes! I worked most of the weekend. My working this weekend was entirely my own fault as I could have done the work during the week, but I was (when I’m mean to myself) lazy or (when I’m nice to myself) tired, I think still recovering from the vestiges of covid and/or having some weird peri menopausal symptoms and wanted to nap.

We did have Edda care both days. On Saturday, we have a new caregiver, Abby, who is learning the ropes and Sunday we had Eliana who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Doggies.

Ning, Brian and Noah are moving out of our basement apartment at the end of June and our previously full house seems to be shrinking and becoming quieter all the time. All these things overlapped and weave in/out of each other and might not have been all at the same time, but at some point in the last few years it seemed like we had the four of us, our two dogs, a young au pair, our downstairs tenants and their baby and then their dog. Soon it will be down to only the three of us which seems ridiculous for such an enormous house. We returned Scarlett back to her home earlier this week and almost immediately, I went looking for a doggie for us.

I went through my old emails and I found photos of Maxi (who was named Curio) before she became part of our family and I found photos of her and her mom! I had forgotten about that, we really miss Maxi.

Last night at dinner, I asked Jeremy which dog we should pick from the list of doggies from K9 lifesavers. I was drawn to a Lab mix who is shy but loves babies, kids and other dogs and is an indiscriminate eater. A little older than a puppy – really a doggie teenager. We’ll see what happens.

Dentist and NP

We went to the dentist on Tuesday. I needed to remember to not feed Edda breakfast in the mornings before the appt because she tends to gag and last time, she threw up a bit. It was fine. We are not doing a good job with her teeth, which is why we do cleanings every three months. Edda tends to pocket her food and with this comes plaque buildup. She is fed lots of snacks during the school day and at aftercare (this is an issue because we are trying to watch her weight) and I know they don’t clear her mouth well after the snacks. Even if she drinks deeply after the snack, I know I’ve found chunks of food lodged in strange places in her mouth.

I went to the hospital on Wed. It was a fine shift, though I had a patient who was not doing well (but was relatively stable), which is stressful. Constantly checking on her and her family. Often I feel like crying during my shifts for no good reason, but I’m also, at moments, very content during the shifts as well. Earlier in the week, Jeremy suggested that I apply for NP programs (which I had always thought I’d do) to switch up the nursing part of my life and so I started an application and asked for recommendations. I’m ambivalent about this next step – but it feels good to start working on something.

Bowl and audiobooks.

Jeremy got me this green ceramic bowl from Camphill for Mother’s Day, it’s exactly what I wanted and I used it this morning to eat leftover Chinese food from last night’s Sunday night dinner. We had to rearrange the meeting place because at 3 pm on Sunday, Sarah mentioned that 6 of her lacrosse team players had tested positive for Covid (they had all eaten together and hung out on Thursday night) – so in the end, it was just the three of us and Gene and Bette with Chinese takeout from Shanghai Taste (who I think may never reopen their dining room again and just do takeout – I walked in at 4:15 pm on Sunday afternoon and there were literally 20 bags of takeout ready to be picked up). Vince is sick on the west coast, though still testing negative (both on the home rapid test which I hurriedly ordered for him from Amazon and on the school spit PCR test).

I’m reading three books at once which is unheard of for me. I can’t remember the last time I did this, I’m usually a one book at a time person. I’m reading the Ocean Vuong one with Vickey, the Draper – out of my mind one with Sofie and I’m listening to Code Breaker on my phone. I have a hard time with audiobooks, usually preferring podcasts, because my listening skills are not very good and I often lose track of the plot of the book because do daydream in the middle of listening to things. But I read somewhere that you can practice listening and get better at it, so I’m picking non-fiction with a linear plot line and one main character. I first listened to Educated which I’ve tried to read before, but I found too boring to sit through, but fine to listen to and, in the end, was interesting. Code Breaker – about Jennifer Doudna – the Nobel Prize winner for her work with gene editing – has an enormous cast of characters, but I’m semi-familiar with the science and it pulls in lots of interesting things for me – high powered science labs, food scientists (something Vince is interested in), people I know (I took a class from Eric Lander), patent fights and the patent office and medical implications – including maybe editing the Rett gene.

