Relentlessly cheerful.

Well, that was quite trip. Vince’s epic graduation adventure. We knew it was going to be a lot of moving parts and coordination, but Edda got sick and better and Jeremy got sick and better and then sick again and now that we are home, he’s in bed testing positive for flu A and bronchitis. I stayed well the entire time and my motto was – for the entire trip – to be relentlessly cheerful and upbeat and I was! I was helped by my course of steroids for my poison ivy which cleared up and made me feel literally never tired, never jetlagged. Constantly cheerful and like a little annoying ray of sunshine.

In many ways, we felt like we were “hosting” the trip. We first flew to Portland on Tuesday to hang out with my parents for a few days and to get over jet lag. This part of the trip was fine. Lots of luggage, bike, sleeping gear for Edda, etc.

My dad picked us up in his 1997 minivan with the dented back door and no air conditioning and in desperate need of a front end alignment, but we all fit into it and went to their house where my mom cooked and Jeremy immediately went into filial duties such as mounting a flat screen TV on their living room wall.

We went out one night to have an early Father’s Day celebration – Edda had a lovely mocktail.

Now, here is where the wheels start coming off. Jeremy went on an absolutely stunning bike ride on Thursday morning, and at the same time, Edda is puking her breakfast up – and then not keeping water down. Edda is not a puker. This is not something that she does. Jeremy came home and we headed out to urgent care. We got some anti-nausea meds and Edda seems on the mend by evening. She’s not in a terrible mood, but not her usual perky self.

My mother shows off her fantastic garden.

By Friday morning, Edda seems pretty much OK – though not eating very much – and the five of us board a flight to Sacramento. By this time, Jeremy’s parents have flown into Sac from the East Coast and Seth and Emy have driven down from Klamath Falls.

Soo…Friday afternoon, we had planned a get together for the ChemE department seniors and their families. It’s pretty hard to coordinate a party from the east coast on a campus that you have no access through except through a well-meaning, but busy senior who is getting through finals and has never really thrown a party for 50 grown-ups. So it took time to reserve the room through the department, figure out how to pay for it, and then we were stuck on how to get the food delivered. And then Vince mentioned that Dani’s parents loved to make finger food and that was their jam and they would cater it. So we’ve never met Dani’s parents (they were going to be from out of town too, but driving!) and didn’t have their contact info, but OMG, did they deliver! Deliciousness all around – little Asian hamburgers, ramen bar, handmade cookies, nachos. And the kids! The kids got drinks, plates, ice, decorations. It was really a lot of fun. And that’s where we met each other, at a party we both organized together for our kids without ever having spoken or texted to each other before.

Dun, dun, dun…queue the ominous music. Sat morning is graduation and at 4 am, I hear Jeremy puking it up in the hotel room. Four times. Poor guy. He’s too sick to go to graduation. I’m not the natural car driver in these situations, but I pinch hit and drive the parents all downtown to the stadium for graduation. Here is a concerning moment where we needed to find a bathroom *rightnow* for my mom. We found one! No puking! And she’s fine.

It takes us a little while to find our seats accommodating Edda, but it was fine and we seated as they were finishing up the national anthem. (I thought we’d left enough time, but no, I needed 10 more minutes). Vince traveled with Dani’s family and they got their early enough to procure a commemorative cowbell for the first few hundred entrants. Hahaha, oh well.

Commencement was lovely and enjoyable. Something about the rhythm of the name calling can be soothing. I’m so happy for all these kids and their families. UCD is 60% female and they all have long, beautiful hair and they are going to take over the world.

We split up a bit in the afternoon, to reconvene for dinner in Sacramento. Jeremy still felt terrible and we questioned if he should go at all, but he came and wore a mask and didn’t eat dinner. My cousin Cassandra who works as a surgeon for UCD came as well. This was for just our family and Dani’s family. It was at a casual Mexican restaurant. Katherine told me she was going to wear a particular dress of hers from Europe and she had bought me a dress by the same dressmaker at the same time and I brought it and we wore it together.

This is me and Dani’s mom Loanne.

The next day, Sunday – people start to disperse. My parents take and Uber to the airport. Jeremy’s parents are picked up by a local friend. Dani and their family head back home to southern California. We wait for Vince to wake up and head to our family vacation in Berkeley.

Jeremy, rallying, helps me with my holy grail mission. We locate the elusive capybara, a mysterious creature I have traveled the world to see. I’ve missed it many times, always cunning, I’ve finally outsmarted it and found it at the Sacramento zoo where the dad and son lazily entertained me and my family.

They are super cute.

Don’t let these photos fool you. It may look like we are walking around the zoo looking at animals, but really, we spent 90% of the time sitting on a shaded bench resting and playing Pokemon Go.