Biking and motherhood.

Jeremy and Emy spent the weekend bike racing. They were up near Saratoga Springs doing the Battenkill bike race. This was Emy’s first organized bike event and Jeremy’s third (?) time doing this course.

They had a nice time from what I gathered. Jeremy did not break 4 hours (I think his previous times were 4:01:12 and 4:00:53 or something like that), but he didn’t take it too hard.

And the reward for racing for four hours – lots of ice cream.

And today is mother’s day! I’m with Eliana and Edda and I made a mother’s day brunch for us. I consider Eliana a daughter in many ways, she knows I’m looking out for her and she looks out for me. She signed some guardianship papers for me last week when I needed a witness and asked – after some hesitation – who’s taking care of Edda if Jeremy and I are both gone. I told her our semi-complicated plan (which I’m in the middle of finalizing) and then she said – you know, I’ll take care of Edda if you are gone. I’ll be here with her. and we both cried. There is a lot of crying around Mother’s Day. I made cheesy eggs, buttermilk pancakes, bacon, fruit salad. We sat down and ate and chatted about motherhood. Edda was happy.

Jeremy saw his parents and Ben in Pennsylvania yesterday. A pleasant visit for all. Everyone seems well.

I’m in two two-person book clubs! (The book selections are very different.) Sofi wanted me to read this book (below: Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper) that she’s reading at school for a project and so I ordered it and had it sitting on my bedside table (Book club books are paper only). And then the next time she saw me, the first thing she asked was if I had read the book. I sheepishly said that I had made it to page 3 and she looked at me like – so I thought you were going to read the book with me. I asked what page she was on and she said page two hundred something. I might have groaned and then she countered – it’s a quick read!! I stopped at page three because I realized that it was a book about a brilliant disabled child constrained by her palsied body and (at least at the beginning) trapped in a special needs classroom where no one knows of her cleverness. I understand why Sofi wants me to read this book, but I’m already not entirely enamored of the subject – it makes me sad. (Not that I don’t like books about disabilities, I love Wonder, I love Of Mice and Men). But it has 10,000 awards and many many good reviews and Sofi is right, it is a quick read – I’m hoping that it’ll be triumphant in the end. I dunno, I’m concurrently reading a book with Vickey that has scenes of animal cruelty and we spent some time yesterday on the phone discussing that scene in particular and, omg!

Update.

I’m still in a bad mood, slightly more depressed than I like to be at baseline. One would figure after all these years, I mostly know how to manage the moods, but I don’t like being in the middle of them.

Yesterday, I went to the Family Law self-help center for help with Edda’s guardianship case. We filed the case incorrectly the first time and then corrected it and succeeded in opening the case. Then they mailed a pile of paperwork to me and I needed to understand how to serve the interested parties. So I went and waited at the self-help center to figure out who I needed to mail letters to and with what level of witnessing/certified letter. I got assigned to an attny who had given lots of presentations that I had attended about guardianship, so it was nice to be able to work with him. I think I should be able to get this done without much problem.

Jeremy is off on a weekend biking adventure with Emy and along the way, he’ll see his parents and Ben (from Sweden) – this was not planned, at least the Ben part, but it worked out just fine. His work trip in June to California might be cancelled because of covid, I can’t quite believe how bifurcated pandemic response is in this country. Lots of offices are having parties and gatherings. His office held a single in-person gathering (the office’s first since 3/2020) where people flew in a few weeks ago – maybe 40 people attended and 2 people got sick and one sick person had to isolate and recuperate at the place of the meeting and not at their home city. So then this throws into disarray all subsequent meeting plannings. His boss in California who has young children said 10% of the kids at daycare have covid now. It took us only about 3 weeks of “regular” socializing to get sick.