Vince got up and we picked him up and headed to Berkeley. Seth and Emy were also staying with a friend about a mile from where we were staying. Sunday night we settled into our AirBnB. Monday, Emy wakes up ill at her friends house (Vince was staying with them). Jeremy feels not 100%, but not terrible and we do our day. Jeremy has a meeting at Stanford from 11 to 2 pm, so Vince, Edda and I have our outing near Stanford. We go to Blue Bottle Coffee where he ordered a coffee and I ordered a green smoothie which tasted very weird and I was sure I was getting healthier just having it near me. We worked that morning, getting DMV account to get him a California driver’s license and he got approved for a student credit card. Very exiting.

Then we went to a Ramen place down the street for lunch which had just a long enough line to make it special, but not frustrating. Delicious. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many Asian people in one place – everyone in line was Asian – at least 30 deep.

After that, we picked up Jeremy and headed home.

The next day, Jeremy, feeling better, but not yet 100% and the rest of us headed out for a Berkeley used book walking tour. We found the new UCS west coast office (empty).

We again had coffee.

I tried on a dirndl at a used clothing shop – they had at least 100 dresses. I did not buy this one.

Then we went home. The next day, Vince headed back to Davis after an outdoor brunch with Emy. Seth is sick by now and Jeremy doesn’t feel well. We drop of Vince at the train station, he heads home and Jeremy falls face forward into another illness which turns out to be the flu. We spend the next two days quiet in our little house, hoping that Jeremy feels better. He generally does not, but rallies to make it home on the cross country flight on Friday. He wore a mask the entire time and as we are in the air, we realize that we are flying into a different airport than where our car is which we did to get a good timed direct flight, but alas, we take an Uber home and this morning, I’m up and out to National to pick up the van and Jeremy finds out at urgent care he has the flu. So in many ways, the trip was a success and in many ways, it was very trying and stressful. Mixed bag! As is life and we go on.

Besides the illnesses, the vacation was lovely – great weather, everyone behaved well and liked each other, no significant travel delays or snafus. After graduation, I know he gets his diploma, but I in my own way, he’s graduated from being my kid kid to my adult kid because I handed over his birth certificate, Social Security card and passport and said – here, this is how I tell you now you are a grown up – I don’t have any of your paperwork anymore. And Jeremy was like – hey, you don’t even let me keep track of my own passport and yes, that is a true statement.

Graduation adventure.

I finally took Sheila’s advice and got a prescription for steroids for my poison ivy on Monday afternoon at 4pm, less than 24 hours before we were scheduled to leave for the west coast for Vince’s graduation. I absolutely could not go to graduation and not talk to anyone and feel swollen and itchy. I got the script in my hand and an hour later at 5 pm, I went downstairs and started talking to Jeremy about packing for the trip and he said – oh thank goodness! you are talking fast again! I need your help and you were moving so slowly and talking not very much. And we packed together and made our plane at about 10 am the next morning and by the time we landed in Portland, my poison ivy was pretty much resolved. Yes, I should have done it a week ago and next time I will.

We flew to Portland to spend a few days with my parents at their house before flying to graduation. Jeremy was our sherpa. Edda did great on the flights.

My dad asked if we were traveling light and we said – absolutely not. We are traveling with all of Edda’s gear (bed/wheelchair) and Jeremy’s bike. So my dad picked us up in his 1997 minivan which has no air conditioning and in bad need of an alignment. But, we made it home to their house.

Since I’m on steroids, I feel great! Cheerful, energized, never jetlagged. Jeremy did the son-in-law duties of installing a flat screen TV to the wall of the family room.

We went out to dinner last night to celebrate and early Father’s Day, and Edda enjoyed a non-alcoholic ginger drink.

Today, Jeremy’s on a long bike ride and Edda’s puking this morning. So, a bit challenging because we’re on a flight tomorrow to Sacramento. Wish us luck that Edda feels better. If it’s not one things, it’s another.

Party.

Colleen hosted her retirement party at the house on Saturday afternoon. It’s nice to get the house ready for a party as I feel like our house would enjoy having more parties than usually happen. She did all the planning and decorating, we just did the cleanup.

There was a caricature artist (a fun idea).

This cake was very yummy!

I’m still working through my facial poison ivy, which was better and then got much worse on Saturday. I slept through the party and went to urgent care on Sunday and they decided that my poison ivy had progressed to an infection – a diagnosis that I completely agreed with at the time – but now that I’ve been on antibiotics for about 36 hours, I’m not really sure. Anyways, it’s better today, I’m taking the antibiotics and I still feel really worn out and tired. When I’m this way – I start feeling really sorry for myself.

Elka and Vince.

Elka had a few shots to get at the vet yesterday. She LOVES the vet. I’ve never had an animal look forward to the vet except Elka. They offered to consolidate all her shots because they were off sync, but I declined because it’s so close to the house (we walk) and she loves seeing everyone there. She loves all the good treats, she loves the spray cheese especially and doesn’t mind getting shots to getting spayed apparently. Again, I love looking at all the names of the pets.

Vince’s graduating ChemE class. May the force be with you, young ones and the wind always be at your back. Please keep our drinking water safe, develop safe energy sources and design new vaccines.

Movin’ right along.

I haven’t really been able to work this week at my regular work, mainly becuase my face is so swollen, I can’t wear my glasses so I can’t read. I also just feel really itchy and bad. I spent this week listening to a mystery audiobook and drifting in and out of a Benadryl induced sleep. The audiobook experience was hilarious because though I got the general gist of the book, oftentimes, I would wake to find the murder victim was pregnant! the main character having sex with a person I will never find out who! the suspected murderer is publishing a book and was there ever a mention of a book? Anyways, no idea. And during my waking hours, I made Vince this graduation cap topper which I’m extremely proud of.

Housing, plumbing and dress.

Lovelies, I’m slowing making my way through my stint with facial poison ivy. I did not see the doctor (sorry! – I just really don’t want to take steroids), but I did take the day off yesterday and most of the day off today and rested. I took a bunch of meetings today, but I did not turn on my camera and you won’t get to see how terribly bad it is, but I think the very worst is over, but man, it’s not fun.

Vince called a few days ago and told us that his housing for next year is secured – a room in a 4 bedroom apt on campus for $900 a month all utilities included. I think he was disappointed because it was the most expensive option he chose, preferring to probably pay about $600-$700 a month instead. I was like – that’s not bad, it’s less than you (I mean, I’m) paying now. And then slowly he asked if he could remain on the family cell phone plan to which the answer is yes. It was always going to be yes, regardless of the housing cost. I so clearly remember, you always hoping to pay a certain amount in rent, but you always end up paying more than you want to.

Speaking of paying, I paid my lovely plumber more than $1000 for this beautiful installation of my water main which was leaking. We also installed a smart water shut off valve just for funsies because as soon as I heard about it, I wanted it. Some women covet Jimmy Choo stilettos, I covet plumbing technology. But if it’s anything like any of our smart devices, it might be a miss since lights still turn on/off randomly in our house for no reason we can understand. Look at the beautiful shiney new copper! Look at the lovely crimped joints. No more soldering, just some magical crimping method.

Next is fashion. So, unbelievably, there is a ton of fashion videos which I’ve watched for a long, long time. Mostly “haul” videos of luxury purses which is interesting and mystifying to me at the same time. Tons of women with 25, 35, 45 purses worth more $4000 each. Like (besides the money) – how do you need so many purses? Where do you store all the purses? Can you possibly use all 45 purses?

But recently, two things! I’ve turned to fashion bloggers who talk about how to get dressed nicely and I’ve discovered ebay for thrifting. I’ve always hated the idea of a capsule wardrobe, where every piece is tan, black, beige or navy of very high quality and then you mix/match them. So boring! So repetitive. I can’t have 7,000 items in my closest and I don’t want to spend a ton of money on clothes, but I want to have fun. So since I’ve been renting clothes and listening to the videos and buying inexpensive, but nice clothing, I’m learning about fashion and what makes me feel good and look good for not a huge ton of money (because I’d rather spend the $ on plumbing). Really, I never thought I would do this! For example, look at this rocking outfit. The rule I’m following here is to only wear two colors – so I’m wearing red and black (there’s black in the dress and the grey is a tone of black) and the kicker is that my watch band even matches. I felt so good and so comfortable this day. And the cost breakdown is this: grey sweater – originally from Target, probably priced at $25 dollars, but I paid $5 at a thrift shop, red Rothy shoes – new would be $155, bought slightly used on ebay for $53, Mata Traders red dress – new approx $110, on ebay used for $21.50. (Disregard the dirty laundry and also you can see a bit of my eye swelling from the poison ivy). I wore this on a regular Saturday all day. Felt great.

Because I’m so embarrassed about my face, I missed Edda’s class year end picnic. Jeremy and Elka went in my stead. Jeremy brought me home Cheetos and a cookie. Lovely husband.

Poison Ivy and air fryer.

I’m feeling poorly today. I don’t know what it is, but this is the season of itchy-ness. First I got a tick bite and that was weeks and weeks of intense itching (which pretty much confirms that I’ve never been bitten by a tick before because, man, I would totally notice) and still kind of itches on my belly. Then I got like a bug bite on the right side of my face (I think twice, once maybe by a bee) last week that almost swelled my ear shut and now, I have poison ivy on my nose tip and on the same side of my face as the previous bug bite. This is what it looked like yesterday and I don’t even want to show you what it looks like today because it’s super weepy and my eye is swollen and I’d like nothing better than to stay in bed a lot of the day, but I’m actually on for a guitar lesson (which I don’t want to miss) and a couple hours of volunteering at Main Street. But kind of relaxing things – like I’m not performing or anything, but I’m just feeling run down and not great. I should probably get some steroids, but I don’t want to and also, I like to suffer.

As a side note, the plumber is here today and is ripping out the main to the house to replace the leaky son-of-a-bitch and therefore, the water is not working now and I need to use the bathroom. And I want to be able to flush and I can not.

Jeremy, in an act of true love, not only bought me an air fryer as a gift, but also CLEARED countertop space for me. Again, true love. It’s my quest to make healthy, low carb, high protein, high veggie lunches quickly. I’ve been surprising myself, cooking doesn’t have to be a whole thing. It can be much easier than going out. (Though I have to say, I don’t do any cleaning…Jeremy cleans for me). For a long time, I’ve been making egg based lunches – usually scrambled with cheese and an english muffin. Then I moved to boiled eggs and no cheese (I basically stopped eating cheese in the house) with microwaved frozen veggies and canned beans. Now I want to move to a piece of chicken and/or fish with the veggies and I want to do it fast.

Of course, we first made tater tots in the air fryer and they were AMAZING. And for sure, not on the list of “healthy things”. And I know it would be amazing for chicken nuggets or chicken patties. But the next day, I tried tilapia filets and they came out overdone and looking like this:

Interesting.

Jeremy is going to spend the weekend working on his bike in the living room. He spent a lot of money on bike parts and is switching stuff around and upgrading everything. He’s watching a lot of youtube videos.

Pediatrician and bicycles.

We took Edda to the pediatrician yesterday and I got what I wanted – though I was prepared to not get what I wanted. I got an order for a urinalysis and a script for amoxicillin. We are trying to get a urine sample from the Edda-mame, but no luck so far. We can’t start the antibiotics until we get the urine sample, otherwise we’ll be killing the little buggers if they are there. We are kind of kicking ourselves because I think the seizures were caused by her constipation and she had an enormous bowel movement on Monday afternoon and no seizures after that. We should have given her an enema on Saturday. Oh well. Live and learn – we are tucking it away in our standard operating procedure from now on.

Jeremy is slowly doing major surgery on his bicycles for an upcoming cross country trip (not on the bike, he’s not biking 3000 miles), it’s flying in luggage to California. He’s super delighted to be doing this. We talk about bikes a lot. Like a lot.

Memorial day weekend.

It was a bit of a rough weekend for us, we are a little unlucky with summer long weekends. Edda had a cluster of seizures on Saturday (seven), a bunch on Sunday (four) and two on Monday. This is very unusual for her, she has never had more than 2 a day, and never for so many days in a row. So we are keeping her at home today – she’s still running her low grade fever which she hasn’t been able to kick – and we’ll see a professional and see what they say. She was also clearly constipated which often adds to her seizure woes. Otherwise, she seems mostly OK, enjoying her TV and sometimes even laughing a lot.

Anyways, we really had no plans for the weekend, so it’s just as well we stayed close to home. On Friday, before the seizure clusterf*ck happened, we went to line dancing at Main Street which was a lot of fun. We brought Elka who was the star of the show. She wore her dog park vest which had her name on it and everyone asked if she was a working dog and I had to explain, no she’s a family dog, and Elka basked in the extra attention and occasional dropped hot dog.

The only other plan we had at the beginning of the weekend was to have dinner with our friends Tom and Noah and we decided to bring a festive cake:

I did manage to go for a run on Sunday – I love being in the woods and being where no one else really is.

It was muddy and damp – I scooted at least three turtles off the trail during my run. The trails are mountain biking trails and I get worried that there might be a bike/turtle mishap which would be bad for everyone.

On Sunday, we had an impromptu visit from Bob and Katherine and their new puppies Whimsy (white) and Bunter (brown). Elka was very excited and kind of nervous. Whimsy clearly wants to be alpha and so there was a bit of growling and Elka who is very nice, but submissive was like – really – I have to be beta to this 15 pound puppy?

They are cuties – but a lot of work.

Friday sign off.

I feel much much better today – the bees are gone. My bug bite is much reduced. I took a Benadryl last night before bed and slept well and had vivid dreams which were shocking and not at all typical of me. I like to power through things, but sometimes I need to cry uncle and sleep for the day. I’m trying to get some stuff wrapped up with work and then, off for the long weekend to just hang out with Edda, Jeremy and Elka.